Useplanb's RotRL Game - Player Journals Included

Rise of the Runelords

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I need a minute!!
Covered with the insides of foul nasty creatures I simply required a few moments to collect myself and gather my wits. After dispatching the zombies in their pits, a woeful smelly business (tongue GAG!!) mind you, and as the troupe moved to an adjacent room, I remained only slightly to the rear of the group, in ear shot, but away from sight. As they bantered on the merits of entering this new room, I began to sing ever so softly to myself, a hymn to Shelyn, thanking Her for the grace bestowed upon me and the wisdom imparted for a more sensible approach to this sneak about business upon which I have embarked. As I sang, I removed my uppers and long shirt. I re-armored my torso and attempted to wipe myself clean as best I could with the cleanest portions of my not so new long shirt. As I finished the hymn I discarded the shirt in a zombie pit. Taking but a few seconds to focus on this new mindset I collected my belongings approached the room as the grumbling had died down to a hushed “He’s nuts!”

Almost as though transfixed by the vision, everyone watched as Xandu floated effortlessly around this new room. Intrigued, I slipped to the side of the troupe to watch as Xandu collected the objects floating! OH MY!! I could see how this could be so fascinating!! I quickly backed away and watched as Xandu brought each item to the troupe in the hall and returned for the next until all, even a nasty dead bird had been collected…EEEWW!! As the troupe left, I confess, I was unable to resist the temptation of a moment, but needed the assistance of an unwitting party member to enable the moment. As they departed the room, many were otherwise preoccupied with these new found items inspecting, inquiring and conversing amongst themselves as I rounded the corner and “accidently” bounced myself off of Lucien whom I exchanged pleasantries with, begging pardon for the collision….but not for relieving him of one of the many sun rods he had claimed and produced from an open pouch when we had asked for light initially. I waited for them to pass and while they were still close by, I scurried to the door activated the sun rod and gently loosed it into the room. As I watched it float about, I carefully stepped in towards the sun rod and felt my weight relieved from me. WOWEE!! I remained only long enough to execute the few acrobatic moves I had tried to learn from my acrobat guardian but have never quite been able to master and realized why I might not have been able to accomplish them. Always keeping a watchful eye and ear on the lights and sounds of my troupe’s progress, I left the sun rod and regained the troupe without notice.

The troupe progressed through a couple of chambers only to be met by a gaggle of sin spawn and itchy dogs! I locked in fright for a moment, remembering their soul scarifying effect from my initial encounter and backed to the shadows as the troupe with pole arms in hand thrust themselves upon the beasts. Leaving little to no room to gain advantage or a clear field of fire, I remained at a safe distance until an opportunity presented itself. Being the stalwart warriors they are, short work was made of the beasts. An attempt to track some creature named in Tsuto’s journal was made down the hall we had just travelled, but I did not see any creature come my way and in truth didn’t understand how our blood trails could be discerned from any other creatures. Regardless the troupe returned to the room and fiddled about with the summoning device only to produce (E-GADS!!) another sin spawn. It was quickly dispatched. At which point Uther exclaimed he would shoot the next person who attempted to repeat a summoning with the device. SOOO this is the air of nobility I have heard told!?!? I recall a line from one of my troubadour’s favorite texts that he quoted when confronted with such circumstances. The text was titled, “Survivng the Ramala Gap, A Chronicle of Elmer the OLD Legionnaire” It went something to the effect…. “Let them have their points of honor amongst their station, but let not our band suffer threats to the less fortunate which carry issues of mistrust and disrespect.” The troupe took Uther’s intent to heart and then began to debate the wisdom of resting in the darkness or returning to town. After which the troupe reluctantly agreed to return to town to refresh, rearm, and regroup. Whew!!!!
Upon our return to the Glassworks I kept the promise to myself and invited Gorvi and his men to dinner and a round of drinks after sun set, my treat, but only after they cleaned themselves up a bit. I then excused myself and covered up in my scarf as best I could, made my way to the beach to begin the cleansing ritual. Stripped to bare skin, I walked into the water and scrubbed until I could no longer feel the grime and guts! I rubbed sand over the stained leather until it was apparent the caked funk was removed as best could be expected and got dressed to return to civilization. I purchased another longshirt and a fetching bright green and blue vest to wear about when not in armor from Vernah’s for 2gp. Gasp!! I can’t believe I walked in and bought such quality items from Vernah’s, what a treat!! I made my way to the Red Dog Smithy to inquire about the dog I had prepaid for but did not find Master Korvus at the shoppe. I did manage to get my armor and weapons tended to for 5sp though.

Then off for a bite to eat and collect my bag which I had neglected to bring the first time, from the Rusty Dragon Inn. I asked to take my meal in my room. While the food was good, my appetite was poor and I didn’t finish it. I cleaned up a bit and set to replacing the quality look to myself and my gear with a minute magical invigoration. Once again I felt like me, ready for what lay ahead. I returned my dishes and saw my troupe sitting for a meal as I left for one more purchase. A sun rod for 2gp. I ran into a few of the troupe as they explained we were requested to keep a vigil at the Glassworks, to ward off any trouble coming from the tunnels. E-GADS!! I explained I needed to collect my gear and would be straight away to the Glassworks. Well…”straight away” being after leaving 4gp with Lady Ameiko, and pleading she apologize to Gorvi and his men for my absence, and that she feed them and provide as many drinks as my coins would purchase. I also requested a basket of meat pies be delivered to the Glassworks prior to our next delve into the tunnels, leaving an additional 4gp for the pies and the trouble.

I spent most of my down time watching the others rest, until my turn for watch was up at which I took the opportunity to cover those with coats or blankets to remove the chill in the air and provide good rest. I also replaced the sun rod I had borrowed from Lucien. I managed enough rest, though; night-terrors shook me from a deep sleep a time or two but did not keep me from slumber. I woke to the smell of a hearty breakfast of meat filled pies. Then after assessing our needs we donned our armor and gear and marched to the tunnel and entered once again into the darkness. Returning to the room where the summoning pool was located an intense scrap ensued and quickly dispatched the sin spawn, itchy gob dogs and the ugliest of wing-ed monkeys I have ever seen….Ok so the ONLY wing-ed monkey I’ve ever seen. Back to the sunlight to turn in the gob ears, with a pair named Koruvus! In our convalescence we divvied the loot of which I seem to have been the benefactress for I am now in possession of a fine quality silver dagger with a skull fashioned of silver on the pommel and an exquisitely crafted iron dagger which magically returns when thrown! Both the former possessions of the stain Koruvus. How bounteous and how generous is my troupe to willingly forego their share of treasure to provide for me. I will not forget!

Out of the darkness and into the briar patch!
After a brief repose we settled on a search for the Thistletop Gobs and their blowhard, Ripnugget…(SPIT!!) We set out along the north coast road and after well passing our boar hunting area Barus found a set of drag trails leading from what appeared to be an ambush site into the Nettle Wood. Following the trail(s) we found the Nettle Wood an inhospitable tangle of soggy old growth Wood filled with thorns and sting vine! Upon hearing the crash of waves on the breakers we knew we were rapidly approaching the coastline when a small meadow opened before us only to find an immense briar patch blocking any view towards the ocean. Strange enough the drag trails, one I must mention was quite deep, led to of all things….a…..DOOR? After a summary check the only malfeasance about the door were the brambles and barbs of the briar patch which bit into my hand and caused me to don gloves and cinch down my archer’s gauntlets. Not far into the gob maze we found the trails had split and followed the smaller of the two. Curiously…we found a clutch of gobs attempting to cipher just how they were going to deposit a Shoanti clansmen into a hole narrower than the poles length he was tied to. Hmmmm? I wonder, how would this be recalled to the elders around the council fires of the shoanti….(giggle!) The troupe lashed at the gobs and made quick work of them as I walked up to gawk at the bound tribal brute trying to reason how he found himself in this predicament. Yes I was staring. There he was hanging over a hole with the ends of the pole being the only thing keeping him from plummeting 50-100’ to certain doom below….”WHAT IS THAT!?” My attention quickly turned to a fascinating…Great Sealion looking creature all but waiting with mouth open wide!! As there was no way to relieve the tribal warrior of his current dilemma, I walked away to remove gob ears and drag its husk to the hole to watch the creature feed! “WHOA!” Repeating the process until I ran out of gob husks. Then I set to “repacking” the shoanti’s gear which the gobs had at least poured out for a cursory search. We moved to a larger room with a minor horde of gobs, though I tried, I was of little help in the scrap. We soon found Uther had been set upon by what he said was a druid and his fire pelt wildcat! EGADS!! A GREAT CAT! I must be wary, little folk are either a fun filled toy or a tasty cat snack, often both. I do not wish to be remembered as Moxie the troupe’s former sneak about who met her end as a CAT SNACK!!! After tending to the grievous wounds Uther had suffered we moved further into the maze and the druids apparent lair!? When to my amazement a spear thrust from the brambled wall and into the over armored dwarf Barus, the giant slayer, right in front of me. Wow it was a real stinger of a hit too! Then the briar patch seemed to part and out came this shaman looking crazed gob accompanied by a….CAAAAT! AAAAAGH!!! The next thing I remember is waking to the smiling face of Xandu….and at least in my mind asking if I was alive or am I a cat snack?

Storming the Gates of Thistletop.
The troupe elected to prepare a few quick spells before rushing head long across a rope bridge to assault the gob stronghold. Then a shot rang out from Uther’s percussion wand and he cursed as he reported the turd painting gob sentry had escaped to warn the gob garrison. At which point Lucien, Barus and the Shoanti, whose name is such a mouthful of unpronounceable tribal speak I will simply refer to him as Chakka, rushed the gates. Someone, though I know not who, called out that the bridge might well hold only so many souls before giving way to the surf and the man eating sealion below. Which I gladly relayed to those who may not have heard. Having witnessed many arrows skitter in and away from the brambles where Uther stood outside the briar patch near the rope bridge I selected targets I could fire upon from the safety of the briar maze and fell two gobs from their mounts one of which I can claim for my own…HUZZAH! After savaging the opposite side of the bridge, our warriors advanced on the stronghold smartly giving NO QUARTER! As all seemed fixed upon them I resigned from sight and advanced myself, only to realize I had done so without anyone knowing. Luckily Uther passed by and we did not collide on the bridge…noted! I then moved left to the far side of a tower and attempted to climb up and attack from behind only to see a whoosh of flames and gob screams. GOOD, and well done Master of Elixirs…Heir Fred. The culmination of the Thistletop engagement was in the..Throneroom(?) of Ripnugget, the druid and a hoard of gobs lurking in the rafters firing down on us with arrows. Attempt as I might I can only claim but one rafter gob, but I claimed him with my fancy-shmancy throwing dagger!! Chakka reclaimed his horse, we claimed gob ears and found a good bit of loot including Fire Pelt…pelts. I see a Fire Pelt jacket in my future! And once again the troupe has graced me with a fine short sword, formerly Ripnuggets. Now for a rest, then down a set of stairs into the heart of the island, and who knows what?? Praise Shelyn!!

Moxie wrote:
O”WHAT IS THAT!?” My attention quickly turned to a fascinating…Great Sealion looking creature all but waiting with mouth open wide!! As there was no way to relieve the tribal warrior of his current dilemma, I walked away to remove gob ears and drag its husk to the hole to watch the creature feed! “WHOA!” Repeating the process until I ran out of gob husks.

I have greatly enjoyed Moxie's writings until now.


I think I'm in lurrrv...

My wife will be greatly displeased....

*Smacks NobodysHome on the back of the head*

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(Giggle!!) Noble Harm I thank you for your kind words (curtsy) Do see to the lump on your noggin! And Fair Noble Strife, fret not, for I am no Pixie Kitten and respect the devotions of your home. Now I must away to my troupe, fare thee well Nobles (curtsy…wave…giggle!)

Grand Lodge

Last night the "army" entered into the depths of Thistletop.

Given there are two entrances into the lower levels I was concerned they would pick the door that would lead to D14 and thus miss out on a few things. Instead they entered into the area at D1.

An addition I made to the dungeon was a crude goblin drawing of a goblin skull with an X through it located on the door leading from the small hallway to D6. Because of this the group did a quick and cursory look around D6 and D7 and had not gone to D8.

They then proceeded back to D1 and started working their way around the room clockwise. I added the goblin "babies" to see how they would react and feigned indifference is the best I could get, but they left them alone.

The best part of the night was the opening of the door into D2, where a stunned dwarf validated his poor initiative roll on the fact that he noticed several goblin females "lounging" around and noting that goblins don't care about underclothes. That and the fact that Bruthazmus was also lounging about. In retrospect as a GM this encounter was rather quick and shortlived. You have 4 goblins, 1 bugbear and a room that is 6 squares. This means that only the guy in the door really gets to do anything. The fact that I have an army (last night we were at 8 players) means that most fights take a few rounds at best. I counter this by adding more "mobs" and always maxing out the health of the BBEG and "sometimes" maxing the health of the mobs. Regardless the combat went for 1.5 rounds before they were all dead and I managed to knick the dwarf for 4 points from a lucky arrow from the goblins. I feel as an encounter the room should be bigger to allow for movement. There is zero chance the bugbear is going to "warn" anyone by running off.

I had Orik investigate the "noise" of the gunslingers shot by opening the door into D1 from the hall leading to the sleeping chambers. Once he realized what was going on he closed the door and backed up 5 feet. Using the description that the doors are rickety, I said that if anyone took a 10' move and shouldered into the door it would automatically collapse inward.

The alchemist jumped at the chance to chase down Orik which was a bad choice as he was waiting for the first person through the door. The alchemist was hit and I maxed out damage at 15 points (forgot about power attack). Then the alchemist attempted to ready a bomb and throw it at him (in base to base) which provoked an AoO and I crit him, but the player used his boon to make me reroll and instead it was just a normal hit. This time I power attacked and maxed out my damage again. So 17 points later he was on the ground and bleeding to death. At that point the magus jumped in and attacked but missed. Orik then hit him (almost had another crit) and did max damage again. 3 hits and 3 10s on the d10. At that point the group had done enough damage that he surrendered. The group so badly wanted to kill him because I was destroying them with his hits, but all told he only swung 3 times before he surrendered. They stripped him blind leaving him in his skivvies with his bow and 3 arrows. Thats going to make for a fun trek to Sandpoint.

They then finished looking through the rest of the dungeon and entered into the chapel from the torture chamber/jail cells. Even though everyone had to make 2 saves versus the Yeth hound Baying attack, only 1 person failed. (Well thats not totally true. 3 people failed at least one save and 2 used their boons for a reroll and made the second save.) Still though, that could make for a chaotic and very fun encounter as they could run away (randomly) and run into the room with the Tentamort or Lyrie. The magus, who ran, almost made it to Lyrie which I think would have been a great fight, course the magus didn't have his sword since he dropped it from the Panicked condition.

The fight with the 2 Yeth hounds took forever and the dogs did a lot of damage to the group. They had max health and the fight took "several" rounds with multiple people needing heals because they kept provoking attacks of opportunity by standing or casting in base to base with the dogs. 2d6+4 damage can rip a party to shreds pretty quick. I forgot about the Desecrate or the Channels would not have worked. The fact that the DR was never overcome because no one could figure it out made the fight pretty tough. I could see a party of 4 players having issue with the fight because of this. This group is still in the BFI approach to combat which can work, but is dangerous. They're learning. Slowly.

We ended there and will pick up the last encounter with Lyrie next week and then the eventual outcome next week in the lower chambers.

A quick warning on your "small rooms" issue: You definitely want to plan ahead for that in subsequent books. I don't know whether you're reading my thread, but there are several encounters with spellcasters in small rooms (Lyrie being the first) that are just stupid-easy because the casters can't get any space.

Let me know if you want me to PM you (or post here with spoilers) on the encounters I've run into so far where space was an issue...

(Grin...batting eye lashes...and big sad eyes) OOOOH NOBLE HARM DO TELL!!! (POUT!)

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Not wanting to rush down into the bowels of the island unprepared, the troupe agreed to rest in the goblin redoubt overnight and start down the next morning. I decided to take my slumber from a vantage point that would afford some security and peace. Away from the smells and mess of combat splattered walls and floors and laid out some furs and my bed roll atop the North Tower. The height and fresh sea breeze lent a measure of calm to my soul and helped to lift my spirits from the harshness of the day’s events. Before dusk I remembered the caged bunnies and made several trips into the thicket to the meadow where the horses were left and released them to the wilds. I returned to my perch with a couple bags of grain from the store room and placed them at my sides to prevent from rolling off the tower in my sleep. I ate from my prepared meals and found myself wanting for better fare, but it sufficed. I prayed to Shelyn, thanking her for my deliverance from the day’s events, and asked for her continued blessing for myself and the entire troupe in the days to come. I sang the songs which comfort me in times of hardship, looking at the stars, wrapped in my blanket until the cool breeze and the sound of the surf carried me off to a happy dream.
Stretching to the squeak, I rose in the misty gray of the morning coast. I sat with my feet dangling from the edge in my blanket facing the open sea. I closed my eyes and listened as the breeze whispered its secrets and tossed my hair. Rubbing the sleep from my face and eating a bit more of my prepared foods I slowly gathered my belongings and waited for the rest to commit to the day. When finally coming to the decision to start into the depths of the island I was packed and ready to go. It was decided we would secure the stairway closest to the privy and bar it from escape!? I hope it does not bar me from escape!!! We decided to make our entry at the stairs nearest the “throne room” and so we went. Entering a room with multiple doors, we opened the first we came upon. Barus and Lucien checked a large room, cavernous in nature, some would say “unfinished”..whatever! Though they came back saying there was more to search, we chose a new door. Not quite comfy with the prospect of WHAT may lurk behind in the cavern, not completely searched room(s) I watched them close the door, worrisome that we had not positively secured our flank. When all of a sudden a great bellowing roar came from the door Barus had just opened. Filling the door was an enormous…ly ugly, hairy, burly BUGBEAR! (Gasp..EGADS!) I quick-stepped close enough to ensure a good shot and loosed an arrow at it. The shaft flew true, then disappeared? I thought he had a magical defense until I saw it protruding from the back of his neck. Barus was landing telling blows as were others, but the final blow was dealt by yours truly with a thrown dagger to the gutsack!! The room was cleansed of creatures quickly, but not before the offensive aroma of flowery-vinegarish putrescence wafted from the room.(tongue gag..ooh E-gaads!) Upon entering to collect the bugbears ears, I was mentally brutalized by the concept and visage of multiple gob bramble-ho’s cut down in various stages of undress.(Double tongue gag!...Hard swallow!!) I have a newfound respect and appreciation for the girls of the Pixie-Kitten now. Bugbears and gobettes?? I mean the offspring of that joining, what would that be???...a buglin, or a gobblebear!!? Anyway back to the collecting of ears.

