Bandit Tales

Episode 17 - Plague in Conterra

The PCs, after equipping themselves with a number of scrolls, headed into the city proper with the Battle Brothers to fetch the necessary supplies from the apothecary. Noon Priestess Arla stayed behind to assist with the “sick.” Ren and Ajax headed up to the rooftops for a bit. Ren fell through one roof and discovered a woman hiding in the attic. The woman followed Ren to the rooftop and was nearly killed when attempting to climb down. She was sent back to the door leading to the inn’s cellars outside of the city.

The party fought their way through several blocks of the city. Karl sprinted ahead, trying to keep the party moving. Battle brothers Vareck and Darrin (as well as Karl) were scratched by zombies and possibly infected. Helmford, the other battle bro., was severely wounded.

At the third block the party was again attacked by yet more zombies. This time the zombies were accompanied by a large, blue, ogre-ish zombie. Kell used the fire breath potion to incinerate two of the zombies, and the archers played a large role in felling the big blue hulk.

At the conclusion of the sit, the party still had to traverse two more blocks to reach their destination.

Episode 16: Plague in Conterra
In which the bandits discover a bit of armegeddon

Arla wanted to take the tome to the seat of power for the Helian church, the mega-city of Stormbluff. There the tome would be safe and could be studied by the top priests of Helia.

The Longstream River flows very near the city and was the most logical mode of travel. The group moved on horseback to Westing and caught charter to Stormbluff.

Along the rode to Westing, they discovered a robbed caravan (Jacques!) and Ren deduced it was hobgoblin raiders from the Dawnwood. Some of the bandits wanted to investigate but Arla kept them on task. They moved farther and camped. In the early morning Kel spotted a group of ravens approaching in an odd formation. Getting a bad feeling, the group grabbed their belongings and raced for the forest. They watched the ravens circle and land in their abandoned camp. The birds seemed to be searching for something, as they fished through the remaining packs and sacks. Carl and Flervin studied them from afar and concurred that they were not ravens, but a single entity, from a plane of shadow. The ravens left, flying east.

The group arrived in Westing and booked travel. The trip down the Longstream was practically pleasant with no troubles to speak of. After a couple of days travel they rounded a bend in the river and were approaching the city of Conterra. A border fortress city that is often embroiled in war with Zasarin raiders from the south.

The city was smoking and it appeared it had been attacked. The streets were silent and empty. Only a few masked guards on the walls. A ship sat anchored in the center of the river. It signaled for the merchant vessel to pass on the left side, away from town. The ship flew the colors of the Battle Brothers, a mercenary force. The captain revealed that Conterra had seen so much war that the populace no longer had the stomach for it, and had given up their protection to the mercenary army.

The Battle Brothers’ ship, the Westward on Longstream, signaled that the city was closed to all travelers due to a plague. Carl responded if healers were needed and the mercs said yes, and requested any interested go to the tavern outside the northern walls of the city, the Cease Fire.

The merchant ship didn’t want to stop, but let the bandits off on a dinghy, returning some of their fee. The bandits entered the Cease Fire which was full of generally upset merchants. All complained about not being able to enter the city and sell their wares.

The bandits learned that a nasty plague had hit the city about a week ago and the city council had ordered the city sealed off. The inn’s soup was terribly watered down, as the barkeep said they were running out of supplies.

Many people sported masks or wrappings around their mouths. Everyone spoke of the plague starting like the flu or a cold and were very paranoid of each other whenever someone sneezed or coughed.

Soon a crazy looking hermit came from a basement stairs. He seemed to be a healer and was checking on people who flocked over to him. The group announced their presence and he took them to the tavern cellar where he revealed a concealed door that lead to his laboratory.

Down some older looking passages, past some metal doors where banging and moaning could be heard from, the group was lead to what appeared to be an armory from a bygone era. The room had been converted into an alchemical lab, complete with instruments of healing or torture, depending on your outlook.

Grimbur, who was a healer of sorts, revealed the nature of the plague. It began as a cold, feaver, chills, sneezing and coughing but soon progressed into a lethargic state. Eventually the victim seeks bed rest from which they fall into a torpor like state of near death.

When they emerge they are not themselves and seek only to violently attack any and all around them. They cannot be reasoned with, talked to or otherwise persuaded not to attack. The wounds from these attacks spread the plague much more quickly, with victims of these injuries moving to a similar state within hours of being wounded.

