Our Journal

We Begin

We all meet at an inn in the southern part of the civilized human lands. Driven onward by The Event and the need to understand, we each end up here seeking answers, but none are sure where to go. All are curious about the "coincidence" of the human king's disappearance followed closely by the Event. Our dilemma is solved when a human army recruiter offers us cash to serve at a fort to the south as scouts during the troubled time. We accept and travel south with him.

Once at the fort, we are assigned to scout westward towards the fort where the attack had happened. It was 3 days away, and while the animals seemed to be very common and violent, we didn't see any barbarians. We found the bodies of the reinforcements sent to the besieged fort, but only tracks and week-old remains. They had been ambushed and killed, with no survivors that we could find. We continued on to the fort and found a similar situation. Everyone at the fort had been killed, and the fort stripped of everything of value. There was no sign of the King or his party, nor of remaining barbarians. Their path south with the loot is clear. It appears that instead of continuing with the fight, they essentially disbanded after their victory, splitting loot and dispersing at they went south again. We returned to our fort, again finding nothing but hungry animals, though plenty of them.

Our next assignment was to scout southward to the first barbarian villages to talk to them and gather information. We chose not to follow the barbarian army south, but to travel south from our fort and find a village 5 days south of there. We did so, and were shocked by what we found. The population of that village were so despondent as to not care much whether we killed them or not. We gave them food and some clothes, and things picked up a little, but the hopelessness among those people was all consuming. We learned that the attack had been called off, the human king had escaped, and their Great Shaman leader Creek was somehow dead. The villagers knew little, cared little, but did give us the information that a bigger town could be found another 3-4 days south where the local warlord could be found and shaman as well. We decided to head south and get real information.

We were spotted by a few horsemen, but left alone as we went south. As we approached the larger town, we tried talking to another hamlet, but they accepted our gifts and told us to move on. We went to the town, entered openly, and asked to speak to the local shaman about the Event and the troubling times. The local warlord met us, spoke to us, and we learned that the Great Shaman Creek had not awoken from the Event. Furthermore, all the shamen were despondent and usually drunk. The great feast of the Great Warrior god, which should have been in full swing, wasn't happening, and when we finally spoke to the hungover shaman, he claimed that his gods were dead, and that ours had killed them. Whatever information we got, we felt we needed to get this back before pressing our luck. An initial understanding between our people and theirs had taken place, their opinions noted, and it was time to evaluate where to go next. In the morning we headed out.

Our three soldiers who had guided and escorted us had decided it was safer for them to stay hidden in a copse of trees an hour outside the town. We returned there to find them dead, stripped of everything. We followed their trail to their hamlet, which had about 6 men, charged in and, when they fought back, killed one. One more dropped and the rest surrendered. They had attacked the enemy during the night. Why shouldn't they? They seemed to think the humans to the north were sworn enemies to be fought and never given quarter. We were kind of stunned, since to our knowledge, the humans had never attacked southward except a few times to stop raiders from getting back with prisoners. The war seemed pretty one-sided to Varg, but this is all so far from his home he understands little of the conflict. Anyway, we got the equipment and horses back, wished them good day, and went back to our fort.

Upon getting our information, much more than that from the patrol following the barbarian warparty, the commander wanted us to take the information to the general, and perhaps then to the king. We agreed to do so and headed out again. It took a week or so to get there, and we rode hard. Upon arriving, we were ushered in to see him immediately, and he sorted through our stories and narrowed down the important facts. He agreed that this information was important, and fortunately the King would be arriving in two days time. We were politely not allowed to leave until he had a chance to question us also.

Sure enough, the King arrived, had a public audience, and then met with us, surrounded by his personal retinue and bodyguards. He seemed a wise king and was gracious to us, and he also sorted through the story for the facts as well as the impressions. He asked us to join him in the next stage of the journey, to see the Queen of the Coastal Elves, his friend, who also would want to hear our stories and perhaps reach some conclusions.

