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The Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh #139 Into the Mere of the Dead Men Part 4.

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad

Intro.

So, hello again- this is yet another of my confounded story hour write ups, it’s lockdown and the tabletop game is verboten, and so it has come to this- back to Fantasy Grounds all smiles and apologies, does anyone want to play D&D?

And there are always takers, believe me- or better still go there and find out for yourself, that said these four schmoes are known to me…

So, here we go again (shrugs shoulders resignedly).

WARNING DOUBLE MASSIVE EXTRA SPOILERS.

THIS IS AN ONGOING GAME, THERE'S A VERY GOOD CHANCE THAT SOME OF THE PLAYERS WILL COME HERE- IF ONLY TO GET THEMSELVES IN THE RIGHT MOOD FOR THE ACTUAL SESSIONS (I.E. SEETHING).

PLEASE DON'T POST ANYTHING HERE THAT WILL SPOIL THEIR SURPRISE... OR ELSE, GIVE THEM HOPE.


Cheers goonalan
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
WORK IN PROGRESS

PCs in Game.

Scenario #1: The Sunless Citadel.
Sessions 1-11

Intermission: Downtime in Neverwinter.
Session 12a

Scenario #2: The Forge of Fury.
Sessions 12b-22

Scenario #3: Meet the Uthgardt.
Sessions 23-27

Intermission: Neverwinter Downtime Redux, but Darker.
Sessions 28a-29a

Scenario #4: The Secrets of Saltmarsh.
Sessions 29b-

Adventuring Party: Dark Squad.


Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue (Criminal- Smuggler).
Adventuring Party:
Dark Squad.

Ramshambo escaped a life of terror and servitude when he was bought out of slavery by the infamous dwarven pirate captain Ignatias Rockbeard. Ram, as he is sometimes known, served aboard a variety of vessels for the good captain. First gaining his sea legs and then, after years at the mast, gaining a place amongst Rockbeard’s select crew. Time’s were good, but also bloody and a more than a little terrifying, being a pirate isn’t all shits and giggles as it transpires. Which may have been the reason for Ram’s decision to quit the sea. So, with the blessing of captain Rockbeard, and after promising that he would pay the dwarf back for buying/saving his life, Ram made landfall in Neverwinter. Rockbeard provided him with the name of a friendly face in the city, as it happens- a dwarf called Gundren Rockseeker…

Adventure: The Sunless Citadel.
Session #04 Level 2 The Kobolds are befriended (sorta) and the Goblins are taking a kicking, the Dark Squad's Sunless Citadel adventure is underway- big time.
Session #07 Level 3 The Goblins- above and below, are mostly dead, certainly Durn & Grenl, the Dark Squad have beat their way through to the Twilight Grove, next stop- the climax.

Adventure: The Forge of Fury.
Session #14 Level 4 The Orcs and their various leaders are destroyed, the Dark Squad have entered the Mountain Door and discover the Grand Stair- the way down to the lost forges of Durgeddin the Black.
Session #22 Level 5 More or less everything's dead in the Forge of Fury, Arundil the Ghost is laid to rest and the Dark Squad are on their way below to fight a Black Dragon.

Adventure: The Secrets of Saltmarsh.
Session #33a Level 6 The ruined temple of Abbathor is cleared of enemies and the ensuing gnoll pack attack defeated, it's time to get bang & Olafsson (dwarven mining enginners) back to Mansitrad Copperlocks (the boss) and Farhill Mine. Job done!
Session #48 Level 7 The Dark Squad on tour of the Saltmarsh region, Big Al Kalhoon's big farm/ranch is liberated from the gnolls. It's anotherDark Squad massacre.
Session #73 Level 8 The Dark Squad continue their delve beneath Squabblepot, they're finally at the door that will take them to Randall the Black, the first of the Eyes in the Night.


Vincenzo Delvino (played by Jim/Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid (Anthropologist).
Adventuring Party:
Dark Squad.

Vincenzo, appears to be a human, and yet if you look real close there’s undoubtedly something animalistic about his form and features. In truth the young would-be explorer is struggling with his identity, and to find a place, a path, or a role for himself in the world. Vince, or else, Vinnie, is devoted to preserving the land, and to ensuring that the ‘civilised’ world- with its strife’s and wars does not despoil the simple beauty that exists all around us. Vinnie has travelled far and wide, mostly working on the great caravan trains for, or with, a variety of merchants- heading north, returning south, only to turn tail and make north again. He has during his journeys seen, heard and tasted enough to know that standing on the edge of the action is not enough. His last job took him to Neverwinter, and eventually into the employ of a dwarf called Gundren Rockseeker…

Adventure: The Sunless Citadel.
Session #04 Level 2 The Kobolds are befriended (sorta) and the Goblins are taking a kicking, the Dark Squad's Sunless Citadel adventure is underway- big time.
Session #07 Level 3 The Goblins- above and below, are mostly dead, certainly Durn & Grenl, the Dark Squad have beat their way through to the Twilight Grove, next stop- the climax.

Adventure: The Forge of Fury.
Session #14 Level 4 The Orcs and their various leaders are destroyed, the Dark Squad have entered the Mountain Door and discover the Grand Stair- the way down to the lost forges of Durgeddin the Black.
Session #22 Level 5 More or less everything's dead in the Forge of Fury, Arundil the Ghost is laid to rest and the Dark Squad are on their way below to fight a Black Dragon.

Adventure: The Secrets of Saltmarsh.
Session #33a Level 6 The ruined temple of Abbathor is cleared of enemies and the ensuing gnoll pack attack defeated, it's time to get bang & Olafsson (dwarven mining enginners) back to Mansitrad Copperlocks (the boss) and Farhill Mine. Job done!
Session #48 Level 7 The Dark Squad on tour of the Saltmarsh region, Big Al Kalhoon's big farm/ranch is liberated from the gnolls. It's anotherDark Squad massacre.
Session #73 Level 8 The Dark Squad continue their delve beneath Squabblepot, they're finally at the door that will take them to Randall the Black, the first of the Eyes in the Night.

And the new guy-

New Tricks or "Newt" (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock (Entertainer).
Adventuring Party:
Dark Squad.

Always having a way with words, and preferring to perform for his meals rather than work for them Newt easily found his way into the life of an entertainer.

He has travelled throughout the Sword Coast (or so he would tell you), seen everything and knows everyone.

The acts that came easier to Newt tended toward the more magical, illusions, card tricks, simple attention displacement. However audiences easily bore of such puffery, ever eager to keep their attention Newt was sought out a tired old performer, deep in his cups. After much cajoling this bard taught Newt some magic words for a trick which have never worked for him.

They worked for Newt! - after he finished uttering them during his first performance on stage in the Nags Head Tavern - poof - he disappeared in to a fiery portal , transported into a realm of flame. The only distinguishing feature was a huge, burning, unblinking eye.

FOOLISH MORTAL! THE SOUL THAT WAS ONCE YOURS NOW BELONGS TO ME!

I, BELPHEGOR - TYRANT OF FLAME, SHALL EMPOWER YOU DURING YOUR FLEETING MORTAL EXISTENCE SO THAT YOUR ESSENCE SHALL BE STRONGER IN YOUR ETERNAL SERVICE TO ME.

Adventure: The Sunless Citadel.
Session #04 Level 2 Newt joins the Dark Squad, he's in the Sunless Citadel to recover a magical apple- for profit.
Session #07 Level 3 The Goblins- above and below, are mostly dead, certainly Durn & Grenl, the Dark Squad have beat their way through to the Twilight Grove, next stop- the climax.

Adventure: The Forge of Fury.
Session #14 Level 4 The Orcs and their various leaders are destroyed, the Dark Squad have entered the Mountain Door and discover the Grand Stair- the way down to the lost forges of Durgeddin the Black.
Session #22 Level 5 More or less everything's dead in the Forge of Fury, Arundil the Ghost is laid to rest and the Dark Squad are on their way below to fight a Black Dragon.

Adventure: The Secrets of Saltmarsh.
Session #33a Level 6 The ruined temple of Abbathor is cleared of enemies and the ensuing gnoll pack attack defeated, it's time to get bang & Olafsson (dwarven mining enginners) back to Mansitrad Copperlocks (the boss) and Farhill Mine. Job done!
Session #48 Level 7 The Dark Squad on tour of the Saltmarsh region, Big Al Kalhoon's big farm/ranch is liberated from the gnolls. It's anotherDark Squad massacre.
Session #73 Level 8 The Dark Squad continue their delve beneath Squabblepot, they're finally at the door that will take them to Randall the Black, the first of the Eyes in the Night.

