Grand Duchy 39

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 39
November 20, 2014

Into the Ravine (Monkey Business!)

Moldain 21st of Flaurmont

Finally at Xitaqa

Griffin and Ree arrive at Xitaqa and begin scouting. They note the activity of some baboons that appear to live down in the ravines, possibly in some of the visible buildings with no doors. They are able to tell that the ravines are about 30 feet deep here and filled with stone buildings that jut out from the ravine walls down at the lower ground level. Most of these buildings have open doorways while some of them have doors made of cobbled together wood and branches, barriers more than doors. From their vantage point, they are able to get an over of the area but only able to look down into some of the ravine. It is dangerous to get too close as the packs of baboons move about near the tops of the ravines throughout most of the afternoon.
Layout of the ruins of Xitaqa
By late afternoon, the rest of the group arrives, having traveled slower, spending some time hunting and foraging to keep the Company's food supply up. Griffin and Ree quickly bring everyone up to speed on the layout and what they know about Xitaqa already.

As the sun begins to set, wisps of smoke begin to appear from various places around the ruins, floating gently up into the night sky. Some small humanoid forms can be seen moving about the ruins, carrying lanterns or torches from time to time as well. The movements in the ravine seem erratic and follow no discernible pattern at all. Marcel does not think it feels like any type of established guard patrol. The Company discusses several possibilities for approaching the tower, which lies at the center of the ruins.

Shadows in the Night

Deadly Shadow
Much later that night, during the last watch, Griffin observes a sinister shadow approaching the camp. He alerts his companions and they battle against a dangerous, strength stealing apparition. Draven identifies it as a type of Undead known as a Shadow. After the battle is over, everyone tries to go back to bed, though their sleep had already been interrupted and they would no doubt be tired the next day. And then it starts raining again.

Nytdain 22st of Flaurmont

Into the Ravine

The rain continues throughout the day and it is cold and breezy. The Company decides to descend into the ravine to the north and approach the ruins from that direction. The intention is to move from building to building and get closer to the central tower in hopes of finding Stephan. Moving slow and stealthy is the plan and avoiding confrontation is ideal. The first set of buildings the Company approaches is empty. They are built into the side of the ravine and share an interior door between them. As carefully as possible, they move along the northern perimeter of the ravines to the next set of buildings.

Sneaking through the ravine

A Barrel of Monkeys

While approaching the buildings, the smell and sounds of baboons is present. Almost immediately, several of the aggressive monkeys leap from the doorway and attack the party, punching, biting and flinging excrement as well. They jump and holler and howl, though the sound of the steady rain keeps the sound from carrying far.

Dealing with the baboons
The baboons are quickly dispatched, though one a wounded one manages to escape. The Company quickly moves into the the dry but filthy set of buildings that had previously housed this troop of monkeys. Hoping to not draw too much unwanted attention, they also drag the monkey corpses inside as well. As the rain falls outside, the company plans their next move.

Holing up in the baboon's lair

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 Varda, a Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure guided by +Alex Safatli  

and +Jason Woollard as The DM


Grand Duchy 38

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 38
November 7 - 19, 2014

Ambush at the Ford, pt 2

Lunadain 18th of Flaurmont

Fight on the Riverbank

The members of the Grey Company are locked in battle with bandits on the riverbank, just across the ford. It is unsure why this band of 8 horse riding Humans attacked, but the warriors are pressing the attack quite aggressively. The main skirmish is taking place along the rocky edge of the river where Iris, Griffin, Akaios and Burik engage a handful of brigands on a muddy patch of ground between the rocks, trees and river. Draven, Ree and Remar stand atop a rocky outcropping providing tactical ranged support and motivational encouragement. Marcel has slipped off to the left, through the trees, hoping to flank some of the attackers but ended up running directly into two of his foes who had a similar idea. He quickly engaged them, but a slip in his attack put him off balance and a flurry of all out attacks landed, nearly causing him to go down. Only Draven saw Marcel get himself into trouble back in the trees, everyone else is focused on the more obvious force.

The attacking bandits press their attack despite the fact that they do not seem very skilled or focused in their tactics. They yell and growl, some of them spit and slobber and all of them stare wildly around as they fight.

Griffin steps into the woods to try and get better footing and to keep the bad guys from flanking him. He eyes the weaponless bandit and snarls, “If you drop to the ground, now, you’ll be the one we leave alive for questioning.” He points his sword at the foe, letting him know he’s eager to run him through.

The wild eyed warrior looks at Griffin then down to his fallen comrade then hastily pulls a long knife from his belt and lurches forward toward Griffin.

Griffin sighs and stabs the punk in the guts. “Not a smart move at all, boyo.”

The man’s growl turns into a bloody gurgle as he slides slowly off of Griffin’s blade and slumps to the ground, unmoving.

Seeing his companion in trouble, Draven calls out, “Marcel is surrounded, in the trees!” and starts to move in that direction, taking a step and then beginning his way down the rocky step. 

