Open Megadungeon

Trees, peril and musically challenged Ettin
'Fang, I said don't bite his neck. Why wont you listen to me?' - A frustrated Ugh

Ugh sat at a tavern table by the window, his hyena Fang II sat by his feet gnawing on a bone. ‘Fetch me a beer boy." The warrior ordered his faithful companion before letting out a sigh. He had forgotten Fang couldn’t understand him. He would need to go on a quest to speak dog. He watched the street eagerly for the arrival of his regular adventuring companion. Milgos would help him on his worthy dog whispering quest. Hours passed and the half orc became worried. Eventually an urchin, possibly an apprentice mage, approached with grim news, Milgos the wizard was detained and would not be accompanying him on his quest to West Wood, apparently he was washing his hair. Cursing under his breath Ugh rose to his feet and stormed out knocking the urchin to the floor in his haste to depart. He recruited Jana the cleric from the temple where she helped the poor between adventures and they departed the city striking west.

Two days of travel through the surrounding farmlands and villages saw Ugh arrive at a raging river. On the other side lay the West Wood, wherein was rumoured to live a hermit who could teach the warrior to speak with dogs. The river looked perilous and so Ugh was relieved to see a cabin up ahead. There he negotiated passage across the river with a talkative fisherman who warned Ugh of the great danger he faced in the forest. Ugh yawned at the man’s prattle, questioned his constantly changing accent and finally ordered him be silent for the remainder of the trip across the river. Ugh needed no help, least of all from babbling fishermen. Search the forest for the hermit, how hard could it be?

Upon being dropped off at the closest clearing Ugh pondered his options, hike through the tangled undergrowth or follow an overgrown path. The path looked easiest and so he hoisted his pack and set forth ordering Fang, his faithful hound, to range ahead. Trees towered overhead, their canopy casting deep shadows in the forest, the sounds of furtive fauna mixed with the sighing breeze and the creaking of the ancient swaying pines. After several hours of pleasant hiking Ugh was beginning to wonder what the fuss was with the West Wood, nothing had attacked him yet and he hadn’t seen anything more dangerous than a hare. Things were about to change.

His recently acquired helmet, liberated from a wight’s treasure horde, warned him of danger on the path ahead. It did so through telepathically sending feelings of dread which ensured Ugh could never be surprised. Not far ahead was a band of Neanderthals out hunting. Ugh skirted the band warily and the groups shared angry greetings. Much of what the cavemen had to say consisted of grunts that sounded much like Ugh’s own name. This noise they repeated till Ugh had moved out of sight.

Later Ugh was to discover a crystal clear lake stocked with gold and silver fish as well as a bush covered in odd yet delicious looking raspberries. Ugh picked and tried one and suffered no ill effects. He kept two for later. The place looked like a good point to rest but with a few hours of daylight to spare, Ugh pressed on. Again his helmet warned him of danger, this time a pair of hobgoblins perched in trees watched the trail with bows at the ready. With daylight fading Ugh left the hobgoblins to their own devices and returned to the lake to camp.

Ugh pondered how best to have his dog Fang keep watch for the night. Unfortunately without the ability to speak to the beast he could not communicate his idea. This was the primary reason he was venturing into the West Wood, to learn the language of dogs. The half orc had to share the watch with Jana. During the first watch Ugh heard voices, soft goblin voices by the lake. He crept up on a bickering pair of goblins and grabbed them by the scruff of the neck. The scrawny creatures had been filling jugs of water for their hobgoblin masters. The pitiable goblins begged to be released. They whined for some time before one of them shrieked for Ugh to look behind him. Now normally Ugh would not normally fall for such obvious tricks yet his helmet geve him that ‘don’t be surprised’ feeling. The warrior spun about thrusting both goblins before him as makeshift shields.

Failing to surprise Ugh was a feral looking emaciated hobgoblin that reached for him with wicked clawed hands. The creature was faster than Ugh and sprang at him landing a blow that chilled and numbed the half orcs flesh. Fang lept to his masters rescue as Jana stirred herself from her slumber. Together Ugh and his hound drove the creature back before Fang fell the creature with a gut tearing bite. The goblins ran for the forest and Ugh and Fang gave chase but quickly lost heart as the goblins headed into the dense undergrowth. They returned to camp to see the hobgoblin like creature had risen from the dead and now had Janna paralysed and was about to bite her face off. Fearing the loss of his henchwoman Ugh flew into a rage and put the creature down a second time. This time he dismembered the corpse before dousing it in oil and setting it ablaze. With the nights drama past the group tried their best to get some rest.

