Pete's Kingmaker campaign

In search of trolls
useless hirelings and turtle soup

Whilst at Leveton Gorefang persuaded the other staglords that it was still necessary to do something about the troll sighting, in order to settle the populace. To this end they decided to hire mercenaries, offering a generous wage and placing a large bounty on the head of any trolls killed. They enlisted the aid of two mercenaries as well as the reformed bandits Akyros and thingy???

As Lotus was engaged in other business it was considered to be important to enlist the aid of at least one spellcaster. Amongst the new arrivals in the in was an unusual looking man whose manner of dress immediately suggested that he might be a wizard. Naias spoke to him and persuaded him to support their cause. The man was persuaded, not be the offer of reward, but by Naias’ assertion of the benefits of their quest and the virtuous way in which Midgard was being governed.

The stag lords prepared lots of flaming weapons and travelled south to sootscale’s cave. Whilst there Naias approached Sootscale about the task of taking over as spymaster. Since the druid had been so reluctant to be involved in governing the country and had noot been making use of the road wardens that Naias has tried to establish, Naias wanted to take over the role of lord marshal. He was concerned that his position as spymaster was bringing out a sneaky side of him which he didn’t really like. He offered to combine his own intelligence network (mostly whores, barmaids and gossip mongers) with the Kobold’s own scouting abilities. The position, if accepted, would also place Sootscale on the council for Midgard and hence enhance the respectability of the Kobolds.
The next day they crossed over to where the Trolls had first been sighted. As so long had passed, the rangers were unable to locate troll tracks and could find no indication of any troll lair in the area. What they did find was an old barrow. the first chamber was full of bats, which they were able to smoke out. Scouting ahead Cal found signs of a magical trap in the next chamber. Entering the chamber to examine the trap he heard sounds coming from one of the side branches. A group of skeletons rushed out to attack him, followed by many more from the other direction. They were no match for the brave band, who easily dispatched them all.
Continuing further on they found an armoured corpse laid out for burial, clutching a broken sword, which both Cal and Gore determined to be magical. Cal tried to take the sword, immediately waking the undead warrior. It proved to be extremely hard to hit, but through force of numbers was brought down without anyone being harmed. The sword was given to Naias.

Travelling south the following day they found another river. They followed this river west, towards the tuskwater. There was a ford which allowed them to scout to the south of the river a short distance, but nothing of interest was found.
Drawing near the tuskwater, Naias reminder the other lords that it was in this area that an old fisherman had reported a giant turtle in his fishing hole and had offered a bounty for ridding it of the creature. The fishing pool was at the bottom of a narrow path down the 40’ cliffs which stood at the eastern shore of the tuskwater. Searching around, they found the trail leading to the fishing pool. It was in a small muddy beach on the shore of the tuskwater. There were giant turtle tracks around, but no sign of the beast itself. Cal and Gorefang began planning how to trap the beast. Whilst they began constructing a trap, Naias decided to catch some fish, to use as bait.
As he waded into the shallow pool he noticed a tell tale sign of the giant turtle hidden in the mud under the water. Rather than cry out, he readied himself against its attack and continued into the shallows. The turtle rushed towards him, but he easily blocked its attack. The other warriors rushed forward to attack it. The turtle backed off, moving to attack the smallest target, Cal. It bit his shield, snapping it in two. Naias and Akyros both backed away, drew their bows and shot at the turtle with animal bane arrows, slaying it, but not until after it has bitten Cal quite viciously.
During the fighting Akyros had handled himself extremely well, however the other reformed bandit had held back, doing nothing. This brought a severe repremand from Cal.
Whilst tending his wounds Cal tried to palm a magical gem, which he had been the first to notice. His action was observed by both Gorefang and Naias. Gorefang questioned him about it, but Cal claimed that it was merely a flat pebble, for skipping stones.
They made camp and Naias cooked the turtle, providing their group with a delicious feast.

Having determined that the trolls did not live in the region between the two rivers the stag lords decided to return home, claim the bounty on the turtle and see to the administration of the country.

View
the lost months
extract from Ad Urbem Condite

The records for the early months of 4711 were lost during the troubles of the great war. Attempts to reconstruct the events of this period were made soon afterwards, although they were based on the accounts of reliable sources, time had no doubt dulled their recollection. As such the records of this period may not be as exact in their details as the rest of my history of Midgard.

The Winter saw work begin on the construction of Goreford, with the intention being from the start that this, and not Leveton, should be the capital city of Midgard.

During the deepest part of the winter the people of Leveton were deeply disturbed as news spread of a number of gruesome deaths. At least two people had been found ripped to shreds on seperate nights. One was a waitess at the Prodigal Son in Leveton, whilst the other was a farm boy, from one of the outlying farms. Investigating the scene of the boys death the skills of Gorefang and Naias, both skilled rangers, were able to locate tracks of a large beast, which seemed to change into the tracks of a man and then go towards Leveton. As the murders had occured around the time of the full moon, they concluded that the killing was being perpetrated by a Lycanthrope. Since the Lycanthrope seemed to have concealed his clothes nearby in preparation for the hunt, they concluded that the man must have been aware of the actions of the beast and that the curse of lycanthropy had fully corrupted its soul.

It is not widely known, but the influence of the moon causes those aflicted to change for three days around the full moon. Knowing this, and suspecting that the lycanthrope was one of the recent immigrants to the rapidly expanding settlement, the stag lords patrolled the city, with particular interest in the Inn. By chance it was Gorefang who spotted the werewolf and set upon it on his own. The werewolf was a powerful barbarian from the north, who even as a human was a formidable foe. With the added strength and invulnerability that the curse of lycanthropy brought, it is unlikely that anyone else in the city might have had the ability to slay him, but in a mighty and titanic clash, Gorefang slew the beast, suffering man fearful wounds in the process. He then brought the head of the monster to the Inn, in order to show all that it had been slain and could threaten them no more. It was in memory of this event that the name of the Inn was changed to be “The wolf’s head”

It was around this time that the stag lords of Midgard were informed by a fisherman of a giant turtle, which had driven him out of a secret fishing spot which he used, to the East of the Tuskwater, in the unexplored regions. They had posted notice prior to this that nobody should travel to that region, due to the trolls and swore that it would be dealt with, but not before more important matters were handled.

In order to transport building materials to Goreford and open up the possibility of trade to the south Naias took the treasure from the staglord’s basement south by rowing boat to the city of Mivon. There he purchased a riverboat and hired a crew, which he brought back to Goreford. The riverboat was mostly used in the first year for transporting timber downriver to Goreford. It is rumored that whilst in Mivon he was secretly in communication with his father, the evil warlord Von Richter, although this seems unlikely.

During his absence, the other stag lords, anticipating a busy spring and wishing to aid the expansion of the fledgling nation, set out to explore the tributary west of the Tuskwater, known as the stench, before the winter snows had thawed. They encountered a group of gnome caravan, who were in trouble crossing the river and attempted to help them to save their cargo. They learnt that the gnomes had clashed with some of the local Kobold population.
Naias caught up with the others whilst they were continuing their exploration shortly before they arrived at a pool, were the river widened. On the east bank they encountered a group of woodsmen from Calford, who were in angry confrontation with a Nixie. The water sprite was angry with them for cutting down the treas around her pool and had hypnotised two of the woodsmen, luring them away from the others and was threatening to drown them as punishment.
Using the diplomatic skills which he had honed in the organisation of their fledgling country, Naias was able to talk both sides down and persuade them to reach a compromise. The woodsmen were told to return north and not trouble the Nixie again, and were paid a months wages each for the diruption to their livelihood. In order to secure the release of the hostages Naias promised to replace the felled trees. The Nixie, whose name she informed them was Meliance, told them of a Dryad called Teressia living to the west, who owned some feather tokens, which would grow into trees instantly. They followed the Nixie’s suggestion to speak with that Dryad. To ensure the safety of the hostages Gorefang allowed Meliance to keep his companion wolf as a hostage too.

