Unofficially, this was the last meeting of adventure 12 - but I won't put a line through it until the next day or two of bookkeeping is finished.
This was another meeting of overland travel and as I've been doing lately, I dropped the DM screen and was rolling dice in the open. I also had the party roll for wandering monsters - just for the hell of it. I played them as they came up, including their reactions - the dice spoke. And I came across creatures I would once again normally never use. Giant goat, giant eagles, a rogue mountain lion, trio of trolls, even had a 13 count of ogres show up. Capped it off with a 2 person adventuring party looking to get a bounty on Karis that was attracted to our camp fire.
It was a nice change, think the group liked it. I'm going to continue to do that on a going forward.
Write up follows:
We made camp about 6:30 that evening, after riding as far away from the orcs as we dared in the growing dark. Our friends were in very bad condition, barely hanging on and cold. The main exception was Norris – our bard had died during the fight with the Lycos Suns and somehow the orcs had animated his body. The bard was undead, snapping out at anyone foolish enough to put their hands near his face. It was only the fact that most of his bones were already broken that had prevented him from actually being more of a threat. Guyus was very unsure – but decided with the group to bind up the bard and gag him until Detheron was once more awake and could tell us what to do next. We lit a fire, set up camp, wrapped them as much as possible, and looked them over. They were under some sort of drugged effect and according to Guyus, wouldn’t be out of it until tomorrow at the earliest.
It was then here that Dust Devil wanted to talk about the resolution of his part of the deal. Since there was no chance we had 6,500 crowns to pay of the drake, we had to go with the other possibility of the deal: two items of his choosing without discussion and he would allow us to have a discussion on the third.
He selected Thurin’s spellbook and Guyus’s Platemail.
The party (ie: Thurin) did all they could to discuss with the dragon a possible alternative, even going so far as to explain how if the dragon took Thurin’s spellbook, he would be powerless. The dragon listened and stood by his ground that a deal was a deal and we had made our choices. Thurin honestly did give thought to using his scroll of disintegrate on the dragon, but realized it was foolish and would not result in anything.
Guyus was worth. He had no desire to give up his armor, but as a paladin he allowed himself to be swayed into honoring his deal. He waited for the mage to give up his spellbook first before removing the ensorcelled platemail. As for the third item, the dragon really wanted a horse to eat. The group agreed and Guyus made sure that Dust Devil was given the horse that Thurin had been riding to date in a fit of peckishness.
The party slept in foul humor after the dragon had flown away, Thurin very nervous because the only spells he had now were the ones he had memorized. He needed to get to town, get access to a spellbook, and spend many days rescribing a book with whatever spells he had in memory.
We awoke the next day on the 4th and just before 9 were off. We made great time riding back south, coming near the orcish stronghold of 4 Tusk about 10. We strongly suspected that our friends’ missing gear was here, but assaulting the fortress would be foolhardy so we kept on. It was a 5 PM that we were attacked by a sudden assault of a hungry mountain lion. A few of us were mauled by the ferocious feline but we finished it off before it could escape. We took the beast with us and tended our wounded before continuing on.
It was closer to sunset that we came upon a dozen giant goats. Each one was almost 8’ tall at the shoulder, shaggy and great and huge. They were feeding on the tough grasses growing within one of the valleys. We gave the half ton beasts a wide berth and pressed on until the sun had long set and it was almost 8 PM when we rested. We had been scavenging for firewood during the ride (Thanks again to Korg) and it was shortly after that that we had a fire going.
From there we skinned the mountain lion, scraped its hide, and set most of the salvageable meat to smoke on wooden racks near the fire. The party slept and slept well. It was around 4 in the morning while our two elves, Thurin and Draugmor were on watch that a four count of Giant Owls landed, lured close from the camp fire. The owls spoke elvish and spoke briefly. They asked for the guts and innards from the mountain lion to eat and snapped up the viscera quickly. Then they offered to fly a couple of us to the nearest town before the sun rises and although we thought about, Thurin and Draugmor thanked the owls and declined. The 4 owls then flew off.
We all woke up, it being the 5th today, and were off riding shortly after 8 AM. We had only ridden a short time before we were noticed by a 13 count of ogres. Luck was with us as we approached the Ogre’s openly in friendship and they returned it. We talked about the 4 Tusk orcs to the north of us (the ogres were heading there for trade) and that the humanoids had come from a mesa known as Odin’s Plateau. They wanted to trade, eyeing our new mountain lion skin. We gave it to them and they in turn gave us some squeezing from a sack that held wyvern’s tails. Very nice! They left us in peace and we rode off relieved.
It was around 3 PM that our companions woke up. Detheron, Gwyn, Aleron, and Mebali (Norris of course was still “awake” and undead). They had been badly abused and told us what they had learned of their capture. They were going to be sold off as slaves to the Ogrelords to the northwest and eventually get to a place known as Ravensperch Demesne. Aleron was still deaf from the rocket blast and had to be explained things very slowly.
We rode onward, now getting closer to Rakewood Forest. But during the ride we attracted the attention of three trolls. The party drew up battle lines, a number of branches lit and a fire going. A few fire arrows were prepared and the group gathered their strength. As the trolls grew closer we shot the swarthy beasts with fire arrows until the brands ran out. Then Korg, Guyus, and Finta raced out to charge the trolls head on.
Blows were struck and torches were passed around as well as burning brands. Perrin shot continuously as the trolls but their regenerative powers kept them from falling over easily. It was when the first one fell that Thurin hit him with the brand again and again, keeping him ablaze. Guyus was getting struck, the loss of his armor working against him during the fight. Perrin’s quiver was running low as he shot each troll two or three times each minute. Finally the battle was done and the trolls vanquished.
Binding our wounds we remounted up and kept going. It was about 6:30 PM when we rested again. It looked like we would be back at Flatrock tomorrow. While we were resting, our campfire attracted two travelers. They came forth to us, a ranger and a mage. They were out riding to capture the bandit known as “Karis of Melbourne” and assumed they could do it on their own. We spoke with them for a while, explained the Red Clouds and Karis and what they were possibly like and their strengths and weaknesses. The two adventurers opted instead to head back to Cymbarton and do more studying and fact finding. We camped with them, sharing our history and story with them.
Aleron’s deafness was healed and the mage gave Thurin a few copies of extra scrolls she had to help him out. We rested and the next day, the 6th rode on towards Flatrock – arriving just after 12. We went to see Sir Bork, checked in and reported, were sent on our way, and the nobleman then spoke to his three men (Korg, Perrin, and Finta) and got their opinion of the party and their trustworthiness. They spoke of the group well but each had reservations about Thurin (in some cases it was outright hostility) and Sir Bork thanked them for their effort and candor and sent them on their way.