Rise of the Runelords

Dam of the Damned

This is why I can’t leave them alone: I return from errands to find Turtleback Ferry flooded, the rest of the group traipsing up to that monstrosity of a dam, leaving a trail of carnage in their wake, and what do we find when we get up there? A sociable water troll and an imprisoned demon – or devil; I can never remember which is which – being used as a magical power source for the flood gates.

It’s like my life was written out by a crazy person. But it’s interesting, to say the very least.

Thankfully the troll wasn’t much of an issue. He seemed content enough to let us explore, but gods be damned if he didn’t scare the life out of me popping out of the water like he did after I opened those doors at the bottom of the pool. I was really not in the mood to spoil for a fight, but it would have been interesting to see how an aquatic beastie would’ve responded to my shock starknife.

The cleric seems to have found the source of the curse affecting people via the water supply, which evidently was something that was happening thanks to Lucrecia. The heptagram block was removed from its conduit and thus our problems were solved…until we found the “engine room”, such as it was, for the dam. Turns out it runs on demon power. A pair of engraved circles held one rather pathetic infernal and one pile of very nonthreatening dust, which evidently at one point held the brother of the remaining monstrosity.

He informed us that the circles constantly drained power from whomever was trapped inside in order to control the floodgates and regulate the level of the lake behind the dam. He also informed us that he wanted out, bad, and now. He promised that by leaving he would spend the next 10,000 years recovering, no strings attached. Seemed fair, particularly for a deal with a literal devil, but Nolan had other ideas. The gunslinger decided to offer himself up, step in the circle which activated the floodgates, and promptly dusted the demon.

I shall remember to leave Nolan out of all future negotiations.

It seems that the dam is a rather simple problem to solve: place something that can be drained within the circles and their magic will leech off of that as a power source. The life of a sentient being is merely one option, and whatever is in a circle can be easily swapped out provided something or someone is available to take its place. That did mean that Nolan was stuck for the night, but he had the rest of the group to keep him company. I found it a better use of my time to head back to Turtleback and report in to the mayor in the dignified comfort of an inn.

Plans were made, the dam is controllable, and thus we were left to our own devices for a few days. I felt that exploring the woods was a good way to keep from getting bored to tears, and lo what did I find but our last Black Arrow Ranger in need of some company. Two is more interesting than one, so we patrolled until we found a group of trappers enjoying squirrel by a campfire and unsettling news. Word was that the fae folk in Shimmerglens were straying into the sane world and causing no small number of problems. Problems that I wanted no part of; faeries don’t play by the rules, and I don’t like it when someone other than me is breaking them.

This was something worth reporting, mostly to get someone else to handle it, so Vale and I headed back to Ft. Rannick only to see that discussions were already underway to start an assault on Hook Mountain itself. I think Nolan suggested “blowing it up.”

Now that I would truly love to see.

All out of gum

After tickling the sea monster until she finally decided to depart, we had little time to gather our things before heading to the dam. It had somehow sustained significant damage to its structural integrity, as well as having all its valves mysteriously shut off. Onward we charged up the mountain.

A few of us tumbled down some stairs.

On the way we discovered a natural cave in which two ettin had set up shop. We dispatched with them, and then proceeded to tumble down some more stairs. I’m really quite glad nobody from the town could actually see us.

Reaching the dam we found it to be under siege by a large group of ogres, most likely from the Hook. For whatever reason they were intent on very slowly breaking the structure apart, although that order likely had to come from somewhere else, as an indirect assault on Turtleback Ferry would not provide them with opportunity for rape and pillage.

We kill them.

Inside the dam, where the control.s should be, we find a group of trolls. They looked worn and weary, and showed evidence of having fought the group of ogres we’d just vanquished. However, they’d clearly decided to take up residence in our dam. That just wouldn’t do.

We killed them too.

Poor sops, they knew it was coming and everything; not a damn thing they could do about it.

Hellewise's Diary - Sidequest

A report came in from Vale that the ogres were moving down from the hook again. Finally, something to occupy me that involved the use of my arcane skill set. The Book Repository, while it is still of interest of me, does little to sate my desire to flex my magical prowess. However, things didn’t quite go as we expected.