As I removed the last of the ears from a bramble-ho, a calamity ensued back in the room we had entered. By the time I was through and back out in the hall, a human was calling out for quarter and yielding to our mercy. As I looked about I saw Frederick face down in an adjoining hall being tended to by Xandu, and heard his name was something to the effect of…Orck An’Casketlint?? Funny name for a human, but then again some humans don’t like their children. He provided the information requested and mentioned Tsuto’s name. He was stripped to his unmentionables, (GASP!) a bow, and three….shafts, and sent on his way. (giggle!) But before he left I held the ears of the bugbear aloft and told him he should chose his friends more wisely in the future, because two of his troupe had already met their end upon our blades. We searched what turned out to be living quarters and collected more drafts of Tsuto’s plans in one of the rooms. Oh, and a couple of torches that produce light without heat though they blaze with a flame, very cool! (giggle!)We returned to the original room and checked another door which led to a spooky columned room which is apparently a temple to a creepy pregnant dogfaced...I don’t know what to call it?? All of a sudden two FLYING DOGS…what is it with dogs…I am beginning to see why the gobs don’t like em….bayed a frightful howl sending at least one of our troupe in flight at top speed. I and the others entered to do combat. I slid in and down the ledge to the floor hoping to fire from cover. Then they attacked to bar the door. Almost instantly we all found ourselves fighting from the floor, no matter how many times we regained our feet we went back down. Using Ripnuggets short sword I was able to assist in the felling of both hounds but dealt the ending thrust on the last of them. I think the new approach to hostilities has taken root…I hope. Praise Shelyn!

Grand Lodge

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A buglin? Gobblebear? Ewwwwwwww.

Orck An'Casketlint? Moxie needs to get the wax cleaned out of the ears. :)

As for the problem of small rooms and casters, I may (assuming I remember ahead of time) tweak the dungeons to allow for more space. Not so much because the bad guys need it, but because the combat between the "army" and what is thrown against them will generally mean the Alchemist will be cleaning house because the area is so dense. Making for more room will allow for the party to use reach weapons (which a lot of them have) and to allow others to move around for flanking and whatnot.

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You do realize that now that Moxie has freed the bunnies into the thistles as well as feeding Yippy, she is firmly in the footsteps of Hi Ichiban, gnome sorcerer extraordinaire, and Hi may make some attempt to lure her over to our campaign...

(For Moxie, since she should stay off of my thread because of spoilers: The entire party was resting by the bridge, wondering what to do, when Hi came rambling slowly across the bridge, bunny in arms, and released it into the thistles. As Hi went back for a second bunny, the entire party, Shoanti barbarian included, got up and started ferrying bunnies to the thistles. They have declared Thistletop their 'bunny sanctuary'.)

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Journal entry:
“Moxie,” what a prize. As we attempted to get some rest before our decent into the inner parts of the island, I was praying to Desna thanking her for her help this day and for her blessing on the next, I spotted something precious. Something was near the bunny cages and bunnies were disappearing right from my view. I almost sounded an alarm then Desna whispered to me and a grand smile came over me. After all we’d been through today the battles, the stench of the privy, the cutting off of ears. When all had quieted down Moxie took it upon herself to rescue the bunnies. What a sweet person, and since she did it in the dark of night she must not want any of us to know. I’ll keep her secret and I again thanked Desna for showing me all sides of my new and wonderful friends.
In the morning no one noticed the missing bunnies and if they did no one said a word about it. We decided to close off one of the two ways we found that went further underground and head down the other. A room of doors awaited us at the base of the stairs. We all placed ourselves in the room and listened. I could hear moaning and giggling coming from one of the doors, some grunting noises from behind yet another. We stood in the room trying to be quite. Barus just took the door on his left and slowly opened it. The rest of us watched and waited as Barus followed by Lucien entered the first door. Uther covered the door with his pistol as they investigated. They came back saying that it was a more natural cavern and the first part of it looked like it was storage for trash or a supply room. Friedrich or someone had also gone into the first part of the room and searched around while Barus and Lucien went further in. That person also confirmed that it held nothing of interest. They all came back and closed that door. Barus opened the next door.
There was disgust on Barus’s face as he peered in this room but all he said was “friggen goblin babies”. People looked in but they just shut the door. The third door Barus said was a hallway with more doors. He came back and closed that door for now too. The door with giggling and moaning was next and I prepared myself for a torture chamber as Barus opened the door.
“Oh Desna spare us“ I cried. Barus opened the door and instead of a torture chamber I saw…. I saw… Desna remove the sight from my eyes….I saw four female goblins pleasuring an orc, no, a bugbear and themselves. Resisting the strong urge to hurl I backed away from what I saw and prayed for Desna’s blessing. With my back against a door I watched my friends kill Bruthazmus the bugbear and the female goblins. I went into the room after all was done and Moxie was busy collecting ears. This is the same girl, that just a few hours ago was stealthfully, rescuing little bunnies, makes you laugh. There was a smell of decay and vinegar and “others”. There was shouting and gasping from the main room.
I think it was Uther that I heard say Friedrich was down so I did a burst of healing power from Desna to my friends not knowing who all was hurt. When I got to Friedrich he was almost dead. There was another man in the hall near Friedrich but I needed to deal with the wounded and the man had already dropped his sword and asked for quarter. After I had healed Friedrich and seeing the looks of my friends towards this man, Oric, he told us his name was. I said take off all but your small clothes and you may take a bow and three arrows in exchange for your life. Thankfully he agreed and barefoot off he went up the stairs. Moxie had a few words with him before he left but I was not privy to them. Others had asked him questions as he disrobed and found out quite a bit of information. We then searched this hall and its Living quarters of Oric, Bruthazmus, Tsoto and more. Much was discovered and without a doubt this is where the plan and execution of the raids on Sandpoint had originated. The search continued but as we had just entered another room a cry or more of a howl that raised the hair on the back of my neck. What was that I thought? I raced forward to find myself underneath two huge flying dogs. Taking them for some kind of daemon I asked Desna to hinder them in some way. And they attacked us. As I fought they kept tripping me to the ground. I was having a hard time regaining my feet. I was bit several times and never once did I get to stab one or hurt one in any way. Thankfully my friends had better luck. We should be more careful searching the rest of this island.

Journal Entry:

Thirtieth Day of the Month Rova
Descent - Darkness – Morbidity
After a restless night spent in the so-called throne room; we regrouped and took quick inventory of our spoils. I was able to identify a few of the potions as curative agents. As such I dispensed them to those who had expended their supply. You can always tell a pampered noble; for no sooner had I handed Lucien a potent elixir, he consumed the contents. I understand he was still wounded, however these are most useful in emergencies; I swear it is as though he expects I have an unending supply of elixirs… and gold for that matter.

We entered the lower network through the entrance located most near the throne room. A short hall brought us upon a room with six doors. Nothing much was found save two less than pleasant occurrences. The first of which held some cages, inside were grotesque little creatures. Barus explained they were goblin young, we closed the door and let them be. Though I believe the more merciful action would have been that we had ended them; as now it is likely they will starve to death with no one to… tend… to them.

The next occurrence was worse. Barus opened a door and came upon four goblin females, entertaining a bugbear. I believe the bugbear was slightly upset at being disturbed and took to swinging a rather large flail, or some such device, at Barus; whilst the females took to shooting arrows. Our party moved quickly into position, blocking any means of escape. Vibrant green discharges and the smell of seared flesh and ozone filled the air around the bugbear, harming him greatly and removing two of the females of the burden that was their life. The bugbear then fell quickly to Barus and Lucien. I leapt past and took another of the females with a curt jab from my spear. The other fell shortly after, I know not who took it as I was then desperately trying to then leave the room and remove its memory from my mind.

There have been multiple occasions when my body has acted most foolishly. The first of which would be the glassworks, becoming surrounded by goblins, you think it would learn. As a few of the party was investigating the harem, a door was opened a startled man’s face poked out for just a moment he then shut the door again. Fearing he fled for reinforcements, I readied an explosive and burst through the door hoping to arrest his escape. In a sense my plan worked. Though he was waiting on the other side of the door and as I burst through he struck with sword that appeared much smaller a second ago… before it tore my conciseness’ vessel open. In my sudden panic I feared the bomb was already active and in an attempt to remove it from my possession I left myself open to a second blow. The blade came down, darkness engulfed me.

I cannot breathe, why can I not breathe!? My eyes flashed open and before me was a blur of colors and cloth sweeping this way and that across my face. I swept the cloth aside; Zandu was kneeling over me tending to my grievous wounds whilst his scarf was desperately trying to undo his fine work. I was amazed to watch as he prayed my wounds began to seal themselves, his god’s healing is much more merciful than the elixirs I employ. There is no fire coursing through my blood, only a cool calming sensation, as though my body were completely numb. He did fine work though the wounds had not totally closed. I thanked him as I went for a curative from my personal stock. This time there was fire as the liquid coursed through me finishing the work Zandu had started.

As I took note of my surroundings and the astounding pool of blood I was now standing in I assumed the fighter had been dispatched rather gruesomely, but he had not! He was in the process of removing his armor and talking with the others. Grim realization told me this thick pool of blood indeed belonged to me, a thought I would have liked to have been without. He had apparently surrendered and given us a slight bit of info on our situation. He was simply a mercenary and had no real ties to those we were after. A part of me demanded vengeance, but Sheylin is a forgiving goddess and it is for us to strive to follow that path. I was glad when the party allowed him to live, though I fear we also sentenced him to his death. Taking on these woods with nothing but a bow and three arrows may be his downfall.
We searched the area he told us was the sleeping quarters of himself, Tsuto, Bruthazmus (the Bugbear), Lyrie (an unknown at this point), and someone else, perhaps he said Nualia, it makes little difference. We found a small mess of useful items in these chambers including two ever-burning torches. We continued investigating the halls coming upon a torture room, luckily with no occupants. From there we found a stairway, more of a short ramp, but stairway none-the-less, leading us to our next encounter.

Soon as Barus opened the door two distinguishable yowls tore through my mind shattering any peace that had returned since my return to consciousness. I had an overwhelming desire to run, but pushed forwards regardless. Perhaps it is more accurate that I was pushed forward instead of pushing forward. Entering the new chamber my eyes were instantly accosted with a disturbing sight. The main feature was a statue standing perhaps ten feet in height. The only word that entered my mind was chimera, a single creature composed of multiple limbs and features from different creatures. The head was that of a jackal with three eyes, the hands and feet birdlike with talons, body that of a pregnant female, human in likeness. Within the talons were two burning kukris two different colored flames. The statue bore no significance to me other than the mundane evil it flaunted. The rest of the room was set up as a chapel of sorts with an alter covered in bone and ash and lesser statues of creatures eating people.

More importantly, the source of the yowls, two emaciated hounds “stood” twenty feet airborne flanking the predominant statue glaring at us. Uther had entered found a decent corner and fired upon one. I took a place beside him and threw an explosive, missing my mark it detonated harmlessly on a wall. The rest of the party had taken up places throughout the chapel waiting for the hounds to descend. Descend they did, right for Uther and I. I narrowly escaped the first bite from the creature and was forced to use my spear as there was no place to retreat towards. When my spear did strike it was with little effect. I wonder if these creatures, like the quasit, require the cold iron Zandu mentioned to properly harm them? Regardless that was not an option at this time, especially since the next bite from the fowl creature not only found my flesh but also removed me of my footing. Knowing I could not do significant damage to the hounds and that standing would leave me exposed to attack, I fought from the ground. Applying poisons to my spear in a hope to take them down from within. From what I can tell the poison had no affect when I was able to finally pierce the creature’s hide. Luckily my troupe was more adept to removing these hounds from existence.

I have found a few minutes to write this down as the group searches the chapel. I pray this endeavor ends in our favor, though I fear the worst has yet to present itself.

Once again, I'll point out that I hate dogs. Don't know what kind of dogs were in that room, but once again I don't like them and they don't like me.
OK, we spent a night resting and recovering from our trek to the top and clearing out Thistletop. We then went downstairs. Fought a bugbear which was entertaining some female goblins. Don't know, don't want to know, didn't see don't have to unsee. The party killed him and the females. Found a room full of baby gobs, probably be kinder to kill them outright, but maybe all but one will starve. Or they'll become victims of some other predator.
Continued on. A human fighter attacked us? He spotted us and kind of ran, but immediately turned and hit Friedrich. That fight continued until Friedrich dropped. I joined the fight and was hit well also. He finally surrendered, when he realized we outnumbered him and would kill him. Xandu got Friedrich back up and we got some info from the fighter and took his armor and sword and eventually his money from his room.
We apparently entered a temple, well I did eventually. Barus opened the door dogs started howling, and I ran. Came to a ways down some hallways that we hadn't explored. I retraced my steps back and joined the battle and helped kill a dog. New skills are kind of cool. Did I mention I hate dogs.

We're waiting.

Grand Lodge

Just because you didn't write a Journal update last week doesn't mean you get to jump on me for not having my update up the day after. ;)

The group still stinging from the long drawn out fight with the Yeth hounds in the chapel started off the night with the intentions of heading in one of the remaining areas not yet searched (which did not include the cave system, ie Tentamort den). They were without both the cleric of desna and the druid so their healing was limited to the mass potions of cures they have accumulated along the way. There were 6 players total, the fighter, gunslinger, rogue, ninja/witch, ranger and magus. Realistically with that number of players I knew the fights would be tough, but they had the umph to get the job done.

The encounter with Lyrie actually went a little longer than expected. I had her only buffed with her mage armor spell. The first round she got off Mirror Image as given in the strategy. Lucked out and rolled a 4 which gave her 5 images plus herself and the players kept hitting the images. Sadly I did make one error and the magus missed the AC by 5 and I did not remove an image. In retrospect it did nothing to the overall fight as her last spell before having her head blown off from a crit from the gunslinger was a shatter on the fighters armor that he saved versus. The only really offensive thing she managed was a burning hands that hit 4 of the players doing 9 damage of which all but one saved.

They continued down into the rest of the area, and when encountering the "obvious" trap room had the rogue, magus and ranger hop over the trap. DC5 is rather easy to hit, although the ranger got close to missing it. The hall was stacked when they opened the door to the north, ie. Nualia's room. Because none of them were being silent, I had Nualia make two perception checks and she rolled a nat 20 and heard the commotion and began buffing herself. The Yeth hound beat the surprised Moxie in intiative and charged but missed. At that point Moxie disengaged and made for the back of the pack. The magus moved up right as Nualia moved in. Two rounds later the magus was on the ground bleeding to death. The dwarf did not fair much better as within 3 rounds he also was on the ground.

I only used Ferocious Strike until she was hit for damage (the dwarf did that) and then she used Fury of the Abyss and beat the dwarf down. The ranger was not having much luck at hitting her from poor dice rolls.

The Yeth hound flew past the confrontation in the halls since I declared the height to be 15' and the fighter got an attack of opportunity since he had a reach weapon and it moved into base to base. This is where I was hoping for the fun stuff to happen. It bayed and only 2 of the 6 players failed their save. Both the Ninja/Witch and Gunslinger dropped their weapons and bolted upstairs. The gunslinger eventually made it to the stairwell nearest to their location and battered it down before running into the privy to hide. The ninja/witch ran into the cave system but did not randomly roll her direction into the Tentamorts lair, and instead ran by eventually holing up in the Harem room.

Once Nualia had dropped the dwarf and the magus she turned to move back into her room to deactivate the trap before chasing off after Moxie (she had recognized the character since Moxie is the only 'local' of the group). The fighter had hoped the trap door in the hope he could get to a potion to give to the ranger when she came back around the corner. 2 rounds later the fighter was on the ground bleeding to death at -11 wounds (he subsequently died not being able to stablize) but he did get two crits in a row with a x3 polearm doing roughly 50 points of her 71 health.

The rest was her going after moxie and the two trading blows. At this point my dice got a little cold. Either it was hitting or doing minimum damage with her bastard sword. A lucky hit from Moxie though put Nualia at 15 hps and so she ran. She made it to the top of the stairs where she ran right into the gunslinger and ninja witch who were returning after being panicked for 8 rounds.

The gunslinger only had a dagger as a backup weapon and did only a few points while the witch hexed her with Misfortune (damn that is powerful effective). After a round of combat where Sanctuary did not work she was forced to fight to get out. So splitting her attacks she managed to drop the gunslinger and was about to make a dash since there was room around the witch when Moxie scored a very telling blow doing 14 points of damage when she only had 11 left.

So, Nualia buffed with a Yeth hound as backup, narrow hallway equals damn near a TPK with no healers.

Uther Eld, Taldorian Pistolero:

…and with that, the last of the foul flying hounds was dispatched, and we could safely take stock of our surroundings. We found ourselves in a blasphemous temple, with a statue and altar to some dark goddess and fonts of stagnant water near the double stone doors. We took stock, bound our wounds, and continued our exploration of the catacombs beneath the goblin fort.

We moved out the stone double doors from the temple, and into a corridor. To our left was an open doorway to the entry area by the stairs (I didn’t remember that door being open), ahead was a door that seemed to lead into the natural cavern area, that Orrick had said was inhabited by a “slithery thing”, and to our right was another open doorway. That path led us to a room with a table and chairs and a large slate on one wall, where it was obvious that the raid on Sand Point had been planned. Notes scattered about the room indicated that more were in the offing, and that ‘after the whispering beast had been tamed’ all the goblin tribes would attack, along with hellspawn from the catacombs (they didn’t know we’d ended that threat) and this “whispering beast” (whatever that might be). Even without the hellspawn, things looked bleak for our adopted township, and our resolve hardened to find Nualia and end her plotting forever.

The next room we entered was some sort of wizard’s study, and unfortunately the wizard was still there! Lucien barked at her, “hold!” but she made some magical passes and incantations, and the fight began. The quarters were too close for all of us to enter the room, but as many as could crowded in. The mage had suddenly become six, but it quickly became clear that the duplicates were but powerless images of the real spellcaster. Not liking the odds, I holstered my trusty pistol and went to work with my dagger. As my companions attacked the images rapidly disintegrated, but the mage countered with a blast of flames! The last of the doppelgangers gone, Barus landed a solid stroke, and I saw my chance. Drawing my pistol, I laid the barrel next to her temple and pulled the trigger. The splash of her brains onto the wall was quite impressive. Scratch one mercenary mage.

As we searched the room, Barus found a secret stone door, and we made our way through, and down the stairs deeper into the catacombs. We all could sense that we were getting close to our goal. We warily opened the next doors, creeping along as silently as we could; Moxie and Lynn avoiding and pointing out an apparently trapped area in the corridor. Then Moxie opened a door, and all hell broke loose. There was a terrifying howl, and another of the unclean flying hounds like those we had fought in the temple above, erupted into the hallway above Moxie and Barus, and flew into the room with the rest of our party. I glanced to my rear, looking for the rest of our group…and found no one there! Somehow we had become separated; Friederich, Zandu and the druid were nowhere to be seen! Cold panic washed over me and my mind went blank, I must flee or die an unknown and ignominious death in this horrid place!

When I came back to my senses an unknown time later, I found that I had barricaded myself in the outhouse of the goblin’s fort, two levels above where my companions were fighting for their lives. I ran back, as fast as my feet could carry me; I was not that far away, perhaps I could get there in time. As I raced to the secret door in the mage’s study, I came face to face with what could only be Nualia. She was beautiful and horrifying at the same time; the contrast between her physical perfection, marred only by the demonic hand and arm, and her cold lifeless eyes made her a creature of nightmares.

