WOC - BardsTale Our Beginnings

A mostly true account of the players adventures told by utmost reliable source, players:

Game Date: April 24th - April May 4th 514

John Littleton, Turkey, and Thalen are being sent to the southern camp to replace and reinforce it after a major night raid by the goblin attacks. They were part of a 50 man caravan from Port Hurbirt they reached the central supply camp, Camp del Cros, all of their escort stayed to reinforce the nearly undefended camp. All but a skeletal crew and many supplies had been moved to the southern front 2 days earlier. They arrived safely and delivered all but 3 wagons (dentin for the southern front) and picked up 6 guards for the last leg of the journey. They had a late start on their journey south and could not make it to the usual clearing to make camp. They camped on the road with out incident. For the second day toward the southern camp they where ambushed about 8am where the road comes to and enters the river bed for a few miles. A tree was dropped in front of the lead wagon and crushed the 2 guards leading the wagon. 2 orcs 4 goblins and 6 kabolds attacked the wagon train for all sides. John Littleton charged the orcs and goblins on the south bank where throwing javelins down on the party. The 6 kabolds and 1 goblin attacked form the north where they fired crossbows on the party. 3 of the guards rushed the kabolds and goblin in melee combat, The orc leader of this raiding party was spotted by Thalin and he fired a magic missile at him, not enough to kill the lead orc it made him rather pissed, he decided to slam his pick into Thalin's head. Thalin falls over and decided to nap after 2 javelins 1 crossbow bolt and a face smash. Turkey and one of the guards rushed to the downed mage finishing off the kabold, goblin and orc that had made it past the line. After seeing this the last kabold fled into the woods and was pursued by 2 of the guards, they returned 6 min later with the kabold body. The last orc and 2 goblins where finished off by a very beaten and bruised John. Thalen was stabilized by 2 of the guards and brought back to conciseness with 3 light healing potions from the supply wagons. The party found a scroll, 260gp, and the orc Leader had a Full Plate armor in his possession presumably from scavenging a battlefield or earlier raid. They also find a orc scale mail, a pick, and a large steel shield, the rest of the weapons and armor where crude or destroyed in the fight. They arrive at the clearing on the other side of the river at 2pm and make camp.

7/16/11 Game Date May 4th - May 9th 514

Dear Molly,
Your truest Cuethbert here. I and a number of others have just arrived here at Fort le Noir after a long and frustrating trek where we got lost several times. Arriving but a day after a major raid on the fort had killed many and damaged a wall and several buildings, we were immediately set on guard duty or rebuilding the log palisade. At 20 hours a day, we soon gave up our hopes of rest amid the sweat and ashes, but the wall is back up, if not sturdily, and the worst of the damage is repaired. Our second-in-command is quite the taskmaster. Unfortunately too many soldiers were hurt and our healing supplies have run out. The wagons bringing emergency supplies are overdue. Somehow, I have been volunteered again, to return up the road and find and rescue the wagons. I fear only that something might keep me from returning to you someday.
We found the wagons and, after fighting off some nasty centipedes, reached them. They had been ambushed but had managed to fight off the attack and had merely been delayed. Still, we were welcomed back into the fort today with a wonderful feast of turkey and roast pork and several barrels of brandy. Oh… the brandy. What kind of idiot would send that much brandy to so many desperate, lonely, and overworked men! The feast became louder and more raucous, and finally ended in a drunken fistfight between one of my comrades on the rescue mission and one of the rescuees. It didn't last long before the taskmaster (I am being polite) broke it up and demanded an explanation. Somehow, everyone in the mission stands accused of disorderly conduct and about 20 others besides who were betting on the outcome of the fight. They are taking us to the stocks, with the woman promising to execute us all tomorrow for our lack of discipline. Fortunately, the Earl Richard le Noir is in charge and has laughed off the executions, but we await our fate. I am giving this letter to a friend to make sure you get it.

Dearest Molly,
The situation is only getting worse. Early this morning, while we were still in the stocks, the goblins attacked again. Somehow our scouts had seen them coming, and the Earl managed to surround and crush them against the damaged south wall of the fort. All good and fine, but he lead the charge himself and died in the doing. As the early shouts of "The Earl is down" crossed the fort, those of us in stocks began to realize our fate. The second-in-command now led, and she had vowed to execute us all. Near panic set in and we may have overreacted. I think that we were right, though, for in 4 days I had seen enough to realize she valued Order more than she valued Life, and in a rather extreme sense. We had no choice but to gather up our supplies, grab some horses, and flee. We are now outlaws, deserters from the Army and under sentence of death if discovered. Our hope is that amid the chaos of the Earl's death, our absense will go unnoticed for as long as possible and that we can stay ahead of the news, forge papers to get us back home, and be forgotten.

