The night of Bear 3rd (5/3) found them huddled in the ruined building near the vault platform, eating cold rations once again. Aderian and Jerker still felt weakened, as they had since removing gems from the gargoyles. At midnight as the rest of the party snored, including the goat, Chadwick was awake and keeping an eye out for trouble. Suddenly the silhouette of a wolf appeared before the luminous moon.
Across the short distance came a howl: “We told you we’d be back!” The declaration confused Chadwick. He hadn’t been in Doukreg when the werewolves attacked previously. Though he faced certain death, he cried out to his companions to wake, even as three wolfen forms leaped upon him. The lead werewolf clamped down on his skull, separating the top from the rest in an explosion of gore.
Immediately, Tienarth stood up and let loose a barrage of magic missiles that dropped the leader. Aderian, Ferris and Jerker rushed to engage the other two, each landing solid blows. The furious beasts bit Ferris and nearly caught Tienarth as well. The old elf produced an illusion of himself duplicated many times. Florida, not owning a magical weapon, landed blows that had no effect. Ferris twirled and lopped off the head of the foe he faced. Jerker impaled the last werewolf.
Now they witnessed the wolf forms transform into naked human bodies. Without delay, Ferris hacked at their skulls to extract their brains. As he stuffed them in a sack he explained, “I’ve been looking for more brains.”
The Bounty Hunter
On the morning of Bear 4th (5/4) Ferris and Aderian announced they intended to march back to St. Orlan to fetch the wagon. They presumed the treasure vault was open and they’d need the wagon to transport the large volume of loot. As they began walking along the path of destruction left by Molokotu, the came upon on a lone figure in hide armor. “I’m Roddy Sanchez,” he began, “though some call me New Wave. I’m tracking a werewolf.” He produced a silver dagger in an effort to explain.
“You’re in the right place for them. We killed three of them back there,” Ferris replied while jabbing his thumb over his shoulder. Aderian, wits dimmed, jerked his head in that direction reflexively. “Find our friends,” Ferris continued, “and they’ll let you examine the bodies. We just lost a party member, so maybe you could replace him.”
Roddy thanked them and headed for the vault where he found Tienarth casting a flying spell on Jerker. His curiosity continued, and he flew down to spy on the worm pushed into the treasure room. The worm was still there. Next, he threw a lit torch into the room and draped a rope in, too. With the hole widened enough from him to fit in, Jerker flew in to look closer at the treasure. As he did, he had a strange feeling that he disregarded. Next, the grabbed two sacks of coins and flew back up to the surface.
Florida and Tienarth were pleased to see the quantity of gold. Roddy gawked and wondered if some of it would be shared with him. Jerker retrieved another two sacks. They all continued to accept this great fortune. When Jerker returned to the treasure room again, he had the notion that he was in a dream. The vision of the treasure room flickered away momentarily. Still, he continued his work to take treasure out, this time filling a bucket with loose coins. When he brought the bucket to the surface, he finally realized all the treasure was an illusion. And as he made this declaration, the rest of them also saw through the illusion.
The treasure room was no room at all, but just a continuation of the vertical shaft to the top, apparently interrupted by a plate of transparent metal. The vault seemed to be a decoy, so Tienarth walked through the ruined streets with Florida to look at the map stele they used to find the vault originally. It bore a top-down picture of Doukreg with numbers matching a list of names. No other vault was listed. Without gaining more clues, they returned to Jerker and Roddy.
Jerker theorized the real vault lay somewhere deeper. He returned to where the illusion of the treasure room had been and began tunneling into the rock at a downward slant. It was hard work despite his giant strength, and the could clear about 5′ of tunnel an hour. He tossed the debris over into the spike room.
As Tienarth, Florida and Roddy puzzled out the riddle of the vault, five giant scorpions emerged from the ruined streets and approached. The elf once again produced mirror images. Roddy fired a sling bullet to no effect. Florida stood ready to smack a scorpion if it got close. The scorpions scrambled up onto the platform and snapped at Tienarth’s illusions, dismissing five of them. Roddy ran to the opposite side of the platform and climbed down to the street. Florida followed, but lacking the skills of a bounty hunter, he tumbled down the slope and landed with a crunch.
