Still in Hex 24…
After the boggard fight we rest for the night. In the morning we part ways with Drixt, who leaves us for his own adventures. Lochnar returns with a new traveling companion, a gnome summoner named Gilgamesh, with a snake companion Gir. Lochnar also has some salt, sent from Oleg, along with a message that if we run across any elk, Oleg sure would love some elk meat. Ooookay. Also, things back at the trading post took a crappy turn: Garess is wicked pissed because Kressle tricked the guards and escaped.
After this bit of news, we spend the rest of the day continuing our explorations…
…We move into Hex 25…
A thick fog begins to roll in and a strong storm blows up. Petra does her best to find shelter for the party; the best she can do is find a large tree to huddle beneath. It’s a torrential downpour, so the tree doesn’t really do much to shelter us, but it’s better than nothing. Night begins to fall, and of course it’s way too wet to start a fire, so we pass the night awake and miserable, huddled together. No sleep happenin.
At one point we start to hear croaking in the bushes nearby. Lochnar, Gir, Sirene and Gilgamesh go out to search the perimeter. It’s boggards, and they waste no time attacking us. There are 7 of them — presumably the 7 that got away from us at the river the day before. After a fight, we are finally able to kill all 7, and we chop off their hands to take back to Garum as proof that they’re taken care of.
We pass the rest of a miserable night beneath the tree, and Lochnar and Sirent come down with colds. In the morning, we head off toward Garum’s encampment. When we arrive Garum is overjoyed at the sight of the boggard hands. He gives us Svetlana’s ring as promised, plus some of his treasure:
1 chunk of iolite (gem)
1 deep green spinel (another gem)
1 shard of blue quartz.
We spend the night at his encampment and get some much-needed sleep.
Next day (Hex 26)…
As we’re traveling along, we hear bizarre animal noises in the undergrowth nearby — whatever it is, it sounds distressed. We investigate, and discover it’s a thylacine, and it’s trapped in a pit. Gilgamesh summons an earth elemental and lifts the creature out of the pit. It seems to single out Petra — it approaches her and snarls. She snarls back! The thylacine retreats, but stays within sight, following alongside us as we continue on our way, and even as we camp at night.
Next Day (Hex 27)…
We spend an uneventful day traveling, not encountering anything beyond the typical woods and the strangeness of our thylacine companion, always a few yards away.
That night, while Sirene and Lochnar are on guard, another crazy fog bank rolls in. Sirene notices a light in the distance, and hears someone cry “help me!” More lights dance erratically. Sirene & Lochnar wake the rest of the group. Lochnar, Sirene and Petra go to check out the noise… It’s coming from all over the place, and we can’t see anything. It’s super confusing! Suddenly we hear the cries again, followed by a sound as if the person fell a great distance, screaming. We discover there’s a cliff nearby, and we can barely make out the shape of a woman lying at the bottom. Lochnar lowers himself down via rope and scouts out the situation, only to discover that it’s not a woman at all… it’s a log! Suddenly he hears growling all around him, and discovers he is surrounded by a pack of thylacines! Then a will o wisp appears!
Meanwhile, back at camp, the remaining party members are approached by our friendly thylacine, who tells them “your friends are in trouble! Let’s go!” They come to our aid. We lower ourselves down the cliff to help Lochnar, who’s dealing with these slavering thylacines. The crazy will o wisp watches… Apparently they feed off of negative energy, so this one just sits back and enjoys the carnage. We fight! The thylacine that’s been following us jumps down and guards Petra from the others in the pack. Fight, fight, fight! It’s going pretty well, and the will o wisp seemingly gets bored… there’s not enough negative energy to feed off of, so it leaves. We defeat all the nasty critters.
We go back to camp, our thylacine with us. He stays, and we name him Carlo.
Next day (Hex 27)…
We come across a ravine, in which is a patch of fangberries! Bokken wanted some, remember?? Oh no! They’re covered in inch-long, razor-sharp thorns, so OF COURSE we shall go pick some. Before we get started Petra uses her nature knowledge to look a little closer, and discovers the patch is covered in spiderwebs belonging to chew spiders, which attack in swarms. Rather than diving in, August uses his mage hand to pick the berries. It’s slow-going — it takes FIVE DAYS — but we are spared any injuries from thorns or spiders, and we have a sack full of berries. Sweet!
Venturing on, into Hex 28…
Traveling through more forest, suddenly the magic types get a bad feeling. Looking around we discover boar tracks and skeletons everywhere. We believe this could be the Tuskgutter, for whom we have a wanted poster. We carefully look around… Lochnar finds a nest of brambles, and just as he’s trying to tell us it looks like Tuskgutter is at home right now, it comes charging out, knocking him over! FIGHT! Eventually we kill it, taking its tusks as proof of its death so that we can present it to… uhh… whoever was offering the reward.
Next day (Hex 29)…
We arrive at Nettle’s Crossing. It’s super run-down… there’s a building that’s been burned down, everything looks real bad, and there is apparently nobody here. We spy the ferry, which is actually over on the opposite side of the river. Killia shimmies across the rope, heading toward the ferry. As she’s doing this, a creepy waterlogged zombie rises from the river!
It’s Darvic Nettles! He says the Stag Lord killed him and we need to kill the Stag Lord to avenge his death. We tell him that’s what we’re planning on doing, but he doesn’t seem to have a sense of humor… he responds that we MUST do this, or else he (Nettles) will curse us! He then dissolves back in to the water. Killia makes it to the other side, fetches the ferry, and we cross.