Heading west they found the Dryad’s clearing and were threatened by an angry Satyr. Naias persuaded the Satyr, whose name was Faltros, of their good intentions and told him of their mission. At this point the Dryad, Teressia, also appeared and spoke to them. They told the stag lords of a cursed evil tree, known as a scythe tree, which had been attacking the fey of the forest and which had attacked them. They agreed to give the feather tokens, as well as other gifts, to the stag lords on the condition that they should slay the tree. Having agreed to aid Teressia, the stag lords travelled south, following her directions. After a few hours they reached an area of the forest which was filled with an aura of decay. The tees were all gnarled and twisted. As they came into a clearing they were attacked by the scythe tree. It was able to use it’s great strength and reach to batter the heroes around and injured them gravely. They tried to use flaming weapons against the monster but as the winter snows still covered the ground the fire did not catch easily and they did little damage to it. Once again it was the strength of Gorefang which proved decisive. Using the sorcerous powers of his draconic ancestry he was able to grow in size and cleave the tree with a great many swings of his mighty axe. Burried under its roots were a few pieces of amber, some coins and a magical robe.

Having slain the scythe tree the stag lords returned to Teressia’s grove. The history from this point is better recorded, as a fragment of Naias’ journal survived. They were rewarded with a number of magical gifts: five feather tree tokens, some good berries two healing potions and a wand of cure light wounds. Whilst there, Naias spoke to the Teressia and Faltros about trying to prevent misunderstandings and conflict between humans and fey. He arranged for her to gather as many fey as were willing to meet with him in two months time at the Meliance’s pool, so that they could discuss which areas of the forest were sacred to the fey and should not be desecrated and which areas they might tolerate the humans dwelling in. It was his hope to forge an alliance with the fey of the region, so that fey too might become respected citizens of Midgard. One major step in this regard was achieved when Faltros agreed to become the defender of the forest and patrol it, to keep it safe from threats which might threaten Midgard.

After leaving the fey, the staglords returned to Meliance’s pool, used the feather tokens to grow five mighty oaks, and secured the release of the hostages. Naias also persuaded her to both permit and attend the meeting which he had arranged and to spread the word amongst the river fey folk. Red Lotus further helped to win over the goodwill of Meliance by entertaining her with her beautiful singing. They then escorted the woodsmen to Calford. Whilst there they called a town meeting and informed the townspeople that the fey too were to be considered citizens of Midgard. The stag lords promised to deal with any troubles which the fey caused as long as the villagers would respect the regions which the fey considered sacred. The villagers of Calford were very surprised by the appearance of Cal, the eponimous hero of the area, and they found it hard to reconcile the thought that one of the founding heroes was now a goblin.

The stag lords then returned to Terresia’s grove, in order to continue their exploration. They spent the night there, but were surprised in the morning when a pack of wild boars entered the clearing. Before the other stag lords had been roused Cal recklessly charged the Boars. Naias quickly shot two boar, taking them both down. Some of the animals attacked the horses and Naias’ horse, Peregrine, was injured. Naias slew the beast responsible. At this point Terresia used her powers to drive the other animals away. She healed the injured boar, whilst the one which had injured Perry was cooked and cut up for supplies.

Later that day they set out to the west. Gorefang was wearing the robe which he had recovered from the scythetree. Sighting a brush thylacine, they rushed to attack it. Suddenly Gorefang found that he felt as though millions of insects were biting him and cried out in agony, ripping the robes from himself. Cal and Naias swiftly dispatched the thylacine. They then thanked the gods that the cursed robe had not stuck gorefang down when facing a more dangerous foe. The remainder of the day found nothing of interest and they made camp.

At this point the journal again becomes fragmented. It is not known how long it was before the stag lords returned to their capital, but it is generally held that the remainder of their time in the forest passed without any significant events.

View
Death and Goblins
from the journal of Naias Von Richter

Sarenith 27th

I realise that I have been neglecting this journal but most of my time has been taken up either in council meetings or listening to gossip and travellers tales in our Inn, The Prodigal Son. Since I was running the kitchens and taking an active hand in the development and running of the Inn I was able to give it that name. I think it is appropriate. Sootscale and his tribe have been helping me gather information on the south and I am noe quite fluent at their Kobold tongue, which they claim is also the language of dragons. For some reason Gorefang also knows this language now, even though he never studied it. That makes no sense, but neither does his magical ability. Some strange power has definitely awakened in him.

Erasrus 4th

The book I sent off for by Eckstein on the curious speech of the Boggarts has arrived. It looks extremely difficult. It will probably be months before I can communicate with that ugly toad in the south, but if we are going to be leaving that monster on our doorstep, then I think I should at least learn how to talk to it. Who knows, I could learn something useful from it if we ever need to go to the swamps in the west.

Rova 17th

It is great to be out again. The open road and adventure with my friends. As we plan to send people south to clear an area to build our capital soon we need to do some scouting and mapping on the other side of the Shrike river. Aramil tends to go off fong long periods at a time into the wild and is not around and Lotus is still away on a shopping trip, looking for magical resources, so Gorefang, Cal and I are setting out to do this. Gore seems to have some concerns that we might need the others, but it seems hardly likely. We are a lot tougher than when we started out and we don’t need to go far.

Rova 18th

After leaving our horses with the road workers by the mites cave we went southeast to Nettles’ crossing. We crossed the remains of the rope bridge and began exploring the hills beyond.

Rova 19th

Our exploration of this area continued. Nothing of interest in this area. I knew Gore was being unnecessarily concerned.

Rova 20th

We continued west, charting the southern bank of the Shrike. Still nothing of interest. It is nice to be out again, but this can hardly be called an adventure. It’s more like a picnic.

Rova 21st

I’m inclined to tear out the last pages of my journal, in order to hide what an idiot I have been, but I will not. Two nights ago, in the early hours of the 21st, tragedy struck. We have suffered a loss far worse than anything we have experienced before. It is only now that I have had time to put pen to paper to record these events.

During the night I was awoken by Gorefang because a group of bears had come sniffing around our camp. We tried to placate them by giving them food and backing away, but some of them were determined to get access to our packs, thinking that we still had more food on us. Cal made the mistake of trying the scare off the bear that was trying to get at his pack and it attacked him. We attacked the bear, Gore charging it with his axe and me shooting it, but before we had put it dow its companion joined the fight, raking Cal with its claws and biting him. As he backed away to try to heal himself the other two bears noticed the fight and attacked Gorefang. I continued to stay back, whilst shooting as fast as I could but these bears were extremely tough. Concentrating our attacks on one bear Gore and I were able to badly injure it but the other bear brabbed Gore, knocking him to the ground and pinning him. Gore with his awesome Orcish strength somehow managed to get on top of the bear and was grappling it, but the second bear, before I could kill it, clawed and bit Gore. The bear which Gore was grappling broke free of his grip and so Gore backed away, so badly wounded that only an Orc could possibly still be standing. He swigged a potion of cure moderate wounds but still collapsed from his wounds. If there hadn’t been other people around the bears would have ripped Gore apart, just to check whether he was really dead. Instead the badly injured bear decided to run away and the uninjured bear went after the nearest target. Until this point Cal had been doing quite well. He had been just about holding his own against the injured bear on him. He had been trying fancy feints to distract the animal, in order to try to create a good opening, but they had all proved ineffective and his cuts had just been making it angrier. Suddenly the second bear jumped on him from behind, battering him to the ground. I moved towards Gorefang to give him my healing potion, finding that he was still just about concious. When I looked to see how Cal was doing I was shocked to find the bears ripping him apart. Gore was barely standing and Cal was most definitely beyond saving. Whilst it felt wrong to leave him, it seemed like the only thing we could do and so Gorefang and I ran away as quietly as we could whilst the bears tore Calandrel’s corpse to pieces and began to feed on it.

We returned in the morning to see what was left of Cal and to recover his belongings along with the remains of his body. There really wasn’t much left of him. We were thinking to bring his body to Calford, in order to bury him at the town which bears his name, but then we remembered the story of the Kobold shaman. Tartuk, or whatever his name was, had been a gnome who had died and been reincarnated into a different body by druidic magic. When we had learnt about his past Aramil had mentioned hom reincarnation magic was easier than resurrection. There was far too little left of Cal for anything but the most powerful resurrection spells to do anything for him and we certainly don’t have enough resources for all the diamonds we might need, but reincarnation seemed like a more viable option. I placed most of Cal’s weaopons in my quiver and took his magic armour and magic hat. I don’t recall him having this hat on before whilst we were travelling. Odd that. We placed the remains of Cal in one of his head sacks and we headed straight towards the river. The current in the Shrike is pretty fast and it was hard to swim it so heavily ladened, but despite his wounds Gorefang and I were both able to swim across the river and get to Sootscale’s caverns. We rested briefly there and Gorefang bought a few minor healing potions, to heal his condition a bit more. We then jogged to where we had left the horses. It was well after dark before we arrived at Leveton.

