Monday Night Madness

Shadow of the Demon Lord: the Mines of Madness - Episode 3.7
Into the Maws of Madness!

The Lightning Racers:

  • Edwin O’Flaherty, Goblin Rogue Mountebank, Militiaman and entrepreneur. Bearer of the Savage Ornament.
  • Esma, Goblin Rogue Scout, Edwin’s unwanted partner in crime.
  • Pung, murderous Orc Warrior Consumer with an eating disorder.
  • 4th, Hobgoblin Warrior Ranger, Militiaman, medic and lackadaisical refugee.
  • Leoren, Human Warrior Mystic, Country Noblewoman turned adventurer’s apprentice.

Having decided to camp out and recover at their new campsite (about a mile away – Ragnar & Leoren’s servants decided to move the camp for safety reasons), they get up for another foray once Ragnar gives Esma a little healing.

They return to the air-shaft to explore another side-tunnel but are forced to turn back when they find that the pit referenced on the map has no ladder or other easy way to traverse downward. They decide to return to the main entrance for another foray along the main tunnel. After searching along the track up along a side passage which they find only leads to another elevator shaft, they return to hike along the lowest (and largest) of the tunnels, and alomost reach the pit at the tail-end of the mines, when they discover not one but TWO muttering monstrosities, giants covered with toothy maws. The gang flees, several of them screaming as they have been touched by terror and pushed to the brink of madness, though their progress is slowed by the appearance of more toothy maws from the very earth and rock itself!

They leave the two behind, and nearly escape out the front entrance, only to be ambushed by a SECOND pair near the first elevator, and are suddenly surrounded on all sides by yet more mouths biting at them. Esma extracts herself from the mess to flee out the main exit, while 4th & Ed sprint for the air-shaft ladder, leaving Pung & Leoren to battle it out with the behemoths. 4th & Ed rally though, and as 4th starts pelting the monsters with arrows, Ed dashes through their legs in an attempt to hamstring them (which he fails to do, so he retreats into the elevator). Esma too returns, advancing slowly to fire a few arrows as well (though her fear gets in the way of actually doing much damage). When one finally falls the gang feels hope! But that hope changes to despair as the other snatches up Edwin to devour him in one messy, bloody gulp! Esma finally looses her mind, overwhelmed by despair as she falls to the ground, her one true love consumed by the horror from the depths!

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Shadow of the Demon Lord: Mines of Madness! - Episode 3.6
Fool of a Took!

The Lightning Racers:

  • Edwin O’Flaherty, Goblin Rogue Mountebank, Militiaman and entrepreneur. Bearer of the Savage Ornament.
  • Esma, Goblin Rogue Scout, Edwin’s unwanted partner in crime.
  • Pung, murderous Orc Warrior Consumer with an eating disorder.
  • 4th, Hobgoblin Warrior Ranger, Militiaman, medic and lackadaisical refugee.
  • *Leoren, Human Warrior Mystic, Country Noblewoman turned adventurer’s apprentice.

Having rested for a day and after a bit of healing from Ragnar (who himself is not yet recovered enough to continue), the gang discusses how best to approach exploring the mine, given they keep getting swarmed at the first elevator by undead. Esma persuades them to head overland to the air-vent and explore from there. Together with Leoren (again leaving her people, along with Ragnar, at the main camp) the Racers hike up to the air-vent to climb down to the first tunnel they find. Walking quite a distance, passing several support-beams, they eventually find the next elevator shaft. Unfortunately there seems to be no way to activate the elevator from their location., nor are they confident they cam leap across, leaving everyone – but Esma – thinking perhaps it’s time to turn back. Esma decides instead to toss in a rock to test the shaft’s depth, despite 4th’s attempts to stop her. “Fool of a Goblin,” 4th whispers as strange chattering noises drift up, along with the echoes of distant drums, “you’ve doomed us all!”

