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mikeawmids runs Rise of the Runelords (in Savage Worlds)

mikeawmids

Explorer
Some time ago (way back in 2012!), I started running the Rise of the Runelords adventure path converted to Savage Worlds. I originally posted a story hour on the Paizo forums, but recently became aware of and joined EN World and thought I would also create a thread here. I hope you enjoy my story hour. The game is ongoing, but we only ever play 8 sessions of any one game at a time before moving onto something else, so far we have about 24 sessions under our belts, and we are at the start of Fortress of the Stone Giants.

(Savaged) Rise of the Runelords
Session One - 01-03-2012

Player Characters

Val : Karrack (monstrous lizard man monk with a heart of gold)

Cariryn : Krogg (abhorred half-orc garbage collector with doomed ambitions of bettering himself)

Mal H : Ben (ludicrously wealthy ranger with a fetish for all things oriental)

Steboucha : Antony (amnesiac elf, washed up in Sandpoint with no memories of his previous life)


FESTIVAL & FIRE

The citizens of Sandpoint (a small, yet prosperous fishing community along the Lost Shore) are preparing for the Swallowtail Festival, a celebration to welcome the first day of Autumn. The streets are thronged with local residents and visitors from further afield, all dancing and making merry. But not everyone is enjoying the revelry, a scowling half-orc (Krogg) trundles through the crowds, pushing his red wheelbarrow before him. Meanwhile, a robed figure (Karrack) tries to make himself useful, but is shunned for his bestial visage. Ben converses with a group of drunken fishermen over 'the Late Unpleasantness', while Antony and his adopted family (who found and nursed him back to health, after he washed up wounded outside of town) enjoy a welcome respite from the forge.

At noon, the crowds make their way to the open square before Sandpoint's recently completed cathedral, a grandiose monument dedicated to the worship of Desna, erected after the town's old church was burned to the ground in a mysterious and tragic fire. Hundred of butterflies are released into the air to the delight of the rabble - especially Karrack, who missed breakfast and apparently considers butterflies a rare delicacy. As Father Zantus tries to restore order for the ritual of consecration, Ben notices a squat figure darting through the crowd, followed by screams and shouts of alarm as a horde of loathsome goblins pour into the crowded square!

As the revellers panic, the heroes engage the goblin raiders, hoping to hold the line while the Sandpoint militia organises a counter-strike to repulse the invading force back into the wilderness. Karrack confronts a goblin armed with nothing but a bogey and only the sage use of an Adventure Card saves Krogg from a humiliating, soup-related fatality. Ben spends most of the combat trying to pull a cowering goblin out from beneath a wagon, while another of the little bastards throws plates at Antony's head.

After defeating the first wave of goblins, the party are reinforced by Sheriff Hemlock and a small band of militiamen. In light of the threat to the town, the Sheriff is convinced to deputize the PC's and dispatches them to deal with another group of marauding goblins laying siege to the Rusty Dragon Inn. On route, Karrack saves a small child from being crushed beneath the wheels of a runaway cart.

DIE, DOG, DIE!

Reaching the Rusty Dragon, the heroes find a group of goblins tormenting a cowering nobleman, having already killed his loyal hunting hound. Sabotaging any chance the party had of taking the goblins by surprise, Karrack announces that he feels no remorse for the slaughter of dog-slayers and wades into battle, the others have little choice but to follow suit.

Wiping out the enemy, the group rescue to nobleman, only to discover he's a bit of an :):):):):):):):). Aldern Foxglove thanks his saviours and insists that they join him on a hunting expedition once things have settled down a little.

LOCAL HEROES

Having played a pivotal role in the defence of the town, the PC's are celebrated as local heroes, even Krogg is treated with slightly less disdain than would ordinarily be the case. Encouraged by Ben to seek social advancement in the light of his heroic conduct, Krogg approaches Sheriff Hemlock and asks to join the militia. His request is doomed after he experiences a moment of nauseating flatulence in the enclosed garrison, forcing the building to be evacuated and birthing concerns than the goblins may have engineered some form of biological agent with which to attack the town.

Antony is approached by Shayliss Vinder, the lustful daughter of the general store owner, but her clumsy attempts to seduce the handsome elf are foiled when he insists on declaring his intentions to her over-protective father - and is subsequently forbidden from ever entering his store - or his daughter - again, on pain of death.

Meanwhile, the other PC's are contacted by Aldern Foxglove and invited to join him on a boar hunt in Tickwood. Krogg and Ben meet the nobleman at the north gate and are loaned horses and spears. Karrack is deeply offended by the notion of slaying so noble a beast for the benefit of a privileged few and demands that whatever the hunting party kill is gifted to the poor, some of whom are starving, after the goblins put their winter stores to the torch. Foxglove laughs in his scaly face and rides off, leaving the Saurian monk to trudge after them.
Ben manages to track down a boar and the party dismount and wait to meet its charge... or at least, Ben and Foxglove do. Krogg, who clearly has no appreciation for the long established traditions of the hunt, hurls his spear across the clearing, skewering the beast from tusk to tail. While Foxglove berates the barbaric churl for his utter lack of gentility, Karrack emerges from the foliage and makes off with the boar's carcass. Foxglove objects and a tug of war over possession of the dead pig ensures, which the nobleman loses. The PC's host a feast for the poverty stricken and become folk heroes amongst the penniless beggars of Sandpoint, but simultaneously make an enemy of Aldern Foxglove.