Rova 22nd

Asking around the Oleg’s store, and the other shops which have opened up around it, we found that someone had bought a scroll of reincarnation for the store, presumably expecting someone in this area to need it. It was such a wonderful stroke of luck, as we had expected to have to travel all the way to Restov for the spell. we have no idea how long we have in which to bring Cal back from the dead. Apparently such spells need to be done fairly soon after death and so we are making all haste. Johd has offered to cast a gentle repose spell, to prevent the body deteriorating further. I don’t know if this will help at all, but it can’t hurt. Neither of us have enough money for the scroll, but Gorefang and Cal have money in a bank in Restov. I put down a retainer for the scroll. Gore rode out towards Restov with all haste. I have set out with a few of the road wardens to try to locate Aramil. I only hope and pray this works.

Rova 24th

I have located Aramil and we are hurrying to Laveton

Rova 25th

We arrived back at Leveton in the late afternoon. Gorefang had ridden like the wind and had returned yesterday evening before with the money for the scroll. He had bought the scroll and was waiting anxiously for our arrival. It is hard to put in words Aramil’s response when he opened the sack and saw the bloody pieces of Calandrel’s corpse, but soon recovered his druidic calm. The scroll was read and the magic began to change Cal’s body. The pieces faded away and a new body appeares in it’s place. A smaller body. I wonder if it might have been because we hadn’t managed to get all the bits of him. Aramil said it didn’t matter and that it was only chance, but you never know with magic. At least nobody could be inclined to believe that the body which a person who is reincarnated gets is in any way a reflection of their soul, or based on any sort of karmic scale. I say this because Calandrel, the bright, shining, golden skinned paladin; the embodiment of all things good and holy, came back in the body of a goblin. I can still hardly believe it. He is now green, ugly and half his former height. How are people in Midgard going to take this?

Rova 26th

Cal seems to be taking his new circumstances well. At least, when he isn’t muttering to himself he seems to be focusing on practical issues. He has decided to travel to Restov to get his money back and to try to exchange all his weapons and armour for something smaller. I hope the bankers in Restov know about reincarnation spells, or it will be hard for him to persuade them that he is the same person. Gore and I are accompanying him, to make sure he is really ok. For some reason the bond he had with his horse has gone. It may be because, as a goblin, he can no longer ride a horse. I feel so sorry for Cal. He says that he wants to take over my post as scout master, because he doesn’t think people will take a goblin seriously as head of the watch. I think he has a point. It will be hard enough to make sure that passing adventurers don’t try to slay the goblin. Having a goblin telling strangers that he is head of the watch and trying to lay down the law would just provoke them. Should we tell the general public that Cal is still alive as a goblin, or should be build a shrine to comemorate the death of one of the nations heroic founders and let Cal have the freedom to live without the pity of our people. I think people will accept him more as a member of our high council if they know he is still Calandrel and I doubt that he would be happy to live a lie, but it should be his decision.

View
The foundation of Midgard
Progress report of the council of Midgard

Desnus

Having been granted the charter to establish a kingdom in the Greenbelt we awaited the arrival of the first group of immigrants from Restov and led them to Olegs trading post. We have agreed to begin the development of our new republic here, although we plan to build our capital at Goreford, one we expand that far. Rule of the republic will be shared jointly by the council of 5. The name for this new country we have decided shall be Midgard, in honor of the prominance which we hope it shall one day develop to. Oleg Leveton has accepted the position of treasurer of Midgard. Svetlana has agreed to be our councillor and people’s representative. She was reluctant at first but was made to realise that the general store of a new frontier town is the centre of the town socially as well as economically, which places her in the best position to listen to the concerns of our settlers. The advice we had in Restov suggested that an assassin or public executioner would help to prevent public unrest. As we do not want to be evil tyrants we decided that our state would not endorse assassination, we have instead persuaded Ockus to accept the role of executioner. Jhod is our highpriest and the state religion is Erastil, although all non-evil religions are welcome. Red Lotus is our court magician and advisor on arcane magic. Gorefang Wolfskinner has been appointed general. Calandrel is warden, in charge of law and order in the city. Aramil Planespeaker Wildstiller is marshal, in charge of partoling the rural areas. Naias von Richter has been appointed to lead our scouting service, gathering information on kingdoms and territories beyond our borders. Akiros Ismort has agreed to act as our chief diplomat, as he has both the social skills and self reliance necessary to travel far and wide on our behalf. We have decided to establish laws which are idealistic and promote virtue. Legal cases are to be presided over by a magistrate but the spirit of the law is to be considered as important as the letter of the law. Laws to be fairly simple, rather than overly restrictive. (neutral good kingdom alignment) A large amount of food and raw materials were supplied by the mayor of Restov. Development of this area has now begun.

BP 50

Sarenith

The area around Olegs was developed and building began on our new town. The town has been named Leveton, after Oleg and Svelana, the first settlers of this region. Areas of housing and a new Inn have been constructed. A road to the south has been laid. No taxes were levied but productivity in gathering resources was good.

BP 39

Erastus

There was some unrest from our settlers. We believe it is just frustration at being confined to the town of Leveton due to the potential dangers beyond our borders. The marshals and scouts have patrolled and cleared the area to the south east of Leveton and farms are being built in that area. A larger residential area has been built and a smithy has been constructed. The south road has been extended through our new territory. Productivity was slightly better this month.

At our council meeting Loy and Latricia Rezbin asked for permission to establish another town of their own at Calford. They have family and friends wanting to help them develop the area. We agreed to their terms and offered them aid in resources on the conditions that they would accept being part of the Republic of Midgard when our influence has spread that far and that they maintain the name of the town as Calford, as that was the name given to the area when it was discovered.

BP 29

Arodus

The populace seem more content. Our scouts have claimed the territory in which our gold mine was located and mining has begun. A large series of stables for use by our patrols, as well as others, has been constructed in Leveton. Farms have been established in those hills. We have decided that Midgard now has a sufficiently viable economy that we are going to tax the people at a fairly normal tax rate on income from farms, mines and other businesses. Some small attempt to use our resources to promote the reputation of our country is also now being undertaken. Productivity was fairly good, but lower than last year.

BP 18

Rova

The people seem content with our rule. Our scouts have claimed the area to the southeast of the mine. The entrance to the Mite’s cave has expanded so that it can act as a place of shelter for herdsmen etc. caught out in the wild. We have developed an area in Leveton as a municipal dump and begun a nightsoil collection service. The roads have been extended through our new territory. More farms have been established in the new area, mostly raising sheep in the hills. Productivity this month was slightly improved on last month. We intend to slow development of Leveton, in order to gain resources for the development of Goreford once the area has been fully mapped.

BP 14

View
The Quest ends and a new Saga begins

From the journal of Naias Von Richter

Gozran X

Having plundered the corpses of the stag lord and his tastelessly dressed gay-emo-rogue lieutenant we took stock of the situation and Aramil healed us a bit. From speaking with the traitor barbarian, whose name we learnt is Akiros Ismort, we learnt that there were other bandits out foraging and raiding, but none remaining in the fort. The unconscious hulk of a man, who we had been referring to as Mongo is apparently called Ocks and is a complete simpleton. That certainly explains his actions. Akiros also told us that there is a hidden chamber in which the stag lord kept some old man locked up. We decided to check this out, leaving our new ally Akiros to watch Falgrin Sneed. Before going down we decided to see which magical items were of use to us. Gorefang took the amulet of natural armour and I took the masterwork broadsword, for when we have to deal with more zombies later. Being the only one who might use such a thing, I also took the camp rogues rapier. Assessing the stag lord’s helmet Cal told me that it was blessed with divine magic, sacred to Erastil. As well as aiding the perception of the wearer it could be used to aid in any ranged attacks a few times a day, but only once by non-followers of Erastil. Although it looks terrible it is clearly more suited to me than to anyone else. Nobody wanted the gimp leather armour and Cal refuses to use the magic bow, which he considers to be beneath the dignity of a paladin.

