Dorset Style - 06. Kingmaker

25th Gozran

A twisting set of burrows honeycombs a large granite hillside here, pocking the hillside with dozens of small openings. These mark the entrances to a tangled warren of tunnels that serve as the lair of a mated pair of predators known as aurumvoraxes, or golden gorgers. Native to Numeria to the northwest, this pair wandered down into the northern Stolen Lands and settled here years ago. An aurumvorax appears as a sleek creature that combines features of a weasel and a badger under a shiny coat of golden fur. The creature’s jaws are ferociously powerful, as are its eight legs, each of which is tipped in a murderous set of coppery talons. The aurumvorax’s hide and muscles are incredibly dense, giving it incredible strength for a beast of its size, as well as inspiring rumors that the creatures are made of metal.

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20th Gozran 4714

Speartooth

The Smilodon Den – A narrow valley filled with thorny plants lies nestled between two sharp-sloped hills here. Rena was able to find evidence that a huge feline predator dwells in the area Cade and Amina see an entrance into a tunnellike path that leads deep into the thorny valley.

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RP session 18/6/16

Private chat between the 3 rulers: Rena has some suggestions vis a vis – dynasty creation:

Terrion Numesti as Baron of Freehold, under a Duke (tbc latter which one)
Aria as Baron of Remembrance Hold (because of deep historical significance, her archaeological background would make this fitting) – Cade points out she may not have the right kind of mindset to gel with the pious populace. We think perhaps Losthold, which currently has nothing in it, but we have plans. However it has the casters’ tower.
Tallis as Baron of Candleport – Cade suggests it might be best to reverse the two previous suggestions. Rena points out Candleport is actual quite a strategic defence point,. We think that works.
Rosa as Baron of Ancestorhold – Cade says that as she will be living with him elsewhere it might not be practical.
Oleg and Svetlana as Barons of Firsthold – definitely talked about it before, had we actually enacted this? Svetlana only by marriage.
Ismort is Baron of the Bear.
Audryn – has her own cavalier Order of the Elk.
Madame Gorner we leave alone as it might interfere with her job. She was one of the people who organised and assisted in the disaster after the Owlbear. She is an obvious pillar of the community.
Kesten is Baron of Peacehold.
Rollo – Ellahold maybe? Or Ancestorhold instead of Rosa.

We are effectively creating Dukedoms now.

We go to see Satinder Morn in Freehold. Callistra is not represented int he kingdom, we think we could work with her to establish the rleigion, but we could commit to building a shrine in the capital Peacehold within 6 months, but she would need to concentrate on certain aspects of the religion and downplay others. Women’s refuges are a good thing, Rena is keen to encourage that, mentions we have had problems with Gyrona, we would really appreciate Callistra taking an active role to counterbalance whatever it is that has allowed Gyrona to gain influence. A sanctuary instead of the bitterness and hatred that Gyrona offers. Secondly, if she will promote retribution rather the vengeance, ie promote the rule of law, regardless of who they are they will be brought to justice. If they somehow get away with things because of a loophole in the law, we will change the law – no lynchings, punishment maiming, street justice, and so on – everything by the law. Satinder sees issues for Callistra as follows: charm is a domain of Callistra which is outlawed – she condemns those who use it to subjugate others, it should not be outlawed if it is used in self defence (eg to try and turn someone away from them when they try to save themselves from violence). We persuade her that we can work with this, knowledge of these magics is not illegal, but forceful use of them is. She is happy to accept the offer of the shrine in Peacehold but she would not wish to move there herself, but we are happy to build it here if she would prefer. We will leave it to her who leads, who speaks for them, and where they are based. We suggest she liaises with High Priest, Marshall and Warden to let them know anything she finds out about Gyrona.

We’ve heard about Speartooth a sabre tooth tiger in the hills west of the marshes, he suspects it may be connected to them – perhaps a respected spirit or something – he suggest we might capture it and training it to give them pause for thought about attacking us in future.