The next day saw Ugh ventured further west where we came across a camp of a dozen hobgoblins. They were not amicable to negotiation and had to be put to the sword. They put up strong resistance at one point filling Fang with spears and sending him scampering to the back rank. The hobgoblins lost heart however when their leader was decapitated by Ugh’s blade. Fang ran down one of the brutes as he fled and threatened to bite the creature’s throat. “No wait!” Ugh ordered but sadly Fang couldn’t understand his master and shredded the hobgoblins neck.

Midday arrived and Ugh found the path he was following twisted up a hill towards a derelict tower. As he climbed the hill he heard music. A female was singing beautifully though the effect was ruined by the terrible harp playing which accompanied it. Soon Ugh could see the source of this noise. A young girl chained to a rock sang a song about forests and trees while a two headed giant, or Ettin if you prefer, plucked clumsily at a harp several sizes too small. The Ettin noticed it’s audience and rose to its feet. “Ere clear off, or better yet give us your stuff. I’ll take that fancy sword of yours for starters.” Ugh tried to talk to the brute but the Ettin was surly and uncooperative. Eventually the conversation broke down, though Ugh did learn that the Ettin had eaten the hermit he hunted and enslaved the hermits daughter. The giant hurled a spear at the half orc that embedded itself deep in the warriors arm. Ugh was determined not to show fear and so gritted his teeth and pulled the bloody spear loose. The Ettin shrugged and charged. Ugh fled into the wilderness. Cursing the Ettin retrieved his spear and returned to his music.

Ugh swilled a healing potion from the safety of the woods and ended up feeling much better. He then recalled that he carried on his person a potion of giant strength. Waiting till nightfall Ugh swilled the giant strength potion and went to rescue the girl. He lifted the rock to which she was chained and urged her to flee to the tree line. The noise awoke the Ettin who grabbed his spears and bellowed a challenge. Ugh hurled the boulder at the brute but missed and so the giant and the warrior with giant strength went toe to toe exchanging brutal blows. Ugh was to prove triumphant with the timely assistance of Fang who was able to land the killing blow.

The young girl whom they had rescued knew much about nature that her father had taught her before his untimely end at the hands of the Ettin. She told Ugh of a tribe which lived in the grasslands adjoining the city who would assist him in a spirit quest during which he would learn the secrets of speaking with animals. This seemed good enough for Ugh who chose to rest in the Ettins tower before seeking out the tribe. It would not be long now before he and Fang would be regaling each other with tales of their adventures down at the tavern.

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Robbing the dead to settle old debts
'There was no real danger, well accept for the dragon.' - Burke the man at arms

“I can explain the sword.” Burke would need to do some fast talking to keep his wife on side. “Milgos needed another hired blade so I said ‘why not?’ I’ve held the torch long enough and I the scrape with the giant rats proves I have what it takes. Besides I wasn’t in any real danger, at least not this time. Let me explain.”

Burkes wife’s stare was softening; thinking he might get away with it, Burke recounted the expeditions events. “It wasn’t long before we found Urgat’s orcs. Fang smelt them out. Ugh and his dog are always snarling at the pig-faced bastards but the boss thinks the orcs are useful fodder. I see his point, they did help us kill the manticores. They didn’t take much convincing and we’d soon pushed them too the front. Milgos was insistent that we find the treasure some crazed gnome had talked about. He had some expenses in town he needed to settle. Being a wizard is expensive with all the pointy hats and costly quills and ink. Regis the gnome had babbled about a room full of the dead and piles of treasure. He hadn’t seen the room but he’d overheard the orcs talking about it. The word of a half mad gnome seemed good enough for Milgos and sure enough the gnome was telling the truth.”

“So we headed west and trounced some shadows and walking corpses. Our scrapes with the undead were trivial thanks to our priest Janna and I can assure you I was in no danger. At one stage Fang started shaking and whining at the sight of some odious artwork. He strained at his leash trying to retreat but Ugh held firm. It wasn’t long before Milgos found the secret treasure chamber. Inside there was this dead thing with hate filled eyes guarding three chests. It shrugged off the orc’s spears and snapped the neck of one of them. Then a terrifying thing happened, the dead orcs eyes started glowing and it rose from the dead. Things looked bleak till Jana’s god stepped in causing the monstrosities to cower and flee. Betty, Ugh and Janna put the creatures down with their enchanted weapons. The chests the thing was guarding were trapped with gas and poison needles but we soon had them open. Milgos was happy, there must have been enough to pay off his debts.”

It seemed Burke’s wife was warming to his new career as a low risk adventurer. “As you can see my love, no real danger. Well accept for the dragon. Don’t give me that look. I don’t think we will mess with it. And if we do I’ll make sure there are plenty of orcs between me and it. Trust me I haven’t died yet.”