Will the drama never cease??? While hiding beside the road for a breather, some riders flew by, no doubt bringing first tidings of the battle and Earl's death back to the Magisterium. We let them go by, then continued on ourselves. At a river-gully crossing, we were ambushed by a wolf-riding goblin. One of our number fell before we cut them down. We then heard strange voices and, creeping up, saw the riders had all been ambushed by 8 goblins and some other creature. We surprised them and defeated the goblins, but the Creature was A DARK MAN. I saw one and lived!!! He didn't feel like fighting in the face of our ambush, I guess, and fled the scene, throwing magical darkness to cover his retreat. EVEN MORE, we discovered that the messengers were none other than the Duke of Burgy and his retinue, all dead or dying. I promised the Duke I would bring his sword back to his family and relay to them the news of his death.
This all may seem strange and frightening, and it is. I only wish I could put in writing everything that has happened, but I fear to do so lest it fall into unfriendly hands. Know this, that I love you and am now bound for home again, though I am uncertain of what kind of future awaits.

Dear Self,
Why do I still write in this journal? Amid many tears and much heartache, I find it yet calms my mind to put my thoughts into words and thus have a chance to review and understand where I've been and where I am headed. To continue, we decided to impersonate the Duke of Burgy and use his travelling papers to ride north and return home. We were successful, as Gorlon largely stood mute in the Duke's equipment and we bluffed our way north. We were greeted at the port and sent to a special galley to carry us to Clari to deliver the Earl's equipment to a private estate there. Gorlon pulled it off for the most part, acting his part in a death ceremony while we watched from afar. It seems one person, the Marshall of Vivek, knew the Duke and knew Gorlon was not him. He didn't expose us, however, but hinted at conspiracies everywhere, especially among the Magisterium, and hinted that the Duke's sword was somehow a special historic item of some significance and involved in these conspiracies. We met with him later, after the Earl's ceremony to get this information. Some of us simply think the man is mad, but there may be some truth to what he says. Seeds of doubt have been planted in some of our minds… Anyway, we were then free to go our way from Clari. Since I promised to deliver the Duke's personal equipment to his family, I headed there, and the rest of the group followed, perhaps for hope of reward, or perhaps for something to do. We seem to have formed a group of sorts, learning to work together and trust in each others' skills and strengths.

On the way to the Duke's, we were "attacked" by some teenaged bandits, desperate for food or a bit of copper. We captured one and gave him gold and told them to go home. We wanted to do more, but it seems 3 years of war has impoverished the area greatly, and this was but a symptom of a greater illness. At Burgy, we found the Cleric had been promoted and a new friar being promoted. We then met with the Duke's wife and father to give them the bad news of the Duke's death. To our shock, they were more dismayed that he had died before leaving an heir than that he had died. I guess the marriage had been political and not all that close. Though the Duke had been a decent man, he hadn't loved his wife. To my even greater shock, they seemed both grateful enough and desperate enough to propose that I wed the widow and get her with child that the family might continue as dukes in Burgy. I said I couldn't possibly agree at the time, but needed to seek out my love, Molly, back in Dubik's Pass. I fear that my mind wandered and I missed much of what the retired Duke Owen said at that point, but hearing I was from Dubik's Pass and heading there to see Molly, he sent me to find out why a silver mine, founded during my absence, was no longer producing ore. I think it was a quest to find if I am worthy of marrying his daughter. I was just thinking of Molly, and whether to even consider the arrangement at all.

