Castle Caldwell and Beyond: (A 5e Campaign) - The Wrecking Crew

Game Master Terquem

The Wrecking Crew, a special last chance arm of the Solution Society, is about to take on the first task in a one year long probation.
Can they survive, let alone succeed? | Journal where details of the setting can be learned |

Journey to Limecracker Hovel


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Male Half-Elf Bard 2 | Init +4 | AC 15 | HP 17/17 | Darkvision 60' | PP 14 | PI 14 | Str -2, Dex +5, Con +2, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +6 | Advantage on Charms, Immune to Sleep

"I think we may have the time to allot for a brief detour." Isaiah says with a nod.


Male Half-Orc Rogue 2 | HP 18/18 | AC 13 | Saves Str +1, Dex +4, Con +1, Int +4, Wis +1, Cha +0 | Investigation +6; Perception +3; Darkvision | Init +2

Kerak nods. "We should also make sure to keep a careful eye out in general. Don't want the bandits to get the drop on us."


Male Halfling Rogue 2 | HP 15/15 | AC 17 | Saves Str +1, Dex +7, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +2, Cha +0 | Acrobatics +7; Investigation +4; Perception +4; Sleight of Hand +7; Stealth +9; | Init +5

"Sure I can help out." Merrum offers.


Female Human Druid 2 | AC: 16 | HP: 18/18 | | Init: +9 Perc: +5 | Saves Str +0, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +5, Cha +3 | Spells/day = 3

Choosing a choice apple Lilly smiles in satisfaction with both the taste and the decision to get rid of some bandits. I think we will work to make sure that never happens to you again Ballamy. Wish us luck.


Male Male Half-Elf Cleric 2 | AC 18 | HP 18 | Initiative -1 |
Saves:
Str +3 Dex -1 Con +2 Int +1 Wis +6 Cha +5
Spells Prepared:
Cantrips- Guidance, Light, Sacred Flame | 1st Level- Bless, Cure Wounds, Healing Word, Protection from Evil, Shield of Faith

"Sounds good to me. I cannot stand bandit scum. They claim too many lives."


male

After a pleasant exchange with the young elven woman, the group presses on to the east along the road toward the Mackenzie Crossing.

It’s a pleasant early afternoon walk of about six miles, and as the group approaches the Mackenzie Crossing they are surprised to see a generous amount of puffy grey smoke rising from one of the islands in the river.

Well before the group is near the entrance to the first covered bridge you see, on a scrub covered island where the first bridge reaches, a pair of old men, wearing warm cloths, standing in the river just to the west of the island, only a few feet from shore, with fishing poles in their hands. Behind these men, about fifteen feet from the shore of the island, there is a small tent and a campfire, and two women and two small children are active around the fire. It looks like one of the women is placing a large tea kettle on a stone near the fire, while the other woman is sitting on a log, with a tray on her knees and she is working something on the tray.

You feel no sense of danger, and proceed across the first bridge, and at this point the men in the river notice your approach, one of them points as he turns his head toward the camp site.

The children and women look your way.

When you reach the end of the first bridge you now see a hand cart parked near the second bridge, blocked from view by the angle of the first bridge. It has two large wheels, long handles, and is empty. It looks like an expensive cart.

The woman who placed the kettle and children at the campsite, which is about eighty feet to the west of you, wave, their faces are smiling, but they make no attempt to come to greet you. The other woman looks up from the tray, she is smiling as well, and then goes back to her work, which you can guess is cutting something in preparation for a meal.

You can head out on the flat, scrub covered island, toward the camp site to talk to these people, or continue on your way, crossing the second covered bridge which is longer than the first, and reaches the south bank of the river.


Female Human Druid 2 | AC: 16 | HP: 18/18 | | Init: +9 Perc: +5 | Saves Str +0, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +5, Cha +3 | Spells/day = 3

Best we meet these folk, see if they are as they seem, and get their story. Lilly advises.


Male Male Half-Elf Cleric 2 | AC 18 | HP 18 | Initiative -1 |
Saves:
Str +3 Dex -1 Con +2 Int +1 Wis +6 Cha +5
Spells Prepared:
Cantrips- Guidance, Light, Sacred Flame | 1st Level- Bless, Cure Wounds, Healing Word, Protection from Evil, Shield of Faith

"Fine by me."

Vash raises a hand, calling in greeting.

"Well met, good people! How fare you this day?"


