Vulcarsgrave and the Obsidian Tower

Illem's Diary - Corruption of the Claremutt

Long have I sought to learn the secrets of Heironeous and the powerful clerics within my order. Long have I wondered what powerful communions take place in the antechambers of the great cloister of Claremutt between those mighty of spirit and the god of valor, but lo- where I thought to find a power that would obliterate even the darkest evil, i have found instead only despair and doom.

What my eyes have borne witness to these past… since we’ve fallen into these catacombs, it is enough for me to see my order for the jest it must truly be. The fight against evil creatures is truly futile and meaningless; for evil lurks beneath every surface – lies waiting beneath every crack and crevice, even in the corners of my own mind.

I admit, after looking upon the story of Soresh, laid upon the walls in terrifying relief, I am tempted now in ways I was sure I had steeled myself against long ago. This dungeon makes it all too clear, palpably real; that great powers are within my grasp. That beneath those surfaces, cracks, crevices, and corners, lies more strength than I could ever hope to achieve waiting for this corrupt order to recognize the toilings of a provincial country-cleric.

Still, i must search for the pilgrims entrusted to my care. I fear they may have been dropped into that pit of infernal creatures, to share the fate of other innocents and holy devotees, but there is a chance they yet live. For that I must press on.

Illem Wiggulus

The Catacombs beneath The Claremutt in Vulcarsgrave
Freeman’s Year 609, sometime after the 1st day of Atsuset

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Thunderhead's Journal Part X

Forgive me, loyal companion, journal of my secret thoughts, for failing to write in so many moons. If you were a lover or wife waiting for news of brave Thunderhead’s fate on the field of some distant battlefield, you would surely have taken me for dead and rotting, forever ensconced in the deep racial memories of our people, our poems and our songs, the kind that demand tears. But I am not dead, and I have no wife to mourn, no little children to wonder what kind of dwarf their father was, no sturdy son braiding his beard in the style of his long-gone sire, honoring my memory with every twisted knot. No. I am a Gloamingborn, neither day nor night, neither pure light nor full dark, but orange and gray and blue that fade to black, twilight and sunrise and dusk again. I am the last of my kind, and I call that an honor. I have not written to you, dear friend, because I would not dare to dishonor your pages with blood and offal and filth: the honestly earned work of my ax. I have seen horrors. More are to come.

When I last found time to chronicle the adventures of the Faterinos, we were about to face down a creature that we have come to call the Walking Graveyard, a beast foul, comprised of the bodies of dead men, some of whom I personally put to the ax. It seemed as though our past deeds were coming back to haunt us, that unspeakable Nerull had unleashed some new hell upon the earth in order that the Faterinos should be made humble as in the callow days, when demi-gods and dragons wandered the earth and all was young, eager for blood, blood to grow up the world. Great things are fed on blood, after all. Still, with the help of some gallant men in the service of valorous Heironeous, including the mysterious Dmici, head of the god’s order in the city, the beast was stricken down. I was somewhat concerned by Nabayo and Donaldino’s seeming abandonment of the fight at a critical juncture, but their ways are inscrutable. They claim to have been seeking help, but I am forced to wonder. They have time and again proven their loyalty, so I can hardly blame them for a moment of desperate panic in the face of a beast whose hideous visage was beyond anything, ANYTHING, we have hereto encountered. Indeed, perhaps they were right to flee.

In truth, I am ashamed that my tactics almost led us to disaster and broken-bodied ruin. I thought we could take the beast using the ancient Hoth technique, passed down from our ancestors who came to this world a long time ago from a place far, far away. I believed in the power of the Faterinos, and simple, true Woodbine almost found himself joined in unholy communion with the monster as a result. I am glad to say that I somewhat atoned for my misjudgment when I saved the poor lad’s life, but it was a close call, closer than any I’ve had before. It seemed as though even a slight change in the roll of Fate’s dice would have doomed me. Still, life forgives itself, and I am alive. Draw your own conclusions.

