Nehwon

High Priest of the Ape Cult

Day of the Hare (1st) Black Witches’ Moon, Year of the Titan

The secret room

Exploring the temple in search of the High Priest, the adventurers discovered his secret inner sanctum and a trapped chest filled with temple silver. But no Sog-Sodhi.

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A Conflagration of Adepts

While inside the priests room they heard shouts and noises. Following their ears they returned to the dining room where the Adepts of the Yellow Mountain had almost killed Ockasiola. More adepts were there, but Yucta dealt with them with Fire Powder. Flaming priests fell hither and yon.

Sog-Sodhi

The adventurers returned to the main temple. Ockasiola and the others pulled the huge jade statue of the Ape God to the ground with a crash. Behind was a secret door, a corridor and another secret room — with Sog-Sodhi and his enormous bodyguards, turbaned and armed with double-handed scimitars! Sog-Sodhi cast a wracking spell on Ockasiola, who was first through the door. But the adventurers were undeterred; they charged the high priest and his brutes and overwhelmed them after a sharp battle. The ape-cult had been defeated.

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Adepts of the Ape Cult

Day of the Hare (1st), Black Witches’ Moon, Year of the Titan

The Temple Steps

After dealing with the guards outside, they swaggered up the temple steps and flung open the doors. Greenish fumes wafted out from huge braziers within, where could be seen the indistinct forms of robed priests. Ockasiola loosed a few arrows and the figures scattered. Yucta sniffed the air and recognised the narcotic smell of a potent hallucinogen. He nevertheless charged inside. Immediately he felt light-headed and strange. Odd shadows loomed up at him in the murk. Kee-Ree helped him back to the fresh air.

Let’s split up!

Ockasiola set off at a jog around the south side of the temple. After making sure Yucta was conscious, Blundar followed him. Aranduil and Dorf headed back to the guardroom on the north side. When Yucta recovered from the poison only Kee-Ree was visible; they ran after Dorf and Aranduil.

North: wild baboons

Entering the northern rear guardroom, Aranduil heard a ruckus through one of the archways. He and Dorf piled up furniture against the door to prevent enemy entrance. They located a concealed door nearby and were immediately attacked by a mob of crazed apes in the corridor beyond! An ape bit Dorf in the groin and he fell back.

South: Adepts of the Yellow Mountain

Ockasiola strode into the temple dining room. The far door opened and eight yellow-robed Adepts of the Yellow Mountain entered. They immediately charged the Zebran warrior, who jumped up on the long dining table. Despite his broadsword, the adepts soon surrounded and grappled Ockasiola. They were disturbingly strong. One broke his finger and started to strangle him. He was close to death when Blundar arrived in the doorway with his arquebus ready. One adept fell writhing, but the others mobbed Blundar just as they had Ockasiola.

Reinforcements

At last Yucta and Kee-Ree arrived at the guardrooms. Kee-Ree danced north to help Aranduil, slicing the rabid apes left and right. Yucta charged to help Blundar and Ockasiola. He almost suffered the same fate as them; several surrounded him and grabbed him with their Fists of the Ape. But Yucta was almost as strong as them, and he broke free of their grasp. He sent some to their doom with his mace, and then Blundar escaped and rejoined the fight. They were wounded and shaken but victorious.

The baboons and the Adepts of the Yellow Mountain lay dead. But there was the sound of more of them to the north, behind the blocked door. And where was the High Priest, Sog-Sodhi?

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Guardians of the Ape Cult

Day of the Hare (1st), Black Witches’ Moon, Year of the Titan

Prisoners of the Ape Cult

One of the prisoners of the Ape Cult was braver than the others. He was a sailor named Dorf who had been shanghaied by the cultists. Ockasiola welcomed him to the fight against the Ape Cult, and urged the other prisoners to pay their respects to Storm Bull.

Aranduil led the other prisoners through the sewers to the entrance, where he released them.

A merciful kindness

The savage ape of the cultists had been driven mad by cruelty. Aranduil used his powers to put it to sleep, and then he ended its sad life.

