Age of Worms

The Road to Diamond Lake

After an uneventful two day journey the heroes are getting closer to Diamond Lake. The heroes are walking through a thick forest when Sildras suddenly realizes that two potions he was carrying are missing. The party stops and listens for any movement in the treeline. Nothing. They don’t see anything either. They decided to press on but be more vigilant. About an hour later, Sildras coin purse feels lighter than he remembered. He opens it up and sure enough some of his gold is missing. The party is sure that at this point they are being stalked by someone or something that is very stealthy. They all stand in a circle with their backs to each other. They call out in Common into the woods for someone to show themselves. Nothing happens. The heroes can hear faint footsteps on the undergrowth. Katzan decides to head into the thick treeline and try to sneaking himself. He doesn’t see or hear anything. Meanwhile the party calls out again in Common to their unseen adversary. Suddenly a Drow steps forward out of the shadows. They try to speak to her in Common but she does not reply. She draws two scimitars and charges at the group. Egzour is struck by one of her blades and becomes poisoned. After some sword-play Davlymin starts grappling with her and is able to force her onto the ground. The party ties in her a net. They again, speak in Common to her. She does not reply. They start to interrogate her on why she was stealing their things. She does not even move a muscle. The party decides to try to intimidate her, they take her scimitars which they now know are poisoned. They threaten to poison her with her own venom if she does not talk. Just as Katzan raises the blade to strike her two arrows shoot out of the forest and land at his feet. Suddenly, the heroes realize there are many more Drow watching them. They quickly try to decided what the best course of action would be. Katzan demands the Drow to tell him why she was stealing from them. She does not reply. He punches her. Suddenly she starts motioning with her hands, in some sort of unspoken language. The heroes demand that she stop and tell them what she’s doing. She doesn’t. Suddenly six more Drow emerge from the forest wielding scimitars and longbows. The heroes realize they are gravely outmatched. One of the Drow speaks out in broken Common and demands that they leave now or they will die. The heroes decided to accept the offer and leave.

Drow

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The Ettin's Riddle

Along the way to Newkeep, the heroes come across a tavern where they decided to relax for a bit. After being int he tavern for some time and buying some drinks they meet Davlymin Glorygem a strong dwarven fighter and his half-dragon Rogue adventuring partner. The two partys decided to join forces.

After a few days journey through swamps and jungles the heroes have finally made their way to Newkeep. The heroes catch their first glance of the small peaceful hamlet. In front of them is a field filled with wheat, barley and cows. The hamlet is made up of about forty small buildings. Suddenly, the heroes realize that something is amiss. A two headed giant comes into view. It is holding a tree trunk in it’s hand and smashing buildings with it. The giant gives out a loud bellow and strikes at something on the ground. It picks up a cow and stomps off into the forest. The heroes rush towards the hamlet and when they arrive they start to approach people asking if they need help. Their efforts are ignored as the people are far to busy with the cleanup. Some of the villagers are taking it in stride though. A few man start chopping wood from demolished buildings for fire, and some children play in a pool of water inside one of the giant’s footsteps. They find a militiaman that tells them he’s too busy at the moment to explain what’s happening but he says that they should look for Hannah, Restik, or Malwick. They find the town cleric, Restik, healing some injured people and ask him what’s happening. He explains that about five weeks ago, a hunter that was passing through saw a giant crossing through the wheat field north of town, in the middle of the night. The townspeople set up watches but they didn’t see any signs of a giant. And then three weeks ago, a few villagers saw it just before dawn. Malwick‘s father was able to get a few arrows in it but this just angered and it killed him and four other men. Then it ran off. Since then it comes back every day. It storms into town and starts chasing cattle, crushing homes, sometimes with families still inside, in the process. If they try to attack it it just kills more of them while they are barely even able to hurt it. Also, it comes out at night but it doesn’t destroy anything at night. At first the villagers thought it was even a different giant because of how different it was acting. Villagers have seen it almost acting stealthily and sneaking around. But they know it’s the same giant because someone saw the marks on it from the arrows. At this point, a man walks up to the heroes and introduces himself as Malwick. Malwick, as the leader of the volunteer militia, asks the heroes for their help in getting rid of the giant. The heroes agree and he thanks them. Hannah, a woman who owns the local tavern, offers the heroes free rooms and free meals until the problem is solved.