Male Halfling Rogue 2 | HP 15/15 | AC 17 | Saves Str +1, Dex +7, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +2, Cha +0 | Acrobatics +7; Investigation +4; Perception +4; Sleight of Hand +7; Stealth +9; | Init +5

Merrum will be smiles and cheer, but not directly engage in any conversation.


Male Half-Elf Bard 2 | Init +4 | AC 15 | HP 17/17 | Darkvision 60' | PP 14 | PI 14 | Str -2, Dex +5, Con +2, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +6 | Advantage on Charms, Immune to Sleep

Isaiah follows along with the group. Running into nice people and making pleasant conversation may not be something he'd write a song about but it was still much more appreciated than the many alternatives.


Male Half-Orc Rogue 2 | HP 18/18 | AC 13 | Saves Str +1, Dex +4, Con +1, Int +4, Wis +1, Cha +0 | Investigation +6; Perception +3; Darkvision | Init +2

Kerak tilts his head quizzically at the friendly people on the island. If there were bandits about, these people certainly didn't seem concerned - unless they were the bandits. A good ruse if so. He'd have to remember it in the future.

He lets Lilly and Vash take the lead in talking with them - after all, as a scout, he'd learned much by watching and listening as opposed to interrogating.


Female Human Druid 2 | AC: 16 | HP: 18/18 | | Init: +9 Perc: +5 | Saves Str +0, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +5, Cha +3 | Spells/day = 3

With agreement from the group Lilly heads towards the people, hailing them. Greetings. May we come and speak with you?


male

Lilly and the Preacher moved to the front of the small band and lead them toward the campers, calling out warm welcomes.

Well met, good sir and lady a woman says as she walks to meet them halfway. The two small children straggling along behind her, a boy and a girl, with the girl whispering things in the boy’s ear, to which his reply is a gentle shove.

Stopping about twenty yards from the campfire and tent, the woman opens her hand flat, and gestures back toward the camp saying, My husband, my sister and her husband welcome you to our camp. We hope you’ll stay a while and tell us where you’ve come from and what news you have. I am Cordeen, and my husband is Barthlan. My sister is Deborah, and her husband is Gregory, these are my nephew and niece, Gregson, and Maryann. We made camp on this little island yesterday morning. The men have heard the fishing here is the best around. We come from Gaderston and are planning to leave for Seaport tomorrow to meet with family there who are planning to emigrate to Urandoma, or Orimar, whatever they are calling it. So what brings you out on the road today?

She is a healthy woman, not overweight, but certainly not thin, and young, probably not yet in her twenties. She seems friendly and sincere.


Female Human Druid 2 | AC: 16 | HP: 18/18 | | Init: +9 Perc: +5 | Saves Str +0, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +5, Cha +3 | Spells/day = 3

Well met. I am Lilly Wildwood. I am glad to find you here and safe. We have a reliable report that bandits were active in this area and came here to see if the passage across was safe. Have you seen any signs of danger or banditry? Looking more closely Lilly adds You and your family look healthy. The hunting and fishing here must be good.


Male Male Half-Elf Cleric 2 | AC 18 | HP 18 | Initiative -1 |
Saves:
Str +3 Dex -1 Con +2 Int +1 Wis +6 Cha +5
Spells Prepared:
Cantrips- Guidance, Light, Sacred Flame | 1st Level- Bless, Cure Wounds, Healing Word, Protection from Evil, Shield of Faith

"As Lilly noted, we are here to help and protect those that might need it. I am Vash Urias. Has anything prodded your move? Is all well in Gaderston?"


male

Well, we’ve seen no one else here, and we’ve been camping since yesterday morning. the woman says. There wasn’t any talk in Gaderston that the crossing was dangerous, but we had heard that the Dukes were quarreling over who was responsible for protecting the road that goes east from here. As to the situation in Gaderston, well, it is a good as can be hoped, what with all the refugees coming in from the north. We hear terrible things are happening in Vurespania. Some sort of religious fervor is sweeping the hill country and many people are fleeing south to escape oppressive clergymen, not to mention the whole country is suffering a blight that has lasted three years now. We are letting cousins of ours from Vurespania tend our farm in Gaderston while we visit Bartlan’s father and his new wife in Seaport. The children have never seen the city and we intend to stay for a few weeks. I hear that ships from the island of Urandoma are bringing the finest wool ever seen and if we can make a bargain with Bartlan’s new inlaws we might be bringing some back to Gaderston where we could stand to make a strong profit.

