Little 'n' Large

Genasi, both good and bad
Session 19

Day 46:

With everyone now more or less recovered, we head on and come to a large double-sided door. The images on this door don’t seem corrupted anymore. Théorn opens the door and we hear sounds of fighting ahead in a large room. Smax sneaks ahead and spies a large number of genasi sparring in the room. We try to sneak in, but Pennyworth clanks too much and we’re forced to battle them (Encounter 1).

The room seems to be a training room and quartermaster’s store, full of armour and weapons. Smax interrogates the defeated fire genasi elite, while Théorn and Pennyworth interrogate the earth genasi. The latter informs us that the temple is consecrated to Pazuzu, but gives us little else of use so Pennyworth sacrifices him to the earth gemstone. He then asks the fire genasi about the cleric who wrote the letter, but the prisoner seems either to know nothing or to claim the cleric is now a minion of Pazuzu.

Going through the doors at the other end, we come into another chamber about half the size of the earlier one. It has 4 plaques with names and dates on the wall, and fonts with blood-red water trickling into them from holes in the wall. Plaque with clasped hands has 6 names, one with sword has 22 names. Max notes down the last names appearing on each list. We return to the armour behind the screen and speak the last name on the clasped hand list. A glowing circle appears and the panel slides back to reveal Mithral Rimefire Plate Armour.

We then head back to the plaque room and kick open the doors. It’s a cathedral full of genasi, some bound and captive, in a queue being plunged into a blood red pool at the end by some corrupted genasi. A cow-demon is amongst them (Encounter 2). During the fight portals open and more and more enemies flood in.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???10,747 (7)
Max???13,001 (8)
Napoleon???11,276 (7)
Pennyworth???12,224 (7)
Smax???12,710 (7)
Théorn???10,827 (7)
View
Going underground...
Session 18

Day 44, continued:

After defeating the incubus, we move along to examine the corridor further. Going around a corner we find the panels behind which the armour is hidden, but can’t open it (Théorn’s Strength of the Green Dragon fails him). There is one set of panels telling the story of the creation of this temple and another showing the story of The Nine

Then, we encounter a weird elemental teleporting room filled with demons, which we clear fairly comfortably (Encounter 1), though it proves time-consuming as the teleportation spots keep being randomised and moving around a 4 quartered room, with a small platform in each quadrant surrounded by one element or another. Smax gets stuck in the dark, behind an earth wall with a meso-demon which proves challenging. Max does good work taking out a number of the demons. After this we need a break and take a long rest. During the rest, Pennyworth uses the bodies of the defeated demons to attune an elemental water crystal to himself.

Day 45:

Having cleared this level of the temple (Quest Complete), we head downstairs. The first thing we find at the bottom of the stairs is a chained Elemental Terror, made of flame at first, in a wide section of passageway containing 4 crystals, each of which emanates a different elemental power. Pennyworth uses his crystal to disrupt the elemental power flowing from the fire crystal and this effectively makes the Terror vulnerable but of a different type of element, so fire, mud, cold, silt, etc.

Théorn goes toe-to-toe with the Elemental Terror and we take it down, only for it to get up again, this time connected to the air crystal. Pennyworth breaks this one and again we take it down. It comes back up, connected to the earth crystal and again pounds on us. During this period, Max spends some time blinded. Théorn finally takes too much damage and falls unconscious. Pennyworth and the rest of the group take the elemental terror down but it returns, connected to the final crystal, before anyone can act and its damaging aura from the water crystal power is enough to put Théorn down permanently. Despite the loss of the group’s main melee defender those of us still standing manage to just about defeat the elemental terror (Encounter 2).

During a long rest for most of the party Pennyworth uses one of our scrolls to raise Théorn back to life. Théorn recalls little of his time in the shadow realm besides a choice between spear and sword, but is not happy at being brought back as his people will not listen to a ‘dead’ person. Arguments ensue. The remainder of the group rests, but Smax has dreams


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???9,922 (6)
Max???11,895 (7)
Napoleon???10,170 (7)
Pennyworth???11,118 (7)
Smax???11,604 (7)
Théorn???9,721 (6)
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Cleansing Kord's shrine of an Incubus
Session 17

Day 44:

The message suggests that Starchild (the leader of The Nine, we think) wrote prophecies for the temple to follow. Just as the message is finally deciphered (Skill Challenge) the door bursts open and 2 Balguras, a Hellhound and a Goat Demon assault us (Encounter 1).

We head down the right hand corridor and find a series of shrines to the main gods, though each appears to have been corrupted in some way:

  • A Skeletal Hand emerging from Avandra’s satchel
  • Evil light emanating from Corellon’s star
  • Rust and hole-ridden armour for Erathis
  • Ioun’s eye is weeping blood
  • Kord’s involves blood
  • The Shell (Sehanine? Melora?) is eating a baby!

Inside Kord’s shrine we find a water genasi huddled in the corner. He’s clearly scared but also incredibly handsome, which is a surprise. He’s called Lashiel and asks if Jacasta is still alive and coming to rescue him. Alas, she got eaten by a Goat Demon in the previous session. Something makes Max puzzled and she suddenly sees through the lies: It’s an incubus trying to deceive us! (Encounter 2) The party defeats the incubus and its attendant jovoks, despite Théorn being possessed and turning on the party for some of the battle.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???9,622 (6)
Max???10,425 (7)
Napoleon???9,870 (6)
Pennyworth???9,648 (6)
Smax???10,134 (7)
Théorn???9,084 (6)
View
Exploring the corrupted temple
Session 16

Day 43:

The door itself is about 12 foot tall and is decorated with dioramas of stories about Bahamut. There’s a sense of wrongness about the pictures though, and Hollan notices that they have been twisted to show Bahamut as a force for fear and domination rather than strength and justice. Hollan and Max sense infernal, arcane magic behind the door rather than the divine magic of Bahamut. Hollan pushes at the door and hears voices in his head asking what brings him to the temple. At his reply that he comes to cleanse it, laughter echoes from many voices in his mind and the doors swing open.