As a handful of giant grubs climb up the shaft to investigate, 4th bolts, suspecting something larger and more horrible is not far behind. Meanwhile Ed disappears into the shadows as Esma & Pung move up to the lip to fire arrows at the onrushing bugs, picking off one before the others reach the lip of the tunnel. When 4th pauses to light a torch, he realizes the pillar could be shifted, collapsing part of the tunnel. But his trial shove nearly brings the entire tunnel down on them all, and he surrenders the plan as suicidal and continues his retreat, joined in short order by Edwin. Esma leaves the fight to give chase, taking pot-shots at them as they run, leaving Pung & Leoren to fight off the remaining three larvae. Leoren punches two to death while Pung shoots another crawling along the shaft’s wall back into the pit. Grabbing a carapace, Pung joins Leoren in pursuing the others back to the Air-shaft ladder and then up and out to the hill-tops.

Out in the open, Leoren smacks Esma for taking shots at 4th, and follows after the Hobgoblin to try persuading him to return (as he has decided to hike back to “sanity of the city”) while the rest return to camp.

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Shadow of the Demon Lord: Mines of Madness! - Episode 3.5
Swarmed again!

The Lightning Racers:

  • Edwin O’Flaherty, Goblin Rogue Mountebank, Militiaman and entrepreneur. Bearer of the Savage Ornament.
  • Esma, Goblin Rogue Scout, Edwin’s unwanted partner in crime.
  • Ragnar, Dwarf Priest Psychic, cheerful servant of honored dwarven ancestors.
  • Pung, murderous Orc Warrior Consumer with an eating disorder.
  • 4th, Hobgoblin Warrior Ranger, Militiaman, medic and lackadaisical refugee.
  • *Leoren, Human Warrior Mystic, Country Noblewoman turned adventurer’s apprentice.

The following morning the gang heads back into the mine (leaving Leoren’s bodyguard & servant to watch over the campsite, and keep an eye out for the missing boy, Arren).

Again they they pile into carts & roll down into darkness. And again, near the first elevator, they run smack into a mob of zombie miners, this time led by not one but TWO of the ancient warrior Wights. But this time Esma lets the lead cart slam into the middle of the mob, while 4th slams on the breaks of the second (resulting in Edwin flying head over heals to land on his bum). Esma slashes at one of the ancient undead warlords before dashing to join Ed as the Goblin pair hide around the corner. leaving Leoren & Ragnar to be swarmed by the restless miners. Pung leaps out of the second cart to charge the Wights, while 4th peppers them with arrows.

Fear gnawing at him, Ragnar fumbles his glowing axe, dropping it among the undead throne outside his cart, forcing him to relly on his earth magic (as focused through his psychic arts), while Leoren starts wildly stabbing with her spear and throwing punches. As the Goblins add to their injuries, dashing in and out to kite the Wights (doing a lot of damage in no small part to the Savage Ornament, Pung is mightily dismayed when he misses and breaks his Greataxe on the rails.

THough the first Wight soon drops thanks to their combined efforts, Ragnar is badly hurt, falling unconscious for a moment before quickly rebounding. As Ragnar recovers the gang manages to drop the second Wight (the nail in his coffin coming from a now raging 4th), allowing the gang to redirect their focus breaking the miner zombies’ formation.

Broken into more manageable numbers the party finds it’s child’s-play to mop up the remaining shambling undead. With most of their members badly hurt, it is ultimately agreed that they should retreat to camp and rest for the rest of the day (though several are sickened by Pung pausing to drink the black substance that passes for blood in the Wights “so I can heal quick-like…” he grumbles).

But the blood does nothing but make him sick to his stomach.

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Shadow of the Demon Lord: Mines of Madness! - Episode 3.4
Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!

The Lightning Racers:

  • Edwin O’Flaherty, Goblin Rogue/Mountebank, Militiaman and entrepreneur. Bearer of the Savage Ornament.
  • Esma, Goblin Rogue/Scout, Edwin’s unwanted partner in crime.
  • Ragnar, Dwarf Priest/Psychic, cheerful servant of honored dwarven ancestors.
  • Pung, murderous Orc Warrior/Consumer with an eating disorder.
  • 4th, Hobgoblin Warrior/Ranger, Militiaman, medic and lackadaisical refugee.

