Waterday, 17th of Sunstrong, 4433
As the party regrouped on the bridge (location “R”), they viewed the swarm of dragons in the sky. Despite have killed 13 dragons themselves, the balance of power does not appear to have shifted since they arrived. The dragons were focusing most of their efforts on the one remaining tower in the gorge (location “J”).
The party decided to try to talk to the fire giants who were guarding the entrance to the citadel. The party decided to let Ulm speak for the party and Granuel cast Eagle’s Splendor on him. Everyone sheathed weapons and slowly made their way to across the bridge. The following conversation occurred:
Fire Giant: “Halt! No one may pass. Be gone!”
Ulm: “Hail and curse these worthless dragons. We have been sent on a mission by the Druids from the Island of Last Resort to speak with Kagro Thundersmiter. We are here to help you.”
Chresin: “Hail mighty Tiamikal Nul-Shada!”
Fire Giant: “Go away little person. We know that you are spies. Spies for the dragons or spies for the Rift Lords. We care not. Go away. We want nothing to do with your kind.”
Chresin: “You saw us destroy three mighty dragons, right here on your own bridge. Therefore, you know that we are not working with the Dragons.”
Fire Giant: “Ha. Gnome tricks. I know you are a gnome. I saw you fire spells into mid-air and then dragons appear and disappear. Your illusions do not fool me.”
Ulm: “Fire Giants as smart as yourselves would definitely see through any gnome tricks. So you know that I am telling you the truth when I say that we must speak with Kagro Thundersmiter and woe to anyone who would prevent us. Kagro will be very displeased if you delay the sending of our message.” (OOC: Diplomacy Check: 21, i.e., fail)
Fire Giant: “We have our orders. Be gone! Or we will smite you.”
Ulm: “I think there is a possibility that your orders did not expect this. We can wait…briefly…while you go and check your orders. That would be the best scenario for all of us, because we guarantee you that Kagro is going to want to speak with us.” (OOC: Diplomacy: 25)
Fire Giant looks to his partner then replies: “Nah. We’ll call you…maybe later.”
Ulm: “Is there some sacrifice that we can offer you that will prove our intentions?”
Fire Giant: _“Ha! No! No one is worthy small persons. Especially not gnomes.” He picks up a rock and shouts, “Go, go, go away.”
Chresin: “We will return tomorrow. Make sure Kagro knows this.”
Frustrated, the party returned to Rift Lord’s Palace and spoke to Bragi. They asked about the condition of King Achaime Silvereye. Bragi once again replied, “He’s very tired. You cannot see him today.” (OOC: Sense Motive: 34) They realized that Bragi was still being evasive so they offered to try to heal Achaime. Bragi declined their help, but did agree to let the party to rest once again in the courtyard.
The party devised a plan to get Ulm into the inner area of the damaged stronghold (location “P"). They waited until dark and then Ulm used a combination of spells to form a telepathic bond with the rest of the party and to create an illusion of himself sleeping. While the rest of the party pretended to sleep, Ulm cast invisibility upon himself and sneaked through the foyer and into the deeper realms of the castle. After about an hour of searching, he found the throne room.
King Achaime Silvereye was sitting on the throne, unaware of his surroundings. A bit of drool dribbled from his lower lip. Ulm looked for documents, letters and missives of any type, but found nothing. Next, he cast Detect Magic and determined that King Achaime was wearing some magical items, but was not under the influence of an enchantment.
Telepathically, the party discussed ways to gain information from Achaime. Ulm cast Project Image, to make himself look like Bragi. He then tried to talk to King Achaime, but got no intelligible response. Stepping behind him, Ulm placed a circlet of intellect on the King’s head.
King Achaime’s eye blinked a few times as he looked around the room in surprise. He saw Bragi/Ulm and asked hoarsely what was going on. Bragi/Ulm told the king that dragons had been attacking Kongen-Thulnir for the last several days but there were brave adventurers who have come here to help. He asked the king if he knew what the dragons might be looking for and the king responded that is must be whatever the idiots in the citadel are protecting. The King ordered Bragi/Ulm to “rally the troops” and he marched out to the courtyard and demanded to speak with the “humans.”
