Dragon Age: Rise of the Runelords

Humans are the worst (Garrett)

I’m not sure if it’s their short lifespans, their proclivity to reproduce like rodentia, or the shameful lack of virility associated with poor hair growth, but humans are, by far, the worst.

A dwarfy and sensible mind would simply display gratitude for being allowed to continue to exist, time and time again. Certainly, one would not expect continuous and impetuous requests to solve their problems, preserve their societies, and keep them safe. And to hold their social status and revel in wasteful, gaudy parties and clothes on top of it all!

Although, I don’t remember too much of the party – I think my drink may not have been up to dwarfy standards. I think there was an issue with some ruffians, not surprising from those human louts.

Whatever it was, we had to chase more humans all though the town, over rooftops and through the slums. Imagine our surprise when the end of our chase led to the same she-snake that plagued us naught but a year ago. You’d think a city of thousands of humans could deal with this one problem. You’d be wrong. She managed to give us the slip as well, but I think she’ll be licking her wounds much longer than we will.

In any case, I didn’t regret watching that cesspool of a city diminish in view as we headed north, back to Sandpoint. We still ended up running more errands for humans who can’t manage things for themselves there as well. Maybe it serves them right for building their town atop of some strange catacombs. In any case, we embark again to trudge through the dank and dark places of the world (a thing best left to good dwarfy hands) to save the humans yet again. They are the worst.

An ill wind (Bral / DM)

With the final death of the mummified black monk the abandoned valley took on an eerie silence. Setting out to our camp ground we found Whisky a hundred yards from our camps corralling some very emaciated horses. Our camp had been found by giants but not before Whisky relocated the pack animals. The journey back down to the storval steps and yet another abandoned city was slow and uneasy work. Garret could, and often did, swear that there was something high up in the mountains following us, but no one else could gain sight of it.
As we moved along the Ravenmoor and into the seldom used paths along the border of the Sanos Forest a fierce storm broke from the mountains and washed over us, dogging us for five days. When we reached a small fishing town they were afraid to brave the waters of Claybottom lake, but needed the coin badly enough to risk both the storm and the beast. The storm was relentless but we made it turtleback cold, soaked, and weary but alive. With news of problems at the fort, Bral headed off to sort out Rennick while the rest of the party continued on to Magnimar.
Our return to the city was more gracious than our departure; word had traveled of our deeds and we were hailed as heroes, the Grew Wardens were restored and commissioned as honorary offices of the city, entitled to go where we please. What’s more the chapter house had recruits again and the Lord Mayor was anxious to see and be seen with us.

MokMurian falls (Bral / DM)
a change is comming

With Mokmurian and his lamias slain the party stops for a moment to catch their breath, a hard fight to be sure but it is done; only a city of giants surrounded by an encamped army of giants, ogres, and ettins to go.

As the heroes look around and take stock of their situation a pair of devastating howls echo throughout the chamber, reverberating through the very stone in their furry. Apparently Mokmurian’s death did not go unmarked.

Trapped in Mokmurian’s personal workshop, the heroes ready themselves for the next assault. When the doors slowly creak open a tense party is visibly relived that it is a lone female stone giant. Conna approaches the party, the head of a giant they killed before meeting her held in her hand.

“It is done. You have slain Mokmurian and his general, Galenmir, cutting off both the head and the heart of this beast, and lain my beloved Vandarrec to rest at the same time.” Another angry roar emanates more faintly from the ajar doors. “Already those bound against their will flee”.

With that she draws a giant sized kukri and begins the gruesome task of removing Mokmurian’s head.

“With these I will prove that this abhorrent army is at an end and the tribes will disperse from this accursed place. I doubt that any will risk the ancient lord’s wraith by venturing into Jorgonfist or tarrying long in this vale, but be on your guard yet, the Jotunblood still lives and he may yet roam these halls.”

With that she turns to leave “although I thank you, I hope that we do not meet again. Your kinsmen have been freed and await you in the chamber beyond. I must go now and led my people back to our lands and off the path of madness Mokmurian has laid before us.”

A few moments after she leaves a grimy dwarf with no beard pokes his head through the door. Terrified and beaten into submission these eight dwarves look to be on the verge of collapse but are too bewildered to fall down.

A friend in low places (Beldal)

Following the slaying of the particularly noble kobold Ingbeh, we encountered a giant guardsman in a large cave of tapestries. In a nearby cave we found the bottom of the sacrificial pit of the giants. wherein lay the remains of many sacrifices to the fel god Lamashtu. Giants and dragons were among the rotting corpses.