The wave of unusually large insects arrive at the camp, and while Leoren and her man, along with 4th & Ragnar, do their best to ralley and take them on in the heart of the camp, Pung cowers behind the Lightning Racer while the Goblins hide in the mine enterance, hoping the bugs will pass them by, and Arren flees along with the last remaining servant down the beach. Esma fails to stay hidden from the bugs, and the insects split into several groups to take on both those behind them at the mine entrance and the party members still scattered in camp. Ed pops out to become the little green murder-goblin of death the Savage Ornament desires him to be, breaking them free of the swarm at the mine, but Esma is knocked out on the way to joining the rest of the team. As the fighting spills over towards the beach Pung pops up to surprise the bugs unfortunate enough to get too close. As 4th rages, his face imploded in that weird way it does whenever he looses his temper, bugs manage to knock him down as well, but he comes to & swigs a healing potion as soon as the bugs move on, before jumping back up to rejoin the fight.

The gang realizes the drones aren’t to difficult to kill, presuming you can hit them in the first place, but their jitterbug tendency to run every which way makes them a pain to fight. Still, they pull together to slaughter them all, eventually managing to surround and beat down the soldier-bug leading the swarm.

Exhausted, they FINALLY manage to rest for the night (though Pung is sore pressed to decide what parts of the insects are eatable). They also debate what their plan for tomorrow: Do they press further into the mine? Or do they hope the ferry will return for them so they might return to the safety of home, tails between their legs?

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Shadow of the Demon Lord: Mines of Madness! - Episode 3.3
Frog fight!

The Lightning Racers:

  • Edwin O’Flaherty, Goblin Rogue/Mountebank, Militiaman and entrepreneur. Bearer of the Savage Ornament.
  • Esma, Goblin Rogue/Scout, Edwin’s unwanted partner in crime.
  • Ragnar, Dwarf Priest/Psychic, cheerful servant of honored dwarven ancestors.
  • Pung, murderous Orc Warrior/Consumer with an eating disorder.
  • Arren Pokathery, Human Rogue/Warlock, Denis the Menace turned Dougie Howser M.D.
  • 4th, Hobgoblin Warrior/Ranger, Militiaman, medic and lackadaisical refugee.

After the fight with the horde of undead miners the gang continues until they reach the first elevator shaft, which they use to explore various upper side-passages (which contain little of interest). Reaching the surface about an hour before sunset, everyone but Esma & Edwin walk down the hill towards the mining camp (where Leoren’s retainers have been establishing a base of operations). The Goblins stay behind to watch the sunset together (though Ed only agrees after Esma bribes him with a gold piece).

At dusk, just as the others are finishing up supper, they hear a scream from one of the nearby sludge-pools. One of the servants, who went to clean the pots, is being eaten by a giant, four-eyed mutant frog! While Pung, Ragnar, Leoren and Leoren’s bodyguard, Oxnard, run to fight it and perhaps pull Leoren’s manservant from it’s mouth, 4th & Arren pelt it from a distance with arrows & sling-stones.

Up on the hill the Goblins have their own problems. Before Esma can take advantage of the romantic scenery, she & Ed hear clicking noises from behind them. A swarm of perhaps a dozen unusually large insects come spilling out from the mine elevator shaft, right towards them! So the Goblins do what any good Goblin would do in such circumstances… they flee back down the hill towards the rest of their party!

The Goblins reach the campsite just ahead of the insects as the rest of their company is finishing off the immense amphibian. Beat-up from their fight, the rest of the Lightning Racers aren’t happy to turn around to see the wave of bugs swarming down them just behind the screaming goblins. More so when the Goblins vanish (to hide in the shadows of the mine-entrance) & Pung runs away (to the Lightning Racer, only to find Esma kept the keys), leaving the rest of them to deal with the onrushing mass…

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Shadow of the Demon Lord: Mines of Madness! - Episode 3.2
Stepping into darkness...

