When we last checked in on our heroes, Serena had had her throat slit as Faelan and Raspin helplessly watched. Prior to that, they had accomplished quite a bit: they had rid Presov of another undead menace, had explored more of the Underdark, recovered a good amount of treasure, defeated some orcs and their pet lizard, discovered what was likely orcs with a half-folk in the orc burial cavern, and various miscellaneous stuff. Most all of this while Cailana and Wink were recuperating at the Lonesome Drake. Faelan and Serena were ready to join them at the end of the last session, each ending the session with three wounds. We pick up with Serena getting her new smile after the break.
As usual, my GM comments are in [brackets and italics]. There are potential spoilers for The Vault of Larin Karr as well as the Crucible of Freya below the break.
With Wink and Cailana still at the inn, Faelan and Raspin barely manage to reach Serena before she bleeds out while the Gnoll hoofs it into the woods… with the bag of gold and the silver bracelet. [It was a gold bracelet.] The remaining three sacks of silver are drenched with the blood spurting out of Serena’s neck. Fortunately, with the Gnoll’s knife no longer threatening her she is able to staunch the bleeding.
The wounded Faelan–hawk follows the Gnoll into the wood who hears the wounded bird flapping through the canopy and wings him with an arrow. The spell disrupted, Faelan reverts to his human form and crashes to the ground, landing on a log which snaps his spine, permanently affecting his agility.
[Faelan was already at three wounds and the arrow left him at Incapacitated. The results of that indicated a permanent injury of “Guts > Broken” and so the damaged spine as fluff.
Neither Faelan nor any of the other PCs know who shot the arrow. Faelan never saw the shooter or even the arrow before it hit him.]
Raspin and Serena each pick up a bag of silver and follow the sound of moaning to the prostrate druid. Raspin picks up the sack of silver…after picking the druid’s flaccid body off of the log. Serena heals Faelan enough to walk.
The party limps back to the inn. Barta immediately notes Faelan’s condition – “poor little guy”, smacking him on the back heartily.
Farkas, the Baroness’s advisor immediately summons the party for a full recounting. Relaying the story, Farkas immediately names the Gnoll as “Greylock” saying that the Vadór Brothers have tangled with it in the past. Farkas keeps all of the silver and makes Faelan the loan of a longsword.
[The summoning was after a guard went and reported that the party was back.
Raspin was loaned the longsword…not Faelan.]
The party hangs out and rests for a week.
Raspin’s advances on the muscular town carpentress Barta are soundly rejected.
Faelan consoles the unhappy Willow who is no longer getting shtumfed by Bettany.
…another day passes….
Apparently the other half-folk in town, Cereus (proprietor of the Green Drake [Green Table]) is not doing it for her either.
The party ponders half-folk love while slowly healing…
[After the days of rest, most of the characters are still wounded but not as bad as before.]
Cailana befriends the famous Vadór Brothers who are in town from Borsod and prove to be a veritable treasure trove of information:
- The brothers warn the party that the woods are not safe, having witnessd signs of ettins and rumours of a dragon.
- A party of elves lead by “Elukar” have been in Presov looking for some statutes. Apparently the elves have lied to the baroness, stating that they would leave, but they have not left as the brothers have seen signs of them still.
- The brothers relay where they believe Greylock’s lair is (within an approximate area of around 100 square miles…)
- The Vadór Brothers have seen no trace of the dwarves.
[The area where the Brothers believed Graylock’s lair to be was much larger than 100 square miles, taking up much of the central part of the forest that dominates the valley. They stressed that Graylock is a rather formidable opponent.
They also shared the general area in which they believed that the elves were camping.
The Brothers gave Cailana a couple of quivers of arrows, having returned from Borsod where the valley’s fletcher resides. The Baroness had asked them to bring back arrows for her.
The party decides to explore the valley above ground to the north. The ladies repair to the manor to let Farkas know where they are heading. They meet the Baroness and Farkas at breakfast. The Baroness offers them a bonus for capturing Greylock, whom the Vadór brothers have apparently been hunting for him for a while. Farkas does not support giving us a bonus, but gives in upon the Baroness’s insistence.
The Baroness relates that if in Borsod, we should pay respects to her cousin, Miklós the mayor of Borsod and to stay at the town inn, “The Goat’s Beard”, owned by one Bromdor Battlebeard, aka “Rumble” as he is apparently known by the locals.
The Baroness is kind enough to furnish additional supplies for the journey including a mule, “Red,” and the group leaves Presov on the 8th day of the Traveller.
[Farkas provided 40 silver coins for the trip as well.
We are using a thirteen month calendar with four weeks of seven days each. The months are named after the titles of thirteen of the common deities.]
Day 8 of the Traveller
- The party makes it to the first travel tower without incident.
Day 9 of the Traveller
- On the second day of travel on the road north, Cailana detects the smell of blood on the wind. Faelan changes into a wolf.
- An enormous wolf erupts from the wood and pounces on Willow before being taken out by an arrow from Serena, but two more wolves soon follow – Cailana takes one down and Raspin quickly dispatches the other.
[The smell of blood was from part of a deer carcass a short distance ahead and into the woods. Most likely a victim of the wolves.
Willow, the smallest member of the traveling group, was also by herself in the rear when the wolf attacked her. She was severely wounded, but Serena was able to heal her. The normally cheery half-folk wasn’t so cheery and expressed some regret at having joined in on this trip.
Oh, another random encounter.]
Day 10 of the Traveller
- The party encounters a barge coming down-river with bolts of cloth to trade.
- The party makes it to the third travel tower without incident. While on third watch, Cailana hears a loud splash from the river. Peering closely she sees (on the other side of the river, thankfully) an ogre flailing about in the water with a small tree-club. Upon catching a fish he quickly summons two others. As Cailana watches them they catch the smell of our fire in the tower and start swimming across.
