I'd like to start this new year off with something new: a campaign journal of my current 5E game, set in the Primeval Thule campaign setting. My character, Mangus Mangusson, is a dwarf exile from the Bearslayer's tribe, and I decided that he was exiled for being a little too interested in forbidden knowledge of magic and city life. (The Bearslayers are the only dwarf tribe in Thule, as they were swindled out of their clan castle by other dwarves and renounced civilization ever since.)
The following is the actual in-game journal my character has been keeping, starting from the first adventure.
I took a job with a few other mercenaries in Quodeth, City of Merchants (Thieves): Go to the jungle, find the lost janni civilization of Kal-Ne-Moz, because they had a mummy that cried gold. Well, we sank deep into the mire, but we did manage to slaughter our way through beast-men and skeletons to some of ancient cave temple of the janni. The place was crawling with cultists, but they were no match for a foot of iron through the gut. We managed to get a series of hidden scrolls with the forgotten knowledge of their civilization, and the mummy.
It was rather disappointing. A few grams of gold a month, perhaps, wept out through tears. You would get better yield from panning in a river. I could sense that it was powered by a foul source, that of a tormented soul bound to the preserved body.
We were hired to find the mummy, but the contract said nothing about getting it back.
Well, my acquaintances took part in a raid on a sorcerer's tower for an astrologer's guild, because they want a stone of some sort. One of them got killed for his troubles. Never liked him anyways. Blasphemous human. The survivors roped me into helping again, and I figured I might as well. They apparently were up to all manner of mischief while I was away; Kicked slavers out of the manor of some scholar, got a slave boat (I think they freed some slaves at one point), angered a gang, and who knows what else? Helped them clear out the sorcerer's tower to use as a base of operations, which they'd share with the gang as compensation for causing them casualties earlier.
Clearing up the tower meant going through it searching for dangerous experiments or creatures. We found some creatures made of slime, eyes, and mouths in a summoning chamber. Fortunately, it turns out that anything can be killed if you hit it hard enough. The servants are more than happy at the new direction the place is taken, as it does not involve dangerous experiments or sacrifices.
Entry # 155
It looks like Raegar the Skald (a solid fellow), Miridon Topps (halfling druid), Kotan Impalum (I make fun of his name as well), and I will be working together from now on. They appreciate my knowledge of war, survival, and lore. What's more, they are excellent cover for my personal mission, the study of city-state civilization.
So far, they do indeed suck as much as the stories fortold. But there is something more here; I think that, despite my exile, I am in a better position to help my tribe than I ever was as a member.
We are going on a boat to the sunken city of Anibburaal to poke forgotten things with a stick and hope treasure comes out. Fantastic.
Also, I had a thought upon reflecting on city life: because everything is owned by nobles, who are greedy and contemptible, people who live there must become property of someone else if they wish to live there, or else take up with the wilderness as our ancestors did. While we made the honorable choice, may our tribe become the same if we allow the few to own all the land, reducing the many to the status of supplicants, beggars, or outcasts?
Well, we're here. No one died along the way, so that's good. The crew remained behind, and we are going to climb up into a tower to make our way down.
The tower is a maze with lots of controls for adjusting the water level in the tower itself. Apparently, the lower levels can be flooded to secure them against intruders. Thin spindly humanoids lurked in the cracks of the walls and tried to choke us, but we drove them off with a few fierce blows. Statues of Cthulhu abounded. I got swallowed by an eel, as did Raegar. It was a tense moment, but then I realized that the situation was to my advantage, for though I was constricted and bathed in acid, my foe had nowhere else to run. Thus, I stabbed it through the roof of the mouth and burst out like a bear caught in rotten netting. Raegar got out too, but in a much less dramatic fashion.
I made it a point to eat eel while we rested after that fight.