Grimbur revealed his recipe for a cure, which Carl overlooked and tweaked a bit, surprising Grimbur and making him practically dance with joy. He coughed and black phlegm came up, he showed the group a jar of the stuff on his shelf and it appeared to move on its own. He explained that the stuff was of a dark, old magic. It centers in the brain and heart of the victims – and he believes it is the impetus of their violent behavior.

From the other exit in the room, 3 battle brothers appeared and offered to lead the bandits to their stronghold. The group reluctantly agreed.

Episode 14: A Job in Premont
In which the bandits rob a bookstore

Ajax took his leave, saying he’d be back after a small bit of personal business. The mysterious elf disappeared into the woods outside of Premont while the rest of the gang, young David included, returned cautiously into the city. They had unfinished business: Kay required a tome that was believed to be in the possession of a wealthy sorcerer/merchant by the name of Rajma Dahl.

First, Carl wanted to inspect the damaged skyship, so the group moved to the docks district of town where the ship was slowly landing. There were men pulling ropes, water buckets being dumped on smoldering timbers, sailors and spectators going to and fro. The captain watched from the ground, barking orders to his men.

Carl found a rope leading up to the deck of the ship and he remembered the time stopping card that Ajax had left tucked in his loincloth. With a knowing grin, he dropped the card and shimmied up the rope while time stood still. Up on the deck, sailors stood mid-motion, carrying supplies or fixing damaged sections of the ship. He moved up the aft castle stairs to the captain’s quarters which were unlocked. Inside he searched the captain’s desk and found a pistol, some notes about the hunt for a necromancer in Noman’s Field and the search for a magical crown. On the wall was a painting that had a magical aura. He touched a jewel on its frame and the picture changed to a view of outside the ship. He touched the jewel again and it switched to view of a military man at a desk. He then searched an armiore and found a full dress uniform, complete with plumed hat and brass breastplate. Looking around, he donned the gear and swiped the pistol. The time freeze stopped as he dressed himself. He then made his way off the ship, fooling several crew who saluted him as he passed (perhaps it was the beard?).

He got down the rope and tried to slip away. Flervin noticed and tried to distract the captain by stroking his ego. It worked for a while but the captain eventually spotted him. Upset, he ordered several men to make chase and the group separated and made their escape from the busy square. They regrouped in a tavern where they plotted their next move.

The group scouted around and learned that Rajma had a business in the merchant district, the Eye of Fatima Bookstore. They found the little shop and entered. They were greeted by a clerk, a young man of Zasaran blood. He welcomed them to the store while a midget, dressed in bordering on racial stereotyped Zasarin clothing, offered them tea.

The group split up, each taking an area of the store. Their target was a large tome with metal binding and a spider web pattern on cover. No such book appeared on the shelves of the main level. Flervin and a few others went up to the second story which had less shelves, but more reading space. There was a customer up there relaxing with a book and a cup of tea. Carl settled down by the man, quite close, and began belching and passing wind in an effort to insult the man into leaving. It worked.

Ren inspected a locked door as Flervin felt a tug on his robes. It was Mudraks, who apparently had something important for his master to see. They moved downstairs where Muddy showed Flervin a pop up book about the Treaty of Cendor. Annoyed, Flervin agreed to purchase the book to keep his goblin servant quiet.

The bookseller eventually asked if he could help anyone and Flervin asked to see his most rare books, as the shelf search was turning up nothing. Flervin asked the clerk’s name, to which he replied “Tadka”. In casual conversation they asked if the store was his and he quickly replied “No, it is my uncle’s, Rajma Dahl.” They asked about Rajma’s whereabouts and Tadka said he was away on another book search.

Tadka lead the group upstairs and pulled back a tapestry revealing an ornamental door. It had a decorative Kait dragon on it (Kait is the oriental area of Caera). He unlocked the door and allowed Flervin alone to enter, giving him a pair of sheer, white gloves (to protect the books). While there were many interesting looking books to be found in the small room, none matched the description of Kay’s tome.

They bid farewell and decided to come back after the shop had closed. They watched Tadka and the little person leave, Tadka walked to the wealthy merchant district of homes, while the midget left for the shipping area.

They moved to the shop’s back door and Ren tried to pick the lock. Not having the proper tools he found it difficult. Kel stepped forward and smashed the door in with his shoulder. They moved stealthily into the room but as the light of the setting sun poured in through a decorative stained glass window, the figure depicted in the glass stepped out of the window and onto the floor. He was a Zasaran warrior, complete with robes, circular metal shield and a scimitar. Made of glass and nearly two dimensional, the warrior defended the shop from the would-be intruders.