After the creature fell, we were given leave by Captain Hendrix to investigate those responsible for the creation of the Walking Graveyard. After some leg work, we came across what we thought was Dmici in a temple. He was acting flighty, and his behavior was such that we followed him until he revealed himself to be pip the Illusionist! Pip is a strange fellow to be sure, though it is unclear whether Pip is male or female. Perhaps this is part of the aura of illusion and deceit the surrounds a true wizard. We have made Pip a provisional Faterino, for he displays the qualities of daring and foolhardy recklessness we seem to privilege, for better or worse. As much as I have an innate distrust for magic, I must admit, Pip quickly proved himself to be useful, and I see the value of having a spellcaster to lend support to Donaldino’s unique brand of magically infused aural ribaldry.

After encountering a strange clothier who gifted each of us fine clothes and equipment of a distinctly magical nature, we set out to investigate the temple of Heironeous itself. We saw tell-tale signs of monstrous goings on inside the temple thanks to Pip and the ever stealthy Scratch, who was further enhanced with a spell of invisibility. I suspect Pip and Scratch will make natural allies, as unlikely a pair as they seem at first glance. Scratch’s ability to move undetected never ceases to amaze me. We dwarves are not much trained in the roguish arts, but to see a master at work is always awe-inspiring. Scratch assures us that something never meant for the hallowed ground of a temple is residing in the passages beneath the compound…something abides in darkness and terror, hungry, insatiable as a desperate tongue seeking new tastes that it might know and feast upon. If I were a wiser dwarf, I would be afraid, but I no longer have that luxury. There is only the path forward.

After meeting a visiting priest of Heironeous from a distant town, we learned that pilgrims have been disappearing from within the temple, and that there are murmurs of dark goings on within the ranks of the order. Treachery is afoot in the temple, I can feel it. With a heart fortified with the mithril of experience, we allowed ourselves to be led underneath the passages of the temple. Moradin, Moradin, cruel is the day when caves and the solitude of the deep places casts a pallor over my soul, and that day is come. I know not if we shall emerge from this labyrinth, but in your name, Moradin, Soul-Forger, Dwarf-father, I pray you watch over the Faterinos, a band of friends who meant only to be a force for good in the world, a wave of justice that brought deliverance to the shores of inequity, and a shining light in the darkness, the gloaming that gives way to dawn.

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Thunderhead's Journal Part IX

There comes a time when the spilled blood sets into the soul, and even the purest turn crimson. Inside, we are all red. We have come to a turning point in our sojourning. We must now decide whether the Faterinos stand for all that is just or if we were simply a cowardly band of ruffians and thieves all along, stumbling like a drunkard along the rocks of a rain-kissed embankment beside the sea, a wrong step away from plunging into the depths. It all began when we agreed to help that blighted scoundrel Cassot and his half-wit brother Cassow collect their dues from the turkey leg vendors. While we employed strong-arm tactics to get what we believed was rightfully owed to Cassot, he quickly proved himself to be a disloyal and treacherous knave by attempting to have us killed by men in his service by means of those damnable creatures that I am told are called Sneezebores. Needless to say, after our adventures with Heliosh, we are bone tired, weary, and yet new troubles seem to pick up where the last troubles ended. We did manage to keep a substantial amount of gold for ourselves after slaying the sneezebores, and luckily when we were brought in front of Captain Hendrix, we learned that Cassot was attempting to flee the city without paying his rightful due to Captain Hendrix, the white clad defender of the city.

We witnessed as Cassot and Cassow were given over to Morg, a wizard of some power. He made infected turkeys grow in size and ferocity, and we were forced to watch as these wicked birds ripped our former employers apart. Captain Hendrix allowed us the honor of trying out for the Final Defense Force if we would show up at Marmarin Hall the next morning in order to take whatever tests were necessary. Though we were loathe to give up our allegiance to Sentinel’s Hall so quickly, we kept our robes in case they should prove useful.

