Eldeen reaches


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This is a storyhour of the game I am running with my kids. Cathy (14) and Tim (11) in the game world of Eberron. As the title implies, it will take place mainly within the borders of the Eldeen reaches. This is the world’s largest forest and hides many secrets (some best left hidden).

In the past we have run games with basic “save the princess” or “return the stolen heirloom” type of stories. This time we are advancing to a campaign which both are looking forward to. As always, I am keeping the tone whimsical and light if only since they are my kids.

So without further ado, we begin where they are checking up on a friend of theirs that they have not heard from in several days……


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“Where is Joe?”

Therendor 10, 997
“The spring birds are early. I like their songs that they bring.” Says the druid as she walks down the forest trail.

“Eh. Whatever. Do you think Joe will have stew? I’m hungry.” Piik says more to himself than to the woman ahead of him.

“I like the warmth that spring brings. And Joe’s spring root stews are good. I like venison but there something to be said for his stews also.” The shifter leads them down the muddy path. His eyes dart side to side.

“Is Joe expecting us?” Piik says with a grunting voice. His Bugbear heritage clear in his voice. While wandering in the Eldeen Reaches two years ago he met and befriended Joe whom introduced him then to Leaffa, the human druid and Gilfer a Shifter whom creates weapons with the power of his speedy mind only.

Stopping at a stream, Leaffa’s horse, Ash, takes a drink. It neighs in concern. “What is it girl? What is bothering you?”

“Look.” Says Gilfer pointing at the soft mud next to the stream. “Tracks. Many tracks.”

Piik ignores them as he pushes his clawed toes in and out of the mud allowing the ooze to bubble up through his toes. “Looks like wolves.” He says with no interest.

Leaffa looks closer at the tracks and the stream. “A pack…. Lead by … a big wolf. Maybe even… a Dire Wolf…?”

“And these are not wolf tracks. They seem to be following the wolves… or being chased by them.” Gilfer looks closer at what he has seen. “Children… or small humanoids.” He looks around to try to guess whom was chasing whom. “Piik…. Didn’t Sir John say something about goblin thieves were seen in the next valley over?”

“Eh. If they try to steal from me….’” The bugbear touches the handle to his chipped battleaxe, “… things will go squish.”

“Does everything have to be settled by “squishing”?” asks Leaffa already knowing the fighter’s answer.

He surprises her. “No. Sometimes I just scare ‘em away.” He smiles allowing a lone tooth to peer out of his mouth as looks to Gilfer for approval. Gilfer is too busy looking at the tracks to pay attention to him. The bugbear grunts softly and tries to look like he cares about the tracks in the mud. Which he doesn’t.

“Tracks look to be two… maybe three days old.” Leaffa says as she stands up and pats the head of her horse. Ash shakes her head softly. As the druid’s animal companion, she shares many traits with her. Growing concern for Joe is one. Or is it one of his stored apples Joe saves just for her?

They resume following the trail to Joe’s cabin. No one has heard from the old ranger in several days time. Though he is wise and knows the woods well, he is becoming old and sometimes over estimates his own fortitude.

When they reach his small two-room log cabin they slow down and tense up. His door is open.

Piik hefts out his Battleaxe and his eyes become dark as he looks for threats seen and in secret. Leaffa lets go of Ash and draws out her bow and pulls back the flap to her quiver of arrows. Gilfer crouches slightly causing him to stand lightly on the balls of his feet. He reaches into his mind and energy begins to surface and glow around his hand. The energy lengthens and forms the shape and size of a short sword then solidifies into said weapon. He moves up first.

There are signs of goblins in the earth leading up to the porch. Piik moves up to squish anything that comes out. Goblin, wolf or even a dire wolf…. It’s all-good.

“Hello…?” silence.

The Mind blade gently pushes the door open. Inside, papers and books are on the floor. The room looks completely trashed. Gilfer steps in and checks the next room as Piik waves for Leaffa to come up. She looks in. “What happened in here?”

“Maid’s day off.” Piik says once more showing his one pointed tooth as he smiles at his own joke.

“No sign of Joe. His pack and staff are gone. I doubt he was here when this happened.”

Leaffa, looking at the shifter frowns in agreement. “Did you see the tracks outside? This was done by the goblins.”

“Joe call up wolves to chase away the pests?” asks Piik as he looks at the empty food shelves. Not even the Boar peppered jerky is left.

“Maybe he is in town at Sir John’s place.”


The three of them look one last time then walk onto the porch. “I doubt Joe used wolves to chase away the goblins. I also doubt wolves just happened to arrive as the goblins were leaving.” Gilfer continues to say whatever he is thinking to share his thoughts. “Goblins are known to have alliances with wolves. Even Worgs. A big worg could have left that print… not a dire wolf.” Gilfer was troubled imaging a goblin riding a Dire Wolf of which is as big or bigger than a horse.

“I’m hungry. I’m so hungry I could eat…. DIRE BOAR!” exclaims Piik.

Looking up the trail from the porch they see a large boar. A Dire Boar. Its front tusks are as large as long swords. Hairy bristles the color of night rise and fall as the beast breaths. Bony Chitin plates and ridges peer out from the coarse hair. The creature scratches at the earth and snorts at the three.

“Piik Squish” says Piik once more hefting up his Battle-Axe.

Piik and the boar charge at the same time. Piik rises his battleaxe to strike while the boar lowers its thick plated head and attempts to gore the bugbear fighter.

Piik misses….. the boar doesn’t. Piik spins off to the side with blood spraying from his gut. He lands in a heap (…and mumbles several words not fit for my kid’s ears.). Before the boar could stop and charge into the seriously injured fighter Gilfer charges up with his blade. His attacks does little to the creature. Calling on her magic over nature and nature’s allies, Leaffa summons on the strength of the land and the ground begins to swell between Piik and the Dire Boar. She then readies her bow and arrow.

Piik sees his blood and becomes very angry. He attacks the boar breaking several bony plates with his swing. Gilfer lands a shot also causing the Boar to decide whom to attack. An earth elemental rises up and strikes the boar next. It has no where to go but fights until dead.

Piik goes and sits down on the porch. He pulls out his pack and searches for a healing potion he had bought in Greenblade. He drinks it down quickly.

“If I didn’t know better…. I would say that boar was watching us enter the cabin and attacked only when we were going to leave.” Says Leaffa looking at the dead creature.

Piik pulls out a second potion even as he feels the heat and sensation of the magical healing begin.

“What next?” Gilfer asks.

“Piik hungry. Getting gutted does that to a bugbear. Ham anyone?” as he aims his axe on the hindquarters of the boar.


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“Wine Tree”

Having collected meat to treat and make into trail rations the group moves on. Leaffa has also removed much of the tough hide to sell in the village. It takes about two hours of walking to reach the Village.

Their first stop is a retired scout from Aundair. He prefers the peace of the deep forests so when Aundair signed the Throne Peace Treaty to stop trying to gain control of Eldeen. He has since settled here. They give him the Hide and meat to cure and work.

Their next stop is Wine Tree.

Wine Tree is the busiest (and only) tavern in the village. Sir John runs it. He is a retired adventurer from Breland whom is well traveled with many life experiences to draw from. The only problem with him is his need to be a storyteller. There is no simple yes or no answer from him. Everything has a story behind it. The worst part…. It is not always clear what truly happened and what he has “embellished” for the sake of a good tale. But he is kind, warm and friendly and welcomes all business.

Many of his regular customers are just as strange and eccentric as he is. Task and Arkoose are two druids whom have an endless debate about how the world will end… Fire or Ice. There is also Kato, a House Jorasco healer whom has a small shop across the street. She often jokes that while she heals the body, Sir John heals the mind.

So we begin again as the group enters Wine Tree for drink and information.

“A flame from a colossal Fire elemental would melt adamantine.” Declares a slightly drunken and disfigured orc.

“The cold from a big ice paraelemental would freeze then shatter adamantine.” A cloaked human (?) debates just as drunkenly and loudly.

Each stops and turns to say hi to the group then returns to their debate.

Gilfer spots a few shifters getting up to leave. They are all brothers and work at the nearby House Vadalis farm. They are known as the village idiots four. Their names are Ed, Edd, Eddie and Edison (Edison is the smarter one). Piik goes directly up the bar and asks for a drink. He asks for the strongest stuff and gets some cheap ale. Gilfer asks for the best tasting stuff and gets some cheap ale. Leaffa asks for water and gets discolored watered down cheap ale.

“What brings you three to my fine award winning establishment?” Sir John boasts.

“Award winning?” asks Piik as he slides the empty glass over for a refill of the strong stuff.

“Voted by Eldeen natives as the best in the village.” The two druids raise their mugs in pride and honor of being two of the judges.

“We were looking for Joe. He wasn’t at his cabin.” Answers Leaffa sipping her water.

“I hear he is working for House Vadalis. Have I ever told you about the year I spent working for that Dragonmarked house in the Shadow Marches? I was hired to capture Crocodiles. Those swamps grew some really big and nasty crocs. They can and do swallow horses whole. Ash can is faintly heard neighing outside at the word of being eaten alive. Some thought there was dragon blood in them and others thought fiendish. Either way- nasty things.” Sir John pulls out his pipe which signals to the group that he is ready to begin his tales of high adventure involving either these crocs or the House of animal husbandry.

“His cabin was vandalized.” Bursts out Gilfer in an attempt to sideline the story that he has heard and ended with his time in Xen’drik fighting the reptilian god Snarl-a-lot or something like that.

“hurmm?” says Sir John as he lights up his pipe of seasoned leaves.

“We have not seen or heard from Joe in a week. So went to find him. He was not there but something else was. We think it was goblins. We remembered you said something about goblins last week.” Says Leaffa is an equally desperate attempt to shorten Sir John’s tale of the Crocodile god from Q’Barra… or was it Xen’drik?

“Well yes. Yes I did. The Dredger family said their family in the next valley over had a traveler attacked by a bandit looking to replace his lost goods. These lost goods were taken by a group of goblins. The goblins were possibly from Droaam since their coloration was dark versus yellow or the green of Darguun and Breland. Let’s see here…. Was it food or camping gear they took….. no no no… it was digging gear… No…. Yes. Yes it was digging gear. I remember it very clearly.” (this got the wife to be laughing very loudly from the next room.  )

Groaning to himself, Gilfer attempts another shot at getting somewhere with Sir John’s tale telling. “Sir John- you mentioned the Dragon marked House of Vadalis. Joe was hired by them? Which one?”

