Unlikely Heroes

Adventuring, Feb 15, 2009
4th Session

The group lies in wait for the ambush in a clearing just off the road from Fallcrest to Nexa, weapons readied. peering into the darkness, they see some bandits approaching; 3 with crossbows, 4 with just maces.

As they near, the adventurers’ camp bursts into sudden action. Paladrin leaps to his feet and Fey Steps to one of the bandits, felling him with his Bolstering Strike. Jefsdorf bounds up, Charging but missing the closest enemy. Eradan neatly rights himself and looses two arrows, felling one of the mace-wielding villains, his second arrow sinking into the tree just over another’s head. Korinn unleashes her acidic Dragon’s Breath as she reaches her feet, injuring a more formidable bandit that had been hidden until the party broke cover. As all of the party leaps into action, Derek the Cleric also hops to his feet, but between the quarterstaff and his longbow on his back, he tangles his legs in them, trips, and barely makes it to his feet, immediately drawing the eyes of every enemy. as the battle begins in earnest.

ENCOUNTER 1: 4 bandit minions, 3 bandit minions with crossbows, 3 bandit melee attackers, 1 bandit crossbow user Eradan, not even pausing after his last volley, his arrows sink into the vitals of the two other melee peons and they drop to the forest floor as he hones in on the enemy already covered in Korinn’s acid. Derek, finally getting hit footing, is hit in the shoulder by a crossbow bolt from an enemy that had until then remained hidden. The bandits attack but miss the Fighter and the Paladin, and the latter retaliates, issuing Bahamut’s Challenge as his sword cuts into the second of the formidable bandit fighters. The Elven Cleric issues a powerful prayer and a Divine Glow envelopes the area around Jefsdorf, searing a flanking foe as he falls and injuring the other two while the light illuminates the world for the Dwarf. Derek then gets hit in the gut by another crossbow bolt as yet another thuds harmlessly (if startlingly) into the staff slung over his shoulder, but the Lute Master capitalizes on the Cleric’s aid and Cleaves his flanking assailants, bloodying one. Korinn then slips behind Paladrin’s Challenged foe, Sneak Attacking well enough to bloody the bandit. Eradan then looses two more of his arrows, killing his Quarry, though one of the crossbow weilders evades him. Suddenly, the crossbow expert launches a volley into the center of camp, the concussive blast rocking through Derek and Eradan, with Arek’s nervous, fearful huddling shielding him from the attack. With a sudden yell, Paladrin’s Holy Strike rends one of the crossbow bandits asunder. Derek, bloodied by the ranged assault, whispers a Healing Word in Moradin’s name as he shifts back to provide more cover for Arek, launches a Lance of Faith into the trees above the skirmish. As one of the peons starts to retreat, the two remaining melee attackers attack the Dwarf; one missing as he’s set alight with Bahamut’s mark from the Eladrin’s Divine Challenge, the other soundly thwacking the Fighter across the noggin. Still reeling, Jefsdorf gets in a solid cleave against his two opponents. Korinn sidles in behind the group to reinforce her ally, but cuts nothing but armor with her assault. Eradan’s deadly barrage of fine feathered shafts finds and fell the fleeing foe, but misses the Fighter’s bloodied target. Derek is hit by the crossbow savant and one of the melee attackers. Paladrin finishes off one of the bandits and issues his Divine Challenge to the remaining skirmisher. Trying to recover from the recent assault, the Cleric whispers a Healing Word to Moradin on his own behalf and summons a Beacon of Hope, healing the party and Weakening the remaining fighter. Jefsdorf then issues his Combat Challenge and Lunging Strikes the crossbow wielder, his mace glancing off the foe’s armor. Korinn slips past the fighter, evading the Opportunity Attack, flanking with Derek to finish the enemy off. Eradan then uses his Hunter’s Bear Trap to slow the last attacker who then looses a crossbow bolt just over Korinn’s head as he turns away. Paladrin runs after him, flailing futily with his blade, then Derek launches a Lance of Faith into the bandit’s side. Jefsdorf, to keep the menace from going for help, unleashes his Villain’s Menace assault, his Frost mace adding a burst of cold to attack, slowing his quarry again. Not to be outdone, the Rogue rushes in and her piercing strike fells the last of the ambushers.

Following the path their pursuit had begun to lead them, the party finds the bandit’s camp and combs it over. Between the corpses and the camp, they find a number of nice things: +1 Duelist Dagger (Korinn) +1 Thunderburst Crossbow (Paladrin Lootwhore – I’m just assuming that’s his last name) +1 Holy Symbol of Life (Derek the Cleric) 100 gold Gem 70 gold pieces

The party turns in for the night and sets off the next morning for Nexa, the gnome city. On the road, Arek informs them of the plan, which is to meet with Al Dusto, Gnome leader, and implore him for aid in these troubled times. The gnomes, natives of the Feywild, are not traditionally a welcoming people, but this town has been longtime allies with Fallcrest and Arek recounts that he is used to an uncommonly warm welcome from the townsfolk.

