League of the Western Fall

Into the Dark
Is that a sarcophagaaaaahhh!!!!!

Having gathered as much information as possible about the Dark Wizard, we decided it was time to make our way past the double doors of doom.

Jak customarily took the point, both figuratively and literally, given Crow had once again illuminated the tip of Jak’s spear as the keep’s torches began to flicker and fade. Having satisfactorily searched for traps and finding none, Jak cautiously cracked open one of the doors, finding it surprisingly unlocked. Cruel fate would once again rear its mocking head as the Minotaur, the only member of the party who has trouble seeing when light is scarce, peered into total and utter blackness.

Suddenly, a flurry of sparks exploded through the small gap in the doorway, not from the gloomy depths, but from behind Jak, starling the already pensive beast, causing him to turn, spear at the ready, only to see the rest of his party staring innocently back at him completely unalarmed. Stumped and confused Jak opened the doors the rest of the way assuming that if something waited beyond the doors, there was no longer cause for subtlety.

As the party proceeded, the glowing spear tip became the sole source of light as the brackets that normally held torches were disturbingly empty. Also disturbing was the foul stench of rot and decay that grew thick as the party descended. Inching forward, we made our way through a series of interconnecting hallways. In several locations among the passages, a mysterious ruin was found intricately carved into the floor. We attempted to discover the possible purpose of these glyphs, but were unsuccessful. Weary of setting off who knows what, our party avoided crossing the ruins, which lead us to a room that appeared to be some sort of burial chamber, as its walls were lined with several stacked stone structures that seemed to serve as a final accommodations for the dead. But there were no dead to be found in this room, a fact that was at once both welcome and disturbing.

At the far end of the chamber was a relief carved into the wall (detail escape me).

Having satisfactorily searched the room, we proceeded to the only other avenue open to use without crossing the seals, which was a passage that appeared to open up and then fade into darkness. Soon after crossing into the room, we were immediately met with several wretched forms emerging from the darkness. They had the appearance of beings long since dead yet here they were, ambling awkward toward our party or possibly towards the light at resting at the end of Jak’s spear.

Judging the intentions of the reanimated dead were not friendly, we attacked the walking corpses with the intent of righting whatever wrong was responsible for raising these unfortunate souls from their final rest (were these the former occupants of the empty chamber we had just left?). We made short work of the ghoulish creatures, especially due to those among our party who’s abilities seemed to be particularly effective against these sorts of horrors.

Proceeding past the gruesome scene and River attempting to ignore the stench of death left on him by a particularly grabby ghoul, we came across the words “Keep out! Really!” crudely painted in red on the floor. Sensing no threat from the graffiti itself, we proceeded past it into a room lined with many sarcophagi standing upright along the walls. We examined them and saw no threat, so we continued down the hallway toward a light coming from around a corner down the hall.

Suddenly, the sarcophagi burst open, revealing skeletal remains that, similar to the half decayed denizens of the dark we dealt with earlier, moved as though alive despite having no flesh to even keep their bones together! Most of them fell quickly, but as soon as one fell, another would appear from one sarcophagus or another. As the bones began to pile up and the skeletal stream seemed unstoppable, we were reminded of the light that was coming from the end of the hall. Having the first opportunity to break away, Jak bounded down the hallway to investigate the source of the illumination, discovering an alter. Remembering River was the sort of person who might be able to make sense of such a thing, he beckoned for the cleric to join him.

River, deducing it to be a alter of Bahamut, who stood on good terms with his diety, Avandra, offered up a prayer humbly requesting assistance and deliverance from the macabre manifestations presently pressing in upon us.

This seemed to hit the intended mark, for immediately the sarcophagi slammed shut in unison, thus cutting off the source of the skeletons. Once the remainder were dealt with, we had time to closer examine the alter, finding a large dome above it that emulated the night sky with stunning brilliance, proving to the source of the light, although the light did not seem to be coming from any spot in particular. River discovered a set of figurines hidden in a secret compartment in the alter itself. Feeling that the relics had significant religious value, River kept them with the hopes of finding a more active community of Bahamut followers, being is was doubtful that any would be returning to this sight any time soon.