“House Vadalis hired him just as they had myself. Something about a wild creature killing their livestock. House Vadalis takes their livestock very serious. It’s their livelihood after all. They raise and train animals to be the best there is. Some even use magic to improve the abilities of these already beautiful animals. There is somewhere between three and three dozen farms around here. The Fur brothers were just recently hired to help with livestock protection. It could be that farm. The lead rancher there is a Vadalis family member but he has no Dragonmarks on him. Too bad. Did I ever tell you about the time I met a Siberys Dragonmarked barbarian in the Shadow Marches (DM NOTE- Ashi from Don Bassingthwaite’s Eberron Novels) ? She was a natural killer that one. But I don’t think she was an original tribe member.”

Piik quietly gets up and moves over to the feuding druids. He hopes their ramblings will be more entertaining today than Sir John’s will. He has heard the Reptile God story three times. He seriously doubts the part about it being a Black Dragon’s child from Xen’drik’s far away shores.

“Saudo d’Valalis is his name. I’m certain of it. He came from the Northeast near Cree by the lake.” Sir John sprinkles a bit of fine but sparkling dust onto his pipe. He smiles and takes a puff of the smoke. As he lets it out a smell of water can be detected. The smoke swirls and forms an image of a ship that then transforms into a man then into a horse. “Horses are his main thing.”

“Thankyou Sir John. As always, you were a great help.” Leaffa places an extra Copper piece down as she motions to Gilfer to leave.

“The fire would burn everything to ash.”

“The Ice would bury everything under it.”

“My Wind god would ignore your ice and leave your fire to die.” Smiles Piik thinking he has the upper hand on the two druids. His lone fang pops up from his lower jaw in satisfaction at the quelled voices of the druids whom stop, blind wildly at him then at themselves and begins to laugh.

“Ice would encase your god and not allow it to escape for centuries.”

“Not before the Great Fire burned so great that your air wannabe power would be forced to rise up and away from the real battle….. Fire vs. Cold.” Both druids smile at stopping Piik’s attempt to ruin their yearlong debate.

“Comon Piik… we’re going to see Kato then go to a Vadalis farm to find Joe.” Suggests Leaffa to a now frowning Piik.

“60 Gold!?!” blurts out Piik.

The small halfling smiles and gently nods. Her dragonmark plainly visible on her left hand. “My house will only pay so much of my living expenses. The rest I need to supply. And since I am not strong adventurers like yourselves I must ask 60 gold for a healing potion.”

“55 Gold?” asks Gilfer looking at his limited remaining money.

“Firm price. 60 gold pieces for a Cure Light Wound Potion. I only have a few left.” The halfling crosses her arms and smiles once more. She wears fine blue silk robes of possibly Aundair origin. The robe undoubtedly costs over 200 gold by itself.

“Maybe later then….” Says Leaffa as she directs the guys to the door.

“Well….?” Asks Leaffa. “Did she have anything to say about the goblins or this Saudo d’Vadalis rancher?”

“Before trying to rip us off she said goblins had tried to enter her building last week. They didn’t get in nor steal anything. She hasn’t seen Joe in several weeks. As for Vadalis he is breeding horses for House Orien and their coaches.”

“What do you want of House Vadalis?” asks a man walking up to the door to the healer’s building. The three adventurers turn to the man. He is dressed in well-made leather armor that seems to have been recently oiled and well kept. He has expensive looking riding boots and a long fine silken green cape. His beard is neatly trimmed and he walks with confidence and purpose. “I am Saudo d’Vadalis, I have a horse ranch nearby.”

“We were looking for a friend whom we understand was working for you.” Replies Leaffa. “He is an older man that lives west of here within the forest. He is known as Joe.”

Stopping to look over Ash and admire her shiny coat Saudo answers her. “I have recently hired many people to work on the ranch. I believe we hired Joe for his tracking and wilderness skills.”

“We were concerned about him. We have not heard from him in over a week. Do you know where he is now?”

“No. The last I heard from him was a few days ago. He was tracking the creatures that have been attacking my animals and staff. I have not heard from him since he left three nights ago.”

“Oh.” Says Leaffa with disappointment and concern.

“So Joe is missing then.” Says Gilfer looking towards the forest.

“We should find him …after getting something to eat.” Offers Piik.

“Perhaps I can help you on both accounts. I need to buy a few potions for my horses from Kato but after, if you wish, we can go back to the ranch. Perhaps you can help me and find Joe as well.”


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“The Vadalis Horse Ranch”

The four of them walk to the ranch run by Saudo d’Vadalis. It is located north of the village about four miles away. It is getting late now as they arrive. Much was discussed on the way there. Beginning twelve days ago animals began to disappear around the ranch. Sometimes a body was found. Sometimes not. The ranger / hunter for the house looked into the events. He found wolf tracks everywhere and thought the cause was a pack of wolves. He found recent tracks that suggested they were living in the Foothills of Byeshk Mountains. These mountains were a natural barrier between the Eldeen Reaches forest and both Shadow marches and Droaam. Each is known for its dangerous inhabitants.… especially Droaam.

The Hunter waited until darkness fell then began to hunt the wolves. He was last seen charging after something within the forest. Loud howls were heard. Wolf-like but different. It sounded bigger… more sinister. The Hunter was never seen again.

Joe was contacted and before agreeing to help the house, he wanted to look around himself. He found wolf tracks that disappeared as the animal leapt over a log. In its place were small humanoid tracks. He immediately feared possible werewolves. Several hundred years ago the priests and zealots of the Silver Flame hunted were creatures nearly into extinction. Most of the surviving were creatures sought shelter within the dark and rugged woods of Eldeen. In time the great hunt ended as more sinister events drew the clerics and hunters away.

It had made sense of course. The wolves seemed unnaturally intelligent. They avoided certain traps and set-ups. Tracking was difficult and at times near impossible except for the thirty plus years of tracking experience Joe possessed. He agreed to hunt the dangerous animal and either kill it or drive it away back into the mountains and the many caves and ruins they held.

Joe witnessed something on the night they attacked. He would not speak of it but swore to hunt the creatures down and destroy them. He also warned the animal handlers of the goblins that had moved into the area and seemed to be using the ruins as a base of operations. Many of the tracks and trails showed some sort of connection of the wolves and the goblins. Joe left three days ago and was never seen again. Monstrous animalistic howls can be heard every night, as the moons become full. Many of the hired help has fled. He has tried to replace most of them but has found he has been forced to hire workers not fit for the work of a farmer or rancher.

Leaffa has Ash taken to a stall where she can be brushed and fed. Gilfer and Piik look over the small outpost. There are four buildings that are close to each other. Two stables, a mess hall and sleeping area for the helpers and finally a small building where Saudo d’Vadalis kept records and slept. The woods were cut back from the small ranch to allow crop fields and training areas to be developed. This bothered Leaffa some, as this clearing of the forest was a constant concern of the local druids. Most remained civil about it while others were more… aggressive. She did not rule out the possibility that druids were attacking the ranch to drive him away.

Piik and Gilfer followed Leaffa to the well where many of the tracks were most easily seen and showed signs of a shapeshifter. Thanking Saudo, Leaffa went back to taking care of her horse while Gilfer and Piik went to the tavern. Inside were the four shifter brothers. They had picked up where they left off at Wine Tree. They were clearly unfit to defend themselves… much less the ranch from threats natural or supernatural.

“Comes on sover brudder.” Says one brother.

Gilfer is quick to join his racial brothers. Shifters are unique humanoids with an ancient history of supernatural origins. Their ancient ancestors were werewolves and humans whom coupled and gave birth to creatures that were not cursed by lycanthropy but still retained some of their abilities. Over the course of many generations, the breeding ran true and a new race was created- The Shifters. They are so named by their ability to call onto their lycanthropic blood for short periods of time. They called it shifting. They would become faster or stronger than before while undergoing a slight change of appearance. Sometimes they became covered in hair. Others bulked up with muscles or gained better night vision. In the case of the four Eds, it appeared to be the inability to handle their alcohol.

Piik eyed the five shifters. Even though Gilfer had just met them he was accepted as a sibling instantly. They began to drink. Heavily. Piik wasn’t sure if he could even keep up with them. But it was fun to watch anyway.

Night was fast coming and the four Ed’s still had not drunk enough bravery drink to face the possible oncoming attack from the forest. Saudo d’Vadalis was less than impressed and threatened to fire them on the spot.

Eventually as the moons rose over Eberron and the Eldeen Forest everyone took their positions. Gilfer and the Ed brothers remained in the center of the ranch near a fire. Listening for anything in the woods was impossible as the shifters began to sing disharmony 99 bottles on the wall. At the third time they lost track of bottles (while still in the high eighties) they would restart at 99.

Leaffa was the first to see them. Wolves. They paced impatiently and with apprehension at the edge of the fields. It was uncertain if the bonfire or the singing was spooking them, either way; they were reluctant to enter the main farm area. Piik put away his sharpening stone and stood up and waited for the first wolf to charge in. It would soon then go Squish. Piik would be happy.

Then Gilfer spotted a strange soft burst of blue elderich energy on a rooftop. Leaving his drunken shifter brothers behind he focused his mind’s will and energy to form a blade once more then imagined himself racing up the wall of the closest barn. Then he charged the building and sprinted to the rooftop directly from the ground. As he did this he saw a hairy humanoid shape leap from the rooftop. When it landed it charged away in the form of a wolf! A man inside the barn screamed and the horses began to make noise as they became panicked by something within their midst. Something supernatural.

Lee, the only remaining woodsman and hunter began to fire away with his longbow. Yelps could be heard as wolves dropped each time he released an arrow. Concerned for Ash, whom was in the other stable, Leaffa moved to cover the only doorway into the building, an arrow notched and ready, a summoning spell readied and set to be caste verbally.

Then the wolves charged in full.


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“What Are They Facing?”

