Cormanthyr Spring


First Post
Your Introduction
This is a low-level campaign that takes place in the Forgotten Realms' Cormanthyr Wood. It's a place in flux since the recent departure of the elves from the area.

For hundreds of years, the Moon Elf population, housed in their capitol area, helped police the Wood. They, along with indigenous Wood Elf and feral Wild Elf populations, prevented incursions from goblinoid races such as Orcs, goblins, kobolds, etc. They held agreements with the human settlements in the various Dales regarding logging and other environmental issues.

Then they left.

It's spring, 1372.

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First Post
Cormanthyr Spring - The Player's Introduction

This is the text of the Player Introduction

The woods here are dark and the tiny pools of light that make it to the ground seem overwhelmed by the shadows of the giant trees all around. The air is stifling; as if the forest acts like a huge woolen blanket on the ground – insulating the ground from the air, but trapping the heat and humidity. Out in the fields, the air was pleasant; in here the air wraps around you like a coat.
Of course, you might be more comfortable if you weren’t roped to a slave coffle, or if you hadn’t spent the last day and night being chivvied along like a truant child by the Orc raiding party. You might be more alert if you’d eaten the foul swill the Orc guard tried to pour down your throat this morning – even if it did smell like the bastard child of Gorgonzola cheese and month-old sewage. You might even have an idea where you were in the forest if some bastard Orc didn’t cuff you on the side of the head every time you looked up from the dismal animal track you’ve been shuffling along for the past eight hours.

Then again, perhaps being able to think may not be your best option. Even now, you shudder to recollect the horrible victory party that was held around the smoking ruins of the small tavern in Tavolo Verde. You pity the women, passed from one Orc to another; and you try to forget their piteous shrieks as they were used again and again. Tears of shame well up in your eyes when you remember the colicky baby that was so casually killed right in front of you, and you can’t erase the sight of that tiny body cast so roughly aside, blood and brain matter spattering on the flinching mother.

Tavolo Verde had been in the middle of the Spring Festival, and you’d been in the village because of the light ale brewed in the area. Battledale is known for its hardened inhabitants, but Mistledale is the blessed Dale. Your day had been spent at the fair, haggling over trinkets for loved ones at home, idly watching some of the competitive events, going for the gold ring in others and generally enjoying your first free spring in years. You fell into a heavy, self-satisfied slumber at the end of the evening, sated with spicy bratwurst, pale ale and good company.

You awakened to a nightmare of screams and fire, orcs and wolf-riding goblins running amok through the village. You have a memory of the raid leader, a slender, dread locked orc female who ruthlessly suppressed and corralled the mage staying at the inn with you. You remember the cries of dismay when the orc raiders weren’t effected by what were called sleep spells.

You grind your teeth, and that bastard orc cuffs you on the side of the head with a growled, “Shut yer trap, meat!”
You decide to wait for your opportunity. These bastards are going to slip up, then you’ll make them rue the day they put you in a collar. That’s the thought that keeps you alive.
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First Post
Cormanthyr Spring Continued

The players in our tale of woe:

Dain: A slender moon elf male with abnormally pale skin. He wears a dark robe over muddy trousers and a tunic.
Edo: A well-built human male. He wears a torn white robe with a tabard that marks him as a priest of Torm. He's young, and his eyes are haunted by what's just happened to him and the village of Tavolo Green.
Erev-Ba: A cat-like moon elf female in a torn tunic, trousers and light boots. Her hair is dark, her eyes are green, and she moves with quick grace -- although it's hard to see under the dirt. She's got a bruise on her temple, a cut on her right cheek and an alert, watchful gaze.
Tannon: A slender moon elf female with light coloring: Green eyes and reddish hair. She moves with an unusual economy of movement. She's dressed in a simple tunic and trousers, with no footwear at all. One might be tempted to take her for an intinerant priest, but for the lack of markings on her clothing.
Jared: A rough-looking older human male. He's obviously seen some 50 summers, as the silver in his chestnut hair and beard can attest. He's dressed in leather trousers and torn leather tunic, with woodsman's boots.
Tethka: An obviously young human female. She's striking because of the silver-white hair worn in warrior's braids down her back. The muscles in her arms and back move smoothly as she trudges, indicating great strength and agility, but the look out of her eyes is world weary and frightened. She's dressed in a tunic, leather vest and trousers with solid walking boots.

