TBT: Meet Biggs and Smalls

The two dwarf brothers meandered through the deep caves with one purpose in mind—treasure. The taller one, Biggs as his brother called him, was stout but a bit taller than most dwarves, though that is not saying much as most dwarves pride themselves on roundness rather than height. He had a blondish beard though it was difficult to tell through its thickness. It was braided into two longer pieces that stuck out from his chin more than ran down. They appeared as horns or tusks coming from his mouth from afar which often gave strangers pause. He wore the typical chainmail shirt of his kind, a tough helmet on his head and carried a large shield on his arm with a picture of a hammer decorating it. Indeed a silver colored hammer hung from his belt as did a crossbow and bolts.

His brother Smalls was squatter than most, but far from a runt. Thick as a tree trunk he had surprising mobility bounding through the cave with a quickness that would stun any who did not know him. He too had a thick beard, though his was darker than his counterpart and he did not bother braiding it but let it flow down to his chest like a waterfall. He covered his head with a steel helmet that had a spike on the top that was mainly for show in spite of the fact that he swore it would deflect a blade lessening the impact on his head and neck. He carried no shield but had a torch in his hands and a massively wide double bladed ax on his back. The head was nearly as wide as the shaft of the weapon was long, and it looked unwieldy. Any who had ever seen Smalls in action however, knew that he wielded the ax with deadly force.

As usual they were in search of precious treasure. It was a task they had devoted their lives too, but rarely had they managed to collect anything of real worth. This day would be different however. As they rounded a curve in the tunnel that was dug by beings long forgotten, they heard noises. Both dwarves froze in their tracks and listened.

“Miners,” Biggs whispered.

“Of course it’s miners you twit,” Smalls retorted in a harsh voice.

“How many?”

“How should I know?”

“Let’s turn back. Could be a lot of em.”

“No chance. Could have gems, gold, even mithrill.”

“Not likely, most likely minin’ iron.”

“Only one way to find out,” gasped Smalls as he push his brother aside to buy himself a moment, pulled his ax from his back and jumped into the tunnel from where the noise originated.

“You fool!” Biggs shouted pulling his hammer from his belt and following his companion.

Smalls came around a sharp corner to find himself faced with grey dwarves, the underground nemesis of all other dwarves. Five of them stared at the pair in shock and considered them for a moment with dark eyes and tightly drawn faces. Before a word could be spoken the greys lifted their picks and hammers in anger.

The nearest had a thick pick in his hands and he charged Smalls with it raised high above his head. He bellowed a war cry that echoed off the rock walls and dazed the brothers for a moment. Smalls lowered his ax, gripped his head with one hand and closed his eyes to focus on blocking out the sound. In that moment the grey saw his opportunity and raised his pick to kill the intruder.

He snarled and dropped his pick but just when it would have landed on Smalls’ head a shield parried the blow. Biggs kicked Smalls to the side as he swung his hammer over his head and down on the attacking grey. The weapon fell heavy on the enemy’s shoulder, snapping bones and sending him to the ground in a shrieking mass.

The other greys were formed up into a tight line with one at the head. Three held picks, but the one in front had whip in one hand and a dirk in the other. He cracked the whip in front of him and growled in the brothers’ dwarven dialect, “You should not have come here. This is our territory and ours to mine. You are trespassing surface dweller and we will deal with you.”

Smalls recovered from the initial attack to stand shoulder to shoulder with Biggs. They looked at each other with eyes wide and faces otherwise surprised.

Biggs snorted, “You always get us into trouble.”

“But I always get us out too!” laughed Smalls as he lifted his ax and charged into the group of grey dwarves.

The leader cracked his whip at the wild dwarf, but he shifted to one side so the sting of the leather would miss him and then swung his ax into the group at no one target specifically. They all dodged and dove to avoid the heavy blade, but one was caught in the torso. Not wearing any heavy armor, the blade cut straight through his clothes and opened his belly. He cried on the cold stone floor holding his wound in vain.