And the other new guy (who's not a new guy)-

Buggles (played by Stu) Male Wood Elf Fighter/Rogue (Outlander).

Adventuring Party: Estranged member of the Dark Squad.

I hail originally from a small village in the Neverwinter Wood. My parents were crafters and musicians, and we would regularly journey from the village to Luskan to sell our wares. When I was a child, on one such trip, our caravan was attacked by trolls. My people fought valiantly, but were outnumbered, and it wasn't going well. While the fighting raged, my mother bade me to run off into the woods and hide, and she would find me later. I ran and ran, the trolls chased me for hours. Finally, I collapsed and fell asleep in the moss under an ancient tree. When I awoke, there was no sign of the trolls, but I was freezing and hungry, and I had no supplies aside from my flute, which my father has crafted for me.

It was getting dark and I had no idea which way I had come from, so I collected some wood and managed to get a small fire going, played my flute, then fell asleep again hoping my parents would find me.

When I awoke in the morning, I found a basket with fruits and fresh bread laid on the moss nearby, which I hungrily ate. Whilst I ate and wondered where it had come from, a lady appeared to me out of the tree. She was a Dryad called Mother Willow, and she saved my life and looked after me for the next few years, along with her friends – Grayam the Gruff and the Sprites, Flit and Wit.

Mother Willow told me my parents has been killed by the trolls, but when I had my strength back I ventured back to the road to see for myself. Sure enough, the caravans were all smashed and looted, and there were still trolls there prowling about and searching the last of the supplies, so I crept back to the grove.

I was free to come and go as I pleased, and I went back to our village a few times afterwards, but it wasn’t the same without my family and their friends there. They were amazed to see me alive, and listened to my tale of what happened, but I never told them about Mother Willow and my new friends. After a few days, I left again and went back to the grove, but I visited from time to time afterwards.

As I got older, I ranged far and wide around the wood, scouting the terrain, learning the ways of the forest, and even slaying some foul beasts. I had learned the two weapon fighting technique favoured by my father, and my trusty bow. There seemed to be a growing sickness in the forest - wolves bears attacking the villagers, swarms of biting insects, and Mother Willow and the others were very concerned about it. They could feel a disturbance in the Feywild which was affecting the forest.

Then, a month or so ago a ranger I’d had spoken to once or twice, a bit of a wild man called Karakas, mentioned two things - the Sunless Citadel, I knew where this was and... the Outcast.

That was the name my village gave to Belak the Druid, only I didn't make the connection until now.

So, I decided to set out alone and went to the Sunless Citadel to see what could be done. I crept most of the way through the caverns, and saw the bodies of many slain goblins and then below - into the Twilight Grove... I realised mighty heroes were just ahead of me, perhaps on the same path...

~ The Adventures of Buggles ~

Adventure: The Sunless Citadel.
Session #06 Level Ftr 1/Rog 1 Buggles joins the Dark Squad, he's in the Sunless Citadel to find and kill the Outcast, he's after revenge.
Session #07 Level Ftr 1/Rog 2 The Goblins- above and below, are mostly dead, certainly Durn & Grenl, the Dark Squad have beat their way through to the Twilight Grove, next stop- the climax.

Adventure: The Forge of Fury.
Session #14 Level Ftr 1/Rog 3 The Orcs and their various leaders are destroyed, the Dark Squad have entered the Mountain Door and discover the Grand Stair- the way down to the lost forges of Durgeddin the Black.
Session #22 Level Ftr 2/Rog 3 More or less everything's dead in the Forge of Fury, Arundil the Ghost is laid to rest and the Dark Squad are on their way below to fight a Black Dragon.

Adventure: The Secrets of Saltmarsh.
Session #33a Level Ftr 3/Rog 3 The ruined temple of Abbathor is cleared of enemies and the ensuing gnoll pack attack defeated, it's time to get bang & Olafsson (dwarven mining enginners) back to Mansitrad Copperlocks (the boss) and Farhill Mine. Job done!

NPC

Daktari (played by Jim/Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian (Outlander).
Adventuring Party:
Dark Squad.

Daktari is sent to pick up the Eyes in the Night = Dark Squad, as part of some ancient Uthgardt prophecy, and to bring the fellows to meet with Old Mare, the tribe's wise woman.

Later the cosmopolitan barbarian- 'I haz bath once!' ventures to the Land of the Bad Dead (Uthgardt) Ancestors and wins their hearts- mainly with his ability to stand in the thick of the action and take a lot of hits. Mainly because that saves them from taking hits.

"I iz Tank, da?"

Oh, Daktari, and all of the other Uthgardt barbarians speak in terrible cod-Russian.

"Meenya zaboot Daktari!"

Adventure: Meet the Uthgardt.
Session #23 Level 5 The Dark Squad meet with Daktari, worldly-wise barbarian speaker for the Sky Pony tribe. It's fair to say they like the Schlapp drinking barbarian from the off, the tough but beautifully coiffured man mountain accompanies the Dark Squad on their adventure.

Adventure: The Secrets of Saltmarsh.
Session #33a Level 6 The ruined temple of Abbathor is cleared of enemies and the ensuing gnoll pack attack defeated, it's time to get bang & Olafsson (dwarven mining enginners) back to Mansitrad Copperlocks (the boss) and Farhill Mine. Job done!
Session #48 Level 7 The Dark Squad on tour of the Saltmarsh region, Big Al Kalhoon's big farm/ranch is liberated from the gnolls. It's anotherDark Squad massacre.
Session #73 Level 8 The Dark Squad continue their delve beneath Squabblepot, they're finally at the door that will take them to Randall the Black, the first of the Eyes in the Night.

Tarbin Tul (played by Goonalan) Male Human Bard.
Adventuring Party: Dark Squad. RETIRED

PC turned NPC-

Garumn (no longer played by Stu) Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin (Guild Artisan- Jeweller) RIP
Adventuring Party:
Dark Squad.

Garumn is a peaceable and convivial young dwarf (yeah, you read that right) with a massive greatsword (that’s better). He worked with his father at the forge, then eventually went his own way and trained and was employed as a jeweller, a gem cutter. His work held him in thrall for a time- the best part of a decade, then however Moradin came calling. Hard years of intense training and he was finally, at last- with a glad heart, ready to be unleashed on the world to do right, and right wrongs. The wanderlust bug had also bit him. Garumn has, over the last half-a-dozen-or-so years, worked his way down the Sword Coast to the balmy shores of Neverwinter, and there found employment working for the Rockseeker Mining Consortium. At some point during his employ the affable dwarf manged to worm his way into the thoughts of Gundren Rockseeker, the co-owner of the concern. So, when Gundren contacted him to set up a meeting, well… you’ll see.

Stu wrote-

"Me roots are in the FrostPeak Mountains but when me da got wind of what was going on down south back when Clan Battlehammer was besieged by Obould and his orc hoard, he joined a force sent south to help out. He fought against the orcs in that war, and settled in Mithral Hall afterwards, joining Clan Battlehammer. I'm named for the Treaty of Garumn's Gorge, signed by Bruenor Battlehammer himself, which ended the war, more or less. Me da always taught me there are better ways than fighting, but that sometimes its the only way. Me da was a blacksmith when he wasn't fighting and I was always hanging around the forges as a lad. Smithing came easy as a dwarf, but soon the gemstones caught me eye. Not for their value, but for their beauty, so I learned that too and now I'm as as good a gem-cutter and setter as anyone around. Soon after I joined the temple but me spell casting wasn't as strong as me sword arm, so instead of becoming a cleric I became a paladin of moradin. Me Da and Ma still live at Mithral Hall, but adventure called me and Moradin seems to approve of me life on the road. I've traveled a bit - over to Mirabar, Adbarr and even to Silvery Moon once. I like meeting different folks and seeing what they been doing with steel and gems. Some of me friends are orcs, which me Da always laughs about cos he spent half his life fighting em, but he was as glad as anyone when Bruenor signed the Treaty, so glad that he named me after it."

