Third Session – Dec 18
Players: Eric, Sam, Jimmy, Nate K, Chris
Characters: Byrtha (Jethro), Irvig, Kray-Lock, Fox, Professor
Play time: 3.5 hours
The quest for the Fate of Gnomos resumed with the triumph over the slaver bandits of the desert and the return of our heroes to the nearby oasis home of the She’Hon nomadic tribe. Along the way, a few more captured prisoners and slaves joined our party of adventurers: Byrtha, the half-elf ranger whose quest to understand nature and his limits of reproduction have garnered him expertise; Irvig, a half-orch monk with a mysterious past; and Kray-lock, a war-priest whose memory is limited by a head injury sustained upon his capture.
With their arrival back to the oasis, these three, coupled with Fox the Priest of Light and the unhinged Professor were met with congratulation and reward by the tribe’s leader, Vetka. Vetka explained to our heroes that the desert was vast- too vast to ever warrant their secluded tribe to depart from its reaches. He could not guide our heroes outside its limits, but he did gladly agree to escort our cohort on the long trek to its border. Upon arrival at the desert’s mountainous edge, he provided three things: a medallion, a word of caution and precise directions to the city closest to the desert’s border. He wished our party well and departed.
With Fox’s keen navigational instincts, Byrtha’s ranger expertise and despite the Professor’s absent-minded inattention to anything other than his scroll of written directions, the group found the mysterious hand-shapen rock carved from a cliff-face and the statue perched underneath; this was the destination of which Vetka spoke!
Once they arrived, the professor spoke the secret words Vetka provided; the statue opened, and a cachectic dwarven man with a shillelagh emerged! The party quickly learned he was the gatekeeper to an ancient, hidden city beneath the mountain named Helmaerh. With his shillelagh, the gatekeeper cast a peculiar spell of stone-melding, and our cadre was able to walk straight into the cliff-face and through its thick, rock walls without a door. When they rematerialized on the other side, they were awed by the sight of a high, expansive stone dome glowing with bioluminescent flora and under which a city thrived. They approached the city, but briefly stopped in a camp of traders and merchants along the trail. They learned in this camp that Helmaerh was an ancient dwarven city of a magical dwarven sect who worship Milora. This sect extends hospitality to its visitors, so long as they respect the customs and religious laws of the land.
Our heroes next visited a tavern named the Glowey-Hole, where a glowing liquid liquor was served from a natural spring waterfall. While Fox and the Professor chatted with some clergymen found there, Kray-lock eyed the joint for unbelievers who needed “evangelism”. He found none who provoked his “gospel”, but drank straight from the glowey-hole instead, challenging Fox to a drinking contest. Kray-lock was declared winner by no-contest default and after this night of revelry, the party sought rest.
The next morning, the heroes awoke and began exploring the wondrous city further. Each member split up and investigated separate parts of the town. Fox discovered that two miners of the Kena mining clan had died in a suspicious cave-in. He learned that the centuries-old mines were managed and mined by 4 clans: Kena, Anto, Esse and Bem. Fox also learned that a death of this nature hasn’t occurred in several hundreds of years. When Fox visited the family of late Ennett, they informed him that although this death was a strange one, they were not concerned of any foul play. In a gracious offer of mourning, Fox requested to visit the site of Ennett’s death in the mines, however, the family could only give Fox the names of Ennett’s two closest friends who were with him at the time of his death, Sable and Amuld.
Meanwhile, Byrtha and Irvig investigated the shrine of Milora and spoke with several clergy members there, learning some more of their peculiar religious customs. The Helmaerhans revere the High Shaman as a religious figure and politically. When inquiring about the religious practices of grief, Irvig and Byrtha learned that the Helmaerhans recycle their dead in the mining process.
The Professor investigated the town’s principal resource- the Transmogrifier. He learned on a guided tour that this magical instrument could receive matter from the mines and transmogrify it into any resource which was required by the city with only a handful of reagents, such as gems.
When Irvig, Byrtha arrived astounded by the news that the dead were being recycled, a strange event occurred outside the Transmogrifier. A large crowd gathered on the path around two corpses. Fox sprung to action immediately, and using a prayer of light was able to catch one of the two souls hurdling toward oblivion and reincorporate it. With more first aid from the rest of the party, this man regained consciousness and introduced himself as Sable. A bystander explained that Sable had bashed in the skulls of his friend (Maklah) and then himself. The Professor was able to identify an aura of arcane beguilery surrounding Sable as he explained that he could not remember what happened. Two strange men surrounded by a similar aura appeared and carried him toward the mines, suggesting that everything was alright now and that we should go to visit The Gather. Fox agreed since he learned Ennett and Sable’s other friend, Amuld, would be there.
At The Gather, our heroes witnessed the arena sport local to Helmaerh known as Khadma (which loosely translates to “toad-wrangling”). They watched a few matches to learn the game before Irvig lost his patience and dove in for himself! Professor and Byrtha both wagered on his victory while Fox and Kray-lock searched for Amuld. Irvig was evidently a quick study; he bested the giant toad despite being swallowed whole early in the match by incapacitating it with several graceful and forceful blows.
Were the deaths of Maklah and Ennett mere coincidence? Will more toads get the shit kicked out of them? Will our heroes discover hidden forces at work in Helmaerh?
One thing can be certain: The quest for the Fate of Gnomos will continue!