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2/06/2017 1:20 pm  #21

Re: Northern Virginia AS&SH in da house!

Handy Haversack wrote:

I love how the witch encounter was left completely mysterious and yet also was not life-and-death. They lost, the witch accomplished her purpose and moved on with whatever plans she has. She didn't need to kill them and so didn't. Completely perfect.

Though, of course, in my game she'd totally have left some kind of psychically corrupting possession or poison in their minds. But I'm a bad person.

Haha! Yeah, I wanted the witch encounter to freak them out and be creepy, but not life threatening. They were left with just enough blood to live and woke up on comfortable piles of furs. She wasn't necessarily evil, and may yet make a return visit in the future. The encounter, house and all, was of course inspired by the scene in Conan the Barbarian in which he meets the sorceress of hotness and has a go at with her. Of course, my witch was a crusty old lady, but just made them feel more comfortable. Even when it was clear she was up to no good, the barbarian in the party still sought to escape with his friends rather than strike her down, lol...

And my players caught on to the Friday the 13th thing pretty early on, which sort of spoiled the encounter, but whatevs... They will hopefully take the bait and head to B4 in the not too distant future. Next session isn't until March 3rd on account of me doing some travel with the family.


3/05/2017 6:08 pm  #22

Re: Northern Virginia AS&SH in da house!

Theron pulled Lykos into the cabin in which they had been making camp whilst Birgir calmed himself after the battle. Grim work it was, indeed, to slaughter the 5 children. Birgir soon came inside and sat down, a bit shell shocked from the fight. They waited until dawn to step back outside and inspect the depressing work. The "Ghost of Krystal lake" was but a man though his flesh was like that of the long drowned and dead. The 5 children were likewise grey in appearance but it wasn't as clear that they were somehow afflicted in the same way as the "Ghost".

Lykos was unconscious and in need of medical attention so the other two made him as comfortable as possible and occasionally dripped water into his parched mouth. Meanwhile, they gathered stones and built a cairn for the dead children and another for the "Ghost". The next morning, Lykos came to, and rummaging through his pack, he decided to chance the potion gained from the witch's house. As luck would have it, the elixir healed him miraculously! About the same time, many riders were heard approaching the camp. It was militia from Vorhees, sent to investigate when word reached the Bey that foreigners had agreed to aid the families of the children. 10 riders banged on the gates and were given entrance by the party. Suspicion fell upon them immediately and the Vorheem soldiers forced the party to unstack the cairn stones, much to the irritation of Lykos who argued with the militia captain.

The militia captain, even more suspicious now, first saw the body of the "Ghost of Krystal Lake" and agreed that it was most unnatural. When he saw the bodies of the children, however, he grew angry. He ordered the party to dig south-facing graves and bury them according to Turkmen customs. Again, Lykos argued that he and his men should be the ones reburying the dead, and the captain, having had enough of the barbarian's mouth and placed him in chains.

The party was brought back to Vorhees and thrown in the dungeon beneath the great stone tower and sat for a day and a night before they were brought before Bey Osmann. The town was abuzz with the news of the deaths of the children and the Bey had no choice but to find them guilty of murder...

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3/10/2017 6:59 am  #23

Re: Northern Virginia AS&SH in da house!

I had what I thought was a great write up of the rest of our last session but when I hit submit, I got a page 404 error and lost it all, lol. MFer!!!  So now, it's just going to be a recap because I'm too disheartened to type it all out again.

Awaiting their probable executions for the "murder" of the 5 children, they were brought before Bey Osmann to stand trial. As expected they were found guilty and sentenced to drawing and quartering. The sentence would be commuted if they agreed to carry out a task for him. Some political rivals stole the Bey's favorite slave-wife and he wants her back. The party is sent out to retrieve her. They are told to expect between 5 and 10 men are involved. Before leaving they take one last look at the inn for Tulukaruk, but instead find a 7' tall Hyperborean in bright red robes and obnoxiously blonde hair having a pint. After a brief introduction between Korumora Zur and the rest of hte party, he agrees to accompany them for 40% of the take (after all, HIS life is not on the chopping block, figuratively speaking). The party is not sure what his skill set is, but the barbarian is definitely wary of him as he believes him to be a sorcerer of some sort.

They set off on camel-back from Vorhees, following pretty clear tracks all the way to the Red Desert. A half day ride into the desert leads them to a grisly scene at the base of a large rocky hill. 3 hyaenas are feasting on the corpses of a man and 2 camels. The party approaches too close and hyaenas, after warning growls, attack. Birgir is severely wounded in the fight but the party is victorious. It is here that the party learns that Korumora commands the elements of fire. The party notices the tracks of many more camels that appear to have departed in haste in all directions.

Not having time to wait for wounds to heal naturally, the party searches around a large stone platform with built in to the rocky hillside. It has 4 columns, one of which is fallen over, and a pair of statues - perhaps old gods? They appear as men but with odd cat-like heads. The party locates an open entrance several feet to the north of the platform, leading directly into the hillside. The first room is a large chamber containing a pair of smashed stone sarcophagi and featuring an open secret door to the rear. The body of a dead Turkman is here, deeply gashed.

