Dorset Style - 06. Kingmaker

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.​

hydra.jpg

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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.​

sepoko.jpg

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.

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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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Pharast 4714

14th Pharast

Towards the end of the fourth day after leaving Varnhold you reach area which the adventures went missing.
It takes one day to explore the area and find the dead adventures.

​The Little Sellen River narrows here as it passes through a gully between two rocky hillsides, flowing around an oblong island thick with vegetation. This island is only 15 feet wide and 75 feet long; the river narrows down to a width of 15 feet to either side of it. The cliff walls of the gully are 40 feet high and can be scaled

flytrap.jpg

Lurking amid the thick reeds, nettles, and blackberries that grow on the island is a single giant flytrap. The man-eating plant moves quickly to attack anything sizable that moves along the river; the confines of the surrounding gully allow the plant to snap and grab at targets on either side of the island, including those that cling to the cliff walls within 10 feet of the river surface.

Afterwards

Greetings, my liege lords! Would that I had the opportunity to contact you via missive in gentler times. Since its founding, Tatzlford has faced many challenges, but recent rumors of a much more disturbing sort abound. A woman has come to Tatzlford bearing warnings that, if they are to be believed, indicate we may face a terrible threat. She speaks of armies of bandits, hordes of barbarians, and worse organizing to the west beyond Hooktongue Slough. To date we have had no trouble with these elements, but this woman is quite convincing. She tells us an army is marching on Tatzlford. If this is true, we will need your aid in defending our homes. Please come as soon as you can.
—In good faith, your obedient and humble servant, Mayor Loy Rezbin

17th Calistril 4714 – Arrive in Tatzlford

They immediately gain the attention of everyone in town. Captain Coren Lawry,
commander of the Tatzlford guard.

Taken to Loy Rezbin and Latricia Evanore who have the young lady Kisandra Numesti with them.

Tripartite Quest: Kisandra’s Plea

This three-part quest involves two rescues and the defeat of a local tyrant.
Source: Kisandra Numesti.
Task: 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.

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19th Rova 4713
GM record

Day of the Inheritor – not a national holdiay in Haven, but a celebration of Iomedae

Two days travel to Ghost stone.

Zzamas.jpg

​A strange, gray stone monolith, its sides polished and smooth, stands at the western end of a valley here.

Zzamas, the phase spider speaks very few words of Common and knows that most humanoids find her shape unsettling. As the scouts entered her land and attacked her due to her unsettling shape, she catured some and sent the others off – help her and she would release the captives.
Zzamas explains that several xills have forced her from her home, and she wants the PCs’ help to kill them. She promises a “fancy chest with stuff inside,” as payment for their help.​

MonstersT-Z.Xill.jpg
The stone is known by locals as the Ghost Stone, for at night, the air surrounding the stone within a 120-foot radius glows with a soft radiance, and strange, ghostly shapes of unnatural shape and posture flit and writhe through the air. The Ghost Stone itself is a spire-like structure with a dull point that stands 15 feet high.
An ancient elven relic, abandoned and forgotten.

Arrive back with the rescued explorers

22nd Rova – Linnorms Grave
23rd Rova – spot Wyvern heading to hunt the Centaurs, and A giant eagle flying home into the mountain areas.

Rumors and legends of a silver dragon named Amvarean are obviously out of date — the black dragon Ilthuliak slew the younger silver dragon many years ago and stole her treasure.
Giant Eagles to send representive on the 17th Kuthona 4713 (full moon)

Empty Dragon Lair, 25th Rova 4713

​Deep in the trackless reaches of the Tors of Levenies lies a large cave entrance. Within, a 50-foot-wide tunnel stretches 300 feet into the mountain before opening into a large, vaulted chamber 140 feet in diameter. Yet more impressive are the dry bones of an adult silver dragon that lie sprawled in the center of the cavern. ​

The dragon’s remains are not completely intact — the bones along the right arm and wing are strangely incomplete, as if they had been melted away by a powerful acid. No sign of the dragon’s skull remains at all — or of the dragon’s treasure. A a healthy scattering of silver and black dragon scales were found which the explorers had not seen them.

28th Rova 4713 – Returned to Varnhold.

29th Rova 4713 – ​The Disappearers

Blackstones Ford is now home to a band of cautious and cunning monsters who work together to lightly harvest vulnerable travelers — those too few to defend themselves or raise an alarm, or who can be lured away from their party — while avoiding pitched battles against strong, ready foes.

This “adventuring band” of eight monsters hails from a distant underground area. Looking at the mancles that were found with them, they were of a darklands design.