Inside there is a horrific stench of mildew. Filth coves the floors and stone edifices on the walls are scorched and muddy. Pillar-like structures are visible about 30 yards in, shrouded in mist, and scratching and laughter can be heard echoing past them. We enter the chamber, with loud squelchy footsteps. The chamber is large, but the mist blocks our sight more than about 50 yards in any direction. The pillars are columns that appear every 20 feet or so and go 25-30ft up to the ceiling, where the mist is thicker. There are more sounts of chittering and a giant bumblebee-like figure appears in and out of the mist in the distance. Max recalls a few demons that might take this shape (Gnaw demons being the most likely). Napoleon moves in cautiously to try draw our enemies out of the mist, but after a few steps spies a Dretch behind a column. He motions for the rest of the group to move closer, and as they do so Hollan spies another bumblebee further in, along with a thing looking like a human baby but with red skin and sharp teeth. We’re drawn into a fight (Encounter 1).

At the other end of the chamber there is a large doorway. The wooden doors are rotten and full of small worms, and it crumbles as we push it open. This new room is big (50 yards wide by 30 yards long) but cleaner than the last. At the end of the room is a wide set of stairs leading down, from which emanates a bright red glow but no heat. Either side of the staircase corridors continue on. There are doors to the left and right framed by stone arches above each, decorated with graven images. The image to the left shows a man in prayer, looking evil (Hall of Contemplation) and the image to the right has a man studying a book, leering at grotesque pornography (Hall of Study).

Smax checks the door for traps and listens for sounds the other side. Neither reveals anything. The door to the right feels warm, and the left door has water trickling down. For now Smax decides to scout ahead in the corridors a little. Along the way he notices a small mane on the steps as he moves past. It looks in terror and runs down the steps, but we leave it for now. The corridors both lead to another short corridor with four more doors, so Smax backtracks and we try the door with the water first. Hollan recalls that the Hall of Contemplation might contain prisoners, which could be of use to us, and Napoleon opens the door to small flood of water rushing out around our feet.

We enter a room 30m wide 40m long with rows of stone benches and pulpits in each corner. There is a path through centre and an archway at the end with an image of Bahamut wielding a hammer, sitting in judgement (Judgement = dominant, rather than blindfolded symbol of justice). We search through the room. Hollan senses dirty, watery arcane energy to the room but also some arcane magic in the next room, perhaps teleportation. We enter the courtroom.

This is a smaller room with 5 alcoves, each with small blue holy symbol on floor. Written above each alcove in draconic are “prosecution”, “defence”, “defendant”, “justice”, “jury”. Hollan also finds one for “prison”. Wary of getting trapped, we head back to study.

This door opens more easily. Hollan steps through, into a sheet of fire. The room is a burned out mess with lots of alcoves at the back and a large red gem in the centre of the room. Hollan senses much stronger magic in this room, specifically in the gem. He refuses to leave, wanting to cleanse the room, and tries poking the gem, blasting it with lightning breath. It seems to respond slightly to damage, but nothing obvious, so he gives up.

We head down the corridors found earlier. The doors at either end have images again. The first is Bahamut wielding a shield: “The Shielding Left Arm of Bahamut” and we get a sense of fire. The second image is Bahamut wielding a sword: “The Avenging Right Arm of Bahamut” with a sense of cold air. There are also two other normal looking doors.

Hollan kicks down the cold door. It contains a similar gem to before, but with bodies of humanoids (2 fire genasi, 1 water genasi) around it. Magic flows from a water genasi corpse into the gem. There are two serpent demons and a humanoid (air genasi) posing in front of this. Hollan attacks (Encounter 2).

Searching the room we think it was a lodging area for paladins. We try to barricade the door for an extended rest. Hollan inspects the bodies of the genasi and finds they seem to have been drained. We put them in one of the two side-rooms. Hollan checks the gem. It’s similar to the fire gem, resonant with the elemental power.

Hollan and Napoleon take the woman into the other side-room to interrogate. She is confused as to how we are here and who sent us, and how little we know. The gems are siphoning power from the temple. She suggests we ask why the temple was abandoned and tells us we would have to cleanse it at the root of the matter. “The Crimson Fountain” will need to be removed, and is well guarded. Napoleon asks if the power being drained will weaken the demonic influence to assist us. She says yes, but offers to remove them if we let her live. After some discussion a plan is suggested to leave her in the prison while we cleanse the temple, then get her to help remove the gems.

Hollan interrogates her further as to their plans. She says her master sent her and other genasi to the temple. They bathed in the waters of The Crimson Fountain. Those who survived used the bodies of those who didn’t as sacrifice to claim the power of the gems. There are others in the temple still, from the sounds of things. She also mentions that an elemental terror prevents most from descending further. She says Lashiel wanders the halls (she thought we worked for him) and has demonic allies. She agrees to being imprisoned but alive for now, in return for what she’s told us. We tie her up, block the entrance and start an extended rest after barricading the door.

An hour into our rest, a banging on the door wakes us and shouting in abyssal. We only understand the woman’s name (Relita). She says he is “earth one”, a demonspawn adept with an unpronounceable name. She offers to tell him everything is fine, and calls out in abyssal. He sounds annoyed and tries to break in. She says it didn’t work and he wants to come in. Smax kills her, and we prepare for the attack. The door bursts open and we see 3 carnage demons and the demonspawn adept (Encounter 3). We are desperate for a rest afterwards.

Théorn and Pennyworth, hearing noises, meet up with everyone else and as a group we attempt to leave the temple. As we walk towards the door, it seems much further away than we had expected. Nonetheless, we press on. Alas, when we reach the doorway, it has been replaced by a living, though rotten, black-coloured wall which prevents our egress. Reluctantly we return to the chamber we recently left.

Pennyworth starts examining the elemental crystals and the Green Fire WithinTM tells him that he too could gain the power of the crystals if he sacrifices enough elemental creatures to attune to them. This greases his pleasure-cogs.

