The Westerlands

Session 26: Gates of the Forest
Feelin' Gassy?

Location: the Tangled Fens
Current Task: Travel to the Heartspring to investigate the cause of the mysterious blight spreading through the Fens.
NPCs Met: none

Treasure Gained:
Item Qty. Recipient Location Found Notes
Gold x500 divided evenly
Holy Water x5 bag of holding
Poison, Oil of Taggit x3 bag of holding surgery tent None / Unconsciousness DC15 Fort Neg.
Belt x1 bag of holding surgery tent Decorated with 3 moonstones
Candles x2 bag of holding surgery tent Thick and blue. No magic aura detected
Restoration x2 Eleanor surgery tent
Remove Curse x1 Eleanor surgery tent
Remove Disease x1 Eleanor surgery tent
Calm Person x1 Eleanor surgery tent

The party is securing what remains of the refugee camp after clearing it of it’s ghoulish invaders. Eleanor and Lanna set about disposing of the remains of the camp’s original denizens while Piruk, Dathin and Kit check the perimeter and reset the pit traps that Eleanor “uncovered” during their assault.

Santiago returns to the large, central tent, where he discovers a number of potentially useful items scattered about the a grizzly scene. A corpse inside the tent is stretched out on a table, a knife in one hand and his own intestines in the other. This disturbing surgery is what likely resulted in the formation of the allip, which Santiago blundered upon during the party’s initial investigation.

That Evening, Eleanor spends some time studying the journal of Brother Valarin. She uncovers a little more information about the journey of the Cydonic refugees that once inhabited the camp and about the rise of the mysterious blight, which appears to have migrated from their land to this one.

The party spends the night with two people on watch as much as possible. Then, in the morning, after Eleanor disposes of a wayward ghoul that fell in one of the pit traps during the night, they once again set out to the Northeast in search of the Heartspring.

A game trail runs out of the camp in the direction the part wishes to go. They wind their way down from the relative high ground of the camp into the thick of the swamps. Their first day of travel goes by uneventfully and that evening, Daethin locates a copse of trees on an easily secured peninsula of land surrounded by the bog.

On the third day out from Fenwatch, the ground gradually begins to rise once more. The hilltops seem more like forest, while the lowlands are marshy as ever. As the party begins descending one of the many hills, Kit and Daethin suddenly stop in alarm. The air around the party has gone dead and is entirely without oxygen.

The group quickly hustles back uphill to a spot where the air is breathable. There, they spend some time deliberating how to get past the deadspace. Kit ventures a short way down the hill and notices the bones of several of the gas pocket’s victims lying beneath some particularly vibrant looking plants.

Rayne sends Belfry flitting across the cloud in order to determine its size and whether it might be crossed. The length of his flight indicates that it would take almost all the party’s breath to cross the deadspace, leaving little room for stalling, should they be waylaid within the cloud.

After much discussion and argument, the group decides to just go around the gas pocket, and sets of hacking their way through the underbrush.

As they are forging ahead, piruk suddenly notices something familiar occuring up ahead. His shouted warning is too late though, and Daethin suddenly finds himself firmly in the grasp of an enormous assassin vine. The group struggles to free Daethin from strangulation by the monstrous plant. Finally, after plowing into the underbrush, Piruk manages to beat back the vegetative threat, spurred on by the memory of his own near miss at becoming plant food two days before.

Once freed from the constricting vine, Daethin’s wounds are tended to and the party sets off, completing the rest of their detour unmolested.

The ground continues to rise and the thick, still air of the swamp gives way to the sound of running water. As the party climbs over a rise, they see a massive, tree-topped hill rising from the forest ahead of them. Numerous streams of water spill down the hillside to the forest floor below. On top of the hill, massive trees stand close together forming veritable walls of living wood.

The party proceeds cautiously up the hillside with Daethin and Kit scouting ahead, ever wary of potential danger. Upon reaching the top, they find themselves gazing down a massive, tree-lined corridor, which winds away into green shadows.

