The Acrimonious Adventurer Association

Lord Palmere surveyed the lot of thugs and miscreants that had come to his estate this fine morning. The merchant lord has placed an ad for able bodied entrepreneurs, Lord Palmere had expected the occasional righteous individual, but as he looked over the collection of nary-do-wells he spotted several holy warriors that would have to be weeded out.

Lost in thought, Lord Palmere hadn't heard his butler slave approach him from the foyer to the Lord's left.

"Appears you're bidding will be done mi'lord." The slave spoke but dared not look upon his master's face.

"Yes, begin by moving the paladins and anyone who appears more interested in my home than my offer." Understanding Lord Palmere's meaning, the slave ushered over a dozen other slaves and assigned each one to a guest he had surmised was going to have ethical questions regarding the work his master was about the offer. However the butler mixed in some beggars and known thieves in as well, so as not to appear to the casual viewer that any one particular group was being singled out.

After the obvious representatives from the churches of Maal and Terak were separated from the rest of the guests, along with the known cheats, Lord Palmere spoke to clustered group.

"As you know, my name is Lord Palmere and I have acquired the distinct honor of receiving a very distinguished guest of honor from Virdistan. A powerful merchant in that city and one whom I hope to engage in profitable discussions while he visits our fair city." Palmere paused as a few men in the back left the entry hall and exited Palmere's estate.

"To further my ends, I have need of a select few individuals to help me with a decorating dilemma I face. I shall pay the handsome sum of six-hundred gold kings for this service." Palmere paused again to let the crowd dwindle some more to just over two dozen individuals remained.

"It requires utmost secrecy as the Overlord will not look favorable upon you if you fail." That comment got the group squirming, over half of the crowd quickly and quietly left the entry hall. Now faced with only ten of the job seekers left, Palmere felt the time was right to start on the individual interviews.

He had refreshments brought out for those remaining, small salmon appetizers on flat bread and underaged elven wine that he had planned on throwing out anyway. Palmere left the entry hall, as the last of the desperate filed up to sample the free food and wine, to personally dismiss those that the butler had separated out earlier.

When Palmere returned to the entry hall he noted the eclectic group that had answered his ad. Two ogres, a troll, a centaur, 4 humans, a teifling, and a halfling mulled around the hall, occasionally glancing between each other and the fine art work Palmere chose to display to those who knew nothing about fine art.

Palmere thought to himself that is he could get the two ogres and the troll, he might even get out of having to pay them altogether. The job was a simple one, well simple for those with mean dispositions who didn't like a little blood on their hands.

Palmere had scoured Highcastle for the perfect spot to host and impress the visiting diplomat. Palmere had paid a high marker to learn that the new diplomat was well versed in the performing arts and fine sculptures. Palmere hoped to gain favor with the diplomat and use that to leverage a monopoly on high end gems coming from the mountains surrounding Virdistan. To this end he located a crumbling and decrepit ruin on a small hill just outside of the city's east gate. Normally a haven for goblins, Palmere tried to buy the land and have the goblins removed legally. However he misplayed his hand and bribed the wrong official and now it was too late in the game to start over and go back to the courts to get it done legally.

Thus he arrived at his current predicament, he had placed an ad hoping to lure some people of desperate disposition or at least those with low enough ethics to no care for another creature, but high enough morals to abide by the six-hundred gold king gag order. He needed to remove the Maalites from the equation since their church ran the courts and legal system in Highcastle. Palmere also removed those with stronger ties to the thieves guild than to the gold currency Palmere was trying to buy them with. The overlord would not stand for Palmere circumventing his legal system, so Palmere needed men desperate enough to need the money and unconnected enough that if they were caught, Palmere could buy their silence from a well placed bribe to the Assassin's Guild.

Excited about the future, Palmere strode into his entry hall brimming with the confidence of a man who believed he had all the answers. He chose to speak with the centaur first, the ogres and troll seemed to be enjoying the food too well right now to be interrupted.

"We don't see many centaurs in the city, what brings you to this fine example of haut monde?" Palmere asked

"A desire to see what I could only imagine beyond my valley, and to embrace the sense of curiosity my father possessed." Responded the centaur

"Yes, well how do you feel about goblins?" Palmere asked pointedly

"I have heard of them and eagerly await my opportunity to meet one in person." The centaur answered excitedly

"How long have you been in Highcastle?" The Merchant Lord asked

"Only a few days, I admit to spending most of my time in the horse markets. I have been searching for an excuse to force myself to explore more of what this city has to offer, your posting seemed like the perfect solution for me."

Palmere mulled over the centaur's response, if the centaur had only been in Highcastle a few days, it was likely he had no idea of the local laws and might be perfect to help the merchant with his problem.

"I have recently purchased a small, I thought was abandoned, ruined building just to the southeast of the city. Unfortunately the goblins who were squatting there did not take kindly to my announcement that they would now have to vacate the property. I need some motivated individuals to convince them that it's best they leave. I don't really care how you do it, only that you do it in less than seventy-two hours as my decorators will not be able to turn the property around fast enough without a two-week timeframe."

"And this job will pay money with which to use to purchase services within the city?" The centaur asked

"Oh yes, yes it will." Palmere replied

"Then Xanthos agrees to relocate the goblins."

Palmere smiled, if the rest of the applicants were as socially inept as this guy, it was going to be a simple matter to get what he wanted. Palmere called for one of the ogres next.

"What brings you to the core of civilization my large fellow?"

"Doopa need money." The ogre answers

"Yes, well maybe Doopa should have answered my ad then?"

"Doopa, decorate. Get money, buy big horse." The ogre said through a forced enunciation

Palmere comprehended that the ogre's name was Doopa, "You need to get rid of some goblins first."

"Arrgh!" With the mention of goblins, Doopa became enraged and pounded his heavy wooden club on the floor in front of Palmere

Palmere snapped his fingers and five slaves formed a line between Doopa and Palmere, his butler as well came to Palmere's side.

"Shall I see this one out?" Palmere's butler asked

"Not yet, I think his rage towards goblins may serve me well in my scheme."

Next up was the teifling

"I've seen your kind before, although I've yet to have purchased the services of any hitherto." Palmere started

"Then let's not waste time prancing around your insecurities and get down to you telling me who you need killed." The teifling responded

Taken aback by the bluntness of the teifling, Palmere cleared his throat and began. "I don't need anyone killed, just removed. A group of goblins that are trespassing on some property I own."

"Really? I heard about those guys. You know my brother Tehas? He sent my a letter about some goblins he encountered in a derelict ruin outside of town."

"No, I do not know any of your kind. I am intrigued by your prior knowledge of the situation though. When did your brother visit?" Palmere inquired

"Couple of months ago, the head honcho he was working for told him he wanted to go in a different direction and wanted to start over again. I haven't heard from him since. You're not that guy are you?"

"Heavens no, are you deaf? Have you not heard that I have had no previous dealings with any of your kind?" Palmere exasperated

"Well good, so do you pay me now or when I'm done kicking the gob out of the goblins?"