At one point the light focused through him and created a lighting bolt of energy, which Ren dodged narrowly. It singed Kel and blasted Flervin quite solidly. The group eventually took the crystalline defender down, not before Carl fired his newly found pistol (but missed). The creature shattered into a million glass shards. The group fanned out with David and Kell watching the ground floor while the others inspected the second story.

David robbed the cash box. Kell watched the door while keeping one eye on the young thief. He questioned the boy as to what he found and threatened him with violence should he lie. The boy revealed he found a few more coins then originally reported. Meanwhile, Mudraks busied himself with finding more children’s books. At this time, a town guard appeared in the smashed out doorway and ordered Kel to drop his weapons. Kel did not and a quick fight ensued.

Upstairs, Ren tried a locked door and found it trapped, blasting him with magical fire. Carl healed him while Flervin searched. The scoured the area but came up empty handed. Carl found a tome that, if read, would grant some new found wisdom. Some additional gold was discovered and quickly pocketed.

The group debated as to what to do with the guard,who was bleeding out. They were divided as to restoring and tying him up or slaying him, and the decision to slay won out. Flervin was tempted to burn the whole store down but Carl talked him out of it.

They escaped and moved to the merchant estate district where they found Rajma’s home. It had a tall wall around it, with two gates: A main front gate and a smaller rear gate. There appeared to be guards patrolling the gardens within.

Episode 13: Jailbreak
In which the bandits perform a jailbreak

Ajax told everyone about his plan to ambush the stone golems at the natural bridge. He raced there and set up a trip rope and covered the narrow rock bridge with ball bearings. Then he waited.

The rest of the group stayed and fought the golems for a few moments. Both Flervin and Kell were heavily wounded in the process. Carl healed and enchanted Kell’s blade, but the warrior never really seemed to get a good hit in against the stone automatons.

Eventually the group fell back and quickly outpaced the lumbering golems. Flervin and Ren fired away at the monstrosities as they fell back to the bridge. The unthinking machines simply marched forward, devoid of tactical thought. One fell before the bridge and the other stepped onto it, tripping on the bearings. Kell and several others pushed him over the side, creating a giant splash in the river below.

The group leaned over the edge to see the golem moving about below, reaching for them in vain. Happy with their victory, they explored the rest of the medusa’s cave network. They came across another room of statues, but these remained still. Four seemed to match Jalfe in appearance, these must have been his tribe’s hunting party. One by one, the bandits gave up a stone to flesh potion and soon all 4 men were restored.

They were overjoyed and thanked their rescuers. Ajax held onto this potion and the other petrified victims had to remain as such. Carl tried to pick Ajax’s pocket to get the last potion but failed horribly. Some quick thinking saved the day but mostly made Mudraks uncomfortable as he watched men digging in each other’s pants.

The group headed onto Premont, deciding to liberate Roosk’s nephew David. The journey was pleasant and many plans were made as to how to break the boy out. Ajax was convinced that with their rescue of the Longbeards, they would be able to use that and some gold to simply bail the thief out.

They arrived at Premont, with Ironhall, clearly the largest community in Pine Hills. The massive dwarven city, surrounded by squat, angular towers – along with the human city that wrapped around it – was a sight to behold.

They did a bit of window shopping before Carl broke up the mall rats and got them back on task. Ajax and Kell walked up to the jail’s front (and only) door and knocked. Carl kept watch out in the street. Ajax asked to see the prisoner but his request was refused. He then offered to pay a bail and the guard fetched the warden. The warden listened to Ajax’s request and then turned him down, it was apparent that he wanted more than 50gp for the prisoner’s release.

Carl decided to create a distraction and became belligerent to some passing town guard. They arrested him and moved past Ajax and Kell and into the jail. In the confusion, Ajax dropped a magical card and time stopped. Walking past Carl and his jailers, the warden and the other guards, Ajax passed through the door and investigated the rest of the prison.

He walked an inner courtyard, the mess hall and a long hallway (each area defended by guards). He looked at each prisoner he came across, looking for some family resemblance to Roosk. All these men looked too old or rough to be David. He found the door to the prison block locked. Worried that picking the lock would break the card’s spell, he found it not so. He picked the lock and entered the block.

THere were 20 or more cells in this room, including a large cell holding an ogre! THere was a large switch on the wall that appeared to open all the cells at once. He pulled the switch and time resumed. The prisoners stood in amazement as someone appeared and the doors all opened. He found David and told the boy to climb on his back. Then he dropped another card and exited. He passed by Carl, tucking a note and a magic card into his loincloth. THen he was outside, where he tucked a note into Kell’s pocket. Both notes indicated he was taking David to Latha.

