Pride and Prejudice and Demons (1/4)

Synopsis: Our heroes are hired by Henry Gale and his companion Kragore, to free some half-orcs from an illegal slave trade. They succeed, but too late realize that Henry has nefarious intentions. Sacrificing the half-orcs, Henry transforms himself into a demon, but then is slain by our heroes. Three half-orcs are saved: Patrick Haven, Dolovar Gray, and Kragore (who had been under some type of mind control).

While carousing one evening in town, our heroes are approached by a priest of Arathis and his half-orc companion. the priest introduces himself as Henry Gale. He explains that he wishes to stop a group of slavers who have been illegally selling half-orcs. To stop them, Henry lends the group his friend, who he introduces as Kragore. Kragore has his mouth woven shut and is nearly catatonic, but does follow our heroes around.

Our heroes confront the slavers, and, after attempting to lie to them, ends up slaying all but two of them. They release the slaves, who reveal that they were kidnapped from a half-orc settlement known as New Breckshire. The leader of the settlement, Patrick Haven, introduces himself. The group of half-orcs then proceeds to beat the remaining slavers to a pulp.

The heroes, following Henry Gale’s plan, suggest that the would-be slaves retreat to an abandoned temple to Arathis on the outside of town. There Henry Gale will be waiting for them, and he will help them make the return trip to New Breckshire. Our heroes accompany the group to the abandoned temple. Henry suggests that they return to town to retrieve thier reward from Henry’s quarters at the inn.

However, Henry’s quarters are trapped! Inside there is no reward, just piles of journals, satanic writing, and a strange symbol: a circle with two flags or claws crossed against it. By reading through the journals, our heroes discover that Henry needs the half orcs for a ritual – he is attempting to summon the demon Gal’gamora “into his flesh.” Our heroes return to the
temple to find all of the half orcs dead -except for two: Patrick and one other. In the center of the temple they find a huge demon where Henry should be, and Kragore in the rafters, watching.

A fight ensues, and the demon is slain. Our heroes couragously save Patrick, Kragore, and the third half-orc, and escape the temple before it collapses.

Pride and Prejudice and Demons (2/4)

Synopsis: Our heroes accompany Patrick and Dolovar back to thier half-orc settlement, New Breckshire, and Kragore decides to tag along. There they meet Grubain, the capatain of the gaurd. A large band of slavers is on thier way, with intentions to wipe out New Breckshire for good. That night, our heroes prevent an assasination attempt on Patrick, but fail to save his wife. The following day, they successfully help protect New Breckshire from the slavers.

After the temple of Erathis collapsed, killing the Demon Gal’gamora, our heroes roused the three unconscious half-orcs. Kragore remembered nothing from his mental enslavement by Henry Gale, nor from before. Patrick Haven was groggy, but remembered the Demon attacking. The third half-orc was Dolovar Gray.

Patrick asked our heroes to accompany them back to New Breckshire, and our heroes obliged. The trip took about two weeks.

Upon entering New Breckshire, a rift in the populace was immediately apparent. Many of the half-orcs were dressed in traditional human clothes and had with human names. The others were dressed more like traditional orcs, and had war axes and orc names. Although there was a small temple to Erathis, a traditional human God, a number of small shrine to Dol Dorn scattered the settlement. Dol Dorn is the god of courage and physical prowess.

The heroes were briefly introduced to Grubain, the head of the guard, who had taken command in Patrick’s absence.

The second I saw Grubain, I wanted to kill him and take his things. I was crushed when it turned out he wasn’t behind this whole thing.

At a hastily called town meeting, it is revealed that Grubain has upped the security forces guarding New Breckshire. As a result, the slavers now see the town as a threat, and they are sending a force to attack. Patrick suggests that he go to Old Breckshire to attempt to enlist their aid. Grubain, and most of the others, believe that such a mission would only be a waste of time, and the half-orcs should devote all their time to military preparation. Our heroes suggest that both plans should be acted upon.

Our heroes spend the rest of the day wandering New Breckshire. They generally have no problem fitting in, except for the human who gets angry stares.