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Grubs, bad meat and singing ladies
‘Master says bite bad things so I bite the bad things. Sometimes they are tasty.’ - Fang II

Fang II barked a greeting and Regis Twiddlefingers, the recently rescued gnome, turned in surprise for evidently he understood the hyena’s growls and barks. It is thought that gnomes can speak with creatures of the forest, though it is a commonly held misconception that this only applies to badgers and stoats. Here was the opportunity for a unique take on the groups adventures. ‘Ugh is my master. He is a good master. He takes me down into the tunnels all the time. It is fun chasing things and biting them. I bite who the master says to bite. Today I bit many things.”

“The tunnels smell good, like blood and fresh death. The shouty one with the long cat ears was being noisy and bossing people around. He smells too nice, like he is always taking baths. Fang hates baths. I got to bite one of those tasty grubs. I like the soft wavy face best. Yummy. I felt sad the grub head broke off so quick but I got to eat delicious soft face bits. Master doesn’t like the face bits. He went all cold when they touched him and I had to lick his face till he started paying attention. Master woke up covered in slobber but he didn’t mind. Master is good like that.”

“Pointy ears kept shouting and bossing people around. We walk through tunnels. All tunnels look the same to Fang. We find some crazy men. I bite some of them. They are full of black blood. Tastes like bad meat. Their claws hurt Fang and master says ‘Go back Fang.’ Fang felt bad leaving master but Fang does what he’s told. Fang is a good dog. With crazy men dead we stop to catch breath. Small one says words that made Fang feel better and Fang’s wounds close. Fang likes the small one.”

“One of the girls starts singing. She found a metal hat with bird wings on it. I like chasing birds but I wouldn’t chase this lady. She is good at stabbing but also a coward. I know I ran from the scary lizard things that screech real loud. That hurts Fang’s ears but the lady ran from a spider the same size as a Fang. Both ladies look and smell the same. Now Fang can tell them apart; coward wears a winged hat and is always singing, she sings so much it hurts Fangs ears. I think master also doesn’t like her singing because he always makes a sour face when the lady sings. Brave one is brave and stabs lots of things. The brave one stabs the spider and looks mad at coward who looks like she is going to cry.”

“Poor coward lady and brave lady have a fight only it’s not a real fight instead it’s with lots of blah blah noise and yelling. Fang starts barking FIGHT, FIGHT but the girls don’t understand. No one understands Fang. Girls must be from the same litter, they look the same and both smell like steel and early morning tavern floor. Both fight for shouty pointy ear though winged helmet looks like she wants to do her own thing now. All rooms look the same to Fang but soon we find orcs. I smell blood. This is were we find you small one. Orcs were hurting you but winged helmet lady saved you. Maybe she is brave after all. Pointy ear yelled at the orcs and some fell down sleeping. Master says bite them so I bite them till no more are moving. Coward girl must just be scared of spiders because she killed plenty of orcs. Pointy ear started bossing a captured orc around. The orc must not have said the right things because pointy ears gets so mad he cuts the orcs head off. He seems shouty and mean but girls like him. Fang isn’t worried though. Fang has a good master. He does what he is told. Fang is a good dog.”

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Carrion crawlers, rivers and rats
'No woman gets left behind.' - Milgos as he goes to confront the mighty corpse grubs

urke the porter and current torchbearer to Milgos sat at the dinner table with his family. His wife had made a hearty stew. They were eating well lately thanks to the coin he brought in as a retainer. In between mouthfuls he told his wife about the latest foray. “Normally we don’t go without the half orc but the boss was itching. He kept saying things about his untapped magical reservoir. Mages eh? First we poked around the churches but the reputable ones don’t go in for dungeoneering. The disciples of Set would, but their price was too steep; something about Milgos’ life being forfeit or some such. Can’t trust a Settite anyway, at least that’s what my ma always said. So the boss says ‘Bag it’, then he takes out that odd ring he recently looted of the elf. ‘This,’ he says to me, ‘will make me invisible and I will sneak around the place nicking folks gold. It’ll be easy, trust me’. It weren’t easy and we all very nearly died. Things went wrong from the start.”

Burke looked at his kids and frowned. “You lot better head off to bed. The tale that’s coming isn’t fit for little ears. And don’t worry about your dad, nothings killed me yet.” The kids reluctantly left the room and Burke continued “We made it all the way back to the first level. The statue at the entrance keeps calling the place the Tunnels of Enlandin or something like that. Milgos decides to go kills the spiders in the south so that’s where we head. He’s bought plenty of oil because the solution to most problems is fire. We take a shortcut through some rooms we haven’t explored. Behind the first door we see some tentacled grub monsters slobbering all over a paralysed hobbit. Milgos charges in with his swords. I yelled out ‘Boss, what are you doing! Use your magic!’ But he didn’t listen. Next thing you know he’s paralysed. I ran in and grabbed him and hauled him to safety while Betty and Beatrice drew steel and went and charged in. They didn’t last long and soon I was cowering under a table as far from the monstrosities as possible. I figured we were done for but then Milgos shakes off the paralysis and goes roaring back. He doesn’t leave anyone behind. Well except me. He said to hide till he came back so I stayed under the table with a blanket thrown over my head.”

