Borderland of Adventure #54: Amid Ancient Bones

At the end of last session, we left our heroes enjoying a quiet drink in the Sleeping Triton while waiting for the bailiff, Barro Godwyn, to arrive and speak with them about the trouble besetting White Moon Cove. The bailiff – a tall, stern man – arrived presently and informed the PCs that a pair of green dragons had been recently preying on the flocks of villagers and nearby farmers. Barro hoped the PCs would destroy the foul beasts.

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Eventually, after much bargaining, the party agreed to the task – for the princely sum of 500 gp each. After a day spent speaking with several shepherd who has seen the creatures, a drinking session with Old Grif (a one-armed ex-paladin obsessed with sahaugin) and a rather profitable meeting with Markessa (a ship’s captain who recently put into port) the party were ready to adventure. During this time, Krorz had a terrible dream which angered him greatly in which he was granted a vision of the “dragons’” lair. From eye witness testimonies, the party also deduced that the creatures were probably not dragons, but in fact a pair of mature forest drakes. (Ulmo also used this time to secure a wagon, a pair of donkeys and much food and water; he then travelled out of the village and left if all at the site of the party’s unfortunate battle with the “bandits.” While doing so, he discovered the bandits’ leader had survived the battle and nursed a deep hatred for several of the party.)

Again, they travelled leisurely northward hunting as they journeyed toward a high hill known locally as Cairn Hill for all the ancient orc burial sites piercing its living rock. After almost two days of travel, they reached the hill without incident and discovered the cairn’s entrance:

 

Perhaps emboldened by his dream, Krorz eagerly volunteered to scout ahead. He discovered a passageway leading downward. The floor was covered in bones and as he crept deeper into the cairn (followed by his friends at a safe distance) the amount of bones gradually increased. Some small side passages and caves were deeply filled with such grizzly orcish remains. A larger cavern lay ahead but as Krorz investigated it a ghostly apparition of a mutilated orc warrior rose from the bones. The thing flew at Krorz and tried to enter his body; Krorz’s lust for life, though, forced the thing away from him.

By this time, Krorz’s companions knew something was a miss and rushed to help him. Sadly, this gave the ghostly orc more targets! In short order, it rushed at Dregak and possessed him utterly. To his friends’ surprise, the dwarf immediately turned around and headed down another corridor. The passageway quickly gave out into a large bone-filled chamber divided by an escarpment. At the bottom of the escarpment – near a large pool – lurked the two forest drakes tearing apart a huge bear corpse.

Dregak rushed upon them silently and attacked! Battle was joined. One of the creatures was soon badly injured – so much so that they both spat acid at the party and dived into the pool. This seemed to enrage Dregak who shouted in Orc that his companions must slay the beasts or he would slay them! Krorz tried to placate him while Tzaran slipped into eel form to follow the drakes (who had by now swum down a flooded passageway). When the rest of the party failed to follow, Dregak attacked them. Wary of slaying his friend, Delvier used several white-fletched arrows of sleep (sadly, all to no avail) while Krorz tried to drive out the ghost by killing his friend. Ulmo also got in on the action firstly dispelling the magic he had used to protect the monk before knocking him unconscious with his last magic missiles.

While the battle raged, Tzaran followed the drakes into the utterly dark, flooded passages below the pool. While he could not see anything, the eel’s form gave him the scent ability. With it he followed the injured drake’s blood trail into a larger inundated chamber. While he could see nothing, he sensed at least one of the drakes lurking silently in the water. Wisely he turned back.

By the time he reached the chamber, Dregak was all but defeated. Sadly, as the brave dwarf fell, the ghost emerged from his body to attack the remaining adventurers…

Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

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