DCCZ: Defenders of the Red Keep

Building a Kingdom: Treasure of the Chimera (Year 2, Month 1, Day 15--Month 2, Day 12)

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After barely surviving the battle with the mighty chimera, Brother John heals himself and his compatriots. In calling upon the Treemoot, he finds himself in a strange quandry. He has both ascended in power, gaining the official title of ‘Druid’, while also offending the power he serves. Perhaps slaying this grade primal beast was against the Treemoot’s wishes. This will take time and reflection to unravel, but Brother John swears an oath to travel the untamed forests of the valley to uncover this mystery.
Upon climbing up on to the piles of rocks from which the chimera emerged, Destruction and company find an entrance on the top that leads down into the beast’s lair. Once inside, the group finds great treasure! Thousands of gold and platinum coins litter the floor of the cave. A dusty shield that appears to made from a great black scale is discovered. The adventurers also find a ragged old pack that contains a scroll and two potions. Finally, Dandalf the wizard discovers ancient writing on the very walls of the lair, arcane sigils that map out a powerful spell. Dandalf casts a spell to discern the power of the magic of this place and discovers the shield is named Wyrmscale and bears strong protections against dragons. One potion conveys the strength of a giant on the imbiber while the other give temporary invulnerability. Finally, the scroll contains a spell to conjure and control ropes. The wall’s writing reveals an even more inticing spell, one to bestow great strength. The mage jots down notes in his spellbook while his companions gather the treasure, and then the company hastens back to the Red Keep.
While Dandalf sequesters himself away to attempt to wrest control over the newly discovered spells, Destruction and his companions all busy themselves with their own activities. Destruction and Asefeh train the garrison of the Red Keep, and are pleased to see the warriors progress. Brother John and his bear companion embark on a walkabout, traveling the green paths of the wild lands around them so that the druid might make peace with the Treemoot. And La La, well, La La remains busy being La La.
During this period, there are two significant sightings. First, one of the barbarians points a giant bird, flying high in the sky many miles distant. Second, Destruction himself notices a shadowy humanoid figure watching the keep from the woods.
After three weeks, Brother John and Kolash return with several acolytes in tow. The druid has founded a shrine nearby, one that will remain a holy place to the trees. And Dandalf emerges, tired, disheveled, and furious. He has failed to learn the new spells, despite his hard work and dedication!!
To shake the wizard out of his funk, Destruction immediately leads the party out to continue taming the wild lands around the keep. After much travel, they come up on the great bird, a giant hawk. While the bird flies lower to investigate, Destruction orders Asefeh to shoot it down. The enraged bird attacks, but one mystic bolt from Dandalf and a single mighty blow from Destruction bring the bird down. Brother John feels a stinging in his mind. The Treemoot is again angry!! The company returns to the Red Keep, another “threat” dealt with.

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Building a Kingdom: Finding the Chimera Lair (Year 2, Month 1, Day 15)

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Destruction and Company continue to explore and settle the countryside around the Red Keep. They are joined by a new companion, a young female archer named Asefeh. The party travels southeast and discover signs of a major predator. They ultimately the creature’s lair in a great pile of boulders in a small valley. There they confront a mighty chimera. Through spells and might, our heroes bring the terrible beast down, but Dandalf and La La lay horribly burned. Both appear dead, though miraculously Brother John hangs on to life. Although in horrible pain, he calls upon the Treemoot to heal him, and he in turn is able to bring back LaLa from death’s very door. A great beast is defeated, but Brother John will carry its mark until the end of his days, his left leg burned and withered.

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Building a Kingdom: Troll Battle! (Year 2, Month 1, Day 1-Day 14)

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The day after the group returns to the Red Keep, a company of dwarves arrive. They claim to have been sent by the King of Elfland, and they begin restoring and reinforcing the fortifications of the keep. They tell Destruction that, if he were to retrieve the bones of any giants, they could add them to the keep walls, thus making the walls magically powerful. The company goes out hunting in the area of the keep. They find panther tracks as well as the signs of a large company of monstrous humanoids. The company is even set upon by a clan of bandits. After much discussion and a short skirmish, the bandit’s leader, Robin, is convinced to join Destruction rather than die horribly at the claws of Kolash. Ultimately the group finds and slays three hill giants. They return to the keep and hand over the giant corpses to the dwarves, who note that three more will be needed to cover all the walls of the keep.

The following day Destruction and company begin to claim the territory surrounding the Red Keep. For the most part, this process is initially a quiet one until the group comes across the a mighty pack of eleven trolls. The company quickly retreats to the keep with the trolls in hot pursuit. They make it to the walls and a bloody fight follows. Ultimately, Destruction and his companions are triumphant, though the barbarian himself, Zeb, and Kolash the bear all fall the claws of the trolls. Brother John’s healing magicks are able to revive Destruction and Zeb, but the bear seems lost. Only the use of the might Horn of Kings brings the bear back from the land of death, and then the ancient artifact crumbles to dust. The band tracks down the trolls’ lair, and discovers a great hoard of copper and silver, along with a potion of giant power, a scroll with three might spells enscribed, and a mysterious magical ring.

