Wandered Roads 43

Wandered Roads of Varisia
Session 43
September 19, 2015

Campaign Timeline

Tricking the Tricksters

Moonday 8th of Neth

A Much Needed Rest

After their dangerous encounter with the Sea Hag and her Gremlin minions, the Heroes of Sandpoint return to their temporary base, reuniting with Samad and the Grey Maidens, some of whom have now “switched sides” and are allied with the Heroes. The heroes spend the rest of the day resting, identifying magical items, talking with the Grey Maidens, planning their next step and making some basic defensive improvements on the camp.

Toilday 9th Neth

More Rest

After being refreshed the previous day, they decide that it is in the group's best interest to spend an additional day resting and doing much of the same as the day before. They plan to return to the Golden Gallery and trigger the teleport device after using some magic to give the party some advantages in the fight to come.

Wealday 10th of Neth

Teleporting is a Slow Process

After using some magic to buff key members of the party, the Heroes of Sandpoint prepare themselves to activate the teleportation magic in the Golden Gallery. Samad, under the protection of an Invisibility spell cast by Daellin goes first. It is quickly determined that only one person can activate the magic at once and it takes between 10-15 seconds to do so. Daellin then casts Great Haste on Ehlyna just as she is ready to teleport next. The crafty Elf then teleports himself to the room while the others follow along, activating the teleportation and joining them in the room “above.”

Samad arrives “above” first and sees a long, luxurious hallway stretched out before him. Four armed and armored Sinspawn guard two doors in pairs, one off to the left and the other far off at the other end of the chamber. He quietly moves into position, waiting for his companions to arrive. Ehlyna arrives next and quickly charges to engage the closest two opponents. The nearest Sinspawn move to attack while one at the far end calls some sort of alarm down the hallway behind it and the other starts advancing slowly. Daellin arrives a split second after Ehlyna and begins flying down the hallway toward the far Sinspawn, nearly running right into an invisible Samad in the process.

The battle rages on for some time before Calina appears in the room and lends her bow to the fight. Vexeron follows some time after that and by the time Kallin manages to trigger the teleportation magic, the fight is nearly over. As the Heroes are busy checking their downed foes and beginning a search of the room, a long troop of disgusting looking demons is spotted headed down the stairs and hallway at the far end of the room.

The party quickly takes up positions around the door, ready for another fight. Calina begins shooting her arrows down the hallway to great effect. Ehlyna tries to position herself to take advantage of her Whirlwind Attack, hoping to catch as many unwitting demons within her reach as she can. Daellin hides out on the wall above the door, his flying magic still intact.

The demons erupt into the room in a flurry of chaos. Several of the demonic foes manage to summon even more demons for the fray while some emit clouds of stench and filth, nauseating some of the Heroes. As the battle rages on, Daellin is in for a surprise when he is attacked by an invisible Sinspawn sorcerer wielding a large polearm. The assault nearly takes the Elf’s life and quickly the team responds and directs their attacks at the new and dangerous foe.

The Sinspawn sorcerer quickly turns invisible again and the party’s attention is turned back toward the attacking demons. After a few moments, the Sinspawn reappears and makes a devastating attack on the party before turning invisible again. Samad and Ehlyna battle it out with the demons, though Samad finds himself at one point grappled by several demons and pulled to the ground. Daellin, still reeling from his wounds, makes his way to Calina and manages to cast a spell on her that allows her to see invisible foes. As Kallin moves to heal Daellin, Calina takes fire on her newly acquired target. In just a few more seconds, the battle is done. The demons are dead and the Sinspawn sorcerer has several arrows protruding from each of her eye sockets.

Session Photos

Vexeron surveys the scene before him, pondering where an exploding fireball can do the most damage!
An invisible assailant gets the drop on a flying Daellin.

Many foes have beset the Heroes of Sandpoint!

Samad is surrounded by demons as Ehlyna comes to his rescue

Calina finishes the sorcerous Sinspawn off with 2 more arrows to the eyeballs!

Dan plans Kallin's next move.

Jodi has been waiting for a LONG time to do this!
So many dice couldn't even be held in one hand!

Dual, All-Out Attacks (Double)...

...while being Great Hasted!

Think this was over 100 raw points of damage!!!

Characters Present:

Kallin Hawkril, Half-Orc shaman and budding Priest of Pharasma - played by +Daniel Ernst
Calina - Varisian Human archer and scout - played by +Carol Coburn
Daellin Silvanthalas, Elven Farstrider Ranger - played by +Ben Lipe
Vexeron, Human wizard - played by Don K
Ehlyna Fuzziface - Dwarven Warrior - played by +Jodi H
Samad Aldhul, Human ex-mercenary - played by +JeCorey Holder
and +Jason Woollard as the DM


Grand Duchy 69

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 69
October 8, 2015

Run the Valley

Tserdain, 20 Yarthmont

The Grey Company manages to get about a half hour of rest, which is just enough to get the exhausted horses moving again. From a lookout high up in the craggy hills, Ree spots several groups of Gnolls moving, two groups to the south and east and one group on the other side of the river, heading for what must be a crossing nearby. It appears that the Gnolls are still enroute to the Burial Mound, called by the shaman's drum signal. 