The group continues into the cover of the trees. Soon, the only sound to be heard is the babbling of numerous streams flowing unseen beyond the walls of tree trunks. The light beneath the trees is filtered by the leaves and tinted with the rich, verdant hue.

Rounding a bend in the path, Kit and Daethin suddenly draw up short. They have stepped into a massive, shaded clearing dominated by a still pond covered in lily pads. Several streams pour into and out of the clearing from beneath the tree roots. On the far side of the pond, two massive trees support a thick curtain of tangled vines, giving the impression of a massive castle gate. A pedestal on the near shore of the pond emits a brilliant blue glow.

After recovering her composure, Kit moves slowly up to the pedestal, checking for danger. She sees that the glow surrounds a row of three stone bluebirds facing a row of three stone frogs. An empty divit between them in the stone appears to be the source of the light.

As the rest of the party gathers around the pedestal, they determine that this must be the key to entering the Heartspring. Eleanor reaches out and attempts to move one of the bluebirds, only to discover that it is an illusion.

The group then begins to experiment with various solutions to this puzzle. They discover that the frogs can be moved to the blank space, but not to a space with a bird. Nor can they be taken away from the pedestal.

At last, Piruk notices something that might be of use. He spots a similar blue glow emanating from halfway up one of the massive trees on the far side of the pond. He surmises that the far glow likely contains the actual bluebirds to be manipulated.

Rayne once again sends Belfry to investigate. After he confirms that the far glow emanates from the other half of the puzzle, Rayne makes use of a Fly scroll she has in her case to quickly and easily ascend to the out of reach controls.

Working together, Rayne in the tree and the rest of the party on shore, hop the birds and frogs over each other until they have all reached the opposite sides of their track. As the last statue is dropped in place, the waters of the pond begin to bubble and churn. A series of massive stone blocks rises from beneath the surface as the massive curtain of vines parts to reveal a tree-lined hall beyond.

Session 24: Crazy Camp!
Dinner and a Floor Show!

Location: Fenwatch to the Tangled Fens
Current Task: Travel to the Heartspring to investigate the cause of the mysterious blight spreading through the Fens.
NPCs Met: none

Treasure Gained:
Item Qty. Recipient Location Found Notes
Coins none
Before Leaving
Belt Pouch x1 Kit Wayshepherd’s Sentry Thanks to Lanna at her best
In the Fens
Alchemist’s fire x2 Rayne? Assassin Vine
+1 Greatsword x1 Piruk Lunatic Fighter
mwk shortbow x1 ?? Lunatic Fighter
Armor Crystal of Rubicund Frenzy, Least x1 Piruk Lunatic Fighter
amulet (unidentified) x1 Rayne Lunatic Magic User
Dagger, silver x1 ?? Lunatic Magic User
Scroll, Identify x1 Rayne Lunatic Magic User
Scroll, Invisibility x1 Rayne Lunatic Magic User CL2
Mithril Chain Shirt x1 Kit Lunatic Rogue
+1 shortsword x1 Kit Lunatic Rogue
shortsword x1 not taken Lunatic Rogue
Acrobat Boots 1 pair Santiago Lunatic Rogue +2 to tumble, increase speed (3 charges/day)

It has been a week since the party returned to the village of Fenwatch having rescued several of the town’s children from the horrors of enslavement by a hag and her grey jester companion. Since returning, Our heroes have managed to restore some semblance of life into the rescued younglings. They are once again able to act independently and have begun exhibiting emotional responses. However, it is clear that their injury, like the injury to the surrounding land is still very much present.

Eleanor has been spending her days deep in study, seeking new information on the evil that is infusing itself into the countryside. After poring over ancient texts on morality, religion and its struggles with the manifestation of evil, she has uncovered some information on what may be causing the mysterious sickness in the land and how to better resist or even treat the illness.

Kit has been spending her days pestering and bribing Content Not Found: Ipswitch-npc to help her better understand the workings of her spider-bot. He has revealed that the maintenance logs found along with the spider bot revealed that, while the construct excelled at retrieving metallic objects such as bits of armor or jewelry washed up in the water vats, it did not fare so well when asked to deal with less shiny objects. The bot has no real concept of value and is easily distracted. He suspects its animating spirit may have been derived from some sort of retarded pixie.

