The Fall

Escape from the Hobgoblins

The weary heroes make their escape down the mountain.  A light rain starts to fall, obscuring their sight, and making progress a little slower.  They find their way down to the statues of Dwarves, one with the head missing, and trudge onward, the rain becoming a deluge.  The party seeks shelter against a large granite boulder, and Ergar gathers some grubs from the ground around its base.  The rain continues for a day and a night, finally letting up in the middle of day two.  A few uneventful days of travel later the party spots the Ivory Spire in the distance.  Tibet remembers Fin telling him that he came from the Ivory Spire, and Tibet wants to return Fin’s things to them and break the sad news.  He tells the group that he would like to go over to the Ivory Spire and do this, and the group agrees.  They make the half day trip and reach the Spire a few hours before nightfall.  Nobody knows how to get in and there are no doors.  Through sheer luck, Tibet moves his hand across a panel that triggers a projected image of an elf in regal dress.  He greets them in common, and asks them their business.  Tibet says he has news of Fin, and the Warforged show their Wings of Bahamut Amulets to the image.  The others stay mute.  Tibet, Cap, and Vessel are all teleported to the top of the Spire where they are further questioned.  Tibet gives back all of Fin’s things, and the Warforged kneel and give up their amulets.  All of them get valuable things in exchange.  Tibet gets an astral Elk that is semi-transparent and has fiery swirls inside it, they also give him a book of rituals that would have been given to Fin at his coming of age.  It contains the spells for Find Familiar, and something else yet to be deciphered.  The Warforged are given armor that suits them.  The three are warned about a new group of so-called ‘mages’ that are part of a group called The Collectors that seek to recover magical things from before The Fall.  All three are teleported back to the ground safely, Tibet atop his new mount.

Tibet, and Ergar perform the ritual to gain Familiars in the shadow of the Spire and the group rests there.  Ergar moves off and steals some herbs from the obviously tended gardens of the Elves.  He makes away with a pound of undried leaves, and some valuable roots.

The group continues their trek, coming to the Sinkhole in the road the next day.  They set up a rope to the cart and block the cart off and slide down into the hole.  The first thing they notice is that it is covered in fungus.  Then they hear a voice telepathically communicating with them as the Myconid they left here weeks ago talks to them and reveals itself.  It has grown to an adult, and walks on two legs now instead of four.  Myconid Sprouts run about in the cavern.  The walls are coated in mushrooms.  The Myconid tells them that it has grown strong because of the magic flowing here.  The charging stations are coated in faintly glowing  mushrooms.  They ask the Myconid to clear off the stations so that Cap and Vessel can recharge.  The Myconid agrees to do so, but asks that they clear the Hook Horrors beyond the cave-in.  The PCs agree, and head off that way.

They meet resistance in the caverns almost right away, but manage to stab, bash, curse, and mock their way through the Hook Horrors.  In a far corner room the group finds a nest of Hook Horrors with about 15 eggs.  Ergar claims dibs on one and the rest are destroyed.  The party continues through a small space where the cave collapsed during the fight, and finds the last of the Hook Horrors dead a little ways in.  It is in a large open room with a blue light shining brightly from one corner.  The party further investigates and sees it is some kind of laboratory for Warforged.  The blue light is eminating from a ball of lightning that moves to attack.  It tries to envelope Capacitor, but he nimbly dodges.  The rest of the group lays on a barrage of magic and destroys the glowing ball of electricity quickly.

The party investigates the room.  Jean puts his hand in a slot designed for Warforged and his consciousness is transported to the realm of the Hexblade.  Jean is offered the opportunity to become a Hexblade and declines, pulling his hand free.  Cap and Vessel both put their hands on the wall outlets, and accept the Hexblades blessings (Vessel levels up, and Cap takes a level in Hexblade).

The party reports back to the Myconid that the job is done, it thanks them and has cleared off two charging ports for Cap and Vessel.  They both take their leave and begin charging up.  They charge up fully over the next 8 hours as the rest of the group rests.  Ergar asks about special poisoning abilities that the Myconid has and it attempts to paralize him, but he is able to shrug off the effects.  It then offers to provide him with a sample of those paralyzing spores and provides enough for two doses of paralytic poison DC 11 Constitution or be paralyzed for 1 minute.

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Castle Raid

The heroes continue their trek up the mountain path.  Soon they come upon a man in dark robes gathering herbs along the path, a donkey and cart behind him.  The man is recognized by Tibet as a man who once sold him pipe weed, and Tibet calls the man “Spider,” and introduces his friends to Spider.

The man is a bit standoffish, and tells them of his dealings with the Hobgoblins, but that they always met outside the gate and that he has no idea of their numbers.  The group tells the man they are on their way to take the castle and kill the manticore that the Hobgoblin leader rides.  Spider tells them that this is a fool’s errand, but the group presses him to continue with them.  Soon they come upon a lone harpy soaring on the mountain updrafts, and shoot it out of the sky immediately.  The new warforged, Capacitor, climbs up the cliff to the Harpy nests, and shakes several thousand coins out of them as well as a few gems.  The group sorts and gathers the silver and gold, and throws it into the back of their new companion’s cart.

