The Westerlands

Session 21: A Visit with Grandmother
Laughter is the best DEAD-icine
Here is a recap written by Galgacusferox, who plays Daethin Moonshadow. 500 bonus xp to the elf!
Please note that the story below is the only context in which I would EVER use a picture by the Painter of Suck

Daethin frowned as he scanned the ground in front of him. In his left hand, he held his longbow, with an arrow clasped against the stave and ready to fire quickly at need. With his other hand he batted at the branches which overhung the path, impeding his party’s progress. Scar padded quietly by his feet, the wolf’s long snout close to the ground, sniffing.

They were marching quietly through the Tangled Fens. They were seven, now. Rua’lanna had returned from her journey to Elionde, bound on a mission from the church of Ehlonna. Daethin was glad to have the paladin back in the group. She was a strong sword-arm, and she was very easy to poke fun at, and always gave a worthwhile reaction when provoked.

The two newcomers were Piruk the dwarf, and Santiago, an enigmatic half-orc. Both had proven themselves in battle already, which counted for a lot in Daethin’s book, and he had even begun to form a bond of friendship with the tormented dwarf – they shared a background as soldiers, even if their approach to combat differed as much as their blood. He was still trying to read the big, quiet monk, however. He’d never seen anyone perform the sorts of feats Santiago had done in battle, and yet, when at his ease, Santiago was reserved and polite. He was a different kind of warrior from the elves Daethin had fought beside.

They marched on, stopping now and again for a brief rest and a sip from their magical travel-mugs. The swampy forest was alive with sound all around them – the buzz of insects, the hiss of wind in the trees, the echoing clamor of frogs. Daethin should have been at east out here, amongst trees and sky and the sounds of nature; but there was something beneath it all, something wrong…

He froze, his hand shooting up to halt the others behind him. Underneath the sounds of the swamp, at the very limit of detectability, he could hear it.

“Listen,” he said quietly.

It was far-off, an echo, but somehow it came through clearly: the voices of children, forlorn and despairing, their whimpers intertwining with the voices of the forest, as if the trees themselves were weeping.

They all heard it after a moment. Scar was quiet, his ears swiveling toward the sound. Lanna grew visibly impatient, staring off into the forest in the direction the sound was coming from. Eleanor gripped her holy symbol, her eyes closed, her lips moving. Kit just seemed nervous; the thief was a brave fighter when it came to things of flesh and blood, but the supernatural realm tended to make her jumpy. Rayne gazed off towards the sound, her head cocked, her face unreadable. Santiago seemed to accept the new sound with a slight frown and a furrowed brow.

Piruk was pale, his eyes wide, seeing something only he could see. Then he swallowed, lifted his hammer off his shoulder to grasp it in both hands. He looked at Daethin.

“Let’s go,” he said, nodding toward the trackless forest.

“Aye,” Daethin said, reluctantly. “Be on your guard. We don’t want to come to the same end as others who’ve come this way.”

“Bloody right we don’t,” muttered Kit, her hand tight on her rapier’s hilt.

They set off through the woods, heading vaguely east, following the eerie sound. It grew louder as they went, until all could hear it clearly, and the natural sounds of the wood were drowned out. Daethin tried to focus on finding a clear path, pushing undergrowth aside, scrutinizing the ground, but soon the sound was not only too loud to ignore, but it had changed. Before it had been a pathetic whimpering; now it rose to terrified shrieks, screams of agony which sawed at the air and put his nerves on a razor edge. Lanna, Piruk, and Eleanor looked nearly frantic, and Lanna kept trying to push past him.

“Corellon’s pointy ears, woman,” Daethin growled, “do you want to get us lost out here?”

“Just hurry up, you skinny little faerie,” Lanna grated back at him, but there was no anger behind the comment, only a frantic haste. Behind her, Piruk said nothing, but his eyes burned with a different kind of frenzy, a mounting rage mingled with an echo of harsh shame.

Kit walked with her hand hovering next to her head, as if she were about to clap hands over her ears to shut the ghastly noises out. Her other hand still held the rapier’s hilt, white-knuckled.

Then, in an eye-blink, the sounds stopped. The natural noises of the wood returned.

Minutes later, the trees began to thin, and then they were standing in a clearing on the shore of a lake. A low frame house stood on the shore several hundred yards away. Black smoke floated lazily up from its chimney.

“I don’t like this,” Daethin said. They stood in a cluster, discussing what to do next. The house stood a hundred yards away, eerily quiet. Daethin got the uncomfortable feeling he was being watched.

“There is a thick aura of evil will all about this place,” Lanna said, as if she hadn’t heard him.

“I fear that the longer we stay here, the greater risk we run of contracting an insidious blight just from the air itself,” said Eleanor, examining the silk sash in her hands. The piece of cloth had turned inexplicably brown as they moved closer to the mysterious house.

“All the more reason to make haste,” Lanna replied. Her sword was in her hand; the tip seemed to tremble with the paladin’s eagerness.

“We have no idea what’s in that cabin,” Kit put in. “I think we should take more time to scout around.”

Piruk heaved a heavy sigh; the burly dwarf was leaning on his war-hammer, his face troubled. “I want to get in there as badly as anyone,” he finally said, “but I can’t ignore the fact that we have no information whatsoever on the tactical situation inside-.”

“Then you three can sit around out here and ponder your tactical situation all afternoon,” Lanna snarled, cutting him off. “Meanwhile, I’ll be in there, kicking ass and saving innocent lives.” Without another word or a backward glance, she stormed off toward the house. After a moment, Rayne and Eleanor followed, casting dark glances back at the stragglers. Santiago went with them, his expression neutral, walking with a quiet readiness about him.

