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.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Meet 83, Adv 5, 5/16/15

Off the beaten path.

I've mentioned before that I write the adventures usually some time in advance and let the characters do what they want @ game time - trying to keep the game as written without getting petulant and upping the danger, or dropping it - depending on how the group is doing.

But here, I had written it that the group would be led to the goblin cave, chance their way in, and the gobbos would be fighting a retreating conflict since the group could not escape back the way they came - and eventually some sort of straight up fight with the gobbo BBG Shank.

Instead, the group circumvented this and went after the smaller cave to the west, not knowing that they were noted and tracked by goblin scouts. The group then assaulted a smaller cave for all good reasons.

Problem was I did not have the other cave planned out - I knew there were gobbos there, a small amount and what they were doing - but the cave? Exact inside? Nothing. So it was off the cuff for me, including using some of my new Dwarven Forge cave stuff. And it went well.

Now they have a different situation and the longer it goes on, the more the gobbos in the area are going to mass up and take this group out! Or so they think.

Write up follows

On the morning of Earthmonth the 18th, the party spent some time going through the piles of stores we had in the Hall of Heroes and loaded up where needed. Then after grabbing some food and getting our waterskins in place, it was 7:30 when we met with Scarene Windacre and set off towards the last goblin sighted enclave, a place referred to as Berrycleft Hill.

Scarene was a wood elf, a bit over 5’, tanned skin, brown hair, lithe and yet solid. She had a number of goblin fetishes about her person and was armed with a functional short sword and a similar bow. During the walk, there was some attempt at conversation but Scarene took her job as ranger seriously and often would remind the party to quiet down when we got too noisy.

After about 3 hours hard walk through the mid fall grasses (some almost 4’ tall – and leaving a large noticeable path behind us), we came up the area in question. She led us to the east a bit and then had us climb a hill to see the location in detail. Some 300’ away, 2 hills (the land here was a layer of good soil over limestone, with numerous crags and hills ranging up to 150’ in total height) from where we were, was a crack in the lee side of the hill’s top and a 9’ tall wooden goblin marking up top. 3 skulls dangling from the crossbeam and the black and red lightning design let us know that this was a Duuk Tsarithian group and had maybe 45 goblins within at least.

Scarene let us know that she had done her job and wished us well, backing down the hill and heading back the way we came. Not entirely trusting her, Curufin made it his business to watch her go and after some time was assured she had left as expected.

As for the direct approach the cave – no one wanted to risk it. So Flimflam used his ability to transform into an animal (this time a raven) and took Hugin with him to scout the area. They took their time and then returned where he spent a little time telling the party what they had learned. In the nearest 7 surrounding hills, there were areas near the top where the soil had been peeled away and a barricade/berm of limestone was visible. Each of these “cleared” areas FACED the goblin warren on Berrycleft Hill, and for all their surrounding ones, only the hill we were on did not have this feature. Curious.

Also, from the air, our trip through the badlands was very obvious with 10 people tramping the grasses flat and terminating at this hill. It would take a moron to fail to track us here. As for tracks other than ours – Flimflam saw three – one going west about a quarter mile or so to another hill with a goblin fetishes, one going to the north east and the direction of the Endless Forest, and the last one meandering south a bit before getting lost on its way towards Shakun.

This led us to another discussion – and we did not want to go in there. As Avidius said, you never go into a goblin lair if you don’t have to. So this made us rethink our situation, Scarene’s trustworthiness, and other options – eventually settling on going to the other hill to the west to gobbos had visited and it’s much smaller fetish totems.

We ate lunch as we walked, travelling far out of the way to avoid our own trail and Flimflam had cast pass without a trace on a five count of us – making the signs of our passage that much less. Eventually we came to the hill that Flimflam had seen from the air and we crouched low in the grass, watching the site. A thin line of smoke, like cooking smoke, came from the cavern entrance – otherwise it was quiet. Very quiet. Like no animals anywhere quiet.

Avidius and Curufin volunteered to investigate. They crept up through the grass, the slope of the hill hitting 45 degrees in some places. The entrance was maybe 4’ tall, and 5’ wide, and the smell coming from there was foul and pungent. Knowing what they did, they suspected their might be a 2nd entrance (or exit) and looked about, coming upon a section of the ground where similar smoke was coming up though the dirt. They could hear banging below and goblin voices. And some prying at the earth let them believe that the grasses might be able to be lifted from below and offer escape.

