March 1, 2008

LCT-N PbP: The Cold, Hard Road


Centuries ago, this land was ruled by a glorious empire. From coast to coast, the Dhakaani (called "Hobgoblins" in the Human tongue) ruled with an iron fist. During this time, the Dhakaani Empire created extravagant displays of wealth, power and magic. Like most grand empires, the Dhakaani fell, corrupted from within and tearing at each others’ throats. Masterful artifacts of power were left forgotten in the trample of countless civil wars. 

In modern times, the races of Humans, Dwarves, and Elves have found themselves as the dominant races. The Dhakaani are now reduced to a small fraction of their former size and power, struggling to stop their in‐fighting and to bring all of the lesser races as their slaves once again. You are playing a character either asked or forced to the mountainous lands of the Dwarves. Your journey has been ordered by Llesh-Hruuk, an aging Dhakaani warlord of Clan Sharaat. Llesh‐Hruuk believes the remains of a fallen hero lie there. Her name was Decia and was the last known owner of an ancient Dhakaani artifact: The Lost Crown of Tesh-Naga.

You are sent off to the dangerous Dwarven lands as an assorted band which must travel together to ensure the success of this vital mission. You journey to a remote mountaintop locale known as “The Sanctuary of the Sacred Stone” where Decia's remains await to be found.

You must choose one of the seven characters on this adventure:

  • The mysterious stranger
  • The wise councilor
  • The brave warrior
  • The silver-tongued liar
  • The lurking wyrm
  • The proud drake
  • The dim-witted thug

Snow has been drifting down for the last two days of travel. You are surrounded by your motley band of creatures sent out to find the forgotten relic: The Lost Crown of Tesh-Naga. A thick white blanket covers the landscape, piled high up to your knees. You are traveling uphill at a steep slope, when you round a bend in the hillside and spot a squat, stone building up ahead. Smoke rises out of a brick chimney. Squinting, you can see the tops of gray marker stones forming a straight path to the front door of this building. The sounds of heavy footfalls crunching packed snow stops as your travelling companions halt their march and look around; waiting, watching, listening.

By name, describe your character's appearance and what your actions are.


  1. [Ghaaldar]
    The Dhakaani warrior, Ghaaldar, carries himself with an aire of authority. Strong and tall, his form reminds you of mighty oaks. Dressed in black plate armor, he stands out against the white snowy background. he stays silent, watching and listening for signs of enemies and opportunities. His flail is ever ready.

  2. Ah, one thing I forget to mention via email. Some of the Dhakaani masters of this expedition have decided among themselves that [Mavarothix] is too dangerous and crafty to be left to his own devices. Thus, he starts the adventures chained in manacles. Until released, he is slowed and takes a -5 penalty to attack rolls and appropriate skill checks (climbing, etc.) The Dhakaani who decided to have bound Mavarothix each has a key that releases his chains.

  3. Comparatively speaking, Mavarothix is a lot cleaner and civilized looking than most kobolds. He travels light, wearing only leather armor that is specially colored to blend in to the surrounding environment and a cloak as black as the night itself. He carries a short sword at his side and a shortbow and quiver hung across his back.

    Despite the shackles, the kobold shows no anger or rage... He moves quietly amongst the group, paying more attention to the surrounding environment, trying to keep the larger hobgoblins in sight at all times.

  4. [Drum-Haak]
    Drum-Haak is a noble-looking Dhakaani with cold calculating eyes and a knowing grin. He’s draped in a wolf pelt and his gnarled oak staff is capped with a human skull and vicious iron spikes.

    He glances disapprovingly at the kobold’s manacles before drawing up quietly behind Ghaaldar. His staff at the ready, the sage whispers softly “Easy there, friend; I doubt we’re expected. Let’s simply sneak in, kill the wretched creatures inside, and spend a well-earned night in warmth.”

  5. [Duurkala]
    A wizened old Dhaakani strides with the rest of this ragtag bunch. He is clad in a battle-weathered suit of chainmail overlaid with a jerkin of multi-colored clothes that mark his office as a skald, tribal storyteller, and keeper of Dhaakani lore. His rough patches of fur that poke out from his armor are more grey now than red and the many winters he has seen are apparent in his visage.

    This is Duurkala, the elder. He strides forward behind [Drumm-Haak] and [Ghaaldar] and rest his hands on their shoulders. "Soon, brothers," he says in a voice obviously intended for the whole group, "soon we shall have the opportunity to prove ourselves on the fields of battle. Soon our peoples will have their chance to stand in the light again. No longer shall we be confined to the wilds of this world, left to the dark by the 'civilized' peoples." He barks out the last bit a spit of hatred.

    He turns his eyes to the rest of his walking partners and regards them all, especially the dangerous looking, manacled lizard creature. "Soon, brethren, we shall all stand in the light of the world as our peoples truly deserve."

