Chapter 10:

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Session Number: 180
Date: Sunday 16 June 2013
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Ariel Sor12 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Calico Drd12 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA5 (Ash) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal12 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz12 (Densial) (kills: none)
Violet Drd12 (Tammi) (kills: none)

Special Guest NPC: Arrian

XP Awarded: TBA

The party wakes up the next morning to a nice breakfast. They are told of the time that has been organised to raise the dead orcs. Arrian only has one 6th level spell a day, so the process will take two days. There will be family members present and that would be a good time to make any reparations the party decide upon.

The party have a couple of hours. Rowaine and Troll discuss the reparations. Troll objects to being coerced into making reparations. Rowaine feels willing to give up all her possessions apart from her holy symbol. Thinking about this process, Rowaine realises that this is a test aimed at her in particular. She comes to some decision that she chooses not to share with the rest of the party.

Violet is having a difficult time as she does not believe in raising the dead. She spends time in prayer.

Rowaine changes into more appropriate clothing with the help of an orcish seamstress; Ariel casts tongues on Rowaine to enable the process. Troll draws some replacement armour and an axe for Rowaine, using the Marvellous Pigments.

The party are lead to the meeting with the dead orc and family, hosted in a temple for Moradin. They come to an area obviously used for funerals but instead of a coffin there is a bed upon which lies an orc with a badly burnt face. With him are two adult females and there are two children sitting further away with another adult male who is comforting them.

Rowaine enters. The women stay very still and are obviously controlling fierce emotions.
R: May I approach?
Older Orc: Yes.
R: I am here to facilitate righting a wrong that I and my party are responsible for. Do you speak common?
O: No. I speak orcish.
R: Ariel, can you help us all understand? Better to cast on the party than the orcs.
Ariel casts Tongues on all the party.
Rowaine realises the women are both wives of the dead orc.
R: Wives of the fallen, I am here to make some reparation for the damage I have done to you and this place. I am deeply sorry that this has happened.
T: (quietly to Rowaine) Oy. Rowaine. Ask them what they want!
R: Troll, if you wanted to speak about this it should have been before we came here.
R: (to orcs) I hope your community has told you that we intend to raise your fallen husband to life again?
O: Yes. Our cleric told us.
R: I intend to offer more as well as a mark of respect both for the person here and the loss you have suffered and the loss the fallen has suffered. Being rasied is not easy and he will be scarred. I hope what I offer will somewhat offset that.
Youger Orc: Mansell told us that after Pha is raised he will be sickly?
R: Was he a skilled warrior? A veteran?
YO: No he was a farmer. We all take turns being sentinels.
R: Did he have faith?
YO: He followed Moradin.
R: Well I hope this will strengthen his faith. What I offer is in three parts. I am a paladin of Moradin and have little, but what I have I offer to you. She indicated two bundles at her feet. This is my armour, this my war axe and belt. They are all magical devices. Please accept these things to be divided among your family and the family of the other fallen orc. There is more I would offer if you would return tomorrow.
Older orc nods. She looks a bit like they are struggling to control their emotions but the older orc forces a "Thank you" and they back away.
Arrian successfully Raises the orc and Rowaine heals him. The orc is very scared and backs away but his wives talk him down. The family leaves.

The party heads on to their meeting with Krag and Manion, at Krag's residence. Krag and Manion are sitting at a large table when they are escorted in. On the table lies a map.

man Please sit. Party do. kra Welcome, how did it go with Pha? ro I suspect that it wouldn't really matter what I offered them in terms of possessions. They have suffered a great deal. I did my best. I hope to do more tomorrow. kra It is a difficult situation. There is no way for everyone to come out happy, but we do our best. I am glad that you are here because it is time to discuss what I brought up briefly yesterday. As you are aware, Ruelock is one of the chief servants of Gruumsh. Up until now he has been protected by treaty. Neither you nor I were sent here by Moradin, by his command or will and so we are free to act. In fact it was Ruelock itself that brought me here and thus opened this opportunity for us to neutralise one of Gruumsh's agents. Ruelock is not mortal. ro So we cannot hope to kill it? kra If there is a way, I do not know it. But it can be contained. We can create an object that can bind Ruelock for a brief period of time - only an hour. During that time, my people must leave this plane and the portal must be destroyed. Ruelock will know when any action is taken against the portal. The reason why we haven't done this before is we haven't until now had a way of preventing Ruelock from leaving. ro How is this device activated? kra All it needs to be is near enough to Ruelock to activate. ro It activated itself? kra Indeed. We have one advantage: my people are the servants in the hall of Ruelock. The orcs here are servants of Gruumsh and have served Ruelock for thousands of years. And my people are amongst them. In fact most of them came to Moradin when they were working at Ruelock's abode.