After some further investigation they found Dorf’s confiscated gear. A cultist came down the stairs to investigate, but Blundar shot and killed him. The group climbed the stairs.

Guards of the Upper Level

Late afternoon sunshine streamed through high windows. They found themselves near twin guard rooms, where off-duty guards gambled. The adventurers attacked them, causing them to flee outside. Ockasiola pursued them into a walled compound around the hidden temple. More guards from the gate ran to intercept — this time armed and armoured. Ockasiola fought them, and his friends caught up to help. Aranduil meanwhile (somewhat disgusted by the violence), circled above in eagle form, observing the melee below.

The guards were no match for the adventurers, though Dorf took a nasty wound in the side. Blundar and Dorf stabbed several through the heart, and Kee-Ree and Ockasiola’s arrows finished off the ones at the gate. One guard surrendered but Ockasiola killed him in anger when he admitted to worshipping the Ape God.

A silence descended on the bloody courtyard and the adventurers mounted the wide steps of the Temple of the Ape God.

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Against the Ape Cult

Day of the Hare (1st), Black Witches’ Moon, Year of the Titan

A mission for Storm Bull

Ockasiola convinced the other members of his party to fight the ape cultists. They made their way to the temple of Storm Bull, and from there to the sewer entrance, guided by a young initiate (formerly a street urchin) called Kregen

The ape cult temple – lower level

Blundar spotted a secret entrance just near the main one, and Aranduil showed a surprising ability to pick the lock. Kee-Ree crept down the quiet corridor, lit by smokeless torches dipped in a glowing green substance.

Poisoned doors

Kee-ree entered a chamber with four doors. His armour saved him from death as two poisoned darts shot out at him.

The ape lair

Through one of the doors a giant ape roared behind bars. Though he could speak with animals, Aranduil could see that this one would not be reasoned with.

The chambers of the Strangler

They continued to explore and found bedchambers, a laboratory, and stairs upwards. Yucta picked up some Fire Dust. Along one corridor were prison rooms, filled with ordinary Lankhmarts. ‘Help us,’ they implored. Ockasiola was determined to do so!

The Inner Sanctum

The Strangler and several of his white-robed cultists were performing a ceremony. They were fanatics and leaped to attack. Yucta flung his Fire Dust and several were consumed with flames. Aranduil swooped on the Strangler in eagle form. Kee-ree, Ockasiola, Blundar took care of the rest. Ockasiola toppled the ape-idol and released the prisoners with the Strangler’s keys.

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The Stars Are Right

Night of the Beaver (29th) and Day of the Crab (30th), Harvest Moon, Year of the Titan

Stars and Sky

Ockasiola followed Jengo’s man Reynold at midnight through the Park of Pleasure to the tower of an astrologer. Nesting in the park, Aranduil returned to human form after communing with the thirteen perfect eagles. Jengo told of his customer: a sorcerer called Ooorn the Red-Eyed, who had frightened away other bidders with his dark reputation. The meet would take place at the conjunction of Astorian and Ranstar.

Scrolls and Smoke

A trip to the Great Library was called for, to find out the significance of these stars (they enhance bargaining). On the way back through the Street of the Gods Aranduil and Ockasiola met the priest of Storm Bull, who urged them to sack the temple of the Ape God. Ockasiola agreed.

Sorcery and Sale

On the night of the conjunction, Yucta demanded to be present. Aranduil observed from the rooftops while Ockasiola, Blundar and Kee-Ree guarded the gate. Tall, gaunt Erei arrived in a cart pulled by black horses, and clutching what looks like a bloody bandage. Aranduil observed the scrap of cloth was ornamented with stylised eyes. When Erei departed Aranduil interrogated the frightened horses. In the warehouse with Jengo and Yucta, Erei donned the red blindfold of eyes. Ooorn saw through them and all felt his presence. Jengo and Ooorn sealed a bargain and Erei departed, exhausted, promising later payment.

