Epic Level version of Rise of the Runelords by Paizo


I recently switched a long-running (20 year) campaign to D&D 3.5 from 2nd edition and I've been enjoying many aspects of it. When learning the 3.5 rules I joined a completely different group and had a fun time playing through the "Rise of the Runelords" adventure path for Pathfinder. I really enjoyed the flavour of the modules (even though I couldn't believe how quickly we went from novices to experts). I decided to update the adventure to my tastes and make it suitable for a group of 24th Level Epic adventurers. Who knows they may even go up a couple of levels through it.

I started just making conversion notes, joting down ideas and putting things together hap-hazardly. For twenty years I have been challenging the party with Orcs, Goblins, Trolls, Ogres, Bugbears, etc. They know that this kind of creature is collective known as the Illorians. They have brown blood, are nasty, and were engineered long ago by an immortal race known by many names (we'll call them the Moradil in this thread). So I thought it was time to introduce them to the creature from which the name Illorian is derived. I had them sketched out in 2nd Edition, but they seemed to weak, and boring. I updated them to 3rd Edition and had a revelation --- these things would make great goblins!

So here it is if anyone is interested. Take your copy of Rise of the Runelords, Burnt Offerings and replace the Goblins with Illorg. Now you have an Epic level adventure starting in Sandpoint and ending in Xin Shalast. I've made a bunch of other changes too, like putting Lion-riding warriors from Magnamar in charge of defending Sandpoint. I put some Dwarves in the mountains to tie to some other threads, and I made the Runelords an ancient group of seven Moradil banished from the world and called them the Lords of Sin.

These "goblins" are more hateful, x-rated, and cruel than the goblins of Burnt offerings. The horror in the first battle is about the destruction of the good forces and townsfolk. Although the Illorg are certainly dangerous, I doubt they pose any real threat to a seasoned party of 24th Level adventurers. However, their mobility and malice will frustrate the players and make their destruction sweeter. They will certainly want to hunt down and eliminate this threat and that will powerfully pull them along the adventure thread (which I really enjoyed).

10 Not-so-Fun Facts about Illorg

1. Illorg delight in torturing their food. The pain and fear make the flesh taste better, and they typically prefer dining on living victims. They are practiced at consuming creatures and keeping them alive. Eating the extremeties first, cauderizing wounds, they are able to savour both arms and both legs of a bipedal creature before performing a frenzied gorge of the torso and head. They have been known to keep a creature alive for over a week while they snack on it.

2. They are small but voracious. An Illor will eat the same as a full grown man, even though they are half the size. Heck, an Illor will eat a full-grown man, he’d just take his time doing it.

3. They can reproduce asexually. The sperm of an Illor can grow into a fertilized egg, hatching into a goblin within days. The goblin will take on the characteristics of the environment in which the sperm lay. On muddy ground the goblin would be brown and dun, while on stone the goblin would be hard and gray.

4. They can’t count. Apart from being generally stupid, counting is an intellectual feat that even the smartest Illor can’t quite master. They recognize that a pair of creatures is more than one, but not much else. They don’t know when they are outnumbered.

5. They avoid their own pain. When initially wounded an Illor will generally teleport away, crying and cackling. This retreat is momentary, as they will retort their wound with fury and rage. They will attack the creature that harmed them before all others; not teleporting again until that creature is dead, or preferably, immobilized so they can torture it...slowly.

6. They are generally fearless. They act on primal hunger and violent urges and are seldom even aware of danger. Combined with their inability to count, they will fight to the death … always.

7. They are enthralled by suffering. They are fascinated by the pain of others and will become fascinated and distracted by a suffering creature. They will watch suffering for long periods of time. It is the only thing that makes them quiet. They will smile and rock gentle back and forth when a creature is in anguish.

8. Illorg don’t have mechanical aptitude. They don’t even know how to operate a door. If they infest an area the will burn or knaw a whole in the bottom of any door they encounter. They will teleport into houses, smash through windows, or come down the chimney.

9. Illorg get lost easily. They are terrible navigators and when they get lost have a tendancy to always turn left. Some secret teaching that they pass down from generation to generation. When they begin navigating in this fashion they laugh and cackle at every left turn. Smug in the secret knowledge that only they know – another shining example of their intellectual superiority.

10. They love speed. Sliding down a slope, riding on a glider, or on the back of a fast monster – Illorg love going fast. They love carts, but eat horses.

At the gentic root of the monstrous family tree is the Illor -- a small creature of cruel and foul disposition. These creatures have existed in the world since the earliest ages. As xenophobic as they are cruel, they shun civilization and use their stealth and camouflage to remain mostly hidden from society. When they do interact, they typically wipe out entire villages or small towns, so no trace or rumour of them persists. In nature they feed on animals, typically wild pack animals like horses and dogs. Once the Illorg have claimed a territory, the presence of animals diminishes to almost nothing. Birds, rats, rabbits, deer, wild horses, and wild dogs will all shun the area within miles of an Illor encampment. The sniffers will go out to capture game. In spite of their diminutive size and diminished intelligence, the Illor are an apex predator possessed of numerous special abilities, easily outmatching the fiercest dire animals and displacing other societies such as Trolls, Orcs, Goblins, and even Giants.
What is most unique about these merciless hunters is their ability to procreate asexually. Yet these creatures breed with terrible slowness. Needing powerful armies some Moradil – the ancient overlords – recognized ways in which they could breed creatures using Illorg and began fashioning Chimera’s (mixing un-mixable animals) and creating Orcs, Kobolds, Trolls, Troglodytes, and other creatures known to the educated as Illorians. Once created these creatures could procreate amongst themselves and grow large armies and societies. Orcs were creating by mixing Illorg with Elf; Kobolds are Illorg and lizard, etc. Chief amongst these experimenters was a Moradil Lord named Lamatshu. She delighted in the hideous combinations that she could create. That was long ago. Lamatshu and six of her brethren, known as the lords of Sin, rose to terrible power and using the power of rune-lore and the powerful venal emotions of the “lower” races, established a tyranny that lasted thousands of years in ancient Thassilon. The younger Gods eventually intervened and the Seven Runelords were trapped in an eternal slumber and all trace of them vanished from the material plane.