Battle along the river.
Heeding Draven’s cry, Remar turns and steps in that direction as well, letting one of his magical bolts fly. The bolt flies true and strikes one of Marcel’s assailants in the back of the head, but it seemingly has no effect. Ree turns and sees Marcel but realizes that she cannot get off a clear enough shot with her sling through the trees so instead she continues aiming for one of the targets in front of her. Burik continues trading blows with the bandit he is engaged with while Akaios charges forward and attempts to slam another foe, holding his axe out in front of him. The two men collide, but the big man does not get a good enough charge and nothing significant happens. Seeing all the foes in front of her engaged, Iris turns and moves toward where she last saw Marcel, hoping to be of some assistance to him before it is too late.

Meanwhile, under the hanging boughs of a heavy fir tree, Marcel fights for his life. He is reeling from sustaining three hefty wounds and trying to hold on to consciousness. Though his vision is blurred from the shock of the previous blows, he knows he needs to take advantage of the openings in his opponents defenses after their reckless attacks on him. He stabs his spear out in an obvious strike at the man’s gut, striking deep, while he attempts to push the other back with his shield. The first man lets out a heavy breath and falls to the ground, clutching at his blood soaked midsection while the other merely grimaces as Marcel’s shield bangs up against him.

The remaining attackers growl and bark incoherently as they make overly aggressive attacks at their respective opponents. Burik takes a sword slash to his right arm, but he is able to hold on to his sword. Akaios manages to dodge a strike from his opponent and Marcel’s solitary foe slips to his side and makes a powerful swing at his back. Fortunately Marcel is able to keep his wits enough to step back and bring his glowing shield up in defense. 

Hearing Draven’s shout, Griffin checks the foes facing him at the moment. Easily handleable by Burik and Akaios with Remar and Ree backing them up.  He surges out of the woods, running as fast as he can. He sees Iris heading in the same direction, and Draven scrambling down the rocks. “Hang on, buddy! We’re coming!” 
As Iris and Griffin move toward Marcel’s location, they hear the sounds of battle continuing behind them. 

Marcel tries really hard to keep it together. He head is swimming in pain and the sinking suspicions that he has only a few moment of consciousness remaining. He thinks of the life saving Pixie healing necklace, reaches out for it and shoves it into his mouth, biting into the thin metal. With strength coming from the gods, he leaps away from the remaining brigand in hope to remain out of harm until Iris dashes to his help.  

The wild brigand charges at Marcel with his sword out in front of him. Marcel swallows the chewed up Pixie amulet just in time to defend himself.

The pixie magic kicks in as Marcel raises his shield to stop a well placed blow. 

“By my beard”, his voice is but a raspy noise. “Look upon thy death! You… ” and his retort drowns into a coughing fit. Warlock Marcel isn’t dead just yet.

Draven and Iris continue toward Marcel, hoping to reach their friend before his strength runs out. Iris arrives at the Traladaran’s side as he blocks the vicious sword thrust.

The shouting and fighting continues from the riverbank area as the others move through the thick trees to Marcel’s aid. Ree screams “BURIK!” as a small splash is heard. Turning to look Drave sees Burik staggering backwards, stumbling and falling into the river and the water turning red from blood. The young Traladaran appears to be conscious still and it looks as if he is in shallow enough water that he is in no danger of drowning.

Seeing Burik fall, and Marcel quickly being aided to, Draven diverts towards the main fighting, hoping to get there more quickly than he could have to assist Marcel.

As Draven changes his course, he glances quickly at Akaios and notices an arrow sticking out of his left shoulder. He didn’t recall Akaios being hit with any arrows in the initial volley by the bandits.

Marcel can swear that magic is crackling from his hands, through his spear as he thrusts it into the heart of the brigand. The poor lad had banked a little too hard on him being too winded to fight back. Iris arrives just as the brigand lifts his eyes and comes to grip with his fate. 

Marcel looks upon his hands, convinced that magic had flowed through. He hasn’t heard about the great deeds of his friends: he exists in a tunnel. The tunnel leads to the horse at the rear. He staggers in slow motion to take possession of the horses as if to claim the loot amid the searing pain on his chest. 

Marcel stumbles forward, stepping on top of the man he had just put down. Iris steps up beside him. “Are you ok?” she asks.

Griffin charges past Marcel, quickly seeing Marcel still standing and Iris at his side. He sees the two bodies at Marcel’s feet and mentally counts, “six and seven.  Where are you, number eight?” He heads around the trees at top speed. “If we can wrap this up quickly, they may not have time to sound any kind of alarm!”

As Griffin rushes around the perimeter of the trees looking for the final attacker, Marcel and Iris push their way through the middle area, trying to make it to the horses on the far side. The sounds of combat continue from the riverbank.

Draven sees the warrior that was attacking Burik wildly run and jump on top of his friend who is now laying on his back in the river. The brigand, who has dropped his sword, is now trying to force Burik’s head under the water. Ree screams at this and continues her run forward. Remar flings another magical bolt at this fellow, but again, it seems to have no effect. 

Akaios finally manages to take his opponent out. The bandit lays bleeding on the ground in front of him. Akaios turns his attention to the left, just past the trees as another arrow comes flying at him. He tries to dodge out of the way, but is unable to, and it sinks into his side.

