Thandoria

We meet the Nomen and capture the raven
Or, introducing Xi

We headed east towards the centaurs.

Meanwhile, the human monk Xi lived with the centaurs. He saw a raven flying strangely. The queen of the centaurs referred to it as Horagnoman. Xi spotted us coming from the west when he was tracking the raven. He met us, but decided to talk to the centaurs before inviting us to come to them. After gaining their assent, we headed in.

The centaurs were performing a ritual dance honoring “mother moon,” a form of Calen. The leader told us that they were not allies of Varnhold, but were still concerned about the vanishing as they feared that the same thing could happen to them. We told her that we had determined that the necromancer Vordakai had put the people of Varnhold into sould jars. They recognized the name as belonging to an evil arising from the south, that they were responsible for containing. Vordakai was a slumbering warlord from the times of the mother tribes, last heard of in the dragon age 200 years back. We can go to Ollaconcactet, the “Valley of the Dead,” to learn more. Recently, a centaur huntress saw a strange lumbering shape there. The tomb of Vardakai is in the Valley, with a stair that leads up the mountains. We can follow the river to a waterfall, and then find the tomb on an island. She told Xi that she feared for her daughter Xananth, a friend of Xi and the one had seen the strange lumbering shape. She went missing after her mother was unable to tell her anything about the shape. She saw Skybolt on Larken and asked about it. It had been Xananth’s bow. Xananth had broken taboo by going to the Valley and she wanted us to search for her, offering us the bow as a gift for rescuing her daughter. We returned the centaur hides that we had found in the village (for burial) and said that we had determined (via blood biography) that they had been killed by the spriggans.

The leader of the centaurs told us that there were manticores in the burial grounds to the north, as well as Kankorata, the “earth mover,” that left big holes in the earth when it moved. The centaurs gave Hawk a gift.

  • mwk light crossbow (Hawk)

We offered to scry on the daughter, and found her slumped in the east corner of a prison chamber, chained to the wall. It had similar architecture to what we had scryed previously.

We headed north to the Blood Furrows in search of the Kankorata, which we identified as a bulette. Hawk found recent tracks and it then leapt ouf of the ground, knocking out Tal and stunning Liliana. Xi killed it. When we returned, the centaur matriarch gave us:

  • 6 potions of cure moderate wounds (1 for each of us except Liliana, 1 in party loot)
  • 6 potions of lesser restoration (1 for each of us except Liliana, 1 in party loot)

We went south and found an ancient linnorm skeletal head surrounded by herds of animals. The centaurs told us that this was unusual behavior for the herds. Andarus flew over and noticed an ancient stone with the raven on it at the center of the area. A purplish magical aura flowed out from the raven with an enchantment aura. Hawk turned invisible and went to investigate, climbing up a rib bone of the skeleton. He approached the raven. It saw him despite his invisibility, but he was able to catch it and stuff it in the bag of holding. The bulls in the herd of mastodons then went mad, forcing us to kill them.

We returned to the centaur village to interrogate the raven. Via detect thoughts, we found that it had the intelligence of 10 (suggesting that Vordaki is level 9 or 10) and seemed to be a channel for the thoughts of another. Via detect magic, we sensed an overwhelming aura of conjuration, divination, and necromancy and had a vision of an eye, which a centaur druid identified as the Occulus of Abbadon, which granted dark vision, true seeing, and greater scry three times per day. We cast detect scrying and found that Vordakai was scrying on us. He was a large cyclops and we were able to pinpoint his location. In response, he cast a fireball through his familiar, causing the bird to heat up and explode.

State of the Party:

Knowledge:

  • knowledge of the location of Talia’s wedding gift (worth 300 gp)
  • “Secrets of the Rashalka Mounds” and Ervil’s notes
  • charcoal stretches of peculiar markings, which the notes attribute to the old centaurs
  • two-month old letter from Varn to Pendras saying that Willas discovered the bracelet on the banks of a local river and asking Pendras to look into it
  • centuries-old geography book on Taldor, with a massage marked by Pendras as “Vordakai,” an ancient Nomen god.
  • letters with mentions of conflict with the Nomen
  • pages from a spellbook containing the spells: bears endurance, mount, tiny hut, keen edge, comprehend languages, and flaming sphere
  • map of the Nomen Heights and the area around Varnhold

Stuff belonging to the Varnholders:

  • payroll coffer of 500 gp
  • gems worth 3500 gp
  • +2 defending longsword with the symbol of the house of Varn
  • 6000 gp
  • recipe for the Cheerful Delver Stout (50 gp)

Weapons:

  • 934 arrows
  • 220 bolts
  • 120 small darts
  • “Skybolt,” a +2 thundering composite longbow (for plus 4 strength)
  • +1 heavy crossbow of seeking (8400 gp)
  • ritual barbarian dagger

Potions/alchemical items:

  • 4 potions of water breathing
  • 1 potion of shield of faith +2
  • 2 potions of lesser restoration
  • 1 potion of raise dead
  • 2 potions of speak with animals
  • 4 potions of cure moderate wounds
  • 1 vial of wyvern poison
  • vial of antitoxin
  • thunderstone
  • 2 smokesticks
  • 1200 gp in potions

Wondrous Items:

  • folding boat (another one)
  • 3 dust of illusion
  • 1 feather token, tree
  • elixir of love
  • ointment, restorative (5 uses)
  • type II necklace of fireballs with one 4d6 bead left
  • ring of friend shield (but not its companion ring)
  • bag of holding
  • robe of vermin (cursed item)
  • ring of bestial friendship (after 1d4 minutes, the befriended animal goes into a rage and has an urge to attack a nearby town) (made of hair)

Misc:

  • lizardfolk hatched from an egg
  • bag of caltrops (previously possessed by Grigore)
  • sketched likeness of the dark fey
  • map with our town and the owlbear’s nest marked on it
  • map from the troll lair, rubbing of the pillar from the troll lair
  • dire boar pelt
  • dragon scale to make x2 small Hide Armor
  • black dragon scales
  • forest drake hide
  • winter wolf pelt

Quest items:

  • Torvin’s mother-of-pearl brooch
  • trunk with a small library of reference books (900 gp, or 500 gp reward from the academy for their return)
  • mwk viola with maker mark of Azores of Wistful (1600 gp, or more for return to the academy)

Heads:

  • forest drake head
  • rock troll head
  • double-headed ettin heads
  • wyvern head
  • winter wolf head
  • owlbear head
  • pluda head

The party has 8610.7 gp

View
Scrying
Or, the spriggans' cave

We tried to scry on many people from the town (using belongings that we found):

  1. Megar Varn was dead.
  2. We failed to located Gurnery.
  3. We saw Cephal in a wide underground chamber with stalactites on the ceiling and glowing lava and what used to be a bridge over some tar pits. Cephal had a broken jaw and foul, blackened flesh and was wearing the tatters of his wizrd robes. He had been strangled to death and was now standing motionless as a dread zombie. Tal knew that such a zombie could command other zombies as a free action and had bad reflex saves. He was located somewhere SE of us. We cast detect magic through the scrying portal and detected a +1 dagger and a ring of protection.
  4. A commoner we scryed was alive, but not in his body. Through detect magic we discovered that he was in a soul jar on a shelf full of similar jars. The walls were full of niches with shelves, on which the jars were located. The jars were each 1 ft tall and contained swirling smoke. There was a portable hole in the corner. Touching a soul jar allows telepathic communication with the soul and breaking the jar will revive the person with their body. The jars were in a circular room with domed ceilings.
  5. The missing scholar Willais Gunderson (who had followed a map to an ancient crypt and found an ancient bracelet) was now in a dark crypt as a ghostly figure with an unnatural aura that frightened Andarus.

Outisde, Andarus spotted a strange raven circling the town and thought that it might be spying on us. We suspected that it was Vordakai’s familiar.

We headed towards the spriggans’ caves, planning to ambush the raven if we saw it again. En route, we smelt blood and came upon the corpses of slaughtered dire wolves in a circle, all missing their eyes and scrota. They were arranged in a circle with spokes related to the seasons. The mutilations were done with surgical precision.

  • beryl with a lingering necromantic aura (25 gp)
    Liliana thought that the crystal was used to evoke something and felt a sickness coming from it. Tal recalled cultic lore about rare beings that could launch magic through crystals. We put it in the bag of holding, just in case. We took a sample of blood from the wolves (although blood biography didn’t prove necessary).