The wolves surround Lee and Piik. Lee finds himself in trouble as he attempts to switch from his bow to a sword he is seriously bitten. Leaffa summons up a Dire Rat to help defend the archer while Piik does it the old fashioned way…. Smiling the whole time.

Gilfer attempts to keep up with the humanoid wolf shapeshifter but loses him in the darkness. One of the Ed brothers (Edd if I recall correctly) is bitten and pulled down by a wolf. Leaffa summons a Dire Badger to help the hapless and drunken shifters.

Saudo d’Vadalis gives commands to protect his precious horses while watching for the circling wolves. Gilfer spots his wolf again and goes after it. He stops at the edge of the light. He realizes the danger of entering the woods at night with wolves and werewolves within it…. Waiting for him. As he turns to return to the main ranch he sees a shifter being attacked by a wolf. The shifter goes down quickly. Gilfer watches in horror as the creature begins to change shape into something more humanoid. Then he sees the creature open his mouth and a mist like form that resembles the shifter is “pulled” out of the body and sucked in. Then the body seems to shrivel and compact and also become inhaled by the creature. The creature turns and looks directly at the Soul Blade and seems to smile then runs off on all fours but looking slightly humanoid.

Gilfer gives chase in anger. Leaffa calls out to him. Piik looks up but is still busy with wolves. Willing his speed to increase as he shifts Gilfer tries to catch up with the creature… even as it enters the woods. After a few rounds of running he slows down. Tired from the chase. He looks around wondering where the creature has gone. Then he hears a faint crack of a branch overhead and he looks up just in time to see the red eyes peer down at him. Fear begins to overwhelm him. He knows he is about to die now. The creature leaps down at hit and knocks him to the ground. It speaks to him in a strange harsh language that makes the hair on his body rise. They begin to grapple. The ½ humanoid wolf lunges at him with its teeth. It misses the first time but not the second time. The fear increases a thousand fold as thoughts of becoming a werewolf rise to Gilfer’s mind. They begin to struggle again before Piik spots the glow of the Mindblade and comes to rescue his teammate. Piik tries to strike the creature repeatedly with his battleaxe but misses each time as if it where not where he thought it was. Leaffa also has this impression as she tries to attack it. Finally Piik gets solid hit on the creature which then howls and withdraws several feet before glaring at the shifter once more. It then seems to sink into a glowing doorway suddenly and disappears. Piik stares at the empty air with his mouth open. Leaffa is more convinced than ever that this thing is dangerous and not a werewolf…. Nor is it a wolf. It’s something else. Gilfer checks his torn shoulder and winces at the pain. He finds his last potion and takes it. Still in a great deal of pain, he looks at Piik. He knows Piik has another potion somewhere on him.

“No.” says Piik still looking at the area where the creature disappeared.


“No you can’t have my healing potion. They are too expensive to replace with the healer.” He looks doubtfully at his axe blade trying to figure out how he missed the creature so many times.

“I’ll buy you one with the money Vadalis has promised us.”

Looking the ravaged shoulder Piik has a rare moment of having pity and sets down his axe to rummage through his pack.

As they return to the ranch they see a fire. One of the stables is burning down! Leaffa rushes to it. She can hear a horse within the barn. Gilfer rushes in and tries to get the horse out but the fear of the fire is too strong. He stumbles over a lone farmer’s boot on the floor with a small amount of blood pooled near it. He has no time to think about it as the fire spreads to the roof. It takes the combined effort of Leaffa and Gilfer to rescue the horse. Gilfer does receive a small burn as a timber breaks free that strikes his just partially healed shoulder.

The wolves have disappeared. Lee and the three remaining shifters do not get up. Several wolf bodies remain down including one where a Dire Rat charged it and while biting it’s throat ripped it out through its own momentum (natural 20 that was confirmed on a charge!). None of the wolves changed shape when they died.

“If I didn’t know better, I would swear the one wolf used magic.” Says Saudo d’Vadalis as he looks about. “I want you to take down these damned creatures. NOW!”

“No.” says Gilfer leaning over the body of a fallen shifter.

“No?” says Saudo with his face becoming red with anger.

He marches over to the shifter. Each step a stomping motion. “You will hunt down those creatures and kill them! You will do this so that I lose nothing else. You will do this for the amount of money and payment agreed on. NOW!” and Vadalis begins to confront the shifter directly. He is pushing him and poking him hard. (DM NOTE: To get the severity of the anger and rage apparent to Tim and Cathy I had Tim stand up and we role played it complete with my pushing and poking of him. The look on his face was priceless and the Wife nearly soiled herself laughing at it all)

“Well thankyou and I hope you are HAPPY since we saved your precious horses while the shifters you hired died. One died in a way so horrible I still can’t…..” He turns away with tears in his eyes. Too much happening at once.

Gilfer collects drink from the living quarters. He is taking the deaths of his fellow shifters very close to heart. He somehow feels to blame. The morning comes quickly… too quickly for Gilfer.

They go to Kato’s healing hut to buy potions with the money Saudo d’Vadalis has prepaid them with a great deal of reluctance. Even though it was considered party treasure, Gilfer gives Piik one potion and says they are even. Piik looks at him carefully. He suspects he is being tricked but can’t figure out how.

They then go to the Wine Tree. Perhaps Sir John can help them.

“Fire will stretch from the North to the South and West to East. The world will bow before its power and embrace.”

“Bah! The cold will spread and bury the forest in snow! Storm after storm.” Hollers the druid.

The adventurers pause briefly at the cursing druids. “It’s too late for Fire or your Cold. The world has already gone to Hell.” Curses the shifter suffering from a hangover and the memory of dissolving bodies and those fiendish red eyes.

“I heard you folks had a rough night. Barn burned down and the shifters didn’t return home.” Says Sir John as he swipes down the counter.

Gilfer sits down and sets down his head on his crossed arms. His eyes closed tight. Piik smiles as he quietly sits down next to him. He raises his arm and prepares to slam it down on the counter. “Don’t if you value your life.” Mumbles the shifter. Piik puts an innocent look on his face and begins to scratch at imaginary fleas on the back of his head.

“Sir John…. We saw something last night that we don’t understand. We thought you might know something about it with your many worldly adventures and experiences.” Leaffa asks with obvious need in her eyes.

“Hurm…. Well yes. Yes. Tell me what you know and I’ll do my best to help you.” A huge smile of pride appears on the aged adventurer’s face. It has been a long time since he felt needed. It felt good and he resisted making comments until she was done.

“There were wolves. There was also something… else. It was a shapeshifter. It had red eyes and was very intelligent and seemed to command the wolves. It used magic several times to escape or cause fear. What could it be?”

“Sounds like a werewolf magic user to me.” Says Arkoose. The two druids also felt Leaffa’s need and have put their debate aside for the moment.

“What kind of magic was used?” asks Task the other druid.

“It made me miss.” Says Piik with a sour look on his face. “I had it sighted and when I swung my blade it missed. Several times.”

“Sounds like Displacement.” Says Task. “Was it really a Displacer Beast? They can be very dangerous and they do live in the mountains.

“Displacement yes but kind of creature? There are other creatures with that power also. Once fought a Displacer Serpent in the Marches.”

“Too small to be a Displacer Pack Lord. Once fought one of those in Xen’drik. Bad news those monsters. Damned thing ate my pack animal and the guide. I was lost for weeks. Lived on bugs and berries alone. Then I found the lair of the Drow. They are scary people those Drow.”

“Please Sir John…. Let me finish.” Implores Leaffa.

“Don’t forget about the shifter.” Mumbles Gilfer.

“What happened?” asks Sir John lighting his magical pipe once more.

“From what Gilfer say he saw the beast consumed him. Not only did he eat the body but a mist like substance that came from the body. All very quickly also.”

The smoke rises and forms into a humanoid that becomes hunched over and then disappears. Sir John thinks for a moment.

“Fiend?” suggests Arkoose.

“Outsider Anyway.” Sir John hesitates to answer as he goes over what he has been told. “Magic, shape shifting, consumption of body and soul.” He hesitates as he considers the many things he has seen and heard about. “Barghest.” He leans back and smiles. Several puffs of smoke later he resumes his conclusion. “Were there goblins there?”

“Not that we saw.” Answers Leaffa.

“Been some in the area however”, says Piik.

Gilfer points his finger at the bugbear to literally point out that he has a point.

“What is a Barghest? Asks the druid with a mixture of concern and excitement.

“Not so much a fiend as an Outsider. A creature from another dimension. I never saw it but my regiment faced one on the Aundair / Cyre border during the war when I was just a young lad. It changes shape. People said they saw it become a wolf and also a goblin. It has powers to cause fear in its victims and also open dimensional doors. It can caste Displacement on itself to better avoid heavy hitting bugbears.” He looks at Piik and winks at him. “They are said to come to the Prime Material Plane to feed. They eat their victim’s body and soul. The stronger the foe the more power they gain. In time they grow and become stronger and develop additional powers. If this is what you face you and this entire valley are all in great danger.”


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“To Hunt The Hunter”

They walk back to the ranch to pick up the rest of their gear. Gilfer feels better but is still tired. The others are in deep thought as they think about the dangerous creature they may be facing. Vadalis watches them from the window of his cabin. He has not told them about his actions. He doesn’t believe the adventurers and is convinced they are facing a werewolf. He has sent out a messenger bird to get help from nearby Vadalis ranches and also for any Silver Flame paladins or Clerics to come.

They reach Joe’s cabin again within a few hours and looked around again. They decide to get sleep here if they can. Gilfer finishes his drink and is noticeable drunken. Ash is uncomfortable as she has been brought into the small cabin in case the wolves attack. Piik tries to rest.

About three in the morning, during Leaffa’s shift she hears a noise nearby. Something outside. With no fire in the fireplace or lanterns lit she tries to look out into the brush and trees that surround the cabin. She sees nothing. Then there is a sharp “crack” at the window. She swirls about ready to defend herself. She calls for everyone to get up. Piik is up quickly but Gilfer is not so quick. The room is spinning as if caught within a tornado.

“what is it?” whispers Piik with sharp eyes looking about.

“I heard something outside and something struck the window.” She says while pointing at it.

