Saga of a New Land

Game Master vayelan

A Kingmaker campaign of politics, intrigue, and war.

Maps:
Greenbelt Map
Stolen Lands Map
The Abandoned Fort

Encounter Map: Labyrinth Ambush
Party Loot

Resources:
Kingdom Tracker Spreadsheet
Kingdom Building Rules
Kingdom Turn Sequence
Buildings


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Male Dwarf Forgepriest 5 | hp 52 | AC23 T11 FF 22 | CMD 15 | F +8 R +2 W +8 | Spd 20' | Init +5 | Perception +12

Orlog looks at the feather. "Flying creatures... I hate flying creatures. If we had more time, I would equip every able body here with a rudimentary longspear. With the size of this group, anything attacking from the air would more likely impale itself than reaching its target." Orlog readjust the strap of his shield. "But for now, I can only promise that if anything get within striking distance of my shield, I will take it down."


Perhaps because she is a longtime resident of the Greenbelt, Vera is better able to identify the source of such a feather. Although this came from an avian creature, it is thankfully not one that can fly. However, that is the end of the good news.

This is an owlbear feather.

Such ferocious, hybrid beasts are recurring dangers in the region, and many local vanished woodsmen are presumed to have met their end at their claws. What's more, the muck upon the feather proves to be a blend of mud and blood - still wet. The owner of the feather may still be near.

Nevertheless, Christian's oratory mollifies your caravan. They remain confident in your ability to protect them, and only the sight of the owlbear itself barreling out from the brush could shake their morale.


Female Half-elf Witch 4 | HP 28/28, AC 14 t12 ff12, CMD 14, F+2 R+3 W+5 (+2 vs enchant, illusion) | Percept +9
DM Vayelan wrote:
... only the sight of the owlbear itself barreling out from the brush could shake their morale.

Love the extremely subtle foreshadowing there...

After having the chance to examine the feather more closely and explain its origins, Vera sends Sava up again, but asks him to remain below the canopy to watch for signs of the owl bear.

Sava, elven:
"So much scout! When lunch?!"

sava percept: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18

"Orlog, I think you've just invented our pike corps - we'll have to acquire a flag to fly over them! And pikes, obviously."


Male HP:56/56 AC:19 T:14 FF:14 F:+5 R:+4 W:+3 Perc:+9 Init:+5 Bastard Sword +10, 1d10+3 CMB:+8 CMD:+18 Human Cavalier 5 (Daring Champion)

Owlbear?...we should be careful and get moving into the open. The sooner we put some distance between the forest and the open plain the better. We should be able to see such a creature at a distance then. I know very little of them other than rumors. I have heard that the have a very acute sense of smell. We should keep an extra eye downwind if that is true.

He makes sure that his word are for his companions ears only this time.
No sense in alarming the civilians.


Male Human (Ulfen) Ranger 5; Hp 60/60; AC 18; F:7, R:6, W:3; Perc +10
Fenrir:
HP 19/19; AC 14; F: 5, R:5, W:4 ; Perc +5

"Great, owlbears.... Christian, I agree. We should move and try to get clear of the woods as soon as we can to ensure the safety of the caravan. I'll definitely be keeping my eyes out as we go, this is something which would definitely assault us if it saw us. " Brandt says grimly, fingering the arrow on his bow.


DM Screen:

???: 1d20 + 12 - 5 ⇒ (11) + 12 - 5 = 18

You hasten your caravan along the game trail towards the more open terrain of the hill country. You are halfway to the forest's edge when you hear a terrible, hooting roar at your back. The bestial sound is full of madness and sends shivers down your company's spines and shoulders. Your would-be settlers break into an outright run, terrified of the unseen monster behind them in the forest.

In the distance, the owlbear's roars are joined by the bleating of a yearling elk, shrieking bloody murder as the beast falls upon it. It seems the owlbear's nose led it in the opposite direction, to other, softer prey. Although you safely escort your caravan out of the forest, the blood-curdling sounds you leave behind will not flee from your minds any time soon.

Nevertheless, you are out of the thick tree cover and among the rolling hills that stretch south into the Kamelands. The Thorn River lays at your left, cleaving a narrow but deep ravine through the hills. A current grows swift here, sending the water tumbling among stones scattered along the bottom. Although a fall into the river could be disastrous, its course presents an easy route to follow towards the former bandit stronghold at the lakeside.