Their current situation:
The folks above, as well as at least half of the population from Tavolo Green, are tied to a coffle with rough rawhide laces. Each person wears a heavy leather collar that is tied to a heavy rope hawser some 4" in diameter and some 60' in length. The people are tethered in pairs, with each individual supporting a length of the hawser. Each person's hands are tied together in front of them, with their elbows also tied together. This means that each person's hands are currently just below their chins, with their bound elbows at just about waist level. This is an incredibly uncomfortable long term pose, and allows a guard to ascertain what a person on the coffle is doing with their hands at a glance.

The coffle (slave chain) has been traveling all night (about 8 hours), and has covered about 15 miles from the smoking ruins of Tavolo Green. The pairs of our focus party in the coffle are: Jared and Tetka, Erev-ba and Tannon, and Edo and Dain.

Our Story Begins with the Next Post!
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Liquid Awesome
Sigh. Just what I need - another cool story hour to follow. Thanks a lot Shawn. Perhaps if your opening narrative hadn't been so good, I could have escaped. But no.

Well, count me in for the duration.



First Post
Rel said:
Sigh. Just what I need - another cool story hour to follow. Thanks a lot Shawn. Perhaps if your opening narrative hadn't been so good, I could have escaped. But no.

Well, count me in for the duration.


You have only yourself to blame, Rel. You and Old One have bewitched me with your silky words and totally cool campaigns... I just had to try to document my own campaign in your style. We'll see if I can back up my bluster with some content.

By the way.... Thanks. :D It's good to measure up!


First Post
Episde 1: the Coffle

It's noon -- not quite two days since the raid.

The orc raiders had pushed the coffle unmercifully for many hours through that night and the next day, then finally allowed everyone to rest several hours after sundown. The unwholesome victory party was repeated by the orcish raiders -- and the latter half of the coffle noticed that their female members were approached by one or another of the raiders, but left alone after a long gaze and a sulpherous curse from the raider in question.

Just after dawn, orc raiders had kicked awake the people in the coffle. A young-looking orc in studded leather had passed up both sides of the coffle, offering a ladle of some foul smelling and no doubt poisonous swill to each of the captives. Most of the villagers from Tavolo Green, frightened and hungry, had taken the swill and a swig of spring water from this captor. None of our heros accepted the ladle, but did accept the proffered water.

Feeling somewhat better, the captives were unsurprised when one of the most fearsome of the orcish brutes dragged the front of the coffle up and shouted in broken Trade Tongue, "UP! You go now!" A leading man in the coffle, the tavern keeper, attempted to say something, and was cuffed viciously across the face. "You MEAT now! MEAT don't talk! MEAT just WALKS!"

The next few hours passed without incident, if you discount the numerous times coffle members were cuffed and spat on by their orc captors. During this inverval, the young priest, Edo, noticed that his moon elf companion, Dain, seemed almost... well... not entirely lucid. The elf mumbled under his breath, perspiring and glancing up at the sun and then around. Several times this resulted in Dain being cuffed and struck about the head and shoulders by one or another of the orc raiders. By noon, Dain's pallid face was covered in bruises, his lips split and torn by the rough handling of the captors. Further up the coffle, Jared was stealing glances around at all of the raiders he could see, while Tethka merely bowed her head and walked. She seemed to have sunk into herself, providing no additional excuse for abuse at the hands of the raiders and seemingly becoming invisible. As to the two elfin females, Erev-ba and Tannon, each walked through the morning with little or no difficulty. More than once each of these winsome elf maidens were eyed, sniffed and then spat at by one or more of the raiders. The two looked at one another quizzically, but never spoke.

Now the coffle is stopped in a meadow some 60 feet wide. One of the orcs, a huge barbarous fellow with a face almost obscured by swirling tattoos shouts out in Trade Tongue, "You rest now!"

Jared whispers to Tethka, "Ye alright, lass?" She merely nods, not meeting his eyes.

