We head due south, straight to the river ford. 4 days travel, then we reach a hex we haven’t explored. Heading for the fangberry thicket for the alchemist. Hilly area, we can see the forest close by. We find a couple of farms at some distance apart, they seem locked down as we approach, the occupants are clearly hiding. We say we want to trade, we’re not from the Stag Lord, we’re exploring, we’d like to set up an agreement to trade for food, but they often don’t have enough to feed themselves after the stag lord’s tithe. They’re barely subsisting. We ask when their next tithe is due, they come a couple of times a month. They will be very happy to trade if we can rid the area of the Stag Lord, there are trappers and hunters etc here too who would trade with us. They’re interested in Oleg’s wife’s pregnancy, we get some milk off them, and leave them a spare tent as they have some repairs to do. We tell them about the intended festival at the statue in 2 months time.
We arrive in a long thin valley between 2 hills, we find fangberry thickets, covered in white silk spider webs. Uh oh! Chew spiders in the bushes, they can pierce skins and they swarm, they like meat. So we camp away from them, and set about doing some hunting to use the dead animal to draw the spiders away from the thickets so we can pick the fangberries. We find deer, catch one, butcher some meat off for ourselves, and then swing the carcass close to the thicket and drop it. They swarm, and then Amina throws in an Alchemists Fire to destroy them. Then we go and start picking berries. Rena goes first, while we keep an eye on spider movements. He gets caught on thorns and take 4 damage. He gets hurt again, and then we get smart and work together. We get 9 lots of fangberries.
Whole thing takes us a day and a half to explore. We go back to the farm for the night. We set watches as usual. Nothing happens.
Next day, we move into the next grid area. Is forest. A day to explore. Afternoon when we start exploring, we walk into a clearing in the woods, in the ground there seems to be quite a few layers of branches, and there are yipping barks coming from it. Could be brush thyocenes, carnivores. Large! Known to plague farmers, quite clever. We approach with the intention of skirting round, but it looks like they are stuck in a pit trap. Rena approaches slowly with some dog food – at 5 ft we reflex save, Rena falls in and Amina dives in after him. Rena attempts to calm it with the dog food. Doesn’t work, it attacks. Cade doesn’t fall down the pit, and attempts to shoot the beastie from the rim of the pit. We end up having to kill it, which wasn’t the plan.
We camp uneventfully that evening, and then finish exploring that hex.
We run into an adult owlbear in a clearing. Cade sneaks up, sees what it is, and comes back. We know they’re not friendly and you can’t train them very well. We are going to attempt to befriend it! Yes, we are mental. Rena actually manages to persuade it not to kill him……but that’s just initially. Then it goes for him. So we fight it. Rena takes a bit of a pasting but not too bad, and we win.
In the nest area, it’s added something shiny to the pile. It’s a pocketwatch! Still in working order. We take it with us. There’s blood on what’s left of the snapped chain. Probably someone that was killed quite recently as it’s not too badly weathered.
We move onwards. On the 25th we’re into the next hex. River goes through this one, comes in top right, curves out into the middle then goes out of bottom right. It’s the Skunk river. Start in North west, getting near the river, sandy islets create a ford, but lots of dead bodies and stuff blocking bits in between, we hear trilling noises from river. Uh oh, Tatselwurm, and two of them! We prepare for a fight. We win. We’re taking them back to Olaf’s. We go an d look at the mound of debris that was where they were hanging about. Several skeletons. One is wearing a nice suit of small masterwork scale mail. And a masterwork cold iron long sword. Another one, human, with rotting leather backpack, 38 gp 500 sp coins, a silver ring, pewter drinking stein, scroll case containing a partially completed exploring map (doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know). Jade carving of a nude female elven monk. We spend half a day clearing the blockage across the river. The rest of the day is also uneventful.