As the Company prepares to depart, Ree alerts them that she has spotted a small group of Gnolls heading in their direction. The Company rolls out, still making an attempt to remain stealthy, but after a short time, it is clear that the Gnolls are on the trail. 

At one point, when the Company passes a narrow part of the valley, they can see a large group of Gnolls on the far side of the river, heading north. The river looks to be uncross-able by horse, as it passes through a steep sided, rocky ravine through much of the valley. Another small group of Gnolls pursues from behind, moving quickly but trying to maintain cover as it goes. The larger body of Gnolls is assumed to be somewhere further to the south, but no doubt on the trail as well.  In an attempt to shake them, Marcel sacrifices some of his pepper to spice up their opponents tracking.
Trying to sneak through the valley is more difficult that expected!
Eventually, the Grey Company makes it to the north end of the valley. Then can be seen, a high, narrow waterfall cascading down from hundreds of feet up in the black rock peaks to the north. Some angular lines in the cliff side indicate some sort of structure to the west of the waterfall. Possibly some tower or way up into the mountains.

The Company seems to have outpaced the troupe of Gnolls on the far side of the river, but another, larger band has been slowly moving up from behind, threatening to catch up with even the slightest missed step or shortest rest. The Grey Company push their mounts and head toward the river, hoping to find a way across the deep cut that splits the valley in two.
Making a break for the end of the valley
Finally, a crossing is in sight. The Company wastes no time in approaching with the Gnolls hot on their heels. Griffin and Marcel head forward to check it out while Iris and Ree began readying the horses. Draven, Remar and Stephan hang back to keep an eye out for Gnoll outriders. 
The only way across is a narrow bridge
After only a few steps toward the rocky bridge that spans the river, several Gnolls reveal themselves, hiding in the rocks on the near bank. Griffin and Marcel move to engage while Iris and Ree try to calm the now terrified horses. Draven and the others spot several Gnolls accompanying a huge, armored boar break from some nearby trees and begin charging the party as well

The Company checks out the bridge and sees some Gnolls nearby
Remar sends several magic bolts into the oncoming Gnolls and boar, though his magic does little to deter their savage charge. Draven summons a bolt of pure sunlight and aims it at the oncoming beasts while Stephan aims and fires his crossbow, hoping for a lucky shot. The war boar takes the brunt of the attacks but keeps coming, eventually reaching the rear defenders. It slams into Stephan's mount sending it to the ground and sending Stephan flying through the air. Draven dismounts and engages in an approaching Gnoll while Remar remains on his horse, riding around the battle, using his magic to harass their foes.
The War Boar takes out Stephan and his horse!
Meanwhile, Marcel and Griffin battle it out with two Gnolls near the path leading down to the river crossing. They can hear the battle raging behind them, but neither seems to be able to get the upper hand on their opponents.
Griffin and Marcel engage the Gnolls
In the confusion of the fighting, Iris and Ree gather up the mounts and begin leading them down the narrow trail to the chunk of stone that juts out to the other side of the river. The worn trails nearby suggest that this is a commonly used location for crossing the river. When she makes it about halfway down the path, Iris lets out a surprised yelp as a loud splash comes from the river. "We have company on the other side," she loudly informs the remainder of the Company. "Whatever it is, it's throwing big rocks!" Iris can be heard trying to call out something else, but her statement is cut off by a grunt and a call from Ree. "Iris is down. She's been shot again! Gnoll archer on the far bank!" 

Iris leads the horses down toward the bridge...
Cast of Characters: 
Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard 

Marcel Maasa homely but sincere wielder of spears aspiring to cooking greatness commanded by +Christian Blouin 

Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer 

Iris Vardaa Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure guided by +Alex Safatli 

and +Jason Woollard as The DM


Grand Duchy 68

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 68
September 28 - October 6, 2015

The Gnolls Know

Tserdain 20 Yarthmont

Little Drummer Gnoll

As the wounded Gnoll tries to crawl away, Griffin steps up and follows him. As he follows, everything around him goes silent. He leans above the slowly fleeing Gnoll and thrusts his sword down, severing the filthy creatures spine. The expected crunch is missing as is the loud exhale often heard when something dies. He turns and looks back to his companions. Everyone has gathered on the top of the mound. All of their faces look weary after the challenging battle with the Ghouls followed immediately by the Gnolls. Suddenly each of their eyes go wide and looks of surprise fear appear on their faces. As one, they all turn to the left, looking past the burning sphere of darkness. Griffin tries to see what they are looking at, but the black smoke and remaining fog of the valley blocks his view. He walks back toward them, sheathing his sword. Just as he gets back to where they are standing, he hears what they are looking at.