A few more chambers are explored, with more dead Turkmen found. One of the chambers appears to be a shrine to some cat-deity. Incense is lit and an offering of fish and a cat-toy are left and the party feels rejuvenated and stronger for the effort. A large chamber is discovered with a rug that has been pulled aside and a trap door in the floor stands open. Also, a large bronze-bound door is seen but all attempts to breach it end in failure. A torch is dropped down the hole and at the bottom of the ladder, a twisted body of a Turkman is caught in the final rungs; he is disemboweled.

The party descends and follows a the sounds of a shrieking girl. They follow a trail of dead Turkmen to another room with a breach in the ceiling to a cavern beyond. Slung limply across the ledge of the breach is another dead Turman with severed limbs. The party climbs up into the cavern and follows a natural corridor through a few twists and rooms. The trail ends with a horrid creature out of a nightmare preparing to consume the Bey's favorite slave-wife. The party engages the dark creature, a Night Gaunt, and after a tough fight, slays it.

After the fight, they try to finish exploring the complex, opening several tombs. A few jewels and coins are taken as well as a few items of power: A blackened suit of chain mail (+1), a potion (of healing) and a broadsword forged of a dark black steel ("Sword of the Black Gulf", +1 sword, +2 vs creatures of, and from without, the Black Gulf).

They were unable to breach the bronzed door so the party headed back to Vorhees to deliver the girl to the Bey. This time, the Barbarian tried to argue with the Bey in front of his retainers about receiving more than just a commuting of their sentence. The Bey was not amused and had the insolent Barbarian thrown in his dungeon again. Pleased that his favorite slave-wife was back, the next morning a most merciful Bey merely had Lykos taken out to the center of town, tied to a post and whipped until he apologized for his mouth, which he quickly did.

After a couple of days of recovery, the party decided that there might be more to explore back in the Desert Tomb and prepared to head back.

Our session ended there for the night, but we reconvene on St. Patty's day for another exciting adventure.  The party is suffering without their Shaman or a Cleric in general. At least they have a Pyromancer now... One of my neighbors was gone on a job assignment for 3 years (he was part of our gaming group prior) and has moved back so we are now up to 5 players! w00t!

Last edited by Druvas (3/20/2017 5:42 am)

     Thread Starter

3/20/2017 6:34 pm  #24

Re: Northern Virginia AS&SH in da house!

The Party:

Birgir Biarnarson - 2nd level Viking Berserker
Lykos Heron - 2nd level Kimmerian Barbarian
Theron Alexios - 2nd level Atlantian Cataphract
Tulukaruk - 1st level Esquimaux Shaman
Korumora Zur - 1st level Hyperborean Pyromancer

As the 4 companions packed up their belongings and prepared to strike it out for the desert tomb again, the proprietor caught the attention of Lykos. "Pardon me, mighty barbarian, but I recall you all had come here originally seeking your missing companion... an Esquimeaux, if I am not mistaken?

"Indeed", said Lykos.

"I believe that a fellow meeting your previous description just passed through town, not 2 nights ago. He stayed in this very in, though I did not recall your inquiry at the time. He headed met some local men of the Dagon Bay region, traveling fish-mongers. They said they had seen a Kimmerian hanging around Kogoth-on-Yys, which is a fishing village nestled at the mouth of the Yys River which debouches into Dagon Bay via Yys Inlet. As I said, they are but 2 days ahead of you and probably just about to Kogoth-on-Yys as we speak."

With that, Lykos thanked the proprietor and informed his companions. Everyone agreed that the recovery of their companion was a more urgent matter than returning to the desert tomb for plunder that may or may not be there. Before leaving, the group sorted through their treasures and divided them equally. Lykos claimed the mask of the Ghost of Vorhees and decided to don it. It immediately sealed to his face though no ill effects affected him. Attempts were made to remove it but failing in that, they decided to set off and perhaps an opportunity to do so would come to them along the journey.

So they headed East towards the village, and after 2 uneventful days and nights, they came within sight of the village on the banks of the confluence of the river and inlet of Yys. The village had a rough palisade around most of the grounds. There was no gate, but a 20' opening in the palisade - clearly, they did not fear intruders very much. The lands around the village were marshy and damp, though passable. A large platform just inside the compound was reachable by a short ramp and atop it were several stalls for horses. Of more keen interest were the buildings of the village; they were all on stilts roughly 20' above the ground and interconnected via rope and plank bridges.

A stable boy took their horses in for a small fee and the party inquired about any Esquimeaux in the village. He told them of one that had just arrived a couple of days ago and had settled into the Drunken Clam, the only tavern/inn in town. The party proceeded there where they were reunited with their old companion. Tulukaruk told them of how he had become disoriented in the fog during their escape from the men of Larchmere Yys in the forest and had wandered, not quite able to recall all the details. He remembered wandering into Vorhees but no one mentioned the passing of his companions. Finally, he fell in with some traveling fish-mongers and ended up here, out of clues as to the whereabouts of his companions.

They all noticed, peculiarly, that the men of Kogoth-on-Yys were... unusual... as if afflicted by some strange defect of birth. The heads of the locals were slightly elongated. Not to an alarming degree, but just enough to notice a light difference. And the flat, broad noses of the people were more like the nose of some creature of the rivers. It was all strange, but everyone seemed otherwise normal...