Hoping to use the open ground for greater speed, Griffin stays out of the trees and sprints around the next batch to the left, searching for the last bandit.

As Griffin rounds the trees, he finally catches a glimpse of the eighth bandit. This one is slowly backing up toward the horses while holding a bow and reaching for another arrow. The bandit is not looking in Griffin’s direction, but instead focused on what Griffin assumes is the fight on the other side of the trees. 

Ahead of him, Draven sees Akaios drop his foe and then lumber forward slowly toward the trees, as if going after someone who was just past them. Remar contemplates a shot at the man trying to drown Burik but cannot get a good line of sight due to Ree running right in front of him, so instead he rushes forward.

Ree slams into the man on top of Burik and both of them fall into the water and begin thrashing around violently. After a moment, blood fills the water and the bandit stops struggling. Ree stands up, holding her knife in her hand, blood and river water dripping from it.

Iris and Marcel make their way through and around the trees, following Griffin and heading toward the horses.

The Battle Subsides

The remaining brigand drops his bow and turns and bolts toward the nearest horse. Before he can climb on, though, Griffin and Akaios are there. Akaios, still holding his axe at the ready, looks at Griffin as if asking for permission to chop the man down.

Seeing the situation beginning to quiet down, Draven rushes to Burik’s side and checks on his status.

Burik coughs and spits water out then begins cursing and looking around, grabbing at his belt for his dagger. He leaps to his feet and looks around frantically, a terrified look in his eye. He then sees the wild stranger who had been trying to drown him lying face down in the water next to him, blood flowing freely from him, staining the water and mixing with his own blood that is staining the water. He looks at Draven, his face very pale. His mouth opens as if to say something and then he topples back over, landing half in and half out of the river. A brief squeal escapes Ree’s lips as she jumps to his aid, pulling him quickly out of the water and propping his head in her lap.

A quick inspection by Draven reveals that Burik is severely wounded, though not in danger of perishing. The gaping wound in his chest being the most serious wound he bears, it does seem that he swallowed several mouthfuls of water as well. 

“Keep him up there, Ree. We’ll see him through this.” Draven rests his holy symbol on Burik’s chest while he fishes out his first aid gear. “Let’s get the bleeding stopped first, then we’ll see how well the gods feel about aiding us in this time of our need.” Seeing that the bandages are insufficient to the task, he sighs and takes up his holy symbol again. Calling forth, he chants and focuses his will on closing the wound.

The energy called forth slowly stops the bleeding, and after a minute to rest, he lays hands on Burik once more and calls forth a greater flow of healing to close the wound entirely. 

The color quickly returns to young Burik’s face as he sits up. “Ugh, all wet!” he exclaims as he realizes he is sitting in the river.
Griffin shakes his head to Akaios. He turns to the bandit. “My friend here wants to chop you in half. Any reason you can think of why he shouldn’t?” His sword is still out, and he is ready to cut this man down if he tries anything funny.

The man looks scared but surrenders and puts his hands up and away from his belt where a sword and knife hangs. His hair is dark and bushy and he wears a light beard. He looks of Thyatian descent, though his complexion is darker. This man is wearing a light cloak with a small shield hanging from his shoulder. Light mail can be seen under his cloak and clothes. He is armed and armored considerably better than the other attackers and seems more in control of his emotions though he does not say anything.

Griffin relieves him of his weapons and steps back. “Here is how I like to do things - let’s see how well this works.  We’re heading to Xitaqa.  You can stay here, tied up and gagged.  If we survive our visit, we will return here and release you.  If we fail, we’ll probably be dead.  That leaves you to die here of thirst or hunger or random wild animals.  Therefore, it is in your best interests to tell us things that will make us successful, no?”

He looks the bandit in the eye. “So, is there anything you’d like to tell us?”

“You are a scary, one Thyatian,” the man laughs at Griffin and spits on the ground. He speaks fluent Thyatian, though there is a hint of a foreign accent there. He flinches a bit as Akaios feints at him with the axe, but continues to taunt. “Your pet here is scary too. Tie me up, lash me to a tree, weight my legs with rocks, whatever, just get on with it.”

Griffin mutters “Wasn’t trying to be scary, was trying to be reasonable.” He straightens and gives an affirmative nod to Akaios. The large man swings his axe as Griffin lunges forward with his sword and runs the prisoner through. You try to be a nice guy, what does it get you?

After that, Griffin’s demeanor is one of all business. After making sure the bandit chief is dead, he says to Akaios, “Okay, my friend, go get Draven to check you out.  The whole ‘arrows sticking out all over’ is not a good look for you.”

Griffin checks in with the injured members of the team.  Burik, Akaios, and Marcel are all pretty chewed up.  He leaves them to the brother’s gentle ministrations, then collects Remar and Iris. He lets Ree choose where to be.  “Okay, check these guys out, snag anything of value. We’ll tie the horses here in the trees out of sight, and maybe we’ll have a ride back to Sielo when we finish up.”

