The Westerlands

Session 31: Rescuing Kit
Hey you. Get your damn hands off her!

An Ogre Outpost in The Cloud Peaks

Current Task:
Rescue Kit!
Travel to Cydon to seek the source of the Blight

NPCs Met:
Wigston Muxloe

Treasure Gained: Update: Adjusted to reflect the items identified in Session 32
Item Qty. Recipient Location Found Notes
Coins 3140g 400s even split (448g 57s each) (4g 1s leftover)
mwk longsword x3 Bag of Hold Hobgoblins
mwk heavy flail x1 Bag of Hold Hobgoblin Slaver
mwk greatclub (lg) x1 Bag of Hold Ogre Barbarian
mwk javelin x6 ??? Hobgoblins
mwk chainmail x1 Bag of Hold Hobgoblin Lieutenant
mwk breastplate x1 Bag of Hold Hobgoblin Slaver
mwk light shield, wood x1 Bag of Hold Hobgoblin Lieutenant
mwk chainmail (lg) x1 Bag of Hold Ogre Barbarian
Helm of Battle x1 Santiago Ogre Barbarian
mwk heavy shield, darkwood x1 ??? crates
Goods and Items
Bag of dust x1 ??? Hobgoblin Lieutenant
Jumping Caltrops x1 ??? Hobgoblin Lieutenant in exotic hide pouch
torc, silver-plated copper x1 ??? Hobgoblin Lieutenant
hat, boarskin x1 Eleanor Hobgoblin Lieutenant
dice, granite x1 pair Kit Hobgoblin 6-sided
mug, brass x1 Kit crates
Stone, green x1 Destroyed by Eleanor Ogre aura (faint necro.)
Potion, cure light x2 Daethin Hobgoblin Slaver
Potion, ??? x1 Rayne crates unidentified
Potion, ??? x1 ??? Hobgoblin Lieutenant unidentified
Scroll, Bull’s Strength x1 Rayne crates arcane
Scroll, Bear’s Endurance x1 Eleanor crates divine
Scroll, Snake’s Swiftness, Mass x1 Eleanor crates divine
Scroll, Remove Disease x1 Eleanor crates divine


Well, Kit had certainly done it this time… After being tackled from behind, she is dragged through the double doors at the end of the hallway she was investigating. When the stars clear from in front of her eyes, she finds herself in a large room with several hobgoblins in the midst of taking up defensive positions facing the door through which she has just been brought. Her weapons and gear are roughly pulled from her person and unceremoniously tossed onto a pile of crates along one wall. Her captors seem in a hurry to establish a defensive position.

The main feature in the room is a pair of large shafts in the floor along one wall. One is empty and too deep to see the bottom, at least in passing. A large chain descends into the center of the open shaft. It is pulled taught as though it is either anchored to the bottom or has a large object suspended from the end of it. The other end of the chain rises out of the pit and disappears through a hole in the ceiling. The other shaft also has a chain coming out of the ceiling above it, but this chain splits in four just below the ceiling and anchors into four corners of a platform that hangs suspended in the shaft.

Besides the hobgoblins, there are four other “people” in the room. Two are ogres. One stands beside a lever embedded into the floor between the two shafts. The other, who is larger,and who is wearing an ornate helmet is staring intently at a human slave standing by some sort of panel that is set into a door on the far side of the room. As the hobgoblins bring Kit in, there is a sudden flash, a sizzle of electricity and the slave by the far door falls unmoving where he stood.

The ogre in the helmet lets out a roar, and pounds his fist on the floor in rage, cracking some of the flagstones. While the ogre is shouting, he repeats the words Snuhk’Glohr several times amidst his bellowing in whatever language ogres speak.

The last person in the room is another slave. He appears to be Gnomish. He has been gagged and one of the hobgoblins is standing guard next to him over by one of the pits.

Hey you... Get your damn hands off her!

When Daethin discovers Kit’s discarded sunrod in the middle of the hall upon investigating the commotion downstairs, he immediately dashes back outside to enlist the help of the others. Rayne looks up from tending to the recently freed slaves as Lanna instructs Ceffyl to watch over them. The party then rushes into the tower and down to the lower hallway to prepare their assault.

Piruk kicks open the big double doors to reveal a group of hobgoblins staring intently at him from behind the cover of crates. The apparent leader, distinguished by the officer’s torc around his neck and his particularly nasty demeanor has Kit by one arm and is holding his longsword at her throat.

“If you want your friend to live, drop your weapons and leave this place!” bellows the head of the slavers.

Piruk rebuffs the offer, sizing up his chances. The hobgoblins and the adventurers stare each other down through the open doorway.

Then Rayne, not one for political niceties, decides to relieve the tension of the standoff by firing a barrage of magic missiles at the hobgoblin holding on her roguish friend. The bolts fly unerringly into the slaver who is left charred by the arcane blast.

Suddenly, everything is in motion. Piruk, Lanna and Eleanor charge forward into the room as the hobgoblins behind the crates hurl javelins and tanglefoot bags at the charging party. Piruk reaches the stack of crates and immediately puts an end to one of the slavers while Kit uses the opportunity to jerk free from their leader who is holding her captive.

Lanna takes a direct hit from a tanglefoot bag and finds herself rooted to the floor by strands of sticky adhesive.

Eleanor, thinking quickly, casts Enlarge Person on the unarmed Kit. As the thief suddenly doubles in size, one of the hobgoblins is forced to dive over the crates to avoid being trampled underfoot. Unfortunately, his attempt to escape brings him directly into the path of Piruk’s maul, and another slaver is no more.

The helmeted ogre, suddenly seeing an opponent to match him in size lashes out at the enlarged Kit with his greatclub. The thief is sent reeling, but quickly recovers, grabbing the longsword off the slaver who failed to escape over the crates. Turning to face the ogre once again, Kit is startled when the brute suddenly bellows Snuhk’GLOR! and bowls past her.

Rayne, who has moved into the room and is battling one of the slavers who had set up to the side of the entrance turns to see a strange creature that has just appeared behind her. The gummy mouth in the middle of its torso opens as a pair of slender hands dart out and snatch the recently acquired white rod from Rayne’s belt.

The strange creature then turns, and seeing the enraged ogre bearing down on it, vanishes as suddenly as it appeared. When the creature vanishes, the ogre bellows in rage and once again shouts, Snuhk’GLOR!

Eventually, the part begins to gain the upper hand, slaying several of the hobgoblin slavers and then each of the ogres in turn. The remaining hobgoblins, finding themselves suddenly outnumbered, make a break for the door. One of the slavers throws the great lever in the floor, and the platform on which the bound gnome is lying begins to descend into the floor. Meanwhile, a similar platform rises from the other shaft, opening a way for the hobgoblin to flee the scene. The lead slaver is cut down before he can reach the exit, but two of his companions gain the outer hallway and then the stair to the surface.