Daethin spat. “This again,” he grumbled, and Kit shook her head.

“I have a plan,” said Piruk.

“Let’s hear it,” said the elf.

A moment later, the three started forward, Piruk following the main body of the group towards the door, Kit and Daethin circling wide to the left and right, respectively. Daethin took the arrow in his right hand and laid it across the bow as he walked, working his way into better shooting range, Scar loping along quietly behind him. His eyes never left the house’s front door. He stopped when he was about thirty yards from the house; he saw Kit move in a little closer. Piruk was a dozen yards from the front door as Lanna, Eleanor, Rayne, and Santiago came up to the house.

Lanna immediately tried the knob. Finding the door unlocked, she pushed it open, and all four of the companions filed in.

Daethin’s keen ears heard voices, but nothing distinct. Then he started: a small, gaunt figure appeared in the doorway. It was a child, a young boy. His eyes stared lifelessly out at Daethin as the child closed the door with the click of a latch.

The sounds of battle erupted suddenly from inside. A flare of magical fire burst from the windows; he could hear Rayne calling words of power in a clear voice. Then came another voice: a shrill cackle that made the hairs on the back of Daethin’s neck stand up.

“Shit,” Kit yelped.

“Follow me!” Piruk roared, and charged for the door.

Daethin frowned at the house. It wasn’t very big, and there was no knowing the layout of the inside. Four of his companions were in there, probably close to chopping each other’s heads off in a wild melee. Not a good place for a bowman, especially around the tiny front door.

“Kit!” he yelled. “Let’s go around back!”

“Right!” the thief agreed, running over.

Piruk gave a wordless shout and pounded the door with his mighty hammer; splintered wood flew all around him. He drew the weapon back for another swing, and then Daethin and Kit were around the corner to the right of the door, out of sight.

There was a lush vegetable garden around the back of the house; they skirted it and found a little path running to a rear door. That was in the side of what looked like a kitchen outbuilding, added on to the back of the house. The chimney with its black smoke rose above it.

“Check it,” Daethin said, but Kit was already there, examining the door-frame closely. She jiggled the handle, found it locked, produced a couple of pins and a length of wire seemingly from nowhere.

Inside the house the sounds of battle continued, as did the bizarre cackling.

The door popped open, and the two friends raced inside. They were in the kitchen: the walls were lined with cupboards, and an ample basket of picked vegetables lay next to the door. There was a frantic fluttering, and Daethin brought up his bow; but he lowered the weapon when he saw the small bird-cage hanging by the door, a startled raven beating its wings against the bars, squawking in fear.

There was a second door, one that seemed to lead into the house’s main ground-floor room. The clatter of weapons and the endless laughter came clearly through the thin portal.

“It’s unlocked,” said Kit, standing by the door.

Daethin turned to Scar. “Stay,” he said, and the wolf sat where he was, yellow eyes wide and bright, ears forward.

Daethin shoved the door open and drew his bow until the arrow’s feathers tickled his cheek. But what he saw made his stomach clench and his eyes go wide in shock.

The house’s main room was a charnel-house and a madman’s art-gallery. There was a long table set as if for a communal dinner, and on each platter was a bloody hunk of meat. Daethin’s knowledge of anatomy, among both civilized creatures and things of the wild, left no doubt that these were butchered human carcasses. On the walls all about the dining-room were framed sculptures; but the sculptures, too, were crafted of human remains, bleached bones that were small and delicate…

A battle raged amidst the hideous scene. The door was a broken ruin, lying splintered on the floor. Nearby were several children. Many of them lay unconscious, and as he looked he saw Santiago grab one of the fallen forms and haul a little girl out through the ruined door. Piruk came in a second later to do the same.

Some of the children were up and moving, and they seemed to be fighting against the party – albeit feebly. Lanna and Eleanor were trading blows with a withered creature like an old woman with livid green skin; Daethin recognized a Green Hag, a demon of the swamp. The creature swiped at Eleanor as he watched, her nails scraping off the cleric’s shield with a painful squeal. Two children batted at Lanna with tiny, weak fists; the paladin tried to ignore them as she swung her long-sword, angry flames trailing the blade through its arc.

Right in front of Daethin, less than thirty feet away, was the source of the demonic laughter. He was a spindly figure, attired like a court fool, with multi-colored clothing and a hat hung with bells. But his face was a hideous, leering mask, his eyes gleaming red. His fingers twitched greedily as he leaned towards Rayne. The young sorceress stood there, helpless, racked with irresistible guffaws, obviously caught in a spell of forced laughter that left her doubled over, her face locked in an expression somewhere between incredible mirth and intolerable pain.

Daethin could tell this creature was a kind of fey, one of the People of the Wild, but an evil thing, a sprite which fed on the very life force of other creatures. As he watched, the Jester seemed to be sucking something out of Rayne, like an insubstantial mist, wisps of the sorceress’s very spirit.

Daethin scowled. He centered his arrow on the Jester’s chest. The creature was oblivious to him, caught in the rapture of his feeding-frenzy.

“Die for your misdeeds,” the ranger growled, and loosed his arrow.

The shaft sang as it flew, and the Jester screamed as the broad arrowhead sank into his chest and shot out his back in a spray of blood. Kit bounded past Daethin in the arrow’s wake, bringing her crossbow out from the folds of her cloak. There was a sharp snap as she fired, and a bolt sprouted from the Jester’s eye. The fey creature shrieked again and grabbed at his face, then toppled backward onto the floor, writhing and wailing in agony.