At the caves, we found a rock behind a bush, with small booted humanoid tracks and a small entrance. Tal sensed something and cast see invisibility, finding a floating crystal. A beam came out of it, crumbling the floor beneath Tal, but he was able to quickly jump out of the way. Tal sensed an intelligence directing the crystal.

  • opal (100 gp)

We saw a humanoid figure witha red crystal floating in front of it, which shot a fireball at us. The figure was a stygira. The stygira hit Tal, draining him of color and cursing him. Larken and Verrak attacked, killing it and causing the crystal to fall to the floor. After this, we heard a screaming and were attacked by two more of the stygira. We found a ritual circle surrounded by the wolf eyes and testicles. Larken killed the stygira performing the ritual, stopping its summons. However, a giant cyclops then burst upwards through the floor and we killed it as well. Each stygira dropped a gem.

  • 3x painite (1750 gp each)
  • huge mwk greatclub (320 gp)
  • huge hide armor (60 gp)
    After the fight, we had our summoned lantern archon cast continual flame on the ioun stones circling the heads of Tal, Liliana, and Verrak. (-150 gp total)

The curse began to slow Tal. Liliana prayed for guidance and saw a vision of the sun melting rocks. Tal ran out of the cave and began regaining color in the sunlight, breaking the curse after an hour.

State of the Party:

Knowledge:

  • knowledge of the location of Talia’s wedding gift (worth 300 gp)
  • “Secrets of the Rashalka Mounds” and Ervil’s notes
  • charcoal stretches of peculiar markings, which the notes attribute to the old centaurs
  • two-month old letter from Varn to Pendras saying that Willas discovered the bracelet on the banks of a local river and asking Pendras to look into it
  • centuries-old geography book on Taldor, with a massage marked by Pendras as “Vordakai,” an ancient Nomen god.
  • letters with mentions of conflict with the Nomen
  • pages from a spellbook containing the spells: bears endurance, mount, tiny hut, keen edge, comprehend languages, and flaming sphere
  • map of the Nomen Heights and the area around Varnhold

Stuff belonging to the Varnholders:

  • payroll coffer of 500 gp
  • gems worth 3500 gp
  • +2 defending longsword with the symbol of the house of Varn
  • 6000 gp
  • recipe for the Cheerful Delver Stout (50 gp)

Weapons:

  • 934 arrows
  • 220 bolts
  • 120 small darts
  • “Skybolt,” a +2 thundering composite longbow (for plus 4 strength)
  • +1 heavy crossbow of seeking (8400 gp)
  • ritual barbarian dagger

Potions/alchemical items:

  • 4 potions of water breathing
  • 1 potion of shield of faith +2
  • 1 potion of lesser restoration
  • 1 potion of raise dead
  • 2 potions of speak with animals
  • 3 potions of cure moderate wounds
  • 1 vial of wyvern poison
  • vial of antitoxin
  • thunderstone
  • 2 smokesticks
  • 1200 gp in potions

Wondrous Items:

  • 3 dust of illusion
  • 1 feather token, tree
  • elixir of love
  • ointment, restorative (5 uses)
  • type II necklace of fireballs with one 4d6 bead left
  • ring of friend shield (but not its companion ring)
  • bag of holding
  • robe of vermin (cursed item)
  • ring of bestial friendship (after 1d4 minutes, the befriended animal goes into a rage and has an urge to attack a nearby town) (made of hair)

Misc:

  • folding boat (another one)
  • lizardfolk hatched from an egg
  • bag of caltrops (previously possessed by Grigore)
  • sketched likeness of the dark fey
  • map with our town and the owlbear’s nest marked on it
  • map from the troll lair, rubbing of the pillar from the troll lair
  • dire boar pelt
  • dragon scale to make x2 small Hide Armor
  • black dragon scales
  • forest drake hide
  • winter wolf pelt

Quest items:

  • Torvin’s mother-of-pearl brooch
  • trunk with a small library of reference books (900 gp, or 500 gp reward from the academy for their return)
  • mwk viola with maker mark of Azores of Wistful (1600 gp, or more for return to the academy)

Heads:

  • forest drake head
  • rock troll head
  • double-headed ettin heads
  • wyvern head
  • winter wolf head
  • owlbear head
  • pluda head

The party has 8610.7 gp

View
Convalescence
Or, we explore the town and our eyes heal

We found a decaying body of a “greenish gnome” in the well, which we identified as a spriggan. We proceeded to explore some of our immediate surroundings. The tailor shop looked as if it had been looted. The front door of the potter’s shop was broken down. Inside, we found a hidden door behind a cloth, with a folded bed of straw behind it. Inside, we found an elegant set of platinum-chased platters, with a card indicating that it was intended as a wedding gift for Princess Talia, the daughter of the king of Zaith. We rehid it.

  • knowledge of the location of Talia’s wedding gift (worth 300 gp)

We went to the church of Calen and found that it too had been looted by the spriggans. We found an altar inside with ten scrolls. We prayed to Calen to restore our eyes and heard the voice of Calen giving us permission to take the scrolls and imploring us to find the townsfolks, suggesting that we should go search the tavern. Outside, there was a graveyard with one open grave for “Andricia the Potter” dated several weeks back. There were about 14 wooden grave markers. We dug up the body and found strange black dots on her skin, which looked noncontagious. We took a sample of her blood.

After reburying her, we heard a mewing from the weaver’s shop. There were children’s toys scattered in the yard. Hawk snuck in and found a half-starved calico cat hiding under the bed, named Dragon.

  • calico cat named Dragon (Hawk)

We went to the tavern/inn. Inside, the tables were still set with rotting food. It was a two-storey structure with six guest rooms and a wing for the hosts upstairs. Five of the rooms were ocupied. We found a log that said that the most recent tenant was in room 3: a scholar named Ervil Padras, who had arrived about a week before the date of the vanishing. He conducted research in the common room and his notes were still there. The notes talked about a mysterious bracelet that he was seeking. There was a dead giant-sized spriggan on the ground in the common room, clutching a book. The back of his skull was bashed in and he had a nimbus of amber. The book was titled “Secrets of the Rashalka Mounds” by Ernst Gavinport. (The book had a sepia snake sigil on it, which is what attacked the spriggan, causing his companions to bash his skull in to see if he was okay.) Ervil’s notes speculated that the Nomen tribe is an offshoot of the older population.

  • “Secrets of the Rashalka Mounds” and Ervil’s notes
  • charcoal stretches of peculiar markings, which the notes attribute to the old centaurs
  • two-month old letter from Varn to Pendras saying that Willas discovered the bracelet on the banks of a local river and asking Pendras to look into it
  • trunk with a small library of reference books (900 gp, or 500 gp reward from the academy for their return)
  • centuries-old geography book on Taldor, with a massage marked by Pendras as “Vordakai,” an ancient Nomen god.
  • mwk viola with maker mark of Azores of Wistful (1600 gp, or more for return to the academy)
  • 37 gp, 52 sp, 114 cp
    On the door outside, someone had hurriedly written “Nomen” with a dagger.

We stayed in the inn until our eyes healed (more quickly thanks to the intervention of Calen). With her eyes restored, Liliana was able to identify the scrolls:

  • 3x scrolls of cure serious wounds
  • 3x scrolls of remove paralysis
  • 1x scroll of restoration
  • 1x scroll of break enchantment
  • 1x scroll of breath of life
  • 1x scroll of raise dead

From the books, we learned that the spriggans lived in caves to the south and were called the Calcheck tribe. Meanwhile on CSI:Varnhold, blood biography indicated that the potter had died from a poisonous bite.

A triangular fortification sat atop a hill, with a palisade of sharpened stakes and twin watch patterns. Smoke rose from a campfire. Andarus flew over the fortification and found a tribe of eight or nine spriggans living there, plus some wolves.

On the way towards the fortification, we went to a house dug into the hill with an image of an elk carved into the door. Hawk entered and found a small wooden box about the size of a spellbook. Nearby, we found the book torn in half, which turned out to be the journal of a ranger and was written in Skald. The last entry was dated two weeks back and appeared to be a scouting report of the Varnhold pass. It looked as if a page had been torn out from about two months back. The next page had a single large rune on it, which we identified as an archaic Ulfin symbol to ward off bad luck.