Smax explores the chambers and finds a secret room just large enough for the group to fit in, so we decide to use it to good effect and rest up whilst Pennyworth and Théorn take guard. Whilst searching the room, an illegible message is discovered. Théorn and Max begin to decipher it. It’s written in an old form of draconic. Whilst Théorn and Max are working on the message, we hear noises from outside the door, as if people are searching for us.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???9,022 (6)
Max???9,575 (6)
Napoleon???9,870 (6)
Pennyworth???9,048 (6)
Smax???9,534 (6)
Théorn???8,234 (6)
View
Approaching The Temple of the Clear Springs
Session 15

Days 38 to 41:

We pass the time waiting for Knight Saviour Stewart to arrive. Hollan prays at a shrine to Bahamut. A shaft of light illuminates him and he feels Bahamut watches over him. When Stewart arrives he offers Gauntlets of Breaching to help us fight the demons, and we assign them to Hollan. During the conversation we discover that Knight Adjunct Levia strongly dislikes Pastor Waverley. Hollan offers some thoughts on Bahamut from his prayers, which seems to confuse Levia’s feelings of hate towards him. They give us the map to the temple, which is located to the south.

Meanwhile, Pennyworth meets with Brysias’ brother. In exchange for certain financial considerations, this latter places latent enchantments upon Pennyworth’s obsidian spork. Should demonic entities now be slain with it, these enchantments will become empowered and considerably increase the item’s puissance.

We load up our supplies and head off that day, travelling south to the village of Bridge and then turning off the road to the south-west. We stay in a village called Renit for the night.

Day 42:

Travelling further south we end up further off the tracks and into more broken ground. The area seems to have little wildlife beyond the occasional bird of prey, which Théorn finds unsettling. Following the map we ride along a river bed, following markers until we reach a cave that marks the entrance to the underground village where the temple is located.

The large cave entrance has orcish runes painted on it and is marked with a skeleton, possibly from a goliath. Théorn corrals the horses nearby but doesn’t feel they will be safe there for more than a couple of days. We prepare ourselves and head inside.

Barely 50ft inside the cave we find orc bodies with clear hammer injuries, as well as passing some traps that have already been triggered. 100ft in the cavern sides become more regular, as though constructed as an intentional place to live in. We descend some steps onto flattened ground. The steps are crumbling a bit, and seem old.

About 100 yards past the stairs the room opens up into a vast cavern about half a mile long containing a small village of stone buildings. There are piles of orc bodies laid out in rows, as well as a cairn with a mordenkrad atop it (Fallen paladin?). We hear sounds of someone enjoying a hearty meal behind one of the buildings. It sounds like very messy eating. Wary of getting too close, we make a noise when about 80 yards away. A large cave troll appears from behind the building, spies us and lopes off away from us towards the other end of the cavern. We check what he was eating, and find part of an orc corpse. Expecting the troll to return with reinforcements we set up position in the town square and wait for them to come to us, which they do in due time and we battle a couple of cave trolls and their rust monster pets (Encounter 1).

After the fight we continue to the tunnel at the other end of the cavern and head further in. We find tracks that look like they’re made by a large snake, or some other creature with no legs. Some hear noises in the distance, which Hollan identifies as a creature known as a destrachan. We move swiftly through the caverns towards the sound, passing more evidence of orc corpses (and one paladin corpse).

We come to a crude drawing on a wall showing a troll with two heads and a whip. It means nothing special to any of us. We hear another loud destrachan sound from just round the corner and go to deal with it. We find the chief of the troll tribe along with his pets, a destrachan and a grick (Encounter 2).

After defeating the troll chief and his associates we search through the rest of the caverns and find no further trolls, but the entrance to the temple. We take an extended rest for while outside the entrance, and then prepare to head inside.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???8,084 (6)
Max???8,637 (6)
Napoleon???8,932 (6)
Pennyworth???9,048 (6)
Smax???8,596 (6)
Théorn???8,234 (6)
View
The Order of the Hammer, and a threat
Session 14

Day 34 – early morning:

Théorn pats his neck and slumps to the ground. He appears to be in some sort of coma. We carry him with us. We attempt to flush out any more goblins by wandering around and calling them out, but despite some flashy displays of intimidation from Max none appear so we search the caverns to try find more sporks. Napoleon finds the site of some sort of ritual sacrifice, including a ‘sacrificial kit’ containing an ornate obsidian spork and a vial of inferno oil. We then decide to head back to Nepping as we don’t have time to travel to any other goblin tribes before the close of the contest. Back at the horses Max finds kenku tracks. Bigby clearly passed by here, though he didn’t sabotage our horses.

About an hour outside of the village, amongst rolling hills, we hear muffled sobbing coming over the next rise. It’s a human man’s voice with a similar accent to Max, who suspects it’s Viscount Verdun. Moving cautiously over the brow of the hill we spy Verdun on his hands and knees sobbing about losing sporks. The sobbing seems overplayed and makes us suspicious of ambush, so Napoleon attacks Verdun with a sling. Our suspicions are correct, and he launches an attack against us (Encounter 1). During the battle Hollan gets into a grudge match with Gunther, and swears vengeance on all his friends, family and everyone he’s ever loved. After the fight he finds a letter on Gunther’s body from his sweetheart Heidi, who wishes he’ll return soon so they can marry beneath the waterfall in their home town of Pepsburgh.

Max reveals her backstory with Sir Ulrich (NEED SOMEONE TO FILL IN THE DETAILS), whilst we interrogate the captives. They tell us that Clementine’s group has already claimed the early return prize, and that they have two members of their retinue back in town to sell on the stuff they bring back. We return to town with Viscount Verdun and Sir Ulrich in tow as hostages to ransom.

Back in Nepping children gather around us as we arrive, asking how we scored. We check in to the official hand-in tent, where the mayor is in conversation with Brysias, who appears happy to see us alive. We hand in 57 sporks and explain that we’re holding back the ornate obsidian one (Pennyworth wishes to convert it to a rod implement). Pennyworth explains that we eliminated the Bat-wing and Spider-bite tribes, while Napoleon orders a round of drinks for the gathered crowds.