Suddenly, there's a commotion at the rear-most point of the coffle. An orcish voice shouts out, but is clipped short and... one of the captives, a middle-aged man with greying blonde hair is sprinting for the tree line. His hands are free, and he charges for the nearest bush. With whoops and yips, five young orc raiders charge after him, easily catching him short of the concealing trees. One raider reaches out and swings the man around, perhaps to cuff him into submission, but is surprised as the fellow whips around with a small knife and gashes his face. The first orc stumbles back, clutching his face, but the other four pile onto the man, forcing him to the ground. Then they beat him. Badly. The group of orcs is joined by another of the older-looking, tattooed orcs who yanks up the man by the scruff of the neck and frog-walks him up to the raid leader. The younger orcs follow, chest-thumping and high-fiving one another. The injured orc still clutches at his face, and blood wells out through his pale fingers.

The orc raid leader shouts something in an almost pleasant tenor voice, and then the remaining orcs force the coffle into a shallow crescent shape. Now all of the members of the coffle can see the fate of the middle aged man. His head hangs to one side, his face distorted with swelling and fresh blood. The orc female, her dreadlocks bobbing around her strangely slim face, turns to the coffle and speaks in unaccented Trade Tongue, "Listen to me, people of the village! Your old lives are over. Before you owned property, you held land and you farmed for yourself. Those days are through. Now you are mine. You are slaves. You are mine to kill, sell or eat as I choose. Before you had a name. Now you are MEAT. To live, you must learn a new way, and now I will teach it to you."

She turns to the man and picks up his head by the forelock.

"This man tried to run away. He denies he is MEAT. When we try to capture him, he harms us." She takes a curved dagger from her belt and suddenly slashes the man across his face, then repeats the process so that he has a huge "X" centered on his nose. His eyes pop open and he screams, with fresh blood running down his face into his eyes and onto his soiled night shirt.

"You don't EVER run. You don't EVER resist. You are MEAT! You don't have to be pretty to be MEAT. You don't have to be pretty to be useful." The man is still screaming, but has begun to curse and spew at the orc female. She listens to him for a moment, then grabs his tongue and spears her dagger down through it, pinning most of it outside his mouth.

"You don't have to have a tongue to be useful. " She nods at the tattooed orc holding the man up, who reaches around and yanks the tongue from the man's mouth. A gout of blood shoots from the man's mouth, cascading onto his chest. The orc female reaches behind her and unlimbers the Great Club slung across her back. It is a beautiful, yet disturbing club, carved into the shape of clouds and distended faces on the striking area. She takes the club in two hands, and, with a speed and power that belie her comparative slightness, smashes both of the man's legs. The long bones of his legs shatter, and the sound of crushing and breaking meat resonates through the meadow.

"You DO need legs, though." She nods at the tattooed orc, who snatches a hand axe from his belt and quickly beheads the man, holding up the head for all to see. Many of the people in the coffle scream and cry, but these cries don't last long. The orcs wade into the coffle, cuffing the kneeling captives into submissive silence.

"Where you are going, they will treat you worse than this. You are MEAT now. You follow directions, you live. Defy us and you die -- slowly. That is all. "

This has been too much. Dain, who before had been somewhat pacified, begins to struggle with his bonds, crying out, "...They are here! They're all around us! They can see us! We must flee! Help me, you fools, they're coming!" Before Edo can do so much as flinch, the other tattooed orc smashes Dain in the face. Dain's nose shatters, and he slumps toward the ground, unconscious. This proves to be somewhat of a problem for Edo, who now must support Dain's weight and that of the coffle hawser. Edo does what he can to get his shoulder under the unconscious moon elf, and is barely able to support them both as the coffle is prodded and poked back into a line. Everyone is quiet for the rest of the day. Dain wakes an hour or two later, and has some difficulty breathing through his mouth. He is wisely quiet for the rest of the afternoon.

Old One

First Post
Great Start!


I have to echo Rel's words though...I spend way too much time reading Story Hours as it I have another one to follow!

Great start and I am looking forward to more!

Old One


First Post
Extra Character Details for flavor

Dain has long, unkempt hair with bangs that have probably never been trimmed. His hair hangs wildly in his face, only allowing an occasional glimpse of intense dark eyes with an unbalanced gleam in them pretty much most of the time. He rarely speaks, but when he does it is very slow, deliberate, almost melodic, and very dramatic. Hearing him speak, one knows immediately he is insane, evil, dramatic, or just putting on one heck of an act to try to impress or intimidate those around him. Unfortunately his appearance and body language are as unusual as his speech, and the whole package matches perfectly, making it impossible to tell if it is all just a really bizarre act or if he has...other problems.