Lanna, hoping to cut off their escape reaches out to Ceffyl through her empathic bond. She sends a sense of warning, impending danger and rage. Soon, a surge of adrenaline followed by a sense of vengeful satisfaction flows back to her through the link and she knows that one of the fleeing slavers will not escape. Unfortunately, the other manages to slip past the unicorn’s slashing horn, fleeing into the wilderness.

With the flight of the remaining hobgoblin, our heroes pause to assess their situation. A muffled plea from the depths of the elevator shaft prompts Piruk to once again pull the lever. After a moment of grinding chains, the platforms once again trade places and the bound gnome ascends back out of the shaft.

While some of the party see to the gnomish prisoners bonds, others begin constructing a makeshift barricade from the pile of crates, for they need to rest soon, but do not know what other threats might emerge from the shafts in the floor or through the locked door on the far side of the room. Meanwhile, curious about the door which seemed to be the focus of the helmeted ogre’s attention, Eleanor examines the far door more closely.

The door features what appears to be a curious sort of latch. A 5×5 grid with 4 raised squares and a brass knob projecting from one of the corner squares. The squares immediately adjacent to the knob emit an electric blue glow.

Door puzzle
The puzzling latch

When Eleanor gingerly pulls on the brass knob, it suddenly slides through one of the blue squares, and does not stop until it hits the edge of the plate. Each square it passes through raises up behind it making its return impossible. When it comes to rest, the vacant squares next to the knob once again light up with a blue glow. Eleanor continues to move the knob around the plate and it continues to slide until stopped by the edge, or a raised square. This continues until the knob becomes penned in by raised squares, yet some remain vacant… Suddenly, there is a crackle and an arc of electricity shoots violently out towards Eleanor who just manages to dodge aside.

Deciding that it may be best to work this one out on parchment before making any further attempts, Eleanor leaves the door for the time-being and returns upstairs to look after the recently freed slaves.

Session 32: Arrival in Cydon

Recap Pending:

Activities: Fought the ethereal filcher and raided its nest. sent the slaves back to their homes. Continued into Cydon. Ambushed by displacer beast. Arrived in Talynbourg.

Session 33: Talynbourg


Current Task: Travel to Cydon to seek the source of the Blight

NPCs Met:
  • A mysterious cloaked stranger
  • Lugubrous
  • Father Augustin

A Needed Rest:

Upon arriving in the Cydonic town of Talynbourg, the party checked into rooms at the merchant inn, The Lion’s Paw. They then set out to sell their accumulated loot and to see if they could gain some insight into recent events occurring in the mountainous country.

Research Efforts:

Eleanor decided to head across the town square to the church of Heironeous, where she offered her services as a healer in exchange for conversation and use of the church’s library.
Daethin, Piruk, Rua’Lanna and Wigston headed into the adventurer’s quarter, where they ended up at the Chopping Block Tavern. They supplied the local patrons with drinks in an effort to loosen some tongues.

By the evening of the first day, the party had successfully unloaded the collective spoils of their journey. The next day was spent conducting the research and information-gathering efforts listed above.

Daethin, Wigston and Rayne spent some time out at Daethin’s dire-wolf and unicorn-friendly campsite drinking pearl infused wine as they identified the various magic items the group had picked up in their travels.

In the midst of their investigatory carousing, the trio was visited by a mysterious cloaked traveler. He asked politely if he could rest by their fire before heading into town. After discretely checking with Ceffyl to see if the visitor smelled of evil, the group cautiously decided to allow him to share their fire for a bit.

The mysterious figure asked a few small-talk questions about the services to be found in town and the general location of each. In the midst of the conversation, another visitor arrived. A member of the city watch had been dispatched to investigate reports of a very large wolf frightening the flock of one of the local goatherds on his way to market. When he saw that the dire-wolf in question was tethered and barded, he issued an awkward reminder to the party to make sure their animals were under control, before excusing himself back to his duties.

A little while after the guard had left, the mysterious stranger also excused himself, and continued on to the town gate, leaving behind a small purse with a few gold inside.

The adventurers continued their identification efforts unmolested for the rest of the afternoon. The only other incident of note occurred when a platoon of Cydonic infantry marched past into the town, lead by a leather-clad scout and an impressively armored knight mounted on the back of one of the Cydonic dire rams, which the group had previously only heard about.

Dinner and a Floor Show

That evening, the party convened out at Daethin’s campsite to distribute their newly identified items and to discuss their course of action. They decided that it would be prudent to proceed to the capitol to get a better sense of recent political occurrences and potentially to offer their assistance to the prince regent.

Lion's Paw Common Room
The Common Room at the Lion’s Paw

After deciding on a course of action, the group adjourned to the common room of the Lion’s Paw, where Wigston set about performing for the patrons. The clientele consisted mostly of merchants and the aristocracy of the town, along with a table of Cydonic soldiers enjoying an evening meal.

The bard was in the middle of a tale of forbidden love when Daethin, pondering a trip to the bar, noticed a disaster about to occur. It seemed that Kit’s spider-thief had gotten loose at some point during the day’s shopping trips and was now perched on the back of a chair occupied by an affluent looking woman, and was reaching towards the sparkling jewel in her hair.

Hoping to avert a disaster, Daethin quickly rose and crossed the common-room under the pretense of going to refill his drink. As he passed behind the spider-bot, he made a grab for the construct. Unfortunately, the squirrely machine dodged away from Daethin’s grasping hands, while simultaneously giving a mighty tug on the woman’s jewel, forcibly yanking it from her hair.

The woman screamed.

Wigston’s performance halted mid-syllable. The spider-thief, jewel in tow made a b-line for the table where Kit was sitting. Kit, thinking quickly decided to play the victim and began screaming hysterically as soon as the spider thief reached her.

The table of soldiers stood up and their leader, a lighthaired man in an impressive and meticulously polished suit of plate ordered Daethin to halt immediately. The elf threw up his hands and backed away from the screaming woman, unsuccessfully attempting to extract himself from association with the robbery.

Meanwhile, Kit bolted for the door as she continued to scream and play the victim. Unfortunately, the soldiers had gone into control mode and had no intention of letting the victim of a crime leave the scene, especially if the culprit was potentially hiding somewhere on her person. Kit was halted at the door by a soldier urging her to calm down and return to her seat.

The other members of the party tried various tactics to either dissolve or escalate the situation in order to facilitate an escape. Eleanor offered to assist the soldiers in their investigation, while Piruk took the opposite tack. Slamming down his tankard, he roared at the officer nearest to Kit to unhand his wife and immediately charged the offender. Unfortunately, the dwarf’s balance failed him as he attempted to vault a table in his path. Slipping on one of the dishes, he landed face first in a surprised merchant’s soup.

