Banewarrens d20 (Angelsboi's party)


Bartol Pinesheaf is the son of Karm Pinesheaf and Rowen Smythe, born and raised in a homestead off the Mistle Trail within the county of Mistledale near Elven Crossing, where Rowen's family maintains a weaponsmithy. Bartol's grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins run the smithy and surrounding farmlands, trading with travelers to and from Ashabenford. They do well enough. And lately business has been booming, as have the stories, rumors, and tales.

Karm, a full blooded wood elf, had saved young Rowen on one of the caravan trips to Elven Crossing from Ashabenford. They fell in love at once. And though Karm stayed many years with Rowen. He could not live the life of a settler nor could Rowen one of a nomad. So as time went on Karm returned home less and less with greater spans of time in between each visit. Rowen was content, though, for she had Bartol. Karm trained Bartol in the ways of surviving in the wilds. And his grandfather taught him the trade of a weaponsmith. Though, young Bartol, was never much good at following instruction. For this reason Rowen thought, she needed help. With Karm gone so often she took on the role of both kindly mother and strict watchmaster. She tried taking him to church often. The family reverred Torm. And it may have been foolish hope or desire, but Rowen believed her son destined to
become a noble paladin. Of course, this was not to be. Although,
Bartol ,too, worshipped Torm and had a goodly heart. He also cared little for the strict discipline. For Bartol had a temper. And when provoked it could be dangerous. Bartol feared its uncontrollable nature. So he became quiet and reserved, attempting to draw little attention to himself. Therefore his social skills suffered as well as his school lessons. Bartol secretly always thought his father was one of the Riders. And he hoped one day he too would be.

Like his uncles and cousins before him, he too, had to serve in the militia. Mostly because of his elven blood Bartol was always
physically behind in his development. So after avoiding service for
the last 5 years, Grandfather Smythe finally intervened. He handed Bartol Karm's bow and quiver, a greatsword in honor of Torm, 2 daggers, a suit of studded leather, and a backpack with supplies. He also gave Bartol a handful of coins and a big hug.

"Do us proud, Bartol, and return when you have completed your

The next day, Bartol set off on foot for the big city.
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The Adventure Begins

A leisurely hike down the road brought Bartol to Ashabenford. A road he had taken often on foot, horseback, or wagon. What awaited him this day only Torm knew. The closer he got to town, though, the more activity he saw. And even in the early hours work was being performed. Bartol kept to himself. "No need to disturb them with my menial questions," he thought.

Eventually, however, it became evident he would never find the answer he sought. As luck would have it an elderly gentleman was standing just ahead of him reading a sign post.

"Excuse me, but where do I find the militia?" Bartol muttered.

"Huh," the elderly man turned scratching his head "...What...can't you read? It says right there."

Bartol bristled, "Look, you could've just told me." And headed off in the direction the old man was looking. The elderly man backed away and then started to laugh.

"You're heading the wrong way. They are down by the ford."

Embarrassment and guilt grabbed Bartol, "Oops, sorry" And he quickly hurried to get away in the right direction.

At the ford were many groups of men, women and other beings. So to were there trained militia. These individuals were carrying bundles of longspears. But most striking were the Riders. The lead Rider, a woman of experience with an aura of command, spoke. The crowd hushed.

"Citizens of Mistledale, today, you have answered the call to service. You will learn the proper use of weapons and how to defend yourselves. Afterwards you may remain in the service or you may take your weapon and knowledge and return home." She then turned to the other Riders, "Carry on."

The trained militia took groups of 8 to 10 recruits off in different directions to train. Bartol's group included Corporal Olaf, a Dales veteran; Daniel, a farmboy; Arissa, another farmer; Barry, a stablehand employed by Zander Wilcot; Valgrim, a follower of Lathander; Thane and his animal friend; Eric, a fighter for hire; another yokol employed at the wheelwrights; and Timmay, a gnome.

Corporal Olaf pushed the group to test their mettle. First was a long hike. Then a set of drills. And then more drills. The whole while Thane spoke incessantly about his master or with his pet. Timmay had Daniel wrapped around his finger. And during a brief break Barry pestered Eric and Bartol to show him how to use their swords. Valgrim administered to everyone's aches and pains.

One of the Riders from earlier in the day approached.

"Olaf, don't keep them to long. It is getting late and you still have a ways to go."

"Aye, we're almost done. Just a couple more drill." Olaf replied to the Riders back.

"Oy, more drills" Daniel said.

So drill they did.


