Welcome back to The Lost Glade's dungeon crawl game: Catacomb of Bleakbight. I am going to break forum rules a little in the hopes of making things easier- each of the following posts deals with one aspect of the story and/or rules for the game. I suggest everyone refresh themselves on the background and the rules for their own characters at the very least.
The Dwarven Stronghold of BleakBight rests deep inside a series of near impenetrable mountains to the West of the Old World. Famed for its rich veins of iron ore, its strong trade ties to the Empire allowed the stronghold to retain a degree of wealth and vitality uncommon to modern dwarven houses.
During mining a workforce of dwarves broke through into a previously undicovered cavern and, familiar with the tunnels of greenskins and rat men, prepared for battle, only to find none forthcoming.
Rumour reached the Empire trade merchants that the Dwarfs had come across a vast motherload of iron in this cavern, although some whispered of greater metals being discovered too, and even gleaming gems. Before trade deals could be renegotiated, however, harsh winter weather set in and all communications ceased.
Come summer, it didn't take long before wagons of goods were sent to trade with the dwarfs. None have returned. Many months have passed, with scouts reporting strange sights and sounds among the dark crags of BleakBight, and the local count has sent out a call for brave warriors to infiltrate and investigate the fate of the dwarven hold.
Four warriors have stepped forward, an unlikely and motley group, each driven by their own, unknown motives.
Entering the hold, Ragnar, Ecthelion, Markus and Konrak discover an infestation of greenskins has taken hold. But is all quite what it seems? The orcs and goblins appear to be exploring their new territory, strangely unfamiliar with ground they have presumably captured many months ago. Additionally, despite the previous prosperity of the hold, dwarf bodies are few and far between- even the bones left from foul greenskin feasts are uncommon.
During their explorations the four are joined by Griz and Belerond, the diverse collection of warriors working their way deep into the dwarf hold. In the deep hold events become stranger still, with a skaven assassin being found in the dwarf forges and a skaven corpse located in the servant quarters of the dwarf King. There is also a relatively fresh cave-in in one of the main hall corridors- an unusual occurrence in even the most neglected of dwarf mines- and orcs were actively clearing the way, although a flurry of weapon blows quickly stopped their work.
After finally establishing contact with the surviving dwarfs of the hold, events begin to become clearer. A terrible plague wracked the dwarfen city, decimating the population, before greenskin attacks and other unstated events caused the dwarfs to seal the pathways to the lower hold- an unusual response, but ordered directly by the previous King. The new King, son of the recently deceased former, and his armour-clad guard now hold up in the Throneroom, unwilling to assist in the adventurer's crusade and hardly communicating, even with his fellow Dwarfs who are confined to holding out in the King's Court.
With the area currently free of opponents many of the Dwarf civilians are split in their desires. Eventually, after much arguing, the vast majority leave for the surface with the intention to recruit assistance. The severely wounded now-ex prisoners are taken along with these travellers. A small but well armed contingent now remains as a guard to the King's throneroom, and they will usher the adventurers through to the Great Theatre- primary lair of the greenskins.
Information you've gathered directly is as follows:
A diary was also found with the following entry:
"Groups have been dispatched to close the lower tunnels. Some of the lads are grumbling that there may still be survivors in the depths, but none will disobey the King. May Grungni watch over any who have survived in that rancid pit."
"Turek has gone missing. Some have rumoured he argued with the King when no counsel was asked, but such a conflict would be well known I'm sure. Although he made it known he disliked closing off the lower levels, he still prepared the devices before his departure."
"Orcs have broken through into the Great Theatre. With all our problems now we also have vile greenskins to deal with. They are a minor pest, but any distraction is unwelcomed."
Dwarf prisoners were freed, providing the following information:
Rutnik answers, "Turek would be Turek Stonehammer. He's the Clan's Master Runesmith, or at least he used to be. Where'd you hear that name? There were rumours he had gone missing, just before I was sent onto guard duty". Grazan tries to nod, but seems surprised to hear that the Runesmith has gone missing.Who is Turek in relation to the clan?
