Let’s see if you can figure out which one it was?
And so, Gorf’s Journal begins…
My name is Gorf. I’m a warrior of some renown and I travel with a small band of others like me. There are six of us altogether. Although I am not the leader of our troop, Mr. X was hastily elected to that position due to his sparkling charisma, I am the one who had the foresight to purchase a book with which to record our journeys within.
Relgar is a cleric of Fharlanghn and he seems to find the road to be as good as a home. Mr. X is a rather interesting person, he seems to be always underfoot, reminds me of a cat I once owned. Brewster, who is a long time friend of Mr. X, is a rather large warrior himself. He tends to favor the axe in battle and he is a good chum to have at the tap. Fulgrim is another warrior, his less then average looks and intellect leads one to believe he may have been dropped on his head, perhaps repeatedly, as a small child. He still is quite a sight in battle though. Finally I come to Caradeen, he claims some kinship with Fulgrim and it would appear that the intelligence that leaked out of Fulgrim might very well have been caught in a pot and poured back into Caradeen’s head. He is an elf and mixes the arts of sorcery and magic quite well. Unfortunately for both of them, wisdom is not either ones strong suit.
Our first real adventure begins in the town of Byr, nestled in the southern mountains of the Barony of Ratik. We came here intending to merely pick up provisions and pass into the southern lands to fight orcs, goblins, and other such humanoids, for there is a bounty on their heads this year.
Alas upon entering the local inn we chanced upon the mayor talking franticly with some of the other townsfolk. Mr. X was quick to jump into the conversation and went so far as to volunteer us for the job at hand.
It turned out that several young women were recently kidnapped by humanoids. Many townsfolk claimed it to be hobgoblins that had stolen their daughters and several search parties had been sent out. All was to no avail though, for none brought back so much as a sign of hobgoblin activity. More importantly, one patrol did not return.
About this time, an old and battle scared warrior, minus his left arm, came forth and issued his view that ancient spider beings were behind this. He said that he had fought against a race of spider beings over fifty years ago. He often emphasized his tail by pointing at the stub of his arm hanging from his shoulder.
Most of the townsfolk appeared to consider the old man’s tale a wild one and I, myself, was beginning to think the same. Something just didn’t seem right about this whole affair. Soon I saw Fulgrim hoisting a tankard with the old man, and I knew then that another agreement had been made.
Within an hour the six of us, plus the old man who’s name turned out to be Akron Oheeyo, were heading cross-country to the Old Man Mountain. It turned out the patrol that didn’t come back had headed in this direction. Akron appeared pensive about the fate of the patrol when I asked him about it.
“That thar patrol was lead by the mayor’s son himself. A fine lad he is, but born more towards talk then action. I fear we might find them less then whole, if’n at all.”
Upon reaching the base of the mountain, southern side, we encountered our first dilemma, how to scale a mountainside with several heavily armed men and one with only one arm. Luckily we found a grappling hook and some rope within our possession. So Mr. X, our resident climber, began the long process of throwing the hook and setting the spikes. After a few close throws Mr. X lost control of the hook and it came crashing down from the sky and injured poor old Relgar. A short time later we were roped together and climbing the mountain side. We had one falling incident but no one was seriously injured. Although Caradeen complained about a pulled out shoulder for many hours afterwards.
After our climb we were greeted by the sight of a narrow trail that seemed to circle the outer perimeter of the mountain. The trail had a sheer drop to our right and a rock wall to our left. Any tracks that might have been here were obviously swept away by the wind. We traveled up the trail until we encountered our first cave.
The passage opened into a large water formed chamber with four other passages leading from it. One of the corridors we followed merely circled back into the main chamber. The other two crawled deeper into the mountain before becoming too small to traverse.
It was in the passage that circled back that Fulgrim scored our first kill, a fire beetle. We all congratulated him on his heroics. I suspect the beetle was looking for food. We found no further sign of these creatures in the other passages, perhaps they live further in where we can not go?
After a short break we went back out on the ledge to continue the ascent. Luckily for us the weather was proving to be rather nice, already past mid day and the sun was still shining warmly on our backs! The trail took us on a bumpy ride from there, going up and down and being generally uneven.
We soon found ourselves approaching the mouth of yet another cavern. It proved to be entirely devoid of life with but three short passages coming off of it. After a quick search and a slight rest we exited and continued our climb.
We were now approaching the climb to the peek, from here on up the trail appeared to cross back on itself as it climbed up the southern face of the mountain. We would have to be more careful from this point forward for the trail was beginning to show a covering of sand.
After a long climb up we encountered our third cave. We entered cautiously, for our luck was bound to run dry soon, and were surprised to see a cavern with bone-strewn floor. Within moments of our entering we found ourselves face to face with an awe-inspiring sight. Some sort of bipedal dinosaur relative was attacking us!
The creature fought ferociously and we were very careful to dispatch it as quickly as possible. After a surprisingly short melee the creature was struck dead. Fulgrim looked down upon the carcass and spoke, “Bonesnapper. My dad told me about them.” Caradeen was quick to nod his head in agreement.
While resting from the combat, some of us also took the time to look through the debris that littered the floor. Mostly it was just old bones and sand but two exceptions were found. One was a coil of rope wedged behind a rock, perhaps hidden by some unfortunate adventurer? The other was a mysterious silver skullcap adorning a very dead skull.