Today, the Illorg live in remote places, killing indiscriminately, but avoiding larger societies and civilizations. That is until recently. When the runewell flashed to life it stirred these creatures and they began to explore, looking for the source of the “nice” feelings.

An Illor is small and squat. It has a large head and row upon row of tiny teeth that fill its exceptionally large mouth. The skin of an Illor is dark blotchy brown and tufts of hair grow in unsightly patches all over their bodies. When cut, thick brown blood spills from them that bubbles and hardens on contact with the air. This instant coagulation gives them excellent healing and damage reduction. These hard boils, lumps, and putrid flesh form the basis of the Illor’s natural armor. It is rare to see patches of clear, unblemished, flesh on an Illor. Removing the scars, from a heal spell, or otherwise, eliminates the Illor’s natural armor bonus. This carapace also shifts in colour with the surroundings giving them a +20 bonus to their already highly developed hide skill.

Illorg travel swiftly, but prefer to “hop” with short teleportation similar to a dimension door. The range of this teleportation is only 20’, but the Illor can perform this kind of locomotion up to four times in a round, giving them an additional 80’ of movement. When they travel in this fashion they give off a sulphurous odor that is unmistakable. A +30 bonus is given to any scent-based tracking of the creature when they are locomoting in this way. This scent does not make them easy to spot but does betray their presence. Even without using their teleport abilities they give off a faint scent that causes any animal to panic or become agitated.

The word Illor comes from ancient Mordai and is pluralized by the letter “g.” “There is one Illor, or two Illorg, hiding in the bush.”

Illor: Camouflage (+20 hide), Teleport (smells of sulfur), Fire Res: 10, Cold Res: 10, Insects 5, Natural Armor +5 , DR -2

Because of their long lives, an Illor will always have developed along a path. Although these paths are similar to the class listed beside them, they gain none of the other benefits of the class other than what is detailed in the description. (This is so you don’t have to spend all kinds of time classing the “boobs” of the game.)

Powerful Illor, tribal leaders and other heroes often progress along class lines. If a leader takes a class that matches their path, they start with all the abilities of a 9th level member of that class. Otherwise they progress normally.

The Paths

Snipe (Rogue): AC: 22 +armor, Sneak Attack (4d6), evasion, Hide + HP: 75
+20/+15/+10/+5 (1d4 + 7 (5 magic, 2 str) claw or by weapon +2)
Camouflage (+20 hide), Teleport, Fire Res: 10, Cold Res: 10, Insects 5, Natural Armor +5 , DR -2

Ketch (Monk): AC: 28, Unarmed Damage 1d10 +7 (5 magic, 2 str), Move 50’. Extra Attack, HP: 89
+20/+20/+15/+10/+5 (1d8 +7 +plus grapple attempt)
Camouflage (+20 hide), Teleport, Fire Res: 10, Cold Res: 10, Insects 5, Natural Armor +5 , DR -2

Sniffer (Ranger): AC: 22 + armor, +4 favored enemy (Animal), evasion, scent, track, HP: 105
+24/+19/+14/+9 (by weapon +3, or claw 1d4 +8)
Camouflage (+20 hide), Teleport, Fire Res: 10, Cold Res: 10, Insects 5, Natural Armor +5 , DR -2

Hatedancer (Bard): AC 22 + armor, Inspire Fear/Panic +5 bonus to Illorg, DC 20 fear effect, Foesense HP: 75
+20/+15/+10/+5 (1d4 +7 claw)
Camouflage (+20 hide), Teleport, Fire Res: 10, Cold Res: 10, Insects 5, Natural Armor +5 , DR -2

Twitch (Sorceror): AC 22, Shrink Item (quickened), Hold Person DC 18 (W)(quickened), Wind Wall (Stan), HP:65
+16/+11/+6 (1d4 +7 claw)
Camouflage (+20 hide), Teleport, Fire Res: 10, Cold Res: 10, Insects 5, Natural Armor +5 , DR -2

Thug (Barbarian): AC 20 + Armor, Rage 3x day, +2 hit/damage HP: 135
+26/+21/+16/+11 (1d4 +9 claw, By weapon +6 [preferred])
Camouflage (+20 hide), Teleport, Fire Res: 10, Cold Res: 10, Insects 5, Natural Armor +5 , DR -2

The Four Bloodlines

Flameblood: The flameblood lineage possess terrible and frightening powers. In battle their hands smolder with a sickly black flame. Any wound that they do has a chance of causing a terrible affliction – the burning of the blood. A DC 25 Fort save is required or the victim begins to burn from inside. There lips turn black; eyes smolder; and they start coughing up blood and flame. Where the wounds are small flames flit like candles. It does 1d8 points of constitution damage per round until the creature dies, whereupon it bursts into flame. With fire leaping out of the eyes, mouth, wounds the creature will burn for 4 rounds before becoming a charred stain on the ground.
Once per round they can cause their hands to burst in flames. They can either hurl this as a ranged touch attack or strike with it as a melee weapon. This takes the place of one of their ordinary attacks. As a ranged attack it does 2d6 damage to a 5’ square. As a melee attack it causes a 4d6 Flaming Burst that momentarily immolates the target. When close to flame the flameblood’s skin ripples and undulates with light and flame, effecting it like a blur spell and giving any attack against it a 20% miss chance.

Flame Hand (1/round) 4d6 Immolation/2d6 ranged, 20% miss chance in flames, Burning wounds DC 25 Fort Save (treat as poison 1d8 Con per rnd until dead or healed).

Vermin Hand: These Illorg can control spiders, ants, wasps, flies, and other insects. In battle they are able to spontaneously create insects when they damage an opponent. Every wound does an additional 1d6 vermin damage. This damage persists every round as the wounds begin hatching spiders, mites, worms, or ants. Healing the wound ends this effect. A DC 15 (plus 5 per extra wound) is required to resist the vermin from burrowing under the skin and into the victims innards. Only a cure disease or similar effect can eliminate the vermin inside. They will do 2 pts of Constitution Damage every round until the victim dies. Control insects. 20% of all of this kind of Illor have a pet swarm that travels with them (these swarms are typically Centipedes or Spiders, but can be wasps, mosquitos, or even hell-wasps).

