Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #14: The Shattered Circle

33 HepDec 1070 - The Chateau d'Echelon, Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
A day after Rolf and Company had departed for the capital, nine-year old Timmy alerted the household of a halfling riding a pony up from main road, with a very tired and grungy looking dwarf desperately trying to keep.  The halfling was A. Warren Corkbarrel, a former halfling sheriff that they had recently rescued from the spider-people.  The dwarf just looked disgusting.

Corkbarrel greeted his rescuers warmly and told of a problem in the halfling villages, specifically in Lowdale.    Halfling farmers were disappearing in the fields and no one had any clue what was happening. A simple dwarven mushroom farmer, Norm Dingleberry, came into town babbling incoherently and nearly incited a riot, before Corkbarrel could find Kyril Stonehammer, a dwarven caravan guard, to step in and translate.

Norm wasn't a smart dwarf, but he had discovered an ancient set of pillars, well-known to locals, had half-sunk into the ground and were covered in spider webs.

The halfling farmers were far too timid to investigate, and Corkbarrel felt it a job for true adventurers (plus a simpleton dwarf with a battle axe).

Our adventurers:
Echelon - a pigeon loving priest of an eastern god of the sea.  His charmed wolf, Pathfinder, stayed at the Chateau.
Kane: Student of Eastern mysticism, controller of water.
Norm Dingleberry:  Failed Dwarf Mushroom Farmer with a Battle Axe. He "wanted to help."
Kyril Stonehammer: Dwarven caravan guard in between jobs.
Dag: Kobold and his family were rescued and befriended by Velandro in the Palace of the Silver Princess.  He decided it was time to "earn his keep."
Aiko:  female thief from the early days of the party was at the general store when they came in for supplies, so she joined them.
A. Warren Corkbarrel: The Halfling sheriff of Corkbarrel, along the Masgoth border.  Last he remembered before getting rescued, the year was 1053.

Surprisingly, Echelon did not ask any of the other rescuees from the spider-people's lair to help, despite some of them claiming combat training.

Heading out late in the afternoon, the group tried to get to know the strange dwarf who was simply mystified by simple things.  Kane used his Eastern magic to make his hand glow as a show of friendship.  Norm dug deep... into his nose, pulled out a great nasal treasure, and smeared it across the monk's glowing hand.

It was going to be a long adventure.

34 HepDec 1070 - Village of Lowdale, Kingdom of Crosedes
Interviewing the villagers did nothing.  Every farmer was alone when they disappeared.  They decided investigating the ancient pillars.

Upon seeing the rocks, the group was brazenly ambushed by spider-people!
In one-on-one combat, spider-people were not that hard to defeat, but the group never had experienced the martial prowess of Norm Dingleberry.

The dwarf looked the part of the dwarf, but his low social caste must have made his dexterity curse-based.  Upon the the initial counter-attack, he was able to lock his battle axe with Kyril's, subsequently disarming Echelon of his trident and finally tripping up Corkbarrel with the handle of the flying trident.  As they descended into a crypt under the piles of rocks, Norm's fumbles far exceeded the glancing blows.

Ultimately, they reached the lower levels, where they discovered an entire outpost of spider-people, almost a town!  Facing overwhelming numbers, they decided a fiery retreat full of collapsing tunnels was the proper way to go.  They took out dozens of spider-people and managed to rescue a few kidnapped halflings along the way.

Mission: Accomplished.. for now.

As a token of their appreciation (and the fact that he fought better using the "Echelon School of Battle Tactics ... i.e. "retreating") the party invited Norm back to visit the Chateau.  He dined with them, the kobolds taught him how to take a bath, and they outfitted him with slightly better equipment, but if you ask Norm, he will tell you the only thing he remembers from that visit is that it was the first time he ever laid eyes on the lovely Dew Xyclone, the big, bold, and beautiful housekeeper of the Chateau. That story is for another time.

DM Notes:  This was one of the previously "lost" adventures that didn't get written up in the Journal.  I had  assumed a few of our regulars in the "B" game run by Velandro's player TOWN (The Other White Nate) during the week jumped in the game.  It was confirmed when Talis' player, the indomitable Hoyce, corrected me by saying his character Kyril was from the "B" game and had fallen victim to Norm's cursed combat maneuvers.

There's some debate if Norm Dingleberry actually made a first appearance in Episode #4: Castle in the Moors.   I vividly remember his encounter with Kane, and others remember his numerous critical misses in combat.  However, there is no mention of him in the journal until  few more sessions down the road, but it's written as if everyone already knew who he was.  Let's call it GM Fiat, 18 years later.

The adventure "The Shattered Circle" was a 2nd Edition AD&D module in the last few great days of TSR that I believe I snatched off the shelf of Griffon Games for a filler module.  Having spider-races in it just aged the paranoia already brewing up perfectly.

NEXT #15 - Onward to Hydincall... and BEYOND!

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