28
Aug
12

D&D: Elderyn – Act 2: Session 10

ACT 2: SESSION 10
PREVIOUS: ACT 2: SESSION 9
NEXT: ACT 2: SESSION 11

In the back room of the Hammersmiths political office, the dwarven political candidate, Maglynn Ironshard, greated the party before getting down to business. “As Marley mentioned, with the election coming up we need to secure our victory. Despite the Kor’Kron’s draconian rule, they have the resources and support to ensure another election win if we don’t do something. Some have questioned the connection between the Ironshards and the Hammersmiths and the greatness we have in our blood. Elections here have become contests of ancestry more than political views. We need to prove our history.”

Pulling down an old, rolled parchment, Maglynn unrolled it on the table so the party could see. “Records of the great Paragons that make up our blood line have been conveniently lost since the Kor’Kron’s took office some thirty years ago. But records still exist in the Citadel of Kaga’Chik, here.” She pointed to a spot on the old parchment, a map of the underground dwarven tunnels and cities. “Kag’Chik served as the communal burial grounds for our revered dead, the dwarven Paragons. You must go there and find the tomb of the Paragon Bronze Spear. Return with the Seal of the Bronze Spears and proof of his lineage and and relation to the Hammersmiths and Clan Ironshard. With that we will secure the election and we will then be able to help you with your quest, help you to find this artifact you believe has come to Erberek.”

If it wasn’t apparent before, the dwarven culture in Erberek was shamelessly ripped off from Dragon Age: Origins, including the use of Paragons as ancestors, the lost underground Deep Roads, etc. This let me knock out prep much more quickly, since I didn’t need to write a bunch of background. I don’t believe any of my players had played the game, so they probably didn’t even notice.

The party agreed to her terms, gathered new supplies and then set off for the undercity. Maglynn’s men had told them that the old tunnels had been closed off after the other dwarven citadels had been lost thousands of years ago, but there was an entrance that had been accidentally reopened by the classless in the lower caves. No living dwarves knew what dangers still lay in wait in the old cities, only that their ancestors had abandoned them and fled before some terrible force.

Traveling through the dark tunnels, illuminated only by torch light, Clotor mused on the stories of Shath Helath, remembering that Father Opdrop’s book made mention of Shath Helath’s visit to the dwarven lands. While they made camp that day, she flipped through the old book until she found the page and read it aloud to the rest of the party.

The story told of Shath Helath’s visit to the very Citadel of Kaga’Chik. He came to celebrate the death of an old friend he had met in his travels, a dwarven hero who was to be honored as a Paragon. Shath Helath came and celebrated his friend’s life for several weeks, enjoying the then famous hospitality of the dwarves, their delcious feasts for the dead and competing in their games and competitions held for the honored dead. At the end of the celebration, the dwarves gave Shath Helath a silver dagger from the dwarven hero’s own arsenal. The dragonborn greatly respected the gift and valued it, keeping it with him until the end of his days.

Traveling a second day, Harold began to wonder about the magical lamps lining the halls. None seemed to function any more, but neither did they show signs of conventional fuel having been used and they bore magical runes. Tracing the magical lay lines, he was eventually able to find a secret room that housed a power crystal. Completing a restorative ritual, Harold was able to recharge the magic crystals, repowering the light network in the section of tunnels they traveled. The added light made travel faster and they closed quickly with their destination.

This was created entirely on the fly at the prodding of my players. I described the magical brazers as setting fluff, but the players were intrigued enough to investigate further, thinking that they might be able to save themselves a bit of time and work traveling underground. The D&D challenge system made it easy to quickly whip something together on the fly, using a guesstimated Difficulty Check and complexity testing skills that seemed reasonable.

On the third day of travel, the party entered tunnels which showed much more significant signs of damage and wear. In places, the walls were partially collapsed in and the massive paving stones lining the floor had been pushed or smashed aside from underneath. Moving forward cautiously, they hear scratching sounds seemingly coming from the walls themselves. As they stop, the exposed dirt in the walls and floor began to shudder and move as creatures burrowed out of the ground and into the hall.

The creatures were insect like, but as big as horses. Hard, chitinous armor protected their body and came to sharp digging points at the ends of their limbs. Harold recognized the creatures immediately as the Kruthik, an ancient, burrowing creature said to live in only the deepest caves and hunting only by sound. With an angry hiss, the creatures attacked.

Clotor bellowed as she charged forward to meet the largest of the creatures while Scorage fell to the rear to protect the party from those that had surrounded them. As Harold unleashed a blast of acid from his hands, the ground shook next to him and Nedda. A second creature tore out of the ground before the wizard, but Nedda’s blades flew sharp and fast as she tore into the creature.

Just as quickly as it began, the creatures were dead and, with the exception of their heavy breathing, silence returned to the tunnels. Once their wounds are dressed, Harold tells the party what he knows of the Kruthik. Hive like, insect creatures from deep in the earth, he suspects they are at least some of the Creatures of the Deep that dwarven legend speak of as driving the dwarves from many of their underground cities over the last thousand years.

Continuing on carefully, they finally find the grand entrance to the Citadel of Kaga’Chik. The large, underground cavern the city is built into has fallen into disrepair over the hundreds of years since dwarves last tread there, but the grandeur and majesty of the old city is not lost on them. Signs of the Kruthik, however, are everywhere. More disturbingly, some very large burrowed holes exist in the old rock showing signs of incredibly large creatures attacking the city. Fortunately, there are few signs of any actual Kruthik still hanging around.

We never explored the back story of what had gone on with the ancient Dwarven Citadels, but my notion had been that the dwarves had been slowly pushed out of them over the last thousand years or so by various creatures. Obviously, the Kruthik had been the attackers in the Citadel of Kaga’Chik, though the forces they were encountering now were much smaller remnants of the creatures that had attacked them a few hundred years prior.

As they wind their way through the city, they eventually approach a long, stone bridge that leads to massive stone doors, the burial hall of the Paragons. Clicking along outside the doors, a small group of Kruthik pick through the moss and growth that has crept over the stone work, looking for edibles. Sneaking as close as they dare, the party springs a surprise attack. Nedda and Scourage let loose a volley from their crossbows while Harold conjures a maelstrom of magic. Clotor positions herself in the center of the bridge, ready to meet the Kruthik charge head on.

One of the insectoid creatures went down under the withering fire before it could even turn. A second fell to the stones as it charged towards Clotor. As the third finally reached her, Clotor belched a blast of acid that engulfed several of the creatures and then side stepped and drove her longsword through the leading Kruthik.

With ease, the party eliminated the remaining creatures. Catching their breath, they gazed up at the large, intricately carved, stone doors that marked the burial chambers.

PREVIOUS: ACT 2: SESSION 9
NEXT: ACT 2: SESSION 11
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