A few nights later, the PC's are approached by a frantic woman, whose domestic bliss has been shattered by a rogue goblin, left behind enemy lines when the rest of his tribe retreated, following the recent raid. Exploring the house, the group find the poor woman's husband jammed into a cupboard, his face half eaten by the hungry wretch lurking beneath the floorboards. Unused to such gristly sights, Antony's stomach revolts and he is sick out of the window. The goblin launches itself out of the shadows, slashing at Ben's throat before scrambling for freedom. Karrack tackles the wretched creature on the stairs and demands to know who masterminded the assault on Sandpoint and why. The group establish the raid was incited by a sinister woman with white hair, scars on her belly and "a scary hand". They also discover the goblins were instructed to cause as much mayhem as possible, while other agents of the sinister woman stole something from the Sandpoint cemetery. The goblin doesn't know what was stolen, and having outlived his usefulness, the PC's execute him. The party wrap the dead husband's cannibalised cadaver in a sheet and carry it out into the street. Antony tries and fails to comfort the weeping widow. Krogg inadvertently steps on a trailing edge of the shroud, revealing the mutilated corpse to the assembled crowd, resulting in much fainting and projectile vomit.

To be continued....
 

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mikeawmids

Explorer
(Savaged) Rise of the Runelords
Session Two / Part One - 08/03/2012

Player Characters

Val : Karrack (monstrous lizard man monk with a heart of gold)

Cariryn : Krogg (abhorred half-orc garbage collector with doomed ambitions of bettering himself)

Mal H : Ben (ludicrously wealthy ranger with a fetish for all things oriental)

Steboucha : Antony (amnesiac elf, washed up in Sandpoint with no memories of his previous life)

Crusader Hank: Rast (greedy dwarven rogue with an embarrassing rash, constantly scratching)


GRIM NEWS FROM MOSSWOOD

The following morning, the party enjoy a hearty breakfast before following up on the leads uncovered after their interrogation-come-execution of the goblin commando. They make a beeline for the Sandpoint cemetery and quiz the hideous, hunchbacked undertaker on any curious activity in the boneyard of late. They learn that the grave of the late Father Tobyn (the predecessor of Father Zantus) has been dug up and the skeletal remains of the dead priest exhumed. Jumping into the sodden grave, Krogg discovers traces of gold dust in the bottom of the empty coffin. At the mention of gold, Rast practically hurls himself into the hole head first and starts scraping up the precious flakes with his fat, sausage fingers. Searching the area around the desecrated tomb, the group find more trace elements of gold in the dewy grass, leading to the wall, where they find a ladder discarded in the overgrown bushes. Clambering over the wall, the party lose the glittering trail in Tickwood, so return to town to peruse the old church records, hoping to establish why the goblins were so interested in the earthly remains of a decaying clergyman.
Father Zantus welcomes the group to the newly consecrated cathedral and grants them access the parish records. Rast delves into the investigation with great gusto and discovers that the late Father Tobyn burned to death in the conflagration that destroyed the old Sandpoint chapel. The priest's adopted daughter, Nualia, also perished in the blaze, though no body was ever found....

Later that day, the heroes are summoned to the town hall to attend a council with Mayor Deverin, Sheriff Hemlock and Shalelu Andosana, an elven ranger recently returned from the depths of Mosswood with grim news. Apparently, the five goblin tribes along the Lost Coast (the Birdcruncher tribe, the Licktoad tribe, the Seven Tooth tribe, the Thistletop tribe and the Mosswood tribe) have been united under a single chief and given a single, driving purpose - the utter destruction of Sandpoint! Sheriff Hemlock departs for Magnimar, hoping to raise reinforcements to support the local garrison if the goblins do return in overwhelming numbers. He renews the groups' deputy status and asks them to keep the peace in Sandpoint while he is away, as the townsfolk still talk of their heroic actions during the goblin raid.

THE MISSING BARTENDER

Rast begins trawling through the garrison's archive, looking for more information about the Sandpoint fire, but becomes sidetracked by records regarding the Chopper - an insane serial killer who plagued the town five years previously, enjoying a string of gruesome murders before he was eventually killed. Rast is disappointed in his search for evidence of a gold mine in the area, but does discover an obscure report of several sacks of gold dust being stolen from the Sandpoint Glassworks (as gold dust is sometimes used as a reagent to create red/yellow coloured glass). Before the dwarven sleuth can reveal this discovery to his new companions, the group are approached by a frantic halfling woman, whom they recognise as the cook from the Rusty Dragon. She tells the party her employer, Ameiko Kaijitsu, has gone missing, leaving nothing but a curious note penned in an unfamiliar hand. Skimming the mysterious correspondence, the group realise that Ameiko has been summoned to a midnight rendezvous with her estranged half-brother Tsuto Kaijitsu, at the Glassworks. In light of Rast's discovery amidst the militia's dusty records, the heroes decide Ameiko's well-being is in jeopardy and make haste to the Glassworks, hoping they are not too late....
 

mikeawmids

Explorer
(Savaged) Rise of the Runelords
Session Two / Part Two - 08/03/2012

WRATH AND GLASS

As the sun dips over the ocean, bathing the streets of Sandpoint in its dusky light, Krogg leads the party to the rear, delivery entrance of the Glassworks. Rast attempts to pick the lock, before realising the portal doesn't appear to have a keyhole. Rather, he wedges it shut with a hard crust of dwarven bread, to prevent anyone within fleeing out the back door when the party storm the front of the building. Meanwhile, Antony scales the wall to peer in through one of the tall, exterior windows. The glass is frosted, but he can make out diminutive figures capering within, illuminated by the sullen, red glow of the smelting furnace.
Circling around to the front of the Glassworks, Rast picks the lock and the party creep stealthily inside. Or at least, Krogg, Karrack, Ben and Rast creep stealthily... Antony, on the other hand, swaggers in as though he owns the place, blundering clumsily into a display of ornate glass work. Rast makes a dive to catch the tumbling trinkets, but they slip through his (fat, sausage) fingers and shatter against the floor. Fortunately, whoever occupies the Glassworks doesn't appear to have noticed the din.