Beyond this place of death we found the kitchen and its guardians. Dispatching these giants, we came across Kana, The Elder. She is among the few giants NOT under the evil influence of Mokmurian. Many thanks to Garrett for suppressing his hatred and allowing us to interact with the she-giant. She filled in several points of exposition (including the current whereabouts of Mokmurian and the arrangements of further guards in the area) as well as entreated us to not slay more giants. She mentioned that Mokmurian may be hearing the whisperings of Karzoug, a former enslaver of the giant peoples. We agreed to do what we could.

Following her directions, we stealthily avoided the smithy where many of our Dwarven brethren are enslaved by ogres and giants. These Dwarves we will free, as Bral suggested, by tossing Mokmurian’s head into the lot of them and slaying any foolish enough to stand against us. But onwards!

Having successfully avoided the ogres and giants in the smithy, we were ambushed by a set of foul trolls as we approached the lair of Mokmurian. Dispatching the disgusting beasts, we enter the library, to befoul Mokmurian with the Dwarven war sword (knife) and crossbow (revolver). (sorry, didn’t have clever Clue based references for an axe or searing ray)

Up and in? That’s what she said! (Bral)

The wyvern’s cave did not lead to the city of giants as hoped. Garret and Iyano scouted out another cave further up the rock and after a harrowing climb the rest of the part managed to 200 foot ascent. Some might say that Samdar and Beldal cheated but we were only being judges on results so that was not a concern.

Once the cave was reached it was found to be more claustrophobic than the lower cave, filled with dark corners, a veritable cornucopia of insects and webs; floor to ceiling, back to front , the remnants of webs old and new were apparent. It was not long until we came to the source of the webs. A trio of ginormous spiders that had long since shuffled off this mortal coil but some evil powered their bodes yet, confronted us. Expecting a fight we made short work of them with spell and steel.

Deeper into the cave we traversed only to find more guardians, even if not as impressive. A gaggle of foul mouthed imps assailed us, and although we fought them to a stalemate they ran when it became clear we would be the eventual victor. Yet another diminutive guardian in the form of a Kobold champion who gave her life rather than let us pass. What kind of man is Mokmurian to inspire such loyalty in even the lowliest and most cowardly of creatures?

Mokmurian Speaks (Zia)
time is running out

A weary party sat in the cave of the night wyverns, cleaning their weapons and bandaging wounds. If the camps around the fortress above were any indication, they were hopelessly outnumbered. With the odds so against them, there seemed to be little reason to stay, to find and defeat this Mokmurian. After all, what had he done besides send some scouting parties into Varisia?

Worn, quiet, and contemplating abandoning the quest, the adventurers watched as the early morning sun rose, hitting the fire opal in its place of honor near the mouth of the cave. The shifting bands of light that resulted would have been entrancing if not for the ominous rumbling that accompanied them.

A voice that might have come from the very stones themselves thundered through the air:
“Giants and allies of Jorgenfist, the time is nearly upon us! In two days’ time, after our final sacrifice of three humans, our preparations will be nearly complete! I will march my army east to destroy the dwarves in the Mindspin Mountains, west to roust the elves from the forests of Mierani, and south to corner the humans in their den of Magnimar; we will reclaim our lands and the lost treasures of Thassilon! All shall fall beneath the horde of the great Mokmurian! With the mark of the sihedron, you have cast off the oppressive ways of the Elders and pledged your lives and loyalty to me and to our cause.

“There are none who can oppose us. A band of pathetic dwarves has been spotted around Jorgenfist. This same band thinks that because they were able to defeat Longtooth and Teraktinus they will be able to stop us, yet they turned tail and ran when confronted with a single taiga giant! If this is the best it has to offer, Varisia shall be ours!”

As the voice faded away, a huge cheer arose from the throats of hundreds of stone giants, and the cave floor beneath the party seemed to tremble with the strength of it.

The great Stair (Bral)

The journey was long but urgency pushed us and we made good time. We came across signs of giant activity on the plains and even a few of their lesser kin but it seems the river towns had not suffered as Sandpoint did. Perhaps the entire attack was merely a pretext to get the Scaranti stones?

We took a river barge north and found the river to be ominously silent but peaceful. The northern folk having been long weary of living in the shadows of the giants. The town of Ravenmore was our last stop before turning our backs on the lands of men and approaching the Storval Stairs.

We reached the stair two days later and were shocked to see the ruins of a city carved into the hill side. The city, long abandoned, was still impressive in scale, statues soaring hundreds of feet into the air and a buildings carved into the side of the mountain. Hard to believe that mere humans could achieve such feats. The stairs themselves were no less impressive – clearly a major highway to whatever lay over the mountains; we have seen nothing to compare to it outside of Magnimar and the great stretches of the Irespan – perhaps in ages past the two were connected. We decided to ere on the side of caution and observe the dead city for a day before proceeding into the land of giants, and a good thing too. Garret and Iyano spotted patrols of stone giants and a look out stationed high above the ruined city.