The other three recovered and sought to counter attack the flailing Smalls, but before they could get an attack off Biggs crashed into them with his shield leading the way and sent them back to the ground shrieking and grunting as they tumbled in a chaotic mass.

Smalls wasted no time as he quickly began hacking down on the enemies, hitting sometimes with the flat of his blade and other times with the deadly edge. In a few short moments they were dispatched of and laid in a hideously bloody heap. Biggs sighed, “I didn’t want to kill anyone.”

Smalls was breathing deeply to catch his breath but replied, “Nor I, but they left us no choice.” Biggs just turned his back and moved back up the site to where the first dwarf fell from his hammer. The grey enemy was still alive though he was badly injured and whimpering from the pain. Biggs knelt down and offered him a sip from one of the water skins he carried. The grey refused but Biggs looked at the wounds again before placing his hands on the shoulder and chanting a few words. The bones snapped back into place and the grey breathed easier. Biggs nodded and smiled as the grey stood up and began to move away. He sat on the ground and wondered about the life he and Smalls were living until he heard the sickening sound of snapping bone and tearing flesh. He quickly spun with his shield raised. Frozen in mid strike the grey dwarf he had just healed stood mouth agape and eyes wide, pick raised in his hands and appeared to be in mid swing—a swing that would have landed a blow on Biggs. Blood trickled from his mouth as Smalls tore his ax from the being’s back allowing him to fall to the floor dead.

“You never learn. Can’t trust anyone,” mocked Smalls. Biggs just sighed and sat back down next to the fallen foe.

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Epic of the desolation of Orc Hoards

Long ago five heroes took up a quest
To defend their homeland from invaders
Nobel and just the heroes gave us hope
For honor and clan Battlefate they fought
Thoradin, priest of Moradin, healer
Freyr, swordmage, defender of the weak
Ferdinand the Bull, fighting with his fists
Deisa smashes with ax and hammer both
Guter dark and ugly, mask hides his face
Together they were a group of heroes

Goblins and giants invaded the land
Slaughtering dwarves and spreading wickedness
An affront to everything the dwarves love
They were a scourge to the dwarf homeland
Invaded the mighty Battlefate Hall
And conquered the great dwarven citadel
Enslaving and murdering the proud dwarves
They spread their plague beyond the mountain halls
Assaulted dwarven city Konigsberg
Encircling and besieging the dwarf home

The dwarves tried to find allies to help them
A call to arms went out from Konigsberg
A plea for someone to help in their need
Many seemed willing to help them resist
But few arrived to help defend the wall
More seemed to want to profit from crisis
Take advantage of a chaotic time
Profiting from the dwarven suffering
Even attacking them in their crisis
Clearly the dwarves had few friends in the world

The heroes were selected for a quest
To travel across the mountains so high
To a land long forgotten by the dwarves
In hopes that they could find their lost cousins
Divided after an epic battle
With an evil giant and his minions
Once they were one mighty clan, Gloryfate
Divided now by a mighty mountain
Years of separation they’ve forgotten
Reuniting may be their only hope

The heroes left the city to find them
But first had to travel through a forest
Attacked by trolls, serpents and beasts unkind
Even werewolves picked up their scent and stalked
Attacked the group with blood lust in their heart
Growling and snarling, clawing and biting
The heroes fought them off, bloodied, bitten
Tending to their wounds as they forged ahead
Finding their way through the dark reaching trees
They at last caught sight of the mountain range

The mountain stood dark and foreboding
High and impassible, clouds hid the top
Through the heavy rock they had to travel
Hoards of orcs stood between them and their goal
The heroes tried to find a way around
But the tunnel through the mountain was blocked
Orcs inhabited the path desired
Blood would have to be spilled to gain access
The dwarf heroes were not at all afraid
And charged into the fray with weapons raised.

