Doomhammer of Doomhammer.

The massive war-hammer once wielded by the fearsome Fire Dwarf Doomhammer. STR-2 vs AC (STR vs AC for dwarfs), 1d12 dmg to target; STR vs REF, 1d6 dmg and shifts one sq. outwards to all enemies within the immediate radius of the target. Upon killing an enemy, it does 2d12 dmg to target, 1d8 and shift two sq to those in radius, for remainder of the encounter.

Bowblade and Violin Shield.

A working violin and bow, with the former mounted as a shield and the latter doubling as a sharp blade. Blade is STR+2 vs AC, 1d8+2 dmg. Shield is +1 to AC. Bards gain a +1 to the blade attack roll, but only when carried with the shield. Possession of the pair also grants a bard +1 to any remotely bard-related skill check.

Sentient Sword of Blood-Drinking.

The cursed blade of the gnollish King of War. Every time it extinguishes a life, the blade grows stronger. Tieflings gain an extra +1 to attack rolls when using this dark blade.

0 kills: STR vs AC; 1d6 dmg.
1: STR+1 vs AC; 1d6+1 dmg.
2: STR+1 vs AC; 1d6+2 dmg.
3: STR+2 vs AC; 1d8 dmg.
4: STR+2 vs AC; 1d8+1 dmg.
5: STR+3 vs AC; 1d8+2 dmg.
6: STR+3 vs AC; 1d8+3 dmg.
7: STR+4 vs AC; 1d10 dmg.
8: STR+4 vs AC; 1d10+1 dmg.
9: STR+5 vs AC; 1d10+2 dmg.
10: STR+5 vs AC; 1d10+3 dmg.
11: STR+6 vs AC; 1d12 dmg.
12/MAX: STR+6 vs AC; 2d12 dmg.


The holy scepter of the gnollish queen of peace. As an encounter power, touch an ally when they are near death (o hp of less) to restore them to their bloodied value. Doing so increases the weapon's damage and attack bonus.

0 allies healed: STR vs AC; 1d6 dmg.
1: STR+1 vs AC; 1d8 dmg.
2: STR+2 vs AC; 1d10+1 dmg.
3: STR+3 vs AC; 1d10+2 dmg.
4: STR+4 vs AC; 2d6+1 dmg.
5: STR+5 vs AC; 2d6+2 dmg.
6/MAX: STR+5 vs AC; 2d8 dmg.

Tieflings cannot use or be healed by the holy weapon.

Elegant Crossbow of Headshot.

DEX+1 vs AC, range 10. 1d8 dmg; however, a natural 20 will always kill any humanoid creature outright.

2. The Secret of Steampunk Gnoll

Having fled the town of Firepalm in the middle of the night and made camp en route to the notorious city of Hodam, our adventurers awaken to discover, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the sociopathic elf Kylia has left-- taking with her all their food and gold. With a steely nerve that belies his usual calm, the wizard Irving volunteers to "deal with the situation", and that he'll meet the others in Hodam.

The remaining five break camp and start in just that direction when they spot two figures in the distance, engaged in a duel: crossbows at twenty paces. Both of them are dressed in the finest style of the East; one is a human and a stranger to them. One is known to them, and a gnoll-- the very same gnoll who offered some cryptic advice in the Firepalm Mine.

The human fires first, and his bolt goes straight through the gnoll. The gnoll's body shakes and quivers, and then he straightens his arm and unloads his own shot directly into the man's brainpan. The human falls stone dead; the gnoll crumples to the ground in agony.

First Aid

While the others rush to the side of the gnoll, Jarmangle-- perhaps being less trusting-- goes to the human body.

Feer uses her expertise in the art of healing to remove the arrow: first, she sits the gnoll up, then she sets the front end of the arrow aflame, then she grasps the back end and pulls it through, cauterizing the wound. The gnoll is thankful, but the ordeal is not over; Jarmangle, having examined the crossbow, determines that it is laced with a deadly venom.

The gnoll explains that he and the human, Edward, were engaged in a duel of honour, and that there is bound to be an anti-venom in human's home. He knows the way, but will have to be carried.

Suddenly, there is a terrible rending noise; they look to where the human's body once lay and see that he has been devoured by a hideous fire beetle. It is flanked on the left by another fire beetle, and on the right by a larger, older she-beetle.