As the king entered the courtyard, the Bragi/Ulm projection disappeared. The real Bragi was asleep, but as the king approached, someone yelled out, “My King” and everyone in the courtyard took a knee. The following conversation ensued:
King Achaime: “So these are the little ones you let in. Tell me, dragon slayers, what is the situation outside?”
Chresin: “The situation is grave, your grace.”
King Achaime: “Yes, tell me more.”
Chresin gestured towards the sky and explained: “the flames that you see in the distance represent but a fraction of the forces that have amassed against us. A host of dragons have laid siege to Kongen Thulnir.”
King Achaime: “Well let’s rally the troops then.”
Chresin: “That is what we have been trying to do, but there is no leadership at the moment. It seems that the Tiamikal Nul-Shada, the Khargakhan, and the Khargak-dwergun are at odds, and we have been unable to unite them.”
King Achaime: “Who are these ‘Khargak-dwergun’ of which you speak?”
Bragi: “You have been under some sort of spell. While you were recovering, a group of lesser giants has rebelled against you.”
King Achaime: “Then we should kill them too. There shall be no rebellion! Tell me the position of our troops.”
Bragi points to the various giants in the courtyard and bemoans, “These few are all that remain.”
King Achaime: “Where are the rest of my people?”
Bragi: “A handful of our people have gone to the depths…traitors all of them. And there have been many, many deaths to the dragons. I do not think we have the forces, even with these ‘gnomes,’ to stop the dragons. I think we should wait here until someone wins.”
Ulm: “Is it possible that we might join forces with the Tiamikal Nul-Shada…at least we defeat these dragons?”
King Achaime: “I have found them to be quite irrational. They prefer two things, to fight dragons and to hide in their citadel guarding their treasures.”
Granuel: “What are they protecting?”
King Achaime: “I do not know, but I assume it is a great treasure.”
Chresin: “We have encountered several hill giants, perhaps they are your brethren, holding some of the towers along this side of the rift. Most of these positions are no longer defensible. Would it make sense to try to gather them all here?”
King Achaime: “Yes. Bring my subjects under my banner. Once I have an army, we will go forth and slay the dragons and then we will deal with the traitors.”
Chresin: “Your people have not been very receptive to our conversations so far. Is there something that we can tell them or something that we may show them that will let them know that we speak with the voice of the king?”
King Achaime slipping a ring from his finger and handing it to Chresin: “You go to those locations and show them the ring. Tell them that we rally here and then we will fight all of the dragons.”
Bragi: “My king, the giants at the gates leading into Kongen-Thulnir are still loyal to you. But the Mid-Point Tower (Location ‘K’) has been taken by the traitorous Khargak-dwergun. They will not bow to you, so it is worthless to try to summon them.”
Chresin: “Bragi, do you know who leads these Rift Crawlers…these Khargak-dwergun?”
Bragi: “My former partner, Charlgar, leads the Rift Crawlers but he is nothing but a treacherous worm.”
Ulm: “If he were to die, would the rest of the Rift Crawlers lose hope and really to the true King’s banner?”
Bragi: “Well, I don’t know. None of them are worth very much…they are not the best of us. The best of us are here, obviously.”
Chresin: “They may not be the best, but every army needs giants who will lead the charge and absorb the initial waves of battle.”
Bragi: “If you wish to go out and recruit more giants, if that is what my king wills, then you should do it.”
King Achaime: “Yes, this seems like a wise plan. As the ’morrow downs, you little people take my ring and bring to me my army. Upon your return we will mount an attack on those dragons who foolishly dare to attack us. I will command the defenses here until you return.”
The Reprisal Squad slept without incident for the remainder of the night.
