It Started with a Chicken

Three Points - a quaint smuggling town with a circus problem
The Long Hunters Recruit a Worthy Member

There is a man awaiting me (Solstice Summerwind) in the common room when we return to The Felled Ogre.  Master Hunter Rankir.  He says he is from the Long Hunters, and they have heard of my actions, including trying to warn the village on my own.  I am honored to join their ranks. He tells me where their headquarters is, and gives me a signal horn.  Which, if I’d had it, I might have been able to warn the village in time.

Ft. Rendezvous – where the Long Hunters meet; have their HQ.

He also says that there are smugglers in a town – “Three Points” – consisting of three villages – Harmony, Stone’s Throw, and Thorbold. North of Fairhill (and Bard’s Gate).  Way North. It is also on the way to Anvil Plunge.

We buy gear, including bandages.
Food for the road. Water and feed for animals.
Repair kit for the wagon, now I have two horses.
Big Bard buys a guard dog he names Phi phi.
Salash buys a ferret. No name yet.

We head out to Three Points. We are attacked by stirges (3).

We make it to the Vinewood estates. A huge property. Vast vineyards, huge manor house. Terraced gardens, barns where they stomp the grapes.

We buy a case of wine (72 gold).  We spend the night, leave in the morning. 

Attacked by stirges (6).  I hate those things.

Big Bard and Salash wrestle to see who has first watch. Big Bard wins the right to first watch. 

An owlbear crashes through the woods, but we take off up the road. 

Phi Phi stays and growls at it.  But runs after Big Bard in the end.

“If the ranger who went by himself after a war band of gnolls is leaving, then I’m out of here.” — Big Bard on seeing the owlbear.

At first watch, 4 elves approach. Big Bard speaks elven.  We discuss the owlbear, and they tell us the druids around Three Points are angry b/c the townsfolk around there have cut down all the trees between the three villages.

We meet a group of dwarves looking for one of hteir number. They got separated and this dwarf is suposed to be marrying a young dwarf. His name is:  Kurraug.  They can’t find him. They tell us they’ll be grateful and introduce us to [dwarven names].
Leader of Kurraug guard is:  Karg.

I start tracking, he appears to be following the road headed north. We head after. Now we hear the cry of a wolf.

We rush up and find the dwarf menaced by a wolf.  We attack.
He kills it after I put a couple of arrows into it. He says he killed the others.
We return him to his people.
He takes credit for killing all the wolves. We let it slide, as a wedding gift.

Turns out they are headed to Stone’s Throw.
We travel together.
They tell us there is a great place to stock up called St. Ambry’s.  She even sells potions and scrolls. 
They will meet us in the Gold Crown tavern.  In Stone’s Throw. “Pretty acceptable brew, for a human establishment. Well, there’s a halfling involved.”

We arrive in Harmony. There is a blacksmith there.  Osgordin the Big. Seems happy. He has a lot of stuff, surprisingly. A silver a horseshoe; we need 24. Almost three gold. Z pays.

The three points are relatively close, separated by a common area.

There is the Joyful Harp tavern here in Harmony. Well known for its drunken brawls and cheap and pentiful drinks. Nina, the tavern owner is talkative to Bard.
He gets drunk and makes a fool of himself trying to dance.
Nina:  "There are no druids around here."
Bard: “The elves told us.”
Solstice: “Shut up!”
Nina: “he must be hallucinating.”
Solstice: “yes, yes he is. Probably remembering a line from a song.”

We sleep here and board the horses.
No encounters. Lol.

Inn is generally full. People are coming in for the circus. Circus arrived today – the carnies anyway, setting up tents in the common area.  The smuggler(s) is supposed to be among the circus folk.

Gold Crown tavern. Largest building in town. A lot more rooms than the Harp. A halfling, “Hail travelers, looking for an inn.” Common room: tables are made of hardwood; worn and comfortable benches. Wood paneling inside.

They are smuggling Red Lotus and Black Lotus (very illegal); Blue Lotus (marginally legal); and various poison.

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Searching Temples, a Gnoll Village Discovered, a Gnoll Army on the March
Racing to Save a Village

At entrance to valley. A trail leading out of the valley marked with many tracks, recent. Both shod prints and booted. Gnoll tracks cross the valley side to side. Other tracks move in and out of the valley. 

Temple on left = temple of Thyr. Attacked by 8 skeletons. We engage, then they are turned and we mop up. 