A battle ensues, and the five adventurers manage to protect the ailing gnoll from the sharp pincers and deadly spray of the attacking carrion. They kill the two fire beetles, but the she-beetle Klikslyth-- the survivor of many battles in the past-- scurries off to fight another day.

Cracking open the shell of one of the fire beetles, Filliam constructs a makeshift stretcher for the gnoll. Somewhat beguiled by gnolls in general, and this very modern gnoll in particular, Filliam seems unusually concerned for its well-being.

The House of Wonders

Filliam and the others take the gnoll upstairs to the bedroom so that he might rest while they search for an anti-venom. Filliam elects to keep watch over the gnoll while the others explore the house.

There are many queer things to be found in this house: a violin mounted on a shield with a blade that doubles as a bow (perfect for a bard like Robyn!); a mechanical box that keeps food from spoiling, and another that modulates the temperature of the room; a library full of books and a machine that can duplicate them. Some are less enraptured with these wonders than others; Tralamin, for his part, is mostly interested in an owlbear rug, which he appropriates, despite its ungainly bulk, as a cloak.

In the kitchen, Feer and Robyn find two baby ferrets rummaging in the cupboards; Feer having been especially desirous of a pet is quick to adopt the baby. Feer also finds a book on gnolls in the library; written by an Easterner, it's bound to be a little condescending and inaccurate, but she figures it will provide a solid-enough grounding in the customs and history of the gnollish tribes.

In the cellar, Jarmangle finds a strange metal puppet. At first, he mistakes it for a Warforged, but Tralamin-- an astute student of history no matter how much else he gets wrong-- determines that it can't be a war-forged. It might be something else entirely, some sort of lifeless "steam golem".

They also discover three vials of unidentified anti-venom. Jarmangle compares them to the venom found in the human's crossbow, but cannot find a match. Robyn consults one of the books in the library and determines that the venom in the bow is actually a mixture of three venoms, and that mixing the three vials would create an antidote.

However, when it comes time to administer this antidote, she misreads a crucial passage and-- to the disbelief of the others-- injects the antidote directly into the gnoll's skull. Knowing that his time left on this earth is short-- and lamenting having been so cryptic in the mine-- he asks that his body be buried with the Gnoll Holy Dead, some miles west of the Firepalm Mine. The group agrees, and watches, sad and curious, as he drifts away.

The Steampunk Gnoll is dead, and his secret died with him.

Part II

Funeral For a Stranger

They arrive at the burial grounds of the Gnoll Holy Dead at dusk. They create a plot and gently lay the gnoll's body to rest. They feel a need to say a few words, but no one has much to say about this figure that came into their lives, and left it, so abruptly.

Tralamin finds himself drawn to the massive Tomb of Gnollish Kings and, perhaps unwisely, suggests that they investigate it. Jarmangle, always ready for adventure and/or sacrilege, is up for it; Filliam is appalled but his curiosity about all things gnollish gets the better of him. The quintet decides to go in as a group.

Legend of The Three Gnollish Kings

Using her book of gnollish history, Feer explains that this tomb is supposed to hold three legendary tribal leaders, akin to Eastern kings: the King of Peace, the King of War, and the King of What Will Be. Legend says that the three kings died voluntarily on this spot to seal up a great evil; when the time has come to destroy that evil once and for all, the two lesser kings will rise from the dead and awaken the King of What Will Be.

Pressing forward into the tomb, they come into a great alabaster hall. There is a hallway bearing off on either side, and a massive door on the other end, with two thrones each facing a hand-crank. These cranks are too heavy to be moved by their hands, and Jarmangle intuits that this great evil might be on the other side. The group decides instead to investigate the two hallways bearing off from the great hall, starting with the one on the left.

The Chambers of Peace

They come to a room with a massive pit, some thirty feet across and miles deep. On the other side, there is a door from which emanates impossibly bright light. The doorway behind them is suddenly blocked by a massive stone door, and they realize they have no choice but to cross.

Jarmangle winks at Robyn (much to her apathy) before breaking out his grappling hook. He whirls it above his head and tosses it clear across the chasm, finding delicate purchase in the stone floor. Filliam elects to go first, moving hand-over-hand across the way. Once he reaches the other side, he unhooks the grapple and ties it more securely to a chunk of rock jutting out of the ground. Feer is next, and she passes without trouble.