Then Ash startles.

Something is under the cabin!

Piik readies himself to strike at whatever is foolhardy enough to climb in from under the cabin. Then there is another loud thud but at the door now. Piik whirls about and goes into a three-point stance ready to charge at the new intruder. Then something scratches at the floor boards once more. At this point Gilfer is awake and while a bit green in color is looking about. “They’re everywhere!” he shouts.

Piik can’t take it anymore. He charges the door and smashes it out and he stumbles to a stop on the porch. His dark vision spots several surprises goblins with pebbles in their hands. They throw the pebbles at him and run for the brush. The bugbear charges the brush and hacks it to pieces with his battleaxe. No goblins.


However… none of them can sleep now. Not even Gilfer. When the morning sun rises there is dark circles under their eyes and each is yawning from the lack of sleep.

It is not hard to find the goblin trail. Piik, in a foul mood from lack of sleep takes the lead. For his efforts he trips a trap built by the goblins. It causes little damage but it angers him still. It was a mere branch bent back and trapped with a cord hidden in the leaves.

By the afternoon the three adventurers and the horse begin to leave the forest as the enter the foot hills. While stopping for water the group is confronted by a large Stag Beetle. The creature seems unusually aggressive to the party (charmed by the Barghest) and attacks them. They make short work of it.

They continue to follow the tracks of the wolves as they walk along the road leading the mountains. They stop to rest and eat. Gilfer stops what he was doing, as he believes he can hear something. The flapping of large birds? He turns and sees five large misquotes like red creatures flying directly at them. “Stringe!” he yells in near panic ( DM NOTE: Tim happened to know what these critters are and what they do from reading the monster manual. Remind him of player knowledge vs. character knowledge). Leaffa is quick to summon a bear to help them while having Ash move behind the party. The horse was nursing an injury from the Beetle attack earlier in the day.

Two of the creatures pierce Gilfer’s armor and another two attach themselves to the summoned bear. Piik is attacked and once stabbed he is quick to hack at it while awkwardly holding his axe. Gilfer struggles with removing the blood-sucking creatures. The bear is not doing well either. The druid calls up a dire rat to help. After feeding completely the two Stringe on Gilfer detaches themselves and slowly and clumsily flutters away now bloated with his blood. Gilfer is very pale and doesn’t feel well at all. The bear growls loudly as Piik kills one and the other begins to leave being full of bear blood now. The Dire Rat chases down one low flying creature and leaps onto it. The blood bursts like a popped water balloon. Covered in blood, the Dire Rat begins to chase after the next magical misqueto. Leaffa, with her bow, shoots down one and Gilfer, throwing his Mindblade kills the other. They are a bloody mess.

They spot a grouping of trees near the road that could provide shelter for them. Ash walks over to a mound to eat some green grass. Just as everyone begins to settle down the horse screams out. Attached to its front leg is a large nasty looking mammal.

“Dire Weasel!” calls out Gilfer.

“Squish!” calls out Piik as he grabs his battleaxe.

“Ash!” screams out Leaffa.

The chitin plated large weasel chews the horse badly and will not leg go even as the horse rears up on its hind legs. Piik pulls it free and the others kill it.

Leaffa uses her one Restoration spell to help Gilfer but saves her healing spells for the horse. Both Piik and Gilfer consume healing potions to ease their aches and pains.

The next morning they awaken. More healing is done to the entire party including the horse before they leave. As they do so, Gilfer finds stacked rocks on the path that write “Miss Us” in goblin. “Crap!” he moans out loud. “It’s like a game…. A sick and twisted game to them.” Says Leaffa as she kicks at the stones. “Piik can play games also.” He snarls.

They follow the trail into the mountains. Deciding to use the various ruins found within the foothills and the mountains they look for a defendable spot. “We sleep here.” Announces Piik.

They walk into the cavern, which has carved out walls and pathways. The passage is large enough for Ash to follow within. Shortly ahead of them there is a branch to the left and right. Looking to the left they find a largely empty room. On the right is a room filled with guano. Gilfer can hear something. Something quiet and soft. Leaffa casts light onto Gilfer's shield. He slowly brings the shield about and sees the roof is swaying and moving. Bats. Hundreds… even thousands of bats.

“Don’t move… don’t make a sound. Back up slowly.” Whispers Leaffa.

“Don’t move or back up… which is it?” asks the bugbear.

Gilfer gives him a dirty look before turning the shield so as not to disturb the bats. Leaffa leads Ash further down the passage she freezes in mid stride. Ash whinnies in alarm. She whispers “Danger” but neither of her fellow adventurers hears her. Piik speaks up. “What did you say?!?”

Loud screeches come from the darkness before Leaffa. Suddenly the darkness rushes out and over the horse and Leaffa whom ducks in fear. Several very large chitin covered bats swoop out. The Dire bats pull up short as Gilfer’s light emitting shield is pointed directly at them so as to not disturb the other bats. Piik hurrumphs and charges forward to the first bat that lands. Gilfer closes his eyes and whispers to himself- “I hate that bugbear.”

The darkness within the side chamber spreads out and spills out into the main passage. Gilfer is forced to lower his shield and use it to protect himself. The bats pound at him and make him lean into the assault. One of the Dire Bats wobbles to him uncertain what he is. Piik attacks the second bat with a solid strike to its wing that cripples its ability to fly.

Leaffa begins to attack the bat that first landed between herself and Piik. Gilfer struggles with the clinging bats that are harmless but cause distraction and blind spots in his vision as the flap up between the Dire Bat and himself. Once the last of the smaller bats leaves he attacks the Dire creature. Leaffa and Piik have defeated their bat. Piik turns and attacks the last bat from behind. (crits!) His battleaxe cuts through both wings and gouges the back of the creature’s head. Gilfer easily finishes it off.

“What part of quiet do you not understand Piik?” Gilfer and Leaffa both snarl quietly (never know if there might be more Dire bats in the passage) Piik shrugs his large hairy shoulders and only quietly says “Squish.”

They walk to the last room and find a large room to rest in. “This is as good as it gets.” Says Gilfer with some measure of satisfaction.


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“Time to Feed”

Everyone is sleeping soundly except for Piik. It is his turn for guard duty. He sits at the top of a short ramp that leads to the large room where Ash, Leaffa and Gilfer are resting. The bodies of the dire bats have been removed and dragged away from the entrance. It would not do have a scavenger creature seek out the source of the smell and instead go for the living food. However, at least it would give Piik something to squish.

The ruin had given them a good place to rest. Except for the bats it was quiet and without incident. Course that also included the lack of treasure. One can not have everything. Piik found himself bored and drowsy.

Then he heard it. Something nearby. Something in the passage. He gripped his battleaxe and peered out. Unlike the others, he has darkvision. He can see in the dark. Color and certain details like texture disappear but he sees everything else in various shades of gray. Something was just outside of his vision. A smile began to form. His one tooth edging slowly up from his lower lip.

Goblins! He could now make out the shapes of three lone goblins trying to sneak up. The fools! He waits a bit more. He wants to make them go squish so… so… so badly. Patience…. Let them get closer. The are fast and will run otherwise. 50ft…. 40ft…. 30ft…… wait until they are closer….. nah…..

“YARRRGHHHH!” Piik yells with relish and leaps down the ramp at the goblins that are still far enough away to recover from their surprise and run. The bugbear takes down the slower one but the other two sprint past the side passages and towards the exit. Piik gives chase. Leaffa and Gilfer wake with a start.

As Piik reaches the exit, several small spears strike him. The goblins had set up a trap to lure him out into the open. He ignores the pain and takes down another goblin. The others run off into the brush.

Gilfer runs up behind him. “What happened?!?”

“Goblins. Piik squish ‘em.” Then it registers, “Piik not feel so good.” And he looks at the three short spears sticking out of his legs and shoulder.

Piik settles down and drinks his last healing potion. The open wounds close and leave behind rosy pink scars. It still leaves his legs and shoulder a bit stiff and achy. He wishes he had more potions.

Gilfer takes the next and final watch. Too bad he lacks dark vision.

He sits at the top of the ramp as Piik had. He looks into the total darkness hoping to see things if he just allows his eyes to adjust to it. It doesn’t ever happen. He has no dark vision.

One hour… Two…. Then he thinks he heard something. Something like a deep breath or sigh. He concentrates to listen. Nothing.

He shifts his weight so that he is on the balls of his feet and concentrates again. At this point he almost can feel something down in the passage. His fear is mounting that something is here. He shakes off the effect and gives a harsh whisper to Leaffa. She is slow to awake. The moan she gives awakens Piik. Rubbing the sleep away from his eyes he rolls over to the top of the ramp. He concentrates on the passage.

“Something is there… just outside of my vision.” He whispers.

“Don’t chase it like before.” Warns Leaffa.

“Wouldn’t think it” says Piik as he pulls his battleaxe closer to himself and smirks.

Piik stares and sure enough…. Goblins. The stupid things are trying the same trick again. Stupid goblins. This time Piik will not chase you outside. This time Piik will squish then wait. He smiles deeply and gathers his feet under his weight.

“What is it Piik? What do you see?” whispers Gilfer.

“STUPID GOBLINS!” the bugbear shouts as he charges down the ramp to get the small goblinoids. Instead of running they hold their ground and pull out swords and ready themselves for his charge.

“LIGHT!” shouts Gilfer. Leaffa remembers the words and gestures for the spell.

“Just a moment as she reaches over to touch his shield to finish the spell.

At that moment, one goblin charges Piik. It ducks and rolls under him and charges forward. Its eyes burn red and it smiles. It drops to all fours and begins to grow. The torn and dirty clothes it wore melt into the body even as hair begins to sprout in its place. The face distorts into a short snout. Gilfer sees none of this except the eyes. “IT’S HERE! LIGHT!” He demands of Leaffa. She is about to touch the shield when the outsider plows into them. The spell is ruined and now Gilfer is certain he will die. Real fear begins to swell in his chest. (DM NOTE: Earlier the Barghest tried to cause fear again on Gilfer but he made his save. Good for you Tim!)