The road home

"Enough," called Corporal Olaf. "We head back to town now. Keep up if you can ;) "

And with that the Corporal set a gruelling pace for Ashabenford. After a while though it became apparent that not all of the raw recruits were able to stand up to the hike. So the Corporal slowed down to let the stragglers catch up.

"I thought you younsters had some conditioning from working on a farm."

Thane replied, "Yeah, and I thought after being in the service of the Dales for how many years that veteran soliders advanced to higher positions of authority"

As darkness descended on the group the lights of the town were just becoming visible. Their spirits eased and their step became less bothersome. A general giddiness was soon evolving. And then the sounds of missles could be heard. Corporal Olaf in the lead went down with an arrow protruding from the back of his helm.

Timmay screamed, "Goblins to the left."

Everyone turned to see 4 torchbearing greenies climbing over a small wall followed by a much larger, meaner version. And 4 other sets of eyes were behind the wall still armed with bows.

Thane was the first to react. He quickly hummed to himself. And his voice got progressively louder. He then shifted his position to get cover behind Bartol. The plants and brush in the field around the goblins seemed to respond. It grabbed the torchbearers and the big one. It also seemed to work on the fellows behind the wall. Soon a very large area of the field was alive. This didn't prevent 2 of the goblins from firing their bows, however. Although it did distract them enough that no one was injured. The smart thinking gnome was next to react. He muttered a few words in an arcane language. And 3 of the torchbearers went to sleep. Unfortunately for them the grass in the field was very dry. And the torches soon had the field aflame. Not knowing what to do. Bartol hurled his new long spear at the large goblin. It went sailing far from sight. Eric drew his bow and fired into the crowd. A grunt was heard from behind the wall. The farmhands; Daniel, Gothor, Arissa, and Barry, scattered. Only Valgrim thought enough to check on the well being of Corporal Olaf. Olaf was still breathing. Valgrim said a prayer over the Corporal returning him to consciousness.

The fire grew. And the goblins did not fair well. The smell of roasting goblin is not a pleasant one. The fire and Thane brought down the large leader. Seeing their leader down and 4 of their companions cooked plus 2 more still bound by the plants, the 2 free ambushers fled. Timmay finished 1 of the bound goblins behind the wall with a crossbow bolt.

Bartol thought to himself they are escaping. They've hurt my instructor. They have set the field on fire. And then again maybe he didn't think. For all he saw was red. A rage took hold and he charged thru the field of flailing, burning plants. His target the last standing bound goblin on the other side of the wall. His anger was too great for the plants. But he did feel the touch of flame thru his armor. When he reached the wall, he sprang to grapple the goblin. With a spectacular display of aerial acrobatics he cleared the wall. But his aim was off. Too late he sailed over the goblin and landed face first on the other side of the wall.

Eric and the rest just stood dumbfounded. And then they started to laugh. Valgrim gathered Daniel and headed to town shouting for aid to put out the fire. With the priest snapping everyone back to reality Thane cancelled his control on the plants. Bartol must have looked a sight for the now freed goblin wet himself. In the heat of battle Bartol was still not himself. He rose up and took a swing at the goblin, missing completely, so he then drew his greatsword.

Eric and Timmay moved closer, "Quit playing around." Timmay said."Bring the prisoner here."

The others started beating at the fire with their cloaks. And soon Valgrim, Daniel and other town members approached with buckets of water.


Why oh Why

In the distance 3 other areas had a glow to them of a large fire.

Eric took the prisoner over to Timmay and Corporal Olaf. Bartol began searching the dead for valuables his anger slowly abating.

"Perhaps I should have a word with my new friend," Timmay said as he cast an enchantment on the snivelling goblin. In the rudimentary language of the greenies Timmay spoke."Tell me, friend, what you were doing here and from whence have you come."

The goblin spilled the beans. He told everything he knew. From the size, color, taste, feel, and length of his journey to what they ate and who owed him money. Gorg, the leader, had a map and was the only one in the group with the instructions. He had told his men to burn the big building on the edge of town, the White Hart Inn. Bartol produced the map, but it was charred. Although the goblin did know some other helpful information.

The group lived in a series of caves about 4 days away with some larger goblins, some hairier ones, and some enemies plus a very large friend. He didn't know how to get there though without the map. And the chieftain of the tribe took orders from some bad men. Corporal Olaf listened attentively as did one of the townsfolk who had helped put out the fire.

"Well then friend, thank you." And with that Timmay placed a crossbow bolt between the goblin's ears. "Never really trusted him, any way." ;)

The other town member turned out to be the Inn's owner. He offered free room and board for the night to the entire patrol. Some of the group decided to go home or in Corporal Olaf's case file a report. Thane, Eric, Timmay, Valgrim, Bartol, Arissa, and Daniel went to the Inn.