“After a few minutes Milgos came back and said everything was alright. He’d saved the girls but didn’t save the hobbit that looked half digested by the time I saw him. Milgos reckoned that the carrion grubs were smart, closing doors and setting ambushes, only problem for them was that Milgos is smarter. He blew the creatures apart from range with his wand. He never gets tired of his wand, always blazing away. The creatures had some treasure and so did the hobbit. Turns out the hobbit’s name was Opi, it said so on his coin pouch. I might ask around the taverns to see if he has family, I’m sure they are worried. Hate to be the bearer of bad news but they have a right to know.”

Burke got up and ladled himself some more stew. “In the end we made it to the spider room. Turns out there were no spiders in there but that didn’t stop Milgos and the girls setting the room ablaze. You should have seen the look of disappointment on the bosses face. Still there were some coins lying about in the chamber and Milgos says help your self. You could tell he was spoiling for a fight so he sets us marching north. There we run into an orc ambush but Milgos saved us with a timely sleep spell. The orcs didn’t have any treasure, which really made Milgos mad. He was so mad that he got careless and fell into a pit trap. It was all up to the girls and me. Betty threw down the rope she’s always carrying and they lower me down to look for the boss. The pit was deep and ended in a raging underground river. I was scared then. Milgos was gone and there was nothing we could do. We had to get out of here.
While the ladies were hauling me back up a rat swarm attacked us. I had to join the melee.”

Burkes wife gave him a stern look. “Now you know I said I’d never risk myself but this was different, I had no choice. I clouted several rats with my trusty torch and Beatrice and me saw the vermin off, but not before they had downed Betty. Lucky for us Boss had given us a healing potion to hold onto in case he fell. We used it on Betty and she sprung up as good as new. We raced for the exit and thought at one point we were done for. I saw in the flickering torch light two figures one clanking around the other levelling a bow at us. Turned out they were fellow adventurers, nice sorts really. They escorted us back to the stairs. We met up with Milgos on the journey home; the river had swept him along till he hauled himself up onto a bank. The lucky sod found a quick exit back to the surface so now if we delve we can head straight to the lower levels. Handy.”

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Elves in the dark and a swift escape
Ugh was pretty mad so we threw chunks of ghoul at him.' - Betty

Betty gave the stranger a measured look. He looked harmless enough, probably wouldn’t last more than a few minutes in the caverns. She took a long draft of her ale. “Well stranger, if you’re buying I’ll tell you about our latest expedition. Milgos, my employer, was still as weak as a kitten. He’d tried to rest but well… have you ever seen a fish out of water? Thrashing around as it gasps for breath. Yeah that’s how Milgos looked as he tried and failed to sleep. Burke, the torch bearer, had to piggyback him when we figured it was time to go. Lucky for Burke elves are light. The elf had this idea that a secret door was close. Turns out it was just a pit trap and the bulky half orc took a tumble. He was really mad about falling in to the pit. You could hear him at the bottom of it cursing up a storm and hacking into things in his furry. We had a bit of a laugh and started throwing things like ghoul chunks into the pit so they would land on him. After a bit we decided to get him out.”

Betty patted the coiled hemp rope at her side. “I always carry rope for just these sorts of occasions. Beatrice and I started hauling him back up when a bunch of orcs comes round the corner. They start bellowing at us to surrender, Milgos bellows back and in the end it comes to blows. We put the orcs to flight then haul up the fighter as quick as we can. Turns out the half orc was carrying his mangy pony sized dog with him on the way back up, no wonder he was so heavy.”

“We don’t know where we are so open the closest door which leads into a pitch black room. In it lurked an elf, who went down quickly under the fangs of Fang. Fang is the name of Ugh’s hound. Imaginative types these half orcs. We loot the elf and press on only to come across a statue that comes to life. It chases us all the way back to where we started. We ended up hiding behind a secret door till the beast left.”

“With Milgos sick things were desperate. We needed to find a way out fast. The elf figures we should follow the orc blood. He reasoned orcs wouldn’t normally be this far underground and they must’ve retreated to the upper levels. He’s smart. It turns out he was right. Following the blood trail led to stairs going up. Lucky for us no beasts were near to hear our cheering the discovery of ascending stairs, or if there were, they were smart enough not to tangle with us.”