Our heroes spend the night in Patrick’s house. They are woken in the middle of the night by a female scream, cut short. They run to Patrick’s quarters to find his wife dead, and Patrick tussling with a Teifling assassin. The Teifling knocks Patrick unconscious and holds him as a hostage, but the gnome separates the two with illusion magic. A fight ensues, and the Teifling is overcome.

Our heroes question the Teifling. He was sent by the slavers to kill Patrick before the attack. Our heroes are suspicious of Grubain, but are unable to extract any evidence. When Patrick awakens, and finds his dead wife, his brow darkens: “If they will treat us like animals, we will treat them like prey.” He then kills the teifling.

When Grubain enters the room to ask what happened, Vestas accuses him of plotting, to which Grubain reacts with anger. Patrick stops the seemingly inevitable fight.

The next day the slavers arrive. By defending from the battlements and on the field, our heroes are able to turn the tides and rout or kill the slavers.

Pride and Prejudice and Demons (3/4)

Synopsis: On their way out of New Breckshire, our heroes meet up with a Wilding named Durmindin. They all return to Fallcrest only to be attacked by the legion of three, a small band of adventurers. After the fight, the legion admits that they were hired by the Broker, a halfling in town. They track down the Broker, and find out the source of the hit; the necromancer Morgheb. They find and kill Morgheb, who seems to have some connection to Henry Gale and his demonic obsession.

Having successfully protected New Breckshire from the slavers, our heroes decide to return to town. On the way out of town, they run into a strange wildling named Durmindin. Durmindin claims that voices told him to follow our heroes, and our heroes agree to let him tag along.

After two weeks, our heroes arrive back in town. The townsfolk are engaged in a parade, and our heroes clamber for a closer look. They see the Legion of Three winding their way through the streets, with a dead dragon in tow. Evidently the Legion had saved the town from the dragon. The Legion looks somewhat uncomfortable but, when they see our heroes, they draw their weapons. Balthazaar, the Dragonborn paladin, cries ""Halt Evildoers! You are hereby charged with the murder of a priest of Erathis. Choose your next words carefully, for they shall be your last!" Vestas replies “What?” and the legion attacks!

After a short fight, our heroes overcome the legion. The dragonborn and wizard are knocked unconscious, and Devian calls a truce. He reveals that he got this “quest” from another halfing in town called The Broker. Devian admits that perhaps the quest was not as clean as the legion usually takes and he apologizes for acting on false information.

Our heroes head down to the broker. Vestas, a good friend of The Broker, questions The Broker. The halfling reveals that he got the hit from a strange man in a cloak. The payment was made in even stranger gold coins: ancient abyssal on one side, the odd circle with claws on the other side. The Broker had the cloaked man followed, and tracked him down to a cave outside of town – which he marks on the heroes’ map.

Our heroes go to the cave, where they confront Morgheb. Morgheb indeed ordered the hit. He is a Kobold necromancer, and he had also destroyed Durmindin’s home. Morgheb has also taken the bodies of the murdered half-orcs, and now begins to raise them against our heroes. A furious battle ensues. Durmindin and Lanyk are knocked unconscious, and Vestas is almost killed.

Vestas sees his friends disappear under the swarms of walking dead. Anger. And also clarity. This necromancer must die. It is his only thought; it is all that matters.

He runs through the fire, ignoring the throngs of ghouls, and leaps up the stairs. He stands before the prostrated dark mage, badly injured, burning, looking like death, and raises his hammer. He looks his prey in the eyes and focuses his will.

The necromancer sneers, and starts to gesture. But it is too late. The hammer comes down, the last thing he ever sees. With his death, the undead throughout the room begin to fall.

Vestas grimaces, and kicks the corpse into the fire. No one hurts my gnome.

Durmindin, unfortunately, was torn to shreds, and never seen again.

When our heroes examine the room they find a gigantic stone archway, and several books on demon summoning. It is possible that Morgheb was in league with Henry Gale, but none remain for questioning.

