Session 12, 4-20-21
Around Hawk Hill
Narn, Ludicrous, Marlin, and Oskar mount up and spend some time clearing the nearby land (hexes) around Hawk Hill. This is a methodical process. They search an area carefully (1 mile hex), looking for any lairs, holes in the ground, and the like.
During this session, they roamed through grasslands to the west of the keep. They discovered an area of hills and a stone quarry. Cut stone was brought from here to build the keep many years ago. They also found an area northeast of Hawk Hill that must be the territory of some bloodhawks. They left them alone.
To the south, the adventurers camped at night in order for Marlin to try the magic ring they had found. It was a ring of the wolves. At night, Marlin can see, hear, and smell as a wolf. He can also run as fast as a wolf. He used the ring to call some wolves. A pack of 11 wolves can loping out of the grassland. They were friendly to Marlin and he ran with them for much of the night, getting used to the power of the ring. On his excursion, Marlin saw some woods and picked up the scent of something that was not man or wolf. He saw some large creatures trying to hide up in the trees and also noticed some silky strands. He left the area with intention to return another time.
The party covered some ground. The more area they can clear around Hawk Hill, the sooner they can establish a secure base there.
More to come…
Session 11 ~ ???
Into the Depths
The blacksmith fixes the grate atop the chimney in the sub-basement and rigs a bar to lock it in place.
The adventurers rest up after their battle with the demon.
They spend a week cleaning out the wizard’s tower and its dungeons. Also the cell in the keep’s dungeon is repaired by Gage, the blacksmith. The zombies are burned and all remnants of the magic circle are scrubbed out.
The adventurers return to the grate and the hole. Cool air rises out of the hole. Ludicrous volunteers to go down, but first lowers a lamp. The rope is lowered about 90′ until water can be seen. Ludicrous is lowered down on another rope. He sees water all around in a large cavern, but a small mud and rock island nearby. He swings the rope and jumps onto the island. It is about 15′ in diameter. Searching it, he finds bootprints in the mud, the stub of a candle, and some waxed paper containing a half eaten hard tack biscuit.
The group makes a raft out of one of the tables from the wizard’s workshop and then they all climb down except for Tagg who is guarding the rope.
At the west end of the cave is a long flowstone of minerals with a trickle of water pouring down it. They navagate this with the thief’s climbing ability and some rope. Beyond the flowstone, a cave passage runs eastward and up. It branches into two passages, both of them going downward at about a 45 degree slope. The north passage ceiling drops rapidly, so they decide to go to the south.
The ceiling in the south passage drops to about 4′ in height and the passage opens into a large cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites. They see cave paints on the wall in burnt umber and shades of yellow and black charcoal. The pictures depict a small group of stick figures being chased by a larger creature. Some of the figures are engaged in a battle with an inverted pyramid shape with vines or ropes hanging from it. There are purple shapes scattered all about in the painting.
The cave floor is searched and the party finds the broken tip of a flint spear.
They find an exit on the south end of the cave and follow it as it winds downward. It branches off and the party continues southwest. The passage opens unto a large cavern lit by green and purple phosphoresence. There are glowing fungi in the cave. As they explore the room, Amell notices that this is a balcony to an even greater opening beyond. This is when the roper struck. It shot its tendrils at Amell and grab him, pulling him closer. Amell makes a saving throw vs the creatures strength draining touch and succeeds! A battle ensues. Arrows and crossbow bolts fly towards the rope. Amell breaks free of its grasp. Narn and Oskar attacks with sword. Oil is attempted by misses. In all, a great battle was fought and the adventurers defeated the roper.
Marlin takes some samples of the variety of fungi and the adventurers decide to go back to the surface. They will continue to explore the depths at another time.
More to come….
Session 10 ~ 4/10/21
The party descends via the elevator back to the sub-basement. Ludicrous tries to the pick the lock on the rusty iron door, but fails. Then Narn sets to the door with tools borrowed from the blacksmith. In a short while, the hinges are dismantled and the door removed. The humming sound is louder now….not directional but inside their heads.
They move into a hallway and see an iron bell. They ring it but nothing happens. Moving north along the hallway, they see the passage turns to the east and ends at another iron door. Amell goes back to the elevator to check if something changed when the bell was rung. At this moment, two secret doors slid open releasing two 7′ tall zombies in full platemail!
Marlin casts heat metal on one of the zombies. Ludicrous stabs at it with his ghost blade and Tagg attempts to turn them but is unable. Amell attacks from behind, hitting one with arrows.
The first zombie hits Ludicrous hard with a great axe, but the thief is still on his feet. Tagg splashes the zombie with holy water destroying it! The other zombie moves forward delivering another wicked blow to Ludicruous! The thief only has 1 hp left. Fortunately Amell was able to kill it with two well placed arrows.
Wounds are bound and the search continues. Ludicrous listens at the iron door and hears a young child calling for help. A young girl is sobbing, calling out saying she lives near the village of Stone’s Throw. Ludicrous can’t open this lock so Amell stays by the door while the others look for another way in.
The rest of the party follows the passageway south and then it turns to the east. Bloodstains are on the floor. Lude picks the lock on an iron door here and it opens unto a large storage room. A magic circle is drawn on the floor and a small girl is sobbing within it. Tagg thinks it is an evil being and enters the magic circle to grab it! Tagg is a zealot cleric so he really is playing as would be expected, but breaking the magic circle allowed the demon to be free.
The demon reveals its true form, that of a horrifying baboon with black wings! It speaks to Marlin telling him that he will be granted unmatched power if he were to only allow the demon to serve him. At this moment, Lude stabs it with his ghost blade scoring a critical! The demon had originally moved to grapple with Tagg and does so, crushing the cleric’s holy symbol and hand at the same time.