Adventure: The Sunless Citadel.
Session #04 Level 2 & alas Stu can no-longer play on a Tuesday- Garumn becomes an NPC.
Session #07 Level 3
The Goblins- above and below, are mostly dead, certainly Durn & Grenl, the Dark Squad have beat their way through to the Twilight Grove, next stop- the climax.

Adventure: The Forge of Fury.
Session #14 Level 4 The Orcs and their various leaders are destroyed, the Dark Squad have entered the Mountain Door and discover the Grand Stair- the way down to the lost forges of Durgeddin the Black.
Session #22 Level 5 More or less everything's dead in the Forge of Fury, Arundil the Ghost is laid to rest and the Dark Squad are on their way below to fight a Black Dragon.
Session #22 RIP When (above) I said everything was dead- well, that includes Garumn, the Dwarf was killed by Idalla the Succubus with one smoochalishious kiss, he's been living on borrowed time, now Moradin wants him back.

Adventuring Party: The Twilight Squad.

NPCs turned PCs-

Halibert Shambles (played by Bear) Male Human Fighter (Fisher) Lvl 2.
Adventuring Party:
The Twilight Squad.

Grumpy Slagg (played by Kev) Male Dwarf Monk (Criminal) Lvl 2.
Adventuring Party:
The Twilight Squad.

Porthole Slagg (played by Jim) Male Dwarf Barbarian (Pirate) Lvl 2.
Adventuring Party:
The Twilight Squad.

NPC

Nancy (played by Goonalan) Female Human Cleric of Poseidon & Umberlee (Acolyte) Lvl 2.
Adventuring Party:
The Twilight Squad.

NPC Hireling

Cuthbert Tetley (played by Goonalan) Male Human Goxhill Militiaman (Guard).


This is, simply put, a list of all of the enemies that have been slaughtered by The Twilight Squad- all of 'em- in all of their adventures, nuff said.

Adventures: Secrets of Saltmarsh- The Goxhill Kobolds.
Session: 44.

CR 0 (10 XP each)

Kobold, Non-Combatant x 15

CR 1/8 (25 XP each)

Kobold x 35
Rat, Giant x 15

CR 1/4 (50 XP each)

Kobold, Tough x 3
Rat, Giant- Diseased x 1

CR 1/2 (100 XP each)



CR 1 (200 XP each)


Kobold, Chief x 1

This is, simply put, a list of the times when the various members of The Twilight Squad have been rendered unconscious, that is reduced to 0 HP and/or below.

Why record this you ask you ask- simples, I want to see if the threat is constant (and I'm doing a good job) or else that at lower levels is when D&D 5e is at its most dangerous.

Also, I just like the idea of reminding the players/PCs of their lack of immortality, the close calls they've had en route to adventure.

Adventure:

Session :
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad

Scenario #1: The Sunless Citadel.
Session
#000 Who? What? Why? Where? How? But mostly why?

#001a Flawless.
#001b In the Beginning.
#002a Snakebite.
#002b Ramshambo the Silent speaks.
#002c Meet the Kobolds.
#003 Dungeons & bloody hell... a Dragon!
#004 Kobolds vs Goblins vs Dark Squad.
#005 Durn Um Batty Whim-Wham!
#006 Monsieur Buggelz.
#007 New 'Dangerous' Tricks.
#008 Dark Squad versus The Outcast AKA Lockdown Combat.
#009 Apres le Outcast: Cherchez le big Dragon-feller.
#010 Ashardalon.
#011 Dark Squad Glad-Handing Tour.

Intermission: Downtime in Neverwinter.
Session

#012a Downtime in Neverwinter.

Scenario #2: The Forge of Fury.
Session

#012b Bad to the Gnome.
#013a Into the Wild.
#013b To the Mountain Door.
#014 Inconceivable!
#015 Have you found Bel?
#016 Harryhausen's Wet Dream aka Vinnie's Day.
#017 The thing about genocide is... chatting with Buggles.
#018 Newt's Story & the Randy Druid.
#019 Bel(phegor).
#020 The Duergar and the Ghost.
#021 Love Hurts.
#022 Two Dead Dwarves and a Dead Dragon [SPOILERS].

Scenario #3: Meet the Uthgardt.
Session

#023 Meenya Zaboot Daktari!
#024 The Land of the Bad Dead Ancestors.
#025 You Only Die Twice.
#026 The Seventh Bad Dead Ancestor.
#027a The Dark Squad are Dead!
#027b Ups & Downs.
#027c I'm Going To Change.

Intermission: Neverwinter Downtime Redux, but Darker.
Session

#028a Everything is Coming Up Erky.
#028b X-Rated.
#029a Hello Humphrey Far-Fer-Nar & goodbye to the Dark Squad.

Scenario #4: The Secrets of Saltmarsh.
Session

#029b Wise Words- Prophecies et al.
#029c HELLO ASHBY! WE ARE THE DARK SQUAD!

Scenario #4a: Searching for Bang & Olafsson.
#030 Bang & Olafsson.
#031 Do Not Split The Party.
#032 Vinnie, Corner Stone of the Dark Squad.
#033a The Leader of the Pack.

Scenario #4b: To Saltmarsh and Back with the Slaggs.
#033b Out with the Slaggs.
#034 Saltmarsh- the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
#035 Saltmarsh Reprise.
#036 Bandits & Boars in Witch Wood.
#037a Curiosity (nearly) Killed the Cat.

Scenario #4c: Into the Black, after the Grey.
#037b Manistrad's Mission & Old Gorm's Deal.
#038 Too Smart For That.
#039 Temporary Hit Points- the clue's in the name.
#040 Dreamtime & Nothing to Report.
#041 We Will Never Let A Troll Take Our Cat.
#042 The Dark Squad Get The Flip-Dickings Out Of The Underdark.

Intermission: The Dark Squad in Saltmarsh.
#043 Chez Dark Squad.

Intermission: The Twilght Squad versus the Goxhill Kobolds.
#044 Boomtime for the Kobolds.

Intermission: The Dark Squad in Saltmarsh, continued.
#045 Prawn to be Wild!
#046 Amazing!
#047a And Saltmarsh's new Councillor is...

Scenario #4d: Assault and Buttery (Gnolls).
#047b Goxhill, Umber Hill & the Buttery Gnolls.
#048 Total Dark Squad.

Intermission: The Dark Squad on Tour.
#049a I Know That Name! [The PCs Chorus].

Scenario #4e: The Wayside Dead.
#049b Thirty-Bloody-Six.

Intermission: The Dark Squad on Tour.
#050a The Falcon's Quest.

Scenario #4f: The Quest for the Boar (or Gnoll) Bastards.
#050b Found 'em.
#051 An(other) Evil Tree?
#052 Blight Fight Night!
#053 The Ancient Alchemist's Well?
#054 Camping in Granny Frogwart's Backyard.
#055 This is not the Ancient Alchemist's well, it's my well! NOW BUGGER OFF!
#056 Dread Blight Storm.
#057 Garthok the Thunder Boar Avatar of Talos, a Shambling Mound, the Moonboar and Newt's new Demon 'friend'.
#058a Boaring.
#058b Eleven Months in Vinnie's Backpack.

Intermission: The Dark Squad on Tour (Falcon's Nest & Burle)
#059 Dark Squad Masters of Administration.
#060a Before the Murder.

Scenario #4g: 24/48/72* Hours to Save Arty Swell [*Delete as appropriate].
#060b Fast Goat to Squabblepot.
#061 The Wild Goat Race (with PICTURES).
#062a The Goat Started It.
#062b 24/48/72* Hours to Save Arty Swell [*Delete as appropriate].
#063 Ian With One 'I'.
#064 The Oldest Gnome in the Burrow.
#065 Attack of the Psychic Rats (& Daktari).
#066 No Smoke without Fire, or rather Magma.
#067 "Are You Trying To Kill Us?"
#068 The Greater Evil.
#069 Meet Vernon.
#070 Arty's Trial & Vernon's Diary.

Scenario #4h: Don't Go Through The Door.
#071 Tracticus Halfpipe's Whispering Door.
#072 Sir Humphrey's Glorious Business.
#073 Randall the Magnificent.
#074 Through the Fire to the Light.
#075 Tao & the Supreme Being.
#076 Randall's Big Bad Head.