    He garbles out something further and stops with a short laugh and pats Drum-Haak and Ghaaldur hard on the shoulders before returning to his walking pace with a far-off look in his eyes.

    What would I know from my bardic understanding of the region? Who lives in this area, who would be most likely to reside in this house ahead, what would be there response to our presence? Stuff like that. (History: +10)

  6. Duurkala knows that a monastery of recluse ascetic Dwarves lives in this frigid land. These solemn Dwarves have pledged their lives to guarding over this area, and would likely be wary of any Dhakaani travelers. Still, they are no warriors, and will likely be unarmed.

    Hill Giants also roam the wilderness here, and their bellowing calls can be heard echoing through the valleys in the dead of night. Bands of Ogres are very rarely encountered in these parts, although they were more numerous a few generations ago.

    [TECH] (7)+10= 17 History check

  7. A tall yet gaunt Dragonborn slowly walks up to the rest, each step measured and with purpose. Here passes Kulimvorith, bane of bahamut, duke of devastation. He stands silently, his eyes never missing a detail, anticipating everything as it unfolds ahead of him.

    Does Kulimvorith know anything about the legend of the lost crown and this area? Or about the ascetic dwarves? +8 History, +6 arcana.

    1. Kulimvorith's knowledge of magical formulae and incantations is of little use here; however, he does dimly remember whispered tales told by his elders about this lost magical artifact. Among its many powers, The Lost Crown of Tesh-Naga is said to provide good luck to its bearer. Those carrying the Crown find that things tend to go their way, their luck holds true, and good fortune befalls their every step.

      TECH: (12)+8= 20 History check

  8. [Grimlock]
    Keeping his eyes down, ahead, or otherwise averted, the large orge has been plodding along at the party's flank, avoiding contact with the other members of this expedition. Not hiding his contempt for the Dhakaani in the party, especially since the shackling of the kobold, the orge shifts the haft of the impressively large maul higher on his shoulder.
    At hearing Drum-Haak mention killing, his ears perked up and eyes glimmered. Killing was what he was good at.

  9. Duurkala turns to the grim faced dragonborn and the hulking ogre. "If all pans out, you should soon get to test your mettle. Haha!"

    He roars back a laugh and whips out his wineskin. He slugs back some wine, wipes his mouth on his hairy arm and offers a glug to his allies, giving a wink to [Kulimvorith]. "Keep your strength up and your heart pumping in the winter weather, eh." He chuckles further as he elbows [Grimlock] jovially.

  10. [Black Lotus]
    A slim, agile-looking younger Dhakaani in leather armor towards the back of the group grins and licks his lips in excitement, shifting his weight eagerly from one foot to the other in anticipation.

    "Yes, soon we'll all be where we should be. It will be most wonderful."

    He smiles as he eyes the road ahead, keeping warily ready despite his excitement.

  11. The cold winds whip around you all, snow blowing off the drifts and into your faces. After many long hours of travel in this inhospitable landscape today, your thoughts begin to dwell on finding a shelter against the freezing winds.

    Starting Thursday at 12:00pm EST (noon), if your character is still out in the open he or she will contract frostbite( For each day in real time that your character is open to the elements thereafter, the disease severity will worsen by one Stage.

  12. OOC: Is everyone getting email updates from Comments ok? Let me know if you are not. I know David was having trouble over the weekend.

  13. "Gentlemen," Duurkala chatters out, "perhaps we could continue this dialogue in better arrangements. A good fire would do us well and I think the residents of yonder cabin could perhaps 'extend some hospitality' for us." With one arm spread forward indicating the cozy-looking cabin, Duurkala smiles wickedly, ripe with implied meaning.

  14. [Ghaaldar]
    Ghaaldar doesn't ask. He TAKES what he wants. But sometimes the direct front-door approach isn't always the best. In hushed goblin, he says, "I'm going around, see if there's another way in."

    He grabs Mavarothix by the shackles and commands, "You're with me," and proceeds to search around the building, counter-clockwise, looking for signs of egress or other important things.

    Tech: Perception +1

  15. Walking up the path in the snow outlined by paving stones, Ghaaldar finds a squat stone building. The building is a single story, its roof covered in snow and and a chimney poking above the white blanket of frost to let forth drifting drift. This close, you can sniff the air to take in the scent of wood burning from within. The building is 75 ft. wide. In depth, the first 40 ft. of the building peaks out from the mountainside as the stonework blends smoothly with the mountain's slope, concealing the true size of the building.

    You can see a single wooden door on the exposed face of the structure, near the left-hand corner. There are also three tall (3 ft.), narrow (1 ft.) windows on that side of the edifice, spilling warm light out onto the snow.