As the party continues, the road fades away as the underbrush thins and the trees become increasingly large. At one point, surrounded by truly massive trees, Arek announces that they have arrived. The puzzled looks on the escort’s faces prompts Arek to explain: the gnomes live in homes carved into the earth beneath the roots of these massive trees. As they near the center of the village, Arek seems troubled. “This is odd. There are usually gnomes moving about the town, and we havent’s seen a single soul.”

Suddenly they spy another worrying sight. Around the cluster of trees in the center of the town, including Al Dusto’s home, there is a (newly built) large wooden rampart whose top is patrolled by gnome guards. One of the apparent leaders of the guard calls down to the troupe, demanding that they leave at once.

“I have been sent from Fallcrest to speak with Al Dusto,” begins Arek.

“No one is allowed in.”

“But we have long been your al-”

“No one. Allowed. In.”

Turning to the party, Arek seems miffed and dismayed. Unable to find any obvious indication for why this rampart has been built, the group prompts the guard with that very question, recieiving a suspicious look and a “What business is it of yours?”

Unable to convince him that they could help with whatever threat is being posed, the group takes a stab in the dark, bluffing knowledge about their attackers. The Gnome looks genuinely surprised, but not at discovery, more of just befuddlement. “What attackers?” he plies, his suspicion even more fully raised now, adding as he shifts his weight to a more attack-ready pose: “I’d suggest you all leave before we have a real problem here.”

Puzzled by this turn of events, the emissary and his guards turn and leave, their attentions still directed toward the gate as they head back and begin circling around in search of another way in. They hear a cacophony of activity to the south side of the wall and make their way around, spying from a distance that the wall is under construction. While the bulk of the group remains with Arek, reassuring him that they will find a way in to deliver him and his message to Al Dusto, Eradan scouts forward to try and find a way in.

When he nears the construction, Eradan stops in the shadows and listens intently. He see that the opening is heavily guarded, but eventually overhears a pair of gnomes that seem uneasy about building the wall, not understanding why they’re doing it. The Elf opts to wait until the end of their shift and, as dusk arrives and the workforce disperses, he tracks them to their homes. Relaying his tale to the party, they knock on both doors, getting stony silence from one, but a nervouse gnome answering the other.

They explain the situation, introducing Arek, who is recognized by the fellown but it isn’t enough, as he insists he is unable to aid them. Closing the door as he retreats prompts the party to leave to regroup, but before they can make it more than a few yards, the door creaks open slightly and a nervous head pokes out, followed by a gnome woman who furtively approaches the adventurers. Introducing herself as Galowen, she seems willing to help but still hesitant. Asking her simply to explain the situation loosens her tongue slightly.

She explains first that a new leader, Girbus, has called for the wall to be erected. Further plying by the party reveals that though the tranfer of power from Al Dusto seemed legitimate, neither the current or former leader has been seen for awhile, and Galowen is plainly unconvinced of Girbus’s intentions (A strong “he’s a bastard” vibe exudes from her when discussing him). Finally, the reason for the gnomish unease is revealed by her – Girbus’s wall is isolating the Ad Nexus, the connection of the village to their home in the Feywild. It makes them all nervous to be so cut off from their link to their natural realm.

Galowen, heartened by the sincere concern of the adventurers, offers what little help she can – a ladder and her skill with magic, which, for a fee, could remove the enchantment on one item and place it on another, unenchanted, item. Currently satisfied with their equipment (Paladrin looking worried and defensive should anyone ask him to give up some of his goodies), the party graciously accepts the former (ladder) and makes camp at the town’s outskirts as they hatch their plan.

Eradan had noticed branches on his first reconnaisance close to the corner of the wall that weren’t quite load-bearing. Figuring that another tree, the one closer to the western wall, might have the necessary strength of foliage, the two stealthy Strikers head off in that direction, ladder under their arms, while the remaining group members stay behind to guard Arek and practice their skills, prayers, and incantations.

The Rogue and the Ranger reach the tree without incident, scaling it effortlessly. As two guards pass eachother the Elf sprints down the branch. As he leaps to the rampart, he turns to watch Korinn’s progress. She gets started slowly, nearly stumbling, but Eradan whispers that he had had to shift his weight when he traversed it. With that cue, Korinn nimbly moves to the branch’s end and hops to the wall. Quickly, she turns and sees another weight-bearing branch, this one extended from a tree inside the wall, and she leaps up for it, climbing to a standing position. Her weight lowers the limb to the Elf’s reach, and they head to the tree trunk before the guards return. The thief ties an expert suicide knot and the pair descend to the ground. The Dragonborn sneaks around the central tree, finding a quartet of guards at the gate and none at the tree’s door. She returns for Eradan and the two sidle back around the trunks, quickly picking the lock and getting the door shut before a suspicious patrolman spies them.

