Aeron and the Wrekin Border

Burial Mound of Maedredhor Session #1
... or let's do the Castellan's Keep and some prison ruins instead

The Ashen Blades had completed their preparations for a long journey east towards Nottenham. The fragmentary clues on the treasure map suggested a trip north of Sherwood Forest into the hills on the edge of Peacsaete. Travelling through the well-worn trails of the Wyre Forest the Blades were barely three days into their journey when they encountered a patrol of beastmen wolf riders from the Castellan’s Keep. A short parley avoids any unpleasantness and the party opts to spend the evening in the Castellan’s Keep.
Asking around for “rumours” at the tavern bar the band discover that the Castellan is away (they knew that), he was accompanied by his witch, but his sorcerer was off on some other quest. Details were sketchy and before more could be learned, three goblin mercenaries approached the Dwarven Craftpriest while he was drinking the rat’s piss that passed for ale in these parts. One of the goblins uttered the dire threat “Hey, you” and was instantly slain by a Choking Grip from the Spellsword. The whole thing degenerated rapidly from there. The Bladedancer used quiet magic to cast Darkness, the Anti-Paladin went berserk and the Craftpriest decided that he would “save the goblins from the Anti-Paladin”, by killing as many of them as he could. The Spellsword, Bladedancer, swashbuckling Fighter and Nightblade took advantage of the magical darkness to locate safety, although for the Fighter that was in the rafters with a bottle of the bar’s finest rot-gut. Meanwhile, the Anti-Paladin was having the time of his life. Cleaving with wild abandon he left a trail of two goblins, two orcs, seven mercenaries and the barman in his wake. Barely a minute into the fracas and the Castellan’s guard arrived. Recognising magic when they saw it they sent for help from the Inner Keep. Five of the Castellan’s ruinguard and seven of the Temple’s anti-paladins turned up to clean up the mess. A Dispel Magic and the threat of the Black Lore quickly quietened the already surrendering bar room.
The consequences of the Anti-Paladin’s actions caught up with him. Having grievously wounded the barman, who subsequently required the ministrations of the Nightblade and the priests of the Temple of Asmodeus, the Anti-Paladin was made to face the Temple inquisition. His impassioned speech saved him from a vicious fate but still did not go down well. Killing a significant proportion of the remaining soldiery of the Keep did not wear well. Casting a Geas, the High Priest inculcated a pressing need to return the most powerful magic item located in the Burial Mound of Maedredhor to the Temple at the Castellan’s Keep.
Meanwhile, the Bladedancer used her feminine wiles and a little divine magic (Fellowship) to befriend a crazed man the Blades remembered vaguely from a previous visit. The man was pleading for the Bladedancer’s help. According to his ranting, his boys had been killed and somebody needed to help him. The Craftpriest used his recently acquired Medallion of ESP to read some backstory straight from the mendicant’s mind. He was a cleric and had led a party to a ruined prison complex not far from the Keep. Undead creatures of various descriptions had assailed the group. They had fought bravely to a location deep within the prison where some shadowy creature of the Netherworld had slaughtered the rest of his party. The cleric’s mind had broken and he had fled in terror. He had ever since been begging at the Castellan’s Keep. In keeping with the Blades goldfish like attention span, the expedition was quickly abandoned and they set out for the Prison of Takron Galtos instead…

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Into the Barrow Downs Session #5...
... and Out of the Barrow Downs Session #6