Sneaking through a hive of dark, empty workshops, the trespassing heroes soon reach the large, glass-working crucible, into which Antony caught an earlier glimpse. Bursting into the area with their weapons drawn, they find Ameiko Kaijitsu trussed up and surrounded by gibbering goblins, her half-elven, half-brother Tsuto Kaijitsu looming over her, gloating maniacally, before commanding his minions to throw her into the furnace. As two of the goblins manhandle the missing innkeeper towards the flames, the party leap into action! Krogg, Rast and Karrack charge the milling goblins, while Ben and Antony hang back and rain arrows on Tsuto - who returns fire and wounds the human ranger (the damage would have been more grievous had Ben not rolled so bloody well on his Soak roll). Karrack leaps up onto the long worktable and sprints along its length, bypassing the goblins thronged to either side and whittling their numbers down with shuriken, before the dwarf and half-orc crash into their front line. The Saurian monk is tackled - and both reptile and runt fall to the floor in one writhing mass of tangled limbs.
Overconfident in their martial supremacy over their little, green adversaries, the party are lured into overextending themselves - then yet more goblins flood the room from all sides, surrounding and outnumbering the surprised heroes. Escalating the situation further still, Krogg plays the Angry Mob Adventure Card and the players are reinforced by a horde of militia men from the Sandpoint garrison, responding to reports of a break in at the Glassworks. The ill-trained but enthusiastic guards burst into the building through doors and windows - even rappelling from the skylights like some medieval SWAT unit. The tide of battle turns against Tsuto and his goblin allies and they try to flee. Ben casts Entangle, frustrating their attempted escape with thick, clinging vines that snake around their legs. Although two of the goblins get away (and disappear into an old smuggling tunnel beneath the town), Antony puts an arrow through Tsuto's (once handsome) face, and down he goes, dead or dying.

Ben overcomes his animosity for Tsuto (who did shoot him, after all) and grudgingly consents to heal the villain, though nobody takes any pains to remove the arrow sticking out of what used to be his nose. Once he regains consciousness, the group find he will not answer their questions without a powerful incentive to talk. Antony provides such an incentive by yanking on the arrow still protruding from his face. Once he regains consciousness (again), he reveals that the goblin tribes are being mustered at Thistletop by a woman called Nualia, who shares his own hatred for the people of Sandpoint. They learn Nualia was alienated by her adopted parent (the late Father Tobyn, whose body was recently stolen from the town cemetery) after she became pregnant to a Varisian gypsy. She burnt down the church in which they lived, killing the old priest in the process and fled. Since then, she has found favour with a dark, unwholesome deity - and has returned to the Lost Coast with the power to wipe Sandpoint and its citizenry off the map.

The party leave Tsuto in the custody of the militia and return to the Rusty Dragon with Ameiko, who seems to have taken an unfathomable shine to Rast, despite the liberties the lecherous dwarf took to paw at her bound figure - or perhaps because of them.... (Quirk: Kinky sex games?). They brief Shalelu Andosana on their nights diversion and bombard the elven ranger with questions about Thistletop, since it appears they will be assaulting the place in the near future. Shalelu agrees to support their attack on the goblin fortress and the group resolve to head north the next day.

Meanwhile, ever since he read about the Chopper, Rast's grubby, dwarven soul has been consumed with the notion to search the abandoned house on Chopper's Isle (universally shunned by the local populous due to rumours of the killer's malevolent spirit haunting the burnt wreckage) for the murderers hidden treasure cache. Somehow, he convinces Karrack to accompany him on this scavenger hunt/suicide mission and the next morning they cross the sandbar to the foreboding islet. The pair ascend the broken stair and enter the blackened skeleton of the old house. Immediately, Karrack's eyes begin to ache, as though something unseen were worrying them with a rusty splinter. Consumed by goldlust, Rast drops into the dark, spooky basement through a gaping hole in the floor and discovers a creepy altar to a sinister, bird-like demon. He doesn't notice the Chopper's vengeful ghost materialising above him until Karrack yelps in surprise. The murderous spectre tries to put out Rast's eyes with its ethereal, blade-like fingers, Rast is so scared he is permanently marked by the harrowing experience, one of his eyes bulges comically and begins to roll around in its socket like a marble in a cup. Noticing the dagger he looted of Tsuto is glowing in response to the ghost's presence (it must be magical, hurray!), Rast jabs the ghost with the pointy end, causing the hateful apparition to vanish with a howl that rattles the foundations of the crumbling house. With the Chopper's ghost banished, the demon altar is sundered and Rast discovers a sinister grimoire. Vindicated (there was treasure after all!), Rast (and Karrack) returns to the Rusty Dragon and hands the book over to Ben. the only party member with any degree of magical aptitude. After a brief examination of the unsettling text, Ben discovers a new spell, enabling him to shape-change his body into the form of a small, evil looking bird.

