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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Meet 2, Adv B2, 12/30/14 - Youth Group

This was the second meeting for my daughter and her friend and this time they encountered some enemies. And it went with two retreats at first. Getting back to town to heal up, they hired two locals (Fighter and Cleric - each 1st level) to come with them and they went in this time ready and able.

When the game ended, they wanted to play again (I said we'll see in a few days), and gifted each of them with their own printed PDF copy of the original D&D (B/X) Basic book and a set of dice.

Write up follows:

The two friends inched forward, wary and watchful. It was after some 20 steps that they heard a voice from the darkness ahead call out, “Grag! Dash Pu?” Charlotte looked at William and shrugged. They tried to talk to the figure who eventually emerged – a goblin. Clad in Leather, sporting a spear with numerous fetishes, greasy black hair and reeking of old sweatsocks and rotting bananas. It didn’t speak their language, nor they it’s. But Charlotte and William kept their weapons put away and tried to pantomime that they wanted to back away and leave.

A second goblin emerged from the darkness, this one with a bow and arrow. It kept it pointed at the two friends who managed to back away and fade back to the entrance of the cave. They waited, sure they had not been followed, and then breathed a sigh of relief.

Ok, left passage was not an option; how about the right?

So they went that direction next. The corridor proceeded for 20 paces until it ended at a “T”, with a faint glow coming from the right. William went first, scouting it out, hearing goblin voices and at least three of them. He returned and the two of them had a short and fevered discussion about what to do. They opted to come out fast and shoot and attack, hoping to bring some surprise on the goblins that might be there. So they counted to 3, and then charged.

Charlotte fired, her arrow blasting the closest goblin in the chest and knocking him back, but not killing him (it seemed his leather jerkin stopped the bolt). William was right behind the arrow, sword leading the way, and he and the goblin traded blows back and forth, the fighter unable to hit the squirming greenskin.

There were 4 other goblins here, three around a table playing a game, the last one at a stool eating some dried meat. The three there were scrabbling for spears while the last one drew his belt knife and closed to combat. Charlotte’s next arrow went wide and William couldn’t get a solid blow in. But the goblin slammed its spear through the joint of his armor at the shoulder and did 5 points of damage. And then the knife guy hit him behind the leg for another 2. And like that – our fighter was down to 1.

And none of the goblins were even hurt.

Charlotte screamed and shoved the two goblins, giving William a chance to twist away and run out towards the entrance. The goblins closest were yelling and giving chase and the archer/thief did her best to dance backwards and load an arrow. She dodged a VERY close blow and fired – dropping a cloth yard shaft into the lead goblin’s face and killing him. The next goblin was crying at his fallen brethren’s side and Charlotte joined William outside and the two of them ran away from the caves.

Total time inside? Less than 45 minutes.

The trip back had William losing blood and growing weaker. They hitched a ride on a hay cart and once they got to the Keep went right to the Hospice. Our fighter was treated and told he would have to stay for 2 days solid to heal up. Once he was settled in the two friends talked about their options. Charlotte wanted to make up some fire arrows and they both agreed they needed to hire some help.

What kind? Well, a Cleric would be nice (even if they didn’t have any healing yet – they would in time), and another fighter since relying on William alone was asking for a problem. They didn’t make any money so far but would pool what they had left (71 gold) and hope that would be enough to hire some people long enough to get further in and find some treasure.

So they interviewed what clerics were available first – and there were two. A heavy set priest of Gluttony named Renee (looking for a full share and 14 gold per day) and a devout thinner follower of St. Francis named Loq (looking for a full share and 7 gold per day). The interview left them unenamored with Renee and they would take Loq.

The next day they interviewed three fighters. There was Corg (multi-skilled in all weapons, friendly, clad in platemail and shield), Nicqui (chainmail wearing and spear wielding warrioress who spoke at length about anything that caught her attention) and Durgan (tall, imposing, plate armored and sporting a singular 15# two handed sword). Corg and Nicqui both wanted 5 gold per day and Durgan was looking for 7 – and all of them wanted a full share. They talked about the possibilities and in the interest of saving some money, they decided not to go with Durgan and took Corg.

