Pangloss

The Baby Behir and Glade of Peace
If the momma behir shows up, I'm running away.

Reticent to face the behir whelp in its lair, the heroes split up looking for dry kindling (for a fire to smoke out the monster) and rear exits. Bala the Behir seized this chance to ambush the isolated mage Serima, launching himself from his hiding place in the river. The party quickly converged on Bala. A deadly battle ensued, with Bala repeatedly pushing Slider to the brink of death. At a critical point Bala fled into his cave and escaped through an underwater rear exit to attack the party from behind and (again) trample Serima. Bloody and battered, looming over the unconscious bodies of Salvatore and Nala and Serima and Abey, Bala defiantly promised death to the remaining heroes: Slider and Saeryljana. Their blades were too much for the behir in the end though.

The party took a few hours to recover, tending their wounds, exploring Bala’s underground lair, and butchering the behir corpse for steaks, the organs that generated its static charge, and its head (as a trophy). In the mean time, Lord Hamhill Bronzebottom took the army on towards Dawnstride to break the goblin siege. During exploration, the party found magical plate armor that could be summoned and dismissed at will, and a stone tablet carved with the message: “For Bala, King of the Forest. Thank you for your mercy in accepting our food offering and letting us pass.” Oddly, the tunnel and lair appeared to have been dug using tools (i.e., not dug by claws).

Recovered, the party split off from the army to find the Glade of Peace, believing that the goblin horde intended to seize it and use the power source located there. They took extra caution to approach the glade from the northwest, in the hopes of sneaking up on any goblins in the area.

After a few hours, they spotted a crow flying towards them from the direction of Dawnstride. This time Saeryl deftly shot the bird out of the air. Leaning over in the saddle to pick up the feathered shish kebab, Slider discovered there was no note tied to the crow’s leg. Instead, a dying whisper escaped the bird’s beak: “It’s a…”

Later that day, the party discovered a marmalade cat stealthily trailing them. Serima magically caught the cat by the scruff of the neck. Inspection revealed the cat to be a familiar, and looking into its eyes showed 4 halfling adventurers sitting in a cave playing cards. Perhaps the party of halfing adventurers Duke Thorndyke sent east to investigate why trade from Rivercity had stopped coming to Dawnstride? Peering into the cat’s eyes and hoping for more clues, Abey and Serima telepathically heard a male voice say, “We have food. Please hurry,” before the familiar simply vanished.

Shortly after dusk the party arrived at the Glade of Peace to find it guarded by a handful of hobgoblins and occupied by 9 chanting hobgoblin ritualists. An odd, lethargic skirmish took place, hampered by the mystical soothing calmness that emanated from the glade. Quickly realizing that the glade dampened aggression and that blood would defile the holiness of the clearing, the party lured the guards and ritualists away from the clearing. A hidden wizard suddenly complicated matters by attacking the party AND the ritualists with pillars of flame, a gigantic hand of ice, and dazzling color bursts. The wounded ritualists snapped out of their reverie, but the party succeeded in dispatching the goblins without defiling the glade. Desperate, the hidden wizard revealed himself to face the party alone: Synechia. Outnumbered, Synechia was quickly defeated.

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Marching Towards Dawnstride, part 2
introducing Mr. Hiss

XP awards:

  • Everyone: 660 XP
  • Slider: +100 XP for suicide slam attack
  • Abey: +100 XP for adopting Mr. Hiss
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Clearwater Village Rescue
look out for the bloodvines

somebody can write this and get bonus XP!

XP Rewards
  • Abey: 711 XP
  • Nala: 811 XP
  • Saeryl: 811 XP
  • Salvatore: 811 XP
  • Serima: 711 XP
  • Slider: 811 XP

If you are curious, this is how you earned XP:

  • Creating viable plan to defeat entire goblin outpost: 1050
  • Saving 125 of 150 villagers: 500
  • Hobgoblin Grunts: 7×38 = 266
  • Goblin Hexer: 150
  • Hobgoblin Soldier: 150
  • Giant Lizard: 250
  • Goblin Sharpshooters: 7×125 = 875
  • Bloodvine Hazard: 300
  • Acid Rain Hazard: 125

Total: 3666 (611 per player)

In addition, there were bonus XP awards:

  • everyone: 100 XP for amusing Art by willingly crawling through the latrine ravine
  • Nala and Salvatore: 100 XP each for cool teamwork to get over palisade wall
  • Slider and Saryeal: 100 XP each for cool sniping of goblin in tree
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Marching Towards Dawnstride
yeah, let's skip the zombie infested road

Darkening Skies

In short order a host is marching back along the road to Grennich Castle and while on the move one of the Dwarven healers approaches the group. Delbela Thunderhead, mother of Gilius Thunderhead has heard of this group and inquires as to his whereabouts. The best Nala, Salvatore, and Abey can do is assure her that when they last saw him he was in fine health and they’re expecting to see him at their shop in Dawnstride.

