Caves and cities

Dark news, a howling battle
Session 11, 29 Jan 16
He had brought the nearly-dead body of his faithful retainer Roy to the curate of Haelyn at Torien’s Watch, seeking healing. This took several days, but it was accomplished. It also brought Gavin and the curate together in discussions of what was going on around Torien’s Watch. The curate introduced Gavin to Sir Arlen Devarren, Oeren Devaren, Brak-Thinn, and Adrin Culver. Jadrien took notes. They were pleased to meet a paladin of the Holy Aegis, and asked about his activities here. The leaders of Torien’s Watch said that they were concerned about the caves’ residents, especially the one named Grunkash.

About 20 years ago, there had been an invasion by hundreds of goblins, led by a charismatic leader, Grunkash. When the leaders heard that one of the hobgoblin chiefs had been using that name, they grew more concerned. They didn’t want to weaken the defenses of the Watch yet, so the Watcher and captain asked Gavin to keep them informed of what he might learn from the Caves. If things got worse, the Watcher might have to send his soldiers there. If, since Grunkash was slain, things got better, it would be a cause for celebration and rewards. All were pleased to know that a knight-to-be from Haelyn’s Aegis was on the job. The curate promised to release more healing potions to them, when he could make them.
Meanwhile, Parniel Garnier and Linna Garnier bought dinner for the other members of the group that had rescued their guildmasters. Those two were actually the daughter and son-in-law of Galien Thuried, the guildmaster of the Upper Anuire Traders, and they were still grateful. The lady had already given them a magic dagger, but they now passed along associate-membership in the guild to Kiemer and Merwynden. This means that they would pay discounted prices on some items at guild stores. There was also a gift of a healing potion. Parniel and Linna offered to continue to support them however they could, “After all, a friend of the masters is a friend of ours, and you guys have been good customers.”

Thus fortified and validated. the group opted to take another try at the cavern that held the undead before. Anders Holtson offered his same mock-jeers towards them as they left, but Jadrien seemed more civil than usual. On the way, they found something disturbing. Where the trail led from the road off into the ravine, they passed the spot where they had first met the goblin scout Boren. He was now tied up in a tree, bloody and beaten, and all around were the signs of a battle, but no corpses. Goblins usually leave corpses where they had fallen, and humans would have burned or buried theirs.

“Tribe gone,” he croaked, as they cut him down from the tree. “Tribe tried to leave, but gnolls ran us down. Killed all of tribe, tribe walked away.” He explained that some humans among the gnolls turned the goblin corpses into zombies, and they had shuffled off. With this information, the group opted to take a partial revenge for the late tribe of Gerthak, and attacked into the gnoll tribe at the southwestern corner of the ravine. Boren accompanied them, once he had been given some food and water, and promised a weapon.

A chilling sight met them as they passed by the cave where Boren and Gerthak used to live. A statue of a goblin stood in the entrance, that looked exactly like Gerthak.

Raven stealthily climbed the steep hillside to the cave mouth, and slipped inside. There was no guard nearby, so the others were able to get in, too. A fight quickly broke out in the very next chamber, and the gnoll tribe was alerted. The battle progressed down some stairs into another hall and a third chamber, where the group found itself outnumbered and flanked. Roy, Hawkeye, Reginald, and Maggie were all knocked out, but the gnoll chief was slain, as were most of the males in the battle. When the females withdrew to another room, the party heard Boren’s yelling from the cave entrance. “Many dead! My tribe coming!” The group barely had time to grab the gnoll chief’s head and his silver armbands as they gathered their wounded and ran for the exit. They ran down the ravine and up the highway, pursued for about a hundred yards by a shambling mass of undead goblins and hobgoblins, some rotted away to skeletons.

When they got back to the Watch, Jadrien quickly called Brak-Thinn, who asked them all questions in the guardhouse for an hour. Boren is undecided whether to leave, take service with this group, or find some other way to pay his way in the world.

At dinner that evening, they were introduced to a Rjurik warrior, Eidrik, who was most interested in their tales, and asked to accompany them on their next push.

Present: Gavin (to Pal3), Deloran, Hawkeye, Maggie Peranwyr, Landen, Joseth, Boren, Reginald, Roy, Raven Peranwyr (to Ftr3), Kiemer

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Catching up with the family
Session 10, 18 Dec 15

Now came a 2-day period of recuperation for our original group. The highlight of Torien’s Watch was the arrival of a caravan from Cariele and Tuarhievel, which included Raven Peranwyr, a sidhelien warrior. She and Maggie quickly found each other, and the others were surprised to learn that these were (half-)siblings! Also in the new arrivals was the sidhelien wizard Merwynden.