Pride and Prejudice and Demons (4/4)

Synopsis: Our heroes are called back to New Breckshire by Patrick, who explains that the slavers have been launching guerilla raids on the settlement. They are also introduced to Keh, a wilding druid who has joined up with New Breckshire. The four of them destroy the slaver camp, only to learn that the slavers were not responsible for the attacks. When the return to New Breckshire, the settlement has been completely destroyed by a mob from Old Breckshire, the source of the guerilla attacks. Acting on a dream he had recieved in the night, Patrick leads his flock into the wilderness to the west for about a month until they reach some sort of ancient demonic border marking. Still the press on, and defeat the two stone guardians that are activated.

After the death of Morgheb, our heroes take some well deserved R&R. Jacob explains that he is needed elsewhere to track down whoever decimated the monastary, and the remaining heroes drink thier nights away for the next month.

One evening, mid-revelry, the are approached by a courier who tells them that New Breckshire has been the subject of a series of Guerilla raids. Patrick wants our heroes back. Vestas immediately heads off in a sprint, but, still being inebriated, smacks into the trips over a door on the way out. This is only a momentary hinderance though, and he takes off down the road. Lennyk and Thevra look at each other, sigh, and begin to gather together thier goods and materials. After a good nights rest, they take thier horse, war pony, and dire wolf down the road, picking up an unconcious Vestas on the way.

The trip takes two weeks.

New Breckshire looks different. There is evidence of new building outside of the main fortress, but it has been burned to the ground. The interior is more diverse. Gnome, halflings, elves – New Breckshire has become quite the strange little town. The population is now pushing 150. Patrick greets them, and invites them to a meeting.

At the meeting, our heroes are joined by Patrick Haven, Dolovar Gray, and Grubain. They also meet Keh, a living tree Wildling. Keh came across New Breckshire about a Month ago, and has since been invaluable in providing insights to surviving off the wild.

Patrick explains that they have been under attack from what they assume to be slavers. They come in the night and light fires, or kill citizens who have wandered off. Unfortunately, none have been captured for questioning, but Keh’s animal scouts have located the main slaver camp, about a week’s journey north. He wants our heroes, and Keh, to destroy what is left of the slavers.

Patrick also suspects that there is a spy in New Breckshire. Grubain immediately says that they should stop letting in so many non-half-orcs, but Patrick silences him. New Breckshire should be a safehouse from prejudice for anyone who needs it.

Our heroes head north to the slaver camp, which is situated on a cliff. Despite Thevra’s quiet and half-hearted protests, the group decides to ambush them at night. The battle is quick but violent, and although nobody was pushed off the edge (okay, except for that dead guy), one person was on fire for about 18 seconds.

They question the captain who explains that after the failed raid on New Breckshire two months ago, the slavers effectively disbanded. A few of them have been hiding out here, living off the proceeds and just relaxing. They know nothing of the recent guerilla attacks.

Our heroes bind the captain and take him back to New Breckshire. However, once they get within sight, they see that the settlement is on fire! Vestas absentmindedly stabs the captain in the face, then jogs towards the action, while Keh screams “Water! I need Water!” And races towards the nearest stream. Lanyk and Thevra again shrug their shoulders then head off towards the blaze.

The town has been completely consumed by flame, but there are few casualties. Evidently an angry mob from Old Breckshire had attacked – they had been responsible for the recent raids. Even though Grubain is furious and shouting for revenge, Patrick is strangely calm. He explains that he was woken up from a dream. In the dream, a voice spoke to him in a language he did not know, but understood anyway. The voice said to take his flock west into the wilderness. They will find peace and good lodgings past two black pillars.

So the next morning, off they go. The whole town and our heroes travel for about a month until they reach the base of a large mountain range. After about a week of following an ancient trail up, a snowstorm hits. But, just when people are screaming to turn back, the two black pillars appear.

They are some kind of border markings written in ancient abyssal, and Lanyk detects some sort of magical barrier between them. Vestas steps through the barrier and awakes two gigantic demonic stone guardians, who have their way with the party for a bit (killing Keh’s bear) before being destroyed.

It was not the first time Vestas had wished for things made of stone to come alive so he could hit them with his hammer.  It was the first time that they actually did.

Past the pillars are two chests marked “Tribute” in both ancient abyssal and ancient common. They are filled with magical items and gold coins – the same kind of gold coin that Morgheb paid the broker.