With just minutes remaining before the deadline five figures are spotted riding over the horizon. The Order of the Hammer’s entry group enters town, leading Elkovar on a horse. Knight Saviour Stewart rides with the head of the chief of the Bugbear tribe on his saddle. After they check in we hear they have gathered 54 sporks, so we are the winners of Goblinfest 25. Mayor Thusia emerges from the tent and officially announces the end of the competition, and that in an hour the scores and prizes will be given.

In the tavern Napoleon approaches the group of paladins to offer then a friendly congratulation on a job well done. Unfortunately they act outraged at having their noses rubbed in their defeat, saying that they planned to use the winnings to fund an expedition to recover a temple. Elkovar joins the conversation to accuse us of ambushing him. We argue the point back and forth and the conversation gets turned to Hollan’s worship of Bahamut as testament to his character. He almost manages to sway them, but they aren’t convinced by the level of his knowledge and are alarmed further at the realisation that Hollan is wearing Knight Commander Dergan’s brooch.

Napoleon suggests that there might be rituals to verify the veracity of our words, but nobody present has enough knowledge of them to be sure. Instead Knight Adjunct Levia suggests a test of steel with a battle in the morning, to see who Bahamut favours. Hollan agrees on our behalf, as long as the fight is not to the death. If we lose they say Hollan will have to “pay for his crimes”.

The bell tolls and the crowds stream out to the presentation. Hollan and Clementine spy each other in the crowds and show their trophies (kenku feathers vs. goblin heads). The scores are announced and Clementine steps up to accept a blue suit of armour. Napoleon goes up on our group’s behalf to accept The Sword of Gales. It’s a longsword with a blue sheen and symbols of storm and lightning on it. Mayor Thusia says it was forged by the son of a storm giant, a great goliath smith, and was used to slay a follower of Orcus, Lady Adine of… and others.

We sell our various spoils of war, whilst Smax has another vision. This time it is of Stewart (40ish, greying hair and beard). There’s a woman in the shadows next to Smax, then a shift to an earlier time and a fight in a castle, with Stewart as a younger man thwarting someone’s plans.

Day 35:

We arise early and prepare for the ritual combat with the paladins. An area is cleared and the match set up (Encounter 2). After we successfully defeat the paladins they are healed up by local priests and everyone takes an extended rest, while Hollan tries to persuade some of the paladins to turn away from their oppressive humanocentric view of their mission. He has some success with one paladin. Knight Saviour Stewart asks to speak to Hollan and Napoleon. He says that Bahamut clearly favours us, though Knight Adjunct Levia is still concerned about evil magics used in our fight. Knight Saviour Stewart explains that they were searching for the Temple of the Clear Springs, a lost temple to Bahamut.

The Order of the Hammer have been searching for the temple for 6 months and located it nearby. Two weeks ago a group of their best clerics and warriors set out and found the entrance but were driven back by the inhabitants, an orc tribe (that they mostly slew) and a band of trolls. The troll chieftain cultivated rust monsters as dangerous ‘pets’ that caused the paladins much trouble. Before they were driven out, the paladins saw demonic influence on the temple entrance and are anxious that it be cleansed.

Knight Saviour Stewart asks Hollan and Napoleon to use their friends’ knowledge of infernal magics to cleanse the temple of evil and reclaim it for Bahamut’s glory. He suspects there are still trolls camped outside the entrance, and demons within. The temple is extensive and it will probably need to be cleared in one go as it is difficult to leave once entered. Since it ties in with our plans to raise our profile, we agree to help. Knight Saviour Stewart says he will spread word to Gosfair so that our mission isn’t interfered with by paladins, and that he will meet us in 6 days in Ravensburgh to give us the location and lend us a holy item that might help. The rest of the group will be paid for this task, but Knight Saviour Stewart expects Hollan to do it out of worship for Bahamut. As we leave we notice Knight Adjunct Levia glaring at Hollan with hatred.

We pick up a couple of Everburning Torches and some other supplies. Hollan negotiates with Brysias for the return of Kadira’s sword to her family. They settle on a price and Hollan hands it over. Brysias says she is leaving town on business now and will be out of the area for a couple of weeks. Brysias, who had already arranged to have the salvaged obsidian spork to be enchanted into a infernal implement, also agrees to set up a meeting between Pennyworth and her estranged brother, a warlock of some note and notoriety.

Meanwhile, Max is interrogating Viscount Verdun and deciding how to ransom him. Verdun agrees to hand over Wiedersberg, the jewel of his family’s lands. Max senses that there’s something being left out and presses for more details. It turns out it’s currently under the control of someone else, referred to as The Count. Verdun is hoping Max and her associates will help take back the lands and clear the stain from his family’s honour. Max agrees on condition that she is given a title in addition to the lands. Verdun agrees and signs an agreement, notarised by Mayor Thusia and Knight Saviour Stewart. Stewart asks us our plans for Sir Ulrich, and offers a reward if we sign him up as an indentured servant to The Order of the Hammer with the eventual expectation that he will become a paladin. Max readily agrees to this.

Day 36:

We ride to Ravensburgh. The trip is uneventful.

Day 37:

We arrive in town late in the evening and get rooms in The Temple inn. A messenger arrives shortly afterwards from Cezar, asking us to come and speak to him. Those of us who have already met him head over to The Orc’s Head to talk, while Max sneaks off in little girl form.

As we enter The Orc’s Head, Cezar slow claps us sarcastically. It seems he is unhappy with our recent activities after declining to do business with him. He had been sponsoring Elkovar’s team for Goblinfest and was in the middle of negotiating with Brysias for protection from Korax when we effectively undercut him. We weren’t aware of any of this, and Napoleon tries to keep it businesslike and impersonal, saying we chose not to accept his offer and did not intentionally take custom from him. Cezar doesn’t appear to be mollified and says we have 2 strikes against us and implies threats for if we gather a third. Napoleon offers some token compensation as a goodwill gesture and asks Cezar to suggest a price. Instead he gives us 7 days to offer whatever recompense we feel is necessary. Smax checks out the rest of the inn in case it comes to a fight. There are 4 bodyguards, as well as 20 to 30 seasoned adventurers that might be expected to weigh in on Cezar’s side.