At this point, the situation went from dire to worse. Rayne foolishly attempted to use her wand of charm person on the lead soldier. The spell failed, as did her sleight of hand attempt. Then, members of the city watch arrived on the scene, responding to the sounds of screaming coming from the usually peaceful inn. One of the officers, the same one Daethin had met earlier that day at the campsite leaned over to the lead soldier and whispered, “Those are the folks I saw speaking to that one you brought in earlier.”

Recognizing that the futility of their escape attempts, and unwilling to resort to outright violence, the party at last decided to comply with the soldiers’ orders to return to their seats. Once the scene was secured and the jewel was returned to the shaken woman, the lead officer, who the group could now see sported the lightning and gauntlet symbol of Heironeous on his armor, ordered the guards to take our heroes into custody and to escort them next door to the city watch headquarters for questioning.

Session 34: I Fought the Law
...and I done won!

Our heroes are in up to their necks. They have been brought in for questioning after Kit’s spider-bot disrupted a perfectly pleasant evening at the Lion’s Paw by trying to steal a jewel from one of the well to-do patrons.


The party is escorted from the Lion’s Paw Inn by a squad of city watch, along with the Cydonic soldiers who saw the incident with the spider-bot in the Lion’s Paw common room. They lead them to the squat, stone building next door that the party first saw when they checked in at the inn. The banners of Cydon and Talynbourg hang from wrought iron posts above the main entrance.

Inside, the group finds themselves in the town watch’s ready room. There is a table with half eaten meals sitting on it. Several chairs have been pushed back in a haphazard fashion.

They are lead up to a counter and asked to remove any weapons, belt pouches or other non-clothing items from their person and to place them on the counter. The guards then perform pat-down searches to make sure nobody is concealing anything else on them.

Our heroes are then lead one by one into an adjacent room while the others wait outside. The room is bare, with thick, stone walls and furnished only with a table and two chairs.

The man who appears to be in charge of the Cydonic soldiers who were eating at the inn beckons each interrogant to sit. He introduces himself as Colonel Dekelor. Once the accused is seated, he begins the questioning.

Order of Interrogation

  1. Kit Results
  2. Eleanor Results
  3. Rua’Lanna Results
  4. Rayne Results
  5. Daethin Results
  6. Wigston
  7. Piruk Results
  8. Santiago

As each person finishes, they are escorted from the room, back through the ready room and down to the building’s holding cells.

The Verdict

Our heroes are escorted downstairs to the building’s holding cells to await Dekelor’s decision. When he finishes with the interrogations, he comes down to inform the party of their fate. Because Mistress Thryn has had her jewel returned, and because the party agreed to pay the damages incurred to the Lion’s Paw common room, they are not under arrest. However, because they are in the country without proper paperwork, and because they have disturbed the peace once already, with a high potential of doing so again, Dekelor has decided that they will be escorted to the border town of Westgate, where they will be handed over to the watch for deportation back to Turimor. Once they are out of Cydon, the group’s gear… minus the items deemed contraband within Cydon or used in the commission of the previous evening’s disturbance, will be returned to them.

They will depart with Dekelor’s platoon in the morning. Until that time, the party will be guests of the Talynbourg watch, and will remain in their holding cells.

Resisting Arrest, (after the fact…)

Recap in the works… for now, enjoy pictures of the aftermath

Talynbourg Garrison 3
Lower Level (Holding Cells)
Talynbourg Garrison 2
Upper Level (Evidence Room)
Talynbourg Garrison 1
Upper Level (Ready Room)
Session 35: Escape from Talynbourg

Where we left off…

Lanna pauses to catch her breath, standing over the two watchmen who gasp hopelessly from their wounds and mingle their blood on the flagstone floor of the ready room. She glances toward the far door where a wiser member of the guard just retreated to lick his wounds. A faint clatter of movement comes from the other side of the door. She can feel Ceffyl’s insistant tug reaching out from the North.

The front door to the Talynbourg Watch Garrison creaks heavily on its hinges, left ajar when Santiago charged through after a fleeing watchman just moments before. A crisp night breeze gusts in from outside, hinting of freedom.

Daethin, Eleanor and Rayne frantically root through the shelves and cupboards of the garrison’s evidence room, searching for their confiscated gear. The rest of the party stands over the unconscious obstacles to their flight, panting at the top of the stairs.

In the square outside, Santiago has just caught up with the guard who fled seeking reinforcements from the keep, which looms atop the hillside, a mere 100ft. away.

Talynbourg Garrison 3
Lower Level (Holding Cells)
Talynbourg Garrison 2
Upper Level (Evidence Room)
Talynbourg Garrison 1
Upper Level (Ready Room)

Let’s Blow this Popsicle Stand…

Lanna stoops over the two guards lying bloody on the floor before her. She lays a hand gently on each of them as she opens herself to the healing flow of the Goddess of Life. She channels a thin stream of Ehlonna’s divine radiance into the unconscious watchmen and the flow of blood begins to slow. Their breathing becomes deep and regular. They will certainly feel it when they wake up.

The door on the far side of the room closes with a thud but the indistinct clamor of aggravated men can still be heard beyond it. Lanna looks to the main entrance where a second guard has just fled.

In the evidence room at the top of the stairs, the rest of the party scrambles frantically to recover their gear. Moving between shelves, racks and cupboards, they recover their confiscated belongings as thoroughly and efficiently as possible.

Virago and Piruk are the only two who bother attempting to don their armor. The rest decide that haste is more important and sweep their bits of plate and leather into Daethin’s open bag of holding.

While gathering up her weapons, Eleanor notices a particularly fine looking battle axe leaning in the corner. As she is testing the heft of it, Piruk’s eyes go wide. “Adamantine! Best let me hang on to that lass, I’ll make sure it’s put to good use.”

Kit pauses briefly in her own collection effort to try her newly recovered thieve’s tools on a large chest bearing the sigil of Talynbourg. With a satisfying click, the lid pops open to reveal the party’s coin purses along with several additional sacks of gold. These too get swept into the bag of holding.

In the chill night outside, Santiago dogs the heels of the fleeing watchman. He delivers several hefty blows, one of which sends him reeling and unable to move. The half-orc then follows up with a mighty strike that sends the unfortunate guard into unconscious slumber.

The monk turns back to the town square, only to see another guard headed in his direction, limping heavily and pursued by a sword-wielding Lanna. He begins to advance on the guard, who freezes, wide eyed and immediately bolts in the other direction calling frantically for aid. Realizing that their escape effort is getting louder by the moment, Santiago urges Lanna to break off pursuit and gather her things to leave.

The two return inside, passing by Rayne who is shoving the ready room’s furniture up against the door through which the guards had first appeared. The clamor coming from the far side of the door has now moved upstairs.

The party has nearly finished gathering their things when they suddenly hear three sharp blasts from a horn coming from the building’s roof. Immediately after the alarm is sounded, every dog in Talynbourg begins to bark and howl into the night.

Virago rushes to the entrance and peers out into the night. “We’d best be going. Soon!”