We are also here to gather info on temples, see what’s happened in last ten years, what is their status is now. 

Rod of kingship in right hand broken, chalice of peace = unrecognizable lump. Head is gone and nowhere to be found. 

Altar = a bit defaced. Glyph on altar = still charged. 

Shrine of Muir. 5 skeletons. Turned and mopped up. 
Statue of lady of paladins has been beheaded. Head lies nearby; features hammered off. Sword of truth broken off at hilt. Shield of truth is defaced with symbol of Orcus. 

Three active glyphs. One on head, at base with writing in Celestial, and on shield. 

We hide as four human priests of Orcus go by. They are talking about a gnoll raid on Taverland. 

From hills on south (bard’s gate side) see a village in a valley to the South. 

Gnoll tracks = 100+ members = headed to Taverland. 
We head out to scout the village. 
Sounds of a river. Lots of scrub and cover. Round buildings with wood and thatched grass roofs. 
Approximately 500 in village, apprx 200 fighting adults. 

We ride hard for the river so the party can go South without getting lost. Then I ride hard for Taverland to warn them. 

I am attacked in a copse of woods. I feed the stirges. 

There are gnoll fires. They crush the village. Men put to the sword. Women and young boys chained up and are taken prisoners. They are taken East. The gnolls we’d tracked were joined by a group from the East. 

The village islost, my death would accomplish nothing. I head South to Bard’s Gate.

I hide from large, dark figures in the sky. Wyverns? A patrol of Griffon riders flies overhead towards the village.

I meet a large body of soldiers (Lyre Guard) headed North. I report to the captain. He says the the gnoll king G’awootar is on the move again. There is a gnoll fortress to the East. 

I return to Bard’s Gate. 
268 XP

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A (Big) Bard's Story

So now that I’m on an adventure, I figured I should keep a journal of some sort to track my progress and reflect upon happenings and such.

Also, if I fall, anyone finding this journal will know my story.

The name’s Bard. From Bard’s Gate. Yes, you heard that right. I can’t tell if my parents are clueless or hiding a wicked sense of humor, but that’s what they named me. Can’t change it now. Most people just call me Big Bard, on account of my muscular stature.

And before anyone asks: No. I’m not a bard. I mean, I can sing (off tune) a bit, I can dance a little, and I can make people laugh, but anyone who stays in Bard’s Gate long enough can pick up a couple tricks too.

So, a couple weeks ago, I figure I’ve had enough of living in Bard’s Gate. I wanna go out in the world, and do stuff. Anything. So I pack my stuff together, gather up all my supplies, and just get outta town. Well, I didn’t get far before I ran into a pack of Gnolls. I knew they were common round these parts, I just didn’t realize how common. I barely managed to get out of there alive. All I had left was my shield, warhammer, chainmail, and backpack. Not a single coin left to my name.

Well, I couldn’t go back to my parents. They were always so disappointed with me. Always harping about my life choices: “Why don’t you drop that war hammer and pick up a lyre like a real Bard?” or “Why don’t you get rid of those silly dreams of being a fighter and enroll yourself into a prestigious Bard’s school?” or “What the hell are you thinking, practicing trying to be good in a fight? Your role should be on the sidelines and out of the way, pretending your ineffective performances are actually making any sort impact on the battle and convincing yourself that you really are an integral part of the team! There’s nothing wrong with being the fifth wheel of a four-member party! I’m sure it was just an accident that my name was left out of the hall of heroes! The King didn’t forget to reward my deeds, he just couldn’t think of a reward big enough! Also I’m sure he’s busy with his Kingly duties! I’m sure he’ll send the letter awarding me with a fiefdom any day now!” and so on. As you can imagine, that got old quick.

So I got myself some work bussing tables at the local inn, in exchange for food, drink, an’ a place to sleep. I was working the tables when I see what looks like the adventuring type of group. You know, the type of people that look like they have no business being around each other, an’ don’t much care for each other, but still end up traveling together and saving the world and stuff. From the looks of it, the group consists of a priest, a ranger, a mage, and a sneaky looking thief girl.

I went up to the group and explained my predicament with the gnolls and me losing all my stuff. Well, as I’m done explaining, the sneaky looking girl just starts laughing in my face about my predicament. And then she hands me 100 gold coins and tells me to get myself back on my feet.
….I’m not quite sure how to take that.