Not long after this tale, a drunken fisherman wandered over to the table occupied by the party. He failed to introduce himself and just blurted out:

"Have you come to loot the famous Tower of the Black Pearl? We always get a band or two of sell-swords such as you every 10 years that hopes to find the Black Pearl. Never heard of it you say? Well, let me spin you a tale…
Long ago a wicked necromancer, Sezrekan the Elder, had his demesne 10 miles east of here. It was a large black tower, 100 feet tall built upon a rocky promontory just off the coast. It was built to house the necromancer and his famed Black Pearl, an artifact of malignant evil that brings doom on all who possess it. It was likely from thus that Sezrekan died. Eventually, the tower sank into the sea, not as from disrepair and collapse, but just sank, like a ship when has capsized.

Strangely, though, 10 years later it rose from the depths and stayed above for but 8 hours and then sank again. And thus it has done every 10 years for over 300 years. Every time it rises a group such as you comes along thinking to sack the tower and claim the pearl for themselves. Every time, they fail, never to return…"

The party was intrigued by the story and asked about how they might reach such a tower. The fisherman offered to rent the party his skiff for 10gp  plus 1/10th of a share of any treasure taken, excluding the Black Pearl itself, of course. An agreement struck, the party bedded down for the night to prepare for an early departure. They had to arrive at the tower by 6am and depart it by 2pm or risk being imprisoned within for 10 years! During the night, however, the party was awakened by the sounds of noises in the distance, outside. Inspecting, Tulukaruk used his spyglass to focus in on a light in the distance along the shore of the inlet a hundred yards outside of town. There he saw a large number of people gathered on the shore chanting. They couldn't be sure but the chanting, sounding like the beying of wild animals, resembled this:

Cthulu, dread Cthulu!
It Darkens the sun!
The ancient, anti-God!
Lord of the unholy ones!
Sacrifice! Sacrifice!
Give it flesh!

Chills ran up Tulukaruk's spine...

Last edited by Druvas (3/21/2017 6:18 am)

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3/21/2017 7:01 am  #25

Re: Northern Virginia AS&SH in da house!

Tulukaruk decide not to awaken his companion and returned to sleep for what remained of the night. He felt reasonably certain that the Cthulu-ites were not out to sacrifice he or his friends. The next morning, the party met up with the fisherman, paid him his 10gp and reiterated the other terms, 10% of the haul. The skiff was turned over to the party and they headed out across the inlet, East, towards the Tower of the Black Pearl.

Several hours later, they spied the Tower, barely poking up above the surface of the water. It was a large, square structure with con-caved walls and reportedly, 100' tall, though nearly all of that must be below water. A menacing gargoyle was mounted outward at each corner. What appeared to be a Viking long-ship was moored to the Eastern wall and a large plank connected to the top of the tower from the boat. The party guided their rental-skiff <snicker> along-side the long-ship and stealthily climbed aboard. The boat was deserted and nothing of value was found. They quickly and quietly crossed the plank to discover 3 pirates drunkenly snoozing on the top of tower. They were wakened by the noise of the party but were soon dispatched.

A trap door in the roof of the tower was discovered with little effort and the party soon descended into the top-most floor. This strange room held a large black onyx pedestal and hundreds of candles, mostly lit but at varying intervals of burning, as well as a staircase that descended. Upon the stand was a very large tome, which when opened, revealed the names of some 500 persons. Thinking it a guest registry, Korumora entered his name at number 501. The party investigated the candles. Tulukaruk attempted to extinguish one of them but was violently slapped by a strange force resembling flaming hands.

Fearing the unguessed true purpose of these candles, the party descended the wooden stairs, which were clearly worn and weakened with age and moisture. While carefully heading down, they noticed some strange statuettes in little alcoves of the wall along the steps. They came to a breach in the stairs and had to take a leap to cross the gap. Unfortunately for Lykos, he did not clear the gap as well as the others and fell 10' below on to the bottom of the stairs and into another chamber. Slightly injured from his fall, Lykos recovered and the rest of the group caught up to him. The room they found themselves in was another strange one full of obvious sorceries which made the barbarian quite uncomfortable. (In an amusing effort to help the barbarian become more comfortable around magic, particularly that of the Pyromancer, Korumora developed a "safe word" for Lykos. When spoken, "brussel sprouts" was intended to warn the barbarian that magic was about to be in use or was already in effect. It's kind of funny to hear my players yell out "brussel sprouts" in the heat of battle...)

This room contained 3 great arches, one in the NE, NW and SW. Each had the carven image of a dragon in dark mahogany and bound in bronze. A large symbol was carved into the floor and near the NE arch, fresh blood was pooled there. The NE dragon carving had a set of pearls for eyes, the NW one's eyes were missing and the SW dragon had a matching set of small emeralds for eyes. The party spent a solid hour trying to figure out the room before realizing that the blood was a sacrifice required to activate a gateway beneath the arches. Theron sliced his hand and dripped a fair amount of blood onto the floor before the NW arch which quickly shimmered. Bounding through one after the other, Theron, Birigir and Lykos stepped into another chamber and were immediately beset by a band of pirates. Tulukaruk and Korumora quickly followed suit and immediately found themselves engaged in a melee.

5 opponents faced the 5 adventurers and blows were traded. The pirates were soon dispatched, being meager opponents to these rapidly seasoning fighters. The bodies were scavenged for valuables and this new chamber was surveyed. A set of stone-carved stairs descended to the North and a stout-looking door was set in the East wall. A symbol, similar to the one on the floor of the previous room was likewise etched into the floor here. The East door was opened and the room beyond was investigated. This cahmber contained some rickety, badly-aging shelves upon which sat 5 golden bowls. A 6th golden bowl containing a ceremonial knife was sitting on the floor. The contents of the bowl turned out to be desiccated human organs... Finding this to be foul and wrought with sorcerous peril, the party elected to leave the contents of the room undisturbed.

