Rock Hammer Hold

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 Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?

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Sam the DM
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PostSubject: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Sat Jun 05, 2010 12:34 am

The towering walls of Overlook rise slowly but steadily over the horizon as you draw ever nearer your destination. From a distance, the city looks as secure and serene as ever, but as you move closer, you can see that all is not as you left it. A great mass of activity bustles around the gates, people lugging stone and timber this way and that, all beneath the watchful eyes of sentinels who stand dutifully atop the wall. One particular blond-bearded dwarf in plate armor – an officer, you would assume – stands atop the gate shouting orders to everyone in sight.

Although the activity doesn’t appear especially rushed or frantic – indeed, you see people pausing to talk or jest with one another as they work (and when the officer isn’t looking) – it appears as though Overlook were mobilizing for war.

As you enter through the gates you notice the movement of crossbow, several of them pointed you way, “Ho friend, state yer business!”

Umberto smirks, wondering if this guard is for real, “We are the Lords of Rock Hammer...perhaps you’ve heard of us?”

“Apologies,” says the guard as he bows respectfully and takes a step back. All the weapons are lowered and even some of them are dropped so the guards may applaud your arrival in their city.

“Ah, heroes of Overlook I see,” says the blond-bearded dwarf, “’tis good to have you back.”

“Thanks friend,” replies Umberto, “I have to ask, what is going on here, Captain…?”

“Captain Aerun,” nods the dwarf, “we are making preparations for war. Not that we expect anything specific. The Council of Elders and the various priesthoods have reason to hope that, with the defeat of the orc invasion and the closing of the Shadowfell gate, their city is good and safe for a long time to come. Still, recent troubles have stirred up a strong ‘better safe than slaughtered’ mentality. So the Council of Elders have ordered that Overlook’s defenses be repaired and enhanced.”

Umberto thanks the Captain for his efforts and immediately the dwarf is off yelling at someone who dropped something.

You decide to ask a local about any current problems, and regret doing so. “No problems going on that I know about. Why, is there something we should be worried about?!?”

Once things settle down Amyria turns and speaks for the first time, “Thank you again friends for all you have done. I must go now.”

And with a smile she is gone, slipping into the crowd. Umberto gives Lozigee a nod and the halfling is quickly on her tail. An hour later, Lozigee returns with a report.

“She went straight to the Nine Bells district….Temple of Ioun….praying away.”

Umberto nods, satisfied that she is safe. “Well, we should get something to eat and then head back to Rock Hammer in the morning.” Outside of a brief few hours to retrieve that ceremonial platinum sword, you really haven’t been back home for over a month.

You get seated for lunch when the barmaid comes up to take your orders, “Begging your pardon, m’lords, but you look familiar to me. You are the folk who saved us from the orcs, and from those foul creatures of shadow, aren’t you?”

Umberto smiles, and for a second you think you are going to see a Lucian-esque response to the young woman, but you don't. “We did help out a little in both cases.”

“Well, I’m sorry to disturb you and all, but there’s someone been looking for you. Woman named Lavinya? She’s a priestess at the temple of Erathis, over in the Divine Knot. She’s been leaving messages all over town – says she desperately needs to speak with you. She begs you to come see her at the temple, just as soon as you can get there.”


Things you would know


The Divine Knot (Nine Bells District): The Divine Knot is a corner of the Nine Bells district, occupied by an array of dirty, dilapidated temples all but clustered together, like old men huddling against the cold. The temples of Avandra, Bahamut, Erathis, Kord, the Raven Queen, and Zehir still operate, albeit with small and impoverished congregations. The old temples of Ioun, Moradin, and Pelor have long since closed. The temple of Moradin was replaced with the Stone Anvil, while the other two no longer have organized services in the city.

The Shrine of Erathis: A small shrine, little more than an altar and a statue now.

The Stone Anvil: A grand cathedral to Moradin, the Stone Anvil is a combination temple and fortress. It is the most powerful church in the city, and it is currently run by High Priest Durkik Forgeheart.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:24 am

Very well then Lords, it appears our journey home must be put off a tad bit longer. Perhaps after we finish another round we should head that way. I myself could do to drop by the Stone Anvil for a bit.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:47 am

Before heading to the Shrine of Erathis, Kregnok leads the group to the Stone Anvil along the way.

