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Legacy of the Green Regent

Prologue – Waylaid Before Twilight

Opening theme song

So you seek to hear stories of wondrous adventure? Then sit for a while and I will spin you a tale. Like my mother, I am a bard. You may have heard of my mother—she composed the Ballad of the Dream Weaver in Secomber many years ago. Perhaps you have heard of it? Regardless, the tale I have for you this evening is very different. For it is the tale of Loudwater and the Delimbiyr Vale. And this tale begins just a year ago...
— Teseryne Truesilver, Year of Rogue Dragons

"There are few places in Faerûn like the Delimbiyr Crescent. The Harpers whisper that the entire region is a favored haunt of the goddess Mielikki, while the guildmasters of Waterdeep covet the abundant resources that flow down the River Shining. The vale is the verdant crown of the north. At its centerpiece glimmers Loudwater, the City of Grottos, a luxuriant paradise where the triumphs of Western Heartlands civilization intermesh seamlessly with the beauty of the wild North.

"But as the cynic warns, every paradise has its serpents.

"Mielikki's blessed share the fertile valley with the forces of the Black Network, and though there is a declared promise of peace between Loudwater and Llorkh, no one believes the Oath of Orlbar will confine the Zhentarim forever. A wererat bandit lord named the Hark plagues the road to Secomber, and after almost a decade of light raids, the Hark's brood attacks with renewed ferocity. In late spring, the orcs of the High Forest started migrating en masse out of the forest, heading east toward the Greypeak Mountains, creating a situation that has shocked the residents of Loudwater. Some guess the orcs were spooked by the floating City of Shade appearing over the Dire Wood, while others speculate both may be symptoms of the same disease infecting that cursed wood.

"It is just before Shieldmeet, the Year of Wild Magic. The Delimbiyr Vale is a land full of magic, intrigue, and danger, and soon a band of heroes will put their own mark on its history."

In the case of some stories, it's good to start at the end and let it wind its way to the beginning. This is especially true when retelling the lives of heroes and tyrants. That way we can learn valuable lessons on how the road sometimes shapes the traveler.
— Teseryne Truesilver, Year of Rogue Dragons

Dramatis Personae:

Savage Frontier orcs.jpg

Act I – Waylaid Before Twilight

On the Road

Place: Along the Delimbiyr Route between Zelbross and Loudwater, in the Delimbiyr Vale.
Time: Shortly before twilight; late Flamerule, the Summertide, 1372 DR.
Weather: Windy and cool.

Blaz Merrymar was not a merry halfling. His own name, a good old Hin name, made him feel like a fraud every time he introduced himself. His own smiling face, a face you could trust, stared mockingly back at him from the sign painted on the side of his wagon. How could he be merry, when he'd lost so much of what had made him so? Corkaury, Wilimac, Ombert, and Gandolar, his own sons. Dalabrac, Osco, and Bryn, nephews just as close. All lost, all dead. No one to carry on the good old Merrymar name now. No one to be merry again.

A clan decimated, a brother's promise failed, a heart broken seven times over. The news had been too much to bear the first time, but the second time, so soon after, had been unthinkable. First half his sons murdered by savage elves on nameless forest trails. Then the other half, slaughtered by marauding orcs on the road. The road he travelled now. Blaz knew it was a risk; if there was another raid he couldn't leave Rinyon a widow and his daughters fatherless. But he'd insisted to Rinyon he had to replace the stolen stock before Shieldmeet. She'd seen right through it, of course, but had let him go. In truth, he couldn't bear to stay home, stewing in his misery where everything reminded him of his lost sons and nephews. His hobbies and enterprises held no interest to him now. He worked like one of Deogol's mechanical men, empty-headed and just following its program. So, he'd needed to go. And now, he was going back.

The road ran along the north bank of the great Delimbiyr, with the wide vale now a narrow neck squeezed between the great expanse of the High Forest and the small Southwood, with a scattering of blueleafs from both trying to reclaim the land between them and be joined once again. The caravan had left Zelbross behind, and now headed to Loudwater, and beyond it, for Blaz at least, Shining Falls. But more immediately, a common campsite they would reach by twilight. Behind his wagon were a motley band of travelers: small-time merchants like him, folk wishing to settle in the Shining Valley, caravan guards meant to keep them safe, and of course adventurers. Blaz wasn't sure the adventurers were meant to keep anyone safe, but he hoped they'd keep the bandits and the elves and the orcs at bay...

No. Blaz hoped they wouldn't, that the raiders would come and show their damn ugly faces, so he could demand why they'd taken his sons and ruined his business and destroyed his family. So he could fight them for Corkaury and Wilimac and Ombert and Gandolar… No. He didn't know what he would do. But he knew he would do something.

BadCatMan (talk) 14:55, 10 September 2021 (UTC)

last seventhday of Summertide
(Or was it sixthday or eighthday today? I do not even know anymore....)

I like the halfling merchant leader most amongst all the strangers in this band of misfits.

I cannot say that I have spoken a solitary word to him, but I can tell from his face that he has suffered loss of the same kind as I. The man smiles at us constantly, and I can see that every one of them is a lie. I can also see the determination in his countenance, though I do not know what it is for.

It matters little to me. I am just along for this ride.

Nothing particularly interesting happened today. The plant growth here along the river valley is lush and green, and something about the emerald rays shining through the leaves offers some comfort to me, though I do not accept it as a true gift. I can admire the beauty of it without thinking that the gods ordained it for my pleasure. It is happenstance, a natural occurance of the way the sun shines through Toril's skies. It is as mundane as every potion I have ever brewed.

Yesterday, I first noticed one of the other travelers with us. It terrified me at first, because I saw curly red hair atop a short stature and thought that it was Sili come to haunt me. I am beginning to see them everywhere. I pinched myself to find that I was not having a vision, but then the figure turned. It was another halfling, probably another merchant, but I have no real idea.

I cannot read Korr. How is it that I can read this halfling caravan leader better than my own brother? How is it that we grew up together, yet I cannot interpret his facial expressions? I want to talk to him about home, but I do not know how to begin. I hope that the fact that I accompanied him on this journey conveys to him that I do not blame him for what happened. If anyone, I blame his god.

I wonder sometimes if Kethra blamed him as she took her last breath.

Blaz told us that we are to reach a campsite by nightfall, and the light is already dimming and making it hard to write. I also have but two sheets of paper left to spare, so I shall put down my pen....

Ilrien pauses for a moment beneath the leaves, surveying the woods alongside the road. The noise of the caravans and people had long since scared away any game. A pity, that. A rabbit or squirrel would have made a nice change from travel rations.

Dusk, now, when the sun sets and darkness cradles the world. The caravan would be stopping soon, its motley collection of people circling the wagons against what walked in the night. Normally she would have travelled by night as well, not day, but she is alone and not so powerful as to scorn the protection offered by numbers. Not with the orcs leaving the High Forest to rove the open Delimbyr lands.

She turns and continues walking along the edges of the train of wagons. Maybe once they reach the campsite, she will go on a short hunt for herself.

A redheaded halfling was perched atop one of the wagons with her tight curls bouncing in rhythm with the bumpy road through the Vale. Her cherubic face took in the last rays of evening light. Juniper scanned the blueleaf trees that slowly moved past the wagon, thinking to herself if the trees had any undiscovered magical properties or eccentric culinary uses. Yes, Juniper was her name, thanks to her mother who was likely thinking of ingredients for her famous cheese rather than of traditional hin names. She sighed and admitted to herself that Juniper is not the worst name she could've ended up with. However, Juniper was happy to be many miles away from home and from the unending copious cousins, siblings, and other assorted family members.

She found her eyes unconsciously focusing on another halfling in the ragtag band of caravaners. Blaz, he did not have a typical cheery disposition Juniper was used to among her kin. He really should smile more... but then he'd become as unbearable as her clan, and Juniper was happy not to be reminded of them too often.

The halfling shrugged, took out her spellbook, and quickly scribbled a few words on the last page. She hoped the dinner would be hearty as she was starving half to death with only having four meals today.

Samophlange awoke with a start as the wagon he was sleeping in hit a pothole, causing his fellow passengers—hundreds of turnips—to pummel his being in a veritable avalanche of root vegetables. A muffled cry sounded from beneath the verdant landslide, and before long, Samophlange emerged, pointed nose first, as he dug his way to freedom. "Of course they placed the gnome in the turnip wagon. Thrice-damned cheapskates!" he muttered to himself as he threw one of the interminable roots to the other side of the admittedly rather small and cramped wagon.

He slicked back his black hair and peered through the opening at the back of the wagon tent. It looked like he had slept through most of the day yet again. He could hardly blame himself, though. The journey from Athkatla had been slow and tedious, with little in the way of exotic sights—mostly the open road, fields, more fields—and yeah, turnips. That might change soon, though, if the caravan buzz was to be believed. Apparently they were entering frontier territory, barely-tamed wilderness where mortal danger was a daily concern. Samo shuddered with excitement. His belly rumbled plaintively in solidarity.

Samo dug out his rather too-large backpack and fished out another pack of honeycakes that his family had insisted he bring, or else. He opened the waxed cloth and groaned as he saw yet another message from his mother scribbled inside: "Remember to bathe often." Samophlange scoffed. He'd bathe whenever he damn well felt like it!

A lone purple-white, fleshy vegetable rolled towards the wagon wheel, causing it to jolt upwards. Korrlan Splitbark sprung out of his seat, and the worn book he once understood slammed closed. "It doesn't make sense, anyway", he sighed, "not like it used to". Korr's faith in Ilmater, the Crying God, waned quicker than Selûne at the end of its lunar cycle. His nephew and niece, his friends and colleagues, and even the Revered Mother of the Neverwintan Church of Ilmater had fallen to the Wailing Death. The hospital he had worked in became overcrowded, causing the supplies to run out completely. This is what had set Korrlan and his brother, Brace, on the road. It was clear to the young Ilmatari cleric what had happened, but not why they had...

Korrlan slouched, head in hands. He took a second to reflect on a situation other than his own. The halfling, Blaz, had lost his kin too; several sons and nephews, he claimed. Korr understood Blaz's situation, but somehow, it just didn't seem to mirror his own. Though downtrodden, at least the halfling had some spark of revenge-fueled passion pumping through his veins. Korrlan had nothing.

"Half a bell, now," Blaz called over his shoulder, expecting the others to repeat his message down the line to those who took up the rear. "'Til we reach the campsite. And a bell until twilight. Keep your eyes peeled for orcs. They've been seen about." he ended with a warning. He'd been unable to keep the note of weariness from his voice; the day had been long and the monotony of the road had done little to keep him from his thoughts. But his last words had been bitter, almost a growl.

Ahead, the road began to wind around low, tree-topped rises, forming a shallow S-shaped curve. It was hard to see clearly what lay beyond the next bend—a perfect place for an ambush, as every frontier traveler knew.

OOC: The usual Spot and Listen checks, please.
BadCatMan (talk) 09:33, 16 September 2021 (UTC)

"I love bells!" the red-headed halfling girl exclaimed after the grumpy caravan leader decided to talk about music out of the blue. "How does one play half-a-bell I wonder" she mumbled. Juniper's eyes darted from tree to tree but she found herself thinking of components and wildlife and singing bells instead of actually watching out for trouble. Her ears, however, did a much better job.

OOC: spot - 5; listen - nat 20 (23)

Still eating his honeycake and peering listlessly at the horizon as he thought of home, Samophlange was annoyed to hear multiple people shouting something about bells. Annoyance quickly gave way to excitement as he heard the word "orcs". Could the danger and adventure he so yearned for finally have arrived? Samo leaned further out of the wagon tent and focused more intently on the treeline. He'd never met a real, honest-to-Gruumsh full orc before, but he tried to imagine where he would hide if he were an orc.

Spot: 7 + 4 = 11
Listen: 20 + 2 = 22

Spot: 10 + 5 = 15
Listen: 5 + 1 = 6
~ Lhynard (talk) 13:01, 16 September 2021 (UTC)

Ilrien looks up and towards the shouting. When someone says "orcs", she strings her longbow.

14 Spot, 8 Listen


It wasn't even half a bell before the wagon train came to a sudden stop. A small, swift figure had scampered out of the brush and stopped in the middle of the road, waving a lit torch above his big-eared head, forcing Blaz to rein his pony in. "Halt, travelers!" the figure cried eagerly. Beneath the torch's glare, they saw an orange goblin in patchwork leather armor, with shield on his back, mace at his waist, and a crossbow pointed at Blaz. In the day's dying light, it was hard to pick out details, but two more crossbow-wielding goblins could be seen crouching behind bushes on either side of the road, and from the trees and brush, there was rustling and an ominous crack as a stick broke underfoot. "My name is Skar, and it's time to pay the Hark's Tax! You're outnumbered and surrounded, and if no one tries anything, no one gets hurt! We'll be taking your gold, your jewels, and, oh yeah, we'll be taking those turnips!" Skar added with a wicked snigger.

OOC: Goblins are ~40 feet away to the front and sides and in concealment.
BadCatMan (talk) 13:34, 19 September 2021 (UTC)

Samophlange recognized the ruse immediately. He had, after all, seen it done a dozen times. As far as stratagems go, "the Taxman" was hardly the most elegant or original, but Samo couldn't deny its efficiency when sprung on an unsuspecting mark. Which he certainly was not. Samophlange knew very well that the goblins would be trying to exaggerate their numbers to scare the caravan into submission. From his vantage point at the back of the turnip wagon, there didn't seem to be very many goblins surrounding the caravan at all. Samo supposed they could be expertly camouflaged, but somehow he doubted that.

What's more, the star of this production—Skar—seemed oddly nervous for someone claiming to be in control of the situation, like he'd drawn a particularly bad hand at Three-Dragon Ante. Samo packed away his honeycake, strapped his hand crossbow to its holster, and slipped out of the wagon, making no particular attempt at staying unnoticed. He walked up to the next wagon over—Blaz's—and whispered, loud enough for the halfling to hear: "It's a bluff! Swear to Gond!"

