The Dark Carnival

Island of the Lost Orb

June 3

Arrive afternoon at coastal town near mouth of river west of Shelting called Meesebruck. Gar and Angy go to harbor to see about ship passage while Vik and Sgt get a room.
2 ships can take us where we are going. One is a passenger vessel to Llyldwyyd. They leave when the boat gets enough passengers essentially. There will be space for mounts too. Likely a few days before they leave judging by their passenger list thus far. Other option is a freighter going up the coast further, but may be willing to stop for you. No cabins, so smaller fee but less comfortable; again horses are allowed. They may take workers aboard for less or no travel fee for you but still the horses. They leave in 2 days.
Sgt is the first to speak up for the passenger ship. The rest are ok with that.

June 4-6

Waiting for boat

June 7-10

Boat leaves morning of the 7th. A paying passenger, wealthy was late getting to town. Has adjoining 2 rooms booked, one for him and one for his servant. Damn jerk face.
Cost to each person: 46gp

We hit what the cpt calls a temporal wind on the 2nd day, but the cpt gets us through it w/o ill effect. Could have cost us time most likely, he says.

Arr. Llyldwyynd on the 10th, late evening. Its a good size city. The ship cpt gives us a good place to stay, his cousin owns it, will give us a good deal.
“Tell him Red Jack sent ya.” He was once a pirate, now through a long story is legitimate.
It does turn out to be a fairly nice place, better than typical inn but alike bit more expensive.
We have a nice meal tonight and sleep well

Sgt used to operate just south of this area, but knows it well. Part of his old ranger network extended this far. And a man names Lanceor, a good friend of his, is the Baron of Norcross, the lands we’ll pass through to get to the other coast!!! Became very good friends in the Empire in the past. He wouldn’t mind taking the detour to visit.

June 11-13

Leave for Cuthbury morning 11th, arrive late on the 13th.

On the night of 11th, at southern tip of deep forest hills: as we are just about to set up camp, Gar hears something from withing the treeline, something large.
We prepare, and its for sure coming for us.
Angy “Bipedal, but 2 of them.”
Sgt “I’d say hill giants.”
Angy gets the horses and pulls them back away then gets her bow ready.
Vik gets in the center, Gar and Sgt left and right.
Finally the underbrush moves aside and 2 hill giants lumber out of the treeling.
They see us, squint stupidly. One of them looks to the other “They look tasty”.
“Well let’s eat them then. Give up now or we’ll kill ya slow, er uh……fast.”
Vick hurls a spear hitting the left as Angy hits it with 2 arrows.
Righty hits Vik with a boulder then gets out his club as she charges lefty, hit with the AoO, and cuts badly.
Gar “Damn it, we were supposed to wait for them to attack!” then rushes to her side and hits 19.
Sarge breaks rank too and moves to righty, AoO misses, hits 10. Angy keeps focusing on Vik/Gar’s to bring it down asap hit/crit.
Lefty swings away on Vic.
Vik misses twice, almost fumbling, but Gar brings lefty down!
Now ganging up on Righty we take him down too in 2 more rounds.

We move on another few hundred yards and camp after looting them for:
700gp
4 gems: 120, 50, 80, 12.

Gar “Let’s splinter their clubs for firewood.”

View
The Gold Lion of Ormanlac

May 27-June 9

Ship to Frost Giants leaves in morning. It’s to be a 2 week voyage.

On voyage, Dareth notices a crewmember staring oddly into the water, swaying back and forth. To himself “That’s unusual.”
Dareth checks on him. He thinks there is a mermaid down in that water. He saw a beautiful face looking at him out of the water, then it disappeared “I’m just trying to get another look at her.”
“Best let mermaids be good sir.” Then a splash in the sea, and he yells “Look there she is, I gotta go see her!” And goes to climb over but Dareth stops him.
D “Pull yourself together sailor, snap out of it.” He slaps him twice.
He points “look there she is!” Dareth refuses to look “Some help over here, quartermast!” Rags stands up and assists in getting the man away from the edge.
D “Nobody look in the water, I think something is in there” and calls for the captain. The thing rises from the water, a sea serpent with a beautiful face where its serpent head should be. It leaps up to the ship’s edge, biting the love lorn crewman! DEAD!
D “Captain, get you men away from the edge of the ship!”
The captain yells full sail!
The thing wraps around the body and sinks with it into the depths.

June 10

Arrive at Rimkirk, port town on eastern tip of the coast.

June 11

Cool for a summer day even here, but clear and sunny. Travel is arranged for tomorrow morning.

June 12

Leave for Ormanlac.

June 13

Arrive Ormanlac tween lunch and supper. Explains the circumstances:
He was put here by his king Svein of the northmen, claimant of this island. He himself is a halfbred Viking and ‘scot’. Low population here so brought all his family, belongings and belongings to this new keep. They travelled ahead of the supplies. Said wagontrain was hit by Frost Giants on the way, and personal belongings stolen. Among them and only thing he really cares to recover is a 3’ tall golden statue of a lion, family heirloom. They’ve been in contact with the FG, and are willing to pay ransom for the lion. It’s set that an envoy, hence us, will meet with them to pay the ransom and recover the lion. He wanted people of strength to handle a potential double cross. He is willing to pay. We have a couple days, all supplies will be provided, before we need to leave. Local guide included to the meeting place. 4 day walk to the appointed spot.
He has to send a signal to the FG to let them know when we are leaving. No real date set up. Noonish for the meeting. No idea of the numbers they will send to the meeting.
He offers 750gp per man. We would prefer a daily price in case of a chase/search for it. If we find loot, our price will be taken off it. It’s a deal.
He has a large banquet for us this evening to celebrate our heroism. We eat heartily, Garth the Bold shocks all at his ability to consume meat. He once won a boar eating contest vs an Ogre. Wages paid upon our return.

June 14

We gather supplies and meet our guide Shamus, in his late 30’s. He has lived here his whole life. No help in a serious fight, but knows the wild better than any other here.
Duke tells Dareth he entrusts the ransom money to him to hold.
The trails will not accomodate horses, only supply mules of which we will take a few. Our mounts will be stabled here.
We leave tomorrow morning westward. He will send the signal today, a raven they supplied that will fly back to their place.
Where their lair is, no one knows.
We don’t get any sense of untrustworthiness from the Duke.

June 15

On the road. Cool but good travel weather.

June 16

Still nice.

June 17

Windy but still nice.

June 18

Mid 60’s, light rain. Noon today is the meeting, a clearing on a hillside. Approaching it, we see no giants yet.
Shamus “Looks like we’ve beat the giants here.”
Moments later, a horn blows loudly nearby and west. From the clouds, a winged shape swoops downward.
Dareth and Tom “Its a dragon!”
It descends into the forest maybe half mile away, treetops sway and topple around it.
Erik instinctively watches our rear for a moment.
The dragon leaps into the air, definitely a white dragon, taking off westward. Another horn from the area it had landed.
Tom wonders if Ormanlac is no more.
Dareth notices it was carrying a bag in its claws, rather large.
Garth the Bold “Like 3’ tall lion sized?”
Dareth “I’d say so.”
We make for the landing site and horn call quickly.

Once we get close, Erik stealthily takes the point. 2 dead giants with 2 others wounded and looking upward on guard. He returns and reports.
We walk right to them, telling them who we are and we saw the dragon hit them.
Ragnar does the initial talking.
They are very on guard, prepared to fight us, initially assuming we set this up as an ambush to get the lion back. The knights with difficulty talk them down, Dareth taking the lead.
They confirm the dragon took the statue, and it lives in the midst of the nearby glacier past the ice canyons. They avoid it because of the hot worms that live there. Sir Garth even has no guess as to what these may be, nor do the blue crew.
They want to take their dead back home. A friend of theirs nearby who spends a lot of time in the hills on his own should have heard their warning horn, and could be heading for the glacier already.
Sir Garth “He’s going to go after it, by himself?”
“He might.” His name is Velg the Dragon Tamer. Supposedly he fought dragons in his youth.
Evan “Shamus, know you where this glacier is?” He does, about a days travel to the west. Then we still have to find the glacier.
Garth the Bold is gleeful at our daily pay deal now! And something he can hold over Vic, having killed a dragon.
Erik says the rain is going to get worse tomorrow at least, and a temp drop.
The FG will not let us go with them. We move out immediately.

June 19

Afternoon we approach edge of glacier, chilly and light rain, exiting treeline. About 200’ ahead we see 2 FG sitting at a camp eating deer.
Ragnar “Want to whack them?”
Dareth “Not really, we could use them to fight a dragon.”
We approach as a group to greet them, hailing them from a distance, Dareth and Tom at the front. One of them hurls a giant snowball at Tom, hitting him dead on.
Garth the Bold laughs hysterically.
The other starts rolling snowballs for the next throw.
Sir Garth “Well, this is unusual.”
Tom yells we come to parlay but is hit with another one.

Back into the treeline we retreat to a hearty laugh from the FG’s who proceed to eat again.

Shamus and Erik are sent to look for a path onto the glacier.
Sir Garth yells from the trees “Are you Velg Dragon Tamer?”
‘Yes I am!"
“Stop throwing snowballs at us! We’re here for the white dragon, sent by the Duke to get the lion back!"
He is on his way to kill it himself.
Dareth “Perhaps we should join forces, it is a dragon after all!”
He calls us “small ones” to join him by the fire.

He pats Tom on the back “Sorry about that funnery little boy”. Tom is not happy.
They share the venison with us. Zim is his associate. He is about to make his way across the glacier to defeat Whildenstrank, the dragon. He offers some warnings for the trip across the glacier. First, be wary of ice canyons; then the hot worms we have heard about. They melt weapons, so use ranged attacks against them. There are also cold worms, with a stunning schrill. They will leave in the morning for their conquest of the dragon. He may be persuaded to combine forces. But, he demands the dragons hide and half his treasure other than the golden lion.
We agree to those terms.
We camp here for the night for a fresh start in the morning. We warn him of the weather tomorrow, he is unconcerned personally. He’s willing to wait one more day.

The weather is moving in as we speak.
Erik and Shamus build proper shelters with their help.
Velg is a proper ranger. He knows the glacier as well as one can and knows the area in which the dragon lairs.
Erik tells him about Yanath and Sarge’s rangers, swaps ranger tales.

June 20

Hunker in, but for collecting firewood to take with us.

June 21

By morning its clear and we move out. Zim stays behind at the camp. Shamus heads back for Ormanlac alone and report.
Eastern edge is mostly flat ice, relatively safe. Few inches of snow and slush on surface. Across glacier we can see a black volcanic spire. Velg “That’s where we are headed.”
Some of us hear a low rumbling sound ahead of us, ice shifting about 100’ ahead.
Erik “Something’s burrowing!” Toward us.
Evan to the rangers “Should we gather or separate?”
Velg “Normally the worms aren’t this close to the rim.”
Dareth calls to get in a line, so it can’t come up under too many of us at once, and we can close in any direction immediately. We flank Velg and Garth. Tom and Sir Garth on their left with Max and Fritz in front and behind Tom, respectively; Ragnar and Evan on his right, Erik and Dareth to front and rear of Ragnar respectively.
A Bullet bursts from the ice in front of each of Erik and Max and savagely attack. We swarm them, Erik taking a beating.
Erik and Garth the Bold give the finishing blows. The ice beneath us shifts, knocking us all to the ground. The surface crackles more and more beneath us!
Velg, Garth the Bold, Erik all get clear; Tom, Dareth and Sir Garth get ahead of Evan and the Blues, barely getting clear themselves; but the last 3 behind are caught in the collapse!! Battered by falling ice upon them and buried!! Max taking the worst. Fritz and Evan get off easy, buried under 1 and 3 feet only, at the edges. Max however is 6’ down!
Velg rushes forward, digging for Max. Tom and Sir Garth get Fritz out, while Dareth and Ragnar get Evan. Velg gets Max out fast enough, he’s KO’d.
After a short breather we move on.

The flat glacier becomes ravines of cracks in the ice, a path w/in which we follow. By that time its near dusk. The canyon floor is coated with ice dust, revealing tracks. Erik inspects, believes they are that of a large wolf moving ahead of us.
Velg “We should probably camp here for tonight.”
Dareth “Agreed.”
The night is windy, and a faint howl of wolves, as well as frost G horns in the further distance. Otherwise, the night in uneventful.

June 22

Moving forward, then a loud roar, a scream, and sounds of combat from around the next turn! Sound many pieces of small ice shattering on the ground.
Dareth “I hope that isn’t the sounds of an icy breathweapon.”
We rush forward but not around the bend w/o looking first.
A huge segmented beast ahead of us!! Entire area covered in ice, but it does not seem to be moving.
Velg says that’s one of the heat worms. The roar came from it, but not the screach, that sounded like one of the cold worms.
Dareth calls for all to be on guard, the ice worm may have killed this one, and could still be around.
Sir Garth “Do the ice worms burrow as well?”
Velg "Yes, both worms burrow?
Garth the Bold “Can they feel us walking on the ice? Can they sense our tremors?”
Not as far as V knows of the cold worms, but he thinks the heat worms can.
We move forward carefully, inspecting the scene, and it is clearly dead. Both Garth’s keep a sharp eye out while we survey the area.
Dareth, Evan and Fritz gather some facts of the scene, and Velg and Erik put it all together. There is a large would on it, as well as what looks like dozens if not hundreds of dagger marks. The shards seem to have come from an explosion with an epicenter in which the fire worm lies dead.
Velg “Well, let’s move on. There is a dragon to kill.”
He estimates only half of us will die at its hands “which isn’t bad for small things. But your names will live on in the stories I tell about my defeat of the dragon.”
Onward.

Ahead, Dareth’s elven eyes notine a large white wolf blending in with the snowy wall of the ravine, watching us but staying ahead of us. He steps forward, whispering to the 2 Garth’s. Velg turns “Hey anybody else see that wolf up ahead?” Dareth nods yes.
Erik “Winter wolf?”
Velg insists it was likely looking for food, Dareth insists otherwise.

Velg and Erik’s direction sense lead us in a generally western direction.
Dareth “Keep extra alert now.”

Suddenly, the ground ice breaks open behind Fritz and a Heat Worm bursts upon us, lashing out at him and grabbing him in its maw!!!
Velg “Shoot it, don’t fight it!” Dareth “Ragnar try to pull him out”, Evan and Dareth fire upon it, but Max being right next to it. Ragnar turns and attacks with his greatsword.
Fritz is promptly swallowed whole!
Garth boldly throws his warhammer, Velg a boulder. Erik moves forward to engage next round as Tom turns and attacks and SLAYS IT!!
Velg says the very act of hitting it could destroy your weapon outright, we are very l lucky. Erik, Tom and Max cut Fritz out of the belly in time to save his life. He has never felt such heat in his life.
Erik realizes now what these people call a heat worm is a remorhaz to us.
Velg “Ah! The little ones survived. A fine job. Onward!”

We come to an intersection of ice spires as tall as the ravine walls, several caverns leading away as well in various directions. Dareth stops sudddenly “look!” Standing right up against onee of the columns of ice appears to be a giant icy worm!!!
He moves up and points it out to Velg “Ho! It is, its a cold worm.” Just as he is saying that we hear it’s screaching sound. All but Sir Garth, Tom, Fritz and Velg stand unable to move, stunned by the trilling screech.
Sir Garth moves forward, hoping the stun is temp, gets ready to take the brunt of its brutality. Fritz violently shakes Max trying to free him from this condition: it works!! He starts recovering.
It engages Sir Garth who attacks, striking Sir G as Velg counterattacks.
Max now charges into the fray; Fritz wakes Evan from his stupor!!
The worm turns to Max next, hitting him as well. Velg then brings his axe to bear heavily upon it, it wails in pain. Garth misses completely but Max hits it for 2 max damage slashes.
Evan fires his bow hitting once as Fritz now awakens BTT. The worm slides back 5’ then unlleashes a cone of cold, hitting Sir G, Velg, Erik and Dareth. Velg is immune, but the helpless Erik and Dareth are hit with the full brunt; Sir G makes his save for half. That snaps Dareth out of it.
Velg cleaves it 2 more times DEAD!!!! It then explodes in a torrent of ice!!! Eeh gads!!!! This is what happened to the dead fire worm we found.
Its trilling done, all other wake up just in time for it. Fritz, Tom, Ragnar and Garth the B are outside of the area, Evan is just caught up in it. Evan takes a beating, Dareth saves but with the previous damage it otherwise would have killed him. Max is dropped as well as Erik.
Velg “You puny little things hahahaha!”
It’s time to camp. Garth the Bold, amongst the pillars of ice, stumbles across a mound of oval shaped ice formations while the others are resting. “Hey, those are eggs!” Frost worm eggs.
Velg says cold worms can be raised to be a pet. Soon as the baby comes out of the egg, they parents skip out. But, if you take care of them they will form an attachment.
Evan “There is the problem of feeding a cold worm.”
Velg “Yes, and it won’t survive outside of cold climates.”
We’ll pick them up on the way out if we can.
Dareth “How much further you think, Velg?”
It’s been 4 hours so far we have been in the ravines. He guesses 6 to 8 hours total to get to the black spire, that’s if we have been going in the correct direction. Which he and Erik agree we have been.

We have to recover from our wounds though. After a long rest, we must push onward. Velg and Erik continue leading us, judging direction and continuing to agree. We come out of the ice ravines about 2 hours later at the foot of the towering Black Spire!
Garth the B “So this is where the dragon lives, huh?”
A narrow footpath, about 10’ wide on average, leads up the side of the mt to the cave entrance.
Fritz “A dragon cave, very dangerous. You go first” to BTT.
Erik judges the path to be safe enough for foot travel. Who goes first?
Garth the Bold boldly steps forward “I shall lead the way!” He calls for BTT to join him if you dare.
BTT “Let us opress a dragon!”
Dareth and Erik next, Velg behind them; followd by Sir Garth/Evan; blue crew; Ragnar in the rear.
Moments into our ascent, 3 winter wolves approach from ahead. The lead asks us our business.
Dareth responds that we are here to recover a stolen golden lion for Ormanlac.
From behind we hear “Enough talk!” He rushes around the side on the slope and attacks the lead wolf!
Dareth holds us. The first 2 wolves attack Velg. The third wolf yells out “fiendish, treacherous, giants and humans! Why do you ambush us?”
Sir Garth “We haven’t made a move!”
Dareth “Velg, relax!”
Velg slays both wolves!!
Black T “That’s enouth now, Velg!”
Velg “They’ll warn the dragon, kill it!”
Tom charges the final wolf!
Dareth “Damn savages!”
Erik charges to Tom’s side. The wolf withdraws and flees up the path and into the cave entrance. Velg is in a rage, none too happy.
Velg “Now the dragon knows we’re coming!”
Dareth “Maybe you shouldn’t have gone nuts w/o everybody working together.”
With a grumble “Let’s get up and in before he attacks us out in the open.”

Upward we go with speed and into the tunnel, icycles hanging from its lip. The walls inside covered in ice, though the floor is clear and rock. It’s large, enough for Velg to easily enter and explore.
Velg “Look here, the dragon is going to be waiting for us at the end of this tunnel.” He says this isn’t a big exploration thing. He’s close. “From having seen you in combat recently” he has no confidence in our capabilities; but “if we can distract it enough so I can kill it” he will be sure to get us the golden lion back.
Yeah, like we believe that.
He warns anyone who doesn’t want to risk death “this is the place to stop” for white worms breath a cone of intense cold; he also thinks this one may be old enough to have a small amount of magic skill.
Dareth recommends sending a forward team to draw out any wolves and get the lay of the land first.
Velg “Not the strategy I would use, but being small people maybe that’ll work for you. Just try not to die.”
Dareth “Thanks for indulging us.”
“But your time is limited.”
Erik, Dareth, Rags and the Bold go forward.

Dareth insists again this adventure should have been all barbarians.
The tunnel leads slightly downward, then opens up into a large room, ringed by a dozen columns of ice. Our lantern light reflects off the icy walls, as well as gems, jewels and coins frozen in the columns themselves!! One is half formed, the head of the lion protruding from it!
The dragon looks at us from the middle of the room “You’ve come to my home, killed 2 of my wolves, what brings you to my lair, the brink of destruction?”
Dareth explains exactly why we are here and that we killed none of his wolves; offering the ransom money Dareth carries to have given to the giants.
He claims to be no mindless killer, willing to deal. 15000 gold is what he wants. Dareth negotiates, explaining our situation of not expecting anything having to do with a dragon, and no guarentees Svein will back any more than that after the fact. Offering the frost worm eggs is meaningless to him. He does say he liked diamonds. Dareth has a 1000gp diamond! Part of his loot from back home. He accepts! He breaks the lion out for us, and trades it straight up!
Then asks if the giant is alone, we confirm that so far as we know, yes.
“Well, our business here is concluded then unless you have anything else you need from me. If your giant friend is persistent on coming down here, I welcome the challenge.”
the Bold warns the dragon Velg is nothing to laugh at.
The dragon is none too worried.
the Bold thinks we should go back, tell everyone to come forward, and once the fight starts we take off with the lion. But he and Rags also wouldn’t mind helping the dragon vs Velg.
Dareth does not like being dishonorable though. We are going to go up and tell Velg we got what we wanted “Dragon’s all yours.”
Ragnar carries the lion.
Velg “I should have knows that you puny smallings would back out of a real fight when it came time for it. If I didn’t need all my strength to kill the dragon I’d kill you all right now” then warns us to stay out of his territory again or he will kill us.
The Bold and Rags want to wait for the fight to end, and if Velg lives finish him off.
Problem is we have a long haul out of the ravines, it would be a forced march.
Garth “See, we should have helped the dragon kill Velg.”
We need to get to where there is wood for fire, so its a forced march back to the treeline.

It’s up to Erik to lead us out. Ragnar, Btt, AND Garth the B are arguing about whether it is better to be big, demand control, or just do it, respectively.
Garth “Look I’m telling you, just grab it, and take it.”
Until Evan halts the group, then Dareth and Fritz feel it, too; then Erik: the hint of vibrations below us.
Evan “Nobody move or talk.”
All freeze in utter silence, ready to draw weapons at a moment’s notice. Still, it finds us. Tom flinches his weapon; Sir Garth’s foot slips ever so slightly in response to the noise that seems so much louder than it really is.
Evan puts up 2 fingers, he thinks there are 2.
Then a frost worm bursts for the 20’ away.
Dareth “Get ready to run” thinking its one of each. Barely a moment after he speaks a remhoraz explodes from the ice as well.
Dareth “RUN!! They’ll fighte each other!” We take off at top speed, Erik pointing the way. He chooses a second turn, when Dareth stops him “Take a breath, think for a minute, that was a quick decision you had to make back there. Get you bearrings, its almost dark. Make sure we are on the right track.”
Sure enough he realizes he took a wrong turn. Backtracking, he picks it back up again.
6 hours later, still not out. He must have taken a 2nd wrong turn at some point.
Dareth “We keep going.” Finally, around midnight, we come out of the ice!!! Couple hours later than hoped but not too bad.
Time to sleep. Rags unpacks the emergency supply of firewood collected before we left the treeline and we light a fire to dry off before anyone gets hypothermic. Garth the Bold and Ragnar are predicably handling things much better, environmentally, than the rest (other than the 2 blue crew).

June 23

After a full 8 hours sleep, the Bold and Rags keeping the fire going, we move onward over the glacier.

At the end of the day we get to the end of the glacier and treeline finding Zim right where we left him. We explain what happened, that we needed to get out being weak smallings. He hasn’t seen the dragon flying around, nor heard Velg’s horn. He is going ot wait here another day to see if one or the other appears before returning to their tribe.

We rest here with him tonight. He has some meat even!

June 24-27

Fresh, much rested and warmed, we awaken this morning and move for Ormenlac. Erik cuts us cross country to Ormanlac. Some of us are not looking forward to the trek. Garth the Bold is not in high spirits, for lack of tale worthy deeds on this excursion.

Uneventful travel.

June 28

Early evening/late afternoon finally arrive weary at Ormanlac, some of us more than others. The Duke is quite pleased to see us alive and even more so that his lion has been returned!!
There was much concern we were all killed, for Shamus has not returned!!
Garth the Bold is ready for his reward money. His accountant pays us as promised in gold and silver.
They will be sending out search parties for Shamus.
We rest up here all day.

Plenty of good food, ale, wine mead, etc. In conversation, Dareth mentions something rubbing him the wrong way. “How much is that lion really worth?” After thinking about it, Grimson thinks maybe a few thousandish. Dareth was thinking the same thing; the though occured to Tom on the way back but he estimate a little higher’ but all in the same ballpark independantly. Ambrinigan paid 10000 in ransom plus our pay. Why was he willing to spend so much on this thing?
the Bold “Magical?”
He definitely overpaid for what eyes can see.
Sir Garth “Something hidden inside?”
Evan “How did the weight feel, Ragnar?” Rags thinks it was heavy enough to have been solid, far as he could tell.

July 1

Both Garths, Ragnar and Erik join in the search. Garth the Bold is disappointed in this whole mission, always comparing himself to, and feeling as if compared with, Vic.
“What have we done? What have I done? We killed 2 worms, the lot of us. Nothing more! That bloodthirsty she demon kills things by the score! I need more!”

Notes:

Duke Ambrinigan of Ormanlac, there by claim of King Svein of the northern Viking kingdom. Golden lion stolen.
Our guide: Shamus, late 30’s
Velg: Frost G ranger
Zim: Velg’s partner

View
The Missing Man from Ostrich

May 27

Leave and arrive Ostrich late. We bed down outside of town to enter in the morning.

May 28

Windy, cold day for spring.
We meet the family. Parents and 2 younger siblings of the missing man Hans, family name Gruber.
The Thorp is called twin oaks where Hans moved about a year ago as a lumberjack. Farming and woodcutting are the works in Twin Oaks. Hans has enjoyed a quiet peaceful life in the very small community. He writes at least monthly. The last 2 times anyone has come from Twin Oaks, within 2 weeks of one another both in the last month, through this way there has been nothing. So they are concerned. The 2nd traveller said it seemed odd in town when he was there. People not quite as friendly as normal, like they quietly couldn’t wait until he was gone.
“We aren’t a rich family. We can give you a meager reward if something bad has truly happened. Especially if we can get him safe. What they can provide is travelling supplies.
Yanath “Very good.”
They also give us some basic info on T Oaks:
A small council runs the town. The head member is a woman named Vandra; man named Lobbur, a farmer like Vandra; Hedvynn, smithy; Bumor the tavern keeper.
Hans had mentioned nothing untoward about anyone in town. People tend to hang at the tavern in the evenings. Friendly community.
“If Hans had met with an accident or some such, someone would surely had sent word.”
The thorp is just innside the edge of the forest south of Friedl. A narrow cart track leads 3 miles into the forest to the thorp from the NW, from Friedl where all shipping leaves from and comes into the area. It then proceeds past the town to the lumbering sites.

Yanath and Barleycorn agree to hit Friedl first and glean what info they have on Twin Oaks recently.

May 29

Cut east across strecht of N/S hills then skirt forest north for Friedl. Great travelling weather, 60 with slight breeze and cloudy.
Crazy Wolf and Gerald and his wolf pack become each others new best friend.

May 30

Arrive early evening, Friedl.
The sheriff has heard of no issues in TO. No one has come to town from there for a couple weeks. Its a bit unusual but not totally unheard of this time of year. Things just getting started down there.
At the inns, Iggy and Barleycorn get some word: Barleycorn that about a month ago a small group stopped in Friedl and went into the mts from here. Some kind of adventurers who said they were on a holy quest to destroy some horrible creature living in the mts. Iggy that about 2 weeks ago couple men came into Friedl for supples, soldiers who said they were part of a small group of sellswords, were heading south after they left here supposedly. Struck this townsman as odd. Heard later some people saw the 5 of them moving south.

June 1

First thing in morning, Yanath, Iggy and Barley split up amongst the general stores to ask about what these soldiers bough. Yanath is the one who happens into the right place. The manager remembers them, bought standard travelling stuff. All definitely warrior types. Overheard nothing about their plans other than looking for work.
Not adding up for yanath. Merc work can take you anywhere, but you gain such work along more travelled roads, not out here. Yanath buys a few things. He has heard nothing from TO, when asked.
“Typically by planting season we’ll get orders from farmers for seed, equipment replacements, animals, etc. At least a couple of them every season looking for at least a few things” but this year nothing for at least a few weeks.

Into the wild.

We skirt the high country north of TO then come down toward the roads out to the lumber sites. We arrive to town in afternoon. The wolves and mounts are left at a creek where we all will meet tonight.
Iggy gets into a position to watch the town with a spyglass. The rest of us circle the town east and south to find the lumber trails.
Iggy: each of the 6 houses is 2 stories. Tavern. Smithy and stables are together. There is a large pond just outside of town. A ring of mobile stiles lines the town perimeter. About 3 acres of farmland cleared just south. Little undergrowth around town. Little activity. No one works the farms, nor does anyone go into or come from the lumber trails. Smithy is not operating. He takes note of the fields condition to relay to Barleycorn later, but he thinks they tilled maybe half, could have planted something, then just stopped.

The rest of us first come to the town graveyard NW of town. 6 total graves. 5 old and weather worn. 1 very new, dirt only couple days dug up for certain. No identification yet, just a marker.
We next reach the first log trail. Gerald is left to investigate this path, the others continue on. He goes to logging area and finds no one. Also seems to be no recent logging for at least several days. Like one day no one ever showed.
The rest come upon a man walking down the next trail, whistling going away from town. Yanath at the point lets him pass then follows with Dog, sending Barley and Crazy Wolf ahead. Dog follows Yanath. They find no other paths so finish circling the town looking for anything suspicious then back to the meeting spot.
The man walks to the logging site, same state as Gerald’s, and casually walks around looking at ground and out at the treeline like he’s looking for something. When he loops back to the path he starts toward town again. After he leaves Yanath investigates the perimeter closely. Yanath finds nothing unusual. He snakes further out and wider, methodically, but nothing. Dog picks up no scent that get him growling or the like. The site is nothing special either.
We catch up to the guy to make sure he goes all the way into town, which he does then into the tavern.
Yanath stops and sees Iggy. Yanath is going to get the crew back here to take turns watching the town overnight in shifts.

As dark closes in, everyone we did see in town earlier gets indoors and shut things up securely.
Yanath “All right men, on guard.” Things could be quite dangerous. He gets everyone up now.
Gerald volunteers to circle the town to recon. Yanath sends Crazy Wolf and Barley with him. To Barley “Check out the farming fields closely.” Nothing. Barley confirms they started the planting but absolutely nothing since nor maintenence on what they did do. He figures 2 weeks since.
No activity in town neither, at all. Not even lights from inside buildings.
Barley wants to help their crops, jokes about being there weeding in the morning when everyone wakes up. We half consider the crazy idea just to see how the town would react.
Yanath takes a walk to the log sight he was at before with Barley and Crazy Wolf. Lantern on at the sight as its still cloudy, no moonlight. Nothing. We shut the light down and just look out into woods in total quiet. Dog keeps guard behind us.
Soon enough, we hear noise in the forest! Like something fairly large. Maybe more than 1. We listen intently now and the noise stops suddenly just beyond our sight. Yanath readies to turn the lantern on. It starts loudly again, light goes on, and they come right for us!! Snorting away come 2 huge boars, like Dire huge.
We drop them after Barley takes a couple terrible hits and Yanath takes 1 crit.

We start cut them open and they are indeed standard dire boars. We carve off meat, all we can carry back, to eat while we are here. Then drag the bodies away from the clearing. Disguise the fight as best we can as well.
Back to Iggy.

June 2

Great day for outdoorsmen: 44 degrees, light wind, sky perfectly clear “Celestial Clarity” = plus 4 spot, search, listen, SM; Negates fear and confusion effects

We watch more as morning comes. Windows are opened, townsfolk appear but seem generally nervous. Always looking around and behind them as if expecting something. No work is begun whatsoever.

We walk into town via the trail.
We are hailed friendly enough by a man named Lobbur. Iggy says we are wilderness warriors passing through the area on our travels.
Yanath says we have a friend in town named Hans.
Iggy and Yanath notice that besides the townsfolk, 2 men are walking in town separately but both armored and armed like sellswords.
Gerald sees a field next to the town where obviously they were grazing livestock; none in sight now though.
Barleycorn notices that the only building that seems to have people going to and from is the tavern. Otherwise, people meander, get in small groups and talk, then go their separate ways.
Crazy Wolf realizes he has not seen one child in this town, at all.
Gerald mentions the livestock issue to Lobbur, and Barleycorn adds the garden.
Yanath adds they obviously are having some sort of trouble, we’d be glad to help.
“Oh no, we’re all fine here, now , thank you. We did have some problems recently, bandits came through. Luckily these mercs happened to be in town and were able to chase them off.” 4 mercs, he says. This was about 2 weeks ago. Town was afraid bandits would return, haven’t had a chance to get back to their daily live yet “We’re a very frightened people. Most things scare us. Now, if you’d like to have a meal before you head on your way” he points to the Plow Tavern and “I will fetch Hans for you.”
Yanath “Well, Barleycorn is an experienced farmer,he’d be happey to help you with the fields today, or tomorrow.”
“That would be wonderful, if you have time.”
Y “We have plenty of time, nothing but time, really. We’ll stay around here for a while to help.”
He says they gave the sellswords a small payment, but since they had no other jobs on the horizon they are being paid in shelter and food since. We say we can bring in our own food to start on a spit near the tavern, but we’ll check out the place anyway.
One of the sellswords is here and a few others. Bumor’s wife works here as well, cooks the food. He’s fine with us putting the boar on a spit. Barleycorn goes out to start the spit.
Stairs go up to second floor. By that is another door; a back door goes outside where he says to set up our spit.
Yanath goes to the merc “His next drink’s on me”. Introduce self and asks about the bandit affair. Guthwine says they weren’t tough, maybe a dozen of them. Then didn’t put up much of a fight vs real warriors once they engaged. They have seen tracks of them generally since, that’s why they are still around. Says came from north as we heard before.
Yanath has a strong suspicous he’s lying about something. He also says the bandits took the livestock before the mercs chased them away. Why they’ve left the crops is a mystery to him, he claims.
“They are a skittish lot, though.
Crazy Wolf has been hanging at the bar talking with Bumor as best he can. Wolf is sure he is not being magically driven.
Yanath “So, have you met Hans Gruber?”
“Who? The only people I talk to in this town are the bosses.” He is telling the truth, Yanath thinks.
Y “Well, we need to get this town working.”
The door opens, Lobbur enters with Hans. Crazy Wolf walks over with Yanath to greet him. We get our own table with Hans, who follows. He asks who we are. We tell them exactly why we’re here.
He’s been busy “with stuff”.
Wolf feels he is not being compulsed.
He insists they can’t log because there are horrible creatures in those woods.
Wolf “We’re cooking 2 of them in back.”
Something is wrong in his presentation here, a fool could see it.
Yanath says we’re going to help you all get started.
“Mighty kind, but i think we’re good though but you should go talk to the council. I’m pretty sure we’re all fine here, everything is fine.”
We here too much of “We’ll be fine”.
This is getting us no where.
Iggy sees the merc staring at us the entire time.
Wolf goes out to check on Barley, tells him his plan, then comes in and tells the innkeeper Barley needs some assistance with the pit. The wife goes outside to assist. Barley tries to get her to open up. She insists they are “all fine, all good”. He asks again, she kind of looks around, and repeats the same answer.
Barleycorn scans the area, sees nothing.
Hans has a house in the village here, where a group of the lumberjacks live.
Yanath “So I understand the livestock, and the logging, but why isn’t the blacksmith working?” Hans says he’s been very sick.
We hang for a while but no one shows up to help Barleycorn with the fields. At lunchtime one of the other mercs arrives, the other who was here leaves. Iggy goes to sit out front with a drink to see where he goes: He wanders about for a while, as is another one. A group of a few townsfolk gather together talking. One of the mercs walks up and gives them a stern look and motion, they then break up.
Gerald with wolves and Crazy Wolf goes into the woods to look for this supposed evidence of bandits. They do find evidence of livestock wandering the woods, but no bandits. We start to track down the livestock.
We find a cow first after another hour. We get it back to the grazing field. One of the farmers sees it and meets us “so, where did you find the cow?”
“In the woods.” He’s surprised it wasn’t eaten by the horrible things out there. This guy acts the same as everyone. He takes his leave quickly.
Soon after, a woman approaches with Lobber, its Vandra. She heard we brought one of the cows back and assures us it will be cared for. Lobbur personally will watch it. She wants us to come and have a talk.
Wolf “You should really talk to Yanath and Barleycorn at the inn”. She agrees. We head back into the woods for more livestock.
Vandra meets with the rest of us, right before Yanath was going to send Barleycorn to find her and Lobbur, now all sitting behind tavern at our spit.
More excuses concerning the fields et al. We say we’ll be ready to take them to logging sight and farming.
“That sounds fine.”
She does say the monstrous creatures showed up after the mercs arrived.

Crazy Wolf and Gerald find and return a couple pigs, goats, and several chickens. Lobbur does remain with them.

Yanath goes to meet with some loggers on the street, who give him a blankly surprised look about getting back to work the next day. Then agree (bullcrap) and disperse.
Well, they’re not going to show up.
We let the day go along, eat our boar meat and bed down outside where we cooked. The kitchen has its own stairway to their larger living area. Mercs stay in 2 rooms upstairs, 2 per room. In the evening, there was another rotation of the merc in the tavern. We still have not seen the 4th. Elreden and Norbert are the other 2.
At the boar feast, we meet a woman named Jezzor, a half elf, town carpenter, was in charge of the building of the town. She does mention ‘watch yourselves’. Yanath invites her to come hang out with us here where we will bed down “welcome any time”.
Yanath does see the man he saw out at the logging sight the night before. Another of the wandering sheep. Yanath takes note of where he goes when night falls.

Barley went to see blacksmith with Crazy Wolf. There are 6 horses stabled. Big burly Hedvynn answers. Barley introduces us.
“What are you doing here?”
We say we’re here to buy so he takes us in to his shop. CW checks his coinpurse at the front door just for show. We buy nails and arrowheads.
In conversation we tell him where we are staying. He gives us the “watch yourselves tonight”.
We leave.

We rest most of the evening in prep for staying up late. When night is falling, everying gets inside. The mercs to do a quick sweep of the town making sure everything is locked up tight and the 3 of them sit in the tavern. Tavernkeeper closes up business.
Mercs “We are heading up to our rooms, don’t bother us while we are sleeping.”
Bumor says he’ll leave the back door open for us in case we need to come inside.
He turns in, we all go outside and relax.

Almost an hour later, we hear some noise from around the corner of the building. It’s Jezzor! Being very sneaky, darkly garbed.
“You have to leave tonight. There are horrible things hunting the town.”
She insists the mercs have nothing to do with the hunting things, and are paranoid about it. The things are humanoid, mercs think it may be people from town becoming these things. She thinks worse than lycanthropes. We get on guard around our camp.

At the stiles, Dog’s ears perk up suddenly. A low growl alerts us. Crazy Wolf and Yanath turn in Dog and Barley’s direction. A squeeling from a pig! Like its being slaughtered!
We tell Jezzor to get into the tavern, back door is open. Barley stays with her.
The rest of us rush to the grazing field. On our way we see the livestock scattering. We find the dead pig, throat ripped out. There is not as much blood as they’re should be for having its throat ripped out.
Something drank it? Dog and Gerald’s wolf are put on the scent. That means its not aerial. It leaves town NW to the graveyard! The fresh grave is empty now.
Noooooooo!!!
Now we turn on lanterns and Yanath looks for actual tracks. He finds footprints, shoed, to and from the grave.
Yanath tracks further with Dog into the woods where it disappears. Checking the nearby trees, no evidence of climbing.
Back to town!! Run!!!

Back in the tavern, Barley feels an odd tug at his brain. A feint voice for a moment asking him to go outide, its a nice night, take a walk. He shakes it off.
We get back. Jezzra asks if we found anything.
“We didn’t see it, but have a bad feeling about what it is.” She says the grave is that of one killed in the first bandit raid. A farmer cut down in the raid.

At the Inn:
We sleep inside. It seems the vampire perhaps can’t enter the inn for whatever reason. 2 guards at a time; no one is to leave the common room w/o taking another person and waking more up. That way if anyone wanders off we know they are charmed.

June 3

The mercs come down, followed shortly thereafter by the innkeeper and wife. We tell them we figured out what is really hunting this town at night.
Where is the 4th merc? He comes walking down the steps. Phulbit is his name. Innkeeper makes breakfast for everyone.
As the sun rises, more and more people are active outside. Jezzor goes to check on her house; few minutes later we hear a commotion outside. Bunch of people huddle around one of the houses, that of the lumberjacks. 2 of them exit the building, the other 2 are missing. We go inside to look around and get to their respective bedrooms. Crazy Wolf circles the house for tracks fresh from last night.
Their beds were slept in last night; the shudders in both of their rooms are unlocked and open. The other bedroom ones are shut, for comparison. Yanath yells out one of them for Crazy Wolf to start below there.
Yanath and Iggy check the outside face of the windows, but no marks of climbing visible. Crazy Wolf sees prints! Facing the grazing area. 3 sets, like mingling about the back of the building. But do not appear to go anywhere away, all with footwear. No evidence of a fight. No blood inside nor outside. Shudders were opened w/o force.
Jezzor arrives. In a hushed tone to Yanath and Barley “I got to talk to you outside”. There are other people in the house. She exits carefully; we leave several minutes later separately.
Outside: she has no thougts on a vamp, but someone broke into her house last night. One of her shudders was open. She noticed scuff marks, looked like something was slid tween them to open the latch.
Iggy and Crazy Wolf find no landing impressions as if the 2 men jumped, but no approaching footprints either.
Lots of groups gathering in the town talking. We send Jezzor with Gerald to check on the smith.
Yanath returns to the mercs at the Inn to get his take. Phulbit is gone already “things to take care of”. One of them leaves to patrol the town. Iggy leaves to keep and eye on the jerk who left. We say Barleycorn was in danger last night, so we get up to go upstairs. One of them insists on being our tour guide, not wanting their rooms rummaged around in. The other guy gets up and walks outside also.
Iggy sees the other 3 councilmembers, other than the smith, talking in a group. The merc goes to them first and joins in the conversation.
Crazy Wolf stays at the common room to hold the fort, then follows the other out. He goes to one of the houses. 2 older men stand there, the merc talks to them, pointing at each as he does so. Then walks away. Both of them start walking away from town in 2 different directions. He watches first, both go down a different logging trail. He follows the guy taking the one Yanath tailed before.
First he takes us to their 2 rooms. Yanath, Dog and Barley enter. We find nothing unusual with a fast look around in Norbert/Guthwine. Dog reacts to no unnatural scent. 2nd room is his own room with Philbit. Again, no scent from Dog. Yanath notices possible equipment for 3 different people in this room, not just 2.
Now the empty room. Its unlocked and unused for quite awhile. We find nothing untoward.
Back downstairs, and let the wife know what we are doing and we would like to investigate their living quarters. She lets us use the private staircase. We go up. 2 rooms, we check left first, bedroom, find nothing unusual.2nd room is locked. Barley goes to the wife for the key and sees the other merc relaxing with an ale. She tells him we keep some personal stuff in there, thinks she should ask her husband first.
Dog sniffs at the crack of the door, picks up no bad scent.
Barley keeps trying to convince her its ok. She gives in after looking around “try to not disturb anything in there, and be quick please”.
Barley returns and we open the door to another bedroom. A child’s room and well maintained, yet no signs of being lived in recently. We find nothing.
Noise from downstairs. Downstairs we go, locking door behind us. Bumor and couple other townsfolk are their, he’s talking privately to his wife. When he sees us he turns to us “gentlemen, um, Vandra would like to see you” the head councilwoman. He gets close to his wife, whispers something to her sternly, and leads us to one of the houses. Vandra and Lobbur are present. They respectfully ask that we pack up our things and leave. “Not trying to be rude, but etc; everything will be fine. We’ve been assured everything will be fine by Elreden” and they are sure they will eliminate this horrible scourge upon our town. We say we’ll finish up our business with Hans and the smith.
Meanwhile with Crazy Wolf:
Guy does same thing Yanath saw; looks around as he is walking down the path, glancing into the woods. At the logging sight, walks the perimeter checking the ground primarly, and looks out in the woods, like he’s looking for something, then walks back.
Meanwhile at the Smithy:
He’s at the stable tending to mounts. He turns as our approach “thank the gods you’re still alive” to Jezzor. He saw her window was open and front door open. She questions her door being open cause it wasn’t when she returned. He says it was just after sunrise. She got there shortly after and it was closed. He saw nothing further unfortunately. He mentions how the rest of the council does not heed his advice anymore. The other 3 have stopped consulting him. He still thinks its best we don’t dig into things too deeply. They are the merc’s horses. Gerald mentions the 5th merc we heard of in the northern city. He bold faced lies that he left town. Gerald’s wild side shows and he intimidates him to stop lying! Smithy persists.
Gerald “Speak the truth or be dinner.”
“I can’t tell you anything. No one can, except for her” pointing to Jezzor! She tries to deny. Smithy insists she does know but doesn’t want to say out of her respect and loyalty to the town. But she’s the only one w/o something else to lose “I’ve already said too much.” She says she has no idea what he’s talking about. Gerald can tell she’s full of it. She says because we won’t succeed in this, they will all be punished, is why this isn’t worth explaining.
Gerald heads back to the tavern with Jezzor, meeting yanath and Barley there with Iggy. We exchange information at our backyard camp.
Jezzor recommends to just leave town, she will come as well. She thinks everyone else will be ok and if she’s with us, doesn’t think anyone will give chase.
Yanath “So, where is the innkeeper and wife’s child? And whose fresh grave is out there unmarked?”
The grave is Fredrick, one of the farmers, who died recently. The child is ‘somewhere safe’.
“Where is the missing merc?” Off performing a special mission, being a guard.
Crazy Wolf nods she’s not lying, but something evasive to it.
“Who’s he guarding.”
“I don’t know.”
Yanath asks her what the guy out at the logging sight was looking for: ‘they walk down there a couple times a day looking for potential strangers coming to town.” Yean, right.
Where does Philbut stay? She claims to not know. She barely ever sees him.
Elreden comes out of the tavern. Asks if we would provide a couple expert woodsmen to assist with a search in the woods. They thing they got a lead on the 2 loggers. One of the locals took a stroll in the woods and thought he saw them to the east of town. Alive. We send Gerald and Crazy Wolf. Philbut waits for us at the edge of town to join us. After they leave, Yanath sends Iggy to tail them in case anything happens.
Gerald and his wolf throw out some seemingly random wolf calls, getting his pack in the area to respond.
As they go, they hear wolves, not gerald’s. We see a large pack of wolves approaching from both sides.
Gerald “They are not friendly. Very dangerous.”
Philbut turns and runs!! Looking very scared. Gerald wants to make a break for it as well. We take off after Philbut. Gerald and his wolf loose a warning cry to his pack to vacate the area.
We make it back to town and the inn. We get serious, Barleycorn lays on the intimidation. Eledon says his other man guards a pass to an old castle in the area. They think that’s where the evil comes from. He denies knowing a child exists. Insists the town is completely safe. He says there are no kids here at all. We call the innkeeper and wife in and question them. He says if we go to logging area and into the woods, we’ll come to the trail N/S. Go north and we will find it.
Yanath “So if you’re so unwilling to explain what is going on here, and that the evil stems from the castle, why are you so willing to tell us where the castle is?” He simply stares.
He says the castle is maybe a day’s travel.
We ask Jezzor about this after, she knows nothing about a castle. Only that this town has been cursed. Claims no one can stop it.
Getting to night now. Finally, she agrees to tell what she knows. Yanath notices her pause then shake it off and “if you go to the castle, you’ll find the answers to what you’re looking for”.

She invites Yanath back to her place. He agrees and they leave.
The others know, watch closely. She leads him upstairs, closing and locking shudders. She starts undressing. Yanath uses to opportunity to unlatch the shudder then starts doing the same.
Crazy Wolf and Iggy have gotten onto the roof and down in position to come in through the window. Via rope they lower down.
She lies down in bed, Yanath follows and they go to it.
She is on top, and yanath sees the door to the bedroom open. Both of the lumberjacks rush into the room claws and fangs out. She is starting to put pressure to hold Yanath down.
They rush in and slam Yanath once each. He is able to roll off from under her to a standing position, and assesses vampire, next to one of them. It attacks, as the other leaps upon the bed to attack. One hits. Crazy Wolf explodes through the window screaming bloody murder, moves next to Yanath and hits the one on the floor. Iggy comes through the window and begins firing at the one on the bed.
Jezzor stands up and flees the room, covering her chest with her hands.
Yanath yanks the bedsheets out from under the vamp on the bed, but he deftly leaps and avoids ill effect then attacks Crazy Wolf. The other fails to touch Yanath for a grapple. Yanath moves and grabs his sword.
They both try to dominate Iggy and Crazy Wolf, but fail. Iggy almost succumbed.
Iggy takes the bed vamp to mist soon after. Yanath charges but can’t beat the DR with a poor hit.
It grapples CW! Fangs bared. He fails to break the grapple. Iggy hits it once. Yanath graps it from behind to try to pull it, for he knows what it is about to try to do. It drags him forward nonetheless, biting the Wolf for 3 con!
Wolf panics and breaks out! Iggy aims and fires away, hitting twice. Yanath hits twice, misting it.
Yanath “Light, let’s see if we can follow this mist!”
First lantern we come across we turn on. By that time they are lost. We search for Jezzra but she’s gone, her front door open.
We start searching her house. From the front door we recognize the voice of Elreden “What’s all this then?” Jezzor standing next to him.
She claims Yanath attacked her, which he denies and explains exactly what happened as she weeps over the ‘attack’. Wolf shows his bite mark on his neck.
He tells Jezzor to see the mayor and stay there tonight.
He waits for Yanath to get fully dressed.

We impress upon him the seriousness of the situation, inluding her attempt to tell us more of what has been going on just before all this at the inn before she was mentally stopped. That we need to search for their lair her in town. We know from Mal that they are slower in mist form and have to get to their resting place w/in about 2 hours. We need to search every building in town tonight.

We get back to the inn and regroup.
He gathers his men, we get Barley and Gerald and meet in the common room along with Bumor. Elreden will take Wolf and Gerald, Yanath with 1 of them and Barley. Iggy with his other 2 men.
Iggy and his 2 will be a reactionary force, then the other 2 start south and north ends, move toward each other to meet in the middle.
We hear the howling of wolves close to town. Then closer.
Wolf says we need to regroup back to the inn for safety. We all do so.
Looking outside from the top floor, we see a pack of wolves enter the town in the moonlight, circling the tavern. Total between 10 and 20, for about an hour or so before slowly dispersing into the forest.
He obviously didn’t like us searching the town though!
We get some rest. Morning we will resume the search. Too cloudy to make a rooftop watch worth our time.

June 4

We wake up to a thunderstorm and high winds; start the search again building to building.
We find nothing at the point which both teams gather at the smithy. We find nothing, but we do notice his wife is sick. Yanath offers to check her out. She has been bitten twice on her leg!
Yanath is up front with him but he’s is disagreeing in a very obvious way that he knows its true.
Elreden walks in, talking about not finding anything and taking our search outside of town.
Yanath says we haven’t searched the tavern yet.
He says we’ve all been staying there though.
Too bad, back we go to the tavern.
Wolf and Gerald are keeping a close eye on everybody.
Wolf “Let’s start with the root cellar.”
Its locked.
He unlocks it, subtely reluctantly.
He unlocks it, then suspiciously steps back.
We open the door to dank steps going down. Iggy stays upstairs to keep an eye on things with Crazy Wolf who rests agains the open door.
The rest descend with Elreden. Yanath with torch and Death’s Master; Gerald with lantern.
In one corner we see a box, man length. Opening the box, its about half full, no body. Yanath thrusts the blade in, nothing. He digs around inside, empty.
Elreden “That’s odd.”
Flip it over, nothing. There was an impression in the dirt as if something had been lying in there.
Back upstairs, finding nothing in the rest of the inn.
Bumor is petrified, skin white, when we come back up.
Then realizing we found nothing, he gets more pleasant.

