They came in search of Paradise (A Story of Erth) - Updated 23rd April

robberbaron

First Post
Welcome to my first Story Hour.

This 3.5 game evolved out of an AD&D1 game I had run for about 15 years and which drew to a close a couple of months ago.

Hope you like it.

Rob
 
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robberbaron

First Post
The World As It Was

Tens of thousands of years ago the world was blighted during “The Tragic Millennium”.
A tide of evil swept across the planet destroying, devouring and altering as it went. Then, as suddenly as it had appeared, it vanished leaving a world denuded of population and technology and home to many new and strange creatures.

Over the next few centuries countries fragmented and reformed, the people banding together and building new towns and cities, many named for those that were destroyed by the nameless evil, fighting to protect their fledgling realms from the ravages of the beasts left behind.

It was at this point that the first Elves and Dwarves appeared, fierce in their conflicts with the emerging Greenskin threat. Where they came from no one knew, but the Humans were glad to have such powerful allies against the Orc Hordes.

The wheel turned and the realms of Men grew to be powerful in their own rights and the Elves and Dwarves returned to their forests and mountains, where they stayed. Other civilised races flourished alongside their Human friends: Halflings and Elf-kin became a familiar sight throughout Europa and even Uruks, brutish but more tolerable than their degenerate Orc cousins, were seen with increasing frequency.

Four centuries ago, as if the threat posed by the Orcs and their ilk was not enough, out of the wastelands to the east came hordes of Beastmen, and worse. Misshapen and savage, they surged across the eastern lands in the service of dark and terrible Chaos Gods until almost nothing was left east of the Dneipr River save for the City-State of Moskva. Moskva, where the Overlords ruled their people fairly, but with an iron will, determined to stand fast against the wave of destruction.
And so they stood until a besieging army of Chaos threatened Moskva, only to be driven away with the help of a party of powerful adventurers, who stayed to aid the expansion of the Overlord’s rule into the Wastes.

The wheel turned and a mountain-sized ball of rock fell from the sky, destroying the lands at the east of the Teraine Sea and throwing vast clouds of dust into the atmosphere. The year-long winter it caused was hard and only the efforts of the most powerful clergy and mages managed to slow the tide of disease and famine that swept the globe.
If the adventurers had not discovered technology that enabled them to clear the skies, the world would have returned to its post-Tragic Millennium state. Their fee was reasonable, compared to the alternative, and they were able to build a new island from the debris – the Thracian Principality of Tsarfaran, ruled by the newly invested Prince Steel – and salvaged a sizeable amount of meteorite metal from the crater.

For the Germanian Fuhrer this catastrophe was too good an opportunity to waste. His armies swiftly conquered Polanski and Latvia, moving into Salia and Mozyrstan soon afterwards. These lands were emptied of nearly all healthy inhabitants, many conscripted into the Army, more to the work camps set up to exploit the newly available mineral deposits, some to secret research establishments.
For a while, during the attacks into Salia, fearsome Man-Beasts known as Joinings were seen. These strange hybrid creatures acted as shock troops and were instrumental in the swift pacification of the country. Since peace came to the lands they have not been seen again.
Fennoscandia and The Danemark agreed to give aid to the Germanian forces, in return for not being conquered.

For many years the great cathedral at the heart of Parye, intimidating despite its advanced deterioration, had been known as a site of dark power. This was found to be true when the adventurers first came there and decided they were not powerful enough to investigate further.
In fact, the cathedral enclosed a portal to the demi-plane of Shadow, from which the Arch-Elemental Nocturnus planned to assault the world of men and make it his.
Fifteen years later, after escaping from the dark future to which they had been sent by a Daemon Prince, the adventurers decided to return to Parye, pass through the portal and face the minions of Shadow. After risking, and in some cases experiencing, death they were successful in thwarting Nocturnus’ plans and slaying his consort, Obscura. They closed the portal and the great city of Parye became a more pleasant place to live.
The Ranger Sparrow, who had become a High Priest of Ukko, persuaded the Duke de Parye to sell him the cathedral, which was remodelled by the Bard Homer Jones and his Lyre of Building into a magnificent edifice of white marble, dedicated to the chief of the Fennoscandian pantheon.

At last, the adventurers decided it was time to face their greatest enemy, the Daemon Prince Rha’a’zagul. This Daemon had conspired to have the party transported 500 years into the future, to the dark and troubled world that resulted from their absence. They escaped, thanks to an ancient Elf mage who specialised in temporal magic, but lost 13 years to the Daemon.
They prepared well. The Monk-Mage Prince Steel researched a spell to alleviate some of the magic nullifying properties of Rha’a’zagul’s realm and they journeyed into the heart of the Chaos Wastes to face their nemesis.
They finally confronted Rha’a’zagul in his null-magic chamber, before the swirling silvery-grey portal to the Eye of Terror.
Before entering the chamber, Steel bent reality through a potent spell (Wish) and forced a bubble of magic potentiality through into the chamber. From within this bubble, the party was able to slay Rha’a’zagul, prompting his Lord to step through the portal in person. “YOU HAVE BESTED MY CHAMPION, MORTALS. THIS WORLD IS YOURS FOR THE TIMEBEING.” With that, he and the other daemons left through the portal. The Chaos Wastes became quiet soon afterward.
 

robberbaron

First Post
The World As It Is

It is 30 years since the Daemon Prince Rha’a’zagul was defeated, and things have stabilised across Europa.

The renowned Half-Elf Bard Homer Jones is still putting himself about, being generally lewd and unsavoury, though fantastically generous in his entertaining. His network of inns containing magical message boxes has proved invaluable to those seeking adventure. Also, he never tires of showing off his personal artefact to unsuspecting females.

Sparrow, famed Ranger and High Priest of Ukko is enjoying his retirement with his wife Menifir. His apartments in the imposing marble palace that is the Temple of Ukko in Parye are thus far proving comfortable enough for him and his family.

The Demigod Steel watches over his family, friends and the thriving Principality of Tsarfaran from his position in the lower circles of the Celestial Court of Shang-Ti.

The Holy Blade of Osiris, Kirin el-Tangia, can still be found vanquishing the forces of evil with her faithful companion Achmed by her side, but is now well into her sixties and feeling her age.

Helminthes, Troll Mage* and one of the three most powerful Magic Users on the planet, works as he has for the past 40 years on a variety of arcane projects, many testing the limits of his functionally immortal body. He quickly enlisted the aid of the Troll Wizard Karyn*, and the two have made great strides in arcane research. The fantastic flying ship he built for Steel rests in its hangar beneath their villa outside Byzantium waiting to be needed again.

The Germanian Protectorate, as the conquered lands are known, prospers with many conscripts being released from the Army and allowed home to till the fields. The relationship between Germania, Fennoscandia and The Danemark has moved from one of Tyrant/Vassals to one of peaceful, if not harmonious, coexistence since the death of the Fuhrer and the rise to power of Lord Protector Albrecht. The rumours that spread for a while of Man-Beasts under Germanian ‘control’ ranging across the land eating anyone who crossed their path have become just stories. No one really believes them, but they are still useful to stop children running off into the woods.

The Aragon Pact, drawn up between the southern Europan states to counter the threat from Germania has become a vehicle for trade and diplomacy, with Ambassadors sent from all member countries to the Congress Chambers in Reme.

The City-State of Moskva had been expanding steadily for 28 years, after the Chaos incursions ceased abruptly. In the last year, however, there have been sporadic reports of Beastmen harrying outlying farms and waylaying messengers and wagon trains.

Two years ago, the Granbretanian God-Emperor Huon decreed that a Grand Expeditionary Fleet be constructed and sent across the Atlantean Ocean in an attempt to reach and explore the “New World” as well as to discover what happened to the first fleet sent three decades before. It is expected to be ready to sail in another three years. Granbretanian scholars have done much research and have determined that the unknown continent across the water is named “Amarehk” and was the seat of a great and powerful evil far in the past, possibly the cause of the Tragic Millennium that blighted the world.

The Eternal Empire of Xingua took advantage of the absence of Chaos and pushed its frontier far into the wasteland. The Emperor, from his Peacock Throne in the Holy City of Beiji, has sent thousands of workers into the Wastes to build a great wall as a defence against the Chaos hordes, should they return.

The Greenskins are no longer a real threat to civilisation. The Orcs move in nomadic family/clan groups, and spend much of their time fighting other clans. They are much like stereotypical “Travellers” (ask a Brit if you don’t understand the reference) – they set up camp wherever they want then disappear, leaving extensive dung/spoil heaps behind, when they are “asked” to move on sufficiently strongly.


* Steel, prior to his ascension, cast Reincarnate a total of 3 times. Each time, the recipient came back as Troll.
 

robberbaron

First Post
Rule amendments and other stuff

If you don't want to know the things I have changed, look away now.
I will attempt to attach some files to this post.

Map of Western Europa:
http://www.enworld.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=15736&stc=1

Map of Eastern Europa:
http://www.enworld.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=15742&stc=1

Non-Human Races:
http://www.enworld.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=15744&stc=1

Character Class Changes:
http://www.enworld.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=15745&stc=1

General Rule Changes + Extended Feat List:
http://www.enworld.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=15740&stc=1

My perhaps way overly complicated language rules to follow.
 

Attachments

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robberbaron

First Post
And so it begins...

Dramatis Personae:
Gaelle (Female Human Ranger from the forests on the Thrace/Slavia border)
Seigfried Schtauffen (Male Paladin of Forseti from Germania)
Audac Kron (Male Uruk Barbarian from Atlas)
Cord Seration (Male Human Fighter from Thrace)
Gracientus (Male Human Cleric of Set from Byzantium - NPC)

======


Aaahhhhhhhh!
Seigfried jerked awake, banging his head on the low ceiling of the only room he could afford to rent in Byzantium.
Dripping with sweat and with aching arms, as if he had been wrestling all night, this is how he has felt every morning since taking the vows at the temple of Forseti in Behrlin. His mouth is filled with the sickly metallic taste of blood – his own. He has bitten his tongue again. Sometimes the dreams are worse than others and last night’s was the worst so far.
His dreams, when he can remember them are filled with blood. Images of his father looking disappointed and blood. Lots of blood.