Instead of ogres, we came across the strange site of a miniature knight riding a blink dog. They were being pursued by a pack of dire wolves and looked rather worse for ware. Thankfully, I came perfectly prepared for a rescue, and thinking quickly, I flew over to the pair and opened a portal back to the boat. The dog was affected by a nasty curse that I did not recognize, which I was able to remove with the help of Davik and Darian. The dog remained incapacitated for the remainder of the day.

The little man (later known as Drok) who was with the blink dog (later known as Kiva) appears to be some sort of magical construct. He cannot speak and communicates only via gestures and expressions. His eyes are alarming. Two gold coins bearing the Sihedron Rune of Thessalon. Kiva says the coins are how she activated him. I want to examine him further but he is understandably hesitant. I may ask again once we become better acquainted.

Kiva then told us about the Artifact. She and Drok took it from a group of Dwarves they encountered and buried it for safe keeping. The three of us managed to recover it, blasting some unfortunate harpies in the process. It apprears to be an artifact of Ancient Thessalon. I will be investigating its purpose further in the coming days. More to come.

Father Anselmo makes his morning prayer

“By the dawn’s light make us honest and good. Let Fenker rest in peace in a realm beyond this one. Give me the faith to bless the Rannick crypt so it will remain always a safe place to honor the valiant dead.”

“Guide me that I might have the wisdom to help Astrid find peace with the demons that with she wrestles. Instill your divine resilience unto the walls that be raised so that those wicked who are beyond redemption may beat upon them like the raging tide.”

“Thank you for my small part in helping guide Nolan to a place where he could find a new purpose. Let his wisdom and experience and not his love for whiskey be bestowed upon his recruits.”

“Bless Hellewise and her strong moral character which keeps her in this unwelcoming place. And bless those – living or dead – who decided Fort Rannick needed a book repository. Help her share her extensive knowledge with the people of this area.”

“Help the people of Turtleback Ferry see that Dairian’s ferver is his manifistation of his devotion to protecting them.”

“Grant me the words to help Rhodis understand the disrespect unnatural animation of a corpse shows to what were once living caring creatures.”

“Thank you again for the life of Heather Meers, without your grace she would be just another number. Now, instead she is has become a servant of good. Help me use our common pasts to make sure she does not become lost as I once did.”

“Blessed is the dawn.”

Wreck the Halls

The rain pounded down harder than ever, blanketing the entire valley with what sounded like a non stop encore at the Sandpoint theatre… except this wasn’t Sandpoint. No, this was Fort Rannick, and on this stage, the swords weren’t blunted props, the ogres weren’t fathers with their sons on their shoulders wearing rucksacks filled with wool and potatoes, and the blood wasn’t imagined, it was real, and it was getting everywhere… again.

A clap of thunder peeled through the air, and then another. Nolan’s steel was providing a steady battle rhythm as revenge was being dealt out wholesale. The gates to the keep were barred, but it wouldn’t be long before the ogres outside stopped being distracted and amused by their burning brethren and came to see what was causing thunder to strike inside the keep rather than out.

But until then, the halls were being painted with a second coat of red; Ogre red. Their delight in a chance at slaughter changing to fear and cries of pain as they realized their fortunes had abandoned them as swiftly as Xanesha’s lamia bitch sister, Lucrecia. Empowered by the sorcery and prayers of her companions, Astrid gave them no time to run. With her new found strength she drove cold hard iron over and over again into pitifully weak flesh. With each stroke of her sword came the sound of rain on stone.

Astrid liked the applause.

Lizards & Lamias

I’ve never cared much for ogres. Big, smelly, cause a lot of problems… While not exactly a verminous species I’d go out of my way to mess with, this ogre “fortress” poses a threat to Turtleback Ferry, and I don’t like threats on investments. Besides, it’s been a good long time since I’ve done anything like a raid, and it would feel good to sneak around in a place where I don’t have to contend with “law enforcement.”

