Dubzaron Session 67: Edelweiss and the Three Dwarves

This session was played on 8/10/22 so PC's can take actions beginning 8/16/22


This is decidedly out of the usual manner of things and is only possible in the setting of Real D&D. In this case, it is the ongoing ACKS campaign started by BDubs almost two years ago using the Auran Campaign setting. As the game developed through the use of Elite Gaming, 1:1 time, and Patrons, it came to pass that a certain Venturer known as MadEye traveled north to the seat of the Exarch, Arganos.

Arganos was a larger market than the main city in the excellent published campaign materials. We, the players, needed a way to buy and sell magic items as well as to hire henchmen and mercenaries on a scale that the base game would not support. So MadEye moved north and set up shop.

Over the coming months, I spent a fair amount of time world building Arganos into a place where other player characters were beginning to filter. Then came the call: BDubs wanted to play in a session in Arganos. Yow!

This, dear readers, is the start of that adventure...

See Arganos!

Session Report

New characters predominated this session with only Xanthos, Level 4 cleric, and Marn, level 4 mage, returning to play. Xanthos had been summoned to meet with the Prefect regarding a high level kidnapping. Discretion was of the utmost importance to prevent harm coming to the person and so a large army or high profile player characters were not options for intervention. Moreover, and this was a critical mission point: NO ELVES!

The players were overjoyed at the prospect of some good, honest elf hunting and three dwarves quickly responded to Xanthos' hook. Archibeard Tuttle, Level 1 dwarven delver, George Guildenstern, also a Level 1 dwarven delver, and Kennesaw Mountainlandis, Level 1 dwarven machinist, were the first to answer. Notably, this is the largest collection of dwarfs in a single party in the ACKS Campaign to date. Throw in the gnomish trickster Hardar Three and it is also the largest collection of demihumans as well. The party rounded out with Arminius, Nobiran champion, Edelweiss, female mage, and Mathil, also mage. Three mages! Also the largest collection of mages...

So who is going to fight? Who knows?

What could go wrong?

Given the large number of player characters, Archibeard was selected as caller for the evening. Xanthos and Marn had not moved up to Arganos during downtime so the morning in Dubzaron was spent trying to figure out where Arganos was and how to get there. Xanthos and Marn knew of MadEye routinely traveling back and forth so easily obtained passage on the Naurivus Smiles, a small galley ferrying crew down from Arganos to man the Naurivus Laughs. They departed Dubzaron on the morning of the 11th and had some challenging winds but were able to sail through the day and the night arriving in the Great City of Arganos on the morning of the 12th.

Perhaps at this point they realized they really had no idea where or what they were seeking, exactly. Gotta find the elves! Strategems to find elves were generated!

Where is an elf bar in Arganos? Lets ask some grizzled veterans what they think! Into The Goat's Beard Inn we go...

Again, it is morning and the tavern by the docks is sparsely occupied. The dwarves and the mages go in to strike up a conversation. The reaction rolls were really just not great. One was, in fact, very bad. Yeah, having the men at the table just start fighting is an option. But...what about maybe having one of the fellows have a flashback...

"Tem...yeah, I was there"as his eyes grew wide, he started howling. "Ah, no! Rufinius! Help me hold him. Ya know how he gets!" Actius started swinging wildly with his sword. He randomly targets one of the bystanders (noting the mages wisely standing behind the dwarves). He swings at Rufinius! And misses. Initiative time!

A mage (Marn, maybe?) succeded in putting the raging veteran, and his friends to sleep. No saving throw! What a powerful spell! In the commotion, Archibeard successfully Hid in Shadows and managed to get behind the bar lifting a bottle of as top shelf whiskey as his dwarf arms could reach. Hard to stand on a step stool while hiding in shadows! They successfully obtained whiskey but no information. So sad!

Hardar thought it wise to check the fletcher shop because...elves! Arminius and Mathil went with him. They found out (eventually) that there is an elf bar named the Toasted Frog where perhaps they could find the information they sought. Additionally, Zadsparam the Fletcher mentioned a "weird place" to the east. What could it possibly mean? How far is east, anyway? Does anyone have navigation?

Because...of course

Anti-elf sentiment was running so high in Arganos, they could not get much help being new to the city and having no connections. Except MadEye. Because he has a shop here! Well, a somewhat damaged shop now having had a suspicious fire that destroyed 35% of the buildings including most of the stables. In context, perhaps it was arson because MadEye is known to deal with the knife ears. Some say he is actually...friends...with them. The insanity!

It is important to note the interaction between the Always On game using 1:1 time allowed downtime activities to mesh across two different games providing some session play mechanics that otherwise would have been either preprogrammed or just lifeless. Not so here! No rails in this game and it is a very big sandbox.

Meeting Dadarshi, MadEye's Venturer henchman in Arganos, the party learned the Weird Place is a coastal mesa perhaps a days travel to the east up along (and across) a ridge of treacherous sea cliffs several hundred meters high. No one can give a very accurate assessment because the Auran Legions sent up the forested bluffs...may still be up there as far as anyone knows. They were certainly never seen again around here! No more expeditions have been sent in human memory, certainly not since the Exarch Drakomir came to power. The strange lights seen by sailors coming into port that emanate from the mesa and head out to the open ocean though...well, its weird!

Thus informed, the party finished out the day by getting rooms at Lysandra's...Inn...and performing the astounding feat of making a bottle of whiskey disappear. Dwarves were dying of thirst! All saves were made and the sun rose the next day.