He raced out of town and didn’t put the boy down until well out of the city. Time resumed.

Meanwhile a band of escaped prisoners, lead by the ogre, came storming down the hall. The guards rallied. The man in charge of Carl went to join his mates but Carl kept resisting arrest. Frustrated, the guard took a swing at the mountain man, hoping to take him down before the ogre bore down on the group.

The warden raced away as the ogre slammed into the guards. Kell put a food out and tripped the man. In the confusion, Carl escaped. The warden raced to the barracks, alerting the guards. THe bandits decided to leave town very quickly.

They met up with Ajax in the woods and planned their next steps.

Episode 12: The Queen of Blackriver
In which the bandits find a medusa's lair.

Written by Matthew Ingram
Sham sent to The Collector’s tower while the rest of the party heads off to Darkwatch to search for Jalfe’s missing kinsmen, and then (hopefully) on to Premont.

Party finds a trail leading to an abandoned campsite and a bag of troll heads.

Ren finds a statue of a squirrel.

Tracks lead to a cave surrounded by exquisite statues of deer, orcs, and humans.

Party meets, intimidates, & charms Frozz and Grozz, the Queen of the Black River’s reluctant guards and porters. Frozz and Grozz lead the party over the bridge.

5gp is recovered in the storage room. Carl takes a cast iron pot for a helmet.

Flerv clotheslines a fleeing Frozz.

Ajax hit by a spear trap on the steps.

Party smells brimstone & rotten fur at the top of the steps, and then Kell kills a chained hellhound.

Ajax finds treasure!

Medusa ambushes Carl in her bedroom.

The Queen of the Black River meets her end at the hands of Ren.

Mudraks recovers stone to flesh potions when Ajax could not. And Ajax is once again snatched from the embrace of the elf maidens and returned to the prime material plane.

Flerv awakens Stone Golems.

[EDIT: Flerv defecates in his robes.]

Episode 11: Protection in Cendor
In which the characters perform hard labor for a church

The group returned in the morning, the shops still closed. Tossing the ‘do not disturb’ signs aside, they first knocked on the Silversmith’s house (wanting to confirm the bandit troubles with him before talking to Jacques) While Carl and Kell waited at the front door, the others moved around back and found the door still open from Ajax’s break in the night before.

They heard a guards stumble down the stair, affixing his armor and weapon. The Silversmith Antonus, shouted from the stairway about being closed.

Carl burst into the room and was complaining about needing an axe silvered to battle werewolves. The merchant reluctantly came downstairs to get rid of the annoying customer.

Ajax and the rest searched carefully for records. They wanted to find proof of bandit troubles in the silversmith’s books. They found a trap door to the ceiling and quickly moved up into the attic where there were accounting records and a few bars of silver. Ajax took both.

They got out just as Carl’s rouse fell apart. With everyone escaping safely and undetected.

They studied the books as best they could, not being accountants. They couldn’t find proof of any string of losses. Ajax had Mudraks deliver the books to Kay in Latha. Flervin convinced the goblin that he could find his way back safely oh horseback.

The group then pressured Jacques into letting them in. He was questioned forcefully and finally admitted that he had simply grown tired of paying the 100gp a month extortion and no attacks had happened. Fearful of the group’s threats and of Kay, he agreed to pay the missing months and an advance. Ajax upped the ante and demanded ‘hush money’ to keep the lie from Kay.

As the group was leaving, they heard a commotion at the city gates. A large draft horse leading a massive wagon, was coming into town. A Helia priest was atop the wagon, which had something covered by a tarp. Carl caused a distraction while Flervin lifted the tarp quickly taking a peek. It was the remains of a rat stone golem like those found in Tamin.

The wagon was wheeled into the Helia temple grounds and sealed behind a gate. The group listened at the gate and heard the priest talking to the high priestess. They knew of a group of adventurers who had battled within the rat temple. SHe produced a ‘wanted poster’ of sorts and wanted the soldiers to search for the group ‘for questioning’.

Ajax immediately moved to leave, while Carl got an idea. He and Kell walked into the temple where one of the lesser priests immediately asked the two strong looking men if they wanted work. He handed them pick axes and told them to bust up the rat statues into small sized rocks. They would be paid in food and drink. The two agreed and began busting up rocks. Carl quickly dropped his tools and entered the temple where he laid down on a pew, wiping his brow. The high priestess confronted him, recognizing him from the poster.