During the 16-day trip by sea, we had chances to interact with the king's men who had been at the besieged fort. We learned the following story:

The King and fort commander had been walking outside when suddenly there were archers on the walls firing arrows at the King. Within seconds, the fort gate was opened and barbarians were rushing in. The King and his retinue retreated into the keep with all those who could make it, and a mini-siege took place. The battle raged for 2 days. The soldiers were holding out and the king's cleric, Mika, was heroically doing all he could to keep the soldiers alive and fighting. Finally, the barbarians broke through. Exhausted, Mika was semiconscious when he suddenly said to get the king, he could get him out. He cast a spell and a shimmering area appeared before him. They rushed some guards through the area and they appeared in some other place. The whole retinue made it through as Mika dropped the spell, sealing them in that other place.

That place was totally strange in every way. The civilization there had a great city and abilities to do things unimaginable. One man saw them as he walked home at night and protected them by hiding them all in his home for 2 days. Mika was unconscious for most of that time, but finally awoke and said he knew how to get home. He cast another spell which again opened a door to somewhere. They stepped through, and when they awoke, were outside the capital city. Mika doesn't remember how he did it or what he did, and no one else knows either. The man who helped them, called Ben, also accompanied them back to our world and is now part of the King's closest advisors.

We arrived at the Coastal Elven capital and met the Queen. She also appeared wise and gracious and heard our story. After some discussion with the king and other people, we heard their general conclusion: Somehow, when the attack on the fort failed to kill the King and a gate opened to another world, the main god of the barbarian pantheon died. His death caused the Event where everyone was knocked unconscious and divine magic changed slightly (majorly only for the barbarian people.) However, evidence was pointing to a new god arriving at the same time. it is now about 2 months after the Event, and creatures, vile violent creatures are appearing in various places and attacking people. Would we be willing to go to one such place and defend the people there and learn what we could? Of course we would.

We travelled about a week west from the capital city into the elven forests when we were first attacked by a pack of dogs. They were normal dogs but with a feral, rabid manner to them. Upon killing the last, Hondo's injuries were slow to heal, and Brenda detected poison in the wounds. We tracked the dogs back to their lair. Their path was as chaotic as their attacks and they wandered aimlessly around attacking every living creature they found. Finally at their lair, we found nothing strange. it appears that one day they simply got up, went crazy, and set out killing things. We could find no magic, no poison, no explanation. We moved on, finally, unsatisfied.

We came across a small village who told us of a nearby village where children were disappearing. We went there to hear the story…..

Dogmen:

We arrived at the village at dusk to find everyone inside with doors and windows shuttered. The inn was also locked, but the keeper opened up and let us in. He told us about the two children who had disappeared and about a woodcutter who had also disappeared and his house ransacked. That had happened only two days previously, unlike the children who had been 2 weeks ago. We travelled to his house the next morning and indeed found the place ransacked by intelligent creatures with hands and purpose, not rabid animals. We checked out a nearby farm, found nothing wrong there, then went back and tracked the doglike prints to a cave.

Upon entering the cave, we found narrow passages meandering around. Our first encounter was in a dead end cave. About 6-8 short dogmen attacked us from behind stalagmites and jumping down from high on the walls. They died easily, but fought ferociously with claws and bites. They "spoke" with a high yipping sound we'd heard before. Moving further in we came to a large cavern and heard lots of yipping. We set up back in the passage, let them see Varg, and stood and defended. Varg, Tark, and Nugget stood as they died from spears, axes and bows. More arrived at our backside, and Hondo and Jaeden were nearly overwhelmed before reinforced. Finally, all 25 were dead. Somewhat intelligent maybe, but they charged and fought to the death with no effort to do anything but to attack. We were now out of spells and several members injured.

We decided to continue to explore the caves and wandered a bit. We killed another group of 6 or so before finding a large cavern with about 20 dogmen chanting ritually. Some party members thought we should retreat, others feared the ritual and wanted to disrupt whatever they were doing. We did not attack, but found a narrow passage that could be defended better that also put us in bowshot of the dogmen. From there we attacked with bows, with Varg holding the narrows. Again they charged and fought to the death, and though Varg took many small injuries, we emerged victorious. At the site were the three bodies decomposing and the woodsman's tools all as offerings on the altar. Creepy stuff.