"I pay you if I hire you, and when the job is complete. Were you conceived yesterday?" Palmere replies sarcastically

"Well your choice is clear then, you should hire me, Menthos Lyptus. Anyone willing to circumvent the Overlord's courts and squat on some squatters can see that." Menthos smiled at the merchant with a twinkle of full understanding in his eye.

Palmere hired the teifling in the hopes that he would die before collecting the money.

Palmere next called for the troll.

"I'm sorry mi'lord but he left. Apparently he smelled the food and followed the crowd in. He became belligerent when he ate the last of the appetizers and killed a tray holder and carried his carcass out the door with him." Palmere's butler reported

"Tsk, what a shame. Could have used that kind of go getter. Oh well, make sure we replace the tray holder by next weekend."

Palmere interviewed the other ogre next and hired him, Turgar seemed a little brighter than Doopa and Palmere especially liked the dragon motif* Turgar had adorned himself with. The Merchant Lord then interviewed the halfling and two of the humans but sent them away after admitted to having no equipment or measurable skills with which to complete the task.

The last two humans were a scout by the name of Kessen, Palmere hired him thinking he could be a guiding light to the ogres and point them in the direction of the goblins and then get out of the way. Plus he hailed from the Plains of Cairns and had previously dealt with ogres and goblins near his homeland. The last human was a Trueborn** named Haimish, blessed at birth by the gods, the Trueborn were outcasts as most people didn't want a visual reminder that they were unfit to receive the god's blessing. Trueborns therefore got along well with the trolls and ogres of society, so he seemed like a good lubricant for the two ogre cogs.

With six individuals chosen, Palmere gave them rough directions to where the ruins were located and told them in no uncertain terms that the goblins must be gone in seventy-two hours or there would be no compensation.

* Turgar's class is Dragon Shaman

** Trueborn are from Dawnforge, they're like high-powered Aasimar
Are we there yet?

Lord Palmere's slave leads the six strangers through the East Gate of Highcastle and then southeast towards a small hill that looks out of place among the farmland on this side of the city. The gigantic sprawling Dearthwood gave a dark green backdrop to the hill, even from this distance one could make out the standing stone blocks of what remained of a fort built atop the hill. The slave pointed to the hill and then left the group to return to Lord Palmere's mansion.

"Well, looks like our guide has abandoned us, who here among us has dealt with goblins before?" Xanthos asked. The centaur was still growing and had not yet attained the size usually seen in wild centaurs.

"Doopa smash!" The ogre slammed his club, so massive was it that it could double as a tree trunk for partial concealment.

Doopa swings his dire stirge swatter around his head, in an impressive manner, until he locked eyes on Turgar, the other ogre in the group. Doopa slowed his swinging and let out a low growl. "Not Gouged Wound Clan!" Doopa shouted as he pointed his club at Turgar.

"No, nor would I want to be. I say we leave the mongrel behind, he's just as likely to join the goblins as he is to kill them." Turgar responds

Impressed with the articulate response from Turgar, Haimish offers his thoughts "Seems to me that you two have more hate than a dire gnat in a salt quarry, I think it wise to complete the part where I get paid and then you two can fight it out like two snow elves in a bakery."

"What? That made absolutely no sense. If you're going to attempt to interject your thoughts into a conversation, please do so coherently." Menthos clamors

"Hey, no need to go all winged frog on me, I was just trying to calm the two beastmen down." Haimish counters

"Again with the stupid analogies and metaphors, just shut up already." Menthos shouts

Confused with all this fancy talk, Doopa shrugs his shoulders and takes aim at Turgar. The ogre rears back his weapon as Turgar whips out a longsword for defense. Doopa surges forward, only to be halted by the shining object presented to Doopa's eyesight. Almost trancelike, the ogre takes the shining coin from the outstretched hand of Kessen. Turning the coin over in his fingers, Doopa soon forgets everything else except for the shiny.

"Impressive, have you much training with them?" Xanthos inquires of Kessen

Ignoring the question, Kessen turns to the hill and calls back "Keep moving, we're going to need more of those soon."

The trip should have taken just over an hour, however Xanthos insisted upon stopping at each new plant and rock in order to sketch and catalogue each one in a small book he produced from a saddle bag draped across his hindquarters. Kessen and Menthos would have been happy to leave him behind, but every time Xanthos stopped so did the two ogres and Haimish.

"Ranger?" Menthos asked of Kessen

"Not exactly, although most of my family is." Kessen replied, "What skills do you planning on bringing to bear on the goblins?"

"Me? I'm a highly trained recluse, I've been sighted in four counties." Menthos says proudly.

"Hrmph, you thieves are all alike" Kessen says as he turns back to the hill

"Thief? No, although I do plan on playing one soon, we should stick together. I got your back." Menthos replied

Two and a half hours after departing Highcastle, the group reaches the base of the small hill. Kessen notes the wind direction and advises that the group approach from the other side of the hill, so as not to give away their presence by sent. The party agrees and circles around the hill, stopping every ten feet so that Xanthos could catalogue another plant. The party ascends the hill and views two areas of downed and crumbling stone blocks.

Kessen approaches the nearest set of stones and sniffs the air, then crouching behind a side-laying stone, Kessen spots an entrance leading down into the hill. He rushes back to the party and reports his findings.

Curious to see if he could do the same, Doopa runs to the far set of stones and sniffs the air. His stomach immediately picks up the scent of burning rabbit. Doopa's mouth begins to water, and he begins to descend the set of stairs from which the scent is emanating from.

The party yells for Doopa to stop, but the ogre's stomach it too determined. The rest of the group sprints across the hilltop to where they last saw Doopa.

"Dumb ogre, ruined a great chance at surprise." Kessen shot through gnashed teeth.

"Now, you didn't really expect that guy to follow anything that came out of your mouth did you? I on the other hand, find this tactic to be most appealing, let the ogre go in first. Then us." Menthos replies

"That ogre's as dense as the moral compass of levitating pumice." Haimish observes.

"Oh! You shall have to point me to that phenomenon, I must catalogue that." Xanthos pleads

"Maybe, remember patience is like the morose rock. Abiding by that edict will surely bring you closer to near than to far." Haimish states.

Kessen reaches the stairs and peering down, sees Doopa about halfway down. The ogre looks back up and seeing the rest of the group, motions for them to be quite. "Doopa hear voices." The ogre nearly shouts, while pointing to the bottom of the stairs.
Despot Ruins

Kessen clearly heard three distinct voices, two seemed to be arguing with the third voice egging the other two on. Kessen held up three fingers and pointed below. Doopa waved him off and pointed at himself then below. Confused Kessen pointed to his ears, then held up three fingers and then pointed below. Doopa pointed to his massive tree trunk of a club and them to himself and then below. Annoyed, Menthos waved off both of them and held his finger up to his mouth and blew "shhhhh"

"I think we can take them through stealth and then a severe beating at the hands of the ogres. You and I (Menthos pointed at Kessen) will sneak in and surprise them, when they realize they're under attack the two ogres will rush in and will run them over." Menthos offers

"Do you mean to kill them? I was under the impression we should get them to leave." Xanthos asked

"Do you speak goblin?" Menthos asked

"No, but that's hardly ...." Xanthos tries to reply

"Then we'll force them out, end of planning stage." Menthos interrupts

"Doopa smash green shorties into paste!" Doopa yelled

The party got quiet as they thought for certain that Doopa's declaration would bring an alarm from the goblins. Fortunately they were too busy arguing to pay attention.