The Lightning Racers:

  • Edwin O’Flaherty, Goblin Rogue/Mountebank, Militiaman and entrepreneur. Bearer of the Savage Ornament.
  • Esma, Goblin Rogue/Scout, Edwin’s unwanted partner in crime.
  • Ragnar, Dwarf Priest/Psychic, cheerful servant of honored dwarven ancestors, and Grimbar’s older brother.
  • Pung, murderous Orc Warrior/Consumer with an eating disorder.

Unwilling to leave her Lightning Race-car behind, the gang take it with them via ferry across the Dark Water to the Black Hill Mines on the north end of the lake, skipping niceties like talking to the mine owner or locals or listening to rumors. Nope. None of that. They arrive mid-morning, leaving the car in the foothills & trek up to find the mining base-camp eerily silent and empty.

While Esma and Pung scout the surrounding area, Ragnar and Ed search the camp, finding a small amount of loot but little evidence to explain what happened to the 80 or so miners that used to inhabit the site, except perhaps for queer insect-like tracks running all about the camp. Only the foreman’s cabin shows any signs of violence: his bed covered in blood, a hand with a silver ring hidden underneath with a bloody stump at the wrist implying it had been ripped from its’ host with savage force. Esma and Pung, meanwhile, note a series of structures spread out in a line up towards the hill-tops (which they discover later to match a series of elevators and air-vents noted on a map Ed found in the Foreman’s office). Once they all reunite, they discover three badly mauled bodies in a nearby copse of trees. One of the bodies is found to be wearing a suit of silvery elvish chain (not that it saved him), which they agree should be saved for 4th once he catches up with them.

Heading into the main mine entrance they discover a pair of mine-carts and decide to ride them down into the depths, but not before a scouting Esma comes back to warn them a mob of figures are approaching from below. Clackity-clack, Clackity-clack goes the carts as they slam into what the gang discovers to be a swarm of stumbling undead miners! Pulling on the breaks, the goblins hop out to start sniping while Ragnar casts spells from the cover of his cart. Pung jumps out to plunge right into the mess of them, happy that he finally has a foe to smite. Spotting a withered, ancient warlord giving them orders from behind, he pushes his way through the advancing mob to exchange blows with their commander. Ed discovers yet another curse of the Savage Ornament, mainly that it is a jealous weapon and he can’t seem to hit the broad-side of a barn without it. So he and Esma switch to kiting the zombie miners, with much better success. Soon the miner’s formation is broken and they manage to push through to aid Pung in slaying the undead chieftain before the Orc falls to his soul-draining claws. Dealing with stragglers proves laughably easy, as they pander their next move. Do they retreat to recover and perhaps meet up with allies? Or do they bravely push on to see what further horrors the darkness of the claustrophobic mines might hold?

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Shadow of the Demon Lord: Mines of Madness! - Episode 3.1
One month later...

New neighbors in Old Town:

  • Edwin O’Flaherty, Goblin Rogue/Mountebank, Militiaman and entrepreneur. Bearer of the Savage Ornament.
  • Esma, Goblin Rogue/Scout, Edwin’s unwanted partner in crime.
  • 4th, Hobgoblin Warrior/Ranger, Militiaman, medic and lackadaisical refugee.
  • Grimbar, Dwarf Priest/Grudgebearer, cranky servant of honored dwarven ancestors, and Ragnar’s younger brother.
  • Ragnar, Dwarf Priest/Psychic, cheerful servant of honored dwarven ancestors, and Grimbar’s older brother.
  • Pung, murderous Orc Warrior/Consumer with an eating disorder.

