Dorset Style - 06. Kingmaker

Armags Tomb and Camp

The campsite consists of 11 circular tents, a fenced-in area for horses, and a wooden cage with a roof made of leather.

The large cage at the center of the campsite contains the five hostages that Armag took from Baron Drelev.

The walls, floors, and ceilings in Armag’s Tomb are carved from pale stone heavy with iron ore, a feature that gives the entire complex streaks of oxidized brown, not unlike long dead f lesh streaked in dried blood.
Except where otherwise noted, the rooms and corridors are 12 feet high, and the walls themselves are infused with ancient magic

Three alabaster statues stand along the western wall of this large square chamber. The statues depict well-proportioned Kellid men, each set in a different war-like pose.

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The Black Sisters are actually quite young — they view their youth as a mark of shame, though, and dress in hooded clothes with high collars to hide their faces. They hope that as a reward for helping to achieve vengeance against Brevoy by leading a horde of barbarians
north, Gyronna will care for them in their old age to come.

Through the doors hidden by silent image to the east they head into another room: An alabaster statue of a barbarian stands in this antechamber against the north wall. Two five-foot passageways open to either side.

This alabaster statue’s unwavering gaze stares at a secret door on the south wall. Through this door is a passageway.
Sigils mark the walls of this dark passageway. Judging by the dust and abandoned cobwebs, it appears to have lain unused for centuries. A heavy fog restricts vision to just five feet.

A deadly and vicious bouquet of insectile claws sprouts from this horrid, three-legged, multi-eyed beast.​

Multi-limbed insectile horrors, derghodaemons spawn from souls slain by violent insanity, whether it be a mortal butchered by a psychotic criminal, a schizophrenic gutting himself to remove the invisible insects in his veins, or similar grisly scenarios. Moving with an irregular, skittering motion, perpetually chattering and jerking their limbs, these daemons disturb those who view them at a visceral level. Derghodaemons most often serve in the vanguards of daemon armies, herded forward by their more intelligent kindred. Their array of limbs and eyes allows them to wallow in the fray, lashing out at all they encounter, while their ability to induce confusion sows discord among foes. Notoriously difficult to control, derghodaemons left to roam the wilds of Abaddon seek portals leading onto the Material Plane and other sites where conflicts often arise. Even on other planes, they seek carnage, hunting for victims of opportunity, tearing apart and devouring anything smaller than themselves, including those who conjure them but lack the prowess to control them.

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​Four massive pillars hold up this large dome-shaped chamber’s ceiling, which rises to a height of fifty feet. At the room’s center stands a towering suit of spiked armor.​

The statue at the center of the room is an iron golem crafted to resemble Gorum himself.

The corridor emerges into a huge natural cavern supported by a single, immense pillar of stone.

To the west rises a twentyfoot-high ridge capped by a small forest of stalagmites. The ceiling rises to a height of forty feet above.

​Two churning fountains take up alcoves to the east and west of this immense chamber, their water cascading down the faces of beautifully rendered maidens as if they were crying for the souls lost in battle. Directly ahead, four rows of intricately carved columns reach deeper into the chamber, resembling armed soldiers kneeling in honor of the massive statues of Gorum at the chamber’s far end. A set of stairs descends into a passageway to the north.​

Bloody Skeletons protected the area, they will keep getting back up unless they are put down in bless, hallow. with holy water or something to do wth thier creation.

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After defeating the skeletons they head into the temple of gorum, which had the guardian, a man who had been here since the time of Armags death who Gorum had sent visions to him and then made him a eternal guardian of the place

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For many years, Armag led his warriors to victory, proclaiming himself invincible and pridefully declaring himself Gorum’s champion. While Gorum was amused by his boastfulness, Pharasma was insulted, and sent aeons to defeat him. Gorum took offense, resulting in a battle of wits between the two deities. When Armag was finally felled in battle, Gorum infused Armag’s soul into his blade, thereby forbidding Armag’s soul to enter the Boneyard. He then sent word to Armag’s tribe to inter the body and equipment in a great tomb filled with guardians, traps, and tests. Gorum decreed that only the worthiest warrior would be fit to claim Ovinrbaane as their own, and all others would be slain and added to the guardians protecting the tomb.

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Armag the Twice-Born lead the Tiger Lords barbarian tribe which serve as mercenaries for Pitax. He was raised by cultists of Gyronna to believe he was the reborn ancient Tiger Lords chieftain Armag and reportedly either seeks or already wields Armag’s legendary sword Ovinrbaane.

Ovinrbaane, Enemy of All Enemies, is a powerful, intelligent, but cursed greatsword once wielded by the barbarian warlord Armag, leader of the Tiger Lords tribe and follower of Gorum. Infused with the warlike spirit of its former wielder, the blade seeks only war and conflict. It protects its wielder from hostile magic and, it is said, infuses the wielder with a portion of Armag’s legendary power.

Rescued Girls: Anjana, Galine, Marinda, and Sophelia, along with Tamary Numesti, Kisandra’s sister

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6th Gozran 4714

Head off the rescue the five girls held by Armag the Twice Born.

First encounter met was the Chimera Pride, in the hills. The heads of these Chimera are red.
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A small cave overlooks the valley floor near the top of a hill. The cave opening is devoid of vegetation and strewn with bones. Three nearby stone outcroppings bear signs of scratch marks left behind by some unseen animal or beast.​

A pride of four chimeras lair in this large cavern, taking to the air each day to hunt the southern plains. They particularly enjoy raiding the wild horses , as evidenced by the half-eaten carcass lying just inside their simple cave.