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The Spider-God's temple

Night of the Beaver (29th), Harvest Moon, Year of the Titan

Evening at the warehouse

Kee Ree and Ockasiola did not want to wait at the warehouse. They ventured into the streets in search of Yucta and Blundar

Enfreel the beggar

Ockasiola helped Enfreel the beggar reach the Green Keg Inn. Enfreel told them he had seen Yucta in the old part of the docks.

Reunited at the old church

With some luck and Kee-Ree’s keen eyes and tracking skills, he and Ockasiola found the old church and scaled the wall, just in time to see Blundar and Yucta at the entrance.

Spider guardian

There were several lightless rooms in the church. In one, a paper-rustly giant un-dead spider attacked them. They defeated it and found a trapdoor, from which chanting could be heard.

The new-formed cult

Kee-Ree descendend the staircase and found a basement temple with six chanting cultists. He heard two of them say their names. Stealthily he advanced upon them — then struck with his whirling blades! Almost before Yucta and Blundar could join the fight, it was over.

Black Garrick’s reward

Back at the Noisy Nun, Black Garrick seemed surprised about the spider cult, but paid his agreed fist of gold to all four.

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Skull business

Day of the Beaver (29th), Harvest Moon, Year of the Titan

Jengo’s Famous Auction House

Yucta’s first reason for being in smoky Lankhmar was to find a buyer for the skull of the Icewyrm, which he and his companions had lugged all the way from the cold Northlands. Fortunately Blundar had heard of the Plaza of Dark Delights, where all goods are bought and sold. So they searched there and found Jengo’s Famous Auction House.

Jengo seemed to be legitimate. He directed Yucta, and Blundar to store their merchandise at his warehouse, which was located near the Grand Gate. Yucta decided to move their base from the tavern on Nun Street to a quiet inn called the Green Keg in the Plaza district, not far from the warehouse.

Blundar and Yucta travelled back to their inn via the Street of the Gods, where they dropped in on the priest of Storm Bull whom they had met earlier. He was excited. “Tell Ockasiola that there is a cult of Chaos — an ape god — to smite in this city!”. Yucta nodded and backed away slowly

A job for Black Garrick

When they arrived at their inn, they found a man in the bar waiting for them, surrounded by several scantily-clad slave girls. He offered them a drink and introduced himself as Black Garrick, a pious and upstanding member of the Thieves’ Guild, “the real power in this city”. He offered them a job to track down a couple of ‘rogue’ cutpurses, who he’d heard had surfaced at an abandoned shrine in the harbour district. In return he offered a handful of gold each, and the benignity of the Guild. And he needed the job done this night.

The abandoned shrine

Yucta and Blundar made their way to the shrine, surrounded by looming warehouses. The gate was chained and the building was surrounded by a high but crumbling wall, which they climbed easily. The shrine stood in an overgrown garden with a well. The grass had been trampled between the well and the church but otherwise grew wild. Blundar and Yucta entered the building through its ancient doors. Yucta’s glow globe cast light inside to reveal a huge mosaic of a spider inlaid in the floor. Several doors exited the chamber.

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Comforts of the South

Day of the Bat (25th), Harvest Moon, Year of the Titan

Kvarch Nar

The city of Kvarch Nar was a welcome sight after so many days in the wilderness. It was a graceful, tree-lined place.

Recalling Mylo the brandy merchant, they sought his house. They soon found it, a mansion on Wool Street, and gained admittance. Present were Mrs Mylo and another merchant named Jhonen, a friend and business partner of Mylo’s. They made the adventurers welcome, with warm beds and a delicious breakfast.

Jhonen told of the dangers of the eastern roads; that beastmen, bandits and even a sorcerer in a golden mask caused trouble for merchants heading that way.

Jhonen took it upon himself to escort them around town and help them with their errands. Yucta wanted to purchase a lead-lined box in which to conceal the sorcerer’s skull; and also to secure passage to Lankhmar. He felt sure that the City of Sevenscore Thousand Smokes would be an ideal market for the Icewyrm skull which they had so laboriously transported from frozen Olathoe.

Helena

In the market square, they chanced upon an argument between a man and a young woman, which had attracted a crowd of onlookers. The man had taken the woman’s arm and she was threatening to slap him. Yucta approached and the man stormed off. The young woman smiled. “I should reward my rescuers,” she said, and produced a gold crown for each, including the stunned Jhonen.