"We'll be taking those turnips!" Eviler words have never been spoken, Juniper thought to herself in indignation. Then she noticed the crossbow aimed at the grumpy caravan leader - Blaz. She quickly fell on her belly attempting to hide from the view of the brigand. Something in the sounds that the robber's allies were making in the shrubbery sounded off. It reminded Juniper how she and her siblings in their adolescence scared a group of robbers away from the homestead by making loud noises as if the home was filled with partying folk. "There are not as many gobbos around as they want us to think!" She hissed while looking around for any of the traveling companions in the earshot.

OOC: In case needs a stealth troll - 18+3=21

Korrlan sat up to take notice of Skar, the menacing little goblin, whom demanded the traveller's food, gems, and gold. The young cleric drifted into his own thoughts, "Perhaps this goblinoid creature and his kin are starving. Perhaps they are only doing this as a means to survive, as we all need to..."

Distracted, Korr missed out on the context of Skar's threats and boasts. Somewhat lost, he turned to Brace. The oldest Splitbark brother had that look on his face, as if he'd called a friend's bluff during a game of poker. Korrlan offered Brace a grim nod and placed his hand on the handle of the heavy mace that lay to his side; he knew what would come next.

Sense Motive 24. He can certainly tell that Brace suspects the goblin is bluffing.

Brace nodded back to Korrlan, his expression now blank again. He had no mace at his side, nor any other weapon with which he was trained to fight. He felt for his father's dagger, however. He had never used it in combat before…. He readied himself at the back of the wagon, ready to act if he needed to, hoping to instinct.
~ Lhynard (talk) 13:27, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

Ilrien managed not to go for an arrow when a goblin started delivering threats, but she did turn to scan the woods. Just how many were there? And if it came to a fight, how many of the other travellers would fight, and how many would need to be protected? Spot check 13

But Ilrien did not see anyone else in the woods, at least nearby and on her side of the road. The goblin bandits were clearly better at hiding than they were at sneaking, being small and practiced at the art, not to mention well-prepared for this ambush.

Surprised by the sudden threat on the road, Blaz had frozen, being shocked out of his thoughts but not into any kind of action. He was dully wondering if this was what Corkaury and Ombert had been confronted with, not orcs, but goblins. Was this Skar the one who had slain his sons? Then he heard words hissed his way, first the gnome insisting it was a bluff, then the lightfoot explaining why. Bolstered by the news, outraged that brave Corkaury, survivor of the Night of the Blood Moon, might've been felled by such trickery, a sudden burst of courage gripped his heart. Blaz would challenge them! Snatching up his crossbow and a small but hefty club, Blaz jumped out of his wagon, his boots raising dust in the dirt road. Wearing only tunic and breeches, he was middle aged and stout, and lack of appetite had robbed him of his plumpness and loosened his skin, but his heart was strong! Blaz marched up to Skar, shouting furiously "You damned goblin bastard! Did you murder my sons!"

But Skar, not cowed at all, cackled at the sight of him. "Oho, another half-man who wants to be a hero? They must've been your sons then! But then, they won't be your sons much longer. They won't even be halflings!" he crowed.

Confused and horrified, Blaz tensed, his hand clenched, the crossbow fired. And the bolt flew high over Skar's head. He ducked anyway, grinning madly. "Get him, Gvrag!"

Skar torturing the hapless Blaz Merrymar.

With a great smash, a bush was ripped aside, and a massive bugbear barged out of the woods and rushed Blaz. One meaty hand seized him by the front of his tunic and yanked him high in the air. The other punched him in the gut.

"This half-man has looser skin than the others. We must be getting to the bottom of the barrel. Don't need to bring this one to the boss, do we, boys? Maybe we can have some fun!" The goblins sniggered and then Skar thrust the lit torch right into Blaz's feet, causing boots and breeches to smoulder. Blaz cried out in pain and frustration, and in grief that he'd failed his sons.

Skar turned back to the caravan and those watching in horror. "Hand over your riches now, and he won't suffer. Much. Or does anyone else want to be a hero?"
BadCatMan (talk) 12:36, 21 September 2021 (UTC)

Slinking closer to the wagon, Ilrien nocks an arrow and aims for the chatty goblin. Fires. The arrow gets him in the shoulder. Not a bad shot, but not a lethal one.

"Maybe not heroes, but not cowards either."

18 to hit Skar, 2 damage. Current location should be C15

"Not for long!" Skar hissed, clutching his shoulder. "Shoot them!" Among the bushes on the sides of the road, crossbows flickered and snapped, bolts peppered the travelers, and the hiding goblin archers were revealed. One returned the hit to Ilrien, grazing her arm. Another shot went wide past Samophlange on the other side of the wagon. The other two saved their shots, for now.

Meanwhile, the bugbear thumped Blaz across the jaw, knocking him cold, and tossed him aside like a piece of trash. Gvrag had more worthy foes to fight now.

OOC: Goblin #3 attack 12 hits, damage 2 @ Ilrien. Goblin #4 attack 11, misses @ Samophlange.
BadCatMan (talk) 04:03, 22 September 2021 (UTC)

A crossbow bolt whizzed by Samo's head, burying itself in Blaz's wagon. "Hey! Watch it!" he yelled out instinctively as he made a mental note of where the exceptionally ugly goblin who had fired the bolt hid itself in the underbrush. Samophlange dove for the relative cover of a large rock five feet to his right and crouched down, putting stone between himself and his assailant. He drew his hand crossbow from its holster and fired on the biggest guy he could see—the bugbear. Samo knew from experience that disposing of the biggest guy quickly tended to make the other, smaller guys question their commitment to a particular fight. He called this "Samophlange's Biggest Guy Theory".

Samophlange moves to I10 (5 ft).

To hit Gvrag: 1 + 3 = 4

"Did they teach you how to fight in that church hospital? Because I am looking to you for tips, Little Brother.

"Fighting was... certainly not a regular occurrence on the curriculum. However... the Revered Mother, before she passed, would bless us with words of wisdom, should our hands be forced."

Without saying any more solely to Brace, Korrlan rushed to the wagon ahead of him and climbed upon it. The young cleric raised his voice, and his holy symbol into the air, and called out to Ilmater, the One Who Endures. "The red cord that binds our hands shall snap, freeing them from their confinement. So seize that bow, unsheathe that sword, or reveal that dagger, and strike those that would cause needless suffering!"

OOC: Korrlan moves to E15 (using full movement), and casts bless.

Brace had no idea how his presence on the battlefield would be at all helpful, but he could not sit idly by while others suffered, and he felt a strange—almost supernatural—burst of courage on seeing his brother's and hearing his prayer to the Broken God. He flung himself out of the front side of the wagon and rushed past Korr to take cover behind the lead wagon, (close to the funny-looking little man from the turnip wagon whom he had heard called Master Skuttelgadget or something.) He fingered the array of flasks and vials on his belt, wondering if any of them might have an unexpected use in the near future.

Brace uses a hustle/double movement to get to G12 or nearabouts.

~ Lhynard (talk) 13:54, 22 September 2021 (UTC)

Biggest Guy he may be, but Gvrag wasn't any easier to hit, not when Samophlange planted his crossbow bolt in the dirt between his boots instead. "Ha!" one the goblins jeered. "You couldn't hit the broad side of a bugbear!"

"Like you can talk. You missed the gnome." his fellow pointed out, switching to the Goblin language.

"Yeah, but gnomes are smaller." the other insisted.

"They're as big as us!" He fired his own crossbow, but the bolt clattered off the milestone the gnome was cowering behind. "He's behind a rock." he pointed about before his mate could. [Goblin #2 attack 21, miss]

In any case, Samophlange had gotten the Biggest Guy's attention—Gvrag was now looking his way and loosening his spiked flail.

"Focus, you lot!" Skar hissed to his companions, then took off, dashing swiftly past the wagons in an attempt to answer his attacker. An elf archer would ruin anyone's day, leastwise his. He was still clutching the burning torch, trailing smoke and cinders behind him, so he thrust it at the elf to burn and dazzle her. [Skar: charges to C13, attack 6, misses Ilrien]

Meanwhile, Korrlan got everyone's attention by climbing atop a wagon and exhorting the travelers to action and courage with his prayer, the inspiring display was only slightly undercut by the sight of him standing on a heap of turnips. Somewhere, the Crying God would be chuckling.

Then one of the goblins answered with a crossbow bolt, the point ratting painfully on the priest's scale mail. [Goblin #1 attack 16, hit, damage 4 @ Korrlan]

Map Updates: Samophlange in I10. Korrlan in E15. Brace in G12. Ilrien revised to C14. Skar charged to C13. BTW, wagons provide cover, at least when not standing on top of them.
BadCatMan (talk) 09:22, 23 September 2021 (UTC)


"It looks like the tall hairy one is the boss." Juniper murmured to herself as she crawled forward to the front of the wagon to see the foul-smelling bugbear better. The halfling focused on Skar, mumbling incantations and making several quick hand gestures towards the raid leader. "Let's make you feel hot and bothered!" She snickered as the Weave shimmered in her hands.

OOC: Skar -> Fortitude save. On fail - 11 non-lethal damage + fatigue. On save successes - 1/2 damage.

To Skar's senses, the burning torch in his hand seemed to burn hotter and brighter, making his orange skin redden and his head swim. Then, with an accusing snarl of "Magic!", he dropped the torch and shook off the effects. [Skar Fort save 15, success. Takes 5 nonlethal damage.]
BadCatMan (talk) 12:01, 23 September 2021 (UTC)

Ilrien stepped back, away from the fire and the annoying goblin. A bit early to have to do this—but necessary—she called on her own magic, and the twilight shadows flowed over her body like a shroud before forming armor and a shield.
Takes a five-foot step back and uses her Steel Shadows mystery, AC is now 18.

Round 2

In the Goblin tongue, Skar spat a curse and shouted orders to his fellows, calling them out to aid him. "Down bows! Close in! Take the gnomes and halflings alive!" One descended the slope and came up behind his leader, before clearly trying to circle around Ilrien. [Goblin #3 double-moves to B14]

On the other side of the road, another goblin had the same idea, creeping out of the woods and around the milestone to get behind Samophlange. [Goblin double-moves to #J11]

Their tactic soon become terribly clear: unhooking his vicious spiked flail and whirling it around, Gvrag the bugbear charged right at the cornered gnome! He might not have been trying to kill Samophlange, but the distinction was moot as that heavy mass of metal slammed into his leather armor, winding him badly. [Gvrag charges to H9, flanking; attack 15, nonlethal damage 4 @ Samophlange]
BadCatMan (talk) 03:34, 25 September 2021 (UTC)

As the spiked flail connected with his body, momentarily knocking the breath out of his lungs, Samo realized he had attracted far more attention than he'd ever wanted from a bugbear. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw a goblin creeping up right behind him as well. Apparently today was not a good day for the "hide behind a rock" stratagem that had served him so well in the past.

Samophlange deftly stepped away from both goblinoid assailants, toward the lead wagon, and used the modicum of space this bought him to reload his hand crossbow. He fired on the hulking bugbear once more, hoping to prove his theory.

Samophlange 5-foot-steps to H11 and reloads his crossbow.
To hit Gvrag: 13 + 6 = 19
19 hits. Damage: 2.

This time, Samophlange did hit the broad side of a bugbear, skewering Gvrag's thick hide and leather wrap. [Samo hits]
BadCatMan (talk) 13:13, 26 September 2021 (UTC)

"Gah!" Korrlan cried, as the crude crossbow bolt pierced his armor, drawing a thick line of blood. Almost mirroring the action of his goblin assailant, he let loose a crossbow bolt of his own towards him. But the reflected image would not be identical, as Korr's projectile would miss its target, and by no small amount. "By the Twice-Martyred, how can our aim not be true, even after Ilmater's blessing..."

The cleric leaped over the side of the right side of the wagon and took cover. "So He has left me, first in life, and now in... death. Gods be damned-", he began to murmur, but quickly halted the blasphemous thought.

To hit: 3. Clear miss.

Brace was fuming with a mixture of emotions and confusion at what was ensuing; it was hard to think clearly. Instinctively, his hand moved from his vials to his dagger—his father's dagger—and imagined an image of it plunging into the face of the pointed-eared beast that had shot his only living family member. But then he remembered the lessons of his master, Luth, to whom he had so long been apprenticed, lessons about pausing for a moment to think about the most tactical solution to a problem before acting. He had less than a moment, but the little goblin was certainly less important than the big hairy one. His hand returned to one of the vials and freed it from its pouch. Poking out from behind the corner of the wagon, he let it fly.

Ranged touch attack w/ alchemical sleep gas: 8 + 3 + 1 (point blank) + 1 (bless) = 13

~ Lhynard (talk) 12:11, 26 September 2021 (UTC)

Breaking open against the bugbear's broad and bleeding chest, the vial released a soporific gas that immediately overwhelmed him. Gvrag snuffled and yawned, and swayed and swooned, and finally went down like a felled tree, hitting the dirt with a thud and very nearly crushing Samophlange. [Gvrag fortitude save 8, fail. Goes nigh-nighs.]
BadCatMan (talk) 13:13, 26 September 2021 (UTC)

Brace drew his father's dagger. Next, the little goblin.
~ Lhynard (talk) 12:34, 26 September 2021 (UTC)

"You're done for, elf!" Skar spat and unhooked his small spike-headed morningstar. He advanced and swung at Ilrien—it should've been a hit, but the head was deflected by shadowy yet strong armor. "Get behind her!" he said in Goblin to his mate. [Skar: attack 15, misses Ilrien]

The other two goblins remained in the cover of the woods, where it seemed safer. One suffered a misfire with his ramshackle crossbow, but the other had much more success, putting another bolt in Korrlan. [Goblin #1 attack 21, damage 2 @ Korr. Goblin #2 rolled a 1, miss.]