Rayne has taken to looking after the children.

Content Not Found: pyke-npc has taken over management of Fenwatch. His men have converted the Wayshepherd’s guild into their base of operations. Access to the building is now restricted to those with an appointment to discuss a specific matter with the Sergeant. The town now exists in a state of martial law. Pyke’s men make regular patrols of the town perimeter and temporary barricades have been set up around the core of the village. Controlled access points have been established on the major streets while building gaps and alleys have been barricaded with the detritus left over from the town’s ravaging.

Pyke’s fortifications are clearly temporary, as Ipswitch has begun laying out markers and digging foundation points for what will eventually become a perimeter fence encircling the town.

While the townsfolk occasionally grumble about Pyke’s blunt and authoritarian methods, they seem comforted to once again have a sense of security creeping back into their lives.

Ba’art does not seem as grateful for the security afforded by the new military presence. During the day, he busies himself assisting the townsfolk as they recover the town, one building at a time. However, at night, he often sits quietly, alone or with his former deputies looking quite sullen over a pot of ale from one of the kegs Content Not Found: gunhilda-npc managed to salvage.

It is the day before the party’s planned departure back into the Tangled Fen. They sit at a long breakfast table set up in the main hall of the Pelorian Temple. The morning sun streams in through the great rose window high on the east wall casting an intricate mosaic of refracted color across the room.

Session 24: Recap
The party sets out into the Fens heading Northeast toward the rumored location of the Heartspring. The trees quickly close in about them as Daethin leads the way through the underbrush. Going is slow, as there is no discernible trail in this part of the Fens, but Daethin is confident of their heading.

Around midday, there is a sudden commotion from the back of the group. The party turns to see Piruk fending off a large vine that is flailing and attempting to wrap itself around the resisting dwarf. Daethin recognizes the assailant as an assassin vine, which likely intends to dine on dwarf.

The party quickly comes to Piruk’s aid. After Rayne lobs a couple vials of alchemists fire to little effect, Eleanor manages to severely injure the plant creature with a well-placed dispersal of defoliator, which also kills all of the undergrowth within a 5 foot radius.

Piruk then gains the upper hand, smashing the injured vine to a pulp with his maul.

The episode leaves the party on their guard for similar dangers and leaves Lanna feeling a bit queasy at Eleanor’s use of alchemical toxins on the local environment.

Our heroes find themselves deep in the Tangled Fens nearly a full day’s march from Fenwatch. They have just stumbled across a clearing that used to be some sort of encampment. Unfortunately, upon arrival, the only living residents were three blood-soaked lunatics standing among the mangled corpses of the camp’s former residents. After Kit accidentally fell into a pit trap rigged along the entry path, you were promptly attacked by the raving trio and forced to end their lunacy.

Session 23: Healing the Children
The Cleric's Conflict


Current Task:
Heal the children and help rebuild the town

NPCs Met:
Brother Saul, Sergeant Pyke

Treasure Gained:
Item Qty. Recipient Location Found Notes
Coins 1000g divided Brother Saul
+1 heavy mace x1 Eleanor Brother Saul
letter x1 Eleanor from Fr. Phaeton delivered by Saul
letter x1 Rua’lanna from Tiberius delivered by Ipswitch
flowers, dead x1 bunch Rua’lanna from Tiberius delivered by Ipswitch
An Excerpt from the Musings of Sister Eleanor Daystar...
as written by Naughtsauce. Bonus xp to the Cleric!

In her seemingly never-ending days spent growing up in the Sun Spire, Eleanor often found her mind wandering during her studies. She was much more likely to be caught staring out the golden paned windows, and in all outward appearances seemed to be romanticizing future adventures she would have whilst spreading the Word of The Shining One to those who needed it. Internally however, she was wracked with strife.