The heroes having dispatched the stirges and werewolves, they set about patching themselves up and checking the rest of the barrow. The first burial chamber had an empty kist with some rotten and worthless grave goods, and the party was quick to move on. The chamber at the end of the long corridor had some indecipherable pictograms on the door and a strange four armed bone fetish in a niche to the side of the entrance. A short discussion and the door was quickly pulled aside.
In the chamber were two tall (six or seven feet) metal statues which were pitted and scarred from some sort of wear but showed no sign of tarnish or rust. There were also three more kists. Carefully, the Ashen Blades spread out across the chamber and examined the statues and the kist coverings. The Anti-Paladin attempted to remove one of the statues weapons, and barely perceptibly at first, both started to come to life. The Blades leapt into action, engaging the nearest statue in melee, while trying to discourage the other with missile fire. Less than a minute into the combat, the kist coverings started to move, and the fetid claws of three wights could be seen as they attempted to emerge from the kists. The Nightblade quickly imbibed a potion of undead control and induced the wights to fight the statues. While the foul undead had no effect on the statues (the animated statues had been placed explicitly to prevent the wights from arising), they provided a significant distraction for the remaining combat. After the statues had been destroyed, the wights were sent far away using the remaining duration to put as much distance as possible between the wights and the party.
The final chamber, which led off the wight burial chamber was more ornate and had a more significant burial kist. Inside the kist was a well preserved, but long dead body, and a range of expensive grave goods. Swiftly gathering up their ill-gotten gains the party retired to the empty barrow and prepared to wait out the night.
The night brought more trouble. A gang of ogres arrived down in the vale and examined the various carcasses. They then set up camp barely a hundred feet from the entrance to the Ashen Blades’ bolt hole. Making a plan the party sent out the Nightblade and Hench-thief to assassinate the ogre watch. While they both managed to get their shots off, the ogre survived the attack and awoke his brutish brethren. The rest of the party charged down the hill, casting Sleep at any target of opportunity and engaging the sleep-addled ogres in melee. The combat was short and sweet and the ogres were despatched.
The trip back to Deerbye was eventful. The caravan of horses, beastmen and adventurers attracted the attention of a solitary wyvern and a hungry cave bear. Both were despatched as quickly as possible with prayers to various gods that only one of each of the creatures actually tracked the party.
The Blades used some downtime in Deerbye to hire an expensive sage to translate some scrolls, do some research on a magic item command word and learn a new spell. They also sold off a pile of goods. Finishing up their tasks in Deerbye they then returned to Hommlet and the repaired Moathouse. The hobgoblin Legio XX Valeria Victrix is now encamped outside Hommlet and several hundred mercenaries, human and beastman, have arrived with the Castellan.
Recruitment of mercenaries for the Moathouse garrison is slow (only four crossbowmen and four infantry were available to hire). Alex Dai has outgrown his employer and the local Thieves guild and has left the Ashen Blades for Rixham. Dranet the hench-fighter has now been placed in command of the Moathouse garrison and preparations are underway for a new expedition to Pecsaete and the Elven Barrow discovered on one of the treasure maps.

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Into the Barrow Downs Session #4
Shouldn't we be on our way home by now?