Regardless I’m grateful for the help, and ask if there’s anything I can do to repay them. They tell me they’re looking for a frontline fighter. Apparently they were traveling with a couple paladin brothers, but both were killed, saving the rest of the party from certain death at the hands of orcs and gnolls. They say they’re currently trying to stop some necromancer named “Rainbow Dancer” and some priest of Orcus from destroying the world. Typical Adventure stuff.

The priest is a priest of the god Bowbee. I’m not quite sure what Bowbee is the god of, but it seems to involve wresting, getting drunk, and breaking stuff. Well anyway, the priest’s name is Cath, the ranger’s name is Solstice, the mage is named Zee, and the girl, named Slanesh, says she’s an assassin working for the church of Freya. I didn’t know that druids often hired assassins, but I decided not to press the matter.

So apparently, the group needs to take a rod to these temples in a particular order to fix the staff and restore balance, or something like that. I was so excited to be a part of a real adventuring party that I forgot why we were adventuring in the first place. Well, I’m sure it’ll sort itself out eventually.

After a night of rest, we set out on our way. But first, Cath says he wants to go to his temple of Bowbee. On our way there, we run into a rather snooty, stuck-up captain of the lyre guard who was acting a bit suspicious, in my opinion. When asked what he was doing, he acted all dodgy. Though he did tell us that if we brought in gnoll scalps, we could get some coin for them.

After going to the temple and receiving Bowbee’s blessing, we come across a bridge that connects the path we were on to the path we need to get onto. Well, there’s this big scary looking knight wearing full plate and wielding a wicked looking bastard sword. Zee mentions that he thinks the stuff’s enchanted. When we start to cross the bridge, the knight starts looking like he’s going to attack us. But Zee whispers off a spell, and charms the knight into not attacking us. The knight says he was cursed by some necromancer to guard the bridge an’ kill anyone trying to cross it. We think he might be talking about that Rainbow Dancer guy. I don’t know why he’d be cursed to guard this bridge, of all bridges. It all connects at Bard’s gate. If we just go back to Bard’s gate, and head out on a different road, we’ll end up on the other side of the bridge. His being cursed to guard the bridge is really just a minor inconvenience for travelers on this road. We tell him we’ll look into fixing his curse, and do what I just noted. The knight guy looks kinda peeved as we camp on the other side of the bridge.

Apparently we were attacked by gnolls as I slept. It can’t have been that serious, as they were all killed by the time I woke up. Apparently the black knight killed off 4 gnolls in one swing as they tried to cross the bridge. I’m glad we didn’t try to take him on ourselves.

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Bard's Gate - Infodump

So I wake at this Inn that is actually fairly decent – decent enough that I sleep soundly. Time to check in with the client, while my party members deal with the church of not-understanding-my-guild, aka Thyer. They are more likely to have the information we need, truth be had, but….yea, I ain’t going there. So I tell them I’ll meet them at the church of Freya. In the common room of the Inn there’s this Bard – well, there’s this Big Bard. No really, that’s his name. He’s attempting to busk, and his attempts have got me laughing a fair amount, and he gives this sob story of having no money. He seems legit, so I give him some coins in exchange of his getting-hit-on-my-behalf-ness.

So they go to the church of Theyr, and I am off to my contact to relay my information. They’re quite pleased I have stumbled upon this issue – gives us good standing and reason to stay on retainer with the Church of Freya, and who knows who else will pay to avoid the end of the world? The Guild knows, and will get more contracts.

At the church, I relay the outcome of the beasts that burned down thier church, and the current mission. The priestess insists I continue to help the adventurers and see this to the end. I know she didn’t say “Steady Employment” but that’s what I heard.

The rest of the party meets me outside the church, and relays to the the locations/information they found at the church. This is good – we know where we need to go, and kinda know what we need to do. It’s a start, at least.

We leave Bard’s gate going north, on the east side of the river, to stop at the Shrine of Bowbee. We do, nothing exciting. However, when we try to cross the brigde, this man in black plate mail doesn’t let us pass. He seems to about attack, but Z charms him. Which is good – not going to lie, he’d kill us all easily. He explains his problem (curse, of course). Well, we need to cross the river….so back around we go. We assure himt hat we will look into breaking the curse.

Just as it’s time to camp, we’ve made our way back to Bard’s gate, and then back north to the other side of the bridge. We rest, about 100ft from the bridge, the man in black plate pacing.

I get 1st shift, and I see six gnolls approaching. Everyone else is a asleep. The gnolls are close, so I wake everyone up. The priest gets to the front and gets hurt, but Z puts them to sleep. The black knight killed all 3 gnolls that went his way in less time then 4 of us killed 3 sleeping gnolls. Yep, I am glad we didn’t attack him.