Stealthy Guter tried to distract the orcs
But managed to draw more into the fight
Thoradin made a run for the cave mouth
Instead thudded to the ground surrounded
The rest rushed down the mountain into war
Into swarms of orcs ugly and evil
Equipped with huge axes sharp and deadly
Raining arrows with deadly precision
Piercing the heroes through armor and shield
Threatening to end their lives and the quest

The heroes slashed and fired at the orcs
With prayers to Moradin lending support
Guter’s bolts pierced the beasts foul flesh
Ferdinand’s fists punished them for their rage
Freyr’s sword flashed and defended his friends
Diesa’s mighty weapons sent orcs to hell
Thoradin’s blessed hammer held high in faith
Together they stood strong against the hoard
Together they fought bravely, skillfully
Together they fell against orcish vile

Only Guter remained and looked to flee
The heroes dying, carried off by orcs
All appeared lost, the quest, the dwarves, the war
When suddenly Ferdinand woke from death
Without hesitation he battled on
And Moradin’s blessing flowed out freely
Both Thoradin and Freyr breathed again
With new vigor they again battled on
Resolved to prevail against all odds
They did not quit until all orcs did fall

Back from the brink of death the heroes lived
They praised Moradin for sustaining them
Orc bodies laid wasted across the land
Sadly Diesa too would not rise again
Her body was burried with last rites read
Remaining heroes could not mourn her long
Instead fought and killed the evil orc lord
And into the deep mountains they traveled
To find a land long lost and forgotten
For glory and honor, for Battlefate

Game Notes: Escape!

The party found themselves embattled with a group of angry and evil grey dwarves. The grey were not easy in defeat. One swelled in size as he took damage and began to smash the valiant Freyr Thoradin was unable to aid the sword mage much and before anything could be done the fighter was smashed to the ground.

The half elf witch came to their aid and cast a spell causing another of the grey dwarves to lose his grip on sanity and begin smashing anything near him. This backfired some as the crazed grey pummeled the heroes as well including Freyr who managed to shake off the hold of death and stand, only to be pummeled once more to the rock.

With some effort the heroes managed to dispatch the evil dwarf cousins. Blood was spilled and wounds were dealt, but the group endured and rested to heal their wounds. Moonshadow the witch guide was badly injured and was dying. Moradin’s priest refused to heal her but Ferdinand the Bull took mercy on her and treated her wounds. After some rest she recovered enough to regain her feet.

The priest of Moradin, Thoradin, threatened and banished the witch from his sight choosing instead to lead the party out of danger without her assistance. He decided that her leading was treacherous and likely to cause more harm to the party. She remained in the cave as the party moved on.

Finally finding the caves of the mountain distasteful and having grown tired of being lost in the deep they sought the exit directly. A couple of zombies wandered the caves but were easily purged from their sight.

A fresh breath of air was felt and the party rushed to find its origin only to encounter a pair of cave slimes who blocked their path.

Stubborn things, slimes are, but the heroes at last destroyed them.

Their was strange talk of remaining in the cave in order to rest for an extended period of time but Ferdinand the bull wisely reminded the party that Rock Hudson continued to pursue them and was likely to assault them. So we will assume the party will at last flee the cave. 248663

Through the Mountain

A wisp of fresh air beckons you to follow its sweet scent to a more pleasant place. Its intoxicating aroma cannot be ignored and it leads you to freedom from the darkness and the perils that lurk there. You stumble and tramp past the remaining rocks and rubble and find sunlight steaming in from the world beyond the cave. You quicken your pace and trot around the final turn.

A bath of warm rays wash over you even while the brightness of the sun blinds you for a moment. A burst of life and energy fills your body and your aches and pains lessen as you slump to your knees to enjoy the warmth that spreads through your limbs for the first time in many days.

You close your eyes and fall to the ground when you finally accept that you indeed survived the evils of the mountain cave. Drow and grey dwarves, dragons and ogres are behind you. They will not dare to venture into the light to threaten you. You are safe. For the first time in too long you are safe.

Minutes pass as you bask in the bright glow of the world and the freeing sense of safety that fills your soul. You snooze like a babe safe in its wrap. When you awake it is as if you have been born again; been given new life.

