Chapter 11: "I Don't Think It Would Be Wise To Jump Off This Cliff"

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Session Number: 64
Date: Sunday 29 August 2010
Venue: Fergus'
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr7 (Fergus) (kills: 1 ogre)
Emily Ftr3/Rog5 (Tammi) (kills: 1 ogre)
Feren Rog8 (Densial) (kills: 1 ogre)
Rowaine Pal8 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz8 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBC

While the Silver Hand are with Queen Raewyn, there is another exchange. Alython, high priest of Corellon Larethian and the queen's religious adviser, meets with Feren, Follower of Corellon Larethian, scout and adventurer.

Alython and Feren's conversation

Alython takes Feren into a side corridor and lowers his voice to a whisper.

"The Queen plays her cards close, and the game she plays seems to be beyond me, for I do not pretend to understand it, and I find it troublesome."

"I do not understand why she tolerates that boy, since his discovery she has changed, I no longer advise her as I did, my influence has waned, as has all her most trusted advisors, and she seems to take audience with K'at, the old sooth sayer, more and more often, he even appears at court these days, something I have never heard of happening in the past."

"I trust and love our Queen, as we all do, as we all must do, but I am wise enough to know I fear what I do not understand, and I do not understand what is happening here. Something has happened to her, she plans for things I can not comprehend."

"This tower she speaks of, I don't understand what she means, the boy has a tower? What possible use could some minor fortification be of a Queen, of our people? My heart weighs heavily."

"I have a task for you, one that I dread giving you, for it involves subterfuge, and as accustomed to court as I am, I have never resorted to spying, I deplore it, but I worry for our kind. You may decline, and rest assured I would be as glad of that as have you accept, possibly more so, for a task such as this is… well, it's not right, but I tread a path that I find increasingly difficult, and sometimes you have to sacrifice, and sometimes you have to be the sacrifice, and if I have to be that sacrifice then I have to…"

"But to the task, I wish you to observe this Troll, try and find out why the Queen is so enamored with him, and what is so special about this tower of his, why is she so obsessed with it."

"Do not bring your findings directly to me, be prepared to bring them to the council, there must be no hint of conspiracy about this, I have no wish to be in the same position as this gods forsaken Roulae. I will arrange an audience."

"Also be wary of brother Arrian, he is bold and brash, as you young ones often are, and as we must all be at times, but I fear his fearlessness may hide foolishness."

Alython stops, as if listening to something, then looks towards the main passage.

"I must go now, our Queen calls, but one last thing. Follow the Paladin, while she may walk a different path to us I believe our destinations are not so far removed. Her intervention in this matter has saved our faith a great cost, trying to move her majesty from this place has cost our cause greatly, and the requests I made on behalf of your friends has also cost me personally, costs that some other councilors will swiftly take advantage of, I fear our faith owes the court in face and favour far exceeding the goods received, but time will tell I suppose."

"Go now, I will be in touch."

Shortly after, the elves complete their preparations and leave the monastery.

The party head back to Elondel, have supper and settle down for the night. Morning rituals are observed, the party assemble, then transport to Fort Rannick. It is quiet and dark. Arrian fires up a sunrod and they navigate to the south chamber. The morning light barely filters in through the waterfall. Arrian peers out. It is still raining heavily. He cannot see any scouts about the fort. The southern gate is a mere thirty yards away, yet the rain renders it very difficult to make out detail. "I suspect some sort of weather magic," says Arrian. "Is this sort of rainfall normal for this time of year?" he asks Jakardros.

"Mother of earth, no! This is highly unusual. Very unseasonal… for any season."

All don their wet weather gear. Troll invokes two Discs and together all set off.

The trip is long, wet and cold. Despite their oilskins it is a miserable two and a half hours of travel, all are soaked to the skin. It doesn't help that six of the group are sitting in concave discs.

All suffer a -2 Dexterity penalty until they are again warm and dry.

Shortly after ten in the morning, the imposing sight of the dam appears through the torrential rain. Most of the sloping, skull-adorned structure is obscured by the deluge; none can see the top.

Amidst the shivering, Jakardros offers to try and find shelter. Emily wonders whether Blink might be able to find anything. Her reptile disappears east as the others approach the dam. A break in the treeline indicates a stone stairway leading up the ravine's left face. Hundreds of skull-adorned poles line the walkway. The group can just make out a cave mouth at the top of the stairs. Emily considers sending Blink up to investigate, when he returns.

"Surely it's occupied by ogres?" Arrian warns.

"Not ogres," Vale says. "This place is supposedly the territory of a group of trolls called the skulltakers," Vale says, nodding in the direction of the stakes. "Now, I don't know if you know about trolls, but it's best to attack them with acid or fire." He looks at Troll, breaks into a grin and bursts out laughing.

Troll is very anti-troll.

Blink returns to Emily, who gives him a morsel of meat. "Shelter for me, not for you," he says telepathically. "Fallen trees, that's all."

The clay bank is steep and treacherously slippery. The dam itself slopes up from the waterline at a near-45 degree angle: a very risky climb given the conditions.

Rowaine and Troll mount up on Harley. Troll dispels the Discs as they disappear into the clay bank. Rowaine directs Harley to ascend southeast, surfacing a good distance abeam the dam. Emily sends a thought to her telepathic companion and Blink flutters away. Less than two minutes later Blink returns. Emily tells the others that Blink has smelt something nasty and big somewhere beyond the top of the stairway.