Insect Hand: +1d6 vermin damage (continuous), DC 15 (5* number of wounds) to avoid becoming infested. Infestation deals 2 CON damage per round.

Stinkbeast: When wet a stinkbeast gives off an awful acidic smell. This choking acidic cloud has a DC 25 within 5ft of the beast, and DC15 within 10ft. If two areas overlap, only make one check at the highest DC. Failure blinds the creature for the round. Contact with the skin of a wet stinkbeast Illor deals acid damage of 1d6 for a blow, or 4d6 on a grapple. Stinkbeasts love to grapple and their most common and effective path is that of the ketch. Stinkbeasts are immune to acid.

Smokebelcher: Smoke and shadow shroud these Illor in the taint of death. So strong is this taint, that they are often mistaken for undead (DC 25) by other creatures. Undead nearly always treat them as their own. They have the unnatural ability to command their own shadow, often wearing it like a cloak that darkens their features. They can also extend their shadow and use it to attack giving them reach 15’ on such attacks. These attack replace their normal attack. There is no strength bonus on this kind of attack.
When they breathe a dark smoke wafts from their mouth and nose. A smokebelcher can emit a 25’ radius cloud of dark smoke once per round. This smoke limits visibility to 5’ for 2 rounds. Creatures must make a DC 20 Fortitude save or suffer 1d6 strength damage as if struck by a shadow. The effects, however, only last for two hours. Creatures reduced to a zero strength have a 1% chance of dying and becoming a shadow. Smokebelchers can command shadows and nightshades.
Due to their nature, Smokebelchers remain with their own clan. If a smokebelcher is ever born to a non-belcher clan it would be destroyed. Smokebelchers occasionally give birth to non-belcher. These are not destroyed and are raised to adulthood within the clan, but exiled afterwards.

The Five Illor Tribes

Rook-beast Illorg that live in caves along the western edge of the Devil’s Platter, although traditionally these Illorgs are the least aggressive towards civilization, they attack animals without mercy. Rook-beast Illorg fashion armor of animal hide that they wear in strips to make skirts. They fashion a cured leather breastplate to which they add toothy studs from various animals. In battle they will use “skull bombs” fashioned from the skulls of animals and stuffed with a mysterious concoction that explodes into swarms of insects, either biting or crawling.

Some of the Rook-beast are vermin-hand, although many do not posses the bloodline abilities. Much inter-breeding has diluted the vermin-hand strain. They all, however, retain their immunity to the bites and stings of insects. They prefer to fight with Darkmetal dogslicers and horsechoppers, crude but deadly weapons. Many of the Rook-beast tribe are sniffers or snipes. Rook-beast clan decorate themselves with the wings and feathers of many kinds of birds of prey. At times they will fashion crude gliders out of the bones and forms of giant birds. These contraptions are a tactical waste-of-time and do more harm than good. To the rook-beast though, the ability to fly is so wonderful and fearsome, that they put great stock in their gliders; working them into every conceivable battle plan, no matter how inappropriate or stupid.

To the south are the Brakwater Illorg of the Brinestump Marsh. They are excellent swimmers, and almost all Brakwater Illorg come from the Stinkbeast bloodline. The Brakwater Illorg usually remain naked, as very few materials can withstand the constant effect of their acidic skin. On raids they may wear Darkmetal helms, or breastplates, but little else. Cruel and lascivious, the Brak tend to rape their quarry to death before eating them. They are indiscriminate in their amorous rage, raping men, women, children, animals. They feed on the fear, revulsion, and horror of their attacks. Thugs and ketches make up the majority of the Brakwater clan.

East are the Fang-mouth Illorg of Shank’s Wood, Illorgs who’ve secured a place for themselves by raiding the dwarven mines for mithril which can alloy into DarkMetal (Their Blood, Baneblood, Iron, Mithril). They have rebuilt this into armor and weapons. The Fang-Mouth clan are smokebelchers. They trade with other Illorg giving them DarkMetal weapons in return for treasure and power. Gogmurt, a flame-blood, was born and raised by the Fang-mouth shadow-clan. When he was older he was exiled to the Thistletop where he stole and murdered his way to power.

Further east are the Mosswood Illorgs, likely the largest tribe but one traditionally held back by feuding families within their own ranks. They come from diverse bloodlines, which fuels dissent and distrust amongst them. They are the most tactical of the tribes, opting to fight before feeding, raping, looting, and pillaging. They do that after.

And finally, there are the Thistletop Illorgs, who live on the Nettlewood coast atop a small island that some say holds a passing resemblance to a decapitated head. Most of the Thisteltop are flamebloods with a desire to burn and destroy.

So there we have what I'm doing to convert the module. I've got the whole thing in text and am editing, but I'm not going to distribute it because it is entirely based on Paizo's work. Take my idea and you'll find that this module converts nicely into an epic-level adventure. If you start with a well-written and well-considered adventure, you can adapt and make changes.

So, if you haven't looked at Rise of the Runelords, Burnt Offerings -- give it a whirl. Try it there way and then go Epic Level.
thanks Paizo.

..their way.. can't seem to find the edit button. I hate typos.

Stroking her soft red beard in contemplation, Deanni watches the conversation float amongst the group. The offer of her husband's service sending their thoughts racing. Speaking in hushed tones, they ramble off ideas, talk about armour made from fine wire, like shirts that are woven. The conversation even digresses to speak about jewlery. After some time, her companion, the man of fur and fang -- what was his name -- flashes a glance and she nods. Smiling a bit at the inner joke her brown eyes flash with a touch of orange-amber.