As compared to so much of the rest of Overlook, the Stonehammer district might almost be a different city. Broad, clean streets flow like rivers of rock between enormous, sweeping edifices, carved with near magical precision. The air is clean here, and the voices you hear are raised in laughter and negotiation, without the tinge of desperation so common in some of the poorer quarters.

Despite the disparate racial makeup of the group, your status as heroes of the city only garners strange looks.

And then you are there. It rises up before you like a fortress, constructed of blocks of stone larger than many of Overlook’s houses. At its height, looking down upon even it tallest neighboring buildings, glint leaded windows in the shape of hammers. The doors at the entryway stand open, inviting all who would worship, and a good thing it is – for these doors are 40 feet high if they’re an inch, and the lot of you together might have difficulty dragging them open.

This is the Stone Anvil, temple of Moradin and the spiritual heart of Overlook.


As you walk towards the massive front doors and peer into the sanctuary, you see that the sweeping, magnificent, and ostentatious interior rivals the impressive exterior. About one hundred worshippers are engaged in prayer, heads bowed and chanting in low, sonorous voices. As usual, the overwhelming majority of the faithful here are dwarves. The services are being led by a young dwarf female who reads from a great, steel-bound tome that, when open, is nearly as broad as she is.

You wander over to examine the halls surrounding the main sanctuary and discover that things are a bit out of order. A great many tasks appear to have been left undone; floors are not swept, candelabras are unpolished, and torches and braziers have been allowed to burn out. One would thinks that a temple this big would have multitudes of dwarves followers to maintain the place.


You can leave and continue on to the Shrine of Erathis, or explore deeper into the Stone Anvil.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:22 am

I think it would be worth finding out why the temple is in it's current state and what happened to the dwarves that normally care for it.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:42 am

Thanks G$!

You start exploring further into the Stone Anvil and within minutes you hear the sounds of footsteps and the clicks of armor, from multiple people approaching.

“Out! Out! Out!”

You hear the commands yelled before you even see who shouts them. Around the corner you see a dwarf dressed in the garb of a high priest being accompanied by a contingent of the city watch.

Kregnok smiles, “Oi, if it isn’t Durkik Forge-“

“I said out!” barks the dwarf, pointing to the door. He looks at Kregnok, now standing with his jaw dropped, like he had never seen nor heard of him before.

Kregnok motions to your group, “But we-“

“I want them out of here immediately!” The dwarf folds his arms over his chest defiantly.

The guards reluctantly approach, heads lowered, and speaking in whispers “Sorry guys, I know the city owes you more respect than this, but…. High Ancestor Durkik Forgeheart has authority here.”

Once Durkik sees you have been removed from the Stone Anvil he seems satisfied and returns inside. Umberto shakes his head, “We’ve actually met this guy before, during that first meeting when we initially met the Glorious Defenders. What a jerk!”


So…off to the Shrine of Erathis?
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:19 am

I think we should ask those guards why the dwarf has is holy panties in a twist... then maybe we can move on
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:27 am

The guard stammers a bit, choosing his words carefully, “The High Ancestor…has been quite busy as of late. He is putting a huge effort into restoring the old Temple of Moradin.”

DM Note – I’ve gotten things mixed up a little. There are two sites dedicated to Erath (unaligned goddess of civilization. She is a founder of cities and writer of law, revered by warlords, rulers and inventors) in Overlook. The Temple of Erathis is in the Divine Knot which is where you are headed now to meet with Lavinya. The Shrine of Erathis is in Tradetown, which she wants to talk to you about. So, there you go.

The guards bid you farewell and you make the trek to the Divine Knot to the Temple of Erathis.

You cannot help but notice, as you pass, that the old temple of Moradin appears to be under as much construction as the city ramparts. Great frameworks and ladders stand alongside the building, and you can see lumber stacked along the inner walls through the open windows. It looks as though not every priesthood in Overlook is as badly off these days as that of Erathis.

As you near the temple of Erathis it is all but impossible to tell what color the stones of this temple might once have been, for now they are a repugnant mixture of smoke-stained gray, dirty-handprint brown, and bird-dropping white. The stenches of the Nine Bells district appear to congregate here, as though seeking admittance and absolution, and you’ve seen zombies that looked (and smelled) healthier than some of the unfortunate, impoverished souls shambling along the streets with empty eyes.

