Alexandros on Death and Resurrection
Alexandros' first visit to the Boneyard, part 1

Since last I wrote, I have died and been resurrected. I am a father, a husband and a king. I have been reborn in the light and warmth of the Flame of Morning. My goddess has granted me new strength. My kingdom expands with every day, bringing hope and succor to those of good and striking down those who would oppress others. I have forged a blade of legends for a champion of righteousness. I have stormed enemy fortresses with only a few companions, and emerged victorious. I have laid low an ancient being of terrible evil, the Lich Vordekai. I have even argued for the fate of a man’s soul before the goddess of death and the god of war.

My name is Alexandros Timon, and I hold many titles. Such is the way of things, and I shall not bore you with them all, as there are only two that matter: Devotee of Sarenrae; and, King of Tusklunde.

I write this after returning, again, from the realm of death called The Boneyard. This time, however, I went there knowingly, and aided by magic. But that is the tale of the end of Ovinrbaane, Enemy of All Enemies. It is a good tale, but it must be told by another, for it was not my victory. Suffice it to say, I have faith that Sarenrae approves of the restoration of the soul of Armag to its freedom.

But this story is a different one entirely, that of my first visit. A tale of my untimely demise, and of my journey into the afterlife.

I was killed by a blow from a foul smelling troll. It happened in a dank cave high above what is now the town of Crimson Crags. As is often told of in stories, everything faded to blackness.

In fact, my vision had already been growing darker steadily, most likely on account of all the blood I’d already left on the ground. I remember thinking it was odd when the final blow struck me. It brought no pain at all. It struck. I fell. It was almost euphoric.

I remember a vague soft pressure followed by a sudden thump, like being hit with a giant pillow full across the body. Little ripples of pain spread out from my heart. When the sensations ended, I slid out of my own skin. There was a roaring noise where my ears should have been, and I started to drift slowly down through the earth.

When I came to, I was standing in line. I don’t mean a line like the entrance to a jousting tourney. I mean a line that stretched as far as I could see, from horizon to horizon. Now, I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this about me, but there’s very little in life I despise more than standing in line. Lines are what happen when bureaucrats win—the bastard of a petulant school child and a gnomish engineer. Lines are the result of poor planning and disrespect. The monotonous drudgery and the meaningless time spent waiting, even just a minute of my day, can really rile me up.

This line was longer than I could reasonably walk in a day. I had died and gone to hell.

An eon of fuming at the pointless waste of my time later, I decided to try to talk to my neighbors. “Hi,” I said, “my name is Alex.” The hulking form in front of me grunted, but didn’t turn. I kept going. “How long have you been here?” Another grunt, this time sounding distinctly irritated. Fortunately I am a skilled diplomat. I was not to be deterred so easily. I tried for common ground. “So I guess we’re both dead, right? How did—”

“Give it up, he can’t talk.” I spun around as a gravelly voice interrupted my monologue.

“What?” Soul of brevity, that’s me.

“His tongue was cut out.”

“Huh?” Brevity and wit, you see.

“Tongue. Snip.” The figure gestured with fingers near mouth, making a cutting motion. I finally stopped to look at the speaker. About five foot nothing, with a scar running from right cheek across thin nose to a slightly almond shaped left eye, she was beautiful. “Lost it to an aggrieved suitor,” she continued, laughing slightly at my confusion. Her laugh drew attention to her chest, which was bare, save for the cloak she was wearing, and the cloak was open at the front.

“Who are you?” I asked, my mind still getting over the shock of a woman with a deep gravelly voice. My eyes drifted lower again. Hey, I was dead, not married. Give me a break.

The woman shifted a bit revealing that she was not quite totally naked. She also wore a bastard sword. “Hoddreid,” she said, smirking up at me. “Hoddreid the bounty hunter.” She pointed at the the figure I’d been trying to chat up a minute earlier, “he was my latest payday.”

I glanced back, noticing Grunty now looking at us, his piggy eyes squinting. “You do the tongue too?”

“Careful,” she said, binding together the clasp of her cloak and lacing up the front. “I might take yours.” She paused, then winked suddenly. “Or, we might find other ways to pass the time.”