The creature is toying with them. It attacks his shield striking it and pushing on it. It speaks in a harsh voice. Neither of the two understands it (Fiendish) but know it could not be something nice. Piik squishes the last of the goblins then wonders where the fast bugger went. He turns and his dark vision sees a hairy humanoid that seems unfocused attacking his friends. The Barghest he assumes. He charges up ready to defend his friends and make it squish.

The Barghest has every advantage. It can see in the darkness where the Shifter and human can not. He has his best defensive spell activated creating a shifting image of himself making it very difficult to strike him. They lack magical weapons so their lucky strikes do little to no damage to him. Except for this one. The shifter. His blade causes harm as if magical. He dies first but slowly. The Barghest is enjoying the game so much he doesn’t hear Piik running up behind him.

“HAH!” he yells with a toothed grin and a satisfying squish is heard as he drives his large battleaxe into the creature. Even with being able to ignore much damage from non-magical weapons this hurts! The Barghest howls in pain. At that moment Gilfer gets in a lucky strike. Suddenly the idea of attacking these creatures in the ruins didn’t seem like such a good idea.

An Earth elemental slowly pours out of the cracks in the ruin walls and blocks the creatures exit. Leaffa is not satisfied with that however. She begins to summon more of nature’s allies. This creature must not escape.

Piik misses his next attack but he is confident that he will kill it.

Gilfer swings with his psionic blade of mental energy but misses.

The Barghest causes a minor wound on him as a claw snakes around the shield and tears at his exposed sword arm.

The elemental strikes him which hurts a little but a Dire Badger begins to materialize behind him. Piik misses again and curses.

The Barghest comes to realize it is time to leave. It begins to summon up a Dimensional Door to leave the ruins but a summoned Hippogriff kicks out and shatters an arm. The Barghest howls in agony. Zeroing in on the sound Piik swings and the howl ends abruptly. The creature stops shimmering and drops to the floor. Piik hits it again. And once more just to be safe.

“Harrgh!” Piik is proud of himself. “I am now Piik Barghest Killer!” His next strike takes off the head. The red eyes become pink and the creature is dead.

“Tomorrow we return to the ranch and with this head we can prove to Vadalis that we have killed the creature.” Says Gilfer.


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“Carnage at the Vadalis Ranch”

They hurry back as best as they can. Piik and Gilfer are still very sore from their various injuries. Leaffa is becoming concerned about her horse. Maybe a horse is not the best animal companion to chose when adventuring.

Their trek back is uneventful. No goblins. No Barghest. No animals. No monsters. It’s almost peaceful. They killed the extra-planar outsider fiend. The bad goblins that befriended it seem to be all dead or have fled. They feel like heroes. Gilfer is looking forward to presenting the head of the Barghest to the Rancher. He said it wasn’t a werewolf and now he had the proof. A simple sorry was not going to be enough.

They decided to march straight to the ranch rather than rest. It means they will reach the ranch at night but with no barghests to worry about this was acceptable. Piik was looking forward to being paid and going to Kato’s for more potions. Leaffa had bandaged his worst wounds he received fighting the Barghest but it just didn’t replace a good healing potion.

As they came they spotted a large fire. There was a lot of activity. They had a distinctive feeling of being watched as they left the forest and walked quickly to the ranch. Bonfires were set in several strategic places within the grouping of building. There were archers at each fire. They watched with suspicion the group as they entered the main yard.

Saudo d’Valalis could be seen directing people. It appeared something was happening or at least expected to happen. That is when Leaffa realized he was not aware of their killing of the Barghest. “Let’s go.” She said as she directed the group to the house leader.

“Saudo d’Valalis.” She piped up to draw his attention.

“Who? You!” He seems agitated that they have returned. “What do you want?”

Gilfer goes to the bag slung on Ash’s back and produces the head of the slain Barghest. “We have killed your monster. The killer of your people. The killer of your livestock. And we suspect the killer of Joe.”

He stares at the creature’s head. A mixture of horror and fascination on his face. “When did you kill it?”

“Piik kill it!” Piik bursts in.

“Not who you idiot- when! The creature was spotted in the woods nearby this evening.”

All three stop and look at each other. “Oh no,” says Leaffa. “There’s more than one!?!”

“Piik kill more.” He says hefting his battleaxe.

Gilfer shudders thinking about those red eyes and the profound fear he felt about the creature. “Then we must help you kill more then.”

Saudo d’Valalis shakes his head in anger. “Do as you will. Kill them and you will be rewarded.” He turns his back and walks towards his office.

Piik positions himself in the center of the yard near the biggest fire. From here he has easy running space to any direction the creature comes from. It never occurs to him that the first creature was killed since it became bottlenecked in the ruins. Here it has plenty of space to sneak, run and attack.

Leaffa climbs onto the roof of the main stable where Ash is now staying. She draws her bow and thinks about what animals she can summon to best defend the ranch. Gilfer uses his ability to sprint short distances against gravity and goes onto the same roof Leaffa has taken position on. From here he hopes to use his psionic weapons as throwing daggers. The less direct contact he has with the monster the better. Piik can have his glory. There is no glory if one is killed.

An hour goes by then two.

Gilfer begins to think nothing will happen when he hears a distant howl of a wolf. The clouds part and a moon shines down. Another wolf calls out. Then another. Each time the call is closer. It seems to come from everywhere.

Piik is becoming nervous though he would never admit it. A dire wolf was seen leading the wolves. These wolfs are as big as a horse and have chitin plating on their back and snout. Hard to kill and very dangerous. Maybe being so open is not such a good idea. Maybe he should be up on the roof with the others…. Except he has no ranged weapons.

Then a guard yells out. An elf has seen movement on the edge of the forest. Another sentry calls out a warning. There is movement there also. Before anyone can call for Saudo d’Valalis it happens. One elf is struck down with several small bolts from a crossbow. Goblins!

From the west howls can be heard. The ground almost trembles as the wolves charge. Wolves the size of horses! “uuuuuuuh…..” stammers the bugbear suddenly very uncertain about his wish for melee. Piik witnesses a sentry go down as an armored dire wolf suddenly bursts out of a door of blue energy. Even as he fellow guard swings his bow to the creature wolves burst out of the woods there also. To the East sentries begin to scream out in fear and alarm. One begins to turn to run when a blue magical doorway opens above him and a barghest leaps out of it and pounces onto the fleeing man.

Chaos and Carnage.

Piik forgets all of his fears and doubts instantly. His lone tooth protruding from his smiling mouth.

Leaffa begins to fire her arrows into the oncoming rush of large wolves. Once in range of Gilfer’s blades he also begins to attack at range.

Piik slows his charge briefly as the Dire wolf distorts its shape. It becomes a larger barghest. Its red eyes visible even from the distance. The man convulses one…twice as his soul is sucked out of the dying body. Then the body shrivels and compacts. It too, is sucked in. The creature looks to the last sentry there whom is facing three wolves by himself. Suddenly he looks up and two large monstrous spiders leap from Saudo’s office building and attack the Greater Barghest. A hippogriff appears next to it thanks to Leaffa and her advantageous location. She can see nearly the whole yard and all the buildings from her vantagepoint.

To the north, the goblins overrun and shot down the sentries and rush into the camp. Some breaking into the barracks and begin to trash the mess hall on the first floor.

The large wolves begin to turn and head towards Piik and the Greater Barghest. Saudo d’Valalis steps out of his office with his sword in hand. He says something hidden with the chaos and his sword begins to glow. A Dire Rat appears from the darkness between him and the oncoming goblins and large wolves.

Gilfer takes down another large wolf then concentrates on some normal looking wolves. Everywhere he turns there is carnage and chaos. The entire range is under siege from goblins and wolves! Then he sees the larger barghest as Piik tries to get to it. “They get bigger…?” he says in disbelief.

A second hippogriff appears next to the Greater Barghest. Then a cloud forms over it and lightning streaks out and a loud crackling boom is heard as it strikes the large Fiend. Piik decides to beat on some wolves first.

This is when he spots a lone figure that was hiding behind the office building. Another druid! One with more power and experience than Leaffa. He suddenly turns to face something that Piik can not see. More threats. Still he looks at the large barghest. Wounds and a large smoking burn mark are clearly visible. It looks hurt but not defeated. He hefts up his battleaxe and begins to work his way to it.

Leaffa shots arrows at any goblin that attempts to enter the stable where Ash is. She then stops and summons more creatures to aid her. Another Dire Rat and a Dire Badger appear. The large wolves are not ready for it and the goblins decide to go straight instead of after the human with the glowing sword. Saudo d’Valalis sees the summoned creatures but has not the time for it to register that Leaffa is doing it.

Piik begins to slug it out with the large monster. A summoned bear and the two hippogriffs finish off the wolves and flank the barghest. Only one spider remains and it stumbles as it has lost two legs from its right side from a vicious swipe of the monster’s claw.

Unseen from the others, the druid that answered Saudo d’Valalis’ call defends himself from the barghest. He calls on the roots and vines of the forest to entangle the creature. A second burst of lightning is then released at the larger barghest. It is the last mistake the druid makes. The smaller barghest had ripped its way free from the entanglement and now rushes him. The druid has not even the time to scream when his throat is torn out by the teeth of the evil monster. His spirit becomes mist and drifts out of the body and into the inhaling creature.

The greater barghest finds defending itself from the hippogriffs, bear and now dying spider to be too difficult while dealing with this savage bugbear. It tries to get away but can not. It is flanked and held in its small space of battle. It stares into the eyes of Piik and tries to use magic on him. Piik strikes him in the head for the attempt. “Piik …. Hate…. Barghest….magic….using…..monsters…. THAT GO SQUISH!” and he puts everything he has into his next swing…. And misses. Now Piik is PO’d.

The goblins see what is happening and attempt to flee. Leaffa, Gilfer and one remaining archer rain arrows and energy daggers at them. They flee squealing. Dire rats chasing after them

Saudo d’Valalis kills off his second enlarged wolf but has a serious injury on his leg. He can barely hold his weight… much less move as another large wolf advances onto him. It bares its teeth and drool escapes unhindered.