"In the morning we shall know more," said the innkeeper. "For now, eat, drink, and relax."

Bartol refused to join the festivities. He took care of his armor and weapons. He also went to work on the long spear to make it more usuable by Timmay. Thane noticing his reluctance to join in gave him an elixir of pine whiskey with 2 berries in it.

"This will make you feel better."

Much later on the rest of the crew bedded down.


For Hire

The innkeeper, Holfast Harpenshield, must have been up early or late last night for he had much news when the company came down for breakfast.

"There were 3 other attacks last night," he said."A young girl went missing from 1 of the attacked farms."

As the group contemplated the news, Holfast continued. "And rumors of a missing caravan to Peldan's Helm are true. If you are looking to make some quick cash, go see Iletian Blackeagle. He is hiring caravan guards for a second attempt to reach the Keep.

This bit of news sparked everyone's interest. The goblin from last night had mentioned coming from somewhere near Peldan's Helm. Nothing like getting paid to go in the direction you were headed anyway.

"Well, I'm off this morning to see what the council plans to do. They are meeting at High Councilor Haresk Malorn's home. Pleasure to have you stay with us. And thanks again for defending us from the goblins last night," with that Holfast left.

The company enjoyed a nice meal and then gathered their things. They set off for Blackeagle's Coster.

Timmay said, "Let me do all the talking." ;)


Where do we go from here?

Blackeagle was a busy man judging by all the activity. And as the group approached the builidings to ask for him, a door opened and a fellow bellowing orders came out.

Timmay noted, "Mr. Blackeagle, I presume. May we have a word with you?"

Iletian replied, "Aye, but you'll need to walk and talk. I'm on my way to the Council meeting."

The group started heading towards the center of town.

Iletian continued,"I'm trying to persuade the council to provide guards for my caravan. Of course, if they do. They will have to provide them for my competition also. And I don't think I like that idea. I don't suppose I could talk you and your friends into joining as guards?"

Timmay mumbled a few arcane words under his breath and then turned to Iletian, "Why yes, yes you could friend. What is a reasonable fee?"

By then they had reached the town center.

Iletian said, "Perhaps, we can discuss this after Haresk speaks?"

Two guards were posted to keep all at least earshot away from the door. There were several groups arranged about the front of the building. One group of elves stood off to the side. Another was a party of 4 adventurers. The third was a group of townsfolk with Holfast amongst them.

Bartol approached the adventurers, sizing them up. "Grrrrrrrrrrr"

Three of the group shrank quickly away and behind the fourth.

"Well, hello, there, son. I'm Sir Bradford of Tyr," the knight said, grinning and offering his hand.

"I'm not your son. But well met." And returned the handshake. "So you follow All Mighty Torm do you? I'm inclinded to him, myself."

Just then the council door opened and a group filed outside. It was evident that 2 members were not present, the councilors from Peldan's Helm and Glen. One of the Riders from the day before was also with the council.

Haresk spoke, "The council has decided not to send a call out to the militia, just yet. We are placing our trust in the citizens of the Dale to restore order. Word has reached us that Zander Wilcot's estate in the east was attacked. So we are sending a Rider to investigate.

Sir Bradford of Tyr along with my son, my daughter, and a woodsman guide are headed to check on the trouble to the Southeast.

And no, Blackeagle, we will not be providing militia for guards for your caravan. But I suspect you knew that already.

The council is also accepting volunteers to investigate the trouble to the west around Peldan's Helm. Speak with us afterwards if you are interested.

Are there any other matters?"

One of the elves stepped forward, "Yes, High Councilor Malorn. We have grave news for you concerning the Forest."

With that the group of elves and the council went back inside.


Which way did they go

Bartol returned to the group. The Rider and the party of adventurers were already departing.

Iletian turned to Timmay, "I guess I do need you to escort the caravan to Peldan's Helm. And if you are interested to escort it back. How does 25gp apiece sound?"

Timmay waved his hands, "35gp sounds better."

Iletian's eyes glazed over, "Done. The caravan leaves in 4 days time. The journey will take about 4 days. And then a week to settle things with my agent in Peldan's Helm as well as restock before a return trip here. See the caravan leader, Snap, for any further instructions." Blackeagle excused himself and departed.

"I need to sell some things," Bartol grunted. "I'll be heading to the Six Shields after to hole up while we wait for the caravan."

