Bretton Barbarians: Savaged Kingmaker
8 Gozran 4710
That morning they break-fast and head towards Oleg’s. They see it ahead of them at about midday. At least tonight there will be some comfort and good food
7 Gozran 4710
Taking stock of what’s happened and that they are running low on supplies, the group move north out of the forest, leaving the rest of area 19 to be explored at a later date.
They make camp and keep to the normal watch routine.
6 Gozran 4710
The next morning they ride slowly into the forest and start exploring area 19. About midday they come to a camp next to the Thorne River. Half buried under a pile of logs is the half decayed / eaten body of a trapper. The dead-fall trap seems to have fallen on the unfortunate fellow and he died as he couldn’t free himself.
They search the camp and find well used camping gear and some coins. There is no sign of the horse that had been tethered there.
After the midday meal they decide to explore the southern part of the area and the rising hills and dense forest. As they do they are ambushed by a living plant creature. Mikhail tries to shout a warning but it’s too late for Maugoth as the creature has vine tentacles that reach a long way.
The battle ensures and after they throw everything at the creature just to escape and run away, they camp back down by the dead trapper. On reflection, Maugoth states that the creature didn’t seem to be fazed by anything he did. Best to be avoided if they encounter something like that again. Maugoth is bewildered that for the first time he has had to run away from a fight.
That night they doubled up the watch
5 Gozran 4710
The next day the group explore area 18 on horseback. Again there is little of note here. That night they camp a few hundred yards from the edge of the forest.
Another uneventful night.
4 Gozran 4710
The next morning the group decide that they will move on to area 17 to explore. They break out of the edge of the forest about mid-morning and ride around the land. There is very little here but it would probably make good farming land, especially with a ready supply of wood for building.
That night they return to the normal night watch. Nothing happens of note
3 Gozran 4710
The next day they continue exploring. Kern finds 1 more trap and collects it. Mikhail then finds another 2 and stops both Maugoth and Aroolin from getting hurt.
That night they do not light a fire but nothing happens to diturb them.
2 Gozran 4710
The group search the first area of the forest only to stumble into an area of hidden bear traps. These expensive items cause all kinds of trouble for Kern and Maugoth but eventually they realise that they should slow their exploration down.
As they encounter the traps they set them off and then collect them. At the end of the day they have fouund 3 bear traps.
That night there are strange occurrences. Suddenly out in the forest the bear traps are set off. Adroolin’s bow feels wet and sticky/lumpy. Maugoth comes out of tent but cannot see anything. Mikhail climbs out of his tent and an egg is dropped on his head (causing shaken status). Now more than 3 traps have been heard slamming shut and the group think that something overhead is laughing/giggling at them. Mikhail is then hit in the side of the neck by a small dart that nearly kills him (it causes 3 wounds but he manages to soak 1). They try talking to the spirits of the forest but they get no answer. Adroolin has to pray to Irori to help heal the puncture wound suffered by Mikhail.
They then set up a double watch but nothing happens for the rest of the night.
1 Gozran 4710
The group set off mid-morning with the intent of mapping the north western areas of the charter and explore the northern part of the haunted forest.
The group come across some strange tracks but continue on as the creatures had passed that way a few days ago. That night on the outskirts of the forest the group are attacked by 6 strange hyena like creatures. The group rally quickly but the animals have an intelligence when trying to attack and use circling and cornering tactics.
Although there are some minor wounds the group are only a little put out by the damage to the camping equipment.
Adroolin heals the party and they all resume a double watch and rest.
29 and 30 Pharast 4710
The group wake up and find that the woman Lyseea and the man had departed well before sunrise, heading south.
The group have breakfast and go about various chores at Olegs for the next couple of days.
Kern gets a set of studded leather that Svetlanna has been working on for him.
Maugoth sorts out the groups camping supplies and continues with his intensive weapons training. The soldiers are willing to spare with him to help their combat prowess (they more often than not get battered in the process)
Mikhail works on preparing potions in readiness for their next venture into the wilderness.
Adroolin studies his prayer book and helps around the trading post. Making sure that the merchants have calmed down from Maugoths aggressive behaviour.
On the 30th, Jan arrives back from his travels to Restov. He has brought back a large shield for Maugoth and explains that it will take much longer to get a suitable sized breastplate. Hopefully it will be ready when he returns next time.
28 Pharast 4710
The pace is a hard 8 hours with minimal stops. At the evening meal they all decide to force march the rest of the way to Olegs. Some 4 hours later they see the dark structure of the trading post. Outside are a couple of cooking fires and a few traders wagons.
Maugoth strides to the doors and bellows for them to be opened during the night. A woman from the traders wagons screams that there are monsters attacking and the guards rally their arms and approach.
Maugoth, ever the one for diplomacy, intimidates the advancing crowd and they flee from the gates to guard the wagons. As Kesten appears and orders the gates opened, Adroolin leaves the others to enter the trading post and goes to calm the traders and hopefully stop any ill rumours spreading about Olegs Place.
