Update from last time:
With Isling and Smog’s help, Blackfoot has overthrown Stonehammer clan in Fellhammer (north of town #2). Isling soldiers were occupying town #2, and we tracked them to a secret meeting. Ended up killing the whole party after their message was delivered by someone invisible.
1) Find the amulet
2) Heart of the Forest (need to stone to get into the hermit’s (Tom) lair)
3) Kill the child molester publicly.
4) Trade switched from Brenton (town #3) to Dressel’s Pass (town #2). Dressel’s Pass is not friendly and is siding with Isling.
The session begins:
After disguising Balthar to conceal his ID from the dwarves he has history with, we roll in with a caravan to Fellhammer. Outside, there is already a new statue to one of the Blackfoot clan. There are significant guards outside the entrance to the hall, they search through our stuff without incident. We move through the dwarven halls, and notice signs of the recent battle which went on inside. Inside the second hall, there is a building reduced to rubble and still smoldering. The building is the former Stonehammer hall building, and when Wrankle (?) made his last stand, he set off an explosion inside the room which burned it – and he hasn’t been located. There is a big pit in the center, and all the guys who’ve gone in haven’t’ come out. Also in the main hall are a tavern, inn, and barracks.
We peek into the Inn, and a man falls out of his chair when seeing us. Thinking he is drunk, I follow him out of the roof and ask if he needs help. I am aware that he is wearing armor, and he continues moving (angrily) and heads to the magistrates office. Sensing that we are about to be in deep trouble, we head over to the pit we saw earlier. Balthar tells the guards that we want to bring the old king to justice. They react poorly to that, and so Brom says in a hushed voice that we aren’t cool with the overthrow and want to find the guy. That changes the attitude, and they indicated a small passage we can use to get into the pit unnoticed.
We descend into the pit, and detect a trapped room (covered with blood and fresh guts). Balthar heads in to detect the trap, and the doors slam shut behind him. The doors reopen after an encounter, and the others join him. The doors slam shut again and two stone golums appear. Balthar calmly flicks his blood (from the wounds he just sustained), and when it hits them, they announce “blood of the Stonehamer, tribute paid”. Moving forward, we notice one older set of bloody footprints, and about seven newer sets. We assume they are the deposed King and them some other guys joining him.
We come into a large room. When Balthor crosses the threshold, the torches flame to light! There is a fountain in the room, and there are seven neat piles of equipment inside. An inscription above the fountain reads: “Ye that would tread in the resting place of the ancestors, must remove the trappings of war….etc” We ditch our equipment and place it in the fountain.
There is another stairway leading down, where we hear voices. One guy is yelling at another, they are arguing. We return to the main room because we want to investigate a crest in the wall Balthor noticed in the main room (he is the only one who can see it).
There is a crest in the wall which only Balthor can see; and a door opens when Balthar approaches. Inside is a staircase leading up, and Balthor senses he has been in this place before. We head up, and we are in an observation room above a very large hall. The space would’ve been used to pray without disturbing the resting place of their ancestors.
Balthar recognizes one of the seven people in the room below, and he is not a friend and potentially not an ally of the deposed king. There is a huge guy trying to smash open the door, and another using a device we can’t make out on the door. Another guy breaks into a crypt, and finds a weapon. As he takes it, a giant statue in the middle of the room comes to life and crushes him violently with a hammer, killing him. The guy Balthar recognizes is trying to coach the guy with the device about how to use it; Balthar realizes that they have the device they need, but they are not in the right place to open the door.
The leader (who is the guy Balthar recognizes), heads up to the door and calmly speaks to the guy on the other side of the door (“We know you’re in there, your nephew is dead, and you’ll be dead before the end of the night”). They turn to head back to the fountain. Encounter!
After the encounter, we find the ring they were trying to use on the leader (who we have left alive) and insert it in the fountain. The water turns to blood and the door at the end of the crypt room opens. We have opened the tomb of the first king. Wrankle is on the floor, alive but spitting blood. He waives us off from trying to heal him – the wounds are spiritual. Balthar asks “Uncle, what happened?” He explains “Stop the Axe and Hammer – you must bring something of value to Smog to turn him against the Isling/Blackfoot alliance which he has helped create. The Blackfoot are weak, they are pawns of the Axe and Hammer. The ring you bear has power over Smog, and we have used it over him for centuries. He would greatly value having one.” The ring will also likely open that door we need to get at the Heart of the Forest. “Balthar – you are king now, and it falls to you to take back the kingdom.”
Balthar explains that he is the dying king’s nephew. Balthar’s dad was his favorite advisor, and was assassinated. Then his mother was killed, too (poison). Balthar was the heir apparent, and fled from fear. He was a street kid on the run, and was adopted by Grunthel (the guy we have unconscious), the head of Axe and Hammer – a dwarven secret soceity. It is considered myth by most, but is real. They are very anti-non-dwarf races. Somehow they have joined with Smog to change things now. Before being initiated into Axe and Hammer, he fled to the island. They continued to pursue him even there, so when the volcano erupted – Balthar put his ring on a burnt dwarf corpse. The Axe and Hammer, believing Balthar was dead, retrieved the ring and returned to overturn the Stonehammer clan.