"I'll come with you," Thane chimed."But I'm going to try the Velvet Veil for my entertainment. ;)"

The rest of the party waited for the councilors to return. Why not get paid for investigating Peldan's Helm. Bartol and Thane headed to the Multhimmer's General Store. They exchanged the goblins armor and weapons for a few days trail rations and some oil. They then split up.

When Bartol arrived at the Six Shields; Eric, Valgrim, and Timmay were already there.

"The White Hart is too rich for my pouch," Eric explained. "The council said they would pay us if we could prove that no more trouble would be coming from Peldan's Helm."

Bartol pestered the locals for information about Sir Bradford of Tyr. One of them, Ned the Mad, said he thought the adventurers would not return. He had seen trees or shrubs walking down the road they headed. Others directed Bartol to the new temple. At the temple Bartol learned that Sir Bradford was an experienced paladin. He had spent the last few years in Sembia.

The days dragged on. Everyone was chomping at the bit to get going. Eric practiced his swordplay with Bartol. Timmay spent his time buried in his books. Valgrim tried telling all those who would listen about the wonders of Lathander. Thane helped a farmer birth a calf and another with his horse.

Eventually, the day arrived. And the guard company went to find Snap.

Snap had only 1 hand. The other was replaced with a whip. He greeted the guards with their orders and told them what he expected of them. He also commented on the nature of the road ahead. "Hated it" was his catch phrase. He and Thane were immediate buddies.


Wagons Ho

"Wagons, Ho," called Snap.

And the caravan was off. There were 10 wagons in all. The guard company was mounted. A team of drivers, handlers, and the like pushed the beasts along to make good time. Still a 2 day trip by horse was going to take 4 for this crew.

Bartol kept to himself and didn't share in the ideal chit chat. Timmay was enjoying himself. With his quick wit and large vocabulary, he was talking circles around almost everyone. Thane and his animal companion took moments every so often to check on the soil, flora, fauna, and water quality of the area or just to wrestle. The companion looked like a large dog with nasty claws. Thane said it still had plenty of growing to do and that it is was a wolverine. Eric rode point and during breaks would chat with the teamsters. Valgrim was gaining a convert in one of the drivers. Each morning he would bless the caravan. Snap kept everything in order. We don't want to go to work today. But where there's a whip there's a way. :D Every night Snap would circle the wagons. And the guard company took turns on watch.

After a day and half of travel, Snap called a halt and asked the guards to come in for a chat.

"A couple hours ahead there is a Bridge. It is the most likely spot for an ambush. Why don't you go ahead and check it out. We will come along at a normal pace," Snap ordered.

So the guard company set off to check out the bridge. Timmay went through a list of spells in his mind. As did Thane and Valgrim. Bartol checked his sword, spear, and bow. Eric readied his sword.


3 goblins gruff

Bartol , eager for a scrap, took point. Over a slight rise, the bridge came into view. Three small, armed figures were arrayed in front. Bartol dismounted and began to approach on foot. Goblins.

In broken Common the lead goblin slurred, "Pay toll to cross our bridge."

Bartol replied, "And I suppose there is a troll under the bridge to back up your bravado."

Timmay started to say something, but Thane acted first. A sling stone sailed over Bartol's head and struck the speaking goblin. The goblin screamed. And 2 larger figures came out from under the bridge. The battle was joined, no more surprises, hopefully.

Thane hurled another stone striking the injured greenie in the head. It went down twitching. Eric charged forward on his mount. The 2 remaining goblins moved close enough to Eric to take a stab at him. The larger goblins, hobgoblins really, hurled javelins at Timmay and Bartol, neither connecting. Timmay approached and fired his crossbow. He hit, but his target was still standing. Bartol and Valgrim fired missle weapons at the other hobgoblin missing entirely. Thane unloaded yet another stone, finishing the injured hobgoblin. From horseback Eric executed a brilliant manuver. His sword sailed low and decapitated the 2 goblins near him. Seeing all of his allies slain the last hobgoblin fled. Timmay, Bartol, and Valgrim launched missles at the retreating hobgolin's back ending his escape. The first goblin to fall was not in fact dead, yet. So after reviving him Timmay went to work on intimidating him for information.

The poor wretch didn't stand a chance. He told his whole tale. And offered to lead the group to his leader. Timmay was having none of it. He asked for directions and spitted his racial enemy when he was done. A truly gruesome sight, 3 goblin and 2 hobgoblin heads on spears placed by the bridge as a warning.

Just then the wagons came over the rise.

Snap hollered, "Any trouble?"

Valgrim replied, "None for us, but these poor creatures sure had more than they could handle."

Thane added, "One of them told us of a nearby hideout where the main group is staging their raids. We are going to pay them a visit. We will catch up with you by nightfall."

