They Only Come Out At Night.

(Part ?) A Krampaus Carol

Awoken from their slumber at the Crow’s Taint Inn in the middle of the night, Hector and Shamus go downstairs to find out what the ruckus is all about. Everyone else is evacuating the inn out of fear. They encounter a bunch of gremlins, and fight them in the tavern. Shamus finds a small furry creature accompanied with a note identifying it as a mogwai with a list of rules.

In fighting the gremlins, they set the bar on fire which spreads through the inn. On the street outside, they find an apocalyptic scene of gremlins causing chaos. They fight the gremlins until dawn and let the sunlight eradicate them. The townspeople come out to thank them, and they learn rumors of children going missing, being taken by the Krampaus. Shamus is bitten by the mogwai in his pack, and angrily pulls it out of his bag. It bursts and explodes in the light.

They are lead by the rumors to a village called Griswold, deep in the snowy peaks of the Monkey Mountains. There, they find a village of adults with no children, who stopped breeding due to their children being taken. The villagers reveal the location of Krampaus’ lair.

On the way, they encounter a yeti and totally kick its ass.

Through the yeti’s cave, they enter the lair. Inside, they avoid various traps like buckets of paint and burning door handles, and they fight their way to Krampaus. After a harrowing fight, Hector is knocked unconscious and bleeding to death. Shamus, mortally wounded himself, finally destroys the Krampaus. He heals himself and stabilizes Hector, and they escape with the stolen kids. The kids who don’t know where they came from are adopted by the village of Griswold, and the kids from Caldmere are returned to their homes. (Little Jimmy seems to be a psychopath and needs to be watched closely, and is suspect as the cause of the gremlin outbreak.)

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(Part 6) A Hoard of Treasure
A Book of Demons

As Hector lies solemnly on the desert ground contemplating the loss of his friend, a figure approaches him. A tiefling ranger, Shamus Muldoon, offers Hector his assistance and heals his deepest wounds. Hector learns that Shamus came here investigating the dragon that now paints the and with its blood, and that he’s also an old friend and colleague of Ulric.

Shamus escorts Hector back to Greypaunch. Outside of the city, they encounter a werewolf (strangely during the evening, before nightfall) accompanied by two dire wolves. They kill the wolves and defeat the werewolf, who returns to human form. The man is confused about where he is. Ulric casts healing touch on him, saving his life, and agrees to escort him to a temple where he can receive treatment. The man turns again, and the duo kill him. They find that he’s wearing an odd metal collar, which Ulric stores in his bag.

The two rest for the night, and set out on a quest of research. They visit the library and several bookstores, looking to learn more about Hildebrand. Eventually, they visit Greypaunch’s occult bookstore, where they finally find a small bit of information. Centuries (or perhaps even millennia) ago, Hildebrand was a known and celebrated wizard, but ultimately his power corrupted him. He perished facing off against an unknown opponent during the Battle of Mount Skroom. Not much else remains written, as it happened before the kingdom colonized Mirabilis.

During this research, Hector comes across a book bound in pale leather and inked in red; upon flipping through its pages, strange events start happening, such as books flying from their shelves and the ground beneath him trembling. He slams it shut, and the events stop. They decide that it’s time to leave.

They decide to return to the desert to find out what the dragon was looking for, so they shop around for supplies. They come across Alice, who they find has opened up his own magic shop. They stock up, and then mock Alice for trying to sell them a submarine crab in a landlocked city. He orders them to leave, and they set off on their way.

Arriving in the desert, they find that the dragon’s body is now gone. They find where the dragon was scratching and begin digging, eventually unearthing the entrance to a hidden temple. Once inside, they fight off rooms of guardians and eventually come upon an abandoned dragon’s lair filled with treasure. They find stairs that lead up to a platform with a chest. They open the chest and find an ornamental sword that has a strange prismatic gem in the hilt. Upon opening the chest, the ground begins shaking and a panel in the ceiling opens, pouring dirt in and leading a beam of sunlight to a small slot in the ground that went previously unnoticed.

