Melestrua's Mystara

Karameikos Session 6 - 18-Dec-2017
A newcomer and very close shave

The heavy footsteps had headed up the stairs, so the characters decided to explore a bit more. They looked down the well, which had buckets beside it and they could hear rushing water below. Sergi shone a light down a side passage, and a couple of hyena-headed creatures approached blinking. He retreated and they didn’t follow.

They sneaked back through the guard chamber and investigated the other passages. The stairs down seemed chill and foreboding, so they went along the corridor the goblin had originally run down. There they found a couple of rooms, one an armoury with racks of weapons, and the other (once they had persuaded the door to open) with boxes and barrels of food. They also found Yunan wrapped in a sack and freed him. He gave a tale of being captured by gnolls (thereby explaining the hyena-headed creatures) and being brought as a tribute to the goblin leader. He was also without any of his gear, so they took him to the armoury across the corridor where he found most of it. He was still short his leather armour, and in trying to get a replacement from a pile of armour, he stumbled, bumping into the wall and realising it sounded hollow. With a bit of exploration, they realised there was a small secret door. While they were trying to work out how to open it, Miroslav, who was in the corridor keeping watch, heard the tramp of boots returning. He ran into the armoury, and Bear and Sergi wedged the door with short swords while the others battled to get the secret door open. Finally they found the catch and dived through – by this time the goblins outside had started battering on the door to get in. Sergi and Bear waited holding the door shut until the others had got through the opening, then dived for it while axe heads started to come through the door. They managed to get through (Sergi’s hoe getting caught for one heart-stopping moment) and slammed the secret door again – not a moment too soon as they heard the splintering of the armoury door being broken down and the thumping, crashing and banging as the armoury was trashed searching for them.

Fortunately the goblins didn’t find the secret door, and after a bit the noise died down. The group had a chance to look around. They were in a small, very dusty chamber with a torch burning and some bedrolls in a corner. There were also some containers of food, but they had long spoiled. But still it seemed safe, so Sergi, Miroslav and Bear settled down to sleep while Yunan quizzed Reed on their adventures so far. They were undisturbed and got a good night’s sleep.

When they woke up and had finished their meditation, prayers and morning study, they cautiously opened the secret door and peeked out. No-one to be seen, but the place was a mess. The goblins had obviously trashed it in their enthusiasm/fury/…

They sneaked out and sent Reed down the next corridor…where he found another room full of goblins so he sneaked back. At that point they decided discretion was the better part of valour, so headed back towards the stairs.

There were only 4 goblins on guard this time, and they didn’t put up too much of a fight. The party felled them and headed up the stairs.

And there the session ended.

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Karameikos Session 5 - 4-Dec-2017
A new entrant, a burial and a close call

The characters actually had a good night’s sleep locked in the study. Even Einar was reasonably quiet. And there was a surprise waiting for them next morning. Sergi looked out the window and saw someone in the courtyard, who he then recognised as Miroslav who he often gambles with in the The Oaken Tap (and who is or was a love rival – neither has so far admitted much detail on this). Bear then recognised him too – they are/were both members of the Bearskins and once spent a night together in the cells after a brawl at The Silver Goose (Bear was somewhat reticent about the result, though Miroslav seemed quite pleased…).

Bear went down and collected Miroslav and showed him to the great hall…where Einar reminded them they were looking for his father’s bones. There then ensued a search of the remains on the floor and Bear found a very badly damaged set in the middle of the floor with a twisted brooch containing the wolf-head logo, so they concluded it was Ironwolf (Sergi independently came to this conclusion a few minutes later…). Miroslav, Bear and Reed also found some gold pieces among the debris, and Bear found a bone scroll tube stoppered with black stones.

They took the bones and buried them, with Miroslav saying a prayer to the Taraldaran heroes Halav, Petra and Zirchev to look over and guard their souls; Einar sank into the ground in peace, then popped up again to say his father had a secret passage somewhere on the floor where they found him which led to treasure and danger. He then disappeared again for the final time.

They went up into the study where they had slept and searched the desk and the walls. The walls were pretty solid and didn’t seem to have any secrets to them, but when Sergi took out one of the drawers it rattled. This worried Miroslav, who thought it was about to explode so knocked him to the floor and away from it, but when nothing happened they looked again and found it had a false bottom with a pouch inside containing 25gp and a vial of oily yellow liquid. Sergi and Reed tried to identify it, but the only conclusion they could come to was that you wouldn’t want to drink it… It smelled foul. at this point Bear remembered the scroll and asked Reed to identify it, but again he was unsuccessful.

