Secrets of Oerth

Arrival At Halkirk

Our adventure begins with five brave souls escorting a shipment of supplies to a town called Halkirk. The town is a miserable display of decadence and peasantry, but nevertheless, a pocket of civilization in an otherwise wild and unpredictable East Torridon Forest ruled by wild elves. And as it so happens, as our adventurers were walking and minding their own business, a volley of arrows fell upon them. The merchant riding the cart full of valuable supplies died instantly as an arrow pierced his skull. It would seem that our adventurers failed in the one job they had to do, and that was to protect the merchant.

The situation was looking bad. The party was surrounded, the elves were on the trees, in the bushes and had the upper hand. But this did not discourage the party, as they quickly gathered their wits and struck back. With a few swift and well placed strikes, the tide of battle turned. Well, for some at least. Jane Jacke Dylack, the barbarian, after taking five arrows fell and was unable to fight anymore. Luckily for him the last of the elves had run off.

The party managed to capture two of the elves and planed to interrogate them later on. However, they were soon forced to move on. In the heat of battle, a tree caught fire. Against all odds, the fire spread and the party was in danger of getting caught in it. They had to leave one of the prisoners. So Mallantar Black pulled out his knife and slit the throat of the unlucky elf.

After traveling the road for two hours, and with the fire raging behind them, the party finally arrived at their destination – Halkirk. They managed to convince the town guard to let them in and they proceeded to the nearest inn to take a rest.

The following morning, the party spread out in the town and searched for ways to make money. What shall they do next?

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The Hunt

While walking around Halkirk, the party stumbled across a message board. On it, there were various bounty posters, a militia recruitment poster and a poster calling all brave souls to a tournament that was taking place the following day.

One of the posters caught the eyes of the party – a wolverine contract with an award amounting to 350 coin.

But before embarking on this dangerous hunt, Raijingeki of Nippon and Baltezar chose to try their luck at the tournament. This was a mistake. The tournament was a disaster for both of them. Well, in truth, Raijingeki managed to defeat Lord Tarus Feagin with a crossbow, widely regarded the finest swordsman in the land. He was, however, defeated in the next fight by a mere town guard.

Baltezar’s first and last opponent was an 8 feet tall orc, Drutur. Unsurprisingly, the fight ended quickly. It took only a few strikes to defeat the duskblade. His reliance on magic proved to be a weakness in this particular tournament.

With considerable damage to their pride, the party went on to try their hand at more manageable affairs; hunting large animals. Knowing that they would get lost in the dense woods, they proceeded to find a guide. Finding one was easy. Negotiating with him was the real challenge.

After promising Arandur the Tracker 75 gold coins for his services and buying two dozen bags of caltrops, they left the city with a newfound enthusiasm. Getting lost a few times washed away the enthusiasm, but at least they were making progress.

A day passed in the travel. Finding the tracks of the beast was easy. Such a large animal inevitably leaves a lot of clues wherever it goes. After tracking it for an hour, the party managed to come close enough to it to place the traps and still plan an attack without the fear of being attacked.

They decided to draw the attention of the beast with a piece of meat, knowing that wolverines have a keen sense of smell and would pick up the scent of meat with ease. Oblivious to the danger, the beast did as predicted and entered a field of caltrops. With it’s speed cut in half, the beast struggled to approach the party – let alone attack them. It was quickly put down by a merciless volley of arrows and bolts.

The party then went on to collect the traps. But, as Arandur was soon to find out, collecting traps is a dangerous business. Trying to disarm his own bear trap, Arandur carelessly activated it, almost killing himself in the process. Baltezar used his healing skills to help Arandur and prevent him from bleeding to death. But then, remembering that they still had to pay Arandur for the services, the party decided to kill him instead. Arandur was never a good judge of character.

And as they were arguing whether to skin the animal or drag it to Halkirk, two wild elves, oblivious of the nearby danger, simply walked near the party. The party quickly reacted and killed the elves with a hail of arrows. They then finished the discussion and agreed to drag the animal corpse back to the town.

Unscathed by the wolverine or the elves, the party began their journey back to Halkirk. But the journey was not without troubles…

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A Dark Chapter

Dragging the massive beast slowed the party down immensely. But that was only the beginning of their problems.

After walking for a couple of hours, the party was ambushed by wild elves. Though they managed to defeat the elves, the party was not unharmed by this fight.

