Marauders of Ig

Outsiders from Beyond the Dark Stone Chamber

The party proved unable to communicate with the outsiders in the pit. They spoke a dialect similar to the dwarf tongue but bizarrely archaic and functionally impossible to understand. Deciding to leave them they turned back toward the ritual chamber to explore the tunnels beyond. They tread carefully, soon reaching to a vast open chamber with a sandy floor. Small figures wrapped head-to-toe in dusty yellow cloth lay in a circle in the center of the room, an intricate spiral design etched in the sand extending from the still shapes in a five-foot radius.

One of the dwarves prodded one of the figures with a spear, but a stumble sent the spearpoint dragging across the spiral. The moment the spiral was marred the body stirred, staggering to his feet and letting out a groan. Not having any this, the party drew their weapons and cut down the swathed figure. It quickly fell, and on further inspection the body beneath the cloths proved to be that of a goblin, long-dead, with what must have been a mortal gut wound marring the torso.

The group avoided the rest of the figures, creeping around the periphery of the space to a passage on the far side. This led to an ornate chamber dominated by a rough bamboo and hide idol in the shape of an enormous bee that loomed grotesquely atop a large hexagonal altar. At its base were a number of figurines made of gold, which the group split among each other. Beyond lay a long arcing hall. One wall was made of wax, which the wizard surmised must be the far side of the hive. The other wall had shallow alcoves in which more yellow-wrapped figures lay entombed. No one was willing to disturb these bundles.

Moving on they found a room of weapons and armor, all goblin-sized. These were claimed by the dwarves. They also found a locked room that contained horrific shapeless blob with an acidic touch, who ambushed Diesel and nearly killed him before the amorphous thing could be put down. It was, however, well-stocked with treasure. The party barricaded the door and rested their for several hours, doing their best to recuperate after their long journey from the surface. Reaching a dead end the party turned back, returning to the pit chamber and the increasingly enraged outsiders.

Turning down another passage the group finds enters a new chamber, but this is different, this was a room. A long hallway of ebon worked stone extends into the darkness, the high ceiling held up by pillars that had an evil, almost organic cast. Deciding not to risk facing more of the organized outsiders, the group turned back to other other chambers yet unexplored. In one moist passage, where water dripped down the walls and made a small stream that ran along side passage, one of the dwarves was nearly devoured by a giant toad, who flicked out his enormous tongue and pulled the hapless humanoid into his jaws. Were it not for the quick feet of his brother and the rest of the group he would have met a horrible fate in the gullet of the beast.

The Fall of Ser Puupiponts

Beyond the small tunnel was a bare stone chamber with nothing but a few clay pots. The party quickly pulled themselves to their feet. The sound of the enraged hive grew louder as the giant bees began to climb down the tunnel. Facing the possibility of a horrible death on the stingers of insects, Ser pulled the spare flasks of oil from his pack. “I know how to stop the hive,” he declared. Opening the flasks, he upended them over his head and, taking up his torch, hurled himself back into the tunnel. As he clambered back toward the hive he lit himself alight. The elf went up like a candle, driving the bees back. The wax walls of the tunnel began to melt and sag, entombing the elf and blocking the tunnel.

The party had barely a moment to mourn their loss when a hissing sound came from the pots. Prudence won out when one of the peasants, displaying surprising snake-charming skill, used his quarterstaff to test them. Inside were several pit vipers, but the staff made tossing them away simple.

After dealing with the snakes the party set off looking for the goblins’ foes. Arrowroot fell into a pit trying to find gold in another pot, and the peasants were able to kick open a chest full of treasure when Diesel proved unable to unlock it. Thogsmash ensorcelled a giant bat, disturbed by the party when they plumbed a deep chasm with a weighted rope. It became his devoted servant.