::BOOM:: ::BOOM:: ::BOOM::

The sounds of a deep kettle drum fill the air. Just past the base of the mound, about 30 yards away, the source of the drumming can be seen. The Gnoll shaman is standing in front of a crude hut banging on a ceremonial drum of some kind. The deep notes of the drum echo off the unseen valley walls all around.

::BOOM:: ::BOOM:: ::BOOM::

Marcel, very wounded after his encounter with a Gnoll’s axe to his neck, sits on the ground, Draven approaches him. Ree and Remar stand behind Draven, looking on. Nearly everyone in the Company had sustained some type of serious wound during the battle and is in need of care. Against his better judgement, Remar tries his hand at healing magic again and heals Ree and Stephen back up to full health while Draven decides what he is going to do for the others and whether he is going to do it now or after the Shaman is taken care of.

::BOOM:: ::BOOM:: ::BOOM::

Iris couldn’t help it. Her body was shivering in fear. It seemed as though the Company has been through a lot before, and some of those times have been at the skin of their teeth. But this time, she is truly terrified this may be the last time she’ll get the chance to reflect on their group’s deeds. She looks to each of her friends and tries to memorize their faces. She doesn’t want to forget.

She strengthens her resolve and begins to slowly make her way down to the drumming gnoll. After a few steps, she looks behind her with the strongest and most courageous face she could muster. Smiling tentatively, she says to the others who are watching the scene behind her, “I’m going down there, unless any of you have any better ideas?”

::BOOM:: ::BOOM:: ::BOOM::

Griffin’s face is grim, but he pulls his shoulders back and tries a smile. “Actually, ma’am, I think I do have a better idea.” He walks past her, then says, “If you can wait just a second.” He picks up his crossbow, calmly loads a bolt and draws a bead. He takes a deep breath, exhales, and lets fly.

::BOOM:: ::thud:: ::rip::

Griffin’s bolt flies true and pierces the tightly stretched skin on the top of the drum. The Gnoll shaman’s hand slaps down on the striking surface and tears right through it. He lets out a loud, angry growl and shouts something toward the Company that sounds none too nice. He spins and disappears inside the small hut.

“There. That was getting on my nerves.” He looks around at the crew. “How we doing? The plan was to sneak until the alert was sounded. Looks like that has happened. We can grab the horses and start racing, or pull back. Golthar is on his way. Part of me wants to pull back and let him be greeted by a valley full of grumpy Gnolls. But he’d probably make it through anyways.” He squares his shoulders. “Are we still up for this? If so, let’s get our mounts and get going!”

Remar and Draven finish up some healing magic on their companions as Griffin smiles at his shot. Everyone looks at each other, their eyes saying Now what?

Quickly evaluating the situation, Draven distributes his last two potions to Marcel and to Iris. “This is more likely to work than further invocations from me.” Turning to Remar, he offers to trade. “I’ll need someone with a steady hand to pull this arrow and heal as it passes. Are you up to it?”

::boom:: ::boom:: ::boom::

As the group contemplates their move, the distant booming of other drums fills the valley. Griffin notices some movement in the shaman’s hut and suddenly a glowing black bolt of magic flies out, headed directly for him!

Iris beams at Griffin. Looking back towards where the hut is, she sees the beam fly out and feels time slow down. Oh no!

Griffin dives for cover, rolling out of the way of the bolt. He swears. “I am really getting tired of that guy. What say we get the heck out of here!” He cautiously gets up and dusts himself off, then starts making his way towards Firewild. “Everybody mount up. I don’t think it’s gonna get any easier if we stay around here.”

While the others find their mounts, Griffin reloads his crossbow and keeps a close eye on the shaman’s hut. If that smelly old Gnoll pokes his nose out, he’s going to see what Griffin’s magic bolt feels like!

As the Grey Company begins gathering their horses, the distant drums sound off again, this time the sounds come distinctly from the east then from the north.

::boom:: ::boom:: ::boom::
::boom:: ::boom:: ::boom::

Griffin starts waving his arms and whistling for the horses. Firewild tries to ignore him by sticking his nose into what looks like a tasty patch of grass, but is startled by a rabbit hiding in the same patch. He gallops away, right to Griffin!

Being mindful of the Gnoll shaman hiding out in his hut nearby, the Grey Company gathers their horses up quickly, though Marcel nearly scares his mount away again. Within a few minutes, everyone is mounted up on the southern side of the mound and ready to move out. The drums still echo around the valley, sounding closer and closer every time they are heard.