She bows to the group. "The dwarven people are greatly in your debt. My husband wishes to reward you with a gift from his very own hand." She pauses to nod at Arondil. "As it would have more meaning for you... he will gladly use the metal you have carried for so long in fashioning your sword. Yet there will be more than one gift for those stalwart friends of ours. Your gifts will be ready at the Swallowtail festival in Sandpoint -- a place far from your home. It is a place that has experienced much unpleasantness of late. We have dwarven friends there -- I know your gifts will be well recieved. You have attracted unwanted attention of late. Use this and your destination will be beyond detection."

She pulls out a small bell and hammer and passes it to Pantheris.

"Go!" she smiles. "Make haste."

Her friend nods to your group with a sincere smile. "You are good and brave allies. Truly. This is for the best.." He pauses, and puts a hand on Calibash's metal skin.

"Be vigilant my friend. You've been blessed with more than just magics this day. You'll be in the forge soon."

Bleys begins to draw breath to speak... and is cut off by Deanni.

"You can trade and barter your paltry baubles once you get to where you are going. Magnamar is not far from Sandpoint -- they have artificers there. But don't miss the ceremony whatever you do. Keep an eye to what is going on in Sandpoint. Be mindful of the details." Her tone is warm but firm.

Both Ju'alis and Calibash open their mouths to speak, but again Deanni anticipates and interrupts. Like master warrior practiced in the art of anticipation.

"Your gifts will outweigh the danger if you stay true. Keep your hearts free from sin: anger, lust, greed, sloth, pride, envy, and gluttony. These will undo your path."

She looks at the bell and locks her gaze on Pantheris.

"Trust me. Do it now."
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:19 pm Post subject:

"oh dear", say's arondil. "I suppose we'll have to come back later to save those poor creatures who are trapped here that we'd agreed to help"
what we see we see
what is ugly is ugly
what is both we destroy

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:28 pm Post subject:

"We'll take care of that for you. You probably shouldn't come back here for a while."
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:57 pm Post subject:

"thank you, I was getting worried they'd be forgotten"
what we see we see
what is ugly is ugly
what is both we destroy

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:03 pm Post subject:

Pantheris takes the bell and hammer from Deanni.

He listens to her words intently all the while examining the small objects.

Sensing Deanni's gaze once again upon him, he looks at her, pauses for only a moment then lifts the bell ready to strike it with the small hammer.

He casts a furtive glance at his fellows....
Cat box? Phhhfffttttttt, I'll go where I please!

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:47 pm Post subject:

After a long pause Deanni turns to her feline friend. He raises his eyebrows and shrugs his shoulders, lifting his hands as if to say "I don't know what they are waiting for either."

Deanni looks back to the bell and exhales a long sad breath.
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:42 pm Post subject:

Bleys peers across at Pantheris and gives him an encouraging nod...

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:38 pm Post subject:

After only hesitating for a moment (which must have somehow seemed longer to Deanni ), Patheris brings the hammer down on the bell.
Cat box? Phhhfffttttttt, I'll go where I please!

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:48 pm Post subject:

The hammer strikes the bell and Patheris feels the magic flare to life. Filling the space with the resonation of inter-planar travel Pantheris sees the energy swirl and ebb. He can see strands of it reaching out, looking for travellers to take. He easily controls the threads of magic, the resonation of the bell, and begins to extend them towards the targets...those that will join him on this journey. Looking around the private room he sees Deanni and her companion, a serving maid, Arondil, Ju'alis, Bleys, and Calibash. As with any interaction with Deanni, the dwarves are not present.

He chooses...
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:04 pm Post subject:

"here we go again" says arondil
what we see we see
what is ugly is ugly
what is both we destroy

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:35 pm Post subject:

Richard wrote:

He chooses...

Bleys, Calibash, Arondil, and Ju'alis (and himself)....
Cat box? Phhhfffttttttt, I'll go where I please!

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:44 am Post subject:

The energy and vibrations swirl around, invisible to most. Pantheris works feverishly to guide the strands and sounds to the comrades. It is no easy task controlling this magic! And Deanni still has the charming happy-go-lucky smile. She knew it would be hard to control the magic! Pantheris fights down the anger and frustration so that he can master the device. Finally, the hollow sound fills the air and the tone of the bell permeates the bodies of all of his comrades and no-one else. As they wink into blackness Pantheris counts...one, two, three, four, and me... phew!

Waking out of a daze, a moment of unawareness, they look around them. The sweet smell of leaves rushes in from the trees behind them. It must be nearly autumn. Ahead on the road they see a quiet little costal town. Not too big, but a town for sure. Built upon a sandy pennisula, the town only has a few access points. Where they stand the road forms into a bridge that crosses a wide river. A large stone building dominates the near bank on the right hand side. At first it is easily mistaken for a guard house, with square stones and slitted windows. The smell of the brewery is unmistakable to Arondil's keen senses who weighs the scents, removing in his mind the brine of the salt water (that is definitely an ocean beyond the breakwater of the pennisula) he comes to the conclusion that the ale brewed here "probably isn't bad." The last part he articulates. Too much time amongst the dwarves perhaps, that the seasoned warrior comments on the state of the ale, rather than the tactical situation.

Then again, it seems pastoral and quiet. Children play at the far side of the bridge, engaged at times by the guard in red and black garb who tosses their ball to them and warns them to mind the river bank. His weapons are propped against a post, close to his lion -- saddle and all, who is basking in the sunlight of the day.

Looking up he sees the group, and turns his head a few times, obviously measuring distances between his weapons, his mount, the children, and the folks at the far side of the bridge. Calmly, he tousles the hair of a child, and walks to retrieve his spear and shield. The shape of his clothing reveals that there is armor underneath, but the kind is not certain. He stows the spear on his back, unhooks his lion from the post and walks out across the bridge. The unhooked lion stands alert, but does not follow him out onto the bridge.

This gives you ample time to survey the scene and get a sense of the size of the town. In fact, from his vantage high above, Calibash's raptor has already reported the size and scope of the city back to his master. So, by the time the guard has reached the half-way point of the bridge. It is well known by the whole group that there are perhaps a dozen guards like this in the town with nine or so lions. The town has three entrances, a walled section to the north and a large cathedral in the North section where masons -- many of them look to be feverishly completing the project. In fact the town appears to be overpopulated at the moment, with the masons having set up make-shift tents on the western beach.