The demon calls forth a swarm of scarab fire beetles from a drain in the floor. Tagg manages to escape its grasp but the demon tries to grapple Lude but the thief is too quick. Narn takes the ghost blade from Lude and strikes at the demon…another critical! The demon is destroyed, his body vaporizes in a cloud of yellow sulfur! The beetles retreat into the drain (after causing some minor damage to Marlin).
They discover some necromancy materials on a worktable. Tagg and Amell pour oil on it and set it afire. They also discover a stash of silver ingots in the room. As the smoke and fire grow, they retreat back the elevator. There they investigate some curious scrapes on the floor near the north wall. Lude discovers a secret door. They open it and find a natural cavern. At the back of the cave is an iron grate removed and lying against the wall. A dark hole, appearing to be a natural cave chimney beckons them. They decide to cover it with the grate and explore this at a later time.
It was a remarkable adventure. I’m surprised that no one died by the demon’s hands. It was a minor demon, but still had 7 hit dice.
While back above ground, the party is met by Gage, the blacksmith. He tells them something is in the well. The party investigates and finds another zombie stuck down in the well. They decided to coat a timber with oil, set it aflame, and drop it on the zombies head! Interesting yet effective way to kill a zombie. Alas, it missed the creature, so Amell shoots it with his longbow. They fish it out with a grappling hook.
More to come.
Session 9 ~ 4/7/21
In the dungeons of Thalifax the Wizard
Narn (fighter), Tagg (cleric), Amell (fighter), Ludicrous (thief), Marlin (magic-user), and their hirelings returned to the cellar under the wizard’s tower. Roose (Tagg’s hireling) opens the lid on the ceramic jar which is padded with wool. Inside the jar is a red oily liquid. Martin carefully takes a sample of it to study.
The party opens the concealed door inside a large wine barrel and move into the wizard’s workshop. There is no sign of the shadow creature, so they continue to explore where they left off last session. The tunnels goes straight for over 80′ and ends in a stone wall. Ludicrous searches and finds a discolored stone. He presses it and a secret door opens to a dark room beyond.
Their torches light the way as the party enters a dungeon cell. Two giant centipedes scuttle across the rotten straw and bite two of the henchmen, Oskar and Roose! Roose makes a saving throw, but Oskar fails. He feels alright…for now.
They find an iron bound door but it is locked. Ludicrous uses his lockpicks but is unable to open the door. Tagg steps forward with his crowbar and begins the long and loud process of taking the door apart.
They move into a guardroom with a round table. On the table are a few old playing cards and some copper and silver coins. A gray silken bag is stuffed under the table. Tagg pokes at it with his mace and it wriggles! Narn and Oskar turn the table over and uncover a giant spider that had been hiding beneath!
Narn is afraid of spiders and beats a hasty retreat. The spider lunges for Tagg, but the cleric’s armor protects him. The party tries to hack and stab at the spider, but no luck yet.
The spider finally gets a bite through Tagg’s defenses but the cleric makes his save vs poison! The party lands several severe blows and kills the creature. Ludicrous examines the wriggling bag and cuts it open. A swarm of small spiders boil out of it covering the thief!
The spiderlings are stomped on and then driven off by Oskar wielding a torch. Ludicrous takes some damage and fails his save for poison…but he feels alright for now.
Ludicrous finds a silver ring attached to a skeletal hand that was embedded in the silken spiderling egg sac. He gives it to Marlin to examine. He decideds to use his identify magic skill later.
Narn believes that this is the dungeon of the keep and the secret door was what Old Rollen spoke of when he first met the party in Stone’s Throw. Narn also remembers that the trapdoor at the top of the stairs in this room was barricaded by the party when they first came into the keep.
They decided to go back through the tunnel to the wizard’s tower. As they make their way into the workshop, Oskar is bent over with terrible pain in his abdomen. The centipede poison is making him sick. Narn has to carry him. As they cross the workshop floor, the shadow creature makes its appearance. It pours forth from the grate. The overturned table did little to stop its progress.
As the shadow creature comes forth, Marlin pulls out the Tome of Shadows to look for something that will help them against the creature. The shadow creature reaches out with black tendrils to grab the magic-user and is successful! The rest of the party attack it. Ludicrous uses his magic dagger to cut it and Tagg casts Cause Light Wounds and does more damage to the creature.
The shadow creature next tries to rip the book from the magic-user’s hands, but Martin makes his saving throw and slips out of its grasp! It strikes out at Marlin in anger and hits him, but the mage makes his saving throw again!
Ludicrous strikes again with his ghost blade! Narn had moved close by and takes the blade and strikes with it again…he hits also! The shadow creature explodes in a blast of darkness and is gone!
The party takes Oskar upstairs to lie down and come back to search the workroom again, in particular the elevator in the room. It is a metal and wood table that lowers into the floor with the use of a chain hoist. The group works the elevator and it lowers about 15′ into a small square room with a rusty iron door. They find the door is locked. Ludicrous listens and the door and looks in the keyhole. He hears a low humming sound and sees nothing but darkness. The adventurers decide to go upstairs to rest before exploring any further.
It was a great session…we only played for about 90 minutes on Roll20 and it was just enough to make for a fun Wednesday evening.
More to come.
Session 8 ~ 4/4/21
Ludicrous, Narn, and Martin along with Oskar and Tagg attempt to enter the wizard’s tower. They try to open the doors with a crowbar. The boards covering the door are pulled off but they notice a strange symbol on the door and decide to have Ludicrous climb to the top of the tower instead.