The banter continued for a while. Hoddreid, it seems, was from yet another material realm. She had been chasing Crawmak the Raper—Grunty—when she came across a young mage who promised her enchanted armor in exchange for services. Hoddreid wasn’t clear on exactly what the mage wanted. When questioned, she blushed prettily. It was a stark contrast to her earlier, uh, starkness.

The armor, of course, turned out to be cursed, evaporating into black smoke just as Crawmak struck her with a poisoned dagger. Fortunately she’d run him through with that sword of hers first. Apparently you keep what you had in your possession when you died, which explained the sword and cloak. Hoddreid hadn’t done the tongue, though, that had been earlier in Grunty’s career.

Through our conversations I learned two other important things. First, being dead wasn’t really all that different, physiologically, than being alive. Second, I learned that time really does pass more quickly when you’re having fun.

Session 37
Rushlight Treachery!

King Castruccio Irovetti of Pitax invited the PCs to his 5th Annual Rushlight Tournament, held in a little area called Rushlight outside of the capital of Pitax. The PCs were skeptical about Irovetti’s claims of wanting friendship, but figured the tournament was a good opportunity to show off the power and strength of Tusklunde while also sussing out their competition in the other River Kingdoms. Plus, they didn’t want to be rude or possibly start a war.

So, Alex, Blaine, Sam, Max, Crumpet, Attila, and Lily Crane all went off to participate in the tournament. Crumpet competed and won in Archery and the Midnight Joust, Blaine competed and won in the Test of Strength, and Lily competed and came in dead last (against stiff competition) in the Boasting challenge.

Also while there, the PCs exposed cheating in the archery competition, much to the thanks of a local archer who had suspected cheating for many years. They also exposed cheating in the Boasting challenge, though it did not help Lily win. Finally, in the Midnight Joust, Crumpet agreed to perform while drunk on the blackberry mead of a local gnome brewer, though Alex cured him of any ill effects before the joust began.

Honestly, that was probably a good idea because the last year’s champion, an evil barbarian named Villamor Koth, tried to attack Crumpet during the Joust! Crumpet still defeated him fair and square, and Villamor backed off.

After winning 3 events and taking home the grand prize — a rod of lordly might — Tusklunde was the belle of the ball! So to speak. But after Irovetti left, and the PCs were packing up, the true reason for their invitation was revealed — Irovetti launched an army against Freeport!

The PCs raced to their town and got there ahead of the army — a regiment of warriors, a band of trolls, and a flight of wyverns. Irovetti’s army proved no match for Freeport’s defenses, and the enemies were quickly routed and driven off.

Now the PCs face the question of how to pay back Irovetti for his “hospitality.”

Session 13
Rabble-Rousers -- More Annoying Than Werewolves

After rescuing cute little Billy Tannersen from a will-o-wisp and hungry lizardfolk, the PCs returned to Stagfall to find that some livestock and townspeople had been slaughtered. To make matters worse, there was a loudmouth named Grigori standing on a soapbox spewing lies about the PCs and blaming all the ills of the kingdom on them.

While investigating the killings, the PCs realized they had a werewolf menacing the town. Hoping that Grigori was the werewolf so they could kill two birds with one stone, the PCs focused their efforts on investigating him. Spymaster Kozynski used his seedy contacts to dig up all the dirt they could on Grigori. And in the meantime, Attila and Crumpet set about spreading good stories about the PCs’ brave deeds and derring-do while buying drinks for the townsfolk.

But during the night, the werewolf attacked again and the PCs chased him down and cornered him by the Cathedral. After beating him to unconsciousness, the werewolf transformed back into a man — sadly, not Grigori, but a barbarian of the Kellid tribe. His name was Kundal, and he was not completely aware of what he had become. The PCs caged him and brought him to a public forum where they explained to the townsfolk that the killings would stop now that he was caught.

Also at this forum, Duke Timon and Grigori faced off in a debate. Though the Spymaster could not find any evidence of treachery among Grigori’s possessions, Duke Timon used his excellent speaking skills to sway the civilians back in the PCs’ favor.