The guard has paused at the bridge, letting his hands hang by his side -- perhaps uttering a small prayer. He looks intently at the five veterans on the far side of the bridge. He cracks a genuine smile, after a moment, relaxes his stance and trots across the far side of the bridge to meet you.

As he approaches he touches his heart and extends his hand to Pantheris who is standing at the front. Pantheris has missed pretty much everything as he is wrapped in worried thought looking at a broken bell in his hand. The guard's extended hand wakes him back up.

"Velkin ut des Zandepunt thame.. vedder hum es Veujen.. da hum?"
And all of creation shuddered ...

Last edited by Richard on Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:54 am; edited 1 time in total

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:49 am Post subject:

Bleys, Calibash, Arondil, and Ju'alis (and himself)....

I had to ask.
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:23 pm Post subject:

Arondil points to the town...............and asks"sandpoint"?
what we see we see
what is ugly is ugly
what is both we destroy

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:38 pm Post subject:

Vujen points to the town and replies with a smile and nod "Zandepunt."

Switching to some odd elven dialect, he repeats "Hello Sand-Pennisula town walkers-to. Named Vujen by my mother is happy if your names were known."
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:06 pm Post subject:

"Religion-folk, few moons separate their comings and goings, when restored to stone the house of Gods drew close. Many mistake the light and days as equal, but equinox sits at middle of the belly of Rael, not at the balance of light and day. Paper-wings fly skyward when celebrations of new season draws religion-folk to speak words of honey-help to hearts of Vir."

He gestures at the sky and the direction of the town again. Encouraged by the glimmer of understanding in your eyes, he plunges forth into another happy soliloquay.

"Eager stretches the return of friendship to those not met here on Rael. Heaven-friends in past we have been, as forgotten meetings remembered in heart but not mind. Heaven-touched hands and drawings of heaven-touched hearts adorned about mind-forgotten friends. My heaven-drawn heart looks not like your drawings, but I know your drawings are good... even though what part of heaven they are a picture of, I do not know."

He raises a symbol made of gold a silver depicting a winged woman with outstretched arms and some kind of golden halo, sun, or flower behind.

"Flower of Sun peeking at bottom of world is a picture of Sarenrae." He smiles as he holds it up for you all to see.

"Dez-na rides paper wings to heaven with changing of season soon. When half the smile of the moon goes away then Swallowtail wings ride soft zephyrs."

"Gold heart in sun-peeking; books that reads the working of folk-mind,
and she-wolf who protects the silver moon -- these are good pictures I know. What part of heavens do these pictures draw?"

"Trouble and dark-drawings bring me from Magnamar. Much unpleasantness of late troubles closed-eyes and open eyes alike. Safe in Pennisula of Sand you must be. Feet exchange fronts until protected by Vujen can your open-eyes and closed-eyes be. Drink and stomach-filling happens tasty with dance and song."

You can tell he is eager to talk more, but forces himself to pause .. waiting for a response .. hoping that he has found a language that you share. Although he still sees the wheels of comprehension turning slowly long into the silence that follows.

He laughs a bit at himself and makes a funny face, raising his eyebrows and mouth -- almost into an apologetic clown-face. He smiles again and gives you time to process.
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:18 pm Post subject:

Arondil points to each in the party as henames them...."bleys, calibash, jew a lis, pantheris and myself arondil" "we have come to sandpoint for the swallowtail festival"
what we see we see
what is ugly is ugly
what is both we destroy

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:25 pm Post subject:

He lightly touches everyones hand and speaks their name as he does so. When getting to Arondil he speaks "Myself, " pauses and adds "who is a Dil Arun", obviously picking up on 'dil' -- elven for child and 'Arun' -- elven for sun or dawn.

"Thirteen dawns until the festival. Happy met, happy friends."
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:29 pm Post subject:

Bleys looks at his magestic Lion companion, and gestures to him. "Your companion is magnificent" Bleys states. "May I meet him?"

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:07 pm Post subject:

He nods to Bleys and gestures for the group to follow him across the bridge. Calibash's eagle and Bleys have both spotted guards now positioned at the far side of the bridge.

Obviously not wanting to pull the lion from his station, but glad to bring the group to his mount, he ushers the group onto the causeway and towards the town. He leads from the middle of the group, walking beside the party.

Two-thirds of the way he stops, lightly touching the arms of Bleys and Arondil.

"Alarm not your senses. My eyes were replaced when talking to new friends did begin. Vigilance ceasing is not prudence in dark-dream-days." He gestures very subtlely to two guards who have taken up position in thickets at the far end of the bridge. He makes a large sweeping gesture with his left hand and points at some manor houses across from the end of the pennisula. His right hand, shielded by his back, makes a shaking gesture with thumb and forefinger apart.

"Hemlock, commander... Revani, mother-share woman.." he says quietly but still loud enough for everyone to hear.

"Let not the eyes in our backs be given sight to sword-kin. Forest smells of troubles... caution you know.. I see the propping of your chins and the travel of your senses. Un-mask not my sword-kin with start or startle."

He finishes waving his left arm uselessly at the distant houses and leads you over to the lion. Large, even by lion standards, this male is a well muscled and lightly barded. A black and red tabbard runs across its back and the well-worn saddle is afixed with both a chest harness and girth.

The lion sniffs at the group, but greets Vujen with his tongue across his wrist. Vujen smiles and touches each of you in turn, saying your name slowly and clearly. Each time the lion leans close and draws a long smell.

"Bleys...Calibash...Jew alis... Panth aris ...Myself"
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:08 pm Post subject:

Okay.. I'm sure you would have corrected him by now.. but it was a bit funny.

And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:24 pm Post subject:

Bleys bows to the lion, and offers it his blessings of purity and good will.

He turns to Vujen and says "Your eyes shall worry not...we mean no harm and shall neither start or startle."

Bleys closes eyes and smells deep as did the lion. The scent of his surroundings is taken in...lion and wolf alike.