Finding themselves in a hall, the two spy one door more ornate than the rest and slink over to it, leaning their ears to the wood. They smell dinner and catch some of the diners’ conversation, identifying three participants: Girbus and two non-gnomes, Maelk and Cariel [Doug, I can’t recall the exact transcript of this conversation. If you have one and would like to post it, that would be awesome. I was too interested in what was being said to try to directly transcribe at the time]. The latter two seem somewhat brutish, and the scouts hear them get up and leave through another door before they deem it safe enough to confront Girbus. Opening the door, they tell a startled Girbus that the Fallcrest Emissary has been denied an audience, or even entrance to the town. The gnome leader quickly puts on a smile and apologizes, inviting the full party to join him for dinner and to discuss the issues at hand.

They gather at his table, noticing statues of great past gnomes arranged throughout the room, and sit for a feast that’s welcome after the rough road to Nexa.

SKILL CHALLENGE 1 Paladrin finds an opening in the conversation between Arek and Girbus and pounces, asking the gnome the reason for the wall being built. Girbus explains that he is trying to protect the Ad Nexus, because it’s link to the Feywild makes it very valuable. Eradan, his natural insight seeing a more poignant conflict of interest, veers back to the wall, asking Girbus why a group of tree-dwellers would cut down trees to build a wooden wall. Girbus, starting to get defensive, spouts some platitude about the greater good. Jefsdorf, doing his best to seem Diplomatic, manages to empty his mouth for a moment as he compliments the host on the food. His mouth does not stay empty for long. Derek presses the gnome about the wall but gets nowhere, turning back to his glass for insight. Korinn hits a sore spot, though, commenting that the wall is cutting the outlying citizens off from their Fey influence. Girbus insists that it’s all in their heads [psychosomatic, not a real problem]. Paladrin presses the issue, citing their encounter with some uneasy residents, and Girbus becomes insistent, shutting Eradan’s attempt at an insightful retort down and turning back to his food. The Fighter, leaning back to breathe after his second plateful, studies the gnome quietly and notices him furtively glancing to the periphery of the room. Derek’s keen insight catches a twitch at the corner of Girbus’ mouth, and he calls the gnome out for deflecting from the real issue, at which point Korinn drives another nail into his conversational coffin, making a solid point about the honesty and armed guards not being good bedfellows. Paladrin can tell from all the ambivalent discourse that the gnome seems to be stalling and cunningly deduces that they’ve all been poisoned. (!!!)