Warm greetings are met by those that regularly occupy the trading post, but there are a few new faces present too. Jhod enquires on the success in locating the temple.
Amongst the newcomers is an almost familiar old man. Maugoth suddenly remembers that he was the one on the road when the group were originally ambushed by bandits.
The man doesn’t look to disturbed by the revelation and tells them that he was sent to warn them when the bandits attacked. As the conversation gets heated a beautiful Varisian woman walks out of the groups living quarters and tells them that she had sent the man. This confuses Maugoth and he starts to get aggressive as he perceives that it was the man that led them into a trap. The woman (Lyseea) tries to explain but it comes out as vague mumbo jumbo about some prophecy or dream. She put Maugoth to sleep with a touch and states that they will retire to rest and leave in the morning.
27 Pharast 4710 continued
The 4 friends decide to not follow the huge beast and survey the destruction. Distributing his saddle bags among the other horses, Maugoth runs along with the horses the rest of the day, and although out of breath when they stop for the evening meal, he is no more tired than normal. His endurance must be phenomenal.
That night during camp, they witness many bats coming and going over the ravine. Kern is sent to investigate and discovers what looks like a cave entrance. He decides to return and he tells Mikhail. They change shift and Maugoth also notices the same thing.
The next morning he goes in search of the cave entrance and easily finds it. He also decides to return to the camp and the group decide that moving on would be better as they need to get to Olegs as quickly as possible.
27 Pharast 4710
They awake next morning and cross the ford without incident.
As they head north east directly towards Olegs they find no sign of the riders heading in this direction.
At midday they make a fire and decide that a hot meal would be in order as the last one was almost 2 days ago. Whilst sat chatting and eating a welcome hot meal Adroolin sees a huge centipede like beast roll over the top of the rise with a little blue creature sat on top of it. The worm like beast charges towards the camp intent on something and the blue creature is shouting in that strange language that the group have heard before.
Kern hides, Maugoth readys his axe, and Mikhail takes a swing at the blue creature but misses. Adroolin steps to one side and nocks an arrow.
The centipede crashes into the camp and kills the horse in 1 blow. Adroolin hits the beast but his arrows have minimal effect. Maugoth steps in and hits several times but the chitinous armour deflects even his mighty blows. Mikhail continues to try and hit the blue creature riding it. As the beast thrashes around trying to bite Maugoth and hit anything with its tail, Kern leaps from his hidden position, vaults onto the centipedes back and runs towards the rider throwing an axe. His deadly aim splits the blue things skull in half and the huge centipede beast tries to throw the gnome.
The others keep attacking but to no effect and as its about to attack Maugoth, Kern sits in the saddle and pulls hard on the reins. The creature veers away and heads towards some trees to try and brush the gnome off its back. As it reaches the canopy Kern easily vaults from its back and scrambles up the branches as it crashes through and leaves a trail of devastation in its wake.
26 Pharast 4710
The next morning they awake to a downpour which lasts about an hour but its enough to soak the companions.
They follow the Thorn River southwards and arrive at a rickety old bridge that looks as if its seen better days. Maugoth, gets out of his armour and walks across whilst testing the bridge and although it creaks under his weight, it holds, and he confirms that they should be able to use it. Kern is not so sure.
Maugoth then puts his armour in a sack and carries it over his back whilst leading his horse across. Almost half way and the floorboards give out with the added weight and Maugoth falls through to the river below. His only thought is to throw his sack of armour onto the bridge so he doesn’t lose it. It almost topples over the railing but luckily falls back onto the boards (bennied his throw roll).
He hits the cold water and surfaces. Kern immediately runs onto the bridge and lowers a rope through the hole. The horse panics and runs back across the the bridge towards Mikhail and Adroolin. Mikhail tries to gather its reigns but fails so he rides after the beast (chase rules) and eventually gets the reigns (2nd round dealt a King and a raise on riding skill). Maugoth swims back towards the bank and Kern pops his head through the hole and sees a strange snake like creature swimming towards his friend. Kern throws a dagger and shouts a warning but it bounces off the beast into the river. Maugith tried to scrabble up the bank but fails. As the creature tries to bite the half-orc again Kern throws another dagger but the same thing happens (lose 2 daggers in the deep river), Adroolin in the mean time readies his bow and with 1 fluid motion takes the snake thing theough the mouth and out through the back of its head. The dead creature is washed away from by the current.
The group meet back at the bridge all items recovered and decide that the bridge is too risky to use now. They eat, then head south following the river to the ford.
They arrive at the ford before nightfall and survey the area. Kern finds tracks of 4 horsemen (1 less than left the fort) but they are at least 1 or 2 days old, and they have crossed the ford. The group decide to make camp, have a cold meal with no fire, and prepare to cross in the morning.