  • folding boat

In the nearby blacksmith/livery, we found half a dozen corpses of horses being eaten by crows. A nearby shop had its sign torn to the ground and holes in the walls. We determined that it was a jeweler’s shop and that the spriggans had nearly demolished the interior looking for hidden panels and anything of the sort.

When we arrived at the fortification, the spriggans called down that the villagers had left and that they had claimed the city. They had been here for about ten days. They were raiders, but found the town abandoned. We gave them an ultimatum to leave and they said that they would consult with their leader Agai. Several minutes later, we heard orders being shouted and they reappeared with crossbows, forcing us to fight them.

Loot:

  • +1 heavy crossbow of seeking (8400 gp)
  • mwk greatclub (305 gp)
  • +1 breastplate (1350 gp)
  • 20 bolts
  • “Skybolt,” a +2 thundering composite longbow (for plus 4 strength)
  • 12 suits of padded armor (60 gp total)
  • mwk breastplate (350 gp)
  • 7 light wooden shields (21 gp total)
  • 20 spears (40 gp total)
  • 3 short swords (30 gp total)
  • 2 handaxes (12 gp total)
  • 2 longbows (150 gp total)
  • 1 shortbow (30 gp)
  • 4 light crossbows (140 gp total)
  • 2 heavy crossbows (100 gp total)
  • +1 morningstar (2308 gp)
  • 200 arrows
  • 220 bolts
  • 4 potions of water breathing
  • ring of friend shield (but not its companion ring)
  • bag of holding with:
  • payroll coffer of 500 gp
  • gems worth 3500 gp
  • +2 defending longsword with the symbol of the house of Varn
  • wand of spectral hand (17 charges) (Tal)
  • 6000 gp

We found the office of Hawitt Gurney, the sgt. at arms. It had various papers. We found the quarters of Cephal Lorentius, the wizard, birdkeeper, and master of dispatches.

  • letters with mentions of conflict with the Nomen
  • pages from a spellbook containing the spells: bears endurance, mount, tiny hut, keen edge, comprehend languages, and flaming sphere
  • map of the Nomen Heights and the area around Varnhold

We also finally identified the hair ring we found in the owlbear’s den. It was indeed cursed:

  • ring of bestial friendship (after 1d4 minutes, the befriended animal goes into a rage and has an urge to attack a nearby town)

State of the Party:

Knowledge:

  • knowledge of the location of Talia’s wedding gift (worth 300 gp)
  • “Secrets of the Rashalka Mounds” and Ervil’s notes
  • charcoal stretches of peculiar markings, which the notes attribute to the old centaurs
  • two-month old letter from Varn to Pendras saying that Willas discovered the bracelet on the banks of a local river and asking Pendras to look into it
  • centuries-old geography book on Taldor, with a massage marked by Pendras as “Vordakai,” an ancient Nomen god.
  • letters with mentions of conflict with the Nomen
  • pages from a spellbook containing the spells: bears endurance, mount, tiny hut, keen edge, comprehend languages, and flaming sphere
  • map of the Nomen Heights and the area around Varnhold

Stuff belonging to the Varnholders:

  • payroll coffer of 500 gp
  • gems worth 3500 gp
  • +2 defending longsword with the symbol of the house of Varn
  • 6000 gp
  • recipe for the Cheerful Delver Stout (50 gp)

Weapons:

  • 934 arrows
  • 220 bolts
  • 120 small darts
  • “Skybolt,” a +2 thundering composite longbow (for plus 4 strength)
  • +1 heavy crossbow of seeking (8400 gp)
  • ritual barbarian dagger

Potions/alchemical items:

  • 4 potions of water breathing
  • 1 potion of shield of faith +2
  • 1 potion of lesser restoration
  • 1 potion of raise dead
  • 2 potions of speak with animals
  • 3 potions of cure moderate wounds
  • 1 vial of wyvern poison
  • vial of antitoxin
  • thunderstone
  • 2 smokesticks
  • 1200 gp in potions

Wondrous Items:

  • 3 dust of illusion
  • 1 feather token, tree
  • elixir of love
  • ointment, restorative (5 uses)
  • type II necklace of fireballs with one 4d6 bead left
  • ring of friend shield (but not its companion ring)
  • bag of holding
  • robe of vermin (cursed item)
  • ring of bestial friendship (after 1d4 minutes, the befriended animal goes into a rage and has an urge to attack a nearby town) (made of hair)

Misc:

  • folding boat (another one)
  • lizardfolk hatched from an egg
  • bag of caltrops (previously possessed by Grigore)
  • sketched likeness of the dark fey
  • map with our town and the owlbear’s nest marked on it
  • map from the troll lair, rubbing of the pillar from the troll lair
  • dire boar pelt
  • dragon scale to make x2 small Hide Armor
  • black dragon scales
  • forest drake hide
  • winter wolf pelt

Quest items:

  • Torvin’s mother-of-pearl brooch
  • trunk with a small library of reference books (900 gp, or 500 gp reward from the academy for their return)
  • mwk viola with maker mark of Azores of Wistful (1600 gp, or more for return to the academy)

Heads:

  • forest drake head
  • rock troll head
  • double-headed ettin heads
  • wyvern head
  • winter wolf head
  • owlbear head
  • pluda head

The party has 3195.7 gp

View
Venturing into Varnhold
Or, MY EYES!!!!

During our three year hiatus, we crafted/bought many wondrous things:

  • Heal Tal’s CON damage (800 gp), leave the eye out
  • Tal’s spells (old list and prot form evil and the animal’s ability line) and mirror for scrying (2430 gp)
  • CHA ioun stone for Liliana (4000 gp)
  • 3x cloak of resistance from +2 to +3 for Hawk, Larken, Verrak (7500 gp)
  • upgrade Larken’s armor to +2 full plate spiked, selling old armor (1500 gp)
    Total cost: 16,230 gp

We claimed our potion reward:

  • 2x potion of heroism (Hawk and Larken)
  • 1x potion of cure moderate wounds

We also kept busy at expanding our kingdom, and it grew in size rapidly.

Lily Teskerton continued to court Tal after he gave her the mithral statuette from the abandoned keep. His missing eye only enhanced her interest. Eventually, he conceded to consult his harrow cards about forming a more serious relationship with her and the two began to court; Tal would cast fly on the two of them and they would watch the sun set from the highest point in the city, and then cast feather fall to allow them to descend. Eventually, they decided to wed and moved to the newly-founded town of Indril, which Tal named after Lily (in elven). Liliana explained that she remained unwed since she was waiting for an offer of marriage from a noble. Hawk completely missed the hint.

During the three years, Tal kept the spell detect scrying up constantly, discovering that the evil nymph was scrying upon us. Pitaro also sent scouts to our kingdom. We cast scrying upon Grigore periodically, learning that he was now in Pitaro. We also once saw him in Dreslev’s Folly. We believe that he is working for King Catuccio Irovetti, the Lord of Pitaro, who has imperialistic ambitions.

Varhold had been established by Meghar Varn and his band of mercenaries, the Varnling Host. Raj came from Zaith to tell us about the Varnholders. People had started disappearing and more recent rumors suggest that the settlement is completely abandoned. Zaith’s theory is that the centaur natives killed all of the people. We received a charter from Briannan, stating that the centaurs had caused trouble for Zaith in the past and instructing us to either drive out the centaurs or secure a peace treaty with them. For this, we were promised all of 4,000 gp.

A courtier, Idris Handaki, approached us and told us that he is worried about his brother, Torven, who went to Varnhold to make a deal with a gemcutter some time back and has not returend. He offers us a reward of 3000 gp for news of his brother’s fate and the return of his mother-of-pearl brooch. We attempted to scry upon his brother; while we were unable to see him, we sensed something a ways north of Varnhold.

Raj also told us that on his way to our kingdom, he went through Fort Serinko to the north and that the garrison had all left, heading north, as if they were preparing for something. We scryed on the garrison, and found them on the northern border of Zaith, training. The fort is now occupied only by the family of an innkeeper named Alvin. The soldiers were called north due to tensions on the border with Thalomir. Went we went to investigate, Alvin told us that the courtier’s brother had come through there a few seasons back. He suggested that we should go to Nivakta’s Crossing on our way to Varnhold.