Moving forward the group reaches a bend in the road, beyond it is the steel gate leading into the hobgoblin’s stronghold.  They see a hobgoblin to the left and right, each manning a boulder trap, and another mostly concealed in a hut with a thatched roof, constructed atop the gate.  They back up and tie their horses.  Tibet sneaks out and shoots fire at the thatched roof of the hut.  It starts a fire that quickly spreads.  The two hobgoblins manning the boulder traps disappear behind the wall, and it is too smoky to see what happens to the third.  The whole group sneaks up to the gate and climbs the steep rock face to the top of the wall on the righthand side.  The fire has enough of the hobgoblin forces distracted so that they don’t notice the small band of adventurers.  The group surveys the castle, and decides to sneak across the open field and behind a building labelled ‘Warehouse” on their map.  The only one of the group that was noticed was Vessel, who had already cunningly disguised himself with his magic to look like a hobgoblin captain.  A few hobgoblins salute him, and he salutes back, but does not break stride.

Between the warehouse and the stables there is a repugnant odor of animals stacked too close together.  Flies buzz about in the thousands.  The adventurers make haste to the wall of the castle.  Vessel teleports to the top of the wall, and scouts the troll huts, and the barracks, noting 12 adult Trolls and five juveniles.  Vessel is thrown a rope and he secures it atop the wall and the others climb up.

Soon after, one of the gate guards spots them and looses an arrow.  A narrow miss, the party returns fire with extreme force, killing both by putting them to sleep, then firing massive amounts of magic at them.  Tibet sneaks up on two others throwing one off the wall and breaking his neck.  The other, alerted to Tibet’s presence, blows the alarm horn, and is smacked off of the wall immediately by Vessel’s bolts of eldritch force.

Alerted, Hobgoblins begin to stream out of the barracks.  Capacitor leaps from the wall, landing softly after casting feather fall mid-jump.  A melee ensues, with more and more hobgoblins entering the battle.  Soon Vessel panics and releases a horrifying, consuming astral darkness, that kills nearly half of the hobgoblins.  The rest fight valiantly, but are slaughtered by the magic of Jean, Tibet, Vessel, and Spider, and the trident stabs of Capacitor.  Just as the Hobgoblins are all but defeated, Trolls run toward the party en masse.  A bloody, fight commences.  Tibet shoots bolt after bolt of enormous rays of fire from his fingertips.  Spider stands bravely before the Trolls, casting spell after spell, burning and blistering the Trolls, but is bested.  He survives thanks to the healing magic of Jean, and escapes to the barracks.  Jean leaps down, cursing a troll with confusion, then runs for his life back to the barracks as well. As the rest retreat, Vessel drops another area astral darkness on the seven trolls.  The trolls struggle to exit the sucking void, and three, including the chief, make it out, but Capacitor pulls the Chief back into the void with a bolt of magical electricity.  Hobgoblins stream out of the second barracks once more, but disappear behind the astral void of darkness and are not seen again.  And there we end, the trolls wallowing in a void, the hobgoblins out of sight.

 

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Death of Many Things

The party spends a nervous night in the foothills of the mountains after having killed Tibet’s Father, and driven off his Mother.  No further incidents occur in the night, and the party gets a full night’s rest.

 

In the morning as they break camp, a fairy flies by, and curses them to babble like babies, accusing the group of causing the fire.  Fin, Vessel, and Jean fall under the curse, and Tibet shrugs it off, and throws a rock at the fleeing fairy.  The party babbles its way North, and hits a wall of flame with a spinning cyclone of fire.  Through the vortex the party spies the legendary City of Brass on the Elemental Plane of Fire.  Two Salamanders exit the portal and rush the party.  Tibet takes several stinging blows and retreats.  The battle seems to be going poorly until one of the Salamanders goes down.  The other flees soon after, escaping into the Plane of Fire.  Another denizen exits the portal, this time it is a living swirl of fire.  It attacks Tibet, and he falls unconscious.  Then it turns its attention to Fin.  Fin dodges the tendrils of fire that lick out from the creature, and with a combination of eldritch blasts and magical arrows, the Fire Weird is destroyed.  A few seconds later an enormous Phoenix flies from the portal, engulfing Tibet in its talons, and instantly turning him to ashes.  Fin grieves for his fallen comrade, but the others seem unconcerned with their companions death.  A burning cart comes out of the portal just as it closes.  Vessel investigates the cart and finds a Deck of Many Things with 13 cards in it.  He draws one, the Knight, and suddenly an old friend of his that was part of the same experimental troop is by his side.  The new warforged immediately swears fealty to Vessel, and the two bond.  Vessel shows the deck to Jean and Fin.  Jean draws a card, the Throne, and finds himself to be just a bit more persuasive.  Finally, Fin draws a card, the Skull, and summons an avatar of death.  He fights valiantly, Jean tries to stop it, but when he interferes an avatar of death is summoned next to Jean.  Fin falls under the chilling incorporeal slices from death’s scythe.  Jean manages to fight off his Avatar of Death, but only just barely.  The party buries Fin, and makes a mournful camp for the night.