Having defeated the bugbear marauders, taken their treasure and recruited the survivors, the Ashen Blades recognised that some rest and recuperation would be necessary. A night was spent bedding down in the bugbear burrows, but during the night a pack of wolves arrived and started scavenging from the carcasses that had been carelessly thrown down the hill towards the pond.
With over a dozen wolves and some badly injured fighters it became apparent that a plan would be needed. The plan involved Sleep spells and targeted bow shots at the alpha male pack leader. The plan started well. The first Sleep spell affected 6 of the beasts, the shots across the dale generally found their mark and the alpha male took some arrow wounds. The morale of the pack was uncertain, until the last shot of the volley killed the alpha male and sent his bitch and the rest of the pack into a frenzy. The wolves came loping across the dale heading straight for the cave mouth when the second Sleep spell went off. The rest of the pack dropped in a slumberous heap and were quickly despatched when it became apparent that the Anti-Paladin could treat the wolves for the effect of Sleep and arrow wounds, but couldn’t train one. Some curative magic was cast, but again it seemed likely that another day’s rest would be necessary.
The day passed with little event, but again during the night, some creatures arrived in the night. The bestial, bipedal creatures were quickly identified as werewolves who, upon discovering the slaughter of the pack set up a howl to call more wolves to the dale. While the wolves were arriving the party set a fighting line and sowed the corridor with caltrops. Interestingly these caltrops magically appeared because nowhere in Wrekin sells them and no-one had arranged for their production. As the first of the wolves entered, the Nightblade prematurely released and wasted a silver arrow on an ordinary wolf. The wolves struggled crossing the caltrops and were slowly worn down by bow shot and the occasional stab when they came within range. As it became apparent that the werewolves were about to join the fray, the Spellsword cast his Stinking Cloud and all three lycanthropes failed their saves. They backed out of the caverns, but the remaining wolves were more confused. Three were finished off in combat while two were confused and badly affected by the noxious smoke. The outcome was foregone.
Applauding their own efforts the Blades set off across the dale to the barrow entrance. Time wasted detecting the presence of good identified the menhir entrance stones as “good” in some way and barely inside the barrow entrance a body, desiccated, bloodless and with several significant holes pierced in his leather armour was discovered by the hench-thief. In his backpack three scroll cases and some equipment in poor repair were discovered. The first case contained a wand of some sort, while the other two contained maps and notes written in an ancient tongue. The Blades moved a short way up the passage to a stone-marked entrance in the left wall. Listening carefully against the stone the Nightblade discovered that the stone was badly propped and it nearly fell on him. Meanwhile, the Anti-Paladin having determined that there was no more good within 20’ of the last place he detected good, threw a lit torch towards a stirge’s nest. They swarmed the Anti-Paladin and his hunting dog scoring two hits and latching on to drain blood. As the rest of the Blades turned back, three familiar bestial shapes appeared outlined in the entrance to the barrow. The werewolves had returned!
The combat was yet another where Sleep spells proved their worth. The stirges were despatched by the party, although not before the Anti-Paladin was practically drained. Two of the werewolves were dropped by Sleep spells, while the last fell to a well-placed bowshot and a backstab attack from the Nightblade, having made yet another acrobatic leap. The Blades picked themselves up and dusted themselves off, and prepared for whatever may await them further up the barrow.

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Into the Barrow Downs Session #3
Bugbears sir, thousands of them…

Settling down for the night, the Blades arranged a watch, hobbled the horses in one of the barrow chambers and cleared out the beetle carcasses while blocking up various sources of entrance and egress. Their careful preparations paid off. During the third watch, the Nightblade’s keen elven ears detected the muffled sound of beetle carcasses and incomprehensible language on the other side of the barrow’s entrance stone. He woke the Corsair, seeking to allow the spell casters as much rest time as possible. Listening more carefully, the aware members of the Blades prepared a counter-ambush.
When all was ready the Nightblade pushed out the stone covering the barrow entrance on top of two bugbears. In the night-time gloom another eight or nine of the beastmen were visible. With a strange, raspy battle cry and mention of eight pieces the Corsair leapt at the nearest bugbear that wasn’t resting under a couple of hundredweight of stone. The Nightblade swiftly despatched the trapped bugbears and before most of the rest of the Ashen Blades were ready, the bugbears morale broke and they fled back up the vale. Keen eyed, the Nightblade noted that they appeared to be heading to a higher roughly shaped cave or barrow entrance further up the side of the valley.
After some preparation, some astute scouting by the Nightblade and hench-thief and a carefully laid plan the Ashen Blades undertook a counter-attack on the bugbear’s lair. A half dozen of the creatures were guarding the lair entrance but failed to spot the Nightblade until it was too late and all the Blade’s with missile weapons had taken at least a shot. The party then formed a shield wall with the Spellsword and Corsair in the front rank, the Bladedancer, hench-thief and Nightblade in the second. The warriors and Bladedancer stabbed at combatant bugbears, while the Thief and Nightblade took shots at targets of opportunity. The combat was hard fought but the Ashen Blades definitely had the advantage. In the end, the bugbear champion stepped into the fray and sent a minion back into the lair to summon reinforcements. It was at this point that the most memorable of all combat actions occurred. After seventeen campaign sessions and an estimated forty or fifty combat encounters the Nightblade passed an Acrobatics roll, slipped between the legs of the bugbear champion and delivered a crippling surprise backstab. There was cheering, there was applauding, there was a realisation that the shiny sword was in fact a magical sword. Congratulations were short-lived because it was painfully obvious that more bugbears were coming and the Blades best warriors were sorely wounded and nearly exhausted. Plans were set and the Blades prepared.
It wasn’t long before the rest of the bugbear warband arrived with their remaining champions and chieftain. The fighting now became even more brutal, but two Sleep spells and some deft blade work resulted in two bugbears, a champion and the chieftain surrendering after eight of their compatriots had been permanently put to sleep with extreme prejudice (and a serrated two handed sword). Offering all their wealth and some information about the remaining barrow, the Blades extracted promises of future service, although the bugbears refused to enter the last barrow with its living metal men and numerous ghosts…