The last of their things collected, the group gathers just behind the threshold to the main entrance. Kit, stands in the lead with her Horn of Fog at the ready. Eleanor casts a protective Sanctuary spell over the rogue who then charges out the door, leaps off the steps and lets out an eerie, hollow blast on her magic horn. A single crossbow bolt thuds harmlessly into the dirt by Kit’s feet as a billowing cloud of vapor spreads out from the horn to fill the area immediately outside the garrison’s entrance.

The rest of the group acts quickly, charging out the door and down the steps. As soon as they burst out of the protective cover of Kit’s cloud, they come under withering fire from crossbowmen who have taken position on the Garrison roof. Ahead of them, they see two city watch charging towards them up the darkened street.

Our fleeing heroes turn the corner of the building cutting north through the alleys and back ways of the town. A second blast from Kit’s horn once again masks their flight from the rooftop snipers, but the group must pause briefly to help Wigston and Piruk keep up.

Soon, the party is fleeing in a twisting chase with the two watchmen on their tail. Eventually, one of the guards, whose appearance suggests a great love of mutton and good ale begins to falter in his pursuit. His partner, frustrated, reluctantly realizes that he faces steep odds alone against nine armed fugitives and pulls up as well.

Once our heroes have put the pursuing watchmen well behind them, they slow their pace and continue forward carefully, taking care to avoid the patrols now combing the city streets. The nighttime shadows and continued barking of the town’s dogs provide ample cover, and the party reaches the town’s north wall without further incident.

They pause in the shadow of an alley to assess the situation at the wall. They are approximately 100ft. from the north gatehouse where they can see two guards peering up the street. Eleanor reaches into the bag of holding and hands Santiago a length of knotted rope. He then runs for the wall and leaps to grab hold of the wall-walk, pulling himself up onto the narrow ledge. The guards’ gazes remain fixed on the lighted street 100 feet away.

Santiago secures the rope to the parapet and one by one, the rest of the party creeps from hiding and scales the wall, crouching low to avoid detection. When everyone has reached the wall-top, they shift the rope to the opposite side. Kit waits behind, and when the rest of the party has made the descent, she releases the rope and then leaps from the parapet, trusting her Ring of Featherfall to arrest her descent.

Tasting freedom at last, the party moves north from the wall, where they are met by a concerned-looking Ceffyl (if a unicorn can look concerned) with Crooktooth and Scar in tow. After discussing their next course of action, the group decides to travel south with Virago. They then begin the painstaking task of circling around the town, while taking care to cover their tracks in hopes of delaying the inevitable pursuit.

They continue picking their way south until the eastern mountains begin to release the glow of the coming dawn. As day approaches, our heroes take shelter in a wooded ravine, out of view of the south roadway and the surrounding farmlands. Foregoing a fire, the group collapses for a much needed rest.

Session 36: Fleeing South
and the thunder rolls...

Where we left off


The party spends the morning resting in the shelter of the wooded ravine south of Talynbourg. By early afternoon, they feel sufficiently rested to continue on their way.

Daethin recommends that the group stay off the roads during daylight hours in order to avoid turning heads and arousing unwanted attention as anybody traveling with a unicorn and a direwolf is likely to do.

They follow the ravine south until it ends, and then make their way along the treelines and copses that border the cleared farmlands in this part of the Cydonic countryside. Picking their way along in this matter is slow, but they manage to travel without incident.

Late in the afternoon, a wall of ominous storm clouds begins to rise over the mountains to the north. The ranger estimates that they have a couple hours before the storm hits. The group decides to stick with their current tactic of traveling cross-country until the rain starts. Then, they will risk the open road, trusting the weather to keep peering eyes behind shuttered windows.

They travel until nightfall when they make camp in a ruined granary that offers them some shelter from the worst of the storm. They view the storm as a mixed blessing. For while it makes travel miserable, the rain will make their trail much more difficult to follow. Hopefully their pursuers will decide that they are not worth the trouble.

And so it goes for the next several days. The weather continues to fluctuate between overcast gloom to raging tempest, soaking the travelers to the bone and slowing their progress. Our heroes stick to the shelter of the woods when traveling by day, risking faster travel on the road by night.

Soon, the landscape begins to show evidence of the Blight. Villages gates remain locked during the day, fields stand unplanted and overrun with weeds, even the trees begin to appear twisted as though writhing in agony.

On the evening of the fourth day, as the group is searching for shelter from the latest wave of rains, they stumble upon an abandoned farmstead. As Kit and Daethin cautiously approach the vacant facade of the farmhouse, grunts and porcine squeals drift through the rainfall from the barnyard beyond.

Creeping to the edge of the house, the two scouts peer around the corner. through the gloom, Daethin’s elven eyes are able to make out a writhing mass of swine desperately trying to force their way through the closed barn door.

There is movement from an overturned barrel in the yard and another pig looks up from its rummaging and stares directly at the two scouts. Letting out a hideous squeal, it charges forward as Daethin and Kit run for the safety of their companions.

Aware of the presence of easy prey, the rest of the tainted hogs take up the chase. Upon hearing Kit and Daethin’s shouts the rest of the party closes to aid their friends. The pigs charge the adventurers with little regard for the wounds inflicted upon them. Eleanor reveals her holy symbol infused with the light of a Celestial Brilliance spell. The sun amulet throws a brilliant light across the combatants and draws the pigs’ attention to the cleric.

Upon seeing the tainted swine, Santiago pulls out the blue ribbon taken from the corpse of Mr. Oinksley back in Fenwatch and pins it to his robes. This battle was nothing new to our heroes and they made quick work of the swine. A wayward fireball from Rayne took care of a pair, but also damaged the already dilapidated farmhouse, blowing away the boards that had previously covered its windows. Kit’s rapier and short sword flashed as she tumbled about the battlefield sticking any pig flesh that came within reach as Daethin let fly with volley after volley.

Soon, the battle was over with only minor injury to the party. As the rest of the group collected their breath and wiped the swine blood from their weapons, Eleanor approached the abandoned farmhouse to peer inside. The small, one room abode appeared empty except for some abandoned furniture, but in the silence after the battle, she could hear the shrill screams of a horse drifting through the pattering rain from the barn beyond…

Session 37: Crossing the Blight
We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Where we left off

Our heroes are traveling south from Talynbourg fleeing Captain Dekelor and his men. They have just defeated a barnyard full of tainted pigs after four days of travel through pouring rain and mountain storms.

They are tired. It is evening, and it is raining…

Open the door! Were you born in a house!?


Eleanor pauses at the entrance to the vacant farmhouse. The screams of a frightened horse drift through the rain from the barn.

The party gathers around the barn door as Eleanor attempts to push it open.

“It’s stuck…”

Piruk hefts his maul and gestures for her to step aside. With a mighty overhand strike, he blasts the door from its hinges, but instead of falling inward, it rebounds back out propelled by a collapsing mass of timber. The dwarf dodges out of the way just ahead of the crashing logs and the horse’s frightened screams double their intensity.

