This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Meet 18, Adv 1, 12/1/12

At one point the group had decided to send the 1st level paladin to ride alone across the country side in the dark to a cave and throw in the bag of Hadesnium. It seemed like a good idea at first until I started rolling for wandering monsters. I use the 1st ed DMG for my resolutions, and this was in the back where I encountered two monsters: 1st was 5 large spiders - which our erstwhile paladin fled from and the 2nd was a single troll.

The spiders he could outrun on the horse but by the time the troll was resolved, his horse was tired and could do nothing more than trot (barely) - which meant the troll could/should be able to eat and devour him. With the interest in Hobbit running strong as it was coming out in a few weeks, I decided to play a single game of "riddle" with him. Something I hadn't done in a very long time.

Long and short I would have killed the character if he did not answer the riddle correctly. Really - chomp chomp gulp. Instead I did have the troll give him a "magic sword" with dubious ability and usefulness. This is a lynch pin item that will come up as time goes on, and the paladin will be both happy and frustrated as hell with the "sword".

Write up follows:

It was Birthmonth the 3rd around 4 PM when we had mounted up, gathered our charges and belongings, and headed back to Shakun. For the most part the trip was without issue; however there was a single instance where the horses had been on edge and our ranger, Chase, informed us that wolves were shadowing our party. However as we were 10 in number and imposing, the pack (small) kept their distance and we left them behind without issue.
It was around 7 when we returned to Shakun and our first visit (after taking care of Johan, Codron, and Thrish) was to go to the Herbalist and immediately talk to her about the Hadesnium and what we had learned. Sure enough, the iridescent ground up mineral was the poisonous substance and we needed to get rid of it quickly. Where? How?
Fergus stepped up to the plate and offered to ride it out to one of the nearest caves and throw the bag of Hadesnium in it. It was not the best situation, but it would have to do. Before he left, we did some tests on the mineral and verified that it was NOT magical and the detection of poison did not identify it either (although strangely enough, both Enthir and the Herbalist did show themselves to be slightly poisoned). Lastly, the herbalist kept a small portion of the mineral in a thin lead container and would be keeping it sealed and away – but available should the group need it for any reason in the future.
Fergus then took his deadly bundle and ran out into the twilight, on the back of his steed and travelling with as much haste as possible. The cave he was looking for was over 2 miles from town and off the western road somewhere to the south. He had scouted it with Chase earlier in the week and had a fairly good idea on where to find it.
During his ride off the road though he ran afoul of some rather large spiders. Closer to 3’ tall they chased him and his mount for a while until he outdistanced them, pushing his steed to maintain a full gallop longer than expected. Winded and lathered, they arrived at the cavern – a cleft in the earth that went down at least 40’ with no signs of inhabitants. He tossed the bag in and then continued his ride, this time not back the way he came but more circuitous to avoid the spiders.
The horse could not keep a pace faster than a slow trot so Fergus let it have its head, a torch lit and held high in his hands. It was then he heard a voice in the gloom call out, “Traveler? Where are you going?” A feeling washed over him as he detected evil and it was a slick greenish miasma in his mind. Damn it – alone in the darkness on a tired horse and something was pacing him.
He bandied back and forth with whatever it was and it wanted to eat either him (juicy sweet!) or his horse – either one was ok. As Fergus tried to ride on and avoid conversation it grew wroth and hurled rocks and insults – some of the stones were VERY large, maybe 9 or 10 inches across. It said its name was Forthan and wanted to riddle with Fergus. If he guessed it– he would be allowed to ride on without issue. If he did not, Forthan would eat him OR his horse!
Fergus could not risk riding the horse any faster and the stones would lame the beast if he tried to run. So he stopped and agreed but only if Forthan would sweeten the deal. So the figure said he would throw in a magic sword as well. Really? It stepped closer into the light and brandished a blade shouting “Magic sword” and the sword burst into bright blue fiery light. The figure Forthan was a 9’ tall rangy and green skinned troll! The paladin swallowed with worry, knowing that the troll could devour him should it get close enough.
The riddle went, “Made of stone or wood or brass, iron, copper, gold or glass. A little man or beast or tree. Frozen for eternity.”Fergus was nervous for a while but within the 5 minute time frame he said, “Statue?” – and Forthan sighed and tossed him the sword – warning him he should go and go now while the troll could still remember his promise.
Fergus rode off and eventually reached the road and returned to Shakun, alive but terrified over his solo ordeal.
Meanwhile the rest of the group had gone to Castle Canastal and met with Baron Taugis, filling the nobleman in on the situation to date as well as the threat of Hadesnium. We talked for a while and came away with some resolutions: 1) no one was to go back to the “dragon cave” and upset either the goblins within or the dragon that was there. 2) The party should go the cavern where Malven was and rescue the elves within. A reward of 100 crowns would be paid for the saving of the elves there. Finally a missive would be sent to Woodhelven, detailing the situation and asking them for aid or the possible use of any dragon slayers that might be in the area.
From there we then returned to the herbalist who had an elixir for Enthir to drink (to help combat the radiation illness) and to ask where we could learn about who locally would grow Yarrow. It was a very specific plant that required care to nurture and the goblins did need it. It was hinted that someone maybe here near Shakun was selling/trading it to the goblins or goblin benefactors and we wanted to know who it was and how to interrupt it. She said there were maybe 4-5 people and would research it for us.
The party went back to the Hall of Heroes where the tucked in for the night and made ready to ride off to the last goblin cave tomorrow morn.
We awoke early on the 4th, broke our fast, and left by 9 AM, deciding NOT to take the stable boy or the fighters this time. It was a long walk to the last cavern and we didn’t get there until just after 2 in the afternoon. There were some tribal markings on the hill as well as a standard that Chase assured us was that of a goblin tribe or clan of growing strength. The cave opening was obvious and we noted lots and lots of … chicken feathers. All over the hilltop. In addition, there was scat, which Flimflam told us was most likely goat.
Fist’al went in and checked out the entrance – steep steps went down some 20’ into the earth and then opened to a larger area that eventually sloped away. He followed it for a while but disturbed some stones on the ground and in the slope they clattered for a time until stopping and then he heard a tapping sound from below. Tap..tap..tap-tap-tap. Not wanting to make any noise he returned to the surface and filled us in on the situation. We all went in next, this time with light and torches.
There were lots of marking on the walls and we guessed over 40 goblins marked the area. There were also some strange goat like symbols on the wall, half a dozen of them. On the wall were 3 large oaken doors, each with a wheel mounted to the 4 corners – making them into a large but crude cart. We left the doors on the wall and travelled down.
We arrived at an area where stones had been scattered across the floor, making it a simple method for announcing that intruders were coming. How to get past? We opted for bedrolls laid across the rocks and then walking across the bedrolls. We did hear the tapping eventually from below again, tap..tap..tap-tap-tap. This time we responded the same pattern along the wall and goblin voices called from below (in goblin) that were we the supplies? Flimflam answered, “yes!” and we were invited down.
It was on getting closer that the situation became obvious to the goblins and one of them made to run, leaving only a 3 count to face us as well as a goblin camp dog. We hit the goblins swiftly and took them out while Marcus hit another one with a Charm spell and we had another goblin friend and font of information. He was Goelarid and told us that Malven was here. He was a follower of Hades and he had other priests/shamans as well. There was someplace called the “temple” and another place called “the elf room” but both were far inside.
It was then that we decided to try and lure the goblins outside and some of the party was heading up the slope to leave when they heard noises of rumbling from above and goblin voices cheering as they came in our direction fast. Goelarid informed us that it was the supplies and the group readied weapons to surprise the slope riding visitors.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Meet 17, Adv 1, 11/17/12

Not sure when I wanted the group to learn about the goblins in the area and their larger over-reaching goals, but it did come up this meeting from a friendly socialist goblin with an eastern European accent and a willingness to talk (after the damned Charm spell hit him). So this filled in some of the gaps in their knowledge of the area - including the biggie - Hadesnium is the equivalent of Plutonium (Hades = Pluto) and the gobbos are mining it here. In an old Blue Dragon Cave.