Although the majority of the chimeras’ prey so far has been horses or other wild animals, they sometimes fly over the swamp as well. Three dead boggards provide proof of this habit, and one of those three was a relatively powerful sorcerer. While the body’s been torn to ribbons, its bracers of armor +4 and wand of lightning bolt (22 charges) have survived.​

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10th June session

So it looks like we’re going to rescue the kidnapped girls. We scried, they are alive, and held in a cage in a camp. There are guards on them. Camp looks like it might be right next to the tomb of the original Armag, the barbarian warlord who was champion of Gorum, the god of war. We’re calling in at the lair of chimeras on the way there. Large magical beasts, can see in dark, can smell prey coming, body of lion, plus dragon head and horned goat head, dragon head has breathe weapon (depends on colour of head – can be any evil dragon type), hateful, hungry, hunt on ground and in air, scales on body will match head. Stupid and belligerent, but intelligent enough and stubborn enough to make very poor pets. Dominant male leads group. Hunting done by females. Don’t tend to fight to the death, but they will try and flee if badly injured.

We see them coming towards us. Rena summons a celestial triceratops. Yes, really. We fight them and win.

We find their cave at the top of the hill. Several different creatures bones here, lots of horse bones. Also a bogstrider. 3 dead boggards – yay! There are 2 magic items here – bracers of armour +4. Wand of lightning bolt.

We camp overnight with no incidents, then head off towards Armag’s Tomb. Get there around lunchtime. Camp near stream, next to 50 ft high cliff, tomb is in cliff. We fight a dozen of the barbarians and win, then we move on into the tomb. There’s iron ore in here, which makes the place look blood streaked. Walls themselves are infused with ancient magics. Walls resist any attempt to manipulate them through use of magic. We are being scried upon. From the south east, 200 ft away. There is a fog in the corridor that obscures all our vision further than 5 ft away.

Corridor opens out into a room, with Kelid (Tiger Lord) men statues. No fog. There are 2 people in here. Hooded, hiding faces. Holy symbol is familiar – hag. It’s the baby murderer goddess. We kill them. Some parts of the walls have different spells on them to the rest. Some illusion sections and also abjuration. Nothing on the statues. The illusion sections are apparently doors. The earth elemental that Rena had summoned attempts to batter down the door. We go east. Another statue and a corridor to the east full of fog. Statue staring at south wall. I can spot a secret door. Find mechanism to open it, not locked. Passage unused for years, fog in here. The elemental goes in first. Runes on wall flare slightly as the elemental goes past. We are faced with a Derga daemon. Immune to death effects (Amina). (Cade) it can’t see any better than we can, immune to disease and poison, resist electricity, cold and fire, can teleport at will. The earth elemental stops in front of the daemon, we can’t see it but we can hear it. We are unaffected by its sounds. There is a fight. Come out into chamber with suit of spiked armour made to resemble Gorum himself. Its an iron golem. Needs adamantite to bypass damage reduction.. Very powerful blows. It has a breath weapon. We break the golem. Go us!

There are secret doors in here. We find them and choose the south east one. We break the door down, it opens into a corridor that is full of fog. That opens out into natural cavern. There are skeletons in here, don;t look like standard skeletons – they are bloody skeletal champions. Fallen Tiger Lord barbarians put into tomb. Imbued with Gorum’s hatred for Pharasma, they have some of this rage in them – they are ‘deathless’ – we can destroy them if they go down to 0, but they’ll get back up again an hour later. They sort of heal as well (like fast healing), also have normal skelly DR and immunity to cold. Longbow and greatsword, armoured. And not entirely surprisingly, they attack. Tehy seem prepared for us. First group draw swords, second group have bows at the ready. To stop the deathless thing, we need to find the thing they are bound to and destroy it, or we kill them in a hallowed area, or sprinkle them with holy water.

Another secret door which the earth elemental breaks down. Into another corridor.

There is a spell that has been cast on this place. Abjuration, called Guards and Wards, webs, confusion, hidden doors, all the stuff we’ve been seeing. The person we saw in the image earlier is in this room. He’s grown in size. Huge statue of Gorum, carved pillars shaped like kneeling solders. It’s spotless in here. Waterfalls at each end, carved like maidens crying. The man stands watching us silently. Takes a step back as we approach. He tells us Armag has passed the trials and is in meditation. We cannot pass unless we are deemed worthy by Gorum. He looks at the rings on Rena’s fingers. Gorum is chaotic neutral, battle, strength, weapons, followed by lots in Brevoy, all about blood, ferocity, intimidation, battle hardiness. Rena intimidates him into stepping aside and letting us pass.

Up some stairs, there’s a door which unlocks for us, into another room. 10 braziers alight in here, walls are splatted with blood, dozens of corpses scattered about. They look like they’ve been here for weeks, not years. There’s a bloke in here, it’s Armag. There are more barbarians in here. There are skeletons like the previous ones, but with different insignia on their chests. Something in the room is casting a spell. There is a glow happening around a sword, which then seems to affect Armag, he roars something at the elemental and attacks. We kill him and have to fight the skellies which don;t stop when he goes down. The priest tells us his story, he’s a shaman, administers the test of faith since the tomb and temple were created, bound to the place, he has acquired some abilities, he cannot leave, the years would catch up with him. It is what his god asks of him. He doesn’t need to eat, drink, sleep, doesn’t age. The sword…..this was the first time anyone claimed the sword since the original Armag’s death. The rings came from a tribal family, he recognises these as his ‘family’. The original Armag let his people into south east Numeria, fought a lot of other tribes. He became a champion for many of the barbarian peoples, many tribes he defeated then followed him, he became a champion of Gorum. Pride was Armag’s weakness, he boated he would live forever, Pharasma took offence, she was the one who destroyed him through a mighty red dragon. This angered Gorum, so the two gods had a fight over Armag’s soul, which Gorum ultimately infused his soul into the sword so Pharasma couldn;t take him to the boneyard. Gorum told him (the shaman) how to build this place to test for a worthy champion to succeed Armag. We passed. He kilkled everyone else. At the beginning lots of people would come, but then it went quiet. Started again recently, and Armag was the first. The sword will tolerate no second, so makes you kill your followers. That’s why Armag killed his. The skeletons are also bound to the temple by Gorum, to steal their souls from Pharasma. Smashing it up will draw the wrath of Gorum. And the shaman will stand against us. Rena says we are going to leave and consider what to do. Rena tells him he is against the souls being bound here, it’s the darkest of necromancy. Rena says that he won’t wield the sword and has no intention of letting it fall into anyone’s hands to wreak death and destruction. The shaman says he cannot let us leave, he will fight us. Rena tells him to make his peace before he tries to stop us from leaving.