We rest up for the night, and get ready for the trek north.

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Arrival at Bard's Gate

Arrive at Bard’s Gate
We visit the temple of Thyr to tell them of Ernie of Justice’s death.  Salash does not come. They would frown on her kind. 

Temples here are pretty run down. 
Vanithu – temple of xxx guard is not run down, it is very active. 

I donate 50 gold in the empty temple. 

Bofred the Just
From him, we learn that they were hoping Bert and Ernie would aid in the resurgence of the Order of the Sword of Retribution through their deeds. 
Also, there are bad guys near the Stoneheart Dungeon. 

We tell him the story so far. He introduces us at temple of Muir – order of the uplifted sword. He introduces us to Barahill the Faithful (a dude).  We show him the Scepter of Faith. He calls for a book to look up the record. 
I give 100 gold. 

Oh, and everyone freaks out when we mention Akruel

Barahill casts detect magic; the broken scepter glows brightly 

Raindanzeray – the necromancer. We believe he is trying to raise Akruel. 

Barahill tells us: 
Dargath, god of forge and fire. There is one here in Bard’s gate. 
Ionna, goddess of luck and travel.  Worshippers likely at Bargar’s Port. South from here. 

Iseleine.  Hanging gardens about two weeks South in a forest. 

Arden, killed long ago by Orcus. Another god may have taken responsibility for Arden’s domain. Arn, the lesser god of the sun has taken over his Worshippers. Serif, a city on the great Savana, was the site of a large temple to Arden. Might also be info there. 

Voard, god of mourning. Far to the north is a monestary. At the edge of the Northlands. Monestary of World Sundering. 

Shield basilica of Muir is on the edges of the Savana, “I think.”

Lady of Searing Waters, temple to Ninevah. Temple is far, far to the East. Across the massive lake that separates our lands. 

8 disciplines – probably a temple or seminar or school. If it is place she is thinking of, it is located to the South, possibly associated with a god/des named Thasizier. 

I give 100 gold to Church of Freya

We buy equipment, horses, oil and other gear. 

Increased patrols on road. They are patrolling for gnolls; expecting a raid on the city. Scalps earn gold from Imril, Captain of the Knights of the Griffin.

Head out to Shrine of Bowbe, it’s on the way. A days travel. 
We leave an offering. Pick up a bless spell. Will last for an hour after our first battle starts. 

A black knight named Garron challenges us. He’s been cursed by the priests of Orcus to kill anyone who attempts to cross the bridge. We charm him, but the curse makes it not matter. He lets us leave. 

We go around back through Bard’s Gate. 

Then we camp near Garron’s bridge.

We are attacked by six gnolls. 3 go toward the bridge. That ends them. 

Z puts the ones attacking us to sleep. Cath is almost killed (only leather armor can be slept in, so he was without his plate mail). 

450 gold, including gold teeth pulled from victims. 30xp each gnoll. 

I close this journal entry as we and our mounts stand before the “entrance to the valley of the shrines.”There are two Greek style temples near a dark lake. The temples are dark with graphiti and defiled. 

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On the Road to Bard's Gate
Sir Ernie Dies Fighting

Hello, gentle reader. What follows are some of my raw notes from the journey to Bard’s Gate. Due to the need for vigilance against unknown perils, as well as combat actions, I only have these notes, rather than a cogent narrative. — Solstice Summerwind

At first watch, Cath is surprised by stirges. 
3/4 attach. 
We jump up and start trying to pull them off him.

We spend the night secure in a Waymarch tower. There is from enough for Horse and Karry Orcbane. The Waymarch are a group of warriors that patrol the roads out of Bard’s Gate.

Must travel through the Stoneheart Forest, aka stirge forest. 

As night falls, the next Waymarch tower is a bit further on. We continue a little past dusk to reach it.
Approaching the tower, we are ambushed by six gnolls. Ernie of Justice charges their line as they step from the woods next to the road. We drop Ernie’s guy with archery from the wagon after Ernie hits him good. A large, well-armored Gnoll then steps up and kills Ernie with a mighty blow of a two-handed sword. 

We continue in the wagon and cross in front of the Waymarch station; 6+ gnolls are pouring out of a hole in the fence. We speed up and out. 

Meet a caravan headed South. They turn back at our behest. Then we meet some sheriffs and report the gnolls. 

