Dwarves in Eden – Never Split the Party

A couple weeks of scheduling problems and then Origins, but we finally got back into the dwarf game, picking up right where we left off last time.

And then it took me a couple weeks to get around to sorting out my notes and getting this AP up. Here goes!

Fighting the Wilderness

Everyone’s immediate concern are the two dwarves currently sinking into the quicksand they fell into. Kardin immediately climbs up a tree to cut down some vines to try to rope in the sinking dwarves. Unfortunately there’s more to the vines than there appears immediately. The vines come to life and begin trying to wrap Kardin up, but he manages to escape and cut some down (successful Power) with some of the vine cut off.

At this vines all over the forest “wake” and begin snaking down menacing everyone in the area. A number of Reorx’s scouts begin fighting them off while Kardin & Flint work at forming the vine into loops that the sinking dwarves can grab onto. Before they finish Flint notices that one of the dwarves is one of Reorx’s squad that has pro-Prince leanings. Knowing this he surreptitiously sabotages the vine (cutting it all the way through) so that before the dwarf can be  pulled to the edge of the quiksand he sinks to his death (successful Stealthy). No one notices Flint being the cause of the “accident” and the lost dwarf is mourned while the other is saved.

Kardin starts a fire hoping to use it to scare off the vines (successful Firebuilding) and after Flint and some other dwarfs swinging burning brands around the vines calm down for the night.

The dwarfs settle in for the night while a number of dwarfs take turns during the night to cut down a large tree to use as a bridge to go across the quicksand.

Showdown

The next morning Reorx & Geyrok are preparing to go across the tree bridge to pick the trail up for Lea (the missing Queen mother). Flint has a conversation with Drake. Drake admits he’s not entirely sure where they are, but if they can get back to the crash site where they first met then Drake can easily lead them back to Morangi. The crash site is the exact opposite direction from where they are as the bridge. Flint makes a case for following Grahm’s orders to get Drake home, that an alliance with the Morangi is more important than one lone missing dwarf (Reorx & Geyrok are still the only 2 that know her true identity). Reorx & Kardin try to convince Drake & Flint to at least stay at the camp for a day while they try to follow Lea’s trail (failed Stentorious Debate), but Drake isn’t moved. He wants to keep moving and Flint is inclined to agree.

Reorx appears to give in for the moment and offers to look over Drake to make sure his wounds are doing okay, but his real intent is to try to worsen his condition so that he dies soon, unfortunately his actions don’t go unnoticed (failed Surgery vs Perception) by Flint or Kardin. Kardin immediately stands up and draws his axe “Undo what you did!”

Things are tense for a few moments as it’s obvious that Flint & Kardin are putting Drake’s life above that of Reorx’s. Reorx eventually backs down and tends to Drake for real this time. Drake is weakened by what Reorx initially did, but he’ll recover.

Flint & Kardin start fashioning a crude litter while Reorx gathers his dwarfs & Geyrok. There’s some rumbling because of what happened with Drake as well as going against their orders from Grahm. Reorx makes a case that the orders are still being followed by Kardin & Flint and that it’s important not to leave dwarfs behind. Most of the dwarfs agree (some grudgingly) and get ready to go with him. All but one (failed Command). One dwarf stands up to Reorx and says that he’s going back to the Ziggurat and that he’s taking Sven with him (still naked and weak from his treatment by the cannibals). Reorx doesn’t press the issue. Flint notices who’s offering to go back as another “pro-Prince” dwarf and so Flint gives him a “healing potion” to help him on his way so that he can better care for Sven on the way without being fatigued. In fact it was a sleeping potion that he’d been holding onto for a while. Flint hopes that the potion puts the dwarf to sleep at a bad moment and that he somehow succumbs to the dangerous nature of the forest.

At this the two parties split ways, Flint & Kardin dragging Drake one way towards the crash site. Geyrok, Reorx, & Reorx’s squad going across the tree bridge to pick up Lea’s trail.

The Crash Site

Flint & Kardin make their way from the campsite towards where the flying colossus crashed over a week ago. Where they first met Drake.

They manage to make decent progress through the forest taking turns pulling the litter that Drake is lying on. After half a day or better travelling they run into a party of humans (failed Orienteering). They’re Drune (the tribe that Flint stole the eye from that caused them to attack Drake and his people). They don’t immediately recognize Drake for who he is, but they do recognize his clothing. They’re confused at first at why the dwarfs would be helping one of the Morangi. Flint lies it out simply that they’re helping an ally in need. The human leader says “are we not allies? After sharing at the crash site?”

Flint says he doesn’t trust them after they so viciously attacked the Morangi. The human lays out his case about the eye going missing and Flint responds that he doesn’t know anything about that and without more information anyone could have taken it and killed the courier no matter what evidence was left behind.