“Door’s open.” he says as he steps aside.

Eleanor approaches the open doorway, her holy symbol radiating light from her Celestial Brilliance spell. The glow illuminates the barn’s interior and glints off of the dust motes and bits of hay shaken loose by the collapsing timbers. It appears that half of the hayloft had been leaning on the front entrance and came crashing down with Piruk’s strike.

Through the musty snow of drifting hay, a rearing and snorting clydesdale can be seen, his eyes rolling wildly in fright. A wave of putrefying stench rolls out through the open door, boiling over the cleric and forcing her to steel her suddenly churning stomach.

Ceffyl, you speak horse don’t you? We could use your help over here!”

The unicorn looks indignant. “What!? Speak horse? It’s not like… oh, nevermind…” He noses up into the doorway beside Eleanor and assesses the situation. Locking eyes with the terrified clydesdale, he suddenly rears, silhouetted in the light from Eleanor’s spell. The unicorn emits a distinct aura of command.

The terrified horse responds. His bucking slows and his whinnies lessen until he eventually stands calm, breathing heavily from his exertion and appearing entirely exhausted. Ceffyl turns and leaves the doorway, and a few minutes later, the horse makes his way tentatively out of the barn.

Lanna approaches the beast, “You must be starving,” she says, reaching into her pack for a carrot, “here.” The horse wolfs down the offered carrot hungrily and then another. Ceffyl watches from the side, mildly dismayed that his supply of treats seems to be dwindling so rapidly.

A search of the barn uncovers the body of the horse’s former owner lying next to a dropped riding saddle, a massive festering horseshoe-shaped contusion lending a lopsided look to his head. The corpse had a purse with some gold in it, and a second, weathered saddle is found on a hook nearby.

Their search of the barn complete, the party now sets about making camp for the night. Daethin elects to give the man a proper burial – Rayne’s offer to turn the barn into a funeral pyre is rejected for fear of a massive blaze drawing unwanted attention. Given the foul odor lingering about the barn, the party then opts to risk a rainy night in the structurally compromised cabin.

As everyone settles in around Eleanor’s holy symbol, still basking in a Celestial Brilliance effect, Virago speaks.

“I would like to thank you for aiding my escape back in Talynbourg. You have all proven yourselves quite resourceful in a tight spot. I realize there is still a lack of trust between us, so in the hopes of remedying that, I would like to fill you in a bit more on the situation here in Cydon. If for no other reason than to let me piss in peace for once… Anyway, so as to avoid rehashing what you already know, why don’t you give me your perception of what is going on, and perhaps I can provide further clarity.”

The group talked into the evening, huddled in the small one room shack as rain pattered on the roof. Their discussion ranged from the king’s murder, to Virago’s mission, to the extent and potential sources of the Blight, all of which appear thoroughly intertwined. What follows is a summary of the information that was gained.

The Situation in Cydon

The King’s Murder
  • The King was murdered on Midwinter’s Night while under guard in his chambers. The murder weapon appears to have been a dagger belonging to a Royal Guardsman.
  • The guards stationed outside his chamber were killed as well, but none of their weapons were missing.
  • Steponas was in town for the Midwinter Feast, and had been heard arguing with his father earlier that day. When the King’s murder was discovered at the watch change, Steponas was nowhere to be found.
  • Immediately after the King’s murder, troops from the army were sent to seal and reinforce the main border crossings out of the country.
The Succession
  • Once the traditional mourning process was completed, Tornas assumed the throne as was his birthright.
  • The fact that Steponas was still MIA did not help ease the growing suspicion against him. The fractures were most obvious among the militarized nobility since Tornas commanded the army and Steponas the royal guard.
  • In order to quell any question of potential divided loyalties among the Guard’s officer corps, Tornas insisted that each man swear an oath of sole allegiance to him, renouncing any authority formerly held by his absent brother. Any who refused were discharged from service. Any who were suspected of knowing Steponas’ whereabouts, or who were considered potentially dangerous were kept under close watch.
  • Tornas’ attempts to quickly restore order rubbed some people the wrong way. Some officers did not take to being discharged and began to rally their commands to them, taking refuge in their keeps and holdfasts on their own lands. They did not wish to renounce the man they had called general and friend so easily. Most felt that Steponas at least deserved the chance to represent himself in honorable combat.
Virago’s Mission
  • Virago is working for the Cydonic Rebellion. The leader of the rebellion, a man by the name of Brahm had sent him in search of someone who may know the last whereabouts of prince Steponas. Virago was on his way back from that mission when he ran afoul of Col. Dekelor. He has been making his way back towards his friends by a circuitous route when he was finally caught and arrested in Talynbourg
  • Virago hints that he was successful in his mission, but declines to go into more detail at this time.

Through the Blight

The next morning, our heroes set off once again, traveling south into the band of Blight spreading from the river Ossir’narrh. After several days of storms, the weather appears to be cooperating at last.

As they make their way southward, the countryside grows more barren and bleak. Birdsong is entirely absent, with the exception of the ominous squawk of scavenging crows. Spring fields lie unplowed and overgrown with weeds, and homesteads and villages stand vacant and gaping at the lonely group of companions. Even the trees appear twisted, and despite a clear sky, the spring sun seems weak and diffuse.

The absence of people emboldens our heroes who now stick to the road for their travels desiring to cross the cursed landscape as quickly as possible. After two days of hushed travel, Daethin’s ears pick up a new sound ahead. The unmistakable rush of a river grows ever louder with their approach.

As the traveler’s crest a rise in the trail, they spot the serpentine flow of the Ossir’narrh unwinding across their path. The water flows swift, and muddy and the banks appear swollen with the recent storms. The road winds down the far side of the hill to a crossroads, where an abandoned inn stands facing a stone bridge across the river.

Making their way cautiously down to the edge of the bridge, Kit and Daethin discover that the middle of the span appears to have washed out in the storm. Bits of the crumbled decking poke just above the surface on the downstream end leaving an empty space of about 15 feet. In the reeds on the far bank of the river, the duo can make out the low silhouette of a rowboat.

The bridge is a squat stone structure consisting of three arched spans. Four pillars rise from anchor points in the arches, to a height 10 feet above the bridge deck. Wrought iron lanterns hang from hooks on the sides of the pillars and each is topped with a glowering gargoyle.

Kit makes her way cautiously out onto the bridge, searching for traps or anything out of the ordinary. She notices a pile of broken stone lying at the base of one of the gargoyles and looks up suspiciously at the statue.

Edging out to the gap, the rogue prepares to peer over the edge when she catches a flash of sudden movement. A pair of tentacles lash out from the lip of the bridge, wrapping tightly around Kit’s arm as she tries in vain to dodge out of the way. The dripping rubbery arms begin pulling the rogue towards the gap in the bridge, as another tentacle pops up above the lip, this one sporting a single alien-looking eye at it’s tip. Kit struggles and manages to wriggle free of the tightening grasp, scrambling back out of reach. Her shout brings the others rushing down to the riverside.