Tralamin, however, is another story. He refuses to remove his heavy owlbear rug cloak and very nearly falls to his death. Robyn and Jarmangle are unable to keep their end of the rope, and Tralamin swings over to the other end of the chasm. The others beg him to drop the owlbear, but again he refuses. Irritated, Filliam and Feer grab hold of the rope and hoist the obstinate Eladrin warlock upwards.

They toss the dangling end of the rope to Jarmangle and make sure the grapple is fixed securely. Without warning, and much to her dismay, Jarmangle circles Robyn's supple waist with his arm, grips the robe, and jumps out into the chasm.

He slams into the wall, losing his grip on her waist. At the last second, Robyn grabs hold of his ankles. Not willing to listen to his excuses or to put her life further at risk, she tries to climb over him; she slips and now only has one hand gripping on one ankle. Thankfully, the others are able to hoist them up to safety.

Jarmangle gives Robyn the eye, but she is not amused. Attempting to prove his bravery, he marches towards the bright light, only to find his arm catching on holy fire. It is a holy place, and though it brings the others peace, it is forbidden for a tiefling.

The other enter the room, and find not a gnollish king, but the incorruptible corpse of a gnollish queen. Serene in repose, she fills them with a sense of calm. Tralamin, relying on his "Eladrin senses" and "holistic training" claims that this must be the tomb of the Queen of War. Robyn looks to the others and shakes her head.

They notice that her body rests on a sort of pressure plate, and that the gnollish queen holds a scepter. Feer shouts out to Jarmangle, knowing that he possesses a Charm of Nebulous Shape and Size that can be switched with any small object and fool the owner unless they inspect it closely. Jarmangle tosses it in, and Feer exchanges it for the scepter.

However, the scepter has no living owner, and the pressure plate is not fooled. Fortunately, it is not a trap but quite the opposite; the weight of the holy scepter having been removed, the floors of the adjacent room have moved just a smidgen closer together. Jarmangle alerts the group to this, and after a brief and tense discussion, they remove the body from the plate. The floor closes over the chasm completely, and the stone door cranks back up from the doorway.

They return from the hall, and place the gnollish queen on one of the two thrones. Then, they move into the next room.

The Chambers of War

The next room is much like the one in the other wing-- same dimensions, same door with light peering out on the other end-- only there is no pit. But as soon as they enter, heavy stone doors slide over both openings, and those two walls begin to move towards one another. Within but five minutes, they will be smashed between them.

Noticing the crackled tile on the floor, Jarmangle immediately sets to work trying to pry it up. He discovers, to his horror, that underneath the thin floor is another miles deep pit. They can't go down to get out of this one.

But maybe they can go up? Tralamin notices that the ceiling is about a foot higher than the moving walls. Jarmangle grabs his grapple and attaches it to the top of one of the moving walls. He starts to climb up it, but the rumbling walls unsteady his balance and he falls on his back. The tiles make a sickening crackling sound; the moving walls is too much stress for them, they will not hold.

Robyn doesn't even bother to wait for Jarmangle to get up; stepping right over him (much to his delight), she too attempts to climb the grapple, and she, too, falls (ditto). Tralamin then suggests that they form a "human", or, more accurately, a "human-elf-tiefling-eladrin" ladder, each one on top of another's shoulders. It's a goofy idea, but it seems to work: first Feer, then Filliam, then Robyn, then Jarmangle all get up successfully, leaving Tralamin to try his luck with the rope and grapple.

Feer and the others discover that the moving wall isn't solid, but rather a plate being moved by a sort of piston. Assured of safety on the other side, Tralamin starts climbing the rope. His owlbear rug again proves to be a problem, and it appears time is running out: only desperate seconds remain before he's destined to become a red stain. Convinced of the seriousness of the situation, he reluctantly casts off the heavy owlbear rug and shimmies up the rope. He seems quite despondent.

Just before the walls are about to close in, Jarmangle leaps back down after the owlbear rug. The floor directly beneath him at last gives way, and the walls smash together with a heavy thud.

Jarmangle, however, is still alive. He's hanging on for dear life to the last tendrils of rope from what used to be his grappling line. The others, peering over the newly-created pit from the other side, toss him a line, which he catches with his feet. Always the show-off, Jarmangle does a backwards flip and then shimmies up the rope.