“Huh,” said Kit. “Cold Iron.”

Seeing the Jester’s death-throws, the Green Hag tried to bull her way past Eleanor and out the door. But Lanna’s sword flashed, and the Hag screamed and fell to her knees, clutching at a wounded leg. She looked back up just in time to see Piruk loom over her in the doorway, hammer held high. There was a grisly thunk as he struck, and the Hag sank to the floor, her skull crushed.

Instantly, the two children who’d been battering at Lanna fell to the floor, unconscious.

Daethin rushed over to Rayne, who had stopped laughing and was now gasping deeply, her face red. After making sure she wasn’t badly hurt, he came over to the Jester.

The fey thing was still slightly alive. He giggled feebly as Daethin came over, blood oozing out the corners of his mouth. Daethin drew his long sword from its scabbard at his belt. The Jester’s one remaining eye seemed to laugh at him even then.

“Trouble the living no more, and go to what reward awaits you,” Daethin said, and chopped downward. The Jester’s head rolled across the floor, his laughter silent at last.

“Pelor,” Eleanor said in her clear alto, “let Your light shine unstained upon this place, and cleanse it, the resting-ground of many of Your innocent children. The manner of their deaths was gruesome indeed, a dark affront to Your light and goodness. Please, accept them now unto Your breast, that they may know the light and warmth they ought to have enjoyed, living many long years under Your sky.”

“Ehlonna,” Daethin heard Lanna mutter, “let Your earth embrace these, who came from it in the Beginning. Reclaim this earth as sacred land, that wholesome things may grow here. And forgive our slaying of one of Your People, the wayward sprite; but we struck only in accordance with the Law of the Wild – we killed to keep one of our Pack from being devoured.”

Daethin said nothing. When he prayed, he prayed to Corellon, for aid in battle, and none of those they’d found buried in the vegetable garden had been elves, or even warriors. Nonetheless he was glad to hear the two half-elven women speak the rights over that earth. He knew it was evil not to respect the dead, especially these, innocents taken in the dawn of their lives, by forces too dark for them to understand. The vegetables that had been fed by the rotting flesh of slain children lay hacked to pieces over the dark earth; he and Lanna had seen to that, the two companions who squabbled so often silently helping each other in a task both knew needed doing.

While the two holy women prayed over the burial ground, Piruk knelt nearby, forehead pressed against his hands where they rested on the hammer’s haft.

“I’m sorry,” he said, over and over. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

Santiago also stood nearby, his eyes closed. Daethin thought he heard a low rumble from the half-orc, as if he were uttering a low chant.

They came around the front of the house a little later. Kit and Rayne were there with the gaggle of surviving children; all of the young humans stared blankly, uninterestedly, at their saviors, but Rayne seemed to have charmed them, waving a magic wand and speaking to them in sweet tones that Daethin would not have expected from the brooding, pyromaniacal sorceress. In any case, the children now followed her, a silent troupe of small, gaunt figures.

There was a fluttering and a chittering from his left shoulder. “Hush, you,” he said in a friendly tone. The raven sat there; he’d managed to calm it and coax it from its cage in the battle’s aftermath. There was something in its eyes which bespoke a wit keener than usual for such a bird. He had his suspicions, but it appeared they would remain unconfirmed for now.

“I wish we could give the rest of the remains a more conventional burial,” he said as he came up to the sorceress and the thief.

“Cremation’s very conventional,” Rayne said, “and it’s also a fitting way to dispose of this…” She trailed off.

“Abomination,” Lanna finished for her, and Daethin could only nod.

Without another word, Rayne raised a hand. A searing beam of light sprouted from her palm and pierced the side of the house; instantly the wood started to burn, and soon the entire building was a towering column of flame.

There was a nearly imperceptible sound, like a contented sigh from dozens of young voices, that rose on the fire’s hot wind and passed away.

“We did rightly,” Eleanor said, smiling.

Then there was another sound, from behind: a rustling as of hundreds of feet in the thick brush, and a whisper of voices uttering wordless hunger between savage fangs.

Daethin whipped around, bow at the ready, and stared into the tree line a hundred yards away.

“Uh oh,” he said.

“What now?” said Kit.

Session 19: Battle with Mr. Oinksley
The Sheriff is a Drow!

Where we left off…

The party has arrived in the border town of Fenwatch, only to find the streets deserted and overrun by highly aggressive pigs.


After weathering the initial assault from Fenwatch’s deranged pigs, the party decides to proceed out of their makeshift fortification and move towards the center of town. As the group moves up the street towards a single line of woodsmoke, they witness the town’s devastation firsthand. The doors and windows on most of the buildings have been boarded up, while others present vacant sockets spilling their contents into the street.

They reach the center of town without incident. As they creep into the main square, the group is almost overwhelmed by the smell of scorched swine-flesh. The corpses of burned, arrow-stuck pigs are scattered about the plaza. The buildings in this area appear vacant with the exception of a massive wood and stone structure on the far side of the square. An extra barrier of sharpened stakes has been set up outside the building’s main gate above which can be seen the dented helms of three guards.

After convincing the guards that they are not, in fact, angry feral pigs, the group approaches the fortification where they are introduced to three rather unique guards (read: yokels). Cromwell appears to be the outspoken leader of the group (read: know-it-all). While Abner is an earthy individual and Fitch is the strong, silent type.

