(This is a little something I made up for a game that stopped. I thought perhaps with some proper tweaking it could turn into a short story or perhaps a novel. Needs critiques)
Maximus Alebrewer was part of the much forgotten and lost Duck Death Expedition. Missing for more than 50 years, an incompetent bunch of adventurers discovered his journal in a cave next to his body and that of a chicken. He was found clutching a dagger. The adventurers brought his journal back to his people so they would have some idea of what happened to this Ill-Fated Expedition
Duck Death Expedition Journal:
(The following dwarven text is not the opinions of the Expedition senders nor those in the expedition beyond Maximus Alebrewer’s, may he rest in peace)
We have arrived after what seemed to be a long journey following the outdated maps provided by King Jabba. Perhaps Jabba forgot to get it finished, nevermind.
During our journey, I have come to some disquieting thoughts. My companions are usually drunk and they often praise my fried rat stew. It certainly is not the best, but one must do what one can with what little one has. I have been making more of my “Rat Ale”. It’s quite the hit with the others.
A very much stranger thing is how much mushrooms we keep seeing. Harvesting them and serving them up as a drink provided for endless hours of fun. Roast mushroom ale, another possibility for me to explore.
A last concern: I have been watching the chickens very carefully lately this days. I think they are beginning to organize and are preparing to announce their new status as communists. I hate communists. I think the big chicken is secretly plotting against me. Whenever i pull on the string, it is always the quickest to show up. It is clear the poultry pose a threat. I must continue my surveillance.
We have found what appears to be a swamp. Supposedly it leads to the ruined fortress. I am hoping to find some more mushrooms. Our party seems to work better after consuming mushrooms.
Need to acquire a rat and make it a miniature pack-saddle so I can have a pack rat. It would make an interesting experiment. I hope to acquire a plot of land and build an inn. I shall name it, the Drunken Dwarf, and sell ale and mushrooms.
We have not encountered any wildlife on our journey so far. Perhaps in a few days, we will meet the elves who are supposed to leave in places such as these. “Walk through a forest, stab an elf”, as the old dwarf saying goes. Soon, perhaps, we may encounter goblins. Goblins smell, but, praise Moradin, they don’t smell as bad as elves. Even worse, Elves won’t drink beer or ale!!!
For that, they shall all be cleansed in flame.
I am having suspicions that we are being followed by gnomes. These easily entertained degenerates also show up to spread their gifts of jokes. I would prefer kobolds, as kobolds only trying to kill us, not tell us crappy elf light-bulb jokes. The gnomes seriously need new material.
The fortress of Spearlocked. Such a forlorn place, yet I can’t remember anything about it other than it had elderberries. Or was it blackberries? Hmm, now that I think about it, I believe that the fortress was lost when the dwarves discovered they had drilled into a lava river or was it a magma river? I think it was a magma river after all. Hopefully we can fix that and actually find the city. I wonder if anyone in our party remembered to bring the map along with us showing where the city was supposed to be “According to Legend”.
Oh, look, blood in a pond. Let the danger dwarf check it out.
Apparently the dwarves of Spearlocked don’t like visitors. Why else stick all sorts of traps near the entrance? No, they couldn’t be helped to have a door that only opened when you said something in elven. Not much of an entrance then.
Spearlocked was notorious for traps, hmm, seems like they were related to Kobolds. And then they got attacked by cows! How embarrassing. Cows are for eating not fighting. Still, spears and spiked pits? What kind of welcome is that?
There are swampy hills nearby which usually means trolls or lizardfolk or black dragons. The swamps will definitely have some kind of nasty in them. Still wondering what the deal with the piles of bones are.
The amulet I found clearly relates in some way to the fortress, but alas there is no way of figuring out how it got here from there. We need some kind of tracker and we are fresh out. It would be nice if we had one, but one can simply pray.
Oh, and I am making roast chicken tonight. Those chickens need to learn their place in this hierarchy.
Our scout discovered that there was a cave filled with kobolds. So, like a bunch of young dwarves trying to impress out of our league dwarven maids, we set out upon the kobolds to assert our dwarfhood. It went as bad as can be imagined. We were set upon by a horde of the shrieking monsters, each armed with curved swords and shields. The creatures outnumbered us three to one and howled for our blood. Their leader, a kobold of immense size, stood above them wielding his flaming sword and swore to bathe in our blood.
Boldly we went to the charge and managed to slay…just the leader. Our bold attack against overwhelming odds utterly failed and we proved ourselves incapable of truly holding our own, but our killing of the leader meant the others ran away. We have gloriously demonstrated our strength and let the kobolds fear. Boldly, we sang of our victory!!!
Alright, it was only 6 kobolds and we only managed to kill one of them and they were barely armed with daggers. Not a particularly impressive showing for us. I managed to kill the leader, which made the others flee, while the rest of our expedition apparently lacked as much battle experience as me and made a poor showing. Had the other kobolds any spine, we would have all perished. We are a pretty sad lot for dwarves.
We did gain some good spoils, but since the kobolds fled its likely they will be back and in larger numbers. I fear we have only prolonged the dark inevitable day the kobolds actually attack us with sufficient numbers to kill us which isn’t much. We will need to train badly to be able to defend ourselves in case something happens.
I must have been imagining it, but I think that the chickens were silently mocking us for our sheer incompetence. We may have driven off the kobolds but that was solely luck not skill. It’s not a good thing either. We can’t rely on luck to win all our battles, skill is also important. Hopefully the next time we encounter something dangerous we are able to make a better showing of ourselves.