My pistol was gone, dropped somewhere in my panicked flight, and I prepared to do battle with my dagger. As I slashed at the apparition before me, I heard Annie’s familiar cackle to my rear, and realized that I wasn’t quite alone. As Nualia cut at me with her sword, Moxie appeared behind her, slashing with her own tiny dagger. I managed to strike home as the sword in Nualia’s hand hacked me once again, and I sagged to the floor as the lights went out…

After action report:

Yes, Lucien Prospero met his end at the hands (claw and sword) of Nualia.

When I ran to get the potions it wasn't to give them to Barus, it was for myself. I only had 14 HP. I had been fighting the Yeth Hound by myself for a couple of rounds until Moxie arrived to help. The hound had done close to 20 points of damage to me before I entered the solo fight with Nualia. I may have been able to handle her (the two back-to-back crits with the glaive helped) if I had been closer to max health, but jumping in to the fight with around 1/3 of my normal HP made it a little harder! ;-)

It's a shame, because I was really enjoying this character. Going into a known big fight without any healers or potions probably wasn't a great choice as players, but it just worked out that way.

Anyway, I plan to return with a new character. Most likely it will be a paladin or another fighter since we are light in that area of the party.

I told the GM I expected a big statue to be erected in Sandpoint to honor the "big, damn hero." :-)

Xandu's Journal Entry:
The Yeth Hounds bite must have affected me worse than I thought at first. I tried not to show the effects, fever, dilutions, I think I even had voices whispering to me. It may have been the unhollyness of the temple room itself that all this stemmed from and once I got out of the temple room I did slowly feel better. I walked following the group in a kind of fog. We fought a lady, well she had the body of a lady but Uther and his pistol had removed her head. I remember walking in a hall on the first floor of the fort and stopping in front of cages. Cages, trapped, I must escape. Cages, there were bunnies in these cages and Moxie freed them. Bunnies, Moxie, “Oh s*+&”, Moxie and the rest of the party are down fighting somewhere below me.
“What happened to me? How could I have left my friends”? I Ran asking for Desna’s forgiveness and strength to make it back in time. I ran down stairs I could hear fighting as I got closer to where the lady had lost her head and there standing among our fallen friends was Moxie. Dagger in hand dripping in blood tears in her eyes. She looked up at me shrugged her little shoulders motioned to the bodies of our friends and enemies that lay motionless around her and said “They Left Me”. I put my hand on her shoulder and said “It’s ok. We’ll fix what we can. They’ll be alright” Friedrich came running in too, a look of bewilderment across his face. I yelled to him “Get some potions I know not who’s still alive”. I could see four fallen friends and had no idea what had transpired. I just knew we had to bring them back, for Moxie’s sake.

I realize I'm the only non-player continually intruding on your thread, but I have no shame.

Bravo, all! What a tale!

And I will hoist a glass to Lucien this evening. He indeed died bravely!

Nobodys Home,
We don't mind, as a matter of fact we're all probably pleased that someone outside our circle is enjoying our sorted tale. I enjoy your prospective. Keep reading and commenting. Lint

“WHAT HAPPENED!!? WHAT’S IT LOOK LIKE!??” (pant..gasp..heave!) “I don’t know….it was…fast, …loud, …brutal, and FAST!! “ (tears…lip quiver) “They left me. They’re all dead. I donno!!” (sob)......


As we continued from the temple fight we enter a room with a table and chairs, then onward to a second room. There the troupe happened upon a wizard type and as everyone filled the room I sat at the table in the previous room to see what transpired as there was no space for me to fit into this tiny room. I must admit this was a good choice as the room filled with flame. (giggle) Then a loud report from Uther’s percussion wand cracked and all was suddenly silent. When I entered the room I saw the body of what was once, probably, a very beautiful woman…whose head and the contents thereof had been spattered up the wall in the corner of the room. (Eeew!) I collected a few shards of Thassalonian runes for Master Quenk and then down we went into the darkness. Through a stone door we found a pillared room with statues of what looks like a male Runelord of old…maybe!? The room was filled with soot and debris from an…excavation, or an attempt at a collection of some sort? Soot??? All over??? A sense of foreboding made my ears tingle and squeeze ever so close to my head. I searched the room and area around the statues. Finding nothing I moved to the next door. After a cursory check for impolite reactions I found the door safe but heavy to open. Upon entering the open hallway before us I noticed a nice, clean polished section of stone flooring beyond the threshold some five feet. Checking again for nastiness I found it to be a need for caution, but unable to ascertain its function. I tied a length of rope about my waist and secured the opposite end to a pillar and leapt across the trapped floor. Approaching the end of the hallway I found a door on both sides of the hall and quickly untied myself and secured the rope to a statue missing its upper portion. This assisted in the safe transit for Lynn and Barus who…used the rope to regain his balance. At their arrival I queried as to which door they wished to check first, with a response of “to the right.” So once again I searched for malignant consequences about the door, listened for activity, assessed security and finding none, opened the door.

I barely noticed the skulls illuminating the room, or the bubbling font from the door as I found myself locked eye to eye with Nualia. Sure she was across the room, buuuuuut my ears all but caught fire as her expression changed and she called me by name. This is perhaps the one time I can recall wishing to be inconsequential. It was then that her dog leapt into the air and out the doorway, at which point I whispered to Lynn and Barus, “you chose poorly!!!” Never taking my eyes from Nualia I could tell her advance upon me was imminent and decided my chances would be better with the dog, so out I ran. I barley remembered the floortrap and leapt to the door which was blocked by the dog engaged in mortal combat with Lucien , but there was no advantage to be gained with my new approach to hostile action in this combat as yet. The dog let out with one of those creepy howls that chills the bones. With a glance back I could tell Lynn had engaged with Nualia and saw Barus attempt a rush on the door before striking at the dog. Tough hided creatures they are! With a second glance back I saw a second attempt as Barus rushed the door again. I stab, and miss the dog. I heard an unnerving grunt and thumping sound, and as I looked back, found Lynn settling to the floor at the end of the hall and Barus awaiting Nualia’s arrival. This began to wind my tensions ever tighter and I called for Lucien to move away from the corner. As the combat moved into the hall Barus stood his ground, but I noticed grievous wounds spilling at his feet. (NOT GOOD!!!) MOVE!!Lucien moved enough to allow me to take advantage of the creature’s blind spot and finish it. I looked back at a quiet hall devoid of all but the remains of my troupe on the floor. I ran into the room stumbling over Uther’s percussion wand. WAIT WHAT!!! I picked it up and attempted to operate it the way I had seen him do it numerous times, alas I am not as familiar as I had thought. Disgraceful…me a gnome and not a clue as to the functionality of such a device. I stuffed it in my belt and told Lucien what had happened in the hall. Lucien, bold and fierce advanced down the hall and I followed to assess and attend the wounded both avoiding the floortrap. I heard Nualia say she was coming to get me, and I believed every word! Then I heard a sound of mechanics operate so very briefly. I stopped and looked around quickly. Finding no obvious effects I poured a healing potion in the still breathing Barus! No effect. “GET UP GIANT SLAYER!!!” I heard two solid blows and Nualia respond with cries of pain…YEAH?? As I stood, I saw the look of satisfaction on Lucien’s face for a job well done. He glanced sideways and winked at me with a grin and advanced at Nualia again. That calmed me to a point of rational thought which allowed me to remember to avoid the floortrap for the third time. Then the sound of combat changed, the blows were Nualia’s, and the responses from them were Lucien’s. Then a slump and crunch to the stone floor. Heart Pounding and breathing rapidly I ran to the other end of the soot covered hall, drew a poisoned arrow for my bow and began to shiver in fright. Brushing the percussion wand handle I called out, “Uther, Annie…HELP!!” Nualia approached with the look of rage a sinspawn bite causes; only for her I think it is a normal state of consciousness. She advanced and attacked with sword and claw cutting my back with her sword stroke. I stepped back and fired through tearful eyes, shaking hands and a painful burning in my back. AND HIT!! Praise Shelyn!! Well with the fletching sticking out below her left breast I resolved that at least the others will know I fought her and I reached for another arrow. This time she was not toying around and used both…err…her hand and…tentacle to hold her sword and take me out of the fight. I dodged just enough to take but a portion of the punishment she had planned to inflict, but I could feel it deeply and was certain the next breaths were to be my last!! With that in mind I stepped back again and fired. AND HIT!! HUZZAH!! Knowing this is my end, I braced for the impact and made a quick devotion to Shelyn and faced my pain. I flinched as she began to as she ran up the stair way…WAIT!! I drew my nice dagger and rapidly climbed the stairs to the corner. Hearing combat ensue with what sounded like Uther. I pulled his percussion wand from my belt and peeked to see an opening to throw it to him. Seeing none I put it back in my belt and crept towards her dagger in hand. Missing twice and watching Uther fall to her blade as the others had before him. Then a welcome sight indeed! There stood Annie whirling a chained blade, taking swipes at Nualia and keeping her in the stairway! A true GIRL FIGHT!! For some strange reason I felt the fear start to melt away as a warmth began to grow. Nualia attempted attacks at Annie and me. After striking at Annie and moving through the secret door I sprung to her back with my dagger braced against my belt. My weight plunged the dagger deep and I held on with one hand and legs as best I could. I gave another push twisting the blade and we fell to the ground. I asked Annie to care for Uther and dropped his percussion wand on his chest.

The pain of the sword blows began to burn and scream with an intensity that fouled my stomach. The world began to spin and I felt a sorrow unlike any I had before. I braced myself along the wall with my blood soaked, daggered hand. I couldn’t open the hand… strange? I told Annie about the others downstairs and ventured off to find those of the troupe that still remained. In a daze, my heart still pounding and short of breath I found Xandu. He asked what happened….

Frankly, I'm tired. I want a bed, a good meal and some good wine, followed by a nice, long sleep. We continued on through the maze, checking the various doors as we went. Well, lo and behold we open the door and there's a wizard. She was as surprised to see us as we her. Lucien yelled hold, she didn't and the fight ensued. Uther literally blew her head off with a shot. I picked up her stuff, the book may come in handy as will the wand and scrolls. Took a couple minutes to regroup and proceeded through a well hidden door Barus found.
We continued with Moxie and Barus up front, Moxie checking for hidden traps. We kept opening doors, and opened one that had a nice clean, polished section of hallway. We rigged a rope and Moxie, Barus and myself went down the hallway. We picked a door, and found our "prey". A hound and Nualia occupied the room. The hound went first, I hit it with a fire spell and barely singed it. It flew over me and joined a fight with Lucien and Moxie, that had quickly left after Nualia identified her. The hound blocked the end of the hallway, Barus was beside me and I had really no place to go. So I had to face Nualia. I'm not sure anymore if I hurt her or not, but she hurt me. I tied her up for a couple rounds while Lucien and Moxie fought the hound. Did I mention, it was Uther, Annie, Moxie, Lucien, Barus and myself? We had apparently lost Zandu, Sheldor, Friedrich, somewhere in the maze. The hound howled, sending Uther and Annie running. Can't complain, it happened to me previously. Anyway, the next thing I know, I'm waking up while Moxie is dumping a potion down my throat. I helped get Barus back to a safe place and now we need Zandu to show up and heal our wounds. Apparently Lucien died at the hands of Nualia. I've heard the hound did more damage, but dead is dead. Hopefully we'll clear out the rest of this hole in the ground and get back to the Rusty Dragon. I need a bath, as do many in the party. If I can find a way to burn this place to the ground so it can no longer be inhabited, I will.

Lucien, you died the way we say you died, YOU GOT THAT? You were selflessly going to help Barus, and that's the end of it!

Grand Lodge

Well, we finished up Thistletop on Tuesday and the group heavily bloodied after the fight w/Nualia decided to rest in her room after the cleric and alchemist healed them up. (They were absent the previous week.) Honestly, that fight seems like a killer for a group of 4. She's a tough cookie.

Once the group was fully healed they delved deeper into the remaining lower area looking for the 'whispering beast." The group boasted of the Gunslinger, Alchemist, Magus, Rogue, Ninja/Witch, Ranger and Cleric.

The first room they entered was the catacombs where the architects were buried and because none of the doors were locked I described (when asked by the ranger) that the dust had been moved about as someone came in, walked around and then left. I had the 3 shadows randomly start in a tomb. 6 tombs, rolled a d6 for each one and had them step out using full light for their stealth and the group making perception to notice them. The fight went quickly but I drained the cleric of 5 STR, the ranger and gunslinger of 3 each.

They found the secret door and moved into the room to look about, the alchemist narrowly missed the Kn: History roll for the wall carving in the treasury (really? DC 30?). Once the description of the gold helmet, 5 foot wide was issued the dwarf ranger jumped in. 1 round of swimming later it turned to look at the dwarf. Needless to say the fight did not go well. In the end the alchemist was gravely wounded, and the dwarf ranger was dead.

They continued on and searched the rest of the rooms finally coming to Malfeshnakor. My only question here is why put a 10' base creature in a room with 5' wide areas? The room was so narrow that I had Malfeshnakor take a -2 to AC as he fought on a 5 foot ledge. Turns out that was important because the creature damn near killed the magus. The alchemist hitting it for 15-20 per pot made the fight only last about 5 rounds, but I nerfed down its abilities somewhat. It was going to TPK the group.

In order to keep the wealth up on the old players to the new players, fighter made a paladin, ranger made a wizard, I had Deverin talk with all the nobles and show them the journal of Nualia as proof for the groups deeds. They then pooled some gold and purchased some items that were in town at the various vendors (I roll every 2 weeks for what is in town) and give the items as a thank you. They sold the helmet to Quink who payed 1,000 gold up front and promised the rest of its worth over time.

Uther Eld, Taldorian Pistolero:

I returned to my senses with Zandu bending over me. Nualia’s body lay nearby, finished off by Moxie and Annie; I had bought them just enough time to get the telling blows in. I groaned, “fighting a bastard sword with a dagger is not my idea of a good time.” Note to self: the little steel ring on the butt of the pistol is for attaching a lanyard; do so in the near future. Zandu helped me to my feet, and I was able to join the others as we barricaded ourselves into Nualia’s chamber for some much needed rest and recuperation. Lucien had not been as lucky as me; he had died in the corridor where Lynn and Barus had fallen, trying to administer a healing potion to Barus. I removed his signet ring, and vowed that if I lived through this ordeal I would send it to his family along with a testament to his heroism. A true Taldorian hero, Lucien Prospero. The others insisted that I take up his sword, in case another sword-swinging fanatic should appear, and I did so willingly.

All of us were wounded, but the ministrations of Zandu (and overnight treatment by Barus) made us once again ready to face whatever terror might remain as the “whispering beast” in the attack plans we had discovered. The next morning we forged on, bruised and battered but unbowed. A door across the hallway from Nualia’s lair led us to a large L-shaped chamber, with double stone doors at the short end. The far end narrowed to a column of what looked to be golden coins with Thessalonian runes about the edges; an obvious trap, though I could sense that Barus longed to try it until Lynn informed us that it was an image enchanted to look like gold.

Through the double doors, we found ourselves in a burial chamber, with six sarcophagi in niches about the room, and a statue of a large man holding a glaive and a book, the same statue that we had seen elsewhere about this dungeon. There were no other obvious exits, and as we spread out to investigate further, shadowy images appeared from several of the sarcophagi and attacked! I knew that my pistol would be useless against these wraiths, so I drew Lucien’s sword and went to help defend my friends. The fight didn’t last long fortunately, for I can attest that the bone-chilling touch of the shadowy things seemed to sap all the strength from the body. I shudder at the mere memory.

After the fight was over, Zandu pointed out a secret door that Barus had passed by, and we opened it to another branching hallway, and descending stairs. This corridor was damper than the others, and smelled of the salt-sea. It seemed that both branches of the hall opened upon the collapsed treasure room of the whomever had built this place, undermined by the unceasing action of the waves. Whatever remained of the treasure was at the bottom of a 20’ watery well. The one object that could be made out was a golden helm sized for a giant. As I wondered how we could possibly move such a thing, Barus leapt in and sank like a stone; the lure of riches too much for him. Since I was concerned for my powder and the condition of my weapon (and also my lack of ability to swim), I was forced to watch helplessly as a huge crab within the giant helm grappled with the foolish Barus. Lynn was firing some sort of magical bolts into the water (I could not see what effect they had) and Friederich and Zandu both jumped in and swam to Barus aid, but the huge crab had managed to grasp Barus with one of its claws, and the water soon filled with dwarvish blood. For such a stalwart fighter as Barus to die from such a stupid thing as eagerness for gold, when a few moments to investigate and plan would have saved him galled me, but that is in fact what happened. Friederich and Lynn had finished off the crab, but Zandu’s ministrations were too late to save the dwarf. Two of us now dead, our front-line fighters, and the whispering beast still in our future.

Unable to move much of the treasure, we resolved to return and loot the place (if only to assuage Barus’ memory) once we had found and dispatched the ‘beast.’ There being no other exits above the water from the treasure room, we perforce had to attempt the ‘trap’ embodied by the column of gold coins. Moxie quickly solved the riddle, and at the cost of two of our own coins, activated the mechanism which lowered the column, and gave access to the final complex of rooms. One of the three rooms, another torture chamber, yielded up a strange key which openedd the final door. A large room lit from a fire pit lay beyond the door, along with what could only be the ‘whispering beast;’ some demoniac thing like a huge cat with human-like arms and a goblin’s twisted face appeared in a corner of the room as we entered. It gave a horrid bass chuckle, and slashed at Lynn, dropping him to the floor. I took aim and fired –a solid hit- only to see my bullet bounce off the demon’s hide. Again I was forced to draw the sword and advance to fight the creature. Zandu was doing his healing thing, and well he did so; Lynn fought from the floor, unable to rise, while the beast slashed and bit at everyone close. Lynn was injured again, and I was failing fast when someone landed the killing blow. Once again, we were all wounded but the terror was defeated. It was time to gather what rewards we could and return to Sand Point for a well-deserved rest.

I have to agree about Malfeshnakor -- when my party saw his size and the map, they simply giggled and said, "We wait for him to burn to death."
He's not immune to fire, and he doesn't have enough room to *not* be in the fire.

Other than that, impressive read, as always. I didn't give Big M 'blur' and it was a mistake. He ambushed and almost killed our gnome sorcerer (but fumbled spectacularly instead), but once the paladin and the barbarian had him in their sights he was really quite the pushover.

Look forward to hearing the party searching the rest of Thistletop!