They proceed to fill their bags of holding and portable hole with as much treasure as will fit, and then Shamus sticks the sword in the ground. The beam of light refracts from the hilt of the sword and hits an eye symbol on the adjacent wall, which makes the stairs raise evenly into a platform that leads oddly into the bare wall. When the platform finishes raising, a hidden door slides open in the wall.

Hector and Shamus cross the platform and enter the room. The room seems out of place, and almost looks like a small study in a noble’s house. As they enter, a wooden door closes behind them and magically seals. They search the room, only finding cryptic clues about how to escape. Hector finds a copy of the frightening book that he saw earlier, and places it on the empty podium in the center of the room. The podium begins sinking and he snatches the book before it disappears in the floor and stores it in his pack.

When the podium disappears, the door opens, leading them into Greypaunch library. They end up accidentally crashing a gnome book club, who are discussing the latest pulpy horror novels that they’ve read. Shamus suggests that they read The Battle of Mount Skroom. Hector and Shamus return to the mysterious room to investigate, where they find that the room is now just a broom closet. They find a shred of green cloth. They surmise that the room was some sort of magic portal or elevator, and assume that someone is following them. Hector notices someone in green clothing watching them and takes chase.

They catch up, and find a beautiful female elf with blond hair and a magical presence. They interrogate her, and she tells them that they are involved in forces greater than the can imagine. She warns them that the path that they are following can only lead to destruction, and that when the time comes, that they should be prepared to do the right thing. She wishes them safety and runs away, leaving them confused and tired.

They returned to their rooms at the inn and slept like a baby that night.

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(Part 5) A Demon Inside Him
Don't let possession get you down.

Ulric and Hector both share a dream where they are wandering through a desert. Eventually, they see their own dopplegangers fighting a white dragon, which eats the alternate Hector before the alternate Ulric eviscerates it and flies away. As they are surveying the carnage, the corpse of the dragon reanimates…

Ulric and Hector wake up to find Inaryia gone, along with her horse and Mr. Beefcake. They search around town to no avail. In the absence of Inaryia, they check out a few shops in the Mercatus district, where Ulric purchases a new set of armor. Upon wearing the armor, however, he could feel it tighten itself, and he couldn’t get it off.

After asking around town, they discover that the armor is cursed, and learn that the demonic runes on the collar state that the armor comes from Lake Bell. Ulric hears whispers from Hildebrand, who is telepathically goading him to go there.

They arrive at the watery temple on an island in the center of Lake Bell. They fight their way to an altar that should allow the curse to be broken, and face off against a demon that wants to take their souls. Upon defeating the demon, it is absorbed into Hildebrand, who complains to Ulric that their is only room for one inside the axe.

With the curse on the armor broken, the duo leaves the temple, only to notice the white dragon flying towards the desert to the north. Hector suddenly becomes nervous, but the two of them both feel compelled to follow.

With Ulric’s cloak expended for the day, they take chase on Hector’s broom. They see the dragon land in the desert and it begins frantically clawing at the ground. It notices them, and begins flying up towards them.

Ulric, at the insistence of Hildebrand, leaps down towards the dragon, axe raised high. The dragon devours him in one gulp. Both Hector and the dragon land, and a fierce battle ensues. Hector takes a devastating blow that knocks him to the ground. The dragon rears its head back, and opens its mouth, preparing an icy blast at Hector, when it is sliced open from the inside, and Ulric bursts forth.

Ulric’s cloak has reformed its bat wings, despite the fact that it was out of charges. His eyes glow red, and a quick conversation with Hector reveals that the spirit of Hildebrand is controlling him. He flies away to the east, leaving a wounded Hector dying on the dusty ground. At this point, it would take a miracle to save him…

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(Part 4) The Tower in the Forest
There's Only One Way Up... And That's Up.

The next morning, Hector buys a robe covered in eyes and learns that it grants him never-ending sight, even when his eyes are closed. He can also see into a couple of other planes of existence, including the ethereal plane. He notices an invisible dagger stabbed into a table and quickly pockets it.

After leaving the tavern and returning to the streets of Greypaunch, Ulric and Hector reunite with Inaryia. They tell her about their adventures in prison and in the living house, and she tells them about her own discovery: A tower in the forest, filled with necromancers.