We go into the burial chamber. There’s a secret door. Top of the sarcophagus has been moved, Armag’s body is in there, he’s just over 6.5 ft tall, hide armour with dragonbone and armour spikes, shield with dire tigers. Cade draws a binding circle v evil. Rena says the sword would probably kill anyone but us, we are Rena’s ‘tribe’. Cade is looking at the sword to see what he can find out. Behind secret door, there is a holy sepulchure, it’s got an enormous treasure hoard, including a huge diamond, lots of other gems. Tonnes of amazing magical stuff. We have to go to Pharasma’s boneyard to destroy the sword, whoever wields it has to find their own gravestone and beat it three times with the sword.

We put all the hoard in a bag and start to leave. We know he’s going to attack us. He does. It is a long drawn out fight but eventually we kill him. He turns to dust. We inter his dust in the sepulchre with his holy symbol, spear and armour (which are all that remain). The fog and locked doors etc disappear. We go outside. The girls are huddled together inside the cage. We tell them who we are and that we’ve come to rescue them. We explain about the changes at what was Drevlev.

We rest up for the night and head back to Freehold.

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Sunday 28th May

Off to Drelev! We decide that our cohorts will take the refugees home and we will go on to Drelev alone.

We use the boat to traverse the waterways. Chull mix crustacean, serpent, insect. 8 foot tall, 4 legs, 2 large claws, very strong exoskeleton. Lots of tentacles around mouth that can paralyse. Intelligent, do like their ambushes, we know they collect keepsakes of their victims and they don’t like surface dwellers.

We are keeping a lookout so we spot a dark opening hidden by the cat tails and rushes in the water. Amina checks it out cautiously. They spot her. Chittering dialect of Common, they are talking about yum, food, then it goes quiet. Some parts of this cave are deeper than wading. We fight two of them. We win. We explore the cave. There are crude murals on the rock walls. Mostly of chull eating humans. Also tactical ambushing techniques depicted. Remains of mostly human remains, the odd boggard, etc. Bodies have been stripped of belongings. There’s another room off the main cave, it contains large leathery eggs. In the main room there is an area that is above the water, and on it are various items from victims. Masterworked quarterstaff with silver at each end and predatory birds carved on it. Silver ring which detects as magical – makes you a bit more athletic. Coral holy symbol of Gosray, mithril gilded leaf brooch (not magical), waterproof satchel contains spellbook and leather journal. The cave is big enough for us to get the boat in so we can use it to shelter. We read the journal. Research journal rather than a diary. Things that stand out: has a section on chull – he was aware that they set ambushes and were intelligent, had a rudimentary civilisation, possible racial memory/shared experiences. They can clearly recall events from previous generations, which might explain why they hate humanoids so much. Have been found working with mindflayers and troglodytes at times. Apparently people thought they would be useful for experiments in polluted areas and rifts and so on, to provoke mutations. Section on Stolen Lands: area known as River Kingdoms, disputed for a long time, land not been settled clearly, also dominion of various fey, e.g. in Forest called Breath of a Thousand Voices, veil is thin there between here and First World. Speculation about some of old Erastil shrines – original settlers may have been followers. One of shrines he describes sounds similar to the Bear shrine. Hooktongue Slough – south is infested with boggards in little islands, trolls have been creeping through the area, and strange swamp magic. Azure Lily grows there, blue pollen can be harvested, is done by assassins etc heading to Daggermark.

Nystra – town, used to be a silk town, wiped out in a revenge plot by a Taldan druid about 100 years ago. Liberthane is a small settlement that is a rebel against Galt.

We decide to approach Drevlev on foot as it will be a bit less conspicuous than arriving in a boat that we then fold up and stuff in a bag. As we arrive on the shore, we hear someone sobbing. Look for tracks on muddy shoreline, none of the tracks are very recent. We head towards the sound, we can see caves in that direction, signs of humanoid being taken down and dragged towards the water, probably 4 or 5 days ago. Follow tracks to water’s edge, there are bodies weighed down in water, Cade spots them. Whatever is dragging the people into the water, it goes back into the water. Tracks are clawed, large creature, just seems to be the one creature. Guessing this is its hunting ground. We conclude that the sobbing is either a lure, or a victim. Amina goes into the water to look at the bodies. Very crduely weighted down with large rocks. Variety of lizard folk, boggards, humans – they have had their eyes clawed out and their bodies have been mutilated, not scrabbled at in a frenzy, eyes have been GOUGED out, most are missing teeth and fingernails. Some have been chewed or eaten more than others. Rocks have scrapes on them as if the same creature put the rocks there. Rena casts a spell called Blood Biography using samples from some of the victims. Who are you? What are you? How was your blood shed? When was your blood shed? Answers: Truss. Male, human, mud gatherer. Attacked by large creature. Starday. There is a creature which has this particular habit – Ahuizotl. Swamp creature, fierce predator, has long tail ends in claw and humanoid hands, can mimic sound of humanoids in distress to lure people to it, it eats eyes, teeth and fingernails. Has been known to let victims go if they agree to supply new victims. We follow the sound of sobbing into a cave, find the beast and kill it. There are skeletons of a group of children, who had been tied up. We do the blood biography thing again. Kitty. Female. Creature grabbed me and started taking parts of my body. About a month ago.

There is a curfew, so we need to camp/hide for the night. We see WOTWs playing along the shoreline. Next day we set off to try and find Cassandra’s ‘friend’ Satinder Morn. We will need a long stemmed flower to thread through Cassandra’s ring to show we are genuine. We walk into town, see citizens around, and then a group of 4 soldiers stop to question us. They suggest we talk to someone about work – brothel or tavern good place to find one of the captains. Best not to go to the Fort.

