Rappan Athuk

A Second Foray

The party became split somehow in the headlong escape into the mists around the dungeon. Norgar, Anabel, Corian and Galdar camp together, hoping to meet the rest back at the dungeon in the morning.

Sadly, their sleep is disrupted again, as they are beset in the midnight watch. Shining eyes surround them in the darkness as huge rats fling themselves upon the party. The attack is beaten back, but the time for sleep is over. Getting themselves organized, they return to the dungeon in the hope of meeting with the others.

At the dungeon, they poke around a little, and find the holes used by the rats, and explore the main mausoleum. As they approach, they see a statue of a dwarf, under which Norgar finds a key in a hidden compartment. Stone gargoyles then leap down from the parapets and attack in a vicious coordinated strike. The party barely defeat them, and hurriedly open the mausoleum door. No sooner is the key turned when it vanishes, leaving them to open the door. Once in, they realise their good fortune as they explore the chamber which was clearly designed as a death trap for any that entered without the key.

They avoid messing with the stone sarcophagus dominating the centre of the room, and soon their searching is rewarded as they find a stone lid to the back of the room, which reveals a hole leading down. Lowering a rope, Norgar takes the lead, followed by the others and they find themselves in a rough hewn passage ripe with the stench of death, and strewn with the bones of the dead.

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Beaten back

After a long miserable journey, with persistent night attacks that left little rest in the wilderness, the party arrive at a dismal place. In the middle of swampy fells, a depression contains a number of tombstones, a well, and three mausoleums laid out in the pattern of a cross.

They know immediately that this is their goal. Only they are not filled with joy at the discovery. Although they are whole and sound, they are fearful. There is no sound of wildlife. Ragged scavenger birds hover overhead. The stones themselves are of a sickly green hew, and the air is still.

As they approach, Xandros pauses to read a tombstone besides a fresh empty grave. He is disturbed to see his name etched thereon. Shaking his head, he makes a furtive gesture to ward off evil. They approach the well, perhaps drawn to it by its very infamy. Someone drops a coin down it, only to hear it plink off the wall and splash gently into some liquid below. They decide to leave it for now, and turn to investigate one of the smaller side mausoleums.

As they examine the door, they are suddenly aware of company. Around the deeper basin that surrounds the mausoleum, stand a dozen or so still figures, silhouetted against the evening sky, somehow malevolent in their silence. As one, they charge, and their stench identifies them as corrupt undead. The party fights back as best they can, some being paralysed by filthy claw wounds, until the priest is able to turn those that were not already hacked down. The party is now wounded and depleted of magic, so the decision is made to retire from this place, as far as they can get before nightfall, to rest.

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The Deserted Tower

Reaching the village of Fairhill, they set off north along a little used trail, that soons peters out into bush. After several hours, they see a squat tower in the distance. Getting closer, they examine it, discovering a door and no windows at the ground level. The door is very well made. Luckily Xandris is able to open it.

Inside, they party searches and finds some old supply barrels, and a trapdoor in the floor. Going down, they discover a wine cellar, which their Orc henchman taste-tests, and pronounces very good. 3 are down there when trouble strikes. A ghostly apparition reaches out and attacks Xandris, and combat again breaks out. Everyone rushes back into the room, but not before Xandris is again stricken and his constitution suffers. With the combined efforts of the group, the Shadow is vanquished, and the party resume searching the tower.

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Forming a party

Various party members play it more or less cool trying to figure out Corrian. MacDoogal is definitely not cool as he bluntly asks questions and quickly ascertains what it is all about. The others gradually come around, and in short order, agree to meet Corrian at dawn the next day.

Xandris decides to follow Corrian out of the Inn. He soon notices another individual, with an accompanying Raven that seems to also be following Corrian. However, as Xandris discovers, tailing people unobserved can be tricky, and he is tripped up as he rounds a corner to run into the one who was following Corrian and two accomplices. Backing off, Xandris passes an ally, who continues on to follow Corrian home.

In the morning, everyone meets up as agreed, and they waste no time in getting out of town. Some days later, weary from rain and cold, you are camped in a clearing. Norgar has the watch, when he hears a strange noise – what sounds like a baby crying. Waking the camp, Norgar and Xandris investigate. As Norgar steps into the bush, something bites him hard. In a vicious flurry of bites and claws, Norgar goes down before anyone can come to his aid.

The group step in and Norgar is healed while Xandris finds the creature – a disgusting dog size animal with the ability to mimic sounds. As they close on it, they are themselves attacked from the rear by its mother. A tough fight ensues, and only after Norgar goes down again and is healed does the party prevail.

Two days later, as they close on the village of Fairhill, they come across a farm, where someone decides to ask for fresh food. Instead of bacon and eggs, a tragic scene unfolds. The entire family has been slaughtered. The father lies in the yard with his guts strewn about and an arm and a leg missing. Small children have been stabbed to death and the mother has likewise been hacked in a gruesome fashion. MacDoogal and Xandris enter the farmhouse and lock themselves in just as the rest are attacked by the family – rising as zombies, and aided by some skeletons, as they see their nemesis – the wizard with the raven and his two henchmen across the fields.

The fight goes tooth and nail as the dead combat the living, and spells are slung. Norgar rushes the wizard directly, and his fate is sealed. Soon only the henchmen are alive and trying to flee. One is killed, and the other captured. Questioning reveals a connection between the now dead Vortigern and Corrian. Corrian shamefacedly admits to keeping too many secrets, and apologizes to the group. Meanwhile, they discover that the old sword hanging above the fireplace in the farmhouse is in fact a +1 shortsword.

They agree to proceed to the Wizard’s tower anyway.

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At the Starving Stirge

You have been traveling through Furyondy, perhaps hoping for action against the depredations of the hordes of Iuz, or just passing through on your way someplace else – perhaps Highfolk. You stop at the town of Crockport on the shore of Whyestil Lake, at a tavern going by the name of the Starving Stirge. Within, you quickly note a sign posted which reads:

“Able bodied Adventurers wanted. Accompany me to an abandoned wizard’s tower, and share in the spoils. Corrian.”

Aside from that, the tavern is a reasonable place, frequented by a mix of locals, some mercenary types and minor nobility slumming it (or fancying themselves as adventurers).

Much of Crockport shows signs of military activity – or at least past activity. There are fenced off areas with dilapidated sheds, showing rusty iron items through cracks in the boards. Log barricades currently pulled aside from roads into the town. A dilapidated barge lies at the dock, once used as a troop transport.

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