Having come back to Permot as very wealthy, successful adventurers, the gang decides to throw in together & purchase a very nice townhouse in Old Town, each getting their own room (except for Esma, who now lives in Ed’s walk-in closet. Each takes the time to train up new talents and refurbish (or acquire new) gear for future exploits. Deciding to improve his skills at charlatanry, Ed puts in time and effort outdoing other flim-flam men at the back tables of the Ratspike Motel and Titty-bar, while Esma & 4th learn new tricks from the scouts and Rangers investigating the edge of the Morfairsing Bloom. Ragnar & Pung spend some time being introspective and discovering hidden secrets about themselves: Ragnar realizes from his recent experiences with the Beast of Valderhalen Hollow that it may not have been the voice of his ancestors speaking to him, but the power of his own mind accessing the thoughts of others, while Pung’s encounter with the Echinemons results in his realization that there is power in eating the flesh of his enemies, and that – being the runt of his litter – he would never again be the one to go hungry. Grimbar in turn finds a tome listing all the wrongs done to his people over the years leaves him filled with a grim determination to right the wrongs done to himself and to his people (well, mainly to himself).

The latter half of the month is spent in various other pursuits: While Ragnar rolls up his sleeves to work like an honest Dwarf, Grimbar is accepted as a student at Permot’s illustrious Academy of Engineering. 4th gets in good with the head of the city Militia, Commander Rena, while Edwin makes fast friends with Bubblegum Chrome, a member of the Scrappers faction who ended up on the wrong side of a fight with some Cartel Rogues until Ed let her a hand. Esma picks up Dark Speech from an Orc scout she’s been exploring with, while Pung has to lay low for a bit after he accidentally kills his brother, Sheriff Skitter, after a night of drinking, and is unsure if simply eating the evidence was enough.

The Free City itself is not quiet: Veiled Monks from Y’tll have taken to proselytizing in the God Market, while the Machanaean Wolveshead Leagon have seized the Airfield after the Flying Circus of the Party King takes his leave. The district of Purses is locked down by the Browncoats when an outbreak of plague, something locals are calling “Gibbering Fever,” gets loose, and riots between Browncoats, Wolveshead Legionnaires and members of the various Factions become common in Old Town. Rumors are circulating that the death-toll in Tankards is going up as people are being killed in broad-daylight by invisible demons, while stories of a mysterious elven tower that can only be found by moonlight out near the village of Carbuncle circulate in various smokey bar-rooms. The city militia has no time for assisting or investigating any of these things, as reports circulate that the Morfairsing Bloom has hit neighboring towns and villages to the west & south of the city, and Commander Rena has sent all available hands to evacuating the boarder communities.

Such things don’t interest our heroes however. They want to get payed, so after looking over the bounty-board, passing over calls for head-hunting Witches and Beastmen, they decide to go for the 50 gold crowns being offered by Gundren the Ironmonger, town-council representative of Junktown, for experienced agents willing to travel west across the Dark Water to investigate some trouble he’s been having with his Mines over in the Black Hills…

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Shadow of the Demon Lord: The Knife in your hand - Episode 2.4
Rewards & returns

Greavings Gutter Patrol:

  • Edwin O’Flaherty, Goblin Rogue, Militiaman and entrepreneur.
  • Esma, Goblin Rogue, Edwin’s unwanted partner in crime.
  • Ragnar, Dwarf Priest, cheerful servant of honored dwarven ancestors, and Grimbar’s cousin.
  • Pung, murderous Orc Warrior with an Axe to grind.

The air stills inside the Beast & the 3 remaining Echinemons that had been in pursuit of Pung & Ragnar pause, then race back in a panic as they realize something has good terribly wrong. Sensing the tide has turned, the two adventurers turn around as well, pursuing the monsters back into the Cathedral of Flesh.

In the Flash Hut, 4th is arms deep in operating on Sameth to remove an Echinemon egg. With their chief warrior busy, it falls to Edwin, Esma & Leoren to hold the vengeful Echinemon trio when they arrive, and are relieved to see their missing comrades hot on their tail. Though the surviving creatures give a fierce fight, they prove no match for our heroes, in no small part to Ed’s new toy, the Savage Ornament, which seems to have turned the Goblin into some sort of smallish green-brown murder-god.

