Chimera's Story Hour




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  1. #1
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    Chimera's Story Hour

    The Characters

    Samsel

    Psion: Kineticist. Unknown background. Trained at The Institute in Freeport.


    Lawrence Makur

    Psychic Warrior. Born of Tambrian (worshipers of Tambri, God(dess) of Peace and Prosperity - a Pacifist, Family oriented sect) parents in the City of Haven, moved to White Meadow after the Haven political purge of NC 4. Lawrence was always interested in fighting games, much to his parent’s embarrassment. When he manifested combat related Psionic abilities, they were utterly horrified. Lawrence ran away from home shortly thereafter and was soon recruited by The Institute, where he completed his training.


    Kethra Storadottir

    Ranger. Born in Gyretown to parents of northern Gan extraction who had been recruited by the Elorhim to fight in the Battle of the Villages. Kethra is a member of the Gyretown Ranger Company.


    Neiri “Ninefingers”

    Hobbit Rogue/Wizard. Born and raised on the continent to the west, Neiri was ultimately discovered to have “The Power” (Arcane ability) by one of the Calaseans. Instead of simply killing him outright (which is the traditional fate of slaves who manifest this ability), the Calasean gave Neiri over to what he considered an even worse fate. He gave Neiri as a pet to his spoiled brat of a daughter, Veruca. (Hobbits make great pets for Calasean children, though they don’t tend to live long…)

    Tortured and nearly killed on many occasions, Neiri learned all the secret places to hide in the Calasean household, the best of these being in the father’s workshop. Ordered not to touch him, the House Keepers (a specific breed of Keeper, or fanatic servant creatures of the Calaseans) came to ignore him.

    For a year or more, Neiri had the run of the house, as long as he could avoid Veruca and her father. He learned his skills of Wizardry in that house, from the father’s books and from keen observation of his activities. He learned his Rogue skills through trying to stay hidden and prying into places he shouldn’t be.

    When “The Event” occurred, the Calasean father was using a large mirror (Mirror of Mental Prowess) to scry on another area when the mirror surface appeared to crack and a number of scenes appeared. Worried more about the fate of his mirror, the Calasean at first ignored the scenes. Neiri watched them. Humans of several different areas of the world. Huge monsters. Rifts in space that allowed them to move from one place to another.

    The mirror blinked out. Went black. The Calasean became very concerned. Then the mirror snapped back on, but shifted from one scene to another in progression. The Calasean watched for a short while before Teleporting away.

    Neiri had his chance to escape. He watched the mirror for a few seconds until it came to a scene that appeared safe, then he plunged through to freedom.


    Healer John (NPC)

    Cleric (Brenn Shrine Sect). Born and trained in Freetown. Had spent the last year working at the Hospital at Gilda’s Shrine, 20 miles north of Freetown.
    'Fair' is a Human Ideological Concept.

    Perception, the bastard child of Subjective Reality.

 

  • #2
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    Pre-game write-up of how Lawrence, Samsel (and Neiri) arrived in Freetown.


    The Caravan Trip North

    Your character(s) left Freeport with the caravan on the 25th day of Peace (10/25). The caravan itself consisted of wagons and merchants from four different merchant companies, plus a number of independent merchants and travelers. Roughly 60 heavy wagons, 300 horses and approximately 300 people made up the caravan at the start.

    The Merchant Companies being: The Freetown Merchant Company, Wayne Merchantile (based in Gotham, yet with bases and storefronts almost everywhere in the Central and South regions), The Far Road Merchant League (a loose confederation of merchants in the South) and the Freeport Merchant Shipping Company.

    Given the length of the trip and the difficulties of the Upland Road, it is a usual practice for these groups to band together for the trip.

    Traveling along with you and the caravan were a significant number of civilians and persons of note, including Prelate Raven of the Brenn Shrine Sect and Master Jentenda. She is traveling north to seek out a couple of new students that she has detected.

    The caravan traveled the roughly 150 miles to Arundel in 12 days, stopping twice in small towns for trading purposes and rest. Two days were spent in Arundel, offloading the last of the Freetown cloth and loading the wagons to near breaking with fine Arundel wines.

    The caravan left Arundel on the 10th of Storms (11/10), headed north on the Upland Road.

    On the 19th of Storms (11/19), the caravan arrived in Kinet, spending one full day of rest, trade and preparation before heading out on the 21st for the dangerous 330 mile journey to Freetown. From here, only 50 wagons, 260 horses, a few dozen mules and approximately 240 people continued on the journey.

    As the caravan moved northward into the Southern Uplands, there were signs that you were in for a rough time. Formian scouts were sighted a number of times, though they never approached the caravan. It was remarked that they had never been seen in this region in such numbers, leading to a lot of fear and speculation about the safety of the caravan and/or the town of Kinet.

    Three days out from Kinet came the first trouble. A bridge crossing a medium sized river was heavily damanged, requiring a couple of days of hard work to make it safe for passage. During this time, a young Ranger who had been scouting ahead for the caravan failed to return.

    Another three days of travel, slowed down by a day of heavy rains and a road that was made almost impassible by the rutting of heavy wagon wheels in the mud, brought the caravan well into the western end of the Southern Uplands. Here the caravan was brought to a halt when the bridge over a small, flooded river was found to have been completely destroyed, probably by Trolls. There were washed out tracks indicating the passage of a large number of creatures eastward, but it was no longer possible to ascertain what kind of creatures or how many.

    The next day, while the caravan group attempted to build a new bridge, a lumber party was attacked by three Trolls, resulting in two men dead and two others being carried off before reinforcements could reach them. Another scout failed to return during the afternoon.

    With this, security for the caravan was tightened. No one wandered out of sight, no one scouted alone. The lumber party was heavily guarded.

    The following day saw the bridge mostly completed. At least, sufficient to get the heavy wagons across mostly unloaded. It was expected that the next morning would see the crossing, with much of the goods having to be carried across by hand. Of course, many people objected to this task, the word “Pack” being thrown around quite a bit.

    That night, a large group of Trolls raided the camp under cover of darkness. Eight people were killed, along with three horses. One wagon was heavily damaged and one person and two mules were carried off screaming into the darkness. Although most of the Trolls were killed, the event caused several merchants and a number of people to turn back toward Kinet. (5 wagons, 30 horses, 30 people)

    The next morning, the complaints magically ended and the people of the caravan worked hard to get the trade goods and wagons across the river as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    The remaining 45 wagons and roughly 195 people continued on the journey north.

    Later that day, the caravan was attacked by four or five large spiders. Eight to ten feet long each, they phased in and out as they seemingly attacked at random, moving through the caravan, biting both men and horses. When two of them were killed, the rest seemed to disappear. Unfortunately, three men and two horses were killed and many more wounded, sorely taxing even Prelate Raven‘s resources and abilities.

    For the next seven days, the caravan made good progress down the northern slope of the Southern Uplands and across the plains. There were a few minor events and two fatalities, but by this time, Master Jentenda and Prelate Raven had taken charge of the group and were quite quick to respond to trouble. Several small rivers had to be crossed, but there were no more complaints about having to pack goods across.

    The first fatality was due to some kind of vampiric plant just off the road. It was noted with some surprise that something of the like might be expected near the ruins of Sanctuary, but that was a good 50 miles away. This fueled even more rumor and speculation about the safety of the Upland Road with regards to future trips.

    The second fatality was due to another Troll attack. Three trolls attacked during the night and were quickly dispatched, though not before they managed to tear a guard limb from limb.

    Several other times, a lone Troll or Phase Spider was sighted, but either ran off or was blasted out of existence when it approached too closely to the caravan.

    Just after this second fatality, a very strange group approached the caravan from the south. (9th of Rains, or 12/9)

    Three tall, dark haired men in furs; two short, olive skinned women in silk robes; and two very short and curious creatures.

    These last two looked from a distance to be three year old Human children. When they got closer, it was seen that they were adult creatures with pointed ears and large hairy feet. One of them was wearing leather armor and carrying a short bow and a short sword.

    Using magic to bridge the language gap, as none of them spoke a word of Ithri, it was determined that the men were of a people called the Skojan and had come from a cold, mountainous region. The women were of the Han people, from a hilly tropical region. The small ones, calling themselves “Hobbits”, claimed to have come from different places. The armed one claimed to have come from his homeland, while the unarmed one claimed to be an escaped slave.

    How had they arrived in the Wild Lands, of all places?

    It seems that, approximately a month ago, an “Event” of an uncertain nature had occurred, resulting in strange rifts or portals opening in a number of places, all leading to one particular area of the Southern Uplands. The two Han women and one man had been inadvertently sucked into it. The armed Hobbit had deliberately walked into it.

    The three barbarian men, however, told a more disturbing tale. They had been part of a group of eleven men who had been tracking a band of over 200 “Gorgs” through the mountains. They describe these Gorgs as being roughly 10 feet tall humanoids with a nasty disposition. When the rift/portal opened, the Gorgs quickly crossed over to the “new lands”, so their group followed.

    On this side of the rift, the Gorgs spotted the group and attacked. Three of the men fell while the rest escaped.

    Spending a couple of days scouting around, the Gorgs, led by perhaps a half-dozen “Gorg Maga”, green skinned Gorgs with magical powers, split into five groups. One group of 20-25, each led by a Gorg Maga, went in each direction, Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast. The remaining Gorg stayed where they were for a few days before heading up a small river. The barbarians followed them as they found the Upland Road and destroyed a small bridge before heading further east.

    The barbarians remained in the area of the destroyed bridge, waiting to see if any traffic came up or down the road. The three Han and two Hobbits came along and joined the group, as did a strange dark skinned man in a loincloth, carrying a stone headed spear.

    During this time, they had their first encounter with Trolls, which the barbarians had never seen before. Five of their number and the Han man were killed or carried off while the rest fled for their lives. The strange man with the spear ran off in another direction and was never seen again.

    It was a number of days later before they returned to the road to find the bridge rebuilt and signs of a large caravan having passed by. They decided to follow and catch up as quickly as possible.


    The three skojan are Kornov (a foul tempered warrior), Markov (A Skald, or Bard) and Ebo (A Tracker, or Ranger).

    The two Han are Madame Lau and her “servant” Lin Wu. They are “Wu Jen”, which appears to be another kind of Wizard. Madame Lau is very haughty and domineering. She doesn’t appear to see anyone else as an equal.

    The Hobbits are Perrin Took (the armed one) and Neiri (Brad‘s PC).


    Continuing North, the caravan entered the Vasta region. No Trolls, Spiders anything else of danger was sighted for the next 6 days, allowing the caravan to relax a bit and morale to improve.

    However, on the 16th of Rains, all that changed. The first Ankheg popped up out of the ground just a few feet from the caravan and spit acid directly into the face of a draft horse. While the beast was quickly dispatched, quite a bit of chaos was created by the horse’s agonized thrashing.

    From this point on, signs of Ankhegs grew much more common. Upturned soil and barren patches littered the landscape. For the most part, the Ankhegs avoided the caravan, but that didn’t help morale. Occasionally, wagon wheels or horses would get stuck in a patch of loose soil, slowing the caravan.