Earthday, 18th of Sunstrong, 4433
As the day dawned, everyone in the Rift Lord’s Palace was startled awake by a terrible cracking sound. The party wormed their way between a throng of giants in order to peer out the gate. As they looked on in shock, they witnessed the collapse of the Mid Point Tower (location ‘J’). As it crashed to the ground, giant could be seen falling to their deaths in the canyon below. For many minutes a horde of black, blue, and green dragons circled in triumph above the crumbled remains. After a time, several of the dragons broke off and settled on top of the ruins.
Chresin: “Alas, we agreed to parlay with the fanatics across the bridge. We will conclude our business with them and the make haste to rally the rest of your forces under your banner here.”
King Achaime: “Excellent! I expect nothing less than complete success with your mission.”
Anmor performed his morning rituals and everyone partook of the Hero’s Feast. He then cast False Life while the others donned their armor and prepared to leave. They crossed the bridge and approached the citadel gates much as they had the day before, with Ulm leading the way. As he neared the gates, he called out to the Fire Giant guards.
Ulm: “As we promised, we have returned to speak with His Majesty, Kagro Thundersmiter.”
Fire Giant: “Go away little people…oh crap!”
The fire giants turned slightly to their left and the party members quickly glanced in that direction. They spied 3 green dragons Swooping down toward the citadel. Granuel, thanks to his Robe of Eyes, spotted 2 invisible blue dragons sneaking towards them as well. Anmor assessed the age of the dragons, the green dragons were adults (20 HD) and the blue dragons were mature (24 HD).
The fight began with Ulm casting Glitterdust on one of the invisible blue dragons. They retaliated be using their breath weapons (i.e., cones of acid by the green dragons and lines of lightning by the blue) making all of the dragons visible to the rest. Kullen offered to help the Fire Giants guard the gate, they agreed and he joined them on the wall. Anmor used the spell Lion’s Roar and caused one of the blue dragons to fall from the sky. Through a series of spells and physical attacks the Reprisal squad and their new fire giants allies were able to kill four of the dragons. The last blue dragon, though badly injured, was ultimately able to fly away and join the remaining dragons at the fallen tower (location ‘J’).
Fire Giant: “You small people are no joke when it comes to fighting dragons. However, Kagro Thundersmiter is also no joke. And he has told us none shall enter. So you understand our predicament here.”
Ulm: “Is it possible…”
Chresin: “You must go now and tell him of our mighty deeds. We will await his reply.”
Fire Giant: “I will go and tell my king of your worthiness right now if you will guard this place in my absence. I fear more dragons may be coming and I cannot leave my post unattended.”
Chresin: “We agree. Now go and make haste.”
The Tear-Stained Portal
These double doors are made of stone and stand 20 feet high. The doors are set into the natural stone walls beneath the castle. Bas-relief carvings adorn the doors, depicting dragons falling from the skies, slain by great arrows and rocks, and broken dragon bodies lying on the ground below. Faintly visible above all of the other images are five dragon heads, each in a different color (red, green, blue, black, and white), looking on in anguish. The stone of the doors is damp with rivulets of water weeping from the eyes of these dragons.
The party regrouped as they waited in front of the massive double doors. They agreed that Ulm should once again speak for the party. After a few more minutes pass, the guard returned with another, larger fire giant. Everyone in the party took a knee at his approach.
King Kagro: “Small persons, your help in defeating the dragons is appreciated. Go and murder the rest of them.”
Ulm: “By your leave, great king, we have been sent by the Druids of the order of the Storm; Tylanthros, Beskawahn, Thadimar, and Sayren-Lei.”
King Kagro: “Stop saying words that have no meaning to me! Go and kill dragons!”
Chresin: “May we at least come inside and rest before we embark on this task?”
King Kagro: “There will be no admittance to outsiders in the Citadel of Weeping Dragons!”
Anmor: ““Kagro Thundersmiter, I would have you know, that it was more than assistance that we provided. We saved you from the dragons that were about to destroy the bastion that you have protected for many long ages! We have been sent by the very people who created this place and charged the Tiamikal Nul-Shada with its safekeeping. Do you see this door? We were here when it was set, hundreds of years ago! Dragons will continue to come; they will be relentless. For they know, as we know, that which you protect…even if you do not! We have been sent here by the Founders to help you safeguard their treasure against the evil that is oppressing you from all sides!”