Down in the dark chamber below we found a great deal of the stag lord’s plunder. A lot of it is too bulky to carry, but we took the chest full of gold and the bag of jewels. Whilst scouting the darkest areas Cal and Gore noticed a crazy looking old man crawling on the ceiling. When he was seen the old git turned into a wolverine. Aramil and I tried to reason with him, me in common and Aramil in a strange language I haven’t heard before. I suspect that it may be a secret druid tongue. The old man started chanting something. We were wary that he might be hostile, but I didn’t want to attack without provocation. This didn’t seem to be the sentiment of Gore or Cal, who jumped up swinging their weapons at the old man, but not reaching. A giant ant suddenly appeared beside myself and Aramil. Aramil and Lick immediately attacked it, whilst I shot the mad druid. I hadn’t realised when it happened but Lick had grown considerably during our time in the fort. He is now a fully grown, and even more formidable leopard. This is clearly some sort of druidic magic making him stronger. Gore may have briefly surpassed lick in terms of combat prowess, but the cat has now grown far more deadly than him. Gore enlarged himself and struck the druid wolverine whilst I shot him again, killing him. I’m still not used to the idea of Gorefang as some sort of spellcaster. I’m certain that this isn’t ranger magic, but I can’t understand what it is. Cal moved to support Aramil and with the aid of Lick, they easily killed the ant, which vanished about thirty seconds later.

Cal pointed out that the crazy old druid and the stag lord bore a distinct resemblance to each other. It wasn’t immediately apparent to me that this ragged, filthy, emaciated guy could look like the burly outlaw chief, but there is some resemblance. Could it be that the stag lord overthrew his father, imprisoning him here beneath his lair. It is perhaps a lesson to me, that a son struggling against his father is in danger of becoming like him. Returning to the surface we explored more, gathering all the valuables. At the back of the camp we found a long disused secret passage out of the fort. We decided to hide the heavier plunder there, so that no returning bandits would find it. We healed Ocks, so as the bring him around and had Akiros talk to him to calm him down. I then tried talking to him, to see if I could make him more friendly. He really is like a small child. Treating him kindly and joining in his games was enough to get him to be more friendly. He loves playing with toy knights and since I told him that we are knights on a knightly quest he seems to like me. The others seem not to have any interest in dealing with a simpleton. Gore lacks the patience, Cal probably considers it beneath him and as for Aramil; who knows. I don’t mind. He could become a useful ally.

Gozran X+1

After a good night’s rest we cleared the area of zombies. There were only another 4 lying in wait, which was a bit of a surprise. We then explored the area around the north bank of the Tuskwater. We didn’t find anything of interest and Akiros wasn’t very forthcoming with information about the area. The reason he gave for betraying the stag lord was simply because he didn’t want to be on the losing side. I’m trying not to let my feelings be known but I really don’t trust this man. Something tells me that treason is second nature to him and he may well be the most evil of all the stag lord’s band.

Gozran X+2

Travelling north we reached Sootscale’s tribe and had a chance to catch up with our old friend. The Kobolds seem quite friendly to us, but reluctant to let other strangers stay in their lair. I like these guys. I’m really glad we were able to form a peaceful settlement with them. I just hope whatever Rostlanders settle the area honour our agreement with them. We have decided to bring the stag lord to Nettles before returning to Oleg’s.

Gozran X+3

We reached Nettles’ crossing and ringing the bell we summoned the zombie Davik Nettles. We showed him the staglord and asked if he needed the whole body or if we could keep the head, so as to claim the bounty on it. Actually Cal said that it was so that others who had suffered from his evil could be put to rest. That was a little white lie, but that is not the sort of thing that a Paladin should do surely. Yet more reason to doubt that he is really a paladin, but if he wants to claim a more noble title than he deserves, who am I to care. He is still clearly a good, honourable man, even if he has fallen from grace. Nettles repeated that we should cast his body into the river, so we decapitated it and threw it into the river. Nettles gave a final ghostly sigh and sank into the water. A few seconds later a ranseur rose out of the water and drifted to the banks. None of us use polearms, but it is an interesting and useful weapon. Clearly this is Nettles’ reward to us for helping his soul gain rest. We then went north a bit, past the lone tree where we found the wizard’s stash, before camping.

Gozran X+4

Another uneventful and dry night followed and a quiet voyage back to Oleg’s. On the way I decided to ask our prisoner about Kesten Garess. I figure that out of spite he would be likely to spill any dirt he knew about Kesten. He admitted to his theft, as Kesten had told us, and also told an interesting tale. Apparently, Kesten had been cast out from his family for having a relationship with a common born weaver’s daughter. This was why Kesten was working in Restov as a mercenary. I had been wary of his motives before. An aristocrat from house Garess in Rostland might be an obstacle for whoever settles this area, but a man who put’s love before status is ok by me. I wonder what happened to his young lady.

We arrived shortly after midday and handed Falgrim Sneeg over to Kesten. Kesten was glad at having the traitor in his hands and took him away to vent his anger on him, both verbally and physically. We left him for a while before asking about the bounty. Gore asked for a composite bow with a 300lb draw weight, the very limit of the power which he could draw. Cal asked for a greatsword and since I have all the weapons I could need I asked for another powerful bow, for Cal to use on the occasions when he might need to. Aramil insisted that he didn’t need anything and so Kesten very generously offered to pay the cost for the double axe which Gore had just ordered back when we took out the bounty. It seems a bit unfair that Gorefang should get gold and a weapon, whilst Aramil gets nothing, but I guess that worldly belongings mean little to a druid. I really don’t get Aramil. Sometimes he seems like such a selfless idealist, whilst at others he is brutally pragmatic. I’m just glad we had him and Lick around for this quest. There is still no sign of Red Lotus. I wonder where she got to. Oleg had the darkwood shield which I had ordered as well as a note from Jhod saying that we would need a lot more labourers and a proper architect to restore the temple. I think he is having far grander ideas about what to do with the site than I did. I’ll probably return from Restov in a week or so and discuss this with him. I have decided to give Oleg an edited copy of the map, which he is no doubt going to sell to other visitors to the area. Although it is probably worth lots I see no reason to ask anything for it. I may never see him again but it is best to leave a favourable impression when departing an area.

Gozran X+5

Since we have mapped everywhere that we can, other than a small section beyond an unfordable river we are returning to restov with word of our findings. We should get there in another day. There was a bit of light rain today, but nothing worth worrying about.

Gozran X+6

Today our quest was completed, but it does seem now that our quest of the last few months was merely the prologue to a far greater undertaking. After arriving at Restov we made our way to the council hall of the swordlords. After waiting a while and explaining to some officials about why it would be a bad idea to leave Lick outside we were met by the same swordlord who gave us our initial charter. I believe he is the lord mayor, although his name escapes me at the moment. He was pleased by the map and by our success. I don’t think he was impressed by Cal ejaculating the stag lords decaying head onto the floor of the palatial building. He gave us a reward of 5000 gold pieces for the defeat of the stag lord. Even more importantly he also decided, based on our success in the area, to give us another charter. This one offered us the right to establish a new country in the Greenbelt, with the recognition and support of Restov. They are giving us supplies, specialists and a large number of colonists, whilst encouraging more to continue to join us. I still don’t feel like it is real but it seems as though I’ve stumbled into getting my own kingdom.

We spent most of the night celebrating (with the stag lord’s booze) and discussing plans for our fledgling kingdom. I don’t want to be a monarch, because it would be too much of a temptation. The others seem happy to establish an oligarchy, run by a council of equals. Or at least they were once Gore realised that an Oligarchy was not an Oleg-archy and that I did not want Oleg to be king. Since Oleg’s post has a lack of natural supplies we realised that the best location to establish a capital for our new country would be at Goreford. Gore definitely liked that idea, and is keen on keeping the name as it is. I then had a wonderful nice warm bath before finally going to sleep. Treasure!