25 Pharast 4710
Another dry, overcast day and the group decide to leave the Fangberries for the time being, but they know that they will only have until the middle of next month to harvest the fruits if they want to make use of them. The spiders are a problem for another day and they set out north wards again, heading towards the old Thorn River bandit camp, suspecting that the 5 riders may be heading there.
It takes until midday before the group enter the forest and follow the west bank of the river up to the place where the bandit camp is situated. they see the small stream that leads into the Thorn River but they are on the wrong side. Maugoth assesses the situation and he should be able to swim the 30 meter wide river and Mikhail reckons that he would be able to ride his horse across, but ater discussion they decide that they should head back south to the ford, cross and head straight to Olegs before they suffer from lack of food.
They get to the edge of the forest and make camp for the night.
24 Pharast 4710
The day is dry but overcast, Adroolin looks the worst for his night of illness (1 level of fatigue for 24 hours) and he decides to stay at the camp and look after the horses. Mikhail remains with him and the others go back to the vantage point to watch the fort.
Maugoth suggests that Kern goes and scouts the structure and the little fellow agrees. Quickly he disappears from the warriors sight and makes his way to the north west side of the hill, seemingly undetected.
He can see that there are 3 watch towers surrounded by a 5 meter high palisade. The front 2 towers are manned but he cannot make out if the 1 facing the lake is as well.
He climbs up the steep rocky hillside and only luck alerts him to the hand that thrusts out of the earth next to him. As he jumps away from the limb another grabs hold of him and grapples him to the spot. He shrieks loud enough to be heard by Maugoth and as he frantically tries to escape he realises that another putrid corpse has risen from the earth and it is lumbering towards him.
He twists and turns until he manages to escape and he runs/falls/climbs down the hill barely aware that several men are shouting in the fort and a couple with bows are on the palisade. Arrows barely miss him and he ducks and dives as quickly as possible back to Maugoth.
They hastily retreat back to camp and the group hastily pack up and ride north away from the area.
Its almost nightfall when the pass a small ravine which is full of a strange and rare thicket. Adroolin recognises them to be Fangberry bushes and the fruits are highly prised in healing and Mikhail confirms that these are also valued as potion/elixirs reagents. The fruits can be worth a lot of money to the right buyer.
They decide to stop and see if they can harvest the fruits but the big berries are deep withing the thicket. As they contemplate how to harvest them, Maugoth storms into the thorny brambles and heads toward the fruits. Suddenly he is beset by a swarm of spiders but these small arachnids are a variety that bite. Covered in the beasts the half-orc lumbers out of the thicket and Adroolin shouts at him to jump into the small pond nearby.
he does so and the spiders retreat, whilst Adroolin sees to healing the the many bites (1 wound).
The group decide to find a campsite at least half mile away from the brambles.
23 Pharast 4710 continued
The group find a safe place to camp hidden in a ravine to the west of the valley that the structure is in. Kern and Mikhail stay to setup camp while Adroolin and Maugoth go and find a safe place to watch the comings and goings at the structure.
Kern makes a stew and adds half of the root vegetable obtained from the dragon folk. Mikhail starts brewing a potion using several implements that he has stored carefully in his saddle bags.
Adroolin and Maugoth see 5 riders leave the fort and head east wards, estimating that they are heading towards the ford. The riders pass no closer than a mile away from their vantage point and they can only make out that the cloaked figures are carrying bows.
They return back to camp and discuss what they have seen. The hot stew is devoured by the cold hungry friends (except by Kern). Maugoth feels refreshed and invigorated afterwards, Mikhail is not affected but he does notice the strange peppery taste, but Adroolin is violently sick all night. Kern, feeling guilty stays up half the night to help tend the monk and make sure that he has plenty of fresh water to drink.
23 Pharast 4710
They wake to an incessent rain that looks as though it will be in for the day. Wet before they start out, it remains as unpleasent all morning. After a couple of hours they arrive at the point that the Thorn and Shrike rivers meet. The Thorn River has broadened and is much more shallow here. The shingle riverbed looks no deeper than a couple of feet and it is slow moving.
Maugoth studies it for a moment, dismounts and leads his horse across the ford. It comes up to no more than his waist at its deepest point, but thats enough for Kern to not touch the bottom. Adroolin follows Maugiths lead and Mikhail spurs his horse forward and crosses with ease. maugoth goes back for Kern and leads the pony (with Kern sitting on top) across.
A few miles thay find some shelter from a copse of trees and Adroolin gets a fire going. Feeling better for being warm and having a hot meal and tea, the group start out again, still wet and cold. They head towards a very large hill that is the highest peak in the area, so that they can survey these lands.
When they get to the top, the view of the surrounding valleys is fantastic. Laying directly south though is a large valley which widens out as it gets closer to the shore of the Tuskwater Lake.
There in the middle of the wide shore, over looking the lake and valley alike, is a prominent rise and what they believe to be a manmade structure on top of it.