“Who are you?” asked Yucta as she walked away. “Look me up,” was her reply.

Silently, Jhonen turned over the coin to reveal the young woman’s profile. “Helena, daughter of Movarl, who is overlord of the Eight Cities”, he said.

From Lobster Wharf to the Inner Sea

Jhonen had organised (and paid for) passage to Lankhmar on the merchantman Pride of Sarheenmar, which was loaded with timber and ready to leave on the morning tide. Out of respect for Jhonen the captain delayed departure until the next day for the adventurers.

For three days the ship sailed across the Inner Sea, with the sailors singing:

I got wood in Kvarch Nar!
I got wood in Kvarch Nar!
I got wood
He got wood
We all got wood in Kvarch Nar!

He got wood
They got wood
I got stoned in Mlurg Nar
(Laughter)

I got wood in Kvarch Nar!
I got wood in Kvarch Nar!
I got wood
We got wood
We all got wood in Kvarch Nar!

City of Sevenscore Thousand Smokes!

dockside.pngLankhmar! Perhaps only in his dreams had Yucta, Ockasiola or the others seen such a city, though Kee Ree Nigh Ran-ax said that spired Tisinilit was a fairer place. The gleaming towers of the Rainbow Palace were visible first over the grey sea, then the bustling docks of the Harbour District on the banks of the brown River Hlal.

Yucta made arrangements with the harbourmaster to transfer the crate containing the dragon’s skull into a secure warehouse. The group then found themselves an inn in Nun Street, somewhat away from the noise of the docks and not far from the Great Library of Lankhmar.

A walk down the Street of the Gods

Ockasiola had heard from the sailors that temples of all the gods of the world could be found in Lankhmar on the Street of the Gods, though none could build their temple closer to the head of the street than the decrepit stone fane dedicated to the Gods of Lankhmar. Ockasiola wondered if the words of Storm Bull might be known in this great city.

They walked the length of the Street of the Gods, past droning priests and cultists of a thousand faiths. As they approached the Marsh Gate on the far side of the city, the tenements and temples became more and more shabby and small, with some cults even sharing addresses. Finally, Ockasiola spotted a set of lopsided horns — the sign of Storm Bull! Inside was a snoring priest with crumbs on his vestments. But he awoke and praised Storm Bull, especially when Ockasiola placed his gold coin on the collection tray.

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The Savage North, session 4

Day of the Lizard (8th), Harvest Moon, Year of the Titan

The Oracle of Crag Don

Inside the Long House of Crag Don the feasting continued. Medicine Woman Quinn beckoned to Yucta and the others. They followed her outside into the snow. They climbed the hill to the standing stones, where the great caldron bubbled over a fire maintained by two white-cloaked acolytes.

Quinn threw some herbs into the caldron (Yucta was unable to identify them) and breathed the fumes.

“You carry the skull of a wizard. Such things are always dangerous. This one is sought by Khaakht, the Ice Wizard, who would use it to bring woe and ice to Nehwon.”

“Let’s destroy it!” said Ockasiola

“Not a good idea,” replied the oracle. “A wizard’s bones sleep ever uneasy. Instead you should take it away from here, where Khaakht’s power is strong — lands too close to the ice and the land of Death. Take it somewhere warm, where life is all around. Somewhere Khaakht will be unable to perceive it.”

“The Jungle of Klesh, my homeland, is such a place.”, said Yucta uneasily.

Illik-Ving

Medicine Woman Quinn thanked the heroes for their efforts against the Wodemen, and offered them sleds and guides to take them to Cold Corner. The barbarians knew their lands well, and four days later they had descended the great plateau of the Cold Waste and arrived at Cold Corner, a meeting point of sorts between the barbarians and the folk of the Eight Cities. There the northerners left them. Yucta negotiated favourable terms as caravan guards on the way to Illik Ving.

