Tome of Dorgoth

The Tale of the Swamp and the Mine

In 902 LC, Morsyana's spies on the surface world picked up that the Labareans had conquered one of the residences that used to belong to her father, Bothandal the Crafter. Inside, they located a coded map, which Morsyana knew pointed to the location of Bothandal's Mine. Realizing that locating and occupying this mine would be a great asset to her war plans, she collaborated with illithid to reclaim it and sent out one of her more promising soldiers, a blue-haired rogue-wizard whose penchant for lethal violence had earned her the name Blue Death.

The illithid commanded a sizable group of [race:bugbears]] on the surface world, who were instructed to form an alliance with the Krikk tribe in Castle Krikk and who convinced the hobgoblin leader of the tribe to let them oversee the various goblin operations in King's Swamp. At the same time, Blue Death struck a deal with the conjurer Crazy Lou in Pellvyr , offering him powerful magic and the help of the bugbears in exchange for his aid in securing the region. The conjurer accepted this deal and used his newfound power to take control over a rowdy group of criminals called the Vangals.

Bet of the Blade

The map, however, was held by the Labarean officer and Blade of Dorgoth Eribell Plopkettle in Silimanis and he held on to it, despite Blue Death's efforts to take it. Once the Blades understood the map pointed to the legendary mine, they sent Plopkettle to King's Swamp to further investigate. He was to meet with Theodorius Cragwoodle in Nadi. Cragwoodle was another Blade of Dorgoth who was tasked with “exploration and containment”, a euphemism for a search-and-destroy mission of magical sites outside of Labarean territory. Cragwoodle was supposed to be kept in the dark about the map, providing an additional cover for Plopkettle (This tactic, where a secret mission is wrapped inside another one, is called a “winter cloak” by the Blades of Dorgoth))

When he arrived in Nadi, however, Plopkettle met old friends who were traveling with General Thalec Blakenstoop's Contingent 17 and were on their way to Zhai, to reinforce the invasion. He joined them for drinks in The Scared Hare, a bar run by venture capitalist dwarf Gondwen Huckstone. Once the beer started flowing, Plopkettle and Huckstone started playing a game of Gods at war with stakes, together with the cleric Glückmock. Being completely drunk and overconfident, Plopkettle decided to bet using the map, which Huckstone accepted when he was told it had elven heritage. However, Plopkettle lost again and Huckstone ultimately won the map.

Venture capital

Glückmock informed Huckstone that he saw maps like that before, but could not really remember where. He did know, however, that Crazy Lou in Pellvyr, near his own accomodation in the swamp, knew about these things. And so they traveled to King's Swamp, where Huckstone met with Crazy Lou. Lou, who divined what the map was about, told Huckstone the story about Bothandal's Mine and the dwarf, never shying away from a business opportunity, knew he had struck gold. He imagined himself exploiting the mine and figured that the sleepy town of Pellvyr would go through a boom, prompting him to buy the local bar and name it The Gold and Red, after the colors that pointed towards the magical significance of the map, according the Crazy Lou.

When he returned to The Scared Hare, however, he found a group of orcs in Labarean attire waiting for him. They demanded the map and Huckstone got into a fight with them. He fled town westwards, where he came upon his friend Sigrid Brightface who was traveling toward Zhai. When Huckstone told him what had happened, Brightface took him to a nearby monastery of Ush, where the Labareans would not easily find him.

Meanwhile, Crazy Lou had mentioned Huckstone's visit to Blue Death, driving her crazy with the idea that the map had been so close. She immediately sent bugbears towards Nadi and instructed Lou to keep an eye out for Huckstone and obtain the map.

The Kingdom of Laeryll, at the same time, had been informed through its network that a valuable item had been taken by the Labarean Empire and was tracked to The Scared Hare in Nadi. Not knowing what the item was, they sent wizard-in-training Ballelds Landidith to obtain it, as part of his master test to become a True Wizard at the Academy of Evocation in Prydisyrr.