::boom:: ::boom:: ::BOOM::
::boom:: ::BOOM:: ::BOOM::

Stephan looks around, listening to the drums. “So what’s the plan? The way forward looks, um, challenging, to say the least, but the way back looks doubly so. We’re a little more than 10 miles from the end of the valley, if Gren’s recollections and map-making skills are up to snuff, anyway.” He gives Griffin a sidelong glance. “I say we make for the river, and head north as fast as we can. When we get to the bend, we either look for a place to cross, though that puts us right at the base of those hills, or we veer east and continue following the water. It’s longer that way but might keep a barrier between us and the Gnolls.” As he finishes speaking, his words are punctuated by a series of very loud and presumably very nearby drums from the north.

::BOOM:: ::BOOM:: ::BOOM::

“Well, it’s time to decide,” Stephan says as he rears his horse and starts angling toward the river somewhere to the west, turned back in his saddle waiting for everyone else.

Iris has her horse side up near Stephan. She looks to the others carefully and with fear in her eyes. “I think we should go east. What do you think Griffin, Draven, Marcel?” She tries to keep her voice steady in light of the tension.

Griffin tries to see through the fog, to no avail. “We can save some time if we head northwest,” and he points off into the mists. We’ll either hit the river or the side of the valley. Then we can follow whatever we hit around. We should stay on the east side,” and he gives a nod to Iris, “Any way we can make it harder for the Gnolls is good, in my opinion.”

“Aye, to the water and north as quickly as we can. As much as I want to end that foul shaman, we’re outmatched here,” Draven replies.

“Well, that sounds like we are committed. Excellent. Probably no chances to back out past this point, so that’s good to hear.” He pulls Firewild around so she’s heading northwest. “Visibility is not great, so stay close. We want to be where we can help each other out if we run into something.”

Old Gren’s map

The Company heads north-west as fast as they can, riding into the swirling mists, as they leave the area, one final magical bolt flies from near the shaman’s hut and strikes the rear flank of Firewild, who is lagging behind considerably due to overexertion. After a moment, it is clear that Firewild cannot keep up any pace more than a slow walk. Visibility in the mists is limited to about 20 yards at best. The ground continues to slope down gradually to the west, though to the right (the north) it seems to rise toward the small run of hills that rests there.

A Not So Fast Getaway

Griffin calls for a halt and dismounts, “Firewild can’t keep this up, we’ll lose her, and we can’t afford to lose another mount. Were gonna have to walk for a bit.”

deaths head valley riding fog.jpgStephan looks around in the mist, “Maybe we could find someplace to hole up for a bit, let the horses, and us rest then make a run for it.” He looks at Griffin and the others, “You think we should follow this close to the hills north of here? Gnolls live there. We heard the drums coming from that area.”

::boom:: ::BOOM:: ::BOOM::
::boom:: ::boom:: ::boom::

As if to highlight his comment, the drums are heard again. The first blast of drums comes from behind the Company, back to the east and another set of beats can be heard, this time coming from farther off, to the north west.

Ree interjects, “We need to know if we’re being followed, right? Need to know where the Gnolls are, right? I can take care of that, hold on a minute!” Before Griffin can say anything, Ree has spoken her magic words and performed her ritual. The young Elf girl slowly rises up out of her saddle and begins floating straight up into the air. “Wait right there for me, I’ll be back in a moment,” she says as she disappears upward through a swirl of mists.

Less than a minute later, Ree comes floating back down. She begins her report before she even reaches the ground.  “Yep, there’s Gnolls and they’re coming this way! I could see a pretty big group of them out past the burial mound, probably about a half mile away, maybe a little more. There were at least 30 or more in that group. Saw some big ones too, possibly Ogres. There’s another, smaller group, that just came down out of these hills to the north. They went back toward the mound. Must have been responding to the shaman’s drums. Only about 10 or so in that group, but it looked like they had some animals with them, couldn’t tell what they were though, pretty big but obscured too much by the mist. I couldn’t see the river up ahead, but could definitely tell where it was, the mist is pretty thick around it, though the surrounding areas are becoming clearer as the fog is burning up in the daylight. I saw quite a few campfire signals coming from them hills just across the river, so it looks like there might be a sizeable force of Gnolls there. I think getting a move on and staying on this side of the river for now is our best option.” She lands back on the saddle of her horse.

Looking gravely at Griffin, Draven asks “at a brisk walk, then? Or do we double up and,” he looks at the ground as he suggests it, “leave Firewild to find safe passage without so much weight to carry?” My horse is sturdy and strong, and barely notices me on his back, Iris or Ree could ride pillion with me, freeing up another horse for you…”

“Either way, the decision must be made, and made swiftly.”