A quick search of the other fallen men reveals that they all are equipped with crude padded armor and were armed with cheap shortswords and long knives. Each of them has about 15 silver coins in their pouches and pockets. The prisoner has his armor and weapons as well as about 50 gold Gold Royals. A pair of sturdy manacles hangs from the saddle of the  horse he was trying to mount, similar to the one the river bandits had with them. There is also a small crystal vial in his pouch. It is marked with the seal of the Church of Karameikos, similar to other healing potions that have been procured in the past. 

Griffin collects the coins and puts them in his sack.  He hands the potion to Draven.  “Here brother, maybe you could hang on to this.  Found it on one of the bandits.”  

He takes some time to assess the opposition. They weren't that good, but fanatical.  Their leader seemed tough - perhaps they were just minions in fear of him.  The manacles bother him, though - tying this group of ruffians to the ones that attacked them on the river makes him feel like there’s some bigger picture that he’s still not seeing.

Iris and Marcel are both witness to Griffin and Akaios killing the bandit though the others over by the river’s edge do not. Griffin keeps everyone moving, taking care of post-battle cleanup and loot gathering. The horses are all quite surly and aggressive, though they allow themselves to be lead if handled carefully.

“So,” says Draven, who is next? He finds a level space of dry ground to set up shop now that Burik it out of immediate danger and well cared-for by Ree. He beckons to Akaios and Marcel to join him, knowing they’ve both seen better days, and looks them over before beginning.

Both men appear to have fairly serious wounds, though neither are in danger of unconsciousness. Akaios has two arrows sticking out of his body and Marcel is bleeding from a wound in his chest, the blood can be seen seeping out through the chinks in his mail. 

“While you’re doing an excellent impression of a porcupine, Akaios, I hope you’ll let me see to Marcel before he passes out?” Without waiting for permission, he pulls Marcel to his makeshift workspace and begins the chants necessary to first stanch the bleeding, and then to infuse the wound with as much healing power as possible. The wounds close up significantly and Marcel immediately begins to feel much better.

Turning to Akaios, he attempts the same thing, enlisting Marcel’s help in extracting the arrows, slowly, as the magic closes the wounds, pushing the arrows back out the same path they entered. The sensation is unnatural and creepy, but the arrows come out without actual pain and the wounds close up, leaving Akaios in much better shape as well.

Moving On

Seeing Draven use his healing magic to patch up his friends, Remar strides forward and offers help. “I have some small amount of healing magic, if you recall. Do any of our companions need further assistance?” Draven explains the condition of the injured companions and Remar uses his magic to heal them a bit more. He patches Burik up a little more and heals the remainder of Marcel’s wounds, but when he gets to Akaios, something else happens. As the young mage casts his spell, Akaios cries out in pain and jumps away. 

“What are you doing, mage? That is not healing magic you work on me!” Remar’s eyes go wide as he realizes that somehow, the spell produced the opposite effect and instead of healing Akaios, it actually widened the wound, causing more injury.

The horses are tied together in a small clearing between some trees, the bodies of the dead raiders are piled near each other and the gathered loot is stacked aside. By best estimation, Xitaqa is still 15 or more miles to the north. And the rain has started falling again. It is a little after midday and the party huddles beneath some trees in an attempt to stay dry while they ponder their next move. Leaving the horses here should be fine as long as they are not gone long. Hiding or burying the loot nearby would be smart as well, they could always collect it on the way back. The bodies of the bandits would be another issue though. Their presence nearby could cause problems. Patrols from Xitaqa could stumble across them, dangerous animals could be drawn to them, causing problems for the tied up horses, etc.

Griffin looks to Brother Draven for guidance in spiritual matters.  “Brother, have you any guidance in the disposal of the corpses?  I fear a pyre might draw attention, and a proper burial might take too much time.  They were probably scoundrels, if that helps.”

“Tarastia has seen fit to sit in judgement against them, by the virtue of the strength of our will and of our backs. Lokena understands the need for stealth in times of war and will stand with us if we simply provide them a makeshift mass grave. Perhaps some of these larger flat stones can serve to cover them and at least delay the inevitable discovery by scavengers in the area.”

Griffin nods. “Good idea, brother.” He moves to the corpses and corrals his able-bodied team members. “C’mon, folks, let’s get this taken care of. We’re burning daylight.” He looks up at the rain-swollen clouds. “More or less.”

The next couple hours see the Grey Company shifting rocks and corpses. Once that task is done, Griffin makes sure the extra food they recovered from the bandits is spread amongst the team. 

“Okay, let’s get moving. I want to get up on top of the escarpment in the hopes that we can avoid more encounters like that one.” He shoulders his ropes. “I’ll go first, leave a line behind. I found a spot where the ridge dips down a bit.  Shouldn’t be too far a scramble, but the rain might make things a bit slippery, so we’ll use the rope anyways.” With that he starts climbing.

After the tiring burial of the corpses in the rain, everyone rests for a moment before beginning the climb up to the top of the escarpment. As Griffin goes over the path they will take and how best to utilize the rope, Ree steps up to Draven and tells him she can, with magic, help him make the climb a little easier if he wants. As she is waiting for the Acolyte to respond, Remar comes over and quickly casts a spell, touching Draven on the shoulder. “There,” he says, “I got it, Ree. Don’t worry about it.” He then saunters off to ready himself for the climb. Draven sees Ree’s eyes go wide and her face reddens before she turns and stomps off in the other direction.