Scattered before the alter was yet another disturbing scene. Several solidified remains of what appeared to be hobgoblins sat frozen in their final death pose, all facing the alter. What caused this bizarre arrangement was not clear and we hoped we would not fine out.

We continued on to an adjoining chamber that appeared to be another burial chamber, but this one seemed to hold greater significance given the presence of sarcophagi appearing to belong to members of the Keegan family itself. On the back wall lay a large horizontal sarcophagus carved into the shape of a fully armed and armored human. Given Jak’s genetic attraction to patterns, he went to investigate the shield carried by the carved coffin, perhaps with less caution than would have been appropriate.

As soon as Jak approached the sarcophagus, its lit popped off and a ghostly apparition emerged from darkness within, claiming to be Sir Keegan himself, demanding to know what we business we had disturbing his castle in a manner that suggest we had better have a good answer…

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The Poison and the Flower

We spoke with Harner before heading down into the dungeon to face a barracksful of goblins. Harner kindly informed us that our amulet was one of the Vade Mecium, a rare key that allows travel between the Locuses. We also learned that there are no fixed paths between the Locuses, but that the path is determined by the Vade Mecium. Not having any additional Vade Meciuae handy, this information was not of immediate value. Future possibilities abound, however.

As we headed down toward certain gloom, we discussed our strategy for dealing with the goblins we expected to find. Judging that the dungeon was particularly effective at absorbing sound, we decided that apart from an alarm or a loud noise, anyone in the dungeon would have difficulty hearing what was going on any distance away. Great stealth would not be necessary during this encounter.

We went down to the entrance of the antechamber of barracks, taking the precaution of preparing attacks for any foes that might appear when we opened the door. Chronosophos lent us a helping Mage Hand to open the door. The doorway remained empty, so we invited ourselves through to see what was inside.

Inside we saw a table with a handbell set on top. Around it were a pair of goblins who looked as though they might have been expecting a different species. Chronosophos again used his most handy of spells to steal the bell before the goblins had a chance to ring it, and thus our battle started.

We battled many goblins in several different rooms and came out with bruised ribs and high spirits. Our spirits diminished a bit when our good goblin friend Ech was thrown through a doorway with a rather severe axe wound in his back. Those of our party with any skill in healing did their best to stabilize him. The rest of us went after Segozn, who had inflicted the damage and seemed ready to do more.

Segozn eventually fell, much to our joy, and turned out to be carrying quite a bit of money. We took whatever we could and went to see how Etch was holding up. The prognosis wasn’t good but we did our best to make him comfortable. Since he clearly wasn’t going anywhere, we let him keep his bottle. He asked for Arak and told him was that the dark wizard lay through the black door, emphasizing that light fails in the dark. Shortly afterward his own light failed. We sadly took the bottle that he had been so careful to guard. It was not a happy victory.

On the surface in an interaction of surpassing diplomatic prowess, we learned from Harner that the bottle contained rare goblin wine which would sell for a great price in the market. The wine is made from a highly poisonous and rare flower native to the region of Jak’s village, and while the wine itself is safe to drink, it is simple to transform it back into liquid death. The flower is placed in the bottle by the brewer to show that the bottle hasn’t been opened and that the wine is therefore still safe.

It’s this melancholy air that surrounds us as we prepare to make our way through the black door and into the lower levels where the light is said to fail.

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Of Dragons and Diplomacy
River's Log

We rested there in the secret passageway of the fallen castle’s basements there alongside Ech. The goblins that had holed there way inside this fortress were quite well-equipped and had proven more a match for us than we had ever anticipated, especially given the job description that Mr. Lodestone had given us. Nevertheless, as we rested from our injuries and nursed the headaches we’d gotten from the battles before, we conversed with Ech in order to clear up some of the fuzzier details of the story. We learned, much to our surprise, that we were currently stationed about a two- or three-day’s walk north of Sarra; I wasn’t all that overjoyed about that news, however; that placed us square within the Raglands, pretty much a black spot for all travelers in this day and age.

