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The Fight We've All Been Waiting For: Session 15
Preparations: The others decided that we wouldn't be able to carry very many baskets of kelp back up after we collected them, so Tirondel and Snowy went off to hire people to carry them for us, in exchange for a bit of the kelp. While they did that, I went with Thomdril to try to trade my leather armor and knife. He reluctantly went along with it, but once we were away from the others he refused to help. I found some deals, but I wasn't very good at talking with the people and he was too busy looking at people's feet, so I wasn't able to trade my stuff. Tirondel and Snowy had a bit more luck though, getting eight people to join us for the amount that we had wanted to pay. Among them, I noticed Kellen Sirdur, a dwarf that had worked on my father's farm with me.
The Journey to the Kelp: We got plenty of baskets from the nerd guy who had assigned us our quest and set off. Unfortunately, it took three hours just to get to the place where the kelp was. That's probably why nobody had taken the quest before us. As we walked, Tirondel went way up in front of all of us, Snowy led the single file line a bit behind him with his fiery sword providing light, Thomdril took the middle of the group of hirelings with a torch, and I covered the back with a lantern. I talked to Kellen along the way, catching up with him and recalling old stories. As we got bored, I picked up some stones and handed some to him. As we walked, we threw them at stalactites. It was good to finally find someone who was a bit like me. I was reminded of all the people that weren't like us, though, when Tirondel ran back to us, reprimanded us for throwing rocks because he was afraid that they might cause enough noise for trolls or other dangerous creatures to hear us, and then he ran back up in front of all of us. Of course, that was half the point of doing it, so we ignored his warnings.
Finally, the Trolls!: As we walked along, we noticed puddles on the ground, appearing more and more frequently. When I looked closer at them, I realized I couldn't see the bottom of many. Then I heard a yell and saw that one of the hirelings had tripped on a rope in the water and fell. Snowy cut the rope and helped him up, careful not to touch any water. As we kept going, I took some of the rope and put it in my pocket. Then I saw a shadowy figure emerging from a puddle near me. I grabbed my axe and held it at the ready. Emerging from the puddle came two normal sized trolls and one giant troll who looked to be the leader. He seemed to be coming specifically after me, which was perfect, but the others had no such reservations. Kellen ran back through the tunnel and the giant troll and a normal troll attacked me, but the other normal troll attacked the other guy who had stayed with us. Snowy, Tirondel, Thomdril, and all six other hirelings were somewhere ahead of us where I couldn't see them. As Kellen and the other guy with us ran back and fought the normal troll that chased them, I was in a stalemate with the other two trolls. I wasn't able to damage them, but they were slowly chipping away at me. Meanwhile, I heard sounds of the others fighting trolls too farther down the tunnel. I heard anguished screams from trolls, so it sounded like they were doing quite a bit better than I was. Just as I was about to fall, I got a sudden spurt of adrenaline. I felt as good as new, and I went berserk with anger. I struck at the trolls, knocking the normal one down and severely damaging the giant one, who retreated a bit. I ran back to help Kellen and the other guy, and the three of us took down the troll that had been attacking them. I cut off his head so he wouldn't be able to regenerate, which apparently the trolls that I had attacked earlier had done, because when I got back to where they had been, they were gone. I looked for the others, and their battles were over too. Many trolls had escaped, but we still were able to collect many troll livers and even some crocodile meat from some crocodiles that had attacked the others. We had lost one hireling in the process. Unfortunate, but better than I had expected from them. We filled up nine baskets of kelp between us and the hirelings, and filled two more up with troll livers and crocodile meat. Then we began the long trip back.
Reaping the Small Rewards: We sold the troll livers and all of the kelp that the hirelings didn't take to the sun priests and each got a bit of money. Not much, but decent. The crocodile meat we would save for when we were bored of fish and bread, and wanted to try something a bit... gamier. "Well Thom," I said. "I think now we're ready to fight the Red Ragger."
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Our New, Boring Home: Session 14
Getting Situated: We were brought or dragged through some tunnels by the resistance, we made it to... what looked like a dark cave. After my eyes got used to the darkness, I could see that there were small sparks of light all around. It looked like there were a lot of people, but it was nothing like the thriving town that Kings' Port had been before it was destroyed. We waited, and a sun priest told us that we would get a fish and bread for each meal, and probably some other things. We decided to figure out what the economy was like, because Tirondel and Snowy thought that it might be different seeing as all resources were more precious, so we might be able to make a quick buck.