They headed back down to the main hall and were bringing Miroslav up to speed when the door creaked open and a small goblin peered round and squeaked at them. Bear, who speaks goblin, realised she was looking for her mother, and must be a child. He asked her where she had last seen her mother, and she said she went upstairs and she hadn’t seen her for a day. Cue guilt from Bear, who was convinced her mother must have been one of the goblins they killed. They would have asked more, but she turned around and headed off. Sergei whipped out a dagger and was going to attack her, but Bear stopped him, and by the time they had finished wrestling she had disappeared.

They went to look at the trap which Bear had left. It had been triggered and moved, and had bloodstains on both it and the floor nearby, and the debris at the top of the stairs was scattered. It had obviously caught something which then managed to get away again. The trail of bloodstains led down the stairs…

After their scare last time, they were a bit worried about heading down the stairs again, but aware it had to be done if they were to succeed in clearing the castle. After long discussions, Reed was eventually persuaded to sneak down and take a look. He saw half a dozen goblins at a table, arguing. They didn’t seem to notice him so he snuck back up again and told the others. Strategy time…

The plan they came up with was: Miroslav would use Thaumaturgy to get the fire to blaze up, and Reed would use illusion to make it seem like a creature was in it. Then Miroslav used Thaumaturgy to make his voice boom, and said “Flee you fools, or prepare to die”. Unfortunately Sergi’s Hideous Laughter spell was shrugged off by the goblin he targeted, but overall this rather rattled the goblins, and when the team charged down they were caught completely by surprise…though they weren’t able to capitalise on it very well. The goblin Miroslav attacked managed to dodge. Sergi tried to jump off the side of the stair, but stumbled on landing and fell prone. Reed was distracted by the success of his illusion and didn’t do anything. Only Bear succeeded in doing anything, but he got an almighty hit on one of the goblins with his axe, almost splitting it in two.

By this time the goblins had woken up. One attacked Sergi, giving him a nasty slice. Another turned and ran down a back corridor. A third tried to attack Sergi as well, but Sergi managed to dodge this one. Miroslav missed again and got sliced in return. Sergi just parried. Bear charged at the goblins attacking Sergi, but completely missed, knocking Sergi aside and ending up between him and both goblins. Reed finally managed to wake up and got off a firebolt, singeing a goblin, who immediately turned and ran. Bear took advantage of this to hit it from behind, killing it, and Miroslav managed to hit another which was fleeing, killing it too. The others managed to get away down the same corridor.

After getting their breath back, our heroes looked around, then decided to head through a gap at the side. This opened out into a damp chamber with puddles on the floor and a well further in with a low wall round it.

They were starting to investigate the room when behind them they heard marching feet – one set much heavier than the others. While the group huddled against the wall, they heard a deep voice calling out – Bear understood it to be saying “so where are they then? Let’s throw them out for good. They’ve caused too much trouble already.” As they quivered behind the wall, they listened and prayed; with relief they heard the footsteps heading up the stairs away from them.

So what next? Will they get out alive? Will they manage to defeat the hordes?

Tune in next time to find out…

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Karameikos Session 4 - 13-Nov-2017

The previous session left our intrepid adventurers at the top of the stairs where Bear had been badly burned, having just cast light onto the stopper of a potion vial and thrown it down the stairs. They crept down the stairs, to be met with a volley of arrows from a cluster of creatures sheltering behind an improvised barrier in the room at the foot of the stairs. Although most missed, Sergi was unfortunate enough to be hit twice, so they hurried back up again. At the top they listened, but didn’t hear any sounds of pursuit. Bear remembered an animal trap he had in his pack and set it among the burned ruins of the door at the top of the stairs, and the adventurers continued their exploration of the ground floor of the keep.

The first room they investigate is dark and heavily cobwebbed, with racks round the walls, but investigation, while causing sneezes, doesn’t turn up anything of value other than a lot of small spiders so they move on. In the next room, Sergi decides that the points of light gleaming are static treasure so marches in…and gets attacked by two oversized rats who object to his entry (he doesn’t learn…). He is saved by Reed and Bear who react fast enough to finish them off. Digging around in the detritus which the rats had made into a lair they find another three rat corpses, a rather dirty velvet pouch and a silver earring.

They move on to a room which was once a kitchen, with a couple of rooms off them; one of these just contains rotten food, green and brown mould and mushrooms, the other broken barrels and a skeleton.