Meanwhile, friend Scratchand NabaYo Kinderhookian underwent an ordeal that makes me question all that I believe about the world. Buckles the bear was poisoned by a dart that was later revealed to have been dipped in Phalaxian lichen poison, a most evil and womanly way of slaying one’s enemies if I do say so. Nabayo told me a cloaked figure appeared to her at the foot of a Liridian tree, a tree needed to fulfill the prophecy of Isitha about healing Buckles with Nabayo’s tears, and gave her instructions to gather together the flowers of a Laridian tree, Halfling leaf, bat liver, the blood of a nobleman of Vulcarsgrave, and Vulcarian marble. Aerodosh, for that was the witch-woman’s name, said that if Nabayo combined these items into a paste, she would be able to save Buckles life and prove her worth to their order, the Hymnling Collective.

After much struggle and pain, Scratch and Nabayo were able to collect these items. They learned the secrets of the Alabasi Elves who first brought Vulcarian marble to the land, they successfully stole into a barn to shoot bats with fleet arrows, and ultimately convinced a nobleman to give up a drop of his blood, though I rather suspect the nobleman did a wise thing by offering up his blood; Nabayo was not going to take no for an answer. Upon returning to Aerodosh, Aerodosh withdrew a glowing seed and held it above Nabayo’s head. Nabayo had a dream vision, the details of which she seemed reticent to share with a lowly Dwarf, perhaps because it was too personal and the elf side of her desired privacy. Regardless, she did admit that Aerodosh informed her that she now has a deeper connection to nature. Nabayo, that seemingly cold and unshakable Nabayo, wept tears of bitter grief and sorrow and pain, and thus did she cure the bear and the bear did rise and Scratch did bear witness to a miracle of sorts. I would have given my beard all over again to witness such a scene.

Indeed, Nabayo seems changed, somehow deeper, like still water in a gully lake. These are old magiks at work, the connection that I will never know, like that of the mother to child, joined, growing together, the earth, Nabayo, Buckles, ocean to sand to seed. Alas, I am just an old warrior and set in my old warrior ways, but I do envy her connection to something greater than herself. With Buckles healed, Aerodosh told Nabayo that Nabayo’s very tears now have anti-toxin properties if wept in deep emotion. Scratch told me in confidence that he saw the very flowers move along with Nabayo’s own body movements. The earth is old and secret and wise.

At last Aerodosh gave Nabayo the sap of the Axamer flower, a potion that if smoked (and if the smoker survives the experience) will help Nabayo’s magical powers grow. In addition, a tattoo of the Hymnling Collective appeared on Nabayo’s hand. Aerodosh says that if we were ever to encounter any magical creatures or plants, we should bring it to her in the grove.

A far cry from the experiences of Woodbine, Donaldino, and myself! Finally, after what seemed like a fortnight, the Faterinos were brought back together at our makeshift flophouse. We determined that with some of our new found wealth, it would be prudent to invest in a piece of real estate to serve as our headquarters! The thought thrills me, at least, a home, a true home to make up for the dark halls of the Gloamingborn, now lost to me forever. We all slept a long time then, regaining strength, dreaming what dreams we would, whether ill or good, and awoke to find ourselves in the mouth of hell.

A creature 20 feet tall and composed of the corpses is rampaging the city. Its torso is comprised of men I personally killed. Is this the retribution promised by St. Cuthbert to to those who would kill for reasons impure? Is this his retribution in the form of the dead? I know not, all I know is that we are Faterinos, and we will not shy from our own fates. This may be the last journal entry that this old Dwarven fool ever makes. If so, let them say that we fought and died valiantly, and that the sins we may have committed were washed away and chastised in blood spilled freely, bravely, in the defense of the weak. To battle, friends, Faterinos, to battle and whatever hells await us.