Betty drained the remainder of her ale. The stranger nodded to the bar keep and her tankard was swiftly replaced. “Where was I? Oh yes … running. We bolted up the stairs taking them two at a time. We followed the winding corridors. At one point we came across a room full of cobwebs. We hadn’t the heart to go in. Spiders are never good news. Another room we entered had the evilest looking gnome statue in the centre. Ugh got cranky just looking at it and started hitting it with his sword. Eventually he realised he wasn’t wrecking the statue, just his blade, so he quit. The gnome got his revenge though. When the half orc went to leave the room, the gnome shot him in the back. A quarrel was lodged between Ugh’s shoulder blades. Ugh is like an ox though, he just shrugged it off and kept going. He didn’t even stop to remove the bolt. We eventually came across some familiar corridors and raced to the surface as quick as we could. Milgos is well again, though Ugh is still whining about needing to talk to his dog or some such nonsense.”

Betty staggered to her feet, all those ales had gone to her head. “Best be off. Milgos will be waiting. He’s headed back underground and he’ll need my sword. You can join us if you like?" The stranger blanched. "Nah, didn’t think you had the spine for a delve. Thanks for the drinks stranger. If the gods are good I’ll be back in a day or two with more tales.”

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Kobold parts, oozes and a ring
'Ugh's paralysed and I'm too weak to take advantage.' - Milgos the cursed

Ugh lamented his lack of success in communicating specific orders to his strange looking dog. If only there was a way to speak with the beast. He went about the city stopping strangers in the street asking them if perhaps they knew of some magic that could aid in chatting to dogs. Most folk avoided him, small children mocked him but one man took time from his busy schedule to assist him. Magnus was a merchant by trade and delayed a chiropractic appointment to inform the desperate half orc that the magic he sought may be within the purview of the mad hermit who dwelt in the forbidden woods to the west. None but the desperate ventured there for it was too dangerous. Ugh made a mental note to seek the recluse at a later point and instead sought out his delving companion. He found the dark elf at the martial square watching on attentively as his hirelings Betty and Beatrice went through their paces. They had recently acquired their henchmen diplomas and could now call themselves warriors. With a full roster the fellowship set off for the dungeon.

As they ventured beneath the earth Berk the forgotten lit up a lantern before fading into the background. Milgos suggested recruiting the orcs again and so the group made their way to the orcs lair. The passageways and rooms seemed as they had been left till they arrived at the kobold’s chamber. There a scene of carnage appalled them. Kobold parts lay strewn willy nilly as the room now better resembled an abattoir. Grimly pressing on they followed a trail of bloody footprints to the orcs barracks. There was no sign of the orcs. A smashed and looted chest against a wall indicated that they were unlikely to encounter their orcish allies. Milgos recalled the secret chamber said to be close at hand and became worried. It seemed Ugh had the same idea and they both rushed to the north where the treasure was said to lie.

Peering into the room the pair saw a grey ooze slowly dissolving a number of bodies. The ooze was pelted with flasks of burning oil, which seemed to have little to no effect. It rolled after them reaching out with slimy pseudopods but to no avail. The group were too swift and Milgos was able to pelt the creature to death with magic missiles from his wand. The dissolved corpses were unrecognisable. Searching the chamber they quickly located a pivoting wall to the north. Ever suspicious Ugh opened it from a unique angle. Within the chamber was another ooze. It lay in ambush against a wall but Ugh, who had long had the ability to think like an ooze, was alert to it’s sneaky ways. Once again the group led the viscous fluid a merry dance that ultimately ended with its slow form slain by wand.

Apart from the ooze the secret chamber contained a number of stone receptacles. Milgos noticed that they were trapped and ingeniously used water to render the poison gas, contained within a number of vessels, inert. Sadly the water ruined some scrolls but a magic ring (dubbed the pooh ring as it had been concealed in honey) and mace were liberated along with plenty of coin. The ring seemed to call to Milgos and he put it on thinking it to be a ring of invisibility. It was, kind of.

Where they are.
Further searching found a door marked with the orcish rune for death. Milgos willed himself invisible in case trouble lay beyond the door. Beyond the door lay empty crates and chests. The party set about searching the chamber. After a while Milgos began to feel weak. It was the ring. It was cursed though the elf would not believe it. More magic was afoot for when the group opened the door, which had closed on them while they searched, they determined that they had been the victims of some sort of teleport. They were in unfamiliar tunnels and their usual modus operandi of returning to town was blown out of the water. They needed an exit and fast.

