The Rising Mountains

Jail Break

Bjorn woke to the muffled sound of drum beats echoing through the earth. He was in a small cell with a wooden door that was barred from the outside. Sharing his cell was Marlowe, who had also been captured by the Hobgoblins.

As Mith, Edris, and Haepha made their way down the stairs into the Hobgoblin stronghold, they could hear drumbeats continue, and the commotion of the Hobgoblins mustering. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, they found that the passageway split – to the left were the continuing sounds of the Hobgoblins, but there was another hallway to the right. They took this right most hallway, which quickly took a left turn – and showed them a short stretch of hallway that ended in an open door, out of which advanced 4 Hobgoblin guards, two with spears and shields, and two with crossbows. Haepha charged the soldiers, while Edris took aim with his bow. Mithraelyn attempted to call on the spirits of the earth to attack one of the crossbowmen. She succeeded, but the spirit’s power caused some of her medicinal herbs to sprout and grow rapidly, quickly choking the hallway with greenery and making the fighting difficult.

In the cell, Bjorn and Marlow heard the sounds of the fight. Recognizing the voices of his companions…his hired help, Bjorn had a brief conversation with Marlowe as to the feasibility of breaking down the door. Quickly determining that neither of them were strong enough to make the attempt, Bjorn called on Babylon the 4th for a miracle – a miracle which arrived in the form of a body that the hobgoblins had killed. Animated by Bjorn’s spell, the body lifted the bar on the door, and Marlowe and Bjorn rushed out to confront their captors.

Meanwhile, in the hallway, the fight was not going as well as the adventurers might have hoped. While Haepha was handling her foe, Mith found herself threatened by the other warriors. Edris lept into the fray to help her with some impressive acrobatics, but in the end was knocked to the floor and battered by the other spearmen. With his ankle badly hurt (and possibly broken), he attempted to back away from his attacker.

In the guardroom, Marlowe and Bjorn rushed in, finding two more guards gathering weapons to join their companions. Marlowe swiftly grabbed up his rapier and rushed forward, skewering one of the hobgoblins in the back. Injured but not yet down, the hobgoblin spun to duel with him. Bjorn, meanwhile, cast a spell of Fear on the other hobgoblin’s spear, causing him to shriek and throw the weapon – and leaving it embedded in the wall just inches from Bjorn’s head. Bjorn found himself pinned behind a table as the hobgoblin continued to attack him – avoiding the spear.

In the hallway, Haepha and Mithraelyn came to Edris’ aid, crushing the hobgoblin that threatened him. Marlowe similarly came to Bjorn’s aid, attempting to finish of his foe. The three warriors in the hallway drove their attackers into the guard room, where the five adventurers together finished off the hobgoblins.

After a brief reunion and some healing spells, the party considered what to do. The pounding of drums still came from corridor, and the sounds of the mustering hobgoblins came closer. As the party turned to return the way they came, a large force of hobgoblins came around the corner and began to advance towards them. Bjorn sent his zombie towards the attackers, and had it set itself on fire as it moved into the front ranks. The confusion this caused temporarily halted the hobgoblin advance, but the party was cut off from their exit, with a hobgoblin army advancing towards them, and behind them the unexplored chambers in which the goblins held their prisoners…

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Abducted Dwarf

The next morning, Mithralyn, Haepha, and Edris awoke to find Bjorn had disappeared in the night. Searching for tracks, Edris discovered that he had gone off by himself in the direction of the monastery, leaving behind everything that he was not carrying on him. At the foot of the valley, a group of hobgoblins had formed up around him and taken him away. While unable to determine why he had left the camp, the group nonetheless determined that he had been captured, and followed the trail across the valley.

The party made their way through the wooded paths on the hill, avoiding any hobgoblin patrols or cultists that may have been there. As they crested a small ridge on the hill, they saw a small glint, like light off of windows, to the southwest, but decided that rescuing their companion was their primary goal. Leaving the ponies in a meadow at the foot of the path to the monastery, they sneaked around to the back of the outer wall. They found a breach in the wall that they widened, and they slipped into a small courtyard hidden at the back of the monastery. Within the courtyard was a small spring, which seemed to be enchanted in some way. The group then made their way through the secret door from this courtyard into the monastery proper. There they found some hobgoblin guards, which they dealt with quickly. The noise of the fight, however, alerted an ogre that lived in a room on the ground floor of the monastery. There was a tough fight, which ended when Mithralyn transformed into a being of rock and earth, and crushed the ogre against the end wall of the hallway. The noise of this, however, apparently alerted the hobgoblins as a whole – as the party peered into a stairway leading down beneath the monastery, they could hear the pounding of drums below, calling the warriors to arms.