Gozran X+7

Today was spent shopping. I never enjoyed shopping quite as much as this before. Cal knows the most about the price of gems and jewellery, so we let him haggle with merchants about the value of our assorted treasures. The total value of all our goods, including the magic items, was more again than the bounty on the stag lord. I then set out to convert it into something more portable. My first purchase was a magic quiver. I had hoped to have a quiver of infinite arrows, but the closest any enchanters can make is one which holds 60, but also holds several bows or spears. Since business had been slow he was able to get to work on it right away. One of the enchanters also had an enchanted breastplate in stock., which I bought for myself. I asked him how much it would cost to have a ring of swimming made for myself. Apparently they cost 2500 gold! With that price in mind I persuaded another enchanter to trade my ring in exchange for him enchanting my bow. Since it would only cost him 1000 gold, which is less than half the cost of the ring, and because I have become quite good at reasoned argument, he agreed to do the work for me. It’s nice that this bow which I set out with will continue to be my greatest treasure. Hopefully it will serve me well throughout the forging of our new nation.

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Down with the Stag Lord!

... Much discussion ensued about exactly what our plans to kill the Stag Lord (Dun dun DER) might entail. None of it was particularly complex, or required too much deception, but Aramil made the good point that trying to bluff our way in would probably end badly with the shiny paladin along (Hurr, Hurr). In the end, we agreed that some scouting was in order, followed by informed planning rather than mucking about at Olegs with silly ideas.

So, off we rode to the south. We set up camp at the goldmine. I really need to work out a way to profit from this place.

During Gore’s watch, ANOTHER Tatzelwurm sneaked up on the horses. We need to work on training those guys to take care of themselves. I woke as soon as the fighting began, and ran outside, but I only had time to watch Gore chasing the badly injured wurm for a few seconds before Naias finished it with an arrow. Apparently he had reacted quickly enough to save hte horse, and quickly beat the thing back. Aramil then used that wand of healing (need to get me one of those. I’m fairly sure I can figure out how it works) to fix up my horse, who was quite pleased.

<insert>

So, onwards to the Stag Lord’s (Dun dun DER) camp.

We head towards Goreford, and the only event of the day was a lone wolf eating it’s prey beside the path we were following. Gore growled, it ran off. Boring. At least the loot from the Stag Lord’s (Dun dun DER) camp will be good, I hope.

<insert>

So. In the afternoon, we explore further south, following the river. We see a lake in the distance to the south, and a small walled camp with 3 guard towers and a keep. Its on top of a cleared hill, but appalingly laid out, so shouldnt be hard to storm. A small disagreement on how to proceed ensues, then we agree to go over the walls at night.

So, Night-time rolls round, and off we trundle to storm the castle. Hurrah. In case we’re rumbled, Naias prepares an arrow with a small note complaining about how whatever bandit it’s found in gave his woman (Kressel? Someone they killed before I got here, I think) crabs. Cant blame him for trying.

We sneak forwards, using the scattered rocks on the slope for cover. Suddenly, Zombies! Four of them. From the ground. Quite a good trap, I have to admit. Anyway. Lick reacts quickly, as usual, and has a go at one, tripping it to the floor, while aramil ponces around with some magic. Gore removes a second zombie rather efficiently, and naias shoots one. The fourth shambles forwards, and i’m so busy being impressed by the trap, I forget to block. Ow. Meanwhile, Naias’ one heads for him and flails at him ineffectually, while lick plays with his food. I give mine a good chopping, but it manages to stay up, while Gore removes the one attacking Naias. Naias then shoots the guard out of the tower overlooking our direction before he can raise the alarm (he appeared to be too busy laughing at us falling for the trap, teach him). I distract my zombie with a cunning distraction, but manage to distract myself too, and fail to seize the advantage. Bleh. Lick takes advantage anyway and ends the zombie for me.

We move on closer to the walls, and get most of the way before, you guessed it, Suddenly, Zombies! Again.

Lick trips one again, Naias appears to have noticed that his arrows had little effect on the things last time, so hits one with his axe. Gore removes one again, I stab one. Lick plays with his food again, Naias gets hit by his zombie, while mine flails. Better choice of zombie this time, I suspect. We quickly finish them off, Gore getting the last blow before they can manage to get any more attacks in. Silly zombies. We appear to have managed to do this quietly, as the only reaction from the camp is someone below us calling drunkenly to be quiet (well, the guards heard nothing, so its all good).

We get to the wall. Naias throws my grappling hook (with attached rope) up onto the tower, and scales the wall with ease. I hear the gentle sound of the bowstring as he kills another of the sentries, and Gore follows him up. At this point, however, the last sentry appears to have noticed the second one’s death, and calls out to his comrades, apparently unsure if they’re okay. There is some mucking around trying to get Naias a shot, and eventually he is heaved into midair, takes a shot at the last guard, hits him, but fails to kill him. Obviously, the alarm is called at this point, so me, Aramil, and Lick quickly cross the wall and move to try to deal with the barracks which appeared to be in this area. It, however, had no entrance from here. We all quickly move round the keep to the only entrance it has, and ready ourselves to storm it.

Gore runs into the entrance, and roars, at least one bandit looks somewhat taken aback by this, and most of them are still grabbing their gear. Naias shoots one bandit, Gore charges another and kills him. The bandits try an assortment of attacks on Gore, but fail. Lick charges in and takes the scared one (turns out to be the guys who we can capture and take back for money) to the floor, while I charge another and engage him.

A very large chap drops in from above in between us and Naias, roars in a somewhat pitiful way, and gets shot twice by Naias. Smart chap, this. Gore drops another bandit, and then one hiding at the back nips accross the room and opens a grate. Scary, right?

Lick wounds the guy he is attacking quite badly, although doesnt kill him, while aramil smacks the large chap around a bit. I charge and kill the last remaining ordinary bandit.

Another bandit comes down some stairs from above, looks at the scene, and rips off his Stag Lord (Dun dun DER) amulet, then moves to attack the guy at the grate.

The big guy drops to his knees and begs for mercy, which showed more intelligence than I thought, while Naias’ arrows and Gore’s Axe quickly down the guy at the grate. He was useful.

But then, an owlbear charges out from the grate at Gore, although failing to do anything worthwhile.

Aramil knocks the big guy unconcious, while Lick bites the Owlbear’s vulnerable parts for massive damage. Go Lick.

I Cant get at the owlbear, and the bandits are all down (or changing sides), so I ready myself in case of suprise. The traitor bloke takes a swing at the owlbear but doesnt do much, while Naias hits the owlbear with one arrow. Then he hits Gore, because he’s still not perfect with that bow. Gore responds by smacking the owlbear with both ends of his axe. It looks horribly injured and close to death, but manages to grapple Gore, so I throw my dagger at it, but miss.

From Nowhere, the Stag Lord (Dun dun DER) appears from the shadows and takes a shot at Naias. It misses. Not so scary after all (also, drunk).

Lick kills the owlbear, while Aramil quickly wands Gore to heal his wounds. Traitor bloke looks rather angry and charges the Stag Lord. Naias then shoots the Stag Lord, but fumbles trying to shoot too quickly and drops his bow. Gore charges the Stag Lord and hits him, while I try to nip past the melee into position to cut off the Stag Lord’s retreat. He turns out to be faster than expected, and trips me on my way past. He then steps back, and tries to shoot the traitor, forgetting that the large Gore can hit him from there, and hence getting a smack for his troubles, although one of his shots managed to hit the traitor anyway. Lick nips into the fight and has a go at the Stag Lord, but it less effective against him than previous opponents.

Aramil heals Gore again, while the traitor smacks the Stag Lord another good blow, and Naias recovers his bow and hits with another (slower) arrow. I get up from the floor and move into position to attack the Stag Lord, but while i’m readying myself, he decides taking a potion is clever, and tries to sneak it down without getting a stab. Needless to say, Gore and Lick dont like that idea, so kill him rather resoundingly for his trouble…

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the tatzelwyrms and the unicorn

Extract from Naias’ journal

Gozran X

It has been nearly six weeks since we took the charter to explore this territory and it seems as though our mission may soon be drawing to a close. We have managed to resolve Jhod’s quest and I believe that we have found favour with Erastil. It is always good to have a god on your side when planning some great undertaking. I’d estimate that we should have completed our exploration by the end of the month, and two months to explore and map 4,320 square miles of monster and bandit infested wilderness seems like fairly decent progress. There is no doubt that it was a good idea to accept this commission. No amount of drill and training could have caused my skills to improve as much as pushing myself through life and death situations. I have become faster and more accurate with my bow and have got the hang of judging the movements of people in battle, so that I can time my shots to hit only foes, not friends. I’m almost as effective with it now as Gorefang is with his axe, although it is clear that he has been improving rapidly too. I honestly haven’t noticed much change in the others. Cal is still clumsy and seems no more skilled whilst Aramil is too far overshadowed by Lick for his own skills to be obvious. Lotus seems no more effective, but her singing is starting to be a bit more tuneful, although it is still really irritating at times. Having allies who I can rely on going to be a great boon in the future. When the time is right I think I will confide in a few of them about my goal and see whether I can get their aid. Cal will help, as it is the sort of quest that would appeal to a paladin, and my friend Gorefang is always up for a good fight. With her strong feminist militancy, I think I can count on Lotus too, despite our occasional differences. I’m not sure about Aramil though. I think that the condescending druid likes us, but he seems to be more interested in keeping us from doing unnecessary harm than in performing acts of heroics. I have a feeling that when we leave this area he will go his own way.