She smiles and invites you all to come closer to the small camp fire.

It isn’t particularly cold, but the fire is warm and welcoming.

The men haven’t had any great luck fishing so far. We have plenty of provisions, even if they don’t catch anything so you are welcome to stay and share in what we have. Are you also headed to Seaport? Perhaps you can stay a day or two and we can all travel together?


Female Human Druid 2 | AC: 16 | HP: 18/18 | | Init: +9 Perc: +5 | Saves Str +0, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +5, Cha +3 | Spells/day = 3

Yes, a fire and a meal would be welcome. Perhaps I could help with the fishing. Lilly offers.

Survival: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15


Male Half-Orc Rogue 2 | HP 18/18 | AC 13 | Saves Str +1, Dex +4, Con +1, Int +4, Wis +1, Cha +0 | Investigation +6; Perception +3; Darkvision | Init +2

"We'd be happy to stay for the meal, but we aren't heading to Seaport. We have other business to attend to farther south," Kerak says, trying to avoid giving away too much about their mission. He will also attempt to help with the fishing, although he isn't particularly good at it.

Survival, Aid Lilly: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (10) + 1 = 11


Male Half-Elf Bard 2 | Init +4 | AC 15 | HP 17/17 | Darkvision 60' | PP 14 | PI 14 | Str -2, Dex +5, Con +2, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +6 | Advantage on Charms, Immune to Sleep

"It seems we'll be staying for while. Is there anything else you'd like assistance with?" Isaiah asks the campers.


male

Lily moves toward the sandy shoal at the west end of this small island in the river, and begins watching the two men as they cast their lines, tug on the line occasionally, then real it in, and begin again. She can tell they men are “fly casting” a method that is difficult to master, but often rewarding when a large trout is caught. Kerak soon joins her, and offers a bit of advice on the types of flies the men are using, to which Lily agrees, and when the time is right she mentions the possibility of using a small piece of river weed tied to resemble an early mayfly, a type of fly used in the rivers north of Harrispania, commonly called a “Brown T-tied Fly”

With Kerak’s help, a couple of the small flies are soon made, and on the first cast, a nice three pound brookie is snagged. Moments later another brook trout, only slightly lighter in weight but a few inches longer is caught, and in no time at all the fish on the stringer grow in number until it is decided they are to be cleaned and the fire made ready to cook up a tasty lunch.

All in all the party spends just a few hours with the two families, as the sun moves across the southern sky. And many stories of fishing exploits of the past are shared.

When Isaiah, offers any other assistance, the families shrug and indicate they do not need much at the time, but hope they all can meet again, should the group ever be in Gaderston.

The afternoon has a few good hours of daylight left, and the party now must decide if they will sleep out under the stars, here on the small island in the river, or make hast for the lands south and west of the crossing, perhaps easily reaching Castle Caldwell if that is in their minds. There is no guarantee the place is safe, but at least there are dry rooms in the castle’s outer ward and walls where the group could sleep out of the weather for the night.


Male Half-Elf Bard 2 | Init +4 | AC 15 | HP 17/17 | Darkvision 60' | PP 14 | PI 14 | Str -2, Dex +5, Con +2, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +6 | Advantage on Charms, Immune to Sleep

Isaiah turns to the party and asks the obvious question. "Are we camping here for the night or do we push on and try to make up lost time?"


Male Half-Orc Rogue 2 | HP 18/18 | AC 13 | Saves Str +1, Dex +4, Con +1, Int +4, Wis +1, Cha +0 | Investigation +6; Perception +3; Darkvision | Init +2

"Let's push on. Time may be the difference between success and failure."


Female Human Druid 2 | AC: 16 | HP: 18/18 | | Init: +9 Perc: +5 | Saves Str +0, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +5, Cha +3 | Spells/day = 3

I concur. If there is something amis here I cannot detect it.


Male Half-Elf Bard 2 | Init +4 | AC 15 | HP 17/17 | Darkvision 60' | PP 14 | PI 14 | Str -2, Dex +5, Con +2, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +6 | Advantage on Charms, Immune to Sleep

Isaiah bids farewell to the family and awaits for group to gather their things and renew their travels.


male

With smiles all around, the party wishes the campers well, and moves on, crossing the second bridge to the south side of the river, and turning westward they set out at a healthy pace.