Barley goes back down and busts the box of dirt to pieces.
Elreden “All right Bumor, close it up. Nothing down there.”
Too obvious. Back down we 3 go, sans Elreden, each of us with a lantern.
Barley starts busting up the box while Yanath and Gerald search in detail for any sliding walls and such. Dog is left upstairs with Crazy W and Iggy.

Back upstairs Elreden tells our 2 guys "Hey boys, I hate to do this but you’re going to have to drop your weapons.
The tavernkeeper Bumor pleads for us to listen, step away “so we can close it up”.
Below, Gerald takes his lantern below, and smashes it onto the steps igniting them. Then blocks the way out “Nobody move.” 4 of the mercs in total.
Uh oh, he’s been charmed.
Barley “You @#*$!!^$.”
Yanath “Get him out of the way!” and moves for the biggest plank of coffin left, scooping dirt up to dump on top of the burning oil.

Crazy flips his weapon around to the blunt end “Why do you want to shut our men down there?”
“Because our master is down there and he needs to feed.” They draw their weapons on us. Iggy aims at Elreden “Put them down, don’t make me use this.”

Barley bullrushes Gerald out of the way and Yanath starts dumping. Dog moves down the steps close to the flames as he can, barking worriedly for Yanath.

Yanath “Remember, there’s probably a vampire down here with us!”

Wolf is stoking and ready to follow Iggy’s lead. One of the 4 mercs up here, we have never seen before. The one who kind of showed up out of no where before is not present.
They move for us, 2 on each, all with blunt wpns. None drew blades. The fight begins, they and CW all doing non lethal damage. Bumor runs at Iggy who resists his grapple just barely.
Iggy takes his first shots, at Elreden, trusting his defense vs AoO as CW continues hitting.

Downstairs, it takes a second dose of dirt to put the fire effecively out.

Iggy puts an arrow deep into Elreden 32 “Now that blood’s been spilt, kill ’em boys!” They all start going for the kill now.
Elreden “Keeper, shut the door.”
He goes fast for the door, trying to close it past Crazy Wolf’s who is fighing right in front of it. Wolf keeps it open for now.
Iggy kills Elreden! Then turns to the other merc.
Gerald full on attacks Barleycorn, who turns and rushes up the stairs.
Yanath “Where are you going! I said there’s a vamp down here.”
Barley “Pretty sure he’s upstairs!”
Corn hits his head on the lower support beam on the way by, then slips on loose and falls.
Wolf knocks his first attacker out, then hits the 2nd.
Yanath gives Dog the guard order on Iggy, who turns and runs up and attacks Iggy’s remaining merc. Yanath then turns, readies, drawing Icar’s greatsword.
2 vamps materialize from Mist!! The 2 lumberjacks. Yanath assesses vampire

Upstairs, 2 more vamps appear from upstairs, the 2 lumberjacks! . One is the one we misted before the lumberjacks, and an unknown.
Bumor turns and flees into the kitchen, locking it behind him.

Gerald pursues Barley and attacks the prone Corn. Barley stands up to another hit from Gerald, then trips Gerald.
Wolf to Iggy “Take my man!”
Iggy moves away, toward Crazy’s man and shoots him so that Wolf can step away and block the Vamps and readies.

Yanath takes a step toward the vamps, and readies an attack with Icar’s Greatsword ’Death’s Master’. They charge up and downstairs, doubling Yanath and CW.
Corn trips Gerald AoO as he tries to stand, then steps forward vs vamps.. Iggy’s shots take the merc down KO’d.
Yanath and Iggy lay into his vamp heavy as Barley joins vs the vamps.

Gerald stands up, and flanks Barleycorn, hitting.
Iggy puts an arrow through the last mercs head DEAD.

Yanath hits and mists both vamps!! “Follow the mist!”
Barley “Hey Yanath, you misst! Hahaha!”

Wolf mists 1 then hits the other!! “Iggy, follow the mist!!”

Downstairs, they flow to where the coffin was.
The last attacks Crazy Wolf.
The upstairs mist moves for the front door.

Barley “I am going to beat the tar out of Gerald later.”

Downstairs, the mists seep into the wall.
Yanath “Grapple Gerald down and tie him up.” Yanath finds no secret door.

Iggy follows the mist out the front door, Dog following. Iggy opens the door to a man standing there. He stares into Iggy’s eyes. The whammy doesn’t work.
Iggy backs away “lead vampire, lead vampire!” as does Dog warily. The vamp walks inside “You fools have been a thorn in my side that is about to be removed”.
Iggy misses twice. We do not recognize him.
He calmly attacks Iggy, hitting twice while stating “I gave you ample opportunity to leave me alone.”
Yanath runs upstairs and surveys the scene as Barley is still struggling with Gerald.
Wolf is still battling the last spawn.
Iggy withdraws.
It moves to Crazy Wolf and grabs Crazy Wolf.
Yanath attacks him from behind; Barley gets Gerald bound.
The spawn charges Iggy.
Barley gets upstairs as the fight continues.
Crazy Wolf is furiously resisting his attempts at pin and bite then breaks free!!!
Then we hear the sound of metal on wood from the doorway, and a voice “A ha, I’ve found you again.” We all see a man in plate mail, holy symbol hanging from his neck. Boys, you’re in over you heads, but I’m here to tip the scale."
Yanath recognizes the symbol as major Thorangian sect.
The vamp “Back away from me paladin.”
“Descrin, you know I won’t leave you alive a second time.”
“Ah, but you have no option.”
Outside, this paladin has a small crew of men with him.
He walks inside “And why won’t I have an option.”
Descrin “You remenber my minion, Fulbit, I’m sure.”
“Yes”
“At this very moment, he is in a room in one of the houses in this town filled with all of the poor children. And assuming that I am not there to tell him otherwise, they will be burned alive; and knowing him he will have slit all their throats anyway. Either way, no survcivors. So make your choice paladin. Smite me down, endy my scourge, and leave this entire town childless. Or, I shall be on my way.”

The paladin stands there, surely under his helmit a look of frustration on his face, his hand shakes with the moral dilemma.

Yanath “If you can kill this guy, we’ll find the children.”

The paladin lets the ‘foul beast out’, with his last spawn, who turns into a wolf and flees down the road.
“Twice he’s escaped me now.”
Moments later from the mayor Vandra’s building exits the missing merc, running for the stables where the wolf headed.
Adults run out of the building “There’s a fire!” Oh bloody hell.

The entire town pitches in, and that thanks to the heavy rain, saves the children. But this Descrit and Fulbit have escaped.

Iggy has taken several neg levels, we are going to need to rest here a few days.

The paladin’s name is David Jurgenson. He came across the local castle, where Descrin once lived. David slew all there but for Descrin who escaped. They were the first group we heard that came through town. David has been hunting around the entire region for Descrin since the escape.
Soon as he walked into town, with nothing planted and all he passed acting oddly, he knew Descrin must be here.

We search the area now that Descrin’s wolf pack can’t cut us off, finding a hiding spot in the forest where the other vampires we misted still rest. There, we destroy them utterly.
The Plaladin is able to break the domination on Gerald and Jezzra, and the men who walked down the path. They had been told to watch for the paladin coming from that direction, evidence of mounted men.

June 5-7

Rest, recoup; tactical debriefing is short. While Iggy is resting, Barleycorn helps do what he can to get something growing they can harvest late, with some luck. Yanath, Crazy Wolf, Gerald help with fire repairs while also taking time to explore the highlands north and NE for fun.
The captured mercs were not dominated, they are evil men. David takes responsibility for them, will turn them in to proper authorities.

June 8

Leave for Ostrich, cutting SE directly there, same way we came; rather than west to Brimmin then down the highway.
We talk about cutting through Gretchen’s area to get to the carnival west of here.

June 9

Arrive Ostrich late night, but sleep outside few miles outside of town.

June 10

Enter just after sunrise; deliver letter to many thanks and smiles of relief; well breakfasted by family. Get supplies, a hearth lunch, then we are out of here, across the wild to catch up with carnival.
With only short rests, arrive east edge Lake Woden after nightfall and camp.

June 11

Pass through Walden for a drink and supplies, then right out into wild.

Camp tonight at foot of the central high forest to east of Walden.

June 12

small council runs the town:
head member is a woman named Vandra
man named Lobbur, a farmer like Vandra
Hedvynn, smithy
Bumor the tavern keeper

mercs:
Elreden
Norbert

View
Vampiric Heist in Hesston

April 29

Smithers gathers Furnok and Bozmus first thing in the morning, crack of dawn “Burns wants to see you.”
Armed guards stand outiside of his Burns’ personal tent. As we are led in, we feel like we pass through a protective field. Burns sits at his desk. We were sweating bullets for a minute that something happened.
Last night, someone sneaked into the encampment, killed several people and stole some of his personal items.
We 2 are thankful we were in town.
“I need you to track down this person and bring my items back to me. You have the full disposal of the carnival’s resources behind you. Smithers will show you the scene of the crimes. You can take any of your remaining friends with you as well on your investigations.”
Furnok raises a concern that anyone who could do this is out of our league.
Burns agrees, he who did so is an incredibly skilled thief. Whoever did the killing, which I don’t believe was the same person, was a brutal and skilled killer. However, I don’t know if you are going to have to deal with any of them directly."
He has Smithers lead us to a supply tent, 2 dead guards dead from overnight. Inside the tent, 1 of Burns’ personal assistants dead as well.
Furnok has the whole camp shut down for now, before too many are up and moving, has Gerald and Sarge brought to track the interlopers. Gerald gets a couple of his wolves to pick up some scent. Furnok and Boz then check to bodies and tent.
Smithers in the meantime explains that 3 items were taken: a staff (smooth shafted, 6’ long, iron tipped at each end); a wand; large black orb. “Out of the 3 items, the one Burns is most concerned with is the orb.”
Furnok asks if they know of anyone which Burns knows would take these item: people he knows are in the area, from his past, etc.
Furnok asks if there is anyone known in the area, or from Burn’s past, etc, who would want these items. He says there is a wizard who might, but they don’t think he’s in the area. Likes to wear black, tends to have undead minions.
Great.
Sarge find prints leading into and out of the camp, same direction. It heads into the city then they lose it. Looks like 2 came in, both wearing shoes, right to the assistant’s tent, took him the supply tent where they ran into the guards and killed them fast because no alarm was raised. The guards weapons were out, though. They then entered the tent. 1 stood with the assistant while the other went directly to the 3 items, knowing right where they were. then walked out. The other guy then killed the assistant, then both left for the city.
The bodies appear to have been clawed and maybe bitten to death. The man inside had his throat torn out.
Furnok has a terrible first thought: vampire.
Gerald’s wolves definitely react to a terrible scent left behind, Gerald says something unnatural, like undead perhaps.
Furnok and Boz grab Nunu, Billy and Hunk to take into the city with them. Sarge recommends Angelica, she has a bit of magic, tracking, and archery support. We have Sarge take us to the end of the trail right to a wall where it ends. It takes a pretty direct route into the city, so this is not necessarily the district we should be looking. No secret door, no evidence of climbing. We enter the city to the other side of this wall and see if Gerald’s wolf can pick up the unnatural scent there. It picks it up, part of Furnok was hoping it wouldn’t.
After a few blocks it loses the scent.
Billy “Well, might as well check the graveyard.”
Nunu “That’s actually a good idea.”
Boz “That’s a horrible idea, i don’t want to go there.”
Furnok knows the city very well, there are 2 major graveyards within the walls. One is the popular for high ranking Norrisites. The other is a very old one that has been here since the Masters. No one has been buried there for a long time.
We hit the old one first. Its unkempt, but not completely overgrown. It does get some basic care. We have the wolf check the perimeter outside the wall first. Not the same scent though, but it growls and raises its hackles like back in the supply tent. We go inside the grounds and to the other side of the wall from the scent. It starts working its way through the graveyard to a crypt. The wolf goes right for the door, sniffing at its base. Searching, we see that the door has been opening and closing recently.
Angelica detects no magic. She does find tracks, but nothing definitive.
Furnok “All right, well, I don’t really want to go into a crypt. Let’s get out of here.” He asks Angelica to stay behind and keep an eye on the place.

Back to carnival and report to Burns first. There is a pyre going with the bodies in it on the off chance they could become undead.
He supplies us with a holy symbol, holy water x5. We get oil and alchemist fire from our stash.
Furnok takes the holy symbol.
Burns gives us 2 other things: a wand to detect magical items for Angelica to use, 20’ radius will point the user to it; to Furnok an amulet, command word and speak directly to Burns via his matching amulet.
“I’m positive the actual thief was not an undead. The killer, most likely is.”
The rangers carve us some stakes.
We prepare and gather some friends. After lunch, Furnok and Boz leads Hunk, Garth the Bold, Sarge and Lord Byron (we thought Vandor first, but Garth warned us his primitive mind has a great fear of undead) go back and meet Angelica. She says no activity.
Furnok, with no excitement “Ok (sigh) let’s go.”

Garth pulls the door open, it scrapes lightly on the ground, to the crypt. Sarcophagus in its center as assumed. 4 wooden coffins, that do shit not belong.
Furnok “Great, 4 vampires.” Sarge and Furnok keep and eye on our rear outside. Angelica comes in and detects. Garth with Lord Byron move inward. Sarge gets right inside the doorway, Angelica next to him detecting with the wand. Nothing.

We move in, Angelica now covering the doorway rear. Garth, Hunk, and Byron each cover a coffin. Sarge takes the one we will open first, Boz opening it from the top’s back side, Furnok ready at Sarge’s side with the holy symbol.
Furnok now expects the central sarcophagus may in fact open to a tunnel going deeper.
This first coffin has a man in it, pale, almost feral looking, sleeping.
Furnok holding the holy symbol out “Furnok, check him for fangs.”
Boz “I’m just staking him.”
Sarge cares not for testing either. Sarge takes the stake and hammer, and pounds it in. He starts screaming.
Furnok to Angelica “Close the freaking door!” She does.
After the second hit, the others hear a hissing noise from the stone sarcophagus. Garth starts getting angry. Hunk leaps atop the stone sarchophagus to put all his weight atop it. He feels the lid trying to move undeath him. He calls for Garth to join him.
Sarge now kills the beast on the third stroke.
The lid is still trying to move. The other 3 coffins open, vampire in each: 2 women, 1 man.
Byron’s, male, leaps out and they engage, the other 2 in the back move for Hunk and Garth. They both attack, Sarge moving to help Hunk.
Sarge and Hunk crush theirs, it turns into gaseous form. Angelica fires in support of Garth the Bold. The beefcakes made a brilliant move.
The lid is still jostling but the creature can’t lift it!
Furnok to Boz “Cut its head off” concerning the one first killed, while he starts dumping oil on it.
Garth misses twice. Hunk stokes, staying put. Sarge moves to gaseous vamp’s sarcophagus.
Angelica is keeping an eye out for any newcomers and readies vs the leader in the sarcophagus. It crits Garth, then he hits it.
Byron takes his to gaseous form! Sarge stakes the one he and Hunk took out. Furnok lights the first one up with fire.
Byron moves and helps Garth now.
Garth gases his finally, and she moves to her coffin.
That’s all 4. We steak, behead, and burn the other 3 while Garth and Hunk stay atop, trapping the center vamp.
We open the front door, position ourselves, and Hunk and Garth leap off.
The lid is pushed off in Byron’s direction, and 4 ghouls leap out!! Sarge, Byron and Angelica make their readied attacks and the fight begins and make quick work of them.

There is indeed a hole in the bottom of the central sarchophagus going underground.
The ghouls were not wearing shoes.
Furnok uses the amulet and relays the goings on to Burns.

Furnok looks down the black hole “I’m not going down there first, through fourth.”
Boz volunteers, but Garth the Bold demands to go first. With a torch we can see the bottom about 10’ down. There is a crude ladder strapped to the side. Garth boldly leaps down with a sunrod to a cleared area, the ghoul den judging by the feeding remains. Mostly animals like rats, dogs, cats. At least 1 human as well.
3 circular tunnels lead out, all dug out of the earth, we’ll have to stoop to go into each as they are only about 4’ in diameter. The direction with no tunnel goes toward the city wall nearby. From east he hears running water. Boz arrives next, followed by Hunk, Sarge, Furnok, Angelica, Byron.
We make for the water first, about 50’ on we come out into a city sewer, the ghouls broke through the bricked wall. This is just sewer wandering. Furnok thinks that’s a great idea for him to do is get a map of the sewer and city. We go back and take the right instead. Same wandering sewer. Back to the ghoul room.

Furnok takes off for the local library and civic authority “Thank the Masters I’m out of there”. Furnok is easily able to get a detailed map of sewers and city with his glibness and local knowledge.

The others stay to check to the 2 tunnels. Sarge leads us left, going 100’ to a poor wood door, put in on this side. We open and go into a small empty worked room, totally unlit but for out own. This side of the door was disguised crudely. Paths go north and 2 west. These are 7 to 8’ tall halls, meant for man.
Sarge calls to go the bottom west hall, Garth leading, Byron and Sarge behind him, Hunk bringing the rear. It turns several times, very dirty. At its end it opens into another room, a bit larger than the first. 2 other ways out, a closed portcullis on west wall in maintained condition; a ladder on southern all leading up to a trapdoor.
Hunk looks through the portcullis with his darkvision to a hallway going as far as he can see. There is a door on the north wall.
No visible way to open the portcullis on this side. There is a lever on the other side.
We go back and take the other west direction about 50’ straight, turns north another 50’ into a chamber which the sewer is running through east to west. This larger room was built off this section. A ladder leads upward, and another non sewer hall leads forward on the other side but is blocked by a grate. We enter and look around. The grate looks old and rusted but its very solid. Boz thinks someone went through a lot of work to make it look more natural to here and unused. There is a lock built into it! Locked right now.
We go back and check the north path, going about 100’ to a small chamber. Hall continues north from which we hear sewer water, and an opening also goes east, and a ladder to a trap door above. We check the sewer first, coming out right into the sewer, nothing special here. Back now and take the east about 60’ into another small chamber with ladder to a trap door.
Now back to the ghoul room and northward for about 50’ into the sewer east/west, a section seemingly not as used. Very little drainage oddly. Also a ladder goes upward. The east includes another of the fake old grates, also locked. To the west just sewer to a junction point. An aritificial damn has indeed blocked off this section.
Byron feels we should wait until Furnok gets the maps so we have a lay of the land. We check this access point, into a square. Between Boz and Furnok when he returns, they know right where this square is.
Back up to the surface. We send Boz to get us some quick food.

Furnok returns soon. We lay them out on the sarcophagus lid and Furnok triangulates positions. The square is not far from the graveyard entrance. A couple of the trapdoor for sure lead into buildings. We take to the streets to be sure and ID the access points. Furnok find the access to the dug out sewer chamber; he and Boz notice a symbol on the building next door, storage warehouse.
Boz “That looks vaguely familiar.”
Furnok “Thieves guild symbol, not the HQ.”
We continue our work. Out of the 4 other trapdoors, 2 closest to the guild warehouse both go into private residences (no guild markings); the one from the upper western passage goes into a trader shop general store, the lower western passage goes into a merchant’s home (looks wealthy). All not guild marked.

Furnok takes off again, he needs to contact the city thieves about all of this, get the word on the street and hopefully higher up.
Sarge, Byron and Angy go into the general store to look around. They’ll keep their attention while Boz skulks about. The operator has 2 young assistants as well. Angelica concentrates on the young men, they are fully enthralled with her charismas.
Boz then slithers inside to get into the rooms off the main store.
Garth and Hunk wait outside. They have several arm wrestling matches. Hunk wins 7 in a row, but at that point Garth has worn his endurance down enough to win one!!
Boz finds the trapdoor with a boltlock leading down to a basement. He climbs down the ladder to a storage area where he keeps the good stuff, illegal stuff even like drugs, arcane reagents!! Then he finds another trapdoor, unlocked and hidden from open view on this side. He opens it, and its the one we expected. Back up and out into the store, and he slides out the front door.
The others conclude business, buy a few things and go.
We then wait for Furnok to finish.

Furnok’s contacts know nothing about any big job going down recently, especially from outside. One of them takes him to a guild sector chief about the possible sewer intrusions. His name is Drawell. He’s on the council.
Furnok asks him about the theft, saying it likely originates from outside the city. He says the guild is not aware of the operation. There was a gentlemen (he uses the term loosely) in town a few weeks back who inquired into a very skilled thief for a particular job “When we approached him to discuss terms, he said that he was going to be handling his needs in a different direction” and that was the end of it. Never got details of the job including the timing. Only he was tall and skinny, wore black robes, looked pale and kinda dead.
Furnok then details this mornings activities in and under the graveyard. The warehouse is indeed theirs, and they use the access point to the sewer. The tradesman is utilized periodically. He’s not a thief nor guild member, but has many contacts in different places and is very good at procuring certain items and getting them into the city, with their own access point to it.
The rich merchant is not a guildman nor thief, may not even know that access point exists. The house was once owned by a founder of the guild.
Furnok’s immediate thought to himself “We’re robbing this guy blind.”
The other 2 houses have been used as safe houses in the past, current owners though are not connected any more. They likely don’t know about the access either.
The one locked grate under the warehouse is goes to many places, but especially one of their meeting and planning houses. The otherf in the dry area is one of the assasins guild.
The section of tunnels we found from the ghoul lair hasn’t been used for years cause of the new tentants above. They know of nothing suspicious about those new tenants. The merchangs is a fat (literal) cat. Lots of money and likes to let people know.
Very unvampire like self advertising.
He knows nothing about the portcullis, to his knowledge that’s a new edition.
They want to know who did this unsanctioned job though.

Now early evening. All meet up and report back to burns and have dinner.
Same group back to the portcullis. Rather than the crypt, we use the nearby sewer entrance by the thieves’ warehouse.

Angelica attempts prestidigitation and draws the lever down, the portcullis opens upward. Sarge spikes the portcullis open so that we don’t get trapped. Hunk goes forward to the door. From there he sees a door at the end of the hallway. Sarge moves there and listens, Angelica at the near door. Both hear nothing. Boz starts to pick it, then remembers abruptly to look for a trap. Finding nothing, he picks the lock. A trap goes off, but he jerks his hand away just in time for a poisoned needle to miss him. Hunk leads the way through. No light in this 30×30 room, no visible exits. Appears to have been an old guardroom, unused for some time. Of interest is a chest in one corner. Angelica takes a walk around for secret doors, finding nothing, while Furnok checks the chest which lunges at him!! A coatrack, attacks Angelica!! Furnok soon realizes they are only animated objects, not mimics. Whew. Hunk stomps and pulverizes his into pieces, wood splinters flying all around him. Garth and Boz take care of their’s together.

Back out and to the far door, also locked. Furnok finds an alarm and disarms it. A second search finds nothing so he picks the lock. Hunk opens the door and enters first into a short hall that dead ends. Furnok and Boz agree this is the other side of a secret door. In the wall at the end is the obvious spot to open it. Byron triggers it, he and Hunk in the lead. It opens into a wine cellar, currently in use, lights. We check how it operates from this side, then all enter. Sarge thinks the secret door hasn’t been used much, if at all, recently. Another section off this is a root cellar. We check the maps, we are under the merchant’s house. This is his cellar. Angelica detects for magic, nothing.

We exit and close the portcullis. We have to check out the guild safe houses, unfortunately. Nothing else left. Closest first, which is right down the hall from the portcullis, then the other. We take the underground the whole way.
Boz skulks up and listens, nothing. There is a bolt locked on this side, not latched but its locked from other side. He gets it open easily. The boltlock is an escape insurance from the building, surely. He oils the hinges and slowly cracks it open. Sees only darkness, dirty floor. Furnok calls him down, Hunk takes the lead followed by Byron, Garth, Angelica, Boz, Furnok, Sarge last. Its a basement, dirty and unfinished, junk and a few rats. A stairway goes up at far wall. Door at top of steps. Light shines from under the doorway. Boz and Angelica sneak up and listen. Angelica hears voices talking. Angelica detects for magic and gets a ping of 1 item, very strong.
Furnok hopes the guild is not involved here, that if any of the items are here, this is a rogue thief or cell working for the mastermind. We have to go in, so in we go. Furnok and Boz take the lead as we walk inside.
Room we enter is a kitchen area, 1 door, and an opening into another room. Voices are from the room through the opening. Boz sneaks to the opening and listen in: 3 distinct voices talking about an item they were given to hold at this safe house. Too easy of a job from some guy, good money once he picked it up. An agent of his will pick it up. They talk bout how odd the main guy is, pale guy, met him at night. The pick up guy will be dressed all in black with signet ring to identify him.
They are playing dice as they are conversing.
Boz and Furnok walk in “gentleman, gentleman, don’t be alarmed” drawing their attention while Angelica goes through the door to find the item.
They hear Angelica though, 2 of them see her though. One is clearly the leader of the 3 and steps forward questioning us.
Furnok lays it on, w/o playing the undead card first.
They don’t want to lose the unpaid part of the cash, which is substantial, and their reputation is at stake. They say we either pay them, or have to take it off of us. As we bargain, we walk around to cover exits. Front door is in an adjacent room. We cover that entryway and another door in the room. 250,000 gold is what they want. Furnok “We can’t do that.”
Boz reacts suddenly with a thrown dagger at the leader "feel the wrath of Ned Snakeshaft, hitting 22. Furnok exclaims in shock and alarm “no!”
Combat begins, Furnok yells “don’t kill them!” Furnok saps the leader twice. Angelica casts sleep on the other 2, both succeed. Garth rushes in but almost critically misses a grapple attack “Vic has cursed me!!” Sarge misses same on the other guy. Byron covers the kitchen entrance. Angelica is blocking the other room, Boz at the door.
They draw wpns and retaliate. The leader turns from Furnok, honor among thieves, and moves for Bosmus.
Hunk moves in, puts the leader in a full nelson, and he passes out. Hunk drops him.
Furnok “Give up, men, I implore you.”
Garth fails in 2 more touch attempts “Hey, you’re quick.”
Sarge grapples the other successfully.
Furnok moves and saps Garth’s, knocking him out.
To sarges “Give in, man.” Hunk starts moving to Sarge in case he needs help.
He surrenders, Sarge lets him go.

They were told no exact time of the meeting, only w/in 3 days of today. They were contacted very early morning. We find the staff upstairs.
Furnok contacts Burns, tells him we got the staff.
“Excellent. Bring that back before you do anything else.”
We tie up the 3 thieves and put them upstairs.

Back to the carnival we go and give the staff to Burns “Fine job getting it back so quickly” and tell him about the situation; get a hit squad to wait for this agent of the vampire. Hunk and Garth will stay here to watch the prisoners until we get back.
Nunu, Banion and Vandor are brought back to guard the prisoners. They take them down the trapdoor and keep them in the tunnel below; we make for the other safe house hoping the same situation is going on there with one of the other items.
Same lock setup as previous. Bozmus leads the way inside into another basement, dimly lit. Upstairs we go, light above as before but door is cracked open. Bosmus creeps up and peers through. He sees no one, but thinks he hears someone walking on the 2nd floor just above.
Garth is sent in first, into a sitting room. Adjacent is another living room. The front door iis in that room, open. A man lies in that next room, cut down with a blade recently, still bleeding.
Garth heads right for him. Next to that room is the kitchen, plus a hall to steps up.
Angelica checks the body, he’s dead. Another in the kitchen.
We head upstairs warily to a hall to 3 rooms, all doors open. Another dead man in the hallway. We can see right into one ahead, empty bedroom. Other 2 also bedrooms. First empty, last has an open window and another dead man there. Angelica and Sarge rush to the window. Angelica spots a man walking away from the house yelling “Police, police, murderers! My friends have all been killed.”
Furnok “It’s a frame up!”
There were people in the street already, we were beaten to it! The man is short from her view of him, less than 5’10" and slight of build. He wore a hooded cloak.
Angelica detects the remnants of the items magic.
Furnok thinks if someone gets to the room, they can get to an adjacent building and come down inconspicuously in time to perhaps follow this guy. Angelica and Bosmus go for it.
The rest of us retreat via the way we came in. We can’t head directly in our prey’s direction but go can head that general way.

Back at the other house:

Couple men approach the front door nonchalantly. Banion stays put. They kock on the door. Nunu opens the door to let them in. Banion starts making his way across the street.
“Who the F are you?

“I am Nunu the Incomprehensible.”
“I understand why you have that name, I can’t understand a word you’re saying.” They have to talk to the men, so Nunu lets them in. His great senses notices something odd: when the man was talking to him, he made a gesture with his hand toward Nunu, like a sign. Nunu repeats it back to him, and they enter. Nunu admits they were drubbed.
“Umm, what?”
Vandor reveals himself, and Banion enters the front door.
Vandor goes down with one of them to bring up the other 3.
The one obviously in charge is thinking, not sure how to proceed.
“Only because it doesn’t matter what you know or don’t know…” They are from the thieves’ guild in town, got word they were performing an unsanctioned job w/o paying their due taxes before being cheated.
Nunu explains why we are here and what our other group is doing.
Vandor and the thief finds the other 3 dead, all still tied together, throats slit! Clean and to the bone.
The thief is taken aback. Vandor is dumbfounded and they return to us.
They talk amongst themselves after we insist we had nothing to do with that. He suggests we do not leave the house, and walks outside, leaving his associate here looking nervous.
Shortly thereafter he returns with a dozen men, mostly thugs and another smarter looking thief. A cleanup crew will get rid of the bodies, he and his associate are going to investigate the house, the thugs are to keep an eye on us.
Nunu tells them immediately about the other safe house, and the leader sends a man to check on that.
They search the house, the leader questions us, they check out weapons, etc. We tell the full truth.
He believes our word, and we are cleared.
Quite the trouble Furnok has dragged us into.

Back to main group:
The house is quickly surrounded by onlookers, then town guard, and searched.

Ang and Bosmus find themselves at a spot where they aren’t sure where he went. Boz takes a side road, Ang the main drag. She gets word from a passerby of fast moving man fitting the description and follows that lead down an ally. Boz soon realizes he lost any trail at all and backtracks to find Angelica. Same guy recognizes Ang’s beauty and he goes that way too.
Angelica meanwhile is about halfway down the ally when 2 men step out of the shadows in front her.
“What’s a pretty young thing like you doing walking down this ally by herself?”
“I’m looking for a rapscallion and thief.”
“Well, you just found 2 of them.” They begin walking toward her.
She then hears 2 others behind her.
Same guy “Look here, you either give us your money and we won’t hurt you too bad, or if you like it rough you can keep your money.”
She tosses her coin purse to him with a few 50gp gems. They weren’t expecting that, and they’re happy to let her go on her way. She asks them if they saw the runner “Yeah, I saw some little weasel head up here” points a block up the ally to an old warehouse on the left, he went in there!
They take their leave and she goes to the warehouse. One loading door, mandoor next to it, and upper windows.
She turns to find Boz, and finds him before she’s out of the ally.
She leaves Boz and heads off to find the others.

The others get out of the sewers after a couple blocks and hope to get lucky enough to run into Boz or Angelica.

We find Angelica on her way back to the first safehouse and make for Boz. He says no activity inside that he could see.

Boz picks the lock and opens the door. Hunk goes in first to see w/ darkvision before we hit the lanterns.
He sees nothing but crates. He moves through for a minute to make sure all is quiet and safe, then gets the others. Lanterns on and in we go. We survey to place to find all ways up, down or out. On the far side is another door to an office with a front door to the main street.
Steps up to 2nd floor; and elevator up as well. We take the steps. Hunk leads the way, Garth securing the rear. Door at top is locked, so Boz is called forward and picks the lock, steps out of the way and Hung steps through into a hallway to another door. He hears nothing on the other side and picks the lock. In Hunk goes into a room, maybe a break room. Door out on our left. Boz hears nothing and its unlocked. Hunk in to a hallway, door at end and right side halfway. Door at right is an empty kitchen so forward through next door into large storage area with lots of boxes and such of supplies for the warehouse ops, and a dumweighter down. 1 door out the left so we take that into a long hallway with couple windows overlooking lower level but none looking outside, this wall faces adjacent building. Nothing visible below.
Garth and Sarge backtrack a room to check our rear. Unfortunately, they see a gang of ghouls heading our way from the hall at the kitchen.
We call back to the others and back into the room. Byron keeps watching forward while Hunk and Angy help take on the 5 ghouls.
Furnok shuts the door to the hall for safety, turns to Boz and Byron “They’ll be fine.”
Angelica fires her arcane bolts at the first one, the fastest is a ghast not ghoul. We 3 at the front all make the stench save.
In the hall, Furnok notitices smoke seeping through the wall inside wall. He points it out to the others, opens the door and moves into the room, holy water in one hand, holy symbol in the other. Boz follows.
Finishing off the ghouls, hunk and Sgt go into the hall. Garth is left to kill the last ghoul. The mist forms into 2 vamps, 1 at Sgt and Byron each. Sgt’s closes and latches the door. The other attempts to demoralize Byron but fails. Hunk flanks with Byron and combat begins.
Furnok “The door’s locked!” Garth charges the door, and with his maul bashes a hole through taking the lock off.
Sgt is grappled and pushed against the wall, it starts leaning for his neck fangs beared!
Hunk takes his out, it changes instantly into gas which starts seeping again. Sgt breaks free. Garth attacks it. Byron moves down the hall and joins with Sgt and Garth. Angelica fires her arcane bolts hitting twice as Furnok hurls a vial of holy water past hunk and hits it as well!
The creaure crits Sarge, damaging his armor as well as him. We hammer it in return. Byron turns it to gas.
Furnok "We have to follow the gas. Hunk smashes the window and leaps downward landing hard but with no ill effect. Furnok runs over and looks down, lantern hanging out the window. He sees the 2nd vamp mist at floor level seeping through the floorboard here as well.
Furnok tells Sarge to go downstairs with Angelica, and for Sgt to take Boz and Byron to search for a way down up top. Garth stays in the hall to be in contact with both groups.

Upstairs, Boz picks their way through the door at hall’s end into a waiting room perhaps, or secretary office, desk next to the door out. Boz picks through that door as well to a narrow hall. Door on right and near end. First door, toward outer wall, into an common room with couple windows to outside. Boz picks us through that door as well to a large office, ornate desk, few chairs, armoir. We start searching here first, finding a hatch in the ceiling to roof presumably, accessed via a ladder on the wall hidden in plane sight as a wall sconce. Also, a trapdoor in the floor covered by a rug. Boz goes through the upper door.

Downstairs, we find nothing in the main room so check the office section next, finding a trapdoor going downward! We call Garth and head down, descending a steep set of stairs into the earth followed by Hunk, Angy, Furnok last. We come to a small roughly hewn basement with a couple long crates!!’

Upstairs, Boz opens the trapdoor to the roof and climbs up. Good view of this area of town, he notices. He hears voices from the ally below, and light from that direction. He looks over
Sarge has opened the trapdoor down as well. A collapsable ladder starting here, releasing a latch drops it down and they start down.

Furnok:
There are 5 of these crates long enough to be pseudo coffins. We crowbar the first open but other than a layer of dirt its empty. Quick dig reveals nothing. The next has a man inside, one we just fought.
Garth stakes it and it disintigrates.

Boz:
The cloaked man we followed here who tried to set us up for murder is talking with 2 others. They have run a chain through the double door delivery entry and mandoor and padlocked. They are getting ready to burn it down!! The 2 others throw flasks of oil on the tinder pile and step back. The cloaked man tosses his torch onto it igniting. They then start leaving the scene.
Boz climbs down to tail them.

Sgt: he and Byron climb down right into the main warehouse room and at the bottom sees smoke starting to come in under the wood. He touches the wall and feels its too hot. Fire! They run for the office and see the open trapdoor.

Furnok:
3rd crate, empty. 4th is 2nd guy so we destroy him. As we do, Sarge yells down that the place is on fire “We need to go.”
Last crate, empty. We rush upstairs A group of people have assembled out front including several of the town guard calling the fire brigade! and keeping the crowd back.

Furnok leads up fast upstairs to the office. As they are going out, he searches the desk, its getting hot and smokey. What he finds in unexpected and doesn’t make him happy: some marks of the thieves’ guild are on some of the paperwork.
The building abutting this has a 10’ lower roof which we all drop onto unseen to escape.
We can go building to building for a couple more then down a fire escape at the end of the block. Its a bustle everywhere at and heading for the blaze. No one seems to pay us any notice so we book it for the safehouse where we left our other team.

The papers show that the warehouse was a front used by the guild for smuggling contraband. We have no clue where Boz is.
We get to the safe house to find guildmembers there.
The leader “You’re back, just in time for your interrogations.”
Furnok “And you’re here for yours.”
“We need to find out how some of our brothers were murdered while under your care.”
Byron “We want to know why a couple vampires were lairing in one of your warehouses.” He wants us to hand over our weapons. Furnok asks to see their chief, he says “as far as you’re concerned I am the authority.”
He wants our weapons to check them out so we comply.
They do find that Byron and Sarges blades were recently used. The sholar here checks them out in detail as well as chemical tests and they question them as well. Byron does not being interrogated by common thiefs.
Talking to Sgt “Ah, you’re one of those scum suckin’ Firsts, lapdogs of the Masters. And by the looks of it a ranger sort. So you wanted to be a thief but weren’t good enough” he leans over to him “Are you getting angry”. Sarge is cool as a cubumber at the attempt to get his blood flowing.
Soon enough, the scholar finishes with our weapons “Well, I have good news and bad news.”
Furnok “Are they the same news?”
“Yes. No residue of blood from our men on their weapons.” Only Boz struck one of them with a weapon! And he’s not here. Whew.
They ask if we had another member of our party. We are free to go, but hey want to see Boz aka Ned Snakeshaft at the main guild hall, and they’ll be looking for him too.
The scholar has no way of knowing if the blood on the balde matched the dead men.

We hang out in the area and Boz arrives, informing us he lost them after several blocks; so back to the carnival to report to Burns.
Burns is not too happy about the hullaballoo but realizes we didn’t actually start any of it.
Boz got a good look at the 3 guys though and can describe them, including the cloaked man! Blonde hair, 5’8" maybe, clothing, slightish build, etc.
Burns gets a scowl on his face “Didn’t know he was still in business. I think I know who our thief is, though it won’t help us find him. Matter of face only makes me realize how much more difficult it is going to be. Valnn Brand, ex associate of mine from many years ago” probably the most accomplished thief he’s ever met; why he would steal from Burns is a mystery to him, parted on good terms when last saw each other and he knows the risks of crossing Burns. Nor would he have need for the money if he were selling the items, he was quite wealthy. Consorting with undead does not sount like him whatsoever. “Tomorrow morning get back at it, into the city. Research amongs the people of the town to see if anyone knows him by that name. You should speak to the low end, and the high end of society.”

April 30

Early we are preparing to leave and Smithers arrives “We need to get all of you out of the carnival and into the city immediately” he leads us on a circuitous route through the carnival, other workers are milling around strategically keeping us from being seen.

“2 visitors here, one of high ranking guild members in a meeting with Master Burns right now discussing the 3 murders and the warehouse torching; and one of the city Hesston Inquisitors from the church waiting to meet with him next over the matter of a murder of 4 men in a separate building linked to you also. You can’t be seen in the carnival, if they catch any of you here they’ll bring down too much pressure on us. Get into the city, get the job done, but lay low.”
Someone obviously went to the town guard and gave our descriptions from the 2nd safe house, the set up.
He gets us to horses “Don’t come back until you’re done. I guarentee there’s going to be thieves and church watching the carnival from now on.”
Furnok writes down a couple places of trusted friends to give to Smithers, in case anyone needs to get in touch with us.
The guild is here to ask about the warehouse, the framer likely tried to blame that on us too.
Smithers recommends we no include boz in the theives’ guild meeting. They seem convinced that he’s the murderer of the 3 at the first safe house.
So, into town we go.

Furnok leads us to a friend of his from years ago that he knows he can trust where we can hide out in. Then Boz, Furnok, Sarge and Angy get to work gathering info, splitting up. We find that there is going to be a ball tonight, a lot of high society at this party, starts late. Only way to get in is by invitation. Furnok discovers what the invitation looks like by finding where they were made and getting the stationary, then Boz forges 2 tickets. Each invitation includes a guest, so Boz, Furnok, Angy and Byron will be the party goers.
Furnok uses the communication gem, getting hold of Smithers, to bring in proper clothes. He says they’ll arrive by early afternoon.

Next, we start gathering info on Valan:
People know the name, very well known in thieving circles many years ago though not active, at least under that name, recently. Its been assumed he’s retired for at least 5 years. The guild has a description of Boz that has been distributed throughout their ranks, and a warning that he is dangerous, for none to approach him alone. The militia have a general description of our party circulated among the authorities.

Furnok goes directly to the guild himself to speak frankly with them, a high ranking Lt. They let him in no issues. He tells them exactly what happened at the warehouse. Furnok asks about Valan: he’s been retired many years; last time he did anything they are aware of was about 5 years ago. He lives here in Hesston, changes his name and house frequently, cause he’s still in high demand. He has gotten offers since then for jobs via the guild but he has enough money to retire, as well as legit business interests. Bad news for us, when he wants to talk to the guild, he contacts us indirectly. No one has seen him since that last job. They do not know where he lives nor what his current name is. This Lt. is also baffled at what would have brought him out of retirement for such a risky job. In the last couple months or so, inordinately high number of disappearances in the city. No pattern to it whatsoever. Amongst the lower classes and dregs, its very very high. The beggars huddle together in groups at night now for safety.
Furnok “It must all be connected.”
Furnok insists to them Boz didn’t murder their men. He says the Norrisite Order, through their own investigation, thinks that Ned Snakeshaft was involved in all the murders and have sent a couple monk inquisitors scouring the city for him. If they find us they’ll try to get us to turn him in.
Furnok shows him our forgeries, and he calls a forger to check them. He says the first is perfect, 2nd pretty good and only under very close scrutiny could it fail. Considering the number of guests entering, unlikely.
He then asks if they could track the sarcophagus sized boxes, turning over the papers he took. He’ll look into it, but so far as he knows any evidence was burned up. The warehouse was a complete loss.
They know nothing about the assassin guild being involved at all.

The Ball:

Starts at 8pm.
The house is not the one the tunnels led to, whew.
We rent 2 high class carriages, with drivers.
Byron and Angy arrive first at quarter after, getting in w/o issue. Its already quite crowded inside. The home is huge and ridiculously ornate, taking up a city block including the gardens et al. The grounds are fenced in. They start mingling immediately.
Furnok and Boz arrive about half past, and we are let in w/o incident, and we get to mingling ourselves.
Boz and Angy find out some people who know the name Valan, he had aliases, they get a name or 2 he supposedly changed it to 4 years ago but not since.
Furnok loosens up some tongues expertly. Valan was invited to this party! He finds a guy who knew him since before he retired, hasn’t talked to him for about a year. The last house he knew him at was in the merchant district with his wife and daughter. Been married for 10 years, daughter is 9 now.
This makes it even more odd he has re entered the underworld. Furnok immediately thinks it’s blackmail; someone is holding his family against him.
The guy says he doesn’t miss the big parties, no matter what identity he’s under, but “oddly I haven’t seen him tonight.” He’s been working toward legitimacy for 5 years. Regardless of identity changes, there are a few who always know him. The Baron here is one of them.
Byron hits up the babes who are not associating with men at the moment, asks around about the host of the party. His name is Baron Gelder. She points him out to Byron “let me take you over and introduce you to him, we’re dear old friends” and starts pulling him across the room. Byron follows and she introduces them, gives the Lord a kiss on the cheek and walks away.
He does not recall ever meeting Byron before “but we send out so many invitations”. Byron makes with the friendly discourse, not really telling any lies either, explaining he is relatively new, this is his first party, and he got invited through some common channels but does not know who the Baron really. Byron is right convincing of his authenticity and the Baron really enjoys his company. He invites Byron and his wife (angelica) to stay at the smaller private afterparty.
Byron “I’d love to.”

Furnok suruptitiously detects for the items. He gets a couple signals, but nothing strong enough. But, he does have magic.

Boz and Furnok keep an eye out for security measures, and its like a fortress. Guards patrol the exterior and interior, and placed at each entrance to the house, and watching the primary staircase at the top of the stairs. A couple people we do notice show something to the guards there and are allowed to pass. Furnok finds out that his family and close friends, at such an event, have some bobble or another that shows the guards working they are permitted beyond normal. What that bobble is is unknown to any outside the circle. They return tween a few minutes to half hour or so. So private privy, couples intimacy, etc.
Furnok pays attention shortly, and sees them show them their hand or something on their hand.
He picks the first couple to bring drinks to, as a guy tipsy and overly friendly. As they take the drink, he sees that they both have a ring with a large opal, but not exactly the same cut. They are slightly different. The bands look the same.

Boz does not spot the cloaked Valan he saw.
At this point, we just try to have a good time from here on out. Furnok just concentrates on getting himself a loose lady to take outside in the gardens.

Party starts winding down. People are getting ushered out. 6 couples remain behind as we close the place down, including Byron and Angelica. Furnok drunk sings his way out. Boz tries to ditch, but is stopped by a guard who points him to the exit. Furnok stumbles over ‘drunk’ explaining he probably thought I was passed out somewhere on the grounds. We exit.

We ride away in our carriage.
Several blocks away we ditch it and return to the perimeter. No visible guards in the garden, but there are attack dogs wandering around.

Inside, the Baron makes sure all present are introduced if necessary. They go to a previously guarded room. Most of the guards in the house are no longer present.
The 2 stair guards are now at the bottom, and 2 stand at the front door.
Drinks, food, and drugs. Talking, some making out, some moreso. Its a situation where whatever you want to do you do.
Conversation starts to flow freely. Lots of gossip, including the heinous murders the night before. One says its hard to believe 1 man killed 7 like that; Byron says he heard about that, he heard it was a Ned Snakeshaft; others have heard that as well; another says the he heard rumors that it has something to do with Valan.
The Baron says he wouldn’t be mixed up in that mess, he’s retired, nor was he ever a killer anyway.
“Was there a reason he didn’t show up tonight?”
Baron “Well, he said his wife wasn’t feeling well, he had to take care of her. Unfortunate but family life always comes first.”
Conversation moves on.
Byron brings up the exclusive club he noticed, passage to private areas of the house. Almost everyone here has one of those rings on. “What does one have to do to earn it?”
Baron “I like you, and I think you have the makings, but you have to be around longer before we can give you that privilege. If you prove yourself to be a worthy member of our group and prove your loyalty and trustworthiness to us, you may earn that right. We all tend to do little favors for one another from time to time.”
The night goes on until it breaks up, those with rings can choose to sleep the night here.

From outside, we see many of the guards leaving the grounds for their own homes. We feel most that are leaving wore a certain type of uniform. The staircase and front door types had a different one, those are his full time house guard.

Boz debates sneaking into the house now to snoop around. Furnok goes to break into his best assumption of the records offices in merchant’s district and such, trying to dig up who this guy might be by the scant knowledge we have.

He finds that Valan married under his true name, then records of him applying for a business license with the merchant’ guild again under his real name right around the same time. Through tax records, he finds regular payments every year on the business and his shop’s address. About 5 year ago though sold his residence to a Luci Alias. Business is done under his wife Helga’s maiden name of Hilenbrand. Nothing else purchased under the Valan name since. Valan and Helga had their daughter Valerian 9 years ago. Digging deeper into that, he finds no other record of her but the birth. Nothing whatsoever is found under Helga, married nor maiden names, either.
Obviously, Furnok gets all addresses involved. Before he finishes, Boz arrives. They get back to our safehouse.

After Byron and Angelica leave with the others who do not stay, Boz does a perimeter check and sneaks over the fence onto the grounds. He picks his spot near the best climing access to the 2nd floor. Waits until he sees some dogs roam by and far enough away, then climbs over the fence. 20’ of open ground here only to the wall of the house. He drops scent powder along his path to throw off any dogs from catching a strange scent. As he is about to start climbing, he hears a dog rushing for him across the yard. He hits it in the face with dog powder stunning it for a round while he starts climbing and gets to the 2nd floor. The dog is disabled completely.
Boz gets to a window and it slides open smoothly into a pitch black room. He hears nothing, not even breathing. He cracks a sunrod but keeps it up his deep black sleeve to limit the light emission. He’s in an unoccupied bedroom. 3 doors, the opposite obviously the way to the central hall. Listening at all 3 doors to be safe = nothing. Out into the hallway that is dimly lit so he sheaths his sunrod.
Quickly he spots a guard walking the halls but he passes by, then further on hears voices talking. The guard walks on by and out of sight, Boz moves toward the voices where he stops and listens. Male and female voice discussing the party and guests, nothing more. He moves on to another room, hearing nothing so opens the door steps inside and closes it behind him. It’s a sitting room, door adjoining to which he hears the same people talking. He listens further. They mention Valan’s name, the man says he heard rumors he was back in his old life of crime.
Woman “That would be such a shame, his poor wife and daughter would be left on the streets if he were caught.” They discuss that as the reason why he was not present at the party, he has to lay low after recent involvement. Goes on normally from there.
He hears them mention Byron finally, as a fine looking coupe whom they hope return and “possibly stay later”.
Boz resolves to not tell Byron nor Angy any of this and moves on. He comes across the patrolling guard again going by down another hallway and pauses while he passes.
He finds a servant’s room with staircase going down to 1st floor.
Next door in that hall is a large office/study. He enters and locks the door from this side, then searches very carefully. He finds Valan’s invitation, returned w/ note on it just what the Baron says, he could not attend due to dreadfully ill wife; hope’s to see the Baron at the next one. No address.
The handle on the door jiggles, then nothing. Boz gets to the door, dagger drawn, assassin instinct taking over. Thankfully, it was just the guard checking the door.
He keeps searching but finds nothing germaine to the recent events nor business matters.On the underside of the desk, Boz scratches ‘Ned was here’ with the date.
Another door in this hallway has a light coming from underneath it but he hears nothing. Next seems to be dark, but he hears someone walking inside, and mumbling of 1 voice.
Now, downstairs via servants’ steps to another servant area w/ 3 door out, one deeper into house, 1 toward back of house, last sideways.
The door to back of house starts to open. Boz retreats into the dark of under the stairway he came from. A manservant enters with a tray of refreshments and goes up the stairs. Boz skulks up behind him to the room with the light under it and enters after a knock. Boz goes back downstairs and through door butler came from into a kitchen, a man sits there doing prep work so he backs out. He head deeper into the front of the house instead. 2 guards stand at the front door. Back upstairs to the room into which he broke in and leaves the house then over the fence to meet Furnok at the records.

We make for Luci’s house. Its a very nice place, but its made of stone not wood like most of the urban buildings are, with some property and kept greenery around it. The business is about half dozen blocks away. Large general store with attached warehouse in back. We case it for a nightwatchman inside. We see nothing so into the ally to the warehouse door and break in. Furnok starts detecting but picks up nothing. We hear voices outside the door we entered from.
Boz goes to door and listens. 1 says "do you think they’re still in here, I don’t know the alarm just went off a few minutes ago.
We get into the front store before they come inside. 2 men enter at the rear.
Furnok detects while the guards are being cautious in the back while boz opens the front door. Nothing detected “Boz, shove the door opens so they hear it and follow me up”; Boz grabs the lockbox and takes off out the door to lead them away, to Furnok’s surprise.
The guards rush in, finding the lockbox gone and spot Boz down the road and turn out of sight.
Furnok hears them “Aw no, they took the lockbox.”
“We’re going to get fired.”
They start talking it over as Furnok detects, and finds nothing. He finds a window, drops out, and away finding Boz several blocks up in an ally.
Furnok “Did you open it?”
“I don’t really want the money. Just a distraction.”
Furnok “Really? Ok, I do” and takes it, Boz gives it to him no problem.