Exploring a tunnel to the east the group encountered a gelatinous cube that they duly dispatched. Fang II wolfed down several large chunks of cube as if it was the most delicious thing in the world. This was odd as the transparent monstrosity is said to have a paralysing touch. Further exploration led to the discovery of ghouls feasting on a some unfortunate’s corpse. Janna used her clerical powers to turn the creatures but not before Ugh had been paralysed by their touch. Betty and Beatrice finished off the cowering ghouls with a little help from the rapidly weakening Milgos. With combat over the band waited till Ugh recovered from the paralysis. It took almost an hour for the burly half orc to do so. Milgos would have drawn a moustache on his friend while he lay their helpless but he simply couldn’t muster up the energy. He felt drained and exhausted and he could not work out why. Milgos was so tired they decided to take the risk of resting in the dungeon. The group set up camp in the room with the half digested human and some dismembered ghouls. Hardly the ideal site.

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Orc allies and a date with manticores
"Stop this madness!" Milgos the angry dark elf

Milgos spent time recharging his newly acquired wand of magic missiles. Its discovery had him reconsider his prior tactic of leaping into the middle of combat swinging his daggers. Yet the visceral thrill of carving up his opposition was irresistible to the dark elf and he soon found himself purchasing a fine set of matching short swords. He trawled the markets of the city hunting for bargains and found a downtrodden peasant called Berk who’d serve as torchbearer (and who would be completely forgotten by all in the coming conflicts) and a scroll of armour, a spell that was sure to increase his life expectancy.

Ugh on the other hand purchased as many flasks of oil as seemed practical for he recalled the tale of ooze that guarded a secret treasure.

Feeling confident the group returned to the dungeon and found their way back to the chamber from which they had left off. The kobolds, whom they had rescued last delve, were lounging about their chamber feasting on the dried remains of dire rat and oblivious to the parties presence. Ugh marched and kicked the chair out from under on of the poor creatures. Howling in dismay from the dungeon floor the kobold looked up at the armoured half orc that towered overhead. Ugh sought information about the surrounds and learnt that the orcish leader in a nearby chamber was a brute who liked challenges. “Perhaps,” the kobold suggested “you could challenge the brute for leadership of the orcs.” Finding the idea plausible, Ugh accentuated his orc heritage as best he could with the assistance of the kobolds. He bloodied his weapon, draped himself in rancid rat furs and plaited bones into his hair. This ruse would later fail, let down by the half orc’s cultured demeanour and even temperament. Still as the group left the kobolds, Ugh practised his mean skills; insulting the creatures by deliberately mistaking them for gnomes. Gnomes are of course a kobolds arch nemesis. The kobolds were left fuming and conflicted; the heroes had saved them but were also mean.

The mean heroes considered their immediate options. To the north purportedly lay the secret treasure guarded by ooze. A sizzling sound from that direction lent credence to the kobolds intelligence. Behind the door to the west lay the orcs. Milgos placed an ear to the door and made out a low muttering from beyond. Perhaps it was orcish, he couldn’t be sure despite being a fluent speaker of the language. There they stood undecided for some time before Milgos did what he often does and that’s make a rash decision. He opened the door and crept into the chamber sneaking about he determined that the orcs sat at a table concealed by a curtain. Their chest lay in the room unobserved and undefended. Tempting a target though it may be Milgos returned to inform his companions.

The party planned an ambush which was let down by the braying of Fang, Ugh’s hyena. The orcs wrenched aside the curtain, took in the situation and flipped the table grabbing their spears and shields and formed a defensive formation. “Come get us cowards!” screamed Urgosh the largest of the orcs and their nominal leader.

Heated words were exchanged between Ugh and Urgosh till the full blooded orc could stand no more. The creature strode out from behind the shield wall of it’s companions ready to duel the half blood till both combatants were stunned into inaction. “STOP THIS MADNESS!” shouted Milgos the dark elf stepping out from the cover from which he had been watching. The dark elf turned to the orc. “Do you know whom I represent? You know my people, you know our ways. You do not want to anger me.” The orc gulped and looked about nervously. “Do not waste blood duelling my slave.” Milgos gestured to Ugh. “We have bigger enemies to defeat. Follow me and bring you men. We hunt a pair of manticores. You shall share in the spoils.” The orc needed little convincing, seemingly cowed by Milgos’ impressive act. Urgosh gathered his orcs and the whole band set off.

Returning to the swampland above the group the group found the entrance to the troglodyte caverns. From there they rushed the manticores who were caught unawares, lounging as they were after a big meal near their underground lake. The orcs took advantage of their spears reach skewering the brutes while Milgos battered the creatures with magic missiles and Ugh weighed in with his blade. The brutes managed a few inept volleys of tail spikes, that felled a pair of orcs, before being decapitated by a rampaging Ugh. The orcs were given a number of golden cups from the treasure pile. They celebrated by filling them from the manticores underground lake. Miraculously their wounds healed. The orcs believed they had magic cups. Milgos, aided by the magic of his staff of the apprentice, new the truth; the pool was enchanted with healing magic.