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Into the Barrow Downs Session #2
Is that a blood filled giant leech on your leg, or are you just pleased to see me?

The Downs above Deerbye are closer to bad-lands and moorland than the rolling hills of North Aeron. Consequently, although the horses were brought on the expedition, much of the time the beasts had to be led rather than ridden to avoid the risk of laming. A likely local had pointed out that he knew a small valley where at least one decent sized Barrow was. Hired as both guide and horse-handler he led the Ashen Blades north.
Just as camp was being set up, two men came upon the group unawares. Threatening and seeking a couple of horses, the brigands had made a shocking miscalculation. One was quickly smashed into the ground by the Anti-Paladin’s wicked morning star, while the other succumbed to the Spellsword’s Choking Grip. Released from the Grip the brigand surrendered and was offered a spot in the Blades as a damage prevention operative (read “meat shield”), which he took. The Blades discovered that he and his erstwhile colleague were from a larger group but a “disagreement” had led them to leave the other brigands.
The next morning, the Blades discovered the oasis that the guide had promised. A stream ran down of the hills and created a pool in the floor of the valley which was perhaps sixty or seventy yards across and some one hundred and fifty yards deep. In the contoured sides of the vale were at least three visible cave or barrow entrances. While the rest of the Blades provisioned the horse-holder and gave instructions to head back along the track a couple of miles for safety, the Anti-Paladin chose to investigate the pool.
Starting with an effort to discern through divine revelation whether or not there was any benevolence in the pool, before graduating to splashing and throwing rocks in the water, the Anti-Paladin achieved little except to disturb four giant leeches. One of the leeches was quickly pin cushioned by the rest of the Blades while the Anti-Paladin and his trusty dog fought off the rest. It rapidly became apparent that the Anti-Paladin had bitten off more than he could chew and the rest of the group joined the fray. The Corsair, Anti-Paladin and Dranet the hench-warrior were all attacked or had blood drained, and the Anti-Paladin was so grievously afflicted that he needed divine healing from the Bladedancer not once but twice. The leeches were eventually destroyed, but the Blades resources were seriously depleted. Nearly an hour spent dredging the pool with rope and grapple produced nothing except pondweed and detritus, much to the disappointment of both he Corsair and Nightblade.
The Blades then opted to investigate the nearest cave opening, both to seek possible treasure and also ensure a secure campsite for overnight. The opening did turn out to be a Barrow entrance, but the first three chambers proved to be suspiciously empty and seemingly unused. A brief encounter with some stirges that had come through the barrow entrance put the Blades more on their guard.
The last chamber however proved to be full of dungeon vermin in the form of nine giant bombardier beetle, each three feet long with vicious, piercing mandibles. A Sleep spell quickly cast three of the creatures into an arcane slumber. Forming a fighting line in the doorway, the Spellsword, Corsair, Nightblade and Bladedancer fought off the pests. The Corsair was especially unlucky. Not only was he sprayed with the caustic toxins of these bugs, but he was bitten several times. Finishing off the beetles revealed that this chamber had several dozen of the bone figurines sold as wraith charms in Deerbye and a beautifully crafted and unblemished sword.
At this point, the Ashen Blades recalled their horse-holder/guide and, securing the barrow entrance, settled down for the night.