It is too far away to make out what kind of structure it is…. could it be the StagLords fort?
22 Pharast 4710
A brief discussion ensues at breakfast, do they follow the creatures, track back from where they came or continue on towards Nettles Crossing. They decide to continue on…
It is late morning when they approach the old bridge that once stood at Nettles crossing. Only 1 thick guide rope stretches accross the wide, fast flowing river. The old hut has been burnt out and 2 dead bodies lay on the floor near the riverbank. Adroolin notices that they are wet but they have not been recently killed.
Kern is asked to scout ahead and disappears through the bushes. When he gets to the edge closest to the destroyed bridge he sees that the bell hanging on the post is made of tarnished silver and makes a beeline towards it. Nothing untoward happens and as he takes the bell from its perch it rings loudly in the clearing. He quickly stuffs it into his satchel with the others looking on.
They see a human figure riase from the water directly behind Kern. Maugoth nocks an arrow, takes aim, and Mikhail draws his silver longsword. Kern notices the creature and runs away at all speed jumping over the dead bodies and debris without caution.
The wet, dead looking figure takes a step forward and reaches the riverbank. It states
“You are not my tormentors. Throw the Stag Lord’s body into the river that I may look upon his death, or join me instead.”
It then thrusts its ranseur into the nearest dead bandit and it erupts into a waterery messy pulp. He then bellows his threat again so Mikhail asks where is the StagLord and the creature states that they will find him if they follow the river westwards. Mikhail agrees to do as it wishes, so the creature turns walks halfway across the surface of the river and sinks below its surface.
The group gather their wits and after a brief discussion on whether the promise was Mikhails or the whole group they follow the river down stream.
After stopping for the midday meal, they continue following the river as best they can. It is not a simple track and slow progress. From a distance they see 4 small humanoid creatures down by the riverbank. Not knowing if they are the blue devils from the previous night they decide to head inland and skirt around them. Some time later in the aternoon they come accross 2 dead dragonfolk (dark grey scales). One has been slashed across the chest with a knife the other has 3 barbs pertuding from its face. Mikhail recognises that the barbs have been poisoned and warns the others. They is nothing of value here though.
Moving on they make camp in the safety of a small dell and double the nights watch.
21 Pharast 4710 continued…
The group make camp, tie up the 2 unconcious bodies and bury the other 4. Adroolin then tries to converse with the first one concious. It talks in a strange language that no one can understand. He tries several times but the creature can barely mimic the sounds of thier names, let alone understand the map that Adroolin is trying to get him to read.
Eventually they cut the creatures bonds and try to tell it to go home but the creature is slow on the uptake. It eventually gets the idea and runs off westward. Later in the night the second on is untied but this one understands much quicker and again runs off westwards.
21 Pharast 4710 continued…
The group dig up the remains of what they believe is some forgotten offerings to Erastil, the God of the Hunt. It makes sense as the tree is over 500 years old and very large,and the hillock it stands on could have once been a burial mound or site of worship. It is, by far, the single most prominent landmark in the area.
Perhaps Erastil and the StagLord share some kind of connection…. the only one Adroolin knows is that they both have the visage of the head of a Stag.
The group eventually move off and complete the exploration of this area, but as they look for a suitable place to camp they see 6 small figures walking along the next rise.
Needless to say diplomacy was tried but Maugoth has an unusual viewpoint on how that works. By the time the rest of the group arrive it has already turned into a bloodbath. Only Adroolin sees the wisdom in knocking a couple of these ugly blue skinned demons unconscious. But not before they had hurt Maugoth and Mikhail.
Kern on the other hand has made use of the time Adroolin has spent bandaging the warriors and has searched the bodies for ‘shinnies’
He has found….
20-21 Pharast 4710
The group move on and start to explore the hilly terrain of the next area. On the second day they see a giant skeletal claw reaching out of a hillock in the middle of a large valley. The gnome investigates. He discovers a patch of recently dug earth amongst the roots. Only his quick reactions saves him from a large serpents attack with its breath weapon. On full defence he manages to fend of the beast allowing time for the half-orc to batter the beast away and let him do what he does best… kill the beast.
The group now stand at the base of a very large, lightning blasted tree that looks like a claw reaching to the heavens.
19 Pharast 4710
Leaving Olegs with a new member of the charter, the 3 friends and the new stranger leave for Nettles Crossing to see if they can find out more about the StagLord.
On route they once again look in the giant spiders lair, but a new resident has sheltered here. Needless to say the bloodthirsty half-orc kills the beast with such savagery that Mikhail has difficulty recognising what the snake like beast is. Further exploration of the cavern reveals nothing new but a better inspection of the body leads to the discovery of a drawing marked with an X.
16-18 Pharast 4710
The group return to Oleg’s. A hot meal, a warm bed, hot water for washing and a proper roof over there heads.
Kesten asks them about their travels and suggests that a report should be sent back to Lord Astrov in Restov.
