WOC - BardsTale Fighting Bad Guys

Fighting The Bad Guys

HighTower Crypt:
With the rainy season over, we headed west to find the location where the orc disease-priest came from last year. On the way there, we found and fought some vermin, spiders and scorpions. The spiders weren't too bad, but the scorpions grabbed us with their claws and in the end tried to carry off Razar. Fortunately in the end we managed to kill both scorpions and most of the spiders and, after a good night's rest, heal up again. The next day Gorlon and Darius, seeing a ruined tower off in the distance, went there to investigate. We found it and saw a back entrance caused by a landslide, but couldn't find any tracks leading in or out. Some orc stronghold! We went back to get the group and came back the next day. Entering the cave we found we were in a huge room with three doors. Rats flooded in but we beat them back. We found a treasure chest down one side passage, which Darius managed to untrap, and some sickly floating head down another, which we fought and killed. It's eerie screech froze several party members at first, but enough of us resisted the fear and we overcame it quickly. Lucky for us, we think it probably had some kind of disgusting magic to it doing who knows what. Back down the main passage we found two humanoids we later termed hobgoblins. They beat on Darius pretty badly before the rest of the party arrived to beat back on them. It seems they entered the ruins by means of a rope down a vertical chimney to this room from the tower ruins above. We set a trap with their javelins should any further hobgoblins come down that way. Deeper into the lair we found a crypt with a warrior knight wrapped as in death. To our surprise, he arose and did battle with us. He fought well and took a lot of damage before going down, but he couldn't stand against the entire party at once. Again, poor Darius took the brunt of its attacks. Finally, down the last passage, we found a spider. Luckily Darius saw the spiderweb before blundering into it. We burned it away from the final doorway and entered. Sure enough, a really big spider was waiting above the door, but some well-aimed blows brought it down in what could have been another nasty fight.
Among the various loot, we found a journal in the evil army's language. We also found a magic ring that gives us knowledge of the language of that evil army in our midst. Apparently a group of hobgoblins were sent here to set up a base of operations, to scout out the area, and start recruiting spies, etc. Once the leader had been killed by that spider, they had become disorganized, and the spider killed them one by one. Only two were left. We found their campsite among the ruins atop the hill, but it was just an empty campsite. The journal mentioned holding the crypt until the arrival of the sharp-toothed man, who would further instruct them. That sounds ominous. I have visions of that dark-man we saw so long ago near Camp Le Noir that killed the Duke of Burgy. I believe he had pointed teeth, at least I see them so in my memories of him. In addition, it maps out four other potential bases of this evil army. Two are quite nearby, while two are far to the northeast. One corresponds to where the Magisterium sent a group before the rainy season, and since they returned (followerless as always), we assume they cleared that one. Finally, we returned to Burgy to report and sell off our loot. Gorlon can probably afford his dream bow now.

Island of Perpetual Torture:
If only we'd remembered the name of this island, but all we knew was IPT and that the Magisterium hadn't been there yet. As Duke of Burgy, we hired a deep-sea fishing boat and set off for the coordinates. We met a huge 8-armed sea monster along the way, but it was just an animal and Cuethbert spoke with him, mesmerized him and we sailed off again. We arrived at the jungle island, about 20 miles across, and began by sailing around it. We couldn't see anything unusual, so the party went ashore the next morning. We headed toward the center of the island, and from a few miles off we saw some sort of huge (200-foot) statue of some kind of 4-legged creature near that center. We headed towards it, and found the trees stopped about 1 mile all around the statue, leaving grassland. Gorlon went on ahead, and found after 3/4 of a mile that there was a depression in which the dragon statue sat, surrounded by an orc village. Gorlon returned, and the party set up camp inside the jungle for the night.
During the night, we saw a strange bird watching us, then a leopard, and we were pretty sure we were being watched. No attack came, but as we were leaving someone slung a stone that pinged off of John's armor. We decided to hang out for an hour so they could come talk with us. They didn't, so we started to leave. More rocks pinged off of John's armor, and we heard some kind of screaming from the direction of our old camp. We figured they were upset at arriving and finding us gone, so we set an ambush and waited for them to track up our trail. Again, a few rocks pinged off of John's armor. Knowing they were following us, we decided to just head to the village and try to talk. We finally spotted one, and when I waved at him a group of them stood up and approached. They were fascinated by our metal armor and weapons, but gradually let us know we were prisoners and marched us back to their town. The screaming was now coming from the town and as we arrived, we saw the sailors had been brought here before us and were now in stocks. One by one they were being led down a passageway into the dragon statue, screaming as they went. Thalen and John were taken aside, the local orc ladies had taken an interest in them, and Cuethbert began trying to communicate. An elderly orc woman could speak some common, and so in broken speech we learned that the orcs were to torture perpetually and beings brought here by the dragon. We arrived, clearly the dragon statue had magically summoned us, so we were to be tortured. The elder showed no emotion, but let us know nothing could change that fate for us. After awhile Cue freed his hands and cast a charm upon her. After wiping the blood from his face, he continued speaking to her and managed to see the written commands from the dragon, now inscribed on bone, the original tome falling apart. The elder herself didn't understand many of the words. We found that they understood "torture" to mean tickling, so the sailors were being tickled until they couldn't breathe and were then allowed to rest until they could be tickled again. Cue read the bone inscriptions and told them that they had misunderstood, that they were merely to tickle for one day, and then let the dragon decide whether or not to continue, on a day to day basis. We were all tickled for a day, and since the dragon didn't command them to continue, we were set free. We were all in a hurry to leave, but the weather was truly horrible that day, so the sailors readied the ship while the party visited the "seer". We found 5 badly inbred ogres who understood basic star charts and told the orcs when to plant, move the goats to the next field, etc. Other than that they were pathetic, but they were rich beyond our dreams. All the loot from previous victims had been given to the great seers. We managed to trade 2 silver mirrors and a steel dagger for 600 gold, a magic ring, and a magic rod, but they wouldn't part with any gems, and most of their magic had gems encrusted in them. Good enough, we got on the ship and sailed for home. More storms overtook us, and despite our using all our mending spells, the boat was falling apart. We managed to finally beach the remains of the ship on the shore north of Guy's Mountain. We paid off the surviving sailors for the hardship our journey had dealt them, and we left them in Wallencourt.