ENCOUNTER 2: Girbus, 4 Gnomes with picks, 2 Guard Drakes Issuing a Divine Challenge to their duplicitous host, the Paladin issues his Judgment but his blade makes a resounding whirr as he catches nothing but air. Derek the Cleric suddenly sees through the illusions in the room, spying a secret door behind Girbus and noting that the 4 statues actually conceal gnomes wielding picks. He yells this to the rest of the group as he tries to set one of the gnomes alight with Sacred Flame, failing, only to be set upon with a pick by the gnome behind him. Korinn, the illusion of the statues also being lifted from her mind, slips behind and Sneak Attacks the gnome behind Jefsdorf, cutting him badly with a Piercing Strike. Girbus disappears from the head of the table and appears in the middle of it, summoning an illusion that startles the Dwarf so badly that the Fighter stumbles back, the gnome becoming seared by the seal of Bahamut for ignoring Paladrin in the process. Girbus then summons a full-room illusion that ensnares Derek’s and Korinn’s minds, slowing them as the ground appears to oscillate violently beneath their feet. Jefsdorf, regaining his composure, shifts behind the gnome Korinn had targeted, his mace swinging forward in a Reaping Strike that makes bone give way as it connects. Eradan, the only one to have suffered the effects of the poison, stabs the gnome behind him with his Twin Strike as he focuses on this foe as his Hunter’s Quarry, finding only armor with one blow, but biting into the gnome with the other blade. Suddenly every head in the room turns to the entry door as it bursts open, welcoming two Guard Drakes into the fray. One sinks his teeth into Jefsdorf as the other lunges onto Derek the Cleric, knocking him unconscious with a bite hard across his chest. Seeing his ally fall, Paladrin Fey steps just behind Girbus, his Radiant Smite imbuing his blade with light as it cuts deep into the gnome’s side. The Rogue does a quick strike on her gnome foe again, bloodying him. Girbus then shifts away and blasts Paladrin in the face, also calling forth an illusion that makes the table appear to rear up and throw him, sending him stumbling back several feet into two crossbow bolts, both of which harmlessly embed themselves in his thick Plate armor. The Dwarf swings to attack the foes that surround him but the drake’s bite threw off his balance and he swings wide, nearly knocking Korinn’s teeth out in the process. Eradan again Strikes with his Twin swords, again only finding flesh with one. One drake bounds over to Paladrin, his teeth getting nothing but metal that suddenly turns deathly cold, tearing at the drake’s flesh as it pulls away. The other drake bites Jefsdorf in an opening on his side, bloodying the Fighter. Paladrin, Dazed from the gnome leader’s attack, shifts to Derek’s side as he regains his mental footing. Korinn Flanks their Host and performs a Sneak Attack that Bloodies him, commanding him to call off his men with an intimidating shout. The gnome orders his men to hold as he waits for an indication that the adventurers will let him go. Jefsdorf, unconcerned with the political duplicity, makes his way to Derek’s prone body. Girbus takes the opportunity to head for the door, at which point Jefsdorf spins and Grabs him before taking a deep breath, his rage at the gnome giving him a Second Wind. The gnomes then set upon the group again, striking the Dwarf and the Ranger and giving Paladrin another crossbow bolt painlessly protruding from his plate. Eradan, eager to be rid of the gnome on his back, uses his Hunter’s Bear Trap to bloody and gravely wound his quarry, taking a moment to pause and collect himself afterwards, gaining a Second Wind for the continuing battle. Paladrin Lays Hands on the fallen Elf, bringing him back to consciousness, then turns to smite a Drake, but as the drake evades him, a fine roast and a loaf that had been scattered across the table face his wrath instead. Derek slowly lifts himself to his feet, some of his wounds closing as he murmurs a Healing Word of prayer to Moradin, then envelopes most of the room in a beacon of hope, Weakening Girbus, both Drakes, and two Gnomes, breathing life back into all his allies but Eradan, and at the focal point of his beacon the light pulses in time with his Holy Symbol, scorching the drake there with Moradin’s radiance. Korinn’s Dragon’s Breath then sputters harmlessly across armor and scales before her Torturous Strike skewers the Drake beside her. The fighter fully restrains their captive, who is struggling unsuccessfully to escape, as the gnome by Eradan bleeds out from his last assault. The Ranger then frees his Bow and looses two arrows into the frey, Bloodying a Drake in the process. Immediately after, Paladrin’s Longsword flies by the drake again, sinking unsatisfyingly into the table to the sound of food rending and wood splintering. The Cleric, eager to keep his friends from falling, issues a healing word on Jefsdorf’s behalf and then shifts back, his new holy symbol emitting a Divine Glow that finishes a gnome off. Korinn shifts to flank the first Drake and guts it as it falls, when Girbus blasts Jefsdorf in the face, eliciting an attack of opportunity from the now-Dazed Dwarf who raps him on the back of the head before grabbing him again. Meanwhile, the gnome in the corner finally pierces Paladrin’s armor with a crossbow bolt. The remaining drake and gnome miss the Rogue and Fighter, then Paladrin Lays on Hands to bolster the hostage-taker, before cutting into the gnome by Korinn and mending his own minor wounds. Derek shifts back onto the table and his Sacred Flame alights on the gnome that’s become pinned down, Bloodying him and lifting the daze from the Dwarf. Korinn’s shortsword slides deftly inbetween the scales of the last drake while Jefsdorf restrains Girbus, withstanding another blast from his captive as the coward tries to break free, loosening but not losing the Fighter’s grasp as the rest of the ambushers attacks miss, fall short, or otherwise prove futile. Another shaft from Eradan’s bow finds the Drake and Derek’s Lance of Faith burns Moradin’s brand into the wall above the cornered gnome before Korinn’s Piercing Strike finally finishes the second drake. Jefsdorf is unable to fully restrain his captive, whose wriggling soon breaks himself free, but as he tries to slip out the door the Dragonborn’s sword pommel knocks him unconscious. As they round up the last two gnomes, Paladrin intervenes for Jefsdorf on one attack and both of the Defenders take an intended blow.

With the Encounter over, Arek comes out from his huddled position beneath the table, and the group now readies themselves to question the gnome leader and try to reach the bottom of this mess.

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Adventuring, Feb 8, 2009
3rd Session

As the adventurers march along the road back to Fallcrest( Paladrin still in a foul mood after being treated as a human [okay, Eladrin] guinea pig for the cave’s traps, Derek visably crestfallen over the business with Alaina) something bursts into view ahead of them.

It’s an Elf, and judging by his garb a Ranger. And three packs of rats swarming over him!