Have I mentioned that I'm beginning to have an aversion to dogs. We gathered everyone into Nualia's chambers to rest and recover. Zandu and Friedrich showed up from where they had been. They brought all of us back to consciousness and healed many of our wounds, then we rested. We still had some areas to clear out to make sure we had finished with this area. I want a bath and a good meal and a bed.
We started opening some doors. Went to a room that had what appeared to be a pillar of gold coins and to the other side a set of double doors. The coins were an illusion of some sort. Through the double doors was a room with some sarcophagi and a statue. Started examining and were attacked by ghouls. We finished them off and Zandu found a secret door. We followed that path and apparently what used to be the treasury. There was a large golden helmet and Barus jumped in to try and get it. A large crab inhabited the helmet, caught Barus in one of it's claws and squeezed him to death. While this fight was going on, I was using a wand to shoot missiles into the crab. Friedrich got caught also, but we finished off the crab. We recovered the helmet and a bunch of gold silver and platinum. Also a couple magic items.
We started dragging all this stuff up back through the sarcophagi room and Moxie and Annie dropped a couple coins into a couple slots by the gold coin stack. The column withdrew and there was another room. A large fire burned but there appeared to be nothing else there, until I moved to the left side of the room. When what to my wondering eyes should appear but another tooth filled, hairy oversized goblin looking dog. That's what. Well, it didn't take long until I was knocked out then Zandu must have done one of his area affect heals because I came too still on the ground in the fight. I tried a couple things but I don't think they worked. The dog was finished off, the room searched and we left. We finally got out of Thistletop and managed to get a wagon up to us part way down. Loaded Lucien and Barus into the wagon with our loot. We returned to town, split up the loot. The town gave us some magic items for helping to unravel a seemingly huge plot. Me, I focused on a bath, a meal, and getting some food. There is a big market tomorrow, so maybe we can get rid of some of our other magic items and find some stuff to our liking. We'll see.

Done and Done

After a brief rest to regain my composure I rose painfully and assisted those who needed help to Nualia’s skull lit room bathed in red light. I tended to Lucien’s lifeless body using the endless water font to clean him up as much as possible. I wrapped him in his bed roll and secured it fast with rope while I prayed for Shelyn’s blessing upon him. I rummaged through his belongings and collected some half score of sunrods and a polished metal mirror. The mirror I claim as keep sake in remembrance of Lucien. The sunrods…well they will come in handy someday. (sob!) I took the care afforded by Barus and Xandu, ate a humble meal of prepared foodstuffs and fresh water, and mentally took leave of the troupe and rolled up in my bedding occasionally opening my eyes to gaze upon the wrapped form of Lucien. (tears…sigh) I woke mostly refreshed but still smarting from Nualia’s beating. Washing some of the gross from my face and arms from the bubbling font, I repacked my bag, holding the mirror briefly before packing it away. Then I sat for a quick bite before we attempted to complete our mission.
We pushed out across the hall; I checked the door for mischief and found none. Barus opened the door. There we found a right corner room with a gold column in the center of the left triangle pointed wall and a set of double doors around the corner at the end of the room. Assuming it a contraption of ill consequences the troupe moved on to the double doors. I lingered for a moment and found a coin size slot on either side of the triangular walls converging to the gold column which was found to be fool’s gold and runed in Thassalonian script referencing greed…hmm? Oh well, the doors won’t get checked by themselves, so away to the double doors I flew. These were as well free from malfeasance and again opened by Barus. I saw the room to be very similar in design to the soot filled room and advanced to check the base of the statue of the “RuneLord” then I noticed the statue was intact so I inspected the details of the visage so as to be able to recall it for Master Quenk. Little did I know the room was actually a crypt!! (GASP!!) Upon this newfound wisdom I backed quickly to the entrance and readied my cold iron thrower! Shortly thereafter cold swirls of dust cast from the very walls about the room. Then dark shapes formed around Barus, Uther, and Freidrick. All took grievous affects from the menacing shadowy spirits. The very light seemed to be consumed by their presence and the foreboding feeling of doom was palpable in their midst. A desperate fight ensued. I attempted two attacks striking once for miniscule affect but at least I engaged. As the last of them was dispatched in a smoky burst upon the stone floor we gathered near a secret door found just prior to the ambush. Checking I found the door to be free of lecherous intent, and Barus made entry into a hallway. Two hallways were found, both heading to the right and down. Barus, myself Freidrick, Lynn and Annie started down the first hall and found a caved in room which once had elaborately decorated walls, some of which was still visible. The room had apparently been compromised during the cave in as the sea had made its way into the room. It was determined the room had been a treasure vault at some point. Finding no apparent signs of treasure in the caved in area, we looked to the sea. Lo and behold we spied what appeared to be an enormous golden helm resting at the bottom, some twenty feet down. When suddenly SPLASH!!! In went the dwarf, Barus the Giant slayer. I wondered…Just on a matter of principle- I thought…Do they swim? Meaning no disrespect of course! (Grin..then..GASP!!) I locked in fright as the Giant sized helm turned to face us! I scrambled for one of Luciens quality sunrods, activated it and cast it into the water to afford Barus more bearing. Still unable to verbalize the situation, I saw two crab pinchers claw at Barus. Unable to assist meaningfully I cast a second sunrod to the pool. All the while watching Barus attempt to battle the creature. He did well until being caught in the grasp of both pinchers. I watched horrified as he fought on until help arrived from Xandu and Freiderick. All seemed to be going well as I could feel Xandu’s healing aura assuage my inner bruising as he attempted to keep Barus in the fight. Lynn performed handsomely striking the crustacean time and again, unerringly with a wand sending bolts of magic to pierce its shell. Then just as all seemed that the crab was to be on the menu this very night. An unnerving crunching sound reverberated from the water, a rush of air escaped and the trickles of blood from Barus became a gout. Enough to cloud the vision through the water! (OH NO!! GASP!!) Alas, we lost poor Barus in the death throes of the king crab. We were assured when Freiderick brought him to the surface. His heavy frame broken so completely and spilling his life blood so rapidly. How I will miss you Barus! (tears…lip quiver…sob!) My courageous giant slayer…shield barer…and door man. I positioned him in gentle repose as I had Lucien and set to wrapping him in his canvas tent square, but only after preparing him in as appropriate a way as I thought befitted an honorable “shield brother” and trusted friend. Then lent a touch of respect, replacing the quality look to Barus and his gear with a minute magical invigoration as I had… with Lucien. I closed the canvas around him, prayed for Shelyn’s blessing on him and secured him with rope…as we had…with Lucien. I poured the sea water from his bag and repacked the contents removing any objects spoiled or ruined by the sea water. In so doing I claimed the finely crafted a keep sake in remembrance of Barus.
I rested as the others collected the giant helm and other treasures from the sea. I provided minor assistance, but all the while watched my fellow troupe mates, catching their every nuance of character and movement, sound and manner, odor and texture. I would never miss the opportunity again to know details of each and every one of my troupe’s individual quirks, habits, or defining measures. This journey has been very expensive in the toll paid by my new friends and we have yet to happen upon the whispering beast. I fear to think of the outcome of such an encounter now!
Leaving the loot behind, we returned to the golden pillared wall. There I surmised the slots in the wall to be used for payment of gold simultaneously. I presented Annie with a gold piece explained my theory then she and I attempted the transaction. Huh!!!? Whadaya know!!!? It worked!!! (Grin) Inside we found three rooms. In one we found quality medicinal implements and instruments similar in design to the ones found in the torture chamber in the tunnels below Sandpoint. These were collected by Xandu. Xandu gave me a device constructed in the manner of a 7 pointed star with a handle. Uther claimed it a key, and he was right! The last room required the device to open the door. With no Barus to open the doors I opened the door and moved into the room admiring the warmth of the fire pit and the numerous magicked candles!! But the stench of burning hair was quite powerful. When suddenly a huge ugly beast appeared in our midst!! (E-GADS!!!) Luckily in the opposite corner of the room I went unnoticed. As combat ensued I saw Lynn strike the floor very hard and froze in fright as I thought I had witnessed yet another of my troupe savagely ended. Thankfully he was still moving. In the fray I was made aware of small compartments along the far wall and scurried into the one accessible. There was found a silver container which I grabbed and ran back out with. I backed well away from the combat and hurled the throwing dagger with a perfectly executed launch, striking the creature soundly! (Huzzah!) Praise Shelyn! The combat ended as quickly as it started. We clipped the ears from the ugly…dog…gob…what the deuces is that thing!?!? We checked the other alcove finding nothing, packed all the magicked candles, shoved the ugly thing in the fire pit and beat feet out of the area closing doors behind us. (SIGH!!!) We did it! Whew!!
After a brief rest, bite to eat and a group discussion it was decided those with horses would ride hard back to Sandpoint and return with a cart or wagon to expedite our return and reduce the risk of being waylaid on the road with our loot and troupe mates remains, while those who stayed behind would ferry said loot and remains to the roadway. To be sure there would be no reprisals upon Sandpoint or anyone else my last trip into Thistletop was to collect the baby gobblers and pitch them box and all into the sea with a stone tied to the cage for good measure. I despise gobs!!! Returning with Master Hosk and his wagon we load our troupe mate remains, and our loot aboard the wagon and made it back to town before the evening meal, Praise Shelyn!! Much is to be done, chiefly among them is a bath, dressing in fresh clothes, a real meal and raise a mug each for Lucien, Barus and the troupe!!
After leaving Lucien and Barus remains in the capable hands of the Zantus at the Cathedral, my first order of business was with Verna’s. I purchased a black silk scarf, two more longshirts, White laced sleeveless fitted blouse, a pair of fitted short, below the knee, black trousers with gaps on the hips on both sides where they are tied, with white lace at the hem, long black velvet gloves, hard soled velvet slippers, “imperial” sandals, common low buckled boots, a soft blue cotton knee length skirt, and comfy knee high stockings. Then to the Master Battlehorn at the Carpenter’s guild. I produced Lucien’s mirror, and Barus’ pipe and commissioned a standing table frame for the mirror, and a humidor able to hold the pipe, cleaning tools and a small amount of tobacco. While they need not be of the finest quality, I wished them to be functional, pleasant, appealing and homey. I wished for their names to be inscribed on the face of the frame and box respectively, as well. I stopped to speak with Master Korvus at the Red Dog Smithy. He said my dog would not be along any time soon. Then I recounted our tour of Thistletop with him. I also asked for his assistance in acquiring a chest of drawers from the Vinder General Store and explained why my presence there could cause some consternation. I explained I needed someplace to store my belongings and display my fallen troupe mates keep sakes. Not knowing rates on furniture I provided twenty gold pieces solely for the purchase of the chest and asked him to join me for dinner at the Rusty Dragon Inn afterwards, my treat. I thanked him and politely took my leave of Master Korvus returning finally to the Rusty Dragon Inn.
Lady Ameiko inquired about my condition where upon I humbly requested a scalding hot bath which she arranged. We went up to my room. There I was presented with a heart stopping sentiment. A key which opened a door with the name “Moxie” carved upon it. ( tears…hard swallow!) I turned to Lady Ameiko dropping everything and embraced her in a full flowing of emotion. She opened the door quickly and helped me bring my things to my room…only to present me with a beautifully wrapped package lying on a well-made bed! “Wha-What is this?” Lady Ameiko just shrugged her shoulders and whispered “I don’t knooow!?! Maybe you should…ask…Master Xandu!!” as she backed out of the room quietly closing the door. I placed my bag by the door…glanced at the box in wonderment. Brought my new items to the wash table laid them down gently. Turned to stare at it as I removed my gear and armored uppers. Hung them on the wall, and went to the wash table to clean up a smidge. As I toweled off my face I was overcome with curiosity and leapt to the bed and opened the box!! (GASP!!!!! Hands covering mouth) I removed each item from the box, one… by… one slowly as I could barely read the labels from the tears streaming down my cheeks. What a kindness! I felt warm, and shed tears of joy! I am Moxie, I exist, I am noticed, no longer invisible, and I belong somewhere!!! “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” A scream of joy as I perform acrobatics about the room.( Grin, giggle, laugh!!) I strip to the buff grab a towel and a new shirt…oh and Luciens soap….and at long last run to the BATH!!!!!

Done and Done 2

I strategically covered my top with my new shirt and my hips with my towel with only the top of my bum to show as I scampered barefoot to the hot tub! Stopping only once to smile and curtsy to the mayor as she spoke with some of the members of the troupe. Arriving at the bath I cast my towel and shirt to a chair, and gingerly melted into the steaming water!! I smelled the bar of soap, and balanced it upon the edge of the tub. Submerging completely I exhaled and rose gently to the surface to collect a breath of cool fresh air. Relaxing up to the point of sleep, I reached for the soap and knocked it into the tub. I fumbled about trying to get control of it and was in a full giggle when I finally did. I scrubbed with the brush and soap until I felt squeaky clean. Then I worked the soap into a good lather and washed my hair….twice! I tossed the soap to my towel and lingered in the tub until I felt the warmth begin to fade. I then stood and rinsed with a bucket of cool water and ran for my towel. Chilled slightly, I dried the important parts and donned the longshirt. Wrapped my hair in my towel and marched out feeling refreshed and alive.

With hands behind my back I walked up to the troupe and during a break in the conversation asked Xandu to kneel down so I could speak with him face to face. I asked him to hold out his hand and close his eyes, which he did. Where upon I placed the soggy bar of soap, and said ‘You stink!!” When I finished giggling I grabbed his face, looked him in the eye, and asked “Are you the culprit who feeds my vanity!?” I could see the guilt in his eyes. And with a smile, I said, “TONIGHT I DANCE!” I hugged Xandu, gently closed his eyes with my fingers, placed a kiss on each eye….and ran upstairs to my room.

Where to start??? With the contents of the mystery box spread across my bed, bottles, jars, brushes of all sizes, combs, mirrors all for the enhancement of beauty. The hair!! I found the bottle that would soften the texture of my hair and scalp and applied it quickly. Then I rewrapped my head in the towel. I applied a blue polish to the nails of my fingers and toes. I applied a faint amount of color in a complete mask that matched my skin tone perfectly and began to sculpt around my eyes with paints and fine soft brushes, retouching a few times, as this is the first time I have ever had the opportunity to use them. I had watched as my guardians use such things but never myself used them. I added color to my cheeks, and between the sisters. A warm red outline for the lips and a softer color for the pouts. Now to finish the hair…up? Down? Hmm?? Up then. Well, a flat braid along the sides to a single long pony tail in the back. I applied a firming cream as I braided the sides to help them hold fast during the dancing. And combed the top flat with the same application. My hair was fixed tight to my scalp and pulled tight in a ponytail which I brushed straight , cut to a flat end, and held fast with a polished button clasp backed with a small piece of the colorful ribbon from the mystery box. Nooow…what to wear???

The new bright blue and green vest with top button unfastened and the split hip trousers. That will do. (Wry smile!!) I dressed and added the black silk scarf as a belt and used the larger colorful ribbon from the mystery box for a choker necklace with a bow in the back with tails. I rubbed fragrant oil on my shoulders, collar and exposed hips. With some two plus hours having passed since my bath, it was definitely time to eat. I placed the four bottles of OLD MAN I also took from Barus’ pack in a sack and carefully carried them downstairs, ordered my meal and waited for the entire troupe to be present.

Right after we had all finished our meal, when all were in attendance and between subjects, I cleared my throat, stood upon my seat requesting a glass for each member of our troupe present plus an additional two for those who are no longer with us. I then requested one of the more magically inclined of our troupe to chill the bottles of OLD MAN as I pulled all four from the sack. I then stood upon the table and explained to all in attendance the kindness, courage, and generosity of each of my fellow troupe mates landing finally upon Lucien, and Barus. I offered ALL in attendance who wished to join us in a salute to our fallen brothers in arms a round of drinks from the bar, on me. I explained further to my troupe mates as I poured from the first bottle of OLD MAN that these four came from Barus’ personal collection, and proposed this be our method of celebrating our friends passing to a better world and recruiting for their replacements should we desire to replace them. Filling Luciens and Barus’ last. I stood and extolled the virtues of the fallen, offered a blessing and proposed a toast to Lucien. Refilling our glasses at our table with more of Barus’ OLD MAN I repeated the exact same speech and proposed a toast to Barus. I then hushed the Inn once again and proclaimed that anyone that would take a seat at our table and fill the new vacancies in our troupe should come and take up the cups of Lucien and Barus…..if they dare! I poured myself a third drink and threw it back, slamming the glass upside down on the table, man how that stuff burns! As I knelt on the table I spoke to the troupe saying “Lady, Gentlemen,Drink up for the good and noble Barus is buying this evening!” With that I turned to Xandu and slowly performed a front walk over, over the chilled bottles of OLD MAN, placing my feet on either side of his glass. Picking up his glass as I sat on the table edge with my feet upon his legs, I turned and poured another drink, leaning in, one hand on the table between my legs, and the other holding the glass. I put it to Xandu’s lips and poured the last drops down his gullet. When the burning subsided I leaned in until our noses almost touched, cocked my head to the side with a pouty face and said softly… “Who’s not singing?…STINKY!” I leapt from the table waiting for Xandu to recover his senses and start singing so I could dance for Lucien and Barus this night.

