Heroes of Midhgardhur

Session 40 - The Expedition (Act 5, Interlude)
HM7 The Expedition

6/15/13 – 40th Session – Module HM7 – The Expedition
Game Date: 6/16/900 N.Y. – 7/10/900 N.Y.

The Party:
Athelstan (Chris) – domur: 58, hamingja: 3
Aurel (Metellus) – domur: 56, hamingja: 3
Basileus Arkonides (Chris) – domur: 56, hamingja: 2
Caelrath (Josh) – domur: – 56, hamingja: 3
Estrid (Tanya) – domur: 60, hamingja: 3
Thrand Hallsteinsson (Josh) – domur: 56, hamingja: 3
Hakon Finehair the Skald (NPC) – domur: 52
Bronislava (NPC)
Oxana the Lady-In-Waiting (NPC)
Dunyasha the Lady (NPC)

Manadagur, the 16th of Skerpla, 900 N.Y.

The heroes arrived back in Luleastadhir in the morning to find the market bustling with activity, as the ships had come in and the caravans arrived. But at the center of town, they found Jarl Grundi in a confrontation with a mysterious stranger who turned out to be Thorgill Haraldsson, the youngest son of Haraldur Einkonungur (The One King, King of Noregur, “Emperor of the North”) and his first wife, Gydha. The arrogant young man was threatening the jarl, until Aurel spoke up against him. When Thorgill dismissed Aurel, Basileus Arkonides then spoke up, insulting Thorgill. So Thorgill challenged him to a holmganga (a duel between the two of them in a domhringur, a “doom-ring”), to be fought at dawn. Basileus Arkonides, contrained by honor, was forced to accept the challenge. After this, Thorgill strode away.

After the confrontation with Thorgill, the heroes were pleased to have a meeting with the jarl and Orm-Barri. They could not agree what to do about Thorgill, beyond allowing his holmganga with Basileus Arkonides to go forward at dawn the next day. The heroes presented two of the three skergipur eggs to the jarl and to Barri. The jarl seemed to accept the magnificent gift as only his due, considering the hospitality that he had shown to the heroes in the past. But Orm-Barri was extremely grateful for the gift, and ran home to get them a gift in exchange.

When Orm-Barri returned, he bore a vellum map of the country ahead of them, showing how they would pass the the lands of the wild and savage Kvenir tribes to come to Ulfsey, the furthest outpost of the people of the North in the East (except perhaps for the Rys Khanate beyond). Beyond Ulfsey, they would need to travel a narrow mountain pass, which is now plagued by attacks of troll raiders. Some claim the trolls are led by a “King of the Mountain” who sends them forth to assault the men and vaettir. Orm-Barri said he could introduce Estrid to the trader who brought him the map . . .

Meanwhile, Aurel and Caelrath went to the libraries to research the mysterious Fortress of the King of Storms. Aurel turned up nothing in his search, but Caelrath found references to the primeval war in which the Aesir and Vanir unleashed their wrath upon the “Storm King,” and in so doing shook the Fortress of the King of Storms loose from the branches of the World-Tree Yggdrasill. And so the fortress drifts here and there, from world to world, uncontrollably . . . or so the scholars believed. But Caelrath thought that any sufficiently powerful runecaster ought to be able to harness the magic to control the fortress . . .

Estrid went to the tavern to interview Vladislav Otarson, a Rys man (clearly of Vylgar descent) from Tvor who had made the journey many times from the Rys Khanate to Luleastadhir, and had even been to Permia a few times. He called it a dangerous land, full of linnorms, dragons, giants, and evil sorcerers. He was able to tell Estrid much about the road ahead. He could not tell much of Thorgill, except to say that he had seemed to have some immunity to poison, as if he knew a rune against poison on his drinking horn. After meeting with him, she was able to advise the party better about the road they should take to Ulfsey and beyond . . .

Finally, Aurel and Caelrath went to interview Hauk, the ice-sorcerer who was counselor to Jarl Grundi. Orm-Barri had told them he might know something useful, but that Hauk always made him uneasy. He said, “He is an ice-sorcerer, meaning that somewhere back in his family line runs the blood of the frost-giants, who at Ragnarokkur will lead the charge to destroy the gods and the world. It is hard to forget that a man like that has such kin.” So forewarned, they met with Hauk, a gloomy man who spent most of his time staring into the fire in the hearth. He was able to tell that Thorgill was no mortal man, but that while his father, Haraldur Einkonungur (The One King, King of Noregur, “Emperor of the North”), might be a mortal man, no man can say what manner of creature his mother might have been. He was known to have terrible powers, though Thorgill could not name those powers precisely. While he hinted at possessing knowledge that would “blind them, blast them, and burn them to cinders with the merest glance,” he could tell them little of value, except to ask before they left, whether the blade Basileus Arkonides bore were enchanted. They said that it was, and he said that such was well, since Thorgill seemed to be under an enchantment himself, that no iron would bite him unless it were enchanted.

Tysdagur, the 17th of Skerpla, 900 N.Y.

