Drow Wars: Episode 1 Chillhame

Cast of Characters

From the journal of Gelnix the Magnificent

We dream, we float. Where are we? Why can't I remember anything? I lie on the grass under a stone megalith there is a circle of 12 stones. There are 4 others here and a dog. We introduce ourselves. There is Lorenna the Druidess with her dog Grace; Alfric the shifty Rogue, Gibora the half-orc (female, I think); Ter'Ri the Monk and I, Gelnix the Magnificent. Four humans and a half-orc.

Investigating we find there is a star sign on the stone beneath the moss - one for each stone. Perhaps we are short handed?

A disembodied voice addresses us. "I am sorry I have brought you here but needs must. These people are your people. However, there is a force against you. Seek the sword of Starkweather John then then you may begin to understand. If one of you falls bring their body back to the circle and the soul will rejoin the flesh but hurry as flesh that is spoiled cannot be rejoined."

We are on a scraggy featureless island about a quarter of mile across with the circle at the top. A causeway connects the island to the mainland. It is low tide. No signs of habitation can be seen. We decide to head across to the mainland. Before we reach the causeway shadowy goblinoid shapes rise out of the grass and attack. Our orc-fighter freezes at first, but we fare well. I send magic rays into my opponent and then finish it off with the staff in short order and then run to help Lorenna who is faring less well. She proves her druid status by magically curing herself.

We return to the stone circles to see if they cure our wounds, without success. So we head across the causeway to scout out local settlements. We see some broken huts, a village and a windmill.

From the journal of Ter'Ri

We head towards the windmill, which looks well maintained. We knock on the door and hear lots of barking from behind, but no answer. There is a window up high but we can't see into it. We decide not to bash the door in and head for the village. This is a bit run down all wooden buildings, partly falling down. There is an inn. We also see an old woman fixing some nets who spots us as we come in. Gelnix starts to talk to her and she spits at his feet. The town is called Bronce. With a bribe she tells as that Starkweather was a hero. He pursued his foe to this village, both tried to get to the stone circle, John to defend it, the other to corrupt its power. They fought and John died from poison but the foe was cut in half. His tomb is in the hills, which are dangerous.

We go to the Golden Nougat pub across the square. Everyone seems to be in the pub and everyone looks at us as we enter. Then they resume their drinking and quiet drinking. Alfric buys a round and one for the landlord and we all have fish stew. We meet the miller who looks hard and he has three cronies. Lorenna mentions to the miller that we are looking for Starkweather's tomb and that Alfric is a long lost relative. The sheriff enters the bar, 'I heard there were strangers in town'.

Eventually we finish with the pub and look round the town and decide to speak to the priest. Fr Tobias Bronson has a grave expression We'd like to discuss the legend of Starkweather., but he knows little more than we've already heard. After this meeting we head back to the inn, lots of people are milling round with a commotion Two boys have gone missing. We offer to help and follow the villagers along the road in the direction the boys were last seen heading. We come across some faint tracks, childrens tracks and non-human tracks. It looks like they've been captured by orcs.

It's now too dark so we rest up at the inn and resume the search at first light. We pick up the trail. In the hills is the tomb of Starkweather. It wasn't hidden. There is an inscription on the tomb covered in moss, which we clear off. There are orc tracks around and signs of fighting. We lift the top off the tomb. Inside are the remains of Starkweather. There is no sword there and the tomb lid is replaced.

We follow one of the orc trails around the hill towards the old mines. It starts to rain. There is an open mine shaft, a rusty cart and old shacks. Scrumpy checks out the huts and we head towards the mine entrance and go down. Gibora heads off ahead, too far and she is out of sight of the rest of the party.

Gibora heads down a passage way and disturbs a load of spiders. She takes damage from the spiders and falls to the floor. We manage to distract the spiders off her by burning some clothes covered in oil. Heading down the corridor we encounter 5 orcs. A quick spell from Gelnix knocks out four of them immediately. The other scarper's.

From the journal of Gibora

Instead of going down the passage the orc fled, we take the other fork, still following the mine tracks. A ghostly figure stands up ahead. He has a disfigured face, and a gash across his throat. It points us onward, so we walk passed him. We are going deeper into the earth. The corridor ends in a shaft, at which we are at the top. The tracks end at a buffer, where a mine cart has crashed. There is a corridor to the right, which we head down.

This leads into a room with a capstan, which we begin to turn. An elevation device ascends out of the blackness below. Lorenna, Scrumpy and Ter’Ri go down, and Alfric, Gelnix and I lower them. Bickering ensues that the water is too deep, and worry of it getting only deeper - too deep for the “wee man”. Eventually, they proceed down a corridor.

