DCCZ: Defenders of the Red Keep

Building a Kingdom: Research and Exploration (Year 2, Month 4, Day 10-Month 5, Day 17)

Held up in the keep tower, Dandalf tries to master some of the spells he has found on his journeys with the barbarian Destruction. Meanwhile, Destruction trains his soldiers and Brother John returns to his grove in the woods. After weeks of study, the wizard emerges having mastered two mighty incantations: a spell to turn his enemies into stone and another to grant his allies magical strength.
The company sets out into the wilderness to hunt giants. They discover a small valley plagued by a horrible, shambling hillock plant creature. After a terrible battle in which both Destruction and Kolash are swallowed hole by the dread thing, the plant monster is destroyed through the fire magicks of Dandalf.

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Building a Kingdom: The Demon's Head (Year 2, Month 3, Day 27-Month 4, Day 10)

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For several weeks, Dandalf is haunted by a voice calling out for help in his head. Finally Dandalf traces the source of the message to underneath the Red Keep itself. The company answers the call of adventure and, with some excavation, finds a great door marked by magical glyphs deep under the fort. Opening the door summons a celestial guardian that attacks the party. After overcoming this challenge, Destruction and his allies tear through a subterranean complex filled with celestial beings, all of whom fall to our “heroes.” Finally, the group confronts an old man sitting in a room in front of a locked door.
The old man claims to be a mighty warrior placed here a thousand years ago to guard the remains of a powerful devil. He pleads with the group to leave; meanwhile, Dandalf is assaulted by the voice in his head calling the old man and a liar and promising the wizard great powerful in return for its freedom. The company hesitates, torn by indecision. Finally, convinced that he cannot persuade them to leave, the old man transforms into a shining paladin and attacks. After a terrible battle, the party defeats the old man, who with his last words pleads once more for them to leave.
Dandalf opens the door and enters, finding a giant skull half submerged in a great stone. After placing his hands on the skull, Dandalf fights a mighty battle of egos with the evil spirit, ultimately bending the devil ghost to his will. Once more Dandalf is faced with a choice: maintain his grip on the spirit and keep it as a slave or destroy it once and for all. Fearing the creature’s power, Dandalf shatters the ghost.
Now the wizard finds himself the master of the Demon’s Head, a mighty relic that can embue his spells with great power.

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Building a Kingdom: Giant Hunt (Year 2, Month 3, Day 21-26)

Destruction and company leave the young warrior Kid Tiger at the keep and head west into the hills hunting hill giants. While they don’t find any giants, they are attacked by the horrible troll champion Grubsnoot. After a bloody battle that nearly killed Kolash, Destruction and Dandalf wear able to bring the vile creature down.

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Building a Kingdom: Exploration (Year 2, Month 2, Day 16--Month 3, Day 21)

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cleared out a nest of man-bats

tracked down and captured a mountain lion

discovered the crypt of an ancient barbarian king who happened to be a vampire; after surprising the creature in its resting place, the company beat the foul thing into helplessness and dragged it into the sun. They then stripped the place of of its treasures: magical leather armor, potions of healing and speed, and a scroll of magic containing the ruins of paralysis and the secret of creating powerful magic staves.

The band discovers four ogres living among the ruins of an ancient tire. After a bloody battle, Destruction and his allies emerged triumphant.

Dandalf spent two weeks studying and ultimately mastering the powerful of the Wizard Staff spell. Three more weeks spent on the paralysis spell, but the wizard was unable to learn it.

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Building a Kingdom: Valley of the Dark Fey (Year 2, Month 2, Day 13-15)

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Continuing to explore the area around the keep, the company finds a forest of giant redwood trees . . . and signs a large winged predator. They track the creature back to its nest just as night falls. A great white owl emerges, circles the party and then flies off. Destruction and his allies return to the keep for the night.
The next morning, the group returns to the owl’s lair, high up in a giant redwood. Dandalf summons an invisible spirit that carries all of them up to the nest. There they fight off some cave crickets and confront the owl. Dandalf uses his magic to speak to the great bird, and the two sides come to an accord. The company returns to the keep.
The next day, Destruction and his allies discover a valley to the southwest of the keep that has fallen under a dark enchantment. Danalf senses two powerful fey creatures wandering down in the forest of the valley. The party confronts the first of the two, a great four-legged flying beast named Bogroot. It swallows LaLa, but Brother John is able to bind the creature to his will. They then seek out and attack the second, more powerful fey, a dark robed humanoid with a skull-like visage, a bone tail and ghostly sword. They surprise the creature, and Dandalf casts a mighty spell (aided by the luck of La La) that destroys the evil being before it can even respond. Feeling his power, the wizard turns and destroys Bogroot as well.
The party uncovers the fey’s treasure trove, a hoard of gold, electrum and jewelry.

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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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