Awakening at dawn, Basileus Arkonides prepared for his holmganga, seeming nonchalant (although he did use svartalfur poison to envenom his blade). He came to the market square to find the doom-ring assembled and Thorgill waiting for him. In the verbal sparring before the match, Bas impressed Thorgill with his courage, and so Thorgill specified the holmnganga to be a fight only to first blood. They clashed their swords on their shields to signify their readiness for the match to begin. Basileus Arkonides proved the faster, and though Thorgill was pouring all of his skill into defense, Bas struck him a mighty blow. The attack stunned Thorgill (though he seemed to shrug off the poison), and he congratulated the hero on his courage and fighting prowess. Basileus Arkonides took Thorgill to the closest tavern to buy him a drink, and proceeded to get very drunk indeed. The ale seemed not to touch Thorgill, however. But he said, “I intend to sail with the tide. I shall tell my father that with champions such as you, Luleastadhir is too well defended to be taken by force. Perhaps the time is not right.”

Odhinsdagur, the 18th of Skerpla, 900 N.Y.

Thorgill did indeed sail away on the next tide. The heroes did not quite trust in his word, however, and stayed a few more days to ensure that he was really gone. Aurel also suggested to the jarl that he improve his relations with the ship captains who patrol the bay, so that he would have better warning if Thorgill or an enemy fleet were to reappear. Aurel also bought a wagon (hitched to his mule) to help transport the remaining skergipur egg.

Freyjudagur, the 20th of Skerpla, 900 N.Y.

On this day, the heroes once more set forth, this time directing their course towards Ulfsey.

Tysdagur, the 1st of Solmanudhur, 900 N.Y.

On this day, the heroes encountered some primitive Kvenir tribesmen herding their reindeer. The Kvenir seemed to fear them, and gave the heroes a wide berth . . .

Thorsdagur, the 10th of Solmanudhur, 900 N.Y.

On this day the heroes finally arrived in sight of Ulfsey Crossing . . .

XP Earned: 24,000 (4000 each)
Total XP: 63,839
XP to level 9: 75,000

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Session 39 - The Expedition (Act 5)
HM7 The Expedition

6/1/13 – 39th Session – Module HM7 – The Expedition
Game Date: 6/13/900 N.Y. – 6/15/900 N.Y.

The Party:
Athelstan (Chris) – domur: 52, hamingja: 3
Aurel (Metellus) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Basileus Arkonides (Chris) – domur: 50, hamingja: 2
Caelrath (Josh) – domur: – 50, hamingja: 3
Estrid (Tanya) – domur: 54, hamingja: 3
Thrand Hallsteinsson (Josh) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Hakon Finehair the Skald (NPC) – domur: 46
Bronislava (NPC)
Oxana the Lady-In-Waiting (NPC)
Dunyasha the Lady (NPC)

Freyjudagur, the 13th of Skerpla, 900 N.Y.

The heroes slogged through the boggy swamp to the mountain where the skergipar made their lair, but as night was falling, they decided to make camp (without a fire, for fear of calling down the giant beasts on them in the night).

Sjaundidagur, the 14th of Skerpla, 900 N.Y.

Awakened at dawn by the screeching roar of a skergipur high above, the heroes pressed on up the mountainside. They came to narrow passes where the mounts would have to be left, so the left Vik (the leshy) and Bronislava to protect Dunyasha, Oxana, and the mounts. Storm clouds were gathering over the mountain, and occasional flashes of lightning streaked across the sky as they climbed.

Approaching the nest, Estrid used her eagle eye spell to discern that there was a single skergipur in the nest, guarding some gigantic eggs. The beast was huge – more than 30 feet long, with a wingspan of more than 80 feet . . . and there was no sign yet of the other one!

As the heroes prepared to attack the nest, Caelrath cast fly on Basileus Arkonides and haste on the whole party, while Estrid cast call lightning. The heroes then made their attack, entering the nest of the furious skergipur.

A terrible battle ensued, with Basileus Arkonides doing most of the front-line fighting as Caelrath and Estrid rained magical lightning and fire down upon the battle. Aurel located the corpse of Arnulfur and found the ring of feather fall as well as a cold iron longsword. The battle was full of terrible mishaps, like Thrand Hallsteinsson becoming momentarily confused and babbling in coherently, and blinding himself temporarily, or Basileus Arkonides accidentally punting his sword off a cliff (thankfully, he was still flying, and so was able to retrieve it). Just when it seemed the battle was won, the mate of the first skergipur arrived in a thunder of wings to press the attack!

At one point in the battle, there was a strange apparition high above, in the clouds – a floating castle appeared in a rainbow of colored lights as the lightning flashed and thunder roared over the battle. And then – in an instant – it was gone again. The heroes compared notes, and believe it was the legendary Fortress of the King of Storms, an artifact lost since the dawn of time that travels between worlds even as it floats in the skies above them. But in the fury of battle, there was little time for speculation . . .

Despite Basileus Arkonides being terribly wounded on multiple occasions in the battle (and healed by Athelstan ), the heroes did finally prevail, with magical lightning and fireballs winning the day. Caelrath collected feathers, blood, talons, and such for use as components. Athelstan gave Arnulfur a proper burial.