He had grown up listening to his father’s stories from the war. Nothing was any good nowadays. Not like when the magnificent armies of the Reich were grinding lesser peoples under their collective heel. How his father’s eyes had glowed when he regaled Seigfried with his tales of heroism and conquest. How bitter he had sounded when he talked about the Peace. He made the word sound like a curse.
Seigfried decided he would prove himself and then return to Germania, to show his father that there is glory and honour to be had in peacetime. That was why he had taken Holy Orders from the Temple of Justice.

Head throbbing he gathered his meagre belongings, little more than armour and a Fullblade, and left the boarding house near the docks, heading for the Hunter’s Guild and the prospect of a job bringing lawbreakers to trial. He smiled. Seigfried liked the law. He lived for it.

======

Stepping out of the forest for the first time is many weeks, Gaelle looked around her with distaste. The forest was safe. She could move unseen and “tax” the travellers who ventured into her domain. People are always travelling, and few take even the most rudimentary precautions.
Gaelle’s domain stretches from here, just inside Thrace, all the way to central Bohemia. Close to a thousand miles of beautiful forest that she has been exploring since she was old enough to escape from her parents.
The trouble as Gaelle sees it is that, despite the forest’s size, there simply isn’t enough bounty to be had to satisfy her. She won’t become known as the greatest bow-woman in Europa by skulking around the forest, waylaying unsuspecting passers-by. Taking from the rich and giving to, well, actually not giving to anyone. The poor deserve what they get – nothing.
With a heavy sigh, Gaelle set off for the “great city” of Byzantium, teeming with scum who wouldn’t last a day in “her” world, but where her quest for glory would begin.

======

The way of the Uruks of Atlas was to leave their young children on a remote hillside with only a loincloth and a knife to see if they were tough enough to survive a day and a night.
When it was Kron’s turn, however, a passing human goatherdess found him and, being wholly ignorant of Uruk custom, thought him abandoned and took him home with her. Though she was still in her teens, she brought Kron up as her own son. Not easy as the inhuman mountain that was Kron as he grew up did not fit well into human society. Pretty soon all the other children stayed well away from Kron, knowing that he could break their limbs if there was a fight.
When his foster mother “abandoned” him (as Kron saw it) by marrying another human and having his child, 10-year old Kron didn’t feel he had any option but to show his displeasure.
Wiping their blood off his knife he left the cottage and struck out on his own.
In the distance he spotted an Orc tribe travelling across the scrubland. Thanks to his obvious bestial nature and after he had broken a couple of noses, the tribe reservedly welcomed Kron as one of their own.
His time with the Bloody Hand tribe was wonderful. Kron immersed himself in Orcish society and took their ways as his.
He even took an Orc name – now he can’t remember what he was called before finding the Orcs. Probably some poncy human name. Pah!
After five years living as an Orc, Kron decided that they could not teach him anything more so he set off on his own again. The small amount of contact with humans he had had gave him the desire to seek the ”riddle of steel” and the woodsy ways of the rangers.

======

Cord is something of an enigma.

======
 

robberbaron

First Post
A Motley Crew

April 28th, 1699. Byzantium.

Gaelle and Seigfried met in the Hunter's Guild, perusing the same poster as it is pinned to the board by an old man with a gammy leg.

Kron was following Gaelle who he recognised as someone skilled at “ranging” and wants to learn whatever she can teach him. "I want a battle axe and a great axe. I've got this (Kron brandishes his Orc Double Axe at them), but I want a battle axe and a great axe. If I see someone wiv an axe I'll have it off 'em."

Gaelle just shook her head and turned her attention back to the poster.

"Wanted: Dead or Alive (preferably Dead), Criminal known as The Hark. Last known whereabouts in the vicinity of Starros. Believed to be consorting with lycanthropes (Wererats) and other individuals of dubious honour. 1000GP bounty. For more information see Herkin at the front desk."

"Woss dat say?" asked Kron, who could make no sense of the symbols. Gaelle read the poster to the Uruk, barely able to conceal her instant distrust of the "stupid barbarian".

Without hesitation, Kron tore the poster off the board and followed Gaelle and Seigfried towards the desk where the limping man had just settled himself.

"I'm interested in this bounty".

Herkin looked up at the young woman, taking in the upright blonde warrior and the hulking Uruk behind them, and leaned back in his chair.

"What can I tell you? Starros is 10 days up the coast on foot, and the bounty is yours if you think you can handle it."


Gracientus appeared at their side and introduced himself as a potential companion. "I am a novice at the Temple of Set and Maxis says that I should get out into the world and prove myself worthy of further training. I think you'll find me useful."


Gaelle and Seigfried discussed their ability to deal with wererats, or lack thereof, and Kron discussed with himself finding a stable and getting some horses. He didn't intend to pay for them, though.

Seigfried looks bemused as the Uruk mumbles to himself, not understanding a word he is saying.
"Perhaps it was a mistake not learning any Graecae before travelling to Thrace.” Seigfried thought to himself. "Then again, had the war gone better, they would all be speaking Germanic now!”


Cord wandered over as they discussed the bounty. "Lycanthropes need special weapons", he announced, turning to Herkin.
"What real jobs have you got?".
"Lycanfropes can't breave underwater so we'll just hold him in he river until he's dead", said Kron with conviction. "Dere's more than one way to skin a rat".

Herkin told them that roughly halfway to Starros, 4 days up the coast and a day and a half inland there is a mining town called Darak. They have a silver mine there but production has come to a halt after several miners went missing. Also they seem to be having a problem with kobolds and some sort of malady to boot. There is a bounty on kobold heads but they can get more information from the Mayor of Darak.

They agree to take the bounty on the Hark but they decide to travel to Darak first in order to get the money needed to purchase the silver weapons they will require.
 

robberbaron

First Post
On the Road

It rained steadily for the journey north but they managed to find some shelter for the night, in the lee of a dry stone wall.

Luckily Gaelle was able to shoot a rabbit and there was a cabbage field nearby, so at least they had something to cook.
Kron's hunting was not so successful. He thought that he could hunt rabbits with a throwing axe but, when he tried it he not only missed the rabbit by 20' but it took him 20 minutes to find his axe, buried halfway up the shaft in the rain-softened earth.
This display of ranged prowess did nothing to assuage Gaelle's doubts about the Uruk - she doesn't see him lasting long. She was none too happy with Seigfried either. The paladin cannot talk to most of the group which leads her to wonder how these people succeed in the world.

Initially, they had seen many people, farmers mainly, travelling in both directions, but the traffic thinned out as the day progressed.

------

April 29th.

As dusk approached on the second night, they spied a farmhouse and decided to see about sleeping in a barn. Anything would be better than another night out in the open as it still had not stopped raining.

As they got close to the farm a couple of dogs began barking. Gaelle tried to calm them, unsuccessfully, and the alerted farmer came out to see what the fuss was about. Seeing they meant no harm (Sense Motive roll = 1) he allowed them to sleep in one of his barns, emptied of hay after the winter and now home to a cart with only one wheel. Gaelle, a skilled bow maker, offered to fix the cart for him in exchange for a meal.

The farmer agreed and returned with a wheel. Seigfried and Kron held up the cart while Gaelle deftly used her specialist (but designed for much more delicate pieces of wood) tools on the unfamiliar task.

Successfully repairing the cart, to their inexpert eyes at least, they ate their vegetable stew with genuine gratitude and settled down for a good night's sleep.

------

April 30th

On the third night, sick and tired of being cold and wet (unseasonably cold and wet for late spring at the eastern end of the Teraine Sea) they decided to stop at a derelict farmhouse near the cliff edge. There was no glass in the windows, the doors hung askew and half the roof was missing, but they thought it had promise.

Looking for somewhere out of the wind and rain they searched for a cellar, finding a door in the floor of the kitchen. It took several good tugs before the door opened with a crack of breaking wood. It seemed to have been barred from within the cellar.


Seigfried looked down the steps and concentrated, sensing the presence of Evil in the cellar, away to the right.

Interest piqued, Kron moved down the steps and spotted a door in the far right corner.

After twice trying to open it, Kron went to go back upstairs to find something he could use as a battering ram. His first thought was to use the cellar door.

While he was gone, Cord shoulder-charged the door, easily breaking the bar inside, and came to a halt between two ready zombies (one of whom slapped him), with another two standing on the far side of the room.

A short fight ensued and the 4 zombies were easily dispatched. They party closed the cellar door and were rewarded with a quiet, warm and dry night.

------

May 1st

On the fourth day, they turned away from the coast and along an estuary, coming to a cart bridge just short of sunset. They asked the bridge guard if there was an inn nearby and were pointed west towards the Fisherman's Rest Inn. Here they spent their first night in a proper bed since leaving Byzantium.

------

May 2nd

Next night, having decided not to cross another bridge to an inn a mile away on the other side of the river, they camped in a copse of trees. Kron had a look round and noticed light webbing in the trees but judged them too small to be a threat.

During the night, Cord was awoken by things crawling into every orifice. Vomiting uncontrollably he found he was covered by a carpet of small spiders, all biting him. His noises of discomfort quickly awoke the rest of the party.

Gaelle jumped up and took nearly half a minute to get the fire going, while Cord rolled around losing his dinner and a raging Kron tried squashing spiders with his shield (with some small success). The swarm converged around the Uruk who was bitten several times and slightly weakened from their poison.

Finally, Gaelle managed to set light to her bedroll and used it to burn the spiders, Gracientus following suit. Seigfried cut down a branch and got it alight just as the last spiders were killed.
 

robberbaron

First Post
May 3rd 1699

The next day they arrived in Darak to be greeted by Corvan, the Mayor. "You don't want to come here, oh no, you don't. If you take my advice you'll leave now". Not quite the greeting for which they had hoped.
They asked about what had been happening and were told of people going missing down the mine, kobolds causing a nuisance and many people going down with a strange sickness. Also, two other adventurers had already gone to the mine although they had not, as yet, returned.