The heroes decide to gather some information before charging off to kill a giant. Restik says that there is something he thinks they should see. He brings them to his temple and shows them something strange. Along the outside of one of the walls of the temple is some writing that was painted onto the wall. It reads,
“Two heads have we, but born with one.
We have avenged, healed and protected.
Our Master was Invincible.
But punished we, all who objected.
Heeded we, the six-armed king.
And so by our God were rejected.
Thus, this is our fate:
One head, twice bisected.”
__

Restik explains that some of the villagers in town have been coming to the message everyday and praying because they think it is a sign from their God. Restik is certain that this is not a sign from Heironeous. He says the paint and paintbrush was stolen from a farm in town. He says he thinks that it looks like someone was trying to figure out a riddle, and wrote it out so they could keep it straight. The heroes ask Restik what he think the answer to the riddle is and he replies, “The Ettin. But that’s crazy. Ettin’s are mindless monsters. They certainly can’t read or write, let alone solve riddles.” The heroes ask what an Ettin is and Restik explains that the two-headed giant they saw is called an Ettin.

The heroes also speak to Malwick who, still furious about his father’s death, says that if the heroes don’t kill the Ettin than he will. They ask if he knows anything else that might help them and he says the local farmer’s son Joldan was able to track the Ettin all the way up to the road to Oldkeep but he lost the trail there. Malwick explains that he suspects that the Ettin might be hiding in Oldkeep and he mentions something under his breath about a man named Stondylus. But he will not speak on the matter further. The heroes decide to try to set a trap for the Ettin. That night they tie their ropes together and secure the end to two houses, making a tripwire. They all hide in nearby houses and sit by the windows and wait. Sure enough the Ettin emerges from the forest and, just like the villagers said, it is acting stealthily. It circles the entire village once all the way around looking around. It avoids the trap that the heroes set completely and heads to the painting on the wall of the temple. The heroes are surprised at what they are seeing when the Ettin kneels down and starts praying in front of the riddle painted on the wall. They can see that the Ettin’s left head apppears to be asleep while the right head is in control of the body. The heroes, assuming that this Ettin is somehow more intelligent than most of it’s kin, decided to approach the Ettin and try to speak with it. As they get closer to it, it stops praying and gets noticeably nervous. The heroes call out to it in Common, saying that they mean it no harm they just want to talk. Surprisingly the Ettin replies to them and accepts the invitation to speak. The Ettin explains it’s story,

I was once a man, like yourselves, but the magic
of the wizard Stondylus has trapped me in this
form. Now, Muck, my second head, is exerting his
independence, and I cannot control him any
more. I beg of you, if you cannot help me solve
the riddle that is my salvation, then please, take
my life before Muck kills again.

The heroes not wanting to kill an innocent man trapped in a monster’s body decided to try to help him solve the riddle. He introduces himself as Kyrnyn. He says that he used to be cleric of Heironeous. When he was cursed and turned into an Ettin he simply tried to cast Dispel Magic on himself but it did not work. He is not able to cast any of his spells that are tied to his god, Heironeous. When he prayed to Heironeous for help, he received a vision of the riddle and then he painted it on the temple so he would not forget it. He believes that the answer to the riddle is simply ‘himself’. But nothing has happened. He believes that if he solves the riddle he will be returned to his original form. He says he has to go back before Muck wakes up because Muck will hurt him. The heroes ask where he is living, and he tells them in Stondylus’ old fortress in Oldkeep. Then he leaves.