Finding a network of ritual chambers covered in goblin markings and an attached dormitory, the party barricaded the entrances with beds and rested. After long hours they heard the tramp of approaching humanoid feet. Extinguishing their torches they held their breaths, hiding out of sight. The group passed by, but was accosted by other denizens of the underground. The party could hear the battle, but stayed put. The victor, apparently the humanoids, made a retreat back the way they had come. The party made their plans, whispering to each other in the darkness. They snuck up on the group in the chamber with the pit trap. There were four of them, strange pale humanoids with wide hairless faces wearing glossy leather of weird make. Surprised by the ambush, three of them were tossed into the pit, with another cut down before he could finish drawing his sword.

Were these the outsiders the goblins had spoken of?

Through the Hive

The goblins shared two routes to gain egress to the Singing Hill, an opening halfway up the hill used by the bees as their main entrance, or a small vent at the summit used by the bees for cooling. The party chose the main entrance. They took with them a number of goblin smudgesticks, specially formed torches that could be used to pacify the insects if they got too close.

Waiting for a lull in the insect traffic, the party entered the muggy darkness, walking down short tunnel, which opened up into a vast hollow cavity. The stone underfoot fell away in a deep crevasse. Across the gulf the pale waxy bulk of the hive extended off into the darkness. Strung across the crevasse in arcing loops was a thick rope. Seeing no other route, the party slung legs over the rope and climbed into the darkness.

The ropes led to further tunnels, and as the group sought out a way into the hive they faced challenges of flesh, giant parasitic moths who descended on the party in a shadowy room, and mind, a dart trap hidden in a wooden spar slew one of the dwarf peasants outright. After searching dark corridors and rooms the group at last found a entrance to the inner hive. Setting fire to their smudgesticks the party entered, squeezing through narrow passageways and avoiding the bees that crawled across every surface. They were able to descend through a hole in the floor, but below the bees pressed even tighter, and began to grow aggressive. They found a small hole that led outside the hive, but they chose to search the hive further. When one drew too close Diesel drove it away with his shortsword, but this only enraged the hive. They descended on the party in a rage. The group fled, trying to return to the small tunnel they’d found before.

The peasants led, falling to their knees to crawl through the tunnel. As they reached the far side they were met by a venomous hiss.

A Twist

The party didn’t rest long in Smoleng. After a day’s rest their attention turned to the goblin captive. They learned that the goblin’ tribe had been forced to raid to due “outsiders from below” moving in the goblin’s territory forcing them out into the upper world. Seeing the opportunity for further profit, the group approached the elder of Smoleng, offering to deal with the raiders for coin. The elder assented. To the goblin the group offered aid, and while he could make no promises his chief might be interested in such a bargain. Smelling the opportunity of gold, six peasants joined the group, a trio of dwarves, brothers all, an elf, and two men. The group left town, allowing the goblin to lead them to the Singing Hill.

After another day trekking across the plans and fording the River Jute they spied a large hill. A low hum filled the air as they approached, and the goblin sang out that they had arrived. They cut the goblin loose to bring word of their approach. Shortly a goblin dressed in a large headdress shaped like a bee, flanked by one goblin for each member in the party, approached. The chief welcomed the group, for the ex-captive’s promises of aid and mercy. He warned the group that his tribe had blocked the passageway below that led into the heart of the goblin’s territory, to stop the outsiders from creeping up in the night. The only way would be through the giant bee hive that took up much of the hollow hill.

A Raid of Monstrous Ilk

Charged by a small unit of goblins riding giant bees, the party took up positions beside each wagon, using the sturdy framework as cover against the charge.

Thogsmash attempted to let loose a magic spell, but was unable to maintain mystical focus in the face of the oncoming horde. Stymied, he fled to behind another wagon, hair crackling as spent magic shed into the air. Arrowroot took the lead, setting his spear in preparation for the goblins’ imminent attack. Diesel let fly with an well-aimed sling bullet, piercing one giant bee’s carapace and sending its rider to a swift death as it hurtled headfirst into the turf.

The ground around wagons quickly became a melee. Justice’s terminal cowardice worked in his favor for once, his terrified flailing made short work of several of the riders. One after another the beasts charged and were cut down. One goblin, unhorsed, fled to the west, another fell at the feet of Arrowroot, wounded but breathing.