The party seem most interested about the bounty of 5GP per kobold head and travelled to the mine entrance after one of the townsfolk drew them a basic diagram of the mine layout.

Gaelle found kobold tracks from a couple of days earlier and constructed a hide 40' away for them to use while watching the entrance. None of them knew anything about kobolds, but guessed that they are nocturnal.

During the night, Cord thought he saw movement but Kron (the only one who could actually see the entrance) didn’t notice anything.

------

May 4th

In the morning they searched around and found evidence that a pair of kobolds had come out of the entrance and gone to check some snares.

Cord was not impressed with Kron.

They scouted around and found the snares set by the kobolds and decided to spend the day digging a hole and camouflaging it so they could observe the snares and catch the kobolds when they returned. They liberated some spades from a small tool store near the mine entrance for this purpose.

The party watched from the hide until about 10pm when Gaelle, Seigfried and Gracientus headed over to the hidey-hole.

Early in the morning, Cord again thought he saw something but Kron was unable to see anything untoward.

In the light of day it was found that a kobold had come to the edge of the entrance, paused, then went back inside.

Cord was even less impressed with Kron.

The party decided to continue their vigil the next night.

------

May 5th

Sure enough, early the next morning two kobolds emerged from the entrance and headed over to check their snares. Kron and Cord sneaked inside the entrance and hid, waiting for the kobolds to return, not considering that there might be more kobolds in the cave.

Meanwhile, at the hidey-hole, the others shot from cover at the kobolds, one of whom managed to escape with an arrow in his side.

He made it back to the mine entrance where he spotted Cord and Kron and reversed direction, running straight onto Seigfried's oncoming Fullblade.

The decision was made to immediately venture into the mine.

------

They came across a small chamber with two overturned mine carts, spotting a body underneath one of them and chunks of silver ore all over the floor. Looking around from the doorway they could not see any traps so, unable to see more of the corpse than his legs, they ignored it and headed towards what was marked on their map as a Mess room.

Kron rattled the door ineffectually a couple of times before Cord took a run up and nearly broke the door off its hinges.

There were nine kobolds relaxing inside who jumped to the attack. Being stupid they charged in with their halfspears instead of using the tables for cover and firing their crossbows so, a minute later the kobolds were all dead and the party moved to investigate the larder.

------

They opened the door and looked in, seeing shelves with the remains of foodstuffs, a stack of barrels and a number of sacks, some showing evidence of vermin feeding. Kron stepped inside, tripping a low wire and taking a crossbow bolt in the side. He, Cord and Gaelle made a cursory search of the room, finding nothing more, and Kron decided to tear one of the shelves off the wall.

In his haste he not only disturbed the eight rats living in here, and the Dire Weasel hiding in the pile of barrels, but tripped another trap showering everything in the room with flour. All the fine powder in the air made it difficult to see and many attacks swung or nibbled wide of the mark before the rats were successfully dealt with.
The Dire Weasel managed to attach itself to Kron but was beaten off before it could begin to suck his blood.

------


After having a quick look round the larder, Gaelle has some thoughts:
Roll the barrel of rotten food at the overturned mine carts setting off the trap they suspect is there.
Empty the beer or wine barrel down the corridor which should show up any pits or traps.

Kron thinks they ought to rest up and ambush any kobolds that turn up. Gaelle wanted to get on with it while they have the element of surprise.

They are all covered in blood and flour - Cord reckoned Kron could make some black pudding out of it.

After a perfunctory clean-up, they moved the food barrel up the passage towards the entrance so it will get up some speed before hitting to the mine carts.
They moved back around a kink in the passage after sending the barrel bouncing and rolling down the incline, preparing to pounce on anything that comes to investigate the noise.

The barrel skips into the chamber, hits the cart with the legs sticking out and sets off the Thunderstone trap.

After the dust settled they waited for someone to come and investigate the explosion.
Kron went down to look for any axes that had been left behind - he didn't find anything.
The cart had moved a little, dragging the body across the chamber, leaving a dirty brown smear on the ground.
In the five minutes Kron took looking around nothing made its presence felt.

They then rolled the ale barrel down the passage heading further into the mine. It rolled well until it disappeared over a lip in the floor and, a few seconds later, they heard a "crunch".

They walked down the passage, Kron in front.
"I don't wanna go in front!" he said.
"You're the only one who can see in the dark!" Cord reminded him.
"Oh yeah. OK.".
Kron crept 60' ahead of the party, using the shadows caused by the party's hooded lantern to his advantage.
Straight down a 20' pit trap and into unconsciousness.

The rest of the party moved more carefully down the passage to discover what had happened to Kron.

As Cord was about to step into the hole Seigfried saw it and stopped him. Cord shone the light down the pit, illuminating the limp form of Kron at the bottom. It was the quietest he had been since they met.
After a brief discussion about who was poorer at climbing, Cord held a rope for Gaelle to rappel down.

Gaelle tied the rope around Kron, checking to see how unconscious he was (he was), and Cord and Seigfried pulled him up.
After untying Kron, the rope was let down for Gaelle to climb up.
Gracientus put some salve on the nasty looking bump on Kron's ample forehead (caused by nutting a skull at the bottom of the pit), but could not bring the Uruk round.

Gealle ran back to the larder and got a piece of shelf. Returning to the pit, she marked the edge of the hole with it.
Dragging Kron, and taking the wine barrel they returned to the entrance and the early morning light. Cord counted paces from the pit, just in case the kobolds moved their markers.

EDIT: Next bit of text removed 'cos I wasn't completely happy with it.
I'll re-post it later
:heh:
 
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sumi

First Post
As Robberbaron said previously, we had played for 15 year an AD&D1 campaign, whereby we saved the world and had more money and power than sense in the end.

Therefore, it was great to start at 1st level with a new different direction. This time the party was not to be good with Paladins and rangers of the old school. The new rules allowed us to take a different slant with our alignments - which can provide a lot more fun, and problems as will be seen in the future :\

My character is Gaelle.

Gaelle, is a Ranger that wants to become an Assassin. She wants to be highly paid and highly feared for killing people with a bow. She is geared to tracking people down and killing them from a distance. At high level with all the right feats from Many Shot to Weapon Specialisations, coupled with Favoured enemy - Humans, she aims to be a killing machine. This is a difficult course to take as many of you probably have experienced. With a bow as a primary weapon, those 5' step backs are a lifeline. It is proving a right bugger in tight spaces though.

To gain the necessary experience to become the best, she sought a group that could provide her with support. She left the forest and headed to town to seek such people. As you can see the group turned out to be wholey fighters - Barbarian, fighter, ranger and paladin with a monk. The NPC was a cleric. Perfect for a Ranger, who wants to be in the second rank. What firepower, in a way you felt sorry for the DM as the lowest Str was 17, highest 20 and every one using 2 handed weapons for 1.5 times damage.

Bring on the Goblins etc

Character in Rogues gallery - currently 3rd level Ranger

http://www.enworld.org/forums/showthread.php?t=98697
 
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Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
I didn't play in the 1e campaign (except on a couple of random visits) and I missed the first adventure so you will be meeting Li Kung, Xiang Shu monk shortly.

Li Kung clearly had bad karma from a previous life. Odds are that 20 will turn up as often as a 1 when rolling to attack, but Li Kung has managed at least one fumble in ever combat so far without a single critical threat (let alone a critical hit).

He is on the run from his oriental masters and sees himself as a calm centre of power amidst the tumult of this smelly western oafs. Unfortunately they see him like the ineffectual policeman in "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" who has no measurable impact on any combat he gets involved in :)

Hopefully (for my sake!) that will change soon.

Li Kung is a 2nd level monk and his stats can be found in the rogues gallery here. http://www.enworld.org/forums/showthread.php?t=88465

I think he is quite an unusual monk build and he has plenty of potential once the bad karma has been properly worked off...

Cheers,
 

robberbaron

First Post
The story continues...

Outside the party discussed how long they wanted to rest. Gracientus would not be able to pray for any spells until sunset, so the Uruk would remain asleep for the rest of the day.
Gaelle broke out some trail rations for breakfast while Kron was secreted in the hide outside the entrance.
Then the party returned to the pit trap, which was still marked as they left it.

Pondering the way across, they considered using the mess hall tables and larder shelves to construct a "bridge", but decided to jump it instead. Once over the pit, they stopped at the entrance to a cavern, filled with stalagmites.

As Gaelle panned the lantern around, Seigfried noticed a pair of eyes glinting from an opening 30' up the wall to their left.
Shuffling along the wall towards the opening, with Seigfried at the back holding the lantern, Gaelle was watching for eyes.

As they approached the opening Gaelle and Seigfried came under fire from small crossbows, fired from the opening.
Cord, not wanting to hang about, ran across and jumped partway up the cliff.
More bolts came out of the darkness and a searing blue ray of cold lanced out at Seigfried.

Gaelle, picking a shape out of the shadows in the opening, shot one of the ambushing Kobolds then flattened herself against the cavern wall.
Seigfried moved behind a stalagmite, keeping the lantern trained on the opening.
Gracientus took a shot at the Kobolds but missed, while Cord climbed closer to the edge.

4 kobolds shot at Seigfried, trying to get him to drop the hurtful light, 2 shot at Gracientus and 1 at Gaelle. All missed. They were getting very put off by the bright light being shone into their eyes.

M’dok, the Kobold sorcerer cast a spell, hoping to bring useful reinforcements.

Cord climbed over the lip of the opening, to squeaks of worry from the kobold crossbowmen.
Afraid now for their lives, the Kobolds shot at Cord and Seigfried, missing again.

A small scorpion shimmered into existence beside Seigfried, stinging him.

Gaelle put up her bow and moved to the bottom of the cliff, telling Gracientus to continue shining his lantern up at the kobolds.

Meanwhile, Seigfried attacked the scorpion - cutting it in half. So much for reinforcements!

Cord stood up onto the cliff top and swung his Fullblade, killing 2 kobolds.
The remaining Kobolds shot at him, one bolt sinking deep into Cord's thigh.
M'dok cast a spray of fire from his fingertips, half incinerating one of his kobolds but singeing Cord.

Gaelle tried to scramble up the cliff quickly, making it up 3 feet before sliding back down.