It’s uneventful. We swing back through Hex 15, coming upon the rickety bridge to the area we haven’t explored yet. We decide to try crossing it, and we make it! Yay! Explore the rest of 15.
Nothing…till nighttime, when we all have the same dream… We dream about Dervic Nettles. Two bandits appear at his ferry crossing and demand extortion money. Nettles’ dogs chase the men off, but later that night the men return and torch his house. They murder Nettles and throw him in the river. The bandits then take over the crossing, until one day Nettles rises from the river and skewers them.
We cross into Hex 17 to finish up exploring part of it we didn’t get to before. Nothing happens.
Crossing back into Hex 32…
We arrive in the hex where the Stag Lord’s camp is reportedly located. We sneak around till we find it, then we stealthily approach to spy on it. It’s on a high hill and surrounded by a palisade patrolled by 10 archers. There’s a gate at the base, which is closed. The situation looks pretty impossible.
We retreat to try to formulate a plan…. We can’t agree on anything. After an utterly ridiculous amount of plotting, debating and arguing, we somehow arrive at the preposterous notion that the best way to approach this is to simply mosey up to the gate in plain sight, dressed as bandits. So this is what we do. We walk up there and try the password that Kressle told us about lo those many weeks ago when we tortured her. It actually seems to work, and they let us in.
Once inside we are greeted by a man whom we recognize as Akiros, the fallen paladin. He says “so, you wanna join up, huh?” We try to play it cool, but it’s intimidating… we’re surrounded by a shit ton of people everywhere, all of which are interested to see what we have to say. Akiros asks us another really weird, cryptic question, obviously some kind of password. Dumbfounded, we just stand there like a bunch of idiots. Akiros gives the order “ATTACK!”
We’re besieged, and it’s absolutely terrible — a complete bloodbath! People are falling right and left, knocked unconscious. When Killia and Petra are the last ones standing, we finally just surrender. It’s really weird, though.. we swear it looks like Akiros is trying to give us some kind of subtle signal or sign.
We’re captured and tortured. Gilgamesh & August have their tongues cut out and hands broken. Sirene has the absolute shit kicked out of her by Kressle, and her hands broken as well. The Stag Lord appears and decides he’s done with us, and orders us to be crucified along the road leading up to the fort.
Things are looking really bad for us. We’re crucified, and we hang on our crosses for a couple of days, drifting in and out of consciousness. At some point in the night, Mekmek and his band of kobolds appear — they totally freak out. They’re trying to figure out how to help us, when suddenly we see a figure approaching. The kobolds scatter…. As the figure draws near, we see that it’s Akiros. He apologizes… says he’s been wanting to leave the Stag Lord’s service, but he’s been waiting for the right moment. He then tells us that he wants to help us… he says he can get us back into the fort so we can get our stuff back and hopefully take down the Stag Lord.
The kobolds jump out, as if to ambush Akiros, and there’s a bit of confusion as we try to explain to each that the other is not a threat. They finally take us down from our crosses, and Akiros shows us a map of the fort, including a trap door we can access, and also the place in which he’s hidden our gear. He also tells us we need to be very, very careful and not venture too far off the path because the hill is haunted. This is actually another layer of security for the fort. Geeez!
Sirene channels and heals us, and we settle down to rest a bit and formulate a plan this time! Akiros tells us that he’s alone; no one on the inside is with him on this, but he’s committed to helping us. He really wants to be free of the Stag Lord. Plus, we have Mekmek’s kobold war party of 10… they are very eager to help us as well.
We formulate a pretty decent plan which involves Akiros going back inside and strategically distracting guards while we sneak in through the trap door. We gain entry through a stable, and sneak into the location where Akiros has stored our gear. Once geared up we sneak around and observe the goings-on in the great hall. There’s crazy shit going down… A crazed caged fighting bear! Dovan raping a young bandit! Etc, etc! Eventually our cover is blown, of course, and a BIG…………HUGE………..LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG……………INTERMINABLE FIGHT!!!! ensues. It’s really rough — we’ve got our hands full. Highlights: Auchs taken down by Lochnar after an epic battle! August makes a pit to trap the bear in, and then Dovan is thrown down into it and ripped apart by the bear! Cool! Eventually we reign victorious, killing everyone including the Stag Lord, and we take his head as proof of his death.
Akiros tells us there’s a secret basement dug under this fort, which actually used to be a monastery. This basement is where the bandits stash their loot, and there’s a crazy old man down there who guards the loot. Akiros believes this to be the Stag Lord’s father, who is a completely crazy, bad m-f-er. He used to beat the Stag Lord, and also splashed acid on his face, which disfigured him. That’s why he always wears that stag helmet.
We decide to take a rest before tackling the crazy old man in the basement. We take a look around & loot stuff.
Magic items found:
• A broken arrow, which appears to be a Human Bane Arrow. +3 when used against humans, plus an extra 2d6 damage, reusable as long as it doesn’t break. Sweet! The Stag Lord shot it at August in the fight but missed, and it broke. Petra takes it.
• Stag Lord’s Helmet (also magical). It’s a sacred object of Erastil. We are unable to divine the magic… perhaps we should take it and give it to Jhod? Lochnar tries it on and tells us his hearing & eyesight are enhanced, but not much else.
Sirene heals us. We rest.