Xandu's Journal Entry:
My head still foggy I walked among our fallen trying to determine the best approach to heal them. I was all but out of spells and potions so I used what I had left and got most of them to their feet. There was nothing I could have done to bring Lucien back; he had past beyond what I had strength to heal. I wanted to; I pleaded with Desna but knew in my heart that this time it really was beyond me. I turned towards the others as they were picking themselves up and tell them the news. Moxie head down but still watching me, fear in her watering eyes, “You gunna fix him, right?” I looked at everyone and said “Lucien’s gone, there’s nothing I can do.”
I was tired my head hurt and for the first time I felt helpless. I know we each will pass from this life to another but I wasn’t ready for it to happen like this. I wasn’t even here, I didn’t see him fall. I have tried to prepare myself for the reality of losing one of my new friends, I mean, look at what we’re doing. We’re fighting things I’ve only read about or heard of in stories. We get cut and bleed I knew this would happen but for it to happen and not even know what happened started eating at me. There was a pending doom, I could feel it sinking in on me like the night. A darkness was coming and I felt it was coming for us. I needed rest, I asked if we could find a place to hold up for a while so I could clear my head and regain some spells. Everyone agreed and they chose to stay in Nualia’s room. I wasn’t happy with the choice but couldn’t think of a rational reason not to. The room was lit with red glowing skulls and did not help the mood I was in. Moxie had placed Lucien in his bedroll and trusted him up so we could move him. I imagined Moxie having to truss us each of our bodies up till she was the only one left. The doom crept in but Desna chased it all away and like butterflies my worries fluttered away and my mind found sleep. Sleep bound me in color and warmth, soft grass and sunshine, bunny rabbits and “Moxie”, I woke. Startled, I was sitting up and looked around. Did I speak or was I just dreaming, Moxie was already awake and she wasn’t staring at me so I don’t think I spoke aloud. She was packing her bag, she stopped just for a moment looking into her hand then put whatever she had into her bag. Dressing I asked Friedrich “What’s for breakfast?” for he was also awake. Everyone’s mood was somber at first but the rest did its job and although sad we were refreashed.
We followed Barus and Moxie through doors and into a room with a column of gold on one wall and double doors on another. The column was fake there were no gold coins. Moxie was curiously looking around the column when Barus asked her to check the double doors for traps. With a start she rushed to his side and started studying the doors. The rest of us waited patiently and were relieved when she announced them safe. Barus opened the doors and we pored into the room. The room was an old crypt and there were sarcophagi in niches along the walls. The was also a statue of The Rune lord in the middle of the room we were searching around the room when I felt and saw a shadowy figure beside me. It was cold, so cold it sapped my strength. It was all I could do to stay on my feet I called for help and my friends dispatched the shadows. Barus was searching along a section of wall that looked odd to me and as I watched him something caught my eye. I told Barus to retrace his hand back a few inches and he found a hidden stone door. He pushed on it and it opened. Warm salty air rushed past me, I could smell the sea but it was still very dark. We were in a hallway, Barus, Moxie and Friedrich were in front and they took the first turn to the right.
Barus had also gone straight down the hall until it turned and he said they would check the first right. Being at the rear of the party and not wanting to be attacked by something coming out of the dark I asked Uther to stay with me. He agreed and held his pistol in ready to shoot anything that might come upon us. The rest of the party was sounding rather excited, I heard shouting about gold and a treasure room and as I listened I could hear similar sounds coming from down the hall. I told Uther that I thought that both ways led to the same room. He said lead the way and I’ll back you so we moved down the hall. I came to a door and opened it and indeed it was the same room but the shouting I heard was now panic as Barus was in the dark water lit only by a couple sunrods some twenty feet below the surface of the water fighting for his life with a giant crab. I saw Friedrich swimming towards Barus through a now red with blood glow. I jumped into the water and started swimming towards them both. Magic bolts were jumping from a wand in Lynn’s hand and hitting the crab but it was all too late, by the time I reached Barus and Friedrich, Barus and Friedrich were hurt. I did a burst of healing power but it was not enough to bring Barus back. Friedrich got him to the surface and the rest hauled Barus out of the water.
Moxie was staring at one of her new friends, that was now dead, with tears in her eyes, she gave me a glance and in that glance I felt like she hated me, that I should have been able to save Barus I should have been able to save them both. I knew in my heart that I couldn’t but try and tell her that. Just like that the pending doom came creeping back in on me. I looked around the cave it was lit up by sunrods on the sea floor and from our own torches the light casting shadows everywhere. There was nothing evil about the room but I still had that feeling, it just wouldn’t go away.
We discussed our plan of action and what to do next. With two dead I was surprised no one wanted to quit. Moxie was tending to Barus and getting him trussed up like she had done with Lucien. Did she hate me? Was this her way of telling me she didn’t trust me to do right by them? There was no malice in her actions but I still wondered. Since several of us were already wet we decided to retrieve what treasure we could out of the water. At some time during the retrieving of treasure I saw Moxie watching us, she turned to me and smiled. And with that tiny smile she took away all my fears of her hating me or anyone for that matter. She had found or made her peace with Lucien’s and Barus’s passing. I knew she held no ill will towards me and I felt shame for even thinking she did. When we were all out of the water and getting dry Moxie said she wanted to go back to the column of gold coins and try to figure it out. So we headed out to the column and sure enough she got it figured out and open. I think we were all thinking it would be more treasure but that wasn’t it at all just another room and more doors.
Searching the first room we found knives and needles and things I could possibly use to help heal people. I also found a strange looking item and Uther claimed it a key of sorts so I gave it to Moxie. Indeed it was a key and we used it on another of the doors. This room was lit by magic candles and a fire pit in the center. I spotted an opening on the opposite wall and pointed it out to Moxie. That’s about the time a huge friggin goblin faced dog phased into view.
The room suddenly seemed very small as Lynn was attacked and fell to the ground. Friedrich and Uther fought back even Moxie fought the giant phasing creature. I prayed that Desna would help us. The beast was foul and hideous but we took it down. We gathered up all the candles and through the creature into the fire pit closing the doors behind.
Clearing all but a small part of Thistle Top we decided to send a couple of people back to town to bring a wagon or two to carry both our dead friends and what treasure we could bring. We also brought the plans and notes about the attacks passed and pending on Sandpoint, we had collected from the rooms. The sky was blue and the sound of the surf was inviting but there was lots of work to be done before I could relax. Once the wagons arrived and we were on our way back to Sandpoint I had forgotten all about the feeling of doom.
All I wanted was to sleep in a hot tub but that wasn’t meant to be. When we arrived Mayor Deverins wanted to know everything and we had dead that needed tending to. The list of things we had to do was endless but when finished I headed back to the Rusty Dragon. I was in the door just a few minutes and talking with Uther and Friedrich when out of nowhere came Moxie with just a shirt and towel fresh from the baths. Orders me to kneel down and close my eyes and hold out my hands. She’s was too cute so I did what she asks and “What, I stink?!” a bar of soap and “What, feed your vanity!” oh yeah, I remembered. I bet I went beat red cause it got rather warm in the room. Moxie picked up on my realization I knew exactly what she was talking about. I had forgotten but “What?”
Excusing myself from Uther and Friedrich (did they have smirks on their faces) I took the soap and asked for a bath to be poured. Going to my room and ridding myself of the clothes I was wearing and getting new brightly colored ones and a towel off to the baths I went. As I soaked, I thought about the gift I had bought for Moxie before we had gone to Thistle Top. I had noticed that Moxie looked up to Ameiko and that is fine but I thought at some point and soon people “Men” would start looking at Moxie the way they do Ameiko. I just thought it would be in my best interest to be the first one to let Moxie know that she is thought of as a beautiful woman and not just a sneekabout.I had purchased items that women use to make themselves pretty and had asked Ameiko to make sure Moxie received it on her return. And to have forgotten that and to think that she could hate me and now that she may really like me has me all confused. She kissed my eyes. I finished my bath and got dressed. We gathered at table for a meal and Moxie did a great eulogy for our fallen friends and even dared others to take up their mantle. Then with a smile on her face she did something acrobatic that I can’t even explain and landed practically in my lap. I was a bit aroused. With a foot on each of my knees she reached back and poured a drink she held it for me as she poured it down my throat, I was swallowing as fast as I could and thought I might choke but I got it all down. She then leaned in really close, I thought she was going to kiss me and as I readied for it she turns her head sideways and says something about me not singing and calls me Stinky again. Then away she goes glancing playfully back for me to follow or lead I’m not sure at this point but it was singing and dancing and drinking all night. I can’t remember a better happier time. Lucien and Barus I’m sure were very proud.

Moxie wrote:

Done and Done 2

I strategically covered my top with my new shirt and my hips with my towel with only the top of my bum to show as I scampered barefoot to the hot tub! Stopping only once to smile and curtsy to the mayor as she spoke with some of the members of the troupe. Arriving at the bath I cast my towel and shirt to a chair, and gingerly melted into the steaming water!! I smelled the bar of soap, and balanced it upon the edge of the tub. Submerging completely I exhaled and rose gently to the surface to collect a breath of cool fresh air. Relaxing up to the point of sleep, I reached for the soap and knocked it into the tub. I fumbled about trying to get control of it and was in a full giggle when I finally did. I scrubbed with the brush and soap until I felt squeaky clean. Then I worked the soap into a good lather and washed my hair….twice! I tossed the soap to my towel and lingered in the tub until I felt the warmth begin to fade. I then stood and rinsed with a bucket of cool water and ran for my towel. Chilled slightly, I dried the important parts and donned the longshirt. Wrapped my hair in my towel and marched out feeling refreshed and alive.

With hands behind my back I walked up to the troupe and during a break in the conversation asked Xandu to kneel down so I could speak with him face to face. I asked him to hold out his hand and close his eyes, which he did. Where upon I placed the soggy bar of soap, and said ‘You stink!!” When I finished giggling I grabbed his face, looked him in the eye, and asked “Are you the culprit who feeds my vanity!?” I could see the guilt in his eyes. And with a smile, I said, “TONIGHT I DANCE!” I hugged Xandu, gently closed his eyes with my fingers, placed a kiss on each eye….and ran upstairs to my room.

Where to start??? With the contents of the mystery box spread across my bed, bottles, jars, brushes of all sizes, combs, mirrors all for the enhancement of beauty. The hair!! I found the bottle that would soften the texture of my hair and scalp and applied it...

I realize that I am becoming obnoxious but...

In two years of reading various threads, Moxie's is the first post that brought me to tears...

Well done, Moxie, and may Lucien and Barus remain forever in your memories...

Useplanb: We are SO going to kidnap Moxie and put her in our campaign!!! Beware!

Noble Harm, You flatter our troupe with your affections! Thank you for your interest and gracious praise! You honor me, I am but a simple peasant who has struggled against the windmills of life and been cast among the stars. I am but a humble sneak-about loitering in the long shadows of Great and Noble persons such as yourself. Do feel welcome to visit freely kind Sir! (Deep scraping bow and delicate hand gestures!)

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Journal Entry:

Thirtieth Day of the Month Rova

Confusion – loss

I awoke quite lost. It seems I had passed out in the atrocious temple. Likely my body was not entirely healed from the fighter’s ferocity in tearing it apart. I wandered a little till I found a few of my companions. I found Zandu, Moxie and Anne attempting to revive some of our group. I am unsure how long I was out but it allowed for them to engage in two battles the second of which ended both Nualia and our Taldoran noble, Lucian. Perhaps had he saved his potion he would not have fallen; regardless I am told he fought bravely. More likely he would be alive if my body had not given out to exhaustion and I had been able to aid in the conflicts, however, one cannot alter the past any more than keep sand out of the desert. I applied what healing I was able, keeping a few curatives in the event of more conflict. It was decided we should take rest in Nualia’s old chamber and allow those who were still wounded time to recuperate.

First Day of the Month Lamashan

More loss – Treasure – Conclusion

We set forth; heavy of heart, to finish what had been started days ago. The door adjacent to Nualia’s chambers revealed a column of gold coins, and an otherwise plain “L” shaped room. Upon inspection the coins were marked in Thassilonian. One inscription read “Greed” the other “Gold”. Lynn pointed out that the column had an illusion cast upon it and it was anything but gold. We continued to the other end of the room and found a burial chamber of sorts. Along the walls were six sarcophagi and in the center was a statue of a man wielding a glaive and holding forth a book. I began taking note of the sarcophagi and after a time came to realize they were decorated with symbols of tools probably marking their occupation and status. There were Thassilonian words as well, reaffirming my previous belief. As I was observing one of them I heard a cry from someone and turned.

A shadow passed beside me and my attention was captured by this dark figure now before me. It had attempted to grab at me and narrowly missed. As I was readying my spear I heard Zandu explain that you needed magic to harm them. For a gypsy healer he seems to know quite a lot about dark things and the occult; questions for another time perhaps. I had no magic to harm them and no place to run as one appeared behind me as well, though it was occupied with Uther. I focused most of my attention on not contacting the creature as it reached out again. I forget how but at one point there was an opening to remove myself from between them and I did so graciously, in my wake I left a present of bright electrical discharge and I was surprised to see it had some effect. Zandu said a quick prayer and those that remained dissipated into dust. I suppose to combat dark things one must be familiar with them.

A secret door was found on the west wall and a hallway lead to something I would like to forget. I would like to mention that though I grew up in the port city of Katheer, most of my time was spent on land… in the desert. It was not wise to swim in the Pashman River near the city for you could easily be taken away by all manner of foul folk. So when we came to what was once a treasury room with half of it collapsed into a pool that appeared at least twenty feet deep. I was less than inclined to do much more than observe the carvings on the complete walls. *Splash* Barus saw something he must have thought to be useful and jumped in. By the time I got to the edge of the pool there were already wisps of blood coming from him. He was in melee with what appeared to be a giant’s helm made of gold, with claws coming from the eye-slits. I drank a mutagen and as the foul liquid began its painful transformation, hardening flesh and bolstering muscle, I tried to think of a way to help without entering the pool; none came to mind. The pool blossomed with light and I noticed Moxie throwing in sunrods trying to get a better picture, the picture was quickly becoming more bloody as the claws now had Barus nearly helpless. I drank another potion and dove down finding decent footing on the bottom I began to stab into the helmet with my spear; the creature’s shell yielding to its sharp point. This added pain brought me to its attention and it grabbed me in one of its claws tearing though my robes and spilling more blood into the salty water. It was all I could do not to release what reserve of air I had left as the salt reminded me of its presence. As the creature let go I grabbed Barus and darted to the surface, he was not moving and I fear we were too late to save him. It is a shame to see one so strong ended by greed.
We spent the next few minutes clearing out the pool of treasure; I believe more for Barus’ memory than for ourselves. We were formulating a plan to get what we could off the island when I heard a crunch and rumble. Moxie had convinced Anne to help her investigate the fake gold column and they found a means of opening it to another room with three doors.

The northward door reviled a throne room and an image that seemed to be repeating, old magic unraveling over thousands of years. It took some time to decipher what was being said as it too was in Thassilonian and I had never heard it spoken before. Summed up it was a bolstering speech to keep men at their posts and not abandon whatever it was they were defending. The eastern door contained a room with the bones of what may have been humans though the count was wrong, something entirely eerie about that kept me from staying long. Zandu picked up some utensils he claimed to be medical. Furthermore a seven pointed star was discovered with a handle on one side. I first believed it to be a marking tool of some sort, meant to be applied to the flesh, however, upon coming to the southern door it was discovered to be a key.

The door opened to a room filled with light and the smell of burning hair. A great pit of fire burned in the center and the north wall was covered golden candles which refused to burn down. When we began to survey the room some massive creature came forth and struck at Lynn dealing grievous wounds. Once more Zandu explained the need for magic to harm the beast. I downed an elixir designed to contain the blast from my explosives and began to throw them as quickly as I was able. These bombs certainly gained its attention and had Zandu and Uther not been between us I have little doubt that it would have torn me limb from fragile limb. The hellish creature thrashed madly about attempting to strike down those as had surrounded him, however our combined effort proved too great for it and it finally fell.

With the ruins cleared we ascended to the surface carrying both riches and fallen allies. The price paid was great, but the threat to Sandpoint has been lessened. Upon coming home to the Rusty Dragon our rooms have been engraved with our names, an honor I do not quite understand, perhaps it is a northern thing. Regardless I will be spending the next few days trapped within brewing up what I can to resupply, for I fear our work is far from over.

Grand Lodge

Last night we began with Book 2: The Skinsaw Murders

The initial part of the evening (and actually it was a good chunk of our time) was spent finalizing their levels as they had just made 4th level and going through the loot.

I do not like the idea that market day is scheduled for every Fireday in the game, "with merchants from as far away as Magnimar." I understand that the idea hear was to say that an occasional merchant would be in town from as far away as Magnimar. I don't see how this type of market day would give a reduced price for goods as suggested in the book. I run it as that every week on Fireday there is a market, and generally it is just local wares from people near Sandpoint. Every other Fireday is a grand market, where the town takes on an almost festival sized crowd and where merchants flood the market area, bleeding out into the town with tents and wagons of goods.

This is the type of setting that I believe is the best to essentially open the book to the players so as GM I don't have that much more to do. If its in a Paizo book, and its mundane (non-magical) then you can buy it at book price. This way a Tian can buy a Wakizashi, a gunslinger can get everything they need to repair or build a firearm, etc.

The other thing I do is a barter system. Any mundane gear worth less than 100g can be be sold for cash at 50% value, no roll is needed or given. Any mundane gear worth more than 100g can be sold for cash or traded for other gear at 50% value with a Diplomacy roll that may increase or decrease the return (I also only allow 1 person to assist that roll, because to many adventures bartering an item will infuriate the vendor). For every 1 point you beat or fail the roll you add or subtract 5%. In Sandpoint all vendors are d20+5 (larger cities I will increase to d20+10) unless otherwise noted in the book somewhere. So if the vendor rolls a 10 for a total of 15 and the player rolls a 13 then the vendor will give the cash equivalent of 40% of the value of the item. The percentage can only shift by +/- 25% max.

Magical items are similarly done but you start at 25% (cannot fall below 25%) for cash, unless the value of the item goes beyond what is allowed for the town you are in. Or you can trade the item starting at 50%, using the rules for mundane items over 100g. This way the magic items I roll up every 2 weeks for market day can be traded for using unused magic items they find in the adventure.

Its quick and simple and in the future it will go quickly. The first time it took a while, but it was funny watching them pull resources to get a +2 Cloak of Resistance for the group.

The rest of the night was introducing the new characters that replaced Lucian and Barus. The player of the dwarven ranger made a halfling wizard. I introduced him to the group through Brodert Quink. I gave a quick backstory that the two were old scholars that loved to debate about the Thassilonian empire. Their introduction had them walking into the Rusty Dragon inn with the halfling believing that the giant helmet they found was in fact a table, and Brodert believing it to be a helmet for a giant who worked for the Thassilonians. Their introduction went well and the party accepted the halfling within their ranks. Players journals will include their versions of the tale.

The player that had Lucian the Polearm specialist made a Chelaxian paladin of Iomedae that hailed from Korvosa. His introduction was given by him arriving in town the day the group returned from Thistletop battled, bloodied and exhausted. He decided to stay in town until market day to browse the wares and then ride with merchants to Magnimar, his original destination. For several days he overheard stories of the groups travails and of their woes. Ameiko made the introduction when she realized that he was a traveling paladin with no direct plans and that with the loss of Barus and Lucian, he might be able to help them. Again, players journals will give a more detailed story.

We then had a week go by, and the arrival of Hemlock to ask for their assistance. We only did the initial investigation of the murder at the sawmill and then stopped for the night. Next week they travel to talk with Ven and Thorn.