She talked with him, somewhat between interrogation and an interview. She was certain that more of his group was in town and sent a party to look for them. By this time the rest had fled town, except for Ren who was not a part of the adventure in Tamin.

She took a calm demeanor with the mountain man, asking if he had found a dagger in their time in the temple. He denied seeing it. She asked him about their experience in the temple, explaining that the dagger was a part of a dark ritual that would bring monstrous vermin back to Caera.

He agreed to inform her if he found anything and he was let go. He joined the group outside of town and they made their way carefully back to Latha after making sure they weren’t followed.

Episode 10: Cendor Jobs
In which the bandits pressure a merchant

The group set off to Cendor on two jobs offered by Kay.

First was to deliver a package. It was a small chest, sealed with wax and giving off the aura of protective magic. The group, perhaps wisely, chose not to tamper with the case. They were to deliver it at the Rivermill Inn to a contact named Milo.

The second assignment was to pressure a jeweler named Jacques into continuing to pay protection money to Kay. He had stopped paying a few months ago, complaining that Kay was not really offering any protection and that he had been beset by bandits on all his latest merchandise runs to Westing and Premont.

The group explored Cendor briefly, entering the Rivermill and waiting. While they were inside a trio of tired looking guards (wearing the tunics of the Helia church) stumbled in and sat down for ale and food. They complained about recent troubles in Tamin: Fighting rats and giant statues. They had lost one of their ranks and were upset that the priest hadn’t resurrected their friend, nor healed them.

The group noticed that the barkeep kept a human child as a slave or servant, and that he was from the desert lands far to the south. Kurkiri was his name. He did not know of a Milo, either.

Carl looked down and noticed a piece of paper suddenly appear on the table. Ren carefully inspected it and it was a simple note, from Milo, telling them to meet him outside, by the Cendor Treaty monument just outside of the town gates. The group split, some choosing to check out the jeweler’s place, the rest heading towards Milo’s requested meeting spot.

Ajax bribed the gate guards to let them in (the gates closed after hours). At the monument (featuring three statues, each representing the fair races and their agreement to stop their war), all was quiet. From out of nowhere, a small man appeared. He was a halfling (a somewhat rare race). Milo introduced himself and talked briefly, saying he was the courier for “The Collector”. The group was curious about the collector, about Milo and the package. Some of the group wanted to jump the little courier, who must have sensed the tension. With a blink of an eye he disappeared, flinging down a time stopping playing card just like Ajax had.

He was long gone when time restarted. The group set about searching for him, following tracks.

Meanwhile, the group noticed that both the Jeweler and the Silversmith shop next door were closed for the night. A passing guard checked on the group and clued them in that both the shops will open late tomorrow, if at all. Apparently the two shops keepers are part of a club that has monthly parties that are exclusive and extravagant. Noise from the silversmith’s attracted the group. Kell peered in the window and saw men and women in fancy clothing wining and dining, chasing each other and making out or dancing. A real party! Upon closer inspection, it was revealed that the women were all actually men in costume.

The guard tried to move the group along, and confirmed fears that the party was ‘special’.

Meanwhile, out in the forest, the group followed Milo’s trail to hoof prints, he must have gotten on a horse. Ren practically tripped over the empty chest, discarded in the woods. Flervin inspected it – it was clearly designed to hold the Fang dagger they had liberated from the Rat Temple in Tamin. It was ensorced in magic, eyes and ears spell. Ajax spoke into the chest like he was directly communicating with Kay. “We’ve delivered the chest to Milo!” he yelled (as it was a long distance to Latha)

The trio returned to town and regrouped in front of the silversmith’s shop. Kel, Flervin and Mudraks hid in the alley (Muddy literally blending into the garbage). Ajax moved to the back stair, finding the doorway above locked. He easily picked it and moved into the house. The party was in full swing, with upstairs rooms being used for more private pairings.

He was spotted by a reveler who seemed excited at his presence. Thinking quickly, he spoke: “I’m the elf Jacques ordered” to which the partygoer squealed and informed him that Jacques was still downstairs. Further rooms were filled with costumes or party guests. He moved downstairs and tricked Jacques, who seemed overjoyed at being ‘given’ an elf, into going upstairs. The chubby jeweler, dressed in woman’s clothing and makeup, followed him eagerly.

