Grievous Grimoire

Imaginary Turtles

Finally, it is launched and as a project manager, it has been a huge learning curve on getting a group of volunteers on different sides of the Atlantic to work in a meaningful way. Grievous Grimoire is a large tome and was not the reason for the group forming, but when Zatnikotel had the idea, we could see the advantage in the developments to the Open00 ruleset. It has meant that Falling Summer, our originally intended first publication, has had to take a back burner, but it does mean that we can use the rules to support a wider range of characters.
Want an insider’s biased unboxing? Yes, it is great! What do you get for the price of a PDF?

Open00 core rules (Against the Darkmaster) are a great set of relatively simple d100 rules that deliberately mimic the old Middle Earth Roleplaying rules but have a few tweaks. So as a player you have only 6 class main options (vocations) and the scholar as a quasi playable one. With Grievous Grimoire you can spend background points to gain additional benefits and a tweak to vocational bonuses that give you 28 classes called Vocational Initiates. The intention with these has been to give players (and GMs) the chance to play class concepts akin to those found in Dungeons and Dragons and Rolemaster. Reading through these classes and their Milestones (something that is left rather vague or mechanical in the core rules) there are echoes of the path feats of D&D.

Content page to Grevious Grimoire

Each of the Vocational Initiates (VI) gains a unique skill or spell list that helps create a distinct specialisation to reflect early training. Overall, the bonuses and development points (DP) for VI don’t change from the core Vocation. However, the skills/spells can make VI feel a little more powerful in certain situations compared with the core version. However, you do need to remember that a Background Point was used to access this career path. There is also the fact that the aim is to give a special focus for a character to shine. A Swashbuckler is not the best fighter in all situations but if you want them to swing from a chandelier and engage in a little repartee while disarming an opponent then this is the VI for you.

Sample of Spell Lores in Grievous Grimoire

The Unique Spell Lores for VI provide a way of creating thematic effects for a High Fantasy game. A mistake a GM might make in adopting optional rules would be to allow all Spell Users access to the Spell Lores. This would result in a huge power creep in your game. The idea of having these limited to VI is the way DP buy restricts the rate at which a character can acquire a Spell Lore. A few of the VIs have been given the ability to resurrect characters. In MERP, the most you could manage was Lifekeeping III (something that Weaves eliminates in Open00) and then you had to transport your fallen companion to a powerful healer. I don’t think anything could be worse than reaching the closing points of your campaign at level 10 and losing your character just before the final battle. The resurrection spells are those sort of the last roll of the dice thing. You should be close to the Darkmaster’s lair and at a cost of some of your and your patient’s heroic status you return them to the fight. It has been made sacrificial for just that purpose and it is no more powerful than the Wizard’s Eldritch powers at that level because you wouldn’t want to do it more than once or twice. Spells themselves have been given weaves similar to the mechanic effects of other spells even if they don’t share the same thematic effects. In the Grievous Grimoire, a number of additional sections support the GM in applying the effects of some of the new Spell Lores e.g. Spirit Worlds and Animated Objects.

Specialty Skills are a way of showing a specific training focus in Grievous Grimoire

The other major addition to Open00 is the creation of Specialty skills (I’m afraid we had to adhere to American English Spelling rules having made the style choice many moons ago). There are 43 Specialty Skills to enhance the ones that already exist in the Core Open00 rules. This is not “skill bloat” but rather a way of refining an area that a character that might have some form of specific training. First, the rules are adjusted to define how many a Vocation can have at the start and how much the Specialty skill costs. The DP cost alone will prevent players from choosing a wide array of Specialty skills but the clever part is that it synergises the Core Skill in certain situations with a +1 for each rank. This gives a small competitive advantage in certain circumstances. It could leave players to think “Why bother?”, as spending the DP on the core skill would be more beneficial. However, there are also low-level passive advantages. On top of this, the Grievous Grimoire defines how a Drive Point can be used to create a heroic moment in the game that will bring character concepts to life. Of course, there is always the risk of failure and the consequences of failure result in some interesting complications.

Background Flaws provide a way of giving characters more Background Points. But should be used wisely by the GM to create characters with depth.

The final set of rules you could use in your Open00 game is Flaws to support character development. I am not sure I would use Flaws much for my characters as I often associate it with a minor adventuring inconvenience for some large bonuses collected elsewhere. However, having said that the Flaws presented in Grievous Grimoire are the flipside of existing Background Options. They return a background point for a tier that is the opposite of something existing. I like the balance of this and feel it at least offsets the way Open00 Background options work.

That is pretty much it for the walk-through of the book. There are, as I have mentioned, some supporting material for the rules introduced such as Animated Objects, Golems, Elementals, Spirit World, Doppleganger Forms, and Mana Crit tables providing examples and guidance but there is little need to describe these in detail. We were very aware as active GMs that quick reference is an important aspect of running games so everything has been recreated in a series of summary tables that can be either printed out to sit behind your GM screen or left on the table for the players to reference.

The Grievous Grimoire is definitely a high-quality product and you can get it from the storefront on we plan to release a Print on Demand product probably through DriveThruRPG when we have managed to remove any major errata in the next couple of months when of course you can update your PDF copy for free if you generously choose to support us. Remember we are all volunteers with demanding day jobs and none of us are going to be getting any royalties or being paid by the word. We just love roleplay games and writing but we do want to support artists who make their living through the images they sell.

Imaginary Turtles

You would think from the silence that nothing RPG has been happening in my life. The Mirkwood campaign went quiet as the summer holiday season kicked in and certain members of the group moved house. Even now we can’t seem to organise a day before Christmas to play. My work on the next part of the Cloak of Zahara has become bogged down in me doing a bit of world-building for the plot to work and my commitments to the Imaginary Turtles Collective, which I can finally start to mention.

It has been a bit of a slog and a lot of mission creep but we are in the final stages of publication. Check out the website for more information.

A Matter of Trade – The Silken Thread

The loss of the mule has made the mulemaster Gulstaff even glummer, if such a thing were possible, this does not help the mood in the party I can tell you. Even with the advantage of elven eyesight the gloom is hard to penetrate and the strain of constantly keeping watch is beginning to strain even Gerran’s optimism. Fryancryn chats easily with those who are nearby and I enjoy his company. He is clearly a man of the road and it is the journey more than the trade he lives for. We exchange tales of travels around the fringes of the Great Wood. It seems he has not met many of the First born and to have three, even if one is only a half blood, for company peaks his interest. I, of course, deflect much of his interest in me and my comings and goings, instead focussing his attention on the Noldo, Talaras and his reasons for wandering so far from the Havens.

Uphead a glimmer across the path catches my attention and I call for a halt. It is clear that there is some kind of silken thread stretched across the South Road. While giant spiders are rare, they are know to live in the depths of the dark heart of the forest and are hunted mercilessly by my fellow wood elves. I advise caution and scan the area for any further sign of the foul beasts but all seems quiet.

