The Dark Carnival

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.


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:
pair of boots
quills and ink
giant bowl and spoon
150’ of strong rope
170’ strong rope
5 sticks charcoal
comb, large sized
6 sticks charcoal
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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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


metzger79 ruleslawyermark

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