We arrive at Bard’s Gate. 

There is a tent city. 
We enter. There are restrictions on weapons. 
We learn their money is different. 

We stay at M4.  It is the Felled Ogre, run by Durst Hammerhand. He has a gnarly huge metal hand. They have lots of different alcohol. Some they make here at the inn. 

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The Freya Contract Chronicles - Fairhill Goof Troop vs the "Lich"

People have asked how I can be a killer. I reply that I am not – I am an Assassin, a contracted means to fix a problem. The guild has always been fair with me, and saved me from a life much worse then my other realistic options. They also taught me not only to observe the contract in letter but also in spirit, otherwise we are no better then the Lowers, but don’t be doing stuff for free just for the greater good – that’s just for the irresponsible Uppers. No, do things by the book and be fair to the contractor. A paladin might turn on you in the name of his oath, but an Assassin never breaks her contract.

At least that’s what I tried to explain to those hicks. Even the priest of Obee didn’t seem to get it. I have a written contract (retainer in this case) with Freya. But they don’t seem to understand how the world really works. Just because I am not like them doesn’t mean I will kill them. Ah well, they are handy in a fight and haven’t betrayed me (…well, one did, but I never trusted him).

So there’s this priest of Obee (Big man that insisted to wrestle me. Very odd. Forget his name), a paladin (Sir Ernie of Theyr, I think. A typical paladin. Eventually was reasonable though.), an effeminate, backstabbing wizard (Corrian), the useful wizard (Z. Efficient name, I like that), and a ranger (Solstice I think. Also talented and useful.). The priestess at the local church of Freya directed me to work with these folks to deal with the local menace that torched their church. Apparently, they (this group excluding the horrid Corrian, not the torchers) had hunted down the torchers to thier lair in a castle, and dealt with most of them, but lost one of their members and needed support. And this time, that support is called Salash.

On the way we meet this “Corrian” that stated that the group had a necklace that he stole from a friend of a friend (I think?) and that fellow wanted to be come a lich, and he also was in the castle. I doubted it – I don’t know many things about the undead, but I do know that liches are strong, and powerful. This untrustworthy fool that’s telling us this can only cast 1 spell – if this is his collegue….well, Ancient Dragons and goblin infants don’t hang out together. That’s all I have to say about that.

So we get to this run down castle, and the paladin recommends I dip my short sword in this goop above me, as its a good poison. Doing so, some drops on my head and the priest burns it off. Sigh – embarrassing.

The ranger notices that large humanoid footsteps lead to a tower. We decide to check out the tower opposite 1st. I convince Ernie to go down 1st…..he reports the 2nd floor is rotted, and the 1st floor steps are covered in cobwebs. Large. I yell at him to toss his torch in, and he does – and the fire spreads like syphilis on the docks. We retreat off the tower, and we can hear chattering and pops – ever burnt a bug as a kid? Yea that smell. Smells like efficiency.

We go the the top of the next tower, and this lumbering ogre comes out. The prient burns him, I stab him, the ranger and the pally hurt it, Z help, and Corrian the weasel wets his pantaloons. Down we go.

2nd floor – nothing notable.
1st floor – nothing notable, except a trap door under a carpet.
1st under-trap door. Dark! and Skeletons. Ah, not a problem. We all help in the fight, except the useless Corrian. You could almost smell his ineptitude, if it wasn’t for his emptied bowels into his cloak. And there’s a door that won’t open….except Corrian the corrupt uses the necklace that my co-party members found (…that Corrian the despicable STOLE from a friend, apparently) to open the door. Ernie points out that even if Corrian the cowardly wasn’t here, they would have tried that eventually. I agree with my oath-bound party member. In this room there’s a door and a trap door. Through the door a bed and – a spellbook! One that could contain the means to be a lich, and/or information on those that attacked the church of Freya! I grab it and Corrian the untrustable whines like an infant, and tries to cast a spell on me.

Got that? He tried to cast a spell on me. A fellow party member. He’s lucky I didn’t fillet him where he cowered in his filthy robe.

Ignoring him, we open the last trap door.

2nd under-trap door. Darker then dark! and no ways down. I and the priest agree to hold the rope as the rest descend. There’s a body on an altar, with some items. And then we hear screaming, and Ernie mentions something about a shadow. The priest brings out his holy symbol and forces the shadow down, as Solstice, Z, and Ernie eventually destroy it. I know thjat I would be unuseful in the fight, so I stay holding onto the rope, above. They banish it, collect much treasure, and we all return to the Church of Freya. Corrian the inept chicken leaves us, and we drink to his eventual self-inflicted horrid painful death. Hopefully.