As noon starts getting closer, Dain seems to get increasingly agitated, trying desperately to cover himself and keep to the shadows, eyes darting back and forth across the sky fearfully. Shortly before noon he becomes truely frantic. He begins shrieking, "We need to get under cover! They're watching us! You fools, they'll see us! They'll see us!". He seems to have lost touch with reality here as he begins lurching frantically against his collar towards the nearest cover, doing as much damage to himself as has already been done to him by his captors. He is obviously in such extream terror that he seems to have completely forgotten his current situation, utterly oblivious to the fact he is endangering his own life by becoming such a nuisance. "Get to the Trees! Get to the Trees! While there's still Time! They'll s..." Whump! Dain collapses unconscious to the ground.

Those nearby stand stunned in confused disbelief. What in the world could drive this bizarre elf into such sheer depths of terror? What did he know that they did not...or was he just nuts? Thinking back, they did recall that in the short time they've been together he did always seem agitated near noon and calm down afterwards as if nothing were wrong in the first place...but he was NEVER excited to this level before...then again they'd never been in the wide open near noon before either. What unknown horror was this elf so sure was up above? Only time will tell as Lhathordainadin (Dain for short) Mordre's story continues...or comes to an abrupt and violent end.
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Liquid Awesome

Shawn, if you GM half as good as you write, your games must be a real treat!

I recently mentioned in a thread titled, "What Makes A Good Adventure" that the PC's having a personal stake in the game is far more compelling than them just being adventurers seeking cash, magic items and experience points. Your description conjures such a visceral hate for the slavers that I foresee you having no problems getting the characters to want to engage them later (assuming they survive their current predicament).

Your real problem might come in if you try to get them to follow any adventure leads that don't include them exterminating every orc on the planet.

Great story so far. Can't wait for more.


First Post
Rel said:

Shawn, if you GM half as good as you write, your games must be a real treat! ..... Great story so far. Can't wait for more.

Thanks, Rel. Oh, and thanks to everyone who's complimented the thread.

I've had some real world difficulties crop up, but I'll post again sometime tonight.


another fan!

SLS, I like the premise of the PCs starting off as captured slaves in Cormanthyr. They definitely have to use their wits. Will be great to follow and see what happens.
How many players do you have? Does each player have one PC?

Can the priests and/or sorcerers regain their spells? Did you start them at 1st level?


First Post
Episode 1 (continued)

The rest of the day is spent in silence; the entire coffle trudging along at a quicker pace (if that were possible). If anyone looks up from their feet, there seems to be an orc who cuffs or snarls at that person, forcing their eyes down. Our heros numbly notice that the rest of the coffle has no trouble handling the grueling pace, even some of the older grandparents.

Several hours after sundown, the coffle stumbles into a large clearing. One of the tattooed orcs strides up and down the coffle, shouting "You get down now! You rest now!"

Slowly, the members of the coffle attempt to slump to a comfortable position, but not fast enough for the orc raiders.
The members of the coffle are kicked and tripped into laying down. Their elbow straps are released, and there are groans and shrieks as numbed, long-constricted blood vessels are suddenly flooded with life and sensation. Again, as was done in the morning, a pair of orc raiders circulate up and down the coffle, offering a ladle of water, then a ladle of cold, soupy gruel. It's been a long day, and our heros succumb to hunger -- having long ago succumbed to other, less savory bodily needs.

After that, several orc raiders move up and down the coffle, untying and taking more of the women from Tavolo Green to the farthest part of the clearing (some 70 feet away) for another hideous "Victory Party."

A group of four younger orcs build a small campfire midway between the "party" and the rest of the coffle, and are obviously the first set of sentries for the night. Two of the sentries look longingly at and call encouragements to the rest of the orcs "enjoying" themselves at the far end of the clearing. The raid leader has had a lean-to shelter constructed for herself with a small fire in front, and disappears inside it.

For the first time in almost two days, our heros are left to their own devices; albeit uncomfortable and bound. Huddled and tumbled together, each pair in the coffle makes discoveries and plans.

