Castles and Crusades

Onto the goblin's lair
The party near the ruined temple in seach of Gritznak

Bandits stepped out of the woods, then fast wished they hadn’t as swift hands and blades cut them down fast, leaving only a couple to barter for their lives.

The party, following the words of Nefratel the Lammasu they met in the ruined elven tower, followed the river North for the next two days. Nightfall on the first day; full moon; led to a strange song and a sighting of a Nymph in the river, given praise to the moon. Reisling was familiar with such fey creatures, but Hiro seemed temporarily stunned by such beauty, although his willpower returned soon after and the two left the water spirit to it’s prayers.

The following day the party saw a Gnoll with two goblins walking the trail. Setting up an ambush, Hiro threw a dart with such deadly precision it dropped the Gnoll in one blow. The goblins soon fell too, mostly to Reisling’s arrows. Hiro was quite pleased at destroying the Gnoll warlord Gritznak until other more learned members suggested that this might be nothing more than a common Gnoll under his charge.

Two days passed, and the group finally encountered a statue of the Horned One, and evil god of older times. It’s arm pointed away from the river, and it was here the party moved off the old imperial roadway and onto loose tracks for the day. This in time took them to the ruins of a temple, all but destroyed with tracks leading away in several directions.

Where the tracks met, in the ruins of what once must have been a large building, stairs descended down into the darkness. Doug of Toth called for his god to light a stone and threw it into the opening. The group then wandered into the underhalls of the temple, and crept towards the first room.

Inside two bored goblins threw dice and drank, leaning against a large, horned statue, whilst two more of their number slept. The party fell upon tham fast, although the goblins offered up some resistance a few light injuries before the groups blades could put them down. Reisling also offered a greater wound upon the group, firing an arrow into Hiro’s back, and leaving the monk quite injured even after Doug’s curative prayers.

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The Adventure Continues...?
A Barbarian Perspective

Dear Diary,

Just when I was worried about how I was going to keep my little wizard buddy, the monk, and the cleric alive, we met two new adventurers who seem to be pretty tough. One of them is a tough half-elf ranger, and the other one is a fiesty little wild elf. They showed up when some wolves tried to crash our woodland campsite. I’m relieved they’ve joined us because we can use all the help we can get. The little wild elf got savaged pretty bad by the wolf but I guess the Cleric is good for something because he patched her right up. Our monk friend on the other hand did sweet FA. It’s like he wasn’t even there!

These people don’t know how to feed themselves, honestly. I suggested we eat the wolf-meat but everyone except Mister Morbid (the cleric) seemed to turn up their noses to this idea. It was awful leaving those wolf bodies behind, I would have enjoyed a nice wolf-headed cloak! But, better to travel light.

So we headed North but wound up trapped in some kind of pixie magic – those funny little blighters. Pixies are amusing but just such a giant headache. In the end we got to meet a Pixie Queen, I could have squished her with two fingers, they are so eensy weensy. Not that you’d want to, best not to tango with these little magicky types.

Anyway, Queen Knee-High gave us a clue for where to find the Goblins and the dog-headed beastie. We had to go west towards a ruined tower. And luckily for my friends, Wizzo was able to trade some of his marbles for food rations. (I can certainly feed myself but the group seems to be in a big hurry all the time which hinders the hunt so I decided to be practical and take some of them! Rule number 67 of being a barbarian: never say no to a free meal.)

So we took a little stroll towards this ruined tower thing. We should have known better because you can’t trust these Pixies. It took forever because most of my buddies are carrying way too much stuff. And yet, nobody thought to actually carry anything practical – the cleric fell in a hole and luckily I had a rope to haul his backside out of there.

Hmm let’s see, what else happened. Some pixies threw rocks at us (little blighters!!!!) and then we had a run in with some of the tower’s magical defenses, in the form of a flying snake illusion. Bloody magic nonsense! It’s damn useful at times, sure, but ever since we ran into that snake I can’t help but feel like I’m off my game, I’ve lost some mojo somehow. That damn snake cursed me, I know it! And of course Mister Wiz doesn’t have a bloody clue how to fix it, not Mister Cleric, either. But, they can put people to sleep and heal them so I guess that’s at least something useful.

Then as we got closer to the castle, this terrifying eerie trumpeting scared the living shite out of me. Same with the Ranger. I guess we’re the only ones with any sense!!! The rest of our troop of heroes just stood around taking no heed to the horrible sound. It could have been another one of those damn snakes or anything! Seriously, kiddos, standing around acting like nothing’s happening is an easy way to get killed! She who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. Anyway it’s not “fleeing” – it’s regrouping so you can come up with a cunning plan.

So, yeah, terrifying trumpeting – Ranger and I ran like the wind. At one point the little wild elf was throwing rocks at us! (Uhm, hello! The danger is the other way!) When we were sure the danger had passed we regrouped and kept going.

When we finally got into the tower it was a ghost town – just some skeletons laying around, you know, orcs and crap like that. There was this gawdawful smell that turned out to be that damn pixie food. It had all rotted down in our packs! Pixie magic. typical!