The debate was very close, as Grigori also had considerable skill with public speaking. However, during the debate, Magister Scorch used mind reading to try and learn Grigori’s secrets. During the debate, Grigori’s thoughts focused in on the men who had paid him, and how the 4000 gold was not worth the trouble Grigori was getting into with the PCs. Jordan also heard Grigori think “Fort Drelev.”

Once this piece of information was in the PCs hands, Duke Timon whispered to Grigori that he was found out and would be tried for conspiracy and treason. Grigori quickly changed tactics, and started using his pontificating skills to talk up the PCs and gush about what a good job they were doing.

In exchange for his story, Grigori was allowed to live, though he was banished from Tusklunde. Sadly, there wasn’t much information — only that some men approached Grigori while he was in Fort Drelev and claimed to be working for Baron Drelev. They offered Grigori 4000 gold to come to Tusklunde and sow discord among the citizens, turning them against the PCs.

After all this business in town, the PCs went about exploring again, hoping to find that pesky Worg. Instead they explored a haunted barrow and destroyed the evil, ancient, undead barbarian lurking there, taking his broken +2 Fey Bane Greataxe as reward.

Session 12
A Daring Rescue!

After settling in for another year of building and improving the kingdom, the PCs heard about a missing boy. This boy, Billy Tannersen, was known to go exploring and bring back wild animals as pets. His father, who works at the brewery in Stagfall, hadn’t seen Billy for 2 days and was very worried.

The PCs found the boys tracks and saw that he had pushed off on a homemade raft and sailed down the Tuskwater. They trekked along the shore of the Tuskwater Lake until they found the ruins of the raft crashed against some rocks, and blood that seemed to be Billy’s. Crumpet found a trail of lizardfolk prints, and the PCs quickly followed that back to their village.

Max silently swam across the river to reach the island village and ninja-ed over the palisade. He heard Billy crying from inside a hut and found the boy tied up just out of reach of some blood caimans (crocodile types). Meanwhile, the other PCs made a noisy entrance and approached the front gate hoping to gain peaceful access. However, as soon as it was made apparent that they had come for Billy, the chieftain, Vesket, ordered his men to attack.

Max attacked the caimans, hoping to kill them quickly and get the boy out of the village, but unbeknownst to him, an ancient will-o’-wisp was hovering, invisible, next to Billy, feeding off his fear. As soon as Max attacked, the will-o’-wisp electrocuted Max and called for Vesket.

Two fights broke out — one in the hut with Billy and one by the front gate. Jordan fireball-ed the gate to gain entrance. Two of the lizardfolk soldiers swiftly ran up and whispered to the PCs that they would not fight them. The two lizardfolk soldiers allied with the PCs fought against the other soldiers fighting for Vesket. The common villagers huddled in the corner, hoping not to get involved.

Max tried to hold off the will-o’-wisp, Vesket, a few soldiers, and more blood caimans. Crumpet sniped from afar, and the other PCs dealt with more soldiers and a few Narlmarch Muggers (a type of large, poisonous lizard) near the gates. Eventually Attila and Alex made it over to help Max and Crumpet (with a few fireballs from Jordan) and the villagers and allied soldiers defeated the enemy soldiers.

Though it was a close call, especially for Max, in the end the PCs triumphed along with their allies. Attila gave a mighty swing of his greataxe as the will-o-wisp tried to run for cover. Alex healed everyone, and then healed them again, and then again…. He also used his spiritual weapon to fight against Vesket. Jordan, after running out of fireballs, made it his mission to kill one particularly wily Narlmarch Mugger that kept trying to poison Attila.

After the fight was over, the PCs brokered peace with the remaining lizardfolk. A new leader, Salazar, was appointed. They promised not to eat sentient creatures (even already dead ones) so long as they could trade gold and gems for meat from the kingdom. Salazar explained that the will-o-wisp had convinced everyone he was the spirit of a venerated lizardfolk warrior. He had become Vesket’s most trusted councilor and demanded that Billy not be eaten, but tortured. He claimed this was because Vesket’s warriors were too soft and needed hardening, but really he just wanted to feed off the boy’s fear. The other lizardfolk didn’t feel right about this because to them the boy was food, and you don’t torture your food.