We go to the brothel, there are some off duty guards in there. A stunning woman comes to meet us. We waffle a bit and present the ring and flower. She takes us into a private room. We tell her the truth. We make it clear that we don’t want harm to come to the residents here and anyone else who is here under duress. She says we won;t be able to deal with this bloodlessly. Rena says he wants the Baron to face justice, not for us to kill him. She says she will tell us everything she can. During the night, giants patrol the streets to stop anyone entering or leaving. Anyone trying to leave is executed. Guards are not locals, most mercenaries were sent by Irevetti (Pitax). Drevlev himself formally fell on his knees to him, he claims to be a friend, but it’s more just he’s scared. Guards use any excuse to arrest locals, kill and loot is what they really do. Populace is aware and very scared. Must be careful to not scare them into doing stupid things, if we fight publicly it will make things worse. They would however be quite happy to see some of the guards or the giants go missing. There was a slaver who came to collect orphans to go back to Pitax orphanage. Rena says he wants to know if he ever comes back. He tells her about the Ahuizotl. She tells us numbers of people here have fallen, and all the money goes to the Keep. No money is being spent on the town. People are struggling for food. Rena offers to make food.

Imicus Stroon had gone away but has recently come back (Baroness’s brother). Armag Warlord has left, might have been part of the armies that attacked Haven – he took young women away as hostages.

The Baroness is having a birthday party in a week’s time, we could maybe get into that. Satinder also knows about a secret escape tunnel that goes down to the lake shore.

Does she know where the girls may be being held? She thinks in the hills. Is there anything immediate that can be done here to help? Removing the Drevlevs would do it. Then the mercenaries and giants. Temple of Erastil got their people mostly, but the 3 priests in charge were taken into the keep and no-one has been seen since.

It looks like we are going secretly into the fort to take over. We ask her to find people who could stand witness against the Baron and his family in an honest open trial. Once we have captured the family, we expect the mercenaries start to cause trouble. 6 hill giants are in the keep during the day. Mercenaries at night at down in town and some in fort, 3 dozen of them.

Long conversation between Rena and Satinder about how Sanctuary/Haven works with regard to brothels, vengeance and so on. She’s cagey about wanting us to take over, until she understands more.

There are a couple of boggard tribes that cause problems nearby, they dealt with some but the last one is the one that we dealt with recently. The town is not self sufficient. There are a couple of farms out on the plains, but they were just having crops taken off them by barbarians, bandits and mercenaries. Fishermen were struggling because of attacks by creatures.

So we lay low for the day. We wander around town for a bit then sneak back into the brothel to hide out till nightfall. It’s clear everyone is terrified of the guards, the town is utterly impoverished, when the fishing boats come in, most of it is taken straight to the castle and no money is given.

We sneak out at night and head into the woods, where we set a light spell to try and draw them off away from town so we can deal with them (hopefully). They come after us. We fight. We win. Then we go find the secret entrance to the tunnel on the shoreline. We go into the tunnel. Signs of water damage from flooding.

Creatures ahead – big black puddings, corrosive, if you hit them with slashing or piercing weapon they are known to split into 2 working halves, their damage is acidic. Cade finds a shining object in the gloopy mess that used to be the black puddings. Small expensive looking platinum damaged holy symbol of Erastil. Rena mends it. We move on to an iron gate that’s blocking the way. The lever is on the other side of the gate – Rena casts Mage Hand to open it. Into another corridor. Room off to right. Storage room with table with rations on it, and several vials of different things, and a bag. Magical bag and potions. Move on to a big limestone cavern. Looks like it’s used for storage sometimes. We move on. We reach a dead end. We find the secret door after some time. We find the mechanism but it doesn’t want to open. We use the wand of dimension door to get through. There are 2 secret doors off this room, 1 west, 1 southern, and a trap door in the ceiling. There’s an L-shaped table in the room has precious stones and jewellery on it, and there are 2 trunks here too. Looks as if there used to be a couple of necklaces on the table as well. There is magic coming from the 2 chests. Weapons, armour and potions in one of them. Potions are the magic. All nice kit. Breastplate and longsword have crest on them – the Terrion family. We put the armour and sword into the portable hole. Green wooden carved ring depicting a snake, looks like the match to the one we found in the tomb, wear both together only uses one ring slot, but is ring of swimming plus evasion. Rena takes it.

We take the southern door. Wine cellar. Some serious expensive stuff here! Two doors out of here. 1 south, 1 west. Iron door, locked. Dimension door again. This is the treasury, mostly empty containers. Still some chests of coin and some ingots with Baron’s seal on. We go back out as there’s no other door. We go out the other door into a food cellar. It’s well supplied. Door in northern wall. It’s locked. Dimension door. It’s a washroom. There are 5 cells. One is occupied and he’s looking much the worse for wear. Terrion is in poor health and determined to fight Drevlev to the bitter end. We heal/cure him and give him his arms and armour back. He swears his life to Rena. We are under the main tower of the fort. Above us are the main living quarters etc. The stairs go up to the rest of the tower.
2 floors above us. They come up in the main foyer. Trapdoor goes up into a cloakroom off the main foyer. We go up stairs, there’s two guards stood in front of us. Fighty fighty. They down. Rena casts stabilise on them..

We bolt the double doors that lead into the rest pf the castle. Check other doors in he foyer to see where they go. Top left corner = washroom. Next door is a workshop. Then the cloakroom where the trapdoor comes up. There’s a trapdoor in the ceiling here as well. Locked. There’s a storeroom full of tapestries and furniture etc as well. And a kitchen. And a pantry off that. All external windows are wizard locked shut. Dimension door through the trapdoor. No actual doors, but 2 secret ones and a trapdoor in the ceiling. Definite movement on this floor. Terrion tells us to use the southern door (which is also where the sounds are coming from). Doors not locked. This is the banquet room, the Baron is in here. He’s sat on a throne. There’s a guard with his back to the door. Other guards surrounding the main door. Room is very royally decorated. We dimension door into the room. 8 guards. Disable ot kill them and Baron. Rena stabilises those that survive.