"What do you want us to do?" Xanthos asked regarding himself and Haimish

Looking down at Xanthos' hooves and then back up at his face, Menthos replied "Stay quiet."

"I could sing a song? I know many, many wonderful songs. I bought the entire liner note collection to the They Are Giants greatest hits. Their exploration of guttural whistling is brilliant!" Haimish eagerly offers

Stunned confusion washes over the rest of the group. Menthos grabs Kessen by the shoulder and leads him down the steps.

Sticking to the shadows created by the flickering cooking fire the goblins have erected in the center of the room. Two rabbits currently burn on spits set up over the fire. Kessen notes that the spits are constructed in a manner that would make them immovable so likely the rabbit was charred on one side and raw on the other.

Three goblins stand on the far side of the fire, two of them are in each other's face, engaged in a heated argument, while a third goblin watches from about ten feet away, interjecting his own comments whenever the other two seem to calm down their emotions, which quickly gets them to escalate the disagreement again. The two men also note a door on the far southern corner which is currently closed.

Kessen crouches low and takes aim at the far goblin, shaking with excitement of the pre-battle, Kessen lets loose of the bowstring and his arrow flies into the ceiling a full fifteen feet above the goblin.

"@#%&!" Kessen utters as the surprise Menthos hoped for is shattered as he creeps along the wall to south and into that corner.

The goblins quickly end their discussion and shout out at the two intruders, just as Doopa and Turgar come barreling down the stairs and into the room. Teeth bare and weapons raised. Just as battle is about to ensue, a human's voice carries into the room from the stairwell.

Oh, for sure
I just got a manicure
The sun I swear
Is bleaching out my gorgeous hair
2, 4, 6, more
There's twenty arrows in a score
Go, go. Fight, fight
Gee I hope I look alright

and repeats...

Xanthos taps along to the catchy tune, providing a drumming beat for Haimish to sing along with. Meanwhile, below the song has incited a riot as the goblins charge into the offensive and cut deep wounds into Doopa and Turgar, while Haimish's song disrupts Kessen's ranged attacks and he sends two more arrows into he ceiling above the far goblin's head.

"Hey, they're only two feet tall, what are you aiming for up there?!" Menthos shouts out as he rushes past Kessen to flank one of the goblins.

The far goblin bolts and heads for the door, Kessen stands up from his shadowed position and races for the goblin. Too slow though as the goblin flings the door open and races down the hallway beyond. Kessen reaches the door and throws it open, but his human eyes perceive only blackness beyond, and the din of battle behind him prevents him from hearing the goblin's retreat as well.

Xanthos enters the fray, skipping along to Haimish's words of encouragement, and together with the two ogres and Menthos, manage to kill the remaining goblins.

"Whoo! We rock!" Haimish shouts

"What was that awful noise coming from your mouth?" Menthos demands

"What? Weren't you inspired?" Haimish asks

"No, I was nauseated." Menthos counters

"I felt a little more sure of myself. I feel as though your words helped." Turgar states

"Don't do it again." Menthos chastises

"What? That song fit better than a cat in a whorehouse. I didn't see nothing out of you that would lead to me to believe you could plan a two-day siege of my mother's linen drawer." Haimish argues

"Hey guys!" Kessen whistles "The third one got away, we should go chase it down before it alerts any more of them to our presence."

"A wise and tactical man. Do you believe more exist beyond that door?" Xanthos inquires

"Goblins are like rats, there ain't never just one or three. There's bound to be hundreds down there, all of them breeding and performing ritualistic sacrifices of horses and gregarious woodland creatures." Kessen explains to Xanthos

"What? I had no idea these debased creatures were capable of such debauchery. Lead the way man, we must end this tonight!" Xanthos speaks

The party lines up at the door, the two ogres peering out into the darkness. Menthos taps Kessen on the shoulder.

"Nice BS job, I hope you're able to find the underground diabolical goblin lust cult that you convinced the centaur must be down here." Menthos comments.
Despot Ruins continued

"I need some light up here." Kessen called back to the others

Turgar went back and retrieved a good sized burning piece of wood from the goblin's cooking fire. The ogre held it aloft, allowing Kessen to check the stone floor for recent goblin tracks.

"Oh a tracker. Several of my elders are trackers, my father in fact was a tracker. While I was always much more in tune with the natural living world around me, I could always see the need to track ones enemies threw non-natural means." Xanthos spoke excitedly

Kessen crouched low to the floor, they didn't go this way I'm certain. The human spoke pointing to a southern passage. Kessen stood about thirty fee into a long passageway that ended beyond any of the group's sight.

"That leaves the stairs down over there, or down that long hallway there." Kessen said, pointing out the only other two remaining options.

"You sure he didn't passwall or teleport? Maybe he turned into a shadow? For all we know the was no third goblin." Menthos inquires

"Well, I think we should take the stairs, don't want things coming up behind us while we're fighting down that hallway." Haimish offers

"You don't take the stairs first! Everyone knows you take the stairs last, worse things are always found after you take the stairs." Menthos comments

"Doopa say we break stairs so goblins no use anymore." Doopa states

"What dungeoneering survival manual are you reading? They're goblins, there's no such thing as dire goblins, I could fling a booger at one and kill it." Kessen replies

"You should try that, you certainly can't do any worse than those arrows you fired as warning shots to the dead rabbits." Menthos counters

"Let's see you shoot a bow, here take mine if you think you're so good with one." Kessen argues

"People please, you guys fight like two ticks on a gray ooze. If you can't get along for your own greedy sake, then at least have the decency to get along so the rest of us can get paid." Haimish demands

This manages to calm the teifling and human down enough to discus tactics in a civilized manner.

"I agree, it's best not to let them surprise from behind, I like the human's suggestion that we take the stairs first." Turgar agrees

"It's suicide people, death awaits us down there. There's no way we're ready to take on any challenge the lower levels may present to us." Menthos counters

"Again with this knowledge as if you've been here before, what are you basing your fanatical fear of stairs on?" Kessen inquires

"I've read extensively on the subject." Menthos stoically replies

The group begins to head towards the stairs anyway.

"Wait I'll show you, see" Menthos digs in his backpack and pulls out a colorful book with leather string binding. The pages splayed out from repeated use.

"Let me see that." Kessen says snatching the book from the teifling's hands. "Wha...? A comic book? Order of the st.. ?" Menthos snatches the book back.

"You get all your knowledge of dungeoneering from a comic book? Look I like the comic too, but it's meant to be funny, not factual." Kessen states and then bursts into laughter

"May I?" Xanthos asks of Menthos

"No, it's mine, and after we all die down there, I'll be proven right." Menthos accuses

"Doopa think if we all die, goblins use book for wiping of rear." The ogre interjects

Down the stairs the party goes, when they reach the bottom, they are confronted with a "T" to the right the hallway goes ten feet and "T"'s again, to the left there is a room at a forty-five degree angle from where they stand at the bottom of the steps.