    On the 20th of Rains, the caravan reached the Vasta Road and turned toward Freetown. A day later, it reached the ford over the Vasta river. It appeared that everything was home free. Six more days to Freetown.

    For the next three days, the caravan maintained strong discipline and a fairly rapid pace. No one was allowed to wander away, everyone kept weapons on alert. The occasional Ankheg surfaced near the party and one young woman and a couple of mules were killed. There were signs that another group had been in the region, hunting Ankhegs, as single Ankheg bodies, obviously dissected, were found in several locations along the road.

    Then on the 25th of Rains, all hell broke loose. The ground under one of the lead wagons, filled with Arundel Wine barrels, gave way and the entire wagon; horses, men and all, fell into a deep hole. Running to give aid, it was seen that the hole was a deep pit filled with plant material….and several score of Ankheg young. As the men and horse screamed in terror, the young swarmed over them. Two guardian Ankheg lept from side tunnels and attacked.

    Master Jentenda quickly ran over and did the only merciful thing, blasting the hole repeatedly with balls and bolts of flame. When she was finished, the last of the cooking oil was poured down the hole and set on fire. The caravan was stunned.

    But that wasn’t the end of it. While everyone was still trying to figure out what was going on, perhaps a score of Ankhegs surfaced in the immediate area and attacked. Sitxteen people and 14 horses were killed in the chaos, with another two wagons being completely destroyed.

    On the 28th of Rains, the caravan limped into Freetown, having lost three wagons (of 45), 37 people (of @210), 26 horses and a half-dozen mules.

    Your characters spend the rest of the 28th helping the caravan and at the subdued “blow off” party at the Brown Mug.

    You have the 29th and 30th to explore Freetown, rest and relax.

    We start the game on the 1st of Freedom

    General consensus is that the Upland Road will have to be abandoned. This caravan lost far too many people, besides the horses and goods. Between the Trolls, Spiders, Ankhegs and now, stories of Gorgs, the road is simply too dangerous for travel. This is a major concern for the caravan elements from the two southern merchant companies.

    ++
    Your characters were 1st level when you left Freeport.
    They’re 2nd level when they reach Freetown.

    ++
    Prelate Raven stays in Freetown for a few days to consult with the local Shrine clergy and help to celebrate the Spring Equinox. It is known that she will be headed for Gyretown next, then further north.

    Master Jentenda left Freetown on the 29th, headed for Gyretown.
    'Fair' is a Human Ideological Concept.

    Perception, the bastard child of Subjective Reality.

  • #3
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    Session 1 Story Summary

    Having made their way to the storied Brown Mug tavern outside of Freetown, our intrepid adventurers find the place to be a bit of a letdown. A one-room, one-story brick structure, set 4’ off the ground on wooden piles, some 200 yards from the Freetown Ford and roughly ½ mile from town.

    Lawrence, Samsel and Neiri have arrived via the Upland Road Caravan (see pre-campaign story), while Kethra has only had to make a 100 mile rather safe journey down the Gyretown road.

    Having spent a day or two bumming around Freetown, mid-day on the first of Planting (the Spring Equinox) sees our adventurers seated at the Brown Mug, awaiting their contact and assignment of their first mission.

    At one table sits Kornov, Markov and Ebo (the Skojan barbarians) along with Lin Wu (the young Han woman) and Perrin the Hobbit. At another sits two members of the Freetown Falconeers (the army of Freetown) and a man who is clearly a Ranger. At a third sits five commoners, most likely local farmers. At the fourth table sits one of the southern merchants from the caravan, along with three drovers (animal handlers). At the fifth table sit two young men, both equipped much like yourselves, one a warrior, the other a Cleric of the Brenn Shrine sect. At the sixth, all by herself, sits Kethra, not knowing any of the others present.

    Lawrence, Samsel and Neiri decide to join the Skojan group, knowing them from the caravan trip north. They spend a short while discussing where they’re headed and what is going on in the world before Markov reveals that they have been hired by Madame Lau (the Han Wu Jen) to escort her to the city of Gotham. In a rather loud aside, Kornov crudely tells Lawrence that Madame Lau has promised to ‘give’ him Lin Wu as part of his payment. The tavern grows quiet.

    When Lin Wu quietly declares that she will not be Kornov’s Zek (the Calasean word for ‘Slave’), Lawrence questions the arrangement. Kornov crudely silences Lin Wu and tries to blow off any objections.

    At this, the nearby warrior, rises to confront Kornov, who pushes him backwards and laughs in his face. Stepping forward again, the man raises questions about the arrangement that clearly anger Kornov. With others rising to their feet and Lawrence joining the objections, Kornov grows very angry. Standing and drawing his Great Axe in one smooth motion, he shouts in rage in the young warrior’s face, causing the latter to quail in fear (Intimidating Rage). Kornov takes a hard swing, biting through the young man’s armor and seriously wounding him.

    At this, the tavern turns to chaos. Neiri, Perrin and Lin Wu dive beneath the table. Ebo puts his hand on his sword and looks around in confusion, but is stopped from joining the fight by Markov. The Ranger picks up his bow and plants an arrow in Kornov. Lawrence too grabs his weapon and joins the melee.

    The Ranger Kethra start running in front of Markov and Ebo to come around behind Kornov when Neiri pops his head from under the table and casts a spell. A wild spray of light and color hits both Kornov and the young warrior, who is knocked unconscious, falling to the floor at Kornov’s feet. Kornov, on the other hand, is completely unaffected. Less than a second later, the Cleric companion of the young warrior yells “Sleep!”. Kornov goes blank and crashes to the floor. All those closest to him immediately dog-pile on top of him as the Cleric moves forward to haul back and aid his injured and unconscious friend.

    Kornov comes about, clearly having lost his strange rage and seemingly fatigued. The Falconeers, along with Lawrence and Kethra, subdue and bind him while one of the tavern employees runs to town for help.
    Lin Wu, however, is not satisfied. Pulling a scarf from her wardrobe, she mutters a few words and throws it at Kornov, accidentally hitting one of the Falconeers in the back. Ebo and Markov quickly move to block her from casting any more spells.

    While waiting for assistance, the Ranger questions each of you and decides that everyone he is waiting for is present. He introduces himself as Edgar Thrawn, your contact. Lawrence, Samsel, Kethra and the young cleric, named Healer John, are asked to step aside and join him.

    Neiri joins the group, raising Edgar’s eyebrow. “Who are you?” he asks. Neiri explains as best he can and is supported by Lawrence, who claims Neiri as his friend. Edgar isn’t certain about it, as Neiri may not be able to handle the mission and most certainly isn’t bound to the same service as the others, but Neiri assures him that he “knows tricks” and is willing to take up the mission. Knowing that Neiri cast the spell that knocked out the young warrior, Edgar accedes to his joining the group.

    You sit and have a beer with him until more of the Falconeers arrive, then you accompany him and them into town.

    As the Falconeers, Kornov and Lin Wu head off toward the government buildings, you accompany Edgar to the residential side of town. Along the way, you are allowed to keep your weapons rather than surrender or peace bond them. Edgar seems to be known by all and to carry a lot of weight in Freetown.

    Arriving at an otherwise non-descript house, you are met by a young woman named Ethel, who brings out mugs of Elorhim ale and plates of biscuits for your consumption.

    Edgar then reveals that he is an agent for an organization called the Jade Dragon (as you note the small jade dragon figuring on a table along one wall). They have been recruiting the best and brightest students of all of the great masters of the Wild Lands, to create new adventuring groups and ultimately, to build a new core of strong adventurers to defend the Wild Lands.

    Your Master have all agreed to send you in lieu of further service on your part. In return for four months of service to the Jade Dragon, all of your training debts will be forgiven.

    The Freetown area was chosen due to a great increase in the Kobold population around River March and downriver to Athens, a route that Freetown is trying to develop. Solid effort is needed to curtail the Kobold numbers before a population explosion overwhelms the countryside.

    You are one of several groups assembled by the Jade Dragon for this reason. Edgar is your contact and you will report to him for the next four months.

    As far as what to tell others, it would be best if the Jade Dragon was not mentioned. It’s supposed to be a -secret- organization. The official cover is that the Government of Freetown requested help from your masters

    Edgar is not only an agent of the Jade Dragon, he is also a member of the Freetown Ranger Company and an agent of the Freetown Government. If you have need of any help while operating in the Freetown area, you are to say that you are working for him directly.

    What is expected of you?

    A large Freetown Merchant Company caravan and three riverboats are coming up from the big Faire in Athens, a distance of roughly 135 miles. The caravan is expected in River March by the 16th, the boats are a little harder to estimate.

    You must leave Freetown by noon on the 3rd, be in River March (roughly 40 miles downriver) by sunset on the 7th.

    You must then depart Rivermarch by noon on the 8th. You must head west on the road towards Athens for at least 30-40 miles, killing every Kobold you see and trying to root out warrens and destroy their eggs. You are needed in the area until at least the first of Weaving. Report to officers of the Falconeers as you meet them, especially those with the caravan.

    That is the minimum expected. If you can get an faster start it would be preferable, as you are the last group to arrive.

    Finally, Edgar has a number of ‘gifts’ for the group to help get you started and to help you survive. To each Kethra and Lawrence, he gives a Potion of True Strike (“for when you absolutely have to hit your target”) and a Potion of Darkvision (“So that you can fight in the dark”). To Healer John he gives a Potion of Lesser Restoration (“to heal wounds that will not heal”) and a Potion of Remove Blindness/Deafness (“To heal wounds of the eyes and ears”).

    To Samsel, he gives something different. A fragile potion bottle, different from the others, wrapped in thin leather straps with long cords and a small lead ball beneath one end. Clearly meant to enable it to be thrown as a grenade. It is a Potion of Entangle (CL 5) (“To hold off your opponents”). To Neiri is given a similar bottle, but filled with a strangely violent looking red liquid. Edgar handles this one with great care and advises Neiri to do the same. It is a Potion of Fireball (CL 5) (“Watch out for this one, it’s a bomb”).

    In addition, you are given two letters. The first is a letter to Captain Trevason, the Military Governor of River March. Introducing the party and requesting the standard access to supplies. (Essentially, unlimited missiles and rations) The second is a general letter listing the party members as a ‘temporary’ Registered Adventurer Party for the four month period of service.

    Noting payment: Edgar notes that you might be wondering about pay. There is none. You are paying off your masters with service. You’ve also been given potions and access to supplies.

    However, beyond these, note that six of the potions are in Glassteel vials. These can be sold for 500 dollars each once the potion has been used. This amounts to 3,000 dollars, or 600 dollars each, or 150 dollars per month of service. Although if you are intent on being Adventurers, then you may wish to keep them for new potions that you buy later.

    Neiri asks Edgar about “Masters”, saying that he has none, but that he’d like to be introduced to Sparkehedron, the town Wizard, and to seek his tutelage as an instructor. Edgar agrees to introduce him. The meeting ends as Edgar and Neiri head over to Sparkehedron’s complex and the rest of you head over to the Public House (the state-run Inn) to have fun for the rest of the night.