Back to Luci’s house. Furnok gets onto the ground and walks the perimeter wall detecting. Won’t quite reach to center of house; he does pick up some magic though nothing of the power we are looking for. There are a couple lights on inside.
If there is a vampire in there, we’d rather tackle it during the day so back to the safehouse we go, taking measures to be sure no one is following us.

Sgt stays up on guard rest of night, Garth then Hunk split with him. Garth, unfortunately, is quite drunk and passes out here and there. Toward morning, Hunk is getting tired.

Shortly after Boz and Furnok are sleeping, Sarge hears something outside a window. Kicking Garth as he walks by, telling him what’s up, he takes a look. Whoever it was saw him coming, now standing in front of the house looking up at Sgt. Tall man, thin, dark cloak. Sgt sees his eyes glint red but Sarge resists the enchantment attempt. He turns and strides away into the darkness.
Sgt wakes everyone up and reports. We sleep the rest of the night.

May 1

Early, not much sleep for Furnok and Boz. We need to get to Luci’s and just bust this all open on him. While we prep, a visitor arrives, using a patterned knock. Furnok’s friend says “everyone out the back door, now”. It’s a warning knock, that the guard are on their way here right now. We book it, he insists he’ll be fine.
Circling around, we see the guard at the front door. The leader is the Norrisite monk inquisitor we heart about.
We make fast for Luci’s house. On the way, a man steps out suddenly in front of us “I have a letter” which he hands to Furnok. It has the guild mark upon it. Furnok tips him a couple platinum.
It’s a warning for us from the guild Lt. Furnok has been talking to.

He sent the secret knock warning; if we plan on going into the house of Luci be extra extra cautious. Even we know not what perils await a burglar inside, but the evil that you mentioned fighting the minions of we are fairly certain resides in that home.

We stop at the thieves’ guild, Furnok goes in alone, to ask any more specifics they may have. First, he profusely thanks them for all their cooperation in this. Unfortunately, they have no further specifics. As far as how they got the info, they decided to talk to Valan himself. They sent a couple men to to the store first and the wife was not there nor was he. The manager said they hadn’t seen either for couple weeks. Went to his house next with a 3rd guildmember. 1 came back but they had to kill him for he was returned as a trap. The 3 had been invited in by a manservant, but once inside attacked. The one who returned had been bitten on the neck and was going to become a vampire. They assume the other 2 are dead. He tried to say he barely escaped but noticed the bite marks. This was yesterday evening before the party we went to.
Furnok considers the idea of sending an explanation to the Norissites by courier and telling them to send a hit team to meet us at Valan’s so as to clear our names, but its risky. The guild thinks that’s a bad idea only because the Inquisitor will arrive with normal guard who will be like canon fodder. Plus the only name they have is Ned Snakeshaft, an alias.

Off we go to Valan’s house. We use the back door. Boz finds an alarm an disables it, picks the lock. Garth leads the way into the kitchen. Definitely used recently, so humans still live here. Through the only door out to a servants’ prep room. One door out. As Garth opens it he sets off a trap of gas hitting himself, Sgt and Hunk dealing damage to all.
Furnok is picking up big power from above.
Garth “Bozmus, up front, lead the way (cough, cough)”.
Furnok “We search for traps at every door now.”
Next into a hallway left/right. Both directions are a T section, 1 door in this hall. Garth moves left to check the T but hits a trap, releasing a pendulum blade which hits him. Sgt to the right sees stairs up and a door one way, and 3 doors and a turn the other. Garth sees similar setup but no stairs instead 2 other doors.
Boz finds no trap on the near door and hears nothing, not locked. Hunk enters 40×40 room, one door on opposite wall. Sitting, visiting room.
Furnok and Boz lead the way together to the steps, searching together along the way for traps. We can’t risk it. Furnok finds a trap as we pass a door and disables the pressure plate. Up the stairs, no traps. Furnok detects direction, but not w/in range so we head to where he detected ahead.
This upstairs is smaller than the downstairs, shorter at the front where there is a large terrace.
As we file into the hall from the stairs, Byron in the rear sees from the door at the bottom 4 ghouls exit that room and rush up the stairs at him. As the first attacks Byron, the next 2 climb on the stone walls one on either side of the first. Byron destroys the first, so Hunk steps forward past him to attack the last on the steps. Suddenly, tween Angy and Byron now materializes a vampire!! Seems neither Valan nor the tall cloaked, man, and not the mia thieves, more like a beggar. Byron resists its grapple attempt. Angy steps back and fires at both ghouls on the walls. Byron takes down his wall ghoul then attacks the vamp as Garth moves in vs it as wel; Hunk pulls his off the wall, stomps it to death then kills the last on the stairs. Byron and Garth flanking take on the vamp. Angelica helps with arcane bolts. We take it to gaseous form.
Garth “Quick, light, where does the mist go?” It seeps through the stone.

On we go, Boz disarming another trap in the hall. Then we come to a deadfall trap we can’t disarm, but we can avoid setting it off. At a T section, the detector says turn left so we do first radioing Burns in case we need rescued. As we move, we pick up the signal from a door here going south.
Boz secures the trap on the door and picks the lock. Hunk and Sarge enter, Angelica backing up. 40’ deep and 60’ wide room. Huge bed, bookshelves, bureaus and dressers, etc. Big double door leads to the terrace. Curtains drawn. Valan, obviously, stands agains the far wall; a vampire next to him holding him by the arm. The tall cloaked vampire stands on the far wall but separate from them; 5 ghouls in the room as well.
Tall vamp “You may want to think about what you’re doing before you come in here. Tell them, Valan.”
Valan “They have my wife and my daughter held, if you attack him they will be killed. If they die, you’ll never get those items. I won’t give them up.”
Krenek the vampire “If you’re willing to walk out of here now, no harm will come to anyone else.”
Furnok quietly, still unseen, from the hallway radios Burns “We’re in a tight spot” about the danger to Valan’s family here. Burns says “split up, find the family, and keep them from being killed instantly as you go after my item, they have to be in the house to be that instant danger.”
So, Garth who was covering the far corner and boz also still not seen go that way, Furnok, and Byron who was guarding our rear, the other way. We skulk away, Sarge will have to stall.
Boz hears sobbing at the first door, finds no trap but fails too pick it.
Furnok hears nothing but picks their door. Byron enters: woman tied to a chair, a vampire and a wight in the room!!
The vampire goes for a charm on Byron and orders the Wight to attack. Byron resists but is beset upon by it. Furok rushes to the girl holy symbol presented to the vampire!! At Furnok’s wail, Garth pushes Boz aside and bashes the door down into same situation as Furnok and Byron.
Krenek “Are you trying to distrace me?” to Sgt.
An attempt at charm fails on Furnok!
The vamp in Boz/Garth room bites the daughter’s neck! The other attacks Garth. Boz tumbles by to save the girl as Garth engages the Wight, and presses his holy symbol right against his forehead, and it rears away, letting loose of the child.
Byron finishes his Wight and moves to the vampire.
Krenek tries to charm Hunk, but his Berserk Mind foils it!!
Hunk charges Krenek and nails him 25!
Angelica fires upon the vamp spawn holding Valan. Sgt readies for ghoul attacks and tries to egg them on. All but 1 attack him, the last on Angelica.
Byron and his vamp continue fighting, Boz makes the save vs a charm.
Furnok cuts Helga free. Garth kills the last wight. Hunk is hit only once somehow, then misses twice himself. Angelica steps back from her ghoul and continues firing on the spawn DESTROYED; as Sarge drops 2 ghouls. Angy is hit with 1 claw.
Boz’s spawn goes around him to Garth.
Helga is free. Boz rushes just to the doorway of the main fight.
Byron mists his vamp.
Krenek crits then misses Hunk.Angelica steps back and fires upon her ghoul, Hunk fails to trip Krenek. Sgt kills 1 ghoul and wounds his last. Angelica’s stays on her.
Furnok leads Helga out to the hall and yells “I’ve got the wife!”
Byron moves for the main fight. Garth is still battling his spawn.
The daughter is lying on the floor holding her neck, not unconcious.
Krenek misses and hits Hunk.
Boz tells Angelica we need a medic in Hunk’s room, and takes on her ghoul DEAD, she rushes for Garth’s room. Sarge kills the last ghoul, drops his blade and draws his bow.
Boz charges Krenek!!
Garth is in a fierce battle with the last spawn.
Valan to Sgt “Is my family safe?”
Sgt “I’ve been busy!”
Valan to Hunk and Boz “Get Krenek in front of the double doors to the terrace.”
Hunk is hit twice, steps and bullrushes Krenec 10’ to in front of the doors!
Angelica reaches the child, Sarge fires upon Krenek hitting twice.
Furnok takes Helga to her child.
Valan “Boz, stay back from it.” Boz backs off of Krenek. Byron reaches the room.
Valan draws the stolen rod, pushes a button, and a ladder begins forming across the room, with which he rams hunk with into the double doors which activates the trap on the door. A huge vat of acid pours down upon Krenek, now the only one in its path!
Furnok in the hall, out of line of sight “That didn’t sound good.”
It rains down horribly upon Krenek, and the daylight coming in forces Krenek to turn into mist and retreat!
Hunk enters “Clever thief.”
To Hunk “No hard feelings.” Hunk shakes his head no.
Valan says the spawn lair here, he can lead us safely to them. Krenek will get into the sewers and disappear, he has no lair here.
Valan says he pilfered the Rod of Lordly Might.
Hunk “Quite mighty, pushing me is no easy task.”

We find the spawn and destroy them no problem, Valan bypassing the traps.
The daughter will be ok, drained only a little. She’ll heal.

He explains that he received a visitor couple weeks ago, gave him a choice of doing a job. When Valan declined, 2 days later his wife and daughter were kidnapped and he got a message forcing him to do the job or they would be killed. So, he did the job.
Much as we thought.
Valan wants to take care of unfinished business with Burns and Heston, clearing our names with the latter, that we were set up. He’ll talk with his old adventuring partner Burns to and apologize/explain.

May 2

Valan meets with Burns in morning, apoligizing to us honorably. Burns accepts. Valan says we always have a friend in Hesston if needed in the future.

Furnok has another meeting with the Guild thanking and such.

Our names are cleared with authorities through legal means and with the help of the thieves’ guild influence, but the name of Ned Snakeshaft is a wanted murderer. The Inquisitor also looks like he’s going to keep his eyes on us peripherally.

Sap rule on sneak attacks: fort save DC 10 plus half sneak attack class levels, plus sneak att dice, plus str mod.

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Necromantic Plot in Thorangia

April 19 through 20

Arrive, Besestein

We gather info to get the lay of the land.
Coastal town, first town in the region south of Negdenburg’s influence.
There are 3 major towns here.
Besestein is largest and most important and the ‘county seat’ so to speak.

The 2 most influencial families in area live in the other 2 towns:
Erberruck: on edge of hills west of Besestein. Home of current Baron of area, Jonas Freeman.
Walleheim: in valley south of Erberruck. Baron’s couisin lives here, very influencial family.

Baron spending more and more time only at home because of the recent problems. Lots of raids on homesteads and loggers, miners, etc. by orcs in counryside around Erberruck. He has been trying to marshal forces and trying to figure out what is going on.
His cousin, Wilford Bremen, has been spending a lot of time in Besestein pointing out that his brother is not a very good Baron.

We pick up some chics too.

We decide to go see the Baron first, and go through official channels to get a guide, a local member of the constabulary.
He is happy to see that we are all well armed men, for “it’s rough country out there nowadays.” Several times recently, groups travelling through that country have been hit by groups of orcs. Varying and unsubstantiated reports of raiding party numbers and other specifics. From most reliable reports, they max at 25 when attacking a hamlet and such.
Tom “Have there been multiple raids in quick succession far enough away from one another that they were different warbands?” Yes, there are at least 2 parties of that size going by that.

We buy provisions.

April 21

Ride to Erberruck.
We arrive after nightfall uneventfully. The town has a pallisade, couple guards at gate recognize our guide and let us straight in. Normally, they wouldn’t let strangers in after dark; same with Walleheim.
He takes us to the inn, and will take us to see Jonas in the morning.
We eat and drink and gather some info.
Dareth and Blackpool get the goods:
Baron is in good health, about 40; lives with mother, wife, younger brother who’s a simpleton. Often with his troop head Sir Langlee, who has been so for years since Baron’s dad was in charge. In early 30’s. Has good relationship with late father and son, very loyal. Langlee is out daily with contingents searching for the orcs. Response to an attack is impossible, its over before word can get here then the soldiers can get there.
Here and there they run into a couple orcs but no large confrontations. Attacks are regular, one or 2 a week.
It’s assumed its the orcs as well.
Attacks are evenly spaced, and no detectable patterns. But, they never extend further than halfway to Besestein. Nor further than the northern border of the province. Also, though lots of theft and burning, they only seem to attack those who fight back nor are they taking prisoners.
Mining guilds have satellite office in each of towns, though main one is in Besestein.
We also get meetings arranged tomorrow with several survivors of raids now living in town so as to get first hand accounts.
We are told orcs have not been seen in these lands for a very long time.
Baron’s relations with cousin: always seemed amiable. Jonas is poplular leader, good man, smart. Baron did some things in his youth, but was primarily always groomed as next Baron. Wilford is a noble knight with such training, but is much more of a worldly warrior, and only about 30 so much younger. Spent years off ‘sowing his oats’ with his best friend Sir Branson, knight of the region; friends since childhood. Been back for just over a year. First orc attack was about 4 months ago. 6 months ago is when Wilford’s dad died.
Tom thinks perhaps Wilford et al cleared an old tower or keep or the like and set the orcs up in it.

Food and drink is of high quality here. The farmland is lush in this region, as well as fine pasture so its very well off. Its all fresh and local.

April 22

We meet our guide Franz at the constable’s office where he stayed. People in town seem fine, not afraid within the pallisade. The Baron’s personal troops patrol constantly. Franz takes us to the Baron’s mansion, he has given word of our presence already.
The butler leads us to the meeting chamber with Jonas. Jonas is a healthy but slight man, of good height at 5’10". Welcomes Franz with a hearty hello. Franz introduces Dareth to Jonas, Dareth introduces the rest of us. Jonas welcomes us, provides drink and a bit of food.
“Anything you wish, let my man know and it shall be yours.”
We explain why we are here and discuss the orcs. Tracking in this area is too difficult for his men.
Franz “And we have sent a couple good scouts to search and never returned.” Both were skilled and knew the local geography superbly. There was not a common direction both went. They went out w/in a day of each other. One west, the other south. Their plan was for the frst to go west a way and turn south, and the 2nd to go south and turn west, then keep going south until Walleheim and report any findings to constables there. They moved on foot. Walleheim knew this plan ahead of time.
Jonas appreciates any help we can give. The Thorangian court has deemed the trouble small enough for the local authorities to handle.
Last word of each was only on their first day, day and a half, by loggers/minors and such who they passed. No orcs at those points.
They each had alchemical signal flare.
Just then, a fairly well built soldier enters. The aura of a professional. He apologizes for interrupting but Baron calls Langlee in. He is about to leave on patrol. He has searched the presumed paths of the scouts already, but his men are no trackers.
“It’s difficult for even a good tracker in that terrain.”
Evan “That’s because you have had no Dreyan tracker until now.”
Garth, Damon and John join him. Dareth, Evan and Tom and his crew go west. Franz takes them on the right path.
Off we go.

South:
Langlee has 27 cavalry joining him. Primarily light cav.
They all carry horns for signals, and go over their signals with us.
Langlee wonders how the orcs always seem to be in the exact opposite place we are.
Langlee has a position in Tharangian army, not standing but in reserves. Has fought with them in the last decade.
He finds WIlford to be a conniving whelp! Has known him since young men, both are around the same age. Even then, for as large of a man as he is, Wilford tended to use his cunning and personality more effectively than brawn. Not likable, per se, but very intelligent and always with a plan.
He has thought about the timing, but can’t bring himself to believe Wilford would blatently hire orc brigands to do such things. He mentioned the idea to Baron once, and was laughed off. Branson is a very capable warrior, not bright enough to engineer such things. Very straight forward brute and killer. Would follow Wilford through gates to the hells.
He offers another possibility as well, not so much a suspect but for insight: an old warrior has a home to the south, name of Bucholtz. Old man, lived in area for many years. Good friends with the old Baron. Very private, only sporadically leaves his home and receives few visitors. But, when he speaks, people listen. He explains the route, further south along the hill line. Its a day to day and a half ride there.\
So, we cut west into the hill country.
About a mile into the hills, Sir John stops and dismounts, noticing obvious boot tracks in the soft earth here. Garth checks. They were going north. But not good enough to follow. Garth is fairly sure they are not orcs, unless they are well equipped. The boots are in prime contdition and all the tracks are such. We show Langlee, he says there should be no one in this area for a group of people to be moving as such.
Garth suggests we head in that direction, Langlee agrees. He sends a squad to scout ahead of us.
After a ways, we hear a single hornblow warning. The squad are dismounted, at a small campfire set so that the smoke would not be very visible. Not more than 10 guys. Now, definitely human. Not trying to hide activities either. Garth easily finds their latrine pit and food remains et al.
They stopped to eat! We may have caught up some! We move faster now. Soon, we see guys walking ahead of us. They stop upon noticing us, 9 men. Looking at each other nervously. We approach with purpose. All light armored, trained soldiers; no heraldry.
One steps forward and hails us. Langlee questions them first.They claim they are scouting and foraging from a merc band camped in the woods: Ramirez’s Rangers. None of us have ever heard of them. There are several groups doing so, main camp is several miles south. They were moving north to the sea, to look for work. But, got an offer to protect the lands around a town to the south called Wallenheim from rampaging orcs. Ramirez took the job temporarily couple weeks ago. The ruler can’t afford to pay the wages for too long, but he seems convinced he only needs us for 2 more weeks.
Langlee is starting to crack under pressure of the evidence now.
Langlee lets the men go on their way, they head back south.
Langlee insists on going back to town immediately. We agree.

West:
We go to the last place the scout was seen, a small mining camp and talk to the guys there. Using their local knowledge about the path of least resistence to go west then south. The border to the next country is just west. He cut south prior to the border soon after he left the camp, following a trail to a couple other small settlements. We continue to the settlements. We take our time more on this path. WE get to the last logging community, who did see the scout. We go south.
Dareth notices a conspicuous lack of wildlife suddenly compared to before.
Black Tom dismounts once just into the tree line spotting something, a spot of dried blood! Not fresh. Not enough visible to kill, but obviously human/humanoid violence took place here. The fold mentioned no such attacks nor missing locals.
Evan takes a close look around the spot, and finds a feint trail of blood falling, getting smaller as it goes. Finally, couple hundred yards from the last town, he finds the skeletal remains of the poor scout. Franz can ID from the clothing its one of the scouts for sure.
Evan searches the area for tracks of the attackers, and finds some too fresh to be from the attack, barefoot orc!!! At least 10 or 15.
Evan picks up the trail moments later, we follow.
We are on full alert.
About 7 miles later, its dark now. Ahead, Dareth spots a good sized cooking fire through the foliage. For 10 or so orcs perhaps.
We form a perimeter around them at this distance and close in fast. All but Tom and Evan dismount for the attack in this terrain. Franz will stay with the horses which we don’t take in.
Tom and Evan will charge in opposite one another.
The orcs aren’t being what one would call quiet so we get close with no problem as they roast an unskinned dear on a spit.
Tom and Evan charge in first, both killing 1 as well as Tom’s horse killing one. The footmen move in during their shock, Dareth killing one. They arm themselves and attack, as Ulik moves in to Dareth and breaks the arm of one of his 2 foes.
Then the fight becomes general.
We finish them off easily.

A search of their camp yields nothing of interest.
We camp here.

April 23

We cut east, where they were heading, to search for orc evidence.
Soon after we start, Evan and Tom notice that someone was watching our camp last night and started south before morning. Booted prints but not human. We follow that guy. After about 10 miles, near the flatland north of Walleheim, we see it may have been up to 3 men moving in single file. It leads to a cave!! Busted fools!!!
Franz "Uh, I recommend we go back and get more soldiers, we don’t know how many are even in there.
Tom derides that idea, pressuring to enter the cave now.

Dareth orders Evan to stay with himself here and watch the cave, the rest make it fast east into the clear full speed to town at Franz’s recommendation. It’s hard riding to get home by night but they do with exhausted mounts.
Franz takes us to Jonas immediately.

Meanwhile, the others had reported to Jonas what they found. Langlee brooches the subject with us backing him up.
The next day they went out on patrol with Langlee again, going straight into the hills eastward, passing through the same camps and getting word Dareth/Tom passed by but find nothing of interest.

They were starting to get nervous about Dareth/Tom et al until our arrival.
We rest up tonight.

April 24

At first light make for Dareth and Evan by the open route around the hills.
Langlee will take his cavalry with us!!
“We’ve been itching for a straight up fight.”
We tell him it looks for like ground fighting, so his men take heavier foot armor.
We arrive before nightfall.

Meanwhile they have been watching the cave from a safe distance.
Couple times, Dareth sees orcs coming and going, well camoflaged with proper wilderness outfits. They are trying to be sneaky, and in small groups of a few rotating in and out, going in different directions every time. It’s constant, in about 4 hour scouting forays. None appear to have noticed the 2.

We meet our group prior to them getting w/in view of the cave so they aren’t spotted.
Langlee thinks we should dismount here, walk our horses the mile and set up a camp about half mile from the cave mouth. He’ll leave a contingent to watch the mounts while the rest of us attack.
Dareth “Sounds perfect.”
Franz is here as well.

We find a good spot with cover and set up a camp. Franz stays with a squad of 5 of Langlee’s men (4 soldiers and 1 sgt).

The PC’s and Langlee move in. His men stay outside the cave mouth watching for any patrol. Tom, Garth and Fritz take the lead. Max, Evan and John next; Langlee and Dareth; and the rear Damon and Ulik.
The cave has a slight downward slope, soon branching into 3 tunnels. The main tunnel remains the largest, the flanking branches are slightly smaller. Garth thinks there has been some workings to these tunnels. How long ago he does not know.
We call in 1 squad for each flank, with the Lt to command, We all continue straight.
We hear something quickly, a general sound but not a naturally occuring noise, like a clicking from behind them. Our rear 2 ranks turn, Dareth think it sounds like a device from behind the intersection. Dareth calls for the Lt to be on guard. All but Tom’s front rank stay put. The noise then stops.
Dareth calls to pay attention to the ceiling. He walks back toward the entrance looking up at the ceiling with a torch, John at his side.
Back at the front, Garth thinks he hears some clicking ahead of us now. Just for a brief second though.
From each side of Dareth and John, no idea where they came from, 2 skulls glow in Dareth’s torchlight suddenly and attack. 1 from each side wielding great axes. John is caught off guard totally. They look like orcs, but not the typical type. Faces painted like skulls.
Dareth quickdraws his blade and drops his in 2 quick strikes. John hits with his lucern hammer twice as well, killing his.
Dareth yells a warning forward.
We reform and continue forward.
Dareth “Our element of surprise is probably already gone. Be fully on guard.”
Still gradually downward but straight.
Arrows fire at our front rank. Tom charges, so Garth and Fritz follow. Max follows behind, so Dareth orders Evan and John to follow. As they charge forward, they se 6 orcs turn and retreat, each with a xbow. Tom continues chasing. The rest of the group follows in line.
Ahead the cave opens into a larger cavern 30’ ahead. Garth lobs his torch ahead of Tom to the opening.
Now, from far behind us at the intersection “Here they come, men!”
Ahead, we see no orcs waiting. Tom slows down to peer in first. Fritz sees strung along the cavern mouth is a trip wire!
We get to the mouth and peer inside. Its about 50’ diameter roughly with a natural pond. Its an encampment area, lots of bedding and food scraps. Also approximately 25 orcs prepared for battle.
We hear a voice in orcish bark commands.
Langlee “I need to go back and help my men, we have no idea who many there are.”
Dareth sends John and Ulik back with him and himself as well run for the rear fight.
Tom slices the tripwire with his axe. There are 2 formations of the orcs in the room: both similarly organized. Melee lines at the front and archers behind them. 1 group on each side of the pond straight ahead.
Tom and the blue crue take one side, Evan, Garth and Damon the other. Armigers take the lead trying to take most of their missile fire of both bows and crossbows. With no cover to trade missile fire, we charge into them as fast as possible. Tom gives a rousing speech first. A gravelly orc voice yells “What’s wrong human, you afraid?”
We charge in lines, Tom and the blues to the left, the Crimson Knights to the right.
We charge. Arrows and bolts bounce off off of Garth like sticks. Fritz however is hit multiple times. Then we hit their front ranks.
These orcs are well trained and organized for primitive humanoids.The knights are a hair faster at taking out their melee and xbows. The knights are a hair faster in taking out he melee and xbow ranks. Then, behind, several skull face orcs attack from surprise! Tom, both blue crew, Evan and Garth are each ambushed by one. Evan ignores the pitiful backstabber and goes after the bowman, leaving his slightly lower class non Dreyan friends to deal with the assassin.
Tom and his crew have 3 assassins to deal with, plus 2 others and the archers at this point. The knights have one orc on his knees holding his gushing throat thanks to John’s crit, plus the 2 assassins and archers.
On the other side, Tom and Fritz take on the assassins while Max assaults the archers.
The knights have a more difficult time with the ambushers though as Tom cleans house on his side.
Max’s archers withdraw.
Tom orders a volley of missiles as Garth and Damon finish off the assassins on their side and Evan vorpal hurricanes the archers. The last one alive runs away down a small crawlway tunnel at the far end of the room.
Tom offers them the opportunity to surrender and they do as Garth picks the throat bleeder guy in the head.

Meanwhile, when Dareth et al get to the intersection there is a pitched chaotic battle. The cavalry left at the entrance are engaged here as well. We wade into the mess of blood and grime.
27 orcs attacked via the left and right tunnels.
It doesn’t last much longer once we arrive to even the numbers and put bring our skill to bare. Langlee proves his mettle during the fight.
3 of the cavalry are killed, no officers. More wounded as expected.

Outside, we find that the orc patrol out attacked our camp. 6 forest orcs ambushed them, starting with bowfire. They then tried to release the horses to trap us here on foot, but Skyrling took the offensive, killing one. Ourmen attacked, killing another 2 and they fled.

No worthwile loot in the place. No looted stuff nor payment.

The crawlspace is narrow, not suited for armored men. Dareth strips and goes through, expecting it to exit to the surface as an escape tunnel, and that’s exactly what it is. It was well disguised.

The place is empty otherwise. Langlee wants to take the prisoners back to the Baron for questioning. Franz says we should take them to Besestein and have the authorities from Tharangia question them.
Tom reminds all he’s an professional Inquisitor.
Dareth says since Tharangia said screw off up to this point, Tom should inquisite 2 separately. We can take the other 2 back to the Baron. Only if we get info that may bring Tharangia in, should we take the otherwise senseless trip to Besestein.
Dareth takes Evan to the escape tunnel to track the escapee orc. He turned south toward Walleheim territory.
We take the prisoners back to Erberruck. They are all greenskin forest orcs.

Apr 25

Back in Erberruck. Tom offers to the first person to crack and narcs out the others, help us find who is behind this and any other raiders, gets complete immunity for all previous crimes and will be under the protections of the Norris order. If none of you do so, I give no guarentee on your lives by the end of the night.
After some further ‘prodding’ one of them starts cracking. He wants assurances from Tom that he will never fall back into the hands of his masters.
He expains he’s just a grunt in this, knows not the master plans if any. His gang of orcs were hired to destabilize this area along with a the ghost faced orcs, and a bunch of regular orcs as muscle. Loot and pillage but no outright slaughter, ordered by the liaison to them. Looks like a man, but larger “I’m not really sure what he is” kind of half orc like but not. He came in with a group of his own orcs. They met and made the deal, giving said instructions to the orc leadership. All loot was taken to a central gathering point and they would get paid from it at a later date but for operating costs. He has the feeling this humanish guy was the muscle behind whatever grand plan is going on, but not the brains.
The loot collection point is further south in the hills, closer to edge of hills toward Walleheim, which he does not know the actual name of.
Evan “Since you had no loot, they wouldn’t be expecting you for a while.”
“Right, average was every other week. We deliverd a couple days ago.”

Reporting to the Baron, his first reply is “But, we still don’t know who’s behind this.”
Sigh from all.
He says he wants us to tack to Buckholtz, which we plan to do anyway. No one has heard from him since all this started. Also, go to Walleheim and see if we can gather any concrete information.
We decide to send half to each place. The team going to see the old warrior Buckholtz will then continue around the hills to meet the other 3 at Walleheim.
Buckholtz has a keep with is own men. They work some farmland there and keep to themselves. The compound is run like a military camp, always sentries, etc. The community numbers about 100.

Apr 26

Tom, the blue crew, Ulik and Evan go stright for Walleheim. Dareth, Garth, John and Damon go to see Buckholtz. That group will get a signed letter of intro to Buck with his seal.
We camp together at the split point the first night.

Walleheim arrive midday. Buckholtz evening.

Buckholtz: As we approach, we stay on guard since no one has heard of them for longer than usual.
The keep sits on high ground and the compound is walled and easily defendable.
There are guards on the walls as we approach. We pass some houses and fields, but no one is out here, yet no damage either to have forces them all w/in the walls.
They order to stop and order one only to approach the gate. Dareth rides forward. A speaking hatch opens and a guard asks our business.
Dareth intro’s himself and shows him the letter from the Baron. They let us all in. No visible damage to the outer walls.
Squires stable our horses for us once we are inside. Buckholtz arrives to meet us soon. A messenger already sent. Some 15 armed and ready men cover the courtyard; they aren’t taking any chances.
Old Buckholtz strides out of the main house. Mountain of a man. In his younger days, he must have been a true physical specimen. He invites us to sup with him inside.
Its us 4, him, and some of his top officers and advisors eating together. As we expect, no business while eating.
Soon as food is cleard and all have mead or wine to drink, the conversation turns to business.
We lay out the details.
He says its true, his men have not been venturing outward as much. He feels he does have some insight into the Baron’s problem. And it may not bee the Baron’s problem, but Buckholtrz own. Long, long story, but to get to the point after the boring details of his youth:“I have enemies, made over the years, adn about the time that the Baron’s problems started with orcs I started having problems here. There were several orc raids on my area, none of my people were killed nor property destroyed, but they were on the periphery killing livestock, destroying crops, occasional skirmish”. Then they stopped. He assumed they were only a wandering band, realized the resistance from him was too good and moves on. He then heard about the attackes around Eberruck. He was going to take men out to assist the Baron. Soon as they began to leave, a column of troops came into his land, odd to him for men such as that to come off the road in this direction. He rode out and spoke to them, noticing that one of them was a man he knew from his past. HE decided then not to approach them, as they heavily outnumbered him, and if they decided to not parlay like civilized men (like the man he knew would stoop to) it would be too much. He got his men back w/in their walls and hunkered down.
They never came any closer nor attacked in any way, only made their imminent threat obvious. His theory, w/o proof,
Damon “WHo is this scumbag you know?”
“An evil, evil wizard” whom he thought dead long ago. Once were travelling companions.
John "Does this wizard have a name?
“Well, he goes by many names, I knew him as Malenko.”
Dareth “Was there any oustanding issues among the 2 of you?”
“Not other than he was a dark treacherous scum. I don’t feel I did anything agregious against him personally, but it had reached a point where most of our group were at odds with him generally and were about to part ways with him.” They fought an ancient evil called a Lich, “a type of nasty undead wizard” which they defeated but the Malenko appeard to have been destroyed in the wizardly duel. His body was gone so we assumed him dead and never saw him again.
He brings up the same theory we did, this Baron’s cousin is not actually the Baron’s cousin, this Malenko has replaced him with something else.
Malenko’s troops he came with had a coat of arms he does not know, but they seemed like mercs.
He offers us safety any time we need it. We will keep him in the loop whenever we can.
When he knew Malenko, his primary ability was necromancy and deathly magic. Also accomplished with energy conjuring, especially fire.
Buckholtz knows Burns and Gretchen, she of the Rangers going to assist, also!! He adventured with them. We inform him of what we know of Burns and Gretchen.
Dareth “What kind of man do you know Burns to be? We’re new to his outfit.”
“I never had a problem with him personally, a bit odd though. Multi talented man: fighting skills, magic, sneaky. Good to have around for any situation.” Best thing he had was, he could talk his way out of anything. He details and has drawn up the coat of arms for the mercs: sword and axe crossed over each other, with a dragon head above between the weapons. All in black on a bright blue background.

Walleheim: Walled town, well defended. Lots of daily business going on. Gates are openh to all so we ride in. We are approached by couple town guard. One asks us to stop “You gentlemen seem to be heavily armed riding into our town here?” Evan says we are but wayward knights passing through. He says “Ok, carry on. Enjoy your stay in town. Just know, we do watch armed unknown men like yourselves.”
Evan “We have no plans to.” We ask him for inn and food recommendations. He gives us a couple names: The King’s Arms Inn on the main road, and also the Walleheim Inn and Tavern. Several other places offer more reasonable rates w/o the comfort “But you don’t seem like men interested in such low fare”.
Evan “Who is your lord?”
He says Sir Wilford.
“If we should wish to stay, does he need any hired men?”
“Probably not.” He has his own force of troops and a merc force camped outside of town for a few weeks now. There have been orc troubles, he says, so they have been hired as protection. They are a tight bunch, do not come to town too often. When they do, it seems like they all do cause every tavern in town is full of them. They cause little problems though, quite disciplined. The couple minor squabbles there have been on such nights, the enforcer for the merc leader shows up fast and deals with it.
This enforcer is a very large man named Grigg “Not sure what he actually is, looks like a man but too big and too ugly”.
The merc leader is named Ramirez. Runs a tight ship.
We thank him and ride foward to The King’s Arms Inn. It is indeed a fine choice. Largest such in town. Their regular rooms are quite nice, but also have suites, private guarded stables.
We get our rooms, Lord Blackpool a suite of course, and settle in. We dine here first then head out into the town for the evening to gather info and rumors.
Garth, the hillman, and John, the closest thing to a grunt we have, get drunk too fast and blackout. Garth barely remembers a spending too much alone time with a particularly dirty wench and getting sick afterward.
Evan and Damon stick to the job but find out nothing new and out of the ordinary. The mercs stay north of town at about the tip of the hills. We know the cache of plunder from teh orcs is just NW of that at the hills’ edge also, so its close together. Ramirez and his staff have meetings with WIlford regularly. The sheriff and dep’s tend to hang at Walleheim Inn and Tavern during off hours, its the oldest tavern in town and run by same family always. Lots of the old timers of town hang out there.

Apr 27

Buckholtz group leaves after breakfast, arriving Walleheim around dinner.

Walleheim group nonchalantly akes a ride toward the cache area after breakfast, wearing riding clothes only. Ulik stays to inform the others of our whereabouts if they arrive before we do.
On our way out we pass a contingent of the mercs coming in, guarded wagon on a supply run it it seems. They do indeed give off the feel of professional soldiers. The coat of arms will match what the other group has heard from Buckholtz.
We go easward before abruptly turning north.
Damon says we should actually hunt and get a deer or some sort, for our cover story.
Evan “Fine idea Sir Damon.”
He does find evidence of much movement off the natural trail at one point. All foot or mule, and attempts for some covering of it to someone not looking. He continues north to look for evidence of loot being brought down from the orcs. It gets to rocky for a bit, but again another side trail with a lot of activity, too much. He follows maybe half a mile to a large boulder completely out of place where it lies, to a trained eye. It was put here purposefully.
He goes back to follow the covered trail now. It cuts to the other side of the main trail, west generally toward the merc camp. Whoever has been using it has done an ok job covering tracks to the untrained eye, but it has been a couple dozen at a time. After about a mile and a half it intersects another established trail going north and south.
He returns to the others. Then right to the boulder. Searching, it appears it is covering up a hole.
Damon favors not going in yet. Evan agrees. Back to Walleheim we go with our stag!!
We plop it down and order the cooks to cook it up for everyone. A hearty cheer goes out among the crowd, and the rest of our team arrives and swap stories.
Probably a good thing we didn’t open that boulder, considering the necromancy involved.
Our barkeep says Wilford and Branson tend to favor an old sect, not the Return nor naturists.
Another night gathering more information. Dareth goes to the Walleheim Tavern. Tom visits the religious sect houses Wilson does not visit. John and Garth visit a few brothels with the blue crew, see what they’ve heard. Evan uses the venison as a draw for more people at our Inn and will gather info there with them all a big fan of his. Damon hits a few random smaller taverns.

Tom:
The first visits are men too young to know any details of the area nor have inside info. The last 2 are old school locals with their long loyal flocks. Between the 2 of them, he finds out Wilford seems “different” somehow compared to before he left in his youth; to talk to the head priest at Wilford’s church, for while he always offers his tythes and attendance, he hasn’t been quite as devoted as his ancestors were, does only the superifcial stuff; no personal relationship with the head priest like his father and grandfathers did; has been an odd man seen with Wilford several times in black robes, no one really knows who he is.

Brothels: They find out that there are lots of good prostitutes in town; mercs frequent them on their allowed visit nights but none pay for themselves, its billed to Grigg who then collects from them all individually; brothels have a similar arrangement for food and drink at the taverns; tips however are done individually on the spot.

Evan: Its a good crowd; he runs into one of the local woodsmen who specifically came for the deer, asks who actually shot the deer and Evan says not himself but his friend John; he says its been difficult for locak woodsmen recently cause mercs are hunting and trapping a lot; all of the woodsmen have been specifically told not to go further north than a specific point north of the camp, might be subject to orcish attacks, as a “safe zone”. Mostly they have had to go to the lighter southern hills which is small game, or the SW hills technically illegal as its over the border.

Damon: runs into a couple wandering adventurous warriors, been using Walleheim as a base for months now. One night the mercs were in town, saw couple get into a bar brawl, moments later Grigg arrived and kocked them out cold with a sap and took them away. “Grigg is only half human, no doubt in my mind, from my xp, just not sure what exactly it is.” Warns us to watch ourselves around him, he’s a major bruiser.

Dareth: finds the sheriff and 2 dep’s easily. He intro’s himself right away and starts talking very professionally and precisely. Convinces them rather quickly he is looking out for the best interest of the Baron and the region. They work for the Tharangian gov’t. Sheriff has been here for years now. Found Wilford an uppity brat then and now, concerned more with personal issues. Wilford’s father went out with him and Branson and a few of retinue to hunt, had accident fell off horse hit head on rock and died soon after they brought him back to town. They know the man in black is named Malenko, but he’s had only one interection with him. Brief, but “left a mark on me; if I were to never see him again I’d be happy”. Wilford will have him sit in on his meetings with Ramirez at least some of the time. Has no idea where this Malenko lives; not in town, sheriff and dep’s are certain, and does not seem to be camping with mercs. "Malenko is typically in town about every 3rd day unless for a specific meeting otherwise, and shops for odds and ends for whatever he does. I haven’t seen him in town these last 2 days. He’ll likely be in the shop district tomorrow. Dareth says he may see the sheriff at his office tomorrow for further private word on these matters.

Apr 28

Dareth and Tom to Sheriff, with blue crew. The others go to shopping district before opening time. THey walk around, getting lay of the land, then use the local kids and street urchins to find out where they have seen this man in black visit so as to watch strategic blocks for where he goes today. Perhaps even where he enters and leaves the city.

Market District:
It smells like fresh baked goods all over, lots of craftstmen working already. It takes coin to get the urchins to talk but it works. He visits chemists and alchemists and herbalists mostly, but also random trinket shops for supplies. They show us the locations. They haven’t seen him with anyone else. He walks into town at one of the gates, could be any of them, shop, and leave by the same gate. Always on foot. We strategically position ourselves to hopefully get a few looks at him.
Before lunch, we see him walk down the street. People avoid him and move out of his way far ahead. Food vendors make no attempt to sell to him. Stops at apothecary first. Evan walks by and looks in. He hands the shopkeeper a list, who then gets about collecting with his assistant. He walks out with a good sized bag.
Next we spot him at herbalist shop. Repeats the process.
Then gets some food.
Lastly, the blacksmith, purchasing a set of manacles.
His build is exactly of our Malenko, but we never get a clear look at his hooded face.

Sheriff’s:
Dareth and Damon sit with him in his back office, the blue crew guard out front. Then the 2 of them lay out the evidence we have gathered thus far, and our theories about Wilford.
“If the information is true, it would be a serious infraction to have hired an outside force to destabalize the local gov’t, then bring in a separate such force to ‘fix’ it and put himself in a position of authority.”
He wants to go and talk tothe count, but we don’t want him to tip our hand. Sheriff feels he won’t do anything to him as the Thorangian authority in this town. That would be too risky of a thing to risk Thorangia send troops and investigators to look into the sheriff’s death. He understands we don’t want them to know that someone knows something is going on, though. But, since we have seemingly eliminated the orcs, their plan must change. “If I confront them now, possibly they will make a mistake feeling pushed afterward.” He will tell him he received a letter from the Baron asking him to investigate these allegations, keeping us out it.
He will let all of the dep’s know, if something untoward happends to him, that they must immediately contact the Besestein authority.
Dareth insists he put this in writing, in the unfortunate event. One copy to us, one to his office to be sent to Besestein in such a case, a final one is sent by courier to sheriff in Urberruck.
Evan suggests he wait until tomorrow, day after Malenko is out of town.
He agrees that’s a good idea.
We set up a code phrase as a reply to something we say first, so we know its him.

The reply is a scheduled appointment, noting that Ramirez is coming in for a meeting as well.

Tom to head priest:
He says its been a rather trying year for the church here. The former ruler was such a good friend to church and priest personally. Wilford is just not his father, nor the same as the child he was. His travels seem to have changed him. He was never overly religious to start with, but he did believe in it. Now, he only keeps up appearances. Even seems somewhat anti religious as a rule. His dad would promote religious festivals of all sorts as public affairs. Wilford these last few months has been insistent upon them keeping such things to their own property in their own walls.
Malenko has been in the church once with Wilford for a service “I could feel his gaze upon me the entire time, I could not bring myself to meet his stare”. Felt a kind of tug on his spirit even.
Branson, the priest says was not from a religious family. His father was a personal guard of Wilford’s dad. Became Wilford’s best friend and protector. So far as the priest can tell, same man as when he left but does not know him well to begin with. Keeps to Wilford and other soldiers in the retinue.

Later, we check around about Branson with the cops: Branson does not have much of a social life, never has. Wilford and sons of other guardsmen. Most of those boys grew up to be guardsmen in town. Out of those, only Branson was close with Wilford. We likely have only 2 options to catch Branson by himself: brothel, which he does visit and often; sometimes he will train on his own but its at barracks or Wilford’s house, both difficult to have reason to be allowed into.
Could be that he’s just so simple minded, he’s willing to follow who he thinks is Wilford to anything.
We ask more specifics on the hunt: the group was split up at the time of the dad’s death. From what the sheriff was told, Wilford and his dad and 2 of their men were there when the accident happened. Branson was off with some other men chasing a deer.

Tom gets us stocked up on holy water.

We ride out for the boulder, staggering our exit at different gates, arriving uneventfully.
We move the boulder revealing a hole, Ulik at the ready with his shield.
Opening is large enough for a full grown man to easily pass through. Hole is at an angle. Dareth looks inside with low light vision, a good size shaft slants down only about 3’ where it opens into a small room.
Dareth recommends big Black Tom go first.
Tom orders Max to go first with a torch, but he sees no exit visible, but lots of movement on the dirt floor. Flattened areas where something obviously sat for a while; several loose coins on the ground. He pockets them.
Max “Looks like only a temporary dropoff point. Nothing more.”
Dareth drops in and makes a good search of the floor and walls but finds nothing.

We go and follow the other path again, Evan leading the way, to the N/S main trail. We follow it south until we are approaching the mercs by a couple miles or so. Evan goes ahead on foot by himself.
He gets close enough to hear the sounds from the large encampment; and also voices that aren’t human from the camp direction but closer. Sounds like orcs. He real cautiously edges forward until he definitely knows they are separate from the camp. He goes back and gets Garth to go further forward.
Garth creeps up and sees an area clearer of underbrush and trees. Further down is the human merc camp. Right in front of him is an orc camp, big enough for maybe 3 dozen roundabout. Grigg is here talking to them in orcish. He is pointing around at different orcs in camp then at the humans, and they all have a good laugh at whatever joke it was. He then goest to the human camp. His voice is booming. He starts speaking in human once there.
Definitive proof the orcs and mercs are in cahoots.

Back to Walleheim.

We find our woodsman buddy during the night out, find him with some other woodsman friends at a tavern, and ask him about any ruins or large cave complexes in the area. They come up with 2: a caves in woods to the south, and in hills to north there is an old ruined keep about 25 miles or so north of town. The caves are about 12 or 15 miles from town.

Apr 29

We see sheriff first thing in morning to report about the orcs. We hang out at his office to wait and see what happens when he returns.
Around lunchtime he returns. He gives back the correct code line.
The meeting was with Wilford and Branson. Wilford said if there is a connection tween the orcs, Ramirez/Malenko he’s not sure. Malenko was travelling with the mercs when he arrived but not truly part of their ranks. Wilford claimed they met at first, had nice conversation, came across as very capable advisor so he has been using him in that capacity since. Wilford is concerned about orc connection and promises to talk with Ramirez at their meeting today. He knew nothing about orcs. They feel there was nothing nefarious about his dad’s death. Same story of falling off horse and cracking head on rock. When asked about the mercs threatening Buckholtz, Wilford feels that ‘crazy old man’ misinterpreted them marching near his keep.
Sheriff really feels like none of this has to do with WIlford. Something else going on.

We leave in afternoon north for the ruin. We get our woodsman buddy and pay him to be a guide.
We will ride west over the border and then north into the hills, around the merc area.
None of the priests Tom spoke to have any xp fighting and especially vs undead, so no help from them but for stocking up on holy water.
We decide to spend the rest of the day checking around town for an xp’d holy man/warrior, starting with the temple heads. We get a few names that may be able to assist us. One, if this was 20 yrs ago, would have been perfect. But older now so might not be interested.

While we are in town that afternoon, Ramirez and Grigg enter for their meeting with WIlford. Malenko is not with them.

Dareth and Damon talk to the older man first, named Argehrt. He lives comfortably, obviously quite successful in his youth. Has a servant even. He invites us in. 65 years old! He has lots of quality decorative loot from his prime. He has never heard the name Malenko. He recommends holy water, which we have in plenty, holy symbols, and silver wpns. We lack those, but ask if he has any we could leave collateral for. He does, as well as cold iron!! Concerning a necromancer involved, we should prepare for skeletons, zombies first. More dangerous, ghouls and ghasts and wights. He tells us their strengths and weaknesses.He is skilled vs disease, which could be an issue, and he is willing to help if we return alive. Next up the scale are the incorporeal wraiths and shadows.Anything greater than those subservient to this necromancer, just get out. He’s probably too powerful for only us to deal with. Silver and cold iron have the chance vs the incorporeal. Otherwise, magic wpns or spells. Lacking that, holy symbols to keep them at bay then hit them with the holy water for a chance to hit it as well.
He has his manservant bring out 4 weapons: cold iron mace; silver longsword; silver shortsword; silver dagger.
He leaves and returns himself with and amulet that casts a daylight spell with a command word. It takes some magic power from user to wield it properly.
He surprisingly asks for no payment nor collateral “I can tell from your auras you’re good, trustworthy men.”
He tells us there is a private tavern in the cheaper section of town that is an adventurer’s club essentially. Look there for divine assistance and tell them he sent us and they’ll let us in.
We thank him graciously and take our leave.

We collect Tom and Evan and go to said tavern, drop his name, and the doorman invites us inside but checking our main weapons at the door.
We order drinks and some food. Maybe a dozen guys in here currently. One guy sticks out to us, wears armor but also a large holy symbol around his neck, sitting by himself.
We go over and introduce ourselves, ask him if we can sit. His name is Kristoff. We tell him our basic situation. He does have xp vs undead. Another guy nearby says “don’t listen to that blowhard. He tells everyone who asks him he’s fought whatever they ask about.”
He insists he just ran into a pack of skeletons last week, killed them all. He was in the hills to the SE across the river, investigating an old ruin. Half dozen attacked him in the ruin. He crushed them with his hammer. He says, in truth, he has exaggerated in the past to get jobs but not in this case!
The other guy, robed, says he exaggerates everything. He says we need a caster, and he knows the guy. HImself.
Kristoff admits he can’t cast, but his holy symbol is a family artifact that he knows is effective vs undead.
The robed man volunteers to join us for the right price. His standard is 10gp up front plus travelling expences, and an equal share of treasure. He says he’s an arcanist, specializing in healing and undead. We’ll hire him on. Kristoff too, for just equal share of loot.
Arcanist name is Joseph.
We tell them to meet us at our inn tomorrow morning prepared for at least a few days ride. They accept.

Apr 30

Our new friends meet usand the woodsman Ichabod at our inn and we depart. Joseph gets to use the daylight amulet.

Tom organizes a watch at our camp: Blues; Tom/Garth; Dareth/John.
Dareth takes the longsword; Fritz the mace; Tom the shortsword, Evan the dagger.
The night goes uneventfully until the last watch nearing morning when Dareth hears some noise, like wings flapping. He alerts John and looks upward to see a giant bat flying above the camp going north, in the dark sky above he still thought he may have seen a figure riding the bat. They were just above the canopy.

May 1

We arrive afternoon. We stay much more on alert as we close in in the area. Its an old ruin, quite overgrown. There is a main tower in the center, completely overgrown with ivy and such.
Ichabod makes a check of the area. He finds nothing that sticks out to him as unusual. He then stays back a safe distance with the mounts, and we walk to the complex. We enter through the ruined main gate in the square outer wall. The main central tower is squared, not circular. Ruined outbuildings throughout the grounds. Our trained military eye, we think a fight happened here long ago and the place lost. There is a large hole in back wall,and one on the left side of outer wall as well. A well front right of the tower.

The courtyard is very overgrown with brush, slowing us down. Tom and Max start cutting a swath forward to the tower door first. Dareth and Damon right behind.
Evan and Garth are next, looking for evidence of activity within the foliage but find none.
Kristoff and Ulik are to guard Joseph. John and Fritz watch our rear.
Both Dareth and Damon stop everyone, seeing something moving in the brush just ahead.
Tom and Max ready. Damon realizes what it is just in time to warn Max and Tom “It’s an assassin vine!” and it attacks, as do the vines around us to entangle.
The first 4 are able to dodge the initial entanglement, but we are back to being slowed down there! The actual creature is still 20’ ahead of Tom and Max, and grapples Tom.
He escapes and he and Dareth move toward it.
It goes after Tom again as skeletons start to stand up on either side of our column all over. Max tries to move forward but gets engangled. Damon moves up to try to free Max.
Evan draws his warhammer and moves to block skeletons, Garth readies his shield. JOhn and Max move in to fight them as well.
Ichabod moves up to just outside the entangle area, Ulik and Kristoff guarding him, behind Fritz and John supporting Evan and Garth.
Tom kills the assassin vine after a few hits then turns on the skeletons with everyone else engaged with skeletons. The Joseph lays down positive energy killing 3 skeletons.
WIth the entangling now gone, we are able to concentrate on the skeletons freely, Even requests Joseph to conserve his power and we clean house from there.

