Smythwyck Hollow

The Hound of Greyrock, Part 3
Another town left in ruins

The Party Splits Up

Just to spite the DM, the party split up.

The Hut Team

Aleister Mal, Flookus the Noble, Shorty, and Choppy all were hanging out with The Mad Widow Ymae in her hut. They gave her the lock of hair from the fresh corpse, and she quickly weaves it into a larger skein. Handing it to the adventurers and rubbing the weeping sore on her cheek, she reminded Choppy of his promise to marry her. Shuddering, the adventurers left the hut and headed to the altar stones, keeping in mind the witch’s advice to “bind and pierce” the Hound.

The Stones Team

Armed with the skein from The Mad Widow Ymae, Ferdinand, Roob, and Ubgnord arrived at the standing stones, where they created a makeshift wickerman to place on the altarstone. Ferdinand cut himself, to smear blood on the wickerman, but cut a little deeper than expected. Hiding behind the standing stones, they awaited the arrival of the Hound of Greyrock.

The Hut Team arrived just in time for the arrival of the Hound, and the battle was on. Ubgnord, grabbing the skein, raced straight at the oily beast and grappled it. Unfortunately the beast quickly ripped Ubgnord apart, and another hero was downed. Our heroes had no time to mourn, as it attacked Flookus the Noble and killed him as well. Choppy grabbed the magical yarn while Ferdinand attempted to Command the Hound, with no success.

Fearing total decimation, Shorty yelled “run!” and turned tail, to be joined by the aged Roob. Ragmus hefted the hammer and took a swing at the Hound, only to miss. This proved to be a fatal mistake, as the Hound ripped Ragmus apart.

Choppy, meanwhile, threw the skein over the top of the Hound to Aleister Mal. Ducking around the yarn, the Hound lunged at Ferdinand and felled him in one swipe. Fearing the worst, Choppy and Aleister Mal finally bound the Hound with the yarn, holding it down as it thrashed against the binding.

Lurking at a distance, Roob slinked over to Ragmus’s still-warm corpse, and lifted the hammer from his stiff fingers. Furtively watching the battle, he retreated back to the town.

With Aleister Mal holding down the Hound, Choppy hands a fierce blow, and the Hound writhed into greasy smoke. It seemed like they had won the battle, and they took to checking the corpses of their fallen comrades. Defying fate for a second time, they discover that Ferdinand wasn’t dead!

Back at the Inn, Let’s Set It On Fire

Staggering into town, Roob made his way to the inn. Drawing the terrified townspeople towards him, he weaves a gripping tale of single-handedly defeating the Hound. He called them to obey his orders as the new leader of the town. When the rest of the adventures arrived, they were confused at this turn of events, but quickly fall into line — all but Aleister Mal. Aleister Mal isn’t one to suffer untruths and deception, and called Roob out.

For some reason Ferdinand sobbed here.

Fearing exposure, Roob led the team away from the inn. His sovereignty wasn’t to last long, for overnight the Hound returned and killed more townspeople. Realizing the ruse, they all descend upon the liar Roob. Seeing both a need and opportunity, Ferdinand set the inn on fire, and the adventurers ran to the docks, set all but one boat on fire, and set sail in the remaining boat. The raging townspeople were silhouetted by the burning buildings, their deathly fate sealed by the return of the Hound.

Exeunt Omnes

The weary adventurers let Aleister Mal take the helm, and headed north up the coast. Although trailed by a ghostly ship in the distance, the trip was uneventful. Soon they spied the city of Argenne, where Roob is to deliver his message to the Citadel of Argenne.

The Big City Lockup

Argenne was the largest any of the adventurers have ever seen, though it was but a small city. Once again splitting up, Ferdinand headed straight for The Sign of the White Stag, while everyone else followed Roob to the Citadel. Greeted by Fenseer Mordagit, they are quickly offered refreshments and hospice, taken to quarters, and promptly locked inside — and offered no reason why.

At the inn, Ferdinand strikes up a conversation with a grizzly local, who tells him to “seek the Street of Urns”.

By this time, the adventurers are so far off the rails of any pre-written adventure, and the DM was in total free-fall. We shall see if any narrative sense can be made of this.

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The Hound of Greyrock, Part 2
Wedding the Witch

Waiting at the Standing Stones

Meet Roob and Ubgnord

The Death of Brother Aker and the Lunacy of Brother Beacom

Meet Ymae, the Witch. And Marry Her.

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The Hound of Greyrock
This isn't going to go well

Arrival at Greyrock

Ferdinand, the Chosen One. Sort of.

Burning Down the House

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The Curse of the Black Pearl
An adventure avoided

Landfall at Harbor’s End

Making their way North from the beached vessel, the castaways came across the small town of Harbors End. Splitting up, three different groups went three different ways.