Three wide steps that don’t appear to have been swept in days rise toward a heavy wooden door that boasts a relatively fresh coat of polish – one that cannot begin to conceal the rot beneath.

As you enter the temple you see a largely empty cathedral, its pews old and candles burned down to nubs. At the far end stands an altar to Erathis, which is far better maintained than anything around it. A dark-haired and gold-robed half-elf, grown old before her time, kneels before the altar, rising and turning at the sound of the door.

“Thank you,” she says as she recognizes you. “I knew Erathis would guide you to me.”

She welcomes you in and directs you to the pews at the front of the cathedral (the cleanest ones), and offers everyone a glass of cheap wine.

“My name is Lavinya,” she tells you. “I’m the priestess here; the other all departed years ago, when the Nine Bells went all to seed, and the temples with it. I keep it open and functioning as best I can on my own, but…”

She shakes her head, as though reminding herself to stay on topic. “Do you know Haelyn?” she asks.

Umberto looks at the faces of his comrades, “No, we don’t”

“I’m sure you know,” she continues, “that most worship of Erathis in Overlook takes place there (the Shrine of Erathis in Tradetown), rather than here (Temple of Erathis in the Divine Knot). I must admit, I haven’t always been a friend of Haelyn. I was…bitter, very bitter, at what happened to my temple. But after a time, we got to know each other, and we’ve become great friends.”

“And that’s why I need you!” Lavinya looks up, her eyes suddenly narrowed. “Something is wrong! Something’s happened to Haelyn, I know it, and maybe not just to her!”

Lavinya takes a sip of her wine and continues, “A few weeks ago, Haelyn just disappeared. I went by the shrine to speak to her and she was gone. There’s a man named Grovald maintaining the shrine now. I don’t know him; I’ve never met him before, and nobody I talk to knows him either. He told me that Haelyn left on a spiritual retreat and would be back in a few months. But I know better! Haelyn needed no ‘spiritual retreat’! Her faith was strong, and it was centered on that shrine! And even if she had, she wouldn’t have up and left – not without telling me.”

Lavinya shakes her and looks you over.

“I must confess. I went back at night and snooped around a bit, not just in the shrine, but peering through the windows of the groundskeeper’s cottage. I’ve offered penance to Erathis for my trespass, but I had to know what happened! I didn’t…I found no trace of Haelyn, but I did catch a glimpse of a letter though the cracks in the shutters. I couldn’t read much of it, and I dared not stay long, but I certain it was addressed to ‘G’ – that must be Grovald, right? - and it began with ‘I am commanded to ask if you’ve had any further problems with the worshippers of…’ That’s all I saw, but it sounds sinister enough!

“And that,” she says morosely, “is where things got even worse. I went to the authorities, but they told me there was nothing to look into, that Haelyn – or any citizen – can travel as they please. I spoke to some of the other priests – Aelys of Bahamut, Durkik of Moradin at the Stone Anvil, Kyrrist of Avandra, even Matron Volorvyn of the Raven Queen. Some of these have been my friends, and even those who were not have at least been respected colleagues. And all of them brushed me off! They were distant, uncaring, even cold, as though my worries were of no moment! Volorvyn appeared to barely recognize me, and while we’ve never been close, we’ve known one another on and off for years.

Lavinya looks at you one by one, “And that’s when I thought of you, Overlook’s new heroes. I’m terrified that something has happened to my friend and that something is wrong with my fellow priests. I should, we all should, be showering you with gifts and thanks, not heaping even more cares onto your shoulders – but I’ve little influence left in the city, and I have nobody else to whom I can turn.”

Lavinya looks at you with hopeful eyes, praying that you’ll say you’ll help her.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:16 pm

I don't believe the Lords of Rockhammer have ever let down a woman in need, no reason for us to start now...
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:27 am

Lavinya’s eyes well up and she tries her best to wipe them away, “Blessed is Erathis! Thank you so much kind sirs, I’m…I really had nowhere else to turn to.”

Umberto smiles and reassures the priestess, “We will see this through, that I promise. Do you have any other recommendations for our investigations?”