He begged for his life, begging and mewling in a guttural voice. The party set out to interrogate him. Without his insect mount he had little courage to resist. Claiming to be from the Singing Hill, a place he refused to describe further. He said his tribe had been raiding each caravan which passed, keeping them from reaching Smoleng. They showed the thing mercy, but took him captive to dissuade further attacks.

The rest of the trip passed uneventually, a line soon appeared on the horizon which grew and darkened into the great bulk of the Sea of Shadows. Smoleng lay on the coast, a collection of ramshackle clapboard buildings sitting on a low cliff overlooking the tide. Most of the town came out to see them, it had been months since Smoleng had been visited by a merchant caravan, and the wheat within were greatly needed. A feast was declared in celebration!

The Long Road to Smoleng

The party headed back to Hamanda Jakla to return the merchant’s daughter, Janeera Serian, to her father. She promised her father would pay well for her safe return. When they stood before Andoko Serian in his house in the rich southern end of the city offered them fifty gold pieces, or more if the group would do him a favor. In a weeks time a caravan heading for Smoleng would leave the city, and was in need of guards. Several of Andoko’s caravans had disappeared along the way, and he was about to give up the trade route as a loss. Smelling desperation, and always interested in the procurement of gold, Arrowrootand Justice talked Andoko into giving them half the pay up front.

Flush with cash the group descended onto the market district to prepare for a long journey. Justice purchased new weapons and armor, while the rest of the group replenished their supplies. After a week of debauchery in the seedier sections of Hamanda Jakla the group set out, leading the caravan along the dirt road to the southeast. The city grew hazy in the distance, and soon the road faded away to the rolling grasslands of Ig.

A week passed as they crossed the endless fields. The river Jute rushed on their right, and on their left the shadow of Beldin forest lay on the horizon. On the seventh night, as twilight began to fall and the group had begun to set-up camp a pack of wolves descended upon the caravan. They went for the horses, but the party was able to kill four and scare the rest away. Diesel nearly cut a wolf in twain when he thrust down the beast’s throat, and Justice broke his shield on the back of another before running it through with his spear.

The road became strange. After another day’s travel the party awoke to discover one of the wagons ransacked. Footprints could be found all about, but they disappeared a few yards from the area, no other sign could be found. The group was on guard, but they found no sign until the next night.

As the sun began to descend a low hum rolled over the hills, causing the group to stop their horses. The noise grew louder, and right as it reached a maddening pitch a group of figures appeared over a nearby hill. They moved too fast for horses, and they didn’t appear to be touching the ground, just hovering above it. In another moment they were up the group, it was a swarm of giant bees, but astride them were twisted goblins dressed in strange leather armor and wielding spears. With a howl they charged!

The End of the Wizard Borghast

The party pushed on into the room where the acolytes had poured from, finding a profane altar to one of the 444 Gods of Decay. Huge beetles skittered across the walls of the room, at least as big as an And war-dog, but the party’s torches kept the things at bay.

Continuing on the party came to an empty chamber. It was set up like a prison, with iron bars set into the stone, locking the back of the chamber away. They also found fine women’s clothes and jewelry in a chest. Arrowrootand Justice, putting the clues together, assumed these must belong to the last victim the wizard kidnapped.

Heading back to a crossroads the party turned down an unexplored passage. The air grew foul as they continued, , and soon the passage opened up into a chamber filled with refuse and filth looted from the necropolis above. Timbegan to root through the piles, but disturbed huge beetles similar to the ones in the altar chamber. Ser leapt to his defense, but he was bowled over when another beetle attacked. The room soon dissolved into a frantic melee as the group struggled to dispatch the insects.

The group found a trove of worn coins in the trash and prepared to leave the labyrinth without finding Borghast. However, on the way back they spied a red light gleaming from behind what they’d took for a solid stone wall. In reality a secret door, when they opened it they could see the shadows of several figures against the red light, and magical chanting in a fell voice. Everyone hunkered out of sight, trying to decide whether they should risk interrupting the ritual when they heard a woman scream.