The next morning the heroes explain to Restik and Malwick what they discovered from Kyrnyn. Malwick‘s opinion is unchanged and he is still set on destroying the Ettin. While on the other hand, Restik is shocked by the news. He says he has to tell them a story that he thinks will help them solve the riddle. He says he actually knows Kyrnyn and he wants to help them. He tells them that months ago an evil wizard named Stondylus had taken over the town and no one was strong enough to oppose his magic, so they were helpless. Luckily, a group of four adventurers was passing by and when they stopped in town they grew sympathetic to the plight of the townsfolk. Among them was the young Cleric of Heironeous, Kyrnyn. Both being priests of Heironeous, Restik and Kyrnyn became good friends. Then the adventurers decided to head to Oldkeep to defeat Stondylus and free the town. The party of adventures was never heard from again. Restik doesn’t know what happened to the others but he believes that Kyrnyn was cursed by Stondylus. After hearing Restik‘s story the heroes decided to follow in the old adventurer’s footsteps and head to Oldkeep to help Kyrnyn.

They set out early that afternoon. After about half a day of walking, not much has happened. They are walking down a narrow path in the forest when suddenly they are surround by a party of eight orcs. The orcs call out to the heroes in Orcish. Egzour Dukesberg being the only member of the party that understands and speaks Orcish converses with them. After some time of talking Egzour translates into Common for the rest of the party. He says that the orcs wanted to know what they were doing in the forest and he explained to them that they were trying to find the Ettin that has been attacking Newkeep. The orcs say they know where he is and are willing to give directions for a little bit of money. Egzour asked them why they were being so helpful, the Orcs explained that they had tried to get the Ettin to help them in attacking Newkeep and he agreed but, when the Orcs gave him his payment, a few cows, he took them and killed half of the orcs’ tribe. So they want revenge. They would actually come and help kill him. Egzour explained to them that they are not planning on killing him but rather helping him. The orcs leave without a confrontation, not wanting to lose any more members of their dwindling tribe.

Further along the path a small child is running and screaming toward the heroes. They stop and ask him what’s wrong and he explains that for some reason Malwick thinks that the heroes are abandoning him and he has gathered a mob and they are on their way to Oldkeep to kill the Ettin. The heroes thank the child and move even faster to get to Kyrnyn before the angry mob does.

That night the heroes arrive at Oldkeep. Ruined, overgrown buildings surround the place indicating that not very long ago this use to be a community. They see three makeshift graves next to the entrance to the old stronghold. They are marked, Zimmian, Gordell, and Thorvald Halfgranite. The heroes assume that these are the final resting places of Kyrnyn‘s friends. They approach the entrance to the fortress and see that the door has been left ajar. Stepping inside they see the large bestial form of the Ettin. The left head, Muck, is sleeping and Kyrnyn’s head is awake. It looks happily at them but motions for them to be quiet. The heroes try for hours in vain with the help of Kyrnyn to solve his riddle and free him of his curse, but it’s no use. They cannot figure it out. As the sun starts to rise the heroes can hear the bustling of the approaching mob. They explain to Kyrnyn that the townsfolk are coming to kill him. He begs the heroes to mercy kill him and put him out his misery. The heroes are divided on what to do and waste more time debating what to do. The heroes here shouting outside, it is Malwick. He yells. “Come out you foul beast so I can avenge my father”! The crowd roars in support. Sildras notices that Muck’s eyes are opening. The heroes and Kyrnyn are filled with fear. Muck looks around the room and figures out what is happening. He screams at the heroes, “NO ONE HELP KYRNYN!” and he smashes one of his giant fists into Kyrnyn’s face. The heroes split up, Davlymin and Katzan go outside to try to calm the crowd down while Sildras and Egzour give the riddle one last shot. They go through it line by line.

