Myths of the Rust Hills

The Flame - Part 3 of "The Dryad and The Flame"

In this week’s adventure, the group played part 3 of the adventure “The Dryad at The Flame”. Part 3 is “The Flame”. Part 1 was researching in the Great City about the dryad and the flame. And the group hasn’t done Part 2 yet.

After teleporting deep into the old part of the Sunken City, the party encountered a trio of white apes in a rowboat. The apes pursued, and then came ashore. As they attacked from one side, another boatful of apes attacked from another side. The battle was fierce, and Woody the Warrior got his arm pulled off. He nearly bled out but was saved by a laying on of hands. And Luna the Wizard also was attacked and nearly bled out, but was also saved at the last minute.

All the apes were defeated except one, who was left to sleep on the causeway while the party were whisked up and into the tower of Flaxxor the Pyromancer. In the tower, they parleyed and made a deal. The wizard would give them a source of living flame in return for ridding the area of a family of weasels. The group thought of a dozen ways to get rid of the weasels, but in the end flooded them out of their den into the water of the swamp, thanks to a 30 gallon bucket the group has been carrying around. In return, true to his word, Flaxxor gave the party a magical geode that produces intense fire.

The party then returned to Mustertown.

Meanwhile, in another part of the world, a group of 12 promising young heroes was selected by the elders of a tribe of primitive hunters and gathers. They were sent on a mission to explore two tunnels that were recently revealed to go into the Ghost Ice. Were the demons that legend says were in the ice killed? Released?

The 12 gathered up their gear and set out, reaching the cliff of ice. They scaled the cliff. One of the group fell to his death, sadly, but the others gained entry into the left tunnel.

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A Gathering of the Marked: Part 4 - The Grove

This session marked the finale of the adventure “A Gathering of the Marked.” Our budding heroes emerged from the caverns on top of a high hill. There was a single encounter:

  • The Despoiled Grove

After defeating the head of the Cult of Athax and destroying their sacred statue, the party returned to Mustertown. Over the course of several days, they rested, sold off some treasure, bought new supplies, and gathered some clues.

These clues were related to two key elements needed to find the other half of the Rulership Rod, the first half of which was uncovered in the Portal Under the Stars adventure. The clues lead to two main things — the wood of a dryad’s tree and living fire.

The group decided to pursue the “living fire” first, and used the Sending Stone to travel to the somewhere near Arlingham Tower, reputed to be the home of Flaxxor the Pyromancer.

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A Gathering of the Marked: Part 3 - The Manor, continued

In this session, the band finished the 2nd chapter of the “Gathering of the Marked” adventure, and went through most of the 3rd chapter. Here’s the list of encounters:

  • The Room of Testing
  • Boneflenser
  • Opossumen Workers
  • Acolytes of Athax

All characters survived, though some just barely. And the group accepted a new party member into the fold, the one remaining Opossuman. He decided to join the adventurers, become a worshipper of Khoranus, and follow Aberchrombie as a henchman/acolyte.

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A Gathering of the Marked: Part 2 - The Manor

In this episode of Myths of the Rust Hills, our so-called heroes continued with A Gathering of the Marked. Having crossed the river to escape the shambling hordes and the great tentacled beast, they found that they were all truly marked. The fake marks that appeared on some of the party’s foreheads after using the Sending Stone turned into true marks, and now everyone feels compelled to gather.

The group decided to take the front approach to the manor, and encountered the following:

  • The Grasping Hands of Athax
  • Pits of Eldritch Ooze
  • Strangle Snakes
  • Beauregard the Swamp Ogre
  • Cooks and Fire Kobolds

Then the group headed upstairs. They quickly searched the second floor of the manor house, but found nothing interesting. With the characters poised to ascend the next staircase to the top floor, the game session came to a close.

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A Gathering of the Marked: Part 1 - The Village

The adventurers worked their way through all of Part 1 of “A Gathering of the Marked”. Most of them survived. That included these encounters:

  • Old Gus and Commodore Teak
  • The Shambling Horrors
  • Priests of Athax
  • Shard Skeletons and Tentacle

Next up is Part 2 – The Manor.