The heroes then worked out a way to transport the skergipur eggs down to their camp. They rested for the night, with Basileus Arkonides spending some time repairing his armor as best he could after it had been savagely rent by the talons and beak of the monstrous birds.

Solsdagur, the 15th of Skerpla, 900 N.Y.

The heroes decided to send envoys to meet with Hvedhra again, and return to her the ring of feather falling. In return, they received a pouch with 6 doses of dust of disappearance. They questioned Hvedhra about the fortress they had seen floating in the skies above the battle, and she mentioned that she, too, had seen this sometimes. She also believed it to be the legendary Fortress of the King of Storms, and mentioned that according to legend, its master could extend the storm clouds surrounding the fortress, perhaps even until the entire world was cast in shadow and denied the light of the sun!

After this, the heroes faced a difficult choice – should they press on towards Permia, or ought they to head back to Luleastadhir with the eggs of the skergipar and attempt to sell the eggs? Due to the impracticality of trying to transport the eggs any long distance, they decided to head back to Luleastadhir, and resume their adventures soon . . .

XP Earned: 22,404 (3734 each)
Total XP: 59,839
XP to level 9: 75,000

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Session 38 - The Expedition (Act 5)
HM7 The Expedition

5/4/13 – 38th Session – Module HM7 – The Expedition
Game Date: 6/13/900 N.Y.

The Party:
Athelstan (Chris) – domur: 52, hamingja: 3
Aurel (Metellus) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Basileus Arkonides (Chris) – domur: 50, hamingja: 2
Caelrath (Josh) – domur: – 50, hamingja: 3
Estrid (Tanya) – domur: 54, hamingja: 3
Thrand Hallsteinsson (Josh) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Hakon Finehair the Skald (NPC) – domur: 46
Bronislava (NPC)
Oxana the Lady-In-Waiting (NPC)
Dunyasha the Lady (NPC)

Freyjudagur, the 13th of Skerpla, 900 N.Y.

At long last, the heroes set forth from Luleastadhir towards Permia. It was now nearly summer, and the snows and ice had thawed even this far north, opening the roads and trails (and causing the retreat of the dragons and giants lurking in the wilderness to higher elevations in which they are more comfortable, according to local lore).

Orm-Barri warned the heroes to avoid the swamps and rivers to the north, where danger lurks even in the warmer months, and take the trail around the swamps to the south. Yet as they set forth, the heroes wondered what lurked along the river to the north that had so frightened the locals. Estrid used a spell that allowed her to look down on the world from above, as an eagle or raven sees the world. See could see someone wading in the river to the north – a naked women, clothed only in her own long tresses of raven-black hair.

The heroes decided to send envoys to meet this mysterious woman. They introduced themselves to her, and she told them that her name was Hvedhra. Hvedhra made reference to being alone, having lost her former guardian and protector. He had gone to try to retrieve a ring of feather fall from the nest of a mated pair of skergipar (giant birds that can carry off even horses in their talons). She offered the heroes her greatest treasure – magical dust with which to turn invisible ( dust of disappearance ) – if they will brave the nest of the skergipar and retrieve her ring. Although the heroes do not fully trust Hvedhra, they have agreed to seek her ring . . .

XP Earned: 9600 (1600 each)
Total XP: 56,105
XP to level 9: 75,000

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Session 37 - The Expedition (Act 4)
HM7 The Expedition

4/13/13 – 37th Session – Module HM7 – The Expedition
Game Date: 5/15/900 N.Y. – 6/12/900 N.Y.

The Party:
Athelstan (Chris) – domur: 52, hamingja: 3
Aurel (Metellus) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Basileus Arkonides (Chris) – domur: 50, hamingja: 2
Caelrath (Josh) – domur: – 50, hamingja: 3
Estrid (Tanya) – domur: 54, hamingja: 3
Neferata (Jess) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Thrand Hallsteinsson (Josh) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Hakon Finehair the Skald (NPC) – domur: 46
Oxana the Lady-In-Waiting (NPC)
Dunyasha the Lady (NPC)
Orinn the Svartalfur Prisoner (NPC)

Thorsdagur, the 15th of Harpa, 900 N.Y. to Thorsdagur, the 12th of Skerpla, 900 N.Y.

While the party was staying at Luleastadhir for about a month, the heroes each pursued their own individual interests:

  • Athelstan spent the better part of the month catechizing Orinn in the worship of Baldur and fully converting him to the faith. He spent the last week praying for guidance as to whether he should bring Orinn with him on this journeys, or leave him at Luleastadhir in the care of the religious community there. At the end of the week, he had decided to part ways with Orinn . . .
  • Basileus Arkonides spent the entire month feasting, drinking, and whoring. He felt not the least bit ashamed.
  • Caelrath spent most of the month trading magical knowledge with Orm-Barri. The two traded spells from their spellbooks of equal level and value.
  • Thrand Hallsteinsson spent some time learning to make his own weapons. He intends to learn the skills necessary to supply himself.
  • Estrid spent the first couple of weeks growing a gourd leshy, then performed the ritual to bring it to life. She named her new gourd leshy “Vik.” She spent the last couple of weeks earning coin by means of performances of comedy and prestidigitation, making a tidy little pile of silver (which was important to her since she spent a massive amount of gold on creating her leshy ). She also bought a military saddle for Vaengur.
  • Aurel spent the better part of the month hiring out his services as a scribe. In a place like Luleastadhir, where such services are rare, he found himself much in demand . . .
  • Dunyasha spent most of the month complaining that they needed to get back on the road and get her home!