 

Dawn the next morning: The ashes of Tibet form into a swirling fire, gradually taking human form.  Before the party stands a naked, injury and scar-free TIbet.  The young Monk looks slightly different as he now has a shock of red hair in his dreadlocks.  The party tells Tibet about Fin’s death, and Tibet mourns his friend’s death, and honors him by putting on Fin’s (very tight) pants, and shirt.  The party tells Tibet about the Deck and what happened when drawing from it, and Tibet is convinced that he is owed a draw from the deck and demands to have it handed over.  Eventually Jean acquiesces, handing over the Deck.  Tibet reserves his draw for another time and hangs onto the Deck for now.  As the party breaks camp a young man approaches them cautiously.  He comments on how well armed the group is and begins to give them a wide berth.  He exchanges a few words and once he finds out that Jean Flower is among the party he comes closer, and says he was sent to Crossroads Bay to find Jean, but since he’s here it will save him a few days ride.  He hands Jean a sealed letter with Jean’s house crest on it.  It reads, “Dear Jean,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you of your father’s sudden and unexpected demise.  Know that he loved you, and that his last thoughts were of you.  Before his death he secured a lordship for you in the North of Nathadel.  Enclosed is the deed to the lands and a map of the surrounding country.  Your lands are being governed by Jevon Smoll.  You may claim your title and lands in the capital city.  Please accept my deepest condolences.  

 

Your friend and mentor,

Maestro Holach”

 

Jean is saddened by the news, and presses the group to immediately head to Nathadel to claim his lordship.  He is talked out of it, and gives the messenger boy 10gp to secure the documents in a safe place until such time as Jean can make it to Nathadel and stake his claim.

The party escorts the messenger North until they come to the place in the road where it is obvious that a large force recently passed into the mountains.  The path upward is flanked by two enormous statues of Dwarves, the Southerly Dwarf’s head has cracked and fallen off and lays at its feet.  The party continues to trek up into the mountains, startling four Goblins, and killing three of the four.  Farther up, at a bend in the path at the edge of a cliff the party hears a sweet song, Tibet, and the new warforged are enchanted and rush toward the edge of the cliff where, just beyond, the harpy sings.  Jean and Vessel are not charmed.  Jean rides around the corner to try to get a better angle, and Vessel moves slightly forward and blasts the Harpy with eldritch force.  Just as Tibet and the new warforged are about to leap to their deaths they snap out of it, stopping just in time.  Tibet begins firing rays of fire from his hands, a newfound ability since his miraculous resurrection.  Two more Harpies join the fight, and try to take down Jean, but are beaten back.  The Harpies are driven off, and as they flee two of the three are killed by the group’s ranged magic.

 

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Tibet's Unfortunate Parents

The heroes find themselves at a sentient tree, who threatens to smash all of the “two-legs” because they burnt everything.  The party talks the tree, “Old Oak,” out of killing them, and they agree not to light a fire for the night.  Tibet takes first watch.  Vessel takes second.  During the night no monsters attempt to invade the camp, but Tibet has a disturbing vision.

 

“You are standing in a hall with crimson carpets.  Before you stands a man in a velvet cape, wearing a crown.  He is a handsome man, but something sinister is in his eyes.  He smiles, revealing elongated canine teeth.  His eyes shimmer red for a moment.  He motions for you to follow.  Before you can think about it your feet carry you forward.  The man points out a window in the castle, and bellow you is a ruined city.  The undead wander from place to place.  A hollow, echoing voice penetrates your mind, “This could all be yours, Tibet.  Come to Nadeem, and claim your birthright.”

Your vision snaps to a new scene, a first-person view flying over a village and people below fleeing in terror, a feeling of immense hunger and thirst is ecstatically quenched by attacking one of the villagers, biting him on the neck, and draining him of blood.

A third-person view of the yourself, sitting sideways on a throne of bones, and blood, and sinew, sipping from a goblet, and cackling, a wide grin showing sharp, long, blood-stained fangs.

 

The image fades behind a wall of flames, an image of a swirling fiery vortex fills the scene.  Monsters flow in and out of it, Dwarfs with hair on fire, snakes made of lava and flame, monstrous hounds breathing fire, flying horses with hooves and eyes of flame.  A humanoid with red skin towers above the rest, his molten eyes shimmering.  A huge firebird flies out of the vortex and straight toward you.  It screams as you are engulfed in flames.  You feel your skin melting away, and smell your clothes, hair, and your own flesh burning.  You are soon reduced to ashes.

 

You wake up sweating, as if you have just been in a sauna.”

 

The party travels for a few hours in the morning, and are beset by two hell hounds.  The hounds immediately jump Fin and his horse.  Fin is badly burned, and his horse and their captive are killed in the flames.  Fin uses the horse as cover, and wretches at the sight of the bugbear’s burnt visage.  From there the foes are quickly dispatched.  While the party will be nursing their burns for a few weeks, no permanent damage was done.  The foes were a difficult match, but not too much of a threat.  

