GM: Jim Dugger
Players: Mark Daymude (Mitsu the Monk)
Rachel Sandrock (Anya the Elven Wizard)
Jim Davenport (Dibly the Rogue)
Chris Kludy (Ventros of St. Cuthbert)
Mike Steiner (Lance of the Wood?)
"Let's kick this pig!" (Let's get the campaign started)
We began our story travelling with a caravan south to the trading mecca of Endhome. Mitsu, Anya, Dibly, and Ventros were paid guards for the caravan and had struck up a friendship on the road.
The Shining City of Endhome was home to over 35 thousand people, the vast majority of whom were human though the odd elf, dwarf or hobbit had been seen at times. They had a standing army of some 3,500 soldiers which is not unusual for the area. The soldiers spent their time garrisoning the city, in training, patrolling the countryside or on rest leave. The city was a "free city", which means taxes and tariffs were in force :-). It was ruled by a city Council of some sort. Tourism brochures for Endhome listed it as the "Trading Capital of all the Land".
The day was April 25th, Year 2265 since the fall of the Old Empire. The caravan was making its way down the established North Road and expected to reach Endhome within a few hours. The air was fresh from a light rain earlier, but the sun had broken out. Gartham, the rotund owner, and his sycophantic sons-in-law were sleeping in the wagon carrying bolts of wool. Our heroes were spread along the six wagons keeping watch in the morning light. (Ventros - wagon 1, Dibly - wagon 2, Anya - wagon 5, Mitsu - wagon 6) Burly teamsters kept the draft horses moving even through the few areas of mud left from spring rains.
When the horses drawing the lead wagon fell together, the worst was feared: a broken leg laming the horse. A teamster dropped to the ground to check the horse and Dibly, fearing ambush, dropped off the second wagon. He could see that some sort of rope had been stretched across the road.
"Ambush!" called Dibly as arrows flew from the scrub west of the road. Anya and two teamsters were struck, killing the men and wounding the elf. Three ugly brutes crashed out of the brush and charged toward the rear wagon.
Ventros grabbed his crossbow and let a bolt fly but it missed. Dibly drew his rapier and ran down the line of wagons toward the enemy. Anya dropped on the far side of her wagon to gain cover and gave herself enchanted armor. Mitsu charged up to meet the brutes and slapped one hard with his manly fist. The teamsters dropped off their wagons, taking cover and moving cautiously toward the rear wagon. ("Protect the hot chick!") The brutes reached the rear wagon and began to desperately hack away at the ropes holding the goods down. This was apparently a "smash and grab" style attack.
More arrows flew from the brush but either flew long or thunked into the goods in the wagons. Ventros spotted the hiding archers and killed one with his next bolt. Dibly reached the brutes at the rear wagon and expertly skewered one, thrusting his rapier into its heart. Anya drew her bow but the bowstring snapped. Mitsu's opponent dodged his blows. Teamsters converged on the rear wagon.
The surviving brute at the wagon slashed desperately at Dibly, but missed. Arrows from the scrub flew close to Anya, but missed her. Ventros and Dibly were unable to harm their opponents. Anya let magic fire fly and hurt another brute archer. Mitsu struck his opponent, breaking its neck.
Arrows again narrowly missed Anya as the brute archers tried to kill her. Ventros and Dibly continued to prove themselves ineffective. Anya attempted to enchant the one brute at the wagon, but fails to daze him. Mitsu missed his opponent. The teamsters killed the last brute at the wagon.
Their treacherous ambush foiled, the last two brute archers fled, but only one lived. Ventros slew one with an almost impossible shot from the lead wagon.
After dragging the dead marauders together, Anya recognized their tribal markings as those of hobgoblins, whose tribal lands lay to the west. They were young ones of the breed. Dibly assembled the items of value from the dead hobgoblins (5 longswords, 3 longbows, 50 good arrows, 5 sets of chainmail, 3sp, 12cp).
Luckily neither draft horse broke a leg in the trap and the caravan was ready to continue. The two fallen teamsters were wrapped carefully and laid in one of the wagons. Ventros called upon the grace of St. Cuthbert and Anya's wounds are healed.
By the noon hour, the caravan was approaching the north gate of Endhome. The road was crowded and another caravan was already making is slow way through the gate. It would be another hour before our caravan was processed. Endhome was quite a trading city, barring only slave-trade. They preferred to reap their tariffs off all sorts of goods from the region.
Finally, Gartham's caravan reached the gate guards and tariff masters. They took his declaration of goods and began inspecting the wagons. Gartham seemed on good, polite terms with the gate lieutenant. Mitsu told one of the guards (Franco) of the hobgoblin attack and we showed them the two teamsters who died. Apparenlty there had been another attack reported recently in the same area.
Tribes of Hobgoblins used to rule the lands north and west of the city, the heart of the Dusk Moon Hills. The soldiers of Endhome had killed or driven most of them out of the area, though remnants of those tribes remain in the hills. It seemed that our attackers were young warriors out to prove themselves with the raid.
The inspection finally completed and Gartham was able to lead his caravan into the city proper. Dibly was impressed by the tall two story buildings crowding the streets and the masses of people in the city. This was much more exciting than the village back home!