Other then those two findings there was nothing else of interest in the cave, there weren’t even any side passages. Something just didn’t seem right here. What was a bonesnapper doing this high up a mountain? It was then that I noticed how sharp and tough the claws on it’s legs and arms were, this creature would have little trouble climbing the mountain side that we climbed.
With dusk a mere hour away we decided to continue our climb, after all this creature may have a mate and I’m sure if it came home and found us here it would undoubtedly be in a bad mood. The next cave we arrived at showed no signs of recent occupation. There were a few short passages that left the main chamber and one curious tube that was about chest high on the wall. The tube was a perfect cylinder about two feet in diameter. We thrust a torch in to see how far it went but no one was willing to attempt crawling in. We left shortly there after, with dusk fast approaching.
Our last cave of the day turned out to be occupied. Upon entering we found a cavern with two large side passages, one blocked by a very large boulder. Within the chamber were a rock table and chair, as well as a sputtering torch on one wall. As we cautiously walked down the open passage we began to here some strange noises.
The passage opened into a chamber with a large animal apparently sleeping in one corner and several stacks of bones on the floor. Deciding that Mr. X was the most likely candidate to sneak up on this beast we advised him to investigate. After giving forth a bemused expression he advanced upon the beast.
Halfway to the animal we heard something shift in his pack. The rhythmic breathing of the creature stopped. Suddenly the immense monstrous form was standing up. Mr. X dived to the floor and thrust his sword upward as a dark shape dropped upon him. It was an ogre we were facing. It had thrown its blanket over Mr. X and advanced upon us in a most groggy manner. Luck was very much with us in this combat, for if the ogre had been truly awake and ready for us we might very well have died in this chamber.
The ogre decided to attack Relgar, definitely not his day, and missed repeatedly! The rest of us joined our forces and eradicated the beast. We then set about the task of excavating Mr. X from the blanket. Within a stack of bones Relgar found an old worn hammer bearing a rune of some sort.
After putting all of our muscles behind moving the boulder in the main chamber we found a short passage leading to the ogre’s main treasure. We found several goblets, plates, bags and a large locked chest. The bags contained copper coins and we had Mr. X attempt his arts of persuasion upon the lock. Success! The chest contained a few flasks, an old belt, and several odd bits of jewelry. Caradeen sipped the flask and his lower jaw vanished before our eyes! He deduced it to be a potion of invisibility, though it did have an oily texture to it.
One other item caught our attention. It was a square tube with a striking bar attached to it. Each of its four sides was a different color; red, blue, yellow and green. When struck it made a chiming noise. Luckily for us it was not a chime of summoning air elementals else this book may have been ended prematurely.
We returned to the main chamber and decided to rest. We took turns as guard and the night past uneventfully. After a brief breakfast and a short discussion with the old man we were on our way.
The morning sun was warming the side of the mountain and only a light breeze was blowing in from the east. It was strange for the weather to be holding up this well, after all it was the second week of Coldeven and we were about due for some stormy weather.
The first cave of the day turned out to be empty. It had several passages leading off into the mountain and one side cavern. Other then that, there was nothing in there for us. The second cave of the day proved entirely different!
We found ourselves standing outside a cave entrance that had obviously been helped along by hand tools. The passage opened into a large octagonal chamber, there were three other passages. Two of the passages were rough stone and the third was worked. We decided to check out the worked one.
The passage went quite a ways into the mountain until it dead-ended at a flat wall. As Fulgrim approached the wall to inspect it the floor erupted beneath him. A large trapdoor spider latched onto his leg and began dragging him into its pit. He attacked wildly and was bitten. We all tried to help but the confines of the passage hindered our group efforts. Finally, the spider lay dead.
Within the pit we found the remains of the missing patrol. After pulling the bodies from the pit we found several other items; a quiver of 10 blue fletched arrows, a broken ash longbow, a circular wooden shield, 2 black handled daggers, a two-handed sword with a bronze hilt wrapped with leather, and a heavy black mace with a leather wrapped handle.
Akron told us that the sword and bow had belonged to the mayor’s son, and the other items belonged to the blacksmith’s son. The mystery of the missing patrol was now solved.
After binding Fulgrim’s wounds we searched the far wall for secret openings. Caradeen discovered a crack that went completely around the far wall. Unfortunately we could find no means to open this door, if it even was a door.
Suddenly someone got the idea to strike the chime we had found in the ogre’s lair, and just like magic, the doorway opened. It turned out to be a six-foot thick slab of rock that crawled into a recess in the left wall. Through the opening we discovered a lever that operated the door from the inside. Taking stock of the situation, we decided to rest here for a while.
When we were prepared to continue onward we sounded the chime and passed through the opening. A few hundred feet deeper into the mountain we found ourselves facing a narrow bridge over a yawning chasm.
We carefully crossed the rock bridge and found ourselves facing an ornate set of double-doors with a spider design in bas-relief upon it. The door proved to be unlocked and we prepared an offensive line to enter with.
After entering into an octagonal room with walls of many different colors we were assaulted by a force of hobgoblins! After a quick battle, including a strategic use of Caradeen’s sleep spell we prevailed. We collected a varying array of weapons and a few money pouches from the bodies and then Brewster, Fulgrim and I tossed the bodies into the chasm.
The walls were all a different color and each one contained the same double door spider motif. It appeared that all of the walls had doors in them but after an inspection we found that one wall had a keyhole behind one of the spider eyes and two other walls had eyes that pushed in like buttons.
Gorf’s Journal ends here…