The same cave that a group of RL friends had adventured in and defeated the original dragon some 18 years ago in the really real world.

I like to tie in my world and how it grows to the history that the players around the table have affected it - it gives it a growing tapestry of history that no amount of pre-writing could ever achieve.

Now they have to figure out how to combat what seems to be radiation sickness in the party's elven wizard. :)

Write up follows:

The party spent the rest of the day outfitting themselves for another trip to the nearest caves: torches, spikes, ropes, even some goodberries prepped for impromptu healing along the way. What was discussed was which cave to hit and we opted to go for the one that ALSO was marked on the dubious map as an old dragon lair with 50 million gold pieces to be found within. The truth was we were not expecting to find anything along that line but figured that this cavern would be the better choice.
The herbalist was then consulted and Flimflam spent some time going over the many ingredients we had brought back, selling the bulk of it for a tidy profit.
On the morning of the 3rd of Birthmonth, we noted that Enthir seemed sick – the elven mage was drawn and pale. Blaming it on poor sleep we did what we could to get ready and wanted to bring a stablehand to watch the horses for us while we were in the caves. This led us to hiring Johan to watch the steeds – 15 years old and mostly elbows, the stable master was to be paid 10 commons for the single day or 25 commons for 2 days of taking Johan with us. We agreed and the young man was told to get ready.
That led us to the next point – do we need to hire someone to keep the stable boy alive? We went to the guildhall and spoke with Zarik for a bit, eventually him authorizing us the use of two of his students: Codron and Thrish (19 and 17 respectively). We noted what they had for equipment and outfitted most of them with shields and padded armor from our stores as well as a few weapons to augment what they had. And on the 3rd of Birthmonth at 10 AM we set off.
The map was accurate in the distances to get to the caves as well as a number of the landmarks along the way. It was when we arrived at the hilly area to the west of the ancient battleground that we took our time and eventually located to goblin lair. A thick scree of vegetation had been grown over the cave mouth and we would need to spend some time clearing it away before entering.
We took Codron, Thrish, and Johan east a few hills and set them up where they would not be easily visible and told them to watch the horses, keep each other safe, and no let themselves be caught by goblins. With that we returned to the cavern and began working our way in, 2:30 in the afternoon. We expected 3 and a half hours of day light and wanted to explore some now and then if need be, leave and come back again tomorrow @ sun up.
The entrance was strange , canted roughly 25 degrees into the base of the hill and was oval at 15’ in width and maybe 10’ in height. Also odd gouges ran along the right wall, half a thumb’s depth into the limestone and over 15’ in length. There was some goblin sign in the area, but it was about half what we had seen at the other cave which made the party confident.
However the cavern went down over 300’ which was NOT at all expected and we deduced that the cavern although might be goblinoid now, was not originally – lending credence to the fact the original inhabitant might have been draconic in nature.
The cavern eventually opened to a decent sized natural chamber with 3 passages out of here that had been outfitted with a frame and door. Fergus let us know that the area had a low aura of evil upon it but nothing distinctive, and there was a metallic smell to the air. We spent time over the three passages and decided that the 1st one on the southern wall was the proper place to start. It opened to reveal a corridor that T’d to the left and right. The left went maybe 12 paces and turned to the south, while the right went as far as torch and infravision could see with some sort of fading foot prints on the floor. There was a door catty-corner across the hall.
We opted to go across the hall and investigate. Goblin voices on the other side. Weapons at the ready we broke in and took them down with spell swiftly. Binding them up we made sure the rest of the doors were locked and them spoke to one of them who identified himself as Umgarth. He spoke goblinish fine and understood Common as well and he was a font of information – especially after Marcus whacked him with a Charm Person spell.
The cave here was used for mining, of a mineral called Hadesnium. What did it do? What DIDN’T it do was the way Umgarth explained it. In the dark it glowed faintly purple and greenish and was a primary component in many of the goblin machineries made. Also it was ground up fine and added to the goblinwater. It also had the tendency to make weaker people feel sick, get pale, their hair fall out, and get strange growths across their bodies. The party began to feel ill after hearing this and Enthir was particularly worried.
As for the cave, it was the cave of a Blew. Blew? You know, blue dragon. Was an egg, hatched some time ago, been eating Hadesnium and getting bigger. So wait - there was a DRAGON here in this cave right now? Umgarth nodded vigorously and told us where to find the dragon – literally around the corner and through a door.
The goblins were using three caves in the area: one for mining Hadesnium – there are other sites of it, but this one (even though VERY close to Shakun) has been a decent source for them for the last few years and the Duuk Sarithian goblin lords did not want to abandon it as of yet. A second cave was where the goblinwater was being actually finished brewing and a goblin alchemist named Bonalak was handling it. Again, close to Shakun because supposedly there were some herbs that needed to be grown under special circumstances and Bonalak was trading with local non-goblin personages to get them. The last cave was a bit away from here and was headed by a goblin priest named Malven.
Malven’s claim to fame was the fact that they had roughly 5 elves there and Malven would ritually stab them in the heart, milk their dying blood for the goblinwater ritual, and then have them healed, brought back to health, and then a few days later the process repeated. Needless to say the elves in the party were horrified to hear this.
We decided to leave the Blew Cavern and then make our way back to our young men and then march out to the Malven cave and free the elves currently held there.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Meet 16, Adv 1, 11/3/12

This wrapped up the goblin cavern and answered some of the problems the group had come across earlier in the campaign. The issue with this campaign is three fold:

1) There are 8 players around the table. This is 2 more than my upper optimal positioning and because of that (even when people don't show), the momentum is difficult to get going some times.

2) The sandbox format for this group isn't working. Some groups respond well to sandbox, some respond well to rails and guides - this group is not a sandbox group. With no defining direction and too many trailing ends to grab at, the party has floundered everywhere with no direction. I am wrapping up this piece of it (3 goblin caves) and then establishing guides and rails to keep the party grounded.

3) Too much chaos. The party had a few members @ the onset who were having a great time doing the equivalent of running around naked yelling like a firetruck and this had us effectively slide off whatever path we wanted as a party at least 3 times and flounder about.

Not a problem - problems identified, solutions in place. As for this meeting, the group did enjoy some thinking and out thinking of the dwindling goblin forces.

Write up follows:

We burst into the next room, swords up and at the ready. It was some sort of barracks – the back corner of the room had been mounded with wooden pallets and mattresses, 2 goblins positioned behind with spears bristling outward. Two other goblins were charging out of the room to the west, legs pumping as they hastened down the corridor. Sparing the fleeing goblins only a brief glance, Fergus and Tempi hit the barricade with sword and trident. It shifted but held, with the paladin actually striking the goblin behind. The blow felt odd and when he withdrew his trident something spattered against his armor with a hiss.
Meanwhile arrows began flying DOWN the corridor towards us, clothyard goblin shafts striking around us and harrying our movements. A few shots were returned but the range was great and we could not see our opponent. Fergus was yelling as he tried to cool his heating armor and Flimflam was racing there with torch in hand, showing that some sort of greenish ooze was eating the paladin’s armor as well as the pallet and mattress barricade that had been set up. Tempi tried to douse the ooze but only succeeded in getting Fergus damp. We had to get his armor off as the slime was spreading.
Dagger in hand, he cut the leather straps holding the breastplate in place and hurled it away, vambraces and greaves following. The metal continued to smoke and was eventually eaten by the slime. As for the goblins behind the barrier, torch light revealed them to be dummies.
Unable to actually hit the distant goblins in the dark a torch was hurled there, showing the corridor sloping “down” some 15 paces, leveling out, and then sloping “up” on the other side – with 4 goblins there with bows. A few members ran back to the corner to watch for possible back attacks while the rest shot more arrows at the goblins, dropping one and making the rest flee.
We did our best to clean ourselves up and lamented the loss of Fergus’ armor – the paladin only wearing the padded underarmor for the time being. We then took two of the padded mattresses to use as impromptu tower shields (for arrows at least – some cover!) and retreated back the way we came to the eating area (we did not want to go down the sloping corridor). No goblins had come this way and Fergus was no longer to feel their evil emanations – either too far or rock/stone in the way.
We once again moved the table and buckets of urine and went down the corridor until we came to a room. Fairly sizable, it was some sort of market areas with counters, tables, and display racks – although almost all of it was empty. No goblins anywhere. We cautiously looked around until we spied upon a concealed door along the west wall. We cracked it slightly and a breeze was blowing our way. Fergus “felt” for evil and had a muted result through the narrow crack. This was it.
We opened it and saw that it was a cramped corridor, maybe 4 ½ feet tall and 2’ wide. It would not be possible for Tempi to go through easily (if at all) and Fergus would also have an issue or two. The rest of the party should fit. There was some trepidation as we noted there were goblins somewhere down the narrow cleft. We were drawn into a conversation with them and some back and forth followed until someone did something and a sleep spell hit the end of the corridor – and then radiated out amongst us – but due to circumstance, cover, and race – only Flimflam and Whosea were actually put to sleep!
Chase ordered us to be quiet and we all froze, weapons out and ready. The door was blocked by the mattresses and we listened to the slapping sounds of goblin feet as they crept closer. Three? Four? Who knew –but when they came within range we fell upon 1st one with arrows and steel – dropping him and sending the remaining greenskins fleeing back down the passage. With a snarl we gave chase. Fist’al and Marcus were first down the corridor, with Chase right behind. The rest of the party dragged the goblin out of the corridor and beat him to a pulp before trying to follow (only Flimflam and Enthir staying behind – asleep and trying to wake up the enchanted sleeping guy).
We charged through the dark, Fist’al’s infravision more than enough for the elf to see but Chase was charging blind, relying on his ranger skills and hearing to guide him. The scout saw 3 goblins running away and as they ran (eventually down a slope in the corridor), they hurled anything they could back at him – one of which was a bola that the elf snagged and whirled himself as he chased.
The ranger was running VERY fast, and quickly caught up to Fist’al and then passed him, sword scything back and forth as he charged, the elven scout trying to guide him as he ran. He did catch a goblin with the blade, slowing it down and Fist’al brained him with the bola. They were forced to jump and duck, the sloping corridor leveled out to a pool with a faint glow coming from it. We saw the goblins clearly and Chase barreled another one down as he tried to get the last fleeing one. It was the scout and his handy bola that actually tripped the goblin up, allowing the ranger to make a fast dispatch. Meanwhile, Marcus was making sure the bodies strewn behind were down and dead with fast thrusts as he ran along.
We had heard a number of remaining goblins clamoring to“get going!” and we came to an area where the cave opened to a large grotto. Some sort of chime and workshop area filled the left side, but the north end of the cave had a ring of mushrooms there, Bob the goblin carpenter straddling the circle with a pouch in his grasp and hand upraised, and the last few goblins (one of which we assumed was still Bonalak) running for the mushroom ring.
A single arrow shot out and hit Bob, making him gasp, and open his clenched fist – which dropped something and the mushroom ring flared briefly to phosphorous light and the goblins in the ring were gone – including half of Bob! The last goblin dropped to his knees and begged forgiveness and the group trussed him up.
During this time Tempi and Fergus had thought that there was another way OUT of the cave and had run back to the entrance – but after 10 minutes, decided they were mistaken and came back down. As for Flimflam and Enthir, they too joined the group down the narrow concealed corridor and eventually the grotto.
We spent some time looking over the grotto. The area to the left was a work area that had a variety of strange and interesting items on it. Herbs, powders, elixirs – eventually it was deduced that this was various raw ingredients in a series of stages for goblinwater. One of the items that we did discover though was something that was not on the herbalist’s list – and that was blood. Flimflam spent a longer than normal time looking over the blood and assured us it was collected from the heart itself – as evidenced by the coloring of it. There was something else bothering the gnome about it but he kept his council to himself. As for the other ingredient, it was an iridescent dust of some unknown origin – something we’d have to look into at some point.
As for the chimes, Fist’al assured us they were trapped. There were not mounted to the ceiling – but instead went INTO the ceiling – most likely onto some counterweight or balance. The chimes were a mass of brass and silver design and rung softly in the unseen breeze that seemed to originate from this chamber.
We then went to the pond that was glowing and looked it over. As long as there was a light source in the room, the water was normal and the rocks at the bottom were simple cracked and veiny looking mix of limestone covering basalt. It was when the light was removed that the water took on an eldritch look. There were green and purple faerie light coming from the cracks in the stone – and that was diffusing through the water and making it appear to have that glow. We didn’t know what it was and decided to leave it alone.
From here it was -do we screw with the chimes? It was decided on yes – but on Fist’al was going to stay – the rest of the group ran back to the market room at the top of the slope and the elf eventually triggered the chimes. A roaring wind took place and a strange rumbling – water was rushing along and Fist’al charged up the slope until he managed to halt his back slide into the water by aid of a trusty thrown rope. Once out a short time later the water seemed to have disappeared and he chanced going back down – seeing everything as it was (no bodies!) except of the 5 chimes – only 4 were making noise now. Deciding to avoid any possible issues he left and we all grabbed some of the sludgy goblin petroleum oil and then made our way back to Shakun.
At the gate we were told that Baron Taugis was interested in meeting with us but we opted to go home and clean up first, eventually going to Castle Canastal @ 4:15 and meeting with the baron and his councilors. We talked about what we had done, the goblinwater, Bonalak, and the disrupted goblin activity barely 3 miles from town. We were given 100 crowns for our efforts and then commissioned to find this Bonalak and bring him in – 300 crown alive, 150 crown if dead. We took the job and then Flim Flam was knighted for the group’s effort in doing what they’ve done as of late and we returned to the Hall of Heroes where we talked about going to one of the other goblin caves (there were 2) next and hit them now while we have momentum and they would not be expecting it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Meet 15, Adv 1, 10/27/12

A little discussion on the low HD monsters and how they fit into my world.

Kobolds are the subterranean staple just about everywhere. They are numerous, simple, prone to using traps (pits and the like) and slings and spears figure big on their arsenal.

Orcs on the other hand are a surface race (that does get driven underground now and again). They are in my temperate to northern climes, are large, brutish, brutal, and even though appear to be simple - they are anything but. They delight in hurt and their superior strength and normal intelligence make them a danger. Their biggest downfall is the fact that when a tribe/gathering exceeds 70 members, they have internal bickering and backstabbing. It is not uncommon for subaltern orcs to screw over their leaders during combat with PC's just for a chance to grab the brass ring.

And that leaves goblins as the common trio. Goblins are (to me) another surface race and generally are found from tropical to temperate zones. My current party had never run into goblins before so this was an opportunity for them to see them in action.

To me, goblins are god damned crazy. They are twisted and sometimes do things that make no sense. They can eat most foods that would make a goat puke, can drink muddy water strained through their fingers, and have enough industrial know how to get the "job" done but safety and caution are unknown to them. They might gang up on a fighter, knock him down, and steal his shield, spikes, and underwear - leaving his alive and with all his money. They know every dirty adventurer trick and will use them against any PC they can run into. Also, it they are experiencing a hording sort of numerical advantage over their enemy du jour - they have a continuous chanting that gives them all the benefit of a bless spell.