They were already beginning to feel tired of all the action, when they encountered a massive wolf – a direwolf in fact. Luckily for them, the direwolf haven’t spotted them so they had some time to react. But things were about to take a turn for the worse. Baltezar and Aldun Greenbottle set the trap up and Raijingeki climbed a nearby tree hoping the beast won’t be able to reach him there. A bloody fight followed. The great beast was caught in the deadly trap but still managed to slay the duskblade quickly. Seeing what happened to his ally, Aldun climbed the tree. He then started releasing arrows with Raijingeki.

But then, in a stroke of misfortune, the beast managed to free itself from the jaws of the trap and Raijingeki fell from the tree. That was the end of Raijingeki, as the beast killed him with a single strong bite. Luckily for Aldun, the direwolf was badly hurt. He was able to put it down with a single well placed arrow.

The situation was desperate. Aldun, a halfling, was unable to drag the bodies, let alone the wolverine. But then he remembered that he had a whistle. With nothing to lose, he blew the whistle and lo and behold, a patrol from Halkirk appeared. The party was saved. Well, three of the four that went on the hunt were dead, but death is just a minor inconvenience for this resourceful bunch.

Tired from the eventful journey, Aldun went to his room in the Inn and rested.

The following morning he went to the cleric Rudlor Bolick. He agreed to do a little mission for him. In exchange, the Cleric would revive the two for a mere 500 coins.

Alive and well, the party went on to fulfill their end of the bargain. After all, they could hardly refuse a man that brought them back to life. The mission was simple; they were to go to an abandoned temple and kill everything in it. The cleric was also kind enough to give them a dozen flasks of holy water.

Not wanting to go into this affair without proper knowledge, they payed a visit to the town alchemist – a knowledgeable and influential man called Balric. After learning the creatures in question were carnage demons, the party decided to stack up on potions. But before that, the alchemist offered them a bargain. If the party were to bring him the eyes of the demons, they would get a number of invisibility potions in return. The party accepted.

After a short walk the abandoned temple was in sight. They proceeded to investigate the surroundings, and after defeating a skeleton, they carefully planed the attack.

The attack was a success. In a few well executed moves, the party managed to overpower the two demons and acquire the eyes. It would seem the party was becoming an efficient fighting force.

They then returned to Halkirk to claim their well-earned prize.

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The Ancient Ruins

After claiming their reward, the party rested awhile. They were then approached by one of the town guards. The town guard captain, Unala, wanted to speak with them. They were making quite a name for themselves, and this did not go unnoticed.

Unala explained that the interrogation of a wild elf prisoner exposed a disturbing conspiracy. Apparently, someone was tipping the wild elves about the supply caravans and as a result the attacks against them were more than succesful. The prisoner also revealed that the informer was to meet with the wild elves not far from Halkirk, in an ancient dwarven ruin. Since the informer has already been dealt with, the guards were in a curious position. They could send the party to give false information about a caravan and ambush the elves. Or they could simply kill the elves. As it would turn out, the party would go for the latter option.

Seeing that this was a rather difficult task, the silver-tongued halfling Aldun managed to persuade Unala to aid them. She assinged two of her best men to acompany the party.

Rested and assisted by two heavily armored and capable guards, the party left the town and marched on.

Even though the runins were a mere one hour of walking away, they managed to get ambushed by a band of lizardfolk. They dispatched of them quickly, but one of the guards fell after being struck by two arrows. This was to have severe consequences on his career, but that is another story. They had to drag his unconcious body back to Halkirk before continuing onward.

This time, the trip was uneventful. They ventured forth insinde the ruins. After finding out the hard way that there were traps in the dungeon, the party carefully navigated the dungeon, observant of the dangers within.

After disarming half a dozen traps, they found themselves in a room with a massive statue of a demon with a silver sword embedded it. Well, all except Jane Jacke Dylack who, with confidence born of profound ignorance, found himself seperated and in a room full of coffins. In a true grave robber fashion, he used his crowbar to pry open a coffin. Suddenly, he felt an evil force affect him. He was cursed. Surprisingly, he was undeterred by this event, and went on to open all the coffins in the room. After awekening two skeletons and being cursed another two times, he ran out of coffins. He did steal the gold name plates from the coffins, so the effort was not completley fruitless.

Meanwhile at the statue, the guard pulled the sword out of the demon and the demon came to life. The party anticipated this and prepared accordingly. The managed to quickly overcome the massive creature. But then three more undead rose up from their deep sleep, no doubt awakened by the comotion. Cought off guard and with their weapons ineffective, the fight lasted quite a bit. But quick decisions and resourcefulness carried the day.