Less than an hour passes and a strange sight appears on the left in the direction of a castle ruin to the south. The dirt road the party travels on follows the river, staying just a few dozen feet back from the riverside, which is an embankment some ten feet above the water’s edge, and the ruin, some hundred yards to the south of the road, lies at the end of a beaten path in the grass and spring flowers. The path shows signs of recent use, but it is obvious that there is not sufficient travel to and from this ruin to turn the path into a proper trail.

The ruin itself, from what can be seen, is a pair of towers flanking a gatehouse, and walls running out from each tower, to the left and right, to short, fat towers at the corners of the ruin.

This is Castle Caldwel, as it has come to be known, but it is not the ruin of Castle Caldwell that catches the eye.

Placed about twenty yards from the gatehouse, some eighty yards from the road, is a small catapult. To the right of the catapult are a few strange looking huts, short, with rounded tops, which appear to made of animal skins and strips of random bits of different fabrics.

Small humanoid creatures can be seem moving around the tents and the small catapult, and from this far away it is difficult to determine exactly what the small humanoid’s are, at first, but when you stop and peer into the distance, with the sun low on the horizon to the south-west, you are almost certain you recognize them as goblins.


Male Half-Orc Rogue 2 | HP 18/18 | AC 13 | Saves Str +1, Dex +4, Con +1, Int +4, Wis +1, Cha +0 | Investigation +6; Perception +3; Darkvision | Init +2

Kerak slows up, squinting at the goblins in the distance. "I don't suppose those o fyou that have been in the area for longer than I have know why a bunch of gobins with a catapult are set up here, do you?"

Do goblins have a different reputation in this world than standard D&D?


male

Yes, standard, maybe a bit old school, first edition like, D&D goblins. In this setting Goblins tend to be found in more hill and mountain country, not usually flat lands. They prefer caves and ruins for "reworking" to suit their needs. They are often lead by Hobgoblins, but rarely work with Bugbears. They are also usually in conflict with Kobolds (who tend to be "harmless" if a bit simple minded and sometimes easily manipulated). Recently, one of the previous heroes reported to the Society (and anyone could have read the report) that a "clan" of goblins was aggressively forcing a group of kobolds out of their hovel somewhere to the south of Castle Caldwell. Goblins, in small numbers were encountered within the Castle, and fought aggressively to resist being evicted. It was not clear if the goblins in the castle were aligned with the group of bandits/slave traders who were discovered later, or if they were simply squatters looking for a new home. Goblins are more common in the southern country, the City States of Tarulle, less common in Harrispania, but occur more often also to the west in Barakovian mountains, and to the north in Pallicadian hill country. They are not like Pathfinder Goblins, and though they are thought of as "lower" intelligent creatures, they are not automatically life threatening, and if the circumstances are correct they can be engaged in a parley, particularly if they are under the control of a Hobgoblin leader.


Male Half-Elf Bard 2 | Init +4 | AC 15 | HP 17/17 | Darkvision 60' | PP 14 | PI 14 | Str -2, Dex +5, Con +2, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +6 | Advantage on Charms, Immune to Sleep

History?: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22

"There was some activity recently but the catapult is a new development at the very least." Isaiah states.


male

Isaiah:
You have been following the situation of the disputes regarding the land south of this river for a while now. "Historically” this river has been the southern border between Harrispania (and by extension, Alodoa) and the City States of Tarulle. The hilly, and bog country (particularly near the coast) has not been easy for anyone to settle, and not particularly rich in resources, until you are further west, where the ground is higher, and the soil a bit healthier. The region is often referred to as the “Bitter Lands” by western “woodland elf” populations. In the past one hundred years, Dukes of Harrispania have tried to settle the lands immediately south of the river, causing disputes with local populations of goblins, kobolds, and elves (the actual governments of the City States of Tarulle have little interest in fighting Alodoa over a few miles of bogs and wooded hills, but as in the case of any such border disputes, the further Alodoa presses south, the more of a problem it will be). Right now the Duke responsible for these lands (Duke Gregory Sarassos), “officially”, is having financial problems of his own and has been pressing the Duke of Thornton (Duke Philippe Thorton) to take action when there are problems that affect people who might be living near or travelling along the River road, and Duke Thornton has been acting when his men are available (in fact, Duke Thorton might be angling to take control of the Duchy of Thistle Crown, but would never do so in a hostile or underhanded way, and probably hopes Duke Sarassos will finally reach a decision to dump the land into Duke Thornton’s hands). However, this scene before you probably can be summed up as a large faction of Goblins trying to take control of the Castle, independent of any actual political machinations of the Dukes or the Barons of the City States. Goblins, south of the river are rarely this well organized, and this suggest some Hobgoblins, who are found normally further to the west, have moved eastward and may be taking control of small tribes of goblins


