While travelling we notice few villages, but towards the end of the day Théorn catches a scent on the wind that makes him nauseous. He says it smells a little like wolf, but he can identify it as barghest. He knows they tend to ambush from uphill in wolf form before shifting when they attack, so we decide to loop round and try to come at them from downwind if possible. We only have an hour of sunlight to do this, so we press on, and soon Théorn gets the scent again, this time tinged with anticipation or adrenalin. We alter our path so that the loop around is more shallow, though Théorn struggles to lead us stealthily. As the sun sets we see three wolves silhouetted at the crest of a hill, and they charge at us with the sun behind them (Encounter 1). Afterwards Théorn checks the barghest bodies to see if they have stolen items from local shifter tribes. He finds a few trinkets and takes them to pass back to their owners if he can. We make camp here and rest for the night.
Travelling during the morning we pass little besides cows in fields and humanoid figures in the distance. Around noon we find a trail cutting travelling north-east to south-west so we pick up the trail and ride south-west until we come to a village about a mile along. The village is about big enough for 250 to 300 people and is apparently called Winimoocha. As we approach the locals give Théorn odd looks, but he notices a group of 5 or 6 razorclaw shifters on the outskirts of town, sitting smoking long pipes in the sun. Théorn goes to chat to them whilst the rest of us continue to locate a tavern.
The shifter greeting Théorn is Faard of the Tattoia tribe, though he says the humans call him Brent, and his brother is called Theorn. There is some fraternal bickering between the two, and some derogatory comments about humans. They have been trading with the villagers apparently, but Theorn (theirs) isn’t happy. They are cheered up when Théorn (ours) hands over the shifter trinkets he took from the barghests and explains that we killed the ambushers. They ask where we are travelling and Théorn (ours) tells them of our plans. Faard says that Korax is a name that lives in infamy in their tribe and that we should speak to their chief. They invite Théorn (ours) to sit and eat with them this evening before heading to their tribe and chief the following day.
In the meantime the rest of us locate a tavern in town called The Bond of Friendship. It has a symbol of a clawed hand shaking a humanoid one. The people inside are a mix of humans, half-elves and halflings. Napoleon gets a room for the group to stay in and orders some food sent up. Darkspoon starts discussions with some of the locals about death, which a large dragonborn nearby takes exception to. He says he comes from far to the west but that he likes this village, and ‘suggests’ that December buy everyone drinks by way of apology for her disturbing actions. She argues and after some time he stomps off saying that he tires of her. One of the locals tells her that the dragonborn is called Janell and is the protector of the village.
Napoleon and Pennyworth, eating in their room, are disturbed by a knock at the door, where a human tells them that the rooms are all booked up for the night and that they will have to leave. Coming downstairs they find December performing a puppet show for the locals with a floating skull, just in time for Janell to return, armed and in full armour. He demands that Darkspoon leave the village, and we decide that discretion is the better part of valour and go looking to see how Théorn has got on.
As we approach the group of shifters they look worried at Pennyworth’s appearance. Théorn calms them though, and they offer to share their pipes. Pennyworth takes the pipe weed and burns it directly in his furnace, blowing smoke from his ‘ears’ as a performance. December upsets the shifters and Théorn physically carries her some distance from the group and asks her to leave them alone while he negotiates. She rides off, upset, to dance on top of a cow shed all night. The shifters say they ‘do not see’ the rest of us until we sleep under the moon, so Napoleon asks (through Théorn) for advice on the best place to rest and sleeps in the open air in a nearby field.
Napoleon and Pennyworth continue to the south at a slow pace, heading towards where we believe Korax’s lair to be and picking up December and Smax along the way. Meanwhile Théorn runs with the shifters to their camp, a day’s travel to the east. Along the way he explains to the brothers that he is a Moonspeaker for his tribe.
Théorn arrives at the shifter encampment late in the day. There appear to be 80 or 90 shifters in the tribe and he is initially introduced to the chief’s son, Chael. He asks for an audience with the chief but Chael does not seem impressed with him and gives Theorn (theirs) a peculiar look. Théorn (ours) tries negotiating by telling Chael about how we slew the barghests, but he wishes to know if we were the hunters or the hunted. Théorn claims we were the hunters, but is not believed. There is some further debate and Théorn is struggling badly to convince them, but eventually they relent as they feel the chief may find him amusing.
Théorn enters the tent. The chief is old and grey, with a tattered ear and glassy, white eyes. A woman sits holding his hand and another attends to him with a hot drink. Théorn begins a long speech about his visions, but he is asked to speed up as the chief is old and tires quickly. Rushing, Théorn becomes less coherent about what’s going on, but does manage to get out that he’s on a mission to hunt and kill Korax the green dragon. They perk up at this a little, but they’re concerned that if they help us there will be repercussions from Korax and his minions if we fail. They say they will help us, but as a mark of respect and to show our worthiness we must travel south to a grove of ??? and slay a pair of owlbears. Théorn agrees, and exits the tent. Faard asks how it went, but Théorn is downbeat and hurries off to rejoin the rest of us.
The rest of the party arrives at another village after half a day’s gentle ride. It is a small village, but has a sturdy fence around it with humanoid figures on watch on the walls. We wave as we approach and they open the gate. The village is called Sonoris and the guards tell us that there are several taverns in the village and we and our gold are welcome there. We find a nice looking tavern called The Kobold’s Head. The barkeep tells us that business is down due to kobold attacks in Arden’s Forest, and that there is little work to be had because of the economic downturn. We get a room for the night and wait for Théorn.
Théorn runs continuously and arrives around noon to inform us of his dealings with the shifter tribe. He is exhausted from the travelling and collapses asleep and doesn’t wake until the evening. When he wakes he tells us that the grove with the owlbears is a day’s ride to the east so we decide to head there immediately. We travel through the night and arrive at our destination early the following morning.
Shortly after dawn we approach the grove and spot two owlbears. We attack (Encounter 2). Théorn takes their beaks as proof, and we also find an owlbear egg and an owlbear baby, which we take long with us. We set off immediately to travel back to the shifter camp, which takes us a day’s riding and we arrive the following day.
Character status at end of session:
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