ENCOUNTER 1

Before the group can move the rats beset the Elf in such a fury that he is Bloodied and bedraggled. As quick as his (admittedly short) legs can carry him, Jefsdorf Charges into the fray, his frosty mace scattering a few rats as he goes in swinging. Korinn then slides behind one pack and gets a Sneak Attack in since they’re still distracted by their original prey, who suddenly shifts out from under their claws. He doesnt fail to loose a few arrows into their midst as he moves, felling several of the vermin in the packs. He continues to retreat further, but is unable to shake all the stragglers off their perches along his frame. Derek the Cleric steps forward, the usual fearful shakes abandoned as he raises his ornamental hammer and lets loose with a Lance of Faith into the closest bunching of the rats. Paladrin rushes forward at the same time, challenging a swarm but failing to connect with his blade, the magic steel serving as a ramp for the rats who scurry onto him, the other two swarms latching onto Jefsdorf after the Dragonborn nimbly evades a strike but not before the Paladin’s holy light burns some of them for declining his Divine Challenge. From the same direction the Ranger originally arrived, a Dire Rat suddenly appears, seeming to gesture to the swarms before rushing the newest Elf and sinking its teeth hard – into nothing but leather armor. The Dwarf then Cleaves through thin air just before Korinn uses a Piercing Strike to finish one swarm, followed by the newcomer shouldering his bow and drawing a blade, only to have his blow deflected by the Dire Rat’s spines. Because the Ranger is still unable to shake off the rats that cling to him, Derek whispers a Healing Word to aid the bloodied stranger, then summons a Sacred Fire to scorch the Dire Rat and bestow an additional, though still unsuccessful, attempt to rid the Elf of his stowaways. Paladrin swings and narrowly misses before the rats continue to turn their backs to him and attack Jefsdorf again. Growing weary of the writhing vermin surrounding him, the Fighter Cleaves the swarms soundly. The Rogue uncharacteristically whiffs, then the new warrior draws a second sword and slams both blades home in the Dire Rat, shaking off the last rats that still clung to him as he did so. Perhaps finally letting his fear get the best of him, Derek’s next Lance of Faith sears a tree beyond the more dire of rats. The Eladrin’s Holy Strike lands a solid blow to one of the swarms as they lash out against him and Korinn and the Dire Rat finally finds a gap in the Ranger’s armor. Jefsdorf Cleaves again and lands solid blows, then Korinn does serious damage to the nearest pack of vermin despite being covered in the beasts herself. The Ranger’s Twin Strikes land again, Bloodying the leading rat, followed quickly by a Lance of Faith that sees the Dire foe fall in a scorched heap. Thanking Moradin for guiding his radiance, Derek’s prayer serves as a Healing Word for the other, still battered, Elf. The Paladin’s Holy Strike lands again, but the rats knock Korinn unconscious. Enraged at seeing his comrad fall, the Dwarf finishes off one of the swarms, playing a game of a whack-a-rat until frozen motes of blood cover his mace. Korinn manages to stave off death, and sensing the urgency of the situation the Ranger drops his blades and lets loose with his bow, forming surprisingly neat kebobs of rats, thinning the remaining swarm. Derek rushes to the fallen Dragonborn and uses his Healing training to awaken her as the Paladin calls forth his Judgement on the swarm, further weakening them as his holy power arcs from the blow to heal Korinn. Scrabbling frantically, the rats knock Paladrin unconscious in retaliation before Jefsdorf manages to slay the remaining creatures.

Regrouping and healing eachother to a passably functioning level, the group turned and introduced themselves to the Ranger, who introduced himself as Eradan. The rats are apparently not the only problem on his heels – his village has been plagued recently, even the trees and wildlife around it, in addition to the rats, and they suspect a waterborne origin. He has been sent out to search for news of and aid from any towns who had experienced similar problems. The previously established group asks if he will aid them in their mission, explaining the events up to now through anecdotal conversation and Derek’s ale-stained scrolls on which he’s chronicled the adventures. Feeling particularly willing to aid them after their rescue of him, Eradan happily agrees to join the group, and they return to Fallcrest without incident.

Meeting with Kanath, they exchange stories and information. The militia leader is very pleased that the truce has been reforged with the goblins, though the tale of Alaina’s restless spirit clearly worries him; he confirms that her failed counterattack was what drove him to found and run the militia and agrees to talk to her family, and see if there may be some way to put her to rest peacefully.

He also agrees to keep an ear out for news of corrupted water sources for Eradan’s quest, though he not heard of any he can recall currently.

Kanath also imparts news about the Silver Skulls. The refugees that had been murmered about have still been trickling through, with more details now. They come from Vardra, one of the larger remaining Human kingdoms, who have recently seen the rise of a more regulatory governing body. The new government brings new rules, which in turn has brought about new enforcers. After plying some of the refugees in Fallcrest, the group learns that the feared enforcers are the Silver Skulls.

After recieving some fine rewards from the Mayor (+1 Frozen Plate Armor, 160 Gold) for their continued efforts on behalf of the town, the group disperses for the afternoon to their various haunts before Jefsdorf and Paladrin return to the tavern for luting. Following a rousing rendition of The One for Me at last call, the party retires.

A light sleeper, Korinn’s eyes snap open at a creak in the earliest hours, as the sun poises to burst over the horizon. She sees a figure poised over her, blad raised, and kicks him across the floor. The sound rouses the others as the assassin bolts out the door and down the hall.

