Kingmaker

Session 11
An Unexpected Death...
  • 10/06

    • With the epic fights of the previous day behind them, the party (including one dead halfling thief) began the journey back to Centropolis.
    • The arrival of the party in Centropolis was met with less fanfare than normal, but this was a blessed relief. A messenger was sent for Father Jhod to arrive with his best resurrection spell memorized, and the party dispersed to their respective rooms.
    • Vandamar identified the cursed sword from Armaugh the crazed mage as being “Avinter Bane, The Enemy of All Enemies.” A truly terrifying weapon, this +3 greatsword possessed a malignant intelligence that in time would make the bearer believe they were the original Armaugh the warlord. After a certain period of time wielding this weapon, the warlord would be returned from the grave and inhabit the new body offered, to begin his reign of terror once again. As the only way to destroy such a powerful device would be to travel to the Astral Plane, Vandamar made a side-trip to the castle’s strongroom to securely lock up this weapon and prevent any from accidently wielding it.
    • Opening the door to his quarters and setting his bag on the desk with a sigh, Vandamar noticed an exquisitely carved wooden box laying on his bed. Testing his magical wards and not finding a trace of someone else entering, Vandamar realized that the box was emitting an intense magical aura.
    • After utilizing a good portion of his immense intellect to figure out how to open the box, Vandamar finally lifted the lid up, and beheld a magical Deck of Many Things. He was certain that it had been altered in several slight (and possibly significant) ways from a standard magical deck, but he wasn’t able to exactly discern how.
    • He decided to re-lock the box and think on what the box’s appearance might mean. Maybe at some point in the future would he dare to make use of the deck. Vandamar got into bed and blew the candle out, signaling an end to the long, recent adventure he and the rest of the party had just returned from.

  • 10/07 – 10/30

    • This time spent on affairs of state and dealing with the incorporation of Fort Drelev into the duchy of Elkland.

  • 10/31

    • A visiting celebrity from the north passed through to experience the wonders of Centropolis, bringing flocks of travelling fans and passer-bys with her. With the parties that ensured, a massive influx of wealth made its way to the duchy’s coffers.

  • 11/01 – 01/05

    • More administrative affairs to attend to. Father Jhod resurrected Belkar during this time, but was startled to discover how evil the little fiend truly was. In the days following Belkar’s return to life, hordes of cats, frogs, kobolds, and the occasional beggar either turned up missing or had died by repeated stab wounds.
    • As the Halfling had proven his worth to the party in their most recent adventure, Stephanos spared his life, but demanded that Belkar leave immediately to the lands from whence he had come. Father Jhod was mollified by a fairly substantial donation to the church.

  • 01/06

    • During lunch this day, Cadoc was approached by Vandamar and was told all about the mysterious Deck of Many Things. Together, they went to Vandamar’s quarters, where the mage handed a location object to Cadoc and told him to take the party and look for him if he was gone for longer than a day. Cadoc cast as many protection spells as they thought prudent, wished Vandamar good luck, and was gone.
    • Vandamar cast several protection spells of his own, and opened the card deck. Declaring that he wished to draw 5 cards, he shuffled the deck and drew from the top.

      • On his first draw, the King of Diamonds made an appearance. Instantly, Vandamar felt a rush of knowledge and knew that he could cast more spells. In addition, a new bulge in his pocket turned out to be a 4th level pearl of power. Satisfied with this first action, Vandamar pulled the second card from the deck.
      • This next draw revealed the trademark joker, the Fool. Vandamar felt his abilities diminish, and realized that his new-found spellcasting power had been revoked. As the joker wasn’t an official card, Vandamar pulled another card for his second pull.
      • This time, as the card flipped over, Vandamar felt a coil of dread. In his hand was the King of Clubs – The Void. Before he could shout for help, Vandamar felt his essence ripped painfully from his body and pulled into a dark place. He knew no more.

  • 01/07

    • Cadoc discovered Vandamar’s still-breathing body collapsed on the floor of his room, one of his hands holding a card. After laying Vandamar’s body on his bed, Cadoc gathered all of the cards he could find and replaced them back in the carved wooden box.
    • Summoning the rest of the party, Cadoc explained the situation to everyone. Knowing that Vandamar’s soul was in a location not easily discovered, the party resolved to keep his mortal shell alive until they could reach someone who could cast a powerful enough scrying spell.

  • 01/08 – 02/05

    • This time spent continuing to resolve administrative affairs, and sending messages to all the major cities in an effort to locate a scryer.

  • 02/06

    • Today marked a special occasion for the duchy, as Duke Stephanos wed the dragon Ambarean. Hordes of people from all over turned out to see this momentous occasion, since really when was the last time a human willingly wed a reptile? Figures of note included a large contingent from Daggermark, Dmitri Inesque of the Dwarven nation, Acorna Silverfire of the free-range Centaurs, and surprisingly many kobolds of the Sootscale tribe.
    • Ambarean was hauntingly beautiful in a shimmering magical gown of many fabrics, and her veil was a quasi-solid pixie-dust entrapment spell which streamed out behind her in glorious colors and patterns. Cadoc, being a personal friend of both bride and groom presided over the nuptials and blessed their union with the full strength and authority given to him by his deity, Cayden Cailean. At the pronouncement of their union, the kegs lined up for the reception underwent a transformation and were found to contain a near-inexhaustible supply of sweet, crisp ale of the finest quality.
    • After the celebration waned, Stephanos and his new bride stole away to secluded corner of the castle that required a stepladder to access for several weeks. None knew of what activities occurred within, but strange sounds were often heard by passerby’s. Regardless, the duchy had grown to become a kingdom.

  • 02/11

    • During the royal honeymoon, a plague was reported in Varnhold. General Akaros, acting under orders from the party ruling in Stephanos’ absence, enforced a quarantine to wait out the sickness. Several healers from Jhod’s temple were sent out to help with the recovery.

  • 02/12 – 07/13

    • This time spent on completing the mounds of paperwork required for kingdom status applications.

  • 07/14

    • On this day, a revolt staged by several nobles was put down (violently in some instances, now that Destin had returned from his mysterious assignment) and the organizers were made examples of. Apparently, the dissent started when several nobles were jailed a few months back by Stephanos for embezzling funds. The nobles in the revolt thought it unfair that persons of their stature could be imprisoned for so long, and had stormed the prison, hoping to stage a break-out and eventual government overthrow.
    • The revolt ended when it became clear that most of the nobles had never actually wielded a weapon and could not enforce change without having the ability to do so.

  • 07/15 – 08/06

    • Paperwork was finished, making the kingdom official.

  • 08/07

    • The party set off this day for Restov, to find a mage capable of teleporting them to the headquarters of Cadoc’s order.

  • 08/08 – 08/09

    • Travelling to Restov.

  • 08/10

    • A mage was hired at the local guild to teleport the party (plus Vandamar’s vegetable body) to Absalom, and quickly disappeared afterwards. The party was able to locate the headquarters quite easily by following the trail of drunks staggering away after receiving Cayden Cailean’s holy blessing.
    • Entering the grand temple (festooned with passed out worshippers, large murals of heroic acts, and more than a few courtesans), the party approached the raised platform where the resident holy father (Friar Adolphious Busch) was holding hours. After exchanging mugs of beer with the old cleric, Cadoc explained the issue and asked if it were possible to locate the whereabouts of Vandamars imprisoned soul.
    • At the word “imprisoned” (a foul word indeed for a worshipper of Cayden Cailean), Friar Adolphious instantly became somber and declared that he would need 30k in gold, 12 fresh beers, and the immediate confiscation of the deck (which Cadoc was very glad to do).
    • Bidding the party to stand back, the friar bowed his head briefly in prayer to the 12 beers before him, and then swiftly chugged each one in succession, finishing with a thunderous belch. Throwing the last glass into the hearth nearby, the friar stood (swaying erratically as he did so) with his eyes shut and arms raised in the air. After a few minutes the friar straightened, and with no traces of inebriation gravely informed the party that Vandamar’s soul was imprisoned in an iron cage affixed to the side of the endless glacier palace of Mephistopheles in Cania, the 8th circle of Hell.
    • Affixing Stephanos with a serious gaze, Friar Adolphious informed the party that any actions towards freeing Vandamar’s essence would have to go through an agent of the Hell lord. As no casters in Absalom (that he knew of) could currently fulfill this duty, he recommended that the party travel to Cheliax (with a mass “Protection from Evil” spell cast on the party for protection) and seek out a priest of Asmodeus.
    • Thanking the Friar for this generous act (and refilling his tankard), the party left the temple to decide what direction to go in. After much debate, it became clear that travelling to Cheliax to speak with a priest of Asmodeus would be a dangerous (especially for Stephanos) task. Agreements would be drawn up that, unless examined carefully, could end in the party’s eternal damnation.
    • Therefore, with much sadness, the party decided to end their ministrations of Vandamar’s body and send it back to his family. Someday perhaps, an expedition would be mounted to Hell to recover Vandamar’s soul and bring him peace, but this currently was above the party’s ability’s.
    • The party hired another wizard to teleport them back to Centropolis, and began the search for a new spellcaster.

  • 08/11 – 11/07

    • With the new Kingdom status, this time spent on Management re-organizations, government Employee WFR’s to drop costs, and a re-tooling of the governance process that was used for the duchy.

  • 11/08

    • Destin tracked down and killed a serial killer today. By the Gods, the party enjoys their royal executioner.

  • 11/09

    • A rumor began circulating that bog mummies had been spotted.

  • 11/10

    • This day found the party setting out for exploration and plunder. In the previous week, a wizard had been found that seemed willing to adventure. As a plus, this wizard appeared to possess roughly the same knowledge and abilities as Vandamar had. His name was Cain.

  • 11/11 – 11/12

    • New areas explored and charted.

  • 11/13

    • Area encountered today that contained a massive field of quicksand. After noting that this area would never be suitable for development, the party journeyed on.

  • 11/14 – 11/17

    • More areas jotted down.

  • 11/18

    • Towards dusk in a swampy area, Destin spotted a small fire in the distance. Approaching, Destin counted 5 Wargs and 5 Pixies sleeping in a clearing around the flames. He recalled more rumors of a band of malicious fey that roamed through the night stealing babies, setting houses on fire, and slaughtering any family pets/livestock they could reach.
    • As he relayed this back to the party, Cain stepped forward and cast invisibility on himself before the rest of the party could react. Reaching the clearing, he cast Chain Lightning on the sleeping figure, killing everything in sight (seriously, squirrels and birds fell from the trees in an eerie parody of an earlier encounter with the fey). Reaching the conclusion that their new companion possessed somewhat looser morals than his predecessor (judging by the high-five Destin gave Cain), Stephanos and Cadoc decided amongst themselves to take watch over half the night apiece, so that one could always be awake. The party made camp that night in the now empty clearing.

  • 11/19

    • In the morning, Cadoc cast “Speak with Dead” on the one corpse that hadn’t been reduced to cinders. Together, the party asked the following questions (with answers):

      • Where are the babies you stole? – In the camp…
      • Where is the camp? – Right heerrre.
      • Did… did you eat those babies? – Oh yes!!!
      • Who is the leader of the Evil Fey? – The Beautiful One…
      • Where can she be found? – …In her palace.
    • After casting the distasteful corpse aside, the party resumed their exploration.

  • 11/20 – 11/23

    • More exploring.

  • 02/12 – 07/

    • Mid-morning, shortly after the party began exploration of another area south of the swamp, a good-sized hill was spotted in the distance in the middle of it. Heading towards it, the party encountered the remains of a 10-12 foot wide road heading that direction. About half a mile from the hill, the forest abruptly disappeared in an obvious cutback.
    • Sending Destin ahead to scout, he reported several walls enclosing a series of buildings that looks like they could have been a religious facility at one time. One of those walls was severely collapsed, but the whole structure would serve as an excellent watchtower or fort.
    • Cadoc, recalling his message a year prior from Bishop Jendar Crain, cast Create Beer in his tankard and drank deep. Surely, this was the lost Krindan Abbey.
    • As the party left the treeline and approached the Abbey along the main road, figures were spotted at the top of the walls. Nearing the walls, the figures were shown to be queer in appearance, looking like men who had been stretched. Suddenly, the figures pulled up what looked like bows and shot arrows towards the party!

      • Thankfully only Stephanos was hit, and he mostly protected by his layers of steel armor. In response, Cain cast a fireball at the wall ramparts followed by Cadoc’s casting of Flame Strike, which enveloped nearly the full length of the wall in roiling flames. As they died down, the figures previously atop the wall were no longer in sight, but were suddenly replaced by infantry rushing towards the party.
      • The “Taffy-men” were dressed in odd uniforms, which were blue and had odd sigils upon them. As the neared the party, three dragon-like creatures broke the cloud cover above in a dive heading nearly straight down! One of the beasts was wearing an elaborate armored barding that protected nearly all of its hide. The other two were lightly armored, but each had a saddle in which a “Taffy-man” sat with his/her hands glowing with arcane light.
      • One of the enemy spell casters targeted Cain with Eldritch Fever, an affliction which sent shivers and seizures coursing through Cain’s body whenever anything magical was attempted. The other caused an abrupt transformation to the terrain underneath the party’s feet, changing the soft grassy meadow to a glossy black obsidian nightmare, complete with molten lava patches and razor-sharp fragments swirling underfoot.
      • The third dragon-like creature swooped down and solidly hit Stephanos with a strafing attack. Without being able to immediately respond to the hellish monster, Stephanos picked himself off the ground and charged one of the advancing swordsmen, knocking him to the ground as he did so. Destin made the same move on another, and together they drove their blades into their victim’s throats.
      • Fighting though the pain and distraction of the magical affliction, Cain cast Invisibility on himself, Dimension Door to teleport him short distance into the air, and activated his winged boots to remain hovering silently outside of the melee. As the two enemy sorcerer’s were close to each other, Cadoc cast Holy Smite to catch both of them, blinding them temporarily.
      • Their mounts however were able to resist the effect of the divine spell, as one dove to deliver a hit on Stephanos and the other missed on an attempted attack on Cadoc. Thankful that his armor was protecting him from the worst, Stephanos turned and messily decapitated the infantryman standing between him and Destin, and then impaled another through the chest on his swing follow-through.
      • Finding himself suddenly targetless (and dodging a swipe from the armored flying monster), Destin prepared himself for action should one of the dragon-kin attempt another attack. Cain cast “River Wind” between the spellcaster mounts to disorient them as Cadoc cast Searing Light on one. Oddly, as Cadoc guided the divine energy flowing through his holy symbol, he felt a presence attempt to push the spell-effects back, but fail in the end.
      • Cain’s River Wind spell had the desired effect of disorienting the dragon-kin enough that each fell hard to the ground: one by Cadoc (nearly hitting him) and one by Stephanos. Stephanos charged the one nearest him as Cadoc cast Grace on himself to edge away and cast Cold Ice Strike on the other.
      • The armored dragon-kin swooped down to deliver an attack on Destin, but as the beast’s claws rammed into Destin’s chest, Destin grabbed its ankle and was able to flip onto its back. As the beast flinched in surprise, Destin stabbed it deeply with weapons in both hands and pulled, causing huge lacerations that gushed blood and seemed to weaken the creature.
      • Cain flew to an angle that lined up the enemy spellcasters (still struggling to free themselves from the saddles of their downed mounts) and cast a Lightning Bolt through both of them, but the energy seemed to be absorbed rather than inflicting injury. The enemy mage closest to Stephanos effectively disarmed the paladin by magically grabbing his sword and driving it into the ground. The other turned to Cadoc and cast a sheet of flames at him just as his mount righted itself and thrust itself back into the air.
      • The dragon-kin in front of Stephanos landed a massive swing that sent him staggering back several feet. Above, Destin continued to cut slice through the dragon-kin’s flesh as it unsuccessfully tried to shake him off. Stephanos dived forward to retrieve his sword, and then cut several large steaks from the arm and chest of the dragon-kin that had just taken a swipe at him.
      • Cain cast Corrosive Consumption on the other spell-caster’s mount (the one flying), and laughed as the beast screamed in sudden pain. Below, Cadoc moved towards Stephanos and cast Prayer to both increase the paladin’s chance of hitting and decrease the dragon-kins ability to hit him.
      • Suddenly Destin lost his grip and fell to the ground, but was able to make an acrobatic recovery and prepare himself should the dragon-kin attempt to attack him again. Stephanos delivered a massive blow to the skull of the dragon-kin in front of him, dropping it to the ground. Immediately afterwards he struck the sorcerer, who was still strapped into the saddle on the dead creatures back.
      • Not satisfied with the speed the affliction was making its way through the other spellcaster-mounted dragon-kin, Cain cast Corrosive Consumption on it again. Cadoc turned and cast Spear of Purity on the same dragon-kin, killing it in the air and sending it crashing to the ground. As the sorcerer in front of Stephanos attempted to push his entrails back inside his body cavity, Stephanos cut his head cleanly off.
      • Cain cast Magic Missile on the other spellcaster, who clearly was suffering from a massive amount of broken bones from the crash, and ended its miserable existence. As Cadoc stepped back and Channeled Energy for himself, Stephanos, and Cain, all three watched as the last dragon-kin swooped down at Destin.
      • As before, the dragon-kin attempted a fly-by mauling, but was thwarted as again Destin clambered up on to its back. Holding onto the reins, Destin plunged his dagger straight into the bloody wound on the back of the neck of the beast, and twisted. Instantly, large gouts of blood issued forth from the wound and the mouth of the dragon-kin, and the body stiffened in an odd near-immediate type of seizure as it started to fall.
      • Thinking quickly, Destin grabbed the base of each wing, and was able to safely glide the stiffened corpse to the ground – a spectacular finish to this battle indeed.
    • After healing was dispensed (and high-fives given to the nimble rogue), the party ventured into the building to see what it was that they had found.
    • Examining the smashed contents of three large buildings led Cadoc to believe for certain that this was the lost distillery. The fourth building however had been left mostly intact, and this clearly had once been a temple to Cayden Cailean, judging by the now-empty kegs, chalices, steins, and massive stained glass windows depicting the Drunk God in various acts of bravery and inebriation.
    • At the front near the altar, a secret door was noticed by Destin. No locks or apparent handles were spotted, but Destin was not able to open it. Cadoc cast Create Beer, poured a round for the party, and opened the door with a slight touch.

      • The other side of the door revealed a small, circular room, dominated by a four-foot pillar in the center. Standing at the top of the pillar was a gigantic, bejeweled, silver stein. As Cadoc walked into the room, he gained instant knowledge that this was the Stein of Accidental Glory, a powerful artifact created in celebration of the victory Cayden Cailean held over the devil Salicotal. At his touch, the stein filled itself with fresh beer. No manner of movement spilled a drop, and no length of drinking depleted its contents.
      • Before Cadoc became too intoxicated, the party agreed that the bodies of the slain should be examined. However, other than making a record of the odd sigils on the uniforms and the iron collars worn by the spellcasters, no other identifying marks were found. After exploring the other buildings of the Abbey, the party camped there for the night.

  • 11/25

    • Before starting out, Cadoc cast Remove Disease on Cain to rid him of the shakes caused by the Eldrich Fever. The party then began another spate of area-exploring.

  • 11/26 – 11/29

    • More areas explored.

  • 11/30

    • Around mid-day, the sounds of people arguing were heard. These voices resolved into 18 individuals as the party broke through the trees and approached the group. The people looked like refugees, and were definitely not equipped to be travelling.

      • The group fell silent as the party approached, and several looked ready to flee. Stephanos’ self-introduction however caused a ripple of relaxation through the crowd, and a man stepped forward. “We are escaped slaves from the Baron Lord Pitax,” the man said, “and our intent was to travel to your fair kingdom to seek sanctuary”. “One can hardly believe the king himself still ventures forth into the wilderness,” he added, but hastily began mentioning that he meant no offense.
      • The man also said that a dragon thing was lurking in the swamp nearby, and had eaten several of their number. Stephanos offered to escort the refugees to Centropolis the next day, and with the offer taken the party made camp on the spot to provide food and aid to the refugees.

  • 12/01

    • This day spent travelling to Centropolis, with the party arriving in the afternoon.

  • 12/02

    • This day spent travelling back to the refugee clearing to resume exploration of that area.
    • While charting an area, a pond was encountered that had tons of broken reeds at the waterline indicating something of large girth lurked there. Stephanos drew his sword and approached the pond as Destin used stealth in the reeds to hide himself. Without warning, a 12-headed monster charged out of the water at Stephanos!

      • Unfortunately for it, it had a hard time grabbing or biting Stephanos and his recently repaired and waxed armor and lost several teeth in the attempt. Cain waved his hands and sent a huge fireball slamming into it. Stephanos made use of the roiling firestorm and cut several of the heads off, watching the flesh cauterize with satisfaction.
      • Destin ran forward to get in on the action, but was grappled for his efforts. Luckily, he wasn’t held for long, as Cadoc cast Flame Strike and slew the beast.
    • With that taken care of, the rest of the area was explored uneventfully.

  • 12/03

    • This day spent exploring.

  • 12/04

    • While exploring a bog, ground-shaking tremors were felt. Heading towards the source, the movements were caused by two giant slugs that were spitting acid at each other and thrashing around.

      • Stephanos cast Resist Elements on himself in disbelief, as Cain sent a fireball crashing into both. Cadoc silently resolved never to piss the mage off for fear of being the recipient of the never-ending supply of fire-y death, and shot a crossbow bolt at the nearest. The slug that was punctured by Cadoc’s bolt turned and spat acid at the cleric, but being a slug didn’t appear to have the greatest aim.
      • Stephanos charged the spitting slug as Cain loosed another fireball at the second slug, which rewarded Cain for his efforts with a geyser of acid in response. Destin finally finished his run around the slug and shanked the one attacking Cain. Stephanos carved several fleshy bits out of the slug in front of him, but the slug unexpectedly extruded a tongue and licked him! Cadoc finished the licker with a casting of Searing Light as Destin cut through the second one to drop it as well.
    • The rest of the day passed without incident.

  • 12/05

    • In the next area, which was heavily covered in swamp, a large score of bog mummys was encountered. Fortunately, each party member successfully resisted the mummy’s aura of despair, and were able to dispatch the undead handily.

  • 12/06

    • In this area, a camp belonging to the Bog Striders was encountered. As we had freed their leader some time ago, the party was cordially invited to stay the night and converse.

  • 12/07

    • A field of beautiful azure lilies was found today. As Stephanos went to pick one, it exploded in a burst of poison pollen. The field was widely skirted and the exploration continued.

  • 12/08 – 12/22

    • More areas explored without incident.

  • 12/23

    • While exploring the current area, a herd of horses was seen galloping across a plain, led by a large horse. The lead horse, presumably Windchaser, spotted the party, led the herd to one side and halted. As the party approached the stopped herd, Windchaser planted himself solidly in front of the herd and said “Stay the fuck away from the horses.”

      • Having encountered all manner of strange beasts in the party’s adventures, a talking horse was almost normal. Recovering his composure, Stephanos engaged Windchaser in dialogue and learned that this area was just about where the herd stayed. Stephanos explained that he was the king of a rapidly expanding kingdom, and that this area could be kept off limits and free of development. When he explained that similar arrangements had been made with the centaurs to the East, Windchaser immediately demanded safe passage to the Centaur lands. In return, he would allow one horse from his herd be borrowed for the lady who had requested it.
      • Stephanos agreed to escort the horse herd to Fort Drelev, where a team would be found to take the horses the rest of the journey. On the way to Fort Drelev, a field of golden cloud berries, typically used for cooking and brewing was noted.

  • 12/24

    • The party arrived in Fort Drelev, and saw the horse herd off with another escort to go to the Centaur plains. With the horse borrowed from Windchaser’s herd, the party then teleported back to Centropolis, where a delighted Genevieve handed over 8K gold as promised for the horse.

  • 12/25 – 01/01

    • This week spent handling government affairs. During this time, Destin distilled some of the azure lilies sampled from the field into potent poisons. Kodar had returned from his own mysterious task while the party was away, and agreed to research the mystery of the “Taffy-Men”, but was not able to find anything out.

  • 01/02 – 02/14

    • This time spent enjoying the perks of upper management. Destin tracked down and killed an arsonist who had burned down several houses.

  • 02/15

    • On this day, a message arrived from Pitax, along with an invitation to attend the annual Rushlight Competition, held each year on March 1st. A popular competition held at the northernmost part of Pitax’s kingdom, four events of Archery, Strength, Boasting, and Midnight Jousting would be offered. After a brief discussion, the party agreed to attend and sent their reply back.

  • 02/16 – 02/26

    • These days finishing business and preparing for the tourney.

  • 02/27

    • This day spent in travel.

  • 02/28

    • The party arrived at the area designated for the festival in mid-afternoon, and there was a huge throng of people already present. After 3 hours of taking in the sights, a herald approached and bid the party to follow him to see Pitax. On seeing the party, the king was “eternally” happy to see that we showed up. A round of drinks were poured, and toasts were proffered.
    • Exiting the tent an hour later, the party approached a coordinator and were briefed on how the games worked along with scoring. After a few more hours of looking around, the party found lodging and called it a night.

  • End of Session 11

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Session 10
Just how many lives do Halflings have?
  • 9/16 (early morning)

    • After sneaking back into the top level penthouse of the Swordlord’s Sigh (A Gentleman’s club of some repute), the party found itself discussing the abrupt departure of Kodar and Destin with their newly acquired replacement: Belkar the gnome.
    • Belkar, it appeared, was a gnome of disconcerting tendencies. One of which was a penchant for stabbing the red-colored roaches that ran by with a dagger, and holding them over the fire with a gleeful smirk “Just to watch them burn.”
    • Before any of these behaviors could be fully explored, 2 A.M. arrived with Ms Setendre Morn’s arrival into the penthouse suite. She explained that there was a secret entrance outside the walls that went underneath Fort Drelev, but that the Baron was guarded by 3-4 Hill giants and at least 30 human guards. To make matters worse, reaching the town exit and finding the entrance itself would be a difficult task, as the streets were patrolled by more Hill Giants.
    • After thanking Ms Setendre for the help (and risk to herself), Stephanos led the party downstairs to the rear entrance, which opened out to an alley.
    • Belkar and Vandamar managed to sneak out and take cover across the street. However, Cadoc and Stephanos were discussing strategies as they crossed, and had reached a disagreement over the best way to reach the entrance. As Cadoc stopped and began to insult Stephanos’ mother for raising such an oafish and slow child, a loud voice rang out with a “Halt, Stewpid humans!”
    • Stephanos, ever the ready diplomat, turned to address the approaching hill giant, and explained that he and his beligerently drunk friend (who incidently was of poor lineage, raised in a whorehouse, and made a living cleaning the town latrine) were on their way back from a bar across town to the castle to see Baron Drelev himself. After some minutes explaining to the giant the function of a latrine (apparently, “latrine” in giant loosely translates to “side of your house”) and why such a thing needed to be periodically cleaned out, the giant stepped a few feet away from Cadoc, and shouted “I Take You To Baron! Go to Castle!”
    • Sensing imminent disaster should this invitation be accepted, Cadoc fell over in a seemingly drunken pile. Stephanos then apologized to the giant, explaning that perhaps the party should go to a nearby house instead (pointing to the alley where Belkar and Vandamar took up ambush positions) to rest, and head to the castle tomorrow. The giant insisted on providing an escort (“Stewpid Humans need Escort. Curfew in Effect!), and followed Stephanos (supporting Cadoc with an arm) down the alley.

      • Rounding a corner, the two took up positions on each side of the alley. When the giant turned into the corner, Vandamar caste “Haste” simultaneously with Cadoc’s casting of “Silence”. Stephanos rushed forward, and was able to hit the giant 3 bloody times in quick succession as Belkar came from behind and shanked the giant in the kidneys.
      • The party watched in amazement as the giant fell to ground shouting… in complete silence. Stephanos kneeled and dispatched the creature with a thrust to the head, and the corpse was hidden deep under some trash in the alley before the effects of the spell wore off.
    • With a disdainful glance to Cadoc and Stephanos for causing the delay, Vandamar raised his hands and Teleported the entire party just inside the treeline, outside of Fort Drelev’s walls.
    • Belkar went out to scout for the entrance to the secret passage, but didn’t get very far before guards patrolling the walls spotted him. The area surrounding him burst into light, and several arrows hit the illuminated ground around him. He ran back into the woods and the party tensed, expecting for the alarm to be raised.
    • Belkar explained that he had never really been that good at the whole sneaking part of being a rogue… Oddly, there was no reaction from the walls, so the party waited another half hour and sent him out again. This time, he successfully found a path that led straight to the entrance along the cliff.

      • The party made its way along the path in darkness, however Cadoc was having issues keeping his gear from making noise. About halfway along the path near the cliff, an alarm was raised on the Fort walls and the number of figures seen at the top tripled. Luckily, the line of sight from the cliff wall to the path wasn’t the best, so Cadoc was able to make it to the Cave entrance without being spotted.
    • With Belkar leading the way, the party entered the cave, which appeared to be a natural formation in the limestone the cliff was composed of. It was wet and stank of mold, and there were many signs that the whole cavern was frequently flooded. At the end of the cavern was a rusty Iron gate with a greasy looking pool of water right next to it.
    • As Belkar aproached the gate pulling his lockpicks out, the dark-colored water rose up and enveloped him!

      • To his left, another section of water rose up, and Vandamar shouted out that these were Black Puddings “Do NOT use your swords on these foul slimes”! Cadoc cast Holy Smite to the rear of the puddings, just missing Belkar (Whom Cadoc suspected was not of a good alignment at all).
      • With the shock of the smite, Belkar was able to break free and run back to the party, but the puddings followed! The one on the left continued to attack Belkar as Cadoc cast Searing Ray at it, while the one on the right began to attack Stephanos. Vandamar cast Quickened Displacement on the Holy Warrior and cast Invisibility on himself to avoid being touched by the foul slimes.
      • Stephanos gave the slime on the right two huge blows wth his morning star, causing it to dissipate back to a puddle of goo. Belkar attacked the slime on the left, but was dealt a shattering blow in return, knocking the gnome to his knees. Cadoc cast Touch of Good on the Paladin, allowing Stephanos to smite the remaining pudding with two more massive blows, sending sprays of disgusting jelly all over everyone.
    • “With those things guarding the gate, no wonder the cave is wide-open” remarked Vandamar, as Stephanos healed Belkar. Looking around, bits of undigested bones, clothes, and metal bits resembling pieces of weapons and armor were scattered all around this area of the cave, suggesting that the puddings had been used as a way to both guard the entrance to the passage and to deal with those individuals who had fallen in the Baron’s disfavor.
    • Examining the new holes present in his armor and counting himself lucky, Belkar worked on the rusty lock, and was able to open the Iron gate to the deeper parts of the passage. Just on the other side were a bunch of humanoid tracks, suggesting that someone often came down to check the gate. To one side of the passage was a shallow cave that looked to be used as a sort of storeroom. Rifling through the boxes, Belkar found a bunch of supplies, including a bag of Holding and 3 vials of a mysterious, black liquid.

      • Vandamar opened one, and identified them as Vials of Skunk Musk by the heavy odor that emerged.
      • A lever on the opposite side of the cave appeared to control the opening of the Iron gate the party just passed.
    • Moving forward, the passageway turned into a triangular dead end. In the dead end was an “L”-shaped table with tons of chests and treasure. Scanning around, Belkar discovered the backs of two secret doors. On the table, which was covered with precious gems in specially-shaped sockets, one of the chests contained enchanted armor and weapons, and the other contained a large cache of ancient artifacts, of what looked like barbarian origin. All discovered goodies made their way into the cavernous bag of holding except for the nice breastplate, which Cadoc donned instead.
    • Through on of the secret doors appeared to be a small, but extremely well-stocked wineroom, within which were many exquisite vintages from all over the known world. Pocketing a few choice bottles into his bag of holding, Stephanos muttered something about evil always have good taste.

      • At the end of the wineroom was a locked, solid iron door. Belkar unlocked it, and it opened to what appeared to be the Keep’s treasure vault. There were a lot of large spots where it looked like sections of treasure had gone missing. The party “liberated” the remainder of the available gold/gems for good measure, with the intent on returning it later.
    • Opening the other secret door showed the party a dungeon, which opened into the back of one of the holding cells. Unlocking the cell door, the room showed 5 cells in total, one of them occupied by a sleeping man.
    • When Belkar opened the lock to the cell, Stephanos strode forward and shook the man awake. “Duke Stephanos!” the man exclaimed, “I am Tyrian Numesti, we’ve actually never met, but I’ve seen you once from a distance.” After initial introductions, he expressed his relief that his daughter Cassandra was out of danger, but followed that with information that his other daughter, Tamori, was still held captive by the Tiger Lord Barbarians.
    • Stephanos assured the Knight that the party would indeed attempt a rescue. Numesti asked if we had encountered his gear outside this room (Cadoc shifted his coak over his newly-gained breastplate in an attempt to conceal it), and Stephanos said that all had been found except for the armor, but that the party could provide a replacement.