The Greater barghest rises up onto its hind legs and raises its hands to the sky. Its bloody claws reflect the moon’s light. It says something in its fiendish tongue that Piik is certain is not surrender. He closes his eyes and swings wildly. He feels a sharp vibration in his arms. He hopes he didn’t just the bear to his right. He opens one eye and sees the eye eyes of the creature lean in closer to him. It then falls to the ground. Piik doesn’t wait a moment. He yells in glee as he begins to chop at its body.

The large wolves suddenly stop and begin to shrink before Saudo’s eyes. The barghest magic is gone and they become their normal size once more. They turn to flee.

The one remaining Barghest considers fleeing but has no dimensional door spells remaining. Piik sees it and charges. It unwisely makes a stand against the angered bugbear. It is the mistake it will ever make.

The battle is over. The ranch and its livestock are saved. The druid that came to the Dragonmarked house’s aid is gone. Some think he has left with his work done. Others fear he is gone. Forever.

Saudo d’Valalis apologizes to Gilfer and gives the group their reward and a little extra since the druid did not stick around. All is good within the Eldeen Reaches once more. But for how long?


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Thankyou for your positive comments. I'll be sure to pass it on to my kids.

We began as 3rd level and leveled up at the end of the "Night Hunter".

We are continueing on in "Missing Persons" which we just barely started before stopping.

Between my Lyme Disease and my daughter's Swine flu we had to take some time off. We will be starting up in the tunnels for Thanksgiving weekend.

If you don't mind saying- what are you enjoying the most?


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“Trail of The Lost People”


Having come into town to collect their money from the Dire Boar Hide Leaffa walks to the Healer’s Office. She talks to Kato briefly about things in life before leaving. She is slightly depressed, as she has decided to free Ash of her commitment to her. The Animal Companion neighed its feelings to her then looked to the open fields of the foothills and ran to join other wild horses.

Piik has begun retelling his story of how he killed the three barghests. Each retelling of it has fewer allies helping him do it. Gilfer considers correcting him but every time to motions to add to the story the bugbear includes his gallant efforts while leaving out the fear effects.

Things seem peaceful once more.

A lone man with haunted looking eyes is drinking in the corner. He is listening to the bugbear’s story with limited interest. Piik finishes when he gutted the GREATER barghest in a single swing of his battleaxe. The man snorts.

Gilfer turns and looks at the man. “Do you have something to add?”

“Where were you when my village was taken?”


“Taken during the night by kidnappers.”

“Sounds like the treacherous Drow of Xen’drik. Now those people are something to fear. Did I ever tell you about my time in the Guar’fectra Jungle of the lost continent?” Sir John asks as he leans back and pulls out his pipe.

“This is no story of fancy old man.” Snarls the man. “My friends and family were taken in the night. Few of us remain.”

“Sounds like they need our help.” Says Leaffa as she walks in.

“By the heat of the eternal flame! Leaffa. Welcome and well met.” Says Arkoose.

Task rolls his eyes.

“What happened your village exactly? I didn’t hear the story.” Asks Leaffa as Sir John locates a bottle of her favorite wine and pours her one glass.

“It began a short time ago. The outlining homes of the village were the first targets. Oxen were taken then the pigs. People looked for the cause but found nothing. Then the people began to disappear. Taken from their beds at night.”

“Someone should do something about it” offers Gilfer (not meaning themselves)

“That someone can be us.” Offers Leaffa.

Both Piik and Gilfer stop in mid drink and stare.

“Oh well done!” exclaims Sir John. “I wish I could go. In my youth I would have taken on the Barghests AND this new threat at the same time. Heh… in my youth I did face multiple threats at once. Especially in the Military.”

“Then it is set, We leave tomorrow.” Declares Leaffa.

The next morning comes and Leaffa has prayed for a new Animal Companion. Not her horse but something that can defend itself and fight as well. Shortly after leaving the town they come across a berry bush field and spot a medium Black Bear. It looks at her and gives a gentle “Moargh” sound and lumbers up to her. She pats its snout and talks to it even as the Shifter and Bugbear begin to place their weapons back. “Looks like we have a bear to travel with.” Says Gilfer.

“If it dies in battle- can we eat it?” asks Piik (only half- joking)

Based on the instructions given by the shaken man, it will be a two-day trip to reach the valley he once lived in. It is located in the foothills by the mountains. This section of mountains are very tall and almost cliff like. Sir John mentions the Harpies of Droaam live near there. He is fairly certain it is on the Droaam side of the mountains but after a few uncertain moments and memories he reassures them that they live only on the Western side of that section of mountains.

They follow a road that the man used. It is not an Orien road so it is rough and at points washed out. They stop and camp in a cusp of trees near the road but far enough away to avoid drawing attention to themselves. They eat their bread and dried ham (dire boar) washed down with water. It’s not much but it will do. Paw, the new animal companion of Leaffa, enjoys the last of the berries she had gathered and saved to share. The bear doesn’t share and growls at Piik when he tries to take a few. Piik decides that yes, if the bear somehow has an accident he will eat it.

On the second day they reach the valley where the people are being taken at night.


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Something my son has told me may interest some one.

He is obviously having a good time playing Gilfer and has been talking to his 5th grade science teacher about it. Turns out the teacher used to play himself.

So of course my son wants me to print out the adventure thus far to give to him. I think I will.


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“Valley of Green Thorn”

“The people are staring at us.” Whispers Piik.

“Not us…. You.” Answers Gilfer

Piik sneers at the next person to stare at him. They quickly busy themselves and then outright move on. The trading post they have walked to seems to be the closest thing to a village within Green Thorn Valley. There is a tradehouse, a mill that grinds grain and a pavilion. Leaffa notices a small simple shrine to Boldrei, the god of the hearth and community.

“The pavilion seems to have a message board within it. Maybe we can learn something there.” Offers Leaffa.

“This is not a village. It has to have a tavern or place to eat and drink to be a village.” Sputters Piik looking around.

“I know Eldeen is not your native home but this is typical. Small hamlets where farmers, hunters and trappers come to trade goods- not live.” Says the shifter as he notes a wanted poster of a shifter from Aundair. “Geth…..” he reads but moves on to other notices (DM NOTE: another key character from the Bassingthwaite series that originated at the other end of the mountains the kids are starting at A good story by the way).

Piik nods his head. Leaffa and Gilfer look in the direction he pointed at and see three men walking over. Two have long sticks that could double as quarterstaffs and one has a pitchfork. They look grim.

“What are you doing here?” asks the man with the pitchfork. He is a tall and strong looking man. One used to working hard all day at the mill. The other two look like younger versions of him. Perhaps his sons.

“We have learned that your area is having problems. Animals and people being taken during the night. If so we wish to help if we can.” Offers Leaffa as non-aggressively as possible.

“And why would you do this for a group of strangers?”

“Because we can.”

“There is no reward.”

“We didn’t ask for one.”

The man stares at them for a few moments before grunting. He motions for them to follow him to his mill. The two younger men allow the group to pass then follows. They are obviously uncertain of the Bugbear and equally concerned about the bear.

The man directs them to a table and several stools. He offers them chilled water from a stream that powers his mill. He looks around in cupboards and shelves for something to offer to eat. Finding nothing he pulls out a folded up cloth with a small handful of nuts. He offers them even though it may be his only meal while working. Gilfer and Leaffa hold off. Piik takes a few nuts but finds his sharper teeth do not crush nuts well within his mouth so he only has the few he first picked up.

“A few weeks ago the Sherman farm was first stolen from. Some animals were taken. They tried to track it but lost the trail as it entered the mountains. Then the Parkipens lost their prized oxen and some blankets the misses made.” While telling his tale he looks down to the floor. He is weary and possibly even fearful of the events he is revealing.

“The first person taken that we can confirm is the Chanean boy. From what his parents can tell he left on his own accord which makes little sense. The boy wouldn’t walk off in the middle of the night like that.”

Leaffa listens carefully. She takes great interest in the story. Especially the taken animals whom she feels she is a sworn protector for.

“Seems everyone on the southern side of the valley has had something or something taken. People are afraid and some are talking about leaving their homes and farms.”

“Do you know what or who is taking them? You mentioned tracks that could not be followed once in the mountains. What kind of tracks?” asks Gilfer.

“Wide booted tracks. Sized like a dwarf’s. All of the tracks lead out of town on a road that leads into the mountains where there are many old caves and ruins. We avoid the area for fear of what lives within the caves. Could you search the area for our missing people and their Oxen? We have little to offer but rumors have it that the ruins have items of value within them. Things adventurers like yourselves would find useful.”

“We’ll try.” Answers Leaffa.


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“The Road to The Mountains”

“With tracks like these how could they NOT follow them?” gripes Piik.

“Cowards or did they not tell us the whole story?” adds Gilfer while following the oxen tracks on the dirt road.

“I sense ill feelings. What is wrong guys?” asks Leaffa.

“Why are we doing this? I feel so …. Used.. If I don’t get to squish something soon I will go crazy.” Grumbles the bugbear.

“You did kinda get us involved without asking us. And Piik is right. These tracks are too easy. Why didn’t they do something about it on their own?”

“They are simple farmers…. Not warriors.” Retorts Leaffa in defense of the victims.

Piik snorts and shrugs his shoulders.

They walk on through the afternoon in silence. They stop for a late lunch by a stream. While eating their bread, cheese and dried dire boar jerky they hear birds cry out and fly into the air. Suspicious of this, they put their food away and draw weapons. They look across the field but see nothing.

Gilfer spots a large hole in the tall grass and points to it.

They go to it and see nothing. Piik peers over the edge but sees nothing. Gilfer “pretends” to motion to push him in. Piik is not impressed and Leaffa has the look of growing impatient with their child-like antics. The bear, Paw, sniffs and gives a low growl that Gilfer misses as he now leans over the edge and suggests they check it out. He stands upright to say something smart to the bugbear when a chitinous long claw reaches out to attempt to grab his leg. Gilfer leaps away in surprise and the creature feels around trying to locate the shifter..

Piik shouts out and attacks it. The bear attacks and Leaffa prepares to call up allies while Gilfer switches from sword to dagger form and attacks from ten feet away. The large cockroach-like creature (Ankheg) is overwhelmed by them as they attack it half in and half out the borrow.

Defeated it slumps back into the hole- dead.