OOC: Gvrag asleep for 1 minute. Samo in H11.
BadCatMan (talk) 13:13, 26 September 2021 (UTC)

Trying to remain unharassed, Juniper saw the bugbear swing at the gnome fella and hit! The halfling quickly closed her eyes and started chanting another spell. Suddenly the sound of broken glass and falling bugbear body snapped her out of concentration. "...Did I do that?... I must be a better sorceress than I thought to be!" She quickly looked around and turned her attention to the goblin leader once again. She shouted the final words of the spell and pointed her finger at Skar. A single pulsing globule of concentrated magic few out of Juniper's finger and crashed into Skar's back.

OOC: Magic Missile at Skar - 3+1=4

Ilrien takes another swift step back, raising her longbow once more- only to fumble it and drop the arrow instead of firing it. "Cleric, you might wish to rethink grandstanding on top of a pile of roots."
Ilrien takes a five-foot step back, then fires: 6 to hit, clear miss.

Round 3

Suddenly slammed in the back, Skar was winded and left reeling, unable to make his legs walk and his arms move at the same time. "Ow!" he complained, more annoyed than agonized. Still, he was not so stricken that he could not dodge the elf's next arrow. [Skar: staggered, limited single actions only]

Meanwhile, the third goblin ran around and behind Ilrien, passing easily under the head of a horse. Then he took a low swing at her legs with his morningstar, managing to penetrate her umbral armor. It wouldn't take long to corner her and kill her. [Goblin #3 moves to C17. Attack 18, damage 3 @ Ilrien]

While Gvrag snored noisily, the fourth goblin called out "Boss! Gvrag's down!" and bravely jumped forward to avenge the bugbear. He swung his morningstar at Brace, but the apothecary only just evaded it. [Goblin #4 moves to H12. Attack 12, miss]
BadCatMan (talk) 07:45, 27 September 2021 (UTC)

As the bugbear fell over in a cloud of gas, Samo spotted his opening. He took a quick step closer to the toppled behemoth, coincidentally putting him back next to the rock he'd hid behind earlier. He reloaded his crossbow and fired it at the goblin that was harassing Samo's gassy savior.
Samophlange 5-foot-steps to I10 and reloads his crossbow.
To hit goblin #4: 8 + 7 = 15
15 hits. Damage: 1.

Korrlan saw a morningstar smash into the moon elf to his left, and a split second later, a jagged bolt coursed towards him. Again, the barbed quarrel hit its mark, though Korrlan did not cry out, but instead endured. With a quiet chant to Ilmater, he placed his hand on his chest, and a wave of divine healing washed over him. Korr had to draw Skar and the other mangy goblin away from Ilrien if he was to get her to safety. Spotting a concealed area, the cleric hurtled towards it, and ducked behind the large rock. Hopefully that would stop him from receiving a third crossbow bolt!

OOC: Korrlan casts cure light wounds: 1+1 + 1 (healing domain) + 2 (augmented healing) to gain 5 HP. Korrlan moves from E15 to G17. Path: E15 -> F16 (5 ft), F16 -> G16 (5 ft), G16 -> G17 (10 ft) due to elevation increase. Full movement used.

Brace did not expect his target to come to him, but it had lunged at him with a crude-looking spiked stick or something. With instincts that he did not know he had, he lunged back and released his weapon. At the same time, he heard a muffled low twang from around the corner of the wagon. Brace's blade made a single circle in the air and stuck point-in to the goblin's forehead, as a quarrel drove into the creature from the side. Brace drew his second dagger before he saw whether the little monster was dead or no. Instead, he glance over his right shoulder expecting to see his brother grimacing in pain, hunched in the cover of the turnip wagon. However, the young cleric was not cowering or hiding; he was risking himself to save the injured fey woman who had been traveling with them. "Korr?" he called out again, impressed with his brother's courage.

5-foot step to F12
Ranged attack w/ masterwork dagger: 16 + 4 + 1 (point blank) + 1 (bless) = 22
Damage: 2 + 2 + 1 (point blank) = 5
Draw weapon as move action
~ Lhynard (talk) 15:23, 27 September 2021 (UTC)

Struck by both a crossbow bolt and a flung dagger, the goblin was spun left and right, then dropped to the dirt. [Goblin #4 downed]

Seeing the priest jump off the turnip cart and run for the treeline, Skar sneered "So, the cleric is a coward! Let's deal with this broken elf, then with him." Though he might be battered himself, he felt in better shape than her. And he wanted to avenge her attack on him earlier. Skar lunged forward, trapping Ilrien between him, his partner, and the wagon, and made a surprise swing at her knees—and was thwarted again as his wicked morningstar was deflected by her shadowy armor. "Damn your booyahg!" he hissed. [Skar 5-foot-step to C15, flanking, attack 17, miss]

Meanwhile, no longer able to let a clear shot, the goblin crossbowmen in the woods stole down the slope and ventured down the road, exchanging their crossbows for morningstars. One ran past Blaz's wagon and appeared behind Brace, ready to hit him in the back! [Goblin #1 double-moves to E11.]]

The other hurried to the fallen bugbear's side, frantically checking on his fellow and trying to wake him! "Hey, Gvrag! You okay? Wake up. Wake up!" [Goblin #2 moves to I8. Checks on bugbear]

OOC: Map updates: Samo in I10, Korr in G17, Brace in F12. Goblin #1 in E11. Goblin #2 in I8. Goblin #4 unconscious & bleeding.
BadCatMan (talk) 08:55, 28 September 2021 (UTC)

"Didn't your mother ever teach you not to wake sleeping (bug)bears?" The halfling cocky her crossbow and aimed it at the newly arrived goblin.

OOC: masterwork light crossbow attacks 9+4+1=14 (assuming it misses, 6 damage)

Ilrien stumbles back from the goblin's blow, then took a wild swing forward at the pest.
Punching Skar: 6+1 (bless)=7 to hit.

Round 4

Crouching over the bugbear, his focus on waking him, the goblin could not dodge the crossbow fired from high above. The bolt struck him in the back, and he collapsed over his partner in crime. Gvrag stirred, made a grumpy yawn, rolled over, and went back to sleep. [Juniper hits Goblin #2, knocked out]

When Ilrien's clumsy blow failed to connect, she felt a pain shoot up her battered leg; the goblin's strike had been bad. She blacked out and collapsed, her world becoming the darkness she commanded. [Disabled at 0 hp and taking a strenuous action, Ilrien loses 1 hp, and is unconscious and bleeding at −1 hp]

"Ha! Typical elf, got no staying power! Now, get after that coward priest!" Skar ordered his comrade, especially since he was close to collapse himself. Being on the other side the wagons, he was unaware he'd already lost half his gang.

The goblin looked uncertain, but Skar did not, so he nodded grimly and turned and rushed after the priest, morningstar raised over his head. The priest had already climbed the slope into the woods, but not out of reach, and the goblin warrior delivered a brutal swing at his knees. [Goblin #3 charges to F17, attack 19, damage 4 @ Korrlan]
BadCatMan (talk) 07:45, 29 September 2021 (UTC)

Waylaid battlemap.jpg

Blue: PCs. S: Samophlange; I: Ilrien; B: Brace; K: Korrlan; J: Juniper
Red: enemies: S: Skar; G: Gvrag; 1–4: Goblins
White: neutrals & unconscious. B: Blaz; H: Horse
Boxes: wagons of one kind or another
Black splotches: trees (light cover, +2 AC, +1 Reflex); Gray shading: undergrowth (concealment 20%); White spots: small rocks and turnips; Contour lines: elevation to difficult terrain (half movement).

Korrlan laid his back against a large, mossy rock, and became concealed by the dense foliage of the region. There's no way he'd be hit this time! Gaining confidence, he swiftly withdrew his heavy mace and shield. Korr had hoped that he would not be struck by another bolt, and indeed, a bolt never came. Perhaps Ilmater was smiling upon him for luring the truculent little goblinoid away from Ilrien, who now only faced off against Skar. His companions would be able to make it in time to help the elven woman, the young cleric convinced himself.

Korr couldn't catch a break. As he was about to surprise the incoming goblin, the spiked end of a morningstar slammed into his head from above, badly injuring him. "How?!" he called out. With the remaining faith (and health!) he had, he raised his masterwork mace into the air, and cried, no, he pleaded to Ilmater. "We have suffered, we have endured. By the Broken God, the Rack-Broken Lord, allow me to become your beacon! By He who dwells in Martyrdom, and to He whom the oppressed and enslaved call out to, guide my hand, to smite this creature!" For a moment, the clouds parted, shining light upon the young Neveren cleric. Korr struck down with utmost confidence and power, but his strike couldn't have gone wider. It was if a higher power was playing with him...

OOC: To hit with masterwork mace: 1 + 2 + 1 (masterwork) + 1 (bless): Critical miss! Korr has missed every attack, and has been struck almost every round. He is badly injured.

Samophlange was quite pleased with himself as he stood surrounded by unconscious foes when yet another goblin fell to the ground, impaled by that strange halfling lass's crossbow bolt. Yes, Samo thought, I am a real adventurer. Goblins and bandits beware! Turning to survey the scene behind him, Samophlange saw another goblin rushing that moody priest who'd traveled in the wagon behind him. He instinctively reloaded his hand crossbow and fired, supremely confident that his bolt would strike true.
Samophlange reloads and fires on goblin #3.
To hit: 18 + 3 + 1 (bless) + 1 (racial bonus) - 4 (firing into melee) = 19
19 hits. Damage: 3.

Brace ignored his pending assailant and rushed toward his brother….

Potential attack of opportunity against Brace from Goblin #1 vs. AC 13 + 4 (cover from wagon) −2 (charge, unless that penalty only applies after the charge) = 15 (or 17)

…swinging his dagger wildly at the goblin's back.

Charge to F16
Melee attack w/ dagger: 15 + 2 + 1 (bless) + 2 (charge) = 20
Damage: 2 + 2 = 4

Brace shouted at the goblin leader standing over the body of the fey woman on the other side of the turnip wagon. "Skar! If you want Hark's Tax, come and get it from my brother and me!"

Brace had never threatened anyone in his life, and his usually quiet voice sounded foolish in yell, but the divine blessing surging through him still gave him confidence, even if misguided.

Intimidate check: 1 − 1 = 0

~ Lhynard (talk) 15:02, 29 September 2021 (UTC)

Swaying backward, the goblin easily evaded Korrlan's wild and hopeless swing, but this left him exposed to the crossbow bolt that scored the back of his armor. Recovering, he snarled something in Goblin, raised his crude morningstar again—then suddenly flung his arms wide and arched his back as Brace plunged the point of a dagger into it. [Goblin #3 at 0 hp, Disabled]

The other goblin had taken a clumsy swing at Brace, being too surprised by his sudden rush away. It hurt him to see the human strike his comrade, and wanted to go to help, but realized a better way to salvage this failing ambush. Spying the large wagon wheel, he set one big foot on a spoke, then reached a lanky arm up for the shutter. Soon, grubby yellowish fingers curled around the roof of the wagon... [Goblin #1 climbs up side of wagon].

Peering around and above the turnip wagon, Skar saw how the battle was faring: badly. The bugbear and two of his men were down, him and another nearly so. Hekkut had been wrong, this was no easy hit. He hadn't expected there to be adventurers. But, by Maglubiyet, he wasn't going to run like a coward. "Yeah, nah, not going to happen." he called back over the wagon. Quickly, he grabbed the stricken elf and dragged her behind the wagon with him; he was disappointed not to find any potions or booyahg he could use on her. "Give up your weapons, or the elf gets it!"

OOC: No new map this round, as there's not much to change. Brace moved to F16.
BadCatMan (talk) 07:41, 30 September 2021 (UTC)

Seeing a gnarly goblin invading her hiding place, Juniper briefly considered showering him with magics. Instead she decided to help the woman in trouble. The halfling purged another arcane incantation out of her mind, sending another bolt of energy at Skar.

OOC: Magic missile at Skar 1+1=2 damage.

Without giving the rude and invasive goblin rip at her new fancy coat, Juniper plummeted off the wagon and dashed away from danger.

OOC: Moving to E15, assuming this is the farthest I can go with jumping off the wagon.

At the weird words of magic, Skar reacted, closing both hands around the shaft and bringing the wickedly spiked morningstar crashing down at the elf's unwitting face—just as another bolt of force blasted into his side, breaking a rib and knocking him aside. [Skar hit, knocked unconscious! Ilrien saved!]

Juniper jumped down from the wagon, but as she landed she rolled her ankle on the dirt road. Still, it seemed better than being brained by a goblin bandit. [Juniper Jump check 12, nonlethal damage 3]

Hearing his leader brought low, trapped between the two brothers and on his last breaths, the third goblin went for one last, desperate swing, battering Brace with his crude iron morningstar. And after that effort, he collapsed, unconscious and bleeding out. [Goblin #3 attack 18, damage 3 @ Brace. Loses 1 hp and unconscious]

That left one last goblin, clinging to the side of the wagon and rapidly reassessing his options...

OOC: Ilrien loses 1 hp from bleeding.
BadCatMan (talk) 03:50, 1 October 2021 (UTC)

Seeing his target go down, felled by a combination of his bolt and that apothecary's dagger, Samophlange glanced over his immediate surroundings and saw no goblinoids left standing. He was elated—Samo had fought thugs of all creeds and sizes on the streets of Athkatla, but never a genuine band of goblin bandits. He had never even seen a bugbear before; how exotic! It was just like the stories he'd read in chapbooks. Recalling a scene from one of them—The Hobgoblin Prince—Samo knew better than to let sleeping bugbears lie. He moved closer to the sleeping hulk, reloaded his crossbow, and pointed it at the bugbear's temple.
Samophlange 5-foot-steps to I9 and reloads.

Glad for his companions' assistance, Korrlan scooted past the unconscious goblin and rushed down the hill towards the moon elf's aid. He would usually check for danger and try to get a response from his patient before acting, but there was no time for this.