"Pray do tell...what is the cause of your heightened vigilance and concern for the forest around you?"

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:47 pm Post subject:

"Setting across the sun of happiness, for the pennisula of Sand, have been murders, closed-eyed apparations, and return-not-homes. Great church once burned has now been re-made, but watch the woods we must. Travellers, even cohorts with strong lions, have disappeared in total to savage unhappy dwellers.
Captain-friend Hemlock called aid from Magnamar, but danger in the forest be. Shroud of darkness on should-be-happy days. Dispatched from Magnamar comes mighty huntress, lioness among her pride-kin, to sniff the trouble. We guard the home of sword-kin Hemlock, but much worry shuffles cards.
Sometimes on the heels of happy footsteps track danger and nasty beasts. Cautious we must be to make true that your shadows have not fangs."

He walks around the lion as he speaks checking the saddle, straps, and gear. As he comes back around to the front he tethers his mount back to the post.

Now on the far side of the bridge there are three roads. To the right a road leading past the brewery that Arondil smelled early to a mill; straight ahead the main road travels into town and veers left; while a much smaller road to the left of you follows the bank of the river and turns towards the docks.

The children who were playing are down the left-hand road a bit on the front lawn of a wide house with a long porch and old wagon wheels adorning the side. Across the way is a mill. A sign near where you are standing points down the direction of the road and reads "Strom Strasse."

"The Sun spun the seasons two full turns ago, and wild brain-evil made murder-sin common in happy little town. Called Chopper by many, justice came to him finally. But too much life-blood fell early upon sad ground. Murder-sin, burning, and dangers in forest, swamp, and mountain. Afraid these people be. Roar of mighty heaven-lions not loud enough to out-shout fears thickly lodged in minds of folk. simple folk of sea-road trades have not ears for dark noises during closed-eye times. Fire and blood make unwanted allies."

A few townsfolk enter a large building on the central street. The building is four (perhaps five) stories high with a large sculpture of a metal dragon fashioned from old rusty plates. The condition of the sculpture tells you that it has been there for many years -- various repair jobs and re-inforcements indicate that the landmark has received both the weathering of time and the caring hand of upkeep in about equal measure.

"Nuallia lived as heaven-born, but died in fiery church with pater Tobyn. When blessings burn they draw hearts lower than blessings never given. Sad for those of sea-road trade to not see that the sun peeks but for a sliver; the rain-drop splashes only once; all things of heaven, here on Rael last for but a moment."
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:27 pm Post subject:

arondil asks"how much distance travel between zandepunt Magnamer?"
what we see we see
what is ugly is ugly
what is both we destroy

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:32 pm Post subject:

"Forty spans, not long." He pauses thinking about something. "5 meals." he comes up with.

Leaving you to wonder how many times he eats in a day.
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:52 pm Post subject:

"May we see Hemlock good Vujen?" Bleys asks. If so Bleys asks him to lead on in search of the commander.

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:44 pm Post subject:

hmmm......5 meals must mean a day and a half
what we see we see
what is ugly is ugly
what is both we destroy

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:51 pm Post subject:

"Language...Speak...better..find" speaks the guard emerging from the far side of the building. It is a very broken, thickly accented, and very strange elven.

"Vuejen das, funda punta wesh jogen geschwisterlich." the older guard says to Vujen as he approaches the group. He touches Vujen on the arm and nods.

"Auf viddersoon..." Vujen pauses and switches back to elven. "Sun's warmth return our friendship first remembered on Rael, long remembered in heaven." Vujen touches his heart and touches each of you on the shoulder as he circles and returns to his post. This leaves you in the company of the older guard who begins walking.

He has a heavy grey moustache and thick eyebrows, not quite so well greyed -- wild and unkempt eyebrows framing sharp hazel eyes. His skin, like Vujen's, is olive -- well used to the sun. His hair, like his eyebrows, is also slightly wild -- poking out from his hat. Stiff black leather forms his hat with a wide brim at the front, and narrower brim at the back. Straps hang down the back, and the wear on the hat indicate that at times, often times, it has been worn underneath a helmet.

He is dressed in similar garb as Vujen, but not identical. Where Vujen had a scimitar of sorts strapped to his side, Hemlock wears a broad sword. Thick, heavy, and short -- the sword is plain and unadorned. It hangs in a ring holster, revealing the whole of the blade. Oiled to a dull metallic smoke-colour the metal looks in good condition. It is easy to spot the metal breastplate beneath the threadbare red and black surcoat. Some parts of the coat have been carefully patched and sewn, but not for some time.

As you walk you pass a few people on the street. Sometimes Hemlock will nod or offer a greeting; other times will go out of his way to brush into the passerby... touching them with his hand or even pausing to hold their wrist for a moment.

Once such encounter is with Ameiko. A slender but muscular women of exceptional beauty stops and clasps wrists with Hemlock. He introduces you to her and they exchange a short conversation. She attempts, in about six different languages, to engage you in conversation. Eventually settling on the dialect of elven that Vujen had been employing successfully earlier.

"Hemlock commander will take you to the home of his ink and scratchings. When tire you of words and scribble-masters, visit my home of hearty soups and be entertained by dancing and song."

She moves along all too soon. Obviously busy and eager to return to her work. She goes to the large building with the rusted dragon atop. She is not of the same ethnic origins of many of the others, darker skin, and different features.

It is now, caught up in the journey that you realize that you had missed something. When you past the Rusty Dragon Inn a few minutes earlier you heard songs and laughter, drinking and carrying on. But you also hear a familiar dwarven song -- being sung in proper dwarven!

There was so much going on and it was so much part of the general din that you didn't pay it much heed. But now you are certain. When Ameiko mentioned song and drink it just sprang into your mind.

Hemlock has moved you along the streets of town and onto a Main Street. You can see that apart from humans there are halflings and gnomes here. You wonder if you should keep going, because part of you wants to go back to see the dwarves. Communicating with Hemlock is difficult though, and he seems eager to get you to where he is going...
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:06 pm Post subject:

"Wait good sir" Bleys exclaims. "I think I recognize a voice...pray let me check". With that Bleys gestures with his hands back towards the inn and indicates with his fingers "a minute or moment only if you please". He indicates the group should briefly follow and heads back towards the inn.