The escarpment is much lower here, probably only 35 or 40 feet. Griffin scrambles up the slippery slope, attaching the rope at several secure points along the way. After a few minutes, he is safely at the top and signals the rest to follow. Draven is sent first, with help from Burik and Akaios. Thanks to Remar’s magical enhancement, the one handed priest is able to make it to the top safely. Everyone else follows with no problems and Ree comes up last, untying the guide rope along the way. 

From the top of the rise, it is clear that traveling on the high ground will present its challenges as well. The ground is broken and rocky and the party has to travel a good distance away from the edge to circumvent numerous ravines and crevices that cut into the cliff face from below. There is little tree cover, though plenty of rough ground, narrow spaces and rocks to hide behind if the need arises. It is difficult to get the lay of the surrounding landscape due to the steadily falling rain. The rain also triggers several small mud slides down the face of the rise, though none of them posed any threat to the Company.

The group travels for a few more hours then has to make camp for nightfall as it is deemed far too dangerous to travel along the uneven, rocky terrain without decent illumination.

Marcel scans the area for a concealed and defensible position. He pestered the others today, speculating about the connection between Xitaqa and the brigand, but the conversation kept on being interrupted by some minor crisis such as a loose strap, a wobbly rock or a faraway noise. Eventually, he gave up and simply focused on staying alert and safe. In his search he seeks high-ground to get the best possible lay of the land and look for movement, trails or anything of interest.

While folks are settling in, Griffin wanders over to Marcel’s perch. “Sorry about earlier. I did want to talk more about what you said - connecting the bandits and Xitaqa. I think you’re on to something. The bandit leader today was kitted out just like the one who led the attack on the raft way back when. Right down to the iron shackles. I don’t think that can be a coincidence.

“No, not a coincidence at all. I think Xitaqa is going to answer a lot of questions for us, like how and why the folk here were able to get the goblins to raid all the homesteads, and the bandits on the river and the ones today carry shackles.  Babaka said the goblins from Xitaqa that took Stephan away wore iron collars around their necks. Maybe “Old Skinny-legs” is into bondage or something.” He rubs his eyes in the rainy gloom.

“I think we’re going to have more fights like today’s before we’re through.  Goblins, and hobgoblins like Vlack, and bandits too.  Any thoughts on various approaches?  I got us up here to see if we could do some sniping before we get into the thick of things, maybe soften them up a bit.

“Also, any suggestions for better procedures to prevent what happened today from happening again?  Buddy system?  Designated roles?” He looks at Marcel, “You’re the trained soldier, so I’m deferring to you for tactics during fights.  I know just enough to keep from getting killed.  I’d prefer if we were working on tricks to not only keep us alive, but cutting down on the damage we’re taking as well.  Do you have any ideas along those lines?”

Marcel thinks like an old soldier. He rambles a bit about getting some more hands to cover the flanks. He then looks at the party and grins. “We’re just a bunch of fools that are consistently successful. I think that the last fight went as well as could be, minus that I got ambushed while trying to ambush. I should have listened more before moving in. I think that the Gray Company should have a small battleline: they block we thrust or they fix the baddies and we strike from the rear.“

Due to the rain and terrain, the campsite that is found is not very good but nearly everyone manages to find a little nook or cranny to squeeze into to stay out of the rain. Not happy with the fact that they are camping in such a place, Remar proclaims, “I’ve been working on a new spell for the campsite. If we can keep everyone fairly close, I will enchant a Magic Mist around us. It will protect us and hopefully shield us from at least minor trespasses in the night.” He begins chanting and speaking the magic words as he paces around the outer limit of the campsite. After about 5 minutes he stops as a sparkly, shimmering shroud covers the campsite. 

Everyone feels safe and protected within the mist and Remar smiles and marvels at his handiwork. “That was easier than I thought,” he beams. “Now if only I could do something about this rain,” he muses as he goes back to the spot he has chosen for his bedroll.

Gromdain 19th of Flaurmont

Taking the High Road

By the time the next morning comes, the constant rain from the previous night has stopped, but frequent, short showers still fall. It is a bit easier to navigate though, and visibility is much greater when it is not raining. Akaios is in an extremely foul mood. After his watch, he apparently fell asleep with most of his back hanging out from his narrow shelter and was rained on for the rest of the night. 

The trip north along the escarpment is difficult. The terrain is very uneven and often broken by wide and deep cuts in the cliff wall that stretch west sometimes close to a half mile. There is very little vegetation and animal life here along the barren plain and hunting and foraging leave something to be desired. At one point, though, Marcel climbs up to the top of a rocky outcropping and states that he thinks he can see the ruined tower to the north. He estimates that it is 10 or more miles away, but should be approximately where the Fairy King of Horses said it would be. Based on how far the company was able to travel during the day, it could take them as long as two more days to get there from here.

“Our stocks are running thin indeed. Can we tighten our belts and manage this, two days distant?”