We discussed everything from Segozn to the Dark Wizard all the way to the man captured by the goblins and supposedly these “guard dragons” that enforced the continued digging within the Dig Room. Dragons? Feh. If all the rumors were true, it would be impossible to fit a true dragon within these narrow corridors. Then again, it was hard to know what was really true with dragons…

The Dig Room was sounding to be the likeliest place to begin our investigation, but before we did so, I insisted on taking a quick peek within Segozn‘s chamber to see if there might be anything of interest there within. Little did we suspect, given Ech’s description, that Segozn’s chamber and the barracks were actually one room! A simple, albeit thick (thankfully!) curtain separated the two, but still the call was much too close for our liking, and we decided to abandon that route for the time being. With that, we entered the Dig Room.

The Dig Room consisted of a series of platforms, which I assume to be all that is left of the rooms original floor, with ten foot trenches dug between them. Narrow wooden planks served as precarious bridges from one platform to another with a few ladders descending into the trenches.

Our entry into the room had as much stealth as a Wolfen hunting his prey at high noon. The goblins were alerted almost instantly; as much respect as I have for Jak, I suppose that’s what you would expect traveling with an eight-foot minotaur. We quickly discovered that these “green dragons” that bossed the goblins around weren’t dragons as I surmised but instead drakes, or at least that’s what I could gather from their foul tongue. Of course, they had their share of firebombs — the reason why we came there, after all — at their disposal, nailing us quickly with those. I valiantly stood my ground against the goblins while my friends took on the drakes, although I was consistently offbeat the entire time; I think being underground for all this time has gotten to me. Nevertheless, we made a cursory search and found quite a lot of nice rewards. Eight firebombs, a bit of gold, and a necklace with Bahamut’s image on it. I took it because I felt Avandra sending me a clear message. I pray that she does similarly for the rest of our merry guild soon.

With that taken care of, we distributed the firebombs and made way for the prison. Crow set about taking a peek into the room using his “Magic Hand” thing he talks about, but as we were preparing to storm their room directly, they heard the creeping noise of the eyeslit closing. Crow seemed to panic and remained in front of the door in order to attack, which put us on the early defensive as we tried valiantly to bash our way into the room where the hobogoblin jailer and his cronies had been playing cards moments before. The fight actually turned out to be mostly successful, and we ended up working well as a team. Our first few fights against these guys had been tough — MUCH tougher than any of our brawls at The Chicken had ever been; then again, those had always been against plastered fools. Yet we had finally learned how to take advantage of our relative strengths as well as how to leverage cover and tactics. Ultimately, we more or less handily won the fight.

After finding again more gold — all in the hands of the hobgoblin, who appeared to be winning — we came across the old man who had once been so foolish — as Ech said — to wander into this castle without any other allies. His name proved to be Harner Goss, and we decided to let him go, but also being cautious just in case he was more of a wildcard than we could expect. (Sometimes, I really wonder how paranoid my colleagues can be though; at first, one of them — Crow was it? — thought he’d run straight into the goblin barracks and rat us out!)

Nevertheless, after giving him some of our rations and water, we decided to take another rest, just in case the barracks turned out to be much worse than we feared. Well, that and the fact that we needed to get Harner out of there, partially for his own good, partially since he practically was refusing to answer any of our questions until we managed to escape the dungeon’s hold.

Deciding that it would continue to remain in Ech’s good graces, I deposited Harner with the others while I ran back to tell Ech of our victory over his hobgoblin nemesis. Of course, he had once again fallen back to sleep, clutched around that bottle. (Really? What IS so important about that? Perhaps one of our next mysteries to solve? After the barracks? I think I’m going to be convinced soon to pry.) Nevertheless, I left some gold for him and returned topside, only to see a poignant awkwardness within our camp. Crow, using his “Secret Whisper” spell (or whatever nonsense he calls it) filled me in of an all-but-failed diplomacy on Jak’s part to threaten Harner. I look at the three of my colleagues with a slight shake of my head before wordlessly going to sleep.

I figure that tomorrow is always another day.