Scenario #4i: Prophecies of the Moon Pool.
#077 Here We Goat Again & Bedtime For Ubmo.
#078 The Dark Squad Make Enemies.
#079 Dark Squad Investigations.
#080 Dancing to the Moon Pool.
#081 Gnoll's House Party.
#082 St. Newt and the Gnoll-GRIND.
#083 Ashardalon.
#084 Into the Moon Pool Part 1.
#085 Into the Moon Pool Part 2.

Scenario #4j: The Soggy's Are Coming!
#086 Revelations.
#087 The Soggy's Are Coming!

Intermission: The Twilight Squad head for the Goblin Stair.
#088 The Twilight Squad New Hires.
#089 The Twilight Squad's Struggles in Goblin Gulch.

Scenario #4j: The Soggy's Are Coming! [Continued]
#090 Underwater Dark Squad.
#091 The Great Big Soggy Fight.

Scenario #4k: The Dragonslayer.
#092 Interview with a Dhampir.
#093 Enter the Dragon Barrow.
#094 Enter the Dragon (from the Barrow).

Intermission: The Dark Squad Residents of Saltmarsh
#095 Saltmarsh Shenanigans.
#096 Saltmarsh Shenanigans Part 2.
#097a Saltmarsh Shenanigans Part 3.

Scenario #4l: The De La Crane Manse.
#97b The De La Crane Manse.
#98 "I don't want to die!"
#99 Snakes Alive!
#100 F**k Yew Gray-Hum!
#101 Ram's Revenge.
#102 Where's My Pudding?
#103 Well! Well!
#104 To the Lighthouse.
#105 Die Hard.
#106 Die! Die! Die! YOU BASTARD, DIE!

Intermission: Back to Saltmarsh (& fathoming Foundry)
#107 Bits & Bobs in Saltmarsh.

Scenario #4m: The Tomb of Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit.
#108 The Shambles in the Shambles Tomb.
#109 The Rat Bastard.
#110 The Bells.
#111 It's A Trap!
#112 Shafted!
#113 Fello-WIN!
#114 Return of the Dark Squad.
#115 Infinity Mayonnaise & Great Chiggley.
#116 "We are the SWARM! We are LEGION! Shiver me TIMBERS! You are BANJAXED!"
#117 1,000gp & more Hoof to Groin.
#118 FIRESKULLS!
#119 The Final Guardian (of this bit).

Strange Intermission: Universally Challenged.
#120 The Swarm & The Void.
#121 Race to the Bottom & Who is Gwen?
#122 Universally Challenged.
#123 [Sigh]-[PoP!]

Intermission: The Mere of the Dead Men, Briefly.
#124 Here We Are... Again.

Scenario #4n: The Attack on Saltmarsh.
#125 No Change.
#126 The Summoner.
#127 Love Will Tear Us Apart (Again).
#128 The Secret Mr. Timpkins.

Scenario #4o: Ram Gets a Ship.
#129 EXTERMINATE!
#130 Pirates Vs Dark Squad.
#131 The Sea Ghost.

Scenario #4p: The Lizardfolk Problem.
#132 The Threat to Saltmarsh.
#133 Fellowyn's First Massacre.
#134 Are We the Baddies?
#135 Sorry For The (Attempted) Genocide.
#136 Into the Mere of the Dead Men.
#137 Into the Mere of the Dead Men Part 2.
#138 Into the Mere of the Dead Men Part 3.
#139 Into the Mere of the Dead Men Part 4.
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Sunless Citadel

Session #000 Who? What? Why? Where? How? But mostly why?

So, here we go again, or else some more.

The Scenario.

I wanted to play the Sunless Citadel again, mainly because I remember enjoying it once or twice through, back in 2000 when it first came out, and 5e (to me) feels a lot like 3e, only without the excess baggage. Also I managed to TPK some poor saps right-royally back then, and the mood I’m in… well, a bit of a TPK would ease a few aches. Regardless, I’m calling the shots, this isn’t a democracy- there are no choices, so we’re playing it.

Oh, and this game is ongoing, so if this story hour comes to an abrupt end, well- I must have done a bad thing, forgive me.

The Name.

I referred to the PCs in a random e-mail as the Dark Squad- the name stuck (maybe, so far). I was simply referencing the fact that all of the PCs (all three of ‘em- now four) are blessed with darkvision, and thus in this game I would not have to suffer the interminable ‘do we keep the lights on’ debate. A sometimes heated chat beloved (it seems) of adventuring groups everywhere- “put the torch out I can’t sneak in these conditions”, swiftly countered by, “I’m a human- it’s dark, I can’t see in these conditions.” This conversation happens a lot in my games, and probably yours too.

The PCs and the Players.

So, the Dark Squad (for now), are-


Garumn (played by Stu) Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 1

Garumn is a peaceable and convivial young dwarf (yeah, you read that right) with a massive greatsword (that’s better). He worked with his father at the forge, then eventually went his own way and trained and was employed as a jeweller, a gem cutter. His work held him in thrall for a time- the best part of a decade, then however Moradin came calling. Hard years of intense training and he was finally, at last- with a glad heart, ready to be unleashed on the world to do right, and right wrongs. The wanderlust bug had also bit him. Garumn has, over the last half-a-dozen-or-so years, worked his way down the Sword Coast to the balmy shores of Neverwinter, and there found employment working for the Rockseeker Mining Consortium. At some point during his employ the affable dwarf manged to worm his way into the thoughts of Gundren Rockseeker, the co-owner of the concern. So, when Gundren contacted him to set up a meeting, well… you’ll see.

Stu, playing Garumn, is an equally peaceable and convivial fellow, although at approx. 6’3” likely not a dwarf. He does something in IT, I think it involves turning devices off and then on again.


Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue Lvl 1

Ramshambo escaped a life of terror and servitude when he was bought out of slavery by the infamous dwarven pirate captain Ignatias Rockbeard. Ram, as he is sometimes known, served aboard a variety of vessels for the good captain. First gaining his sea legs and then, after years at the mast, gaining a place amongst Rockbeard’s select crew. Time’s were good, but also bloody and a more than a little terrifying, being a pirate isn’t all shits and giggles as it transpires. Which may have been the reason for Ram’s decision to quit the sea. So, with the blessing of captain Rockbeard, and after promising that he would pay the dwarf back for buying/saving his life, Ram made landfall in Neverwinter. Rockbeard provided him with the name of a friendly face in the city, as it happens- a dwarf called Gundren Rockseeker…

Kev, playing Ramshambo, is my younger brother, alas there the similarity ends- a fact that has haunted him (no doubt) all of his life. He’s a clever bastard with a good job, although he has to wear a suit and say ‘yes’ a lot to the man- so, sucks to be him.

Love ya, bro.


Vincenzo Delvino (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 1

Vincenzo, appears to be a human, and yet if you look real close there’s undoubtedly something animalistic about his form and features. In truth the young would-be explorer is struggling with his identity, and to find a place, a path, or a role for himself in the world. Vince, or else, Vinnie, is devoted to preserving the land, and to ensuring that the ‘civilised’ world- with its strife and wars does not despoil the simple beauty that exists all around us. Vinnie has travelled far and wide, mostly working on the great caravan trains for, or with, a variety of merchants- heading north, returning south, only to turn tail and make north again. He has during his journeys seen, heard and tasted enough to know that standing on the edge of the action is not enough. His last job took him to Neverwinter, and eventually into the employ of a dwarf called Gundren Rockseeker…

Haggis, who plays Vincenzo, works in the same grey bar hotel as I do, he’s the guy there I can talk to about D&D, which still feels like a secret. I’m 52, I know the sport is semi-cool these days, but there are still people close to me that I have never told that I am a member of this strange gang. Odd, when you think about it.. But, back to Haggis- or rather back to me, forgive me but I only know Haggis’ story in conjunction with my own. Many moons ago, as Haggis sometimes reminds me, I used to be one of his tutors- is it really 20 years ago? Actually, now that I think about it, I believe that he said (often, probably) that I was the best tutor that he had ever had. He, of course, has no right of reply to this last statement, didn’t back then- doesn’t now, ah- the simple joys of the educator.