Seigfried picked up his lantern and moved over to the bottom of the cliff, continuing to shine the beam into the Kobolds’ eyes.

Cord stepped forward, dispatched the overcooked kobold then cleaved clean through his neighbour.

M'dok cast another spell at Cord, trying to Daze him, unsuccessfully, then dropped to his knees in surrender.

Gaelle managed to scramble 15' up the cliff, followed by Seigfried (at least he started to climb, but slithered back down again).

Cord stepped over to threaten the remaining kobold crossbowman, who dropped his bow and fell to his knees.
M'dok chittered something in his sibilant tongue, completely unintelligible to the humans.

Gaelle arrived on the scene just as Cord coup de graced M'dok and another kobold.
Gaelle finished off the other, and removed their heads, adding them to the bulging sack while Cord let a rope down so Seigfried and Gracientus could climb up.

They search around, finding a secret door at the back of the ledge, and rifled through the kobolds' belongings (M'dok had a potion, 24 gp and a violet garnet).
Meanwhile, Gracientus attempted to tend their wounds, without managing to help much. They just wouldn’t stand still long enough for him to properly apply the poultices.

Cord said to Seigfried "Well, that was my fight, the next one's yours and I'll stand and watch.”

They opened the secret door, Seigfried taking the lead, shining the light down a short passage that opened up into a small chamber (an old storeroom, used as the kobold's nest).

Gaelle, peering over Cord's shoulder, spotted a blanket draped around something shaking, next to a pile of sacks.
After a brief discussion, Gaelle opened up the lantern fully. Cord shot the "blanket", which squeaked, and a dead young kobold fell over.
Another young kobold squatted, quaking with fear until Gaelle stepped over and cut it in half, despite Seigfried's objections.

"It's 5 gold pieces!"
"But, they're only kids!"
"They're still 5 gold pieces each!"

Gaelle searched around noticing that the "blanket" was actually a cloak. A cloak with a hole in, admittedly, but still a cloak.
They also found several sacks of silver ore.

They chose to rest up in the storeroom, leaving one of the lanterns on low-light.

Six hours later, deciding that they have rested enough and should continue, Gaelle and Cord hopped back over the pit and went outside to retrieve the still unconscious Uruk.

When they returned, they tied Kron's body to the middle of a rope. Cord skipped over the pit and he and Gaelle passed the Uruk across. Gaelle then (a little too) casually hopped across the pit herself, setting it off with her heel as she landed, but managing not to fall in.

They waited in the main cavern for another hour until sunset, so Gracientus could pray. He cast curing spells on Kron, bringing him round, saving some minor healings for stabilisation purposes later on.

Fully rested (Cord was still a little hurt, but feeling OK to continue), they skirted round the cavern, towards the far passage.
Seigfried thought Kron should scout ahead, but Gaelle reckoned he was too injured to risk falling down another pit, so she and Seigfried led with lantern on beam, not moving particularly quietly.
Realising that they couldn't see more than 15' ahead before the passage kinked, Gaelle opened up the lantern to full.

Every 15' feet, Gaelle lets some wine out of the barrel and watched the rivulets of deep red liquid for a few moments, to see if it flowed into another pit trap. She didn’t find any (nice idea though).

After 60' the air became increasingly warm and tainted with the sweet smell of rotting flesh. It was sweltering by the time the passage opened out into a small cavern, full of bodies.
Seigfried wondered aloud if this was normal. Kron didn't understand and Cord translated for the Uruk,
"He thinks you should be leading as you're only here to die".

Seigfried covered his nose and mouth with a cloth, while Cord and Gaelle thought they could see some corpses still moving.

Drawing her sword, Gaelle and Gracientus moved toward one of the corpses, which got up and attacked.

3 more zombie miners and 4 zombie kobolds then also got up to have a go.

"Don't forget, they're worth 5 gp each", shouted Cord.

The fight went well until a human zombie bitch-slapped Kron around the head, knocking him out cold (again).

Having re-killed all the zombies, the party carried Kron's body back through the charnel pit into the passage they just came from, where Gracientus attempted to heal them. He was mostly unsuccessful but did manage to stop Kron from dying.

Skirting the corpse-filled chamber, the party moved into the far passage, where they could hear noises (chink, chink, rattle, chink, rattle) and see a faint blue glow from farther down the passage.
 

robberbaron

First Post
A new friend?

Li Kung was just one more orphaned child taken in by a monastery in Xingua - the dreaded Scarlet Brotherhood, a sect of Lawful Evil monks who contemplate the mysteries of the mind and body, while grooming spies and assassins for political gain in the Eternal Empire.

Like most of his contemporaries, Li Kung absorbed the rigid self-discipline of the monastery and gained a self-seeking determination to do whatever was necessary to further his own ambitions for advancement. When it became clear to him that he wasn't in favour with the current heads of the monastery (and was beaten nearly to a pulp by one of the masters) he decided that the time had come to seek his own way in foreign lands - to perfect himself and eventually make himself ready to come back and usurp control of the Scarlet Brotherhood for his own ends.

He joined a wagon train on the Silk Road leading to the West as a guard and scout, learning some basic sleight of hand from Chiku, a roguish friend he made on the way. His coin running low Li Kung decided that he needed to earn some money. To this end he and Chiku visited the Hunters’ Hall and later found himself entering a silver mine just outside the town of Darak.

Both adept at moving without noise (all those lessons moving across the nightingale floors of the monastery seemed to be paying off), the two bypassed the trapped ore carts, sneaked across the cavern, unnoticed by the Kobolds on the ledge, and began moving down the passage.
Chiku spotted something shiny down a side passage and they went to investigate. They found 2 long-dead Kobolds at the end of the short passage and Chiku began prying at something set into the rock. Unfortunately, he was a little too hasty in picking the gemstone out of the wall, and set off a rock fall, sealing the corridor.

When he stopped coughing, Li Kung realised that he could not see. Feeling around he felt the pile of rock blocking the exit, then moved around the small space, without finding another opening.
Without room to swing his glaive, Li Kung used it to pry apart the rocks, trying to clear a hole before the air gave out.

He managed to push a small hole in the rock fall and, seeing the party's approaching lantern-light, called out "Chiku, is that you?"
 

robberbaron

First Post
Perhaps.

Dramatis personae update:
Li Kung (Male Human Monk from Xingua)

------

"Who are you? Are you one of the two adventurers who came down here?”
“I am Li Kung, seeking bounty".
"That's a long name", says Gaelle.

"Come.. over.. here.., closer." says Cord, slowly and loudly, as Li Kung is obviously foreign and a bit dim.

They took a few minutes to discuss their respective experiences down here. After a discussion about pulling Chiku's body from under the pile of rubble (a hand was sticking out into the main passage), they decided it was not worth the trouble. He was poor and probably flat.
Seigfried looked bemused as he understood none of what they were saying.
They told Li Kung where the exit was, meaning for him to leave, then moved off down the passage.
Li Kung had other ideas and, after a moment, followed them down toward the blue luminescence.

"You following us?" asked Gaelle.
"Not understand" said Li Kung.
"If you are going to follow us, can you do anything useful?" asked Cord.
"Fight" came the answer.
"So, you going to fight then?" asked Gaelle.
"Yes. For now I guard the rear. You may be excellent fighters and not need me. Then again you might".
"If you fight, you get a cut of what we get from now", said Gaelle.
"OK"

The passage opened into a large cavern with a column of rock sticking up in the middle. The column seemed to contain a spring as water trickled down the side into a pool around it, a stream flowing across the cavern and out through a hole in the wall.
Some sort of fungus encrusted the column, the source of the blue glow.

Siegfried noticed writing on the pillar and recognised it as something religious and Orcish.
They also noticed that the water was foul, but Gaelle could not tell if it was because of the moss.

The party heard a mumbling and, suddenly, Gracientus screamed and ran out of the cavern, leaving a nasty smell behind.
Looking up, they saw a figure standing on the top of the column, obviously the cause of the cleric’s fear.

Li Kung readied a shuriken against the figure casting another spell, missing almost immediately.
Cord felt his limbs freeze briefly, then return to normal and he, Gaelle and Seigfried began running up path around the column, with lantern fully open.

Li Kung threw more shuriken at the figure on the top, missing again, one of his weapons bouncing off the column and disappearing into the dark, smelly pool.

A pool of darkness appeared at the top of the column, just as Cord arrived, shrouding the unknown adversary.
He ran up to the figure, swung and missed. He just couldn’t get a good view of his opponent due to the wispy shadows that filled the air.
Gaelle moved up and opened the keg of oil and Seigfried ran up to the figure, also missing.

They could still hear Gracientus screaming, though he was definitely getting fainter.

Running out of shuriken, Li Kung jumped across the water and ran up towards the combat.

The Orc cleric, Jakk, swung his mace at Seidfried, clipping him round the ear.
Cord stepped forward, swung and again missed due to the darkness.
Gaelle moved up and tried to splash the oil on Jakk, missing, but leaving a 5’ puddle of oil on the floor. Someone could come a cropper on that.

The fight 5-foot-stepped around the column-top for a few moments, with Li Kung taking a mace to the face.
The monk, staggered, decided to kick (miss) Jakk rather than tumble away, falling unconscious from the effort. Oops.

Carefully avoiding the oil slick, Cord stepped up and, as neatly as one can with a sword of unfeasible size, filleted the Orc.

Gaelle dropped the bow she had been preparing and chopped off Jakk's head, just to be sure.

The party waited for 10 minutes and Gracientus had not returned. The screaming had stopped, though. Must be a good sign.
They relieved Jakk's body of all his goods (steel shield, mace, armour and a scroll) before burning him in the puddle of oil and waiting another 10 minutes, hoping for the darkness to dissipate. It didn’t.
A further 30 minutes later, the light level returned to normal darkness pierced by lantern light.

They noticed that the water was now flowing clean and the only smell they could detect was burnt Orc.

Figuring that he must have lived around here, they looked around for the Orc’s “lair". They found a few stinking blankets in a small alcove in the cavern, but nothing more.