Lorenna feels a body under the water, and drags it up. It resembles the ghost, having the same wounds, but it also holds a badge. They put the body in the elevation device, and venture onward. The water deepens and Scrumpy comes into trouble. Lorenna wants to send him back, but he won’t part with his lantern (which she needs).He agrees to rent it to her for 1gp. They go back to the top in the elevation device and Ter’Ri and Gelnix go down. I stay up to operate the heavy machinery.

The water does rise, to a staggering four feet deep. Ter’Ri spots something… Orcs! They attack and Gelnix is surprised and goes down. In a few bursts of unarmed martial prowess, Ter’Ri takes out the orcs, and brings The wizard back from the brink of death, non-magically, of course. He drags the still unconscious “magnificent” back to the elevation device and Lorenna heals Gelnix. Lorenna.

We all go down this time. Scrumpy and I lower everybody down (he really is quite strong foe a halfling), and then we climb down the chain. We are the party’s best climbers. We arrive at the junction where the orcs were and carry straight on across it., Ter’ri and I at the fore, with Scrumpy on my shoulders. A group of orcs have holed up down here, and I am flat-footed. Ter’Ri attacks, and I fall to a mighty blow, almost cleaving me in twine. I lay lifeless in the water. Scrumpy makes a splash as he falls. The orc at the rear holds a child, with a knife at it’s throat. His intent is clear. The party make a tactical withdrawal, and enter negotiations for the safe return of both children. Lorenna agrees to pay 75gp for the child he has, and a further 75 for the other, which he tells us is down a corridor. We are sceptical, but agree. As we head on, with the child on Lorenna’s large wooden shield, in the now 5 feet of water, he tells us that the other child escaped down here

We pass a junction, and come to a section of corridor that is submerged. Fearing for the child, we go back to the junction. The new branch ends in an unfinished tunnel, and they hear rushing water on the other side of the ending wall. They decide to smash into the wall, reasoning that it mustn’t be that thick, and noticing Gibora has a portable battering ram…

The wall collapses and we are swept into a large room that reaches out of sight up ahead. A dais and a door are the only remarkable features. The chamber appears to have been dug from below. On the stone frame of the door, carvings depict an army emerging from below to invade the surface, and several scrolls on the dais refer to a “chthonic” invasion from below in ten days, and instructions for the preparation of rooms like this one. Since we don’t know when this was written, and therefore, how long the invasion is away, we go back.

In another chamber, we find the other boy, scared . Alfric hears a voice, “…surprising… massing… master…” is all he can make out. We head back to the elevation device, but the orcs have took it up as they left the mine. Scrumpy must climb up, and he gets part way up, but falls. Lorenna fails to catch him. Alfric realises suddenly that he is a better climber, and reluctantly heads up, deciding it’s either that, or they rot down here. At the top, he lowers a rope down. Scrumpy climbs to the top, but falls . He grabs the rope, and struggles to climb. He falters and plummets into the water below, dead.

Alfric stumbles around in the dark and finds the controls to the lift. Ter’Ri goes up a rope tied to the buffer, since Alfric is not strong enough to work the lift alone. Next, Gelnix comes up with the bodies (Gibora, Scrumpy, and the ghosts). Then, Lorenna and Grace (her dog) come up. They head for the exit. The children watch as a bunch of ne’er-do-wells drag around three dead bodies.
The ghost manifests again, and asks, in sign, for us to bury it’s body, and find out who murdered him. The druid performs the burial ceremony.

Gibora and Scrumpy’s corpses are taken to the stone ring, and nothing happens. Alfric agrees to wait there until morning while the rest go back and rest up at the village They return the children, to elated parents, and the old woman who owns the Department Store tells them that the sword of Starkweatherjohn, the whole point of going into the mines, was in the old abandoned village church all along. Drats! They agree to go there in the morning, and head to the inn to rest up.

In the morning, Gibora and Scrumpy are raised, as promised. We show Father Bronson the badge from the corpse and he tells them it is of a tax collector, who passed through a few months back, on his way to Lichgate to the south. He reads the scroll regarding the invasion, and we go to Rothschild, head of the village. The is a panic, and some advocate readying the defences, while others vote to flee .

We leave the people arguing, so we can go and rob their precious sword: the only thing that seems to have prevented them from being attacked while all other villages around them were. We head off to the church. A sense of longing greets us, as if there is something there that belongs to us. There is a statue of some goddess, sheathed in blue flowers in the church. Lorenna takes some.

We spot a flagstone that is cracked, so I get out my crowbar, but fail to pry it up. Ter’Ri tries, and also fails. Scrumpy tries and succeeds. I feel great shame. A sword lies underneath, and I hold it, being the only one trained to use it. Imagine! It feels incredibly comfortable in my hand, as if it belongs there. I toss my club away. I can feel the power within it.

We return to the debate and urge them to flee. We ride on ahead and agree to raise the alarm, at each town we come across, to the coming onslaught of mysterious assailants.