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Ghouls and Goblins

Upon reaching the town, the group rested and resupplied. Pine Rhim was a small community that mostly fished and did some logging, and were not entirely prepared for Bjorn’s religious devotions (also known as “a massive bender”). However, not everything was fine in the town. A few of the townsfolk had gone missing, including Aelith, a local merchant. One local believed that if the town worshipped a new god, they could be protected from whatever was causing the trouble. The party volunteered (or, possibly, Edris and Haepha volunteered) to track down the people who were disappearing.

Following some tracks from Aelith’s store through the forest, they found a cliff with a leering, monstrous face carved into it. There, they were attacked by a group of men in robes. However, as the battled was joined, not all of the robed figures turned out to be men. Two of them, were in fact, dead – and risen as ghouls. After a tough fight (which included some jumping from tree-tops to the cliff, and a few nasty bites from the ghouls), the heroes were victorious. They discovered that one of the men in robes was the worshipper of the new god, Moloch. Apparently a cult of this god of death and pestilence were abducting people in an attempt to trick the village into accepting their religion. They were also able to rescue one of the missing hunters – but Aelith was still missing.

Edris, Haepha, and Mith prepared to continue tracking the cultists who had led off the elder, while Bjorn would take the defeated cultist and the injured hunter back to town to warn the people of Pine Rhim. After delivering his news, Bjorn followed the trail of his fellow adventurers. However, he was set upon by a pair of Hobgoblins. Luckily, his sturdy pony was apparently battle-trained, as Bjorn managed to ride over them and kill them.

Meanwhile, the others had followed the trail until it reached the entrance to a pass into the mountains. The pass was blocked by a palisade, guarded by more hobgoblins. Apparently, the hobgoblins were in league with the cultists. Waiting until Bjorn caught up with them, the group assaulted the palisade.

What followed was a massive battle. While Edris landed shots on the defenders from a distance, Haepha charged the palisade, pulling down the hobgoblins who attempted to fend her off with spears. Mith used her ability to shift forms to get around the back side of the palisade and prevent the hobgoblins from sending for reinforcements, while Bjorn animated the bodies of the goblin dead to fight at his side. In the end, with the palisade on fire, the hobgoblin defense was broken. During the fight, however, Bjorn felt a chill pass over him as he cast a spell, and a sensation of being watched.

The party made their way up the pass into the mountains. After several switchbacks, they made their way to the top of the pass, and looked out across a small valley. At the far side of the valley, atop a wooded hill, they could make out a large, low building – a monastery of some sort. The party chose to camp for the night and treat their wounds, so that they could be fresh before dealing with what lay in the valley.

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The Cold Room

The party rests in tomb of the king. As the night wears on, Edris takes his time on watch to read some of the legends and stories of Lann the Lucky, one of the gods that the king and his tribe worshipped. Edris is impressed by the story of this trickster, who stole the sun and returned light to his people, and eventually chooses to carve a symbol of the god to keep with him.

When the adventurers wake up, they listen for any movement of the Draugr or Goblins outside the cave, and scour the tomb for anything that they might be able to use. One corner of the cave has stream running in, and the little bit of air leaking in from the crack that it flowed into at the other end of the chamber was deathly cold. Other than that, the runes surrounding the king’s coffin are still whole. The group chooses not to deface those runes, trusting in them to keep the king’s body safe while they deal with whatever is causing the problem.

Leaving the king’s tomb, the party finds that hallway where the fought the Draugr and the shadow to be eerily quiet. Continuing back the way they came, they come across a lone goblin warrior. Though initially terrified, when they don’t immediately attack him, he tells them what he knows about what happened in the caverns over the night. The goblins are in disarray, their tribal shaman opened up some passageways below the level they are currently on, and went into the passageways. When he came out, he killed the goblin chieftain, and took over, telling the tribe that they had to open up the passageways more, and excavate deeper into those tunnels. Those who tried to stay loyal to the chieftain or oppose the wishes of the shaman have been killed or scattered throughout the tunnels.

The goblin warrior showed them where the shaman and his minions were excavating. He also agreed to take what was left of the tribe that were NOT working with the shaman and vacate the caverns. Heartened by his interactions with the elves and dwarf, he agreed to try to make peaceful contact with the nearby town of Pine Rhim, to see if they could arrange a reasonable living arrangement, as his people had been driven out of their previous home region by a stronger, more organized tribe.