We check the library to see if anyone is in there. Small creature in a nest on top shelves. It’s a dust mephit. It can see in dark, can heal fast if it’s dusty, gets blurry so hard to hit, has got a breath weapon and can bring more mephits along. Cade talks to it. We persuade it that it’s master can go free if he leaves immediately. He teleports in, grabs the mephit and teleports straight out again. That’s him gone. He leaves his sister to sort herself out. We find the Baroness and the mistress, who turns out NOT to be a succubus. We’ve got the rest of the guards to deal with.

She does her best to wriggle out of it all. The Baroness was clearly planning to murder her husband and take over. She has an annoying handbag dog. We take it away and she goes mental and draws a dagger and throws things. We subdue her. Quintessa uses Dimension Door to escape as soon as she is alone. We will announce that she is a wanted person. Guards surrender. Imicus is not a nice person, he’d researched oozes and found out that those smelly vials would stop black puddings attacking you. He was brought in to cast scrying spells on us every day. He enjoys the finer things in life. But he has gone. Baroness is a creature of excess and comfort. She thinks her husband is weak and inept and thought her brother would beat him. She actively encouraged Quintessa to go after her husband, sure she isn’t what she seems but not sure who or what she really is or where she came from. Quintessa’s journal is in code, she was clearly after Stroon as well. Much of the money was withdrawn from the kingdom by the Baron to build for himself and his people, he’d bribed/appeased the barbarians and Pitax.

Numesti and Satinder call the people together and tell them what we have achieved. People are backing us. If we wish to claim and take over Fort Drevlev, we can and have the backing of the people. Rena offers the protection of Sanctuary to the Drevlev Desmesne. Issue proclamation. The town formerly known as Fort Drevelev will be known as Freehold, around the castle of Fort Liberty, part of kingdom of Sanctuary. Our first act is for the people to nominate a judiciary to oversee trial of Baron Drevlev, wife, mistress in absentia, and the guards that surrendered.

There are research notes ion the library on mephits and oozes, lots of other interesting stuff inc encyclopedia of Brevoy nobility.

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Starday 29th Pharast 4714
Hydra Den

​The foot-deep water of this bog opens into a much deeper pond filled by three small tributaries before draining away into a larger expanse to the west. Solid ground leads along the eastern edge past a line of scraggly trees set back from a thick curtain of cattails. Many of the reeds lie bent or broken, crushed into the underlying mud and murk.​

A huge, 12-headed hydra lairs within this pond—one of the most dangerous predators in the entire swamp. Grown fat on boggards, bog striders, deer, fish, giant herons, and other wildlife, it spends most of its time lurking underwater and monitoring nearby shorelines for passing creatures. It attacks anyone that it sees, lunging out of the water to pounce if possible.​

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Fireday 28th Pharast 4714
Desperate Refugees

​A forlorn group of refugees consisting of a mix of merchants, street performers, and a few worshipers of the god Hanspur (a minor god of rivers and river travel) recently snuck out of the city of Pitax and have been making their way east after hearing rumors of a kinder, gentler nation in the eastern Stolen Lands. There are also a few people from Fort Drelev.
​They hoped they would be able to make the journey, but they have come to the edge of the swamp only to meet with violence and defeat — six of their number were slain by the hydra.
The refugees are arguing about whether they should head north to Fort Drelev or simply return in defeat to Pitax

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24th Pharast 4714
On towards fort Drelev

M’botuu (Landmark)

The boggard settlement of M’botuu is the largest of its kind in Hooktongue Slough — although there are other boggard communities in the swamp, none are as large as M’botuu.

The word “M’botuu” loosely translates as, “Those Who Swim in Blood.” Boggard legend claims their tribe sprang wholly from the marsh itself when Gogunta, their vile, bloated demon goddess, flooded this part of the River Kingdoms by vomiting up a swamp. The boggards then multiplied over the years, waging war against the hated water-walking bog striders, slaughtering human settlers, and eventually dominating the entire region.​

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There are 51 boggards dwelling in M’botuu, of which seven are Sepoko’s most faithful wardens. The majority of the boggards lurk in the wet muddy caves below. The wardens remain completely loyal to Sepoko, but the other boggards in the village are still somewhat unsure of their leader.

Thick mats of roots hang from the ceiling, and the floors are thick morasses of mud, water, and fungus. All of these areas are considered difficult terrain as a result, but boggards, due to their swamp stride ability, can move through these areas with ease. Additionally, several of these caves can be accessed via holes in the ceiling that open into low mounds above.

In the throne room waits Sepoko, the embattled priest-king of the M’botuu tribe. Attended at all times by a pair of boggard wardens and their giant frogs. They had driven plenty of boggards into this chamber to seek protection from their priestking. In this case, the boggards cower along the walls of the place, eager to see their leader defend them from the intruders. Sepoko’s remaining faith in Gogunta shatters and he drops to his knees and croaks out a prayer to the Legless Lady to save him and smite the intruders. Of course, no divine intervention comes (although Sepoko immediately lost access to all of his spells and cleric abilities), and any surviving boggards who witness this failure realize that their leader has fallen. Amid a sudden chorus of “Kill the heretic!” in Boggard, the remaining boggards seemed to forget about the presence of the silent sword and swarmed forward, eager to tear Sepoko limb from limb in hopes of showing Gogunta, who must surely be watching, that they still fear her.

BOG_STRIDER.jpg

Sepoko’s raiders recently captured a bog strider named Ka-Kekt and imprisoned him here. The current plan is to march the bog strider out to the Swamp Scar in a few days.
Ka-Kekt, the bog strider thanks them as best he can before making his way back to Tok-Nikrat

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21st Pharast 4714
Leave for Fort Drelev

Left Tatzlford after reports and request came in from the Kingdom.