We found a hole to the lower stories and I lowered a rope into them. Lots of statues of tentacled monsters, and statues they made of mortal races. It's not bad as far as stonework goes, though they were unable to carve well. I suspect the tentacles made chiseling difficult. They may have worn away at the rock with digestive juices or something. Either way, not very flattering. They also erred greatly in their depiction of the size and shape of the genitalia for various races when carving these statues.
The chamber of statues led into a Atlantean tomb to an ancient general. We opened the sarcophagus and saw that it was the entrance to a frigid room below, filled with pillars caved with the likeness of Cthulhu. We went in and found a foul, rotting, ancient betentacled horror in a suit of armor made of sea metal. We defeated it after a hard fight, and split the armor among ourselves. I took the helm for myself, as I had no need of armor. It frames my beard nicely.
Sevros III, the scholar with the manor from earlier, says that Kang will overwhelm the Lands of the Long Shadow. I was particularly interested in this, for it played upon my greatest fear: That in the end, the wilderness will claim our tribe. He says that there is an artifact, the Eternal Flame, which might ward off the cold. It is dangerous, but still a better idea than the one which involves digging up all of Thule's coal and using it to boil water in a large moving tea kettle.
He pointed us in the direction of Rime, but didn't give us much to go on beyond that. It came off as a fool's errand to me, but it gave me a chance to go closer to home, so I took it.
A Sahuagin and her pet Chuul tried to kill us. I don't know what they were thinking, we're a pretty big boat. Miridon, two crewmen, and myself were above deck at the time, so we killed them. The Chuul got one of the crew, though.
This trip better be worth it.
So, Miridon and I set out of Rime towards Kang, to do a bit of scouting for the rest of the group. The glacier was kind enough to welcome us with a small army of zombies. Taking full advantage of my spry limbs, martial training, and tactical genius, I initiated a tactical withdrawal across a frozen river. I threw myself on my shield, in imitation of an ancient elvish battle tactic.
Thus, we forced the zombies to contend with the ice as they shuffled towards us, enabling us to cut them down with ease. A frostveil blew towards us, but our sudden movement meant it had to contend with the wind. All was going according to plan when a zombie with glowing runes came out from some bushes and spoke to me in an infernal tongue. Miridon tells me that it was the spirit of Kang itself mocking us for being hapless fools that would only add to Kang's collection of poor unfortunate souls, but Kang for all its malevolent intelligence failed to realize that I was not hapless!
I swiftly assessed the situation and decided that my best option was to continue hitting my enemies with my sword, but but with more effort. Thus, I tore through the remaining zombies and started smacking the avatar of Kang while Miridon blasted it with ice. Miridon is a nice kid, but I don't know what he was thinking when he started using ice magic in a glacier. (He wizened up immediately after this battle and began using fire, so there is hope for him yet.)
The frostveil tried to save the avatar of Kang by enveloping me and spraying me with hallucinogens, but it failed to realize that I eat fungus for breakfast! I saw through the psychedelic haze of its spores and smashed through the avatar, then tore it to shreds. As I stood there in the snow, with my own hot blood running down my skin and the bodies of my enemies around me in various states of dismemberment, I saw in amazement that pale blue energy would shoot out of these animated corpses and streak off into the sky, headed deep into the heart of Kang.
Naturally, I performed m the traditional Bearslayer's farewell ritual for fleeing enemies, with both middle fingers extended and generous pelvic thrusting. (However, I judged the climate inappropriate for the ceremonial mooning.)
We sought shelter in a cave, only to be greeted by another avatar after a short rest. I readied my sword, but the avatar motioned for me to stay my hand, and spoke to Miridon. He later relayed to me that it asked what our intentions were, and raged at our plan to halt the growth of the glaciers. However, Miridon managed to convince it to give us the location of the Eternal Flame, as a host's hospitality to his guests.
For the record, I was immediately suspicious of this. That being said, we had little to go on, so we decided to chance it.
I am so sick of eating Miridon's goodberries as we trek to Gyar Gun Vodd. It isn't anywhere close to Rime: What was Sevros thinking in sending us there?