Cromwell leads them through the gate into the structure, which he identifies as the Wayshepherds Guild. In the building’s great hall, the party winds their way through a sort of triage operation and are ushered up to the man in charge. To their surprise, this turns out to be a Drow, named Ba’art. A former mercenary with the Wayshepherds, Ba’art was appointed acting sheriff after the rest of the town leaders were either killed or fled.

Ba’art explains that the town’s pigs, famous for their ability to root out magical and alchemical reagents in the nearby swamps, had recently become unruly and then downright hostile. As the porcine plague began to attack villagers, the population of Fenwatch either fled, or turned to the local mercenary guild for help. Unfortunately, with the closure of the Cydonic border, there was little call for caravan guards and so many of the mercs had sought work elsewhere.

The remaining residents of the town are holed up in the Wayshepherds walled compound, trying to fend off the swine by day, and worse things by night. Ba’art believes that the pigs are being lead by an alpha, by the name of Mr. Oinksley who had previously been a prize-winning pet belonging to one of the local farmers. Oinksley is believed to have made his lair in the alchemists’ market on the south end of town. If the party can take him out, perhaps the townsfolk can deal with the rest of the porkers.

The group agrees and settles in for the night. They will deal with Mr. Oinksley in the morning.

Session 18: Arrival in Fenwatch
iiiiit's bacon!


Current Task: Travel to Fenwatch to investigate the loss of communication with the Pelorian temple there.

NPCs Met:
  • Turimori Agent


The moon was climbing into the evening sky as the party makes their way through the winding streets of Turimor towards the docks district. As they approach the docks, they see a cluster of figures huddled at the end of one of the piers standing in a solitary ring of guttering torchlight.

As our heroes make their way down the pier, they recognize the familiar figure of Dayfather Phaeton… and then, another familiar voice calls out caustically “Oh great! This is just what I need!” The swaggering form of Joan Currentrider peers out over the shoulder of the Pelorian father. As the party continues to make their way down the dock, Dayfather Phaeton continues to converse with the river captain, attempting to convince her to once again take on the passengers she has previously stated are nothing but trouble. Emphatic gestures give way to an exchange of additional payment and Joan’s protests subside.

When the group reaches the cluster of people at dock’s end, the Pelorian father greets them. “I understand you are already acquainted with Ms. Currentrider.” He reiterates their mission. Travel to Fenwatch to investigate the break in communication with the temple there. He then bids the party safe journey and excuses himself, disappearing back up the dock into the gloom.

As Phaeton leaves, another figure steps forward. A shadowy figure, his face hidden by the deep cowl of his cloak, pulls our heroes aside, “His Majesty would also like to bid you safe journey, on your mission… I should let you know that, if in your travels, you happen to come across any information linking the rumors of mysterious events in Fenwatch to the prolonged closure of the Cydonic border, there may be some in the Capitol who would be most appreciative to learn of such information. Of course, you are aware of the delicate state of Turimori/Cydonic relations, so your discretion is appreciated.”

The group offers silent acknowledgment that the man’s meaning is understood, and then turns to board the R.V. Black Otter.

Joan barks at her unwanted passengers as she unslips the lines. “Stow yer gear and stay out from underfoot. We’ll reach the far side of the lake by morning.”

Ernie, the nimble halfling mate, scrambles deftly up the mast and unfurls the small craft’s mainsail and the vessel scrapes of the dock before creaking its way out into the inky gloom of the Turimori night.

Arrival in Fenwatch

Dawn creeps slowly over the crags of the Cloud Peaks looming to the East. Its waxing light peels back nights shadow to reveal a tangle of thick, wooded lowlands, backed by rugged foothills.

As the Otter nears the shore, the town of Fenwatch heaves into view nestled along the shoreline. The layout and buildings appear typical of a frontier/border town. Larger structures showing sturdier construction occupy central locations along two main thoroughfares. Smaller, wooden houses, huts and storage buildings fill the in-between spaces and spread out beyond the sturdy center of town. Beyond these, communal gardens and stockyards form a clear buffer between the town and the trees of the surrounding swampland.

From the water, the town appears peaceful in the morning light. A single plume of woodsmoke rises from the center of town in the crisp, spring air. Joan easily pilots the pinnace up to the end of one of the docks and bids the party depart quickly. “I’ll return in three days time to collect a status report. Until then, you’re on your own.”

The group of adventurers disembarks, surveying the town from the end of the dock as Joan pulls her craft carefully back out into the lake.

I smell bacon...
The dock at Fenwatch (made in Google Sketchup)

The waterfront and visible streets appear deserted, with the exception of a shuffling clatter coming from an overturned stack of crates on the landward end of the dock. As the group begins to move cautiously toward the shore, the source of the rummaging makes itself apparent. A porcine head rises up from behind the crates as a shabby, scarred looking pig steps out to the landward end of the dock.

The party stops at the pig’s appearance and the sow does the same. Something is not right… flecks of foam drip from the pig’s lower jaw and a malicious hunger glows in its eyes. The pig lets out a sudden squeal and charges down the dock towards the party. It lunges for Content Not Found: Rayne-pc, attempting to bowl her over, forcing the rest of the party to beat it into submission. When the aggressive beast is finally dispatched, the party hears an ominous sound carried over the town on the morning breeze. Porcine squeals rise into the air like wolves’ howls, growing louder. Closer.

Thinking quickly, Content Not Found: Daethin-pc orders the group to seek defensive positions in one of the buildings at the far end of the dock. As the group approaches the street, the state of the town becomes more apparent. Windows gape black and vacant, or covered with hastily nailed boards. doorways spew detritus into the street and no living soul is in evidence… except the squeals.