My plea for caution and care goes unheeded as Gerran strides manfully towards one of the great silver threads strung across the road. Behind him scuttles Talaras, bow drawn looking far more cautious but none the less too close to use the bow should Gerran be attacked. I pause for a moment, unsure whether to stay with Fryancryn and the mules or to cover the other two guards. I opt to follow at a distance comfortable for the range of my bow.

There is a faint sound of something passing through the air near the pair up front but I do not understand its importance until Talaras yells ambush. He does so as six misbegotten orcs slip from their hiding places in the thick rose thorns that line the path. There are four between Talaras and myself and two more beyond him unseen by Gerran. I let my arrow fly with a cry of warning; darting sideways Talaras looses his bow but both flights miss their mark. The warning is enough though to allow Gerran to turn and defend himself.

Too quick the foe is upon me. I have no time to pay heed to how my companions fare as I am forced to hurriedly defend myself against two orcs. The first lashes a lucky blow beneath the guarded of twirling quarterstaff, my calf is slashed and I am badly bruised by a heavy handed blow from the flat of the blade. I go down on one knee and fear it will be over soon. The sight would be comical if I were not so injured as I watch the other orc drop its blade but I am busy parrying the attack of the first. A second flurry of blows smash the the sweeping guard of my quarterstaff and the world goes black.

I awaken and the pain in my calf sears straight to my vocal chords in a cry of anguish. I bite down hard not wanting to alert any enemies nearby but it seems that they have fled. There is only my companions and I still here but a distinct lack of slain foes to suggest that the others were not any more successful that I. Gerran has an arrow shaft protruding from his leg which Talaras is currently trying to remove and staunch the bleeding. It seems that outnumbered the pair retreated scooping up my fallen body as they passed. Fortunately, a bruise to the lower leg and the concern over Gerrans wound has meant they have not checked me thoroughly and discovered my secret. Of Fryancryn and Gulstaff there is not a sign also, it must be said, of the mule with all the food supplies. However, we do have plenty of grain and weapons on the remaining mules.

We are making plans to dump some of the grain to free up two mules for Gerran and I to ride when we hear some muffled groaning from the depths of the rose thorn thicket. If it wasn’t so pitiful we would be really worried, not to mention in deep trouble given the wounds taken. But is turns out to be Fryancryn dragging Gulstaff through a hidden passage among the bushes. He tells us he and the mule man had pursued the orcs but were overcome and he is little pleased with the realisation that two thirds of his grain will need to be dumped to let his guards make it to Buhr Widufiras.

Then again, as I said, he is more about the travel and adventure than making the largest profit and travellers in peril can’t be choosers. So we limp on towards the Buhr a few days further along the road. I would attempt to forage some herbs and berries to supplement our scant supplies but I cannot limp for long enough to be successful. I am concerned also by the bold presence of orcs on the South Road.

We meet a pair of woodman travelling the road. They appear to be some form of patrol and escort us to the Buhr in safety. By careful questioning, I discover that they are worried for a missing scout called Windlore, who is a bit a totemic hero among the Woodman of Buhr Widufiras. The presence of the orcs on the South Road has also caused some concern, not least since, though they appear inept, they have caused more havoc on the roads than the normal pattern of raids by orcs.

At Buhr Widufiras we take the time to rest. Fryancryn bids us farewell as he plans to move on with a new cargo and, I believe, he is only to happy to be rid of such an inept set of guards. Harsh if you think about the number of foes encountered in the ambush. It would have needed two or three times as many fighters to protect the mules in such a limited space. Still there it is and he does at least pay us a half of the original fee. I spend most of mine hospital fees and a pack of herbs that will aid recovery in any future combat.

There is now the matter of these orcs and who controls them. I look for a way to get the message to my master but there appears to be no fellow traveller to carry a coded message and I cannot afford to travel far from Buhr Widufiras without attracting attention. There will be nothing for it but to return to where the grain has been stashed and explore the tunnels through the rose thorns. I’m sure my companions will be looking to transport the grain back to the buhr but unless they plan to carry it on their backs I doubt they will see coin from Fryancryn’s cargo, even if the woodland creatures have left the sacks undisturbed.

A matter of trade – Wumbahad

Burgh Ailgra is pretty much a one horse town and that horse is dead. The Wumbahud is where most of the merchants preparing to pass through Mirkwood and onto Buhr Widfurias gather. No such luck at the moment. Looks like I missed them and my chance of being able to scout the south road without travelling alone. The bar room is empty save for three of us. One looks like he is known locally by Tostig, the inn keeper. Dark hair and grey eyes mark him out as a Noldo, which is strange given the down at heel look and that he seems to live near here. There seems to be something strange about this one and a story that would interest my Lord. A Noldo abroad so far suggests something is afoot.

Then there is the dark-haired, half-elf who entered long after I’d arrived. Mistook me for a boy and headed straight for the bar all burly and manly. Seeking to dull his senses in ale and talk proudly of his prowess in arms to any (Tostig) that will listen. By the time ten minutes have passed he has revealed his given name to all in the room, Gerran, and I am sure if it wasn’t for the arrival of the merchant, every detail of his life within the half hour.

Thankfully, we were all saved by the arrival of a rather flashy merchant by the name of Fryancryn. Cherry travelling cloak and clothes appearing to dazzle the other occupants of the inn but I’m not fooled I can see the frayed edges beneath the mud and road dust. Says he is late on the road and looking to hire some guards for security on his final leg to Buhr Widfurias. Gerran of course is first to proclaim his fitness to role, gesturing at the pair of short swords strapped to his side and ensuring that all look at his shiny mail coat. I am beginning to wonder if he has the wit to do more than show off. Soon the Noldo – Talaras – has expressed his interest after a healthy nod from Tostig and so I know that I have a good chance of travelling with this caravan without having to resort to anything that might get me noticed. I gracefully unwind from my place in the corner and offer my eyes to the party but perhaps it is the bow that tips the balance in taking such a callow looking youth with them.

Overnight, I check on Fryancryn and his cargo; he has a mule man, slow, sullen and bullnecked man who seems more at home with the beasts he looks after than company. The goods appear to be just as he says a supply of grain and a few iron weapons.

The morning is a good day to start travelling. The mule train is led by Fryancryn with Gulstaff (the mule man) in the middle. I let the gaudy Gerran take up the vanguard and the Noldo with mace and shield seems best suited to guarding the rear, which is just as I need it to be. I travel towards the middle roving up and down the train keeping a weather eye on the surroundings. The journey to ….is uneventful and from there we enter under the eaves of the Mirkwood.