Reaching the bottom of the hill, he quickly skidded to his knees, and carefully raised Ilrien's angular chin. Checking the airway, only the lightest of breaths were to be heard. Her leg was battered; Korr would have to be at his best if he were to stop the continuous flow of blood. He applied great pressure to her slender limb, and applied a bandage. The bleeding would continue, however. Korr reached a hand over his back, and ripped off his Ilmatari cloak. Wrapping it around Ilrien, and maintaining the optimal amount of pressure, the bleeding finally stopped. Color returned to the elven lass, and her breathing became stable.

Korrlan was glad to have eased Ilrien's suffering, and was also glad to have taken suffering upon himself. However, this wasn't enough for the young, puzzled cleric; he wanted to inflict it.

OOC: Korrlan uses the Heal skill to perform First Aid on Ilrien (DC 15).
Heal check: 7 + 4 [Heal skill bonus] + 4 [Wisdom bonus] = 15. Ilrien is now stable!

Brace followed behind Korrlan to the body of the fallen elf and paused near his brother as Korr dropped to his knees and began ripping cloth from his clerical robes. "Korr, yes, help the elf maiden, but you need healing yourself." While speaking, Brace spotted another yellow goblin hanging from the side of the lead wagon, and then he felt the moisture from his own blood seeping into his shirt. That last goblin had struck him soundly, and only now did he realize that its weapon's jagged iron points had punctured his skin at the ribs. In the heat of battle, he had not even noticed the pain.

Better strike this other one before it gave a similar blow to him or someone else. He threw his second dagger, but a sharp pain in his chest when he did so caused his throw to veer right and strike the side of the wagon instead.

Move to B14 and speak as free action
Ranged attack w/ dagger: 6 + 3 + 1 (point blank) + 1 (bless) = 11: miss
~ Lhynard (talk) 01:08, 3 October 2021 (UTC)

Lek, the last goblin still in the fight, flinched as the dagger thudded into the wood beside him. That was it! Immediately abandoning his attempt to climb the wagon, as it was pointless now, he dropped off the side and landed in the dirt. A quick look around told him the others had fallen, to be captured or killed by the humans and halflings. There was nothing he could do for his mates now, but they might still get a rescue or revenge, so he turned and ran as fast as he could into the woods, crashing through undergrowth and scrambling up the slope. He had to get away from the adventurers! He had to find and warn Hekkut, and then he had to get away from Hekkut!

OOC: Samo in I9, Korr in D16, Brace in B14. Goblin #1 in -11.
BadCatMan (talk) 03:11, 3 October 2021 (UTC)

Recalling another line from The Hobgoblin Prince, Samophlange dramatically proclaimed to no one in particular:
"Ilmater forgives. I do not."
And pulled the trigger on his crossbow.
Samophlange coup-de-graces Gvrag for 2 + 3 + 2 (sneak attack) = 7 damage.

With a sick crunch, the bolt pierced the bugbear's skull, and his brain. Gvrag grunted and died in his sleep, but in his dreams he was marched off to Hruggek's realm for an everlasting life of furious ambushes and glorious battles. [Fort save 3, rolled a 1; Gvrag dies]
BadCatMan (talk) 11:54, 3 October 2021 (UTC)

Well Met

As the final goblin scurried into the woods, Brace collapsed on the ground beside the elf woman and his brother, exhausted and somewhat in shock at what had just transpired.

His brother had been too focused on his work to respond to Brace's last question, so the apothecary asked another. "Will she live?"
~ Lhynard (talk) 12:33, 3 October 2021 (UTC)

The redhead halfling pulled herself off the ground. Sharp pain pierced her ankle and she almost ended up back in the dirt. Juniper used her crossbow as a walker and wobbled to Samophlange, who singlehandedly defeated the sleeping bugbear. "Good job! This one looked quite scary. Reminded me of my aunt too, but she was more hairy." The halfling pulled her crossbow bolt from the goblin she shoot earlier, took out rope, and started tying him up.

Meanwhile, ahead on the road, Blaz awoke with a pained groan, then spat out blood and a lone tooth. All his bones and bits ached, his feet were burning—and were still burning, his boots and breeches cuffs smouldering and smoking. With a start, he sat up and yanked the boots off, batting out the flickering flames. But his urgency gave away to anger and frustration, leaving him just hammering the road and finally sobbing in grief. He'd done nothing but get himself hurt, he'd done nothing to help his sons. What had that goblin said? Told him his sons were alive, taunted him with some terrible fate in store for them. And he could do nothing.
BadCatMan (talk) 07:13, 4 October 2021 (UTC)

"Brother, she will live." Korr finally said to Brace, "but she will likely need long-term care".

Ilrien blinked as she returns to consciousness, then sits up. She looks at the unconscious goblins, then at the two nearby humans. "I suppose I have you to thank for the medical aid?" She said, directing her words at the one wearing what she thought is a holy symbol.

"Indeed. I cannot ease your suffering any more, for first aid can only do so much" he stated, "and I don't have much more divine magic spells to cast". Korrlan briefly looked around to see if anyone else needed care. "Brother, did anyone fall in the battle?" he mumbled.

"You nearly did. I nearly did. But, no, all of us were spared. We are kept alive to suffer longer, I think, or perhaps…. No, I make too much of a random event.

"Your powers inspired me, Korr, and a few of the others with us. Know that. I see the redheaded halfling and the gnome from the turnip wagon still walking about, and they too joined in the fight. I see even Braz has not fallen. Think you that there be tonandurr bark about? His feet will benefit from it."

"I'm glad my powers did something, but it was your quick thinking that really saved our hides", Korr admitted. "After you put the bugbear to sleep, the others picked off those wretched goblins one by one. Perhaps you got a bit of mother's spark, after all?"

"Tonandurr trees around here? I suppose it is possible, but certainly not any further north! The hospital back in Neverwinter would ship it from Baldur's Gate to the south, though there were one or two trees that grew in local greenhouses. Let's reconvene with the others, I reckon they know more about the area."

Korrlan slowly walked in the direction of the curious gnome and the halfling spellcaster.

With a gunt of pain, Brace got himself back to his feet to follow his brother, giving a quick nod to the injured elf to assure her that they would be returning. Then he said, "Do not forget your own need, Brother! We must pull those quarrels from your body."
~ Lhynard (talk) 15:04, 5 October 2021 (UTC)

Humming contentedly to himself, Samophlange put his finger to the wind and quickly deduced where the one bolt that hadn't hit its mark went—in the ground not far from where the bugbear had first appeared on the road, then picked it up. Along the way, he also collected a ramshackle light crossbow from one of the downed goblins. He returned to the lead wagon, his brow furrowed as he carefully weighed and inspected his new crossbow. The halfling spell-slinger who had bailed him out earlier said something about her hairy aunt, interrupting his careful calculations. He simply smiled, put forward his hand, and said "Thank you. Samophlange Skitterwidget, adventurer, at your service." Gesturing toward the goblin she was tying up, he continued, "Do you do this kind of thing often?"

"Juniper Churlgo, a sorceress of some renown" the halfling shook the gnome's hand. She finished tying up the goblin up and replied to Samophlange's question "A girl doesn't kiss and tell." The goblin was now wrapped in sturdy hempen rope and tied up with a pretty bow. "Did you search the hairy big'un?" Without waiting for a response, she grabbed the unconscious goblin by the ears and started pulling him towards the rest of the caravaneers and their pile of knocked-out bandits.

The halfling moved away before Samophlange could respond, so he simply said "Sure..." and took another look at the "big'un". Spying the bugbear's crude-looking morningstar, he briefly considered picking it up but quickly decided not to, then hurried after Juniper, grabbing the goblin she was dragging by the feet to help lighten the load. "Didn't find anything," he explained, "just a load of junk."

"Ah, yes." Korr uttered, looking down at the weighted shaft of one of the crossbow bolts, "The magical healing helped force the bolts out, but... I could do with a hand with this one". Before forgetting another detail, he turned to his older brother. "Remember that time when we were but youths, and you helped me pull out a splinter? Yeh, please don't say “Brace yourself ”... this time!" He thought back to when he and Brace were young and full of hope. Simpler, easier times.

Brace could not help but chuckle a little at his younger brother's joke and reference to their youth. They ultimately had their father to thank for the pun—and Brace's name. Father had always told Brace that the reason for his non-Illuskan name was that he had told Mother to brace herself in the final moments of birth pangs before he arrived in the world. She had slapped him then for his failed attempts to comfort her, but they laughed about it afterward and named him the Common word instead of after his great-grandfather, the original plan. Korrlan received that name instead.

By the time he had remember this story in full, the two of them had removed the quarrel. The other shortly followed.

Brace then moved away from his brother, as the latter applied pressure to the wounds. The apothecary walked to the dagger stuck in the side of the wagon and retrieved it. He stared at the bloody blade for a moment, in thought, then moved to the fancier dagger still protruding from the other goblin's skull. Placing his foot upon the smaller creature's chest, he yanked it out, then wiped the blood off both daggers on the grass.

He was standing near the gnome now. "You seem to be an adventurer, saer gnome," he said. "What is the proper thing to do with these bodies? Do we burn them? or bury them?"
~ Lhynard (talk) 22:18, 6 October 2021 (UTC)

Ilrien pushes herself up, then sits back against the wagon. Watching two humans- surely kin of some kind- walk away and tend their wounds. She tried to ignore the pain that shot up her leg when she moves, instead expending the effort to retrieve her bow...Ow. She looks down at her wound, then looks away. Ah-ah, ow. Perhaps just watching and listening was the better path now.

"An adventurer?" Samophlange replied to the apothecary, "uhh, yes. Yes, I am." He paused, trying to remember the proper procedure for dealing with bandit corpses. In Athkatla corpses tended to just disappear on their own, or they might get shoved into the canal lest the city watch find them. He suddenly remembered a scene from another chapbook, a romance titled The Vampires of Crimmor wherein a traveling Waukeenar priest conquers the undead... and love. "We should notify the clergy in the next town over so they can burn the bodies and consecrate the ground" Samophlange said with confidence, quite pleased with himself.

"Don't be silly, gnome-friend! We don't even have all the bodes dead yet!... Are we adventurers now?! This is exciting!" Juniper cheerfully exclaimed and proudly presented a neatly tied goblin with a bow. "He does feel quite wet though, he might be bleeding." The halfling looked around and sized the humans and a hurt elf. "Greetings! Juniper Churlgo, a sorceress of some renown. Charmed, I'm sure." She curtsied at the group of strangers in front of her. Wobbled on her hurt ankle with a smile that did not leave her face.

"A clergy you say, do you know of which deity?", Korrlan said, interested. He had hoped to meet with other Ilmatari priests, now that the Revered Mother and his colleagues had passed or had been left behind. Maybe he'd even meet a Twice-Martyred! Intrigued, he introduced himself. "I'm Korrlan Splitbark, one of the Adorned." He reached for his cloak to show the symbol of Ilmater, but remembered he had ripped it off to quell the elf's bleeding. "Let us four check on the elf, and then the halfling."

Forgetting to introduce himself, Brace walked with the others back toward Ilrien. He pointed at Skar's nearby limp form and said to the halfling lass in a serious tone, "You should tie up the leader as well; he still breathes. I expect to see a bow on him too."

Then he said to the others, "I am going to see if I can find any tonandurr; I do not know if I will recognize the tree, as I have only dealt with the bark, but maybe Tymora will smile on me. Do any of you know it?"

Survival check: 16 + 5 + 2 (circumstance bonus) = 23 (+2 bonus if anyone assists vs. DC 10) vs. DC 15: success
~ Lhynard (talk) 22:40, 7 October 2021 (UTC)

"Adorned in what?" The halfling wizard looked at the priest inquisitively. Juniper moved to the incapacitate goblin leader and poked him in the face. "Are we sure he's still alive? He looks paler than my great aunt was when she found out her daughter was knocked up." She grabbed Skar by his foot and started dragging him closer to the tied up goblin (that's where the rope was). "It would be so much easier if we just cut his tendons or crack his kneecaps. This guy is heavy like a well-fed calf!"

A Parent's Plea

By this time, the other folk in the caravan, at the waist and rear of the line, had begun climbing out of their coaches and crawling out from under their wagons, full of relief to find they still had their lives and livelihoods. And they were thankful. Tentatively, they approached the heroes of the hour, though not so close as to get in the way of treating wounds or tying up goblins, though some helped to drag the bodies off to the side of the road, and they called out their gratitude. "Thank you! Thank you so much!" and "You saved us! You're heroes!"

Feeling overlooked and alone with his despair, Blaz at last picked himself up off the road and limped on bare and burnt feet back to his wagon and the elf lass who'd tried to save him. Her quiet defiance was the last thing he'd seen and heard before being knocked out. Now, it looked like she'd paid for that as badly as he had, if not worse. "Thank you." he said to her, softly and simply but emphatically.

He might have said more, but his attention was taken by the confident claims of the gnome and lightfoot. "You're adventurers?" he exclaimed as he turned to then, pleading hopefully "Please, you have to rescue my sons! Didn't you hear that goblin? They're still alive!"
BadCatMan (talk) 03:41, 8 October 2021 (UTC)

Brace paused from entering the woods when the halfling approached them. "These three may be adventurers, but we are but a priest of Ilmater and a merchant and failed apprentice to an alchemist." He motioned to himself and his brother. "We might be able to treat your feet, but…. I want to help your sons, but we are not warriors of any sort. What could we do?"
~ Lhynard (talk) 02:47, 10 October 2021 (UTC)

Juniper finished tying the two goblins together with her trusty hempen rope. The hin wizard looked at her work. Skar's restraints - shabby work. The bow looked flaccid, and now the rope was stained with the other goblin's oozing bodily fluids. She looked up at the pleading halfling, and her mind quickly darted to Eustachia, her dear sweet little sister. A mere thought of having her kin being held hostage by dirty unwashed evil bandits boiled the little spellcaster's blood more than the first time she felt the arcane magics sizzle up her insides. "An old beardy sheepherder in Shadowdale once told me - There are only two precious things on earth: the first is love; the second, a long way behind it, is intelligence." Juniper looked around, waiting for a reaction. "Adventurers or not (but we sure as Hells are), any goodly creature, I think, should try their best to help. Look at the man. He has nowhere else to turn..." Juniper shook her disheveled mane of hair that looked like she had flames scorching her scalp in the last rays of the bright red evening sun. She was surprised to care so much for the fellow halfling.