Free of distractions, the party went on to complete their mission. Finding the elves was not hard. The elves were unaware of the party’s hostile intent and the party used this to their advantage, striking first and gaining the upper hand. Well, all except the half-orc Jane Jacke Dylack, who for some obscure reason decided to run right through the fight. Both the elves and the party were puzzled by this move. The party was however used to these bursts of insanity, so they used the confusion amongst the elves to eliminate them in mere seconds.

After looting the dead enemies, they went out of the ruins and back to Halkirk. The town guards were so pleased with them that they decided to celebrate that night with a feast. For once, the party was able to escape the misserable reality of their situation and lose themselves in drink. Ignorance is bliss, as they say.

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The Arachnic Tomb

After the feast from last night Raijingeki went to the city dungeon to question the elf they had taken prisoner from their last adventure. His methods were rather cruel and he ended up killing the elf. Meanwhile Baltazer met up with a lord whom he and his company had secretly planned to rob. He tried to arrange for himself and his so called band an audience with the lord where they would perform their magnificent music. Upon hearing what they had to offer, the lord was deeply insulted and shunned them away scornfully.

Disappointed in his music as well, the Duskblade went to search for his companions. They were haggling with the dwarven blacksmith and getting ready to set out in yet another adventure. The dwarf made a request and promised a fine reward it they happen to stumble upon a strange metal which was discovered just recently, for he believed that Valhollow contained such a matter. After they made the necessary arrangements they set out into the wild guided by a skilled ranged handpicked by Unalla.

As they were traversing the wilderness at night they found an old hut and an eerie atmosphere began to rise. There was someone or something in those woods watching them. They felt those eyes creeping over their skin and whispers filling their skulls. But their mind was strong as steel and they soon found the deceiver; it was a Green Hag, a monster hiding its ugly visage behind the curtain of a young woman. The group saw through the deception and slayed the wicked creature. They continued travelling during the day and as soon as they thought their troubles had ended a giant eagle appeared out of the blue sky and tried to fetch the little Halfling Aldun, the beast had judged him wrong for he was swifter than his appearance would show. The eagle fell after a few flashing arrows. They began to dislike the wilderness with all its surprised and as they were camping yet another strange thing happened. Baltazer was out staying guard when a mysterious voice soon took over his body and spoke to him demanding the truth about his intentions; whether he would harm the forest or leave it undisturbed. Baltazer answered truthfully, for no other option was at hand, he said that they would not harm the forest in any way, and soon after that he was released from the grasp of this mysterious, yet gentle force.

Soon the company reached a village and took the time to resupply before venturing further. After catching their breath their guide said he would take them no further for they stood at the foot of the Mountain Kjarr and their destination was a short way ahead. Kjarr stood like a fortress grinding into the blue sky with its magnificent tops.

Even though it was difficult to traverse not one word of complaint came from either of them and soon they found the entrance to the infamous cave Valhollow which promised to contain vicious creatures which plagued these lands. As they entered they were surprised by a swarm of bats, but their previous experience thought them how those tiny creatures were just afraid and shocked by their torches. After the little rumble caused by the winged mice, the party set out to explore the caverns. What they saw disturbed them greatly, for on the ceiling there were those trolls they set out to hunt, the only problem was that the trolls were already dead and cocooned within webs. Their surprise was followed by an earthquake which seemed to have brought down the entrance of the cavern. Aldun casted light upon the ceiling of the cave and from above sprang a dozen of monstrous spiders; some of them tiny other rather enormous. The spiders spat out their sticky web which crippled both the Duskblade and the Barbarian; the helpless pair struggled with the webs while the other two were busy holding the spiders at bay with their bolts. The struggle continued for a while until the Barbarian flew into a rampage and tore his way through with vice in his eyes. He quickly began dispatching of the spiders that fell like chop wood before his heavy axe. As soon as they believed they’ve seen the worst of their luck suddenly another earthquake occurred which brought down the entire floor on which they were standing. They began sliding down the crevice followed by rubble; soon they found themselves at the bottom of this cavern.