Grazan's eyes widen, "Skaven? Our hold has been free of those filthy ratmen for centuries. Gah... it wouldn't be a surprise for them to attack now... they've always been sneaky gits."We've seen 1 skaven already, are there more?
Rutnik speaks again, "The king is probably still hold up in the audience chamber. It's where he's been ever since that incident with his father. Last time I saw him is when he was there, issuing orders for us to assume some improvised guard stations".Where is the king?
Rutnik begins to answer again, "Plague. That Ancestor damned..." He trails off, but Grazan picks up, "Some kind of sickness began sweeping through the hold. It surprised us all- a dwarf doesn't sicken easily, but this... it killed. Tens... Hundreds... daily casualties were unbelievable. The hospital overflowed quickly, not that they were able to do much for the sufferers, so all victims were moved back to their homes in the lower hold."1) What happened to cause the lower tunnels to be sealed?
what happened to the hold in general
Rutnik interrupts, "There was no need to worry about infecting more people- the disease had almost every dwarf in the hold in its grip. It was a terrible, wasting illness, and those it couldn't kill were greatly reduced in strength for weeks."
"We thought it had run its course- fewer people were dying again... We were wrong... there was still more to come...", concludes Grazan.
Sad looks pass over both Grazan and Rutniks faces. You can clearly tell they don't want to say much more.
This map and information has also been gathered about the area around the King's throneroom:
Grazan finishes amking a rough map in the dust of the floor:
He explains as he goes-
A) The exit to the surface. This is the way you came down. It's not the only way to the surface, but its the only one not sealed off.
To the forges (you've been here)
C) The hospital
D) Previously a store room. Turek took this place as a residence soon after the plague started.
E) The quarters of the servants and bodyguards. It's the only living quarters not sealed at the moment.
F) A store room (you've been here)
G) The King's Chamber
H) The King's Court area
I) To the Great Theatre. This is now the only way down to lower hold areas, although it doesn't reach them all.
J) To one area of common dwarf residence. It has now been sealed.
K) To another area of dwarf residence. It has now been sealed. This is where you are now (roughly at the blue cross).
L) This is the source of the water for this area of the hold. The water is freezing but clean, freshly thawed from the snow of the mountain tops.
M) This is the way to the Ancestors Halls. It leads to burial areas, although libraries and other important rooms branch off this area. A team was sent to seal this area, but it is unknown if they succeeded.
One of the Dwarfs in the King's Court offers the following tale:
One of the Dwarfs introduces himself as Hraal Stonefist- a merchant who used to work in a shop not far from where Grazan and Rutnik were imprisoned, although the area has been closed off by the wall collapse. "Our young King sits in his throneroom, just off this room. Not his proper throne room of course, but we've all got to make do with what we can up here. He's hardly made a noise since the incident with his father at the start of the Orc invasion. The old Runesmith Turek used to try and talk to him, but they never got on well. A while ago the King's guard came out here, took some food and drink and sealed the chamber. He hasn't responded to any of us since. No one's seen Turek for that matter either."
Another dwarf quickly adds. "Kraust was against sealing the other tunnels, but his father and the Runesmith decided it was best. Once Kraust's father died the Runesmith carried on the plan, regardless of the new King's wishes. The Runesmith had seniority- I reckon he made the right choice."
When asked to give a more general answer about what's happening with the general circumstances, Hraal replies, "We've sent guards out to hold some of the key areas of this level- the forge, hospital and so on". Taking a look at Rutnik's unconscious form he adds, "I guess things haven't gone well for all the groups. The rest of us have been holed up here. We have little weapons training, but we've done what we can to keep the orcs from our King. We've been awaiting some reinforcements from the other holds. Our messengers were sent out weeks ago". He pauses and, appraising the party, cocks an eyebrow. "I... was expecting something of a larger force. This is a big hold, and we've lost a lot of ground. It won't be easy to take back."
Finally there was a conversation with the dwarf King himself- a not exactly jubilant character, who doesn't seem to impressed by this rescue. This conversation is a bit too long to copy, but it can be found starting from Page 52 of the original Catacombs of Bleakbight:
The Lost Glade- King's Talk