      • Newly armed and armored, Numesti planned to sneak out the back entrance and make his way to Setendre’s brothel.
    • Before he left, Stephanos questioned him about the whereabouts of Baron Drelev, as well as any other information about the fort and the guards. Numesti spat, and said that Drelev was a worthless tool who bent his knee to the Bandit King and the Barbarian Tribes in exchange for retaining his power. Pitax, the bandit King, is the real threat.
    • After Numesti left, Belkar opened one of the doors in the dungeon, and revealed a surprisingly nice privy. Behind the other door was a set of stairs that presumably led to the rest of the tower. The stairs ended in yet another door, and behind it was a pair of sleeping guards in a foyer-like room. Belkar crept in and silently coup-de-grace’d both with a disturbingly gleeful smile on his face.
    • Stephanos pulled out the arcane lock, and barred the door to the dungeon, eliminating any opportunity for the party to be attacked at the rear, and to keep everyone currently in the tower in with the party…
    • Looking around this first level of the tower, it contained a kitchen, a pantry, a storeroom, a cloakroom, a washroom, and another room that contained a spiral staircase going up. Looking at the cloakroom, Belkar noticed a hidden trapdoor in the ceiling that should allow access to the next floor up.

      • Setting up a ladder found nearby, Belkar ran up and discovered a small room very much like the cloakroom just exited. It appeared that this was a secret way up to the top of the tower. Upon conferring with the party, it was agreed to use this method of reaching the top instead of the spiral staircase.
      • With each story, the rooms shrank in size, until at the 4th floor, there was only room for one person. Listening at each of the secret door entrances to the room, Belkar heard giggling from behind one of them. After he descended the ladder to share the news, Stephanos climbed up, followed by Cadoc, Vandamar, and Belkar.
    • As Stephanos readied himself to open the door, his armored feet struck the wall, creating a clang and causing shouts of alarm from the bedchamber. Abandoning all finesse and grace, Stephanos stumbed into the room, nearly falling over his sword as he did. To the two completely naked humans laying on the sprawling bed, he said “Baron Drelev, you are my prisoner!”

      • The man pulled himself up, screamed “Don’t kill me!” and tried in vain to cover himself with a pillow. The woman, who made no attempt to cover her voluptuous curves, sneered at cowering baron and stood up from the bed. “You a thief?” the Baron screamed, “Don’t hurt me, I have a treasure room!” Stephanos acknowledged that the Baron did indeed * have * a treasure, flipping one of the gems liberated from that very room in the baron’s lap.
      • As the rest of the party emerged from the secret ladder-way, Stephanos declared (in a smug, self-satisfied tone) that the baron was under arrest for his heinous crimes. After listening to three and a half minutes of Stephanos listing the various offenses attributed to the vile Baron, the still-naked female cleared her throat and introduced herself as one “Lady Quintessa Moray, of Daggermark in the Riverlands.”
      • As she began clothing herself (Belkar and Vandamar first removing all magical items from her clothing pile) and as the Baron began pleading anew for his life, Stephanos recalled that the country of Daggermark was renowned for the ruthless and highly skilled assassins that made up its populace.
      • Glaring at the still-whimpering Baron, she mentioned that she had been working for the baron, but as the baron was now disposed, her services were now at Duke Stephanos’ disposal. She mentioned that the baron’s wife was in her quarters, and that the resident wizard was the brother of that wife.
    • Ignoring the naked baron’s pleas for mercy and alliances, Stephanos manacled him to a wall sconce. Turning to Lady Moray, he asked that her first act of service would be to watch the baron and ensure that he not escape. After Vandamar secured the baron with “Rope Trick”, the party stealthily moved outside the Baron’s bedchamber towards the wife’s room.

      • Belkar moved in to silence the lady before she could wake and sound an alarm. As he crossed the threshold however, a loud ad annoying “Yip Yip!” rang through the air! “Jewels! My Jewels! Whatever is the matter Jewelsy?” “Guards! Guards!” screeched the now very-much-awake woman in the bed.
      • Stephanos ran past the bewildered gnome, placed a hand on the lady’s throat, managed to threaten her to silence, and got her to quiet the dog. In a low voice, she introduced herself as Baronness Carvanis Strun Drelev. After instructing her to dress herself and rest in her room, the party retreated and used the secret ladder-way to go down one level to deal with her brother.
    • With Cadoc dispelling an arcane security spell and Belkar picking the lock, the party entered a room that seemed to contain one soundly sleeping, very evil man. With his blade at the man’s throat, Stephanos shook the man’s shoulder and apologized to the wizard for the rude awakening, the words almost catching in his throat as he fought with himself to not smite the evil from the face of the earth.

      • The man, who introduced himself as Amechys Strun, was indeed a clearly evil man, but with more restraint than the usual evil beings the party encountered. After given assurances that his sister was unharmed and that the weakling baron would stand trial, the wizard agreed to not attack if Stephanos spared his life.
      • Apparently, the wizard has been attempting to take his sister away from the baron for quite some time. Allowing the wizard to rise and don some robes (non-magical of course), Amechys explained that the hill giants were from Pitax, the Bandit King, that the guards would not resist should Stephanos want to kill the Baron outright, and that the Barbarians were the real threat. In addition, he explained that the Lady Moray was a gold digger and only useful as a hostage.
      • He asked what plans the party had, and Stephanos explained that he or his sister would not be harmed, but that the current administration could not be allowed to continue. Amechys asked if he and his sister would be allowed to go home to Cheliax, but accepted the offer Stephanos gave him (a tower to himself and his sister in exchange for assistance routing Pitax).
      • As the party escorted the wizard upstairs, and explained to the just-arrived guards the situation (“Yeah sure, feel free to off the jerk” one of them said), the wizard walked towards his sister’s door, and began casting a spell.
      • Before anyone could react, he had teleported into his sister’s room, and then teleported away to an unknown location. While Stephanos nearly burst an artery swearing about his loss of hostages, Belkar and Vandamar went back and looted the wizard’s chambers. Obviously a confrontation with the evil wizard would be in the party’s future.
    • As the party examined the rest of the tower’s floors, it was noticed that the rest of the guards had conspicuously fled the premises, along with the rest of the Hill Giants. Finding no resistance, Stephanos turned to address the growing crowd of townspeople and announced that the times had changed and that Fort Drelev was under new management.
    • The party made camp in the Fort and slept until dawn.

  • 9/16

    • This day spent drawing up plans for the re-organization of Fort Drelev and the shabby surrounding town.
    • A memo was sent to General Akaros asking that some soldiers be sent to Fort Drelev to reinforce the position.

  • 9/17 –9/18

    • These days spent waiting for the soldiers.

  • 9/19

    • Tyrion Numesti was appointed Castellan to run Fort Drelev for the time being. General Akaros arrived mid-morning with a troop of soldiers. Judging the keep sufficiently secure for the time being, the party geared up and left to explore the surrounding area.

  • 9/20 – 9/22

    • These days spent exploring surrounding areas.

  • 9/23

    • Travelling through one of the areas surrounding Fort Drelev, Belkar noticed some tracks, and mentioned that a large cat was living nearby. Following the footprints, a path was encountered running between two hills leading to a small, dark hole in one of them.

      From seemingly nowhere, a huge dire tiger with 2-foot long fangs jumped out and pounced on Stephanos!

      • Acting quickly, Vandamar raised his hands and cast Displacement on the paladin, as Cadoc followed suit with a Cure Serious Wounds. With the tiger distracted in its activity of mauling Stephanos’ head, Belkar ran behind it and began to flank attack as Stephanos got an arm free and drew his sword.
      • Vandamar cast Dimension Door on Stephanos to remove him from the tigers grapple, cast Quickened Touch of Gracelessness on the Tiger, and then teleported a few feet away to escape the tiger’s swipes. Cadoc cast Doom on the tiger as Stephanos turned and also began to attack, giving Belkar flanking position.
      • Sensing that the paladin was no longer an easy target, the tiger turned to Cadoc as the cleric was casting Divine Power on himself, charged, and grappled him! Belkar ran forward chopping away rather futilely. Cadoc managed to hold the tiger off just long enough for Stephanos to run forward and gut the tiger from the side.
    • Cadoc channeled energy several times as the party brooded on what could have been a much different outcome. Exploring the cave nearby, many dead guards were found with broken masterwork weapons. Also found was the corpse of a thief who, according to a letter found on his person, had been hired to kill “Spear Tooth”.
    • The party decided to camp at the Tiger lair that night.

  • 9/24 – 9/25

    • These days spent exploring more areas around Fort Drelev.

  • 9/26

    • This day found the party heading into a swampy area by the shore of Lake Hooktongue, and several bodies were noticed in the bog with eyes and fingers mysteriously gnawed off.
    • Suddenly, the party heard voice crying for help from deeper in the bog. As the party moved forward, the origin of the voice began to move, seeming to draw nearer. Without warning, a strange creature (identified later by Vandamar as an Ahuizotl), still voicing cries for help from a misshapen and fang-filled mouth ran forward out of the swamp! The dog-like creature then latched on to Vandamar with the hand attached to its tail and began to bite at whatever it could reach.

      • Looking down at the creature in disgust, Vandamar cast Magic Missile as the rest of the party ran forward to attack. Luckily, the beast wasn’t too hard to take down for the seasoned party, which was more that could be said for the masses of dead bodies found afterwards, all with their eyes and fingers missing.
    • The rest of the surrounding area was explored without incident.

  • 9/27

    • An area just outside the swamp was fully explored.

  • 9/28

    • This day, while checking out a hilly area, a small cave was spotted quite handily due to the lack of vegetation surrounding it and large scratches adorning the nearby rocks.
    • Stepping into the cave, Belkar announced that large red scales were scattered all throughout. Taking a look, Vandamar was able to discern that they possibly could have come from a chimera. The party agreed that a trap should be set up to eliminate this dangerous beast.
    • Setting up an ambush, the party waited an hour, and was rewarded when 3 chimera touched down just outside the cave.

      • Thrusting an arm in front of the bush he was hiding behind, Vandamar cast “Icy Prison” on two of them, freezing them solid. Belkar rushed around a rock, and dealt 4 backstabs in quick succession to one, creating a pile of oddly-shaped ice-cubes. Stephanos declared a Smite on the one unfrozen Chimera, and charged it.
      • Cadoc cast “Searing Light” on the same one, just as the other Chimera broke free. Simultaneously, both of the remaining Chimera’s rose into the air, but Stephanos was able to thrust his sword into the one in front of him, and let the beast’s upward momentum complete the evisceration. Seeing its partner fall, the remaining Chimera blasted a Cone of Flame at Stephanos, but did little damage.
      • Vandamar got an idea. He teleported closer to the rising Chimera, quick-drew an arrow, and cast Shocking Grasp on it. However, before he could fire, Stephanos aimed with his long-bow and brought creature down. Out of frustration, Vandamar fired his super-arrow at Stephanos, and scowled when it pinged off of his chest-piece.
    • Inside the cave were found 3 dead Boggards, one of which was a sorcerer that had a surprising amount of decent gear. The party camped in the shelter of the cave that night.

  • 9/29

    • This day, the party explored further westward. A hilly area was encountered that had strange holes all over the ground. As Stephanos approached one for inspection, two furry creatures with too many legs (“Auromvoraxes” shouted Vandamar!) hauled themselves out of the nearest holes and attacked!

      • As they were joined by several more appearing a few feet away, Vandamar cast Ice Fireball to catch two of them in the blast. Cadoc cast Prayer to give the party an edge in battle, but apparently did not put quite as much sincerity in his casting as he should have, as the party all missed their next swings. Fortunately, magic does not rely on physical strength, and Vandamar brought down several with another Ice Fireball and a casting of Magic Missile.
      • Even with this amazing display of magical might, the remaining creatures surrounded Stephanos, flew into rages, and began to swiftly bite and claw the outnumbered Paladin. One latched onto his hand and caused Belkar to laugh (and miss his next attack as a consequence) as Stephanos tried in vain to shake it off. Vandamar pointed and cast Lightning Bolt at the attached creature, blowing a neat hole through its skull and giving the Paladin a brief respite.
      • Cadoc stepped forward and cast Cure Critical Wounds in an effort to staunch the gushing blood flow as Stepanos turned and sliced the head off of another. The last one lunged forward and managed to tear a huge gash through the weak spot in Stephanos’ armor, causing the Paladin to turn white and stumble back from blood loss.
      • With a sigh that embodied his boredom and grudging acceptance of having saved the party yet again, Vandamar cast two Magic Missile spells at the Auromvorax, sending a swarm of deadly energy orbs ripping into the creature. After being propelled backwards 10 feet from the force of the impact, the creatures died in a pool of blood.
    • With the battle over for now, Stephanos collapsed to his knees and continually cast “Lay on Hands” until his vision no longer reported duplicate images. During this time, Belkar explored the labyrinth below the ground that was accessed by the many holes in the ground. 2 hours later, he re-appeared and reported 30-40 human corpses as a moderate amount of treasure scattered throughout.
    • The rest of this area was explored with no further excitement.

  • 9/30 – 10/03

    • These days spent exploring the furthest North West areas from Fort Drelev.

  • 10/04

    • During mid-morning, Belkar spotted something at the base of a nearby cliff. The party dismounted, approached on foot, and realized that this was a base of the Tiger Lord Barbarians. Several Barbarians were spotted holding position outside of a cave. Watching the activity throughout the day, the party counted about 12 barbarians total that switched between several duties.
    • When night fell, an ambush was set for the 4 barbarians on patrol. As the four stepped into a small clearing, the party converged and took them out very easily without a sound. Approaching the camp, a large cage was seen that appeared to hold 5 women, one of which matched the description of Tamori Numesti.
    • Approaching the camp, the barbarians went down with hardly a fight. Apparently, the best of the barbarians had been killed on the defenses of Tatzylford. When questioned, the women mentioned that they were gifts to Armagh, the Barbarian leader, but he had never arrived. Finally, they reported that a large group of them had gone East weeks ago, which timed with the attack on Tatzylford.
    • Vandamar teleported the women back to Fort Drelev (Tyrion Numesti was overjoyed to see that his daughter was unharmed), and returned to join the party in camping for the rest of the night on top of the cliff.

  • 10/05

    • With each watch ensuring throughout the night that no-one exited the cave, the party began their exploration. After rounding a turn just inside the entrance, the party heard a voice exclaim “Shit, someone is coming!” accompanied by the sounds of a spellcaster beginning a chant.

      • Stephanos charged around the corner followed closely by Cadoc, and they saw two women dressed in black hooded robes standing in a large square chamber. Stephanos approached one and hit her in the arm. Unfortunately, this did not disrupt her spell, and as she stepped back, both spells completed and a pair of Balbos appeared and attacked Stephanos.
      • As he turned his attention to this new threat, Vandamar rounded the corner and cast Fireball, catching all 4 enemies in the blast. However, the first black sister took another step back and cast Chaos Hammer (dazing Stephanos and Vandamar) as the second Channeled Negative Energy, further sapping the party’s vitality.
      • To counter, Cadoc cast Holy Smite to hit all four of the evil creatures as Belkar ran into the room (hitting the Chaos Hammer effect and also becoming disoriented). The Holy Smite spell apparently caused the first black sister to go blind, as she screamed “My Eyes!” and let out an ear-piercing wail that hurt everyone around her (ironically killing one of the summoned Balbos in the process).
      • Vandamar cleared his head and cast another fireball, killing the blind sister as well as the other Balbo. Stephanos strode towards the last black sister and rammed his sword squarely into her chest just as she attempted to cast another spell.
    • With the battle finished for now, Cadoc helped the still-disoriented gnome off of the floor. Stephanos examined the now-dead witches, announced that these were Sisters of Gyronna, and began reciting the history of their order. Interrupting what was shaping up to be a lengthy (but informative) monologue, Vandamar announced the presence of several secret doors in the room.
    • Both doors were flanking a statue against the wall. Opening one and passing through the one on the right, Belkar presently walked out of the left and announced that the doors just led to a half-square hallway. However, looking forward, he noticed that the staring statue was staring at another hidden door just across the room.
    • Opening this one revealed a dark corridor layered with at least a foot of heavy, dense fog. Vandamar took the lead in exploring this one to examine the intricately carved sigils seen on the coridor walls. Further down the corridor, the fog rose another foot just as the party approached a bend. Suddenly, a burst of power was felt and an alien chittering was heard!

      • Realizing that something just around the corner was casting a spell, Cadoc cast “Shield of Faith” on Stephanos. Belkar ran forward to get a look, but stumbled back with a scream as several scythe-tipped appendages lashed out and ripped into his chest.
      • As Cadoc bent to grab the gnome, a horrifying monster in the semblance of a giant spider with outsized mandibles, large spines, and cold intelligence gleaming in its eyes rushed out of the half-concealing fog.
      • As Vandamar cast “Displacement” on the paladin, the creature ground its foremost pair of legs together and created a deafening squeal which had the effect of giving “Feeblemind” to all but Stephanos.
      • Taking advantage of Belkar’s newfound interest in drooling, the creature rushed forward and impaled Belkar in three places, killing him instantly!
      • With a yell of rage, Stephanos pushed Cadoc to the side (apparently, Clerics can find an amazing amount of mucus in their noses should they search for it) and confronted the demon-spider with his sword bared. Eyeing the paladin with what seemed like delight, the spider tossed Belkars corpse into Cadoc, which had the effect of restoring sanity to the drunken hero.
      • Standing over the lifeless gnome’s corpse, Cadoc attempted to cast a spell on the spider, but his magic failed. Vandamar was in no shape to assist however, as he stood against one of the walls and giggled into one of his robe sleeves.
      • Feeling as if any help from his party would not be immediately forthcoming, Stephanos chopped one of the creature’s legs off as it attacked, and then dealt a hugely damaging blow to the rough center of the creatures head.
      • Immediately, the spider ceased its damnable grinding and reared back, sending sticky, milky-white fluid all over the place. With a wet crunch, the creature fell to the ground and lay there with its still-dangerous spiny legs spasmodically kicking around the narrow hallway.
    • With the threat gone (and the gnome found to be shallowly breathing), Vandamar steadied the halflings corpse in a sitting position as Stephanos held Belkar’s mouth open and Cadoc forced the contents of 7 potions of Cure Medium Wounds down his throat.
    • With Belkar steadied, the party made their way back down the misty hallway, yet another secret door was discovered at the end of the corridor. Taking a deep breath, Belkar unlocked the door and offered first entrance rights to Stephanos with a wave of his hand.
    • Pushing open the door revealed an immense circular chamber, with two large pillars to each side. In the exact center stood a giant iron statue that had been fashioned in the semblance of Gorum. As the party filed into the room, a shiver ran through the statue and it advanced towards them!

      • Staring at the advancing juggernaut Cadoc immediately cast “Blessing of Ferver” to start the list of buffs that might be needed. Stephanos ran forward and gave the golem a hard hit with his enchanted sword, and caused it to exhale noxious clouds of toxin!
      • Belkar, who was running around to give Stephanos a flank, unfortunately had not yet recovered from his last near-death encounter and toppled to the floor unconscious upon inhaling some of the fumes. Thinking about what might damage an iron golem, Cadoc threw an acid flask at it to no avail as the golem slammed both of its fists into Stephanos, severely denting his armor.
      • Vandamar attempted his third spell, which fizzled out much like his last two, as Stephanos went with a four-hit full-attack. Cadco sidestepped around to catch Belkar along with Stephanos, and then Channeled Energy to regain some health points. Dodging the golem’s next crushing blow, Stephanos cleanly separated the iron head from the body sending the heavy construct dropping to the ground.
    • Once again, the party found themselves recovering and finding some way to revive their “rent-a-thief”. A good 30 minutes later after Belkar was able to regain his feet, the gnome woozily pointed out several hidden doors. Opening the first, the party was presented again with a dark, corridor filled with fog. After swigging another Healing potion for good measure, Belkar sighed theatrically and bent to the task of trying to find traps in nearly impossible conditions.
    • Further down, a crossroads was encountered, with the cross-hallways dead-ending. Each had a table against the back wall that held old, semi-valuable jewelry and baubles. Continuing down the main hallway, the corridor ended in a large room covered with nasty iron weapons scattered all over the floor and walls.
    • Belkar gestured at Stephanos and said “Boss, I think that’s a trap” and pointed at a large wheel in the center of the room. He continued with his observation, mentioning that he had no idea what it did, but that it appeared to be disabled. Giving the gnome a strange look, Stephanos led the party through the doorway at the far end of the room.
    • After encountering another crossroads similar to the one encountered earlier, the hallway ended in a cavern overlook. Backtracking to the circular room, another secret door was opened, and this one’s hallway ended in the cavern seen from above earlier. As the party began to travel among the stalagmites along the “path”, two arrows came from an above ledge and struck Belkar in the throat!

      • In response Vandamar quickly cast ‘Fly” on himself, and launched a Quickened fireball at the area the arrows came from. The splash of light from the fireball striking the cavern ceiling illuminated 2 ranks of 4 skeletons holding bows.
      • Never one to resort to ranged weapons unless absolutely necessary, Stephanos began climbing up the cliff face to directly confront the undead. Cadoc, who tried to follow Stephanos but slipped, shouted a plea to Vandamar to fly him up and Channeled Energy to heal Belkar. As Belkar struggled yet again to his feet, Vandamar looked down in between fireball castings and shouted at the cleric to fly his own damn ass up.
      • Stephanos reached the top of the cliff and was able to pull a skeleton off and drop it down. Cadoc followed the wizard’s advice and tried again to climb the wall, but his attempts were in vain.
      • Feeling cocky, Vandamar landed in front of a skeleton with his hardly-used longsword drawn and smacked it in the face, but was hit by two arrows, which caused him to retreat from melee range and fly halfway back down. Belkar had, at this point, also managed to get himself up the cliff and began with engaging the nearest skeleton he was able to find.
      • Cadoc tried a third and final time to ascend but was not able to get a purchase and instead moved along the base of the cliff. Vandamar chugged a potion of healing and cast Magic Missile to evaporate another undead enemy at the same time as Stephanos swung and pulverized another.
    • The rest of the Skeleton Warriors were dealt with handily, and the party went back one final time to the Circular chamber, and opened the last secret door. The door opened on an elaborately carved limestone staircase that headed upwards to the opening of a large doorway. Past the door was a vast chamber with a large fountain to either side adjacent to a stone statue of Gorum. Standing at the far end on top of a dais was a 12-foot tall humanoid figure.
    • As the party crossed into the room, the figure boomed out “Only the faithful shall pass!” When asked by Vandamar, the figure said his name was Zorich, Champion of Gorum. Stephanos moved forward towards the figure. As he reached 25 feet in front of Zorich, a mystical energy field began to coalesce around the 12-foot figure and Zorich unsheathed his mammoth-sized sword with a dry rasp.

      • Cadoc cast Dispel Energy on the barrier to remove whatever protection it would have conferred, and Stephanos attacked but did not appear to do much damage. Zorich then lifted his hands skyward in a silent motion and rings of sharp, rusty blades sprang into existence and began to rotate around him.
      • Vandamar fired off another Dispel Magic at the barrier, but it was Stephanos’ casting of the same spell that caused the blades to fade away to wherever they came from. With the barrier down, Belkar ran to the side in an attempt to start a flank and Cadoc cast Flame Strike to envelop the warrior in a pillar of divine fire.
      • As Belkar passed by, Zorich reached across an impossible distance and tore a gaping wound in the halfling’s side. This left Stephanos with an opening, and the paladin dealt a groundshaking critical hit which oddly did not seem to provoke a reaction from the giant.
      • Vandamar attempted a Magic Missile casting as Cadoc recited Prayer, but even as the last words of their spells left their lips, Zorich clapped his hands together with a shout and rose into the air!
      • After 10 feet, the giant’s upward ascent halted as he was bathed in a shimmering yellow light, and a shout of triumph echoed throughout the hall as all of the wounds from the battle thus far disappeared.
      • Staring at this spectacle (and wondering how the Halfling was ever going to reach for a hit), Stephanos and Vandamar pulled out their bows in unison. As Cadoc cast Righteous Might in order to match physical sizes with Zorich, the 12-foot d-bag reached down with a thrust of his sword and shattered a large section of Stephanos’ arm-guard.
      • Stepping back, Vandamar cast Haste in order to give the paladin more of a chance to land some hits, but the paladins next few shots flew wide of their marks. Cadoc, now of a size with Zorich, attempted to hit the giant with his now claymore-size rapier, but also missed. Belkar had more luck with his bow, landing shots that sank deep into Zorich’s flesh and causing the giant to drop several feet back within sword-range.
      • Stephanos hit the giant with his sword in tandem with Cadoc’s casting of Holy Lance, which drove the giant back a few steps. However, Zorich recovered with a sweeping blow inflicted on Stephanos, eliciting a panicky shout of “medic!” from the now-severely bleeding paladin. As the other members of the party missed their next hits, Zorich dealt another terrifyingly powerful strike on the paladin, dropping Stephanos to his knees. As the giant lifted his sword with both hands in the air to impale the duke and end the fight, Stephanos lunged up and drove his sword straight into Zorich’s unprotected midsection. Zorich’s shout of victory turned into a gurgle-ish scream as he sank to the floor with gushing fonts of gore spewing forth coating the party.
    • Channeling Energy at least once more and making use of liberal amounts of Lay on Hands, the party slowly recovered from the short but intense encounter and took a look around the room. The giant had a nice set of armor (with a bastard-sword-shaped hole in the middle) along with the ornate sword, which Vandamar believed to be cursed.
    • As the party walked up the stairs Zorich had been guarding at the end of the room, a wild-eyed man met them at the landing of a wet, blood-soaked room, surrounded by a guard of skeletons. “Kill them and eat their eyes!” the man snarled, and the skeletons as one turned to the party and attacked.

      • Immediately, Vandamar cast a fireball and hurled it in the midst of the attackers, but while the skeletons immediately caught on fire, the man at the center remained unaffected. Cadoc cast Archons Aura to diminish the skeletons ability to land hits on the party as Stephanos strode forward to begin his part in the battle.
      • Belkar was not able to hit the frothing man (apparently named Armaugh by the lovingly stitched name on his shirt lapel), but luckily Stephanos was able to, cutting off the spellcasters current spell with a yelp. Vandamar cast several strategic pits below some of the skeletons, and dropped yet another fireball on the rest.
      • As Cadoc cast Holy Lance at Armaugh, the rabid mage snarled at the paladin and bashed the paladin several times with his heavy staff, causing red mists of blood to fly out. With a sneer, Armaugh pointed a finger at Belkar (who had failed to remain hidden on a flank attempt) and cast a catastrophic explosion that slammed the Halfling against the far wall and took him out of the fight (again!).
      • Not wishing to be a target for such destructive energies, Vandamar cast Invisibililty on himself and Cadoc. Choosing to forego his magics for the moment, Armaugh gave into rage and attempted to hit Stephanos again, but missed entirely. Stephanos however did not miss, and cut Armaugh’s staff in two with the back swing, taking half of his hand with it.
      • Cadoc was able to approach from behind and cast a healing spell on the Paladin, as Vandamar cast a third fireball in the midst of the 4 undead minions that were left, obliterating them. In a panic, Armaugh tried to punch the paladin in the face with his mauled hand, but Stephanos batted the bloody stump away and drove his sword deep into Armaugh’s neck, ending yet another close battle.
    • As Stephanos cleaned his sword for at least the 6th time this day, Vandamar cast Gentle Repose on Belkar in order to more easily transport his corpse (this time he was well and truly dead). Stephanos bent and pulled the sword out of Armaugh’s belt, and spent a few rough moments struggling for control of his mind!
    • Apparently this sword was cursed with a malignant intelligence, and caused the bearer to go insane. It was wrapped in Armaugh’s bloody robe and shoved into the Bag of Holding for safe-keeping.
    • Heading into the hallway ahead and walking down a flight of stairs, the passage ended in a dark, coal-black room with tiger motifs hung on the walls. At the far end of the room was a coffin ornately carved with scenes of battle. The body inside bore extremely nice hide armor, a gleaming golden shield, and several bejeweled weapons that still appeared to be deadly sharp. Vandamar conjectured that the corpse was, at one point, the leader of the Tiger Lord Barbarians.

      • A secret door was located, behind which was a large treasure vault that was looted with glee. After the party barricaded themselves in the room and rested for a few hours, Vandamar teleported them all back to Fort Drelev.

  • End Session 10

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Session 9
The Defense of Tatzylford
  • 8/23

    • Months went by as the party recovered from their unsatisfactory battle with Rendon Amory and his companions. Destin made a full recovery from his horrific injuries after spending a week in a coma due to blood loss, as the decimated city blocks were razed and the rebuilding process begun.
    • On this Tuesday while making rounds through one of these streets (as all the party members did when time allowed) to watch and assist with the rebuilding effort, Cadoc was approached by a messenger bearing a letter sealed with the sigil of Jendar Crain, the Right Reverend Bishop of the Order of Cayden Cailean.

      • This letter from the bishop detailed an astonishing discovery for the order; the location of the long-lost Krindan Abbey! This holy place, believed to be the first whiskey distillery in all of Golarion, was supposedly a favorite haunt of Cayden Cailean himself, as he partook of the unique and most marvelous beverages it produced.
      • According to an old journal from one of Cayden’s wandering priests, the overgrown ruins are most unfortunately situated in the swampy Hooktongue Slough, just west of Elkland.
    • Due to not only the significant historical meaning of the site, but also the opportunity to have this find supplement the growing kingdom (as well as gaining the goodwill of the best brewers in all the land), the party agreed to add finding this site to the lengthening list of important issues to complete.

  • 8/24

    • On the next day however, a messenger bird from Tatzleford arrived bearing grim news of that city. Mayor Viscount Lloyd Resbin detailed that an immense army composed of Bandits and hordes of Barbarians had emerged from the Hooktongue Slough to the West, and were marching upon the city.
    • Faced with the alarming prospect of having Tatzleford fall, the party geared up, sent urgent messages to Acorna Silverfire, Dmitri Inesque, and Ambarean the silver Dragon, and began traveling the 6 hours south to Tatzleford with all haste, sending Destin and Kodar on the two swiftest mounts to precede the rest.
      • Destin and Kodar arrived that evening and found the people of Tatzleford busy trying to prepare the city for invasion. Heading to the mayor’s residence, they encountered a woman named Cassandra Numesti who flagged them down. She introduced herself as the daughter of Knight Tyrion Numesti, who rebelled against Baron Drelev and was thrown into a dungeon for his troubles.
      • She quickly described the horde as being composed of Tigerlord Barbarians, Trolls, Bandits, and some of Baron Drelev’s own troops. The man leading this army is named Amian Trask, one of the Baron’s most trusted and ruthless Commanders. Finally, the route the army most likely will use to attack the city is from North along the river.
      • The price for this tactical knowledge was the party’s promise to free her father, and rescue her sister from the TigerLord Barbarians.
      • Destin continued to question Cassandra for information about the horde as Kodar went to inspect the bridge leading West across, to see if it could be disabled.
    • One hour later, the rest of the party arrived, and met with Cassandra, Mayor Resbin, and several other leaders of the city to plan for the attack. In the hours remaining, it was decided to fortify the village defenses with a reinforced barricade as well as disabling the bridge to force the army to wade across if that route was chosen.
    • During the night, just as preparations were finishing, a massive roar was heard from the North, and the horde was spotted running towards Tatzylford along the East side of the river. The party took their positions: Vandamar and Kodar on the rooftops, Stephanos with the archers, Destin with the ground troops, and Cadoc in support.
    • As the horde neared the walls, a reddish, arcane light surrounded Vandamar as he rose off the roof gable, and cast an immense fireball in the center of the Horde vanguard, creating a huge crater and scattering flaming body parts in all directions. As the unimpressed horde continued to surge forward, Stephanos rallied the archers and led them in picking off the nearest attackers.