Swindles and Bombs: Sure enough, everything cost more and was in short supply. I was able to trade my trashy greataxe for a new set of armor. Chain is heavier, but it looks just as good as the leather that I've had for a while. It's a big change, just like everything else here, but I'll get used to it. Ivan was able to trade my healing potion from the prison for a bigger gun, some ammo, and most importantly, a bomb. They weren't sold with the other stuff, but Ivan found some dwarves with all the things he loves. They told us that if we were a new group, we should find a mission to go out and do something to earn money and renown. I heard fighting, and I heard money. I tried to convince the others to go get a mission, but they wanted to get some information first.
Stories, Not A Cool Mission: We went to the makeshift bar and the others found a guy who seemed to know a lot. They talked for a while, and he told us about some people who could pose a threat to us in the future, like the Red Ragger and some others. For all he told us, the others decided that we could tell him stories about us too. Reluctantly, I told them a story about a girl I met once. She was nice, but I couldn't stay with her long. After my story, we left the bar, hopefully to go do something exciting. It couldn't get much worse than waiting, haggling, and talking for a whole day.
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Struggling
Day 1: Arwick’s dead, and we’ve all been put in a room barely big enough for all of us to fit in. We’ve gotten a bit to eat and drink, and I’ve managed to force it down, though the others are having more trouble and Tirondel stubbornly refuses to. Then he grabs a doorknob or pulls on a drawer and falls over, unconscious. I swear, I will never understand him.
Day 2: I decided to start sawing on this bed post. It’s slow work.
Day 3: Nobody knows what to do. I suppose we are like the animals my father and I used to keep on our ranch, just biding their time until they are killed. It must suck to be them.
Day 4: We were forced to go work today, cleaning up some wreckage that the Scourge caused. I looked around for things, but couldn’t find anything. I found some bread and ate a bit, but it disappeared very quickly. I’m not the only one forced to do such desperate things just to stay alive, I suppose.
Day 5: Another slave’s been killed for keeping something. He was sucked dry by a giant monster. I won’t let that happen to me.
Day 6: The others seem to have lost all hope, but I’m still sawing at the bed post. What is Tirondel doing?
Day 7: I may die here.
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We Suck at Reconnaissance: Session 11
Figuring out the Situation: Luckily, our little hiding place in the sewers seemed to be unnoticed by the Scourge and whatever else was above our heads. Safe for now, we talked about what we should do next. This was tough, because of course none of us knew the true scale of what was happening in King’s Port. For example, Snowy thought that the temples would be safe, for some reason? And of course, we were all hoping that the king’s palace (or castle?) hadn’t been overcome yet. Finally, we decided to go through the pipes, then look out at different locations to try to get a lay of the land. Of course, we had no idea where the Scourge were concentrated or anything, so we just decided to start where we were. We went to a nearby sewer grate and looked out. It didn’t look like there were any enemies near it, so we pushed it aside and climbed out. We snuck around the houses and heard chains rattling. We looked in the direction that the noise had come from and saw prisoners chained to a big iron wheel. This wheel was further chained to a hulking Scourge beast, like the one that we had fought at the campfire the previous night. Looking closer, there were actually two of these wheel contraptions. I didn’t recognize any of the prisoners, but it seemed like the rest of the party did. Snowy specifically seemed to be fighting the temptation to go fight the Scourge beasts. I asked him about it and he told me about his date that he had planned for about a week ago, with a girl named Berina, who he pointed out to me among the prisoners. Then Tirondel told me about a guy named Jonas Sulk. I recognized him as a bartender, but I couldn’t remember where from. Once they had gone far enough away that they probably wouldn’t notice us, Snowy stepped out from behind the house we were hiding behind and began sneaking after them (without warning us, might I add). Thomdril reluctantly followed, not willing to let him go alone, and Tirondel and I followed, praying that Snowy would not be stupid enough to attack them. After all, I needed to get to the boss. These small fry would just slow me down. Luckily, nobody attacked them, and we were able to sneakily follow them. They went to a large building with chitin on top, just like the Scourge infested towers in Grommshold. What was more worrying than the towers, though, was the man dressed in all black from before, seemingly issuing orders to the Scourge and wither beasts. More Scourge and wither