We discovered more kobolds when one fell into the fire in our camp or that’s what our guard claimed. Apparently he scared it so much saying “BOO” that the kobold leapt into the flames. Personally, I think the kobold tripped and its shrieks woke up our sleeping guard. After passing around some fried rat stew, we set off for the day in exploration.
Several hours later, after our guard dwarf had shoved another dwarf into the pond for attaching a “Kick ME!” scroll to the guard’s back armor, we discovered an entrance into Spearlocked. After carefully scouting out the entrance, our guard dwarf (who shall be referred afterward as Guardy so I don’t have to keep repeating ‘guard dwarf’) told us it was safe for us to enter.
Our noble little band of dwarves entered the ruined fortress of Spearlocked. Members of our expedition started disappearing and couldn’t figure out what had happened. Soon, the expedition was reduced to me, Guardy, Pinky (our leather worker), Hoe (our farmer), Tim (our fellow dwarf who likes mushrooms), Joe (a new expedition member who specializes in gemcutting), Frank (our weather man, he is supposed to get the weather figured out; his only prediction rain, which it did, inside the fortress. Hello!!! Dwarven Plumbing!! Invest in it!).
With this small number out of our original 25, doesn’t leave me feeling safe, continued exploring the fortress. Joe keeps claiming that Jabba will be sending more dwarves on this expedition. Secretly, I don’t believe it. Jabba was never really interested.
Report on the Chickens: The chickens are enjoying our march and with the 5 that Joe brought we can go trapfinding with them. Chickens qualify as grade AAA trap-detection devices. I am looking forward to testing this qualification.
We have begun discovering signs of battle between our kin and orcs lead by Elves. So naturally, we have assumed that the Elves are responsible for attacking our other expedition members. We found one of expedition members who appeared partially eaten. Our expedition doctor, Jim, who we thought had gotten lost, told us that it was sign of Elven hunger. This is of course true. Jim is a doctor, so he should know.
We found what appears to be an armory of sorts with left over weapons and armor that wasn’t used by dwarves of Spearlocked to defend themselves and helped ourselves. We also decided to use it as base camp for the time being.
Expedition Members still alive as of writing: Jim (Doctor), Me, Guardy (Expedition Guard), Pinky (Leather Worker), Hoe (Farmer), Tim (Mushroom Lover and another Expedition Guard (something that I learned while talking with him), Joe (Cutter of Gems), Frank (Weatherman), Blinky (A weapons challenged Expedition Guard, he found our camp by accident in night)
(More pages in the journal)
We explored the ruined kingdom, finding little of interest. There appears to a great amount of abandonment in this place: houses are filled with broken objects, heaps of wreckage is strewn about with no clarity. Everything seems to suggest that the fortress is nothing but mess with nothing moving. Curious though that we have found plenty of areas where fighting has occurred.
We have acquired a few more party members since we went down the stairs to this level.
It has been a hard day, this day. We encountered Dwarven Zombies and lost a party member. We were forced to slay him when he went shrieking mad and started gnawing on one of our other party members. We defeated the zombies, but lost a few chickens. Our path, following where the zombies had come from, lead us to an old temple to the god of the dead.
Everything we are starting to see here now begins to suggest that the dwarves of this fortress delved into the tombs of an ancient empire that apparently worshipped demons. Many of the figures are elf-like, suggesting that elves engage in demon worship.
Several of our party are reporting to hear things that aren’t there. I am beginning to experience something similar and I sometimes see odd shadows on the walls that disappear. This fortress is becoming more creepier with every passing day.
Oh Dwarven God, we encountered giant spiders! There were 7 of them and they were the size of big dogs. They came down from the ceiling and tried to put us in webbing, but we fought them off. 3 brave chickens sacrificed themselves with vials of an explosive material we discovered in storerooms. There were crates of this weird orange liquid that exploded when the vial was smashed. Our guard leader had us tie some vials to the chickens to work as scouts. If they encounter anything, we will hear the explosion and be able to tell how near those things are.
We are currently holed up in another armory. The gear in here is sized to fit humans and is decorated with snake motifs. The snakes actually appear to coil, though that might be the due to our growing loss of sanity. We all saw what appeared to be a ghost striding from one room to another. I was going to swear off drinking, but we have run out of beer and other such drinks.
We stayed in the armory, while a few members of our party went exploring. I tended the chickens while the others explored, and used some of our remaining supplies to make some food. While doing so, I encountered a couple of orcs which I killed.
Oh all right. The orcs actually died by eating some fungus I had set aside. The third orc who showed up asked for a bowl of soup which he ate before simply vanishing leaving behind a map of the complex. We have gone down to the lower levels which are labeled in dwarven as the “Hell levels”. This is seriously disturbing me.
I had to explain about the orcs, since they all vanished. The others were interested in studying the map. Our pathway leading back up and out is blocked; we must find another way out.
Expedition Members still alive as of writing: Jim (Doctor), Me, Guardy (Expedition Guard), Stabby (Another Expedition Guard who likes stabbing things), Shield (Another Expedition Guard), Bowdagger (Another Expedition Guard who only uses bows and arrows plus a dagger) Pinky (Leather Worker), Hoe (Farmer), Tim (Mushroom Lover, Joe (Cutter of Gems), Frank (Weatherman), Blinky (A weapons challenged Expedition Guard, he found our camp by accident in night, he has been gnawed by another guard)