Beer Run

I Hate You All! Part the Fourth
In which a daring escape is made but a new friend is lost.

After more quiet but not particularly restful time in the cell, Jaska is taken away again. Oossk-Ussk hears something. The good news is that it’s not more spiders. The bad news is that Aurora and Oossk-ussk (but not Jaska!) are scheduled to be executed.

The two try to pry the bars off the cell and pick the lock to no avail. Exhausted, they try to come up with a clever plan to escape another way.

After much suggestion and rejection, they decide to pretend(?) to betray the dwarves and tell the duergar everything they want to know. The real plan is to make a break for it while they’re being escorted to speak to Ubay, who harbors a hatred for her out of proportion to their previous meetings. By this point, Aurora is just fine with betraying the dwarves for real if it comes to that, so they set the plan in motion.

They were escorted without restraints across the compound and, just as they were about to run for the gate, more guards came running over. Soon the reason for this became apparent – Trogs were attacking the compound! One of them ran towards the two, and they engaged in a whirling battle between the four duergar and the three semi-companions-of-circumstance. The new trog, Tssark, did not seem to appreciate it when Aurora helped finish off one of his attackers, but soon they were too busy fighting for their lives to bother with further dirty looks.

By the end of the battle, all of them were horribly wounded, and Tssark was nigh dead. Forsaking her chance to pursue the two remaining duergar, who fled to find help, Aurora quickly bandaged Tssark’s wounds before he could bleed to death. Together, they ran for the gate and beyond.

Wounded and tired, they could not keep up with the main army of retreating Trogs, and hearing a dozen or so pursuers approaching, decided to hide. Tssark and Aurora escaped detection, but Oossk-Ussk decided to distract them instead – by getting himself caught. His sacrifice let the others escape, but Aurora vowed to return for him. And probably her sword.

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Dwarves Farm Too
In which Geddin has a chat with a survivor from Kerent

Geddin was woken from a sound sleep, in the tent near the caravan, by a raucous sound. He exits to discover that Kelin is wrestling with someone (who is not a woman, and not in their tent) on the ground. He retreated until he smelled some bacon… and walked out past the still-wrestling men to get some. Kelin finally lost to Ornil, and Geddin suggested he come have some bacon with him.

After some uncomfortableness and skirting about the subject, it comes up that Kelin was at Kerent Hold when the Duergar attacked. It turns out that he’d been hiding near the inn, and heard someone – he thought perhaps it was Malack – screaming, being tortured. Geddin realized this must have been the tattoed captain and the female Duergar, Sokunus. Kelin asked if they were after the dwarves, and he agreed they were after the riches they carried.

After this, the chat turned to family and Geddin’s home trade of farming. Kelin had no family, not even a family name – instead the troupe is his family.

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I Hate You All! Part the Third
In which Aurora gets a present meant for Jaska

Half dead and drained, Aurora woke up on a bed.

Oossk-ussk was also there, in his own bed. He observed that she was alive, and she inquired after his health which made him skeptical about her motives. She told him about the horrible SCIENCE they did to her, and how green stuff came out, but her blood was usually red.

They speculated what it could be for, aurora positing that it was the “corruption” they were so interested in. Whatever they did, she was still a shifter. Oossk suggested that it would be used for some sort of study or experiment. Aurora was horrified to think that they would make were-tigers “Duer-tigers!” with her blood.

She had little time to contemplate this, however, before a shadow darkened the small barred window. Spiders, marked with an insignia, poured in through the window to attack both of them. Though their captors had taken her sword, they hadn’t taken her Symbol of Ferrix. She shifted for the first time since meeting the dwarves, and attacked the spiders with the ethereal claw of Ferrix. It was a close battle, the spiders wearing her down with their poisonous bites… but she killed most of them, and Oossk got the rest. At the end, she could barely stand. (2hp!) She wondered aloud where Jaska was, hoping that he would come to heal her wounds.

Wonder of wonders, the wonder-dwarf appeared! A sort of weak attempt to heal her later, Aurora was no longer quite on the verge of death. Jaska asked about the spiders, and said he’d been delayed by a few hours due to his escort getting distracted. Apparently Jaska has an odd sort of status, and is not quite a prisoner. She asked him if he’d been stabbed with needles, and they hadn’t! He grumbled about her getting Akaguar to bonk him on the head, which set her off on a mini tirade about all the terrible things she’d endured compared to a crack to the head – plus she’d had to carry him the whole way.