Just as we get to the tower, a vine reaches down from the wall of the tower above for Max and grapples him around the neck!
Dareth cuts him free with 2 strokes.
John reaches over and finishes it off with 2 attacks of his pole weapon.
Max and Tom hack our way through the foliage covering and sealing the door itself.
Garth thinks he hears a faint cry for help from the well.
The knights, being a cry of distress, go to investigate.
In the well is a small mouth on the side of the well making the cry.
Dareth “Back, shields up!”
The assassin vine casts its entanglement around us. We all avoid and back away!
Then more skeletons rise from the undergrowth around us all.
Garth is grabbed.
Max and Tom finish cutting the door open. The foliage entangles Damon and the fight starts.
It tires to pull Garth over as it constricts, but he hooks his pick on the side of the well to anchor himself.
Inside the tower is plant free, very dusty.
As the fight wages on, its a titanic grapple battle tween it and Garth trying to not be squeezed and dragged to it. After several attempts he finally escapes as Dareth reaches the Vine.
Dareth engages the vine. Evan and Garth become entangled, but Damon frees himself for the first time and assists Evan. John has been laying waste to a gang on his end.
Dareth finishes it off, and we easily take out the last 3 skeletons.

After a quick breather, Tom and Dareth lead us into the tower. 2 sets of stairs go up to landings, a door left, right, and straight ahead as well.

Tom and Dareth go left first, door is stuck. An armiger at each stairway, John and Max watching the other doors. Damon and Evan backing up Dareth and Tom.
Tom bashes the door open to a long dining hall. A door at the far right end cutting back. There are signs in here of movement, footfalls.
The 4 in the lead enter the room, Joseph moves to the doorway with his 2 guards Ulik and Kristoff.
They walk the length of the room and open the door. Damon’s torch illuminates room that the forward door in the foyer enters into. It’s the kitchen, fireplace on the tower’s back wall in here. Teaming with zombies. Dareth order a step back to use the door as a bottleneck, puts Tom in front to cleave away with his greataxe with Evan backing him up on the flank next to the end of the table. Dareth gets atop the table to cut from above.
Damon runs back and tells them to open the central door to take some heat off of us as they poor through the open door. Tom, Evan and Dareth start hacking away.
The other team forms a wall and lets them into the foyer.
Joseph stands in the doorway to the dining room to react both directions if need be. When Garth opens the door, they are already all stacked up at Tom’s door and pooring through to overwhelm! Tom and Evan are both taken to the ground!!
Ulik yells to John et al “They’re being swarmed!”
Garth sends Max leading them in to hit their rear. Tom is able to stand up immediately, Evan lashes out from the ground as Dareth drops one of his. We finish them off w/o much damage, but we didn’t expect them to act as such a mass. Even Joseph is surprised at the tactic.

We take the door at the far end of the zombie room, its an empty room of only broken furniture. A door leads back into the foyer.
The foyer ceiling is the floor of the 3rd floor. The 2nd floor only has rooms around the perimeter.
The Knights take the right steps, Tom left, to the landings. Left has 2 doors, right has only one.
After 3 hits Sir Garth bursts the door open into a room full of skeletons. Garth makes some room for Dareth, then they push more back so that Evan, Damon and John can get in at which point they handily sweep the room.
One door leads out at the far right end, not locked. Garth leads the way in again to a 20×20 room. Spiral steps upward are faintly visible, but the darkness here is unnatural. The torchlight doesn’t travel far. Soon as Dareth walks in, the torch extinguishes inside. He calls for Joseph to fix this. While he begins, we hear something and smell something bad.
Dareth “Ghoul!”
He orders Garth low and shield high “John in to back us up.”
Joseph finishes his spell, and tosses a pebble imbued with light into the room cancelling the dark.
Dareth and Garth finish them off after John is paralyzed. Fritz leads the way through the end door first. Its locked but he bursts it in 2 tries into a room full of zombies who are ready for him. Fritz drops his flail in favor of his axe, steps aside and Max joins him.
The zombies surge forward as a horde, craming together as they attack, knocking both the blue crew to the ground! Tom is then able to clear a path to get inside, standing atop Max!
Now, the other door at the end of the room opens unleashing a gang of skeletons as well!
After taking a beating getting up, the blues retreat and Ulik enters to assist Tom. The undead are relentless, and hold Tom off for a time. Inevitably he starts clearing space and Fritz steps back inside, followed soon after by Max. Still, it remains hard fighting. Then, something else comes into the room. Long tongue wagging out of its mouth, snarling ferociously with a stench of old death, a Ghast!
Ulik, having just been crit’d in the groin, puking his guts out. It goes at Tom, paralyzing him!! Eeh gads!!
Kristoff enters from the hallway to join in now!
Max picks up Tom’s greataxe and confronts the ghast while Fritz deals with the skeletons taking 3 down!; they ignore the final zombie for now.
Fritz quickly joins him, the last zombie bears down upon Tom and starts to look for a soft spot to eat him!
Fritz and Max slay the ghast! Max rushes to Tom’s aid and kills the zombie! Frits leads the way finishing off the last of the skeletons.

Whew, that was close.

The other door at the stairtop has a hallway with stairs at the end.

We all regroup and go up the staircase Tom’s group found. Sir Garth leads the way followed by Sir John, warily. It leads into an empty room with 2 doorways out. First door we take opens into a hall to another door. The knights with Joseph continue on to that door, the others staying to watch the 2nd door in the room. Our so called undead hunter Kristoff watches the stairway we came up.
The door opens, and Evan yells “Wait” but its too late. The back door has a slab drop tween us and the room!
What we wouldn’t do for a thief.
Garth sees skeletons in the room ahead. A poison gas seeps into the hallway and skeleton room. Damon and Dareth react first, moving into the room to fight. No exit is visible!
At the end of the room, there is a larger skeleton that was once a troll. Ugh. Evan starts inspecting the door for a way to open it, as does Kristoff on the other side. Joseph begins casting.
Tom and Max in despiration try to lift the slab with brute strength.
John joins the fight.
Garth, Damon and Joseph become sickened and 2 con damage from the poison!
Damon is hit with a crit that makes him nauseous for a round.
Tom is unable to lift the slab and wants to move on through the other door. Fritz sees nothing amiss with the doorjam at the other door so opens it, to the immediate moan of zombies!
Damon succumbs to the gas even worse, as does Joseph, both nauseated and down more con. Joseph down a total of 6 con now!
Daman withdraws. Dareth and the troll skeleton finally engage.
Ulik bullrushes the first zombie out of the way to open the door way, and Max takes advantage and moves in. Tom joins him.
The zombies counterattack.
Kristoff has found no way to lift the slab, neither has Evan. We quickly learn there are a few worse things among the zombies. Ghouls.
The skeletons are cleared, making room for Evan to move in to assist Dareth.
Evan finishes off the skeleton troll!!
we notice the poison is done coming in but it still fills the room and hall.
Dareth gets sickened as we start to look for a way to get rid of the poison and/or open the door. They find nothing. Evan is the last still able to be holding his breath.
One of the ghouls is a ghast, when he moves in the stench sickens Fritz.
Tom becomes paralyzed from the ghast!!
Max finishes off the ghast soon after!
Kristoff kills the last 2 zombies and sees a lever in the alcove! Max pulls it. Weepholes open in the floor in the hall and room. In one round, the gas is gone!! The slab opens. We’re free! Only John and Evan are unscathed by the poison.

From the ghoul room we take the south door into a hall with 2 doors: 1 east, 1 west. We take the east. Fritz opens it, Garth next to him at the other door. A door lies straight ahead across the room. The sound of fleshy undead greets us, 2 ghouls. John switches with Gharth and they drop the first. The other backs off, we see 7 more. A couple more at least look different, worse, and not ghasts. Tom orates an inspiring speech. Fritz, Kristoff and Garth move in to block as Joseph is brought for to cast. John prepares to move in behind the lead 3. Dareth steps to block the other door, Max next to him.
The ghouls and other 4 creatures, wights!! attack our line.
Joseph hits the wights in the rear hard with his positive energy, they writhe in the shock of its damage.
Through the door in front of Dareth comes an incorporeal undead!
Another back in the room at our rear!!
Wraiths!!
Dareth draws his silver longsword and attacks. Evan has the silver dagger in the rear and Tom the silver shortsword, he gives it to Damon, for Tom is too hurt. Damon moves to engate with Evan. Ulik backs out down the hall to Joseph.
Dareth to Joseph “The daylight amulet on the wraiths!”
He turns and empowers it, the sunlight comes in a ray upon the wraith and it retreats.
Evan is sapped of 5 con!!
The first room is cleared.
A moment later, the wraith that fled comes out of the wall at Tom!!
Dareth calls for Max and the cold iron mace and runs to assist himself. Ulik steps to cover the closed door Dareth left, Max still there as well.
Fritz arrives immediately to help Dareth.
Garth, Kristof and John ready for the door in the ghoul room to open.
Joseph hits with his positive energy attack on Dareth and Fritz’s wraith in the hall, this time a focused beam rather than a burst.
Evan is hit for more con loss and has to withdraw. Damon kills it!!
Dareth loses 6 con then he slays it.

Evan and Dareth are messed up badly.

Dareth has Max take the lead through the wraith door with Fritz. Max chops at the door around the lock. Garth goes at it with his pick and busts the lock apart.
In we go, Max and Garth leading the way. There is a magical flash as a symbol on the entrance activates.
1 person succeeds: Sir Garth.
Pain wracks us all, minus 4 penalty to most roll.
The room is empty but a ladder leads to the roof. Garth rushes to it and climbs. 3 tries he bursts through it!! He climbs through. He sees the bat far in the distance, the necromancer riding it. He has escaped.

This is his his living quarters. We make a full search but find nothing of import. Then loot the rest of the place.

Loot:
40 cp
18 sp
2321 gp
496 pp
Gems: 35; 45; 4x 50; 55; 65; 70; 90; 2x 110; 350; 2x 450; 550
mst short sw
mst splint
mst morningstar
mst padded armor
adamantine battle axe
6x flasks: oil of arcane mark; oil of bless wpn; oil of obscure object; potion of fox’s cunning; pot remove blindness/deafness; pot tongues
2 scrolls: prot evil; statue
wand: dancing lights

We get back to the camp with the woodman and rest here tonight. After we leave the top floor, the pain goes away later in the night.
One other room of skeletons Garth, using Evan’s warhammer, and Fritz handle them easily.
First, we light the tower and burn it out.

May 2

Uneventful ride toward town.

May 3

Return to Walleheim late afternoon.
First we go to the law, informing the sheriff what went down. He says there have been developements. There was a meeting tween Ramirez and WIlford yesterday morning. Seems Ramirez is packing up his troops for some reason, after a long discussion. He left and the troops began packing up their camp, which they are still doing now.
That was the morning after Malenko fled the tower. Sheriff assumes it was Wilford’s decision. So far as he knows, Malenko has not been here. None of the mercs have come into town so no word on where they are going now.
We have Ichabod leave us now to get any word they have on the mercs and orcs.

Next to Argehrt and inform him in detail of the battles. He has no issue with us keeping his stuff until we leave the region.

We ride out to talk to Ramirez, who greets us with Grigg and a small entourage. He says WIlford paid their wages, told them their services were no longer needed “apparently the orc threat is over, not more sightings around his cousin’s seat”. They plan to continue to Tharangia, toward the coast, looking for work.
Dareth “Did you have your own contingent of orcs working with you, by chance?”
He denies that. “My man Grigg, he can’t stomach orcs.”
Dareth wishes him good luck and much gold.
“Mm hm We plan on it.”

Back to town. No news from Ichabod. Some people in town seem releived the mercs are leaving, others are upset (mostly businesses that made profit from them).

Argehrt lets Evan and Dareth stay the night, treated with his healing skill.

May 4

By moring, Dareth and Evan are back to full ability.
We find Ichabod, who is looking for us as well with a few tidbits of info.

  • There are still orcs in the hills north of Ramirez’s camp, moving about northward while we were gone.
  • A local woodsmen in the hills to the west, around that cave we did not go to in favor of the tower, was trapping and disappeared. Was supposed to return yesterday.
  • It appears as if Wilford has Branson out mobilizing the town’s forces.

To the sheriff. He just found out this moring about the mobilization! One of his deputies told him. Branson was out very very early getting officers organized.
Dareth “You had better let Besestein know something is going on here.” He agrees whole heartedly. He volunteers to send a deputy with Tom to Buckholz.
We feel we need to warn Buckholz and Erberuck of the troop movement, its timing with the Malenko leaving the tower. We think it could be ill omen.
Tom rides for Buckholz. The rest of us go north.

We saddle up and ride out. The Besestein bound dep. travels with us until splitting off.
The Erberuck group, few hours out, see Ramirez train sitting at the pass tween the hills. They moved here last night! No permanent camp set up. They must be on their way to Erberruck. They let us go on by.
Even cuts south through the hills once we are safely past and at the top of the hill range. He will get there tomorrow.

Tom arrives at Buckolz evening to warn them of all that has happened.
“No sir, I don’t like it.” He has a feeling the move is agains the Baron. He tells Tom to stay for the night. Tomorrow, he will ride with Tom, bringing some men, to Walleheim so that he can have a talk with Wilford to straighten this out on his end right quickly.

May 5

Erberruk group arrives early afternoon. Deputy on his way to Besestein.
All seems normal here, Baron sees us immediately. We lay out the happenings.
The Baron still doesn’t want to believe it. The general says he’ll send 3 riders to scout Ramirez approach. He’d like us to stay here in case of orcish attack.

Evan starts out very early for Buckholz and pushes his Dreyan steed. W/in sight of it, he sees Buckholz has been surrounded. The mercs must have come over the hills during the night. Bolsteredy by a contingent of undead. Its Ramirez’s entire force. 300 some mercs and minimum 100 to 150 undead. Evan turns to forced march for Erberuck making it back late tonight. Thank the Masters for the Dreyan horse.
He reports.

Wilford sees this as evidence they are only after Buckholz. He wants to help but he can’t leave his town undefended vs the orcs if they should attack.
We get him to send a rider from town with a local deputy 1st thing in the morning to Besestein to inform them of all this.

May 6

The scout riders return and report WIlford is coming this way, with his army. Likely to arrive tomorrow evening.
The deputy and rider leave at first light.
We know we can’t help Tom’s situation now.
New messengers are sent to Besestein to inform them that Erberuck is directly under attack.
We get to work fortifying the walls etc. Pull people and supplies and food inside the walls.

Later in the day, some townsfolk rush in from the west screaming in panic: the orcs are here. Slaughtered 20 people, burning farm. There are a lot of them.
Dareth gathers Langly and his men, with ourselves, and we ride out to block them from hitting more citizens and supplies.

At the homestead attacked, everything is dead and destroyed.
To the NW we see a group of them running for the next target.
We move to ride them down. 30 orcs in this group. Our 8 plus Langly and his cpt take the lead. The lt. leads the other men around the position to hit them in the rear once we soften them up.
One who is in the rear is clearly barking orders to the others with a small contingent of guard around him.
There are a handful with longspears, but not enough to concern us. They put them in their 2nd rank as well. 4 die, at the lance of Dareth, Evan, Max and Fritz; 3 are gravely injured. Langly, on one wing, is able to use our assault to get around to the unit’s 2nd in command and crits him twice DEAD!!
The orc leader sends his 4 guard in at the first 3 momentarily unengaged: Garth, John, and 2 on Langley.
The rest of the cavalry hit from their rear now that we have killed most of them, the orc leader standing alone in their path.
Dareth once free charges the orc leader as Daman moves in to help Langley and cuts the orc’s spine, paralyzing him.
When Langley’s men get there, the fight is utterly over.

Back to town.
The majority of the cav stay out watching for other warbands and protecting homesteaders as they gather supplies and make for the city.
We continue fortifying the wooden wall, organize, et al.

Back to Buckholz keep and Tom:

Buck to Tom after they realize the force approaching ‘I have plenty of supplies to last a long time, but I don’t have the men to hold off an army, outnumbering me more than 10 to 1 including undead. If they all out attack, we won’t last long; hoping they are either overestimating what I have in here and so are cautious or their might be a reason to let the siege drag on if they are trying to reach some other purpose and only trap me; we will find out soon enough’.
Tom has placed himself and his mount at the front gate.

Now, this morning, everyone is in place. Peasants sheltered inside, being handed weapons and armored to all who can possibly fight.
It does not appear that they are ready to attack today. Lots of milling about, a camp is set up. They put up their own defenses vs sorties from the inside. The undead form a circle between the troops and the keep, staring our direction.

They pass out holy water amongs the front line defenses. Also, they have the typical siege defenses like boiling oil, murder holes, etc. The defenses are stone also, not wooden walls.

Otherwise, uneventful day.

May 7

Erberruck:
The Walleheim Army arrives and begins to organize. Shortly thereafter, more orcs arrive in the hills. Sir Branson comes forward, announcing to the wall “My Lord Wilford would like an audience with his cousin to discuss terms for surrender and abdication of this throne.”
Wilford says he’ll go speak to him.
Evan “NO!”
This guy has an army of undead he is allied to, and we’re supposed to trust his parlay? Um, no.
He has Langley announce they are not going to leave the confines of the city to negotiate, if they want to parlay they must come into town.
Branson is confused “Wait, hold on” and rides back into the camp. He returns with a small contingent including Wilford and agree to speak at the gates, neither of us in direct harms way of the other force.

The sides meet at one of the mandoors by the gate. Sir Garth and Sir Daman accompany our side. Wilford tells his cousin he is a weak leader and should not be Baron any longer, proven by the actions in the last few months. If not for these new men assisting, he would have lost his holdings to the marauding orcs alone. “I on the other hand had no raiding around my town and in fact made an alliance with the remaining orcs to keep them from raiding.” He asks the Baron to surrender peacefully and abdicate, he does not want to slaughter anyone.
The Baron is taken aback “Why like this?” Wilford says that on his travels abroad, things were made clear to him by someone whom he now call a friend. Malenko. Jonas says he refuses to give up the throne for nothing but threats. Garth insists they orcs were camped with Ramirez, they were working with them the entire time.
WIlford is shocked by this. We explain the entire sight we saw with Grigg talking to the orcs. We tell him he has been played by Malenko and Ramirez.
Wilford is taken aback.
Jonas “You see, if you wre truly concerned with the people rather than power, you would have seen this under your nose.”
We tell him what the old sage said about Malenko back in the day.
We tell him how we eliminated the keep of undead to the north, and still had the cave full to the south.
He has no idea about the bat mount either.
WIlford is almost speechless about all of this. Malenko’s potential power, his scheming behind Wilford’s back.
He asks for a day to sort this out.
Garth “The question is, does Buckholz have a day?”
Ok, he says he’ll be back tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn.
Garth says to not communicate with Makenko in any way.

Back inside, Wilford is very depressed, having been utterly convinces his cousin would never betray him like this.
Dareth “This Malenko is likely a master manipulator. This likely never would have occured if not for him.”

Tonight, at dusk one of the guards on the orc side is approached by an orc. It yells in common “Humans, we have a gift for you” and throws something over the wall.
A human head, the head of the 2nd deputy sent to Tharangia, from here, once we knew Walleheim was coming this way. Then “We’ll be back tomorrow” and runs off to his camp.

We decide to play it careful, and send a 2 groups to watch the hill lines flanking WIlford’s camp in case the orcs make any kind of assassination attempt on him.
Closing in at midnight, they return to report seeing several bands of orcs moving around the town. The main body is spreading out to close off the town. Advanced elements were heading along faster toward the front of the town.
Evan “We had best warn Wilford.”
Dareth “Tell everyone to prepare for a night attack.”
John and the blue crew are to stay here. Langly too to watch is charge. The rest of us will go out with the cavalry.
The sentries send word back and Wilford and Branson meet us and we tell him what’s happening.
WIlford is still not thinking clearly, very slow.
While we are talking we hear a scream and orcish voices.
WIlford “Sound the alarm. we’re being attacked!” Branson bellows for the cpt of the guard to rouse the troops.
Torches on the outer perimeter are being extinguished by the orcs.
Garth “Lots of light, keep the light going!”
Branson grabs WIlford “You need to go with them, get into the town. I’ll rally the troops here. If your cousin can send out reinforcements to help, send them. If not, we’ll try to fight out way into the town. It does not look liek, though, our men can stand up to this very long.”
WIlford mounts and joins us making for town.
Dareth “Good luck, Branson.”
We start getting everyone ready, they are coming.
We get the cavalry ready at the gate to go and help Wilford’s men get inside if possible.
WIlford has no idea now how many might be out there.
Flaming arrows are shot into the field tween us and the camp to make light.
Langley watches the fight with a field glass. He says if we’re going to help, we need to do so now. The ambush was thourough.
Dareth “Let’s go.”

On the way we meet a few stray orcs and ride them down.
At the camp, dead bodies are strewn about. We have to ride into the camp some to get to the fighting. Many are still unarmored.
Deeper in, Branson and a contingent of troops have formed a circle, completely surrounded. The orc number isn’t an overwhelming force, however. Enough that Branson and his force would be greatly reduced.
We hit them viciously in the rear. The orcs bolt. As fast as possible, we get the survivors into the town. A few men go down on the way from arrows out of the darknes.
Out of almost 200 men he had brought, there are about 50 left.
If we wouldn’t have been scouting, they would have been wiped out.

We find out the first thing Wilford did was talk to Malenko, questioning the arrangement! Why! Why would he do that, this idiot!!
Malenko’s answer to discussing the arrangement “I will send you a response by tomorrow morning”. This attack was his response.
Wilford has a total breakdown, innocent men he served up to the slaughter, and knows he was duped. His town has only militia and a small home guard.
Good news for him, we know Ramirez and Malenko are both with the undead.
His communication method was a crystal ball. Its still in his tent, unfortunately.

The orcs complete a circle around the city before morning. However, its a thin defense the entire way around, Though they have easily their largest body blocking the front way out. Attacking with half our strength, we would probably have that body outnumbered. But, then other orcs would likely move in. Grigg is nowhere in sight. Using the town’s seeing glass, the leadership is at the front gate body. A second in command at the back gate.
It appears they are here to pin us in so that we don’t leave to assist Buckholz.
We need to sortie out, front and rear command, and do it early so that we can get to Tom before he’s dead.
Damon thinks we should attack both at once, so that we can send the opposite side’s head to them as a gift.

May 8

Buckholz and Tom:

First light, Malenko from a distance, magically from this distance, calls out for Buckholz to come to the wall, Tom is staying at his side.
Buck “What do you want you decrepid old bastard?”
Mal “If you care for the people in your keep, you will give me what I want.”
Buck “I don’t know what you want.”
Mal “Well then I’ll tell you what I want, make it clear for you to understand…” He wants an item stolen from Mal years ago (when his group thought Mal was dead) and I want you dead. IF you people in the keep send out Buckholz and my magical orb, the rest of you will live. If I do not have both in front of me tomorrow morning, you all die. Think on it. EVery last one of you. 1 day to make your decision."
Buck knows the orb, but he really did think Mal was dead at the time. All he knows is that when he touches it, it sometimes gives him visions, almost always accurate. The future. Buck doesn’t know why he insists on his death, rather than just wanting the orb, other than he’s a nasty necromancer.
One of his best men asks if there is anything about Mal’s death he left out, why he’s so mad at Buck.
‘Well, maybe we didn’t do anything to him but maybe we didn’t exactly help him either". He was supposed to defeat this undead creature we were fighting and he did, only he disappeared as he said before, both destroyed by the other.
The stuff taken was stuff he wasn’t carrying on him typically into a fight.

There is no siege equipment in the enemy camp, save battering rams we assume. So its up to them to scale the walls and/or bust the gate in. But, they have undead.
The rear third of the town is very defensible as it us up against a very steep hillside, almost a cliff. The peasants are scared #&^$less. His retinue of soldiery are nervous but their resolves is strong and they have a lot of confidence in Buckholz.
Tom would not trust this Malenko even if Buckholz gave up himself and the orb. Buckholz says though Mal is surely evil, he was never an oathbreaker. He’s confident there will be no attack until the next day.

There is a final feast by Buck with his leadership and Tom.
He shows Bal the Orb. Its deep black, but looking at it deeply he sees a sort of swirling motion within. All Buck knows is that Mal would could use it to communicate with others. The one time he saw it, it seemed Mal only sat in front of it and concentrated on the person he wanted to talk communicate with.
Buck says that as they old adv party was together for years, they got to the point where they all were thinking about what to do afterwards. Around here they began to realize Mal was a bit off the rocker. He acted more flexible in the good/evil doing area over time. That’s why they let Mal handle the Lich business rather than help him.
Buck thinks he has gotten messages via the orb before, but they were all trying to contact Mal who he figured had no idea he was dead. When Buck would show himself, they would realize the mistake and go away.
So some sort of network out there? Plus he thinks his dream visions of the future originate from the orb’s presence as well.

Eberruck:

Wilford, Branson and Langley go out the back door with WIlford’s remaining force plus enough locals to outnumber them about 1.5/1. Dareth sends Sir John to make sure the job is done back there. Ulik as well as John’s shield bearer.
The rest go out the front with Langley’s cavalry and a larger force of 100.
Leaving a couple dozen or so soldiers to command the militia guarding the walls. The cav and 30 inf will hit the orcs. A wing of 20 inf. on each side will protect the flanks from attacks from the hills.
They are in a state of preparedness with guards et al, but not in organized battle lines. Much are in camp. We attack fast out of the gate rather than form up fully first. They aren’t far enough from the gate either to form up much either.

In the rear, the orcs’ first reaction to our attack is utter disbelief at humans attacking out of their safe town. Their guard line is cut through with little effort. Couple runners from the sub commanders tent take off in opposite directions. We stay in a unit and fight our way to him.
The 2nd wave are a bit tougher, but we cut through them just the same. Next, a squad of them trying to purposefully block us from getting to the leader, led by a sgt. We get through them with only a little effort as well.
At this point, we hear horns sounding from the flanks. Signals are going off for reinforcements.
In front of us now stands the subchief and his personal retinue. He sends the 6 others after our 5, 2 vs Wilford intentionally. Branson has been a killing machine in this attack, with only John keeping up with his death dealing. He is the first free, and has to assist Wilford his liege. John is next to be free after a massive chop to the skull, but in trying to then help Ulik he fumbles and nicks Ulik instead. One of Wilford’s 2 foes turns to Branson, so the leader of the orcs here moves in now vs Sir John, who hits it once with his pole weapon as it moves to him. Langley then cuts his down with a sickening cut.
Langley joins John now, as Ulik takes his man down. Wilford and Branson kill their 2 simultaneously. Langley and John both hit the leader DEAD!!!
John decapitates it, grabs the head.
Langley “Everyone, back in the city!!!!” We have time to get anyone wounded badly back in with us. As we close the gate, we see the orc reinforcements show up too late!
They turn to their camp to find the leader dead, throwing them into disarray and confusion.

The front of the town:

At our charging exit from the gate, the guards watching out cry out a grisly screech of shock, but get ready faster than those in the rear. We ride over the initial rank like it doesn’t exist, and keep charging forward into the camp. The cav with us mix spear with horse archery to support us. The 2nd attack is much the same except Damon fumbles, dehorsed and prone; and one of the blue crew did not kill his man, but he’ll be speared or shot down by Langley’s men behind us. The Crimson Knights lances are laying waste.
We continue forward, Damon’s horse following the mass.
He joins the infantray behind.

We then come to the final line with the leader and his retinue behind. All but Max lance through the line. We dismount and move in vs the leader and his 8 bodyguard who doubleteam Fritz, Evan, Dareth and Garth. Like those in the rear attack, these guard are hulking orcs with greataxes. The infantry is fully engaged throughout the camp, Damon assisting them now. Garth crits with his pick, pinning the orc’s arm and negating his greataxe attack for the time being!
Fritz hits his first right in the throat crit, the orc starts trying to gasp for air but can’t breath properly. Max kills his and joins us, taking one of Garth’s off of him and is promptly crit’d.
Evan then crits, pushing the orc into his partner on Evan knocking him prone.
Max cuts his orc’s belly open, causing con. bleed!! He finishes it off soon after.
Dareth to the surprise of all is then hit and crit’d! But he kills one right after.
Garth’s foe finally gets his arm free and resumes attacking.
Fritz whiffs, then stumbles prone to the ground! The orc whose throat was injured falls to the ground ko’d.
The fight wages on as the Chief moves in vs Max.
Garth is next to engage the leader as Max disengages, then Dareth is the next able to join him.
Dareth finishes the leader off DEAD!!!
Evan is the last with an orc on him, and promptly cuts it down. Max takes the head.
We mount up and ride back, gathering all the troops and make our way back toward the gate. Some reinforcements have shown up, but they have been held off by the flank guards we left, enough for us to make it back into the city.
It doesn’t take lone for the orcs to discover their leaders have been slain and for the word to pass around their camps. They flee the scene.

Dareth “We need to make for Buckholz.”
Wilford recommends us try to use his orb to contact Malenko and show him the 2 dead orc leaders head.
It’s a fine idea. We check his tent in the camp, and the orb is still there.
Wilford says the command word and it activates. Soon enough, we see the wizard’s face appear. He tries to claim the orcs misinterpreted his instructions somehow. Wilford isn’t having any of it, telling Malenko to pull out now and leave Buck alone.
Mal “Interesting theory that you could come here and break this siege, but I know the army that you have available, the time it would take to move it down here. I’m sorry to tell you this situation will be quite over by the time you arrive. Come if you must, but you will not have any way of communicating with me again.” The orb goes black, begins to crack. We all get out of the way before it explodes.
No orb is found in the orc encampment remnants.

Dareth wants everyone going ASAP regardless of what this Malenko said, so we make it happen. Jonas is afraid to give us too many, the orcs may still be out there somewhere.
The cavalry were unscathed. Langley, Branson and Wilford will join us. Jonas, after dead, wounded and what he needs to keep here, sends another 70 men plus the cavalry.
After only a few hours we are ready. That’s when a rider, the first deputy we sent to Besestein before we knew the full story, arrives. He is shocked and distraught at the carnage.
He has good news: The governor was sufficiently alarmed by the large merc force in his area, plus working with a necromancer and orcs, to warrant sending a contingent of soldiers as a show of force. But, they’re heading for Walleheim to investigate Ramirez. There are 100 Thorangian Army soldiers led by a small contingent of Norrisites.
We give the rider the situation and send him with a fresh horse to intercept them and tell them about Buckholz situation.
We’ll still be outnumbered, plus there’s the undead, but we have Crimson Knights and Norrisites!!
All of our infantry are gifted mounts from the town, plus the extra horses in the enemy camp, plus that of the city and Jonas.

The rider intercepts the allied force before they get into the pass to Walleheim. We are behind him. They stop there and we arrive tonight and meet them. We detail what’s been going on, and the dire situation of Tom and Buckholz. Dareth wants to ride our cavalry forces ahead of the main body tomorrow. If we get there and the siege is underway, we can use the fact that they have committed troops to the walls to hit their rear and delay things. If not, we’ll wait for the rest of the army.
The Norrisite commander agrees.

May 9

At Erberruk:
We march south all together to Buckholz. The mounted forces riding ahead as planned.

At Buckholz:

Morning, Malenko wants his answer “Do you come to face your doom old man, or am I to kill everyone?”
Buckholz sternly refuses.
Malenko smerks “The answer i was hoping for” waves his hand and the undead skeletons and zombies charge the wall.
Tom turns to the men and gives an impromptu rousing speech to the men.
Buckholz is wondering what these undead are going to do once at the wall with no siege equipment.
They get to the wall and act frightening but nothing more. So far, seems a tactic to panic the defenders. And, no one has any chance at getting out.
Tom keeps everyone in line “Chuck was once bitten by a venemous snake. After 3 agonizing days, the snake perished!! We shall be the Chuck, they shall be the snakes!!” Buckholz bolsters the men as well.

Then, a force of Ramirez men step forward with their bows and fire several volleys. Tom and Buckholz “Behind the battlements, shields up!” Only a few minor scratches.
More demoralizing tactics, showing us we can do nothing, they can do whatever they want.
Next, small groups of 2 or 3 dozen mercs approach in turn approach different parts of the walls, archers keeping our heads down while they do so, close enough to hurl javelins and spears and axes. Still, not doing anything for effect.
Buckholz “They are testing our resolve, what our response is.”
This goes on for a couple hours or so.

Units of men begin to form up, make a shield wall defense, then a battering ram in the midst of the defense.
Buckholz “Damn.”
Tom “When are the damn bastards going to attack the walls?”
Buck “If their ram at the gate fails, that’s likely their next plan. This is a severe test. Good news is if they break through the main gate they still have the portcullis and defenses in between to contend with. Bad news, if the gate goes, and the portcullis does somehow get breached the undead can swarm in.”
They could sortie out, if not for the swarming undead.
Buck orders his bowmen to concentrate fire upon their ramming force as soon as they get to the door and they have to loosen the defensive formation.
He has them bring 1 cauldron of boiling oil to the ready there as well,and fire to add if needed.
Their archers volley to give it cover as it steadily approaches. Once at the gate, our archers loose into them. Once they are about to ram, Buck and Tom dump the boiling oil down onto them. That breaks up part of the shield formation, the archers start hitting it and Tom drops the torch into the oil, lighting it up. They soon break and run away. Their archers cover fire.
Buck’s men start to cheer, but he stops that with the reality of the situation, getting them back in line and serious. “They are prolonging this for a reason. Could me Malenko is a sadist, and wants to see me squirm. Or another ulterior motive.”

A few more probe attacks as before, a bit more daring with each one. The put markers on the ground for some purpose during the last several.

Now mid afternoon. Ramirez soldiers get 8 ladders at the ready, to Buckholz’s chagrin.
That averages to 4 defenders per assault point on the wall. Ugh. He instructs his men to first and foremost, strategy to get the ladders off the wall.
Ramirez men come to the wall in their 8 attack groups, archers covering until they arrive. 4 guys carry each ladder, accompanied by 6 others (2 or 3 with xbows to fire at us as cover).
Tom is at one, cutting both legs below the metal clasper’s reinforcement. It falls with the man on it who thuds to the ground. Couple others get dislodge as well. Couple other places where a few foes have gotten onto the wall.
Buckholz calls for Tom to join him immediately at the battlement above the gate, they are bringing another ram into play while we are distracted!
To Tom “The only way to stop this ram is to drop something on it. And all we have is this battlement.” He and Tom have to separate the stone atop here.
They go to work with hammer and great axe. Tom uses his feat of dedication for axe mastery 2 vs hardness.
The men below begin to ram the gate.
They loosen it before they break the gate down and push it over, directly onto the ram!! Splintering its nose in half and ruining it!!
The skirmishes on the walls are won by Buck’s men and the other men retreat.

Food has been made and brought out for lunch by the young and female peasants. The feints and probes by squad continue though. There is no real rest. We have lost no men though up to a third are wounded to one degree or another. Buck rotates the wounded to interior defenses like murder holes and such.

Malenko soon approaches the keep again, addressing the men inside generally. He plays on their horrible deaths for only 1 man. “If you men will but give me your leader as a showiTom insists his friends will be here, some how, some way, to help us. Just hold out.ng of your fealty to me, i will spare all of your lives”.
Tom decries this, knowing this Malenko will screw everyone in the end.
Mal is smooth, his request seems very convincing. But, Buck’s men are far too loyal to fall for this. The common man who can hear him begin voicing their displeasure though, as in “Why do we have to die for your fight!”
The peasantry is getting upset. They don’t want to turn on their lord, but they also don’t want to be eaten by nor turned into undead.

All the dead Ramirez men have been animated as zombies.
Malenko summons a massive bolt of lightning from the sky which strikes a vacant part of the wall, blasting off a piece.

Buck explains to his people the liar that Mal is, that he’ll slaughter them all, his deals are hollow.
Tom insists they must hold out, his friends somehow will arrive to help! Just hold out.

Mal returns and meets with Ramirez and Grigg. Then, they start to form up the men into ranks for a major assault.
Buck’s men hold fast, but lack the bravado of this morning.
Buck to Tom “Any bright ideas, boy?”
Tom “Hold out long enough.”
Buck says they will break the gate this time. If they get a foothold on the wall or the portcullis weakens, all are to retreat to main house “Me and the boy here will hold the rear. We have to hope that by divine providence all of our people aren’t slaughtered outright.”
Tom convinces him to get all the noncombatants in the main building now. The impromptu militia will hold the entryways there as a secondary defense.
They attack all along the length of the wall with siege ladders.
Buck hopes Tom is right “because if not……”
Tom gets himself mounted at the entryway.
They attack all along the length of the wall with siege ladders and the ram starts hitting the gate which is burst quickly. Oil is dumped into the gap tween the gate and portcullis.
Buck is on the wall leading the defense there. Its too many, Ramirez men start to overwhelm. Buck orders all to the main house!! He points out to the field “If it’s the last thing I do, I’ll kill you wizard!” and retreats with his men from the walls.
Tom sees zombies, not humans, come to the portcullis. The gate starts to lift!!! No one is at it, its magic. Tom runs to the winch to muscle it but can’t stop it!!!
Tom takes his great helm off and jams the rungs with it!! It stops.
He jams his hvy steel shield into it as well. The port is a couple feet up though. A crawl to get under. The zombies are too dumb to do this on their own. Mal is still trying to lift it, not knowing exactly what is stopping it.
Men are still flooding onto the walls. Buck arrives “Good job boyo, now let’s get to the house!”
They get there only running into a couple of foes who die fast under their blows.
All alive get in and fortify. Its a strong redoubt.
Women and kids are sent furthest back and up and the root cellar for safety.
Men are put into defensive position.

Meanwhile, Ramirez men start looting all they can find and killing any stragglers. They unblock the portcullis and the undead pour through and surround the house.
Malenko himself now walks into the courtyard “Now I have you trapped like the rat you are. You have only delayed the inevitable”; requests Buck surrender honorably with the orb and save his peoples’ lives, insisting he’ll kill only Buckholz.
Buck looks to Tom “You’re sure you have reinforcements coming?”
Tom insists his friends will arrive, though he himself has no idea if Dareth et al even know of the situation.
Buck “All right, i won’t surrender myself to him then.”
The enemy set up a perimeter. The undead beat on the doors and shutters causing unrest and fear inside. Otherwise, they seem content to hunker down.

It’s here during the early stages of this waiting game that Dareth and the cav arrive and see the situation, including a warband of orcs in their ranks.
We are actually relieved, since by the look of things w/in the walls there are people alive to be saved. Seeing this, we meet back up with the Thorangian force to bring them forward, detailing the situation. The enemy number mid 300’s, with over 100 undead now.
Col Braddock of the Norrisites meets with the Crimson Knights. He wants to hit part of their rear force outside with some cav, then quickly pull back behind the hill. Hopefully that will draw them that direction and into a trap around the bend. Taking out a portion of their force before they know what our full strength is. Then move into a more straight up fight. Dareth thinks the Norrisite elite team should go along the wall via the rear, unseen, and make sure that portcullis stays open. If it is closed to us, we can’t help anyone inside.
Braddock agrees, and will send his men to do so. He leads the main force.

The undead relentlessly probe the defenses of the house nonstop. We have to hope the building holds.
We make camp, no fires, and rest up.

May 10

About an hour before sunrise we plan and organize. The Norrisites leave to keep the portcullis open. The Thorangians have 20 cav to join us and Langley’s men.
The enemy have a main camp, and a smaller camp just outside the wall with the orcs and some mercs, with Ramirez, Mal, and Grigg as well.
We plan to hit the larger camp, closer to us. Then Dareth changes his mind. He wants to hit the leadership in one terrible assault. Have the rangers actually close the portcullis and keep it that way, so they can’t reinforcde Malenko. Dareth figures mal is the key to the undead, the more we think about it the more we realize we can’t beat this force man to man, its too many. Killing or making Mal flee out of range is the key to beating the undead.
Braddock signals with a mirror to his men the change in plan. They signal back affirmative.
When their larger camp finally reacts, our main force will then surprise their rear from around the hillside.
Garth says we can get our force up and over the edge of the hills unseen and charge out of there, down the hill, coming out closer to them before they see us. And we won’t ride past the main camp either.
Langley is with us, Wilford and Branson will be with Braddock and the infantry. Blue crew are with the cav.

Garth leads us over the hill and down we charge. Once we are seen, the guards at the target camp start blowing horns of warning.
The main camp missed us altogether, and blow their alert only in reaction to the leadership camp warning. The target camp is running for weapons to form up against our assault.
Ramirez mounts up with a few others, dons a great helm and lance himself.
Malenko stands behind everyone. He begins to motion toward the undead, but the portcullis drops. His jaw drops right after, his shock and surprise clearly visible even at a distance.

They have no pole weapons. As we near, Dareth orders all into a wedge, his tactics allowing for a squeezing of the formation to pierce through their line so we can get to the leadership. We hit their defensive line with bloody authority, breaking the defense in half like a hot dagger through butter. The knights, Ulek and the blue crew make right for the command structure.
Only Ramirez is mounted. Sir Garth and Lord Blackpool mounted charge for Grigg; Dareth and Sir Damon to Ramirez himself, who charges with lance in turn. John, Ulek, and the blue crew dismount and go at 6 orcs and 3 other human officers.
Grigg lets loose with a terrible battle howl. It shakens the blue crew and Damon; Garth as well, but also causing him to veer away from fighting the greatsword wielding Grigg and into the orcs et al instead, leaving Evan alone vs the huge massive behemoth!! Eeh gads!
3 orcs attack Garth, 1 each also on the blues and Ulek.
John changes plans and charges to support Evan vs Grigg.
The 3 human officers then double up with an orc each on the blues and Ulek.
There are criticals all over early on. Ramirez is highly skilled, better than either Dareth and Damon but he takes a larger lance shot from Dareth than he gave.
Max is the first to withdraw from the fight with 2 hp left, a moment later John is dropped by Grigg.
Suddenly Tom comes charging out of the gate upon Skyrling!! The Norrisites were accosted on the walls, drawing enough attention that Buckholz sortied out and cut a path to the gate. A Norrisite then opened the portcullis!! He charges into the gang of orcs and humans and takes the biggest orc down, who took Max out of the fight!
Grigg then takes Evan down!! Frothing with fury.
Garth then kills one of the orcs.
Fritz then takes down one of the human officers.
Grigg, freed up, runs to assist Ramirez and hits Dareth.
Tom drops a human!
Damon is dropped by Ramirez.
Ulek and Garth each drops an orc.
Tom free now, moves to Dareth and attacks Grigg.
Dareth has been holding on by a thread for 2 rounds now.
The fight has remained full of crits, especially against us unfortunately.
Tom drops Grigg with a mighty critical!! Thank the Masters for Tom arriving!!
Ramirez finally is able to drop Dareth!! He then fumbles, his blade is stuck in Dareth’s armor! Even in potential death the Knight Cpt. assists!
Fritz drops an orc.
A terrible crit on Ulik drops his dex 5 by the last human.
Tom engages Ramirez now. Skyrling batters Ramirez’s mount as well with 2 crits.
Ramirez frees his blade unfortunately and retaliates.
Fritz is free and rushes Ramirez.
Tom hits Ramirez for 2 max damage shots! Skyrling drops Ramirez’s horse! Ramirez lands deftly then drops Tom and hits Skyrling twice. Fritz continues his attack.
Ulek drops the last human!
Skyrling, Fritz and Ramirez battle it out, Ramirez turning to Fritz and takes him down with 3 shots!!
Max charges in upon Ramirez to avenge his best friend and hits 16 DOWN!!!
Garth drops the last orc right after!!!
Only Garth, Ulek and Max remain standing.

Malenko has vanished, the armies win the battle with all their leadership stuck with us!! They surrender. Near the end of our fight with the officers, the undead all abruptly collapsed.
Buck saw Mal flying away on his Giant bat not long after our initial assault on Ramirez’s men.
His orb, however, is gone from Buck’s house. We have no clue how he got it out.
Neither Grigg nor Ramirez are dead. They are taken prisoner by Braddock. His surviving mercs are also taken into custody.

We are given medical attention, much needed. Dareth and Fritz almost died.

May 11 through 13

Rest and recoup.

Loot:
GP 236

SP 116

CP 73

EP 0

PP 176

Gems: agate 12; aquamarine 400; bl pearl 400, 600; bloodstone 50; carnelion 35, 50; cryssabasell 90; deep blue spinel 10, 110; fresh wtr pearl 12; garnet 80; jasper 45, 65; malachite 8; moonstone 35, 40; pyrite 9,10; quartz 10, 45; pearl 120; sardony 25, 25; smokey quartz 45; topaz 250, 300; zyrcon 25, 30

Jewelry: 2 signet rings 20 ea

spear lvl 3

trident lvl 3

breastplate 1 ability

Holy Symbol: prominent symbol of Madiic (sp?), drop of blood, sheaf of grain; similar to returnist Peldanites

Mundane

panflute

portable ram (20lb)

sedan chair 100

12 boxes of 20 candles

10 pitons

cauldron

chandolier of gold 50

high quality anvil for uncommon metals

outfits (high quality but 200 plus years old): 2x courtier, explorer, cold weather, 2x noble

May 14

Leave for and arrive Besestein.

May 15

Leave for and arrive Furch.

May 16 to 20

On road to meet carnival.

May 21

Arrive Imbrundia and carnival, on 3rd day of the Spring Festival.

Notes:

Ichabod: woodsman; expert 5/warr 1 thereabouts

View
Dwarrowhill Mine

Late overnight April 16/17 the party arrives Darrowhill.

April 17

Wake and go to town of Silverton, arrive by lunch.
At breakfast, we are approached by an old gentleman who says he’s the leader of the miners guild in Silverton named Laglidin Cladinias. Asks us if we are the men that have been sent here to investigate the problem at the mine. He says the town leaders received a message by carrier pidgeon, saying to watch for my associates arriving to investigate your problem. Signed by one Mr. Burns.
Malenko “Yes we are.”
“Very good.”
Silverton is a small mining village, grew from Gannu merchant family starting things here. The patriarch Jasper discovered silver here 100 years ago. He spent life savings on mining operation, town then grew from the mine’s success. Many other silver mines found in the area since then. Most are actualy owned by outside interests. Local populace does the mining, storage, caravan work, etc. Several raids on shipments going from here. Goblin raiders come from the hills and overwhelm them.
The original mine (east of town): After several months of mining, a large underground chamber littered with bones was discovered, with huge silver nuggets. Miners were frightened, so priests were brought into bless and excorsise the mine.
2 and a half years to the day after the first vein discovered, broke into a deep pocket unleashing a vampire!!! More than 20 miners were killed before they were ablet o push her back into her lair..
Malenko “Oooh, a her.” Dahlia knew he’d say that.
“….they were able to use magic to lock her away. The miners turned on Jasper. He was lynched, wife, pregnant with child, run out of town. As they were chased out, the folk yelled curses, burned down their house, grounds of house sown with thorny vines to never be used again. Family has never been back.
They blamed Jasper for pushing the mine deeper and deeper past the bone room, which they felt should have warned them to cease. Jasper had become too greedy.
This mine was the most profitable. They closed it up permantly post vampire.
All other mines have been found to west of Silverton.

No one knows where the goblins come from, but suspicion is the mine is their camp since they might know that no man goes near it. Most of the transit goes south toward Dwarrowhill. From there goes all over. The shipments are being hit tween mines and Dwarrowhill.
Attacks have been happening for a few months. About a month ago, some of the mines to the west were sabotaged, equipment stolen.

If we succeed, we will be rewarded handsomely.

Caravans don’t run on set schedule, just leave when enough ore is ready to go. Also, the goblins don’t hit EVERY caravan. The ones lesser guarded are the ones generally hit.
Elric “What determines how many guards are with a given shipment?”
“Whoever is in charge of the shipment. There is a minimum that the guild/Silverton provide. After that, its up to each individual mine owner, or his distributer, etc. Some will pay extray money, others don’t. It’s random, though bigger the shipment, more they are willing to pay.”
Typical attack of goblins is in the dozens.
Elric “Let us know while we are here before any shipments leave of a small enough size to be attacked.”

In town, we lunch et al, get word on on other rimportant people:

  • Forbear the Smith, also the sheriff; he’s a huge man; can make mst. work stuff!
  • Blass Anains the speaker to the town council for years, and owner of SIlver Cup Inn, where we stay. A 2 story Inn.
  • Rena the midwife: trustworthy, herbalist, healer; has small bit of Adept magical ability
  • Moses Ereint the town judge, owns Rusted Pick
    All have lived here for years, and middle age at least.

Rusted Pick trade goods: general store; no weapons nor armor
The House of Thorns, Jasper’s old place, is halfway tween the town and the old mine which is about 8 miles into the mt’s to east.
One church in town, a god of earth and wealth.

Early evening, main townsfolk begin to show up. A local bard arrives as well, moved here 4 months ago. Gar figures he’s a spy.
Gar tells Malenko to send the wraith to scout out the old Jasper house ruins.
Jeb leaves to the nearest mine that was sabotaged/stolen from, with Elric and wolfy. He will talk to the miners for details.
Gar and Malenko will talk to the forman, owners, etc who come to town for the night for more details on things.
Jeb say to ask someone if there are any portraits of Jasper left, in town records or something.

Evening:
Those in town spread out to talk. It’s not common knowledge amongst folks nor miners, but important people know that the loss of revenue lately is going to slowly choke the life out of the town. It’s not dire now, but its going to be.
Rena says, as town doctor, says if we need any of her assistance she is happy to help.

Forebear truly is a hulk. Worked as a smithy since 12, father taught him. He’s passed on. His dad was the smith here, too. The dad was the first of the family here, but the old timers talked about Jasper a lot then. If the other mines hadn’t been found before the disaster at the 1st, there never would have been a town at all. Jasper only owned the one original mine.
No mines have changed hands or been bought out by outside buyer either.
Gar to the group “I think someone from Jasper’s family is here for some payback.”
The mine foreman and officials say, about the raids, the goblins don’t just kill all blindly. They attack; resisters are killed; otherwise they are only after the silver. They usually take the carts and wagons it was already on, sometimes they use their own carts. They always find the wagons abandoned later on. Pack animals are not recovered. Concerning the mine attacks: there were 3 simultaneous attacks; goblins broke into and destroyed/damaged operational stuff like tracks, cars, support beams, broke picks, and stole mining equipment; a few fatalities; odd thing about both caravan and mine raids is the goblins carry off ALL of the dead, theirs and the humans.
Malenko “Not good, that usually means they’re eating them, or a necromancer is involved.”
No attempt to follow the goblins has been made. No banner do they fly.
No one seems to suspct the bard of anything. He now has his own house rents. He spends little time socializing, other than performing evenings. Otherwise, they are not really sure where he is during the day.
Rena says check with the speaker for access to old records and such.
Dahlia tells Malenko to get a good look at the bard’s face to compare to any picture we may find later.

Jeb at mines:
Jeb puts on a good performance for them, and his wonderful company, loosen their tongues and all. Brings some good wine too.
They give same story town gave about mine raids, but: after a few drinks one guy “I’ll tell you what I saw…”
Other guys yell he’s crazy!
“I saw it, I saw it! I was right there!”
Others “You’re an idiot!”
He swears he saw a walkign talking man sized rat telling the goblins what to do in goblin language. He was in one of the tunnels during the raid and in a small recess passage.
Others “Aw geez, not this story again. There are no walking talking man sized rats.”
Jeb tells a tale of wererats.
They think the local bard is a great guy, very friendly. Walks throught he crowd, meetin’ and greetin’.
Nothing new and unusual in last several months leading up the the problems. No one else from any other mines saw a rat at the other 2 mines.
Back to town. Promises to send more wine for them tomorrow night, for their hospitality.

Wraith Charles at the burned down house grounds:
He finds nothing, really. It is certainly a black spot on the earth, from being created out of such hate and vengeance. Otherwise, nothing.
Back to town.

April 18

Right after breakfast, we go to see speaker about town records.
He takes Jeb right in, no problem. By hall of records, he means room. Lots of local history here: old miner journals, sketch maps, etc.
Blass doubts much is here we look for, all of the Gannu stuff at the house and the mine was burned, closed off, respectively.
Blass finds nothing, then kind of sits back watching Jeb work his skills. Jeb finds a family portrait of Jasper and his wife!! Handsome man, Blass says keep what we need. Jeb assures we’ll bring it back.
Jeb spends all day in here looking for references to Jaser, especially around the time of his fall but finds nothing much at all; only vague references to the vampire and the mine itself. It was the magic of the priests who forced it back in the end. No maps of that mine either. He knows the Guild will have no map of it this long after, either.