On our way there, we saw seven elk and sensed that they were afraid of something. They had strange spear-like quills sticking out of them. Liliana healed the elk and Tal noticed that there was a poison on the quills, which he suspected was from a serpentine animal. We followed the tracks back into the plains and found a nearly dead elk. After Liliana healed it, it left. The ground began sloping downward and we came to a cliff overlooking an old stone quarry. We found a dead elk on the road, ripped to pieces. Heading down into the quarry, we found elephant-sized footprints.

We explored a system of man-made caves dug into the quarry. A system of lifts headed down to a lower level. In the back of the caves, we found a dragonlike creature with a quilled back called a pluda. Tal recalled that a pluda could only be killed by sundering its tail and relayed this information to the party. After a tense battle, Hawk sundered its tail, killing it. We found a few skeletons of the former miners. Hawk extracted poision from the quills.

  • 365 gp, 545 sp
  • pluda head
  • 2 doses of pluda poison (Hawk)

We headed north, to Nivakta’s Crossing. The Lord Mayor welcomed us, introducing himself as Irvan Resanasu. The sheriff was named Corin Cobin. We met the abbot, Cara Iralanika, who wore a medallion of the sun deity Corvanis. A Briennan swordlord named Jemandi Aldori was staying at the inn, lookinf for us. She was a famous duelist, looking to start a dueling school in the south. As she was friends with Meghar Varn, she planned to form the school in Varnhold. We dined with her. She told us that Zaith was nervous about the interest Briennan was showing in the Stolen Lands and that she couldn’t act directly in Varnhold since Zaith might misinterpret her actions as preparations for a civil war. She asked us to look into the disappearances in Varnhold and said she might be interested in forming her school in our kingdom instead. Liliana gave her a letter of introduction, should she decide to do so. We paid 50 gp to have the pluda head cured by a taxidermist and transported back to our kingdom.

  • -50 gp

We headed towards Varnhold, seeing ominous storm clouds form in the southern sky. We searched the area we had previously scryed, in search of Torvin. Smelling something odd, Larken found him in a gulch. He slipped into the gulch and broke his neck. We found the brooch on him.

  • Torvin’s mother-of-pearl brooch

Heading onward, we saw a figure ahead of us on a bridge, holding a crossbow. She lowered the weapon as we approached and introduced herself as Jemanda, a professor from Zaith. She said that she was looking for a missing professor, Ervil Pendred, but had found Varnhold empty. She was a representative of the Cataria academy, who had left without arranging for a leave of absence on the trail of an obscure clue about (I don’t recall what). If we can find him, she will give us her wand of find traps. She will be at the inn in Briennan, waiting to hear from us. She also mentioned that a friend of hers, the Omelet King, wants to create an omelet from a roc egg and to organize a omelet making competition. We suggested our capitol as a good location for such a competition and promised to look for such an egg. We noted that the bridge looked brand new and that the farmland in the area was well-developed.

Larken had an uneasy feeling about the lands to the east, which Tal recognized as the Dunnsward, where the centaurs lived. We headed on to Varnhold, but stopped when Andarus spotted a dragon. We were wary, but did not attack. When it landed, we saw that he was a silver dragon. He welcomed us and introduced himself as Pierlarius. He told us that that he had befriended the centaurs to the east while lookinf for the lair of a relative of his that may have been destroyed by a black dragon. The lair would be in the mountains to the south, but divination had not been successful in locating it. He told us that the centaurs to the east were led by Ecora Silverfire, a druid of Calen. He offered us an alliance and gave a crystal to Liliana, telling her “hold this crystal and call my name and I will come.” He mentioned that there is an ancient tower on the peak of Talon and a lake to the southeast called Lake Silverstep. He told us to beware of the Valley of the Dead, in which a tribe of cyclops used to live and a stone monolith called the Ghost Stone that glowed at night with strange shapes around. It is a spire that is 15 feet high and may once have been a portal to the ehereal plane. He believes that the tomb of the dragon ancestor is in this valley. He told us that rocs can be found on Talon’s peak.

We continued onward to Varnhold. We found that the town had an inn, a church of Calen, a livery, a brewery, and a granary. The town was constructed around the ford of a river, which a blockhouse and a stockade on a hill. We found rotten half-eaten corpses in a pigpen, covered in flies. A wild-pig with blood around its mouth attacked us, but we dispatched it easily.

The tannery had strange hides outside, which we recognized as centaur hides with the humanoid portion cut off. We found some blood on the tools used and cast blood biography on it; Kelly will get back to us with the results of this spell. We know that the centaurs have burial cairns in the hills, so we will preserve the hides until we can ask them what they would like us to do with them. Hawk found a loose floorboard in the brewery and a lockbox beneath it. Inside, we found:

  • 115 gp
  • recipe for the Cheerful Delver Stout (50 gp)

In the center of town, there was a river ford. Hawk ran across the water, but fell into a spiked pit on the other side. We were then attacked by two chuuls and a murder of crows. The birds pecked out Tal and Liliana’s eyes, while the chuuls paralyzed Verrak. Through an unfortunate error in combat, Larken was knocked unconscious. Despite this, we just barely managed to destroy these creatures.

State of the Party:

Weapons:

  • 734 arrows
  • 120 small darts
  • ritual barbarian dagger

Potions/alchemical items:

  • 1 potion of shield of faith +2
  • 1 potion of lesser restoration
  • 1 potion of raise dead
  • 2 potions of speak with animals
  • 3 potions of cure moderate wounds
  • 1 vial of wyvern poison
  • vial of antitoxin
  • thunderstone
  • 2 smokesticks
  • 1200 gp in potions

Wondrous Items:

  • 3 dust of illusion
  • 1 feather token, tree
  • elixir of love
  • ointment, restorative (5 uses)
  • type II necklace of fireballs with one 4d6 bead left
  • robe of vermin (cursed item)
  • ring of animal friendship (made of hair)

Misc:

  • Torvin’s mother-of-pearl brooch
  • recipe for the Cheerful Delver Stout (50 gp)
  • lizardfolk hatched from an egg
  • bag of caltrops (previously possessed by Grigore)
  • sketched likeness of the dark fey
  • map with our town and the owlbear’s nest marked on it
  • map from the troll lair, rubbing of the pillar from the troll lair
  • dire boar pelt
  • dragon scale to make x2 small Hide Armor
  • black dragon scales
  • forest drake hide
  • winter wolf pelt

Heads:

  • forest drake head
  • rock troll head
  • double-headed ettin heads
  • wyvern head
  • winter wolf head
  • owlbear head
  • pluda head

The party has 704.36 gp

View
The last threat to our kingdom
For now... dun dun DUNNNNN.

When we returned to town, we found many villagers nursing blackened eyes and our half-orc barbarian, Larken, grinning proudly. It seems that his actions with the local farmers’ daughters didn’t make the farmers feel as honored as he had expected, but he nonetheless was able to explain his side of things via a citywide brawl.

We went off in search of the hodag. En route, we ran into Falchios and Terrisia. They warned us of an ancient evil in the elven keep, saying that it was inhabited by demons and fey. They told us that a nymph queen had spurred the trolls against us, but refused to give us her name. They also told us that the hodag had been killed by a party that had emerged from the keep, and that they had returned its corpse to the keep.

We went to the hodag’s lair to look for clues. We found:

  • 3 handaxes (6 gp each)
  • mwk greataxe (320 gp)
  • +1 studded leather armor (1175 gp)

We also found trackers of a hunting party, consisting of one humanoid, something that dragged itself, large tracks that didn’t resemble feet, and a set of tracks that disappeared periodically.

We went towards the elven keep. Along the way, we ran across Percival and Tig Titterut. They told us that the fey sensed the growing presence of the First World. They warned that an evil baobahn sith lived in the keep and sucked blood. (In the confusion over the pronunciation of its name, we forgot to make a knowledge roll about it.) They also told us that the nymph queen had been stripped of her power for some reason and was coming to our land. They warned of strange odors from the keep (leading us to fashion some improvised gear to protect our breathing) and told us that the south wall of the keep had fallen, providing an alternate entrance.

When we arrived at the keep, we instead decided to scale the wall using the vines growing upon it for grips. We found that the interior was full of trees. Hawk scouted ahead and peaked through an arrowslit, only to be surprised by a punch from a plant creature coming through the slit. (He’s lucky it didn’t grapple him too.) At nearly the same time, Tal was attacked by a creature that vanished quickly thereafter, with a mighty gash to his throat preventing him from casting spells temporarily.