Maybe we’ll be able to finish off quest before we spend too much more time here. Ultimately, we still have to return and give our report to the League of the Western Fall, and I’m hoping that Harner isn’t too good of friends with them; this red armband is kind of growing on me.

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Beneath the Ancient Keep pt. 1
Rats, Runts, and Rest.

Having failed a stealthy descent down the stairs of the ancient keep, we found ourselves staring at a rather unsettled looking goblin staring back at us from across the room.

With inspiring reflexes, River immediately leaped into action, bounding towards the lone goblin, wanting to silence it before it had a chance to alert its comrades. Unfortunately, a large area of the floor turned out to be a cleverly disguised pit into which River disappear from view, only to reappear moments later, frantically batting away several ravenous rodents that had managed to cling to him.

With an evil cackle of amusement, the goblin rapped on the stone walls, sending out an alarm, to which several more goblins soon responded.

Before we knew it, we were once again in the heat of battle, though this time the numbers of enemies were not quite as severe and we had the advantage of cover due to several large pillars surrounding the pit. We also had the experience of lessons learned from our previous encounters.

While the goblins provided quite a challenge, given their reluctance to get close, the rat pack that emerged from the pit proved to be a surprisingly difficult menace, given the challenge of fighting a collection of tiny creatures that moved and attacked as a unit, as opposed to a singular foe. But between being scorched, shot, stabbed, and eventually shoved back into the pit from whence they came, the disease menace was silenced.

Soon, only one foe remained, who chose to flee rather than die like his comrades. Faced with the dilemma of either chasing the wounded goblin into the unknown or regrouping the party, River decided upon the later rather than risk being separated. With the group reformed, we pursued the goblin through the hallways. Seeing that the course the goblin was taking lead back to where they had started, Jak hoofed after it, finally putting the chase to an end.

With one hallway yet to be explored, we ventured to a room containing three doors, an iron door with a sliding viewport, a set of reinforced double doors, and what appeared to be a closet. Having had no chance to recover completely since the brutal battle under the split tower, our party was in bad shape and another battle would be truly pushing our luck. We could hear snoring come from the iron door and the double doors just screamed danger, so the closet door seemed the obvious choice.

Jak tentatively opened the door to find more crates. Exploring further, Jak discovered yet another goblin, though this one was asleep and much smaller that the rest, its only possession being a large bottle which it clutched like a mother holding its only child. Though the sleeping goblin would have been an easy kill, Jak saw no threat and thus could not bring himself to harm the helpless creature. Remembering the encounter with Yesper, Jak deferred to River to deal with the goblin.

This proved to be a good choice for soon, through River’s soothing tone and the sparkle of a few gold pieces, the little goblin, Ech, began telling much of what had been going on below the Ancient Keep, to which he seemed to want no part other than the treasure, of course.

From what River was able to get out of Ech, Balgran was only second in command. Segozn seems to be in charge. And he made mention of a Dark Wizard.

Ech was also very helpful in giving us information as to what lay behind the doors we were reluctant to open. Behind the door with the slit was the prison. The double doors lead to the barracks which held around ten goblins. The double doors by the two beds we had discovered he called the “bad door” where human captives (we presume the caravan crew) were taken. Through the last set of doors was the digging room, where treasure was being dug up, though we suspect that Sergozn may have another more specific goal in mind.

With a magical movement of his hand, Chro silently slid back the security slit in the prison door, behind which we could see three figures around a table, two goblins and a much larger hobgoblin, obviously the source of the snoring. The mugs of ale seen on the table would explain why they did not hear the battle down the hallway. While we wanted to make contact with the human captive Ech said still remained in the jail, we decided to let sleeping goblins lie, given ten other goblins may be in the next room.

Ech also mentioned the existence of some sort of explosive devices at the dig site that would definitely give us that advantage in a fight, so we headed off in that direction. But we were once again reminded of our current condition and the need to rest before engaging in another battle against unknown enemies. Ech proved useful again, showing us a hidden passage that leads to Sergozn’s chambers and eventually to the barracks.

While we were reasonably sure, due to Ech’s description of Sergozn’s movements, that his chambers would be empty, Chro wisely suggested we rest in the hidden passage itself, which while being much less comfortable, provided much more security.