We travelled to Dubik's Pass to find a plague rampaging through the town. We spoke to Sir Christof Sanders to tell him of his brother's death and to get the news of the plague. We also learned that Molly had given up on my returning and had left to court, maybe marry another. Will I ever be able to forget her? I break down weeping at the thought, and agree to settle for an arranged marriage of convenience, knowing I could never love another the way I had loved Molly. With that thought consuming my mind, we returned to Burgy with our news, only to find that Lord Owen had expected us to discover and fix the problems there, not just find out about Molly. Determined to do what I could for my home, we travelled back once again to Dubik's Pass and to the silver mine there.
In the two days of our absence, the disease had spread and many more were dead. Foolish me! to be so concerned about Molly, I failed in my duty to my town and my Lord, Sir Sanders. We resolved to visit the mine to learn more of the source of the disease. As we entered the mine, it was clear that weapons, not disease, had killed off the miners, though the bodies showed signs of the disease. We found a trapped body, setting off a loud noise, then proceeded further inward. In the second chamber we found kobolds on a ledge above us, shooting down crossbow bolts upon us. We took refuge among the stalagmites and returned fire. We had trouble hitting the agile creatures for the most part, but Gorlon was a marksman, and the rest of us occasionally managed to hit our targets. 8 kobolds died, including a shaman leader, and one fled. Many of us are wounded as well. We need to rest a bit and heal our wounded before continuing on.

We healed up and climbed up into the kobald area. It soon ended in a room with the fled kobold standing ready for us in an empty room. As we suspected a trap, we slowly advanced towards him until we realized the situation. He was defending two young hidden under a cloak in the corner. That raised a discussion of the moral thing to do: to kill the last adult and let the young live (only to die unable to support themselves), to kill them all, or to let them all live. While the young were clearly innocent, the adult was part of the slaughter of the miners and deserved punishment. I wanted them dead, having seen so many people I know suffer and die from the fighting and the disease that followed. John Little refused to kill them, then even said he would defend them. That decided it and we let them go. I only hope we won't later regret that, as the survivor could carry word of us back to wherever he came from. Gorlon noticed that the cloak the young were under looked quite nice, and took it. We later learned it was magic.

From there, we went back to the battle cavern and continued on. After a long winding mining corridor, we entered a large room stuffed with dead and decaying bodies. Man did it reek, and several of us began to feel sick just from breathing in the air there. I guess we've caught this plague also. We can only hope to find a cure at the end. We used two kobold spears to move the bodies a bit, hoping to find a survivor, but we felt all were certainly dead. How wrong we were. As we began to move through the room, several of the bodies stood up and slowly moved towards us. They didn't respond to our voices, and I surmise now that they were somehow alive but driven mad by the disease. We were forced to fight and kill them. About 6 miners and 4 kobolds attacked us there and were killed. I was badly hurt in the fight and required healing again, as did several others. When the last one fell, we quickly moved forward and got out of that horrible room. Visions of that place will probably haunt my dreams for quite some time, probably longer than it will take to get the last of the stench from my clothes.
Finally, we entered a large cavern with a thick column in the center. Water flowed around the column and down to the south wall. As we entered we heard someone speak in surprise, behind the stone column. As we charged we found an extremely ugly man there who fought us. He was well armed and armored, but one against 5 he couldn't escape despite his trick of putting out our lights and trying to move away. He died, and we immediately all felt much better, as if the disease disappeared with his life. Praise Guy, I can no longer sense the disease, even with a spell to detect magic. This horrible man had clearly been the source of the disease and I breathe easier knowing such a one is now dead. We stripped him of his equipment and also found a map showing he came from the west somewhere behind the mountain ridge.

As this was a dead end, we returned to the mine entrance but then entered another passage we hadn't taken before. This led to two rooms, a kitchen and a storeroom. Each had more kobolds in them, but they fell to our blades quickly since we realized they were much better with their crossbows than they were with their shortspears. Charge them and they go down much easier. They had a giant weasel as big as I am in the final room. Several of us were bitten but we wrestled it down and killed it also. I would have liked to have charmed it as a friend; it is an animal, after all, not evil in itself, but alas, I had no spells left after all the healing needed. With that done, we returned to Burgy with news of our adventures.

On a personal note, I finally managed to track down Molly. She was a bit torn up over seeing me, mostly because my appearance might disrupt her chance to marry her new beau. I told her where to find me if she changed her mind and left. Oh, the pain. For three years I had hung onto the dream of returning to find Molly waiting for me. At least I have returned alive, recent news says that almost the entire army in the south was wiped out during their retreat northward. The Baroness of Clari has been relieved of command and has gone home in disgrace. I shed tears for all the others, but a part of me wishes she had died also. Perhaps I should repent of that, but I find it hard to do so. At least she won't terrorize any more poor recruits, though the Magisterium will doubtless conscript more to replace the lost army. Are there any more to be conscripted? My heart is torn just thinking about it.

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