    Sparkehedron makes himself available for Edgar and Neiri, but it is clear that this is not the usual arrangement. Sparkehedron has a number of regular students who are tended by another instructor, who is himself working off debts to the senior Wizard. Sparkehedron seems intrigued by the “unusual” student, having never seen a Hobbit before, let alone a Hobbit Wizard. Although he makes it known that he usually trains only those who are also interested in the whole Engineering and Architecture thing, but he agrees to take on Neiri, if only for the novelty. Neiri thanks him and departs, disappointed and certain that he must seek out other Wizards for his training.

    Back at the Public House, Markov and Ebo shortly arrive, saying that they’ve been sent from the Brown Mug for their own safety, as Kornov is being held there under ‘house arrest’ until the next morning, when he and Madame Lau will be leaving town. Kornov is being permanently exiled from Freetown and all it’s territories, under sentence of death should he return. While Madame Lau has not been charged, the town has made it known that they’d be very happy if she were also to leave. Lin Wu has been taken elsewhere, and Markov is not aware of her situation.

    For his part, Markov is happy. He’s planning to spend several days with the Bards here at the Public House before heading up to Gyretown to see the great Dragon’s Breath Inn and take up training with the legendary Bardic Master Elvis. As for Ebo, who still seems to speak very little, and certainly not in Ithri, Markov says that he’s going along to Gyretown as well, having nothing else to do.

    The next morning, our intrepid adventurers gather their gear and depart through the North gate. Passing orchards and the Freetown Cemetery, they head west along the road to Rivermarch.

    Heavily farmed at first, interspersed with planted woodlands. One area with rows of tree seedlings being tended, some loaded onto wagon by crew of teens. Wagon rest every 3 miles. Low wall surrounding. Fire pits, piles of cut firewood. A crew is maintaining the second such place, adding firewood to piles.

    Heavily farmed for first six miles. Less heavily farmed but still quite a few for the next 6 miles. One crew out at the 8 mile mark, planting seedlings. No farms after the fourth rest.

    The fifth rest is the day’s stop. 15 miles. Two nearby farms with rude houses near the rest stop. Someone is building a larger house right next to the stop. Light wagon load of lumber parked next to it. Man and wife cooking meal around a fire pit. Manley and Marvel Wheeler. Three small kids. Just leased this farm land (99 year lease), building an Inn for travelers. Expect this to be a small town soon enough, as it is at the ‘one day’s travel’ from Freetown stop and they expect more use of the road as trade with Athens picks up.

    The next day, 16 miles of open road. Some woods on either side, only a couple of small farms along the way. A few travelers, a couple of wagon loads of lumber headed to Freetown.

    Third day (1/4), same as above, but come to farms about 1 mile from Rivermarch.

    Coming around a bend in the road along the river, the party sees the town. Wooden palisade inside an earthen ramp covered with sharpened stakes and spears, with a shallow ditch outside that. a couple of wooden watch towers. On the North side is the gate house, which is stone.

    Dirt and gravel streets, buildings are some stone but mostly timber. Stables on the right with a main building just after it. You can see the center of town from here, where a large trebuchet sits on an immense rotating wood platform.

    The party makes it’s way to the Falconeer’s HQ and meets a young and harried company clerk named Joey, who summons Sergeant Arrowflight to deal with them. A short while later, the tall and gregarious red-headed Sergeant comes in to enthusiastically greet the party. “Ah, our latest arrivals!”. After reading your letters, he leads you to another building, a small storehouse full of arrows, bolts, rope, questionable iron rations, small sacks, torches and the like. He explains that you have free access to these stores while serving against the Kobolds.

    By road, it is roughly 135 miles from Rivermarch to Athens, requiring 9-14 days by caravan or 7-9 days on foot. The most heavily populated Kobold area runs from about 35 miles west of Rivermarch to about 50 miles east of Athens, a stretch of some 50 miles.


    Staying that night at the Public House, you depart early the next morning. The terrain is a mix of woods and clear fields, with logging crews in evidence for the first ten miles out. You camp the first night, then once again get an early start the next morning.

    The second day out, roughly mid-afternoon, or about 25 miles from Rivermarch, you encounter your first group of Kobolds. To some degree, it surprises you, as you hadn’t expected to see them this close to Rivermarch. You also hadn’t expected to encounter them running across the road toward the river in broad daylight!

    Moving to close the gap, at first they don’t seem to notice you, until one of Kethra’s arrows skitters off one’s armor. At this, they stop, turn and prepare to meet you.

    Growing to large size, Lawrence seems to lead the charge, with Samsel and Kethra close behind. Being the largest and perhaps, the scariest enemy, Lawrence draws a hail of sling missiles that badly injure him. Healer John quickly moves up behind him and begins healing him as he, Kethra and Samsel engage the Kobolds, many of which at first seem to be more worried about reaching the river, before turning to help their rapidly falling friends.

    The battle is short and fierce, as eight Kobolds fall to your weapons before the other six vanish into the woods, beating a hasty retreat toward the river.

    (End of Session 1)

    The question is, do you go after them?
    'Fair' is a Human Ideological Concept.

    Perception, the bastard child of Subjective Reality.

  • #4
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    Session 2 Story Summary

    Cleaning up quickly from their short battle with the Kobolds, the group decides to follow the fleeing survivors in order to make sure that they don’t get away.

    While Kethra is unable to find any tracks, it’s pretty obvious that the Kobolds were headed toward the Trevast (river), about 100 yards away. The group heads that direction and catches the Kobolds just as they are beginning to swim across. A Turkey Shoot as the group picks off the struggling Kobolds. (GM Note: Not played out, just ruled as done.)

    Back on the road, the group piles the Kobold corpses off to one side (as they’d seen done on their way here), leaving them for the Buzzards and Crows.

    A couple of hours later, our group encounters another Adventuring party camped along side the road. Behind a makeshift, waist high log barricade, the other group is surly and uncommunicative. Eying our group with suspicion and discontent, they do little more than recommend that our heroes move on.

    An hour or so after this, two men come running down the road, around a bend, at top speed. Several Kobolds quick on their heels. Before our heroes can react, a horde of Kobolds burst out of the brush and take one of the men down.

    Moving up and preparing for battle, the group can see a lone woman warrior farther down the road, surrounded by Kobolds. Two dead comrades lie at her feet. Unfortunately for her, help doesn’t come fast enough and she too goes down. The Kobolds take the time to stab her (and the fallen man closer to our group) repeatedly with their spears, in order to ensure that they are dead.

    The lone survivor, wild eyed with fear, runs straight at the group. As he does so, Neiri moves up and attempts to speak with him. The man’s eyes go wide as he screams with fear at the unknown being in front of him (note: Hobbits are completely unknown in this region.) and he dives headlong into the brush trying to escape.

    Charging into battle, the group finds that they are severely overmatched, with more than 40 Kobolds converging from two different directions. Not only that, but some of the Kobolds are clearly tougher than usual and do not go down so easily.

    Ignoring Samsel’s call to retreat and regroup, Kethra, Lawrence and John plunge into the thick of the Kobolds, braving the hail of sling stones to take the fight to the enemy. Nieri and Samsel provide a small amount of cover fire while preparing for a master-stroke, once the Kobolds have sufficiently bunched up.

    At that moment, the two unload with their Potion-Grenades. Nieri’s potion lands square in the middle of about a dozen Kobolds, exploding into a Fireball that kills every last one of them, as well as at least one of their leaders. Following this, Samsel tosses his Entanglement into roughly the same spot. While none of the Kobolds on the road are affected (insufficient vegetation), more than half of those in the woods on either side are held fast.

    The lone Human survivor came out of the brush and began aiding the group with his crossbow, though he seemed to be an exceptionally bad shot.

    Unfortunately for the group, a Kobold Sorcerer had completed his climb to the top of a large boulder and began casting his spells at our group. After one thin ray missed Kethra, a second struck her fully, draining away her strength. A few seconds later, a third ray just barely missed Lawrence.

    While our group continued to mop up the Kobolds and their leaders, not a single shot had been taken at the Kobold Sorcerer. In the end, he cast a spell, vanishing, while the last of the Kobold leaders made his escape. A few normal Kobolds giving their lives to provide for his exit.

    A tough battle, our group was clearly wounded, exhausted and out of spells. While they searched the corpses for anything useful and piled them off to the side of the road, the party spoke to the survivor. Jonas was a member of the Motley Crew adventuring group - the group that was just destroyed. He is a tribal healer (Adept), the son of Old-Tribers who used to live in this area. He was recruited to take part in the clearing of the Kobolds and assigned to his team, a task that he initially relished, but now regrets.

    Jonas wants to return to Rivermarch, but is afraid to travel alone. The group gives him that option, but suggests that he remain with them for his own safety. Reluctantly and with much deliberation, Jonas agrees to remain with the party until such time as he can find others headed for Rivermarch. He is somewhat disconcerted by the joking among the party members that they are going to keep him as a mascot.

    At the insistence of the party, he dons (the warrior woman) Millie’s Chain Shirt and takes up one of the shields. He clearly has no idea how to use such things and isn’t comfortable with them (no proficiencies), but doesn’t seem to have a choice if he wants to stay alive.

    After perhaps an hour of cleaning up the bodies and burying the fallen members of the Motley Crew, our group is ready to move on. They decide to attempt to follow the Kobold Sorcerer, but Kethra is unable to find any tracks. Instead, they decide to follow the sole surviving Kobold leader, hoping that he will eventually lead them to the Sorcerer.

    A couple of hours later, just before it begins to get dark, our group find a track headed off into the woods. Following this for a couple of hundred yards, they come over a small hill to find a burrow entrance before them, guarded by a number of Kobolds.

    A brief battle ensues, as our group has no desire to get too close to the entrances. Well, that and the fact that several of the Kobolds had run down them screaming alarms…

    About a dozen Kobolds on the surface move up to engage our party, with one “leading from the rear”. It quickly becomes apparent that this is the Sorcerer. The ones up front fall quickly, but not before the Sorcerer casts a Flaming Sphere spell that comes close to downing Kethra. It doesn’t avail him, however, as he falls seconds later. Hearing war cries from within the burrow entrances, the group grabs the Sorcerer’s body and makes a run for it.

    A mile or so back down the road, as the darkness sets in, our group quickly finds a place down by the river, sets up their own barricade and makes camp for the night, beaten, wounded and exhausted. They hope that the Kobolds do not come in numbers, or they will be forced to flee into the river in hopes of escape.

    Searching the Sorcerer, the group finds a fist-sized chunk of Jade, a gold Bar (Calasean money, 1 pound of Gold), two gold Strips (1/40th pound), 125 silver dollars and 10 copper pennies. They also find a scroll of two spells (A third must have been Invisibility, that the Sorcerer used to escape the first battle).

