Session/Game: Axeburg 3e #15
Episode 15: "Total Party Kill"
Campaign Date: Imperial Year 487, Zan 4th - 7th
GM: Mike Miller
Grimbold, son of Rathgar, human, barbarian/fighter/ranger/rogue, level 2/1/1/2 (Dave Nelson)
Hakon, human, barbarian/skald, level 1/4 (cohort)
Gudwig, human, ranger/rogue, level 1/5 (Toby Miller)
Baldric, human, runeweaver, level 4 (cohort)
Edvald, son of Rathgar, human, berserker, level 4 (Andrew Smith)
Thorgallis, half-orc, warrior, level 4 (Jotham Hobbes)
Yrsa, daughter of Frithman, human, vola, level 4 (Justin Fernandez)
Baldy and Olaf, humans, fighters, level 4 (Justin Fernandez)
Following the defeat and subsequent blood eagling of the monks of the "Swirling Winds...Of Death!" the sons of Axeburg returned home to celebrate their victory. However, as fall turned into bleakest winter, the heroes were split up with Hildrun returning to his native home of Port to look after his ailing father Frithman, and Einar still away on his pilgrimage to Council Grove west of the Shefing city of Veikanger.
Zan 4th, Axeburg
The heroes are stunned from their daily winter routine of sleeping and eating by a most unusual sound of the mother earth herself rumbling. However, just as quickly as it had happened the shaking subsided. Once the group decided that the noise and shaking did not just come from Edvald's bowels, they were surprised to hear it again. The heroes went out into the cold and deep snow, bundled as they always do in thick furs and woven goats' wool. A peasant ran up exclaiming that the sea had washed away from the shores. As the heroes made their way to the waterline, they saw their docks standing dry, far from the waterline. As an act of supplication to the lords of the water, Grimbold ordered a sacrifice of three skralling thralls: two gnome-goblin halfbreeds and a halfling. Yrsa cast the runes following the quick slaying of these unfortunates -- the gods had been satisfied...for now.
The heroes returned to their beloved hall to continue their busy winter of eating and sleeping.
Zan 5th, Axeburg
The heroes are awakened by more quaking of the earth. A peasant runs into the hall complaining about the fact that his neighbor has been "digging tunnels toward his land in order to steal sheep". Grimbold dispatches Edvald and Yrsa into the snow to find the cause of the peasant's aggrivation.
The pair of heroes arrive at the peasant's land. Sure enough, there are three substantial holes scortched into the ground leading to 5' diameter passages that seem to run toward the peasant's neighbor. The burnt remains of several sheep lay smouldering about the place. Witchcraft! Edvald peers into one of the holes but is smartly singed by some sort of beast before he can have a look. Edvald stands guard over the holes looking to slay any that emerges and sends Yrsa back to Axeburg Hall for the others.
Yrsa arrives in the hall and explains the situation. The others are confused. Is the berserker Edvald slain? Is the monster slain? They do not understand how it can be that the berserker was able to contain his rage in the face of such a beast. Yrsa explains that the witchcraft is such that Edvald thought is prudent to contain his animal nature until the others might arrive in order to share in the glory of slaying such sorcerous beasts. Satisfied, Grimbold, Gudwig, Thorgallis, and Hakon join Yrsa and return to the scene of the holes.
The peasant (newly dubbed "Farmer Joe") leads the way with flaming torches as the heroes enter the holes. Grimbold and Hakon enter one, Gudwig another, and Edvald a third. The holes seem to converge in a larger passage deeper below the surface of the permanently frozen land of the Shefings. The heroes are attacked by giant insectoid beasts the size of the Shefings' horses. The beasts had with multiple legs and compound eyes and emitted a powerful heat strong enough to melt the metal of several of the Axeburgers' weapons. After a quick fight, the group had slain four of the insectoid beasts. Satisfied that the threat had been dealt with, the sorely injured warriors of Axeburg returned home.
Zan 6th, Axeburg
At first light, the group is awakened by yet more rumblings of the earth -- this time closer and stronger. A guard bursts into the hall, saying that something was digging below the earth, felling homes and setting them on fire. The mighty of Axeburg spring into action. Grimbold assigns a detail of his bodyguard to protect Axeburg and takes another group with him to intercept the trail of destruction that quickly approaches the Great Hall.
The heroes rush to the last home that was destroyed, left in rubble and flames. They lower themselves down into the hole in the ground and follow the newly scorched tunnel pointing directly at Axeburg Hall. They come upon a huge version of the four beasts they had slain the day before. Yrsa recognises the thing as a polar worm, the most deadly of the northern beasts known in the South as a Rhemoraz. The heroes climb out of the beast's hole and engage it in mortal combat along with the defense detail. Surrounded by the mightiest warriors of Axeburg the Rhemoraz dealt death to all it touched thanks to the scorching heat that came off its body. The party's weapons, both standard and magical were melted into slag. Thorgallis, the first on the scene was gulped down the beast's gullet whole only to burn in the furnace of the beast's belly. Luckily, Gudwig's lackey was able to conjure several duplicates of Gudwig which gave the beast several targets to attack that did not hurt the party. The beast was slain with a moderate loss of life to Grimbold's bodyguard.
All was not finished, however. As the first beast thrashed in its death throes, it burned a hole into the ground below Axeburg and another Rhemoraz emerged nearby. Low on weapons and men, Chief Grimbold ordered several of his warriors to "get harpoons!". The remaining warriors and heroes engaged this final menace. Yrsa was cut down next, her body snapped in twain by the polar worm. Edvald, full in the throes of his rage continued to beat on the beast with any weapon that remained once his greatsword was melted by the beast. A guard's harpoon, Grimbold's magical axe, and Yrsa's longsword and daggers all found their way into the leviathan. All this damage eventually brought its wrath down on the berserker. Edvald was swallowed whole as well, and perished trying to tear himself free from within the mighty beast. All the while Gudwig's flashing axes and Grimbold's sword of the Tuskriders continued to find their marks until their combined attack slew the final beast dead.
Stunned at the substantial loss of life and property, Grimbold stumbles back into the hall and rests for a full day still encased in his armor and gripping the sword of the Tuskriders.
Zan 7th, Axeburg
The next day, Grimbold decides to explore the cavern opened by the death of the largest polar worm. He, Gudwig, two of his most trusted bodyguards (Olaf and Baldy) as well as his trusty Skald Hakon descend into the pit. There, the group is engaged by a scouting team of Drastin -- dark elves. A wicked fight ensues with no quarter asked and none given. Olaf and Baldy fall to the elves' wicked poisons, and Hakon is laid low by a blow from a group of the elves and slowly bleeds to his death. Gudwig slays several of the elven lieutenants by becoming invisible and attacking from behind, while Grimbold engages their leader. At one point all looks lost as all the heroes lay poisoned or dying and Grimbold fights the leader, several flunkies, all while suffering from a globe of magical darkness cast by the Drastin. However, Grimbold manages to slay the source of the darkness and Baldy and Gudwig awaken from their poisoned stupor to finish the melee.