Coming back to the party, the group had the thought to prevent the “escape” from the back door first. So Flim went with them and they came back the grassy area where Flimflam called upon Demeter and caused all the plants in the area to grow – effectively thickening the grasses and reknitting all the roots – making any “easy” escape from this area that much harder.

Then they went back to the party and the decision was that Avidius and Curufin would go up first, have the group follow at a distance (50’?) and then wait for their signal while they went in to the cave and checked it out. Agreeing, the plan went off as expected with the two thieves getting to the cave entrance and heading in with care. It was 30 degree slope down, 5’ tall, 5’ wide. There were a scattering of stones maybe 10’ past the entrance that we circumvented with Curufin’s bedroll. At the bottom of the slope the corridor opened to a rough cave with five goblins within.
Avidius & Curufin scouting the first chamber

One was near a back corridor, looking further into the complex. One was near a pool hacked into the floor and surrounded with burning logs and rushes, stirring it with a long pole, one was near a section of wall where water was collecting from a trickle in the ceiling, and two others were around the pool, occasionally tossing what seemed to be rotting potatoes into the grey glop cooking (and smoking) in the pool.

The greenskins were thin and happy, content with their chores and chitchatting. They talked about taking a break and getting paid in two days. They did not appear to be warrior types but there were still 5 of them – and Avidius and Curufin wanted to back away for now and get the rest of the party involved. Curufin his halfway back up the sloping entrance while Avidius went to the party and waved them up quietly. Informing them of what they had learned, the group went through plans real fast and settled on Marcus hitting the goblins with a sleep spell. The two of them crawled quietly up to the entrance, made their way to Curufin, and then Marcus did his best to cast quietly before tossing a handful of rose petals ahead and finishing his spell.
Filthy goblins rendering vinegar for Goblinwater

Five muffled thuds followed and they peered in.

Five goblins sleeping.

The call went out (quietly) to the rest of the group who came up and with swift motions, tied up the goblins and carried them OUT of the cave to the grasses. Erd positioned himself near the passage further into the cave, Marcus supported Erd across the room with his bow, a quick look at the barrels showed potatoes and corn meal (vinegar? Was Flimflam’s guess), Avidius and Curufin went down the 40’ hall to the next open area and looked, while the rest of us were outside on the top of the hill with our captured goblins.

The next chamber was irregularly shaped and was lit by a fire under a cauldron – a larger goblin was on top of it, directing a small smattering of other goblins on what to do, how to load it, what to add, stoke the fire, etc… There was a goblin on the other side of the wall, some sort of guard type, another one was near the fire – armed and armored. In the dull glow and gleam, we could see another passage beyond this one but it was low and in order to get there, would require some crawling to achieve.

More discussions followed and it was once more decided to use Marcus’ sleep spell. There were more goblins here so we had to be ready to attack and attack fast if it didn’t cover everyone. The words were said and then WHAM – another pile of sleeping goblins. In fact, the one over the cauldron fell into the mess. Avidius had his swiftsword out and stabbed the closest goblin guard here while sling stones chased the other goblin who had escaped the radius of the sleep spell, knocking him out and down. The group plied knife and sword to the sleeping goblins, keeping only the armed and armored one alive, binding him tight. Beyond the cramped passage which was some sort of the timber reinforced section, we could hear more goblin voices taunting us to come in. We instead let the support fall and the area over there caved in, blocking off the last goblins there.

A few of the party members followed Avidius back outside to where the other exit was that Flim had hit with the plant growth spell, swords and spears out and ready to hit the goblins who were trying to chop their way free. The rest of the party brought the tied up goblins back into the main room (the five that had been there and the armored one) while they were going through the items found in the alcove. And according to Flimflam, most of it was material used to make goblinwater – only a few small changes.

When the exit was finally hacked open, the party dispatched one of the goblins and threatened the other who kept saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” We tied him up and there was some checking below – but in doing so, Erd felt himself grow tired and the goblin down there seemed to heal and get up again. Goblinwater. We took the bound up one with us (gagged) and headed back to the cave where we talked about what we had all learned and what was to happen next for questioning.