As the month of Skerpla arrived, more travelers began to pass through the settlement. They said that in the summer months, as the frost and snow retreats, so do many of the dangers of the wilderness to the East, as the giants and dragons and such withdraw to the north or to the mountain heights. The bay thawed its last ice, and shipping resumed for the summer.

On the 10th of Skerpla (Tysdagur), a Sviar viking captain named Arngrimur arrived in his longship, bearing tales of far-off lands.

On the 12th of Skerpla (Thorsdagur), a Northmann noble named Thorgill Haraldsson arrived in his own longship. He seemed to have business with Jarl Grundi, and did not seem to be a “trader and raider” like captain Arngrimur . . .

The heroes, having had a chance to pursue their individual interests for a month, were beginning to prepare to move on . . .

XP Earned: 9600 (1600 each)
Total XP: 54,505
XP to level 9: 75,000

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Session 36 - The Expedition (Act 3)
HM7 The Expedition

3/29/13 – 36th Session – Module HM7 – The Expedition
Game Date: 5/8/900 N.Y. – 5/15/900 N.Y.

The Party:
Athelstan (Chris) – domur: 52, hamingja: 3
Aurel (Metellus) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Basileus Arkonides (Chris) – domur: 50, hamingja: 2
Caelrath (Josh) – domur: – 50, hamingja: 3
Estrid (Tanya) – domur: 54, hamingja: 3
Neferata (Jess) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Thrand Hallsteinsson (Josh) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Hakon Finehair the Skald (NPC) – domur: 46
Oxana the Lady-In-Waiting (NPC)
Dunyasha the Lady (NPC)
Orinn the Svartalfur Prisoner (NPC)

Thorsdagur, the 8th of Harpa, 900 N.Y.

After taking a week to recover from the strength-draining attacks of the roper, the heroes set forth once more (at last) across the Bleikstrand, heading north. As they traveled, Caelrath worked to create a set of bracers of armor for Aurel. Athelstan worked to convert Orinn to the faith of Baldur. Once the bracers were complete, Caelrath began working on enchanting his ring . . .

A week passed without incident on the journey . . .

Thorsdagur, the 15th of Harpa, 900 N.Y.

After a week of travel, the heroes came upon unexpected signs of civilization – some rough wooden fences, flocks of sheep, and such. As they came over some low hills, they saw a sizable steading, with a mighty longhouse worthy of a jarl. They soon met a shepherd named Sorli who directed them to the longhouse of Jarl Grundi Hrottason, and told them that the settlement was called Luleastadhir (Lulea-stead).

At the door of the longhouse, the heroes met Orm-Barri, a wizard with a pseudodragon familiar named “Gamli the Orm.” They had a pleasant conversation with him, then went in to meet the jarl (while Athelstan and Orinn went in search of a shrine of Baldur). Despite the fact that Basileus Arkonides was their primary representative here, they enjoyed a pleasant conversation and warm welcome from the jarl.

Then the conversation turned to the road ahead (the wilderness of the Kvenir), and the potential threats of Haraldur Einkonungur (The One King, King of Noregur, “Emperor of the North”) and “The King of Storms.” While Jarl Grundi seemed not to take the threat of the svartalfar seriously, the heroes endeavored to prove the potential threat, even sending the jarl’s counselor Hauk Half-alfur to fetch Athelstan and Orinn. The jarl seemed to take their words a bit more seriously after that . . .

Finally, the heroes set up at the Dragonshead Inn (a longhouse carved with wooden dragon-heads). Since only a couple of private rooms were available, and the rest needed to use the common room, Dunyasha took one room with Bronislava to guard her and Oxana to serve her. while Basileus Arkonides took the other private room in order to arrange private liasons with local women.

Caelrath made plans to trade spells with Orm-Barri, and all the heroes considered staying here long enough to work on some projects (e.g. Estrid could work on a leshy, Caelrath could work on enchantments, etc.).

XP Earned: 9600 (1600 each)
Total XP: 52,905
XP to level 9: 75,000

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Session 35 - The Expedition (Acts 2 & 3)
HM7 The Expedition

3/23/13 – 35th Session – Module HM7 – The Expedition
Game Date: 5/1/900 N.Y.

The Party:
Athelstan (Chris) – domur: 52, hamingja: 3
Aurel (Metellus) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Basileus Arkonides (Chris) – domur: 50, hamingja: 2
Caelrath (Josh) – domur: – 50, hamingja: 3
Estrid (Tanya) – domur: 54, hamingja: 3
Neferata (Jess) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Thrand Hallsteinsson (Josh) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Hakon Finehair the Skald (NPC) – domur: 46
Oxana the Lady-In-Waiting (NPC)
Dunyasha the Lady (NPC)
Orinn the Svartalfur Prisoner (NPC)

Odhinsdagur, the 1st of Harpa, 900 N.Y.