There it was. The call to adventure, just like in the chapbooks. Samophlange felt an excited twinge in his stomach. He was technically supposed to be headed to Loudwater to conduct his business—that was the entire reason he was here, after all. Still, his instructions didn't come with an exact time schedule, nor did they mandate exactly how he was supposed to accomplish his task. Samo was sure he could afford to spend a day or two indulging himself with some more heroic adventuring. What could possibly go wrong? "I agree with my colleague here," he blurted out excitedly, "it is our duty as goodly folks to help out." He grinned, imagining the dangers ahead, the vast goblin treasure trove he could plunder, and the boastful stories he could tell in the Copper Coronet once he got back.

Korr thought to himself, "brother is right. We aren't adventurers, but maybe that is what we're about to become". He nodded at the enthusiastic gnome's assessment and said aloud "it certainly is our duty as goodly, and godly, folks to help out these halflings". He entered his turbulent thoughts once more, "this act would allow us to rescue and ease the suffering of Blaz's kin. Or better yet... inflict it on their captors ourselves". Korr faced his companions, new and old. "Let us set off on this task, but first we all need to rest".

"I shall help in what way I can, though I am doubtful that I can add much.

"Perhaps we can follow the goblin that got away, but what can you tell us about when and where they were taken? Was it earlier, on another journey down this very road? How is it that these bandits seem to have known you? Why was it that they seemed only to care about taking little folk like yourselves alive and slaying the rest?"

Ilrien keeps an eye on the movement around her, as the others who fought gathered. Winced, when the halfling leader came and thanked her- she had not done so much as the rest- "You are welcome." As for the others who stand and chattered, she was silent. The gnome seems entirely too cheerful, though the rest are more appropriately serious. The simple plea, though, and the cleric's words ring true as a call to protect. And, perhaps, a lead in her search.

Blaz looked back and forth between them, as some declared they were adventurers and others denied it. But those were bloody wounds and bloody weapons he'd seen, and they were folk who'd stepped up to do something, anything, rather than cower. What else could they be? He nodded, satisfied and grateful, when they all agreed to help, however they could.

But at all of Brace's questions, on things he'd been wondering himself for tendays, Blaz grew flustered, even angry, snapping "How would I know why the bloody goblins did it?" But he caught himself; anger would not help his sons. He sat down wearily on the step at the back of his wagon, feeling relieved to get off his burnt feet. "Would you big folk rather drag a giant around or someone your own size? I don't know. But they took them, alive, for some awful reason." he said morosely.

Blaz let out a heavy sigh, and began his sorrowful story, but it seemed hard to get all the parts in the right order. "It was a few tendays back, the fourthday after the full moon. My sons Corkaury and Ombert, and my nephew Osco. They were with a Sweetwater Traders caravan, heading to Secomber to pick up some stock. It was attacked, probably right around these parts. I only heard about it after, from a rider. He said they attacked at night, that no one who survived got a good look at them, but it was probably orcs... I've been telling everyone it was the High Forest orcs." he admitted with a groan, rubbing a hand over his cheek in guilt. "Corkaury was a guard with the Red Boar Trading Coster—he fought the werecreatures on the Night of the Blood Moon, he had a silver sword given him by Stedd Rein himself. I know he fought those goblins, him and Ombert and Osco behind him." he said, eyes growing moist as he had to imagine their final moments yet again. "The rider said they couldn't be found after, and they couldn't hang around to look for, for bodies..." He glared hatefully at the prone and bound goblin Skar. "Seems he took them, instead, along with all the gold and goods. All just things to the likes of him."
BadCatMan (talk) 13:05, 13 October 2021 (UTC)

"I meant no offense, saer halfling. Thank you for the information. I know intimately how difficult it is to talk about loss."

"Are any of you three adventurers trackers?"

""Oooh! Oooh!" Juniper bounced up with outstretched hand. "I once walked all over my mom's kitchen and tracked mud all over it. She gave me quite a whooping, calling me a dirt-tracker... Does this count?"

For a brief moment, a smirk came over Brace's face, but then his sober countenance returned. He looked hopefully toward the gnome and the elf.
~ Lhynard (talk) 15:44, 14 October 2021 (UTC)

Ilrien grimaces, then spoke: "I was never as good a hunter as others of my clan, but I can try at the least."

Samophlange's ears perked up as Blaz mentioned a familiar name. Yes, thought Samo, he had been right to volunteer his services. He might very well be able to pluck two turnips with one hand. Startled out of his daydreaming by the apothecary's question, Samo replied, somewhat flustered, "Uhh…, no. I once got lost in a root cellar." Samo gave a quiet sigh as he recalled the event. It hadn't even been a particularly large cellar.


Blaz was in no mood for humor, but he nodded and clasped his hands in gratitude. "Thank you," he said. "Thank you for trying."

But as much as they might want to go after the goblin right now, all of them had to accept they were too battered and too light on magic to risk facing the Hark's bandits again. Moreover, the sun was now setting, causing the trees to cast long deep shadows, and for unskilled eyes, tracking the goblin through the forest in twilight could be difficult, even dangerous. So, they would go on to the campsite, rest the night, and set off soon after sunrise. They left unspoken the grim realization that if the goblins had kept the halflings alive this long, then another day might not make too much difference.

With the bodies out of the way and travelers back on their wagons, the caravan rolled off once more, glad to leave the battle-site behind them. Another hour of travel with the sunset at their backs, and they'd arrived at the promised campsite. There was a wide, cleared campground, a spot for a fire ringed with rocks, supplies of brush and firewood, and logs and stumps to sit on. With a view to defense, the travelers circled the wagons and began to make camp under the twilight.
BadCatMan (talk) 11:00, 17 October 2021 (UTC)

Brace helped his brother tend to the elf woman's wounds as others set up fires, and he rolled out his bedroll somewhat apart from the larger group, not in the mood to listen to the usual ghost stories and tales from the other travelers—not that he expected there to be such tales tonight.

Sitting on the rolled-out mat, he looked over the crude leather armor pieces that he had taken from the body of the fallen bugbear and one of the little goblins' crossbows and contemplated.
~ Lhynard (talk) 13:37, 17 October 2021 (UTC)

Samo spent the evening eating honeycakes, toying with his crude new crossbow, and re-reading a letter he retrieved from deep within his backpack. When nightfall came, he rolled out his bedmat and pillow and lay down gazing at the stars as he imagined his future career as a real adventurer. Tomorrow would bring new horizons and new stories to share with his compatriots back home. It would be a good day, he decided, as he drifted off to sleep.

As Brace moved away, Korrlan noticed that the dark-eyed elf was still uncomfortable, despite their efforts in tending to her wounds. The young cleric whispered a set of divine words, followed with a flick of the wrist, and then placed his palm over Ilrien's head. He was also badly injured himself, so he repeated the procedure twice to cure himself. Looking back, Korr saw his brother and the honeycake-scoffing gnome roll out their camping mats, and he quickly followed suit. He, however, joined neither Brace nor the other adventurers.

Korrlan sunk to his knees atop his mat, thought back to the recent past, and initiated a prayer to the Broken God:

Its flames spread across the entire city, but it was no fire.

Beings of flesh burned from inside and out, but there was no blaze.
For what I speak of is the Wailing Death, which rages more than any inferno.
I pray to you, Ilmater, to comfort those trapped in the confines of the city where winter never comes.
For if winter should come, all will be lost.

His mind still in turmoil, the youngest Splitbark tossed and turned, until he finally drifted off.

OOC: Korrlan casts cure minor wounds on Ilrien, curing 1 HP, and casts it twice on himself, curing 2 HP.

Ilrien was surprised, though accepting, of the two humans' attention. Surprised as well that so few others required a healer's care, though perhaps that made her own injuries worthwhile.

At the campsite, once the priest and, hopefully, most of the other adventurers were distracted by the dawning dark, she acted. Going over to the two bound goblins, she drew a knife and pointed it at them. "You two. You will answer my questions. Or I feed you both to red tigers."

Juniper had been glancing at the goblins every time she looked up from the spellbook—mostly because she did not want to lose her ropes if they managed to escape. With an immodest yawn, she put down the book and looked around. Juniper noticed the elven lass approach the prisoners. With a grunt, she got up from lying on her backpack and grabbed the quarterstaff. Approaching the elf she overheard a bit of the conversation. "You have red tigers?!" she squeaked.

With a lazy air, Skar opened one red eye and then the other and yawned in Ilrien's face with a gust of bad breath. In truth, he'd awoken some back—being bumped about while bound on the back of wagon would do that—and had watched his captors when he could and pretended to be asleep when he thought they might notice. He needed to learn all he could about them. He made a show of craning his head to peer around the elf and halfling. "I don't see any red tigers," he said, with a mocking curl of his lip and glint in his eye, "but if you find some, you go right ahead and do that." He called her bluff before closing his eyes and trying to snuggle back into the tree trunk he was tied to.

The other goblin had stared uncomprehendingly, evidently not even knowing Common.
BadCatMan (talk) 13:05, 20 October 2021 (UTC)

Ilrien shifted to point the knife at Skar's face. Without changing expression, even at his quite frankly foul breath, she asked in an even voice, "Of course you do not see red tigers, no one does ere they strike. And they hunt in the night, not the burning day. So my first question: Where is your hideout, that prisoners are kept?"

Intimidation roll: 16

"Invisible night red tigers?!" Juniper squeaked nervously looking around. "You better tell the tall lady everything she wants to know, shortrib! Something tells me the night tigers are hungry." The halfling looked at Ilrien, "Say, do you think your colorful night tigers would like a snack first? Maybe a goblin ear? Or a snapped-off magically frozen toe?"

OOC:Intimidation assist: 10-1=9

Red eyes swivelled between the two, assessing their threats and likelihoods of carrying them out. They seemed almost serious. But if Skar was shaken, he wasn't one to show it. "Okay, you go into the woods, thataway." He looked around and nodded his head to the east. "Walk two hundred paces, or a hundred for you big folk, then draw a magic circle in the dirt, open a portal to the Hells, and you go there." He concluded with a smirk at Ilrien's expense. "Telling you is more than my life or soul is worth. So, your tigers better show up soon then. There's not much daylight left, and trust me, there are worse things than red tigers in these woods." Then he eyed Ilrien curiously. "Or do you turn into one? Full moon's still a few days away."
BadCatMan (talk) 03:30, 21 October 2021 (UTC)

"If it's magic you want to see, I can help you!" Juniper cheerfully exclaimed. She quickly grabbed Skar's ear and mumbled a quick cantrip under her breath. With a spell incantation uttered, magical ice burst into the goblin's grotesque ear. Juniper pulled down, trying to break the frozen flesh.

OOC:Assuming Ray of Frost hits a restrained target: 3 cold damage

His big goblin ear was burned and blistered but still quite pliable. It wasn't nearly enough frost magic for what she'd had in mind. "Ow!" Skar yelped. "First you burn me, then you yank my ear? You're really bad at this, aren't you?"
BadCatMan (talk) 14:21, 22 October 2021 (UTC)

Without wasting her breath, Juniper poked at blisters trying to pop them. "Ooh, squishy."

"Help! Help!" Skar shouted to the camp. "I'm being tormented with substandard torturing! I demand a professional!"
BadCatMan (talk) 14:41, 22 October 2021 (UTC)

Brace was trying—but failing—to sleep, so he heard the goblin's cry and rolled off his mat. He walked over to where the two women were talking with the raid leader. "What is happening here?" he asked quietly.
~ Lhynard (talk) 15:39, 22 October 2021 (UTC)

Ilrien stood up, saying to Brace, "I am questioning these two as to the location of their hideout, as well as the number of fellow bandits that might be there, and such-like. Juniper here overheard and is trying to help." She began to collect Skar and the rope. "But, since this one is uncooperative, I am going to string him up for the red tigers."

While Brace and Ilrien spoke, the two goblins muttered furtively in the Goblin tongue, before going abruptly silent when Skar hissed something at the other.
"Are you okay?"
"Stings a bit, but yeah."
"You didn't tell them about the pit, did you?"
"No. Shh!"
BadCatMan (talk) 02:10, 25 October 2021 (UTC)

Juniper watched the goblins being hung up like two rotund young wheels of Waterdhavian cheese, ready to be aged and smoked. She realized she was starving, following all that adventuring she'd done today. The halfling asked Skar in decent Goblin language, "Do you happen to have any cheese stashed away in that pit of yours?" Oh! she quickly realized something and turned to the elf and human. "I completely forgot I know gobbo! The quiet one said something about a pit! With Tymora's luck, there might be some cheese there…." The halfling's stomach punctuated the statement with a loud growl, as fierce as any red tiger's.


Ilrien gave Juniper an entirely unamused look. "What exactly did the quiet one say?"

"I am almost completely and unreservedly sure there's cheese! But I've never heard of goblins making cheeses. They probably stole it from innocent traveling merchants, those little miscreants! First they steal cheese, then they attack us for our lovely turnips…. What savages! Good taste though!" Juniper thought hard away from her stomach. "I believe the exact words were 'You didn't tell them about the pit, did you?' And then the loud-mouthed ice-ears here shushed him…."

Skar grunted a goblin curse, mostly about Juniper's mother. "You'll never find it!" he snarled, his defiance lessened somewhat by him dangling awkwardly from a rope. "You will only find vaws-hak if you try." They didn't really need Juniper to translate that—it meant "death".
BadCatMan (talk) 12:19, 25 October 2021 (UTC)

"Well, if Millie were here, she'd already have a Zhentarim merc making goblin leather boots out of you, potty mouth ice-ears."

