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Adventure Log 0604

Tonight’s game was delayed owing to the absence of Paige, Ty, and Ben. Instead we made Ron a gun bunny for Shadowrun.

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Adventure Log 05 25

Written in elegant Draconic script

Our time among the giants has been strange. We are surrounded by creatures that are far stronger and more martially inclined than ourselves, so therefore we’re relying on wits and low cunning to survive here. I am starting to think that this is another of Content Not Found: 32041 famous subtle tests. I belive we will will use finesse or die here. I hope we can pull it off, but I’d hate to talk to a professional odds-maker on the subject.

After that brute Hurlag nearly killed Thorfin over his son Findoll’s alleged pilfering of Hurlag’s kill, we went to look at the larder. It’s a crevasse where the winds from the mountain blow through. At this height, those winds are freezing cold, so it preserves the meat. Gorin showed us around the freezing room. Isak was kind enough to treat him (and the rest of us) to the Endure Elements ritual. The larder was covered with nets to keep out birds, but a sizeable crack formed an entrance for some other kind of pest. The crack was too small, even for the smallest giants, but not for us, so down we went.

We found ants. A common enough household pest. Except these were ants fit for a giant’s larder, which is to say they were as big as we are! We fought some in a network of caves just under the larder that had carried off some meat. Smoke tracked them farther down the cave system, until we found an underground river flowing out of the mountain. We could see daylight and the jungle past the river-cave, which is probably how the vermin got in. We skirmished with more of them in the cave with the river mouth and found a nest of them there. Nin, as usual, was the strong front line behind which Isak and I stood behind to rain spells down on the ants. Smoke and Barney were up with Nin. It was a rousing battle. Smoke says that he can extract some of the body parts to some use, but damned if I understand it. If Content Not Found: akra_ or _Content Not Found: 32032 finds some use for them, then I am happy to bring them back for their edification.

There’s something strange about the river… it makes one’s skin tingle and it has a faint blue glow to it. Spellplague. Why did it have to be spellplague? My first experience with the plaguetouched was in New Neverwinter, when a bunch of plaguetouched orcs tried to eat me and a small contingent of House folk coming back from the docks. I’ll never forget their eerie blue-glowing spellfire. I still have nightmares. Regardless, I ended up splashing into the river, but I pray to Oghma that the curse of the plaguetouched is something that I shall never know.

There was a nest of the brutes, so we perservered and went in. The first thing we saw was the 600 lb behemoth-haunch that Hurlag said that Findoll stole. Well, that’s a mystery solved, at least. A mess of the grubs attacked us, as well as some brood-ant. Smoke knows the gross details, I shall have to interview him for them if I’m to make a full report in the statistically unlikely event I return home alive. More likely, this journal will be found by some future explorer who will finish this jaunt. Regardless, we eventually dispatched them. I never thought about the problems of fighting things that can walk on the walls and ceiling. Ghastly.

We were about to leave when we figured out that the ant-tunnel complex went back further. Barney, when he’s not running his mouth like a sheer idiot, is quite sneaky. As it turns out, this is where the queen ant laired, along with two little buzzy ones. Smoke had something to say about it… they were drones, males. The queen ant had a huge belly bloated with blue glowing fire – more of the damnable spellplague! She came and vomited great gouts of the stuff all over most of us. I was too far back to be part of that miserable process. We were bottled up in a small tunnel, and Nin’trith’celan bravely fought around to the other side to her. My eyes, I fear, are getting weaker because I saw him in one place, and then suddenly , he was someplace else. I completely lost track of him for a moment. Barney ran forward, punching the queen viciously. She replied by nearly tearing both him and Nin in half, while the small buzzy ones flew around stinging us all with vicious attacks. The room was full of sticky eggs that were an additional misery. Once I finally (finally!) got into the room, I was able to dispatch both of the buzzy ones and the queen. This was due, in some part, to the amazing fight that had gone on while Isak and I were still trapped in the tunnel.