My acts of devotion to Erastil have also served to help me in gathering a warband. The mercenaries I’m hiring to protect the workers, repairing the temple, may become the start of my band. If I can persuade Johd to aid us, then having a Cleric of Erastil would be invaluable. It seems I may have also found a way to finance things for myself as well. The prospector who I had hired has reported that there is indeed gold in the gold mine and ores containing silver in the silver mine. The old saying about needing a gold mine to pay for a silver mine need not apply in this case, as the Kobold tunnels in the old mine already go deep enough to reach the ore we need to remove. I have told the others about this, because another act of generosity on my part should help bring us closer together. Having lent Gore the money to buy a breastplate and given Cal the other which I had bought I have already made them indebted to me. Besides which, money is of no use unless you spend it. I’m not sure if we will be able to start work in the mine without attracting the attention of the stag lord, but there is no reason Why a few silver miners could not be escorted to the Kobolds, to teach them how to extract and process the ore. With trade established the Kobolds should become a lawful part of the local community and they may prove to be useful allies.

I have decided to keep the ring hidden. Having a magical ring of swimming could be of use to me whenever I need to cross rivers, but if the others have cause to detect magic and notice it on me it will cause me to fall in their standing. Since I know now, from the events at the cairn that the magicians cannot detect magical barriers through solid objects, I decided to get myself a small lead lined box in which to keep the ring until I need it or decide what best to do with it. Oleg doesn’t have anything suitable in stock, so I’ve left the ring with Svetlana for safe keeping, for now.

Gozran X+1

Having had a good night’s sleep in a warm bed we have set out once again to the south. I really am starting to become a creature of habit. Even here in Oleg’s guest house I found myself waking up just before dawn, at the time when my watch usually begins. Lotus has been persuaded to trade in her pony and buy a riding horse, so that she will no longer be slowing the rest of us down. We acquired a few bits of wood and painted a small sign to leave in the gold mine, in order to stake our claim to the land before this area is annexed by Brevoy. It doesn’t seem safe to try mining there when a large bandit group are living in those hills. We have decided that we should go after the bandits first, before mapping the remainder of the area. I think there is a good chance that the old Verician that Kestin Garess is offering us 4 masterwork weapons for, Falgrin Sneed, may be with the stag lord. We reached the mine without event and have made camp. There was an amusing interlude when Gore started discussing possible names for our adventurer band. Such ideas as the stag party, the order of the lick and Plan B were suggested, but we decided to wait until we had completed some memorable deed before seeking a name for ourselves. One thing this does mean is that Gorefang intend for us to remain together doing heroic deeds even after our charter is fulfilled. This is ideal as it fits my plans too.

Gozran X+2

The night passed uneventfully and we continued to the old rickety bridge across the thorn river. Going across on foot one at a time, whilst Lotus stayed with our horses, we were able to search the far bank, but found nothing of interest. It seems odd to have spent a whole afternoon without Lotus’ endless singing. That’s probably why we are hardly seeing any creatures whilst travelling. That stupid woman is alerting them to our presence long before we get to them. Her voice may be scaring the animals, but if she is back with us again when we get close to the bandits, we really need to get her to shut up.

Gozran X+3

We returned across the bridge to rejoin Lotus and to finish searching the north bank of the Thorn. I’ve decided to name this bridge the Red Lotus bridge, because it’s unstable and makes a lot of noise. I’m glad Lotus was fine. She may be an annoying, opinionated, highly strung, noisy, idealistic dizzy little airhead, but she’s also strangely likeable. We followed the river to where the thorn joins the shrike. Apparently the Shrike flows all the way from Restov, but the rapids upriver make it unsuitable for river trade. Near were the two rivers meet we found a wide, shallow area which was easily fordable on horseback. I decided to name this place Goreford. We crossed over and are now charting southwest of the thorn. The Shrike is now flowing southeast, which means we are on the north bank of it. I can’t recall which river the bandit said the stag lord’s camp is to the north of, but I believe it is now south of us.

Gozran X+4

The weather has continued to be dry and it is becoming a little warmer, which is nice as none of us have yet decided to invest in a tent. As far as I can tell from the maps we have been making, we are now as far south as our charter requires us to explore. Rather than following the river to the south my companions have decided to finish our job and map the western area of the stolen lands. After a few hours we reached a deep valley, filled with berry bushes. These must be the berries which the old hermit had wanted. I don’t remember what he said the berries were, but these look like fangberry bushes. It is going to be hard to pick them without getting lots of cuts all over ourselves. Aramil pointed out that it would be best to get the berries to the hermit when they are fresh, so we are going to come back and pick them later.

Gozran X+5

Continuing west, we have entered the forest. After a while, the sounds of yipping attracted us to a pit trap into which one of those brush thylacine creatures seemed to be caught. The edge of the pit was unstable, but we avoided falling in. It would have been easy to finish off the creature, but this seemed like a great opportunity to win points with Aramil and so I proposed rescuing it, which he fully supported. We were unable to calm the creature, but I lassoed and hauled it out of the pit. As he tried to remove the rope from it the creature bit Gore viciously and then ran off. No good deed goes unpunished, it would seem. We are rangers. We hunt wild animals. It really is a bit frustrating to be going out of our way to be nice to them, just to keep the druid happy. The new wand of healing proved useful though.

Gozran X+6

After another uneventful night we continued west and reached another small river. This one is probably the river which begins at the hot springs were we had fought the giant frogs. When I get back to Oleg’s I’ll ask if there is a name for this river. The river meandered through this area and looked too deep to ford at the point where we found it. Cal’s folding pole does seem to be useful for things like checking rivers. Travelling north, following the river, we came to an area where a few small debris strewn islands were scattered across the river. The water was much shallower and it was easily fordable. On one of the islands a tatzelwyrm was sunning itself. This was a great opportunity as Oleg had offered us a large reward if we could bring him a tatzlewyrm head.

I moved to the edge of the tree-line, from where I could safely get a good shot. The tatzelwyrm stirred and started moving towards us. I shot it, but them my rather reckless companions decided to rush forward. Being extremely nimble, Lick was able to reach it quickly but for once the cat had bitten off more than it could chew. Another tatzelswyrm had been hidden under the rubble. The two of them attacked lick from either side. Before anyone else could reach them the tatzelwyrms had both bitten lick. One of them took him in its jaws, lifting lick into the air, shaking him violently and raking him with its claws. It then dropped the cat’s broken body and turned to face my companions. When I tried to shoot it, to avenge Lick I must have overdrawn as my bowstring snapped. (It might have been from water damage over the last few weeks or from being kept strung so long. I’ll need to wax my new string more often and unstring it at night to prevent this happening again.) Cal got bitten pretty badly by one of the wyrms but Gorefang cleaved one in half in a single blow with his axe. He truly has become quite formidable. The other wyrm tried to slither away, but I drove Perry forward across the river and cut it down.