"We've got to get out of this situation," Tannon whispers to Erev-ba. "I'm afraid we'll be the next victims. Can you think of why they haven't ever picked us?"

"Hmmmmm. I don't know." answers Erev-ba. "Maybe we smell wrong..."

Tannon becomes aware that part of her discomfort is because of something sharp laying underneath her. She begins shifting her weight around, and is finally able to pick up the sharp item -- a broken off pork rib bone, its splintered end both pointed and sharp. She looks at Erev-ba and smiles. "I have our way out of here, I think"

Erev-ba smiles back, "I always have a way out. I've just never had the time or privacy to use it." She turns her right hand toward Tannon, then produces a large, sharpened coin. Both young elves lean forward, then begin cutting at their bonds.

Jared and Tethka are together. "Girl, we've got to get out of this, you hear? These orcs ain't actin' normal. I don't know what they'll do now, and that scares me. I been huntin' these bastards for twenty years now, and I've never seen a band act like this. They left FOOD behind, do you hear? Orcs don't leave food behind! It don't make sense."

Tethka merely looks at Jared with weary eyes. " Unless you have something to cut these bonds, I cannot help you. I've been trying since we got here to break them, and they won't."

Jared grins, then reaches carefully back over his head, and comes back with a small knife. "I always keep an insurance policy on a string, girl. People see the medicine pouch on my chest and never think to see how long the back is. Give me your hands, then we'll get out of here. Maybe we can cause a commotion and lead some of the stupider orcs out into the woods. We jump 'em there and we'll get us some weapons. You with me?"

Tethka looks at him for a moment, then mutely holds out her hands.

Edo and Dain are tumbled together, their faces almost touching in the dark. Dain is still having trouble with breathing, his nose swelled to almost twice its normal size and clogged with crusted blood.

Edo whispers, "We must free ourselves, friend, so that we can rescue the inhabitants of Tavolo Green. Are you with me?"

"I can barely breath, but I can try to help." Dain answers.

"What skills do you have, Brother Elf? I myself am a Priest of Torm, and have been blessed with his power. Some of His blessings include healing. Is there aught I can do for you?" hisses Edo.

"I can weave some spells, human, " answers Dain. "With luck and timing, I believe I can lead off most of the orcs, then you can try to escape. If this works, then we can meet back here at midnight tomorrow. What do you think? And, if you could do something about my face; I can barely breathe."

Edo reaches into his torn cassock and pulls forth a pendant in the shape of a metal gauntlet. "Do you accept the blessing of Torm, Brother Elf?"

Dain looks at Edo for a moment, then nods in assent.

"The in the name of Torm, who protects the weak and guides the strong, I bid your torn body be healed. Let his divine power sweep away your wounds and weariness."

Hidden by their bodies, a blue-white glow passes from Edo's pendant, through his outstretched fingers, and into Dain's body. He closes his eyes, the opens them. "That's good, human. What may I call you?"

"I am Edo, of Torm. And you?"

"I am Lhathordainadin Mordre. You may call me Dain." The slight elf looks up at the stars, then back at his coffle-mate. "I am aware that you carried me, Edo. I owe you a debt; and that means something to me. But this will have been in vain if we cannot escape these cursed rawide bonds!"

Slowly, each of the pairs begins to notice that they're trying to speak to another. By inches, they creep together and formulate a quick plan. Dain will create a diversion to lead away as many of the orcs as he can, and in the confusion, the group will slip away. Edo is opposed to this, but in the end agrees to slip away in order to find weapons so that he can then
rescue the rest of the coffle. Jared and Erev-ba look at each other and smile, then shinny away through the darkness. Almost immediately, they disappear into the knee-high grass of the clearing.

Next time... A Battle!


First Post
Re: another fan!

Broc (can I call you Broc?);

Broccli_Head said:
How many players do you have? Does each player have one PC? Can the priests and/or sorcerers regain their spells? Did you start them at 1st level?

I currently have 6 players, although at the time of this episode I only had 5. Each player has only one character. You get to guess who the NPC is (heh heh).

Priests and sorcerers regain their spells IAW the standard rules... but nobody's had the chance to renew anything as of yet. (I have priests and paladins get their spells after their prayer time. I think it adds color, and it certainly adds tension to the table in this game.)