The first thing he does is give another one of his looks at Robyn; she is still quite unimpressed. Tralamin, for his part, is rather miffed that after all that, Jarmangle failed to rescue his owlbear "cloak".

The elf and the eladrin now attempt to enter the actual tomb, but finds that it gives them the same burning sensation that the previous one gave to Jarmangle. (This confuses Tralamin, who still maintains that the first chamber was of War, and so why would the chamber of peace be unholy to elves and eladrin?) Jarmangle enters the tomb, and finds the Gnollish King of War there, resting, his body incorruptible, much like the queen, on a pressure plate. Instead of a scepter, he holds a cursed sword. Jarmangle pilfers the sword for himself, and instantly discovers a strange bond with it, almost as if the thing itself were alive.

He picks up the king's body; the pressure plate rises up, and a secret doorway opens in the room with the others. They move through the doorway and find themselves back in the main room, where they place the king on the second throne.

Suddenly, and of their own volition, the two cranks begin to turn, and the door rises up.

The Empty Tomb

There is a pressure plate in this third tomb, but there is no king there, no sign that a king had ever been there, and no relic, be it holy or unholy. What the room does contain, however, is an ancient door, exactly like the one they found in the Firepalm Mine. His ritual stone glowing, Tralamin rightly intuits that this is what he was being drawn to. They have another piece of the puzzle, but still do not possess the knowledge and experience necessary to put it together.

Before they leave, just for the hell of it, Jarmangle jumps on the pressure plate-- and is quickly struck with four arrows that fly out from the walls. They are only flesh wounds, and after a moment he feels almost as good as new.

Filliam suggests that they depress the plate again, to see if it serves any other purpose. He asks Feer and Robyn if either would place their ferret on the plate. Both are horrified. He is quick to assure them that he values the lives of ferrets, but not as much as the lives of the civilized races.

Fire Dwarfs Redux

As they exit the tomb, they find themselves surrounded by a group of insane fire dwarfs-- and one buxom tiefling, who catches Jarmangle's roving eye. The tiefling appears to be working with the crazed fire dwarfs, and Tralamin-- showing his usual firm grasp on the exact opposite of what's going on-- solemnly declares that the dwarfs are there coincidentally, and that there's no way that they, too, could be drawn to the ancient door inside the crypt.

A battle ensues, and though these dwarfs are as simple-minded as their brethren from the mine, they prove much more dangerous when not trapped on small islands surrounded by water. The battle is fierce and hard-fought-- perhaps made more so by the tactics of the female tiefling, who Jarmangle, perhaps unwisely, does not engage in combat. Indeed, even when she attacks him, he persists in making passes at her. Whether or not this bothers Robyn was not a question anyone concerned themselves with, as they were, indeed, fighting for their lives.

But as the tide of battle turned, and the fire dwarfs started to dwindle in number, the tiefling temptress made a run for it. Without her keen assistance, the remaining dwarfs were quickly routed and defeated.


Our heroes decided to continue to Hodam, so that they might meet up with Irving. Filliam, however, displayed hesitance, and announced that he was thinking instead of taking up residence in the house of wonders-- to study its mechanisms, read at his leisure the books in its library, and perhaps even to attempt the resurrection of the strange "steam golem" that lay forlorn in its cellar.


Gnolls of the West.

The American Indian analogue for this campaign setting are tribes of nomadic gnolls. They're not quite the savage, bloodthirsty beasts of mainline D&D-- they're sleeker and smarter, more likely to silently stalk their prey than just charge in screaming and butchering.

Much of what the player characters know about gnollish culture is filtered through a very Eastern prism, with the same sort of condescending racial attitudes and cultural prejudices that greeted the various American Indian civilizations in the American Old West. Whether they're regarded as subhuman or as Noble Savages, there's not a whole lot of real understanding going on.

I've also drawn a bit from Herbert's Dune, in that certain behaviours that seem alien and evil to "Eastern" eyes make sense within the context of the culture and its survival needs once you've gone inside it a little. From a pure storytelling angle, it's much more enriching to say, "Well, yes, they do do 'x', but here's why, and isn't that a neat bit of world-building" than to say, "no, that's just a hideous blood libel".


Charm of Nebulous Shape and Size.