Once in a bedroom, Ajax’s demeanor changed. He revealed his true mission – getting Jacques to come clean on his lack of payment to Kay. All of Ajax’s threats seemed to not phase the cross dressing jeweler, who seemed angered that Kay’s tough would interrupt his party. He exclaimed that Kay’s protection wasn’t stopping his shipments from getting raided by bandits.

No matter what Ajax threatened, the seasoned merchant seemed to counter. Eventually the elf realized it was futile and had to retreat. The group decided to sit on it and wait until the next day to meet the jeweler as a group.

Episode 9: Troll Trouble
In which the bandits encounter trolls

The bandits battled the trolls for a long time, fighting the ever regenerating beasts. Occasionally, one of Flervin’s firebeams would hit dead center and burn a troll permanently. These wounds didn’t heal like the weapon hits.

Eventually the trolls fell and the group explored the rest of the cavern. They found the bones of a dwarf, picked clean and tossed into a barrel. Noises from the passage north lead to a drunken troll. Ajax explored the western passage which lead to the room of a shaman. He wasn’t there, so the group carefully explored the space and found a number of interesting objects including a magical blanket and crystal ball. Ajax took the time to craft some fire arrows, wrapping the tips in oil soaked cloth strips. About this time the drunken troll stumbled into the main chamber where he found his dead tribe-mates. He flew into a rage and ran down the hall towards the group. Kell and Getto defended while Ajax furiously wrapped more fire arrows. Muddy delivered them to Ren who lit them and fired away. Flervin blasted with his fire beams – the combined efforts, plus fire support sent the drunken troll spiraling into death.

About this time, the group heard hushed voices from the passage north of the shaman’s cave. It was a goblin and a troll plotting their next steps. In the cavern a large troll, the chieftain stood ready for battle, while the little goblin shaman sat atop his shoulders, ready to launch magical fury down on anyone who came close to attack.

Ren and Ajax knocked arrows and aimed from the darkness. Their shots rang true and the goblin never knew what hit him, arrows sticking into his head, he toppled off his master’s shoulders quite dead.

The chieftain met with Getto and Kell in mortal combat. The fight was brutal but eventually the beast fell to the combined strengths of the party, aided by their fiery bolts.

The group heard moaning coming from a couple of barrels and when they were opened, two starved and beaten long beards toppled out. Carl healed them and the group offered them food. Thankful, they promised to reward the heroes for their rescue. Kell, who’s mission it was to find them, escorted them to Ironhall. Ajax, remembering Roosk’s request to spring his nephew out of jail in Premont (the city outside of Ironhall’s walls), asked the dwarves to put in a good word for him. They promised they would.

Searching through a large chest filled with interesting and some worthless loot, Kell found a beautiful dwarven short sword. The longbeards recognized it as a weapon of the personal guards to their king of long ago. The Grudgebearer.

The group returned to Latha with their loot and the 5 troll heads, proof of their deeds for Roosk.

Episode 8: Payment
In which the bandits get paid and find work

The group moved across the Pine Hills quickly on their newly obtained horses. It wasn’t long before they had traversed the caves and appeared in Latha-Ir as the sun was setting (It always set a little earlier in Latha due to it being nestled in a mountain gorge).

There was a bit of a festival going on, with some additional carts selling wares and exotic foodstuffs. Carl remarked surprised at the sight of merchants in Latha. While snacking on some spicy deep fried foodstuffs, a merchant explained how many of them appreciate Latha as a place to sell fenced goods and contraband substances – or have used the place as a hideout from the law.

Kurumtum shot fireworks from a staff as drink happy revelers clapped in praise of his show. A gypsy cart parked next to the Hole hinted that some new, hopefully prettier, help had been brought in to supply the companionship needs of the festival. Both Roosk and Kay walked among the increased number of visitors, like good politicians doing PR.

Kay spied Ajax almost immediately and invited the group into his shop. Flervin opted to stay outside with Mudraks and train the goblin on a bit of knife fighting. The goblin took to his training eagerly and showed promise, hungry for the fatherly attention.

Kay offered drinks and got down to business. Not asking many questions on the mission, he eagerly scooped up the dagger and paid the agreed fee (700 gold), which he offered in gold bars for portability. He seemed very pleased with the transaction and mentioned that his customer would be happy to have the prize so soon.

Ajax returned to the group’s rented room and divided up the spoils. Shamsher, the hired guard, said that all had been quiet except for one attempt at the doorknob – which he followed up on but nothing was discovered. He revealed he had spent a few silver on food and drink.