SKILL CHALLENGE

Hopping out of bed in their nightclothes, the gang tears out of the room and after him. As the villain bounds down the stairs and makes for the door, Eradan tries to vault the stairs to catch him, but instead catches his foot on the railing and faceplants into the lower level. Korinn, however, bounds after the attacker, vaulting tables and ending up a few short paces behind him as they turn out the door and head up the street. A bairsbreadth behind her, Paladrin’s Fey Step puts him on their heels as he matches her stride. As the rest of the group head out the door, Derek deduces from the direction he took out the Inn that the fellow is probably headed for the North Gate; he hollers as much to the stout Fighter as Jefsdorf veers slightly – rather than following the attacker, he veers towards the next likely turn, and rightly so, nearly skidding into the attacker as he turns the corner. Eradan deftly leaps from storefront sign to window sill to rooftop, putting him almost even with enemy as the street straightens. Coming to a small canal the Dragonborn dives in and swims expertly across as the high arched bridge slows the fleeing foe enough for her to gain another step or two. Paladrin tries to cut a corner on the other side of the bridge but their quarry scatters crates that had laid beside the street, tripping the Eladrin up and causing him to lose ground. The Cleric, not making much headway himself, hollers directions to the Dwarf, suggesting a route into the sun, whose rays were now cutting sharply across the rooftops and into some of the streets, as the attacker would want to obscure their sight, but the steady warrior shows fatigue and stumbles, falling back from the pack a couple paces. Leaping across another alley, the Ranger gains a few paces on the would-be assassin as the Rogue gathers her breath and yells: “STOP!” Her roar causes the foe to halt in fear, and then start back up in earnest as he glances to see the source of the outcry. Noticing a turn in his head, Paladrin yells his best guess of the next path, and a moment later Derek realizes that the North Gate isn’t their destination anymore; they are heading too far West now, and as he alerts the others, Jefsdorf disappears from between him and the rest of the crowd. As the ragtag mob turns the corner, the Dwarf bursts out of a sidestreet, knocking the assassin off course as he vies for a sidestreet. Before he can make it more than a few steps in, an Elf drops from the roof above onto his back, ending the chase.

As the rest of the party arrives, the cowardly fellow begs for mercy. He is quick to give up his employers, having been sent by the Silver Skulls to kill Jefsdorf, Paladrin, Derek and Korinn. He looks around him and is shocked by Eradan’s presence, explaining that he had also been given a separate contract to kill the Ranger, but that he was not supposed to be in a group, much less this one. After being properly motivated by Korinn’s ferocity and the leers of Eradan and Paladrin, notwithstanding the promise of freedom, the scoundrel also spilled the details of a plot to ambush the emissary to the nearby Gnomes of Nexa on the road in the night. Refusing to let such a villain loose, the group then hauls the now-miffed assassin to Kanath’s home.

Despite how startled he is to see them so early and in such condition, Kanatah invites the group in to explain the events of the morning and the information given by the Silver Skull bounty hunter, as they make arrangements for handing him off into militia custody.

Kanath is understandably puzzled by the trap set for the emissary. The plans to send the ambassador had only been laid the previous day by himself, the Mayor, and the City Council and he had been planning to ask for the group’s help acting as escort later the same day, but few enough people have been told about the plan that this seems to indicate a traitor close to the leaders of the town (or, given the specificity by the assassin, there may be magically-amplified foresight behind the planning). The party agrees to the escort duty and goes back to the Inn to equip themselves before heading West to the Gnomes as Kanath readies himself for a long day of infortmation gathering and trying to piece together all the recent events.

The troupe sets off to Nexa with the ambassador, Arek, in tow. Before night falls, however, they hear what Eradan identifies as gray wolves approaching. as they continue, they see a pack of 4 Gray Wolves led by one oddly larger wolf, with glowing fangs.

ENCOUNTER 2

Eager to test the mettle of his new armor, Paladrin rushes into the woods north of the path and issues a Divine Challenge to a wolf before his Holy Strike cuts into it. Quickly, the obvious alpha bounds across the path in defense of his pack, and bites the Paladin through his Plate. Rushing to assist his apprentice, Jefsdorf closes in and performs a Reaping Strike that Bloodies the first wolf. The Rogue follows closely and hurls her Dragon’s Breath into the cluster of wolves before the Defenders, covering the bloodied wolf and the alpha in acid as she readies her sling. Showing organization and experience beyond that of their quarry, the wolves flank Korinn and Jefsdorf, knocking them prone as they attack. With two people no longer in his line of sight, Eradan looses two arrows so quickly that he kills the first wolf so suddenly it can’t even whimper and buries one deep in another’s ribcage before the first wolf’s body hits the forest floor. Taking advantage of the tightly clustered fight, Derek calls forth his divine glow, the light searing the 3 remaining gray wolves while guiding his encompassed allies’ next attacks. Paladrin then cuts into the alpha wolf whose jaws snap shut just shy of Jefsdorf’s flank. The Fighter rights himself and his maul just grazes over the wolves when Korinn leaps up, dropping her sling and freeing her shortsword to kill the wolf bearing an arrow in it’s side before being knocked prone again by a new pairing of wolves. Eradan lets fly again, this time only finding one target, but another solid shot to the flank. A Lance of Faith flies through the crowd to burn Moradin’s seal into the side of a wolf. Paladrin’s Holy Strike hits a wolf but is only a glancing blow just before the enhanced wolf’s glowing fangs sink into the Dwarf. Jefsdorf, displeased with being bitten, Lunges unsuccessfully but recovers with a Cleave to the pack leader. Korinn jumps up again and gets a weak strike in on one of the remaining smaller wolves, killing it (though barely). The remaining Gray Wolf’s fangs clank off Jefsdorf Scale armor before the wolf falls unexpectedly to the ground, dead, with two of the Ranger’s feathered shafts protruding from it’s eyes. Derek levels his Holy Hammer and calls on Moradin for a Lance of Faith, but awe over Eradan’s accuracy disrupts his focus, sending his holy light out through the wrong side of the hammer, serving only to illuminate the dusk. The Paladin does a much better job of summoning Bahamut’s might, his Holy Strike felling the big bad wolf.