      • All along the barricade, the horde approached and began to simultaneously turn it into kindling. Vandamar again concentrated and cast an expanded version of Evard’s Black Tentacles, piercing and throwing many attackers to their deaths. The barricade was broached in several spots, and the defenders led by Destin ran forward to plug the gaps. Kodar provided air support by sniping as many attackers as possible.
      • The defenders, a mix of Stephano’s personal guard and determined city-dwellers, proved to do a superb job at repelling the attackers. So much in fact that the attackers began to lose bodies at an alarming rate, and their momentum began to slow as some began to retreat.
      • Vandamar cast one more deadly version of Evard’s Black Tentacles, and nearly wiped out the remaining rear-guard. The defenders began to realize that the vast majority of the horde had been wiped out in a matter of minutes, and that victory could be attained. Pressing forward with the determination this new revelation brought, the defenders redoubled their efforts and it seemed that no attacker could withstand them.
      • Suddenly, Kodar shouted from the rooftops that trolls had been spotted moving up to the barricade, sending waves of momentary panic coursing through the defenders. The trolls sprinted and rammed through the holes in the barricade, sending friend and foe alike tumbling backwards. Grasping huge clubs the size of trees, the trolls began a deadly onslaught that no-one seemed able to resist.
      • Sensing that the trolls would bring about defeat if left unattended for too long, Stephanos ignited his sword with Holy Fire and yelled for the party to follow him. All 6 trolls turned as one as the paladin with flaming sword and armor reflecting the blaze advanced upon them. As he charged the Troll Leader, Vandamar cast a fireball at the 5 behind him, igniting their clothing and changing their rage-filled screams to panic.
      • Destin flipped over the barricade wall to set Stephanos up for a flank on the Troll leader. As Stephanos carved a monstrous furrow on the Trolls’ chest, Destin stabbed the troll in the back with both daggers, and used his momentum to carve twin bloody gashes down its torso. The troll leader died on its feet, succumbing to the huge dual attacks and the flaming swipe that pierced its heart.
      • Cadoc cast Flame Strike on the 2 rear-most Trolls to keep their clothes ignited. One of them bellowed in berserker rage and charged Stephanos along with one of the front three. Vandamar cast a Quickened Pit underneath another of the front three, as Kodar targeted the last troll in front. The last troll in the rear ignored everything but his ignited clothes, trying frantically to beat out the flames.
    • As the burning berserker troll approached Stephanos, Destin intercepted and slashed its Achilles tendons, dropping it to the ground. Before it could act, Destin inflicted 3 twin strikes on its back, throwing up a dark-red flesh-chunk filled mist and killing it instantly. As Cadoc cast Searing Light on the other troll charging Stephanos, the one at the rear succeeded in batting out its burning tunic and lunged towards Stephanos as well. Distracted with this sudden new threat, Stephanos missed a parry and the troll in his face slammed its cudgel into Stephanos’ chest, making him double over and cough out blood.

      • Seeing Stephanos take the hit, Vandamar cast another strategic fireball to finish the troll being shot by Kodar, and cast a vile spell on the troll in front of Stephanos that caused large pustules and boils to appear. Stephanos straightened up, lifting his sword as he did and split the troll from groin to mid-chest in a shower of stinking entrails as Kodar shot it cleanly through its left eye, dropping it to the ground.
      • As the last standing troll took a swipe at Stephanos, Destin butchered it where it stood – Lopping off parts and limbs into neatly-arranged piles of meat.
    • While running around with torches to “cauterize” the troll corpses and dropping alchemist’s fire down the pit, Cadoc moved Stephanos’ broken ribs back into position and healed him. Looking around at the carnage surrounding the party, it’s clear that the attacking horde was routed by the defenders even though a few of the barbarians had succeeded in fleeing. As the corpse of Amiam Trask was identified by Cassandra, only 4 of the defenders, all city-dwellers were reported killed, which in the face of the hundreds of slain barbarians and bandits seemed miraculous.
    • The party surrounded the Corpse of Trask as Cadoc cast “Speak with Dead” on it. The following questions were asked, to which the corpse responded before expiring (again):

      • 1. Why did you attack us? – “Easy Pickings for our Kingdom.”
      • 2. What armies does Baron Drelev have left? – “Hordes and Hordes.”
      • 3. What defenses does Fort Drelev possess? – “You will break your armies on the walls of Fort Drelev.”
      • 4. Where is Knight Numesti? – “(A rough cackle) Rotting in the dungeons.”
      • 5. What were you supposed to do after sacking Tatzylford? – “Sack the miserable dirt-pit capital of Elkland.”
    • Afterwards, in a meeting with Cassandra and the Mayor, Cassandra heaped praises on the party for their roles in the city’s defense, and wanted to know if the next plan was to head west. Grabbing Destin’s arm and giving him the best “Kitten-eyes” she could manage, she pleaded with him for his assistance. Helpless against this very different sort of attack, Destin stammered his affirmation that the party would do all it could.
    • Cassandra gave him a quick peck on the cheek and presented him with a very nice-looing jade ring (watching the color drain from his face as she did so). She asked him to take this ring and give it to a lady in Drelev named Setendre Moore. As Destin realized that the ring was not part of some sort of let’s-get-married-quick arrangement, Cassandra explained that Setendre ran an establishment of sorts in the Fort, and would likely help the party in taking down the Baron if the ring was shown to her.
    • After Cassandra pointed out the location of Fort Drelev on a map and took her exit, the mayor thanked the party for their heroic work. He mentioned that after things went back to normal, he asked that a road be built from Tatzylford to the Wyborn Ford to the North. With this road built, trade between the two areas would increase exponentially, generating much more revenue. As this was the area that the horde likely attacked from, securing this valuable economic investment could only do wonders for Elkland.
    • At the mention of another potential city being added to Elkland, Kodar grabbed Vandamart and began discussing the need for a messaging system to be created, so that information about each city could be quickly relayed if the need arose.
    • The party assisted with tending the wounded, and then rested that night peacefully.

  • 8/25

    • Although dawn was but a few hours away when the adventurers finally slept the night before, they all awoke as fresh as if they had experienced a full night’s rest.
    • Around mid-morning, a solitary figure was spotted walking up from the south, and was identified by Kodar through his gun-scope as Garuum the Boggard, whom the party had not heard of in a long while.
      Remembering the Boggard’s rudimentary common, Vandamar walked out to greet him, having mastered the Boggard language after the party’s first encounter with those strange creatures.

      • “Vandamar! You’re Alive! Good! gOOd! gooD!”, exclaimed Garuum, throwing out his arms as if to give Vandamar a big Boggard hug. “You came to my hut long, long ago! Me and Orc-Friend shared bugs!”, he continued, “Help! Help me now to kill Sepoko!”
      • After translating for the rest of the party, Vandamar asked who or what this Sepoko was. Garuum responded “Sepoko! A big, big priest of my people, killing all boggards, sent me into exile. Bring me his head, to feed to my pet Slork!” Vandamar was able to get a rough location of this Sepoko, somewhere deep in the swamp to the south of the lake, and the party agreed to hunt this Boggard down and retrieve his head.
    • Enlisting the Boggard to assist with the recovery efforts, the weapons and armors (most of which were quite nice) were retrieved from the slain barbarians and bandits to form the basis for the kingdom’s armory. Then, after promising to send Mayor Resbin any additional aid needed for cleanup, the party began the journey back to Centropolis.
    • The party arrived at Centropils in mid-afternoon, and Ambarean arrived around dinner time. Stephanos explained the current situation and described the battle that had just occurred the previous day. As the party had plans to journey West to take out Baron Drelev, he proposed that Ambarean shift her shape to look like him, and rule Elkland in his stead while away. She agreed, but cautioned him, saying that the black dragon Apheliak who slew her has taken up residence in the Hooktongue Slough. Stephanos agreed to caution.

  • 8/26

    • This day spent preparing for the journey west.

  • 8/27

    • A response came from Dmitri, offering his condolences about Tatzylford, and that he could not come North to meet for about another month.

  • 8/28 –9/07

    • This time spent on Affairs of state.

  • 9/08

    • On this day during the routine hours for holding court, several persons approached Stephanos with issues to address.

      • First was a man named Borzaki, and by his dress and demeanor it was apparent he was a Cleric of Erastil.
      • Addressing Stephanos, Borzaki said “Righteous Paladin of Erastil, I have a request to further my work in improving my community.” It seems that he required 6 wings of the Giant Dragonflies that reside in the Hooktongue Slough, and would reward the party with a hand-made cloak of the parts that he didn’t require.
      • Thanking the Cleric for his time, and exchanging the secret handshake of Erastil in goodbye’s, Stephanos called the next person to step forward.
    • A “pleasant-looking” young lady stepped forward, introducing herself as Genevieve Kenson. Being beautiful of body but sour of mouth, she declared in pouty tones that she had heard of a magnificent herd of horses to the west, led by a white stallion named Windchaser. “Nothing will do for me but to own one of Windchasers herd.” She exclaimed. “Bring me one of his horses, and I will contribute funds to your ‘kingdom’ she said, and walked out.
    • Finally, a local taxidermist named Kwanchi Vilicker stepped forward, bowed, and asked if the party had plans to head west, as rumor suggested.

      • At Stephanos’ nod, he explained that he would like an Elasmosaurus corpse brought to him fresh, so that he may stuff it and place it on display. After drawing a rough picture of the beast and promising to reward handsomely, he took his leave.
    • Later on this day, the party had completed preparations for the journey. General Akaros was left in charge of city security, and was briefed on Ambarean’s role. Vandamar had created several scrolls of Sending and left them with Akaros to notify us of anything severally important.
    • Exiting Centropolis through the back door, the part began to make their way through the swamp to the immediate west. Along the way, several fey-contrived bug traps and snares were spotted. The area was explored without issue.

  • 9/09

    • The next morning, as the party departed the campsite and turned around a hill, the terrain became extremely marshy and hard to traverse. A glade was encountered a few miles in, in which gigantic, gleaming Dragonflies with 6 foot wingspans were spotted flying around, as well as a large quantity of Boggard tracks.
    • Taking aim at the largest Dragonfly in sight, Kodar attempted to bring it down, but suffered a misfire – probably due to the humidity as he explained.

      • Vandamar cast Magic Missile at it instead, as Stephanos cast Knight’s Calling to draw another. As they swooped down, growing larger in comparison as they did, several of their friends also swooped down and attacked!
      • Taking advantage of the way Cadoc’s shining breastplate attracted one, Destin slipped behind the dragonfly and tore it open from abdomen to neck, leaving the wings undisturbed of course. With his target disemboweled, Cadoc turn and stabbed the next-nearest with his rapier as Vandamar used Icy Imprisonment on another. Kodar managed to get enough dry powder to take a shot, and dropped one as it flew towards him in a dive.
      • Stephanos chose to show off his masterful swordwork, whoring his cleave feat around in liberal portions. Destin, whistling as he sprinted by Stephanos, jumped on a dragonfly’s back and cut all 4 wings off as did, riding the dragonfly-torpedo to the ground like a champ.
      • Working together, the party killed the two remaining dragonflies that were attacking, and easily dispatched the frozen fly once it thawed.
    • As the party was still so close to Centropolis, the decision was made to turn around and deliver the wings immediately to Borzaki. Plus, travelling with armor and clothing encrusted with dried insect intestines has only been done on the fashion catwalks and has not yet been fully integrated into modern societal trends.

  • 9/10

    • This day spent travelling back to the glade of the Dragonfly massacre.

  • 9/11

    • With Garuum’s request in mind, the party (led by the keen-eyed Kodar) attempted to follow the Boggard tracks back to their point of origin.
    • The next area however was mostly occupied by a large portion of Lake Hooktongue. In the mid-afternoon sun, the lake sparkled merrily, and turned even the dismal surrounding swamp into something almost beautiful.
    • Being a man of action and soon bored with scenery, Destin noticed several large creatures swimming under the water about 100 feet away, and pointed this out when a herd of them surfaced at about the same spot.

      • Reading from old book covered in bloodstains and what appeared to be gnaw-marks, Kodar identified them as Elasmosauruses, and went on citing details and characteristics, the most useful of which being that they were not truly amphibious and needed to surface at intervals to breathe.
    • Stephanos pulled his boat out of his pocket (Destin backed away with hands in the air until it clearly was the folding boat that was being pulled out. Pulling something out of the pockets of armored leggings is eerily similar to the actions used when relieving oneself.) Keeping potions of waterbreathing handy, Cadoc, Stephanos, and Destin took the boat and rowed after the herd, while Kodar utilized his Ring of WaterWalk and Vandamar cast Fly.

      • About 30 feet from shore, the herd appeared. When a head broke the water’s surface, Kodar shot at it, but this only succeeded in alarming the animal and it slipped away deeper into the water.
      • Vandamar flew over, and cast a fireball down at the darkest part of the lake where the creatures fled (Kodar telling him that it wouldn’t work as the lake could be well over 900 feet deep), but at this display of fiery power, the herd disappeared from view.
    • With the rest of the party waiting at the boat for another shot, Kodar and Destin made their way back to shore to explore a bit of the area. The swamp in the area just past the beach was full of Bog Striders, and in the air flew creatures Kodar identified as Dracolisks. A few hours later, some giant leeches were encountered, and one was slain for “bait”. Evening was setting as they hauled their giant bloody carcass back to the beach opposite the boat. As the sun disappeared, the party members in the boat returned to shore to camp.

  • 9/12

    • This morning found Stephanos in grand spirits as he talked about his tingling fisherman’s intuition. Quartering the giant leech (which still contained a shocking amount of bodily fluids despite having been drained the entire night) and fixing it to a harpoon, the party set out on the boat once again.
    • Tying the other end of the rope to his wrist, Stephanos declared he would not rest until one of those “damn hump-backed monstrosities” was caught. At roughly the same spot away from shore, Stephanos let out about 40 feet of rope. In 5 minutes time, a rough jerk was felt on the line, slamming Stephanos off of his bench and into the side of the boat.

      • Cadoc cast “Bulls Strength” on the paladin as the line began to pull from a location almost directly below the boat. Stephanos slipped his ring of WaterWalk on just in time, as another tug pulled him from the boat and smashed him into the now-unyielding water’s surface.
      • Getting to his feet and tugging back, the creature on the other end made a break for the center of the lake, pulling Stephanos along sliding on his feet. Displaying true brawn (or his other ring giving him extra strength, one of the two), Stephanos proved that a man wearing 90 pounds of armor or more, can not only resist the pull of a giant aquatic creature, but also successfully pull it out of the water.
      • Vandamar was able to see it and cast Icy Imprisonment on it, slowing it down and allowing Stephanos to reel it in faster. Around 30 feet below the surface, the creature broke free of the prison and tried to dive, but Stephanos gave a might tug and brought it up to within 6 feet.
      • Destin jumped out and tried to attack, but somehow bent one of his swords on the creature’s rough hide. His second stroke severed the arterial however, and it was only a few minutes more until the creature died.
    • Enlisting the full party’s help, the carcass was dragged back to shore. Vandamar cast a series of Floating Disks to carry it, and the party began the return trek to Centropolis once again to deliver their goods.

  • 9/12

    • This day spent travelling to Centropolis pulling a slowly rotting and clammy dinosaur corpse on a bunch of magically floating disks.

  • 9/13

    • After delivering the dead Elasmosaurus to the disturbingly excited taxidermist, the party was approached by Borzaki the cleric of Erastil. After a brief lecture on the non-pristine nature of the wings delivered a few days ago, he pulled out a nice looking Cloak of Resistance +3 and handed it to Stephanos with a sniff.
    • On the way out of town back to that cursed Dragonfly Glade, the party was flagged down by a man named Chesk Ulderweed, who wondered that if we ever encountered a slug of monstrous proportions, if the party would kindly kill it and bring it back to the city. As this slug was to be used in chemical reagents for the dwarves, Stephanos agreed, while noting that the number of creature-killing quests had been usually high as of late.

  • 9/14

    • The party arrived back at the glade an hour or two after breaking camp, and took a route Due West following the Boggard tracks. Following the tracks down a path between a fungus field and a hill full of caves that more resembled a sponge than a rock, a settlement was spotted on the water’s edge of the Hooktongue lake.
    • Kodar scouted the settlement, and brought back a detailed outline of the camp. Seeing enough, Stephanos pulled out his pigsticker and strode boldly into the center of the settlement, followed by Cadoc who was muttering something about how wearing one’s own weight in steel clothing seemingly bestowed so much confidence.

      • Destin and Kodar skirted along the side, while Vandamar cast Invisibility on himself and followed.
      • As Stephanos and Cadoc reached the edge of the settlement, a loud crack was heard and a large group of Boggards dropped down from the trees brandishing spears. Before they could move, Stephanos began shouting at them, and Vandamar repeated his words in a roaring translation: “Down you frog-eyed curs! I, Stephanos of the Steel Codpiece, do challenge your High Priest Sepoko for rulership of this tribe!”
      • At the mention of the word challenge, about half of the Boggard welcoming party scurried off in the direction of the settlement. A few minutes later, a large and sweaty Boggard festooned with beads, feathers, skulls, and interesting-looking rocks waddled up. “You are the codpiece that challenge me, the Mighty Sepoko?” it spat out, “No codpiece may rule here unless it be Boggard codpiece!”
      • While this creature clearly did not understand the definition of codpiece, it did seem to understand Boggard traditions, gods, and culture, and spent about 3 minutes expounding on how no steel codpiece could ever know what Boggard codpiece’s do.
    • During this fascinating lecture, Destin had successfully made his way behind the furious Boggard, and at the beginning of what seemed to be a particularly graphic description of Boggard mating rituals, rushed forward and ‘cut’ it short with a deadly full-on sneak attack!

      • Vandamar broke Invisibility by casting a Lightning Bolt that coursed through most of Sepoko’s guards and through Sepoko himself. Stephanos hit the Boggard in front of him with the pommel of his sword to drop it to the ground, and made his way forward to the priest as Cadoc cast Flame Strike in the mass of Boggards to the Paladin’s left.
      • Sepoko turned around to Destin, reached out to touch him on the shoulder, and with a muttered word and a brief flash of light, he died on the spot.
      • When the priest dropped to the ground, the remaining Boggards went berserk, attacking everyone! Vandamar cast Fiery Snake, hitting many of the rushing Boggards as Stephanos swung his bastard sword in great arcs, hitting several with each swipe. Cadoc cast Holy Smite, which killed all of the Boggards surrounding himself and Stephanos. Destin was busy defending against 2 angry Boggards, and 2 giant frogs so Kodar shot one of the Boggards cleanly through the skull from behind and Vandamar killed one of the frogs with Magic missile.
      • The last Boggard, seeing all of his compadres killed, dropped his spear and begged for his life, but Destin had none of it and sliced him open like an Anatomy experiment. The remaining frog hopped off into the swamp.
    • After sawing the head off of the priest, Vandamar spoke to the remaining Boggards (all who looked suspiciously female) that a new ruler was only a few days away, and that he would arrive soon.
    • The party travelled to Tatzylford to share the good news.

  • 9/15

    • The head of Sepoko was presented to Goruum, and he was especially happy to learn that all of the males in the camp had been killed. King Goruum thanked the party profusely and promised that special bugs and shelter would always be available should we ever need them.
    • After a brief meeting with Cassandra, the party began the trip West to Fort Drelev.
    • That evening, the party arrived at the gates of Fort Drelev, and used a mixture of disguises and stealth to get past the guards. A few streets away was the establishment (The Swordlord’s Sigh) Cassandra mentioned, distinguished by the life-sized hand-carved figures on the roof engaged in some rather adult activities.
    • Walking inside, it appeared the establishment was part brothel part well-stocked pub. The madam sashayed up to Stephanos, introduced herself as Setendre, and asked if there was anything she could get for that big, handsome, absolutely strapping and striking older man. So tall… So… obviously not from around here.

      • In a whisper, as she embraced Stephanos, she asked “Where are you from, and why are you here? How did you get past the guards at the gate?” He whispered back, we have words and a ring from Cassandra in Tatzylford. He then cleared his throat, and said “Miss Setendre, how very kind of you! My friends and I are looking for a good time, can you take us to a more private place so we may discuss needs and services?” he said with a wink and a chuckle for the benefit of the brothel’s other patrons.
    • As she led the party to one of the back rooms, a voice called out from the bar; “Kodar? Destin? A word please!” The voice came from a gnome both knew as Belkar, and both had trained with him during their time in the Taldoran Rogue’s guild. “Both of you are urgently needed for a special assignment” he said, giving Kodar a bag full of official documents for them both. “You are recalled immediately.”

      • After explaining to Belkar that they were already on a mission of some import, Belkar volunteered to help out the party while they were away.
      • As both Kodar and Destin left the brothel on their assignment, Belkar joined the rest of the party in the back room as Setendre closed the door.
    • After introductions and a brief explanation (Stephanos not being pleased to find out that his Kingdom’s Executioner and Spymaster both had other allegiances), the party briefed Setendre on their purpose in Fort Drelev – namely, to infiltrate the castle and take out the corrupt Baron.
    • Setendre told them to pretend to leave for curfew with everyone else, but to sneak back in and hide in a room upstairs until early morning for the assault.

  • End Session 9

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Session 8
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
  • 5/17

    • After resting and saying goodbye to the centaurs, the party cavalierly escorted the remaining Varnhold villagers back to their ransacked town. Giving them the bag of holding (which contained all of their worldly possessions) the party then began the journey back to Centropolis to meet Vandamar, and to explore the area as they went.

  • 5/18

    • Time well-spent travelling back to Centropolis, as Cadoc’s ale supply was dangerously low.

  • 5/19

    • As the party wearily approached the Centropolis city limits, a dull glow was noticed in the sky above it. Thinking an attack on the city was in progress and his wardrobe of fine silk undergarments in jeopardy, Stephanos kicked his horse and yelled “charge!” He and the rest of the party galloped at full speed down the road and burst through the main gate, only to find a rather large celebration in place.
    • As people turned to the sound of iron horseshoes on cobblestone, a cheer broke out as the party was recognized. Giving the rest of the party a sheepish look, Stephanos led them to the center, where a bonfire was lit next to a raised platform and table. At this place of honor were four unrecognizable people, looking surprised by the sudden entrance. One of them remained fully hooded, and of the remaining three, two were humans and the last appeared to be a half-orc.
    • A dismount and greetings soon followed, after which Stephanos asked what the reason for the celebration was. One of the humans stood up (displaying a fine set of pearl-handled pistols at his waist as he did) and introduced himself (with many ooh’s and ah’s from the surrounding crowd) as Rendon Amory, a Taldoran Gunslinger. His companions were introduced as Bob the Backstabber (The finest man who ever practiced the loosest morals!), Horus the feared Half-orc gladiator, and their magical elven friend Alistair.

      • According to his story, he and his friends had stopped for the night in Centropolis during their travels about three or four nights ago, and had heard of a boy that had gone missing. Looking to help out (and earn some coin), the adventurers tracked the boy to the lizard folk colony near the lake. When the lizard folk would not return the boy, the adventurers “Wiped them scaly feather-wearing lispers right off the planet!” and returned the boy to his family.
      • Grateful for Rendon’s timely assistance, Stephanos offered lodging, food, and a piece of the action in taming this wild land if he and his companions would stay on for a while. At his acceptance, Stephanos thanked the adventurers once again, but denied a request that the rest of us stay on and celebrate, citing exhaustion and the need to attend other matters. As the party passed Alistair on their way out, a faint odor of rotting meat was detected emanating from the hooded elf, but nothing was said out of politeness.
    • Back at the castle, the party found Vandamar nursing a bottle of something that smelled of lilacs, Stephanos pulled his hand away from the bottle, slapped the Oculus of Abbadon into it, and said “Hello sir, what can you tell me about this glass eye I pulled from a centaur lich?”

      • Having heard such strange greetings before, Vandamar concentrated for a bit, gasped, and related his findings. “This Oculus is a very evil and powerful artifact given to an evil earthly servant by Charon the Horseman himself as an evil reward.” Vandamar said, and went on to list the various evil powers and evil benefits one could gain by ramming this evil thing into an eye socket.
      • The party agreed that this evil artifact was too powerful, and voted in favor of destroying it. Following the requirements set down in the accompanying evil manual for its destruction, Cadoc cast Blindness on Stephanos who then charged his borrowed “Dwarven Hammer of Instant-Pancake Creation” with holy power. Once Stephanos was moved to the correct spot, he swung and smashed the evil oculus to dust with a violent flash of white and red light.
      • After having some fun playing Marco Polo, Cadoc restored Stephanos’ vision and the party called it an evening.

  • 5/20

    • After breakfast and some Bloody Mary’s to sharpen his still-blurry eyesight, Stephanos decreed that it was time to open the hall and begin the monthly ritual of hearing the complaints of the people of Elkland (and there were ALWAYS complaints…).

      • First up was the local Innkeeper Bevin Armacki, who desired 2 dozen silver eels found only in a distant lake (“they shriek as they close in on prey!”). As a reward for this mighty feat, he offered a family heirloom (a +2 buckler) that had seen recent use as a serving tray. Empowered with the confidence his mental mindset of “No task is too small for his kingdom” brings him, Stephanos proudly announced that he and his companions would seek out these eels for the good of all.
      • Next in line, looking askance at the broadly smiling innkeeper who passed him, was Edris Hurvackle, who wished a search party to be sent out for his brother. His brother had left to pass on a message to Varnhold just before the recent troubles started, and had been wearing a heirloom broach that had belonged to great-aunt Mimsy. Kodar stepped forward, relayed the news of his brothers accidental death (the party had encountered his body in a shallow ditch on the way to Varnhold, where it appeared he had slipped and broken his neck), and handed over the broach. Edris handed him 3K gold in thanks along with a sad smile, and turned to leave.
      • Up stepped local chef Jamborie Corbaski, who was notoriously known for his odd recipes and off-kilter cooking style. “Hello Mr. Duke” he roared, raising his hands as he shambled forward (bits of pastry dough flying off in all directions as he did so). “You know me and what I do” (looking reverently at the heavens), “and what I do is make the best gourmet noms this side of Taldor! What I want to do next is explore the universe of eggs, and I’ve heard rumors of a nearby Roc that may be nesting. So, if you and your chums happen to stumble (he snickered at that one) on this Roc, bring me back an egg and I’ll cook the biggest, tastiest omelet ever!” Blinking, Stephanos stammered an affirmation (because really, how often does one get asked to bring back a Roc egg, knowing full well what that entails?) and motioned for the next person in line.
      • Stepping up, Jamand Orlashin stepped up and introduced himself as an envoy from Ohara Kitheron Music Conservatory. He explained that he was seeking a professor named Maestro Pindrod, who had recently travelled without leave to Varnhold to track down an obscure musical reference about the centaurs. Stephanos explained that the Maestro was released from one of the soul jars following Vortichai’s defeat, and was currently in the Centaur camp to the East. He asked Akaros to lead a patrol there to persuade him to return to the Conservatory. Jamand mentioned that he would be at the inn in the meantime.
      • Finally, Tamarak Elamank, (Destin marked him as a scholar by his speech and manner, and bet Cadoc 2 gold), cordially addressed Stephanos and described that he was seeking knowledge (Destin accepted his winnings with a smile) about ancient Iobarian cultures, specifically the Cyclops race that had resided in this area. Kodar stepped up, and mentioned that the party had recovered a large amount of artifacts and knowledge from the most recent undertaken quest. Kodar mentioned that Tamarak was more than welcome to assist with going through the findings and to make his own recordings. Smiling, he presented a magic circlet of wisdom +4 (“it’s only +2,” Vandamar muttered under his breath) as a reward.
    • Calling an end to session (as there were no more people left in line), Kodar mentioned that he would lead a small expedition to the Lizardfolk encampment to double-check the news of their recent “planet-wiping”.

  • 5/21

    • While the other members of the party were enjoying the best “luxuries” Centropolis had to offer, Kodar arrived at the Lizardfolk village, and saw that the entire place had been nearly burnt to the ground – a TKO. Satisfied that the other group of adventurers were telling the truth, he returned to Centropolis after a few hours.

  • 5/22 – 5/25

    • Time spent with affairs of governance and eating crumpets with tea.

  • 5/26

    • Akaros returned with Maestro Pindrod, who seemed more than happy to return to the Conservatory (Centaurs do not hold much stock in books, clarinets, or decent brandy nightcaps). Kodar took him aside and mentioned that he had the Maestro’s books detailing his findings, and that Kodar would send them to the conservatory as soon as he had finished copying down the notes for his museum and knowledge archive. Jamand was so pleased with the return of the Maestro that he handed over a fully charged wand of “Find Traps”. At this, Destin snickered and mentioned that he had been born with the only wand of “Find Traps” he had ever needed.

  • 5/27 – 5/29

    • Time spent on handling affairs. Cadoc only insulted Vandamar’s mother once – a new record. Crumpet consumption doubled in only a few days.

  • 5/30

    • Ambassador Bel Dame returned from her trip south to see the dwarves at the Troll death-hill. After downing an entire jug of her special brew, she wiped her mouth and said things did not go well. “Apparently, they are not happy that we are in their ancestral lands, and they appear to be forming a rather impressive army down there.” In addition, she said that Dmitri Inesque had no intention or desire to travel to the court of the “gods-blighted thief and defiler”, and that “what that troll-humper does is not a concern of mine”.
    • Immediately, Stephanos climbed up on his big-assed steed for theatrical effect, gathered the party, and announced his intention (only after a bit more governing and crumpet-slaying) to ride down there and lay waste peaceably to the impudent dwarves.

  • 5/31 – 6/07

    • Time spent cleaning out all cupboards in the kitchens of anything remotely resembling crumpets. Many glares sent towards the cooks for keeping supply low at a time of high demand. Stephanos’s ire against the dwarves festered.

  • 6/08

    • Finally, the last official notice had been signed and the last dissident beheaded by our royal executioner. Using butter to slide into his armor (damn crumpets), Stephanos grimly hauled himself up his horses saddle (good thing that warhorses are sturdy) and declared it was time.
    • As the party geared up, Vandamar cleared his throat and addressed the party.

      • “As you all know, my lack of presence was sorely missed in the last quest and almost resulted in your eternal doom” he began, “but rest assured my absence was the symptom of a much larger issue”. “My family the Aeradir’s being one of the oldest noble families in Kyonin, has made many enemies along the way, some of which we have not yet gotten around to defeating” he stated. “My elder brother Cadolliel” he continued “was attacked by an assassin with a disintegration spell.” He smiled and said, “Happily enough pieces were found and he was mended anew, but I did want to warn everyone that others could be after me.”
    • As Stephanos gave the order to move south after Vandamar delivered his unsettling news, Cadoc drained a bottle of wine.

  • 6/09

    • As the party made their way into the area with a bad troll-habit, signs of the Dwarven occupation became clearer. Large areas in the forest had been cleared for farms, and buildings had been constructed in various spots. Dwarves were everywhere attending to their business, and the party was getting a lot of semi-hostile looks.

      • Approaching the Troll-hole hill, it was noticed that the trees had been cleared to give the ancient watchtower a decent sight-line of the horizon, and a large construction project was underway building a huge road that led East. Taking the road (ignoring the grunts and shouts of protest from the construction workers) for a few miles, a large company of about 100 well-armed and armored dwarves were encountered marching West.
      • As the company halted its march and set-up a semi-circle around the party, a dwarf on a pony rode up to Stephanos (clearly the leader in his shining armor, his gallant steed and… his obviously Dwarven hammer strapped to his back). With a glance at the hammer, the dwarf said “Greetings, I am Major Udon Bolinsk, and you are intruding on the sovereign lands of the 5 Dwarven Kings.” This kingdom, according to Kodar, was just south of Kiomen.
      • Stephanos argued that this land specifically belonged to the Kingdom of Brevoy, to which the Major countered with “I’m sure the 5 Kings will happily contest that.” Seeing no other way to end this argument for now, Stephanos inquired as to the whereabouts of Dmitri Inesque and stated his intention of a duel. Udon covered his mouth quickly to hide what suspiciously looked like a smirk, and told the party to wait here with 50 of his men while he and the rest continued to the Troll Hate-shack to relay the message.
    • Two hours later, five groups of about 20 dwarves come out of the woods to complete the semicircle held by the original group of 50. Their commander, in full dwarven battle armor, appeared and dismounted in front of Stephanos. Taking off his helmet, he was revealed to be Inesque himself!

      • Dmitri began with “You sir are a crumpet-noshing lout, who avails himself of other culture’s priceless artifacts and loots anything else that might have value!” He finished with “Since you are here, and since you have so helpfully brought our hammer, you may either give it up and leave, or you will allow me to pick it off of your corpse.” Stephanos, not used to being threatened from waist level, wiped the gaping look of disbelief from his face, and countered with “I will indeed return this priceless ‘Dwarven Hammer of Riotous Smashing’, but in exchange for the lawful return of our lands or proper compensation for their loss.”
      • Sensing a deal in the works, Dmitri backed down with “Look, I don’t want to be here. I was ordered to arrive, develop, and return this land to suitability after it was left to rot. These are actually ancient Dwarven lands (producing a map chiseled on an old stone tablet) and you and your squatters were here much more recently and can have no claim." Stuck but seeing a possible compromise, Stephanos proposed that the borders be officially negotiated and fixed with the 5 kings, to whom Dmitri thoughtfully said that would work.
      • The terms of the compact were: 1. To return the Hallowed “Dwarven Hammer of Paste Creation and Excessive Virility’ 2. The northern Dwarven border would follow a line set by the ancient Dwarven fortress in the East to the Troll-outpost in the West. 3. The soon-to-be-kingdom of Elkland would have the right to employ Dwarven soldiers for fair wage to assist in fighting its enemies. 4. Homesteading rights are to be given to any Dwarf who wishes to reside in Elkland, as long as they make no trouble. 5. The dwarves were tasked with keeping the damn outpost troll-free.
    • After the agreement was made, the party was invited back to the previously unseen area around the outpost which held a large and impressively fortified castle. After inquiring with Inesque about the possibility of hiring some Dwarven smiths, the party was given lodging in the castle (low ceilings and bearded women make for an interesting time) and camped there that night.

