Rappan Athuk

The Masoleum

The party fought their way through the wilderness to the ground level of Rappan Athuk. There, after a royal schooling by green gargoyles, they retreated to the village of Sukville. Then, upon returning, they found the entrance to Level 1: Lair of the Dung Monster.

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Resting up

Dirlum looked at her mug with deep suspicion. The thin, almost watery brew that partially filled the cheap wooden vessel did not inspire her with any confidence in its quality. Wasn’t the discovery and enjoyment of many fine and exotic beers part and parcel of being an adventurer? She was certain one of her older sisters had said so! …well, slurred so might be more accurate.

Dirlum looked at the drink once more and sighed. She doubted this was potent enough to make a dwarf hiccup, let alone slur.

Lagertha nudged her. “This is great!” she said, loudly. “The water here actually tastes a little like beer!” The other dwarf looked at Dirlum’s mostly filled mug. “Hey! You gonna drink that?”

Dirlum shrugged. Lagertha’s point of view might not be strictly accurate, but it might let her enjoy things a little more. “Yes,” she told the other dwarf. “If you want more, buy your own.”

Across the table, Kratos looked up from his book with a sour expression. The tavern—if one could call this repurposed barn a tavern—smelled like a goat pen, the food was overcooked and under-seasoned, the dwarves were loud, and there was no wine. He was miserable, yet thankful for all his dissatisfaction. He was, after all, not back at his master’s tower facing the daily feeding of the Things.

Yes, there were worse things than smelly rooms, bad food, paltry drink choices, and loud companions. Fighting gargoyles for one. After all, they seemed to focus on him—at least for the short time he remained conscious. That had been a terrible fight, and the wizard wished he could forget it the way his companions did. He almost envied them their small, simple minds.

“Dirlum! Catch!”

Sighing at the outburst and ensuing splash, he attempted to return to his studies.

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The Lair of the Dung Monster

After a wonderfully easy first few hours exploring Level 1: Lair of the Dung Monster, the party encountered the titular monster. Through a daring plan on the part of the Rogue, the Barbarian was saved and they all escaped… just to be confronted by the Ogre Vorlak and his small army of Kobolds.

With almost all of their gear stolen, the party limped back to town a few days later, where The Don offered to finance an attack on Vorlak’s lair, so long as he’s rewarded with 60% of the treasure found in the lair.

So the party uncovered Area 18: Vorlak’s Lair on the map.

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Tavern Tales 2

The companions sat at the tavern table, looking glumly into their watery beer… or beery water. It was hard to tell the difference.

“My axe!” complained Lagertha.

“My armor!” complained Dirlum.

“My ears!” added Kratos.

The dwarves looked puzzled. Lagertha leaned to one side and then another, inspecting the human’s shaved head. “They didn’t take your ears,” she told him. “I think you’re confused.”

“No they didn’t,” the wizard agreed. “But my ears have had to listen to you two gripe about your precious axe and armor for the last three hours. They’re getting tired of listening to you, and so am I.”

“Oh please!” retorted Lagertha. “At least you got to keep your book. The rest of us weren’t so lucky!”

“Luck had nothing to do with it,” replied Kratos. “It was wits. Which explains much.”

“If you were as witty as you claimed to be, you would have found a way to let us keep all our stuff,” said Dirlum.

“Yeah, like my axe!” Lagertha began the cycle again.

“And my armor!”

“You know,” interrupted Kratos. “You should be thankful we negotiated that deal with the local lord. At least you have an axe and some armor. Maybe you could spend some time thinking and talking about how you can use his loaned equipment to recover your own.”

“Why would I spend time thinking and talking about it? I’m just going to be hitting things with my axe.”

His axe.”

“Yeah.”

“It’s not as good as my axe. Or my armor!”

“Or my axe!”

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Tavern Tales 3

Dirlum muttered to herself as she trudged along the road. As kin to the fallen Lagertha, it was her duty to write the clan and explain the manner of her cousin’s death. Doubtless, this would elicit another of the prolific family to venture forth to take up Lagertha’s axe and armor. But what should Dirlum tell the clan?

“She met an angrier person who hit harder?” Dirlum didn’t like that version.

“It has the benefit of being true,” interjected Kratos.

The dwarf looked up at the wizard who walked beside her. “I don’t know,” she waffled. “That doesn’t sound very epic.” She shook her head. “Wait! How do you know what… why?” She sputtered into silence at the wry look the wizard aimed her way.

“It’s quite elementary,” he said. “I merely divine from what I know of you, and what I know of dwarves in general, your most likely course of action. I observe, comment, and your reaction confirms my hypothesis: you’re wondering what to put into a letter home.”

Dirlum grimaced both at the wizard’s statement and at the thought of the letter. “You know,” she told her companion, “sometimes you’re too smart to be helpful.”

“If you want florid prose, ask a bard,” he replied acerbically. “And not within my hearing, if you please. I deal in hard truths. I thought dwarves did likewise.”

“Well… yes, but…” Dirlum sighed. “We do make exceptions.”

“Well then, perhaps you’ll do better with a few drinks in you,” replied the wizard. “Based on my past experience, that will loosen your tongue AND raise your volume.”

“That’s… actually a good idea!” Dirlum brightened. In one of those epic coincidences, they had just arrived at the door to the inn. She hastened forward and threw open the door, looking forward to… OK… anticipating many mugs of watery beer.

Inside, a burly female dwarf sat at their favorite table, quaffing the inn’s questionable brew from a wooden mug. She slammed the now empty mug down, and looked up, her face breaking into a wide grin as she spotted Dirlum.

“Cousin!” she bellowed. “I can’t believe you and Lagertha were keeping this place such a secret. The water tastes a bit like beer! By the way, where is my sister?”

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Tavern Tales 4

“She wasn’t very bright, you know.”

The dwarf sitting next to Tuvolin gave her a scandalized look. “Don’t speak ill of the dead, Tuvolin,” warned Dirlum, “especially someone who’s your kin and who left you her gear.”

“Bah!” Tuvolin cared little for sparing people’s feelings. “What’s she gonna do? Climb out of her grave and punch me?”

“She died in Rappan Athuk.”

At this, the brash ranger frowned. “Ah. True.”

Tuvolin took a skeptical sip from her mug to cover her hesitation and hopefully change the subject.

“Bleh! This beer is so thin, someone might actually think it’s water!”

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Veteran of a Thousand Psychic Wars..

“As I was saying positive thoughts will go along way.. Once if you can believe it I was just a lowly human.. I mean I’ve seen things.. Terrible things.. Heck I can remember when I found my girlfriend Kaori in the embrace of another squad mate. Those things change a man, that and the brain worms. " He tapped the pulsating veins along his temples.. “But I moved on.. and now look at me I’m surrounded by a bevy of beautiful woman.. Positive Thoughts my man send them out into the universe and the universe will return them three times.”

The bartender winced as the waves of psychic feedback washed over him. Everybody winced as they listened. Another byproduct of his phenomenal psychic powers, he was always the center of everybody’s attention. What a gift.

“Now negative thoughts.. They’re different.. it only returns if the poor recipient lives through it all..”

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