The heroes delved into the passageways beneath the burial chambers. These caverns were mostly natural, worn by water and opened up by the recent earthquakes. There was one massive cavern, split by a chasm, with a narrow rock spur that led across the chasm. There they were attacked by more shadows, this time taking the form of some sort of bird or bat shapes. On the other side of the chasm, some goblins took shots at them as they tried to fight off the shadow shapes. Mithralyn took the form of a giant eagle, swooping across the cavern to fight the shadows. The adventurers crossed the chasm, and headed further down into the passageways that the goblins were trying to open up. There, they found the goblin shaman, standing over an opening that his goblins had opened in the floor. They fought against him, as he used strange cold and shadow based magics against him. After defeating him, they peered down into the chamber below.

The chamber was the source of all of the cold. Within the chamber was a deep well, narrow and dark, that they could not see into. Deducing that this was the source of the magic that was animating the Draugr and that had possessed the goblin shaman. Mith was lowered into the chamber, where she used a stone lid from one of the tombs, carved with protective runes, to cap the well. As she capped the well, her one arm slipped and touched the well, turning it the white color of a frozen corpse. After hauling her back up, Edris and Bjorn enlisted Haepha’s help to re-channel the stream that was flowing into the tunnel from the tomb above. They redirected it into the chamber with the capped well, where the water froze instantly. Over a relatively short time, it would freeze the entire chamber into a solid block of ice, making it difficult for someone to get in and uncap the well.

With the dark magic that was corrupting the tombs locked away, at least for now, the party made their way out of the caverns. They found an exit high on the side of a hill, from which they could see Pine Rhim across the valley. They made their way through the woods in the late afternoon light to the town.

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The Caverns of the Draugr

Bjorn lights up his holy symbol, and the party ventures into the opening at the back of the cave where they had set camp. Continuing on into the caverns beneath the hills, the party finds themselves in some sort of tomb for the tribe of humans who used to live in this area. However, some of the bodies have been reanimated as malevolent undead whose touch is chilling cold.

In the first burial chamber, the team discovers that Bjorn can call upon his deity to repel the undead, which allows them to make quick work of the frozen corpses. However, the delay while Bjorn insists on performing proper burial rites turns out to be dangerous, as they are attacked by a group of goblins. Clearly, the goblin tribe has also discovered these tunnels!

Haepha and Edris fight off the goblins, while Mithraelyn turns into a Bullette and pulls some of them under the dirt. Bjorn finally finishes his rites, and they continue on their way.

As they continue to explore the burial chambers, they realize that some of the niches are carved with runes, and that the corpses in those niches are still at rest. They quickly determine that whatever is raising the corpses, the runes are somehow preventing it. Also, in one of the chambers, Haepha finds a sword, somehow untarnished or blemished by the years it has spent under the hills.

Continuing down the main hallway, they discover a break where one part of the hallway is a good 10 feet lower than the rest. Clearly, these burial chambers and passageways were opened to the surface by some sort of earthquake or seismic activity. They continue from chamber to chamber, destroying the undead when they find them, and occasionally skirmishing with the goblins. At one, point, they run into a concerted group of goblins and are driven back by them, turning and taking another passageway.

Heading down this side passageway they discover a tunnel that was clearly not part of the original construction. It appears to have been clawed out of the earth and stone by the skeletal hands of the corpses! Following it down, they find themselves in a short passageway that ends at a massive set of doors, covered in runes. Some of the undead are attempting to chip away at the ruins covering the door, even though the touch seems to hurt them. As the party enters the hallway, however, another number of the creatures turn and advances towards them to attack!

What follows is a desperate fight in the confines of the underground hallway. As Haepha batters aside the animated corpses, Edris proceeds to fire flaming arrows down the corridor at the undead who are still attempting to enter the far chamber. Bjorn attempts to drive back the undead with his holy power, but a strange, mobile shadow steps forth from the wall of the cave and attacks him! Something has apparently noticed his efforts, and sent a hunter after him!

The light from BJorn’s holy symbol is quenched by the shadow, as it drives him back against a wall, wounding him. Mith turns into a wolf, and howls, calling to the wolves that serve the goblin tribe to her aid. With the only light being the flickering fire arrows that Edris continues to fire down the corrider, Haepha pushes her way through the undead to Bjorn’s aid, taking a number of injuries in the process. She takes a rune carved piece of stone that had been used as a protective amulet, wraps the chain around her fist, and proceeds to punch the shadow assailant. Now able to return to his feet, Bjorn cast a healing spell to help, and the party finally succeeds in driving off the undead.