Returning to the blocked corridor from whence came Li Kung, Gaelle beheaded the 2 long-dead kobolds (waste not want not).

Having recovered Li Kung's shuriken from the pool, Gaelle washed herself in the now-clean spring water.

While washing, Gaelle and Li Kung heard a faint and plaintive "Heeeelllppp!" from Gracientus who, while running away scared, had failed to clear the pit.

Gaelle considered throwing the unconscious Kron into the pit to open it up, but they decided it wasn’t the best course of action. They might have hurt Gracientus.
Hopping across, unsuccessfully, Gaelle opened the pit but managed to grab the edge before falling in.
Cord alighted on the far side easily. Too easily for Gaelle’s liking.

Releasing Gracientus, they made their way outside, picking up all the ore they could carry, which was pretty much all of it.
Seigfried suggested using the blankets from the kobold nest to carry a sack-worth of ore so Gaelle swapped her average cloak for the one with the hole (as it was better than hers, even punctured) and used the old one to carry the ore.

When they emerged from the mine, it was dark. Luna was a sliver of silver in the sky and Leos was not visible at all.*
Gracientus cast his remaining heal spells on Kron to bring him round and the party divided the spoils.


After a little rest, the party went back into the mine, to retrieve the heads of all the kobolds (32) and some of the poor quality kobold light crossbows, then headed back to Darak.

Gaelle distributed the kobold heads around the group, keeping hold of Kron's as the Uruk doesn't really understand money. He's not thick, just a bit uncomplicated. OK, he is a bit thick.

Kron appraised the gem from M'dok and reckoned it was worth at least an axe. Maybe even a very good axe.

Back in the town, Gaelle knocked up the mayor. It was 11pm, but she didn’t mind.
After a couple of minutes, the mayor opened the door, having hastily donned some clothes. He had looked out the window and recognised the group.

Gaelle gave him the sack of heads and asked for a free night in the inn, or at least the rest of the night. The mayor, half asleep and confronted with a smelly group of adventurers in the middle of the night, agreed and they all toddled off to bed.
Kron thought he could drink his fill for free as well, but the bar was closed at that hour and Gaelle convinced him that in his condition (0 HP) it would not do him much good. Muttering miserably, Kron subsided into a loud sleep.

After a restful night, the party were greeted with a bright sun beaming through scattered fluffy clouds. And a slap-up breakfast.
However, they were still plagued by the plague, picked up from all the filthy Kobolds and zombies, many of them feeling decidedly weakened despite the enormous fry-up at hand.

They discussed with the blacksmith about making silvered weapons for them - Gaelle wanted some arrowheads and Cord and Kron wanted silvered Fullblades.
It would take some time and he would have to get someone to smelt the silver ore, which would take another couple of days, so they didn’t bother taking it any further.

Resting in Darak for 4 days, they all got cured of the plague and Corvan gave them a bonus of 100GP for solving the mysteries of the mine. Most people in the town seemed to be getting better. Not that the party particularly cared.

They wanted to sell the ore, but the best person to do the deal couldn't speak the language so it fell to Li Kung who didn't fare very well and may not have got the best price.
Cord wanted to sell the crossbows, along with the Orc Cleric's steel shield, but they thought it would be better to go to a larger town.

Gracientus cast Comprehend Languages to find out how useful the scroll was (it was written in Nhagashk – the language of the Orcs), and decided to find someone to teach him the Orc tongue so he could use it.
Seigfried suggested asking the Uruk, at which Gracientus looked blank (Kron is, after all, an illiterate barbarian).


May 11th

The party took their leave of Darak and headed back down the estuary towards the bridge.
"Remember the name of Gaelle", Gaelle told the mayor. He wasn’t sure what she meant, but promised to do as she asked, to be safe.

Reaching the copse of trees where they spent a restless night on the way up, they decided to give it a wide berth and camped in the open.
Despite not finding a particularly good campsite, the dry weather meant that they had a good night's sleep anyway.


May 12th

Reaching the bridge at midday, Gaelle engaged the guard in conversation, getting directions to the nearest town and information about whether they might be able to sell their spare weapons there.
Apparently, an arms trader went past a couple of days ago, and he may still be there.

Reaching the town, a market was in full swing. Looking around, Li Kung spotted the arms trader immedietely.
Going over to him, Cord asked "Do you have any silvered weapons and will you buy these?"
"Certainly", he said, exchanging a silvered longsword and 2 daggers for their kobold crossbows and Cord's hide armour (he’s wearing the Orc cleric’s chain shirt now).

Not wanting to stay in the town as they now wish to get to Starros and deal with the Hark, they moved off up the coast road.
That evening, not finding anywhere to stop, they pressed on through the night. It began to rain around midnight and got heavier towards dawn, soaking them thoroughly.
Disconsolately, they trudged on until lunchtime when they rested and ate "breakfast".

Arriving at another small town, Cord headed to a stable and bought 6 horses, managing to bargain the trader up to 10% over retail (nervous smile and take the money before the enormously muscled warrior with the SOUS (sword of unfeasible size) realises what he’s done), to speed their journey to Starros. The others arranged spaces in the inn’s common room, so they could sleep the sleep of the dead .

Straight after eating and sleeping/resting until the next dawn, they rode off towards their bounty.

After 3 days hard riding, they arrived in Starros, a fair-sized town with a large and busy harbour.


* Erth has 2 moons: a large one, Luna, has a period of 28 days and gives quite a lot of light when full. A much smaller one, Leos, has a period of only 8 days and is only a bit brighter than the brightest stars.
 
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robberbaron

First Post
Things that go Bump, Ouch in the Night

May 17th, 1699

Kron decided to search for someone who looked like the picture of the Hark on the poster, thinking to take the first person matching the poster as the Hark, to claim the reward. Always thinking out of the box, that Uruk.

Finding an inn with a stable, the party rested the night, allowing the horses to recover from the exertions of the journey before selling them.
They discussed what they knew about the Hark (basically nothing) and talked to the inn customers to find some information. Kron tried intimidating the locals, but they were not impressed with the mumbling Uruk, despite his size, muscles and general demeanor.

Seigfried might have found out quite a lot, but couldn't understand anything anyone said. They let him buy them plenty of beer though.

The party found out 2 things - a warehouse had been emptied, and another had foodstuffs damaged and eaten (by either a plague of rats or something bigger).

Cord went out looking for local youths, and found a beggar.
Giving him a couple of silvers Cord took him to the inn. The barman didn’t like this (his customers started leaving because of the beggar’s aggressive odour) so they took the beggar back outside.
For a couple more silvers the beggar told them that the thieves' guild has a "presence" in an old temple in the centre of the town.
"But I didn't tell you nothing, know what I mean?” Nudge, nudge, say no more.

Visiting the town centre, Li Kung spotted Cant symbols on several walls and noticed a man looking decidedly shifty.
Once he got the man's attention by staring at him for a minute or two, Li Kung told him (using Cant Sign) that they wanted to contact the guild.
Told to wait in the inn, they hung around for two hours before another shifty man and his guard came in to talk to them.
"I understand you want to purchase some merchandise?", Shifty said, his eyes roving all around the bar, independently.
"We want to ensure that any trades we make are on the up and up", Li Kung explained.

They bargained on the fee for ‘temporary membership’, ending at 50GP.

"Are you allied with 'other forces'?". Li Kung partially unsheathed a silvered dagger to make his point.
The thief’s eyes widened marginally and he explained they do not deal with "them".

Shifty told them that if they “dealt with” the Hark, it would be considered a favour to the guild.
The guild had sent scouts to find the Hark’s entrance to the waterfront, but they had not returned. It is somewhere to the north of the harbour, though.
Bringing Gaelle into the conversation, they found no more information about the "problem". Kron tried to ask questions but the thief ignored him.

Sliding 50GP across the table, they bought the ability to work unmolested by the guild.

As the thief got up to leave Gaelle stopped him.
"The warehouses robbed. Were they to the north?
"Yes"
"One warehouse held food, what did the other hold? And could you give us directions to them?"
"Goods. The owner was not supposed to have them. That is all I can say." Shifty was able to give them directions to the warehouses though.

"Any problems with rats? Plagues of rats?"
"Possibly. There have been sightings."

"Is there a sewer system?"
"Yes, there are many outfalls into the harbour. That is where the rats live."

"How long has the Hark been in the area?
"First indications came 6 months ago. We assume he lives in or near the town as he seems to be close to everything that goes on."
He handed Gaelle a piece of paper with the names of the warehouses that were attacked.
"Should you need to do any more business, your monk knows how to contact us"

Gaelle wanted to know if there were any low-level magical practitioners in the town who sell their services.

"There is a small branch of the Society of Mages, Sages, Alchemists and Other Professional Thinking Persons, and they are always willing to do things for money."
Cord enquired about a market - there was one a couple of blocks away but it was closed at this time (late afternoon).

Gaelle borrowed the Orc cleric’s mace from Kron, to take it to the mages for evaluation.
It isn't an axe, so Kron didn't really care about it.

Gaelle decided to wander around the town before it got too dark, sketching out a plan of the town. She filled in the details when she returned to the inn. Not too good, but it was close enough for the time being.
Going up to a gate-guard, she enquired about outlying farms and other settlements, finding that there are plenty of farms between 5 and 10 miles out, but the nearest town is 30 miles or so away.

Gracientus prayed for Detect Magic and cast it over the kit they had liberated from the mines. The mace, 3 potions and the perforated cloak showed the tell-tale glow.
Gaelle and Cord decide to go to the Mages’ Society in the morning to find out what the items were.

------

During the night, Cord and Seigfried were woken by a scream, suddenly cut off, somewhere close by. Gaelle slept soundly on.

Cord rolled out of bed, grabbed his dagger and sword and ran to Gaelle’s room. Banging on the door, waking her, he asked if everything was OK. Moving on to Seigfried's room, he arrived just as the tall paladin emerged.
Cord - "I heard something". Seigfried - "So did I".

Gaelle went over to her window and looked/listened. Down the alley, she spotted a large figure running across the end of the alley, carrying a sack.
She wanted to go take a look - if something bad had happened there could be a bounty to claim.