The group set out for Thistletop with Shalelu Andosana as their guide. We rejoin them there next week!

To be continued....
 

mikeawmids

Explorer
(Savaged) Rise of the Runelords
Session Three/Part One - 15/03/2012

Player Characters

Val : Karrack (monstrous lizard man monk with a heart of gold, fighting for the liberation of goblins everywhere!)

Cariryn : Krogg (abhorred half-orc garbage collector with doomed ambitions of bettering himself)

Mal H : Ben (ludicrously wealthy ranger with a fetish for all things oriental)

Steboucha : Antony (amnesiac elf, washed up in Sandpoint with no memories of his previous life)

Crusader Hank: Rast (greedy dwarven rogue with an embarrassing rash, constantly scratching, one eye bulges comically from its socket)


With Shalelu Andosana to guide them across the wilderness, the heroes travel north along the coast until they reach the lightly forested outskirts of Nettlewood. Surveying the ramshackle goblin fortifications through his spyglass, Rast is unable to perceive any approach to Thistletop other than the heavily guarded rope-bridge leading right up to the front door. The stocky dwarven rogue decides to swim across to the island upon which the goblins have erected their stronghold, in the (somewhat desperate) hope that an alternative means of infiltration will present itself. Karrack volunteers to go with him, hoping to keep the little fellow out of trouble. It transpires that Rast is not so competent a swimmer as he imagined himself to be (sinking like a bearded brick the moment he is out of his depth) and his Saurian ally is forced to act as a buoyancy aid to save him from a watery grave. All is going swimmingly (haha!) until something with altogether too many teeth chomps down on Karrack's long, scaly tail. Having attracted the predatory attentions of a bunyip (imagine a cross between a bloodthirsty shark and a loveable seal), Karrack and Rast paddle for the dubious safety of the rocks. The bunyip soon loses interest in its prey, after Karrack puts out one of its eyes with a taloned fist.

Meanwhile, Ben decides to trial his new spell and perform some aerial reconnaissance of the goblin positions. He intones the words of power from the sinister grimoire that Rast plundered from the Chopper's haunted basement - and alters his form into that of a small, evil looking bird (with oily black feathers and three, glowing red eyes). Unknown to Ben, in doing so he has bared his soul to a dark and terrible entity, possessed of an insatiable - and unconventional - appetite.
Perched atop the goblin fortifications, Ben watches the compound below for any sign of a woman matching Nualia's description. Instead, he spots the Thistletop warchief riding around on the back of a giant gecko, a battered crown of scrap metal perched atop his misshapen brow. Taking wing once more, Ben swoops down to circle Karrack and Rast as they sit shivering amidst the jagged rocks at the base of the island. Landing in a cave mouth 50ft up the sheer side of the cliff, Ben transforms back into his human shape and lowers a rope to his two soggy friends.

Twiddling his thumbs as Rast and Karrack make their leisurely ascent, Ben is unpleasantly surprised when a rubbery tentacle snakes around his neck and wrenches him off his feet. A second, spiked feeler pierces the ranger's armour and skewers his torso, pumping organ-liquefying venom into his chest. Unable to break free of the Tentamort's deadly embrace, it falls to Rast to prevent the lurking horror from turning Ben into a gruesome, human milkshake.
Having defeated the mummy Tentamort, Ben, Karrack and Rast must deal with the creature's vile spawn, as the baby tentamorts burst out of the bloated corpse of the creature's last victim. Meanwhile, back on the coast, Krogg and Antony grow weary of waiting for the others to return and - having hijacked a small fishing vessel - row across to investigate the disappearance of their friends.

To be continued....
 

mikeawmids

Explorer
(Savaged) Rise of the Runelords
Session Three/Part Two - 15/03/2012

The group enjoy a welcome interlude, as Ben recovers from his tentacular tussle, before delving deeper into the dungeon beneath Thistletop. 'Tasting' the air with his long, lizardy tongue, Karrack takes the lead, following the goblin stink pervading the tunnels. Soon, the party come to a pair of enormous, stone double-doors, their faces carved with images of horrific, deformed monsters clawing their way out of pregnant women of all races. Repressing a shared shudder, the group decide to leave that grim portal alone for a while. Their aimless blundering leads to a gallery of goblin 'art' and Krogg pauses to admire a portrait of Warchief Ripnugget, smeared on the wall with what may or may not be poo.

The next chamber they enter is a cluttered workroom, littered with archaeological tools, dog-eared manuscripts and stone tablets covered in dense, spiky runes. The desk is occupied by an attractive, dusky skinned woman (Lyrie Akenja) and her beloved moggy. Glancing up from her studies as the party intrude upon her personal space, she demands to know what the devil they think they're up to, interrupting her important work at such a pivotal moment?! Her eyes begin to glaze over as Karrack starts banging on about her tyrannical oppression of the indigenous greenskins. Questioning the confused woman, they learn she is an academic hired by Nualia to investigate the ancient vault beneath Thistletop - and establish if there is any truth to the goblin's belief that a powerful monster is sealed therein.
Unimpressed by Lyrie's dispassionate, mercenary attitude towards the fate of Sandpoint should Nualia turn this slumbering behemoth loose upon the Varisian countryside, Antony slaps her upside the face and binds her hands behind her back. When her pet cat hisses at this unprovoked mistreatment of its mistress, Rast stabs it (which does little to raise Lyrie's already pretty poor opinion of the party). Not that her feelings matter for long, as when nobody is paying attention, Rast stabs her too - and since his dagger has been coated in organ-liquefying tentamort venom, her lingering demise will be neither quick nor painless. Blissfully ignorant of the murderous dwarf's penchant for acts of spontaneous homicide, Antony continues to haul the dying woman around with him.