"Which way tracker?" Xanthos asks

Kessen kneels close to the floor and looks around for obvious sings of a goblin passing through recently.

"This way!" Kessen shouts as he points to the room

The party charges into the room and confronts a male and female goblin along with their two kids and pet badger.

"Where's the diabolical lust sacrifice altar?" Menthos asks aloud, the goblins stand back in confusion, Kessen however understood the question was more for him than the goblins.

"Obviously it's not in this room." Kessen shoots back at Menthos

"Doopa smash!" The ogre charges and gets hit with two arrows fired from the goblin children, they shots bring the charging ogre to his knees and then he collapses fast forward into the floor.

Kessen moves to the right of the doorway and along the wall, he fires a return shot but it again glances off the wall behind the goblins, some eight feet above and behind them.

Turgar charges forward and swings over the head of the female goblin. The goblin's badger pet advances and attaches itself to Turgar's leg.

"Ah! get it off me!" Turgar reaches down to pry the little beast off and opens his head up for a crashing blow from the male goblin's mace. Turgar crumples to the floor unconscious.

"See! You See that!" Menthos shouts as he fires a shoot into the chest of the male goblin. The sucking chest wound gurgles with escaping gas from it's lung, but he creature does not drop.

Xanthos advances to the downed Doopa and administers some bandages and a soothing herbal salve. *twang* *whoosh* *thunk*

"Ow! I've been shot! How rude of you, I was obviously not a threat!" Xanthos shouts in disbelief. *twang* *whoosh* *thunk*

"Hey! knock it off!" Xanthos covers his head and tries to maneuver around so Doopa's prone body can offer some defense against the goblin kid's toy bows.

Haimish rears into song:

Kill the goblins dead
Kill the goblins dead

come on sing it with me!

The trueborn then rushes the female goblin and cuts deep with his longsword and then slams his shield into her head, breaking most if not all the bones in her face and she drops like a wet blanket.

Kessen finally gets his bearings and drops one of the goblin children, sensing the turning of the battle's tide, Xanthos charges the other goblin child and stomps a puddle of blood into it's chest with his hooves.

Menthos circles around the male goblin and using Haimish to flank him, takes out the goblin with a well placed blade between the shoulder blades. Haimish turns on the badger and unloads his frustration out on the little creature, killing it quickly.

"Why did you feel it necessary to kill the badger, he could have been released into the wild?" Xanthos asks

"Guilty by association." Menthos replies for the trueborn

The humans, load up the ogres on the back of Xanthos and they agree to exit the ruins and try again tomorrow.

After traveling for an hour, Menthos looks over to Haimish who's humming along as they walk. "If your songs are more like that, than like your first. I wouldn't mind more of them in the heat of battle." Menthos admits

"Certainly sir, like I said I do have the entire collection of... " Haimish starts

"Yes, yes. As you stated before." Menthos cuts him off

"Ha! another convert to the musical stylings of Haimish. In the morning I'll make you haggis, we'll bond like pipe smoke to a purple worm!" Haimish announces

"Uh, let's just stick with you singing while I'm chopping down some goblins." Menthos returns, then looks over at Kessen and holds up his book. "It was right" he mouths to the human.

Kessen rolls his eyes and continues on.
Jon Potter said:
What's this? Another Hairy Minotaur story hour?

HM, where was my notification? :)
Oh sorry, I added to my sig. I figured I would eventually add a link on the other story hour with my next post there.

And to make this post topical I shall include the players races and classes below for you:

Menthos - Teifling Rogue/Warlock
Haimish - Trueborn Human Bard
Turgar - Ogre Dragon Shaman (died during battle for Omen)
Doopa - Ogre Barbarian
Kessen - Highlander Human Scout
Xanthos - Centuar Druid (died during battle for Omen)
Xanthos - Dawn Elf Shifter (Xanthos was reincarnated)
Eeyore - Aranea Ranger with white tiger companion (replaced Turgar)
Adukol - Human Sorcerer
Kourk - Human Cleric of Urian (Sky god)/Converted to Moradin dwarven god of the mountains
Dahlgren - Karsite Binder
Aust - Drow Assassin

All but Xanthos & Eeyore are using Dawnforge character creation rules (edit: Xanthos was reincarnated and took a Dawnforge race when he returned to life). Haimish swapped out Bardic Knowledge with Bardic Knack (per PHB II)
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Jon Potter

Hairy Minotaur said:
Oh sorry, I added to my sig. I figured I would eventually add a link on the other story hour with my next post there.
No sweat! Just givin' you grief is all.

Are these the same group of players from your other story hour? I notice certain... similarities... between the personalities of some of the characters there and here.

And I'm completely unfamiliar with Dawnforge. Any chance for a sentence or two expalining what's diffent.
Jon Potter said:
No sweat! Just givin' you grief is all.

Are these the same group of players from your other story hour? I notice certain... similarities... between the personalities of some of the characters there and here.

And I'm completely unfamiliar with Dawnforge. Any chance for a sentence or two expalining what's diffent.
Menthos is played by the guy who did Paquito
Haimish is played by the guy that did Korg
Turgar is played by the guy that did Finrod
Doopa is played by the guy that did Ratchet
Xanthos is a new guy
Kessen is a new guy

None of the rest of the other story hour are in this game.

Dawnforge has Orcs, Minotaurs, Lizardmen, Ogres, Yuan-ti, Dopplegangers, Elves, Humans, Halflings, Gnomes, and Dwarves as playable base races. The races gain abilites from 1-10 level as well as some stat bumps. By the time they're 10th level the book says to give them challenges of ECL +2 their level. I like throwing hard things at them so this helps them out in that regards, plus it makes for hardier PCs. Plus most of the "big" races like Minotaurs and Ogres don't get to choose lagre size until 6th level so they're medium while fighting the kobolds, goblins, and orcs that permeate the lower levels.

This game is much more political/religious in nature and I'm using the Affiliation rules form the PHB II, and 3 characters currently have an affiliation score (one of them with a not so nice group who I plan on seeing how far the PC will go with their plot.)

I'm using Wilderlands as the campaign backdrop and Highcastle is The City State of the Invincible Overlord with some plot changes, the deities are all from The Book of the Righteous, and since I know you have that book I will say that Shalimyr, Maal, Tinel, Carnak, and Kador have all figured into the plot in the game thus far. And yes, I am using the Kador "secret" so as not to draw suspicion from the player who has affiliation with this church. I bet if you look over the character list, the aforementioned PC will become obvious. ;)

Jon Potter

Hairy Minotaur said:
Menthos is played by the guy who did Paquito
Haimish is played by the guy that did Korg
Turgar is played by the guy that did Finrod
Doopa is played by the guy that did Ratchet
Xanthos is a new guy
Kessen is a new guy
Shows what I know! I was hearing Paquito in Haimish and Finrod in Menthos.