Descending the stone staircase in the previous room, they got the sense that the interior of the tower was larger than the exterior showed it to be. The stairs went down for 60-80 feet before turning East and debouching upon a dock before a misty lake. It was only a few moments before a ferry materialized from the mists and floated to the dock, a solitary pilot aboard. The boatman reached out with a bony hand and it was then that the party realized that the boatman was entirely a thing of bones. It did not seem hostile and the party quickly deduced that it was seeking payment for the journey ahead.

Depositing 5sp into the boatman's hand, Theron bravely stepped forward on the boat. Each party member did the same and when they were all aboard, the boatman dumped the coins into the lake and then proceeded to pilot them onward. The trip lasted 30 minutes and towards the end of it, the party passed beneath a rope and plank bridge. The lake had narrowed at this point and 20' cliffs to either side anchored the bridge above. The cliff walls were slick with a nasty-looking much and the party elected to not try to climb. They soon reached their destination as another dock emerged from the mists. As the boatman steered them to it, the mists cleared a bit and a group of people could be seen standing in front of 2 great iron doors 20' from the dock.

The group turned to meet the arriving boat and party members. The party debarked onto the dock and the ferry slipped silently away into the misty lake. The group ashore consisted of half a dozen pirated as those that were bested earlier, as well as another that was clearly their leader. The lead pirate introduced himself as Black Quenn.

"Perhaps you've heard of me? I am a scourge upon the coasts of Dagon Bay; the locals all fear me! Clearly, to this point, you've bested my men. Perhaps we should form an alliance rather than continue this conflict? What say you? Shall we work together to figure out these great doors which surely hide the treasure of the once great Sezrekan? I shall grant you first pick of the treasure and you shall take all magic discovered save for the Pearl itself. That is mine."

Unimpressed with the offer and the opponents, the party debated the deal. The decision was made for them as, suddenly, Lykos was filled with a murderous rage and charged into the group of pirates with a blood-lust greater than that of a normal barbarian warrior. With nothing left to do but fight, the party followed their barbarian into battle. The fight was a difficult one, though Lykos landed a terrific blow upon Black Quenn that split him left shoulder to right hip, causing his body to fall asunder. There were but 2 remaining pirates when this happened and the fight quickly left them. Lykos dispatched them but not before receiving a few wounds as well.

After the battle, the insane rage in Lykos retreated and he seemed to return to normal. A guess at the source of the insanity was made of the strange mask that remained attached to his face, but none could be certain of it. They all silently hoped that this rage would not be turned upon them...  With the battle over and the spoils split, attention was turned to the great iron doors before them. The doors stood 20' tall and there was a graven image of a dragon head at door-handle level. The one on the right door showed a small key hole. Lykos attempted to fiddle with the lock but failed to open it. He was successful, however, at enabling a trap! A scything blade swung out from the ceiling and caught him upon the breast. The cut was deep and the blood flowed. Thankfully the flow was staunched but not before most of his life had flowed from him. Knowing that he would only slow his companions down and fearful of a resurgent rage, he gathered the acquired belongings of the party and called for the boatman to return. It was not long before the ferry returned and Lykos made his way back to the pirate's longship, preferring it to the skiff, where he proceeded to rest.

The rest of the party continued to seek a way to open the iron doors and after much time wasted, managed to do so. Korumora investigated the room beyond which was decorated with the bones of many victims. Small holes in the floor and ceiling dotted the room as well. A set of stairs rising up were across the room. They ended at a landing before a door that the Pyromancer could not open. Not long after he began investigating the door, water began to fill the room below. Korumora quickly retreated when he noticed the iron doors begin to swing closed on their own. No amount of force from his companions could stop them from so doing.

30 minutes later, the sounds of water draining were heard and they were once again able to open the iron doors. This time they sprinted across the room and battered down the door at the top of the stairs. The door gave way to a small, bare chamber with an exit to the East. They took it and the opening gave way to the rope and plank bridge which they had spied form below while on the ferry. They quickly crossed the rickety bridge. Theron stepped on a weak plank and plunged into the lake below and, weighed down by his armor, quickly sank towards the bottom. An Atlantean by birth, the doughty Cataphract slipped out of his chain armor and skillfully swam to the surface. A rope was thrown to him and he quickly climbed the slippery cliff with the aid of his companions.

Now across the lake, the inspected the chamber they were in and found a large sarcophagus in it. They searched it and decided to open the great stone box. It took all 4 of them to push the great stone lid off and when the task was completed, they found the skeleton of Sezrekan inside. His wizardly robes were moldy and tattered but a thin gold crown was atop its head. The party snatched the crown and careful not to disturb the body, searched the rest of the sarcophagus, finding a pair of small rubies. Disappointed at not finding the Black Pearl with Sezrekan's body, they searched the chamber and discovered a hidden door that opened into the room containing the golden urns full of desiccated human organs.