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:20 pm Post subject:

Hemlock stands confused in the middle of the street as Bleys rushes back to the Rusty Dragon. Bleys turns the corner and disappears from sight. Judging by the speed at which he moves, he'll almost be back there by now.

Hemlock straightens his coat and looks around.

Which way do the rest of you go?
And all of creation shuddered ...

Arondil watches bleys run off to the inn thinks for a moment the tells the others"I think I'll stay with Hemlok here and see more of the town, and this place of ink and scratchings....maybe he has a map I could see. "He looks up at the sun noting it's position in the sky "I should be back at the inn in an hour or two, no more"
what we see we see
what is ugly is ugly
what is both we destroy

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:54 pm Post subject:

Pantheris takes Hemlock by the wrist in a friendly way much as Hemlock had taken others wrists, and says "Please let us carry on and not delay you. One of us will return to gather Bleys if he tarries too long. I am also most interested in seeing this place of ink and scratchings."
Cat box? Phhhfffttttttt, I'll go where I please!

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:20 am Post subject:

Bleys waves at the group and continues on. Before leaving he asks Calibash to continue to relay directions to Bleys as they move away. Bleys will continue to communicate his observations to Calibash as he departs.

(FYI...Calibash's computer is causing significant probs and he may not have access to the board. As such he may not weigh in for our discussions)

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:05 am Post subject:

Turning North past a large school or Academy, Hemlock pauses. Obviuosly frustrated by his inability to communicate with these people. These are the kind of people that he really does want to talk to when they arrive in his town. They are lightly armed and reasonably unassuming; except for the bronze golem; or the elf called "Myself". The elf is recently missing a large sword from his scabbard and seems entirely unconcerned with its absense. Probably this is because his battle plan includes ripping off his opponents arm and weilding that as a weapon. Hemlock never seen an elf muscled like that; he's not even sure he's seen a gnoll muscled like that.
Also, if the wizard is powerful enough to have a golem companion that detailed he probably has some other tricks as well. Judging by the gear, Hemlock is coming to believe that the Golem is an actual person. In his head, since they arrived, Hemlock has been doing math -- adding up the danger and properties of these strangers. Mulitplying what he sees by what he doesn't -- their lack of fear.
The quality of of their weapon is exceptional and they do all the little things right. They weren't just comfortable around the lion, or his guard, but they were completely without worry. His newest bit of information that he is adding to the equation is the speed of their monk when he turned to jog back. He wasn't running, but he got an idea of his speed. The effortless glide is a real give-away that high level monks never think to hide. A monk that fast is dangerous, very dangerous. Frankly, Hemlock semi-retired to Sandpoint, not expecting to find his equal in battle ever again in this quiet little town. Now across a language barrier he is feeling decidedly over-matched. He shrugs a bit. At least they are pleasant and well mannered for the moment. If he has to arrest them later, at least he has led a good a decent life.

He raises his eyes to the sky at the though. In doing so he catches glipse of the bird circling above and adjusts his mental arithmetic again.

He smiles and points to the school. Changing direction he ...
And all of creation shuddered ...

Last edited by Richard on Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:22 pm; edited 2 times in total

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:45 am Post subject:

he skips over to the door and knocks. An older student opens the door quickly to reveal a large vestibule with coat racks, shoe hooks, cubby-holes designed for children and adults alike.

After a short conversation Hemlock lets out a long sigh, touches the child on the sleeve, and rejoins you. He shrugs his shoulders and says "Child-Church Master dead." The casual way with which he says it leads you to believe he actually meant something else.. perhaps sleeping or not home as more likely interpretations than dead.

He continues down the way with you until he comes to what is obviously your destination. A large Garrison of stone across from another large stone building. Your first guess for the opposing building would be a town hall or courthouse. The barracks are unmistakable.

As he leads you in to the barracks, you enter into a large training ground. A drill is in session and about twenty young men and women in flannel and cotton are being drilled by two guards in uniform. Armed with wooden poles tipped with a leather bulb, the students are working earnestly. The stone floor is wet with sweat and exertion. As he is walking past on the outside (a path circumnavigates the room), he steps in to quietly correct a student. He pushes their elbow in to get a better defensive position and allow more strength on the thrust.

He has the student repeat the move a few times as he watches, then nods and passes on some encouragement to the student. He comes back to stand beside Arondil surveying the practice. They both have their eyes on a student at the far end of the hall who is over-reaching on the thrusts. Hemlock makes an open-handed gesture that waves Arondil towards the conscript. He might have found the shared language without the teacher after all...

Meanwhile, Bleys is in the middle of a pint and spirited conversation with two dwarves named Hevvik and Thormungdan. They have come to town with a spiritual leader named "Chandj" and about five of his comrades. They accompanied their leader because the area around Sandpoint became very dangerous of late. Cruel little creatures known as Illor have become active in the area. The dwarves had legends and stories of them, but none had been reported in the area for hundreds of years. In legend they keep to their territories and have very small ranges. They have never personally tangled with them, but eight strong warriors and a caravan of fine metal was lost a few months back. When Bleys responded with a blessings for the family of a full "shield" of dwarves fallen in battle, they tell the rest of the story.
They found some of the bones and the broken carts at the bottom of a ravine, smashed to bits. The gold and silver were left, but some mithril and iron was taken. Some of the bones were charred, but all were gnawed upon.

The conversation has now turned to which is fiercer in battle, a great bear or a lion. Hevvik has vehemently taken up the side of the bear with his ability to attack from many angles, great size, and powerful blows. Thormungdan has extolled the virtues of the lion's natural hunting instinct, ability to pounce, and lethal bite. Bleys is unsure if he wishes to step into the discussion, but each dwarf will ask him for agreement on each point.