“A good thing too,” one of the merchants muttered, “something terrible has happened to the Marshmallow route between Sarheenmar and Kleg Nar. The market has all but dried up. No wagons get through. Monsters in the woods. I heard of a wizard in a golden mask…” He lapsed into silence.

However neither wizards in golden masks nor floating globes of ice menaced the adventurers; the guard work was mundane and a week later they arrived in Illik Ving. It was a frontier town, not much to look at and smaller than Pavis, but a metropolis compared with what they had seen of late. They ate and slept well at the Double-Tusked Boar Inn.

The Forest Road

The party bought horses and set off south on the road to Kvarch Nar. The Great Forest closed about them. A couple of days later they heard cries for help and sinister laughter. A merchant was defending himself with a stick against three robed foes with sharp swords. They spun to face their new attackers and their faces were alien, sunken, corpselike. They were skilled with their blades but they were up against tough heroes. They did not flee but Blundar, Yucta, Ockasiola and Kee Ree cut them down. The merchant was grateful. His name was Mylo, a brandy seller of Kvarch Nar. He offered his hospitality if they were ever in that city.

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The Savage North, session 3

Day of the Minnow (2nd), Harvest Moon, Year of the Titan

The Cold Waste

Bandits of the pass

Griffin Pass was behind them. Yucta Axotylata, Ockasiola, Blundar and Kee-Ree Nigh Ran-ax observed the Cold Waste before them: a desolate land of snowy forests and hills. Behind a nearby boulder there came a noise and out stepped several bandits, natives of the area. They demanded a toll, but their smiles faded when they saw the toughened warriors before them, and the Icewyrm head they carried. The bandits melted away into the hills.

Crag Don

A day after meeting the bandits, a smallish eagle appeared, landed on a tree for a while, then flew off a short distance before landing again. Ockasiola took it as a sign from Storm Bull. They followed the bird to a raised mound which was clearly inhabited — or had been recently. Smoke rose from the hill and around and about were Northerner bodies and signs of a recent battle. The adventurers hurried to the hilltop. This was Crag Don, a holy place for the barbarians.

In the Druid’s hut

Ockasiola recalled that the Northmen were ruled by their women. Sure enough they found a wounded Great Druid being tended by her acolyte. The Druidess was Quinn: Medicine Woman. She told them that the mound had been attacked by Wodemen from the foothills. The Wodemen had taken prisoners, including Quinn’s neice Gwyneth. She urged the adventurers to give immediate chase, offering fresh horses. Ockasiola agreed at once. Quinn spoke to the eagle who had guided them here and it transformed into a bald man. He was a druid called Aranduil, who had accidentally been trapped in eagle form on the way here. He decided to join in the hunt for the Wodeman war party.

The Wodemen hunt

cibo00_Haida_Indian_Tattoo.pngA chill wind blew across the plain as the riders pursued their quarry. The tracks were easy to follow. Near the end of the day they spotted a dead Wodeman, his corpse withered sucked and drained by sorcery.

On the second day of the hunt they found the ashes of the Wodemen campfire and encountered two trappers who had seen the war party headed for the sinister Forest of Ayoon nearby.

The forest of Ayoon

Dusk was falling as they entered the darkening forest of Ayoon. They had not gone far when arrows started flying their way – from Wodeman sentries high in the trees. The sentries were quickly killed, but not before they sounded a warning. Blundar scaled a tree and spotted a clearing containing a mound of ancient standing stones. There were drum noises coming from the clearing.

Battle at the old mound

They entered the clearing. The shaman was there, wielding a huge sacrificial knife over the hostages, who were tied to the standing stones. With a roar the Wodemen charged over the crest to do battle! Ockasiola, Blundar, Yucta and Kee-Ree fought off the horde. Aranduil changed into eagle form and launched himself screaming at the shaman. The eagle raked the shaman with its talons, then transformed back into the druid and CRACK! broke the shaman’s arm with a blow from his quaterstaff. Meanwhile, the Wodemen were being beaten back in spite of their fanaticism. Soon all were dead, the shaman’s demonic ritual prevented and the prisoners freed.

Three days later the heroes returned to Crag Don, where a the druids prepared a feast in their honour.

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