There are also 2 strangers here. The first is a travelling holy man named Jhod. He seeks a temple in a forest and he believes that it may be in the Narlmarches. He is questioning everyone visiting Oleg’s to see if anyone knows of its location. He has mentioned to the group that he will recompense them if they find it and take him there.
The second is a man holding a copy of the charter obtained from Lord Astrov. Mikhail has been sent to find and help the remaining members of the original party. Like Nephile he seems a little guarded but unlike him, Mikhail carries 2 large longswords of exquisite make (one even has a silver coated blade).
The group write the report, rest and make plans to go back into the Greenbelt. Their first destination will be the Nettles River Crossing via the giant spider lair.
16 Pharast 4710
The party map area 6 and meet a mad hermit in his house in the middle of nowhere. The party leave, somewhat bemused by the old man but with a vial of white milky liquid in an ornate glass vial.
15 Pharast 4710
Explore area 5. A large 7-8’ tall creature, broader than Maugoth, wanders into the camp. It quickly retreats and as Adroolin and Maugoth follow trying to converse with it a small herd of Elk come over the rise and are heading their way. Maugoth bellows and the herd veer away towards the large figure. The creature swings its large arms with 3 sabre like blades attached to each appendage and kills 4 Elk easily. The rest of the herd run away.
The creature picks up one carcass and lumbers away. Adroolin and Maugoth decide not to follow… a very wise decision.
Later, they continue mapping the area.
14 Pharast 4710
The party map area 4. The weather is terrible, its raining heavily and the wind is making it much colder.
The group encounter a giant spider, it paralyses Maugoth. Adroolin and Kern take it out and then revive Adroolin revives Maugoth with a prayer.
Just in time as another giant spider (its mate) attacks. It takes some teamwork but eventually they kill it.
They then search for its lair. After Maugoth occidentally falls into the entry hole, and several smaller spiders (bodies the size of Maugoths head) escape into the wilderness. A quick search of the lair uncovers a human husk in a cocoon but they dont stay too long in case there are other spiders around.
13 Pharast 4710
The group continue to explore an area of the forest (area 3) and late that day they hear strange laughter. They meet 6 (Kern height) dragonfolk rolling around a glade, a few baskets of a large root vegetable had been collected.
Kern starts off an encounter with them that nearly turns into a fight but the almost drunken movements of the dragonfolk makes it fascicle. They decided to leave the area quickly but not before Kern has acquired one of the vegetables.
They leave the area before completing the exploration of it.
12 Pharast 4710
The party start mapping area 3. That night they meet the hunter Vekken. For some reason the group seem very ill at ease with meeting people.
11 Pharast 4710
The group complete mapping area 2
10 Pharast 4710
The group start mapping area 2. It will take 2 days as part of the area is covered by forest.
9 Pharast 4710
The party decide to leave Oleg’s and start exploring the Greenbelt as their charter requires. They complete surveying area 1, which contains the Trading Post.
They also have a sighting of a small herd of Elk.
1-8 Pharast 4710
The party travel south and try to parley with the main bandit camp. Unfortunately the first attempt results in 3 bandits being killed.
They retreat back to Oleg’s to discuss the next plan of action but decide to try and find the bandit leader and hopefully start up negotiations..
Not all goes according to plan….. they do indeed meet up with the over confident woman weilding 2 hand axes, but their plans go awry when the only surviving member of the last attack confirms the groups identity. War breaks out and there seems to be bandits everywhere. Some good tactics by the party eventually wins the day but for long moments it almost seemed impossible.
Unfortunately, Nephile over stretched wielding the arcane energies and the backlash caused him to go into a come that Adroolin could not heal.
They questioned a few of the bandits still alive then hung them. The only surviving member to be taken back to the Trading Post was Kressle (the bandit leader).
When they arrive they are met by Kesten and 3 soldiers that have been sent from Restov to help protect the trading post. They all look relieved that they would not have to tackle the bandit problem themselves. They do however get to work helping secure the old boarder fort/trading post.
Turned over to Kesten’s custody, she will be transported back to Restov to meet justice. Nephile was also placed in the wagon. The group hope that Nephile will recover with the aid of the healers in the city.
The group revisit the empty bandit camp and cart all the stolen stores back to Oleg. Unfortunately Kern realised that he hadn’t secured the money bags for the journey back and the coins had been slowly falling out all over the Greenbelt.
24-28 Calistrial 4710
The party collect their charter and journey to Olegs.
There they find that the Trading Post has frequently been visited by bandits. They are due on the 1st of Pharast. The group make plans and lay an ambush in the Trading Post. Its a battle but the group end up defeating all the bandits.
Svetlanna and Oleg are very grateful and offer the group free board and food when they need to stay at the Trading Post. The hut they use at the fort will remain theirs to use until the nolonger require it.