The party got into a moralistic discussion when it came time for possible torture (setting one of the goblin’s feet on fire) and then there was some conversation with the goblin that had been stirring the glop in the first room. His job was to stir. Another’s job was to add vegetable material. Another was to add water when needed. They were to make some PART of the goblin water and then it was taken to the next room where others knew THEIR part – but no one seemed to know the entire thing – except for the leader – who had fallen into the cauldron from the sleep spell and boiled/drowned to death.

We then talked to the warrior goblin who said he was here because he had pissed off his warleader – a tough brute named Shank. Shank was in the other cave and he had been sent here as a demotion. We also learned some of the back story. The goblins were wrapping up what they needed to here before the snows fell, one of their shamans had gotten portent that they had to leave the area before the rise of the full moon (end of month) because Hades wanted it to be so. But there was also something about the group – and if possible, lead them to the area and trap/kill them.

Scarene was a half-goblin/half elf, and there were 4 or so others in the area – scouting for the party and was to make it possible for them to come to the other hill and enticed to attack. There are supposedly invisible goblins in the area watching and would have set the grasses on fire at the base of the hill, forcing the party up where the goblins up there (with Shank) would have cut the group down.

Because we didn’t go there and came here, we were most likely followed and the goblins were probably outside THIS cave and ready for us to show ourselves. The longer we stayed here, the more it would impossible for us to escape.

We looked at each other and had a sinking feeling in our guts that it has been almost 3 hours – the goblins were very ready and aware of us – and it was going to go poorly for the party very soon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Meet 82, Adv 5, 5/9/15

The group has gotten sort of a heads up of three threads in this adventure - the possible yuan-ti in the area (has been hinted at for months in game play so far), the blond woman and her wandering town possible magic draining that might have something to do with Mahr the Illusionist, and lastly the goblin presence and their pre-snow raids.

As usual with town adventures, there isn't a single thread and always something to do and going on - even if they don't plan for it.

Write up follows:

Curufin, Steiner, and Flimflam all went to Pelis the Rug merchant’s to sit and talk with the information broker about Curufin being in town, some of the things that have been going on, the Fist’al situation, and Pelis’ broken ankle from falling down the stairs.

Which is the strangest of them all because Pelis has a number of luck fetishes he’s collected over the decades – and typically they protect him from things like this. He’s disturbed about it and knows that Enthir is looking into it for now.

The conversation then turned to the purpose for Pelis calling for a visit. He knows the group is “thief” light with Fist’al no longer being with the group and Pelis has a member of his guild that is looking for steady work. We met Avidius, a family man and father of two, who has been suffering for consistent work but is more than capable. A militaristic bent of a man, he was a scout and partisan for Shakun during the occupation – more than knowing his way around goblins and how to take care of them.

We spoke with the man at length, liked his spiel, and offered him a probationary position with the group for now. An unforeseen advantage was that he had his wife and 2 daughters with him – and they would help us maintain the Hall of Heroes during the times we were gone, as well as general upkeep and laundering duties while we were there.

While THIS was going on, Tranis took a trip out to the Dorminger Homestead at the far south western portion of Shakun’s boundaries. He met with Master Orim Dorminger and spoke about the attack on his mule (Gladys). The “whatever” had crashed in through the thatch roof and attacked the mule. Two pinky length stab wounds were next to each other in the mule’s flank/hind quarters and she was very weak and listless. The ranger went up to the thatch (which had been repaired), sifted around there for some time, and then went down to the muddy floor and look around there for any clues. Finding a translucent bit of some sort of this chitin (maybe) looking material. He promised Dorminger that the Peacemaker’s would be on it and get back to him.

Lastly, being it was marketday, there were some purchases made all over town with Erd deciding that he wanted a piece of property. He spoke with the Magistrate about possibilities and locations – eventually taking rented possession for 1 year of a nice 2 story home in Elven Quarter near the Temple Grounds. He prepaid rent for the place and then decided that it was going to be a Dance Studio – and he would be giving lessons. Or at least hire someone to teach. And to take care of the place.

We all came back to the Hall of Heroes and talked about all we had learned, meeting Avidius and his wife and kids (Senna and 2 girls age 12 and 10). A house fund was established and Senna started out with getting the kitchen squared up as well as starting some sort of dinner with the numerous vegetables still in the cellar (most were useable) and some of the salted pork we had there. A fast couple of purify water spells were cast on the cistern on the roof and we had at least 10 gallons of available water before needing to go to the well.