Having defeated the trolls, the heroes now scoured their caverns for loot. They found a great deal of treasure, including a potion of cure moderate wounds, a potion of eagle’s splendor, and a +1 mithral buckler. But they still needed to investigate the back of the caverns – the area that even the trolls avoided. What could frighten trolls?

The heroes strode toward the deserted area of the cavern, with Basileus Arkonides in the lead. But suddenly, tendrils shot out towards the heroes – and those struck felt the strength draining out of them! A monstrous creature, which at first had appeared to be a stalagmite, dwelt in the center of the cavern and pulled its victims towards its maw with long, ropy tentacles . . .

Caelrath and Aurel realized that the monster was a roper – a highly intelligent and dangerous creature, immune to electrical attacks and resistant to cold (the only types of spells Estrid still had prepared) and vulnerable most of all to fire (the type of magic the party had exhausted in the battle with the trolls). The party had to conduct a fighting retreat, stopping to rescue party members who were entrapped by the monster’s tendrils. But once out of range of its tendrils, they discovered it could move, and was coming after them! They ran back up the tunnel toward the junction.

Fearing lest the monster should follow them to the surface, or attack the huldrufolk in the nearby caverns, the heroes decided that they needed to contain the creature if they could not kill it. Aurel and Caelrath found a weak point in the tunnel and Estrid used call lightning to blast it with repeated lightning bolts until a massive cave-in resulted, trapping the roper in the depths . . .

After the heroes trapped the roper, Estrid decided to pay a visit to the huldrufolk beyond the illusory cave-in. She successfully disbelieved the illusion and walked through the wall. The guards on the other side identified themselves as the Gjukingar, a lost clan of huldrufolk who dwell underground. They took Estrid to meet their king, King Hogni, who gave her a gift of magical boots – boots of escape. He also mentioned that they had captured a meddlesome outsider, and were torn between killing this outsider as a threat to their veil of secrecy, and finding some way of getting rid of her peacefully. Since this “outsider” turned out to be Neferata, Estrid agreed to take the prisoner away and keep her from revealing the secret location of the Gjukingar . . .

When Estrid returned to the other heroes with Neferata (“Hey everyone! Look what I found!”), the heroes decided to return to the surface, but to spend a week or so resting up before moving on (since several of the heroes would need at least that long to recover from the strength damage inflicted by the roper).

XP Earned: 22,404 (3734 each)
Total XP: 51,305
LEVEL UP!
XP to level 9: 75,000
Hamingja (Hero Points) = +1 (maximum 3)

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Session 34 - The Expedition (Act 2, cont.)
HM7 The Expedition

3/9/13 – 34th Session – Module HM7 – The Expedition
Game Date: 5/1/900 N.Y.

The Party:
Athelstan (Chris) – domur: 52, hamingja: 3
Aurel (Metellus) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Basileus Arkonides (Chris) – domur: 50, hamingja: 1
Caelrath (Josh) – domur: – 50, hamingja: 3
Estrid (Tanya) – domur: 54, hamingja: 3
Neferata (Jess) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Thrand Hallsteinsson (Josh) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Hakon Finehair the Skald (NPC) – domur: 46
Oxana the Lady-In-Waiting (NPC)
Dunyasha the Lady (NPC)
Orinn the Svartalfur Prisoner (NPC)

Odhinsdagur, the 1st of Harpa, 900 N.Y.

Aurel made a quick trip back to the surface to scout and look for any indication of nearby settlements, but found nothing – not really a surprise, considering that they were within the former desolation of a white dragon. Aurel returned to his companions as they planned to assault the lair of the trolls.

The heroes knew that these were true trolls, very dangerous opponents who would swiftly recover from any wound, unless scorched with acid or fire. So they knew they had to carefully prepare their attack, lest the trolls be able to recover and thereby overcome them, A plan was devised in which Caelrath went ahead of the rest of the party, using a spell of invisibility to approach unseen, and attack with a fireball from surprise. Then the rest of the party would rush in an attack.

And so, protected by several spells (mage armor, shield, haste, invisibility), Caelrath approached the lair of the trolls in advance of the rest of his party. He saw that there were six trolls, and three of them were close enough together to be the target of his fireball. He cast the spell, blasting three of the trolls with fire, but thereby becoming visible. While the trolls moved to attack, Caelrath further protected himself with a mirror image spell.

Then, as the rest of the party came rushing to his aid, Caelrath used his ring to recover his fireball spell and blast the trolls again (this time getting four of them in the blast, since they had come closer together in their rush to attack him. In the furious battle that followed, Basileus Arkonides bravely absorbed the brunt of the trolls’ attack, while Estrid summoned flaming spheres and Caelrath blasted them with scorching rays. Thrand Hallsteinsson set his arrows alight, while Aurel attacked in a flurry of blows that included stunning blows.

Though the battle was furious, in a short time the heroes emerged victorious over the trolls. The heroes would now be free to search the room for scattered treasures . . . and to investigate the dark corner of the trolls’ lair that even the trolls seemed to avoid . . .