Ilrien turned away from the goblins. "You have until tomorrow morning to tell us about this pit. After that, we leave." She went back into the camp, heading for her bedroll.

Brace, likewise, turned, without comment, and returned to his mat.
~ Lhynard (talk) 15:17, 26 October 2021 (UTC)

"Sweet dreams." Juniper turned away and headed back to her studies. Quickly, she used her heels to draw a big arrow towards the goblins and wrote "free food" in Common… in case red tigers were real and literate.

Brace tossed and turned on his mat, unable to sleep. This was not new, but the lack of novelty made it no less annoying. Most of the others were sleeping now, he observed. He got up once again and returned to where the two goblins were hanging inverted. As an apothecary, he sometimes acted as a physician. He had no magical means of healing, as did his brother, but he knew that a human—and so likely a goblin—did not fare well inverted for long periods of time: too much blood rushed to one's head. He drew one of his daggers and cut the knot holding up Skar. The goblin tumbled unceremoniously—and likely painfully—to the ground, but he would not pass out and die at least. Brace felt no pity on the little beast, but he did not feel it right to make it suffer overly much either. He did the same with the other goblin. He turned to go back, a third time, to his bedroll.
~ Lhynard (talk) 15:57, 26 October 2021 (UTC)

Thudding into the dirt, Skar grunted and spat out a mouthful of it, before he rolled around into a seated position. He gave Brace a curt nod of acknowledgement, if not gratitude, then watched him go with narrowed eyes. He would test his bonds but could not find any way of loosening them, nor a sharp rock nearby.

That evening, the travelers took watches, with many pairs of eyes scanning the woods around under a gibbous Selûne, wary of escaping prisoners, vengeful goblins, forest monsters, and Ilrien's red tigers. They needn't have worried, however. The worst menace that night was a lone cricket, chirping persistently throughout the night, making it hard to get to sleep. And when they did, their sleep was troubled—at one point, Brace awoke with a short scream, but he passed it off as just a nightmare.
BadCatMan (talk) 10:21, 27 October 2021 (UTC)


last eighthday of Summertide
I killed someone yesterday, two people.

It would be easy to try to argue that they were not people, since they had yellowish skin and pointed ears and jagged teeth and barely passed my navel, but goblins have wives and families and jobs, do they not?

I would have expected to feel some regret or weight at taking life, but I feel no such thing. It is not just the fact that I was enranged when I did it, that I was trying to save my brother's life and those of the others in the caravan. No, I am not angry now; I have simply become immune to the shock of death. The blood, how was it any different than the oil of vitriol or liquid silver that I have bottled in Luth's laboratory? It is but a liquid made from the elements like all else; why should seeing it seep from a forehead as I remove my dagger mean anything to me? They tried to raid us; they died, as all persons do, and better that they die than us.

But is it better? Is it better to be alive? Why did I not simply let them take me, take us? Would that not be a faster way to join my Kethra? I cannot explain it, but still some part of me wants to go on, and I do not want to go on alone.

Korr is very shaken. He feels that the Broken God continues to abandon him, and I cannot blame him, for I agree. I tried to encourage him. Were it not for the power of his prayer at the beginning of the battle, never would I have left the wagon to fight. I envy his bravery, even in the midst of his doubts and anger.

He thinks that I played a greater role than I did, said that it reminded him of Mother. Pity I did not inheret her magical talents.

The small group of us who partook in the fighting to defend the caravan now find ourselves about to embark on a little mission together, at the request of Blaz. Three of the group seem already to have adventuring experience, but none of us are trackers. Two of them forced one of the goblin survivors to spill something about a "pit of death". Once packed, we shall head back up the road whither we were ambushed, thence to attempt to track the sole fleeing goblin whence he came, to find this pit.

Gwaeron bless our efforts.

Morning dawned, as did the time for Korrlan to meditate. He had neglected this period of quiet reflection as of late, for his mind had been overflowing with thoughts on how to justify his continued faith in Ilmater. Sitting upwards on his rollmat, Korr began to slow his breathing, until it became steady. For once, he entered a completely relaxed state. He had missed these tranquil moments.

Slipping away from serenity, Korr again reopened his annotated tome, which contained all he knew about the One Who Endures. Maybe with a fresh mind he would see a different perspective. "Chapter VII: The Orders," the intrigued priest softly said as he scanned through the contents. He had mostly read about the monastic and clerical Ilmatran organizations similar to his own. Such groups were the Order of the Golden Cup, who eased the suffering of others through the means of healing, and the Alleviators, who taught others how to deal with suffering. "Why alleviate suffering, when one can prevent it in the first place?" Korr muttered again, frustrated.

As the priest reached the latter half of the chapter, he raised an eyebrow. "Knightly orders? I'm no paladin!" he tittered. Korrlan had always been told by the Revered Mother not to bother with the second part of Chapter VII. Apparently, it simply wasn't relevant. He went to shut the book as he always had done at this point, but this time, he did not. Korr instead read on, and on, and on, until he reached the penultimate section, which detailed those of noble heart. These holy warriors made it their mission to hunt down those that would cause suffering. "Stop suffering before suffering occurs…," the cleric spoke, nodding understandably. A wave of enthusiasm overcame Korrlan, and he offered a prayer to Ilmater. This time, he would stop suffering in a different manner.

OOC: Spells Korrlan prays for: Orisons: light, mending, detect magic
Level 1: bane (domain, cannot be spontaneously converted), bless, divine favor

As soon as the sun had risen, the would-be adventurers readied themselves and set off, back down the road. Behind them, Blaz and the caravan continued on toward Loudwater; depending on how their quest turned out, they would catch up again on the road or meet up in Loudwater before Midsummer. The two goblin prisoners went with the caravan, for a meeting with the Loudwater militia. The site of the attack was easily rediscovered, being marked by the goblin bodies. Rigor mortis and the first signs of decay had set in, and scavengers and insects had begun their gruesome work. They also found the place where the last goblin had fled and set off in that direction, but a single small goblin hacking the occasional branch didn't leave much of a trail to follow. They also had the tonandurr tree to find. Could they manage both?
BadCatMan (talk) 10:21, 27 October 2021 (UTC)

Samophlange pinched his sensitive nose as they reached the site of yesterday's skirmish. Pursuing the lone goblin escapee's trail seemed like the logical thing to do, and it seemed his fellow goblin hunters agreed as they all moved to have a closer look. Samo, very excited at the prospect of more adventurous deeds, took up point. He wasn't much of a tracker—or even much of a woodsgnome for that matter—but he wasn't entirely unobservant either. With little in the way of visible signs to follow, Samo signaled for the group to halt and tried to engage all of his senses to better divine the goblin's direction, making a real show of it as he sniffed the air and held out his ear as if listening intently, all the while intensely scrutinizing the nearby area.

Search: 17 + 6 = 23

Brace, wearing his new leather armor uncomfortably, followed a short distance behind the gnome, also scanning the area for evidence.

Search assist: 8 + 7 = 15: Success (+2 to above roll)
~ Lhynard (talk) 14:30, 27 October 2021 (UTC)

Merry as a Grig

With his keen senses and keener curiosity, Samophlange picked out a number of telling signs: here a goblin footprint in soft earth, there a freshly hacked branch. It was enough to point them in the right direction, but the clues ran out as the goblin had stopped running madly and started being more careful. They could keep going and try to find this pit, or they could get lucky and find some other clue. But first, they had a tonandurr tree to find. When Brace found a seed pod, he knew they were close. Searching the area, they found a few more and then the tree itself, tall and spindly amidst the birch. It stood in the center of an idyllic forest glade, where butterflies fluttered over the long grass. They could hear the soft wind whisper through the forest, rustling the grass and leaves and creaking the branches, carrying the hum of insects. It all seemed very peaceful.
BadCatMan (talk) 14:33, 29 October 2021 (UTC)

The flame-haired halfling watched the expert trackers in action with held breath. The graceful gnomish tracker managed to find a track of the foul beast. Juniper had not a slightest idea what to look for even though she once easily found a lost family cow Galopea on one occasion when she was a wee lass. She clutched her quarterstaff and nervously looked around as if expecting a horde of angry gibberlings to swarm at any moment.

Korrlan lagged behind the rest of the group, thinking to himself about his recent revelation. He shook away the thoughts when he saw the raven-haired elf point out something on the ground and the wizardly halfling looking worried. "Is… is that a footprint?" he stuttered, as he ran up to the group. "Does that mean they're nearby? Are we well enough to take on another group of goblinoids?" He paused for a few seconds, thinking to himself yet again. "To stop suffering, we need to be fit enough to stop it, right?" he simpered.

This woodlands tracking business didn't seem that hard to Samophlange. He couldn't understand why rangers and elves acted so high and mighty about it. The trick was quite simple, actually: walk in the right direction.

As the group paused at the tonandurr tree and a peaceful silence fell over them—interrupted only by the chattering of the moody priest and the strange halfling—Samo took a few steps away from the rest of the group. He closed his eyes to tune out the others and listened intently to the wind. No, not just the wind. There was something else there, very faint, off in the distance somewhere—barely discernible through the soft sounds of the forest. A violin?

He turned back toward his fellow adventurers and motioned for them all to be quiet. He spoke, barely above a whisper, "Listen. I think someone is playing music nearby." He could hear it more clearly now, albeit still faint. The tune sounded energetic and cheerful, like something one might dance a jig to.

(Samo rolled a 21 on a Listen check)

Ilrien paused in the clearing and began to turn around in a circle slowly, focusing not on her companions but on the woods around them. "I do not hear music, gnome, but something is not normal here. Whether good or bad, though, I cannot say." She closed her eyes and listened now for the music.

"Music?" Juniper mumbled, echoing Samo's words. She concentrated hard on the sounds of wilderness but the only sound she could hear was loud thumping of her heart. "I don't hear any music. Why would there be music in the middle of nowhere? Does this happen often in the wilderness?" Juniper wrinkled her brow trying to recall the passages about magical forest music from The Nymph Said No, the book she considered quite scholarly back in the day…. Not much came to mind. "Hmm… maybe I should track down the Goldhallow's followup books on the matter…," Juniper mumbled to herself.
OOC: Listen check - nat. 1; Knowledge Arcana check - roll 2+8, 10

Brace had not expected to find a tonandurr tree. In fact, he was not even trying to; he had given up on the idea. The purpose was to have used the bark to soothe Blaz's feet, but now the halfling was heading east with the rest of the caravan, leaving them on their first "quest". So, he was surprised to stumble upon some seed pods that he didn't recognize at first, while helping the gnome find the goblin's footprints. Lifting it to his nose and snapping it open, he recognized the smell. The dosage from a seed would be far too little to help someone with the body mass of a human, but seeds meant trees, and trees meant bark.

Sure enough, they stumbled upon the tree itself a short distance later, sitting in a sort of clearing. It seemed to Brace that they had almost been led to this spot, by a higher power perhaps? Odd. What were the odds…?

As Brace examined the trunk of the spindly tree, he heard Korr utter valid concerns about more enemies being present in these woods and being too physically weak with all of their recent wounds and injuries. Then the gnome claimed to have picked up the sound of music nearby.

Knowledge (Nature) check: 11 + 3 = 14: Success

"Fey?" the apothecary asked, to no one in particular.
~ Lhynard (talk) 23:53, 30 October 2021 (UTC)

Now that Samophlange had mentioned it, they could all hear it: music, very faint, lost amongst the forest sounds and buzzing insects, but unmistakably music, from a stringed instrument like a violin. There was something else too—chirping, like that of a cricket. Not that unusual, they'd suppose, but during the day? What was more, it was keeping time with the music, providing its beat. Even the insects seemed to be doing their bit, adding a hum and a buzz. It all came together in harmony, in a symphony. The notes were bright, the tune swift, and the urge to tap one's foot was almost irresistible.

Then, as Brace touched the tonandurr tree, it all stopped, plunging the glade into near silence. Then Brace heard soft staccato whines, from up amongst the branches.
BadCatMan (talk) 01:32, 31 October 2021 (UTC)

Do fey do dubstep?

Brace pulled his hand away from the tree's bark, confused, and looked up into its branches.

Spot check: 3 + 5 = 8

He saw nothing, but he took a defensive posture.

Total defense action: +4 AC
~ Lhynard (talk) 01:47, 31 October 2021 (UTC)

Groef Feythrin.jpg

As Brace searched in vain for the source, the chittering whines steadily slowed and deepened in pitch, until at last he could make what they were—words, spoken in Common but over-enunciated the way a very pompous person would speak loudly and slowly to a foreigner or a fool. Only in this speaker's case, loudly and slowly only made him somewhat softer and faster and less high-pitched than would be normal. "—hear me now? Aha, finally! Then pray tell me, peasant, why you have trespassed within the Principality of the Groef Feythrin and interrupted my performance. And make it good!"

As the speaker said this, it came piece by piece into view out from under the leaves, scuttling along a branch some eight feet off the ground. From four hairy insectoid feet and a cricket-like body rose a humanoid torso, wearing fine silken robes and medallions. Spindly arms and hands held a violin and bow. Lastly, his head showed pale blue skin, green hair and long antennae held back by a thin golden band, and a deeply angular face with a supercilious expression. And in total, he stood little more than fourteen inches tall.
BadCatMan (talk) 08:55, 1 November 2021 (UTC)

Diplomacy check to influence NPC attitude: 20 − 1 = 19

Brace gave an awkward but obviously sincere bow. "Forgive us for trespassing, saer. We have entered your woods only out of the greatest necessity and your principality only by accident, as we stumbled upon the seeds of this tree, which I recognized might give the injured among us some comfort." He motioned to Ilrien's bandaged legs and his brother's torn and stained clothes. "We mean to find the band of goblins that waylaid us last nightfall. They took prisoner the sons of our caravan leader. We can immediately leave your region to return to the trail, though we do not know its borders and we have lost the trail…."