Once this Southern wood was full of light and shade. Ents and Entwives cared for the trees and the creatures that dwelt there. Now the trees grow too close and cut the light on the south road until it is almost permanently twilight. Thorns clamour in the spaces between the trees seeking to choke the remaining light. My Lord’s fear that things are amiss in the Southern Marches of Thranduil. We travel a few days and during each night I am worried by nocturnal visitations. Nothing more than the glimpse of eyes in the undergrowth but I feel we are being trailed by more than just a natural nightly visitor.

On the second day, we are halted by a tree fallen across the path. I’m worried, the tree is large and we can’t get the mules over such and obstacle. The undergrowth is thick and I can’t even worm through a gap. This could have been an ambush site. The tree looks like it has been felled. There has been no storm to bring down such a large and healthy tree. However, not much is going to get through and if they are in the trees our only hope is to run. Gerran decides to show off and wave his two swords about, blunting them on the thick undergrowth in the process. It is fortunate that the Noldo discovers some loew aglor and the blades are resharpened. Some hours later, a section of the tree has been hacked clear and the mules are able to pull the block clear.

Another night and the eyes are back, this time though they are bolder and the wolves attack in the early hours when Gerran and I are on watch. The lump takes a nasty gash to his cheek but I am too quick for them and from a vantage point in the trees rain arrows at the retreating beasts. Soon they are among the mules and it needs the strength of Talaras to drive off the wolves. Meanwhile, Gerran continues to attack the bushes before realising that his target is at the rear and provide support to the flying mace but not before one of the mules is injured beyond saving.

Birdman – Jazirat Alburunz part 3

The journey south through the thick jungle to the lighthouse is punctuated only by the odd sighting of wild life. Aerandir and Denig are too slow with their bows when a small deer is fleetingly sighted. However, later in the day, Aerandir is more successful with a shot at a peccary disturbed by their passage. The small pig felled by the arrow is soon dispatched by Alquatris with his improvised spear and the group pause to butcher the animal before moving on.

Eventually, the party emerge from the jungle onto the coastal plain. The lighthouse in sight, Alquatris bids the party farewell; fearing his presence may aggravate Nasik. But he bids them join him at his camp around the bay, with a warning to not to tarry too long for night falls quickly on the island.

The four adventurers approach the lighthouse but find no-one at home and so settle down to wait for the return of Nasik. It is not long before the occupant returns. Distracted, he barely notices the unusual group before he reaches the main door where they wait. His wild hair floats like a halo around his wrinkled features and he is soon engaged in a prattling discourse on the bird life of the island. Throughout the almost ceaseless monologue Fulton and the others try to discover what he knows about the light at the centre of the island, which seems to be very little. During his monologue he tells the party that there are warnings not to take its treasures, by which he seems to think the birds.

Remembering Alquatris’s warning the party set off with plenty of time around the bay and arrive at the sailors camp round the bay. A small stream runs onto a beach where a makeshift hut stands near to a campfire. Soon they are feasting on the roasted pig meat and discussing plans for the next day. The central peak is still of interest but the explorers feel that a smaller western peak might provide a vantage point that will help with their exploration.

The next day, the party with Alquatris in tow, he is desperate to leave the island and would rather travel with them than miss his ticket off the island. They follow the small stream towards the western peak. At the foot of the peak they discover an abandoned mine. which peeks Dagaard’s curiosity. However, the entrance of the mine makes the party feel uncomfortable, especially Fulton. Seeking divine wisdom, Denig casts around the entrance for any sign of evil, but finds none. Assured, they turn their attention to the western peak. Unlike the main peak that rises slowly to a final steep climb, the western peak rises sharply out of the surrounding jungle. A few hardy trees and plants cling stubbornly to the barren rock face. Lacking an easy way to gain a view of the main peak, Fulton climbs a nearby tree and is rewarded with a better view of the land. They decide to hike across the saddle of the island, through the jungle to the main peak and expend their climbing efforts there.

The day though is passing and the thought of camping in the jungle when there is the potential of a shelter in the entrance to the mine is too much of a draw. Besides, Dagaard is still keen to explore into the depths of the mine to see what treasure lie within. The rest of the party agree, if only to make sure there is nothing that will attack them in the night.

The gloom of the upper workings of the mine are quickly explored. Dagaard is unable to see what it was that was once mined here but a ladder to a lower level suggests that perhaps the upper level was worked out. Although the ladder looks sturdy, Denig is dubious about it holding his weight. So it is that Dagaard makes the first foray down and discovering a network of tunnels below is joined quickly by Aerandir and Fulton.

The light from Dagaard’s miners helmet and Aerandir’s lantern flickers of rough hewn walls as the trio begins to explore one of the side tunnels. Echoes of their movements and whispers bounce back eerily from the darkness. Perhaps it is a sixth sense or a movement in the air that alerts Aerandir’s Elven senses but he turns in time to raise his scimitar and step to one side in an act of self preservation from an onrushing ethereal miner. In doing so he exposes Fulton to the onrushing phantom who is fortunate to be able to raise his cutlass at the cry of the half-elf. The ghost passes through both Fulton and Dagaard, whose weapons pass through with no effect, physically knocking them backwards as it passes through them howling about its treasure.

Within moments, a second phantom miner approaches from behind Aerandir, who again is fortunate to be aware of its approach. He again leaps into the junction of the passage in an attempt to avoid its touch but is not so fortunate as it passes through him and in the act knocks his shield from his arm. In the ensuing mayhem of ghostly miners and recovering the lost shield the trio make their escape towards the ladder. Their progress is not without peril as ghosts appear down corridors blocking their exit. Bravely, they rush through the ghosts shrugging off the discomfort of every encounter. Unfortunately, as he approaches the ladder, Fulton’s shield is knocked from his arm but he chooses to race to safety rather than recover it.

Soon, the party has regathered on the upper workings deeply regretting their encounter with the spirits of the dead miners. All three feel a depletion of vitality by the presence of the ghosts, a feeling not relieved by the prayers of Denig. Dagaard, mildly protests that they should try again, for the ghosts had spoken of treasure, but even his desire for wealth has been muted and he accepts Denig’s assertion that only magical elven weapons will aid them in dispatching these spirits to Arawn’s halls. Morosely, the party withdraw to the jungle outside the mines to set up camp away from the mine.

Seven sleeps – Jazirat Alburunz part 2

Meanwhile, Fulton watches his companions from a nearby hill, below him Dagaard kicks stones and waits. Seeing his companions enter the village, Fulton watches as they cautiously explore. He notes the occasional child flitting between buildings but the Half-elf and the Dunlending appear to be in no danger. He is never concerned when they pass briefly out of sight into or behind buildings, as they always reappear soon after; until they don’t.

Seconds stretch to minutes and these expand pause so worrying that he feels that they need to investigate. Calling to Dagaard the pair make their way down to the village edge doing their best to approach unobserved. Around them they hear the occasional snatch of childhood songs and the laughter of children. It soon becomes clear that their presence is known when Dagaard looks over to see a sweet-faced child peeking through a gap in the door way of one of the huts. She beckons them over and fearing some hideous monster to be revealed they make their way towards the hut. Inside another child, a boy, is playing with some stones in the dirt of the hovel.