_"Two heads have we".
_We is Kyrnyn and he wasn’t always an Ettin so he was born with one head.
“We avenged, healed and protected.”
Egzour recognizes this as the creed of all clerics, so that means Kyrnyn was a cleric.
“Our master was Invincible.”
Using his knowledge of religion Egzour knows that Heironeous is known as Heironeous the Invincible. So Kyrnyn was a cleric of Heironeos.
“But punished we, all who objected.”
Kyrnyn suddenly understands this line, he says that when he was adventuring he used his powers to exact vengeance instead of justice.
_"Heeded we the six-armed king."
_Sildras using his knowledge of religion remembers that the evil god Hextor is known as the six-armed king. And that Hextor and Heironeous are brothers. So this must mean that by abusing his power Kyrnyn started to worship Hextor instead of Heironeous.
_"And so by our god were rejected."
_Kyrnyn already understands this line that by straying from the path of justice Heironeous rejected him and took away his divine spells.
“Thus, this is our fate:
One head, twice bisected.”

Egzour and Sildras finally understand the riddle. The last line means that Kyrnyn who was already of two minds, one that served Heironeous and one that was starting to serve Hextor was punished with two heads. With each head represting each half of his personality.

Kyrnyn stands up and starts shouting, looking up to the sky. “My god! I finally understand the riddle you have given me! I have betrayed you and I have betrayed myself! I am sorry for what I have done! And I promise to only use your given powers to strive for justice!”
Kyrnyn crumples to the ground and his body begins to glow. Suddenly the angry mob bursts in with their weapons drawn ready to kill the Ettin. The heroes hold them back and they all watch as the two halves of Kyrnyn start to fight. Muck is trying to kill Kyrnyn before he can be brought back to original form. The fight goes on for a long time and then suddenly the room fills with a blinding white light. When everyone can see again they see the body of a young man laying on the ground where the Ettin was. The heroes wake him up and Kyrnyn thanks them for their help. Kyrnyn apologizes to the townsfolk and Malwick. They are not too happy about the outcome but they accept his apology. Kyrnyn is eternally grateful and asks if he could accompany the party on their further adventures. The heroes accept venture off. While traveling Kyrnyn tells them of a town to the west called Diamond Lake and the party decides to head to it.
Ettin

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Wreck Ashore

Egzour Dukesberg, the holy Dwarven cleric of Moradin met with Sildrasthe Elven druid and Katzan Pajamas the half-human half-vampire rogue in a small tavern in the coastal town of Seawell. They met to discuss the troubles that were currently plaguing Seawell. The town had not been receiving its normal merchandise shipments. No one had seen any merchant vessels approaching the town for some time. And also, the local lizardfolk that lived in the swamps outside of town had been growing increasingly hostile. The heroes decided to join forces and become adventurers.

They decided to speak to the Mayor about their decision to try to solve what was happening in town. The Mayor offered the heroes a reward if they were to solve the missing shipments. The Mayor also recommended that the lighthouse on the edge of the surrounding swamp might be a good place to start the investigation.

After stocking up on some basic supplies the three heroes headed into the swamp towards the lighthouse. Immediately after leaving town the heroes were joined by Sildras’ wolf animal companion Turro. Along their way they encountered some alligators and a few groups of small vipers. On the second day of the journey Katzan and Egzour were bitten by a viper. Egzour was able to fend off the poison momentarily but Katzan succumbed to the venom and blacked out. Sildras along with Turro decided to head back to Seawell in order to purchase some potions to protect against poison. Sildras arrived at the local potion shop only to realize that he did not have enough money to buy even one potion. He hurried to the Mayor and asked on for an advance on the reward so that he could buy a potion for the unconscious Katzan. After some negotiating, the Mayor agreed to give him the advance. He brought the potion to Katzan and cured him of his ailment. The heroes decided to rest for the night before heading back into the swamp.

The heroes found the nearest inn and when they were told the price for a room that would accommodate the three of them, they decided it was too expensive and sneaked upstairs. The hallway was empty and all the doors were locked. Katzan chose a door and picked the lock. The door swung open to reveal the room was just a broom closet and the custodian was staring right at Katzan. When asked what he was doing, Katzan bluffed and said he thought this was his room. The custodian did not believe him and told them that they should leave the inn right away. The heroes left and set up camp right outside the town gates.