Sister Daystar’s primary fixation was nearly wholly consuming – the chance to seek out and smite the evil that took so much from her – a desire she hid within herself as to not start whispers amongst the other members in her order. The Mother of her Order, however, was never one to allow austere politeness to overcome familial concern and duty, and she found it difficult to turn blind eye to the Sunfire that would fill Eleanor’s eyes whenever studying histories of the Undead scourges and their weaknesses.

Eleanor would constantly replay to conversation she had with to Mother of the Order four days before leaving the Sun Spire, like some Bardic song – always there, never-ending, mind-consuming.

“You will reach a point, Eleanor, where you will need to choose a path,” her warm, strong voice providing heft to her message. “As long as you serve Our Lord Pelor, he will bestow his graces upon you. But be aware of the differences between Holy Retribution and personal revenge, and know that the order of the world outside plays out nothing like heroic deeds of our imaginations.”

Pelorian clerical education and training, while comprehensive, did little to prepare Eleanor for the horrors she had witnessed thus far since meeting her traveling companions. The Mother was too true; the world outside the Abbey was cold, exposed, and brutal. Worst of all, it was in the midst of battle where she felt furthest away from His love.

She recalled an incident in the forest. Behind her, the shambling masses approached, the their stench nearly overwhelming. The calls of her companions seemed muffled, far away. Like some inborn instinct, she quickly turned to face her attackers, her flaxen hair surrounding her head like a halo of His Light. She swung into one ghoul with all her might, her mace obliterating what was left of the abominations’ face. Clutching her Holy Symbol with her other hand, her mental faculties were lost in interminable rage that flowed through her body and outward into the horde of ghouls until nothing was left but dust, and an aching, cold emptiness filling her armor.

Coming out of the swamp into Fenwatch filled Eleanor with an aching relief. At last she was back in society, albeit in a town which had been laid to waste. Here, she knew her purpose, could tamp down the flames within, and serve her Lord Pelor admirably.

Looking around upon arrival, it was clear that most of the townsfolk seemed greatly surprised that the party made it back alive, and even more so upon seeing the rescued children in tow. Rayne, who has taken it upon herself to serve as temporary guardian for the children, was clearly haggard and unwell, but still made her priorities apparent.

“Eleanor, we must get these children to the infirmary,” she said briskly. “Your healing has been insufficient.” Eleanor was still surprised at Rayne’s concern. Until their encounter at the cottage, Eleanor knew not of a maternal bone existing within her companion’s body.

Eleanor felt rebuffed by the impulsive, immolation-happy dragon-blood, wanting to defend herself. “I wasn’t adequately prepared!” she thought defensively. Her studies, her interests, all seemed to focus on the destructive powers of The Fiery One. Instead, she nodded gravely, swallowed her conceit, and replied gently, “You are correct Mistress Rayne, and time is of the essence.” Eleanor’s voice then took a more serious tone, her eyes a look of concern, and as she brushed a stray hair out of her companions’ eye said, “keep in mind as well, you yourself are suffering, as is Lanna, and neither of you will recover until we can all rest, and pray for more healing from Pelor.”

Upon reaching the Wayshepard’s Guild, followed by and increasingly large group of curious townsfolk, it became painfully apparent that Sergeant Pyke had fully taken up residence, and the party even had difficulty gaining entrance despite having the rescued children in tow.

With some brusque transactions between Rayne and the Guards, the party was at last allowed entrance and access to the infirmary. The nurse rushed to the children, questions coming so fast and with such weight of concern, that it took the pair of adventures a good few minutes to calmly communicate their findings.

“Complete bed rest,” the matron demanded, “for the both of you.” She gave Rua’Lanna and Rayne both such a steely gaze that both women could do nothing in protest.

Still, while Rua’Lanna was dressing her wounds and bedding down, Eleanor was sure she heard her grumble softly, “’Tis nothing but a scratch…” and then something she couldn’t quite make out. She couldn’t help but think, out of all the things Lanna had learned prior to her return to the party, why she still couldn’t admit to the mortality of things – the laws of nature, of life and death.

