Buried in Backwater

Day 22

When Dimmed, Dirt, Isla, Phlu Gar, Fenssill and Aluca finally ventured out of the Bull and Bear we headed for the market center where we found the folk were building a significant stone structure. The vendors had moved their stalls to make room for it. Wondering what was going on we ran across the tanner Cholip. He explained that the people of this area where building this tower for the companions who had vanquished the evil at the Abbey. It seems a lot of them had made pilgrimages to the Abbey and had even helped build it. Their farms seem to be growing better already, the weather has been nicer, etc. and they all believe we are responsible. This is their way of saying thanks and no doubt enticing us to stay a while. Cholip mentioned that the local vendors had got together and would offer to replace any of our common supplies arrows, rations, etc. at no cost. He also mentioned an old lady in the market that was telling fortunes but her rates were very high. he said it might be something for us to look into as she has some of the locals spooked. The same as an arcane type old man that just arrived by boat.
We also found that Andress and the Silver Chalice contingent were in town so we headed that way as Aluca had some business with them. They were able to restore Isla from the vampire drain though she said there would always be something dark lingering within her. They were also able to cure the effects of the scorpion poison that Dimmed was still experiencing. While talking with her she explained that their seers had warned that this area may become a hot spot of sorts for powerful enemies in reaction to the good we were doing for the area.
With her warnings echoing in our ears we made our way to the fortune teller where she told our fortunes for a gold apiece. We got a feeling that she was definitely a true mystic. Leaving her abode with a sense that she was not a danger to the community we ran into who could only be the arcane man that came in on the ship, he asked us to take a walk with him to have a talk.
We decided to walk with him and hear him out. He introduced himself as Hinge. In what can only be some sort of powerful magic we found ourselves at the grey tower 2 days from town in the course of about 20 minutes. When he started answering our questions before we asked them aloud we knew we were in the presence of something very powerful. He let it be known he was on our side in the struggles to come and offered to be a high end fence of sorts for any magic we find not useful. We told him of what we had done already (I am sure he already knew it all) and what we were considering as our next course of action. He recommended tracking down the militant group of bugbears, worgs and goblins we tracked earlier as likely needing more immediate attention than the troll. He also let us know that the warlock that scared off the lizardmen may need attention soon also. Somewhere between that and telling us to knock on the grey tower 3x and he would teleport us to his sanctum he let slip he was close to 1500 years old. With a plan of action we left the grey tower to head back to town.
Along the way Fenssill and Dirt hunted to supplement our food stuffs and Fenssill came across bugbear tracks and realized that they were tracking HIM! The group pressed on looking for a more defensible camp site before we had to call it a night. Some time around 2nd watch we heard the worgs coming. We had lit fires farther out and had the full moon for light so we were able to have the archers in the group fire away at the worgs and their riders before all 9 of them were able to close with the group. While engaged with the worgs and their riders, reinforcements arrived…..for them. In the form of 3 bugbears and 4 goblin archers. Aluca heroically positioned himself in front and held 3 worgs and a bugbear occupied while the rest of us slowly chipped away at the attackers. When we had downed roughly half the attacking force the vampire arrived. Heading for the heaviest fighting when Aluca again saved us all by getting her attention with a smite of some sort from his deity. She went after him and had a very surprised look on her face when Aluca bled her with a strike from his new magical sword presented to him by none other than Andress of the Silver Chalice. Much praise has to be given to Phlu Gar for smiting foes all over the battlefield. Wherever a companion was hard pressed he was there to take a head from a worg or cleave a goblin in twain. Dimmed also saved companions in danger with elemental blasts that knocked monsters from their feet to give his companions a moments respite, all while dealing terrible two handed vengeance. Dirt saved us all more than once with his timely healing and great bow work. The vampire took several strikes from Aluca and Dimmed Sum before attempting to flee. To help cover her escape she summoned eight wolves to harry us more. As she started to slip away into the night Fenssill brought her back to earth with several well placed arrow shots. As she collapsed to the earth the wolves and remaining goblins fled. Not wanting to take any chances Fenssill approached the vampire and stuck an arrow through her eye then Phlu Gar took her head.
Taking stock of our injuries we found that not a single person was uninjured and most of us had half a dozen or more injuries of varying degrees of severity. With a few a hours to go before daylight the bloody beaten group settled back down for a fitful nap before the coming dawn.

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Day 21

Day 21 the group laid low and tried to recuperate from the harrowing ordeal of what could only be described as a vampire. We arrived in Backwater in the early hours of morning and slept the day through. Arising only to take dinner and back to rest.