He fails on his first attempt and falls, taking some damage. After a cure light wounds spell from Tagg, Ludicrous instead goes through the keep to get onto the wall first. He uses a ladder to get to a higher point and the climb is successful.
At the top of the tower, they find rubble and three broken statues. The fourth statue is only partially damaged. It is a gargoyle and begins a conversation with Ludicrous. The statue says his name is Throckmorton and he hasn’t seen his master or apprentice in a long time. He is damaged. His legs are broken off and an ear is missing. He tends to sleep most of the time and is sad and lonely. He dozes off again.
The party moves down the spiral stairs in the center of the tower. They find the wizard’s chambers and begin to search it. A shadow forms on the wall and attacks Narn. It hits him and drains strength. Ludacrous’s magic dagger strikes true, killing it. They notice the dagger does not glow. (It is a magic dagger +1/+3 vs undead). They find some silken clothes and slippers and some fine shoes.
On the first floor, they find an alchemy lab and the wizard’s study. They search the study and find a fine cloak (magic, +1 protection) and a scrap of paper with the magic writing (saying “Safety in when the bell tolls). Another shadow comes out of the lab to attack. Tagg is injured by the creatures touch. Ludicrous drives it away after attacking it with the enchanted dagger. The group decides to leave the tower. They find the main entrance but the door is magically locked. Tagg sees a bell on the wall with a silken cord. He pulls it and as the bell tolls, the door can be opened. They take the bell with them to open the tower from outside. Then the party goes to the keep to rest and recover.
The next morning they continue to explore the wizard’s tower. They hunt the shadow creature. It comes for them when they enter the study. Ludricrous is key to defeating it. The others stand guard over him as he attacks with the ghost blade and kills it. The rest of the day is spent looking through the tower carefully and then spending time talking to the gargoyle, Throckmorton.
The gargoyle tells them that he hasn’t seen his master or apprentice in a long time, not since the orcs attack. He and his brothers were damaged by giants throwing boulders at the keep. He tells them he is tired and broken, but is glad to talk to someone. It has been so long since he has spoken to another person. His master had begun to worry him. He had begun to study dark magic and necromancy. Eventually he stopped visiting the gargoyle. After that, the shadows came. And he continued to worry about his master and the apprentice.
In making a more thorough search, the party finds a secret compartment in the study. It holds some silver and a scroll of dispel evil. They also find a concealed trapdoor under the rug.
Following it down, they find a storage room. Behind a large empty barrel is a concealed passageway. They follow it into a wizard lab. Two large books are on a desk. The room has a large table and what looks to be an elevator with a chain winch, and another door. A larger shadowy cloud pours out of the drain. Ludricrous has bad luck trying to hit it. Marlin casts the dispel evil spell and it causes the cloud to flee into the drain.
Marlin inspects the books. One is bound in dark red leather. The other is blacker than black. The red tome is a book of bone magic. Marlin knows this is necromancy and is dark magic. The other is a tome of shadow magic. The black book drains strength from Marlin when he touches it. On a table nearby, lies a pair of black silk gloves. Marlin puts them on and touches the black book again. No damage.
Also on the desk are four ceramic vials with red wax sealed stoppers. They take them.
The party moves through the door and it leads to a small room. In the room is a skeleton chained to the wall. The door beyond leads to a long passageway. The party thinks this will lead under the keep to the dungeons below it. They return to look at the storage room more carefully. In it are boxes of ceramic vials, barrels of yellow sulfur, and a curious ceramic container (about 3 gallons in capacity). It is nestled in a wooden stand and cushioned by heavy wool cloth. Also in the storage room are some ingredients that spell casters would need for research. Marlin notes that some of the items would only useful for necromancy. This dark magic is evil and outlawed at least in the kingdom of Eyre.
This is where they decide to stop for the night. Much ground was covered and hopefully the players had a great time.
More to come.
Session 7 ~ Stone’s Throw to Hawk Hill to Eggleston
Today the players get their first glimpse of Eggleston, town of Sir Ingra
For today’s game, only two players were able to join on Roll20. The characters playing are Narn, the Falmedian fighter, and Tagg, the cleric.
The adventure begins in the village of Stone’s Throw. Narn has asked Tagg to write a letter to Sir Ingram requesting permission to use the keep at Hawk Hill as a base with intentions of making improvements and using it to provide security on the eastern edge of the county. The bandit gang led by Burly Bill has been crushed with ony a small handful of bandits at large.
Narn and Tagg go back to the keep at Hawk Hill with the others. They are trailed by a pack of wolves and decide to bait them with goat meat. A couple of the wolves move towards the bait and Amell, Oskar, and Narn open fire. One wolf is killed and the other runs off injured. They take the wolf hide, hoping to sell the pelt or at least get a reward. The wolves are a constant danger to the sheep herds at Stone’s Throw.
On arrival at the keep, the party tends to various duties, inspecting the portcullis mechanism and looking at the overall condition of the buildings. During the day, the remaining bloodhawk flies from its roost in the south tower and attacks Oskar. The bloodhawk manages to scratch Oskar considerably, but is killed by Tagg. Oskar made good use of the parry maneuver which is essentially going all out defense and the attacker is then at -2 to hit.
Narn climbs the south tower once again with Tagg’s help on rigging a safety rope. He finds a large nest at the top of the tower. One white and speckled red egg lies in the nest. It is a bloodhawk egg. Narn hopes it is valuable and secures it carefully.