You open your eyes and look upon your new world. It takes more than a moment for you to adjust to the brightness but at last the landscape comes into focus. Your smile slowly fades and the warmth of the world begins to feel hot. A wind blows by and no longer smelling sweet, the air instead carries a hint of despair.

You scan the land before you but it appears dead. There is little but rock and sand. Desolation rules this new alien world. Far from the rivers and trees of your homeland you find yourself faced with an endless, harsh desert.

At least you are free from the belly of the dark mountain. Or is that a good thing?desert

From Drow to Duergar

The heroes, with the blessing of Moradin, escaped the drows’ clutches. The elf witch once more fell in battle but the dwarves dragged her free from the wicked dark elves. They retreated to a safer location and upon noticing that the drow did not pursue them they rested. The priest of Moradin was content to let her bleed to death but the monk did not tolerate it and dressed her wounds. She awoke to an interrogation by the group and was made to explain why she seemed to continue to lead them into, or perhaps better said, keep them from, danger.

The group discussed options and decided that they would have to push past the drow. The only other option that was floated was to dive into the river which plunges into deeper depths of the mountain. Of course the dwarven sword mage suggested trying to fight the drow once more and felt like the heroes could win a war of attrition with them even while their own numbers were static at five party members. Others did not warm up to the idea and it was decided to try to turn away from the drow at a fork in the cave.

As expected the drow were not in sight and rather than try to find them, this time the party moved in a different direction. They meandered around some turns and ultimately found a group of grey dwarf with hands shackled mining. The Priest of Moradin suggested negotiating with them again in spite of the fact that they are sworn enemies of shield dwarves and Moradin. It was wondered whether the air was getting to thick for him and affecting his thinking.

The heroes took good account of the scene and then attacked. They did not hesitate to slay the weak miners and then focused on the stronger and more dangerous Duergar who seemed to guard them. The battle began well for the group and with luck they will prove victorious. grey dwarves

Fall of Gloryfate

Generations ago a clan of dwarves stood out among the other clans and shone brighter than any other. Gloryfate Clan was chief in the old world and was renown throughout the land. Master craftsmen of both weapons and jewelry, trade caravans traveled far to gain access to the Gloryfate riches. Days were good and the halls of Gloryfate glimmered in the mountain depths. All good things come to an end however.

Goblin hoards crawled from cracks in the stone and clawed at the luxury of the clan with lust. As a sand storm they assaulted the hall and wrecked havoc where ever their filthy feet carried them.

Gloryfate would not be undone by some dirty goblins however and their stout warriors fought back with strength and fury, pushing back the unholy creatures. When it appeared that the vermin would be exterminated the giants arrived. 

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Huge creatures cold and angry plunged into the battle and left a path of death and destruction in their wake. Their hatred of the dwarves was unmatched by anything the dwarves had seen before and in spite of their bravery, fear crept in among their ranks. The giants could end Gloryfate, 

A weapon was commissioned. CLan King Oloben Gloryfate ordered his best smiths to forge a weapon for their king to weild and break the strength of the giants. Furiously the smiths worked without rest until, at last, they completed their task.They presented to their king a battle hammer unmatched in the world. They called it Gloryfate Giantbane. 

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As Oloben Gloryfate lifted the weapon for the first time his hands were filled with courage that rushed like lifeblood throughout his body. His eyes blazed with vengeance and his clan rallied behind their king as they thrust in to the giants as a dagger into flesh. 

Giantbane crushed the beasts under its massive strength; breaking bones and caving skulls. Its song was the howls of giants under its weight and the song was sung loud. The notes echoed in the stone halls of Gloryfate clan. 

Giants could not resit Oloben’s vengeance and fell at his feet; bashed and crushed by his hammer fueled by his anger. But one still stood. 