She introduced him to Oossk-ussk and mentioned that he was teaching her Duergar. Oossk spoke up to say the spiders weren’t normal – they had symbols on their backs, the same ones as on the Drow galley. He asked if Aurora had made enemies of the Drow, and she didn’t think she’d made the spooky elf mad enough to try to kill her. He asked what had caused Jaska’s delay… apparently his escort had stopped for a slave auction of duergar females.

Then, Jaska recalled that maaaybe he’d pissed off the Drow lady. Something about his religious beliefs had upset her, and maaaybe the spiders had come for HIM. Aurora was even less pleased by this.

She informed him that if he wanted to learn Duergar he could learn it from one of his new special friends, then lamented “I should never have agreed to go with you on your stupid beer run! I could be delivering messages instead of being locked up and hurt and attacked and i hate you! Chosen, my ass!”

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I Hate You All! Part the Second
In which Aurora really meets Oossk-Ussk and SCIENCE!

Deep in the existentially depressing pit, complete with endlessly random waves crashing, slick, drippy sides, and the eternal twilight of the Underdark, Aurora was bored. Her attempts to climb and leap out led to nothing but further exhaustion.

Some time later, the unlucky Trog that she’d encountered previously was unceremoniously chucked into the pit with her, having been caught spying on the camp. After some initial bandages and panic, the two settled into a draconic chat to pass the time.

Oossk-Ussk had been trying to figure out why the camp was there, and what its purpose was. He educated her on the difference between crazy spider elfs and driders (gross!), mentioning a rumor that there is one in the area. OU believed that the Drow and Duergar were working together in some complicated fashion.

She asked OU if it was likely his buddies would come to rescue them, (no, they don’t really like him much! He’s too smart for them.) and if they’d hide them if they escaped. He was confused why he should save her, so she clumsily tried to call on a life-debt for not completely killing him the first time. He seemed dubious about this.

The subject of her humanity came up again, and she answered somewhat cryptically, referencing Ferrix. Then the story of how she came to know Draconic came out.

“When I was young… I got into a fight with one of the boys in my village one night.” she says finally. “He hurt me and I… I don’t know if I killed him or not. But I know I was trying to. I couldn’t control my rage. They pulled me off of him and threw me in jail. After…a long time, they decided my punishment was to be thrown out and banned from ever returning.” “They pulled me off of him and threw me in jail. After…a long time, they decided my punishment was to be thrown out and banned from ever returning. So I wandered. I learned to fend for myself in the world. I did whatever jobs I could find. I met a man… he was sort of crazy, and convinced that the kobolds were going to mount some huge revolt. But he had food and coin, so I joined him in his spying. He taught me to speak it so we could find out what they were talking about I guess.” “Honestly it was pretty boring, kobolds aren’t that interesting to listen to.”

Some fruitless scheming on how to escape was followed by deciding a language exchange was in order: Aurora would learn Duergar and Oossk-Ussk would learn Common.

A mean ugly duergar lady came to stare at Aurora and question her parentage and “corruption.” Finally settling on her father being the source of the corruption. Some food (fungus) and water (delicious!), but not a ladder or earmuffs, was delivered. Shortly, more duergar came back with a rope, ordering her to climb up.

Soon they pass inside the wall, and she is taken to one of the low dark buildings. In complete contrast to the starkness of the last building, the interior of this one is a bewildering array of tubes, bottles, tables, tools of unknown sorts, candles burning all over to illuminate things better in some cases, but more often to heat something. In the spooky science lab was a chair. Swords pointed her at it, and she was reluctantly strapped in.

The arcane dwarf, Imrur then came over despite her various protests and jabbed her with a needle connected to tubes and things to an apparatus…which began to suck green stuff out of her thigh. She saw nothing more, as she passed out.

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I Hate You All! Part the First
In which curiosity goes both ways

Aurora endured a long (translated via Drow Lecutula) interrogation from the mysterious Duergar, Imrur.

Questions asked by Disdainful Spooky Spider Elf: Name?:”’Rora”

Are you Human?: “Y…eeees”

How do you make your living? “I’m a messenger. I bring stuff…places.”

What were you doing with these dwarves?: “Stupid dwarves.” then, “They were going to Ulek, so was I. Safety in numbers.”

Why were you going there?: “Delivering a message to a businessman there.”

And the Dwarves?: “Uh from what I could tell, they wanted to go drink at a lot of taverns or something.” “I’m serious! Last place we were at they tried to sell beer to them. They really really like beer.” “Seriously. They’ve got this whole “my beer is magical” thing.”

Were they carrying anything special with them?: “Um… I’m not sure. I don’t think they trust me enough to tell me.”

Who is he?: “Jaska? He’s … Jaska. He’s a priest or something.”