After a suitable time for recovery from wounds, the group set out to strike at the caves again. Gavin stayed behind, as he had been summoned to the inner keep of the Watch.

Near the entrance to the ravine, they met Boren, a goblin who had been waiting for humans to come along. He represented his chief Gerthak. He passed along that there was a growing number of undead at the cave controlled by the humans at the upper caves at the head of the ravine. They decided to head there.

This time, the first few rooms explored harbored 8 zombies, all partially armored and wearing a sort of uniform tunic. After defeating these, they tried to rest up, but this was interrupted after a few hours by another group of zombies. A brief fight led to the party exiting the way they came in, after destroying those same zombies.

Now came a 3-day break for healing, and then they thought to patrol the riverbank again. They encountered a quartet of bugbears, apparently fishing. Unlike their earlier meeting with the large goblinoids, these 4 were willing to live and let live, seeing the party walk away without violence. With this uneventful foray, they returned to Watch, to see what Gavin had learned.

Merwynden, Taklinn, Raven Peranwyr, Maggie Peranwyr, Joseth, Landen (to Pr4)

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Underwater interlude
Session 9, 11 Dec 2015

There was much celebration in Torien’s Watch, when it was announced that the two most fearsome creatures in the Caves had been slain. Parniel Garnier made much of the appearance of so many high-quality gems held by the leaders of the humanoid clans. Jadrien was impressed by the appearance of not one, but two, magic swords. A mercenary named Oervel was loudly asking the two adventuring teams why they thought so many different types of humanoids were living so close together, but he was interrupted by Tannen.

There was another cause for celebration: a fast-moving courier came through from Tuarhievel, the sidhelien land to the north. The Mhor’s niece, Savane of Mhoried, was to marry the Prince of Tuarhievel, after a whirlwind romance. She had disguised herself to accompany the diplomatic mission, and she and the prince had fallen in love. More diplomats were expected to follow, as many things would need to be finalized.

Returning to our original group, while the others invaded the caves, they went to patrol the riverbank again. This time they were surprised to be approached by someone walking out from under the surface! This man didn’t come all the way to the shore, but pleaded with them to help his family.

The family turned out to be one of nixies, relatives of the sidhe who live underwater, and sometimes have human servants or followers. One of the family’s daughters had been abducted by a magical ring that had turned into a portal of some kind, and some of their servants and warriors had been lost as well. The group agreed to help, and accepted the magical kisses of the nixies, which granted them underwater breathing.

Beyond the portal, in dark and dusty chambers, they found that the portal led to an underground burial chamber, probably far away. Those with some historical knowledge suspected the tomb was Masetian, and therefore rather ancient. Inside, they found and fought two mummies, magical undead guardians. only magical weapons could harm them, and fortunately, Landen had one. The first mummy defeated had another magical sword in its back, and Joseth was able to retrieve it. It was a sabre, apparently made of glass, and so not something he was familiar with using.

After returning to the surface, with the missing daughter, the nixies thanked them greatly. They were pleased that they were able to get some help from shore-dwellers, as they had been driven off in the past from the boats that crossed the river by night.

After a night of celebrating in Torien’s Watch, they opted to return to the caves again. They didn’t get there, as they were ambushed at a narrow spot in the road by bugbears! Maggie, Hawkeye, and Roy were nearly killed, but hard fighting by Taklinn, Deloran, and Landen turned the tide and slew many of the bugbears.

Maggie Peranwyr (to Mag2/Rog3), Joseth (to Rog4), Landen (to Clr 3), Gavin (to Pal2),Taklinn (to ftr2), Reginald, Hawkeye, Roy, Coeran

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Dwarven vengeance
Session 8, 24 Aug 15

We now shift to the other group of adventurers at Torien’s Watch. This group went to the Caves in search of the body of the fallen Donarrin. They attacked the cave next to the one in which he fell, seeking alternate entries, since the residents were said to also be hobgoblins. This turned out to be the resident of Grunkash, a hobgoblin chieftain with the name of an earlier chieftain. These goblin warriors fought to the death, and their chief’s magic axe was taken as a trophy.

The group then retired to the Watch, much bloodied by their battle. Jan Cena needed more time to heal and mourn his cousin, while Taklinn, from the same clan, led the second incursion. This time, Gavin joined them. A peek into the same cave found it abandoned by hobgoblins. Emboldened, the group explored a most foul-smelling cave at the head of the ravine. Gavin had a bad time with a gray ooze, but they overcame that to recover a silver goblet from its pool of water. They made a quick trip back to the Watch, visiting Parniel Garnier to sell it for money to gain healing potions.

