Monday, 25 June 2012

Killer Shrews and the Temple of the Toad

"Let slip the shrews of war!" - Osric unleashing what can only be described as a shrewball (12d6 of pain)
What has Osric unleashed?
The heroes were ushered into the chambers of the great sage. Ugh had paid handsomely for the opportunity to ask the wise one about the location of a potent magical artifact that would increase his strength exponentially.  While somewhat forgetful the sage told them, in a rather long-winded fashion, that a hero called Gargantor had led a band of adventurers into the mountains seeking a long forgotten ruined temple to a toad devil. Gargantor had been born into a noble family. He had been absent so long that he and his companions were presumed dead. His family offered a reward of their son’s equipment for the return of his body. Fortuitously the sage had a map to the temple. Milgos pestered the sage for spells but got short shrift. Before leaving the city Osric picked up his trained attack shrews and Ugh dropped in to the local kennels and was relieved to find an war dog for sale. The hound was of the Molossus breed and paled in comparison to his loyal companion Fang II. However the dog was the best animal on offer and so he was purchased.
The Sage.
The map they had acquired suggested that there were three entrances to the temple in which Gargantor was said to have perished. Of these entrances they selected the one that looked like a rear entrance. They followed a sparse mountain trail till they arrived at a menhir shaped like a squatting toad. Osric and Ugh muscled it aside and descended a ruinous stone ladder. While the warriors set about creating harnesses to allow their animals to descend, Milgos scouted ahead.
Verbeeg are easily fooled.
Milgos, the dark elf trapped in a human’s body, crept ahead and soon discovered a family of ogre like creatures known as Verbeeg huddled around a campfire. He listened to their conversation learning that the injured Verbeeg male had been deposed as leader of his clan and exiled. Milgos decided to use his tried and true method of dealing with the mentally deficient humanoids with which he often dealt. “I am your god!” He used his magic to conjure a voice from the air. “You will be visited by some hero’s who will be led by a half orc with a dog. They will lead you to right the wrongs that have been committed against you. You will once again lead your clan. Help the orc and his friends and you help yourself.” It was then that Milgos’ attention was drawn to a rotting figure hanging from the ceiling. A withered husk, probably a human. He lost concentration, his spell ended, and he experienced the terrifying vision of being suspended above the ground while devil toads leapt, clawed and bit him. As quickly as the painful vision had arrived it left, leaving the elf shaken.

Ugh clanked into the room his mighty Molossus slavering at his side. After some discussion the Verbeeg agreed to assist and guide the group, leading them to a treacherous shaman and the new chief. The youngest Verbeeg led the way through the corridors till they arrived at a tree filled hall who's dome like roof was open to the sky.

Hill giants are no match for our heroes.
Milgos served as a scout and again he stumbled across some slow humanoids, this time hill giants. “This is your god!” He shouted feeling safe thanks to the invisibility granted by his magic ring. The giants seemed bewildered and rambled on about him not being a real god because he wasn’t trapped in a stone like the Verbeeg's deity. Milgos had the god promise them beer and the giants grudgingly agreed to hear what the humans, the god had asked them to trust, had to say. The ex Verbeeg clan chieftain stepped up and tried to convince the hill giants to aid them. The hill giants refused and a fight started. The towering brutes had foolishly overestimated their ability and were swiftly dispatched. The highlight of the skirmish was one of the large folk disappearing beneath a giant shrew swarm. Those blind critters are viscous. 

Sadly earlier in exploring the dungeon the shrews had run riot, ignoring their masters instructions, and had eaten plenty of dubious fungus covered insects. As a result two looked very ill and had to be put down. Osric did the job himself as was only right and proper. Dungeoneering is a dangerous business particularly to pets as Ugh can attest. The Molossus would have to be his 5th or 6th attack dog.

Not far from the giants hall the band found the Verbeeg's shrine, complete with head constructed form intricately carved stones. Beyond the shrine were the shaman’s chambers in which they found the new chief a human with fancy gauntlets; gauntlets that Ugh desired. Milgos positioned himself for a back stab. A brief conversation revealed the human was Gargantor. He did not wish to return to his family and was perfectly happy ruling the Verbeeg and raiding the local trade routes. He offered them wine for refreshment while they discussed things in a civil fashion. When offering a toast it became apparent that no party trusted the other. When raising their cups in toast Osric and Ugh smashed them together spilling the contents. Osric looked a little disappointed, reached for the bottle and chugged the dark liquid down. He promptly fell unconscious. Gargantor ceased with the pleasantries. He drew his mace and began smashing things. That didn’t last long however as the priestess Jana spoiled the party with a hold person spell. The shaman was no match for the group and was soundly pummeled till she surrendered.

Enraged, the ex Verbeeg champion stormed into the chamber and raised his spear ready to impale Gargantor’s face and reclaim his clan. Betty crossed the Verbeeg’s path and in a swift motion eviscerated the burly fool. “No one touches the prisoner,” she declared. The remaining Verbeeg fled. Sensing that they had little time the group grabbed what they could, including the shaman and the spell held Gargantor, and beat a hasty retreat.

They found their line of retreat blocked by two more giants. The result was much the same with this pair no more of a challenge than the last couple. Ugh was particularly impressed by the devastating blows he was landing thanks to his shiny new gauntlets. With the hill giants dispatched the remaining Verbeeg clan kept a low profile allowing the hero’s to escape unscathed. They had explored perhaps a fifth of the dungeon but left with what they had come for. Overall it was a most successful adventure.

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