They press onward for the rest of the day and into the night.  After walking in the dark for two hours Vessel notices two hooded figures walking South toward the party.  When they get within ten feet Vessel gets an uneasy feeling and tells them to take off their hoods.  The two comply, and claim to be Tibet’s parents, come to take him home.  Tibet wants nothing to do with them, and tells them so.  The two reveal themselves to be fiends with red-glinting eyes, and sharp fangs.  Tibet panics, cloaks himself in darkness, and rides his horse off into the night.  The rest of the group has a hard fight ahead of them.  Vessel takes on the two monsters with support from Fin, and Jean.  The tide of battle shifts early in favor of the monsters, as horses start dying, and the party seems unable to damage their foes.  Tibet has a twinge of remorse at leaving his friends to die at the hands of his parents and turns around to ride back into the fray.  He sees his friends in a desperate situation and leaps to the aid of Vessel, confronting his father in an exchange of blows.  His father bests him and turns his attention to Vessel, but Jean’s healing magic revives Tibet, and all together the party manages to destroy Tibet’s father just as Vessel is taken out.  Tibet’s mother flees into the night.

In the pile of dust that was Tibet’s father, Jean finds a tome containing Tibet’s family tree, and 15gp.

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Aftermath of the Attack

The group takes stock of where they are and decides to take a short rest under the bridge that they have just successfully defended.  Ronthar Tusk the ½ Human thinks that’s unacceptable and runs off to continue defending the town.  Under the bridge, they discuss possible next moves, including deposing the Magistrate.  While debating their choices, a merfolk man swims upriver and tells them that his master is pleased and that the party may keep their items.  The merfolk says that if they clear a lake on a volcanic island to the South that more riches are in store for them.  They debate the merits of going South.  Vessel wants to collect some armor off of a Hobgoblin killed in the North Eastern quarter of the town, and the party leaves to find the body.  The streets are filled with soot, smoke, and ash.  On the way they find a lost girl about six years old named Parah, dirty with soot, crying at the corner of a building.  They tell her they will find her family.  They collect the armor off of the hobgoblin corpse, and Tibet finds a map that they missed in the initial search.  They then let Parah lead them to her house.  When they arrive the house is demolished as if by a Giant or boulder.  Tibet makes out two figures through the smoke, sifting through the rubble.  Cautiously the group introduces themselves to the man and the woman, Johnovan, and Linny, the parents of Parah.  The family reunites and the heroes escort the family across Sidoi bridge to ensure their safe passage.

 

They head next to the Magistrates office.  There are many guards posted outside, but the heroes are let in.  They brag about their defense of the town, and the Magistrate gives them a full pardon, a sack of 800gp, and allows them to choose any mount that they want from the stables, as long as they track down and kill the Hobgoblin Warlord.  The party unanimously agrees, and says they will go into the Conflict Isles later to do the Aboleth’s bidding.  Vessel leaves the ill-fitting half-plate armor scavenged from the Hobgoblin with the Magistrate on the promise that he will get it fitted for the warforged.

 

Jean bribes the stable master to give him the best horse, and gets a fast horse that is trained for combat.  The others get stock riding horses, good for long distance travel, and sturdy enough to carry a decent amount of goods.  After a night of drinking to celebrate their victory the party beds down in the cellar (except Tibet who stays on the roof of the tavern and examines the map).  After a night’s rest Vessel buys some fitted scalemail, and they leave in pursuit of the retreating goblin army.  The heroes soon discover that in their retreat, the goblins have burnt everything to the East, West, and North.  Tibet tracks the army to make sure they are going the right way, and scouts a small band of Goblins who fire many arrows at him, but only strike him with one glancing blow.  The party sticks together and walks into a Bugbear ambush.  Jean takes a solid hit from the Chieftain, but stays on his horse, Tibet, set upon by four Bugbears is ripped off his horse, and pounded into the ground.  Vessel leaps to his aid, and Jean moves away, shouting healing words to his injured comrades.  Fin fires many arrows, but none find their mark.  The tide turns against the heroes for a moment, and just when it looks like all is hopeless, Jean charges back into the battle, skewering a Bugbear, and healing the archer, Fin.  A furious battle ensues, but the Bugbear Chieftain tries to run, giving the heroes an opening.  They kill the Chieftain and take the remaining two captive.  During interrogation Vessel slays the less cooperative of the two, and Tibet, who is against killing them, suggests simply maiming the last living one to prevent him from escaping.  From Hurgruk they learn that the map that Tibet found is of the Hobgoblin Warlord’s stronghold, and the Bugbear promises them lots of treasure in return for its life, saying that it can lead them to the treasure hoard collected by the goblin raids on the caravans.  They tie him up and sling him over the back of Fin’s horse.  The party makes camp under a lone slightly burnt tree at a bend in the river.