So the group fought them, fell victim to their machinations, and were eventually chased OUT of the goblin cave. It was only through a series of lucky spells and planning that they turned the tide and were able to charge back into the fray.

We also met Bob. Or as he'd been called, Bob Goblin - the Builder. All those silly ladders and tools and stuff - someone had to make them. So the group encountered the goblin builder who I named simply - and he was launched into Goblin legend as he defied the party and raced off to reclaim the property the group had been attempting to steal.

Write up follows:

As our fighters held the front on the 4 goblins there, those of us in the back were shocked as the goblins there threw gourds filled with some sort of flaming petroleum at the corridor, setting it ablaze and hemming us in. With the fire burning from edge to edge, we found ourselves forced further down the passage towards the front. Hearing the problems behind, the warriors in the front made a concentrated effort to finish off the goblins, eventually breaking their morale and forcing them to retreat. We hacked them down as they fled only one of them actually escaping the melee.

From the other side we noted at least 3 goblins throwing the gourds with oil and from what we could hear, there was a finite amount available. Some of the goblins went back to get more. However, one of the goblins had thrown his gourd the wrong direction which caused the torch bearer to grow angry and beat the goblin with his light source. A lucky shot across the flaming hall from our boys buried a single arrow into that goblin’s eye before we all took refuge around the corner.

Some quick healing had us feeling better and then we all moved forward. There was a mass of fallen rocks blocking the corridor, not enough to fill it, only maybe a foot and a half high, but enough to slow down anyone daring to cross it. Beyond was a gathering room of some sort, currently empty. We heard goblin voices faintly in the distance and Fergus assured us the distinctive stink of the green skin evil was not too far from here. A light spell was cast on one of the fallen goblins but Tempi had an impossible time throwing the body over the barrier, eventually hurting himself in the process. We did get the light over and we able to better look around the corner.

On the other side of the room was a second exit, also with a pile of stones. And hiding behind it was a goblin hunched low with something in his grasp. Fist’al took a chance, whipped around the corner, and shot first – hitting the guy in the face. He pitched back and spilled the entire bucket of goblin urine on himself. He crawled away and we heard someone fall and breaking wood. The group entered the room now and Fist’al crept forward to scout the next exit.

A short hall, 15 paces or so long, then a drop of 12’ to the group below. We carefully looked around; two ladders were down there, one missing a rung or two, the corridor shaped like and “L”. What to do now? We decided that part of the party would go back to the flamed hall, make sure it was passable, and if not, make it so. This left 3 of the party members here, looking over the 12’ drop. We KNEW there were goblins down the hall, thanks to Fergus and his ability to sense evil. 5 figures. It was then that we thought, we could use those ladders. One, the help us climb down fast. And Two, to prevent the goblins from having them.

A grappling hook and rope was used to “fish” the ladder from below and Fist’al began pulling it up. This caused the goblins to exclaim in surprise and one of them demanded (in goblin) that we drop his ladder. This was the birth of the goblin legend of Bob the greenskin carpenter and his efforts to reclaim his ladder bore fruit at this point. Bob ran down the passage, dodging thrown spears and arrows, actually tackling the trailing far end of the ladder being hoisted away. Fergus and Tempi both grabbed Fist’al, holding him in place as Bob yanked, pulling the ladder free from the scout’s grasp.

As the ladder slithered away a hasty grab at the rope and grapple still entwined in the rungs followed but the weak wood snapped and the ladder was spirited away, only a single grazing blow by an errant arrow gave him any issue. The goblins cheered and we heard many derisive calls from the greenskins. Angry, the group fished the 2nd ladder up, taunting the goblins who did not race forward again.

Once at the top they made believe they were breaking it by smashing other furnishings which drove Bob to fury. Through the whispering echoes we heard that Bob was going to sneak back towards us to “teach us a lesson”. We watched the hall carefully but heard instead the sound of a door opening elsewhere and then after a long pause, another one opening closer. Ok –secret door of some sort.

Fist’al had the bow ready and was watching...and then he saw a heat source creeping closer, swinging a bag in a circular motion. Initiative…and he lost! The bag was thrown first, arcing up towards the group on the ledge, spinning slowly as it seemed to open. The elven scout forwent his shot and tried to catch the bag to hurl it back but instead it burst against his chest – and 5# of red ant spewed from the bag and all over him. The angered ants began biting and burrowing, getting under his armor and clothing. Tempi and Fergus dumped their waterskins on him and spent a few minutes smacking him as he shook the ants out of his belongings. Meanwhile Bob had run back to the goblins and there was more cheering from the greenskins.

During this time the rest of the group was struggling to move the sludgy goop that remained from the burned petroleum the goblins had used. Unable to do so, they settled for making a bridge of sorts across the tarry mess using tables, counters, and even the ladder we had gotten. Then it was time to start bring the less sure-footed members across first. Flimflam suggested we make for the exit as we seemed to be fighting the goblins in their element and it was not going to go well for us. We needed to get them, any of them to follow us outside.

While this was going on and the goblin’s realized that the party was not going to chance coming down the corridor after them, the group heard them talk about getting Bonalak here and to chase the group out. Then Fergus reported feeling more evil figures congregating down the hall: 6, 10, 14, 20 and then some. It was time to go.

We ran back towards the entrance, shouting to Flimflam and the rest of the group to run as fast as they could. As the party picked their way across the ramshackle mess of boards and furnishings, we could hear the cheering call of the goblins as they chanted loudly, running down the passages, chasing after us. We redoubled our efforts and ran harder. The group was spread out with Fergus and Tempi being in the back of the party.

Spears and bolas began soaring towards us, bursting on the grounds, hitting the two fighters. Fergus took to running backwards as he tried to intersperse his shield between the onslaught and the group, eventually throwing the broken shield aside after a series of terrible assaults. The rest of the group achieved sunlight and turned to the left, lining up with arrows and spells at the ready. The moment Tempi and Fergus emerged, a scant 30’ ahead of the greenskin horde, spells were shouted and hurled at the howling greenskins.
The front rank was stuck fast as the grasses lifted up and twined about their legs, holding them in place. Then a pair of sleep spells finished off the center and back ranks of the greenskins, ending their charge and silencing their song. The back of the goblins were thrown in disarray as the group then fired without cause into the massed goblin party. A retreat was called and of the charge that had come at us, only 8 goblins escaped back into the tunnels. We plied sword and knife on the frozen figures until they had all been slain.
From there we looted shields, bolas, and spears and talked about what was to happen next. We had escaped the possible goblin trap and caused terrible damage to them. But we also knew that Bonalak was in there somewhere (or was he killed out here? No one knew) and he had the secret of goblinwater that we needed to bring to a close. We dispensed what healing we had (goodberries and minors) and then rearmed and ready, returned to the caves.
We walked slowly, watching cautiously for any traps or ambushes. At the 1st intersection we noted the “bridge” across the sludgy ground had been disturbed and the ladder missing (damn you Bob Goblin!). We went down the stairs and looked over the room with exaggerated care. There was some natural petroleum here, dark and sludgy. Some gourds were piled as well but they were not hollowed out as of yet. Fist’al had informed us about Bob sneaking down through a secret door of sorts so the group began looking, finding one along the northern wall. We opened it, showing a cramped corridor that stretched northward. We opted not to follow it and instead continued along.
From here we passed under the 12’ rise to the corridor above (seeing no one) and then continued north from here until we stopped just outside an eating area. The room had been trashed and upended, furniture and tables scattered everywhere. It was shy of entering that Fist’al noted a tripwire stretched across the floor. He traced it to the inside of the door where two pedestals were tilted, each with a bucket of what was assumed to be goblin urine on it. Lovely.
He disarmed the trap and we entered. There were two ways out of here and Fergus was able to distantly sense goblin evil down each (distance and stone blurred his ability). We decided to go west and eventually down the corridor came to another area of fallen stone. While looking past we spotted some goblins and a few bow shots were traded until the goblins ran back around another corridor. We suspected they were going to circle about so we ran back to the dining area, set up a table and 2 piss buckets behind it, and went down the other corridor. From here we relied on Fergus to tell us of some evil presences not too far from here so we bolstered our strength and then charged down the corridor to do battle with the goblins there.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Meet 14, Adv 1, 10/13/12

This meeting entailed a lot of clean up and return to Shakun - plus some sandboxing in order to find the goblins that might or might not be involved with the goblinwater. I realized that this group does not have the make up for sandbox style play and after the next few meeting will be putting some rails down and measurable goals to bookend adventures. There are 7 players at the table and many of them are still newish.