The Evil Fort in the Northeast Mountains:
We stayed in Wallencourt for 4 days to allow Thalen to learn another spell and to identify our loot. We then joined some hunters and headed northeast into the scrubland there. Cuethbert befriended a small hawk along the way. Upon arriving at the spot marked on our map, we found tracks heading between two hills. We headed there and saw an entrance leading into a mountain, with dwarven runes inscribed around the entrance. Inside we found a large complex occupied by goblin scouts. They had clearly been here for awhile. We hadn't been seen arriving, so we found them scattered, around 6 to a room, and finished them off. In one room, a strange brown-colored mold on a tapestry suddenly grew and covered Cue in one room, doing a lot of cold damage to him doing so. He tried to burn it offm and it grew at an amazing rate. Gorlon grabbed Cue's body and we fled, but Gorlon fell also to the numbing cold. Thalen's rod dealing cold killed the mold very quickly, and once free of it, we returned to a secret room we'd found and let them sleep off the effects and healed everyone up again.
The next day we continued and in a descrated temple to Andraste we fought some large 2-headed orc that we later learned was called an ettin. He was really strong, and fought with a weapon in each hand, but he was alone and with Gorlon and Thalen doing damage to it and Cue and Medius healing Gorlon, we managed to kill him before he killed Gorlon. A dead bugbear in the room provided a journal of the evil army's time here, or so we expect, but without Darius we can't read it. …To be continued.
We finished clearing out the dungeon after a few nasty battles with bugbears, a crocodile, a huge bat, and another flesh-eating mold/slime/mildew. We found a dagger made of a strange material among other loot. We also managed to read a dwarven journel we found. It seems the dwarven outpost here had not been found by the Magisterium when that area had been originally cleansed. Small and hidden, it had slowly shrunk due to occasional losses to the Magisterium and other reasons. Finally, goblin had invaded and captured it. We had to rest again, and finally left the locale out of spells yet again. With 3 days to the next evil outpost - X on the map, we had time to heal up again. According to the bugbear journal, that next X is the fort of an evil knight, and based on rumors has already been cleansed by the Magisterium. Still, it's on the way, and we can't trust rumors to give an accurate story.