kra We know his dwelling; we know its secrets and its challenges. Well, most of them. We cannot be sure of everything. We know where Ruelock resides, where he spends his time. And we believe we have a plan that will get you to the floor beneath his chambers. I would strongly advise against challenging Ruelock directly. If we can do this without it ever becoming aware of your presence, that would be preferable. In my prime I could not stand against Ruelock, nor any of my bretheren. tr Won't sealing the portal trap everybody here? kra The object will immobilise Ruelock for an hour, during which time it will be our task to evacuate my people. tr Can you just define your people for me? kra The followers of Moradin. tr What about the other orcs? kra We have done our best to offer them a chance to turn and follow Moradin; their lives will not be ended and they have not up till this point had the option to leave the Rue, but they will be trapped here. tr You don't think Ruelock will be a little upset when he comes awake and finds he is trapped here? Might he not take it out on the rest of the orcs? kra It is possible. tr Therefore I'm not sure it's a good idea. ro You are worried about trapping the enemy's servants? tr Earlier I said when I shot those two orcs, I would do it again. Because I would. We were in combat, in enemy territory, surrounded by enemies, and I killed some. But I wouldn't get a bunch of those same enemies, put them in a cage tied down with a tiger. That's a bit different from combat. I will kill the enemy, but I won't torture them. Just sayin'. ro How many orcs are here? What is here, besides orcs? There must be thousands, surely. kra This pocket plane is about a hundred miles in diameter and there are a few above-ground orc towns. Because of the size of this place, the orcs have settled rather than migrate as they normally would do. There would be probably be between a thousand and fifteen hundred in number. ro Scattered across a hundred miles? Where abouts are we on this circle? kra asks Manion for parchment and charcoal, then begins drawing.

the_rue.jpg

kra We are in the southwest quadrant. Ruelock's residence is in the centre of this pocket plane. The portal is in the north, about twenty miles from Ruelock's residence. ro And we have only an hour? kra That was one of the things restraining us but we suspect may not restrain you. We can get there and we can get you there, but we cannot get back in time. ro So there is no way of getting people out, except magically. kra We have two magical devices that can be used to create a doorway between here and the portal out of the Rue. But they would both need to be in continuous operation for the better part of the hour in order to get our people out in time. tr How many orcs are here? kra about 450. tr Well there's still more planning to be done. What are you going to do with 450 orcs when you get to the other side? You can't just let them out and leave them there. ro Krag, had you put any thought into what they would do? kra Some of our clerics can Plane Shift, so we have the ability to move further afield, but from what we have gleaned about the Plane of Shadow, we do not necessarily think it would be a bad place for us. tr So you would plan to eventually leave the Plane of Shadow? kra We do not know. tr You need a plan. man The problem of travelling to the Material Plane is the same problem we met with you: it is unlikely that a group of orcs would be welcomed by the people who would be our natural allies. tr I know a place where you might go. Abbey. No one there, it would be perfect. ro I was wondering whether the Silver Arrows might want bolstering, or even an allied neighbour. tr We have places in our world where you could go. kra Orcs are naturally migratory, which has a couple of bonuses for us: it's not going to take us very long to pack up and go through this portal, and we are used to moving around. Making a particular home for ourselves isn't necessarily what we want. tr That's what you've done here, though, right? kra It is…