“I think we’ll have to try. Stopping to forage will only give them more time to notice those bandits have been dealt with and warn them that someone is in the area.”  Griffin growls. If only Eran were still with us - he would have this aspect of the mission well in hand, I’m sure.  “We’ll press on. I may take Ree and try and scout ahead, see if I can find a smoother path to speed us up.” He ponders for a second. “Unless you can intercede with the gods to find us more food or speed our travels…”  He looks at the young priest hopefully.
He ponders for a moment. “It is… not unheard of, though the immortals do not look kindly on the lazy or the greedy. If our foraging for the day does not suffice to feed us, I will petition D’jaea, or perhaps Patura, to help us in our time of need. Though it will have to be true need, and not merely a convenience.”

Undaunted by the difficulties of the trail, the group decides to remain upon the escarpment and approach from the high ground. That evening, as the camp is being made, the rain stops and the clouds are pushed out by a cold, biting wind. At least it’s not raining, more than one member of the group thinks to themselves.

Tserdain 20th of Flaurmont

The clouds are back the next morning, covering the sky in a thick blanket. Winds howl across the escarpment and through the cracks, crevices and ravines, sending up a loud, almost haunting wail at times. The Grey Company breaks camp and  hits the trail. Griffin pushes the group to stay on the high ground in hopes of making a surprise approach. In hopes of speeding things up a bit, Griffin scouts ahead a bit, watching for better trails and trying to avoid any backtracking. The plateau continues to be devoid of much forage but the hunting this day turns out to be quite good. Ree even managed to take down some sort of large ground bird, though it took quite a bit of effort to track the wounded bird down. The group manages to get just enough food to stretch their stores through the end of the day. Tomorrow will be another issue though.

On one of his last scouting runs of the day, Griffin climbs to the top of a solitary tree to get a better view of the surroundings and is able to spy the ruined  Tower of Xitaqa, and from his estimation, it is only a few miles away! The terrain between here and there appears to be just as rough and rocky as the rest of the way here, and Griffin assumes it will take several hours of hiking still to get there in the morning. As he is climbing down from the tree, he is attacked by a swarm of good-sized black birds, ravens or crows or something similar. He almost falls from the tree and physically has to fight the birds off to keep them from pecking him to pieces. 

Fortunately he is able to recover a few of the birds to add to the food stores. He returns to the group and tells them that they are finally close to their goal.

Griffin ponders the situation as he returns to camp.  Boy, I hope this goes well.  We’re out here in the wilderness with no food, going up against I don’t know how many bad guys. We took the high road because I wanted to sneak up on this place, but it’s taking so long!  We could have ridden those bandit’s horses there probably in half the time.  

And of course I could be back in Susikyn. There have been quite a few times I think we could have given up and no one would have said word one. Settle down in a nice place with a nice girl, raise a family, chop down trees and fight gobbos for the rest of my life. Dad didn’t mention all the travails of just getting around. Kinda edited out the stuff between the exciting bits, huh Dad?

I hope the team isn’t too upset at my approach. Marcel can certainly handle himself in a straight-up fight, and of course so can Akaios and Burik, and maybe Remar, but it seems like Ree, Draven, Iris and myself are better off not engaging unless necessary.  

I suppose I can always gauge morale by Ree.  If she’s not giving me a piece of her mind, or a glare, I guess most folks aren’t too upset.  Now as long as I can keep us from getting hurt, at least more than Draven can fix, we might just make it through this.

The best I can do right now is scout the bad guys out so we don’t get surprised.

Tending to Griffin’s wounds, Draven revisits the subject of food. “I can’t make any promises, but right now we’re without even the makings of breakfast. It’s not a quick process, and I’ll need some crumbs of food to work from, and some fresh water…”

Griffin returns to the camp with his meager additions to their food.  He tosses the crows to Marcel and Draven.  “There’s something for the pot for breakfast.”  He rummages around in his pack and produces a wrapped package.  “And here’s something I’ve been hanging onto for a while.  Got some jerky and pemmican in here.”  He settles by the campfire to report.  “Well, we’ll be there soon. I hope that we can come in quietly and avoid some of their defenses.  It should still take us most of the morning to get there - the ground is still pretty rough.  If you think it would help, you all could hunt and forage today, try and get some food in your bellies.  Ree and I can go ahead, leave you a trail to follow, observe this place for a good while, see what sorts of defenses they’ve got, then attempt an approach this evening.  Use the cover of darkness to get past their perimeter, so we’re not as beat-up when we get to the main event.” He looks around at his hungry comrades. “How does that sound for everyone?”
Griffin and Ree will leave a trail to follow.

Remar ponders this tactic then speaks, “It sounds good, but what about a daylight approach? Aren’t we expecting Goblins and the like there? Sure we fought some Humans by the river, but are we SURE they came from Xitaqa?” He rubs his belly a bit, “Not starving is a good idea also, I think.” Akaios nods his head at this final statement.

Griffin nods at Remar. “Well, that’s a good point. I like nighttime because it’s easier to be sneaky - avoids some fights we may not need. If Ree and I can get there this morning, we could check things out and work on planning our approach until you get there, then make a more informed decision.  If it’s all gobbos, nighttime might give them an edge we don’t want. Then daylight would be about the same, I guess.” He frowns, stroking his beard. “Let’s say we rendezvous in the afternoon tomorrow and reassess, okay?”