“Come play with us,” they sing and beckon the two adventurers to follow them to the centre of the village where a lopsided pole stands. Fulton and Dagaard, wary of the centre of the village, move away towards the edge of the village looking for their friends. Very quickly, they are surrounded by a group of singing and dancing children and fall into golden slumber.

The adventurers awake cold, slightly damp where they fell asleep. It is dark and their memories of the recent past are hazy and difficult to recollect. All feel refreshed and freed of some of the concern and travails of the past. They are also very hungry suggesting it has been sometime since their last meal.

Golden Slumbers – Original by Dana McMunn: “Sleep, pretty darling, do not cry, and I will sing a lullaby.”

Soon reunited and feeling hungry the foursome debate satisfying the hunger they all feel. Perhaps it is the feeling of release from their troubles or that the children have not attacked them but they decide to build a fire on the beach and have a breakfast cook out. Their enjoyment soon attracts the children and when the adventurers next awake the sun is shining in a blue afternoon sky and they are hungry again.

Even though they have forgotten more cares and worries the companions have enough sense of self-preservation to remove themselves from the village before preparing food and discussing recent events. Dagaard offers to deal with the issue by using his war hammer but the others get the sense that these are not merely children and are something more than a weapon could defeat. So they turn their thoughts back to exploring the rest of the island for signs of life, although starting this will have to wait as night is drawing in.

The night passes without an incident apart from Dagaard reporting hearing a ghostly wolf howl during his watch. The explorers decide to attempt to scale the mountain at the centre of the island, reasoning that if they can make it above the tree line of the jungle they will be able to see any habitation and begin to make their way there. As they approach the edge of the jungle that covers the foot hills. The companions notice a flash from the top of the mountain. It does not repeat but they wonder at its significance.

The journey through the jungle is difficult. The vegetation is thick and finding a path is difficult. What is more, the party seem are inconvenienced by local poisonous wildlife. Denig is bitten by a spider whose venom cause him some discomfort for a few hours and Aerandir disturbs a viper which he beheads after being bitten on the leg.

Gaining the flanks of the mountain the wind mysteriously drops and the air stills. The heat of the sun seems to be intensified. The elevation gives the party a better a view of the island to the south. A river flows from a source somewhere in the jungle below and meets the coast as a marshy delta. They begin to trek round the flanks of the mountain looking for a way up as they feel the light they have seen at the top may be a significant part of the island’s protection.

The still air is unnerving and the heat is close as they pick their way through the rocky terrain. Sometime after midday they are alerted to shouts and hollers coming from the jungle below. Looking down they spy a dark-skinned man; wild, wiry hair held in check by a bandana; dressed in ragged trousers and wielding a crude spear making his way towards them.

His name is Alqatris Abayad, a ship-wrecked sailor, who, unsurprising, is very pleased to meet someone new on the island. He has been marooned many months and is naturally keen to take passage off the island. He tells the companions that when he arrived on the island he was cared for by the Dayr Astámo, an elf who tends the Maladh Alsalam in the north east of the island. He claims that he cannot remember the exact location but he assures the explorers that should they go that way Astámo will find them. He on the other hand has preferred to remain on the south side of the island near the shore where he could watch for ships. Here the only other humanoid he meets is an ornithologist called Nasik who he really doesn’t understand and who prefers to avoid.

He agrees to guide the party to the lighthouse where Nasik lives on the south coast. Travelling through the jungle below the mountain Aerandir angers a solenodon that scratches him badly and spits venomous saliva before Denig prays for the rat-sized beast to be calmed and it scuttles off into the undergrowth. Although, he is unaffected by the poison of the saliva, the wounds he received are severe enough to need the aid of Denig and his god.

The Night of the Long Knives

The sun had not yet risen when a squad of palace guards arrive at the ship and demanded in the politest way that the heroes of Mustawdae and the avengers of Qubtan Tubki come with them to the palace. The palace at this hour seemed empty, although the whispered sounds of unseen servants could be heard around Fulton and Denig as they were escorted into the throne room.

It was clear that the Amyr was not there or for that matter any of the other court officials. The throne of state glared at the pair in silent authority. From a curtained side entrance near the throne dais, the figure of the Vizier met on the previous visit to this room arrives to speak with the pair.

He introduces himself as Munajam Murshid, the astrologer to Amyr Fatih Albahr. Fulton translates this for Denig and then listens to the Vizier as he is informed that the Zilal Ramadiatan have become more than an inconvenience with their killing of Eayan Tubki. The apparently random attacks are centred on one-quarter of the island near the Tubuki estate, Thus the Amyr, great is his name, commands them to investigate and cleanse his island of this menace. In the meantime, Vanwa is to be his esteemed guest at his convenience.

He also commanded the pair to deliver the birthday gift they had recovered from the fallen Tubki to his orphaned son, Zahrat Alnajma. However, it would not be right for them to stay there, so the Vizier had arranged from them to stay at the estate of Aismilays Mahma (conveniently a cousin to the Vizier, who has also suffered attacks on workers on his land. A servant is provided as a guide and to attend to the food they need for the day’s journey to the estate of Mahma. They return to the ship to collect their companions and adventuring gear.

So it is that the Avenger of Tubki and his companions stroll along the coast road accompanied by their guide. The sunshine downs on volcanic cliffs that drop precipitously into the crystal clear ocean. To their left, the jungle sweeps down from the mountain in the centre of the island. Sometimes the road pass through deep stands of trees and other out onto open scrubland.

At midday, they enjoy a refined meal, provided by the palace. The servant bustles around preparing the rug for them to sit upon and tea, cold meats and other delicacies. They have never dined so well.

It is getting late and the sun is sinking into the ocean. The party pass through an area where the jungle is running down to the shore. Nearby, an abandoned house sits right on the cliff; the roof eaves almost scraping to the hill it is built into. A small walled courtyard with a broken empty gate gives access to the house via a stair well leading up to the main door.

There is a dull thud amidst a patter of falling leaves. The servant falls instantly to the ground as your party is engulfed in a hail of crossbow bolts.

The party flee back up the road on which they have travelled into a hail of fire. All are hit in the following volley but the heroes are able to continue their flight. However, Fulton stumbles over the rough ground trying to avoid any further injury and his hit again by a crossbow bolt from an unseen assailant. Dagaard, who is closest drops back to provide an additional shield for the sailor as they take up a defensive position by a tree.

During this time, Aerandir has slipped into the undergrowth and Denig prayer for concealment is granted. Both spend time trying to locate the assailants. Aerandir manages to loose a shot at one shadow figure but after that neither can find a target. It is at this point that Aerandir also offers a quick prayer to Ulmo for concealment and blends into the jungle. While he waits, Denig makes is way quickly and carefully to find the dwarf and sailor.