beasts came to him. The wither beasts dragged the prisoners into the large building, and the Scourge climbed up a tower covered in the same black chitin. Once we were sure it was safe, we snuck forward and around the corner. Seeing a sewer grate, we ran over to it and Tirondel pulled out his lock picks. He fiddled around in the lock until it popped open, and we all jumped in. We could make it look like the grate was locked, but couldn’t actually lock it again from the outside, so I tied a rope from the grate to a rung of the ladder that went down, so that if someone tried to open the grate, they hopefully wouldn’t be able to. I disguised the rope with some of the tree stuff that I had been carrying around, so that hopefully it wouldn’t be as noticable. We settled in for the night, and were able to get a good night’s sleep despite being in the middle of enemy territory. The next morning, we went out to see if we could find any patterns in their movements and openings that we could exploit. Everything seemed roughly the same, though, and it seemed that the prisoners would always be guarded by multiple wither beasts and many Scourge. Even if we were to get the drop on them, there was no guarantee that we would survive the battle. We argued about what to do as we hid in a small house. A Scourge climbed over the house, but didn’t seem to notice us. For once, Tirondel was advocating for straight up attacking the monsters. We were interrupted by the sound of Scourge, seemingly coming back to their towers from all over the city. We hid for hours. One Scourge even came in the house, but left without seeing us. We looked out and saw that there weren’t as many Scourge on the streets anymore. By now, it was almost pitch black outside. Tirondel wanted to speak to someone in the large building, so we decided to let him go. He ran up to the building, climbed up it to look inside a window that was high up on the wall, and we waited expectantly as he seemed to speak to someone behind it. Finally, he came back. He told us that he had talked to someone that he didn’t recognize, and that he couldn’t tell the person too much because ‘the Master’ could read their mind somehow if they thought about things, so he gave the person a fake name. Hopefully the master wouldn’t be able to get anything out of that. We slept for the night in the small house.
Finding the Resistance: The next morning, we saw Scourge climbing out of the chitinous tower and a wither beast with a group of prisoners, including Berina and Jonas. We followed them stealthily, and as we did, we saw another man also following them stealthily, between us and them. He wasn’t stealthy enough, though, and we saw a group of Scourge on a tower to the side of the street notice him and prepare to strike. They jumped at him. He tried to defend himself, but utterly failed. Thomdril swung and missed one, yelling at me to leave him one. Tirondel took out three with fire, and I, remembering what my father had taught me about the natural order of life, unleashed the force of nature upon them. I swung my axe in a horizontal slice, hitting one Scourge pretty badly and just annihilating the other. I also hit Tirondel, but he managed to block most of the attack on his shield. As Thomdril had asked, I had left him a weakened Scourge, who he easily dispatched. We met up with the man whose life we had just saved. We talked with him, and he told us that he was a resistance fighter and that he needed to go rescue a guy named Arwick, who apparently was the king’s advisor. He told us to stay where we were and keep an eye on Arwick as he went to gather up more forces. He left, and we saw what we hadn’t noticed before. The ruined building that the wither beasts and the prisoners had entered was the Galstaff Manor. All hope of the king and his family still holding out was gone. The building looked terrible, and as we watched, the ceiling collapsed, and we heard screams from inside it. I wanted to attack the wither beast standing guard, but Tirondel didn’t let me. We waited, and eventually the wither beast walked past us. We snuck behind him into the destroyed building. We saw a crater with six slaves in it, including Arwick. I let down a rope and the others climbed down. They noticed that Arwick was still alive, and attempted to resuscitate him. His eyes opened slowly. He said something, but it was quiet and I was too far away to hear it. Then I noticed something.
Utter Defeat: As this had been going on, an army of Scourge, wither beasts, and even the black clothed person had gathered around us. I challenged the ‘master’ to a duel. Finally, we could fight one on one. Before I could do anything, though, I heard a voice in my head, telling me to submit and drop my weapon. I steeled myself, but it wasn’t enough. Somehow, the voice overpowered me completely. My weapon, my prized greataxe, dropped slowly from my hands and I fell to my knees. Out of my peripheral vision, I could see the others doing the same, though Tirondel stayed up just barely, shaking. Tirondel, realizing that he had no chance of winning, sheathed his blade. We had been defeated.