The Dawarven army encamps outside Grennich and the Roadwardens present themselves, victoriously returned, to the gathered Lords in the Castle. The worthies are rewarded for their pains and turn over the requested tome to Highwizard Chandler. The party breaks up, each to see to his own business before the dawn sees them on the move again. Luckily for Salvatore, Slider is still in ear-shot when he’s set upon by an assassin. As Salvatore recovers from a poison dart, Slider and soon the whole group, pursue the assailant across rooftops learning only that he’s Avenging a temple destroyed at their hands before he is pulled screaming into a void.

Now heading a column of troops, Nala, Salvatore, Saeryljana, Senechia, Abey, Slider, and Norbert strike out on the road to Dawnstride. Lord Bronzebottom now commands the combined force of Freehold Dwarves and Grennich Castle militia on the march.

A shadow is cast over the departure however as Salvatore shares with the Roadwardens and Lord Bronzebottom word from the prior of the Erathis Temple that Lord Harcourt covets the Dawnstride throne. This, shortly after word arrives at the Castle from Grennich scouts of another Hobgoblin force headed from the West.

After two days uneventful march the column comes across the village of Redshore Crossing only to find it razed. Only ashes remain of the town and most of its fields, its bridge and piers burnt to the water. After extensive searching it’s found that while there is blood scattered about there are no bodies, but plenty of drag marks. A young girl named Madge is found in a ruined basement who reveals the town’s people were dragged away across the river. Further, there seems to be some sort of warding on the far shore of the river.

It is decided that the army must find a ford further down river and one is found one hour east. While the army crosses, the Dawnstride Roadwardens backtrack and find the other end of the warded zone. Thru holy and arcane divination our heroes are horrified to find that the inhabitants of the town have been zombified and trapped under the road. The moment the ward is broken they will claw to the surface and consume whoever has been unlucky enough to find their resting place. Warnings are posted on hastily made road signs (instead of carved into the trees after Sereleana’s pointed protest).

The road dealt with for the moment, the team rejoins the encamped army. The next day’s march sees them arriving at the village of Clearwater just after sunset. There they find the village turned fortress and the townspeople corralled as hostages. What will our intrepid heroes do? Find out next week! Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel!

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Psychaedelic Critters and the Watery Teleporter
the bunnies are ENRAGED...

Thorndyke’s Roadwardens fought through magically mutated critters and drove off a gnome and his badger Francis to finally discover a teleport circle in the basement of a ruined building.

They figured out how to use the circle and its teleport plugs. Jumping into Freehold, Master Kevhan Stoneheart handled introductions and in no time at all the party was returning to Grenich Castle with a sizable expedition. And the preserved corpse of a displacer beast they defeated on the way to the teleport circle.

Hopefully they will not be too late to rescue Dawnstride from the goblin horde…

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Late Night Negotiations
wherein a counterattack is planned

Thorndyke’s Road Wardens arrive at the Glennich Castle Ford in the evening after nearly two days on the river from Co’amenel. They’re greeted on the dock by guards and mounted cavalry. They’re expected, so with little ceremony they enter the walled hill city and make their way up to Glennich Castle.

Glennich proper is an active city that shows signs of fending off a recent attack. The previous night the forewarned attackers came and did some notable damage to the low city and burned a couple farms, but nothing more. Before our Heroes reach the castle however their faithful companion Bree mysteriously and clumsily slips into the crowds, disappearing. The group is perturbed, but must continue.