Isak was downed in the fight, but Smoke managed to awaken him and heal him. Power of Mielikki indeed! Barney had tried to jump across the ant-queen’s spellplague infused body, but tripped and landed in it instead. Ugh! It was horrifying! The thought of that greasy, sticky, blue fire touching one’s scales! Horrid! Isak and Nin figured that we should keep some of the “distilled essence of spellplague” in the beast’s abdoment for Master Nuresh. With great reluctance, I helped them collect it into two of the jars that were originally for the Earthfire. Once we’d cleared out, I used my own good clean spellfire to incinerate the eggs to hopefully exterminate that menace forever. Hopefully. Spellplagued ants! Horrid.

We found Gorin enjoying his endure elements ritual, and got him to carry the haunch of meat. We explained what had happened and he wanted to take us to king. We were covered in soot, mud, riverwater with spellplague, blood, sweat, ant goo, and in Barney’s case, ant goo with spellplague. I begged for an opportunity to make ourselves presentable before we met the king, strongly seconded by Isak. Gorin led us to the baths. Ohhhhh, very nice. They are heated by the Neverwinter River, or perhpas the mysterious heat source within Mount Hotenow. The natural baths and pools even included a mud pool. It sounds somewhat enjoyable, but it was too hot for me to find out firsthand. Many were hot enough to burn through my scales, but I found some enjoyable ones for myself and my companions and we got clean.

King Thar joined us after a bit. At one time, no doubt, he was a proud figure of a giant, but the wasting disease that has withered his legs makes him less imposing. He listened to our tale with relative interest, and perhaps a glimmer of intelligence with his brow. He said that Findoll (the boy) will be declared innocent and Thorfin will have no more cause for duelling with Hurlag. Though he really didn’t say as much, I got the impression he knew this would create an emnity between Hurlag and ourselves. No loss. He hated us before. Better to have the king’s gratitude and Thorfin’s also than try to make diplomatic inroads with Hurlag. King Thar said that Bregga would call the earthfire for us on the morrow, and had other things to speak to us about as well. He also said that we were welcome to stay at Gorin’s and we were free to wander during our three days of hospitality with the giants, but that we should have an escort at all times. The king’s legs were paining him, so we left him in peace.

A whispered discussion and comparison of thoughts among our group led us to the following conclusions:

  • King Thar’s days are few. He will either die peacefully of old age or Hurlag will kill him for being weak.
  • If Hurlag succeeds Thar, it will, at the very best, destroy any hope of peaceful trade with the giants. At worst, King Hurlag could attack New Neverwinter in a fit of xenophobic rage to consolidate his power.
  • Gorin is a nice person, but unfit to rule by virtue of his academic temperament.
  • Thorfin seems to have the support of many of the women and mated families of giants, the traditionalists. He owes us, personally, his son’s life and perhaps his own. That seems to mean something to him, and he would be a monarch we could work with.
  • Hurlag seems to have the support of the younger, single, hunters and fighters among the tribe – their military might.

    Kingmaking among giants is a dangerous pastime, indeed.
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Adventure Log 3
at least we are not all dead

This Sucks. I stand here bored while my companions grunt and growl to our surprise host, some sort of snake lady. I am all for the grunting, though, since it seems like every time we fight something out here in this godforsaken jungle one of our number dies. Adventuring members of House Ember, trained and seasoned, cut down by whistling kobold scum. Great now the pack of female kobolds our polygamist kobold companion “rescued” is worshiping the damn thing. The one silver lining is if they had turned on us a week ago, I would have had a tough time drawing my sword on them. But now I’ll have no problem butchering the lot of them, assuming I don’t go down first. Ah, it looks like a negotiation has been concluded. We are going to be able to leave alive with most of our stuff, and in return we only gave the capricious ophidian demi-god some of our choicest loot including some bronze tablets I imagine held powerful useful secrets and the knowledge that there is a town of sentient beings nearby ripe for her to play with. And to even the odds a little, the new kobold is going to lead her to his tribe so she can turn them into monstrous thralls. Still at this point any instance that does not leave me or one of my companions bleeding out in the dirt is not all bad.