The Evil Knight's Keep:
Upon reaching the site, we saw a half-built, or perhaps half-destroyed, keep in the middle of the forest. There was no activity around it. Before approaching it too closely, Gorlon decided to track in a circle around it, staying safely in the forest, before the group ventured out into sight. He was almost ambushed by 4 undead humanoids, that we later learned were called ghouls. He quickly ran back to the party where we fought and killed them. We split them up by entangling them and fighting them as they freed themselves. They fought to the death without thought of fleeing.
Next we tried to approach the keep. Seeing a large pile of dirt and rocks on one side, we decided to approach from that direction, giving us some cover as we approached, and checking out the nearer place of interest first. 4 dead bodies were sprawled to one side of the pile. Gorlon approached first, with everyone else a few yards behind. The corpses rose to attack us. They were slow but strong, and we killed 2 quickly while being pelted by large rocks from afar. We were then hit by a stinking cloud, and we fled back into the woods for cover from the rocks and zombies. We regrouped and decided to storm the keep, looking first for the wizard casting the spell and stones. As we charged, John Littleton saw the zombies lying as if dead again, and veered aside to smash one. A rock again hit him, but we saw it had originated from the pile of rubble, not the keep. We charged at it, John killing the second zombie as the wizard cast another stinking cloud over itself, forcing us to back off again. We had it surrounded, though, and began targetting arrows and spells to the rockpile. It rose, revealing itself as some hideously fat caricature of a man, cast darkness and fled.
We then explored the keep, which had been still under construction when the Magisterium came and destroyed those here, leaving the whole area consecrated to Guy. Numerous bodies still littered the site, including the evil knight's. The keep and several wall sections had then been pulled down, and they had left. We could see that the Magisterium had again killed their own excess troops after their victory. A very recent tunnel was being built from outside the keep directly towards the center of it. Tracking revealed the work had been done by the zombies, creating the pile of refuse/rubble. We surmised the creature was trying to get under the keep and something must yet remain below it. We found a hidden door down, but it was locked. We decided to continue the tunnel ourselves, using a Soften Earth spell by Cue to greatly ease the work. Still, we weren't done by nightfall, and set up watches. The creature reappeared, casting some kind of Fear spell, and we all fled for a minute or so. We returned and were Feared again, but Cue resisted it and cast a Faerie Fire and an Entangle on the creature. John pulled out his bow and soon Gorlon came back and began to use his. With the first hit, the creature begged for mercy, offering the key and information. We were indecisive at first, but eventually decided to accept the offer. We took the key and let the creature go. I worry about what it was and what it will do, set free to do what it will. Under the keep, we found a secret study, with one wall of books written in a dwarven-like language, and some nice loot.
Thinking that the library could give the outsiders some useful information in their quest to open Guy's Bubble, (and because we figure only they could read it anyway), we have decided to head back to Burgy and their hideout in the dwarven refuge/mine. Hopefully by next rainy season, they will have read enough to reach a plan. We are also carrying a lot of loot, straining even Gorlon's great carrying capacity.

The Eastern Swamp:
Two days out from the Keep, we camped by a stream among a stand of trees. During the night, the trees started shivering strangely. We all looked around and finally Gorlon noticed that one of the trees nearby had a face on it. It could speak Common, and we learned its story. It and the other treants had left the forest near Mons, then the forest with the Keep, getting chased out by the Magisterium during their cleansings. They had finally settled in the delta of the NW river, in the marshy area there, only to be discovered and decimated again by the Magisterium. As far as he knew, he was the only treant survivor anywhere. There was a treant-keeper back in the swamp he asked us to help. We turned aside from our plans to head east again. We were led to a tree in the swamp. It was partially burned and had a barbed iron spike driven into it. The wound in the tree was still oozing some kind of sap/pus even though it had been years in this condition. We cast a delay poison, which allowed the spirit inside it to manifest enough to speak to us. She feared any warp wood spell would kill the host tree, as would the shock of yanking out the spike, sending more poison into the tree. She had a solution in mind, though. An antidote existed in the gall bladder of the last Ankylosaurus in the area, an ancient relic that was still alive because all the predators had also died off decades ago. We hesitated, then agreed, and went off to hunt dinosaurs. We found it, climbed trees nearby as it ignored us, and attacked with spells and arrows. The arrows couldn't penetrate its armor, but John had the idea of fire, and he threw an alchemist's fire on it. It succeeded where everything else had failed. A second one by Gorlon, added to the damage done by the casters, brought it down. We studied the animal and collected many of it's armor plates and long bones for use in making armor and weapons. We'll see how that goes. Anyway, we returned to the nymph with the gall bladder and managed to free her from the tree. She was awesomely beautiful in spite of her wounds and sickly complexion. I wonder what she would look like healthy; we all were stunned when we saw her. She thanked us and we began the long journey back, even more laden down.
On the way back, I managed to find a lion companion who had just lost his leadership in his pride. He was happy to join us, since he was facing death or a life as a rogue lion. We caught a boat near Wallencourt and, after stopping in Vivik to buy scrolls for Thalen, we made it home to Burgy a scant week before the rainy season was to begin. We made a quick trip to deliver the Evil Knight's library to the Outsiders in their dwarven hideout and then settled down for the rainy season.

Rainy Season activities:
We all split up for the rainy season, some staying in Burgy, others spending the time with the outsiders.
John mostly ate, drank, and was merry, spending a lot of time at Friar Tuck's establishment and chasing the women there. He never left Burgy.
Thalen spent his time with the outsiders, exchanging spells and learning Undercommon.
Medius also went to the mines, learned about undead and how to turn them, and talked of choosing a new deity. He seems to like one called Kord, God of Strength in Battle.
Gorlon spent 6 weeks assisting Mayfin in dukedom maintenance, mostly among hurt animals, but also helping Mayfin smith his new breastplate. He then went to the mines to plan our campaign against the evil forces.
I spent the whole time assisting Mayfin run the dukedom, being seen as Duke, and helping her smith those Ank. plates into armor. I am wearing a new set of armor myself, a bit more encumbering than my old leather, but much more protecting. I also spent some time moving among the people to see to their needs and helping their animals.

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