XP Earned: 12,804 (2134 each)
Total XP: 47,571
XP to level 8: 51,000

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Session 33 - The Expedition (Act 2, cont.)
HM7 The Expedition

3/2/13 – 33rd Session – Module HM7 – The Expedition
Game Date: 4/30/900 N.Y. – 5/1/900 N.Y.

The Party:
Athelstan (Chris) – domur: 52, hamingja: 3
Aurel (Metellus) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Basileus Arkonides (Chris) – domur: 50, hamingja: 1
Caelrath (Josh) – domur: – 50, hamingja: 3
Estrid (Tanya) – domur: 54, hamingja: 3
Neferata (Jess) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Thrand Hallsteinsson (Josh) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Hakon Finehair the Skald (NPC) – domur: 46
Oxana the Lady-In-Waiting (NPC)
Dunyasha the Lady (NPC)

Tysdagur, the 30th of Einmanudhur, 900 N.Y.

Athelstan took the scroll of heroic fortune that had been granted to him by the king of Sjaelland, and used its power to increase his share of hamingja . . . and then burned his own luck to be able to cast raise dead to bring back Bronislava, the mercenary in service to Lady Dunyasha. She rose from the dead unsteadily, gasping for breath, much diminished in might, but grateful for the reprieve from death . . .

The heroes took the time to secure what had been a svartalfar enclave, and to prepare a camp for the night . . .

Odhinsdagur, the 1st of Harpa, 900 N.Y.

The party awakened in the underground enclave and began to thoroughly loot the place. Among the treasures they found 6160 copper pennigar, 2326 silver pennigar, 462 gold aurar, 23 gold marks, a +1 steel shield, a +1 shortsword, boots of elvenkind, a scroll of passwall, a black pearl (worth about 550 gp.), and a marble statuette of Dulinn the King of Storms (worth about 300 gp.). There was also a fairly complete alchemical laboratory and a set of spellbooks:

Svartalfar Spellbook I

  • 6th – create undead, eyebite
  • 5th – baleful polymorph, magic jar, teleport, waves of fatigue
  • 4th – animate dead, enervation, fear, solid fog, wall of fire
  • 3rd – blink, fireball, fly, ray of exhaustion, vampiric touch
  • 2nd – blindness/deafness, false life, resist energy, see invisibility, scare, scorching ray
  • 1st – alarm, burning hands, cause fear, detect undead, expeditious retreat, mage armor, magic missile

Svartalfar Spellbook II

  • 6th – contingency, freezing sphere, repulsion
  • 5th – cone of cold, mage’s private sanctum, permanency, teleport, wall of force
  • 4th – ice storm, shout, stoneskin, symbol of revelation, wall of ice
  • 3rd – arcane sight, dispel magic, elemental aura, fire trap, heroism, lightning bolt, phantom steed, seek thoughts
  • 2nd – bull’s strength, false life, glitterdust, hideous laughter, make whole, resist energy, rope trick
  • 1st – detect secret doors, endure elements, enlarge person, feather fall, mage armor, magic missile, obscuring mist, shield, shocking grasp

Estrid took the opportunity to use the alchemical lab to make eight doses of antitoxin against the poison used by the svartalfar.

Meanwhile. Athelstan began the interrogation of their svartalfur prisoner, Orinn. The interrogation revealed that Orinn was an extremely low-ranking servant among the svartalfar, in service to someone named Lord Bildur (the leader of this enclave, who escaped through the portal to Svartalfaheimur ). He said that the date had been significant – that the heroes had destroyed the portal on the holiday of Valuborgsnott, a night when witchcraft and sorcery was at its peak. It seemed that Orinn might have some useful information, so Athelstan tried to convert him to the faith of Baldur by a combination of healing mercies and promises of a place of power.

The rest of the party was not so convinced that Orinn could and should be trusted. Aurel stabbed Orinn with his temple sword and seemed prepared to finish the job, beginning a standoff between the heroes. It was eventually resolved by a tentative agreement to keep Orinn bound for now, and that Athelstan would be responsible for him. Athelstan put the svartalfur on a lead, and so they took him along . . .

The heroes left the enclave and returned to the three-pronged fork in the tunnel. They double-checked the central and left-hand tunnels – the central tunnel still seemed abandoned, but Caelrath thought he detected something different about the left-hand tunnel. The cave-in that blocked the tunnel looked somehow different to him. He assumed it was an illusion and attempted to disbelieve it, but it seemed solid. So the heroes headed back to the surface, checked on the animals, dropped off some of the treasure (like the thousands of copper pennigar).

Then they returned to the fork in the tunnel. Estrid used her wild shape ability to become a small earth elemental and earth glide through the tunnel walls to scout them out. Down the left-hand tunnel, she was able to confirm that the cave-in was, in fact, an illusion . . . and found it was populated by an enclave of huldrufolk with gray skin – an insular tribe called the Gjukingar, distrustful of outsiders.

Down the central tunnel, Estrid saw a large central cavern occupied by a large group of trolls. She noticed that they stayed toward the center of the cavern, not venturing to the far end, which seemed abandoned. She also found the gnawed bones of other huldrufolk, much to her horror . . .