Meanwhile Max goes looking for information and advice on dealing with rust monsters and finds a man named Marl, whose main advice is not to let them dribble on you and that they have a particular taste for enchanted metal.

After the chat with Cezar the rest of the group goes to talk to Pastor Waverley. Théorn asks him if he knows anything about the temple we’ve been asked to clear. He doesn’t appear to know anything, and turns the conversation around to angling for donations to the church. He mentions ‘the now disgraced Pastor Ferro, false prophet to Avandra’ in his rantings. When we ask him for more general advice on fighting demons he says that the way to defeat them is to turn them on themselves, though he also has vials of holy water for sale, of which Napoleon buys one.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???7,511 (6)
Max???8,064 (6)
Napoleon???8,359 (6)
Pennyworth???8,765 (6)
Smax???8,023 (6)
Théorn???7,361 (5)
View
More goblins, and another Ravenwing
Session 13

Day 33, continued:

After a while the forest thickens up and becomes hard to pass. We’re forced to tie up the horses and proceed on foot. As we pass through the trees we can see more and more spiders appearing. Théorn searches for goblin tracks but is unable to find any. Pennyworth recalls stories of forest-dwelling goblins and suggests searching for ruins that might have been taken over. Théorn locates an abandoned road and we travel along it for a while but still see no sight of goblins. Max spots skeletons suspended in the trees either side of the road by spider webs, intended to intimidate other goblin tribes to prevent them from entering. Napoleon, lower to the ground than the others, finds signs of a trail underneath some low-hanging branches. We follow this trail and the trees narrow as we go along, being blocked by more and more spider-webs.

Eventually we find a small stone hut surrounded by webs and trees. Two goblin sentries with strange red markings on their foreheads march back and forth in front of the hut. We ambush the goblin sentries (Encounter 1). Once the alarm is raised they are joined by several more goblins and a spider, then part way through the fight Hollan is ambushed by Bigby Ravenwing, Kadira’s uncle seeking retribution. We defeat Bigby and spare his life, though Hollan takes some of his feathers as a trophy. After this we head back to the horses and take a 6 hour rest to recover before continuing.

Returning to the hut, we have to force open a portcullis style door to gain entry. Inside we find a trapdoor covering a shaft descending into the darkness. Not far down there are fresh webs blocking the shaft. Hollan and Pennyworth set the webs alight while, then we close the trapdoor and go looking for hidden back entrances. Smax, thinking like an assassin, finds a tunnel about 150ft from the hut. The entrance is about 4ft high and doesn’t appear to have any traps, though Hollan senses a source shadowy magic further in somewhere. Smax sneaks in first, and 10 yards along a dart shoots out of the wall and narrowly misses him. He proceeds more cautiously and disarms another trap further down.

After 20-30 yards the tunnel curves to the left, back towards the hut. Shortly after this the walls start to be more solid, constructed rather than hewn through the ground. Smax notices more small spiders crawling around and hears noises ahead, but he can’t identify the source. There’s a fungus on the walls ahead emitting a dull blue light. The tunnel curves further to the left, then back to the right again towards the trapdoor. More spiders appear, and puddles of blue cave slime on the floor.

Smax returns to the group and leads us back in to where he got to. We try to sneak in but make too much noise. Théorn hears sounds of goblin activity along with rustling and chittering and we’re attacked (Encounter 2).

After the fight we continue exploring the passages, cutting through more webs. We feel an increased dark, shadowy presence. We come across a carving of a large spider, and a body wrapped in silk. More spiders appear in the tunnels, crushed under our feet as we walk. In the distance we hear more chittering of spiders and enter a cavern with many strands of spider webs. Chanting goblins in the cavern turn towards us as we enter, along with many spiders. Meditating at the end of the chamber is a dark goblin with black eyes and hatred in his gaze. Smax gets a flashback and realises he’s seen the goblin on the platform before. Battle begins (Encounter 3). Finishes at about 3am.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???6,296 (5)
Max???7,049 (5)
Napoleon???7,344 (5)
Pennyworth???7,750 (6)
Smax???7,008 (5)
Théorn???7,361 (5)
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Goblinfest 25!
Session 12

Day 33:

Goblinfest 25 is about to begin! First though, the mayor and her guards stop the party to discuss the fight with Korax’s followers. It seems they’re not unhappy to see them gone and turn a blind eye, though, so the group goes to see Brysias to inform her, and tell Obb on the way that we have avenged his brother. Brysias says our talon amulets are being made and should be ready by the end of Goblinfest.

We go to the opening ceremony and hear the history of the event. It’s been going for 7 years and started as a way of encouraging adventuring groups to keep the area safe for the village, like a yearly cull of dangerous animals. This year there are several groups competing: Elkovar and his gang; The Bad, The Worse and The Ugly (Clementine’s group), Sir Ulrich and Viscount Verdun, The Order of the Hammer (Paladins of Bahamut) and our party.

An orc in Clementine’s group roars for the crowd. Napoleon rides forward on Pennyworth’s shoulders and roars back. Goblinfest officially begins and we ride hard towards the Bat-wings tribe to beat Elkovar’s group, as they seem to be heading directly in that direction too.

About 4 hours in we come to terrain covering broken ground with visibility restricted to a couple of hundred metres. Théorn searches around for goblin tracks, but is unsuccessful until Pennyworth assists with detecting ley lines where Bat-wing shamans might have been working. Théorn spots a goblin sentry in the entrance to a cave (Skill Challenge) and hears sounds of arguments coming from Elkovar’s party as they search. The sentry spies us and runs back into the cave, so we follow.

There are lots of bats watching us as we walk in. They seem to have been touched by arcane magic at some point, and one suspiciously larger looking bat departs down into the caves. As we go in the cave opens up a bit with narrow ledges to the sides with low ceilings. Pennyworth hears goblin voices muttering on the ledges so teleports up to ambush them (Encounter 1).