So the 3rd day they met their two new friends, paid them, and set off for the Caves once more. This time they arrived there at 9:30, lit a torch, and entered with care. The goblin that had been killed by Charlotte’s arrow was not visible (but the fresh bones on the floor led them to believe that the goblins ate their dead). They were not going to go back towards where they had been chased out of, instead going BACK to the left where the two goblins had been before.

So they drew up, pulled weapons, and with Loq holding the torch, the 4 of them jogged down the hall. In almost no time they came upon a guard room with at least 4 goblins visible. And Charlotte let her arrow fly. After the shaft hit, Corg and William went next and hit the lead goblins hard. In just under a minute two of the goblins had fallen and another one emerged from the gloom, arrow at the ready. It shot at the group, shaft blocked by Corg’s shield.

William suffered a nasty spear stab and then Corg received one. Loq withdrew a soaking healing elixir and hurled it upon William, healing half of his damage. William wounded another goblin at this point and then Corg killed a third. For his trouble, Corg was also wounded, but it only seemed to aggravate the warrior. Charlotte’s arrow failed to kill the wounded goblin, but William’s follow up attack did, and the fourth fell.

Corg charged the last goblin, the archer, preventing him from firing again; but his approach revealed a 6th unseen goblin – and this one also had a bow. Loq ran into the room, standing behind Corg, and used another elixir on him, healing him a bit too. William ran in and attacked, dropping the 5th goblin.

And then it was a free for all on the final goblin and the battle was over.

There was a set of stairs in the back of this room leading further into the cave, but for now we wanted to clean up where we were so far. Charlotte bade us to be quiet for a bit and the thief was confident that no one else was coming and we could gather up what riches we might find here.

Letting our breathing ease we spent some time looting the bodies and seeing what was here. There was a cask of water, some chairs and a table. We found 120 copper and 20 silver pieces. But the big score was 20 spears. On their own, not so wonderful – but given what they had found so far, worth at least 20 gold if we could get them back to sell them. So we were going to leave them here for now, explore a bit further, and then on our way out – take them with us.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Meet 1, Adv B2, 12/28/14 - Youth Group

Due to the Christmas break and vacation, I had given the go ahead to my daughter and her friend to sit down and try out D&D if they wanted to. My daughter had participated over the last 2-3 years on and off here and there for a half dozen of so sit ins. But this was her first time as a "real campaign" so to speak. Normally I run B4 - The Lost City as my go to welcome to D&D adventure (knowing it cold and having run it countless times), but I went back to the real beginning and busted out B2- The Keep on the Borderlands for the two of them.

I did my typical slow explanation of the game and rules, sticking to B/X as written for now, and stressed that we can try this out and that if they wanted to, we can continue. There was no forced continue if they didn't want to. So they each rolled up characters, my daughter a thief, her friends a fighter. Scores were good (I did roll 4, drop 1) but far from fantastic. The thief suffers from a 6 Charisma and only has a 12 Dexterity (was nice to see her play something she WANTED to and to use the dice scores as they were - not what was optimal), while the fighter does have a 15 strength (his highest score) and an 8 Dexterity. What was nice is they each rolled max number for hit points and the money wasn't too bad (120 for the thief, 110 for the fighter).

And then, after and hour plus of rules and rolling and learning how to play...we started. And it was wonderful to watch two young people (12 y/o each of them) get swept away by the history that had gone on before and where they came from. Both of them are big fans of history and mythology, so I transported the duchy of Karameikos to Northern France/Germania and re-wrote our history from roughly 750 AD onward.

At the time just when his parents were coming to pick him up we had to stop and I asked if they had a good time and wanted to play some more. And they both wanted to play again tomorrow. I laughed and told them in 2 days we can do it again.

I think I introduced someone else to a life-long hobby today.

Write up follows:

The end of the Roman Empire brought with it the Dark Ages, with the only point of light remaining in the Western World being the Brightness that was Constantinople. As the 8th century came to an end, the mightiest of the Gauls, Goths, Celts, and Druids banded together to craft the strongest spell-prayer they could to break the walls of this unending city. In a time when the world believed in magic, even though the Roman system of science had driven back the march of ignorance.

But in this case, at this time, in another Earth, the Weave of magic and science were two sides of the same thing – and in this instance – with the void left from where science once stood in these Dark times – the spell of magic rushed in and exploded.