Unless he joins ENWorld, and makes his thoughts known in this forum, of course…

But remember James, I’m the DM…

Haggis was one of the cool kids in my class, clever- I always appreciate that, and with a mouth on him- so, better still. But, best of all, he was hardly ever there. Back then for a young Haggis, I surmise, there were drinks to be drunk, flavoured cigarettes to be smoked, and young ladies to be mooned over- all of these prospects seemingly readily available elsewhere. Given the choice I would have skipped my classes too.

Are You Experienced?

It took just ten days from the first e-mail invitation sent- ‘do you wanna play D&D?’ for the game to get going, these three guys are pros.

Kev has played D&D for years, although not for the last decade- the last campaign/game he was in was back in 3e, and he’s never encountered Fantasy Grounds before.

Stu has played D&D four times for each new edition of the game since AD&D, when AD&D was out he didn’t do anything else- he played it morning, noon and night. I spent half-a-lifetime once (or twice) drinking with him in bars (back when I used to drink). We spent a lot of time in a bar on a boat, actually a barge, the floor and stairs were a little cantered, at an angle- people would often stumble down them. Stu would remark, every time this happened- “failed his/her Dex save.” D&D has bled into his life, this is just one example of the myriad D&D-isms that dot his language.

Haggis is the real pro, although his story is less well known to me- he’s played D&D since way back then, and every edition since he started (if you get me)- and a bunch of other RPGs, and he DMs, and has a regular game elsewhere, and- get this, he knows his way around Fantasy Grounds. Quite frankly, if it wasn’t for the Mrs, well… let’s just say Haggis is a keeper.

He’s also a young person, maybe in his mid 30’s- he probably listens to the Spice Girls, and all the other new music that the kids of today are into.

The Game.

So, Fantasy Grounds, D&D 5e- one session/week, Tuesday night- since you asked; so settle in- get a drink, light a cig, Oh, heads up this story hour may actually have a little bit more in the way of story.

Not much you understand, these posts are all once through with the (electronic) pen, and then once more with the sword to check for obvious spelling mistakes- then post, there’s no literature to be found here.

Plaster a smile on, for it begins…
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Sunless Citadel

Session #001a Flawless.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Garumn (played by Stu) Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 1
Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue Lvl 1
Vincenzo (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 1


“Divil!” The old farmer screamed in Garumn’s face once more, and then staggered back flailing for an edge, any surface to grab hold of to save himself- to keep him on his feet. He failed and sat down hard on the spit and sawdust barroom floor, a moment later he clutched his head and started to weep.

“Eat zis.” Vincenzo offered, the jaundiced human-looking merchant, offered the fallen farmer a hunk of crusty bread. “Eat it! It may make you less dronk”, he stated loudly, and then leaning close to Ramshambo whispered- “quelle merde, what are we doing ‘ere my frend in zis… zis, ow you say it- sheet owle?”

The half-elf shrugged, kept his counsel, and quietly continued to sip at the bad ale before him. The rogue eventually looked up and over to Garumn, the dwarf’s eyes were screwed tight- he’d seen that before, the paladin was trying to sense the presence of creatures of the taint- devils and demons, the undead- all manner of fiends were revealed to Garumn’s inner-sight.

A moment later the dwarf blinked open his eyes and shook his head at his two companions- there was no corruption here. Garumn peered down at the tear-stained farmer-still scrabbling on the floor of the inn. An old man- for a human, perhaps- or else the fellow had had a very hard life. Vincenzo meantime kept up a steady one-way badinage, appraising Ramshambo moment by moment of his thoughts regarding their present situation. The rogue patiently listened to his exasperated companion and nodded along conspiratorially.

Garumn, at last, made his decision, lurched up from the bench and his beer, and then with the help of Bertram- owner of the Ol’ Boar Inn, lifted the old farmer back onto his still unsteady feet. “His name’s Coley, Old Man Coley we calls ‘im, on account of… well, he’s old.” Bert added with a shrug.

“What do you want, old man?” Garumn asked, when the farmer was better situated- the reply came in gasps, through sobs and edged with strained whispers, and thirty seconds later even Vincenzo had stopped talking to listen Old Man Coley’s words, nay pleas.

“Princess Lucky- she’s the last of ‘em, the last of my beauties- every night the divil comes to my farm and lays claim to another of my prize ladies, my milkers- my moo-cows.” The farmer stutters to a halt again, but Garumn’s hand on his forearm urges him on.
“I calls ‘im the scratchy bastard- he tears my girls to shreds- six foot high he is, and with ‘ands and feet like claws- great… great… scythes! He cuts ‘em good, tears them up, tears them… to pieces. It’s a divil I tell you, a DIVIL!”

Two hours later, on the Coley farm, and with the last light of day hesitating between a smudge and a memory, the trio of adventurers harrumph to themselves and continue their watch- arranged in their hiding places, or else not- waiting for the ‘divil’, the so-called scratchy bastard to arrive.

In a small fenced paddock stands the doe-eyed Princess Lucky, Old Man Coley’s only remaining cow- every now and then she lows gently. In the byre close by Vincenzo sits and waits, hidden in the hay- the druid had previously- before their watch started, confirmed to his companions, somewhat to their dismay, the veracity of Old Man Coley’s claim.

“It iz not a divil, rather a de-mon… most likely a wood de-mon.” The information had met with blank looks from Garumn and Ramshambo- although the rogue was in fact trying really hard to maintain his nonchalance. It really was a demon, the farmer hadn’t lied- the half-elf suddenly had doubts, he was new to this- fighting demons. He wasn’t sure he’d signed up for it.

The druid had searched the Coley farm thoroughly on their arrival here, and soon after located… well, a clutch of what looked to his friends to be broken twigs. He’d then spent the next thirty minutes doggedly at his task- mostly sniffling and snuffling around the dirty and dishevelled place. Nodding along to some inner voice, before finally delivering his conclusion.

“A de-mon, I ‘ave no doubt.” The druid stated with a shrug, accompanied by a nervous grin.
“We watch and we wait.” With which, Garumn had brought the conversation to a close.

Ramshambo shivered a little, peering through the cracked door of the farmhouse, the rogue had found the best hiding place to be had. While his comrades were otherwise engaged, he had silently gained access to the sleeping farmer’s cottage, and well… made himself at home. Although, in truth, the old farmer had nothing worth taking. So poor were Ram’s surroundings that once or twice it had crossed his mind to perhaps leave a few coppers in plain sight somewhere for the miserable old fellow to find. Inventory taken the half-elf went back to his watch- a demon, he silently mouthed- this was bound to get interesting.

Garumn stood pretty much in the centre of the farmyard, the dwarf had taken an entirely different approach in his preparation for the scratchy bastard’s arrival. The paladin, it could be said, was not-hiding in plain sight. The hefty dwarf therefore described small circles- shuffling around on the spot- the beam of a lighthouse- his eyes, searching out the enemy. The scratchy bastard was going back to hell tonight he swore to Moradin, he was certain.

The first to sense the demon’s approach was Vincenzo, the druid had the foul beast’s scent- and very suddenly it was close, and yet he could see nothing from his present position. His sight blurred or blocked by the hay he was concealed in, the fence posts and railings, the tree stumps and sward… he was too low to the ground, too well concealed- and yet to move now would give away his position, and then what?

The first to see the enemy then was Garumn, the paladin stifled a yawn as over in the byre the druid wrestled with doubt and inaction. Then suddenly stepping out from behind a fence post, and directly before the holy dwarven warrior was a humanoid-shaped creature. Constructed around a woody central shaft, and with four twiggy, and most likely scratchy, limbs- in the usual places. Inscribed at the top of its woody core a face- of sorts, with a leering visage. The wood demon had arrived.

Old Man Coleys Farm.jpg


Alas the demon’s appearance would have been a little more frightening, although perhaps not for Garumn- for others, if the fiend had been a little, well… taller, or just… more substantial. On tiptoes, the wood demon measured a little under three feet. It looked, to the dwarf, like a strong breeze would blow the thing away. Garumn’s first thought was instantly followed by his second- and a moment later and with a swish of his greatsword the creature was gone. The grinning paladin watched the shattered wood demon disintegrate, or at least assume its dormant form- kindling, and then half-turned to declare victory to his friends and was caught in the blinding flash of light that followed.