The encounter takes half an hour, and we continue on, finding some sleeping areas and scaring some goblin kids off. Further down the corridor, past some large statues, we hear chanting. We go past the statues and enter a cave, where the Bat-wing shaman is conducting a ritual that we interrupt (Encounter 2).

This seems to be all of the Bat-wings tribe dealt with, so we leave. As we approach the exit of the cave we entered by we hear voices ahead and are ambushed by Elkovar and his gang as we exit (Encounter 3). We defeat them, sparing the lives of most of them, including Elkovar. We send them on their way and travel on towards the Spider-bite tribe.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???5,419 (4)
Max???6,172 (5)
Napoleon???6,467 (5)
Pennyworth???6,873 (5)
Smax???6,131 (5)
Théorn???6,484 (5)
View
Max, Clementine and a whole lot of goblins
Session 11

Day 24:

The party travels north, back to the shifter encampment.

Day 25:

Arriving back at the shifters’ village we are greeted with much celebration by the tribe. Théorn speaks to Chael, who is in charge, and allays his fears that people will see the tribe as weak in the future. With their home restored, the tribe can produce warriors who could hunt a dragon. Chael promises Théorn a boon, and the party is given 3½ crates of pipeweed, which is given to Pennyworth to guard. Pennyworth uses his “Hypnotic Pattern” powers to create a light and smoke show to entertain the village during the celebrations.

All is not well in the camp as December Darkspoon, using Pennyworth’s light show as a cover, decides to make off with an owlbear and no need to be nice to people. As she tries to leave Smax accosts her and asks to travel with her. She reveals to him that she isn’t the Raven Queen and that his creation was an accident (calling him Smax for the first time). She then flees, leaving Smax puzzled and lost. He then seems to fall asleep and experiences a revelation from a pair of eyes in the dark that tell him he will soon meet another who he should travel with and that he will know what to do. Smax then pulls out his own blackened, beating heart.

Day 26:

The group awakes with some heavy heads (and pistons) and discovers that Darkspoon has eloped with the owlbear cub. There is some dismay and a certain amount of head-scratching, before we decide to travel on to Winimoocha. Without Darkspoon amongst us, we may well be welcome there.

Day 27:

Arriving in Winimoocha we see Janell, the dragonborn paladin who ran us out of town previously. He looks surprised, but relaxes and waves when he realises that Darkspoon is not among us. Pennyworth then enters the inn (The Bond of Friendship) with Korax’s skull on his head and terrifies the locals. Théorn tries to sell the pipeweed to a merchant who travelled into the town from Greely (which lies to the south) with a small girl and some mercenaries who appear to be talking to Pennyworth. Théorn realises that the merchant would just sell the pipeweed back to the shifters and so decides against this course of action.

Meanwhile one of the mercenaries, named Elkovar, asks Pennyworth if he would like to join their gang as they could do with someone to hit things for them. Pennyworth declines his offer and requests that Elkovar give him the rather natty jacket that he is wearing. There is a brief altercation in which a pair of gloves are set on fire, and then Pennyworth joins Théorn at the bar sporting some stylish new threads.

Whilst at the bar Théorn is approached by the small girl (looks about 12 years old) who says she would like another glass of milk, and someone to look after her as she travels to Ravensburgh where she is due to meet her protector, Baron Herbert de Courcey. Théorn senses something is off about the girl but is unsure what, besides that she speaks with a strange accent, ja?

Day 28:

The following morning we sell the barrel of spices we’ve been carrying and head off for Ravensburgh along with the little girl, Maxima. We avoid Gosfair and The Order of the Hammer as we don’t have the energy to fight them. Théorn is feeling under the weather, as he tries to absorb the power of the dragon’s heart that he ate. On the way the party spots some kobold tracks but leaves them alone as they are looking after the young girl.

Day 29:

The party continues travelling slowly, as Théorn is not well. He tries eating some of the medicinal fungi found in Korax’s lair, which seems to help slightly.

Day 30 – morning:

Further travelling, and Théorn is seriously unwell and going green about the gills (as though shifting into something different). He eats more of the fungi to alleviate the pain. Otherwise more uneventful travelling.

Meanwhile:

Hollan returned to Ravensburgh to inform Thena of the laboratory being cleared out, but gets lonely after a few days of waiting for his compatriots to return. He heads out to The Orc’s Head to hand out with Cezar and his cronies. Whist he’s there he hears some gossip that Bigby Ravenwing, uncle to Kadira (whom Hollan slew), is out to get him. It turns out that Kadira was a princess of the royal house of a nation that no longer exists, and there are succession issues to be resolved.

He spends more time talking to Clementine, a halfling barbarian, whom he becomes firm friends with. She tells him that she is off to Goblinfest soon as the rewards are fantastic if you win. In order to do so you have to collect as many goblin sacrifical implements as possible within 24 hours. Apparently these twisted artifacts are plunged into living beings’ chests and used to scoop out their organs and are known as “sporks” in the goblin tongue. Last year’s winners were The Band of Five, who collected a record-breaking 56 sporks.

Hollan also hears whispers of a warforged wearing a dragon on its head having been seen wandering around town asking about pipeweed, and decides to head to The King Valiant inn to see if the rest of his group has returned.

Day 30 – evening:

Arriving at The King Valiant late in the evening, Hollan finds Smax, Pennyworth, Théorn and new girl Maxima sat at the bar (Napoleon eating in his room). Théorn says he is “fine” and doesn’t want to talk about why he’s turned a shade of green. Maxima asks around town for Baron de Courcey and is told that Viscount Verdun is in town and heading for Goblinfest. She then heads to bed.

Day 31:

Théorn, lying in bed without his shield, is finally able to overcome the effects of the dragon heart he ate and gains a boon. The rest of the party, besides Maxima (who appears to have gone to find her protector) head into town and sell all the various loot they have acquired recently.