Male Human Cleric 5 (HP 41/41;AC16,T11,FF15; F+7,R+4,W+10; Init +1; Perc +4){Effects:none}

Bydar tries to calm the would be settlers, "Stay together, stay calm. the gods are with us..."

And then the gods prove it by providing a distraction for the owlbear "There, there, the first steps are taken."/B]

At the look of the River, a glance to those better nature versed, [B]"How best can we use the river without risking it's wrath you think? Ropes tying some together would that hurt or hinder?"


Male Human (Ulfen) Ranger 5; Hp 60/60; AC 18; F:7, R:6, W:3; Perc +10
Fenrir:
HP 19/19; AC 14; F: 5, R:5, W:4 ; Perc +5

Steeling himself against the sounds of nature at work behind the group, "Easy all, we're almost through"

Looking at the river's edge and the obvious, but potentially hazardous path it presents Brandt thinks for a moment.

Survival: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24

Feeling confident in his course, Brandt addresses Bydar and the group, "Aye, I think we can use the river's edge to travel along, and the horses can provide stability, along with the wagon. As long as everyone walks near a horse or the wagon itself we should be safe to traverse the edge easily to the camp." In conclusion Brandt dismounts and calms Frostmane to act as a guide on the road. He does keep his longbow out for good measure though.

If there is a better answer which presents itself with the survival roll, feel free to amend mine! Or if there are additional rolls please let me know!


Male HP:56/56 AC:19 T:14 FF:14 F:+5 R:+4 W:+3 Perc:+9 Init:+5 Bastard Sword +10, 1d10+3 CMB:+8 CMD:+18 Human Cavalier 5 (Daring Champion)

Do not break ranks...stay the line.
Damn it. This is why I do not take contracts to escort pilgrims...too easily spooked for their own good.

Christian pulls hard on the reins to get the wagon to a complete stop. He drops the pester without looking down. The young lord grabs his pole weapon from the sheaf that rested beside his seat and moved to the back of the wagon.
High ground...well not agaisnt something this size. Need to present it with a target, keep it at bay and away from the civilians...

The pole weapon is charred and burnt as Christian places himself into position. Waiting on visual contact to confirm what they heard.
or maybe not

The noise becomes evident that the creature confronted something else. He turns after making sure the creature is satisfied with its meal and looks to the others.
We should collect our wayward flock, before they get too far away.

As the civilians come back together and the group is whole again, Christian looks to the map one more time.
This will be a good land mark to follow to our final destination. I personally do not know how well one could navigate the river. Best to follow it on firm ground. We keep it to our left and we should make good time.

Christian walks to the back of the wagon and pulls forth a satchel Survival kit from the back. Opening it up, he pulls for the some small maps and starts to mark down some notes on the map.
We need to come back here at some point and remove that creature. Travelers will be at risk if we do not.

Returning things back to the satchel and replacing it in the wagon again, christian picks up the pester from the ground, returning it in the wagon. He looks back towards the area where the creature found its meal...
We should give thanks to Erastil for a successful hunt...I for one am glad the Owlbear found different prey...


Upon the open hill country, no new predators are able to creep up on you, and your travels continue peacefully. The height of the riverside rises and falls as you trace its course southeastward, with the ground sloping down to the water's edge at some points.

By mid-afternoon, your small caravan reaches the next landmark upon the map. The Thorn River winds through a 20-foot-deep gulch here between a pair of hills. An old wooden bridge spans the gulch, allowing passage over the river, back into the northern reaches of the Greenbelt.

This is the second of the three crossings you could have chosen from.
To clarify and avoid confusion, you do not need to cross it to continue towards your destination.

Orlog and Bydar:
Your knowledge of engineering and training in architecture, respectively, inform you that this bridge is not entirely stable. While it would be safe for one person at a time to cross, any greater amount of weight would threaten the wooden boards and weathered ropes securing the bridge. Bringing a large animal or cart across would be utter folly. Opting not to wait for this crossing was a wise decision, as it could have slowed down your progress considerably.


Male Human Cleric 5 (HP 41/41;AC16,T11,FF15; F+7,R+4,W+10; Init +1; Perc +4){Effects:none}

when the two priests talk or compare notes, Bydar informs the others "The Bridge... it's going to need replacing or reinforcement should we ever decide to use it in the future and we were wise not to use it now. It could only support one person at a time, and forget anything larger or heavier than that. We saved a lot of time not using it."