Eleanor felt Lanna was the closest thing to a friend she ever had, that is, before she was called away. Rua’Lanna provided Eleanor with her first chance to proselytize – she felt as if someone cared for what she had to say, wanted to learn from her, and the feeling was intoxicating.

“Tell me what I should do,” her companion once asked her, clutching her arm upon entering a tavern. Never before had anyone asked Eleanor for spiritual guidance or opinion.

“I will let tell you as I see a need arise,” Eleanor said, in a voice she thought sounded sagely. The truth was, she was stunted by her cloistered upbringing – Eleanor knew nothing of survival, dungeoneering, and even lacked the basic outward geniality required to befriend others. She loved Lanna, because she seemed as insecure as herself, and yet still, for some reason, looked up to her. But not anymore, not since her return. Something was different about Rua’Lanna now – she was a true paladin. No longer did she feel the need to confer with Eleanor on spiritual matters. Since Lanna’s return, Eleanor knew she was tightening up, closing off. She knew others viewed her as judgmental, but she was hardly herself a decision maker – it was the only mask she knew to use to cover the pain she carried with her always. The pain of loss, of inferiority.

Rayne, still exuding what Eleanor saw as unnatural, familial compassion, insisted allowing the afflicted children into her bed to sleep. “What does she hide?” Eleanor wondered. “Has she not always been childless? Self-serving? An arsonist?” Suddenly, scripture came back to her:

“Passing undo judgment clouds the sky of His Day. The Sun shall rise and fall. Those who judge will lose the Light to find their way.”

“I must rest, I must pray to help my comrades,” resigned Eleanor. She shuffled tiredly out of the infirmary, only to see Daethin, Piruk, and Master Ba’art, having what appeared to be a heated discussion with Sergeant Pyke.

“That Pyke, how insufferable!” Eleanor said to herself. “I’d like to see how haughty his attitude would appear when faced with the trouble end of the dwarf’s maul.” Eleanor liked Piruk the moment she met him in the infirmary, when he resigned himself to join their party to make right a situation he could not even recall. He carried within himself a lawfulness and strength of will she herself lacked. Their encounters with the hag and jester only solidified those opinions. His protectionist instincts toward the children seemed neither contrived nor out of place, and he was a fighter of the highest quality.

She stopped, pressing herself behind a pillar, and waited for the argument to subside. Eventually, the dwarf turned to head in the direction of the infirmary, presumably to check on the state of the children. Eleanor stepped out, but the dwarf hardly seemed to notice, his eyes far away, tinged with sadness, as he trod on.

“Piruk!” Eleanor called out. “Master dwarf, wait!” She stepped quickly to catch up him, as he slowly turned around meet her, eyes on the floor. “I see the sadness in your heart, but I want you to know I think you performed admirably. Those children, all of us, we are all indebted to your bravery and skill.”

She slid her right hand up and down her left bracer in a nervous gesture. “Whatever your plans are, I hope they include joining us.” Eleanor was blushing at this point, and she desperately hoped the dwarf’s eyes were still fixed on the floor. At this point, however, his eyes rose to meet hers, and the pain she saw caused her own eyes to moisten.

“Sister Eleanor, I have failed.”

“No! Sir Piruk! You are a hero!” Eleanor was adamant, tears coming now.

“In whose eyes? In the eyes of parents whose children didn’t return? The empty sockets of the children’s skulls we found in the garden?” The stoic dwarf trembled now, and Eleanor knelt slightly to meet him face to face.

“In my eyes, sir. I am a good cleric, Piruk, but I am not a skilled one,” she said through a whimper. “I have neither the determination of will you have, nor the strength, nor the control. I do, however, believe I have a little compassion, and I think you outshine me in that area as well.” She placed her hand on his armored elbow, and with a gentle tug said “let us go check on the children.”

Session 22: Swamp Chase

The party stood before the blazing inferno, which was quickly consuming the remains of the cottage and the horrors it contained. A billowing plume of greasy black smoke rose into the afternoon sky. Our heroes watched with mixed emotions., grateful that they had rescued half a dozen of the village children, but still shaken by what they had seen inside the building now consumed in flames.