"Okay, I'll be calling a halt about 3 hours ahead. I'll expect you there this evening. If you don't show, I'll know this road is not safe," Snap offered.

So the guard company, now goblin hunters, set off for the hideout.


A hunting we will go

An hour or so later the hunters found a small farm. They decided to tie up their horses and take a look. Bartol climbed the fence surrounding the farm. He left his bow on his horse and drew his sword.

"I am useless with it anyway," he thought.

Timmay spotted a goblin moving in the barn. And the goblin spotted them. It ran into the barn. Whether it was seeing the goblin or the final release of his frustration at finally getting into a fight, his blood began to boil. A javelin came from the barn at Bartol, but missed. Another javelin thrown from the farmhouse grazed him and drew blood. And that was all it took.

"AAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGG," Bartol screamed and charged at the farmhouse window sword first. Straight and true he soared thru the window. His sword met some resistance at first but his momentum and anger carried him inside. He had spitted a hobgoblin on the end of his sword. He landed on top of the corpse. Inside were a small horde of greenies.

Over Bartol's shoulder and thru the hole he had made in the window, Thane threw a burning flask of oil. He then climbed the fence and advanced to the farm house door. The flask shattered against a goblin on the far side of the house. The flames scroched it and a few of its friends. Still the odds were overwhemling. Eric, Timmay, and Valgrim began to climb over the fence and move closer to the house. Partly to aid Bartol and partly to avoid any more missles coming from the barn.

Three of the goblins attacked Bartol. One scored a nasty gash across the barbarian's backside. The apparent leader of the whole tribe was a large hobgoblin with a finely crafted sword and steel shield. It stayed back and looked for an opportunity to strike. Bartol swung his sword as he rose. The strength of the blow gutted one of his attackers. Thane called on his magic to enhance his cudgel. The flames continued to burn and 2 of the slower goblins fell. Eric burst thru the door and finished the goblin standing nearby. Timmay seeing that the others had everything in hand headed around the house to get a better look at the barn. Valgrim moved past Eric and crushed the skull of another greenie. And now the odds were in the hunter's favor.

With only the leader and the 2 attacking Bartol still remaining, the leader moved to attack Bartol 1 of its helpers weighing in as well. A scratch, tis but a scratch, was the best they could do to overcome the half-elf berserker. The other became a door guard and missed Eric. So Bartol halved another of the greenies. Thane snuck into the fray thru the window and struck the leader from behind. The hobgoblin was not happy. Eric sliced and diced the door guard. Timmay had troubles of his own. Out of the barn burst reinforcements, 3 goblins and a hobgoblin. He quickly released the magic to one of his memorized spells. Two goblins now slumbered. Valgrim with no opposition in front or beside him advanced and struck the leader. Down it fell.

The hobgoblin ran to the front of the house. It must not have noticed the trailing goblins fall. It was advancing on Eric, when back thru the window Bartol leapt. Skewered on the end of his sword was the last hobgoblin. A scream for help was heard from Timmay as the last remaining enemy attacked the hated gnome. Thane's wolverine ran from its position to aid Timmay. Thane, too, headed outside to help. Eric and Valgrim brought up the rear. Timmay stepped back and fired his crossbow wide of the goblin.

The goblin turned from the gnome and struck the wolverine. Not a smart move. The creature raged. And all those nearby looked like potential victims. Thane tried calling to it to calm it. Bartol headed over to the slumbering goblins and seeing them sleeping let his ire die. He began trussing them together. Eric and Valgrim both stepped away from the wolverine. Timmay unloaded his crossbow into the back of the goblin's skull.

"Don't turn your back on this gnome," he said.

And it was over. Eric, Thane, and Valgrim went into the barn and began searching around. Bartol went back inside the farm house and put the smoldering fire out. He then dragged the bodies outside and searched them for treasure. Meanwhile, Timmay was having fun with his hated enemies.

Inside the barn Valgrim discovered the decomposing corpses of the previous owners in a root cellar. He and Thane carefully removed the bodies and performed the proper rites. The wolverine had vented its anger on the body of the dead goblin. It was covered in gore. Timmay had extracted some useful information from the 1 remaining goblin. Only 1 because he had made an example of the other one. ;) As the wolverine approached the last goblin, fear caused it to break its bonds. It ran for all it was worth. The wolverine thought it was a game and went after it to play. ;)

The total booty included a silver necklace with 3 small gems, a couple hundred silver pieces, and a gross or so of gold pieces plus the fine longsword, shield, and cheaper made arms and armor of the lesser goblins.