Chivalry being what it was, the men couldn’t slink away. A plan was hatched, Thogsmashcollected his mystical focus and cast his voice into the room, imitating the gruff voice of one of the acolytes they’d dispatched. They ambushed the first acolyte who came to investigate, but the second got out a yell before he was dispatched.

Down the corridor came the wizard, his eyes alight with rage and power. He was struck by an onslaught of slingstones, but he made carved a sinister shape in the air and caught Thogsmash in a spell, dominating his will and forcing him to block the tunnel. Before he could work more evil another slingstone cracked his skull. The wizard was dead!

Beyond lay the wizard’s laboratory. On a low stone altar a woman lay bound. She was the daughter of a rich merchant from Hamanda Jakla. They freed her and looted the laboratory of the wizard’s things. Borghast had fallen, and the city had no need to fear being stolen away in the night by a mad wizard.

Once More unto the Graveyard
In which pitfalls, the undead, and more acolytes are encountered

The first expedition into the lair of Borghast was cut short by a nasty ambush and an attack from unliving monsters. The group had barely entered the narrow tunnels when a pair of dark-robed brigands dashed from a hidden passage and drew steel. The tight confines provided a difficult obstacle, but short work was made of the foes. Tim and Diesel deemed the dark robes not too foul and donned the garments to better disguise themselves.

The adventure nearly came to a halt when the party stumbled onto a large chamber dominated by a pair of stone altars, on which lay the freshly dead. Runes and weird sigils encircled the altars, but the elf Ser had no qualms in breaking the line to investigate the bodies. To his horror they rose and attacked, quickly decimating the party. They only barely managed to overcome the fell things, striking them down. No one had the courage to continue, so the party fled back to the city to recuperate.

A few days were spent at the inn, the Boar’s Guts, and soon the group was back on their feet, with the addition of Thogsmash. This expedition proved far more lucrative, despite Arrowroot’s tumbling into a pit in pursuit of a pair of silver candlesticks. A pair of twisted things, in a mockery of the shape of man, were struck down. The group was also able to ambush another group of acolytes, using a flask of oil to send them tumbling into a heap, setting them alight, then hacking them to pieces.

Weird Sights in the Graveyard
Sidetracked in a storm, and what good are black robes anyway?

After a few days rest in Berkoz left the hamlet in pursuit of a less volatile economy in which to dump their hard-earned loot. The party set off for Hamanda Jakla, the closest thing to a city on the plains of Ig. They hadn’t made more than a few days’ travel before the weather turned against the group. A huge thunderstorm rolled down out of the Dark Mountains, driving them to take refuge in a ruined tower.

They ruins were not unoccupied, and the group soon found itself under attack by horrors that walked in the shapes of men and beasts. When the storm finally broke the group staggered out of the tower, battered and bleeding but weighed down with more treasure wrested from within.

The rest of the journey passed uneventfully, and after a few more days of travel they spied the city of Hamanda Jakla. Girded by ancient sandstone walls that have stood for centuries, the city is jumbled mix of stucco, wood, and stone buildings. The group quickly broke up to spend their hard-earned lucre, and during their wanderings around the city they heard rumor of the wizard Borgast and his band of callous acolytes, kidnapping in the dead of night to a fate better left imagined.

Hiring a torch carrier, an ex-caravan guard, surname Justice, they set out to find the wizard. Tracking his whereabouts to the abandoned graveyard. They found an iron door beneath a dead willow, and entered into the wizard’s secret lair.

The Portal Under the Stars
The First Day of the Rest of the Campaign

The cast, a rag-tag group of peasants in pursuit of treasure at the behest of a dying man.

The place, a sealed tomb of a lost wizard-king, ageless beyond reckoning, and inextricably linked the endless march of the stars in the heavens.

Fifteen men crossed the threshold into the darkness beyond, but only seven returned alive, the rest consumed by the machinations and horrors within. Spattered with mud and stained with gore both human and beast, they are weary yet unbowed. They carry with them the treasures of the wizard-king, more wealth than they could imagine before today. They clutch weapons of strange and ancient make, their shapes unfamiliar but not their purpose.

They will not die unremembered as mere peasants. They are brave men who challenged fate, and for a time, bested it.


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