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Dear Diary
(copied from forum)

Dear Diary,

Today we went back to the orc fort after resting up to finish the job. But this time, the Church of Freya insisted that we bring along some assassin (I think her name was slaanesh?). Also this wizard guy named Corinth said that the orc fort wasn’t an orc fort; It was a lich fort! He said that he got some letter from some other wizard guy about how some other other wizard guy was going to try to become a lich. I’m not sure what a lich is, but I remember Bert used to tell me stories about evil undead liches being defeated by supercool paladins of Thyre.

I miss Bert. :(

That slanash assassin girl sure is mean! >:(
I normally don’t like working with assassins; I don’t understand how a guild full of people who kill each other for money even got legalized. Normally, I would have flat out refused to work with her, but the Church of Freya insisted that I work with her, and I am under orders from the Church of Thyre to work with the Church of Freya, so I guess I have no choice. :(

I figured the very least I could do was try to get along with her. Bert told me once that although it is always important to bring evildoers to justice, trying to redeem evildoers and making them into fully functioning members of civil society is also important. So I thought I’d be nice and point out to her the green slimy goop that hangs from the ceiling. Assassins like poison, and poison is green and slimy, right? So she tries to get some, but she stumbles and spills it all over herself, and then she blames it on me. So I thought I’d be nice and heal her wounds for her. Turn the other cheek.

So when we went exploring, one of the first things we noticed was that the Scorpion crossbow things were missing! Solstice and the priest of Bobee were really sad about that. They wanted to hook it up to the back of the priest’s wagon and shoot orcs with it. Well, in that tower we found a trap door. Even though salad the assassin always brags about how sneaky she is, she insisted that I be the first to explore the trap door. And every other one after that. I think that she’s actually really bad at sneaking, and just lies to make herself not feel bad. Just like how the priest of Bobee lies about being able to heal people with his spells. Is he really a priest? I’ve never seen him cast any spells. The only priestly thing I’ve seen him do is turn the undead. Well, for now I guess I’ll just play along, for the sake of his ego. All in all, he’s not a bad guy. I trust him.

So I noticed as I went down, that the floor was rotting, and the next floor down was covered in giant cobwebs. The priest of Bobee said that when in doubt, just set it on fire. So I did. As we rushed out to escape the flames we heard as strange chittering noise. Everyone else said that it was the death cries of giant spiders. That priest of Bobee sure is smart.

So when we went to explore the next tower, a giant ogre jumped out and attacked us! Me and Solstice were attacking the monster as hard as we could, but we couldn’t quite kill it. But as a very wise priest of Bobee once said “When in doubt, set it on fire”. So he did. His quick thinking saved us again!

Well, we went down into the tower, and found the area where the orcs had been living in. They had taken the tapestries of the tower and were using them as blankets. The priest of Bobee insisted that these smelly orc blankets were a priceless treasure, worth more money than any of us could even count. Sometimes, the priest of Bobee can be very smart. This was not one of those times, I think. We went down further and found a trapdoor with silver nails set in. The priest was sure that this was a ward against the undead, and Corinth seemed excited that we were getting close. As we descended down a level, we were attacked by zombies! But we managed to beat them pretty easily. We then found a trapdoor we couldn’t open, but Corinth and Z said that it was locked with magic, and they used the amulet we found to open the lock.

When we got to the next room, a scuffle occurred. I wasn’t really paying attention, but the assassin girl said that Corinth had attacked her. Corinth claimed that it was because she stole a spell book from him. Axel Slash claimed it was on the floor and she picked it up. I wasn’t paying attention, because the priest of Bobee had taken me aside to express his concerns about the slansh girl, and that he didn’t trust her. I don’t trust her either, but I do trust the Church of Freya. So I figured we’d give the spellbook to Z, as he’d know best what to do.

But then salaz just explodes on me. Yelling about how the book was hers now, how we were all out to get her, how I was a terrible Paladin and how Thyre was going to take away my powers because I wouldn’t agree with her, and so on. In the end, I figured the only way to calm her down was to just give her the book and let her hold on to it until we reached the Church of Freya.

