Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Hunt

September 3, in the year 670 by Kingdom reckoning.

Rethas takes the sword and shield, "I won't be able to cast a spell while holding these in my hands, but I will carry them until such a time as Hamish has need of them."

Alis with take the weapons grimly and you see in his eyes a spark of light and a hardening of purpose.

The telling of the story and the preparation takes some time. Alis pulls the wagon into the trees and you help him throw some fallen branches on it. Draymun offers a goodberry to all who will take one and it fills you with warmth and sates your hunger.

The fire has burned itself out to some extent but it is still big enough that you decide to go around the back of the fire, where the goblins were starting it. It is easy enough for Tom to pick up the trail of the rest of the warband from there.

You track, by the light of spell and the moon, for long minutes. Sometimes Tom has to double back and pick the trail up again. At times Draymun sees a branch or stone out of place and can help lead the party. Once you're north of the hill, the trail is easier; there is blood to follow.

A half a mile north of the hill you find something that lifts your spirits a bit. One of the hobgoblins, covered with burns and blisters, lies dead. It has bled out and was left to die. Rethas grins to himself.

The tracks run up to the river and then head east. It's another half of a mile before Tom calls a halt. There is firelight in the distance and the sounds of goblins yelling and cheering.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Days Three and Four on the Trail, Great Progress

September 2, in the year 670 by Kingdom reckoning.

After the fight with the goblins, the party's attitude is split appreciably. Some members revel in the combat, retelling over and over their part in the conflict. Others, however, are more somber and spend most of the morning quietly.

The group is again packed and ready to leave by shortly after sun up. You bear towards the mountains and fate is with you. The trees begin to thin shortly after noon and you find that skirting the trees on one side and the rocks on the other gives you enough path to make good time.

There is no sign of goblins today, nor is there much wildlife at all other than the occasional fox or bird.

The night also passes without incident and you praise your good fortune for picking this route.

September 3, in the year 670 by Kingdom reckoning.

Today everyone is in good spirits, you're making great progress and the weather is crisp and clear. Around noon you consult the map and decide to turn north toward the grove.

Progress slows a bit as you re-enter the deep forest. As the afternoon shadows begin to lengthen, Alis yelps and almost loses control of the horses. He yells "it had eyes! That branch had eyes!"

(You are almost exactly a full days' ride from the Druids Grove. Good call on going toward the mountains and lucky rolls!)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day Three on the Trail, Combat in the Woods

September 2, in the year 670 by Kingdom reckoning. 2 AM

Tom's arrow hits it's mark and one of the dark shapes lets out a shriek of pain. The others immediately drop to the ground and begin crawling forward to get into bow range.

Rethas (20):

Rethas, it turns out is already awake and comes out of the tent crouching low and takes up a position behind the wagon. He takes no other action and is waiting for orders.

Foes (17):

Several arrows come out of the darkness. One sticks in a log next to Khaza and others fly over his head but he is uninjured. Several more arrows fly around Tom but only one hits it's mark (3 damage).

You can barely see the shapes lying on the bank of the stream, they'll be hard to hit as long as they're laying down (-2).

(The horse shape is the wagon, I didn't have a wagon shape. The other two are the tents. Black dots are the shapes Tom saw, yellow is Tom and red is Khazad. Each hex is 10 feet. I know we're using hexes instead of squares, hope it doesn't ruin anyone's life til I can figure out a different way to map.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day Two on the Trail, North of Bremel

September 1, in the year 670 by Kingdom reckoning.

The joviality of the camp is good for everyone after a night of weirdness. Everyone seems content enough taking a leisurely pace with breaking the fast and packing but since the morning started before dawn for most, the group is still ready to leave by 7 am. There is much joking and singing but you might still catch Draymun looking with concern deeper into the trees when he thinks no one is watching.

The NPC's

Alis follows Thorvald like a puppy dog, offering to carry your gear and cook your meals if you'll only let him learn to fight like you. (He'll make a fine quartermaster and cook, if you can just get him to sit still.)

Rethas sulks and complains a bit about being stuck under the tarp but eventually falls asleep again. His eyes continue to be bloodshot and his mood continues to be dark. He hears about the severed head and growls, "why didn't anyone wake me? Familiars are one of my specialties."

Hamish tries to be of use but you can tell he's getting tired of the subterfuge and even more tired of Alis' young enthusiasm. He also eats as much as all the dwarves together. He spends his morning sharpening his handaxe and oiling his chainmail.

The Traveling Salesman

The road is again agreeable enough. Mid-morning you meet a man going toward Bremel pulling a hand cart. He offers to sell you some items:

oil of magic weapon50 gpPotion / Oil
arcane scroll of level 2 spell, spider climb (caster level 3)150 gpScroll
potion of eagle's splendour300 gpPotion / Oil
wand of level 0 spell, resistance (caster level 1), with 50 charges375 gpWand

(If you want to purchase any of his wares, feel free to do so after the fact.)

