DCCZ: Defenders of the Red Keep

Into the Woeful Caves of Yander Mountain (Day 15)

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Upon reaching Yonder Mountain, the fairie dragon Moonglum tells Destruction that the Wrigglers dwell in the caves on the mountain. Destruction and company enter the Woeful Caves to seek vengeance for their fallen comrade, Morgaine.
Upon entering the caves, the group encounters a number of creatures: more Wrigglers, a hungry mountain lion, and a giant spider. All the time, several of the heroes sense something stalking them, something that takes many forms. Sometimes it is a pale green glow, other times it is the sound of flapping wings overhead. But the unknown force does not yet reveal itself.
Finally, deep down in a cave lined with black eldritch fire, the group is attacked by some undead dwarven miners. The heroes defeat the foul creatures, though Destruction and Zeb both suffer broken limbs from the dwarves’ mighty hammers. After the battle, Brother John calls upon the blessed energies of the Trees to trees to heal his comrades, and the party moves deeper into the caverns.

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On the Road Again!: Into the Shudder Mountains (Days 12-15)

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After a week’s recovery, our heroes are back on the road. Their first night out, they meet a strange creature, a cat-sized dragon that calls itself Moonglom, who decides to tag along for the journey to the Elder Wood.
The company travels for several uneventful days until they reach Turtle Crossing. There they are ferried across the Mistwater by . . . a giant turtle! A half day’s travel on the other side brings the party to Husk, a trading post for the people of the Shudder Mountains. After a quick stop (and a few ignored warnings), the heroes travel the Old Road along Yander Mountain. There they are attacked by wrigglers, horrific albino humanoids. They repel the attack at great cost; Morgayne dies in the battle, and one of the creatures escapes. After burying their friend, the company moves on.

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The Mountain of the Bull God: Finally, a Bull God (Days 5-12)

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Emerging from the ladder that apparently rises several hundred feet, our heroes find themselves in a guard tower over looking the wilderness. They are attacked by a swarm of bats; Destruction splatters many with his mighty hammer while Kong uses his psychic powers to blow the remaining creatures out the window.
The group find a rickety drawbridge across a massive chasm. The bridge leads to a ruined fortress. Bravely leading the way, Destruction unfortunately falls through the rotted planks down hundreds of feet to the forest below, apparently to his death. His comrades make there way back down through the tunnels. After hours of searching for their leader’s body, they find him . . . miraculously (if barely) alive! Apparently the lucky barbarian had fallen into the river pouring out of the mountain and was washed up on the shores of the lake. The group decides to camp for the night, and Brother Jon calls on the blessings of the trees to heal Destruction. The next morning the group makes it’s way back up to the mountain top fortress.
Avoiding several traps, the group finally confronts the Bull God. The creature, already wounded by its battle with the priestess of Justicia, fell quickly (and surprisingly) before the might of our heroes, with Destruction landing a mighty blow and Dandalf finishing the beast off with blasts of fire.
The company returns to Upper Hook as conquering heroes, and the locals throw a wild feast in celebration.

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Mountain of the Bull God (Day 5): The Defeat of the Dragon Cult of Bat Men

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Destruction and his allies defeat the Bat Man Witchdoctor and destroy the Evil Dragon Totem. After traverse a web-filled chasm, the company follows a trail of blood that leads them through an wizard’s laboratory (in which they fight a mad homonculus and experiment with some magical pools) and into a chimney, where they find a ladder leading up into the spire. Is this where the minotaur lives?

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Into the Mountain of the Bull God (Day 5)

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Destruction and his allies fight there way through the Dragon Door, the entrance to the Bull God’s mountain lair. Joined by a mysterious gorilla psychic monk from another dimension, the party march into the darkness. They are accosted at every turn by strange humanoid bat creatures. In the throne room of the King Bat, our heroes slay the giant spider-riding ruler of the bat people.

Wasn’t there supposed to be a minotaur in this mountain?

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On the Road (Days 4-5): To the Shrine of the Druids

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The party spends a day resting in the centipedes cave. While most of the group feels slightly better, no amount of resting is going to solve Brother John’s paralysis. As they consider their options, the Champion Morgaine mentions the the rumors of a holy shrine a day’s travel from here, near the village of Upper Hook. Perhaps they could find a cure for their druid’s condition there? Girding their loins, the group sallies forth.

Their first day of travel passes without event. However, during the night, a terrible beast buzzes the group’s campsite. Destruction climbs up a tree; breaking the canopy, the barbarian sees a great dragon wheeling back around. Only by the luck of La La Farfoot is the party able to find a hiding spot, and the mighty wyrm flies past and on into the night.

By noon the next day, the company arrives at the village of Upper Hook. The place seems deserted, but eventually the group is approached by Mother Derva, an old crone who claims to speak for the townsfolk. She says that they have been under attack by a minotaur calling itself the Bull God. When asked about the shrine, she says it is very near the hill the creature calls its lair. She warns the party to be careful; a cleric of Justicia rode off a week before to end the minotaur’s foul reign but never returned. With a shrug, Destruction the Berzerker heads off to destroy the beast.