 

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Defense of Crossroads Bay

After taking a short break the heroes set a trap for any incoming invaders made of the Ogre’s clubs.  While up on the ramparts they notice that the other North gate has been breached, and run through town to help fight the goblins.  They come to the north bridge where a lone warrior is fending off the attacks of many goblins.  Tibet tries to jump over the warrior and into the fray, but succeeds only in pushing him.  With the aid of the heroes, the bridge is held.  The heroes cross and the warrior introduces himself as Ronthar, the half human.  Tibet, noticing the gray skin, green eyes, and tusks replies, “Oh, you’re a half orc.”  to which Ronthar looks bemused, and says, “Where half-orc?  I half-human!”

Ronthar runs off to defend the town, and the rest follow.  As he runs past an alley, Ronthar notices a Hobgoblin and a Worg.  He charges them immediately, and is quickly backed up by the others.  Vessel hits hard, but receives a grievous blow from the Hobgoblin in return.  Tibet runs up the wall and behind the enemies, blocking their escape.  As the Hobgoblin is running away on his mount, the heroes kill it out from under him, and he flies off, striking the ground, winded.  Ronthar wastes no time in delivering the finishing blow to his disabled opponent, striking the hobgoblin in the neck.

Fin and Tibet check out the maps and charts that the hobgoblin had, and note that it is a map of the town with vulnerabilities, and choke points noted.  Ronthar checks the group for wounds, and, noting that the wounds are negligible, runs off into the town toward some burning buildings.

Over the din of flames the heroes hear civilians trapped in one of the buildings.  As they approach an ambush of nearly 20 goblins jump out of hiding, and begin pummeling the party with arrows.  Most are off the mark, are deflected by armor, or caught by shields, but a few find their marks.  Tibet runs, and leaps, using the power of his Ki to propel himself.  He lands in an open window on the second story of the building, surrounded by smoke, and flames.  Outside, the others close the gap and slice many of the goblins to pieces, but not without taking their fare share of blows.  Tibet makes his way downstairs toward the screaming, and finds the civilians, nearly passed out from smoke inhalation.  He tries to open the door, but cannot.  It is barred from the outside.  He kicks and punches the door, furiously trying to knock it down.  It splinters, but does not give way.  Fin, hearing the noise from inside the building, runs up and unbars the door.  As the civilians leave, and Tibet runs out, the roof collapses in a mass of soot, embers, and smoke.  One civilian is immediately shot and killed by a goblin as he leaves.  The other, a young girl is horrified, but continues to run.  Soon the remaining goblins realize that they are outmatched, and attempt to flee.  Six retreat, and four of the remaining goblins manage to escape.

The group moves on and takes a moment to lick their wounds at a guard post that has not yet fallen.  Tibet strong arms a guard into giving him beer.  Saddled Worgs run by without riders during their rest, and a fleeing guard joins the group.  From there the heroes decide to give ground to Sidoi bridge.

Debris, rubble, destroyed furniture, and a cart are set up in the western side of the bridge.  Soon after the barricade’s construction a small force of mounted hobgoblins attacks followed by a Hill Giant.  Without much trouble the hobgoblins and the worgs are dispatched thanks to steady pummeling by Fin’s arrows, and Tibet’s fists, and some good swordplay by Ronthar, and Vessel.  In the meantime, the Giant runs up to the barricade.  It swings wildly, and Vessels magic wards off a blow.  Enraged the giant levels a flattening blow against Vessel.  Too late the giant realizes it has been hit harder than it can sustain and falls under the swords, arrows, and magical onslaught of the heroes.

Above, the manticore flies off to the North, and it seems the pressure has let up a bit.  It is unclear what lies in the Northeastern part of Crossroads Bay, but Merchant’s Rise, the Docks, and the Trade Quarter all remain intact.

 

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Phlato's departure, Goblin attack!

The heroes awake to smoke in the North, and thunderheads in the south.  The Halfling, Phlato gathers his belongings and heads out, riding his recently acquired mastiff.  The rest of the group meditates, gathers water, and worries about the smoke in the North.  The head out and soon the rains are upon them.  A few hours later a sinkhole opens beneath them mortally wounding the two donkeys pulling the cart, and destroying the cart itself.  All the heroes manage to leap to safety before the cart crashes down into the hole.  Tibet jumps down, deftly rolling to avoid injury from the impact.  An underground stream, swollen with the rains, runs through the underground chamber.  The Floomph flies away and out of the chamber.  There are several dimly lit alcoves, and he hears creatures skittering in the darkness.  He assesses the damage to the cart and animals as the other two fasten a rope to a tree and climb down.  As soon as Fin, and Jean get to the bottom the skittering of the creatures comes closer.  Fin sees them first and warns of the dog-sized lobster-ish monsters.  Jean blows him off, and gets bitten hard by one of the Rust Monsters.  Fin begins to stab with a rapier and it rusts on contact with these beasts.  Tibet smacks them with his hands, and feet, killing them while Fin distracts.  Jean runs away to tend to multiple bite wounds.  The heroes are victorious.  Tibet slits the donkeys’ throats, a mercy, gathers the rest of the gear, and they leave.  They take a short rest, but are interrupted briefly by a large creature with hooks for arms, a beak like a hawk, and the body of a beetle.  Fin, thinking quickly, fires at the ceiling hoping to cause a collapse.  The monster charges, and the rocks fall from the ceiling just as the horror is about to reach Fin.  