Gaelle went to the front door, unbolted it and peered out. She couldn't see anyone.
Walking to the alleyway her room overlooked she couldn't see anything so returned to the inn, re-bolting the door.
After checking that no-one had broken in she went back to bed.
 

robberbaron

First Post
Helga woke this morning, disturbed as she had been on many previous mornings. Last night the dreams of her father cutting into her flesh and inserting strange creatures and fleshy objects had been particularly intense. The dreams had almost seemed real. This morning it would take longer for her meditations to chase away these nightmares.
As the visions fled and the imagined movements beneath her pale flesh subsided she filled herself with new confidence and hope for the day ahead. New friendships and opportunities were just outside her door. The inn had been comfortable enough for the last few days but lounging around in bed wouldn’t further her goals in these strange southern lands.
As she washed she considered her body. The scars between her fingers had all but vanished, so long ago in her infancy had the webbed flesh been removed. She had always marvelled at the diversity of the ‘human’ form; her brothers and sisters were all so very different. Her six fingers had set her aside but, when she applied to be apprenticed the village’s wizard had told her ‘with hands like those you will never be able to master the delicate art of spell casting’. Still, it didn’t hinder her in any other way and she was certain that she would develop her own arcane abilities one day.
Packing her few belongings she went down to breakfast. There were few people around, it was actually quite late in the morning, but the tall handsome Germanian and his group were still eating. She knew they had had a late night as she was woken by their Uruk assaulting someone outside her window. The relevance of him holding a piece of paper next to the unconscious man and saying ‘close enough’ was lost on her. Still, with him gone the group was a little less imposing and an alliance could be mutually beneficial. They had an air of urgency about them this morning so she collected her breakfast and walked over.


------

18th May.


In the morning, during breakfast, Kron is absent.
"Where's our thing gone?" said Seigfried.

“Guttenmorgan, do you mind if I join you?” Helga approached and asked the group’s obvious charismatic leader.
“I wonder if you could ask your Uruk to go about his business more quietly. His decapitating that man right under my window last night quite disturbed my rest.”

"Who gives a sh*t" said Gaelle.
"He killed an innocent bystander," said Seigfried," we must tell the authorities”.

None of them had thought that when Kron had said the picture on the wanted poster could have been anyone, it was his idea to execute some innocent and leg it back with his head in an attempt to claim the bounty first.

Before they could discuss this event further the watch came in, beyond them outside a cart was visible with a blanket partially covering a headless corpse.
Helga whispered “I take it I didn’t see anything?” The Blond Adonis nodded.

Four watchmen and a sergeant entered the inn, talked to the barman and were pointed over to the party's table.

Gaelle and Seigfried were having a heated conversation about how Seigfried should learn the local language "they should speak Germanian!” as the watchmen approached.

The Watch Sergeant had a few questions for the party, asking if they had any information about the "incident".
They admitted to being woken up, but didn’t see anything and Seigfried (always the upright citizen) pointed to Helga, as someone who apparently saw the attack.

She was ushered to a corner table where the sergeant questioned her. She didn't mention the Uruk, saying she only heard a scream.
The sergeant was a little suspicious that she knew more, but was not able to get her to change her story.

When the Watch had finished with Helga, Gaelle asked if there was a bounty available on the assailant. There wasn’t one at the moment, but as it was a murder there may be a reward for information later.

Helga went back to talking to Seigfried, who didn't get many words in edgeways. The Fennoscandian seemed to have taken quite a shine to the young Holy Warrior.

Gaelle went up to Kron's room, but he wasn't there, his kit had gone and his bed hadn't been slept in. As she came back down she passed the Watch on their way up to search it themselves.

Returning to the common-room, Gaelle asked Helga what she had seen. She told them her story (quietly, in case the returning watchmen overheard), having assumed that they were bounty hunters and that Kron had found their mark.

Gaelle - "Is he so stupid that he would kill an innocent bystander and run back to Byzantium to collect the bounty?"
There was a general assent around the table. Oh well, upon their return there would probably be a bounty on the Uruk for them to collect. Should be fairly simple as well, just like the Uruk

Helga managed to sell her services to the party as a rogue, something they could certainly use, but she had been making her living as a fortune-teller. Not much of a living, but enough to stay alive, waiting for a suitable group to tag along with.
Cord asked for 50GP joining fee, but Helga said she only had 1.
Cord, in that charming way of his, wondered if she was a spy of some sort, but Seigfried believed her story. He really is a soft-touch.
 
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robberbaron

First Post
The investigation begins in earnest

Dramatis personae update:
Helga (Female Human Rogue from Fennoscandia)

------

After finishing breakfast, they adjourned upstairs and discussed both Kron's escapades and their bounty on the Hark.
Helga knew no more than they did about the Hark, despite her local knowledge. She had only been here a couple of weeks longer than them.
They decided, after some deliberation, to let her in to the group. Her rogue skills might be useful.

That morning they went to the Mages’ Society to get their magic items identified - Cure Light Wounds, Invisibility and Bane potions, +1 Mace and a Cloak of Resistance in need of repair. They asked if the Mages would swap the mace for a sword and thy were offered a swap for a longsword if they paid for the Identify. They decided to keep the mace.
They then asked if magic negated a wererat's special defences. They were a bit disheartened to hear that it didn’t.

Could they repair the magical cloak with the hole? Yes, it would take a few days and cost 250 gp.
How much is the garnet from M'dok worth? The Mages were willing to take it as payment for the Identify and repair. They didn’t actually say how much the gem was worth, and the party didn’t ask.

Taking the gem, the Mages promised repair in 2 days.

The party then headed off to find a weaponsmith who might have silver weapons.
They found 2: One had no silver weapons and no time to make any; the other had 7 arrowheads and another dagger.
Gaelle bought the arrowheads to add to her ever increasing stock.

Sorting out their stuff, Gaelle handed the silvered longsword to Seigfried to use and Cord took the mace.

It was now late morning and they headed to the Watch headquarters.
Asked their business, they said they were from Byzantium and wanted any information they had about the Hark.
A Watch Sergeant was called, as the watchmen didn’t want to give any information out on their own initiative. He told them that the militia have made investigations but have had no success to date.
Helga tried to steer the conversation round to their investigations, so they wouldn't go over the same ground, with some small success.

Gaelle mentioned the warehouses, and asked if they could investigate them.
"Highly irregular, as they are private property".
"Speaking along the line of helping the militia in the investigation?"
Gaelle, being very persuasive, got the sergeant to agree to let them help, as long as they agreed to be sworn in as militiamen.
He called over a corporal to take them to the "chapel" and get them sworn in.
They took the vows without hesitation, before asking if there was a minimum period of service. Luckily, there isn't for them.

They then asked about the lost scout. Apparently, he followed a trail from the warehouses, but reported that it petered out near Wharf 4. The warehouses are a couple of hundred yards to the south of Wharf 4, nearer Wharf 11.

They decided to head to the warehouses immediately, starting with the food warehouse.
Arriving at the warehouse, Gaelle told the guards that they were there on official watch business to investigate the attacks and were let in to snoop around.

They found that it had been pretty well tidied up and Gaelle could find no tracks. Helga failed to get any information about how the rats got into the warehouse.
They conversed some more with the guards who said there was a lot of food eaten, much more than would be expected from rats.
Going outside, Gaelle cast around for tracks, finding a large set of rat tracks heading through the warehouse area to the north.
She thought at first that it was where goods had been dragged, but quickly realised what they were. That many rat tracks stopped looking like tracks at all.

Following the trail, it petered out after a couple of hundred yards, as it crossed a main thoroughfare.

Heading to the other warehouse, Helga looked around to see if they were being followed, but no-one seems to be paying them much attention.

This warehouse was locked up. Gaelle looked for tracks and found none that stood out.
Going round to the back entrance, Gaelle had a look around and, picking a time when no-one was watching, Helga unsuccessfully tried to pick the lock. After waiting for some people to move away, Helga tried again, this time successfully.

Checking for alarms, Helga stepped in to the dark warehouse.
Gaelle lit a lantern and everyone had a look around - Cord and Helga saw something shiny and metallic just outside the light, and some movement further away.
Helga backed behind Cord, who grabbed the lantern and ran over to where he had seen the movement.

Gaelle shouted "We're the watch. Show yourselves"!"

That was when they were attacked by the dire rats.

Immediately, Li Kung threw her glaive at Gaelle's feet trying to strike a rat through the doorway past Gracientus.

Cord was badly bitten, but they easily dispatched the smelly beasts.
Searching round, they found a dire rat-sized hole in one corner of the warehouse, and one of the crates broken open and the packing material scattered about. An urn was lying beside the case.
Gaelle found dire rat tracks coming from the hole.

Cord kept watch while they spent the next 2 hours moving the packing crates around, looking for trapdoors, finding none.

Gaelle tried to enlarge the hole but, finding that the tunnel was only big enough for dire rats to pass through, decided not to bother any more.

Helga looked for chinks in the walls through which someone might "mentally control" the rats. Finding several possibilities, she took Gaelle outside to look for tracks. Gaelle found a set of prints which may have been made by someone looking into the warehouse, but couldn't pin the time down to the last few hours.
Following the tracks out on to the wooden boards of the wharf, she trailed the person northwards, most of the party noticing that they were drawing some attention from workers on the docks. A group of dockers are standing open mouthed, watching Gaelle moving slowly with her nose to the boards.

They headed from Wharf 11 to Wharf 7 before the trail petered out.

Li Kung cast around trying to see if any of the dockers were less or more smelly than the others. He has a real issue with personal hygiene.
He spotted a couple of workers on Wharf 5 watching them surreptitiously, who appeared to have been made to look like dockers.

Thinking to intimidate the “fake dockers”, they moved quickly toward Wharf 5, intending to turn and block them on the dock.
Gaelle looked at the nearby warehouses and noticed someone on the roof of the one nearest Wharf 5, who ducked down out of sight. Perhaps, Gaelle's notice had been noticed.

"Perhaps we should go and talk to them", said Seigfried.
The party chatted amongst themselves for a few minutes, trying to decide what to do.
Apparently, Helga is the most intimidating individual, so she got the nod.