Meanwhile, disaster befalls the two companions by the tree. Despite, the cover and shields, a hail of bolts mortally wound Fulton. In response, Dagaard stands valiantly over his fallen companion calling out the cowardly assailants, when Denig’s voice can be heard, but not seen. He prays for the stricken Fulton and drops into a coma while his god heals him. Restored, Fulton along with Denig make a run for the walled garden in front of the house.

They hold the gateway together waiting for the next assault. Without the fortune of a brief glance behind them into the garden, they would have been surprised by the attackers approaching stealthily to their rear. Fulton parries for all he is worth and soon Dagaard has despatched both. They reason that they need something more substantial between them and the attackers and retreat to the house.

Having entered the house and barricaded the main door. The pair begin to explore to ensure they can escape or cover any other entry to the house itself. A large ballroom with many wide window spaces forces them to consider lower levels as a safer area to hole up in. They descend the long stairs to the floor below, where they encounter three huge hounds. Things do not go well, with Fulton being wounded in the abdomen and bleeding profusely. It takes the doughty dwarf to pull him behind the safety of a door back up to the previous level and away from the dogs.

Dagaard manages to haul Fulton back to a small office near the entrance and applies some basic first aid to staunch the wound temporarily. He barricades the pair against entry from the direction of the dogs on the floor below and sets himself ready to defend the remaining door with his last breath.

While the dwarf and the sailor lurch from calamity to catastrophe, Denig begins to try and hunt the hidden assailants. Aerandir attempts the same thing from a more static position. Neither has any luck in this endeavour except to discover that those who wish them harm are either extremely stealthy or not in the current area. Eventually, they find each other and make their way to the house. Finding the two dead Zilal, they relieve them of the throwing knives and make their way to the main door. It is barred against entry and despite desperate whispers, there are no replies.

Aerandir and Denig decide to try a nearby window. Standing on Denig’s shoulders Aerandir discovers the casement of the window is well made and secure. He decides to break the window and pull himself in through the window. Perhaps it was a mistake as when Denig begins to pull himself in the pair are attacked from the garden by crossbows. Swiftly they duck below the window height. While Aerandir keeps a hidden watch, Denig checks the doors to find Dagaard standing guard over the fallen Fulton.

For a second time, Denig prays to Cloch for the strength to heal his companion at arms. The effort costs him dear, he falls unconscious with the pain and he is unable to take any action for over a quarter of an hour. While Fulton updates Aerandir on the rooms around them. Feeling weary, Denig suggest that they rest in the study for the night, trusting the dogs below will protect one entrance and vigilance the other.

It is not long before this assumption is proven wrong. Zilal in grey flood into the room using windows and doors. The party are hard-pressed on all sides but Aerandir’s bow becomes the decisive factor, crippling several of the attackers and turning the tide.

by BriGht-liGht-NSH

The invaders dispatched, the heroes set about securing all the doors and windows and in the process reducing the speed at which they can escape if needed. Again they settle down to rest and recuperate and again the Zilal assassins attack, this time with smoke. Rapidly, the rooms begin to fill with smoke and faced with the threat of fire the heroes exit through the rear of the study and down to corridor where Fulton was mortally wounded by a dog.

Below the corridor leads in two directions; a nearby door offers an immediate sanctuary from the patrolling dogs. They quickly enter and surprise a Zilal in the kitchen beyond the door. A single Zilal proves no match for the experienced heroes.

In a room off of the kitchen, cowers an old man, who turns out to be the servant of the Lord of the manor. He thanks the party for dispatching the raider in the kitchen and provides them with information on the manor.

The Lord of the Manor, A, is a recluse who has not talked to his servant since his return from the sea. The only creatures he will talk to are his dogs that he allows to roam the corridor and shore side rooms freely. The servant suggests that if the adventurers want to escape they should follow the coast side rooms. He also tells them that the master spends his time alone in the sunroom by the dock. The party think this might have a ship and provide them with a way of escaping the Zilal. However, the servant refuses to come with them.

Travel through the dining room, hall and parlour reveal that although the house appears abandoned it remains well appointed and cared for; no doubt through the attentions of the servant.

Outside they are assailed again. This time the Zilal have rappelled down the cliff and taken up position blocking the door back into the house. For the third time in the night Fulton suffers a mortal wound and things do not look good, especially as Aerandir is shot by a Zilal crossbow bolt. Dagaard almost single-handedly manages to cut a swathe through the remaining Zilal allowing Denig to heal the fallen comrades. Now though he knows that the divine grace of Cloch is deserting him and he needs sleep and rest.

Those in the party with night vision are able to make out the docks and report a singular lack of a boat. The plan to escape by sea is quickly shelved. Aerandir is keen to try and contact the master of the house, however, although he can hear that someone is in the summer house, is unable to rouse the occupant. The adventurers retire to the parlour, blockading the doors against another potential incursion, they settle down to rest for the remains of the night.

Keeping watch, Dagaard fails to spot a pale blue smoke entering the room from beneath the doors, before the drug-laden smoke has already begun to affect all but Aerandir. However, as soon as he does recognise the now swirling smoke across the floor he rouses his companions in time for them to mount a defence against the Zilal who break in through the two windows of the room.

The rushed assault is clearly aimed to overwhelm attackers who have been rendered less able by the drug-laden smoke. The plan flounders as the Zilal meet a stiffer resistance than expected. Fulton manages to lop the hand off one of the attackers and Dagaard dispatches another from the fight. Still, the weight of numbers, the effects of the smoke and Fulton’s new combat tactic of using full parry make the situation look perilous.

The doorway to the room bursts open, stunning both Dagaard and Denig who are in close combat with a Zilal. Leaving Denig to defend against the original attacker. Dagaard spins to defend the doorway against the new incursion. Meanwhile, Aerandir continues to trade blows with one of the original attackers. As Dagaard rushes to the doorway he realises that there are three Zilal armed with crossbows aimed at the entrance. He ducks back behind the doorway, but one of the fired bolts strikes Denig who is still in the line of sight beyond Dagaard.

The fighting is fierce, Denig and Dagaard still suffering the effects of the blast are forced to defend themselves. The external also is breached, but Fulton, who was closest, manages to retreat further from the doorway and avoid the effects of the blast. It is only when Denig dips into his store of herbs that the battle is turned. Managing to give Dagaard a dose of dried mushroom (Zulsendura), he turns his attention to aiding Fulton and trying to provide a second dose of the mushroom to Aerandir.

A feint opening designed to draw Dagaard into the room beyond or perhaps to allow the other opponents to an uninterrupted line of sight into the room, provides the dwarf with an opening. Popping the mushroom into his mouth the ferocious and hasted dwarf charges into the room easily dispatching his two opponents. Meanwhile, Aerandir has dispatched his opponent and is busy defending the outer door against the attackers. Denig decides to use his dose of Zulsendura on himself and thus hasted dispatches the remaining Zilal in the room with the aid of Dagaard who quickly returns to the chamber.