Gathering the glowing fangs from the wolf leader for use in future Nature Rituals, the party licks their wounds and sets up camp. As the ambassador sleeps, the warriors lie on their bedrolls awake, keeping their weapons in hand as they lie in wait to surprise their ambushers.

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Adventuring, Jan 10, 2009
1st Session

It was a day much like many others. Jefsdorf, A Dwarf Fighter who plays the lute (to a degree of success that seems to vary greatly from ear to ear), and the Eladrin Paladin, Paladrin (whether his name is given by birth or a nickname remains to be seen), who plays bass lute along with his mentor, were entertaining at an Inn in the town of Fallcrest. The usuals were there, among them a jaded Cleric by the name of Derek (an Elf who doesn’t answer many questions about how he ended up in Fallcrest, but kept his tab payed by helping tend to any locals requiring more than some guaze or warm soup), as well as those not as usual; a Rogue Dragonborn named Korinn who had just arrived (whose presence warranted notice, but not suspicion), and a fellow in slightly more finery than the usuals who was gathering a cadre of the local workers at a table where he spoke in hushed tones.

Upon the conclusion of the strange man’s conference, the group of listening men, all local farmers and tradesmen, approached the corner of the bar where the lutes were being strummed. One got the dwarf’s attention. “Hey, we don’t like your music!” “I’m just trying to make my living,” replied the dwarf. Some of what now would be a mob, if not for their small numbers, piped up. “Get a real job, a trade like us,” “Yeah, try working for an honest day’s wage.” The dwarf remained unfettered, though his student seemed to be concentrating less on the bass line and more on whether his sword was within reach. “Hey, I liked the music. Turn it back on,” said Derek, who had walked up behind the group, idly trying to defuse the situation.

ENCOUNTER 1 Ignoring him, the apparent leader of the group loosed his club from his belt. Before he could attack, however, Jefsdorf felled him, moving with reflexes honed from years of artful luting. As the brawl continued, the strange man (who had been conferring with the laborers) joined the fray. As his mace carved through the air, it crackled like ice dropped into hot cider. As the farmhands continued to fall, the Rogue, having watched the events unfold, stepped in and aided the group in felling the mysterious stranger. When their foe fell, Jefsdorf picked up the Frost Mace and added it to his belt as a grizzled man in the corner beckoned the victors over.

Introducing himself as head of the town watch, the man offered the diverse troupe a reward for their assistance with a problem for which the town leaders were at a loss – the Mayor had been kidnapped by a group of goblins known for raiding the town periphery. As an act of good faith the Town Watchman asked the innkeeper to waive the night’s fee for the adventurer’s, as long as they left to find the Mayor at first light.

After recovering from the scuffle the night before, the group headed off as agreed upon, soon finding themselves at the mouth of the cave known to be home to the local goblins. The rogue, in the first of many displays of skill beyond her peers, got the drop on the cave’s guards, her acid breath dispatching them before the look of surprise even reached their faces. Bolstered with confidence by such a display, the Fighter marched forward to a wooden portcullis, with the others close behind. He activated the lever to open the passage and the others discovered the risks of following so close as they fell ten feet into a pit swarming with rats.

ENCOUNTER 2 Korinn bounded out of the pit and wounded one group of rats as they lash out in all directions, latching to the Paladin at first. A panicky Derek’s Divine Glow burned one swarm, as Paladrin teleported out of the pit, settling for the use of his sling. Displeased with the Radiant attack by the Cleric, and by virtue of him being the only one left in the pit, he was beset by the rats, who leave him bloodied and further confirm his fear of the filthy vermin. The party is forced to leap back into the pit to keep their healer from falling beneath the waves of wriggling teeth and claws, eventually causing both swarms to disperse under their combined assaults.