Kit returns, shaken, to her friends on the bank and explains the nature of the tentacley obstacle blocking their path. The group starts to ponder ideas for dealing with the creature, and Kit eventually decides to go have another look… this time while firmly tethered to prevent her from being dragged into the water.

She looks around for a sturdy anchor point from which to secure her line, and decides to try hooking her grapple to one of the gargoyles looming from the bridge’s pilings. She flings the hook towards one of the statues, but just before it hits, the statue moves and flaps off the pillar with a snarl.

Hey! Watch where you're tossing that thing!

Having discovered that at least one of the gargoyles is alive, Eleanor attempts to politely question it about the creature in the water. When the gargoyle proves contrary and ill-tempered, the cleric, along with Daethin, take a different tack and threaten it with violence.

While this futile discussion is taking place on the bridge, Rayne moves downstream slightly, hoping to get a better line of attack on the source of the tentacles. As she moves off alone down the bank, suddenly, the other three gargoyles launch from their perches and converge on the sorcerer, raking at her with their claws and snapping with their bites.

Then, everything is movement. Kitrushes to aid her friend, stabbing the nearest gargoyle in the back with her short sword. Rayne steps back and blasts her attackers with Color Spray, leaving one blinded by the dizzying fan of magic light. Daethin, sensing that negotiations have broken down makes good on his threats and lets fly with three arrows of shock.

Daethin’s arrows catch the hovering gargoyle full in the chest as it attempts to flap out of range. Its body goes stiff with the violent jolt, and plummets into the rushing current. A moment later, a dark tentacle lashes out from the gap in the bridge, hurling the gargoyles stony corpse at Daethin and Eleanor. The body falls harmlessly short and chunks of gargoyle scatter down the bridge as it shatters on the deck.

The other gargoyles fare little better than their fractured companion as the rest of the group rushes to Rayne’s defense. Lanna’s sword sends molten flecks of gargoyle flying as Santiago lays into one with a flurry of blows. One of the creatures, suffering from horrible injuries attempts to flee with it’s life, but is brought crashing back to earth with a well places strike from the butt of Rayne’s crossbow.

The remaining two gargoyles soon follow their companions into the great darkness, brought down by the ferocious defense mounted by our heroes… leaving only the troublesome tentacles blocking the way across the river.

As the group is half-heartedly lobbing arrows and alchemist’s fire in the direction of the partially submerged creature, Daethin’s ears perk up. He straightens suddenly and turns to the south.

“Horsemen… lots of them, by the sound of things… we’d best move quickly before they see us!”

Rayne once again steps up to the river bank.

“Okay, enough pussy-footing around… let’s go fishing.”

The sorcerer narrows her eyes in concentration and lets fly with a series of fireballs aimed just below the water line in the bridge gap. Each blast sends a plume of magically heated steam and water up and out from the site of impact. Rubbery chunks of blasted tentacles begin to plop down onto the bridge and into the river… still the sound of approaching horse grows louder.

“That should do it.” She says, “Let’s get moving.”

Santiago takes a running leap across the gap, easily clearing it.

“That’s all well and good…” grumbles Piruk, “But what about those of us with less spring in our step?”

“Must I do everything?” Rayne sighs heavily and tromps out to the gap in the bridge. She pulls out her rod of frost and points it at the river below. When she speaks the command word, a beam of sublimating air arcs out from the end of the rod as the river below begins to rapidly ice over. Soon, the space between the two nearest bridge pilings has frozen a foot thick. With no place else to go, the river water begins to slosh over the icy surface.

“It’ll be slick, so go slow.” Says Rayne, lowering herself gingerly over the lip of the gap.

One by one, the party slowly makes their way across Rayne’s makeshift bridge. Those with mounts coax them to jump the gap, rather than trying to convince their creatures to climb down and then up the five feet between the regular bridge and Rayne’s icy stopgap.

After some coaxing by Ceffyl, the new-found horse makes the leap and the entire party gathers on the far bank of the river. Looking back across, they can just make out the specks of riders appearing over the distant hillside.

Virago speaks in urgent tones, “We’d best get moving. The bridge will delay them, but not forever.”

Seeing the wisdom in the rogue’s words, the group heads quickly towards the treeline. They have only moved a dozen yards into the sheltering woods, when they hear a rustling in the branches above. A voice with thickly rolled r’s speaks from hiding.

“O hai thar hoomin. We has finded u. U has frendz.”

Virago slows to a halt… “Oh, shit… the twins.”

A pair of catfolk drop from the trees above landing in front of the puzzled group. They are dressed in monks robes, one in blue, the other white. They strike a dramatic pose, respectively brandishing siangham and a quarterstaff.

Sapphire. Diamond. Let’s get out of here.” Virago nods to each of the catfolk in turn and pushes past them heading deeper into the woods.

Session 38: The Cydonic Rebels
You are part of a rebel alliance an a traitor!...

Where we left off

Our heroes stand in the woods near the south bank of the Ossir’narrh River in Cydon. The sound of armored horsemen can be heard behind them on the far side. Two Catfolk monks, who Virago appears to know have just dropped from the trees in front of the group…


The party continues their journey south, now escorted by the two catfolk monks (known as judo cats) Diamond and Sapphire. The catfolk explain that they were sent by Brahm, leader of the Cydonic Resistance, to intercept Virago as he returned from his mission and to bring him to the Resistance’s new base of operations.

The party learns that Lance Commander, Brahm Vispakal is one of Prince Steponas’s most trusted officers. He was tasked with watching over Steponas’s lands and estate when the king was murdered. They also learn that a special investigative branch of the Cydonic military, known as the Redemption, was formed shortly after the King’s death and tasked with rooting out the murderer and the cause of the Blight.

The Redemption began targeting those who refused to swear an oath of sole allegiance to Tornas, believing that their loyalty was suspect and that Steponas was responsible for the Blight cursing the land. They began raiding the lands of the holdouts. When they came to Steponas’s estate, Brahm resisted and was eventually forced to flee.

Brahm and the holdouts are now regrouping in a secluded valley known as Thunder Vale in the mountains on Cydon’s southern border. After two days journey, our heroes reach the camp and arrange to meet with Brahm and the other resistance leaders.

On the morning after their arrival in the Holdouts’ camp, the group is summoned to a ruined castle that sits at the southern end of the vale. This ruin is in the process of being refortified, but has already been set up as the headquarters for the Holdout leaders.

Upon entering the castle, the party witnesses an event of swift justice born of the deep divisions within the country. The body of a man is born past them out through the gates along with various bits of rubbish being cleared from the ruin. Brahm stands in full plate in the middle of the courtyard, flecked with blood and wiping down his recently used blade. He is flanked by a rotund priest of Heironeous and a willowy mage woman looking somber. When asked about the body, the Holdout leader states that the man was a spy for the Redemption who was tried and found guilty of his crimes.