After they rest a little longer, the group takes a look at the alcove that has a golem in it.  Fin reads the arcane runes and learns that it is some sort of recharge station.  Tibet smacks the golem to try to make it work, but to no avail.  Finally Jean uses the last reserves of his magic to sing a healing song and mend some of the broken parts of the golem.  It immediately activates, and Jean asks, “Am I your God now?”  To which the Golem replies cryptically, “I have no God, but I do have a Patron.”  It introduces itself as Vessel.  The golem investigates the other alcoves, noticing they contain only the wooden remains of his former comrades.  They climb out, and Myconid sprout stays in the damp cave, free to wander and grow.

    The heroes continue North along the road, trudging through the mud, and making slow progress.  A family from the village of Bejen passes by, telling a tale of goblins raiding and pillaging.  Further on, two centaurs canter up, introduce themselves as Emberhood, and Birchtrot, and tell the tale of how their village was sacked by goblins, and 18 centaurs killed in the fighting.  The heroes question them further, and get some idea about what they are up against.  Hundreds of Goblins, Hobgoblins, Worgs, Bugbears, Ogres, all lead by a Hobgoblin Warlord with a Manticore pet, the winged creature that has been following the group for days.

    The party takes a rest, and considers options.  Tibet, being faster than the others, scouts the road ahead, coming upon a lone wandering Ogre.  He runs back and gets the rest of the group who follow.  Tibet sneaks up through the foliage, climbs a tree and jumps down on the Ogre, surprising it while Jean, failing at stealth, provides a distraction.  Vessel quickly joins the fray, creating a black blade out of thin air, while Fin fires shots from a distance.  The creature roars, and spins to attack Tibet, who nimbly ducks a skull-splitting blow from the Ogre’s greatclub.  The final blow to the Ogre comes from Fin’s arrow imbued with arcane energy that crackles from the entry point up to the monster’s head.  It’s eyes roll back in its skull as it falls lifeless to the ground.  The party takes the javelin off the Ogre, and Vessel wears the loin cloth as a poncho.  Vessel then cuts the head off the Ogre at the behest of Tibet, and impales it on the tip of the massive javelin.

    The heroes decide that there is no way they can take on the army of Goblins, and heads back to Crossroads Bay.  The rain stops and the sun comes out, creating a muggy, and oppressive atmosphere.  They make it back to Crossroads Bay and enter with much pomp with Jean creating a flourish of musicians with his magic that play them into the gates.  The party wastes no time in taking the head of the Ogre to the Magistrate and warning him of the impending attack.  Tibet then admits to murdering the guards and is told he can participate in the fight, but will be in the vanguard.  Six guards escort Tibet to the wall of the stockade.

    Fin, Vessel, and Jean head to Slem’s hideout underneath Sidoi Bridge to find the old half-elf dead at his writing desk, quill in hand, ink pot open.  They find no evidence of foul play.  Jean leaves to rest up for the coming battle, and the others head for the ramparts near the Northwestern gate.  

The attack comes in the early hours of the morning just before dawn.  First boulders destroy buildings inside the city, or land harmlessly outside, then arrows, volley after volley force the defenders to hunker down for cover.  Finally a group of scouting Hobgoblins riding Worgs test the defenses, probing for weaknesses and scouting the range and accuracy of the archers on the walls.  On Fin’s command the archers attack one of the rider’s Worgs, wounding it and causing all three of them to retreat.

Goblins rush the walls, taking heavy casualties, but distracting enough so that two Ogres can run up to the doors of the gate and smash it.  The goblins climb the walls and kill a few guards, but they are beaten back and one is taken prisoner.  The Ogres are killed, but the damage is done, the gate is open.  Tibet cuts major arteries and veins on the Ogres with his knife to create a pool of blood at the gate, making it harder to get through than usual, and hopefully slowing down the next wave of troops.  Jean holds up the tied goblin prisoner and yells a threat at the goblin army, “This will be you if you continue your attack!” and slits the goblin’s throat.

The party takes a short rest to await the next wave, and counts themselves lucky to have survived this far.

 

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Get out of town

The party wakes from their slumber and heads to the rich merchant’s home to rid it of the rats.  On the way there they are tailed by a man in a cloak looking to turn them in for the reward.  They set an ambush in an alley for the man, and eventually charm him.  He tells them his name, Rothew, and where he lives and some about the corrupt harbor master who takes too much out in fees and taxes.  They ask him about his family and send him on his way with 10gp for his troubles.

They then head to their intended destination, the rich merchant’s house.  There they are greeted by the butler who shows them to the basement.  In the basement they find several weird, and rare creatures, including a crawling claw, duodrone, twig blight, myconid sprout, and Flumph.  There are also three giant fire beetles crawling around the room.  The Flumph and the Myconid Sprout both telepathically ask to be freed from their prisons.  The PCs knock out the weird creatures except the duodrone, and myconid, and kill seven of the ten rats that were infesting the room.  The monk, Tibet, takes a jar containing a swirling cloud from the basement that is presumably food for one or more of the weird creatures.  They are paid 140gp which they split evenly and asked for their discretion in the matter of the merchant’s pets.  The party mutters agreement and heads off to lunch.