We took the bodies outside and while our casters rested for 3 hours to regain spell energies, the bodies were buried. No dogmen came out of the cave while we were there. After 3 hours we prepared to re-enter. The linens of the woodsman are still unaccounted for. Bedding for the leader?? We shall find out.

Heading back in, we find that they are aware of us outside but not fighting. We go in expecting to be ambushed at every intersection. Instead we find the place mostly deserted until we get to a yet unexplored cavern. Rocks have been strewn across the passageway almost blocking the way, but all done quickly, and a quick push and a lot went tumbling down. They don't charge us, but when we finally step through the rubble, they attack. We killed 20 here and crushed the eggs, which were scattered across 2 sections of the cavern. We had heard sounds from behind us, down another passageway, but they never surrounded us and attacked. It turns out only the young were left, and it took a bit but we cleared them out eventually also. Job done, we headed back to the town. We carried with us a live dogman, a dead young one, and an egg. The townspeople, artists mostly, held a party for us and gave us gifts, some quite rich. We then made haste back to report to the queen.

Upon giving the kobold, young carcass, and egg to the captain of the guard, we ensured we were at the front of the line to speak to her. We told her men and then her all that we had seen and done. She responded by sending us to a northeast corner of her lands to a coastal town under siege, supposedly by both dogmen, whom we now know to call kobolds, and also other things.

Vav needed two days to learn a spell, Tark bought a nice bow, and we were on our way. A merchant hurrying back to the capital told us of the news. Numerous towns under attack, all kinds of monsters, etc. Some fly, swim, some rabid animals, etc. This is not a few isolated incidents.

A few days northeast and we stopped at a village to sleep. We heard from the innkeeper about a village under attack to the south. We decided to divert there since the threat was known and immediate. It was a very similar situation to our first town: kobolds running around at night but the people barring themselves in and few hurt, but a lot of minor damage, etc. This time they knew the caves where they were and even provided us with a sketch of the place. There was an hour yet til midnight, so we went right over. There were only two fights here, about a dozen kobolds in each fight and the way was cleared. Eggs were smashed, young were herded together and also killed. We were back in another hour or two, the innkeeper hosed us down, and we went to bed. Again, the entire village was there to thank us and send us on our way giving a small purse in reward.

Back to the northeast for a couple days got us to the fishing village. Coastal caves surrounded the small town and creatures had moved into caves along the cliffs. The villagers were mostly safe during the day but huddled behind locked doors in collective longhouses during the night. Kobolds, larger but similar creatures, and some sort of large flying bat-men are all here. Lucky for us the creatures don't appear to know how to use fire…

The Fishing Village
(May-18 session)

We arrived at the fishing village and stopped about a quarter mile away to see what's going on. Hondo let us know what things were. There was a cliff about 100 feet back from the sea. That cliff had been terraced. Mushroom farming caves were up top next to small farming plots. At the base were the buildings, a central longhouse (partially burnt) and a dozen small houses that are pretty much only used as bedrooms at night. Everyone stays in the longhouse when not working elsewhere. A small smithy and sawmill and 5 boat ramps complete the village. As we looked we saw small humanoids (about 4 feet tall, but wearing clothes and carrying things- humanoids, not animals). A couple were moving around from building to building at their ease. A pile of rotting carcasses of elves are between us and the village. There is clearly no resistance here any longer. There may be prisoners: the kobolds just kill, but these new humanoids are unknown.

We decided to circle to the top of the cliff and try to sneak into the mushroom caves. We succeeded and found a maze of narrow passages opening into rooms with potted mushrooms. About half the rooms had a few kobolds in them. We killed 9 in 3 rooms before some a kobold saw us and ran, getting away and outrunning Varg. We quickly decided to get out. We moved camp about 200 yards away where we could overlook the village and watch the events.

At dusk, we saw about 15 of the humanoids come out and summon the kobolds with a horn. 30ish of them came down and a conference took place. About a third went back inside while 2/3 moved into the forest. As dark fell, we set the three able to see on guard and sure enough they found us a couple of hours before dawn. We killed only 2 or 3 with bows as they came in from various directions. They withdrew and we decided to retreat to the nearest village, a day south.