He also found a report on Drevlev’s desk that mastodon riding hill giants are gearing up for war. There’s also a thing from Numeria, a Orumvorax , 8 legs with copper talons, people think it is made out of metal. Tend to live in burrows in hillsides, hide is quite tough, need to get through hide to hurt them. Blunt weapons don’t hurt them so much. Unusually ferocious with claws, can be a very nasty attack. There is a pair of these in the North West, also in the hills with the Tiger Lords. If we build a road, the cloudberry fields could attract all kinds of predators.

People are saying Ilthuliak the Black Dragon has returned and has moved into the Hooktongue Slough. Female black dragon wyrm. Rena attempts to scry her. He can’t detect her. Rena’s does a Sending to let her know what we have found out and let her know if she needs help we will help. She replies not heard anything.

Northern shores of slough infested with Boggards, our cohorts could go deal with them.

Giants spotted in North carrying strange weapons, thought to be coming from Numeria.

Lots of people unhappy with Illiuvetti’s rule, there’s a woman we might want to talk to about the issues with Pitax as she opposes him, is hiding out.

- he’s rumoured to have caught a huge Remorhaz some and keeps it as a pet . Immense centipede like beats normally found in cold areas, they generate a lot of heat themselves which they use as a natural attack. Heat can melt or burn weapons, similar power to the sort of things we have faced recently.

Another report had some intelligence on us,. Varnhold and Peacehold have seen an influx of small, easy to smuggle or sell gem stones. Not sure if this is us or something else that’s going on.

The intelligent sword Ovinrbaane. Enemy of All Enemies. Dedicated purpose of defeat and slay everything. Rena does not feel we should return this to the Tiger Lords. Protection fro Chaos will protect the wielder from being taken over by it. Rena has no problem opposing the Tiger Lords. Rena feels binding a spirit to the weapon is too much like creating undead. It’s effectively a fight between two gods. If we take sides, we will be opposing a god. Not even two gods we are necessarily friendly with, although we do have Pharasma temples in the kingdom. We should talk to the priests and enlist her help to get rid of the sword and perhaps help the kingdom since we are going to incur Gorum’s help. We should talk to all the other deities too through their clergy.

We are looking at going into the hills to deal with the tiger and then home to Peacehold. We try to find out a bit more about where we might find Speartooth. It can be found east, in the plains of the Silkstrand river, surrounded by the hills. That’s really not a good place in view of our plans for troops and supplies etc to come through here. If we follow the river up to it’s source we may also find other monsters e.g. giants.

The dragon’s location is likely to be the deepest darkest bottom bits of the slough by the lake. [L6 or M5]

We reach a narrow valley filled with thorny plants. Rena spots evidence of huge feline predator in area of valley. Amina and Cade spot it looks like a tunnel like entrance near valley. We spot a big cat stalking us. It engages. We knock it out and then Rena charms it. We go and look in its cave to see what’s there. We look at him, he’s immense, old and covered in scars. There are offerings to him (probably thrown from a distance!) Multiple bodies, most in last couple of years. At least 24 Drevlev guards here. Some dead hunters who’ve obviously been dragged back here, also there’s another chap looks like he might have been a really famous hunter from Pitax – hunted crocodiles, Croco Irwin. Reckoned he was one of the best hunters in the world, amazing wilderness hunter. Said to have wrestled a croc. Has a bow and quiver. We make camp while we dig graves and Rena casts a spell on the tiger. Bow and quiver and a couple of arrows are magic. Composite longbow Animal Bane, 2 slaying arrows (v animals) and an efficient quiver. Rena casts Grove of Respite, and sets about casting Awaken on the tiger. It’s very territorial, but we are currently ok as its ‘pride’. Rena and Amina dig a lot of graves. Rena finishes casting. We talk to it and agree it can have the hex as its territory, it agrees not to eat those of ‘the Pride of Haven’. We walk the boundaries of the area and put up signs warning people that it is interdicted ground and to stay away. Anyone entering past the markers is effectively dinner.