Lavinya thinks for a moment and then comes up with four:

  • “You could talk to one of the other priests, I suppose,” she mutters doubtfully. “I’m not sure they’d agree to speak with you at any length, though. Everyone’s so busy with the mobilization. And these are important people; you can’t just, uh, ‘hero’ your way into the building and confront them,” she adds with a smile. “Still you might learn something from them.”

  • “You could examine the Shrine of Erathis. You might find something I missed. Or you could search Haelyn’s home, which is on the same lot as the shrine. I looked for her there, but when she didn’t answer, it felt wrong for me to just barge in. But now…” she shrugs.

  • “The old temple to Moradin is right next door. High Ancestor Durkik recently assigned most of his underpriests to restoring the old temple. Something about wanting to expand, I think, so other races who might not be comfortable in the Stonehammer district could return to Moradin. With so many people working there perhaps someone knows something, or saw something.”

  • Lavinya sighs, “I suppose you could try and go to the authorities yourself, and that would be at the Ministry of War in the High Hall district. It was a complete waste of time for me, but perhaps the heroes of Overlook might fair better.”



"So," asked the DM, "which way are we headed?"
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:50 pm

Should we take these on as a group or can we divide these up?
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Sun Jun 13, 2010 1:32 pm

Stay as a group, you have plenty of time to get around to doing all of them.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Sun Jun 13, 2010 4:50 pm

Maybe we could examine the Shrine and search Haelyn's home for a start.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Sun Jun 13, 2010 6:44 pm

You are headed over to the Shrine of Erathis in the Tradetown District.

As compared to Overlook’s temples, this shrine is poor indeed – and yet it offers a sense of intimacy that the greater edifices do not. Several wooded poles stuck in the earth support walls and ceiling of heavy fabric, barely enough to keep the rain off the altar within it. The altar is littered with candle stubs and scraps of parchment, which are the remnants of prayers and offerings.

Beyond the makeshift sanctuary, a statue of Erathis stands in the middle of a pool of stagnant water, staring off toward the horizon. Many of the bricks of the pool are broken or missing, and a closer glance suggests that the “statue” was in fact a fountain at one point, but the mechanism has failed – likely many years ago.

Several rickety cottages stand on the edge of the property, apparently held together by little more than faith and an extra coating of paint.

Several townsfolk move in and out of the tented-shrine, leaving written prayers on the altar and occasionally glancing askance at a fellow who paces behind it. He is a tall human, bald-headed with features sharp as an eagle’s, clad all in somber black. He mutters to himself as he paces.

You study him for a moment (successful Insight Check) and it’s pretty clear from his body language that the man doesn’t want to be here, though any time one of the citizens utters a prayer to Erathis, he replies with a quick “So may it be.”
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:01 am

Let's go ask him if he knows anything about Haelyn.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:53 pm

The man looks at you with a hint of disdain, “Haelyn has left on a spiritual retreat. I do not know where she has gone, nor do I know when she will be back.”

Grovald goes back to pacing and muttering to himself.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:42 pm

can I flex at him? maybe growl a little? maybe crush a can on my head then eat a ball of tin foil? or should we go check on the house?
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:08 pm

Your efforts fail as you start to press him, he immediately waves you off. "I am busy praying with the faithful!" He returns to muttering louder than before, offering prayers to Erathis.

One of the faithful, an older woman dressed in a shabby but well-mended shawl and dress, stands up from the altar and turns her eyes on you. "I know you!" she calls out. "Thank you so much for all you've done!"

As she approachs you, however, she glances once at Grovald and her eyes narrow. In a much softer tone of voice, she says, "I couldn't help but overhear, and a lot of us have asked him the same questions. We don't trust him and we're worried about Haelyn. Almost nobody comes here after dark anymore, so if you want the chance to talk to him in private, when he's not so 'busy', that'd be a good time to come back. Maybe you can find out what's going on."
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:13 pm

Can we go gather more information from another source until nightfall? Maybe go speak to the authorities and flex our heroes of overlook status at them? or we can just wait till night Smile

also nice 666 posts DM
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:12 am

You can absolutly check in with the authorities...

The Ministry of War is huge, consisting of six buildings arrayed around a central courtyard - all within an imposing set of guard walls, of course. As you approach the gate, two guards, a dwarf and a human, step forward and cross their spears before you. "State your business within," the dwarf demands.

You tell them of your intentions and they point you into the correct bulding.