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Finally Getting a Chance to Show My Skills!: Session 9
Surviving the Rapids: As the rapids pulled us all down the river, I had a flashback to the time when my dad ‘taught’ me how to swim. He threw me off our boat in the middle of a lake and told me to get back to shore. The lake wasn’t too big, just about 700-800 meters to shore. I flailed about hopelessly until I figured out how to keep afloat. Then it was just a long, grueling crawl back to shore. Of course, my dad wasn’t one to do things like that without a reward, so once I got back, he said the boat was mine. He was an unorthodox teacher to say the least, but I learned a lot from him. Now though, I wasn’t in a calm lake. Still, I mustered up all I had and managed to stay afloat. I was tiring out quickly though. I thought of the others. Tirondel had, no doubt, learned to swim on one of his supposedly great adventures. In fact, I could hear him yelling cheesy lines, so I was sure he was doing fine. Ivan, on the other hand, would be weighed down by all his guns and ammo, and I doubt he knew how to swim. Snowy would probably be panicking. I would be amazed if he had managed to stay afloat up til now. Just as I was running out of strength and ready to just stop moving and let the current take me, the river turned and we were pushed out of the river and onto the shore. I stayed down for a bit, catching my breath. Then I stood up and assessed the situation. Of course, Tirondel was fine. Thomdril and Anssi looked fine too. Snowy had his eyes open, but wasn’t moving. Still, he seemed fine, just shocked. Ivan and Tam were unconscious. We decided to wait for them to wake up before we pressed onwards, and Anssi was still hurt from the fall from earlier, so we decided to give them all time to recover. We rested for the day, waiting for Ivan and Tam to wake up (Ivan was angry because a lot of his gunpowder was ruined by the water) and for Anssi to heal up. When Ivan woke up, I offered him some healing. He was either too tired or too trusting to care, so he said yes. I used my amazing healing techniques that I had picked up, like everything, from my dad, and he seemed to perk up a bit. He told me that it hurt even more, but I assured him that if he just lay down a while (it could take a couple days at most) he would heal up. Then Tirondel told us that as we were in the river, he had seen monsters along the sides, commanded by humanoids in a floating wheelless wagon. We slept and then we set off.
Getting Going Again: We went through the woods on our way to Gromshold (which was between us and King’s Port) and we camped out. Tirondel got us some food, though we were still running low on rations, and I made a makeshift portable camoflaging wall out of leaves and sticks. We got a good night’s sleep with no incident, and woke to find everyone healed and ready to go. We walked for a long time, with Tirondel running ahead for no apparent reason, until we saw Gromshold start to come into view. Tirondel came running back and told us that he had seen nobody in Gromshold, and that he had seen a strange black chitoney substance on a guard tower close to the side of Gromshold that we were heading towards. Not wanting to waste time or seeing a need to figure out what was going on, I started walking towards it. It sounded like we would finally get to fight something, and I couldn’t wait. The others followed me, Snowy igniting his mace with, I assumed, some kind of holy magic and Tirondel, as usual, deciding to be as unhelpful as possible, started dropping back sneakily. He said something and I yelled at him to speak up or come up with us. He did neither, so I put him out of my mind and continued forward.
Fighting Things!: When we got close to the tower, I saw a few creatures at the top of the guard tower, looking out at us. I was just able to register that they didn’t look very human right before one of them jumped off the tower and landed right in front of me. I immediately slashed at it. It was a clean hit, but it didn’t seem to do much damage. Then it swiped at me but I easily brushed it off. In my peripheral vision, I saw another one of the creatures jump over me and land near the others (except for Tirondel), who all teamed up on it. I slashed at mine once more and this time, I got through its tough hide and it went down. I turned around to see a third one that had challenged Thomdril be easily dispatched by his huge axe (not as big as mine though) and Tirondel, true to form, stole the kill on the one that the others had teamed up on. It looked like there were no others, so we decided to relax for a bit, though Tirondel immediately went off to check out the town.
Bad Food: Ivan suggested to me that we try cooking the meat of the creatures that Tirondel identified as scourge, which sounded great. We cooked it up and tried it. It was worse than most things I had had before, and I tried to keep it down to no avail. I threw it up and Ivan, while being able to keep it down, looked like he regretted his decision to eat it. I convinced Snowy to try it too, and Thomdril joined in because everyone else (except for Tam) was. When Tirondel got back, I asked him to try some too. He did and while he was able to keep it down, he also admitted that it was one of the worst things he had eaten in his life, though he said it was better than drake meat at least. We all went off to do our own things, and I took some of the meat and tried to smoke it in the guard tower (under the guise of ‘investigating it’, because Tirondel wanted us to do some work). Unfortunately, it tasted just as bad. Maybe we could poison our enemies by making them eat it! We all met up again at the drawbridge, ready to continue our journey to King’s Port.
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