Narn, Tagg, and Oskar return to Stone’s Throw with the intent of going to Eggleston to meet with Sir Ingram and also repair Tagg’s shield and knock some dents out of Narn’s platemail. They pass through two villages on the way, Wayfaring (pop.300) and Chattering (pop.800). Chattering has a tavern called the Tasty Yam where they stop for drinks. They inquire about the distance to Eggleston and learn it is about three more hours to the west. They decide to press on even though it will be dark when they arrive.
The town of Eggleston is the largest town owned by Sir Ingram. He resides in the town when he is not travelling to his other villages or High Guard. The town is walled and has a population of about 1200. Narn and Tagg are questioned by the watchman. He is reluctant to open the gate, but sight of a holy cleric, Tagg, is enough to convince him. He takes them to a nearby inn and they get settled in for the night.
The next morning, Narn hires the stable boy to act as a guide. The lad shows them where St Martin’s church is located and also a blacksmith shop. They decide to visit the church first and find Father Cecil there. Tagg returns the golden candlesticks and the priest is brought to tears from happiness at their recovery. Tagg refuses any reward, but Fr Cecil gives Tagg a vial of holy water. He also escorts them to see Sir Ingram.
In the lord’s hall, they meet Sir Ingram and give him the letter of introduction from the tax man. The letter details in glowing terms about the crushing of the bandit gang at Hawk Hil. Fr Cecil tells the lord of the party’s return of the candlesticks. Sir Ingram is greatly interested in the story about Hawk Hill and also how they found the hidden treasure of Tobias Hatch. Narn gives Sir Ingram the jeweled brooch from the treasure of Tobias Hatch. He also gives the bloodhawk egg to him in the hope that it will hatch. Sir Ingram is not much of a falconer, but he would instead purchase it to give to Duke Yardly. He is pleased with both items. He invites them to partake in wine and they discuss the property of Hawk Hill.
Sir Ingram explicitly states that the keep belongs to the Crown and that Duke Yardley would make any decisions on rennovating the keep. The keep is not currently of great strategic importance. Mainly since relations with the dwarves have soured over the orc war. During that time, the dwarves had to pull back to defend their homelands and they lost many outposts. The orcs took much dwarven treasure and fled back to their mountains in the north. Some of the dwarven gold lies hidden or scattered in nearby hills and mountains. It is rumored that the dwarves would pay handsomely for the return of items lost during the orc war. In addition to gold, dwarven heirloom items were lost.
Sir Ingram states that finding a way to restore trade with the dwarves may be of benefit to all of them. He tells them that an old dwarven trading post lies in the chalk hills. If this could be restored, perhaps the duke may grant them use of the keep at Hawk Hill. The meeting ends with Sir Ingram’s promise to contact the duke and inform them when he gets a reply.
Tagg and Narn meet with a blacksmith named Nyles. The blacksmith will repair Tagg’s fine shield and make adjustments to Narn’s armor. His son, Gage, is his apprentice. Narn asks if Gage would make the trip to Hawk Hill with them to repair the winch mechanism on the portcullis. They make a handsome offer of employment and the blacksmith allows it. He has Tagg make a solemn vow to protect his son.
Tagg finds and employs an older ex-soldier as another man-at=arms. His name is Roose and he looks like a sturdy fellow. The next day, they set off for Hawk Hill with the apprentice and man-at-arms.
This was an enjoyable session. The players were able to make some contacts and start the process of improving the keep at Hawk Hill. Also during this session, both Narn and Tagg reached 2nd level!
3-30-21 Session 6
Hawk Hill after the taking of the keep.
Narn and Tagg move the bodies of the slain bandits out to the stable and then do a proper search of the keep. They find the entrance to the sally port at the back of the keep and also a trap door leading to the dungeon. They barricade this door to secure during the night.
They found a curious dagger on the bandit leader’s body. It had runes carved into the blade and had a dull, misty finish. Martin said he would try to identify the item when they returned to Stone’s Throw.
The party explores the rest of the keep before resting. They see the nearby tower rumored to be where Thalifax the wizard was in residence. The doors are boarded up and the tower shows signs of damage by fire.
They decide to move down the wide stairway into the lower area of the keep. They pass the inner gate and see the ruined door.
Passing a round tower, Narn takes a peek inside it. It looks empty. They move to the gatehouse at the front of the keep. This too is empty, but signs of recent life are there. Empty wine bottles and a stale loaf of bread lie on the table. The mechanism to operate the portcullis is working for the inner portcullis, but the front one is not.
Narn walks through the gatehouse onto the drawbridge and is confronted by a giant billy goat, standing 4′ at the shoulder. The goat glowers at him and charges, but Narn moves aside, deflecting the goat with his shield. The goat and Narn struggle on the drawbridge for a few moments and then Tagg tosses Narn a rope. Narn loops it around the goat’s horns and the men hang on for dear life. The goat is quite strong and manages to pull them off their feet. It shakes the rope off and charges Narn, knocking him down into the moat! Eventually, the goat is dispatched and the party moves out to find their horses.
The horses are just were they had left them in a small copse of trees back behind the keep. They bring them in, but not before Oskar is able to herd a couple nanny goats into the keep with his horse.
The party plans to set an ambush for any bandits that may return. Narn, Oskar, Arnulf, and Penn wait at the gatehouse while Tagg, Ludicrous, Amell, and Marlin keep watch on the top of the keep. The night passes with no incident.
In the morning, Narn and Tagg go to search another round tower on the south side of the keep. The tower is badly damaged by fire. Narn takes his armor off before climbing the steps, but even with his precautions he still slips. He falls hard and is almost killed. Tagg binds his wounds and brings him back to the gatehouse where they brew a tea of the healing herbs (given to them by Sister Margaret).