A dwarf stands up from behind the desk as you enter. His blond beard is tightly braided, his armor brightly polished. It takes you only a moment to recognize him as the officer who you saw shouting orders from the wall when you first arrived in Overlook.

"I'm Captain Aerun," he says in a gruff voice. "I'm honored to have Overlook's heros in my office. What can I help you with?"

Aerun listens intently and politely to your story, scowling in anger when you mention some of the vile things you've seen.

"These are indeed grave matters you bring to me," he says. "I'll get looking into them at once. And you once again have the thanks of a grateful city. Go on and take a load off, wherever you're staying. I'll let you know how the investigation turns out."

Once Captain Aerun has ushered you out of the offices, you take a look at each other and you come to the conclusion that Aerun seemed more interested in keeping you out of the investigation than finding the truth. He also seemed a little distant as well.


From here we have a bit of time before nightfall, we could check with some of the other temples, you could head over to the Temple of Moradin (where all the people are working), or we could just wait for night to come to go back to the Shrine of Erathis.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:46 am

the other temples then?
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:14 am

You get a little bit of time to talk to a couple of tahe other priests in the Divine Knot. They listen politely to your concerns, they promise to look into them, and they thank you for your time.

They seem a little distracted or preoccupiued with something else.


We are down to two choices left; the Temple of Moradin here in the Divine Knot or waiting for nightfall and back to the Shrine of Erathis.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:08 pm

First of all: nice work Jordan! I hereby appoint you 6th in line of succession for the Presidency!

The temple of Moradin... perhaps the faithful there will open up to a fellow priest of Moradin.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:42 pm

Wil wrote:
First of all: nice work Jordan! I hereby appoint you 6th in line of succession for the Presidency!

Does that make him Post Master General of Rock Hammer? Razz


You head off to the Temple of Moradin in the Divine Knot and the amount of work going on here makes the place look less like a house of worship and more like an anthill on a massive scale. Workers of all races scurry through doors and windows, clambering up scaffolds of wood and iron. The sounds of grunts, curses, shouted orders, and the monotonous thump of hammers on nails make it all but impossible to hear yourself think.

As you enter the work continues inside as well as out. Workers with boards on their shoulders, wheelbarrows, or heavy hammers move back and forth before you. The floor is covered with dust, both stone and wood, and heaps of rubble lie in every corner.

Not everyone here is a simple laborer, however. Leaning against the leftmost wall, her eyes narrowing as she watches you, is a young, heavily muscled woman clad in scale armor. One hand rests on the hilt of a longsword at her waist.

It takes a moment but you recognize her as Megan Swiftblade of the Freeriders adventuring group. Her and her group came through Rock Hammer Hold just before you were asked to go to Overlook to help out. They aren’t to be confused with the Glorious Defenders, who were a bunch of pompous asses. And are dead.

Abruptly, one of the dwarf workers turns and stops in front of you, coming within inches of running his wheelbarrow over Umberto’s foot. He hitches his thumbs through his belt – a gesture that puts one hand uncomfortably near the haft of his hammer – and glares with beady eyes above a dirty beard. “You bastards ain’t welcome here,” he announces gruffly. “You might have the rest of the city hoodwinked, but not us.”


So....who wants to say what?
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Jordykins

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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:30 pm

Grognak will let his hand fall uncomfortably close to the hilt of his blood thirsty sword and ask the dwarf "What reason do you have to call the Lords od Rockhammer bastards?"
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Sam the DM
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 15th - Overlook then heading home?   Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:41 pm

As the insults fly between the dwarf and the barbarian, more and more of the dwarf’s clansmen slowly start to assemble around Murrik (the one who started the insults). Megan wanders over after a bit and you give her a quick “WTF” nod.

“The priests of Moradin hired us to make sure the old temple was free of any dangerous people or creatures for the renovation,” she replies. “You’re starting to look dangerous to me.”

Just as you are starting to get worried about being vastly outnumbered, a red-bearded dwarf, clad in worker’s leathers and a smock but with a hammer of Moradin hanging about his neck, pushes his way through the crowd. “All right, all of you back to work!” he barks. Turning to you, he bows his head with cold politeness. “I’m Ancestor Karros of Moradin,” he says. “Why don’t I escort you out?”

As he is walking you out the rest of the dwarves get back to work, leaving you an opportunity to strike up a short conversation with him.
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