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Heliosh Goes to Hell

It pains my elven ears to have to explain to Thunderhead that he must devour his fiercely dwarven words. It appears he very well may have to open a barber shop right here in the Old City of Vulcarsgrave. I hope that he is not maddened enough that he will allow his fellow Faterinos to receive complimentary cuts. My locks do seem to grow fuller and longer in these summer months of Deidra. But knowing Thunderhead, his shears may cut a little too close to the neck. I did not, however, intend for this to occur. I, like my compatriots, believed Heliosh to be a knavish scamp, hell-bent on destruction for his own anarchic gain. When I followed him into the uneasy Vulcarsgrave night, I intended to put an end to his madcap reign. He deftly traversed the empty back alleys of the Fringe, as I followed him as closely as if I were his his dark shadow. We watched as the Faterinos and the Helions quickly disposed of the garish clown gang. I can only imagine the blood that Nabayo soaked with her rapier and Donaldhino with his rape. Near the end of their assassination campaign, however, Heliosh must have heard my silent steps, for he turned a corner, awaiting my arrival. We immediately began combat. Blow for blow, we were evenly matched. That is, until his dark hell beast emerged from the shadows. The wild monster gnawed my arm and left me pinned to the ground. Damn the coward who uses a beast to do his fighting! In this bruised and bloody state, I was forced to hear the story Heliosh wished to tell after I was forced into revealing my intentions of ending the life of
this swine. He explained that he was not the man I believed him to be. Heliosh was merely a legend that he adopted to embolden the lives of the Fringe dwellers, yet what his true identity may be was not revealed to me. He acquired the hell hound to further develop this myth. But now he believes the Vulcarsgrave City Guard have conspired to move the shipment of flaming brain into the Fringe, devastating these already diseased fools. But why is the question that must be answered. So the plan: Heliosh the myth must end in order to stop the terror being swept across Vulcarsgrave. I, despite my best efforts to not be swayed, finally succumbed to the logic he presented. Therefore, we aligned to fake Heliosh’s death in order to further investigate this conspiracy, rather than continue his original barbaric plan of unleashing the flaming brain within the walls of Vulcarsgrave. Yet where this man’s true allegiances may ultimately lie will yet to be seen. I will keep a watchful eye, and I know the cynical Faterinos will also be mindful of those attempting to cross us. Thunderhead’s axe does not forgive, nor does Donaldhino’s yodeling. I can only say that however illogical it may be, my chaotic spirit yearns to crumble the powers held at the top of Marmyrin Hall. And I can only hope that this plot somehow involves the gem guild, so the Faterinos may finally get our revenge and loot the basilisk shit out of that damn guild. We are Faterinos!

-Scratch

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I will kill you

Imagesfuzzy wuzzy

I curse the beast that has unleashed this wretched malady upon my beloved Buckles. I will hunt you down and do whatever is necessary to find the remedy for my Buckles Baby Bear.

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The Art of Thunderhead
Beauty

The images haunt my dreams. Perhaps by expressing myself in my crude hand, I can lay my burden down, at least for a while.

Jailbreak

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Thunderhead's Journal Part VIII

I believe the Faterinos have an authority problem which leads us to turn on any who would dare influence our behavior. Can you blame us? Burning liquid! Tanneries! This masked Heliosh who presumes to dictate to us the terms of our adventuring! The Faterinos can only be guided by the tenaciously bullheaded whims that we have learned to trust. The day that we are bullied into going along with some madman’s plan for the world, a madman more than content to destroy the city itself, will be the day that this dwarf hangs up his boots and becomes a barber.

I wonder how it felt for the fiend we were riding with to be taken unaware with an axe to the belly? Did he think to himself, “I have underestimated these Faterinos!”? No! He told me he thought we could have been brothers! BROTHERS! I have only a four siblings now, and they are called Faterinos. The sheer arrogance of the statement made me feel better about disemboweling the wretched cur. Have we made enemies? Of course we have, but the day you start dancing like a marionette for the enjoyment of others is the day that you cede true freedom. Consider our strings cut.

-Thunderhead Gloamingborn

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Kelsey and his Graham Cracker
meeeples iz peeples

As I open my fly for the umpteenth time today to urinate on this elderly gentleman in front of me, I am once again reminded of the honesty and purity of my poor, dear, very very dead mother. For she was the lady who first revealed to me the healative properties of a good old decrepit gent drain-on-him session. Kelsey is his name. I found him last night in the midst of a particularly depraved Halfling Hash den. Some uniquely talentless and TRAGIQUE! bards were attempting and failing to perform their amateurish and undercooked rhythmic dance story songs when I locked eyes with Kels. His eyes said no, but my mid section said yes. The chasm of lust and intention proved too much for me to boo-bear and here I am now pouring a vast yellow stream into his old dusty maw, dribbling the golden liquid all over my new sheepskin rug (you can also double it as a child syrup blocking sheath!).