Write up follows:

While at the magistrate we talked to him about the deeds and Letters of Credit we had found on the bandits. The signatures were not real, but each LOC was from a respective high council member in Timberton, Shakun, and Ferron. They were for a few hundred crowns each but under normal circumstances, if they were presented, the supposed signors would not honor them. As for the deeds, they were for fairly crappy sections of town and would revert back to the local lord if the tax responsibility was not maintained. From what we were able to learn, the taxes were paid for 7 seasons starting roughly last year and would continue until this winter. As for who paid them, we would not be able to learn that until later.

We then went off to the Flying Pegasus Inn where we divided up treasure and talked about what we would be selling the following day. The group rested and we sold off armor, weaponry, and other plundered goods from the bandits, adding the proceeds to our growing pile of coins. We also had a few extra questions of the bandit leaders and had the magistrate ask the captured pair for us. We learned that there were a total of 5 bandit camps all under the umbrella of the “Grey Havens” and eventually we go the rough locations of the other 4 camps and relative strengths.

From here we rented a pony and cart and left. Eventually we returned to the bandit camp, got the bodies of our fallen companions (Device and Ironboar) and headed back for the road. We were “called out” to while travelling and figured out that a hunter and his son had stumbled upon us and wanted nothing to do with us, making sure they were gone and on the way. We eventually reached the Roaring Treant at 8:30 that night, got a room, and slept.

We arrived at Shakun the next afternoon, the 20th where we turned in the pony and cart and eventually sat with Baron Taugis and the council on what we had achieved to date. They were happy with our efforts and our dispatching of the bandits had not gone unnoticed as travelers from Ferron had reported how surprising it was not to be accosted on the road.

We buried our companions on the 21st and then had a wake afterwards at the Hall of Heroes. From there we talked about what was next. We had many options but decided to pursue the one that the Baron had asked of us first: seek out the source of the goblinwater elixir and disrupt it if at all possible.

For the next almost 2 weeks we researched the area and scouted what natural caves we could find, as well as any and all rumors that local hunters and trappers had about any cave at all. The idea was that according to Falag and Thagorek while we were questioning them, there WAS a goblin group near (relatively) to Shakun and it was in some cave.

It was deduced that there were 3 caverns that had some sort of goblin sign near them, and on the 2nd of Birthmonth we set off to the closest one, some 3 miles north through the low plains and scrub around Shakun. Eventually we reached the cavern mouth, a natural cleft in the side of a mounded hill, maybe 8’ tall and 15’ wide. Loose dirt filled the early places but a further look revealed limestone and goblin clan markings. We lit torches and entered with care.

The was some walking involved before the slope evened out and we came to a worked area of the cave. The floors and walls were fairly smooth and stood up to 8’ in height, perhaps the same or more in width. Flimflam sent off a burst of dancing lights ahead and revealed a split in the corridor, to the right and straight ahead. A goblin voice did squeak in surprise and we proceeded with care, weapons drawn.

At the split to the right the corridor went perhaps 8 paces and then down some steps, while straight ahead it came to a right hand turn. We opted to go straight, towards the goblin sounds we heard.

And then as one we rounded the corner and engaged the 5 goblins there. Arrows flew and own warriors surged forward, bringing the fight to the greenskins standing firm. Long spear met bastard sword and shields were raised. The sound of splintering wood grew heavy as the goblins struggled to hold the fighters back. Meanwhile down the other corridor the rest of the group heard goblin voices in the dark, sibilant and whispering. They readied arrows to hold off the soon to be assumed charge from other direction – prepared to make the greenskins pay dearly for their possible encroachment.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Meet 13, Adv 1, 10/6/12

I have always loved Owlbears. As a monster - it is pretty stupid - I mean a bear - but with owl parts. But when you take a big assed bear and throw it at the group and make no pretense that it s a god damned monster and you better be either running of missile firing at it because the bastard is TOUGH. Plus, I use the ubiquitous "HROOO-HAAA" noise for the owlbear's cry (cribbed very much from the Goblins! comic) and in my mind, there are a terrible danger.

The group is still floundering a bit, but this wraps up the bandit piece for now. I need to guide them more on where to go and what to do next. I tried the sandbox - tons of stuff to do and go to idea but the party does not respond well to it. My bad, I tried it out. The only piece left for now (before a long rest/training time) is a short raid into a goblin cave nearby and get some info on the goblin water.

Adventure 2 (electric boogaloo) will have more rails and guide posts along the way to keep them in place and feel like they are getting something done.

Write up follows:

It was 12:15 on Plantmonth the 17th and the group was trudging their way back through the forest westward to where they had originally crossed as well as to pick up Flimflam’s pony that had been left there. During the walk we talked about our charges (4 camp women and the 6 bandits that we had captured) and what our next course should be.
It was agreed upon that since we had momentum, we should direct it at the leader and 2nd (Marganith and Betelmis the druid). We knew they were headed to Shakun to meet us and attempt to arrange a transfer of funds for the prisoners. We had learned they had horses and did some quick math. If they left shortly after our failed original attempt on the bandit camp, got to Shakun, stayed overnight, and left the next day – they would be back at the bandit camp around midday on the 18th.
We opted to intercept them before they got back and use our overwhelming numbers and surprise to take them down. What we couldn’t do was achieve this while towing 6 tied up bandits and the 4 camp women with us. We would need to go someplace first.
The party decided to split up: Fergus and Chase would head to the Roaring Treant where they would rest the night and watch the comings and goings of the people there and try to get a bead on the bandit leaders first. The rest of the party would head to Timberton where they would bring the bandits to the local magistrate for incarceration, drop off the women at the Hospice, and then turn back around immediately. We agreed to meet up at the woodcutters cottage that we had stayed at some days ago assuming it was still not being used.
We crossed the ravine and split up, the majority of the party heading east-southeast through the trees, the line of roped together bandits taking up the rearmost position in the group. We were chatting and not paying much mind until we heard, “WHHRRROOO-HAAAA!” in the nearby distance. What the hell? We all looked at Flimflam who assured us that although it sounded like it, it was not a normal animal and we should move with haste. Now.
We picked up the pace and ran on as we noticed in the distance to the north shadows moving about. They parted to reveal not one, but two 9’ tall bristling brown feathered monstrous ursine apparitions. “Owlbears!”was the cry and we ran on faster. The owlbears swiftly kept pace and then began to overtake us. The bandits were yelling for help but we did not stop. Eventually they fell upon the bandits and killed 2 of them. The ropes had been split, one bandit was running free, two were tied together still, and the last was still tied to the 2 dead ones.
But the owlbears ran on again! Flimflam called out to Demeter and the forest squirmed around the ursines, slowing them both down as it entangled them and eventually stopping one. The 2nd though was furious, made more so when Marcus and Fist’al sent a few arrows its way. It charged and we ran some more as the ursine tackled the two bound bandits and took them down.
The owlbears no longer seemingly following us the lone bandit then jogged to the left and tried to lose himself in the woods! Again arrows flew and he was hit hard and fell before more than 2 dozen paces. We bound him again and angry eventually made the road. We now had 4 terrified women with us, 1 very wounded bandit, Tempi and Enthir both barely alive, and the rest of us winded. We walked long on our dwindling supplies until we reached Timberton before the 9 PM curfew and gate closing.
We went to the magistrate and turned over the bandit and were then directed to the Hospice where we tended to some of our hurts and arranged some potions of rejuvenation for Tempi and Enthir. From there we went to the stablery, haggled for a bit on the price of a cart and horse, and then mounted up and road out of Timberton BACK towards the road and eventually the woodcutters cottage some 6 hours away.
Meanwhile Chase and Fergus arrived back at the road with no issue and then at the Roaring Treant by 2:30 PM. From there they procured sleeping arrangements at the Common Room and sat down for a good meal. Some walking about the grounds, visited the stabler and farrier, and took a good view of who was there rounded out the rest of the day. The two men took turns sitting outside and watching the road, hoping to catch sight of anyone who might be passing through and not stopping. About the only people of interest were a trio of travelers who came in about 11. The ate swiftly and two went to sleep in the Common Room while one was sitting up and reading.
Through conversation it was learned that his name was Glaris and he and his two friends were from Waterdale and looking for hireling work. Hoping to hook up with the Shakun Adventuring group they were dismayed to seem them not there. With little coin in their pouches they decided to head on to Timberton to get on a spring logging crew as it was something they all new well, and then eventually get back to the adventuring group in the fall and try again.
As for the other party members, there was a moment of terror on the road when they came up a wild boar but other than that they trundled along until arriving at the woodcutters hut at 3:30 in the morning where the elves took over watch and the rest of the party went to sleep.
Fergus and Chase awoke by 6, ate a fast meal of sausage and warm bread and were on the road, eventually finding the woodcutter’s cottage by 7:30 where the party all rejoined and we shared stories with what had occurred to date.
By 10:30 we had all rested well and a plan was devised. Chase and Fist’al would brace the 40’ wide road on opposite sides and well hidden. With arrows at the ready they would provide the initial attack which would be followed by a concentrated assault of Marcus and Enthir using Sleep spells, Flimflam and a his druidic powers , and finally Whosea, Tempi, and Fergus providing the needed melee assault should need arise.
Fist’al arranged a blind on the roof of the cottage, the thatch more than supportive enough for him. Meanwhile Chase used the cover of logs and vines to arrange a place for himself across the road. And then we waited. Other travelers did pass through now and again, some on horseback, but it wasn’t until sometime closer to 3 PM that we spied our probable targets.
Two men, riding swiftly from the west, clad in leather armor and showing some signs of long travel. Their descriptions matched what we had learned of Margarith and Betelmis and it was al some 30 paces or so that Chase fired at them, actually striking one of the riding men. He was pissed and Chase made believe that he was a bandit. The leader was chastising him for his stupidity as they rode closer.
Flimflam tried an entangle spell but they were too far from the actual side of the road. It alarmed them and then the two sleep spells went off – dropping the two men, their horses, and even the 45# very terrifying possum that as accompanying the druid. The group them went across and captured the two sleeping men. Gags and fingerlocks and binding ropes were the norm. The possum was slain. We took their gear, bags, belongings, and then marched them towards Timberton.
We arrived at 8:30 that evening, turned them over to the magistrate, got paid and some thanks, and then went off to the Flying Pegasus Inn to get some rest.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Meet 12, Adv 1, 9/22/12


The party had been taken down by a variety of circumstances that were within their control. Attitude, disprespect, uncontollability, and lastly shortsightedness. They were broken, demoralized, and needed to take control of the situation.

Most partys after awhile tend to think linearly - they see a problem and head towards it, solving the issues along the way. What they need to do is shake up the thinking - not talking about chaos - but just look OUTSIDE the problem and decide if there is another way to address it.

One of my friends, the eponimus Michael Curtis of Stonehell and DCC notoriety, had an on and off again relation to playing over the last 2 years since his life took on a growing ramp of writing and design. Even before that he had lowered his mantle of playing and took up the reins of running his own game for a year or so. So it was with tremendous surprise to me that he asked to roll up a character for the game this night. With 7 around the table playing already, an 8th might seem folly but I was happy to include him. Hence "Chase" the ranger was born (think Aragorn without the weight of history and backstory over his head).

And it was exactly what the party needed because the 3 remaining players not captured or dead at the table were circling the same situation and not having a solution in mind. Chase (and the paladin friend that came with him) took the floundering reins and thought of the problem outside the box.

We approached the bandit camp differently, assaulted it from a position of strength, and had a much easier time redeeming ourselves from the prior encounter with the bandits. No one wants their players to feel lost or ineffective - so whatever it takes, even if some tracks need to be laid down, get them thinking outside the linear progression and everyone will have a better time at the table.

Write up follows:

Flimflam, Marcus, and Fist’al trudged their way to the Roaring Treant Inn. The asked the proprietor for a space in the common room and something quick to eat. With weary steps they sat at a table, ate their stew, and talked about what had befallen them. Their companion’s fate was unknown and the three of them were unsure of what to do next. Return to Shakun? Storm the bandit encampment? Ransom? Were any of their 4 companions even alive? We do know that Ironboar had reported Device was dead and that some sort of rudimentary stabilization had been done for Tempi, but that was many hours ago? Enthir? He appeared to be killed? Ironboar? He too was at the bottom of the chasm. We just did not know.
It was then that we were approached by two men who had been sitting nearby. They introduced themselves as Chase and Fergus and were swords for hire. Currently they were waiting for their hairfoot friend, Bill, to show up with some map he was to purchase but seeing as he was not here the two men were willing to talk to the party and discuss their woes.
It seems they were both a king’s man and a knight from Gul and had already a disliking for bandits and banditry. Through some conversation we agreed to pool our talents together and that we would strike out for the bandit camp on the morning of tomorrow.
We awoke and by 8 AM on the 17th were ready to head back to the bandit camp. We left the Roaring Treant, following the road for a few hours until after some discussion, left the road, heading east northeast. We traipsed through the densening forest for a while, watching carefully as we walked on. It was after some time walking that we did notice in the trees above us was a giant owl. Not a big owl, but a giant one! 9 ½ feet tall, 34’ wing span. And it was watching us.
Flimflam spoke to it in some strange tongue for a while and informed us it was “The Old One”. It was interested in where we were going and why we were here, but did not want us to harm any of the forest denizens. We agreed and it gave us a once over and then flew off. We let out a collective relieved sigh and moved on.
Eventually we did get to the chasm. In this area of the forest it was MUCH less deep as well as less wide. Chase informed us that it was an old water cut bed and if we kept going to the west, would come to an area where we could cross without issue. Taking the ranger’s advice we did so and eventually got to a place where we could cross without any problem. Once there, Chase and Fist’al ventured further on to check out the area while the party worked their way over. Finding nothing except a lack of fresh game trails as well as a lack of dead wood led them to believe that we were close to the bandit camp area.
All together once again we headed off to the east and kept a ready eye. After half a mile we came upon an area of the forest with punji stakes set in the ground. A black cord was run through them, a pair of brass bits strung along the cord to act as a chime should someone cross it. We cut a section of the cord and carefully wrapped it about the punji sticks as we crept through.
Getting closer we stopped some 200’ or less from the bandit camp and sent our sneakiest two up to spy. There were 5 or 6 that we could see. Two very large 4 man tents as well as a crudely build single story structure. There were 2 elevated platforms, one of which had an archer sitting in it. A central firepit was roasting some sort of meat and 3 of the bandits were hanging around it. A 5th bandit was near the wooden structure and a 6th bandit was walking south out of the camp in the direction of the ravine.
We set upon a plan and put ourselves in position to get the surprise on the bandits. The start was to be Marcus casting a sleep spell on the bandits but he was spotted before he could get into position. From where he was he snarled out the start of the spell while Fist’al and Chase shot the bandit in the elevated position out of the tree and then started peppering the ones around the fire. A moment later Marcus’ sleep spell went off and a few of the bandits dropped, one into the fire.
Whosea was sent forward and one of the bandits dodged into the building, slamming the door closed and barring it. A few arrows were shot back and forth while the group closed the gap. Fergus tried to assault the closed building but was having little luck in getting in. Meanwhile we suspected that other bandits from the south would be approaching so Marcus and Chase arranged themselves near the south part of the clearing, arrows drawn and ready.
Unknown to the group a side door opened and a bandit began shooting out of the building, trying to hit Chase and Marcus. This caused them to return fire while Fergus finished trying a grapple and rope the wall of the building and slapping the pony on the ass that had the other end of the rope tied to its saddlehorn. The wall ripped free and the melee followed right after wards.
Inside the building were a few bandits as well as a couple of camp girls…and Tempi! The half orc was freed, given a shield and a stolen sword and helped to free up the camp girls in the area. Meanwhile bandits were closing from the south and Marcus and Chase were forcing them to keep down with arrows. There was many volleys back and forth until one of them had closed enough to fire off a sleep spell of his own. Chase slept, Marcus didn’t.
Another one charged the party. There was an intense melee along the eastern end but Fergus and Whosea were able to put the cruel snarling bandit down. With the battle pretty much over we captured two of the bandits who gave up and dispensed healing to the others strewn about the battlefield, saving them from any further loss of blood and life. We then bound them up and asked questions of the two that had caved. We found Enthir in a tree above and brought him down and learned that the bandit leader and his 2nd(druid) were on their way to Shakun to discuss ransom for Tempi and Enthir.
We salvaged what goods we could from the camp and dragged our trussed up captured towards the log bridge that Chase was watching over. He had discovered a thin metal box with some coinage in it, and a metallic plaque that had a painted symbol of a rainbow on it. From here we decided to head back to the crossing a few miles to the west where we first came over and then head on towards Shakun with our charges in tow.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Meet 11, Adv 1, 9/15/12