The land shook from India to Portugal. The Nile flooded, the Pyramids crumbled, Italy was torn asunder, Greece fell into the sea. Cliffs broke, forests burned, and the world of men was sent reeling. And in the wild lands between the broken states and cities, monsters and beast from legend filled the darkness of the forest primeval. Dragons flew through Romanian Mountains, Goblins prowled the forests of Germania, Orcs crested Hadrian’s Wall and burned along the banks of the Thames.

Man was plunged into barbarism but did not let their light snuff out. They banded together as one, crafting new kingdoms and new provinces. They held the line against kobolds and minotaurs. Holy men bent knee to Christ and Yahweh and Zeus and Pan, calling on miracles and benedictions from unseen forces on high. Wizards learned from the space between the stars and through sheer force of will how to bend the fabric of reality and reshape the prime material to their want. Dwarves came from the Carpathian and Pyrenees to help the world of men. Elves emerged from the dark eternal forests of Rus and Britannia. Halflings ranged from the quiet lands along the Spanish coasts and the deserts of Palestine. All goodly races banded together to hold the line against the Chaos of the emerging Wild.

Here in Charlemekios, in the land that in our world would be considered Northern France, the Duke had waged a holy war against the goblin forces; ending almost 2 decades of constant bloodshed. New lands had been annexed and for the last decade, the lands of men have waged an uneasy truce against the monstrous hordes that once dominated the country. Baron Guilfoil had been established in this the last bastion and keep on the Border, charged with not only keeping the land safe and patrolled, but to find out where the goblinoid stronghold might be and have it destroyed.

Every peasant, yeoman, and local had heard of the stories of various kingsmen and rangers who dared the Wild to find this font of evil. But it was 2 seasons ago that they finally came back with knowledge and proof. Three miles east and north of the Border Keep, was a cleft in the very stone as if carved by a giant’s hand hundreds of feet wide and over 500 feet long. A ravine where all manner of goblin, orc, and kobold made their home amidst the bones and cast off detritus of their kind. Some dozen caves or less dotted the ravine in various places, each one a black maw where the dark creatures made their home.

And they needed to be rooted out.

Since the spring thaw the Baron has been sending out his riders and pages to every Thorpe, village, hamlet, and farmstead in a 20 mile radius. Asking of anyone who wanted a chance as riches and glory to come to the Border Keep and plumb the darkness of the Caves in the Wild.

Charlotte’s family owned a small farm (10 acres) of scrub land and berries along the banks of the river Bibiche where her mother was a neurotic mess and her father a one time locksmith. They had come out to this area in the hopes of resettlement and the knowledge of getting a stipend from the crown for homesteading. To Charlotte, who was just now 18, it was tedium, horrible, and overall numbing. A skilled archer and possessing her father’s nimble hands, she agreed to go to the Border Keep to try her hand at riches and glory. Her father gave his blessing (and his locksmithing tools); her mother gave shrill cries and admonishments.

William Bill’s family were farriers, a skill that helped give William his strength and size, but he was a bit clumsy and prone to moving before looking. Being the third son he spent his time cleaning stalls and shoveling crap, dreaming of something better elsewhere. So when the call came and he learned that Charlotte, his friend, was thinking of going to the Keep, William jumped at the chance. Sporting his grandfather’s sword and a piecemeal purchased set of platemail armor, he left home with his family’s well wishes in his ears and the two friends set off for the Keep.

They arrived together, the Keep standing on a plateau 60’ over the surround land, a single easily defensible road leading to the main gates. The two friends made their appearance known and purchased a variety of supplied they suspected they would need in the journey to the Caves. Eventually the Castellan called the two friends to come to Baron.

In his early 50’s and sporting a salty beard hanging to his chest, he was a warrior that was in the decline of his days and going to pot. He greeted Bill and Charlotte by name (which surprised the two friends) and spoke about the Caves of Chaos. There were many wanna-be adventurers who had answered his call and they have been tramping into the Wild for almost a month now. Many have not returned. Some have come back with riches, some have come back missing fingers and babbling about the horrors they had seen.