Apparently Goblinfest is only 3 days away and it will take 2 days to travel there, so the party decides to head off promptly to go slaughter some greenskins. As we leave the inn a nondescript young urchin pushes a scroll into Napoleon’s hand, with the following text:

Meet me in the village of Barstow. M.

Leaving for Barstow, the party encounters a short person with a horse just outside of town. They are wearing full plate armour and a hood covering their face. It appears to be a person who speaks like Maxima, but more adult. They introduce themselves as Max and ask if we are competent fighters. Just as the party is about to prove this the group is ambushed by gnolls (Encounter 1). Smax is guided by voices to kill one of the gnolls, a Cultist Enforcer, as he has an interesting amulet. Unfortunately Théorn dispatches it instead while Max and Pennyworth deal with the others. Max and the party decide to work together as they seem a good fit, and the party continues to Barstow.

On entering the inn in Barstow we see Elkovar and Merrick sat in different corners. Merrick spots Pennyworth and indicates we should join him in the back room. Once inside he enquires what the hell has happened to the party. Pennyworth replies “Fleshlings: upgraded”, to which Merrick responds “You do remember that the team I put together was hand-picked by myself?”. He has only brought the cash for 4, not the 6 we now are.

After some discussion Merrick agrees to the new party composition and to 100gp a head for future payments. However there are further stipulations in this contract. For the next payment we must do the following:

  • Kill a “proper” dragon
  • Discover a hidden site/treasure that will inspire those who hear of our legend
  • One of us must wield an artefact of legend, with a mythology of its own, to which people cannot fail to be impressed.

The party agrees to this arrangement, and wonders if The Spear of the Endless Winter that got Brysias into trouble is one of these legendary artefacts. Also, we hear that Brysias is going to be at Goblinfest this year.

Day 32:

The group travels to Nepping village, which is small and contained within a palisade. The inn is quite tall and completely packed. The village is filled with stalls selling weapons, unappetising potions and the like. The party heads off to register for the contest with the mayor, Thusia, and pay the fee (100gp +50gp per member). There are two main prizes. The first, for the most sporks retrieved, is The Sword of Gales. The second prize, for the first party to return with 20 sporks, is a suit of armour tailor made by Garn Gunderson the renowned dwarven smith and Merlua, a mage. We also discover that Brysias is one of the sponsors of the event and is holed up in the top floor of the inn.

We go to meet Brysias. When we get to the inn we see Obb stood alone at the stairs. When asked how he is he sobs and says that Pob is dead. We commiserate with Obb and go to speak to Brysias. Pennyworth gives her the skull of Korax, to be placed on Pob’s grave. Théorn gets a new spear, marked with strange sigils. Smax tries to persuade Brysias to get us two Talon Claw amulets, using Korax’s claws as materials. She agrees, but on condition that we get rid of the last of Korax’s followers, a group of dragonborn still in town and the group that killed Pob. We agree to this.

Also in the pub we find Viscount Verdun, Elkovar, Knight Saviour Stewart and Clementine (with her mob: The Bad, The Worse and The Ugly). We each buy a healing potion and then try to gather information on the four tribes of goblins nearby to assist us with the coming contest (Skill Challenge 1). Before running short of leads, we ascertain the following:

  • Bat-wings tribe – most sporks per head. Located 4 hours north of town, with an entrance in a series of caves. Lead by a powerful shaman, though low population generally.
  • Spider-bite tribe – average sporks/head. Located 3 hours NNW in a dense forest and lead by an assassin who specialises in poison.
  • Wolves’ claw tribe – very numerous, but few sporks per head
  • Bugbear tribe – average sporks/head

During these investigations Smax steals a map with the Bat-wings tribe’s cave marked on it from Elkovar, and overhears dragonborn voices in a small house in town. Hollan spends some time talking to the Paladins from The Order of the Hammer. Apparently they are in the area searching for a lost temple of Bahamut that they believe to be nearby.

Upon returning to the inn Smax reports the location of the dragonborn and the group decides to ambush them before the hunt begins tomorrow. Smax sneaks up to the house to confirm their presence, but Théorn isn’t so stealthy and alerts them to our presence (Encounter 2). After a difficult battle the group returns to the inn to rest before the contest.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???4,683 (4)
Maxima???5,436 (4)
Napoleon???5,731 (5)
Pennyworth???6,137 (5)
Smax???5,395 (4)
Théorn???5,748 (5)
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Korax's caves
Session 10

Day 22:

Théorn and Pennyworth go into the camp to talk. Faard comes out to greet them. Pennyworth entertains the children with his smoking tricks while Théorn goes to discuss things with Chael, the chief‘s son. Théorn hands over the owlbear beaks and they are inspected to make sure they’re fresh rather than bought as false evidence. Satisfied, they agree to give us the location of Korax’s lair as long as we are discreet about where we got the information.

It turns out the Korax is located deep in Arden’s Forest, in a series of caverns amongst the roots below a giant redwood tree. The shifter tribe used to use the caverns as shelter during monsoon seasons but Korax arrived and kicked them out about three years ago. Since that time many braves from their tribe have tried to kill him but all have failed. The shifters warn us that there are several drakes there under his control too, and that several kobold tribes live nearby. The shifters will be shamed if we succeed where they have failed, but they are desperate. Chael asks if they can provide any assistance, and Théorn asks for some healing potion equivalents and some pipe-weed for Pennyworth. Chael disapproves of his people using the weed, and promises us every last scrap of it they have if we return triumphant. He also directs Théorn to their medicine man, where Théorn buys 10 healing potions. He then returns to the group and we head off towards Arden’s Forest. It will take us about a day to get back to near the owlbear grove.

Day 23:

Returning to the area of our previous encounter, we travel through the forest. It’s about half a day’s travel to the redwood tree and shortly after arriving the forest is too thick to travel by horse so we tie them up somewhere safe and continue on foot with Théorn leading the way. The forest is very dark, with little sunlight making its way through the canopy. The ground slopes up a little, leading up to a very large tree. Its trunk is 20 paces around and its root system reaches out 50 yards. There is a cavern entrance at the base of it, between some of the larger roots. Théorn scouts around and finds kobold tracks along with some he identifies as dragonborn or drake. Several are fresh enough to suggest that the entrance is used regularly. December senses fey influence to the tree, and Smax suggests checking for alternative entrances in case of ambush for either side.