Aramil was able to save Lick’s life with our wand of healing. He had been lucky. If Cal hadn’t interrupted the wyrm, causing it to drop Lick before he was completely dead, we would have lost as valuable companion. The wand was also presumably used for healing Cal too, but I was not paying attention. At the time I was more interested in a skeleton which I had noticed buried under the rubble. Digging it out I found that it was wearing a very fine suit of scale armour and nearby was an extremely well balanced cold iron broadsword. We gave the sword to Cal, as it seems like just the sort of thing which a paladin should use. The armour is apparently magical, but Gore was reluctant to touch it until we could determine what the enchantment is. He seems to be extremely fearful of it being some sort of cursed item, which I think is extremely unlikely. After pulling the skeleton out we also found a tattered pack containing some money and a scroll case. In the case was a map of the north western part of this land. Most of it is area that we have already mapped, but at least it confirmed that the river joins up where we expected. This person must have been another adventurer, hired to map these lands. Judging from his gear he was probably more experienced than ourselves, but had made the arrogant mistake of setting out alone. If I had not decided to join up with Gore when I left Restov it might have been me lying dead there now. Once again I find myself glad to have such talented friends. I decided to name the crossing Calford in honor of the heroic way that he tried to face down the two Tatzelwyrms and save Lick. More importantly, I want him to feel an attachment to this area. With a temple, as small mercenary band and a gold mine in the area I’d like to persuade them all to stay here and further chart the area, whilst we grow in wealth and prowess.

Gozran X+7

Our sleep was disturbed by the arrival of two Grigs, just before dawn. They said that they just wanted to say hello, because it was such a wonderful morning. Since I was up on watch anyway I was not bothered by the disturbance and was happy to chat with the irritating little critters whilst cooking some breakfast for the others. Gore was a bit more grumpy about the disturbance and tried to get back to sleep. We travelled west, to the furthest south western territory covered by our charter. We came across a marshy area which seemed to be unnaturally still. There was no sound of animals or birds and an ominous feeling of death seemed to pervade the very air. Moving forward we found a shallow pool with the body of a horse lying in it. On reflection I think the most unsettling thing was that there was not even the buzz of flies. At the time I didn’t realise why the silence had been so unsettling, but to find marshy ground and a corpse but no flies is extremely unnatural. At first we thought that this was simply a poisoned waterhole, but as I went closer I noticed that the horse was in fact a dead unicorn, whose horn had been removed.

All of us had heard tales of evil monsters and wizards seeking a unicorn’s horn for the magic properties which it holds but none of us knew exactly what properties those might be. A faint magical aura of some sort seemed to linger over the area, especially over the unicorn. I think that somehow the act of desecrating so pure and noble a creature as this unicorn had cursed the area. We discussed burying the unicorn, but none of us have any shovels and it would take a great deal of labour to do that. Cal is currently digging with a crowbar and a dagger, but I’m pretty certain that he’ll give up soon. We really need to get some shovels from Oleg. Preferable ones with folding handles, so as to be easier to handle. Aramil pointed out that we had heard weeks ago that the unicorn had not been seen for a long time. The body must have been here for months and yet it does not seem to have decayed. We resolved to somehow find the unicorn’s horn and return it. Johd probably knows more about this sort of thing than any of us, so we have resolved to go and ask him. The temple is close to the remaining uncharted sections of forest, so it is not out of our way. It’s probably just as well that we have a reason to head that way, as I will need to pay my workers and mercenaries in a week or so. On the way we can even stop off at the statue of Erastil and pray once again for his blessing. I don’t know when, but at some point in the last few weeks the enchantment which he placed on our weapons dissipated.

Gore is acting a bit strangely. He says that he can feel some sort of power awakening in him. It is probably just the unnatural aura of this place getting to him.

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Bears, Fey, and Temples, Oh my.

So, we took the bandit captive. Then Naias and Aramil negotiated some sort of agreement for him to spy for us, while I was muttering to myself about not being able to kill him. I saw Aramil handing the bandit 2 gold, which seems to be more than he’d make in a good month normally, but then, not my money (yet). Then we finished mapping the area (sadly, nothing else to kill), and set up camp for the night.

21st: Today we explored to the west. While mapping, Naias spotted something that wasnt there, and we all looked for it. This broke the monotony of the trees, however. Some time later, Gor’s Horse set off a clumsy tripwire trap, which wouldnt have hurt much more than his pride anyway. Some time later, some bear tracks showed up, we talked about it, and then carried on as normal, because we’re like that. We made camp, but the fire went out, and the bear decided to arrive in the odd smoke the fire made. Then it fell asleep. Then some crazy beast-thing and it’s pet talking dragon show up and think we’re bandits. We tell them we’re not, they share some stories with Red. Yay. Eventually, we manage to get to bed and sleep.

22nd: We move on west today. The only highlight was some idiot (possibly the chap with the trap from before) caught in his own deadfall. He had a particularly nice axe, which I took.

23rd: We move on North-East. There are plenty of bear-traps, one of which I set off to convince the others that i’m really a paladin. Must remember to do that without hurting myself in future, despite the druid’s help. We proceeded to collect a few more traps, and then camp.

24th: We finish clearing out the traps in the area. In the last, is a Boar. When I went to put it out of it’s misery, its mate charged from the underbrush, and the boar gored me while i was distracted. Doing miserably recently. Anyway, the druid’s spells, Naias’ arrows, and Gor’s Axe deal reliably with the boars. At least the idiot trapper has run out of traps by now.

25th: Boring day, headed back towards Oleg’s.

26th: More travelling. Yawn. This adventuring lark isnt very reliable money. Thinking about heading back to the city.

27th: After returning to Oleg’s, me and Naias headed out and negotiated buying some radishes from those Kobolds. Turns out we made a massive profit. Maybe there’ll be more people out here to scam like that. Also, Red managed to translate the stuff none of us could read. That Kobold Shaman bloke turned out to originally have been a Gnome. Rather angry gnome, not big on bravery. Pretty good scam artist, however.

28th: Along with the other shopping, Naias let me take the breastplate he’d ordered as it would be more use to a Paladin. Sucker. I’ll probably have to pay him back eventually, I guess, but hey. Jhod got back today, too, so we’re off to the temple tomorrow.

29th: We trundled off and did more mapping. Found a bandit camp, but Naias, Gor, and Jhod cleared that before we even got to Oleg’s. No loot to be had.

30th: We do more mapping. Yawn.

1st: We found the temple today! It was quite impressive, but ruined and somewhat dreary. Also, occupied by a bear. Which didnt like us, apparently. It charged us, but was no match for my mighty new shield (Bought from Oleg, but I forgot that at the time). We assortedly beat it up, without meaning to kill it, because it seemed un-natural. When it was knocked out it turned out to be a man. He disolved, oddly. Apparently he was some blasphemous priest of Erastil, Jhod’s and this temple’s god. Must remember not to annoy Sarenrae too much. The temple seemed to look much brighter once the bear was gone, however, and the pool in the middle of the area is apprently healing now, not that we need it, after my shield doing its work. Good buy, that.

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In the Kobold Mines and beyond
Aramil's thoughts and fears

So there we were in the cavern standing over the dead shaman with the Kobold Chief Sootscale.

I had only heard bad things about kobolds but it turns out that they can be pretty grateful -if nothing else. The chief gave us Svetlana’s ring -this was apparently important, something my new comrades had been seeking since they left civilisation.

Sootscale also gave us a bag of loot from the Mites, Cal was pretty sure that this had originally come from the bandits who had in turn stolen it from Oleg. The bag contained a range of coins and a pouch. Red took a look at the contents and so did I. Red was unsure but I think that we had just been given a dust of illusion. Not the sort of thing to test out in a hurry. Probably best to keep quiet on that one and wait until we get to a wizard who can tell us once and for all.

Nais started trying to invest in Sootscale’s mine, and become the high trader of the tribne, rings were involved, convoluted yes, dishonest -probably. I am not sure what this would mean or bring to the area.

At this point Red began singing. She did not stop. Ever.

We bedded down with our new loot and rested. Cal had a good idea, we borrowed a kobold guide who showed us around the area and told us the bandits camped somewhere to the South. So, we headed North, of course. Perhaps it was North East. We stopped to watch some enormous Elks graze besides a river, there was no need to hunt these beasts and I restrained the party from trying to slay them. We moved on along the river and found a more or less ruined bridge, just a rope across and no planks.

Looking around Cal found a sign “Nettles’ Crossing” and a bell. Ding! Ding! Ding! before any time had passed a zombie arose from the water. “Nettles” pointed to the ruins of a house where he had lived, the Stag Lord had killed him and he thirsted for vengeance -his runnig river would never sate his thirst. Nais committed us to exacting the Stag Lord’s death and Nettle sank back into the waters.

Nais lashed himself together and began crossing the river, safely across he went “scouting”. He returned sccreaming and we watched with interest, nothign happened and he clambered back over. He is indeed very strange. We took time to rest.