Dawnforge sounds interesting and you know I like BotR. I already happily noted the name-dropping you did in the first post. I'm really looking forward to how this progresses.
(one of them with a not so nice group who I plan on seeing how far the PC will go with their plot.)

humm.......I wonder which one of us it is?

(And yes, I am using the Kador "secret" so as not to draw suspicion from the player who has affiliation with this church. I bet if you look over the character list, the aforementioned PC will become obvious.)

I knew it! FIRE, FIRE, hurrmph, ah ah FIRE!

(Are these the same group of players from your other story hour? I notice certain... similarities... between the personalities of some of the characters there and here.)

It's like being trapped in an eternal champion novel.

Jon Potter

spacehulkster said:
(And yes, I am using the Kador "secret" so as not to draw suspicion from the player who has affiliation with this church. I bet if you look over the character list, the aforementioned PC will become obvious.)

I knew it! FIRE, FIRE, hurrmph, ah ah FIRE!
Uh oh! I hope that my curiosity has not inadvertently spoiled a campaign surprise!!! If it's the one I'm thinking of it's a pretty fun one, so I really hope not!

(Are these the same group of players from your other story hour? I notice certain... similarities... between the personalities of some of the characters there and here.)

It's like being trapped in an eternal champion novel.
Which is really not a bad thing at all, when you come to think of it.
Return to the Despot Ruins

In the morning after Doopa and Turgar were returned to full vigor by Xanthos, the group plods back out to the ruins. This time Kessen stops every few feet to pluck some small plant or flower from the ground.

"You don't plan on smoking that do you?" Menthos inquired about the plants and herbs in Kessen's hands

"No, these are an insurance policy." Kessen replies

"Good, because my brother smoked, and it got obsessive at some points. Couldn't see out of the fog bank that surrounded him and his pipe" Menthos offers

"Fascinating." Kessen starts "Your story both bores and annoys me, I do believe that is the first time that's ever happened to me."

Stunned, Menthos keeps his mouth shut until they reach the ruins.

"Did you know that next Thursday is Kilted Yak Day? Tis a fine tradition in my family. My father dresses the best yak, I am only sorry I will be unable to participate this year." Haimish bemoans

"You are an odd human." Xanthos replies

"I know what it is like to be away from home, try to think about other things like, treasure and adding to your personal hoard, fame and adding great tales of deeds done by your hand. These are things Turgar will complete before returning to see the sunrise ignite the eastern face of the Cloudwalls." Turgar says proudly

"That is dumb, Sunfist tribe take good side of mountains, leave Kneegnash clan to live next to goblin scum. Doopa will return home and will has to pass through Sunfist tribe to get there, Doopa will enjoy watching you catch pheasant with your hands." The other ogre boasts

"Your tribe will be extinct before you ever find your way home again. Loutish brutes, how's that rock farming going for you?" Turgar replies trying to suppress a building laughter

"Ha, you stupid ogre. Doopa know you can't grow rocks in farms." Doopa retorts as he laughs and walks ahead of the group.

My father wore and heavy frown
The day the naked yak came to town
The folk were scared, panic ensued
Listen close this part is true
My father stood up to face the yak
He pulled the kilt off of his back
The beast it reared and charged my pop
My dad refused to put up with it's slop
He grabbed the kilt and held it so
The yak ran through it don't you know
The beast was clothed and it started to bay
The moon it shone bright that day
And blinded me to my dismay
Never will I forget the man
Who fed ten families with a yak ham.

Oh it's Kilted Yak Day
Shave Yak and bring him to play
Dress him up all nice and frilly
Maybe you to can come all silly

"Please stop, I thought we agreed you'd only do that while I was chopping down goblins." Menthos yells, covering his ears

"Don't you feel better protected now? Words have power you know, I know how to master that power and put it to use." Haimish beams

"Do you know any humans are weak pathetic leeching maggots who deserve to pickle in their own urine songs?" Menthos answers as he heads down the stairs and back into the ruins

"That man has serious anger issues, seems to me he's got his sword sheathed in his cat lager." Haimish observes

The party moves down and notes that the poorly built cooking pit is cold and appears to have remained unmolested through the night. They exit through the only door and look once again down the hallway.

"Which way, down again?" Kessen asks pointing to the stairs

"Are you mad man! We nearly died down there! I told you the book is never wrong." Menthos raves

"You're impossible to work with, do want you want to do, I'm going to go back downstairs." Kessen says, leaving the party at the doorway as he heads for the stairs.

"Shh, you hear that?" Xanthos asks

oooooaaaarrrrrr oooohhhhmmmm iiirrrrlllll blechle! Ack!

"Something's down there." Xanthos states pointing down the hallway

"Gee, you think? Could be it's that altar of diabolical goblin lust you've been seeking." Menthos offers

"We should check it out then." Xanthos comments and prances down the hallway

"Uh, this seems like a bad idea. I remember when my folks split up, man we were fit to be lathered then. Nothings worse than knowing your mind and heart are square dancing to bugbear sculptures." Haimish points out

Kessen relents and follows Xanthos and the rest of the party down the hallway. The moans and sounds of vomiting get louder and more slurred, after close to eighty feet they reach a large carved out area that contains a lone goblin, drinking heavily out of a large clay jug.

The party approaches the drunk goblin, who upon seeing the group breaks out into a fit of demented laughter.

"Poopah send for hu-mans to kill Gorga. Ha! Gorga send Firt to Poopah for evers!" The goblin gets out

"What is your name?" Kessen annunciates heavily

"Gorga, Gorga miss Firt. Hu-man bring Firt?" Inquires the goblin

"No. What is your name!" Kessen goes louder and slower, then gets shoved out of the way by Menthos

"Move hairless baboon, you obviously have had no training in intimidation and interrogation tactics." Menthos comments

Menthos yanks up the goblin from his prone position by his ear. He then drags the creature kicking and screaming to the hallway. Menthos points at the end of the hallway the party has yet to traverse.

"What there?!" Menthos asks

Scared, the small goblin wets all over himself and Menthos as well.

"Ha! Serves you right you sadist." Kessen remarks

"Teifling need watch out for other end now, Doopa know all to well about that." The ogre speaks up

"That's because on your side of the mountains, that's a staple food source." Turgar snipes at Doopa

Menthos slaps around the drunk and barely conscious goblin and points again towards the as yet unexplored part of the hallway, "What there?!"

"Raiders." The goblin manages to get out

Doopa shoves Menthos away from the goblin, "Doopa do this right way." He then faces the goblin and licks his lips, opens his mouth and bares his teeth.

"Gobbo want seasoned before Doopa cook?" The ogre asks

The goblin screams in terror and tries to back away from the ogre, but Doopa's massive hands press the goblin to the floor.

Turgar shoves Doopa off the frightened creature.

"You're supposed to get information from it, not kill it." Turgar says

Doopa then tackles Turgar and the two ogres begin to scuffle across the stone floor.

The goblin sees it's chance at freedom and turns towards the exit and charges face first into Haimish's shield, knocking itself out cold.

A splash of cold water awakens Gorga from his alcohol assisted slumber. Haimish has bound the goblin as well as gagged it.