Reaching the fortress proved no problem; indeed, sneaking in via a hidden cave behind a waterfall was delightful, ripped straight from a storybook, even if Murdock ferried most of the party in. Less delightful were the shock lizards waiting for us. I had no desire to be the center of an electric storm, so I thought it best to let everyone else handle the critters. I don’t much care for a fight that is unfair…to me, at least.

It was a great pleasure to smoke them out of their nests in the cave, and I can only imagine the havoc they’re causing for the ogres for the ones who aren’t roasting alive in the barracks we set on fire.

Less pleasurable was that woman waiting for us in the prison. Oh, she seemed nice enough at first, and it was kind of her to take my tools as she led me back to a cell with one of the missing rangers. Now that the charm has worn off, I hope to repay her kindness…once I take care of my new dancing partner in this blasted cell.

Walking the path

Since we’ve gotten to this backwards burg, we’ve been messing up. We were sent in to see about a fort. One little fort out in the middle of ogre country, because setting up townships in the area seemed like a really good idea at the time, apparently. We’ve allowed ourselves to underestimate them because they sound like idiots. We’ve allowed our feelings to get the better of us because we were not prepared for how belligerent our enemy would be. The ogres only know evil, its all they do and it paints their world view. To them we must be the ones who are insane, and trying to destroy their way of life. To beat them, we’ve got to be willing to stain our hands as dark as theirs, and harden our hearts lest they become a liability. We need to be as cruel and savage as they. We need to cut away the things which they hold dear, and offer no quarter.

It seems we finally are.

What I know of the past days events I got second hand, and so I offer it to you as a third.

Darian had been trying to convince the preacher that running off after those women was a foolish idea, and I followed suit. We agreed to a compromise of sorts, the preacher still wanted to try for the girls, even knowing it was a trap. So him, Astrid, and uh… whats her face? The elf. Hellewise. I knew that! You tryina’ say I didn’t know that? Anyway, they ran off after the captured women.

When they caught up to the kidnappers, the ogres immediately went to kill off their charges, presumably to lighten their burden. See that’s exactly what I mean. These fiends seem stupid, but they’ve been playing us like fiddles all along! Damn.

Anyway, they fought it out. Two of the women were slain, but Hook-Maw has moved on to the pit, (long may he burn.) I understand it was quite the ruckus, draining most of their resources. Point is, though, they made it back and killed some scum in the process, so it wasn’t a total loss.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…


Darian and I had a party of our own in town. A cadre of ogrekin descended on the town, and asked that we step aside so they could pillage in our absence. We didn’t step aside.

We developed a new plan after regrouping. Come hell or high water we’re going to take back fort Ranek, or at least take as many of them down with us as we can. The good citizens of Turtle Back will make with all due haste for the next town over while we do so. We simply can’t guarantee their safety and take Ranek at the same time, something had to give. I know this is a hard choice for the group, but it has to be done. Following our better nature so far has only allowed the ogres to take advantage of us. No more. We won’t be pushed back even one inch further.

As a man greater than I once said, sometimes you have to roll the hard six.

Hellewise's Diary - Turtleback Ferry
An ogre ambush

Rain. Why did it have to be rain? This day has not gone as I planned. I should know better than to set up any expectations with this group.

I’m learning that ogres are not as dumb as I thought. They knew about our attack on the Kreegs. Of course they did. Stupid, stupid. The fire we set alerted them and they set up an ambush. We fought back their scout and the ogrekin she brought along. The new shadow mage’s pet proved quite useful in the fight. It could have gone much worse without him. Two of the rangers were captured. Vale and Shalelu managed to escape, but barely. Jakardros and Kaven were not so lucky and were taken captive.

We had to return to Turtle Back Ferry. We saw smoke and knew it couldn’t be good. After a fight with several more ogres I thought we’d get a few hours to regroup but miss White Knight Astrid decided we should chase after a bunch of ogres who are probably half way to hell by now. It’s not that I like the idea of those women being raped to death in the woods, but the odds of us catching them in time are inarguably low. Alas, I’ve lived with Astrid long enough to know that arguing with her is fruitless in these matters.