The party heads into an abandoned inn at the nearest street corner and charges up the stairs. They are greeted by another of the foul swine which they had interrupted as it rooted through the inn’s shattered furnishings. They quickly dispatch the beast as the one before and then make hasty attempts to fortify their position. Content Not Found: Santiago-pc and Content Not Found: Piruk-pc dump a pair of empty bed-frames down the inn’s stairway, forming a makeshift barrier before taking up flanking positions at the top of the stairs. In the mean-time, Content Not Found: Daethin-pc readies his bow and takes up a sniping position at a street-side window.

The squeals continue to grow louder, and soon, squat hoary shapes appear down the street, moving quickly toward the party’s refuge. When the onrushing swine pull into range, Content Not Found: Daethin-pc lets fly with a withering barrage of arrows, drawing blood from several of the pigs.

The pigs cram their way through the inn’s front doorway and begin attacking the makeshift barrier. Content Not Found: Rayne-pc, Content Not Found: Eleanor-pc and Content Not Found: Kit-pc let loose with ranged attacks from the top of the stairwell. They manage to drop a number of the oncoming beasts, but eventually the makeshift barrier collapses under their onslaught and the pigs pour up the stairs.

Content Not Found: Santiago-pc and Content Not Found: Piruk-pc are waiting. The dwarf and half-orc lay into the pigs with a vengeance, smashing them back time and again. Content Not Found: Kit-pc leaves the stairwell railing and draws her rapier to lend a hand to the melee, but one of the pigs charges into the rogue, knocking her violently against the wall and sending her sprawling. The offending swine continues to press the attack, and soon it becomes apparent that it is not after Kit herself, but rather something on her person. Soon, it seems to get what it’s after, forcibly tearing the rogues belt pouch from her person and sending the spiderbot tumbling out. Content Not Found: Kit-pc quickly scrambles to her feet and immediately retaliates in an attempt to save her recently acquired construct.

The combined efforts of Content Not Found: Kit-pc, Content Not Found: Santiago-pc and Content Not Found: Piruk-pc eventually manage to rescue the endangered spider-thief and quell the tide of onrushing swine. As the last of the foul pigs is beaten to submission, an eerie silence descends over the inn, broken only by the labored breathing of our heroes and the settling of the failed barrier.

Session 9: The Road to Riverbend
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Where we left off…

Our heroes have successfully defeated the bandits who were plaguing the trade road between Stillford and Riverbend. In doing so, they also rescued the missing members of the Bridgefort garrison and have retrieved an interesting box of gears addressed to one, Ipswitch Cogsworth in Riverbend.


The party sets out with their new member, Daethin Moonshadow leading the way, his keen ranger eyes scouring the horizon for danger. Each member of the group takes up their usual flanking positions around Hof’s wagon. As they travel, the land changes gradually from the rugged canyon lands around the fort to tilled farmlands of gentler contours.

As the party makes their way past fields planted with spring crops, the ground beneath them suddenly begins to shake. Looking about they do not see the cause of the tremors until it bursts up from the soil beneath their feet. A pair of young ankhegs blast up out of the ground, hoping for an easy meal. Unfortunately, the giant insects picked the wrong prey. Unlike wandering cattle, our heroes are equipped to fight back. After a brief skirmish with the ankhegs and a couple minor burns from their acidic saliva, the group is once again on its way.

Soon, the great Aeluhar River appears in the distance, unwinding like a great blue ribbon, and the path ahead leads straight towards a city on its banks, dominated by the massive towers flanking Riverbend’s locks. The city is a noisy boomtown, overgrowing its borders. Achelus Azuri, the Waykeeper of Riverbend has ordered a number of public works projects designed to improve access to the city. The party enters the town by the bridge below the locks and looks to the east, where a matching span is under construction on the locks upper end.

As Hof pulls into the docks district, the party meets briefly with the permitting office to square away the hand off of Rhys’ goods. The clerk at the office informs them that they were expected some time ago, and that the river captain who has been awaiting their arrival has grown quite impatient. After arranging temporary storage for the cargo, the group heads to the docks, where they meet a man who looks remarkably like Rhys, but thinner and with a much more neatly kept beard. He introduces himself as Rhys’ brother, the captain of the vessel which will take the goods down river. Having successfully completed their escort mission, he pays the party, and they head into town to find an inn.

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Session 8: Bandit Camp Resolution
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Where we left off…

The party has just defeated Alexei, the undead leader of the bandits who have been plaguing the road to Riverbend. After defeating the bandit leader, they successfully broke into the bandits’ strongroom before barricading themselves in Alexei’s chambers for the night.


Personal Spoils

Our heroes come across a number of interesting items among the contents of the bandits’ strongroom. Included in the riddled chest is a box of gears and other mechanical bits addressed to Ipswitch Cogsworth in Riverbend. The other crates contain mostly trade goods with a few valuables thrown into the mix.

Lanna takes the bandit leader’s flaming longsword for her own, and the group peruses his journal, which appears to chronicle a journey from Westholt in Cydon, where he was a soldier. As Alexei traveled, he slowly gave in to madness, and eventually undeath.

Wakeup call!

The party is awoken unpleasantly as their hobgoblin prisoner enters the room through a secret door, backed by several human bandits. At the same time, several other bandits begin to break in the main door to the chamber where the party is held up. Our heroes divide their attention between the two groups of invaders, and after a brief, but intense battle manage to first dispatch the hobgoblin and his minions, followed by the bandits pushing over the barricade.