    Despite their fears, the Kobold hordes never materialize. A couple of times during the night, Kobolds are heard in the distance (or not so distant on occasion), but the dreaded attack never comes. The party is able to rest in relative peace.

    The following morning, the group uses all of Healer John’s spells, only to find them insufficient to completely heal the group. They decide to remain camped at the barricade by the river for another day, deeming it too dangerous to venture forth.

    The day passes relatively uneventfully. In fact, it seems altogether TOO quiet. Kobolds are only heard a couple of times and not a single person or Kobold is seen the entire day. Something is going on here! The same that night, as it seems too quiet compared to what they had experienced in the day or two immediately proceeding this.

    Just before dawn on the third day, as the party is stirring and preparing to cook breakfast, a dozen or so Kobolds come down the slope from the road, pelting the party with sling stones. Retreating behind the barricade, with the exception of Samsel, the party returns fire. A moment later, Samsel gets pelted with a solid hail of fire that nearly takes him down. He thinks better of things and takes refuge with the rest of the party.

    After some kind of magic ray strikes the barricade, a mist springs up surrounding the Kobolds. Half a dozen of them move to the leading edges of the mist, but are quickly dropped with bowfire. The mist dissolves shortly thereafter, revealing that the remaining Kobolds are fleeing toward the road.

    (End of Session 2)
    'Fair' is a Human Ideological Concept.

    Perception, the bastard child of Subjective Reality.

  • #5
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    GM Note

    Four and a half years after a previous group went down in flames (they wanted D&Diablo, I wanted to actually play a ROLE-PLAYING game with more substance - and I was adamantly incorrect in my attempts to get them to play my new style). The first three sessions (of which we've run 2) were planned merely to allow me time to shake off the rust, get back on the horse and get the game going. Therefore, there really isn't a lot of substance to this initial adventure beyond "kill a bunch of Kobolds until the caravan comes through".

    It is my intent to wrap up this little bit in the next session, with the characters making 3rd level sometime during the session. Then we'll return to Rivermarch (sometimes written River March) and a more meatier adventure.
    'Fair' is a Human Ideological Concept.

    Perception, the bastard child of Subjective Reality.

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    Session 3 Story Summary

    As the Kobolds retreat across the road, the party gathers themselves together and prepare to go after them. Not in too great a hurry, the party gathers their stuff and walks up to the road, fearing an ambush.

    With the Kobolds nowhere in sight, Kethra begins looking for their tracks, shortly finding them leading into the woods on the opposite side of the road. The group sets out at a deliberate pace, tracking the fleeing Kobolds.

    A couple of hundred yards later, the group comes into a small clearing where the Kobolds lie in wait. Arrayed around a wide bend in a trail, the Kobolds begin a slow, fighting retreat that makes the group extremely suspicious. Warily, Kethra, Lawrence and Healer John advance on the Kobolds as Nieri and Samsel attempt to circle around to the right.

    One particular Kobold, probably the same one as near the camp site, fires strange rays from his hands at the party. Fortunately, he seems to be a very bad shot and does no real damage. Eventually, he retreats to the center of the path and once again causes a cloud of mist to surround him.

    Advancing on the remaining Kobolds as they fall back into a hedgerow, the party spots a half-dozen or more black clothed Kobolds doing a very poor job of hiding in the trees, about 20’ off the ground.

    (GM Note: I use three d20 to roll things at the table. I rolled all 3 for spot checks for the first three party members. 20. 20. 20. Amazed, I showed it to them. Then I picked one up and rolled it for the other player. 20. Holy Crap. Four 20’s. That’s a one in 160,000 occurrence! So I figured that the Kobolds had to be extremely obvious.)

    The Kobold Ninjas sprang down on the party, hitting Lawrence and Kethra. One of them completely missed and landed with a hard thud on the forest floor. Unfortunately, their fighting skills were as sharp as their skill at hiding, and the party made short work of them.

    On the other hand, as Nieri came through the back side of the hedge to flank the Kobold ninjas, a large spider appeared and bit him. Shaking off the poison, Nieri turned his attention to battling the spider, with a little help from his friends as they completed wiping out the Kobolds.

    The strange ray firer and the few remaining Kobolds ran down the path, hoping from large rock to large rock, before disappearing into the woods. The party elected not to follow them, instead deciding to clean up and return to their riverside camp site.

    Searching the battle site, the party soon discovered a rather obvious pit trap, very poorly covered, along side the trail that the Kobolds had retreated down. Pushing in the branches and leaves, they found it to be a 10’ pit lined with sharpened stakes.

    The Kobolds and their ninjas had little of value and the party was ready to walk away when Nieri spotted something underneath the bushes next to the spider web. It was a human skeleton in rusted armor. It’s gear was hopelessly rusted and rotting, but held in it’s hand was a masterwork sword that looked as bright and sharp as the day it had been made. On it’s belt was a pouch containing four mithril ducats (200d each), 49 silver dollars and 2 pennies. Searching further, Nieri discovered a partially buried backpack containing, among other things, a potion and two vials of Alchemist fire.

    Deciding against staying put any longer, the party continued westward in hopes of meeting up with the caravan. They put another 12 miles behind them by the end of the day, meeting only a few small groups of Kobolds who made every attempt to avoid the party. The one “depressing” (Nieri’s term) encounter was a wave of 30-something newly hatched, hungry Kobold infants, who swarmed the party, then just as quickly scattered as the party proved too great a threat.

    Strangely, there were no great encounters during that day, not even another party of adventurers. The party made camp once again along the river.

    Late that night, toward the end of the second watch, Kethra and Jonas spotted a red glow in the western sky. Waking the rest of the party, they swiftly packed their gear and began hustling down the road. After the first hour, the party slowed to a walk. The smell of smoke began to fill the air. A forest fire was raging!

    After almost another hour, the party was clearly approaching the forest fire. Smoke drifted along the road and the entire sky was bright red. The cracking and roaring of the fire became louder and louder.

    They rounded a bend in the road and spotted scores of Kobolds ahead, rapidly moving back and forth. The sounds of battle could barely be heard, nearly drowned out by the fire and the noise of the Kobolds. Seemingly not to see the party, the Kobolds were busy cutting trees along side the road and hauling them across it, as if to block any passage.

    The party moved down to the river and began hustling toward the beleaguered caravan, which they could see hunkering down between the road and the river. They quickly broke through the Kobold lines and then joined the defense against the Kobold army.

    For another two hours, the battle raged. Waves of Kobolds would charge the caravan’s defensive position, only to be slaughtered. A second bunch would move up and pelt the defenders with hurled sling stones. The caravan defenders hid behind down trees and overturned wagons, attempting to preserve their horses by moving them down to the river banks.

    The forest fire had been set initially by the Kobolds, as they used flaming oil on the lead wagons. Three wagons loaded with trade goods were destroyed in this manner. Then the fire was made worse by the use of fire spells and alchemist fire on the part of the defenders. Unfortunately for the Kobolds, the prevailing winds carried the blaze deeper into the forest on the north side of the road, away from the caravan’s defensive position and toward the Kobold’s home core.

    Just after sunrise, as the nearby fires burned themselves out, the surviving Kobolds faded into the woods. The battle was over.

    Taking half a day to clean up and dig out of the wreckage, the people of the caravan were in a state of shock, exhausted and overwhelmed. Hundreds of Kobold corpses lay scattered around them and over them. A half-dozen wagons were destroyed, dozens of horses killed, and over 40 of the roughly 200 defenders lay dead.

    That afternoon, over the objections of many of the caravan, Captain Hayak ordered the Caravan to pack up and begin moving down the road. Several hours and five miles later, the caravan stopped in a more defensible position and took care to prepare itself for a potential repeat of the previous night’s battle. Thankfully, that did not happen. Only a few Kobolds were seen by the night’s watch, and most of those were quickly dispatched.

    Over the next three days, the caravan made normal time down the road, roughly 15 miles per day. Again, only a few handfuls of Kobolds were spotted and presented no threat to the caravan. Captain Hayak continued to enforce the strongest discipline she could and every night, made the entire force work together to place the caravan in a strong defensive position. No slackers were tolerated. Those few who tried were assigned the worst possible duties, so as to make an example of them. The Rough Hands are picked up from the same spot in which they had been camped when the party passed them, with the same surly attitude.

    As part of the camaraderie of the road, the party found themselves given a couple of names. All the other parties had been named by their own accord, but this group is the only one that had not named itself. Given that they were the last party to be sent out and that they arrived late for the battle, the group is now variously called “The Latecomers” or “The Last Ones”.

    Early on the 15th, as the caravan nears Rivermarch, Captain Hayak sends her Falcon ahead with a message, alerting the town to their approach.

    Late afternoon, the caravan finally arrives in Rivermarch. For the most part, it is a total collapse, as people seek food and a place to crash. The wagons are parked in the town commons and the horses led to pasture, but almost nothing else is done. Captain Hayak and Captain Trevason announce that food, drink and shelter (mostly just a blanket and a dry spot to sleep in) are free for the time being. Nothing will be decided for the next couple of days at the very least, so relax, clean yourself up and wait for orders. The caravan will not leave Rivermarch until the 18th.

    You find that Edgar Thrawn is in Rivermarch. One by one, he approaches the various Adventurer groups and makes the following offers;
    1. Join the Falconeers. Those who join are promised that they will be kept in Rivermarch, not sent on missions, for at least the next two months while they are trained and equipped. They will also have all of their debts repaid.
    (This is essentially character retirement. If you are unhappy with how your character is working out, you may create a new one at the same experience level. Your old PC becomes an NPC member of the Falconeers.)
    2. Continue with the anti-Kobold mission.

    To your group, however, Edgar has another offer. He would like you to go north, to the Bordermark river, to see if the Kobolds are making any moves in that direction. All of that land is claimed by the Republic of Freetown, although neither the Falconeers or the Freetown Rangers have been up in that area in close to a year due to concentrating on the Kobold problem.

    It is roughly 95 miles to the river, as the falcon flies, but at least half again, or more, by footpath. There are a number of isolated groups and Old Tribes up in the hills, but should be no major threats as long as the Kobolds have not moved in force.

    If you find that the Kobolds have moved in, return immediately. If you find that they are crossing the Bordermark, make no move to stop them. In fact, encourage it if you can. Then they are the Elorhim’s problem!

    Nieri pulls Edgar aside asks for more pay. Edgar simply stares at Nieri for the longest time, doing a slow burn. Several looks pass over his face, mostly surprise and anger. His mouth opens and closes a few times, but no words come out. Just as his face reaches beet red, he wheels and walks away, muttering under his breath.


    There is talk of Wizard conclave at Sergeant Arrowflight’s quarters in the morning. Non-Wizard potion makers and Scroll scribers also welcome. Clerics will be having their own meetings.

    Late that night, there is a final, acrimonious fight among the members of the Rough Hands, and the group breaks up.

    (End of Session 3)
    'Fair' is a Human Ideological Concept.

    Perception, the bastard child of Subjective Reality.