Male Human (Ulfen) Ranger 5; Hp 60/60; AC 18; F:7, R:6, W:3; Perc +10
Fenrir:
HP 19/19; AC 14; F: 5, R:5, W:4 ; Perc +5

Looking relieved at the decision they made, Brandt thanks the priests, "Thank you for looking at that. I would probably have tried to cross it unmounted, but it looks terrible."

Referring to the map he has in his case, "Hopefully the next crossing downriver is better. We will need supplies brought in somehow once we reach the old fort."


Female Half-elf Witch 4 | HP 28/28, AC 14 t12 ff12, CMD 14, F+2 R+3 W+5 (+2 vs enchant, illusion) | Percept +9

"Fascinating how the land has ways of corralling and containing those who would seek to tame it, isn't it? I wonder how many times this bridge has been rebuilt by would-be conquerers before us -- and how many more made plans to but never made it so far?" muses Vera.

"We should be able to make the next crossing, and the confluence with the Shrike, before dark, no? Perhaps that will make a good site to make camp and assess the crossing before we investigate the fort tomorrow?"


Male Dwarf Forgepriest 5 | hp 52 | AC23 T11 FF 22 | CMD 15 | F +8 R +2 W +8 | Spd 20' | Init +5 | Perception +12

Orlog confirms Bydar's words. "What do you expect when you built with wood and ropes. If you want something that last, you need stone. I know it is more expansive, but at least it can last for ages." Looking at the map, Orlog ponders out loud. "Should we cut straight through the plains to the fort, or follow the river and take the long way?"


Male HP:56/56 AC:19 T:14 FF:14 F:+5 R:+4 W:+3 Perc:+9 Init:+5 Bastard Sword +10, 1d10+3 CMB:+8 CMD:+18 Human Cavalier 5 (Daring Champion)

Christian climbs down from the wagon and walks over to the bridge.
He looks on at the structure, down into the river and finally across and up to the other side.
hmm...

Still looking out over the river, he listens to the others.
Repairing the bridge will take time, money and resources. We still have another crossing to check out first, so we have that at least. Stone would be the best and most structurally sound material to use, true. I like that idea but we have no quarry nearby and it would take too much time to import stone to rebuild the bridge. There are other ways that may be cheaper and faster. Hire a spell caster or buy scrolls and create the stone. Carve it and mold it to fit your structure.

He turns to the wagon.
Cavan, Could you come here for a moment please.
Once the man walks over to the location.
What do you think? How much time, labor and resources would be needed to make a sound bridge here? What would be the best option?

Looking at Orlog
I think using the river as a guide would be our best option. We know where it ends and that makes it less of a chance we get lost.

Liberty's Edge

| HP:46/46 | AC:18, T:14, FF:14 | F:+3, R:+9, W:+4 | Init:+9 | Perception:+12 (+14 vs Traps) | CMB:+7, CMD:18 | Male Tengu | Unchained Rogue (Swordmaster) 5/VMC Wizard (Foresight Diviner)

Mr. Pink nods his agreement with Christian and Vera to continue following the river. While the caravan is paused, he also examines the bridge and the surrounding grounds to see if anyone or anything has used it recently. He will cross the bridge carefully if needs be make this determination.

Perception to find tracks: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (17) + 11 = 28

"Culling an un-caused calamity currently could cancel a promised path to pilgrims or perhaps to potential peril. Undo the unstable and unusable to ensure we are un-followed?"


Male Human Cleric 5 (HP 41/41;AC16,T11,FF15; F+7,R+4,W+10; Init +1; Perc +4){Effects:none}

A glance towards Mr. Pink, "Perhaps a sign warning folks that the bridge is unstable? If we have time to leave a warning."


Cavan shuffles over to the bridge and examines its construction. He tests the planks with his foot and feels the tension of the ropes with his hands.

"This is a sorry sight. It wouldn't even be worth the time to repair this. It'd be better to start anew. We'd need a fair number of planks and beams, but thankfully the span is not too wide. It would take perhaps a fortnight to construct a durable wooden bridge."

Meanwhile, Mr. Pink examines the area. On this, the southern side of the river, he discovers old wolf tracks - perhaps four days old. There is no sign of such tracks on the far side, so he surmises that the wolves do not cross the bridge.