While Jeb is there, the rest of us go to the burned out house location.
We latent evidence of people here, for certain, around the grounds.
Elric and wofly search the perimeter. They see signs of activity, small booted feet moving around the area all over. Not sure of timeframe, but been at least a few days since most recent. Hard to tell with the rocky terrain.
No disturbance of the remains of the house itself.
Elric leave wolfy here to let him know, telepathically, if anything comes through.
Malenko sends his raven familiar south to scout for goblins.
Back to town.

In town:
We get word that the next caravan is in 2 days. Could be the goblins were on their way to an attack point. Or they were generally in this area.

Malenko looks at the picture: there are some similarities, but in Malenko’s opinion its not enough to guarentee relation; but could be.

We see the church. He says he can bless us some water, and we can get garlic at the general store or Inn’s kitchen.

Tonight:
Malenko uses his knock scroll to break into the bard’s house and look around while his performance is going on, taking his undead and dog with him. It’s a small place, bedroom and common room. In the vanity, he has a large collection of makeup, and other accoutraments for prosthetics. Disguise!! All being used regularly!!! That’s why the pic only resembled Jasper a little bit.
He leaves, being sure to lock up behind. Malenko has Charles check the grounds as well, but finds nothing.

April 19

Up early. Stop at store for travelling rations, oil, and final gear. Wraith Charles hides underground.
Stop for 2 vials of holy water and wafers he has made thus far. Elric has fashioned woodens takes already.
We are approached by Forebear “I am coming as official sheriff in town, to let you know, since you have been investigating, it appears that our bard friend has moved out. I was doing my morning patrol and saw his front door open. He has cleared out.”
Hmm.

We walk to the mine. Half a day trip there. Pick up wolfy on the way. Underbrush is dense, trail is rough. Mine lies open! It had been boarded up when Jasper affair went down.
Elric finds lots of movement of lots of goblins around the entrance all over, and regularly.
Dahlia and Barry, w/ darkvision, enter first. We follow down a passage of several turns into a collapsed area. Footprints disappear at it though. Elric finds a hidden latch opening opening a hidden door into a 40×50 room. A gang of goblins turn and see us, going for their weapons lying near. Unfortunately for them, Dahlia and Vic, now standing behind Elric and Barry, are faster.
Vic cuts one in half. Malenko enters with is flame blade. They counter attack with melee and javelin throwers as Barry enters but misses, then Elric fires as Haarkon joins the fray. Haarkon crits smashing its head like a watermelon.
Vic cuts 2 in half as Dahlia evicerates hers multiple times. Malenko burns his to death, Barry hits kills his goblin.
All the remaining gobins engage.
Last goblin is attacked by Haarkon DEAD.
One door on the southern wall.
Wolfy eats the head of the goblin killed by Barry. Barry drags the body into a corner and eats much of the insides. It will not become an undead.
Down a bit, it goes straight to a door and a right tunnel has a door along it before a turn.
To straight door first, 30×40 room filled with 3 long tables. Each half left over food and drink. Smells of rot and stale; firepit. No doors lead out.
Barry eats his full and we go back to take the west passage to the door. Elric says no noise. 30x square room. Solid table, messy room. Corners have piles of dirty clothes; several bedrolls lie about. No other doors. We leave the room, putting Barry to watch the rear with his darkvision from a good 30’ back. As our rear is passing the door, Barry behind them, they hear rustling from some of the soiled clothes. Out from underneath, giant rats come out, attacking Ulfar and Gozar. Ulfar shines here, talking out 3 of the 4. Gozer kills the last.
Meanwhile, at the end of the passage, Elric has found a secret door on the southern wall. He opens it, into a 50’ square room. It reeks of piss. It’s a goblin sleeping chamber. A horde of goblins realize we have opened the door.
Into the room full of goblins, 50’ square, smell of piss and bodies. Nasty nest area, lots of dirty straw matts and bedrolls. Ulfar and Vic lead the way in. They are ready for the fight.
Vic charges in, leaps into their midst and kills 3. Ulfar is missed by arrows as he charges as well, and slays 2, wounds another.
Gar in the hall as they prepare to enter as well "Don’t go near the woman!
The goblins surround Vic and Ulfar, who are but 10’ from each other.
Elric hits one of the archers, who are behind the rest, twice, while his wolf charges across and hits the other 18. Jeb begins a lively tune.
Gar and Haarkon move into the room.
Vic readies Vorpal Hurricane and they attack.
She mauls all on her and Ulfar but 4. Ulfar kills 2. 2 left, flanking Ulfar, both miss.
Elric finishes off his archer, as does wolfy.
Only door opens into a hall east and west. West, 20’ and ends. East, goes about 60’ and turns south.
No light.
Gar “Which way wizard.”
Malenko beats around the bush.
Gar to Dahlia “Are you sure he’s a wizard black elf. Not like any wizard I’ve ever met.”
Finally, Mal sends Haarkon to search the dead end for secret doors. Finds nothing.
So, the other way and turn south. 40’ then right and quick south again. 80’ further to a east turn. 20’ then north 60’ then east. 20’ ahead is a door and hall continues south. No obvious noise, and still no light but ours.
Gar “Wizard, listen at the door.”
He hears nothing. Malenko turns the knob, and it opens up.
40’ square room, 3 double wooden bunks each ending in an old lockless chest. No one in here.
Gar and Malenko search, but nothing of value. Definitely higher rank goblins though.
Gar does find a small purse under a mattress with 10gp.
Beds still flea and bug ridden.
Now continue down the hall, to a turn east. 60’ and back north long hallway. At this turn, Elric finds a secret door. Ahead it turns east 40’ to a turn north, but 20’ down is a door.
First, Elric opens the secret door by pushing a brick. 40′ × 30′ room, 3 large crates w/ red lettering across their sides in the common tongue ‘dwarrohill mining guild’. It must be part of the missing silver!!! No other exits, nor secret doors. Malenko wizards it open. Inside, is indeed lots of silver ore. Good, what we expected. Haarkon looks it over, "in this crate is approx 1500gp worth of ore. Should weigh about 600lbs each. Nothing in here to help move it either.
We check the room further. Gar enters first buy triggers a portcullis trap, striking him as he dodges, knocking him into the room. On the 2nd try, they lift it up. It does not appear to reset. Jeb braces each side with a Vic javelin and go in. The crates are locked.
We have to leave it her for now, and reclose the secret door, portcullis down.
Mal listens at the door, hears nothing. Gar looks down the next turn, and it goes into darkness but 20’ is an opening to west and 40’ same to the east.
Gar proceeds, looking down the first opening ahead while Vic opens the door w/ Mal and Haarkon. He sees another hall branching off ahead and it continues north.
Room: 6 small tables randomly around, rotting food. Cauldron and workbench, bags of flower moving on their own (eww) in one corner. No visible exits. We leave this one go.
Gar and Haarkon continue forward to see how it ends. It totals about 120’, they find another west hall, and at the end a door on northern wall and turns west again.
We take the first hallway east. Barry stays put, watching all the hallways here at our rear.
Its a long, long hallway. At 120’ or so, a hall branches south. Another 40 down this main hall and it turns south. We take the first. It goes 40’ south then turns west for 40’ ,turns south. At 20’, a hall west to a door to the north. 80’ further also ends at a door.
West first to the door there. Mal hears nothing. He opens the door and gets out of the way. Gar and Ulfar stand ready. 30′ × 20′ room, walls of draping black and red scarfs, swaying as if a wind.
Statue to a half rat half man ting statue of green stone. Red gems for eyes. It stands at an altar with used candles.
Gar “Some sort of rat god. It’s true.”
We investigate, finding there are 17 scarves in all. 2gp each. Marble statue is big, 6’ tall, 300 lbs. Malenko appraises it "To a collector, that thing would be a good 650gp. The rubies alone are 100gp each.
Scrolls lie about the statue. Malenko investigates them. They are written in Sylvan. Elric can read it! They are religious. Lots of moldy food offerings. Elric and Malenko go over some of the scrolls briely together, working it out to be describing an evil religious canon of Narrimunth, the rat god, lord of disease. Mal has heard of this deity.
Jeb “Obviously a disgusting creature.”
To a collector, scrolls worth 25gp.
Continue further to the next door at the end of the hall. Mal listens, nothing.
Gar “Wizard it open.” Mal does.
Gar leads the way in. 20′ × 40′ appears to be a rick bed chamber. Black candles light the place. It is a collection of bedroom furniture from obviously wealthy families. Broken shields with crests adorn the walls. Including shield above bed, black falcon holding a pick and shovel in its talons.
Elric “Sounds like the town’s founders bedroom?”
Jeb recognizes that as the Ganu family crest, indeed.
Mal inspects the heraldry, and it is all family crests from this general region. Whoever’s room this is has been around this area a lot, possible kill trophies or stolen. But for the Ganu one, they are all current in styles.
The candles Elric thinks have been treated with a strange liquid, and common for Elven ritual.
Sylvan, Elven, Rat god, goblins? What is going on?
Malenko wants all the ritual candles.
No secret doors so back up, and contine to east to the turn south. It goes 60’, turns west, then south, then east to a door. Mal listens, hears movement. Door is unlocked. Jeb sing an old elf battle hymn and Gar and Ulfar bust in!!!
ITs a throne room to a harry large goblin, flanked by 4 other goblins to either side weilding spear. Several other goblins stand tween us and then.
He knows we have beein slaying his tribe, and demands our names so he knows who he is about to kill.
Gar “I am The Great Gar the Barbarian, son of the Grand Nuge!! I am here to destroy you!!”
“Well then , it is time to show you why lawrence put me in charge”. Says something in goblin and both sides charge.
The front 4 goblins are ready for melee. The 6 behind x bows, as does the chief.
Gar rushes past our left and hits the first royal guard. Dahlia tumbles through the first line, eviscerating the first blade.
Vic moves in, damaging one in the front line.
The chief shoots Ulfar, tosses it down, and starts convulsing. He’s turning into a wererat!
Vic “Wizard, what do we need to kill it!!”
Mal “Magic and silver!” He enters and fires a bolt of arcane energy at the chief 9.
The front force retaliates. The xbow men step back and fire again, the others melee including one who charges Malenko crits. Dahlia deflects the only bolt that would have hit her.
Haarkon moves in and attack’s Vic’s “May I kill it?”
Vic “Yes I’m bored with only 1.” He kills it.
The guardsmen move now, 2 on Gar and Dahlia each hiting Dahlia once.
Ulfar attacks Malenko’s attacker 10
Dahlia crits 23 on a guard/11. Vic moves to where she can attack 3 goblins. She drops one, crits another for 8 bleed, crits the next as well DEAD. Gar finishes off his initial guard.
The chief, now full man rat, wielding an axe, jumps down adn engages Gar miss.
Mal steps aside and shoots the king again but fumbles the spell turning the chief invisible.
The goblin rabble continues their attack.
Haarkon moves to help Dahlia killing a guardsman. Then Dahlia is hit twice by guardsman, Gar once, Vic twice.
Ulfar kills Malenko’s attacker. Dahlia kills a guardsman and hits another twice. Gar hits a guardsman twice. Vic kills another mook, the crited one bleeds out, cleavs a guardsman 21, hits another guardsman 21 DEAD.
The invisible wererat chief attacks Vic, hitting with the axe twice, then he bites her. The invisibility remains.
Malenko’s spell fails.
The last xbow man misses Haarkon. Haarkon moves and retaliates 17 DEAD.
Ulfar charges in and attacks the chief’s space but whiffs; Dahlia dices up her final foe, a guardsman; Gar kills the last guard; Vic misses the chief invisible twice.
Chief turns to Gar now, hiting with axe once 5, and bite 2. Still invisible.
Malenko casts again, trying to target his invisibility spell and dispel it. It works!!! Haarkon rushes him, trying to take him to the ground. His AoO bites Haarkon, who knocks him over!
Gar and Vic hit once, as does Ulfar. Dahilia crits, granting all around and AoO, only Gar misses.
He stands up and bites Ulfar 5.
Another round of our attacks, and Vic’s second attack brings him down! He reverts into a goblin. Gar demands his beheading and quartering.

Loot in this room:
Ratman:all lvl 4 mstwk.
small battle axe (plus 1 crit range)
small studs (25% negate crit)
lt steel shield (plus 1 def)

Grate of black tarnished silver, with arcane and divine runes, words, and symbols. Malenko detects abjuration. As we rest, he detects more upon it. Deciphering the carvings, it is a permanent ward of protection vs undead. The grate looks like its been here for a long time. This must lead to the vampire. So, we don’t take that off.

We plan on staying the night outside, but move on to clear the other tunnels first. We backtrack to where we had left Barry, and continue west. 80’ and turns north 30’ to a door. 40′ × 40′ room, 2 round tables and many straw beds. Door to east. No ememies so we search. Elric finds secret door in northern wall. Opening to a short hall to west ending in a secret door obvious from this side. It goes into the initial guard room behind us.
We take door to east, hall then turns north to door and 2 halls cutting east.
Haarkon goes for his tools this time, and fails to unlock it. Malenko wizards it open; room filled with crates, boxes and crude old weapons but serviceable. It’s the armory. We search in case we can find anything decent. We take some ammunition, but Haarkon and Barry find 2 mst. wpns, both level 4: shortspear (armor piercing ignore 2 pts DR); Greataxe (plus 2 damage). Vic takes the spear.
The others are connecting halls, one has a door. Small room with 10’ long table and 5 chairs. Silver candlestick (5gp) rests in the middle, empty weapon wrack.
Elric finds secret door by wpn. wrack, a single loose stone. Inside is a piece of old folded paper. He hands it to Jeb, it speaks of the original attempt to thwart the vamp: it is a woman, very fast and strong, wammy powers. At least one group seemed to go in to slay it, and there was a disagreement among clergy on how best to handle the situation.
Back to last door at end of the long hallway.
Magical Darkness!! Inside, soft squeaking nose which gets closer once door opened!!
Elric “Step back”.
We all get back against the wall, but are assaulted by dire rats!!!!
Though on guard, we are not ready to attack and they flow into the hallway first. 2 on each of Gar, Vic, Ulfar, and Mal. One each on Elric and Gozer, including Filth Fever saves. They’re tougher than we expected, taking a bit of time to clear out, and a few of us may have contracted filth fever.
Malenko tries to dismiss the Darkness, and succeeds. Just a big room full of garbage. We search; finding nothing.
Now, the last hall going east out of the long hallway. Same length as other hall that led to rat king. Turns north eventually, then west 100’. At the 60’mark is a door on south wall. Elric finds a secret door 40’ down on south wall. The pasage also continues to another door after an additional turn or 2.
Gar opens the first actual door into a macabre room: skulls of several humanoid races hang from chains. Halfling crucified on one wall; stink of incense and death. We search but find nothing. No vampire bites on halfling visible.
We go to regular door at end of passage. Gar opens this door as well to a small room, a personal shrine to a rat deity. A gang of large rats, black fur, squeel loudly and attack.
Elric fires, bringing one down with crit for intell. to 0, hitting another for 10; then wolfy rushes in and hits another.
One attacks wolfy, 2 on Gar. Gar hits back, and Malenko takes on the other on Gar. Wolfy fumbles, hitting but it may start a grapple for free but DEAD.
They miss Gar and Malenko. Gar’s fumbles, so hitting but stunning self for 2 rounds. He kills it, and Mal kills the last.
We search.

Rat god statue: Jeb knows it as the rat Lord of Filth, a different rat got from Lord of Disease. Worth 50gp to collector, made of granite that Haarkon says “appears to be from the mines near Dwarrohill. So, this statue most likely manufactured there.”
Elric “Maybe there’s a wererat presence there.”
Jeb “Might have to look into that.”

Now the secret door. Just as we go to open the door, Elric notices a trap. No one can disarm it. Gar puts his shield up, gets low, and pushes through quickly. 5 bolts fire from the the end of the hallway. 1 malfunctions and hits low just out of the wall. Jeb, Elric hit once, Gozer twice.
Jeb “Oh my, I’ve been shot!”
In the room, dust covered floor of a 30×30 room, 2 glowing balls of light on iron wrought candleabras aside a large stone coffin, carved in the relief of a man holding a mighty sword. This is not the mine founder, Jeb says.
Mal says the spheres have a permanent light effect upon them. The candelabras are 40lb and 50gp each, 6’ tall.
Malenko says this was Huerin Oralese, great warrior from town of Negdenburg near this area; general from time shortly after Masters’ War. Died 50 years ago via assassin’s poison blade. His followers whisked his body away to a secret tomb. Rumors, his followers sought a way to revive him from death to lead the town’s army vs the assassins that killed him. Whole place coated in dust, coffin sealed with lead.
Gar feels like not desicrating his tomb, seeing no reason to. We search around the room in detail, but find nothing else.
We close the place off and leave it as is.

Time to camp.

We bunk down in the first big guard room, 40′ × 50′. Elric, Jeb and Wolfy take first watch. Dahlia takes 3rd shift to morning. Middle shift is Haarkon Gar.
Barry is always up.

April 20

Back to town; tell them about silver, they just have to get it with the proper equipment, we’l show them where it is.
Malenko and Jeb search archive for any evidence of Nedgenburg vistitors around the right time, but find nothing.
Renna the midwife gives care to our potential filth fever for half price. Vic is the first to look sick, this evening. Renna starts with her and saves her from the effects! Being the leader, Gar is next by right of honor; then Ulfar, then everyone else.
We have just missed the full moon, so we have until next month to wait. We need to find a true caster/get back to Burns before the middle of May.

April 21

We stay here and relax, waiting any more filth fever.
Elric leads the workers up there the next day so they can start getting their silver back.
No filth fever today. Renna thinks we look clean, healthy. So, tomorrow we plan to head for the vampire. Malenko calls his bird back.
Malenko and Dahlia to to the mine tonight, to get the wraith up.

April 22

Morning, back to mine. Lunch before we head in. Wolfy has to stay on the goblin level, just to keep eyes and ears at our rear.
The wight can’t pass by the warded grate, nor can the wraith.
We want to leave the grate in tact, obviously.
Elric is still pissed at this undead/necromancer situation. Sgt and Erik will get an earfull upon his return.
We have Charles look inside the sarcophagus of the hero to see if there is anything with the body. Body, armor, sword, and small chest at his feet. The blade looks in fine shape, all else is old and rusted away. It is a bastard sword.
Gar “Pillage and plunder!!”
Ulfar wants to arm wrestle him for it.
ELric “True, we may need the magic against undead.”
Gar “We will borrow it.”
Chisels and hammers out.
Malenko offers herbs to make Vic stronger in order to break it off. Vic is amiable but its too harsh of side effects short term. So he enhances her str 2, magically.
2 tries, and with Jeb’s inspiring competence, Vic with aids from Elric, Ulfar and Haarkon open it.
Gar grabs the sword. He swings it around.
Inside chest:
7 potions, Mal id’s:
1x remove disease
6x cure lt wnds (1d8 plus 5)

We take them. Giving thanks to Huerin’s memory. Jeb will specifically mention Huerin’s help in his song of our victory, keeping the places unmentioned.
Malenko jests of raising him as an undead servant, Gar insists he will not. Malenko magically restores the rusted metal of the helm (lvl3), breastplate (lvl 4 inc. dex bonus by 1) and hvy steel shield (lvl 3)., and improves them to mstwk!! Just for the sake of Huerin. Generous move, but if this was meant to sway Gar in any way, it doesn’t.

Down we go! It’s a ladder, 20’ down to the floor below.
Unworked stone walls on this level; rough hewn; doors are simple wooden; halls 10’ wide and 8’ high; rooms are tapered roofs 8’ high on sides to 10’ in center.
We hear voices from top of the ladder, Elric say sits Goblin speak. Sounds like bored guards on duty.
Haarkon was going to lead, but we want to go quietyl. Whelm starts whispering for him to kill.
Dahlia “Stay here for a moment, I’ll scope it out and signal you” to Haarkon. She goes first to a 50’ room. Goblins are playing cards, not on high alert. Seem to have no idea what happened above. There is one door out, on the southern wall. She drops and dashes to the door whistling for Haarkon.
Haarkon slides down the ladder as quickly as possible, landing with a bit of a thud and clang of plate but none the worse for wear, whelm slamming into the floor and sending out its wave. 4 goblins fall to the floor stunned.
Haarkon is attacked by 3, hit twice, Dahlia 5 at the door all miss, one fumbles sending his weapon flying across the length of the room. Dahlia kills 2.
Elric fast clims down, and stunt swings from the bottom rung into flank with Haarkon, but crits a sgt not engaged yet 14 and throat bleeding 2d6, begins drowning in his own blood. Another charges Elric miss. Haarkon is hit, Dahlia missed all 3 times.
Dahlia kills 1. Elric hits the charger; sgt bleeds 5 panicking; Haarkon kills his last.
Dahlia’s 2 step to flank but miss; Elric is hit.
Dahlia hits 3 times but fails to kill; bleeder dies; Elric kills his last; Haarkon crushes the skull of a stunned goblin.
Dahlia is missed both times; the stunned stand up now.
Dahlia kills 1 and wounds the other; Elric literally cuts his in half at the waste; Haarkon hits 15 staggered.
1 left on each of us now, Haarkon is hit as the goblin passes out; Dahlia kills hers; Haarkon finishes off the KO’d; Elric staggers his.
That last one swings at Elric miss and passes out.
Elric “Crush his skull, Haarkon” he does.
Opens into a hallway going 10’ west and turn ssouth; 30’ east and turns north. We check both turns first: the southern goes 40’ and turns east; the north goes 80’ and turns east. We take the latter which then turns south 80’ and turns east.
20’ turns north for 100’ turning west, but also hall at the 20’ mark.
This is all very winding and winding, and long. Jeb is keeping directions so that we don’t get lost.
Finally we come to a door. Gar hears nothing. 50′ × 30′ room like an office, with lots of crates stacked 3 high, desk covered with papers and books.
Malenko makes for the desk and searches through:
Detailed paperwork concerning theft of ore from other mines (where, when, how much) and a mining operation from this mine as if its current and ore is outgoing. Names are listed as to who is buying silver, but no places. Interestingly, we have heard no noise of mining ops. Until Dahlia enters the room a moment later. Further down the halls is a shaft in the floor, from which she hears work.
The crates are all empty, for packing the silver out of this mine.
The shaft goes straight down, a winch mechanism operates an elevator that is at the bottom right now. No light below. The hall ends in the shaft.
Elric :“Well, this isn’;t good. They aren;t taking that silver up the ladder we came down. The vampire has a way out then, if she still exists.”
Gar “Whoever started this operation either already killed her, never woke her up, or made their own deal with it.”
Malenko “They were taking no prisoners, I doubt the vamp is subsisting on goblins.”
Hmm.
Elric communicates with wolfy, and Mal with his raven, to start searching the vicinity outside for activity.
Elric checks the hall floor, and he can tell they bring ore up off the elevator into the crates.
Mal commits the names and important details to memory, Jeb writes them as backup.

We continue on this floor to secure it. More winding and winding. At one point there is a hall that even Dahia can’t see the end up, with an opening parway down.
We take the long hall to the visible cut off. More winding and winding.
Next a door ahead and one to the south. Dahila checks ahead down the south.
The room ahead is 20 × 20. Human and dwarf bodies hang from the room, parts mixed, heads and limbs strewn.
Already animated dead turn to us and luch forward.
Gar “Necro wizard, do something!”
Malenko makes to take them under his sway, but they are already ruled over. It’s a test of wills to rip them from the enemies sway. He does! Taking over all 8.
“Follow me now.”
Gar “So there is another necromantic villain here.”
All the zombies were originally human, corpses of miners, teamsters, etc. Recall, all dead bodies vanished from the attacks. Now we know at least one reason why.
We use them as our lead, and cotinue on.
Later, Elric comes across a secret door. We investigate that before moving on. It slides silently into the wall, right. 20 × 20 room. Floor covered in cave in debris, but one wall has partially covered writing. Zombies clear it away.
Elric notices an amulet in the rubble as they dig around, finding an amulet. Mal and Jeb take a look. Mal knows it as Amulet of Prot vs Evil (allows wearer to cast spell of same name 1/day by command word).
Message is in dried blood:
“No yee who enter here, that this place is a cursed as Jasper Gunnu himself…”
Big warning to all who enter to get out asap.
We soon wrap around back to the ladder room, passing a door just before. Whelm senses goblins from the room.
Gar listens first, hearing a lot of goblin talking. Dahili runs down the hall to the previous turn, to check if the hall looks like it may enter the same room. It does not, but turns south then west 60’ to a door, at which point it turns south too. She returns and reports.
Haarkon throws the door open, to a multitude of goblins standing around a fire in the middle. They turn as a group. One points and screams “Arathra!” aka attack in goblin.
Haarkon and Vic rush in to meet their attack.
Vic hits so hard it knocks the first one into the fire, which kills the staggered creature, then cleaves another DEAD. Haarkon moves in straight ahead.\
They surround Haarkon and Vic, Gar just outside the doorway waiting to move in.
They hit Vic 4 times, for no damage. Gar jests “Perhaps they are illusions.”
Haarkon is hit once. taking his first actual damage because of his plate armor like their wps are made of clay.
Haarkon misses then whelm disintigrates him. Vic takes out 5.
Haarkon is hit once out of 4 attacks, Vic twice out of 3.
Vic drops a few more but misses with her 2nd attack.
The one goblin hanging back, we assume a leader, now moves into the opening.
They hit each of us once. Haarkon drops one.
Vic clears the last 2, leaving the one who lagged behind. He misses Vic. Haarkon retaliates 19. Vic finishes him off.
Gar pulls the 2 KO’d of to the side. We wake them up and Haarkon questions them. Mal uses some. We question them.
They say his chief is Rez-zomer (That’s the guy we killed upstairs, the rat king); the necromancer is Narzi Hillspeck, a gnome; knows nothing of a vampire; he knows not how his chief and the wizard were working together; there is another entrance to the mine on this level, through which they remove the silver; he is only a mine guard and sometimes goes on raids, knows nothing of how deliveries or pickups of silver are made; they are mining on 1 level below this, as deep as at least these 2 know it goes.
Malenko “I have a feeling the vampire is on a lower level than the goblins have gone” and wants to remove the ward above, since the vampire has other exits to use if she exists.
Since they gave up, we give them the choice of death by hammer, blade, or turned in to the town. Malenko adds the opportunity to be hired on as a hireling, pakrat, etc, with opportunity for advancement.
Elric begins to wonder ‘is the vampire even here?’ It may have used the mining operation to simply leave. Maybe its a red herring to our affairs.
We have to destroy the goblins.

We make our way to the door to the south of of our position. The hall goes 40’ further where it turns east. Dahlia and Haarkon follow the passage while Gar and Mal listen at the door and hear nothing. The hall goes 60’ and turns south. Gar opens the door, Ulfar next to him. 50′ × 30′ room, we enter the southeast corner; nother door straight ahead. Some goblins sit facing the door in deep concentration. They nod upon our entrance and stand, short swords drawn.
Vic charges in, leaping past the first rank and cuts across the face of the next man gashing his eyes out DEAD. Mal bounding steps across the the other side of the room. Vic’s cleave kills another.
The other leader in the middle of their 2 ranks now goes to Vic and hits. Gar moves in and wound one.
In the rear “kill the wizard” and 3 attack Mal, 1 crits 14. 3 total on Gar all miss, 3 additional on Vic hit twice 2/crit and sickened for a round , the third fumbles and slips prone.
Ulfar enters and assists Gar 12; Jeb enters the room and gives a short and rousing poem.
In the next round, Gozer enters, using the free space Gar had just created to get to assist Malenko. Vic’s savage appearance also takes an attack away from him.
Ulfar then crits to the eyes of one as well, blinding him but killing him anyway.
Vic is then critted, causing a bleed!
Jeb “Your cut wide, you’re bleding!”
Vic “I have not the time for bleeding!”
Gar ends up killing the other leader on Vic, taking off his hand at the wrist.
We finish them off. Jeb makes the heal check on Vic to stem the bleeding which did little, luckily. Jeb “You need a, uh, salve for that.”
We tie and gag the KO’d goblin and leave him there for now.

The door in the room opens into a hallway going left 70’ and right 170’. At both ends it turns east. The north, checked by Elric, goes 100’ east and turns south. We saw that corner early in the day, so that closes that corner of the dungeon off. Ulfar runs to look south, rounding the corner to a hall continuing 80’ to a south turn, but 20’ in lies another hall to the south. With Dahlia/Haarokon, they continued south 40’ turning east at a door on south wall. The east hall goes another 100’ where it turns south. 80’ down it also turns north. We all meet back at the fight, and decide to take the Ulfar south passage.
At the first halll going south, it goes 20’ ending in a door. Gar and Mal hear a lot of noise, indistinct voices and a lot. Dahlia and Haarkon look down the other hall, a long hall. At the edge of Dahlia’s120’ darkvision is is still going.
Gar asks Mal if he can see the other side of the door with ‘wizard sight’. He does not conjure well though, only saying it is a whole lot of what seems weak foes. We ready the zombies if needed. Mal oils the door and Gar slowly tests it: 40′ × 40′ room, us at NE corner. Large sleeping area; young goblins rush all over, females caring for them. Gar closes the door as quietly as he opened it.
Dahlia and Mal both ponder the thought of releasing the zombies amongst them, but figure at least a few others would not go for that.
It goes a total of 160’ before turning west 40’ to a door at a turn south for another 20’ to a turn east, going over 120’, but at 100’ it turns north.
Behind our door, Gar hears some noise of goblin voices.
Ulfar opens, Dahlia next to him. Goblins play dice at south wall of 40′ × 50′ room. Door opens in SE corner. A cave entrance is on the far wall.
They have not seen us open the door. But, Ulfar steps in and bounces the door off the wall, the 8 of them turn to ready to fight.
Dahlia reacts first, engaging. A larger goblin issues orders from further in the room and begins changing into a wererat.
Ulfar engages as Malenko sends a flaming strike upon the changing lycanthrope. Vic enters, some get their shields but others don’t bother. Dahlia is surrounded by 4 in total immediately. Dahlia kills one.
The wererat comes for Dahlia first but misses. Ulfar drops his and Vic’s. Gozer charges past them and engages the lone free goblin at the rear.
Maleko steps halfway on the threshold and magic missiles the wererat. It crits for splash damage to 2 other goblins and Dahlia. Vic moves and drops 2 including the other tougher one. Dahlia hits the rat 3 times fighting defensively as it misses her all 3 times, fumbling its bite onto a strong point of her armor negating his bite for 3 rounds. Ulfar moves to the goblin tween Vic and Dahlia and crits 19 DEAD. He bleeds profusely from his gashed heart.
Vic moves to flank, takes a power swing but misses. Dahlia, now flanking, triple sneak attacks including a crit DEAD. Vic dismembers him. Malenko charges in to help Gozer with his spear and the 2 finish it off.

We rest up a bit, have a meal.
We call Haarkon to check out the mine tunnel. No mining went on there, but it is a dug tunnel to the surface away from the original mine entrance and completely concealed from the outside. He is sure this is recent goblin work and is indeed where they take the silver out.

Continuing along the long passage to east now. Long hall, with north turn at end and just over half way down to it. Near turn goes to a door then turns east 40’ and turns north. Far turn goes only about 20’ to a door and turn east.
Opening the door at nearer north routh to large empty table, 20 chairs, 20′ × 40′. Smell of old stale beer and food. Empty of goblins. Continuing further to east then north it goes 60’ and turns east 100’ to a south turn for 80’ and turns west. At the corner, Elric spots a secret door on the east wall. He opens it easily to an ancient cave in on east wall, far side of room; 50′ × 30′ room housing an old skeleton in the debris. Mal detects magic/undead as we enter to search. He senses nothing. The skeleton is that of a halfling minor long dead, at least decades. An old scroll relates the uncovering of the vampire as we read previously.:
With it also, a section of map, somewhere in this complex. It does NOT line up with any thing on this level nor above that we have explored yet.
Back out into the hallway and west 20’, turning north for 20’, turns west then south meeting up with the other north hall from the long passage after our rest. At the meeting it other hall goes further east and turns south.
We start with the door down the hall and 2 turns from the secret room.
Door faces north. Gar listens at the door, hearing some movement and goblin speak he thinks.
Jeb opens the door as backs off, letting Haarkon move in first to attack. Room is 40′ × 40′; common sleeping room for many. 6 female goblins are doing work in the room and scream in terror!! Haarkon starts to back out but Gar tells him to tell them to shut up and they’ll live. Knowing of Whelm’s hatred Ulfar pushes him into the room and closes the door. This is a bad situation, we can’t have them raising alarm. He will either get whelm to telepathically have them shut up, or it will make him kill them. They shut up, we come in and tie them up and Vic and Elric take them up to where the other prisoner is that Gar KO’d.
Meanwhile we go to next door down. Haarkon takes the fore, held back too long from the goblins. Whelm detects them in the room and he opens it up revealing 40′ × 30′ we entering on the SE corner. It’s a lot of young goblins with an old goblin caring for them. Haarkon throws the hammer at her killing her. We round the kids up and Vic and Elric take them to the prisoner room as well.
Now we have to think about the other room we bypassed full of women/kids. We take the prisoners we have to their room and lock them all up there, searching the adults to make sure none have a key to the door.
Ulfar proposes the idea, if it comes to that, of using the women/kids as a bargaining tool to send the last of the goblins away. Elric finds a secret door he missed last time!! It’s in the long southern hallway that goes east and west. It opens north. We check that first. Haarkon is ready first, and is hit by a spear trap from behind. It is filled with dust and cobwebs, surely not entered for many decades but empty. We search anyway, and Whelm senses gold nearby! Haarkon finds a loose stone, behind which he finds a tarnished gold ring with a scroll tied to it by a faded blue ribbon.
To my dearest love, Jasper Ganuu told me you’d be mining this area today, so I came under the cover of darkness to hide my ring for you to find. If our love is to bloom and last eternal you must find this. I have all confidence that you will, and when you return to the surface I will marry you. SIgned: Jessica Ring is worth 10gp. Haarkon takes it all.

One last hall down here, to the south. It quickly turns for 160’ east then turns north for 180’. Dahlia goes the entire distance, passing a hall and a door on the east wall w/in 60’ or so of us, to a hall 60’ east that turns south. She looks there, it goes 40’ the turns west 20’ to a turn north; 20’ to a west turn; 40’ and turns north for 60’ and turns west at the end. At the 40’ mark it turns east, and 20’ up is a door on the west. At the end it turn west. She returns and reports it does not connect yet.
The first hall east, explored by Elric for a short distance, goes 60’ west and turns north for 10’ north and turns west with a door at 20’ to east and at end going east.
Meanwhile, Gar listened at first door in the long northern hall hearing gruff goblin speak and whip cracking. Whelm detects goblins inside and Haarkon enters first, kicking in the door, very disappointed at what he has led the way in to thus far. “Unhand that whip and cease the lashing of slaves!”
50′ × 40′ room fllled to the brim with torture devices. A large goblins with whip and black studs is ordering several smaller goblins to clean and polish the equipment, all armed and armored. No one is on any of it though.
Haarkon goes to it. There is a door on teh far wall which Elric passed seconds ago, hearing a door bust in. He sees the door ahead. He stays put, halfway tween the door to guard in case potential backup hears the combat.
Gar “Send Gozer in, wizard.”
Mal “Release the hound!” and Gozar follows Haarkon inside, as Jeb recites a rousing ode. Ulfar enters next. The torture master yells something in goblinoid and the other 8 draw blades. Haarkon makes right for the master on the far side of the wrack in the center. The Torture Master is too quick though, sword and whip in hand now waiting for Haarkon who moves toward him. TM goes for a disarm of whelm, but fails thanks to Whelm’s magic just barely. Gozer, tripping his, and Ulfar engage the nearest foes. The rabble attacks as Gar steps into the room. The TM barks some orders and Haarkon is surrounded, blocking him from the TM.
TM goes for a disarm again but fail again. Haarkon wounds the goblin directly between he and his target as Ulfar crits sickening him then hits him DEAD.
The TM disarms Haarkon! Haarkon blindly rushes to Whelm, taking a couple AoO but takes no damage the tank he is. Another fumbles, and falls prone landing on his head hard blinding him temporarily. The TM AoO hits as well 7.
Gar “Ulfar step aside.” He does and attacks his remaining foe DEAD.
One of Gozer’s 2 moves to Ulfar, blocking Gar’s planned charge and leap over the wrack to the TM. Gar curses him. Haarkon block all damage again. Gar overruns the goblin and gets to the table.
The TM hits Haarkon and goes for a trip with his whip, but fails. Haarkon hits his with Whelm, which disintigrates him!! He cleaves 1 of the 3 goblins around him as well. Ulfar hits the prone goblin 20/miss. Goer hits and trips his foe. That goblin and Ulfar’s downed, as well as the temporarily blind, stand up fine now. Haarkon is critted 10 (no DR from crit).
Vic yells to Gar if she is needed, but Gar says to stay put watching the southern turn. Gar takes a flying jump off the wrack at the formerly blind as he clears his eyes16; Haarkon takes down 2 and wounds the 3rd; Gozer still fighting his goblin DEADand Ulfar hits his DEAD then moves to help Gozer.
Gar is critted 6 causing him to drop his blade.
It’s a good thing Vic isn’t here to see all this.
Gar miss/7 with spiked shield; Haarkon kills his last then throws the hammer at Gar’s opponent 18 DEAD. Ulfar and Gozer finish off the last enemy.
Vic “What is there like 30 in there!?”
Haarkon calls Whelm back, and it teleports back to him, something it can do only if he throws it.
Gar opens the door and sees Elric on guard. Elric enters through there. We search but nothing of importance. The implements have certainly all been used recently.

We short rest and check the room Elric was watching. Mal listens at the door and hears nothing. Dahlia returns and reports. We open to a 40′ × 50′ room is a room for someone higher up in the tribe. One large bet, upside down box as a table, some bins. A goblin hunches over a table, sitting on a stool, back to the door. An ear is torn. His head cocks “Welcome to my home gentleman.”
Mal “Hello, who are you?”
He turns to see us, and has certainly seen action in his life. He says his name in goblin, difficult to pronounce beyond ‘Gernak’. He says we are obvioulsy great ‘reavers’ to have come this far. He was once the subchief before the terrible rat curse came.
Gar “Tell us about that.”
He demands assurances first, of our letting him go immediately. He will write down the information he knows, then leave this place. Mal tells him about all the women/kids we have captive, and that we are not going for genocide here. We have our own business, we already killed the chief. Mal tries to come to a mutual understanding, but he calls that ’we’re goblins, reavers in our own right’. He refuses any partnership.
“I know that, to have reached me, you have killed a large portion of my existing tribe. You won’t find another goblin willing to deal for information, or surrender, or join you. They worship the new chief like a god. The one you killed was the chief before the rat lord took sway.” So, he took orders from this Rat Lord. Gerzak himself is good at negotiating. Mal offers for he and the non combatants to return to be with our goblin shaman and his orc bodyguard.
He’d rather take the women/kids and leave, in case we don’t win in which case he’d be killed. Plus he does not believe we won’t kill him after if he stays.
This one is very smart.
Mal wants ELric to take this man to the captives, and he can leave with them all.
Elric says ‘not the warrior. If they’re all fanatics, he has to remain here, tied up. Mal tells them where to find the carnival if he decides to join up.
He agrees. We tell him all knowledge of the vampire we have as well, and that we need anything he knows about that.
Vic goes back with Elric as a precaution. He writes the note and gives it to Elric at the cave out and takes his leave with the women/kids. The captured warrior remains. Elric tells Wulfy telepathically to let them pass.
The note says in essence: their tribe were warriors and bandits, roving. One day the captured a human man a little over a year ago. A travelling bard. He got free, and bit the goblin chief. They fought him and saw he was part man, part rat then. The shaman came forward declaring it a sign from the gods. Proven so when the chief turned into a rat the next day. Over the next few months this Ratman picked out the most loyal, capable warriors and turned them all like him. The tribe became zealot followers of their rat god. He brought them up this way with the sole purpose of destroying Silverton. They moved into the mine, reopened things, and the ratman went into town disguised as a bard.
Crap, we met him!!
Meanwhile, the goblins ran into Narzi Hillspeck. He was living here with some undead in a lower level. The human’s name is Lawrence. The 2 struck a deal, bringing dead bodies back for Narzi to reanimate making up the labor force in the mine now.
Ee Gads!
There are 2 more levels to the mine, counting the actual currently mined level below. The last is more of a finished level than the mine below us. Also, Negdenburg is apparently where the people that they are selling the stole silver to are from, black market connections from there.
The Rat God lives on the bottom level with a good number of wererat goblins warriors; Narzi on the mining level.
Finally he ends with ‘What vampire?’. So, no clue about that. Pretty ironic in a supposed vamps lair they just happen to run into a necromancer.

So, that hall goes 40’ west to a door and turns north 20’ and turns west for 100’ and turns north where it turns north briefly, connectin to where we once were before in the middle of the comples.
We check the door, it has an peep hole in it opening on this side. Gar opens it and looks in. It’s what it seems, a holding cell, empty but for straw bedding, a bucket, and a tray. Door is not locked.
Mal wants to go back where Dahlia scouted first. We check that door first while Dahlia scouts the east hall. It goes 20’ and turns north for 20’ and turns east for 20’ and turns north 20’ and turns west 120’. Then turns north and matches up with another hall we have previoulsy been in!!
Gar listens at the door in the meantime, he hears chanting. Not locked. Slow open and peep in, its an altar room. Well lit.
Vic and Haarkon lead the way into the 40′ × 50′ room, entering on the east wall. Drapes and moldy cloths of all colors cover the chamber. Statues on west wall of hybrid goblin wererats we saw statues of upstairs. 2 goblins dressed in their vestments lead others in prayer. They turn and smile terribly at us.
The clerics ask if we came to confess to the rat gods and purify ourselves.
Vic “We’re fixing to do some purifying” as she and Haarkon enter the room. 8 are lined up defending the 2 clerics.
The priests both come together and cast touch spells on each other as Gar rushes in to their left wing. Jeb tries a hold spell on one of the priests but he resists. Vic hits their center DEAD and cleaves.
They retaliate w/ battle axes, 2 on Gar, 2 on Vic, 3 on Haarkon. He hits one, moving it away so he can step away from the door. He then hits another. Dahlia tumbles in crits and makes him bleed. Ulfar moves in and assists Gar 16; Elric fires at one of Haarkon’s DEAD and tumbes in to a safe spot near the door. Mal walks in front of Jeb, and now stands in the doorway strikes one of the priests with flame.
Gar kills one on him. The priests are sill chanting. The flaming wounded heals himself at least some, the other casts on Malenko, and his staff becomes the center of a darkness blinding Mal, Jeb and Elric. Jeb yells.
Jeb begins a powerful epic.
Vic kills 2.
Gar is then missed; as is Haarkon and Dahlia. Dahlia kills and moves diagonally; Haarkon kills then hurls his hammer at a cleric but misses. Elric moves out of the dark and hits a priest with an arrow; Ulfar kills the last and moves to a cleric. Malenko dispels the darkness.
Gar moves to a priest and hits. The priests attack Ulfar and Gar with flails.
Vic moves in and nails Gar’s priest. Haarkon recalls the hammer, moves forward and hits the ground and the shockwave hits the near priest vs Vic and Gar but he makes the save; Dahlia full attacks Ulfar’s foe hitting twice. Ulfar hits him DEAD then fumbles attacking the other, entangled in his own gear. Elric moves to the side and hits DEAD.
The statues are made of granite, each worth 500gp to a buyer but weigh 700 some lbs a piece.
We take a long rest now; Malenko needs it.

We crash in the nice bedroom. Gar gets the bed being the son of a chief. Malenko sleeps on the wrack in the torture room, Dahlia loosens him up a bit. Mal takes hair, eyes, blood samples, and fingers from these 2 clerics, ash from their ritual burnings, clippings from the curtains, granite chips, lots of samples from the worship chamber.
Dahlia and Jeb smoke some Devil Weed before turning in as well. They are in the torture room most of the night, lords of light know what went on. Dahlia suggests she sneak back and get the last goblin captive as well, Mal loves the idea.
Mal tries to get Jeb to smoke, and magic jar his soul to take over a trolls body one day with Mal. Jeb has none of that. He and Elric go outside and hang in the woods with wulfy for the night.

April 23

Elric has Wulfy watch the entrance to this level now, rather than our entrypoint.

Malenko sends his Raven flying for the carnival, a note tied to it, to let the group know about the link to the city guild(s) in case a more urban based crew would want to come down and finish the job there and start riding south before we return.

We now go back down the long east west hallway with 1 door we haven’t checked yet, then the passage north there we have not explored. Dahlia takes the lead, scouting ahead for any new threats from below during the night. SHe takes the north hall, which only wraps around to the room we killed the wererat priest.
Now we move to the door, but Elric spots a secret door we missed the first time, along the way at the double turn!! This 20′ × 30′ room has not been seen for a long, long , long time. Skeletons lie about, killed by violent means. Lots of broken and cracked bones. Mal goes in with his zombies. The skeletons indeed begin rising as undead! Malenko lets them fight it out.
Both sides crush the other, the wounded remnants of the zombies Malenko puts down permanently.
Elric finds something in the room, a letter, mentioning the evil beneath “us” breaking free, the authors companions having fallen already. He was an original founder of a forgotten tomb in the deepest level of the mine!! He says they paid for their greed. He is among these skeletons now.
Now, the door: Mal hears nothing. 30′ × 40′; its nasty, remains of victims, human, recent. Probably from the caravan raids by the goblins. Small table in the middle, a few beds as well. Search yields nothing of interest.
Now up to the northern section, to another room we bypassed yesterday, opening east at the double turn near the upper middle of the complex, completing the east west hall to the south of it.
Room is 30′ × 50′; one table, couple weapon racks and 2 chairs are all that is in here.
Now, to the door north and east of here, east of the hole going down. The door opens south, 30′ × 50′. A small open crate of silver ore rests here. The hall itself goes 40’ and turns north. 150lb worth 250gp. We go the north passage, Elric finding a secret door at the corner. He opens, creaking loudly, it to a 40′ × 20′ room; lots of stone and wood fragments like an old cavein. Haarkon says it happened 20 or so years ago. He inspects the room. Dahlia heads north in case anything heard the creaking. It takes a couple turns, but she sees and hears nothing.
“There appears to be a weak spot in the…” reflex save fails and the floor collapses. He slides down a chute. He gathers his senses at the bottom, in a 40′ × 20′ room; faint torches in old sconces show lots of crates boxes, shadows abound in the room. They are full of mining equipment. There is one door out. He reports upward to us, 50’ below us he believes. Mining equipment looks current.
Elric “Do you hear anything? Listen at the door!”
He hears nothing. Good, likely then no one heard him.
We send a rope down and haul him up, after clearing some rubble around the hole to make it safe for us to pull him up.
We take Dahlia’s path she has been watching and catch up to her. After the bend it goes east 20’ then turns south for 40’ and turns west 60’. Halfway down is a door, at the end it turns south.
Door first: 40′ × 50′. Lots of crates labeled Negdenburg mining guild full of silver ore. Were these stolen en route, or going straight from here to the guild (as in the guild is involved in this)? 100gp worth per crate, 15 crates. 1800lb total.

Continue south another 80’ to a door and turns west meeting up with a previously explored hall. This seems to be the final room on this level!
50’ square room; large crate in here, we can still see the drag marks! 500gp of ore, over 500lb! Label on is says Dwarrowhill silver coalition.
We recall, when we guarded the caravan briefly, the crates were labelled for their specific mining groups. So this isn’t necessarily incriminating.

Mal brings his undead inside, now it’s downward. We will use the chute Haarkon so deftly discovered. It will be a more backdoor surprising way to go. All heavy armor off before we slide down.
Mal also sends his raven north to the carnival with a letter about the city investigation, in case someone wants to begin coming here before we get back.

We gear back up at the bottom. Wulfy keep guard on the entrance into this level. None of the level down here is labelled as being from any specific supplier. All the equipment is a mishmash of raids on the miners and shipments, does not looks like an organized supplying from outside.
The door is unlocked, it leads into hall. Soon as we are in the hall north 20’, and turns west. We immediately hear the mining work being done.
We march forward. It goes 160’ south and turns west to a north/south T. 60’ south is a T, 200’ north is a T. Haarkon checks the southern T as Dahlia went all the way north with Barry. Haarkon sees to his limit both directions. MInind sounds coming from all directions. At the north, Dahlia and Barry going north. They see 2 skeletons coming toward us. They back off to the group. Haarkon goes to meet the Ogre skeletons with whelm!
He takes out the first with 2 hits, then the other moves in and he destroys it as well.

We now take the shorter route, south to that T secion. Barry goes left, Dahlia right. Left goes 100’ to a door; at 80’ mark it also turns north, which he checks to 80’ to a door and turns east, passing a hall at the 40’ mark going east.
Right goes a total of 140’ and turns north. Her limit is still not the end, but no door or other halls of of it visible.
We follow Barry first, to the first at the end.
The way to open it is not evident, Elric finds the catch though, opening it to a 40′ × 30′ room filled with rocks and body parts randomly all about amongst the rocks; an open grate in the floor has a ladder going down into the dark below. Dahlia signals total quiet. Mal estimates 10 zombies worth of body parts in here. The grate has the same warding vs undead as the one above!! So, the necromancer might be hanging with the vamp, as we feared already.
Do we go below immediately? We would rather not face them together, though. Plus, Elric reminds that we have found some clues of previous interlopers before, perhaps we will find more with valuable info on the vampire that will help destroy it.
We decide to get a better idea of what’s going on up here first.
We take Barry’s north path. The first east passage turns north at 60’. Barry scouts it, seeing that it goes to his 60’ limit and continues.
At the door, the hall turns north at 40’. Dahlia looks that way, It continues past her 120’ vision! At the door we hear loud picking and shovelling.
Mal thinks we should just ignore for now, and get a greater lay of the land first. so we go back to Barry and go north. It turns east then quickly north ending at a door. More mining from her as well. Since this seems off the beaten path, we will attack. Elric finds the latch, but it does not open. He thinks it’s locked. We can find nothing on this side. Vic and Elric try to muscle it up, impossible even for them.
We backtrack to Dahlia’s scouted northern route parallel to this hall. It goes a total fo 180’ and turns west, going 140’, passing where the ogre skeletons came from, and turns south. We follow it 70’ to a west turn. At about 50’, going north and south, is the rough hewn passage of a car track. It continues another 30’ after that, turning north to a door. About 20’ south and 70’ north, the car tracks turn west. We can hear mining from all around, including beyond the door. Elric finds the catch and opens the door.
As we walk over the rail tracks, an ore car comes hauling ass around the corner, almost taking out Mal and Jeb, passing right through Wraith Charles.
Picks and shovels are at work against rock. we smell the dead. The room is 30′ × 40′. The elevator to the next floor up is in the SE corner. The northern railway comes into the room. Zombies slowly move around the room working. Mostly humanoid, but a couple desecated badger looking things.
The zombies come for us. Dahlia and Barry move in to meet them, Ulfar and Vic following next. There are 4 badger zombies among them. Gozer rushes in for a badger.
Gar has Charles scout out the southern railway.
Vic takes one out, and cleave damages another.
They attack.
Ulfar then fumbles twice, hitting Dahlia then going off balance. Dahlia drops 2 and wounds another. Barry drops one. Vic starts vorpal hurricane. When they go, Vic kills 2 of hers, 1 of Barry’s , and both Gozer’s badgers.
They hit only Ulfar.
Gozer is called out.
After our turn, only 2 are left on Vic, 1 being a badger. Next round we finish them off. 2 carts of ore are partially loaded.