The two friends spoke to the Baron at length, asking many questions before thanking him for his audience and heading to the Inn for a last dinner and conversation. They opted not to hire any of the locals, not for this the first trip out. The Baron had let them know that the rangers who have gone before reported that the caves closer to the entrance of the ravine were populated with more goblins and orcs than the deeper caves where more dangerous denizens were rumored to live. So they would go to a closer cave, look around, and if it was beyond their skill, they would return to the Keep and hire some of the locals and potential adventurers to go with them on the morrow.

They had worked out a deal where the Baron would take care of their lodging and meals for the rest of the day and tomorrow’s morning…and their Hospice stay should it be required. That evening they spent it at the Inn and listened in on a number of the potential rumors the locals were talking about. Much of it was a garbled mess but the two friends were able to glean tow bits of wisdom: 1) the various monstrous tribes of humanoids that make up the Caves generally stick to their own cave by their own kind. And 2) there are some cultists that might make their homes in the caves, and because of that and the evil influences – any altars they might run across would be considered bad and full of trouble.

The next morning they set off, checking with the gate guards on when and if the Keep’s gates would be shut (the gates shut at 9 PM and open at 6 AM) – making note of it and allowing themselves at least 2 hours to walk back. The trip there was without peril. The only notable thing was the lack of fauna in the area. Even the typical birds were few and far between, their distant song more sad than merry in the audible isolation.

It was after some walking and when the foot trail turned to the north that the duo began looking in earnest to the western edge of the track and discovered the mounded earth and thickets as described by the huntsmen who had come this way before.

They pushed through and spied the deep ravine that was the source of the greenskin scourge and the house of the Caves of Chaos. Outside of a lonely vulture giving them a stink-eye from a lower branch of a distant tree, they saw nothing else. But the two of them felt as if they were watched and the prickling on their neck was that of something evil in the air.

They looked around for the caves closest to the entrance of the ravine, picking two of them –one on the north wall (but some 20’ upslope), one on the south (at the ravine’s floor). From there they discussed the merits of each and went back and forth until they settled on the south one as the better choice (it boiled down to – if they had to run and flee, it was going to be ultimately safer if they did not have to slide and fall down some 15’-20’ from the entrance).

Charlotte went first, William close behind, both of them with weapons out as they made the walk with care towards the entrance. The ground was covered in a fine layer of ground up bone, bits of filth, and the tell-tale stink of sweat socks and overripe bananas that spoke of goblins. This was the right cave, at least for now.

With her bow drawn, Charlotte crept up to the cave mouth and peered in. It was perhaps 12’ wide, 10’ tall, and opened up to a triangular shaped chamber almost 20’ within. Through the dank gloom she could make out 3 possible paths but there were no guards here. She backed away and told William of her findings.

He lit a torch and held it with his shield hand, sword drawn. He took the lead and the two of them crept in. The cave floor had dozens of bones, much of them human. Almost all of them were split and the marrow gnawed out and sucked clean. Toothy marks covered the dull ivory white which had the two of them retching slightly at the thought of their fellow man eaten.

Once inside there were three choices, right, straight, and left. William shone the torch down all three – the 20’ sparkling of light revealing only more passage as it went. It was the left most passage, with waving sheaves of webbing hanging from the ceiling a few feet down, that beckoned the most to them, so they squared their shoulders, regripped their weapons, and ventured on in that direction…waiting for whatever was in the darkness ahead.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Meet 69, Adv 4, 12/6/14

After racing in the last time and trying to catch the fleeing foe, they realized that the underground lair was larger and better warded than we expected it to be. So the party had pulled themselves back, spent 2-3 days healing and preparing better for the trip, and then re-entered - loaded for bear (so to speak).

And that meant hirelings.

With SIX bodies brought along (porter, linkboy, shieldbearer, cloistered priest, light footman, and heavy footman), they had a much denser party with multiple layers and the ability to have 2 facings should they get attacked from behind. Which (to their credit), did happen.

It's early in the trip so far, but we'll see how the rest of this goes. As typical, we are taking off a few weeks in Dec for the holidays and will reconvene with the campaign play on Jan 3rd.

Write up follows:

The party slept well, Flimflam and Zeta @ the Thanach estate, and the rest of the group @ the Mane & Tale Inn in Heatherfield. 6 AM on Watermonth the 25th came and the two respective groups began their morning preparations. One by one our hirelings and helpers arrived, eager and ready to join the group on their foray into the (now understood to be) dwarven/Hades blessed underground lair/fortress. We paid everyone for the upcoming day’s efforts and then went through the massive pile of supplies in place, dividing them out as need be as well as coming up with an acceptable marching order that would protect both sides of the line and those in the middle. Lanterns and torches were put in place and as a group we all ate breakfast.