Male Half-Elf Bard 2 | Init +4 | AC 15 | HP 17/17 | Darkvision 60' | PP 14 | PI 14 | Str -2, Dex +5, Con +2, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +6 | Advantage on Charms, Immune to Sleep

"They seem to be after the castle." Isaiah states after watching the goblins. "Shall we intervene? There are powerful forces residing in the Caldwell home and I'm not keen on leaving them to whatever fate may befall them." He states.


Female Human Druid 2 | AC: 16 | HP: 18/18 | | Init: +9 Perc: +5 | Saves Str +0, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +5, Cha +3 | Spells/day = 3

Is the catapult aimed at the castle or perhaps towards us?

Those creatures could be opposed to bandits inside and thus potential allies. Lilly observes.


Male Half-Orc Rogue 2 | HP 18/18 | AC 13 | Saves Str +1, Dex +4, Con +1, Int +4, Wis +1, Cha +0 | Investigation +6; Perception +3; Darkvision | Init +2

"What forces are within? As Lilly said, if they are bandits, it may be to the better that the goblins and bandits wipe each other out. Safer for the people of the region, as well."


male

The catapult is oriented to attack the center of the gatehouse. It is not easy to tell from this distance, but it looks as if some sort of barricade, not large, has been erected across the opening between the two towers of the gatehouse.


Male Half-Elf Bard 2 | Init +4 | AC 15 | HP 17/17 | Darkvision 60' | PP 14 | PI 14 | Str -2, Dex +5, Con +2, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +6 | Advantage on Charms, Immune to Sleep

"The Green Hand, a pair of wizards who traffic in slaves, their mercenaries and whatever else that calls this place home. Assuming they're still here since my last visit." The Bard answers.


Female Human Druid 2 | AC: 16 | HP: 18/18 | | Init: +9 Perc: +5 | Saves Str +0, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +5, Cha +3 | Spells/day = 3

So, let us see if we can befriend the goblins. Enemy of my enemy and all. Does anyone speak goblin? who is best at making friends? Lilly begins to openly and unthreateningly move towards the goblin position.

+3 Persuasion here


Male Half-Orc Rogue 2 | HP 18/18 | AC 13 | Saves Str +1, Dex +4, Con +1, Int +4, Wis +1, Cha +0 | Investigation +6; Perception +3; Darkvision | Init +2

"Why don't we just bypass them? Let the slavers and goblins kill each other." Kerak clearly has little care for slavers or goblins - the slavers moreso than the goblins.


Male Half-Elf Bard 2 | Init +4 | AC 15 | HP 17/17 | Darkvision 60' | PP 14 | PI 14 | Str -2, Dex +5, Con +2, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +6 | Advantage on Charms, Immune to Sleep

"Sorry to say I don't know Goblin. Perhaps their leader knows something I can speak." Isaiah says.


male

Lilly decides it is worth the risk to try and approach the goblin camp, while Kerak remarks, off-hand, that letting the goblins and the castle inhabitants fight among themselves isn’t unreasonable.

Isaiah lets the others know he does not speak Goblin, and hopes the group doesn’t run into a language barrier.

With Lilly in the lead the group slowly, one after another, step off the dirt path and head across the short spring grass and occasional young wild flowers toward the goblins.

When Lilly and the others are still some good distance from the camp, they are noticed. Goblins begin rushing to and fro and it can be clearly seen that no decisive action is being taken. A small goblin runs into one of the tents, and immediately comes out again followed by a tall, thin, perhaps female, hobgoblin*

The tall hobgoblin wears skins, and leathers, but not armor, and has only a long, slim, knife, in a sheath, on the belt around the waist.
This individual is dark red in color, with hair that is cut in a short bowl cut, and died a bright orange-red.

The hobgoblin is shouting orders, in common, and you can hear some of what is being said, such as, Stand your ground, take up spears, archers, ready, but do not draw arrows, form a square, NOW!

And then the individual calls over their left shoulder, and two more hobgoblins appear from another tent. These other two are lean, like the first, but have long dark, wavy hair, with some hair tied into a knot on the tops of their heads.

When Lilly feels she has approached close enough to speak, but not close enough as to appear threatening she stops, and raises her hands in a common elven gesture.