The enemy dead, they step back into the hut, enduring the increasingly breathable air for a few hours as 4th finishes extracting eggs from first Sameth & then Grimbar. Afterwards they follow the psychic hint from the dying brain of the Beast to a strongbox half buried in his mouth. Inside the chest they marvel at the treasure! 100 gold crowns! More money than any of them have ever seen! In addition, they also find three objects of particular interest: a Spiral Conch shell (taken by Pung, who discovers it has magical listening powers), a set of prayer-beads (picked up by Ragnar, who finds they will stay wheresoever she leaves them, releasing only if she says the right mantra), and a child-sized sports-car with lightning markings on the side (which Esma figures out is only magically shrunk – later,back in town, it returns to normal size, and she discovers it has a built-in lightning gun to boot!).

They exit the Hollow & return to town to celebrate, and indulge in their bragging rights with the locals. That night, at Leoren & Sameth’s estate, their patron remains true to her word & gives them her life’s savings: a staggering additional 50 gold crowns! They’re rich! Filthy rich!

The next day Edwin & Pung join Esma in her race-car to start the long drive back to Permot, leaving Ragnar & 4th with Leoren to tend to Sameth & Grimbar’s post-surgery recovery. Two days out fromDuskglen they reach the village of Hamlet, which they find has been reduced to a smoking ruin.

Hearing screams, Esma puts pedal to the metal, zooming them to the heart of Hamlet in short order. There in the remnants of the town square a lone priest fights for his life, surrounded by a gang of Fomori. She swerves the car so Pung & Ed can leap out, all cool-like, but Pung lands on his face and Esma crashes into a copse of trees. Edwin though lands on one of the goat-headed Beastmen, nurdering him with panache on the spot.

Pung jumps to his feet and joins in the slaughter, aided by the grotesque & horrifying magics being cast by the Priest, and the remaining surviving Fomori flee, bleating for their lives. The Priest thanks them, introducing himself as Father Breyan, Vicar of Hamlet, and tells them of his woe. The Beastmen raided the town some days before, carrying off every villager they didn’t slaughter. He raves that clearly the three of them must have come to answer his prayers for vengeance, prayers he voiced to something he glibly calls the Red Light of the Wood. When our heroes prove less than enthusiastic, and Edwin audaciously brings up the subject of financial remuneration for the rescue of the kidnapped (and possibly eaten) townsfolk, Breyan explodes in anger that he is contunually tormented by money-grubbing mercenary adventurers! (apparently theirs was not the first band he’d approached). After Esma calms him down, he suggests they take advantage of his healing magics, and that once his comrades are rescued, he could pass the collection plate.

Acquiescing, the three “heroes” follow Breyan into the Morfairsing-infected Sentinel Woods, finding the Beastmen Camp around nightfall. Catching the inattentive raiders off guard as the Fomori and their Warg commanders feast on their captives, the Goblins, Orc & slightly mad priest slaughter 4 or 5 Fomor before they even know their there. The remaining Fomor lose their nerve and run bleating into the woods, but the 2 Wargs up on the hill charge down the hill to give the would-be saviors a bit more trouble…
…but only a bit, as the gang overwhelms them as well.

Triumphant, the heroes return with the villagers in tow back to Hamlet. The thankful survivors help Esma get her car out of the brush and bang out the dents, then follow them back to Permot to seek refuge behind city walls, as the village clearly is no longer safe…

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Shadow of the Demon Lord: the Knife in Your Hand - Episode 2.3
In the Belly of the Beast...

Greavings Gutter Patrol:

  • Edwin O’Flaherty, Goblin Rogue, Militiaman and entrepreneur.
  • 4th, Hobgoblin Warrior, Militiaman, medic and lackadaisical refugee.
  • Grimbar, Dwarf Priest, cranky servant of honored dwarven ancestors, and Ragnar’s cousin.
  • Esma, Goblin Rogue, Edwin’s unwanted partner in crime.

Grimbar finally arrives in Duskglen with Jack, having heard where they went from Lucas at the Ratspike Motel and Titty Bar. Having narrowed down the location from locals in town, the two reach the Hollow, bt Jack falls back, overcome by the Spoors. Grimbar is made of sterner stuff, however, and continues on alone.