Before they gagged her, Lyrie had directed her captors to Nualia's quarters, and it is in this general direction that the party now amble. Growing weary of the group's womanly dithering, Krogg takes the lead and barges into a harem of Ripnugget's goblin concubines, who seem excessively excited by the sudden appearance of this half-orc stallion. Coquettishly, they enquire if that is a longsword in his britches, or is he just happy to see them...? It transpires that it was a longsword after all, which Krogg draws from its sheath and sets to hacking the warchief's hideous courtesans into so much bloody meat, before they dare utter another indecent proposition.

Searching the chambers belonging by Nualia and her favoured lackeys, the party find only one room is currently occupied. They confront Orik Vancaskerkin, who is honing the edge on his blade in anticipation of trouble. He is unmoved the party's condemnation of Nualia's cause, having taken her gold to serve as her bodyguard. He challenges the group to fight him honourably, only to be dishonourably butchered before he can even strap on his armour.
Searching Nualia's chambers, Rast discovers the wicked woman's diary, which turns out to be a real page turner. Skimming through her angst-filled teenage years in Sandpoint, Rast reaches the juicy stuff regarding her servitude to Lamashtu, the Mother-Goddess of all Monsters. Realising that Nualia stole her father's skeleton so as to sacrifice it to Lamashtu in a ritual to gain infernal powers, the party rush back to the chapel and burst through the creepy double-doors that they bypassed earlier, praying they are not too late to interrupt Nualia's demonic transformation

Their charge breaks against a mob of mutant goblins (twisted by Lamashtu's corrupting influence), while Nualia releases the hellish Yeth Hounds chained to the altar. One of the demon hounds damn near tears out Rast's throat, soaking the dwarf's bushy beard in blood. After several arrows ricochet off her plate armour, Nualia loses patience with the cowardly archers and wades into the fray, laying her foes asunder with her +1 serrated longsword. Exploiting a weakness in Karrack's defences, Nualia prepares to deliver a mortal wound - but before her blade can bite into his scaly flesh, Krogg hurls himself into the path of the weapon, taking the damage instead of the Saurian monk. Shaking off his wounds, Krogg brings his own sword to bare and overcomes Nualia in a frenzied hurricane of steel. Searching her body, the party find a curious medallion inscribed with a seven pointed star that positively throbs with plot significance.
 

mikeawmids

Explorer
(Savaged) Rise of the Runelords
Session Four - 22/03/2012

Player Characters

Val : Karrack (Lizardman monk-turned-revolutionary)

Cariryn : Krogg (Brutish half-orc garbage collector, has traded his wheelbarrow in for a life of adventure)

Mal H : Ben (ludicrously wealthy ranger with a fetish for all things oriental... and eyeballs)

Steboucha : Antony (amnesiac elf, washed up in Sandpoint with no memories of his previous life)

Crusader Hank: Rast (sausage-fingered dwarven rogue with an embarrassing rash, constantly scratching, one eye bulges comically from its socket)


Having slain Nualia, the party toss her father's skeletal remains into a sack, to be returned to the consecrated earth of Sandpoint's cemetery. Poking around the prison adjacent to the demonic chapel, they rescue a wounded dwarf from a cage suspended over a smouldering fire pit. He offers them no thanks, possibly because the goblins have cut out his tongue. Unprepared to burden themselves with a second loafing dwarf, the rest of the party fob the mute off on Shalelu Andonsana and pack the pair of them off for Sandpoint with news of Nualia's defeat.

While most of the group are eager to leave Thistletop for the various goblin tribes to bicker over, Karrack somehow persuades them to help him free the wretched greenskins from the tyrannical yoke of oppression. Whether the others actually support his noble quest - or simply saw an opportunity to plunder the rest of the goblin stronghold remains ambiguous.
The goblins have discovered the blaze in Nualia's sanctum and are organising a bucket chain to extinguish the flames. Taking advantage of the confusion, the party ascend to the upper levels, emerging into an open courtyard, overlooked by two sagging guard towers. A number of dead goblins litter the ground outside a large shed, from within which something is raising an ungodly racket. Several mangy goblin dogs converge on the party, barking and growling threateningly.
Against all common sense and self-preservation, Ben decides that sometimes it's better the devil you don't know - and lifts the bar across the outhouse door, releasing whatever manner of beast is raging inside. The ranger barely manages to avoid being caught in a cloud of splinters as the portal bursts open and a huge, magnificent warhorse in full barding erupts into the courtyard - eyes rolling madly, its mouth frothing with white foam! Alerted by the clamour, the goblin archers up in the two towers notch arrows and prepare to loose. Recognising the danger, Karrack vaults onto the back of the rampaging steed, then somersaults up into one of the towers! The Saurian monk knocks one of the marksmen out of the tower with his tail, the second surrenders and pledges his (somewhat dubious) allegiance to the benevolent lizardman.
Meanwhile, Krogg and Antony begin clambering up the outside of the other tower. Once the half-orc reaches the top, he makes short, gory work of the archers, then leaps through a trapdoor in the floor in search of more goblin blood in which to bathe his sword.
While the half-orc berserker runs amok, Ben turns his attention to the stampeding stallion. After its third attempt to kick Rast's brains out through the back of his thick, dwarven skull, the ranger casts Entangle, lassoing the horse with a length of magical rope. Surmising that the warhorse formerly belonged to Nualia's bodyguard (Orik Vancaskerkin) and that he's hardly going to have further need of it (being dead), Ben soothes the animal's ire and claims it for himself.