It appears that my days were slightly off. Market day is Fyreday, not tomorrow, so I had a day to rest and recover. I used the basin to do an adequate job of clean up before falling into a deep sleep. A full bath will occur tomorrow after breakfast. I can cheat a little with some magic and did so. Breakfast was quick and light, and OH SO GOOD as a change from normal rations, then on to the bathhouse. Ordered a bath and soap and scrubbed until I was red. Some of the aches and pains reduced and new scars were visible from the fights. I need to look into more defensive options. It was while sitting in the bathwater easing some aches and pains that I began to take stock of the last week or so.
Arrival in Sandpoint had been fairly generic. The festival had started some problems to which I and the others had responded. We seemed to have gotten swept up into something where we could actually make a difference, at least temporarily. None of the events were targeted at us directly, but our assistance seemed to greatly affect the outcomes. I really don’t know any of these characters that have been involved in this period. I sometimes wonder how humans ever develop friendships living such a short period. I’ve known other elves with human friends; I just don’t know how that attachment is made. They seem like fast moving, bright lights that you know can’t last very long before they’re gone. Such energy. Lucien was an adequate fighter, he seemed able to take and deliver damage in equal amounts, just too many too quickly. I never had a chance to speak with Barus. He had been around for several years and it may have been interesting to share a drink and talk about a dwarven life. While dwarven greed is joked about it may actually have been his undoing, there’s always some truth in the rumors. I have noticed that some of my actions have been hasty. I need to be careful to not get drawn into the quick reaction of the humans; they always seem to be in a rush. I am still not sure what to make of some of our group. I know I’m not fond of all of them, at the best indifferent. Some might be quite enjoyable to hang around. Moxie might have an interesting tale, she’s certainly exuberant, but coy at times. Friedrich has proven useful and Zandu seems eclectic at the least, eccentric even. Annie’s cackling during battle was unnerving and odd in the middle of battle, but proved most helpful. Her culture and her past, however, keep her somewhat unapproachable.
I spent the day sitting in Cracktooth’s Tavern drinking a good bottle of wine and listening to music by various performers. Not quite getting drunk, not quite staying sober. Meal time brought me back to the Rusty Dragon for food and more drinking, and apparently bad dancing. I think to make it look good there has to be a scimitar involved and with all that wine, that seemed to be a bad idea. Toasts to Lucien and Barus were made and Moxie seemed to be a little flirty.
Market day arrived and the town was packed with people. Breakfast was a couple rolls and with some meat and cheese shoved in. I wandered around in fascination of all the things for sale. The group had divided up the spoils of Thistletop and I had a little cash to burn. I found the artist I had been looking for and bought a couple items to carry with me. I’ll suffer to carry them and hope for her favor. Other than that the day went quietly. I returned to the Rusty Dragon to lounge. We eventually all gathered together and Quink introduced a fellow traveler. He is a halfling spellcaster. He has some interest in the ruins so we said we’d take him out there. Quink was quick to decline. Apparently his idea of research is reading books. Ameiko had noticed a Paladin and introduced him to Moxie. Moxie brought him to the table. Apparently there is some concern that with our recent losses, we should add some members to our group. However, with losing two solid fighters, I’m a little concerned that we haven’t looked to adding a sellsword and maybe look to another healer for assistance. We’ll see what happens. The evening passed normally with drinking and fun. My discomfort was somewhat evident, although I’m not sure many know why.
A few days passed quietly for me; time in town, regular, good meals, fine wine, good bed, nice. The sheriff came to see us one morning at breakfast and reported that there had been an incident at the lumber mill. He told us a little, but asked that we investigate. There had been murder done. We arrived at the mill, new members in tow and the guard let us pass. One girl, Ven Vender’s younger daughter was, frankly, sawed in two. Quite an unpleasant site. Hanging on the wall was one of the mill owners with his face missing and a Thassilonean symbol carved in his chest. A very disgusting odor originated from various locations, smelling of dead rotting flesh. Tracks lead from the river up the side of the mill, and in various locations in the mill. They then went back to the river. Some of us went to the other side and found them again there, but they only came out and back into the river. There seemed to be an area where they waited, watching the mill. The sheriff told us that Ven was in jail, because it was possible he was involved, but after viewing the scene of this crime, I don’t think so, especially with his daughter’s death. A strange note was found at the crime. It was a note to Zandu. The sheriff doubted we were involved, but had to ask. Something strange is going on. I told Zandu I want to investigate a magic item he is wearing that was found on Nualia. I wonder if it’s connected as it is the same symbol carved on the body. The sheriff has also said that this is the 3rd crime scene. He’ll tell us more later.

The OLD MAN and the Sea
Oooof!! Oooh!! Crawling from the bed, rolling to the cool floor I placed my throbbing temple flat upon the wood. As I lay there trying not to move I could hear foot falls in the hall or stairs and the mumbles of conversations coming from somewhere in the Inn. “Oh dear Shelyn! I beg you; please have mercy on your faithful servant! Relieve me of this grinding pain in my head and fouled stomach…uuuugh!” As I regained my feet slowly, the room was still difficult to maneuver. I made for my shuddered window to get some air as yet unfouled with the stench of OLD MAN!! As I opened the shudders to the sunrise I thought of Frederick, he surely has a concoction to help, maybe he…. YUUUUPE!! …Oh my!!... Whew! I think my tummy feels a bit…..YUUUUPE!!... Uuuufah!! Yes, yes it does!! Half in and half out the window, I stayed to collect the cool from the morning breeze. It felt a bit cooler than usual. Autumn approaches quickly which means the frost is not long from us…I dislike the cold…well not right now!
After balancing myself back into the room, I grabbed the water pitcher and basin and placed them on the floor. I removed my makeshift hair clasp and poured the water over my head into the basin and soaked my head for an indeterminate amount of time. I washed my face, again and again, until I felt mostly gnome-like. Then I hoisted the basin to the window and called out barely enough for anyone below to hear…” MOVE IT!” and poured the basin over/on my shameful stain of exigent evacuation. Thirsty!! Dragging the basin back I grabbed the pitcher and drank what remained in it to try to slake the blighting thirst that tortured my mouth. I grabbed my brush, sat on the floor leaning against the bed and began to brush out the mess…. NAKED!! (GASP-EGADS!!) What the… where are my… OH WHEW!! At the end of my bed lay the decently draped outfit from the night previous. I remember stumbling in and giggling as I undressed with difficulty and hopped into the cool sheets…whew!! Putting on a longshirt, my socks and low common boots I schlumped down the stairs with my water pitcher to the kitchen to collect more water, where upon I also grabbed a bowl with some fruit a piece of bread and a hunk of cheese. All I could manage at that point was, “Tab…later…paid.” I made my way from the wonderful aromas in the kitchen that assailed the unpredictable nature of my tender tummy. Deposited them in my room and went into Fredericks room (yes I did) gently sat on his bed and pouting in a desperate pleading whisper. “Psst! Gentle, kind Frederick!! Help me Frederick, my head has all but split and my stomach longs for a meal but I dare not eat until the OLD MAN is hushed. PLEASE HELP ME!!” (sob) Frederick jumped from the unexpected intrusion as did his bunk bunny. After the realization he and his new found love were not to be slain, he frowned and pointed to his formerly elixir laden vestment and said “ right side, half way down, pinkish with purple swirls…..and you should take it with food and water…now shoo!!” I shuffled to his coat hung on the back of the door and rifled through it until I could identify the right one and said, “This isn’t the one that makes you big and stinky is it?”(sob) “NO, now get outta here!” he said. “Kaaay? (grin)….and thank you ever so much Prince Frederick!” as I shut the door behind me. Though it pained me, I giggled at the excited inquiry into Frederick’s “faux royal lineage” as I returned to my room. I ate my breakfast, drank all the water, and returned to the kitchen thrice to refill the pitcher before consuming Frederick’s elixir.
As the potion bounced around my insides I felt the pains of the OLD MAN lift. I began to scurry about to get as much done before the effects of the elixir faded. My room was cleaned easy enough. I grabbed my Fire Pelt bundle and armor and ran to Master Korvus’ shop requesting he refurbish the armor as best he could for a fair price. Then off to the furrier/tailor to be fitted for a Fire Pelt coat! YAAAA!!! I returned to the Rusty Dragon Inn and requested a picnic style lunch. I packed my blanket, a pillow, my boar spear, flint and steel, a dagger, and my bow. On my way out I paid for my lunch and breakfast and made my way to the fish monger. Wouldn’t you know…that is when the elixir wore off….uuuulh!! I held my nose and paid for my bucket of bait fish and made haste to the beach. Not seeing the raft straight away I dropped my gear where I wished to relax and went leeward of said location and left the bucket….blech! I collected the drift wood and other burnables and brought them back to my gear. Then I collected a dozen or so “heavy” stones and set to making camp. I tied the middle edge of my blanket to the blunt end of my boar spear and plunged the point into the sand as far as it would go. Then I placed stones and sand on the edge of the blanket to the windward side of the blanket and a few stones and more sand on the leeward side. With a shelter in place I tossed a few stones into a circle, dug a fire pit and built a small fire. I sat and ate my Rusty Dragon Inn picnic and lounged on my pillow until the majority of the OLD MAN’s ravages had subsided. I dozed by the small fire for a while until I felt I was being watched. I barely peeked with one eye to find the entire raft of otters laying on their bellies staring at me. I twitched my foot and they all sat up and looked. When they realized I wasn’t going to get up they returned to their bellies and continued the vigil. Then I opened my eyes and waited for them to notice. It took a bit but once the first otter squeaked they all sat up and searched for the sign…and charged into my tent!! What a joy they are! I managed, somehow to crawl out get to my feet and lead them to the bucket, which is the only reason they were so patient. We played for a bit and then I asked them to gather some mussels or oysters for me. I grabbed my bow, strapped on my dagger and quiver, put the bucket filled with sea water near the surf and we went fishing. I shot a couple of sea perch and they filled the bucket two thirds of the way with all manner of sea critters, some of which I returned to the sea…yich! I filleted the fish, shelled the critters and threw them in the bucket. I poured out water until it just covered the meats and set the bucket in the coals. I lay in the tent and sang songs shooing otters playfully from the sea stew. Once properly cooked I carried the hot bucket to the surf and cooled the now blacked exterior…oops. I brought it back and ate of it until I could no longer, and cast the rest to the raft. They left me an hour or so before sundown. Alone I watched the sea and wondered along the beach thinking of the past few days. They had been so raw and brutal, but my personal cost was well worth it. I wish it hadn’t been as costly for Barus or Lucien. I collected a sand sovereign for each of the troupe then returned to my tent. It was time to be thinking of getting back! But…I hadn’t had any time in the water! I left my clothes in my tent and ran to the water for a quick dip, well… maybe not so quick! I swam until sunset and returned to the tent in time to see the sun sink into the sea as I dressed. The breeze was definitely cooler than I remembered. I broke camp removed the sand from my bedding with a minor magical affect, packed up and returned to the fish monger. I apologized for the blackened bucket and I paid him for the damage. Then I walked back to the Rusty Dragon Inn.
Ok, ok, ya-ya, so a girl didn’t get all dolled up for a day at the beach, aaaand maybe she had a lil’ bit too much fun last night, SHAAAD-AP ALREADY!! E-GADS! Whatta bunch of heartless hooligans! As the laughter and cat calls ensued I went to my room, unpacked, and made my bed. Thought seriously about calling it a night but decided to clean up to the point of modest comfort and join the troupe. I brushed out my hair and spiked it up, lined and colored the eyes, and barely colored the cheeks and lips. Gathered the shirt showing my midriff and tied it off squeezing the girls in tight, and rolled the sleeves up high. Then squeezed into the knee length soft blue skirt put the socks and boots back on and started out the door. I hopped down the stairs one at a time until they could see me coming and then I walked as well as the skirt allowed. “SO?? Is this BETTER?? TROLLS??” I asked as I approached the table (fake laughter through a sneer)”Whatever! Hey, did you guys kill that nasty foaming dog that came barreling through here last night?”(wha?? NO!! DOG?) Yaa the one that pooped in my mouth, cuz it taste like crap this morning! ( Laughter!) And that was all it took to get them off of my back, well for a while anyway. More folks than normal seemed to stream in as the night progressed and we decided to perform again. That is, until Brodert Quink showed up with a Halfling debating whether our giant helmet was actually a helmet or a… table(?). Brodert spotted the troupe in the crowd and came over to sit with us. He introduced the hafling as…..dammit but I am bad with names…uhmm….Rummaged Underpants!…no…Ramalama Dingdo-!!…no…Rumplemintz Updike!!!….no…well it’s definitely an “R” word! Anyway he is a wizard who studies the ancient ways, and he wants to fill one of our vacancies! We spoke a bit on Thistletop and what we had found there. He seemed interested in seeing it for himself so we made a date to return to show him what remained. By this time I felt the onset of days end so Xandu and I played a quick set and I retired early for me but later than I desired. Making my way through the crowd I spied an armored Chelaxian make entry. He’s a cute hunka princess bait…uuugh…forget it, I AM TOO TIRED! Back in my room, I set up my everburning candles, secured my shutters, stripped off all but the longshirt, washed up, offered prayers of thanks to Shelyn and curled up under the cool covers. As I drifted off to sleep I whispered a list of items to buy at market day, tomorrow….chest for clothes… table and chair… rugs… quilts… curtains…. clothes-z z z Z Z Z Z! (smile!)

I woke before the sun broke over the horizon mumbling…gloves…hat…. Sitting on the bed, feet on the rails, I streeeetched into a full standing squeak and stepped onto the cold floor when it hit me…”RAMAD UNDERBRIDGE!” That’s the wizards name! Wishing not to miss a bit of the Market I threw on my boots, ran in the cold for bait fish and down to the beach…BRRR! I warmed a bit playing with the raft, gave them their breakfast, dove into the surf, swam back out immediately, dressed and darted back through the already busy streets to the Inn. The merchants were up early to set up shop, and so was I. I wanted to get my shopping done early! I washed up, brushed my hair straight and left it natural except for a thin braid with a small slice of the colorful ribbon from my mystery box. Eyes lined and the faintest color on my eyes, cheeks and lips and a splash of lavender oil for best affect. Wearing the longshirt, belt and dagger, knee high socks, work boots, the pocketed scarf tied to make it into a vest ( yes it can be done!) and a varisian scarf about my head and neck. Looking as street shabby as I could I went down to grab a quick bite hoping venders would have a good selection of suitable yumminess throughout the day!
Off I went into Market Day! I found a merchant selling all manner and sizes of storage chests from trunks to small jewelry boxes. I bought a normal sized footlocker. Not far from him was a wood worker where I purchased a “child sized” (ugh!) table and chair. Then walked a while until I found a huntsman/trapper selling furs and pelts. I explained I wanted a couple of skins to cover my floor and that they need not be of highest quality. He pulled a couple of old bison pelts for the cart. He showed me one he had been using for patches and said he would sell them at a cut rate. I checked them for bugs and smell and finding neither purchased them. Then off to find more warm weather necessities. I bought a heavy wool curtain, rod, and iron rod hooks, two large winter blankets and a quilt. I offered two boys a gold piece to split to help get the items purchased so far back to my room. I loaded the up and we started a pile in my room. Paid the young men and returned to the Market! Well first I retrieved my refurbished armor, frame, humidor and firepelt coat and took them back to my room. Then back to an outdoors outfitter. I found some fur lined boot covers, flannel lined leather chaps, a doubled winter blanket pullover that came to the thighs, a buckskin hooded cloak with coyote trim on the hood, fur lined mittens and skin tight gloves. I wore the pullover and took the rest to the tanner asking him to apply a coat of bees wax to repel the weather. Then I found a haberdasher with wonderful hats! I loitered in the mirrors for some time laboring over the best choice for me!?! I settled upon a pretreated crumpled soft dragoon style hat. The front was folded upwards at an angle, back rolled slightly with a modest white plume feather and hat strap. Wearing it proudly I shopped around and happened upon a varisian merchant who had many wonderful scarves. I inquired about a faced cover or veil…he smiled and produced the perfect sized face cover that cupped my chin, and secured either behind the ear as would a pair of spectacles or may be tied under the hair on the back of the neck…I wanted it and paid full price!! He said he did good business in Whistledown and that these were used as veils of mourning there. How timely and two fold for me! What a glorious day! I believe I am ready for the frost and what follows now. Wondering about I found Lynn and we strolled together for a while, happening upon Uther haggling for trades with a merchant over our enchanted loot so I lent a distracting hand and would like to think myself helpful. Uther played along so I think it worked. Uther handed me an enchanted belt that is supposed to enhance your quickness, and remembering the troupes continued generosity during the Thistletop campaign I immediately offered it up to Lynn as our combatants need these boons more so than I. I took my leave of my troupe mates and as I made my way around the Market I found myself at a shepherd’s herd petting sheep and goats….hmm? I inquired of the temperament of the rams of his flock upon which he extolled. Then of the billy’s in the goat herd, again he was profound. I stepped back and watched for a very, very long while weighing the options, pluses, minuses, and behaviors of the boys in question. I set upon a billy whose temperament was to my liking and we talked for a while and he seemed disinterested in traveling so I let the idea pass by…for now. I returned to the Inn grabbed my dirty clothes and took them to the ladies who do laundry for money and paid them to wash them for me. I returned to the tanners to collect my winter garb and called it a day. When I got back to my room I set to its arrangement and found places for all my newly purchased items.
Relaxing in the inn we ate and made plans for our return to Thistletop. Xandu began to sing while he and Lynn attempted to….dance.(giggle!) this is when Lady Ameiko introduced me to the hunky Chelaxian! Alas he wants to be a replacement for one of our fallen….dammit! So I sat on the bar and quaffed a stiff drink, made a bit of small talk, asking him where he was from “blah, blah, blah, Korvosa.” As I lowered my glass I smiled and said “Uh-huh? Ya well, never heard of it” (STOP IT!!) “So whadda ya do?” (gulp-gulp!) “ blah, blah, blah, devoted warrior.”(look at his eyes…NO DON’T!) “Ya know what come with me…” grabbing his hand and leading him to our table through the…dancing(?) Lynn and Xandu. “ Hey guys…look what I found!” I introduced him to the troupe and then…tried ever so hard to remember his name….uuuh….Rikkets Kraktup….no….Rye heart Bankrupt….NO….what is it with the “R” words…..umm…OH! “ I present to you….Rikert Krupt, Paladin of Iomedae.” I lingered to see the reaction of the troupe, and all seemed to go well. Then the good Sherriff walked in and requested a private audience with the troupe. This I have come to learn is never a good thing.
He presented us with a hand note found at the scene of a murder which read, “I do AS you CommANd mAstER youR LORdShip” with Xandu’s name on the outside. He explains a bit and inquires of Xandu’s whereabouts the night prior and finds his story credible. He then takes us to the scene of the crime. The lumber mill and the smell found me before we saw the carnage. OH DEAR SHELYN!! Vens daughter cut in two…GASP!!! And poor Banny Harker!! Then a new stink assailed me as I searched around Vens daughter…there was a human sized footprint with a smell of death, which lingered at other locations in the mill. The trail led across the river. Harkers body was savaged, marked with a seven pointed star and hung on a hook. E-GADS what a horrible turn of events, what with the recent unpleasantness. If not solved in quick order, Shelyn be with us!! Wait!?!? We never did find the old priests remains after they were stolen…Hmm!? But he was burned and broken so badly!! We should first go and speak with Mr. Thorne…and Ven!! And Uther thought him in a bad mood before this. You just wait!!!

Uther Eld, Taldorian Pistolero:

Once word got around, we were slightly less minor celebrities than we had been a few days ago. All of the survivors dragged into the Rusty Dragon, and made a bit of a nuisance of ourselves clamoring for baths. After an ale and a meal, Mayor Deverin arrived and we gave her the rundown on our adventure, with the plans and diaries in Nualia and Tsuto’s own writing to back us up. We then set about dividing up the loot, and deciding what to do with the items we had appropriated.

Mayor Deverin returned the next day, and bestowed some magical trinkets upon us by way of reward; she indicated that the remaining nobles had looked over the evidence we had gathered, and decided to reward us for our efforts and the loss of our companions. I believe that we accepted them with due courtesy. At around this time, a local scholar came in with a Halfling in tow; they were in the midst of a disagreement about the nature of the helmet that Barus had died trying to recover. The scholar introduced the Halfling as Ramad, a wizard (definitely small ‘w’ there). He seems inclined to accompany us on our adventures. Having seen some small amount of wizardry in our encounters, I must endeavor to keep a lid on the short jokes.

