Keep on the Borderlands

8. Swamp Stones

11/10/10: We had a full table this week.. I have begun to foreshadow the adventures that will take place once the encounters season has ended. It seems like the whole group will be able to make it to the den mondays from 6-9 PM.

RPGA Sanctioning #:    10-10-2499715

Eldeth - Dwarf Slayer
Hirbe - Eladrin Mage
Merric - Halfling Thief
Rolf - Dragonborn Barbarian
Tornam - Dwarf Cleric
Varian - Eladrin Mage

The heroes had stormed Dragontooth hill and killed the Tiamat cultists. Ronnik was not among them. They did befriend a copper dragon called Moxulhar, who knew that Ronnik was planning to ambush the heroes' employer, Benwick, along with Varian's girlfriend Sal and sickly Gordi. Moxulhar agreed to lead the heroes to the scene...

The heroes raced through the forest and came to a stony clearing. There, Ronnik stood over Sal and Gordi, who were both unconscious. Ronnik looked utterly crazed. A dragonborn stood over Benwick the friar who was begging not to be killed. Three lizardmen observed the scene. 

The dragonborn saw the heroes emerge from the forest. He looked at the lizardmen and said, "We shall seal our agreement in blood. Come, Ronnik, we shall kill them together and welcome out reptilian brethren into Tiamat's fold!"

Eldeth charged Ronnik and swung at him. The nimble thief/banker/cultist ducked the blow. Rolf charged the dragonborn and slashed into him. Merric raced over to a small pond, and threw a dagger at a lizardman. 

A lizardman flanked Eldeth opposite Ronnik. Ronnik stabbed her in the side, blood spewed from the wound. The lizard cut her in the leg, forcing her to one knee. Then he stabbed her with his tail stinger, poisoning her. Tornam ran over and healed his fellow dwarf. Then he turned and racked the lizardman in the face with his hammer, bloodying him.

Another lizardman stung Rolf. Rolf breathed on the lizardman, bloodying him.

Hirbe sensed something was wrong with Ronnik. He focused for a moment with his arcane senses, and could ascertain that Ronnik was under some kind of fell influence, either magical or alchemical. He tried to break it, but could not. Hirbe then cast a font of flame spell, burning Ronnik. Then he used his mage hand, still tainted with kobold stink, and slapped Ronnik with it, hoping the stench would snap Ronnik out of it. It seemed to work for a moment. Ronnik asked "Where am I? Why are we fighting?" as he stood over Eldeth.

Eldeth got up, slashed a lizardman with her axe. Then she turned to face Ronnik and said "Now it's your turn!" and slashed him. Ronnik stabbed her and then deftly leapt away from her, over to Merric. A lizardman cracked her in the head with a club, knocking her out.

Merric dodged a swipe from the banker, and ran over to help Rolf fight a lizardman. Ronnik followed and stabbed him in the back, bloodying him.  Varian cast font of flame, injuring both Ronnik and a lizardman.

Tornam lumbered toward Ronnik, drooling blood. He cast a heal spell on Merric, and then crushed Ronnik's skull with his warhammer. Ronnik was dead! Then he turned, shouted, and charged a lizardman. 

Hirbe followed up with a burning hands spell that killed the dragonborn and a lizardman. 

One lizardman remained. Hirbe used his stink hand to try to slap him. The lizardman dodged but was hit with the stink wind, which sent him reeling. Rolf ran up and bloodied him with a swipe. Merric crept up and stabbed the lizardman in the back, killing him. 

The heroes were victorious!

The adventurers rested. Sal and Gordi awoke. Sal hugged Varian and said "My hero!".

Benwick waddled over and asked "Did you ever find the Serpent's Eye?". They had, as part of Moxulhar's treasure hoard.

Moxulhar flew over to Varian as he pulled it out of his pack. "That's my Serpent's Eye..." she said, nervously. "Whatever are you doing?"

Varian replied, "We just have to give him this. We'll replace it."

"What are you going to replace it with?" she asked.

Varian went over to a dead lizardman. Francis, the akaname/poop-demon, was licking its' scales. Varian removed its' eye and offered it to Mox as a replacement.

"I appreciate how clever that is, but it has no value." said Moxulhar. The heroes searched the lizardmen for treasure, but they had nothing.

Benwick stepped forward. He offered the heroes and Mox 75 gold each for the Serpent's Eye. Varian decided to give Mox his share of the gold. She looked at him in appreciation.

"You saved my life.. now you've doubled my hoard," she said.

Hirbe decided to do the same. He gave her another 75 gold. Mox was speechless.

Gloomhandler flew up to Merric's ear and whispered, "They're so stupid! We've got to figure out a way for them to do that for us! We'll be so wealthy!"

Varian considered asking Mox to attack Gloomhandler.

Sal suggested that the heroes return to the keep. She offered to buy them all drinks at the Stumbling Giant.

Mox asked if she'd be allowed in the keep. Hirbe assured her he'd get her in. Varian said he'd magic missile whoever tried to stop her. Benwick adjusted his collar and said "Gordi and I are going to go to the keep now.. we'll let them know you'll be bringing a dragon, and that she's friendly. "

Varian theorized they could just say Mox was a dog.