Each of the characters started off at 1st level, except Dain and Erev-ba, who are "apprentice" level, multiclass characters. Hmmmm; there's a clue. Can you guess who the NPC is now?


First Post
The Coffle: Conclusion

Dain, carefully crawling through the grass of the clearing, slowly makes his way across to the opposite side of the clearing. Some 60 feet from the coffle line and some 80 feet from the raid leader's lean-to, he turns over on his back and begins to count under his breath.

The three remaining coffle mates (Edo, Tannon and Tethka) slowly slink through the darkness to the southeastern-most part of the clearing. Being careful to straighten the grass behind them, they wind up in a shallow swale, almost completely obscured by the grass and some scrub brush growing at the crest of the small hillock.

Laying on his back, Dain composes his features and mutters a quick incantation, making a subtle series of gestures. A few seconds later, he shimmers in the starlight, and a young-looking orc raider sits up and rises at the southeastern edge of the clearing. Stepping forward to some trees, he undoes his trousers and relieves himself against a tree. Looking into the forest, he suddenly snaps open his eyes, then shouts, "Hey, they're getting away! The Meat are getting away!"

The stars glitter in the spring night as the call revounds from the trees. For a second, time seems to stand still -- for the orc raiders disporting at the northern edge of the clearing, for the cofflemates still strapped together on the ground, for the raid leader in her lean-to, and for the guards at the far western end of the clearing. Then, as one, two of the guards at the fireplace leap to their feet, snatching up hand weapons, and speed across the meadow toward their compatriot. As they leap over the supine slaves on the coffle rope, they notice that, indeed, several of the slaves are missing. Their compatriot, still urninating against the tree, points and says, "There! In the woods! There they go!"

As if a bell was rung, the raid leader steps from her lean-to, assesses the situation, and begins barking orders. "Schrot! Grab your teams and come with me! Zhazzbat! You keep four back and watch the rest of the slaves! NOW! Let's go!"

It takes an amazingly short time for the partying orcs to be kicked and grabbed into a coherent group, and the raid leader charges into the trees at the western part of the clearing, chasing the escapees she can see going around a tall bush. Her 16 raiders follow her like hunting dogs after a scent, howling invectives. The "orc" that had sounded the alarm follows behind, helping to guide the hunting party and providing sounds for the seeming of the escaping party. One of the heavily tattooed orcs begins grabbing the freed women at the "party" site, and two other raiders help him secure them back in the coffle.

One lone orc, standing too close to a bush at the western edge of the clearing suddenly is jerked backward into the brush. Starlight glints off something in a feminine hand that sweeps across the throat of the young orc, while another feminine hand covers his mouth. The combination of actions stifle the cry of alarm that dies, stillborn, in the orc's throat.

Fifteen feet back in the brush, Erev-ba and Jared grin at one another over the dying orc and help themselves to the his weapons. Erev-ba takes the battleaxe, shortbow and arrows, hissing, "I'll hand off the axe to one of the others. You sure you'll be alright with just the daggers?"

"Girlie, a shiv is all I need to take on that tatooed beast. You
get them kids back over here -- as good as I am, I can't kill four
orcs by my lonesome. I'll count to 13 five times, then I'm takin'
the big one out. You hear me? We can free the whole ding-dang coffle ifn we take out these guards. We'll never have another chance!"

One hundred feet into the forest off southeastern edge of the clearing, a short, whispered discussion is taking place. Standing close together, Edo, Tannon and Tethka have reached a crossroads.

"By Torm's hand, I need all of you to help me rescue the villagers!" Edo is agitated. His mission in life is to protect the weak. He continues, "We can't just leave them out there! How will you all sleep at night if you escape but leave all those helpless villagers to the attentions of the orcs? What kind of people are you?"

"I'm the kind of person who doesn't want to be enslaved. If we attack the guards with nothing but our hands, we'll die for nothing," hisses Tethka. "It makes more sense to get back to our gear, then track the raiding party and pick our moment! We try to free them all now, we could be killed -- who then would free the villagers? Your God? I didn't see him doing you any good when your hands were tied!"