Calvin Chua Art Station

The battle turning, the party hear the sounds of dogs and roaring from outside. The heroes just feeling they have reached the point of victory, find themselves confronted by a roaring giant of a man in furs and three fierce war hounds. Aerandir and Fulton attempt to defuse combat by explaining that they are sent by the Amyr. Perhaps it is exhaustion or the three near-death experiences of the night but Fulton is unusually underwhelming. Dagaard immediately lashes out at the nearest war hound and it looks like the heroes will again be engaged in battle. However, a final plea from Aerandir pauses the fur-clad man, who is the Lord of the manor.

Through a more rational discussion, Aerandir is able to explain how they came to be in the Lord’s mansion and how they have saved the servant. The party then demonstrate the truth of their story by taking the lord around the mansion and grounds to show where all the Zilal who attacked them lie.

An’ I earn my livin’ oot o’ the sea.

The hideous creature roars causing rats to scuttle back into the safety of the room behind the rotting door. It lunges for Denig who earnestly entreats Cloch for protection. His prayers are heard and a wall of shimmering air issues from the very rock hindering the Umaia’s attack as it tries to rend the stone-skinned Dunlending limb from limb.

Meanwhile, Dagaard presses and attack from the side and scores some effective hits with his two-handed weapon. That is until he has become an annoyance and the Umaia swots at him causing a light wound and forcing the dwarf to stagger back.

With the monster so closely engaged, it difficult to Fulton and Aerandir to engage with missile weapons. They take their chance with bow and dagger but both are wide of the mark. Aerandir seeks an alternative exit for both himself and Denig (split as the party is) but to no avail. The exit into the toom beyond is barred by fixed bars embedded in the surrounding floor. Then misfortune strikes. Denig is rendered unconscious by a blow and the wall of air fails. Seeing his companion at risk, Dagaard leaps in to press an attack and protect his fallen comrade.

With the fortunate blessing of Cloch, Denig awakens and is protected by a wall of water drawn for the surrounding stones. The force of its churning mass again blunts the attacks of the hideous demon. Dagaard finds it difficult to hit his mark but it is Aerandir who scores a fortunate hit and the Umaia dissipates in an oily cloud of noxious gas.

While Denig prays for healing for Dagaard’s minor wounds the rats begin to emerge from the room but are quickly discouraged by oil from Dagaard’s pack. The party press on with their exploration; returning to the locked door by the stairs and, after some quick work by Fulton, to the rooms beyond.

Denig finds another trap and disarms it with some ease allowing the party passage through to the next room, which itself is uninteresting apart from leading onwards. The corridor beyond leads to two doors but while checking for traps Denig also notices that the wall to one side has curious features. They quickly check the doors. One leads to a changing room, a number of street robes are piled neatly on benches. Above the other door is an inscription which says

Leave the light
Dive the depths
Meet your god

Beyond the door is a pool. The pool itself is deep and full of brackish sea water but the party spy a passageway and beyond it what appears to be the light of another room.

Leaving the pool grotto for a moment, they party turn their attention to the wall outside. The wall itself is old and slick with slime but it only takes Denig ten minutes to discover a hidden entrance undisturbed for may years. Soon the door is opened to reveal a small alcove in which a statue of a Gwingil (Sin. Mermaid). At the foot of it is a small inscription.

Walk right through me
Never see me
Always need me
Kiss me and release me

It takes some false starts before Denig reasons that the riddle is about air and takes the plunge and kisses the lips of the Gwingil. A sudden gush of liquid enters his mouth and pours down his throat. Within moments, the healer is choking and unable to breathe. Taking this as a sign that he can now only breathe underwater he races to the pool and plunges straight in.

Within the pool of water, Denig discovers he has failed to think through or safely check the real depth of the pool as his stone-skinned body begins to sink. Then suddenly, he begins to sink faster as he is grabbed from behind by strong arms.

On the surface, Aerandir observes Denig being grabbed by a Gwingil and races to the statue to receive a gift of potion before abandoning his bow and racing to the Dunlending’s aid. Fulton is not far behind his crew mate in diving into the pool. However, Dagaard with his race’s fear of water and the sea refuses to enter.

The battle beneath the water is not going well. Denig suffers some damage from the Gwingil’s bite and finds himself unable to escape from the grapple. The arrival of Aerandir forces the Gwingil to release her captive who then continues to sink into the depths. Aerandir and the Gwingil dance through the water neither being able to cause and significant damage.

In desperation, Denig prays for a way to stay afloat and is granted the ability to walk on water. At the surface, he is forced to stand on the water and bend over to put his head back into the water to breathe granting him a bird’s-eye view of the battle below where Fulton ineffectually tries to stab the guardian of the pool.

Swift and agile in the water the Gwingil proves a tricky adversery and injured and stunned in one class Aerandir makes for the tunnel through to the next room. It is with this distraction that Fulton makes a miraculous strike and given a moment of freedom he too makes for the tunnel. At the surface, Denig also sees the opportunity and with a croak to Dagaard to follow releases the ability to walk on water and in a controlled fall aims for the tunnel.

As Denig’s stone form arrows towards the tunnel he realises he has misjudged the angle and he is doomed to miss. With one desperate lunge he grabs at the edge and through a herculean effort pulls himself into the tunnel. Only now he becomes aware that he is now reliant on the air in his lungs. With what feels like an explosion in his chest, he crawls through the tunnel to the room beyond.

The sodden heroes pull themselves out of a pool in a torch lit room. Two exits are available one guarded by a door and the other through and archway. Both have inscriptions written over them in what would appear to be a corrupted form of Adunaic.

The archway has a symbol similar to the medallions recovered off of the cult members and says:

walk-on land are
more than fools.

Above the wooden door the inscription says:

The unfaithful
must bow before me.

The lightly armed party decide to take the open corridor, while cautiously checking for traps. They soon arrive at a longer corridor on which are several doorways and one set of double doors decorated in blue and green stone and mosaics of undersea creatures.

Where have all the children gone?

Ulmo’s Beard limps on through the Southern seas, charting a course by the stars and relying on Ulmo’s grace and favour to find a secure port. Some days later, a small atoll is spotted, the start of a chain of low lying islands. Captain Reiss orders the crew to set a course to follow this bread crumb trail of islands in the hope of finding a safe port to effect repairs.

The atolls slip past until the look out spots a small fishing village on an island in the latest atoll and Ulmo’s Beard’s journey is halted as the Captain send the First Mate, Azruzagar, and a shore party to inquire about the local area. Azruzagar orders the First Watch, which includes Fulton and Aerandir, to man the skiff ashore. He invites Denig and Dagaard to join the party reasoning that their sense of danger is more finely tuned than that of the sailors and it never hurts to have a dwarf with a big sword.