Damon’s Write Ups
This is a work in progress. If any of the party remembers what I don’t, or remembers it differently in fact, feel free to adjust what you see. Also feel free to correct spelling and grammar ;)
- With Maugoth and Kern feeling the after effects of the previous night, the trio eats and then agrees to head into the city with the intention of securing an appointment to see Lord Astrov as soon as possible. All three are eager to shed more light on what has happened with Yena and Zoltan and discover what role Astrov himself plays in this.
- The friends eventually arrive at the Sword Lord’s town house, only to find a queue, though with Maugoth leading the way access is quickly gained and an appointment is given straight away. Apparently Astrov is as eager to talk with the party as they are with him.
- In the conversation that follows several things are learned, including that Astrov apparently was not aware of the developing situation between the party and Yena, including her and Zoltan’s departure. No mention is made of the secret Chamber of The Eye that lay under Stone Hill, though the cult of Gyronna is discussed in more general terms. Noting the ornamental dagger on the desk of Astrov, with such weapons being known to be symbols of The Hag, Nephile’s suspicions that Astrov is connected to the cult are strengthened. He and the others though are growingly convinced he is an unknowing patsy rather than a willing member. It seems likely at this point that Yena targetted Zoltan solely because of his connection to the Sword Lord and is attempting to maneuver herself into a position of power in the city.
- The group’s Charter is confirmed and their region of The Greenbelt detailed, centering around Oleg’s Trading Post (a seemingly independant small holding in The Stolen Lands that acts as an unofficial outpost of Restov and Astrov). With a mandate to secure and pacify the region, the group is to scout the land and assess it’s suitability for settlement, with the agreement that any spoils discovered during the course of their duties will be kept by them.
- Leaving Astrov, Maugoth heads off to find himself some ‘diversion’ while Kern and Nephile concentrate on gaining some deeper information on Zoltan and Yena. Failing to actually locate them, the pair nonetheless learn that Yena is indeed a recent addition to Zoltan’s caravan. Nephile also learns of Kern’s status as a wanted murderer, as well as his claims of being framed, which explains the earlier tense exchanges between him and Astrov.
- Eventually, the three regroup at The Gilded Swan.
- Eventually, tired and trail worn, the party arrives back at the city of Restov. With Adroolin seeking the sanctuary of his temple, Nephile, Maugoth, and Kern head for the solace of The Gilded Swan inn. Discussing recent events the three find themselves surpisingly in tune with each other’s general opinions and approaches to how the different situations should be handled, with Nephile being impressed enough by Kern to offer him a full share of the gold promised to them by Voltan(once collected).
- Nephile, later on in the evening, makes contact with the barkeep Elias again, learning that the agent for House Turov had indeed returned and persisted in asking more questions about Nephile (this time actually naming him) and House Nave in general. Satisfied that Elias was proving to be a reliable source of information, Nephile ensures that the man is well rewarded for his loyalty.
- Due to the overcrowding caused by the festival surrounding the charter awards, the three friends agree to share a room and have extra cots moved into Nephile’s original quarters.
- With Nephile swearing to track down the missing Yena and Zoltan for answers and payment, the party sets out on foot and Kern being carried on Maugoth’s shield on the road back to Restov. The road though is a dangerous one and before any civilisation is reached the party finds itself being hunted by a pack of aggressive wolves, notably unusual especially happening as it does in the middle of the day. Winning through without injury, the group openly discuss the strangeness of the encounter, an unspoken feeling of some dark power at work lying beneath their comments.
- Waking early, the party eats and then prepares to set out to locate the entrance to the chamber. Eeventually it is discovered in the shape of a collapsed cave in the early afternoon with the aid of the ‘Locating Stone’ carried by Nephile.
- The combined strength of Adroolin and Maugoth works to clear to tunnel, which they soon discover to be a steep slope decending into the roots of the hill itself. Once cleared, Kern is quickly volunteered to be lowered into the deep blackness, his rope held by the half orc. * At the bottom of the slope the gnome finds a stone dressed corridor adorned with worn ancient sigils on it’s walls leading deeper under the hill. The only light is that which leaks down the shaft behind him, but this is enough for the thief to make out a statue like figure in the shadows further in. Watching in silence and eventually seeing that the figure makes no move, despite it bizarrely being dressed in actual clothing, Kern calls for the rest of the group to descend. Which they all do. Noisily.
- Once all at the bottom of the entance, amazingly with all in one piece, Maugoth quickly moves to the front of the group and moves to charge the ‘statue’. Slamming into it with his heavy shield and shattering it under his weight. The figure is sent to the floor and scattered down the passage in a mighty crash and the group moves to investigate the strange thing. Nephile swiftly recognises the figure as not being a carved statue at all but the petrified remains of a human, in all probability the result of a basilisk attack. Lighting a candle and under the suggestion of extreme caution, the party moved on down the corridor.