tr You're saying you're naturally migratory but I suspect everybody here has put down some pretty deep roots, pretty heavy anchor. ro Maybe only because they've had no other choice. tr You've been here over thirty years. Some people here have never been migratory. And yet they are incredibly unhappy that they are here. kra They are incredibly unhappy living under the threat of death at any time, should we be discovered. ro I'm afraid we may not be able to offer you much more in our world. tr You have generations of orcs who haven't been migratory, and you are saying orcs are migratory therefore we're going to move around a lot. You can't say that migratory tendencies are nature over nurture. Apart from the whole getting killed thing, I'd say you've been particularly happy living here, I suspect. man Thank you for your passionate arguments for our wellbeing. It's something that has been talked over a lot. tr Good! So I've got an idea. I can take you somewhere, and you won't be killed! And you'll be happy, little orc communities with little orcs growing up happy and joyful… You'll be fine. man I think what we'll do is focus on getting out of here, set up a secure environment as much as we can in the Plane of Shadow, and then take our next step from there. tr So no plan, then? man Do you have any other questions? tr Sure. Who's your superior? ro That'll be Krag. tr Krag! Tell him he's being a nut! kra The problem is we don't know the answers to the questions you are asking. But you are right in that our nature may not be migratory. It might not be built into us, it may be culture. We just don't know what our future will be. tr The point is that you're just leaving it to chance. You have almost no plan beyond getting out of here. You could all get killed on the Plane of Shadow. You could all go to the Material Plane, do the 'migratory thing', and everyone gets killed. kra There is no way to have a plan that has guarantees. tr No, but you don't have a plan. You said that you are just going to go somewhere and then see how it goes. ro We could herald your arrival. We could let people know. We could also offer safe haven once those people know. man Once again, we have discussed the Plane of Shadow and our researchers suggest that it would be a welcoming place for us, that actually it would be a good place for us. Not so much no plan, but perhaps a disagreement with you on where the place for us would be. We have decided at this point that the Plane of Shadow would be a good place for us. ro You plan to remain on the Plane of Shadow for a time? Before perhaps venturing further? man Yes. ro I do not stand in the way of you coming, of course.I would wish to help you when you arrive, so if or when you choose to come to our world, we need to talk so that we can help you. You should get in touch with either Arrian or Troll. kra Any aid is welcome. Thank you, Rowaine.

kra We have one of our number here who works as a servant and is willing to act as your guide. He will try to help you to avoid detection once you are in the residence. We know the routines, who will be where at what time… That will be necessary to get there undetected. Once you are there, I understand that you have arcane spellcasters amongst you? My recommendation would be that you Teleport to the portal. ro So we are going to have to know that place. You can go between here and the portal, more or less at will? man Yes. ro We will need time to memorise it as a destination. kra Ruelock has cycles that it goes through rather like a woman - at certain times it is vulnerable to the object that I will create. ro So this device needs to be within Ruelock's vicinity at a certain time? kra Yes, midday tomorrow. ro Otherwise it is 28 days away? kra A little longer, I'm afraid. While I understand that our females and perhaps you go through a 28 day cycle, Ruelock goes through a cycle that is ten years long. ro And it just so happens to be tomorrow! kra You are not here by accident. ro Moradin be praised. kra Any other questions? cal You mentioned Ruelock's abode. Is it just him there, or are there going to be other creatures or servants? lio If we do see other creatures, is tr allowed to shoot them? man Yes, we need to get down to the plan of where you are going in the residence. Ruelock's chambers are on the ground floor of his residence. Beneath that floor are prison cells that he uses to hold and torture his playthings. ro And destroying the portal destroys any way of ever freeing them? Leaving them in the clutches of an enraged immortal? man Our efforts over the last couple of months in preparation for this have been to free as many as we can of the creatures and that had to be prioritised on who would cooperate, what was able to cooperate. Those left are creatures that Ruelock and his minions have used as servants, most of them non-sentient. While we wish we could also free them, we have managed to free most but not all of the creatures who think. We understand that this is a cost. If you can liberate any while you are there without warning Ruelock, that would be desirable. lio Let's go try and free them, I'm not busy. ro This device works just by proximity to Ruelock? kra Yes.