Shortly after the salesman Tom looks to the sky and decides its time to enter the forest. This is old growth oak and beech woods with trees as high as any building you've seen, towering eight or more stories into the air. The forest floor is covered in years' worth of debris but since there isn't much undergrowth the wagon can still be brought along, but at a reduced pace. It's eerie how fast you are engulfed by the old woods and without so many trained woodsmen, you might be lost.

Rethas, who hasn't spoken more than five words to anyone will beg anyone to purchase the wand. He'll offer to pay you back double and threaten to leave with the traveling salesman if you don't buy it.

Entering the Forest

Around evening time you find a clearing that Tom states was probably burned in a lightning storm many years ago. There is a stream nearby and there is grass enough for the animals. The clearing is about 50 feet across.
(You have two hours of daylight. You are halfway across the next hex on your way toward the grove.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

On the Trail, North of Bremel

August 31, in the year 670 by Kingdom reckoning. Approximately Noon

The party finishes dealing with their assigned tasks, loading the wagon within the church walls. A few acolytes watch from the windows but no one bothers you.

The party decides (by DM fiat) that the best route is to follow the road until clear of the mountains and then head Northwest toward the grove. The afternoon passes uneventfully. There are a few wagons travelling toward Ashmont as well, taking the harvest to market.

Around 4 PM a herd of bison crosses the road in front of you and you have to stop the wagon for several minutes to let them pass. You encounter no other wildlife the rest of the day. There is also no sign of Minx. It occurs to you that if you weren't trying to get yourselves into trouble, this would be the perfect journey.

Around 8 PM you see a small copse of trees that has obviously been used as a resting spot before. There is a ring of stones set up and even some firewood stacked, ready to burn.

(You are smack in the middle of the first hex out of Bremel. This is probably the best place to camp that you'll find and it's an hour or so before sunset. If you do wish to press on, just let me know in the comments.)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Church of Torag, Bremel

August 30, in the year 670 by Kingdom reckoning. Approximately 5:00 AM

Your merry band makes its way to the Church of Torag, singing and carrying on along the way. Khazad enters first to secure lodging for you and a kind bishop guides you to an empty room with a bare stone floor and says "it is plain, but I hope that it will bless you none the less."

You bed down for the night and the great silence of the place makes you pause to consider your path thus far. You each drift off, alone in your own thoughts...

You are woken up what seems like a few minutes later by two robed figures. You are stiff from the hard floor, a little hungover from the Stonestout and still quite tired but they insist. You gather your gear and are hurried through long corridors to the main chapel where you are seated in the back and left alone. You can see through the windows that it is an hour or more before dawn but Khaza explains, rather sheepishly, that you are all expected to take part in the morning observances and then cheerfully adds that breakfast follows.

The observances are as dull as you might expect and, as tired as you are, you have to fight sleep. Torag is a dwarven god after all, and thus enjoys long sermons and lots of tradition. Eventually the services end and you are brought to the dining hall and given a rough wooden bowl full of a grey, soupy gruel. All of the clerics and acolytes are cordial and mostly leave you to yourselves.

Just as the sky begins to lighten, signalling an imminent dawn, you are ushered into the archbishop's chambers.

The archbishop is an old man, easily 80 years old in a place that seldom sees humans live past 50. He appears in good health and is dressed simply. He speaks, "Khaza, my brother, I promised you an augury on the morn of your departure into the greater world. What question will you ask of our lord Torag?"

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Stonestout Inn, Bremel

August 29, in the year 670 by Kingdom reckoning. Approximately 8:00 PM

It's a busy night at the Stonestout Inn. Ghalen waves when you come in and kicks a couple of black-out drunk farmers out of their corner table for you. He pulls up a chair and sits in it backwards, hanging his bar rag over the chair back and chats you up for a bit. He's happy and is happy to see you. Soon enough something demands his attention and he gets up and leaves you to your business.

Shortly after he walks off, before you even get a chance to order, a leg of mutton, several loaves of crusty bread and some boiled potatoes show up, along with two huge pitchers of the namesake Stonestout.

Hamish's eyes widen and he begins to droll at the sight of the food. He digs in happily.

It's a normal night. There is a game of knuckles going on at the table next to you. A group of young men are singing at the bar.

On the door are several postings looking for adventurers. (If you want to take a look, let me know and I'll tell you what they say.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Euri's Home

August 29, in the year 670 by Kingdom reckoning. Approximately 6:00 PM

The shadows are growing long as the party gathers on the back lawn of Euri's home. You take a quick moment to catch each other up on the afternoon's activities, to scratch Mathor behind the ears and to introduce yourselves to the young cleric.

The maid answers the back door and clucks when you tramp through the dining room in your muddy boots. She says that Euri is slipping and you have come just in time. She looks at you with concern and says "I hope you've come to put his soul to rest. Please be kind, Master Euri is weak and has many regrets about his brother."

You are concerned to find that there is no family gathered around the old dwarf's bed. Normally when a dwarf elder is dying, the whole extended family gathers to remind him what his legacy is. Euri has no one to usher him to the grave.

His rheumy eyes follow you lazily as you file into the room and gather around his bed. He tries to speak but it only comes out as a fit of coughing. He finally recovers enough to whisper, "come friends, what have you to show me?"