As we head back to town I try and think of a good way to convince the Master of Ember to go and kick the snake lady’s ass. If I know anything about fey creatures that aren’t all shiny goody-goody sparkly godmothers, its that the only thing that can stop them from doing something “fun” is showing them they will get flayed and turned into a garden hose if they do it. The master is the only one I know that I would feel confident sending against her. After we stash our tribute in the water barrels we will be almost home. What the abyss; a damn lizard thing (stupid scaled things I am so sick of scaled crap) has made its nest in the barrel cave. I try to back away but my companions are trigger happy, not that I can blame them, and we start hacking the mother creature to bits. I say mother, who knows, it is not important since apparently the “father” has crawled out of the river and we might as well kill that one to. I would be willing to eat these though. I lick the spray from my lips. I would say it tastes like chicken, but since I have not drank chicken blood straight I can’t be sure. Better than jerky though I bet. Finally I got the bastards off my companions, now I just buckle down and summon my Resurgent Ember training. These stupid lizards will impale themselves to death on my swordburst’s residual force spikes. Or not. Corellen! what the gutterslut is happening where before I would count on the force blades to keep my enemies off my back now they fade the first time one of these toothed monstrosities lunges at me. I can’t believe my power is forsaking me at such a critical time! My arcane knowledge perceives that it is not some property of these beasts but a dramatic irreversible shifting of the magic of the cosmos that has made my Resurgent Ember style residual force blade effect weaken to a foamy rubber consistency after a light testing. Well no matter, the scaly things are slain and we harvest them for reagents and snacks. Their eggs look like they might be good eating as well, but the group decides to give them to the skinny kobold so he can allow his new god to turn them into cold-blooded hyper violent killing machines. At least no one died. Excepting innocent lizards protecting their young, of course.

The final leg is enlivened by a band of fast little scaly bastards running all around trying to eat us. They did temporarily remove the digestive system from several of us, but in the end we triumphed. I don’t know if we are getting better at killing scaly things or of the jungle spirit is showing mercy on us since it has beaten us into turning back. Of course when we make another go of it I am sure the doubtlessly scaly jungle spirit will come down with even greater force. I like Veridian, but if he decides to come back to life so some savage can barbecue him again (in fairness I think they killed him first, he might want to experience it while conscious) I think I will ask him to shave. I assume dragonborn can shave, since humans shave to not look like pig dogs I assume dragonborn can shave to not look like scaly kobold lizard crap bastards. I don’t know. I’ll have to phrase it well though, he is kind of sensitive and I want to eat at least once at his place before we go back into the jungle again. especially since that might be the last time and I am not sure I can get beef berry compote sword coast style tarts in Eladrin heaven.

So we are just about ready to head out again, back into the jungle. We have weathered the embarrassment of returning empty handed and got our companion raised. I guess Aliona is happy in the shadowfell. If I had to choose one of us to not come back it would not have been the shadar-kai chick who liked to share my warding. Oh well. It seems Kur’naj is going to go with the kobold to watch the birth of a new power in the region. I give 50% he comes back just in time to warn us of her pending attack and 50% he is leading that attack, suitably enhanced and scaly. Speaking of which the master is all busy, but I suppose I can wait to try and convince him since it won’t help my cause if I interrupt him and make him all cranky. I guess the last thing before we head back out is transfer the enchantment off this bastard sword to a longsword Isak or I could use and see if I can rustle up a speaky stone for draconic and giant. I don’t really feel like sitting around while others talk again, especially since I like to practice katas when I am bored and that makes it harder for my companions to negotiate. I am pretty interested in what may be at the heart of the Fire giants volcano as well as the giants themselves. Semi-stupid giants are much more useful than fey demigod snake ladies. Even if they are hot and bendy.

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Phat Lewts from the Kobold Camp
a bit of payback

Valuables recovered from the kobold encampment:

*An iron bastard sword with a stylized dragon-head pommel; Iluskan runes along the blade spell out its name (+2 bastard sword)

*A bearskin cloak that seems to be a wellspring of primal vitality (+1 cloak of the chirurgeon)

*A large pair of sealskin boots that allow for sudden reversals of momentum (boots of adept charging)

*A large ruby carved in the shape of a reptilian eye (worth 100 gp, and useable as a ritual focus)

*300 gp worth of alchemical reagents (ritual components for Arcana)

*200 gp worth of rare herbs (ritual components for Nature)

*100 gp worth of complex unguents (ritual components for Heal)

*3 small clay jars of restorative elixirs (potions of healing)

*a small glass jar of a protective elixir (potion of fire resistance)

*2 chunks of ice that refuse to melt (frozen whetstones)

*3 clay pots containing volatile liquids (alchemist’s fire)