As we prepared to sleep, Ech skittered away, cleverly dragging the bodies of the dead goblin’s into the rat pit. While we get the feeling that the little goblin is not telling us everything, this went a long way towards earning the red band Chro had provided for him, unofficial as it was.

With this we settled in for a much needed rest.

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Now You're Playing with Portals

With so many matters being put aside temporarily for sleep, Arak, Jak, Cronosophosm and I were quick to collapse and find slumber. Figuring that the kobold cave might provide them better protection than outside in the woods, we proceeded to nestle amongst a bale of hay deep within the cavern while we took their respective watches.

Most of the night passed in relative peace aside from Jak’s rather annoying snoring, which thankfully we were able to avoid the brunt of given that Jak graciously volunteered to take the first watch. Arak followed, and then me. Yet during the fourth watch, Cronosophos’, the voices of intruders suddenly sprung to life within the cave itself.

Quietly he gave us all a call to arms despite having woke us before we all were ready. We began to take defensive positions within their corner upon realizing that the intricately designed circle in the cavern’s rear had come alive with light. Yet when Jak attempted to sneak between walls, his massive form ended up being in plain sight from one of the kobolds that had managed their way within.

A battle quickly ensued as the kobolds shouted out “Ambush!” to one other and to ears that (as we had yet to discover) had yet to come. It was suggested, which then Arak and I implemented, a dangerous maneuver to split the party into two different fronts and attack from different ends. Jak and Chro’ began the attack first, doing their best to stave off the early arrivals as we began to attack from the opposite direction.

At first, it seemed as if the strategy might be effective as numbers initially were in favor of the four adventurers. However, despite the incredible power of Chronosophos’ flaming sphere summon to weed out the weaker enemies, kobolds continued to pour out from the glowing gate as the seconds ticked by. And it was only a matter of time before we were completely engulfed by creatures from the other side. Despite our long rest and a very valiant attempt to use all our available strength against them, I was soon engulfed by the masses as I made a (rather foolhardy) effort to reach the portal… and to keep our minotaur alive, and soon thereafter I lost consciousness.

There’s quite a bit I don’t remember after that point, given my unconsciousness and a little bit of light-headedness that came afterward, but I’m told that it was Chro’ that returned the favor from the battle before who came to my aid and kept me from perishing. I’ve yet to truly thank him for that, but time seemed to rush far too quickly afterward once I realized that my comrades were bloodied, bruised, and ready to fall themselves. Were it not for Jak’s sheer persistence, my adeptness in healing, Arak’s (finally!) steady-handed spellcasting, Chro’s flaming sphere of death, and quite a bit of luck from the divine Avandra, none of us would have lived to complete our mission and return to the Chicken. (Avandra only knows what ritual our bodies the heathens would then contribute us to.)

Unfortunately for us, we realized mid-fight that the character named Balgran, who turned out to be a goblin, was killed as we fought for our lives. We lamented this opportunity to learn more of our adversaries, but we certainly didn’t hold Jak to the flames for it. In fact, we were quite grateful.

Amongst the dead we found some amount of gold and silver, a rather curious locket with strange carvings upon it, and a silver key. Chro’ was quick to take the key and try it upon the chest we had found, and we were surprised to find quite a bit more gold — more than even the League was paying us for our mission, or so Chro’ tells me — and a suit of chainmail which was quickly thrown into my hands in an effort, perhaps, that our next encounter might not be so lucky. Well, perhaps getting rid of my hide is for the best; it’s still rather uncomfortable, but if Avandra provides, who am I to question?

With all of our accounts settled within the cave, and after quite a bit of discussion, we eventually all moved into the circle in an effort to find a way to enable the portal so that we might find the hostages from the caravan. The pedestal seemed to do nothing at first, but I realized that the carvings on the pedestal matched the carvings on the floor. Placing the necklace onto the pedestal seemed to be the magical trick for bringing the portal to life, and soon we were wisked away from a location none of us had seen.