The interior looked like a mine with strange ore sprouting all around the walls which they recognised to be the metal the dwarf was talking about. Another strange thing was a monolith-like object which just stood there emanating a strange aura. The group decided not to get near to it but rather examine it from afar and mine as much of the metal ore as they could carry. Baltazer lost his nerve after staying in this dark cavern for days and decided to examine the monolith closer. He took out a dagger and hurled it towards the object, he stood amazed as the dagger passed right through the stone and disappeared. He then tied a rope around another dagger and did the same; the same happened with both the dagger and the rope, but when he tried to pull the rope back only the end which stayed outside of the monolith came back. The party figured out the monolith to be some kind of a teleport, what troubled them though; it seemed that it was only a one-direction teleport. They took up the courage and jumped through the stone which took them even further than they could imagine.

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A Dire Situation

Our heroes found themselves in a dark room, still a bit confused of how they got there in the first place and where they were now. The party quickly shrugged the uneasy feeling away and started to search for an exit out of this pitch black coffin of a room. Suddenly Alduin, the witty little rogue, found some unusually coloured stones, the half-orc pushed him aside and without a second thought struck the spot with his rugged battle-axe and bashed through it as if it was tinder made. The crack in the wall revealed a corridor and the party slowly began strolling down the hallway only to discover that the place where they traversed was looking more and more cryptic and sinister. Dusty table tops, rotten wooden chairs and an uneasy atmosphere filled every room they found, especially this one very odd room. For this room was no ordinary room, like the others they visited, this had been a resting place for some strange creature. An open coffin and various empty picture frames slowly but surely started to shaken this once resolute group.

As they went on ahead a large bear skeleton emerged from the darkness, they crept slowly towards the monstrosity only to discover it motionless. Baltazer regained some of his courage and boldly started pulling on a bone and to their terror the giant skeleton started moving towards them. In this chaos they saw a figure endowed in the blackest of robes. Something odd and sinister was surrounding the figure as it suddenly leapt into the air and with a single swift claw beheaded the monstrous skeleton. For a few seconds the party thought that this creature was their saviour, but soon they would see the burning sensation and bloodlust in its eyes. They didn’t think twice and ran for their lives; fortunately, to their right side, there were stairs and two massive stone lids on top of the stairs which they used to reconfine the creature.

After the frightful encounter the group made their way out of the ruin whereas they saw a large number of skeletons walking about the ruin’s courtyard as if they were guarding it. Carefully they snuck through the courtyard alerting only a handful of guardian skeletons from whom they managed to slip away.

They found themselves on a plain and upon seeing a great mountain they eagerly started ascending in hope they would find the city of Halkirk in the dale of the mountain. However, they found an outpost with a pair of guards who found it difficult to believe that the party came all the way from Halkirk to the Southern parts of Hempmonaland. The party saw something shady about the two guardsmen who pointed them towards some rather unknown city, but they decided to ascend the mountain nevertheless, after all where else would they go?

After climbing a short distance they met a strange party who looked and behaved like those guards they met. The four men introduced themselves as a hunter patrol company; oddly enough they demanded some food and our heroes gladly shared rations with them. In the mountains the party decided to make camp nearby a pond, they also discovered a body seemingly long forgotten in these peaks. The lifeless bones pointed towards the pond and the party decided that their companion Jane should go check it out. He tied a rope around his waist and made his way into the murky water. His orcish eyes allowed him to see even in this complete darkness and what he saw amazed him greatly, namely, in the mud and rock there stood the statue of the god of Light – Sonron. The statue was as tall as the tallest dwarf and heavy as the heaviest gnome. While Jane was exploring the murky waters Raijingeki found a wand in the dead man’s belongings, a wand with the power of restoration. Jane emerged from the water and started pulling on the rope he had tied to the statue, with a few powerful pulls he managed to drag the statue out of the water and the whole party stood amazed at the beauty of that unique craftsmanship. When the party finally set to rest they were quite surprised at the resourcefulness of the little swampy area they had found.

After the brake they set out once again with the idea of reaching the city they heard about. All of a sudden they heard heavy footsteps, and to their horror there stood a Dire Bear, still unaware of their presence though. Dashingly they ran towards a tree when the bear took upon their scent and started growling viciously. After a few blows being dealt, the Duskblade found himself in a rather dire situation, for he could dodge the bear’s attacks no longer and his companion the half-orc had already fallen, even the swift-footed rogue was helpless for his tiny arrows Barely pierced the beast’s hide. The air reeked with death when finally their luck shifted for the better, namely, the patrol they had encountered before was passing by and decided to help the worn out combatants. A few arrows distracted the bear while the Duskblade focused his whole rage into one attack thundery which pierced the bear’s skull and fried its eyes from inside out. The dire situation was averted, but not without dire consequences, for the half-orc was still unconscious and he witnessed the sharpness of the bear’s claws with his face, later it would turn out that he likes this scar, because for some reason Orcs find that fashionable. The party was grateful towards their rescuers, but they feared the patrol would size their beloved statue; it turned out the patrol was too busy and they overlooked the great golden idol. When the air cleared the group made their way down the mountain and hid the statue.

