Stealing the Stolen Lands

We Killed a Fucking Owlbear!!!

After their surprising victory at the Temple of the Elk, the party decided to spend the rest of that day, and the next couple days besides, to ensure that the surrounding area was free of threats. On their third day of exploration, just as they became satisfied that no threats were present, a huge bearlike feathered creature rushed out of the underbrush and attacked Rastus Eodai, injuring him severely on its very first attack.

At first the party put up a brave front and counterattacked boldly. Edric attempted to sleep the monster, but it shrugged off her attempt effortlessly. Kosgrim rushed to Rastus and healed him partially. Marra rushed up to the monstrocity and attacked it, doing some damage, but not enough to give much hope to the battle.

On the owlbear’s second attack, Rastus was so severely injured that he could not fight on. Nearly unconscious with grievous wounds he withdrew from battle, running to safety and collapsing unconscious and bleeding at the edge of the battlefield. Kosgrim likewise withdrew and prepared to provide Rastus with more healing. Edric beat a hasty retreat. Knowing the creature would only chase after them, and that they could not successfully escape while carrying Rastus, Marra bravely stood her ground and continued to fight, drawing the owlbear’s full attention.

Kosgrim managed to heal Rastus, who returned to his feet and was even able to get off a couple rapid bowshots at the owlbear. Marra was badly wounded by this point, but fought on, to give her compatriots time to escape.

When, to everybody’s surprise, they managed to bring the beast down!

Late the next night they returned to Oleg’s. Oleg was happy to see this fine corpse and (after some haggling) gave them 100gp in store credit for it. Svetlana was happy to hear that she’d have a gourmet stew ingredient for a few days.

On Gozran the 8th, they headed due south into unexplored territory. On their second day in the area they were excited to discover an apparently literal goldmine hidden by overgrowth. Knowing they didn’t have the resources to take advantage of it, they pried a couple nuggets from the wall, and then buried the entrance under dirt, and then covered that and the area they dug the dirt from with plants. Rastus’ experience as a ranger came in handy while trying to make it all look natural.

After their fourth day of exploration in the area, they moved east into more unexplored territory. Their second day there had them attacked by a grizzly bear. Fortunately, it succumbed to a well-cast sleep spell from Edric, and they quickly had bear meat available. After a couple more days, they moved east again where they spent three uneventful days.

Finally, they headed North to pay a visit to Bokken. Batty as ever, he talked about things without ever quite seeming to understand everything he said. But still able to run his little enterprise, he traded a cure light wounds potion and an identify scroll for the remains of the bear. Considering it was six days old rotten meat, and good at this point only for its pelt, he overpaid but didn’t seem to notice anymoreso than did the GM or players. (OOC: The way we’re handling days where nothing happens makes it easy to accidentally miss the passage of a week. Oops.)

On Gozran the 22nd, the party returned to Oleg’s and found Jhod ready for his journey to the temple that they cleansed. They left the next day, arriving on the 24th. Jhod was overjoyed. He promised them for as long as he lived, any spell casting he could perform for them would be free aside from the cost of material. Mysteriously, he then immediately headed right out into the woods, inviting them to stay for as long as they needed. They spent the night there and in the morning headed northwest into unexplored territory.

Their second day in the area brought them to a grisly find: A trapper/hunter crushed to death under what was apparently his own deadfall trap. Nearby, his axe was found in the stump of a tree – probably one of the trees now resting atop his body. Also nearby were two unset bear traps. Examination revealed that the ropes holding the deadfall appeared cut rather than worn or broken. It’s unknown exactly what transpired here, but foul play is suspected. They buried the unfortunate man and made off with his beartraps.

On their fourth day they headed northeast and began the exploration of a new area.

Before long, Edric found a beartrap set and hidden with none of the customary signs used by trappers to warn unwary travelers. Thankfully, she didn’t step into it. Instead, she triggered it with a stout stick. It was picked up and brought the beartrap inventory to three.

A few hours later Marra was less lucky. A bear trap clamped around her leg causing terrible pain and bloodloss. It took several attempts to get it off of her, after which Kosgrim supplied much-needed healing. More trepidatious now, the party carefully scoured the hunting ground and safely found and triggered several more traps. By the end of the day, Kosgrim was weighed down by ten of the things. Realizing that they might come in very handy if the real bandit camp was ever found, they began strategizing for that fine day.

The next two days brought no new happenings. A day’s ride from Olegs, do they return to base, or expand into another unexplored area?

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Knit 1, Purl 2, Knit 1, Lacerate 2...