From the journals that were found, The Disappearers are group of escapees who were expermiments of a mad wizard. This group is now led by Iluith, a dark naga of malicious schemes and coldly clear-headed patience and foresight, who calculates consequences and risks, and clings to his “considered outcomes.” He never acts out of anger or to obtain revenge, only to exact whatever take in victims and booty can be managed with minimal riskof loss to the band (or chance of triggering a successful hunt for retaliation).
Dreeth, a cloaker was the aerial spy and “pouncer” of the band. Though Dreeth’s demeanor can best be described as permanently peevish and pessimistic, the drow spells quelled its paranoia and made it willing to work as part of a team, even eager to trust and bestow loyalty on Iluith.

Kaladryn is the band member considered next most useful by Iluith, largely because of his nigh-fanatical loyalty to the dark naga (his only friend during their long mutual captivity). Originally a svirfneblin, Kaladryn was transformed by the drow spells and fused with mindless, subterranean snake bodies into the likeness of a marilith. Kaladryn capably wields an array of deadly weapons acquired from victims of the Disappearers and is fully proficient in uses of his marilith body (constriction, tail slap, and slams), but he lacks most of the normal demonic abilities and spell-like powers.
The least useful Disappearer is Oront, a cyclops employed in battle or to overthrow and immobilize wagons and carts during attacks. Oront is far less brutish and stupid than he seems; he has a cruel sense of humor and a long, keen memory for smells, names, and faces.
The other four group members are its busy, oft-deployed “swarmers” and spies: a pair of chokers and a mated pair of tengus (Arainth and Rareezra). The tengus resent Iluith’s controlling influence and often play pranks, but they are so ruled by their pride that Iluith can easily sway them with flattery and rewards.​

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9th April session

We arrest the tanner who survived the Varnhold massacre. We interrogate him. He points the finger at some of the guards, who are also arrested and interrogated.

Note: River Kingdoms have very few laws, but major things are: what you take you keep, river freedom everyone has right of passage. They can’t tax you or bar you way but they can rob you. So we will need to heavily guard our boats.

We’re heading out to try to free our kidnapped rangers at Ghost Stone. In the hills between two lots of mountains. Directions take us to a place close to Ghost Stone, it’s very unnatural around there, we see a big spiderlike creature. Amina recognises it as a Phase Spider. They can phase between planes and have a poisonous bite. It asks us if we are going to help it. Says it was attacked but not killed and says some words we don;t recognise, Cade casts a spell to speak her language. Humanoids came to area and attacked her, she didn’t want to kill them, so she had to make ‘a resolution’. If we help her, she won;t punish them. She lives by a monolith, it’s good there, group of creatures from ethereal plane have come and taken over her homeland, they’re red, have 4 arms, they are chitinous. Medium sized, spiny, bright red, part human/reptile/insect, fanged mandibles and a scaly hide – probably The Xill. Known for implanting their eggs in helpless creatures that then hatch and consume host from within. Probably evil.

Rena says he assumes she will want to stay here afterwards, he asks that she shows similar restraint on any sentient creatures in future when she’s hunting, and we’ll tell our people to leave her in peace.

We can see the Ghost Stone from a way away, so we stop to buff up. We can see the Xill, they are wielding 2 swords and a shield, they are definitely intoxicated, behaving like they’re drunk, aggressive. This place is known to the locals, air around it 120 ft radius glows with soft radiance at night and soft shapes fit around in the light. It’s not an elf circle itself, almost like a foundation of a portal but not to the material plane, maybe another plane? Looks like it was part of something. No longer complete. Doesn’t appear weathered, stone is still smooth. The circle looks like it used to be a wall but it has crumbled away. We fight and prevail. It’s an ancient elven relic, was a portal to the ethereal. It exists in both planes, which is unusual. She’s given us a chest and freed the prisoners (who look a bit sheepish). Chest is a material component for a spell called Secret Chest. It’s clearly a humanoid wizard’s spell chest, over a century old. If it was a human, it’s probably dead. Notes in spell book are written in common.

