Empire Apocalypse

Apocalypse S3 Session 4
Keep The Forge Fires Burning

IN THE FORGE

Mourendar and his cohorts stare at the iron gate and the dozen or so rabid orc zombies trying to squeeze through.

Mourendar: “Imrak, you and I shall crush the heads of the pinned zombies with your axe and my hammer. Sigurd, will you raise the portcullis slightly, and I’ll shout for you to drop it when the zombies begin crawling beneath it. Let’s hope this works well, I don’t wish to loose the planks to our bridge.”

It was a fair idea. Sigurd lifted the gate, the zombies that could sure enough tried to crawl under, reaching out for human flesh to eat and the hammers fell, flattening skull and brains. However in a frenzied state the mass of zombies kept pushing under the gate and began to raise is up with sheer force, knocking Sigurd back off the chains. Mourendar and Imrak slew a few more zombies easily before the remaining foes where through and were upon them. The harrowing fight was short with only four zombies walking, the last one tossed into the boiling lava by the tall Norseman.

377x504 11555 last battle 2d fantasy magic monster zombie elf battle dwarf undead lich sorcerer dungeon fighter Mourendar thought to himself – An army of the dead. That’s what Koros wanted. An army to take the hold. But what of these things? An army that can grow with every fallen soldier rising up to join the zombie ranks? In mass there would be no wall they couldn’t knock down. No front line they couldn’t trample. No siege they couldn’t outlive. But is this Koros’ work or something else…

Immediately the company moved into the mine room, looked down upon the one entrance and thought of how it might be secured when the sound of a horn , barely audible, caught their ears.

“The Horn of Valaya,” exclaimed Sigurd.

“Then we have guests,” added Imrak, turning in direction of the sound…

ELSEWHERE IN THE RUINS

Kwarjieh studied her two adversaries then spoke:

“I’m grateful for your assistance sir, and I truly hope we haven’t caused you undue concern! My name is Kwarjieh and my companions are Taro and Grunril (gesturing in their respective directions.) Assuming that you are sharing your quarters with us, may I ask your name?”

The bronze armored warrior replies, with an accent unlike Kwarjieh’s heard in the voice of an Old Worlder, “You assume much. I’m not satisfied.”

Kwarjieh turns to the dark-skinned brute: “I would like to apologize; I didn’t remember to pick up your throwing club, but I doubt the undead will find a use for it – and we may recover it later as time allows. Pray tell though, how is it you find yourself in the ruins and worse yet, by yourself?”

The dark-skinned warrior responds in a language unfamiliar to the party. Kwarjieh moves to Grunril, examines his wound and begins to heal the dwarf.

Valaya show mercy to your child Grunril; these wounds he received in your service and the fault was entirely mine! Alleviate his discomfort; bless the water I use to cleanse these wounds – may your tears wash away his ills.

The armored warrior lowers his spear, removes his helm. “Pardon my friend, he speaks only his native tongue, which I happen to understand. We’ll go first if that’s what you need, but make no mistake, I require full answers from you if you’re thinking of staying here. We’re mercenaries. We were hired by El Gatto. Do you know him..?”

INSIDE THE FORGE

No matter your upbringing, character, race, or world view, it’s a sight to behold. After crossing the lava chamber chasm you are led through a corridor of worked stone and walk into “the forge…”

The space is easily two-hundred feet on all sides with a barrel-vaulted ceiling of near fifty feet. In the center flows a tributary of lava that also breaks into a horseshoe shaped canal creating an island of carved stone in the center before flowing out into an exit cavern. This gives ample light and warmth. There are four bridges that connect the island to the entrance, two furnaces, and a sealed chamber. There is a guard wall some 15 feet high splitting the island in half, and obstructing a view of any work therein. Most remarkable are the orange glowing ruins carved onto wall, floor and ceiling…

There are also two large statues of Grungni in the southwest and east corners of the chamber and a set of closed double-doors in the east wall.

Mouredarforge Moving towards you from the doors is a very tall human who introduces himself as Sigurd (Gene son of Eric).

Imrak: “Let’s hang here until we hear from Mourendar.”

Sigurd: “Good. I haven’t had time to set the table.”

IN THE HALLS OF SKORRUN CLAN

Kwarjieh, Grunril and Taro readied themselves after a night’s rest with Gilmann and K’Tush determined to make the journey with them. Kwarjieh had offered to lead them to a secret entrance under the hold but she did not specify the details to the two mercenaries.

The stalwart troupe prepared to carry out their plan of escape, ready for a fight as it was assumed the orc zombies were at the door. Kwarjieh gave Valaya’s blessing to the group and reached for the door. As the massive wood portal was inched back, only the empty and silent halls of the Skorrun Clan lay beyond. They stepped forward on the cold stone floor, waiting for the hissing sounds of the flesh eaters yet heard nothing but the low audible clank of Tilmann’s armor, echoing in his step. To the Exit!

They made for the far end of the hall and as the threshold advanced closer, they perceived a strong white light blasting the entire volume of the hall to right – from the desecrated the temple of Valaya!

In the light the skeletal remains of the orc zombies were piled along the floor in neat mounds. Kwarjieh looked back at her allies – they were awed, K’tush fell to his knees, covered his teary eyes. The bright light invited the dwarf priest inside…

Light in the darkness by xxbellcatxx d35hvtj

Inside the small chapel of her patron deity, Kwarjieh is filled with a light that hasn’t touched the ruins in decades… The inner temple is no longer the bastion of orc filth and disdain, but blanketed in the purity of Valaya herself. Whatever evil had festered in the Skorrun hold has been extinguished and the shrine restored.

The carvings in Khazalid adorning the walls have returned to full artistic grace, the crude Gork and Mork statues of orc dung have been blasted out of existence, and on the spot where the statue of her holiness once stood, is an angelic image of the goddess herself.

Kwarjieh bows at the sight and hears a distinct soft voice vibrate in the air of the shrine:

No more shall the foulness stain these halls. The pestilence of these ancient ruins has awakened the ire of your gods and now the cleansing light shall shine forth. You must retrieve my staff and give it to highest priestess of your order. It can dispel the dead that have returned and remove the torment of those who have yet to die. When you have done this you shall reclaim this keep and guide its future. A gift for you to ensure your new friends choose the right path.

With the last word, the light dims, but does not fade. On the place where the image spoke, are two small gemstones. Enough for any soldier of fortune…

IN THE FORGE

Gus looked at his set of cards and then at the grimace of the tired Norscan. The apprentice wasn’t surprised he’d already taken Sigurd (Gene son of Eric) for most of what he was worth, but the dogged persistence of the brute impressed him. After all, it was the Norscan’s invitation to share quarters in the forge and he had quickly confessed a taste for gambling. Three pair. Gus was sure he had this play. Then, the horn of Valaya shook the walls.

Sigurd, stood up, dropped the cards on the table. “At last. At long last.”

“I’ll join you,” replied Gustavus as he slid his winnings into his belt pouch.

In the great entrance the two of them found Kwarjieh Headstone and her party waiting for the bridge. She had new company with her, but there was little reason to doubt her choice of friends. They welcomed her back and made haste to alert the forge.

Kwarjieh wasted little time calling the fellowship together in council. They met together, all assembled for the first time amid the lava flows and glowing runes of the central forge, twelve dwarves and five humans. The news was heartening. She revealed that the Staff of Valaya has the power to cure the vile plague and must be retrieved from the Halls of The Dead and placed in the hands of Balikina Furlisdotr to cleanse Karak Azgal of the foul disease of walking dead.

Gustavus withheld his excitement, though this was what he had been seeking these last few weeks. A dungeon crawl into the unknown…

“A toast to the fellowship then,” blurted Sigurd, raising a goblet. Kwarjieh stood and shook her head.