Seducing the goblin with promises of a brighter future, Karrack convinces his new best friend (Snot) to betray Warchief Ripnuggget. The party challenge the goblin leader for command of the tribe, putting Krogg forward as their champion. Rignugget rejects their proposal and mounts his giant gecko, then scales the wall of his throne room, beyond the reach of Krogg's blade (which Rast was thoughtful enough to smear in his last dose of tentamort venom). While the rest of the party whittles away the warchief's surplus of bodyguards, Krogg rages at the cowardly chieftan as he scrambles across the ceiling on the back of his sure-footed mount. Ben manages to dislodge the oversized newt, which crashes to the ground, spilling its rider from the saddle. Before Krogg can grab the slippery bastard, Ripnugget flees into his private rooms behind the throne. The half-orc gives chase and catches Rignugget as he attempts to escape down a stinking latrine. Krogg hacks the former warchief's body into bloody ruin, then fishes around amongst the entrails for epic loot.

Abandoned by their warchief, the surviving goblins (and the gecko) yield. Karrack dons Ripnugget's (bloodstained) crown, mounts the giant gecko and rides out to formally address his subjects. Warchief Karrack announces to what's left of the Thistletop tribe that they will be migrating south to Tickwood, an area of dense forest within a stones throw of Sandpoint, where they will found a new community and become respectable citizens of the Empire. Karrack sets to herding the milling goblins down the coast, while the rest of the party scour the abandoned stronghold for Ripnugget's treasure cache. Ultimately, it's Rast who discovers it, after fishing in the warchief's reeking latrine with his grappling hook (I'm sure he had his reasons....).

The party return to Sandpoint as heroes, apart from Karrack who is initially assumed to have defected to the goblins side, when he first appeared at the head of a great goblin army. He and his love interest (thanks Adventure Card!) Shalelu Andosana begin construction of the goblin's new settlement and assign Snot the important position of Human-Goblin Liaison Officer. Krogg is promoted to the rank of Sergeant within the Sandpoint militia. Antony continues searching for clues as to his identity and Ben fights the demonic compulsion to start harvesting eyeballs from the general populous. Finally, Rast is besieged by murderous cats who yowl outside his window at night and claws at his face during the day. He suspects he has been cursed and ponders how best to implement absolute feline genocide.

Thus concludes Burnt Offerings!

Next week... The Skinsaw Murders!
 

mikeawmids

Explorer
(Savaged) Rise of the Runelords
Session Five/One - 29/03/2012

Player Characters

Val : Karrack (Lizardman monk-turned-revolutionary, founder of goblin shanty town in Tickwood)

Cariryn : Krogg (Half-Orc man-at-arms, promoted to the rank of Sergeant)

Mal H : Ben (ludicrously wealthy ranger with a fetish for all things oriental... and eyeballs)

Steboucha : Aereon (Antony's super-magical uncle)

Crusader Hank: Rast (Rogue Alchemist, haunted by malevolent moggies)


A month has passed since the parties triumphant return from Thistletop. Relations between the Sandpoint citizenry and the freshly founded goblin colony of Hope (or Stinkpoint, as the locals have christened it) are strained. The villagers blame the new arrivals for the sudden predations upon the town's cat culture. The real culprit (Rast) is happy to let the greenskins take the fall, as he continues to wage his one-dwarf campaign against his feline persecutors. Rast does take an afternoon off from his sudden enthusiasm for amateur alchemy to rig the harpy wings (that he took from Ripnugget's trophy room) with a wooden frame. Observed by a crowd of curious spectators, the mad dwarf clambers to the tallest point of the Sandpoint cathedral and chucks himself off the edge. Those expecting a dwarf-shaped splatter on the ground are disappointed, when his makeshift hang-glider catches the wind and Rast soars majestically across the rooftops.
Meanwhile, Antony tends to the mute dwarf (who the party rescued from Thistletop's dungeons). Despite his scars/bruising, the tongue-less fellow's face stirs memories in the half-elf's addled brain. Once restored to health, the dwarf explains (using secret sign language) how he was dispatched by the masters of the monastery where Antony had been training - under his real name, Solaris - to investigate the disappearance of their champion. Antony accompanies the dwarf back to their mountain sanctuary to resume his instruction in the sacred arts, but does arrange for his super-magical uncle Aereon to travel to Sandpoint and aid the party in their continuing struggle.