"Agree you not that the lion can circle more quickly than a bear?"...
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 10:19 am Post subject:

At the other end of the hall, by the door to Hemlock's office, a very old man appears. Literally... poof! He is flanked on each side by a student. One holding a small stool, the other tucked nicely under his arm for support. A staff rests in the older child's hands.

Hemlock sees the teacher and calls across the floor to him. Apparently he invited him into the office. The old man nods as the students and teacher slowly open the door and the old man wobbles into the office beyond leaving the door open behind him.
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:16 pm Post subject:

As Arondil watches the practice his ind goes bak hundreds of years to when he was young learning to fight. It was nothing like this with it's forms and drills but rather just surviving another day of pummeling by a giggling old man intent on turning him into one giant bruise. Drills and such came later after he'd settled into the style of weapon that was right for him. He was watching one student in particular, the way he was fighting, he had a decent defence but his attacks were all wrong, but they could be quite easily adapted to a real weapon, not some little three foot poker. He saw Hemlock wave him over...if that wasn't an invitation to expand a young mind arondil didn't know what was. He walked over finding a practice weapon roughly the right length for tis conscript to use.......
what we see we see
what is ugly is ugly
what is both we destroy

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:53 pm Post subject:

Arondil reaches into a large barrel filled with padded weapon and draws out a padded version of a large sword. The conscript is well built, and probably in his early twenties. He is big and healthy, but has too much baby fat; arms round and strong, thick legs.. but not chiseled, not worked into a warrior.

Arondil looks at the student and puts the sword back. He fishes around another bucket and comes up with a very similar weapon, but tests it in his hand. It feels different. Hefty.. more weight at the end. The padding is thicker and heavier, but the weapon underneath has more mass -- like a thick slug of metal. You couldn't smash someone in the head with this, it weighs like a club -- but a good practice sword for sure.

He walks acroos the practice area and stand directly in front of the student. Hemlock nods to the instructor and Arondil and the conscript are given some extra space.

The conscript meets Arondil's eyes with the icy warrior stare of a tanner's assistant. He hadn't made it as a tanner and needed to make it here, earn the consciption. Here it was. The opportunity to impress. The odd elf looks dangerous. He extends his hand to accept the new practice weapon.

"Da kasse." he says to Arondil.

Hemlock smiles and rolls his eyes a bit. The guards have ceased calling out the drill.
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:58 pm Post subject:

While Bleys extols the virtues of both the Bear and the Lion, he buys another couple of tankards and asks if they will join him in a bit of dinner. He asks them to tell all they know about the vile Illor, and asks for them to provide additional detail on the remains of the caravan...signs of magics, possible numbers of foes (tracks), signs of where the creatures came from and went to.

He then talks about the virtues of the wolf. Natural strategists with intellect and wisdom in abundance to be sure...

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:14 pm Post subject:

buys another couple of tankards

What kind of currency are you using? The dwarves will take a look at it for you and offer to exchange it with local.

Ameiko, who you met earlier, brings three large tankards of Ale to your table. The dwarves accept your offer and ask what kind of food Bleys would like. The Dragon serves up spicy food they inform him. They have fowl, seafood, venison, and lamb.
And all of creation shuddered ...

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:23 pm Post subject:

Before Arondil hands the conscript the weapon he demonstrates a few basic moves wich he figures will be a good introductory for this fellow who has the look of being guilt by labour that required more heavy lifting than anything else, with the right training and properly equipped this lad could become something terrifying.....like a large boulder rolling down a mountain. As he handed over the weapon he wondered to himself 'I wonder what da kasse means?'
what we see we see
what is ugly is ugly
what is both we destroy

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:33 pm Post subject:

Bleys offers up gold pieces and inquire if this would be accepted. Re dinner...he leaves it up to the dwarves to recommend and order.

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:54 pm Post subject:

The lad gets to work on the moves, practicing them with exuberance. Overreaching, overmuscling, and overswinging on each one... he is working up his breathing to a fast and frenzied pitch.


The dwarves nod at the gold, and the food starts arriving.

Plates of seafood-- brazed and spiced -- rolled into skewers with a lemony-orange sauce for dipping. Ale. A strange kind of wrap stuffed with mousse of mushroom and cheese. Ale. Duck, simmered in a light wine. Ale. A hot and spicy soup with rice noodles. Ale. Spiced chicken, vegetables, and hot beans, across a bed of rice. Ale. Dry rubbed ribs with a tangy sauce -- arranged in a pinwheel with a battered deep-fried shredded vegetables forming a spider-web on the plate. Ale. Finally she brings out a large bowl of liquor with candied wafer-balls floating in it.

Bleys is now under a medium load and loses his wisdom bonus to AC.

The dwarves don't have too much to tell about the missing shield of dwarves other than one of their party was involved in the investigation. She'd know all the answers to his questions, but she's with the priests right now... doing religous stuff.

As the evening wears on the trio begin singing some of the most famous Dwarven songs in a very loud voice. Encouraged by the other patrons of the bar they go from rousing work songs, to baudy rhymes, to laments. Eventually, Ameiko, the patron of the Rusty Dragon moves over to the fireplace to begin her songs for the evening. The dwarves become quiet. Although the patrons of the bar adore Ameiko and her amazing singing.. the cheer of the dwarven trio is hard to match. For the first time in her many years as proprietor of the Rusty Dragon, Ameiko is not sure that the crowd quite want her on stage yet.

She settles on the stage with a mandolin and flute... and bursts out in a Dwarven drinking song! The tables begin to pound and the whole bar joins in... the noise carrying to every corner of Sandpoint.

She only knows one Dwarven song, and doesn't quite get the pronuciation right, and the rest of the bar does worse. The evening blurs into a pounding of tables and singing and ale. Lots of ale.

At some point in the evening the rest of the companions arrive, but Bleys won't remember when.

Ameiko makes up a room for everyone and helps the drunkards up to bed.

Food for three hungry folk: 5 GP
Enough Ale to get dwarves drunk: 6 GP
A room for 5 for the Night: 2 GP
Tips and Gratuities: 5 GP
A human monk with a fake-dwarf beard dancing on the table: Priceless