"Surely we can come to a peaceful understanding here," whispers Tannon. "The three of us can do very little by ourselves. We should seek out more help. Then, surely, we can effect a rescue. I have to agree with this human here. Attacking with no plan and no weapons would be sure suicide for you, and foolhearty for me."

Already Tethka is carrying a stout cudgel, picked up from the ground just inside the woods. It's not much more than a stick, but it will protect her in a fight.

The three spin around as a dark figure stalks up to them. "I could hear you a mile away! Do you WANT the remaining guards to come and find you? There's only four of them, but I'm thinking they could take you unawares just like I did!"

Tannon is the first to reply, "Erev-ba! Are you alright?"

"Sure I am, Tannon. Say, can any one here use a battleaxe? This bastard is heavy, and besides, I've got me a really cool bow."

Tethka says, "I could use such an axe, if anyone else doesn't want it."

Edo looks doubtfully at Erev-ba, then at Tethka. "I don't use battle axes. But if you can use it, then let's go back and rescue the villagers. You heard her say there's only four guards left. Surely we can attack suddenly and, with surprise and Torm's blessing, win the villagers' freedom."

"I agree. This does change things." Tethka says. Tannon merely nods.

"Then hurry yourselves up! Jared's gonna attack the big tattooed bastard in a second! We gotta take out the rest of the guards so that he doesn't have to fight them all," says Erev-ba, "There's no time to waste talking!"

Tethka takes the proffered battleaxe, then hands the cudgel to Edo. "Say a prayer, priest. We're not out of the woods yet."

"Hmmmm. Right."

As one, the four turn back towards the clearing. It's now or never.

Seconds later, they peer out into the clearing from behind some brush. The old man has begun his attack already, and has engaged the heavily tattooed orc. From a distance things don't look good for the old woodsy, and they're about to get worse. Two of the other raiders are racing over to where Jared and Zhazzbat are fighting, daggers against great axe.

Erev-ba suddenly nocks an arrow and lets fly at Zhazzbat. "Go get 'em. I'll make it difficult for any one of 'em to concentrate on you."

With speed, the three coffle mates spring into the clearing, sprinting toward raiders. Tethka is the first to strike, and scores a clean hit on her chosen prey. Sadly, the scales of his armored torso turn most of the axe edge away, and the raider merely spins around in surprise. He grins at the slightly built human girl before him, then raises his own battleaxe and pounds it on his shield. "You die now, MEAT!"

The next twenty seconds are a blur of flashing blades, the sound of wood on bone and falling bodies. At the end of it, Tethka is clutching at a wicked cut on her arm, being supported by Edo, while Tannon cuts loose the remaining villagers.

Farther north, Erev-ba slowly closes the staring eyes of Jared. "You were brave, old man. But you should have waited. You could have got out of this thing alive." She slips his daggers back into his hands, then goes back to the rest of the group.

"We've got to get these people out of here, now. Anybody got a plan?"

"Let's just go. We'll get a plan when we've got the time."

The next few hours are stressful. There are sixty people from Tavolo Green, twenty of whom have been badly misused by the orcs. One of them, a woodsy-looking girl named Jessica, mentions that there's an old fort some few miles from the clearing. It's got a partial palisade, and the orcs might not know where it's located. She leads the way down the twisting,
half-ruined track that leads to the old fort. Tannon, Tethka, Edo and
Erev-ba keep to the back of the group, watching and waiting for the orcs to follow them. After some three hours of walking and hiding, the whole group walks into the ruined fort.

Four days later, the villagers, their rescuers and Dain arrive at the remains of Tavolo Green, to be met by a squadron from the Riders of Mistledale.


First Post
GM's Notes on the Coffle

Well, there you have it. The first adventure in my campaign. As you might have guessed by now, Jared was the major NPC -- who died well and bravely by attracting the attention of the 2nd level barbarian Orc, Jazzbat.

I decided not to even try to detail the battle in the adventure, because the actual game took place at the end of November. I'm currently writing up the next few game sessions for this (look for that in the next three days or so) story hour.

Next time:

Ashabenford Nights: Our heros arrive in the big city and find out things aren't really what they seem. One heo finds out who she truly is, and several dream important dreams.


A dark yet compelling introduction. Not the sort of "hook" you normally see in games, but it worked to bring the players together as a coherent group. Looking forward to future updates.

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