We move on. Rena now appears to be channelling a fire spirit. We travel through the hills to the river and then follow the river along. We explore as we go along. Large granite hillside (potential quarry) pocked with lots of small openings. Suddenly some sleek creatures with shiny golden fur pop out and attack. We defeat them but they are surprisingly tough. They have burrowed straight through granite! We investigate the burrows, well, Cade does with an earth elemental and an unseen servant. He’s in there 3 hours. It’s clear those things have been here for a few years and have killed a lot of people/creatures, lots of things have been gnawed. Picks up lots of coin purses with money in them. There are some other things as well. Cade comes out with all this stuff and a terrified mole. And hands a sceptre to Rena (not magical).

We decide to explore the area around Armag’s tomb. Small group came this way from west. No sign they left. Not much else to report. Then we go west [I3]. Quiet hills, no issues with animals, scare off a pack of wolves. Pretty uneventful day and night. Move on to the area where there are supposed to be mines [H2]. The mines appear to have been abandoned. Looks like for a year or so. Lots of flooding in the mines, which seems to be why they were abandoned, looks like people died. Amina explores a bit, finds some dead bodies of miners who drowned (10), 6 of them have chains on their ankles. We will try to rebuild this again but without the slaves. When we’re looking around, looks like they hit an aquifer, so we’d need a skilled miner to drain that off, or someone with magics in controlling water. Explore the rest of day, disused tracks, signs that there were people in shacks near mines, but these have been looted. We move on further east [I2] – looking for giants . During the day we find tracks that things have been dragged/moved to a certain location, barren hillside, very dry, large cave in hillside, light flickering coming out of cave, and some deep resonating laughter. We’ve found overturned wagons in various stages of destruction and goods and belongings. We have found some giants. Hill giants. Look very inbred even by normal standards. Not renowned for intelligence. We fight 4 of them, kill them and explore their cave. They haven’t been here all that long. Maybe 4/5 months. We find evidence of Pitax uniforms for these giants, partially destroyed. Seems they were very opportunistic. Whole load of tools, building materials [=4 build points], also coins, stuff from Mivon house we recognise, spyglass, potions of Aid and Fly……We look for evidence of whether they were ‘spies’ or fugitives from Pitax. No tracks to indicate anyone else went on from here.

Next day we move on again [J2]. Sign in wood – beware basilisk. We go after it. Copse of trees, occasional statue of something (mostly predatory creatures, but also one gnome). Quite a lot of them have been gnawed on. We put the gnome in the portable hole. Then we find a green lizard that hisses at us and tries to attack us with its gaze attack. It fails. We flatten it. There are a couple of books/journals and some other odds and ends here. Inc a ‘footprint’ book (guide to tracking). Traveller’s dictionary.

We set off again. [K2] Heading off for Peacehold now.

Now we have a council meeting.

Rena wants to talk to everyone to make sure they’re ok with their roles, and to ctach up on things with them.

Svetlana – still happy with her role, but she cannot maintain the role alone, thinks we need a spokesperson for each settlement. Rena says we will aim for a town hall in every settlement. She asks whether we will have a mayor for each, who then consult with her . Rena says there should be a ruler for each settlement, but perhaps elders/leaders should be the voice of the people, not the ruler.

Rolo – would not be devastated if he lost the role, if there was someone else that could take over. Rena suggests that if he looks to retire (which he pretty much is) he should choose his successor. Svetlana says she has no issues BUT we now have people who have come in to the kingdom from previous establishments, Rolo tends to be a bit biased towards Brevoy, we need to perhaps seem less Brevoy focused due to what is going on there. We should discuss this whole issue later in the meeting.

Jhod – he’s happy.

Amina – feels she’s not pushing education agenda enough. Rena says town halls will help with basic education provision. Suggest the council of councillors could help organise apprenticeships etc, Svertlana suggests that the guilds can be used to sort this sort of thing more effectively.