King Kagro: “You talk in fancy words, little dwarf, but I do not care.”
Anmor: “But they are true and you must understand.”
The party quietly talked among themselves for a brief moment. (OOC: Chresin, Sense Motive: 29) Chresin told the others that Kagro did not understand the talk about the founders. In general, he seemed a bit bored by what was being said. However, he did appear to grow angry and suspicious at the mention of treasure.
Chresin: “Highness, what is your relationship with King Achaime Silvereye?”
King Kagro angrily replies: “Those thieves! They have stolen from us! My minions say you come from them. Are you their friends?”
Chresin: “We are indeed acquainted with them. We have drawn no alliances, but we think that either you or they are being quite foolish in not joining forces to stop these dragons.” (Diplomacy: 18)
King Kagro: “You will not call us fools!”
Chresin: “Then I call them fools! But you must work together.”
King Kagro: “Those thieves have stolen from us! Bring back what they stole and I will entertain your questions.”
Chresin: “Then give us guidance. What have they stolen, that we might be able to identify and bring it back to its rightful owners.”
King Kagro: “They hold one of my keys and they will bring it to me or else they will be destroyed.”
Granuel became increasingly frustrated during the conversation. As the King began to walk away, he grabbed his bow and began to nock an arrow. Chresin noticed the activity and placed Granuel in a bear hug. King Kagro looked back over his shoulder and shouted mockingly:
King Kagro: “Ha! You fight among yourselves. Now go away.”
The party argued for some time over what to do next. Granuel suggested that they should ignore the dragons and make a direct assault on the fire giant’s stronghold. Anmor agreed that their ultimate destination was probably the citadel, but thought that a direct assault would be a suicide mission, not to mention that the party would then have two enemies that they would have to contend with simultaneously. Chresin wanted to honor their commitment to fetch the surviving hill giants before looking for the stolen key. Anmor suggested that, since they were still close by, they could go back to Bragi and ask him if he knew about the stolen item that had King Kagro so upset.
Ultimately, the party chose to try to unite the surviving hill giants. They made their way to the front gate and hailed the giants inside the guard tower. They showed the King’s signet ring/bracelet and told the hill giants that King Achaime was rallying his troops under a single banner at the Rift Lord’s Palace (location ‘P’). The hill giants were convinced and agreed to follow the party back to the palace. As the party and the surviving giants made their way south along the rift they observed several black dragons sifting through the rubble atop the crumbled tower.
King Achaime greeted them at the gates of the palace. He congratulated the party on their success and welcomed his kin into the palace. As they settled into the courtyard, the party told King Achaime about their meeting with King Kagro and asked if he had any knowledge about the ‘stolen’ key. Bragi indicated that the Rift Crawlers had stolen a ‘magical’ key and that it was something that they used to recruit other giants to join them. Bragi told the party that the Khargak-Dwergun made camp in the undercity, accessible from the base of the canyon.
Once again, the party spent the night in the courtyard of the Rift Lord’s Palace. Before resting, Anmor healed all of their wounds. During the night, Ulm retrieved his Circlet of Intellect from King Achaime.
Fireday, 19th of Sunstrong, 4433
Again, Anmor performed his morning rituals (False Life and Hero’s Feast) and everyone ate a hearty breakfast. Chresin suggested that they should attempt to scry on the Ominous Fabler. Anmor set up the ritual and successfully found the Ominous Fabler, appearing as a goblin, standing amongst some ruins talking to an enormous red dragon. The Ominous Fabler told the dragon that he thought “it” might be under here, but he admitted he was unsure. He indicated the ‘others’ should keep digging and if they didn’t find it here, they could go to the other big place and ‘get it all’. As that conversation ended, the party saw the red dragon, Brazzemal, winging away from the collapsed tower in the center of the canyon.