Flervin made his way to Kurumtum’s shop and traded some scrolls and magic items. Kurumtum purchased everything at a fair price and asked the wizard if he had come across any rare components on his travels.

Outside, as the group walked around the busy square, a group of merchants and a guard erupted from the tunnel, looking quite beat up. “Trolls, trolls attacked us on the mountain road!” one wounded merchant exclaimed. A stout looking guard escorted the merchant into town.

Without hesitation, Carl healed the wounded businessman, who promptly explained the harrowing tail of a troll attacking and looting them on the road before it fled into the mountains, taking with it their horse and a fallen warrior – along with their valuables. The merchant’s face turned stern and he explained to his attending warrior that he would not be paid as the group was attacked and robbed.

Carl, upset at the greedy man’s change of tone, demanded payment for healing him. He asked the soldier what he was to be paid – 50 pieces of gold. That was his fee for his services and the merchant gave the gold begrudgingly. Carl tossed it to the warrior, Kell, who immediately took to the country bumpkin healer.

Hearing the harrowing tale, Roosk offered the bandits 500 gold to get rid of the troll. Carl asked why they were being offered the job and Roosk confided that he thought the group was cut from a different cloth than most of the lot in Latha. Most were skilled only at robbing helpless merchants and that this group showed spark and talent. The group squabbled a bit about the fee, and he promised an additional 100gp for each troll head returned. Carl mumbled somehthing about how heavy troll heads were.

Roosk told Ajax that he also had another thing for the group, less pressing than trolls. His nephew had been caught robbing by Longbeards and he had been thrown into jail in Predmont, awaiting trial in Ironhall. The judicial system in the city was slow, but brutal. Roosk asked the group to spring his nephew from jail before he was moved into Ironhall, where he was all but lost. Roosk revealed that while he cares for his nephew, his biggest worry was that the boy would reveal the location of Latha-Ir through torture or plea bargaining. The group seemed a bit shocked at the request, and Roosk nodded at Carl’s hint that they may have to simply kill the man. “I would prefer him saved, but I understand”.

Excited to slay trolls, the group left for the mountain trail quickly. Kell showed them the way as best he could (quite frankly, he had been so spooked by the attack that he didn’t pay too much attention to the last leg of the journey). After a few double-backs, he found the spot of the attack.

The group surveyed the site, finding blood and a few coins, along with a bolt of fine cloth. Things the troll left in his hasty exit. Flervin and Getto spotted big footprints leading west. They followed them to a fast moving mountain river. Soon they happened upon a grisly warning. A dwarven head on a stake. It was a Longbeard patrolman. The group lost the trail here, until Mudraks, scanning the river for fish, spotted a muddy footprint leading into the river. Gleeful at his find, he paraded around the group until Flervin excused him to catch a fish. The goblin dived into the chin deep river and soon caught a trout. He bashed it against a rock until it stopped moving. Taking a massive bite from it’s side, he proudly returned and offered some to the group.

Carl took a bite and Mudraks danced with glee. “You see, tastes better this way, not BURNED like you do it!” Carl swallowed down the bloody bite and handed the fish back to the goblin took a bite and offered it back. Carl stripped it down to the head and guts and threw it back to Mudraks who seemed happily surprised “Master Carl let Mudraks have the good stuff?”

Flervin ordered Mudraks to explore a ford made of some large stones just under the surface. “They are firm, but slippery, Master” the goblin reported. The group crossed, with only Carl falling in the icy waters.

The group moved north on the tight shoreline that skirted a mountain wall. Soon they came across several more heads on stakes, including the head of the other merchant guard. Kell removed the head and placed it in the fast moving river – an impromptu funeral for the fallen mercenary.

The group found a cave entrance and smelled something foul within. Ajax crept quietly inside and sure enough, the cavern beyond had at least three trolls in it, two of which argued the proper bbq techniques for horse while another dosed in a corner. The elf returned and the group laid out a plan. Alert the trolls and draw them into the tight tunnel where the warriors would make battle while the rest supported them. Getto knew that fire harmed them while everything else would eventually be healed by their natural powers.

The trick worked well, with Ajax throwing caltrops and ball bearings. The trolls stumbled and lumbered forward. It became soon evident that they were at least as defended as the stone statues they fought earlier, and more powerful in their attacks. Still, the group fought tactically, with Carl healing as required. Occasionally Carl or Ajax would jump forward and join in the battle, at great personal risk. Ajax’s arrows seemed ineffective, save for occasionally making a troll flinch and slip on the cavern floor – buying some precious time.