  • #7
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    (Session 4)

    On the morning of the 16th, Nieri and Healer John attend the ‘Wizard Conclave’, held in Sergeant Arrowflight’s quarters. Healer John attends only because of the availability of scroll ink (1). They find ten other low-level Wizards in attendance. Five from the Red Arcana adventuring group, Mark Redwine from the Children of the Treva, Mory Stargazer from the now defunct Rough Hands, Elgon Trancer from Squire William’s group, and Arton and Sgt Arrowflight from the Freetown Falconeers. This makes an even dozen, eleven of them Wizards.

    Sgt Arrowflight announces that as he has only 4.25 ounces of scroll ink on hand and 3000d in potion ingredients (2), that the best option for all of the assembled Wizards would be the mutual teaching of spells over the next several days. Wizard A teaches a spell to Wizard B, who then returns the favor. In some cases, round robin teaching can help smooth out the exchange. (ie, Wizard A teaches a spell to Wizard B, who teaches a spell to Wizard C, who finishes the loop by teaching a spell to Wizard A.)

    Sgt Arrowflight then asks to speak to Nieri privately. Taking a step outside, he leans over and whispers to Nieri, passing a small vial as he does so. The vial is found to contain pearl dust, sufficient for one casting of Identify spell. He says “Edgar asked me to pass this along to you. We know that you’re not being held to the same terms of service as everyone else, so this is to help compensate you for your help. I’d also like to offer you one more thing. If you will teach me one of your first level spells, I will teach you a second level spell. Can you cast them yet? No? Well, I’m sure that you can learn one (3). I’ve got a couple of good choices for you. One to make you stronger (Bull Strength) or another to make you Invisible.”

    Nieri chooses the Invisibility spell. Unfortunately, Sgt Arrowflight tells him that he’ll have to wait two days, as he is learning a spell from Mory that Mory refuses to teach to anyone else. Therefore, he’s learning it, then will teach it to others. (That spell being Baleful Transposition.) For that day, Nieri attempts to learn the Identify spell, but fails, setting him back a day.

    During the day, three members of the defunct Rough Hands join the three surviving members of the Black Gauntlet group. The other two Rough Hands join the Falconeers.

    Faeran Truehand approaches Samsel and Lawrence. Says he’s been ordered by Captain Trevason to tell them about what happened to the Rough Hands.

    Faeran tells how the newly formed group, pushed by the greed of Mory Stargazer, the bullheadedness of Rene Willful and the ego of Tourmaline Jones, set out cross country from Rivermarch to the northwest, hoping to hit the Kobolds away from the road and find riches in their burrows. They got about two days out and had some minor success in taking down Kobold groups when things went south.

    Stepping out from behind a tree, a man held up what appeared to be a wand and demanded that they surrender. As they started to laugh, three Orcs (which Faeran had never seen before) surrounded them. A fight began, in which the Orcs fought defensively, not trying to kill them, but only to keep them busy. Meanwhile, the man kept waving his wand and yelling “Fall Down!”. Waves of sleepiness washed over the party again and again. While they were able to resist for a time, the shear repetition of the spell eventually brought them all down.

    As they awoke, they were held down by the Orcs and tied up by the man, who the Orcs called Janx. One by one, they were stripped naked and hog-tied. Afterwards, they were carried and dragged several miles to the back door of a Kobold burrow and given to the Kobolds there. Janx and his Orcs left as the Kobold guards ran down into the burrow to get others. Fortunately, in this window of opportunity, Tourmaline and Rene were able to slip their bonds and free the others. Fleeing naked back to Rivermarch, the promised each other not to tell anyone of their embarrassment.

    Back in Rivermarch, Captain Trevason scrounged up some gear and weapons for them, refusing to release them from service. The real kicker was that the group was charged 3,000d for the new equipment, galling Mory and Rene, who felt that Freetown should re-equip them for free.

    The group moved out onto the road and camped in the spot where the Last Ones (our heroes) encountered them once before. However, dissention had been firmly sown and the group spent most of it’s time arguing amongst themselves. Mory, already deep in debt, was not particularly happy that the entire group had been made liable for the new debt, when he himself needed only new clothing and a pack, while Faeran and two of the others got all the gear. This is why they were less than pleasant when your group passed them on the road.


    About noon on the 16th, there is a bit of a stir as Sparkehedron, Master Wildman (First Minister of Freetown) and General Freeman arrive (via Teleport). They head directly into the Falcon’s Nest (the local Falconeer HQ) to meet with Captains Hayak and Trevason. The rest of the Falconeers are kicked out for the duration.

    A runner carries a fresh batch of scroll ink and potion ingredients to Sgt Arrowflight’s quarters, delivered to Rivermarch by Sparkehedron. Sgt Arrowflight is to distribute these at his discretion, only for what might be used in the war effort.

    The only thing most of the others have to do is talk and gossip, and so they do. Rumors and stories about just about everyone and everything start flying wildly.

    Some of the rumors;

    Kandrick (the Warlock) gets his power from worshiping a demon, or from some evil god. That he isn’t really human, that he’s a Calasean spy.
    That Samsel and Lawrence were altered by the Elorhim to do their bidding. Have you seen that Samsel guy? Two different color eyes!
    That Nieri is a Calasean spy, or a construct, or some kind of diseased Dwarf or Human child. That he creeps some people out. “He looks like my nephew“.
    That the whole Last Ones group is weird. A Gyretown Ranger (the last company that actively works with the Elorhim, who are mistrusted by Freetowners), two Psionic types (more Elorhim taint), “that little guy who says he’s a Hobbit, whatever they are“, “and for some reason, one of our own” (Healer John).
    That Mory Stargazer is a thief and that he tried to run out on a debt to Merle. That he can’t be trusted. That you wouldn’t want to turn your back on him.
    That the Kobolds will attack Rivermarch by the thousands.

    That night, there is a large feast, at which the leaders address the assembled crowd.

    Master Wildman starts off. He says that the Falconeers have numbered only 100 strong for more than 15 years and that this was a tragic mistake. Recognizes that they’ve lost a lot of people in the last month, Falconeers, Adventurers and common folk alike.
    That Freetown has made a grave error in not building it’s strength and now faces a severe manpower shortage in defending itself. "I know a lot of you Adventurers would like to be released from your service, but we can’t do that. We need you now more than ever."
    Proclaims that, effective immediately, the Falconeers authorized strength is 150, and the council will discuss increasing this to 200 by this time next year. Any who join now will have all debt forgiven, as well as having their arms and armor upgraded as soon as possible.
    Captain Hayak is hereby promoted to General. She will command the western forces of the Republic of Freetown, based in Rivermarch. (Captain Trevason looks unhappy.)
    The Freetown Ranger Company is officially disbanded. All of the Rangers will now be a part of the Falconeers. He is sorry to disband the organization that he’s led for 24 years, but it’s time to consolidate. His #2, Maine Woodsman will take the rank of Captain in the Falconeers. (Captain Woodsman and a few other rangers do not look happy. They loudly object, then walk away when Master Wildman shushes them.)
    The Town Guards will be completely reorganized and increased to provide more protection to River march ‘and other towns’. (this causes a stir. “Other towns? Plural???”)
    The council will discuss other options for the defense of the Republic.

    Newly minted General Hayak steps up.

    Once resupplied and reorganized, she intends to lead the bulk of her forces, including most of the Adventurers present, back to the Kobold territories, to stomp out the warrens one at a time. (This doesn’t go over well) This force will remain intact, so as to overwhelm each individual warren and protect against organized resistance.

    We will leave Rivermarch on the 26th. You have nine more days to rest and prepare.

    The Red Arcana will be left in Rivermarch, along with any new Falconeers and a small number of others, to defend the town. We will be reducing the lumber work for the mean time and arming the lumberjacks to defend the town in our absence.

    Sparkehedron

    I will be heading to Gotham to petition the Duke to send forces to our aid. The Army of Gotham is much larger than anything we can muster right now and has done nothing for more than 15 years. If they will support us, we can drive the Kobolds from our lands. (this idea raises morale, but also questions.)

    After that, I will visit our friends in Gyretown to see if they will aid us.

    Then I will send several of my students here to work on the fortifications.

    General Freeman

    I will return to Freetown and immediately set to work preparing the materials that will be needed here. I will also be spending the rest of this year recruiting and training new members of the Falconeers so that we can replace our losses and reach our target strength.

    Captain Trevason begs off speaking. He looks annoyed.

    Master Wildman closes by announcing that all food, drink and lodging for the assembled Adventurers is free for the duration. That several more smiths will be sent out to Rivermarch to deal with their needs, paid for by the Republic. That additional supplies will arrive within the next few days.

    The rest of the night, rumors and loose talk fly. A few talk about leaving, but they don’t seem to have much sympathy or support among the bulk of the army.


    The next morning, Sparkehedron, Master Wildman and General Freeman depart after breakfast.

    General Hayak takes command. Captain Trevason keeps his official title as Military Governor of Rivermarch, but now reports to the General. Lots of talk about how he’ll have to do his job now instead of delegating everything to his Sergeants and staff.

    Sergeant Arrowflight and Bill Lister (Priest of the local Shrine) announce that they are planning to join the expeditionary force. This will leave the local shrine without a priest. This raises morale among the adventurers. “Well, if they’re going…”

    The caravan departs Rivermarch on the morning of the 18th. A riverboat arrives later that day with the first of the supplies. During this time, small patrols circle Rivermarch and some warrior training for the lumberjacks is held, but for the most part, you are left to your own devices. A few small brawls ensue as rumors get out of hand, but nothing too serious. Nieri continues learning and teaching spells and is able to get his hands on enough Scroll ink to write four first level spells.

    Nieri approaches Sgt Arrowflight about learning another second level spell. The sergeant declines, saying that he only agreed to do the first one to help compensate Nieri for his service. “Unless you can come up with a bit of money”, which Nieri declines. Nieri then approaches Arton, who is known to be brewing a batch (4) of Fireball potions (5). After some discussion, Nieri manages to convince Arton to give him one of the potions for the trip north.

    On the 25th, a caravan arrives from Freetown, loaded with weapons, oil and supplies for the expedition. A score or so of craftsmen arrive along with it.

    On the morning of the 26th, the Expeditionary force marches out of Rivermarch. Fifty two Falconeers, 19 Adventurers, a dozen or so support people, four heavy wagons and approximately 20 horses.

    Shortly thereafter, the Last Ones depart Rivermarch for the north. Traveling the day along the winding timber trails, the party encounters little beyond a few lone stragglers heading into Rivermarch.

    That night, during the second watch, Nieri detects movement in the darkness and hears faint barking sounds. Perhaps some Kobolds sneaking around, scouting out the party. He wakes the rest of the party and they gear up, break camp and prepare to go in search of the Kobolds, who appear to have fled once noticed.

    Following the Kobold trail until sun-up, the group catches the Kobolds bedding down in the brush. A brief fight occurs and seven of the eight Kobolds are killed, the last being deliberately saved from death’s door by Healer John. As the Kobold speaks no Ithri and no one in the group speaks Kobold, it is decided that the group will return to Rivermarch with their captive. The group hustles all day long to make it back to town, turning their captive over to Captain Trevason.