Milgos harnessed his orcish allies high spirits by turning them towards clearing out some nearby mounted troglodyte guards. Again the companions revisited a chamber they had explored before. They planned a pincer like strike on the troglodytes but lost the initiative. Their reptilian foe let out a loud screech as they goaded their huge iguana mounts towards the band. The terrifying noise saw Fang and the orcs flee in terror. Fang couldn’t escape however as Ugh held the hyena’s chain tightly in his shield hand. Milgos muttered an arcane chant and the troglodytes fell asleep in their saddles. During the melee Ugh was wrapped up by one of the lizards tongues from which he struggled to escape. Jana, fearing for the half orcs life, leapt into the conflict with her mace but was promptly snatched up by another giant lizard who threatened to tear her asunder. Betty and Beautrice carried the day as they put the lizards to the sword. Upon surveying the scene Milgos was left cursing. He had lost his orc allies and these blasted troglodytes didn’t even have the courtesy to carry their treasure with them.

The battle resolved the group retreated in good order. Back in town they planned their next move.

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Hurling hyenas
"Get the mage Fang. Good boy." - Ugh

Milgos let out a long sigh and slumped at the inn’s table. He had been interviewing potential hirelings all day and none were suitable. Too old, too fat and even those that had seemed fit enough to hold a torch where too ugly. He was lucky to have hired on the feisty warrior women Betty and Beatrice when he did. While the dark elf had been interviewing Ugh had been drinking. He was living the life now, drinking Bugman’s finest from the top shelf. Beneath his table his ‘dog’ Fang crunched through chicken carcass after chicken carcass. Fang’s gluttony could be excused as the beast needed the energy for the coming delve. ‘It’s time to go’ Milgos said as he stood. “It’s just you, your hound and the girls. Let us hope that will be enough for the trials ahead.”

Hurrying through the cleared upper caverns the band once more found themselves descending a flight of stairs. At their base a familiar statue issued it’s customary challenge to which the group responded with their names and titles. Nothing adverse happened so they pressed on till they came to a door. Both placed an ear against it and yet heard nothing. Fang however let out a low growl. Ugh grabbed the handle and heaved the door open.

Beyond was a wizard’s laboratory. Along the walls was an assortment of bones. Long benches covered in candles and apparatus of a magical nature cluttered the place. A man in long crimson robes stood at a lectern intently studying a tome. Close to the door the group had flung open reclined a warrior in mail with a sword on his lap. Milgo’s dropped a globe of darkness on the surprised robbed figure while Ugh and the hired help savaged the seated warrior. The unfortunate fighter swiftly fell to their assault. Cursing the darkness the wizard called upon his minions to strike and lo and behold the bones along the walls assembled themselves into skeleton warriors. During the conflict Ugh hurled Fang into the globe of darkness hoping his dog would attack the mage. In fact he gave strict instructions to the hyena to do this but was ignored as the hyena could not understand common. Instead it preferred to crush the skulls of the undead between it’s slavering jaws. Eventually the mage was put down while trying to flee and there was much rejoicing at the loot won. Milgos used his staff of the apprentice to identify several valuable magical items.

It was during the looting that the party decided to split up. After some pranks involving a wizard locked door’ Milgos got bored and decided to see what lay beyond a door to the south. It was skeletons wielding spears and an excellent opportunity for the dark elf to test out his newly acquired wand. At one stage the skeletons forced the door that Betty and Beatrice were holding, barging into the room and almost slaying the two ladies. Luck was with Milgos however as his wand blasted several to pieces. Ugh made a timely return from his own exploration to finish off the few remaining skeletons. Janna called on her diety to heal the wounds of the girls before the group pressed on.

Heading further south the heroes heard high-pitched yelping and squeeking. Around a corner they saw a group of kobolds trapped on a table as a swarm of giant rats leaped up trying to bite them. The kobolds pleaded for help and the hero’s obliged. The rat’s teeth were sharp and their numbers substantial. Ugh and Fang weathered the furry storm emerging victorious despite suffering from several nasty bites.

The kobolds rewarded their rescuers with a tale of treasure in a secret chamber to the north but warned that orcs also laired that way as well as an ooze. The treasure would have to wait as the band was exhausted and running low on resources. They retreated in good order back to the surface.

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Tunnels, manticores and survival
"Move your rump out of my way!" - Milgos

The spider muttered something about the group not being worthy of the master’s attention before Ugh grew sick of the beast and threatened to pee on it. The spider scurried away leaving the half orc to catch up with Jana and her companion in private. Her till now unconscious companion was a dark elf who was actually a nice enough person with a penchant for magic. He tended towards arrogance but had forsworn his dark brethrens edgy lifestyle. While Milgos sorted himself out Ugh set about finding a way out of the cell in which they found themselves. Using a thigh bone as a chisel and skull as a hammer he set about the walls only to find them particularly weak at a certain point. He persisted with his hammering to reveal a narrow walk space. Janna, being a small hobbit, was sent to scout it out. To the north she found a huge sinkhole and to the south a chamber guarded by mounted trogs. While Jana was gone the spider returned but was again put to flight at the sight of ugh adjusting the drawstring on his trousers and threatening to douse the creature with a substance other than oil.