Meanwhile, Charles turns the corner then turns north, then east, then a loooooooooong southern passage, perhaps the N/S length of the complex. He returns.

We backtrack to the long north hall Dahlia didn’t see the end of. It’s 140’ north, turns east 120’ and turns south. After 120’, it turns west. 40’ it turns north, but also keeps going to 100’ total and turns north. The first goes 20’ and turns east, quickly turns north, then west, after 60’ turns north, then quickly east for 60’ to a north turn, then turns west for 80’ and turns south meeting up with the other north turn. This whole area has active mining, but not right now.

We go back to the room north of the room with the way downward. Elric reaches into the bug infested hole as Jeb recites a tale, and pulls the lever. The door slides upward.
A bunch of humans with a few dwarven zombies. 50′×50′ room. Large piles of rock and ore on the ground, very loud digging noise. They not stop digging. Mal fails because of the noise to flame them, Vic stalks to the center of the room so that multiple will surely come at her from the far corner at least, Barry sets to cover the left corner. Dahlia takes the left, Elric the wall straight ahead. Each kill a zombie before they react. The zombies then turn and lurch forward.
It’s a fine fight, we win handily.

Back out of here, and now follow the railway all the way around the level to the room that was locked early on. 2 cars come whizzing by
We follow the rails scouted by Barry now. It’s a 40×50′ chamber. Zombies shovel rock and ore, inlcuding some into a car at the end of the track. We’ll have to fight our way through from the beginning this time. There is also a desk and cot straight ahead, where sits a gnome wearing spectacles working at the desk.

He sees us approaching, and looks up. He says ‘we must be tough to have made it through Lawrence’s golems and lycanthropes’. Offers us a deal.
We still don’t know who Lawrence is.
Deal: give me all of your magic spells and items, and he will let us continue on our quest.
“Are we agreed?”
Human zombies block out way in, a group of goblin guards are caddycorner to us including one in robes. We hear rats to our left.
Gar “I make no deal with necromances. Enough talk!”
Gar swings at the nearest zombie. Vic and Elric flip the mine car upon 2 of the zombies with Jeb’s ballad help!!
“So…I guess that’s a no?”
Dahlia flies past everyone, off the upturned car, and leaps across the fray to the goblins front line and crits, splitting open his jaw.
3 zombies then attack Dahlia and the rats swarm in around the corner into us. Zombies also attack Gar, Elric and Vic at the entrance.
The robed goblin lets loose with a fireball in the midst of our group in the hallway. Gar and Jeb fail for the full 20. It also hits the front 3 zombies who attacked, and a couple rats, killing 1 and 2 of them, respectively.
Ulfar moves in and engages the rats coming toward us from our left, killing 1 of 2 there. Wraith Charles moves all the way to the gnome who casts as Jeb casts on the gnome but he makes it, and begins to inspire. Wraith Charles freezes in place. Vic leaps tween the 2 zombies on her and ELric, then leaps off the car across the room over Dahila and crits, massacring a goblin but the power makes her drop her sword. Elric cuts down his and Vic’s goblins. All the goblins, Vic now in their midst and Dahlia in front of them, turn into wererats. All of them, other than the wizard.
Crap.
They gang up on Vic, but for 1 on Dahlia, and 3 others who spread out to block the approach of others.
Gozer backs off down the tracks.
Gar charges the gnome. One of the wererats crits him with an AoO on his way by, slowing his speed. He still just makes in within the charge range and nails him over 20.
Haarkon moves in next to the car and hurls Whelm at the goblin wizard, past the zombie in the way and hits 19, teleporting whelm back into his hand. Barry enters, leaps over Ulfar’s rat and engages a wererat.
Malenko fails to dispel the hold on Wraith Charles.
SInce her wererat can’t bite, she tumbles past him and hits one on Vic and crits 47 subdual KO’d.
All 5 remaining rats attack Ulfar. 2 zombies attack Haarkon and Barry, 1 vs Dahlia.
The goblin wizard hits Haarkon with an arcane bolt 24. Narzi hits Gar with a drain 21 and blinds him 1 round. Luckily he has wild carded Blind Fight for the day! Jeb moves up and performs Insp Heriocs on Gar, so Elric moves to block the wererat near Jeb.
Ulfar kills 1 rat, cleaves DEAD, crits another DEAD.
“I am Ulfar, slayer of rats!!”
Vic grabs her blade off the ground and hits 22.
1 wererat goes for Gar, 2 on Vic, 1 on Dahlia, 1 on Barry, and 1 on Elric.

(pic)

Gar hits/misses Narzi. Haarkon roughly tumbles past all the zombies near him, taking 2 AoO along the way. He then tries to overrun the wererat still between him and the goblin wizard, who also hits him with a bite AoO; the overrun works, and Haarkon is now right next to the goblin mage.
“Gazoga will destroy you now.”
Barry hits the wererat draining str.
Malenko’s spell fails to trigger.
Dahlia drops a z and the split jaw wererat.
1 z turns on her from Barry, the other stays on Barry and crits again. 1 of the z that was on Haarkon goes after Jeb, the last moves for Ulfar. The last 2 rats both hit Ulfar.
Gazoga’s spell fizzles! “No, not Whelm!!”
Jeb does not like being confronted by a z, having failed the fireball save, goes full defense.
Narzi “Barbarian, why are you still standing here alive!” Narzo misses Gar with a touch attack!
“I learned from you last strike, wizard.”
Vic crits the last wererat on her, 18 knocks prone and dex damage, hits 23, blade dances and cleaves 23 on the one in front of Garzoga, now standing above the overrun wererat.
Ulfar kills a rat, cleaves another 15, hits it again DEAD.
Elric crits his wererat dropping his 7 more dex for 10 total and doing 27; hits again 19.
THe wererat under Vic stands, her AoO crits 40 and drops his AC for 4 rounds by 2.
He attacks Vic, in their space but misses.
Barry’s wererat misses twice. Elric’s misses.
The last attacks Vic miss/crit bite but saves vs exhaustion.
Gar “I see you now wizard” hits 10/17/shield bash miss.
Barry misses the wererat; Haarkon attacks Gazoga 18 DEAD/vs the wererat Vic hit when she blade danced over 18.
Malenkof forms his fire blade and attacks Ulfar’s zombie 8.
Dahlia tumbles, flanks Elric’s wererat DEAD.
2 z attack Barry both miss; 1 on Ulfar misses; 1 on Jeb misses who takes a 5’ step back, and keeps full defense on.
Narzi steps back and looses a lightning bolt, right through Gar, and Haarkon. Gar takes the full 38, Haarkon half. Both are looking bad.
Elric now free turns and kills the z attacking Jeb.
Barry’s wererat backs off, crosses the room to Elric misses.
The other 2 both attack Vic, both hitting once.
Gar moves in for the kill, at negative 6 w/o berserk str/inspire heroics hits 13/13 DEAD.
Barry turns on the 2 z’s on him.
Haarkon, 2 hp left, disintigrates the overrun wererat; then the other as well! Whelm just took over.
Mal hits the z 5.
Dahlia flanks Elric’s wererat 24.
Zombies attack Barry, hitting both times; Ulfar’s z misses Mal.
Vic charges Elric’s wererat 28 DEAD as Ulfar kills his zombie.
We gang up on Barry’s, who retreats, last 2 zombies and destroy them. Then behead the trapped z’s under the car.

VICTORY!!!

We rest until tomorrow, Gar and Haarkon need it badly.
Jeb and Mal treat us for diseases.

April 24

Full day and night rest for Gar and Haarkon. Elric goes through the place, for any secret doors he may have missed.

April 25

Mal’s undead are stuck up here again because of the ward at the only way down. Wulfy continues enters the dungeon, he will watch the hatch in case any stragglers we missed wander nearby.

Gar “I will lead the way. Are you ready with your ways to slay a vampire?”
Mal “You mean, casting Control Undead and making him my minion.”
Gar “No, your abilities have been untrustworthy. I doubt you’re the greatest Necromancer in these hills, much less all lands.”
Gar hears noise below, general movement, close from the bottom.
He cracks a sunron, and starts down,
Down the ladder he goes, followed by Malenko and Elric. Vic next, with Gozer.

We drop into the NW corner of a 30×40 room; a door on the SE corner facing E; table turned on its side, couple goblins behind it with x bows. Gar drops in, shield up and crouching down, assuming their going to fire.
Malenko is almost down when they fire and drop back down.
A 3rd goblin shows himself and fires, hitting Gar again.
Malenko arrives with bounding step, sees the visible goblin, and begins casting. The other 2 goblins fire again, one at each of us.
Then 2 goblin wererats run out from behind the table, charging across the room and engaging each of us.
It crits Mal, knocking him prone.
Elric leaps off the ladder, over and behind Mal’s foe for a crit 28, breaking the enemy blade on the strike as well. Mal tough spells it, sucking energy from it and healing the same from Malenko.
Mal’s draws his dagger miss/and bites Mal, the other bites Gar.
Gar hits and crits, causing con. bleed!!
Vic is on the way down.
Another wererat rushes out from the table, hitting Elric from behind missing. Elric turns to him.
The last 2 goblins now run out as wererats and join the fray.
The fight continues, Vic arriving next. Lots of bites are hitting us, again. Vic drops Mal’s, bladed dances and cleave crits Elric’s flanker. Gar crit leg swipes his, knocking prone then hits again DEAD. Mal arcane blasts Elric’s 18. Helping out his ‘best friend’.
After a few more rounds, Malenko power surge crits Elric’s DEAD with an arcane bolt.
Uflar and Haarkon “No one told me there were goblins here!” are the next 2 down. Their leader, who flanked Elric and Vic engages for most of the fight, is one tough SOB. He hits Vic a lot and absorbs plenty of punishment.
Elric takes out the leader, and Mal runs over and heals Vic’s bleed from the leader’s crit.
Vic mutilates the body of their leader in rage of anger and frustration. Ulfar finishes the last goblin rat.
We rest up, getting reserve back, and go through the door.

The hall goes south 30’ and turns W, and north 90’ and turns W. We take the southern route first, Dahlia and Haarkon leading. Around the corner, the hall goes 120’ then turns north. 20’ up it turns west. We walk the entirety first, it’s 220’ to a T section. We go back and begin at the first turn at 20’. 80’ and turns south. At the corner is a door on N wall. Mal hears nothing from the other side.
The south hall goes 40’ turning W. Welm senses no goblins, we open the door into an empty meeting room, many sitting pillows scattered about. There is a door going north and one going west out of this room. We enter.
Elric takes a look around the southern corner, the hall goes another 60’ and turns N, a door at the end to the W.
We enter the room. Jeb stops, things briefly, realizes this room is part of the map we found upstairs! It looks like it, but doesn’t exactly match up. This room is not on it, but another is adjacent, perhaps a secret door Elric missed.
We move on, checking the door Elric saw to the south. Mal hears He asks again for bonus pay, thief pay. Gar insists he still hasn’t earned nearly his wizard pay yet.
We open the door, 40′ × 30′ room, with a single straw cot, a goblin snoors, wrestling restlessly with his pillows in his sleep. Dahlia starts to tie his legs up, he wakes up screaming and begins to change into a rat, writhing like in pain. Malenko jumps on him as Gar rushes in and pins him “Tie his hands up!” Malenko ties his hands in a bondage knot.
He is full rat but tied up well. Can’t really move.
Elric “Now what?”
Vic comes in with her hunk of silver ore from upstairs, and clonks him on the head, and kocks him out. There is a second empty cot in here as well.
We leave him there for now, following the hall north and east and north again to the west door in the pillow room. It also continues up, wrapping around the room to the last door in the pillow room. Further, it turns north for 100’ and turns W. 120’ further it turns north, and at the 100’ mark it also turns south. The southern goes 60’and turns W to a door and south to a W turn ending at a door going S.
Gar hears snooring from inside. We enter the room, 30×40; the snooring echos, a single straw cot and chest; goblin sleeps here, long sword near him and breastplate against the wall.
We rush in, Gar, Vic and Ulfar jump him to capture him. Mal can tie him. Jeb closes the door behind us.
He changes into a rat like the rest, not like the last. He says our other captive is their newest recruit, we may have interrupted his initial changing. They pick the best and the brightest, strongest warriors to become wererats. He says he’s one of the fiercest warriors in the tribe.
Malenko puts manacles on him, rather than rope that he could chew through. Secured to his bed and close the door behind us. We go to the previous room, anotehr 30×40. Mal hears the sounds of dice being rolled and talking.
Jeb tells us a short poem and opens the door.
From one “Seems we have visitors, pitty I get to kill you before I dice away your money” as he picks up an axe. The other grabs a sword as Dahlia and Haarkon enter first.
Haarkon engages the sword wielder. They both rat out.
Gar rushes in and crit fumbles, hitting himself. Ulfar attacks Haarkon’s as well as Dahlia misses the other, the one who spoke. Mal arcane bolts him 12.
Dahlia is miss/hit with axe and bit. Dahlia responds with 4 hits, including 3 crits. The last a throat slash, bleeding and can not talk nor breath.
Gar cuts the other’s guts open DEAD.
We surround the last, Ulfar crits him down the face for con damage. Dahlia sneak attacks him twice flanking.
He then bleeds out from Dahlia’s throat wound.

His small battle axe is masterwork lvl 6 (plus 1 hit; plus 1 crit threat range)
Back at the previous room, both the breatplate (lvl 4: incr max dex bonus) and Long Sword (lvl 6: incr. threat rng/incr crit mult) are mst.

We check on the first Ko, he’s still out. Backtracking, Elric finds a secret door to the room on the map we missed. 2 tries by Haarkon, he can’t open the locking mechanism. Elric does find the lever to open it, hidden separately.
Gar “Why must our wizard always have to be asked to wizard something open, why can’t you think of this yourself!”
Mal fails the spellcraft check, suffering a moderate disaster: manacles appear on Haarkon, spontaneously.
Gar “I’d ask you to knock the locks but I don;t want you killing us all.”
JEb enhances his skill check and inspires competence, whereupon Haarkon unlocks his manacles after 2 minutes. Elric opens the door.
Haarkon then unlocks the mechanism, with an inspire competence and Enhance spell from Jeb.
It swings open into the middle of the southern wall of a 30×40 room. All that is in here is a small stone pedastal and an urn atop it. We enter.
Gar “You first, ‘wizard’.”
Malenko “Fine.”
We put the manacles on the other ko’d goblin.
No visible exits. Mal goes to check on the urn. It is of clay, Elric begins looking for secret doors.
Mal sees magical writings revealed by his detectt upon the earn, just like the writings etched on the floor at the ladders, the undead warding spell.
Elric “Is that vampire trapped in this urn as smoke?!”
Dahlia “What do you think Malenko?”
Mal says he surely could be trapped in here in gaseous form.
He investigates the urn further, to see if it is magically hardened or anything like that. It is only a standard clay urn. He checks the wardings carefully for any other clues.
Elric notices that the pedestal appears to be trapped in some way. Not sure i what way. He feels there is a pressure plate associated with the pedestal.
Gar sees no reason to remove this urn, do anything with it. We figure the goblins never made it in here at all.
We can see a twinkle of regret in Mal’s eyes. He really wanted a vamp to control.
Mal tells it he’ll be back for it later.
We leave, close it all back up and lock it, disguise our ever being there.

We go left out of the secret room, around the far corner to the uncharted hall. It quickly turns south, then west, then south, then west, 60’ then turns south and ends after 20’. Elric finds a secret door here facing east and opens it.
50×50 room, we entering in a corner. 4 carved wooden coffins rest here, no dust upon any of them. 10’ across light glows in the middle of the floor, emanating peace and content, energy crackles from it.
Gar “What is it wizard?”
Vic “A futile question?”
Malenko “Ha, I know much more than you think! Haha! Elric, high five!”
Elric “Get the @&%$ away from me.”
Elric, as noted, does not like hanging with a master of undead, and Mal has been playfully messing with him for days now.
Mal inspects it’s perimeter. It is an arcane symbol inscribed on the floor creating the energy. He feels it is a portal, but to where he has no idea.
We avoid it and Jeb inspects the 4 coffins, one on each wall. Names are carved into them.
Jasper
Elizabeth
Aaron
Courtney
We know his wife Elizabeth left town, and never came back. Her body should not be here.
We never heard of the other 2 names before.
The coffins are still sealed.
Elric “I am not interested in disturbing any undead.”
Malenko does.
Gar “I say we leave it for now.”
We exit and close it back up. GO back around, walk the long north hall to the T section. East turns north in our sight, west goes 100’ and turns north. Dahlia looks around that corner, it goes another 40’ past a west turn about half way and turns east. Syhe takes the first turn, which turns and comes to a room, then leads to where we already were on the other side of the dungeon.
The rest of us look up the other north turn in the meantime: It ends quickly at a door. Gar hears nothing. He opens it abruptly to a 40×40 sitting room. A door is straight ahead, and to our immediate right. There are mats spread about, aligned around the center. A pack of rats turns to to us. Elric steps head and chills them out immediately. They go back to eating their scraps. Gar checks the door to our right while Elric keeps them at bay. It goes to a 50’ hall that turns north at its end and at 30’. we file in and Elric closes the door behind us.
Dahlia has continued north and comes to a door facing east and another east turn.
At the F shaped hall we take the first north. It turns west aross to the hallway Dahlia is in, passing the other door in the rat room. She sees us, but we don’t see her. We check the next north F. It goes 20’ north and turns east. She jogs and tells us about her 2 doors.
We backtrack with her to the door she was at when she saw us.
It opens into a 40×30 room with cots. 4 wererats are here, and ready.
Gar “Get ’em!”
They fire x bows at Gar and Haarkon then melee engages.
Gar and Dahlia move in fast. Gar crits with Huerrin’s blade; Dahlia moves in and feints; they retaliate double teaming each of them, before Haarkon, helping Dahlia and Ulfar helping Gar join the fray. Haarkon fumbles stunning himself for a round.
Vic to Elric in the rear “This is going to take them forever.”
After a few rounds, including a round of misses for Gar, a fumble by Haarkon and an almost fumble by Ulfar, Vic “Told you. I may have to finish this.”
A bite crits Ulfar.
She does, dropping Gars with a Jump stunt through the line and then flanking with Dahlia.
Then Ulfar’s crits and them fumbles vs him.
Haarkon disintigrates his.
Vic crits Dahlia’s DEAD. Dahlia moves and flanks with Ulfar and hits, then Gar crits it twice.
It crits Ulfar again. Vic moves in and hits DEAD.
Vic “Seriously boys, I had to kill 3 of them. And whelm killed the other.”
Now to the other Dahilia found just south of here.
The rooms reeks of burnt death, and sage; black smoke; spell component shelf with all imaginable; goblin wearing spectacles. He says to shoo, named is Hoga, be gone, he has no time to meddle with us.
Vic “Speak to him, wizard.”
Mal can tell he is attempting to craft a wand currently. He offers friendship.
“If you leave me alone to my experiments, I’ll do anything you want. Leave me alone.”
Gar thinks we can get info on where their Lawrence is. Haarkon is about to throw the hammer, Elric stops him.
Gar “Tell us where Lawrence?”
He freaks out at us not leaving him alone.
Vic “You said you’d do whatever we wanted if we’d just leave you alone!”
Exaxperated, he says to walk back the way we came from, we’d find it eventually.
So, the one way we haven’t gone yet.
We leave him alone.
Mal likes that idea, just in case he amazingly succeds at making a magical item.
Jeb “What a nutjob.”
We go all the way back to where Dahlia caught up to us and continue on. After some turns, it comes to a dead end. Elric finds the secret door after a couple tries. Haarkon and Gar, the 2 Princes, enter first.
The tune of a flute fills the air, in a 50×50 room, the music is one of melancholy. 5 rows of benches to a dias and throne. On it sits a young human man, rapier nearby. He plays the flute, but stops to scratch the heads of 2 demonic looking black rats.
“SO, you have discovered my lair. This is not good……” He says he is Lawrence, and we need to leave before this place becomes your tomb. He is certainly the bard from the inn back in Silverton, who disappeared.
We insist we are here to cease the mining issue “Why you have to steal all the silver?”
“It’s my birthright, it all should have been mine.” He blames the peasantry of old for blaming his grandfather for what he could not control, aka unleashing the vampire.
Gar starts to say that he may be right about that, but he still infested the area with wererats and killed innnocent miners simply doing their job. You could have….." and Haarkon throws his hammer “Enough talk” using Gar’s line. He hits, and almost disintigrates him, 18.

He Wererats Out to hybrid form. Unlike the others, he bursts into the form instantly.
He plays his flute, and the 2 black rats, charge us. 2 others we didn’t see at our flanks come at us as well. 2 at each of Gar and Haarkon.
Gar ignores them and charges Lawrence, the rats getting AoO. He hits Lawrence 19, jumping atop the dais next to him.
Haarkon charges as well, the rats AoO him too. He successfully leaps up as well, even in his plate, and hits with the charge attack.
Ulfar enters “Rats you have met thine doom, and its name is Ulfar!”
He engages Gar’s rats with Gozer; Dahlia engages the others.
Elric double moves into the middle of the room.
Mal then fires a heat missile at one of Ulfar’s rats.
Vic moves in and kills both of Dahlia’s, one with a crit so hard she cleaves it in 2, striking the ground so hard she drops her sword.
L blows his flute while attacking, and mauls Haarkon with 3 hits, 2 being crits.
Haarkon backs off.
Vic grabs her sword and charges in vs L hitting with a heavy blow, and Elric move in with Gar as well but misses. Gar hits.
Dahila moves to help Ulfar and Gozer, and Ulfar finishes them both off with cleave as Jeb and Mal both fail to cast spells on L.
A swarm of rats hits us from the rear just after Jeb enters. Mal and Jeb did not even hear them and are surprised, both getting bit multiple times. Ulfar sees them coming, and Gozer smells them coming.

Gar hits L twice, Vic one max shot, Elric misses twice.
Jeb retreats. Dahlia moves in vs the rats with the others. Mal unleashes a cone of fire on a gang of the rats. 4 of them are fiendish however.
L turns his attention fully upon Vic.
Gar fumbles, blinding him for 1 round. Jeb boosts Elric’s Str, and he crits L! Including big dex damage.
Fight vs horde of rats continues. Dahlia drops one of the fiendish ones.
This time, Mal hurls a cone of cold energy at the same rats as he fired last time, taking 2 down.
Haarkon joins in vs the rats as well “Dahlia, I’m here my lady!”
L now splits his attacks, starting with a bite on Vic, main attack on Elric crits, then hits Gar
and Vic with his rapier
A few more rats drop to Mal and Ulfar.
Jeb enhanes Vic’s strength now, too.
Dahlia dices up the fiendish rat on Gozer.
1 hit from each of Vic, Elric, and Gar finally kills Lawrence DEAD!
6 dire rats and 1 fiendish remain.
Mal forms his flaming sword as Dahlia drops 2 and Ulfar 1 then cleaving another.
We finish up the last 2 quickly.
Lawrence’s weapon:
lvl 7 mst rapier (plus 1 dam and crit mult)

We rest up now, then check the final 2 rooms in the comples out of this room.
One is a library with 4 posted bed! Quality silk and down comfortor on bed. Great collection of books, much on history and music. Jeb is all about this stuff!!
Gar finds a copy of the Ganu family history penned by Lawrence. We will take that.

The collection is worth 2000gp if sold.

Last room has a locked door. We go back and search for and find the key in the bedroom to his treasure chamber!!
Coffers; crates with red writing ‘Negdenburg Mining Guild" or blue ’ Dwerrohill Silver Coalition’. The final crates of missing ore! Silverton will be ecstatic we found more.
Each crate Haarkon values at 1500gp of ore, 600lbs each.
Haarkon tries to open with inspire competence and triggers an arrow trap.
Jeb Enhances his dex and inspires competence, Haarkon takes 20 on them. Triggers a spear trap on the 2nd as well; poisoned needle trap on the 3rd; and finally a scythe blade from the 4th but he finally dodges one!
200gp
mst lt mace; 50gp
6 alchemical potions:
2 ancient scrolls, arcane spell scrolls: Blink, Magic Circle vs Good, Summon Monster 3, Vampiric Touch (CL5); Charm Monster, Major Creation, Teleport (CL7)

Gar cares not about the hermit wand creating wizard. We leave him be.
We stop off on our way past and tell Hoga everybody is dead around him. He has no interest in the carnival nor joining it.
He asks about the town bothering him, we tell him about them coming to get the ore down here. He is exasperated at the idea.

Out we go back to Silverton, reporting victory and that they can get their silver ore at will.
They give us a reward:

April 26

We read Lawrence’s journals in detail, staying here for good bedrest this full day before leaving.

April 27

Leave to rejoin carnival.

April 29

Arrive and stay night in Daschau.

April 30

Move on to Mittelgard and stay night.

May 1

Leave Mittelgard and arrive night at Heston, meeting up with carnival.

Archbridge = Negdenburg
Soulgrave = Dwarrowhill

Laglidin Cladinias: head of miner’s guild

View
Gretchen's Forest
Yanath and company help an old friend of Mr. Burns

April 10

Burns told us Gretchen is very reclusive. Most will likely have not heard of her on the highway.
Late, Yanath et al arrive Brimmin. Inquire about fording the river north of Skellig. They say we can ford it at the bend about 18 miles north of the town.
We ask about any news of issues in the forest to the west, any requests for assistance by the small settlements there; universal answer is no.

April 11

We ask the sheriff if he has heard of any troubles west. He puts us in touch with the local woodsmen and huntsmen. He says that’s a bit far from our jurisdiction. If that area needed help, they would probably ask it of the cities to the west of the forest. However, there have been odd rumors, though not particularly in that specific area but the hole gilderwald forest, has had strange things going on. Random person or 2 disappear, sightings of strange creatures, supposedly a few have been killed even. In general, it is an old deep forest. Those who live there are hearty by nature. Human or otherwise.
Locals say there are small, scattered settlements in the deep woods to which we go. Also, inhuman beasts roam free. It is devoid of official patrols of any sort.
Camp just at the Elbe River’s green edge, NE of Skellig.

April 12

Ford the Elben River at the bend east of our destination.
We stow and camouflage the wagon away safely.
In the stretch before the Wiesen River, we hear noise in front of us.
Yanath signals for All Quiet. Eagle Eye immediately watches one flank, Iggy the other, Hawkeye the rear.
Sounds like at least 3 men, but no more than 8. Seem to be just walking normally. Not responding to our presence.
Yanath sneaks ahead and sees 5 men, dressed as if on a hunting trip. Couple have pelts and furs they have gathered. They are moving south.
Yanath “Hail good men.”
They are startled, reaching for hatchets and such, at first.
They inquire what I am doing here.
Yanath inquires about Gretchen. They know of here. The leader says she lives across the Wiesen a few miles or so. Near the base of the high top. “Very reclusive, secretive old lady. Does have dealing with our town.” A small hamlet just south of here called Wieston. They invite us to follow, they can get us across the Wiesen and to her place easily. Nearest ford otherwise is 10 miles north.
Yanath agrees. The leader is Fraunk, they are indeed hunters.
Yanath warns him not to be startled by a few of our crew. He calls them out and all introduce themselves.
We make it to Wieston by late evening. As we approach, something seems not quite right. Some people are rushing around, smoke is rising from one spot close to the river which the hamlet is right adjacent to.
Fraunk “Lords of Light!”
We all hurry into town together.
A man stops, yelling of things that came out of the river and attacked, killed several men. A trading ship docked was burned and killed most of the crew.
No one has ever seen anything like them, he says, but they were lizard like and humanoid.
Fraunk is distraught “We have never had any problems like this. I have to talk to my captain” and goes off.
The new guy explains Fraunk is a member of the militia.
Yanath offers us to see to wounded with Hawkeye, if he will lead us. He does. Yanath sends Iggy and Gwana to riverbank to check things out. Tanaron and Eagle Eye accompany them.
Wounds are certainly from claw and fang, by far.
Ragnar helps clear damage at the docks.
They find no dead, human or otherwise. Whatever it was definitely came from the water. They had clawed feet, and tails. The ship is still afloat but essentially destroyed.
Sounds like lizard fold, so far.
They took every body they killed with them. There are 4 charred bodies from the fire they left behind at the boat. A group of 5 men approaches, all crew from the trading boat. The Cpt. introduces himself as Smith, he and these 3 are last alive out of 12 men. He witnessed 2 of his men dragged away during the attack. He has never seen anything like them, horrible lizard like creatures. Gray green scaly skin, man sized but smaller than average man. Primarily fought with natural weapons but some simple clubs too. Johnny was for sure dead when they took him; Marcus he thinks was alive. The ship burned after they boarded because in the fight a lantern was knocked over.
Once the fire started they started to retreat off the ship. Smith says they seemed to be heading south when they withdrew. The entire river is navigable from Wodan lake to here, no falls and only minor rapids; and fairly wide from 900’ and 1200’ across.
No word of such things from nearby settlements either, others in town say.
A militia man arrives with word that the Cpt would like to speak to us.
We gather together and meet him, along with Smith.
The Cpt. seems like a man who has seen some action in his life mid 30’s. He is Drake. Fraunk told him about us. He asks of our assistance in hunting down these things that attacked. They don’t have much in the way of rewards for us. We can stay as long as necessary for free, guide us across river to her area, eat for free, and offer any assistance they can.
He says Gretchen does trade with Wiesen so he has met her.

April 13

Drake says, besides him and Fraunk, there are 20 other militia types.
Smith says he is a river trader, that’s his job, for a few years now and has never had anything like this happen before. These creatures are surely new to the area, he says.

Yanath sees to the wounded, and we make for Gretchen with Drake’s guide. We are ferried across the river to a small dock. There is a lantern there to signal for the ferry, as well as a bell. A path here leads to Gretchen’s house.
It is only about 1000’ up the path to her hut; 1500’ from there to the base of the hill to the north.
Forest seems healthy all during the trip.
Her hut has a nice clearing around it; garden; smoke from the chimney.
Yanath and Gwana approach and knock. A moment later an old crone opens the door, hunched over holding a walking stick.
We tell her Burns sent us, she beckons us all in. It’s a bit of a tight fit inside. There is one common room and her bedroom.
“You must be the ones that he really likes, or really hates. He either sinks highly enough to send you here, or low enough he expects you to fail and rid him of you.”
She explains: Strange happenings in the woods began several months ago; creatures she had not seen for many years appearing, many who have never been in these woods; unnatural things in some cases. At first one here, one there. They would show up, then vanish. Then more of them, and making their homes in the forest. She did her best to keep things in check “but I’m not what I used to be”. That’s why she sent for the help. It is only getting worse. She believes she may be the reason behind it. She will not divulge her past with Burns, since he did not, but in their younger days Burns and her, with some others, were influential in certain circles. Since then, people ha e resented that.
Old vendettas coming back to haunt her. The only reason she believes this: about the time this all started, she noticed on the hill above her home, a man dressed in black. He camped there for 3 days, directly overlooking her. Shortly thereafter the first of the creatures approached her hut. 5 days consecutively. Then the number increased when the first 5 failed. Then the instances in the forest in general increased.
There is a dwarf settlement in the hill, and a small elf enclave deeper in the forest. They never encountered him.
“In my hut I feel completely secure, but away from it I am not nearly as so.” So she never approached the man.
No pattern to the new monsters, varying things. She has not heard from the dwarves nor elves in a month. But that happened sometimes anyway.
We give her the bad news about the attack on Wieston. She is very sad.
The elves are just under a mile from here.
When Yanath asks she says, by the details we give her of the attack, how far she thinks they might go from their home for a night raid.
“I’m not sure, but I’ll find out.” She goes outside, holds her staff overhead and chants. After a minute she sits, as if in a trance for a couple minutes and snaps out of it.
“I know exactly what they are: troglodytes. Horrible creatures they are. I faced them many, many years ago.” Don’t usually live this far north. Vicious. They eat their prey (as we suspected). Only eat their own in an emergency. Not smart, but can be cunning. They have a nasty stench to be on guard against; secrete an oil when angered or fighting that smells terrible. They are chameleon like, can blend in to surroundings. They tend to lair underground, close to water; have darkvision. She’s almost positive the lair will be on the side of the river as the hamlet.
She says we are welcome back at any time. Her circle is highly secure.
Yanath asks her to use her knowledge of the areas herbs, he wants her to make something of scent to help guard our smell vs the trog stench. Nose plugs of some sort.

She tells us of a cave entrance to a stone door up the high top to enter, so as to meet the dwarves. She gives us a plant sprig, which will show them we come in her graces. The guide will stay her at her hut.
We leave for the dwarves first and arrive w/o incident. The entrance is a well disguised door. If we didn’t know it was there, most would miss it entirely!
We knock with a dagger hilt. A few moments pause and a small peep hole opens next to the door “Who are you and what do you want”.
We show the good will token, tell him we want to talk. The door opens to a dwarven warrior.
They are very much on guard still. Obviously troubled.
Even Rags can fit comfortably in here.
The 2 guards lead us to an assembly hall and meet the leader: Frigg Longbeard.
They are glad to hear Gretchen lives; they have had several incidents here; unable to get out and trade for a month. First, a group of their traders was going toward the river and in that short time were beset upon by 2 monstrous spider. 4 were killed/captured. Warriors were sent to kill them but on the way down they were attacked by a few fleshy undead. They killed 1 of our men and the rest retreated.
Then, they sent out a full force. On the hillside searching for the undead layer, and hill giants came from the hill’s upper reaches. They retreated.
Seems to us like someone is trying to keep them in here.
They have not found the undead lair, they know the giants are at the top the hill somewhere.
Minimum number of Hill Giants is 3.
He offers a contingent of men, led by his son Grigg Stoneskin, for any engagements we plan on.
They know nothing of the man in black camping on the hill.
We tell them to just stay hunkered down, we’ll be back.

Back down to Gretchen, tell her we met the dwarves. We lunch with her. She gives us a different sprig as a token for the elves.
Next, elf village. The guide will assist with Gretchen’s directions. We make it to the area, no thanks to the guide.

A voice calls out, from an elf we never saw. We present the sprig and a couple elves appear out of the foliage. Their outfits are top notch, helping them to hide very well. Yanath wants one.
They lead us to the tree village. Up a spiral stairway into the treetops we go. Their leader Glamar welcomes us.
We tell him all we have encountered and heard of thus far.
He says, from the west, they have run into a type of troll they have not seen before. Mujltiple, working together it seems. More intelligent than the norm. Blend in with the forest better. From the south, bands of orcs but not your typical orcs. Again, much better in the forest, quicker and wilderness skilled; not as bestial as normal orc and more cunning.
Farther to the south, they like to wander a lot and explore, groups of skeletons wandering in the forest.
None of these has found the elven village, but they have encountered the orcs and trolls several times. They have easily avoided the skeletons. Additionally, at least 3 giant spider nests they are aware of. The one at the dwarf hill makes 4.
Glamar says, if we plan on fighting these creatures, he can give us a cadre of him warriors to assist. 27 men, including the cpt of his men named Elebor.
We scetch the area out with the elves, plotting out the areas of distinct trouble and sightings that have caused harm, hoping to be able to triangulate to a source of some sort.
Oddly, the elven town seems most centrally located. But it is somewhat centrally located in general compared to settlements and such in the woods.
He does say, there are 2 things of suspect though: further to the south there is an old tower left over from the master’s war. Now a ruin. Just over a mile from here through dense forest.
Another cave on the dwarf hill, higher in elevation than the dwarves, in which nothing that they know of has lived for a long time. It has a bad vibe to it for as long as they know.
They know of a couple caves on this side of the river, likely too small to be a layer they think. They don’t know enough about the town side of the river.

Back to Gretchen’s to check in. All is well. She is doing some pot brewing; working on our stench guard. She will contact us in village tomorrow
She knows of the cave on the hill the elves spoke of, and is sure the dwarfs do too. Her recommendation is don’t go there. It has been abandoned for years, but what used to live there was very evil: a dragon!! A very big dragon. Dead since shortly after the Masters’ War. Other evil things took up residence there since over the years. Some for loot, others felt they could feed off of the aura of the evil beast. It has been well over 10 years since anything lived there.
Yanath “Seems like the obvious home of the undead, especially if no one including dwarfs enters it. If they never looked there, they wouldn’t have found them.”

Back to village.
It is well guarded by the militia. Those living nearby outside of town have moved in temporarily.
We tell Drake all we have done. He thinks of a couple possible trog lairs if they are underground. He is also a hunter and trapper so knows the area. There are 2 caverns along the river, both to the south. He can take us to them. The closer one is larger, just over half mile away, but does not go as deep into the earth. The further one goes down steeply overall, not as many branches, just under a mile away.

We get a good dinner and a full night’s rest.

April 14

Early morning, Gretchen is calling for the ferry.
Yanath, Hawkeye, Gwana and his shorties meet her.
She says nothing she knows of will negate the stench. But, something will help to temporarily protect. She gives us a cask of liquid. You soak a fabric material in it, and use it as a face wrap. It will help to ease the stench’s effect. It does only last until it cools and dries, so put them on as close to before combat as we can. She says the range of their stench effect is considerable. Probably 30’ or so. But once you resist from a particular group, you should be good for about a day.
Smith and his 4 crew insist on joining us, and can not be reasoned with. They want payback. Yanath leaves Dog back in town. Trogs are going to be too disgusting to bite.
Drake guides us to the caves.

We walk along the river bank the entire trip.

Abouf halfway to first cave, EE sees something in the water, just off the bank about 30’. Not sure what it was. Iggy, HE, and Booty look into the water and see footprints in the mud, trog prints but not fresh. Yanath, on the forest side of the group, sees a couple remnants of something eaten…human. More than 1.
We move off the bank a good 50 yards and continue.

Further on, now closing in on the first cave. We see some animal bone piles around the cave entrance. Its on a rise past the bank; entrance is more of a hole which turns flat after a few feet drop. Lots of trog footprints at the edge of the cave moving to the entrance. Fairly large cave, Ragnar is good thus far.
Yanath jumps down first, followed by Gwana. 15’ wide passage we enter in. As we go in, we do see mujltiple side tunnels quickly.
Ragnar and Booty next, then Drake flanked by Iggy and EE; then Smith and 2 of his men, then his other 2 men, then HE, then Kell and Tanaron. Booty is left as a quick warning system of trogs entering from the river.
It does not get much deeper as we go. Lots of passages though.
At a side passage, Gwana takes a look and sees a glint. He moves up quietly toward it and finds a full skeleton. The glint was off a gem in the pommel of the handle of an old blade he or she had. Does not seem to have been eaten by trots. Its older than that. The passage goes no further. He takes the blade.
Then branches to left and right as well as straight. Both sides quickly turn parallel to central passage. The central opens up wider ahead. We go straight.
Yanath suddenly stops Gwana “You see that?” he didn’t.
Yanath sees a web at the point it widens to the room like a sheet blocking the way. Every one is on guard.
We start to notice the walls are sheathed in webs. Yanath orders a withdrawal out of the cave. We start to move.
Behind us, Yanath and Gwana see a big spider crawl on the sheet, on the other side, looking at us.
We keep moving at normal speed, not a rush nor slow.
Tanaron and Kell (wielding sword and torch), now in the front, think they just saw movement.

A web is thrown at Tanaron but misses, from about 40’ up the passage on the ceiling.
Iggy at the front fires miss/10. Yanath assesses opponent.
The front spider crawls forward and misses Tanaron with a web again.
From the sides at the middle of the group come another from each side. Iggy and EE get hit with webs!
HE and Tanaron then kill the rear spider as Gwana stokes. Ragnar then cuts EE free, who takes his down with 2 big shots. Cpt. Smith moves to Iggy but only damages the web. The spider in the room crawls over the web and into the passage, running up the hallway to Gwana and Yanath and bites Gwana 4. Drake fails to cut Iggy free as Kell moves to Tanaron to see further down the hall. He sees no more spiders in view. Booty calls upon the fire spirits.
Yanath slashes at Gwana’s 16/10.
Iggy’s spider rushes toward him but misses. Gwana kills he and Yanath’s. EE fires tween Iggy and Smith 12.
Rags hits the same 16. Smith attacks it and crits with his cutlass DEAD.
We back out of the cave. We’ll return for any loot, but we need to hit the trogs. We can’t risk lots of ability damage prior to engaging the trogs.
Fingerbang has seen nothing while we were inside. We continue south.

Soon, Gwana sees something move in the water, looked suspicious, like maybe part of a head. Its gone just as quick. He keeps seeing it periodically.
Iggy notices movement out in the woods to our left. A shape there, then not there, following us but not too close. At least 60’ at closest.
HE in the rear sees the same basic thing as Iggy.
As we are getting close to the caves, Yanath stops “Huh, look at this.” Finding a spiked trap in the rough path we have been following. He calles EE up to cover more area in front of us. We slow down a bit to be more alert.
In the last 100 yards to the cave entrance, we avoid about 8 more traps in all of different sorts.
On the flanks and rear, same bried signtings continue.
We are super on the alert.
Ground now more rocky as we close in, less tree cover. There is a small rocky knoll in which the cave mouth lies.
Drake says the cave is going to be a bit more cramped for Ragnar.
EE watches the river side, which slopes steeply to the bank. Gwana and HE patrol our other flank as Yanath and Rags approach the entrance.
Yanath and Gwana enter, followed by HE and Smith.
Suddenly, out of the woodland side, whooping it up, comes a group of trogs! Moving against our body of men at the woodline. They hurl javelins: 3 at Tanaron all miss; 4 at Kell hit 3 times; and 4 at a Smith Crewman miss.
SMith and his crew line up and ready. Tanaron sets his spear; EE keeps watching river. Yanath stays put to watch the cave for attack.
EE sees 6 trogs breech the surface and move up the drop off below him. 3 are ahead of the other 3. EE hits 16. Rags deftly rushes down the slope and hits one DEAD. Iggy fires at the end of their line to our right DEAD. Yanath tells Gwana to charge out, he does to in front of Iggy and throws a spear 14 at the next in line. Booty Inflicts and kills him. Drake moves to stand next to EE and readies.
They charge in. Our ready attacks go: Kell crits 11 and 3 con. damage plus 1d6 bleed. Tanaron kills, Fingerbang 10, Smith and crew as well.
One leader remains to their rear as they engage.
Booty and Kell double over sickened, as well as Smith and 3 of his crew.
We quickly have 5 of their front line down, and 3 from the river, when the leader enters vs Gwana. But, HE is now sickened as well.
We clean their clocks.
About 7 rounds later, the sicknesses end.

Gwana leads the way in, using his darkvision. Fingerbang about 30’ behind him.
First 40’ or so is a steep slope downward before a slight downgrade another 40’. Then it steepens again to a right turn as well as straight. The turn goes to the extent of his sight, so he calls Bang up to look, too. He sees that it opens up at the 60’ into a room.
Straight 40’ is another opening to the left, straight continues to another room at the end.
They check the right path, we come to the intersection, Booty watching the straight path. Iggy hits a tripwire, but dodges the spear trap.
The right path opens to a room about 40′ × 60′. Gwana spots a trog blending into the terrain. Bang sees at least 4, spaced out around the room.
Gwana sends Bang along the cave wall to the right while he strolls right into the room.
He hears a hissing, like a language and they spring upon him with a hail of javelins. It stinks.
Suddenly we hear from him “Oh Gods, it stinks in here!”
Yanath “Wraps at the ready!” They converge and pass out the wraps.
Bang gets sickened!! There is 11 of them.
Gwana stands his ground, urging them to charge. 3 attack Bang, the rest Gwana but for the leader who hangs back.
Yanath sends Drake and 2 men to Gwana, the rest follow Yanath to the next turn which extends just past our torchlight.
Gwana massacres all those around him. The leader engages him but misses.

Yanath moves into a larger room with Smith, Iggy, and 2 crew. They see nothing.
Drake and 2 crew arrive to Gwana.
Gwana misses twice. Bang still fighting his 3.
The leader fumbles, drawing and AoO from Gwana DEAD.

Tanaron, Kell, HE watch the hall forward, Booty back to the rear.
The stench hits as 11 now spring out at Yanath’s men. All saves are made thanks to the wraps!
Yanath and Smith rush one each, the crew protect Iggy who fires at the bigger leader

In Gwana’s room, Drake and men engage w/ Bang. The last on hits Bang 7.
Gwana runs out of the room to the intersection, seeing Booty down ahead of him.
Bang kills the last trog in the room.

Drake and his men leave, following Gwana.

The trogs in Yanath’s room engage, 3 miss Yanath; 3 attack Smith; 2 on each of his crew in the room. The leader throws a 2nd javelin at Iggy but misses. Yanath then kills 2; Smith and crew battle back; Iggy crits the leader DEAD and hits a trog on a crew.

Drake, Booty and 2 men arrive at HE et al. Gwana charges straight down the hall to the room at the end hitting a trap blindly, a slab swinging down like maul 8. Kell follows behind him now, having reapplied his wrap.

Smith is hit a couple times; Yanath is missed; each crew is hit once. Yanath finishes his; Smith and 1 crew each kill one now as well; Iggy fumbles hitting himself for the 2nd time today. Then he kills one on a crew.

Kell and Gwana move into a 60’ x60 or so room. Gwana “There’s nothing in here” Kell “There everywhere!” Kell hurls his torch at one and nails it.
This is a higher room, 40’ or so, with a ledge halfway up at the rear.

Fight wages on in Yanath’s room, Yanath moving to help a crew. One trog dies from crit bleed. Iggy fires at 2 wounded trogs, dropping both. 1 remains, on Smith.

Those in the hallway redo their masks.
Javelins loose upon Gwana, all 11,for 2 hits and a crit stunning him. Kell moves in and misses.

Smith kills the last man in Yanath’s room. Yanath and Iggy move out to the hall.

The 8 javelin throwers charge Gwana. 2 others flank Kell. He kills 2 of them; Gwana picks up his wpn and hits 14.
They go at Gwana in melee, hitting several times for minimal damage.
Kell does very little, hitting only with his short sword.
Yanath and crew enter the fight, Tanaron dropping Kell’s last man. Yanath misses one of Gwana’s. The 2 crew with him are sickened.
Gwana kills all but 1 of his, which hits Gwana with club and crits with his claw. Gwans finishes him off.

Up the wall to one side of the ledge is a crude stepway to the ledge. Along the front of the ledge is a pile of stones.

As we approach the steps, 4 trogs throw rocks at our first 2 men to the pathway up but miss.
Gwana goes up the steps to engage the first one. HE and Iggy fire up killing one together. Bang flies up and engages as well. Yanath follows Gwana up; as he is, a rock is tumbled to and hits Yanath 5.
Battle wages on. The one who dropped the rock is much tougher. Yanath engages first, Gwana joining thereafter. They take him down, the King of these Trogs!!!

Into the last cave, some animal and human remains. This is the last of the cave. We find their treasure ‘horde’.

3000 sp
1500 gp
gold chalice 300
disguise kit

We give it a last detailed search, and it is empty. There is no deeper cave going into any underdark, it’s a closed system.

Back to the spider cave. We send the cpt. and crew back to bring some oil as we gather kindling. Once together, we burn the web cave out. Later in evening, we search it and find it devoid of any more danger.
Drake does say that, though they will have the random monstrous spider in the woods, this was exceptionally dangerous. Their size and number.

Treasure:
300sp

Back to town. Smith and his men are happy to have been part of getting their vengeance, and Drake is very happy about our success.
Small celebratory banquet.

April 15

We ask, and Smith says he will need about 3000 to get a new boat once back in civilization.
He offers himself and men as fellow travelers, mercs basically.
Drake is always willing to help for a specific fight, especially near town. But in general he needs to stay here.

Visit Gretchen early in morning. She’s a bit frantic, has bad news. She was out in the woods with nature, and thinks she saw a dragon! Something flying, circling above the hightop yesterday. It flew up to the higher cave. Her eyesight isn’t what it used to be, and it wasn’t a very big one if it was one.
We were going to go to the cave while here already, now we certainly do not want a marauding dragon at our rear to fry the town or Gretchen while we are elsewhere.
She gives us some landmarks to follow in order to find it: go to the dwarf cave and walk around the hill at the same elevation, you will see it above. It’s about a mile and a third or so.
It’s a good hour of walking.
About halfway from dwarf cave to the other, we see something flying above and circling the hill.
Smith has a spyglass!!! Good show, Smith “Looks like a dragon to me.”
Yanath takes a look instead. It looks like a dragon to him, all right. As far as he could guess having never seen one, like most people.
He gives it to Booty since he has knowledge arcana “Definitely in the dragon family. It appears to be not a real dragon per se. It’s a creature called a wyvern.”
Yanath “I was hoping that was the case. We do have these where I come from, occasionally. Unusual to be this far north, though.” He is fairly sure they don not breath anything on you, but they do posses a venomous stinger.
Yanath orders us to hunker down, hoping it will leave to hunt away from the hightop, then we can get inside and ambush it. If now, he does not want to engage it out in the open, no knowing its full potential.
It flies another loop, lets out a roar. A minute later a second one appears!! They circle spaced out. It appears they are circling above us, and closing in like birds of prey. They probably spotted Smith’s men.
HE, and Yanath climb trees carefully.
They dive!!!
The 2 initial targets are 1 of Smith’s and Perfect Kell. They both are grabbed, but not before EE hits Kells who blinds his, and Iggy, Yanath and HE hit the other with bows.
The 2 are carried upward about 30’ above.
On the 2nd, who took the crewman: Yanath hits twice, Rags hits same with javelin, Iggy, Smith hits with x bow
EE nails Kell’s. Booty casts at the same one It hits Kell with stinger but he makes the save, and it moves up.
HE hits it 10. Kell stabs it 12/14/5 with his short sword.
The other flies up and stings the crewman limp.
EE hits Kell’s 12/10.
Iggy and Yanath nail the one with the crewman. Ragnar hits a max range javelin throw at it also.
Booty Commands the wyvern to drop Kell into the treetops. He does a fine job of slowing his fall by using the trees as best as he can but plops onto the ground hard.
It flies away in the direction of the cave.
HE hits the other 9. Tanaron runs for Kell.
The other wyvern flies away with the crewman.
We make for the cave mouth fast, before they can lick their wounds.
It’s another half hour up to the cave entrance.
Kell “I had it under control the whole time. I survived fine, better me than you guys.”

The entrance is big, obviously. Very big. Very dark.
Yanath and EE quickly smell something like decay from within.
Yanath goes in and looks for blood, and he does find it.

We enter, passing partially devoured animals as we go, moose, elk, bear, etc.
We then hear noise ahead. Yanath hears the sound of eathing.
Sending Fingerbang ahead to scout, Yanath brings his rangers up with he and Gwana for an initial attack if necessary. The rest to move in on the next round.
Bang returns “That’s not a wyvern.” He saw the dead crewman’s body devoured by 3 undead. Ghouls or Ghasts most likely.
It continues on past them.

Yanath, Tanaron, and Gwana lure them to attack. The archers, just out of our torch light and behind his, hit them as they get to our line.
They see us and run to the attack.
Yanath’s is killed by his, Tanaron AoO and HE shot. Tanaron and EE hit the middle one hard. Iggy and Gwana hit Gwana’s on the right.
They each hit, then HE kills Gwana’s. Iggy turns on Tanaron’s and kills it.

They were eating the crewman.