  • 6/10

    • This day spent checking out the dwarven metropolis and questioning (to no avail) Dmitri about any folks passing through who were asking about Vandamar. Travelled to Centropolis to spend the night.

  • 6/11

    • Headed North to Olegsburg and spent the night.

  • 6/12 – 6/14

    • Time spent carousing in Olegsburg and hitting on Svetlana.

  • 6/15

    • Heading East, it was quickly noticed that Bokken’s hut was missing. In its place was a gravestone explaining that he had apparently died in his sleep. After saying a few words (and remembering that every member in the party inexplicably owed Bokken for something) the party continued on.
    • While riding though some plains, a large shadow was noted on the ground, belonging to a manticore circling over the party about 100 feet up. Manning up, Stephanos declared a “Ranged Smite” on the unfortunate beast as he, Destin, and Kodar took potshots at it. Kodar’s gun misfired, but the other arrows did indeed find their marks. As it screamed and fly upwards, Stephanos next arrow found its mark, and the creature fell 150 feet into the ground, making a nice jelly-filled crater.
    • The party camped that night near abandoned Fort Syringa.

  • 6/16

    • Waking up and looking around the area surrounding the abandoned fort, the party discovered a nice waterfall called the Shrike Cascade, created where the nearby river splits. The party camped at the top of the cliff that night.
    • As dusk approached, a vibration, steadily increasing in intensity was felt coming from the South towards the base of the waterfall. It was finally revealed to be a herd of 9 mastodons approaching the small lake beneath the waterfall for water. Sensing no threat from the huge creatures, the party relaxed. The rest of the night went by without incident.

  • 6/17 – 6/18

    • Following the river East, the next few areas contained a bunch of smaller waterfalls, including one section that had 5 of these cascades in a mile, each dropping about 30 feet.
    • Due to the difficulty in traversing these areas, exploring this fully took nearly two days.

  • 6/19

    • At this point, the party turned South to the ruined tower where the Roc was spotted several months earlier. Approaching the cliff from below, it did not appear that Roc was currently around. Vandamar cast Invisibility and Fly on himself, and floated up to assess the situation.
    • In addition to the tower being utterly destroyed by the Roc’s residence, there were 5 huge Roc eggs (each worth about 40K gold pieces). Conveying the news to the party, a quick trip to Varnhold was made to purchase 5 wagons, horses, the services of 5 drivers, rope, padding, and a scroll of Flying Disk.

  • 6/20

    • Heading back to the Roc’s nest with the equipment, the party arrived at the base of the cliff around mid-day. Repeating the previous day’s trick of invisibility and fly, Vandamar went to the top, cast Invisibility on each egg and in turn levitated them to their respective wagons. Once down, the eggs were well-padded, secured in the wagons, and covered with tarps. With all 5 eggs secured, the slow-moving convoy began its trip to Centropolis, with the tracks being covered as it passed.
    • As evening approached, the Roc was spotted from behind by a nervous driver and the party gave orders for the wagons to spread out as they prepared for battle.

      • Vandamar dove off of his horse and caste Haste as Cadoc cast Bless from horseback. Stephanos charged the bird to keep its attention as Destin and Kodar fired bolts and bullets (respectively) from the Roc’s flanks. After a well-placed shot, the bird turned to Destin, picked him up, and pulled him 60 ft up! Left with little other options, Destin began stabbing the talons out of desperation, and was very shortly relieved when Kodar head-shot the bird, killing it instantly.
      • As both bird and Destin began falling to the ground over the majority of the eggs, Cadoc ran to the side as Vandamar cast “River of Wind” to carry the Roc safely behind the convoy. Left to fend for himself, Destin managed to make the large drop into a spectacular acrobatic event, only taking a few sprains as souvenirs from the plunge.
    • Somehow, the party managed to arrive at Centropolis just before nightfall and were able to proudly deliver one of the Roc eggs to the excited chef. Jamborie Corbaski announced that he was holding a contest for the best egg dishes people around could make, with his massive omelet being the centerpiece. Cooking being a surprising hobby for many people in the area of the world, a huge turnout was expected which would bring good publicity and some extra income to Centropolis.
    • As for the other 4 eggs, word was put out for a talented Druid skilled in the art of hatching and raising Rocs. Having the ability to raise and train successive generations of Rocs would go a long way to securing kingdom security. A team was dispatched to the Roc’s corpse to clear it off the road, as the size prevented any travel East.

  • 6/21 – 6/23

    • Days spent attending the festival surrounding the Egg-contest. A druid arrived, examined the eggs, and informed Stephanos that they may or may not hatch. She was paid to continue the task of caring for the eggs.

  • 6/24

    • Party headed back out to continue exploring.

  • 6/25

    • While exploring a lake (which had since become a stinking bog for miles around) Cadoc and Kodar almost simultaneously realize that something was watching them from the mud about 60 feet away from the party. As a bird flew above the spot, a chunk of mud raised up, grabbed it with a barely formed hand, and kind of shoved the unfortunate bird inside itself with an awful squishing sound (punctuated by frantic chirping). Vowing to take caution, the party continued forward only to be confronted with another rising tower of mud, which appeared to be a man made out of mud and rotting refuse.
    • Once formed, the creature attacked Stephanos with its muddy fists, cracking a rib or two and leaving caked mud on his armor – making him clumsier. Even as Stephanos clove it in twain, 6 to 8 more of the creatures appeared and advanced on the party.

      • Taking a step back, Vandamar cast fireball and turned a few into baked-mud statues as Stephanos turned (nearly falling in the process) and cut another down. Cadoc, encouraged by the success of Vandamar’s spell cast Flame Strike at another cluster and took those out of the fight. Only one remained, and it rushed Kodar, engulfing him entirely!
      • Stuck in the mud, Vandamar cast another fireball at the mud-engulfed Kodar in an attempt to kill the creature around him. Even as Kodar’s muffled voice was heard shouting “put out the fire”, Cadoc cast Searing Light to finally kill the “mudman”. The rest of the party shambled forward and began picking the dried up corpse off of Kodar, who required treatment for many 3rd degree burns afterwards.
    • The rest of the day passed uneventfully, and the party camped on the shore away from mud that night.

  • 6/26

    • Explored the next area, which had some charming hills.

  • 6/27

    • Following the curve of the lake (this section blessedly free of mud), a large number of eels were seen swimming in the depths. Vandamar, touting himself as a champion fisherman, spent the better part of 5 hours attempting to catch just one eel. Conceding defeat temporarily, the rest of the area was explored before the party returned to that spot to camp for the night.

  • 6/28 – 7/01

    • This time spent fishing, drinking, and playing endless games of poker.

  • 7/02

    • Finally, the required number of eels were captured, and the party headed back to Centropolis to deliver the eels to the innkeep Bevin Armacki.

  • 7/03

    • Spent travelling back to Centropolis.

  • 7/04

    • Arrived in Centropolis, eels in tow, and delivered them to the innkeep in exchange for the promised +2 buckler. Needing a vacation from the fishing vacation, the party decided to rest for a bit in Centropolis.

  • 7/05 – 7/11

    • Attending to affairs of state.

  • 7/12

    • This day, the party geared up and began travelling East to the mountains.

  • 7/13

    • Along the way, the party traveled through a dale where whisper-like sounds emanated from wind passing over the mouths of open holes in the ground. Looking in these holes, an extremely large deposit of crystals was discovered – useful for trading, spell components, or smithing. This area was marked well, with the promise of future extraction operations to be set up.

  • 7/14

    • The area around the dale was explored, with nothing of immediate interest presenting itself.

  • 7/15

    • Today, a new area was explored which had a river running through it. At one point, the river was fairly broad, and a large island was situated in the center that had the remains of buildings on it with bones scattered everywhere. The party descended the 60 foot cliffs, and swam across to the island to check it out.
    • As the party approached one of the larger set of ruins, the nearest large bush stirred, several large pods rimmed with cilia fanned out, and one of them engulfed Stephanos!

      • Destin, using his unworldly agility was able to dodge the pod coming his way, step inside the range of the pod and attack the base of the giant plant. Vandamar cast Magic Missile as Kodar crouched for a shotgun blast. At this time, Cadoc felt that he needed to step up and be the tank, but as he began to stab the plant with his rapier, a pod came up behind him and engulfed him as well.
      • Feeling like time was running out, Kodar overpacked his boomstick’s chamber with pellets and delivered a massive shredding shot to the plant, which exposed enough of the material beneath the hard outer bark for Destin to reach in and slice it – killing the plant.
    • Stephanos and Cadoc were extricated without issue, so the party returned to exploring the island, keeping watch for aggressive shrubs as they did so. The structures on the island were thoroughly destroyed, and the bones were mostly those of humans and centaurs. A few gold pieces were found here and there, but that was about all the island was able to reveal.
    • The party camped on the island that night.

  • 7/16

    • Moving on, the party explored the next area without incident.

  • 7/17

    • On this day, during mid-morning, a large cave taking up most of a hillside was noticed. It was found to be full of bats, but farther in was a large deposit of iron. As with the crystal caverns discovered earlier, this area was well marked so that the valuable resource could be collected.

  • 7/18

    • Travelling through a boulder-strewn field, a large creature was spotted lurking just to the side of the party. When noticed, the creature hid itself more, and shouted in Aklo “Help! You Help me!” Pulling out his boomstick, Kodar whispered to the rest of the party that the creature appeared to be a phase spider that for some reason was not trying to kill and devour the party. Ever the gentleman to a woman, even to non-human species, Stephanos told Kodar to continue acting as translator, and offered his services. The issue, according the spider, was that some Xill’s had invaded her home, and she would like them disposed of.
    • Seeing as Xill’s were dangerous creatures that should be rooted out regardless, the party agreed and followed her up a nearby hill. On top of the hill, a strange, spire-like monolith with polished sides was glowing softly in the rapidly advancing dusk. Near the base, several, possibly drunk 4-armed creatures were dancing gleefully before it. Kodar mentioned that structure was obviously of Elven construction, and may have served as a foundation for a planar portal.
    • The party began to sneak down towards the monolith, but someone stepped on a twig and the party changed tactics from ambush to full-on assault.

      • Two of them rushed Kodar, two more ran towards Stephanos and Cadoc, and a 5th decided to try its luck with Destin, hitting him several times. Kodar calmly took aim and created countless bleeding holes on the torso of one of two in front of himself as Cadoc sidestepped and cast Prayer. Vandamar flew into the air, and dropped a fireball on the two in front of Kodar, killing the one already injured by the shotgun blast. Stephanos declared a smite on the Xill directly in front of him and began pressing it back.
      • Kodar backed up, targeted the remaining Xill trying to eat his face, and created a hole where the torso once existed. The arms and head kind of fell to the side as the legs collapsed. Cadoc cast Flame Strike on the two in front of himself and Stephanos, which dropped the directly in front of Stephanos. Finding himself free of targets, Stephanos turned and skewered the remaining Xill. Meanwhile, Destin had been experiencing mixed results with injuring his opponent, until a feint allowed him to drop her unconscious (oh yeah, these fugly things are chicks). After a moment to recover, Destin slit her throat. Cold.
    • As the party checked themselves for any eggs that may have been laid inside their wounds, Zzanazz the Phase spider approached and thanked everyone profusely. She waved two of her legs, and a magic chest appeared. Opening it, a wand of dimension door and a spell book were found, and the party was even encouraged to take the chest itself! The party camped there that night.

  • 7/19 – 7/21

    • Time spent exploring more areas. Destin understandably had a few nightmares about Xills hatching from his stomach and devouring him.

  • 7/22

    • Far to the Southeast of the areas Varnhold had claimed, a large cave was encountered, which opened to a huge vaulted chamber. Inside, were the massive bones of a silver dragon, champions of justice. Oddly enough, the head was no-where to be found and many parts of the skeleton appeared to have been melted away, as though by acid. In addition, there were a profusion of black and silver dragon scales lying around, further evidence of an ancient battle between this dragon and the victor: a black dragon, known to be almost as evil as the reds. Finally, not a single gold piece remained of this dragon’s hoard.
    • Stephanos vowed to buy a scroll of resurrection to bring this noble creature back to life. But, seeing as the bones weren’t going anywhere (and hadn’t for thousands of years), the party finished exploring the area and camped in the cave that night.

  • 7/23 – 8/05

    • Party continued to explore the southern part of the Varnhold areas. Manny gud thymes wer had.

  • 8/06 – 8/10

    • At this point, with all the areas South of Varnhold and north of the Dwarven fortress explored, the party decided to address the dead dragon. Stephanos travelled to Varnhold to see if a scroll was to be found there, while the others travelled to Restov to also check.
    • A scroll that powerful wasn’t currently in the goods commonly found in Restov, and ordering it would take a month, so another city was travelled to 2 days away which did have it. A sending was sent to Stephanos, and the party met back in Varnhold.

  • 8/11

    • The party ventured SE to the Dragon cave. Cadoc, sober for 4 days due to the import and expense of this particular spell, cast the powerful Resurrection spell on the bones of the dragon. For the next 5 minutes, the party was treated to the incredible sight of watching bones knit and tissues form from the air, as well as a head growing out of the neck stump. All in all, since most adventures who actually see the inner workings of a dragon do not live long enough to relate their findings, this was a fascinating process.
    • As the party waited for the dragon to blearily open its eyes and address the armored figure of Stephanos standing before it, Cadoc pulled the cork on a vintage scotch, and began sipping happily. “Welcome back!”, declared Stephanos to the dragon. “What happened?” asked the dragon, “The last I remember, I had just lost a battle against Apheliak, a much older and more powerful black dragon”.
    • Through the next few hours, the party filled in the dragon on such necessaries as the date, current events, and that they were in fact not responsible for the loss of the dragon’s hoard – a point that was continually repeated not so much as for the dragons edification, but for insurance of the party’s own survival.

      • Even though the dragon (Ambarean was her name) had lost much, it was thankful of the actions taken, and of the restoration of its future ages. The role of counselor was offered in the court of the budding kingdom, and Ambarean accepted. In thanks, Stephanos donated 11K gold pieces as a starter for the dragon’s new hoard (Destin snickered and said it was a courting gift). Finally, Ambarean also agreed to meet with Kodar to discuss the history she had so far lived through, and that Kodar could see immense value in.
    • The party spent that night in the dragon’s hall.

  • 8/12 – 8/14

    • Feeling rather cocky now (and that Vandamar finally had Magic Missile memorized), the party travelled to the island in the middle of Lake Candlemere to deal with the Will-o-the-wisps.

  • 8/15

    • Arriving at Lake Candlemere, the party found no traces of wisps. Instead, a sign reading “This tower cleaned out and guaranteed SAFE by the Rendon Amory Aventurers” was spotted, posted at a jaunty angle near the entrance. Feeling frustrated by the theft of a good time, but also pleased that the adventurers accepted with open arms were doing good for the kingdom.
    • With nothing else that could be thought of to do, the party turned towards Centropolis.

  • 8/16 – 11/26

    • Governance throughout a grand period of expansion and prosperity for the kingdom.

  • 11/27

    • Throughout the past several months of leading the kingdom to prominence, the party had gotten a little careless with safety, and had established several routines. Cadoc of course could be counted on to patronize any number of alehouses nightly, as much as Kodar could be counted on to be working diligently on artifact restoration or research. Individual pursuit’s aside, a routine which all members relished was a weekly walk together through their city to see with their own eyes how things were progressing.
    • After the first few such walks, the party members began to relax as they viewed the city which they had created, and began to look less and less for any signs of danger. So, it was on this Sunday, just as the party had passed through the castle gates to begin their tour of the surrounding town, a sharp crack was heard, and Vandamar fell to the ground with a white face, holding his shoulder (which at this point had pumped out an alarming amount of blood).

      • Recognizing the distinctive sound of a projectile weapon through their dealings with Kodar, Stephanos ran forward to take cover behind a wagon on one side of the street as Cadoc ran behind a building corner on the other – channeling energy to heal Vandamar as he did so. Kodar hauled Vandamar up before moving directly to his side for cover. Just over the ridge of a rooftop ahead, Kodar saw the glint of a scope and pointed out the gunman’s position to the party.
      • Destin spurred his horse forward, but as he passed a cross-street, Horus the feared Half-Orc Gladiator came running out and slammed his horse to the ground. Stephanos saw this and immediately charged and challenged the Half-Orc, blinding him from attacking anyone else and allowing Destin to crawl out and continue moving towards the gunman. As they parried, the gunman (who must be none other than Rendon Amory himself) continued firing shots around Stephanos, startling him and giving Horus the advantage. Cadoc attempted to cast Hold Person on Horus, but somehow couldn’t get the spell to take hold.
      • Meanwhile, as Vandamar flew up in the air (dripping blood as he went), he caste haste on the party members to increase their attack speed, this also gave Destin more opportunities to sneak up on Rendon. Suddenly, in a puff of smoke, the rogue (Bob the Backstabber) proved true to his name as he sank a dagger deep into Stephanos’ left shoulder. Horus used this opportunity to grab Stephanos’ sword with his flail, and sent it flying away towards Cadoc. Stephanos, being the beast he is, turned towards Bob and hit him fully in the face with a spiked gauntlet, taking him temporarily out of the fight and allowing Stephanos to focus on the raging Half-Orc.
      • Destin finally reached Rendon, but was heard, and the gunslinger turned and fired both pistols point blank into Destins stomach. Down the street from the fight, the robed wizard (Alistair) appeared and began casting fireballs and magic missiles (aim wasn’t very good, must have had something to do with the whole rotting flesh thing). Cadoc cast Prayer to increase the accuracy of the party, and kicked Stephanos’s sword back to the beleaguered paladin, as Stephanos ducked a swing from the Half-Orc, punched the rogue again in the face, caught the sword, and yelled in Skald for everyone to target the wizard.
      • Not known for always being a good listener, Vandamar landed, cast “Fire Snake” through Horus and Bob, and created a pit underneath the vile backstabber – one down. Kodar leveled his boomstick and nearly tore the Half-Orc apart with the force of the shot – two down. On the roof (and holding his intestines in like his idol, Inigo Montoya, did), Destin began to take down Rendon, who wasn’t very good at reloading while getting stabbed. However, as the other members of the party began to focus on the wizard, the rings on the 4th finger of each assassin began to glow – enveloping each in light. Suddenly, the light stopped, and with it went the assassins.
    • In the aftermath, the buildings around the street were well demolished by the wild aim of the rotting wizard, and Destin required many healing spells before he was out of danger. Notices of the Amory Adventurers were posted, the rebuilding efforts were undertaken almost immediately, and guard positions were doubled.
    • With their caution restored, the party turned back and resumed their state duties.

  • End Session 8

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Session 7
A Near Death Experience...
  • 05/10

    • Immediately following the short but furious battle with the manticores, the party decided to take a badly-needed rest. Before they could though, Vandamar stood up straight with an astonished look on his face. He waved his hands in an arcane gesture, and disappeared without a trace!

      • After searching the area, for a while, the party concluded that he had vanished from the immediate area. Kodar mentioned that “Wizards were funny lots anyway”, and with that, the party resolved to seek him out in one of the three towns after the business with the centaurs was done.

  • 05/11

    • This day spent exploring the area around the Burial mounds. That night, the party camped in the area NW of the burial mounds.

  • 05/12

    • As the sun rose and illuminated the as-of-yet area the party had camped on the border of, a number of strange, grassless areas were noticed. As the party approached them, Kodar identified them as belonging to a species of trapdoor spider, and Destin pointed out what appeared to be “drag-trails” leading into semi-hidden doors leading into each.
    • Stephanos tossed a flask of alchemists fire into the nearest. It rolled into the darkness, leaking small tongues of fire as it went. Seconds after disappearing, an inhuman scream emanated from the mound, followed shortly by a large (and presumably angry) spider with small fires on it bursting from the mound and targeting the large human encased in shiny metal.

      • Two of its friends appeared from the two closest neighboring mounds, and rushed forward to share in the killing!
      • Standing tall, with his Dwarven Thunder Humper Hammer at the ready, Stephanos prepared to meet the oncoming spider with dignity and poise. He posed as it approached, armor glinting handsomely in the sun, Hammer gloriously upright, ready to deliver the crushing blow that would smash the spider’s head in. He tensed, moved the hammer to the beginning of the swing, locked eyes with the spider and began his war scream….. Just as Destin rushed in from the side and ran his dagger along the spiders belly as it charged past, loosing floods of steaming entrails and bodily fluids. The spider took one more step, and died where it stood, robbing Stephanos of his majestic kill.
      • Glaring at Destin, who smiled back sunnily, Stephanos turned to one of the other two approaching spiders, and dealt it a death blow. Kodar turned the last into a sponge-like mass using his shotgun.
      • At the noise from Kodar’s boomstick, four more spiders appeared out of their mounds, and rushed the party. Cadoc attacked one with Destin flanking and together killed it, as Stephanos swung his hammer and smashed another into paste against a nearby rock. Kodar repeated his trick of creating hundreds of large holes into the third spider, and watched it deflate like a leaky water bladder as he reloaded. Cadoc, Destin, and Stephanos attacked the last one nearly simultaneously, with the result being spider legs exploding in all directions.
    • The area was finally fully explored just as twilight fell, and the party set up camp that night.
    • During Destin’s watch, he noticed a low rumble that could be felt in the ground. As it grew in intensity, he recognized it as the sound of many hooves coming in the direction of the party’s camp!

      • Waking up the party, Destin went and hid himself in the scrub grass nearby as Cadoc, Kodar, and Stephanos stood up to face the now dimly-seen centaurs running towards them.
      • As they approached, eight of them were counted in all, with all of them wearing armor and carrying spears. When they approached, they encircled the three part members, and began riding in a circle around them, whooping and kicking dirt all over Stephanos’s shiny breastplate.
    • After a few moments of this, the centaurs stood still in a circle, and leveled their spears down. One addressed the three party members in rough common speech, “This Nomen land, two-legs! GO back! Goooooo!”

      • Seeing his opportunity, Stephanos addressed the “leader” with a cordial greeting in Sylvan, and asked if the centaurs knew anything about the missing people of Varnhold. At the sound of the language of the forest, the centaurs brought their spears up, and the leader responded, saying that they too knew of the missing humans, and that the party should accompany them back to their camp and talk with their war-priestess, “Silverfire.”
      • As the party began to pack up, Destin came out of his hiding place, shaking the Nomen who had thought the area secure. With a knowing smile, he secured his saddlebags and mounted up.
    • The party followed the centaurs to their camp, which was about 20 minutes to the SE. A large number of tents were present and were arranged in a roughly circular pattern, with many bonfires and centaurs everywhere. At the center stood the largest and tallest tent, and there was where the party was led. A large bonfire had been set up outside, and several female centaurs were performing a ritualistic dance around it. Off to one side, another female centaur with rippling silver striations on her lower half was involved in an intricate looking prayer. The party was told to wait until the ceremony was finished.
    • When the centaur was informed of the party’s presence, she abruptly walked over, and in a brusque tone introduced herself as “Acorna Silverfire”.

      • She demanded to know what the party’s reasons for being in their territory were. Stephanos described the mysterious disappearance of the villagers of Varnhold, and asked her if she could relate any odd occurrences that had happened recently.
      • Before she could answer, Stepohanos stated that the party would like to make a gift, and presented the ancient Nomen bow found on one of the Spriggen corpses back in Varnhold’s keep.. Silverfire’s eyes widened and her arms trembled as she accepted the bow. In a much more friendly voice, she said “Something was stolen. Now that it has been returned, we now know where you stand.”
      • “There is a place to the Southwest of here, called “The Valley of the Dead”, and it is taboo to Nomen. It is the remains of a vast, ancient graveyard, and a great evil is entombed there.” Other than that, all she knew was a name: “Vortichai”
      • At the name, Kodar came forward and shared an old tale from one of the Varnhold books, about 100 of a kingdoms best knights, who set out to rid the world of the enemy’s evil, once and for all. “They rode long through the deathly valley and its leaching pall, and approached the stony Island to battle with the fiend. Alas for the ground shook, and when it finished, the master’s guardian had arrived. 100 knights fought, and 100 knights fell to the ghastly defender on the steps of the white tower. The few wounded survivors escaped to relay the fell news, and forever more would the Nomen guard and watch the gates to the valley where Vortichai slumbered.” Scribbled in the margins of the book, Kodar related to the rest of the party later on, was the phrase: “Vortichai seems to be some sort of evil god”
      • After he had finished, Silverfire mentioned that one of the Nomen huntresses had observed a large shambling form moving about the stones. The Spriggen had recently taken residence there, and she believed they had somehow awoken the evil that lurked there.
    • As the party had talked late into the night with Silverfire, Stephanos asked and received approval to camp with the centaurs for the remainder of the evening. Before leaving to start preparations, Stephanos asked if the huntress who reported the shambling form could be questioned, which was met with a sorrowful headshake.

      • “Zamantha, my daughter, has been missing for 3 days now, and her tracks were observed going towards the forbidden valley.” Ever the pure definition of chivalry, Stephanos gallantly pledged his honor, shield, and sword (to which the centaur confusedly glanced at the hammer obviously strapped to his back) to the task of bringing her daughter back, if she still lived.
      • Somewhat dazed by the effusive words and the gleam of his armor in the firelight, Silverfire thanked Stephanos, and bade the party a good evening.

  • 05/13

    • This morning, after again raining Silverfire with promises of glory, rescue, and deeds bound in honor, Stephanos took the point and led the party towards the “Valley of Death.”
    • A few hours later, Destin saw something large and white off on a hill in the distance that wouldn’t be too far off course for the valley. Reaching it, the massive bones of a long-dead Crag Linnorm of incredible size could be seen to take up the entire crest of the hill. Inside the jaws, a nest inhabited by Shrikes was found, and Nomen shrines and footprints were scattered all around. This appeared to be some sort of holy place, and Kodar cautioned against disturbing anything that was seen. Turning back towards the valley, Mastodons were seen walking in the hills.
    • As the party neared the valley mouth, a line of poles about 50 feet apart was encountered, each adorned with a skull. Clearly, this marked the boundary that the Nomen watched. Crossing the line and approaching the valley entrance, a dark feeling of oppression came over the party, which seemed to get stronger with distance away from the skull-poles.
    • Walking into the valley, 6-10 foot rectangular monuments began to be seen; first here and there, but eventually with extreme regularity. Kodar inspected one, and declared them to all be gravestones. The writing engraved on them appeared to be in the language of the Cyclops, and that they dated from the “pre-earthfall” era. Looking out where the valley widened out, it was noticed that there were thousands of these gravesites. In roughly the center of the valley, through what was almost an aisle through the markers, was a relatively fresh set of hoofprints, leading towards the far end. Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth with this likely sign of Zamantha, the party followed the tracks.
    • Following them, the party was headed in a SouthWest direction, towards the deepest part of the valley. When it was reached, the Tors above reached 300 feet. At the farthest SW point, a crack was seen in the cliff face, along with what dimly looked to be a path, carved into the crack. Stephanos and Destin both announced quietly that they see something lurking in the darkness at the foot of the path.

      • Stephanos borrowed Cadoc’s recently acquired Crossbow of Seeking, and shot at it. Kodar, watching the thing in his spyglass, was able to confirm that the shot missed, however at the noise, the thing began to climb up the path and shortly disappeared from sight.
      • Cadoc cast light on the next bolt, and Stephanos tried again. The bolt’s light showed that the path was actually a carved staircase, which turned inward after a short distance.
      • On a whim, Stephanos tried “detect Evil”, and found it everywhere. That, coupled with the eerie quiet and the oppressive feeling of dread urged caution.
        Cadoc switched the light to Stephanos’ “Hammer of Explosive Dwarven Flatulence“, and and the party took up positions amidst the tombstones at the foot of the path. Destin walked up a few of the stairs, and then very clearly heard something charging straight at him!
      • It turned out to be a huge and disgusting Cyclops Zombie, which was stumbling forward towards Destin with a gigantic battleaxe! Cadoc cast “Prayer” over the party, and moved forward to set up a melee line with Stephanos. With the conditions perfect, Destin lithely tumbled behind the zombie for a flank attempt, but the zombie immediately whirled and began trying to push Destin up the stairs.
      • Kodar was blasting large gobbets of undead flesh everywhere as Stephanos tried to pulverize flesh that no longer conveyed pain. As the zombie tripped over a rock which left its head within striking range, Cadoc saw a chance and cast “Channel Smite”, burning a large hole through its single eye around his rapier.
    • Thinking that conserving healing spells may be prudent at this time, Stephanos healed Destin with a wand of cure light wounds. Looking at the stairs, the party noticed the stairs have more than one switchback on the way up the mountain. At the base of the stairs the hoof prints the party had been following ended, which then provided confirmation of the next direction.
    • As dusk approached, Stephanos activated a sunrod, and the party began the climb. When the party reached the top, it had been 2 hours of climbing, and was now full dark. The path had terminated I a large, flat, dark area, most likely the top of the mountain. The only sound heard was rushing water; no animal life, insects, or anything else.
    • Further investigation revealed a tree-line, and it was there the party made camp for the night. During Kodar’s watch, the sound of a bird flying around alerted him, as there had been no sounds of life all day.

  • 05/14

    • Sunrise broke on yet another disturbingly quiet day at the top of the mountain. Looking around, the source of the water sound now appeared in the form of a large river flowing past, originating from a large waterfall. Squarely in the middle of the river was an island, upon which was built a limestone tower, estimated about 100 feet in height.
    • Kodar scaled the cliff by the waterfall, and lowered a rope for the rest of the party, so that the area could be viewed from a more strategic setting.

      • From the higher vantage point, the tower appeared to have been part of the original landscape, and adapted for use by its inhabitants, as it appeared total natural except for heat vents belching black smoke and the occasional window.
      • After discussion on the best way to approach the island, the party slid back down. Kodar dropped the rope before he attempted the descent, however even the use of Stephanos’ “Gloves of Climbing and Swimming” couldn’t prevent him falling near the top. After some healing spells were cast and Kodar regained consciousness, the gloves were promptly thrown back to Stephanos with disdain. Someone should have asked for a receipt of purchase…
    • Pulling out the spiffy boat-in-a-pocket, the party got in and rowed over to the island.

      • About halfway across the river, a dark entrance appeared just above the surface of the water, apparently a harbor of some sort. Rowing in, and finding a place to land proved a bit harder, as the interior was completely dark.
      • After docking, and Cadoc cast light on the Stephanos’ ill-gained hammer, and the party found themselves at the end of a long hallway, with alcoves at intervals in the walls.
      • There were arches supporting the ceiling, and the tile work of the floor appeared to be much worn and broken, showing the original limestone underneath. In several of the alcoves, statues of Cyclops were present; usually performing daring deeds of violence and strength. In one of them however, the remains of an urn lay all across the floor, and a gleaming pile of gold had erupted from the wreckage.
      • Kodar found several sets of tracks at the scene: Centaur hooves going in and large shambling Cyclops tracks going out. As the 689 gold pieces were placed into the bag of holding (counted with Destin in full sight of the others, to his chagrin), a jade bracelet matching the charcoal drawings found at Varnhold was unearthed from the bottom of the gold mountain.
    • Further down the corridor, the passage took a turn. Just past the turn, a large amount of rubble was strewn all about the floor, in front of a room with a jagged rock entrance. Surveying the rubble, Kodar mentioned that it appeared that the rubble was caused by something large breaking out of the room, rather than something breaking in.
    • Moving into the diamond-shaped room, a number of large funeral biers were placed in each corner of the room, and one of them appeared to have been forcibly broken on. At the party’s intrusion into the room, another Zombie Cyclops ripped through another bier’s door and shambled towards the fight.

      • Knowing now what to expect, the party quickly squared away against it, but before they could even swing a weapon, one of the other corners of the room broke open, revealing another zombie!
      • Luckily, zombies are slow, and huge undead Cyclops’ are even slower. In the time it took the second zombie to approach the party, Destin had flanked the first one and created long tears in its back, Stephanos had re-arranged its face with his hammer, Kodar had blown a good portion of its midsection into paste, and Cadoc had create a rather nasty hole the size of his index finger from a hit with rapier. Yeah!
      • Looking at Cadoc in disgust, Kodar finished the first zombie with a booming explosion of desiccated guts. With a shrug, Cadoc joined Stephanos and Destin in attacking the second one. Again, Kodar proved the superior attacker, as his guns again created deafening booms as he cut the second zombie nearly in half where it stood, ending its undead life.
    • Holding their ears in protest against the echoing ringing in the air, the party took the time and searched the room more carefully while they recovered. A third zombie was discovered in the room, and it looked to have been defeated with a sword and deadly hoof strikes. An encouraging sign by Zamantha, if nothing else. Destin found a loose rock in one of the biers, which opened a door into another chamber with a sand floor.
    • This new room was dominated by a large pool in the center of room. A staircase off to one side descended into the murky depths, while across the water, a passageway could be seen. ON closer inspection of the pool, Destin pointed out the remains of some creature lying on the bottom, but the water was too murky to tell exactly what it was.
    • As Stephanos broke open a sunrod to light the cavern, Cadoc cast light on a coin and tossed it into the water… revealing something huge moving their way!