Kwarjieh: No… It’s time we take the mantle of honor of our true calling, if you wish to remain here and honor the task before us…

She glanced to Mourendar, certain he knew the charge, and continued: The fellowship was a brief beginning. Its task has been accomplished. From this day forward begins The Order of the Sceaf and Scyldingas of Valaya!

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Apocalypse S3 Session 3
Something To Fear

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Through the mazy tunnels and passages of the Yellow-Eye Goblin mine, spurious Dwarf activity echoes through deep cuts in the earth, but not enough to wipe away the feeling that this place was befouled by Greenskins as a faint remaining smell of their filth still prickles one’s nostrils.

Thirty miners in all have taken over this cavern; some with pick and hammer working on shards of rock, others moving carts along new railings, some tend the fires roasting up a hearty meal while the remaining few on guard duty, having escorted Gustavus and his party into the center of this lone outpost.

At a makeshift table, Gustavus dines with Thrunbor and they discuss the events above. With them, a human that Gustavus had met once before, Bertold Frank, the fellow who loaned him a bit of coin as a gift from Gorlaz the Golden, and Molatok Norkinson, master of the mining guild. The conversation was stark and long. Thrunbor relayed that a plague above has broken out in the city – dead coming back to life. The hold is under a state of martial law, the entrances to the mines closed and no answer to where this infestation originated, be it Deadgate, the ruins, of some foreign land. Dwarves seem to be somewhat resistant to the plague, though nothing can be said for certain. Humans seem to succumb easily. Thrunbor is going to inform Mourendar Boulderdash and deliver his seven miners to him. Anyone wishing to go may travel along. At this time he introduces Gustavus, favoring his skills, and lays out two roads: assist the miners here or travel with the blacksmiths to the forge.

Molatok takes the news with unease, and wonders if they should aid the city or search the ruins for a cause. Many of the miners have family above and keeping them here may prove difficult. He introduces Bertold to Gustavus and the party, explaining that two weeks ago the merchant offered to pay for all the needs of the miners and their goal of taking back the ruins. His funds have been very helpful.

“I would love to meet this Mourander," proffers Bertold. “He is a light to us all, and our deep pockets may be able to funnel him the needed funds. I am regretful of what is happening above, but perhaps a plan from the forge might required. If I may, sir Thrunbor, I would like to accompany you to the forge. Gustavus, I hope you will journey with us…”

Leaning back from the table, Gustav considers his options while working the stale crust of bread around his mouth.

“Herr Grimgrigson, I owe you my life after the dustup with the squig. I would like to continue on to the forge and offer what help I can. Never let it be said that Gustav Kohler doesn’t pay his debts.” With a sheepish grin at Bertold, “I’m still working on yours, Herr Frank.”

With that, a short nightcap, the company is off. Seven smiths, two miners, a soldier and two humans – out of place as they tower over the group of Dwarfs. Keep your heads low is a common remark as the company twists through the fresh mines.

The mines of moria by nortenyo

A long nine hour journey yet without incident… Gustavus is able to absorb the doom-ridden caverns of old. Dwarven constructions made of tightly finished stones with barely a crack between them… Dwarven mines with rails still intact… Natural caverns of limestone formations, stalagmites, stalactites, flowstone formations and the occasionally drip of running water… Burrowed caverns that are nothing more than crawlspaces of darkness, who knows what lurks within?

The heat of a nearby lava flow assails the company as they near the forge. Thrunbor, leads them around a twisting stair and into level six, where part of the lava flow has formed a small lake of fire. Also in the chasm a random array of stepping rocks several yards across connected by tight rope bridges… except the last step… near ten yards to jump. A failed leap is certain death.

Mopping the sweat from his brow, Gustav gazes into the slowly swirling miasma. “If I was covered in soot and soil, this would be like back home.”

Thrunbor moves aside a few small boulders, removes a Dwarven horn. “Time to let our hosts know we’ve arrived.” He winds the horn and the sound bounces across the chasm…

ELSEWHERE IN THE RUINS

Kwarjieh: “I am certain the shrine is this way, if the two of you would follow me, we may find our rest therein. Our rest may be delayed though, as I cleanse and consecrate the shrine; one of you should stand watch, and the other may assist me or rest. I hope that I’m not eroding your patience though, with my request; I only wish to serve our ancestors, but if either of you have another suggestion I will honor your appeals. I implore you to keep this in mind though, inside these corridors is a stairwell leading to the only supply of water we have yet found within the ruins. If our fellowship is to remain below, it is vital that we secure the source for our continued survival! What say you?”

“Lead the way,” responds Grunril.

Down the first passage to the right some fifty feet is a large oak door that has been barred from the outside. No one can remember if that was set by the party before or not, but it’s the entrance to the shrine of Valaya without question.

Standing perplexed before the barred oak door, Kwarjieh speaks to herself as much as to the others, “Strange, I don’t remember barring the door, but I can’t recall not doing so either. This is the place in any case; would the two of you stand ready while I open the door?”

Both her comrades nod acknowledgement.

Kwarjieh removes the bar and opens the doors, picks up the skull lantern and peers in. It’s the temple of Valaya just as you remember it. Including the corpses of the Orc Shaman and his four followers that are now moving toward you…

Kwarjieh casts Blessing of courage on herself – she has no fear. It seems Grunril and Taro are fearless as well and charge… A rough battle in the Shrine as the dwarves learn to bash the brains out of each zombie. Grunril is wounded while Kwarjieh struggles with the last zombie, the former Orc shaman when a flying club from behind the party strikes zombie shaman in head, cracking skull and oozing brain.

Behind the party, a dimly lit tall human with dark brown skin wearing some skins and leather armor, with a strange headdress beckons you to follow his as he turns and runs into the dark…

Kwarjieh to the stranger: “Dear friend I beg of you, don’t be so hasty — we are but ambling dwarves unable to move as quickly as you! I hope the course you would lead us on, isn’t a long one; I can plainly see one of my companions is wounded, and I would very much like to attend to his injuries.”

The stranger has long fled, and does not answer.

Kwarjieh to the party: “Taro would you follow him quickly as you may; Grunril and I will follow if he is able, and at his best speed. Grunril do you feel well enough to move, or do you require rest and aid first? I will remain with you, and I’m sure Taro will come back for us once he arrives at his destination.”

Grunril: “Aye, I’ll be fine. Let’s see what this character is up to then we can tend to these scratches.”

Following behind Taro, turning the corner, you see the figure standing at the now open door to the inner keep, light flickers behind him. He’s waving at you, urging all of you to run for it.

Off down the many dark passages of either side, the hissing sound of more zombies…

Kwarjieh and Grunril move as quickly as their dwarven feet will carry them, into the inner keep to join Taro and the human.

Once inside the iron rimmed wooden door slams shut, a bar falls in place. Behind the door, a bronze armored human in a defensive stance behind a shield and a sharp spear pointed within striking distance of the group.

“Friend or foe? Speak now or its your lives!”

CONTINUED IN S3 Session 4

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Apocalypse S1 Session 3
Breitblatt Or Bust

TAALAGAD DOCKSFIRST LIGHT

Taalagad docks

You know you’re in the right place by the cacophony that greets you as you stroll the early morning streets of Taalagad. A crowd of over a hundred adults, plus a fair number of children, mill about a half a block away from The Eel. Several oxen stand with them, along with several wagons filled with provisions and supplies. A fair number of wary-looking Talabheim Dogfaces who’ve been called to Taalagad to assist in clean up duties watch over the group.