We march forward, gradually sloping downward. Yanath has Booty apply Darkivision to himself and EE. Those 2 and Gwana, with Booty scout ahead, while Fingerbang watches our rear.
We soon come to a point where it opens up.
Iggy fires a lit arrow straight across about 100’ away. Still can not see the other side. Looking up as it flies, the ceiling is more than 60’ hit. In the light, we do see glimmering on the ground. 2 more lit arrows, at an angle left and right. We catch glimpse of the ceiling, some 100’ up. Treasure for certain. We see both sides of room. Maybe 180’ at its widest.
Bang flies up to the ceiling, looking for wyverns and ledges. He goes straight across first. About halfway across, he sees at the far end a large outcropping with a nest on it; maybe halfway up. He sees the 2 wyverns in it. They seem resting right now, do not seem to have responded to our light.
He cuts sharp right to the wall. We move to our light sources. Underneath the outcropping nest, he sees a man dressed all in black standing there, arms crossed inside his sleeves, looking in the direction of our entrance. Behind him is a man sized passage out. He returns to us and reports to Booty/Gwana, then Yanath.
We reach the middle of the room, and there is a decent treasure pile.
We hear the cry of the wyverns!
3 more burning arrows are fired in that direction, but we see nothing. In all the light, several of our more observant guys see more ghouls to our front. EE sees ghouls coming from our right and alerts Gwana and Booty.
Yanath tells Booty to light the place up.
Yanath sees 3 ghouls coming at him. 1 jumps at Gwana paralyzing him on our right. 1 at Ragnar at our left. 2 at Tanaron and a crewman in the rear. 1 jumps EE on our right who steps back to HE behind him. Then, another jumps Smith, beside Rags. This one smells excessively bad. He is paralyzed. Another ghast runs past Gwana to Iggy.
Booty then casts: the ghast at Iggy is under his control and the 2 ghouls on Gwana/EE are halted. Bang flies over and smacks Gwana’s.
Then the wyverns attack EE and HE. Both are hit by 1 talon. Both are carried upward.
1 crew runs to help Smith and his sickened by the ghast. another helps the other crew next to Tanaron.
Tanaron moves back and stabs at the ghoul vs his crew, hoping his will have to come at him and provoke AoO.
HE stabs his arrow into the flesh tween talons and wriggles free!! Falling 20’.
Yanath then cuts his down.
Something puts a whammy on Booty’s spell, he can feel it.
The ghouls then attack, Tanaron’s indeed moving at him.
Ragnar then kills his ghoul and cleaves Smith’s Ghast.
Iggy tries HE trick, but fails miserably. Iggy steps back and shoots his halted ghast twice with fire arrows.
The halted undead remain so. Smith is missed by his ghast.
Bang kills Gwana’s; Booty hides behind Iggy. Kell hits twice DEAD.
HE wyvern circles back around the fight, in the air. As does the one with EE. It stings him, making the save.
HE stands and fires into the dark at EE wyvern, wildly missing. Yanath runs to the wall so as to climb the nest.
The halted ghouls attack again: 1 at Gwana just as he comes out of the paralyzation.
The crewman w/ Tanaron gets paralyzed. Tanaron’s steps up to attack him again but miss again.
Smith finishes his ghast off. Rags charges Tanaron’s DEAD. Iggy hits his ghast twice. EE tries again but fails to escape.
The ghast at Iggy now comes out of the halt and attacks him, missing all 3 times.
Kell drops his short sw, grabs his torch, and moves toward Yanath.
Gwana kills his ghoul.
Yanath yells back for Bang to fly to help EE. He flies right to it, catching up.
EE is flown further, almost to the nest, but misses with the sting.
The second dives in right at Ragnar. Both talons hit home, grabbing him and lifting up.
The rear crew kills the last ghoul. Tanaron kills the ghast at Iggy.
End of undead.
HE runs for Yanath.
Yanath gets to the wall, seeing the passage out that Bang saw but no black man, and starts climbing, deftly getting about halfway up.
Ragnar breaks the grapple and falls 20’.
Iggy runs for the ledge. SMith stays with his men. Kell gets to the wall
The wyvern gets to the nest, and misses its sting vs a full defense EE. It is still holding him though.
The other wyvern is up there flying, we hear its flaps making it for the ledge and lands there in the nest.
He and Tanaron make it to the wall.
Yanath climbs over the edge and assesses wyvern. All but Ragnar are now at the wall, who stands up and moves toward us.
Bang, having clung to the claw next to EE, enlarges himself to draw attention from EE’s position.
There is only about ‘15’ from their position to the edge.
Yanath is attacked by the other wyvern’s bite, 2 wings, and stinger. Only 1 wing hits 15. The other attacks EE, squeezing for 25.
Yanath moves in to attack the one who attacked him. It’s AoO bite misses, he hits 10.
Kell arrives at the ledge. Others are climbing. Bang hits EE’s 16/13. EE fails to escape the grapple.
EE’s now turns to FB, while still holding Tanaron down, hitting with bite and both wings. The other misses Yanath completely. Tanaron hits EE’s 10.
HE arrives.
Yanath hits 11/miss as Iggy arrives. Rags starts to climb.
Kell moves in, provoking the AoO and bites him , so that Bang can retreat safely. Kell attacks EE’s. Tanaron hit it as well. Gwana arrives. EE fails to escape.
Yanath crits 10 with a chance to permanently blind, but it makes it. Then hits 15.
Iggy goes for a climb stunt but fails.
Ragnar arrives. Kell hits twice 11 total. Gwana goes after EE’s. The AoO hits 27 bite. Gwana hits 17.
EE fails to escape.
EE’s wings Gwana 14; wing misses Tanaron; bite misses Kell; stinger hits Tanaron 11 plus constitution down 7.
Iggy is winged 18 by the other; the other hits Yanath; HE is bit; Rags missed by the stinger.
Tanaron misses twice.
HE rapid shoos, stinger misses AoO, hits 9/12/5.
Yanath hits 7/miss; Iggy fires again at Yanath’s at point blank range (stinger AoO hits 15, he makes the save) crit 27 with flame arrow/5 DEAD!!!!
Kell fumbles (-1 attacks for the encounter or until he rolls a critical)/ crits 11 cutting off a talon around EE.
Ragnar joins in vs EE’s as Gwana kills it!!!!!!!

We go to the dwarves and tell them of our victory in their accursed cave. They are happy to provide lunch!!
They set us up with pack mules for our loot in the cave. His son and some of the warriors will help escort as well.

We loot the place:

GP 7000
2700 PP
9 gems 10gp
12 gems 50gp
3 gems 100gp
8 gems 500gp
1000gp gem

We stop at the druid’s place on the way back to town, telling her the good news.
This takes the rest of the day.

Yanath treats us all for ghoul fever and tends to our wounds.

April 16

No one comes down with ghoul fever!!
Drake says we can leave our loot at his barracks station.
EE sees up on the hill, movement on the top. From here, they can only be giants milling about.
Meanwhile, HE says he sees smoke coming from the woods to the south. Towards where the tower area. Not a forest fire, but not just a camp fire either.

We decide to go for the tower, but for Gwana/FB/Booty. They will go to the orc area to scout out what is going on there and where the orcs are hanging out.
We stop at Gretchen’s first. She is communing, and does not even realize we are there at first.
She is glad to see us. She was one with the surrounding nature, told that the skeletons to the south have begun moving north, in this direction. At least dozens. Perhaps a couple miles away. A few hours. She also had a vision of the man in black. He was at the tower.
Tanaron, at a 9 con. today, runs back to town to warn them of the skeletons and to get defenses ready. Tanaron will keep point watch, in the woods, as a warning system.

We move to intercept the skeletons, getting to elfs as fast as we can. Gwana/Booty/FB split off at this point to SW, to spy and get the lay of the land concerning the orcs.
We tell the elves of the skeletons. We get their Elebar and his patrol ready to rock and move out with them. The elves lead us, geographically. A group of them fans out ahead as picket line of scouts as we go.
A bit over half a mile further, Elebor stops us, listening “one of my men has spotted the enemy”.
He lets out an animal call and an elf returns: reports there is a healthy horde, at least 50. Walking in a loose line 3 to 4 deep. Elebor says he can split his men into 2 groups and hem in their flanks while we attack at the middle.
Yanath “Sounds good. Let’s do it.”
Elebor takes the right.
We hide. Ragnar will attract there attention and we will ambush.
Kell gets 2 torches ready to use as flaming clubs. Iggy has short range blunted missiles.
The skeletons carry shields and one handed weapons.
When they are about 50’ away, we hear the elves hit their flanks to our right and left.
The sides turn to confront them, leaving the center cut off from the flanks for us.
Rags comes into their view and they quicken their pace.
Yanath and HE sneak in w/ terrain adv. Kell lights up and comes into view. Smith’s 3 men are in the rear with EE and Iggy.

They move again and we strike. As they do, it seems that wherevef there is a gap it seems they are simply continuing forward. Only those blocked stop to fight.
Our rear guard intercepts all once they move again.
Ragnar starts cleaning house in the middle.
Kell handles his with perfect skill. Yanath, once finishing off his 3, runs for the left flank to check on the elves. Kell does the same to the left. At that point, there are only 3 total left at our center.
HE follows Yanath those last 3 go down.

At our flanks, there were less skeletons than we thought, or less engaged and there are several or more missing. We help them clean up the flanks. No losses for the elves.
After a short rest, the elves say they did notice the smoke from the tower. We continue on to it.
We can see by the tracks that a few skeletons reversed upon our attack, going back to the tower.

Soon enough, the tower comes into view ahead. The smoke is indeed originating from the tower itself, out of the rooftop.
We gather all the scouts together with us. Elebor says he’s going to take a few men, sneak up to the clearing of the tower, and check the perimeter out.
Several minutes, and they return “I don’t know who or what is in that tower right now. It must be something evil.” They circled the grounds, which is surrouned by skeletons. More than he wanted to count. All are facing outward, on guard. Even from that distance, he could feel the evil, a cold, from the tower.
Kell “Sounds like a powerful necromancer.”
Also, all the skeletons are armored as well, mostly hauberk.
Yanath thinks we should get the dwarves as well, with elves, all with blunt weapons, to attack the perimeter so that we can get inside.

We go back north to the elven town. The elves will patrol the area, so that we know if they are marching again. We rest here.

Meanwhile, at Gwana,
They reach the area. Booty uses spirits to assist their search, moving cautiously.
Later in the day, an arrow hits Gwana. A voice tells him in orcish to leave they’re forest. FB goes to smallest size and buzzes around looking for him. The voice and arrow came from opposite sides.
Gwana says he wishes to sign onto the warband.
Booty soon sees the orc in a tree above them, in camoflage and with green skin. Gwana assumes its a subtype of orc who are naturals in the forest.
He tries to bluff his way into them making a deal to join up. Says they were hanging out with a bunch of human rangers who they thought were just looking to make money. They turned out to be do gooders instead so “we left them behind”.
Response: if you wanna be in our clan of reavers, go and bring your friends back here.
Gwana says he already told them to bugger off, so the friendship is over. He does know where they stay.
“If your human friends won’t accept you back, but you know where they are camping, then you can take Urgrok with you and show him where. When he comes back and gets more of my men, you can lead us to victory against your former friends. If you are willing to do that, and turn on your former bonds, you can join my men.” Gwana is to lead Urgrok there, stay there while he returns to get a fighting team, then after he can join.
Gwana agrees. Urgrok comes out, another green skin orc “You took that arrow well”. This is the guy who shot Gwana.
Urgrok “Lead the way”.
Gwana hopes to catch the Yanath et al on their way back to the elf village. FB zooms ahead to warn us of what is going on.
Gwana finds, during their walk, that Urgrok only speaks orcish and goblinid.

FB reaches us and flies up to Yanath. He explains what happened. Yanath says we’ll follow through with it. He asks Elebor for a good spot that we could camp as the bait, with the elves on the perimeter to spring the trap. He is able to do so to the SW of the town. FB is to lead Gwana and Urgrok there.
FB then flies back to Gwana to show them our camp.
Urgrok inspects us from their hiding spot. He’s a bit surprised and perplexed by Rags, asking if he’s an ogre “we might need to capture him”.
Urgrok “Good job. You wait here. If they break camp to leave, then you need to have your fairie follow them to let us know where they have gone. I’m going back to get Sgt. Ugluk. I will be back shortly with the rest of the men.”
He rushes off.
We set up some simple snare and delaying traps around the camp. 8 of the elves will sit out the battle unless necessary, they will cover the orcs rear to eliminate any who flee the scene.
It’s a solid couple hours before they arrive to Gwana. THey are either overconfident in how good they are, or they completely underestimate us. Or they really are as good as they think they are. They have brought 18 men. Including Urgrok and Ugluk (they look similar, even for orcs).
They spread out, forming a semi circle attack line. Longbows out, they begin sneaking forward. The 2 leaders, plus one other, hang back with Gwana and Booty.
A couple hit the snares, another on a punji stick. Ugluk immediately “I knew you’d betray us”. They all 3 draw swords and attack.
The fight begins with HE and Yanath (punji spike orc) each dropping one with bowfire, Kell establishing position. Then Elebor starts the archer fire from the forest.
Gwana is waylaid by the 2 ldr orcs, one a crit that drains 1 cha.
Rags then charges the orc who stumbled over the tripwire vine DEAD. Iggy then kills. Smith and his men draw x bows and fire as the orcs fire. Even those at Rags back up to shoot him.
Gwana retaliates against Urgrok first, crit DEAD. His cleave on Ugluk 16, then hits him 13.
Gwana is missed by the 3rd orc at him. FB attack this orc.
The rest of the elves fire away, as does EE who pins his to a tree with a kill shot, then hits another for 10.
HE finishes off that one and wounds one who stunned himself with a fumble card; Yanath kills another. Kell holds in case of unexpected surprises.
Elebor wounds one.
vs Gwana “you killed my brother!!!” hitting Gwana 9.
Iggy rapid shooting hits the stunned orc DEAD, then kills 2 others.
Rags is left with only 1 orc to confront, and he crits him DEAD.
Gwana hits Ugluk 15/14 DOWN. He cleaves the orc vs FB 14 DEAD.
END fight.

Yanath tells the elves to watch the outside!! There may be another wave, they seem more wiley than regular orcs.
No more enemies appear.

We head back to the elven town. Glamar invites us to spend the night at their town, up in the trees. We accept. He wants to know all that happened, so we report in detail. He agrees the man in black must be a necromancer. But he has never seen or heard of one in this area.
We sleep.

April 17

Morning, just after breakfast, a frantic elf enters and speaks to Glamar in elfish. Glamar sends him on his way, turns to Yanath and “I hate to impose upon you, and ask for assistance, but it seems that a couple of my people taken by spiders.” He wants us to help take care of the spider nest to the NW of here, but not so far as it is in the troll area. They were in a small grotto and the webs came at them. They have taken at least 4 elfs.
Yanath “We must go now then. Time is of the essence.”
Elebor and an elite squad joins us. The elf who returned in a rush will lead us to the site.
It’s less than half a mile away. The guide stops us once we are close.
He points ahead to the attack "We never even saw webs, they just came from the trees.
Yanath asks if there is a rocky area or cave nearby, but there is not. Only dense forest.
Smith recommends burning the woods, Elebor nixes that idea.
After a couple other ridiculous ideas, Yanath thinks we could smoke them out with smokey burns. Elebor says we need to carefully figure out the circumfirance of their web, Yanath agrees.
Yanath takes 2 elves, Elebor 1 elf and Kell. The rest stay back from the area.
Yanath sends FB up into the sky above the canopy, to see if their webs are visible at the roof.
We go slow and methodically.
FB does see web above, across a fairly wide area. No sign of spiders though. Near as he can guess, a 300’ diameter area.
Yanath and one of his elves spots and draws out the edge. Elebor and his man do the same for the other side. There is a layering effect to the webs. Feelers go from tree to tree, then the sides will be open. Behind there, the sides will be spun with feelers, and so on. Like a checker board. There i always a safe way to go, throughout though, if you pay close enough attention. We confirm FB’s general size guess and mark the area off.
From the size of the spiders who attacked, and the size of the area, Yanath’s guess is that there could be not more than 5 of them.
Kell and one of the elves run back around to tell the others while Yanath, Elebor, and the other 2 elves start to smoke them out from the wind side.
Elebor then tells Yanath the 2 of them should head in, low, and torch some of their webs directly. As they do, they come across many desecated remains.
Inside, they see a spider above and ahead scurrying into our trap.
Elebor “We need to see if my people are sill alive”.
We search together. As we near the center, Yanath spots some larger bundles of spun web.
Yanath “You keep an eye out with your bow and I’ll climb up.”
Yanath climbs faster than Elebor has seen a man climb before.
Inside the first, Yanath finds a young elf, alive but comatose. He lowers her down. Elebor begins to cut her free. Inside the next, Yanath finds another elf and lowers him.
Yanath climbs back down. We continue on, leaving them leaned against a tree. Elebor suddenly stops, and as Yanath comes to him he sees a young elf man sucked dry of fluid.
Yanath “We are doind well. I was hoping to find 2 if we were lucky.”
Yanath suddenly spots an ambush! “Look out” and they both jump back a a monstrous spider lands right where we were standing a moment before.
Yanath engages with Death’s Master and Elebor fires 2 arrows 7/crit DEAD.

Cut to our men lying in wait. They hear rustling in branches ahead, then out of the foliage appear 3 spiders above moving fast. Our archers and crossbows fire. HE takes out the right. EE and an elf take down the right. In the center, Smith’s 3 men wound one badly. Iggy finishes it off.
FB flies up to make sure nothing else is getting away to the sides. Soon enough, he spots one moving out of the eastern side pulling a cocoon behind it on the ground. FB decides to attack!! DEAD!! FB goes to medium sized and drags the body back. We all get together. A final search shows that all the spiders are dead.
FB cocoon is a elf still alive as well!!
3/4 young elves alive is a big win!!
We do find random loot about the area:

50gp in a single pack next to a partial skeleton
ivory statue, maybe 3’ tall, inlaid gems 1200gp

Back to the elf town. Still early in the day.
We go north back to Gretchen’s. She doesn’t look very happy, has been having horrible nightmares. Last night was the worst, got no continuous sleep at all. Each time, it was a nightmare of her own death. Different each time: devoured by ghouls for one. Each time the man in black was standing in view, watching her death happen. She thinks he is using magic to infiltrate her mind.
We explain all that happened at tower and such.
Yanath sends FB to go get Tanaron, who should be 1 point away from full con. by now with the help of the herbalist/healer in town. He also reports to Drake all that has transpired before they return.
Once he arrives, we talk about using the cave to get to into the tower. Next, we go to the dwarfs and tell them the state of affairs, that we may be calling upon them to attack the skeletons around the tower with the elves. Also, we want them to explore the cave at the wyvern nest to test the depth, direction of the cave the man in black escaped through.

We get there w/o incident. The 5 dwarves, with Yanath, Gwana, Booty enter the tunnel.
It is a very simple, generally mansized tunnel north. W/in a few hundred feet it branches up and down. We take down first which goes another 80’ until we see a red glow at the end. We slow down, approaching carefully. It is a glowing portal.
Yanath “Just as I expected.” It appears it is made out of blood, painted over the dead end into a doorway shape, shimmering. We are leary of it only letting a certain persons or persons through obviously.
When asked, Booty knows of blood cults around the world, Mostly they are evil. He knows nothign specific of a gate such as this, nor how to safely activate it.
We backtrack and take the path up. It goes a couple hundred feet sloping, leading to light of the outside.
Yanath has the others stay put, as he and Gwana sneak to the entrance. From here, higher up now, we can see that there once was a ghoul feeding area (lots of gnawed remains; faint ghoul stink), so they were not sharing the same nest area as the wyverns. Looking down and to the east we can see a camp of some type. That is in the direction of the giants. Grigg appears, and looks in the direction “That looks like a hill giant camp all right. Dirty, unkempt.” We see no movement there at the moment though. Disorganized.
Not good that they are all gone at once.
Yanath “We need to get out of here now” through the tunnel fast. We need to get back to Gretchen’s fast. On the way, we get a vantage point where we can see the town, and scan back toward the Hill Giant area looking for Giants on the move. Nothing. Then, path of least resistance to Gretchen’s. He sees them!! At the base of the hill going in her direction. They are behind the treeline mostly, but he thinks several for sure. Not in a hurry though.
We move fast!! These 5 dwarves volunteer to stay with us. Yanath asks Grigg to try to judge the Hill Giants fighing numbers by the size of the camp. He figures, by his experience, its not very large. Perhaps 5 or 6, but less than 10 certainly.
We should reach Gretchen’s first, but maybe not by much, if that is indeed where they head.
We arrive, no giants in sight. She is there and fine. She says she, her wards, and her friend outside can handle them. We look out again, and see a Treant on watch.
Yanath asks her to commune, try to find out where they are heading.
She does, though warns it will be difficult with little rest. It fails.
We make for their direction to pick up their trail.
SMith and his men stay at Gretchen’s.
We find the trail easily at the base of the hill. They bypassed her hut, going south. We move to catch them. Not long after, we catch sight of them ahead, 3 that we can see. At that moment, from far behind us a loud horn blares. Grigg confirms that is the dwarven alarm calling the men back. Their front door may be getting attacked.
Grigg and his men book it. Yanath sends Rags back with them. We get just ahead of the Giants then we simply pace them, making a wide berth so as to be able to move swiftly.

At Rags,
as they are going up the hill they see smoke billowing out of the dwarf entry cave. Once they arrive they see the door is broken outwards! Huh? The 2 sentries are both dead. Grigg leads the way in, ready for confrontation. They hear the sounds of combat from inside and they run for it, and the bellowing of Giants…..and something else.
A multifront combat, fighting 3 giants. In amongst the battle is another creature.
Rags “What is that?”
Grigg “I’ve not seen one if many years as a young dwarf. An umberhulk!”
Rags “Time to get Rough.”
Grigg goes to find his father and lead the troops vs the Giants. He gives Rags the use of the other 5 dwarves here to take on the umberhulk.
Rags “Leave me 2, take the rest”. Grigg leaves the 2 Sgt’s, taking the warriors with him and rushes off.
The hulk standing alone, couple dead dwarves near it, and a couple others standing as if confused. It sees Ragnar and bellows something in a gutteral language and advances on him and the dwarf sgt’s. 30’ away it gives him a strange stare with its multi eyes.
They make the save and does not confuse them.
The dwarves advance on it 20’ and fire xbows, both hitting. Rags charges 19.
It full attacks, claws and bite, 12/10/15.
Both dwarves miss. Rags hits twice 21/18.
It retaliates, 12/10/13.
Dwarves fire, hitting once for max damage.
Rags crits 31/22 DEAD.
Combat still wages with the dwarves. It’s then Rags sees a Hill Giant running for the exit, which Ragnar is in his way of. He is quite wounded already. Rags moves to block, hacking at his legs.
It hits Rags 21. Rags retaliates 15/19.
The dwarves pull axes and attack, one hits.
It attacks Rags first 16, then misses a dwarf.
Rags hits 21/17 DEAD!!
The have defeated the other 2 Giants nearby. They took quite a few casualties however.
The umberhulk burrowed in right by the gate and burst it from the inside, through which the giants stormed.
The chief is wounded but alive.
Many casualties saved by the arrival of Rags and Grigg, including possibly the chief’s life.

At Yanath:
Yanath sends Tanaron ahead, on the giant’s path, to see if they are meeting anyone who is waiting or approaching. As we hoped, he finds nothing.

They are definitely making for the tower’s area.

Yanath and Hawkeye scout ahead, to find the best terrain within which to lie in wait. Yanath tells Booty to prepare any mental based attack like stun, daze, confuse, etc. As we know hill giants to be dumb.
They walk into our midst and 2 are stunned by Booty. He says the other 2 will unstun as soon as they are struck. The other is perplexed until he is attacked by bowfire from Iggy, HE and EE, and Gwana and Kell rush in and flank him. Yanath is in the rear and fires as well. All archers hit. Gwana smacks his head on a tree branch on his way in, confusing him for a round into babling incoherently.
It smacks Kell good as all but Gwana continue to waylay him.
Gwana then snaps out of it and finishes him off with 2 mighty stabs.
We surround one of the others and hold until Yanath gives the word, striking in unison. It snaps out of it!!
He hits Yanath and Tanaron, dazing and blinding the latter for a round. Then we cut him down.
Moving to the next, we gang attack but he remains stunned!! Another round of gang attacking finishes him off.
We make certain they are dead.
Searching their pouches and such:
incense
pair of boots
quills and ink
giant bowl and spoon
150’ of strong rope
string
170’ strong rope
5 sticks charcoal
comb, large sized
6 sticks charcoal
dice
whetstone
bowl and spoon, large sized
cooking pot, large
drinking horn, large

We run for the dwarf stronghold and meet up with Ragnar, picking up Smith and his men first. That fight is well and over.
Next, to the hill giant camp to search the place. Smith and his men, as well as Grigg, join us. It is even more filthy than it looked from a distance.
After looking around a while, Grigg is a bit confused. He thinks we are missing some hill giants. Two of them. But, this camp isn’t abandoned. Looks like they are planning on coming back. He thinks there is treasure of their’s behind a boulder that is out of place. Rags with some help push it out of the way. Underneath, in a hole, rests their loot.

100pp
2 × 10gp gems
3x 50gp hems
100gp gem
4x 500gp gem
50’ silk rope
mst studs
mst comp long bow
32 mst arrows
half plate

We take the trail the which we spied the giants taking earlier, hoping to find where the other 2 split off. Yanath and HE find it easily; they cut west through the forest, separating from the 3 that went to the tower at the base of the hill and skirted it westward. Sending them in the general direction of the trolls.
We decide to follow the trail immediately. Grigg is joining us (no other dwarfs though); he wants a piece of the giants. Yanath follows it with ease.
We go past the hill, into the deep woods. Yanath, HE and Iggy lead the way, tracking quietly.
All 3 stop, noticing a spot just ahead where the giants stopped briefly. Some other creature was there too, like they were all meeting, sitting down likely. They all went off together in a SW direction. We think, perhaps, to the troll home base.
We continue on, more stealthy.
We stop simultaneously. We get behind cover, hand gesturing to each other in our Meanderwood Ranger sign language. We all spotted 3 trolls ahead hiding up in the trees! Waiting positions. Does not appear they saw us yet. They are also not as large as your normal type troll. Only like very tall humans.
Yanath assesses, as does Hawkeye.
Yanath slinks back and informs the rest. He sends EE on a wide sweep around the left of Iggy and HE to come up on them from another side, while Yanath leads the rest to a perfect spot to draw the ambush out, which we will be ready for.
After giving EE a few rounds, Yanath leads the others on at a leisurely pace, readying tokens as we go.
As soon as our 3 archers see them about to make a move, they loose!! EE crits big.
We mostly react slow though. Tanaron moves to the nearest and luckily can reach him, hitting Iggy’s 9. Iggy fires again hitting twice.
Then they attack. Each have a javelin and throw and leap out of the trees. Tanaron is missed; Kell is missed; Grigg is hit.
Up close, we can see they have the same posture as a normal troll, but are surely more intelligent.
We engage, Gwana helping Kell, Yanath help Tanaron. HE and EE also fire on the same. Tanaron’s crit kills it though.
Iggy kills the last as Grigg finishes his.
They do not begin regenerating, but they were fast healing as we fought them.
We stowe these bodies away. Gwana wants to burn them, but HE says the others will see the smoke.

Path continues in generally SW angle. Finally, the giants turn straight south. We have only seen one single definitive troll track this entire way, it remains with them. We turn with the trail, the underbrush is heavier now.
Another quarter to half mile, slow moving. The front 3 hear some type of a gathering happening, at least a few hundred feet ahead. Lots of non human talking. Giants for sure, plus a lower gutteral speak; as well as other noises of a camp.
Front 3 make for the camp, scouting for wood troll watchmen. In total, they spot several green skin orcs hiding in the brush keeping an eye out.
Yanath sees 7 of them!! That’s just on this side of the camp! We estimate they are about halfway to the camp from where we first heard them.
Yanath and HE sweep around right, Iggy gets EE and sweeps around their left. We make for the camp to get a look, and to scout for more lookouts.
First leg, Yanath and HE see 2 more green orc guards; Iggy and EE see 2 orcs in a tree. One turns fast in their direction and they stop in their tracks. It heard them, but has not spotted. The 2 say something back and forth, pointing in our direction. They seem to be arguing. They blow each other off with gruff words and give up on us.
2nd leg: Yanath and HE see 2 more orc guards in position. Their 3rd leg, they see 3 together this time. Suddenly one starts pointing. One raises its bow to fire at HE but misses. They do not see Yanath. He starts making for the tree as HE draws their attention as they fire back and forth. HE has 2 dead before Yanath suddenly swings around from their blind side up in the tree and beheads the last one.
They pause, checking to see if any other guards hears. None did.
On ther other side, snuck better this side and spot the 3 guards. On their 3rd leg, EE spots the 3 guards together; however he steps on a twig. They swing around, looking our direction. We stop dead again, not moving a muscle, hoping to wait them out again. They talk back and forth. One of them points over our direction, looking with his bow aimed. The other 2 start climbing out of the tree. Iggy takes aim on the one remaining, EE on one of the 2 approaching cautiously, drawing swords and bucklers.
We wait until they are one move away from us and fire. EE kills immediately with a heard shot, Iggy hits right through the eye DEAD also. EE then kills the 3rd before he can breath.
Both are now halfway to the other side of the camp.
Yanath decides to take advantage of the opening in the defenses, he and HE move in to get a visual on the camp. Fairly large, tents set up, bonfire at the center where a meal cooks. 2 hill giants sit in the middle of the camp with a bunch of the orcs. We guess at least 50 orcs here, and at least 3 wood trolls as well. They look like a raiding group on the move. Further south is where we encountered the orcs originally, so perhaps they all met here earlier. East of us is the elven town. They must be making their play on the elves now!
Iggy and EE figure the guard positions follow the same pattern overall moving forward. So they turn back to report at the main body.

All meet together with the main body. Getting late in the day now. We make for the elves, and fast. We decide that it is worth trying to get to the town and dwarves to try to bring reinforcements before they may execute their attack. Tanaron runs for the dwarves, and will stop at Gretchen’s on the way; FB flies for Weiston.
Quick rest at each place before heading back with the reinforcements. Drake, Fraunk, plus 20 militia; plus Grigg and 26 dwarves. Gretchen says she can summon some woodland creatures to asssist us. She will do that from here, what she can she will send on ahead to meet us. The elven ldr Glamar will know what to do when they arrive.

Once everyone is there late into the night, we get a lot of rest at the elf town.
Overnight, nothing to report. Yanath, Iggy, EE and HE, and FB have been making for the enemy camp since after getting several hrs solid rest.

April 18

Morning:
Yanath et al get to where the camp is at and its stil there, fully occupied. Hmm. There are a lot more guards. The majority of troops are sleeping right now. Yanath is sure they are resting for a night attack tonight!!!!
He sends FB back, full speed to report and call our force to attack them here!!
On the march they come, meeting us.
The animals can only take command from Glamar, who stays back with them to guard the town.
By the increase in guards, there are definitely more than 50 orcs in total. The outlying watchmen are more spread out, each w/in sight of the nearest 1 or 2 others.
FB turns tiny and shapes into a bird. Inside the camp, he sees that it is not a trap on us, they are indeed sleeping to resting. One large tent is certainly the troll’s, it has a lone troll sitting outside the tied entrance.
He returns.

Plan: The elves will attack the perimeter guards. At 2 points, we will attack with them to break a whole and get into the camp fast so as to catch the camp off guard, hopefully getting into their tents before many are ready to fight.
The humans and dwarves will be split in half; Gwana plus Booty and FB, Rags, Grigg with one half including Fraunk and Drake make up one group. It is on Grigg, Gwana and Rags, plus some other dwarfs if need be, to eliminate the HIll Giants; Yanath, Iggy, Tanaron and Kell the other half, including Smith and his 3 and Elebor make up the other group. Yanath will go straight for the wood troll tent w/ Tanaron, Iggy and part of the force. while Kell and Smith plus the rest of the force go for orcs hopefully still in their tents and off guard. EE and HE will attack with the archers on Gwana’s side. When it seems stable there, they will enter the camp. Same with Elebor on Yanath’s side.

Our initial attack on the guards opens the 2 holes fast. Alarms are of course called out by their guards. We get to the edge of the camp, and any orcs who were walking around awake are moving to wake others up. We make our attacks. HE and EE remain on the outer attack, as does Elebor, to ensure it goes swimmingly.
As planned, most of our troops hit sleeping or just waking orcs. Our other 2 forces make fast for the center, meeting little resistance on the way though activity is slowly growing. And yelling from outside the camp is less, but the ones that are yell louder.
When we get to the troll tent, there is no troll on guard like there was before. But the 2 giants are up and ready to go. They were likely more lounging than sleeping.
Iggy hits this side of the tent with 2 flaming arrows to get their attention there, and Yanath tosses in 2 alchemical concussion grenades.
Tanaron immediately leads the dwarves in. One is dazed, the other 4 are fine. But with the fire and grenades they are confused and we get the first hits but they react quickly. 3 of the dwarves go down, but only KO, before we take them all down and DEAD. The dwarves give a fine showing, especially the Sgt. Ugly hits for multiple crits. Yanath suffers one hit, by a crit fumble from a dwarf.
At the Giants:
Gwana and Grigg take one, Rags the other. Booty starts it off with force magic blast to Ragnar’s. The 2nd goes immediately for Grigg at first, then quickly turns to Gwana. The Giants start putting a big hurting on Gwana and Ragnar then. Booty hits Rag’s again with a elemental column of flame. Rags then slashes so broadly he cuts the Giant’s hide away from it. They take the 2 giants down, but Rags and Gwana are severely damaged.
Both groups meet up in the central portion of the camp. By now, the elves have joined in the camp melee as well having eliminated the watchmen.
Certainly more orcs are down than dwarfs, men or elfs.
A big badass looking grees orc appear with an entourage and see us; orders his force charge us. 8 in total about 20’ from where they came from around a tent.
Iggy hits the leader, Rags and Tanaron ready attacks, and they hit us. 2 go down from Rags and Tanaron immediately. The leader comes in last, going after Rags. We take them down, the dwarfs staying back due to injury.
In the general fight, we surely have the upper hand in the encounter. At this point, we have them outnumbered. One enemy group organizes a controlled retreat, led by a quality leader orc, on the far western side fighting through some elves that ran into them on the edge of the camp. Otherwise, most are surrendering or running around fighting in ones and twos chaotically. The dwarfs take no prisoners.
The elves see one small group of orcs reatreating into the woods together but are unable to stop them. We send a harrassing force, just to make certain they really plan on running away rather than turning around and harassing us. We’ll need to loot this camp, after all.
We loot and look for any important stuff and info for the rest of the day. Yanath sends EE, HE and Iggy to track the orcs all day and be back after dark, just to know what direction they head in. When they return, they report they have gone west toward the previously known orc area. So, there must be more still there. Whether there are more trolls, we do not know.
We have a lot of wounded. Our actual dead is about 15 total.
We did capture some 11 orcs. Yanath puts Gwana, Booty and FB to interogating them: They do say their main force is still at their camp; the orc Sgt. claims they are about half original strength after this fight; he knows there are still trolls left north, but does not know how many. Both the orc and troll camps were not static; they move around. They will surely move it once the escapees get back. He knows the tower as an evil place, home of the person who brought them here to do this job, which was to eliminate all of the residents of this forest to eliminate allies of the druid. He has no idea why. They were indeed on their way to sack the elfs tonight. The rest of the orcs were to then meet them there as the base of their next op. He knows not what or when the next move was. So far as he knows, like we figure, these 2 giants here are the last.
He then has an offer, one orc to another: if we let he and his squad go, they will just go to their original home, leaving this area altogether.
Gwana “No good, I’ve known too many orcs.”
A map of the area is found, will things like the town, Gretchen’s, wyvern cave, tower all marked.
We keep the orcs captive for now.

We give all loot to be divided amongst the elves/dwarves/humans. The elves think we should be in charge of the prisoners, do what we please. The dwarves feel they should all be killed or made slave labor. Drake says he can keep them locked up in town until they can be sent to the nearest capital to be dealt with. We have Drake take them back and lock them up.
The elves go home. The dwarves and humans travel with the prisoners back to their homes.

We hang with the elves tonight. They thank us profusely. They feast us. Smith and his men stay with us. We ask Fraunk the Forester to hang with us to, and he takes us up on the offer. Yanath has been trying to foster a relationship, maybe get him to join the crew when we leave. He is a bowman, hunter, trapper.

April 19

Gretchen’s animal guards, bears and a pack of wolves mostly, break up during this day.
We have minimum 3 days before a sizeable enough force of our allies is well enough to really help us vs the undead.
We decide to go to the orc and troll areas and at least spot them, figure out if they are heading this way or camping, and where. Yanath, to find the Trolls, takes Fraunk, Kell, Tanaron, Gwana, Booty, FB. To Orcs: Rags, Iggy, Smith and his 3 men, HE, EE.

Trolls:
We split into 3 teams.
1) Yanath and Fraunk: find definite evidence of trolls moving in the last day or so but lose it deeper in
2) Gwanna, Booty, FB nearest the hill, with the spyglass: find some small signs early on of something moving around but nothing else.
3) Tanaron, Kell: They actually track some signs back to a troll camp, abandoned a day or so ago. They think for sure 5 or more. Tracks lead out heading south.

We all meet north at the base of the hill and report. We make for the camp Tanaron found fast to pick up their trail southward.
We quicken our pace. Yanath takes the tracking point, aided by Kell and Tanaron, and even at speed follows them perfectly. Soon enough, it’s clear they moved out overnight for sure, so they are way ahead of us. Even if they went to the tower, they may be there already. It leads into the orc’s old camp!! Now abandoned. Yanath finds their path on the move south. We follow.

Orcs:
Split up into 3 teams also.
1) Iggy and Rags
2) HE and Smith’s 3 men
3) EE with Smith

All 3 see general movement at first, probably old patrol trails and such. Then, 2 and 3 somewhat larger movements of maybe a dozen, probably last night, moving west.
Moving further, all 3 come across the orc paths moving west still. They 3 paths converge at the orc old camp. They have since moved on. All 3 groups meet there. The patrols were looking out for us following them back from the battle. The tracks out of the camp go south.
We follow them south, regular pace. It’s so easy, Gwana could do it.
The force turns SE at one point, which means to the tower. Damn. About half mile from the tower, Iggy, HE and EE go on ahead stealthily.
Smith “How far are you going to go?”
HE “Until we locate the camp. They can’t all fit in the tower.”
Smoke rised from within the tower. They also have to bypass several skeletons roaming the woods. Thanks to Malenko, we figure taking them out alerts the necromancer of their destruction.
The camp is set up around it. The orcs and trolls surround it, mostly resting; the skeletons that were in the open area tween forest edge and tower are gone. Only a few guarding the door into the tower itself now, plus the forest roamers.

HE leads them backtracking to find Yanath. We run into them soon enough, on their way here.
We leave FB behind to watch and warn us of their movements. The rest head for the elf village.
On our way back, Tanaron, Iggy, and one of Smith’s men hit web simultaneously!! We have stumbled, in a thick forest area, into a fairly large giant spider web.

Kell starts to cut Tanaron free, Smith’;s other 2 their 3rd. Fraunk, Yanath, HE, EE, Iggy ready with bows; Smith with x bow. Gwana rips himself free. Rags helps as well to free. Just when the other 2 about free, we hear the spiders closing in.
They are smaller than what we have fought thus far, medium rather than large. From all around us.
Our ready shots go off, but they have cover. HE assesses instead.
We make short work of them. HE, EE, Fraunk giving a great show of it.

Loot:
GP 80
1 dose antivenom vs spiders in particular

Now, to the elven town we arrive. We report the situation.
We stay here again tonight.

April 20

Early morning, back to Gretchen first to inform her of recent events.
Yanath “We need to get into that blasted tower. I don’t want to put all these people at risk again if I don’t have to.”
She is very disconcerted about all the evil consolidating.
She says she will put her thought and powers into the problem, might take a day or 2.
We say go for it.

We make for Wieston to see everyone, and report.
Drake is going to send a few men to Brimmin for some authority on the matter of the captured orcs.
We help to start fortifying the town even more for the rest of the day.

April 21

Morning, Yanath goes to see Gretchen with Dog and his rangers, Iggy, Fraunk,
She has 2 ideas, but must still determine which is the best way.
First option: call up her nature allies, have them fight a harassing action to distrac them, so we can get through their lines and into the tower.
Second option: get something to help get us directly into the tower w/o any fight through their lines. Flight, burrowing. Size is the issue, to get our entire crew in there.
Second is the best, but the first is the easiest to prepare.
Suddenly, the warning horn blows at the dwarves.
We make for the dwarf enclave and fast!!!
The door is open and we rush in, hearing lamenting within. We run, passing by some dead dwarves in the halls!!! They look torn by animal claws.
In the lower chambers, meet some wounded dwarfs. Grigg is there standing over the body of his slain father Frigg Longbeard.
They were attacked by 3 umberhulks. On their way out, the umberhulks left an open tunnel behind them.
Yanath “That’s odd.”
Grigg "That’s the bad news. The only reason to leave a usable tunnel is either to draw people in, to kill, or for a force to come here and attack.
They specifically targeted his father a la assassination via Umberhulk.
This could be more than just a track to kill us, could be to get us in there and trapped so that they can attack Gretchen/Wieston w/o us there to defend.
Grigg would love to go after them for vengeance, but he is the ruler and can not risk being lost.
Yanath knows Grigg will hate this idea, but he thinks Grigg and his people, being relatively small, should pack up all valuables and move his people to Wieston for the time being. We can’t be trapped here guarding them, can’t risk being trapped in the tunnel while the enemy wastes all of them, etc…
Grigg does hate it, but knows he can’t defend vs 3 umberhulks.
Grigg agrees, in the end, this is a wise choice and they pack up all they can and we all get to Wieston by tonight. Plus, the dwarves will ge great at assisting town defenses.

We stop back at Gretchen’s and report.
She says she feels she can call a few larger flyers to transport us to the tower. It will take time to Call them, like another 2 days. If you are in more of a hurry, she can do the first option.
The flyers is more assured of getting us in; distraction or not we could get caught on the outside. The more times we are slowed down going through their lines, the more attention we will attract to stop us at all costs. But, its risky for Wieston being attacked w/in 2 days.
Yanath makes a quick trip to the elfs to try to get them to Wieston as well. At first, they think they are safe enough. Yanath stresses this isn’t so much for their safety, as helping their neighbors as well, working together for a forest you all have to live in together.
Glamar then agrees.

Back we go.

April 22

Defense building continues.
Hanging out at Gretchen’s. She has found, through her communing with the surrounding wild, in the highland to the south, an aerie of giant eagles to assist us. 1 person per eagle; fly by drop onto roof of tower; 10 eagles.
That leaves Rags out (very possible he won’t fit into the entrance nor around the halls well anyway), same with Smith’s men (we don’t want them vs undead anyway) and Dog. FB can fly himself. Yanath and his rangers; Fraunk, Iggy, SMith, Booty, Gwana.

April 23

The eagles will ready tonight, they will fly us in at the end of dusk/beginning of night.
Rags will keep watch over Gretchen, with Smith’s 3 men and Dog.
Tanaron runs for the tower, bringing FB back.

Elves will keep scouts out, watching for anything coming toward Wieston.

The eagles arrive, Gretchen speaks to them in an unidentifiable language. They rest until its time to go.

Evening comes, and the eagles fly us south for the tower.
They dip in a line, dropping us off 1 by 1, right after one another. Gwana and EE, of course, stumble on the landing and take 2 and 3 damage.
Yelling from the camp below. A few arrow potshots at the big eagles but nothing hits. Gwana says they are only aware of the eagles, it seems.
The eagles are leaving, they are gone. We are going to be on our own getting out if the death of the necromancer does not send the enemy forces away.
There is a hatch offcenter, and a chimney that is smoking as always.
Hatch is locked from the inside.
Gwana and Kell pull and pull, snapping the latch.
Steep stairway down. No light below, FB says it appears empty. Primarily storage of crates, chests, ect. One small room is sectioned off though, closed door.
Gwana leads the way down. Yanath says no torches until we are down the stairs so that no one from outside can see the light.
Smith “A fine idea, Yanath. Very smart. We could have been finished before we started.”
We close the hatch behind us. No steps down visible. Kell checks the door, no noise and not locked. Gwana leads the way in. Lit torch on wall; steps in the room going down. A box at top of steps holds lanterns and torches.
There is also light and noise on next floor down.
FB carefully checks it out first. It leads to a large lab. The tower tapers inward slightly as it goes up, so this floor is slightly larger than above. Bookshelves, experiment tables, etc. 2 small parts are sectioned off as small rooms, closed doors. 2 men are working, humans it appears, in black robes. A humanoid dead body rests on one of the tables, headless and disected. As well as 2 green orcs guarding one of the doors. Steps going down are not in sight. The orcs watch in our general direction, so surprise is not asured.
The inner stair wall is not floor to ceiling, it has a ledge following the steps down that some of us could spring over and down, or shoot from.
EE and Iggy start taking a bead on the orcs as Yanath and Gwana skulk to the bottom.
Iggy and EE each kill their orc in one shot. Iggy and Yanath move on the lab rats. They each wear the medallion with the runic symbols we found days ago. They react in shock of our attack. Yanath and Gwanda take down the lab geeks. They are indeed humans. We take their medallions. Kell moves in to check the 2 doors, HE with him. The other move into the room. Tanaron at the steps.
Orc door is locked from this side, bolt. The other is locked from the other side.
Yanath unlocks the bolt, Gwana looks in. Same as above, top of stairs going down.
Both of the lab geeks have a key to the other door, leading to their bedroom. 2 sets of bunkbeds, so 2 more of these lackeys are about. Nothing important in here.
Booty checks out the lab: lots of books in different languages, mostly alchemical work and magical rituals; disection; etc. Very technical. Also, lots of reagents and jars with specimens in them of various small creatures. It seems to be an elf that is the body on the table.
Light and noise from down stairs, so we keep this door closed while we are messing around.
We begin sneaking down, lots more talking and noise. Yanath leads the way, its primarily orcish speak. Nothing important, soldier talk.
Yanath sees About 60’ diameter floor; stairs open into a common room; 2 doors on far side, wall between them goes from one to the other, so could be one larger room with 2 doors in or 2 separate rooms divided by a wall. Bunch of orcs sit at the table and around, and a forest troll as well; perhaps 12 green orcs.
We line up our bowman on the steps, Yanath leading Kell and SMith at the bottom. Gwana is ready to leap from above. Yanath is seen as he spies around the corner so charges the nearest orc. The jig is up fast. Iggy crits the troll, spinning him around so flat footed for next round. Gwana leaps up down to right at the line of sitting orcs, spearing one dead. Ee hits an orc at the far head of the table; HE assesses orc.
Yanath take his down but misses the next one; Iggy hits troll 12/12; Gwana moves and stabs 2 orcs killing both with the cleave included.
The troll then charges Gwana and hits.
Kell moves forward of Smith but then the orcs move and a couple catch him alone, he hits 10. The orc shot by EE runs to a door while yelling instructions, unbolts and opens it. Yanath is attacked by his but missed. Gwana is attacked but missed by 1 orc; The last 3 flip the tables up for cover vs our bows, as instructed. Kell is crited 12 fatiguing him.
Smith moves up beside Kell and joins the fight vs his 2.
EE takes down the orc at the door then misses the troll; Smith kills his orc at Kell; HE hits the troll twice bringing him down, then hits the orc at Gwana; Yanath hits only once but steps aside to open shots from the steps; Iggy shoots Gwana’s orc dead, and hits Yanath’s 14; Gwana grabs the table and pulls down toward himself. The 3 orcs weren’t expecting that. Fraunk hits one of them now.
Yanath’s orc begins commandint. One of the 3 runs through the open door; the nearest to Yanath moves to Kell/Smith but misses, the last jumps atop the upturned table vs Gwana but misses. Yanath is missed, the orc fumbling and getting stabbed himself DEAD.
SMith kills his; HE hits Gwana’s 13; Gwana runs past his orc getting hit with AoO 10 and chases the runner; Yanath moves and hits Gwana’s DEAD.
Kell runs after Gwana, who has rushed down the stair by himself. Kell hears a ruckus and Gwana running wild down the stairs below. Kell calls back to the others!!
Gwana catches the orc at the bottom, grabbing by the back of his shirt; the ground level of the tower. It’s one big open area, a multitude of baddies. Undead, orcs, and trolls.
We rush to the steps after Gwana, Kell catching up to him first.
There are more than 20 enemies here, the undead are skeletons.
Gwana stabs the man he has been chasing twice DEAD.
5 orcs charge them, Kell delaying his action until they are on he and Gwana. 7 other orcs form up on the far wall across from the steps, drawing bows, 5 in front and 2 behind them.
Gwana is hit once of all the attacks .
Kell slaughters one of the orcs and hits another; of the 3 green trolls, 2 now throw javelins at Kell but miss, before the last enters the open space at Kell
Now the skeletons: they begin wandering toward the stairs at Kell/Gwana at the base of the steps and along the stairway. There are 12 of them.
The archers get to the steps and start aiming over; Gwana prepares vorpal hurricane; Yanath is readying to leap down into the skeletons after assessing.
The orcs miss as Gwana kills all 3 orcs; the readied orcs now fire into the opening in the line: Gwana takes a crit 21; Kell is hit once 4; Smith is missed badly.
Kell hits the troll 6 and crit 19 but drops his longsword from the mighty blow.
The troll misses Kell all 3 times!! Skeletons now fill the ranks of the orcs at Gwana/Kell.
Smith attacks the flank orc on Kell over the banister DEAD; HE kills one orc archer and wounds the next; EE hits a troll that’s out of combat 20/12. Yanath makes a jump stunt off the banister, over Kell, for 23 DEAD. Fraunk hits the wounded orc archer DEAD; Iggy aims a full round; Gwana kills a skeleton, cleaves another.
The orc archers fire, hitting Fraunk and EE once each. Kell recovers his sword, Tanaron stabs from the steps and past Kell hitting the troll.
Troll misses Kell three times again; the other 2 trolls throw javelins at Yanath miss and Tanaron miss.
Yanath gets surrounded by 5 skeletons now, but they are assessed and all miss. A couple others go at the edge of the banister at the bottom vs Smith and Tanaron all missing; Gwana is hit once by a skeleton.
HE kills another archer; EE crits the troll 29 DEAD and 12 to the other troll unengaged.
Yanath kills another skeleton; Iggy fires at the troll he has been aiming at, which EE just hit, crits 42 and 2 con drain (card) DEAD!! He then hits Kell’s troll 12. Fraunk wounds an orc archer; Gwana steps forward into the skeletons w/ Yanath 15/9 DEAD cleaves another 15.
The orcs drop their bows, and charge, drawing blades, but for 1 of the 2 in the rear. He runs to the front door of the tower, and begns to unlock the door.
Kell hits the troll 12 then Tanaron finishes it off.
3 skeletons now attack Kell hit once; Yanath is missed by 2 of them; Gwane is attacked by 3, and hit once.
EE and HE nail the orc at the door, 4 arrows, but he does not stop.
Yanath hits a big orc on him twice; Iggy fumbles; Fraunk, with a last second “one inch higher” from HE, hits him 8 DEAD!! The orc had al locks undone, was about to lift the bar!!! Someone outside knocks at the door now.
Gwana slays an orc, cleaves a skeleton DEAD, then hits a skeleton 16.
Kell kills a skeleton; Tanaron runs to the door and starts relocking it.
Skeletons hit Gwana, Yanath once each.
Smith fumbles; HE and EE hit Yanath’s tough orc DEAD. Yanath kills the last orc.
Gwana kills 2 skeletons and wounds another.
Iggy pulls out his light mace and joins the skeleton fray 5.
Kell is crited 10 and 7 dex damage; Yanath is missed; Gwana is hit twice.
Smith kills Kell’s skeleton. He, at the top of the steps, hears a noise. Turning, he sees the 2nd door opening up “We’ve got company!” A large red gellatinous thing begins to slob into the room upstairs.
“Everyone off the steps!!”
He runs down the stairs.
Yanath “Booty, what is it!”
He runs up enough to see it “I don’t know, but it looks like an ooze of some kind. Difficult to kill.”
Yanath kills a skeleton. Now 2 left. Gwana kills the last 2.
Yanath tells Gwana to yell out the door all is ok, just a drunken fight. Yanath orderd, quickly, broken chairs, tables and such oiled at the bottom of the steps and lit. Hopefully it will stop or at least delay this large red colored ooze.