Moldain 21st of Flaurmont

Approaching Xitaqa

The next morning, after a horrible portion of raven stew, Griffin and Ree head out to scout the best trail to the Tower while the others focus on scrounging up some food stores, or at least enough to eat for the day. The weather is a little better than the day before, it is not as cold and the wind is not blowing nearly as hard, which will make travel a slight bit easier. Everyone is beginning to feel the stress of the hike though, and movement around the camp is at a much slower pace than normal. 

At about the same time that the rest of the group gets on the trail, just before noon, Griffin and Ree arrive at their destination...

More battle scenes.. 
Iris and Griffin come to Marcel's aid

Dispatching the bandits in the trees

Burik is in a tough spot.

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 Varda, a Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure guided by +Alex Safatli  

and +Jason Woollard as The DM


Wandered Roads 36

Wandered Roads of Varisia
Session 36
November 15, 2014
Campaign Timeline

Hey Lady (Sorshen)

Oathday, 4th of Neth
The group got into the boats and poled to the east. Daellin waited on the shore for a bit then
the underground river
used his magic to follow by flying. The boats entered a large cavern with strange and colorful motes of light blinking and flitting about. Thin stalactites hung from the high ceiling. A wide beach could be seen to the south and a large, flat stone platform sat in the center of the lake. The platform was clearly worked stone as it was perfectly flat and regularly shaped. The only thing on the island was a sparkling glass statue of a woman in a jumping pose. Instead of hands, she seemed to have long, curving blades. Two mooring posts could be seen at the front edge of this “island.” Past the island, at the far end of the cavern, a cloud of churning mist and roaring sound of rushing water indicated a waterfall where the water dropped out of the lake into some lower chamber.

The group headed for the island but quickly the lake became too deep and the boats could no longer be controlled. They were caught in the quicker current of the waterfall on the far side of the island but Daellin was able to fly down and grab the ropes and easily pull the boats to the safety.

the glass golem
The moment the Elf touched down to tie the boats up, the glass statue sprung to life and moved to attack. As it approached, it was seen to have the same visage as Sorshen, the Runelord, a common theme for the statues and decorations of the complex. The glass golem was a nimble and quick and proved to be a tough opponent, though in short order, it was destroyed. The construct shattered and was no more than a pile of glass dust on the ground. The island was searched but nothing was discovered.

With Daellin’s help, the group maneuvered the boats over to the southern shore. This sandy beach was similar to the one they found the boats on except this one had two sandy grave mounds, each topped with large metal shields. Each shield seems to have been hastily painted over to display a Thassalonian rune, that of Lust, the mark of Sorshen. At Kallin’s urging, the group left the graves alone and pressed on through a stone door leading into the rough stone wall behind the beach.

The room behind the door was covered in numerous detailed murals and paintings of various otherworldly beings participating in wanton sexual acts. Every vertical surface of the room was covered but stop abruptly after turning down the hallway to the south, as though abandoned by the artist. A thorough search of the room turned up nothing of significance except for Kallin, who learned several new things he had not even dreamed of before.

The passage twisted and turned for a bit before ending at a set of iron bars blocking the way. Past the bars laid a large chamber, brightly lit by some sort of magical light. The floors, walls and ceiling of the chamber were polished to an almost mirror like shine. The arched ceilings were supported by two rows of columns that had been carved to resemble Runelord Sorshen in various levels of undress. Before the bars could be examined closely, a voice called out from the chamber, challenging the group as to whether they were friend of foe. A well muscled, pale skinned man appeared from behind one of the pillars and approached.  He was armed with a long, thin blade and he wore his silvery white hair in a long braid that stretched past his waist. As he spoke, it was noted that he bore sharp, fanged teeth, like that of a Vampire. He conversed for a moment with the group before declaring them foes and stated that he would stop them if they attempted to pass. He then stepped back behind the pillar and could no longer be seen.

a pale and skillful guardian
Ehlyna began bashing on one lock while Calina started trying to pick the one on the other side. This brought on an attack from the pale man, first with his bow, then closer up with his rapier. He seemed quite strong and skilled and moved with an unnatural speed. Kallin used his Pharasmic magic to find out more about this foe, and was able to determine that he was NOT a Vampire, not an Undead being at all. This guardian continued his harassment of the group as they attempted to breach the bars, skillfully avoiding injury and always ending his attacks back behind another pillar.

Realizing that bashing and picking the locks was taking too long, Vexeron summoned powerful earth magic and reformed the stone wall to the right of the bars, making a narrow passageway into the room. The group quickly flooded into the room and attempted to engage their new foe. The pale man moved about the room nearly twice as fast as some of the party members and wielded his rapier with skill. Though it took longer than their typical battle, eventually the 8 heroes were able to vanquish this foe without even taking any hits from him, though there were several close calls, and despite being one verses many, he held out for some time. Ehlyna quickly severed his head and as she was cleaning the blood from her axe, Vosk leaped forward and drove a wooden stake through his heart. “Just in case,” he said, looking warily at the sharp teeth sticking out.

