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.