Vincenzo had had enough of prevaricating, the druid rose to a standing position and unleashed a sudden glorious burst of nature’s fuel- sunlight, the blinding light scythed through the dark to engulf and illuminate a small portion of the farm. Then faded as suddenly as it had appeared, but in its going left its glowing trace on the creature now racing towards the druid. “Twig blight”, Vincenzo whispered, and then louder for his friends to hear- seeing Garumn momentarily shielding his eyes, and then fast approaching. Then spotting the door of the farmhouse opening and closing, seemingly unaided, the druid failing to sight Ram swiftly and stealthily creeping towards the newly revealed and now glowing enemy.

However, before the rogue could launch his silent attack the paladin barrelled in, reaching to his belt Garumn grabbed out a hand axe and in one smooth motion let it fly, a fraction of a second later and the second twig blight lay scattered and shattered. The gurning dwarf exhaled loudly and skidded to a halt, that was two wood demons he had defeated this night- Moradin be praised.

To emphasise this fact the young Dwarf stuck both thumbs into the belt of his mail britches, puffed out his chest- gurned some more, and said- “I am, as I said to you fellers earlier…

And was swiftly shushed into silence.

Ram, the shusher, suddenly dodged right and low- and then scurried behind a water-barrel on the shadow-side of the farmer’s cottage. From the other side of the butt the sound of scratching as the last of the twig blights cautiously peered around the obstacle to check that the coast was finally clear. The plant-fiend spied its quarry- a now nervously shuffling Princess Lucky.

The unflustered rogue meantime signalled once for his colleagues’ attention, and then deftly signed the new enemy’s location. Vincenzo and Garumn had already begun to move closer. The shifter druid suddenly morphing and shaping his sallow human face taking on a new formation- wild, cat-like in-part, but for the silent scream that framed his mouth, and accentuated by the sudden growth of needle-sharp snake like fangs. The shifter… shifted and was down low and at the last twig blight in a rush. Alas his lunge was too swift and too sudden, the final enemy changed direction and cut inside Vincenzo’s headlong dive. It raced on- towards Princess Lucky.

The wood demon- as Garumn still believed, clawed the air- silently snarling, and sped towards the quivering and shaking, now loudly mooing and moaning Princess Lucky, and then ten feet short of its target was swept into oblivion by the swing, once again, of the paladin’s deft blade.

“…flawless.” Garumn declared with a grin, as Old Man Coley burst through the door of his cottage wearing nought but his breach-cloth and wielding a half-finished bottle of something fortifying but unforgiving, and screaming several things that the young paladin would never be repeating.

And so, begins the adventures of the heroes that would later become known as the Dark Squad: Garumn the Flawless, Ramshambo the Silent, and Vincenzo the Face.

Next time.
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Sunless Citadel

Session #001b In the Beginning.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Garumn (played by Stu) Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 1
Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue Lvl 1
Vincenzo (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 1


So, this is what actually happened in the session…

It started with an hour long intro- the merits and benefits of being friendly and nice to the device that is called Fantasy Grounds, a paean to Doug (I think that’s the guy’s name) who put this marvellous piece of software together. Also two of the players- Kev, and Stu are both new to it… so, watch and learn- repeat and… well, it’s an hour that no-one’s getting back- let’s call it draw and move on.

The first instalment is called Flawless because, well… next the players get around to introducing themselves, and their chosen crazy-legs personas- their PCs, to each other. Flawless, because when Stu (playing Garumn) got to talking about the dwarven paladin’s flaws… well, he’d thought it through and then simply written ‘flawless’ in the space provided. Haggis suggested another fine word- ‘hubris’, and so the game was on to find out who would be proven right. The ‘flawless’ statement became a talking point for the remaining two hours of the session, in which… and it pains me to say this- Garumn was… ah what the hell- say it, just… flawless. He said and did the right things, and at the right times- his dice were on fire, and when it came to the farmyard attack- he was three for three with the kills.

The story version of the above encounter can be found here- #001a Flawless.

But let’s go back a bit, back to the story with the… oh, hell- the backstory.

The three PCs all recently in the employ of Gundren Rockseeker are brought together by the aforementioned dwarf (I use him a lot in my games) and paid by their new patron to go to Thundertree. There to meet with Kerowyn Hucrele, an odd-ball member of the famous (merchant hauliers) Hucrele family (mostly of Waterdeep). It seems a pair of Hucrele younglings have gone adventuring in an old ruin close to the village of Thundertree, a place called the Sunless Citadel, and have failed to return from their wanderings.

So, it would be best for all concerned if another bunch of neophyte adventurers were sent to rescue the aforementioned posh/rich kids.

Hang on… no, let’s not start asking questions to soon.

After (and during) Gundren’s speech there are questions, followed by a number of history et al checks. Then, mere seconds later- two days on the road for the fledgling adventurers. The passage to Thundertree is all farmer’s field, this is Neverwinter’s breadbasket, and soon after (scant seconds) we’re at the village. I’m moving fast, although with plenty of scene setting along the way- farmer's carts, summer sun, the dusty road and all looks to be well with the world, but beneath the surface- hang on, isn’t that the start of a Lynch movie?

The Dark Squad arrive late in the day to Thundertree, get rooms in the Ol' Boar Inn, take a late supper and then a farmer- Old Man Coley, with enough courage (booze) inside him starts shouting the odds. When that doesn’t work he takes to crying and pleading while the new newly arrived adventurers try to relax and chew their chicken dinner.

At the Coley Farm, the Combat Tutorial takes place, this after Vincenzo has made thirty two consecutive guidance-enhanced skill checks to discover, well, lots of things (note the first check was a ‘20’). It is however far more relevant to the story that the last check the shifter druid made was a ‘1’. Note all of the PCs checks are made in the Fantasy Grounds dice tower, so the players are unaware of the results. It thus comes to pass that the PCs all think that they are genuinely awaiting the arrival of some six foot tall, scythes for claws, I-kill-cows-for-kicks, wood demon. Thanks to Vinnie, and his ‘1’.

Certainly not a trio of scrawny (four hit points apiece- or thereabouts) twig blights.

The fight is over quickly courtesy of the aforementioned flawless dwarven paladin, who doesn’t miss a roll.

Then back to the Ol' Boar Inn, and their beds- Bert waits up for them to return.

In the morning breakfast and then as arranged by Gundren in advance, an interview with the previously mentioned Kerowyn Hucrele. The stern-looking old lady is clearly upset, and out of her depth- she’s used to people doing what she says, and not working on their own schemes behind her back. The missing Hucrele younglings had planned there adventure well in advance, she believes, and certainly not shared this information with her.

It doesn’t help that the missing pair are the children of much wealthier members of the Hucrele family (from Waterdeep), and that there parents are going to… well, will they blame Kerowyn? She fears, and suspects, as much.

Don’t worry about me telling you this, the players figured it all out for themselves at the VTT, Garumn was particularly suspicious- he employs his divine sense at every turn.

So, the missing adventurers, there were four in the party Kerowyn thinks, are-

1) Talgen Hucrele, a pretty boy warrior- with a slew of fencing instructors but no actual experience in the woolly wilds.

2) Sharwyn Hucrele, a beautiful to behold fair maiden- with a touch of wizardry about her.

3) Sir Bradford, a paladin of Tyr- co-opted to join the younglings for the venture way back in Waterdeep- it seems the young Hucrele’s have been planning this undertaking for quite a while.

4) Lastly, Karakas- a local guide, Kerowyn knows nothing about this fellow.

The reward for the young Hucrele’s return is substantial, however the younglings and their companions have been gone for 21 days, they left only a dashed note before they departed- stating where they were going, and the fact that they would be back in a tenday. So, overdue about covers it.

002 Thundertree.jpg


Note, the above is an old map of Thundertree (brought to life by a very accomplished artist) from a previous game that started in the village- the Old Cow Inn, is now the Ol' Boar Inn. It was so... accomplished I had to use it in game, the players- naturally, were very impressed.

Last bit, the PCs have divined much about the history of Thundertree- the explosion of Mount Hotenow, and follow up undead/zombie invasion (about forty years past) causing the village to be abandoned, only for the place to be revived and resettled maybe ten years later by the old druid, Reidoth the Brown (and his friends*). There’s always a little flavour to be had in my games.

The Dark Squad also determine that the Sunless Citadel, some time in the distant past, was home to a bunch of dragon cultists.

Small world.

So, a little local colour.