Gilfer seriously considers going into the hole to explore. Thinking about his size vs. the size of the tunnel Piik passes. Leaffa reminds him that they have a mission to complete. Gilfer climbs down onto the creature and peers into the hole but the bulk of the beast blocks the passage. Disappointed, he climbs out and the resume lunch.

Eventually they spot the branch in the road that the miller had told them of. They go to it and find the small cabin that once belonged to the Trevor family. This family and their animals were all taken in the night weeks ago. They set up camp within the cabin and look for clues.

Little is found.

There was no struggle, no fight, and no signs of anything but abandonment. It is very strange and a bit eerie as nightfalls.

Leaffa uses the few healing spells she knows on Gilfer and her bear whom the large insect creature had struck. She meditates briefly and knows in the morning her used spells will be returned to her due to her faith and connection with nature.


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“Entrance to the Ruins within the Mountain”

They follow the tracks of the oxen the next morning along the road, which is becoming muddier as they enter the foothills and finally the rockier and steeper mountainside.

There are fewer trees and many more loose and large boulders here. Signs of washouts of springs in the past.

The road has followed a tumbling creek for most of the day. Leaffa hints at the first reason to be here besides aiding the kidnapped people and animals. She hopes to locate something magical to use. A Longbow especially. Gilfer hopes for something useful also. Piik wants the dark skinned dwarves.

The stream crosses the road. Blanks and cut trees have been placed over the muddy area that surrounds the stream. Clear signs of oxen can be seen here. It appears the dwarves allowed the oxen to rest here and get a drink. Several piles of dropping line the area in lines suggesting the animals drank here. The road turns to the right and follows the mountainside. However, there are disturbed rocks in the stream suggesting something was in the water recently. There are no oxen tracks in the road. All three follow the stream with their eyes and sees it comes from a pool at the base of a large rock. Thick vines drape down from the rock onto the water.

They walk into the knee-deep water to the vines. Leaffa checks them to be sure they are normal vines and not something dangerous. She lights her torch and they go in.

The ripple of the water echoes gently within the cavern. The water curves to the left about fifty feet in. They move in with purpose and caution. The stream deepens and pools ahead of them. A small sandy island is within the pool. Signs of the oxen treading across it are obvious. They move up and look around. A gravel filled walkway lead up. As they look Gilfer suddenly can not see clearly. Leaffa calls out also.

“What is happening?!? Yells a stunned bugbear.

Even as their vision becomes less clear something begins to drop from the ceiling and lands on them. It is like a thick rubbery towel only it then begins to constrict as Leaffa discovers. She wrenches the offending thing away. It is still somewhat dark like wearing a cloth over one’s eyes. She can see everyone, including Paw, has something attached to his or her heads. Piik easily rips it away and throws it to the ground. Whatever it is, it begins to levitate then swirl through the area and make several attempts to land on the bugbear again. Paw roars in frustration then tears his assailant apart with his sharp claws.

Gilfer rips one free and while still grappling with it another spins onto his head. It muffles his shifter curses. Piik has visions of the manacles and suggests he use the axe to remove the creature while it still rests on the soul knife’s head. A muffled yell of “no! wait” can be faintly heard. Faint enough it could be easily missed thinks Piik.

Leaffa runs away the area where these creatures (Darkmantles…the new piercers for 3e) are active. Her torch has gone out so she can see much. She sees only a sharp watery reflection of the light through the vines. She trips along more than runs. Paw follows her as any animal companion would.

Piik, with his darkvision, hacks at the creatures as they are pulled free. Eventually, Piik gets them all and the light returns to normal.

They climb the gravel and small rocks onto a manmade tunnel. Or at least treated to be easier to walk.

Water pours down the walkway. Shortly they can see where the water bubbles out from an underground well. A bridge made of wood allows two separate paths to branch off from the waterway. Looking to the right, Gilfer sees stairs that lead up. There is a ten-foot section missing from the stairs that leads into a deep hole or pit.

Calling on his psionic power to defy gravity for short bursts he sprints up the stairs and onto the wall and goes around the hole. Leaffa had caste light onto his shield once more so he can see the top of the stairs. Piik looks up and wonders how to best cross the pit since the show-off has.

The druid and the bear look to the passage that goes to the left. It goes thirty feet then turns to the right. She is about to go further to see what is around the corner when Gilfer calls out.

Piik looks up with a bit of anger. How is he going to cross this? If it were level he might be able to get a running start but UP the STAIRS…. no uh. Not him.

Meanwhile, Gilfer has found a large room with a series of wood logs strapped together like a raft. These are connects to thick ropes and a polley system. Uncertain what to do or what this is, Gilfer begins to pick and prod the ropes and levers.

Piik is now trying to gage how deep the pit is. He wonders if he could climb down then up on the other side. He feels the stairway shake and looks up. Suddenly out of the darkness (and thus the range of his darkvision) something large charges down the stairs. The next thing he knows is the air is knocked out of him and he is airborne. He falls hard onto the wooden bridge at the bottom of the stairs.

Leaffa runs over to him to check on the warrior. “Did you see where that rhino went?” He is completely stunned and nearly out.

Gilfer looks down and smiles faintly. He knows it was his fault but hopes to avoid blame. “Everyone all right?” he calls down.

Leaffa calls up to him. “Piik set off a trap of some sort. He’ll live.”

“Piik will live….” He says dreamily

“That’s good. You have to be careful Piik. There could be more traps here.” And he walks down to the wood structure, which covers up the hole. “It looks like everyone can cross now however.”

And this is where our first weekend of game play ended. I hope to pick up where we left off for Thanksgiving.


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“Windy Hallway of the Living Spell & A Water Elemental”

The three of them check out the wrench machine that lowers a log bridge down over the pit within the stairs. Fortunately for Gilfer, Piik is still convinced it was a trap system he somehow set off- not Gilfer. There are signs of the Oxen having been within the room on several occasions. There is only one other exit out of this large round room so they follow it.

There are two rooms without doors that are located off of the main hallway. Both are small rooms that are empty.

The third branch from the hallway has a locked door. The door doesn’t last long as Piik strikes it over and over until something gives. They begin down the short hallway and spot glowing ruins on the floor of the hallway. Leaffa attempts to figure out what they are. Her only answer “Wards”. Gilfer and Piik look at each other with a look of uncertainty. “What do they do?” asks Piik.

“They ward… guard things.” She answers.

The bugbear looks to the floor then back up at her. “What would they do if we cross them I mean.” He grumbles. Leaffa shrugs her shoulders.

“I’m not a mage or an artificer. I’m a druid.”

Gilfer steps up to them. He slowly reaches his hand over the runes. He feels a cooler sensation. Not so much cold but like that of a cold draft. He withdraws his hand smiles as he looks back at the group and steps onto the runes.

His short fur ruffles like in high winds and as he steps again the wind seems to intensify. He is on the other side quickly. He turns and begins to walk back when the wind truly intensifies and pushes him back. “Uh-oh”

He literally slides back on two occasions as he struggles to walk against the wind back to his teammates. With a satisfied smile he finally does. “Easy” he says.

This time he tries to do his running on walls psionic trick and finds himself tumbling as he returns to the main floor on the other side. Leaffa slides across the runes with her hair and cloak whipping around her. Piik swallows hard and takes a tentative step. If he had hair on his legs (remember- a lot of it has been removed from various accidents) it would have bristled. As it is he loses his balance and tumbles the length of the runes. He stands up and glares at Gilfer “Easy” he growls.

They continue a short way down and discover stone spiral stairs that lead down. Carefully they go down after Leaffa has relit her torch.

Near the bottom they see a sharp pulsing light like a large fire but without the crackles of such a large fire. Peering around the corner they see a human sized swirling mass of light orange and yellow energy On the floor behind it are glowing marks on the floor. Curious, they step into the room and fan out. Leaffa is concerns since this fire is sitting on the floor. It is not burning on logs or oil. It is self-feeding. “Magic” she warns as much as states.

Piik hefts up his weapon and steps up the flame suddenly attempts to reach out and slap at him. He steps back then thrusts back into the creature striking it in full. The flames spit and sputter. Gilfer strikes at it and it dies out.

Leaffa inspects the marks on the other side and can’t figure out what they are. There doesn’t seem to be magic to them but they do gently glow. They seem to slowly move also. “I think these are Dragonmarks.” She looks further but can not even begin to decipher them.

They turn around and have an extremely hard time now leaving the room. The storm like winds batter at them. Eventually they do escape the winds.

Another 700 feet down there is a new branch from the main hallway. It is another empty room with no door or security measures added.

300 feet further down again brings them to a room with a strong portcullis blocking their way in. Piik struggles with it but does lift it for Leaffa and Gilfer to creep through. It drops heavily and they walk down the hallway that goes about 100 feet before coming to a locked door. They look at the door for a few minutes then have Piik break it down.

They peer into the room on the other side and spot many broken and fallen stone columns that liter the floor. A shadowy doorway seems to be on the opposite end just out of their vision from the light spell and torch light.

They begin to cross when Leaffa hears movement within the room. She has the two warriors stop as she tries to pinpoint the source of the noise. She hears it to the left and before them. Piik charges then she thinks she can hear it to her right. Piik strikes at a rough-scaled red and black snake with venom dripping from its fanged mouth. He kills the Fiendish Viper with one blow but discovers the room is crowded with the creatures. “urrrr…. Guys…” He begins but they are already aware of the creatures and have begun to take defensive positions.

Leaffa summons up a Dire Rat to attack the slithering snakes as Gilfer runs up and over the creatures using the walls and his special powers. The attempt to flank the creature works only so well as he finds himself now also flanked as he returns to the floor amongst a nest of the monstrous snakes. Piik cuts his way to them leaving a bloody and squirming mess in his wake. The snakes do not last long with them and their animal friends fighting.

Looking now to the door at the other end of the room they open it to find a huge 30ft by 55-foot pool of clean but dark water.

They consider camping here but are unsure of what else could be here. Piik and Leaffa rest first as Gilfer takes first watch. He thinks he hears something in the water and goes to check on it. He sees a gentle ripple in the water. Wondering if something is invisible within the water he leans over to poke it with his psi-blade. The water elemental attacks him now. Luckily for him, Piik and Leaffa awaken to his falling into the water. Leaffa and the bear reach there first. She summons an earth elemental to help seeing Gilfer being held within the water thrashing about but not moving anywhere. Piik can not get into the room as the Bear- Paw and the elemental are blocking his way in.