Returning to the same cave, they took on the wild owlbear that lived in this cave. Easily the scariest single thing any of them had seen so far, they fought it and overcame. Their courage boosted, they pushed on to the neighboring cave, which turned into a twisting maze. At the end of the maze, they were surprised by a creature: a bugbear’s large body, but with the head of the bull! Fortunately for them, this was not the much-feared
Gorgon, but still an unnatural combination, perhaps from the Shadow World. They fought it, and won this round, too. Fine treasures were recovered here, including a magical suit of armor for Gavin and a healing staff for Deloran.

Constantina, Jan Cena, Taklinn, Drebin, Gavin, Ivik Umbringer, Aavar, Kiemer, Deloran

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Disaster!
Session 6, 7 Sep 14

We return to our original band, still inside one of the caves, fighting hobgoblins. This went very poorly. Dunarrin was killed, his body left behind. Joseth and Landen were barely able to escape, with Maggie leading the way back to the Watch.

While they nursed their wounds and mourned for Dunarrin, they resolved to return.

, Joseth, Landen, Donarrin

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New information
Session 7, 14 Sep 14

Following the success of the new group of heroes, some of them opt to explore another cave. A contractor from the Upper Anuire Guild (Shaene) hired them to accompany him; he had been retained by the Guild to recover two of its missing merchants, from the caravan attacked earlier in the month.

This turned out to be one cave in which the earlier group had fought the small goblins and an ogre the week before. This time, against a smaller group of humans and sidhe, the goblin chief expressed his desire to parley. He didn’t want his already-weakened clan to be wiped out, and offered to trade information.

Gerthakexplained that there were ten inhabited caves, five of them had goblin or hobgoblin residents, one was gnolls, one was bugbears, and one had some humans inside, with skeletons and zombies. One had only an ogre, now dead, and two had scary big monsters, an owlbear and a bugbear with the head of a bull! The last one claimed to be king of this ravine, and all the clans paid tribute to him. The nearest cave to Gerthak’s had a band of bugbears inside, and they had cruelly beaten his tribe into submission. If the group would pay them back for him, he offered later information and aid.

With this offer, the group of adventurers took on the guards near the entrance to this cave. The battle was lost, and Tevan and Roy were left for dead. When they tried to make their way back to the road, 2 humans and a halfling tried to ambush them. One of the humans was killed, and the others fled. These three had been staying at the Watch’s inn for the past few days, but no one could remember why they would want to attack the group?

A new arrival at the Watch was Gavin, a junior member of the Holy Order of Haelyn’s Aegis. He was “questing” seeking a challenge that he might prove himself worthy of a knighthood in that order. He promptly asked to go with this group when they returned— rescuing merchants sounded like just the thing. A local teen from the Watch, Noelan, asked to come along, to help carry stuff. “All knights need squires to polish and carry, right?”

This time, the group went into the same cave as last time, and luckily went past the unguarded entrance and straight to the prison. Roy, the merchant and his wife, and two of their guards were all there to be rescued, along with Boren, a goblin from Gerthak’s tribe. He spoke Anuirean, and told the group that he would be sure to help them in any way he could. Everyone hustled out of the strangely quiet caves, Boren leading them through a tunnel that went directly to his clan’s caves.

Once everyone returned to the Watch, the two mercenaries, Reginald and Hawkeye offered to fight for them for a year, in exchange for food and weapons. Roy promised to fight at Gavin’s side until he retired. The merchant and his wife gave them a magical dagger from their belongings left behind, and promised to pay them more upon their return home. They left the next day with Shaene.

Kiemer (to 2nd), Roy (to henchman), Merwynden, Gavin, Tevan, Noelan

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Meanwhile, in another cave
Session 5, 23 Aug 14

In the tavern of the Watch, another group of adventurers formed up around a joyous dinner table. The new companions thought they could better the deeds of their neighbors, and pledged to explore and overcome the dangers of this ravine full of goblins. They opted to climb the steep sides and enter the highest cave mouth at the head of the ravine.

Turning to the right at most of the intersections, they found this cave to lead to a tunnel that was clearly worked stone. The walls and floor were smooth and polished, and their footsteps echoed hollowly. This group was mostly sidhe, and they used their stealthy nature to somehow avoid alarming any inhabitants. The first chamber they entered was a crypt with many stone coffins. Thinking that they had found the resting place of some goblin kings, they set to opening them. The bodies within appeared to have been human rather than goblin, and one of the corpses had a clearly magical sword; Ivik Umbringer claimed this. This turned out to be a fortunate find, as another coffin revealed a dangerous undead being, a wight! This terrifying undead was eventually overcome with the help of this mighty blade, which burst into flames when it fought!