There, we rested and made plans to have the villagers take us back by boat, which would leave us an escape route in case it was needed. We got off the boat a mile away and tried to sneak up to the village. Our goal was to capture one of the humanoids and get out again by boat during the day when the kobolds wouldn't join the battle. There was a scout on top of the longhouse, but we managed to dash from cover to cover and get among the buildings without being seen. Varg entered the houses while the others shot at the sentry, taking him down. There were no creatures in the buildings but the body of the sentry alerted the monsters in the longhouse. They charged out and battle ensued. All were killed except the leader and one other who were captured. After a quick search we grabbed another fishing boat and took two boats back. Success. We were going to take the captured uglies back to the capital, but the villagers convinced us to finish off the kobolds in the caves before leaving, and they would hold the prisoners until we return. Payment for them is 3 fishing boats and we will get a cart and mule.

(Jun-01 session)
We got a boat ride back and cleared out the kobolds from the mushroom caves. Most were in a large cave chanting to their deity with the dead bodies piled up in front of a crude altar and icon. We had to spend some time making sure none were missed, but there was only the one battle. We spent the night in the town and 5 returned from somewhere. One was shot with an arrow and they all fled. In the morning they were tracked down and killed in a tiny lair they had dug out beside a stream.

We took the boat back to the neighboring village, loaded up our captives, and headed back to the capital. Before we got there a patrol found us. They were looking for Varg's party and said the queen wanted to speak with us. They continued on with the wagon with the prisoners while we rode hard to get back. The queen thanked us again for the live goblins, but then asked us to go on a special mission: to return to the southern barbarian lands and learn what we can. She believes they could join the new Evil deity and become the greatest threat to civilized people. Our job is to learn more and perhaps be ambassadors to them and sway the direction they take. I think more clarification is needed, but I think the queen doesn't have a specific agenda for us except to go and look around and see what's up, and to follow our instincts in what to do. With the request came an offer of some equipping as well.

(June 29)
We spent a week at the Elven capital, mostly because our wizards wanted to learn spells. After their cash was gone, we sailed to an elven city in the south and set off across land to the human fort city. Three of us had warhorses and three mules loaded with trade goods were also supplied to us. The elven city was gearing up for war, but still mostly calm. Patrols were sweeping the countryside, training villagers and maintaining safety as best they could. We didn't get many details, we were just passing through. It was over a week to the human city, and we pushed to get started. After the first few days we kept hearing wolves baying, but they were across the river in the swampy area, and while it kept us alert, we did not investigate. One night, however, we were suddenly attacked by archers. We quickly roused and set out to defend ourselves. Nugget, now going by his true name, Augren, brought down two or three, half of those attacking, when an equal number attacked from the opposite side. Each side had a spellcaster, and sleep spells dropped Kick and Varg. It was still looking dicy when the creatures turned and fled. I guess they were looking for easier prey. Some things stood out about this new race, which we have dubbed Porcs, because of their pig-like noses. They were bigger than the other races we had soon so far, they were clearly intelligent, not animal, speaking and casting magic spells and showing sophisticated tactics. They were also using their weapons to subdue, not to kill. I don't even want to think about what fate awaits captured people. They each had a tattooed wolf-paw on their foreheads. We left 5 of them dead, and brought one prisoner with us to the human fort.

The humans were very unsure of what to do with their prisoner, especially since we arrived at midnight and it took time for decisions to be made, but in the end they acknowledged the value of studying him. We also sent a report back to the elven queen along with a sample of a potion we found on each of them. In order to figure out the potion, which seems to be poison to elves, lightly poisoned to humans, and sweet tasting to dwarves, Brenda chugged one. It took us a few minutes to subdue her as she raged and tried to kill Vav. Finally she collapsed and remained sick for 4 more days, though back in control of her mind. The disturbance lost us our free lodging in the fort and has given us a bit of a reputation in the city. Finally started onward again, we travelled to Fort Porter, ready to begin our trek south. As we feared the southern forts have not seen any attacks. It seems the new dark god is not attacking down here, perhaps peace has held here while war exists between the new god and the northern races.


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