(Hastily written notes at the bottom of the page, ink slightly running from raindrops)

  • Kaven – Traitor? Prevented patrol from getting back in time, has now been “captured”
  • Jakardros – Shalelu’s adopted father, seems cowardly for a ranger but human emotions are strange sometimes
  • Vale – Seems sincere so far, but could possibly be the traitor, hard to read
Barn Fight

A certain orgrish woman and her children had kidnapped the companion bear’s buddy and potentially others. They attempted to ‘trick’ the party into going into the barn next to their home, but the trap was painfully obvious and it was sprung prematurely. After a battle that ended up taking the lives of the ogres, some of the party entered the barn (where the bear was sniffing around) while the rogue did his work alone, in the house proper. A gigantic spider hid in the back – another battle ensued, ending with a team of the gunslinger and the eidolon tag-teaming the spider until it died.

There were two survivors found guarded by the spider.

Excess Baggage

“Exactly!” shouted Astrid at the top of her lungs. Belven winced slightly and then stepped across the room, fighting through the sea green curtains which danced in the afternoon breeze to shut the windows to his bedroom. Even while he did it his mind argued that it was a bad idea, and when he turned around to face Astrid and defend his position, he saw it was a lost cause; she was standing in that way that he learned real quick meant she didn’t want to hear it.

Unfortunately, his mind was losing arguments with itself a lot lately… especially around her. “I’m going to Turtleback Ferry on business, the fact that it is loosely related to your own contract with Lord Grobares and the well being of Magnimar’s borders is simply coincidental.” Astrid shot him the look.

“So it’s entirely coincidental that we had almost this exact same argument a week ago about how you felt about me risking my life and here you are risking yours? Are you really being this petty just because you hate being wrong?” Astrid folded her arms. Her intent was to be intimidating, but she knew it would have the added effect of distracting Belven in other ways. She smirked as she saw his eyes leave hers momentarily. Yep, she would win this fight too, thanks to the twins.

Belven smiled at her, “It’s not related. I already told you that you were right that I shouldn’t be worried about you out there on the road to adventure. You’re a Hero of Sandpoint, I know you can take care of yourself.” Astrid cracked a smile, victory was hers.

“But I’m still going,” Belven added and then turned to pick up a cluster of papers and a notary on the desk, “Are you worried about me?”

Astrid suddenly found herself on the defensive, but she didn’t let that show. Instead she lowered her arms and stepped toward Belven while stepping out of the morning dress she’d worn for the meeting with Lord Grobares. “Worried about you?” She laughed once, sharply, “Belven… I’m the most dangerous thing that’s ever happened to you.”

And for close to the next hour she proved it.

A few hours later, Astrid and Hellewise walked into the Mermaid’s Kiss tavern to meet with the perpetually drunk Nolan, smokin’ hot Davek, and the two new blokes; Starving Artist and the other guy. Astrid was still confused about how the mind of an elf works because as far as she could tell, that artist guy was perfect for Helle. Though… if Helle wasn’t interested, Astrid could certainly have fun using him to make Belven all kinds of jealous. After all, he had no reason to worry about her, he’d said it himself.

But first, business. After learning the trades of her two new companions, Astrid excused herself and returned to Belven’s estate for a good night’s sleep. Now that she was on an adventure, every minute she could get on a down mattress with silk sheets would be worth days sleeping in a tiny boat, on a straw mat in some shoddy village inn, or on top of mud and sticks out in the wild. Belven was busy making arrangements all night. She didn’t mind, now was time for sleep, they could find other ways to pass the time on the boat ride to Turtleback Ferry.

Turtleback Ferry makes Sandpoint look like a resort town. Maybe it’s because of all the rain, but there isn’t a dry surface in the whole place, except for maybe the bottom of Nolan’s whiskey bottle come morning. Either way, Astrid felt it was good to be back into the mud and filth. She’d been worried about being polymorphed into a housewife by Belven and all his luxury. She admitted, it was very pleasant, but she’d have time enough to lack want or need when she was old and gray, while youth was with her her heart sought adventure and the unknown.

Seems adventure always has a way of finding you first.


I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.