Rescuing Billy gave the PCs +2 Loyalty to their kingdom because the townspeople were so happy to have Billy home safe.

Session 11
Has Anyone Seen A Hodag Around Here?

While still in pursuit of the elusive hodag, our daring PCs traversed the Southern Narlmarches and befriended 3 fey creatures and a troupe of gnome explorers, all the while dogged by that pesky quickling. Oh, and they did finally catch that darn hodag.

First the PCs headed to Tatzlford to offload magical gear and take care of Official Kingdom Business™. After trading a naked statue for a +1 ring of protection from Lily, the PCs headed out into the wilderness again, still intent on killing that hodag.

While on the road, the quickling Rigg made a few attempts to murder the PCs in their sleep, but was put off by the Alarm spell and appeared to give up. For now, at least.

The PCs met a dryad named Autumn and her lover Falchos. A wicked scythe tree, a type of evil plant, was close to discovering Autumn’s grove. If he did, he would surely devour her. So the PCs tracked down the scythe tree, and between Jordan blowing fire in its face and Attila chopping it nearly in half, the poor thing never knew what hit him! Securing the gratitude of Autumn gave the kingdom +2 to Stability, as Autumn promised to keep tabs on the forest and report to the PCs.

Next the PCs stumbled upon a river bend inhabited by a type of water fey called a nixie. This nixie goes by the name Melody, and she was in a heated argument with a group of lumberjacks. Corax, the leader, was about to attack Melody for charming two of his men. The PCs calmed both sides and discovered that Corax and his men had chopped down a few coachwood trees that Melody was fond of. The PCs directed the lumberjacks to another grove of coachwoods and replaced 3 of Melody’s felled trees, thus earning her gratitude. She promised to watch over the river and attempt to save drowning victims, granting another +2 to Stability.

Then the PCs came upon a group of gnome explorers, led by Jubilost Narthropple, whose caravan was attacked by bandits. Though the bandits proved no match for the hardy little folk, the ponies were spooked and one wagon was almost swept downstream. While Lina, another gnome, calmed the ponies, the PCs helped drag the wagon back to shore. Jubilost was grateful and traded map secrets with the PCs, pointing out notable landmarks and potential trouble in the Southern Greenbelt. He mentioned that he was looking for an old dwarven keep and that he had stumbled upon the lair of a beast — perhaps the hodag?

This lair was indeed the home of the hodag (and it was very hard to find!). The aggressive beast gored a few PCs but was finally put down. Poor hodag!

After all this adventuring, the PCs settled in at the capital and took care of lots of more kingdom business. See the forum for more details on that.

Session 10
You Look So Sexy When Blood Dribbles Down Your Chin!

After dealing with the forest drake, the PCs ventured to the area of the forest where Stan had seen the hodag — but they could find no trace of it. Jordan remembered that hodags naturally hide their trail by swinging their tails behind them when they walk, making it very hard to track them. Still, there was plenty of unclaimed forest to explore, so the PCs continued adventuring.

Soon they came across a ruined elven keep — one that Lily Crane had told them about. She had heard one existed but knew nothing about it, and asked if the PCs came across it to look for an item of fine elven craftsmanship.

When the PCs got closer to the keep they saw that one of the towers was adorned with bleached humanoid skulls — definitely not something the elves would have used for decorating. Assuming that there was probably evil in the keep that had to be eradicated, the PCs ventured inside. A trapped portcullis came crashing down and pinned Max — and that was the easiest part of the day.

Inside the keep, the PCs tussled with a quickling who identified himself as Rigg. A small, lightning-fast evil fey creature, he stabbed the PCs a few times before realizing he was probably outmatched and took off running. The PCs let him go knowing they could likely never catch up to him, but they will remain vigilant until they know the bastard is in prison or dead.

Oh, also, Jordan inhaled some crazy mist and went a little nuts. It was hilarious!

The owner of the skulls turned out to be a grimstalker, another evil fey, with a pet assassin vine. He tried to barricade himself in his tower but the PCs gained entrance and hit him with missile attacks while he climbed up the walls and over the trees to try to get into the central tower. He cried out something in Aklo as he plunged to his death.