Morning came and they set out towards the lighthouse. Along their journey they encountered more alligators and a hollowed out tree with a nest of baby vipers laying in it. The heroes killed the entire nest of baby vipers without hesitation. Later on they came to a tree with what appeared to be a rope hanging from it. Sildras approached the rope in order to climb up the tree and as he went to grab it, realized that it was not a rope… but a large constrictor snake. The heroes eventually defeated the snake. Later that afternoon the heroes came across a clearing in the brush. The clearing was home to a pack of jungle panthers. The panthers were sleeping and the heroes managed to sneak through the den without waking them. Later while passing through a small pond the heroes noticed an underwater opening. Sildras decided to swim into it and see if it led somewhere. With a little trouble he managed to get to the other side to find it led into a cave. He climbed out of the water and found the skeletal remains of an adventurer. Katzan and Egzour swam into the tunnel after Sildras and joined him in the cave. Along the back-wall of the cave the heroes discovered carvings and writings in a language none of them understood. The carvings gave off a faint pale blue glow. The heroes decided to leave after giving up on trying to decipher the carvings. The heroes set up camp for the night.

The heroes woke up and after they had all finished their daily meditations, got back on the path to the lighthouse. The heroes were walking through the swamp when all of a sudden a javelin flew from the treeline and landed right in front of them. A tall female lizardfolk scout approached them and commanded them to halt. The heroes obeyed and the scout asked what they were doing. They told her of their mission and she told them that the lighthouse keepers have been missing for six weeks. She said that a group of ruthless pirates had set up a large camp near the lighthouse and she thinks that these two events are connected. They ask for her help in defeating the pirates and she says that she can head back to her village and bring some troops. They decide to meet at the pirate encampment the next day.

The heroes finally arrive at the lighthouse. They investigate the entire lighthouse and find nothing of interest save for the rotting bodies of the married lighthouse keepers and their two sons. The heroes assume that the pirates ransacked the place and killed the family. At the top of the lighthouse they find that the light chamber has been destroyed. From this height they see into the pirate encampment and discover that the pirates had built a fake lighthouse to lure all the ships in, and then they would ransack them. The heroes head towards the camp.

They arrive outside the pirate encampment later that night and they see that there is a patrol of two pirates that goes around the camp every few minutes. The next time the patrol comes around the heroes ambush them. One of the pirates dies in the process while the other is mortally wounded. They tie him up and take him and the dead pirate further back into the treeline. They interrogate their captive but he wont talk, Katzan gets physical and starts beating the pirate. He still does not talk. They kill him and take both of the pirates clothes and possessions. They leave the bodies in front of the gate as a warning. Katzan and Sildras put large rocks into the dead pirates’ anal cavities. The heroes head back to their vantage point to see what happens. After the patrol does not return to the camp the pirates send out another patrol to see what happened. They find the bodies and quickly pull them into camp and lock the gate. The heroes do not see any movement for the rest of the night.

After arguing for some time on what they should do next, the Lizardfolk scout arrives with ten of her kin. Suddenly the gate opens and out comes the captain the first mate and a few other pirates. The captain calls out to the heroes, not knowing where they are, to come out and fight. Sildras fires an arrow at the captain, wounding her and then the heroes and the lizardfolk charge into battle. With the help of the lizardfolk they outnumbered the pirates and defeated every last one of them. They destroy the false tower and collect some treasure for themselves. The lizardfolk thank them for their help and leave for their village. The heroes make it back to town and report to the Mayor. He gives them their reward and they are welcome as heroes by everyone in Seawell, they are given free room and board for a week in the finest inn.

Some time the next week the Mayor requests their presence. They go to him and he tells them that he has received word from Newkeep a small hamlet to the north that they are in dire need of help. Trusting the heroes ability to solve problems he sends them on their way.

Wreck ashore

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