A clerk trots up to you and hands your party a small parcel, and states that Magistrate Sorland Hohenlohe sends his regards, good journey and the luck of Taal. The parcel consists of a map of the Talabheim region (your destination clearly marked) and six dated letters of passage singed by the Magistrate stating its bearers work for Talabheim and not to obstruct them in their duties.

One of the Dogfaces approaches and you recognize him as the fellow who apologized to Crellion “The Hellion” in The Eel.

Dogface: Name’s Arvid. Seems a friend of yours named Zurg has volunteered to join the watch in my steed and I may join you at your request. Master Crellion, I am at your service. May I suggest we take the Old Dwarf Road north round Talabheim. Take about a half a day longer but there’s been some Greenskin mischief down south o’ Waldfahrte. Sides, if there’s trouble, we could hail a passing ship or such along the river.

“Well met and thanks for the suggestion. However, I would just as soon we cleared the road of vermin on our way to Breitblatt. Would be good to secure the route if it is quickest. Creates more options for the future. What do the rest of you think? Anyone concerned about a few orcs?”

“Well it isn’t a few Orcs… might be a war band or two from the news. But, we need to get these refugees to Breitblatt alive. Many might die if we go that road.”

Roland: “Who’s navigating the map?”

Crellion: “I had thought to try my hand at the navigation.”

X: “Since Avrid is so knowledgable of the way, why not he lead us along the “safe” route?”

Roland: “I’ll take the map. Crellion, Avrid’s in your service, can you keep watch on him? If there’s 100 of these refugees, we need to place ourselves strategically within this mob of filth. Elu, do you want to give commands to them on behave of Taalagad or would you care to have one of us do it? Crellion’s a charmer, X can intimidate a group of chaos warriors and my oratory has drawn quiet a crowd. Which approach is best say you all?”

Elu to Roland: “Certainly. I’ll get these refugees organized.” Elu announcing to refugees: “Women and children stay close to our party. The most able and well-armed men should cover the back of the group.” Elu to Ebore and Irmagard: “Please be quiet. Complaining tends to attract creatures who will kill you.”

X: “I say we have the entire party in front. Place the women and children closest to the party and have the most able men in the back with whatever weapons they have available.”

Roland: “Fair enough, though I think we should have one or two of us protecting our rear. We don’t want any of these refugees wandering off or slowing us down. Crellion, are you comfortable with having Avrid and Alette watch our backs?”

You line up the refugees – mostly peasants and Elu takes the lead position turns to the gathering and says in his best human Talabheim accent:

Listen up, people. These lads and I will be taken yer to yer new homes. You mind us and keep them kids close.

With that you head out of Taalagad’s north-eastern gate onto the Old Dwarf Road.

THE FIRST DAY

The day is trouble free and traveling in the road is very easy. The imposing wall of the Taalbaston continually brackets the south just as, hills permitting, the Talabec River can be seen to the north. The only happening of note is that some of the children and old folks have come down with a hacking cough. Road dust seems to be the likely reason for it.

Elu points out that night at camp that none of the Hochlanders have the cough. Roland suggests the party rests a apart from the refugees but close enough to monitor any adverse situations. The group pairs off in watches until dawn, selecting a few of the able refugees to watch over the camp. It’s all peasants and campfires with a few of the more well-to-do travelers shacking up in their wagons and tents.

THE SECOND DAY

Travel goes much the same at first but in the late morning hours Elu spots potential trouble ahead. Four Ogres have set up makeshift chairs on the road and point at your enormous wagon trail and mimic with each other. The foursome is gaily clad in a riot of colors and voluminous shirts that show a great deal of wear despite their bright shades. They seem to be studying your party, weighing up their options.

The refuges up front are on the verge of panic, staring fearfully at the huge creatures. One of them moves towards the refugees as the party gathers in front of your scared charges, the very ground of the Old Dwarf Road noticeably shaking with each step the colossal brute takes towards you…

Meanogre Roland stays mounted, levels his repeater crossbow. “Four ogres… there’s gonna be some casualties. You wanna see what they want or take them out?”

Elu, “I prefer discussion to bloodshed.”

Crellion yells out in Dark Tongue, “You have seconds to save your life. Speak your business or the lone man approaching will end your life.”

The Ogre, not understanding the Dark Tongue, stomps and folds its arms, the tusks sticking out of its maw contrast the feathered foppish hat it wears – if Enrico were the size of an Ogre they would have the same tailor – minus the stench. The damn hat is almost as big as it is, with a wider brim that most men are tall. The brightly plumed feathers snap in the morning wind as it doffs the hat briefly to make a slight bow.

Ogre (in Reikspiel): “Oi, slims. Lads and I reckon you all have a right fine herd here. We was wondering if you might be willing to help fix us up a breakfast.”

He looks about at the peasants, smiles with his fanged maw at a group of children (who promptly burst into tears and soil themselves) and then looks back at you expectantly…

X, dismounting his horse and stepping forward, “I’m sure we could spare a few of the old weathered ones. They may be a little tough, but if you like jerky, they’ll do nicely. Or we could bury our weapons in each of your skulls and enjoy a little pig on a stick. I choose for the later, what do the rest of you say?”

The Ogre: “Is ’dat ye deal? Thugredd Heartseizer does not have the taste for weathered meat.”

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Apocalypse S2 Session 2
Up from the depths

Viktor checks his small secret map of worn parchment, folds it up and leads the party into a secondary passage that winds into a small cave. He scales the nearest wall, reaches for a small rock overhead and a trapdoor made to look like cobwebs flaps open unrolling a rope ladder to the ground. Five feet above the opening a stout metal-rimmed door bars the entrance to the Ice Maiden.

It’s just a secret knock away from escape, or so Viktor hopes… The master thief acknowledges the others under him and knocks… nothing. He knocks again. Another time. Silence greets the blank stares of the party until the sliding of a large bar makes them take notice above.

Viktor nods and the thick trapdoor lifts up, a figure outlined in the light behind him steps, back from the opening. “Come on up, be quick.”

Baelik: “I’ll be damned, the thief was telling the truth!” He grabs the first step of the rope ladder, ready to follow Viktor…

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Apocalypse S3 - Session 2
Into The Ruins...

THE MINER’S BOUNTY

The companions of miners followed the glowing light flickering from Gustav’s hand axe. It was easy to tell one walked the secondary tunnels of dwarven construction; narrow with ceilings almost capping Gustav’s head. The company wormed their way to a main passage marked by sturdy beams and columns of stone, plenty of head room and dwarven artistic embellishments untouched by earthquakes that have crippled the mines.

Thrunbor: “We make for the third level. Some time ago we cleaned out an old mine infested with Yellow-Eye goblins and left a company of miners there to keep it. It may take more than a day, but we’ll restock and head to the forge. Save your strength if we have to spend the night in these halls.”

The path continues along a rusted railway eventually passing another secondary passage Thrunbor indicates is the path to the second level. And he’s right. A quick wind through the passage reveals a working elevator that moves everyone down easily, and the trek continues several hours until you chance upon a circular stair to the third level. Many of the steps are broken or worn.

The moment is shaken as a ROAR fills the halls from the darkness opposite the stairwell… something with heavy steps is headed right for you…

“I’ll stand with you stout fellows if you choose,” says Gustav to the knot of miners. “But trust me when I tell you my best work is done from a distance.” Gustav maneuvers through the dwarves, their barrier of hammers forcefully disuade him. With a sigh, Gustav turns to face the charging foe. He readies a spell in his mind and gets into the fighting stance taught to him by the camp fighters. He feels rusty, but he hopes to shake it off. “Let it never be said that Gustav Kohler did not do his duty.”