We talked about what we would be possibly facing and each person’s place in the march as well as their job. Prayers were made and swords and spears sharpened. Only Encrinus, the Halfling slinger that was interested in joining us, was informed that we could not afford his skills. He was dismayed but in the same pique of confidence and overwhelming personality we had seen earlier, indicated that he would hang out with the Thanach’s for an hour or two should the group change their mind and call on his services.

It was after 8:30 when we left the home and approached the eastern wall leading to the Griffanus homestead. There was no guard there, neither was there any sign that anyone was on the estate. We could hear nothing from the barn; see no smoke from the chimney. It was eerily silent. The group was ill interested in using the gate, so we walked towards the far corner, clambered over the wall, and then picked our way along the perimeter of the property sticking to the trees until we came upon the grotto once again.

It took us some time (being it was after 9 now) but we arrived at our destination and proceeded to search for the enspelled entrance – eventually discovering it and causing it to once again become visible. We drew up into marching order, Flimflam handed out dozens of prepared goodberries, torch and lantern were lit, and we proceeded to make our way into the warm darkness below.

There was no obvious difference down the main steps, across the sloping floor, and down the second set of steps leading to the pentagram room. Here we noticed nothing different in the 3 days we had been gone earlier. Equipped now with a better idea on how to cross the bloody path, our leader informed us all to intone Hades’ name once before crossing to avoid the glamour’s affects – and he was correct. From here we went east towards the former storage room (that we had set on fire) and not towards the strange 12’ long crawlers down the northern passage.

The fire that had been here had burned itself out, the couch was a blackened skeleton, the cushions gone, the rug charred remains, even the barrels and millstone were ruined. We looked around only briefly and went now further in, this time to unmapped areas. We ventured north, assuming that this passage would join up @ some point with the other passage, on guard and wary for any of the crawlers.

What we did find were signs of passage. Bloody smears on the floor, there a discarded bit of clothing, here a show, there a broken doll, here a handprint of blood. We suspected the Griffanus’ had been taken by our quarry and brought down here, and from the growing signs of punishment and horror we were passing, it was very against their will and they were either gravely wounded of maybe even dead.

The corridor ended its northeastern heading and then turned sharply to the south, a set of steps leading down from here. At the base of the stairs we could see more bloody rags and signs of violence. Before travelling down, Zeta espied a busted trip wire, curled along the top step and held in place (At one time) by eye-hooks and an anchor along the eastern side of the stair. The wire had run out and down the steps, but whatever trap it had once been was now triggered and no longer an issue.

We walked down slowly, eyes peeled and ready for anything. At the base of the steps the corridor continued 15 paces or so and then turned left to some open space. But it was along the back wall that we saw a mounted crossbow platform – the bolt long gone. Ah, this was the trap that had been sprung. Based upon the angle, it was obvious that the bolt would have tagged anyone in the front.

We heard shuffling steps in the next room and decided to funnel the foes towards us where we could get a solid volley or two in first. So we positioned all of our archers on the steps so they could all fire and had Liscinia and Funis guarding the back ranks. Caeteccius and Auri were our heavy hitters in the front – and then we called to our foes.

They came around – spear wielding skeletons and slower but deadly looking zombies. Eight and three respectively they were – but the zombies were fresh – very fresh. We deduced they were at one time the very militia guards that had been stationed @ the Griffanus estate not a day earlier! And one of them had a heavy crossbow in its chest/gut – evidence of being a victim to the trap Zeta had seen.

The zombies fought with some skill, but had ponderous slowness to their movement. It was also strange to see them fight with spear and shield, something that Pawn, our cloistered priest said was not normal. Arrows had almost no affect on the zombies OR the skeletons, so we switched over to blunt tipped bolts and shafts, getting some results. Our volleys were sure, but the amount of damage done was little at best – and then the first of the skeletons hit our line.

Blows were thrust and met shields and armor with some small affect. But it was Caeteccius and his 20# war axe that cleared the way, felling TWO of the skeletons in the first 11 seconds of combat, his warlike blows driving the enemy back enough to clear the ground before us.