Crossing the corridor from the kitchen, they come to a large room which was obviously the main hall of the keep. Dust and cobwebs fill it, as well as large feasting tables. Many bones along with rusting equipment show where the defenders made their final stand. As the characters are progressing through the room, they are attacked by a couple of spiders, who traps Reed in a web then (after he hits one) Sergi in a web, leaving Bear the only one still able to fight…which he does ably. Sergi manages to break free, and after a couple of failed attempts, Reed thinks of casting a fire bolt and burning himself free. The battle goes to the adventurers, and the badly hurt spiders scuttle into the rafters.

This gets the group to look up, and they notice half a dozen humanoid-sized bundles caught in the webs in the ceiling. Reed sends up his Mage Hand with a dagger and cuts one of the bundles free, which Sergei manages to catch – it turns out to be a dead human wearing studded leather armour, with a longsword, and 12gp and 34sp in a belt pouch. The armour fits Sergei reasonably, so he takes that, and the others also allow him to take the longsword.

The next bundle, caught by Bear, turns out to be the body of an elf in leather armour, with a couple of daggers. He also has a pouch with a set of masterwork thieves tools and a couple of vials, one containing a blue liquid and one containing a clear liquid. At this point the spiders get fed up of their larder being raided and attack again…it doesn’t go well for them and a fire bolt and a mocking laughter finish them off.

Sergi completely misses the next body (a goblin), and it lands right on top of him with his head going inside its part-eaten stomach. He retches and rushes outside to stand in the rain and try to clean up a bit. Once he returns, the rest of the bodies are cut down, and also turn out to be part-eaten goblins carrying nothing of value.

They notice a stairwell in the north-east corner and head up it. The door at the top of the stairwell is not locked, and opens into a space with 3 doors off it. The first one they go into was obviously a bedchamber with moulding, slashed sheets and bedspread, a skeleton, and a ghost of a 10-year old with horrific injuries who wails at them. Sergi’s song doesn’t calm him, but by showing interest and asking questions the group manage to get a bit of sense out of him. His name was Einar, he was killed there by the raiders and wants his bones as well as those of his parents properly buried. He doesn’t know where his mother was, but thinks his father was downstairs.

They collect up his bones and go into the next-door room, which was also clearly a bedchamber which suffered badly in the battle. Blackened skeletons of 2 goblins and an orc lie near the door, and human female skeleton on the bed with a caved-in skull wears mouldering, blood-spattered, yet once-fine clothing. The group assume that is Einar’s mother and collect up her bones as well.

The final room contains a large table and six chairs, plus a desk against the wall. After searching in the gathering dusk, the party decide to use this as a base for the night, push the desk across in front of the door and settle down for the night (trying not to be disturbed by Einar’s continuing wailing and whining).

And there we leave it for another session.

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Karameikos Session 3 - 26th Oct 2017
Goblin attack!

The team had only been asleep a couple of hours, when Berethor (who was on guard) heard hurrying footsteps further up the corridor. Peering out of the door, he couldn’t see much in the gloom except some dark shapes in the entry hall, who didn’t seem to be coming down the corridor.

He woke the others up and Sergi stood on his shoulders to look out of the window. He saw quite a few humanoids crossing the yard towards the tower, which he confidently identified as kobolds. They were clustered around the door of the tower, attacking it, and seemed to be trying to create a fire.

The team discussed plans, and ran to the entrance hall to attack. Reed sent a firebolt at the nearest creature, who turned around in shock, while Berethor and the others charged out of the door and towards them. People on the top of the tower also started raining rocks down on the creatures heads, and battle ensued. After several of their number laid dead – burned by Reed, sliced by Berethor and battered by rocks rained on their heads while Sergi kept the spirits of the defenders up with bardic inspiration, they turned and ran, but only the leader made it back into the keep and to safety. Berethor was too late to see which way he went. In the end 6 goblins (as they turned out to be, despite Sergi’s confidence) lay dead.

The team returned to the tower, and started talking to the defenders, who thanked them and came out to loot the corpses. There wasn’t much of value on them apart from a couple of dozen silver pieces which the defenders gave to the team in thanks. The defenders then invited them into the tower and allowed them to sleep in the ground floor room. Sergi tried going down the stairs but came up when they got annoyed.

So they finally got the good night’s sleep they had been looking for.

Next morning they headed back to the keep to look for the goblins. The people in the tower had said they lived down a stairway, so the next job was to find it.

The first thing they found was another room which seemed again to have been someone’s room. Under some rags in the corner, Sergei found a small phial of green liquid, which after a bit of tasting and discussion, he glugged down. Instantly he started to feel better, no longer feeling the poisoning effects of the snakebite.