Destruction and his allies have rid the area of a great horror! For two weeks, the group recuperates, Destruction trains both his barbarian followers and his newfound ex-bandit archers, and Dandalf studies the magical spells from the scroll. During the band’s “vacation,” they are first attacked by a pack of hell hounds. Who could have sent these evil demonic creatures? Even worse, a great ooze 100 feet across comes out of the Broken Lands, burning a path in its acidic wake. A mighty battle ensues, and our heroes emerge triumphant! Finally, a party of young adventurers arrive at the fort. They gather information, are warned away from traveling into the deadly Broken Lands, and head north towards the Briar, the halfling homeland.

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The King of Elf Land Rewards the Company (Day 25?)

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Upon returning to the floating city of Alfheim, the company reports its success to the King of Elf Land. The king absorbs the mystical energies of the magical toad idol from the Croaking Fane, the elf blade from the Orb Widow’s lair, and the blackened shard of the God Seed and uses the power to awaken Lore!
The king gifts Destruction with a mighty hammer called Mourngrummel. He promises Brother John the companionship of Krulg the Cave Bear, and he cures Dandalf of his corruptions. In addition, the king gives them a great hoard of gold. Finally, he returns the companions to the Red Keep on the wings of giant ghost owls.
As if waking from a deep sleep, the band finds themselves standing in front of the Red Keep. They enter the compound as returning heroes only to discover that the place empty and with a strange arcane eye painted on the gates of the keep. The company has been lost in the mists of the Elder Wood for six months, and some calamity has befallen the Red Keep!

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Destroying the God Seed (Day 25)

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Keyros the Elf guides Destruction to the Mount Welwood to destroy the God Seed, an evil entity seeking domination of this dimension. Traveling deep into the mountain, the company battles the God Seed’s mutated followers before facing the being itself. After a mighty battle, our heroes destroy the God Seed.

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Visit to Redcap (Day 24-25)

Destruction and the Company rest in the gnomkin village of Redcap. They meet Sister Zasha, the priestess of the Treemoot. They also buy a choko-bird named Bob, Jr. and they hired a choko-trainer to help take care of the thing. The gnomkin’s name is Smebulock . . . and he talks a lot.

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The Great Labors-The Croaking Fane (Day 23-24)

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Fought the transformed cultists
fought the Toad Thing
fought the mummified toads
destroyed the cursed tablet
rested in the chapel
tried to leave the temple, triggering the toad idol attack-defeat the toad idol and escape the collapsing temple

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The Great Labors-The Croaking Fane: Toad War! (Day 23b)

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The company continues to explore the lower levels of the Temple of the Croaking Fane. They stumble into a deep cavern and do battle with a host of giant frogs. Wave upon wave crash against Destruction and his companions until the gore piles up around them. Several of the heroes fall, only to be healed by Brother John.
After the battle, the group finds a trove of platinum pieces and a prisoner, a slightly unhinged cult member locked in a cell. Once freed, he leads the party deeper into the caves where they fight off some horrible flying vampiric frogs. Again Brother John calls on the healing energies of his masters. But his repeated requests for aid draw the ire of the Treemoot, who punish their priest by stripping him of his clerical powers! What will be the cost of this terrible judgement?
Lacking Brother John’s healing, the company uses the might Horn of Kings to heal themselves, Following the freed lunatic, Destruction and his allies discover a horrible scene. A deep bubbling pool of mystical fluids, floating upon which is the cult of the Croaking Fane. Each of the cultists is transforming into toad-like fiends. The lunatic screams in joy and dives into the pool, disturbing his brethen who rise to destroy the interlopers.

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The Great Labors-The Croaking Fane (Day 23a)

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After Brother John communes with the Trees to determine the cave’s safety (Second Sight), the group spends the remainder of the day and an evening resting and recuperating in the Mistress’s former lair. The next day they return to the Temple of the Croaking Fane. Destruction and Company finish their search of the temple’s upper level, destroying a swarm of killer frogs as well as a primeval slime. They also desecrate a great idol, stealing its gemstone eyes (classic move!). Then they move down into the subterranean level of the temple.
There they loot the head priest’s room and Dandalf smokes some bad witchweed from a water pipe (permanent -1 Intelligence!). Still they uncover the priest’s treasure stash and score some serious gold.

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The Great Labors-The Mistress (Day 22)

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Destruction tracks the trolls back out of the swamp and into a mist-shrouded forest of tamarack trees. There he discovers a nest of orb weavers. The party destroys six of warrior males before facing and defeating the Stygian Widow herself, Mistress Dralnibulla, in her extradimensional lair. Afterwards the group discovers a powerful magic item: the Staff of Vesuvian.
In defeating this terrible foe, Destruction has completed the first of the Elf King’s Great Labors.

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