Meanwhile, in the belly of the Beast, Edwin, Esma, 4th, Pung, Ragnar & Leoren are horrified inside the Flesh Hut as one of the “guests”, a woman with bound hands, dies as her chest ruptures, giving birth to yet another Echinemon infant. Pung & Ragnar panic, fleeing deeper into the bowels of the Beast, three Echinemon hot on their trail. Esma suggests persuading their four remaining hosts to come with them back to Duskglen so they can return the favor, but 4th & Ed are not convinced she can sell them on it.

Back near the entrance, Grimbar finds his way blocked by the portcullis, but manages to force it open so he can slip past. Inside he ponders, amazed at the size of the Beast’s head, more so when he hears a voice in his mind whisper kill me. He climbs up the ladder into one of the gooey nostrils, and after wandering through the mushy sinuses, finds himself in the mouth of the Beast. Thanks to good eyes (and a little mental nudge from the Beast) he spots the Savage Ornament hidden among the Dragon’s teeth, and tucks it in his belt before hustling after the echoing screams of his companions. In the main chamber he finally spots the Heart, Flesh Hut, and his friends surrounded by Echinemon.

When Grimbar fails to sneak up on them, two of the Echinemon turn to intercept him. Seeing an opportunity, the Goblinoids slip out of the Hut, followed by Leoren, to surround the Echinemon leader Gragun. Though Grimbar uses battlemangic to sprint past the closing Echinemon, it is 4th and his strange Green Sword that takes him down. The other three Echinemon rally, paralyzing Grimbar and forcing him to become a host for one of their eggs. But Leoren, Esma & 4th manage to push them back and dispatch them, while Ed snatches the Savage Ornament from Grimbar’s belt, shimmy up to the top of the Flesh Hut and plunge the pearly blade deep into the Beast’s heart (killing the Beast while cementing his pact with the Ornament).

The Beast lets out one last sigh as his heart finally stops, and the air within his massive corpse stills…

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Shadow of the Demon Lord: The Knife in your hand - Episode 2.2
Eenee... meenee... minee... moee...

Greavings Gutter Patrol:

  • Edwin O’Flaherty, Goblin Rogue, Militiaman and entrepreneur.
  • 4th, Hobgoblin Warrior, Militiaman, medic and lackadaisical refugee.
  • Ragnar, Dwarf Priest, cheerful servant of honored dwarven ancestors, and Grimbar’s cousin.
  • Esma, Goblin Rogue, Edwin’s unwanted partner in crime.
  • Pung, murderous Orc Warrior with an Axe to grind.

That evening Ed & 4th meet up back at their favorite hangout, the Ratspike Motel and Titty Bar, and are joined by Esma & Pung to discuss their next move as would-be adventurers (since their day jobs just aren’t doing it for keeping roofs over their heads), as well as argue the finer points of Esma’s paternity suit and who’s closet she should live in. As they consider the options they are already aware of (joining one of the competing Factions for profit or for betrayal for the public good, running off to join the Flying Circus, following Faust to steal a cut of his treasure hunt, or hunting the Tankards Butcher), they are approached by a familiar-looking Dwarf. Turns out this one is named Ragnar, and he’s looking for his cousin Grimbar, and as they know of him they welcome him to join their little company.

Noticing the interest of several other parties in and around the bar, Ed invites a dirty, dusty, hopeful lass to their table to hear her pitch while sending Esma and Ragnar off to see what is troubling strangers lurking at two nearby tables. The girl calls herself Leoren, and she is looking for Heroes to save her damn fool brother Sameth, who has wandered off in search of a legendary monster known as the Beast of Valderhalen Hollow. None know if the Beast be Demon or Dragon, Savior or Horror, but she does know those who seek it never return. She promises them her life’s savings if they can save her little brother, even sweetening the deal by offering herself to the Goblin (given Ed’s continual trouble with the ever enthusiastic Esma, he is less than eager to take her up on the suggestion). She desperately adds that her grandfather had told her the Beast was said to have a massive treasure hoard, all of which she promises the party can keep. Ed discredits much of what she says, pointing out the rips in her clothes and general disheveled appearance, arguing she likely doesn’t have two bits to call her own.