Reality vs. Red Herrings.

The party knew they were going to get someone come by today with a map for them and it would have been supplied by the bandits - its veracity was going to be suspect at best.

So I supplied them with two maps. Is one real? Both real? Both fake? Is this a con game where only the dealer wins or is there enough truth behind them both that they are both genuine in their own way?

Only way to find out is to actually GO THERE.

And that led us to the main resolution of the night - where half the party was killed or captured and the rest of us ran for the hills (or the trees as the case might be). It was not a TPK, but could have been. The approached an enemy position through the front door in day light with a force of 7-8 people making some noise and got hung up on crossing a dangerous bridge without rope when it mattered.

Write up follows:

We hung around the house for a while until sometime after 1 we had a knock at the door. A woman in her early 20’s was there and had an out of town/traveler look about her. Said her name was Martine Dodecius and wanted to know if she can come in and look around the Hall of Heroes. Turns out her father was a member of the 5 Sword Brothers and had died during an adventure many years ago. She had grown up with stories about her dad and wanted an opportunity to see where he had stayed.

It was after a bit that she revealed that she had some legacy items of his that she was going to sell to the town’s Consul (Zarik) that had been in the family since his death so long ago. Things like maps and some backup information. The group looked at one another and took it upon themselves to volunteer to escort Martine to Zarik’s and see about the selling of such maps. Maps that we suspected were part of the bandit’s attempt to lure us from more caravan guarding.

That left just Fist’al at home, and when the elven scout was going to go out there was another knock at the door – this time seeing another traveler looking for Flimflam and the adventuring group. Fist’al spent some time talking the man who had so many holes in his story about a map he won in a card game that he was not surprised to see a map come out. It was to some nebulous place north and west of Shakun to some cave. And someone had even written in 50,000,000 gold crowns as sitting there just waiting for an adventuring group to come and take it.

He dickered with the man on selling it, eventually offering 6 commons and getting the “map” for it. From then the traveler left to go to the Ogre Door Inn while Fist’al went on his way to Pelis the Rug Merchant to talk to him about Sern and ripping off the adventuring group. The conversation didn’t go the way Fist’al wanted it to and he was admonished to not rob from Sern even if he was price gouging the group – just shop somewhere else.

On the 15th we left early after buying rations to go to the bandit camp. During the travel we decided NOT to stay at the Roaring Treant as we knew the bandits did stay there occasionally, and we should instead sleep out under the stars. After the entire day though we instead went past the Inn and found a little used Hunter’s hut. Fist’al forced the peasant’s lock open and we went in after taking care of the pony Flimflam had been riding.

We ate, lit a fire, and rested comfortably in some strangers home, eventually getting up the next day awake and very ready to find the bandit camp and bring them in and to justice. It was around 11:30 AM that Fist’al showed everyone the elm tree marker. The area was quiet and there were no obvious signs of the bandits here now. He then led us north through the trees – showing us the thin cuts in the bark and how to navigate the path in the trees.

It was some time later that we arrived at a chasm – maybe 20’ across, and 90’ down. It looked like the earth had split here some time ago. A number of logs had been knocked over the chasm, making a crude bridge for the group to cross. Ironboar went first, inching along until he arrived at the other side. Then Enthir was next, the mage tied to Device by a 30’ length of silken rope. The mage also made the trip without issue. It was when Device tried it that things went wrong.

First, the half-orc untied the rope from his waist so to not risk dropping Enthir. Then about 1/3 of the way across, the tree rolled and he slipped off. Scrambling he tried to grip the bark but it shredded and he fell…90’ down to land with a scream and the sound of breaking bones and then nothing. Tempi grew distraught and was screaming that he had to go down and save his brother. Taking a 50’ length of rope he tied it to the tree and slithered down to the end of the rope, still 40’ from the ravine bottom. Then he let go and attempt to climb down the side.

The hard packed dirt broken under his grip and he rolled, bounced, and also plummeted to the bottom with a crunch and the crack of busting bones. He was unmoving and the group was in shock. We were desperately trying to come up with a plan to get down there when Ironboar came back across the log, and went to go down the rope. His father cast “jump” on him and told him when he got to the bottom he had to jump from the bottom of the rope and it should help his landing. It did, the gnome barbarian was able to run to the two of them, able to use his own healing draught to stop Tempi from slipping any further but Device was too far gone.

When it came time to get out and the need to get Flimflam down to tend to the wounded Tempi, Ironboar used a nearby tree branch, propped up near the rope, climbed to the top and used the 2nd of the 3 “jumps”he had to leap up and grab the rope. He climbed up, there was talk on how to get Flimflam down, and Ironboar went down again to get the rope from Device’s body. But at the bottom of the rope when he was climbing the wall he failed to get a good grip and dropped 20’ to land with a broken skull and internal bleeding.

It was then that we noticed that Enthir was very much missing from the other side, 3 party members dead and dying at the bottom of a ravine, and most of us were frozen with fear and indecision. Flimflam said that we needed the bandit’s help and withdrew his whistle, blowing it loudly.

A moment later 8 bandits came visible from the other side of the ravine, bows out and arrows pointing at us. Enthir was dropped at the feet of one of them, his shirt red, face pale, and throat cut. We were told to leave. We asked for help in getting to our companions at the bottom of the pit. We were told to leave again. And then they counted down from 5.