The journey to this place was most uncomfortable, but the new locale itself was just as bad; the air was harsh and misty, and it had the faint odor of something unpleasant, though I could hardly describe what. It was difficult to see beyond the throes of the pavilion we arrived at, yet we found a recently used trail — complete with the standard prints of kobolds — leading to the north.

As we wandered, we encountered scraggly scrubs on one side of the road while gravestones littered the other side. Chro’ kept track of their number while I (and perhaps others) paced them along to find that they appeared at very regular intervals. As we traveled, Arak was able to parse the faint lettering of one of the tombstones — the letters “KEEG” — and he was reminded of the Ballad of Sir Keegan that a wandering bard had told him about. Keegan was the faithful guardian of a castle, yet one night he slew everyone within the castle walls before finally committing suicide. With the final count of 93 gravestones (plus perhaps the ones before the split tower we found in a clearing before our encounter at the cave), it seemed as if this legend might actually be somewhat accurate.

Even more convincing was the sighting of a castle — a keep, to be more accurate, though I hardly know the exact difference myself — just off the path. It was quite a large building, perhaps 200 feet to the side, and it was in practically ruins. The towers seemed completely unstable, and the walls looked like they might fall over if you breathed upon them wrong. We did, however, manage to find a stairwell leading down beneath the ground.

Thinking that this seemed to be the only logical place to start looking for the hostages, the four of us tiptoed down the stairs, trying not to make a single sound. Yet our luck proved to be rotten once again as a rock kicked from someone — thankfully, not me! — skittered to the ground, alerting a goblin of our presence.

I must stop writing here as I am weary and can barely stay awake. But fear not, the adventure continues onward, and I or my comrades will continue the tale soon!

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The Split Towers
A Stream Runs Through It

We continue our journey east into the forest.

With no particular trail to follow, we simply continued in the general direction we had been heading, though it was difficult to navigate as the trees began to limit our view.

Eventually, the sounds of a stream could be heard in the distance, so we began to head toward the sound. As we traveled, River mentioned having the sense that we were being followed, though he could not be sure. The feeling persisted, so we attempted to lure the stalker into revealing itself by Jak hiding in a tree as the rest of the party continued east a short distance. But after a few minutes, no follower was seen and we continued on.

We came upon a clearing in which we discovered six gravestones, all of which had been badly weathered to the point of unreadablity, though we could tell they were probably human and perhaps associated with a good deity. No other signs of civilization could be found in the clearing, which itself seemed to be in the process of being reclaimed by the surrounding forest.

As this did not seem to relate to our specific mission, we continued on.

While Jak was up in the tree, he was able to spot a distant structure that appeared to be two towers rising above the tree line. We eventually ran into the stream we had been hearing, which flowed Northeast to Southwest. The stream appeared to be flowing from the same direction as the towers, so we followed it upstream.

The ruined tower

We began so see tracks in the banks of the river similar to what we had seen on the road, so we assumed Kobolds were in the area. This was a hopeful sign that we were indeed on the right track. As we had hoped, the stream lead us straight towards the structure Jak has seen, though it turned about to be one tower split in two by the stream itself forming a waterfall as the water fell from the rocky outcropping on which the tower stood. We also discovered two wagons close to the base of the waterfall as well as horsed equipped to haul them loosely tethered to a tree across the stream. Neither seemed to worse for wear.
High up in the tower above, we could make out the outline of figure in the window, though it seemed oblivious to our approach. We chose not to alert it to our presence as we searched for a way into the tower. A passage, lit with torches, was discovered behind the waterfall leading into the rocks, in which we spotted a Kobald some distance into the passage with its back turned toward us.

Upon seeing the creature, River and Chronosophos began the attack, catching it off guard. Not wanting to squander the advantage, Jak rushed horns down at the unprepared Kobold, with Arak close behind. But we soon discovered that the Kobold was not alone and found ourselves face to face with several more of its companions gearing up to fight back.

One Kobold in particular proved very difficult to get a clear shot on and only when attacked face to face were we able to hit it at all.