Rumble at the store

First things first, one group headed straight for Freddy’s Outfitters to use some of the lucre from the Chaos Temple to purchase clean clothes and equipment. Things did not go as smoothly as hoped, however, after Berrel vaulted the counter to attack the proprietor. Unfortunately his attack was wild, and Freddy quickly bashed him into unconsciousness. Krellic went outside to try to smooth things over with the collecting townspeople.

Just a quick desecration

Ferdinand, meanwhile, headed for the waterfront and the small shrine dedicated to the ocean goddess Marqua. His religious fervor impelled him to mess things around a little.

At the harbor

Merchy and Crowde explored the harbor, meeting up with local drunkard Lanker the Liar. In talking with Lanker the Liar, the characters found out about the strange once-in-a-millennium tides occurring, causing The Fingers to be more exposed than usual. When exposed suchly, the long-lost Tower of the Black Pearl becomes accessible. But before more could be found out, the commotion at the store started in earnest, with the local militia showing up.

Casting aside Krellic’s attempts at diplomacy, Ferdinand skewered the militia leader with his pitchfork. Beldrow joined in, killing another townsperson. In the resultant battle, both Krellic and Merchy die. Ferdinand and Seaver grab as much as they can from the store before they all run to the waterfront. Not fully appreciating the lascivious glances from Lanker, Crowde quickly kills him before they all steal Parsal the fisherman’s boat and head out to sea, leaving behind what they would now all call “Murdertown”.


Rowing to the Fingers

The row to the gnarled, pointed rocks was uneventful, as the heroes quietly contemplated their ruin of the small town. If there were any moral doubts, no one felt comfortable bringing them to bear.

Soon they spied the Tower of the Black Pearl, a rough rectangular shape, black against the skyline, extruding from the tallest of the spires. Only when the celestial bodies are right does the tide lower enough to access the tower, and even as the heroes approached the tide was at its lowest and starting to rise. Moored on the far side was a larger ship, flying color marking it as a pirate vessel. They decided to check it, only to discover several pirates were stationed at the top of the tower with bows. Seaver took an arrow and died, without anyone really knowing who he was — his desires, hopes, and fears. Ferdinand, ever hopeful, attempted a Word of Command, but his god Sun-Ra ignored his call. Beldrow found that climbing the side of the tower was more difficult than he expected, ending his otherwise uneventful life. Luckily the crafty Aleister made it to the top, where he killed one of the pirates. The remaining pirates, unleashing a flurry of arrows, killed both Berrel and the goodman William Borth.

Let us take a moment to mourn the loss of William Borth, one of the last remaining first-generation characters. He shall be missed.

Fortune began to favor the heroes, as Adonrum and Ferdinand make their way to the top of the tower. Adonrum landed a good blow, but it wasn’t good enough to finish the pirate.

At this point, Crowde leveled up, although I’m not sure why. I suspect it was the “Last Character” level up rule.


Never mind, Let’s Go Somewhere Else

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Leaving the Underworld
Wrapping up the Starless Sea

The Fall of the Temple

The Chaos Lord cursed the heroes as it lost its tenuous grasp on the animated form of the cyclopean effigy, it’s empty husk cooling from the dying fire. The beastmen, aghast at the defeat of their god, scattered down the ziggurat in tremulous fear. The lack of the presence of the Chaos Lord seemed to cause the ground to shake and swell, and the inside of the vast cavern began to crumble. Our heroes, suspecting the worst, plunged down the stairs of the ziggurat and to the ship on the beach, just in time to watch massive chunks of the top of the chamber cleave off and crash into the underground sea. For these simple townsfolk, who perhaps have never even seen the sea, the waves that shuddered towards them were more massive than imaginable. Caught up and smashed along the cavern walls, the remaining heroes all fell into darkness as they were bashed and knocked aboard the ship.

Adrift at Sea

The few that finally regained consciousness found themselves adrift out at sea. While all of the current roster hark from Smythwyk Hollow, the only remaining adventurer from the rescue party was Ferdinand. The rest were captives from earlier Beastman raiding parties, by now exhausted and starving. By good fortune, the unlikely mariner Aleister Mal was aboard, and he guided the ship to beach on an empty shore. To the South, more shoreline. To the North, a trail of smoke and signs of civilization.

At this point, it should be mentioned that Rudy Rudabega, Krellic, Beldrow, and Seaver all contracted Chaos Taint, but none of them lived long enough to see its effects.

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Sailors on the Starless Sea, Part 2
Deeper Into the Dark

The Temple Island

Confronting the Chaos Lord

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Sailors on the Starless Sea, Part 1
The Adventure Begins

Unto the Keep

The ruined keep rose before the gathered rabble of townsfolk, choked by vines. A single flag flew above the broken rampart, a red skull on a field of black. Though it was noon, the skies were dark. It was only yesterday when you all set out from the town of Smythwyk Hollow, a last desperate attempt to avoid the fate of the rest of your town — kidnapping by mysterious forces.