Yes, Akagaur says he’s a priest of Dumathion. Do you know anything about Dumathion?: “He…something about grains?” “They were doing some kind of prayer when I met them.”

What sort of prayer?: “Look, this isn’t fair. I barely know them! I just met them like last week! I was being chased by kobolds who were scared off by orcs and then they saved me, and they were doing this grain prayer thing and they made me go with them because I know the way and…” She stops and starts to sniffle. “I don’t even know them.”

Questions asked by Aurora before DSSE made her shut up: Are YOU human? “I… ignorant human… am Drow.” I’ve never met a Drow before. Do you live here? “Lolth forfend that I should live in the realm of the Duergar.”

After this extremely successful interview, they made her give them her sword, which she’d JUST gotten and was none too pleased to relinquish. Then they led her outside, past the same impressively-armed troops that’d attacked Kerent Hold, to a 10’x15’deep pit, which they proceeded to attempt to (and then succeed to) push her into.

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Terrible Captivity in the Underdark. Terrible!
In which Aurora acts out and feels bad while Jaska is out cold.

Finding themselves on an island in a strange sea with only Duergar and Akaguar for company, Aurora informs Jaska that she hates him. This amuses the demigod, and he bonks him on the head for her, knocking him out cold. This dubious act of kindness meant she had to carry the extremely heavy dwarf everywhere.

Rebuffing Akaguar’s question as to what she is – she hasn’t told anyone else and isn’t about to start now – they are taken on a raft to a long beach with a ridiculously tall cliff, marred with a few caves along the way. One of the Duergar fetches, well, another one, and Akaguar bosses him around. The other dwarf is not super pleased by this, since he doesn’t consider himself his subordinate, but has no choice but to accept the order.

Akaguar then introduces him to her. Ubay, her new captor. Who doesn’t speak Common or Draconic, so he points a lot while giving significant looks. This works well enough, and he’s probably happier not really knowing what Aurora is jabbering on about as she follows reluctantly.

During a break, Ubay leaves the two alone for a while as they go down the shore further. Aurora takes this opportunity to ditch Jaska and go spelunking. While exploring, Aurora heard footsteps – a Trog, she found out as she leapt out at it from hiding, carving its hide up something fierce and skipping away from its blows unscathed. As she was chasing it down to finish it off, she suddenly realized that maybe it would have been a better idea to talk to it instead of killing it. Her apology did not go over well, though she found out that his kind lived there and were not friends of the Duergar, though they traded with them.

She trudged back out of the cave dejectedly and Ubay came back to lead her to a walled compound which she really did not want to go into. Locked in a room with Jaska, she brooded until a strange Duergar came in, wearing sort of arcane vestments. Realizing she can’t understand him, he brought in a Drow woman named Lecutula. She threatened Aurora’s life unless she cooperated, which led to a somewhat conflicted answer from the shifter.

There are no parties in the Underdark.

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Parties in the sweet open air
In which the intrepid heroes press on and find a carnival

The surviving group who had escaped Akaguar’s clutches regrouped by the riverside. Sordin gave a suddenly-sober inspiring speech (http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/beer-run/wikis/sordins-post-kerent-hold-escape-soliloquy) and, after some consideration, they decide to press on in the hopes of completing their quest and hopefully finding their lost companions.

They decided to take the 5-day over-land route. Longer, but significantly less underwater. So they headed towards Ulek, skirting the mountains. After a long trek, Osmund heard music in the distance, presumably from a clearing. None recognized it, but Bolin noticed a human following behind them. This Kelin claimed to be a fellow traveler from Kerent Hold, having fled as well and on his way to join his troupe in the meadow. The dwarves decide to join him and find a caravan there as well.

Geddin was unhappy with the amount of noise the wild festival was making, claiming they would not hear the oncoming armies of death. A bit overdramatic isn’t he? Bolin replied that they would likely attack the humans for their lack of good taste while they slipped off into the night, a thought which affronted Geddin’s sense of honor and beating the snot out of things.

Despite this, they get dinner and some ale in the party. Sordin is dismayed to find that Bolin actually is willing to drink /human/ ale – filthy stuff! The food isn’t much better, having likely gotten someone else’s meal by mistake.

Bolin discerns that the caravan is headed across the Lortmil Mountains to southern Celene, and the northern extents of the Principality of Ulek that are contested by the orcs of the Pomarj. They decide not to link up with the caravan as the direct rout south will probably be more safe and less distracting.

Also a tent fell over and people laughed.

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Akaguar the Muddy
In which the heroes did not get turned to stone.