Returning to Oleg’s on Pharast the 26th, the party was greeted with grim news, and an applicant to their band.

On the afternoon of the 23rd, Marcus and Harris of the Free Irregulars were patrolling outside the Trading Post when they were ambushed by eight bandits. Marcus managed to flee, but Harris was not as lucky. He fell to their blades as Marcus fled to safety.

But, sadly, the last of Harris had not yet been seen. As the sun rose on the 25th of the month, it became apparent that the bandits had snuck near the trading post under cover of darkness and left Harris’ headless and naked body where it would be seen in the morning. On his chest was painted a large numeral “1”.

Harris’ funeral pyre was burning when the party arrived to this terrible news. Kesten was enraged and guilt-ridden in turns. Nearly a month had passed since any threat was seen, and security had become lax. He feels responsible for the poor decision to have such a small patrol outside the post he was sworn to defend. He wants to ride out with his remaining men and confront the bandits directly, but fears that such may be exactly the plans of the bandits. If he and his men leave the post and it is attacked and lost in their absence, then he will have failed in his duty. He expressed hope that the adventurers, sent here to quell the land, will find and deal with these bandits soon.

In more positive news, the Swordlords sent a ranger, Rastus Eodai with a letter of introduction to join the adventurers if they see fit to include him. A quick interview asking his views on the deaths of criminals quickly concluded in the positive, bringing the party to four.

On Pharast the 27th, the newly embiggened group rode out to track the bandits. They found the tracks of eight horses and followed them south until they split, four to the east and four south. Following the eastward tracks, they eventually saw the campfire smoke of their quarry as the sun was setting. Approaching from four different directions and leading off with a successful sleep spell that knock out two bandits before they knew they were under attack, the group soon had two dead bandits and two sleeping bandits on their hands.

The sleepers awakened in ropes and were interrogated by Edric while Rastus surprised everybody by sitting down and getting some knitting done on a scarf. His relaxed attitude during the enhanced interrogation were perhaps even more disquieting to the prisoners than the methods being used more directly.

It was learned that the ostensible leader of the bandits is a self-styled “Stag Lord” with the aim of taking these lands for himself through force and fear. This would-be king has a fastness many miles to the south.

The bodies were loaded on the wagon and the prisoners tied behind. The group immediately left for Oleg’s, traveling through the night. Early in the morning, before sunrise, a huge wolf-like creature bounded out of the darkness and injured Edric before disappearing back into the night. Soon a gravelly growling voice from the shadows demanded, “Give me meat!” They hastily dumped one of the bodies and continued on their way, hearing the sounds of rending flesh from the murk behind them.

Arriving back at Oleg’s, they turned their prisoners over to Kesten, who was only too happy to have them, and then went to bed. By the time they awakened, both prisoners were hanging by their necks outside the wall, having given up more secrets under Kesten’s skilled hand: It seems the Stag Lord is less than happy with Kressel, his lieutenant who commands the bandits in this local area. The adventurer’s dispatched four bandits on their first full day at the Trading Post, and he blames her for the loss of his men. He’s demanding that she send him the heads of as many as she lost. He also sent some reinforcements with that order.

Pharast the 29th was a day of patrolling around the post, hoping to find lurking bandits, but no such luck. So on the 30th the group set out again, this time to find the bandit camp itself. Following the directions given first by Tyg Titter Tut & Perlivash and confirmed by Happs Bydon.

They found the camp easily enough: Two tents and a cold firepit. They circled the outside suspecting a trap, and waited for anybody to arrive, but the camp was deserted. Deciding that the camp was an obvious trap, they left it alone and spent a few days exploring the surrounding area. Satisfied that no threat still existed there, they moved west a bit to continue their exploration.

On another of their earlier tips from Perlivash and TIg-Tutter-Tut, they were able to locate the Erastilian temple being sought by Jhod Kavken. Scouting from the perimeter, they saw that the temple was badly overgrown. A fountain in the courtyard was green and black with algae. The cobbles were cracked and stairs to the altar destroyed. Plantlife was dry and brown. No signs of life were apparent.

Kosgrim attempted to Purify the fountain, but it remained stagnant and he was rewarded for the effort by the loss of one of his spells.

As they approached the altar, a roar emanated from the cave entrance beyond and a huge black grizzly bear, insane with ungodly anger, rushed out to defend its home.

In the ensuring battle, Marra nearly met her fate, but some lucky hits by the seemingly-overmatched party (and some not-so-lucky misses from the bear, which could only be explained by its overblown anger at their intrusion) the bear was eventually brought down.

