The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 4
The Iron Flow River & The Censer of Weal
————————— Part 4 —————————-
I will add more of James story later for now I will stay with the main group I am with. First Gnoman takes Mackenzie under his wing and lays down a training program for him, he is going to teach him Read Magic bit by bit each day and during the day talk about Arcane Knowledge as they go. Gnoman also goes to the temple to ask what they know about Troglodytes, and finds that they are bigger than humans stronger and mainly use stone weapons. The fact they they have raided a fort means these might have better weapons. The tend not to have armour due to their odd shape, but they do have thick hides and excrete a foul smells when excited, there is no known defense to this other than holding your breath. I ask Mackenzie if he would like to join our ‘Hammer & Rose’ adventuring group? He is initially not sure as his family as been able to put him into apprenticeship with Ernst which has saved them feeding him and gives him a future although he would rather be a Paladin. So we say that if he joins us he will have enough gold to be independent and go his own way. Also he will see other ways to live, being a cleric or a fighter or a mixture it will be his choice. He decides that this is a good way to go and signs up, however for now he is not going to be much use to us as although big and strong he has no combat experience or armour, he does not even know how to use a shield. As Mackenzie is now a member Gnoman insists that we all work on a training plan. So Mackenzie will have arcane teaching from Gnoman, Religion and combat from Thorn, and healing from me. This will give him a good all-round start and then he can decide which way he wants to go. [GM – I will use experience rolls to improve Mackenzie’s skills and see where it goes]
While we are doing this a Dwarf comes up to us his name is Rotnik Umkum Moradin Garbrek a temple guard. He tells us that Thorin, the Cleric, has sent him to join them for two reasons. First to keep an eye on the Censer once it is found, second so they can channel there Prayers and Chants to us to gain Moradin’s divine protection over us. [GM – the party will gain +10% to skills and +2 damage] However they can only do this for four days after that they will be blown and that will be that. Rotnik is a Fighter big for a Dwarf and fights with a two handed hammer and a repeating crossbow and well armored in good Dwarf mail with a plate helm.
Next morning we leave for the area of the fort. Gnoman goes ahead of us invisible with the rest of us the pony, with 7 days supplies, and my boar following. Some hours later Gnoman sees a Ogre moving towards us, he runs back and alerts us by throwing 3 stones onto Thorns shield. We and the Ogre see each other at 92′ and we all react.
Gnoman hides at the back of our group, Thorn starts to cast Barkskin on himself, as do I. Rotnik raises his crossbow and aims. The Ogre and my boar charge forward.
Gnoman casts Lesser Illusion of 3 boars to join the real one in its attack. Thorn fails in his calling on his divine magic. I manage to cast my Barkskin ok, while Rotnik hits the Ogre in the right leg with his bolt. The boar also hits the ogres right leg tripping it while being having its head chopped from its body by the ogres massive axe.
Gnoman has his boars prowl around the fallen ogre, while I throw a javelin but miss.
Gnoman moves his illusionary boars towards the fallen ogre, threatening it, Thorn starts to sprint towards the ogre. I cast Shillelagh on my club, Rotnik starts to aim again. The ogre stands growling at the boars.
Gnoman readies his sling, Thorn closes with the ogre at the sprint. I differ unsure of what to do while Rotnik gives up his aiming again and puts a crossbow bolt into the ogres chest. The ogre swings his great axe and hits Thorn in his right arm, ripping through his armour and cutting into his arm.
Thorn hits back hitting the ogre in his right leg causing so much pain the ogre screams. I charge forwards.
Gnoman aim to avoid the gusting winds while Thorn smashes his mace into the ogres right leg again, shattering its knee and knocking it unconscious.
Fight over we finish the ogre off and toss him over the edge into the river, while Thorn heals his own arm with his divine magic. We continue to move towards the caves, which we intend to explore first as it seems as good as place as any to find the Censer.
We get to the point late afternoon where we can see the trail leading up to 3 caves, Gnoman decides to explore the second one first. This cave has jagged, irregular sides. A small branch of the cave twists off at the rear, slanting downward somewhat. A few tiny stalactites hang from the ceiling here as far as he can see without going in. He looks for tracks but not being a tracker this is hard for him, however he finds some wolf like prints. He then moves up further to the furthest cave, the entrance to this wide cave is nearly blocked by several stunted trees. The trees are nearly bare of leaves, and they probably serve as a perch for vultures or other birds. Right now the trees are empty of occupants, but abandoned nests and spoor are evident enough. The area is strewn with dead leaves and small twigs. He then comes back to us to report.
He tries to describe the tracks he found to us but we can not make any sense of what he is saying, so I go up myself to look as I have tracking. I think that they belong to a Hellhound. I then move to the third cave as well and look. I then return back to the group and report before deciding to go and look at the first cave.
I move very carefully to this cave The ledge narrows at this point, slowing your progress. The path eventually dwindles to nothing about 30 feet ahead of me. A large cave opening is visible a few feet above the path; if I was to carefully climb over a rough boulder I could reach it. Beyond the opening I can see only darkness. I look around the boulder as best I can for any traps, then with stealth climb the boulder and enter the cave. I listen carefully and hear breathing. Just inside the cave opening, amidst the many loose rocks, is a small animal skull and a few cracked bones. The cave beyond is rough-walled, with a ceiling perhaps 20 feet overhead at most. The floor of this place is cragged and littered with many small rocks and round stones. I go and look at the skull it appears to belong to a small animal. I now hear growling. I decide to retire backwards very slowly to avoid falling on the loose stones on the floor, with my shield up.
Suddenly something long and snake like strikes at me, it misses but it looks a good 6-7 feet long. I try to disengage but the creature hits me in the chest and gaps hold of me by my flesh. I swing my club and hit its right wing, stunning it.
The creature worries at my wound with his jaws and I fall unconscious.
My fiends outside see me falling back out of the cave with a mouth around my chest and then me being pulled in. They rush to my help. Gnoman, due to his boots moves faster then the rest and gets up first. He sees blood and equipment along with drag marks going back into the cave. He can hear low growling. Being still invisible he sneaks up to the things tail and casts Burning Hands on it. He is very lucky and manages to badly burn its Forequarters, hindquarters, right and left wings and left hind leg. The Young Wyvern screams in pain and lets go of its food. As the creature cowers Gnoman grabs Errath’s backpack, while I, Errath, stagger to my feet and biting back pain quickly leave before the Wyvern strikes again.
Outside we met the Dwarfs who have just reached the boulder.