That was the only thing of interest in the room apart from a sign daubed on the room with one circle inside the other, apparently bleeding. The same sigil had been on the shields of the defeated goblins. Reed had a flash of memory and identified it as the sigil of the Blood Moon Goblins.

The next door they tried opened onto a stairway going down, again with this sigil on the wall. Unfortunately for Berethor, he stepped on some broken doorway under which was a trap – it burst into flame, burning him and the others (though the bit of door he had stepped on took some of the brunt of the explosion). This left the shards of door and Berethor on fire, and it took two attempts to put out the flames, leaving him very badly burned and needing Sergi’s healing.

Once Sergi had given him magical healing, they went back into the landing at the top of the stairs and peered down. Sergi cast Light on the stopper of the potion vial and threw it down the stairs…

…and that’s where we leave it until next time…

Berethor was awarded the bonus for moving the story on in the most interesting way.

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Karameikos Session 2 - 9 Oct 2017
Entering Ironwolf's Castle

After a relatively quiet night (certainly for Sergi, who slept through his turn on watch), with just a couple disturbances when the rain stopped and when a family of badgers rustled through the edge of the clearing, the group gets up and going further along the road.

About an hour and a half later, they meet an old man with a mule. He is wearing shabby leather clothing and looks dirty, particularly his knees, and there are picks and shovels strapped to the mule along with his pack. When greeted, he responds courteously, though he doesn’t give any name saying “A’body kens The Old One”. He does name his mule, Dobbin. Under questioning, he says he’s just down from the mountains on his way to Threshold for more provisions (Sergi tried to buy stores off him, but he didn’t have any to sell), and often sees goblins and orcs, inlcuding the big chiefs but doesn’t get up close. He gives a bit more info about the castle, being surprised they don’t know the history and saying it was built by Valentin Ironwolf, who lived there until the attack.

The party bids him good day (after William offends him by offering him money in return for the information – “information is free”) and head on along the road. As predicted, another 2-3 hours brings them to a side track through the forest, and up on the hill they can see a castle. Sergi heads up the road, strumming away on his lute as usual, until William spots a crossbow bolt sticking into a tree by the side of the track and bodily rugby tackles him off the road into the side. He then calls up the others cautiously.

They look at the bolt and realise it’s been there a while, so they move on, but they decide to go through the woods instead of up the track. There they meet a bear eating honey from a bees nest it has attacked; they retreat quietly and leave it to its own devices.

Eventually they reach the castle and scout round it, getting an idea of the size. The castle front (with the entrance) faces south east, and the outside is a bit wider than it is deep. Although the walls are sturdy, the mortar is starting to crumble. There is a watchtower in the east corner with arrow slits in lower floors and barred windows in upper floors, and a keep in the west corner with a higher section which looks unfinished.

They approach the gate. The main gates are down, but it appears a group has been out fairly recently (since the rain stopped) and not come back. After peering into the courtyard, they venture in, and see piles of wooden boards and tumbledown wooden buildings in the north corner. Sergi goes over and tries jumping on a bit; he is fortunate to be able to jump clear when it collapses beneath him.

There is a door into the watchtower and a door into the keep, and tracks going between these doors and between the gate and both doors. They go over to the watchtower door, and after a short bit of discussion, Sergi get impatient and bashes the door with his mace. They suddenly realise there were sounds from behind the door when it all goes silent. William tries calling out to them and gets a very suspicious, cagey response. He is trying to sweet-talk them, when Sergi mimics the sound of a goblin (badly) and runs off – his thinking being they could pretend to be being attacked and need help; however William doesn’t get this and instead apologises for him.

That’s the end of any conversation with the people inside. They refuse to say anything more.

The group look at the door, and realise it looks pretty solid and won’t open, so they decide to try the other building instead. This brings them into an entrance chamber full of leaf litter, with several doors and passages off. Sergi’s character casts light on his lute, and then on a dagger which can be thrown into the rooms to illuminate them without requiring anyone to actually go in with the light. They explore several rooms in off the south-west corridor; the ones on the left all seem to have been living quarters a while ago, but have long since been trashed, and they just contain damaged furniture and drapes. One room has some damaged books; looking at the contents they seem to have been on castle administration. It also has the word “Help” written on the wall in blood. Another has graffiti scratched on the wall, though it’s in a language no-one can read. Sergei climbs on Bear’s back to peer out of the high-up window in one room; he sees a bit of movement higher up the tower but not much detail and the door is still shut.