    Sleeping long into the morning to make up for the previous day’s efforts, the party then heads back north along the timber trails.

    On the third day out, as the party nears the hills, they encounter a patrol of the Birdsong Tribe, an Old Tribe located just a few miles away. They are waiting for Old George, a mule trader that travels this region and provides most of their outside goods. Informed of the Kobold forays and asked about Janx, the Tribers are concerned, and question the group about what has been going on. After a bit of discussion, the group continues on it’s way up the mule path.

    Just four miles later, the group encounters Old George, his two boys, and his mules, loaded with trade goods and supplies. The group finds that Old George has had occasional dealings with Janx in the past and that he considers Janx nothing more than a simple thief. He is surprised and confused by the idea that Janx is working with Orcs, saying that he’ll have to watch out now.

    The next morning at the edge of the hills, the path splits, heading straight north, or north-east. The group chooses to go north, which appears more commonly traveled. Four miles later, the path splits again. While the western path is obviously more heavily traveled, tracks show that Old George came down the eastern path.

    Several miles down the western path, Nieri spots a skeletal arm poking out from behind a tree approximately 50’ off the road. The party stops to investigate, finding three Dwarf skeletons stripped and pinned to the trees with their own picks. Searching the area very thoroughly, the group finds absolutely no trace of any clothing or equipment. From the decay and the rust on the picks, the skeletons have clearly been here for several months at the very least. The party buries the skeletons before moving on.

    An hour or so after this, both Nieri and Kethra spot a figure standing on the ridge line behind them, watching them. (GM Note: These guys were flaming hot on the Spot rolls this session!) They continue down the trail until they get to a good bend, where Nieri steps off into the brush and hides, waiting to see if they are indeed being followed. The rest of the group slows it’s pace.

    After a minute or two, an Orc comes stealthily running up to the bend, checking to see if it can see the party beyond. It fails to notice Nieri at first, but when Nieri tries to cast a spell, the jig is up. Having cast his Expeditious Retreat, Nieri takes off like a shot, calling out “Mommy! Mommy!” like a small child. The Orc takes a shot at him with his bow (missing) before calling for his companions.

    The group gathers and begins preparing themselves as Janx and his Orcs gather at the bend. They begin slowly approaching the party before thinking better of it and heading up the ridge. The party then heads up the ridge themselves, attempting to cut off Janx’s escape.

    As Kethra takes a few bow shots at Janx and the Orcs, the rest of the party attempt to close the distance. Kethra fires a beautiful shot (Hero Point use) that pins Janx to a tree, after his Orcs have topped the ridge and started down the other side. Precious seconds pass as Janx struggles to get free (3 rounds!) while the party closes. After freeing himself, Janx turns and uses his wand, causing Lawrence to fall asleep. Nieri quickly turns to wake the sleeping man.

    While Janx tries to make a break for it, one of the Orcs returns to the top of the ridge to cover his escape. Wielding a Great Axe, this Orc begins foaming at the mouth with rage. He takes a huge chunk out of Lawrence, who grows to Large size and engages the Orc in battle.

    Meanwhile, Nieri and Samsel run around to the sides and begin raining stones, spells and powers on the fleeing Janx and the other two Orcs. Samsel cuts loose with an electrical attack that drops one of the Orcs. Healer John arrives and casts Hold Person, which stops Janx in his tracks (rolled a 1 on the save). However, Janx quickly shrugs off the spell, consumes a potion and vanishes.

    When the axe wielding Orc turns to escape, Lawrence manages to trip it with his flail, dropping it to the ground. A follow-up attack caves in the Orc’s skull, finishing it.

    The third Orc makes it’s escape by fleeing down the ridge and onto the path, disappearing from sight.

    Guessing at where Janx might be, Nieri tosses his Alchemist Fire, which hits the injured but invisible Janx square in the chest. Screaming, Janx falls to the ground unconscious. Healer John rushes forward to capture Janx and make sure that he doesn’t escape justice by dying of his wounds.


    Having cleared the field, the party searches the bodies of the two Orcs, finding some magic armor and several potions. On Janx, they find a nice gold chain, a magic flail, two wands and another potion. Janx is bound and healed to consciousness.

    When Janx awakens, he begins pleading for his life. He promises to take the group to his secret cache of wealth if they will release him. The party refuses to do this, swearing to turn him into the government of Freetown, but promises to spare his life if he will reveal his cache. Janx reluctantly agrees, having no real choice.

    (End of Session 4)




    (1) Scroll Ink. Necessary for writing scrolls. 1,000d (d for dollars. Silver) per ounce. CSL (see below) x 0.25 ounces to write a scroll.
    (2) Potion Components are necessary for brewing potions, which also requires a Potion Cauldron. CSL x 500d to brew a potion.

    Rather than (Spell Level x Caster level), I use a CSL, or Cumulative Spell Level system. First level = 1, Second level = 3 (1+2), etc. Minimum Caster Level is assumed. Making them higher caster level costs an additional 0.5. Multiply the resulting number by whatever cost is associated with the form. Thus, scrolls are 250 dollars per CSL, Potions are 500d per CSL. Not hard to figure that I use a 20:1 dollars to ‘book’ GP conversion in most cases.

    (3) I do not use Spell Books. You simply “know” a spell. I then allow Wizards to know spells one level above what they can currently cast. I feel that this helps Wizards when they’re in the field for several levels without having the opportunity to acquire additional spells by other means.

    (4) Batch pricing for Potion brewing. Four of the same potion for the price of three (XP and Time unaffected), eight for the price of five.

    (5) Area of Effect and Personal spells can be put into potions, at a +50% premium for costs, including XP. AoE potions are grenades, requiring breakable (and thus, very fragile) potion bottles. Not a good idea to wear them on a potion belt and then be failing a Reflex save!
    'Fair' is a Human Ideological Concept.

    Perception, the bastard child of Subjective Reality.

  • #8
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    ø Ignore Chimera
    (Session 5)

    After Nieri and Kethra bind the unconscious Janx, Healer John heals Janx to consciousness.

    Janx’ initial attitude is defiance and silence. He refuses to answer questions and seems not to be very intimidated by the party. Efforts by Samsel and Nieri to question him meet with little success, though they do cause Janx to attempt to purchase his freedom through bribery, offering to lead them to his hidden cache if they will swear to release him unharmed. The party counters this by telling Janx that they will not kill him if he leads them to his cache, but that they still intend to turn him over to the Freetown authorities. Janx doesn’t like this option and falls back into silence.

    Moving forward, Nieri “nine-fingers” ‘punishes’ Janx by cutting off his little toe. As he screams in pain, Lawrence rushes forward to pull Nieri away and admonish him for this act of torture. Nieri is confused, saying that he was just punishing Janx and wonders why Lawrence is so upset. This leads to a small discussion over the issue of torture, which puzzles Nieri (who had been severely tortured on many occasions, hence the nickname “nine fingers”). In the end, Janx reluctantly agrees to lead them to his cache, in return for not being tortured and/or killed.

    The party heads back to the edge of the hills, where they camp for the night. They leave Janx tied up, but otherwise unsecured. This proves to be a mistake, as during Nieri’s watch, Janx gets to his feet and takes off at a dead run into the night, stumbling and crashing through the brush. Nieri hastily awakens the rest of the party, then sets off after Janx. After more than an hour of tracking, circling and chasing Janx, Samsel uses his talents to speed ahead of Janx and hit him with an electrical bolt, dropping him.

    After regrouping at this point, Janx is again healed, but warned that any further attempts to escape will result in his death. Janx again falls silent. From this vantage point, the party sees several large bonfires on a high hill some miles to the north. They question Janx, believing him to have been headed for that spot. He refuses to answer their questions, so they simply return to their previous camp, hog-tie Janx to a tree and sleep late into the morning.

    Late the next morning, the party heads back down the path to Rivermarch. That afternoon, they are approached by a lone traveler, a Bard out of Gotham who has been wandering the hills collecting tales from the Old Tribes. He had been spending time with the Birdsong tribe and had heard from them of this group. Having found that the hills were much more dangerous than he expected, he was hoping to catch up to them in order to travel northward with them.

    New PC

    Jack Teagan A Bard from the city of Gotham, now traveling after a dispute with a more senior member of Master Thespian’s company.


    On the afternoon of the fourth day, they arrive in Rivermarch. Very little has changed since they left. Members of the Red Arcana group are guarding the gate, along with several armed lumber jacks. The group heads directly to Captain Trevason’s office to surrender Janx, who has remained utterly silent throughout the journey.

    Captain Trevason knows of Janx, but only as a minor thief. He is surprised by the tales of Janx leading a group of Orcs in banditry against the northern tribes. While there is no established bounty on Janx’ head, Captain Trevason offers the group 2,000 dollars as a reward for their efforts. Again, Janx remains utterly silent as Captain Trevason addresses him, then has him escorted off to a cell.

    The party then asks Captain Trevason for news of the effort against the Kobolds. Captain Trevason is not upbeat. He tells the group that the Army had completely destroyed one Kobold warren and moved on a second when a single Kobold messenger arrived, bearing the head of a second Kobold and a letter, scribed on scraped rabbit hide.

    The letter purported to be from a Kobold leader calling himself “The King of the Sunrise”. He offered the Humans the head of his former rival, the “King of the River”, saying that this second king had been killed for failing to destroy the caravan along the Treva Road. This new ‘king’ then laid claim to all lands to within “one day’s walk from the Human town” (assuming Rivermarch) and warned the army to retreat from his territory or face destruction, as the king was gathering all warrens to overwhelm them.

    With this, the Falconeer force retreated some distance to a defensible bend on the Treva, approximately 40 miles from Rivermarch. They have sent notice along to the Council in Freetown and are awaiting instructions. This is all that Captain Trevason knows at this time.

    The next morning, rested and resupplied, the party heads back up the trail to the north for the third time.

    On the fourth day, as they approach the campsite at which they had held Janx, they are ambushed by a lone Orc, who steps out from behind the brush high on the ridge above them. The Orc raises a thin bone horn to his lips, the sound echoing across the narrow valley, then cut short as the horn shatters. Shaking off the blood, the Orc smiles like a predator as six columns of smoke appear around the party. The smoke congeals into large Orcs, who then attack the party.

    Nieri drops two with a sleep spell, but the other four prove more resilient, one of them taking a large chunk out of Kethra. The Orc on the hill, most probably the companion of Janx who had escaped, takes no action at first, simply content to watch the summoned Orcs battle the party. In short order however, the tide turns and the summoned Orcs are dropped. As the party attempts to move up the steep slope to engage the summoner, he places his hand over a medallion on his chest and utters several feral words. The medallion flares to incandescent for a moment. The Orc jerks back his smoking hand, then collapses behind the brush. Moments later, two large jet black dogs with flaming red eyes appear just above the party.

    Kethra is scorched as the Hell Hounds spew gouts of fire down on the party. As Lawrence moves up to engage them, he takes a nasty flaming bite. But once again, the enemy are unable to prevail and our party is swiftly victorious.