In parting, Gartham gave each of us our wages and then doubled them for our brave melee with the ambushers. 6 gold coins each passed hands. Dibly and Mitsu hauled the tied up bundle of weapons and armor off the wagon and prepared to sell them in the city.
Dibly talked to Franco to find out where to go to sell the spoils of battle. They are sent off to Alban's Armory. The Armory turned out to be a large, spacious building with an impressive array of gleaming weapons, armor, and shields lining its walls. Dibly found some racks of used weapons and noted that they are not sold at much of a discount over new.
Alonzo, an apprentice at the Armory, assisted us. Dibly haggled with him for awhile, neither giving much ground. Two longbows were claimed by Anya and Dibly, who split up the 50 arrows. Anya tossed her undependable shortbow in the "to be sold" pile. Ventros pulled one of the chain shirts out, giving up his scale mail in exchange. The remaining gear was sold at 75% of average shop price, garnering our heroes 458 gold pieces.
Alonzo gave us his recommendation for lodging as the King's Road Tavern (or just The King's for short). Located outside the sity walls along the... wait for it... King's Road, the tavern had reasonable prices and catered to travellers such as ourselves. We also learned of a few nicer places within the walls; the Black Sheep Inn which served the generally wealthy, and Heaven's Gate which served the opulantly wealthy, travellers, visiting nobility and the like with 50-60 rooms.
By midafternoon we'd reached the King's Road tavern and sat down to drink a pint of King's Home Ale (a dark ale). We decided to keep our spoils in a group treasury, which Dibly would keep track of. Where would we go from here?
Ventros lobbied for vengeance against the foul hobgoblins who had attacked us. Hearing no better ideas, the rest of the group generally went along with it. Our simple plan was to track the hobgoblins from the massacre site as far as well and set up an ambush.
Later that afternoon, Dibly and Anya headed back to the garrison by the north gate. Mitsu headed off to seek those of his order. Ventros sought a Temple to Saint Cuthbert.
Back at the North Gate, Dibly asked if Franco is still around. He was and we chatted with him. When asked about standing bounties for hobgoblins, Franco said there were none. There was only one standing bounty at that time, 500 gold coin for the head of the Green Tree Bandit leader, Fel Tarmick. Apparently the Green Tree Bandits had begun with aspirations of stealing from the undeserving rich and giving to the more deserving poor. Too soon, they determined that they themselves were the most deserving of what they stole. They'd harshly raided 12 caravans in the last 18 months.
Dibly invited Franco to share a drink with them that night. He then thought to ask about any wizard guilds or the like in town. In the northwest corner of the walled city stood the Endhome Wizard's Academy inside its own walls. Franco knew that Stylus Kant was its headmaster and that it supposedly had one of the best libraries in the world.
Dibly also discreetly asked if elves were okay in Endhome and he was assured that, though rare, elves, dwarves, and hobbits were welcome in the city. Races beyond that became problematic. Dibly thanked Franco before heading off with Anya to the Academy.
The Academy stood looming over a well-to-do area of town, full of governmental offices and the homes of the upper middle class. Anya was welcomed in though Dibly chose to remain outside and watched the locals. Anya was met by Rodrigo of the Grey Cloak (a human in his mid-30s), who welcomed her to the Academy.
With a few simple queries, Anya determined that there was no "membership" per se in the Academy, though there were fees for using the library or purchasing low-level potions or scrolls. As a wizard of good-standing, Anya earned a 10% discount on such magic items which she used to purchase 8 potions of healing and a scroll of magic missile.
Anya mentioned our encounter with the hobgoblins and Rodrigo nodded knowingly. He added that the Dusk Moon Hills were riddled with caves and were rumored to have extensive and labyrinthine tunnels and chambers beneath them. (DUNGEON!!!)
As Anya departed, Dibly was able to glimpse the Academy's insides: quiet wealth, solid furniture and a few well-chosen pieces of art, statues, tapestries and the like.
Walking back to the King's Road tavern we learned that the city shuts its gates from dusk to dawn, so we'd better make sure we're back to the tavern by then or we'll be paying for double lodging!
Mitsu sought the Order of the Passive Voice, a monastic order dedicated to the creation and safeguarding of libraries. While no Order House existed in Endhome, he did ponder if any of his brothers might be working within the Wizard's Academy in their library. It would almost be too good an opportunity to pass up.
Ventros found a small chapel to Saint Cuthbert in the Holy Quarter and spoke with the elderly priest who tended it, Phillippe. The priest was half-lame using a sturdy crutch to get around. He seemed delighted to see Ventros and welcomed him warmly. Ventros told him about the hobgoblins which did not seem that much of a surprise to the old man, though by his own admission, he rarely left the chapel anymore.
Phillippe urged Ventros to stay for evening worship and take meal with him, but Ventros declined, citing the need to return to his friends at the tavern. This did not please Phillippe, but he didn't let his disappointment show too much.