Amell and Marlin walk back to the keep and are attacked by a bloodhawk that dives out of the air to claw at Marlin’s face. It hits the magic-user and then Marlin runs into the round tower for refuge. Amell draws two arrows and fires at the bloodhawk. The second strikes true, killing the bird. He sees another one fly off of the round tower. This is the tower that Narn was climbing.
The rest of the day is spent waiting in ambush for any bandits. They wait all day and into the night, taking up positions as they had on the night before. Early in the morning, a couple hours before daybreak, riders approached the keep. They rode in cautiously. There were seven men on horseback. When they reached the gatehouse, one of the men whistled like a bird. Narn and company remained silent. A few minutes passed and the man called again–still no one answered. They rode through the open gate and into the courtyard. One of the riders was sent ahead to scout out the keep.
As the rider dismounted at the keep, Marlin cast a charm spell on him and sent him to the stables to check on the horses. Amell and Tagg fired at the other riders waiting in the outer courtyard, but it was still too dark to see well. The bandits spurred their horses back to the gatehouse but found the portcullis was dropping. The bandits were trapped!
Narn ordered the bandits to surrender and they wouldn’t be harmed. They failed their morale check and dismounted. Narn ordered the men to drop their weapons and lie on the ground. Three of the bandits did so, but three more made a break for the round tower.
As they dashed into the round tower, Amell shot and killed one of them with his longbow (a critical hit!) The other two men fled into the tower. While the party was busy securing the three bandits in the courtyard, the two men in the tower climbed to the roof and over the edge. One of the bandits had a bad bit of luck when he fell off the tower and broke his neck. The other bandit made it outside and fled in the dark.
Marlin, the magic-user, questioned his charmed friend about the details of Burly Bill’s gang and Narn questioned the other prisoners. It was determined that Burly Bill’s gang had been crushed. Only three or four bandits remained at large. The tax money was secured and additional loot as well!
The party rode back to Stone’s Throw with the spare horses and many dead and captured bandits. Gerrad Reeve and the tax man were there to witness their return. The party was given a nice reward for all the bandits (40sp each, 20sp from Gerrard Reeve and 20sp from the tax man). The hirelings were well rewarded by Narn and decided they would stay on with Narn. That is, if Arnulf and Penn could end their duties as the duke’s guardsmen. It may take some silver to make that happen. They would inquire after bringing the tax man safely back to High Guard.
Martin was able to identify the blade. It was a ghost blade that was the bane of all undead (+1/+3 vs undead, glows when undead are within 60′). The other item was an agate etched with runes. It was a luckstone (provides +1 to all saves). One other item Narn had, he gave to Tagg, the cleric, to examine. It was a pouch of three lead balls etched with holy symbols of Eos. Tagg thought that they were ammo for a sling and would provide some magical advantage.
The adventurers talked about their next steps and decided to go back to Hawk Hill to explore the dungeon and the wizard’s tower. They were also considering how to obtain the keep to use as a base. The tax man told them that the duke would have an answer to this.
3-24-21 Session 5
Village of Stone’s Throw and the old keep at Hawk Hill
Narn, Amell, Martin, Ludicrous, and Tagg (a cleric of Eos) make plans at the Ox and Plough Tavern in Stone’s Throw.. Narn had previously spoken to Old Rollen the Cottager. He was a guard at Hawk Hill long ago. The old man gives Narn the layout of the keep as best at he can recollect. He says that there is a sally port hidden in the back of the keep. Narn suggests having the taxman’s two guards, Penn and Arnulf, act as a decoy and bring an empty strongbox down the south road. This would interest any bandit spies and allow the PCs to strike at Hawk Hill with surprise. ThePCs then make it known to any listeners that they will foray into the Kingswood and search for the bandit lair in the ruins of the Ancient Academy. In fact, Penn and Arnulf would head south out of town and then cut overland out of sight of the village to rendevous with the party at the edge of the Kingswood. The PCs would move towards the Kingswood and then pick up the guards. Staying just within the edge of the forest, they would work their way to the east towards Hawk Hill.
The company arrives at Hawk Hill just at twilight. They look for signs of activity and spy two guards patrolling the top of a old keep. Ludicrous, the thief, and Amell, the archer, reconnoiter. They find a dry moat and cross it quietly. Ludicrous finds signs of a concealed door in the wall, but it is impassable. He then attempts to climb the keep’s wall but falls! He makes a save and takes no damage, but they have to hide along the wall to prevent guards from spotting them. It is dark now. Ludicrous tries again at a different location along the wall and is successful. He manages to climb to the top of the keep. He lowers a rope for Amell and sneaks off to spy on the two guards. They are bandits, sitting near a brazier and drinking. Ludicrous throws a stone towards the battlement. Both guards move to investigate and Ludicrous rushes to push one of the guards over!
The guard falls, is stunned, but not dead. Amell moves quickly to kill him and Ludicrous manages to slay the other bandit. The rest of the party climbs the rope to join them. They enter through a trapdoor onto the second floor. The party searches through three empty rooms and finds Burly Bill’s (bandit chief) chambers. They find some loot and a fine coat. Sounds of men talking and carrying on can be heard from downstairs. The third room is searched by Ludicrous and he finds a strongbox (padlocked) under some canvas tarps. He is unable to open it at the moment.
The party moves down the stairs and attempts to surprise the bandits but are heard as they move through the door. Around several tables in the great hall sit 12 bandits. One of them is the chief bandit, Burly Bill.
Arrows are unleashed and men rush to attack with club, sword, and dagger. Burly Bill stays back to direct the bandits. Marlin attemps to charm the leader, but Bill rolls a 20!