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Perils of the Sunken City, Episode 2

In the finale of Perils of the Sunken City, our budding heroes finished exploring the dungeon beneath the Arena of Madazkhan.

Bravely crossing the underground river in a boat made from a brazier, Gambit explored the island and the remains of a poor sole who had been trapped there. He gathered up a good pile of loot from there.

Progressing into Madazkhan’s inner sanctum, the group found a magic book, the exit from the dungeon, and a living statue of a tree, the idol of Malloc. A peasant died to satisfy Malloc’s desire for blood, but the group did get a very valuable golden goblet in return.

The party returned by way of the sending stone to Muster Town, and assessed their prizes. They resupplied for the next adventure, which will be for the group to travel to Blackwater Manor and confront the Cult of Athax. Four newcomers to the group are true Marked, and the others received an imposter mark on their foreheads so they can pass as a true Marked.

The game ended with the complete party being teleported to the top of a hill, where they encountered a small girl.

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Perils of the Sunken City, Episode 1

The motley band of adventurers, having just stepped into a large clearing in the swamp, spotted a well-preserved marble arena. But as they made their way toward it, they encountered a pair of crocodillos. Fortunately, a group of four peasants appeared on the other side of the crocs, pinning them between the two parties. After dispatching the reptiles, the groups joined together and began to explore the arena.

They climbed up into the stands, and also explored a pavilion. Inside were the desiccated bodies of the long-dead wizard Madazkhan, and three of his guards. The party liberated them of some weapons and the Rod of Chains. Shortly after, something triggered a frenzy of magical activity. A dome of lightning separated the inside of the arena from the outside, cutting off the party members who decided to stay outside with the group’s donkey. And then angry ghosts started to rise up, attacking the party and tossing them into the arena.

In the arena, the party had to deal with several large steel orbs spinning around. If they hit someone, they would surely crush a leg or two, but fortunately everyone dodged. But also, there was a wall of spikes at the bottom of the sloped outer arena area. Most of the group negotiated the spikes, but one poor fellow was left impaled. Once down to the inner arena area, the group slid into the middle section until someone pressed one of the four panels that had carved tree images. That caused the force field holding the PCs up to disappear, and everyone fell down a shaft into the lower dungeon level.

The group fell into magical healing waters that restored all their hit points, and then had to fight eight skeletons. After defeating them, the part explored the area. They found a giant grotto with an underground river. They found a bath room with two giant slimes. They found a room with many clay pots, one of which released a poison gas when opened.

But where will the party head next? Tune in next time and find out.

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Nebin Pendlebrook's Perilous Pantry, Episode 3

This game session picked up at the start of the grand finale of the “Nebin Pendlebrook” adventure. The party arrived in a great cavern, containing a wizard (Varooth Moss) in a block of ice. In response to Varooth scratching short messages on the floor, his four acolytes that had been freed from their prison cells moved the torches on the walls closer to the ice.

About that time, some of the rock rubble formed up into a stone behemoth, towering over the party. A few people tried and failed to read the runes on the floor, until finally one of the acolytes got it right. That accelerated the torches tenfold, and Varooth started to be freed.

Meanwhile, the stone behemoth attacked various party members, and also slammed his fists into the ceiling of the room, causing stones to fall down on the heads of everyone there. Varooth was released, and started using his magic wand to attack the stone behemoth, while everyone else attacked with a mix of melee weapons, ranged weapons, hand-held rocks, and magic.

Eventually the behemoth was defeated and the magic holding the stones together was broken. Two acolytes and one PC died in the battle. Another PC very nearly died, but was just knocked out.

Varooth and his remaining two acolytes stayed to dig their way back to the portal room, while the adventurers climbed out of the hole. After getting their story straight (not telling the whole truth to the villagers, as Varooth advised against revealing the portal’s existence until he could think over what to do about it), the group shared the bad news that the constable and Nebin both died from the giant spiders.