ro How close does it need to be? kra It needs to be within 60', which will take you directly into the chamber below. In that chamber Ruelock keeps a creature it uses to breed the guardians of the portal. ro The nightwing was its offspring? kra Yes. ro What is likely to happen if we were to attack the portal now? kra The portal cannot be damaged without Ruelock knowing. ro And what would Ruelock do? Would it come? kra It is a being with great power; it would certainly come. I have escaped it once. ro And when it got within 60' of the rod, it would be disabled? kra Yes. The problem is guaranteeing that it would come within 60'. ro With Ruelock absent, what other defences would its stronghold have? I am thinking of luring it out and disabling it at the foot of the gate while some others start freeing the worthy in the palace. It is more risky, it does mean Ruelock is aware. If we can get in and disable Ruelock without it even being aware, that is the better plan. tr If we were to draw Ruelock out, it may not come alone. kra It may not come alone, and it may not come near. ro I am still stuck on the cost: leaving these people behind with no way of getting out. And if we only have an hour to free them, that is probably not enough. mani We have as you may understand a fairly liberal and wide definition of what it is to be a person, and we would not necessarily hasten to say that the things held below qualify. ro Have you seen them? mani Oh, we are fully aware of everything held below. We feed them, we clean their cells, we remove their … detritus. ro So what needs saving? How many beings are we talking about? Not just the ones that need saving, how many beings are currently trapped there? mani Along with the nightwing currently there are five other creatures below. There were thirty. ro Only five? What are they? Who do we need to save? mani There are things that we would call animals. Not particularly nice animals, but through no fault of their own, they are dangerous. They are too powerful for us to free without Ruelock noticing. Quite apart from the nightwing, which I assure you is the darkest evil. ro And I am very happy to leave that here. mani You will not be able to leave it. It is in the chamber you will need to enter. cal Will we have to fight it? mani You will need to fight it or evade it. ro Is it chained? mani It is free within its chamber. But there is no exit for it, nothing big enough for it to get through. ro There is no other place in this stronghold that is within 60' of where Ruelock resides? mani You could go up onto its floor, but we have not worked out a way that you would be able to get close enough undetected. ro Is there anything above? mani There are levels above, but they can only be accessed through Ruelock's quarters. ro Could you gain access by magic? mani I don't know. It is not an area where we have been allowed. We do not know what is there. ro Are there windows? mani No. The only floors that our people have been allowed are the ground floor and the one below. We have no knowledge of the three floors above. ro What does this tower look like?

The base of Ruelock's lair is a little over 250' square, with steps that lead up one side to the top. Each level is 20' tall. Ruelock's throneroom is 50' square with very large doors in the western wall and the throne on the opposite wall.

mani We do know what happens on the top of the structure, unfortunately. That is where Ruelock eats. ro So we know Ruelock will be here (points to Ruelock's throneroom) and you are telling us we need to be here (points to nightwing chamber). But you don't know what happens in the floor above. mani No. We know that Ruelock goes up there for periods of time regularly. ro How will we know when Ruelock has been disabled if we cannot see it? mani The device will go cold. kra The device need not be anything particular, it just needs to be the object of the spell that I will cast. I thought this would be quite appropriate. kra shows the party the black rod. ro Is that the black rod? kra Yes (smiles). kra Ruelock has several of these; it is one of the things it uses to trap and transport its prey to this location. ro So what do we think - below or above? We know that it is really dangerous below, we don't know anything about above.

mani the best way we have thought of to get within 60' of Ruelock is to get below it while it is sitting on its throne. ro What else is in the throneroom? mani In the centre is an area made into an arena. Part of the things it enjoys is watching fights between its thralls. ro And outside the throneroom? mani I will provide a more detailed map. ro How do we access the belowground level? mani We can get you there directly by using our portal device. ro What creatures are there now? mani I can get you the up to date list. ro If we stand here (indicates area on east side of nightwing chamber) the device will work and we will know about it? mani Yes definitely. That too is within 60'. anything within around 50' laterally from this spot here (indicates the spot directly below the throne) should be in range. the bottom level is divided up into cells of various sizes to hold different creatures. lio do the cells have barred or solid walls & doors? mani there is a variety. lio Then the creatures in there might scream when they see us.

Heward's Handy Haversack does not work here. Nobody knows for sure whether a tower backpack would work.

ro What was the massive creature we saw from the hill? mani That's the Karack. It's a construct. It's massive. An elf made it. ro Is it made of metal? mani Yes. tr Made by an elf, you say? What was his name? mani Ardella. tr Ardella what? mani No one knows. ro Something I've been meaning to say is that we saw a lot of tracks that seemed to indicate that a lot of arachtria entered this place through the portal on the plane of shadow. What is happening there? mani We know that they have gone north into the planes north of the canyon. We haven't tracked them.

Still to do: visit planar portal. ro has no weapons and armour - just in the dress that the orcs provided. tr starts drawing some full plate armour and a dwarven waraxe for ro - successfully. Uses 18 cubic feet of the pigments.

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