- Eventually, the passage opens up into a large chamber, on which the floor of stands three more petrified figures. The party agree that they have indeed found the owners of the abandoned camp above. Moving cautiously into the chamber, the group soon discovers the basilisk itself and move to engage it in order to shut it’s feared petrification gaze down as quickly as possible. Ignoring the tactic of attempting to block it’s gaze with a blanket, the effective combination of Maugoth, Adroolin, and Kern nonetheless succeed in swiftly dispatching the creature before it paralyzes or petrifies any of them. The monster dead and trophies taken, including two vials of highly acidic blood by Nephille, the party moves in deeper.
- Soon the group arrives at an even larger hall, it’s depths lost in blackness. Obvious to them all though is the ornate black stone plinth surrounded by eight human sized statues carved in the likenesses of various warriors. At the centre of the plinth itself hovers, seemingly unsupported in mid air, what appears to be a 6" disk of obsidian bearing a moving eye of clear evil staring out from a halo of corrupt energy. Muttering the incatations of an arcane spell, Nephile focuses his attention on the ‘eye’ itself, attempting to discover more of it’s nature… only to have the very core of his spirit assualted with an overwhelming wave of malevolance and hate. The frail seeming magi collapses in agony, falling to his knees under the attack, much to the bewilderment of his group. They all hear the beautifully dangerous voice though as it raked across their sanity, “APPROACH MORTALS. WHAT GIFTS DO YOU BRING?”
- Struggling to his feet, Nephile pushes forward to stand with Maugoth, “With whom do we speak? Who makes demands of us?”, only to be met with clear derision and the sight of magical rays of energy lancing out of the eye itself and striking the front two statues. Animating, the constructs turn to look at the party and move to attack. Without hesitation they are met by the combined wall of Maugoth and Adroolin, words unspoken between them but standing togther to meet the danger.
- In the shadows, talking with Kern, Nephile makes clear his thought that the ‘eye’ is the key and that only death awaits those that fight animated rock. The two swiftly agree to attempt to destroy or disable the source while the others engage the statues in the centre. As they speak, two more lances of energy strike more statues and they too move to join the combat.
- Kern moves out ahead into the clear floor of the hall itself, only to be intercepted by two of the warrior statues, the pair blocking the gnome’s way on and posing a serious threat to his very life. Seeing the way now cleared, Nephile himself moves into the room, swiftly ducking into the shadows as he moves along the wall towards the eye itself. Meanwhile, the battle rages on in the centre of the chamber with Maugoth and Adroolin fighting side by side, surrounded by an ever growing cluster of statues and rubble both. In seconds, Kern is knocked down and crushed under the fists of the animates that block his way, knocking the rogue brutally to the floor. It is clear that he will die under the merciless blows, but Adroolin finds his path to him blocked. Unable to help the monk fights on in a desperate effort to clear a road and save Kern’s life.
- While this is happening, Nephile moves through the room to find his own way to the ‘eye’ blocked by yet another warrior. Attempting to evade the attack of the statue, Nephile is nonetheless struck a glancing blow but succeeds in ducking around it. Running at the eye, pulling a dagger free as he goes, Nephile senses clearly that the eye must die or his allies will. Throwing the knife as a stone fist is raised above the unconcious Kern, undoubtedtly a killing blow, the mage strikes the obsidian disk bearing the eye directly at it’s center. The disk shatters, the statues stop, and Nephile collapses screaming under another wash of malevolant evil agony that penetrates him to his very soul. Lives are saved, though at what cost?
- Pulling themselves together, with Nephille recovering from the unseen assault, Maugoth sets about destroying the remaining inert statues while Adroolin treats the almost comatose Kern using means both mundane and divine. The pieces of the shattered eye are collected and the party makes it’s way out, emerging into the fading evening without incident.
- Carrying the still critically injured Kern, Maugoth leads the small group back to Yena’s camp… only to find that she and her group, along with their wagon and other belongings, have gone. Rebuilding the fire, Adroolin, Maugoth, and Nephile decide to stay the night and allow Kern to sleep. Theories are discussed as to what has happened, with ideas ranging from an attack on the camp, forcing it to be abandoned, to Yena deliberately sending them down to the eye as living sacrifices to The Hag (which would in turn would place Yena and, potentially, even Lord Astrov in Gyronna’s service)
- Waking at dawn, breakfast is eaten and then camp broken while the party debates the practicality of burying the bandits in the hard ground. Despite sensible reasoning by Nephile, and even Maugoth, stubborn insistence wins the day and the morning is given over to grave digging.
- Once back on the road, Nephile engages Zoltan in conversation, learning of his possession of an enchanted gem that reportedly acts as a locater and key both to the hidden chambers discused the night before. Nephille takes the gem, investigating it, and indeed does discover that it has some level of power.
- Arriving at the Hill as the evening dims, the trio of Nephile, Maugoth, and Adroolin help once more set up the camp, all eager fopr rest after a long day of travel.