The battle continues. Amell is badly injured, but his shield takes a fatal blow for him, splintering. The bandits begin to fall and Burly Bill tries to retreat. Tagg, the cleric and Narn rush at him as he flees through the main entrance. They catch in in the dark and cut him down. Three other bandits flee to the stables and ride, breakneck for the gate of the keep. The party stops to recover loot and bind wounds. The bandit gang has been crushed! They decide to spend more time investigating the buildings. One nearby building is a tall square tower, rumored to be the tower of the wizard Thalifax.
We ended the session at this point.
[The following is a journal entry from Narn, the Falmedian fighter]
Narn attacked the stables wooden support post again. For the deep cuts and gouges in the wood he thought he was winning. The fine sword that had recently belonged to Madran, the bandit leader, felt good in his hand. Well balanced, and crafted from quality materials, this was the first sword that Narn had used. In his clan in Falmead only the leaders and their retainers could afford swords. Narn came from a poor sheep herding family and had always used clubs, staves, and later a mace when he could afford it. His style of fighting was brute force and channeling the berserker rage. But fighting with a sword was different than fighting with a mace. So Narn was practicing on the wooden post, trying to make sure his blows landed with the edge of the blade, and not the flat.
Narn could feel eyes upon him and paused to look around. Penn and Arnulf were standing across the way at the keep door, watching him and obviously talking to each other. Narn felt strangely insecure practicing in front of the two men-at-arms. He did not want to look weak or unskilled but suspected that was just what his first practice with the sword looked like to experienced eyes.
Narn paused to breathe, wiped sweat from his face, swallowed his pride, and called out “Arnulf, would you come here and tell me what I am doing wrong?” Arnulf looked at Penn, who just shrugged in response, then looked back at Narn with some apprehension. The men-at-arms were dependent on Narn for their bonus silver for fighting the bandits, and in their experience, lords did not like to be corrected by their hirelings. Narn called out again, “When we collect our fees form the Duke’s Taxman, your bonuses will be fifty silvers each. And I will pay you an additional week’s wages, seven silvers, for your advice in using the sword.”
The two men-at-arms looked at each other again, then walked across the upper bailey yard to the stable and the wooden support Narn was using as a pell. Arnulf said, “Your blows are strong, but you normally don’t need to put that much strength into a swing. And the extra effort, the way you draw your arm back before you swing can tell your opponent what you plan to do. You are chopping with your sword as you would have swung your mace. The sword can chop, but mostly it cuts in a forward motion or a backward drawing motion. You can also use the sword point to thrust.” Arnulf drew his sword and demonstrated on the wooden post. Sliding his sword forward in a cutting motion at neck height against the wood, then drawing its edge back again making another cut, then thrusting the tip into the post. Arnulf looked at Narn, “You have the chopping part down, now practice the forward and backward cuts and the thrust. I watched a sword master teaching a young noble in High Guard. And something he said stuck with me. Every attack should flow into a defense, and every defense should flow into an attack, like water.”
Arnulf raised his shield and rested his sword on his shoulder. Facing the wooden post, he swung the sword at head height and took a half step with his right foot. The blade struck the wood, and Arnulf moved his left foot back, creating more distance between himself and the post. He pulled the blade back in front of his head and shield in a defensive motion, then over his head and back to his shoulder, ready for his next attack. He ran through the motions a few more times showing the fluidness of the maneuver. Then he had Narn practice it. Slow at first, then faster as Narn became comfortable with the moves.
An hour later Narn’s armor padding was drenched in sweat, and Penn and Arnulf were happy to have earned a week’s wages for talking, while someone else worked hard.
3-19-21 Session 4
The Village of Stone’s Throw
Narn and his hireling, Oskar, hide the treasure of Tobias Hatch in Father Morris’s room at the church. They bring the empty strongbox to the tavern to make any of the bandit gang’s spies take interest. One of the tax man’s guards named Penn, strikes up a conversation with Narn and offers to join him in a search for the bandits. He also recruits the other guardsman, Arnulf.
Narn makes a visit to the church and climbs to the bell tower. The two sisters of the church accompany him. Sr Margaret and Sr Lorena. The younger sister, Lorena spies a thin line of woodsmoke coming from the village wood to the south. She is familiar with these woods. It is there that she collects healing herbs.
Sr Lorena is determined to help find the missing priest. She acts as scout for Narn and his men. She spies a campsite with a five or six men and Fr Morris bound and gagged. Sr Lorena sneaks back to tell Narn. (At this point, Paul joins the Roll20 session. His characters are Marlin, the magician and Ludicrous, the thief). The magician and thief make a circle to the south, catching a bandit sentry. The magician uses a charm person spell on him and the bandit is all too eager to lead them to the camp.
Meanwhile, Narn, Oskar, and the two guardsmen move southward with horses. They encounter a lone bandit who is watching some horses. Narn and Oskar kill him while the guards move to the south.
Four of the remaining bandits at the campfire are surprised by the thief (rolled a 2 for his thievery). Ludirous sneak attacks one bandit, killing him instantly. The other bandits let loose volleys of crossbow bolts at the two guards, but darkness makes it difficult to hit.
It is short work for Narn and his men to cut the others down. The priest is rescued and unharmed. None of Narn’s men were seriously injured.
***This is a journal entry by Joe [player of Narn] telling of events that took place afterwards***
Narn of Falmead
Narn of Falmead raised his ceramic tankard of ale and took another sip of the strong brew. He looked around the small alehouse at all the local village farmers, villeins tied to the land they worked for themselves and their local lord. They had rough clothing, and the signs of hard labor were on their hands and faces. But the mood tonight was a happy one, for the recovery of their kidnapped priest, and the extra ale that Narn had paid good silver to ensure kept flowing. A few others could be seen around the common room. A merchant and his bodyguard, the local Reeve, and the Duke’s Taxman and his two guards Penn and Arnulf. The Taxman had already pressed Narn and his companions about finding the bandits that had stolen the tax levy, and we reassured him that we would recover the full amount and punish the bandits. With a price of twenty silvers on the head of each bandit, Narn hoped that none would get away.