The last of the bandits to fall is a spellcaster, who wears an unusual pair of black gloves. Later investigation reveals them as Gloves of the Starry Sky, which Rayne can use to convert spell energy into magic bolts of force.

Retrieving the Guard

The party decides to follow the now-revealed secret entrance, which leads up to cave containing a wagon and several cages. Within the cages, are a number of prisoners, including the members of the Bridgefort garrison, who the party was originally sent to find.

After freeing the prisoners, the group piles the injured into the wagon along with the crates of goods retrieved from the bandit lair and hitches it to Lanna’s “rented” pack horse. They then set out along the trail back to Bridgefort, arriving without incident later that evening.

Captain Tiberius is pleased to see his men returned relatively unharmed, and after dispatching them to the infirmary, thanks the group of adventurers for their deed, well done. After debriefing the captain on the mission, the party retires to the dining hall, where over several ales, Daethin agrees to join with the group on their travels.

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Session 6: Infiltration
You like dags?

Day 7: Mar-20, Thieve’s Camp Exterior

Having successfully secured the exterior of the bandits’ encampment, the heroes bound their surviving hobgoblin captive before depositing him unceremoniously in one of the tents while they decided his fate. Kit and Eleanor wished to interrogate the prisoner and hopefully bring him to justice at the hands of the local authorities. Daethin recommended offering the hobgoblin the choice of immediate execution or release (stripped of all gear) on the condition that he provide the group with information on the remaining foes. Rua’Lanna found herself struggling with one of the classic paladin dilemmas… (The most famous being whether to gloriously charge the red dragon and almost certain death head-on, or to provide pragmatic leadership as part of a better thought out strategy) to reconcile her righteous hatred of all things evil with her code of honor forbidding the summary execution of helpless opponents.

While the rest of the group debated their captive’s fate, Kit snuck into the tent to attempt an interrogation. While she managed to significantly improve the hobgoblin’s attitude, she was unable to pry any useful information out of him. A subsequent attempt by Eleanor and Rua’Lanna met with even less success. In the interest of time, the party decided to leave the captive bound in the tent while they moved in to clear the rest of the stone ruin. So, placing any potentially dangerous or valuable objects in Daethin’s bag of holding, the party made their way inside.

The interior of the crumbling ruin was devoid of furniture. However, the building was obviously still occupied. The party determined that the barking they had heard during their previous battle originated in one of the interior rooms of the building. Attempting to determine the nature of the canines making the racket, the party attempted to peek cautiously into the next room. As soon as they cracked the door, however, the obviously hostile pooches forced them to immediately close it again.

As the group debated the best way to clear the guard dogs from the next room, a bandit unleashed the hounds so that they could deal with the focus of their attention. The dogs rushed around the exterior of the building to attack the party through the open front door. Once the group turned to face the pooches, their master then burst into the room to attack from behind. Fortunately, a well-placed color spray from Rayne and some excellent swordplay made short work of the dogs and their master.

Upon entering the room serving as the dogs’ kennel, the party saw an example of their opponents’ brutal nature. The room was full of bones and partially devoured carcasses in various stages of putrification. Daethin was able to determine that the bandits likely disposed of any meat-like products (including humanoid victims) by feeding them to the dogs.

In the room beyond the dogs’ lair, the adventurers discovered an open trap door and set of stairs leading down. Following the stairs, they found themselves in a basement filled with equipment and the bandits’ spoils.

Session 5: Sneaky, Sneaky...

Day 6: 3/19, Turimor Hills

Having made their way to the bandit stronghold, our heroes decided to retreat to a sheltered location to plan and prepare. Daethin sniffed out an offshoot of the canyon where the group could set up camp and wait for cover of darkness. The party set up camp and took 8 hours to rest before beginning their infiltration.

At about 12:30 that night, the companions returned to within sight of the gate. After some deliberation on how to procede, Daethin and Kit once again scouted ahead. Under the cover of darkness, Kit was able to approach to within easy bowshot of the tower guard. She made effective use of one of the makeshift sleep bolts, given to her by the pixie, Mustardseed.

Daethin and Kit were then able to approach the gate and quickly neutralized the other guard who was warming himself by a campfire. Once both sentries were out of commision, the two advance scouts returned to the others in preparation for the next step.

Beyond the pallisade, the adventurers discovered a box canyon occupied by a low, stone ruin. An expanse of open field stood between the party and the crumbling outer wall of the structure.

Once again, Kit and Daethin scouted ahead. Beyond the ruined wall, they discovered a cluster of large hide tents surrounding another campfire where several human bandits and a pair of brutish looking hobgoblins were warming themselves.

The heroes decided to turn the tables on the unsuspecting brigands. They established a perimiter around a gap in the wall, which made an ideal choke point. Daethin and Kit spread caltrops around the edges of the gap and Rayne readied a Caltrop spell to fill the remainder when the enemy approached. Daethin then backed away from the wall and called out, questioning the hobgoblins’ machismo in order to provoke a reaction.

The tactic worked like a charm. One of the hobgoblins and a bandit quickly rose to investigate. When the hobgoblin spotted the smirking elf, Daethin beyond the wall, he attempted to close to melee range. Unfortunately for him, Rayne’s Caltrop spell hit the mark and the brute stopped short as he came up lame. Rua’Lanna immediately followed-up by rushing in and rending the hobgoblin to within an inch of his life with her mighty longsword.

Having made their presence known, the companions engaged the enemy wholeheartedly. Rayne let loose with a couple wildly aimed bursts of her newly learned acid arrows. Unfortunately, they did more damage to the already ruined building than to her intended target.