    Moving up to check on the Orc, the party finds him unconscious, but stable. Rousing him, the party attempts to get information from him or to convince him to lead them to Janx’ cache, but the Orc is adamant that death is preferable. As the party debates what to do him, Kethra’s hatred of Orc-kind comes to the fore and she puts the Orc to the sword.

    Camping at the old spot, the group heads north from there the next morning. About mid-day, the come around the bend near the high hill upon which they had seen the bonfires ten days earlier. They can see that the entire hillside is covered with dead pine trees, dry and brown. They can also see that a good portion of these trees have been cut down and that someone or something is walking around on top of the hill, through from this distance, they cannot make out who or what this is.

    As they approach the hill, they surprise a man walking down a path leading from the crest of the hill to the trail they are on. The man is stripped to the waist, carrying a battle axe, whistling as he comes down the trail He is a half-Orc, showing clear signs of his Orcish blood. He looks at the party in surprise and asks “Who you?”. When it is Nieri who answers him, the man becomes puzzled and asks “What you do with little boy?”. The man tells them that he is named Muuk, that he is employed by a man named Artemis Mourn, and that it is his job to cut the trees and haul the wood to the top, where his boss burns Kobold bodies as a warning against the Kobolds who have begun to encroach upon this area.

    The party is so surprised and fixated on the question of who Artemis is that they completely fail to ask Muuk any further questions about anything but Artemis, even after Nieri surreptitiously casts a Detect Magic spell and discovers that Muuk’s axe is of moderately strong magic, and after seeing that it has an etching of Muuk’s face on one side of the blade. Upon being told that Artemis is a Wizard that lives perhaps two days north, the party continues on their way.

    Later in they day, the party meets a short, stocky man approaching from the north. A hairy and ugly man with one large piggy eye, the man proves to be surly and aggressive, demanding to know who the party is and why they are in “his” territory. Holding their tongues, the party learns that the man is named Bartlebee and that he lives just across the valley that they are currently passing. Ignoring his shredded clothing and bad attitude, the party inquires about Artemis, Janx and the Kobolds. Bartlebee tells them that Artemis lives a good day or so north of him, that people pretty much leave him alone, and that Kobolds are good eating. (“Skin ‘em, stuff ‘em with a little sage, wild parsnips and onions, let ‘em age a few days and cook ‘em up!”)

    Moving on quickly from this encounter, the party continues north for a while, until they encounter several dwarves packing up at a cave high above the trail. They question the Dwarves for a while, finding that they are prospectors. Informed of the fate of the other dwarves, whose bodies Nieri had spotted when they first entered the hills, the dwarves are grieved. They continue their packing, intending to head next to Gyretown.

    A short distance away, the party camps for the night near the territory of the Rockscribe tribe, a secretive bunch who will not allow the party to approach any closer to their camp. From the tribe’s patrol, they learn that the tribe lives in fear of both Janx and the monster that lives in the lake to the north, blaming the later for the disappearance of some of their people over the last year. They have a pact of mutual ignorance with Bartlebee, who seems to frighten them as well. When informed of Janx’ capture and imprisonment, they are quite happy, but their overall secretive and suspicious attitude does not change.

    The next morning (the 12th of Weaving, or 42 days into the campaign), the group finds the eastward trail that heads toward Artemis’ place only a mile from where they had camped. Spending most of the day, they finally arrive in a fair sized valley, where the trail bends down from the slopes to the valley floor. On the valley side, there is a pasture with four horses and a small pond as well as a large garden area. Up against the sharp slope, a wooden palisade closely surrounds a rough two story house-like structure built right into the slope.

    The group spends an inordinate amount of time banging on the palisade and seeking a way in before a tall, angular man comes out of the building to address them. “Who are you and what do you want?”. The party is annoyed that this attitude seems to be prevalent in this part of the hills, but they hold their tongues and announce that they have come to see Artemis Mourn. The angular man tells them that Artemis is busy and can’t see them, but they are adamant. The man tells them to camp across the road and wait. But don’t mess with the pasture or the garden. Sneering, he looks straight at Samsel and tells the young man not to molest the horses, before heading back into the house.

    The party waits all evening without sign of Artemis, then camp overnight next to the garden. Late that night, Nieri decides to attempt to gain entry to the house. In the darkness, he manages to climb the palisade and approach the house, but cannot see what he is doing (no light sources, very dark night). He manages to approach the door undetected, hearing nothing but snoring within, but decides better of entering and returns to the camp.

    The next morning, the party remains past breakfast, insistent on a meeting with this mysterious Artemis. Late in the morning, the place finally stirs and the angular man opens the gate. A man of confident and regal bearing strolls out to meet the party, backed by a large man in armor and a small dark haired woman.

    “Good Morning. I am Artemis Mourn. You wished to speak to me?”

    Through the discussion, the party finds that Artemis has established himself as something of a power in the area, keeping the Kobolds at bay and working with the local tribes. He tells them little that they didn’t already know and doesn’t seem too surprised when they inform him of Janx’ capture. Feeling a bit puzzled and disappointed, the party thanks Artemis and moves on, heading back westward to the trail that leads north.

    The next day, the party heads up to the lake and decides to march around it, hoping to draw out whatever inhabits it, to put an end to the threat faced by the local tribes. On the north side of the lake, Kethra finds tracks coming out of the lake and headed up the wooded slopes, but cannot identify them (bad roll). Continuing around the swampy western side, the party is disappointed in that they can neither see anything of merit, nor does anything seem to be interested in them. On the south side of the lake however, the party comes to a small patch of woods filled with webs. As they approach closer, they can see a horse sized spider moving among the trees. They charge into battle, finally glad to have found something!

    As Kethra engages the first Spider, two more drop from the trees. A swift battle ensues and the spiders are rather easily killed. The party moves back to the trail from the lake, disappointed that they were unable to find anything of the sort that would cause a tribe to fear going anywhere near the lake.

    Northward on the trail until near nightfall when the party encounters members of the Burberry tribe. In stark contrast to their previous encounters in this area, the tribers invite the party to come to the tribe’s camp for the night. While the tribers are outwardly friendly and social with the party, they find that the tribe has been devastated by losses in the last year and are currently packing up and planning to head north and eastward from this, their ancestral home.

    Clearly grieving at the need to depart lands that their tribe has lived in “since before our elders were born”, the tribe explains that they’ve lost half of their number in the last year, to Kobolds to the west and to a brutal creature that lives to the east.

    The creature to the east flies in several times a month and begins singing. The song is such that nearly everyone drops what they are doing and mindlessly approaches the creature, who then carries one of them off. Numerous attempts to kill the creature have failed, as it simply flies off when threatened, returning later with even more brutality. From the descriptions, Kethra recognizes this creature as a Harpy.

    The party camps with the tribe for the night, vowing to deal with the Harpy in the morning.

    {End Session 5}
    'Fair' is a Human Ideological Concept.

    Perception, the bastard child of Subjective Reality.

  • #9
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    ø Ignore Chimera
    (Session 6)

    The group spends the night with the Burberry tribe. Jack spends much of the time speaking to their current leader and the tribal elder, a 90-something year old woman. While the elder takes great pride in having survived the last four invasions by the Calaseans, Jack covers his boredom at being told about the world by a woman who has never been away from her home tribe. Meanwhile, the children of the tribe keep trying to play with Nieri, not understanding that he is not a child.

    A young man, barely 13, approaches Lawrence. He tells Lawrence that he slips away late at night sometimes to explore, play and be alone. He claims that, on several occasions, he has seen groups of Kobolds, some of them tied up, heading south along the trail several miles southwest of the tribe. He also claims to have seen Janx and his Orcs with them once or twice. When questioned, he says that this is usually a couple of days before the full moon. When asked if he has said anything to his elders, the boy says that he has, but that they not only didn’t believe him, but that they punished him for roaming late at night. The boy expresses his resentment and his desire to be an adventurer “like you guys” when he gets older.

    In the early morning hours, a loud crack of thunder splits the night and a torrential spring rain begins. The people who were not in shelters hurriedly gather their things and run for cover. The hard rain causes the tribe to cancel it’s plans to start their move that day, choosing instead to wait out the storm and move once things dry out.

    Deciding that the rain and low clouds might allow them to catch the Harpy off-guard, our heroes decide to brave the weather and seek out the Harpy lair. It takes them almost half of the day to struggle up and down the two intervening ridges, but eventually they find themselves staring at a small cave in a steep hillside, perhaps ten feet off the ground.

    Approaching slowly and cautiously, the group sees no sign of activity. The ground surrounding the base of the hill is covered with bones, debris and harpy feces. Here and there a weapon lies broken. Spears, bows, the occasional sling or dagger. It is clear that the harpy has been very successful, as the bones of at least a score of Humans lie amid the bones of lesser creatures.

    Reaching the base of the hill, the party sees and hears nothing to indicate that their approach has been detected. Likewise they see no sign of the Harpy. Healer John casts a Circle of Protection from Evil on the Bard, Jack Teagan, to prevent him from being overcome by the Harpys’ song. That way, he can use his Countersong to aid any others who are overcome.

    Nieri climbs up to the lip of the cave and takes a careful peek. There, about 30’ into the cave, sits the Harpy on it’s nest, carefully preening it’s feathers. Quietly and carefully, Nieri turns and motions to the rest of the group, indicating that the Harpy lies within. He then drops to the ground to discuss how best to attack.

    At this point, Samsel completely brain farts and levitates himself up to the cave entrance to take a look. The Harpy cannot help but see this and reacts with a loud squawk, jumping to full alertness. Nieri climbs back up and tosses a vial of alchemist fire at the Harpy, missing. Jack strikes a pose and recites an inspiring poem.

    The Harpy runs forward, but not quite to the mouth of the cave, and begins it’s song, captivating both Samsel and Kethra. Kethra struggles to climb the slick rock face, but is unable. Samsel, unable to propel himself forward into the cave, drops to the ground and likewise struggles with climbing the slick surface. Lawrence grows to large size and takes up batting position outside the cave entrance, intent on bashing the Harpy the moment that it appears.

    The harpy runs forward and flies from the mouth of the cave, taking a swipe at Lawrence as she does so. Lawrence counters by taking a big chunk out of the Harpy’s hide on her way past. As Jack recites a poem to counter the Harpy’s song, Nieri manages to hit her hard in the back of the head with his sling. Healer John then rushes toward her and casts a Sonic Burst spell that hit’s the Harpy hard. Stunned, she falls to the ground in a mass of feathers and blood.

    Recovering from his fascination, Samsel cracks the Harpy with an electric bolt, Jack drops an arrow into her hide and then Kethra runs up to finish off the wounded beast. With minimal effort and bloodshed, our heroes have managed to kill the dreaded Harpy, scourge of the Burberry tribe.