As the heroes neared Restwell Keep, Hirbe asked to approach the gate alone. The heroes let him. He walked up to the gates, where two soldiers were stationed - Fallek, the grouchy middle-aged veteran. Next to him was Syradon, the silent man with his ever-present book.

Fallek called down to the eladrin mage, "I remember you. You can come in. There was a rumor that you would have a dragon with you. Did it kill all your friends?"

"The dragon is one of our companions." Hirbe said. He tried to explain why the dragon would be safe to have in the keep.

"Why the frick would I let a dragon into the keep?" Fallek asked, incredulous.

Hirbe cast a subtle spell called Suggestion. He said as he cast, "The dragon is a friend of Ronnik."

Fallek was dazed and under the spell completely. "Friend of Ronnik, yes... friend of Ronnik. Lower the drawbridge!"

And thus the heroes entered the keep on the borderlands with a copper dragon.

They made their way to the Stumbling Giant with Sal. Inside were Mother Aran, behind the bar, Nokar (the half-orc bodyguard who Varian had a run-in with), Mandy the waitress (who was dating Nokar), Elessan was at the bar (Lord Drysdale's right hand man, an elf cleric), a lone scoundrel cleaning his teeth with a dagger (whom the heroes had never seen before), and a man with stubble chatting with beautiful half-elf twins with black hair and green eyes.

The man with stubble took notice of Eldeth and watched her walk to the table.

Mandy came to take their order. Sal said "I'd like to buy a round of drinks for my friends, and a special one for my boyfriend over here..."

Mandy was taken aback when she saw that Varian had a new woman. Hirbe tried to flirt with her to keep tensions low, giving her a sleazy wink.

Varian had an idea. He said to Mandy, "How about hugging me and Sal?" (this is a pg game. Please insert a more lascivious offer for a three-way here). Sal seemed intrigued and delighted by the suggestion.

Mandy said "I have a boyfriend, remember?" She pointed at big burly Nokar.

Nokar leaned on the bar and said to Sal "Why don't you skip that wimpy guy and get with a real dude?"

Sal was grossed out (rolled a one). She refused the offer in very stern terms. She was very devoted to Varian.

The man with the stubble walked over to the table and said awkwardly to Eldeth, "Well I bet a nice lady like you could use.. uh.. an extra drink. I hear you dwarves..... like drinking."

Eldeth said "How about five?"

"Well played," he said. He ordered them another round.

So the heroes were served two drinks each. The man with stubble introduced himself as Doran Underhelm. He was an expert dagger thrower. He wanted to set up a target board and challenge someone. Merric was up for it.

Hirbe suggested using Gloomhandler as a target. She was appalled. He assured her it was all in fun.

"I should warn you - I lead Doran's Daggers." he pointed to the twins. They waved.

"So.. you throw them?" asked Merric.

Doran said "No, they're mercenaries. My weapons of choice."

He threw a dagger at the target. He got a bullseye.

Gloomhandler said to Doran,"You'd better watch your spine, boy. My master might accidentally stab it. He's so deadly."

Merric kind of sighed at her and threw a dagger. He barely hit the target at all.

Doran said "This might be too easy. Let me turn around and throw it backwards." He flung it over his shoulder and hit the yellow area. Merric stepped up and turned around too. He also hit the yellow.

For the third and final throw, Merric would need to do better than Doran. Doran turned around and focused. His dagger landed in the yellow area. Merric took aim and got a bullseye! It was a draw.

Doran patted Merric on the back, congratulating him.

The other heroes were watching, seated at a table. While this was happening, three akaname (poop-demons) appeared in the rafters. Their leader wore a silver mask and grey robes. All three of them took aim and fired arc lightning spells at Hirbe's backpack, where Nanako was lurking.

One bolt hit the clasp of the backpack and popped it open. The other two bruned holes in the canvas. Inside the pack, Nanako drew her blades. The lead akaname barked orders at Francis. They could get the gist of it. He was telling Francis to help them kill Nanako. Francis paused... he had been told by Zev, god of night, to serve Varian. Francis considered the akaname's offer, then did nothing.

The akaname teleported onto Hirbe's backpack. Eldeth tried to trap one in her mug. It teleported out. Varian cast an arcing lightning, causing one to explode. Hirbe swatted the other two to the floor. Then he fired a magic missile into the leader's' chest, killing him. Rolf stepped on the last one, killing it.

Nanako hopped onto the table and approached Francis. She realized Francis knew where the akaname lived in the keep. "He could lead my people to where they live and we could finish them!"

She asked Varian to convine Francis to tell him where they lived so her people could slaughter them. Varian put the little grey robes on Francis. "Francis, wanna do this?", he asked.

Eldeth said "Might be a lot more poop in it for you!"

Francis smiled happily. "Yeah!" he said. "Genocide!"

Eldeth proceeded to let Doran Underhand buy her drinks until she got tipsy. Then she thanked him and left.

He watched her leave. Doran said, "What a gal..."

Nanako began to prepare for the final war between her clan and the akaname...