When they get to the dock, they moved on to it and Helga gestured to the dockers to come to them. They immediately dove overboard, much to the party’s surprise.
Helga and Cord ran up and on to the boat, while the others ran to the end of the dock.

Cord and Gaelle spotted the men swimming towards Dock 4. Gaelle ordered them to “stop or I’ll shoot” while Cord and Helga ran back along the dock, to head them off.
The swimmers failed to heed her warning so Gaelle stuck 2 arrows in one of them, sinking him beneath the water.

Cord and Helga arrived at Dock 4 a few seconds before the swimmer, who looked like he was going to swim straight under the dock.
Li Kung ran back onto the boarding looking around the warehouses, seeing the man on the roof again.

The swimmer swam under Dock 4, 2 arrows missing him. Cord ran across the dock to see where he would come out. Helga ran to the end of the dock and hung over the end. Losing her grip, she fell in, but saw the swimmer going towards an opening under the dock.

Cord ran to the dockside and climbed down to the opening. Helga dog-paddled under the dock, heading toward Cord, Li Kung following him down to the opening. Gaelle also spotted the man on the warehouse, who again ducked out of sight.

Cord lit a torch while Helga climbed up to the side of the hole, in case someone came out to attack them.

Li Kung and Helga listened at the hole, Helga hearing the sound of someone scrabbling along the pipe on all fours, some distance away.

Gaelle wandered back to Dock 6, to question some dockers.
"Who owns the warehouse on Dock 5, with the guard on?"
"Councillor Borral, he's a merchant dealing in a lot of different stuff".
"What about the one at Dock 4?"
"Dunno, we're just dock workers. Ask the Harbourmaster, he'll know".

Meanwhile, Cord, Li Kung and Helga moved in to the pipe, Cord leading.

At a crossing of pipes they were attacked by rats and the thief they’d followed.
A dagger flew past Cord's head, but he couldn't see where it came from.

The rats quickly dispatched, Li Kung and Cord managed to grapple the thief, subduing him.
They hog tied him and attached him to Helga's long spear (great white hunter-style) and took him out of the sewer, meeting the others outside, finding Gracientus wet from falling in.

They talked for a couple of minutes, deciding where to take the unconscious man for questioning.
They were aware of possible attack if they did it there, but didn’t want to take him anywhere too public.

They decided to take him back to the warehouse where they fought the dire rats, pretending he was a drunken compatriot. Helga and Seigfried succeeded in the subterfuge, the others looked a bit shifty.

They got a few dodgy looks on the way, but made it there without hitch.

At the warehouse, they blocked up the ‘potential spy holes’ in the walls and set defences, before questioning their prisoner.
They thought that the Hark was an aggressive sort and would attack rather then let them gain information from one of his minions.

They set several crates around the dire rat hole that they could turn over into it, as well as a fairly light packing crate suspended by a rope over the rafters, held by Gracientus.
While they set their defences, Gaelle fitted the silver arrowheads to some of her arrows and Helga questioned the prisoner.

When they brought him round, they told him they were all evil bastards who didn't mind killing him (actually true), so he'd better tell them what they wanted to know.
Helga did the questioning, aided by Cord and Li Kung. Sort of Bad Cop-Bad Cop-Bad Cop.

"What do you want to know, don’t kill me. I've only been a thief for a week"
Helga - "it was a bad time to join"

He'd seen loads of rats, lots of big ones, a dozen or so men, 3 or 4 hobgoblins and a couple of dozen goblins.
“Apparently the big boss is a rat?”
“Dunno, never seen him. Only worked for him a week. “

"Any recognition signs?"
“I know the guys I work with and the bloke wot gives us the jobs.”
"Is the Hark the big boss?"
“Never heard that name.”
"What are the crimes you've done?”
“I watch the docks. One of the blokes says he did a merchant over, but he's a lying bastard.”
“Any Traps?”
“Tripwires with darts on every way into the chamber where we live.”
"Were they given anything? Any tokens?”
“They gave us this” (he nodded to a small pouch on his belt).
It contained a chunk of coriander root. The party took it and rubbed it all over themselves, especially their boots.

They untied his hands so he could draw a map of the bits of the drains he knew, Cord preparing his sword in case they were attacked at that moment.

They then knocked him out again and put him on top of a crate, out of the way.


Around 11 pm, they heard the warehouse door being opened not-quietly-enough, and saw the alleyway bathed in the light of the full moon.

Li Kung felt an affinity to someone he couldn’t see but, when asked from out of the darkness to leave, “This is not your fight. Go now, while you can!” he decided to remain with his "other" friends.


The invisible Hobgoblin thief crept across the warehouse and his invisible human wizard companion spiderclimbed up the wall into the rafters.
The thief suddenly appeared with his short sword stuck almost all the way through Gracientus, the wizard created an area of darkness between the party and himself, trying to hide his movements.

While the party attacked the hobgoblin and the dire rats that boiled up out of the hole (breaking through the crates piled on it), the wizard crept across the rafters and swept a fan of fire over those nearest his compatriot.

Li Kung was again “unlucky” with his glaive. It seemed to go everywhere except where he wanted it to.

The hobgoblin was neatly bisected by Cord and Gaelle bowed the wizard to death as he tried to spiderclimb his escape. The rats didn’t take much longer to deal with.

After taking items of interest from the wizard and thief, while Gracientus magically repaired the void in his abdomen, they decided to take the bodies and the prisoner to the watch barracks.
Gaelle sneaked outside and had a look around, spotting a figure on the roof of the adjacent warehouse. Even though only his head was showing, she shot him clean between the eyes.

Not seeing many people out in the middle of the night, they arrived at the barracks, being carefully challenged by the guards.
The party told them they'd captured people working for the Hark and they knew where his lair wais (Gaelle tried to explain, with Cord chipping in pertinent facts that were a bit closer to the truth than Gaelle’s).

They also wanted to stay the night at the barracks as they didn't feel safe.
Seigfried to Cord - "You don't feel safe? You chopped that guy clean in half!"

The desk sergeant called in the watch captain who de-briefed them.
They told the full story of their activities during the evening, without embellishment. The captain was impressed, and a little intimidated.

They slept that night in one of the barrack rooms, but left one person on guard with the desk sergeant. Glad for the company, the sergeant engaged whoever it was in conversation, except Seigfried, who he was told was an ignorant foreigner.
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
robberbaron said:
Immediately, Li Kung threw her glaive at Gaelle's feet trying to strike a rat through the doorway past Gracientus.

minor typo, Li Kung is male note female.

I'd like to point out that grappling the thief into submission was Li Kung's moment of glory (i.e. only combat in which he didn't (a) fumble or (b) fail a saving throw or (c) fumble AND fail a saving throw) and he wants to take all the credit for successfully completing the grapple... Cord gets to chop enough people in half by himself :)

Also, it is worth noting that Siegfried is an anomaly, a Paladin amongst an evil party played by the chap who normally plays a secretly evil guy amongst our normal good/nuetral parties.

Cheers
 

sumi

First Post
Plane Sailing said:
Also, it is worth noting that Siegfried is an anomaly, a Paladin amongst an evil party played by the chap who normally plays a secretly evil guy amongst our normal good/neutral parties.

However, in this party he has leanings to the dark side. He is most probably Lawful Evil. He does not like people going against the laws of the land. However, if he does not stop annoying Cord he is most likely to be dead in the coming days.

That's the problem with adventuring with those CE's - you have to keep looking behind you.
 

robberbaron

First Post
A bit of a scrap ...

May 19th

Bright and early next morning the party asked the desk sergeant where they could get hold of coriander root. The sergeant told them that it wasn't really used in the town but there was a herb farm 10 miles to the north. They supplied much of the culinary herbs, including coriander, which the town’s restaurants and inns used.

Over breakfast, Gaelle wondered how she managed to get involved with this semi-incompetent crew.
Helga was impressed by their charismatic "leader" - Seigfried.
Gaelle was incredulous as she thought he was an idiot who can't even speak the local language.
Cord suggested that perhaps Seigfried should lead them today, so they could all see his leadership in action.

Seigfried actually thought they had been fairly successful since they joined up. Cord stood and showed Seigfried his back, "this is my sore back from carrying your sad arse around!"
Helga, however, didn't think Seigfried’s arse looked at all sad.

Fast satisfactorily broken, they scuttled off to investigate the herb farm, Helga taking the absent (and now fugitive) Kron's horse.

When they got within sight of the farm they saw workers in the fields who ran away towards a barn when they spotted the party.
They appeared to be Goblins! Out in the daylight? How strange?

The party attempted to ride the goblins down, but only Helga reached them before they disappeared into the barn.
She did, however, manage to impale one of the goblins, pinning it to the barn wall, and stopped her horse before it ran through the barn door.

They all dismounted and handed Li Kung their reins to hold (absent player duty). He rode off a short distance into the nearby woods to wait for them.
The party noticed a hayloft door above the entrance, to which Helga failed to climb. Gaelle had no trouble, scrambling up the side of the barn like a rat up a rope, and Helga reached the door while Gaelle hung from the loading beam above.

The rest stepped through the doorway.

Straight into four heavy crossbow bolts, fired by a row of hobgoblins waiting for them.
The goblins were disappearing down a hole at the other end of the barn.

Luckily, only one bolt hit, taking half Seigfried’s life with it. The hobgoblins swiftly exchanged their bows for shortspears and shields, while our heroes decided upon their next move.

Gaelle destroyed the bar on the hayloft roof door with remarkable show of strength and silently tumbled past any as yet unperceived guards. Observing the lack of guards Helga made her way quietly to the edge of the loft, which covered half the barn and looked down. Only the four Hobgoblins were in view and all were out of reach of even her longspear.
On the ground, Seigfried and Cord charged the hobgoblins whilst Gracientus blessed the party. Seigfried’s charge was unsuccessful but Cord cut his opponent down and cleaved through Seigfried’s for good measure.

