Master Vampire, Musical Instruments, and Charm Spells

We awake, bound and gagged before an imprisoned vampire, behind silvery looking bars. He looks hungry and tired – even more than us. There is a dead man outside the bars, at his feet. There are three ghouls nearby – one the woman we saw carried in before. And there is a vampire spawn nearby. All our gear is gone.

The vampire speaks to us, calling us volunteers, blaming us for killing his “help” and saying we will replenish his staff. Promising if we do well, we will live forever. He tosses out a spell, ensnaring Alryn and Baz in his web.

He orders them to fetch the abomination that Alryn created, and throws the rest of us into a cell. I try to free myself, but one of his underling hits me and moves me to my own cell. Lorineer manages to get a spell out, and kill our guard. We sneak over to where our gear is held, and get some healing on, too. We slip out of the cavern and head back upstairs.

We hear music at the other end of the house and go to investigate. We head into a room where the instruments are playing themselves. Baz falls down, so I sit him back up and get him a drink from the table. The lute at the far end of the room is broken, so I head over to see if I can fix it, but the others drag me out and smash all the instruments. Alryn wants to get back to the Master Vampire.


Ghouls and Traps in the Darkness

Ghouls just keep on coming. The power of Torm is mighty and he fails me not. Many of them fall to dust. The rest we destroy more messily. More creepy things skitter in the dark, but we deal with them just as well. We discover boxes at the end of long hallways, littered with traps. One box even requires the healing mercies of Torm to lift.

More creatures mob us out of the dark. Exhausted from our day of fighting and avoiding traps, we succumb to the darkness ourselves.

Rats, Ghouls, and Holy Water

None of us have silver weapons to fight the rats, so we take a look in the dining room, but the silverware is all gone. So we make some sharp sticks and head downstairs, looking to stake some vampires. It’s much dirtier down here.

Some ghouls attack, but the power of Torm prevails. We head down tunnels and through a few doorways. There’s a big room with walls full of deathly art. There are some rough stairs down at the end of the room. But it’s blocked by a magic wall. We can’t get through. I can stab my sword through, but it stops my hand.

There are also stairs going up, so we try that way, and discover we are now in the first floor walls. Alryn calls up a rat skeleton from our previous fight and sends it to explore the walls. We can’t figure out how to turn off the magic wall to the downstairs, so we make camp. I redecorate the walls with my sword, make it full of the glory of Torm.
Some more ghouls come to object to my redecorating. I stake one and scare the other one away. We chase it down and then come back to camp. Some more were-rats come down, and a vampire runs by carrying a scantily clad women, right through the barrier.

We fight the rats with everything we have. Dust, oil, fire, and unholy water. Oh no! Alryn, what have you done!?! One of the rats transforms into a monster. It picks Wind up and runs her through the magic wall! Alryn calls up some more rat skeletons and they carry the rest of us through and down the stairs.

Lizzie, Traps, and Vampires

Once everyone is healed, they tell me I can’t keep both Momma and Lizzie, so Momma goes home to make more lizzies, and I start teaching my Lizzie to be a paladin’s mount for the glory of Torm on our way back to Tilverton. Things aren’t going so well back in town.

The orcs are setting up traps around town, and curious kids are getting killed looking for them. People are vanishing, too. There’s rumors or Shar-worshipping vampires. Not as crazy as it sounds, really.

So, we go looking around the spooky places in town. The big tower is locked, so we go check the big house. We think there are vampires here. The statues out front attack and we smash them back to bits. Dan gets frozen by a trap on the door. Inside, it’s very, very clean. We take a search around the house. Clean maybe, but full of were-rats and magic wards. There are stairs going up, and a basement entrance in the kitchen.

Ticks, Scorpions & Momma Sali

Next we find Giant Ticks… and some more Giant Scorpions. I wish I was back in the forest, the monsters aren’t quite so disgusting. We set a trap with scorpion bait again. Wind is so much better with these crazy animals then me. When big Momma salamander arrives, Wind makes friends, but it takes forever. I carve several salamanders out of my last few chunks of wood while I wait. Finally, we’re ready to head back. Amazingly, nothing bothers us while we ride with Momma Sali.