We found buried entrance to Gyar Gun Vodd, lost city of giants. Abandoned before Kang swallowed it up. There was an iron gate barring entrance, but fortunately I always paid attention to leg day and was able to open it quickly to reveal an ancient servant's quarters for human sized creatures. I was careful to rig a quick-release mechanism for the gate in case we were forced to make a tactical withdrawal, and slowly explored the inside.
Surprisingly, we found an altar to an Herum, the ape god of beastmen, with lit braziers. There was one boar beastman there when we arrived: he holed himself up in a room to the left, but charged out to meet us. We returned the greeting in kind and turned him into pork chops. After his death, his corpse changed shape to that of an elderly man, which is not what normally happens to beastmen, at least not from my previous encounters with them.
As best we could tell, the servants worshiped Herum, who changed them into beasts. Then they drove out their masters, but were in no condition to make use of their new forms, and lived as animals ever since. There must be others out there, deeper in these ruins.
I erected a number of barricades and tripwires so that we could safely rest after that, as the beastman inflicted a sizeable number of injuries on me. The sound of thumping was heard from above, which made me fear of more beastmen or worse things, but nothing came of it.
We then carefully explored the three chambers beyond the servant's quarters. The chamber on the right held a room of furniture on fire. I quickly shut this door and to the leftmost chamber. This contained a fierce gorilla chained to a statue of Herum. I did not know what to make of this, so I shut the door and moved onto the middle chamber, which contained a small hallway with two rooms: one of intense cold, and another with a fiery skull floating about, This was the source of the fire I saw earlier.
I decided to employ my tactical genius again, and had Miridon stand in front of the cold room while I went to taunt the fiery skull into chasing me. Using the most vigorous of pelvic thrusts, I provoked it into shooting me with jets of flame and flew towards me. I promptly withdrew around a corner so that Miridon could taunt it in turn as it passed by the cold room.
The skull took the bait and charged him, whereupon he changed into a winter hare and the skull overshot into the cold room. It shrieked in rage at the deception, and conjured up a ball of fire to engulf Miridon. I quickly shut the door in its non-existent face, and we ran out to let the cold magic sap the skull's energy. This worked marvelously, up until the point where the skull blasted the door off its hinges and straight across the hallway, racing out in its wake.
At this point, I became fed up with it and stepped up to the skull with my greatsword in hand. I gave it two mighty blows which connected with something inside of the skull, and the flames disappeared, leaving behind a glowing red ruby. This, we surmised, was the Eternal Flame.
This battle had left me much worse for the wear, so we rested again. More noises were heard from above, so I immediately fortified our position by barricading the gate with everything that was not nailed down and on fire. As I write this, we are tending to our wounds, feeding the gorilla, and awaiting the inevitable battle with whatever is above us.
If I survive this, I shall make a point of telling Sevros exactly what I think of his research. (I suppose I would also like to know what a gorilla is doing here so far from its natural habitat and appropriate food sources, but that's a rather trivial concern at this point.)
It appears that my suspicions about Kang's intentions were justified. There is an army of the walking dead beyond the iron gate, lead by another avatar of Kang. Kang is surprised that we made it this far, and now wants us to give the Eternal Flame to him, in exchange for sparing us when eternal winter comes over all of Thule. Miridon shot him in the face with a bolt of fire, augmented by the Eternal Flame. This did not improve our bargaining position, but I felt that it was a pithy and accurate summary of our stance.
We now wait for our friends to come to our aid. In the meantime, MIridon is exchanging pot shots with the avatar, the barricade holds, and I am writing for lack of anything to do since I forgot to bring a ranged weapon with me.
The gorilla is watching this battle tensely. I do not trust it; it may be more than just a gorilla. Perhaps it is paranoia, but that would not surprise me, especially not in this sort of place. I am resolved to keep an eye on it.