Gilfer is nearly drowned before he is pulled free from the attacking water elemental. They move away from the water and attempt to stay out of its range. Gilfer refuses to go into the room again. Piik finds minor amusement in the appearance of the half-drowned shifter.

They camp in the column room again but closer to the entrance than the exit by the water. Leaffa is certain the elemental can not leave the water to attack them this far away from the main pool of water.


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After a breakfast of dried meat and water Leaffa, Gilfer and Piik once more begin their exploration of the ruins that resemble a long hallway and their goal of locating and rescuing the kidnapped farmers and their livestock.

They come to a chained and locked door about 200ft down. Figuring this meant there was something of value on the other side they force the door and enter. There is a short hallway that leads to a door and there is a door leading off of the hallway to the left.

Cautiously they pass the side passage and check out the door directly in front of them. It opens easily but makes a loud creaking sound as it opens. Thick cobwebs hang from the ceiling and the walls. They carefully sweep the webs aside as they enter the room to better see what is inside. Crypt! They decide to check it out. Leaffa is uncertain about disturbing the crypts and fears they may even upset any spirits within this crypt. Gilfer ignores her completely as he moves ahead to the closest stone burial coffin. It is plain with no inscriptions or special marking to hint at the origin or even the species within.

He works the heavy lid off and discovers the skeletal remains of an armored hobgoblin long since dead. Looking around he finds a large knife. The Dagger gently glows blue as he holds it in his hand. The other crypts have a few gold pieces and a ring within it…. And a nest of angry and hungry tiny spiders!

Paw is attacked and they rush to his aid. They find killing a swarm of tiny vermin is not so easy. Gilfer and Leaffa climb onto the other stone crypts to get away from the vermin. Paw and Piik try their best to fight them from the ground. Leaffa summons up a small fire elemental, which seems to work well against the swarm. Soon the spiders are gone and Paw relaxes (if only a bit). Piik is disappointed that all he finds is an empty potion tube.

[DM NOTE: They miss a secret door here that housed a lot of gold and a bag of Holding to carry said money out. Sucks not to have a rogue within the group]

They backtrack to the hallway and checkout the door leading away to some stairs that go down. They go down and find more crypts. There are two statues here also. The statues are of hobgoblins armored in heavy breastplates and shields. Nothing more there. The three of them and Paw check out the crypts further but find nothing of value. There are two exits from this large 40 x 40 foot room. The first room they check out is small but contains a small chest hidden in the corner.

Gilfer is quick to check it out along with Piik. So quick is he at rushing the chest he never considers traps and falls victim to a concealed pit trap that snares both him and Piik. Luckily for them it is shallow and has no occupants within it.

Climbing out, they go to the next room. Within this huge room are two crusty undead warriors with rotted weapons and armor on. Piik and Gilfer make short work of them. They follow the exit out of the room into a small room with a dark well within it. As they move up to the well several creatures crawl out of it. Six bony legs hold up a body with a single red eye and a small mouth filled with needle like teeth. Each of the legs ends with dagger like sharp talons.

The creatures rush them and Piik attacks quickly. Gilfer attacks at range throwing his psionic blades at them. Leaffa summons up another dire rat to attack the Khyber dwelling creatures. These Mad Slashers do not last long before Piik’s mighty battle-axe.

They decide to camp here feeling it will be safe and they need to recover from their wounds from the swarm and the Mad Slashers.


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This was the first use of a mapping / storage system i plan to use for Con / Store games.

The tiles and miniatures for each room were placed into a gallon sized zip-lock storage bag.

Then printed out was a map of the room and markings of where the creatures were along with details of the room and creatures.

It worked very well.

Back to the regularly scheduled storyhour :)


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“Finally- The Duergar Dwarves! (oh and a ghost)”

Having rested from battling undead, swarms and aberrations, the adventurers return to their quest of saving the innocents and becoming as rich as possible in the process.

After several more empty rooms and about 1000ft of marching down this long central hallway they come across a door. Piik opens it and finds three gray dwarves caught off guard. Remembering the pain and embarrassment they had given him several nights before he leaps at the chance of killing them off. Gilfer barely gets in before the dwarves are defeated.

They check out the beds, desk and closets the dwarves were using. And of course the loot the bodies as well.

Little is found.

A few coins and back up equipment. Gilfer is disappointed and Piik had hoped the magic user was here but he isn’t.

They leave the room and look for more adventure (They never think about the attacked barracks will expose their existence…. They will learn…. In time)

Another 300 feet down they find another bared off branch leading to another room or area. Piik struggles with this portcullis also but everyone gets in while he holds the gate up.

They come into a large room with twin sparking columns at the far end. Gilfer spots a door beyond the columns. They march to the columns but Gilfer activates a hidden spiked pit trap. Piik produces rope and with Leaffa and her animal companion bear securing it, he goes down to free the shifter. Several spear tips have punctured the soul knife’s body. It is a painful and unpleasant operation to remove him from the spears that are planted into the floor. Gilfer spots a lever on the wall. He carefully walks to it and cautiously pulls it.

The lightning stops sparking between the columns!

They hurry to the locked door and find once more Piik must break it down. With the door destroyed Gilfer steps into the small room and faces… a transparent female hobgoblin! A ghost!

She or it if one prefers is a statue of some hobgoblin. Gilfer wants to investigate it but the ghost is not willing to step aside.

“You are not heroic nor worthy to venture further beyond me. You are not heroic enough.” Is whispered in a voice that seems disjointed from the undead guardian. Gilfer tries a frontal attack and a find he is weakened greatly by the undead’s touch as he tries to rush past her. After several failed attempts, Gilfer decides he can not keep this up. He feels weak and like he is slower than even the Bugbear.

In goblin, the Bugbear, Shifter and undead speak about what is beyond the doorway.

Each time Gilfer tries to get in he is repulsed and weakened spiritually for the effort. To make matters worse, the electrical columns reset and Piik is blasted hard by the starting bolts and Gilfer avoids the worst of it but is greatly weakened from the undead’s touch.

They back off after verifying the ghost is limited to that one room. They camp there to gather their strength again and figure out how to get past the undead guardian. Gilfer is once more weakened and near death from the effort. Once more they sit back and rest for the remainder of the day.

Eventually, they do “destroy” the ghost and check out the statue and the room. Only the statue is here. It is dedicated to the hobgoblin explorer- Letaan whom died here over 2000 years ago. Gilfer has Piik destroy the statue in hopes of finding something hidden. Nothing within the body but in the pedestal below they discover a map. They believe it originats within the Eldeen Reaches but they are uncertain.

Disappointed, they leave the room again and camp in the main room again.


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“Healing Circle and Hunter’s Nest”

200ft down on the right they spot yet another hallway leading away. Once more it has no door or block. They check it out and discover a large circle drawn with small runes of magical power. There are three hallways leading away from the rune.

Gilfer steps into the circle to prove it is nothing and it immediately begins to glow a soft blue. He feels better for the effort. Piik is next and also feels good going in. His burnt away fur doesn’t regrow but the sores and partially healed burns on his skin heal up completely. They keep going in and out of it until it doesn’t work anymore (5 / day it heals 1d8+3). Only slightly daunted by this they begin to explore the other branches hoping to find more healing circles.

One branch is empty, the other has a few loose silver pieces. However, the branch has a small bag. Gilfer hurries ahead of everyone to get to it first. He picks up the bag with reckless abandon and opens it feeling some weight within it. He pulls out a glowing dagger. “It’s Mine! I found it!” He declares as the others arrive. {DM NOTE: +1 Bane vs. Aberrations and CURSED. 5% chance per morning he will wake up as a human man instead of a Shifter. ]

They leave this only after discovering the healing circle has lost its ability to heal (has 5 charges a day only). They walk for a very long time. After traveling over 1000 feet they see a faint glow ahead of them. They slow down and try to sneak up. They see what Gilfer mistakenly thinks is an Azer and attacks. (This is what happens when you misuse player knowledge) The Magmacore Golem easily deals with their “surprise” attack and begins to ooze out molten magma burning Piik badly and Paw. Gilfer attacks from an angle by throwing first his psionically charged blades then his two glowing daggers. Leaffa calls up several allies whom all burn as the guardian oozes out more protective magma from it. She then attempts to use her bow but finds little success doing this.

Piik continues to attack while being burned by the creature’s ooze and fiery hot slams. Suddenly the creature stops in mid motion and explodes in a wave of intense heat and shrapnel. Magma splatters and spreads everywhere including on Piik whom is now looking to escape as all of his fur on his legs has been burned off and his legs now have severe burns on them.

With its armor now missing, it is a much easier to hit the guardian although its ooze still threatens everyone near it. Finally the creature succumbs to the combined attacks but most of the party is so badly injured / burnt that they retreat to the healing room.

They hope it works again but it doesn’t. They camp here. When they awake they discover the healing circle works again of which Piik and Gilfer quickly use up its abilities. They check out the room the molten guardian was protecting. A heavy and recently made door is behind when the guardian was. It takes time but they break it down. Gilfer pushes the door open and cool air comes out, cool and refreshing air. They walk down the short hallway to a large open room. Looking up they see dark skies with heavy clouds. It looks like rain. The opening to the surface is about 200 feet up. Figuring they can not exit from here they search the doorways leaving this large room.

One room has a box within it. Lifting the wooden cover carefully they discover a Longbow (magical) and 40 arrows. Leaffa takes these. In another room they find a roughly made shelf built from stones and boards. On the shelf is a potion that Piik quickly drinks once Leaffa says she thinks it is a curing potion. He drinks it feels better as dried blackened skin flakes off his feet and reveals bare bright red skin. It is still painful to walk on his blistered feet but at now he can. The last room has a few cracked jars on the floor. They have gold, silver and copper coins and a loose ring with gold worth possibly as much as 25 gold. Gilfer and Leaffa take these.

They walk back to the “healing” room again and rest and use the healing circle in the morning once more.