Estrid returned and, still in her elemental form, reported what she had seen. The heroes conferred and decided to destroy the trolls without bothering the Gjukingar . . .

XP Earned: 3204 (534 each)
Total XP: 45,437
XP to level 8: 51,000

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Session 32 - The Expedition (Act 2, cont.)
HM7 The Expedition

2/9/13 – 32nd Session – Module HM7 – The Expedition
Game Date: 4/30/900 N.Y.

The Party:
Athelstan (Chris) – domur: 52, hamingja: 3
Aurel (Metellus) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Basileus Arkonides (Chris) – domur: 50, hamingja: 1
Caelrath (Josh) – domur: – 50, hamingja: 3
Estrid (Tanya) – domur: 54, hamingja: 3
Neferata (Jess) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Thrand Hallsteinsson (Josh) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Hakon Finehair the Skald (NPC) – domur: 46
Oxana the Lady-In-Waiting (NPC)
Dunyasha the Lady (NPC)

Tysdagur, the 30th of Einmanudhur, 900 N.Y.

THE BATTLE CONTINUED!

As the battle with the Beast continued, the creature let off another chaos hammer burst, slamming all of the heroes with the power of raw chaos. Since Basileus Arkonides was already unconscious and barely stable, this would have finished him off if not for his mighty luck. But Athelstan was able to keep all the heroes alive, and with mighty effort, they finally took down the Beast! Its body quickly dissolved into a pool of noxious ichor (and Caelrath made certain to keep a sample of this vile fluid).

The party was now badly injured, in need of healing and rest, their resources depleted. But the heroes faced the decision of whether to press onward or set up camp and restore themselves before continuing to the svartalfar stronghold below. Good arguments were made for both sides, but the heroes decided to press on, mainly because of the worry that the svartalfar already knew that the heroes were present, and giving them more time to act might allow them to summon another creature like the Beast. So they gathered up their things. Caelrath volunteered to carry Aurel’s unconscious body, and the Lady Dunyasha commanded Oxana to carry Bronislava’s corpse.

Realizing that there were more deadly traps ahead, they used their wand of animate dead to raise the ten svartalfar corpses as zombies. They sent these zombies marching ahead of them to set off any traps (leaving the wand with 27 charges). After about half a mile, they set off an audible alarm spell. Since there seemed to be no other traps or reactions, they continued marching. When they approached the place where Estrid’s scouting had indicated traps, they sent the svartalfar zombies ahead. The traps sent hails of arrows into the leading five zombies, felling them.

After passing the gauntlet of arrow traps, the heroes knew that soon they would come upon the S-curve in the tunnel. Beyond the curve: svartalfar guards. Behind the guards: the gates to their enclave. So they sent in the zombies! When the screams died down, they only had two zombies remaining, but they used the wand on the former guards, bringing their total up to four (the wand has 25 charges remaining)!

They entered the gates into the underground enclave of the svartalfar. They found themselves in a space with a long tunnel to the left (roughly west) and a passageway straight ahead (roughly north). Suddenly, troops of svartalfar appeared in both directions! “Surrender or die!” called the captains of the svartalfar , “We have you surrounded!” To which Caelrath called out in reply, “You face the same choice! Surrender to us or you die!”

And so the battle ensued, but the depleted resources of the heroes limited their ability to respond. Caelrath used the ring of his arcane bond to cast haste upon the heroes again.

Unbeknownst to the heroes, as they fought the svartalfar , a powerful magical force reached out for the unconscious Aurel and tried to wrest his soul from his sleeping body. Fortunately, even unconscious, Aurel’s strength of will was sufficient to resist this attempt to seize control of his body.

Just as the heroes seemed to be winning the battle, a figure appeared down the hallway to the left and sent a fireball streaking to burst in the midst of the heroes! This fireball knocked out Estrid, killed the remaining zombie allies, but also hurt most of the remaning svartalfar. Athelstan healed Estrid to get her back on her feet, and Thrand Hallsteinsson launched a volley of arrows at the fleeing svartalfur who had blasted them with fire. Estrid used her sling to take out one of the few remaining svartalfar, and Basileus Arkonides managed to take out the captain of the svartalfar from the left-hand tunnel.

Just then, a freshly-created undead monstrosity lurched into sight from the left-hand tunnel, its distended purple tongue lolling out, its skin sloughing off to reveal a skeletal monster. Caelrath attacked the undead horror, but just then there was a flash of green light from the room beyond the left-hand tunnel.

Meanwhile, the last remaining svartalfur from the north tunnel had stabbed Hakon Finehair the Skald with his poisoned blade, knocking him unconscious. Athelstan couldn’t tell if Hakon was seriously hurt and needed his help. He menaced the svartalfur who made motions of surrender. Athelstan “shooed” him off, allowing him to withdraw, then checked on the skald. Having determined that the skald was simply unconscious, he rushed to aid his comrades . . .