They head off to the docks to interrogate the harbor master, Anthbert, and sneak into his office.  Jean, Tibet, and Fin keep the harbor master busy, eventually charming him and asking him all about piracy and his connections to it.  The PCs also notice that the harbor master has motioned for his private guard to monitor the meeting.  Meanwhile the halfling rifles through the office, stealing a black bladed dagger, maps of the conflict isles showing prevailing winds, prevailing currents, and pirate hideouts, and 11 silvers, and nine coppers.

The two wanted men, Fin and Tibet eventually agree to give the harbor master 5 gp each as a finders fee for getting them work on a pirate ship in three days time, avoiding a nasty fight with his men.

The party heads off to the Salty Wind Tavern to talk with Lione about spreading the word that the two men accused of murder are innocent, and Jean joins in spreading the tale.  They buy provisions for an excursion to scout the goblin army, including two donkeys, a cart, feed, rations, and water skins.  Phlato buys a trained riding mastiff, then heads to the Magitrate’s office and notes that the guard has tripled, with four guards outside the doors, and two inside beside the Magistrate’s door.  Phlato asks if he can see the Magistrate about the murderers and is shown in, followed by two guards.  He accuses the harbor master of conspiring with pirates, and tells the Magistrate the the two men were only defending themselves, and were attacked, unprovoked, by the two guards.  The Magistrate tells the guards to arrest the halfling, but he slips out of their grasp, out the door, and rides off on his new mount, escaping capture.

That night the group heads back to the wealthy merchant’s house.  On their way in, looking for traps and entry points, Tibet looks up and notices a large winged shape circling high above.  The party breaks in through the front door, sneaks down to the basement, and frees the now-caged pets, but leaves behind the crawling claw, and the twig blight.  They take all the food with them, but Jean slips and falls on the way out, his instrument making a loud twang.  He tries to cover it up by singing and playing a short tune about breaking and entering while the others rush out the front door into the night.  Jean casually strolls out the front door and closes it behind himself.

Out in the open the group mounts up on the donkey cart.  Phlato gets on his dog.  They leave through the Southern gate and drive along the stockade wall and around the town until they are headed North (they are spotted by many watchmen on the wall).  They head off into the night for a few hours and make camp under a bunch of trees near the river.

 

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Something's Fishy

The group heads into the coastal cavern.  The ground and walls of the cave are covered with a thick slime, making the passage treacherous and difficult.  In a sudden bout of remorse, Tibet heads off to mope on the boat while the others head in.  Fin lights a torch, and the party starts tracking down the large worm they saw enter the cave.  They are immediately set on by two walking, gurgling fish-men wielding shields and spears.  Fin attacks with his rapier, and Jean begins mocking the fish-men.  To add to the insults, Phlato puts together a makeshift fishing rod using his bow, and grappling hook, and casts off.  The foes are dispatched, and the group loots the shark-tooth necklaces being worn by the fish-men.  Phlato cuts off the head of one, and saves it as bait for later.  Tibet returns to the group, leaving the sailors outside to tend the boat.  The group tracks the Carrion Crawler up a rise in the cave floor, but ends at a chasm that is vast.  The Carrion Crawler jumps off the ceiling behind them and attacks, knocking Jean out and nearly taking Phlato down too.  Finally, Tibet takes the creature down with a flurry of blows.  The party takes a short rest at the edge of the chasm to lick their wounds, and let Jean recover.

Rested up, the party heads down the hill to the fork in the cavern where the tidal waters flow into the cave.  Tibet jumps a small stream to a slime-free piece of sandstone.  A net falls from the ceiling onto him, and he is trapped.  The intrepid Phlato jumps to his rescue, cutting him free with a single slice of his dagger.  A harpoon flies out of the darkness, narrowly misses the two, and embeds itself in the slimy cave wall.  Tibet assesses the situation and decides to get out of the way of possible future harpoons.  He picks up Phlato, and they leap back across the stream.  Fin fires off a fire bolt at large humanoid creature.  The others in the party are stunned to find out that Fin can shoot fire out of his hands.  Phlato throws his fish-man head into the tidal river, and it is immediately set upon by piranha-like fish.  The large humanoid/fish creature bursts through the waves right next to the party, covered in tiny piranha-like fish.  It takes down Phlato, and Tibet in two quick strikes.  Next it turns its attention to Jean, smacking him down without much fight.  Finally Fin, and the Merrow are facing off.  Fin dodges, weaves, and stabs nimbly and precisely with his rapier, causing deep wounds.  The piranhas continue biting the Merrow, and Fin delivers the finishing blow to the Merrow’s heart.