Gaelle attempted to shoot the hobgoblins from the loft but missed and Helga dropped down behind one of them, failing to strike him and twisting her ankle from the height of the hurried drop. Still she could give one of the fighters a flank. The remaining hobgoblins, stunned by Cord’s ferocious efficiency and the aerial assault, failed to respond with any useful attacks. Seigfried moved into the attack again but his sword cut only air while Cord cut through his own, helped by Helga’s flank, and then cleaved through Siegfried’s hobgoblin (again). The upright German was beginning to feel embarrassed at Cord’s effectiveness and his lack.

With the immediate threat dealt with the party did not push on down the 10’ wide ramp into the hobgoblins’ subterranean lair, but instead gathered their energies in the barn. Gracientus attempted to heal Seigfried, ineffectively, while Gaelle stripped the studded armour off of a hobgoblin and began stuffing it with straw. Cord and Helga positioned themselves either side of the ramp where they might gain a height advantage, should any more enemies emerge. Cord picked up one of the hobgoblin corpse to use as a pavise and Helga inched back to lose herself in the shadows. They can hear more creatures approaching and signal this to the others. Gracientus responds by curing some of Seigfried’s wounds. Gaelle continued stuffing the armour with straw. What is she up to?

A single hobgoblin ventured forth and failed to shoot Gaelle as she constructed her scarecrow. Helga, having a crossbow prepared, failed to shoot the scout, as did Gaelle, as she dropped the straw man and flipped her bow into her nimble hands.
Suddenly, numerous hobgoblins charged up the slope and into combat with everyone although, in the limited space, only six could safely engage. Of these two attacked Gaelle, one successfully. The same is true of Cord with the hobgoblin’s spear driven much deeper into his flesh. Helga and Seigfried were both missed by their single opponents.

Cord struck back, neatly bisecting one hobgoblin and slaying the other with a single strike of his mighty Fullblade. Gaelle retreated a few steps firing her bow rapidly but the swift rain for once lacked accuracy and her aggressors remained unharmed. Helga and Seigfried both returned their hobgoblins’ ineffective attacks in kind, while Gracientus snatched up one of the fallen heavy crossbows and carefully loaded it, moving back from immediate danger.

Everyone’s eyes widened as more armed and armoured hobgoblins erupt from below ground and assaulted at speed. Seigfried was swiftly surrounded and Helga found herself fighting two of the smelly brutes. They had both remained untouched but knew their luck couldn’t hold. Observing the entrails hanging from Cord’s blade and the dark blood pulsing from the several bodies lying at his feet two hobgoblins shot at him but he was nicked by only one arrow. Again Gaelle was missed as her assailants ignored Gracientus.

Cord moved to aid Seigfried, decapitating one of his opponents but could not recover the awesome blow to cleave another. Still, the hobgoblin’s body pumped blood high into the air showering all nearby as his head exited the barn through the doorway thanks to the ferocity of the impressive blow. Gaelle managed to hit one of her aggressors but failed to drop him. Helga fought defensively and ineffectively while Seigfried and Gracientus finally managed to strike and shoot effectively, Seigfried downing another of his surrounding enemies and Gracientus shooting one out of combat, winging it.

What seemed an endless tide of hobgoblins continued to wash against the party, now seeking the obviously weaker members. Three of them surrounded Helga and battered her to a stagger while two moved in on Gracientus and combined to take most of his health (and blood) from him. Seigfried was struck by a charging new combatant, as his only remaining foe was filled with the terror of his neighbour’s headless body staggering about by the side of him and the grinning visage of the blood-soaked Cord close by.
The hobgoblins were avoiding the bloody man of muscle but one made an attempt to shoot him, ineffectively. Cord laughed as his bloody blade tore through another of Seigfried’s opponents. Gaelle retreated further and rapid shot, killing his own and Seigfried’s terror-struck opponents. Helga, already staggered, attempted to tumble out of her predicament and was taken down by a hobgoblin’s reflexive strike. Gracientus ran from his attackers to hide behind Gaelle and Seigfried moved to attack Helga’s attackers, waving his sword ineffectively as he worried about Helga bleeding to death on the dirt floor.

Helga’s circle of admirers moved to surround Seigfried but only one spear scratched him. The hobgoblin that had been facing Gracientus was torn between attacking him, Gaelle or Cord, courageously chooses the latter. He was joined by a quivering hobgoblin crossbowman who was heartened by the thought of a flank, but still neither managed to strike the blood-drenched warrior.
The tiring heroes noticed that no more hobgoblins were venturing from their lair and hoped they were running out of opponents.
Cord attempted to cleave through his pair of foes but for once they evaded his massively telegraphed attack, one dodging straight into the path of one of Gaelle’s arrows.
Helga lay bleeding on the floor, Gracientus struggled to reload the unfamiliar heavy crossbow and Seigfried waved his blade about a bit.

Despite their advantage in numbers and positions only one hobgoblin managed to hit anyone, Seigfried again.
Cord made no mistake this time and his Fullblade sent hobgoblin limbs spinning in all directions as two corpses hit the ground, adding to the mountain of inhuman flesh that surrounded him. Gaelle shot and wounded one of Seigfried’s, Helga continued to bleed.
Seigfried, almost out of blood himself, managed to kill one of his three opponents and disengaged to gain support from Cord, also allowing Gracientus a free shot, which he failed to use to his advantage.

Only two hobgoblins remained and one of these had an arrow in his shoulder, but still they fought on in a desperate effort to save their mates and children from the predation of the humans. The uninjured one gathered up every last ounce of courage and threw himself at Cord with a murderous roar, impaling him and revealing that some of the visceral material was human after all as Cord fell to the many minor injuries he had accrued. The injured hobgoblin likewise hurled himself at Seigfried but slipped on a strange puddle of goo that had been slowly seeping from Helga along with her blood, stabbing himself.

Gaelle shot the injured hobgoblin with two arrows, finally dispatching it. S attacked the uninjured hobgoblin, knowing that he himself was only a scratch from death, striking it but not putting it down. Now they were equals.
Gracientus ran in and tried to aid Cord but there was so much blood he found it very difficult to find an actual wound.

The last hobgoblin thrust his spear past Seigfried and stepped away shouting something in his own tongue before Gaelle’s black fletched signature arrow took him down. Bravely Seigfried approached the ramp and peered down, but couldn’t see anything.
Helga and Cord bled some more but Gracientus uses the mystic power of Set find their wounds, seal them and restore them to consciousness.

Battered and bruised, with only Gaelle having any fight left in her, the party retreated to the nearby woods. They could hear Goblin voices from down the ramp but even with Gaelle and Gracientus combining their efforts they could not restore any fighting spirit to Helga although Gaelle’s healing potion did instil some life back into Cord.

In the relative safety of the woods the party reflected on the hobgoblin encounter that was more challenging than they expected.
After six hours of rest everyone is fighting fit and ready to continue. Nightfall came and went, renewing Gracientus’ mystical ability.
Returning under cover of darkness, not that this would bother goblins and hobgoblins much, they sneaked back into the barn. Helga and Gracientus lit torches and Gaelle unmasks her lantern. The dead hobgoblins had been removed, dragged down the ramp into the lair. While Gaelle confirmed this was accomplished by smaller creatures, muffled scuffling could be heard from the loft.
Gaelle threw her lantern aloft, starting a fire but not the immediate conflagration she had hoped for. There were immediate squeals of alarm from above and Helga moved to one of the ladders to take an opportunist poke at any goblins that might use it, but the goblins threw themselves down instead, some hurting themselves as others of their kind charged up the ramp frothing at the mouth, shrilly crying out in their guttural tongue.

Gaelle targeted one of the goblin jumpers and one who was partially aflame, putting them out of their misery.
Cord shoot at one with his crossbow, missing by yards, and threw the treacherous device aside, drawing his trusty sword. Gracientus blessed the group while Seigfried charged into combat, his obviously blunted Fullblade bouncing off the goblin’s padded armour. Helga struck at the same gobo but also missed.

The goblins, energised by the highly calorific hobgoblin flesh they had just enjoyed, frantically charged. Five threw themselves at Gaelle, three drawing the bow woman’s blood, two struck at Cord, one hitting. These goblins have no fear of the huge man with the enormous chopper; they did not witness his fine batch of double strikes in the previous battle and he has cleaned himself up a bit since then. Four attacked Seigfried, two hitting and one worked his way over to Hegla but missed her. Gaelle stepped back and made kebabs of two opponents, Cord cleaved through both his and steppe across to threaten Helga’s. Gracientus unloads a crossbow in the vague direction of a goblin, Seigfried and Helga waved their weapons around to no avail, though Helga slashed an unwary goblin as it ran within reach of her weapon.

The goblins went for it while they still could. Two missed Cord, three attacked Seigfried but only one managed to hit, three missed Gaelle and Helga’s only attacker realised he was poking her with the soft end and spent valuable combat time turning his spear around. In response Gaelle extracted a goblin’s eye through the back of its skull with a perfectly aimed arrow, Cord cleaved through his and moved to give Seigfried a flank, despite leaving himself flanked, but then Seigfried killed the flanked goblin while Gracientus missed a shot and Helga managed to wound hers.

Only three goblins remained and two turned tail and ran; Gaelle shot one down, Gracientus missed the other but Seigfried outran it and slayed it easily while Cord finished the last persistent attacker who was still worrying Helga.
By now the loft was well ablaze and the group decided to leave to investigate the other buildings. Cord looked for any smoke issuing from other exits but saw none.

The farmhouse was in poor repair but solid and Helga took a crossbow bolt to the chest having failed to spot the trap on the main door. The building itself and remaining goods were of human design and a thorough investigation discovered a male and a female human with their throats cut in their sleep and a younger male cut down in a fight. There was only one other outbuilding and this had been ruined sometime in the past so the party moved the corpses and bedded down until the barn burned itself out.

The next morning the party investigated the barn again; Gaelle revealed that the females and young led by a human left about eight hours ago, probably while they were engrossed in searching the farmhouse.

Moving burnt beams from the ramp into the earth, they moved into the gobbos’ lair. After half an hour of sneaking around all they could find was a cartload of coriander and a lot of smelly goblin nests.
Suddenly, movement caught their eyes.

Something was still down here.
 
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