In the hall outside, they were surprised to find how the halls were kept so clean: a blob of magical gelatin was passing through, sweeping up all the debris it encountered. They attacked this unnatural thing and overcame it, too. ’

Further explorations led to a storage chamber, and that had a secret exit. The narrow, dark, passage beyond took them to a dead end. Literally, since there was a human (or sidhelien?) skeleton there. This unfortunate (a thief? an explorer?) had clearly been here a long time, but his boots, obviously magical, still looked new, as did the wand he carried. Just past him lay the hidden latch for another secret door, one that opened into an opulently-decorated bedchamber.

Surprised here were a pack of gnolls, who quickly armed themselves and leapt to attack! After a short battle that led to two dead gnolls, the leader begged for truce and both groups retreated. (Deismir 25)

Will’s 16th birthday party: Kiemer, Roy, Ivik Umbringer, Drebin, others

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Down by the river
Session 4, 24 May 2014

Wondering if the goblins had crossed the river from Five Peaks, our heroes thought to explore the riverbank for clues. Slogging through the swamps, they found plenty of mosquitoes. On the first day, they met one human warrior, who told them he was a guard for a grain merchant who had just loaded a boat and left down river. They parted amicably.

Later that day, they found what looked like a cave in a grassy hummock above the water. It turned out to be the lair of four undead ghouls. Maggie was very quick to react to the threat with a Color Spray spell, which helped a lot. The ghouls nearly overcame them anyway, but they were rescued by the timely appearance of the stranger Pyotr! With his big sword, they defeated the ghouls. One of these was a sidhe messenger who had been missing for over a week, a diplomatic courier. Among the belongings left in the lair were several spell scrolls, which Maggie greatly treasured— she could perhaps teach herself to cast these without needing an expensive or dominating teacher.

Camping overnight near the river should have been restful, but it wasn’t. During joseth’s watch, a handful of wolves crept up to them and attacked! The pack retreated once 2 of them were slain, but no rest and fresh wounds made everyone to agree to retreat to the Watch again. (Desimir 21-22)

After a two day rest, they headed back to the caves under rainy skies. This time, they tried a third cave entrance, which held hobgoblins. Their training and arms were better than that of the goblins they had fought earlier, and the group turned back to the Watch. (Deismir 23-25)

Here, they rested for several days.

Maggie, Joseth, Dunarrin, Pyotr, Landon, Tevan

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New companions, an ogre
Session 3, 28 Mar 14

Thinking that they needed a little help, the group hired Tevan to help them carry stuff while they explored. A sidhelien wizard named Fistandantalus asked to accompany them when they looked for trouble. A brawny Vos warrior named Pyotr (he declined to name his family) said he was bored, and wanted to find some action.

They returned to the caves, selecting the lowest one on the south bank. This also had goblins within, and they fought with many of them, killing most. An ogre came to join the goblins, but he was also slain. Fearing that the appearance of that monster meant that more reinforcements were coming, the group retreated from the ravine.

Along the road, they met 3 humans who tried to rob them, but were quickly arrested. A cache of plundered silk was recovered, and these were brought to the Watch as well.

Corporal was impressed that they had fought goblins and an ogre, and bought them drinks at the tavern that night.

Landon (to 3rd), Pyotr, Fistandantalus, Dunarrin

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Arrival at Torien's Watch
Session Two, 21 Mar 14

Dunarrin, Joseth, Maggie, Landon

High on the southern side of Bloodstone Pass rests the fortress of Torien, known as the Watch. Here our heroes came, having heard of troubles on the road. Not just the usual summer banditry, but they find out that there are goblins lurking along the highway, and a caravan was nearly wiped out just south of the Watch.

Everyone entering the outer walls of the Watch was interviewed by the gate guard and a scribe (corporal) Jadrien C. scoffed at their ability to accomplish anything useful. After a brief rest, the group left to patrol the road and see if they could develop any information.
A short amount of scouting led them to a steep-sided ravine not far from the road, its banks studded with caves.

The nearest and lowest of these caves was inhabited with goblins, who fought with the explorers. Dunarrin fell into a pit trap but escaped. Maggie’s sleep spell knocked out many of the raiders long enough for Dunarrin to escape, and for their weapons to overcome the lightly-armed goblins. The leader of this small band had some rather expensive jewelry on him.

When they returned to the Watch, bloodied but alive, the gate corporal was a bit impressed. Jadrien asked them for information about the fighting, which she recorded. Later, over supper at the Inn, they met Parniel Garnier and his wife Linna. They were merchants who had been with the caravan that was heading south, but stayed at the Watch to pursue business of their own. He asked to see the fine jewel that had belonged to the goblin chief, and offered to buy it. This was declined at this time. He told them it was not a piece he knew, and he had been the sole jewel-seller in the caravan, so it likely wasn’t from one of its unfortunate victims.

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