Back at the monastery, Brightface and Huckstone came up with a plan. They would find a band of adventurers to transport Huckstone's most important stuff towards Pellvyr, while they themselves traveled there together. Pellvyr, being part of the Kingdom of Laeryll, would be relatively safe, but Brightface sent out a message to the Silimani Gunslingers for backup. With the nearest town being Nadi, Huckstone wore a disguise (including a long fake black beard to cover his shorter, red one) there to find adventurers. He hid in The Scared Hare while Brightface spread word that someone was looking for a standard transport job. As nobody wanted to stay in Nadi due to the presence of Contingent 17, a large crew of adventurers showed up: Spatula the Bard, Kramknir Arutan, Bor Durlyne, Tijl Morningstar, the Wayan druid Thardis the Wanderer and the aforementioned Ballelds from Prydisyrr. The cleric Glückmock, who had squatted the bar during Huckstone's absence, was told that he would have to join, too, to pay off his bar tab. Since Glückmock lived in the swamp near Pellvyr, he could agree to this deal.

Ambushed by goblins

Brightface and Huckstone went to King's Swamp by horseback, but were ambushed by goblins of the Krikk tribe upon entrance. The goblins were instructed to capture a redbeard, and since Kramknir Arutan had taken Huckstone's false beard because he found it unworthy for a dwarf, the goblins recognized him. They took both Brightface and Huckstone to their cave, where the ancient map was collected by the hobgoblin King Krikk. Krikk wanted to hand both the map and Huckstone to Blue Death in exchange for gold.

The transport party came upon the ambush site, and did not only slay almost all of the remaining goblins, but proceeded to work their way through the goblin cave, killing the bugbear leader Arun and his wolves in the process. The group also found Brightface, chained to a rock, as well as Plopkettle and Cragwoodle who were kept in a cage. The group rescued Brightface but Ballelds tried to kill the gnomes, throwing fire bolts at them as he left the cave. Unbeknownst to him, however, both gnomes survived, although they were scarred for life.

The party made its way to Pellvyr, resting at the ruins of Beltar during their journey. Here, they reunited the ghost of Ilyana Gadellde with that of her daughter Arhi and earned the right to use Ilyana's Bow, a magic item that was taken by Bor Durlyne.

Burning the Bullywug Bar and Bumping Bluntstone

The group continued to Pellvyr, while Sigrid informed them about what happened. Notes found in the cave suggested that Huckstone and the map were taken to Castle Krikk, but it was unclear where that castle was located. In Pellvyr, the group came upon preparations for the Festival of Light that would be held soon and came into conflict with the Vangals. Thardis, who had made contact with an old half-elf wizard named Daran Lightsteel, brought the group to him and there they learnt the location of Castle Krikk. When a fight in the local Bullywug Bar escalated, the party set the bar on fire and fled to Daran, after which they proceeded northwards, with the exception of Thardis who undertook a mission to Eil Kuar.

Sigrid Brightface, meanwhile, had realized the party could not be trusted. They had not only burnt down the bar, but had also robbed and intimidated villagers and salesmen at the market. Now, however, he had bigger things on his hands. The Vangals, whose bar was destroyed, started raiding the village. Brightface, together with some locals, managed to hold them off. Afterwards, the village rioted and demanded justice. Brightface, being a member of Fist of Ush, decided to install order and set up a tribunal. Some of the locals cleared the Vangal hideout in the village's Lakeside Manor, while Brightface charged Bluntstone with aiding and abetting the criminal gang.

The Gunslingers

Villagers also filed charges against the party as a whole. Once the gunslingers arrived, Brightface put out a warrant for the party's arrest and the Gunslingers went northwards to pursue them. They said they had already met the druid Thardis, but were told she was not as important as the rest, with the most dangerous group members being Morningstar, Durlyne and Landidith.

Castle Krikk

Castle Krikk, while dilapidated through centuries of abuse, proved to be a well-defended fortification. Housed in the old dwarven fortress Khandar's Blessing, it was filled with goblins and hobgoblins. The party managed to sneak in, but was too big to remain unnoticed. Brought before King Krikk himself, they finally spotted Gondwen, who was forced to dance in Krikk's throne room, to the tunes of a goblin who played the hurdy-gurdy.

Kramknir Arutan had recognized the