We then had the archers concentrate their fire on the skellies while the melee workers hit the zombies in force. And it was here that we learned the sad truth about the undead before us – the zombies were somehow enhanced. They fought with skill and knowledge, broke shields if need be, had sound tactics in assaulting the group, and were ducetly hard to kill, requiring at least twice the effort one would expect to drop them.

Because of this the battle lasted MUCH longer than we expected and we had to cycle people from the front ranks out and get new fighters at the fore. And the fight attracted MORE zombies – 4 of them, who came from behind us in an effort to close to battle. Our battle lines held in both places and then Pawn called out to Demeter and turned the undead facing the back of us – sending all 4 of them running away in terror.

Freed up once more, we were able to send a final flurry of strikes against the frontal enemy and took the last of the heroic-style zombies down. We then spent 20 to 30 minutes binding wounds, healing, prying the crossbow off the wall (damaging it in the process, but we did get it off) and checking out the next chamber that the zombies and skeletons had come from. It was a bit filthy and there was the smell of brimstone incense, indicative that the raising ceremony on the guards had been done here.

As to the rest of the Griffanus family? Bloody smears leading out of this room and towards another set of winding stairs leading further down let us know that as of yesterday (maybe) they had been alive and led in this direction.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Meet 68, Adv 4, 11/15/14

At this point the party learned the major plot point between the two forces they found themselves between and it was a moralistic doozie. One side is right but is despicable in its actions while the other is wrong but honorable in its behavior. It's a classic LE vs CG situation and the party is on the CG side - but they can also really understand the LE side.

So much so that the elven protagonist who's name is Pecheri has been referred to as Douchey by the group for weeks now.

Write up follows:

We had discussed during our meal the merits of the people we had seen and those we wanted to hire. We had been spending money pretty freely and realized that our ready cash was a bit light. So after lunch we took some of the trade goods we had gotten from Dairymeade and wandered around town, selling them to the local merchants.

And we were surprised at the sheer amount of silver and gold we got for our goods.

Once more flush with cash (and the reminder to us once again that not all treasure is coins and jewels) we sat down and met with the possible candidates for heavy footmen, light footmen, porters, and finally linkboys. Once finished, the party talked at length and at depth at what our options were.

Interestingly, one of the candidates we wanted was hesitant to join us if we did not have a cleric in our mix. A touched priest. One who was going to go with us into a Hades blessed area that also had undead present. Obviously, Templars are in real short supply (um…only 1 in the local 4 town area since Device died, and Taryn (the gnome) left our group to join Sanric's), so we then wanted a cloistered priest to give us a hand. We went to the Temples and met with 2 possible choices, eventually deciding on the 2nd one – a Halfling priest named Pawn (obviously a leftover “thief” name from his youth) who was a reformed pickpocket.

With the priest at our disposal we went back over the listing and chose the following: Liscinia the 18 year old (appearing) 1st level half-elven female Shieldbearer, Caeticcius the 27 year old 2nd level human Heavy Footman, Funis the 45 year old 2nd level human Light Footman, Scripinius, the 17 year old 2nd level human Linkboy, and Vestanus the 35 year old 1st level human Porter. These hirelings brought a mix of skills and abilities ranging from miners, to smiths, to gemcrafters, and beyond.

Bolstered and ready, we then continued our own preparations with more trips to the Hospice as well as Flimflam stockpiling the almost maximum number of goodberries he could put together before the trip.

The group spent the next day (Watermonth the 24th) going over their belongings and preparing for the trip. Pecheri should be back this evening and currently Auri and Geld were at the Thanach house, watching over the family and Selene. After a last round of conversations and preparations, Zeta and Flimflam left Heatherfield and went to the Thanach homestead where they sent Auri and Geld back to town – the half-elf and gnome taking the final night of guard duty.

Once sure that everything in the house was fine, they went to the Griffanus/Thanach shared wall to talk with the guard there; a lone figure standing vigil who had a strange and stilted conversation with the party. He then went to get Master Griffanus who came out and spoke with the two of them. Again – it was odd and sort of filled with double meaning. When it was over HE went back to the Griffanus house and the guard came out once more. At the gate/wall, he bid us good night and asked us to depart so he can do his job and watch.