The party put two and two together and realized that the rubies belonged to the NE dragon carved alcove back in the portal room and quickly returned there, as time was running out to find the Pearl and escape before the tower once again returned to its watery depths for another decade. Korumora placed the rubies in the empty sockets of the carved dragon above the alcove and Theron made the blood sacrifice again. The alcove shimmered to life and the party stepped through into a large chamber some 100' across and 40' wide. A large pool of water occupied the majority of the room with but 20' of platform on either side. Across the pool was the statue of a large dragon, and resting in the dragon's mouth was the Black Pearl.

Not believing this room to be without trap or hindrance otherwise, Birgir tossed some food scraps into the water. It was immediately beset upon by a very large number of swarming aquatic snakes that tore the food to bits. The party conceived of a plan. They retreated through the portal to break apart the fisherman's skiff in order to construct a hasty smaller raft from the wood planks. They also snatched the dead bodies of two of the pirates. Butchering the bodies, they tossed them to a far corner of the pool to draw the snakes away, successfully. Theron set out on the hastily built raft and managed to cross unmolested as Birgir chummed the waters away from the skiff. Theron stepped off the raft and reached out for the Black Pearl, snatching it from the jaws of the draconic statue.

Shortly after its removal, the tower began to shake. Sea water began to pour in through tiny cracks in the stone and the party had to make haste to escape the tower. Theron discovered yet another symbol carved into the stone floor before the dragon statue and bled himself yet again. He was transported back to the room of arches where he met up with his companions and they raced up the stairs and ladder and back to the long ship where Lykos was patiently waiting for them. They cast off from the tower and watched it sink back into the waters of Yys Inlet once again.


Last edited by Druvas (3/21/2017 7:04 am)

     Thread Starter

4/14/2017 6:09 am  #26

Re: Northern Virginia AS&SH in da house!

When the party returned to Kogoth-on-Yys, they were greeted by the old fisherman from whom they leased the fishing boat. He was concerned that they did not return with his boat and much negotiation was done to work out fair compensation. During the negotiations, he mentioned to the party that 4 of his fellow fisherman that had set off across the inlet to fish some less oft fished waters had disappeared. In addition, he mentioned that a strange star had fallen from the sky recently, crashing somewhere in the forest across the inlet, or so he guessed. He mused as to whether or not the two incidents, the falling star and the disappearance of his friends, were related somehow. He agreed to forgo repayment for his lost boat if they would immediately head out to look for the missing people. The fisherman was strangely persistent but ultimately, the party elected to wait until the next day before investigating.

The next morning they set off across the inlet and by late morning had reached the other shore with no sighting of other men or vessel. They decided to skim the coast northward towards the headwaters where the Yys River empties into the Yys Inlet. The shore on the North side of the inlet rises some 20' above the water level and an old-growth forest begins. By chance, after paddling a few miles West along the coast, a small cove was discovered. The cove, if it could be called that, was a mere 20' wide and but about the same deep. However, a strange set of stone steps rose from the water and terminated at a small stone pier. The pier was about 15' wide and but 5' in depth and terminated at a large stone door set into the cliff side. The door was partly open, about 3-4' of space between the door and the jamb.

Lykos carefully stepped inside the door and immediately saw a large number of giant crabs patrolling a chamber beyond. They seemed not to notice or care if they did notice his presence. A quick survey of the chamber noted that it was fairly long and wide with a pair of doors set in the south-western wall approximately 30’ apart. Waving the group in, the moved beyond the doors at which point the giant crabs, numbering nearly a dozen, smelled fresh meat…

The crabs skittered across the floor seeking man-flesh and a tough melee ensued. The party retreated but not before taking 3 of the large creatures down, though their wounds were severe. They were forced to retreat all the way back to Kogoth-on-Yys to rest and recuperate. Tulukaruk, who had not been with the group and had elected to remain behind, bound the wounds of his comrades, but it was well-nigh a week before they felt capable to return to the cave and explore further.

And return they did. This time, greater care was taken on entering through the door. Korumora Zur ensorcelled a stone to give off the hue of the sun and tossed it into the entry chamber which caused the gathered crabs to scatter to the far end of the room out of immediate danger-range. Birgir strung his great bow and began firing into the scattered group of crabs, though their tough shells absorbed most of the damage. Rather than charge, the creatures scampered out of the room and into a hallway beyond.

The party cautiously followed the crabs down a corridor to the right, though one also branched left. They came upon an opened door which debouched into some sort of ornate-appearing chamber. It was roughly 60’ east and west and 40’ north and south with the entry point in the south east corner. At the far west end of the room, a set of stone double doors engraved with strange runes were set into the wall. Another set, not engraved, were in the west end of the south wall as well. Oddly, the west end of the north wall had seen considerable excavation, as if whomever had last ventured here had sought to bypass the rune-engraved doors by digging around them.
The party had scant opportunity to investigate, however, before the crabs renewed their attack. Again, they managed to slay 3 more of the giant crustaceans before they themselves received wounds too terrible to continue. Once more, the retreat was sounded and they all returned to their boat and Kogoth-on-Yys for recovery. This time, they sought out the old fisherman’s house to inform him of their failure to find any trace of his friends. The strange old fisherman, his wife and 4 children, housed and fed the party, making a fine crab bisque from one giant crabs that Lykos had smartly thought to grab on his way out. A few days passed and the party once again agreed to resume their search.

They set out again but this time decided to climb the cliff to up above the entrance to the cave. After some fancy roping, they all (minus Tulukaruk again) scrambled to the top and set off into the forest in search of the location in which the falling star impacted. The party traveled north for a day and then turned east for another day. They saw carious manner of wildlife, but nothing threatened them. Then, on the morning of the 3rd day, they stumbled upon a smoldering clearing in the forest.

