Session date: Monday, May 23, 2016
Game date: Tuesday, October 23, 208 to Friday, November 15, 208
Gulleck Stonefoot, Dwarf 4, hp 23, xp 9402/17000
Caryatid, Magic-user 4, hp 19, xp 11035/20000
Manley "Meat" Smythe, Fighter 2, hp 13, xp 3132/4000
This session was all about planning and executing the long voyage home to the city of Idalium. Khrisong the acolyte from the monastery had originally planned to travel with the party to Idalium, but he was recognized and welcomed in the village, and he made plans with some of the villagers to rebuild the monastery and its order, and gratefully parted ways with the adventurers.
There was still some dissession in the party regarding what to do with Brother Guntur's body. Some members would have been happy to bury him here in the village, but when Father Jibber was asked his feelings on the matter, he seemed to feel rather strongly that Brother Guntur should be returned to his fellow devotees of the Great Church of Idalium, and so the party went to extraordinary lengths to commission an elaborate contraption: a coffin for Brother Guntur, impregnated with melted wax to make it watertight and, more importantly, smell-proof, as the journey was long. As long as they were building a custom-designed coffin, an idea was hatched to build a sort of cart under it, to put the coffin on two large wheels to make it easier to transport through the mountain passes. This came at not insignificant expense to the party: over a thousand silver shekels were spent to build this contraption.
Meanwhile, Caryatid found a tailor in the village to make a tiny red fez for her pet monkey, which was constantly perched on her shoulder and whom she had named Marcel [yes, our game is full of these kinds of jokes].
And so, with Brother Guntur's rolling coffin constructed and everyone reprovisioned for the long journey, the adventurers set out again, with Grimbo Shimspall the hobbit ranger leading them. They had briefly considered attempting to travel through the wilderness directly to the port town of Trobadanz, but eventually decided it would be a safer (if longer) trip if they
simply backtracked to the monastery and then to the citadel of the dwarves and then on to Trobadanz.
They ran into trouble on the very first day of their travels. I use the Expert book wilderness encounter tables, whichs means just about anything can be encountered. And while trundling Brother Guntur's "wheelcoffin" through a rocky mountain pass, the adventurers were horrified to see the awesome and bonechilling sight of four red dragons fly overhead. Two were smaller and seemed to be children, and they flew into a cave in the side of the mountain, but the other two wheeled around in the sky and swooped towards the party again.
There was a sudden scramble. People abandoned their horses to leap into the cover of a gully full of bushes and trees. Brother Guntur's coffin rolled recklessly into the gully, his body thumping around unceremoniously inside.
Then there was a roar of wind and a buffetting wave of heat, and the scream of a horse. A flapping of wings. And when the adventurers peeked out from the bushes, they saw that Caryatid's horse was gone, and the grass where it had been still singed and smoking. The party rounded up the other horses and quickly as they could, and put as much distance as they could between them and the dragons' cave before camping for the night.
On the third day they passed the abbey, abandoned now on the top of its hill, and turned to follow the faint trail back to the dwarven citadel. On the fourth day, the party was minding its own business when from out of nowhere a boulder came hurtling through the air, slamming into the side of the head of Tod's horse, killing it instantly. Tod barely managed to leap off his horse as it fell. Everyone turned to look where the rock had come from and saw a trio of enormous men: almost twenty feet tall, with stony gray flesh. The giants guffawed at the adventurers' horrified faces, and weighed more boulders in their hands.
Nobody thought twice about this. They fled. Those on horseback spurred their horses to the fastest they could safely go on the rocky trail, and those on foot ran as fast as they could. Poor Brother Guntur and his very expensive customized coffin were abandoned here in this mountain pass, and the cruel laughter of the stone giants echoed over and over again off the mountain peaks as the adventurers ran at breakneck pace down the trail.
And that was the ignoble end of Brother Guntur's story.
The rest of the journey to the dwarven citadel was generally uneventful, although at one point they were attacked by three giant hawks ("They're coming back for Simon!" someone quipped). Caryatid tangled the wings of one hawk in the strands of her magical web, and then Gulleck used his magic ring to control another hawk and fly it right into the webbed one. They left the two hawks tangled up in the inescapable sticky silk and continued on their way.
The party arrived at the dwarven citadel and spent a night there, restocking some provisions, and then left the next morning, and made good time to Trobadanz, arriving without peril three days later. Grimbo bade them farewell, and they booked rooms for the night at the Grizzled Harpy, where they had first met Grimbo at the beginning of this wilderness adventuring.
Heading down to the harbor the next day, the party made inquiries as to whether the Black Marigold was still in dock. I gave them a 1 in 4 chance that she would be, and fate was for once kind to the players, and Captain Lauren Kerr was still in town, making ready to leave in a few days. She was happy to sell the party passage on her ship, and on Monday, November 11th, the Black Marigold set sail from Trobadanz, heading west along the coast of the sea back towards Idalium. The winds were strong and favorable, and on November 15th, after a sea voyage of 450 miles, the smoking chimneys and spires of Idalium came into view, and soon they were once again in the harbor of the river that runs through the city.
Soon there would be time for returning the holy lantern to the Great Church, and for visiting the Rusty Lantern tavern to see what changes might have happened in the dungeon below Idalium in their absence. But for now, the adventurers made their way to their respective apartments and houses for a well-deserved rest. It was good to be home!