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Into the Barrow Downs Session #1
Those damned ogre’s again!

After accumulating whatever equipment they could from Furnok of Ferd at very reasonable, almost Guild, prices the party set off. Once more camping on the edge of the Wyre Forest, a careful watch was kept for ogres and pegasi. True to form, as they travelled into the forest the next morning, they came across a gang of ogres finishing off a small group of bandits.
The encounter could have quickly turned into a slaughter. The ogres had already killed four of the bandits and despatched a fifth as the party arrived. The sixth bandit got lucky and ran off into the deep undergrowth. The rest of the ogres rumbled towards the Ashen Blades, but were brought to heel by a judicious casting of Stinking Cloud. One ogre was then put to Sleep, while the others were dealt with over several minutes while coughing, spluttering and spewing their guts up. Apart from a brief incident where the foolhardy Bladedancer entered the Stinking Cloud to fight in hand-to-hand before she too succumbed to the vile and noxious vapours, there was little damage to the party. The sleeping ogre when revived proved to be recalcitrant in the manner of previous encounters proclaiming that no true mortal harm could befall anyone while Granite protects. Again, the Anti-Paladin harangued the party over tracking down what must obviously be an ogre lair somewhere near, but the party were keen not to spend the night in the forest and made for the Castellan’s Keep.
At the Keep, some more provisioning was undertaken and some rumours were picked up. The previous party heading for the Barrow Downs had not returned through the Keep and a lone raving lunatic had arrived screaming about death and loss. His wretched carcass was sleeping rough by the Thrassian’s pit. The garrison were taking bets on when he would fall in and be massacred. Taking what they could buy, the Ashen Blades then headed out to Deerbye, a short trip north east cross the plain.
Deerbye is, frankly, a dump. Most people are followers of the Auld Faith and eke out pitiable livelihoods in whatever farming or crafts they can pursue. Asking around, it was discovered that there is a fairly brisk trade of adventuring groups passing through to the Barrow Downs, but most guides, through either fear or ineptitude, couldn’t locate a pristine Barrow for love nor money.
While yet more provisioning and some rumour mongering were going on, the Anti-Paladin and Corsair managed to get into a bar brawl with a barman and some of his patrons. The fight was not going so well for the Anti-Paladin until the Corsair intervened. The Corsair’s blow felled an assailant, breaking his jaw and knocking out several teeth. Before any sort of hue and cry could be raised, the miscreant Anti-Paladin and Corsair beat a hasty retreat back to the rest of the Blades.
Bedding down overnight in another inn, our intrepid band set out next morning seeking adventure.

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Castellan’s Keep Session #3
A very expensive fixer-upper…

The party delivered the Castellan’s demands to the Deva Legion command in Hommlet. After nearly a day they were tasked with returning once more through the Wyre Forest to the Keep. This time they would deliver the Legatus’ acquiescence to the Castellan’s commands and return to Hommlet with an itinerary.
In the event the trip was largely uneventful. Travelling by newly acquired legion horses, they made it to the Wyre Forest, where again some ogres were encountered. This time only two of the creatures were carefully observing the party. A parley was short and reasonably diplomatic with the ogres declining to join the party, entreating the party instead with the simple platitude that “Granite protects”. Having delivered the message and got the information the Legatus needed, the Ashen Blades force marched their way back to Hommlet and avoided any encounters.
The next few days were spent in talks with Legion functionaries, establishing the latest rumours, arranging for the Ruined Moathouse to be restored to its former glory (an expensive proposition) and deciding what to do next. The newly joined Anti-Paladin thought that Chainspire Fortress should be scouted, but the rest of the party felt that the coming war could make things dangerous along the banks of the Dee. Instead they opted to follow a rumour picked up in the Tavern at the Castellan’s Keep. An expedition to the Barrow Downs near Deerbye was underway!