Male Dwarf Forgepriest 5 | hp 52 | AC23 T11 FF 22 | CMD 15 | F +8 R +2 W +8 | Spd 20' | Init +5 | Perception +12

Looking over the horizon toward the forest, Orlog smiles slightly. "Well, we seem to have plenty of wood over there to make planks. As for rope, don't really know how one makes those, but maybe someone over there knows how." He points to all the people they have been escorting. Having spoken his mind on the subject, the forgepriest waits for the signal to hit the road again.


Male HP:56/56 AC:19 T:14 FF:14 F:+5 R:+4 W:+3 Perc:+9 Init:+5 Bastard Sword +10, 1d10+3 CMB:+8 CMD:+18 Human Cavalier 5 (Daring Champion)
Bydar wrote:
A glance towards Mr. Pink, "Perhaps a sign warning folks that the bridge is unstable? If we have time to leave a warning."

Nodding his agreement...

I do not see that is being a bad idea at all. It is worth a try at least.

Tunring to face the man and talking to him directly.
Thank you Cavan. This is definitely a project for the future. Right now we have one more crossing before we get to our destination. It my be worth the time to inspect that one as well.

Orlog BrightShield wrote:
Looking over the horizon toward the forest, Orlog smiles slightly. "Well, we seem to have plenty of wood over there to make planks. As for rope, don't really know how one makes those, but maybe someone over there knows how." He points to all the people they have been escorting. Having spoken his mind on the subject, the forgepriest waits for the signal to hit the road again.

There will be a time soon where we can give those people a place to call home and and maybe even a calling. We will find out what skills each has and see what we can come up with. I have a strong feeling we will be able to accommodate each of them with some type of work.


"I wish we had taken one of those boards the crow fella broke," Cavan rues. "I could've made a sign from that, etching a warning into it, unless you folks brought some paint with you. Anyhow, will we be pressing on immediately, or do I have some time to add my own water to the river?" the carpenter adds, hoping for a chance to relieve himself.


Male Human (Ulfen) Ranger 5; Hp 60/60; AC 18; F:7, R:6, W:3; Perc +10
Fenrir:
HP 19/19; AC 14; F: 5, R:5, W:4 ; Perc +5

"Ha fair enough lad, I'll accompany you as well, been a long ride today. Maybe we can pull some boards from the end of the bridge and make an 'X' across one end? Brandt suggests, walking with Cavan toward the shore.

"Cavan, think I could ask for some cut timber for a large A frame once we land in this fort? I don't want to take space from the women and children if I can help it. I've got enough canvas to make myself comfortable outdoors until the snow flies at least." Brandt asks as they draw away from the group.


After a rest stop, where Cavan and several other members of your caravan disappear behind rocks or simply stand over the river to relieve themselves, everyone is soon ready to continue. Hearts and lungs are again functioning at normal rates, with the terror of the unseen owlbear quickly forgotten.

The wagon proves to be the limiting factor in how quickly you travel. Its wheels and the draft animals' hooves set the pace, although no one of sound mind would dream of abandoning it. Not only does it carry your supplies, but the former vagabonds frequently jockey for turns riding upon the wagon's tail to rest their feet. Thus, your caravan rumbles along the jagged curves of the Thorn River's length.

The sky fades to shades of orange and red as dusk rapidly approaches. Perhaps half a league ahead, you can see the hills slope down into a broad but shallow valley where the Thorn empties into the larger Shrike River. Your maps indicate that this is the last crossing before the waterway pours into the Tuskwater, roughly twelve miles to the south. Fortunately, you are already on the same side of the river as the abandoned stronghold that is your destination.


Male Dwarf Forgepriest 5 | hp 52 | AC23 T11 FF 22 | CMD 15 | F +8 R +2 W +8 | Spd 20' | Init +5 | Perception +12

Orlog walks among the people, using some healing abilities where it would help. "Tomorrow people, tomorrow we reach our destination." He tries to spend some time with them, sharing stories and song. He also tries to figure out if any out there have any skills as metal workers. When night fall, he once again doesn't shy away from his turn for guard duty.


Male HP:56/56 AC:19 T:14 FF:14 F:+5 R:+4 W:+3 Perc:+9 Init:+5 Bastard Sword +10, 1d10+3 CMB:+8 CMD:+18 Human Cavalier 5 (Daring Champion)

let us set watches and get some sleep.