Kisandra asks the PCs to rescue her father Terrion from the dungeons below Drelev Keep and her sister Tamary from the Tiger Lord barbarians, and also to remove Baron Drelev from power and seize control of the city of Fort Drelev, thus liberating its citizens from the baron’s despotic rule.
Dragonfly Cloak
A traveling cleric of Erastil named Borzaki makes a specialty of crafting magic items from giant insect parts. He promises to make a magic cloak for the first person who can bring him a large shipment of giant dragonfly wings. – Eastern side of the Lake, between lake and forest

Wanted: Slug Spit
Local alchemist and only slightly dangerous eccentric Chesk Umberweed promised a group of dwarves he could deliver some powerful metaletching acid, but he’s run out of supplies! He needs a dozen vials of giant slug acid as soon as possible. – southern end of marsh

Li’l Hooktongue
Upon hearing the PC Party are heading into Hooktongue slough area they are approached with a request: Although no one’s seen the legendary lake monster named Hooktongue in ages, the lake’s certainly rife with other monsters. Ambitious taxidermist Quanchy Veeliker wants to stuff one of the freshwater elasmosauruses that live there. – in the lake

Wanted: Speartooth
The saber-toothed tiger Speartooth has long plagued the hills west of the swamp. They say he’s killed and eaten a hundred people. So far, no one’s managed to bring the beast down.
Find Speartooth, kill him, and deliver his 22-inch-long fangs to the captain of the guard in any local city. – hills west of swamp

Road to Wyvernstone
The mayor (Loy Rezbin) of the village of Tatzlford wants to increase traffic and trade. He’s drafted plans for a road between his village and Wyvernstone Bridge over the East Sellen River, but he doesn’t have enough workers to start building the road. – by Ancestor Hold

Bog Mummy Terror
When recieving reports they detail that the local families of the border Narlmarches are being targetd with monster from the Hooktongue Slough, if the PC group is heading in the Slough prehaps they could look into this
Numerous families of local swampers and rural folk claim that something bad haunts the bogland on the border between the Narlmarches and Hooktongue Slough. Stories claim that bog mummies are rising from the muck to drown the living!

Chasing the wind

Jennavieve Kensen: Although public opinion is that Jennavieve Kensen is a spoiled princess, no one denies that she’s rich. Her latest obsession is a story about a herd of wild horses led by a magnificent stallion named Windchaser that’s said to live west of the swamp. She’s promised a sizable reward if someone can bring her one of Windchaser’s herd to add to her stable. – plains

Garuum’s Revenge

Since he was exiled from his tribe, Garuum’s festering anger has reached its breaking point. He claims to have found a “magic bug” and promises to give it to whoever can seek out the boggard tribe of M’botuu in Hooktongue Slough, kill its priest-king Sepoko, and bring his head to Garuum to feed to his pet slurk. – protruding island near Fort Drevlev

23rd Pharast 4714 – Dragonfly Glade

​An unusually beautiful swamp glade teems with Dragonflies of all sizes.​
This area of the swamp teems with dragonfly activity and has become a favorite hunting ground for boggards. Dragonflies of all sizes buzz and flit through the air in this unusually beautiful swamp glade – while most of the dragonflies are harmless (ranging from normal-sized up to a wingspan of 2 feet), eight giant dragonflies dwell in the glade as well. Constantly ravenous, these dangerous vermin swoop down to attack anything sizable they notice.

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30th April session
Invasion of the Drevlev Demesne

So we continue on in our boat after defeating the dragonflies.

Lake Hooktongue – largest body of water in Stolen Lands. Surface unusually calm and serene, 900ft deep in places, believed to be hangout of Water Wyrm Hooktongue. Big enough to carry off a bear, back has sharp spikes, not been spotted in a decade, other predators are also in lake, fishermen etc have fallen afoul of blood kamen (type of crocodile), also giant moray eels, also said to be freshwater elasmosauruses.

We spend a day travelling in the boat. As we get close to the Boggards, Cade points out that Mbutu (their name) means “those who swim in blood”.

We see something on dry land that looks very similar to the lizardfolk village. Possibly boggard village. This is called Bone Island. Bones everywhere, with the occasional human skull, but most bones are not human. There are boggards and giant frogs on guard, the rest of the boggards have vanished into caves (it looks like there’s a cave network under the village). We kill the guard boggards and their frogs and move across to the main village area. Tallis looks inside one of the mounds in the village. Excited buzzing of agitated insects from cages along the wall in the room inside. Dragonflies. Leather sacks of food etc on the floor. We go in. A bunch of boggards run past. We follow them. There are a lot of them bunched up protecting their king. We fight. There’s a lot of magic being tossed around. We kill their priest king and they surrender then tear apart his body. His deity according to his holy symbol was pretty obscure, demon lord Gogunta, Song of the Swamp, demon lord of amphibians and swamps. Wasn’t wielding her favoured weapon, he had a morningstar. Rena asks why they called him Heretic, its because he called out to the Legless One as he died, which is a Naga in the swamp, not their god. Eventually after much argument, 12 of them out of 51 survive who agree to not worship the evil deity, and they free a prisoner which is a bogstrider, its a sort of big beetle thing but sentient. Speaks Aquan. We talk to it. Ask if its tribe would be interested in being friends. He can’t speak for his tribe but happy for us to visit them to talk about it. They worship Gosray. Ka-Kekt is his name. Tok-Nikrat is its home. Cade escorts it out to safety and asks for directions to its home. We ask them all for info on the area. We learn about a few places. The boggards slope off into the wilderness. We investigate the boggards hideout. The boggards on Bone Island had potions and weapons, as did the rest of the wardens. In the throne room was an Icy Burst Morningstar, masterwork hide armour and light wooden shield, 2 cure mods, potion of sanctuary, wand of cure mod with 24 charges, wand of poison 9 charges (which we break). Treasure room – COINS 56 pp, 1,287 gp, 2,019 sp, 872 cp, ·five black opals worth 200 gp each, ·10 gold bracelets (each is decorated with a different forest animal motif and is worth 25 gp), ·a box of 12 Taldan-stamped gold ingots worth 250 gp each, ·a cask containing three doses of elixir of swimming, ·and a harp of charming bearing the likeness of Cayden Cailean.