Sheriff Hemlock approaches Sergeant Krogg and asks him to gather the rest of the gang, to discuss a dire new threat to the town. Once assembled, the Sheriff speaks of a series of gristly murders and asks the group to bring the killer to justice. The party are disturbed to discover the rune carved into the victim's flesh is identical to that on the medallion they lifted from Nualia's corpse. Worse still, the culprit left a note at the scene implicating Karrack in the crime!
The party rush to the Sandpoint sawmill, where the latest two bodies were found only this morning. A crowd of gawking onlookers have gathered outside, but Krogg persuades them to piss off. The first victim (Banny Harker) is only recognisable by a distinctive tattoo across his back, since the killer took the liberty of eating his face, before carving the seven pointed star into his chest. The second 'body' belonged to the sister of Shayliss Vinder (the wench who tried to seduce Antony in Week 1), although after being thrown into the wood-chipper, there's not all that much of a body left. It turns out that Uncle Aereon has as delicate a disposition as his handsome nephew and staggers back outside to throw up into the river.
Searching for clues, the party find a trail of muddy footprints that stink of turned meat. The tracks originate from - and return to - the river. Karrack, Ben and Uncle Aereon range up and down both banks, looking for more tracks, but find nothing.

Exhausting all their leads, the group decide to interview the only witness of the first three murders (a trio of greedy conmen killed and mutilated in a barn south of town), who has been detained at an isolated sanatorium. Krogg negotiates entry to the asylum, thanks to the Sheriff's letter of introduction. Erin Habe (the doctor in charge) and his two lumbering orderlies escort the party to the deranged man's cell. The lunatic is gibbering about his 'new family' and the Skinsaw Man who 'unmade him'. When the maniac spots Karrack standing outside his padded room, his eyes bulge and he relays a message from 'His Lordship'; "He said that the bodies you are finding are signs and portents; that when he is done, you shall be remembered forever and the Misgivings shall be your throne!”
Then it all goes a bit Chthulhu....

The inmates neck snaps backwards at a grotesque angle and his straitjacket begins to ripple and swell, like a cocoon about to disgorge some monstrous larvae. The fabric tears and the creature's four powerful, grey limbs (tipped with jagged claws, oozing brown blood that stinks of rotting meat) snap out to slash at the orderlies trying to subdue it. The vile fiend scuttles up the wall and across the ceiling, grabbing Karrack and hurling the Saurian monk down a flight of stairs. Fortunately, super-magical Uncle Aereon is there to save the day, blasting the undead horror into soup with spears of crackling lightning.
On some slim pretext, Ben decapitates the body, then scoops out and pockets the abomination's sightless, staring eyeballs (the good doctor confiscates the head). While Krogg raids the orderlies lunch and Rast rifles through the belongings of the other inmates, Karrack rolls the ghoul's headless carcass down the hill to Habe's cottage, breaks in and burns the body in the hearth. As the party prepare to leave, a storm breaks and Krogg borrows the good doctor's umbrella (and is almost struck by lightning). The group spend the night in the same barn where the Skinsaw Man slaughtered his first three victims.

To be continued....
 

mikeawmids

Explorer
(Savaged) Rise of the Runelords
Session Five/Two - 29/03/2012

Returning to Sandpoint the next morning, the party are intercepted by a distraught rustic, who implores the characters to clear out the terrible creatures infesting his cornfields. The old farmer's breath stinks of whisky, but even in his muddled state, the fiends that he describes sound uncomfortably familiar to the heroes, having just put down a similar entity at Habe's asylum. They agree to investigate the drunkard's concerns and Sergeant Krogg convinces the Sheriff to loan the party a handful of the militia's horses, to hasten their journey to the haunted homestead. Before they depart, Ben convinces Rast to show him where he buys such fine glassware, but a misjudged attempt at persuasion (to convince the merchant to apply a discount to marked prices) leaves the atmosphere charged with homoerotic possibility.

They reach the desolate stretch of abandoned farmland as dusk yields the sky to an early twilight. Noticing a number of ominous scarecrows have been erected amidst the rows of whispering corn, Ben begins using them for target practise. Suddenly, Rast notices that a number of the poles previously occupied by the straw men are now conspicuously vacant. As he turns in his saddle to warn the others, one of the ghouls attacks! While the wound is not deep, the brown slime coating the creature's claws leaves the rogue alchemist paralysed for 2 combat rounds, as the fiend tries to drag him from the horses back. The cornfield is full of undead horrors that begin to shriek and howl maniacally as they close in around the mounted party. Ben leads a desperate charge towards the dubious safety of the ramshackle barn beyond the blighted cropland - only for another horde of the gibbering, grey ghouls to erupt from within.

While Uncle Aereon and Karrack defend the helpless dwarf from the flesh-hungry monsters, Ben and Krogg trample the new threat beneath the iron-shod hooves of their screaming mounts (in retrospect, I should have made the horses make Spirit rolls or rear and flee from combat, meh). The half-orc's horse goes down, but fortunately Krogg manages to avoid being trapped beneath the animal's blood-soaked flank. Having turned the tide of battle (if bennies were legal tender, the party would have spent enough to buy a modestly priced car), the remaining ghouls flee into the bosom of darkness. As the party go about the gristly business of ensuring that none of the fallen creatures are playing possum, they discover one of the fiends is wearing a chain about its neck, from which hangs a tarnished, silver key. The key is emblazoned with a familiar crest, that Krogg, Karrack and Ben immediately recognise as belonging to their old friend, Aldern Foxglove.
 

mikeawmids

Explorer
(Savaged) Rise of the Runelords
Session Six (Part One) - 05/04/2012

Player Characters

Val : Karrack (Lizardman monk-turned-revolutionary, hero of goblins and founder of Hope/Stinkpoint)

Cariryn : Krogg (Brutish half-orc garbage collector, has traded his wheelbarrow in for a life of adventure)