Charm can be "swapped" for any small item with a thievery check. Its former owner will not notice the difference unless they handle the item to examine it closely.


Ice Charm Necklace.

3 uses, one for each of three gems. DEX vs AC; range 5. 1d6 dmg; 2d8 dmg against fire creatures. A natural 20 will kill any fire creature instantly.


Hellbeard's Hammer.

A hammer that roars to life with living flames, once the possession of a mad fire dwarf. STR vs. AC; -2 to attack rolls if STR mod is less than 2. Does 1d10+2 dmg, and catches the target on fire for 4 points of fire dmg per round (save ends). On a failed attack roll, the bearer catches on fire for 2d10+2 dmg, plus 4 points of fire dmg per round (save ends).


1. The Curse of Firepalm Mine

Seven children of the East have just crossed the Great River with their Dwarf Wagonmaster. They make camp; the Wagonmaster summons a roaring fire with a handful of Firepalm Ore, one of the many wonders that lie West of the river. He boasts that only a dwarf can handle it responsibly, as the "softer" races will suffer grievous burns from handling the ore. The tiefling in the group keeps his own counsel.

They all do, for the most part, all of them unsure of the others, unwilling to reveal themselves. The rather sultry looking Elven maiden, Kylia, even stands off far from the others, unwilling to socialize. Her winsome looks hide a sociopathic streak; she'd cut their throats for a few bags of gold. Quieter still is the only other wood elf, Robyn. A bard by trade, though she's come west with no instruments or even weapons, only her horse. Jarmangle-- the tiefling, the rogue, the flirt-- makes eyes at her, but Robyn is unimpressed.

Tralamin, an Eladrin warlock, starts blathering about the ambiance of the West, indulging in the sort of flighty mumbo-jumbo that's his race's stereotypical stock-and-trade. Irving, a more sensible wizard and a human, decides not to roll his eyes and just nods politely.

The only other two humans are also the only two rangers: Feer is a huntswoman of the forest and lover of animal life who hopes to attract some pets, while Filliam is a most atypical ranger. His knowledge of the outdoors is more based on books than direct experience, and he prefers above all to be indoors, creating some sort of mechanical device or another. He lost his left hand somehow, and furnished his own replacement, complete with a mounted crossbow.

How he lost his hand, he doesn't say; none of them say much to each other at this stage. All of them wonder who the others are, and indeed, who they themselves will turn out to be.

The City of Firepalm

Come the next dawn, the group arrives in Firepalm. All of them strangers in a strange place, surrounded by dwarfs who seem more xenophobic than usual, some of them stay together as they explore the town in a big sticky awkward clump. Kylia and Jarmangle quickly break off from the group.

Jarmangle finds a leatherworker, and demands a whip for an absurdly low price. Through some skilled brow-beating, he manages to get it-- not an easy feat when haggling with a dwarf.

Kylia, meanwhile, with a mercenary streak that is quite becoming, bursts into the nearest inn and, somewhat clumsily, tries to find some disreputable work. She hears whispers that the Firepalm Mine, from whence the dwarfs of Firepalm acquire their wondrous ore, has been the scene of some trouble lately; ore's been mighty slow making its way to town, and some of the miners have met with unfortunate accidents. The nomadic gnollish tribes are thought to be the culprits.

Kylia starts out to meet the mayor of the town so that she might fetch a decent price to investigate the mine. En route, she is intercepted by Jarmangle, who suggests that they include the others. A little disappointed to be sharing her potential bounty, Kylia relents.

The seven head into the Mayor's office, and he hires them to investigate the mine, to determine what's going on, to clear out the gnolls that might be within, and to bring back a bag of the ore to prove they had been there. Kylia and Jarmangle negotiate with the Mayor, relying on comeliness and intimidation, respectively, until he agrees to pay each member of the group one hundred gold coins. He also agrees to furnish them with a dwarven lunch-- plates and plates of hearty and savory dishes, piping hot-- at the tavern across the street.

In that tavern, a wizened dwarven prospector warns them that all is not as it seems. They are not the first adventurers sent to the mine, though if they returned they would be the first to do so. There also didn't use to be quite so many wagonmasters sent back East to bring new non-Dwarfs to Firepalm. They take his warning at face value. Then he scoops up one of Jarmangle's drumsticks right off his plate. Jarmangle, thinking he might impress the others with an acrobatic feat, attempts a back-flip over the prospector, so that he might snatch his drumstick back. Instead, he lands flat on his back.