I had another matter on my mind, and that was that I would need to make some purchases to refurbish my pistol and make more ammunition, and that I would likely need to buy at least some of the things on my shopping list from the General Store, which was run by the father of the crazy redhead, Shayliss. I hoped that the intervening days had worked to cool his temper for me, and that the stories of our service (and sacrifice) to the community would not hurt. In this I was in error. I entered the establishment and had hardly launched into my prepared apology when Mr. Vinder roared that I should get out and stay out, and that all my companions should stay out as well. Discretion being the better part of valor, I retreated forthwith to the Rusty Dragon where I informed the rest of the group that the General Store was currently off limits to us. In truth, I hoped that when it became apparent how much coin we spent in the market next Fyreday, that Mr. Vinder would soften his tone (at least where the others were concerned); avarice can be a powerful salve.

At the market next day, I was delighted to find that I could acquire everything I needed without resort to subterfuge where Mr. Vinder was concerned. Shortly after I completed my personal business, I was pressed into service to negotiate trades of the various enchanted items we had on hand, in order to get those things we wanted more. Moxie lent some needed assistance in that department, and I believe that we received fair value for our “stuff.”

That night at dinner, Amieko introduced a tall human to us. Pale fellow, with black hair and dark eyes, named Rikert. He claims to be a paladin of some good god or other, and a fighter. Since the passing of Barus and Lucien, I for one am certainly glad that another sword swinger had volunteered to stand in front of us. He seems pleasant enough, if a bit taciturn.

I spent the next two days making ammunition and restoring my pistol to its original state, and I discovered along the way that it is a work of art in addition to its function as an engine of destruction. Along with standard lead shot, I have also made a few bullets each from iron and silver, for those “special occasions.” I hope I don’t have to use them too soon.

I came down to breakfast the third day after the market, to find Sheriff Hemlock waiting for us. After a few perfunctory pleasantries, he quietly admitted that Sandpoint had suffered a double murder the night before, at the sawmill. He had two suspects in gaol, but he asked us to look over the murder scene and see what we could discover. He also hinted that there had been other killings (possibly related) in recent days, but that those had at the time been deemed “justified.” When he told us that Mr. Vinder was one of those in custody, I wondered just what sort of “justification” might have been involved, and just how close I had come to being one of the victims.

At the mill, we saw the bodies of one of the millers, and his companion for the evening, Shayliss’ older sister. The girl’s mangled body was caught in the machinery where the raw logs were sawn into lumber, and at first I thought it was Shayliss herself, and my stomach gave a lurch. I have no liking for the girl, but I couldn’t wish a fate like that on anyone. Her lover had been brutally murdered, with his face flayed and lower jaw ripped off, while his body had been nailed upside down to a wall with the Thessalonian rune carved in his chest. Zandu wears an amulet with the same rune, taken from Nualia’s corpse, and Hemlock had shown us a note (ostensibly from the killer) addressing Zandu as “master.” I’m in no particular hurry to meet the servant; and from the scraps of rotting flesh adhering to the axe the miller had apparently defended himself with, I’m fairly certain that it is not Ven Vinder, nor any other living person. We found traces on the dock side of the mill, indicating that something had climbed out of the river, and up the side of them mill; after killing the occupants, it seemingly left via the front door. We also found a spot on the opposite side of the river where the creature had awaited its quarry.

Journal Entry:

Second Day of the Month Ramashan

Rest – interruption – shopping – work

After an enjoyable night once more spent in a bed instead of a festering goblin-littered ruin; I was feeling quite like myself again. I awoke to find the companionship of a pretty country girl who came to town for market tomorrow. She may have only found interest in my exotic demeanor since Keleshites are uncommon to these parts; however, the attention was a nice change from the last few days. We were beginning another “cultural discussion” when I flinched at sound of a third voice in the room. I instinctively reached for a dagger before recognizing Moxie in the doorway. She was holding forehead in one hand and bracing herself with the other, eyes were bloodshot and voice faint and scratchy. The bedraggled creature need not have explained and I explained the location of an analgesic in my coat. She was gone before I could warn her that it would only postpone the affects of the night prior and not cure them. Once the door was closed I again turned my attention to my “cultural exchange”.

This day would be spent acquiring ingredients to restock spent vials and other alchemical necessities including the mass production of curatives I’m sure the group will request. Indeed when the order came in there was no less than fifteen curatives requisitioned as well as some other odds and ends, including two requests for weapon “oils” from Moxie and Anne. Preparing my room for the many hours of boiling, distilling, decanting and so forth I “borrowed” some pillows from Zandu’s room to function as added cushioning for my chair and found another table to support the many apparatus’. That evening we were graced with good fortune as the local historian brought a knowledgeable Halfling interested in Thassilonian culture, and schooled in the arcane arts. Said Halfling was interested in joining our struggle to assist the town and offered his abilities. Zandu offered to take him to Thistletop the next day to examine the ruins below and some of the company wished to join, I on the other hand declined the invitation as I needed as much time as I could procure to manufacture their potions.

Third Day of the Month Ramashan

Market day – parting – continued work

I had only one real need at the market. The finding of a spear made of this cold iron Zandu repeatedly stresses. I was elated to find one of superior craftsmanship its point decorated with an intricate serpent deeply carved into the material. Whether the channels were purpose made or not they would hold toxins quite superbly. The cost of the thing, off-putting at first, was fitting for such a functional work of art.

Uther made it his prerogative to trade what we had procured through our adventure for various useful items brought in by various merchants. Most notably was a haversack that served as an extra-dimensional space, allowing for my old green hand-wagon to be discarded. After insuring no dangerous chemical residues existed on the wagon I found a young lad to leave it with, surely it will continue to prove useful for someone.

Thirteenth Day of the Month Lamashan

Harvest Feast – Murder – Suspicion

We were approached by Sheriff Hemlock at our breakfast at the Rusty Dragon. He brought word of multiple murders in the past few days, last night’s being the most notable, he wished for our assistance investigating strange factors around the incident. Firstly a note was found at the scene addressing Zandu as this creatures master and his willingness to carry out Zandu’s command. My thoughts are brought again to Zandu’s unspoken past and his intimate knowledge with the evil we have encountered. It appears I may be alone in my suspicion; however, closer attention will be payed to his mannerisms.

Hemlock brought us to a horrific scene at the lumber mill. Two deaths, one a worker and part owner of the mill identified as Harker, the other, Katrine, eldest daughter to Ven who is currently in custody under suspicion of the first murder. Katrine’s body was a shredded mess, it had been put through the saw and was mostly in two pieces, the mechanical blade showed no compassion for the soft flesh. This action seamed more an afterthought to the next body. Harker was nailed to the mill’s wall his face’s flesh delicately removed, lower jaw ripped away and his chest was carved with the ancient Thassilonian symbol we have seen more and more frequently. Indeed one hung from Zandu’s neck, a trinket picked from Nualia’s lifeless form. My suspicion of his character has not yet been piqued; however, ancient magic is likely at work here. Whether this is coincidence or not remains to be clear. Regardless it certainly clears Ven of the crime. He would have no purpose carving the body in such a way, especially when claw marks were discovered on the torso. Footprints of an unbooted individual were discovered; upon closer inspection they bore the sickly-sweet scent of decay and rotten flesh. The blade of a nearby axe also bore the scent as well as chips of bone and flesh of a third party. The pier bore further oddities; muddy barefoot prints coming from the river scaled the mill’s wall to an upper floor and connected with what was found inside. The far side of the river bore more footprints coming from then leading back towards the river. The area they were found gives a full view of and concealment from the mill. We are now en route to speak with Ven and the other owner of the mill, Thorn, to try and gain further insight. An itch in my mind speaks of a malign presence watching us.

Grand Lodge

Last night we started off with the "army" heading over to the Sandpoint Garrison to discuss with Hemlock what they had learned at the crime scene. Once the initial discussion was over they moved on to questioning Ibor and Ven.

The first thing that the group started to talk about was the casting of spells to "interrogate" them. I made it clear that the BFI method of doing things was not always the best way to approach as any individual that realizes you are casting spells on them will have their attitude adjust downward making any Diplomacy checks more difficult. Generally speaking the best approach is with words first and magic second.

The group decided that Ibor would be the first to be questioned and a lack luster roll by the new halfing wizard of the group was met with a tired sigh, and a statement of "I've told Hemlock everything I know."

So the new member, the paladin, tried and rolled a natural 20 giving him a 27 total! Well that shifted an Indifferent attitude to friendly real quick. So with Ibor sighed and moved up to the bars and told them everything he knew. He left at midnight, Benny was still there and probably waiting for Katrine because they would . . . you know . . . get together there in the evenings. She wasn't there when he left, usually because she has to sneak out of the house so Ven doesn't find out. He arrived there in the morning early and found the bodies, ran in to check on Benny (hence the blood on his clothes) and then ran to the sheriff. He doesn't know what the mark carved into Benny meant, but . . . (in a suspicious tone) I know Benny was cooking the books. I didn't have anything to do with that, but I know he was shaving a few coins off the top for himself. Just don't tell anyone that I know that or the Scarnetti's will do to me what they did to him.

The group failed their Sense Motive checks so they believed he was innocent of the embezzling (which he is) but gave them a new suspect to think about. They discussed this with the sheriff, who paused but couldn't imagine that the Scarnetti's would murder someone in that fashion. The group was able to discern that the sheriff believes the Scarnettis are probably dirty, but smart about their actions, which is why they are never caught doing anything illegal.

They moved on to Ven after Ibor but the group decided, especially the gunslinger, not to go because Ven was upset with them. The wizard and paladin were new and might be able to get him to talk. The cleric cast Zone of Truth on him and went with the other two to question Ven. As soon as they got within range of the spell Ven made his Will save (natural 19) and realized something was up. When he saw Xandu the eyes narrowed and he immediately began shouting at him for tying to use Xandu's magic to befuddle his mind. Xandu held up the Sihedron medallion and asked if Ven knew what that was. He replied he didn't know what it was and told him to shove off, even calling for the sheriff to get rid of him. Xandu left but the damage was done. Ven's attitude was now locked in at Hostile. The chances of making that DC with a Diplomacy were slim and the paladin was unable to get anything other than anger and hate out of him. Ven knew he was innocent, and he knew he was going to get out of jail as soon as his wife arrived to tell where he was. The wizard was also fed up at this time and left the paladin remaining for a minute or so more trying, in vain, to get Ven to calm down. Eventually even the paladin caved in and left.

At this point the group decided to do something that surprised me. They split up. 5 of the group (wizard, gunslinger, cleric, ninja/witch, and alchemist) left to go to the Sanitorum with their letter of introduction from Hemlock. The other 3 (rogue, magus and paladin) decided to go to Benny's house to see if they could find this missing money, and then head to the cemetery to see if Tsuto had risen from the dead and was killing people.

We started with the group going with 1 guard to check Benny's house. Hemlock sent the guard to make it look like everything was on the up-and-up and it didn't appear to anyone who would see that three people were breaking into his house.

I described it as a two room affair, small fireplace sans screen so the rug in front of it had several burn stains where he would stamp out the ember that popped out of the fireplace. There were empty bottles of wine scattered about, clothes, etc. Simple straw bed that looked disheveled, etc. Eventually they found a large clothes chest with a false bottom that contained 15 bags of roughly 20 silver per bag. They called the guard in who came in to see what was up. His initial reaction was one of confusion. Moxies question made it seem like he could take one if he wanted. He nervously looked around, looked at the paladin who was staring back with "lawful intent" and replied with a, "soooooo?" Moxie replies with the "its evidence, help me get it down." So they took it to the sheriff and dropped it off. The sheriff replied with, "well Im not going to take it up to Titus and ask if the money they found was his because he was pretty sure he knew what he would say." So the put it into their evidence locker.

The then checked the cemetery and met with Naffer Vosk and looked around. Even opening up the Kaijitsu tomb to check on Tsuto. To which an explanation of their actions have now made Vosk a little paranoid of the walking dead and will probably have a few nights of restless sleep.

The other group checked the barn and was able to determine what they already knew and then proceeded on to the Sanitorum. Able to make the DC checks to convince Habe to allow them to question Grayst the group met got to meet their first ever tiefling as the twin brothers went to retrieve him.

The discussion went as the book describes with his focal point being Xandu. As soon as the fight started (when he tore off the straight jacket) Habe pounded on the door to the basement and ran upstairs to barricade himself in A10 after releasing Pidget.

The fight only lasted a few rounds, the tiefling brothers screaming for party to stop killing the patient saying they would grab him and take him to his cell. So when one tries to grapple him and provokes an AoO he pops the tiefling (who was supposed to be off shift but helping his brother) and damn near kills him. At that point the tieflings back off and the party kills him.

As Xandu is helping the tiefling the door to the basement opens and 4 zombies with a buffed Zerren emerges. This fight went the distance. He opened with Blindness/Deafness on the gunslinger and took him out of the fight on round one. Then it was just debuff hell with some damage splashed in. The zombies went down stupid fast. Alchemists and wizards with AoEs do horrible things. By the time they killed Zerren, the wizard was dying and the group was heavily wounded. Stinking Cloud is brutal. Pidget became a factor only when the ninja/witch who he was watching (using her shortsword) ran into the basement after Zerren. He raced after her trying to watch when the alchemist and cleric AoO'd him. At that point he bit at anyone who attacked him. He didn't last to long, the alchemist had silver blanch and took him out. Sad really, if they had left him alone he would have wandered over and stood near the gunslinger. Since he was blinded he backed into a corner and drew the sword that Koruvus used to wield. Pidget would have just stood there and stared. That would have been a sight to the group when they emerged from the basement.

We finished the night off with the group interrogating Habe and the cleric thinking about helping to keep the Sanitorum open with Habe in charge. We'll roleplay that part out next week.

Inspector Moxie

Sheesh!! I am so glad to have missed the interview/interrogation of Ibor and Ven, especially the latter. He has always been a real hot head. I think he just needs a good public flogging to mellow him out a bit. It wouldn’t hurt to get rid of his daughters…er…daughter…er…marry her off! (Did I say that out loud…Egads!) I do not know what their home is like, but those girls should have been chained in Ven’s basement for some behavioral adjustment long ago! After some discussion the troupe decided to save time by splitting up. Rikert, Lynn and I went to search Harker’s home, and the cemetery the rest headed to the sanitorum.

First we searched the house and I located a chest with a false bottom containing twenty bags with fifteen silver pieces in each bag. Our guard seemed flummoxed when I requested his presence to assist in getting it front the storage loft. First I wanted him to see it in its original state and second I needed help in retrieving it from the loft. I guess I inadvertently placed him in a crisis of conscience!?! In any case the evidence that Harker was “skimming” profits was collected and returned to the jail.

The cemetery was less than pleasant but a necessity. We checked all the recent gravesites and found them intact, including those recently interred in the Kaijitsu tomb (tongue gag!) I am afraid we may have instilled some fear in Master Vosk. I will be sure to check on him on my rounds this evening. Our local investigation complete we returned to the Red Dragon Inn to await the report from the troupe that trekked to the sanitorum. I spent a few hours eating and sharing a few glasses of wine with Rikert, getting to know him a little better. I took my leave before dusk, returning to my room for a nap. Fully intending to black out and keep vigil overnight on a roof top, the church steeple or bell tower. Whichever provides the best vantage point of Sandpoint throughout the night?

We walked to the garrison and went downstairs to the sheriff’s office. Some of us went to speak with the other lumber mill worker. He had found the bodies. He wasn’t overly willing to talk, looked tired. He finally told us some stuff about the dead guy and Ven’s daughter getting together fairly regularly and that Harker had been cooking the books. Might be a motive for the owner to kill him, but it doesn’t feel right to me. Something unnatural is out there. Rikert, the new fighter, went down to talk to Ven with Zandu and the new wizard. It didn’t go well, Ven was pissed. The sheriff told us that the other bodies that were found all had the same Thassilonean symbols on them. They were in a barn outside of town. The group split up, I went to check out Harker’s house and look for a hidden stash of money that he had been stealing. Rikert and Moxie went with me. After Moxie found a stash of silver hidden in a secret compartment in a chest, we returned the money to the Sheriff explaining what we thought it was. We then went to the graveyard to make sure nothing strange had happened. Nothing appeared out of place there, and we asked the caretaker to keep his eyes open.
I returned back to the Rusty Dragon to eat and drink. I’m going to ask Moxie for some assistance in finding some stuff. She may know some of the vendor’s more than I do. The other group went out to see a witness of the attack in the barn. Apparently he was crazy after the attack and the sheriff sent him to a place out of town that cares for insane people. They will pass the barn and investigate that also.

Uther Eld, Taldorian Pistolero:

After learning all we could at the sawmill, we went to the Garrison and spoke with sheriff Hemlock. Telling him all we had discovered, and that Ven Vindor was unlikely to have perpetrated such a heinous crime, he allowed us to interview the prisoners. Harker’s partner was understandably depressed, and was unable to shed any light on the matter. He did relate that Harker had been “cooking the books” and that the owner (who was widely believed to have burned down the competing mills) may have been violently displeased had he known. After the interview I returned to the sheriff’s office, having no desire to be screamed at by Mr. Vindor. Zandu and the new guys stepped to his cell.

We all heard the yelling, almost from the time the outer door opened. Vindor was unhappy at his situation, was unhappy that Zandu had cast some spell and that Zandu (he said) was responsible with the rest of us for “starting all the trouble and riling up the goblins.” In all, my opinion of the man is similar to my opinion of his surviving daughter; that he is dangerously unstable, but that he isn’t guilty of the crime at hand. Soon he was bellowing for the sheriff, and all were obliged to retreat to the office.

We asked about the previous killings, and Hemlock told us that three local Scarni, con artists, had been found dead in a barn on Cougar Creek, along with another note; an apparent shady deal gone bad. But there was a witness who was now a resident of the local sanitarium, a fellow named Grayst.

Outside the garrison, we decided that there were several avenues that we could pursue concurrently if we spit up. Lynn, Rikert and Moxie would visit Harker’s home and the graveyard (looking for signs of grave tampering), while Annie, Ramad, Zandu, Frederick and I investigated the other murder scene, and tried to interview the witness at the sanitarium (Hemlock had kindly written us a letter of introduction).

We headed south on the road, soon coming to a group of farms along Cougar Creek. We were greeted by one of the farmers, who directed us to the barn where the con men had met their end. He said that he would appreciate it if we could do something about the lingering smell thereabouts. When we entered the barn, we were greeted by the same smell of decay we had found in the sawmill, and signs of a struggle. Annie and her fox found some tracks that led to and from the barn in the direction of the creek, so it seems clear that our quarry prefers to get about via the area waterways. Leaving the barn doors cracked open to help in airing out the interior, we headed on down the road to the sanitarium.

The sheriff was right, we couldn’t miss it. The building was a large three-story stone structure with a wooden porch on one side. There were two doors, and we knocked at each of them in turn but got no answer. Trying the doors, we found that one was unlocked and led to what was evidently a reception area with a pull-cord for a bell. We pulled the cord and waited. Before long, Habe the caretaker appeared, and after a brief discussion we convinced him to let us question Grayst.