After a bit of discussion, the party decided they needed to eliminate the Ominous Fabler. They believed that he was an enemy and was most likely working on Drazzoroth’s behalf. They decided that since they appeared to have the element of surprise, they would take this opportunity to dispose of him. Their plan was pretty simple; cast silence on Kullen and then use the Dimension Door spell to jump the entire party beside the Ominous Fabler. Once there, Kullen would grapple the spriggan, preventing him from escaping and the rest of them would kill or disable him.
Anmor cast Detect Magic through the scrying font and determined that the Ominous Fabler was surrounded by several magical auras. However, he observed, as the Ominous Fabler moved around, that the dragons projected no magical auras. He also provided Dark Knowledge (foe), giving everyone in the party information about of the physical vulnerabilities of the Ominous Fabler (OOC: +3d6 damage).
After the party cast all of their buffing spells, Chresin used Dimension Door to relocate them, invisible and silenced, onto the pile of rubble beside the Ominous Fabler (Grezzilfek). The Fabler was completely surprised. Kullen immediately grappled him and then, since the Fabler was undead, Granuel used his Positive Energy Burst ability to deal damage to him. The Fabler used his at-will ability to change his size to that of a large creature, but was unable to escape. Chresin and Anmor bludgeoned him, Ulm successfully cast Power Word Stun, and Granuel finished him off with a two-handed power attack using his morning star. One of the dragons noticed something was amiss, but was unable to do anything before Chresin whisked them all back to the safety of the Rift Lord’s Palace.
Having no way to communicate with the dead, undead Fabler, the party simply divided up his possession. The following items were recovered:
- 2 Potions of Fly, given to Kullen, value 1,500 GP
- Wand of Invisibility (42 charges) given to Ulm, value 3,780 GP
- Leather Armor +5, placed in Handy Haversack, value 25,160 GP
- Shortsword +3 Defending, placed in Handy Haversack, value 32,310 GP
- Light Crossbow +1, placed in Handy Haversack, value 2,335 GP
- Helm of Teleportation, given to Granuel, value 73,500 GP
Note: This item is CL 9th, therefore it will only teleport a maximum of 4 party members.
- Ring of Chameleon Power, placed in Handy Haversack, value 12,700 GP
- Gloves of Dexterity +4, given to Chresin, value 16,000 GP
- Vial of scented oils (non-magical), placed in Handy Haversack, value 500 GP
The party Used Dimension Door to go back to the base of the collapsed tower and Ulm went ethereal to examine its interior. Sadly, it had completely collapsed and Ulm spotted numerous hill giants and bugbears dead within the rubble. Ulm returned and the party walked to the undercity.
This cavern, unlike the dwellings above, is filthy and reeks. However, this area has not been attacked by the dragons…at least not much…therefore it looks more structurally sound than the areas above. The city itself looks like a hive of overlapping walls, zigzagging alleys and claustrophobic tenements. The ceiling of this cavern is only about 60 feet tall and most of the structures appear to be made for creatures of a smaller stature as opposed to the giant-sized buildings above.
The party casually scanned the city but saw to signs of activity. It was also notably quieter in this area. Anmor suggested that the area was probably the living quarters for the bugbears (i.e., slaves). While examining the area, Ulm and Anmor spot a head ducking beneath a window.
With weapons sheathed, but at the ready, the party slowly walked over to the building where the movement was observed. Peering into the window, they party saw a bugbear attempting to hide from view and pretending not to see them. Anmor called out a casual greeting in the common tongue. Ulm, standing on a box and looking over the window sill, said that the party is trading mass quantities of gold coins in exchange for information. The following conversation ensued:
Ulm: “We mean you no harm; we simply want information.”
Bugbear: “Hello, I would appreciate mass quantities of gold please.”
Ulm, handing the bugbear 10 gold: “Let us start with this.”
Bugbear: “My name is Ekaria, what is it that you wish to know, mighty gnome?”
Ulm: “We are lead to believe there are three factions of giants here, the Tiamikal Nul-Shada, the Khargakhan, and the Khargak-dwergun.”
