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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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Epic!
After the Attack
Bright and early this spring morning, you made your way though the stone-paved streets of Chaville, the sound of festivities and the steady stream of foot traffic easily guiding you to one of the city's well-kept docks. There, a growing crowed jostled for the best view of the ornate three-hulled ship dwarfed by a massive canvas balloon: The Lady, the world's first commercial airship, poised for its maiden voyage to Archangel.

A flash of your gilded ticket and you are escorted past the heavy rope which keeps the onlookers at bay, up a carpeted gangplank, and into the lavish great hall where you settle in among your fellow passengers. Boarding and other preparations are completed shortly, and the ship lifts into the air. The Gabriel coastline quickly retreats in the distance, and soon the only view through the panoramic windows is fluffy clouds around you and endless ocean thousands of feet below.

Passengers are instructed to remain in the main hall until the cabins can be prepared... but minutes become hours, with no new developments except for the number of tray-carrying waitstaff gradually dwindling. The four guards stationed at each exit bar you from investigating and offer no information. Then suddenly, a fifth guard bursts in, announcing that their captain has taken command of the ship and all passengers are to be executed.

As the guards begin firing their crossbows, most of the passengers--merchants and aristocrats, not fighters--scream and take cover under their tables. However, you and a few other capable folks resist, and after a short scuffle manage to overwhelm the unprepared mutineers. The shouts of combat cease as quickly as they had begun. The other passengers, shaking in shock and fear, peer out from their hiding places at the rebellious warriors left standing...
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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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Epic × 2!
Session 3: Into the Sunless Citadel

I apologize but this summary is more summary than narrative, just like the third summary. It is also incomplete and unedited but I will go back and complete at some point.







“Now what?” asked Quinn.

Trinique pointed to a bundle of clothes near the rope. “Why don't we ask him?”

Light snoring was coming from the bundle.

“You there,” shouted Quinn. “Wake up and tell us who you are. Why are you here? Are you Braford or Talgen?”

The man was leaning back on a large pack with a hat pulled down over his face to keep the sun from his eyes. He slowly looked up but showed no sign of surprise or a concern. "No. I'm Frank. Don't know anyone by the name of Braford or Talgen."

"Well, that's disappointing," frowned Quinn without realizing how rude that sounded.

"So what are you doing here, sleeping during the day, next to a potentially Goblin filled ravine in the middle of adventure?" Derrick wasn't sure such a person could be trusted but could probably handle himself. The armor the man wore lent credence to that view. Not expensive but well worn and still in good shape.

"Well, I did not know about the Goblins but that makes sense for the tracks I saw. Personally, I was just heading to Oakhurst. Heard that good trackers and wilderness guides are always needed. Did you need a guide?" Frank smiled at the various members of the group. None smiled back.

"You know your way around these parts then?" asked Trinique.

"No, not particularly but I am learning. I can swing a sword and shoot a bow though and generally, I don't get lost in the woods."

"Sounds good enough for me", Jax chimed in. He extended a hand and helped the man to his feet.

Trinique mumbled under her breath, the portions of potential treasure appear to be shrinking every day. Candy heard and nodded in agreement.

Jax, Frank and Derrick began tying a new 50’ rope to one of the pillars.

***


The battle of the rats

Party explains the situation to Frank.Frank volunteers to go into the hole and to the first ledge to scout it out.

Rats start coming out of the holes. Party remains at top firing arrows. Frank gets bitten multiple times.

Quinn rolls 1 and slings her sling into the ravine.

Quinn, looked at the existing rope and the one that Frank had used to get down to the platform. If no one went down, the newest member of the party was sure to die. "Don't worry Frank, I am coming." Though she had never rappelled before, she remembered how the builders in Brindol scurried like monkeys on their long ropes and clambered over rickety scaffolding. Surely this could not be so hard. She stepped over the edge began her descent before Trinique could caution her otherwise or let her know that tying the rope around her waist might be a good precaution.

Arrows from her companions whizzed by her head and she felt as if she had been doing this sort of thing her entire life. That us until her foot caught on the side of the cliff wall, sending a shower of stones down upon Frank and the rats. "Look out down below," she said, smiling at her own wit. But that lapse of concentration was too much, her hands slipped then lost their grasp, she tried to recover but as if in slow motion, she fell the last thing she saw before closing her eyes to avoid the impact was Frank succumbing to the bites of the rats and him collapsing. She did not hear herself hit the ground but she did with a horrific smack and then lay unmoving.

The group was stunned. Did two members of the troupe just die?

Jax natural 20 on last rat

Trinique falls on rope but revived Frank catches her

Party takes a short rest on first landing then proceeds extremely cautiously

Find pit trap then kill rat in the pit

***


Finding Meepo and the wet nest

***


Meepo urged the group to follow him closely. He walked to the far door, swung it open with a flourish then screamed at the top of his lungs, “Ticklecorn!”