Rayne, still looking green after having suffered the Gray Jester’s empathic feeding was tending to the children. The gaggle of younglings, while free of the Jester’s control, were still far from recovered. Their complexions remained ashen and their expressions, vacant. Their eyes followed Rayne wherever she went. The charm she had cast on them had succeeded in restoring a basic level of responsiveness to the children, but only when Rayne was the one speaking.

Daethin, perhaps clued in by a subtle stiffening in Scar’s stance at his side, looked up suddenly, listening. Several of the others turned from the fire to follow his gaze to the tree-line along the Southeast edge of the clearing surrounding the lake. Hidden beneath the shadow of the densely packed trees, they saw several stooped figures heading in their direction with a gait that lay oddly between a shamble and a lope. The sounds of gutteral growls now became audible above the pop of the timber frame behind them.

“Ghouls!” Daethin’s voice dripped with contempt. “Figures. With all the carnage that took place here, they probably think of this clearing as an endless schmorgasboard. I wouldn’t be surprised if that old hag fed them like squirrels.”

Kit watched the trees, futiley trying to gain an accurate count of the numbers headed their way. “Can ghouls swim?” she asked, and after receiving puzzled looks from the group, eplained “because if they can’t, we could take refuge out on the lake.”

“Swimming for it might be a reasonable plan for you, but for those of us in steel, the water route is a bit impractical.” Eleanor chided as she loosened her mace from its hanger.

“Agreed,” said Daethin, “They can’t come for us directly while we stand in sunlight, so they appear to be moving to cut us off from the path back to town. If we make haste, we can probably get there first, and with a little luck, we will get back to town before dark.”

“Get those children moving! GO!” bellowed Piruk, and the group broke into a run, attempting to slip past the advancing ghouls before they could cut off their escape.

The party managed to reach the trail ahead of the advancing pack, and paused briefly to catch their breath.

“We’re about ten miles into this place. We should hurry, but make sure to pace yourself because we have a long way to run!” said Daethin. “and keep an eye on those kids!”

The group set off quickly in the direction of Fenwatch with the sound of the pursuing ghouls following behind. As they ran, the group strung out along the narrow track with Rayne and the children staying to the middle of the group.

After a mile or so, the forest dropped into boggy swamplands. The game trail wound between fetid pools and mires and the trees sprouted beards of moss.

“This place reeks of decay,” panted kit as she trotted along.

Lanna slowed and glanced over her shoulder. “That’s not the swamp. Behind us!”

Piruk Eleanor and Santiago whirled to look behind them. Two gnarled and twisted figures with sickly decaying skin came into view behind them. The snarled as they caught site of their quarry and prepared to dash forward.

“Ghasts!” cried Daethin, “It’s worse than I thought.”

Lanna did not hesitate. Grasping her holy symbol of Ehlonna in her sword hand, she presented it forcefully at the advancing horrors. “Unnatural things! By the power of the Woodland Queen, return to death!” The wooden unicorn talisman was bathed in a green glow, which spread to Lanna’s hand before bursting forth in a verdant light.

The ghasts recoiled at the site of the Ehlonnic symbol and fled back down the path.

The party resumed their flight, quickly covering another two miles before they were once again forced to repel the advancing undead pack. This time, Eleanor took on the task of repelling the monsters, turning them with the fury of Pelor.

At this point, the children began to slow. Though their expressions remained blank, their stumbling steps belied the onset of exhaustion.

Rayne called out, “We need to slow down or we’ll be carrying the children the rest of the way!”

The group slowed to a walk, acutely aware that the sounds of indefatigable pursuit were growing gradually louder.

Soon, a new sound drifted to the party from out of the underbrush to the East. A mixed group of ghouls and ghasts had flanked the fleeing heroes and were crashing towards the middle of their group.

The creatures burst out of the bushes rushing directly at Rayne and the children. Santiago rushed to the rescue, pummeling the oncoming horrors with a tremendous flurry of blows as Rayne attempted to usher them to safety. Lanna charged into the fray as well, but one of the beasts managed to latch on to one of the fleeing children who fainted from the shock of the ghoul’s bite.