Moving up to the edge of the tree-line, the saw a large silvery-metallic cylindrical object protruding from the crater its impact had created. It was roughly 30’ in diameter and 20’ of it was above the ground. The party spent some time observing the object before summoning the courage to move in closer and investigate. They circumnavigated the strange thing but could find no seem that would indicate a portal of any kind. Lykos suggested they dig around it a bit and see what they could uncover. They began digging but after about 4 hours they all started to feel nauseous and sick. The effect on Lykos, however, was more impacting. The radiating sickness triggered his cursed mask and he flew into a maniacal rage. Having witnessed this before in the Tower of the Black Pearl, the other party members fled into the woods to avoid him. The Kimmerian was left to batter away at his own reflection in the shimmering silver metal of the object in the woods. The party hoped the insanity would subside soon and they could collect their companion. For it was clear that they needed to deal with this cursed mask before all else…

Last edited by Druvas (4/14/2017 6:09 am)

     Thread Starter

4/14/2017 9:59 am  #27

Re: Northern Virginia AS&SH in da house!

Fun! Great seeing the party get beaten back, then return with a better plan, then get beaten back, then return again. Sometimes you have to run away so you can live to fight another day.

P.S. I might not always comment, but I enjoy reading these summaries. 

Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face

4/14/2017 10:08 am  #28

Re: Northern Virginia AS&SH in da house!

Chainsaw wrote:

Fun! Great seeing the party get beaten back, then return with a better plan, then get beaten back, then return again. Sometimes you have to run away so you can live to fight another day.

P.S. I might not always comment, but I enjoy reading these summaries.

Yeah, they were pretty frustrated by the crabs. It's a shame because I think they were close to overcoming them. Not having a solid cleric in the party is really hurting them.

And no worries on not commenting! Glad you enjoy them. :-)

     Thread Starter

9/18/2017 6:35 am  #29

Re: Northern Virginia AS&SH in da house!

The Party:

Birgir Biarnarson - 2nd level Viking Berserker
Lykos Heron - 2nd level Kimmerian Barbarian
Theron Alexios - 2nd level Atlantian Cataphract
Tulukaruk - 2nd level Esquimaux Shaman
Korumora Zur - 2nd level Hyperborean Pyromancer

It's been awhile since my last post. We've only played twice all summer, sadly. At one point I thought the campaign was over, but it appears new life has been breathed into it! Anyway, on we go!

Lykos' insanity waned after awhile and the rest of the present party members stepped from hiding places and pulled the masked barbarian away from the strange structure. Still feeling ill around it, they ultimately decided to abandon the metal tube and return to Kogoth-on-Yys to recover from their strange illnesses. It was a couple of days' journey back to the sleepy little town. Before they reached their viking longship, they were set upon by a pair of dire wolves. Theron took a nasty bite to the shoulder but the two beasts were slain with little other fanfair. 

Tulukaruk was waiting for his fellows when they made the docks and he helped nurse the wounds and sicknesses of his friends, and after a week in port, they were mostly recovered, though the illness lingered a bit. The party held council and decided it was imperative to seek a priest in an effort to have the cursed Mask of Vorhees (as they were now calling it) removed from Lykos' face. The unpredicatable bouts of murderous insanity were less and less tolerable to his companions. And just perhaps a cure to whatever ailed them could be found as well. The party asked around in the tavern in Kogoth but no Priest lived in the village. The nearest known locations for such a Priest that could help them surely must be far away.

The party weighed their options: They could journey North and beseech the Witch Queen of the Zakath Desert, though that seemed dubious at best. They could make for Port Zangerios, but would their small Viking longship hold in the open ocean? It was a large city and known as "The City of Masks", which seemed apropos. Perhaps a coastal trip South to the cities of the bandit lords would yield success? Lastly, might they go all the way to Khromarium, furthest away but sure to have what they needed most?

Port Zangerios was chosen at last, and preparations were made for the journey. Though the trip was estimated to take no more than a week, the party packed saltfish, hardtack, water and ale for a month, along with the necessary other supplies for a long journey. They set sail and followed the coast East, beyond where they bested the Tower of the Black Pearl, and out towards the open seas. On the last night before leaving sight of land, they noticed a faint light along the coast. Knowing this region to be uninhabited, curiosity overcame them and they investigated...

As they approached, the shore was marshy with tall reeds and mangrove trees. The light suddenly went out. The party beached the ship and proceeded cautiously towards the last known position of the light, whereupon they discovered a man-sized wooden door set into the side of a low, coastal hill. A spent torch was still smoldering in its bracket. The party cautiously opened the door and found a dank, but dimly lit passage into some sort of cave system. The walls and ceiling were cosntructed of packed dirt, held together with the roots of plants not far above. The floor was covered in an inch or less of water, making the whole place quite muddy. 

The party crept inward and down the passage a ways and turned to the right at an intersection. When they made the turn, they stumbled into some sort of watch-post. Occupying it were 8 scaley-looking creatures of roughly human proportions. They had clubs and crude swords and spears, but were surprised and not at the ready. A brief fight ensued and the lizard-like men were defeated. Little noise was made, which was the only thing that saved the party from annhiliation. 

