Today we played Dungeons and Dragons and everyone was there!
So, when last we left off, the party was heading back to the town of Tek. Dungeon Master Boyle backtracked a bit for the purposes of roleplaying, and so Ranger Stephen guided them over the desert, ensuring that they made the crossing without any difficulty. On the way, Becky and Steven asked if Becky could join the Party, and the party allowed for it.
Returning to the residence of the mayor, the party presented the 19 gnoll heads that they recovered, particularly the white one of the Gnoll Spellcaster, who Ranger Steven confirmed had been the source of the creation of the gnolls. The mayor rewarded them with 2000 gold.
Then the part set about splitting up all the loot. The bard kept the awesome lute, as well as the Gauntlets of Ogre Power. He magnanimously gave the goggles of darkvision to Dragon Man, the only party member for whom such a feat was not innate, and they split the scrolls of cure wounds between them, as they are the only party members who could cast such spells. Ulfgar took the Wand of Frost, which allows him cast Ray of Frost as many times as he wants. However, its boost to ice spells is of little use to him, as he possesses no ice spells. He also hung on to the jewelry the party discovered, since they can’t sell any of that in Tek. The party returned the lightning bow to Becky, as they figured they should endeavor to keep her family on their good side.
As it happened, Becky’s mother was not allowing for Becky to go off adventuring with the party, so she became stuck training further with her father (which was probably for the best). Ulfgar asked if there was any way in which the information of Steven’s monster manual could be passed along to them, and Steven stated that he would have Becky recopy it over the next month as a part of her training, and if they returned this way one month from now a copy would be waiting for them. Ulfgar thanked Steven for this boon and resolved to return after such a time.
Nory at this time requested that they be allowed to rest and recuperate for 5 days in Tek, which the rest of the party agreed to. During this time, Nory recopied his book of Dark Eldritch Arcana, and presented the copy to Becky, evangelizing to her of the greatness of Cthulu and the certainty of his eventual awakening, and Becky was quite enthusiastic to learn of this. (This is probably not for the best.)
The rest of the party purchased various minor supplies during this time, and then after five days they left Tek, heading west towards the city of Sana Bell. On the way, they saw smoke rising in the distance, a sign they took as ominous. The Battle Bard, with his doubled strength, used his sweet lute to cast flight upon Ulfgar, and the dwarf flew off to see what the deal was.
And it was Orcs! Nasty filthy Orcs, eight of them, were raiding a small village on the outskirts of Tek! Ulfgar flew backs a ways to his party, informed them of the situation and to make haste to battle, then flew back to make battle as quickly as he could.
Ulfgar set off a pair of firebolts before the rest of the party arrived, and got hit by a pair of javelins for his troubles. When his party arrived, they went to war with the Orcs, and very quickly the party started taking on damage in a manner they hadn’t in the past. The Bard, for all his new found strength, turned out to still have a bit of a glass jaw, and soon went down for the count. Henk did some serious Tanking as well.
Perhaps it was finally winning a convert to Cthulu putting a bit of pep in his step, but for whatever reason Nory started kicking ass like he hadn’t ever before. The party might well of fallen if it had not been for his cunning strategic use of his Dark Arts, especially once a powerful Orc Chief arose from a barn, flipping a coin and bellowing in joy at the prospect of killing the party.
After a long, drawn out skirmish, a mixture of attacks from Dragon Man and Hank, plus a series of scorching rays from the still flying Ulfgar, managed to weakened the Orc Chief sufficiently that his last remaining underling turned on him and beheaded him, so that at least as he died he could die as the Chief of his Orc tribe.
The party put out the fires and looted the Orc bodies. Ulfgar used the Wand of Frost to put out the fires lit in the huts, and then piled up the ransacked Orc corpses and firebolted them into a blaze. He and Battle Bard tried various magical and diplomatic means to learn from where the Orc had come, and got answers ranging from ‘nowhere’ to ‘everywhere,’ and decided that peasants are stupid (as are their livestock). While the Battle Bard was walking around, Nory’s familiar, who had flown off on his own, retrieved the Orc Chief’s coin and made sure it fell into the Bard’s hands. Wouldn’t you know it, the coin turned about to be sacred to Cthulu! (Not that the Orc Chief knew this: at least that’s what the familiar told Nory.)
The party elected to spend the night in the village, since everyone was pretty much spent after that battle, and headed out in the morning. The rest of their journey to Sana Bell was uneventful, until they reached Sana Bell’s gates. There, they met a guard who knew Henk, a human named Jean who claimed they served together under King Acron Lionheart, an employment that ended at the time of King Acron’s assassination. Jean then related that King Acron had been killed by a Drow, one who matched, when Jean described him, the appearance of the Drow that the party had passed several weeks ago, a fact that Dragon Man then baldly stated, because Dragon Man has no tack.
Ulfgar tried to sweet talk Jean the guard, to befriend him and allow them to pass into the town, but when Henk mentioned that they were a party of adventurers, Jean became unreasonably hostile, and refused to grant the party entrance to Sana Bell. Ulfgar tried pointing out that he was, in fact, a member of the illustrious Orebreaker clan, but Jean insolently refused to take the high born dwarf at his word. The nerve! Ulfgar then offered to bribe the idiot guard, to the tune of one gold coin, and only one gold coin, because that was all a loser like Jean was worth. When Jean refused, the party left the gate, with Ulfgar seething, and began to travel around the town.
The party quickly came upon another gate, and gained entrance at that one. The guard there let them know that Jean was new, and everyone hated him, and when it was mentioned that one of the party was Dragon Man, it was revealed that Dragon Man was, in fact, a kind of folk hero in the area, his deeds of violence and slaughter in years past having over time transmogrified into folk tales of daring do.
The party entered the city, with word spreading of the appearance of Dragon Man, and Battle Bard took the opportunity to go about singing songs of his companion, to further sauce the city for their residence. The party gained rooms at the finer of the two inns in Sana Bell, and made many purchases (such as more healing potions). Ulfgar sat down to a fine meal, speaking with Henk about his time as a king’s guard, a subject Henk was quite reticent to engage in. While, Dragon Man entertained the townsfolk at the bar, Nory sneaked off, bought some canvas, and made a makeshift sign to preach of the glories of Cthulu to the children of the city.
While Nory was doing this, Jean came into the bar. Dragon Man and Ulfgar eyed him angrily, still holding a grudge, until finally Dragon Man started something, and Ulfgar joined in. It turned out Jean hated adventurers because one slept with his wife one time, so Ulfgar congratulated Jean’s wife for making such a sensible decision, so Jean charged Ulfgar and yanked. At. His. Beard.
Ulfgar pushed the vile cretin away as Dragon Man punched him in the face. A short fight broke out, but almost as soon as it began, Jean had a heart attack. Ulfgar walked by and got off one final insult before the obviously horrible person expired. And the townspeople lifted his body up and threw it out into the street. They surely weren’t going to blame the death on Dragon Man!
Ulfgar went back to his meal, feeling a little bad about all that, but not that bad. You just don’t pull a dwarf’s beard.
Around this time, as the body of Jean was being thrown out into the street, the Battle Bard showed up and found Nory preaching about Cthulu in the street. Entering the bar, Ulfgar, who had never heard of Cthulu, was unconcerned, but Henk went outside, where he saw the little Cthulu familiar of Nory’s and thought it was just adorable! He joined in making little Cthulu masks with the children. Eventually, Henk asked if there was some literature about Cthulu that he could read, and Nory became incredibly defensive and closed up shop.
Ulfgar finished eating and went up to bed, hardly realizing how quickly and surely his party members were being tempted by Ineluctable Darkness and Evil.
He slept all right.