To market to market

Both Thane and Timmay cast spells to check the quality of the items. None of them radiated magic. The longsword did have a artisan's mark. This alone made it worth more to the party. With the natural light starting to head towards dusk the party made for the caravan.

Snap stated, "Halt, who goes there? Is that you, Bartol?"

"Aye, we have returned victorious," he beamed, "and with many goodies."

Snap looked the sword over and told the party it was of dwarven make. The craftsman was well known. However, he hadn't been seen for many years. Another Dale's local, Zanderat Wilcot, would pay handsomely for it. But his estate was miles to the East. So the guards settled back into their routine. No further trouble greeted them on the journey.

A couple hours shy of Peldan's Helm, though, they did find the remains to the last caravan. The drivers, teamsters, handlers, and Snap tossed a few coppers near a small burial site near the burnt out husks.

"I hope Melvyn Wimbly made it safely," Snap whispered. "He was part of this expedition and a friend."

Bartol hung back to check on tracks. He also collected the coins.

"No use to them," he thought.

The road wound around a small cliffside and then forked. One path lead upto the Keep. The Keep was on a small hill. The only visible entrance was over a drawbridge. The moat was shear dropped off to a deep ravine. The other to another of the Dales to the Northwest. But Bartol couldn't make out what the sign said. To the South was a swampy area. And to the North was a thick forest. The road ran alongside the forest for as far as the eye could see.

Activity on the walls of the Keep was non-existent. Two guards awaited the caravan at the moat.

"Hail and well met, Snap" cried the guard. "Tis a great sight to see you and your wares."

The other guard hurried inside to summon the corporal of the watch. The corporal returned and somewhat suspiciously eyed the guards.

"Who do you have with you? We need them to state their names and business here in the Keep."

The guards quickly offered their names. And Snap vouched for them. He also filled the corporal in on the hazards of the journey, including the goblin toll bridge.

"Alright then, stay in the outer bailey. You have access to any of the shops and accommodations you need there," the corporal stated as she backed away.

Snap laughed, "Any accommodations? There's only the one."

And with that he took the caravans to be unloaded. The guard company headed to the inn to check on rooms.


What do you do with a drunken...?

The sign was plainly visible. It was a picture of a man with fire in his hand. Bartol hung back. But since everyone else seemed to think this was the place. He followed. It was an inn. A few locals, a couple townguards, and the serving staff were scattered about the place. Three of the locals, or maybe not, were dressed in the robes of Chauntea.

"Tyr protect you. Come in. Come in. Take a table and rest, gentle sirs," the innkeeper said."I'm Wilf. What can I get for you? Are you with the relief caravan? Are you here to bolster the garrison?"

"Slow down man," Timmay answered. "We were told we could acquire some rooms and a meal in this establishment. And yes, we did come in with the caravan. But no, we are not the relief garrison. I wouldn't expect one if I were you. The council in Ashabenford doesn't know the full extent of your need. We have come to investigate on their behalf. We ran into some trouble on the way here with goblins."

"Goblins did you say?" one of the guardsman brooched. "Well met travellers, I'm Marcus of Tyr. Please tell me more of your journey."

A slight young woman carrying a cat also edged closer. "I've just come from Ashabenford, too. My parents have gone missing. Do you think the goblins were involved."

The wolverine noticed the cat. Thane had to calm him down.

"Wolf, right here and now. I need some ale to wash the taste of goblin from my palate," Bartol bellowed.

"Anon, anon, good sir." Wilf replied.

Thane and the young girl, Bernedette, were soon deep in their own conversation. Both eyed Marcus of Tyr dreamily. And both made a remark or two about the barbarian.

Erik and Valgrim excused themselves early.

Timmay, Marcus of Tyr, and Bartol continued passing the time discussing the journey and their foes. Wilf returned ever now and again to replenish the drinks.

Bartol ordered a round for the company. And seeing the 3 Chaunteans offered them a drink.

The leader approached, "Why thank you. And Chauntea's blessing on this fine beer."

The more the merrier. The Captain of the Guard entered the tavern and joined in on the conversations. Soon everyone was gathered around the table. And then Timmay struck.

In his best tell all tale, he embraced the full mantle of a gnomish bard. He told of each blow, rock, and blade of grass. Everyone was very impressed. Pats on the back, handshook, warrior's grips, and oaths to the gods were muttered. Of course, it helped that his audience was inebriated.

By the end of the evening Bartol had insulted nearly everyone, drank way too much, urinated on the tavern floor, got sprayed by the cat, donated some money to Chauntea, purchased a potion of healing, and had a really good time. He slept it off in the stables.