By the time we get back, Wind is really ill. We set up Momma Sali outside, and go in to check on Lizzie. I ask if I can bring Lizzie out to meet Momma Sali, but Wind isn’t so sure. I ask Lizzie if she wants to meet Momma Sali, and she sniffs at me and then gives me a big ol’ friendly lick. Wind then caves, deciding that she must be okay with Momma Sali’s scent on me. They have a happy reunion in the sand outside the fort, and we make a much bigger chew toy so we can finish healing all the sick, now including Wind.

Raiders, Explosions & Insects

The approaching raiders number seventy strong, and set up camp about a mile away. Dan goes out to meet with their representative, and it does not go well. We spend the day milking Lizzie and preparing. After night falls, they attack. We manage to hold the gate, but they’ve snuck around back and blow up our rear wall. Men fighting for their lives can do amazing things, and outnumbered, we defeat them and send them running. In the morning, we take care of our injured and have a funeral pyre for those who gave their lives.

In the morning, a Leiutenant feeling better after getting some of the cure into him, takes a look at Lizzie and laughs. “Why’d you get a baby lizard?” He tells us where to find bigger ones, and Wind and I head out, leaving Lorian to keep milking Lizzie, while Dan takes the Lady and the remaining healthy troops back to Tilverton. Unfortunately, the first nest we find is filled with Giant Wasps. What is with this desert, doesn’t anything grow to normal size? Oh yeah, the pit vipers.

Scorpions and Salamanders

We stake out the scorpion and wait up all night. Early the next morning, a lizard finally shows up, tunneling through the earth and rising to strike at its dinner. We manage to subdue it, but we still don’t know how to milk it. So we restrain it, and wake it back up. Alwyn tries to milk it like a snake, to no avail. Well, we need it, maybe someone back at the barracks knows what to do.

I try to make friends with the big lizard, but he’s very grumpy and keeps trying to dive into the sands. Eventually, I manage to coax it to go with the very skittish horses. I’m not sure who was most upset by this, but we get back to the hideout. The others have return, with some milk and a better idea what to do with Lizzie. We use the milk they’ve brought to cure the Lady and Wind starts to make friends with Lizzie.

They make milk to nullify the scorpion poison when they eat them. So Wind makes a chew to of cloth, leather and scorpion bits to get Lizzie to make milk into the absorbent cloth. It only gets us about half a dose a day, but we set to work.

Unfortunately, raiders are also on their way. So, while Wind and I work with Lizzie, everyone works on the defenses, and an escape route into the hills.

Stone Ash, Fire Eaters, & Venom Drinkers

We head back to the desert, looking for stones to make ash from. We find some and settle down into a camp. How do we burn stones? Even Alwyn doesn’t know, so we start a fire, and give it a try. It doesn’t take long for a group of Fire-eater orcs to find us from the smoke. But they don’t appear hostile, more amused. If you’ve ever seen an amused orc, it isn’t very pretty, but at least it’s less dangerous. Apparently, they decided we weren’t dangerous either, and take pity on us. They offer to make us stone ash if we’ll just do a favor for them. Seems some Venom-drinkers have stolen from them. If we go get their property, they’ll give us all the ash we need.

We move out, carefully, and manage to spot a few goblin scouts, and stop them. Alwyn questions one, who tells us of an ambush ahead. Then Alwyn finishes killing him before I can blink. I stare hard at him, but find no evil, only practicality. We head around to ambush the ambushers. It goes fairly well, I manage two orcs and one giant scorpion myself. Unfortunately, the last orc tosses poison in his dying moments, blinding me. Alwyn searches them and find the stolen property and we head back to the fires.

I pull out a small hunk of wood, and begin whittling it before we arrive. Carving a simple design by feel, so as not to let on that I cannot see. The orcs have created plenty of ash for us, and they keep the gems found within the stone. Alwyn asks about where to find the Salamanders we need, and they say that they feed on the giant scorpions. Where you find scorpions, salamanders won’t be far behind.

We head north and make camp a good distance away from all the orcs we’ve run into recently. In the morning, Gerrald is able to remove my blindness in the morning, then we go hunting scorpions. We find a nest of three, and manage to kill two and tie the other one up to bring with us. I ask a few desert shrews where the big lizards are, and we head off to find them.