We enter the cavern. The air smells damp and musty, of something alive but foul. Fungi and moulds cover the walls. The floor feels squishy with moisture, and we head about 100 yards down the tunnel. Smax hears noises ahead, but can’t identify their origin. It’s lots of little noises amongst a few louder ones. The corridor opens out into a larger cavern. As our torchlight reaches the edge of the cavern a drake rears up at us. We’re attacked by several drakes (Encounter 1).

There are four passages exiting this cavern. We check around the entrances to see how frequently each gets used. All four have footprints suggesting regular use but three only have kobold tracks whereas one has larger footprints. We pick the middle right passage and head down. Théorn spots a wire spun across the tunnel about 20 yards down. We avoid the trap and the passage turns slightly to the left. Another 20 yards along the tunnel splits into two, one forking off to the left and one to the right. Théorn identifies the larger footprints from earlier going between the two. We head right. A further 20 yards on Théorn finds some pressure pad activated traps. Whilst negotiating past them Théorn hears hissing noises in the distance.

We continue on until we reach a t-junction. There’s another, better hidden pressure plate here; a 2 foot diameter circle. We avoid the plate and start to head to the right, curving back towards the larger cavern. Théorn hears a voice speaking draconic saying “If they keep missing all the traps then I’ll set them off myself!”. The circle plate starts to turn and rise and Théorn tells us to scatter as the spinning trap emerges. We’re attacked by a group of kobolds (Encounter 2).

After the fight we continue along the corridor back towards the larger cavern. 20 yards along we find another trip wire. Another 20 yards later we emerge into the large cavern. We return back along the passage to the t-junction where we had the fight and take the other route. After 50 yards a passage splits off to the left. We ignore it for now and continue on another 50 yards, where we find a crossroads with 4 passages.

The passageway to our right has fewer footprints, and we go that way for now. It opens up into a chamber full of fungi of various colours and sizes. Théorn inspects them (3 edible, 3 poisonous, 1 medical) and determines that they can’t be growing naturally and are being cultivated. There are no other exits visible, so we gather up the medicinal fungus and head back the way we came.

We return to the crossroads and turn right (straight across from our earlier path). The corridor curves to the left for a bit and then sharply to the right. Some luminous mould grows on the walls, lighting our way. The floor begins to become solid wood (not floorboards) and the passage ends in a fitted wooden door. The door has no lock, but is closed. Théorn listens at the door but can hear nothing, and we can’t locate any traps, so we open the door and enter. We find a room that looks very civilised. There are tables and chairs and some sort of card game in progress but nobody present. Three more doors (left, right, forward) and a fireplace of sorts with a glowing stone warming the room. Four paintings of abstract images of flowers decorate the walls, but none of us can identify anything interesting about them.

We head right and come to an area with natural light. It is a very orderly garden with flowers and bushes, and a small wooden bridge. The ceiling is 30 feet above us, with light coming down on us, and a passage at the end of the garden. Pennyworth detects some sort of feywild influence, but this jars with the orderly garden.

We return to the room with the chairs and tables and try the door opposite our initial entrance. It opens into a small antechamber, furnished with a small bench and cushions pushed slightly away from the wall (space for tails?). A book is laid out on the bench with a page saved. It appears to be dragonborn romantic literature. Some paintings of mountain landscapes decorate the walls, and there are two further doors from this room.

We go back to the earlier room and check the final door, which opens into a passage with a wooden floor and more luminescent fungus. The passage continues about 20 yards before opening into a wider cavern with signs of food preparation (spit over glowing hot stone, benches, etc.). Two of the tables are for larger (human sized) users, with wooden boards instead of crude bowls. Théorn looks around and notes some of the items seem to have been disturbed. There are two doors exiting from this room.

For now we go back to the crossroads and try the remaining path we’ve not seen. Théorn hears kobold voices retreating along the path we took from the encounter, sounding fearful. Our passageway narrows and shrinks for a while, before opening up into a standard kobold living area. There are lots of open chests in the room, none of them containing anything of value, and space for 25 kobolds to live (no room for children). Two corridors depart from this area, at right-angles to the entrance. We turn down the corridor to the right.

The corridor continues for about 40-50 yards, getting nicer along the way, and ends in a simple wooden door with a lock. Smax unlocks the door and we find ourselves back in the food preparation room. So we return to the kobold living area and take the remaining corridor. It winds back and forth for about 100 yards, ending back up in the first large cavern. We try the final unused corridor, which returns back to the encounter area. Since we’ve now covered all corridors except for the civilised area we head back to the food preparation room. As we enter the room with the tables and the card games, the door opposite opens and a green draconic humanoid enters, shouting “There they are! They lost the place in my book! Kill them!” (Encounter 3).

We then continue to the food preparation room to try get an extended rest before searching further. We barricade the doors and set up watches. Two hours into the first watch we’re woken by banging on one of the doors. Korax breaks down the door and attacks us (Encounter 4). After the fight we explore further and find a dojo, an artisan’s studio, two sleeping quarters (one for Korax, one for dragonborn). There is also a shrine to Tiamat, four connected flower gardens, a set of pedastals with 8 sculptures of humanoids at simple work. In one final room with broken terrain and the remainder of Korax’s hoard.

With Korax dead and his body looted, we return to the corpse to claim the spoils of the victor. Théorn cuts out the dragon’s heart and eats it to gain the strength of the dragon (though this is not without its trials). Pennyworth takes the skull to wear as a helm and Smax cuts off some claws to use in creating magical items.


Korax’s Lair

Korax_s_lair.jpg


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
December???4,714 (4)
Hollan???3,961 (4)
Napoleon???5,731 (5)
Pennyworth???5,415 (4)
Smax???4,673 (4)
Théorn???5,026 (4)
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