"Gorga help Haimish. Haimish let Gorga go." Haimish states

The goblin looks around at the loud human, the abusive tiefling, the half-horse/half-human monstrosity, two bloodied and beaten ogres, and then back to Haimish. Gorga nods his head in agreement.

"Good show!" Haimish replies and removes the gag from Gorga's mouth, "Now what is that way?" Haimish says pointing down the hallway.

"Raiders." Gorga replies

"Raiders, like you? More goblins?" Haimish asks

Gorga nods in agreement.

"How many?" Haimish inquires

Gorga studies his hands and then moves to his toes and then back to his hands and then seems to get lost and restarts. Haimish waves him off from trying again.

"More than eight." Haimish says to the party

"What about down the stairs?" Haimish asks next

Gorga begins to tear up, "Poopah and Firt. Firt tell Gorga leave! Gorga take much food. Poopah now live with Firt, Gorga want Firt!" The goblin breaks down and begins sobbing.

"What about back that way?" Haimish asks point to the southern passage across from the stairs near the entrance of this hallway.

"Dead things that walk." Gorga answers

"Undead that way." Haimish says pointing at the passage

"Hmm, that's a lot of goblins to take on in that room. Undead could be troublesome, looks like it's back downstairs." Kessen announces

All but Menthos agree, Menthos however agrees to change his mind on one condition, "I want the little green man next to me."

"I told him he'd be as free as feathers in the soap." Haimish replies

"What? Never mind that, I'm not going to let him free until it's safe enough for us that if he goes running off to find some of his brethren, it'll be too late to matter for them." Menthos argues

"Well, I can't argue with that logic." Haimish replies to Menthos, then turns back to Gorga "Soon, I let you go." Then re-gags Gorga, and the party heads back to the stairs.
So that's where baby goblins come from.

The group heads back down the stairs, Kessen scouts ahead of the party and sticks his head through the "T" to the right. Peering to the north he sees a dead end with a small drainage gate near the bottom of the wall, to the south he sees a long passageway extending into the darkness beyond his human vision. Listen he hears no sound from either direction.

"As far as I can tell, it looks clear this way." Kessen reports

"Which is what fifteen feet? Go running up and down that hallway screaming for your clothes and weapons to be returned, if nothing attacks you, we'll know it's safe." Menthos counters

"What's down that hallway Gorga?" Haimish inquires from the gagged goblin

The bard removes the gag and Gorga spits out "Party, Gorga no allowed to eat. Gorga take wine anyway and sit alone."

"Party? They got food?" Doopa asks

Gorga nods and Doopa points towards the hallway, "Doopa go that way, Doopa need food badly"

"Let's make sure there's nothing behind us first. What's down there?" Haimish asks Gorga pointing down the left corridor at the bottom of the stairs, the first room contained the goblins and badger they fought yesterday, but there was also a door at the end of the corridor.

"Firt." Gorga says solemnly

"That way." Kessen and Menthos says simultaneously

The party reaches the door and Xanthos and Kessen both press their ears to the door. They seem to remain there longer than what would indicate no sound.

"What do you hear?" Haimish asks

"Grunting, moaning, and crying." Xanthos reports

"Hmm, that would seem odd. Better check it out." Haimish answers

Doopa moves up to take lead with Kessen, and the ogre shoves open the door to reveal a dimly lit room. Opposite of the doorway is a crudely constructed altar to some goblin god. Laid out on the floor in front of the idol are food stuffs along with burning candles and a couple of sacrificed rats which are still bleeding.

The noises that the centaur and scout heard are coming from two goblins in the center of the room attempting to increase the numbers in their clan through breeding.

"Ugh, I'm going to be sick." Kessen states as he backs away from the room and falls to his knees trying to breath slowly and counteract the urge to regurgitate.

"What's going on?" Xanthos inquires as he moves u to take Kessen's spot

"Looks like we found your diabolical lust altar of sacrifice after all." Menthos tells him

Xanthos views the room and thinks for a moment, "Yes, appears you are correct. I shall handle this." The centaur moves up to the rutting goblins and takes his time to coup d' grace both of the preoccupied goblins. The rest of the party enters as Xanthos throws their ratty clothes on top of the bodies.

Menthos enters to investigate the altar along with Doopa, as Menthos passes the dead goblins, Gorga calls out, "Firt!"

Gorga twists and rolls against his bonds, the movement causes Menthos to crash to the floor as Gorga attempts to escape his bonds, "Firt!" he calls out again.

Turgar comes over and slams the head of Gorga against the stone floor, knocking him unconscious.

"Doopa think this goblin fertility god, Doopa see this before in homeland." The barbarian announces

"What? Are you sure?" Xanthos asks

"Of course he's sure, his familiy uses the same one in their cave." Turgar answers

"Doopa not live in cave." Doopa replies

"Wait! I just killed two creatures doing what nature intended? What have I done?" Xanthos bemoans

"Nature certainly did not intend for that." Menthos says standing up again and pointing at the goblins, "I would go with this is a diabolical lust cult, whatever helps your conscience get through it."

"You're certainly a heartless bastard." Kessen remarks

"So, he's half-ass. What did you expect?" Menthos counters

"Now you're just mincing words." Kessen answers as he waves off the teifling

"At least I'm mincing something, your strategy seems to be to yell a lot in hopes people will ignore your glorious whiffs from your ranged attacks." Menthos responds

"People, focus on the gold at the end of the path. This beating on the astral dream isn't going to get us there." Haimish speaks amid confused faces

"I must bury them, to atone for my actions." Xanthos states

"Bury them in your rear, we don't have time for you to bury them, nor the tools to do so in here." Menthos tells him

Xanthos drapes both naked goblins across his horse back and exits the room. Haimish kicks over the ratty straw mat the goblins were on and locates some silver and copper pieces. The bard pockets them and heads out of the room with the rest of the party.

The group heads back to the "T" Kessen looked down earlier, they take the south passage and come to a "Y" to the southeast the passage extends through darkness even for those with darkvision, the southwest passage goes about twenty feet and then turns to the west.

Smells of cooked meat and spilled ale waft from the southeast passage, amidst the faint sound of music and voices.

"That way!" Doopa announces and charges down the hallway.

The rest of the group struggles to keep up with the lumbering ogre, whose strides rival that of a giant's. Doopa reaches the room where the smells seem to be emanating from and he eagerly points to the door while wiping the drool from his mouth.

"Doopa break door down, kill all goblins in room, is good plan!" Doopa offers

"Let me check to see how many there are in there first, okay?" Kessen asks

Doopa thinks it over for a moment and decides that would take too long and shakes his head "no".

Haimish produces one of the copper pieces he found under the straw mat and holds it in front of Doopa.

"Oh, a shiny." Doopa remarks and takes the copper from Haimish

"I'm a quick study." Haimish replies.

Kessen smiles and opens the door slightly to peer inside. He spots at least two dozen goblins, mostly females and children, eating and drinking away the day inside the room.

Jon Potter

Hairy Minotaur said:
Kessen smiles and opens the door slightly to peer inside. He spots at least two dozen goblins, mostly females and children, eating and drinking away the day inside the room.