Goblins and Poisons

We head for Anarok, an oasis relatively near. In the night, goblins attack again. Two of our guards are poisoned in the fight. Baz and Alryn interrogate a goblin we have kept alive. He tells us that the orcs are fleeing the desert – there’s some bad juju going on. When he has told us all he knows, Alryn summarily cuts his throat. Anger rises, but I glance about at the other dead bodies around us. He would have died with them if we hadn’t needed information. I quickly seek out Alryn’s heart, but no evil lies there. The Stonelands are a harsh place, there is no time for pity. I will have to keep an eye on that one, though.

As we ride north in the morning, one of our guards succumbs to the poison. When we stop for lunch, we build him a small pyre, to send his soul on to his god. Boz and Wind search around for ingredients to an antidote for the other guard as we ride through the afternoon. In the evening, they will begin to cook it. We will hit the desert tomorrow night, and the danger will only increase.

We stop to make camp, setting up tents and preparing dinner. The ground begins to rumble and Huge Scorpians rise up to strike at our exhausted party. We battle the strange monstrosities, and are victorious. Lorineer, however, is badly hurt in the process. By the power of Torm, I bring him some healing and comfort. We settle down again, and with no more interruptions, Baz and Wind are able to prepare the antidote for our poisoned soldier through the night.

When we reach the edge of the desert, the heat is oppressive, far more so than it should be. Perhaps that ‘bad juju’ the doomed goblin spoke of. Something powerful is at work here. Soon after entering the desert, a massive darkness approaches. A dust storm full of evil magic, we scramble for shelter, and weather it until it passes. As we shake off the sand and head back out, the skeleton of a long-dead horse rises from the sand. It charges us, and we quickly put it back down. Evil forces, indeed.

Alryn speaks of a shelter nearby, one he feels will keep us from any more storms while we decide what to do. We head off course towards this haven, and when we arrive, we find the horse was not the only thing given life by that storm. The encampment is surrounded by skeletons, attacking men wearing both the king’s colors and the purple of the Dragons. We charge to their aid, smashing them against the wooden walls.

Once inside, we find the Lady Alusair and many of her men are very ill with a magical disease. Many more men are missing, including Commander Vargus and his men. We need to find more information, we have to find a cure. Alryn, Lorineer and I decide to head back to town, to find healers who can help. Baz, Wind, and Dad, along with this soldiers, will head on into the desert, to the Oasis

Our ride back out of the desert is quiet, but halfway through the Stonelands, we are accosted by a pack of wolves. We dispatch them quickly and ride on, arriving back in Tilverton just after midnight. In the morning, Alryn goes to the market to look for a healer woman named Maddie. I head to the temple of Lathander, to find a priest who can help us. The acolytes direct me to a priest named Gerrold. When I tell him of the trouble we found, and the danger to the Lady, he is shocked. The desert fever had always seemed like a myth to him. Together, we look through the temple’s library until we find mention of it, and a cure. I ask if he will come with us, as it will require healing powers far beyond my own to save the Lady and her men. He agrees, albeit with no small amount of nervousness about leaving the city to go into the dangerous desert.

Into the Stonelands

Today, I head to the Stonelands with a rather unlikely group. The City Commander wasn’t too particular about who would go, and we were the only volunteers. There is a surly half-orc, who seems to favor his human side far more than the orcish, name Baz. An arrogant mercenary, named Alryn, I think. A mystical old wood elf, name Lorineer. A young knight of the city guard, named Dan, who brings with him a small company of soldiers. And lastly, another elf, seemingly of the high elves, named Wind. We have been sent to find the beautiful Lady Alusair and her company.

The ride is fairly dull, so I spend most of it carving small figurines, to keep my mind occupied. On the second day, we find a messenger, recently attacked by goblins. They are still nearby, so we take care of the murderous crew. However, not before one of our soldiers disturbs a pit viper. We cannot cure him in time, so I pray that his and the messengers souls find peace with their gods. Wind finds a message in the dead bodies before we set them to burn, and it gives us a good direction to follow to the Lady.

When we camp that night, a host of fires spring up nearby. Baz goes to investigate, and finds that a large force of Fire-Eater orcs are camped nearby, far out of their usual range. We pack quickly, and quietly, and head as far away as we can get in the dark.