We head off to find the ‘desperate people’ (refugees from Drevlev). 3 uneventful days of travel. We saw wild horses! Then we find the camp, very makeshift. Mixture of people here. 20-30-ish people. They’re arguing a lot when we arrive, no violence, but heated. Several different sides to the argument. Group of clerical types, street performers, and some merchants, in a corner there is a pile of belongings for around 6 people (clearly they have lost people). Arguing whether they should admit defeat and return to Pitax, or admit defeat and go to Drevlev, eventually they shut up an look at us. The clerics are of Hanspur from River Kingdoms (river god), they’re from Pitax. Rena asks what help they need. They were considering going to Drevlev because its better than being eaten by a Hydra. They’re outlawed in Pitax!!! Pitax is CN aligned, the King rules with an iron fist, most people are performers of some sort. Only a very small number have run away from Drevlev. Pitax is ruled by chaos and banditry, Drevlev is ruled rigidly by the Keep and you are executed rather than being allowed to leave. Hill giants patrol the streets at night. No money to repair the town properly, all the money goes to the Keep, despite continual raids by creatures of swamp. They are ok in this camp for a while longer, but lost 6 people to a hydra when they tried to head for Haven. They tell us that Drevlev Fort is in bad repair, everything was put into the Keep, the town is part built and largely empty. The Baron has a young lover, she is a Sukkubus and is behind all of the problems. They have allied with Barbarian Lords, leader of whom is looking for a legendary weapon that will make him unkillable. Drevlev was a plant from Pitax from the start. The wife and Baron’s main man (who is her brother) are pretty pissed off about the lover. 18 people here in total.

Rena Channels Positive to heal their injuries and then creates food and water for them all, they add a few things to make it more interesting.

They will take us to where the hydra is next morning.

Hydra – huge magical beasts, can smell you, see in low light and dark, they have fast healing related to how many heads they have got (12 heads = fast healing +12), you can sunder the heads, at zero heads it will die, they can pounce, snatch and grab, when head is severed 2 more grow back in a short period of time, fire or acid damage will stop this, they fight to the death. Hydra heads do have some value, a perfect one could fetch 1200gp, 600 for undamaged, 110 for a damaged one.

The night passes uneventfully. We set off into the swamp to find the hydra. We find it and kill it. We also get a perfect head. Rena casts Gentle Repose on it. We pick up our travellers and continue onwards.

Set camp for the night. Some of the performers are composing a song about us. We feel like we are being watched. On the wind, we hear the sound of a child crying, briefly. We leave the cohorts with the travellers and go looking. We find a small young girl cuddling a lizard. She’s not talking when we ask her questions. Just shakes her head. Then cries. Amina feels something is off about her. The way she moves is not a child’s movement. She takes Cade’s hand. We lead her back to the camp. She eats the food we give her and sits quietly by the campfire. She curls up to go to sleep. Next morning she comes with us, we head for the bog striders camp.

We hear shrill chirping, sounds angry at first but then calms down, then the one we know comes out to meet us and welcomes us. They don’t deal with many landwalkers but we have proven ourselves different and his father welcomes us. We have to explain that we don’t normally speak the language, only with magic. The child holds out her hand to Amina, who declines. She goes to Rosa instead. She keeps doing that with people. Bogstrider leader says there are many things in the swamp that are dangerous and is happy to tell us about them. A Queen bogstrider casts Create Food & Drink 3 times, for 3 people each time.

Dangers include Quicksand, constrictor snakes, zombies, basilisks, ahuizotl (aquatic beast, bear sized, dog face, large), giant leeches, boggards, calathgars (type of carnivorous plant – acrid scent of vinegar from shield sized blue blossom), there are pit traps, dark naga (lawful evil, detect thoughts but guard their own, love poison, spellcasters), giant slugs, swamp eels, green hags (forest crones, hate all beauty & purity, they can have class levels, disguise themselves as young maidens to seduce young men and ruin their lives, sometimes they eat them), bafidironds (plants), dracolisks, nuckelavee (undead combined horse and rider)), WOW, chulls, shambling mounds, spirit nagas (spellcasters, like poison, ability to charm) , tree ents, a hezru, supposedly adult black dragon(s) very rarely seen…..

Rosa sets up a telepathic bond between herself and the 3 leaders. We suspect this is a shapechanger, possibly even a black dragon. We think her holding hands allows her to understand what we’re saying. We’re trying to work out how to get it to reveal what its really up to. Rena has asked the ancestors and we know it has evil intent. Rosa uses spell Seek Thoughts on subject of it meaning to do us harm. She can’t get through.

The lizard could be an arcane familiar. She spends a good half of the day curled up under blankets, very tired. We try detect magic, it does have a spell on it, and it has magic items in the bag its carrying. Rosa has a level 2 enchantment on her today, and a level 1 conjuration spell on the girl. So we think its a green hag, seems the most likely. Rena casts a spell, and a unicorn appears in the distance. It comes closer but never too close. Sense motive on her and it’s really not right. She’s very excited and says she wants to go play with it. The unicorn shys away, but eventually it approaches her. She goes to pet it. As she does so, one of her fingers turns into green claw to strike the unicorn. The unicorn bleeds. She glares at Rena who falls asleep, then Amina who also falls asleep. Cade fights and Rosa wakes us with magic missiles. Tallis and Aria hear the fighting and come out. The hag is transforming into her real shape. We nearly lose Rosa, but we kill the hag in the end. She has a bag of holding type 2. In it is a bunch of potions and other stuff.

Phew!

We leave the travellers with the Bogstriders who will do their best to look after them, though they’ll have to earn their keep by helping find food.

So we set off to Drevlev, there is a Chull lair on the way there. Rena is keen to deal with them on the way there.