Why are they going this way? Why is Patrick so set on journeying into ancient demonic territory? Is it just coincidence that this same demonic symbol has been hounding our players? The plot thickens…

A Whole New World

Synopsis: Haven is founded on the coast. Our heroes escort a group of loggers into the forest, kill an aggressive Treant, and collect two magic seeming items. They were tasked with finding an iron mine, and met the dwarf Gideon Graymoor to help them. Gideon gave them an amulet to help them detect ore, in return for a seat on the council. Our heroes head off into the wilderness, first south and then west, and happen upon a tower. They kill the lich inside, collect the loot, and note that the tower appears to be slowly gathering Residuum.

Our heroes accompany the refugees across the mountain pass, then down into a lush plain. Here, on the edge of a forest and ocean, and with a river nearby, Patrick founds Haven. It is January 1st. There is a brief council meeting, during which a charter is formed and a contract is drawn up with our heroes. Then, squads are allocated: 1 to set up haven, 1 to log some lumber, 1 to guard the settlement, and 2 to forage as best they can.

Our heroes accompany the loggers and foragers into the forest. There are a few mysterious disappearances, and when our heroes investigate they come across a very unhappy Treant and a few of his monkey lackeys. As the Treant does not want his forest cut down, he is cut down himself, and the monkey’s are disposed of. Monkey burgers with coconut milk are had by all. The loggers find two strange magical items when cutting up the Treant, but they are unable to discern their function: A circular laurel wreath and a glowing branch.

Our heroes return to town. They inform Patrick of their exploits and ask for a new quest. Patrick reminds the heroes that their will is their own, but does say that a source of metal such as iron would be particularly helpful. How to find an iron mine? Ask a dwarf.

Our heroes locate Gideon Greymoor, a forward and perpetually annoyed dwarf who is none to pleased at the racial stereotyping. However, he trades an old family heirloom for an introduction to Patrick, and then talks his way onto the council. The family heirloom will glow if metal is in a 5 mile radius. Where to look? Gideon suggests the hills nearby.

Our heroes head off into the wilderness! They head up the hills to the east, then climb to the tip of the western tip of the mountain range to get a better look around. They can see far over the ocean and plains, but no iron. They then head south, then west, following the river in search for iron.

No iron is found, but the heroes do stumble across a tower with a curmudgeonly old lich inside. They slay the lich’s thralls, but when the reraises them again and again they turn their attention to the lich himself. Lanyk phantom bolts him off a precipice, the action points and phantom bolts him off another ledge into his own trap. The lich’s dusty old bones are catapulted at the heroes, along with the magical items he was carrying.

Upstairs, our heroes find a good deal of gold and a large machine for collecting Residuum. It seems to collect somewhere between 10 and 25 gp worth of Residuum every night. Also upstairs, our heroes find an Alchemists Laboratory.

The date is 1/14, and the population of Haven has dropped slightly down to 120. Haven is currently nothing more than a shanty town, but our heroes (particularly Lanyk) have great plans.

Of Kobolds and Cannibals

Our heroes decide to return to Haven from the tower, after looting all they can. They take a slightly more northern path on the way up, noting the forest and mountains to the north west.

The progress on Haven is going smoothly. It seems that they are mostly focused on building up a wall first, but this isn’t the fortress that New Breckshire was. It’s more of a five foot tall fence – it wouldn’t do much against motivated people but the objective it probably to keep wolves and such out.

A group of about 30 people have arrived, mostly elves but a few tieflings – these guys were coming to New Breckshire before it’s destruction, but were then magically guided by some posts that Dolovar Grey left. However, it is unlikely that Haven will get any more immigrants until the road back to civilization is complete and Haven becomes a desirable place to live. Which it is not right now. People are kinda annoyed and grumbly – the are hungry, scared, and without stability. The new immigrants feel duped.

Grubain calls our heroes over for a council meeting. The Council would like it if the group checks in once a month at the latest, but preferably once every two weeks.
If Keh suggests making some boats, the council will think that is a great idea. Fish are likely very common in this area, and wood is the one resource they have a lot of.