After an hour traveling through the woods, the party comes upon a pack of wild dogs feasting on the remains of a war horse. Though the pathetic creatures attack, they are quickly overcome by our adventurers. The group moves on, traversing a trapped bridge and ultimately making their way to a mysterious lake, shrouding in a heavy mist that constantly forms strange shapes and images. The company finds an ancient stone dock, lit by two ghostly braziers. The barbarian discovers a magical, invisible bridge that leads to an small, wooded island. As the party joins him, Destruction investigates the island. Everyone but the warrior succumbs to the island’s magical powers, falling into a deep sleep. Unable to awaken them, the Berserker continues to search the area. After four hours, his comrades awake, refreshed and healed. As the sun goes down, the company hears the noise of elfish flutes and singing, and a shimmering bridge appears, leading them to the Shrine of the Druids.

Once there, the company discovers ancient statues of a robed woman and a unicorn and a small stone basin filled with a sparkling liquid. Feeding the liquid to the paralyzed druid, Destruction is delighted to see Brother John healed! The company spends the night in peace at the shrine.

The next day, the group returns to their adventure, now actively hunting the Bull God. Searching the woods, the company is set upon by a flock of ravens, many with poisoned talons! The beasts try to force them to take a path to the east, but Destruction and his allies refuse and ultimately slay the birds. After the battle, they stop to take a breath and enjoy the ministrations of their newly restored druid companion.

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On the Road-Days 3-6: Disaster!

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The party continues the journey on the Old Road. Early morning on the third day, the group encounters a mysterious cyclops seeking knowledge. After much enigmatic talk, the being offers to trade a spell with Dandalf. Our wizard studies for two days with the strange giant, ultimately learning Edvarg’s Energy Enchantment, allowing him to manipulate the mystic forces of the cosmos into simple forms. The party continues on.
The next day, Destruction and his allies discover a large pile of boulders near the road. Upon investigation, the group is attacked by a giant centipede, but Destruction makes quick work of the great beast. The crew strides confidently into the cave lair of the vermin, only to discover a next of fourteen other giant centipedes. Things go horribly awry! Destruction watches as, one-by-one, his companions fall to the poison of the horrible insects. Finally, the mighty warrior is forced to flee. The barbarian returns to the site of the group’s meeting with the cyclops, but finds nothing—not even a trace of the strange creature. Girding his wounds, Destruction returns to the scene of the battle, determined to save his companions, or die trying!
Centipedes rush out, but the barbarian is able to defeat them. As he prepares to enter the cave-nest, Destruction hears voices from the road. La La has returned, and she brings with her Morgaine the Champion, a sword-wielding warrior. At the same time, the crazed dwarf known only as the Skeleton Man rushes out of the woods. The group is able to clear the nest and recover the bodies of their friends. Miraculously, Brother John, Aurik, Zeb and Dandalf are all found alive. Only poor Bumble the Dwarf and Clara the Archer died.
Exhausted, the group hunkers down in the now quite comfortable cave to rest and heal their wounds. Only one problem remains: Brother John appears to be paralyzed by the centipede venom. What will Destruction do?

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On the Road (Year 1, Month 6, Days 1-2)

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After visiting the Blue Shrine’s library to research the journey to the Elder Wood, the company sets out for the east on the Old Road. On the first day, the group is set upon by a company of hobgoblins in a botched robbery.
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Destruction and his allies make short work of them.

Near the end of the first day, our heroes come upon a group of hungry ape-men. Dandalf casts a spell that allows him to communicate with the beasts. The creatures were planning on attacking the small village nearby; the company offers the ape-men food and they all part ways peacefully. That night the group sleeps on the floor of the village tavern.

On the second day, the company is ambushed by a giant lizard in the ruins of an old way station. After defeating the creature, the company travels on. At nightfall, they encounter a trio of bugbears who ask for a toll.
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A quick refusal results in a tough fight, but Destruction and his allies are triumphant. Afterwards, they hunker down for the night, sleeping at the side of the road.

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People of the Pit: Up Into the Light

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Destruction, Brother John and Dandalf (now most fouly corrupted by the magic of the Pit Beast) lead twelve villagers up out of the pit. Unfortunately, the arduous trek leads to the death of the majority of the poor commoners. The three survivors, Aurik, Zeb, and Clara, pledge themselves to the service of Destruction and Company.
After resting in the now nearly empty village of Hilltop, the adventures, with the body of the poor Lore, head back north. Along the way, they face a mighty band of trog warriors escaped out of the Broken Lands in the west. After defeating the savages, our party finally returns to the Red Keep. Already they begin to plan their next expedition. Fearing the curse of the King of Elfland, Destruction and his allies plan to take the corpse of their fallen comrade back to his homeland in the Elder Wood.

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People of the Pit: Pit's Bottom

Clambering down a secret passage, Destruction and his allies, along with a mad dwarf who calls himself the Skeleton Man, interrupt a terrible rite in which cultists and their subhuman servants attempt to sacrifice villagers to a colossal beast of a hundred mouths and a thousand tentacles.
After a mighty battle in which Lore the Wanderer is cruelly struck down, the company is able to slay the head priest, causing the pit god to go mad and pull the walls down upon itself and its cult. Our friends, and the rescued villagers, flee back into the caverns. When the dust settles, they find themselves trapped, and now must begin the arduous journey back to the surface.

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