Flint & Kardin ask to be left alone and be on their way. The human says they won’t bar their way but that their queen will hear about what they’ve learned. As they turn to leave Flint & Kardin share a look and nod, then Flint raises his arquebus and fires at one of the humans. A short skirmish breaks out and after a short bit of butcher’s work all the humans are dead at Flint & Kardin’s feet. They drag them a bit away from the trail and cover them a bit with sticks and leaves, hurriedly, before being back on their way.

After a few more hours of travel they make it to the village near the crash site. They pick a relatively intact hut to camp in for the night to let Drake rest. They leave drake in the hut while they go out to forage for a bit of food and water (successful Foraging). They return to find Drake beginning to stir, so they feed him some food and let him drink a bit before convincing him to get some more rest.

Flint & Kardin decide to barricade the door into the hut a bit and take turns on watch in the night. Late in the night during Kardin’s watch there’s some commotion out towards where the crash is. There’s a large bright light that flares up shooting into the sky. Shortly after off in the distance a light just over the tree tops seems to be coming in this direction.

Spelunking

Meanwhile, Reorx & Geyrok head across the makeshift tree bridge to pick up Lea’s trail across the mire of quicksand. They easily pick up the trail along with the remainder of Reorx’s squad.

The trail leads them to some old ruins. Very ancient, but obviously dwarven in make, there’s no mistaking the stonecraft. Among all the overgrown ruins Geyrok finds some herbs that so far he hasn’t seen growing outside of the home the dwarfs were exiled from. Herbs that would be useful in making very high quality brew once he gets settled in at the ziggurat and can set up shop and start brewing again.

The signs they’ve been following lead into a deep cave near some of the ruins. The rock inside has obviously been worked, but even with their keen vision in low-light the dwarfs are unable to venture very far in before needing to light a torch. From somewhere deep within they hear loud chuffing noises.

They venture forward cautiously not sure what sort of thing they might find making a home in the cave. Almost before they can react they find the end of the cave and find a very large man-like creature (though much larger than any humans they’ve encountered) with a similarly large wolf of some sort. The creature immediately hefts a huge club and charges them. Geyrok, Reorx, & some dwarfs charge back and after a quick exchange the giant man and its wolf lay dead in the cave.

They spend some time searching around. The club the creature was wielding had obviously been made by dwarven hands. Nowhere else here have they seen such craftsmanship, though it’s too large for a dwarf to be able to make use of.

Looking along the back wall Geyrok finds a hidden door of sorts that any dwarf that looks hard enough could find. Chances are whatever the creature was they just killed hadn’t managed to spot it before. It’s the only other exit from the cave so they assume that Lea must have gone that way.

They open the door and find a set of stairs going down, which they follow down to a large room. The room has a floor covered in large tiles carved with runes. Geyrok & Reorx spend some time trying to decipher them, but the dialect of the runes is too old and they haven’t had the experience with the older style of writing that Flint & Kardin have. They’re unable to get much out of them.

As they’re looking over the tiles somewhere in the distance of the underground complex they hear a noise. Something like metal tapping and grating on marble. It echoes all around them, making it unable to determine which direction it’s coming from. They get the distinct impression that they’re somehow being mocked.

They move across the large room into a smaller area with what appears to be dwarven skeletons scattered about. With the metal & stone sound echoing around their nerves are a little frayed and Reorx starts swiping at the skeletons along the wall as they travel through the room.

Suddenly one stands up and leaps at Reorx, but the dwarves are able to dispatch it quickly with no problem. The party is on their guard now as they venture further.

The next area they come to is completely flooded, stagnant water coming up to their ankles. The footing is uneven, but they’re able to get across (successful Speed).

At the end of the room the dwarves pause before passing into the next room. In the silence they still hear the sound of metal striking stone in the distance.

As Geyrok leads the way through the next doorway something drops down just in front of his face, narrowly avoiding his face (successful Speed). He immediately reacts by thrusting his torch at the pile of slime forming up in front of him. It catches fire, which seems to only enrage it without slowing it down at all. Geyrok begins to back away.

Meanwhile in the middle of the room another slime comes up from the water and begins wrapping around another dwarf.

The End

We left the session with two big cliffhangers for the separated party!

The scene with Reorx trying to kill Drake almost ended up in some PvP fighting, but both sides kind of backed down. There was also a moment when it seemed like a Duel of Wits was inevitable, but I (as Flint) took advantage of the ability to simply walk away. Flint had no skin in the fight for going after Lea, so it was easy to just walk away with Drake in tow. That lead to some interesting stuff, though, with the surgery check to sabotage Drake’s health as well as the morale/command roll for Reorx to keep his men in line.

And on top of all that after everything was said & done Flint is only a single routine test away from hitting Greed 10. It’ll almost certainly happen in the next session.

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