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Castellan's Keep Session #2
By god, that's a lot of teeth

One final night time encounter with Giant Bats was quickly dispatched. While the rest of the party were murdering innocents flying mammals, the Bladedancer made a new friend, by charming one of the creatures. Christened “Charmy” the beast wasn’t much use as the bladedancer couldn’t actually communicate with it. However, it did follow the party from the edge of the Wyre Forest to the Castellan’s Keep and was spotted roosting in one of the trees in the Outer Bailey.
On the approach to the keep itself, two old acquaintances were encountered leading a mule with a strange package across its back. Only a couple of the party recognised the former owners of the Hommlet Mercantile, but the remaining gnolls recognised the SoB’s that had gone through the warband like a dose of salts. The encounter quickly degenerated and the ensuing combat aroused the interest of the beastmen guards (a mix of orc heavy infantry and goblin beast riders) as well as the captain of the guard. After the melee, where judicious use of Choking Grip disabled the enemy fighter, several of the party were badly injured and the bard had been mortally wounded and lost a hand. The bodies of the miscreants, as well as that of Lareth the Beautiful (for it was he strapped to the back of the mule), were dumped unceremoniously into the moat.
Once inside the party fulfilled their legal obligations, having been fined for committing an affray on the grounds of the Keep, and then sought an audience with the Castellan himself. The discussion was somewhat one-sided as only the Castellan knew the details of the message sent from Hommlet, but eventually a two-part deal was struck. In exchange for Chainspire Fortress, the Castellan would render all the aid he could. However, the spellsword had suggested that together, the party and the Castellan could rule South Cheshire as father and son. In order to seal this bargain the bard would fight the Keep’s tame pit-slave. In exchange for converting to the worship of Asmodeus, all his mortal injuries would be healed and by proving himself a worthy fighter the Castellan would judge the deal to take everything for themselves as a worthwhile one.
Through the night, an awful lot of plotting and planning took place in an effort to forestall the fight, ensure a massive advantage for the bard, or just kill the pit-slave. The pit-slave proved to be a Thrassian gladiator from the old days of the Tropilium Empire. In the end, the spellsword cast and maintained Choking Grip for as long as he could before the party was discovered. Pretending to be drunk and simply baiting and taunting the lizardmen, the party got away with their subterfuge.
In the morning, a company of orcs made a makeshift arena with their shields and under the watchful eye of the Castellan, his closest advisers and a couple of dozen arbalest-armed guards, the contest began. It turned out to be massively one sided. Even with the reduction from the Choking Grip, the pit-slave’s talents for maiming and killing were immense. The bard’s net and thrown spear both missed and, even in close, the fight was a foregone conclusion. Raking the bard’s chest four times with vicious claws, the gladiator bit through the bard’s spine and left him paralysed and bleeding to death in the dirt of the Keep’s courtyard.
As the party left to complete their diplomatic mission and return the Castellan’s decision to the hobgoblins at Hommlet, they are joined by a fresh-faced and idealistic paladin of Asmodeus, the Chaotic patron of Tyranny and Power.

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Castellan's Keep Session #1
Ooh, look at all the trees...

The new world order, where Hobgoblin centurions are the vested authority has been accepted as nothing out of the ordinary. Minor changes in Hommlet have meant that properties are available at rock bottom prices and the Druidic followers of the Delamere Sect aren’t too concerned. Hobgoblins are more tolerant than the Church of Law. War is coming though.
Our heroes seek the Centurion for the promise of work and are offered a selection of missions.