DM Screen:

Encounter?: 1d100 ⇒ 45
Mr Pink Stealth: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (5) + 13 = 18
Jex Perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13

At dusk, as the caravan makes camp near the river crossing, Miss Landusk sets out with her new bow. She returns not long after, toting back a rabbit that is positively skewered by one of her arrows. A more experienced hunter might call it overkill, but she remains proud of her catch nonetheless.

The wide sky over your camp bears witness to no dangers through the night, and your watch rotations find nothing greater than an owl breaking the stillness of the dark hours. Some of your hangers-on attempt to best Mr. Pink at his "challenges," but none prove up to the task. Morning soon arrives, finding fewer grumblings from your company as they adapt to life on the trail.

Only a half day's travel now stands between you and the former bandit stronghold.


Male Human Cleric 5 (HP 41/41;AC16,T11,FF15; F+7,R+4,W+10; Init +1; Perc +4){Effects:none}

A nod to Miss Landusk as she brings in the meal. Food is food.

Bydar tends to religious needs, and while he does teach, he doesn't force anyone to listen to the teachings of Shelyn. That's not his goddess' way.


Male Human (Ulfen) Ranger 5; Hp 60/60; AC 18; F:7, R:6, W:3; Perc +10
Fenrir:
HP 19/19; AC 14; F: 5, R:5, W:4 ; Perc +5

Nodding at Lira's enthusiasm, Brandt praises her, "Well done Lira, fresh rabbit always helps the stewpot on the road. Maybe we could even use the arrow to roast it!?! I jest though, well done! "

Considering the crowd, Brandt speaks up, I know my words don't carry like Christian's do, but tomorrow we're heading for what may well be a new home for all of us. A fresh start if you will. We don't know who may be there, or what we may find, but let us worry about who or what's there." Brandt looks grimly at this last statement.

"We will need you to all stay back a distance, so as to not put you in danger tomorrow while we secure the fort, however that will happen. Once we're certain it is safe we'll return and bring you all to the fort together, that way we're not risking anyone unnecessarily."


Male Dwarf Forgepriest 5 | hp 52 | AC23 T11 FF 22 | CMD 15 | F +8 R +2 W +8 | Spd 20' | Init +5 | Perception +12

After breakfast and some more words of encouragement, Orlog gets back into position to safeguard the long caravan of people. This is it. Soon we will see what we have to work with. Hopefully that place isn't too much of a mess and we will be able to get everyone under a solid roof. His mind wanders as he keeps his eyes on the horizon.


Male HP:56/56 AC:19 T:14 FF:14 F:+5 R:+4 W:+3 Perc:+9 Init:+5 Bastard Sword +10, 1d10+3 CMB:+8 CMD:+18 Human Cavalier 5 (Daring Champion)
Brand Oluffson wrote:

Considering the crowd, Brandt speaks up, I know my words don't carry like Christian's do, but tomorrow we're heading for what may well be a new home for all of us. A fresh start if you will. We don't know who may be there, or what we may find, but let us worry about who or what's there." Brandt looks grimly at this last statement.

"We will need you to all stay back a distance, so as to not put you in danger tomorrow while we secure the fort, however that will happen. Once we're certain it is safe we'll return and bring you all to the fort together, that way we're not risking anyone unnecessarily."

Brandt's words are both accurate and wise. We are close to settling in for a bright future. Let us not be hasty this close to our goal.


Following the Shrike River's southern course eventually brings you to the edge of the lake known as the Tuskwater.

Atop a broad, flat hill at the lakeside is the abandoned stronghold. A narrow path of hard-packed earth winds up the hillside approaching the fort. The remaining hillside surrounding the fort is a swath of hill devoid of shrubbery save for isolated thorny vines and periodic large boulders. A wooden palisade, perhaps 15 feet high, rings the fort, with many worn and splintering stakes arrayed along its length like a wall of spears.


Male Human Cleric 5 (HP 41/41;AC16,T11,FF15; F+7,R+4,W+10; Init +1; Perc +4){Effects:none}

"This is normally where I would praise Shelyn, thank her for reaching our destination... and then, at the height of what I considered my best oratory, a crossbow bolt would shoot me for the purpose of dark comedy." a chuckle, "I think I'll keep my weapon handy until we're sure of the full situation."

Liberty's Edge

| HP:46/46 | AC:18, T:14, FF:14 | F:+3, R:+9, W:+4 | Init:+9 | Perception:+12 (+14 vs Traps) | CMB:+7, CMD:18 | Male Tengu | Unchained Rogue (Swordmaster) 5/VMC Wizard (Foresight Diviner)

Tengu:
"At last! Our destination is at hand. Go! See! Report!"