We take our rangers home, exploring the area as we go. We go to look at the Silver Dragon lair, and they explore the rest. We see a wyvern out over the nomen lands, it lands and we don’t see it rise back up. We go over to Linnorm’s grave, see mastodons about, and a wyvern overhead, plus a giant eagle (it’s staying away from the wyvern’s territory). Giant eagles are loyal creatures if you make friends with them, supernaturally intelligent, protective of their mountain territory. We know they usually speak Auran. Tend to be neutral good. We look for an eagle to try and make friends with one. We also look for a wyvern to kill, as a good intro to the eagles. Heading up into the mountains, the eagles look to be close to the dragon lair. We see a wyvern and attempt to draw its attention so we can fight it. We shoot it down and it flies into a gully, so we have to go fetch it. There is an eagle watching us. So we put our weapons away. About 400 foot away from us. Rena walks towards it, the eagle watches as he approaches. It agrees to talk but is very wary. It says the wyverns have become more prevalent since the silver dragon died. Rena asks when that was and how it died. Silver dragon was called Amvarion, black dragon killed it many years ago and stole all her treasure (this was a couple of decades ago). The black dragon stayed around here but got bored and went away. Last seen about 6 years ago. Black dragon was called Ilthuliak. They say some of their kind in other areas have alliances with people like us. Rena introduces us all to the eagle (and mentions our gods where he thinks it will help). They will work for the best protection of the mountains, but they will need to be assured that we will respond if any of our people start to cause problems. Tehy say they don’t patrol the area near the Crooked River in the mountain, because it’s the territory of a mated pair of Roks. Near the human tower on the other side of the peaks to that, there is a set of vicious humanoid creatures near the Red Kiravoy river (he doesn’t mean the ettercaps), caves which go deep underground, group of monstrous creatures that prey on the ford there, they eagles can;t deal with them. They’re not allied with the Roks, but not a problem to them either. Rena asks if any creatures they are aware of that would be willing to help us. He will ask. He asks if we have a festival in deepest winter, does it fall upon a moon phase? Long Night is the first full moon in January, or they could come to the wedding at the ancient sycamore tree in December. They will come on the full Moon in December, 17th basically, so we’ll call that the date of the wedding. The Roks are not something we could make an alliance with, they’re just big birds. There are some owls in the Narlmarches, thinks their numbers would have been thinned out by the black dragon and probably the forest drake as well (which is no longer a problem, aha).

We take our leave and head for the silver dragon’s lair. Rena is considering buying a scroll of Resurrection to raise the silver dragon! It’s a big cave, with a 50ft wide tunnel that opens into a large vaulted chamber. Dried bones of a dragon in the centre of the cavern, not completely intact, bones along right arm and wing are melted, skull is missing. Under the dust and debris of several decades are a healthy scattering of black and silver dragon scales. Rena casts detect magic. Nothing.

We head back to Varnhold to sell some stuff. We go looking for a scroll. We need a gem to cast the spell. The gem merchant in Varnhold agrees to go to Restov to try and buy us the gem we need. Rena checks with the ancestors to see if : can the silver dragon be rezzed – yes, will she accept the resurrection if offered – yes, is the black dragon that killed her still in the region – kind of, if she returns to her lair will it attract the attention of the black dragon – eventually, is the black dragon in mivon – no, is it in the first world – yes, does the black dragon serve the fey queen as she is known, she is a nymph and her name is Nerissa – Ilith Nukook is an alley of Nerissa (ie yes), is the black dragon’s hoard still in this world – no. So that’s all organised, and the explorers go out to do some exploring for us.

We are going up the Varnhold ford (Blackstone) where the creatures are waylaying people. When we get there, there is evidence of more victims since we were last here. Head up into mountains to follow where they appear to be going back to. Up ahead of us, we can see creatures ahead. Some of them have bows. Amina and Cade can tell they’re Tengu, bird creatures, intelligent, insular, secretive, petty thieves, compulsive liars – not nice people. Dishonorable. Looks like an ambush. suddenly some others appear – they are aberrations called Chokers, natural sneak attack, can strangle with their tentacles and can see very well in the dark. One of them manages to hit and grab Rena. We kills them. Now where did those Tengu go? Ah, there they are. They appear and attack Amina. We kill them. These creatures do not fit the tracks we have been following.

We come across more things, some of us spot them, some don’t. One of them is a Cloaker, darkvision, shadow shift, can cause fear and nausea, it can fly, can engulf medium creatures or smaller, can disguise as cloak, sheet, manta ray. Kaladryn,, snake tail wielding 6 swords, longswords, Iluuth spell casting, Oront cyclops. They’d all been horribly experimented on bt some drow mage.

We win, and get da fat loots. Camp for the night, restful night. And then we go off to deal with the ettercaps. Lair is very close to river, little stream. Cave, no light source, so Rena casts daylight. We come across them fairly quickly. Place is heavily trapped but Aria is on the look out for them. Rena summons an earth elemental and sends it off to find and crush ettercaps. We wipe out the lot. Place looks like about 10 years ago it was probably a hideout for bandits, before we all came along and sorted out the bandits. Lots of rock fall,s probably caused by traps. Lots of traps of all kinds. It IS a good hideout despite the rock falls. They’ve been nicking food, about a month old, some of it is still edible. Signs of one victim of a trap. In the room with the fire, one of the boxes has a blue glow, there’s a dead dwarf in there, hand is clutching a glowing black metal war hammer. Adamantite with light spell on it. Also some coins.

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