The party decided to crawl south along a very cramped escape tunnel. Jana lead the way and was challenged at one point by the owner of the tunnel. She described the creature as a humanoid mole like creature. Milgos insisted on trying to see the critter but the half-orc block his vision. The Dark elf cursed and desperately squeezed but to no avail, he suspected it was a deep gnome but was unable to confirm this. The creature asked if they were friends of the lizard folk. Ugh said no but the dark elf said yes. The critter wished them luck and left them to continue grazing their arms and legs as they wormed their way along the narrow passage.

Bah quick summary to continue and be fleshed out later.

Trogs distracted dark elf’s sound spell of footsteps. Party sneak past.

Mantiore

Party encounter two manticores. Won’t give up Halfling as food. Darkness spell. Manticores cursing. Party running.

Head back along tunnel to hear spider cursing their escape.

Find stairs down. Looking for way out not way deeper. Continue.

Find strange metal curtain. Leave alone.

Find metal statue and rusting devices. Shimmy down crevasse to check things out when attacked by statue. Ugh badly hurt. Flee.

Hear ogre and flee. Hide in mushroom forest. Ogre seems friendly but wants loot. Party have no treasure so ogre disappointed. Brother of other ogre Ugh bought the dog for. Hole in roof of mushroom chamber. Ogre gives silk to sell in town and gear up, his investment in their expedition to kill the manticores and take their treasure. Ogre gives boost and party escapes.

Trog map2

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Dragons, assassins and thieves
‘I’ll wait then assassinate them some more.’ – Thorc on his ill-fated mission

Thorc and Ugh returned to the entrance they had located in the Brackenfells swamplands. Thorc scouted his way down all but invisible to the naked eye wearing the shadows like a cloak. At the entrance chamber he noted the two guardian lizards this time supported by three hideous reptilian trogs. The Trogs seemed engrossed in some form of game involving bones and so the dwarf edged closer to one of the monstrous giant lizards. Picking his moment the assassin slit the beasts throat releasing a stream of acidic ichor. The sizzle and smell alerted the trogs whose deafening screech echoed throughout the warrens. Thorc fled back up the stairs with the brutes breathing down his neck. At the top of the stairs Ugh and his hound fang waited in ambush. The fight was short and brutal with the trogs displaying insane courage or stupidity as they battled to the death.

With combat over Thorc again crept down the stairs hoping to catch the remaining guard lizard unawares. He was surprised to note a number of hooded trogs wielding wicked jagged blades taking in the scene and setting up a watch. They had emerged from a nearby sink hole and moved in such a way as to remind the dwarf of assassins. Thorc watched them for a moment before he heard the armoured clanking of his half orc companion. Ugh had become bored of waiting for the dwarf. The trogs looked to be setting an ambush for his companion and so Thorc sprung his own throwing a dagger at the nearest trog and spoiling the creatures assassination attempt. During the battle a trog fled east, Ugh considered following him but instead chose to finish the trog assassins closer to hand.

Another brutal and short combat saw the pair victorious. Fearing reinforcements from the sinkhole from which the trog assassins had emerged Ugh sealed the sinkhole with a flick of his door producing wand creating a trapdoor. The pair began piling bodies onto the trapdoor when they were interrupted by a deep booming voice.

Dragon 1

“Well what have we here?” the pair turned to see a reptilian beast with scales of a deep ocean blue. It’s long sinuous neck and wings reminded the pair of the tales of dragons. “Why if it isn’t the thieves back for more. I see you are carrying my helmet and shield. Return all you stole and I shall consider letting you live.” Thorc began backing away. “Don’t think I cannot see you dwarf! Stay where you are and return that helm and I might let you live. I shall not ask you again and I give you 5 seconds to ponder your decision.” Ugh made a non committal grunt and Thorc began to run. The Water Dragon exhaled and a great cloud of acid filled the chamber. Thorc and Fang flesh melted from their bones and they died howling. The world about Ugh went dark.

Ugh opened his eyes. If this was the after life why was a hobbit woman staring down at him. Where was the fighting and valkyries of Valhalla he had been promised? “Thank goodness you are alive.” The hobbit said. “We were captured by the trogs and I fear will be sacrificed soon. You were badly injured but Yollanda, my god healed you. My name is Jana.”
“Silence!” hissed a shadowed figure. It scurried forward and Ugh could se his jailor was a giant arachnid gifted bizarrely with speech.

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