The battle continued for what seemed like an eternity. At one point, Chronosophos fell and Jak would have surely followed had it not been for the rejuvenating presence of River and another mysterious force which Jak could not explain. Arak, on the other hand, seemed to be immune to the attacks of the enemies. In fact, we had a hard time recalling if they had attacked him at all, to the point where we began to suspect that they were purposely avoiding doing so! Which was fortunate given Arak’s uncharacteristically bad luck during the encounter.

Eventually, the last of the Kobolds fell and Chronosophos was revived at which point to surveyed the area. We discovered a large chest that we were unsuccessful in opening. We also found a note signed simply “K” eluding to the possibility that those we were looking for had been transported away by some sort of portal. A pedestal that may have been used for such an act was found in the back of the room, though we were unsuccessful in determining its exact function. This all seemed way beyond what we would expect from Kobolds. We also found evidence that followers of the demon, Orcus, were involved.

River ventured out to inspect the opposite bank of the river. Upon returning he recalled seeing a figure among the horses. After the party was informed, Chronosophos attempted to use his magical gifts to whisper a message of greeting before revealing ourselves. The figure immediately disappeared into the forest, too far away for any hopes of successful pursuit.

The only other exit to the room was a staircase ascending into the ceiling, which upon closer inspection revealed a hatch leading to the top of the rocky outcropping, seemingly meant to be hidden from view from those above. We inspected the tower in which we saw the figure from below, but deduced it must have joined the previous fight. It appeared the kobold had spent some time in the tower. Upon inspecting the second tower, we could find no means of entry. This will require further investigation.

Looking over the edge of the rocks, Jak bellowed into the woods another attempt to draw mysterious individual out of hiding, identifying ourselves as the party sent by the league to recover the caravan’s missing members. The figure reappeared and proceeded to gather the horses, seemingly uninterested in Jak.

Deducing that Jak had seen something down below, the rest of the party rushed down to the base of the waterfall to investigate, discovering none other than Yesper, the bartender from the Chicken, now gearing the horses up to the wagons, whom we deduced must have been the one following us.

Eventually we all gathered to Yesper’s location. While River seemed to be able to establish a civil rapport with the fellow Wolfen, information was not forthcoming and Yesper continued to prepare the horses for travel. Jak’s fragile control over his temper began to crack and demanded that the bartender stop moving and start talking in no uncertain terms. Reluctantly, Yesper revealed that he had been sent by K’kiran, the owner of the Chicken, to oversee our mission, insisting that he was the only one among us capable of driving the wagons. It had been noticed earlier that the note we had found was signed “K” and that K’kiran was the only “K” we knew. Yesper’s mention of the name only furthered our suspicions that all was not as it seemed. But suspicion was all we had. No proof.

As Yesper finished up preparing the wagons for travel, we informed him that the mission was far from over, being the wagon’s were in fact empty, that the caravan members were still missing as well as the cargo. For some reason, this confused the shifter, who seemed to be under the impression that we should have found the caravan members in the area behind the waterfall, being he could find no indication that they had left here. Clearly intent on leaving with the wagons, River attempted to salvage what little was left of the limited favor he had gained and asked Yesper to relay the events that had transpired so far. After having to simplify the information so that Yesper could grasp it, he gave River a flask of liquid, and lead the wagons into the woods, even though there was no road.

Jak did not feel right about just allowing Yesper to leave with the wagon’s, as it seemed to conflict with our mission, but feeling his grip over his inner demons beginning to slip and the fact that no one else seemed to see a problem, he let Yesper go.

Now we have no wagons or horses. Were they even K’kiran’s wagons to take? Things are not adding up. This was no simple highway robbery.

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Signing Up with the League
Heroes or Fools?

After a series of rough nights bouncing at The Chicken involving a couple half-giants and other assorted scumbags, the four of us, Jak, Arak, River, and Chronosophos, were enjoying a relatively peaceful end to an evening waiting for the doors to close for the night.

A mysterious Elven woman entered The Chicken. Without introduction, she abruptly informs us that our talents for dealing with strong opposition had not gone unnoticed and that our presence was required at the League Hall, home of the League of the Western Fall, and that none other than Wister Lodestone himself was awaiting our arrival. It was not stated as a request.