There were two things we could be taking care of – the Dorminger issue which Tranis said would require Flimflam to resolve, and maybe haunting the Ogre Door Inn and seeing if we could find any sign of the blond attractive woman with the grey eyes. After dinner we split up with Steiner, Erd, Curufin, and Avidius going to the Tavern and Flimflam, Tranis, Marcus, and Geld going to the Dorminger Homestead.

The time at the Ogre Door Inn was fruitful – more than anyone could have expected. Erd was holding court near the bar, talking up a storm with all comers, trying to keep a weather eye out on everything going on. Avidius and Curufin took up a table near the minstrel, nursing some ale and watching as well. Steiner stayed near the wall by the steps, the cleric scanning the crowd with care. So when someone placed her hand on his shoulders and asked to speak with him, he was a bit surprised at the contact.

She was blond, and yes her eyes, were grey, and sure she was beautiful But other things about her were difficult to identify. Her weight and height seems to fluctuate, as did her skin tone and body morphics. In fact Steiner had to close his eyes and steady his thoughts in order to get a better bead on her and continue his conversation. She was about 5’ 6”, maybe 120 or so, buxom but not too top heavy, nicely shaped, and said her name was Mary.

As for the other 3 members of the party, only Avidius actually noticed her and when he tried to focus too much on her, he found his thoughts cascading elsewhere along with his attention. Curufin? Didn’t even notice.

When she asked Steiner to take a walk with her to the Temple Grounds, his hackles rose and he backed away gracefully, knowing that some strange dweomer was at work here. So he wished him well, went to leave and when she fell behind a crowd of people, she seemed to change her appearance to that of one of the other tavern patrons and then leave the building.

20 paces behind here, Steiner followed and Avidius and Curufin followed. Only Avidius admitted to actually seeing her and they were outside now, Erd catching up and getting filled in. Steiner called out to Apollo and swept the area with his gaze, trying to find any telltale signs of magic. And maybe, there might have been a ghost of it heading into the Street of Craftsmen and then the Elven Quarter?

We went that way. Avidius and Curufin ran ahead to the Temple Ground and hid behind some of the outer shrines, hoping to see someone coming this way while Steiner and Erd stayed together and walked the streets. And at an alley near the end of the Elven Quarter, the espied movement down and alley and the elf’s infravision let us believe someone had been there just. We followed, walking through the tight confines, filth, and muck – eventually coming back to the street and walking north back to the Ogre Door Inn – our possible quarry gone. The two thieves caught up with us after some time and we went back to the Hall of Heroes, knowing that we would not find her again this night. Steiner was convinced since he did not fall for her “siren’s” call, that she would give him a wide berth for some time. Maybe.

As for Tranis and his portion of the party, it went differently. The Dorminger’s were happy to see Flimflam again and were very respectful and courteous. They went to the barn and saw the mule, the damage, and the situation. Flimflam cast Speak with Animals and learned from Gladys, the cow, and even the fat pig there a clearer picture of what happened. The figure fell through the thatch, had two arms, two legs, startled Gladys who kicked it twice before it got angry and seemed to bite her before scrambling up and out of the thatch roof again.

Based upon wheat we had known and the situation now, Flimflam assumed it might be a yuan-ti from Candlewick Keep that may have followed us here. Which really freaked out Geld because she/he had lived there for some time and knew about the dangerous yuan-ti Sisspak and it’s almost stranglehold on the entire Keep. The druid did draw the poison out of Gladys the dying mule which even though we didn’t solve the problem yet, the Dormingers were willing to pay us the 24+ nobles for our efforts in saving their animal.

The party went back to the Hall of Heroes where we all spoke together of what had happened, what we had learned, and what our actions would be in the coming days. Tomorrow though, we had to meet with Scarene Windacre who would guide us north of Shakun where we would hopefully spy the goblins and track them down.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Meet 81, Adv 5, 5/2/15

Sometimes a character is fun to play and just doesn't fit in the group. And rule number 1, is always have fun. But what happens when your fun is at the expense of the other 4, 5, or 6 people at the table's fun? Does that mean yours doesn't count? Does theirs? Who decides where the "fun" line is and when it is ok to cross it or not?