*2 clay pots containing thick glue (tanglefoot bags)

*11 corroded bronze plates covered with engravings in ancient Draconic; a few portions have been restored and can be used as ritual books for Magic Mouth, Eye of Alarm, and Brew Potion

*a small pouch of rough diamonds worth about 500 gp

*roughly 200 gp in mixed coin

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Adventure Log 1
A blog for your campaign

Written in elegant draconic script

I’ve been in town full time for about six weeks now and I’m starting to feel finally settled in. Our ship, the Drake’s Luck has sailed back out through the semi-regular barricade that those thieving Luskan pirates have settled around the Bay of Mists. So far, I’ve found out that the south bank of the Neverwinter River (what used to be called ‘South River Street’) is some of the wildest areas in town – the undead, oozes, and plaguechanged humanoids are thought to cluster thickly there, though really, most of the humanoids have been driven out, or so I’ve been told. I’ve also been told that the river is hotter now than what it used to be, back before the Spellplague. Apparently the fish in the harbor are quite odd also – big toothy things – but I pray I’m never close enough to find out. Though now that I think of it, there’s probably some first rate finds under the river water, ones that haven’t been picked over or looted. Perhaps, if I can find some enterprising watersouls they might be willing to scout around…

The farms at the north side of the city are apparently preparing for spring planting – that’s good, because it means that it’s likely to warm up soon, I imagine. Most of the farmers (as well as the dockworkers, longshoremen, the cargo haulers, the bar staff, the guards, the wall-builders) are here as indentured servants from Baldur’s Gate. I imagine it’s a brutal life, but better than what they could expect back in civilzation. Ah, civilization… that memory only makes my own present state more miserable.

I am camping, yes, camping, out in the woods, on the way to take a sword to some giants. It’s worse than that, actually. I should start from the beginning.

Content Not Found: 32041_ has worked out the most amazing sending. I’ve no patience for ritual study, truly, but this almost makes me want to try it again! He managed to send simultaneous sendings to myself and several others to summon us to his offce. I met Content Not Found: isoloq_ as I was coming towards Harzarim’s office. Isak, as per usual, was just waking up. Content Not Found: aliona01_, Content Not Found: kurnaj1_, and Content Not Found: 32670 were already there. The whole household had been taking it’s orders from Harzarim, as Content Not Found: 32032 had been closeted with some poor victim of the spellplague. I hope he can save her, him, whatever. Or at least provide it with some comfort in it’s last hours. A nasty business, the spellplague, just nasty. Regardless, he summoned us to his neat, orderly office. The picture window has an excellent view of the Bay of Mists and several fishing boats were plying their trade in the background. Apparently, we were going to be sent out on a diplomatic mission – surely that’s why Isak and I were involved.

Two merchants (a halfling named Erol and a northerner named Svarog) were going to be taking a magical frost sword (a big gaudy thing with a fine enchantment on it from Master Soloq) to the the king of the fire giants currently inhabiting Mount Hotenow. In return, King Thar was planning on gifting Master Soloq with a quantity of something called earthfire. I don’t recall that from my studies, Iskak still wasn’t fully awake, one can’t expect Aliona to know anything about that, but Nin and Kur’naj seemed to recognize the term. Apparently it’s an important alchemical reagent (a note in the margin of the journal here reads “Remember to ask ”wiki-content-link-not-found">_Content Not Found: akra_ about earthfire".) However, Erol and Svarog had gone missing, so Master Harzarim wanted us to take the great beastly thing to the giant. Some questions were asked, some were even answered. When we asked “well, how are we to get to Mount Hotenow?” Harzarim, in his usual style pointed at the plume of smoke that is visible to the northeast of the city most days and quipped “follow that plume of smoke!” Well! Really! Once we were dismissed, Isak and I decided to see if we could find more about Erol and Svarog within New Neverwinter. It wasn’t merely an excuse for a pub crawl, really…

Content Not Found: 32251
, as usual, knew about the comings and goings of everyone of importance in New Neverwinter, and particularly those people of no particular importance! He’d mentioned that he’d seen Erol heading into the Bilge Rat. Ew. Well, so be it. The group of us headed to the Bilge Rat and found Erol. Poisoned, infected, wounded Erol. Isak cleverly tricked him into talking about the giants (we didn’t know what kind of information that Erol would let drop unexpectedly). He had blinding sickness, which while quite bad, isn’t the spellplague, y’know? Though I’m puzzled as to where he picked it up, because I think it comes from bad water. So we did what we could to try and fix him up. Isak’s medical skills… they leave something to be desired. Aliona tried to get a priest, but the priest of Ilmater was trying to torture a body back to life (I didn’t ask) and the priests of Waukeen demanded some really unreasonable amount of gold. So we tended him as best we could. Once he got healed up enough, he told us a little more about what had happened.