With that, she turned and walked out the door.

Not to turn down such an opportunity, we followed her to the League Hall, where we indeed meet with Lodestone. He informs us that a caravan transporting valuable cargo, including a large volume of pricey alcohol, has been raided, as reported by the Gnome caravan master, Arvis, who had survived the attack. Two members of the caravan, the horsemaster and quartermaster, had been captured by the Kobold raiders. Arvis, who followed the Kobolds to their camp, has provided a map describing its location, somewhere southeast of Sarra.

We were given the task of rescuing the members of the caravan and retrieving the missing cargo, all in the name of the League and promised payment of 100 gold pieces upon successful return. Having signed contracts stating our agreement to uphold the standards of the League, we received arm bands signifying our affiliation with the League for the duration of the mission.

With a brief stop back at The Chicken, where arrangements had already been made with the proprietor to cover our sudden departure, we gathered our equipment and began our quest. We took the ferry across the river, free of charge due to our new affiliation with The League, and headed down the South Road.

Traveling through the night, we found evidence of possible Kobold activity along the road. Farther down the road, our suspicions were confirmed as we were ambushed by a band of Kobold raiders.

While Kobolds are nasty creatures, they generally do not put up much of a fight, preferring to cut and run when faced with the sort of threat our party represented. These creatures attacked without hesitation, appearing far more determined to fight than we would have expected and also appeared to be noticeably better equipped than the ragged Kobold of common reputation.

One by one, the Kobolds fell, though it seems as soon as one went down, another would take its place. But eventually, only one remained, who then tried to make a run for it towards the Black Hills.

He didn’t get far. We searched the Kobold bodies and came up with 37 silver pieces, which we decided to give to River as our party’s treasurer.

Given that our directions indicated that we needed to head east soon anyway, we decided to follow the direction the Kobold had taken with the assumption that we may find the source of the Kobold raiders and thus the missing captives and cargo.

While we defeated our foes this time, we get the feeling that our victory had been unsettlingly easy. Was our decision to take this mission be one of bravery or naivety? With the suspicion that much harder times lay ahead, we left the South Road and into the forests of the Black Hills.

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First steps
Welcome to Fallen Lavranor

You will begin in Sarra, commonly referred to as “Sorrow City”. Before the war, Sarra was a mid-sized trading hub that functioned as the gateway to the Aren Ocean westward. Over the course of ten years, Sarra was occupied as a strategic location by both armies alternatingly. Very few of the original buildings survive intact, and any original residents are in roughly the same condition.
The hub of Sorrow City is the only building unscarred by either side during occupation: the tavern. It has no official name, but the distinctive weathervane atop the roof’s steep-sloped peak made people refer to the business as “The Chicken”. The Chicken has been operated by four successive generations of a goblin family, and is a famous watering hole. Determined travelers still make the pilgrimage to obtain “Eight League Ale”, and occasionally a brave Goliath shepherd from the south will try something from the legendary Black Shelf – K’kirin’s privately brewed specialties. The goblin owner, while reclusive, also stocks a variety of more common libations, much appreciated by those who haven’t the fortitude to drink Madhouse Brandy or K’kirin’s other staggering family recipes.
Sarra is protected by a guild known as the League of the Western Fall. They operate out of a private guildhall and are controlled by Sarra’s Champion: a cunning dwarf named Wister Lodestone. He lost his hand during the war and had it replaced with an iron pint-mug. Every day cart-mules deliver the guild’s supply of ale from The Chicken, the price of protecting Sorrow City.
Sarra sits in the fork of the river Lena. To the east along the waterway is Aph Orum – “Bridge”. The river curls north, and departs from the only established trade route, east to the Mirror Sea and to Lavranor Grandis. The old center of imperial industry is now known simply as Rothport. South from Sarra is Rosa Pendula, now called Dire Falls. Any further south is into the territory of warring barons and snowy mountains. To the north along the coast are the raglands, ancient poisoned battlefields where nothing can grow. Just beyond is Ballota Nevra. “Bad News”.
If the Greater Lena is followed to the northeast towards its mouth, a fool will wander into Varaii.

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