Mr. Black takes flight toward the fort in his customary style, ready to report back any usual activity or glaring dangers. Mr. Pink smiles at Bydar's levity of the situation.

"Surely, your she-god shall secure your safety, sacred servant... But is best to brave bygone bulwark before bringing breakable baggage. Hmmm?"

He gestures toward the gathering of souls who have followed the group thus far through the wilderness: A subtle suggestion that it may be time for them to stay behind.


After his aerial assessment, Mr. Black reports back that the fort, for now, is quite quiet and entirely empty - save for select sparrows and swallows roosting along the ramparts. Your scout spies no stinging salvos lying in wait for your approach.

It seems that your predecessors had the good sense to close the gates behind them to prevent random beasts from taking up residence in the old fort.

Bydar Profession (Architect): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26
Orlog Knowledge (Engineering): 1d20 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 5 + 2 = 19

Bydar and Orlog:
You recognize that the wooden palisade, ramparts, and watch platforms are much newer additions upon older stone foundations. This fort is actually built atop the ruins of an ancient stone tower, which you recognize as being of Iobarian construction.

Drawing closer, you find that the ragged hillside upon which the fort stands is pockmarked with many oblong holes, reminiscent of shallow graves. However, they all sit empty. Testing the wooden gate at the end of the winding dirt path, you find that it is not trapped, but it does not readily open. However, it remains to be seen whether it is barred from the other side or merely stuck due to weathering and warping.


Male Human (Ulfen) Ranger 5; Hp 60/60; AC 18; F:7, R:6, W:3; Perc +10
Fenrir:
HP 19/19; AC 14; F: 5, R:5, W:4 ; Perc +5

Upon hearing the news, Brandt drops his pack, and looks to Mr. Pink, "Shall we both go over and try to open this beastly door?"

Grasping the edge of the gate, Brandt attempts to ascend over it.

Climb: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (5) + 10 = 15

Liberty's Edge

| HP:46/46 | AC:18, T:14, FF:14 | F:+3, R:+9, W:+4 | Init:+9 | Perception:+12 (+14 vs Traps) | CMB:+7, CMD:18 | Male Tengu | Unchained Rogue (Swordmaster) 5/VMC Wizard (Foresight Diviner)

Mr. Pink nods at Brandt and joins in the climb.

Climb: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16


Brandt Acrobatics: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Damage: 1d4 ⇒ 2
Mr. Pink Acrobatics: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (19) + 11 = 30

Brandt hauls himself up the gate, and he soon finds many sharp slivers stabbing into his hands and legs as he clambers over the top of the splintering wood. The nimbler Mr. Pink swings himself over without falling prey to the splinters and brambles atop the gate and palisade.

2 damage to Brandt from splinters and sharpened branches.

Brandt and Mr. Pink:
Now inside the fort, you find that a small, dusty yard separates the palisade from the inner structures. The ground here is of hard-packed barren earth. Several wooden watch platforms and gantries are suspended among the crumbling stone walls of the old tower that serves as a foundation for the fort.

Dozens of barrels lie stacked against the inner wall of the palisade, each with a wooden or metal bucket sitting nearby. However, the tops have been pried from every last one, and they all sit empty, save for puddles of collected rainwater and some buzzing insects.

Turning around, you see that a broken log, likely scavenged from the palisade, has been secured as an improvised bar to hold the gate shut. Working together, it should be a simple matter to remove the obstacle.

I've added a link to the top of the page with a diagram of the fort.


Male Human Cleric 5 (HP 41/41;AC16,T11,FF15; F+7,R+4,W+10; Init +1; Perc +4){Effects:none}

He talks to the good dwarf, "Definitely the original tower the newer stuff built on is Ioborian in design. I wonder if there are subterannian aspects, a basement that... " But then he notices their two scouting types are already moving ahead.


Male Human (Ulfen) Ranger 5; Hp 60/60; AC 18; F:7, R:6, W:3; Perc +10
Fenrir:
HP 19/19; AC 14; F: 5, R:5, W:4 ; Perc +5

Looking to the improvised bar, Brandt turns to Mr. Pink, Shall we let the others in?

As Brandt grasps the improvised log, making room for Mr. Pink to aid him in lifting the bar free and opening the gates for the companions.