Fin tends to his fallen comrades, and binds their wounds.  As he heads out to the boat with the aid of the two sailors, suddenly all three stop.  An insidious malevolent voice chimes through their heads, telling them all to stay, compelling them to make camp.  They do, and in the morning the party wakes to find the sailors gone, but the boat still there, their wounds mostly healed, but scars are left behind.  They decide to go back in the cavern past where the Merrow lies dead, and around a bend to a black pool.  The light from the torch seems to be absorbed into the water.  Jean spits into the pool, and out of it rises a giant three-eyed, three mouthed fish with tentacle-like fins.  It speaks to the group, asking for assistance fending off an attack on Crossroads Bay by some goblins.  It bestows gifts upon the group, a spellbook for Fin, a map to a ruined temple that “contains what you are looking for,” for Tibet, an ancient piece of music for Jean, and a pair of Boots of Concealment for Phlato.

The Aboleth summons a shark that tows the boat back to Crossroads Bay.  They arrive at dusk.  Fin notices wanted signs for him and Tibet, promising 200gp for each of them.  Tibet heads to the merchant’s quarter and sells the gigantic harpoon.  The others go to the Salty Wind tavern and inform Liaone that her husband is dead through a cheerful song.  She asks them if they know they are wanted men, and if it’s true what they did.  They tell her they did not murder anyone.  She tells them to keep the locket with her cameo, and gives them 5gp, all she can spare.  Fin pushes the 5gp back to her, and tells her to keep it.  She leaves through the back door.  

Tibet enters the Salty Wind.  The group drinks, and talks loudly in the corner about upcoming plans to protect the city, persuade the magistrate, and avoid capture.

 

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Murder and Death

Date: Plorsday the 7th of Fedwan YN 198

The heroes head through the city to the merchant’s quarter.  There they tear off job posters for vermin disposal in a rich merchant’s basement, and a job scouting the Ruins of Nadeem for a road through.  The group stops to watch a street performer play, and tips him generously.  The Monk then steals all the money he tipped the musician back.  The musician finishes his set and decides to follow the other two.  When finally they reach the Magistrate’s office at the top of a small rise, a halfling has beaten them to it, and interrogated the magistrate’s assistant about the magistrate’s daughter, and the disappearances on the docks.  The young musician, through use of his enchanting voice he bewitches the magistrate’s assistant to get her out of the way, and sends her to a tavern to get drunk.  Tibet, the Monk, leaves and tries to subtly whisper to the halfling to distract the guards, but his suspicious behavior catches their attention and they are placed under arrest.  Tibet kills the two guards while the halfling runs for it, following the magistrate’s assistant to the tavern.  Meanwhile, the Elf, and the musician knock on the magistrate’s door, and he answers grumpily, having obviously been interrupted at something.  He tells them he’s looking into the disappearances and goes back to his office, closing and locking the door.  Tibet drags the bodies of the two guards into the magistrate’s building just as the office door is closing.  Fin blocks the magistrates door with a chair, Tibet smashes through the window of the magistrate building, running to catch up with the halfling. Fin takes the keys off the guards, and the musician takes the coin purses.  They leave through the front door and are accused of murder by a steadily growing crowd.  They run for it and make it to a hideout under the Sidoi Bridge where Slem showed Fin the secret room.  Slem is there writing his history, and doesn’t take well to being interrupted.

    The halfling catches up to the magistrate’s assistant, and plies her for more information about the magistrate and the disappearances.  She has one freak out and runs outside screaming about magic being used in the city, but then comes back and settles down, still under the effects of Charm Person.  Tibet makes it into the tavern a little behind the halfling and watches him interact the the magistrate’s assistant from across the smoky tavern.  After an hour of pumping the increasingly drunk woman for information she finally passes out just as the effects of the spell are wearing off.

    Thinking that their companions must have made their way to the only tavern they know about, The Salty Wind, the musician, and the elf head there, only to find the place almost empty with just one table of five sailors drinking.  Liaone confronts Fin about finding her husband.  He assures her that they are headed out in the morning.  The bard sings songs, and buys several rounds of drinks for everyone.  The bard, dressed in the garb of a duke with a fake signet ring, reassures Liaone that he is personally looking into the matter of her missing husband.  Eventually they party hires two of the five sailors to come help sail their small fishing boat for a whopping fee of 1 gold per day.

They find comfortable lodging at the same inn as the night before.

At just before dawn on the 8th of Fedwan, the group all make their way to the docks and meet the two sailors. The somewhat incredulous sailors set sail with the bard in the cargo hold as there is not enough room on deck for all of the party.  The bard, Jean, offers them each another gold piece to go with it, after one remarks that the party is very well armed for a fishing expedition.  They accept.  After an hour and a half of sailing west the boat comes to the rocky shores where they see boat debris in the surf, and an enormous worm-like creature is eating a humanoid.  They shoot it with arrows and it retreats to a cave in the cliffside.  Tibet jumps in and swims ashore, followed by the boat.  The group investigates the body and finds the silver locket with a cameo of Liaone in it.  This must be the body of Murvid.  The party anchors the small vessel, and heads into the cave after the monster to get revenge (and its treasure).

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