Wounded and exhausted, the adventurers stumble into the chamber at the end of the hallway and shut the doors behind them. Inside, they find the tomb of a chieftain or king. Bjorn finds a rune carved shield that he takes with them, as well as carvings around the room describing the deeds of the king and his champions. It was believe that all would return someday to save their people. This is the only reason their bodies were not cremated which is what was normally done to protect the bodies from being possessed by the “spirits of cold and dark” who ruled the world before “Lann the Lucky stole the sun and banished the winter.” The bodies that were possessed by these spirits became walking corpses known as Draugr.

With a name and the beginnings of an idea as to what happened here, the party decides to use the safety provided by the rune carved chamber to rest and prepare for further ventures into the tombs. They prepare camp, and attempt to sleep, knowing that the morning would mean fighting both undead and goblins, and trying to stop some sort of ancient spirits.

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And so we begin...

The characters start journeying towards small logging camp, the last bastion of civilization before the mountains. They have been traveling for days at this point, and have started to get to know each other.

As the party journeys along the path, they encounter their first real obstacle: the river has washed out the road, leaving them stuck either crossing the river, or trying to force their way through the brush on the eastern bank. After some discussion (well, bickering), they decide to cross the river. Edris has his eagle, Waylon, fly across the river with a rope. Mithralyn changes into a bear and quickly crosses the river as well, then ties the rope to a tree. Edris nimbly crosses the rope, while Bjorn carefully pulls himself along, nearly slipping into the water at one point (and, unfortunately, getting his robes wet). Haepha, on the other hand, forgoes the rope and forces her way through the brush until she finds a shallower spot upstream. She manages to ford the river, but complains about the cold and the fact that her desert silks are getting wet.

As the rest of the group moves to catch up to their favorite barbarian, she runs into a little bit of trouble. She is ambushed by goblins, and while trying to avoid their attack, narrowly avoids a trap that was left along the path. Mithralyn, Edris, and Haepha quickly spring to counter-attack the goblins, with Mith and Edris dispatching some. Haepha, however, attempts to pick up the antler-covered log from the trap that she triggered (it was set to swing down across the path and hit someone) and discovers that the antlers have also been coated in some sort of poison. She begins to feel woozy.

Around this time Bjorn catches up with them, and, using his knowledge of Goblins (gleaned mostly from them often being servants in his homeland) he attempts to parley with the ambushers. Nervous about the obvious might of the party, the Goblins say that they will cease their attack and let the adventurers depart in peace, if the party will cross back over to the other side of the river and leave the newly-settled goblin tribe alone.

Bjorn, unfortunately, turns down the opportunity to resolve the situation peacefully.

…“but that river is COLD!”

The fight continues, with Bjorn taking several arrows to the torso. However, Mith, Edris, and Haepha are able to drive the Goblins away. Bjorn drinks his healing potion, the last of the “holy liquor” that he brought with him from his homeland.

The adventurers press on, wanting to get away from the site of the ambush quickly. As dusk nears, they find a decent sized cave in the hills nearby. Setting a watch and patching their wounds, they swiftly settle in to camp.

They are awoken in the early hours of the morning, however, by a strange scratching noise, and then the shifting of rocks in the back of the cave. They quickly move back in to the cave, and discover that a desiccated, withered arm has thrust its way through a hole in the rock, and is beginning to shove loose stones out of the way, as something is trying to push its way in to the chamber. Haepha quickly grabs the arm (noting that it is very cold to the touch) and proceeds to use it to pull the body on the other side against the rocks several times, and finally breaking the rock wall and pulling it in to the chamber. The creature appears to be a dried-out, almost mummified corpse, that seems to almost radiate cold. And, until Haepha crushed it against the rock, it was moving.

Looking into the opening the creature came from, they see that it is a narrow passage, possibly partially opened up by one of the earthquakes that sometimes move through the region. Also, they can see scratches, as if from fingernails, around the edges of the opening. It looks like this creature has been at this for a while, possibly months or years. Curious about this strange apparition, they decide to investigate further. Edris sends Waylon to hunt, and then the party descends in to the darkness at the back of the cave.

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Travel Log
Summary and Log of Travels

This section is a summary of sessions for The Rising Mountains, a game of exploration and adventure.

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