Feeling the glorious rush of victory in her veins, Rua’Lanna charged headlong into the fray, only to trip over one of the lines supporting the tents, which caused her to fall on her face. Rushing to her friend’s aid, Eleanor closed with the enemy brandishing her silver morningstar. Meanwhile, Kit crept around the far edge of the outer wall, hoping to find the opportunity to use her sneak attack.

Rua’Lanna’s reckless charge had apparently alerted the occupants of the tent over which she tripped. At the very least, it convinced them to come join the fun. Two more hobgoblins burst out of the tent and immediately went after Eleanor and the downed Lanna. However, Eleanor was not easily subdued and she made quick work of one of the hobgoblins, splattering his cranial matter all over the outside of the tent with her trusty morningstar.

Daethin and Rayne had also joined the party at this point. The former loosed his arrows with blinding speed and devastating results. Rayne, in turn, once again cooked up a bandit flambe with her Flame Ray.

However, the battle was not finished just yet. As Eleanor laid low one of the hobgoblins, a bigger, meaner brute stormed out of one of the other tents weilding a massive two-handed axe. Thinking quickly, Eleanor once again made deft use of a Hold Spell, stopping the beast in its tracks and allowing Daethin and Lanna to swiftly remove him from the picture. Rather than eliminating him completely, the heroes managed to subdue the axe-weilding hobgoblin allowing them to bind him for future transport and questioning.

Session 4: Bandits!
Out of the ambushes, comes an elf!

Day 5, 3/19, Forest’s Edge: The party set out in the morning from the town of Forest’s Edge. The wooded countryside soon gave way to rugged hills and canyonlands. The road followed alongside the Amber Rush, which dropped away into a gorge carved away by years of erosion. The group passed the ruined keep of Rushwatch, which marked the northernmost end of the canyon known as Aelric’s Gap. Hemmed in by a cliff on one side and a precipitous drop on the other, the escorts kept a keen eye out for potential ambush.

As the party rounded a bend in the road, they noticed a wagon blocking the trail ahead. Suddenly, several arrows thunked into Hof’s ox cart, catching the group by surprise! The bandits had taken positions on the cliff-top and behind the cover of the blocking wagon. Dropping his whip, Hof took up his bow and quickly dispatched one of the ambushers.

The party engaged their adversaries with ranged weapons and spells. Eleanor Daystar managed to eliminate the other cliff-top sniper by combining a magically-summoned weapon with a well-placed Hold spell. She then coerced one of the remaining bandits from behind the barricade using Command. The unfortunate brigand snapped out of the enchantment just in time to meet his end on Rua’Lanna’s sword. Having lost all but one of his companions, the final bandit fled into the hills to the south.

After a cursory search of the corpses, the group cleared the roadblock over the edge of the gorge and piled the corpses onto the back of the wagon for delivery to the proper authorities. They then continued down the road until they arrived at the outpost keep, Bridgefort.

The travelers were greeted by the fort’s chamberlain, Content Not Found: Wadsworth, who ordered the bodies taken to [[:Brother Matthias]] and who notified the fort’s captain, Content Not Found: Tiberius-npc of the group’s arrival. Tiberius met with the group later that evening, at which time, they were introduced to a young, elven ranger named Daethin Moonshadow. Tiberius informed the heroes that Brother Matthias had recovered a map from one of the bodies, which he surmised led to the bandit’s holdout. He requested the group’s assistance in eliminating the threat and informed that a portion of his garrison had recently been captured while on patrol. His reduced numbers prevented him from taking care of the situation himself.

The party informed Tiberius that they would have to consult with Hof, as they did have a timeline to keep. Upon speaking with the driver, they managed to convince him that a safe passage was more important than a timely one. With Hof’s approval, the group restocked their ammunition from the keep’s armory in preparation for the mission ahead. Before bedding down for the night, Rua’Lanna used her “feminine powers of persuasion” in order to secure a pack-horse to transport the party’s gear in the morning.

Day 6, 3/20, Bridgefort: The expanded party set out early the next morning. They left Hof and the wagon behind at the fort and back-tracked to the site of the previous day’s ambush before heading into the hills, following the trail left by the fleeing bandit.

Around mid-morning, the heroes were once again ambushed by a group of bandits. The enemy lept from behind boulders and low-lying scrub. The more lightly-armored bandits fired at the group from a distance, while several thugs, armed with longswords charged the surprised adventurers.

Daethin was injured early on before taking refuge behind his wolf, Scar. The ranger’s animal companion made effective use of his trip attack, allowing Kit to move in with a sneak attack. Rayne finally had the opportunity to unleash her Flame Ray, as she barbecued one of the bandits where he stood. Meanwhile, Eleanor utilized a different kind of magic, summoning a giant celestial bee to harrass the bandits with its sting. Once again, the bandits were no match for the heroes and the survivors soon fled the scene. One of the fleeing brigands was brought down by Rua’Lanna’s longbow, while the other was spurred onward with a jab from behind delivered by the summoned bee.

Aided by a fresh set of tracks, the companions continued toward the base of the lone mountain looming on the horizon. By mid-afternoon, the surrounding hills had grown steeper. The trail led into the narrow confines of a rocky canyon. Kit and Daethin took point, scouting ahead in order to prevent yet another ambush. Then, upon rounding a bend in the trail, the two scouts spotted a wooden pallisade barring the path. A rough guard tower peered over the top of the wall where a bandit sentry kept watch. The heroes had found the bandit’s nest at last!