A stone titan separated from the wall of the central tower and came at us. Larken decided to jump onto it to attack from above, only to discover that it was an illusion, leading him to plummet thirty feet through the trees to the hard ground below. We all descended from the wall to aid him, but were attacked by an assassin vine, a wood golem, a grimstalker, and a quickling. The baobahn sith came out dancing in the nude, dazing Hawk and Larken. Tal attempted to break her concentration by summoning a swarm of mad monkeys to distract her, but they failed in their attempt. Liliana broke Hawk and Larken’s line of sight by interposing an illusion of a wall. After a bloody fight, during which our adversaries periodically disappeared into the trees to heal, we finished off all of the foes except for the quickling and the sith, who fled.

We headed towards the central tower, where we found a mural that acted as a portal to the ethereal plane, where we found the sith, the quickling, and the not-actually-dead hodag in the center of a large ethereal chamber dominated by an enormous tree. We continued the battle, with a lucky hit from the quickling gouging out one of Tal’s eyes. Verrak slayed the sith. With her dying words, she unsuccessfully attempted to curse Verrak. Seeing this, the quickling fled.

We found an altar under the tree, in which was stashed:

  • mwk harp (100 gp)
  • carved jade statuette of a snake (75 gp)
  • ancient elven water clock (1000 gp)

Exploring the rest of the keep, we found:

  • bearskin coverlet (50 gp)
  • 2 royal outfits (200 gp each)
  • 3 courtier outfits (30 gp each)
  • coffer with 3 vials of perfume (100 gp each)
  • gem-studded tiara (350 gp)
  • elixir of love (not my favorite item to have, but cheap enough that we might as well keep it around in case the need comes up)
  • chest with 431 sp, 350 gp
  • lifesize statue of a nude elven woman (900 gp)
  • +1 keen spear (8,302 gp)
  • notes written by the grimstalker, revealing that he would bring people as sacrifices to the dancing lady, but keep their skulls
  • fine velvet cloak (10 gp)
  • gold necklace (100 gp)
  • silver ring with an emerald (300 gp)
  • bejeweled mwk short sword (510 gp)
  • moonstone (50 gp)
  • 176 sp, 310 gp

Searching the wreckage of the ruined side tower, we found

  • mithral statuette of a woman in archaic robes (1200 gp, but Lily wants it)

When we returned to town, the villagers realized that they’d wanted us to do stuff that they forgot to ask us to do. But, they decided to award us anyway:

  • 1200 gp for killing the forest drake
  • 1200 gp in potions for bringing an alchemist some troll’s blood
  • 1200 gp for killing the Howl of the North Wind
  • 600 gp and 3 potions of cure moderate wounds for finding some shambling mound sap (1 potion to Tal)

We gave Lily the mithral statuette in exchange for her father’s +1 ring of protection. (And what else? Find out next time, same bat-time, same bat-channel.)

State of the Party:

Weapons:

  • 734 arrows
  • 120 small darts
  • ritual barbarian dagger

Potions/alchemical items:

  • 1 potion of shield of faith +2
  • 1 potion of lesser restoration
  • 1 potion of raise dead
  • 2 potions of speak with animals
  • 2 potions of cure moderate wounds
  • 1 vial of wyvern poison
  • vial of antitoxin
  • thunderstone
  • 2 smokesticks
  • 1200 gp in potions

Wondrous Items:

  • 3 dust of illusion
  • 1 feather token, tree
  • elixir of love
  • ointment, restorative (5 uses)
  • type II necklace of fireballs with one 4d6 bead left
  • robe of vermin (cursed item)
  • ring of animal friendship (made of hair)

Misc:

  • lizardfolk egg
  • an owlbear cub (worth 3000 gp once nursed back to health)
  • bag of caltrops (previously possessed by Grigore)
  • sketched likeness of the dark fey
  • map with our town and the owlbear’s nest marked on it
  • map from the troll lair, rubbing of the pillar from the troll lair
  • dire boar pelt
  • dragon scale to make x2 small Hide Armor
  • black dragon scales
  • forest drake hide
  • winter wolf pelt

Heads:

  • forest drake head
  • rock troll head
  • double-headed ettin heads
  • wyvern head
  • winter wolf head
  • owlbear head

The party has 16,449.86 gp

View
Two worlds collide
Or, I am really really glad we had a god on our side

Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth’s fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread.
—H. P. Lovecraft, “The Dunwich Horror”

When we returned to town, the villagers honored us with a surprise feast. Larken got roaring drunk while talking with a lumberjack named Stass, who asked him to hunt down a hodag. He told Larken that he had attempted to kill the hodag when it attacked him near the logging camp to the west, but it had escaped with his +1 keen spear still stuck in its side. He promised Larken the spear in exchange for slaying the beast. Lily Teskerton, a local flirt with an interest in elves, expressed an interest in getting something of elvencraft and said that she thought that something suitable might be in the abandoned ruins. She also expressed and “interest” in Tal. She offered us her father’s old cloak of protection +1 in exchange, in addition to a “kiss or more.” (Perhaps I miswrote that… I can’t actually find cloak of protection in the SRD.)

We sold the mushrooms to the Beldame and found a buyer in Zaith for the owlbear. We gave the necklace of fireballs (well, fireball at any rate) to Hawk.

  • 1200 gp
  • 3000 gp

We crafted many wondrous things before heading out of town again and placed an order for a rod for Liliana:

  • Hawk’s +1 wakizashi to +1 keen
  • Verrak’s +2 ranseur to +2 furious
  • blessed book (Tal)
  • 5x quick runner’s shirts (everyone)
  • 5x cracked dustry rose prism ioun stones (everyone)
  • folding boat (can’t recall who’s carrying it?)
  • lesser rod of reach (Liliana)
  • -24,600 gp

All of us, except for the drunken Larken, sailed the folding boat out to Candlemere. We saw strange lights in the woods, but none approached when we landed. While we made our way towards the ruined keep, Hawk saw a horned creature in the woods and felt drawn to go deeper. Using his harrow deck, Tal decided that it was a good omen, and we decided to follow it. We came to a tiny lake in the middle of the island in a ravine. When we sailed to the island, we found a stone altar carved like an elf. On it, there were 18 arrows and a long spear. Via detect magic, we sensed an overwhelming aura of divine magic and had a vision of a giant elk taller than the trees laying his head down on the altar, with his antlers breaking off to become the arrows and long spear. Neither Tal nor Liliana recognized the elk, but the craft hawk Andarus recognized it as an avatar of the Grim White Stag, who was rarely seen in physical form.

We headed towards the tower, made of ancient stone that could have dated back to the Age of the Ancients. We found an inscription in the ancient Aklo language, and were able to make out an inscription bearing the name Yog-Sothoth. (I can’t decide whether this is important for the module, or a little joke for a party with enough skills to actually make every one of the long series of skill checks needed to find it. In either case, I say: Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.)

Liliana and Verrak were shaken by the dark aura of the tower, as will-o-wisps began emerging. A large number of the aberrations swarmed us, but luckily the power of the Grim White Stag let the spear and arrows slay the wisps in one hit. When the battle seemed to be turning in our favor, a giant will-o-wisp made of a swarm of other will-o-wisps arose from the castle and hit us with an arcane blast of electricity and fire. We strove mightily against it as more wisps swarmed in. Eventually, we drove the giant wisp to retreat to the tower, where it healed itself by drawing all of the remaining wisps on the island into its own form. This super wisp attacked us from above, but through Liliana’s fortuitous knowledge of levitate, we were eventually able to destroy it.

After this, the Grim White Stag appeared before us and lay down on the ground. Dying, it transformed into a hero’s feast and hallowed the area. The spear and arrows vanished at this time. Among the feast, we found a pitcher of blood wine that functioned as a

  • potion of raise dead
    (Gotta say, having that in our back pocket now is pretty nice.)

The key we found earlier opened the door at the base of the tower. Inside, we found a pile of rubble with magic detectable underneath. Moving it away, we found a wickedly curved dagger.

  • +2 shocking burst dagger (on a critical hit, it gains bane against that creature type), the “wisp dagger” (Hawk)

We sailed back to town.