Liberty's Edge

| HP:46/46 | AC:18, T:14, FF:14 | F:+3, R:+9, W:+4 | Init:+9 | Perception:+12 (+14 vs Traps) | CMB:+7, CMD:18 | Male Tengu | Unchained Rogue (Swordmaster) 5/VMC Wizard (Foresight Diviner)

Mr. Pink stares at Brandt for a moment before responding, astonished at his imperviousness to pain. Then he nods in agreement and assists the burly man in moving the bar.

"Correct. Clearing can keep our companions from inconvenience."


Male Dwarf Forgepriest 5 | hp 52 | AC23 T11 FF 22 | CMD 15 | F +8 R +2 W +8 | Spd 20' | Init +5 | Perception +12

Orlog admires the stone part of the fort and listen to Bydar "Yes, I agree, you can see their distinctive style here." When the cleric voice trails off, Orlog turns to see what the cleric is staring at. "Well, you wouldn't see me climbing anything that." He walks toward the gate as he adjust his shield straps and ready his weapon, waiting for the gate to open.


Male Human Cleric 5 (HP 41/41;AC16,T11,FF15; F+7,R+4,W+10; Init +1; Perc +4){Effects:none}

Bydar follows Orlog, Glaive ready "I admit I would fear of breaking my neck"


Male HP:56/56 AC:19 T:14 FF:14 F:+5 R:+4 W:+3 Perc:+9 Init:+5 Bastard Sword +10, 1d10+3 CMB:+8 CMD:+18 Human Cavalier 5 (Daring Champion)

Christian watches as the other climb.
Be careful...you will be on your own over there...

As the doors open up, his face lights up. He is genuinely excited about the fort and also relieved that they others are safe.

Appears to be abandoned....we should secure that area and confirm that we have a safe haven before bringing the others in.

He urges his horse to enter the fort and brings the wagon to a stop. Climbing down, he makes sure that his weapons is ready and looks to the others...
Shall we?


Male Human (Ulfen) Ranger 5; Hp 60/60; AC 18; F:7, R:6, W:3; Perc +10
Fenrir:
HP 19/19; AC 14; F: 5, R:5, W:4 ; Perc +5

Dropping his pack and motioning for Fenrir to come closer, Brandt looks around the group, "Start at the top and work our way down into whatever lies below?"

Considering his longbow, Brandt also rests that across his pack, deciding that the confines of the fort won't work for archery.


The dusty ground within the fort is hardpacked from the passage of many boots, hooves, and bare feet. Of course, time and weather have effaced most of these tracks, making it a fool's errand to try and trace their movements. Steep, rickety stairs lead up to the wooden walkways suspended some twenty feet up. The boards creak mightily with each step, but they do not pose the same risk of collapse as the old bridge you found yesterday.

The three watchtowers anchoring the walkways are each topped with a peaked wooden roof that arches ten feet above the platform. A two-foot high railing wall encloses the platforms, although the wood is covered with many notches and carved graffiti left behind by the rounded up bandits. Some are caricatures of their fellows, while others make snide insinuations about them, and a great many others are just dirty one-line jokes.

At the center of the ruins, thick stone walls surround a cracked and crumbling platform of heavy stone. Huge chunks of the roof collapsed long ago, shattering into the rooms below. Sediment collects in cracks and along corners of the remaining roof, sprouting tiny blades of grass and rivulets of moss.

Within the ruins of the ancient tower, you find a drafty room crammed with crates, barrels, and boxes - all empty. Hammocks strung on wooden posts denote sleeping areas, while dirty bowls and utensils rest atop rickety and makeshift furniture. Elsewhere, chamber pots sit tucked into corners Most of these furnishings have been tossed about and left to lie in random places, dented and damaged, as though victims of a great tumult. Chips of ancient plaster flake from the walls, exposing the stone construction; whatever plaster still clings to stonework is covered with strange and erratic scribbles and
pictographs.

A large iron gate hangs above a ten-foot-wide gap in the western wall. The room beyond is little more than an atrocious-smelling cave dug out of a pile of rubble. Large bloody bones, likely from horses or elk, lie scattered on the ground.

I presume you will be taking 20 on Perception as you thoroughly explore the fort?