The group gathered up his equipment, most of it being of a magical nature, and moved on. The next chamber was a wide hallway curving off into the darkness to the right. Running down the center of this hallway was a row of pillars supporting the ceiling. Each pillar was carved, once again, to resemble Sorshen. The first pillar was strangely missing its head. A quick search of the area showed it to be safe and the party progressed down the hallway.

creepy heads!
When they reached the 2nd pillar, the eyes of the statue started to glow, then the head started to wobble and shake. Most of the party stepped back a bit as the head lurched upward from the statue and rose up on spindly, black legs. The glow of light in the eyes grew brighter and then a magical bolt shot out of them at one of the party members. On cue, the heroes attacked, though their weapons seemed fairly inefficient against the stone creature. The head crawled around the top of the statue and continued to send glowing green bolts of energy down upon the party. After a few moments, several of the companions had been magically paralyzed by these bolts. After what seemed like forever, the party was victorious over the magical stone guardian and within a few minutes, the paralyzed members were able to move again.

Looking ahead, several more similar statues could be seen before the hallway curved out of sight.

Session Notes

We were missing several players again but we played on. In fact, one player that was not able to be present managed to play anyway through the wonders of modern technology. We used an extra laptop propped up on a box and ran a Hangout with +Jodi H so she could still play despite being laid up due to a recent surgery. It's not an ideal way to play, but it was definitely better than not having her there!
remote connect win!

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 +Greg Grady
Ehlyna Fuzziface - Dwarven Warrior - played by +Jodi H
Samad Aldhul, Human ex-mercenary - played by +JeCorey Holder
Vosk, Half-Orc Pathfinder who gets the job done, no matter what - played by +james schaffner 
and +Jason Woollard as the DM


Grand Duchy 37

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 37
October 6, 2014

Ambush at the Ford, part 1

Lunadain 18th of Flaurmont

The rain started just before the sun came up. Surely this would slow the Company down as they made their way to Xitaqa. Undaunted, they pressed forward. It was decided that they would ride to the ford and Bahaznic and the other boys would take the horses back to the camp at Sielo. They were supposed to wait there for several days and then return to Susikyn if it seemed the Company would not be returning. They were also to hunt and fish to keep their stock of provisions up, as the Company took most of the remainder of the food. The ride to the ford took a little longer than expected, but not too much, and by the time they were there, the rain had subsided and the sun shone through a break in the clouds. Though it was only just after midday, some of the riders were already worn out, having experienced very difficult and uncomfortable riding conditions that morning.

Farewells were spoken and the boys galloped off to the south. As soon as the company started crossing the ford, the sound of horses once again filled the air, but this time, the horses were coming from the north. A group of 8 riders was seen galloping out from behind a wooded rise just north of the ford, on the western bank. The riders were clothed in black and all bore bows. They did not wave or call out friendly greetings so the Company prepared for battle. 

A small rocky rise was seen to the south of the ford, just past a wooded area and it was deemed the most defensible spot within reach. The riders galloped their horses down the muddy riverbank as the members of the Grey Company scrambled up onto two rocky shelves near the water. The riders pulled up and dismounted just to the north of the trees and started shooting their bows. 

The attackers take up positions and start firing arrows at the Grey Company
Hoping to sneak up on some of the bandits, as that is what it was assumed they were, Marcel climbed back down from the rise and moved to the left, heading through the thick trees. The others held their positions on the outcropping. The bandits each loosed an arrow or two in the direction of the Company, but none of their shots were accurate enough to cause any harm. The archers then dropped their bows, drew their swords and charged, yelling and crying out in anticipation of battle.
Marcel moves through the trees in hopes of getting a better vantage point
 While sneaking through the woods, Marcel ran into two of the bandits who were also sneaking through the woods. He tried to get the drop on them, but was unable to and shortly they got him into a poor predicament and he was bleeding profusely.

Marcel found some of the other bandits attempting a tactic similar to his
 The others engaged the bandits near the river and Akaios and Griffin quickly dispatched two of them while Ree and Remar sent slingstones and magical bolts flying into their adversaries.The bandits, which Griffin noted, did NOT number 8 now, attacked with a ferocity that bordered on berserk and their skill with their blades was not that great. Despite their lack of skill, they began landing some telling blows on the members of the Company. Akaios and Burik had both taken good hits from the wildly swinging swordsmen.
The others disengaged and charged the archers on the riverside
The battle raged on, with neither side showing a distinct advantage, except for the two on one battle in the trees to the left that nobody else was paying any attention to.

Session Notes

When we play our live sessions, we only play for 2 hours, and they are every other week, spaced apart by long play-by-post style sessions. The battle took nearly the entire session, and we didn't even make it halfway through. I LOVE being able to play with so many different people online using Roll20.net but the online play and short session times make it difficult to get much done. That's really ok though, as we are able to continue the battle out using the PbP and Roll20 for each characters move. Can't wait to get on with the group's current mission!

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 Varda, a Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure guided by +Alex Safatli  

and +Jason Woollard as The DM