Into the lantern’s light radius hops a menacing foe the miner’s know very well…

Squig 10 08 01

“A Squig!” the miners shout as they scatter to face the bouncing goblin-serving mutated beast…

At the sight of the creature four miners turn and flee in terror as Gustavus points his finger and blasts the Squig with an arrow of energy. The monstrous foe leaps over one of the remaining miners and swallows him whole. Thrunbor slashes at the beast with his axe as Gustavus makes ready for another spell but the spark of magic piddles out as the Squig turns upon the poor wizard’s apprentice and jabs him with its rhino-like horn. Gustavus crawls for safety as Thrunbor and the remaining miner bring the beast down. The mighty dwarven sergeant offers Gustavus a hand and asks for his aid cutting the goblin-breed monster open.

Gustav accepts the Thrunbor’s hand gratefully. “Thanks,” he says with a grimace as he gingerly gets to his feet. “A pity about the other fellows. It’s a good thing they insisted I stay in front. I fear I may have been trampled elsewise.”

Gustav rips the rest of a torn sleeve from his shirt and wraps it around it lacerated left arm. Finishing the makeshift bandage with a teeth-tightened knot, he steps to Thrunbor.

“You have my thanks, Herr Grimrigson. I would have been keeping the other miner company before long.” Gustav draws his hunting knife, it seems a ridiculously small affair next to Thrunbor’s. “Can’t he cut himself out? You dwarves are doing that stuff all the time.” He answers Thrunbor’s impassive gaze with upraised eyebrows. “What? I hear the stories. You know, we have ones like this in the forests back home. A trifle smaller perhaps.” Gustav sidles up to the cooling squig corpse and starts to carve.

The open bowels of the Squig fills you three with a stench that forces you to plug your noses, but alas, the miner inside has not survived. Time for morning is not at hand.

“We best be off, and find the rest of the miners. We’ll offer a prayer to Grungni thereafter,” advises Thrunbor.

The remaining miners are soon found and honor is paid to Grungni as suggested. The party treks down to the third level of the miners stepping carefully on the stone steps of the spiral stair without incident and rests at a small empty guardroom.

“The door is slightly off the hinges but it’ll do,” remarks one of the miners. “We should rest, and we’ll make for the mine hold tomorrow.”

“Good,” agrees Thrunber, “and we’ll tend to Gustavus’ wounds.”

Gustav enters the still air of the unused guardroom and makes his way to the far wall. He gingerly sits on a small bunk and leans back agains the wall. Setting the axe aside, the phantomlight fades, plunging the room into darkness.

“Does someone have needle and thread? More than my cloak is going to need repairing it seems.”

KWARJIEH AND COMPANY

Kwarjieh: “There now we have some light to see by. Be on your toes for any with ill will that may have closed upon our position…”

Kwarjieh, Taro and Grunril stop for a rest, having walked eight hours through the empty halls of of the fifth mine level, stopping in a central chamber that might have been as busy as a seaport in days gone by. In the center, a massive switchback stair rising to the fourth level – the level claimed by the dead, but beyond this, continuing on level five is their first goal: the barracks they liberated from the Blacktooth Orcs!

In the odd light of the skull, neither choice seems comforting…

Kwarjieh: We are now at the first fork in our road; do we approach the Mansion of the Skorrun Clan or ascend to level four and the catacombs of the Kamirson Clan? I for one would like to take our rest, and I am hoping that members of the Skorrun Clan have taken possession of this fine holdfast once again. If not then we can recoup and then continue afterward; I would at the very least like to cleanse Valaya’s Shrine of the orc shaman’s blasphemous stain, and sanctify the place once more!

Taro: “I missed that valiant battle, yet have an urge to see the hold in its former glory. I must add that I’m not a religious soul, but your touch adds much light to this grim place, Kwarjieh.”

Kwarjieh: “Thank you for your kind words Taro, I have no wish to keep the sun in my pocket. I believe that Grimnir is pleased to hear you speak so favorably, and though you missed the battle, you will find your calling; on that day the ancestors will welcome you with the honor due Grimnir’s Select! Though I would not dissuade you from your path, I pray that you are allowed to see this place restored to Valaya’s keeping.”

Kwarjieh and company proceed to the holdfist of the Skorrun clan and reach the great stone stairs that climb over the chasm. The platform at the top of the stairs appears empty and quiet, still flanked by two dwarven statues.

Kwarjieh whispers to Taro and Grunril: “Can either of you sense anything unusual at the top of the stairs? My first time here the Black Tooth Orcs rolled barrels down the stairs to knock us into the chasm below; I would like to avoid that situation this time around. Though I am positive we dispatched the every orc; discretion is assuredly called for!”

None of sense anything is the stillness of the empty chasm.

Kwarjieh quietly confers with Taro and Grunril: “Very well then I will cast a spell upon my dwarfson and charge up the stairs; if any with hostile intent move against me, the two of you may very well see them in the light of the rune skull. Draw and fire upon them before they can act against me; when I have closed and occupy their interest you too may ascend the stairs in my support. Do either of you have an objection to this plan of attack?”

Taro: “I do not object as long as I lead the charge!”

With that Taro, Kwarjieh and Grunril move up the stairs. Grunril points out two oil slicks on the right and left side of the stage, most likely, poured some time ago. At the top of the stairs, the open fortress of the Skorrun clan beckons in the dark. Cautiously you three step in, the light of the skull crawling along the old stonework, revealing the many passages of the inner keep. If memory serves Kwarjieh well, straight ahead was the inner hall. However, at this juncture, you may turn left, right or proceed forward. In the passageway straight ahead, an open door in the middle of the right and left wall before the passage continues on. All is quiet, seemingly, nothing has reclaimed the old hall…

THE FORGE

Mourendar: “The lantern is now lit, and we can be on our way Imrak.”

Mounrendar and Imrak have nearly completed surveying the immediate boundries of the forge, walking along thin paths that follow the course of the lave flow. They’ve made it to the chasm passage above the Liche’s lair and have not encountered so much as a drop of water.

Imrak: “Shall we go further?”

Mourendar’s response is cut short – groans echo from a side passage near the chasm… groans that almost bear a resemblance to Reikspiel. Four figures lumber out of the shadows. You knew them well. El Gatto – skaven hunter uniform in tatters, with his three rat hunter cohorts, Nicholas, Heinz and Volpone – all are quite dead, but the bodies walk and move toward you at a faster pace, as if they smell your fear…

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Imrak rushes forward and strikes the El Gatto zombie twice, second time in the skull, felling him, and hacks the Nicolas zombie once, axe going clear through the body, cleaving Nicolas in half. The upper half of the torso continues to claw its way at Imrak…

The Volpone zombie slashes Mourendar in the arm for 1 wound…

Imrak takes three mighty chops at th zombies, second hi striking the Nicloas zombie in the head, dropping him. A third hit on the Heinz zombie…

Mouredar strikes Volpone twice, damaging him, but it seems to shrug of the damage without much effect. Volpone scores a hit on Mourendar, can’t get through the mighty armor…

Imrak takes a called shot on Heinz’ head, splits the skull with one might downward chop…

Mounrendar lands a hit to head, the Volpone zombies helmeted head softens the blow of the hammer and it strikes Mourendar but fails to get through armor again…

Imrak takes a called shot on Volpone’s head, cuts off the top of the skull clean through the helm, destroying the zombie…

Imrak lets out a breath, “I hacked Nicolas in half, but the thing was still moving at me. Figured the head must be the only vital strike. Guess I was right. You hurt..?”

Moundar’s perception check confirms the thought. He also checks his wound — not deep enough for the venom from the Volpone zombie’s claws to get into his blood stream.