Finally, the PCs climbed up into the central tower where they found a baobhan sith (pronounced baa-vaan shee). Known to Rigg and the grimstalker as the Dancing Lady, this evil fey creature had the appearance of a beautiful, blonde, green-eyed elf. She danced for the PCs, captivating them with her undulating motions. All of the PCs fell prey to her spell at least once throughout the encounter, but they came up with some clever techniques to see past her sexy dance.

Jordan cast Obscuring Mist, Alex kept his eyes closed (and later so did Attila and Max), and then Jordan and Crumpet used a tag team approach to let one attempt to see through the Dancing Lady’s facade while the other watched intently to see if their ally failed. Though the baobhan sith almost killed Alex, draining his blood even as the others gazed on with dopey expressions, the PCs did finally kill her. And thankfully, the psycho fey had some great loot!

Session 9
The Kingdom Better Appreciate These Fucking Mushrooms

After establishing Stagfall, the PCs spent a year building their kingdom. But soon enough, the itch to go exploring had to be scratched. When Svetlana Larson told the PCs about an aggressive, man-eating giant turtle, a spiky, lumberjack-attacking hodag, and an evil, shifty forest drake, the PCs opted to lay down their paperwork and take up their weapons for a while and go forth to make The Kingdom (which still doesn’t have a name) safer.

The PCs took care of Old Crackjaw the menacing turtle and the forest drake (but not until after it got the jump on them and almost killed a few horses).

Additionally, the PCs found an odorous mud pit that had mushrooms growing all around it. When Crumpet ventured close to see what type of mushrooms were growing there he was attacked by a huge carnivorous plant called a tendriculos! This giant plant has a paralyzing bite and it almost swallowed Crumpet whole. Thankfully the PCs used smelling salts to brace themselves against the nausea-inducing smell of the mud and fought the plant with flame and sword.

Aiding in the fight was an old human sorceress who told the PCs to call her Old Beldame (though her real name is Elga Verniex). She used Slow and Ray of Enfeeblement to help keep the tendriculos from eating Crumpet. She told the PCs she lived in a hut on the edge of the Tuskwater and does not like visitors.

Still, despite all the trouble, the mushrooms growing there are black rattlecaps and should be a nice resource for the kingdom.

Session 8
And We Shall Call It... This Land

“I think we should call it Your Grave!”

Oh wait, wrong story.

So, after giving Davik Nettles his revenge by throwing the Stag Lord’s body into the river, the PCs headed back to Oleg’s to send news of the bandit king’s defeat to Restov.

Once it was confirmed that our intrepid heroes had defeated the Stag Lord, routed the Northern Greenbelt of banditry, and killed off most of the land’s more dangerous “citizens,” the swordlords of Restov sent a new charter — start a kingdom and colonize the Greenbelt!

To show their good will and desire to remain friendly with this fledgling kingdom, Restov sent money, supplies, and colonists to the Greenbelt.

The PCs set about founding their kingdom. They chose the Stag Lord’s fort as the site for their new capital city, Stagfall, and rebuilt the fort into a castle called Venison Keep (after cleansing the area of the zombie curse).

Choosing leadership involved appointing the PCs to fitting roles and recruiting friends and new allies, including Oleg Larson, Svetlana Larson, Medwind Song, Olivia Garess, Jhod Kavken, and Lily Crane.

A year went by, and the kingdom (still not officially named, but known as the Tusklands), continued to grow. New cities sprang up: Fort Larson in place of Oleg’s Trading Post, Tatzlford in place of the old tatzlwyrm dam, and Templehome in place of the ruined Erastil temple. Even the Sootscales joined the new kingdom! The PCs were on their way to establishing a bastion of civilization.

Session 7
The Stag Falls

The bandits opened the front gate but had no intention of surrendering, instead setting loose the very large and very mean Auchs (a bandit) and Beaky (an owlbear). But the bandits, for all their numbers, were not well trained. The PCs killed Auchs (mostly) and the owlbear before the bandits could close the gate behind them.