We had a returning player who hasn't been in 1 of my games for 13 years roll up a character and flesh it out, introduce it to the group, and then after a week - realize that although it is a fun character - it's not fun for the group.

So he did the very adult thing, after thinking about it all week, he wrote his new character out and immediate rolled up a different one.

And that's why I like playing with established groups and with mature people. It was better that everyone have a good time that just the shock value of himself.

Write up follows:

Our return to Shakun was a tremendous success and it took us almost no time to glad hand with the welcoming crew, as well as the Baron and his men. We were invited to the Baron’s that evening for dinner which we gladly accepted. Getting paid from the caravan master we headed to the Hall of Heroes and looked to relax for a few hours.

In our time gone (as well as the hot summer), the Hall has been slowly falling apart. There are chinks in the mortar, the shutters sag slightly, the place is musty and smells – the entire place needs a good cleaning. Bullbowl felt very ill at ease – the 9’ plus tall half-ogre did not fit through the front door, and he was unable to stand up inside the place (8’ ceilings). He went outside and leaned against the building instead, cleaning hit feet and toes. Steiner didn’t see the allure and left, heading to the Ogre Door Inn to get a bath. Curufin went to the General Store and Trading Post to purchase a broom. Flimflam went upstairs to look at the “mushroom” room – and it had gotten a bit fecund over the last month or so. Plus, a squirrel or two have clawed their way in through a broken bit of eaves.

Bullbowl was sitting out there, kilt riding up and high, when either one of the Marshall’s men came by or someone had called for the Marshall’s man – wither was in was Zenfirus, the Marshall’s Interrogator, who was questioning Bullbowl as to who he was, what was he doing here, and why was he here. He lured Bullbowl to come with him, leading him to the Marshall’s Office, before trying to get him to get into a cell at the end – promising him a puppy (too eat? Um…sure! If you want).

The barbarian did not fall for it though and instead looked at Zenfirus with quiet malice and said simply, “I rage.” The barbarian then tried to tear the wiry man’s arm off. With a twist and scream, the deputy raced away from the Half-ogre and hid in one of the cells.

Flimflam arrived around the same time now, just as the furious barbarian was exiting the Marshall’s office, with the Marshall right behind him. He seemed to sag and Flimflam sent him back to the Hall to relax. Meanwhile, Bullbowl was getting it in his head that he should kill Zenfirus and maybe the Marshall.

The party spent an inordinate amount of time convincing Bullbowl that it would be VERY bad if he did that and maybe the best that be gotten was some sort of honor duel – but only IF Zenfirus started it. We got ready for dinner and then went to the Town Hall for a delicious meal with almost 40 of the leaders in the town. Already a dozen of the horses have been purchased and the feeling was that the rest of the stock would be sold in the next couple of days.

But what we concerned about did happen as Bullbowl forced a bowl of soup to be dumped on Zenfirus during the meal, which had him stand up and NOT get upset. Until Curufin stood near the deputy and threw his voice to make it sound like the deputy challenged Bullbowl. There was much discussion and denial, but the half-ogre had accepted and it was witnessed and seconded. But Baron Taugis wanted this to end for now and to enjoy dinner. Zenfirus left, followed by the Marshall.

The next morning we ate breakfast and then went to town square to see the duel. The Marshall was very against it, and for those looking, we could tell that this was going to go poorly at some level for the group – especially since Zenfirus kept saying he didn’t want to do this. But before it actually started, he whipped a handful of pepper and glass shards into Bullbowl’s eyes, making the half Ogre stagger around blinded.

Then a poisoned knife followed and a deep cut ended up on the half-ogre’s leg. The fight was on – Zenfirus dodging and ducking, trying to hamstring the half-ogre, and Bullbowl windmilling his arms in an effort to grab the elusive deputy.

And in a blind accident, he managed to snag Zenfirus’ shoulder. His free hand grabbed the deputy’s knife hand and crushed the bones there, causing the knife to fall. The fighting was milling all over and then Bullbowl roared out and slammed his ham-like hand into Zenfirus’ groin, grabbed hard and caused the deputy to scream in a high-pitched whine and start to PULL. The crowd roared in anger and Marcus who had been ready for something hurled rose petals at the combatants and cast a sleep spell – dropping Bullbowl who fell with the deputy who was bleeding from his crotch.