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A fabled foe stood tall against the king. He was Zanros Titan fist, Death Dealer; an ancient giant who led the war against the dwarves. He craved blood and death and hated dwarves beyond all other creatures for their constant tunneling and mining. Olobin found him surrounded by dwarf bodies, blood dripping from his lips. The two kings rushed each other and collided like mountains crashing together.

Their battle raged on, rumbling ever deeper into the earth. The mountains shook as they smashed and hit and kicked and pummeled each other. Dwarves and giants alike watched the champions dual to the death, pausing for a moment their savage conflict to witness a struggle more epic than any in multiple lifetimes. 

The battle was an earthquake, felt throughout the relm. Oloben swung his warhammer smashing the giant and Zanros countered, spitting hateful spells and swinging a wicked flail, each crushing against cave walls, shattering stone and bone alike. The struggle threatened to split the earth in their fury and rage. At last they drew close to death, their bodies and will wavered. 

With a final mighty blow, Oloben Giant Slayer, Champion of Prohpecy, Dwarf Avenger, crushed Zanros’ chest toppling the mighty foe. The wicked creature did not die quietly however and whispered one final, hateful curse that gripped the dwarf king’s heart and turned it black as if a dark cloud covered the sun and cast a long shadow over once beautiful land. The dwarf king collapsed. 

Dwarves ran to their king and giants rushed to theirs. No longer fighting, each breed tended to their champion. The giants carried their fallen king back to the depths from which they crept, and dwarves gathered their king to carry him to his throne room. The warhammer, Gloryfate Giantbane, had cracked and broken into two halves with the shaft separated from each. 

The dwarves laid Olobin down with the shaft of his hammer in his cold hands. The darkness gripped him and squeezed the life from his body. Mourning began and priests rushed to try to lift the curse from him. They prayed desperately that Moradin spare their king. To no avail. 

Within days the curse stole his life away. The moment the king exhaled for the last time a furious earthquake shook the mountain. Zanros had cursed not only they king, but the entire clan. Rock collapsed from the ceiling and walls crumbled and caved. The quake seemed endless as dirt and dust filled the air choking those were not crushed by the rubble. Darkness fell in Gloryfate Hall. 

When the rumbling was through and tourches were lit, Gloryfate clan was destroyed. Like the hammer, the hall had cracked in two. Rubble and rock separated the halves of the great clan. Weeks of digging could not reunify the clan. Families were lost or split up. Entire sections of the hall were gone. The king and his throne room were buried along with the shaft of Gloryfate Giantbane. The two halves of the hammer were also separated. One on each side of the hall. 

In time the dwarves found their way out of the mountain though they were now divided. Gloyfate was no more. Eventually two new clans rose from the ruin of the one from the refugees that survived the tremendous battle. They were Battlefate and Gloryborn. Each thrived on opposite sides of the insurmountable range. Each believed they had kin on the opposing side. Neither knew for certain. Glory and Fate remained separate. 

More wandering and Stirges

The heroes counted their loot and blessings after defeating a dragon. Moradin protects as always and the group felt secure in their continued success after defeating such a powerful foe. Guter the rouge dwarfs with hideous features scouted ahead with his new night vision goggles and located a zombie nearby. Surprisingly strategic the group decided to let the rouge “pull” the foe to them rather than meeting it in it’s own surroundings. The zombie didn’t at first take the hint but after finding a friend, the pair of undead traced after our hero to certain doom.

Satisfied the group moved on. Guter once again scouted and heard some flapping of wings down one corridor. The party of course ignored the fact that there was no strategic need to clear the area and engaged whatever dangers lurked within. They once more set up a decent line and waited for the enemies to reach them. It was surprising considering the party normally rushes forward with no regard for strategy or safety. Still…the flapping stirges they encountered were a little of a handful. They weren’t that tough individually but there were a few of them and they complicated things. It got further complicated when the witch guide cast a spell that caused damage to her allies and led to the Minotaur monk punching her as he danced around thumping foes. Still, the heroes could not be stopped by some measly flapping wasps. They downed them all and then slumped against the walls to rest a minute before the adventure continues. Next week.

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