The party approached Kerent Hold, with some strange sightings. A makeshift submersible and a caged stone behemoth being the most prominant. Before they arrived, they met with a dwarven hero, Geras Singleblade, who asked the party to join in taking an Oath of Honor. All but Aurora agreed.

This was perhaps a bad idea given that they soon discovered Kerent Hold to be a veritable hive of villainy. After a brief standoff with the “boss” of the town, Galack (brother of the innkeper Malack – twins! but not sexy :( ) they went to have an ale or five. The ale was terrible, and Galack ignored Bolin’s attempt to drink him under the table so Jaska began bargaining over importing some from Boulder Hold.

Meanwhile, Bolin stopped two grungy dwarves from attacking one of the few humans in the alley behind the inn while Aurora watched through the window. The human merchant, Redzius was grateful and offered to help the party. Borek, the captured thief was not so grateful.

Sordin made the delivery he was there for, but shortly, Galack went outside to confront an approaching army of …dun dun DUUUUN… Duergar! Led by a crazy powerful earth elemental demigod dwarf named Akaguar who promptly dispatched the formerly-scary stone behemoth. Aurora, Osmund and Jaska all took turns trying to distract him from his goal – the silver chalice in which the life of Boulder Hold was contained – while the others (after much discussion) fled to the tunnels beneath the inn.

Osmund joined them when Aurora completely failed to pretend she was chasing after someone, and was promptly caught by armed guards. Jaska tried to blast Akaguar with his strongest divine power – to no avail. The only thing this accomplished was to get Akaguar to try to convert him to his own faith – Laduger. Jaska challenged him by suggesting that they needed a proponent of Dumathion among them, and suddenly was in Akaguar’s employ, give or take.

After directing the lovely female Duergar, Sokunus, to search for the others, Akaguar cast a spell that sucked both Jaska and Aurora into the earth.

Not knowing what happened above, Bolin, Sordin, Osmund and possibly Stalwart and others, made it safely to the river, and a day’s journey from the human city of the County of Ulek.

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The Way to the Vault
The priests take a beating.

While crossing a narrow path, a weak spot is discovered. Ropes across it do not prevent drunken Sordin from falling and getting badly hurt. Bolin is forced to retrieve him from a chasm. As Jaska crosses, he is attacked by Stirges. These are driven off (Jaska himself crushing one with but one mighty blow), but not before, weak from blood loss, Jaska also falls into the chasm. Once the stirges are run off or squashed, Bolin has to take Sordin back down into the chasms to save Jaska’s life, as he lay bleeding to death from the fall… with what little blood he had left after the stirge got done with him.

Moving on after a rest, the party hears noises ahead. Investigating, they discover a xorn with a magic collar about it’s neck. Jaska recognizes it as one of his uncle’s escaped elemental servants, and recalls the command word, “Kogok. Once uttered, the escaped xorn is compelled to follow Jaska deeper into the Deeps, as they approach the vault.

The combination entered, the real work of opening the vault begins, that of simply moving the massive iron door. After exhausting themselves somewhat, and making quite a racket, just before gaining entrance to the vault, a scraggy troll appears, nigh undead from using it’s own regeneration abilities to consume itself for months. Radiant powers save the day, preventing it’s regeneration… but not before accidentally allowing it to rise a second time to attack. Jaska is mauled badly in the combat, and once again owes his life to Sordin’s ministrations.

Once the troll is blasted into oblivion by the holy radiance of the priests and Aurora, Bolin manages to single-handedly open the vault door with amazing effort. Inside, Sordin retrieves the Vesel of the Sacred Seeds, and tells everyone that Lord Ringun has allowed them to select one item to take with them on their quest.

Play is adjourned before these items are selected, and every player may select one level three or lower item from the PHB before play of the next session.

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Into The Boulder Hold Deeps
Dungeon at last!

While discussing things over beer, Sordin has a beer-soaked ecstatic vision, and proclaims that he’s seen that Aurora should come on the quest. On finding that she’s intending to travel to Ulek like they are, she decides why not?

On the way down, passing through a gallery, they sight a body. Approaching it, monstrous centipedes erupt from it, and attack. They manage to poison Aurora pretty well (requiring some aid from Jaska), before she and Bolin manage to squash them all. As they rest, Stalwart comes out of hiding, having slipped in behind them. He notes that the fallen dwarf is named Beady Blackroot, and that he’s been missing for some time. Bolin notes that it appears that he was killed by an axe or some such, and that the centipede infestation was post-mortem.

As they leave, Aurora catches Stalwart trying to steal Beady’s boots, which turn out to be Boots of Acrobatics. The group agrees that, since Stalwart did no fighting that Aurora should get them instead. Then they press on into the dark.

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