The two of them went to the Thanach house and talked about the oddity of it all and that they were looking forward to getting to the cavern tomorrow and rooting this “whatever” out.

It was here that Pecheri returned to the Thanach home with a different horse, told Thanach to take care of it, then sat at his table and proceeded to eat. He told us of some of the newer supplies he brought and the better preparation he had for the journey against the quarry.

It was here that he finally told us what we were up against, getting the ok and go ahead from his uncle and apparent head of the Silverhair clan. At the end of the Kinslayer War the dwarven and elven empires had declared peace after centuries of combat and there was a document of manumission established that said that there would be NO new slaves (dwarven) born into bondage and those currently in bondage would remain so for a period not to exceed 10 years and a day based upon holdship paperwork. This would give the elven families a chance to make the necessary changes in their operations to offset the loss of the dwarven slave exodus.

When the first “freeings” went off 270 odd years ago, it nearly wrecked the elven economy. Many of the families could not recover from the losses and the remaining elven families that still had dwarven slaves could see that they needed more time with their chattel if they were going to weather the storm.

Many families had come up with ways to extend the dwarven enslavement but it was the Silverhair clan that took it to the next level. With multiple holdings, shops, mines, camps, and other far flung places throughout the greater lands, what they did was caravan their chattel (dwarven slaves) before the 10 year period was up to another holding, have them documented as emplaced at that time with the proper stamps and seals, and then the clock would restart on those dwarves such moved.

It wasn’t perfect, but it did work 8 times out of 10. As the Silverhairs grew and their holdings failed to suffer the same economic hardships the other families did, they found it harder and harder as the decades rolled by to get trustworthy elven caravans willing to move their stock for them.

So they went to other caravans outside the Woodhelven nation to move their stock for them.

And the best of them was the Raugeri Mercantile Transportation Company. For three generations the Raugeri helped move the stock every couple of years like clockwork. They kept meticulous records and were cold and unfeeling in the plight of the chattel they moved. Until the last of them, the final 38 dwarven slaves, were released from the Silverhair holdings about 30 years ago – some 250 YEARS after they were originally manumitted. 250 years of extended servitude.

They were brought to the Beastly Hills and let go right outside the fortress city of Barmeer. And that is where they were left.

It was after that that that the Raugeri family began suffering misfortune. Master Silverhair deduced shortly after the initial attack what was going on and immediately set his people up to defend the next most likely Raugeri target. But instead it was a different family member that was hit and killed. So the Silverhairs shuffled again – and again misjudged their quarry’s long range plans.

One by one, the Raugeri family fell away, three generations slain in a 12 year period in groups of 1 and 2 at a time. Until there was a single target left – Selene.

The fact that in the dwarven culture, children are always presumed innocent, is the only reason the ex-slave-dwarf hadn’t struck Selene sooner. According to Pecheri’s uncle, this is the BEST time to keep the slave’s focus on 1 target – something that hadn’t happened in the past before. To the slave’s thoughts, this girl is the final Raugeri target. So if he is focused on her, we can protect her (as we are doing) and then strike out at him now.

Because according to the best diviners the Silverhair family can come up with, if the girl dies, then the ex-slave-dwarf’s focus will then most likely shift to another slight and target. And since the Woodhelven lands are impossible for him to get to – that means ANYWHERE in Heatherfield could be next. (The Orphanage that housed the girl, the stables that shod the Raugeri horses, the wheelwright who helped make the slave carts, the smithy’s who might have made the chains, etc…)

We went to sleep right after this revelation and found ourselves disturbed. The Silverhair family of elves are xenophobic, slavers, and did what they could to continue to keep the dwarven chattel they had owned under their yoke and control for centuries past their original manumission date. However they are trustworthy and take their words and deals honorably even after the Raugeri family is long gone. In addition, they are expending cash and resources to continuously combat this threat. Contra to this, the ex-slave dwarf though was mistreated and wrongfully kept in bondage for the majority of his life has also been venting his anger and frustration out for decades against one family – many of which had nothing to do with his plight.

Both of them are wrong, and both of them are also honorable in their own way. And it makes what we have to do on the morrow strange and difficult – a moral morass that we are going to have to wade through.