State of the Party:

Weapons:

  • 734 arrows
  • 120 small darts
  • ritual barbarian dagger

Potions/alchemical items:

  • 1 potion of shield of faith +2
  • 1 potion of lesser restoration
  • 1 potion of raise dead
  • 2 potions of speak with animals
  • 1 vial of wyvern poison
  • vial of antitoxin
  • thunderstone
  • 2 smokesticks

Wondrous Items:

  • 3 dust of illusion
  • 1 feather token, tree
  • ointment, restorative (5 uses)
  • type II necklace of fireballs with one 4d6 bead left
  • robe of vermin (cursed item)
  • ring of animal friendship (made of hair)

Misc:

  • lizardfolk egg
  • an owlbear cub (worth 3000 gp once nursed back to health)
  • bag of caltrops (previously possessed by Grigore)
  • sketched likeness of the dark fey
  • map with our town and the owlbear’s nest marked on it
  • map from the troll lair, rubbing of the pillar from the troll lair
  • dire boar pelt
  • dragon scale to make x2 small Hide Armor
  • black dragon scales
  • forest drake hide
  • winter wolf pelt

Heads:

  • forest drake head
  • rock troll head
  • double-headed ettin heads
  • wyvern head
  • winter wolf head
  • owlbear head

The party has 3,906.66 gp

View
Requiem for an owlbear
Sure it destroyed a chunk of our kingdom, but I still feel sorry for it

We followed the tracks of the owlbear back to its cavern, where Mikmek led us to the back entrance. We cut through the vines and headed inside, where we were set upon by swarms of spiders, giant spiders, and ettercaps. We killed them and then found the caccooned body of a hapless explorer:

Loot:

  • +1 leather armor (Hawk)
  • sell Hawk’s former +1 studded leather armor (1,175 gp, although I don’t recall why he wanted to switch)
  • gloves of swimming and climbing (Tal)
  • Tal gives his ring of swimming to Larken
  • pouch with a large amethyst (100 gp)
  • paper with a map of the ruins (I didn’t write down what ruins… was this the abandoned keep?)
  • 2 doses of spider venom (Hawk)

Larken scouted ahead, going down a hole in the cavern’s floor. He spotted a dead owlbear and a large pile of human corpses.

Loot:

  • 6 studded leather armors (30 gp each)
  • 6 short swords (10 gp each)
  • 6 light wooden shields (3 gp each)
  • 6 bows (shortbows, I’m assuming, so 30 gp each
  • 84 arrows
  • 96 gp
  • an owlbear cub (worth 3000 gp once nursed back to health; we’ll either sell it or raise it for our army)

The dead owlbear was the mate of the owlbear that we were seeking. We found it in the next chamber, and attacked it after buffing ourselves. During the battle, a shambling mound snuck up behind us and grappled Tal, causing a centipede swarm inside of it to swarm over him. Ah, grappling, the wizard’s worst friend. It’s times like these when one would miss being a conjuration (teleport) specialist… Luckily, it was shortly dispatched by the rest of the party. We decided to explore the rest of the caves while our buffs were still active, but found no other living creatures save some shriekers. Hawk fell through a weak patch of floor in a tunnel, into a pit full of green slime, but Tal was able to destroy it using ray of frost (which I wouldn’t have had prepared had I still been a conjurer, so I guess that balances out the loss of a grapple solution) before it harmed him. (Shriekers and green slime? Whoever wrote this module must be pretty nostalgic.) We searched the rest of the caverns for loot.

Loot:

  • map with our town and the owlbear’s nest marked on it
  • owlbear barding (worth 250 gp, but instead traded away later)
  • +2 chain shirt (4350 gp)
  • +1 longsword (2315 gp)
  • 2 mwk throwing axes (308 gp each)
  • vial of antitoxin
  • thunderstone
  • 2 smokesticks
  • jar of restorative ointment (5 uses)
  • 2 potions of speak with animals
  • 34 gp + 112 gp
  • corpse of a wizard with a wand of lightning bolt (33 charges) (Tal)
  • owlbear head
  • ring of animal friendship (made of hair)

From the effect that it had on the owlbear, I think it’s safe to assume that it’s cursed, but we haven’t made a good enough spellcraft check yet. But, we can try again once per day and it’s only DC 28, so we’ll find out one way or the other eventually. I don’t want to waste a spell slot on identify on adventuring days and it’s not urgent to find out for sure, but I’ll try to remember to come back to this some day when we’re just staying in the kingdom.

We stayed the night in the cavern, and then went off in search of the wandering giant. On the way, we found an abandoned ferry station on the Shrike river. Later, we ran into the giant, drinking the last of his moonshine. Liliana offered him some barrels of barley wine as a gift. The giant liked this, and told us that he had wanted to join up with the trolls, but that they were mean to him. We told him that we had killed the trolls. He saw the owlbear barding that we had and said he’d like to try to make it into armor for himself. We agreed to trade it to him in exchange for:

  • type II necklace of fireballs with one 4d6 bead left (normally I’d suggest selling this, but Tal doesn’t have fireball yet, so we might keep it as a contingency; maybe we should give it to Verrak, as he could easily survive a 4d6 explosion if it gets triggered against us)
  • wand of hideous laughter (10 charges, CL1… darn bards) (Tal)

We tried to get him to trade his spyglass, but he declined; ah well, we still got the better of that deal. He also showed us some other items that he had, including a map showing where the trolls had formerly lived, a grappling hook with just a few feet of frayed rope on it, and three shoes of different sizes. He offered us some dwarf jerky, which we declined, and some of his pickled sheep’s head, which he agreed to try (after casting purify food and prestidigitation) and regaled us with his stories of his… interest… in shoes. He agreed to be friends with our kingdom and said that he’d set up residence in the cavern that formally had housed the owlbear. He told us that the abandoned keep was dangerous and had a trapped gate.

We went to the mudpits to search for black rattlecap mushrooms for the Beldame. The area was full of noxious fumes. We started picking the mushrooms, but were then set upon by a tendriculus arising from the ground. It tried to swallow Hawk and Verrak, but both were able to escape, and we ended its menace quickly enough. Sadly, some of the mushrooms were destroyed in the battle, and we were only able to recover 12.

  • 12 black rattlecap mushrooms

State of the Party:

Weapons:

  • 734 arrows
  • 120 small darts
  • ritual barbarian dagger

Potions/alchemical items:

  • 1 potion of shield of faith +2
  • 1 potion of lesser restoration
  • 2 potions of speak with animals
  • 1 vial of wyvern poison
  • vial of antitoxin
  • thunderstone
  • 2 smokesticks

Wondrous Items:

  • 3 dust of illusion
  • 1 feather token, tree
  • ointment, restorative (5 uses)
  • type II necklace of fireballs with one 4d6 bead left
  • robe of vermin (cursed item)
  • ring of animal friendship (made of hair)

Misc:

  • 12 black rattlecap mushrooms
  • lizardfolk egg
  • an owlbear cub (worth 3000 gp once nursed back to health)
  • bag of caltrops (previously possessed by Grigore)
  • sketched likeness of the dark fey
  • map with our town and the owlbear’s nest marked on it
  • map from the troll lair, rubbing of the pillar from the troll lair
  • dire boar pelt
  • dragon scale to make x2 small Hide Armor
  • black dragon scales
  • forest drake hide
  • winter wolf pelt

Heads:

  • forest drake head
  • rock troll head
  • double-headed ettin head
  • wyvern head
  • winter wolf head
  • owlbear head

The party has 24,306.66 gp

View
Finishing the trolls
Or, another avatar of a goddess interferes with our combat

We gave Larken the potion of invisibility, and he scouted ahead while carrying Andarus, who was using detect magic. While scouting, Larken came upon the decapitated corpses of animals and humans. (Seriously, what kind of people decapitate their fallen foes? Oh wait…) Towards the back of the caves, he found a 30-foot high chamber with a dark altar. Hargulka was seated upon a wagon that he was using as a makeshift throne. Andarus spotted a treasure trove under the wagon, and determined that Hargulka was wearing magical hide armor, wielding a thundering darkwood morningstar, and wearing a magical necklace that we guessed to be a necklace of fireballs.