      • Destin pointed out ahead on a long neck coming out of the pool and dodged to the side to avoid it. Wearing plate armor, Stephanos was not as lucky, and the head tried to bite him! Never one to back down from a challenge or certain danger, Stephanos and his 55 pounds of plate armor waded into the shallows to engage the dangerous beast!
      • Not sure what to think of the certainly insane human challenging it, the creature backed off and sank into the deep. Not to be deterred, Stephanos quaffed a Potion of WaterBreathing, and dove/sank after it! Hit for hit, the creature and Stephanos battled it out on the pool floor. The others up top only saw the water cloud up, with random colored liquids rise to the surface. Kodar used his ring of Waterwalk to travel across the water, but could not get a better view.
      • After some grievous hits by each combatant, Stephanos eventually got the better of the creature and stove it’s skull in with some humping hammer action. How this weapon was actually swung in the water, the world will never know. Afterwards, Stephanos looted the corpse of the adventurer nearby before taking the stairs back up, startling everyone from behind.
      • The stairs also went downward for about 20 feet, and after a few moments of recovery, the party took the stairs down, and swam the rest of the way. They emerged into a short corridor-like room, with another set of stairs going downwards, ending in a pair of large, bronze doors. In this chamber were lots of smashed black and white lacquered pottery pieces, as well as many intact jars with the same decorative pattern on them. These jars portrayed Cyclops living in all aspects of life, including some depicting battles with centaurs.
      • Heading downstairs to the bronze doors (which, Kodar assured us, were free of traps), the party opened them and emerged into another room containing alcoves. More striking were the 16 large Cyclops statues standing in rows, 4 of which were clad in ancient armor and holding nasty looking great axes.

        • On the far wall, Destin spotted a secret door, which was indeed trapped. Before taking any actions, the 4 statues still holding arms were disarmed, just in case. Oddly enough, there were other smaller, hidden doors spaced at intervals around the room, as well as suspicious holes in the ceiling.
        • Kodar and Destin worked together on the trap, disarming it after about 10 minutes (thank goodness… who knew that electric eels lived so long!). The door swung open and the party pressed forward… only to see yet another door at the end of a short hallway.
      • Moving forward, the new set of doors was opened, and the party emerged into room designed a bit differently.

        • The black and blood-red tilework seemed almost new, and scattered throughout were life-like statues of fiends, frozen with grotesque expressions. On one wall, a gigantic frieze depicted Charon, the horseman of death, and a powerful archdemon of Abaddon.
        • Against the far wall, another set of doors was bordered by two large altars, both heavily stained with blood that appeared to be about a week old. Cadoc could sense strong necromantic magic emanating from the door, and strongly advised against even drawing near to it. Definitely experiencing a bad case of the creeps, Stephanos turned back and wedged a piton into the door the party arrived through, ensuring that it would stay open, no matter what.
        • Against another of the walls, another door was set, bordered by a grotesquely carved frame. Ignoring the “Altar door” for now, the party members cautiously opened this door, and were met by yet another corridor.
      • At the end of the corridor, was a room, dominated by two large pillars, with two columns of smoke alongside them.

        • Kodar announced our intentions with a dose of his scattergun, prompting the columsn to immediately head our way. As the approached, came out of the smoke, and a dull roaring scream could be heard! Destin was attacked first being the nearest, however as soon as the clouds raked him with their claws, they flew away in the air.
        • Heading back for another pass at Destin, Kodar and Destin switched places at the last minute so Cadoc could heal Destin. Stephanos flew in from the side and “Smote Evil” on one, dissipating the cloud nearly instantly. Encouraged by himself, Stephanos immediately clove the other, making it disappear as well. Our hero…
      • Examining this room revealed two doors set into opposite walls. One, when opened, let out a cloud of bad, sulfuric air, coming from a naturally-formed tunnel heading slightly downward. This door was closed by mutual party member consent, for the time being. The other led to hallway with a door at the end, with a room behind it.

        • This room contained a statue of a Cyclops pressing both hands to its eye, and Kodar found a locked door behind the statue. Needing some rest after the day’s events, the door leading back to the pillared room was piton’d shut, and the party rested for the evening.

    • 05/15

      • Awakening in the strange room dominated by the eyeless Cyclops, the party’s first order of business was having Cadoc dispel the magical lock on the door behind it.

        • When Kodar and Destin walked inside, they found a dim blue-lit room covered with strange carvings on the walls. One of the walls however was dominated by an elaborately carved eye that gave off a strong magical aura. After further examination, it was determined that nothing could be done with this room for now, so the party decided to press on.
      • Walking back to the two-pillared room, the party opened the door with the sulfuric fumes, and made their way down the corridor. At the end, they arrived at a small beach, where a small flow of liquid travelled across it. ON further inspection, the liquid does not appear to be water, as it is completely black. Across the larger black body of liquid in front of the party, a few supports stuck out, leading Kodar to surmise that there once appeared to be a bridge.
      • Stephanos tossed a copper coin at the dark liquid, but the coin fell flat on the surface with a dull, smack. A sun torch was then lit, and tossed as far ahead as possible by Stephanos, which hit the back wall, and illuminated the far shore. The far shore also had a matching set of bridge supports, but nothing else.
      • Destin, peering forward, announced that he was sure that a dark figure was standing at the other end of the black lake. Borrowing Cadoc’s crossbow, he aimed and shot at the figure, hitting it squarely in the chest.

        • The figure moved fast, casting a fireball right at the party in response!
          Kodar and Stephanos rush forward into the black liquid, which acted like tar, adhering to their boots. As Kodar fired at the shady form with his shotgun, Stephanos charged forward towards it, just and righteous murder gleaming in his eyes.
        • As Stephanos approached however, the form shot into the air, where it lurked in the stalactites growing from the ceiling. Stephanos and Destin both began firing crossbow bolts at the floating creature, dodging fireballs when necessary. Kodar became nauseous from the fumes emanating from the black liquid, and barely managed to make it back to the beach before collapsing in a pool of his own vomit. Cadoc wasn’t far behind him. Stephanos finally managed to get a “Holy Smite” on the creature, dropping it to the ground, where it was declared to be some sort of lich.
      • As the tar was hot and semi-caustic to organic materials, Stephanos with his tar-covered plate boots, took charge of exploring this particular room. Two more doors were encountered; one leading up a flight of stairs and ending outside somewhere, and another with stairs heading down.
      • Before heading down however, the party doubled back to the disturbing room with the twin blood-soaked altars, intending to leave no unexplored area at their backs.
      • As Stephanos laid a gauntleted hand on the door handle and pulled it open, black and terribly cold flames erupted from the altars.

        • Kodar, expecting something like this, was able to warn most of the party in time to run away from the black tidal wave of necromantic energy exploding from the doorway. Stephanos, encumbered by both his heavy plate and stick boots was not so lucky, and was made weak and robbed of vitality until healed and allowed to rest for a few moments.
      • Walking cautiously back into the altar room, a hallway terminating in a room was observed behind the once-shut door. The room at the end, being approached, was shown to have surprisingly delicate stonework and carvings, carved into the limestone walls.
      • Walking inside, the party was stopped cold by a psychopathic message, originating from what appeared to be a mind flayer standing nearby. -IN WHOSE NAME DO YOU ARRIVE-, to which Stephanos responded “Vortichai”. The resulting psychic pressure lifted, and the creature stepped aside.
      • Choosing to ignore this formidable foe for now, the party kept up the pretense of legitimacy, and sauntered past the creature around the bend in the hallway into what appeared to be a dungeon. Chained to the rear of the back wall was an injured and drooling female centaur.

        • Acting quickly (every second counts with the ladies), Stephanos uncorked a Potion of Cure Light Wounds, but it only appeared to choke her. With that method failing, Cadoc “channeled energy” to heal most of the physical wounds. In examining her further, Cadoc noticed the limbs were held unnaturally rigid, almost as if the centaur was forcibly paralyzed…
        • Using one of the scrolls of Remove Paralysis recovered back in Varnhold, Cadoc cast the enchantment breaker on the Centaur. Almost immediately, the centaur scrambled to her feet, and introduced herself as one “Zamantha, huntress of the Nomen Centaur Tribe”.
        • After introductions were made, she recounted her story of how she arrived in the place, and was captured by one of the Zombie Cyclops. Instead of being killed, the zombies had been force-feeding her for the past week. She also recounted that she had conversed with an old Cyclops with a red gem for an eye, who had called her an “honored guest”.
      • With the fair damsel in distress released form captivity, the party had to figure out how to get her large horses-behind the mind flayer guard. Indirection and discretion were chosen as the best paths. Zamantha was armed with suitable weapons, coming from Stephanos’s golf bag of a collection, and told to stay put for the next few moments in her cell.
      • The party discreetly surrounded the mind flayer as Stephanos babbled at it about some bureaucratic nonsense. A soon as Destin reached flanking position, the party lashed out as one, and were immediately hit by a whirlwind of tentacles and psychic daggers.

        • After Destin had too much success cutting said tentacles off of the flayers head, the room was engulfed in a dark, inky cloud, within which the mind flayer teleported at random and attacked everyone. Destin became afflicted with a sickness, and had to retreat from the cloud. Relying almost totally on sound, Kodar, Stephanos, and Cadoc directed each other with vocal commands when the creature was spotted and together eventually took it down.
      • Taking Zamantha along, the party retreated back to the room with the blind Cyclops statue; piton’d the door again, and rested for the evening.

    • 05/16

      • Surprisingly, after all the battles of the past few days, the night passed uneventfully.
      • Zamantha was taken to the corridor-like room, and told that the way out lay past 20 feet of swimming up a staircase, but she refused. And when a 2 ton being with large muscular things and an impressive rack stated that she was NOT getting in that water, the party hastened to find a better way to get her out.

        • Heading to the sulfuric-smelling room, Cadoc cast “Resist Energy” on the centaur to bypass any damage taken from the hot tar-like liquid, and Stephanos helped her across to the door that lead outside. Ever the gentleman, Stephanos rowed her back to shore while the rest of the party sat and waited in the foul-smelling room. Once ashore, she took off heading towards the Nomen encampment, as Stephanos rowed back to the party.
      • Turning towards the second door across the tar-pit, another staircase was encountered going upward, which ended at two doors at either side (north and south).
      • Choosing the northern path opened up into a crypt hallway with a recently dead Ulfen corpse lying on the floor. A spirit was hovering above it, and immediately attacked the first person it saw!

        • Destin became the proud recipient of -2 experience levels, immediately feeling weak, tired, and less capable of himself. Stephanos, ever the savior in our time of need, cast an obscure spell called “Ghostly Burned-Cake Dirge” (or something like that), dealing almost instant death to the angry spirit.
        • Cadoc successfully cast restoration on Destin, as the others searched the crypt, turning up nothing.
      • With breaths held, the door to the south was opened, leading to a short dais overlooking a huge room! Inside, a long stone table was set up along the floor, with dozens of chains bolted to the floor alongside each chair. Each chair held a quite-dead human corpse, locked and frozen in agonizing death poses with their brains removed through jagged holes in their foreheads. Before the full horror of the scene could quite sink in, 4 zombie Cyclops rushed forward to attack!

        • With Stephanos acting as effective plug at the top of the stairs to the dais, the 4 zombies were quickly dispatched, some would say with ease.
      • Moving towards the table, the 33 corpses were identified through their attire as citizens of Varnhold, including Varn himself and a priest of Erastil. This however did not account for all of the missing citizens, so the party reasoned that the rest must still be somewhere else.
      • At the far end of the room across from the dais they entered in, a normal door and a hidden door were both found. Opening the hidden door first, the party found a circular sulfur-smelling pool and a trench with water leading out from the pool, going into the next room, beneath a set of large set of bronze doors. Suddenly, a water elemental rose from the pool and attacked!

        • The whole party began to be mercilessly and continuously beaten by large tentacles of water. Cadoc began Channeling Energy and casting party buff spells when possible, as Stephanos and Destin engaged it in melee. Kodar fired his guns when possible, but was having a hard time keeping his powder dry enough to light.
        • Tidal waves of water accompanied the tentacles, and the party had to fight not only to dodge the tentacles, but keep their footing while doing so. Finally, one last surging blow from Stephanos took the life of the difficult foe, leaving the party extremely bloody and near death.
      • Sensing they were close to their goal, and that no-one could sleep through the racket generated by defeating the water elemental, the party healed with the wand of cure light wounds. When ready, the party approached the bronze set of doors, and froze in astonishment, as the sound of a page turning let them now that something was waiting for them.
      • Steeling themselves, the party opened the door and walked into an elaborate study room. Lush carpets of red chased with golden designs lay beneath their feet, as extensive carvings adorned the walls. Numerous display cases lay everywhere, showing ancient artifacts in the now familiar designs of the Cyclops race. Against the wall to the right, a massive throne-like chair and table were set up, table covered with books and various other wizard-like things (crystal balls, scrolls, eyes-of-newts, vials, etc,).
      • Sitting in the enormous chair was a huge Cyclops with a giant red Ruby for an eye, reading one of the books on the table. As the party burst in the thing rose with a silent, deadly grace, raised its skeletal fingers at them, and attacked!

        • A forceful and instant wave of fatigue rolled across the party, but just as quickly disappeared; countermanded by the Paladin’s divine aura. Stephanos strode forward swinging the “Hammer of Joyful Dwarven Procreation” as Kodar fanned out to the side, shooting as he went. Destin rolled forward and away to set up a flank with Stephanos, and Cadoc cast “Bless” and “Blessing of Ferver” as ruby flickers of death extended along the lich’s fingers, slamming into Stephanos and Destin with force when they approached.
        • Waves of nausea, sickness, and paralyzing fear emanating from the creature were barely overcome by all as Stephanos and Destin took turns attempting to take it down. Cadoc tried casting Searing Gaze” on the foul creature, and promptly became the recipient of his own reflected spell. The lich returned the physical attacks with blows of its own: hard and punishing hits from the long-undead skeleton, its strength boosted unnaturally in the millennia of its existence.
      • In the blink of an eye, the lich disappeared, making Stephanos nearly brain Destin with a mighty swing that left him unbalanced. Still hasted from Cadoc’s spell, Stephanos charged down to the other end of the room, encountering a smaller, circular-shaped room lined with shelves of small, glowing jars… no lich though. Cadoc healed everyone else nearby with “channel energy”. Destin went towards the wall opposite from the lich’s chair, encountering an extensive library of books.

        • Cadoc remained standing in the same spot and cast “invisibility Purge” on the area by the chair. Kodar ran out and checked the room behind the “normal” door they encountered earlier. The room featured a large crystal eye in the ceiling, with a circle on the floor directly beneath it.
      • As Stephanos ran back towards Cadoc’s position, the lich teleported right next to the cleric. Stephanos attempted a mighty blow against the lich, but the lich appeared to shrug it off. As a response, the lich reached out and cast a spell into Cadoc’s face, blinding him!

        • Kodar ran forward, pulling out his longsword to assist Stephanos with the melee, but the lich saw him, and paralyzed him mid-stride with a glance and a grimace of the long-dead mouth. With the distraction, Stephanos was able to hit the lich hard enough to send several bone fragments flying. Hearing the sound of Kodar’s footsteps stop abruptly and the sword drop to the ground, Cadoc channeled energy against Undead, dealing an unknown amount of damage.
        • “He’s three steps ahead of you!” shouted Stephanos to Cadoc, as he swung yet again. Out of the shadows, Destin appeared behind the lich, getting a decent hit in the process. Cadoc obligingly cast “Dispel Magic” at the location specified by Stephanos, but when it felt wrong he shouted “didn’t work!”
        • Another backstab got the lich’s attention, as it whirled fast enough to rip Destin’s daggers from his hands. It screamed and pointed at Destin, paralyzing him on the spot! Cadoc channeled yet again versus the undead, and shakily took a step towards the lich, blindly feeling with his rapier.
        • The lich turned its red-rubied gaze back to Stephanos, and for an instant, the lich was in his head. Against his will, Stephanos could feel the lich assuming control of his body, forcing him to turn towards the blind cleric and strike him down in surprise. The others, helpless in their paralysis, would soon follow – smashed to pieces without being able to resist.
        • Summoning up strength from an inner reserve, somehow knowing that he’d bypassed total doom for himself and his friends, Stephanos broke his gaze form that of the lich, and swung the hammer up in an underhanded blow, ripping it up into the lich’s chest cavity from below. The lich was lifted up into the air slightly, mouth open in surprise, as Stephanos quickly pulled back and smashed the head of the hammer into the lich’s face, shattering it.
      • As the corpse dropped to the floor, magical energies swirling around it, the ruby skipped along the floor coming to a stop besides the chair, seemingly undamaged and pulsing with a sullen red light. Stephanos pulled out two more Scrolls of Remove Paralysis, and freed Destin and Kodar. The next hour was spent taking what items could be found of worth (both of monetary and cultural value), including all of the strange lighted jars in the smaller circular room.
      • As the party finally left the limestone tower, darkness was falling again. Assisting Cadoc when needed (all those cups of wine meant for frequent “rest stops”, and without sight he had terrible aim), the party made its way back to the Nomen camp, where they were enthusiastically greeted.
      • Taken aside by Silverfire and Zamantha, the party relayed the events of the past few days. When the strange small jars were mentioned (Destin producing one from the bag of holding as Stephanos described them)m Silverfire gasped and grabbed it from Destin.

        • “These are terribly evil! They must be destroyed!” she said as she threw it against the ground. From the glass fragments, a person appeared, looking around in confusion and shock – A villager from varnhold!
        • Without further ado, the rest of the jars were smashed against the ground, revealing the missing 42 survivors of Varnhold.
        • After explaining to them what had happened, and letting them know that Miggar Varn was dead, the Varnhold survivors asked to become part of the party’s kingdom.
      • After ensuring that Cadoc memorized “Removed Blindness and Deafness”, the party began to settle down and prepare for rest.

    • END OF SESSION 7

View
Session 6
Who said Butterfly's Weren't Full of Secret Malice?
  • 09/03

    • As the weary party approached Olegsburg with Wallace gibbering at Stephanos in disapproval for our late arrival, evening began to sink in. A peaceful lull settled about the party, helped in part by the contest between the stars and the lightning bugs for control of the darkened skies, and in part by the drone of Wallace’s chidings. Suddenly, a bright streak was seen shooting from Vandamar’s head!

      • Almost too fast for the eye to follow, the happy butterfly which had accompanied Vandamar since the pool in the Dwarven ruins had taken a kamikaze course into Wallace’s chest, and exploded!
      • Once the red mist had cleared, only a pair of leg-stumps on Wallace’s saddle and a disturbing amount of bloody meat-chunks scattered about (both on the ground and all over Destin’s tunic) were all that remained of our kingdom’s royal (and not-so-loyal) diplomat.
    • Kestin Garris, who had been riding out behind Wallace to greet our party, was told to snap out of shock and place what bloody, meaty remains he could find into a bag, and prepare it (if possible) for a burial. Stephanos decreed that a kingdom-wide funeral party should be held in celebration of this sad affair, and that week-long wake was to be observed. Garris mentioned something about the oddity of a death-celebration, but promised that he would take care of it.
    • We turned back to our course into Olegsburg, and after short rest, began our necessary and long-overdue governance affairs.

  • 10/03

    • After a month of wading through record back-logs and enjoying the new-found silence from the diplomat’s chair, we decided to appoint a new diplomat, as none of us were particularly keen on taking on another role. After much deliberation (and much initial resistance from some townsfolk), we appointed Bel Dame to fill the role.
    • A few days later, we received a letter from the sister of our dearly-departed diplomat Wallace, claiming that our leader Stephanos was a traitor to all, and that he and the rest of his consort could expect nothing but painful torture and death should they ever cross into “civilized” territory again!

      • Stephanos was giving this some serious consideration, until Kodar mentioned that Wallace’s sister’s power was derived primarily from her husband, the monarch of the area just north of Olegsburg, who bore the nickname of “Larry the Loose-Boweled.”
      • Bel Dame suggested that sending a flowery apology letter of no less than 4 pages should be sufficient to satisfy the sister’s fury.

  • 10/04 – 01/02

    • Dealing with more affairs of state.

  • 01/03

    • On this day, Kodar informed the rest of us that Kestin Garris had been caught salami-slicing money off of the Kingdom funds. Even though Kestin was popular with many people, we decided to immediately banish him and his family. However, Destin, robbed of his chance to slay the long-hated Wallace himself, took matters into his own hands, and tracked down Kestin as he was cleaning out his barn, and dispatched him messily.

  • 01/04 – 04/02

    • Attended balls, voted for issues, wasted taxpayer funds on parties and fine wine.

  • 04/03

    • Foreigners stick out like sore thumbs in this small but growing city, but very short foreigners with long beards and ill tempers stick out that much more.

      • Today, a group of dwarves had travelled in from parts unknown, and had spent the day walking through the small city of Olegsburg. Among their activities was the purchasing of the ancient dwarven armor recovered from the ruins to the east, along with several other lesser artifacts. After their purchase, they had been spotted moving Southwest out of the city.
      • Kodar and Destin left their administrative duties aside and tracked this party for several days. Eventually, the trail led them to the abandoned outpost known for its habit of collecting trolls and forcing our party to evict them. Upon noticing that the watchtower was manned by a short and squat being wearing armor, they turned back for Olegsburg to relay the news.
    • While Destin and Kodar were out, Stephanos received a letter from Sword Lord Jarvondi, the man responsible for sending our party to this remote part of the world.

      • After several pages of billowy pleasantries and an essay about the merits of silken undergarments, Jarvondi relayed that the city of Varnhold to the East of us had gone silent. The party was to make the journey East to determine if anything was amiss.
      • After reading the letter 2 more times in disbelief (more for the pantaloons essay, than anything else), Stephanos burned the letter and sent the courier back with a one-word agreement.

  • 04/27

    • Today, it was decided that the investigation of Varnhold’s silence should be investigated fairly soon. But first, a trip south to the Troll fort would be undertaken.
    • Saying goodbye once again (Kodar to his museum, and Cadoc to his kegs of ale), the party ventured forth.

  • 04/28

    • Day spent travelling south.

  • 04/29

    • As midday passed by, the party approached the ramp leading up to the entrance of the dwarven outpost with clear signs of recent occupation everywhere. After being hailed by an unknown and extremely rude voice named “nobody”, the party was approached by 6-8 dwarves.

      • One came a bit closer than the others, and introduced himself (aren’t the females as long of beard and gravelly of voice as the males?) as one “Dmitri Inesque,” the Commander of this Dwarven attachment. When asked why they were here, the response came as “We hope not to be here long, although we have been ordered to stay until further word arrives. Our presence is warranted by word of a party of non-dwarves who found an ancient Dwarven fortress, and made off with significant cultural artifacts. We are here to recover what we can”
      • Thinking of the massive “Dwarven Hammer of Thunder Humping” placed prominently on a display case back Olegsburg’s town hall, Stephanos bit his tongue and wished the dwarves good luck on their recovery mission. Now knowing their intentions towards the developing kingdom, the party turned northward for the return journey to Olegsburg.

  • 04/30

    • Travel back to Olegsburg.

  • 05/01 – 05/06

    • Week spent finishing last minute government details, signing papers, kissing babies, delivering lambs, making public appearances, etc.

  • 05/07

    • Today, the party was finally able to begin their journey Eastward towards the silent city of Varnhold (taking the Dwarven “Hammer of Big Smashes” with us for safekeeping).
      Along the way, the party passed through abandoned Fort Surenko as well as the small town of Nevachta’s Crossing.
    • Later afternoon, Kodar spotted a flock of buzzards circling while he was fiddling with his spyglass. Running off without a buddy, he soon found the remains of a dead human.

      • Stephanos recognized the body as belonging to a “courtier” to the newly developing court of Olegsburg, and it appeared that the clumsy ribbon-wearing fop had slipped and fell into the ditch, breaking his neck in the process.
      • The only item of value was a Mother-of-Pearl brooch that would go to his brother. His body was buried at the spot, and Stephanos gave a quick Eulogy in Erastil’s name.
    • After 12 to 15 more miles, the northern boundaries of Varnhold were crossed. Here and there, signs of civilization such as bridges, silos, and the occasional cottage were seen. Further south, the party came into Varnhold center from the East.
    • Turning onto the main drag, the first thing Stephanos noticed was that only animals seemed to be around. Not a single voice was heard coming from the direction of any of the buildings in town. The town appeared to be completely void of human existence, and it appeared to have been that way for quite some time.
    • Feeling a bit conspicuous, the party moved towards the center of town, which was dominated by the “Water Horse Inn”. Scratched into the open door was a single word: “Nomen.” Kodar filled us in: “The Nomen were a tribe of nomadic centaurs, who lived on the plains around this area.” Through the window, Destin saw a vaguely humanoid figure standing still at one of the tables, and pointed him out to the rest of the party.
    • As Vandamar and Cadoc found useful objects to cast “Light” on, the party crossed the door’s threshold and walked inside.

      • At their first step into the dark, gloomy interior, a wave of rotten odor washed over them coming from abandoned plates of food set at the tables. Spiders and rats ran away in fright at their intrusion, as the 3 members of the party approached the upright form.
      • Feeling a chill of superstitious horror, Kodar held his hand up to halt the rest of the party – he had noticed that the form appeared to be missing the back of its head. Stephanos threw a copper at it, but did not elicit a response. Approaching closer, it was observed that the table in front of it was covered with books, and that the corpse was staring at one clutched in its hand. Along the spine read “Secrets of the Rashalka Mounds by E. Davenport”. Vandamar spent a few minutes poking the corpse and muttering to himself before standing up and declaring it to be a “Spriggen”, which apparently was some sort of Evil, Dark Gnome.
      • Amidst the piles of books (Jobarian pre-history, Reports on Taldan Armies, Studies about Centaurs, “Rashalka Centaurs by Irvil Pindrod”), several detailed charcoal sketches of what appeared to be an ornate jade bracelet were found. As Kodar studied them (masterfully ignoring the silent, staring corpse beside him), he remarked the inscriptions and pictures detailed on the bracelet could place it as pre-migration Nomen work.
      • Stephanos pulled out a letter from a few months back, from Mayer Varn to a Maestro Pindrod, mentioning that “Willis discarded the Jade bracelet at the river”.
      • As Kodar riffled through the contents of the table, Destin went upstairs to have a look at the rooms. Out of the 6 rooms, only one appeared to have had a boarder. A trunk stuffed with books and clothes was taken downstairs, as well as an incredibly nice Viola found underneath the bed.
    • Stephanos walked outside to the temple he spotted on the way in. Approaching closer, he was able to identify it as a temple of Erastil, however the interior had been completely devastated, and gutted of anything approaching the semblance of value. Kodar, who had followed him, noticed a concealed drawer on the desecrated altar. Springing it open, a number of intact magical scrolls were found, including one scroll of “Raise Dead”. Mumbling something about how the existence of such powerful scrolls meant bad luck to those who found them, Stephanos stuffed them into his pack to give to Cadoc later.
    • Joined by Vandemar, they found the Weavers House next door was in a similar state. On their way out to check the next building, Stephanos noticed a half-starved Calico Cat, and tossed some meat from his rations at it.
    • A tailors house nearby was barely standing, and the storage barn next door was packed full of swarms of rats, consuming the grain.
    • At the potters house, which was full of smashed crockery, Vandamar noticed a small, hidden door, inside of which was a pair of small, handcrafted platinum flagons. On reading the engravings, Stephanos remarked that these were to be meant for the King’s Daughter as wedding gift.
    • Joined now by Cadoc and Destin (who had been checking the ale house for any intact libations), the party began to slowly make their way up the street towards the town fortress. On the way oddly enough, Kodar noticed several primitive pit traps lining the pathway, and marked them as he went along.
    • Suddenly, passing a long, low house, a cloud of crows rose up from feeding on the dead livestock, and began flying towards the party!

      • Thinking quickly, Vandamar cast “Fireball” in the center of the cloud, and roasted them all- which didn’t add to the already unsavory smell of the town.
    • On the other side of the street in a sod house with its door askew, Kodar found a torn-up book written in an unknown language, which Vandemar tentatively identified as Skald.

      • Reading between the missing sections, someone named “Ranger Rick” Willis found a bracelet near the river. In between lewd drawings of females and self-portraits of “Ranger Rick” fighting back hordes of Goblins by himself were several entries that mentioned skirmishes with the barbaric centaurs. Stephanos picked up a small box, and was astonished when it unfolded and became a boat! Score!
    • Finally, as night was falling and after looking through several more buildings (each more destroyed than the last), the party approached Varnhold’s triangular fortress. Everyone noticed the thick black pillars of smoke rising from several areas behind the 8-foot wooden palisade.
    • Feeling manly, Stephanos and Kodar scale the wall, but eventually Stephano’s attempts to climb in armor failed, and he dropped behind the wall. Where he was attacked! By dark Gnomes! With Swords!

      • Hearing sounds of combat as well as the tolling of a bell that began ringing, Destin scaled and vaulted over the wall in one fluid motion, raining steely doom on one unfortunate wolf that was innocently busy trying to bite Stephanos’s arms off. Explosion upon contact occurred, spraying everything on that side of the wall in large gouts of blood.
      • Vandamar and Cadoc slowly moved up the wall. Once on top, Vandamar cast “Magic Missile” (Finally!), sending 8 large energy spheres ripping into a Spriggen, dropping it for good. Cadoc hit the ground without stabbing himself with his rapier, and entered the melee.
      • From his somewhat protected perch on top of the wall, Kodar used his shotgun to deadly effect on the Spriggen on the ground, until some crossbow bolts from the highest tower forced him to drop and run for cover.
      • Vandamar landed on the ground and ran towards the nearest of the buildings. As Vandamar approached the door, three drunken Spriggen shambled out. Thinking quickly, he stepped back, cast “Invisibility,” and then cast “Spike Pit” beneath them, but only caught one of them.
      • Meanwhile, Cadoc, Destin, and Stephanos ran across the ground to the door of the highest tower, Kodar ran along the edge of the compound to join the three by the tower door. Cadoc and Stephanos both tried to force the door, but were unsuccessful.
      • Suddenly, they were rushed by the two Spriggen that escaped the spike pit as Stephanos tried again to force the door. He succeeded, but only to face a few more Dark Gnomes. Destin and Cadoc turned around and engaged the two rushing Spriggen, as Stephanos worked his way through the startled ones in front of him. Once the last fell, Stephanos broke down the next door and was immediately attacked by yet another Dark Gnome. Before he could finish it, Kodar ran in and blew its head off with his pistol for the scavenged kill.
      • Outside, Vandamar cast a spell and flew upwards, but became a target for crossbow bolts. While dodging, he noticed that 3 more Spriggen had joined the one shooting at him, and were busy drenching the building with oil. He cast pit underneath them, catching two of them along with their casks of oil. Of the two that remained, both ran off of the roof! One broke his leg in the attempt, but the other was soon running away at full tilt. Vandamar cast light on his staff and flew after it, but quickly lost sight.
      • Inside, after yet another door was forced, the other 4 members of the party rushed into the tower proper. Stephanos and Kodar rushed upstairs to the oil-soaked roof, while Destin and Cadoc remained to check the rest of the closed doors. Passing a room, two Dark Gnomes burst out and attacked! One of them was immediately rewarded with a nasty blow from Destin, which left large arterial spurts continually gushing from his midsection. Cadoc, assuming that a nearby door led into the same room as the Spriggen was attacking from rushed in, but found a nice Well Room instead. Running then through the next door, he entered the armory, and was then able to flank the Spriggen Destin was engaging. After the first was finished off, Destin ran off up the stairway to assist, allowing Cadoc to finish the last.
      • Upstairs, hearing Vandamar’s shout (and dropping a flask of Alchemists fire for good measure into the deep, magical pit they encountered), Stephanos and Kodar ran downstairs first past Destin and then past Cadoc to get outside.
    • Kodar was only able to track the Spriggen’s tracks to the nearest river, but then had to admit defeat. Returning to the keep afterwards, the party found several spellbook pages as well as a large map showing Varnhold and the surrounding country.In the Well Room, 4 potions of Waterbreathing were found in the Well Run. Kodar, jumped in the well, and discovered an underwater tunnel leading off somewhere. On one of the Spriggen corpses, an ancient and elaborate bow was found. Kodar noticed that the markings matched those on the charcoal drawings of the Jade Bracelet, and declared this bow to be of Nomen creation.
    • The party rested in the “keep” for the evening.