The PCs, after signing contracts- Kerowyn owns the lands hereabouts, she therefore grants the PCs salvage rights, and then after talking through (and making crystal clear) the potential rewards for success in this venture. The trio head out into the village to see if there’s anybody else that has something- anything, to say about this matter, or any other matters of interest.

But that happens next week, I hope to see you there and then.

*Note the story of Reidoth the Brown, who with the help of the Blessed Avengers (actually, it was mostly just the Blessed Avengers) saved Thundertree from a young green dragon accompanied by a bunch of lackey dragon cultists et al, is played out in my main story hour, found here-

We D&D.
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Playa Playa


Garumn's personal journal, entry #1:

Meself an' me new friends, Elf and Snake, helped out a farmer whose prize cow was being attacked by nasty little twigmen. We killed 3 of the blighters, an' he seemed happy with that.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the DM.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Sunless Citadel

Session #002a Snakebite.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Garumn (played by Stu) Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 1
Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue Lvl 1
Vincenzo (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 1


A dank corridor in the depths of the Sunless Citadel, Ram- ear pressed against the ridged and carved ancient stone of the door- listening to the tumblers in the lock roll and spin, easing- prodding with his picks, absolute silence, as he had earlier demanded- the concentration causing beads of sweat to prickle his brow.

A nudge here, a tickle… almost…

“If you can’t do it Elf, let Snake have a look?” Garumn purred for the second time, and then nodded his head towards Vincenzo, a sudden look of consternation on the druid’s visage.
“That right Snake?” The affable dwarf added, breaking Ram’s concentration once again.
“Snaaaaake! Snaaaaake! Enough is too much”, the druid’s tirade began.
“I am Vincenzo, some call me Vincent, or Vinnie, or Vin- I ‘ave in zer past even answered to Van. It is Garumn not zo difficult name to learn. Zis- snaaaake, zis is unacceptable- rass-ist. Merde, should I call you monsieur dwarf all of ze day long, and per’aps every now and zen- pat you on the ‘ead like a child. Iz zis what you want? Iz it?”

Ram straightened from his work at the lock, stretched his legs and groaned slightly, then took the time to admire the countenances of his two companions- how was this one going to play out?

Garumn said nothing, his look also neutral- although his eyes never left Vincenzo’s face. He’d learned this trick as a young dwarf, leave a healthy pause before you reply- it makes folk think that you have thought about your response, and/or considered their words.

Inside his head the paladin whistled a happy tune, and then took a moment more to think about the bath he was going to have back at the inn, after they had rescued the Hucrele younglings and got out of this dank place. He liked baths, something he was slightly embarrassed by, bathing did not sit well with many of his kin.

The silence continued to stretch until Vincenzo could wait no longer, which of course was the moment that Garumn chose to make his reply.
“I suppose your right, Sn… I mean no harm by it young ‘un- no offense to either of thee. I swear by Moradin. It’s jus…”
“Just what iz zit Garumn?” Vincenzo, peevishly enquired.
“Well… I can’t help but noticing- all of the time, that, well… you pair are not dwarves, and so- Elf, and well, Snake.” Garumn concluded with a shrug.
“A snack is a slithering thing, with itz belly on zer grownd, itz stum-uck in zer dirt- am I zis. Am I? Do you sink zis?”
“No, no- that’s not it at all. It’s zer… sorry, it’s the fangs-thing, when your face goes all… creepy, it’s just that you look a lot like a… snake.” Garumn hesitantly replied.
“Do I look like a snack all zer time- Non! Merde, zis world is full of people that look different, ow you zey- CREE-PEE. You do not ‘av to call zem names. It iz wrong, unfrend-lee, it iz rude.”

The silence settled in again, eventually Ram got tired of waiting and bent to his task once more, the lock was possibly the most difficult he had ever encountered, and yet Garumn had insisted that they discover what lay beyond the strangely sculpted door. The stone had been crafted and etched to show an eastern water dragon at sport, most odd. The rogue however stuck to his task, while his now silent companions continued to stand guard, and take turns to glare at each other.

At least for another minute or so…

“If you can’t do it Elf, why not let Druid have a look?” Garumn, affably, offered.
“…petit connard!” Vinne hissed back, but the moment was lost as a tinny sound echoed down the dank passage- Ram straightened, and wearing a grin pushed the strange stone door open, “voila”, the rogue added with a flourish.

The small chamber revealed was bare, save for an odd-looking contraption secured in the far corner- the object a muddle of metal spars and struts supporting a barrel, also made of metal- from which several pipes entered and exited.

After receiving the ‘all clear’ nod from Ram, the adventurers wandered over to inspect the newly revealed object.

“Cooling unit.” Garumn muttered, and then louder- “same as the Thromberg 3000 Double Entry Forge. They ‘ave them in Adbar, although… no idea what good it does ‘ere?”
“What you zay?” Vinnie asks.
“Cooling- liquid enters here, gets cooled in here, and then exits… that-away, simple.” Garumn’s hands dance about the strange contraption as he explains.
“Owz it cooled- zer liquid?”
“Good question, druid. If yer give me a hand, I’ll show yer.” Garumn grinned back, a moment later the dwarf and the shifter had, after a few tentative strains, removed the metal bung from the top of the metal barrel.

THUNG!

At which point their problems really started to coalesce, a tiny humanoid figure- maybe only ten inches tall, with sharp features and fluttering wings, soared up and out of the opening. The strange creature seemed to be made of shards of ice- the chill that suddenly swept over the three onlookers confirmed this.

003 Ice Mephit.jpg


“Mephit!” Vinnie yelped with surprise, and then equally rushed added, “do not harm it- I will communicate wiz ze creature.”
Garumn nodded, Ramshambo- his survival instincts suddenly pinging, silently backed out of the small room.
“We comez in peacez.” The druid offered, although in the deep garbled tongue of the primordial language.

The ice mephit fluttered above the strange barrel-device, the creature’s former home- for which read prison, and then answered- “screw you guys I’m outta here”, in its nails down the blackboard high-pitched version of auran, which Vinnie, of course, did not understand. In the same way that the ice mephit did not understand Vinnie’s primordial message.

A second later the creature bathed both the dwarf and the shifter in an icy blast of freezing-cold air, Garumn tottered and groaned, while Vinnie dodged- which made all the difference.

“You dirty ice-hole!” The enraged dwarf snapped and unlimbered his greatsword, and then in one mighty swing almost shattered the mephit as it attempted to fly free of the chamber. One wing of the now terrified elemental left sheered- it spiralled trying desperately to gain the height it needed to fly up and over its attackers, and out of the door- to freedom. The druid however was much too quick and grabbed the struggling mephit from the air, clasping the creature in his hand- tight, Vinnie snarled- fangs extended, and then he lurched forward and bit the icy elemental’s head clean off.

Garumn took a step back, juggled his greatsword and then gulped- it would be Vinnie from here on, he’d make a real effort to remember the druid’s name, he swore to the all father, and then watched in disgust as the shifter spat the dead ice mephit’s head out into the dirty corridor.
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Sunless Citadel

Session #002b Ramshambo the Silent speaks.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Garumn (played by Stu) Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 1
Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue Lvl 1
Vincenzo (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 1


“Majesty”, the rogue bowed low before the kobold queen, Yusdrayl- who tittered (or else yapped) quietly, perhaps coquettishly.
“As brave Dragonkeeper Meepo stated, we have been sent from the great dragon above to aid you in your present time of troubles, the dastardly goblins will be made to suffer for their incursion into your magnificent realm.”
“Oh, that’s nice.” The kobold queen replied, her eyes sparkled with delight.

Standing behind the kow-towing rogue, Garumn and Vinnie exchanged glances, and then shrugs.
“Keep yer hand on yer blade, druid.” The dwarf muttered sotto voce.
Vinnie nodded his agreement, and then carried on counting kobolds- there were eleven of the creatures now- before them, behind them- and several more glaring and staring at the unfolding scene from various now-open doorways.

004 Yusdrayl.jpg


The conversation between the charming rogue and the enthralled Yusdrayl trundled on, every now and then yet another kobold wandered into the pillared hall to marvel at the three adventurers, and the scene unfolding.

“Fourteen”, the druid muttered to Garumn.
“Fourteen what?” the dwarf snapped back.
“Koboldz… wait- wait, fifteen- zat’s quite a lot. He’d better know what he iz doing.” Vinnie nodded at Ram, still chirruping at Yusdrayl, mostly in draconic but every now and then the pair switched over to the common tongue.