Larken reported back to us, and we planned to create a chokepoint in front of the cavern and attack Hargulka with fire from range in an attempt to cause his necklace to explode. Tal cast enlarge person on Verrak and Larken drank a potion of enlarge person, and we set off towards the cavern. However, when we arrived, we found the rock troll Kargad sacrificing the corpse of a horse on the altar, which caused a pillar in the room to begin to glow and a face to appear in it. The face was of a fey creature, similar to a female elf. She spoke to Hargulka in Aklo, and he ran towards us, throwing a fireball from his necklace at our clustered group. Through bad luck, our attempts to ignite the necklace were not successful for much of the combat, but the enlarged fighters held strong as our front line. Hargulka continued to attack, throwing fireballs whenever he was able, while the evil fey creature caused various poisonous clouds to waft out from the mushrooms in the chamber. She also destroyed a tree we had created via a feather token in one mighty blast. Eventually, we were able to kill Kargad, closing the portal in the pillar. Shortly thereafter, Tal engulfed Hargulka within a flaming sphere, igniting the remaining beads on the necklace of fireballs. (I suppose acid spalsh would have been a better choice, although there probably would have been range issues.)

Loot:

  • +1 darkwood thundering morningstar (large) (8,376 gp)
  • wooden carving of a statue of a dragon (200 gp)
  • gold necklace with a jade pendant (500 gp)
  • assorted minor jewelry (750 gp)
  • 5 other gems (100 gp each)
  • 12 bottles of fine wine (200 gp each)
  • engraved silver tankard (50 gp)
  • 1652 gp
  • 3550 sp
  • 1484 cp
  • heads of the troll troll and of the double-headed ettin (cut off at the shoulders)

We also found a map on a thylacine hide, with markings of planned raid sites. Tal studied the map, and was able to deduce that the trolls had been carrying out organized attacks against civilized areas, but areas with fey creatures had been marked to avoid. We took the map and also made rubbings of the engravings on the pillar. We also sketched a likeness of the dark fey that we saw. The gnomes and their wagons helped us transport the loot back to town.

When we approached town, we saw smoke in the distance. The town had been attacked by a giant owlbear that had destroyed several buildings, killed dozens of people, and then left towards the south. The town guard reported that the owlbear was wearing barding.

Zaith sent us a reward of 2,000 gp for dealing with the trolls.

Before heading after the owlbear, we bought some supplies:

  • 9 potions of enlarge person (Verrak, Larken) (50 gp each)
  • 7 bandoliers (assorted party members) (5 gp each)
  • 5 flasks of acid (10 gp each)
  • 5 alchemist fire (25 gp each)
  • 1 dose of antitoxin (50 gp)
  • 125 gp of platinum rings as foci for Liliana

State of the Party:

Weapons:

  • 650 arrows
  • 120 small darts
  • ritual barbarian dagger

Potions:

  • 1 potion of shield of faith +2
  • 1 potion of lesser restoration
  • 1 vial of wyvern poison

Wondrous Items:

  • 3 dust of illusion
  • 1 feather token, tree
  • robe of vermin (cursed item)

Misc:

  • lizardfolk egg
  • bag of caltrops (previously possessed by Grigore)
  • sketched likeness of the dark fey
  • map from the troll lair, rubbing of the pillar from the troll lair
  • dire boar pelt
  • dragon scale to make x2 small Hide Armor
  • black dragon scales
  • forest drake hide
  • winter wolf pelt

Heads: (yeah, this is a section now)

  • forest drake head
  • rock troll head
  • double-headed ettin head
  • wyvern head
  • winter wolf head

The party has 19,517.66 gp.

View
For whom the bell trolls
Ugh. What a horrible pun. It doesn't even make sense

[ Tal re-stats his magic schools: Arcane school: Divination (Foresight), Prohibited schools: Enchantment, Necromancy ]

When returning to town, we saw smoke in the distance beyond the town. The people were panicked and told us that we were under attack from a tribe of trolls. The Beldame, Jhod, and other of our advisors had gone out to deal with them. We hurried on to join them, but found that they had already defeated the trolls. However, the trolls had taken some of our people captive, which the Beldame surmised they intended as a food source. The Beldame told us that one of the trolls was a two-headed ettin, one was a rock troll named Kargad who the Beldame divined was the second in command, and the leader was a troll named Hardanka, whom she had previously hear of harassing people in the lands to the south. The trolls were staying in a fortress to the southwest, previously occupied by dwarves. She believes that some fey creature may have stirred up the trolls.

We rode out after the trolls, sending Andarus ahead to scout. However, he sent back empathetic thoughts of extreme panic. When we came to a river, we decided to scout for an ambush before crossing, and saw a drake rise out of the water. It told us, in Draconic, “I am the king of the forest.” Apparently, it was acting as rear guard for the trolls. It flew at us and breathed clouds of acid upon us. We were able to defeat it, but felt that we were not in a position to continue after the trolls that day. We chopped off its head as an addition to our collection, and skinned its hide. Tal detected magic from inside of it, so we chopped it open and pulled out the body of an elf. We decided to take his body back with us, with the intention of asking Jhod to cast speak with dead to see what he could tell us. As we did not expect our people to survive longer than that, we reluctantly decided to return to town to regroup, to prepare, and to ponder how the trolls managed to secure the drake as an ally.

Loot:

  • forest drake head and hide
  • ripped and broken masterwork chain shirt (250 gp)
  • masterwork darkwood longbow (405 gp)
  • cloak of elvenkind (2500 gp)

When we returned, the Beldame suggested that the trolls and the drake might both be working for dark fey. She told us that the drake had a lair to the east of the stronghold. Raj returned from Zaith, bringing us a new charter. Zaith had sent a group of elven spies into our forest to investigate rumors of the trolls. The elf we found was a member of the group, and we sent his body back with Raj. (What’s that, ambassador from Zaith? Why no, he didn’t have any magical gear on him when we found him, I swear to Calen. Must have been digested by the drake.) Due to the threat, they tasked us to take out the trolls’ leader, Harkuga (Hardanka?). If we did so, they predicted that the other trolls would disperse.

We bought some mundane equipment and began crafting magical items, armors, and weapons (with help from Jhod casting masterwork transformation and providing bear’s endurance for the belt). Hawk extracted two doses of wyvern poison from the tail we had cut off earlier; we decided to keep one and to sell the other. While we did so, the Beldame offered to send out scouts to look into the surrounding areas. The scouts reported that there was a wandering giant in the area near the lake by the Shrike river and the mudbowl. A second sent of scouts went to a keep in the woods, but did not return. Tal had heard of the keep in ancient even myths. It was known as “The Forgotten Keep.” Long ago before the fall of starstone, the elves had built it as an outpost. But, they had fled at the start of the Age of Darkness and it was now in ruins. A third group found the lair of the drake and brought us 532 gp that they found there, stating that the lair contained nothing else of value. Mikmek also went scouting, and reported that he had found a caves along Little Selton River, a distance southeast of our capitol. He had been scared off by a loud roar from an unknown creature in the caves.

Changes in wealth:

  • 532 gp
  • vial of wyvern poison
  • vial of wyvern poison (3000 gp)
  • sell Hawk’s katana (50 gp)
  • sell Hawk’s +2 strength composite short bow (225 gp)
  • buy spiked gauntlet for Tal (-5 gp)
  • buy haramaki for Tal (-3 gp)
  • buy lesser rod of extend for Tal (-3000 gp)
  • buy harrow deck for Tal (-100 gp)
  • buy bec de corbin for Larken (-15 gp)
  • buy two spiked gauntlets for Hawk (-10 gp)
  • sell Tal’s +1 dagger (2310 gp)
  • sell Tal’s bracers of armor +1 (1000 gp)
  • sell Liliana’s CHA headband (4000 gp)
  • craft +2 CON belt for Liliana (-2000 gp)
  • craft phylactery of positive channeling for Liliana (-5500 gp)
  • craft +2 breastplate with spikes for Larken (-2400 gp)
  • craft +2 mountain pattern armor with spikes for Verrak (-2200 gp)
  • enhance Verrak’s ranseur to +2 (-3000 gp)
  • enhance Hawk’s first wakizashi to +1 keen (-4000 gp)
  • enhance Hawk’s second wakizashi to +1 (-1000 gp)
  • enhance 5x cloaks of resistance to +2 (-7500 gp)

Before seeking out the trolls, Tal performed a harrowing.
Hawk: The Fiend
Larken: The Forge
Verrak: The Paladin
Liliana: The Bear
Tal: The Keep
Partial matches: The Forge (Str), The Empty Throne (Cha)
True matches: The Keep (Str), The Mute Hag (Wis), The Mountain Man (Con), The Cyclone (Str)

We rode out to the fortress of the trolls, with the gnomes from the Narthropple expedition following behind with wagons. (They had been seeking the fortress and intended to explore it after we cleared out the trolls.) We climbed up to the entrance and killed the trolls guarding the entrance. One in a tower had been attacking us with a giant ballista, which we disabled before continuing in further.