  • 05/08

    • In the morning, Cadoc cast “Speak with the Dead” on one of the Spriggen corpses. The party learned of the location of the Spriggen base (Talon Peak), but were hard pressed to get anything else of value from it. Kodar spent 2 hours gearing up for a fantastic voyage in the well tunnel, only to find that it terminated at the river, a good 500 feet away.
    • The party crossed the river, and encountered a tannery with 3 drying Centaur hides, as well as a hog Keeper’s farm. However, nothing else of importance was found, so the party decided to head for Talon’s Peak. Oddly enough during the journey westward, each member felt as if they were being observed by something.
    • Near the end of the day’s travel, a ruined tower high on the mountain marked the beginning of the pass. As evening was falling, cursory examination was given to the area before setting up camp at the foot of the sheer cliff, below the tower.
    • During 3rd watch, as Cadoc was polishing his favorite flagon, two crossbow bolts came from nowhere, one hitting him in the neck!

      • Kodar, who was sharing the watch, began randomly firing his shotgun out at the darkness, fanning towards the general area the bolts came from, which awoke the rest of the party. As Cadoc ran towards the foot of the cliff to heal his punctured alcohol-conveyance passage, a bolt hit him squarely between the shoulder blades. Stephanos observed the bolt’s trajectory, cast “Detect Evil”, and got a confirmation somewhere in the darkness behind Cadoc.
      • Following Stephanos’s directions, Destin ran out and forced the assassin from its hiding spot. Before being brought down and tied up, the Spriggen got two more shots off at Cadoc.
      • After pulling out a shocking number of crossbow bolts, Cadoc healed enough to get through the rest of the night.

  • 05/09

    • This day spent resting and questioning the Spriggen who attacked the night previous. The Spriggen have apparently been in the area for about 3 weeks, and have indeed taken up residence in a large tower. His crossbow was special; in that once a target was designated, the bolts fired had a sort of seeking property imbued on them, making it nigh impossible to miss.
    • Late afternoon, after dispatching the assassin, Kodar was fiddling with his spyglass yet again, and this time saw what looked to be an extremely large bird high up on the cliff next to the tower. Needless to say, the party was very quiet from that point on.

  • 05/10

    • With Cadoc able to speak again, the party rode to the areas East of Varnhold towards where the Centaurs supposedly lived.
    • After a while, the party encountered a bunch of 8-foot high mounds, covered by 3-foot high stones. Opening up a book found back at Varnhold, Kodar mentioned that these were probably Burial Mounds created by the Centaurs.
    • As the party approached the Burial Mound, 3 manticores leapt out of hiding high into the air, and attacked!

      • Cadoc, having received 2 days of sleep and no hangover, was quick to respond, and cast “Searing Ray” on the nearest. Vandamar followed up with “Fireball”, hitting all three. Stephanos challenged one of the others, and Kodar shot it with his shotgun.
      • The third Manticore, perhaps noticing that Destin did not have any ranged weapons and was running around gesturing with his daggers in a threatening manner, swooped down and raked him with its talons, while the one unchallenged by Stephanos did the same to Vandamar.
      • Vandamar responded with “Phantasmal Killer”, and killed the manticore mid-flight in a poof of expanding feathers. Kodar aimed and connected with an amazing shot that sent another to the ground, as the last went for Destin again.
      • As the Manticore swooped down, Destin sidestepped and embedded his daggers into its body and was pulled off of his feet and in the air. Kodar’s shot with a pistol brought it down for good.

    • Cliffhanger!

  • End Session 6

View
Session 5
The Journal Of Kodar Nash

The Journal of Kodar Nash (Game Date 5 MAR 2011)

August 24
No images of trolls troubled my short sleep last night. It is my hope that we have seen the last of such vile creatures in these lands for they serve only to defile and destroy the past and ruin the present.

On our journeys this morning we finally located the lair brought to our attention by the gnomes we assisted by the lake some time ago. The distinctive feather they carried matched those outside the cave entrance. A lighted rock thrown into the opening revealed nothing thus, as has become standard practice, I was asked to scout the initial part of the den as a common thief would search a house for treasure knowing not who might be at home. Cadoc and Vandamar cast spells upon me, whether out of concern for my well-being or lack of faith in my abilities I am not sure, before I entered the lair. Vandamar was able to make me invisible, which was both a blessing and a curse as it later turned out.

Staying close to the walls, I circumnavigated the dark, round cave discovering three passageways out of this central room. The first passage I arrive at as I moved to the left had the distinctive sound of insects moving about. From the second to the middle of the cave room emerged a faint wooting. This with the feathers at the entrance caused us to suspect owlbears – a suspicion that would later be confirmed. The last passage produced a foul odor of decaying plants and possibly meat as I proceeded by. A more unusual collection of environs I doubt I could imagine.

Having safely returned with a report on the initial room, we steeled ourselves to dispatch the contemptible owlbears within as the group entered the burrow. However, what I failed to notice given the lighting and my original path through the central room and what failed to notice me given my previous invisible state was a collection of man-sized mushrooms in the middle of the room. The strange fungal creatures attack us with stretched out limbs when we approached. Our group acted quickly hacking into them with sharpened steel – myself included so as to not make the loud noise brought about by igniting nitrate and sulfur – as they attacked. Unfortunately our efforts to be stealthy were quickly undone for these large mushrooms let out a piercing wail as Stephanos and Cadoc cut them down assisted by Vandamar and I. Our instinct to approach quietly was validated, however, by the arrival of what was later determined to be a Shambling Mound from the passage reeking of decomposition.

Vandamar reacted instantly by sending a ball of fire – the size of which I estimate to be the raw equivalent to two stones worth of black powder – at the creature. The fireball appeared effective but the creature remained. Perhaps if Vandamar could channel that energy into a chamber containing a very large shot it would produce greater results. I must remember to mention this possibility to Uncle in my next correspondence home. Nonetheless, driven by anger at the act or perhaps a fondness for elf-flesh, the mound charged at Vandamar. Stephanos and Cadoc proceeded to intervene with melee weapons. Unfortunately, in what has also become standard practice, the creature enveloped Stephanos in his entirety. I dropped the rapier drawing and releasing scattergun shot at the mound to what was a disappointing effect. Stephanos briefly emerged from the disgusting mound only to be swallowed again as the creature moved after Vandamar who proceeded to back away while firing arrows at it. I finally ended the mound’s existence with a well-placed blast from the scattergun though this did not end this battle – a swarm of centipedes materialized from the carcass and, as their host before them, chased after Vandamar. Several flasks of liquid fire eventually finished these off.

Exploring the passage from which the shambling mound appeared, we found a room full of rot and decay. We discovered a small crevasse that we later learned led out of the lair to the grassy slopes above. We also found a small natural hallway leading out of the room to the north. I followed this corridor which led to a perch above a pool into another large room. Having limited light and no good way to continue down quietly I returned to the group. It is upon my return that slipped and stepped on a section of the natural floor that appeared loose. The floor was loose indeed as it gave way and I fell several yards before being able to catch myself. Though painful, it was a matter of fortune that I did stop my decent as there was a pool of green slime at the bottom. I’m not sure which it was but there are certainly many historical records that end with “… an unusual green slime appears before us.” Embarrassingly, I was fished out of this hole by my compatriots and will endeavor to not make such a clumsy mistake again.

Continuing back to the main room, we went next to the passage on the left – the one that sounded to be full of insects. Figuring no good could come of walking into such a hive, Vandamar let loose a fireball in the room. This destroyed a cacophony of webs and small pests in addition to revealing a grouping of large spiders. Spiders. Why did it have to be spiders? I ended one right quick with a blast from the scattergun. With the others joining in, we made short word of the hideous arachnids.

Through this room we found an opening into a large room with one giant owlbear and a giant owlbear corpse. The emotional state of the owlbear as determined by its posture, movements, and the unusual noises it was making suggests that it was mourning the death of the other owlbear. What’s more, the owlbear was wearing studded leather armor. These unusual characteristics point to an outside influence on the owlbears.

The fierceness and predictability violent characteristics of these creatures meant that we could not leave this one to grieve. The fight was difficult. Vandarmar and Cadoc cast spells and blessings which were markedly useful. A spell Vandamar calls “haste” and Stephanos is a big admirer of worked well to give us additional attacks to each of the foul creature’s. Unfortunately each of the hits from the enormous owlbear sent Stephanos and Cadoc flying through the air. Thankfully the scattergun performed well and a final blast of fire from Vandamar dispatched it. Stephanos decided to take the owlbear’s head, presumably as a trophy. To our surprise, we found an owlbear offspring. This development further explains the difficulty in defeating the larger beast. We have decided to keep the owlbear for the time being. Stephanos insists that we call it “Billy” which causes me to stifle a laugh since I haven’t told him yet that it is a female.

With quiet in the room, I noticed a buzzing coming from the ceiling and spied a thick spider web covering an opening in the center. The webs were cleared with a well-placed alchemist fire. Grapple and rope permitted me to get a better look. To my surprise, a pair of what I believe were ettercaps were sulking about in a small room above. These horrific creatures, whether oblivious to the goings-on of the fight with the owlbear creature or simply scared motionless I am not sure, appeared otherwise unaware of my presence. After climbing down I informed Stephanos who then proceeds to engage the dim-witted aberrations in a rather dry discussion about who’s land they are on. Thankfully Vandamar put an end to the debate (to use the term loosely) by casting that ball of fire spell he enjoys to no end into their room causing them to flee though an opening to the outside. Investigating the room we find a corpse with a few items on him but nothing of particular interest to denote who he was or where or when he was from.

Back down in the main lair, a large main room connected the room where we encountered the owlbears and the initial entry room with the mushrooms. This is the same room I could see from the passage leading from the room the shambling mound emerged. In this room we found the body a northern barbarian clearly mauled by the giant owlbear. On his body were several items and trinkets but of greater interest was the map he carried which clearly marked Olgesburg and this owlbear nest. Though what this degenerate’s intentions were once he arrived here, Stephanos suggested and I agree that this points to a conspiracy of outside forces. I shall endeavor to find out more about this plot when I return to Olgesburg.

With the group in relatively good shape, we attended to our minor wounds and finished exploring the immediate area. Unfortunately, nothing else of interest was uncovered.

Tonight, Stephanos and I had a lengthy discussion about our next direction. Clearing out nest after nest of unusual creatures may be of interest to warriors, fortune seekers, and zoologists but holds little interest to those attempting to uncover history. I’m convinced we need to make our move to the location marked on the dwarven map we discovered some time ago – before others of less scholarly intent get there first. Stephanos expressed concern for the legalities of such a mission and returning to Olgesburg to conduct our duties to the kingdom – a responsibility I begrudgingly accepted and which has lately felt like a yoke upon my shoulders. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t legal argument nor fear of the town collapsing in on itself that persuaded Stephanos – rather it was extracting a promise from me that on the next decision that he made and I disagreed with I would not offer protest. That and we finish exploring the area immediately west of our current position.

I estimate we shall be to the dwarven fort in three days time.

August 25th
We explored the area to the west of the owlbear’s lair for what seemed like a full week as I pulled the party along through the whole day. I’m not sure whether a carrot hung from a stick in front of Cadoc’s mount’s nose or an ale hung from a stick in front of the mount’s rider would be more effective in moving them along but another day of this meandering and I may have to conduct this experiment.

Exploring this area was made a fair deal longer by Stephanos and Cadoc concocting some sort of strange communication ability with Olgesburg – perhaps Cadoc whispers into his god’s ear who then whispers in the ear of the message recipient. In either event, Stephanos appeared to be more at ease with our extended duration away from Olgesburg with this ability. I have to admit, it seems like it will be very useful.

There was little to note in this area. The only item of interest was a ferry station on the east side of the lake that has been abandoned for some time. No indications of the civilization that constructed were found. Perhaps future clues will provide more illumination on the matter.

August 26th
Finally, we have set out for the dwarven fort to the east.

August 27th
On this evening we reached the dwarven fort and it has exceed my wildest imagination. We have arrived outside a massive dwarven structure high in the mountains. Though the map put us on the barely existent mountain path that lead here, it was Vandamar that discovered the end of the path and the fortress entrance was obscured by an illusion making the path appear to end naturally against the mountain.

I must admit that I rush my duties in setting up camp this evening to have more time to examine this large door into the fortress. The door displays a hammer in the style to suggest that it is a symbol of Rog, father of Torrog, if I am correct. Indeed a grand find to be sure. I look forward to exploring its secrets in the morning.

August 28th
The dwarven structure contains many interesting and perplexing items that I shall attempt to recount here.

Opening the main door to this fortress required surprisingly little effort. However, more surprising was this unusual purple mist, about knee high, that permeated the corridor and, as we would later discover, the entire complex explored today. No ill effects from the mist have been observed… yet.

Entering the fortress, the architecture was striking and of the legendary quality expected of dwarven craftsmanship. We started to the right as shown on the map on the next page. This lead to a grand hall of sorts with reliefs on the walls showing many different races enjoying a good time. This was in sharp contrast to the floor, which was entirely littered with dwarven and human bodies just below the mist. After examining the bodies – appearing recently dead – we were able to determine that the dwarfs and human were fighting each other resulting in a bloody battle with no visible survivors.

A dais along the wall opposite from the end we entered held an alter with a golden hammer and pick resting on it and a large, gold-flecked rock next to it. Also unusual was that the mist, which was emanating from the door to the left, was retreating from the dais. Stephanos picked up the hammer and pick and proceed to strike the large rock. This caused the dais to move forward and up as it revealed a mechanized door behind it. At the same time, three of the dwarven bodies in the mist stood up and attempted to attack us. Vandamar’s magic appeared to have failed him as it did little to stop their advance. Stephanos and Cadoc were able to make short work of the undead dwarves. The scattergun was useful but over-pressurized during the fight and required time to fix it. The party was keen to wait while I repaired the scattergun and, expecting more dead dwarves to reanimate, busied themselves with dismembering corpses. A ghoulish task but a decision that was validated by two more dwarves standing up 20 minutes later. Again they were cut down and this was repeated twice more before the gun was repaired. With no apparent mechanism to open the hidden door from the inside, we opted to leave this passage for later and proceeded to explore the rest of the stronghold.

Proceeding through the west door and moving north to the room marked ‘2’ on the map, we discovered a room with several broken down chairs, shaving and shearing equipment, and a wall adorned with beards hanging from spikes. Exercising caution, Vandamar used a spell to retrieve a pair of golden shears we could see from the door.

Room 3, toward the entrance of the complex, was the find that made the trip worthwhile for it contained a library of heavy stone books. These books were numbered but not in numerical order on the shelves. Of note, the books skip number 101. Hopefully we will find it in a different location in the complex. Despite my desire to stay and study these ancient tomes, the facility was not secured thus we proceed to a door we passed in the hall to this library.

Opening this door into Area ‘4’ on the map, we were immediately struck by the unusual wall construction. Instead of cut and smoothed stone, the walls were made of runes – layers of runes in fact – that told the story of someone called Narune. The runes on the surface told the more recent accounts of Narune and moved to the earlier parts of his life the deeper the layer. A ten foot diameter pool in the center of the hallway intersection appeared to contain not only water but gems and jewels. Almost certainly a trap for grave robbers. Vandamar attempted to coax a gem out with magic but it did not move. Stephanos tossed in a coin but it disappeared through the bottom of the pool. Examining closer, Vandamar determined that it was conjuration magic.

We moved onto the room to the south. Room ‘5’ did not contain any thing within but the runes detailed Narune’s relationships. Similarly, the room to the norther (Room ‘7’) contained nothing but the walls described the Narune’s childhood.

East of the room with the pool, an odd shimmering figure was in the middle of Room ‘6’. I would attempt to describe its features but it constantly changed them every few seconds, seeming to randomly select different aspects from a menagerie of creatures within. Could this be Narune? Nothing other than appearing to be imprisoned within a structure discussing Narune supported this as it did not seem to react to its name or any other attempts at communication for that matter. We were able to discern that the creature was moving toward us at an almost unperceptively slow rate. Stephanos approached it and offered it the hammer. Upon touching it the hammer disappeared into the creature. Perhaps out of frustration, Stephanos threw the pike at it, which also disappeared into the creature without effect. We decided to return to this later.

When trying to exit the area with the runes, we were met by several dozen animated dead dwarves at the door. They did not cross the threshold into the rune area and were not persuaded to move so we were able to safely dispatch them with arrows. Being near this apparently tempting (perhaps an effect of the illusionary magic) pool, Vandamar removed the leg of one of the dwarves and inserted it into the water to no effect. I suppose inspired by this act, Stephanos reached into the pool with his non-sword hand and his vision has now shifted to see only in the thermal spectrum of light. With no change to this after several minutes and concern that he would not be able to see creatures in thermal equilibrium with the walls and floor of the dungeon (i.e. the dead dwarves), we have exited the structure and made camp outside building but within the illusion for added protection.

August 29th
Stephanos’s vision returned to normal during the night.

Attempting to re-enter the complex, we were met at the door by 35 of the dead dwarves. Seeking some clarity on the unusual nature of the things inside, Cadoc was able to cause one of the dead dwarves to answer six questions. From these, we were told
1. Narune died and was entombed.
2. The dwarves were guarding the emperor and his banes.
3. The banes are tools to ensure peace.
4. The dwarves do not know what the creature in the rune area is.
5. The emperor is “below.”
6. Nothing will release them from the charge.
With no other option, we dispatched these dwarves in the previous method.

Going through the door to the west of Room ‘1’, Room ‘8’ was filled with the purple mist, which was emanating from a three flaming seed pods in a large fire pit near the middle of the room. Stephanos tripped over a body obscured by the mist. He then picked the body up and threw it on the fire. It was at this time we noticed a breadless dwarf sitting motionless and upright next to the fire in a symbol. He was breathing but completely unresponsive.

We were able to extinguish the seeds and then went to play with the shifting creature that Stephanos has dubbed the Chaos beast. Stephanos surmised that the comatose dwarf and the Chaos beast were linked and opposite in nature. The Chaos had moved several feet closer to the pool since we had last been in the fortress. Stepahnos tried to attack it but his blade was ineffective against it. Continuing to obsess over the pool, Vandamar tries to retrieve some water from it but it seemed to lose its effectiveness when removed from the pool.

Returning to Room ‘8’, Stephanos pulls the breadless dwarf from the symbol and lays him on a stone bed in the room. After nothing changed, Vandamar proceeds to place the comatose body on the alter in the next room. Continuing in our random acts, Cadoc reignites the seeds which explode with vigor and issue forth more of the purple mist. We left the room to recover but my headache from the high concentration of this mist still continues.

Searching for answers, I returned to the library and found a listing of the book titles. An index would have been more useful as Vandamar and I reviewed two them but they did not provide immediate answers to the situation.

Stephanos was able to find a way to pick up a seed, which he threw into pool and it extinguished again. At my suggestion, Stephanos threw the seed at the creature which caused it to shrink to nonexistence dropping the hammer and pick in the process.

Having defeated – or perhaps released – the chaos beast, we continued to the east and found an unremarkable room other than the appearance of a two foot wide shaft descending into the floor.

With the hammer and pick again in our possession, we returned to Room ‘1’ and opened the hidden door. Through a small passage we found a small room with a fountain in each of the four corners, cryptic writes on their bases. Proceeding to the north, the sound of rushing water was unmistakable. We entered a cavern so large neither our torches nor sounds we made provided any indication of where the opposite walls were. Exploring the cavern quickly revealed a shore bisecting the area with the water extending beyond torchlight. Three large towers were arrayed along the shore, two of which were connected by hefty ropes to large metal tubes. Both tubes had an opening on the top with a door and a series of cranks.

Assuming these tubes were designed to take us elsewhere in the complex, the rest of the group was interested in revisiting the unconscious dwarf and the pool. I would spare this journal the thought processes of the various things done to the dwarf in attempting to revive him but that would require my understanding of that thought process. The end result saw the unconscious dwarf being lowered into the strange pool by where the chaos beast appeared. When nothing appeared to be happening, Stephanos pulled up the rope to find that the dwarf was no longer attached. Vandamar then decided to stick his head into the pool, for unknown reasons, and then emerged with a glowing butterfly circling his head, for equally unknown reasons. Either under the influence of this mystical butterfly or perhaps thinking this was a good thing to be repeated, Vandamar again stuck his head into the pool. This time, though, the pool turned into solid ice. We proceeded to chip Vandamar out of it before he suffocated.

Returning to the cavern with the tubes, we began experimenting with the levers and cranks in the tubes. We sought to retrieve the missing submerged tube to derive any clues about where they lead to and climbing the middle tower we discovered a lone undead dwarf at the top. After quickly dispatching him, we proceeded to turn the crank at the top of the tower. Amazingly this took the better part of an hour to see the tube at the water’s surface.

Upon opening the tube’s hatch, Vandamar – keeping with his current modus operandi – stuck his head inside to take look. Overcome by an ancient foul mold, Vandamar coughed briefly but then wheeled around and cast a couple of spells, seemingly at random. He recovered a short while later, hopefully thinking better of leading with his head in this circumstance. He decided to rest. I have sat down to write this and I plan to start in on the tome entitled Divide and Conquer.

After resting, we climbed into one of the tubes and Stephanos started turning the crank to slowly let the sub out. Stephanos did a heroic job keeping the tube from being tossed around in the very rough sounding waters. After a long half hour, the current appeared to soften and a while later the tube came to a rest. Carefully opening the hatch, we found that we stopped at the edge of a sandy shore within a large cavern and were able to pull ourselves in using a grappling hook and line. Looking back across the water it is clear we traversed a rather large waterfall to reach this location.

The small area of sand was the entrance to a clearly well-made section of halls. At the entrance were stone statues with scripts referring to staring into the eyes of the stone lizard. Entering the halls, we were surprised to hear the sounds of screams in this apparent ancient complex. We headed down the hall toward the screaming, which turned out to be an upside-down shark with thousands of mouths. Lead by a charge by Stephanos, this oddity was quickly taking care of.

A pair of hallways split off from symmetrically from the main corridor. One hallway led to a room of faded and indistinguishable murals. The opposite hallway led to a fully collapsed ceiling. Upon closer inspection we discovered four skeletons displaying symbols from the House of Rogavia of Brevoy amongst the debris and ruin forever sealing off its history. We rested again.

September 1st
There was a time today when I believed that the previous day’s entry would have been my last.

The next day we continued down the large main corridor into a room as tall as it is wide. A pair of massive door in the middle of the opposite wall held a symbol of Rog, that Cadoc tells us glows divine. A large fire pit in the middle of this room lined with mother of pearl gave the room a majestic allure. Alcoves on the sides appeared to at one time housed stairs leading to platforms near the ceiling. Vandamar flew up to the platform on one side where he found yet another undead dwarf – these things appear in the darnedest places. We were able to easily pick off this dwarf and his equally silent companion on the opposite platform. While up at the ceiling, Vandamar discovered a large diamond directly over the fire pit. With some further searching Vandamar found what he described as switches in cased in glass. Vandamar flew Stephanos up to one of the platforms and then the two of them flipped both switches at the same time opening the large doors.

The large doors lead into a long hallway with catwalks 30 feet in the air on both sides of the wall. Vandamar and I walked along one catwalk while Stephanos and Cadoc walked along the other. That was when I spotted the roller. We made haste back to the entrance as it came rolling at us with the catwalk sections giving way just ahead of it. We just made it before the roller smashed into the wall. My annoyance at my failure to notice the trap’s trigger is only surpassed by my utter irritation at not checking for traps on the doors revealed by the rolled. Gas spewing from a false door caught everyone. Thankfully it was nonlethal. The next door was a small hall leading to a small room with five sarcophagi. Four sarcophagi were closed and slid back into the wall. A fifth, open and inlaid with an elf symbol, was engraved with the phrase “Give that which is only used in peace.” After a short discussion, the shears, hammer and pick were placed inside. The coffin closes and slides back into the wall revealing the elf-bane hammer.

After resting and returning to the upper complex by way of the tube, we returned to the shaft in Room 10, past where the chaos beast was encountered. Having noticed an issuing of flame at the bottom of the trap last time we were here and suspecting a fire trap, I asked Cadoc to use his magic to help me resist the fire (he mentioned something about Caden Calain’s winter brewing process) and Stephanos lowered me down the shaft via a rope. As I passed the lower edge of the shaft, the glow of a fire slug showed the source of flames. I was hoisted back up where we regrouped and returned in a more rapid fashion. The fire slug was eliminated with minimal hair loss.

Following the passage we came upon an immense and pitch black chasm, the only thing our torch light could find was an arching 10 foot wide bridge so long that its slope upward was nearly imperceptible. Vandamar cast levitate on me as a precaution and I stepped out on the bridge. I walked until the torches of the party became a faint glow. When I got near the opposite side, that rest of the party proceeded to join me. As they approached, I observed movement at the now nearside landing, which turned out to be a winged and feathered serpent with a shrill so loud it could easily damage someone caught near its blast. We eventually dropped the beast through ranged attacks and Stephanos engaging it by sword using an airwalk spell but not before Cadoc was hit with the beast’s sound waves causing him to lose his balance. Fortunately, Cadoc was able to regain his footing without issue.

Once safely across the arch, we proceeded through a long corridor, stopped by a barred door with statue guards on either side and what appeared to be offering bowls at their feet. We tried placing several different items in the bowls – gold pieces, pebbles, water – with no reaction from the silent sentinels. Stephanos, inspired by boredom, attempted and successfully lifted the enormous bar from the door.

Inside the vault or prison was a find of immense historical and deadly significance. Twelve sarcophagi were arrayed around a large, central sarcophagus that was guarded by a giant golem poised to destroy the person opening the larger sarcophagus and potentially the sarcophagus as well. The large sarcophagus was later determined to contain the remains of Mar Rune, along with – to Stephanos’s delight – the Hammer of Mar Rune. Two boxes, labeled “Forbidden Knowledge” and “Sacred Knowledge”, were also in the room, which, of course, had to be opened. Opening one of the smaller sarcophagi revealed a dwarf in ceremonial armor and armed with an ax. The other 11 had very similar contents. Expecting these to become animated at some point, Stephanos wisely suggested removing the axes and resealing.

Meanwhile, I examined the central sarcophagus and, after careful study, could find no way to uncouple the coffin from the golem’s hammer. Stephanos decides to open the large sarcophagus and was fortunately able to avoid the hammer. As expected, this triggered the dwarves in the remaining 12 sarcophagi to spring up from their tombs.

What happened next was a chaotic jumble of sword and smoke combining my own perceptions and those stated by Stephanos and Vandamar that I hope to justice to. Cadoc cast a blessing and retreated through the door at Stephanos’ command. Unfortunately, the two statues outside the door then closed and re-barred it before the rest of us could follow. Vandamar flew up above the reach of the dwarves. Stephanos threw potions of Gaseous Form to Vandamar and me. I consumed mine and slid under the door to join Cadoc. Cadoc and I proceeded to attack the two statues guarding the door as we had no hopes of being able to focus on unbarring the door while under attack. On the other side of the door, Vandamar was able to use his pit spell to great effect permitting Stephanos to engage and destroy the ones undead dwarves. Vandamar dispatched the pitted dwarves with a series of fireballs and lightning bolts, which were faintly heard between scattergun blasts on our side of the door. Cadoc and I eventually wrecked the statues on our side – one completely devastated by Cadoc obliterating what had to be the pin holding it together. With the statues gone, Cadoc and I were able open the door in time to help with defeating the golem, which was fortunately immobilized due to placement of the pits and greatly aided in us ultimately being successful in clearing the room.

Unfortunately all of the ceremonial armor was destroyed and unsuitable for study – I must remember to remove that at the same time as the weapons next time. We recovered the Hammer of Mar Rune and proceeded to leave the dwarven fortress, content with our otherwise substantial archeological finds.

Arriving at the outskirts of Olegsburg on September 8th, we could observe significant damage to the town from what we would late discover to be from the result of an owlbear attack. As we got closer to the town, Wallace, who was no doubt eagerly awaiting our return (perhaps to chastise us for being absent while the town was assaulted), road out to meet us. It was at this time that the multi-colored butterfly circling Vandamar’s head flew like a shot at Wallace and exploding upon impact, killing him instantly – an unbelievable and supernatural event certain to have interesting ramifications.

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Session 4
Plate Armor is as heavy as it is shiny...
  • 05/02

    • As our party arrived back into the busy and growing ”city” of Olegsburg after our last adventure, we were met by a purple-faced Wallace berating us for being irresponsible by not tending to our duties often enough. Kodar muttered something about removing a rod from Wallace’s behind.
    • After Wallace ran out of steam, he informed us that there were people impatiently waiting to talk to us, mostly about the bands of trolls that had been spotted recently. Our very own ponytailed Paladin smiled at Wallace encouragingly, and told him to announce that court would be held immediately, causing the steward to shut up and begin preparations.
    • As soon as Stephanos sat down on his “throne” and donned the ceremonial tiara (which, coupled with the ponytail, reminded Cadoc of a wench he owed a favor to…), Wallace opened the doors and a line of people came through.
    • Wallace ran through the usual dry rot about financial growth, cabbage shortages, rat infestations in cellars, barrel smashing, fey mischief, etc. As Stephanos lovingly polished his breastplate to a blinding sheen, Wallace mentioned that the barbarian werewolf Kuhn Dahl had indeed made his way towards the temple of Erastil, to assist Father Jhod in his holy duties (A.K.A. demolishing the stores of sacramental wine).
    • As Wallace’s hoarse voice petered out, Destin stepped up (considering the various backstab places on the traitorous sword-lord spy as he did) with some rumors:

      • It’s been said that a dragon has been sighted, and a 1200 gold bounty has been set for its removal.
      • Tales of a hideously large Worg prowling around eating babies and pissing into the milk bottles after the milkman leaves them have reached Destin’s ears, and a 1200 gold piece reward has been announced for its head.
      • Destin’s discrete nod towards Wallace and a pleading look towards Stephanos prompted a quick surreptitious vote by the party members – not yet, but soon.
    • With that, the petitioners began to step forward:

      • “Arvin the Fisherman” approached the courtly camp-chair, preceded by a rank smell of half-rotted scales and sour booze. In spite of this, the party did notice that he had some very nice tackle.

        • With waving arms and with cunning use of only 3 teeth, Arvin explained that an ancient nemesis had staked out his best secret fishing hole.
        • The name is “Ol’ Crackjaw”, A giant turtle who posesseth chompers of steely doom.
        • He asked us if we could please get rid of this menace, and in return, he would let us use the waterhole (E of Tuskwater). After years of nothing but steak, beef jerky, beef stew, lamb shanks, and pig hocks, the party was most eager to assist Arvin for a chance of a change of diet.
      • Next, a large man clad in overalls, an eye-wateringly bright plaid shirt, and an impressive mustache introduced himself as “Staash”, a lumberjack.

        • With wild eyes, Staash spat out “I seen a Hodag one night in the woods west of the Tuskwater”. “My friends say I was two pots shy of a cooking set, and maybe I did hit the poteen that night, but I saw it, and my missing spear can prove it!”
        • (Kodar mumbled into Stephanos’ ear that a Hodag was a large reptile covered in spines, with the demeanor of an angry badger.)
        • “It had claws, teeth, and spines, and when it came at me, I done hit it in the side with my magic spear, and it turned around and ran into the bushes” Staash blurted out. “Mr. Stephanos, if you kill this Hodag, you can keep the spear, but bring me the head so I can show my friends that I ain’t crazy”. With that, Staash marched off.
      • Finally, an attractive young woman with an overflowing bosom… err, personality, sashayed up and introduced herself with fluttering eyelashes as “Lilly Teskerton, a local businesswoman with a fine room at the inn and a penchant for elven antiques”.

        • Her line of business is “entertainment”, and she is looking to start up a larger business. To fill this new establishment, her idea is to use fine elven crafting in its construction (which prompted Vandamar to straighten up, to better display his fine elven … construction), and to fill it with elven antiques. She heard that this area is full of elven ruins, and anything retrieved from such places would be exactly what she is looking for.
        • Stephanos manfully had someone produce the erotic elven woman statue we retrieve from the Fey castle of hell. She clapped her hands (which made other attributes clap as well…), and offered her dad’s old cloak in return (Which Vandamar duly identified as a cloak of protection +1, and Nuk verified that no poison was used in the cloak’s creation.)
        • Before she left, Stephanos asked her if she would be willing to enter into a business agreement – If we built the “establishment” for her, would she be willing to recruit the staff. She accepted, blew us all kisses, and left, leaving her perfume behind.

  • 05/03 – 05/07

    • Worked on the administrative side of our “city”.

  • 05/08

    • Wallace kicked Kodar awake this morning, and shouted “Trolls have attacked the temple!”
      “Father Jhod and assistants drove them away by setting the woods on fire, however 3 worshippers were killed!”
    • At this terrible news, we decided the time had come to deal with these dangerous creatures, so we armed up with Alchemists fire and Acid flasks, and travelled 15 hours to the temple to assess the damage.
    • Father Jhod was understandably happy to see us, and he reported that:

      • 3 trolls caused all of this damage, and came in looking for trouble.
      • They were clearly unafraid of anything but the fire which had decimated acres of forest.
      • Kuhn Dahl has proven to be very helpful.
    • Stephanos sat down for a time with Jhod and prayed to Erastil to ease the spirits of the deceased worshipers, and we handed over wads of cash for the temple to pay for a veritable armory of Acid Flasks.
    • We slept in the shadow of Erastils horny presence.