En Route

On the way to the mine, the seven adventurers spot in the distance one of the tribal gnolls that roam the West. Armed with a spear and wearing only a loin-cloth, he is taller and leaner than what they had come to expect. He rides a massive turtle, whom he has apparently tamed with the use of a carved horn. They lose sight of him shortly after they spotted him.

Tralamin stops and makes the others wait while he samples various leaves of grass that he insists have holisitic remedies.

When they come to the mine, they find the turtle, sans rider, waiting outside. Cautiously, Filliam indulges his naturalist streak and determines the turtle's gender-- female. Robyn ties her horse near the entrance of the mine, and together the seven head inside.

Into the Mine

The first thing they notice is that the first room of the mine is filled with heaps and heaps of dung. Irving correctly identifies it as gnoll feces, and with a simple spell clears a path. In the process of doing so, he unveils a dwarven breastplate. To the horror of the group, Filliam puts the dung-smeared armour on.

Filliam notes that gnolls, being generally pretty fastidious about covering their tracks, would only leave their dung out in the open as a kind of warning. (Or so, at least, he has read.) The group decides they should then proceed with some caution.

A small crevice to the right reveals a number of mining instruments-- a pick axe, a broken shovel, a glove for handling the magic ore, and a "thunder-cracker", the latter being a magical implement that sends bolts of thunder crashing into the rocky earth. Feer swings the heavy thunder-cracker over one shoulder, while Irving appropriates the half-broken shovel as a wand. Filliam slides the special Firepalm Glove over his good hand. Kylia is slightly miffed that she hasn't found anything for herself just yet, but resolves to spend the rest of the adventure grabbing as much as she can, as quickly as she can.

Moving deeper into the mine, they come across a bizarre sight: it is a dwarven miner, quite dead, his skin red and crackled, his eyes ashen, his beard burnt off his face. He is arranged ceremonially in the middle of a chalk circle, with gnollish symbols running the perimeter. Irving uses a ritual to comprehend the language, and finds that it, too, is a form of warning. The tongue of these gnolls being quite unlike our own-- they have no sentences, only one-word fragments that derive their meanings from prefixes, suffixes, and special markings within a given character-- it's hard to make out much more than a few key words: danger and ignorance being chief among them.

Next to the body, and arranged as part of the ceremony, is a bag of the ore. Kylia grabs the bag and suggests that they head back to Firepalm. They can tell the mayor they cleared out the mine, that everything's fine after all, collect their money, and skip town before anyone is the wiser. The other six are appalled and press on.

While Irving is casting his ritual, Filliam-- much to the olfactory relief of his fellow travelers-- cleans his Dwarven Breastplate of Stench.


There were once two path, but one has been dammed up with rocks. Despite their best efforts, they cannot get it to budge. They go down the other path, and come to a couple of forks in the road. As they turn down one of them, they find themselves surrounded by a group of gnolls.

The battle that follows is fierce and hard-fought. Filliam and Irving manage to escape the pincer maneuver, and they fire off crossbow shots and magic missiles, respectively. Feer and Kylia do the bulk of the fighting, and take the bulk of the damage. Feer is at the mercy of a gnoll with a sort of ice charm necklace, but providence intervenes when the gnoll improbably hits itself, freezing its heart. Feer grabs the necklace and its remaining two gems. Kylia finds herself near death, and would surely have succumbed if not for the timely intervention and soothing song of the elven bard Robyn.

The tide eventually turns against the gnolls, with only one remaining; he tries to escape. Now the seven Easterners pull of a pincer attack of their own, and the ruthless Jarmangle finishes him off. The adventurers take a moment to recover from their wounds and search the bodies for anything of import. Though a bard would be more likely to derive use from the turtle-horn, Kylia grabs it for herself, along with a heavy flail.

Part II

Steampunk Gnoll

Working their way deeper into the mine, they come to an elevator shaft. Standing on top of the rickety wooden box, they see a gnoll impeccably dressed in the style of an Easterner wearing a strange pair of mechanical goggles that emit beams of blinding light from its eye-holes. It checks its pocket watch before slicing the rope with a knife. The elevator and the gnoll both descend rapidly. By the time the adventurers are able to peer down the shaft, they are unable to see the gnoll.