A door at the far end of the guard room was opened, cautiously. On the other side, a dozen more of the lizardfolk were asleep, weapons at their sides. The party dispatched the sleeping creatures efficiently and quietly as well, collecting a small cache of weapons and personal effects. There were two other ways to exit this chamber and the party opted for a door to the East. 

After following a few passages, they stumbled into the room of the captain of the lizardmen they had just dispatched. He was calmly seated on a thick straw pallet, sharpening a keen edge to his sword. When the party entered, they were both startled, but in the end, the captain was no match for the well armed and trained party. Lykos felled him with two slashes of his great axe with created a fairly large spray of blood on everything.

Moving out down another passage, they traveled past the original hallway through which they had entered. After what seemed like a half hour of creeping, they came upon another door which they opened with a more smug, reckless abandon. Unfortunately, this room contained a great many lizardfolk gathered in some sort of great hall, and seeing the odds stacked well against them, they shut the door quickly and fled all the way back to their ship, hotly pursued.  They had just enough of a lead on their pursuers to push the ship back into the waters and row out of range of the spears that were being hurled in their direction.

They pulled hard on the oars for a couple of hours and spent most of the night heading back north up the coast to find a safe place to drop anchor and rest. 


     Thread Starter

9/18/2017 1:22 pm  #30

Re: Northern Virginia AS&SH in da house!

The Party:

Birgir Biarnarson - 3rd level Viking Berserker
Lykos Heron - 3rd level Kimmerian Barbarian
Theron Alexios - 3rd level Atlantian Cataphract
Tulukaruk - 2nd level Esquimaux Shaman
Korumora Zur - 2nd level Hyperborean Pyromancer

The party awoke in the early hours unmolested. It would seem that they had eluded their lizardman pursuers. They had received numerous small wounds in that lair which had added up over time. It was time to leave the mainland behind and head towards Port Zangerios. Before casting off, they decided to take a more cautious route to the Zangerios Islands by hopping through the island chain shown on the north of their map. They had a strong tail wind and figured that they could cut across the eastern-most edge of Dagon Bay and make for a long, curved and unnamed island to the North East. The trip went well, though the wind settled later in the day. They reached the sight of land towards dusk and found a safe-appearing cove in which to anchor for the night.

The next morning, they sailed North-West along the coast, rounding the tip of the island and making an Easterly turn. After most of the day passed, and even though the island seemed mostly flat and uninhabited, they decided not to risk beaching the ship and, instead, dropped anchor. It was at least a full day to sail East to the next island and they wanted to be freshly rested for the journey.

On the third morning, the party set sail early. It wasn't long before the winds kicked up to near-gale force. Ominous clouds rolled in by mid-day and shortly thereafter, the seas became stormy and rough. It was impossible for them to determine their direction in such conditions and they quickly became lost. They spent their time bailing water from the heavy rains and sea-spray, and little rest was achieved. The storm wracked their ship for a day and a half but thankfully the wide, shallow vessel stayed afloat.

Finally, after 2 days, they spied the top of a cone-shaped mountain in the distance, though the bottom half was obscured by clouds and mist. The tops of trees could be seen above the fog and small birds greeted the party with their songs. The party sailed around to the North, and after most of the day, they spotted whisps of smoke that assuredly came from campfires. Not long after the discovery, the party saw thatched huts clustered in what was surely a village. A primitive-appearing people were carrying out their lives as they rounded a point and approached. Once spotted, the villagers began filtering down to the coast. A few of them were armed, but the vsat majority were curious onlookers, aparently unafraid of the visitors.

The party beached their ship a few hundred yards past the throng of natives and debarked to make contact. Tulukaruk gave them a surprised look over and realized that they were some offshoot race of Esquimueax. He was equally surprised to learn that they still spoke a dialect that was understandable by him and he acted as translator for the party. The villagers were friendly and held a feast in their honor that evening. They told stories to each other and the village chieftain gave the party his hut for their use.

One of the stories he told the party was of a tribe of Impos that lived in caves in the hills surrounding the great volcano, for the conical-shaped mountain was indeed a (for now) dormant volcano. He described the Impos as a short, pygmie-like race with leathery blackish-green skin. They were known to be cannibals but would settle for the strange bovines that the villagers raised when they couldn't capture people. The Impos were likely not great in number as they usually only attacked the villagers once in a generation, however that was a guess at best. And it just so happened that, for the first time in over 30 years, the Impos attacked but 4 days prior, killing 1 villager and making off with most of the herd of bovines. Surely the appearance of the party was a sign from the Gods! The chieftain asked the party for their help in tracking down and ending the Impo threat.

The Chieftain offered the party 3 clay jars, each containing "healing water" made by their late shaman. Tulukaruk was given one now and the other two upon returning with either the herd or news of its fate. The chieftain also sent 2 young hunters as guides to show the party the path on which the Impos led the herd away. The next morning, the party and guides followed the trail into the foothills of the volcano. After a half day's travel, they happened upon a stream that flowed down hill. The herd tracks disappeared into the water and did not reappear on the other side.

The party setup camp at the edge of the stream and sent Birgir, Lykos and the guides upstream on a scouting mission. They returned, fruitless. Night was beginning to set in so they set a watch. The next morning, they moved in force downstream until they discovered that a portion of the stream diverted into the mouth of a small cave.