Party at Lysandra's!!

They obtained horses the previous day in preparation for travel today and off they went. Dadarshi had given a bit more detail on where to go, particularly about the ferry across the Mirmen River, and they soon found themselves on the far side of the Mirmen some five miles east of the Gates of Arganos. Heavily forested and not the least bit ominous and foreboding bluffs rose in front of them. Anybody got Navigation proficiency? Rolling to get lost...

It was slow going but towards late afternoon they came to a cliffline with the sound of crashing waves below. A bridge made of woven stone spanned the 500 yard chasm with impossibly little external support. It was wide enough for a horse to cross, but the rider would be well above the low rails on each side. Dizzying at this height above the waves if not completely paralyzing! Some discussion ensued as to how best to cross. Single file with Xanthos in front was the call. I noted the time of day for folks and they chose to press on. Did Xanthos see the trees...moving? Hard to tell at this distance.

Guildenstern made a point of stating they were staying right by the bridge at the cliffs edge as they all got across. The forest made a large semicrcle around them and the trees seemed, well, too close to each other. More like a wall, really. As they pondered this orb, they heard "Make a save versus paralysis."

Fail. Fail. Save. Fail. Edelweiss? Saved. Which was fortunate because a herd of antelope leaped out of the tree line startling them! Fail meant a fall to the ground. Which was no big deal...unless one were standing next to the edge! Did I try to Mufasa him? Your guess is as good as mine!

The impossibly supported bridge is not shown

They set to heading into the woods which were weird. The trees, not the plan. The trees were just too close to pass through! Well, I guess technically the gnome could have had he tried. Maybs some racial memory warned him to not pass through the trees where the party couldn't get to him. RIP Yolo Swaggins Regardless, they changed tack and Archibeard threw a grappling hook up into the tree to climb over the wall. Except he missed his roll to hit and the branch moved. Wait? What? Welcome to Elfland. Time to die.

Archibeard did not miss a beat and climbed the tree easily. He threw the rope down and up climbed the party. The trees were so closely packed that the branches made something of a walkway through the forest some 30' above the ground. The light was dimmed by the alte afternoon and foliage but they were able to make their way east. They encountered a flight of owls whooo were friendly and led them to where the elves were.

Archibeard, is that you?
It was already night and the dwarves lit lanterns to keep pressing onward. "Hi ho, hi ho" and all that. The owl alit on a woven stone hut with a door. The party advanced to the door and boldly opened it. Inside was an elf! No surprise, roll initiative! Declare actions! We used individual initiative and several of the players one but decision was to hold actions. The elf? Yeah, he cast sleep. Such sleepy dwarves! And the dogs as well. A magic battle ensued between Marn and SureLeaf while Xanthos proceeded to bludgeon the elf. Xanthos did enough damage that SureLeaf retreated behind a magically locked door after again winning initiative.

A perhaps too long parley ensued with SureLeaf telling the party to go away before he taunted them a second time. The dwarves were becomming increasingly enraged and Marn now was swearing burning death on every knife ear in the region. 

Just before they all went to sleep again. So sleepy!

They woke up after the owl pecked on Xanthos' head. They were laying down under the stars, again outside the hut. No one appeared harmed. Their shoes were immaculately polished and they each had a cookie. Perhaps one of them was now a changeling? Who knows? 

Marn was now pretty much in a blind rage. He would not even consider the 1000gp each offer to just go away. Wait. How much? Arminius and Edelweiss were certainly listening!

They went back into the hut, spiked the door behind them, set watches, and rested to regain spells. Rustlings and thumpings outside in the night but otherwise the short night passed uneventfully. In the morning, full on axes on the door! The elves wouldn't REALLY give us that much to just go away...would they? Probably fake elf gold or something.

"Did you even look outside?"

Name is SureLeeee..f

Hmmm. One of them took the stakes out and cautiously opened the door. Nine bags of gems! Yow! Arminius, Edelweiss, and Hardar all headed out. They made it to the tree line and then hid for a bit to see what happened. What did they see?

Three elves who looked very similar to SureLeaf came up low and quiet out of hatches near the hut. No surprise this time! Roll initiative! They stood back just a bit and began casting something. Arrows flew and hit two of them. The third finished his spell...and the fireball went off. One of the dwarves was immediately turned to ash, the rest writhed in pain. Archibears's ears became burnt husks,  Mountainlandis was now Onehandless. Both mages died painfully. Only Xanthos remained. He closed for combat...and then fell asleep. So sleepy!

Arminius came out of the woods and negotiated to take Xanthos back to Arganos. The elves made him agree to take the dwarves as well and return his gems. They didn't think about Hardar and Edelweiss...dangit! Additionally, he had to take the dwarf bodies with him as well. None of them could remain here.

Xanthos was awakened and the fallen were attended to, mortal wounds rolls made. And missed. They left from Elfland the way they had come, with a brief encounter with two giant spiders dispatched by Edelweiss' Summoned Berzerkers garnering a magic sword from the webbing.

They otherwise made it back uneventfully...the first humans to return from Elfland.


This was the first B/X style game I have DM'd in probably close to 40 years and it was a whole lot of fun for me. Seeing elements develop spontaneously during play that could never have been preprogrammed or storyboarded has been amazing over the past two years as a player. Watching it develop as the dungeon master was nothing less than thrilling. So many possibilities! Thank you, Dubs for letting me give it a whirl!


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