There was more magical nonsense in the form of a bright blue light, which our wild elf friend seemed to get quite a buzz out of.

Then we heard some wings flapping and a big shadow appeared – it was a freaking winged lion with the head of a human! I was a little skeptical – thinking he mght be out to kill us, but in the end he turned out to be a friend. The wild elf and I gave him a nice back scratch and he let us stay the night there. Elfie kept pestering him to ride on his back but he was not into that idea at all. (Seriously, who rides a Manticore, or whatever he was? I think she might be daft in the head.) Mister Cleric did some waving of hands and magical bibblebabble and cleaned up our food so we all were able to have something to eat. I’m not convinced that his spell managed to clear that smell out of my pack, though. I should wash it.

Anyway, ManHead Lionbody gave us some more tips about where to find the goblins, so we headed out that way. Back to the river again.

I’ve got to go now, diary. Hope I didn’t mix up the sequence of events too badly. You know how it is. So much happens in the life of an adventurer, it’s hard to keep track.

Sandahl

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A Bounty in Malforten
the party's adventure begins

The wizard Dedius had heard of an opportunity out in the East March. A village known as Malforten was seeking help from adventurers in exchange for a boutny. The village was at the edge of the new empire, a region prone to raiders and bandits, and not a place that an unprotected wizard to travel to alone.

A barbarian woman by the name of Sandahl had saved Dedius from a broken nose in a recent tavern misunderstanding, and was hungry for adventure and glory – so an obvious companion to take to dangerous lands.

A scholarly associate of Dedius, Doug of Toth, also chose to accompany him. He found his studies were stifled in such civilized regions where Toth was little recognized, and a life nearer the wilds would bring him closer to those things that his god revered in – magic and death.

Finally, a mysterious wanderer, Hiro, joined them on the road. Although unclear what his motives were, his desire to walk the land lead them to join in arms, a gesture that would soon yield a fast reward….

As they trod the West Way, a dirt track that lead through small vilages and out to Malforten, they spoke to a few hunters and trappers, some returning to sell there furs, and all whom reported little or no trouble on the road way. So it was with some surprise that the group walked into a goblin ambush futrher on down the way.

The greenskinned creatures demanded money, but two of them fell into a deep coma as Dedius conjured words of magic. Hiro charged the other two but was rewarded with a deep cut intohis torso as a goblin axe met it’s mark. Sandahl joined Hiro in taking on the two standing goblins, empowered by blessings from Doug of Toth which helped Hiro’s blade slice sharply across, cutting on of their foes in two. As the spellcasters finsihed off the sleeping goblins, the remaining enemy, already wounded from Sandahl’s mace, turned to run and was rewarded with a slice from Hiro’s sword, dropping him to the group with a soft gurgle.

This was the only encounter that delayed there arrival in Malforten, where they were treated with modest suspicion as they arrived, a bell peeling out to warn the village of strangers. They were soon met by the unofficial leader, Eryl the Hoskin, who along with Amanda Rhyan the Paish ushered the group into the Empty Flagon tavern to discuss business.

The village council spoke to the party. Eryl, clearly a gruff warrior of a little renown, seemed reluctant to have the group present, citing previous raids where the village had fought off the attacks well. Amanda and Griffry the Hat, the local spiritual leaders, offered a more balanced welcome and mentioned that these raids had been too well-organized and heavy in number to stop with a village militia. As the final member of the council arrived, Blodwyn Lycharn a local mage, she explained that the village had been allowing the raiders tribute in exchange for their lives and to avoid massacre.

The raids were being carried out by a Gnoll named Gritznak the Bold, who along with goblin raiders had been resonposible for the sudden organization of the usually scattered forces. Eryl also confided that it was believed a spy was amongst the villagers, although he could not imagine who, but it seemed Gritznak knew there every move, and was probably even aware of the bounty out on his head.

The party spent the evening in the tavern, buying the local farm folk a few drinks. In chat they heard how farmers had lost a large number of cattle to the raids and tribute, and were struggling to make ends meet. Another tipsy farmer lent in and told them of a strange spirit of great evil who lurks in the waters of the neighboring Drunderry river and only awaits a full moon to come out and take people back to its watery hole.

After a night’s rest in the inn, the group decided to head straight out and explore along the river, hoping to stumble upon the raiders who had so far eluded the people of Malforten. They found a group of tracks that followed the river, crossing after a few miles, and continued along the river on what seemed to be a long abandoned road, large sections of it missing, eroded and lost by time, but small parts revealing themselves every mile or so. By the middle of the day, they had lost the tracks, confused by other native creatures movements and by evening simply found themselves following the river North. Night came, and they made camp – so far undisturbed in this wild land. Sandahl ensured they had good shelther for the night, being more accustomed to life in the wilderness, and they awoke to a new day.

XP awards:

  • 25xp – roleplaying bonus
  • 9xp – defeating the goblin band
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