They soon find themselves in the great hall of the castle joining a discussion already in process. The head table is covered with maps, letters, and ledgers and is surrounded by Lord Slade Harcourt, his advisors, Lord Hamhill Bronzebottom of Ironvein Freehold, some of his men, and Devros Seaskipper of Wavecrest. The party finds that Lord Bronzebottom is a friend of Duke Thorndyke and is strongly advancing the idea of rescuing Dawnstride and his friend. Lord Harcourt however is far more cautions, fearing that depleting his castles defenses will lead to immediate disaster for Glennich. Harcourt is eventually swayed by the party’s and Bronzebottom’s points and agrees to send his forces into Dawnbreak Forest, but only once he’s been reinforced by the Dwarves.

Even with this agreement in place it will be weeks before forces can be mustered to Dawnbreaks defense and the prospects look grim. At this the Castle Wizard Leyhoven Chandler steps forward and advances a plan he’d earlier suggested. Now that a group of experienced explorers is available, they can be sent into the haunted woods to the south to search ruins there for a fabled teleportation circle that may be linked to the Freehold and even Dawnstride.

Refreshed overnight at the cities Temple of Erathis, the party is joined by Kevhan Stoneheart, Lord Bronzebottom’s Herald, and Saeryljana, one of Lord Harcourt’s foresters. One long wagon ride later finds them at the haunted wood, which they enter after hiding their wagon and horses. With little difficulty the party finds themselves at a secluded grove surrounded by an enchanted wall. Who knows what they will find inside.

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A Communications Interuption Could Mean Only One Thing: Invasion
The Road to Glennich Castle II

Now nearly two weeks out from Hillcrest, The Fists wake in an recently abandoned camp to find that Marco has snuck back into camp and rejoined them, now armed and armored with the cast-offs from the dead Goblins who previously inhabited this camp.

They resume the trail, now following a sizable group of Goblins over the hill, they find a sleeping Goblin sentry. Questioning him they find that a Hobgoblin war party is camped out below at the foot of the hill. Plans are hastily put together for an ambush and our heroes fall upon the War Band with a vengeance. It’s over in minutes and though Salvatore and Bree are much the worse for wear 7 Hobgoblins, 8 Goblins and a Bugbear lie dead at their feet.

Examining the Camp, The Fists uncover a plan to cut off Dawnstride and hit it from all sides with coordinated attacks, along with a lamenting journal detailing the mishaps that befell this group culminating their weakened state before being wiped out. The New Moon, the next night, signals attacks on Glennich and Co’amenel then Dawnstride’s encirclement on the Waxing Moon. They rush on to Co’amenel, passing an Elvin picket an riding thru the night.

At Co’amenel they find a formerly bustling town reduced to a small village. Outer buildings lie in ruin from fire, raiding and the elements. At the core of the ruin is a placid village straddling the river that comes downstream from Glendale. Parts of the ruins are reclaimed by tended fields, gardens and streams. They also find a populace grateful for their deliverance from what would have been a disastrous attack. The village’s leader, Elder Hall, rewards the Heroes with guidance, gifts, supplies, and a longboat to take them downriver to the imperiled castle. Thru the providence of a retired sorcerer the Party dispatches winged messengers to Dawnstride, Hillcrest, and Castle Glennich to warn of the coming attacks.

Knowing that Lord Harcourt of Glennich Castle may be reluctant to support Duke Thorndyke, the team readies to travel down river to continue their work as Messengers.

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The Road to Glennich Castle
One stop down, two to go.

Having delivered your message to the Lord Mayor of Hillcrest, you’re called to continue on to Co’amenel to continue with Duke Thorndyke’s messages and to convey some from Lord Mayor Theed. The party sets out along the trail to the elven settlement, pausing to rest in a series of foothills where the trail diverts from the river.

They find a clearing that has recently been used by a party of goblins as an encampment. These Goblins have left 4 of their number behind, dead, killed by a lurking forest creature that shortly ambushes the party. The creature is swiftly dealt with.

Night has now fallen and the party is presented with the options of getting some much needed rest, or pressing ahead immediately to track the departed goblin band. Marco, the party’s goblin captive / chef, is apparently with said goblin band.

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Trade Route to Hillcrest, part 1
Cooking with Marco
Scene 1: On the Trail Again

The group buried the goblin bodies and that of their fallen comrade Synechie, aka Sunshine. They found a note on the goblin leader that read:

Our agent in Dawnstride reports that some rookie adventurers are making the town its base of operations. They cannot be allowed to interfere. Kill them if you have a chance. —Munsheraj

Just as they finished the burying, the forest suddenly went pitch black and a loud fabric-ripping sound echoed through the trees. When the sun light reappeared a few moments later, Abey was lying face down in the middle of the trail. Apparently she left Gillius back at the broken keep in the Wood of Heartache.