Into the next unexplored hex. More woods. Full moon tonight. Day of Remembrance for Cade and Lehava. Mid afternoon we come across a place with a stink of mouldering plants, it’s very quiet, no birds, soggy ground in the centre of a clearing, what appears to be a dead horse on one side of boggy pond. Amina gets right up to the dead horse, lots of insects down here, nothing has touched the dead horse. No insects on it at all. On the brow of the horse is a stump. There is a faint lingering necromantic aura and evil on the dead unicorn. Rena consults the ancestors, who are in favour of us trying to cleanse the glade. He casts purify food and water on the pool. We take the dead unicorn (which is in a state of Gentle Repose) to the statue of Erastil. There by the end of the day. Rena and Amina pray to Erastil.
Feel prayer is acknowledged but nothing happens.
We try a ceremony to break the curse on it. We are briefly given arcane sight, we see a rune inscribed on the unicorn, then a spell cast that kills the creature, the mark is still there, we feel an anti-life repulsion from the mark. It is slowly fading.
We take it back to the shrine and speak with dead tells us it was a creature of the first world of purest corrupted beauty that killed the unicorn. Jhod will keep it here on the off chance we ever find a way to bring it back.
We set off back to Oleg’s via the fey nest, we tell Tyg and Perlivash what happened to the unicorn. We ask them if they know anything that might bring back the unicorn, or if they have any idea what she would be trying to do with a unicorn horn. They think the stag lord carries a token of the fey queen around with him.
They tell us that when Jhod is alone, he has very low self esteem.
We head for Oleg’s, get there in the afternoon, and turn around straight away the next morning. We hand over the tatzelwyrms and the fangberries. Get 700 for the 2 wyrms and an extra potion off Bokken. We need to see Bokken at his place. Got 500 store credit extra for the 500 sp.
We buy some potions.
We think it is going to take 5.5 days from Oleg’s to the Stag Lord’s fort. Very uneventful trip.
Stag Lord’s fort – head down the river, there’s the Tuskwater lake in the Kamelands. The Skunk river comes into the Tuskwater. It is an actual fort near where the river comes down through the Tuskwater. Its on a hill, hard earth path winds up the hill to the entrance. There is no cover, no shrubbery, nothing. About 300ft down the hill there is cover from which to observe.
fORT IS 2 STOREYS, ON TOP THERE ARE 3 LOOKOUT POSITIONS. They’re looking at the path, not paying much attention to the hillside. Could see it if they wanted though. Palisade 15 ft high round the fort, no squeezing through between the logs though. As we look around, we see a site of sunken earth to one of the sides. We scout it out. Cade goes to look without his armour as he is quieter and more sneaky that way!
Earth below his feet shifts and moves and something emerges. There is a doorway with lots of rubble and what appear to be zombies.
We’re going to go up under cover of darkness and try to clear the door and go in that way past the zombies. 4 of them come out and attempt to attack us. Then another 4. Then some more. Then they stop, we reach the doorway and start clearing the debris. We get through the door and there are stairs in front of us.
We can see a big guy to our right on a rough bed surrounded by toys, on the broken stone upper floor of the interior building of the fort. As we move, we hear other people moving about, walkways creaking.
We have a fight. \We subdue Fallgrim Sneeg, Auchs surrenders (childlike), and we heal the other one so he doesn’t die. We go downstairs and there are more of them.
A guy called Ismort suddenly joins in the fight against the stag lord. With his help, we kill the stag lord and his minions.
Apparently in the basement is a decrepit old man called Nugrah the Decrepit, who some people think was controlling the stag lord, but Ismort doesn’t. He says he made a mistake, and as soon as he saw the chance to make it right, he took it and attacked the stag lord. Old bloke is really nasty and a magic user who can cast summons and heal himself.. We go down with Ismort leading, Cade established that the old guy is evil (faint aura). We manage to bring him down after a chat. We learn the old man used to torture the stag lord when he was a child. The stag lord killed his own mother.
WE basically take over the fort. We learn from the ancestors that Beaky the owlbear cannot be tamed so we will need to kill it.
Ismort warns that Auchs will try to please us, but has sadistic tendencies. Everyone else is tied up or dead. We bring Lehava and the horses/wagon into the fort and camp for the night.
There is a lot of loot. We set off back with all the prisoners and the good stuff, leaving the rest to be collected at a later date. 2 weeks at Olegs to sort out the prisoners, and all the goods etc. We have to go to Restov for the reward for killing the stag lord.