Session 3 Recap:
The Road is a B.I.H.

Day 3, Mar-17, Stillford

4:00PM After making arrangements to have Robert’s final work displayed over his favorite seat in the Sleeping Goose, the group headed over to the festival to purchase supplies for their journey before turning in for the night.

Day 4, Mar-18, Farm-to-Market Road

8:30AM The group set out toward Riverbend with Hof and the wagon. The weather was brisk and typical of this time of year. After a couple hours of travel, the group spotted a pair of harnessed cart horses standing by the side of the road and, further on, a wagon lying partially in the roadside ditch. When the party investigated the crash, they discovered a pair of imps harrassing a young wizard imprisoned in a cage.

The party confronted the imps who put up a strong fight. Eleanor was poisoned in they fray, but the heroes eventually managed to destroy one of the imps and drive off the other. Upon freeing the mage, who introduced himself as Aloitius of Balthazar’s Emporium of Arcane Accoutrement, the party learned that he had been fleeing from bandits who had accosted him in the Streamwood. While careening down the road, Aloitius had lost control of his wagon and crashed into the ditch. He suspected that the collision caused some of the magic items to misfire, resulting in the unexpected summoning of the imps. He thanked the party for their assistance and promised them a friends and family discount should he ever run into them at a B.E.A.A.

Continuing along the road, the group reached the edge of the Streamwood without further incident. The ancient forest was bathed in a lush green light as the sun filtered through the dense canopy. The road behind soon disappeared among the twisted sentinels of the ancient trees.

In the midst of the forest gloom, the heroes were stopped short by a booming voice, which called for them to halt and pay a toll. A shadowy, cloaked figure stepped out from between two large trees beside the road and blocked the way ahead. The brigand identified himself as, the Mighty Mustardo, Bandit Lord of the Forest.

Suspecting that things were not as they seemed, the heroes chose to speak with the figure, offering him praise and enquiring as to what sort of tribute would appease him. The figure’s request for the ordinary-seeming signet won by Kit in the bar brawl back in Stillford further deepened the groups’ suspiscions.

Eleanor, ever the wise cleric, noticed that Mustardo’s responses to questions seemed a bit delayed and that before he spoke or moved, a ripple of light would occasionally play across his figure. Deciding to take a chance, she called out the illusion for what it was.

Upon being called out, Mustardo decided that he was dealing with a higher caliber of travelers and decided to reveal his true nature. The illusory image vanished and a small, gossamer-winged fey appeared sitting on a branch over the road. The pixie introduced himself as Mustardseed. As the party talked with the puckish sprite, they discovered that he had developed an insatiable desire for glittering trinkets and all things shiny.

Session 2 Recap:
The Cure

Day 2, Mar-16, Sleeping Bear Trail

2:30PM After dispatching the monstrous spider, the party cleared the remainder of the webs from inside the cabin, hoping to find some trace of Fritz. Unfortunately, the only person they find is the dessicated corpse of the cabin’s former resident, a reclusive artist named Robert. Along with Robert’s body, the group uncovered some coins, the artist’s final painting along with his artisan’s tools and a scroll of Charm Monster. The group packed up the scroll and the coins, but left the rest to collect on the trip back.

3:30PM As the group continued toward the lake, they entered a clearing full of berry bushes where a hungry black bear was grazing and blocking the path. Rayne smartly suggested that the party bang on their shields, shout and try to look big in order to drive the bear off. Their combined efforts to intimidate the beast convinced it to seek quieter forage away from the trail.

5:00PM At last, the party reached Sleeping Bear lake and spied the cave that was supposed to contain the moss they seek. After Kit’s calls hoping to draw out Fritz raised no answer, the party decided to venture cautiously into the cave. Scouting ahead, Kit discovered that what appeared to be a forked passage was in-fact a massive pillar just inside the cave mouth. As Kit rounded the pillar, she discovered an ogre, waiting in ambush for the party to come around the pillar in the opposite direction.

After a quick withdrawal to warn the group of the ambush, kit snuck back in and attempted to backstab the waiting beast. Unfortunately, the ogre’s hide armor was too thick for Kit’s rapier and the strike went astray. Fortunately, her cry quickly brought the others to her side. A blast of Flame Ray from Rayne and some swipes from Rua’Lanna’s longsword were followed up as kit ran the ogre through from behind. Rua’Lanna suffered a pretty hefty blow from the ogre’s greatclub, but the adventurers were ultimately victorious.

After the battle, the party discovered the body of Fritz along with a cloak of resistance, silver morningstar, hunting horn and a semi-precious quartz piled in with the remains of the ogre’s victims. The party collected the moss they were sent to find and then gave Fritz a proper burial in the custom of Ehlonna. Once Fritz was put to rest, the party set up camp for the evening.

Day 3, Mar-17, Sleeping Bear Trail to Stillford

8:00AM The party set out in the morning to return to Stillford. They stopped briefly at the artist’s cabin to collect his last work and continued towards town. The group was temporarily delayed at the stream-crossing when they stumbled upon a pair of orcs, most likely looking for easy prey. The group dispatched the orcs quickly from a distance before continuing the rest of the way to town uninterrupted.

2:00PM The group arrived back in Stillford. They delivered the silkmoss to Eilnys at the shrine. They informed Eilnys of the tragic end of Fritz, the Errandboy and of their discovery of Robert, the Artist’s death by spider. Eilnys thanked them for seeing to the proper burial of Fritz and informed them that the ox should be ready to travel in the morning.