Oh dear. I predict this not ending well for the women and children.
Pay Day!

Kessen picks out a seated and drunk male goblin on the far side of the room, he takes careful aim and unleashes the arrow. It flies true and punctures the goblin's throat. The creature's head snaps back and it plummets out of it's seat and crashes to the floor in a heap. Kessen quickly shuts the door and races to the other side of the hallway opposite the door, so that he can fire at goblins that exit the room.

The rest of the party flanks both sides of the corridor at the end of the small hallway that leads to the room, to pick off any goblins that try to make it to Kessen or flee into the passageway. The party waits, seconds turn to minutes, the sounds to not abate from the room and no one exits.

Kessen walks back to the door and slowly opening it, peers inside to see that the dead goblin has unfazed the room. Kessen picks out an overweight goblin that's dancing in a circle near the center of the room. His arrow flies into he side of the goblin's head and it topples over, crashing through a wooden bench. Still the party rages on.

"I don't get it. These are either the stupidest creatures on the planet, or they're in a deep drunken stupor." Kessen espouses

"Maybe they're in a trance-like state from all the lust demons they summoned?" Menthos postulates

"If they are engaged in a natural activity, we should leave them be." Xanthos speaks up

"Look who's talking, you're half horse. I don't want to know what kind of breeding went on there." Menthos replies

"Doopa think if gobbos not watching for attack, that gobbo problem." The ogres observes

"The idiot is right, I say we strike while the goblins are preoccupied and then kill them when they're disorganized and confused from the initial attack." Turgar agrees

The group nods in agreement, and back away from the door to allow Doopa to move up to it. He and Turgar grip their weapons tightly in anticipation of the impeding assault. Haimish breaks into a fighting song.

Give up now, you're all dead
Thought you'd invited a couple friends
Angel of death, showed up instead
Surrender now, or lose your head

"Try not to get spit on me." Turgar asks Doopa

"Kneegnash!" Doopa yells as he kicks in the wooden door, ripping the door from the frame in the process, splinters rain down upon the nearest goblins followed by a small cloud of dust partially obscuring the frames of two ogres as they enter the room swinging their weapons from side to side as if they were harvesting grain.

Kessen follows, and lines himself up against the right corner then fires his bow at anything smaller than his waist that moves. Haimish enters to the left and charges into the room, alternately bashing goblins with his shield and cutting them down with his sword. Menthos follows Haimish into the room and cuts down any goblins left standing after Haimish hits them.

Quickly the battle is won, the group totals up four male goblins, mostly crippled or infirm. Followed by eighteen females and twelve children. Doopa snatches the cooking hunk of meat from the spit in the back of the room and begins to rip off chunks of flesh with his teeth.

"That went well." Turgar claims

"Aye, we should do that to the next room." Haimish replies

And so it was done, three more times in fact. The group wiped out every living thing on this level of the ruins. After ransacking each room they came to two options remaining.

"Back upstairs to face The Raiders? Or down this passage here?" Kessen asks

"Passage, stairs are always the wrong choice." Menthos states

The party heads down the passageway, for miles and miles they walk. Three hours later they emerge in the twilight sky of a setting sun.

"Hmm, I wonder if anyone knows this entrance exists?" Kessen inquired

"Well, the rocks are certainly stacked up here to keep this entrance hidden. I wonder if you can see it from the hill above us?" Haimish asks

Turgar and Kessen push their way through the stacked rocks partially blocking the exit and then climb a small hill that the tunnel exits from. They report the entrance is hidden from view while standing on the hill.

"I think we're about four hours from town, I can see the Dearthwood to the north and the Ragaloon estuary to the east." Kessen observes

The party decides to re-stack the rocks and head back through the tunnel to the ruins. Once back, they head upstairs looking for a fight, only to find the place deserted.

"Hey Gorga, so much for your Raiders." Menthos states

"Well, they're either out on a hunting party, or they wisely fled after finding the rest of their tribe slaughtered below." Kessen offers

"Or that." Menthos adds, accepting Kessen's ideas

"Gorga not want to live, hu-man kill all tribe. Even Firt." The goblin howls

"Take it easy, Firt didn't want you anyway. I just saved you from years of broken marriage, unwanted kids that aren't even yours, and an alimony payment that'll drive you to smoke." Menthos tries to reason with Gorga

"Doopa think Firt leave you for next goblin she see. Better she dead now than after she take all your stuff." The ogre chimes in

"You two certainly have a warped sense of honor, and a pessimistic view o life. Gorga, Firt was no longer yours. I'm going to set you free, go make a new tribe of goblins with those that don't leave their brethren behind." Haimish states and cuts Gorga free

The goblin bolts for the exit and flees.

"Don't forget to write and let us know where you moved too!" Menthos yells

"That was unexpected, I would have thought you'd strike him down on the way out." Xanthos says to the teifling

"Why? Any tribe he starts is bound to be doomed, either internally, or soon after I arrive with a sharp weapon." Menthos replies

"Well, let's go get paid!" Kessen shouts and races up the stairs to the night air. Followed quickly by the rest of the group

The trip back to Highcastle went quick and soon the group was upon Lord Palmere's estate and at his doorstep, just to the southeast of Highcastle.

Lord Palmere excitedly pays them one-hundred gold apiece, "And here's an invitation to the party I'm throwing in twelve days hence. If you plan on coming, I'd advise on a bath first." Lord Palmere states

The group collects their pay and heads back into Highcastle. Haimish and Menthos both grab a High times in Highcastle newspaper. Turgar and Kessen discovered on the long tunnel trip that they both live in the same area. Kessen is from the Plain of Cairns and Turgar's tribe overlooks the Plains, they both head to the nearest bar to drink and tell tales of home.

Menthos looks up from the paper and spots an open bar. "Horned Devil" My kind of place, the teifling heads in and picks a seat and then watches as Kessen and Turgar bring back a platter of pitchers to the table next to him. Turgar waves, and Kessen merely looks disgusted.

Haimish then enters and takes a seat at the bar, unfolds his paper on the table and orders a mead. Doopa and Xanthos enter last, Doopa because he was hungry and alone on the street, Xanthos out of curiosity.

Menthos chats up the bar maid and learns that the Temple of Kador captured a spy in their temple, "Supposed t'be some high flying girl from the Church of Tinel, they're gonna sacrifice her tomorrow. Me an my guy got tickets."

Haimish notes on the front page of the paper a story about disappearances along Shady Street after midnight. Lone travelers have gone missing and the local constables are at a loss to explain it.

Xanthos notes how sparse the bar seems, there's a middle-aged gnome scouring over blueprints and maps in the front booth by the exit, and there's a well dressed man sitting at the bar next to Haimish. Which takes Xanthos aback as he hadn't seen that man enter or even sit down. Xanthos saunters up to the bar next to Haimish, who is carrying on a lively conversation with the well-to-do gentleman.
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the Jester said:
So far this is a very fun story hour! Thanks! :D
Thank you. The group is lots of fun and makes my job easy, I only have to focus on killing them. :p

Since I know not everyone has The Book of the Righteous, I wanted to post some the deities and their main portfolios so readers won't be confused once the names of churches and temples start to get thrown around as their relationships come to the forefront of the plots in the coming weeks.