After resting up and buying some basic equipment, the group decided to travel to the Great City, by way of Inglebrook. The long journey was uneventful, and the PCs (minus Vala the Red, who decided to leave the group) made it to the Soiled Dove in Mustertown.

From there, they learned about the Sunken City, Sender, the sending stones, and The Lady who lives in a hovel. The Lady blessed them with ash marks on their foreheads, and said they needed to prove their mettle by going on an adventure into the Sunken City. The group bought more equipment, and then set out.

The group, including their purchased donkey carrying most of their gear, all touched the Sending Stone and were teleported into a large clearing. That’s where the Perils of the Sunken City adventure begins.

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Nebin Pendlebrook's Perilous Pantry, Episode 2

The game resumed with the remaining villagers catching their breath after defeating the two-headed skeleton hounds. Onto the scene burst a thief and a cleric, survivors of the Portal Under the Stars, and looking more serious and deadly than ever.

The party explored to the north and found a magical mirror in a closet. To the south they found an old dwarven armory. And to the east was a door that revealed a north-south hall with Nebin’s top hat on the floor. The group traveled north, and entered a great hall, where they found Nebin — now changed in some way — seated on a throne on top of a skeletal tortoise. They parleyed with Nebin a while. He was happy to see them, and invited them to join him in his eternal quest to protect the treasure east of here.

That’s when the dwarven skeletons came to life and began to attack. The party’s cleric turned several of the attackers, including the skeletal tortoise holding Nebin. They attempted to flee while the rest of the humans destroyed the rest of the skeletons. The group eventually grappled Nebin and tied him up against his will, then slew the tortoise, too.

While the party caught their breath, one poor schmuck explored on to the south, alone. He found a dwarven pantry, with an unstable floor. Crossing the floor, he passed through a dwarf-sized hall that led into the kitchen. But as he went back across the unstable floor in the pantry, he tripped and alerted a giant slug, which came up from the ground and swallowed him whole. Before any of the rest of the party could react, the grub sank back into the depths of the earth.

The group then investigated the locked door to the east. There was a nearby alcove with three keys and some dwarven writing. The three party members who had been left in the magical fountain room were summoned and one of them read the dwarven runes. It was a riddle, and group decided the key with the symbol of cherries would be the one to use. The cherry key unlocked the door and the group proceeded into a long stairwell.

Along the right wall were four prisoner cells, where some apprentices of the great wizard Varooth Moss had been imprisoned by his enemy Moldark Zelroth. The group spent quite some time trying to decide whether — and then how — to release the prisoners. Eventually, the thief bought some thief tools from a party member who didn’t need them, and he used the tools to pick the locks on the cells.

From there, everyone, including the freshly-released prisoners, headed north up the long stairway. They passed through a strange portal and came out into a great cavern. In the center is a huge block of ice, and inside that ice is the form of a person with a frog head. The apprentices immediately recognized the person to be their master, Varooth.

That’s where the game ended.

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Nebin Pendlebrook's Perilous Pantry, Episode 1

Six weeks to the day after the exploration of the Portal Under the Stars, a team of villagers from Bitterweed Barrow assembled to go on a rescue mission for the town’s halfling, Nebin Pendlebrook. He’s been missing for a week or so, and the constable who went to investigate never returned.

Eight new villagers joined up with three somewhat seasoned veterans from the previous adventure, for a quest they’ll never forget. They found that Nebin’s pantry has stumbled into an underground complex with toad spiders, treacherous chasms, bats, skeletal hell hounds, and a mysterious gravity-defying water well. The group also found the ancient remains of a wizard who had fallen into a chasm (the same chasm that killed two of the party) and died.

The searchers learned that the constable was killed by the toad spiders, but footprints in the dirt indicate that Nebin made it deeper into the depths of the dungeon. Three villagers and a hen gave their lives in the search for Master Pendlebrook, so far. How many more must die to solve this mystery?

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