On the way to the tower, they all have a particularly interesting encounter with some living trees.

When they arrive at the tower, they quickly make their way to the very top floor using Ulric and his power of flight. In the top room at the very top of the tower, they confront a seemingly powerful necromancer, but they defeat him quickly. In this room Inaryia finds a magic carpet, and Hector finds a magic broom.

They start descending the stairs in the tower and come across several undead monstrosities that were being experimented on and brought to life by the necromancers. They slay them, one after another, until they come upon a couple of flesh golems. During a harrowing fight, Hector finds some loose stitching, and pulls the first golem apart from the seams. After another quick battle, he does the same with the second one.

Descending the tower further, they fight and kill a few more necromancers and find some more treasure. Appeased that they probably aren’t going to discover anything else, they all take to their flying apparatuses and take flight out of the window, back to Greypaunch.

Upon returning to Greypaunch, they find that the magical portal to The Crow’s Taint is no longer there. They enter the building, and find an empty, dilapidated space. Upstairs, they find a slain wizard, wearing a robe similar to the one Hector is wearing, with an ornate dagger in his back. Beside him is a note, scrawled hastily, that only had the name ‘Stanley’ written on it.

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(Part 3) A Literal Dungeon
There's No Place Like Home.

Ulric and Hector hang in shackles deep within Greypaunch Prison when a familiar looking gnome approaches them. The gnome identifies himself as Mako Shartop, the brother of Shako; Mako is the warden of the prison. He tells them that he wants them to pay for messing with his brother, and sentences them to execution in the morning. He says that he wants the satisfaction of killing them himself, and they convince him that they should have a fighting chance. He agrees to a gladitorial battle to the death.

That night, they attempt to escape and fail miserably.

First, Ulric challenges a guard to chug the contents of his bottomless flask (which was in his confiscated goods that the guard was plundering through); the guard does so, and chokes to death on the never-ending whiskey. Hector uses his nimbleness to steal the keys from the guard’s corpse, and they unlock themselves. Another guard enters the room, and attacks the escaping convicts. Ulric kills him with the dead guard’s sword. As another guard approaches, they reshackle themselves and convince the new guard that the two dead guards killed each other in a lover’s quarrel. He bought it, but their escape is ultimately thwarted.

The next morning comes. They are forced to fight armorless, with the choice of one weapon. Ulric chooses Hildebrand, and Hector chooses his rapier. They enter the arena, and are face to face with Mako; he just happens to be riding on the shoulders of a minotaur. A harrowing fight ensues. Eventually, Hector kills the minotaur by ramming his rapier through its chin and into its brain, and Ulric slays the fallen Mako, splitting him in half with his axe.

After the battle, they are approached by a wisened old dwarf, who is none other than Marvin Meadstench, Ulric’s mentor from his youth. Marvin is now a part of the duke’s court, and offers them a full pardon. He tells them to visit him at the castle later in the day.

As they are entering the castle, they meet an irate hooded figure who is leaving. He bumps into Ulric, and Ulric taunts him, leading to a paralyzing blast from his eldritch wand. When Ulric comes to, they inquire with Marvin about the mysterious man, who they learn is Jerry, one of the necromancer apprentices. He was at the castle to discuss alliances with the necromancers, but the duke’s refusal angered him, leading to his outburst. Marvin offers his services for free, improving their weapons with silver and fitting and repairing Hector’s new armor. Hector tells Marvin about his search for his real parents, and Marvin tells him about the old Savage house in the graveyard.

They arrive outside the house and meet the ghost of Hector’s grandfather, who died in the house. He’s unsure of what killed him, and asks them to avenge his death. They enter the house. In one room, they’re attacked by an animated armor, which they kill quickly. They travel upstairs, where Ulric’s attempt to use the toilet leads to a mimic attack. After defeating it, they move on to a bedroom, where they see the burned remains of a skeletal corpse in an otherwise immaculate bed. They notice that everything is well kept in the house, given how long it has been abandoned. In another room, they’re attacked by the reanimated body of someone who died in the house long ago. They defeated him and set his spirit free.