Griffin makes a face at the thought of leaving another horse behind. “I think doubling up will just leave us with two exhausted mounts in short order.” He moves to take Firewild’s reins. “A brisk walk for now. Hopefully, the mists will be as much of a handicap for the Gnolls as for us.” He checks his crossbow, making sure it is loaded and ready for action. “Let’s get moving. We don’t want them to have catch us.”

As the group gets moving, Ree adds, “I didn’t get too good of a look, but the terrain around the western edge of these hills,” she points directly to the north, “is pretty rough where they meet the walls of the valley. Maybe there is somewhere over there where we could get a little bit of a rest, maybe just a half hour.” She looks around at the others. “It seems that our way back is blocked, so we must go forward, but what if we set out a false trail to the west from here, and somehow went north instead, hide out in the hills there, then make a break for it?” By the time she finishes talking, all of her confidence has evaporated, turning her suggestion into nothing more than a weakly asked question.

“We’ve more than one spellcaster amongst us, and while my own gifts do not go well with subterfuge, surely you all can come up with some ideas of how we might leave a trick or a trap for our hairy friends to follow as we sneak off for the northern hills?” Draven intones

Griffin smiles at Ree. “Good plan.” He turns to the rest. “Okay, folks let’s do as she says. We head north until we hit rocky ground. That’ll hide our trail and let us throw out some trouble for anyone trying to find us.” He starts walking immediately, wanting to use the time as efficiently as possible. “Ree, Remar, Iris, can you put your thinking caps on and come up with some sort of magical trap or surprise for our pursuers, as Brother Draven has suggested?” He nods to the priest.

Griffin tries to come up with a way to make it appear that a group of horses has gone a different way than the way they actually went.  After a few moments, he snaps his fingers.

“Okay, guys, line up. Ride single file - it will hide our numbers.” There is a bit of jockeying but eventually everyone is heading the right way. He looks at Ree. “Get ‘em started towards the rocky area you were talking about. I’ll be right behind you.” He starts walking Firewild back and forth, in a generally westerly direction, as the rest of the party heads off to the north. His ears strain to detect any sound of approaching trouble. After a decent attempt to create a lot of hoofprints leading west, he leads Firewild to the northerly trail and starts covering the other tracks, making his way after the rest of his team.

Cast of Characters: 

Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard 

Marcel Maasa homely but sincere wielder of spears aspiring to cooking greatness commanded by +Christian Blouin 

Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer 

Iris Vardaa Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure guided by +Alex Safatli 

and +Jason Woollard as The DM


Grand Duchy 67

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 67
September 24, 2015

Gnolls and Fire and Arrows, Oh My!

Tesrdain 20 Yarthmont

The Grey Company learn that the group of Gnolls at the burial mound are worthy opponents, attacking and defending on par with the Company. Griffin, Marcel, Draven and Iris do their best to manage the battlefield on several fronts, tending to their wounded and pressing the attack against the savage Gnolls. 

Aid arrives for Ree in time and Remar heads off in an attempt to deal with the Gnoll shaman with some magic of his own... FIRE! Marcel finds himself outnumbered and nearly loses his head to a Gnoll axe before turning the tide and defeating his attackers with some support from Griffin. Draven does his best to heal and support the warriors. 

Finally, after much blood and sweat is spent, the Grey Company is victorious, though the exhausted companions do not feel or look like they have won. Most of the Gnolls are dead, though a few have fled and the shaman still has not been located. All hope that he too has fled but worry that he may still prove to be a thorn in their side.

Marcel finds himself in a precarious position as Remar makes his move toward the magical darkness

Remar brings down a Rain of Fire, hoping to catch the Gnoll shaman in its wake

Griffin and Stephan deal with a Gnoll while Iris and Draven come to Ree's aid

Marcel takes a defensive position against his foes while Iris faces off against the Gnoll archer

The battle at the mound rages on several fronts

Iris engages the blurry Gnoll archer

Marcel and Remar battle for their lives against the Gnolls

After taking a spill down the hill, Remar finds himself in the hot seat while Marcel holds his own

Griffin and Marcel finish off the Gnolls atop the mound and Remar rolls away from the fire storm

Session Notes

It is a terrible thing, to get busy and not be able to quickly put down notes from sessions past. Phew. I'm getting there! 