I'll trade ya.

The next morning as a thousand little bugs crawled thru his head, Bartol set off to find the group at the inn. His mouth was dry and his stomach did a jig. He dunked himself in the trough for the horses outside to get rid of the cat smell.

Timmay was bright and chipper. Bernedette and Thane came down, too. Erik and Valgrim begged off. They were planning on staying in the Keep until further notice. Erik had offered to help Snap with the caravan. And Valgrim was still working on converting his friend to the ways of Lathander.

"Let us find out what we are worth. Shall we?" Timmay said as he handed Bartol the contents of their spoils.

On the way to the Bank Marcus of Tyr joined the group.

"I'm ready whenever you are," the paladin stated.

"Huh? Ready for what?" Bartol blurted out.

Timmay jumped in, "Oh, nevermind, we will be back shortly."

So the Barbarian and the gnome entered the Bank/ Moneychanger. After a brief haggling session. They had obtained a lock box and converted their funds to gold. They placed the Fine longsword, a shoddy suit of studded armor, and the coins in the box. Timmay held onto the key. The necklace it seems was made by a local jeweler, Reese. So they thought it prudent to discover what they could from the jeweler.

"Marcus, do you know Reese?" Timmay asked as they exited the bank.

"Aye, I was hoping to take you to him. He has a story to tell." Marcus replied.

Reese the Cobbler had fought with the Man with Fire in his hands many years ago. They and a couple others were the only survivors of the expeditions that cleared the Caves of Chaos. The Man with Fire in His Hands had stayed on at the Keep for a while after running the inn, but one day he just vanished. Reese was very happy to see young Marcus of Tyr take up the cause.

Reese the Jeweler would have to wait for another day. Timmay pocketed the necklace.
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In Search of the Unknown.

So with the sun breaching the treetops the adventurers set out for the Goblin Caves. Marcus of Tyr, the party member with the most local knowledge, took the lead. The party travelled westward along an illkept road. A forest bordered the trail to the North and a small stream with marshy grassland to the South. A hill or two with a few trees could be seen further to the South. An occasional rise and fall brought the travellers soon out of sight of the Keep. So too did the stream meander out of the range of vision. The trees began to crowd in from the North and an increasing number sprouted on the Southside of the trail. Trail was not a word Bartol would use to describe the path. It was very overgrown and became less and less easy to follow. Luckily he had some training from his father.

Three hours into the trek, the path veered North. An eerie howl could be heard thru the trees. And the jingle of bones or metal was almost perceivable.

"Don't stray from the path," Marcus of Tyr warned. "The Mad Hermit lives near. And he is not very friendly."

"What do we need to fear of 1 old coot?" Bartol smirked. He quickly climbed a tree for a better view. Marcus of Tyr just shook his head.

Thane and Bernedette were in deep conversation. They had chatted the whole way. She was relating the disappearance of her parents. Supposedly some time last night they had agreed to help her find them. But Bartol couldn't remember. Timmay was busy jotting notes in his book and reading over past musings.

A mile or two ahead to the West of the path, well not a path anymore, was a ravine. The ravine the goblin prisoner had spoken of 5 days ago. Bartol scurried down and told everyone what lie ahead.

After resuming their journey, the wolverine and Thane suddenly ran off to the left side of the group only to discover a treed raccoon.

"So much for the big bad goblins," Bartol laughed.

And then it was Thane's turn to laugh. As Bartol nearly lead the group the wrong way. They had found the Caves.


Appearances can be deceiving

Bartol scouted a little ahead. He slowed. Up ahead a group of 3 goblins sought protection from the light of the day. They made way too much noise as they grumbled in their guttural tongue.

"Goblins," Bartol yelled. He unleashed an arrow from his bow. The arrow missed its intended target.

The goblins reacted. They hurled short spears at the three closest adventurers. Bartol and Marcus of Tyr avoided the missles. But Timmay was too slow and a spear point grazed his side.

Thane unleashed a stone, which struck one of the goblin guards to the ground. And Timmay sent a crossbow bolt into the lung of another goblin. Marcus of Tyr closed the gap between the last guard and the group. He swung too high and missed. Bernedette moved behind Thane.

"Useless bow," Bartol thought. He pulled his sword and drove the point into the last guard.

Thane gave Timmay a healing berry. And Bartol searched the goblin's corpses.

Nothing. So Bartol took the point again useless bow and arrow nocked.

A strange creature yipped and ran off. It was covered in green scales and stood 3ft tall. Bartol fired, but struck a tree before the creature was lost from sight. He slung his bow over his shoulder disgustedly and drew his sword. Onward and slightly upward they went.