    Sneaking around in the snow, Ghaaldar and Mavarothix attempt to listen in with some reconnaissance. The crafty, shivering, scaled hunter sniffs the air and listens to the wind. Mavarothix discovers that there are many men and women in the building, just on the other side of the door. One loud male voice is booming, and then more than a chorus of voices responds with similar sounds. He recognizes that they are speaking in the Dwarven tongue.

    [TECH] (20)+1 or (20)+6 = 26 Perception.
    OOC: WOW! Double crit!

    Hand-wavingly sharing this information, Ghaaldar attempts to whisper secrets to his new-found friend, but only succeeds at revealing his underlying motives and intentions.

    [GHAALDAR] "I wasn't the one who chained you. I lack the keys to free you ... but there are other ways."

    [TECH] (6)+1 = 7 Stealth

  16. Ha, "drifting drift"

    Drifting smoke

  17. Mavarothix looks up at Ghaaldar, not knowing what to think. He continues to tug at the shackles every now and then, resisting the warrior's strength as best he can. "Do not expect me to cooperate for long so long as these things remain in place."

  18. [Drum-Haak]

    With a wicked smile, Drum-Haak quietly takes up a position beside Ghaaldar and listens intently at the conversation inside. (perception +1)

  19. Drum-Haak informs his travelling companions that the creatures within the stone hut are engaged in a long and monotonous religious ceremony, typically made at the end of the day after the evening meal.

    [TECH] Trained in Religion, knows the Dwarven language.

  20. Oh wait, he's not trained in Religion after all. Sorry, I'm used to that character with certain skill strained. Consider that last one a freebie.

  21. [Ghaaldar]
    Ghaaldar continues talking to Mavarothix, not realizing he's not all that quiet. In goblin, "I don't understand. If I thought you were trouble, I'd just kill you. Why shackles?" The question is rhetorical as he continues to scan the building.

    Anyone examining Ghaaldar knows that he's about to take action. If you've been with Ghaaldar for any length of time, you know he prizes doing more than excessive planning.

  22. OOC: Drum-Haak's player has attempted to sneak by these actions without you guys' knowledge. With some exceptions here and there, the only thing you can do that is "secret" is talk in your languages. Generally, anything that could be done at the table with a scrap of paper between two players I will let secret, but when you deal with the Dungeon Master it's just a lot simpler to call it out in the open. Else, everyone gets stuck with analysis paralysis.

    Drum-Haak reveals that the Dwarves of this region worship the spirits of their ancestors and afford their elders great reverence. Specifically of this monastary, the Dwarves here are a sect devoted to protecting the inner catacombs from ... and you're a little shaky on this point ... either thieves getting in or some sort of horror from getting out.

    Drum-Haak knows little about the form or function of Dwarven architecture.

    (18)+5 = 23 Religion check
    (5)+1 = 6 Dungeoneering check

  23. Furthermore! Drum-Haak is a learned creature, and knows of the tales of the founding of the monastery many generations ago. Ancient legends tell of a saga wherein the Dwarves of the foothills came to the aid of the reigning silver dragon of these snowy peaks, a noble and majestic beast called Dessakrul the Guardian. The shining drake had been under siege by a tribe of giant-folk, as the dim-witted creatures were covetous of the scaled beast's treasures. The Dwarves abandoned their fear and prior conflicts and came to the aid of Dessakrul. The ancient wyrm could not be saved, his body slain and thrown down the mountainside. The hatchling dragons of the creature were, however, rescued by the heroic Dwarves and the giants beaten back. For their unparalleled honor, the spirit of Dessakrul watches over these Dwarves, ready to come to their aid in their hour of need.

    [TECH] (19)+12 = 31 History

  24. Kulimvorith sees no reason why we should sneak around, nor does he fear what lies ahead for him. He watches the dhakaani case he joint, takes out a ration, splits the jerky in two, and offers some to Grimlock. He waits a little while to see if he will accept his gift,and calmly pockets it for later.
    Either way, he motions for Grimlock to follow, and walks firmly towards the front door. He knocks thrice.

    OOC: Am I to assume knowing draconic I hear what mav is saying? It matters not for my actions.

  25. "Now that is a story waiting to happen. Dragon hatchlings, excellent! I'm all for this plan. " Duurkala steps a little closer to the hulking ogre and grins at him. "You're good for protection....right? Stick with me, I know my way around a fight. You remind me of an ogre I once knew. He could bust a skull better than anyone I've ever seen. You're even a little bigger. HA!" Duurkala's playful banter dimly hides an unease with the unknown situation in front of them.

  26. OOC: I wasn't speaking Draconic and making no effort to be subtle, so I imagine everyone heard me.

  27. [Ghaaldar]
    Ghaaldar returns from scouting, revealing what he found (as described by DM above). He addresses the group, pointing to Mavarothix saying, "Open these shackles, now. Mavarothix helps us none in this state. You don't trust him? Then kill him and be done with it. Otherwise, we need his hands free to help us fight. And let's rush the hut. Who's got an axe?"