Brace lost confidence in what he was saying and frantically glanced around at the others, hoping one of them would continue this dialog for him.
~ Lhynard (talk) 12:22, 1 November 2021 (UTC)

Korr's brother, Brace, had already spoken to the strange creature, but Korr had a bit more to add. "My brother speaks the truth. We only came here out of desperation and did not mean to disrupt your spectacular performance," he exaggerated. "During the battle with the strange goblins, some of us nearly died, and many of us are injured still. However, we prevailed in taking down the goblinoids. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of these attacks, so that all the land can be safer, including, uhh…." Korrlan forgot the name of the place the strange grasshopper-man had mentioned for a moment. "…the Principality of the Groef Feythrin!" OOC: aid another via Diplomacy: 1d20 + 0 = 16. Aid another successful. Brace adds +2 to his roll for a total of 21.

Samophlange's eyes gawked at the bizarre creature addressing the group. None of his chapbooks had mentioned cricket-folk, so he felt it prudent to keep his mouth shut and let the two brothers take charge of the situation. They seemed to be doing a splendid job at it. Having nothing useful to add, he simply nodded enthusiastically along to the diplomatic proceedings.

Juniper stared at the strange little critter with eyes open wide like two saucers. She quickly realized that staring was an improper thing a goat would do and clumsily curtsied at the insectoid nobility in front of the group. "The goblin scoundrels said something about a pit, your lordship. A goblin pit of death. Perchance you know anything about that?" She asked as politely as her farmer upbringing could produce.

Almost as soon as Brace had begun speaking, the strange fey creature seemed to lose all interest in what he had to say, growing distracted, even bored. At last, he lifted his tiny violin up to his pointed chin and started drawing the bow across it, improvising a muted but overly mournful tune for them. He seemed to be—yes, he really was—he was playing the world's smallest violin.

But at the end, after Korr and Juniper had also said their pieces, he relented and lowered the violin again, remarking, "Well, finely enough you speak for big folk, so the offense I shall forgive. Clearly you realize you stand in the presence of royalty—yes, I am Feythrin, groef of this land. You have heard of me, of course. And yes, I know all about the goblins and their holes. I know all that goes on within my domain and without. I do not know how those seeds can help you, but you may take those that fall on the ground and be on your way." He gave them a dismissive wave.
BadCatMan (talk) 09:09, 2 November 2021 (UTC)

"We thank you, your inconceivableness." Juniper picked up a seed and looked at it up close, bursting with curiosity.

OOC: knowledge nature 8+4 12.

"Yes, we thank you, your… inconceivableness, but we actually do not know whither we are going, and the seeds themselves are not very helpful to us. Perhaps I could grind the seeds and extract their healing essenses and make a salve, but I do not have alcohol nor a mortar and pestle. Those are in my master's workshop many days travel hence. What we really need is fresh bark from the living tree to press against our wounds, for the healing essenses are in the sap that oozes from the bark."

To Juniper's eyes, it seemed to be a typical seed from the tonandurr tree because, of course, Brace had said it was. The tree itself seemed to be a remarkable specimen, tall and healthy and green in the summer sun—small wonder that a fey prince had chosen it for his seat of power.

Meanwhile, Feythrin sniffed and put on a show of thinking over Brace's proposal, before appearing quite affronted at the idea. "You wish to cut bark, from my tree?" he exclaimed indignantly. He narrowed his eyes in an interrogating gaze. "I suppose, by the same token, if I were to come to you with an urgent need for hide, you would gladly give up some of yours?"
BadCatMan (talk) 11:31, 4 November 2021 (UTC)

Ilrien, quiet until now in hopes of avoiding drawing attention, spoke. "Surely there is some recent woodfall that bark could be harvested from? And could you please tell us where the goblins' pit is, so that we can find and put a stop to them before they manage to set anymore things or people on fire than they already have."

"Indeed! We don't want any rampaging wild goblins to threaten you, your splendiferousness!" Juniper shrugged and popped the seed in her mouth and bit into it, chewing it enthusiastically.

Reflex save: 7 + 3 = 10

Brace tried to knock the seed out of Juniper's hands before she could put it in her mouth, but he was too late. "Sili!" he yelled. "I mean, Juniper! Spit that out now! The seeds are poisonous when whole; you have to extract the healing essences. You cannot just eat it; it will make you sick!"
~ Lhynard (talk) 16:02, 4 November 2021 (UTC)

Juniper was too quick for the Brace fella but already started regretting her curiosity. The awful taste of burnt almonds was not among the things that the halfling considered appetizing. However, she was sure that her family would try and flavor the cheese with that awful seed. Afraid of offending his Scrumptious Luminescence, she attempted to quickly spit the seed into her hand and dispose of the evidence of her rudeness without anyone noticing…, and the fact that Brace promised her sickness was not ideal either.
OOC: Sleight of Hand: 15+4

She tried to bite her stubby tongue to make saliva wash the ungodly taste out of her mouth. "Whoth Thili?" she asked curiously with her tongue still between her teeth.

"I… just meant that you were being silly. No harm in it!"

"Silly! You made me spit out his Royal Voluminousness's treats! It's a dire breach of insect royal protocol…, I think. So it's not even poisoned, just foul tasting?" Juniper hissed at the tall'n apothecary.

"It is poisonous. It would probably not kill you, only make you sick, though I do not know exactly how it would affect a person of your small size."

Feythrin observed this exchange with tiny curious eyes. "I shall forgive the offense—this time," he declared—and quite graciously, he seemed to think. Indeed, for all his arrogance, the grig had appeared momentarily concerned when Juniper ate the seed and almost relieved when Brace stopped her. "The goblins are no threat to my domain; I have dealt with them quite handily when they've dared set foot within. They usually go dancing right out again," he ended, his voice lowering with menace at what that might mean.

Then, after a few moments' thought, the groef relented. "Very well, I shall let you have your bark and the way to the goblins' holes too. Consider it a bonus. But, in all things, a price must be paid. You have interrupted my grand recital, so… you will entertain me. Any form of artistic expression you are halfway capable of shall do."

"But do your best, or I shall be very disappointed."
BadCatMan (talk) 15:00, 5 November 2021 (UTC)

Brace looked at Ilrien hopefully. "Elves are known for being skilled in song, yes?"
~ Lhynard (talk) 23:59, 5 November 2021 (UTC)

Juniper looked the elf up and down, as if sizing a prize hog at a Freedale fair…. "What songs do you know? Can you sing this one…? The ditty that goes something like hmmmm hmmm hm hmmmm?" Juniper tried to hum Pipeweed Dreams, a hin tavern song… but mostly ended up sounding like the rumbling of an upset stomach….

OOC: Performance: 11-1, 10

Of night's own beauty

Ilrien shot Juniper a dirty look, then straightened and spoke. "I am no bard, but I did learn something of song in my home forest. Recently, a newer song reached us from the north that I found gorgeous." And with no further conversation, she went into song:

There is a place in the deep green wood

Where the dryad Olsheirie dwells,
Dancing where a keep once stood
Girt with magic of chiming bells.

Though to stray so deep is the act of a fool;
I regret no stride toward Starfall Pool.

Trees old and green, dark and still
Ring 'round an oak as old as time,
Fall down keep and rise up hill,
Rest and hear the dryad rhyme.

And on went the song, a winding, slow rise-and-fall of words that spoke of the beauty of night and of restful shadows.

Upon hearing Juniper's attempt, Feythrin dramatically whined and clamped his ears over his head—after all, a cricket had its ears in the knees of its forelegs, and so too, it seemed, did the grig, who crossed his front legs over his head to blot out the disappointing sound.

He lowered them in time for Ilrien's song, his eyes widening in delight and turning his legs out to better take it in. At the end, he clapped eagerly and chirped by rubbing his wings together. "Very good, very good! Almost impressive!" he cheered. "I know the real Olsheirie, of course. She is indeed as fine a dancer as they say. Particularly in tap."

Now, he directed his gaze at Brace, Korr, and Samophlange. "And do you three dare to entertain me? It really is a high honor I am granting you. You would not wish to pass it up."
BadCatMan (talk) 13:03, 8 November 2021 (UTC)

"No, your highness, I truly would not dare it." Brace gave a humble bow. "I am a lowly merchant, not an entertainer."
~ Lhynard (talk) 13:23, 8 November 2021 (UTC)

After Brace declined his offer, however humbly, Feythrin tutted. "Oh, even a lowly human merchant holds a spark of creativity and performance somewhere. You need only fan it into a flame…. But no matter, what about the rest of you?"
BadCatMan (talk) 14:12, 9 November 2021 (UTC)

Flustered, Samophlange blurted out the only song he knew by heart.

The wizard has a staff with a knob on the end of it.
The wizard has a staff with a knob on the end
Of it. The wizard has a staff with a knob on the end of it.
The wizard has a staff with a knob.

The jaunty tavern song went on like that for quite a while, its lyrics veering into other descriptions of a wizard's staff. All the while, Samo clapped his hands and did his best to give a lively and animated performance. "The Wizard's Staff" was a real crowd-pleaser at the Copper Coronet, after all, but it was all in the execution.

Perform (Sing): 20 + 0 = 20

As Samophlange launched into his much less salubrious song, Feythrin listened with an expression of utter astonishment. What kind of crude creature would dare sing a bawdy drinking song to a prince of the fey folk? But of course, Feythrin was a grig, and to a grig mischief was life, full of laughter and pranks and embarrassing the very kind of prideful arrogance with which he'd confronted them. So he smirked and sniggered and chirped his wings and finally burst into high-pitched laughter that echoed around the glade. "Hee-hee-hee-hee! Aha, well done," he congratulated, wiping his eye. "Though admittedly, I don't quite know what the lyrics refer to; I shall have to ask Olsheirie next time I see her. She knows more about such woody matters."

"Very well, you may take some bark, but no more than would harm the tree."
BadCatMan (talk) 14:12, 9 November 2021 (UTC)

Survival check to examine tree and cut the bark, etc.: 5 + 5 = 10

Brace nodded respectfully and examined the tree carefully, trying to find living branches with minimal further branching, that is, those branches that would supply him with fresh tonandurr sap within the bark, with minimal chance of harming the tree's leaves if the wound from removing the bark did not heal well and the branch later became infected. He was not a botanist or an arborist, but he was comfortable in nature and thought that he had found a good branch to perform his cuts. Taking his father's dagger, recently sharpened that morning, he began carefully making the slits and then prying the bark away from the cambium. He made sure that the strips were only an inch in width, a fraction of the branch's circumference, to ensure that the branch had a good chance of surviving the wound.

Having gathered enough strips to tend to their own wounds, he crouched at the ground to prepare the bark for use, leaving the others to question the fey prince about the location of the pits while he set to work. Once he had the bark in hand, he knew exactly what to do and did it with superb precision, peparing a sort of bandage from each one with torn bits of cloth, using his sewing needle and thread to fasten the strips, phloem-side up. The bark itself he punctured at exactly the right places and with the right depth to ensure an even and slow transmission of the sap's healing essences to the damaged skin of each of the wounded. He did not look up from his task again until he had finished, ready to apply the bark to those who wanted it, including to his own damaged chest.

Profession (Apothecary) check to prepare tonandurr bark bandages: 20 + 5 = 25
~ Lhynard (talk) 22:58, 9 November 2021 (UTC)

Ilrien looked up at the grig. "And the goblin pit? Will you tell us where that is?"

Growing distracted once again, Feythrin had turned his attention to Brace, watching him work with curious eyes and even improvising a little work song as accompaniment, one inspired by the rhythms of cutting and sewing, here sawing the bow across the strings and there punctuating with short stabbing movements. Ilrien interrupted him though, and Feythrin looked to her, saying, "Hmm? Oh, those filthy, horrible things. You shall find them within a stand of blueleafs, ten of your miles…." Pointing with his violin bow, he trotted around in a circle, finally pointing eastward. "…that way. Look for the crows; they will lead you right to them. Though, what interest you have in a rubbish dump I have no idea."

"Now, I really must return to my recital. For your courteous words, you're welcome to stay and listen, if you like?" And with that, he began to play his violin once more, beginning with a bubbly little bit before embarking on the full melody, his rapidly sliding bow producing a sweet and energetic jig and conducting the buzzing insects and the rustling leaves and the whispering wind itself into his orchestra. And he danced too, hopping and capering along the branch and kicking all four of his legs this way and that.

The tune was infectious, and made those who listened want to tap their feet—in fact, they couldn't help tapping their feet—and shaking their legs, and bobbing their bodies, and swaying to the left and to the right, and bursting into glorious dance.

Will save DC 12 or be compelled to dance as per Otto's irresistible dance, but you're free to dance your way out of the scene. :)
BadCatMan (talk) 08:00, 12 November 2021 (UTC)

Samophlange, still in shock his performance had worked, instinctively felt that it was time to quit this place as the buzzing of insects grew in intensity. He had learned this lesson the hard way as a child when he was nearly eaten by giant cockroaches in the sewers of Athkatla. Samo couldn't quite understand what the fey-man was on about—to him, the music sounded less like a fiddle recital and more like a discordant racket of competing sounds. The fey Samo had read about in his chapbooks had been much more impressive.

He turned to the others. "I think we should leave before this performance gets any… uh, livelier." Samophlange hoisted his backpack back on and started walking in the direction the little bug-man had pointed.

Will save: 16 + 0 = 16

Korr was surprised at how well his brother, Brace, had made bandages split from the bark of a tonandurr tree out in the wild. He was certainly living up to his surname! Korrlan took a couple for himself and applied one to his knee and one to his chest. His lingering pain had now fully passed, and he turned to Ilrien. "Tonandurr bark won't have an effect on elves, I'm afraid. I can spare some magical healing before we head off, if you desire."

OOC: Will save: 8 + 6 = 14
Korrlan is at full health

Ilrien began heading towards the east as soon as they were dismissed; the music behind, while lively, held no allure for her. In response to Korr, she only said, "I think that might be prudent."

Will save 20+2=22

Ten more miles of adventuring…. This whole recent career change turned out to be quite tiring. The halfling hurried after Samo. Juniper realized she was being rude and quickly turned around to ebulliently applaud the grig's attempts at music.