Esma chats up a scary, but wealthy-looking gentleman in a dark cloak, sitting with a compliment of bodyguards and a high-priced courtesan. Upon her return she states the mystery man is offering 5 gold crowns to the company if they are willing to investigate a new cult in the God Market. The Church of Duvia recently renovated an abandoned bathhouse, turning it into a mortuary, and their would-be patron would like a discreet investigation into what they’re really up to. Ed is quite swayed by an offer with actual gold coins attached.

Ragnar finds himself trying to cheer up a lonely merchant as he weeps into his beer, looking sandly at an old photo. When he returns, he tells them the sad fellow’s story. Buck Bloom, of Buck Bloom’s Tinkery, is worried about his daughter, who left with the Party King’s Flying Circus last year, and though they recently returned, she has not disembarked to see him, nor has there been any response to his entreaties to see her from the Fleet. If they can find out what’s become of her he is willing to give them a lot of scrap, to sell or use as they see fit.

While Ed is decidedly in favor of mysterious Mister Moneybags, the rest of the company outvote him in favor of helping the maiden with a missing brother. Leoren is overjoyed, telling them to be ready to leave for Duskglen first thing in the morning.


The next day they load up into her wagon and they set off. The journey takes almost a week as they travel through the Weirdling Wastes along the Iron Road, eventually reaching Duskglen at the edge of the Weeping Mountains, pausing only briefly in Hamlet to resupply. As they travel Leoren tells them of a magical relic said to be hidden among the monster’s teeth, a demonic dagger of pearl called the Savage Ornament. Staying at her country estate (which clearly has seen better days), they do a little research in the library and ask around town, but don’t find out much in the way of new information.

In the morning they set out for Valderhalen Hollow. The trip proves scenic, if uneventful. As they near the cave a haze of green and brown pollen hangs in the air, as does a smell of rot, leaving Esma somewhat ill, though the entrance itself appear quite clean.

Within the Cavern they find a massive rotting Dragon’s head, its’ mouth sewn shut, mucus dripping from its’ nose, one eye hollowed out (with ladders and platforms connecting to the latter three openings). Ragnar hears in his mind a voice whisper Kill Me, while the others feel a disorienting buzzing in the back of their minds, followed by visions of suffering as things burrow around within them. Ed has a flash of finding a pearly knife hidden among the Beast’s teeth, and using it to stab the monster’s massive heart.

Before they can act further, strange humanoids scuttle from out of the Beast’s eye-socket, nostrils and from the cave entrance behind them, leaving them surrounded. Caked in green mold, black muck and something red, their leader bows low and introduces himself as Gragun, speaking the common tongue in a smarmy (if odd) way through a mouth full of sharp teeth. The obsequious creature introduces himself and his people as Echinemon, and invites them inside to come to a party in their honor, promising they will be served sweetmeats, cake, dancing of the Hip and the Hop, and many other entertainments. Suspicious, especially after one of them pulls a hidden switch to drop down a portcullis, they still none-the-less follow Gragon and the others up through the eye-socket (especially after Leoren runs in, having heard her brother is waiting for her).

After a short walk they arrive at a massive cathedral-like chamber carved within the Dragon’s rib-cage. Bellow its’ still beating heart, within a hut carved from flesh, they find three humans. The first is clearly dead, his stomach ruptured from within to become a hideous playpen for one of the Echinemon young. Next to the corpse is a woman who appears massively pregnant, her eyes staring blankly into space, her hands bound to support her distended belly. Leoren rushes to the third as he rolls around in pain, clutching his belly, and does what she can to sooth her brother’s suffering.

Gagen laughs, claiming that all of them are also guests, volunteers who agreed to become host-mothers to their offspring, just as the Dragon offered to become their home, just as the company newly arrived has volunteered to aid in birthing a new crop of Echinemons…

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