On the island itself they find that misfortune and calamity have struck the poor fishing village. They have been brutally attacked and their children have been taken by disfigured pirates out of myth and legend. Black Reivers who would feast on the flesh of the islanders and took the children to sacrifice to their dark god. Denig, looking at the disfigured limbs and faces of the victims, takes pity and heals those he can help. The heroes discover during this time that an Imam at a Mosque in a nearby port, Khalij Aldhahab, may know more as he is known for caring for lost and orphaned children. Information gathered, and poor fisherfolk aided the Ulmo’s Beard set sail for Khalij Aldhahab, a port a days sailing to the north and where legend says the Black Reivers once occupied.

By the grace of Manwe, the ship slips through the azure waters arriving at Khalij Aldhahab as the sun begins to set. The atoll island is occupied mostly by a walled town with a coral breakwater forming a harbour that will provide some shelter from the ocean swell. Around the walls a shanty town of stalls and refreshment establishments swell the number of those who live on the island. The sounds of a call to prayer ring out across the water as Ulmo’s Beard rests at anchor and the crew prepare to rest before starting repairs in the morning. However, the call to prayer also appears to signal a call to activity and the sounds of the shanty market continues well into the dark hours.

The next day, work crews are assigned. Fulton and Aerandir are to go with the First mate to purchase rope and chandlery to repair rigging and replenish ropes lost in the storm. Denig and Dagaard decide to go ashore to talk to the local Imam. Vanwa asks Aerandir if he will take her to buy some clothes more fitting than one of his spare shirts. Aerandir gets permission to do so providing the ships supplies are collected. Likewise, Denig and Dagaard realising that they will need either Fulton or Aerandir to act as translators decide to lend a hand to get the job done quicker.

On the shore, the party is immediately surround by a crowd of hawkers and pedlars. A coin merchant offers them decent rates of exchange, showing his wares and immediately apologising for giving them a coin not of the realm. Looking at it Aerandir is struck that some of the motifs on the coin faces are similar to something he has seen recently but he is unable to recall exactly what. The journey through the market allows him to pick up something more fitting for Vanwa and she asks him also about the coin they had just seen. She thinks it would make a nice piece of jewellery. In response, and perhaps misunderstanding, Aerandir purchases a few coins for her.

Vanwa returns to the ship with Azruzagar to change and because going to a place of worship and talking to a priest is not of any real interest to her. The rest of the party having asked a few locals make their way to the mosque of Eimlaq Latif.

The mosque has seen better days. Money for its upkeep has clearly not been available. Within the clean and empty confines the party meet a giant of a man, Eimlaq, whose open smile soon has the adventurers sat down and enjoying a simple meal with some orphans who Eimlaq cares for. The imam shares his worries. He cares for the lost and orphan children within the town but some have gone missing and he fears to let the rest of his charges roam far from his gaze.

The Old Mosque

Eimlaq has not been idle in trying to find his missing charges but has met a dead end in his enquiries. Perhaps it is that his face is well known in the port. He has been attacked once with a poison dart which suggest that there are forces at work in the area who do not welcome his questions. The brave heroes volunteer to be his eyes and ears as he outlines the extent of his investigations. They are provided with three lines of inquiry to follow, shadowy cloaked figures sighted around the port; Hasa the stone merchant; Tajir Tawabul the spice merchant and Hulq the barber. The latter is a well known storyteller with many a tale of the days before the unifications of the Juzur Almuhit.

Following Eimlaq’s advice the group first go for a hair cut. They argue over who should sit in the chair. Dagaard will not let the dwarfish barber near his beard. Denig is more concerned with revealing his stone-skinned nature. Aerandir pointedly remarks that his long dark locks are not for cutting and so it is Fulton who hops into the chair for a trim and a shave. They all listen to the tale of Dhuki and the pirates; a tale that echoes some of the reports from the Island of Lost Children.

Having heard the tale there are discussions about which line of inquiry to follow next. They decide on the spice merchant and seek out his stall only to find it abandoned. Enquiring around they end up chatting with a Sijada a carpet seller who tells them that Tajir is a terrible merchant and is currently drowning is sorrows in a a sorry excuse for a hana (tavern) called Alsamak Al’akhdar.

The hana sits on stilts towards the less developed part of the shanty town outside the walls of the port. The heroes clamber up a ladder into a bar where the only light is provided by gaps in the haphazard planking. A one-eyed barman glares at the foreigners who have tumbled into his bar. The only customer is a small, thin man, a head crowned with a few strands of greasy black hair, slumped on a table and a cup of spirits in his hands. The interlopers appease the owner by buying large quantities of the local spirit, rough as it is and set about trying to get information from the inebriated Tajir.

It turns out that Tajir has kidnapped a child but only in extreme need and the act haunts him; hence the drinking. The time is getting late and the party decide to sober Tajir up with kindness taking him to the Alsuwf Aldhahabiu which has previously been recommended by Eimlaq. Denig and Dagaard stay with the spice merchant and Aerandir and Fulton return to the Ulmo’s Beard for the night. It is only in the morning that Denig and Dagaard realise the mistake of not keeping one of the translators with them but manage to hold out with gesture and coin until the two sailors return.

A more coherent Tajir provides little more detail than already gathered and so the party plan to return to Sijada to question him. However, they are unsure of the best approach reasoning that asking directly will be unlikely to elicit a confession. They briefly consider offering their services as a ship for hire but Fulton points out that Sijada is not the sort of merchant who would contract such services. The idea of posing as child traffickers sits uncomfortably with most of the party and so they opt to follow him at the end of the day.

While they wait for the day to end the investigators decide to question Hasa the stone merchant, who according to Eimlaq, took delivery of a large quantity of black tiles but never sold them. Hasa is rather evasive and tells the adventurers that he sold them to some woman. Pressed he tells them he does not know where she lives but gives them a description of her and that he may have seen her in the Alqurad al’azraq, a hana near the Sahat Al’asad.

So it is that as the sun sets and the shadows deepen in the alleyways the adventurers arrive at the Alqurad al’azraq. Inside are a number of patrons including the woman described by Hasa. What luck they think! Not so Denig who prays for wisdom over the alignment of not only the woman but also the other patrons and discovers that the room is full of those with evil in their heart. The party make a rapid exit into the alley outside the hana.

Exiting the alley, Denig is hit by a dart delivered by a silent weapon. Quickly, he spots the would be assassin and sets off in pursuit down an alley opposite. However, the rear is attacked by the patrons inside and Dagaard is forced to defend the retreat of Aerandir and Fulton. Now the party is split. Fulton and Aerandir find themselves ambushed as they exit onto the street. Dagaard is forced to hold the door fending off two attackers and a priestess whose curses call down stunning bolts of divine power on the dwarf. Fortunately, the dwarf’s pragmatic outlook shrugs off most of this religious mumbo jumbo.