As they paused to recuperate, the party finds itself at junction in the cave. Further down their current trajectory, they identified a barking noise to be coming from some kind of rat, along with raucous yelling. Given his recently reinvigorated dislike of order rodentia, Derek voted heartily that the party go down the path of least rats, and the motion carried. The rogue, checking around the next corner, noticed two goblins heading resignedly toward them (Short straws tucked in their pockets).

ENCOUNTER 3 As the group burst around the corner, the first goblin was quickly dropped, but the second turned to flee quickly. Despite it’s speed, slings and a longbow, followed by a hammer thrown with uncommon precision and a perfect arc, toppled the goblin a few short feet from the next room.

SKILL CHALLENGE Before following the goblins’ intended path of retreat, the adventurers headed into what appears to be a goblin barracks. Before looting the room, Korinn noticed traps at each end of the room, disarmed them without incident, and allowed the adventurers to make off with a few more gold unscathed.

As they pressed on, they saw a pile of bones in the middle of the cave floor as it widened into a natural room. Having grown weary of the Elf’s caution, Jefsdorf strides out into the cave.

ENCOUNTER 4 As he approached, the dwarf saw two points of light, and then the bones rose from the floor and arranged into a skeletal dragon. The dwarf is so startled that the dragon got the drop on him, powerfully swiping with each claw, though not before the Paladin and Cleric let loose with as much Radiant force as they could muster. After several rounds, the rogue climbed to a newly-visible ledge to attempt to find cover and allow for unreturned ranged fire. As she easily reached the ledge, she spied something further back in the cave – a pair of goblins working an elaborate rigging of ropes. She Sneak Attacked the closest one, who dropped his ropes to defend himself. The sudden collapse of one side of the dragon raised the suspicion of the other party members, who quickly thereafter discover the nature of the farce. The Paladin Fey Stepped to the ledge opposite the Rogue and unsuccessfully tried to knock the goblin down to into the fray as the Fighter and Paladin let loose with ranged attacks. Though it took so long the dwarf’s hammers had to be kicked back down to him by the ledged party members, the goblins were beaten and at Paladrin’s urging, the dragon’s eyes (2 Everburning Torches) were examined and retrieved.

The intrepid and increasingly weary and wary explorers forged forward. Eager to avoid falling prey to another trap, the group sends Korinn forward to scout the room ahead. Before her was a darkened room, hazy with the smoke of recently extinguished torches, the smell of roasted rat meat still hanging on the air. Tables had been overturned throughout the room, and behind several of them she spied a total of 3 less-than-sneaky goblins. Knowing that being spotted was imminent, the fearless dwarf charged in.

ENCOUNTER 5 After entering the room, and being barely missed by a crossbow bolt, the party spread out, only to be enshrouded by a thick, ethereal fog. A minion was quickly dispatched in the fracas, before the Eladrin felt an uneasy sensation settle into the pit of his stomach, and sensed it was wise to keep from moving. Korinn, as had become the norm, moved through the crowd cutting down minions. The Dwarf charged into the middle of the room, spying a more formidable goblin, and focused in on him, dispatching another minion in the process. As a Hexer and Sharpshooter also revealed themselves, the goblins regrouped. The Rogue rushed in and assaulted the trio with her acid breath, but succeeded only in drenching the table in a spewdom that began to eat at it. To reinforce her efforts, Derek flanked their group and tried to unleash a Radiant blast, destroying a minion but failing to pierce the darkness the still hung thick across nearly the entire battlefield. Retaliating, the hexer and the sharpshooter focused on the Cleric, knocking him out and leaving him distastrously close to death. His hex having faded, Paladrin rushes to his ally’s aide, stabilizing him and rushing the cluster of goblins, forcing them to scatter and redirect their attention to him, though not before the hexer blinds Jefsdorf. In his literally blind fury, the hexed Fighter felled the bruiser goblin as the Dragonborn finally finished off the sharpshooter. With the hexer on the run, the Cleric limped to the middle of the room and used his Beacon of Hope to bolster the party for the final push. flanked and outnumbered the Hexer’s chants failed him as the blinded Dwarf landed the final blow. With the Hexer gone, the fog lifted and the party looted the room before listening at the lone remaining door.

Beyond the dining-hall-turned-battlefield the sounds of cowering goblins was occasionally pierced with frightened yelps. A few resounding whacks with his frosty mace later, and the wooden door fell to pieces at Jefsdorf’s feet. The frightened goblins fled quickly, leaving the party to collect a small trove of magical items and the Mayor, at which point they quickly decided to return to fallcrest, not only to return the mayor and lick their wounds, but to get as far from the barking rats as possible.

Loot: Frost Mace (Jefsdorf) [Magic] Leather Armor [Magic] Longsword [Magic] Piece of Chalk A small pile of Javelins A few hand crossbows 1 Healing Potion 540 Gold A Silver Skull pendant from one of the Goblins + Town Watch Reward

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