“I should have done this at first,” said Tienarth as he transformed into a gold dragon. The scorpions snapped and struck at his new form with no effect. Meanwhile, Roddy climbed up a nearby building to achieve a angle for continued slinging. The commotion attracted Jerker who climbed up the chain hanging in the vault.
With little to fear although the new focus for the scorpions, the gold dragon flew in the air and began diving down at them, biting and clawing. Before long, Jerker joined the battle, and the scorpions were defeated.
With more time left in his dragon form, Tienarth flew over the city, looking for clues. But first, he pushed the block over the side of the platform where it crashed into the street and cracked in half. Florida returned to the platform and poked around while Jerker and Tienarth puzzled over the vault. The dwarf wondered about the pillars and immediately noticed a secret door. Using his dwarven understanding of stone, he knew the door pushed in, and it required all of Jerker’s strength to open the door.
The pillar was hollow, just a small space containing a pile of debris. An engraving on the far wall taunted them with “Foolhardy thief! You’ll need to be much smarter to survive our vault!” Jerker held the door as Roddy dashed into sift through the debris. He came up with a dagger, a belt and a small bag. As he turned to leave, the door shut tight. Fortunately, Jerker was on the outside and able to open the door again.
Roddy tucked the fine dagger away, then poured the contents of the bag into his hand. Out came three tiger eyes and 24 SP. The belt was clearly magical and highly decorated. He wrapped it around this waste and instantly felt much stronger. “It is a belt of giant strength!” They marveled at the good fortune.
Now having the clue about secret doors, they resolved to search more the next day. A new place for camping was found, as the previous spot was still covered in the gore of Chadwick and three werewolves. Tienarth applied healing magic to Jerker and Florida, explaining his mystical healing abilities were superior to those of the faithful Ghevont.
Meanwhile, Aderian and Ferris camped at the old bridge south of Tosasth.
Surprise Attack by Orcs
On Bear 5th, Aderian and Ferris headed up into the mountains to reach the ruined tower at the pass. On the way, 13 Orcs surprised them, leaping from the bushes to attack. As heavy blow from clubs rained down on them, both the pirate and the thief quaffed potions of growth, causing them loom over the crowd of orcs. But the evil humanoids were undaunted. Five of them each landed blows on Ferris, producing real fear in him.
Aderian kept jabbing his dagger at orcs, killing them steadily. Ferris also continued fighting, despite his injured state, reasoning a turning of his back might just offer the orcs a killing blow. In an effort to terrorize the orcs, Aderian grabbed an orc by each arm and ripped one off completely. The orc died in agony. Still, the orcs continued their assault.
Ferris traded more blows, killing an orc but facing the real chance of defeat. Aderian battered another orc with the severed limb. The tide turned, as luck ran away from the orcs and most were killed. Aderian grabbed an orc by the head and popped it like a grape. Ferris took the last orc by the ankles and asked Aderian to grab him by the arms. They both pulled the orc apart. Ferris declared his good luck in taking away the larger part.
Between all the orcs was 50 gp, which the two split between them. They arrived at the ruined tower exhausted but alive. Ferris drank two healing potions and then took first watch.
What Tienarth and the others did on the 5th is yet to be revealed.
Make it to the tower. Ferris drinks two healing potions.
Back in Doukreg… Jerker mines more. Tienarth heals Florida and Jerker.
- Girdle of giant strength
- 3 tiger eye gems
- A nice dagger
- Coins recovered from orcs
- 3 werewolf brains
- Combat: 210 / 350 / 163
- 3 Werewolves 840 xp split 5 ways
- 5 Giant Scorpions 1400 xp split 4 ways
- 13 Orcs 325 xp split 2 ways
- Aderian (fight) [210 + 163] 303 xp
- Chadwick (deceased)
- Ferris [210 + 163] 300 xp
- Florida (resilient, stonework) [210 + 350] 571 xp
- Jerker (fight, strength) [210 + 350] 627 xp
- Roddy  385 xp
- Tienarth (magic) [210 + 350] 566 xp
- Days: 3 (Aderian, Ferris) and 2 (Tienarth et al) / Ending 5/5