Harley begins manoeuvring, bouncing around before she bursts into a small clearing. Troll disembarks and Rowaine returns to the others. She and Harley successfully ferry everyone above. The group then squelch west towards the river. Three minutes later the trees give way to a muddy bluff, some sixty or seventy feet above the dam. About fifty yards away, three ogres are bashing huge greatclubs at a damaged portion of the dam's top - two stand at the near side of the breach, the third stands at the far side. The party duck down, Rowaine directing Harley to the rear. Troll gives Rowaine his bow and a quiver of imithrium-tipped arrows. Everyone crawls forwards. Rowaine indicates the nearest ogre, counts down from three on her fingers and directs a salvo at their quarry!


Emily's first arrow grazes the nearest ogre. Arrian's Spiritual Weapon slices but misses. Feren's arrow flies too long, skittering off the rubble of the breach. Jakardros's arrow is better-placed; it sinks deeply into the ogre's thigh. Shalélu's arrow is turned by ogre armour. Rowaine's arrow pierces the ogre's flank.

The ogre starts from the impact of three arrows, bellowing. The ogres adopt defensive stances and look towards the bluff. One of them roars, pointing its greatclub at the party. They lumber forward. Emily activates her necklace's False Life ability. Emily fires three arrows in quick succession, one marks the ogre she previously hit. The ogres are still too far away for what Troll has in mind; he waits. Arrian's Spiritual Weapon stabs at the wounded ogre and it falls victim to its many wounds. Feren sees it fall and swaps targets - too quickly, his arrow flies wide and disappears into the rain. One of Jakardros' two arrows punctures the second ogre's calf. It briefly stumbles but keeps moving. Shalélu follows up; one of her two arrows sinks squarely into the ogre's chest. It still careers forwards! Rowaine waits until the ogre stumbles into short range then looses her drawn arrow. Half of the shaft sinks into the ogre's left shoulder; yet the ogre simply will not stop! It and its unharmed companion run towards the bank, pulling out javelins from behind their shoulders.

Emily talks to Blink. A flash of green shoots out over the dam in an arc. She then looses as many arrows as she can. Her second arrow drops the lead ogre. The third skewers the remaining ogre's jaw. It howls in pain, its movement only worsening the wound. Troll points a wand at the ogre, uttering its command phrase. Two Magic Missiles streak unerringly towards it, hitting it in the chest. Arrian's ghostly longsword slices into the ogre's thigh. Feren fires once - a hit. His second arrow disappears into the ogre's face and it topples, stone dead. Blink flutters back onto Emily's shoulder. Arrian calls his Spiritual Weapon back to his side.

Three ogre corpses lie atop the dam. Arrian urges everyone to remain silent and out of sight. Arrian looks around, checking that his companions are adequately hidden. Rowaine lies too far forward, her armour gleaming. Rain taps out a syncopated beat on her armour.

Fifteen seconds later, an ogre emerges from somewhere below, walking towards the bodies of his comrades. He carries a hue hook. The party do not need direction; all rise as one and continue their barrage!

Emily's arrow fails to make an impression on the ogre's tough skin. Troll switches wands. A black-tinged Ray of Enfeeblement shoots down, enveloping the ogre. Its touch saps the ogre's strength and it briefly drops to one knee before pushing itself to a standing position with its hook. Arrian directs his still-active Spiritual Weapon arrow-like towards the ogre but his aim is not true. Feren has better luck with an arrow; Jakardros does not. Shalélu corrects for the wind, her arrow penetrates the ogre's side before skittering away. Vale moves into the forest, guarding the party's rear. Rowaine's arrow lodges in the ogre's waist.

The ogre whirls around. Emily fires one, two, three arrows - all are on target but it is as if their energy is spend by the time they reach their destination. Troll levels his Enfeeblement wand once again. The ogre's considerable silhouette makes for an easy target and it sags again as its strength ebbs further. Arrian swings his Spiritual Weapon one more time before it expires, the blade makes no impression. Feren's first arrow bounces short of the ogre, ricocheting up into its leg. The broken shaft distracts the ogre enough for his second arrow to score a credible hit. The ogre looks at the figures above and runs towards them, shielding its head with its off-hand. It disappears from view, sagging under its own weight but moving nevertheless.

Rowaine and Emily jump on Harley and the stone flyer leaps off the bluff. Rowaine spots a definite cave entrance in the muddy bank below the others. She and Emily both have the same thought - there is a good chance the cave connects to the entrance they spied at the top of the stairway. Ambush? Rowaine yells out "cave below you!" then points north towards the other cave entrance, flying towards the stairway further north.

"The cave could be where the ogres shelter," says Arrian. "There could be oodles of them. Can we cause a cave-in somehow?" Troll shrugs, it's not his element. Arrian is at a loss. "Should we get down there? I don't think it would be wise to jump off this cliff."

Harley lands on the topmost stair. Each is a good seven or eight feet wide, and nearly five feet tall. As seen below, dozens of stakes line both sides of the stairway, topped with a variety of skulls. To the east is the cave mouth, five feet wide and reaching nine feet tall. Harley pads a few footfalls closer. Thump, thump, thump… emanates from the cave mouth, audible above the white noise of the rain. If they are footfalls, they are heavy ones. "Heafger VraaaAAR!!" Thump thump THUMP THUMP!

"Stand and deliver, or let it through?" asks Rowaine.

"No," says Emily. "On top of cave. Quickly!"

They fly above the cave entrance. The others spot them landing. As they alight, the thump THUMP THUMP! gets louder and the ogre from before bursts out, running down the steps.

Rowaine takes aim, but misses, as does Emily. Rowaine fires again, but again her aim is off. The ogre bounds down the steps. Emily fires three arrows, the final one strikes true but the ogre continues its breakneck descent.

"No point wasting arrows on that one," says Emily. "I don't think it's going to stop."

"So… The cave?" asks Rowaine.

"No," Emily responds. "I think we should go back to the others."

Harley flies back to the rest of the party.

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