Patrick says that there are rumors of kobolds to the north east, and that he would be grateful if our heroes would check it out.

The council divies up the squads:
2: Hunting and Gathering (and fishing from the river)
1: Lumbering
1: Building New Breckshire
1: Planting farms
1: Building boats

Our heroes decide they want to invest in making some magical items, but Dolovar does not have any rituals to sell him. They ask around, and find an elf woman’s named Pilliana. She says that she does not sell rituals, but she can craft any magic item that can be woven. Keh suggests a battle standard, and Pilliana says of course … if you can bring me Pulgee sap to use as ink. Pulgee sap, unfortunately can only be found in swamps. Our heroes go glowering off.
She will also need an amount of gold equal to half the cost of the item, and an amount of residuum equal to one fourth of the cost.

Pilliana is an “Enchanter: Seamstress,” and she counts as an expert for the town.

Our heroes head north east, and after only two days of travel, they happen upon a small kobold fortress. It has wooden walls about ten feet high. After much deliberation, our heroes finally approach the fortress. Thevra attempts to broker some sort of deal with the kobolds (they only speak draconic) but they clearly have something against dragonborns. They attack, and our heroes deal with all 28 without too much difficulty.

These kobolds seem unusually militant and well organized – and there are no women and children.

There is, however, a young grey dragon named Drove, who speaks little, revealing only that the kobolds had captured him. He flies off after our heroes unchain him.

There is a nearby iron mine for Haven to use!

Our heroes return to Haven, report on their finding, and then proceed north hugging the coast. They move through dense forest, and eventually reach mountains, where they stumble upon a small group of apparent cannibals. There is a fight, and our heroes kill three and subdue the fourth for questioning.

I eat cannibals like these for breakfast.

It is 1/30

Into the Swamp

Our heroes kill the remaining cannibal without asking him any questions (too bad! they could have gotten plenty of information out of him!), then search his house. The house is nice, with beds, furs, and a pile of jerky and dried vegetables. It can be used as a safehouse in the future. They find a crude map on one of the pelts, which vaguely states that kobolds are to the west, goblins are to the south-west, lizardfolk are to the south in the swamp, and a skull and crossbones are to the north. Next to one of the beds, they find the demonic symbol scrawled over and over again. On a shelf, they find the skulls of a dragonborn, goblin, kobold, lizardfolk, and tielfing with the demonic symbol etched on his forehead.

Our heroes head back to Haven, where a road back to civilization has just started being built. The Havenites are relying mostly on fish for sustenance, and are mining the iron mine. Additionally, a few wooden buildings are being built.

Dolovar introduces our heroes to Jupus, a tiefling who can sell them level 4 rituals and below.
Our heroes trudge off to the south, and, after a few days, enter the swamp.

A few more days later, they stumble across a path and into a small group of lizardfolk. Disposing of what seems to be the chief and high priest, they kill the two body guards then free two captive Goblins. The Goblins explain that they are Glorb and Gheb, and that they were captured on a recon mission. For some reason, the Lizardfolk numbers have been dwindling sharply in the past few months, but they don’t know why. Our heroes let them go, and Glorb and Gheb promise to put in a good word for them at their tribe.

Our heroes choose to follow the path in the direction that the Lizardfolk were going, and after three days they come to a ruined city. Only four structures remain. Three are colossal, maybe ten stories tall and made of blue-grey stone: they are a statehouse, a cathedral, and a library, as marked by the signs in common. The last building is smaller, and it is some kind of magical forge.

In the library, all the books are dust but two – a book of history that is several thousand pages long, but that has had the first few hundred ripped out, and a book of fifth level rituals. Unfortunately, the book of rituals is too technical for anybody in the party to read – they must find someone to translate it into “wizard layman.”

In the Cathedral they find a human-sized demon with a collar around his neck that is preventing him from leaving. As our heroes approach, the demon says: “Is that you Gal’gamora? Or is it you, Sylisis, bring me another tasty treat? It’s very cold here, very cold, and I am so very, very hungry.” Our heroes venture in to fight it.