We turned and started walking away but after a few paces ducked behind trees. One of the bandits cursed and said, “I god damned KNEW it!”Then we heard chanting and the group ran. Luckily too because from where we were hiding a moment earlier the vines, trees, underbrush and everything started wrapping about and trying to tangle about one another, empowered by the bandit’s spell.

We fled as fast as we could; arrows were flying wildly through the trees at us. Fist’al was struck by an errant arrow and actually hit 0 hit points before Flimflam was able to draw it free and bring him back to positives. We stumbled to the road, mounted up on Flimflam’s pony, and ran away from the bandits, the ravine…and our companions – 4 of them either dead or dying. Ironboar, Tempi, Enthir, and Device. Eventually exhausted we arrived at the Roaring Treant Inn, weary and without direction – feeling lost and unsure of our next step.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Meet 10, Adv 1, 9/8/12

The group's big snafu this meeting was accosting a random walking dude gathering sticks in the forest. Convinced he was part of the bandit brigade they hit him and rooted through his belongings until realizing he really WASN'T part of the bad guy network.

What was funny was ANOTHER guy they had passed earlier was - the idea was right, but the target was very wrong.

Write up follows:

We spent the remainder of the 11th resting up around Timberton and getting ready for our return to Shakun tomorrow. The caravan master had been decent and fair to us the entire time, paying for our lodgings (Common Room space) and meals (usually simple peasant fare, but plenty of it and filling). On the morning of the 12th we helped get the wagons and horses at the ready, noted that at least one of the wagons was loaded with hardwoods to import back to Shakun, and trudged off just before 10 AM.

It was a rainy day and the road was a mess of mud and wagon ruts. We walked in the mess, our baladranas and cloaks pulled tight to keep off the worst of the soaking, but our boots, shoes, leggings, and other clothes swiftly became water logged and muddied. The horses were forced through the worse spots, water standing in puddles up to 8 inches deep in some places. By mid-day we were tired but the caravan master informed us that it would cold trail rations as we were going to be hard pressed to reach the Inn of the Roaring Treant by nightfall as it was. Within 20 minutes the party was back at it, walking the caravan of 3 wagons further along the road.

Traffic had been very light given the muddy road, rain, and general distance between Shakun and Timberton (2 days by caravan). Plus we had been passed on the way here by a random travelling trapper and didn’t trust the situation then. Ironboar had been feeling that we were being watched but had no definitive information to give us. We fanned out, encircling the caravan and placing our party members strategically all over the place. Fist’al opted to go into the forest some dozen paces or so from the road and shadow the group that way, hoping to spot the bandit group if there was one, before they saw us.

So when we saw some traveler coming down the road towards us roughly 20 minutes later we were on edge. He was dressed a woodcutter, heavy grey homespun clothing on his body, a large bundle of sticks and branches bundled up on his shoulder. As we grew closer we noticed that for all his being outside and far from any town/inn, he was relatively clean. We asked him what was going on, said he was going on to Timberton and was a good 6 hours hard walk from it. Ironboar didn’t wait; he jumped and tackled the guy.

We rooted through his stuff while he kicked and cursed at us. His sticks were sticks: Oak and walnut. He had no obvious weapons on him and we realized that we once again, made a mistake and accosted a relatively innocent personage. We fixed him up, apologized, and Marcus gave him a gold crown for his trouble and sent him on his way.

Meanwhile Fist’al, who was hiding in the forest, heard a conversation coming from people ABOVE him. There was apparently an archer’s blind in the tree line above and the bandits up there were talking about how hitting this group was not a good idea. We also learned that the trapper from the earlier trip WAS working with the bandits (the woolgatherer now was not). He listened in and stayed hidden as they talked about getting the group to stop escorting the caravans. They were going to get a map, treasure map, from one of the bandit’s brothers and meet up with the group in Shakun, sell them the map, and that would keep them off guard duty for a while, making it easier for the bandits to make their thefts possible.

They climbed down and went back to their camp, wending their way through the trees and following what Fist’al was able to deduce was a clever series of cuts on the trunks that guided the traveler onward. After a score of yards he turned back around and returned to the road, marked the entrance to this part of the forest as a specific looking elm tree, and ran down the road and rain to catch up with the group. He informed us of what he had learned and we took his words carefully to heart as we discussed the matter the rest of the trip to the Inn, during dinner, and again the next day as we returned to Shakun.

We arrived at the end of the day on the 13th, drier but tired from our trek. The stable master was pleased with our job and the caravan master concurred. Our due per person was 12 nobles each but for our efforts we were instead given 15. Coins in hand we thanks the stable master who informed up that another caravan would be leaving on the 21st (8 days) and if we wanted, we could have first spot as guards again. We thanked him and told him that we’d let him know a few days as we wanted to take care of some home issues first.

From there we did a little shopping, wanting to stock our Hall with foodstuffs. We went first to Sern’s General store and trading post but were turned off by the high prices and lack of respect (over 2 crowns a flask of oil! – Marcus was horrified). From there we went instead to the south end of town and paid a visit to the greengrocer. We paid for a number of bags of onions, potatoes, cabbage, and beans and then went on to the butcher and smokehouse. Once here we got a great deal on “assorted pork meats” – not bacon or chops, just assorted pig meat. Very salty as well. Delicious!

While here we asked for the most expensive meat available and learned that it was swan. And being that we were adventurers, if in our travels we should come across any swans, he would gladly buy them from us for 2 crowns each. We paused – this was 4 times the going rate for bringing in the bandits (at 5 nobles a head). What was the catch? Swan’s liked standing water and there wasn’t much around here, what there was was supposedly in the Green Grass Hills to the south and west of Shakun. This was the area that Mahr’s Tower was in, and as we were told, was also somewhat known to be dangerous as crawling with goblins.

Finally we went to Ungoth’s Distillery where we purchased a half cask of 110 proof whiskey (20 pints). We did manage to get a better price but entertaining the wildly inebriated Ungoth with elven singing, as well as gnome tossing between the two half orc brothers. There was a moment when we wanted to knock 2 crowns off the cost of the cask if at the space of 10 feet, one of the elves would shoot a potato off the other elf’s head with a bow and arrow – but the party was not nearly that drunk yet.

We then ended the night back at home, ate and drank, and discussed possible party names – settling on Swords of Shakun. Hooray – we exist! During the night Fist’al went to try and break into Sern’s Store to steal the oil but was daunted by what lights were in the area, then what witnesses might be about, and finally after he managed to get the northern door open – by the 2 (that he could see) guard dogs within.

Closing the door and locking it he turned around at the sound of footsteps closing and came face to face with Baron Ceril Taugis. Very fast talking had him out of the situation and then joining the nobleman at the Ogre Door Inn for some halfway decent ale and some song and story. After the Baron had left, Fist’al returned to the hall and rested.

The next day we knew we were going to have a bandit show up and try to sell us a map (real or not, didn’t matter). So we got our errands done early. Flimflam spoke with the magistrate and we learned that some of the bandits from Mahr’s Tower were given whipping and then indentured to the local Homesteads for a few months. As for Brandone, he was buried in the family plot. Falag and Thagorek were unable to stand trial as just being near them resulted in the prosecutors and guards to grow fatigued. They are now each in the lower sub-basement in Castle Canastal.

Fist’al went to the apothecist to find some sort of powder to add to a dog’s food to get it sleepy – but the cost was very high so he left. Device went to the Temple Grounds with Tempi to do some good will and works. And Enthir was going to go to Tanner’s Way and try to lift the spirits of the vagrants living there. Being as it was most likely not a safe place for the middle aged elf to wander about alone, Ironboar was going to keep him company.

As for Ironboar-isms, we had one. On talking about the assault and capture of the bandits when we did finally go after them, and knowing that we should be taking them alive, Ironboar said with enthusiasm, “Hopefully they won’t surrender” who giving his claymore a hefty shake.