We found another trapdoor and inside there was a corpse. A dead one. Not undead. Me and solstice were examining the corpse, when a shade attacked us from behind! Solstice bravely took on the shade by himself until the priest came over and held the shade still so I could attack it too. We manage to kill it. The wizards think that the shade was actually the wizard who tried to become a lich and failed. We left the castle and took the shade wizard’s stuff. I figure that it’s a sort of justice to take the tools of an evil man and use them in the pursuit of good.

Well, Corinth said he wanted his share of the cut. And why not? We would have never known how to get to the shade wizard without his help, or that the tower was even an undead tower to begin with.

Shlanass exploded again!!! She said that she was taking all the stuff to the church and that if Corinth tried to take any, she’d kill him in the name of the church! Well, Corinth ran off crying, and I felt really bad for him. : (
But there was nothing I could do. Slanna got a talking to from Shandril about her behavior, but I don’t think she’s really learned her lesson. If she stays in the group, I really hope her attitude improves. We ended up giving all the wizard stuff we got from the tower to Z, he’ll know best what to do with it.


Well the people were really happy we cleared out the orcs for them! :)
We got all sorts of requests from people who needed help from us. I would have loved to help them all, but I forgot, I had a pilgrimage to Bard’s Gate that I had to go on. It’s why I was in this area in the first place, I just forgot due to all the excitement with the necromancer and the orcs.

One of the townsfolk said that the road to Bard’s Gate was dangerous because it was covered in knolls. I don’t know what’s so dangerous about hilly terrain, but I’ll keep a look out!

Love,
Ernie

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An Orc time in the ole town tonight
Temple burns; orcs die

We are staying at the Drunken Cockatrice, the inn we’ve been staying at in Fairhill.

We are awakened in the night. The town is lit by an orange glow, ash fills the air. Orcs have set the temple of Freya on fire.

Arlen and Shandrill run toward the inn shouting for help.

The temple is lost. She tells us the orcs have taken the crucible of Freya, which she uses to bless the crops.

She gives Ernie of Justice a sword named Valkuria to borrow for the quest, and two potions of healing to the group.

We add an Elven wizard, Content Not Found: Zee to the party.  We catch him eavesdropping as we debate plans to pursue the orcs. Z mentions he speaks orc, and agrees to come along in pursuit of the raiders.

We gear up with some extra oil, and mount up on borrowed horses. We ride as quickly as we can with a lantern out. I, Solstice Summerwind lead.

We reach the bridge at approximately 5a. Lannet hears the flapping of wings. We are attacked by 3 stirges.

Solstice falls off his horse as a stirge flaps and screeches around his. We make short work of the stirges.

I, Solstice, spot a secret path that heads directly to the fort (presumably). We have to walk our horses. 

The orcs and us stumble into each other. Snarf charges forward through the underbrush and fells an Orc warrior with a might blow. Thanks to Z’s sleep spell, we make short work of the six of them. Unfortunately, Snarf is caught in the spell and will not awaken for some time.

Loot:
6 ringmail, six shortbow, six quivers w/20 arrows each, six short swords
12 flasks of oil, six tinderboxes,
16gold 6d6
47 silver 7d8
one of them has the crucible; also a large iron key.

Thrown over his horse for the journey back, we learn that Snarf talks in his sleep. In his waking life, Snarf can only say own his name. In his sleep, he speaks coherently. Z says it sounds like he’s reciting books of history. We make a pact to never speak of this again.

We return to the Drunken Cockatrice.

Shandrill and Arlen are there. They have taken over the common room for a meeting — we are invited to the meeting.

Baran, the guard captain and his lieutenant Loriel is there.  Baran berates us for not continuing on to the Orc Castle outpost and gather intelligence.

We wanted to return the horses, as the warnings to bring them back were dire. We suspected they were made of gold.

Baran suggests bringing the fight to them, which we had already been discussing

We leave the next morning to go count orcs; find and follow the secret path. It leads to a door at the rear of the keep. Lock and door hinges are well-oiled and quiet.  Beyond the door are the guts of the ruined tower. The second floor above is rotted; sunlight filters through. We hear voices from above, a patrol passes.
About fifteen minutes until the look-outs move along. 

Meanwhile, wet green mud falls on Ernie of Justice’s helmet. He scrapes it off, managing to get some on his hand. It burns and starts to turn him into green slime. We manage to burn out the slime without lighting him on fire.

Solstice points out a “safe path,” that avoids the dripping slime.

We hole up in the tower to discuss our battle plan. From the layout of most walled castles, we calculate that this door opens on the courtyard, which is likely occupied or easily observed.