Narn raised his tankard and spoke to the common room, “We are all pleased with the safe return of Father Morris. And I am happy to say there are fewer bandits to plague the area.” A small cheer went up in the common room. “And,” Narn continued, “my companions and I pledge one hundred silvers to repair the church.” A slightly louder cheer was heard. “So tonight, we will all feast on roasted bear meat and we shall try to drink all of Madi Alewife’s brew!” This brought the loudest cheer.
Draining his tankard, Narn nodded to his companions, picked up his backpack, and motioned for Oskar to pick up the ale jug and follow him out of the inn. The plate armor was a weight Narn was getting used to, and he slung the backpack on his right shoulder to offset the weight of the shield on his left shoulder. The two of them walked down the muddy lane towards the church. Narn had recently recruited Oskar and outfitted him in chain armor. Oskar seemed a rough sort, and probably not beyond a bit of banditry himself given the opportunity, but he had proved brave. Standing with Narn when the bear charged, and recently chasing down a bandit leader. But trust was a coin earned in the tribes of Falmead where Narn grew up. So he watched Oskar, and avoided creating an opening for betrayal; and paid him well.
Approaching the church Narn indicated a shadowed corner. “Oskar, take a position there and watch the road. Keep track of who passes by, and pay attention to anything unusual, to relate to me when I come back out.” This should keep Oskar occupied and help him develop the habit of paying attention. “I am going into the church to have my wounds looked after” Narn said, still feeling the scabs where the bear had clawed him.
Narn pulled open the heavy scared oak church door and walked the length of the church to Father Morris’s rooms at the back. The good Father walked out and greeted Narn “Ah, my lad, how are you?”
“I am well Father,” Narn replied “though I plan to let Sister Margret look at my wounds. May we speak in your room?”
Father Morris looked at Narn, “It is a small room but there should be space enough, even for you in your armor.” As he turned and ushered Narn into his room, Father Morris continued. “I should thank you again for rescuing me form the bandits. It seemed to me that I might not live through that experience.” A small shudder went through the priest. Inside the small priests room Father Morris gave Narn a critical look. “And I am none to sure about your companion who seems to work in dark arts.”
“Ah… Father, I can assure you that the wizard Marlin intends no harm to this community, nor anyone in it. Without his help against the bandits that kidnapped you the outcome might have been different. I
will pledge to watch him if that will relieve your concern.” Narn did not think it would, but it was worth a try and would not hurt. Dropping his pack to the floor, Narn reached inside and drew out a large leather pouch, the contents of which gave a soft metallic clink. Placing the heavy pouch into the priest’s hands, “And this is one hundred pieces of silver, from the recovered treasure, to help you repair the church. There was a bit more in your share but we had to spend it on your rescue. I hope this will be enough to make your repairs.” Narn kept his face straight as he lied to the good Father. It was not the first time he had lied to a good man, and probably would not be the last. But the jewels and gold coins would be more than was needed to repair the church. And the one hundred pieces of silver was more than half of the other coins. So Narn gave a mental shrug and smiled at the priest.
“Oh, this is wonderful, the church roof is in need of repair.” Father Morris opened the leather pouch to look at the silver coins.
“If you will excuse me Father,” Narn gave the priest a brief clasp on the shoulder, “I would like the good Sisters to examine my wounds.
Father Morris look up, “Do you require more healing lad?”
“No Father, just some ointment from the good Sisters. The claw marks are healing but the scabs chafe under my clothes and armor.”
As Narn walked out of the small room the good Father said, “May you be blessed in your future trials lad.”
Narn made his was to the healing shed attached to the church, rapped his gloved hand on the door frame, and walked in. The two Nuns were there, mixing herbs with a mortar and pestle. The Sisters looked up at Narn’s entrance. “Greetings Sister Margaret, Sister Lorena,” Narn said as he glanced around, “is the girl who was mauled by the bear here?”
“No” replied Sister Margaret, “we have sent her back to her parents, as her injuries are healing nicely.”
Narn had strung one bear claw on a leather cord to make a necklace for the girl, but would have to look for her at her parent’s hovel. Narn placed his pack and shield on the floor. “Sisters, would you please look at my wounds, I think they are healing well, but the scabs are itching and rubbing beneath my armor.”
The older Sister Margaret wiped her hands on a cloth, “Sit on that bench and let’s have a look shall we.”
Narn sat on the bench and began unbuckling his armor. Several pieces were battered and in need of repair, but the small village had no blacksmith, let alone an experienced armorer. When the armor and padding was removed, and his tunic pulled over his head, the bear claw marks were revealed, newly scabbed over. Sister Margaret poked the skin around the wounds, “No pus, that’s a good sign. Father Morris’s healing usually prevents that, but it is still good to see. Lorena, fetch me the goat’s foot salve.” The younger sister brought a clay jar down from a shelf and held it with reach of the older nun. Sister Margaret dabbed a bit of salve along the edges of the healing claw marks. “This should help with the itching. Do not scratch or pull off the scabs,” she admonished, “let them fall off on their own.” Then Sister Margaret gave Narn a stern look, “And get different work. There is farmland that needs plowing, or I think the miller needs help. Find something less dangerous.”