The subject is then dropped abruptly when our heroes are invited into the castle’s great hall. There, they meet with Brahm, the priest and the mage who are respectively introduced as Father Yarov and Sofya. During the meeting, Virago reveals the purpose and results of his mission. He had been sent by Brahm to locate Ilyari, one of Steponas’s other trusted officers who was leading his personal guard in Dragonfall on the night he disappeared. Virago reveals that he caught up with the man deep in the Blighted lands of the Eastern plateau. Ilyari was wandering in rags, delerious with the Blight.

During moments of apparent lucidity, Virago managed to uncover that King Lytanias had learned of the rising Blight and had sent Steponas away in search of something, which could defeat the growing evil. The objective of the quest was most likely the lost Jewel of Ilysias, which is said to hold the spirit of the great hero of Cydon. Steponas did not want to leave, fearing that the King’s life was likely in danger with such evil in the realm. He fought with the King to be allowed to stay, but eventually relented and left Cydon under the King’s orders. Sofya and Father Yarov suspect the Prince traveled to Panthium to consult the vast libraries and numerous sages found in the city.

Virago reveals that Ilyari died of his symptoms shortly after and that he then began his return journey via a circuitous route to avoid the worst of the Blight. He retells the story of his incarceration and escape with the assistance of our heroes.

Brahm then asks if the party will aid the Holdouts and presents a number of specific ways in which they can help:
  1. Bring news of Ilyari’s death to his wife, who is of barbarian descent, in hopes that she will be persuaded to contribute Ilyari’s personal forces to their cause out of a sense of loyalty to her husband and a thirst for revenge.
  2. Make contact with officers of the Royal Guard in Westgate, who were disbanded when the army took control of the border city after the King’s murder. The ultimate goal of this mission would be to retake the city for the holdouts in order to establish a functioning supply chain for their military buildup.
  3. Search for a crystalline key that was removed from a permanent teleportation circle in the basement of the castle. Sofya suspects the key was stolen by a tribe of kobolds who were inhabiting the castle when the Holdouts arrived in the Vale. Recovering the key would reactivate the circle and allow the party to more quickly go in search of Steponas.

Our heroes are naturally hesitant to take sides in a conflict they don’t see as directly relevant to their mission. Eleanor and Lanna particularly do not wish to be drawn into the human bloodshed that is likely to accompany the retaking of Westgate. After much discussion, they agree that their best course of action is to go in search of the missing crystal in hopes of eventually rendezvousing with Steponas and joining his quest to cure the Blight.

Their decision made, the party is invited to take the day to rest and restock. Brahm provides access to the military stores, allowing each member of the group to requisition 1000g worth of equipment for their coming mission.

Session 39: Down the Kobold Hole
Go for the eyes Boo!

Where we left off

The back wall of the teleportation chamber stands partially in ruins. A black hole, ringed with crumbled masonry and guarded by a pair of Holdout soldiers, gapes before the party. They have taken a day to rest and equip themselves for the coming hunt. A crude sigil has been carved into the stone above the doorway. Signs of their quarry can be easily seen in the thin layer of dust at the tunnel’s entrance.

Wigston steps forward, his kiitar slung over his shoulder and a blunt-nosed gnomish blunderbuss tucked into his belt.

“Filthy kobolds… let’s get this over with…”


Every breath you take... Every move you make...
The Mysterious Sigil

Our heroes set off in search of the missing crystal key that will activate the teleportation circle in the ruined keep. Sofya, the mage suspects it was stolen by the kobolds that were occupying the ruin when the Holdouts arrived in Thunder Vale.

The tunnel leading through the back wall of the teleportation tunnel is dark and cramped, forcing all but Wigston, Piruk and the diminutive Rayne to stoop as they move along. The party proceeds cautiously into the gloom with Kit leading the way, everburning torch held high, constantly scanning for traps left by devious kobold hands.

Soon after the faint glow of torchlight emanating from the keep’s basement disappears behind them, the group stumbles upon their first trap, already sprung. The tunnel is mostly blocked by a rockfall. A search of the area reveals the tripwire that triggered the collapse and the shaft cut into the ceiling, which held the rocks.

The group is forced to squeeze through a narrow opening left by the collapse, wriggling over the pile of boulders one at a time. On the far side of the blockage, they find the poor Holdout conscript who triggered the collapse, his body and armor crushed beneath the rocks.

The tunnels beyond begin to widen and the sound of running water echoes through the caverns. The hillside beneath the falls that give Thunder Vale its name is riddled with caverns carved out by the slow seep of water from the river above.

Further down the trail, the party gets their first glimpse of a kobold. At a fork in the trail crossed by an underground stream, Daethin spots a kobold scout peering out from behind a stalagmite in the left passage. The reptilian creature lets out a yelp when it realizes it has been spotted and dashes up the passage behind it, out of sight.

A search of the area reveals a number of caltrops submerged in the shallow stream waiting for unsuspecting travelers. Kit gathers all that she can find, netting an additional two bags worth of the spiky objects and clearing the trail for crossing.

The party weighs the wisdom of following the fleeing kobold down the left trail. Is it luring them into a trap? Will it warn its tribe if they don’t catch it? After some hasty debate, they decide it is worth the risk to follow. After all, how much trouble can one kobold be?

The group proceeds cautiously after the fleeing kobold. The tunnel gradually rises. Soon, it opens into a sort of grotto, lit from above by several narrow fissures which run all the way to the surface. A dozen limestone pillars surround a mossy pool, which sparkles in a shaft of sunlight.

As the party approaches the pool, they hear a rapid clicking sound, which increases in intensity as they get closer. The clicks grow more intense the closer they get, but the source of the sound eludes them. Piruk notices that as he enters the chamber, the whiskers in his beard grow stiff and begin to stand on end.

Suspecting a trap, but unable to find any specific danger, Eleanor elects to try a blind guess approach. She begins lobbing bits of metallic junk out into the center of the chamber, hoping to make something happen. As each item splashes into the pool, the mysterious clicking grows more frantic before subsiding.

Then she sees him. The kobold they have been pursuing stands veiled in shadow in the exit on the far side of the room. He fires a shot with his bow, but not towards Eleanor. Movement on the pillar beside where the arrow struck reveals the target. A curious gray lizard with bright blue markings flinches away from the arrow and clicks furiously. Eleanor looks around and spots several other lizards on other pillars. Then another shot…

This one connects and suddenly there is a crackling hiss, a bright blue flash and Eleanor is jolted with a searing current of electricity. Piruk manages to dive back as he feels his beard stiffen, catching a less intense shock.

The party backs away down the hall to ponder the obstacle and allow Eleanor to heal herself. Rayne’s suggestion that a well-placed fireball could solve the problem is vetoed by Lanna, who wants no part in attacking animals that were likely just defending their home. After some deliberation, the group elects to return to the fork and try the other passageway.