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Day 20

Day 20 finds our group awakening to missing rations and holes chewed in some backpacks. Tracks indicate large centipedes possibly. All tracks disappearing into holes to small for us to follow except one. Clearly we are no longer in the realm of the kobolds as there are none of their tracks and this is all natural rock formations with no sign of being touched by tools of man or monster. Down this natural tunnel in the rock we come across another cavern, this one separated by a large crevasse, at the bottom of which we hear buzzing noises like from some large hive.
The monk Jackie Chan-ed over the chasm with a rope attached and was immediately confronted by a bunch (4) of giant centipedes. The warrior and the barbarian both jumped the chasm to help the monk. Taking the rope with them as it was tied from Dimmed to the warrior Aluca. Geldon jumped across next and tossed the rope back to the rest of us. After the centipedes were vanquished we all made it across, though a chunk of rock was dislodged into the chasm and Ahkiell came within a split second from falling into the chasm and only a lucky grab by Fenssill saved him from a long tumble onto the hive. We decided to leave the area before the hive of ?? came looking for what caused the disturbance.
The next cavern over we encountered a bunch of spiderwebs which Dimmed decided to play like a harp. (Always looking for a challenge that one) We killed the spiders and searched the room to no avail, only finding a tunnel leading out and farther down into the bowls of the earth according to our Drigon.
The next cavern we found seemed rather huge. Alas we could not find out the extent of the cavern as we were surprised by a group of 6 bugbears that demanded our surrender as their “master” wanted a word with us. They led us to a side of the cavern across a bridge over a descent sized river that flowed off into the murky dark of the cavern. Across the well made bridge we found the side of the cavern had been carved into rooms of sorts. The only one I paid attention to though was the one they brought us to. A large chamber with an open ceiling to the cavern, richly furnished. At the center of which stood a human sized figure completely obscured by the large richly furred cloak she was wearing. She spoke to us in sylvan and said her master wanted us to leave Backwater and travel on. Found there was “Nothing a mortal could offer my master to leave Backwater alone” talking with her further we explained why we were here to clear the mine. She said she would make sure of that (A nat 20 on Sense Motive made me believe her about that)and she felt a display of her power might help motivate us to move on. With that, a bunch of wolves came snarling out of the shadows behind her. This with the small army of bugbears led us to submit to her that she had the upper hand and perhaps we should gather our things and leave Backwater.
She had 4 of her bugbears lead us out to the river where they had a raft waiting to take us out of the cavern system. It was at that point that Phlu Gar felt that 7 on 4 was good odds for us and launched himself at the closest bugbear. Dimmed Sum tackled one into the river and it was 6 on 3. Unfortunately the sound of combat brought another 4 bugbears running to battle. We managed to kill 7 of the 8 and get Dimmed out of the river when the “lady” showed up. She came out of the dark behind the archers and an obscuring mist flowed out from her making the archers ineffective. Islas first arrow before the mist obscured her was caught and snapped in twain like it was a fluttering moth. No doubt remembering our fight in the absolute dark with the undead, Isla rushed to attack, waving her sword in the mist. Aluca sensing there was more to this lady than we have seen so far rushed to help Isla, his sword deflecting off the ladies upraised arm like it had hit stone. The lady reached out, grabbed Isla and we all heard the soul wrenching scream as her cheeks became sunken and her skin clammy and pale before being tossed aside. Fearing we were outmatched Aluca grabbed Isla and we made a break for the raft. We drifted out of the cavern down twords Backwater a beaten and weary group in the wee hours of day 21.

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Day 19

Day 19 we headed into the mine in the morning. Heading the cavern where we closed up the two holes last time we found a tunnel onward to a cavern with various skulls, idols, etc. littering the floor. As the last of us entered the cavern a double portcullis slammed down sealing off the way we came in. No sooner than the resounding crashing echo faded into the cavern than we were beset upon by 9 nasty looking kobolds and their lizards. These having come from a large hole in the ceiling. As we laid waste to the kobolds the hole (about 30’ up) was sealed from above. With no way to get up there we headed farther into the cavern and found an exit to another cavern. Before continuing farther in we raised the 2 portcullis and jammed them open to guarantee we had at least one way out of this dark hole in the mountain we find ourselves.
Farther in the second cavern we encountered a gigantic scorpion that we were luckily able to defeat with any loss of life. Truly miraculous. After trying to harvest any useful alchemical ingredients from the scorpion and stretched to the limits of our endurance we bedded down for the night.

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Day 18

Day 18 finds our party headed over to Armad the blacksmith to see if he is ready for us to help out at the Gurgling Silver mine. He said he had sent the miner earlier and they came back after breaking into a cavern with skulls and bones strewn about. He would like for us to make sure it is cleared. Dimmed, Dirt, Aluca, Isla, Ahkiell, Geldon and Fenssill set out to liberate the mine from the kobolds.
En route to the mine we ran into a merchant and her to guards being attacked by 2 bugbears. During the battle with the bugbears a barbarian joined the fray (on our side thankfully). The merchant thanked us for the help and requested we catch her pony that ran off and return it to her, which we did. We tracked the bugbears back to a point were they obviously split from a much larger group of several bugbears, 12+ goblins and worgs. Fearing we may be underpowered for a group that size we made a note of where we found the tracks and what direction they were headed. The barbarian decided to join with us if we were planning on bashing more heads. Thus Phlu Ger joined the companions. We made our way to the mine entrance and camped out there so the druid would be fresh for the mine.