They had entered the Ravine, a boxed canyon really. A few cave openings were visible at various heights. A scattering of thicket and trees also climbed the sides. The cave the goblin had described was on the left side and close to the entrance to the ravine.

"There's our start," Timmay said. "The goblin said to avoid the higher caves and the ones closer to the back of the ravine. But let's see what we can find in the goblin cave first, shall we?"


put in his thumb and pulled out a ...

Marcus of Tyr lead the group. While Bartol lit a torch. Bernedette and Timmay occupied the middle of the group. And Thane cast a simple light spell on his club.

Not far into the entrance Marcus of Tyr faced his first decision. The passage forked. They could continue forward. The goblin had warned against this oh so many days ago. It was probably trapped. The group could go left or right as well.

A look to the left showed a long tunnel. A similar scene was to the right. Marcus of Tyr chose the right. After travelling 30 or 40 ft the tunnel reached a T junction. A decision was not necessary. Two short spears sailed out of the dark missing Bartol and Marcus of Tyr. The fight was joined.

"BREEYARK," the goblins screamed.

Marcus of Tyr, Bartol, Timmay, and Bernedette advanced into the battle with a guard post of goblins. Bernedette was the first to strike. One of the goblins was slain. Five others remained. Four of these prepared to cast a volley of short spears and 1 was hefting a sack thru a rock wall into a room beyond. Timmay cast a few grains of sand into the air. And the rest of the guards went down.

Before anyone had time to do anything else. The rock wall moved and very large figure emerged. From all appearances this could only be an ogre.

Bartol worried that Bernedette and Marcus of Tyr would be within the ogre's grasp before they could react, raged and charged the giant. The ogre scanned the area. Seeing all of his allies sleeping and a charging half-elf, he swung his club. A most brutual shot. Bartol even enraged was gonna feel that one in the morning. And with the injury Bartol was unable to penetrate the ogre's skin armor. Marcus of Tyr reacted. Because of Bartol's distraction he was able to land a blow with his sword. The ogre did not like this treatment. And he smashed Marcus of Tyr with his return blow from his club. Ouch. A few ribs gave way. Bernedette moved behind the ogre. Thane and the wolverine moved closer. Timmay began to dispatch the sleeping guards.

Bartol swung, again failing to leave a scratch. And Marcus of Tyr added another slash to the ogre's torso. Bernedette left a bruise on the right leg of the ogre. The wolverine closed and attempted to circle behind the ogre. The ogre struck the wolverine when it came into range. He then missed the wolverine as it took a bite out an ankle. Thane moved in behind the ogre as well. Timmay continued the grisly business of cleaning up the guards.

Bartol saw a chance and buried his sword to the hilt in the ogre's chest. Down it fell barely missing the wolverine and Thane.


the beehive erupts

Bartol cleaned his sword and retrieved his torch. Timmay continued with the guards. He went to find Bernedette when he was done. Marcus of Tyr moved to cover the group's back while Thane tended his wounds. Thane also cured Bartol and the wolverine. Bernedette had gone thru the opening in the rock wall the ogre had left.

Marcus of Tyr heard the shuffling of many booted feet. He scattered a pouch of sharp metal spikes on the ground by the tunnel the group had first entered. Around this corner came more goblins. The first 2 did not fare well with the spikes, although they still advanced. Marcus and Bartol easily dispatched them. Thane slung a stone and downed a third as it was just rounding the bend.

Bernedette, Timmay and the wolverine snooped around in the ogre's den. A large sack was plainly visible. Bernedette opened it and found some treasure.

Three more goblins closed more cautiously. Again Marcus of Tyr and Bartol layed them low. The remaining goblin turned and ran. Thane struck the wall just behind the fleeing creature.

Bartol manuvered his way thru the spikes and followed. But after awhile decided against it. He tossed his torch down the corridor. And then put away his sword and drew his bow. Marcus of Tyr collected his caltrops and returned them to his pouch. Thane went to look for the others. Bernedette had found a considerable sum of gold. Timmay and the wolverine also uncovered a sealed potion, some arrows, and a bone tube with a parchment inside.

It wasn't long before things got dicey. Bartol saw a group of much larger goblins, hobgoblins he remembered, come into view.

"We've got company. RUNNNNNNN," Bartol screamed.

He let loose an arrow and ran. The arrow caught the lead hobgoblin right between the eyes. The others bellowed and followed. Marcus saw Bartol run by. He scattered his caltrops again and joined the others in the Ogre cave. Thane also fled.
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