In the aftermath of the combat, Zenfirus had lost a testicle and his manhood was ripped but not torn from his body. He would require almost a week of bed rest. Steiner cast cure moderate wounds on the deputy, his efforts allowing the man to heal rapidly and at least keep his…parts – most of them.

This was not going to work out. Flimflam had a heart to heart talk with the half-ogre who also realized that life up here in the civilized lands just was not for him. They parted as friends and Bullbowl left town for the long walk back to the Beastly Hills.

Many hours later the party had joined the town elders and other merchant families and heads at the town hall to discuss the sales as they have gone on – but more importantly, to talk about the number of goblins that have been found in the area as of late. With the upcoming winter, their presence has been on the rise and the group had been tasked with two things – removal of bandits in the environs to allow trade roads to open and to keep the goblin presences down to a minimum.

At this point a tall black haired fighter looking guy stepped up, called himself Kalt and that he was a member of what he called the First Sons of Shakun. Wanted a chance to be an alternative adventuring group in town, our charter was over (6 months), and other items. We held him off and had a copy of a new charter in hand, signing it at the hall and promising to submit it in the next few days. As for a guide to the goblin caves, there would someone called Scarene, a hunter of sorts, who would meet with us to lead up to where we needed to go.

Marcus answered an invitation that Enthir had sent him to come and join him and a few of the other elves for drink and some news. So he joined the elder grey elf at Nadeer Strongriver’s home in Elven quarter – an archer of some renown who had settled here after the war, and Halden Singeflower, a warrior/wizard of low skill who also had left the politics of Woodhelven behind.

The stories shared during the drinking and bantering were disturbing to Marcus. First, Pelis the Rugmerchant had a period of bad luck (something that doesn’t happen to the information broker ever thanks to his numerous luck fetishes) where he broke his ankle yesterday on an unlucky trip down the steps. This had Enthir mention it to some of the other friends in the neighborhood and got them to talking.

Nadeer has a music crystal he’s owned for years, a gift from a relative back in Woodhelven. It plays some elvish music when he is feeling homesick, but something odd is happening to it lately as it has been behaving poorly. Sometimes not starting, other times playing slowly. Almost as if it’s magic was failing but that makes no sense.

Halden, who is a local lothario with the human women in town, did admit to picking up a striking blond woman with grey eyes recently and bringing her back to his place. But in the morning he felt exhausted, drained, and his mind was blank of spells as if he had cast them – but there was no sign that he ever actually did. It was many hours later before he felt well enough to get out of bed.

The conversation then turned to magic and what’s going on. Obviously failing, but that makes no sense. Magic permeates the world in a net called the Weave, and is powered strongest along leylines. The spaces between these leylines normally are filled with magic, but something seems to be draining them here in Shakun’s area, and it seems to be affecting everything.

There are ways to “fill” the boxes back up – usually a birth of something Fey does it (dragons, unicorns, dryads, etc…) – but the feeling is that maybe something is moving the leylines. Right now there isn’t a lot of “real” information to go on, just noticed stuff by Enthir and some of the other elves in town – but they wanted to get Marcus involved early and maybe he and the rest of the party can look into it before it becomes a real issue.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Meet 80, Adv 5, 4/25/15

Outside of training, there is no "box text" start of this adventure. In the game, the weather is turning cold, harvest has been going on strong, and there is maybe a month (tops) or travellable days remaining before the first snows hit. It was a buy all we could sort of meeting before travelling back to Shakun.

This adventure is called "The Gathering Dark" and will take place back in the party's hometown. There are a number of threads that have been left there as well as some unraveling that we had done. So this is a chance for us to clean up our spills and smooth out our wake.

My buddy Scott rejoined us at the table, first time he's sat and played here for 13 years. His character is a caricature of a favorite character he had played before - but it will not last. Sort of a one meeting speed bump. He voluntarily retired him the next meeting and rolled up someone less...colorful!

Write up follows:

For the next weeks we were guests of Heatherfield, half the training costs being picked up by Lord Gelus Kayzer and the various merchant houses as thanks for our efforts in stemming the undead tide. The Thanach family gift three of their guard dogs to us: one for Flimflam, one for Tranis, and one for Castus.