Market Ambush by Darren Tan

In the street, Fulton soon falls to an attacker and Aerandir’s whip proves to be an ineffective weapon. Meanwhile, down the dark alley Denig is ambushed by two foes and only through divine intervention of a wall of wood at his back is he able he buy time to dispatch the opponent in front. The battle does not go well. Doughty Dagaard still holds the door alone his back unprotected. Aerandir is forced to retreat tumbling away from two opponents and leaving Fulton’s body unprotected. Denig extricating himself from his opponent manages to join Aerandir in the street and again is granted a wall of wood to hold the attackers at bay while he heals Aerandir and himself.

Lightning doesn’t strike twice. Does it?

After another night spent on the ledge, Denig, Dagaard and Fulton set out for the ship dragging Roc chick on an improvised sledge lashed together by Aerandir, who remains on the ledge with Vanwa. On the way through the valley the party come across Chad who had been abandoned in the chase up the mountain to rescue Fulton. He was hungry and chilled from being alone for two days in ruins but fed on spare cooked Roc he was soon well enough to return to the ship.

The return of the foraging party, even with food, is not greeted in the best manner. Captain Reiss, reprimands Fulton as a senior crew member for his lackadaisical approach to communication and ship discipline. The loss of one of the “guests” of the ship and the absence of one of the crew; along with the two day absence, are not something that the Captain takes well. However, Fulton’s charm works wonders and with a promise of some treasure to contribute to the ship’s running costs, the food and water from Shadim and the news that they have also rescued an elven princess the Captain becomes more amenable.

It is agreed that Dagaard and Denig will return to the ledge to escort the princess back to safety and Fulton will lead a party to Shadim’s cave to arrange the delivery of water and grain.

Shadim is most pleased to here of the dispatching of the Roc and has noticed the lack of the giant bird in the sky over his flocks over the last two days. Willingly, he agrees to supply Ulmo’s Beard with water, grain and a little goat’s milk to supplement their provisions and the Captain and Fulton return with the giant and supplies only to discover that the other party has not returned. The Captain is furious with the failure to follow instructions and that Aerandir as crew should not be following his orders. Consequently, he dispatches Fulton, who argues for travelling in the morning, to ensure that all are back on the ship before midday on the next day.

Fulton, ears ringing with the Captain’s orders, makes his way back to ledge. Meanwhile, Denig, Dagaard, Aerandir along with Vanwa at his side, re-enter the underground complex with the plan to investigate the stairs up. However, before they do so, the party look again in the library paying careful attention to the book cases. As a result, they are rewarded with entry into a secret room with three chests, a box on a pedestal, another pedestal with a golden ring surmounted with a fire gem and a staff.

Denig cautiously investigates the room for traps and once assured that it is safe picks up the staff. Examining it he determines that it grants the user increased prowess in battle and will magical summon an animal once per day. Having always wanted a staff the shaman healer claims it. He then turns his attention to one of the chest which he discovers is locked. Thwarted, he asks if either Dagaard or Aerandir can unpick locks. Fortunately, Dagaard has some skill with locks, thanks to his trade as a jewel smith and familiarity with fine tools. Unfortunately, Dagaard tires of trying to work out the lock after 10 mins declaring that Fulton would be better at this sort of thing.

The chests abandoned, Denig along with Dagaard turns their attention to the pedestal on which sits a purple cushion holding a gold ring with a Fire red jewel while Aerandir keeps watch with Vanwa outside. With all due caution and attention to traps, Denig picks up the ring from it’s resting place. Lightning arcs out and strikes the stoneman. His skin bubbles alarmingly and he drops the ring as he staggers back. Hurriedly, Dagaard makes an exit and refuses to re-enter on the grounds that lightning and chainmail are not a good combination. Aerandir at the door looks at his missing finger in with regret. After a few moments healing, Denig tries again using an arrow with similar results. He decides that if lightning strikes twice he needs another approach but in the meantime the wooden box on the plinth might be more interesting.

After careful examination, Denig is convinced that moving the box on the plinth will open up a hidden door on the far side of the room. However, his eagerness to open the doorway is tempered by his previous experiences and he chooses to push the box using his newly acquired staff. A crackle of magical energy causes his forearm to break and drops the staff in agony. It is while he is healing that Dagaard remarks that they may have found a good way of clearing the room of traps with the apparently indestructible stoneman. Aerandir suggests moving the box by hitting it with an arrow shot from his bow, a feat he achieves with ease. The box falls to the floor and breaks open to reveal three rune paper parchments. A recovered Denig swoops in and scoops up the prize. He attempts to decipher the first but in doing so triggers the spell, thankfully with no ill effects.

The shaman decides to leave the remain two for later. He then suggest that they leave the room and the chests for when Fulton returns and they explore the stairs. Following the stairs up the party find themselves in the ruins of the Valley of Diamonds. “Oh look a short cut,” remarks Aerandir. “Bloody slow one,” retorts Dagaard.

As the explorers take a rest in the sunshine, Fulton has started to descend back underground. Only being a sailor he is not equipped for underground exploration and without Dagaard’s lantern, he is forced to improvise with a glowing log. Consequently, his passage down is long and slow and is lengthened even further by the need to explore every turning in the hope of locating his companions. So it is that as if ascends they descend from above to make another attempt on the chests. The first proves tricky even for Fulton, but with time it is opened; the other follow far more quickly. Two chests contain more coins than the adventurers could ever carry. Unfortunately, these are all low denomination coins. However, the third chest provides a better haul with a few gold and silver coins stashed among the bronze. The treasure is shared out with a portion reserved for the Captain and, at Aerandir’s suggestion, some of the copper coins for the rest of the crew.

Satisfied with their haul, and forewarned by Cloch of the peril of attempting to take the ring, along with Aerandir’s cautionary tale of magic rings on fingers, the adventurers return to the ship. Vanwa is given the Captain’s quarters as a courtesy. Where upon the crewmen, take to their duties and with a wave to the shore-bound Shadim and Dagaard clinging to the mast down below, The Ulmo’s Beard sets sail once more.

Rewards and Reputation

The party have gained a reputation with the crew for being daring adventurers but Captain Reiss considers Denig and Dagaard to be disruptive to the smooth working of his crew. They have earned the gratitude of Vanwa for releasing her. Aerandir has become a focus of her attention.

The Spectral Warrior’s Two handed sword
+10 OB Quarterstaff of Summoning animals
8 GP
An ancient coin minted thousands of years ago. The coin’s features are nearly worn smooth such is its age.
Silver dagger, bowl and tripod from the cursed altar.
A number of healing herbs.
A number of books including one book of open essence spells in Haradric.
Several Rune papers two of which have unknown spells and two of Lesser Umaiar and one of Control Umaiar.