- Faelan warns the Ogres to stop, at which they chuckle and move to attack the tower! Wink disintegrates half of one at the door to the tower while the other two attempt to scale the roof. One gives up and wanders away while the other scales the roof, where Raspin slays him and the party rolls his body off the roof.
[Yes, another random encounter. Ogres was the result…how to make it a little more interesting? I suppose they could have just attacked the tower, but that’s boring. Instead, they’ve come down from the hills on the western edge of the valley, across the Quail River. They were fishing. Why were ogres fishing? Wouldn’t it take a lot of fish to feed a trio of ogres? Was it for food? Or do some ogres just like to fish like people do? Some other reason? I know, but I’m not sharing. I’ll just say that it is more setting building via random encounters. 😉
It was possible that the ogres wouldn’t even attack the tower, but after Cailana spotted them, one of the ogres caught the whiff of smoke from that exiting the tower’s chimney. So Cailana noticed the ogres first and then had time to rouse the others prior to the attack. Makes for a more entertaining and “real” encounter in my mind than just some random ogres attacking the tower.
One ogre was able to leap up and pull himself up to the tower’s roof. Another failed both of his attempts, got discouraged, and walked away. It probably saved his life, but I wonder just where did he walk away to…]
Day 11 of the Traveller
- The party overtakes two turnip farming cousins, “Adelbert and Agota”, travelling with a wagon North to Borsod […another random encounter and one player just had to ask for names 😉.]
- They tell us there is a sun temple in Borsod run by a priestess Jolana.
- The constable of Borsod is named Tomás.
- [They also gave Cailana some turnips for free.]
- The party makes Borsod in the early afternoon.
- Miklós and an thick necked man in chainmail (Tomás) receive them but clearly there is no love lost for his younger cousin.
- At the inn, the party meets dwarf innkeep, “Rumble,” and an attractive barmaid serving a couple of ne’er-do-well identical twins, “Ardo and Arno,” who proffer their information and services – for a fee. Cailana rebuffs their offer.
- Faelan engages the innkeeper in conversation revealing a toll to cross the river bridge[…a daily fee which Rumble will gladly add to the group’s tab]. This arrangement is supported by Tomás who lets the party know it is criminal to cross without paying the toll.
- [Faelan also learned that the village graveyard was on the fenced hill across the river (a hill the party had spotted on the way in).]
- The party meets Jolana, the temple priestess, who seems pretty astute and down to earth, and willing to befriend the party. [Only after the group made it clear that they were working for the Baroness. She first suggested, somewhat distastefully, that they must be mercenary types.]
- She tells us there is no fee for crossing the bridge. The townspeople hate Miklós who taxes them heavily to enrich his own coffers. Tomás is a sheriff of Nottingham type who does not do his job, rather acts as a tax collector who will not hesitate to use violence. He enjoys hurting people. The Baroness believes her cousin. Farkas is probably aware. [I don’t believe that she ever said that the villagers hate Miklós; she did say that he taxes more than he should. Nor do I believe that she said that Tomás did not do his job, just that she couldn’t get him to gather up men and go after a troll. She suggested that Miklós probably provides reports that paint a different picture than how things actually are and that the Baroness likely believes them AND that Farkas probably knows better but says nothing.]
- Jolana mentions Greylock has been an issue, the woods [she said hills not woods] are populated by ogres, but they usually leave Borsod alone. There are bandits. [She noted, more generally, that ogres and similar generally do not attack Borsod or other settlements in the valley unless something causes them to do so.]
- Ardo and Arno showed up in town about a week ago [I think she said it was earlier than that], and she suspects they are “on-the-run” from something.
- She asks us to give a message for the Vadór Brothers that yesterday a troll was seen near the Gazda farm, stealing livestock. We offer to help, and she offers to guide us there. [The troll had been raiding for nearly a week, but to date had only stolen livestock and had not attacked any of the people.]
- She is concerned that there may be something which roused the troll to this behavior.
- Something happened at the Mélthyen mines. It used to be fairly lucrative and was run by the Mélthyen Family. A couple of survivors who made it to Borsod five to six years ago stated the family went crazy and killed everyone. Not all of the family was found by the Baron and a posse, who investigated, learning the front of the mine had collapsed, the miners slain. The mine and Mélthyen Manor have been deserted ever since. The two survivors were cared for in Presov by the Baroness [Baron…not Baroness as he father was still alive and in charge back then] until they passed.
- She confirms Farkas opinion that the symbol is that of the demon lord Abraxas that probably dominated the valley at some point in the little known history of the valley.
- Neither the Birds of Prey, the competing dwarves, nor Professor Arnek were ever seen in Borsod.
[Much of the conversation with Jolana occurred as she guided the group to the Gazda farm, one of the most distant farms around Borsod. We ended the session during the trip and before they arrived. Yeah…no cliffhanger this time.
So far, the group has not really strayed more than ten miles from Presov, above or below ground. This marks their longest set of travel since arriving in the valley. I’m not sure if they have a real goal in mind other than to travel and learn more…which is mainly what they accomplished this session.
Beer Log: Beers shared this session using, as always, our hit, miss, crit, and fumble rating scale.
- Mikkeller/Boon Oude Gueuze (Old Calvados Casks Blend): The first of two gueuzes this week…the beer that usually gets misspelled and mispronounced. 😉 A nice, tasty entry for the style. A hit.
- Belching Beaver Phantom Bride IPA: A nice IPA with a touch of citrus and floral and a treat from someone from CA visiting one of the players. A hit.
- Lindemans Ginger Gueuze: The second gueuze of the night. I didn’t get a lot of ginger…just a hint which was good…and some of the oak. Pretty clean and tasty. A hit.]