Kador - God of fire
Shalimyr - God of water
Maal - God of justice (also controls all criminal proceedings in Highcastle, more LN than what the book has)
Terak - God of valor
Tinel - God of magic, knowledge, and secrets
Rontra - God of earth and fertility
Morwyn - God of healing (has monopoly on healing items in Highcastle)
Carnak - God of slaughter and war (think CE)
Thellos - God of self-indulgence (think NE)
Mormekar - God or death and rebirth
Urian - God of air and storms
Zheenkeef - God of thieves
Naryne - God of nobility

There are other gods in the book, but I don't know if they will ever play a part in any of the upcoming plots. The merchant lords whorship the almighty gold coin, so there is no god of trade or wealth. You'll also notice that 2 of the 3 evil alignments are represented, the third (LE) does have a deity (and if you have BotR you know who it is) but the party has yet to find out which church that is so I've left that bit of info off the list. :]
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Tavern talk

"I'm Haimish, happy to meet your acquaintance." The bard says vigorously shaking the hand of the gentleman seated next to him

"I am Lord De' Lite, you look to have the make of an adventurer. What do you do for a living?"

"Well, truth be told. I've only just begun my adventuring career, got rid of some vermin. I'm currently vexing over how best to put it to pen. I plan on making it a play after I'm famous." Haimish answers

"Lofty goals there sir, it heartens me so to hear the youth of today with career goals of their own. For whom did you get rid of the vermin for?"

"It was a private matter, likely the individual was too embarrassed." Haimish chose his words carefully

"And yet you still keep his confidence? Impressive indeed, and what great adventure lies next upon the horizon for young Haimish?"

"I don't know, I'm sure something will come up, though this time I'd like it if it presented itself prior to me going broke." Haimish replied

"Really? I may have just the sort of capital gain you're looking for."

"You do? Well I'd love to hear it." Haimish answered excitedly

"This fist of glass is a replica of an item called the Soul Gem, it currently resides under the School of Ancient Knowledge. You'd like to get it for me wouldn't you?" *

"I would totally be up for that! I'll go now and get it for you, don't go anywhere." Haimish gushed

"Ah, the impetuous and full of life." Lord De' Lite grabbed Haimish's arm and guided him back to his seat, "You've not heard of the school then?" A head shake from Haimish confirmed Lord De' Lite's suspicion

"Young Haimish, there's plots to be planned and subterfuge to be laid. One does not go into the dark room without knowing what is inside, lest one end up worse for the wear."

"Planning, subterfuge. Got it." Haimish eagerly replied

Xanthos arrived next to Haimish, "Hello gentlemen, this is the first time I've been in one of your drinking establishments. Might someone suggest a good beginner drink, I'd hate to lose my wits so soon." Xanthos asked

"Here, this'll cure you of your fly problem." The barkeep said noting Xanthos' tail swatting away a few flies.

"What is the name of this concoction?" Xanthos inquired

"Troll drool over rocks." The barkeep replies

Xanthos studied the thick liquid, it reminded him more of pus than of drool. The smell nearly knocked him off his four feet before he even tried to drink it.

"Hey Xanthos! I'm going to get this awesome gem for this guy. It's going to be sweet! I'm totally getting it." Haimish espoused

Xanthos spewed his drink all over Haimish's face, it was unclear whether it was because of the drink or Haimish's words.

"You sound extremely happy to do this, you must be getting good riches from this endeavor?" Xanthos asks of Haimish and then makes eye contact with Lord De' Lite, "I am Xanthos of the Silverwood Valley."

"Riches? That's not necessary, I'm doing this non gratis. I really want to help Lord De' Lite out, I don't need his money." Haimish answers

Something inside Xanthos told him Haimish was out of sorts, "Free? How very unhuman-like of you."

"Yes, I'm going to break into the .." Haimish is cut off by Lord De' Lite

"Now let's not go about telling everyone the plan, that would make your job extremely difficult, and no you're not doing this for free. Here's fifteen hundred gold crowns for you to use in the planning of your mission only." Lord De' Lite hands over the good sized bag of coins and Haimish spies numerous gems inside of De' Lite's cloak.

"Wow, I'm so focused on this. It's amazing what motivation feels like!" Haimish states

"Well gentlemen, it's getting late. Haimish should you have need of me before you present me with the item. You know how to reach me." Lord De' Lite says as he gets up from his barstool

Xanthos takes a quick scan of the bar where Lord De' Lite was seated and catches a glimpse of the paper's headline, "I read it's not safe out at night around here, perhaps you'd like some company for your walk home, or perhaps I can get a carriage for you?"

"Thank you my good man, but that won't be necessary. Years of training abroad have taught me how to defend myself."

"And where was that?" Xanthos pries

Lord De' Lite was getting visibly irritated with Xanthos now, "Never you mind my half-stallion, these things always have a way of working themselves out." Lord De' Lite winks at Xanthos and exits the building, Xanthos quickly heads for the door but the man is nowhere to be found in the street.

Bored, Menthos watches as Turgar and Kessen, and Haimish and Xanthos are engaged in their own conversations. Not wanting to converse with the retarded, Menthos ignores Doopa and quietly walks over to the man studying the blueprints and maps at the booth near the front door.

Menthos looks over one map in particular when the candle light of recognition flickers on and he sees the ruins he just cleared out displayed out before him.

The man senses Menthos' curiosity and quickly folds up his maps, "Ahem, something I can help you with?"

"I don't know, looks like your map was incomplete." Menthos answers

"And how would a low-life teifling know anything of that?" The man replies

"Well crap, if you're going to insult me like that, then I won't tell you where the secret entrance to those ruins you've got on the map there is located, get you right past the goblins living there." Menthos retorts

"What? You know nothing." The man dismisses Menthos

Menthos then begins to recite the dimensions and placement of each of the rooms in the ruins, the man's eyes swell with anticipation as he unfolds that map and realizes that Menthos speaks the truth. Menthos however neglects to include the location of the secret tunnel.

"Please sir, I had no idea. I've been searching most of my adult life for an item I believe to be located there. I was just planning my foray. You were speaking of a secret entrance?" The man pleads

"Um, no not me, you must have me mistaken for someone else." Menthos answers

"But, you just told me there was a secret entrance not on my map, It bypasses the goblins living there." The man begs

"Sir, I do believe you need to rest. You're addled mind has attributed statements to me that simply aren't fact." Menthos states

"I'll pay you! five hundred gold!" The man offers

"Sorry can't help you." Menthos states and begins to walk away from the man

"One thousand!" The man shouts

Menthos shrugs his shoulders and sits down at Doopa's table. The man begins shouting obscenities towards Menthos and must be physically removed from the tavern.

"What yelling man problem?" Doopa asks Menthos

"He's a jerk." Menthos answers

*Haimish missed a save, I won't say which so as to keep you intrigued until most is revealed soon. ;)
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