The first hobgoblin walks in front of a large group of goblins as they take up spears and form into a block, numbering some twenty or more, while a group of five goblins to the left take a knee, with short bows in their hands, but no arrows drawn, then the hobgoblin turns swiftly, and with strong paces, and hands balled into fists, comes quickly toward Lilly, stops fifteen feet away and executes a stiff, but formal bow.

Now that the individual is closer, it appears as though this is a female, but you are not completely sure.

She looks at all of you, in turn. Her face is sharp, and she even seems attractive, for a hobgoblin, but she is rail thin. She is covered to her wrists and ankles in leather and fur (not particularly thick fur) so it is difficult to tell if she is muscular, but it does seem she is not carrying a normal amount of weight for her kind.

*What everyone in Alodoa knows about Hobgoblins:
Hobgoblins often speak common, are not immediately hostile to most other races, except Bugbears, whom they consider savages, but are not friendly. They are not normally seen this far east, near the coast, but are found further west, in the hills and mountains of western Harrispania, and Baravkovia. Hobgoblins are strict folk, with codes and mannerisms that seem brutal to outsiders. They will, if situations are dire, negotiate and even trade with other races, but more often than not will attack others and take what they need, under forms of “war” that they follow which are not well understood by other kinds.

**Elven Gesture:
Lilly, and anyone with Knowledge Nature ranks, would know that Hobgoblins are more likely to deal peacefully with Woodland Elves, than any other type of demi-human. The ways of Hobgoblins are difficult to understand, even when someone thinks they have mastered Hobgoblin greetings and signals, it is possible, though no fault of their won, to mistake a slight adjustment of posture, or set of the jaw line which can cause hostile reactions from offended Hobgoblins. This is why most folks who know anything about other races in these lands knows it is better to use an elven greeting when approaching Hobgoblins, if you want to avoid an immediately hostile reaction

None of you have any knowledge of this “Queen” that is mentioned, or that the Goblin Kinds have recently taken control of these lands in any way.


F Hobgoblin NPC; fighter/3

I request that you halt, and go no further, the hobgoblin says, loud and clear. I am Waas Elhaad, commander of this unit, under Queen Tanmani Uan Adhoide, and you are trespassing. If you are emissaries from the Peoples of the Aload, state your message and return across the river, or if you must, stay close to the southern riverbank and continue on your travels, but press no further southward. We are not at war with the Peoples of Aload, but your presence on our lands will not be tolerated. We are taking back this fortress in the name of the Queen, and our country. State your intentions, be quick.


Female Human Druid 2 | AC: 16 | HP: 18/18 | | Init: +9 Perc: +5 | Saves Str +0, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +5, Cha +3 | Spells/day = 3

Lilly starts out in Elven saying Greetings Elf friend. before switching to common. We had no knowledge of your presence here and have come to take the fight to those inside. Seeing you hear lifted my spirits as I had hoped that the enemy of my enemy might be come my ally. Will you parlay with us and perhaps work with us in this endeavor?

Persuasion: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13


F Hobgoblin NPC; fighter/3

The hobgoblin crosses her arms across her chest, her right hand rests on the pommel of the long knife attached to her belt. She frowns, and says, So, you are not here as representatives of your nation, I see. Well, you will not give you permission to be here, anyway. The orcs* inside this fort have barricatheth the entrance, and we intenth to break it open with our catapult soon. Then we will attack,

As she says this she opens her arms, and brings one of her fists down in the palm of her other hand.

You can move back, back now from where you came, or, if you insist on travelling west or east, I tell you, stay close to the river. My scout teams will not hesitate to attack your party if you venture far from the river.

It is only now that it seems she understands what you are suggesting

No, she shakes her head, Unless, yes. I see now what help you might be. We scouteth this fort yesterthay and there is a breach in the wall on the northeast wall. I sent a small team in through the breach, to try and dthisrupt the enemy from within, but they have a monster there. Only one of my goblin sappers came out alive and he saidth the monster is fierce, has many tentacles, and a huge toothy maw. The creature, whatever it is, is chained to a block of stone and cannot escape, but blocks anyone from going into the fort through that break in the wall.