Which brings us to Dorff . . .

I am not talking about Stephen, but the Deuces are wild! His Blade is limp and soul is dim, but he could take a neon rod of life better than this poor Grammarian ever could. Open and close and reignite the prose. The cloven hooves are not your table wine flagons! My observations are cloudy and my mind is filled with insects and they all want me to tell them a story so tell them I will.

Open the doors and close the legs of the whores. Can’t stop the music like a Jennered Bruce who is loose and cannot get past the smell of goose, the goose is his lady and her stead is a man who knows the lady who OWNS us all. Do you understand the web I weave in this world wide cataclysm of sexual urges and fooded purges. When the sheepskin rug is upon my stiff and savory whole I cannot unleash the stream of yellow and pillow without a visual reminder of the lady I once loved more than any one else in this sad little world of ours, Turmusa. Oh Turmusa! Why did you have to eat that bar of poison that I gave you to eat! It was a prank of most hilarious dimension, you flat footed de la whore! I tire of these reminisces and hope that my fellowrinos are ready for the most unpleasant and tiring tires that tired. Open the gates! Flood the pates! Give me a rind and I will tell you want is on my mind! Can I borrow a feeling? A Rub for my steaks? A placeholder for the one who cannot grape? I know not much of who or what or where? But the urge to pee inside of Kelsey’s mouth is strong. He knows this and I know this. I hold him down and he swallows. I lift him up and his spits it back up. Yes, he will be a good one, if he is not Dorff than he is the next best thing.

My impertinence is not your concern, young fools. I hold in my mind the key to this whole journey we are all on, but I feel as if your trust has not yet been earned. What shall you have to do to get into the mind of a poet and a thief and a liver and a giver and a maniac and a poet and a sadness in a bag? NOONE, not Herman, nor his hermits, but perhaps you, perhaps. PERHAPS.

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The Words and Deeds of Woodbine Grimsleep

Dear Diary,

Life was easier before I stopped drinking. At least when I was four sheets to the wind there was a reason I didn’t understand what was going on around me. Now that I’m clear-headed, I just get confused a lot and NabaYo Kinderhookianyells at me. Fair Nabayo, she has no idea how I feel about her. I know she hates humans, and I think she especially hates me sometimes, but I cannot get her out of my mind. The meaner she is, the more I like her. I think there’s a word for that, but I don’t know what it is. I’ll have to ask Donaldinho Yorgelater. At any rate, Donaldino has been encouraging me to express my feelings through writing and what he called “the poet’s art” and not through my axes. He said it would be “anger management.” I don’t really know what that means. I thought I was managing my anger pretty well on those orcs? I guess that’s just something he picked up along the way. Donalidino is so good at controlling his emotions and never doing anything to put the group at risk through reckless action, not like stupid old Woodbine. I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on myself for not understanding, Donaldino is truly a genius, and I am a simple man thrust into an unusual situation.

Still, I guess I should get to the point, Diary. Thunderhead Gloamingborn, the bravest dwarf I’ve ever met, and I have become half-members of Sentinel’s Hall. We will have a job tomorrow at 6 AM which should prove interesting. We will have to complete our assignments as a unit, but I know that there is nothing that can stop us when we put our heads together. Thunderhead feels deeply, we all know that, but I think he has a soft spot for me, unlike Nabayo. Sigh. Scratch seems to know more about my feelings than he lets on, but that’s classic Scratch for you. I think it’s safe to say that the Faterinos are my best friends and would never let anything bad happen to me. I would gladly die for any one of them if necessary. Even Nabayo, cruel as she can be, stopped to help me when I stumbled in that damned lair beneath the lake. If she didn’t care, why would she stop for me……? Sigh again. Perhaps I’ll ask Donaldino to teach me a love potion one of these days.