A small scouting party investigated the far side of the keep, finding part of the wall collapsed and potentially scalable. But that path was decided against in favor of a frontal assault. On the rocky path to the keep the adventurers came across two corpses — recognizably the blacksmith’s sons — strung up by vines. Wolly the Dwarf farmer approached to investigate. His compatriots watched in horror as the corpse vines lurched off their stakes and eviscerated Wolly. Although they made short work of the two vines, thanks in great part to the work of William Borth, the first death weighed heavily on their minds. Not so heavily that they didn’t search the bodies to find a decent short sword.

Pressing forward, the party came to the keep’s guardhouse. The hobbit triplets were is much disagreement, leading to halfling siblings Lucky and Wittie hanging back to the rear of the party. This proved unfortunate — as the party entered the gate, the portcullis dropped on the last rank of adventurers. Wittie was skewered, but alive. The front ranks had their own problems — two mutated human/beast creatures dropped from the gatehouse, ready to fight. While that battle raged, Wittie made one last futile attempt to lift the portcullis, and died of major blood loss.

The party suffered no further losses in taking care of the two beastmen, and took a moment to rest. The vine-animated body of Wolly scrabbled at the fallen portcullis, but couldn’t make it through. It’s presence was disturbing, however. Looking around the courtyard, Sulisica headed alone to the central well. Looking into the well, she felt compelled to throw herself down into the bottomless void, breaking the compulsion with just enough time to grab hold of the well rope. For the other party members, however, it looked as though she walked up to the well and cast herself into it. Rushing to help, two more party members [WHO?] got caught in the same compulsion and hurled themselves into the pit, their bodies twisting and mutating as they fell into the endless. Sulisica managed to climb out, but not without contracting the horror of the void. She would suffer from shakes and chills for the remainder of her short life.

The Ruined Tower

By now the group were assured of their dire fate, and decided to enter the belly of the beast: the ruined tower. Rumors from town spoke of many treasures within, but they were at a loss as to how to open the door. Lacking a key or the strength to open it, they hatched a plan: to fill a barrel with nightsoil, set it on fire, and kick it into the door of the tower. While far-fetched, the gods clearly appreciated the derring-do of the plan, and it succeeded in blasting open the door. Unbeknownst to the villagers, however, inside the tower were hundreds of skins and meats, fermenting in the heat of the tower. The flaming barrel ignited the rotting fumes, causing a further explosion. Out of the fire staggered two beastmen, burning to the deaths. The group’s elation turned south as they entered the tower to see a giant bull-headed beastman wielding a mighty axe. While smoldering, this foe was not about to drop without a fight.

The battle with the bull-headed beastman was not without losses and displays of cowardice, but the heroes prevailed — thanks in large part to the bravery and strong arm of William Borth. Braced by the victory, the party pressed on, eager for blood. Ascending the stairwell, they stopped at the closed door at the top, leading to a seemingly impossible set of stairs downwards. Remembering their success with the flaming barrel of nightsoil, the group decided that the best possible way forward was to set a sheep on fire and kick it down the steps.

Again: they decided to set a sheep on fire.

Then kick it down the steps.

Although this impressive feat of cruelty failed to produce any useful effect, it was surely a momentous moment in the chronicles of the heroes from Symthwyck Hollow: here is where shit got serious.

The party, after noting the failure of a flaming sheep to provide any result, decided to brave the steps down. They led to a large chamber with a narrow pool, filled with dark water and floating skulls. Bas relief sculptures lined the walls, depicting scenes of monstrous horror and evil deeds — scenes of which the party took serious note. Particularly the bits about the Kraken. Also, some skulls were picked up.

The Underground Sea

Heading down the stairs, the remaining group entered an enormous cavern, nigh 500’ high. Dark water, an underground sea, spread out before them, the far shore lost in the darkness. A solitary boat sat in the still water, some distance from the shore. A stone menhir, covered in strange carvings, stood in the sand nearby. It was this monument our fearless heroes investigated first, recognizing it from the relief sculptures in the chamber above. They lit a candle at the top, calling towards them the ship. Boarding, the ship set out into the dark waters under mysterious power.

Unfortunately the boat also drew the attention of the slumbering Kraken lurking in the depths. Powerful tentacles broached the sides of the ship at startling speed, blindly grasping for tasty morsels. Many of our heroes fell prey, wrapped in sinewy tentacle and dragged to their watery grave. Some of our best were lost, most notably William Borth and the Halfling vvv. It wasn’t much of a battle, but luckily the Kraken seemed satisfied with the massacre and sank below the depths to digest its meal.

Only four were left, standing stunned on the ship’s deck: Shilliac, Ferdinand, Sulisica, and mmm. And although they lost eleven of their friends and family in horrible, horrible ways, their experience solidified both their resolve and their skills.

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