Kylia, perhaps sensing another chance to loot a body undisturbed, ties a length of rope to the bit of rope that dangles from the pulley attached to the rocky ceiling. She unwinds the rest of the pulley-rope with its crank and then rappels down the shaft. She almost loses her grip, but manages to hang on.

When she reaches the bottom, she notices that the strange gnoll has disappeared. He has, however, left his goggles, his pocket-watch, and a ritual stone. Kylia knows that others in her party would desire these items, but that doesn't mean she should be a sap and just give them up; each of them instead will have to make a bargain with her, will have to trade something of value.

Kylia nimbly scoots out of the shaft into the mining area below, and the others crank the elevator back up. Going only two at a time, they carefully lower themselves down. Irving, being the last, uses one of his spells to operate the crank.

Once they've all safely made it to the bottom, Kylia begins striking bargains; she acquires the Firepalm Glove from Filliam in exchange for the watch and goggles. Tralamin receives the ritual stone, but no one else in the group is quite sure what he gives Kylia in exchange.

Irving doesn't bother petitioning for the stone, because he is too busy studying their surroundings; all around them are walls that have been gutted of their ore. The dwarfs must have bled the mine dry.

The Trapped Fire Dwarfs

A underground lake stretches out before them, and with it, a rather untrustworthy looking boat. They decide to risk it and press onward.

Soon, they come across three strange figures, dwarfs whose beards are made of flame. They are not the Azers, they soon realize, but rather dwarven miners who have been driven insane (and fiery) through over-exposure to the ore. Trapped on tiny parcels of land, they pathetically lash and stumble in the general direction of the boat; a few well-aimed arrows and spells quickly put them out of their misery.

On the other side of the lake, they find the well-dressed gnoll. Speaking eloquently in the language of the East, he cryptically dodges their questions before directing their attention to a giant, ancient door in the wall of the rock. The ritual stone now in Tralamin's possession shines, and he knows once he has acquired the experience and knowledge necessary to master its secrets, he will be able to use it to open the door. For what reason and to what purpose, the gnoll will not say.

He disappears in a puff of smoke, and the adventurers make their way to another elevator. A careful climb and a magic spell later, and all seven of them have ascended to the surface, coming again face-to-face with the ceremonially displayed dwarven corpse. The path that was once cluttered and immovable is unobstructed. And they know that one day, perhaps, they will return.

Fun with Turtles

The turtle and Robyn's horse both wait outside the mine. Robyn climbs onto her horse, while Kylia tries to lure the turtle with the horn she stole from its rider. At first, the turtle is unresponsive, resolving to wait despondently for the master she knows will never return. But Kylia is obstinate, and soon she and others are able to mount the turtle. It tolerates them for a brief moment, and then throws them off, returning to the mine entrance so that she may await the dead gnoll's return.


The seven adventurers return to Firepalm; the sun has set, and the town seems almost eerily devoid of life. They go to the Mayor, and he is quite surprised to see them alive. Irving's concerns about the insane fire dwarfs are met with a hand-wave. When the Mayor tries to weasel out of their payment, Kylia becomes angry and hoists above her head the great fiery hammer she took off the body of one of the fire dwarfs. She brings it down on the Mayor's head.

To their surprise, the Mayor bursts into flame, his beard made of fire, his eyes glowing red. The Mayor is a fire dwarf!

So, it turns out, are the rest of the residents. They know about the dangers; they just don't care, and now they hunger for the flesh of other humanoids.

Our heroes quickly leave the town, and-- at Jarmangle's request-- start heading in the direction of Hodam, a city renown for its drinking, gambling, and whores.


The Call of the West.

Centuries ago, the gods split the continent with a great river, separating good from evil, civilization from cruelty, East from West. The East become prosperous and safe, home to opulent spires, grand castles, and bustling city life, while the West became the domain of tribal gnolls and fearsome beasts.

But now, some children of the East find themselves drawn to the wild and free West. Some are in search of a new life. Some are running from the old. Some adopt a new name, a new identity, in a wilderness where no one is the wiser. Explorers, adventurers, and scoundrels all hear its call in equal measure.

For whatever reason, you have crossed the Great River and think yourself ready for the dangers that lay ahead...