Narn smiled, “Thank you Sister Margaret, but a life behind the plow is not for me. I will take the Adventurer’s Road, and pay the toll required. I thank you for your kind thoughts, and your kinder healing.” Narn put on his tunic and padding, and began strapping on his armor. “Sister Margret, I think that Father Morris wants to talk with you about the repairs to the church. I just brought him the needed silver.”
Sister Margret glanced at the roof, “Well, that will be a good thing, this roof has been getting leakier by the season.” Sister Margret looked at Sister Lorina, “Give Master Narn here a small bit of the goat’s foot salve to take with him. Then complete mixing the herbs for the poultice. I am going to speak with Father Morris.”
Narn fidgeted with a couple of his armor buckles waiting for Sister Margaret to leave. When she had he addressed the younger Nun. “Sister Lorena, I wanted to complement you again on what you did to scout the bandits that were holding Father Morris captive. That was both brave and skillful.” Narn reached into his pack again and withdrew another leather pouch, somewhat larger that the one he gave to Father Morris. “Each of the men who helped have received their bonus. And this is yours. There are two hundred coppers in the pouch, equal to what the men at arms received. I thought coppers would be easier for you to spend or give as alms. Or you can keep it for yourself, since you earned it.” Narn saw the gleam in her eyes again. This one might want adventure rather than the life of a nun in a small village.
Sister Lorina cast her eyes down, and said to the floor, “Sister Margaret would not like me to keep it. She would say that it should be given to those in need.”
Narn shrugged, then placed the heavy pouch in her hands. “As I said, YOU are free to do with it as you will. Hide it from the good Sister if you want. Spend it on the poor. The choice is yours.” Narn settled the shield on his shoulders, then lifted the pack. Ready to leave he stopped, and faced Sister Lorerna, “Adventurers always need healing. And you have proved yourself capable in helping to rescue Father Morris. Should you decide that you wanted an adventuring life you may join me whenever you wish. I am sure Sister Margaret would have some choice words for me. But I will face that onslaught without budging if you wanted to join us. But Sister Margaret is right that farmers and millers on average live longer lives than adventures. So keep that in mind. And fair you well.” Narn gives the young nun a short bow, then leaves.
Outside Narn walked past Oskar, picked up the jug of ale, and said “Keep watching, I have one more thing to do.”
Narn walked to the nearby hut to talk to the old man who had recently come to town and told Narn and Amell about the old fort at Hawk Hill. Narn talked with the old man, left the jug of ale and a loaf of bread out of his backpack, and came away with a mental picture of what the fort at Hawk Hill looked like back then.
3-10-21 Session 3
The Village of Stone’s Throw
We started off the session with a roadside ambush of the Duke’s tax man with his three guards and a bandit group of seven ruffians. The bandits were greater in number but the Duke’s men were better armored. The end result was that the tax man and two of his guards escaped on horseback, leaving a dead mule with a strong box of taxes and one dead guard. The bandits suffered one fatality. A guard’s crossbow pierced his leather armor.
The tax man comes to the village of Stone’s Throw to complain to Gerrard Reeve about the bandits in the area. The reeve offers Amell and any mercenaries with him, the chance to earn some silver. There’s a bounty of 20sp per bandit and the tax man has offered to match that. The tax man is looking for the return of his strong box and some dead bandits.
Narn and Amell are contacted by the parish priest, Father Morris. One of his parishioners, Old Barlowe, died but in his deathbed confession told the priest about a mysterious note. It was on the body of Tobias Hatch, a famous highwayman, who was hanged 18 years ago. The letter is the last will and testament of Tobias Hatch.
Amell and Narn go on a treasure hunt and are attacked by a black bear. Narn has hired a mercenary named Oscar. He outfitted him with a light crossbow, club, shield, and chainmail. Together the three of them kill the bear, but Narn is injured.
They rest for a day at Madi’s alehouse, a tavern known as the Ox and Plough. During this time, the village priest is kidnapped and a ransom note left at the church reads, “Bring the treasure or the priest dies!”
Amell, Narn, and Oscar finish their treasure hunt and recover a strong box with coins and a couple other curious items–a polished stone with a glyph carved on it and four lead balls also marked with some strange symbols.
This is where we left it for the session. It was a fun adventure and I’m looking forward to our next time.
3-7-21 Session 2
North of the village of Stone’s Throw in the Duchy of Granden Vale
Narn, a berserking fighter, Marlin, a savant magic-user, Ludacris, a dungeoneering thief, and Amell, an archer encounter four bandits on the road north of Stone’s Throw. Marlin charms the leader, the other three are killed. The leader tells Marlin about their hideout in the ruins three miles northwest. He will even lead his new best friend to the hideout.
The party enters the ruins of an ancient monastery. The bandit leads them to a secret room where they surprise the bandit leader and seven of his men. Marlin casts heat metal and the others engage in melee. The bandit leader is burned to death with the heat metal spell and four of the bandits are killed. The others surrender.
The party finds a treasure chest filled with silver and copper pieces and a clay vial, corked. The bandit leader has a fine longsword (gives +1 to hit but it is not magical). He also has plate armor. Returning to the surface, the party encounters a giant toad. It is killed by Amell’s arrows.
The remain bandits are brought back to the village to face justice. The bandit leader who is charmed still thinks he is on the party’s side and is unaware that he will face justice as well.
210sp for each of the PCs and 500xp each.
[Notes–I am using a simplified xp system of 100xp per hit die and 1xp per silver piece. I am using a silver standard. Consider each silver piece as a gold piece. This gives a reason to carry away any copper pieces found in the dungeon and allows gold piece to be the currency of choice for nobles.]
Amell is hired by Gerrard Reeve to keep the village safe, roust unsavory types at the tavern, and watch for bandits.