  • 05/09

    • Kodar led us for 15 hours following the large trail of tracks and mangled underbrush. At dark, we set up camp, and the night passed uneventfully.

  • 05/10

    • Kodar “Good-Boy, have a biscuit” Nash again led us tirelessly for another 15-hour tracking marathon. At dark, we camped without a fire.

  • 05/11

    • 30 Minutes after Kodar picked up the hard-to-miss trail, we encountered a hill, with what looks like a path leading up it.
    • Using his vast knowledge, Kodar enlightened us by saying that dwarves would mask their settlements in similar fashions, and indeed, at the end of the cliff-side trail, a corner of a weathered stone boulder was seen sticking out.

      • Moving up the trail and approaching the door, we heard what sounded like an argument in a low, guttural language. Vandamar wasted no time in helpfully translating the conversation, which sounded like a scholarly examination of the troll palate and the merits of consuming dwarven and elven flesh, raw and cooked (especially sauteed with some lemon zest, garlic, and some fine-quality olive oil).
      • Stephanos took a peek inside, and saw a dimly-lit room strewn with broken furniture with a couple of hallways leading away, and a few trolls laying on rancid furs picking their teeth with what looked like human ribs.
      • Never one to quail at a challenge or be daunted by lack of a plan, Stephanos boldly strode into the room, and declared in the name of his God that he planned on smiting those foul beings, and did they have a problem with it?!? The trolls kind of stared at him in puzzlement until Vandamar again took the liberty of playing translator. As soon as Stephonos’ words registered, the trolls leapt up in a rage and rushed him!

        • Vandamar struck first and cast “Grease” all over the floor (and the back of Stephanos’ once-shiny breastplate) with a sweep of his hand, and the first of the behemoths slipped and was stuck.
        • Stephanos, seeing his prey held fast, ran forward and dealt a might blow to the helpless troll. If his action set the game-plan for us to follow, our business now appeared simple: to inflict pain, and lots of it.
        • Cadoc ran forward and cast “Shield of Faith” on the blood-thirsty paladin while Kodar began to fire arrows. As Vandamar unsuccessfully tried to use his hot burning eyes on a troll, the party heard the sounds of a 3rd troll running up.
        • The troll appeared with a disgusting creature that appeared to be the cross of a pit-bull and a troll. Seeing new threat, Kodar leveled “Bessy”, his large shotgun, and blew the mired troll into gooey giblets. Vandamar attempted to finish the troll off with a fireball that also managed to set all of the broken furniture on fire.
        • Seeing the helpless troll burn to cinders, Stephanos turned to the second of the flesh scholars, and dealt it a terrible wound, but received one in return from the gross troll mutt.
        • Taking off his glove, Cadoc gave the paladin a fondle of love, healing some of his wounds while Vandamar opened a pit beneath the 3rd troll.
        • Somewhat recovered (and hearing Kodar drop his overheated shotgun to the ground) Stephanos turned and clove the dog in twain while the second troll backed up, putting out the fire on his clothes. Sensing victory, Vandamar cast the old standby “Grease” again underneath him, dropping him to the ground where Kodar used his 6-shooter to pump a slug into the trolls head.
        • As Stephanos pressed his attack on the downed second troll, another troll made its way up one of the hallways. Possessing some sort of 6th sense, Stephanos turned and skewered the newly arrived troll as it ran past, dropping it to the rock ground where Cadoc tossed an acid flask at it. What a man!
        • Meanwhile, Vandamar cast “Burning Hands” on the first two trolls as Kodar sent two more bullets into the second of the first two trolls. Cadoc, feeling useful, dropped yet another acid flask onto the newly arrived troll.
        • Kodar had a revelation, and began to gather all of the non-burning furniture pieces and piled them on top of the first two downed trolls, while Stephanos dropped a present on top of the troll in the pit in the form of an expensive flask of alchemist’s fire. Howls ensued from the dark hole.
        • As Vandamar cast burning hands on the first two downed trolls, the 3rd troll pulled its way out of the pit in a very bad mood, and Cadoc threw an acid flask at it in panic.
        • Stephanos ran over and began to whittle away at the troll, which gave Kodar enough time to pick up his now-cool shotgun and shoot the troll – the force of the shot shoved the troll back into the pit. Seeing this, Stephanos first shoved his sword into one of the many bonfires available, and stabbed the fallen 4th troll in the head with the flaming weapon, and tried manfully to ignore the sudden heat transferred through his all-metal gauntlets.
        • As Vandamar dropped yet another flask of fire onto lucky troll # 3 into the pit, Cadoc assisted Kodar with the kindling efforts, which proved fruitful when the fire over #1 caught, finally eliminating him.
        • Stephanos used his new trick of stabbing trolls in the brain with a fiery stick first on the second troll, and then again on the 3rd troll as it clambered its way out of the pit for the second and (as it proved) final time.
    • After a quick breather, we looked around in amazement at the incredible amount of gore lying on the ground. After considering going up a flight of stairs to what could be a lookout tower or down some stairs to what dimly looked like a mess hall, we decided to head downstairs.

      • In this large first room, a sturdy dwarven built table (long defaced with chiseled male troll appendages on the surface and other similar graffiti) ran nearly the length of the room, with two hallways branching off at the end. The table was set with a gruesome centerpiece, namely the headless body of a humanoid of some sort, long since unidentifieable. As Kodar gazed upon the ruined murals on the walls with sadness, Cadoc and Vandamar heard snarls coming from the hallway to the right.
      • Vandamar looked around the corner and observed two of the gruesome troll hounds chained to the wall. Stephanos, being the courageous champion of all that is clean and fresh-smelling decided to torture these hounds from afar by trying to manfully shoot one (and manfully missed. Thus enraged, the hounds broke free and charged!

        • Kodar pulled out his scattergun from its sling in one smooth gesture, and blew off the head of the nearest one. Its forward velocity was great enough that the corpse slid towards him a good 9 feet, leaving a satisfying blood trail behind it.
        • Cadoc attempted to do the same with his crossbow against the second but missed… the shame.
        • With a slight sneer at Cadoc’s ineptitude, Stephanos made a hound ka-bob on his pig-sticker (crit!), and proudly displayed it to the party.
      • Moving down the other hallway, the expansive and filthy remains of a store-room are seen.
    • What’s also noticed is a large, roughly circular hole in the wall that leads to a tunnel deeper in the earth.
      Before charging down in a march of glory, Kodar turned around and checked up the stairs in the first room.
    • Kodar tiptoed up the stairs, encountering a growing foul smell as he reached the end. Pulling out his trench-broom, he jumped around the last corner… and stepped up to his knee into a particularly large pile of troll droppings. After wiping his leg on the wall (writing his name and snickering as he did), he continued up the stairs to a trapdoor cut into the roof, which led outside to the hill.
    • Returning downstairs to the rest of the party (who gave a collective wrinkle of the nose at Kodar’s new-found cologne), the party began the trek into the hole without resting, foolishly thinking that surely all of the trolls had been cleared out by now…

      • As the party entered the tunnel, they immediately noticed a passageway to the right filled with (not poison) trolls! Roll for initiative…

        • Kodar, thinking to get lucky again, swiped out his shotty and shot the first troll in the head, as Cadoc cast “Bless”, Stephanos moved to intercept, and Vandamar cast “Create Pit”, sending an unlucky second troll into the hole for some time-out.
        • After some truly terrible attempts to hit by both the party and the first troll, Vandamar cast “Cause Ridiculous Amounts of Stones to Drop From the Ceiling Loudly” to rain down on the troll.
        • As Stephanos took another swipe, the second troll heaved itself out of the pit, and Vandamar gave it a taste of the “Falling Rocks of Death” he so tenderly gave the first one, but noticed as he did that sounds were coming from farther down the main passage.
        • Stephanos dropped the first troll and turned towards the second as Cadoc dropped back slightly to cast “Prayer”. The second troll took a swipe at Stephanos, but ended up gauging a hole in the first downed trolls stomach instead.
        • Suddenly, the source of those sounds was revealed – As Stephanos was chopping merrily away at the second troll, the rest of the part beheld a monstrous two-headed troll coming out at them at top speed swinging a nasty looking club.
        • Vandamar, who realized that THIS was the reason he memorized a particular spell, cast “Deeper Slumber” on the brute, dropping the troll (s?) in peaceful sleep. Vandamar instantly regretted it as the snoring coming from 4 over-sized troll nostrils was almost too much for him to concentrate on his spells.
        • Seeing the snoozing mutation out of the corner of his eye caused Stephanos to hesistate, which opened him up for a gigantic blow from the second troll. Cadoc rushed forward and began stuffing the entrails back in as Stephanos wheezed out a “Smite” declaration on the offending beast.
        • Holding his head in pain, Vandamar turned and cast “Drop Boulders the Size of a Giants Manhood” onto the second troll, flattening it like a pancake.
        • To make matters worse, a 4th troll appeared, but with grey skin that glistened in the light. Kodar shouted something about a Cave Troll, which was joined by the fainter sound of bladders releasing amongst the party.
        • Seeing as his current adversary was pinned beneath rocks, Stephanos warily turned to confront this new challenge. Vandamar played French Maid and cleaned up after him, tossing a flask of alchemist’s fire on one of the trolls Stephanos felled.
        • Stephanos’ just-replaced pancreas came flapping back out after the Cave Troll made use of an opening. Seeing the large spray of blood its blow inflicted, the Cave Troll reared back and emitted a loud high-pitched scream like that of a school girl. To the party’s dismay, the sound of something coming up from behind the Cave Troll was heard in response to that scream.
        • Trying to clean the field before the next monster appeared; Vandamar cast “Burning hands”, catching the cave troll and the second of the fallen trolls in the spells fiery grasp. Not to be outdone, Kodar turned and tried a coup-de-grace on the other, but no cigar was to be had from his attempt.
        • Rallying himself, Stephanos put forth valiant effort and turned the cave troll into chunks, as Cadoc pulled his sewing kit out of his backpack yet again and attempted to piece Stephanos back together. However, before 3 stitches could be made, a huge troll holding a club and oddly wearing some jewelry emerged from where the Cave Troll emerged.
        • Vandamar, surprised by the appearance of yet another troll, mistakenly cast “Haste” instead of “Magic Missile” just before the Troll smiled nicely, and gripped its necklace… Sending a gigantic ball of fire ripping through the center of the room! Which, as it should be noted, also seemed to off the trolls regenerating on the ground.
        • Badly singed but moving really fast, Kodar stepped up next to Stephanos and together they began to attack the troll. In the background, Cadoc surged a few times, partially healing up the badly battered party.
        • After Stephanos landed a particularly disfiguring blow to the face, the troll touched his necklace again, catching Cadoc and Vandamar with it. On the next hit, Stephanos took the dirty bastard down. As Cadoc surged to further replenish their health, Vandamar cast “Acid-Splash” on the necklace-wearing fop while Stephanos relieved himself on the soon-to-be troll corpse.
        • Kodar tiptoed over to the two-headed mutant, and discovered that it was still enjoying whatever pleasant dreams two troll heads experience. Feeling sheepish for missing his coup-de-grace earlier, Kodar took careful aim and absolved himself. Vandamar pulled a flask of alchemist fire out (shaking a suspiciously yellow liquid off of it as he did) and finished the job.
      • Final tally at this massacre was 9 trolls (for a total of 10 heads!). In exporing the rest of these caverns, much of what the trolls were planning was discovered. On a large map, targets were clearly marked of places where civilization had begun to make its mark in this area of the world. The areas known for fey inhabitants were marked as to avoid at all costs. It was agreed that trolls alone did not possess the intelligence for planning of this scale.
      • Kodar found a small, older map that seemed to show the location of a dwarven city much farther south of this location, and a marked spot showing the location of the entrance.
    • The party rested that night in the ancient Dwarven outpost.

  • 05/12

    • The party spent the day exploring the rest of this area.

  • 05/13

    • The party set off to explore the heavily forested area East of the Watchtower.
    • Around midday, the party was set upon by a dragon-like creature that flew in from out of nowhere!
      It spat a cloud of acid that drenched us AND OUR HORSES!

      • Vandamar turned tail and fled, and to the rest of the party’s astonishment, the dragon ignored everyone else and followed him.
      • Stephanos turned, and made the most out of a lucky hit, sending meaty bits flying everywhere. After one more baleful glare at Vandamar, the beast died, and we harvested its head.
    • Towards nightfall the drake’s lair was found, in which a dead elven scount with tasty lootz was discovered. The party camped there for the uneventful night.

  • 05/14 – 05/15

    • The party traveled back to Tatzleford.

  • 05/16

    • The party arrived back in town around sundown, and collected the 1200 GP bounty for the drake’s head.

  • 05/17

    • The party travelled with the caravan to the watchtower and the keep, and dropped off the goods collected back in Tatzleford. That evening, the party began a trip back to Olegsburg.

  • 05/18 – 05/24

    • Travel to Olegsburg.

  • 05/25 – 06/01

    • While the rest of the party relaxed around town, spent bounty loot on drinks and sold loot, Vandamar was busy crafting wands and Kodar locked himself in a small shed full of gunpowder making ammunition for his firesticks.

  • 06/02 – 08/07

    • The party sobered up and attended to their official administrative duties in advancing their kingdom.

  • 08/08

    • Finally getting tired of polishing chair seats instead of armor, the party was ready to adventure again.
    • Starting from the new capitol of Centropolis (a new name is definitely in order…), which was really just a grassy field at the moment, the party decided that now was the time to finally face that most dangerous of opponents – Ol’ Crackjaw!

      • Just a short distance away, Kodar found the hidden trail to the secluded pool at the Tuskwater’s edge. A large, dark blurry shape is seen swimming around.
      • Still in the grip of a truly stupendous hangover, Cadoc continued from the trail into the water, confusedly splashing and making slurred remarks like “What sumbitch spilled his drink” and “why did the jakes overflow”. This of course immediately got the blur’s attention, and Cadoc was manhandled out of the pool by Stephanos just as the blur turned into a turtle with a nasty, serrated beak!
      • Vandamar had been prepared to “Shoot her!”, but at the last second, a hideous itching came over his body, making his crossbow bolt fly off-kilter. To his growing horror, it came from his recently-acquire bone robe. Kodar frowns at his scratching, and uses his rifle to shoot the turtle instead.
      • With the shot, the turtle lunged at Stephanos (the nearest target) who proceeded to cut his initials into the shell before cutting the head off in one swipe.
    • Vandamar, who had disrobed in the heat of battle, took a much closer at his bone-encrusted robe, and discovered that it was cursed object, that caused waves of itching and discomfort to roil across the wearer in the most inconvenient of times.
    • With Ol’ Crackjaw’s old and cracked jaw in tow (and Vandamar wearing only his smallclothes), the party travelled back to Centropolis to inform Arvin, who had moved there, of the good news. As payment for the glorious deed, Arvin handed over a ring he had found in the stomach of a pike.
    • Camping in the field of Centropolis that night, first watch reported some strange flickering lights coming from the island in the lake.

  • 08/09

    • Kodar woke the party this morning due to a commotion seen on the West bank of Candlemere Lake. At a half-mile way, Kodar mentioned that a bunch of lizard people had built a wooden palisade on a small island at the end of the river before the river dumped into the lake.
    • Our fearless leader called out in a strong, steady, even regal tone of voice to the lizardfolk, the effect of which was slightly spoiled when Vandemar had to translate.

      • We were told to “pike off”, as the island was theirs, and after a bit the king himself (King Veskitt) came up to insult us some more with vague, half-believable threats of cattle being thrown over the palisade walls at us if we did not leave.
      • Feeling charitable and hoping to earn some goodwill, Stephanos gestured grandly and granted the river and the Candlemere Lake area to the lizard tribe.
      • King Veskitt stared at Stephanos as the translation rolled in, muttered something about already owning the area, turned on his heel, and told us to scat.
    • After we scatted, we finished exploring the area.

  • 08/10

    • Today spent exploring the area West of the river mouth.

  • 08/11

    • Today, the party continued the west area of the barony.
    • By and by, Vandamar noticed a set of trees with really high roots, and thought that it could be a lair of some sort. Gathering closer, Kodar made the comment that it smelled like Cadoc after a week-long bender.

      • Glaring in response, Cadoc cast “Light” on a stone and threw it inside the roots, and was immediately rewarded when the Hodag charged out and attacked Stephanos, who was innocently tending to the horses.
      • As it ran past, Vandamar reached out and cast “Burning Hands”, sending flames shooting across its body, and as the rest of the party scrambled to adapt to this new situation, Vandamar cast “Displacement” on the stunned paladin.
      • Finally ready, Kodar sent some lead its way as Cadoc did the same with a tactful use of the spell “Searing Light”.
      • Stephanos, as he usually did so well, used his sword to part the Hodag’s head from its body.
    • After wrapping its head for Staash, the party spent the rest of the day exploring the area.

  • 08/12

    • A truly uneventful day filled with big-fish stories, flask swigs, and half-hearted attempts to explore the area SW of the Hodags lair.

  • 08/13

    • This day the party headed East. In the midmorning, Kodar’s finely-tuned senses brought us to a halt. Quietly approaching a clearing, the party beheld a gruesome picnic set up by 7 trolls eating from a large pile of dead. What the dead may have been in life was unknown, just that it was enormous.
    • Reminded of their most recent encounter with trolls, the party decided to give this group a wide berth, and spent the rest of the day exploring the rest of the area.

  • 08/14

    • Spent the day exploring the area East of the troll picnic area.
    • During the night, 2nd watch noted some howls in the distance north of the party’s camp, but it was ignored. When Vandamar expressed repeated concerns over an animal attack, Kodar mentioned that Vandamar could be placed in a bear bag if he felt it was necessary for protection. The prospect of spending the rest of the night in a swinging bag 20 feet above the forest floor shut him up.

  • 08/15

    • While taking a leak, Kodar discovered the tracks of a wolf-like animal that only had 2 feet, with the prints eventually fading away.
    • The party broke camp and spent the day exploring the forest northeast of camp.

  • 08/16

    • Day spent searching the area SE of the current position.

  • 08/17

    • Heading northeast this day, the party heard odd noises throughout the day that sounded like the crack of wood on stone, and wood on wood.
    • The noises quieted down as the party approached a small clearing, where something large was seen perched on a rock. Kodar went to scout, and on his return described it as a large man wearing bibs, wielding a club that appeared to be several trees lashed together.
    • We decided to approach the giant (who Stephanos detects to be evil), and were greeted by “What do you want” and a “Leave me alone”. Of course, this speech actually sounded like two wild porcupines mating to our ears, which made it better when Vandamar began acting as translator. The experience of hearing our fearless pit-casting eldritch master make those sounds was the subject for many future nights at the taverns.
    • As the giant possessed a remarkable one-track mind, the party soon discovered that it loved all things alcoholic. After several hours of drinking with Cadoc (many re-casts of “Create Beer”… Praise Cayden Cailean!), the giant became much more friendly. Friendly enough that he took to drinking with one arm around Vandamar, occasionally mentioning that Vandamar “spoke some purty giant…” and winking at him.
    • We discovered the giant’s name was Monguk, and that he would most definitely like to travel with us, we figured mostly because of the never-ending replenishment of beer. The rest of the area was successfully explored.

  • 08/18

    • With Monguk’s considerable mass in tow we headed back to the troll picnic area intending to have ourselves a good time, however only the picked-clean bones of the dead thing remained. We followed the tracks back to the Dwarven outpost (damn the random spawning and damn the results of our dodged responsibility!), where we were pretty sure the trolls resided within.
    • As we began outlining our plan for attack, Monguk expressed concern about actually going inside and began to express doubts. Not wanting to lose our large “friend”, we changed the plan to lure the trolls outside.
    • To this end, Kodar stalked up the ramp to check the front room, but discovered that no-one was home. When we responded to his signal by advancing up the ramp, an alarm went off (guess full-plate armor isn’t very sneaky) and boulders were thrown with alarming regularity out of the watchtower.

      • When we backed off out of range, Stephanos began to shoot arrows at the tower, as we tried to figure out plan B.
      • As we discussed our options (and Stephanos’ clumsiness), Kodar looked backward in alarm at Monguk, who had crept behind Stephanos and Vandamar, and looked as if he was ready to smash them.
      • With confidence in our huge hillbilly ally broken, the party decided to back down from this situation in the ensuing argument.
      • When this was announced, Monguk grabbed Kodar and broke into a shamble for the troll cave.
      • Ever ready with his bag o’ basic spells (nothing beats the strategic use of a well-placed lower level spell), Vandamar cast “Create Pit” below the giant, dropping both Monguk and Kodar into it.
      • Inside the pit, Monguk immediately dropped Kodar and began to cry, trying desperately to climb his way out of the deep pit. Kodar, seeing his opportunity, pulled out “Bessie” and performed the world’s first proctology to a giant with shotgun blast. Poor, poor Monguk…
      • While the medical exams were being performed in the pit, Vandamar began firing a few fireballs into the watchtower, which caused the dimly-seen shapes of the trolls to move away, probably down the stairs into the first room.
    • The party advanced up the ramp (eventually joined by Kodar, who had nimbly climbed his way out of the pit), and as soon as Stephanos poked his head around the corner he was rushed by a furious troll.

      • As the first troll took a swipe at Stephanos, Stephanos sidestepped and another troll ran right past him and fell over the cliff edge, splatting messily on the ground, and finished off with a well-placed fireball from Vandamar.
      • As Stephanos dropped the first troll, a pair of arms reached out and dragged the regenerating corpse out of the action. Into the void left by that troll, a 3rd troll ran forward and engaged Stephanos.
      • Cadoc cast “Bless”, and Vandamar cast “Illusion of Fire”, covering us from the watchtower where a troll looked to begin throwing boulders at us again.
      • The third troll rushed Stephanos driving him towards the cliff edge, but turned back to the cave as the rest of us backed up to support Stephanos. Stephanos showed him the error of his ways with a backstab that would have made Destin proud, and the third troll was again pulled back into the cave by a pair of arms.
      • Kodar ran forward and tried to shoot the group of trolls with “Bessie”, but it appeared a piece of giant was still lodged somewhere in the firestick’s machinery and the gun suffered a minor explosion instead.
      • Cadoc surged to heal some health, and as Stephanos ran forward to the mouth of the cave, the two trolls dragged back inside rose up from the ground, having had enough time for their bones to knit.
      • Vandamar announced his presence again with a well-placed fireball that both dropped the freshly-risen trolls and drove the others in the first room further down into the hillside. Stephanos prudently coup-de-graced the trolls on the ground before they could regenerate.
      • One of the trolls had run up the stairs to the latrine, but was felled by Stephanos and Kodar before he got too far. Kodar went forward to check the rest of the latrine and the watchtower area as Stephanos leaned against the wall, out of breath in his extremely heavy armor.
      • Kodar indeed found a troll, and after a close battle (marked by a late arrival of a winded Stephanos), the troll retreated out the trapdoor, locking it from the outside as it went.
    • Rejoining the rest of the party in the main room and taking a quick breather, Cadoc and Stephanos split up and approached both of the passageways in the dining room.

      • As Vandamar jumped up on the table, 2 trolls emerged from the hound-dog chaining area, and one appeared from the deeper caverns. Being the most highly visible target, both of these trolls immediately fixated on the posturing mage.
      • Stephanos, protector of the weak, defender of his faith, gladiator of truth, turned around and duly obliterated one of the trolls menacing Vandamar with one nearly-vertical chop of his long member err sword.
      • Vandamar cast “Grease” underneath the second of the trolls, and Cadoc managed to topple it over. Kodar dropped acid flasks on both felled enemies to finish them.
      • Stephanos, somehow with sword now alight with flame, turned to the last terrified troll, and put an end to its wretched existence.
    • A search through the tunnels revealed no more trolls, and the troll who had escaped through the watchtower trapdoor was also no-where to be found. As an added bonus, our horses had been ignored by the fleeing troll. We camped there that night.

  • 08/19

    • This morning, Vandamar sealed the inner door leading to the dining room with a “Stoneshape” spell to prevent any more serious battles with stupid trolls in this place.
      The rest of the day spent travelling East along the lower reaches of the Barony.

  • 08/20

    • Continued exploring, and forded the river.

  • 08/21 – 08/22

    • The party continued exploring Eastward.

  • 08/23

    • The party changed course and explored to the Northeast.

  • 08/24

    • On this day Kodar awoke from sleep and noted that no nightmares about trolls seemed to trouble him the previous night.
    • Through the course of the travels, the party found themselves in the lair area described by the gnome cartographers. This was made obvious by the mounds of feathers everywhere, that looked like those of a huge Owl.
    • The party girded themselves, and as they looked into the lair, Stephanos threw lighted pebble into its depths. It hit something with an audible smack, and the light the pebble threw revealed a…

  • End Session 4

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Session 2
  • 3/19

    • Today finds the party at Oleg’s, surrounded by 9 inches of snow at a brisk 30 degrees.
    • Our slightly-drunken (and oddly keg-less) Cleric compatriot Cadoc Moirallien has finally stumbled his way to Oleg’s. We had almost feared him lost to the wilderness, hopelessly caught in one of his benders. Praise the Gods…
    • Vandamar continues to heal from his odious tick gnawing, in the meantime, a decision is reached about the bandit prisoners.

      • Three choices were given to these prisoners: They could swing from the yards, be gutted hideously, or convert and spend the rest of their lifetimes in worthy service to Erastil.
      • A brief feel-good moment passed, fuelled by noble ideals when the answer was a unanimous “Convert Me!” However, several of the party’s more skeptical members determined that these bandits were not serious, and only interested in escaping the situation, including our dear informant friend Bob.
      • Out of disbelief, we asked Bob several questions about the whereabouts of the Stag Lord, trying to give him a second chance, but alas. The result of this questioning giving Bob a new home swinging from the walls of Olegs.

  • 3/20

    • Today spent lounging around debating who gets to change Vandamar’s chamber pot. Nuk, randomly detecting poison, positively identified some in that vile container.
    • Also three soldiers arrive from the Sword Lords carrying an official letter of thanks for resolving the Kobold issue. Of greater interest was the strongbox containing a more tangible thank-you: 800 gp.

  • 3/21

    • A thunderstorm made itself known today, lasting for hours and hitting the walls of Oleg’s with force. Father Johd, being of the stubborn sort performed his Sunday Services anyway.
    • Cadoc worshipped his god by emptying the storeroom of most of its ale.

  • 3/22

    • Today was a cold and miserable mess of sleet from the sky and sewage. Nuk had been emptying the mage’s chamberpots in a hidden area outside of Oleg’s.
    • Out of what snow remained, our companion created filthy soiled slushballs from this special area, and thought it would be a great idea to ambush the rest of the party during midday meal.

  • 3/23

    • Today’s weather was much like yesterday. Vandamar can now indeed take care of own facilities, and Nuk is the proud owner of a few black eyes.

  • 3/24

    • Today is clear, and with a fully rested mage, itchy paladin, bruise-less Druid, and semi-sober Cleric, the party gave itself a clean bill of health and restarted its travels.
    • The party rode into the forest west of Oleg’s. A few bear traps were encountered and set off with branches. That night, Cadoc, pulling the first watch, failed to stay awake and rouse the second watch.
    • The party slept soundlessly and unsuspectingly all night.

  • 3/25

    • Fey Trickery!
    • This morning, Cadoc was told forcefully to lay off the nightcaps, as not having a watch could cost the party their lives. A few minutes later, it was noticed that none of the party had weapons, and Vandamar was missing some of his rope.
    • It was eventually noticed that each weapon had been lovingly tied to its very own tree in complicated and extravagant knots, high above the heads of the adventurers.
    • Stephanos threatened Cadoc with a boot placed in an unfortunate place if he didn’t retrieve each weapon, but luckily many hours of watching the weighty cleric shinny up trees were saved by the intervention of the mage and his hand. Err, his spell mage hand.
    • The party continued travelling west, and a new watch schedule was created, with Vandamar doubling Cadoc to ensure that this would not happen again.

  • 3/26

    • After an uneventful night, the party headed further west.
    • Around noon, an overgrown burial cairn made of stones was discovered.

      • No obvious signs remained on the exterior to give a hint about who was buried, or who had done the burying.
      • After dismantling the grave, a skeleton wearing tattered hide armor was uncovered, with a spectacularly bashed-in skull. In addition, a nice green ring was discovered, with which Vandamar had a sudden headache while trying to identify and remains a mystery.

  • 3/27

    • After an uneventful night, the party decides to ride southwest into a Plains area.
    • During the late morning, a hill with a shiny was spotted.

      • With some investigating, the entire hill in fact held the remains of many skeletons clad in armor. This was noted on the party map, with the intent of returning to camp there that night.
      • Vandamar identified the ring form yesterday to be a “Ring of Swimming,” of the kind invented by the mage Michaelus Phelpus.
    • After further exploring this area, the party turned back towards the ancient battlefield, and met up with a hunter along the way

      • The hunter’s name, as he claims, is Edgar Hollow, and he has proven to be a regular font of knowledge.
      • When asked about the hunter Breeg, he mentioned that Breeg was highly territorial, and that he set Bear traps everywhere.
      • He also mentioned to not make him angry, as he would set traps on you, and if caught, would make you rub various ointments into your skin while he pranced about. Clearly, this Breeg fellow suffers from some sort of condition.
      • Changing topics to the murderous boar Tuskgutter, Edgar mentioned that he saw traces of him south of here.
      • For another of the party’s bounties, the Tatzylwyrm, Edgar said that they usually live around rivers, but that the bounty posters have been up for months.
      • In trying to determine who exactly supplies radishes to Bokken, Edgar was asked if he indeed was this mysterious vegetable purveyor. He responded with an indignant NO!
      • For the party’s final question, ‘Font-O-Knowledge‘ Hollow was asked how the fey could be appeased. To which he responded “They like expensive gifts, especially silver.”
    • After bidding farewell to the unusually talkative trapper, the party headed back to the battle field, where 4 hours were spent excavating and inventorying what was there. The armor and arms found had markings the likes of which were not known those of use currently present, and so we have plans on returning in some point in the future.
    • Camp was made on the battlefield.
    • During the 3rd shift, Nuk had a night booty call with some Elk possessing large racks, who were definitely hostile to his advances. After being told to “GO AWAY!” “GOOOOOOO!” by one, Nuk decided to leave them be.

  • 3/28

    • In the morning while travelling East through forest, 3 Trolls are seen to the South. A unanimous vote was made to not bother the Acid-hating, omnivorous, and dangerous creatures.
    • Later on, the Thorn River was encountered, along with the badly decomposed body of a hunter trapped beneath a deadfall. While he may remain unidentified, his nice masterwork handaxe was seen for what it was, and taken along.
    • That night during 3rd watch, Nuk notices 2 mites approaching our camp with daggers drawn.

      • As he rouses the rest of the party, darts flew out of the air from seemingly all directions, hitting Stephanos and Vandamar.
      • Alchemist’s fire was thrown in one direction, and a light-imbued caltrop thrown in another.
      • A few well-placed sleep spells took down most of them, and they soon dispatched with some stellar coup-de-grace’s.
    • The rest of the night passed uneventfully.

  • 3/29

    • A 12 hour journey was undertaken riding back to Oleg’s. Nuk did not find any poison along the way.
    • When we arrived, Kodar and Destin were waiting with our Wands of Cure Light Wounds, along with a Commendation letter for taking care of the bandits and a very nicely-crafted Cherry box stuffed with 400 gold.

  • 3/30

    • Kodar and Destin promptly turned around and went back for another errand.
    • New rations were purchased and allocated, and the party (sans Kodar and Destin) travelled to the plains area East of Bokkens Hut.
    • After exploring, we rode back to Bokken’s hut to settle the score for providing us with a potion that had cured Vandamar’s strength affliction. Unfortunately, a confused (and tipsy) Cadoc was mistaken for Vandamar by Bokken, and was told payback would one day be exacted.
    • Seeing as Bokken also had considerable monetary resources, we were able to change out 20 gold for 200 silver pieces, for use in bribing the fey in leaving us alone.
    • That night, we made camp just SW of Bokken’s hut, but were just settling down when we were attacked by a giant centipede!

      • Stephanos immediately charged the beast to hold it at bay, and Nuk cast Entangle; pinning its legs (and tail) to the ground.
      • While Cadoc and Vandamar pumped the monstrous insect full of crossbow bolts, Stephanos struck a mighty blow to the creature’s neck, sending huge gouts of hot, odorous, and sticky centipede blood all over him and his armor.
      • Not long after, the beast shuddered, collapsed on itself, and died messily.

  • 3/31 – 4/1

    • We marched today (3/31) back to Olegs, as a mighty thunderstorm began. We hole up here until it clears.