Beyond the reception area was a large common room with several doors, apparently leading to quarters for the staff. Two large trestle-type tables and benches dominated the room. Habe knocked at one of the doors, calling someone off duty to assist in bringing Grayst to speak with us. The two… orderlies… that appeared looked to be some sort of demons, and twins at that, complete with horns. I was wary but they seemed calm and businesslike, and comported themselves like normal brothers might. They went upstairs to the patient rooms, and soon brought Grayst down to see us.

Even I could tell that Grayst was very sick. His skin was sickly pale and drawn, and he was confined in some sort of straitjacket, distractedly mumbling to himself, until Zandu spoke to him. He looked at Zandu with recognition, and urgently spoke some message; then with a screech tore himself out of the jacket and leapt for Zandu’s throat, so I shot him. That didn’t sit well with the demon twins, who tried to grapple and subdue him (one missed, and the other got a broken nose for his trouble), but it also didn’t seem to slow Grayst down much. My companions quickly joined in, and made short work of the revenant.

While that was happening, Habe had cried out in alarm, ran to a door at the end of the room, pounded upon it, and then ran up the stairway to the upper floors. I prepared myself for what might emerge from the door. I didn’t have to wait long; the door swung open and four of the walking dead came out followed by a spellcaster of some sort. I shot one of the zombies, the caster chanted some words, and I was struck blind! I could hear the shouts and blows of the fight near me, but I couldn’t see to reload my pistol (much less shoot that foul wizard). Someone moved in front of me, and I heard one of the zombies shambling up, so I stuck the pistol in my belt and tumbled backward. I put my back against a corner (away from where the zombies were approaching; the door to the reception area should be somewhere to my right), drew my sword, and waited for enemies to approach. I was out of the fight.

Maybe I should think about retiring to the Rusty Dragon.

Grand Lodge

The group rounded out the evening by Xandu giving Habe an amount of money to keep his business afloat for at least two months, and keeping the employees on staff. A surprising move, but the belief of Habe's desire to help out coupled with the fact he was "held hostage" by Zerren and his zombies. This could be an interesting side story that may be revisited at a later date.

Once they had returned to Sandpoint I allowed all those to level keeping in time with the suggested level advancement for the story.

Once this was complete we began Part 3: Walking Scarecrows.

Moxie was doing her normal routine of feeding the otters and was witness to the exhausted form of Maester Grump arriving in town. As she related the story to the others a guard arrived and asked if they would go with him to meet with the Sheriff. The guard was the same individual that had gone with Moxie, Rikert and Lynn.

Arriving there Moxie was able to calm Grump down to learn the story. At the part of him relating the information about what happened to the dogs, Grump was back in panic mode. Because of the map located in the basement of the sanitorum they shared with the sheriff that Grump may in fact be right. Not wanting to tangle with undead, the sheriff asked if the group would investigate this new development.

Because several individuals recognized the meaning behind "The Misgivings" they also stated that they would stop by the old Foxglove manor to see if any information could also be found about the murders. The sheriff didn't see that as an issue as he hasn't seen or heard of any members of the Foxglove family line, other than the fop Aldern. His only word of advice was to make sure to not do anything that might bring their wrath down on Sandpoint.

They left and stopped off at one of the farms just north of the Soggy River where a family was loading up their possessions and heading to Sandpoint. The family had heard the rumors, had seen Grump as he ran past screaming about walking scarecrows and the family elder witnessed someone running from the cornrows only to trip and then be dragged back by some other shadowy person.

I described all the farms south of Soggy River to have all their crops (all corn for convenience and creepy factor) still unharvested. Since the murder at the lumber mill was discovered on the Harvest Feast day, the sight of corn not brought in was their first clue that something wasn't right. The first farm they arrived at, just north of the Hambley farm, was open and empty. Obvious signs of a scuffle was seen but no clues were discovered.

When they arrived at the Hambley farm and started to see scarecrows all over the farms fields, panic set in on the party. All nine of them. Moxie began by shooting arrows into the closest scarecrow. Since this one was an actual scarecrow nothing happened. The paladin charged forward and took its head off with his sword and discovered a bag with straw.

They then took the western path at the fork (arrived to the farm from the north road) to take the shortest path to the farm house. At this point panic had eased until they got within 30' of the scarecrow. This one being a ghoul, flinched and broke free of its bonds, dropping into the rows of corn and disappearing from sight. Panic set back in.

Everyone was given a DC 15 Perception to notice the ghoul flinch at the noise of approaching people. The horsemen were given a bonus of 2 because they were higher off the ground. Those that made the check acted in the same round that the ghoul charged.

I managed to actually bite the paladin but he made all the relevant saves. Once the creature was dispatched party infighting began. Some wanted to light the fields on fire and kill the ghouls (they now assumed everyone of them was a ghoul) but others were not to keen on the idea, especially since they were standing in the middle of the fields. Party journals (IF THEY WRITE THEM) should be an interesting read.

Once it was decided that fire was a bad idea, at least for now, they continued on the road that would take them to the house and barn the quickest. At this point another scarecrow came into view and Moxie fired several arrows into and at the scarecrow before learning that it was in fact nothing but a scarecrow. Not wanting to cut across the field they continued down to the V cut in the road and backtracked to the farmhouse. BUT while at the intersection, Moxie let loose an arrow at the scarecrow on the southern edge of the road. One Lettie Guffman. 4 points of damage later, I described the scarecrow flinching and then falling more slack than it was before. The gunslinger moved up and could see the blood pooling on the shirt and removed the sack to find a very sick (and now dead) woman.

Surprisingly there was no empathy from the group at this. At least not initially. After the paladin joked that an arrow cures ghouls as well and a raised eyebrow from me he admitted he was joking and would not have said that. But this has sealed their decision that they now need to find out if each one is in fact a ghoul or sick human who could be cured by Xandu.

Because of all the noise the ghast and 3 ghouls moved into the farmhouse, the other 3 ghouls spread out into the cornfields to find out who was approaching. The group split up, some going to the house, some to the barn, others moving about the area looking for clues. The rest just stood in between it all.

The paladin detecting evil could sense something inside the house at the same time the cleric and magus opened the door more and looked inside. I decided to make the manservant Rogors Craesby one of the individuals that had gone along with them on the boar hunt so many weeks ago.

The fight went quickly, 6 full hp ghouls and 1 ghast didn't really threaten the party although Moxie was really messed up. She got a full whiff of the ghast, was bit by the ghast and failed the ghoul fever disease and was also paralyzed with a failed save. Had I done it differently I would have had 3 ghasts, all of the manservants Foxglove had brought with them on the boar fight. That might have been a little more harried of a fight.

We completed the night with the discovery of yet another murder victim (Hambley) and the discovery of a note.

Well the other group got back to town late that evening. They apparently had investigated the barn and found the same foul odor, but little else. Then went on to the sanatorium and spoke with Graste. He was sick with a disease, but delivered a message. The sanatorium manager had arranged to rent some space out to an individual that turned out to be creating undead. There was a fight with him and a giant rat and some zombies. The zombies and others were dispatched and the group licked its wounds and returned to Sandpoint.

The next morning, while breaking our fast, the deputy that had assisted us with the search of Harker’s residence walked into the Rusty Dragon and asked us to go see the Sheriff. Apparently, something had happened outside of town a few miles and a survivor had run into town to report it.

When we arrived, there was a very animated older human ranting about scarecrows killing people. Moxie calmed him down and he told us a short story about problems at a farm. That some people decided to take care of it and scarecrows killed them and dogs. He ran away. Sheriff asked us to go investigate his claims.

We traveled along the road then took a path to a farmstead. The family there was packing up to leave. Zandu spoke with them they told us a story that all the problems were south of the river and none of the crops had been harvested south of the river, even though they were ready. He said he had seen what appeared to be a scarecrow grab a woman and haul her back into the corn, that’s when he decided to leave. He pointed out a short cut across the river to the area we were looking for. We continued down some farm paths and came across another farmstead. It was empty of people and livestock, but it looked like a fight had taken place there.

We finally arrived at the location the old man sent us to. There were LOTS of scarecrows in the fields. The first one we came to was nothing but straw. Moxie had put an arrow into it. The next one jumped right off the stand and attacked us. We dispatched it. Upon further inspection, we determined it was a ghoul, some sort of undead being. Annie was going to burn down the fields I told her no. At that point there was a disagreement as to what was going to happen. From my perspective, burning the fields accomplishes very little and puts us in great danger as fire has a mind of its own. We wouldn’t be able to find anything out about what was really happening and if anyone was alive, not to mention wasting what may be a very important food supply for Sandpoint. It nearly came to all out combat. We proceeded down paths toward the buildings, seeing more and more scarecrows scattered through the fields. Moxie shot the next closest on our way and it flinched, then stopped moving. Uther and myself went to investigate and found that it was a woman, tied to the cross bar that was or rather had been sick with ghoul fever and could have been saved. The arrow had killed her. We continued to the home and spread out. I approached the door and was assaulted by a foul odor causing me to be sick and nauseated. I cast a spell at an opponent and backed up. Three ghouls and another dead creature were inside with a recently deceased body on the table with blood everywhere inside the house. Two of the creatures ran out the back of the house and two attacked Zandu and I at the front door. It took some effort, but with some help from Friedrich and Rikert, we dispatched the two at the front door. Three other ghouls had approached to attack Uther and Friedrich; these also were dispatched after a couple segments. Apparently Moxie had climbed down from Rikert’s horse and went to look in the window. The two undead that had ran out the back came around from behind and attacked her. One bit her and she locked up in a paralytic state. Rikert and possibly others came to her rescue, chopping down what turned out to be a ghast and the ghoul that ran out the back of the house. The remaining ghouls were destroyed and quiet reigned over the area again. A note was found pinned to the body on the table, once again addressed to Zandu. I began walking around the back of the house and decided we needed to quickly go check the other scarecrows to see if any of them were still living beings that can maybe shed some light on what happened here.

Rikert Krupt, Paladin of Iomedae (and cute, hunk of princess bait! ... thanks Moxie)

Happiness is ... leaving Korvosa!

It’s true that it was my home; the place where I was raised as a child, became a supplicant of Iomedae, and eventually joined the honored ranks as a noble warrior of the church.

Despite these things of sentimental value, Korvosa never felt like home to me. The city holds an unavoidable taint of misery and unhappiness. It is filled with criminals of all types, and many residents seek only power and wealth at any cost.

During my time as a supplicant, my family moved in hope of finding a better future in Magnimar. I missed their company, but could not blame them for leaving. I spent two additional years in Korvosa to complete my formal training with the church. When I finished and joined the warrior priests, I knew it was time to leave. With any luck, I’ll never return!

I recently received a letter from my father in Magnimar. He invited me to visit my family in their new home. His letter spoke of their newly found happiness and prosperity. He asked me to stop in a town called Sandpoint to pick up my “gift” at the stable. This provided the final reason to leave Korvosa. I gathered my meager belongings and joined a small caravan of merchants and travelers heading to Magnimar. The trip was largely uneventful, at least until I reached Sandpoint.

Upon arrival in Sandpoint I paid for a room at a local inn known as the Rusty Dragon. It seemed to be a popular place, and I found the room and the food satisfactory. I then located the stable where I was to pick up my father’s gift. The place had the unusual name of the Goblin Squash Stables. The owner, Daviren Hosk, seemed friendly enough when I introduced myself and told him why I was there. My father’s gift to me turned out to be a large warhorse and all of the equipment needed including a saddle, harness, and saddlebags. Evidently, my family’s fortunes have changed for the better. An extravagant gift like this and its associated costs would have been a strain or impossible in the past.

I thanked Daviren and paid him extra to keep the horse stabled for a few more days. I had heard that a market day was coming at the end of the week and I wanted to stay and see what was offered.

I went back to the inn that afternoon, and immediately heard rumors that the “Heroes of Sandpoint” had returned. I questioned the owner, Ameiko, and she explained that Sandpoint had recently been attacked by Goblins and worse within the past few weeks. These so called “heroes” were a group of brave men and women who had chosen to fight to protect the town. With their help, the goblins had been stopped, but the real source of the problem were discovered. The heroes had continued on with their efforts to secure the town, and had left a few days previously for a place called Thistletop that was rumored to be the goblins lair.

According to Ameiko, the heroes had fought their way through the goblins and worse creatures that were discovered in the dungeon of an old keep. However, their victory came at great cost as two of their members had fallen in battle beneath the keep.

Later that evening as I was eating in the common room, the heroes themselves arrived. They were a diverse group of races, and showed no obvious signs or badges marking them as part of an organized unit. My first impression, however, was tempered by the shared laughter and comfortable relationships that develop when people have been through tough times and have to rely on each other. That requires trust and unquestioned loyalty that is strengthened through shared experience.

Ameiko introduced me to a female gnome named Moxie. It seems Moxie was a local who had joined with the group to protect her home town from the Goblins. We chatted briefly, and Moxie explained that they were in need of warriors who could replace their fallen companions. She seemed to be a good soul with good intentions, so I agreed to meet the other heroes and find out if I could aid their cause.

Moxie introduced me to the members of their group. As she went down the line and offered individual introductions, I was surprised to find such a diverse group operating together with some success. I was used to the familiarity and organization that the church of Iomedae installed in its warriors and priests. We were taught tactics and trained to fight alone and within organized groups.

After our introductions, the group told me of their history against the goblins, and the ongoing problems affecting Sandpoint. Their tale included mention of a temple of foul Lamashtu they had discovered. This alone was enough to guarantee my assistance, but I was also drawn to help them because of the fact that they were the only effective force in the area that seemed capable of making any progress. I was impressed that a group of complete strangers had selflessly come together to help a town that only one of them called home.

It seems that there was one other new member of the group, a halfling wizard named Ramad who had studied Thessalonian history. Following our evening introductions and shared food and drinks, I agreed to meet them the following morning and assist in any way possible.

Rikert Krupt, Paladin of Iomedae

Next morning found us all gathered with our gear in the common room of the Rusty Dragon Inn. It didn't take long for things to get interesting as we were contacted almost immediately by the local sheriff and asked to help with an investigation of two murders that had occurred during the night. My presence with the group was noted by several including the sheriff, and I was accepted without question since they vouched for me.

We went to a local sawmill where we searched for clues concerning the gruesome murders of a man who worked at the mill and a female who was romantically involved with him. The female had died by being dissected by the saw used for splitting the logs. The male suffered a worse fate and was found murdered and filleted, hanging on a wall of the mill. We found a strange pattern carved into his flesh that the party members said they had seen several times recently during the battles with the goblins. We also discovered a trail of foul-smelling footsteps that were traced back to the river and eventually to an area on the opposite side of the river that appeared to have been used by whatever killed the victims.

We returned to the sheriff to share our discoveries and talk with two suspects he had locked in jail. It was quickly apparent to me that the men being held were not responsible for the murders. One of them seemed fearful and incapable of such an act, and the other, the murdered girl's father, was a surly man with a past history of confrontation with some of the party. I spoke briefly with both of them, but went away convinced neither was the murderer.

At this point, we decided to split the party into two groups so we could cover more leads quickly. I stayed in town with Moxie and Lynn. We went to the murdered man's house and searched for money that was rumored to have been stolen from the mill operation. We found the money hidden in a chest in the attic area of the house. This money was turned in to the sheriff.

We then went to the local graveyard and spoke with the caretaker. I had been told of undead rising in the town, and we wanted to see if there were any signs of necromancy in use. Our search through some of the recently buried bodies revealed that nothing was missing or unusual at this time.

We left to await the return of the other members who had ventured from town to check on a witness to some previous murders that appeared connected to last nights slayings.

Rikert Krupt, Paladin of Iomedae

The other members returned with a story of a fight within the sanatorium where they went to question the witness to the previous murders. They bore the scars of battle, and Uther, the gunfighter, had been blinded by sorcery during the fight.

After tending to their wounds, Xandu was able to restore Uther's sight.

We shared our stories with each other and the sheriff to assure that everyone had all of the information available.

The sheriff then introduced us to a local farmer, Maester Grump, who had arrived during the early morning hours. He had fled from some event involving supernatural creatures in the form of walking scarecrows which had attacked him and other farmers who were investigating a series of dark happenings at a farm several miles to the south of Sandpoint.

After questioning him thoroughly, we gathered our gear and my mount and set out on the road leading to the farms several miles to the south. Along the way, we found a farm family in the process of loading their belongings into a wagon. They claimed they were fearful of the walking scarecrows that had been seen dragging others into the unharvested corn field across the small river to the south.

We continued on to the south and found other abandoned farms. Strangely, many of the crops were still standing in the fields. If they are not harvested soon, they will be of no use to anyone.

Our journey continued down the narrow farm paths through the standing corn fields until we reached the Hambley farm that was our destination. We soon found ourselves confronted by multiple scarecrows set at the corners of each field. We decided not to take any chances, and Moxie shot each of them with arrows. Several of them were just empty straw suits, but one turned out to be a foul undead creature that rushed to attack us after tearing loose from the post where it was mounted. The creature attacked me in the leg while I was mounted on my horse. It managed to find an opening between the armor plates, but the power of Iomedae protected me from the worst of its corrupted touch. After we dispatched the ghoul, we found yet another scarecrow. This one, however, turned out to be a woman who had been stricken by the ghoul fever and hung from the post until she would have changed. Unfortunately, Moxie's arrow killed her. We now have to check all of the scarecrows to be sure that they are not innocent victims.

Upon arriving at Hambley's house and barn, we moved to search the area. I stayed near the house as Xandu and Lynn moved to the partially open door. A sudden vision from Iomedae just gave me time to shout a warning to them as a strong feeling of evil radiated from the house. Immediately, two ghoulish creatures burst from the door and attacked. I dismounted and charged the closest ghoul that was in combat with Xandu. As I moved forward I called upon the power of Iomedae to fill my sword with her Holy light to smite these unclean foes. My sword shone brightly with the Holy power, and my first blow cleaved the ghoul in half, ending its unnatural life. I followed immediately with an attack on the second creature and cut it down as quickly as the first.

Annie yelled a warning that more ghouls had appeared from behind the house, and that Moxie was in danger. Being the closest to Moxie, I ran around the side to find Moxie fallen under the attacks of two of the creatures. I attacked the closest one and it once again stood no chance against the Holy power imbued in my blade. Annie also ran to help, and we put the last creature down, and then turned to aid Moxie. I called upon Iomedae's power to heal her wounds, and as I placed my hands upon her she awoke from the paralyzing touch of the ghouls, her wounds closing before my eyes. Giving a quick prayer of thanks, I arose and went to search the rest of the farm.

Lynn and Xandu had already found farmer Hambley's murdered body on a table in the house. He also bore the strange rune carved in his body, and there was yet another note that seemed to address Xandu. As we looked over the note and discussed its meaning, the druid and the alchemist joined us and told us the barn was full of dead body parts. It seems our battle against the undead is not yet finished.

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