The fight is not the toughest one, despite the creatures high level. Dazing the demon for two turns has a huge swing, given that the creature’s standard, minor, and move actions were all powerful attacks. However, our heroes take it down.

In the stateroom, our heroes find three locked vaults. However, they are only able to pick one lock, and inside they find a moderate amount of gold.

It is 2/13 in game.

Tale of Two Johnsons

(Session Run By Josh)
Immediately after conquering the Skeleton Master of Whirling Blades our companions decide to return to Haven before continuing to explore the area and find the Lizardfolk, against all rhyme and reason. Luckily, they decide to stay an extended rest first, and immediately following a spirited match of the drinking game “Gnome Wizard’s Staff” Lanyk (on the verge of blacking out- he played well, but Vestas won) creates a one-round-trip portal that allows the party to teleport home (it opened straight into the closest thing Haven has to a tavern)[ed. note – they actually walked in a drunked stupor, merely imagining the portal]. Lanyk awoke with a hangover that gno-man should have to endure, and with no memory of creating the portal or the process thereof. Patrick informs the party of two missing scouts, Johnson and Johnson, who had been patrolling the countryside on the way to the Residuum Tower. Their horses, Dave and Buster, returned rider- and wagon-less, alerting Patrick to foul play. The party accepts the task of Johnson chasing, and embarks, leaving behind Lanyk, who stayed to assist in mining operations because gno-one should have to lift rocks by hand, and Thavra, who presumably stayed to introduce the village to Moral Fiber and the Code of Ethics (her left and right fists). They are joined by Demphiel, ambitious wizard of an electrofiery nature.

Upon the road less traveled (except by Johnson (and also Johnson)) the party discovers the scouts’ campsite as it is being ransacked by 3 hobgoblin peons. These immediately surrender, claiming gno gnowledge of the misfortune of it’s residents (though lyin’ bastards be lyin’), and are allowed, contrary to standard practice and tradition, to go on unharmed. The ransackers and party alike loot the camp. Nothing of value is found or lost.

Our travelers reach the Aforementioned Tower, and soothe it with quiet words and a soft touch. Upon entering, they hear sobbing (obviously not from the tower itself, it had recently been soothed), and after much ado about nothing, they stumble upon a hidden door (“they” being Vestas, and “stumble” being “ran randomly into the wall with much tenacity”). Inside, Johnson is being held captive by Moe, Larry, and the restive Curly, hired human brigand mercenaries, who are quickly shown what’s what. Johnson is saved.

Team Adventure Squad is then perplexed by the missing Johnson, as they always prefer multiple Johnsons, and stumble around in the dark like 3-legged dogs in… the dark. One hidden trapdoor later, they discover a ladder into the hidden underbasement, a floor gnone thought to look for. They stumble upon a hobgoblin ritual in progress- the warleader Geronimo of a nomadic, militant hobgoblin tribe was using a tribute of Johnson blood and the power of Lich bones to achieve great amounts of strength and insanity. He is surrounded by 10 of his closest minions, and backed by 2 additional mercs, Pen and Teller. A well-placed fireball by Demphiel shatters his ranks, and the fight ensues. Several of his minions get greedy for this mystical hobgoblin power, and are transformed by their barbaric god Bane like Geronimo. They are unnamed. Blows were had (fortunately not on Johnson), folks were knocked up, and the unblemished integrity of Johnson’s physical presence was protected. Johnson is saved.

The party loots everything, and presumably gathers the remaining coconuts from the corpses. A Map of Unseen Lands is discovered on the person of Geronimo, and a Sneak’s Cloak is found sneakin’ round the downstairs mercs. The adventurers carry their emancipated Johnsons back to Haven, where they wag them in everyone’s faces and have a round of laughs (ale).

It is 2/25. Haven is mostly completed, and the road back to civilization is about a month away from completion.