Bugbear, laughingly replied: “You obviously do not know the language of the giants. The groups you speak of are the Slayers of Tiamat’s Kin, the Rift Lords, and the Rift Crawlers. The important thing that you do not seem to understand that the none of these names have anything to do with the type of giant.”
Ulm: “Yes, yes, we do understand that.”
Bugbear: “Well good, may I have some more gold, please?”
Chresin: “No! no. no. When we finish our conversation you will be rewarded based upon the information that you have provided.”
Bugbear: “Alright, that is all the information I have. I would like more gold now.”
Ulm, handing the bugbear 5 gold: “Let us continue.”
Anmor: “Where are those three tribes, factions, located within this Kongen-Thulnir area?”
Bugbear: “That is hard to say. I don’t know if you noticed, but recently some dragons came and messed things up a bit. But what I do know for sure is that the Rift Crawlers live down here in these drafty houses. The ‘important’ one lives over there.” she said while pointing to a spot deeper within the cavern city.
Anmor: “Are they here now?”
Bugbear: “I don’t know. I saw a bunch of them running towards there when the dragons invaded but I haven’t seen them since. And, they have not come here to tell me to do things, which is to my liking. I would like more gold now please.”
Chresin: “Do you have plenty of food?”
Bugbear: “No. I would like more food now please.”
Chresin: “Give me a large pot.” Taking the pot, Chresin fills it with warm porridge (OOC: not turducken) using his magic item, Murlynd’s Spoon, then passes it back to the bugbear.
Bugbear, frowning at the pot said: “Uh, I thank you for that porridge.”
Chresin, after Granuel hands the bugbear 5 gold: “What is the name of the leader of the Rift Crawlers?”
Ulm: “The Slayers of Tiamat’s Kin say they have lost a key. Do you know anything about that?”
Bugbear: “There has been a lot of talk about a key. Lots of rumors about a key. I don’t know why a key is important to anybody.”
Ulm: “Have the Rift Crawlers talked about this key?”
Bugbear: “I haven’t heard anyone down here talk about a key. More gold please.”
Ulm, handing the bugbear 5 gold: “Where are your fellow bugbears?”
Bugbear: “They are probably hiding in their homes, like me. But they don’t know as much as I do. I am the smartest bugbear in the entire undercity! Certainly, they will fall in line if you have enough gold (ooc: or more turducken).”
Ulm: “If you took us to meet the Carrion Crawlers… I mean Rift Crawlers…would they welcome us? I mean, with you, with us.”
Bugbear: “Ha. The Rift Crawlers have many carrion crawlers, and I don’t want to have anything to do with any of them. If you want to talk to them, you go up those stairs and then around the corner and knock on their door. I will not go with you. More gold please.”
Chresin: “Have you ever seen a dead carrion crawler head harm anyone?”
Bugbear: “Well it’s icky, so I don’t want to mess with one.”
Chresin: “Yes, yes, but have you ever seen it have any other effect?”
Bugbear: “I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s wise or not. I haven’t seen anything, but the giants like them.”
Ulm: “Do you have any idea what the dragons are looking for?”
Bugbear: “They seem to be intent upon killing all of the giants.”
Chresin: “How long have the dragons been here?”
Bugbear: “I do not know. Probably between 6 and 14 days.”
Ulm: “We thank you for your time.”
Bugbear: “If you give me more gold, I will answer more questions. I am very good at answering questions.”
Ulm: “No, we have everything that we need for now.”
The party left the bugbear and followed the path that she had described, towards the last known location of the Rift Crawler Lord, Charlgar.
The Red Door
Back in the recesses of the undercity, a winding stair climbs amid the tumbled and ramshackle buildings. The stone stairs have three-foot risers, hinting at the inhabitants who made them. But there is also a narrow section, beside the main risers, for smaller creature to walk up. The steps are stained with dark substances of unknown origin, and the general stench of this whole cavern seems to be stronger in this area. Atop the stairs stands a single, fifteen-foot tall iron door. Its facing is completely coated in a patina of reddish rust.