She moves to her right, turns slightly, and points. I will post a scout in the tall grass by the tower there, and you and your followers can move to the breach in the wall. Wait for a signal. Once the gate is open we will attack in force, but tell me this. Why you seek to push the orcs from this fort? It is ours to claim. The Queen has claimedth all lands under the goblin tribes from the coast she points to the east, and then to the west, to the black fortress at the Merandth River to the west

Here you all know that she means to say Maranda River, a small river to the west, well to the west of Deer Creek Falls, which feeds into the Main River that flows west to east here, but you now suspect she cannot pronounce the letted “d” correctly (probably why she says “people of the Aload”, with a sort of “th” attached to the “d” sound, instead of Alodoa)

*Orc:
Goblins, and Hobgoblins, as well as some other humanoid types, often refer to the Tafganor race as “Orc” which is meant to be a derogatory reference to the “People of Orchal” a mythical race of bestial humanoids which serve as the proto-typical “enemy of all good people” in several cultural myths


Male Half-Elf Bard 2 | Init +4 | AC 15 | HP 17/17 | Darkvision 60' | PP 14 | PI 14 | Str -2, Dex +5, Con +2, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +6 | Advantage on Charms, Immune to Sleep

Isaiah hesitates to press the Hobgoblin regarding their supposed 'claim' and decides better to leave it for latter. "There is also a pair of human mages whom belong to a group of slavers who reside within. To my knowledge they command or employ the Orcs for their protection. I was here a few days ago to rescue some who were trapped within. An Orc captive as well as a Spirit that inhabits the Fort confirmed this to me." Isaiah answers.


Male Half-Orc Rogue 2 | HP 18/18 | AC 13 | Saves Str +1, Dex +4, Con +1, Int +4, Wis +1, Cha +0 | Investigation +6; Perception +3; Darkvision | Init +2

Terquem:

So, given that spoiler regarding Orcs, what does that technically make me, seeing as I am a half-Orc?

Kerak cracks his neck and stretches his shoulders, then perks up at the mention of the black fortress at the Maranda river. Could be the place they needed to go. Still, Lilly had volunteered them to help, so they would have to kill a creature with lots of tentacles and a toothy maw. Since it was chained, they could probably get away with peppering it from afar with arrows.


male

Kerak:
Your particular situation can be as complex as you want it to be, but to help you understand the setting better I’ll tell you what we (the players in various games and I) have done so far. I hope it doesn't bore you, sorry for the long post. We have introduced Orcs (the Tafganor and Vagar) into this campaign setting in three places, the island of Urandoma (Orimar, the Woodbridge Campaign), the City States of Tarulle (this campaign), and Balor (Palace of the Vampire Queen campaign, the Vagar). On Urandoma (Orimar) the Tafganor are currently the major antagonists, while in this campaign, the Tafganor are not automatically "evil". The City States of Tarulle are ruled by various Orc (Tafganor) and Human(not yet named?) leaders, who are constantly vying for control of the nation’s resources. Your "half-orc" can be descended from tafganor who originate in the City States, or can be descended from those Tafganor who live in the Vayungurr Archepiligpo (the orcs known as Vagar), but should definitely not be descended from any tafganor from Urandoma (Orimar) as this might have to include those sorts of "rape" related stories that are told about Half-Orcs, which I am not overly fond of. Your character might often be automatically accused of being from the City States, even if descended from the Vagar, and might be looked at with suspicious eyes, but currently the Empire of Alodoa is not at war with the City States, and does, in fact, trade with the City States. It's just that within the city states, minor barons, princes, dukes, and others are constantly vying for power and control making most people in Alodoa see them as "untrustworthy" types. The further north you travel in Alodoa, the less likely you are to run into automatic “stereo-typing” of the Tafganor race, and more likely to run into people who know something about the Vagar. The Vagar orcs are island living folk who are known for thier ferocity in battle, strength, and stand-off-ish-ness. The Vagar can be thought of in “Hollywood-idealizations” of Nordic, or Viking like people, while the tafganor orcs could more likely be seen as “Hollywood-idealizations” of southeastern Mediterranean people (sort of like middle period Persian types seen in movies like “The 300” if those cultures persisted into a more medieval times, or possibly like the Ottoman Empire of the Crusade period (leaving off the obvious religious associations). So, it is basically your choice of what origin you would like to be. The Goblins and Hobgoblins of the southern Alodoan empire and northern City States will look at you and see that you are part Tafganor, and will probably look at you with respect, while local human, elven, and Halfling populations might be suspicious of you, at first.