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Day 17

Day 17 passed without incident as the group made its way into Backwater and went about some much needed R & R. The time was used well as we worked on crafting, recouping, and restocking supplies. The mage learned a new spell and for the ranger Ahkiell we used our writ with Armad the blacksmith to get him some very nice armor. Talking with Armad led me to believe he is much like Elmert the bartender, a dungeoneer of some skill before taking the proverbial arrow to the knee.

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Day 16

Day 16 the weary group broke their fast upon the banks of the underground lake. The cavern damp and quiet except for the rustling of the adventurers and the sound of dripping water in the gloom of lantern light.
We made our way across the lake swimming slowly in a group. Thankfully there were no more zombies, strong currents, or worse to harrow our journey. Upon the banks of the far shore, another temple took shape out of the gloom. The mages knowledge of religion let us know we were looking at a temple to Utopit, a four armed Sahuagin type creature depicted around the temple. Inside we encountered another very nasty undead that snuffed out our lights and fought in total darkness. We defeated it in a prolonged battle and destroyed the large statue to Utopit and looted the temple. Around the side of the temple we found a narrow tunnel that Geldon was sure would take us out of the cavern system we were in. It took us the rest of the day to get out and most of the way back to town before we had to camp out.

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Day 15

DAY 15 found the group breaking camp and preparing to confront the great evil the paladin sensed. We had a human ranger enter camp and introduce himself. I found him a bit odd as he had no memories of his past beyond a short while. Ahkiell was invited to help us vanquish what evils we may find in the temple if he was stout enough of heart and he readily joined us.
In the priests chambers we encountered a nasty sort of undead that Dimmed and Lindili made short work of. In the chamber we also found a shattered statue of Zivael and we had the druid mend it and placed it on the alter.
In one of the four side rooms we found a sinkhole that took up most of the room. Celd helped us to rig a contraption to help lower us down without caving in the sides. At the bottom of the sinkhole we found ourselves in a room with an enchanted fountain that was distracting alot of us into drinking from it though we had our fill of water already. It was difficult to get those so enchanted out of the room till we all started to feel our life essence being drained. The only exit from the room led down a hewn corridor and ended at a natural cavern where we were beset upon by no less than five nasty oozes that burned all they touched. Someone shouted to use blunt weapons only (A Knowledge: Dungeon check, natural 20) on them thankfully or we might not have made it out of there alive.
Farther along we encountered another natural cavern with a lake stretching off into the darkness. We decided to test the depths with a staff the druid had and were beset upon by some sort of zombies that tried to pull us into the depths and drown us. We nearly lost Lindili to them. After vanquishing them we felt it best to camp by the lake and prepare for the crossing on the morrow.

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Day 14

DAY 14 found Dimmed, Isla, Celd, Dirt, Fenssill, Geldon, and Lindili breaking their fast in the Bull and Bear. Discussion turned to the Abbey of Angels and it was decided it was time to remove this place from the list of things talked about in hushed whispers around the camp fire at night.
On our way we ran into an arcanist of some sort who was searching for a gray wizards tower of some sort. Celd had heard of it and pointed him in the right direction.
We had to camp out in the foothills and head into the Abby in the morning. We found the Abby overgrown and in decline. The first chamber we entered was littered with broken pews and other detritus. We unfortunately did not notice the skeletons till they arose and attacked us. Nine in all we dispatched them in short order afterthought it stressed our party mightily. The alter led us to the knowledge of this Abbey being dedicated to Zivael. As it was late in the day we decided to retreat to the entrance garden and make camp there after the Paladin sensed a great evil in the next chamber. Tis better to encounter such evil when we are at our best.

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Day 13

Day 13 saw Dimmed, Isla, Cell, Dirt, Fenssill, and Geldon wandering around Backwater during the celebration of Rogone and Zelegar. We discovered these two are local heroes of old though no one could tell us how old. We were told that their ancient stronghold exists to this day, their treasures guarded by minions long after their death. Fenssill caught sight of Oromian the necromancer slipping out of the Bull and Bear so the companions decided to trail him and see where he keeps disappearing to.
We tracked him to a clearing with an alter. He informed us he had intention to assault the Land Baron as he opposes his rule. He summoned a bunch of skeletons in response to our questions of how he would carry this out. Oromian demanded we help him with the assault in 7 days time. When we did not accept his proposal soon enough he turned the skeletons on us us saying saying we must be in league with the Baron. We killed his skeletons and nearly killed him before he surrendered to us. We recommended that he wait a while longer to launch his assault. He begged us to help him so we promised to look into the Baron.
Getting back to town we had a letter waiting for us with Elmert. Talking with Elmert I got a distinct felling that he is or was an experienced dungeoneer himself in his younger days. Perhaps before he took an arrow to the knee.
The note recommended that we explore the double doors with the hand prints in them we found out in the rocks if we are interested in exploring the Rogone and Zelegar stronghold rumors. As it was getting late we decided to call it an evening and celebrate our win in combat and discuss the Land Baron.

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