OOC: Will Save 9+4=12

Will save: 19 + 3 = 22

The powerful music seemed to have little effect on Brace, so engrossed he was in his work, but after he handed off a couple of the bandages to his brother, he noticed that the two shorter adventurers had already started off, while the fey cricket prince was performing. He felt like he owed the prince the dignity of a listen, so he lingered. It really was quite fascinating to observe and to hear, and he wondered if he would have such an opportunity again. He waited and watched until Ilrien and Korr were walking away—tapping his feet certainly, but not quite giving in to the urge to jump and twirl—and then he followed after, giving his best effort at an applause to the grig before passing out of sight in the trees. The music followed them for some distance before dwindling off into silence. They were alone in the forest once again.
~ Lhynard (talk) 14:02, 12 November 2021 (UTC)

As the Crow Flies?

Ten miles was not a short walk, and after an hour passed tramping through the trailess forest, Brace's already low optimism was dwindling.

"I do not have much hope for this quest of ours, Brother," he said quietly, coming up beside Korr. "I have not spotted any crows, and the trees are so thick that I cannot make out exactly where the sun is to ensure that we are even continuing on the same bearing that we started since leaving the little cricket–man. We are also making such a racket that the goblins will know we are coming long before we arrive. Do you think that these other three are truly adventurers? Because I am thinking more and more that they know as little as we about such things."
~ Lhynard (talk) 01:02, 13 November 2021 (UTC)

Blueleaf, duskwood, and felsul trees.

But, fortunately for their spirits and for their feet, the forest thinned out after four miles or so, with trees growing shorter and further apart and with less undergrowth between them to block their path. The more observant among them recognized this as new-growth forest, planted only in the last few decades to replace what had been taken through logging. (Where the fey had his domain, it had naturally been the old-growth forest of before.) The regrown forest was better for nature than the cleared land, of course, but it was better for bandits too, offering more hiding places for ambush and escape.

Then, after a few hours, they saw the crows. The black birds were wheeling through the eastern sky, obviously attracted to something below. When they found a good view of the tree-covered land as it sloped gradually away to the south and east, they saw the center of the crows' interest—a stand of blue-leafed trees straddling a large and deep gulch, which cracked the earth and ran south, doubtless carrying a lesser tributary of the great River Delimbiyr. It was some five miles away and a few more hours' hike.
BadCatMan (talk) 12:26, 15 November 2021 (UTC)

As the gulch came into view, Samophlange signaled for a stop and turned to face the others trailing behind him, giving the smuggest smile he was capable of—which, him being a gnome, was very smug indeed. "See? I'm willing to bet two copper pieces this is the place we're looking for." He turned back to survey the landscape ahead, narrowing his eyes. He continued, almost muttering to himself, "That's a disturbing amount of black pigeons, though…."

Still looking toward the horizon, he asked, "Brace, was it? Do you recognize those trees with the blue leaves?"

"Blueleafs, I suspect. There have been a few here and there along the road since when we left Zelbross. My late master was working on treating the wood with magic to make armor, but medicines were more his specialty. The leaves are used to make blue dye in clothing in the North; they even burn with blue flame."

Samo shrugged his shoulders. "Maybe the pigeons really like the taste of the leaves."

Adressing the others while putting on his decisive adventurer voice, he said, "By my estimate, we're a couple of hours away. If we're all good to continue I would suggest we approach in silence. There's no telling how many goblin assassins are lurking ahead." Samo's plan was, of course, inspired by the climactic finale of The Hin Avenger, where the hero had to sneak his way into the villain's mountaintop lair. He just hoped there wouldn't be quite as many dragons along their route. One dragon would be more than enough for now.

"Blue flames!? Are the trees magic?" asked the halfling, happily distracting herself from her achy, hairy feet. "Brace, are they edible?"

"Only if you wish to turn into a xvart."

"Is this why they are blue and mad? They eat trees? I'd be mad if I were eating trees too." Juniper's eyes lit up. "Do xvarts burn with blue fire?!"

The diminutive wizard reminded herself about the goblins and their dreaded holes, ignoring that voice at the back of her head that told her of wonders of trees ablaze with azure. "Should we stick together and approach? Or try and spread out, in case the gobbos have 'booyag'?"

OOC: will save roll to resist compulsion - nat 20.

Ilrien raised an eyebrow at Samo's words, then said dryly, "Those aren't pigeons; those are crows. And seeing as crows feed on carrion, I doubt it is the leaves that have drawn them. More likely, whatever rotting carcasses the goblins have in their pits." She paused, then continued in a more business-like tone, "As far as enemies go, we are more likely to run into hunters or more bandits, not assassins—those live in cities. Any spellcasters will likely stick close to their base."

The trek had certainly not been a short one so far, and the cleric's enthusiasm for adventure had died down. He returned to his typical state, which was in deep, contemplative thought. Shut off from the outside world, he pictured himself back in the plague-stricken city of Neverwinter. "Should I have left?" he asked himself as he went through each and every possible scenario and outcome.

Head down in thought and not paying attention to where he was going or what Brace was asking him, he walked away from his brother and close to the elf. Korr snapped back into reality after hearing Ilrien say the word "bandit", and he motioned to the group to halt. "Let us have a quick rest," he said, holding his head. "If there are bandits out here, or goblin traps, we should scout the area." As the adventurers, if this is what they indeed were, stopped for a moment, Korrlan scrunched his hand into a ball. He then rotated his wrist and unfurled his hand finger by finger, as if tracing a magical symbol in the air. The procedure ended with a set of mystical words and an open-palm pressed against Ilrien's back. "You're looking much better, though still… rather pale… is that your normal complexion?" he questioned the moon elf.

Standing back up, he extended his thumb and pushed his rolled-up index finger into it, forming a pinhole. Korr then looked ahead, behind, and above, trying to spot anything out of the ordinary.

OOC: Korr casts cure minor wounds twice; Ilrien is now back at full HP.
Spot check: 15 + 4 = 19

While Korrlan was performing his ministrations, Samo made a show of agreeing with Ilrien as he looked up at her, chin in hand as if giving her statement real critical thought. "Yes, of course. You're absolutely right. Probably no assassins out here."

Korrlan had asked for a quick break, so Samo dropped his backpack to the ground and sat down on a more or less suitable rock. "Let's not tarry overlong," he said to no one in particular. His gaze fell on the landscape ahead of them yet again. Yes, he was sure. Those were definitely pigeons.

The Pits

Crow 1e.png

Not tarrying overlong, the travelers took a brief break from their hike to heal and rest their weary feet. They had a small repast, breaking into their trail rations and dining on dried fruits and jerked meat, hard cheese and hard-tack. Brace had tried to gather berries while they walked but had no luck. But given what they'd had to go through to get bark from a grig, perhaps this was just as well.

Soon, they set off again, heading for the blueleaf stand, and before long found themselves amongst its fringe. The blueleafs grew some forty feet tall and had trunks so slender they bent in the breeze but grew so close together they supported one another via their branches tangled together in the canopy. Disappointingly, while the star-shaped leaves had a distinct blueish gleam, their famous glow was muted in the midday sun. Maybe at night they would really shine. But for now, the light was only gloomy and faintly tinged an eerie blue.

Following a game path as it wound its way into the woods, they found the air inside was stuffy and muggy. No doubt the canopy trapped moisture thrown up by the fast-moving river nearby, which they could hear but not yet see. Its roar, telling of strong rapids, drowned out all other noise but the occasional squawk of the crows coming from deeper in the wood. At last, the game path came to a fork directly in front of an unusually thick and seemingly out-of-place oak, surrounded by countless crows. As they moved around it on the right-hand path, they came upon a grisly scene.

Roughly carved into the oak tree's trunk was the image of a double-bitted battleaxe, standing upright, with wide-curved blades from which droplets fell. It faced a pit, several feet wide and ringed by the remains of cooking fires, where bits of charred wood and bone poked through the cold gray ash, and a flat-topped tree stump covered in deep notches and dried brown blood. The pit itself was almost five feet deep and littered with hundreds if not thousands of bones and body parts, some clearly cooked and gnawed upon, others raw with gore and gristle in various stages of decay.

One after the other, the crows dived down into the pit to steal some gruesome treat, flew out it with in their beaks, then sat upon surrounding branches to devour it and wait for their next turn. Now and then they fought, usually tearing the flesh apart or losing the prize—an eye landed in the dirt at Ilrien's feet. Others cawed warnings at the travelers who'd disturbed their feasting.
BadCatMan (talk) 03:53, 17 November 2021 (UTC)

The grisly sight visibly unnerved the halfling who kept up with the gnome leader of the party. "Are there wolves or red tigers you reckon?" Juniper nervously looked around trying to detect a possible goblin trap or a hungry forest beast. "All this carnage is sure to attract something hairy and ravenous..."

OOC: Listen check 16+3

Brace turned aside from the disturbing sight and stepped to the left of the oak tree, peering down the path to the left.

Spot check: 16 + 5 = 21
~ Lhynard (talk) 04:12, 17 November 2021 (UTC)

The many goblin footprints were obvious to all, especially given their habit of wearing only filthy foot-wraps. They went back and forth along the trail and gathered around the disturbing shrine. Brace saw the left-hand path wound deeper into the wood, its destination out of sight but heading toward the gulch. Meanwhile, try as she might, Juniper neither saw nor heard anything new creeping around them. Whether that was a good sign, or a bad sign, remained to be seen.

"The other path descends, probably toward the river tributary. The cricket-prince mentioned multiple pits, did he not?"

The gruesome scene filled Samophlange with disgust. Rather than fear, he felt his resolve hardening; it would be good to stop whatever madness was going on here. It had no place in the world.

"I haven't heard of wolves being quite this... organized," Samophlange replied to Juniper. He had never actually seen a wolf, strictly speaking, but felt confident he was right. Unless these were werewolves. "Weregoblins?" he thought aloud, and made a mental note to remember the concept if he ever wrote a book of his own.

Having been informed by Brace what lay ahead of them, Samo nodded and said "It might be best if we moved on from this revolting place. By the way, does anyone recognize the symbol carved on that oak? There weren't quite as many goblin death pits where I'm from."

Juniper felt fear tingling up her spine like a bad case of sand fleas. The silence was more intimidating than jumbo-sized goldenstar. "Weregoblins!?" She looked at Ilrien. "You were not bitten, were you?"

"She was not bitten. Even if she were, we have a couple days before the next full moon. It's on the holiday, afterall.

"Korr, I echo our leader's question; have you seen this symbol in your religious studies?"

Juniper took several steps away from the weregoblin elf.

"Hmmm... an upright axe dripping with blood", Korr wondered as he stared at the symbol. He had only seen this once in his clerical studies, but it was long ago. "I think this could be the holy symbol of Maglubiyet, the chief deity of the goblins", he suggested. He then turned to the others and narrowed his eyes. "This is not just a simple pit", he said definitively. "This is a shrine. A bloody sacrificial shrine."

OOC: Religion check: 9 + 2 = 11

"Ilmater have mercy."

A shrine of goblin sacrifices - this meant danger, and more importantly, Skar lied about cheese! Juniper looked around trying to see if there were any halfling bodies or halfling pieces around.

OOC: Spot check for halfling bits - 13+1

"This isn't weres, this is a sacrificial pit of the goblins' making. A bloody offering for their bloody gods." Ilrien had stepped away from the eyeball in favor of looking directly at the symbol, then into the pit, her face twisting either in disgust, or perhaps at the smell.


Those who dared looked deeper into the pit saw, beneath the swarming buzzing flies, the bones of countless creatures. Most seemed to be of deer and other local fauna, suggesting much butchering, cooking, and feasting went on here, but even at a glance they saw humanoid skulls that revealed the darker purpose of this place. There were a few humans, a couple of orcs, and about a dozen goblins—likely not sacrifices but warriors fallen in battle. The most recent and most impressive was a lone ogre. Fortunately, as far as they could tell, there were no halfling bones placed here, yet. But Skar had been truthful about one thing—they had found only death here.
BadCatMan (talk) 12:26, 19 November 2021 (UTC)

Samo chewed it over in his mind, then said, "Well, whatever it is, this place is the pits. Let's move on, sooner rather than later."

"Lead the way."

North is top. PCs approach from the west. The white shaded part is the tunnel below ground. Small dots are stones.

The travelers took a last lingering look at the grisly pit—the goblin bodies seemed to be as recent as the ogre's, suggesting they had fallen in the same battle. The goblins had no doubt been victorious against the ogre, but at a heavy cost.

At last, and with some relief, they turned their backs on the shrine and took the left-hand path around the oak. It took some time, but eventually they came to another clearing, this one much tidier, but no less strange. At the center of this clearing was another pit, several feet wide, its edge ringed with large, smooth river stones and its walls rough and riddled with roots and rocks. Thankfully, there were no carcasses and sacrifices stuffed in this pit. Instead, it descended over ten feet to a dry earthen floor, where a small tunnel led away to the south. So this was the pit the goblin captive had let slip.
BadCatMan (talk) 13:06, 25 November 2021 (UTC)

Brace approached Samophlange. "I am not an adventurer like you, so I have never been deep in a cave, but I know a thing or two about survival in the wild, and a lot of caverns are formed near rivers, because of the water. That is, the older courses of the river dug them out from the rock. I can hear the water closer to us know. If this pit leads to goblin caverns, there may be an alternate entrance closer to the creek." Brace spoke in a whisper as he presented his theory.
~ Lhynard (talk) 15:28, 25 November 2021 (UTC)

Samophlange knew to heed the advice of an expert, even if Brace admitted he wasn't much of a caverneer. In fact, "listen to experienced travelers" was one of the "rules for adventuring" presented in the first chapbook Samo ever bought, Adventuring for Gnomes.
Matching Brace's volume and tone, he said "Should we go and scout it out?"

"That is what I would advise, yet I know nothing about moving quietly through terrain. The elfish woman would, do you think not?"