Loot:

  • 234 sp, 589 gp

We tried to lure the trolls deeper in the fortress up towards the main chamber, with Larken even resorting to throwing the head of one of their dead comrades down at them. However, they would not come up, so we were forced to descend and encounter them on their own terms. In an unfortunately severe fumble, Verrak knocked himself unconscious and we rushed in to save him before the troll dogs below could eat him. Continuing the comedy of errors, Tal fell down the staircase and took several rounds to get into battle. Luckily, an invisible Hawk was able to pull Verrak under a stone table in the room and protect him until he regained consciousness. After killing the trolls and their dogs, we found a room full of mundane supplies stolen from our trade routes

Loot:

  • 4 production points, once we can get it all out of here

At this point, we found ourselves in a natural cavern at the back of the fortress. In one tunnel, we heard two trolls conversing in a language we did not understand. When we followed the voices to their source, we found that it was the two-headed troll/ettin Grundi talking to himself. We attacked him, but the noise attracted another group of trolls. Liliana cast sanctuary upon herself and blocked the corridor to slow their entrance. Eventually, we slayed them all and ensured that they would not regenerate with acid splash, snapdragon fireworks, and alchemist’s fire.

Loot:

  • 1902 sp, 888 gp
  • dusty rose prism ioun stone
  • 2 large sets of full-plate armor (3000 gp each)
  • 2 large leather armor (20 gp each)

We haven’t sold loot yet, but I’ll convert it to gp in the state of the party now anyway on the theory that we probably won’t have a chance to spend it before we have a chance to sell it.

State of the Party:

Weapons:

  • 650 arrows
  • 120 small darts
  • ritual barbarian dagger

Wondrous Items:

  • dusty rose prism ioun stone (give it to Larken, probably?)

Potions:

  • 1 potion of shield of faith +2
  • 1 potion of lesser restoration
  • 1 potion of cure light wounds
  • 2 potions of cure moderate wounds
  • 1 vial of wyvern poison

Misc:

  • lizardfolk egg
  • bag of caltrops (previously possessed by Grigore)
  • dire boar pelt
  • dragon scale to make x2 small Hide Armor
  • forest drake head and hide
  • black dragon scales
  • winter wolf pelt and head
  • wyvern head
  • 3 dust of illusion
  • robe of vermin (cursed item)
  • 2 feather token tree

The party has 7,742.82 gp.

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Taking down the cultists

[ Liliana re-stats as a healing oracle ]

Tal (disguised as a woman), Liliana, and Verrak went to see Sheila the beggar, posing as members of the religious order of Tanistria. Tal attempted to cast charm person on her, but she resisted the spell. The three explained their presence by claiming that they were looking for Goody. Sheila claimed not to have seen her and suggested that they leave. The three then went in search of Cortha the fisherwoman, but she did not answer when they knocked on her door. Inside, the house was in disarray as if someone had recently packed in a hurry. Verrak spotted a holy symbol of Gryonna, but it was not a magical one. Verrak also noticed a book that detailed the ritual for sacrificing a baby in order to bring about a physical manifestation of Gryonna. On their way back to town, they met up with Tig, who told them that he had spotted Sheila leaving town in the direction of the tree at which the cultists were hiding gold. They rode out towards the tree.

Meanwhile, Hawk, Larken, and Mikmek had been following the tracks from outside of Goody’s house. They heard someone scuffling up the path from behind them and decided to hide. They saw Sheila come by and proceeded to trail her. Her walk made a clanking noise, as if she were carrying many brass objects. They trailed her easily. After a while, they came to a point where the existing tracks appeared to go one way and Sheila went the other. Mikmek and two other kobolds followed the existing set of tracks, while Hawk, Larken, and the remaining two kobolds followed Sheila. She lead them to a barn, with a couple of woman outside cooking dinner by a fire. Hawk marked down the location on a map and they headed back to rejoin the rest of the party. However, Mikmek and his kobolds did not return. The party decided to go find them and found the smoking corpse of one kobold (Zarka) and the unconscious forms of Mikmek and one other kobold. After we tended to their wounds, the two survivors told us that they had run into the sorceress Fazra and that she had cast burning hands and magic missile at them. However, a lucky stab of the spear from Mikmek pierced her cheek, preventing her from casting further spells, and she fled. Having assured ourselves that the kobolds were safe, we camped for the night.

Tal read the book about the ritual that the cultists were preparing and found that it required a week of preparation, followed by a ritual about two hours long. The baby was to be sacrificed at the time that the full moon was exact, about three-fourths of the way through the ritual. We went to spy on the barn and heard the baby crying inside. Tal and Hawk snuck up to the barn under the cover of invisibility. Tal shifted through the wall of the barn while Hawk, wary of traps, waited outside. Hawk spotted a tripwire across the barn door that was attached to a bell. Inside, Tal spotted a hay bale that had been moved recently and noted a concealed trapdoor with a painted image of a bloodshot red eye beneath it. Tal shifted through the trapdoor and found the cultists inside preparing for the ritual. He heard Goody addressed as Malgorzata. Fazra was holding a vial of blood and drawing symbols on the ground with it. Tal retreated and shared the intelligence he had gathered with the party. We decided to time our attack with the ritual, reasoning that the baby would be safe until the ending portion of the ritual and that it would provide a distraction for the cultists.

That night, we had ominous dreams.
Hawk: The Crows
Liliana: The Fiend
Verrak: The Betrayal
Tal: The Liar
Larken: The Foreign Trader
(We weren’t considering the alignment of the cards at this point, but it’s interesting to note that everyone but Larken had an evil omen in their dream.)

When we awoke the next morning, an odd mist was emanating from the barn. Via detect magic, we confirmed that it was the result of a hallow spell. We saw no cultists outside, and so entered the barn, being careful to avoid the tripwire. Tal cast vanish and other buffing spells upon himself, and shifted through the trapdoor. The remainder of the party awaited above for a short time, and burst the door open at the same instant that Tal attempted to cast touch of idiocy upon Goody. Unfortunately, due to amazing clumsiness, it took him quite a while to successfully land a touch upon her, during which time he was boxed in and Goody channeled an unfortunate amount of negative energy upon the party. Goody took the orb of the goddess and held it high, channeling negative energy upon us. The voice of the goddess rang out, shouting “slay the baby now.” The cultists tried to slay the baby, but were hindered by the magic on the bloody circle in which the baby was levitating. The circle transformed into a portal and the baby began descending into it. Hawk took a mighty leap across the circle, catching the baby in midair and ran off with it. Larken finally made his way through a sea of dead cultists to engage Goody, attacking her with a stroke that also cleaved into the orb, cracking it. Goody fell dead from the attack, but the orb rose of its own divine power and offered to make Larken its champion. When he refused, it attacked him with a blast of negative energy, injuring him gravely. However, Verrak and Larken continued striking at the orb, eventually causing it to explode, at which point the portal disappeared and the remaining cultists collapsed. Larken heard a voice in his mind saying “We will meet again.”

Loot:

  • hag shabbles (3400 gp)
  • 116 gp
  • 16 wooden holy symbols (technically we could sell them, but consider who they’re holy to, burning is probably a better option)
  • +1 dagger (Tal)
  • sell Tal’s former masterwork dagger (301 gp)
  • chysoberyl (500 gp) from the center of the orb
  • spellbook containing aqueous orb, harrowing, mad monkeys, stinking cloud, and slow

We’re reclaiming 2500 gp from Raj’s magic items, and Tal will take Raj’s amulet of natural armor.

State of the party:

Weapons:

  • 650 arrows
  • 120 small darts
  • ritual barbarian dagger

Potions:

  • 1 potion of shield of faith +2
  • 1 potion of lesser restoration
  • 1 potion of cure light wounds
  • 2 potions of cure moderate wounds

Misc:

  • lizardfolk egg
  • bag of caltrops (previously possessed by Grigore)
  • dire boar pelt
  • dragon scale to make x2 small Hide Armor
  • black dragon scales
  • winter wolf pelt and head
  • wyvern head and tail
  • 3 dust of illusion
  • robe of vermin (cursed item)
  • 2 feather token tree

The party has 26,363.22 gp.

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