Mourendar: “The beast was clawing at me, and seemed as if it wanted to chew my face off! Blasted fools, had they only listened to us they may still be breathing today, and they call dwarves headstrong. Imrak thank you for your aid and concern, I believe I am fine. It managed to scratch me, but it didn’t draw blood; let’s have a look at the bodies, I wish to know what we were up against. I hope there’ll be no more like them, but if there are…” Mourendar pauses and looks toward the passage from where the undead arose. Mourendar then cautiously wraps the rope about bodies and parts saying: “Imrak would you help me drag this foul meat to the lava for incineration.”

Mourendar and Imrak find nothing of value on the bodies and easily toss them into the lava. The passage the dead emerged from is empty as well.

Imrak: “We left a lot of dead down there if memory serves. What if they’re all coming back? Of that Liche?”

Mourendar: “Imrak we should stick with the original plan, and secure this level first. You may be correct that horrors still lurk in Koros’ lair, but our time is limited. I don’t wish to ascend from his lair, only to find undead at the end of our rope. When we’ve journeyed for a half a day, then we will return to the forge. Tomorrow we should search this level in another direction, as we have today. In the mean time might I have the flask, so that I too can wet my whistle?”

Imrak passes his flask to Mourendar. “I agree. My thought was if we could prevent anything from rising up. We’d have to come back with some help I’m sure. Engineer a trap or something. If we can control all entrances to this level we’d be a bit safer. We’ll clear the east then. Tomorrow we’ll clear the West side of the forge.” Imrak takes a drink.

Mourendar: “Engineer a trap you say, an iron grate for a trapdoor too would be a boon; your suggestion is exceptional my stalwart friend. Alas if I only had the means at our disposal, but I’m afraid we must return to the forge, for such a feat to be accomplished.”

Mourendar and Imrak move down the passage, make their way towards the entrance of Koros, the Liche in little time.

At the entrance to Koros’ lair Mourendar removes his backpack and withdraws his ball of twine therein; “Imrak hold this end, we’ll take rough measurements of the opening to Koros’ lair. When we return to the forge we may hope to see my fellow smiths, and they could fashion such a gate. What would I do without you Imrak?” Thereafter Mourendar returns the twine to his backpack, along with lengths to match the lair’s opening; donning his satchel once more he says, “Very well Imrak let’s be on our way. We will surely let everything know this is our home now! I suggest that we head back for the forge.”

Imrak: “Hell, all we need to find is a source of water and we’ll never need to leave. Let’s go check on that Norseman…”

Mourendar and Imrak return to the forge without incident, Sigurd meeting them near the lava rocks. He rolls out the bridge, but the expression of his face contricts the normally jolly Norseman.

Sigurd: “You’d best hurry. We have a little problem…”

Mourendar cuts ahead, and rushes into the forge, as Sigurd tries to keep up, leading Mourendar the far reaches of the forge, approaching the porticullus gate.

Sigurd: “I don’t know how they got in here…”

Mourendar reaches the edge of the gate, the glowing lava flow behind him casting illumination into the mining cavern, now filled with a dozen black orc zombies…

View
Apocalypse S1 - Session 2 - The Eel
Where's the Magistrate?

The Eel’s doors are open but business is scant this early, yet the smell of cheap ale, fried potatoes and strong vinegar fume up the atmosphere.

Inside a horde of clerks assemble around a bellicose giant of a man seated on a dais next to the bar, who is admonishing a group of people before him – “No good, bastards, out of my sight before I’m done with you” are the only words you hear. Between them and you a dozen members of the local militia, their halberds bar the way.

Elu: Yes, that is Magistrate Sorland Hohenlohe.

The eel

Not surpsrisingly, Enrico opens his mouth first: “I hear that the magistrate needs help relocating all of these refugees. Perhaps that would get us into Talabheim.”

X: “If we have to herd a few refugees like cattle to get into the city, so be it.”

Crellion to Enrico: “Hey Fabuloso, I know you considered that elf guardsman an easy target and not yet on our side, but as you’ve probably guessed, we’re all a bit jumpy right now. Let not one of your comrades’ pockets be picked or their purses cut by your hand. Beyond that, I suggest you look out for such activity while we’re about. You would be the first who I would suspect. And others here might be inclined to kill you on the spot rather than listen to some ‘magnifico’ excuse.”

Enrico to Crelion: “Suspect all you like but I am no thief. It’s called tactical advantage. Not being a master swordsman like myself you may not be familiar with it. If I need any more Motherly advice I know where to ask. Gracias Senor.”

Crellion: “Well then, consider it a disclaimer and pardon my ignorance, but I didn’t know sneaking around behind someone was the mark of a master swordsman. A master assassin maybe. The realm is thick with those too, some of whom may have an eye out for one of us. As requested, I won’t bother warning you as I think you already are starting to understand. Perhaps you were looking out for us in case the elf was planning to take on the party single-handedly.”

Enrico eyes up the find collection of wine and ale behind the bar and sighs: “Now, the first round of drinks are on me.”

X places the tip of his axe to Enrico’s neck, remarks in a mocking tone: “Pipe down swordsman or you’ll be entering the city about a foot shorter.”

Crellion spots the bartender, decides a conversation is in order. He turns to Elu before moving: “Can you fill us in more about this plague before we march up to Hohenlohe?”

As Crellion steps forward, plated boot creaking on wood, the pointy-end of a halberd drops inches from his nose. The watchman brandishing the devastating pole arm speaks:

“The bar’s closed — even to knights in wolves’ clothing, unless you have an appointment.”

Roland whispers to Elu: “Now what would Andar do…”

Alette reaches for her flail, ready to swat any who would dare dishonor a chosen of Ulric when Crellion blocks her move with his arm, coping a feel. She winks and relents.

Crellion to Watchman: “We seek an audience with the Magistrate. I was told by a fellow watchman to come here now and discus some employment options. As you can see, we are a capable group who might be of aid to the City in removing refugees who are causing trouble. We would like to discuss terms, as I am sure the Magistrate will be interested after he learns more about our capabilities.”

The Watchman snorts, “That’s better.” He glances to the magistrate, who raises his fist, uncurls three digits. “There you have it. Three of your group may approach the magistrate.”

Crellion: “You seem like one with an eye for talent and I am sure you have the Magistrate’s best interest at heart. His honor would likely look upon you with favor for brokering an appointment with a group such as ours to deal with your refugee problem. I could put in a good word for you if this appeals.”

The watchman lowers his halberd. “You are very right, my friend. I apologize for offending your honor. The magistrate just… well, I’ve been at the job too long it seems. I will pay for a round of drinks for you and your company after your meeting. I wish you luck.”

Elu to Crellion and X: “Let’s go talk to the magistrate before he changes his mind.”

X puts his axe over his shoulder and follows Crellion and Elu to Hohenlohe’s dais.

Woodsman The Magistrate studies your approach and hacks a clump of bile into a spittoon at his feet. “Well, a watchman of taalagad, off duty I presume? A knight of the White Wolf… Times must indeed be lean if you are seeking meager pay from my pouch.” He turns to X. “You are an enigma, warrior. Seems you should be on a battlefield throwing down with the mutants and wizards.” He gazes on all of you, even your companions at the door. “You know I’m offering employment, but let’s start with this… you are not the usual lot… what do you really want from me?”

X: “True enough, the battlefield is where I feel most comfortable, but these are strange times, my axe and skills are needed to rid this place of vermin and these dogs of chaos who for some reason continue to give my axe a target to impale. You also seem to be much more comfortable away from all of this bureaucracy, what is the true reason for all of this security and annoying chit chat?”