Session: Game Session 3: Into the Sunless Citadel - Friday, Jan 11 2019 from 11:00 PM to 3:00 AM
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Session 2: Oakhurst

I apologize but this summary is more summary than narrative, unlike the first two. It is also incomplete and unedited but I will go back and complete at some point. Here is a link to the image summary I shared at the beginning of Session 3.







“Now what?” asked Candy.

“Let’s find an inn and see what we can find out,” said Trinique. The group sullenly trod into town. Quinn fed Daisy a carrot and smiled at the old draft horse. She and Daisy were just happy to be in Oakhurst finally.

From the townspeople at the edge of town, the group had found out that the only inn and tavern in town was the Ol’ Boar. Just like the name of the town was a misnomer (there being precious few oak trees), the tavern was not named for a wild pig but Reslin Kine’s former adventuring partner, a Half-Orc named Gramogasha Oakhurst. Apparently, she had retired when Reslin died and set up this tavern and inn instead. She has long since died and ownership passed to a wealthy family in town.

The inn was crowded with townspeople discussing the events of the past few days. Cattle and goats were already disappearing in greater and greater numbers, driving most to keep a close watch on them. Those that were found were occasionally partially eaten by wild animals, but all exhibited strange puncture marks, scrapes and twigs inside those punctures.

***


Ala and the Ol’ Boar Inn

Ala adjusted in her chair and hunched towards Derrick. "Well, you know, I do remember a story about the Red Hand. It was a cabal of necromancers in Rhest. They were secretive but eventually wiped out by the Paladins of Erathis and Bahamut. If they have crawled out of the ruins of Rhest, that is bad news for all of us. However, it makes sense that necromancers may want an item that restores life."


Derrick nodded and looked over at the newcomers. They had clearly heard Ala's explanation. Time to find out more about them . . .

***


The group spent the next several days waiting for news of the Hucrele’s and gathering information in town. The villagers were generally welcoming but many expressed concern that the peace party would not be well received, and Goblins would descend upon the lightly defended town. The Constable, Felosial, spent much of her day re-assuring nervous townspeople. However, she was not too busy to notice that the new strangers had taken up with Derrick, whom she did not trust.

Garon, the barkeep at the Ol’ Boar was particularly useful. Besides showing Sparrow the statue of Reslin Kine, Gasha Oakhurst and Rowan Nackle in the center of town, he tells the group of the last traveler he knows of who went to the Sunless Citadel. It was a grim human named Belak or Belchek, thirteen years ago. What Garon remembers most is the huge frog that he carried everywhere with him.

The party discovered that:
1. The Goblins appear to be camped in the Sunless Citadel. No one knows for sure what the Sunless Citadel once was, but legends hint that it served as the retreat of an ancient dragon cult.
2. The old road there skirts the Thornwaste. The unnatural desert is attributed to the long ago rampage of Tiamat herself. It is now ruled by The Ghostlord and no one goes there unless they want to be condemned by him. He is a bogeyman of whom many a parent warns their wayward child.
3. Cattle herders don’t graze their stock too far afield these days. They’re frightened by stories of new monsters that maraud by night. From time to time, cattle and people who have gone out alone at night have been found dead the next day, bearing dozens of needle-like wounds. No one has seen the creatures that cause this mayhem, nor do they leave a discernible trail.
4. The missing adventurers include a fighter (Talgen Hucrele), a wizard (Sharwyn Hucrele), a paladin of Pelor (Sir Braford), and a ranger (Kara¬kas). Sir Braford was not a local, and he had a magic sword called Shatterspike.

***


“I think we should try to figure out what is attacking livestock. I have a theory,” announced Quinn.

The cownapping of Bessie
The Battle of the Cowbell

Appearing from around the camp shambled six creatures, best described as small walking trees. Each was about five feet tall and creaked and snapped as it walked towards the center of camp.

***


The witch of Oakhurst

Sparrow was quite enamored with the Gnome witch, Helda. She was a Dennovar graduate so he had not expected too much but she was very friendly and more importantly, smart and open to his questions. Plus, she knew more about Reslin Kine than did he. She and her sister, Corkie Nackle, were the daughters of Rowan Nackle and while neither had ever met Reslin, their father spoke often of the old adventurer. Sparrow was determined to use the time he spent with her well even though he wished he was with the rest of the group. However, if they were to successfully find and get into his great grandfather’s tomb, it would require as much knowledge as possible. One thing he could not seem to find out was what a Sryix was. The only description was an item of immense pride and value to Reslin.

***

Conversation with Madam Hucrele
Why do I have a cow bell?

***


Reaching the edge of the Sunless Citadel

Session: Game Session 2: Oakhurst - Friday, Dec 28 2018 from 11:00 PM to 3:00 AM
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