Male Human (Ulfen) Ranger 5; Hp 60/60; AC 18; F:7, R:6, W:3; Perc +10
Fenrir:
HP 19/19; AC 14; F: 5, R:5, W:4 ; Perc +5

Yeah Ill take 20 on perception. Don't need surprises when the refugees come in.


Male Human Cleric 5 (HP 41/41;AC16,T11,FF15; F+7,R+4,W+10; Init +1; Perc +4){Effects:none}

"I'm curious about the water sources..wells, cisterns, the like" he admits


The largest and most apparent source of water is the Tuskwater, the lake upon whose shores the hill and fort sit. However, you find that the dozens of barrels lining the walls of the palisade have had their seams tightly sealed with pitch - indicating that they all served as rain barrels. The remnants of smashed wooden buckets and dented metal pails also attests to this.

Whatever beast was once kept in the cave-like chamber at the heart of the tower, capable of being sealed with the portcullis-like gate that has been rigged, is long gone. The gnawed bones of past meals and haunting smell of offal remain as mementos, though.

A sheet of fresh parchment is prominently displayed beside this "cage," affixed with a pair of iron nails.

The Message:
To our Brevic Successors,

We regret being unable to welcome you in person, but given the circumstances, it may be for the best.

The Stolen Lands belong to Taldor. History attests to this truth. Our patrons would see this loss redressed, and believe us - they have the wealth, prestige, and power to have it done. Unlike the squabbling, sword-rattling lordlings of Rostland.

We bear you no ill will. You serve your masters, same as we serve ours. When we inevitably meet, perhaps you will have given thought to switching sides. After all, there is no right or wrong, good or evil in this business of ours. There will be winners and losers, however. Yet we believe there is room enough for yours and ours to win together.

Sincerely,
Galen and Ortho Whitehollow and Co.

P.S.

In our haste, we left the labyrinth below the old tower unexplored. Feel free to set foot where we have not.
.....

At the back of the fort, in the room at the southwest corner, you find a singular bedchamber - likely once belonging to the bandit king who ruled this fort. A ragged bed covered in threadbare linens dominates one corner, while a trio of opened and empty wooden chests lines the opposite wall. A number of green glass bottles still lay strewn across the floor, some of them smashed into thick shards. A faint whiff of alcohol still hangs upon the air within.

Hidden beneath the stairs at the back of the fort, leading up to one of the walkways, you find a well-disguised escape hatch. A stone trap door sits within a sunken patch of ground. Piles of dirt surrounding the hatch suggest that it was unearthed only recently. This leads to a narrow tunnel supported by ancient timbers, and it suggests how the previous, Taldan-allied adventurers fled from the fort after sealing the gate.

Past a heap of collapsed masonry, you find a common area that hides a slab-like trap door that leads into an earthen cellar. Portions of crumbling brickwork remain, suggesting the ghosts of old walls. A wealth of crates and cases sit in broad niches carved out of the walls, most of them opened. A smattering of loose coins, left behind by the previous conquerors, still shine on the dirt floor, where they catch the light you bring below. However, a slew of bulkier trade goods has been left behind - pelts, furs, tobacco, iron, bronze ingots, and other items likely hoarded by the now vanished bandits.

However, one of the walls at the back of an empty niche has collapsed in a heap of dirt and crumbled bricks - revealing an intact stone door. Many carvings adorn the door, but most have faded into obscurity. Only the large, bas-relief emblem of a double-headed axe survives.


Male Human Cleric 5 (HP 41/41;AC16,T11,FF15; F+7,R+4,W+10; Init +1; Perc +4){Effects:none}

Bydar is not the first to read the note no doubt, but when he reads or hears of it, he frowns, "Taldor makes a bid? No, more than a bid, a clear play for the area. Matters in Brevoy maybe ..conflicted, but some part of me finds this claim from a crumbled empire a touch offensive. " A look at the others, "I wonder why they didn't examine the labyrinth? Assuming they're telling the truth about that?"


Male Human (Ulfen) Ranger 5; Hp 60/60; AC 18; F:7, R:6, W:3; Perc +10
Fenrir:
HP 19/19; AC 14; F: 5, R:5, W:4 ; Perc +5

Contemplating the large door while petting the top of Fenrir's head, Brandt mutters, "Aye lad, I like this less and less. The brothers will definitely cause of grief in the near future, I'm sure."

Looking over the bas-relief door without touching it, "Do ya think this is trapped? That symbol mean anything to anyone here?" Brandt steps back from the door to allow the others to look at it more intensely.

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