Cade suggests it might be better if someone who was around more was general. Rena asks if his absences cause issues, or does his behaviour around the kingdom inspire the troops. Svetlana says it’s ok and inspirational. His fighting on the ground is good for the people.

Svetlana and Amina should draw up a list of guilds we should have and make sure we have good people who can be put in place as leaders of each.

Marshall Ismort – happy. Grateful for authority to create deputies

Spymaster Gorner – happy to carry on, hopes she’s provided good intelligence for us all. Rena suggets she might want to be one of the guildmasters, so go ahead and set hers up.

Oleg – Svetlana cracks a joke about him loving the money more than her. Apparently we only have one rep of the church of Abadar here, they do provide a very useful swervice. Oleg takes care of money as carefully as if it were his own, sometimes people feel they need more money and he isn;t giving them it. Pretty much everyone has been peeved at some point because they feel he’s favoured someone/somehwere else in the kingdom. It’s suggested we need a banking system as provided by the church of Abadar. We should get that organised.

Kesten – apologises for not having had forewarning over the attack at Tatselford. Offers to resign. Rena doesn’t feel it was warranted. He would prefer to continue if we’re happy.

Audreyn – happy. Doesn’t feel she does much other than go round supporting colleagues. Is there anything we would like her to evolve the role into. Rena says hes happy if she’s bored cos it means everything is going well! Points out she is commander of the Order of the Elk, so he’d like to see it become a famous knightly order. Open to suggestions on how that might happen, would like to see it grow from it’s current small size.

Trade deal with house Garess, Rena is of a mind to support the patriarch but no time for the brother. Would like to see Kesten restored to his rank through the patriarch to despite of his brother. Isolation of the brother is something to be aimed for. All should work towards this, and offer up any issues that occur to them.

House Lebeda – they were trying to open trade route through Slough which is now ours, we need to open it up properly and capitalise on it. We enter trade deal with House Lebeda – they need this to make themselves relevant in Brevoy which improves their chances of marrying into House Surtova (wedding was previously called off). We play rough, make it in our favour, set up an alliance, they should acknowledge Rena as part of their House, reduces their reliance on Surtova, but by strengthening their hand it should weaken Surtova. Regent of the HOuse at moment is quite mercenary and strong willed, son comes to majority in 18 months, he’s not interested in politics, he will be a disaster for the house. Group of pathfinders went to do a deal with her, she asked them to sort out problems with her son who had run away and been kidnapped by bandits. The boy is a problem, he’s going to need to be trained/taught to make him grow up. Could get the son to run a small operation within the trade deal, put competent people behind him so when he screws up they can save lives. Hopefully he will learn from it. His argument for not his fault for being kidnapped was that it was an infiltrator into the house who betrayed him.

Marriages – ruler of Mivon – not even married. We wouldn’t get on with him, his outlook is very different to ours – almost diametrically opposed on some things. There’s a young lad called Gasper Talik, has voluntarily remained as his second, although everyone thinks he could take the Mayor. He will call people out and duel to the death, but he’s not quite as bad as the Mayor himself. Has clearly been taught to manipulate the public, and the old guy is very skilled too. Rena asks whether if Amina challenged and fought her way up, would she be accepted or do you have to follow the ways of the Aldori sword lords.

Satinder Morn and church of Callistra raised by Rena, Madame Gorner says she used to be spymaster, can be her second if anything happens to her.

Pitax – we can’t see a way to negotiate as there’s no neutral third party we can employ. Looks like we have to take the fight to them. We will have to move to a war footing from the point where Drevlev were moved to attack us, but Rena doesn’t want to throw away Sanctuary lives invading them if we don;t have to.There is supposed to be a person in the Slough who wants to move on Pitax, we should find and talk to her to her and see what she has planned.

It seems likely that once we open the Salen river trade route, he is likely to make his move as this will really piss annoy him. Hes enormously vain and probably pompous.

Lumber guild is rumoured to not be sticking to laws, either they sort it out or we will be looking for new guild leadership. He looks uncomfortabel but saYS HE WILLPASS it to his superiors,

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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.

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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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