The party notices weirdly that everything in the house seems to be alive. They try to escape through the front door, but it has disappeared. In the cellar, they find a wooden barrel that’s beating like a heart. Feeling like it’s important, Ulric tries to open it with his crowbar, which it quickly absorbs. He decides to bring the barrel with him. They go into the basement, where they find a drain downward into the sewer. They’re attacked by a mummy that Ulric sets on fire with Hildebrand. They kill it, and decide to try to escape through the sewer.

They open the sewer grate, and throw the mummy into the sewer to test how deep it is. When the sewer burps, they figure out that this must be the throat of the house, and Ulric tosses the barrel down into the darkness below. It begins to choke and the woke a house rumbles. They deduce that the whole house is a kind of giant mimic, and rush back upstairs. The front door is back, and they rush out of the door and into the graveyard. The house uproots itself and begins chasing them, but it quickly strangles and falls into rubble.

Hector and Ulric made a living house choke on its own heart, and survived for further adventures.

The ghost thanks them, and tells Hector that he has relatives at Pepperidge Farms, east of Finch. They head back to find an inn for the night and discover that a new location of The Crow’s Snatch has opened. When they enter, they discover that the doorway is a portal into Caldmere’s tavern. Philip Crow explains to them that he has hired a wizard to maintain a portal to increase his business; his bar is busier than it has ever been, and the demand for his new beer is astronomical. They take a room for the night.

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(Part 2) A Day in Greypaunch, the City of Lights
Fort Bastion is a Bastard.

Left to their own devices by their companion Inaryia, Hector and Ulric venture into the city of Greypaunch. They settle into an inn, and while drinking downstairs, hear rumors about necromancers taking residence in the old abandoned Fort Bastion. Hildebrand encourages Ulric with the promise of treasure, and they decide that Fort Bastion will be their next adventure.

The very next day, they head for the fort and enter. Once inside, they encounter a former soldier’s desiccated, reanimated corpse, and battle ensues. They destroy it, and Hector claims its bone-adorned armor as his own. Searching the room, they find a hidden switch in the bookcase that leads them into a treasure room with two chests.

Ulric opens one of the chests and is rewarded with a cloak of the bat, a magical cloak that would allow him to fly. Hector, upon attempting to open the other chest, is attacked by it. It’s a mimic. They kick its ass and move on. They come across a room filled with nothing but spirits (the booze kind) and Ulric begins hoarding as much as he can, and also begins drinking. A lot.

Eventually, they come across a room of bunk beds that are full of sleeping necromancer cultists. Hector spills ball bearings all along the floor, and they wake the cultists up. As the cultists slip and slide around the room and scramble to attack, Ulric and Hector defeat them easily. Ulric captures a couple of them alive, using brutal interrogation methods to find out more about the stronghold.

He finds out that they must pass through a manticore’s chamber. Ulric kills one of the cultists and brings along the other, sacrificing him to the manticore to ensure their safe passage. On the other side of the manticore’s chamber, they come to a kitchen, where they meet a gnome named Gribesh.

Gribesh is chained to the wall next to the store where he’s forced to act as the necromancer’s personal chef. Ulric and Hector free him, and warn him that the manticore is loose in its chamber and that he should wait for them. Gribesh warns them about the dark ritual being performed in the basement.

The two manage to interrupt the ritual in the basement, leading to a violent fight with the leader of the group and several of his henchmen. The fight lasted for a while, but eventually victory is theirs. Hector searches the dead necromancer to find that he is wearing two magical rings: a ring of water walking, and a ring of water breathing. They start to leave the fort, but remember the manticore.

They drag all of the dead necromancers from the basement, and into the manticore’s chamber, hoping to distract him with a fresh meal. The manticore is asleep as this happens, but wakes up as they try to sneak past. A fight breaks out, and using his cloak, Ulric flies high and begins raining down bodies on the manticore. Hector is nearly killed, but Ulric deals the final blow on the beast just in time to stabilize his friend.