Mal H : Ben (ludicrously wealthy ranger with a fetish for all things oriental... and eyeballs)

Crusader Hank: Rast (sausage-fingered dwarven rogue with an embarrassing rash, constantly scratching, one eye bulges comically from its socket)

James: Snot (my nine year old stepson, guest starring as Snot the Goblin for one week only)


Having vanquished the horde of flesh-ravening ghouls infesting the old Hambly farmstead, the party pile up the fallen creatures with their partially digested victims/supper and set the whole lot ablaze (although, not before Rast goes rummaging amongst the entrails for whatever loot the undead may have overlooked). As the heroes toast marshmallows over the crackling pyre, Snot the Goblin (assigned to the role of Human-Goblin Liaison Officer by Karrack) trots up astride a mangy goblin dog and relays to the Saurian insurgent that the murderer they seek has struck again - and this time his victims were among the goblin residents of Hope. The group mount up and ride for Sandpoint, galvanising the woefully unprepared locals to prepare for the onslaught of undead horrors that they believe is imminent!
Pits are excavated, spikes are sharpened and barricades erected. The daunting task of convincing the leaders of Sandpoint (Mayor Deverin, Sheriff Hemlock & Father Zantus) that an alliance of necessity between humans and goblins is the only way for the community to endure the shadow of doom befalling them falls to Karrack. Against all odds, the lizard man's impassioned plea convinces the council of their peril and orders are given to abandon Hope (haha, very witty Krogg) and relocate all greenskins to the Sandpoint slums.

Once they are certain the militia are not going to get their asses handed to them by the first couple of ghouls that chance to wander up, the heroes set out for Misgivings (the aptly named seat of the Foxglove family), in the hope of severing the head of the (metaphorical, undead) serpent plaguing their town. Deciding to take the scenic route around the goblin-infested Brinestump Marsh - as opposed to slogging straight through the middle - it takes the mounted party several hours to reach the dilapidated mansion overlooking the sea (while Karrack does ultimately hope to make model citizens of the marsh goblins, he acknowledges now is possibly not the best time to embark upon such an undertaking).

Karrack detects the familiar taint of rotting ghoul-flesh in the briny air, the scent is strongest beside the collapsed well in the burnt-out ruins of the old servants outbuilding. While the Saurian seriously considers lowering Snot down the hole on a length of rope - to establish if anything is lurking in the darkness below - the others watch a couple of unhealthy looking black carrion birds circle overhead. Krogg thinks he glimpses a pale-faced woman watching them from a grime-encrusted attic window, but before he can mention this to his friends, a congress (thanks, Gary!) of zombie ravens force the party to seek the dubious sanctuary of the mansion.
 

mikeawmids

Explorer
(Savaged) Rise of the Runelords
Session Six (Part Two) - 05/04/2012

No sooner have the party escaped the cadaverous congress, when they are confronted by a fearsome manticore! But wait - it's only a stuffed animal, albeit a frightening one. Clearly, someone in the Foxglove family had a morbid interest in amateur taxidermy.
Exploring the ground floor of the seemingly abandoned estate, the group enter a dingy dance hall with a sagging ceiling, the crystal chandelier that once hung there now a jagged wreckage across the warped floorboards. Snot scampers over and starts filling his grubby pockets with the sparkly shards (cutting his fingers to bloody red ruin in the process). Meanwhile, Rast approaches the grand piano, when a jaunty (yet discordant) Varisian dance number begins to play. Rast begins to prance and gambol around the room with an invisible dance partner. The others are laughing too hard to do anything about his bizarre predicament. (From Rast's perspective, the ruined hall is restored to its formed splendour and he is tripping the light fantastic with a beautiful, raven-haired woman. As the music grows ever more grating, his consort's flesh turns grey, her eyes pop from their sockets and her hair comes loose in wild clumps). It is only when Rast starts screaming that Ben bothers to hack the evil piano into so much firewood and the dancing dwarf is released from his torment.

From the adjacent room, a desperate scratching can be heard. Inside, they find a tuberous, undead rat trapped in the bottom of a dirty bathtub. Taking no chances with this daunting adversary, Snot plays the Last Stand Adventure Card and leaps into the bathtub (the first and last time in his loathsome existence that he'll have got into one willingly) to do battle! His verminous foe defeated, Snot prepares to devour the scabrous rodent - until the rest of the party convince him to find a less nauseating snack.

Soon, the group enter a library, groaning bookshelves against every wall but one, where a large, stone fireplace looms. Poring over the dusty tomes, Ben learns of Vorel Foxglove's (Aldern's grandfather) botched attempt to turn himself into a Lich and how his unquiet spectre now haunts the mansion and persecutes its occupants - even those who share his bloodline.

Thinking they could hear the faint sound of a woman crying from somewhere above, the party ascend to the first floor of the mansion. Passing through a portrait gallery, the hangings covered by billowing dust sheets, the party are forced to flee when the canvasses begin to spew poisonous spores into the air. In a long deserted bedroom, they find a desk, it's surface stained with blood, spilled many years ago. As though in a daze, Rast moves towards the desk and grabs a bloody dagger from a secret compartment he had no way of knowing about, then tries to open his own jugular. Karrack and Krogg prevent the possessed alchemist from taking his own life, while Snot encourages them to cut off the dwarf's hand (probably so he can eat it, having been denied his delicious rat).
 

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