A few minutes later, and the nervous pair are now standing in the middle of an ever expanding circle of kobolds- over two dozen of the little beasts dodging back and forth. The smaller specimens, the kids, scampering in every now and then to attempt to grasp at Vincenzo’s shirt sleeve, or else to lay a hand on Garumn’s mail.

A game of tig that could end in tears.

At last, Ramshambo sauntered over to his companions, in the background the kobold queen had suddenly burst into frantic action, kicking her cohorts and screeching orders.

“So, the queen- Yusdrayl, thinks we’ve been sent by the great dragon, or something similar- we’ve a list of tasks, apparently the goblins are very naughty buggers down here. They’ve stolen the kobold’s dragon…”, the last word of the sentence is delivered with a half-shrug, half-snigger. “She wants us to get it back, and to rescue a bunch of kobolds that were taken prisoner in the last goblin attack, and to kill a bunch of goblins while we’re at it. Oh, and if we kill the chief- well, that’d be a bonus. She’s willing to reward us for our victories- there’s a lot of stuff over on the altar back there, at least three magic scrolls- I think…””
“Why?” Garumn interrupts, “Why should we help the little fiends?”
“Because there are a lot of them, because they know where the Hucrele kids went- which is up against the goblins, so- two birds, one stone.” Ram surmises, “Why not- get paid twice over?”
“Scrollz?” Vinnie asks.
“Yep, I reckon, and some other stuff- oh, and there’s a key she’s going to give us if we get the dragon back.” Ram finishes.
“Did you zee ze scrollz?” Vinnie continues.
“Key to what?” Garumn asks.
Ram shrugs, “she said it was the key to the dragon door, if we get all the jobs done- she reckons, it’ll prove we are the chosen ones.”
“That’s nice”, Garumn growls back, unimpressed.

The three adventurers fall silent for a moment, content themselves to watch kobolds scurry.

“Did you zee ze scrollz?” Vinnie enquires again.
“What are they doing now?” Garumn barks again, the kobolds in the chamber are now rapidly scurrying back and forth, yelping and snarling- tottering around carrying a variety of objects- a large cauldron, bundles of wood, and at least three large squirming sacks.

“Feast. We’re being celebrated.”
“Feast?” Garumn spits- “What the hell do these little buggers eat?”
“Rats. Apparently.”
“Rats?” Garumn splutters.

At which point a trio of kobolds upend a squirming sack bundling free several dozen scurrying fat black rats, then a collective rush of kobolds into the mix to chase the vermin down- tossing the escaping creatures into the large cauldron.

“Ratzzzzzz!” Vinnie echoes, “delish-us…”, the shifter druid’s fangs glisten as they strain and extend,
“it would be zo rude to leave now, when zey ‘ave gone to zo much trouble…”
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Sunless Citadel

Session #002c Meet the Kobolds.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Garumn (played by Stu) Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 1
Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue Lvl 1
Vincenzo (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 1


So, session two, and this is what we got up to…

The Dark Squad spent the first hour of the session as the boys about town, or else about the village of Thundertree- the players are all experienced RPers and so they split up to maximise their chatter time. In short order the trio learn-

1) The area around the Sunless Citadel is known as the Ashen Plain, not because of the devastation caused by the eruption of Mount Hotenow and the ash cloud et al that followed, but because of the depredations of a great dragon despoiling the region centuries earlier, apparently.

2) The Sunless Citadel is home to a tribe of goblins which, oddly- grow and sell magical apples (poisonous and healing variants). This info courtesy of Reidoth the Brown, the ancient druid that freed Thundertree from the dragon cult all those years ago. Vinnie swears to find out what’s going on with the goblins, and to report back to the ancient and blind druid- he’s given a healing potion for his troubles.

3) Sir Bradford, the paladin of Tyr who accompanied the Hucrele’s possessed a beautiful sword that Rurik, the dwarven smith in Thundertree, would pay money to get a closer look at. Garumn, declares that he will endeavour to fulfil the smith’s desire, should the opportunity arise.

4) Karakas, the human ranger that accompanied the Hucrele’s is a local, often employed by the Thundertree guard, Felosial the commander there would like the ranger back, or else his story told. Ram swears to see this done.

5) A visit to the temple to Tymora generates another gratis potion of healing- Corkie, the gnome priestess has heard about the PCs helping Old Man Coley with his ‘divil’ problem, she’s very grateful.

6) Lastly Bert from the Ol' Boar Inn remembers over a decade past that his establishment was visited by a very strange fellow who he observed several times speaking to a pet frog he carried around with him, the guy also asked a lot of questions about the Sunless Citadel, this fact triggering his recollection of the strange event. Bert thinks the odd fellow’s name also began with a ‘B’.

Therefore, fully loaded with info the Dark Squad gather a little more equipment from the local store and then head off to the Sunless Citadel, which turns out to be at the bottom of a ravine two hours out of Thundertree.

The descent to the citadel is not without its danger, the climb down is easy- then however, while Ram is waiting for Garumn to descend the rogue is attacked by a pair of giant rats, he’s bitten. Garumn duly arrives and slaughters one of the beasts in an instant- Ram kicks the other rat off the ledge with a ‘20’ and it hurtles down to its demise.

Then down switchback stairs to a battlement top courtyard, Ram finds a pit trap and the Dark Squad filter around the danger area and into the remains of a tower. The place contains four dead goblins- signs of the young Hucrele’s passing.

Then on into a corridor, halfway down which is a stone door engraved with an eastern water dragon at sport- a pan lung like creature.

The action here is played out in session #002a Snakebite, described above. The ice mephit is killed but Garumn is hurt again in the creature’s death burst, and left badly wounded- Vinnie has to use his first spell slot- a cure wounds on the dwarf.

Note Garumn had to use most of his lay on hands to heal Ram after the giant rat attack on the ledge.

The ice mephit’s strange barrel prison yields a little treasure.

004 Meepo.jpg


Then on again into a much larger chamber, with a broken cage- a makeshift altar, a firepit, and scrawls on all the walls which read in draconic “HERE THERE BE DRAGONS”. Eventually Meepo the kobold dragonkeeper appears- he was hiding under the altar table having heard the PCs fight the mephit out in the corridor.

Meepo very quickly persuades the PCs not to kill him, mainly by being interesting- the PCs learn that the kobold’s ‘dragon’, who is called Cornflakes, has been stolen by the pesky goblins. The chatter goes on…

More kobolds show up, and make threats- briefly, but Meepo sticks up for the PCs, eventually the decision is made to present the Dark Squad to Yusdrayl, the kobold queen. Ram somehow manages to convince Meepo that he and his companions have been sent to the citadel to aid the kobolds.

And thus, it comes to pass, the Dark Squad are escorted to their meeting with Yusdrayl, the aforementioned kobold queen, she instantly takes a shine to Ram.

Two things to note, Ram (played by Kev) has done his fair share of the chatter so far (the roleplay) however in this section he starts talking and gets the reaction he wants, and so just keeps on jabbering away- saying the right things, majesty this… the great dragon that…

It helps that his dice are on fire.

The action here is played out in session #002b Ramshambo the Silent speaks, see above.

At the end of the session the Dark Squad have already received a reward from the altar- a unidentified as of yet flask of something, hopefully something magical. They have also been given a list of tasks to accomplish- each of which will earn them a further reward.

They’re also going to be directed to the last known position of the missing Hucrele’s, they’re ticking all of the boxes.

Note, I give out lots of little XP rewards- good roleplay- have a few XP, find the trap- disarm etc. have a little more XP. To compensate for my myriad acts of XP generosity it takes 400 XP to get to level 2 (with similar increases for each additional level). The PCs are at present a few XP short of halfway to Level 2, and they’ve only been in three fights- 1) three twig blights, 2) two giant rats, and 3) the ice mephit.

Note I’ve also cut the numbers of the bad guys in the encounters used so far for the simple reason that there are only three PCs in play- and the module recommends four. I’m going to solve this problem by having Meepo and a kobold guard (an elite kobold warrior- approx. 10 HP) accompany them from hereon in.

So, the encounters are going to be RAW from now on… which I’m looking forward to immensely, let’s see if the PCs feel the same way.

Another excellent session.

More next time.
 
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