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Dangerous Travel
A sorrowful time and equine vengeance

The party emerges from the crypt carrying the body of Sir Sneaky. We head to Poverty’s Bethel and in the late morning of a chilly, overcast day, we lay Sir Sneaky to rest.

Bert says these words: “He was a brave lad, first fighting the shadow, and then got his face smashed in by a zombie. He will be missed. We shall never see his like again.”

Nothing remaining for us in Lessef, we say goodbye to Almary, load the wagon with oats, water, and our gear, and head to Fairhill.

Around midday, just after a lunch of dark bread and goat cheese, a harsh shout from the trees slows us. Three armed green-skinned creatures dressed in ring mail charge us.

Before Cath gets the wagon up to speed, Snarf and Bert leap from the wagon to the hard-packed dirt of the roadway to give battle.

with a scimitar and two with spears. 

Cath snaps the reins and the wagon lurches forward, heading up the road. Bort jumps out and hurts himself. 

One of the savage creatures, sunlight glinting off the blade of his raised scimitar, charges Bort. Seeing Bort engaging the creature and clearly outmatched, Snarf charges to save Bort. 

Solstice, from the back of the wagon, scores a few hits with his arrows, but inflicts little damage. Cath’s cries for everyone to get back in the wagon go unheeded.

Outnumbered two-to-one, Bert charges the savages, almost daring them to score a hit with the spear each carries.

Solstice’s missile fire damages one of the spear wielders, but in the same instant, the creature’s scimitar cuts across Bort’s throat, killing him.

Moments later, Bert is likewise brought down. 

Snarf runs and with his great strength manages to pull himself into the wagon as it leaps forward, gaining speed.

The orcs taunt us as we go. We hear the name Tavik in the orcs’ guttural gibberish. The wagon turns the corner as the Orc with the scimitar waves Bert’s magic sword, still shouting curses and taunts. 

We make it to Fairhill late that day. 

We are greeted at the temple. Cath delivers his report to Shandrill regarding our foray beneath Poverty’s Bethel.

We have a service in absentia for Bert and Bort (no relation), whose crumpled bodies we left in the road. 

Shandrill, reads from an old tome and relates that long ago, 8 churches came together to create the Scepter of Faith. It was used to disrupt the magic in Akruel’s heart. The heart is missing from the scepter, and hence Akruel walks again. 

We are healed. We rest at the Drunken Cockatrice. We are put upon by a Halfling named Lannet, who insists on joining up with us. Everyone knows that halflings are horrid little rodents best killed on sight, so we resist.

We meet Ernie, Bert’s brother, and at his behest, we set out the next morning to recover Bert’s body. 

Lannet stows away.  Along the way, he tells us that he thinks the Orcs have plans, but are waiting for something. Also, he knows the orcs speak of an amulet. 

We reach the site about a half day out of Fairhill. About high sun.

Solstice follows the drag marks and we find the bodies of our companions, stripped and left and the mercy of halflings. I mean scavengers.

Three sets of footprints lead further into the woods. 

Lannet says he knows the ruin where the orcs are headed. Discuss that orcs can’t travel the road, so we might be able to cut them off. 
Ernie summons a warhorse, naming it Karry. 

Snarf drives the wagon back to Fairhill, his only company the scavenger-ravaged dead.

Off we go to return the favor of an ambush.

Days later, as they approach our hidden positions along the trail, the raiders are wary, and approach with caution and weapons drawn. They look haggard after hard travel, and still bear the wounds from our earlier battle. 

Ernie charges the Orc wielding Bert’s sword, but misses with his blade. As Ernie charges by, a hoof lashes out, catching the Orc leader in the skull, killing him instantly. 

Lannet drops behind one and kills him. Karry kills the remaining Orc. Go Warhorse!!! They should make a movie … er … a song. 

They held the funeral until we got back. Shandrill does a nice service, even though we are not followers of Freya. 

We’re back at the inn. Downstairs for a meal. 
Next day is market day. 

We sell the ringmail, spears and scimitar for 69g, 3 silver. 

Loot: 
3 sets of ringmail. 
Two spears. 
51gp
Nothing else of value. 

Lannet claims the sword, Ernie offers his share of the gold for his brother’s sword as his share if the spoils. Ernie keeps the sword. I’m not sure that was truly in doubt.

We purchase gear, preparing to head to Bard’s Gate. 

Horse: 2hd, 15hp, AC 12, Move 18

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