In the darkness, under the cover of Beldal’s magical silence we crept onward and upward, past the lookout and between patrols, we made it to the top of the great stair. What fate holds for us now is up to the gods…..

The Prisoner

The giant startled awake, gasping in pain and surrounded by infernal dwarves. They asked questions, so many questions, but he would not betray his people. “He will certainly kill you all, run rough over your tiny homes with the army he has called. The fortunate few will become his slaves. You beat us today, but you won’t beat us when there are a hundred or a thousand of the true people marching together. Lord Mokmurian will make it happen."

His eyes were drawn to a dwarf that was less harsh than the rest. THIS was the type of dwarf one could talk to, would want to talk to. Suddenly, he couldn’t imagine why he wasn’t telling this dwarf, his friend, anything he wanted to know.

“Why were you in Sandpoint?”

““Teraktinus—he was the leader of our scouting party. He convinced us that you’d be easy pickings and we’d all get rich. He obviously underestimated you, and he paid for his mistake. He mentioned having a special mission from Lord Mokmurian to gather a stone from some ruins, but didn’t tell me why. Didn’t tell any of us. My people’s elders have ways of prying secrets from the stones—perhaps that stone knew something that Lord Mokmurian needed to learn?”

“Tell me about Mokmurian.”

“I have only heard him speak from afar, and have only heard from others of the power of his magic. He is the rarest of us all, a child of the stones who has mastered the magic of the Ancient Lords. They say he can turn the living into immobile stone and can turn his own flesh into granite armor. I’ve even heard he can cause the very stones of the world to reject
those who stand upon them and cast them into the sky. And I’m sure he can do much more than that.”

“Where is he based?”

“Mokmurian has claimed a place taboo to my people: the Valley of the Black Tower in the Iron Peaks. He calls his fortress Jorgenfist, after the name of the fortress that guards the entrance to the afterlife. Our elders found the name blasphemous, but Mokmurian is powerful enough not to fear blasphemy. Jorgenfist lies within the Valley of the Black Tower in the center of the Iron Peaks. It overlooks the waters of the Muschkal River, but can also be approached by heading due east from the Storval Stairs.”

“Are there many dragons like the one we slew in Sandpoint?”

“No more dragons, no, but he has at least seven tribes of my brothers under his command, with each tribe numbering in the dozens. The number of lesser kin he’s conscripted—ogres, hill giants, ettins, trolls—is not insignificant either. He also enjoys the support of several lamias—degenerate followers of the Mother of Monsters, those! I am not sure when he is going to attack, but he sent several scouting parties, of which my band was but one, into the lowlands to gather intelligence. He does this to prepare for his coming attack. His fury will come soon. Perhaps even by month’s end.”

After answering questions, the giant’s new friend opted to let him go. He happily turned and limped north, returning to his tribe. His happiness was short-lived as he felt a sharp pain and then knew no more.

A town saved? (Samdar)

Samdar stared at the blood on his hands.

It was a strange color, more of an orange then a true red.

He knelt at the pew, his thoughts in a turmoil. He knew he should feel exultant at at their recent victories. A town saved, giants defeated and a dragon slain, would be cause for warrior to feel proud. But that did not bring back the slain townfolk, or heal the wounds from the wicked creatures had caused, and the ease in which they chased down and dispatched the giants who raided some nobleman’s manner was testament to their martial might and the prenatural tracking skills of his boon companions… and yet.

Samdar stared at the blood on his hands.

His thoughts would not dwell on their victories, and instead kept flashing back to the confrontation with his fellow dwarves. How he had to interpose himself between them and their helpless foe. How he tried to explain the injustice of slaying one rendered helpless. His thoughts flashed back to the flash of pain as Garret’s bolt peirced his chest.

At their incredulity to his willingness to face death to stay true to his principles and holy vows and their transparent attempts to distract him from his duty.

How in the heat of that moment, the helpless creature quietly died behind him.

Samdar stared at the blood on his hands… And quietly wept in the empty church.

Blurrry morning and a double dose of giant (Beldal)
Bears? Who brings bears to a x-bow fight?

Following a long night of proper worship of the Brewmaster, Garret spied foul giants attacking the city. After raising the alarm, we went forth to repel the invaders! Dispatching the foul beasts not long after Bral arrived, good of him to finally join us it was, we hear the sounds of battle joined on the far side of the city. Luckily, Dwarves are natural sprinters and we managed to repel the second wave of giants on a bridge infested with giant bears AND stone giants. Garrett showed everyone how it was done by precise crossbow bolts to the face and eyes of the giants and their beasts. Having laid them low with axe, sword, and bolt, we turned our attention back to the city proper.

And therein, we found the dragon. gulp The real fight for Sandypoint is about to begin!


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