Hohenlohe: “Your lot are not mere mercenaries, so your eyes must be on Talabheim herself. And you must know we’ve sealed off the entrance to all but the few to this damn plague. Today we’ve seen the first deaths. What a suffering it is to catch the malady. It can take a week to kill ya’. We do not know what it is or where it comes from and the city is taking no chances. I write the tickets, my friends. You want into the city, I have to clear the paperwork. I do not do this for anyone. I am buried in refugees and need strong veterans of the field to help me in re-locating them. You just might be the ones to do it. Then, I can see to the paperwork you need. The job also pays, if you’re interested…”

X to Crellion and Elu: What do you think Crellion, shall we escort these poor refugees to safety? You might get another merit badge from your little club, what is it again, the order of the whimpering puppies? This gets us in the city, and I always enjoy taking the empire’s gold, whether legally or otherwise!”

Crellion to X: “I seek no merit; only justice in the eyes of the White Wolf. I’m for it. Let’s obtain our documents, mission and, yes, coin…that is, unless others have objections.”

X to Crellion: “Ahh, besides Roland, I truly don’t care what the other’s feelings are! You seek justice, I seek blood, and Roland, well who really knows what he searches for anymore. I also agree that we should “use” Elu and any other worthy soul who wish to venture with us…”

Crellion looks down to Elu, shrugs his shoulders.

Crellion To Hohenlhoe: “This elf watchmen, Elu, seems wise about the locale and could aid us greatly. Do you have authority to grant him leave from his general patrols in order to serve as our guide and advisor? He could also be your eyes and ears. Speaking of which, we could use the aid of that guardsman there as well (points to the guard who initially stopped him). He seems interested in improving his lot in life. And we need cannon-fodder, I mean, locals familiar with the city.”

Hohenlohe: “Your elf friend is under command of the Taalagad watch, not mine. As for my lads, I can’t spare a man, unless you have someone to replace him. The job is to escort some refugees to a new home village in Breitblatt just outside the Great Forest off the Old Dwarf Road past the south eastern rim of the crater. It pays 2 gold crowns on acceptance and an 8 gold crown purse to each person who survives and returns. I’ll throw in the paper work for the gates with the purse. Be here at first light tomorrow.”

The magistrate snaps his fingers and an assistant hobbles over with a few bags of coin, sets the on the table.

Hohenlohe: “If you deceive me in anyway, I’ll have you hunted down and flayed. Still want the job?”

X to the magistrate as he’s collecting the gold: “Do they have to come back in one piece or if we bring back parts do we get that percentage of of gold crowns, I mean, that only seems fair! Oh, and be very careful with threats that could cause you serious pain and dismembership!”

Hohenlohe smiles a bit at X’s audacity, replies, “I agree with most fervently.”

X grabs the sack, checks it, 12 gold crowns as promised, moves back to the party with Crellion and Elu.

Roland: “Your interviewing skills are to be reckoned with, X." Roland steps to the door. "If we’re to part in the morning we’ll need decent rest. We’ll pair up. X and I, Elu and Enrico, Crellion and… Alette, unless you have objections…” Roland puts his hand on the shoulder plate of Crellion’s armor. “What do you say to boarding in the Kislevite quarter? You’re in good with them if memory serves…”

View
Apocalypse S3 - Session One
The forges of Karak-Azgal fellowship

BELOW IN THE FORGES OF KARAK AZGAL

In the bellowing heat of the lava chamber Grunril, Taro, and Kwarjieh Headstone give their farewells to Mourendar Boulderdash and company. Ahead of them, half a dozen rope bridges over the boiling sea of molten fire. The last gap before them, secured with a retractable iron bridge Mourendar hammered together a few weeks back. Sigurd (Gene son of Eric) pushes the walkway into position. The three companions step across – and make their way into the ruins of Karak Azgal. The mission – return to the surface and determine the cause of the weeks of silence they’ve experienced.

As they cross the last threshold, looking back, Imrak Grosz and Sigurd pull back the bridge then walk into the forge. The three companions are now on their own. What is next?

Kwarjieh to Taro and Grunril: “I shall hold Mourendar’s light skull in place of my shield, and keep that on my back. Upon our ascent we should probably make stops at the Merchant Halls and the Mines in particular. If dwarves are taking possession of the upper levels we’ll likely find them there first. It will be in our interest then to exit the ruins through Balakina’s passage beneath the Temple of the Ancestors, the same way we gained entrance.”

Grunril: “Quiet and quick. Let’s move.”

Kwarjieh: “The Hall of the Merchants is where we defeated the orcs, while the mines are where the goblins were dealt with. Each of these places is near our route up, for it was these creatures that we dealt with to proceed on our way down. The entrance to the ruins under the Temple of the Ancestors is the best place to exit, and we’ll sidestep the Lawbringers too. With this in mind I hadn’t planned on tarrying long as we make our way out, but if the merchants and the miners are occupying those levels we may find small comfort that things are moving forward accordingly. Your thoughts to mark our passage, and proceed with caution though are very good. I am comforted to have an experienced hand to rely upon, and the sheer ferocity of Taro to call upon if need be."

ELSEWHERE, IN THE CITY ABOVE

Dwarfbar

Gustavus Kohler sits at a table downing a warm ale in the Miner’s Bounty. All his attempts at gaining employment from the dwarves having failed, he looks at his last coin. A follower of Gorlaz the Golden had given him the coin saying, “In these times, Gorlaz is the only God you can trust.” Gustavus is unsure of his next step. Then, a dwarf approaches his table and introduces himself as Thrunbor Gimrigson. The gruff mercenary shares a quick story: He knows Gustavus has been seeking employment where his fire lore may help in the dwarven forges. Thrunbor knows of a forge where such services might be helpful. Below, in the ruins.

Gustavus has heard of Mourendar Boulderdash and his revolt against the Lawbringers, planing to invigorate the mines below and restore Karak Azgal’s former glory. Thrunbor offers he is escorting rebel miners to the forge to aid him. However, they must move quick. A recent outbreak of plague from Deadgate has the city under curfew. And the Thane has ordered the ruins off limits and all entrances sealed until the situation above and below can be dealt with. Gustavus will have to risk imprisonment in the dungeons if they are caught.

“We leave… now,” blurts Thrunbor. “Are you in..?”

What a welcome, although surprising, relief to be approached for once rather than the constant hustling that has had to do since arriving at Karak Azgal, thought Gustav. He had been hoping that the charcoal method he had stumbled upon years ago may help pay for further tuition in the arcane arts. Times are hard for struggling apprentices with no patron or means and he had thought that the forges of Karak Azgal were going to be a promising market. Gustav knew it was going to be a hard sell to the tradition bound dwarves, but hoped that the kerfluffle in the stronghold might bring out enterprising individuals willing to invigorate their practice with a new technique. Until now, tradition and adherence to convention was winning. An opportunity with these rebels may be exactly what Gustav is looking for. Besides, with the city under curfew, he wasn’t going to be leaving anytime soon and he must pay back that follower of Gorlaz the Golden — If he can find him. Why do all these beardies look the same? He was right about coin being the only thing you can trust…

“Herr Grimrigson, your offer does me much honour,” Gustav replies as he unfolds himself from the somewhat undersized tavern bench. “I admit, that your…ehh..exploits do stir the blood.” Gustavus shortens his step to walk slightly behind Grimrigson. “Forges like yours deserve a good fuel and I have just the thing for you. Is there wood already stockpiled? How many forges are to be put in operation?” Silence and a bobbing metal helmet greet Gustav’s queries as the Shieldbreaker puts his skills to use parting the sea of beards.