Having done with the doors on the left, they go into a room on the right. The smashed furniture here seems to all be piled in a corner. As they’re starting to enter, a large mangy rat appears coming down the corridor behind and attacks. It gets a bite into Sergi before getting speared by a dagger from William and frazzled by a fire bolt from Reed. Sergi binds up his wound and they continue into the room.

A large snake shoots out from the pile of smashed furniture and attacks, followed by another, smaller snake. It attackes William, and bites him on the knee; he feels a hot sensation creeping up his leg and starts to feel a bit unwell (though not so much he can’t fight). Another, smaller snake also pops out and bites Sergi, with similar effect. They dispatch the first snake and damage the second so badly it dives back for cover again. Flushed with success, Sergi strides over to the pile of furniture and smashes on it with his mace. This drives out another smaller snake, which attacks but misses so badly it skids all the way across the room into the opposite corner. As they turn to try to attack it, the one which had been damaged also comes out and attacks Sergi and hits, though it doesn’t seem to manage to get poison into him this time. Reed tries out magic missile for the first time, hitting the first snake twice and the second snake once. A little bit more conflict sees the snakes dispatched, though at the cost of another bite for Sergi.

It’s getting dark, so they retreat across the corridor to the first room they explored and set up camp and bind wounds. Sergi does some healing of himself and William.

And there we leave it. Sergi gets voted the 20XP bonus for advancing the story in the most interesting way (albeit not really to the party’s advantage).

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Karameikos Session 1 - 25-Sep-2017
We have a mission!

Bear, Sergi, William and Reed, plus a couple of other characters, meet in the Town Hall in Threshold, all having volunteered to try to do something about the problems on the road south towards Verge and beyond.

After a bit of discussion, they realised they knew each other already:
• Reed and William were fishing partners, and Reed taught William to swim
• Sergi and Bear served as wagon guards for Clifton Caldwell, survived an ambush and then 3 days caught in a storm
• William and Bear have been orc hunters together and are both members of The Bearskins (whatever that is…)
• Reed beat Jill’s character in the final of the greasy pole at the village fair 2 years ago, and Jill’s character saved Reed’s life
• Jill’s character and Sergei have been love rivals, and Jill’s character seriously injured Sergei (don’t expect him to be pleased to see you!)

Then Alianne comes into the room and puts the problem to them – trade caravans have been being attacked and people have been going missing on the road between Verge and Threshold – the main road south connecting Threshold to the rest of the country. This has been hitting supplies and putting off travellers. Clifton Caldwell, owner of the local general store, has put up a 200gp reward to anyone who can investigate and bring back information about the cause of the problem, and a 1000gp reward for actually dealing with it.

Alianne knows of 2 people who had survived an attack, Aleks and Marcus.

Aleks turns out to work as a cook at The Silver Goose; he was in a small trade caravan which was attacked midway along the road between Verge and Threshold – he ran at the first storm of arrows, fell into a ditch and just hid. All he could say was that the attackers were human or humanoid. When the noise had stopped he ran – the carts had been taken. He wasn’t aware there was another survivor. The attackers came from the left, and he wasn’t able to understand them. (Side snippet – Bob, the main bartender, showed off the scimitar he had taken from the body of an Ylari warrior when he served in the army and which was hanging on the wall).

Marcus is a leatherworker who was more interested in his craftsmanship than telling stories. After a couple of purchases of leather goods at highly inflated prices (an ornate waterskin and sling more intended for use at society occasions than out on the road) they eventually persuade him to start talking. His story was not dissimilar to Aleks’s. They were attacked, he hid, and escaped under cover of darkness. He had a little bit more information – he was pretty sure they were goblins, and the attack came in a pass near the old castle.

So, armed with that information (and without stopping to see if anyone could tell them more about the history of the castle), Reed, William, Sergi and Bear head out, not waiting for the other two. They head south through the autumn drizzle along the road, which runs along the side of the river to start with, then turns westward and up into the mountains. After a few hours, it starts to get dark, so they look for a campsite, and find a reasonable-looking place where a stream crosses the road; an old fireplace shows they aren’t the first to stay there.

They set up camp and investigate. There were lots of footprints, and over the other side of the stream, a crack in the ground from which a foul smell was emanating. William (who is first to find it) calls the others over and they investigate. Mostly a gungy mess, with the odd chicken bone, shells and other debris in it.

After they have exhausted the possibilities of the smelly pit, they set up camp, get a fire going, and cook a couple of trout William manages to catch in the stream, then settle down for the night, Bear taking the first watch.

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