The other path proves less hazardous. They only need to stop once to bypass more caltrops laid out in a stream. Continuing on, the tunnels wind downward, deeper into the mountainside, until they open at last into a massive cavern. Soaring pillars of natural rock frame the entrance to a subterranean structure. Broad steps lead up to a doorway, above which is displayed the same symbol seen in the teleportation room… only much larger and more carefully carved.

The group passes cautiously through the portal and along a broad, straight hallway. The hall eventually ends at a ledge perched above a broad, square pit. A similar ledge can be seen across the chamber, with a similar halway leading away from it. A rope ladder dangles down the far ledge. The only other feature of note in the room is a large, metal plate set into the wall of the far ledge at the same level as the pit floor.

Kit is the first to investigate. Climbing down a secured rope, she creeps across to investigate the metal plate. As she is searching for traps, she hears shuffling and grunting coming from the other side of the barrier. Dashing back to the party, she reports her findings.

Fearing that something might trigger the plate in the far ledge to reveal its contents, the group moves forward, wary of danger. Daethin, Wigston and Rayne remain on the ledge, ready to attack anything that should show itself on the far side of the pit. The rest of the party creep back down the rope and pick their way gingerly across to the rope ladder on the far side of the room.

About halfway across, Piruk suddenly pauses, contemplating the wall to their right. He summons Santiago over to assist him. The two begin prodding and prying at the wall, eventually causing a section to shift. They begin tugging on a massive stone door, behind which they find a hallway.

save me a drumstick!

Just as Piruk and the monk are getting the door open, Kit decides to climb the rope ladder to investigate the upper hallway. About 3/4 of the way up, however, one of the rungs gives way and triggers an audible click. Looking around frantically, the rogue notices acidic looking smoke beginning to rise from the top of the ladder. Thinking quickly, she leaps back, allowing her ring of featherfall to carry her safely back to the floor.

“Shoonk!” The rope ladder falls, and the metal plate drops into the floor. Behind the plate, in a shadowy cave, a massive reptile with eight legs and glowing red eyes begins to shuffle forward.

“Basilisk!” shouts Daethin.

The three standing on the ledge unleash their readied attacks in quick succession. A fireball from Rayne is immediately followed by two swift arrows from Daethin and a blast from Wigston’s blunderbuss. As quickly as the danger appeared… it is gone, sinking charred and pierced to the floor before it even had a chance to glare.

Session 40: Kobold, the Barbican
Smells like... victory...

Where we left off

The echoes of Wigston’s gun blast echo throughout the subterranean complex. As they fade away, the reverberating boom is replaced by the agitated yapping of kobolds in their peculiar Draconic dialect.

Our heroes stand before a secret doorway pried open from the side of the basilisk pit. A long, dark corridor stretches beyond…

Come out'n fight fair ye mangy cobalts!
Known regions of the kobold complex


The party, faced with the choice of proceeding through the newly discovered secret door or climbing the far ledge of the basilisk pit to brave the main hallway, elects to take the former, less obvious route.

With Kit and Piruk leading the way in standard delving formation, they make their way cautiously into the gloom beyond the door. The corridor proceeds for some ways before turning sharply to the left. Around the bend, flickering torchlight drifts through the bars of a closed portcullis. Beyond the gate blocking their path, the torchlight reveals a tall chamber distinguished by a rope bridge crossing 20 feet over the party’s current level, and a series of windows running parallel to and 10 feet above the bridge.

As Kit approaches the closed portcullis to search for traps, there is a sudden “twang” and she is struck a glancing blow by a small arrow fired from an unknown assailant. The rogue grits her teeth as her arm begins to feel heavy with some unknown toxin.

In an effort to identify the as-yet unseen assailant, Rayne sends Belfry through the bars of the portcullis to investigate the chamber beyond. After squeezing past the gate, the bat is beginning his circuit of the room, when another arrow strikes him suddenly and the diminutive familiar drops to the ground, unmoving.

Piruk and Santiago rush forward and attempt to lift the portcullis, Meanwhile, Wigston casts Mage Hand and slides the limp form towards the bars. When the unconscious bat reaches the barrier, Rayne casts Baleful Transpostion extracting her injured familiar to safety while simultaneously transporting the heavily armored Lanna through the gate.

The yapping begins again, and the arrows begin to fly.

Under assault from kobolds perched high in the windows that line the chamber, the party struggles to lift the massive portcullis. After several attempts, the monk, paladin and warblade manage to throw up the gate, jamming it into the chamber above.

Eleanor steps into the middle of the chamber with her holy symbol blazing in the light of Celestial Brilliance The light-sensitive reptilians continue their assault, partially blinded by the blazing light. The rest of the party follows. Daethin and Kit move to the side of the door and begin returning fire at kobold faces, which appear in the windows. Wigston steps out with his kiitar, playing a stirring and triumphant anthem that puts courage and steel into the hearts of his allies.

As Rayne enters the room, she catches the familiar pungent whiff of combustible chemicals that so often sets her pyromaniac heart aflutter. She cautions the others to be wary. Kit glances up at a clattering sound and sees a large, smoking clay pot teetering in a window far above.

“Heads up!”

Kit begins to dodge back and forth. The reptillian hands holding the pot attempt to follow… but then… CRASH! Screaming… but not from our heroes. The kobolds fumble their cauldron of oil and wind up dropping it inside their barbican leading to a bit of barbecue. Draconic curses and wails of pain drift down with the smell of charred lizard.

Piruk, Lanna and Santiago rush to the portcullis on the far side of the chamber and begin struggling to lift it. Meanwhile the rest of the party returns fire at their hidden assailants, picking at them whenever a kobold shows its face to attack. Rayne sends a well-placed fireball into one of the galleries, and once again kobold screaming can be heard.

But then, a second pot of oil comes crashing down, successfully this time, striking Piruk and setting his beard ablaze along with Santiago’s robes. While the dwarf and half-orc struggle to put out the flames, Wigston is struck by several flaming arrows. His song takes on a melancholy, soaring tone as he is jolted by each strike. His clothing bursts into flames and soon he falls unconscious under the barrage.

The efforts of the party are at last beginning to thin the kobold numbers. Those in the gallery of windows before them have mostly retreated to lick their wounds, but a withering hail of arrows continues to rain down from behind. Flames extinguished, Piruk and Santiago switch their tactics against the portcullis. The dwarf hefts his maul and delivers a mighty overhand strike cracking several of the timbers and knocking the gate askew in its track. Several swift kicks from Santiago are all that is needed to clear the opening.

“Exit’s this way!”

Daethin rushes through the newly cleared exit and takes up a position at the corner of the hall beyond. The rest of his battered companions follow, Wigston leaning on Lanna while he regains his bearings. Free from the line of fire at last, the group finds themselves in a hallway similar to the one leading up to the barbican, once again stretching into the darkness of the strange kobold complex.