Why would he cast his lot, hand-to-mouth as it is, with dwarven rebels in a stronghold that has cut itself off from the outside? Gustav did not believe all the stories of a plague being visited upon the land. It all seemed rather fanciful, like Marienburg rat-men or a smooth Kislevite kvas. In truth, he hated selling and pushing goods to make money. Gustav would much rather be studying his magic texts at University or in the woods with the thick smell of charcoal. A goblin patrol to fight always made for a pleasant interlude. Verena only knows how these stunties can tolerate this cave living…

Thrunbor puts a fat finger to his lips, shakes his head. He turns and walks to the barkeep. In the corner, a soot-stained dwarven smith stands, spits out a mouthful of milk. “Sour, you fowl bastard.”

The barkeep, a grey-haired and balding old Dwarf replies, “What talk is this? Sour? In your mother’s eye.”

Gustavus barely contains his smirk as Thrunbor escorts past the barkeep, him down a hall and off to left through a door, down a set of stairs, into the dark…

“Hold on to my shoulder, Gustav, very soon you’ll see the light.”

“Herr Grimgrigson, it’s not that I don’t trust your sense of direction,” Gustav says hesitantly as he stumbles down the unfriendly stairs. “Mightn’t I make some light for me t’see by? I fear I am rather an impediment to you right now. It’s no trouble really.”

“Save it for ruins. These miners are testy folk – trust me.”

A heavy creak of a thick wooden door cracks a low emitting beam of light as it opens into a musty stone room lit by a single dim lantern. Gustav is caught by two striking images: a wide metal bound stout trap door in the middle of the floor and eight dark-cloaked dwarves, beards protruding from the hoods, standing in semi-circle formation like the Sanhedrin on the other side of the door in the floor.

“Here’s the charcoal burner you sent me after. His name is Gustav,” relays Thrunbor. He turns to Gustavus: These are what’s left of Mourendar’s miners. They’ve had their eye on you for a time. With the plague I’ve been delayed in my mission, but I’m to escort the miners down to the forge. The thieves’ den Deadgate is done for by now. Death is starting to take its toll in the hold. I doubt we’re coming back any time soon.

The eight miners exchange some words in Khazalid then open the trap door, revealing aged stone steps fading into darkness and the smell of ancient dust. The closest miner speaks directly to Gustavus: “You first, until you earn your keep.”

Gustavus lets loose a loud sneeze as he steps towards the dark stairwell. “This dust will be the death of me,” Gustav mutters. He looks back towards the head of the small group of miners, “let it never be said that Gustav Kohler shrinks from the unknown.” Casting aside the staff into the corner of the room, “I won’t be needing that, but I do need a light if I’m in the fore. I don’t suppose you have a light? Didn’t think so.”

With an apologetic shrug to Thrunbor, Gustavus grabs the axe from his belt and turns back to the stairwell. As he takes his first step on the worn stone, Gustavus quietly chants a single word, “beleuchten.” Gustavus calls over his shoulder, “let’s go make me earn my keep, shall we?” Not waiting for an answer, Gustavus continues down the stairs.

THE GREAT FORGECONTINUOUS

Ironforge the great forge1

Mourendar to Imrak: “Have things grown stale enough for you? Once I’ve secured the bridges over the chasm, I was thinking we could close the portcullis to cover our rear and begin making short forays beyond. If we’re to hold the forges until the others return, we could do so through sorties to secure our perimeter on this level. I don’t wish to travel to far a field, but it may help in our planning if we have some idea of who, or what, else may be out there.”

Mourendar to Sigurd: “I was thinking that since your weapons are your hands you should probably carry the storm lantern; you can more easily dispose of it before entering combat. That and you will need much more light than Imrak or I do; it may be best to keep the flame as low as you feel comfortable Sigurd, it won’t make sense to announce our presence any earlier than necessary.”

Imrak: “I’ve been waiting for you to ask. Where do we strike first?”

Sigurd: “I can always hold the fort if you two go explorin’. However, the place might get on my nerves without someone to speak to. I’ll carry the lantern if you wish.”

Mourendar says to Sigurd, “I simply didn’t expect that anyone would wish to remain on their own, but if you feel secure enough in the forge as a fortified position; then by all means you may remain here if you like, and I would be at ease knowing you were here guarding the forges. I can carry the lantern myself, and I’m not expecting to travel beyond what our return trip would require for the day. Going to far would leave you and forges exposed, and allow those with hostile intentions time to break in and fortify their position. We’ll return in due course, and speak with you of our trials.

In answer to Imrak, Mourendar replies, “Beyond the chasm we’ll search for any entrances to the area we’ve overlooked, and of course slay those we deem to be enemies…Once we’re satisfied that our route to the forges is secure, we may wish to ascend to the great hall through which we first came to the forges. If you remember when we traveled in the wrong direction before reaching the forges, there were many creatures of chaos in hiding! Again, I must stress that we shouldn’t travel further than what the return trip to the forges would require within the day.”

To both Imrak and Sigurd, Mourendar says, “If you’ll be staying in the forges Sigurd, then Imrak and I will strike out after we’re all well rested. This should allow Sigurd the best chance to remain alert while we’re gone, wouldn’t you think Imrak?”

Imrak: “Would the Gods have seen a human from Norsca guarding this ancient forge. Times have changed. A quick nap then, and let’s be off.”

CONTINUED IN S3 SESSION 2

View
Apocalypse S2 - Session One
The Walking Dead

And so the company that parted ways with Mourendar Boulderdash and the forge of Karak Azgal has reached the “Y” in their path — which road will they now travel? The current company boasts the following heroes and villains: Andar Revelstone, Kurt Conrad, Aranel Ringeril, Viktor Greenthistle, Captain Jack and Baelik Rorganson. They have shared the labor of carting the near lifeless Brady Hawkes (deceased) who fell victim to disease from a mutant foe.

Now they must decide. For one week they have trekked through the dark and forgotten underground passages of Karak Azgal, following familiar roads they had descended months ago until this moment. Some of the members have a concern the Brady be taken to a temple of Shalla to be cured. The decision they have long delayed is now. Take the known path to the city where Lawbringers surely wait or use the secret entrance to the city of Deadgate which puts further from their goal but under the radar — if the thieves’ guild of deadgate can be trusted…

Streams of silver1

Kurt Conrad is the first to speak. “I’m heading directly to the temple with Brady. I will deal with the Longbeards. I’m not suggesting that we all go directly to the hold either. If it doesn’t go well, it would be nice to have some assistance from the outside and some of you may not have the courage of the wolf for the direct path.”

Viktor smirks, “I can handle the thieves guild, that’s my vote.”

Baelik adds, “I’d like to know about the thieves’ guild entrance. We could avoid the Lawbringers if Viktor is right.”

“Neither option is very appealing. Deadgate does have a stench that I can do without. What do you say Andar?” asks Aranel.

Andar answers, “The Liche is dead, my work is done. There are no leads on Ghal Maraz but if it’s here, I’m confident Moureandar will find out. I am for the quickest way out. Can the thieves heal Brady? Isn’t he one of them?”

Captain Jack interrupts, “I’m out of this fucking place. I’ll go the thieves guild way, then I’m going back to the Empire.”

“We may need your services later, Jack.”

“I lost a lot of money on the last two adventures with you guys. I’m not gonna lose again. My decision is final.”

Andar turns, “Aluthra?”

She whispers, “If you all are lookin’ for the hammer of sigmar, why are you going up?”

Captain Jack: “I’ve had my fill of Dwarves. Their odor is beginning to stink. I’m going back to the Empire. Any who wish to travel with me, so be it. I vote for the thieves’ guild passage.”

Andar: I will travel with you, Jack. My goal is to make for Talabheim.

Baelik: “My fate is here, but I choose the thieves guild passage.”