- Nearing the end of their tasks, the monk Adroolin sees what others do not and points to the approaching figure of pony and rider. Bows are readied and the group waits. Once close, close enough to now identitfy the rider as a young but grizzled looking gnome with a bright red shock of hair and dressed in leathers, the group shouts out a warning and the rider is requested to dismount. Obliging, the newcomer jumps nimbly to the ground and eventually indentifies himself (after a tense moment or two) as Kern Deutzia, an agent of Lord Astrov. Cautiously, accepting his story for the time, the party invite the shady looking creature to sit at their fire and talk further.
- During the following conversation many things are learne… One of which being that Kern possesses a very specific skillset (namely being a locksmith and, in his own words, ‘a thief’) and was recruited explicitly to deal with the hidden chamber that lay under Stone Hill. This raises several new questions to the party… The foremost being that if Astrov knew to recruit a ‘locksmith’ explicitly then he must have had knowledge of the second so far considered secret objective of entering the chambers. Or that he was possibly being directed by someone with such a hold over him that he just unquestionaly acted as he was commanded. Either way, the intitial recruitment of the group as simple escorts now was very questionable and the indication was that Astrov himself knew more then he represented. Deeper influence was obviously at play.
- As the conversation progresses, with Voltan being pressed for information and his ‘daughters’ being overheard as they argued amongst themselves, it became clear that the wagonmaster was not the ‘father’ of the women at all, and not even the one in charge of his little group. That honour, it turned out, belonged to the woman calling herself ‘Yena’.
- Instantly assuming a position of authority, Yena addresses the party with an air of arrogance. The woman is seemingly uncowed by threat or intimidation from even the hulking Maugoth, despite mentions of the words ‘fire’ and ‘feet’ in the same sentence. At her own pace Yena divulges more information of obviously her own choosing and as she speaks the picture starts to paint itself, though Nephile recognises her evasions and lies for what they are. Information he keeps to himself for the time.
- Playing the part of benevolant protector, the mistress attempts to lead the party to believe that she and the shadowed organisation she was acting for were in a race to retrieve a powerful artifact, an object of ancient malevolent evil, of the hag godddess Gyronna from the hidden chamber. Who the race is against is undetailed, and her assertions that she only desired to study and potentionally destroy the item were dubious at best, but nonetheless the group (now including the thief Kern) agrees to carry on with the mission and investigate the hill. Nobody mentions to Kern about the ten gold they have each been paid for this extra duty.
- After the conversation breaks up, Nephile and Maugoth agree to take a final scout of the hill in the fading light. As they travel the two find theat they have similar thoughts about how to approach the situation and Nephile starts to discover and appreciate the clear intelligence and perception that lay under the brutish exterior and broken language of the half orc. Finally, about to call it a night and return to camp, the two come across a cold camp with a wagon and horse left unattended. Obviously the resting place of four men, the tracks are nonetheless confusing and neither Maugoth nor Nephile possesses the skill to follow them and so, assuming that these were the unnamed competition for the artefact, the pair return to their own group to inform them of their discovery.
- The party agree to investigate further in the morning, the day having been too long to carry on much further. Kern appropriates a blanket from Adroolin, lacking one of his own. The fact that the monk has only one seems to not bother the gnome too much.
- Nephile, Maugoth, and Adroolin meet up with the ‘archaeologist’ Zoltan and his family. Forcing the monk and warrior to walk in an apparent effort to protect his daughters Zoltan slows the pace, but despite this the journey into the countryside of Restov goes without incident and could even be called pleasant. Travelling the full day, the group chooses to establish camp in a defensible spot, the plan to set off at first light. With a meal being provided by Zoltan’s daughters, and the watch being decided between Adroolin and Maugoth, the group learns of a secret objective of Zoltan… that of the investigation of hidden chambers that lay under Stone Hill. After sharing the information and securing the party’s help for a princely sum of ten gold a piece, the camp settles down.
- Attack! In the midst of the night bandits attempt to ambush the party and their charges. Numbering around five, the criminals are swiftly dealt with between the brutality of Maugoth and the blinding speed of Adroolin, with a little unseen aid from the enchantments of Nephile. Between all, the bandits are put down with no injury to the group and the camp once more rests.
- Adroolin Windreader, Maugoth, and Nephile Seeker arrive in the small city of Restov according to instructions to report to Lord Wilheim Astrov. Meeting each other for the first time, the strangers agree to escort the ‘archaeologist’ Zoltan and his daughters (Yana and Tekia) to the ancient site known locally as ‘Stone Hill’ in return for possible support in being granted Royal Charters to The Stolen Lands. Due to leave the next morn the three make appropriate sleeping arrangements.
- Nephille notices an agent of House Turov, a Brevonian noble family that has no love for his own, during his stay at The Gilded Eagle inn, and during his investigations of what was behind the sighting establishes his name as ‘Carlin’ to the barkeep Elias.