F Hobgoblin NPC; fighter/3

When Isaiah mentions a “gang” of slavers, and “human mages” the Hobgoblin’s eyes grow wide, and the set of her jaw tightens

There is a bandth of men, from Pienalan, in the city states, calling themselves the green handth. We know of them. The Queen has placedth a price on their headths. The selling of slaves is ulucana, not to be, she waves her left hand around by the side of her head and says, What is the word, in the common language, allowedth, permittetheth, no I cannot remember. But, a slave cannot be madthe free, nor soldth without the Queen’s consent. And you say these men are sorcerers, magic users? Are they powerful? Do you know the spells to block their magic?


Female Human Druid 2 | AC: 16 | HP: 18/18 | | Init: +9 Perc: +5 | Saves Str +0, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +5, Cha +3 | Spells/day = 3

I went back and re-read our mission, as I have to do every once in a while, partly due to the slow pace and partly because I forget more easily than I used to. So our actual mission that we are being paid for is to find information, in the form of individual reports by each of us about the possible whereabouts of the Druid Caitriann. We should be looking for he Kobolds, who are actually having a problem with these goblins I believe. Going into the castle is a little premature but I figure we eventually will have to do it.

Lilly adds to the discussion I am not sure about all of that. We seek information about a Maetaur woman who is a Druid. Her name is Caitriann. Have you heard of her and where she might be? We also know that two evil men, brothers named Sergei and Jorge Tanakov are here in the castle, likely below. They claim to be descendants of the original Von Uvooullovich family. I believe they hide on the other side of some magic portal. They have the noble named Caldwell, who claims ownership of this place, having legally purchased it. That should interest you and your queen. Were you to help in his rescue I suspect he would be indebted to you. They also have at least 3 others from Pawkatukit that will likely be enslaved at some point.

Thinking further she adds If we go into this castle as you recommend I have a boon to ask of you. I believe your people have some conflict with the kobolds? If so, end it peacefully.


F Hobgoblin NPC; fighter/3

It becomes clear to Lilly, rather quickly, that she is overwhelming this hobgoblin with information, but the woman does react favorable, when Caitriann is mentioned

Yes, I know this Maetaur woman of whom you speak, she is regarthed as an ally by our queen. She is fair, and knows the nature of our laws. The last I hear, she was searching for the black fortress, to the west. My scouts gave her information on the perils of the area aroundth that place. If you seek to go there, as she, I wouldth warn you, strange creatures are seen there, and many who venture too close to the black fortress are never seen again.

When the Kobolds are mentioned, the woman, spits to the side, Vagrants and squatters, a vile race of thog-like creatures with no ability to follow the law. They have no rights to these landths, because they will not pay the rents owedthe to the queen. While we are stuck here, with this matter, we have no time to be botheredth with the Limecraker Kobolths, or their allies. I think the queen may even sendthe another unit of troops, with a different Waas, and they will treat with the Kobolths. It is not in my control to have any more to tho with them, but if you think for one moment the queen will allow them to remain in the kingdthom if they will not pay their rents, you are mistaken. The resolution will only be peaceful if they leave when they are toldth to leave.

I know it has been a difficult game to participate in, I am sorry. For the record, Clifton Caldwell was rescued by the group before you (which Isaiah was a member of, but Wylla seems to have disappeared, as well as Wolfgang). The prisoners, as far as everyone knows, were all rescued and returned to Pawkatukit


Female Human Druid 2 | AC: 16 | HP: 18/18 | | Init: +9 Perc: +5 | Saves Str +0, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +5, Cha +3 | Spells/day = 3

I appreciate complexity and the details of a good story. A faster pace would help me with continuity. With all this in mind I have to recommend we do not enter the castle at this time and stay to our mission. We have one piece of information on the druid though and that is good. Thoughts?


Male Half-Elf Bard 2 | Init +4 | AC 15 | HP 17/17 | Darkvision 60' | PP 14 | PI 14 | Str -2, Dex +5, Con +2, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +6 | Advantage on Charms, Immune to Sleep

That's fine, but if we kill the beast and move on we might have allies for when we return. Just look at the tittle. We can't avoid the castle forever.


Female Human Druid 2 | AC: 16 | HP: 18/18 | | Init: +9 Perc: +5 | Saves Str +0, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +5, Cha +3 | Spells/day = 3

I would welcome a GM hint here but suspect we are all on our own. IF there is an expected flow to this sandbox AND we were expected to work on tracking the druid first THEN we might not be prepared for the castle yet from a level and gear perspective.

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