  • 4/2

    • We journeyed today to an area SE of Oleg’s, when we encountered a patch of gnawed skeletons, belonging previously to boars, bears, deer, and a few humans.
    • Without warning, a giant spider leaps out of a hole, and bites Cadoc, sending strength-sapping toxins through his body. Before it could be struck, it leaps back into a cleverly-shaped lair, with a trapdoor fashioned out of web, leaves, and other natural materials.

      • The spider absorbs some hits as it pops in and out of its lair, until Nuk summoned a dog inside the lair to battle the spider. With Cadoc throwing an acid flask and Vandamar creating oil and lighting it, the lair is destroyed, exposing the hole, along with the burned remains of the spider.
      • Inside the lair, a corpse with a Stag Lord Amulet is found, along with what looks like a treasure map depicting a clawlike tree.

  • 4/3

    • We explored east of the spiders den today, finding nothing eventful.

  • 4/4

    • Travelling SE today passed quietly, marked only by Stephanos’s humble prayers to Erastil every hour, and Cadoc’s belches.

  • 4/5

    • As the party rode W, a tree is encountered that matches the one drawn on the corpse treasure map.

      • It was easy to find, as it was the ONLY tree within 2 square miles, perched on its very own hill. Nuk, feeling helpful, did not detect any poison in the vicinity.
      • Underneath a section of disturbed dirt, we found several goodies (see inventory)
    • As we finally tore our eyes away from plunder, a large amount of very dark clouds was spotted racing towards us. We waited in a ditch, armor-less, and watched as the tree was struck several times by lightning. When it calmed down, we made camp around the cheerfully-burning tree.

  • 4/6

    • Waking up to a cold morning, we decided to go West through the hills.
    • As we were passing by an otherwise unremarkable Rocky Crag, we noticed an overgrown crack in the face.

      • Billeting our horses outside, we travelled about 20 feet down a tunnel, which ended in about a 30 foot room.
      • Vandamar identified the glittering veins in the wall there as gold, which will indeed come in useful for forging a new kingdom.
      • As we gazed at the gold in apparent stupefaction, Stephanos heard a disturbance outside and rushed out.
    • Four wolves were attacking our horses! With Stephanos charging one group and Nuk distracting the other, we picked them off one at a time (Vandamar casting sleep), ending with an incredible lung puncture inflicted on an unfortunate wolf by Cadoc.
    • After the horses were healed, we continued on, marking this place on our map for definite return.

  • 4/7

    • After waking, we continued our route west towards the Thorn River Bandit Camp.
    • Nuk, being as in tune with the natural world as he is, noticed that others have been here in the last week, sometime after we cleared it out. Unfortunately, Nuk was no match for the natural force of erosion, and he was not able to follow the tracks in or out of the camp.
    • Some time later as we left the camp, Nuk noticed a skunk specifically following him. He approached it alone, and offered the Cherry chest of Silver coins. He was rewarded with a wink as the skunk pulled a 180 degree turn and waddled away. The chest was left.

  • 4/8

    • Fey Trickery!
    • Stephanos awoke on all fours, feeling an odd sensation from each buttock. Turning around, he made out the sleeping (and drooling) heads of both Vandamar and Cadoc each utilizing a “cushion”. As Stephanos was sure he did not partake in Cayden Cailean’s Ale toast the night before, this awkward situation was probably the work of the fey!
    • Nuk’s offering had worked it seemed, but only for him! During his watch, he related to the rest of us that a Fairy Dragon had appeared during his watch, and proceeded to maneuver the rest of us into our waking positions, without once attempting to intervene on our behalves. What a guy.
    • After the awkwardness had dissipated somewhat, we continued exploring this area.
    • After a while, we discovered some overgrown walls, and what could have been an entrance. As the party headed in, the opening gave way to a clearing, with a large 50 foot overgrown pool on the left, and a 100 ft rock pillar with a carven image of an elk on the right. The pillar, being part of a small temple-like structure with an entrance, could be reached by ascending a flight of stone steps. Everything was covered in moss the color of the substance currently between Vandamar’s toes.
    • This, more than likely, was an old temple dedicated to Erastil. If so, then it was probably safe to assume that the guardian bear was also here. Figuring the temple to be the logical place, we hid ourselves and Vandamar cast “Ghost Sounds” outside the temple entrance.

      • A huge Grizzly emerged, spotted us, and moved in our direction. Vandamar attempted to cast “Sleep” on the bear to no avail.
      • Cadoc shot the bear with his crossbow, and Stephanos charged it! Nuk and Cadoc moved to back him up, and eventually overwhelmed the bear.
      • As Nuk inflicted the final blow, the bear transformed into an old man, looking oddly at peace in dying, before crumbling into dust.
    • As soon as this occurred, the temple became more vibrant! Moss disappeared, and the pool’s waters became clear. Upon trying some, Stephanos declared the water to have healing properties! It appears that we have indeed rediscovered the lost temple, and defeated the guardian. We will inform Father Johd of this upon our return to Olegs.
    • We camp at the temple that night.

  • 4/9

    • We struck West today into more of the forest.
    • After a while, we begin to smell an especially pervasive “rotton-egg-like” stench. As the land begins to slope down, we realize that we have encountered the appropriately-named Skunk River.
      As Stephanos walks through a particular patch of ground, it appears to instantly possess an extreme lack of friction, causing him to slide all the way down to the river, where he is immersed in it disgusting foul waters and stench. An apparent Fey Prank!
    • As we head North along the river, we encounter a hot springs of some sort, which we can surmise is where the dizzying odors are emanating from. Taking note of our arrival were several giant frogs, which proceeded to attack!

      • Stephanos gallantly charged one, and skewered it with his lance!
      • Cadoc was grappled with a tongue, and pulled towards the waters of the odorous river, but was saved by the timely casting of “Sleep” by Vandamar.
      • Nuk, being at odds with himself for slaying Nature’s Servants, nonetheless dispatched the others with his “Better-Than-Okay” Axe.
    • After the battle, we looped around the springs and continued West, until we found a suitable camping site.
    • That night Stephanos makes an offering to the Fey of the Silver Ring found in the now-burned-down tree.
    • During Nuk’s watch, Curly the Fairy Dragon and his friend TigTitterTut the Grig appeared to play tricks on Vandamar and Cadoc. They explained to Nuk that their only intention was to indeed play tricks and have fun at the party’s expense.

  • 4/10

    • Fey Mischief!
    • Cadoc and Vandamar both awake to find that their feet have indeed been tied together as they lay sleeping. Oh those Fey…
    • As soon as everyone was ready, the party headed West into plains.

  • 4/11

    • We awoke in the rain. We decided to ride Southwest, again into the forest.
    • A few hours into the forest, Vandamar began to feel his backpack getting heavier. He wondered to himself, “Could it be a resurgence of the tick wound? Could it be a large insect perched atop my pack?” Summoning up his nerve and in one motion, he tossed off his backpack and whirled around, preparing his deadliest spell… And found his backpack on the ground, with a slow stream of small rocks trickling out. The Fey Strike Again!
    • That night during his watch Stephanos strode off a ways into the woods asking for an audience with Curly, who appeared and led Stephanos back to the campsite.
    • Stephanos, who had questions, proposed a trade of information. Curly said he would answer just about anything, if only Stephanos would kindly roll Vandamar and Cadoc over.

      • After a few indignant statements, Stephanos obliged, and found out that the greased tree we found just West of the turnip patch was indeed the home of these Fey tricksters, and they have been watching us ever since.
      • Curly expressed disappointment that Cadoc was not sleeping in his armor and that Vandamar in fact did not wear any, and asked Stephanos to kindly pull the Clerics ale-drenched Chainmail out of his horses saddle-pack, flip it, and hold the back up towards Curly. As the Fey began to work on the back of the Chain Shirt, he mentioned that he absolutely hated the ‘bigguns’, and that Elk Head is currently South and East of here.
      • When Curly finished, Stephanos asked if “Elk Head” had been in the area recently. Only after Stephanos packed the chain shirt away and promised to assist the cleric in dressing the next morning did the Fey answer. Apparently, “Elk Head” had been in rare form recently, smashing trees with his fists, and generally making an ass of himself.
      • After a goodbye, the Fey vanished from sight.

  • 4/12

    • Shenanigans!
    • In the morning, after fending off an unusually assistive Stephanos, Cadoc noticed that a giant bright-red target had been enameled on the back of his chain shirt, making him easy to see for quite a distance. To repair this would take more than the equipment the party had on hand, and so nothing could be done about it for the time being. Diabolical!
    • After everyone laughed and pointed at the hungover cleric, the party struck East, deeper into the forest.
      At some point in the next few hours, the party noticed a large overgrown statue standing by itself in a small clearing. After cleaning it up, it was most obviously a large image of the god Erastil!
    • Stephanos, being the pious type, immediately fell to his knees and muttered his entire repertoire of prayers, praising the heavens for this most joyous occurrence. The rest of the party ate lunch, played a few games of backgammon, and took a brief nap while he completed this. Nuk consoled a nearby young sapling with many hugs and prayers, and told it that everything was “gonna be okay.”
    • Afterwards, Stephanos declared that the area in about a 60 foot radius of the statue felt peaceful, and safe, and so the party agreed that this was more than likely a good place to camp for the night.

  • 4/13

    • The rain came down slowly and steadily this morning. Everything seemed quiet until…
    • Attack of the Invisible Fey!
    • Whilst eating with his spork, Vandamar noticed that his food, once impaled, would tend to fly away once it reached the vicinity of his mouth. Attempting to use his “Mage Hand” spell merely got it swatted around, forcing him to shove his head into his plate and consume his breakfast like a swine. “Mommy’s little piggy!”
    • Continuing East, the party began to smell, and again reached another section of the horrid Skunk River. At one particular narrow section, ruined structures were seen just across the foul river.

      • As it was only 30 feet deep at this point with hardly a current to speak of, we opted to shuck armor and swim across, caulking our wagon before we started. After losing no-one to the dreadful stench, we began to re-equip ourselves, only to see a frog-man of sorts ambling towards us!
      • Every 5 feet it would hold its hands up and screech “TRUCE!” Nuk did not detect poison on it, in it, near it, or anywhere close by.
      • Through pantomime and other ape-like gestures, Nuk and Stephanos got it to quiet down and state its name “Garum.” This creature was tentatively identified as a member of the Boggard race. Less than a minute after this revelation, another hideous slimy creature shambled out of one of the buildings, at which point “Garum” began desperately shouting “Truce” again and gesturing wildly to himself and the fanged and multi-limbed creature. Every other “Truce” was followed by the word “Ubagub,” to which we can only assume was this monstrosity’s name.
    • Watching us relax, Gorum began repeating “Hungry?” over and over until we agreed, and then led us into the second building.

      • Saliva dripping from his wide mouth, Gorum lifted a large flat rock, exposing the mass of insect skittering around underneath. “Hungry” he stated again, however this time most of us were desperately attempting not to paint the walls of his abode with stomach acid.
      • Nuk alone seriously contemplated it.
    • Attempting to talk with Gorum exposed the point that his common vocabulary was seriously stunted, but when questioned about the possible whereabouts of a tatzlwyrm, he became very excited and gestured down the river. We also traded an un-needed short sword in exchange for a nice blue quartz shard.
    • That night during his shift, Nuk questioned Tigtittertut as to the whereabouts of this large snake, while Curly flitted over a certain two members of the party. They responded that they didn’t come down here this far that much. In fact, their only reason for being here now was to play pranks on us. Figures.

  • 4/14

    • Fey Tomfoolery!
      • Upon waking and attempting to brush his teeth, Vandamar takes a large gulp of water and spits it back out in disgust.
      • Cadoc, seeing this, is much wiser and examines the contents of his flask, which had formerly held some of Cayden Caleans finest.
      • In all appearances, both flasks were filled to the brim with what appeared to be a shockingly large quantity of Fairy Dragon urine, of the freshest vintage.
    • Heading South along the Skunk River along the East Bank, the current begins to speed up as the river curves to the west, placing the party now on the South bank.
    • As we came to a natural ford with a sort of dam linking the two sides of the river, Nuk spies the tatzlwyrm loitering in the center of the ford.

      • Vandamar and Cadoc attempt to shoot the tatzylwyrm in surprise, but to no avail. Noticing us, the giant wyrm rushes out. But before Stephanos can rush the beast and give it steely doom, a second hits our flanks! Who knew that tatzlwyrms lived in mating pairs?
      • Nuk manfully (half-manfully?) threw his large body at the first tatzylwyrm, taking some loving grapples for the team as Stephanos ground away at the second. Vandamar, finding his sleep spell not working against these creatures picked up his crossbow and began firing again in earnest. Cadoc, after a well-placed Bless spell, rushed to Nuks side to assist the overwhelmed druid.
      • Unfortunately, this was one time Nuk lacked the foresight to detect poison, as the wyrm reared up and breathed a small cloud of (yes, you guessed it) poison right into his face, making him feel a good deal less hardy.
      • Stephanos clove the second snake in twain, turned around and gave the first beast a generous portion of bloody, messy death (saving the head of course). It is noted that he apparently carries these portions around in a hidden bag of holding, and brings them out at opportune times.
    • After wiping the wyrm saliva off of Nuk’s pale face, we explored the den of the Tatzylwyrm, and found a skeleton with some nice equipment (see inventory) that it wasn’t going to be using anytime soon. Along with the other items, the party found a well-preserved scroll, upon which was drawn a map detailing areas that the party has recently explored.
    • After arguing about the leadership decisions lately, and how finding this map first would have gained much time, we finally sawed one of the heads off the tatzlywyrms, and continued on.

  • 4/15

    • Fey Mischief!

      • As Cadoc performed his morning rite to Cayden Cailean, which involved the chugging of several tankards of ale, water was spontaneously generated above the tankard each time the Cleric attempted to begin, splashing all the ale out.
      • In response, Cadoc repeatedly cast his “Create Ale” cantrip until the Fey apparently grew tired of the repetition.
    • As the party travelled through the forest east of the Boggard’s home, Stephanos noticed a sort of long, natural shelter against a fallen tree.

      • After dismounting, he approached it slowly with sword drawn, and was rewarded by the savage rush of a truly gigantic wild boar. Tuskgutter!
      • Vandamar, swiftly casting “Sleep” from horseback, was unrewarded when the boar refused to be swayed. Nuk had better luck casting “Entangle”, while Cadoc dismounted and cast Bless before running towards Stephanos.
      • Nuk dismounted, beat Cadoc there and assisted the paladin in fighting the boar back. Vandamar continued to fire an almost unholy barrage of bolts at the boar as the weighty cleric finally puffed up the paladin to lend his aid.
      • Together, the party slew the tusked menace, and quartered its corpse to bring back to Oleg’s and prepare as rations.
    • That night, while preparing to sleep…
    • Fey Ambush!

      • About 30 squirrels began an assault on Cadoc and Vandamar, throwing what seemed an unlimited supply of nuts on the two party members as Nuk and Stephanos sleepily looked on. Cadoc attempted sleeping under his horse, and escaped with only an injured hand when the squirrels pestered the horse instead.
      • Vandamar, seeing a clear way to end this trickery cast “Sleep” on the horde of squirrels, and was rewarded with a downpour of the small, furry animals…
      • …Which promptly woke up as they hit the ground and scurried around the campsite in a fury.
      • Cadoc gave up, attempting to drink himself to sleep. Vandamar, being of more unyielding material, tried many combinations of spells and tricks to counter this new threat. Finally, he hit upon creating an image of a terrifying Eagle and cast ghost sound to complete the illusion, driving the squirrels away in a panic.
      • TigTitterTut appeared, and gave Vandamar her compliments in an almost intimate fashion, so soundly had he impressed her with his solution.
      • Cadoc, seeing Vandamar’s success, offered the silver ring recovered from the ford skeleton to the grig. She accepted the offering with a smile, slipping it over her head to her waist, where it rested like a belt.
      • At this point, Curly appeared, and together with TigTitterTut, informed us that we have been most fun to play tricks on, however they must be gone, and from now on will leave us be.

  • 4/16

    • Today saw us make a push for Oleg’s, as we are getting low on rations (and fine wine in Cadoc’s case) and we would like to collect on our bounties before they get too decayed.
    • At Oleg’s, we collect 600 gold for both Tuskgutter’s head and the head recovered from one of the Tatzylwyrms.
    • We talked with Father Jhod, who became ecstatic upon learning that we had found the lost temple to Erastil, and of the statue of Erastil found in a forest clearing.

      • He became sorrowful as we related the story of the bear’s strange death.
      • According to Jhod, the old man seen briefly as he transformed from the bear shape had been one of the last clerics of Erastil when the land finally went wild. Frustrated with his god over the state of affairs with mankind, he lured a grizzly to the temple, and slaughtered it.
      • In his fury, Erastil transformed the cleric into the grizzly’s shape for all time, to guard his temple until those worthy of reclaiming it arrived.
    • In addition, dues to our efforts in making this area safer, Oleg’s has seen considerable more traffic, and can now afford to sell items in house up to 200 gold or more! Anything more expensive however, will still have to be sent for.

  • 4/17

    • Today finds us making the journey back to the temple with Father Jhod in tow.
    • Around midday, we encounter a hunter named Cyril Teague (Who was only a stream of knowledge, compared to his font of knowledge brethren, Edgar Hollow).

      • Stephanos, recalling a question from the back of his mind, asked the hunter how much bear traps may be sold for at any trading post, to which the response was about 5 – 10 gold.
      • When questioned if he had seen anything interesting, the answer was a brown wad of spit flying to the ground. He had seen nothing worth noting, but had noticed “that bastert Breeg hain’t been ‘round lately, heard that lousy sack of guts done joined the bandits.”
      • We got a loose physical description of this so-called lousy bag of guts, and then bade Cyril a good day.
    • Around sundown, we arrive at Erastil’s temple, which makes father Jhod cry like a baby. He mentions that “this place will make a great place to worship, and it will prove to be the foundation for a rebirth for faith in ‘Old Deadeye’.”
    • In return for our great service to his god, Jhod has offered us his ability to cast cleric spells at no additional charge to us. Anything material or expensive we must provide of course, but the basics will be provided.
    • We camp at the religious-movement foundation for the night. Nuk does not detect poison in this ancient and holy site of worship.

  • 4/18

    • Father Jhod conducts his first Sunday services at the temple, as Nuk consults with the moss on the side of the temple steps and Cadoc drinks heavily.
    • Afterwards, we leave Father Jhod to his restoration efforts and travel to the hilly area East of Tuskgutters former lair.
    • We encounter the thorn river, which apparently averages around 60 ft wide and 30 ft deep. As we travel down the East bank, we encounter gulch, with a rickety bridge spanning the river between the two hills.
    • Vandamar sneers in contempt at the womanly concerns of the rest of use, and cuts a dashing figure streaking across the creaking bridge. The rest of us call Vandamar too much of a man for us, and swim across a few miles upstream.
    • During Nuk’s watch, he notices a vaguely canine-shape stealthily moving towards the camp. He woke up the group and readied for combat. Vandamar threw a light-imbued caltrop towards the direction of the stealthy shape, apparently driving it off. (What a man!)
    • We are undisturbed for the rest of the night.

  • 4/19

    • East through the hills is the direction of choice today as we head towards the Old Sycamore.
    • Where last time only deep snow was seen, we now saw remnants of a huge battle between mites and kobolds.
    • More kobolds corpses than mites lay were evident; however the mite corpses appeared to be in a strange state of preservation. With no time to investigate, we reluctantly moved on.
    • A very strong wind storm hit that evening, rendering little visibility, and allowing for no possibility of using a ranged weapon.

  • 4/20

    • We ride East towards an unknown hilly area today. We encounter the Shrike river not far into the unknown stretch of land, and from what we can see, is on average 300 feet wide and 60 feet deep. Those of us who grew up near this land know that this river goes all the way into Brevoy, and would likely make a good canal system for trade, if the matter of the waterfalls could be addressed.
    • Downstream, we encounter the remains of a river crossing outpost, with the guiding rop still intact. Nuk, unable to control his raging curiosity, rings the conveniently placed bell affixed to one of the pilings. Before the rest of us can fully chastise Nuk for drawing attention to us in so obvious a manner, an undead creature is upon us.
    • This creature (named Davic as we found out), bearing a huge ranseur initially threatened us with death, assuming us to be consorts with the Stag Lord. We refuted, stating that we too were enemies of the Bandit King, to which Davic charged us with slaying Sir Stag and dumping the body in the river before his undead eyes. Only then would Davic grant us passage across the huge river.
    • Unfortunately, this means abandoning the charting of this area for the time being.
    • We reversed direction, and paid a visit to our friend the Sootscale Kobold Tribe, where we were plied with many friendly greetings and ample quantities of undercooked meat. Stephanos, fearing reprisal if we refused this great honor, applied his natural resistance against disease as he tore away at the bleeding flesh. The rest of us hemmed and hawed, and found other places to be.
    • Exploring the Kobold cavern a little, we realized that mining operations had one time taken place here.
    • With some more searching, we found some Silver veins, but it is unknown how much remains.
    • Stephanos toyed with the idea of setting up operations utilizing the Kobold tribe as labor. They would receive greater access to more goods/materials/trappings of civilization, and the future kingdom would benefit from their labors.
    • We spent the night among our staunch Kobold compatriots.

  • 4/21

    • We departed the Kobold Cave amidst goodbye cheers.
    • We made camp in observation of the natural ford created by the convergence of the Shrike and Thorn rivers.

  • 4/22

    • Crossing the Thorn River, we continued west through the hills.
    • Around midafternoon, we caught sight of an unusually-shaped thin valley, receiving an extremely specific amount of light. Upon further exploration, we determined that the valley was filled with Fang Berry bushes, with the largest ones suitable for harvest near the center of the valley.

      • Unfortunately, we also discovered copious amounts of spider webbing coating nearly everything in the valley. Walking slowly in single file to avoid getting gored by the nasty-looking thorns, we approached the center, but were ambushed by a swarm of ferocious tiny spiders!
      • Unable to maneuver in the narrow trench-valley, we formed a plan to back up past the valley borders luring the swarm with us, where Vandamar would be waiting for their egress with his newly-acquired Wand of Burning Hands.
      • As soon as Stephanos (who was kindly bringing up the rear) moved clear, Vandamar unleashed a stream of roiling flames from his otherwise innocuous-looking stick and toasted the swarm in an instant, exploding their tiny carapaces with the sound of popping corn.
      • When the flames died down, we sent Nuk in to harvest enough berries to fill the required 7 potions… without gloves. Nuk may have lost a few fingers between healing spells, but he did manage to bring in the required amount, plus enough for an 8th potion, which grants the drinker enough sustenance to last a single day.

  • 4/23

    • We kept to the course of the previous day, and travelled west into the forest.
    • Around early evening, we heard yipping noises from an open pit in a clearing. As Nuk did not detect any poison, we approached and discovered an odd canine-like creature of the likes we had never seen trapped at the bottom.

      • It was about the same size as a breed found in the Brevoyan Town of Rottwell used for livestock herding and small-cart hauling, but had an odd cat-like twist to its features. Nuk attempted to communicate with it using his Druid ways, but was met with only “Want Food” as a response.
      • Stephanos, decided the matter for all of us by tying a rope around his waist, and handing it to Cadoc and Nuk before entering the pit. He then picked it up, surprisingly not being mauled in the process.
      • Cadoc and Nuk first tried to prove their manhood by bodily pulling Stephanos and friend from the gaping hole in the ground, but soon saw the light of common sense and recruited a horse to perform this task instead.
      • As soon as the strange animal regained its freedom, it streaked off into the woods at about mach 2. How’s that for gratitude?

  • 4/24

    • After a hearty breakfast of boar jerky, we headed west, deeper into the forest.
    • Just after elevensies, we heard a curious sound, which was identified to be possibly that of an Owlbear, coming straight at us.

      • As soon as movement struck our eyes, Stephanos, being the Cavalier-in-Breastplate that he is immediately charged the ill-conceived monstrosity, and was lovingly grappled/pinned for his troubles. Seeing their comrade in danger, Cadoc and Nuk rushed to his side while Valdamar unleashed a mighty storm of arcane fury to keep it distracted.
      • Cadoc healed the erstwhile paladin before he could draw his last breath, while Nuk hacked away at the beast with his “Getting better than okay” axe. He finally hit his lucky strike, and chopped the Owlbear in the vitals with a deep, almost-severing chop.
    • After briefly stopping for a post-battle siesta, we moved on, and encountered a rank, stagnant pond with what looked like a dead horse. The surrounding vegetation appeared to be rotting where it stood, and no animals or birds were heard.

      • Upon close observation, the horse was identified to be a unicorn!
      • It had been de-horned, blinded before death (if the excessive cataracts were any sign), and the lack of obvious wounds indicated the creature was felled by the use of a death effect of some sort.
    • Without trying to fully consider the ramifications of something wandering around slaughtering pure innocence with a death spell, the party gave the unicorn a proper burial, with Stephanos bestowing the blessing of Erastil upon the grave.

  • 4/25

    • The almost-empty ration bags of one drunken cleric suggest the party travel back to Oleg’s to regroup, which is in fact what we did.
    • This took us all day.

  • 4/26

    • We arrive at Oleg’s after an exhausting 12-hour straight journey, and, after taking care of business, fall into a deep sleep.

End Session 2

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Session 1
    • 2/24

      • We recived a charter from Lord Noleski Surtova to explore and tame the Stolen Lands.
      • We departed from the city of Restov for Oleg’s trading post
    • 2/28

      • We arrived at Oleg’s Trading post.
      • Oleg, a human male, was unhappy/disappointed in our arrival, having expected a large contingent of guardsmen from Restov instead, however his wife Svetlana was much more excited at our arrival. They informed us that they had requested help from Restov because of being robbed by bandits who were going to arrive on the morning of March 1st.
      • After a meal we began planning for the next day’s attack.
    • 3/1

      • We awoke early to make final preparations.
      • Soon after dawn the bandits arrived. Oleg agreed to serve as a distraction and lured the bandits inside where we attacked.
      • The plan was working very well until Kodar fired some sort of infernal device that spooked the bandit’s horses, sending them stampeding about the compound.
      • In the end, we captured 3 of the bandits. Two were questioned and then executed, the third was kept prisoner for later interrogations.
      • From the bandits we learned of the Stag Lord and Kressel, both bandit leaders who were responsible for the attacks on Oleg’s. We also learned that Kressel and her camp were located somewhere along the Thorn River, while the Stag Lord resided in a fort farther to the south.
      • The executed bandits were hung from the walls of Oleg’s post as a warning to the other bandits about what would happen to them.
      • Afterwards Oleg became much more friendly and we learned that he, and others, were in need of considerably more assistance in the area.
    • 3/2

      • The final bandit was interrogated while waiting for the guardsmen from Restov to arrive.
    • 3/3

      • We began our exploration of the Stolen Lands.
      • The only significant discovery were a myriad of boar tracks.
      • We returned to Oleg’s trading post in the evening.
    • 3/4

      • We explored again to the west in hopes of locating the boar Tuskgutter but were unsuccessful.
      • During our explorations something began playing tricks on us, starting with an illusion placed upon a chipmonk that made it sound like an owlbear.
      • Later we encountered a large number of nests in a tree. Destin attempted to climb the tree but a grease spell was cast upon it, resulting in a rather embarassing fall.
      • Later we camped in the forest.
      • During the night an unknown magical reacture of very small size began to approach the camp, but was frightened off.
    • 3/5

      • In the morning, Vandamar, while going to relieve himself, was struck with an entangle spell.
      • Vandamar determined that the creatures were some sort of Fey and could perhaps be bribed. Therefore we left a sizeable quantity of food for them and thereafter had no problems with being harassed.
      • That evening we returned to Oleg’s where we discovered that 4 guardsmen had arrived, far short of the 30 that Oleg had assumed would come, and under the command of Kestin Gerris
      • We also received several new requests for assistance. Oleg wanted his wife’s ring returned, Svetlana wanted Moon raddishes for her husband, and Gerris wanted the bandit Falgrim Sneeg captured and returned to him.
    • 3/6

      • We set back out to explore, now heading south where we met a group of 4 rather excitable kobolds who were picking radishes and were busy consuming much of their find.
      • The Kobolds were willing to trade for a sizable quantity of radishes in return for a Pony, but were unwilling provide us with an introduction to their chief.
      • Stephanos fiddled with one of the Pony’s shoes, giving it a distinctive mark that was easy to track.
      • We then returned to Oleg’s to return the radishes, not wanting to carry them with us to visit Chief Sootscale.
    • 3/7

      • We headed south again to locate the kobold warrens, along the way spotting an enormous sycamore that the kobolds to considerable pain to avoid.
      • We camped that night in the wild where it turned bitterly cold and would have frozen had we not built a fire.
    • 3/8

      • In the morning we continued tracking the kobolds to their lair in an abandoned silver mine.
      • We ventured into the warren where we met Chief Sootscale who was overwrought at the loss of an idol to their god "Sharptooth". The idol had been stolen by the Mites, withwhom the kobolds were at war. In return for its recovery he would agree to an alliance.
      • While there, we also met the tribe’s shaman Tartook, a rather odd individual who was extremly angry at the loss of the idol and wanted the kobolds to recover it.
      • We then departed and returned to the giant sycamore tree that was above the Mite’s lair.
      • The lair itself was a near death trap, but we fought our way through, killing numerous mites along the way before encountering a giant tick being ridden by a mite!
      • Vandamar managed to stun several of the mites before he was almost killed by the tick, which gave him a horrible disease we would later learn. After a brief battle the mites were killed. We made a brief search of the room before Nuk decided it would be a good idea, for some utterly inexplicable reason, to push the ticks corpse into a crevase which in turn succeeded in awakening an enormous, monsterous centipede and drawing every remaining mite to us. At first both Nuk and Destin briefly fled, while Stephanos, Vandamar, and Kodar held the line and fought. A few moments after the battle with the centipede began a horde of Mites charged into the room and attacked us from behind. While Stephanos, Kodar, and Nuk fought the Centipede, Vandamar and Destin cut their way through the mites, and in the end the party managed to survive barely. Afterwards a brief discussion was held about depositing Nuk in the crevase and leaving him there. In the aftermath we recovered the ivory statue of Sharptooth for the Sootscales and freed Mikmek, a kobold.
      • Later, rather than remain in the Mite’s lair we returned to Oleg’s to rest.
    • 3/9

      • In the morning the Vandamar began showing signs of a nasty disease from the tick which sapped his strength enormously. So we journied to visit a local hermit named Bokken to see if he could provide any healing. He was unable to do so, but instead provided us with several minor healing potions.
      • After healing and recovering, we returned to the Sootscale’s warren and returned the idol too Chief Sootscale who promptly smashed it, declaring his people free of their "curse". He then ordered his kobolds to attack Tartook and they promptly tore him to pieces and afterwards asked that we take everything that once belonged to Tartook because it too was "cursed", including Svetlana’s lost ring and a large quantity of money and other things. Chief Sootscale also sent Mikmek with us to Oleg’s to serve as our ambassador.
      • We then returned to Oleg’s trading post.
    • 3/10

      • Upon returning to Oleg’s, Vandamar fell gravely ill and lapsed into unconsciousness.
      • We also met a new arrival, Father Jod, a traveling priest of Erastil who’d received a vision about coming to this area. He asked us to also locate and a ruined temple to Erastil in the area that is reputed to be guarded by an enormous bear.
      • While awaiting for Vandamar to recover, Kodar briefly departed to explore another area.
    • 3/11
      – 3/13

      • An enormous snow storm set in, trapping us in the trade post while awaiting for Vandamar to recover.
    • 3/14

      • A brief warm snap stops the storm and allows Kodar and Destin to travel to Bokken’s where they secured a cure for Vandamar in exchange for a favor.
    • 3/15

      • It continued to warm and Vandamar finally began to improve thanks to the medicine from Bokken.
    • 3/16

      • A final light snow falls while we remain at Oleg awaiting Vandamar’s recovery.
    • 3/17

      • Winter finally breaks and Vandamar continues to recover.
    • 3/18

      • A significant snowmelt and the arrival of a trapper who sold us a sizable quantity of food.
      • Vandamar was at last recovered enough to travel and we set out to Kressel’s camp on the Thorn River. After locating it, Destin and Kodar scouted the camp briefly, noting that a large number of bandits were in residence, including Kressel.
      • We then arranged ourselves with the majority of the party on the southside of the river while Stephanos was on the north. The party then snuck closer to ambush the bandits, but were interupted by an undiscovered bandit in a tree blind who was able to sound a warning. A viscious battle then broke out where Destin was briefly taken out of the fight before being healed by Nuk and Stephanos was nearly killed by Kressel. However she was rendered unconscious by Vandamar and the remaining bandits immediately surrendered in exchange for her execution, something Destin was only too happy to do.

        We took the remaining bandits prisoner and briefly interrogated them, learning that the Stag Lord was a viscious man, able to crush a skull with his bare hands and a master shot with a long bow, and a murderous drunk. We then returned to Oleg’s with a large haul of loot and our bandit prisoners.

    End Session 1

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