The two trolls lined up, while the third eventually stirred and waited for his turn. This would be a long, hard battle where if one mistake took place, it could spell the doom of the group.

Episode 7: Sacrifices
In which the players "rescue" Tamin

The group prepped as best they could as they stood at the doorway to the shrine to Snarrk’Izz the Rat Lord. Ajax clutched his red glass ornament while Getto shoved a gingerbread heart, still warm after all these months, into his mouth. Crumbs of the magical cookie cascaded down to his beard. Flervin looked over his spellbook while Carl ran around to the other door to cause a distraction.

The rats turned and snarled at Carl, who then realized his rat cult cloak would be no good here. Seeing this, Getto burst forth into the room through the rat hole and began slaying rats. He and Carl were quickly surrounded by the little, frothing beasts. Getto’s skill and armor saved him most of the time, but Carl found the rats nearly overwhelming. Ajax used the combat to sneak passed the defenders and over to the altar.

The woman, tied up with shreds of black cloth, watched her would be rescuer as he jumped up onto the altar, grabbed the dagger (the purpose of their delve), and fired his bow at one of the defending rats.

The group was surprised to see a flash of light and suddenly a new giant rat appeared at the center of the magic circle. It quickly joined the attack.

Getto cleaved his way though the rats, with the help of Flervin’s fiery beams. Carl managed, with a few healing touches, to hold his own while his buddy Ajax peppered the rats with arrow fire. When Getto and the rest had dispatched the rats, the dwarf walked immediately over to one of the rat ogre statues. He stared at its unmoving face for a moment before swinging his axe down upon its head.

Both statues burst to life! The jumped down from their pedestals and came at the bandits. Ajax freed the woman from her leg bonds saying “Beat it! Get outta here!” and she complied, running over next to Carl who was in the back, surveying what Getto had just initiated.

Confident that with support, he could lay waste to the golems, Getto started battling. Flervin and the others tried their best but knew full well this was Getto’s battle to be had. Ajax wanted to flee, he had the dagger – there was no need to fight this fight. He called to the others, who reluctantly agreed, and the group left the two rampaging golems, who did not pursue them out of the altar room.

The group raced into the main hall, forgetting about the golems still active there. They animated and the group was forced to battle. Ajax slid through the rat hole that lead into the cellar and waited. Getto, Carl and Flervin formed a team that battled the beast cautiously and effectively.

Ajax spied two men coming down the cellar stair, the two pied pipers that Carl had roughed up earlier. They were going on about all the rats in the village square and how they ‘came out of the cellar’. Ajax told them to hurry through the rat hole, because “the gettin’s were good!”
The two men eagerly climbed through but them were dumbstruck by what they saw. The massive stone rat was too much for them to bear. The rat statues chased after anyone without a rat cult cloak (except the would be sacrificial woman). Ajax reminded her to leave again and she did, looking back one last time at him before departing.

Carl, recognizing the hunter, planted another blow into his face with his trusty warhammer. The man crumpled to the floor. His friend, shocked again, turned and fled. Ajax attacked him from the other side, explaining that he thought he was a rat. No matter what the man said, Ajax still kept ‘accidentally’ attacking him until he dropped.

Getto, Carl and Flervin dropped the last stone golem in the main chamber just about the same time as another rat came through the rat hole that lead from the altar room. Quickly dispatched, Ajax felt that he had to stop the tide of rats, he ran back to the room and broke the magic circle.

At that same moment, a loud moan was heard and a ghostly apparition of a rat priest issued forth from the rat god pendant that Ajax wore around his neck. It struck him, aging him in the process (although with his elven lifespan he barely noticed). Not wanting to fight, Ajax bolted for the rest of his group and the exit.

He burst into the room and before he could say “GHOST!” it flew through the wall and into the room. A battle took place, the ghost was very hard to hit, and traded blows for a good time before fading from view.

The group exited quickly. On the surface, chaos must have reigned as several giant rats (including one of the two headed mutants) and a couple of dead pipers lay on the ground. Carl turned in their rat tails to the village elder, who seemed somewhat wary of the group. As he left he struck another piper with his hammer.

Ajax fetched some horses while Flervin spied his goblin companion. The goblin came out and explained how the rats chased him, the hunters chased him, the rats chased the hunters, and he fled into the forest, where not a moment ago he saw a naked woman turn into a man and then run away deeper into the woods.

The group discussed their next plans and they agreed that Latha-Ir was the wisest choice.


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