Cast of Characters: 

Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard 

Marcel Maasa homely but sincere wielder of spears aspiring to cooking greatness commanded by +Christian Blouin 

Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer 

Iris Vardaa Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure guided by +Alex Safatli 

and +Jason Woollard as The DM


Grand Duchy 66

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 66
September 12-23, 2015

Ambush at the Burial Mound

Tserdain 20 Yarthmont

Arrows from the Mist

Draven helps Iris to a sitting position after using his magic to help remove the mysterious arrow that had just struck her. She shakes her head and looks around, confused momentarily. Griffin and Marcel quickly scan the area, though the swirling mist seems to close in, limiting sight distances considerably. No foes can immediately be seen, though they can barely see to the far side of the mound as it is. The mound itself is about 25 yards across and approximately 40 yards wide. It is about 8 feet high and has a number of grisly totem poles placed around it, many of which have headless, rotting corpses hanging from them.

Remar is standing at the base of the mound, watching the group’s rear in case more ghouls approach while Stephan is near him wrangling some horses. Ree has not returned to the group, but sounds of a galloping horse can be heard around the southwestern edge of the mound. Mr. Softie, Draven’s horse is nowhere in sight after having bolted directly across the top of the mound and down the other side. The three horses at the top of the mound begin stamping and neighing again and Marcel quickly grabs their leads, trying to calm them.
aftermath of the battle with the Ghouls
The sound of Ree’s voice rings out from the fog, “Gnolls! I see Gnolls here, guys! Around the south eastern part of the mound, two of th… oh shit!”

Iris stands up and ensures she is armed and ready to face whatever it is that struck her. I swear to whoever is listening, I am going to make sure I get through this forsaken day!

While Draven is tending to Iris, Griffin begins to strap on his shield, then readies his crossbow again and heads towards where Ree’s voice seemed to come from. He tries to keep moving up over the mound to gain whatever tactical advantage a  little high ground could provide. Maybe that totem pole can provide some cover. “Marcel, sweep left around the mound!”

Marcel nods at Griffin then asks, “What about these horses?” He holds out the leads to the three horses he is holding on to.

The sight of the horses brings Griffin up short. What had Old Gren said?  Move through slowly and carefully until we are spotted, then make all haste to the far end.  “Hells,” he mutters. He raises his voice, “Okay, team, new plan! Mount up and ride!” He looks at Marcel, “Answer your question?” He looks around again, “Iris, you’re with me! Let’s go!”

Griffin leaps to the back of the newly named Firewild and turns to help Iris climb on behind him. He looks to Draven and Marcel, hoping they follow suit.

Iris nods at Griffin and hurries to mount, “I’m with you, Griffin!”

While Marcel and Draven move to mount their horses the slow and safe way, the young Thyatian woman leaps up and grabs onto Griffin’s shoulders behind him on Firewild’s rump. As she mounts, she spots movement across the mound and squeezes Griffin’s shoulder and says, “Look, there just past the edge of the mound, past those two totems!” Griffin looks and sees a Gnoll, or at least what he thinks is a Gnoll. The form shimmers and fluctuates, giving the impression of a very blurry Gnoll with a bow taking aim at the group on top of the mound.

Acting with a thought, Griffin wheels his mount and yells “Hang on!” He charges his horse right at the Gnoll, hoping to throw its aim off and give his comrades time to mount their horses. He looks over his shoulder at them and yells “Follow me!”

Gnoll Fight!

A Gnoll archer is spotted across the mound
Draven and Marcel settle into their saddles as Griffin and Iris gallop off across the mound. As they charge, Griffin sees the Gnoll raise his bow and let an arrow fly directly at him!

Griffin leans hard to one side as he sees the arrow fly. Hope Iris follows suit - she just got healed! The arrow whizzes over his head and he drives his mount forward past the gnoll.

Iris sees the arrow fly past her, sending some of her hair into motion. Too close for comfort…. She stares the Gnoll down and tries to quickly decide what she should do. Following Griffin has never led to disaster, has it? She gallops after Griffin and tries to get past their attacker.

Griffin and Iris, astride Firewild, charge forward, and for a brief moment, it seems as if everything become silent, the only thing that can be heard is the sound of their own hearts beating. Then the mounted pair leap past the blurry Gnoll archer right at the edge of the mound and start riding down the far side. The sounds of a galloping horse once again fill their ears. Up ahead, and to the left, behind another totem pole at the base of the mound crouches another Gnoll.
Firewild charges forward to engage the Gnolls.
Draven and Marcel begin to urge their horses forward, following Firewild.

As they draw near, the new Gnoll reaches around the totem pole and points his staff toward Griffin. A dark bolt of magical light shoots at him, coming straight for his face!

Griffin swears and lurches in the saddle, this time the other  way. The strange eldritch blast passes by, by inches. That’s it. He nudges Firewild to pass close to the totem pole as he whips out Serenity and slashes at the shaman. He is hoping to incapacitate the magical edge of the gnolls.