  • Carrying a message to the Castellan’s Keep
  • Recovering the druid, Jaroo Ashstaff, from the agents of Law escorting him to St Elwy
  • Clearing the local area of Chaotic humanoids, particularly gnolls and bugbears
    Our heroes opt to act as legion messengers and go to the Castellan’s Keep on the other side of the Wyre Forest.
    In exchange, the party is offered a deed to the home and lands of the previous captain of the militia and 750 gp.
    They discover that Furnok of Ferd is now the purveyor of general adventuring equipment as the previous owners left the village mysteriously over a week before. They stock up and pick up a few rumours while Furnok picks up some info from Alex Dai. They then make a brief visit to the moathouse dungeon to collect their gnoll followers only to discover two mysterious characters have raided the dungeon, killing six(!) gnolls while recoveirng the body of Lareth the beautiful. This only seems to concern the party in terms of the paucity of available gnolls to act as meat shields!
    Setting off, the party heads to the Wyre Forest, camping just under the eaves of the forest on the first night. During the midnight hour a raiding party of ogres attempt to come upon the camp unawares, but their spoor is picked up by one of the gnolls. Waking the rest of the party a plan comes quickly to fruition. A Stinking Cloud spell and a Darkness spell trap several of the ogres in the woods suffering the nauseating effects of the cloud. Meanwhile the rest of the party deal with the four or five remaining ogres who attempt to attack the camp. A Sleep spell evens the odds even more in the party’s favour and the ogre’s morale fails. One last ogre is cut down while attempting to retreat, while the ramiang ogres wander off coughing and spluttering. Although an attempt at pursuit is made,the trail is quickly lost.
    The party interrogates the ogre after it recovers from the sleep spell, seeking the lair or camp of the ogres who fled. The ogre resists while repeating a mantra, “Granite protects”. Eventually, with arrows, castration and flaying the ogre succumbs to the pain and offers a deal. The spellsword refuses and slits the ogre’s throat.
    Moving on through the forest, the party come across a small herd of pegasi. Some debate amongst the party about chaotic sacrifice, collection of monster parts and whether or not they will just fly away leads to some disagreement about what to do. In the end, the bard throws a grappling hook, hoping to entangle and capture one of the pegasi. The rest of the party then join in. The fight is brief and some injuries are taken by the party, including the demise of one of the gnolls which is kicked deftly in the chest and trampled. Easily the party collects three stone of feathers and moves on to make camp.
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Village of Hommlet Session #11
Under New Management

The sudden death of Lareth the Beautiful, resulted in some surprise all round. The remaining cultists of the Elemental Eye, became surly and the party became XP hungry. The fanatical nature of the cultists came through and they refused the party’s offer of employment. The cultists formed up ready to make a last glorious stand as holy warriors of the so-called Elemental Evil State.
It was a last glorious stand, heroes and gnolls worked together to massacre the cultists and it was a matter of seconds before all the cultists were lying dead. Only the bard suffered in the ensuing fight. A lucky crossbow bolt caused a mortal wound leaving the bard scarred and in need of some rest.
The party rested up in the dungeon, making the most of Lareth’s comfortable quarters. Three days later the bard, bladedancer and pirate reconnoitred the village. Things were VERY different.
The hobgoblins had attacked days previously and Sir Terence Franks and his company of knights arrived a day late. The fighting had been evenly balanced but the third day proved to be telling. As the scouting heroes watched, Sir Terence’s forces were caught in a delayed pincer and both the knights and the village miltia took terrible casualties. By the time the party returned to the village, a week after they left, things were dramatically different. Two of the buildings were ruined, the village elder’s house deliberately levelled. The elder himself and the captain of the militia (Elmo’s dad) were crucified on posts. The wizard’s tower was open to the elements and the Inn of the Welcome Wench was now the headquarters of the 2nd Cohort of the 9th Legion.
Under the new world order, the players had to get chits to stay in the village! The nightblade took responsibility for the party’s actions and they billeted themselves in Elmo’s family farmhouse. What brief investigations the heroes could carry out revealed that everyone in the tower had died some hideous and horrific death on the first night, all followers of Law had been expelled from the village and the remaining priests of Law had been sacrificed to Mars Victrix. Sir Terence had escaped however.
Tomorrow may bring adventure… or WAR!

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