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17th April session

marsh.pngIn January someone travelling along the main road found a rotting corpse, and found a brooch which they returned to Peacehold – was a missing aristocrat who had gone to see the gem cutter in Varnhold, his brother rewards him for returning the family heirloom. No Rok egg for the big cookoff. Silver eels were got for the inn keeper. Spider silk was got for master weaver. We have a quarry for mineral rich mud. The merchant that we sent to Restov returns with an apologetic letter, “thanks for correspondence, and bringing peace with centaurs and finding missing Varnhold citizens, congrats on wedding, unable to attend for diplomatic reasons. Tensions are high between old Rostland and Issia and any excuse is being used by some people to start conflict and murder of any who disagree with them. Warns of some being nervous at our raid increase in power, and suggest we need to look to our borders and to those inside who do not wish us well. Traders with large guard contingents may be regarded as an invading force, so be careful.”

Eagles sent reps to us, 2 of them are working directly with us, can ferry people around etc. Eagles as a whole look after a greater area than our kingdom, but those who live within borders recognise our human kingdom, although they belong to the eagle nation, they are part of ours too.

December we hold wedding at old Sycamore tree, but it is looking a bit healthier than it did. There’s a kerfuffle. A branch of the tree drops onto an individual who was actually hiding quite close, looks like he was an assassin trying to kill Rena or Jayana. There is talk of how even Fate itself is on their side! The tree speaks in Common…“you’re welcome, glad I could be of assistance”. That startles people. Rena tells them that this tree which has seen much history and holds great wisdom, is a guardian for the kingdoms of Haven and Varnhold and it will guide our future. It is through wish of ancestors and wish of Erastil that this has happened." Lot of people come up and touch it or leave it a gift during the wedding.

Who bought the undetectable alignment potion?

We had sent out people to see what happened to Drevlev in March, and adventurers who vanished while checking out the final hex went in Feb. So we’re off to see what happened to them. Takes us a day to explore the area where they disappeared. Set up camp for the night. Quiet night. Part way through day we find some dead adventurers. Gully near Little Sellen river. Small island in river (15ft wide, 75 feet long). Pile of dead adventurers on island, also centaur and human bones there. We spot a large plant that seems to be moving as if its eating a beastie. It’s a giant Fly Trap. Planty creature, acidic digestive juices if it swallows you, can feel you approach and has quite nasty bite.

Search island after it’s dead, most of bones are centaur or human, find some coins, masterwork bastard sword with a rather nice scabbard, plus 2 magical auras – a helmet of comprehend languages/read magic and a rod of silent metamagic rod. Legend says this gully is a resource.

Bird arrives with a message for us (see GM post). We have to go to Taztelford. Apparently there are armies marching on it. We start sending messages to move the armies around. Then we call the eagles and head for Tatzelford via Peacehold. Aria and Tallis lag behind on foot as there are only 3 eagles.

Turns out the young woman with the news about the armies advancing is the youngest daughter of the nice guy from Drevlev. The Baron has put her father in the dungeons, and her sister is held captive. Her father refused to marry his daughters off to the barbarians. The group have allied with the Tiger Lord barbarians and some enormous trolls. She only had a slight head start over. How many? Attack by small army on defended settlement (Remembrance Hold) and a group to Taztelford. Group coming here is 25 human mercenaries and 6 immense trolls plus their commander. She thinks Drevlev is attacking to save himself, he surrendered to the barbarians so they wouldn’t wipe him out like they did the Iron Wraiths. Their master is the Lord of Pitax. They’re all jealous of our success. Her sister has been given away to the barbarians. She thinks it will be tomorrow. We send the children and Cassandra to Rembrance Hold as we think it will be safer. We have tactics!

Battle ensues. There turns out to be a stealthy barbarian caster with them. We beat them and check out the caster, who has a gem (elemental) and a cure mod potion that are magical. Oh and a masterwork composite shortbow (+3) and some cash.

So we go off to reinforce Remembrance Hold. We capture the leader of the retreating army.

He was the commander tasked with the attack on the settlement, but not the overall leader, that was the caster at Taztlford. Baron Drevlev ordered the attack. Aemon Trask was a mercenary employed by Drevlev. This guy is a resident of Fort Drevlev. They didn’t expect us to be so well defended. Doesn’t know what the aim of the attack was. We ask the Unicorns if he is evil, and yes he is. We don’t know if his words can be trusted. We tell him he is a prisoner of war, his future depends on how much info he passes to us about the Drevlev Desmesne. Most of this force were hired barbarians. Their town is smaller than Taztlford. He claims not to know how many people the barbarians have. Baron Drevlev is a vassal of Pitax but he doesn’t know how involved they are with this. He asks us to consider that the residents of Fort Drevlev are not guilty of their baron’s crimes. Rena judges him to life imprisonment under the care of Temple of Iomedae, until she decides he is either redeemed or irredeemable, if the latter he will be executed.

We ask Cassandra and locals for a map to Drevlev.

There is a bridge on the way out called Dragonstone bridge which would make a good trade route, so we will want to build a road there. Barbarian lands are mostly in the hills.
There are wild horses in south west plains. Marshland is where a lot of bog creatures and hostile tribes attack from. Cassandra’s sister has been taken by Armag, the Twice Born. Drevlev is a bully, he imprisons or kills anyone who disagrees with him, no-one is allowed to emigrate from the town. She really wants her sister and father rescuing. She will give us a map of the town, and thee is a lady in the town called Satinda Morn, she’s a brothel keeper, but she’s a friend of Cassandra, so a possible ally. There is a sense motive on her, she blushes and looks coy when she mentions Santinda’s name. She gives us a ring, tells us to thread a long stemmed flower through the ring and mention Cassandra’s name and she will help us. WE need to try and not get any Drevlev citizens hurt as this will make them less willing to be liberated.

So we go north around the top of the marsh to get to Drevlev. The keep is a stone construction home to baron and his allies and sod everyone else. There is only one tavern in the place. Bellweather’s Soup & Kettle in the east. Santina’s brothel is further west. There used to be a bigger inn, but it no longer functions. There’s a shrine – the Rat Shrine. There’s a smithy & stables. There is a temple of Erastil. A watchtower.

We send the armies home, we will be going alone. Lots of messages backwards and forwards as we prepare. We get a list of requests from people for what they want doing while we are over there. We get reports on Drevlev. Baron is probably cheating on his wife.

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