Griffin and Iris face off against the shaman
The Gnoll spins away from Griffin's attack toward the totem pole and then strikes out at Firewild's rear leg as the horse thunders past. The horse whinnies in pain and then Griffin and Iris feel the strength and energy completely drain out of the beast beneath them. Firewild’s legs begin to buckle, but the horse manages to keep its footing somehow as it pulls up to a stop.
Griffin and Iris have to hold on with all their might to hold on!
Back on top of the mound, Draven and Marcel urge their mounts forward following Griffin and Iris on their wild ride. Marcel goes left around the first totem while Draven stays to the right. Both of them spot the blurry Gnoll archer, less than 10 yards away. As Draven approaches, he suddenly realized that he cannot hear anything around him. The sound of the horses, his own breathing, the wind in the valley, nothing. The Gnoll ahead of him moves sideways, to Draven’s right, toward the north end of the mound, and looses an arrow directly at the priest’s chest, its aim looks to be true!

Draven and Marcel get their mounts moving
Frustrated by the zone of silence, Draven is woefully unprepared for the arrow and fails to get his shield up in time. The arrow strikes him in the chest and punctures his flesh! Reeling in the saddle, he barely manages to hold onto the reins, his cry of pain a silent scream. He takes a moment for the rush of pain to lessen, turning his horse as best he can to trample the archer or at least make him flee.

Griffin mutters “Screw this.” He vaults off Firewild and shouts, “Iris, find Ree! Move!” Griffin moves to the attack! He presses the shaman hard against the totem pole, battering its defenses. No retreat, you bastard!

Deaths Head Shaman.jpg
The Gnoll shaman
The Gnoll Shaman, a truly disgusting looking creature wearing some sort of painted animal skull as a mask. Griffin has to almost hold his breath when he approaches and then lets out a loud whoosh as the Gnoll deftly steps back and twirls his staff around, knocking both swords away. He mutters something to Griffin, though Griffin cannot comprehend the guttural language of the Gnolls then realizes all too late that it was magic and the world plunges into blackness deeper than Griffin has ever imagined. Iris too, climbing off of Firewild when she realized that the horse was completely exhausted and would not move another step, is blinded by the sudden blackout around her! From the top of the mound, Draven and Marcel see a globe of utter blackness appear down the far side of the mound where Griffin and Iris had just ridden.

Draven urges his mount forward directly at the Gnoll archer and despite his general blurryness, Iris’s horse seems to be right on track. The Gnoll looks a bit scared as he leaps out of the way, barely missing being trampled by the galloping hooves. The roar of the wind and thunder of the horse beneath him suddenly comes back, almost surprising Draven as he hears the curse slip from his lips after missing his target!

Marcel peels off to the left, “I see Ree over here! She’s in trouble!” He pushes Remar’s horse forward, ready to charge down the side of the mound to the young Half-Elf’s rescue!

Determined to deal with the magical threat, Griffin quietly slides forward and slashes at where he last saw the shaman.

His sword finds nothing but air. He is about to try again when Marcel’s words sink in. Oh my gods, Ree!  Twisting in the darkness, he heads off at top speed towards where he thought he last heard her voice.

Iris fears the worst when she hears Griffin’s request. Oh, no. Ree! She moves her mount around in the dark, trying to find a way to her friend, looking around in an effort to make anything out apart from the clear threat the group was facing.

Griffin bursts from the blackness running full speed to the south. He  is just along the edge of the mound and can see some movement ahead of him, though whoever or whatever it is, he can’t tell because some totem poles are obscuring his vision. He can see Marcel ahead and to the left, charging down the side of the mound and Draven a bit more back and to the left, charging toward the black cloud of darkness.

Iris also emerges from the inky blackness about 5 yards away from where Griffin is. She is leading Firewild, but cannot see him behind her as he has yet to step out of the magical darkness. The Gnoll shaman is nowhere to be seen. She also spots the movement around the southern end of the mound, but like Griffin, she can’t quite tell who or what it is.

Griffin continues to sprint towards the totem poles, trying to get a read on what’s going on beyond them. “We’re too spread out! Everyone to me!” he shouts, trying to recover some semblance of order from the chaos.

As Griffin and Iris maneuver to better see the movement at the base of the mound, they see two Gnolls standing over Ree, who is laying on the ground, unmoving. Remar, followed by a mounted Stephen, arrive on the scene while Marcel approaches loudly, charging down the hill wildly!
As Griffin watches this scene unfold before him, he feels a stinging impact on the back of his leg when one of the Gnoll shaman’s bolts strikes him. Chancing a look back over his shoulder, Griffin does not see the shaman and assumes that he is still inside the blackout zone.

Iris follows Griffin, leading Firewild and trying to keep the horse between her and where she imagines the Shaman is after just seeing Griffin be struck with a magical bolt of dark energy.