They thank Gribesh for his information and Gribesh thanks them for saving him. They leave the fort and go on their separate ways, with Ulric and Hector headed back to the inn for the night. Along the way, they find a magical merchant on the streets of Greypaunch.

The merchant introduces himself as Shako Shartop, and claims that he has the most interesting magical items in all of Mirabilis. They both purchase multiple items from him, including a couple of bags of holding, a portable hole, and a flask that never goes empty. A highly inebriated Ulric thinks that Shall is ripping them off, and tries to shove him into the newly acquired bag. He fails, but he does manage to capture the attention of the city guards, and the two are promptly under arrest.

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(Part 1) Arrival in Mirabilis
A Call to Adventure.

A passenger ship docks in Caldmere on a cool fall night. Many passengers flood out from the ship onto the cobbled streets, but we’re only concerned with three: Ulric Stoutbeard, a brave fighter; Inaryia Moonstar, a wise and kind wizard; and Hector Savage, a shifty but loyal rogue. They instantly begin search for a place to stay for the night, and enter a tavern named Laughing Larry’s.

Hector approaches a miserly dwarf (Alice “Stanley” Stonedigger) at the bar and says, “You must be Laughing Larry.” The dwarf instantly takes offense, and orders him to get of his bar. Ulric threatens him, and Inaryia calms him down. They leave, entering a neighboring tavern known as The Crow’s Snatch. The friendly barkeep, Philip Crow, gives them a room for the night. The conversation turns to the dwarf next door, who Philip reveals is named Alice, and is ashamed of that name.

Philip gives the group a proposal. If they can get the secret recipe to Laughing Larry’s top shelf honey mead, he’ll reward them with gold and a permanent place to stay at his inn. The group decides to use Inaryia to distract Alice, tasking her to lure him into the alley behind the inn so that they can incapacitate him. Inaryia, however, didn’t approve of this plan, and thought of another way.

She sat down at a table with Alice and had a couple of drinks with him. She made him an offer: in exchange for his secret recipe, she would give him a magic ring that would allow him to choose any name he wished. Using her prestidigitation spell, she produced a small ring in her palm. Alice accepted the offer, and an exchange was made. When she left his tavern, the ring vanished from his finger; he thought it had fallen somewhere, and searched frantically to no avail.

Philip Crow awarded each member of the party with a sum of gold and a small coin emblazoned with the image of a crow. Presenting this token at his tavern would grant them free room and board for life. Before continuing where their journey might take them, Ulric decided to stop by the local blacksmith’s shop, a shop with a sign hanging above it that read “Generic Blacksmith Shop.” While most of the weapons in the shop were unremarkable, he saw a beautiful ornate greataxe covered in elven runes and meticulously crafted accents lying on a table in the back of the shop. He asked the blacksmith about it, who told him that the only thing that he really knew about the greataxe is that it was named Hildebrand.

Ulric quickly spent his newly gotten gold on Hildebrand. He quickly regretted this decision, because the god damn axe just wouldn’t shut up. “I’m a wizard”, it said, “and I was trapped in this axe when I tried to fight off a bunch of necromancers who were doing evil stuff. You guys can totally help me.”

Hildebrand told the party that in order to return to full power, a rite would have to be performed using his ashes. His ashes, coincidentally, were conveniently placed in a tomb in Pete Cemetery, located on the road to Greypaunch. In adventuring fashion, it was there that the party went next. They purchased horses, and a dog named Mr. Beefcake, and set off. After a couple of day’s march, they reached the cemetery. They ran into some zombies, which they killed. They ran into some necromancer cultists, which they also killed. They ran into a gibbering mouther, which they defeated after a few close calls.

The party reached the urn of ashes. Following Hildebrand’s guidance, Inaryia blessed the water in her waterskin and mixed it with the ashes, and poured them over the axe, speaking an incantation. Hildebrand quickly burst into flame, and then the flames subsided. Hildebrand’s voice was louder than it ever was. Ulric was irritated by Hildebrand more than ever, and muffled it by wrapping it in cloth before strapping it to his back.

Upon leaving the tomb, Inaryia left the group to meditate on her own in the forest, and the other two left for Greypaunch. They reached the gate as night fell.

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