A blast of holy vengeance from Eleanor ended the brute’s chances of a quick and easy meal. Unfortunately, the other ghouls had changed course and were continuing for the weakest members of the group, the children.

Recognizing the peril of the young ones and not wishing to lose those he had sworn to protect, Piruk hurtled forward to place his formidable maul between the children and their assailants.

As Rayne struggled to get the younglings clear of the threat, One of the powerful ghasts petrified her with its corrupting strike just as Lanna managed to turn the rest of the pack by once again summoning the holy power of the Nature Goddess.

At last, Piruk and Santiago succeeded at laying out the last remaining ghoul. Throwing Rayne over one shoulder, Piruk lead the way. Fortunately, the effects of the ghast’s foul touch were short-lived and Rayne was soon able to make her own way once again.

The group ran on, ever aware of the sounds of pursuit behind them. Soon, however, another sound began to cut through the trailing snarls. The trees ahead began to thin and the party soon found themselves on the bank of a rushing river.

A fallen tree spanned the rapids forming a makeshift bridge. Unfortunately, the spring run-off had left the log slick with moisture and moss. Daethin succeeded in crossing with little difficulty, but as Rayne attempted to lead the children to the safety of the far bank, several lost their footing and two were toppled into the rushing creek.

The sounds of the ghouls grew louder.

Piruk did not hesitate. Aided by Rua’Lanna, he waded fearlessly into the stream to take hold of one of the struggling children. Meanwhile, Kit hurled a rope to the other. Unfortunately, the swift-flowing stream was proving too much for the child, exhausted from running, and he began to slip along the rope.

Thinking quickly, Santiago leapt to the child’s rescue. Grabbing ahold of him, he stood, balanced expertly in the midst of the onrushing current.

While Rayne, Piruk and Santiago were seeing to the children, the frontrunners of the ghoul pack once again pulled into view. The thrum of Daethin’s bow alerted the group to the danger as one of his arrows found its mark in the first ghoul’s shoulder.

Again, Eleanor stepped forward, brandishing her holy symbol. “By the light of the Sun God, go back to the darkness from whence you came!” she cried. Her arm burst forth in a nimbus of holy light and once again the pursuing undead recoiled.

At last, Rayne managed to help the rest of the children safely to the far bank. With the makeshift bridge no longer clogged with frightened young ones, Kit was able to cross quickly. The heavily armored holy-warriors, Lanna and Eleanor chose to ford the river instead, relying on their strength to keep their feet against the current.

Just as the last of the party reached the far bank, the pursuing pack once again came into view up the forest path.

“Quickly now!” urged Piruk as he laid a shoulder into the log bridge, “lend me a hand with this!” Lanna and Santiago stepped to Piruk’s side and pushed against the upstream side of the log with all their might. Soon, the massive trunk began to shift under their combined effort. Then with a final heave, the trio spun the log free where it was caught by the current and pulled swiftly downstream.

“If that doesn’t stop them, it should at least hold them back for a time.” Said Piruk “but let’s not wait around to find out!”

The group set off once again at a run until they noticed that the sounds of pursuit were fading. Soon, the only sounds that remained were those of the party’s heavy footsteps and panting breath. The sounds of the fen had otherwise returned to normal. Only the occasional splash from some muck-dwelling creature, and the thrum of circling insects broke the steady shuffle of their passage.

Just as the light of day was giving way to the golden hues of evening, the group at last broke free from beneath the trees. There before them, lay overgrown pastures and gardens, and beyond the open ground, rose the ramshackle town of Fenwatch.

As the group paraded their way into the streets, work crews wrapping up a day of clearing and repairing buildings damaged by the porcine onslaught, paused in their work. The onlookers stood silent, largely expressionless, some with the faintest hint of surprise or hope cutting through the mask.

“I never thought I’d be so happy to be back here again.” Daethin muttered, as the group made their way, at last to the relative safety of the Wayshepherds’ stronghold.

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.