Draven somehow manages to remain mounted as Iris’s horse continues to run. The horse charges off the mound and turns to the right, avoiding the large cloud of magical darkness. The beast makes as if to flee the area altogether but the young priest is able to direct the horse to the right and begins circling around the mound in a clockwise direction. He spots the archer Gnoll on the top edge of the mound, not joined up with two other Gnolls, one with a sword and shield, the other with a large axe.
Draven circles the mound and spots several more Gnolls
Marcel rides forth, charging at the two Gnolls surrounding Ree. One of them raises and throws a large, barbed spear in his direction. Marcel ducks and barely avoids the lethal looking projectile.

Griffin hardly notices the sting of the shaman’s magic bolt, but realizes it could become a bigger problem. “Remar! Shaman hiding in the black zone! Light him up!”.

He does see Ree’s crumpled body on the ground and pushes himself to go even faster. “Hey! Hey, you mongrels! C’mon, fight me! Fight me!” He bangs on his shield with his sword, challenging the ugly brutes.
Stephan and Remar come to Ree's rescue
The other Gnoll throws his spear at the advancing Stephen, but he manages to dodge it. Remar lets fly a magic bolt, striking one of the Gnolls in the back of the head, though it appears to have no result. Marcel, not quite in control of his mount, goes charging past the area on the back of Remar’s horse. Stephen continues to advance on the nearest Gnoll and engages with him while the other Gnoll turns and charges toward Griffin, running partway up the side of the mound. As he approaches, Griffin sees that the blade of his sword is steaming and then realizes that the blade appears to be ice-encrusted.

Meanwhile, Iris gets a bit of a surprise when she is struck by a magical bolt from out of the shaman’s darkness. It strikes her hard in the leg. The shaman must have gotten off a shot that went under the horse to hit her there. She realizes that if she takes any more wounds, it is going to start slowing her down.

“Oh, so you’ve got a magic sword, do you? I don’t think that’ll be enough, you wanker. Better get your buddy to help you out!” Griffin slows his approach and approaches cautiously, taunting the ugly mutt the whole time. Mess with my sister, will you?

The charging gnoll throws a spear as he approaches, but Serenity deflects it into the ground. He steps forward confidently, drawing the brute into his trap. C’mon, you brute, pick on someone your own size. Griffin projects an arrogant air, continuing to verbally abuse the gnoll.

It works! The beast steps in, and Griffin launches a flurry of attacks. The icy sword manages to come up in time, then slashes at Griffin’s arm, but Serenity knocks it aside. Well, what’s good for the peasant is good for the prince! He also slashes at the gnoll’s sword arm, which connects solidly, slicing deeply into the foe’s arm and causing him to drop his sword!

Desperate, the gnoll charges Griffin, trying to catch the young swordsman off-guard with a tackle, but he brings his weapon across its path, wounding it again. Hoping to finish it off, Griffin stabs for the vitals. The weakened monster can’t get out of the way and the sword strikes home, but its innate toughness manages to keep it on its feet. It turns to run away.

Trusting that the creature will not bother him again, Griffin turns and runs toward Ariadne, hoping he will not be too late.

Pain shoots through Iris’ leg. She yells out for Griffin, “I got hit! I’m not feeling too good… what do we do? I don’t know if we… I can fight this, Griffin.” Her breathing is slow and painful. She crouches to the ground, hoping to avoid further missiles. Looking across to Griffin, Iris readies herself for a sprint to join him.

Griffin looks back over his shoulder, but doesn’t slow down. “Iris, c’mon! You’re still in line of sight for that shaman!”

Griffin continues to run toward where Ree is lying unconscious. He can see Marcel wheeling his horse around in a wide circle just past where Stephen and the other Gnoll are sparring. Remar is running toward him along the edge of the mound, “I’ll go after the shaman,” he calls to Griffin as he approaches. Iris follows behind Griffin, moving as fast as she can, running in a crouch while pulling an exhausted Firewild behind her. She sees an unarmed Gnoll, the one Griffin had just disarmed, run behind and past her, fleeing the melee.

Draven, urging his horse on as fast as he can, rides around the base of the mound, trying to once again meet up with his friends. He keeps an eye on the three Gnolls on top of the mound. They watch him as well as they move across the top of the burial mound toward the southern end as well. Finally, he comes around the far end of the mound and can see most of his companions up ahead, Stephan engaged and the others nearby. The three Gnolls on the mound should arrive at this end in a matter of seconds, he estimates.
The Grey Company prepares for it's last offensive against the Gnolls

Cast of Characters: 

Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard 

Marcel Maasa homely but sincere wielder of spears aspiring to cooking greatness commanded by +Christian Blouin 

Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer 

Iris Vardaa Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure guided by +Alex Safatli 

and +Jason Woollard as The DM