Following the trail of broken underbrush, the Fists found an unconscious tiefling dressed in black tied to a tree. Once revived, the tiefling Morthos readily joined the group to look for the message he was to deliver to Duke Thorndike.

Careful tracking led the Fists to the goblins’ base camp, where a goblin chef named Marco was idly preparing smoked human and halfling meat . . . who promptly fainted when Nala charged him. Nala and Salvatore easily intimidated the captured goblin into talking about the goblin chief Munsheraj and the (deceased) warband’s mission to sever trade and communications between Dawnstride and Glenwood. Several saddle bags of payments and letters were recovered. Before leaving the goblin base, the Fists forged a message in goblin and sent it to Munsheraj via passenger pigeon: Adventers Ded! Orders?—Crag After camping for the night, the Fists continued to Glenwood with Marco as a prisoner.

Scene 2: Glenwood

By evening of the next day the Fists arrived in Glenwood. The head hunter, Kimrak Endar, informed them that trade and messages had been stopped for 4 weeks, and that she would not allow any further caravans to take the trail to Dawnstride until she was confident they would be safe. While she was happy to get the back payments for caravans from 3-4 weeks ago, she ultimately refused to budge while the the two most recent caravans were missing.

Booking rooms at the Sleepy Salamander, the group learned in the crowded common room that many local hunters had also gone missing in the thick woods to the southwest of Glenwood. Only 1 hunter (Prim) had returned, and that was largely luck: he had washed down the Babbling Brook and over the stepped waterfalls into the village’s pool. Salvatore and Nala crossed the street to the militia house and succeeded in neutralizing the poison (carrion crawler brain juice) threatening Prim’s life. Meanwhile, Morthos, Abey, and Bree befriended Jarod, an enthusiastic 15 year old aspiring woodsman who thought adventuring was the coolest thing ever.

Once Prim recovered he drew pictures of the tracks he saw on the southern loop trail just before he stumbled onto a hollow clay rock containing the poisonous gas that felled him. He warned the group to beware traps if they investigated.

The Fists ultimately changed their plans, opting to leave town as if going to Hillcrest while secretly doubling back and cutting cross-country to the southern loop. Jarod eagerly signed on to act as their local guide. They stashed the horses in an isolated cave, and cut a deal with Marco to watch over them as part of his parole.

Scene 3: Southern Loop Trail

After a day of hiking, the Fists found the trap location on the southern loop trail and recovered two undamaged clay mines disguised to look like flat rocks. Jarod led the group off the trail, following a barely discernible trail. In a small glade they startled a lone kobold who quickly escaped underneath a thick bramble patch. Wary of a trap, the group examined the brambles and found them to be enchanted. More bizarrely, a large crow was trapped inside a natural cage formed out of bramble branches, deep inside the patch. When Morthos incinerated a section of the bramble wall with a burning hands spell, the remaining brambles writhed and contorted. The crow’s cage violently contracted, the crow squawked a raucous dying alarm, and the woods were momentarily silent.

Until a large grizzly bear charged through the smoldering bramble remains and attacked the group. Despite the beast’s size, the group dispatched it with relative ease. Jarod was visibly shaken after his first true battle.

Scene 4: Fine Kobold Engineering.

Pressing thru the impressive trap, Our Heroes find the lightly guarded entrance to a cave network. The light guard turns out to be the bait of an ambush which is quickly brushed aside by the group. They find the remains of a number of caravans scattered at the entrance, these are the raiders they’re seeking. In scourging the cave complex they find a sophisticated mining operation attempting to fine a truly ancient dragon egg, the focus of their worship. The operation is put to ruin and the Kobold cult leaders put to death in an epic battle featuring friends and companions turned to vicious bears and dramatic rope swinging.

Kimrak Ender, having been saved, returns with captured hunters to Glenwood with party and allows caravan to head to Dawnbreak under their own guard. The Fists continue North to Hillcrest on their mission.

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Bushwacked

Last time, the Iron Fists of Righteous Justice were bushwhacked by a throng of mangy goblins. The goblins momentarily held the upperhand before the Fists beat them down with some ol’ fashioned Justice. A trail led into the underbrush where something had been dragged…

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