Anyway, after getting orders to meet up with Cassot the next morning, we headed over to the tanneries to see if we could track down the fiends from last night. They gave us the run around, but something wasn’t quite right over there. After Nabayo spent some quality time with Buckles, that damned bear who I am quite sure hates me and knows exactly how I feel about Nabayo, we headed to the granary to find out about someone called Heliosh, an almost mythical fighter/rebel within the city. Some people say he isn’t real. It makes me a bit nervous, but I try not to show it around the guys. I want them to think I’m awesome, you know, Diary?

As it turned out, Donaldino was able to learn that Heliosh really does exist, and that he grew up under a different name in The Fringe where he draws fighters and robbers to him. It seems like maybe he’s the guy running the show, the guy Luvneihas been looking for. Part of the problems seems to be that people from the Fringe protect him and keep him hidden from outsiders. There also seems to be rumors that he leads raids on other districts and burns people alive. They say he’s wrapped in rags when he goes out to hunt. Lord, what would father say about all this? He’d say nothing. He’s dead and I avenged his death thanks to the Faterinos. No matter what happens, I owe them.

In the Fringe, Donaldino, with an assist from Nabayo, performed a beautiful song called, “Jer Majesty is a Very Nice Boy.” Very catchy, great bridge, I think this one could really get some play. Anyway, as this was going on, Scratch found himself in a bit of a pickle, provoking a fight with a clown faced man, part of Heliosh’s gang it seems, who has been selling the Flaming Brain to the poor citizens of the Fringe. Scratch almost got taken out, but he escaped, as he does. We all ran to catch up with the fiend, but a HUGE battle erupted. After one of our fiercest battles ever, we managed to slay our assailants, take a few of the injured captive, including one called Zweezo. He had a tattoo on his wrist and smelled of the tannery. I think I know where we are headed soon. I look forward to interrogating the survivors. To think, they tried to kill us, THE FATERINOS, defenders of Good, friends to the animals! The mere thought of it makes me sick. I try to stop the sickness, but it won’t stop, it frightens me…but I like it.

It’s just sometimes, things go red and warm. I start to feel jumpy and queasy and everything goes a little wobbly and I just get so FUCKING ANGRY AT EVERYTHING. I WANT TO RAPE AND PILLAGE AND FUCK THE VERY LIFE OUT OF EVERYONE WHO GETS IN OUR FUCKING WAY. I DON’T CARE ANYMORE, I JUST DON’T. IF ANY OF THESE MISERABLE PISS-FILLED SHITBRAINED COCKSUCKERS GETS IN OUR WAY, I WILL SMASH THEM. I WILL IMPALE THEM ON THE END OF MY COCK. I WILL TURN THEIR ASSHOLES INSIDE OUT AND FUCK THEM BACK TO NORMAL. ST. CUTHBERT, GOD OF RETRIBUTION, HEAR YOUR SON’S WICKED CRY AND GIVE ME THE STRENGTH TO REND AND TEAR! I WOULD SLIT THE THROAT OF THE WORLD IF I COULD!!!!!!!!!

Diary? What happened? I don’t remember writing that…that filth above. Please help me contain this anger, I just want to be normal. Father always said I had a bit of the barbarian in me, but can it be controlled? I just want a family and a picket fence and a half-elf wife with a bad attitude and a wicked smile……but such is not the destiny of a Faterino. The destiny of a Faterino is a shallow grave in a potter’s field, and maybe, if we’re lucky, a song or two about our deeds played in the darkest of taverns. I can live with that.

Perhaps Donaldino was right. I feel better after writing this. The heat inside me is gone. Everything is cool again.

With all sincerity of heart,

Woodbine Grimsleep

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DM log Session 14

Here’s what happened in Session 14:

People:

Aestrar
Theirdokk
Prayap
Zuazo
Zweezo

Places:

The Fringe
Tannery Ward

Items:
Broken Seal of Sentinels Hall – Sword
Broken Seal of Sentinels Hall – Shield

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