The undead horror nearly slew Basileus, but Athelstan arrived in time to cure light wounds and get him on his feet again. The horror knocked him out again, and the cleric of Baldur cured him again. Meanwhile, Estrid was using the combined powers of a flaming sphere and her power to call lightning to blast the undead horror. Finally, the heroes were able to slay the horror. They paused for a moment to catch their breath and prepare for whatever might await them (and indulged in a little gallows humor while they were at it). They used the wand to animate five more zombies from among the few intact bodies of the svartalfar , and then – resources depleted, limping from injuries, nearly out of spells, they rounded the corner into the room with the Great Seal.

In the room with the Great Seal, they found a lone svartalfur – the sole survivor of the enclave, the one who had earlier been spared by Athelstan. The heroes now took this last remaining svartalfur prisoner, then searched the rest of the enclave to make sure they were alone. With no other enemies to be found, they began making their position defensible so that they could camp and rest. Caelrath made detailed sketches of the runes of the Great Seal, then smashed the runes on the Seal so that it could no longer be used. Once they were sure it was relatively safe, they began planning to get some rest and rebuild their strength . . .

Once they get some rest, they intend to interrogate the prisoner and prowl the enclave looking for treasures.

XP Earned: 556,395 (11,355 each)
Total XP: 44,903
LEVEL UP! – LEVEL 7!
XP to level 8: 51,000
Hamingja (hero points): 1

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Session 31 - The Expedition (Act 2, cont.)
HM7 The Expedition

2/2/13 – 31st Session – Module HM7 – The Expedition
Game Date: 4/30/900 N.Y.

The Party:
Athelstan (Chris) – domur: 51, hamingja: 2
Aurel (Metellus) – domur: 49, hamingja: 3
Basileus Arkonides (Chris) – domur: 49, hamingja: 2
Caelrath (Josh) – domur: – 49, hamingja: 3
Estrid (Tanya) – domur: 53, hamingja: 3
Neferata (Jess) – domur: 50, hamingja: 3
Thrand Hallsteinsson (Josh) – domur: 48, hamingja: 3
Hakon Finehair the Skald (NPC) – domur: 44
Bronislava the Caravan Guard (NPC)
Oxana the Lady-In-Waiting (NPC)
Dunyasha the Lady (NPC)

Tysdagur, the 30th of Einmanudhur, 900 N.Y.

Basileus Arkonides attempted to disarm the trap on the tunnel extending to the northwest, but was unable to do so. Caelrath used a spell to detect magic and found that some find of divination enchantment was clearly in place, so the heroes surmised that activating the trap might not just unleash something that caused physical harm, but might also warn the svartalfar below of their presence . . .

So they went back to Aurel’s thoughts about setting a trap or ambush for the svartalfar, rather than the other way around . . . And with Estrid’s help, came up with a plan for ambush. All they needed was to find a way to set off the traps in the tunnel . . . And then, they hit upon a plan! Zombie! Specifically, Athelstan still bore the wand of animate dead taken from the svartalfar back on Sjaelland, and they still had the corpse of the white dragon . . .

Some members of the group strongly disagreed. Aurel and Estrid both declared making a zombie dragon to be un-natural. Caelrath felt some discomfort (as an alfur), but did the calculations that it was theoretically magically possible. But even Athelstan could justify it, “turning evil against evil in the service of the greater good.” And so did they proceed. There was not much left of the corpse of the dragon – they had harvested its scales and hide for materials to make armor, teeth and organs for spell components. They had taken its claws, tail, and wings. So what Athelstan animated with the wand was barely able to move, a shambling horror of a former dragon. They sent the thing blundering through the traps, unleashing hailstorm after hailstorm of poisoned arrows into the zombie. On the other side of the gauntlet, the zombie dragon collapsed, slain once more by the torrents of arrows. It had done its work. The way was clear, but now the svartalfar would be sending someone up the tunnel to find out what had set off the trap . . .

They got into hidden positions at the fork of the tunnel. Aurel was posted where he could see down the tunnel of the svartalfar. Soon, he saw a large, slimy, humanoid beast come running up from the tunnels below. Behind him he could see some squads of svartalfar . . . He gave warning, so when the attackers had almost reached the fork in the tunnels, Basileus Arkonides leapt out to the attack! Caelrath had used haste upon the main members of the party, so he was able to engage the Beast quickly . . .

But the Beast uttered a terrible blasphemy, which the heroes barely resisted. If not for the war-chant Hakon Finehair the Skald used to counter it, that might have been the end of our heroes! Estrid summoned a wolverine to attack the Beast (although it was swiftly killed).

Caelrath hurled a devastating fireball that slew seven of the svartalfar and injured their captains. The Beast grappled Basileus Arkonides, nauseating him. Estrid became a water elemental. The Beast killed Bronislava, crushing her body . . .

Finally, Athelstan drew Logsvar, and leapt to attack. The Sword of Law was devastating to the Chaotic Beast, which Caelrath had identified as an outsider from the gravelly swamps of Svartalfaheimur. Caelrath protected himself with a shield spell, Thrand Hallsteinsson took out the commanders of the svartalfar (even as one of them had used a poisoned shortsword to send Aurel deep into unconsciousness, and the battle continued . . .

XP Earned: NONE YET (COMBAT IN PROGRESS)
Total XP: 33,558
XP to level 7: 35,000

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