Kell kills the last at him and Smith with a crit
Gwana hears the orcs outside being ordered to cut down a tree, for a makeshift ram. We line up the large tables to the sides of the bottom of the steps, dowsing the tablet tops in oil. Once the ooze is there we’ll light them, all of us behind the tables, leading the ooze to the front door vs the orcs.
Iggy fires an acid arrow up the steps at it, as it reaches the top of the stairs, Booty beside him. He hits it 7 plus 6 acid. It didn’t react at all.
It gets to the bottom, moving at a man’s pace, leaving a trail of red mucus. We light the tables at its flanks. It shoots a tendril out at Smith, while reaching over to light one side, hitting with the slam but no special effect.
At the top of the steps is a man in priestly robes, motioning to cast a spell.
HE hits him twice, missing with a third arrow; Yanath climbs to the bannister and moves up. The necro misses him with a beam. Iggy crits the necromancer, arrow throught the bicep for 15 plus 4 str damage DOWN.
The blob stops tween the 2 burning tables and launches a bunch of tendrils out.
We are getting terrible feelings and brief visions of terrible things, seeing ourself die, or others, etc.
EE is hit, and it latches on for a second drawing blood out, then pulls it back. 1 str adn 1 con gone. Kell is misssed, as is Smith and Iggy.
The fire seems to be doing nothing.
Yanath drops a rope down the side.
Gwana opens the peep hole to look out. 5 zombies are pounding on the door, orcs spread out behind them. Further back, they are debranching a cut down tree.
EE puts 2 arrows into the blob. “Booty, the blood sucking! Does that give you a clue?”
He says it is basically a blood blob, made of blood. This is no type I have otherwise heard of or seen. Very different, extremely rare or even unique.
Yanath “Gwana, attack it!”
Booty casts a cold spell onto the blob 37. Still, we can not tell if it did anything.
Iggy hits it with fire arrows.
The blot begins to ooze over the table to its left, to EE’s horror.
Yanath “Damn it Gwana, attack the blob!!”
It overruns EE!!!!
Fraunk goes right up the rope!!
Kell “Eagle Eye!!” and hits it twice.
FB “I have it!! It’s a blood angel, an outsider but with blob traits as well. It is only here via summoning. We’re screwed! It’s one weakness on this plane is the blood of the summoner.”
Yanath and Fraunk take off to find the necromancer, straight to the one room we ignored, where the blob came from. FB follows them.
It lashes out at us again, hitting Kell, Smith; and Gwana twice.
Yanath, Fraunk and FB get to the room. This is definitely where the ritual took place, arcane markings on the floor. The necro is standing there, the man in black.
He has many cuts visible on his arms.
“You fulls should not have interfered in my affairs.”
We rush him as he forms an arcane blade of black energy.
Gwana, Smith and Kell go full defense mode, EE is failing in his attempts at breaking free.
HE comes in range, to take up an attack.
It lashes out, once at each of the 4 around him.
Upstairs we engage the necromancer. When his blade hits us, it causes a chill in our very soul. FB becomes medium size.
Fraunk crits, cutting his speed in half, dex damage and 10 pts.
FB “Get his blood on your weapons!!”
Smith is close to going down. HE is critted.
Yanath hits twice, gut slashing him. Tanaron hits once, FB twice, Fraunk misses.
He hits Yanath twice again.
He says “You don’t know whose plans you oppose. You stand no chance of defeating the Malenko.”
Tanaron “You’re not the real Malenko.”
“So, you know another. Tell me where he is, so I may defeat him and take his life energy.”
EE is KO’d. Smith falls KO’d.
Malenko steps back, grabs his amulet, and vanishes as he says “this is not the last you have seen of me”.
From downstairs the blob disipates into a mass of blood on the floor.
Gwana checks on the army. They have almost finished fashioning the ram.
Yanath et al get back downstairs.
We get everyone upstairs to the labs and the necro’s rooms, but we find no other way out.
We hear noises outside, lots of commotion.
FB flies to the roof to see all the undead now fighting the others of the army, w/o the necro’s control.
Through the forest, coming this way, is Ragnar with Smith’s men, a force of the elves, dwarves and Wieston folk, including the treant. Reinforcements have come!
We watch as our allies reach the edge of the clearing, loosing missiles into the orcs and trolls before wading into the battle.
They scatter immediately, leaving only the undead to fight. Short work is made of the skeletons and zombies handily.

We come out to meet them. Gretchen is here, too. She says once we were in the tower, she had already had this group making there way here on foot, knowing we may be caught in the tower. She didn’t want to risk the leadership being killed not breaking the army. She also sent a sprite with us into the tower, unknown to us, linked to her so she knew our progress precisely. She had to know the necromancer was gone beforer she showed herself and this force.

So, victory in this forest of Gretchen’s is ours.
She suspected it was a ‘Malenko’, but thought this particular one had been dead many years.
The Malenko’s, far as she knows which is not the entire story, are multiple. All essentially the same being, or part of some same being perhaps. They have existed for a long, long time. One theory is that if there ends up being only 1 left, it inherits the power of all the others. Possibly a Master, or just a super arcanist.
Yanath “So it could be a Master who assured his existence into the future in this manner.”
“Yes, possibly.”
Very similar to Keraptis in White Plume Mountain, except if its true Malenko was much more successful.
She says we should probably watch our back. It has been some 20 years since she thought he died, so he can hold a grudge. We are lucky that he took the blood angel with him when he left, for it is very powerful. Typically, when called to our plane, if they’re master dies they are free roaming killing all in their path. He must have not wanted to go through the effort to call another.
She is beyond grateful.
Yanath gives out many congrats to a terrific team effort wonderfully executed by all.
Iggy “If they are all part of the same thing, does that mean our Malenko’s blood can hurt the blood angel?”
Gretchen “A great question, and very possible but I can not be sure.”

Back to Wieston.

Loot (army):
GP: 3000
SP: 500
2 statues: 90, 600
4 smokesticks

Tower:
SP: 3000
gp: 500
3x 100gp gems

April 24

Nothing but rest.

April 27

Back in Brimmin. The team will simply wait here for the carnival.
In the meantime:
First thing the Meanderwood Rangers do is go over their previous adventure in detail, studying what worked and what didn’t, what could have been done better, our and the enemies’ tactics, etc. So as to be better in the future. This takes a few days.
We get word of the coming Foregathering while in town from some local woodsmen.

May 1

At this point, we have about a week before the carnival is scheduled to arrive here.
Gwana, Booty and Rags travel to Hesston to rejoin carnival.
Next, we explore the forest high country to the east where the foregathering will take place, a week prior to the Imbrundia Festival, and find the trail signs of where it will be held. We spend a lot of time here in the wild. Word will be put out in earnest at the foregathering about Yanath’s plan for a united network of roving rangers.

May 9

Carnival arrives.

Frigg Longbeard; son Grigg Stoneskin plus 26 fighting dwarves.
Glamar; Cpt. Elebor and 26 fighting elves.
Stench Guard: once applied to fabric you have 5 combat rounds before it dries up. You only must have it on during the initial exposure saving throw. It grants a +5 to the save. The cask has a total of 40 applications in it. Used: 20

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Bozmus seeks Revenge

Bozmus and Furnok leave morning April 2 for Ferd to check in on Lupidides and hopefully finish things with Adolphus and Gerber. Arrive late April 3. Lupidides was told, come beginning of season, check for us a couple times a week at the Inn for us.
Bozmus wants to lay low until he makes contact, so we keep to ourselves and eat in.
Billy and his fighters get into the underground shindigs, waiting to hear from us. Byron stays with the thieves.

April 5: Lupidides arrives. We introduce him to Lord Byron.
Lup says it took him a while to get a job. He didn’t have to kill anyone, but did poison a servant sickly to the point where he needed to be replaced. It is a fairly secure compound. After Malenko’s attack in Guttenberg, he is a bit paranoid. The construct you spoke of is still his guard. Average of 30 guards at the compound at any time working in shifts, but are all live in. Servants number about 15. Most are just peons, like Lup. He does have a personal chef; personal butler/assistant who is the house steward; head gardener; and alchemist.
Gerber himself works in alchemy.
Bosmus “I knew he had an interest in it, but not that he himself practiced it.”
Lup can give us a good layout of the 3 floor estate. Entirety of the grounds is 80 yards x 80 yards and is indeed walled, w/ primary front large double gate (w/man door built into the main doors), as well as a shipment receiving door at the back wall. Servants go out to unload everything. Delivery men never enter. That door leads directly into the storage building which then leads into the compound.
The front gate always has at least 2 men. No one gets in w/o being an expected visitor or well known associate. Passwords are sometimes given to the person to give to the guards, other times they are on a list with a detailed description. Appointments are set up via the steward.
Back door guarded by 1 man at all times on the inside (bell to ring on outside), and also the door from the storage shed into the yard. He stands inside the compound.
2 walking patrols on the grounds always.
House is centrally located. Servants quarters, guard barracks, guardhouse at front gate also on the grounds. A few other small outhouses; between house and storage shed is the external kitchen.
The house is NW of Ferd; the main gate faces east. Garden is on NE corner of property; just west of that is servants; guardhouse is to the South of main gate; barraks to west of that. NW and SW corners are copses of fruit trees, and some underbrush like little private nature areas.
Walls are 15’ high.
He can give us exact layout of 1st floor; only some info on 2nd floor; no info on 3rd. That is Gerber’s bedroom, lab, etc.
House itself is N to S 60’, and 80’ E to W. Front door faces main gate, goes into a foyer. 3 doors out of that room. South to waiting room (dead end); West door to hall goes to servant’s room one way and formal dining room the other. A door from there leads out to cookhouse.
A long hall way on west side has stairs to 2nd floor and door to guard room with at least 1 man at all times waiting for alarms raised.
House has a servant entrance as well. Each floor has a bath with indoor plumbing.
2nd floor has another guard room at base of steps going to 3rd. They are in a different place than first, on the SE corner. There are guest bedrooms and a sitting room.
No basement.
He has come across no hidden passages. Lup says it is difficult to search for them.
For first 2 months, he was never allowed to do anything alone. Still, there are always servants or a guard moving around you. When one gets a job at the estate, you are given an amulet which ID’s you as staff (he wears it now). If forging is an idea, do NOT ask around here in Ferd. Only one man does it here, and it’ll get around to him.
All weapons and shields, other than maybe knives, are checked at foyer.
Employees leaving have to be scheduled, so one can’t just leave for his couple days off and pop back in. So, in order to forge the amulet, we would have to get someone to come here with their tools and make it her in town. Lup could not leave long enough. They are taken back, of course, when someone quits.
The construct guardian is not always with him. Any time he leaves it goes. If he is walking the ground, it is at his side. So an ambush assassination means you will have to deal with it.
Adolphus has visited. He came shortly after Lup getting the job. He stayed about a week but has not been back since. The local sheriff is a regular visitor to the house as a friend. Dinner at least once a month.
Gerber does leave the grounds for the city periodically, but most entertainment is brought to him. When he does he is always heavily protected. The construct typically joins him!! So he has been seen out and about with this thing. Also, at least half a dozen guards including the cpt. of the guard who is a known badass. Nothing regular that we can plan on.
Before too late, Lup has to head back. He will try to get more in depth now that he has backup and can dip out in an emergency.

So, it’s now info gathering in the city.
Furnok starts hitting up street urchins, contacts and the like he knows from the past. Billy, the seedy underbelly.
We are trying to get info on the property, Gerber himself, especially find former employees to get info from them, business dealings. We will begin tomorrow.

April 5:Nunu and Bosmus are going to inspect the outer rim of the property, a feeler op, at night.
Perimeter is fairly well lit, especially at front gate. Plenty of light w/in the house and lots of windows; see people moving around inside.
More light is coming over the wall then from a few torches. The grounds inside must also be well lit.
We keep watch late into the night. Lights at the gates never change. The house lights, of course, begin to dim or go out. 3rd floor lights remain on very late, sometimes lights at one area on NW corner are of a different color and flickering, so that window is likely the lab. The grounds lights dim considerably but still light sources throughout.
They return.

Over this and next couple days:
Billy: not much word on Gerber. He is not known to attend the underground fights but has been known to request fighters to come out to his compound to entertain guests. Once, a very well known promotion fighter he DID actually come into the city arena to see. Was not an illegal thing like this though.
Billy puts the word out offering private shows.
Furnok: Finds 2 ex employees that still live in the area that we may want to talk to. Ex employees who quit his service tend to move away shortly after. Those that are fired often disappear, a couple have ‘committed suicide’.
These 2 are one man and one woman. Both quit. The man was a guard up until a couple years ago but should be trustworthy. Was there a couple years and quit suddenly and never really spoke of it. He works as a bartender at an inn called the Black Talon. Name is Henry. The woman was one of the housekeepers; worked there as recently as 8 months ago (just prior to Lup). She had worked there for some time but not from Furd originally. Had been passing through and was likely in right place at right time to land the job. Quit suddenly like Henry and moved into town, bought a small house, and cleans houses and such. Also, never has gone into detail about her time at Gerber’s.

Bosmus talks to some toughs in case we need muscle, the knuckles, skulls and fangs. He finds that they have no interest. He gets a universal “That place is heavy” and they want no part of it. When asked about what scares them off, they are apprehensive. They say the 2 biggest reasons to want no possible fight with Fritz and his men: there are a lot and none of them are wimps; the construct. They know not what it is, but they did see it in action once, years ago. Gerber was in town and appeared to be alone. Couple thugs tried to mug him until the thing hit them out of no where and crushed both of their skulls in a short fight. If we can guarantee that thing is not any part, come back and talk again. Otherwise, forget it.

We also find the location of the amulet maker.

April 8

Lup meets us again with new info. Gerber had a visitor arrive yesterday, a merchant from somewhere further south, darker swarthy tones. He is there with a female companion. First visitor in couple months, other than the sheriff. The man is staying at the compound, it seems for at least a few more days. They talk in the sitting room on the 2nd floor. The alchemist supped with them.
Otherwise, business as usual.
He says he’ll take a risk if it looks like he can, to get up to the 2nd floor and see what they might be working on. He thinks he may be able to put the right person out of commission for a couple days. If so, he may get picked to fill the void.

Furnok goes to meet Henry, the former guard. He goes to the Inn and hangs in the tavern. Lord B offers to join him. Furnok sends him off, instead, with a few of his street operators (Byron refers to them as toughs, and Furnok quickly corrects him) to ‘run into’ the girl and do his poet/knight thing. Her name is Sofia. Byron’s pickup line isn’t particularly great. He’s not really rebuffed, but not real suave either. He makes another move shortly later, which is even worse. She remains indifferent.
For tonight, Furnok is just being nice and starting to make a friend. He starts off a bit slow tonight though, but ends the night better than he started. Tips well.

Late night, Nunu and Boz back at the compound. They are testing a corner with a grove. Boz climbs up at the right rear grove. This is the corner from which we can see the lab window. He can see the back and side door from here both have lanterns hung at them. Servants quarters to our left. The delivery shed straight ahead has a guard at the door to the yard too.
All doors visible have lantern at them, lit, as does the outhouse past the servant’s quarters.
Nearest tree to the wall would be a jump check, but not a hard one.
He lays in wait, watching. The 2 man patrol goes by. They check doors to house as they go, making sure they are locked.
Once they are out of sight, the 2nd patrol indeed comes by, doing the same thing.
They do not seem to approach the wall or into the grove. Rather, sticking close to the house.

April 9

Byron approaches Sofia again. The Skulls offer to fake a mugging, with Byron chasing them away with a good thrashing "just give us the signal’ they say.
She’s impressed at Byron’s diligence and agrees to a drink, during which she opens up more to him. He does not push the job question yet. Byron invites her to dinner, pick her up at her house. Perhaps a ride into the countryside at some point. She agrees for tomorrow.

Furnok back to Henry’s bar. Tonight, he puts on a masterful display, keeping Henry involved in the tomfoolery. They plan to get together for drinks the next night. We’ll each bring a couple friends to the tavern.

Billy and the fighters keep on the circuit.

April 11

Byron meets with Sofia for a ride into the countryside and really pours it on excellently; gets her to mention that she worked for FG some time ago. She gets into no specifics, but says “just something about that place felt wrong to me” so gave her notice.
It’s hard to get her to explain further. He keeps trying to get back to it but she is kind but evasive. He leaves it be for now; still having dinner later. Maybe some alcohol will help.

Out to dinner, enjoying a nice meal and drinks. He broaches the subject again. She looks across the table at him, then glances around. Leaning in closer “I’ve never mentioned anything, why are you following me?” to Byron.
Byron “I insist, you have the wrong idea, Miss.”
She does not believe anyone would ask of that place, stands up “have a good night” and walks away.
He gives the signal as he follows behind her down the street, yelling goodnight and apologies to her; then the knuckles make their move to mug her! They grab her, drag her into the alley. There is Tony and 2 dudes holding her mouth closed attempting to disrobe her, going through her purse. Byron counts to 5, and rushes for them, gallantly saves her in the knick of time.
He yells “Brigands!”
They draw out their knives and clubs and Tony “This don’t concern you.” He draws his sword.
They look at him and flee for their lives hahahahaha!! Perfectly executed by the Knuckles.
Byron “Are you ok?”
She is very appreciative of the help, but soon as she composes herself she asks “Were those your men?”
Byron “Not in the slightest. I do not associate with common ruffians. I am a Lord and knight.”
“Why are you testing me?”
Byron comes clean about needing info because we are out to get said merchant, as he is our enemy. She ponders and asks “if you know who I worked for, tell me his name.”
Byron “Fritz Gerber.”
She leads him to her house. As soon as they are inside, she battens down the hatches, tight. She explains that some of his servants have worked for him for many years. they are the ones who work closest with him. The others may work for a year or so, but come and go. She always felt uneasy on the grounds altogether. Strange things happening; Fritz and his close servants (alchemist, steward, cpt of guard) all seem off. Always watching us. There were stories about some who left the job and were never heard from again. Also, strange goings on at night. Once a delivery came well after dark, she heard the bell at the rear delivery entrance. Saw, while taking a night walk, the alchemist and steward plus 2 others go to the gate to meet the delivery. Brought in a large box, like a coffin maybe. Shortly thereafter the lights in the lab were on upstairs. Like work was being done. Never saw anyone harmed herself, but they are very suspicious and protective. WHen she left, she was told by the steward never to speak of my employment and never to even mention that I had worked there to anyone or they would find out. Never came across anything hidden, like rooms or passages. Strange visitors periodically, as well as many traders. 2 of the most common were Adolphus (every few months) and a man whose name she never got. Smaller, pointy ears. Last time he was there they were having a very animated discussion about something.
We figure that’s Tregoss.
Now that she is done, she asks Byron if she can provide her protection if need be. Other disappearances or deaths seemed to have been preceded by them mentioning their work at the house.
Byron will stay the night to make it look good.

At the taverns with Henry:
Furnok and a couple of his pals are out with Henry and a few of his. Drink, carousing, gambling.
We act out that a couple of us are worried about something, then another knuckle comes in and whispers something, and we are all distraught. Henry asks, and we say a friend
back to Fredrik’s
Henry pretends to know nothing.
Another ruse.
He is evasive.
Asks to check us.
Gives in.
He was allowed to the upper floors of the house. On rare occasions he was called to the 3rd floor. Only twice though, and never beyond the hallways. Never in any rooms. Gerber is EVIL, Henry says. Always felt that he was odd, like all of his closer workers; trust very few. The group of them, plus friends are part of some secret organization. They do horrible things. Publicly he is only a wealthy eccentric merchant, though wasn’t always so wealthy. Henry can give us some backstory on the man he has heard, of when Gerber was younger even:
Only a moderately successful local trader as a young man. Then got involved with a group of merchants and expanded primarily with the help of a much more successful businessman. He took Fritz and Adolphus under his wing. Over the years, expanded in influence and wealth. Somewhere along the way, something happened where Fritz and Adolphus became involved with this organization, whatever it is. They turned on the older partner. His understanding is that they had him killed and took his fortune and holdings as their own. This guys name was foreign_(Bozmus uncle) No one speaks of it anymore though. No one speaks poorly of Fritz around here. The final straw of Henry leaving the job was that he had a friend who worked as a guard there; loyal, never caused any trouble. Was on leave for several days and had come into town. Got drunk one night and started spouting of about things he had seen and heard out at Gerber’s compound. When he returned to work, the Cpt. (same as now) was waiting with a squad of men. They took him into custody, led him into the house. You could hear the screams for several hours, then they brought him back out and took him to the courtyard where they hanged him. The made sure he choked to death; he didn’t die quickly. No one ever saw the body again. Henry quit not too long after. The friend’s family (wife and kids her in Ferd) were told he had taken his last months wages and skipped town. No investigation. None of the workers could tell anyone any different or we’d be killed. When Henry quit, the steward said to never speak of anything that happened or they’d find him._
He hopes we can get rid of Gerber, whatever we have planned. Otherwise “I’m probably a dead man.”
Furnok insists Henry stay here. He does not know Sofia.
We ask about his guardian, Henry just says it’s a large stone and wooden construction that follows him around. When it’s not visibly with him, he does have a way of calling it to him almost instantaneously once he summons it.
Furnok “I thought so. Did you ever notice him wearing anything, like jewelry, a particular piece every single day not matter what else he dons?”
“Yes” a ring and an amulet. The amulet has a symbol on it. We have him draw it for us: a circle with a horses head inside, surrounded by 6 runes. For sure the alchemist, Cpt. and Steward all have the same amulet.
So the ring is likely what summons the construct.
None of us recognize the symbol. He thinks it’s from the Master’s time.

April 12

We meet at Fredrik’s and trade info. So, how to get to FG, what the heck is he involved in.
Lup reports again on schedule "You guys better just hang out in here, Fritz is coming to town today. Has business to attend to. It’s him, his steward, and a cadre of his soldiers, plus a couple other servants. It’s his wagon, plus 2 others driven by servants. The other soldiers escort on horseback.
Furnok tells Byron to get to Sofia and get her over here, too. We send a couple knuckes out to watch their entrance into Ferd.

As they approach the city, they are met by a couple horsemen. One of which is the sheriff. There is a discussion with Fritz into the carriage for a few minutes, then the riders return and the convoy continues on.
The 2 servant wagons with 2 guards each breaks off into merchant district for business. every shot a servant goes into, a soldier follows him in and the other stays with the wagon.
Fritz’s carriage continues to a rendevous in the wealthy sector, stopping at the home of the mayor. Fritz and the Steward go in with 2 guards. The others stay outside (one is the driver; one at the front door; other 2 patrol perimeter).

Meanwhile: Lupidides says has made it upstairs. He got the man sick right before he was supposed to take care of a duty upstairs to wait on the visitor from before who is still there. So, they grabbed Lupe as the only option on such short notice. Not much to tell from that short opportunity. He was able to snoop a bit though. There are 5 rooms: 2 guest beds, a sitting room for meetings and relaxing; an office; and a guard room. He saw only the siting and 1 guest room. Others were locked.
The merchant is some type of desert people. They talked in a language Lupe does not understand. Probably the visitors language.

We make fast for the house FG is at. Fast disguises for Furnok and Boz. We check the perimeter. They do not seem to be expecting an attack.
Furnok comes up with a quick scheme.
We watch a couple open windows on the first floor. One leads into the kitchen, the other a study or sitting room which seems empty.
Furnok, Nunu, and Boz make their move into the house with perfect stealth. Room is empty. it’s a library.
Boz heads out into the 1st floor to scope things out: who is servicing the meeting, where everyone is. Furnok starts rifling through the paperwork in the library for any fishy business dealings.
He hears then sees activity from kitchen, couple cooks making light fare, and couple servants waiting for their time to take things upstairs; and noise from upstairs. He goes upstairs and hears talking down the hallway behind a closed door. There is a minimum of 4 voices.
Back down to hall and he hears a ring “order up”. A waiter walks out with a tray loaded with glasses and beverages. He goes upstairs, Furnok says let him go. They are still cooking so there are more deliveries to be made. Especially the after dinner desert or brandy will the the time to strike. What they are saying may be very very valuable.
Boz follows behind the waiter and knocks 5 taps. The door opens, Boz ducks into a door down the hall and closes it to a crack open; luckily its an empty bedroom. The man who opens the door is one of Fritz’s guards. The waiter enters the meeting. Boz waits for the waiter to go back downstairs then returns to listening in. Difficult to hear what is being said over the clanking of glasses at first. Then hears Fritz speaking of having his current problem dealt with “and if you can’t do it for me, I have someone else that will”.
The other voice replies that we will do all we can, but it is highly irregular. Another voice jumps in “if you need more manpower, I can authorize it”. Perhaps the sheriff came here before we arrived.
Another waiter comes up the steps, tray of food tween his sight and Boz thankfully or Boz would have not made it into the side room in time. Same generic knock, no pattern. After a few, the waiter leaves again downstairs with empty tray.
Boz returns, saying its getting busy up there. Furnok sends Nunu up to act as warning of the bell being rung signaling the next servant.
So back to listening. For a while, its mostly eating. Then Fritz “So sheriff, what is your proposition on how to handle this problem?”
Sheriff replies that this may not work as smoothly as some of your previous problems. There appears to be a stranger involved (we can tell he is searching for words).
Mayor “Look, look. Have the stranger arrested on any charge you can think of. Once he is jailed, we only need to keep him out of the way for a short time to take care of the problem.”
Fritz “And the 2nd problem?”
Sheriff “That one is easy. I just need to form a brute squad for a raid. If in the process, there was to be fatalities, that is to be expected at times when you are dealing with gangsters.”
Fritz “Hmm. Very good, very good. And my 3rd problem, I can take care of on my own. It will be a great pleasure for me to handle that on my own.”
Mayor “Will you need any type of disposal afterwards?”
Fritz “Oh no, I have larger plans for him.”
Back to general convo for a while. Then the sheriff asks Fritz if he is planning on taking another trip to see Adolphus soon. Fritz says “soon enough. I do have to conclude my business with the Sheik before I can leave. Now that the weather has broken, I plan on going to see Adolphus soon to plan our next step for our brothers to the north.”
Mayor “Bloody shame that that whole op was taken down after so many years of thriving success.”
Fritz “Yes it was.”
That seems to be the end of their business talk. But, right as Boz is about to stop listening, he hears Fritz say something in a language he partially understands: the assassins ‘cant. He says ’i need you to take care of our mole tonight’. The 4th voice, who has said nothing since early on, replies in the same ‘cant “of course master it shall be done”.
Boz and Nunu return to library.
So, the stranger could be Byron, the squad to hit Fredrik’s house, the one Fritz is happy to take care of on his own could be Boz, and the mole Lup.
We abort. Back to Fredrik’s and tell them they need a new hideout.
Henry and Sofia say they knew they shouldn’t have talked to us.

Fritz leaves the house soon after, meets the others at the merchant district, and go back to his compound.

While all of this was going on, Billy was approached. Guy says he’s a promoter as well and has a fight for his ‘big guy’ if he wants to take it. “Since your man is a monster, I got someone who brought in a monster of his own.” No one else wants to fight it. It’s about 9’ tall. Billy sets up a meeting in 3 hrs, guy gives Billy the address, to see it and decide.
Billy, Hunk along, smells a potential trap, but there is potential money involved so he goes.
The place is a warehouse with attached office. Lights inside are on. He pauses, really smells a rat. Seeing nothing really off, he knocks and they are invited inside.
Besides the promoter, there is a couple thugs we pass on the way to the back of the warehouse to a caged area. Growling comes from ahead and the sound of something eating. Around the corner, a large green thing in the caged off area, back to us, feeding. It is humanoid; green skin, muscular but thin; black hair. The food might be human or humanoid as well.
Billy immediately recognizes it as a troll.
The promoter lays out the terms, from the man who brought this creature and wants to put it in the ring to fight. He knows the creature is unkillable. 2 ways of winning on your end: incapacitate or last a predetermined amount of time before it kills you. You lose if Hunk dies.
He gives us time to think about it, but not too long, If he has no takers he is leaving town.

Back to meet the others. Night time now. We go to different tavern altogether, separate part of town.
One of the knuckles comes over to Furnok and says they just raided the old house, but they were cleared out first. The sheriff seems none too happy. Sofia’s house was visited by the sheriff and a deputy personally. Finding no one home he was visibly angry. There are patrols out in the streets right now looking for “all of you”. He says leaving tonight is too risky, its that bad. They are looking for Boz, Furnok, and Byron. Billy and his fighters have not been with us much and seem to be unlinked to the rest of us. They continue to stay in a separate place.
We hang tight, crappy little place out of the way.
Furnok takes first watch, Boz mid night, Byron morning.

During Boz shift, hears a wagon pull up outside. Large and covered, stopped right in front of the place.2 guys climb off the drivers position, look around then open the back. 1 of them enters, the wagon shifts a bit, then he climbs back out with a leash. At the end is the troll and go to front door of the building. Boz wakes us up.
Furnok looks out the 2nd floor window we are at. Looks clear. We grab our stuff and down we go. Lupe is first one out. Furnok drops a rope for Sofia and Henry while Boz ties it off. They go next. Sofia almost slips just outside the window, slowing us down, then makes it. Henry then succeeds. Furnok then jumps out the window and lands deftly. Boz climbs down. Byron is last one left, standing at the window. He hears sniffing outside the door and movement. He makes it down as we hear the door crash open. We rush for their wagon!! The troll sticks its head out the window and roars as we drive away full speed ahead, Byron following us on his mount. We pick up Billy and his crew and load him into the wagon. We ride for the exit toward Fritz’s place, hoping they’ll let us out if they recognize his wagon. Gate is closed, but they give us no hassle. Out we go then cut west toward the carnival.
Hunk “You mean I’m not going to get to fight the troll?”
Billy “No Hunk. No troll fight.”
Lupidides has stored the amulet under a floorboard in the last place we stayed.

We have confirmed for sure these guys were involved with the slavers, but there is something larger going on also. Furnok thinks this try to kill Fritz is over. He wants to head east to Aldon straight through. Sell the wagon and draft horses, get riding horses and go straight south until we hit the river, cross and once on the road, back through Halst and catch up to the carnival.
Everyone agrees. Boz figures, he’s waited years for this, it can wait a little longer.

April 13

By tonight Boz and crew arrive exhausted at the riverbend south of Aldon and camp.

April 14

Boz and crew, night, arrive Halst and stay overnight.

View
Carnival: Winter to Spring Festival
New friends; Tasks for Burns

Dahlia gives Burns a detailed account of White Plume Mt., including handing over the Keraptis baby. He says how unfortunate it is that such power (the weapons) were destroyed; and he will “keep an eye on” the baby. Where he sends it is his secret.
Dahlia, now having seen Drow for the first time, asks Burns about it. He confirms that she is indeed a dark elf, a Drow. She was not raised by them however but by the carnival, as she knows. He explains she will have a much longer life than man. He says she was ‘captured’ from a dark elf group by wandering barbarians. Burns purchased, protected and raised her. Other than that, he knows nothing else.

The deck we bring back from the Mt is a deck of destinies. Burns says it is very high risk, but very high reward, to his knowledge. Each card, once drawn, fades from existence.
Boz “We should play poker with it.”
Malenko “Hit me!”
Burns “That’s poker, Malenko.”

Yanath and his Rangers have spent winter spreading word of his plan to start a unit of travelling Meanderwood Rangers to perform paying jobs all around the lands, and general exploration and adventuring. Hopefully, we can get a few recruits this coming spring through fall.

Furnok moved south, travelling as Lias the Trader, before returning a couple weeks before he and Boz head out. He made 250gp trading, but much more gambling.

Malenko and other carnival men make alchemical items for us.

The barbarians, the Crimson Knights, and the rangers all arrive in Holst before the time that the carnival is moving on. Sooner rather than later, we start running into them. Yanath and Sarge become great friends, along with their respective commrades, talking tactics, Sarge’s old experiences, Yanath’s plans, etc. The 2 ranger bands spend a lot of time together comparing stories, as well as testing one anothers’ skills in the field.
The Crimson Knights and Black Tom find common ground, pal around together.
Dareth also takes naturally to Yanath, as well as Elric and Sarge.
Garth Grimson, being a mountain man whose people were only part of the ‘civilized’ community for a couple generations, enjoys a wild night here and there with the Nuges, but they are too wild even for him at times. Same for Hunk blowfist.

Each group is summoned by Smithers where they meet him and a few other carnival officials. Sgt. actually knows Mr. Burns, Malenklo and Dahlia from years and years ago. All are offered a place to lodge and provisions for their stay, then presented the prospect of job opportunities of the adventuring sort come spring if they travel with/around the carnival.
The barbarians agree, having “nothing else to do”, as it sounds like a way to get a lot of action. They also make a deal to brew their mead and ales for the carnival concessions, good Nucenacer brew!!
The rangers look to Sgt, who agrees.
The Knights are the only ones who really think about it. Travelling with a carnival was never anything they had in mind. However, they have no idea where they are, nor does anyone know where they came from. They had left on a quest in their homeland, and at some point things began feeling sor of…..off; their perception of time and place. Whatever happened did so in an instant, but so subtely they can not say when, only they found themselves in totally unknown surroundings. They have their entourage of groomers, servants and the like appropriate for each of them. They ask Smithers, to see if Burns can explain anything. Burns say that even this long after the Masters, there are still ‘mystical fields’ and such lingering here and there across the land. They may have passed through such a field that sent them across time and/or space. Since being a satellite of sorts for the carnival means travel, and with new friends in a new land, they agree. Besides, Smithers points out, jousting matches and sword instruction for public education would be good carnival entertainment, and Lord Blackpool’s Dreyen horses a good draw for connossoirs of the equine.

Winter ends w/o incident. Burns has feelers and informants elsewhere, for advertising and other things he is interested in. One of his runners checked in on Lupidides even (Burns really knows all) and reported he is well and still on the inside. Burns feels Bosmus should indeed follow on his revenge. Lupidides has information for sure. Burns gives Bosmus his blesssing to take a group to settle things “as long as you realize once that job is over, you return here”. He and a team will leave soon.

Spring arrives, the carnival will move soon. Burns wants to visit Imbrundia this year. There will be a large Spring Festival he wants the carnival to take advantage of.
But first, Burns calls a select group to a meeting about potential action he wishes us to look into: Gar, Dareth, Tom, Yanath, Sgt, Malenko, Dahlia. He has lines on jobs with benefits.

  • A town along the southern edge of the mts east of here: something unusual is going on at a mine nearby; no one is saying exactly what and not getting much attention from anyone else. Burns, however, wants to find out what it is before it gets the attention. It will have to be dungeon crawlers. He says that group can break off from the carnival at Ham.
  • South of the same mountain range, there is a petty warlord or noble near Besestein who was small time in scale. But in last 6 or 8 months, seems to have grown in power. His area has grown a little too fast. Suspiciously so. Has not drawn much attention from the Thurangians as of yet. His man in charge of that area has said not much; he has either not done anything or can’t.
  • In the forest to the west he has an ‘old friend’ there. She has lived there peacefully for many years minding her own business. She was able to contact him recently; having problems with monsters in the woods that were not problems before. Maybe a new force in the area. She asked him for assistance. That is personal, not carnival business so he would look very favorably upon solving it.
    Yanath "This is something you would want someone to look into asap, not just wait until we are moving up the north road to the capitol and break off. Go asap.
    There are other smaller things, but he will get to those later.
    We gather to split off into groups.

To mine:
Haarkon, Gar, Garth, Ulfar, Dahlia, Malenko (plus dog and 2 undead), Elric (and dire wolf).

To Burns’ friend:
Yanath (plus dog) and Meanderwood Rangers, Ragnar, Iggy, Umgwana (plus Booty and Fingerbang)

Guttenburg:
Bosmus, Furnok, Lord Byron, Hunk, Nunu, Billy

To Warlord:
Cpt. Dareth, Lord Evan, Sir Garth Gri mson, Tom and Blue Crew 2, Sir John, Sir Damon.

The rest of the rangers and Vic and Ulik will lie in reserve. Vik is NOT happy, and almost thrashes her cousins to leave them behind bruised and bloody. Then thinks better of it.

The carnival will move out April 7, 1 week from now.
Next day, April 1, Yanath suggests that Dareth take a ranger with him, as well. Elric tells Sarge of his reservations of travelling with an arcanist and undead. Sarge reassures him he will be fine. Anyone but Sarge, Elric would insist on not being along with such companions. The elf and his wolf are uneasy about the undead.

April 7: Carnival leaves today. The group going to help Burns’ friend will not stop with carnival along the route. They are making straight for the NW forest.

April 8

Carnival in Erich today.

April 10

Late, Yanath’s NW forest group arrives Brimmin.

Morning April 11

Carnival leaves Erich.

April 13

Carnival in Daschau and sets up shows.

April 14

The Crimson Knights leave for their mission this morning.

Boz and crew on way back to carnival; night, arrive Halst and stay overnight.
The warlord and mine groups leave for their respective missions.
Mine group heads for Dwarrowhill. Just north of that town, up the river, is the mine in question.

April 16

Carnival leaves Daschau, arriving in Ham same day. Sets up a one day show for the next day.

April 17

Crimson Knights arrive Negdenburg at night.

Boz and crew arrive Ham, meeting carnival.
Report to Burns, show him the runic symbol. He says it is that of one of the greater Masters, Peldan, but slightly different in a couple ways. Could be a Return cult for Peldan. He says there are a number of such sects out there. He thinks we should do more investigating into this plot.
Hopefully, our hit on the slaving put a sizable dent in their pocket books, and so delays any nefarious efforts.

April 18

Shows in Ham

April 19

Crimson Knights arrive Besestein.
Carnival leaves Ham; arrives Mittelgard early evening and camps. Small night events set up.

April 20

Carnival presenting all day.

April 21

Carnival presents for a 2nd day.

April 22

Carnival presents a 3rd day.

April 23

Carnival presents 4th day

April 24

Carnival moves on to and arrives late Vanden.
On the road north to Vanden, Malenko’s raven arrives with the message from the mine near Silverton and Dwarrohill.

April 25

Carnival will be showing for a couple days here

April 26

Carnival still presenting

Apil 27

Carnival leaves Vanden, bypasses Jungburk and arrives late Hesston. This will be a weeklong stay.

May 1

Dwarrowhill group arrives night, minus Elric who is travelling through the mountains in search of an arumvorax companion. They get right to taking the anti lycanthropy elixir.

May 2

Burns debriefs the Dwarrowhill crew. Burns wants Negdenburg investigated, but not at his moment. He doesn’t see it as iminent and they are likely extra cautious right now. Wait for things to calm down first.

Malenko wants to draw a card from the deck of destinies, so Burns gathers all present together if they wish to as well.
Malenko draws the Jack of Diamonds: his off hand and forearm grow a layer of slimy fungus which returns in 1d12 hrs if removed. His touch upon the earth or any fertile serface causes mushrooms to grow in a 1’ diameter.

Furnok “One off the top will be sufficient” in the words of Brett Maverick, after donating 1000gp to the god of luck the day before. “The Hand of Youth” ace of hearts: his natural life span increases by 1d10x100 years!!

Garth the Bold draws next Jack of Spades: it has a genie on it, he is granted 1 wish w/in 24 hours of drawing it!
His first thought is for an everful flagon of mead.
Ulfar “Wish that I was never seasick again.”
Garth grabs a peace of parchment and writes the 2 options down. Then adds be mightier than Vik.

Booty next: he asks for the bottom card = Jack of Clubs, the Giant Crab card: he permanently grows 60% larger and an additional 20hp and 5 pts str. But, he loses 3 dexterity, 1 returning per month as he gets used to his larger size.

So, the odds of a bad card have dropped. But, Billy goes for it anyway. 12 cards left, he rolls a 12 sided die and gets 3, drawing the 4th card: the druid ace of diamonds. He gains the enmity of nature. At least once every 2 months a natural disaster effects the character and everything w/in a 10 mile radius.

Vandor is far too afraid of such witchery, and Umgwana is untrusting of magic in general.

Burns says Gretchen can not help with Billy’s card. Its true Master magic. But, the wish would either solve it or at least lessen it greatly.
Garth isn’t happy “It was fun while it lasted.” He wishes the problem solved. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Burns “That was very selfless of you. Because of your generous deed, I shall make you a magical mug which shall magically refill with whatever drink you desire, whenever you desire. This will take me time and it may have limitations.” It won’t create the drink, it essentially draws the drink from a set location. There will be barrels in the carnival with different liquids from which he can draw from wherever he is. Wine, ale, mead, water, etc. Each has its own power word associated with it.
Garth flips with joy over this and can’t wait for his wish to come true!
Smithers “Since these are carnival barrels, they’ll always be full.”
Garth “HA! Not for long!” Garth considers that a challenge.

Night: Rags, Gwana, and Booty arrive. Booty draws his card, above.

May 5

Leave Hesston, arrive Dieloch and set up an evening show.

May 6

Leave Dieloch. Arrive Ostrich. Evening show.

May 7

Another day of shows

May 8

Another day of shows

May 9

Carnival lvs Ostrich, arrives late in Brimmin.

May 10

Rest and Festival prep for carnival.

Yanath et al debriefed by Burns. Yanath has a full presentation ready for him. Speaking nothing but positive about the crew he took. Once Burns hears about the Blood Angel “Damn it.” but won’t elaborate. Sits back, fingers crossed in front of him. He sends away, only Smithers with him.

May 11

Rest and Festival prep for carnival.

Foregathering begins, Yanath and his men present. It winds down about a day before Festival begins.
Lots of friendly competition: Hawkeye and Eagle Eye in archery, Tanaron in footrace, Yanath and HE in tracking and hunting, etc.
We give instruction on team stealth techniques and learn some from others in return. Plus Yanath teaches some animal training techniques; lots of trading of information and maps and such. Selling and trading of crafts we have like woodwork, arrows, locks, etc which we made over winter.
A general exchange of tales and such of attendee’s travels.
We meet a lot of great folk, some powerful and influential experienced woodsmen.
A couple days in, Boroda and Ialita show up. We also meet John Barleycorn who joins the group too! He’s “here to make men out of you little boys playin’ in the woods! Hahaha!”
We meet some scouts who work for area cities and such, who can spread the word of our seeking contracts next year.
Couple Norrisites here. One is a cop not interested in the woodsy stuff, just keeping an eye out on things. And looking for wanted men hiding out. The other is a Inquisitor/manhunter for the church.
We put the word out on Yanath’s plan for the Meanderwood Rangers so others can take the news with them, that a crew of rangers for hire are willing to travel throughout the regions for any job: mapmaking, guiding, huntsman, warband incursions, etc. Contracts after this winter at latest, to find us simply send word to Dark Carnival’s whereabouts.
We hear of a caravan wanting to head into Meanderwood, settlers, leaving early June. Once there, they will want guides to take them into the woodland and find them a spot to live.
Lots of other small jobs we hear of too. A few lost kids in the forest.
Couple larger jobs:

  1. In nearby town, small woodland community on edge of mts to east of here. Relative was living in this town and they haven’t received any correspondence in a couple weeks, which is very unusual.
  2. Formal request asking for experienced negotiators, warriors and outdoorsmen (all required) in mts up toward the slaver adventures area! Details provided to any who heed the call. It gives a specific inn in Imbrundia within which to inquire.

At end, make for Imbrundia. Arrive evening of the 19th, day festival begins.

May 12

Rest and prep for Festival shows

May 13

Rest and prep.

May 14

Carnival lvs Brimmin, arrives Linholt.

May 15

1 day show in Linholt to practice new Festival routines to a live crowd; but 3 small troops lv. for Elbschaft, Bandlindt and Vesimbrun to advertise for the spring festival showcase in Imbrundia coming up. They will spend a day in each then meet us in Imbrundia.

May 16 throuth 18

Carnival lvs Linholt, arrives Imbrundia midday. Sets up for evening introductory shows as an extended ad for the festival showcases. Otherwise rest and prep for the 19th.

Furnok in deep cover as Fars, then as Lias the Trader had arrived a few days early to set up his cover and win the lottery!

May 19

Festival begins!

May 20

Yanath et all arrive, evening.

May 21st

Crimson Knights arrive. Burns debriefs them tonight.

Burns knew it was the other Malenko with the knights, and assumes it was the same in Hesston and at Gretchen. If it’s not the same Malenko but working together, we may all be screwed “So I have to assume its only 1 by himself orchestrating all of this” otherwise one would have called another for help.

In private with Dahlia and Mal, he looks at Mal and shakes his head “How did you not sense one of your older, more powerful brethren in the area. What kind of Malenko are you? You realize that’s the only reason I keep you around. Just kidding, I like you Taurus. To a certain degree. I would like that degree much higher if you were more helpful to me. Such as, telling me when another Malenko is in the *$$&%&&% area!”
Malenko “I’m sorry.”
“I may not have given you all the information you needed to be as useful as you wanted to be. From now on, I shall be more forthecoming with you about certain things. There have been many of you over the years. You are but one of many over the generations.”
Malenko “You mean I’m not special?”
“You’re all special, in your own certain particular ways, but not unique. If you focus more upon it, you’ll be able to sense another Malenko near you. Now, the better you get at it, the longer range this sense gets.” But its good and bad, for they have the same capability, and our particular foe now has been around a lot longer than our Mal.
He explains this Malenko foe was part of his adventuring group when they were younger. He wasn’t so evil then, as he appears now. Or maybe just around non evils like the rest of us, he didn’t show it. Burns is pretty sure now, what with the debriefings, that he’s a big problem. Getting the orb may or may not have been his main motive. Could have been to kill Buckholtz. Hard to tell.
Dahlia “Why does he want these orbs.”
“Not your concern now. Just know there is a set. If any one person in the know has the entire set, suffice to say, they would be quite formidable.”
Dahlia “Maybe we should start hunting for them so you have them.”
Burns “That, my dear Dahlia, a fine idea.” There are 5 in the set, he explains, but does not know where they are but for his and that formerly kept by Buckholtz. Only rumors of 2 of them, and no word on last for a number of years.
Malenko “Can we ask where you got these from? Anyone else who may know to collect them?”
Former owners are not an issue anymore “if you take my meaning”.
Rumors of other 2:

  1. On a small island ; very dangerous place. Regular shipwrecks for a long time in the past. One of owners may have crashed his ship there years ago. Since none go there, perhaps it remains.
  2. In a place he has considered sending Mal and Dahlia to in the past anyway, just wasn’t sure we could handle it. Now, it may be necessary for a 2 fold reason: The Underdark and the Drow, Dahlia’s origin! An acquaintence of Burns that may still possess one there.
    “Once I have time to do so, I can start using the orb I have to try and detect the locations of the others” problem being by using it, it lets those orbs know they are being sought and therefore the owners if they know how to use them can find this one. So if the other Mal does so, Burns will know it.
    “So, we have some jobs to take care of once again.”
    Dahlia “Good.”
    He wants us to consider who we will pick among our rescources to take with us.
    Dahlia figures the knights are right out. But, “my first though is those impetuous barbarians. And Haarkon, the dwarf is a must. He’ll follow me anywhere.”
    Burns is thinking at least 6 men, pending who they are.
    “Whoever you choose will have no choice but to go with you.” We ask what to expect, he assumes to a drow city but along the way it will be dangerous evil of the Underdark “Everything you run into down there, assume it’s trying to kill you”.
    Burns will personally choose the island group, smaller, maybe 4 or 5.

Boz wants to follow up on his revenge still, so he is out of both orb trips. He’ll need volunteers but Burns is prioritizing the orb quests.
Furnok thinks we should let Negdenburg simmer down for a couple months. Burns agrees.

During the week:

2 natives from over the great sea to the east find Yanath, sisters named Shenendoah and Cheyenne. They are here to thank him for rescuing tribe members of theirs from the slavers last year. They are here to serve him this debt of honor for their less capable folk. With them are 2 others from 2 nearby tribes to do the same. They are Crazy Wolf and Angry Beaver. With them also is a white man, a ‘mountain man’ friedly with Crazy Wolf and Angry Beaver in particular who came to see new places and people. He is known as Running Bear.

Yanath goes to the Inn about the job in Mts to north:
He explains that he works for Duke Ambrinigan, newly appointed, far to the north. He and his family and retinue moved to the keep. The supply train was raided on way just after. Other than personal belongings with worth that were taken, one thing is important that he wants back. A 3’ tall golden statue of a lion. The raiders were Frost Giants! Since that raid, Duke has been in touch with them. He is willing to pay a ransom to get the statue back. They have agreed. Now, we need someone to be the envoy because our regular troops won’t be sufficient should something to wrong. They do have feelers to other areas too.
Yanath “You on the rough terrain, or on the borders of it?” Its in the mountains, pretty rough in lots of areas but not everywhere.

As the week comes to a fun and entertaining end, restful for others, we choose our teams for the coming ventures.

  • Island:

Burns wants a straight up killer: he chooses Vik.
A good bowman as well: he chooses Angelica who also adds a ranger’s skills.
To lead: he chooses both Gar and Sarge
He will charter us a boat, when festival ends, to town nearest the island. From there, its up to us.

  • Dahlia and Malenko choose Gwana with Booty, Haarkon and Hunk to go to Underdark with us. All with Darkvision and most with racial links to the underground, especially Haarkon.
  • To the missing man in the mt town east: Yanath leads Barleycorn, Gerald, Iggy, and Crazy Wolf
  • To Frost Giants: Black Tom and the blue crew, Erik Axewielder, Ragnar, Garth the Bold, Sir Garth Grimson, Knight Cpt. Dareth, and Lord Evan.
  • With Boz and Furnok go Byron, Nunu, Billy, Banion, and Sir John. Furnok has gotten right used to Hunk’s power at their side, but also realizes his presence is a dead givaway.

Yanath also sends HE, EE, and Kell to find and meet the wagon train to the Meanderwood to make a deal. Should be easy since we are all from the Meanderwood area. Should Yanath not return before it moves, which is unexpected, they are to lead it east with a crew of their choosing, HE in charge.

The carnival is now moving on to Bren to the west via barge, then south down the main highway from there.

May 27

Ship to Frost Giants leaves in morning. It’s to be a 2 week voyage.

May 29

Carnival leaves today via ship for Kriegen.

May 30

Uneventful sailing

June 1

Arrive Kriegen

June 2

Island group leaves for Duchy of Bregondy,

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The Mountain Fort of the Slavers

On Day 50 we leave, following the map east and north. Afte 3 days we reach our destination and reconnoiter for a couple days, but not much activity but for guards on the walls.

Day 52, after dark

We enter walls of fort and fight our way through the first and second walls, making our way through the muddy courtyard where we are ambushed by an ankheg before continueing on. Then rest for a while into the next day before continuing on. We use the left wall to get to the roof of the main complex, where we are surprise attacked in the dark by archers, followed by orcs climbing from the inner courtyard below. We defeat them, finding the hole into the ‘kitchen’. We climb down into the courtyard and enter the forward doorway.
We fight our way through to the left first, before resting for the night in an abandoned section to the right side of the fort.

Day 54

We get into more serious fighting and finally to the main confrontation in the kitchen.

Day 55

Into the dungeon, a major battle in the torture room after getting past the magnet hall and bypassing the oily hall by finding the secret door.
Several other large battles ensued, including one which forced the elf leader of the enemy to flee the room. This battle was particularly great, Gwana getting particularly wounded by the elf woman after charging her by himself.
A marathon day of action took us through the night and into the next day 56, including meeting some of the skilled labor of the slavers (a secret treasure room found nearby). We convince some to join us instead and return to civilization and the carnival with us. Upon leaving that area we encountered the enemy awaiting us outside the kitchen and were victorious.

Day 57

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