The Revenge and Genocide of the Lizard Folk

After playing with their Johnsons for a bit, our heroes return to Haven. It has been attacked! A large band of lizardfolk (40+) tracked our heroes out of the swamp and then back to Haven. Luckily Thevra and Lanyk were there to assist Grubain, Kragore, and Patrick, and together with the squad of guards they defended Haven. Unfortunately, the wall was partially destroyed, 15 guards died, and Patrick was gravely injured, ceding temporary control to Grubain. Sad.
Grubain is a bit ticked off at our heroes, and suggests that once the road back to civilization is built, they may have to hire some other adventures to keep them safe! Patrick, however, just wants them to go deal with the remaining Lizardfolk.
And they do. They head back south into the swamp, and genocide the Lizardfolk, using the huge chunks of peat in the festival bonfire to their advantage. The fight is about average difficulty. They interrogate the last remaining lizardfolk. Evidently they treated the demon in the church as their god, and they had been sacrificing their own kind to feed him (hence to large piles of lizardfolk bones). They kill him, and the Lizardfolk are exterminated! Genocide!
They then find the Pulgee berries they had been looking for for Piliana.
Our heroes head back north, stop by Haven to check in (Jupus takes the lvl 5 ritual book), then head north into “Skull and Crossbones Land.”
They cross over the mountain range to the north, and then start heading up into tundra. They eventually come up to some sort of watchtower that forms part of a magical barrier preventing passage to living creatures. Guarding the watchtower are a bunch of skeleton archers and a few reanimated bears. The bears are large and intimidating, but Lanyk shocks the skeletons into oblivion and Vestas “invites them” off of their tower to their death. Only a few are left to pester them whilst the heroes take care of the big bad bears. Vestas goes down into single digits for hit points, but nobody actually falls in combat.
Our heroes discover a purple crystal on the top of the tower. When they break it, the barrier falls between their tower and the two adjacent towers(though Lanyk can sense that it still exists connecting elsewhere – they have just broken this part of it).

It is 3/12. Haven is looking good (except for the wall), with nearly everybody housed in wooden buildings. The fishing fleet is 10 rafts strong, and the road back to civilization is only a week or two from completion.

Trailing Vestas

Most of the day passes before anyone notices Vestas is missing.

“Should we… look for him?” Keh asks.

Lanyk sighs. “I suppose. Let’s go find out where he went. And let’s take that monk over there.”

And so they were off.

The trail is not the most difficult Keh has ever followed. Vestas seems to be run-stomping. In a hurry, yet angry enough to stop and crack every twig in his path.

After heading south for a while, the party encounters Grok, an injured hill giant.

“Angry man with big hammer. Running. And stomping. Grog and Grug try to stop at bridge. For eating. But man push them off cliff. Grok laugh. Grog and Grug hit Grok.”

Keh mends the young giant’s arm, Grok obligingly alerts them to the presence of Grag, Grog, and Grug, three “stupid and mean” giants that will likely give them trouble up ahead.

After some club smashing, a few monk flips, a battle-standarding, a random leaf wall, and absolutely no pushing off of cliffs, one pile of giant corpses is created. In addition, they find the giants’ stash of goodies, including a corpse wearing a belt that appears to be a Potion Bandolier, but may turn out to be something else. They also win a loyal giant friend.

Soon after crossing the ravine and getting to high ground, the party sees something troubling on the horizon. A menacing black cloud has settled over the distant forest. They also notice a young woman standing at the edge of the treeline ahead. Desendra (the dryad, as they soon realize), is desperate for help. Something has cut her off from the trees, and it is spreading. She also mentions a rude man with a hammer heading off in that general direction.

In to the black forest they go, and man it’s not great. Pretty unpleasant stuff. But they make it through, only a little worse for the wear. They reach a clearing, with a small, currently unoccupied, cottage. Lanyk finds a journal on a table inside.

“He’s a hunter.. Lives alone due to some condition.. Cares for a garden nearby.. Meets a pretty girl one day.. Hey a ritual!”

In the garden they find Flint, the soon-to-be-murdered, completely innocent shifter who’s been enthralled by the evil succubus Kalisa. Also Kalisa and her garden of angry plant monsters. The devil vines form a tight defense around the black rose that animates them, but Thavra and Lanyk crack their way through, while Keh and Snow finish off the she-devil.

Victory is had. Experience is gained. Thavra begins to think there might be something wrong with her new belt.

But where is Vestas?

It is 3/30, lvl 8


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