Inside the fort the PCs continued to dodge arrows fired by the bandits. One bandit, Dovan, attempted to hurt the PCs from the shadows, but he only managed one sneaky attack on Attila before the gnome rushed him and chopped off his head.

The Stag Lord tried to employ similar tactics. He finally revealed himself after firing an arrow at Alex, but immediately retreated behind the corner. Alex, Jordan, and Miss Woof-Woof (who had been tasked to protect Jordan, unbeknownst to the wizard) went after him while Crumpet, Attila, and Max went after the bandits in the towers.

Alex and Jordan came across a naked woman, Medwind Song, who had been tied to a bed and tortured by Dovan. Medwind had already undone most of her bonds, but Alex and Jordan helped her get completely free. Alex went around the corner after the Stag Lord while Jordan handed Medwind her clothes. She threw them down, however, in favor of her two bastard swords and asked to be pointed in the direction of Dovan.

Jordan went around the corner after Alex and finally got away from Miss Woof-Woof, who chose to follow and protect Medwind. Alex and Jordan both took a lot of damage from the Stag Lord, but once the other PCs joined them, they soon surrounded the bandit king. Obviously hung over, the Stag Lord dropped his bow and took up his sword, which was the last mistake he ever made. (Oh, he also was too drunk to remember that he had a couple of healing potions! D’oh!)

After finding the decapitated Dovan, Medwind joined the PCs, but the fight was already won. The PCs killed the unrepentant bandit king! Beneath his helm was a face horribly scarred by acid burns. In fact, there were burns and scars all over his body. Who had hurt the Stag Lord? Did this torture turn him into the monster he was?

Medwind put her clothes back on while the PCs checked the fort for any survivors or other dangers. In the basement, along with all the stolen loot accumulated by the bandits, the PCs encountered a very strange man. This man, very old and haggard looking, crawled towards them — while attached to the ceiling! He summoned a giant ant to attack and attempted to transform into a badger, but the PCs killed him before he could do so. Unfortunately, the man seemed to have a death wish, as he attacked without provocation and even up against insurmountable odds. The PCs never knew who he was, though he did bear a resemblance to the Stag Lord…

Session 6
Good Luck Storming the Castle!

The PCs finished exploring all of the Northern Greenbelt and were tasked with defeating the Stag Lord, the so-called bandit king, via a new charter from the swordlords of Restov.

The PCs set out for his fort on the edges of the Tuskwater Lake, and came across a hooded figure. When they approached this figure, who would not answer any of their greetings, the figure threw back his hood and revealed himself to be a thawn, a horribly disfigured type of giant. The thawn attacked, but the PCs quickly took care of it (while being sickened at the sight of his sagging skin).

After dealing with the thawn, the PCs continued on to the Stag Lord’s fort. Max and Crumpet attempted to sneak up to the fort and do scouting, but Max was spotted. He pretended to be drunk and the ruse almost worked, especially when the others caught up to him and pretended to be bandits bringing stolen loot to the Stag Lord.

Unfortunately, the ruse failed when Crumpet, attempting to sneak back to the others without the bandits on the watchtower noticing, walked over the side of the hill and triggered an ancient curse. The curse was set there by Gyronna, who was annoyed that the cultists who used to live in the fort (long, long ago) had stopped being so violent. She awoke the dead cultists resting in the graves that littered the hillside and brought them back to life as zombies, who then killed all the cultists. Ever since then, anyone who walks on the hillside surrounding the fort (and not on the path) has a chance of awakening zombies.

Most of the Stag Lord’s bandits knew about the zombies, and therefore would not be caught dead (hehe) on the hillside. So, when Crumpet triggered the zombies, the bandits knew these were not friends, and attacked.

Using Obscuring Mist to protect them from the bandits firing arrows from the towers, the PCs killed about a dozen zombies before reaching the fort’s front gate. The PCs also fired shots back at the bandits, and Max fired an amazing shot from his sling and killed Falgrim Sneeg, a former soldier who had betrayed Olivia Garess.

Once at the gates of the fort, the PCs called to the bandits to surrender.


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