Apparently Erol and Svarog trade with these giants from time to time. They’ve never discovered alcohol, so he brings them horrible rotgut from the city (which he waters down halfway to Mount Hotenow at a stream, leaving the empty casks there for recycling) and some trade goods which he trades for diamonds and gold from the volcano. Clever, actually. Waukeen bless halflings little larcenous hearts. King Thar, in particular, enjoys the alcohol. Bregga is a older female giantess with white hair, who apparently has a sweet tooth – likes apple pies. She’s a firecaller, some sort of priestess or enchantress. Apparently Erol saw her with a tame primordial or elemental walking around with her. The king has two sons, Gorin and Hurlag. Gorin is skinnier and speaks common and primordial – he’s interested in trade and exploration. Hurlag, in contrast, is a mean-tempered brute who’s as likely to slay a non-giant as look at him. He’s as thickly muscled as a dwarf, apparently, and is also Thar’s favorite, which says nothing good about our potential diplomatic relations with our neighbors, nothing good at all. We’d be wise to win him over, or find some information that would be useful against him in the future. There are perhaps fifty or sixty giants, all told. Erol said that he and Svarog had seemed weak, overcome by the volcanic heat, when they first made contact with the giants and that they had been in a sore spot, politically, ever since. I imagine my inborn draconic resistance to fire might help there, but that the Endure Elements ritual will be necessary for everyone.

As far as explanation for his sorry state said that they were on their way back from Hotenow, and were attacked by small humanoids with darts and arrows, probably poisoned, that communicated by whistling. He ran off, and somehow made it back to Neverwinter. The description doesn’t ring a bell with me – nor even with Content Not Found: 32261. Goblins maybe, or kobolds.

As we nursed him back to health (and I don’t think Isak was quite successful) Erol said that the best way to get to the giants would be to take the logger’s track to a large rock shaped like a snake curled up on it’s tail. From there, he and Svarog marked trees along their route through Neverwinter Wood, and he advised us to take machetes to chop through any underbrush that will have grown up so that we won’t slow down the mule train. He also pointed out that one can’t see the smoke through the treecover. Hah! Then we were to take the marked trail to the foothills, and look to the left for a hilll of shiny black lava rock. There is a stone gong there that we can ring, and Gorin will come out to guide us in. When we got concerned about such a sizeable colony of giants so close to Neverwinter, Erol pointed out that he’d cleverly misled the giants into thinking that he’d come from Baldur’s Gate (which he had, actually, but just not directly from Baldur’s Gate…). That’s best, because the idea of the giants running loose is worse than the idea of the spellplagued orcs breaking free from the House of Justice! To think we have problems now, hah! Erol also indicated that the giants don’t stray far from the volcano because it’s too cold for them otherwise, and that while they do some hunting, they aren’t particularly afflicted with wanderlust or the urge to explore.

During this process, Kur’naj and Nin started thinking about the Earthfire, and they remembered that it has to be carried in special stone jugs. Another damned test of Harzarim’s! Apparently the deal was for 8, but they sent us with 12 jugs, because Isak is that good of a diplomat. Once we got final instructions from the drover about the care and feeding of mules (vile beasts) we were on our way. We made it to the rock shaped like a snake without particular trouble. Nin noted something about the rock, something about a connection to some ancient moldy snake-god. A single needlefang drake got into some of our supplies (we have a month of supplies for a 10 day trip). The trail is not any sort of real road. There are bugs (thank goodness I’m dragonborn) and the rest of my companions are quite unhappy. Nin has some protection from the bugs due to his own arcane abilities (Aliona seems to be quite taken with him, but that may just be a measure against the insects). The mules smell and the track is often muddy.

I’ve found something that makes New Neverwinter seem pleasant by comparison.

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