  28. [Grimlock]
    The orge timidly accepts the jerky from Kulimvorith, somewhat puzzled at the unexpected generosity. He scarfs the morsel down and licks his wide lips, uncouthly. He moves to follow the dragonborn, ready to strike at whatever he gets pointed at.

    He is also slightly flattered at the attention from Duurkala's banter. He lets out a deep, throaty "Hehe" at the mention of busting skulls. "I bust skulls easy. Watch you me. Hehe."

  29. "That's a boy! I knew I could count on ye." He grunts a few words out, turns back to [Black Lotus] and waves a hand at him to come forward, "And ye are also raring to go, good, good. I'm anxious to test your mettle."

    Duurkala turns and acknowledges Ghaaldar with a flourish of his arms, "Yes, let us please to the hut. This cold is worse than any I've seen and that IS saying something." He smiles a jagged tooth grin and gestures to the door. "You seem in best shape to take the lead, shall we?"

  30. [Drum-Haak]
    Irritated by the brash approach to the situation, Drum-Haak takes up a position next to Duurkala. It might lack subtlety, but at least a frontal assault promises immediacy. He readies his staff in anticipation of the violence awaiting them beyond the door.

    "Gentlemen, may the dwarf blood flow freely!"

    Drum-Haak then licks his lips at the thought of delicious dwarf blood.

    OOC: nowhere in his recitation of the history of this monestary does Drum-Haak use the term "heroic dwarves". He spits at the notion.

  31. [Ghaaldar]
    OOC: Above DeuceDM says that Kulimvorith will "knock thrice"...

    Ghaaldar, seeing Kulimvorith knocking on the door, stands about 15 feet behind him and slightly to the right, waiting to see what will happy. Flail is ready.

  32. Whoops, sorry, that slipped by me. The occupants of the sanctuary are enthralled by their activities, and ignore any small noises such as knocking. For sake of keeping a rapid pace, I'll assume you try the door handle. You find it unlocked.

  33. [Ghaaldar]
    Upon hearing or noticing that the door is unlocked, he summons the power of his ancestors with a great cry as he charges in! He invokes the power of his great grandfather, 'LEEEEEROOOOYIC!!!!! JENKINSAAR!!!!!!"

    OOC: Busting into the small hut, Kool-Aid Man style. OH YEAH!!!! #INormallyDontBehaveLikeThis

  34. "YES! ALRIGHT, LET'S DO THIS!" Duurkala's eyes rage red and he roars a response to Ghaaldar's charging run. He howls, "FOR DHAAKANI!"

    Despite this show of bravado, Duurkala knows his place and waits for the proper time to enter combat. He also wants to gauge the prowess of this bold Dhaakani who would go rampaging in to the unknown so well.

    OOC: I'd like to kick off my skald's aura as he goes lurching forward. Perhaps try and do so before advancing myself.

  35. OOC: Addendum to last post... Battle Wrath stance activated prior to charge (if allowed).

    Effect: You assume the battle wrath stance. Until the stance ends, you gain a +2 power bonus to the damage rolls of basic attacks using a weapon.

  36. OOC: I assume that every character who has a sustainable stance or aura or the like has it up and about at all times. I will go with the last stated stance if a character has multiple, and for this next scene I'll allow each dungeoneer to state what stance of theirs they would like to be in.
    Weapons, however, are assumed to be sheathed at the moment since your characters have all been travelling. Pulling out your gear requires a minor action, and from here on out I will assume that every dungeoneer will have weapons at the ready at all times unless otherwise stated.

    The entirety of this monstrous party is at the ready, anxious to jump out of the cold and into the heat of battle. Ghaaldar bursts through the rickety wooden door, slamming the gateway back on its hinges and into the stone wall.

    You step into the building, the heat from inside washing over you and thawing your frozen face. A short vestibule is immediately before you, swathed in shadows. You pull back the dark hood of your cloak. Past the vestibule, you see a large common area, a blazing fireplace lighting the room. There are a dozen Dwarves in the room; men and women, young and old. Some standproudly against the walls, some kneel at rows of oaken pews. Two of the Dwarves stand at the head of the room, bellowing out religios psalms in their guttural, despicable tongue, holding their audience in rapt attention. Between these two is a solid peice of carved granite, its feature sharp and hard. Upon the top of this carved stone sits a silver gong, a metal disk the size of Grimlock's head hanging from a delicate wooden support. When you slam open the door, the room stops dead silent and all eyes focus on you.

    Roll for initiative!

    OOC: And by that, I mean I will be rolling for initiative for you! stay tuned, as the next post awaits!

  37. Behold! The next chapter in the sage of The Lost Crown of Tesh-Naga!