The fallout with Sheriff Nexius and Erd (regarding Gwendolyn) continued to rage on, with the Sheriff actually going to Flimflam and ordering the gnome to take care of the problem before he does.

The temples of Demeter and Gaia band together, rounding up volunteers to help clear the 5 homesteads that were affected, as well as to bless and sanctify them. The town square had been rededicated as the Carayn Marketplace, and a new altar to Apollo had been constructed there. During a ceremony to consecrate the altar as headed by Steiner, there was a meet a greet afterwards where the beleaguered priest tried to work his way through the many religious questions. Somehow Dionysus came up a bunch and there was the concern regarding Icarus, but he did manage to inspire (if even just for a day) at least a dozen or so hopeful aspirants.

Packages arrived from Woodhelven for Flimflam, Marcus, Curufin, and even Selene. Of the three we had read, Flimflam was given thanks, a bauble that would let him enter Woodhelven freely if need be, and a slim package of cultivate Elderberry grape seeds. Marcus was offered a position in the Silverhair garrison as an Optio and gifted a 10 count of obsidian headed elven arrows. Curufin was offered a position as a 2nd rank Optio and gifted a pair of poisonry books and some dried lower level poisons.

As the time of training was coming to the end we were approached by the Stablemaster of the Northern Stables. There were going to be some 50 horses and almost 100 people making the trip. About 20 horses and 35 people would be stopping and staying at Timberton to sell their wares, while the remainder would be going to Shakun. Many of the travelers (about 1/3 of them tradesmen) would be staying there, emigrating to the frontier town.

But the Stablemaster had a different problem. He had a figure that had been with hi for some weeks now, a half-ogre from the Beastly Hills to the south. Often times barbarian tribes would wander north, most of them staying at Brewersbrdge, but others taking further trips north and ending up at Heatherfield.

Over 9’ tall, 600 lbs, and freakishly strong as well as simple seeming, he had been with the Stablemaster for the last few weeks but was quickly outgrowing his ability to help him. So they were willing to sponsor him to the adventuring group should they take him with them when they return to Shakun.

We met with the half-ogre that night at the Mane and Tail Inn and had some conversation with him. All of 16 years of age, he has been on his own or travelling with other loosely knit tribes from the hills. He was wearing the hide armor remains of an oversized owlbear and very little else. In addition, he owned an axe that he had taken from a giant – normally an unwieldy weapon under any circumstances. What he did not have was a name. Only his new chief can give him that. So we talked about what he had killed last (giant) and what had he eaten last (wooden bowl – more like gnawing on it). We had Giantbowl as a name but it was just not right, so while going over big animals and mentioned bull, the half-ogre said…”Bull…Bowl. I like it.” And no amount of dissuading would change his mind at this time.

For the last 3-4 days, the party went shopping for supplies to bring back to Shakun as well as refilling our own stores with wares. What was strange was that Bullbowl had little concept of money or of owning things – and Flimflam had to guide him often. The issue came when it was time to get shoes – and for that, Bullbowl who had at first wanted them, began to react negatively – screaming and yelling to get them off. The cobbler wouldn’t take them back (the man is 9’ tall – who else would buy them?) so we had Bull add them to his large sack of miscellaneous things and we continued our resupply and shopping.

Eventually our time was done and on Earthmonth the 12th, we joined the caravan heading north and went on our way during the long journey back to Shakun.

We stopped at Dairymeade at the end of the 1st day where most of us got rooms or places to sleep in the tiny hamlet (Bull slept outside the Leatherworkers). In fact, it was here that Bull tied the laces together on his shoes and tossed the mess up into the alder tree near the Leatherworker’s stall. No one commented on the shoes in the trees and we rounded up for more of our ride north.

The evening of the 13th had us at Timberton where we again got rooms and on the morn of the 14th, we bid farewell to some 30 members of the caravan and 20 of the horses that would be sold here (with luck). The remaining over 70 of us and 30 horses left that morning (this time with no rain or drizzle to mar our trip) and began travelling west. Our caravan stopped at the Roaring Treant Inn for the night and was on the road again the following morning where at 5:30 that afternoon of Earthmonth the 15th, we came upon to sights of the homesteads, walls, and hills of Shakun. Our home.