    Climbing back into the cave to investigate, Nieri finds the nest lined with shiny coins (silver dollars and copper pennies), as well as a gold medallion and a 4’ walnut staff, banded with silver and topped with a nice chunk of Lapis. Admiring it, he sees the word ‘Burberry’ inscribed in the silver tip, indicating that it belongs to the tribe. Moving to the mouth of the cave, Nieri casts a Detect Magic spell and turns in a full circle, scanning the area. In doing so, he spots an aura among the litter outside the cave mouth, which turns out to be a magic dagger.

    Cutting the head from the Harpy as proof that they have slain her, the party spends much of the rest of the day cleaning up and returning to the Burberry tribe, where they are welcomed as great heroes and given as much of a feast as can be managed in the rain. The elders and current leader of the tribe are astonished to find the staff given back to them by the party, explaining that it was the traditional mark of tribal leadership, thought lost forever a year or so back. Now that it is returned, the current leader’s confidence soars.

    The next morning (2/16), as the rain shows no sign of letting up, the tribe once again declines to move. They invite the party to remain. However, the party decides that it will head southwest, to investigate the area that the Kobolds have been reported in.

    The group backs down the trail to the south for roughly a half mile before coming to a trail to the west. Heading down that trail, it is barely two miles before they begin to see warning signs of Kobold habitation. Another half mile and Kethra and Nieri spot a group of Kobolds milling about under some trees a hundred yards or more ahead. Advancing cautiously but preparing for battle as they go, the group is spotted by the Kobolds, who retreat behind a mist created by one of their sorcerers.

    The party comes up hard and fast as the mist dissipates and the Kobolds are ready for battle. However, the eight Kobolds are not prepared for the fury of our heroes, and the battle is very short. One lone Kobold attempts to flee down the path, but is caught and killed.

    Moving cautiously forward, the party comes upon a carefully carved entrance in the side of a cliff along the trail another half of a mile on. It is a squared off entrance, 5’ wide and 7’ tall. On either side is carved a stylized representation of a Kobold holding a spear tipped toward the entrance.

    Nieri moves cautiously and stealthily into the tunnel, which bends slightly to the right before looping around to the left. Hearing activity up ahead, Nieri gets to a spot where he can just see that it opens into a room before returning to the party. Sure that they are not going to surprise the Kobolds, the party decides to throw caution to the wind and charge right in.

    Unfortunately, with Nieri in the lead, the party gets bottled up at the room entrance by the Kobolds, one of which is dressed in a full suit of chain mail and wielding a small great axe.

    [GM Aside: Kobolds are 2’-2.5’ tall. Think about that for a minute. Now picture one of them in a tiny little chain suit with a big axe. No way I could take that very seriously.]

    A Kobold Sorcerer begins a summoning spell. Nieri manages to plaster him with a vial of alchemist fire, but the sorcerer manages to complete the spell. Two Human zombies appear near the front Kobolds, further blocking the entrance.

    Hard pressed and unable to force their way into the room, desperation forces Nieri’s hand. He pulls out the Fireball potion that he had gotten from Arton and lobs it into the middle of the room. A second later, most of the Kobolds, including the Sorcerer, lie dead and a clear path is open. Lawrence, Jack and Kethra run in to attack the Kobold elite. Samsel moves in and zaps the crap out of the remaining spell casters.

    Lawrence trips and bashes the chain mail wearing Kobold, who continues to fight from the prone position. The Kobold manages to take some serious chunks out of Jack, who is only kept standing by Healer John’s spells.

    The Kobolds fall.

    Opposite from there they had entered, there is a cell covered with a fire-hardened wooden grate. Inside lie eight humans in a torpid state of semi-consciousness. Impatient, Lawrence bashes through the grate to see to the prisoners. Kethra and Samsel join him momentarily. Jack heads through another tunnel, adjacent to where they had entered, and finds that it leads to a store-room filled with sacks and piles of grain and roots.

    Meanwhile, Nieri checks out another grate, beyond which is a 3’ tall tunnel. It leads back to another cell that appears to be filled with Kobolds. To his left is another cell. While he cannot see into it, the sound assures him that it too is filled with Kobolds. This is puzzling. Why are these Kobolds holding both Humans and other Kobolds prisoner here? To the right is another short tunnel, which must be the access to those cells and perhaps to this room.

    When Jack calls out from the store-room, Kethra heads over to give him a hand. They find two large sacks of Jeppit root, which explains the condition of the prisoners, drugged into a stupor. Kethra is amazed by the amount of the root, thinking that the Kobolds have either been growing it or have harvested every root from here to Amazon territory! There must be at least five to six thousand dollars worth of the stuff. Jack and Kethra hoist the sacks, intent on taking the lot.

    Nieri then casts his Detect Magic again and begins scanning the area. He finds that the small great axe is magic, but nothing else. That same Kobold has three small pieces of Lapis and two mithril ducats on him, but there is nothing else of value in the room.

    While checking this out, Nieri notices a single Kobold calmly watching him from the other side of the short grate. This one is different in that it is covered head to toe in bright red robes and a red skull cap that flows down the side of his head, yet has holes for his ears and greater horns. Nieri is shocked when the Kobold addresses him in fluent Ithri!

    “Claim your victory, take the prisoners and go.”

    The others come out to see what is going on and question the Kobold. The Kobold retreats slightly down the tunnel, but otherwise remains calm and confident.

    “Who are you?” asks Nieri.
    “I am Da’krit, the Right Claw of the King of the Hills” proclaims the Kobold.

    The party falls to muttering about not having previously heard of this, the third Kobold King, before turning back to question Da’krit. Da’krit however, seems uninterested in monologing for the party’s benefit and instead, turns to questioning them about why they are here. When the party reveals that they are simply here because of the kobold attacks on the Burberry tribe, Da’krit turns dismissive and tells them once again to take the prisoners and go. “When we need them, we will simply go and get them again.”

    Nieiri attempts to sneak up along the side of the grate and peek at the Kobold, who notices and moves another few steps backward, keeping a wary eye on Nieri. The party then begins talking openly about ‘taking out this Kobold’ and preparing to do so. Nieri begins casting, but is beaten to the punch by the Kobold, who gestures and then spews a stream of acid directly at Nieri and Lawrence! Nieri responds with a Color Spray, which doesn’t seem to phase the Kobold in the least. Unable to get at the Kobold, the party hesitates long enough for Da’krit to escape down the side tunnel. The party then decides that following down the short tunnels is not a good option and that they’d be better off withdrawing with the captives.

    It takes considerable effort to rouse the drugged captives to their feet and get them moving down the trail. They constantly fall or sit down and have to be led or sometimes even carried. But eventually, the party makes it back to the Burberry camp where they are greeted by thunderous cheers and joyful celebration. These eight are all members of the Burberry tribe who have disappeared over the last two months.

    The Burberry Tribe enshrines the party as great heroes of the tribe, swears everlasting friendship and hospitality, and breaks open their small stores of ‘good stuff’ to celebrate late into the night.

    (End Session 6)

    (Postscript)

    The eight remain in a stupor all evening. Kethra and Healer John say that they should be fully recovered by mid-morning. The Elder and current leader both decide that the tribe will depart by mid-morning regardless of whether or not the rain lets up. Despite the current celebratory mood, these two know better and fear a counter-attack by the Kobolds. They ask the party if they will join the tribe for the next two days in order to protect them from retaliation. Jack is first to agree, with the rest quickly assenting.

    On the morning of the 17th, the rain is down to a light drizzle, but Kethra knows that it will continue through most of the day. The tribe packs it’s remaining bags and prepares to move out. After breaking fast, the tribe is ready to go. The eight are also coming out of their stupor and beginning to show their fear and terror at the events of their captivity.

    Moving slowly due to the children and their heavy burdens, the massed tribe covers about eight miles by early afternoon before arriving at a log bridge over a small river. A large extended family lives just on the other side of the river and greets the tribe warmly, extending welcome for the tribe to camp overnight.

    They have long heard of the Burberry’s troubles, but seem oblivious to the extent of the danger, thinking it a long way off. The Burberry try to convince the family to come along, but the family is intent on remaining where they are. There are fish, a lot of game, and nothing has ever bothered them. Why should they go anywhere? The arguments continue through the evening, but the family is adamant that they are not leaving their home.

    The next day, the rain has stopped and the sun has come out. The Burberry explain that they have a similar 8 mile march to “Trade Meet” and ask if the party will accompany them at least that far. From there, they intend to head eastward, but do not expect that the party will go any farther.

    When asked about Trade Meet, the Burberry explain that it is a trading post and gathering spot for the local tribes, at a major trail crossing. They guess that it may be only another day north from there to the Bordermark River.
    'Fair' is a Human Ideological Concept.

    Perception, the bastard child of Subjective Reality.

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    (additional Postscript)

    Along the walk north, the former captives seek out members of the party to discuss their captivity.

    A man named Marek was held the longest, just over two months. He was captured with two others while out gathering mushrooms and roots, a victim of Janx and his Wand of Sleep. When he was first brought to the "prison", there were four others there, one of whom claimed to be the 'last survivor' of the Hillpepper tribe to the south. That person told of most of their small tribe being captured at once and brought here, with Janx claiming to have killed the rest of the tribe.

    Two days before the full moon after Marek was brought there, a man named Quentin came, accompanied by a woman named Yarrow and several Kobolds. Six Human prisoners and twelve Kobolds were taken away, drugged and tied. Quentin and the woman spoke in the Kobold tongue except to each other. They mentioned something about a sacrifice and a ritual forge. Also something about "the Wheel", which seemed very important to the Kobolds.

    This left Marek all alone, but not for long. Within days, several more members of the Burberry tribe were brought in, captured in different areas, some by Janx, some by Quentin, some by the Kobolds themselves. Marek notes that Janx was particularly cruel with his captives. He gives you a look as he says this, but refuses to explain further.

    Just before the last full moon, Quentin and the woman returned. This time, three Humans and 24 kobolds were taken. And once again, groups of Burberry people were brought in to replace them. The only thing that changed was that none of them were captured by Janx.

    Some of the new captives tried to stop eating the jeppit root laced stew that they had been fed to keep them quiet. One of the recent captives, a young woman named Isa, began screaming and carrying on, trying to annoy the Kobolds and keep them from sleeping. The Kobolds responded by using spells on the lot of them. Then they dragged Isa from the cell, force-fed her a large amount of jeppit root...and slowly and carefully cut her to pieces in front of the rest of them. They were particularly cruel about it, starting with her arms and legs and using their magic to keep her alive as long as they could.

    Then they put chunks of her into the cooking pot and tried to feed her to the captives. For three days they mocked the prisoners and continued to try feeding "Isa Stew" to them, until finally, the Kobold in red put a stop to it.

    From that point on, none of the captives tried to refuse the jeppit root. They didn't want to think, to feel, to remember what had happened to Isa. Or think about what was going to happen to them.

    Marek wants nothing more than to get as far away from the Kobolds as possible. He says that if he doesn't think the tribe has gone far enough, that he'll keep going and find another tribe to join. Or maybe keep going all the way to Gyretown.
    'Fair' is a Human Ideological Concept.

    Perception, the bastard child of Subjective Reality.

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