Lykos descended first, torch in hand, down a rocky path adjacent to the waterfall created by the falling stream. A pool at the base of the waterfall filled a portion of the large cavern, and the stream reformed there and continued its flow through a narrow cave to the south. Along the edge of the pool were the gnawed remains of several bovine. Some strange weeds hung from the ceiling at the mouth of the cave. The party moved to follow the stream through cave mouth but were attacked by the strange weeds. Lykos was hit by several strands which excreted a sticky substance that worked its way into his chain armor, ruining it, though he was not hurt. The weeds were quickly chopped apart and burned, ending the threat. While washing the substance from his skin, Lykos noticed a small wooden box in the bottom of the pool. Retrieving it, he opened it and discovered a small wooden key within. He thought it strange that it was not water-soaked.

Traveling down the hall beyond the cave mouth, the party followed the stream. After 40' or so, it dropped once again into a pool some 50' below. This time, however, it went through a narrow opening with no clear way to clamber down. Searching around the area, the party discovered a small keyhole in the rock. Inserting the small wooden key and turning it, a section of the rock wall slid away and the stream was diverted down a hidden path. Behind the original flow of water, was a sturdy looking set of ladder rungs set into the stone.

The party, one by one, descended the ladder into another cavern. There was a similar key hole at the base of the waterfall and when the key was inserted and turned, the water was re-diverted onto its original path and resumed falling from above. Inspecting the cavern, the party noticed that the water was diverted by a wooden mechanism into 3 paths, one heading East, one West and one South. They followed the passageway to the West through twists and turns for 60-70' before it debouched into a large cavern.

Hanging from the ceiling of the cavern, scattered around it, were numerous, bulbous plant-like pods. The party counted 20 of them, 18 of which appeared to be open and empty. While poking around one of them, the other two oozed open and out dropped a pair human-shaped, man-like creatures. They had a pair of bug-like eyes but the rest of the head was smooth and featureless. The creatures shambled towards the party and attacked. Luckily, the party had the drop on them and struck first. Swords and axes had no trouble in dealing lethal damage. The pod-men fought back but were easily dispatched, though it took awhile. Searching through the cavern, the party discovered a pair of stone flasks each containing an as-yet unidentified liquid.

After the search was completed, the party moved out another corridor to the North. It twisted and turned until it faced South end ended at a small 30' diameter cavern. The floor was littered with small mushrooms and in the center of the chamber was a human-sized stone head, floating in mid air. Rather than trod over the mushrooms, Lykos attached a torch to the end of a spear and burned away the mushrooms in a path up to the floating head. As the torch neared the strange head, it turned to face the light eminating from it. The party experimented with this strange anomoly but moving the torch around and in every case, the head turned to follow the light. Exhausting this idea, they moved away and discovered that the head followed them! Deciding that it wasn't a threat and unable to discover its purpose, they moved out back to the Pod-man cavern and went South.

They followed the Southern passage for a long while until it passed a small 3-5' opening to the West. Another passageway turned East (and the stream along with it) and the main corridor continued South. They opted to explore the narrow tunnel. Squeezing in, they found the tunnel partially blocked by a giant stone face carving. The carving had a large whole where the mouth was and a light blueish-green glow was coming from the other side. Lykos, clearly the bravest of the day, climbed through the mouth into a chamber beyond. The room was coated in a strange moss or lichen that radiated the light. Once again, they could not discover any purpose and left.

They turned South and left the path of the stream. When they glanced East the party noted that the stream went over another ledge into a chamber far below. The Southern passage wound around to the West and ultimately ended up in a strange, squarish chamber. This chamber had exits to the North and the West. A branch of the stream flowed in through the North (and ultimately connected back in the first chamber on this level) and out through the West. In this room three long grooves in the rock had been cut, like irrigation ditches. Lined up along each of the ditches were 3 trees potted in ceramic pots (for a total of 9).

The party thought this rather strange but only briefly investigated them. They turned out of the room and went North where they encountered another moss covered chamber, before moving through it and continuing North where they ran into the first chamber at the bottom of the waterfall.

At this point, the party went back to the tree room to investigate the weird setup. As soon as they disturbed a tree, however, 3 of them came to life and attacked. Lykos, Theron, Birgir and Korumora Zur engaged the trees while a panicked Tulukaruk "advanced to the rear" with the 2 guides from the village. The 3 fighting men engaged the trees in melee while Korumora Zur stepped in to cast burning hands. The spell was successful and singed the trees but a little. The blows from the warriors shaved branch after branch. The Pyromancer got off another burning hands spell before retreating from melee range. Two of the 3 trees went down under axe, sword and spell, but the 3rd tree lashed Lykos furiously which triggered his cursed Mask of Vorhees. Lykos' insane raged allowed him to take down the last tree but he then turned his attention to Birgir, dealing him a near mortal blow. Birgir struck back and felled the already wounded barbarian with a solid blow using the flat of his sword.

Fearing the other trees might come to life and attack, the two standing warriors dragged Lykos from the room back to the waterfall cavern to regroup and recover a bit...

- If it's not obvious by now, I am running Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom by Matt Finch. It's a fun little adventure with plenty of weirdness that fits right in with the flavor of AS&SH. The only creatures I had to change were the Goblins (into the Impos I mention above). I believe Tulukaruk earned sufficient experience to rise to 3rd level. They are coming along nicely as a party but continue to suffer from a lack of Clerical spells. Hopefully they will earn a nice cache of healing potions that will carry them on to their next adventure (assuming they survive this one).

     Thread Starter

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