When they came to the gates they were asked to pay a fine to the gate guards, Jane upon hearing this decided to bargain. That turned out to be a bad idea, for this was no ordinary city, in fact it was not a city at all, but rather an encampment for bandits. The bandit leader, the dwarf Herdesar, had the half-orc stripped of all of his coins for refusing to pay the fine. Jane, now upset upon his loss, wanted to leave the camp as soon as possible, but the party persuaded him to stay a bit longer so they could gather some information. They asked around for a soil good enough so that they could bury something, and a bandit, bold as he was, thought they had lost a dear friend and pointed them towards a graveyard and they managed to bury the large golden idol without being spotted. After the exhaustive digging they went back to the camp to rest for a while. The inn keeper was a man of calm temper who advised them not to make any trouble or there would be consequences. After a good night sleep they went around the camp looking for some work so that they could earn a few coins. A shady character, probably not the shadiest of the lot, told them about the arena where combatants would engage in a one on one fist fight. Jane decided to give it a try and he fell in the first round. Next up was Baltazer the Duskblade. His mind hazy and his judgement clouded because he had purchased some Devil weeds from the shady man before, but nevertheless his fists remained as hard as stone and he won a few battles earning him a fine sum of gold. Jane decided to give it another try and he won three battles in a row and he was once again in possession of gold. Herdesar the leader did not like the half-orc and challenged him to a duel. After a few blows had been dealt the dwarf fell and invited Jane to drink beer with him and he recognized him as a great warrior. Aldun also decided to fight in the arena and, to his foolishness, challenged a woman called Bliz to duel with him. What Aldun did not know is that Bliz was one of the strongest bandits in the camp, and only a handful had defeated her before. After an exhaustive battle Aldun fell to the ground and Bliz exited the arena victorious. While the group was idling about, a rather clumsy messenger sought them out and told them the mage Lezeroth summons them. They met Lezeroth an elf seven feet high with black hair falling over his long shoulders. Lezeroth informed them that he is conducting research about a new mysterious metal that appeared not long ago and since they were adventurers, he asked them if they could mine some of that mysterious metal for him. Before he could finish his thought the party presented him a large quantity of the metal they had mined before. Lezeroth was so delighted that he presented the party with gifts, a ring with the power to shatter walls and a pair of eye lenses with mind affecting abilities. He then made another proposal, namely, his colleague has not reported for days and since they were capable adventurers he would teleport them into the ruins which turned out to be the very same ruins they had fled a few days before, and the skeletons just illusions his colleague set up to keep intruders at bay. He gave them a scroll of teleportation so that they could safely teleport back after they had finished the job.

Then they were teleported and found themselves in a dark room once more; there was a wooden desk and all over it scattered scrolls like leaves in autumn. The party couldn’t make out what the scrolls were about so they quickly stuffed them all inside their bags and continued to explore. Suddenly they found traces of blood, what could have happened here, they thought to themselves. They followed the trail of blood out of the room and into the hallway when suddenly the trail stopped and they discovered the blood dripped from the celling into a little puddle. Shaken by this they went ahead and stumbled upon a stairwell which led them to a sealed stone door. The quickest among them, the Halfling Aldun, found several long stone bricks with some kind of drawings on them. They started assembling the pieces upon the stone door, when they finished the puzzle, they saw that the markings on the bricks made a mural depicting the three gods who fought and defeated an ancient evil thousands of years ago. Then, a mechanism from the other side of the wall was heard and the door slid open. Within they saw a gloomy, purple light and an altar like structure. Upon the altar lay a book which exhaled a sinister air and an eerie gloom. Above the altar was a painting of the god of death, he was presented as a skeleton dressed in a black, hooded robe. Nothing in this room indicated anything good, nevertheless, the fearless party stepped up and Aldun picked up the book, but before he could make anything of it the book sealed itself and its treasures or its miseries which were not to be seen by their eye no more.

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