All gathered back at the King's Road tavern, soon joined by Franco of the guard. When asked if the closing gates would be a problem, Franco said that soldiers could gain entrance at any time through one of the heavy, but smaller tower doors. Seamus the Red, a popular local bard, entertained the patrons for the evening from a pit by the great fireplace. Most of his stories dealt with the past of Endhome and seemed to contain nothing of particular interest. Dibly treated Franco to an ale and the soldier did the same before heading back to his garrison.
By morning, our heroes were ready to head north again and fight more hobgoblins. It was not difficult for them to find the ambush site. The corpses of the dead hobgoblins were already beginning to smell foul. Dibly sharp eyes found their tracks in the ground kept moist by light but daily rains. He followed the tracks for miles, back to the woods in the west and north along the woodline until he finally lost it in the beginnings of the Dusk Moon Hills.
Bouyed by his obvious, natural, ranger talents, Dibly suggested that they lay cold camp and set ambush the next day along the trail for hobgoblins.
First Watch: Dibly. Heard snuffling, woke Ventros. They were attacked by gray-skinned, lidless ugly men out of the bushes. Dibly was struck by a stone axe and sent to the ground reeling. Mitsu woke with the commotion. Ventros called upon St. Cuthbert's wrath and wounded one of the uglies. Mitsu performed a flurry-of-blows, striking the first ugly, killing him. The remaining ugly struck Mitsu while Anya roused herself and Ventros healed himself. Anya's enchantment of sleep failed to affect anyone. Mitsu and the ugly exchanged vicious attacks while Dibly choked down a potion of healing. Anya wasted the last ugly with magic fire.
These were not hobgoblins and had nothing of value on them. (DAMN) Mitsu berated Dibly for sleeping on watch. Dibly pointed out his blood-soaked clothing from his near death. "I punched the guy and blood splattered everywhere!" - Mitsu countered.
Ventros healed Mitsu.
Second Watch: Mitsu. Nothing happened. ("Because I stayed awake!")
Third Watch: Anya and Ventros. Ventros spotted two creatures approaching through woods. They attacked us. Anya and Ventros shot them with their bows, each hitting one. These were larger and nastier than the gray-skinned uglies or even the hobgoblins. Their snarls and growls were almost doglike, though they appeared more intelligent than any foe to date.
Dibly woke, Mitsu snored. ("Ha!") The nasties charged and one executed a devastating attack on Anya, crushing and splitting her chest with his axe. She fell dead to the ground. The other nasty hit Ventros but for less harm.
Ventros attacked his foe and killed him with his mace. Mitsu continued to sleep as Dibly missed with his rapier when trying to slay Anya's killer. The nasty snarled at Dibly and knocked him down and dazed with one swipe of his axe.
Ventros turned to the nasty and smote him with holy fervor.
Anya was dead. The loot was almost unimportant (2 battleaxes, 2 steel shields, 2 leather armor). We sliced off the head of one gray ugly, wrapped Anya carefully in a blanket and made haste back to Endhome. This wilderness was too dangerous for our lot. We needed more muscle to survive out here.
We arrived at the King's Road tavern after dawn. Dibly looked for an elf to determine the proper burial rites. With amazing luck, Dibly found an elf in the tavern itself. [Female, drop-dead gorgeous, on her own eating breakfast, no armor, black cloak, white shirt, black leather pants, black hair, fair of face, gray eyes, broadsword.]
Dibly politely disturbed her and explained our situation. She gave him an enigmatic smile. For a moment Dibly was taken with thoughts of bedding her, but the loss of his friend was too grave to put out of his mind. The elf asked to see the body. We showed her and explained that gnolls did the deed. "Pesky gnolls", she commented. Then she muttered something about "too messy" and waved her hands over Anya's rent form,... and it was healed! She was still dead though.
"Want her back?"
Of course we did and with little hesitation, we agreed to the elf's demand of an unspecified future service. Dibly, ever one to haggle, made one demand of his own. Her name. "I have not taken one in this place yet." (Okay, she's a pretty strange bird). Dibly suggested that she be called Angel for her beauty and the service she says she can perform. She scoffed at this. "Some call me Life Giver, others Death Bringer". We settled on Tursoq. As to the service, she'll find us when she needs us. She also gave Dibly a bronze ring, "So I can find you". Dibly put it in his pouch, NOT on his finger.
Tursoq gathered her gear from the inn including a cool steel bow with wheels and multiple strings. We took Anya to a nearby glade and in a ritual taking half of an hour, Tursoq brought her back to life.
We showed the head of the ugly to Tursoq and she identified it as a grimlock, a subterranean beast that raids the outer world for slaves and resources. Grimlock typically served more powerful creatures from down below.
1 hobgoblin (crit)
458 - profit from hobgoblin loot
- 4 for lodging/meals night of 4/12
- 360 for 8 healing potions (2 given to each PC)
- 22 for 1 scroll of magic missile
NEW INFO (NAMES I MADE UP TO FILL IN BLANKS)
Gartham - owner of the caravan we came to town with.
Phillippe - lame priest of St Cuthbert
"All gather back at the King's Road tavern, soon joined by Franco of the guard. When asked if the closing gates would be a problem, Franco said that soldiers could gain entrance at any time through one of the heavy, but smaller tower doors."