Heading North West we watched Red get baited by Nais…this was more interesting than the hills. Then Cal found a claw shaped tree -blasted by lightning. However it was I who found a dark hollow in the roots, the earth had recently been dug over. A cloak buried there had a orange tipped wand, a fine dagger, a silver ring and a tattered spell book within. Red took the dagger and the wand -it would let her cast Burning Hands!

We rested again.

On the next day we headed East -the land was as empty as my pockets -so quite empty.

We rested yet again.

After all our travelling Nais took us North Westacross some very dull plains -where I found all the food! Nais then insisted we head North East.

By the Forest! This land was a desolate and miserable Wilderness!

Then A hut! With a crazy hermit! Named Bokken. He worked for this man named Oleg making potions. He offered us a deal on potions where if we brought some delicious berries for him to make seven potions with -he would give us a great deal.

He sold us some healing potions. Nais kept haggling -note to self, never make or sell anything in front of Nais.

We rested again.

On Nais’ watch a wolf thing attacked. Cal as the grand paladin he so assuredly is absolutely mangled it with his greatsword.

We rode back to Oleg’s -he was very grateful to the adventurers and by extension me. The news at Oleg’s trade post was that a Unicorn once regularly sighted had disappeared.

Nais and Gore kept wanting to industrialise the silver mine. I will oppose this. This is less about bringing peace and safety to the land as it is about money and taking.

There was also a wanted poster for Tusk Gutter -a massive boar in the area, a big bounty was offered by a retired hunter that had lost his leg to it. He offered his old bow and arrows -the arrows were reportedly enchanted and the bow as grand as any hunter should bear.

We headed West into the forest. We found a radish patch, I was not surprised when Nais began trying to trade the radishes with the kobolds we found there picking them. This man is a one man Trade Mission!

We continued along and were ambushed by several bandits, there is little to say other than we made short work of them…now we have one prisoner, I am grateful that I wear my own skin not his, once Gore gets through with him, I can’t see there being much left.

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Kobold Usurper
Third Session

From the pages of Gorefangs Diary

After our short rest, we were attacked by more Mites from above the chasm. Calandrel quickly jumped to the wall and started to climb, while Naias shot and killed one. A dart flew past Cal’s head, and I let out a cry of anger. My wounds were not yet fully healed, and I felt unable to aid my friends. Aramil, though still injured, started to also climb with Lick on his back. Red Lotus continued her ranged attack from the other side, as Cal lost his footing once more and fell back to the ground. I searched around for the dart that had been thrown, ready to use it as an alternative weapon should I be forced to remain on the chasm floor. Just then, Red shouted ‘There’s a large shape looming on the other side!” and she let forth another stream of acid. She must have hit the shape, as all of a sudden, a loud chittering sound echoed around the walls. As Cal reached into his pack, muttering something about caltrops, I decided to begin climbing the wall myself to offer aid to Aramil. The druid had finally reached the top of the wall, and I heard Lick growl and pounce as Aramil shouted “It’s a Giant Tick!” Red fired another of her acid shots across, and I could hear a mite scream in agony before going quickly silent (she later told me she had melted the mite-rider of the tick). From his station below, Naias let fly another arrow, and Cal had discovered a grappling hook in his pack, which he apparently didn’t know how to use properly (his first attempt missed the edge completely). The battle above continued as Red and Naias attacked from afar, and finally I reached the edge. The creature was more repulsive than I had imagined, and I saw Aramil laying on the ground. I instantly rushed to attack it with my axe, but no sooner had I done so than 4 more mites attacked from a nearby tunnel. Lick and the Tick fought, but the jaguar proved to be much more than the Tick could handle, and it quickly fell. Two of the mites moved in to attack while two more stayed back. They opened their eyes wide and I could see Lick was shaken by them. As I fought the two mites, I grabbed one and threw it off the edge. Unfortunately, I had misjudged Cal’s abilities with the grappling hook, and the mite met with him as he had (so far) been successfully scaling the wall. They both fell, and though the fall had killed the mite, Cal proved that paladins are made of far sturdier stuff than evil faeries. Naias took his place on the rope and within seconds, had scaled the wall to join us.

As me, Naias and lick finished off the mites, Cal soon joined, and as Red made her way down into the chasm to join us on the other side, we took stock of the new room. Along the edges of the room were pegs with small clothes hanging on them, and in the middle was a small table with a red and white cloth. Roots, dirt and rock covered the table in what looked to be a map of the area around the mite’s lair. There was also a strange ivory carving on the table of a crouching, horned lizard-like creature. Under the statue was what appeared to be a list written in the mites language. These things seemed important, so we took them with us.

Somewhere within the hollow, we could hear the screams of a creature. It sounded as if it was being tortured. We quickly headed towards the sound, upwards through a tunnel in the wall/ We came to a large, damp room filled with broken objects that must have been stolen by the mites. Six mites. We instantly attacked and overran them, killing them all within seconds. More came and after seeing their slaughtered friends, they dropped their weapons and raised there arms in defeat. We tied them up and had them escort us through the rest of the caverns to the source of the screaming. At this point, Red Lotus chose to voice her opinions on the nature of good an evil. There was a brief discussion on the ideals of nature versus choice, that was quickly ended when we remembered about the tortured soul in the mites possession.

We entered the final room and found 3 mites torturing a helpless kobold, the bodies of two more lay broken on the ground. In anger, I charged at the nearest one and killed it in a single swipe. Naias’ arrow found the head of the lead torturer, and Cal rushed to kill the third. The kobold was grateful of his rescue and he introduced himself as Mikmek. When he saw the ivory statue in our possession, he was overjoyed. It seems that the statue is a depiction of the local kobold’s god. We decided to rest up and return Mikmek and the statue to the kobolds the next day. Much to Mikmeks dismay, we decided to release the captured mites and scare them away. I hope they don’t cause too much trouble where-ever they end up.

10th of Pharast 4710 (Oathday)

We started out early and took our time to cover the land between the mite’s home and the kobold’s. Mikmek eventually lead us to an old mine. The sign read “Oaktop Silvermine” and outside stood a kobold sentry on watch near a caged mite. Mikmek and the guard started talking quickly in their language (strange, yet oddly familiar), and the guard seemed unwilling to let us enter. Naias and Aramil suggested I show the guard the statue, so I pulled it out and were instantly hurried down into the mine.

The passageway was small and cramped, and our guide stopped several times to point out traps to us. Soon, we entered into a large chamber, the walls of which were covered in blood and charcoal in decorative pictures. We were lead into the main cavern, a space filled with beds and cooking areas. Thick warm air surrounded us as kobold children started to crowd around us. We were lead to a kobold covered in ornamental armour who took the statue from us and gazed at it in glee. The kobolds cheered as he rose it high, and I felt a small amount of pride for having returned an important item to these simple creatures.

Suddenly, the leader threw the statue to the floor where it smashed. The cavern went quiet as we stared in disbelief. The leader introduced himself as Sootscale and told us that the god was a tyrant god that would hold sway no-more over his tribe. He spoke to the other kobolds, rallying them round and asked us to help remove the shaman, Tartek, who had been taking over the tribe using fear of the god. Before we could answer, he was leading us deeper into the cave. We rounded a corner and saw a large metal boiling pot, bubbling over with a strange water. Over it was a purple-scaled kobold in ritual dress, a raven hovering around him. Without hesitation, Sootscale charged forward with a cry of “Die Usurper!” and attacked Tartek. Tartek seemed ready, and quickly hit the chieftain with a sickle. Naias moved to flank Tartek, while I moved to cut off his exit. Cal moved into combat to help Sootscale, who’s blows were being deflected by a magical shield. Red attacked from the entrance and hit through the shaman. I saw this as my chance and with a mighty roar, I bore my axe down upon Tartek’s head and cleaved the evil shaman in two. The raven, seeking revenge, began to peck at my face, by a quick arrow from Naias pinned it to the wall.

The kobolds cheered and Sootscale thanked us. Aramil checked the shamans body and found several magical tools, which we gave to Red. The kobolds welcomed us to stay the night, and we took up their offer. As we lay in the caves, a final thought came into my head before I fell asleep. After all the trouble we had gone to clearing out the mites nest and returning the kobold, we had forgot about Svetlana’s Ring!

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