Aluthra: “My gratitude for taking me thus far, but I plan on going back down. I’ll will take whatever passage you all decide.”

Aranel to Andar: “Do you need my company Andar? Or shall I…”

There’s a quick hiss from Brady as he lunges out at Kurt Conrad, reaching for him with stiffened hardened hands, fingernails like talons, black viscous liquid draining from the tips. Feral eyes stare back. It is not the charlatan you once knew.

Ghoul 01 132915771459

The undead Brady Hawkes slices at Kurt with a its talons yet Kurt narrowly moves out of the strike radius. The full monstrous and horrifying nature of this mutated form frightens Jack, Viktor and Aranel into stillness.

Kurt, Bealik and Andar strike at the creature but it seems to shrug off the blows reaching for Kurt’s throat. Viktor is the first to shake off the fear and sinks each of his blades into the creature, yet it does not yield. Andar pulls back attempting to perceive any flaws in the beast as Kurt hacks into the creature.

Andar shouts, “Aim for the head!”

Jack, snaps out of the shock, lowers a pistol to Brady’s head and blows the skull into fragments. It collapses to a lifeless lump.

Jack to KC: “Still goin’ up to the hold or are you coming with us?”

Kurt: “We might as well stick together. I’ll go to deadgate.”

Baelik: “What in Sigmar’s name happened to him?”

Viktor: “We might as well stick together, go to Deadgate and refit/regroup and head back down to the hammer. If Jack and I go back down the dwarfs are likely going to attack us… I’ll risk it… how about you Jack?”

Jack reloads the pistol, “Let’s do it.”

Andar: “A change of heart already, Jack? I was hoping you’d return with me. So be it. Even if you stay in the mines, you’ll need some rest. As for Brady, it seems he’s metamorphosed into some mutant/undead hybrid. I can’t say for sure. Those talons drip some infection. Your strikes did nothing but slow the creature, until we took off its head. It’s pestilence we don’t need.”

Andar points two fingers at the corpse of Brady and flames incinerate the remains.

“Viktor, take us to the deadgate passage, we all need rest regardless of what we do. I shall return to the Empire. If the hammer of Sigmar is here, then I can rest knowing that Mourendar, like him or not, will deal with whatever the fate of Ghal-Maraz shall be. Aranel, you may travel with me or stay. Your choice.”

THIS WILL CONTINUE IN APOCALYPSE S2 SESSION2…

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Apocalypse S1 - Session One
Terror In Talabheim Redux!

You all feel quite a shock when the river bed is reached and behold the first glimpse of Talabheim, meaning “Taal’s Victory.” The city itself rests at the bottom of a thirty mile diameter crater, formed legends say, when Taal threw a dragon down to the ground, his impact smiting the countryside. Around the crater, and encircling the city stands an impenetrable wall of natural rock is the Taalbaston . Before the city, on the other side of the Talabec river is the boat-town, Taalagad.

Divinity wall 600x381

“We should go to the docks and present ourselves as needy swords for hire,” advises Roland. “I have no clues to lead us to the chalice, carrying on as normal folk will be our best bet. Talabhiem has some very strict laws. Keep your egos in check least we fail to find what we’re looking for.”

Your party moves to the docks, seeking employment. Outside the entrance to the degenerate pirate infested town is an old hag, looking up at you as you pass with her one good eye…

Drag me to hell witch

“A storm! Such a storm! A storm of change, wild winds from the north… a deluge of hatred and despair. A God shall fall in place of his nation. The restless shall prove the Quick’s salvation… Fear not the storm but what comes after. Prostrate, the Empire sees not the beasts that walk upright. A plague on the house of Taal… The Great Forest’s Eye shall close forever, and the children of the horn’ed rat shall take the kingdoms of men as theirs and laugh from the shadows til the world ends.” She croons and lowers her head.

Crellion “The Hellion” muses that the God might be Sigmar, who founded the Empire. The “restless” must refer to the undead, as they’ve been called “the restless dead.” The storm of course was the Chaos attack just over a year ago.

“I like Roland’s idea. What about the rest of you?”

The Executioner is the first with an answer: “I have no problem with keeping a low profile. Crellion, tell your girlfriend to pipe down, she’s giving me a headache.”

“Well, let her know what’s eating you and maybe she’ll stop. But her master is the White Wolf, not me.”

Alette Ulricsdottir smirks, “That’s not what you said when you were eating me last night, Crellion.”

“Verry Niice,” quips Enrico de la Mancha.

All of you lumber on, into the throng of this humid, sun-blasted dock town, looking for a beacon towards your goal.

“Quite, hag!” echoes a voice behind you. Turning, you note a tall male elf in the garb of the Talabheim watch. He offers a gesture of peace: May I present myself to you. I am Elu Lúinwë a member of the city watch. Off-duty I am an avid adventurer and servant of Andar Revelstone and you’ve revealed the names of his allies among you. I’ve been instructed to seek you out and offer my services in his absence.

Crellion: “Maybe we should start with a local tavern. Bartenders ought to know where we could find some work.”

Elu: “Perhaps the first stop should be a barber. After such a long journey surely at least some of you would enjoy a bath and a little grooming, especially if you’d like to pass for normal folk looking for work.”

X: “I don’t plan on grooming or working! I’m not worrying about fitting in, the scum of this town should be more concerned with conforming to me than the other way around!”

Enrico to Roland: “I’ve not spent much time with elves… Who is this Andar again?”

Roland: “Estallian, you ask too many questions. Before we entertain any grooming, Elu, show some evidence that you are a servant of Andar.”

Crellion: “Roland, Elu’s suggestion smacks of Andar and his ilk. Andar was always fidgeting with his precious baubles in the dungeons and wilds, trying to stay clean and showing his disdain for the dirty human masses. Yet, you’re right; we need more to go on. Elu, have you nothing with Andar’s seal on it? Correspondence between the two of you? A familiar possession he passed on to you? Or maybe knowledge of his past deeds that he shared? X, my inner feelings are more in line with yours. I chafe under the idea of hiding my allegiance to the White Wolf. Yet, because infiltration is a specialty of yours, I am surprised you aren’t more interested in some form of cover to move us toward our quarry and the destruction of Xanthrodox (sp?). Is there a middle ground here? We look like an obvious enough group of adventurers, seeking fortune and, if we hide our insignias and things of value, ought to blend in with the rest of outlanders and brigands who flood the docks and the Jakes. As for barbers, I’ll take a wash basin or a stream over some stranger with a blade to my neck any day. Cleaning up may bring more suspicion of our motivations rather than less.”

“You make a good point Crellion. I have no issue following Elu for the time being. Lets move forward and see what this little sprite can do for us.”

Elu: Surely you’ve heard the rumor of the plague. Talabheim is taking no chances. I can help you get past Taalbaston and into the city. The only way to enter Talabheim now is to be cleared by a magistrate. Sorland Hohenlohe holds court daily at the Eel. I believe he can help us.If you must have proof, look at this token. It’s from the school of fire magic to which Andar once belonged.

Enrico sneaks behind Elu, but the attempt does not fool the elf’s keen vision. “I see you.”

Enrico: “Well, I’m already Fabuloso. I wouldn’t mind checking out the local talent though.”

“The local talent is much nicer on the other side of the wall.”

Roland reaches out for the coin, looks it over. “I’m not certain the token proves much, but I’m for meeting the Magistrate and then we’ll find a place where we can talk shop with Elu. To the Eel, then?” Roland turns, faces Zurg, who hasn’t spoken a word since entering Taalagrad. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

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Prologue - Apocalypse S3
Forges of Karak-Azgal - Mourendar's Will
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