But bear meat was not to be on the menu: Before the party’s eyes, the bear shrunk and contorted, and began to glow with an eerie golden light. Soon it became a human laying on the ground, contorted in pain. The man began to age incredibly rapidly. As his skin wrinkled and cracked, he breathed out a last “thank you” to those who vanquished him, and then he expired. His corpse continued aging, though, soon the dried skin flaked away along with the powdery insides, before long only a skeleton was left. Soon it too turned to dust – just as a gust of wind blew his remains into the air and away into the forest.

With his departure, the skies cleared and a bright yellow sun shone down upon the temple. The weeds retreated into the cracks in the stone. The cracks mended, leaving the cobbles and other stonework in perfect repair. Even the stairs were returned to a pristine condition not seen since the day they were laid. The algae-covered fountain turned to clear water and begin running. The sounds of wildlife returned, their prior absence only becoming conspicuous by thieir return.

The adventurers turned to one another in confusion and amazement, sure that Jhod Kavkin would be happy to hear the news.

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Sorcerer Poking
(Is that your hovel?)

Not caring to battle a giant spider in the fading twilight, the stalwart adventurers wisely retreated to a safe distance and made camp for the night as they plotted their early morning arachnicide.

They hunted down a pheasant to use as bait, but the spider had other plans. As Marra took point and tried to come close enough to the lair to place the pheasant, they discovered that trapdoor spiders are fast! It sprung from its lair, travelled 15’, attacked Marra, and retreated back to its lair before any counter attack could be made. It kept up this strategy for a while.

During the battle, Edric cast sleep and Kosgrim cast doom, but these spells had no effect. Swords and bolts were the order of the day. Marra took a bad hit and was poisoned, giving her weakness that would last for days. The spider was able to move in and out of it’s lair too quickly. Something had to be done. Finally, Kosgrim positioned himself to act just as the spider sprung from its lair to attack Marra again. When it did, Kosgrim valiantly leapt behind it, blocking it from retreating back to the lair. Blocked from its lair, the spider moved away from its foes. As it did, both Marra and Kosgrim took the opportunity to attack. Marra dealt the final blow, once again killing a creature as it moved away. This is becoming a habit for her. (Though she rejects the title, “Marra the Backstabber”.)

The spider’s lair turned out to be a 25’ deep web-encrusted hole. At the bottom was found the body of an unfortunate human victim. Around his neck was a stag amulet similar to the one found on Happs Bydon. In his pocket was a crumpled bit of paper with a distinctive claw-like tree dipicted alone on a hill, a red X scrawled across its roots.

Kosgrim harvested some spider parts, and the group continued on their way. The rest of the day and that evening were uneventful. The next day they moved east to the next area of the plains which was a beautiful area featuring fields of wildflowers.

On their second day in this eastern-most reach of the land within the jurisdiction of their charter a strange sight was beheld. In the sky could be seen a mysterious golden sphere, floating and slowly moving. Occasional flashes of light would emanate from it. As they watched, a cone of blue light shone forth and stopped along a vertical plane as though it were being shone upon an invisible wall. This performance was repeated another few times before a thin limb protruded from one side of the orb. At its end was a bright knife-like object. The inscrutable spheroid used this to apparently cut a vertical black slash in the air. It passed through the opening, disappearing as space sealed up behind it. It never acknowledged the humans watching it. As inexplicably as it had appeared, it was gone.

The next day a small hovel was found. Signs of recent activity were present, and pelts inside indicated a hunter lived here, but he was not to be found nearby.

By the end of the day Marra was fully recovered from the spider venom, grateful that no further combat had ensued during her recuperation. They encamped, and decided to head back to Oleg’s the next day.

During their return trip, they disturbed four wild boars! It could have been a disaster, but Edric successfully put two of them to sleep with a spell. The remaining two engaged Marra and Edric while Kosgrim kept at range with his crossbow. Marra’s thick armor prevented much damage, as did Edric’s amazing luck. Before long the two boars became sides of pork. Before the sleep spell had time to wear off of the other two, a coup de grace was successfully delivered to each. Success! Now they’d return to Olegs with pancetta!

Upon their return, they were welcomed back to the post. The Free Irregulars were manning the battlements and general repairs were still underway.

Oleg confronted Edric. A message had arrived, addressed to “Edric Barevont-Medvyed” arousing Oleg’s suspicions as “Edric Barevont” had failed to mention before that he was a Medvyed noble. Oleg was clearly uncomfortable to have a nobleman secretly inhabiting his home without a known reason for the secrecy, yet also grateful for the help Edric had provided. Unsure how to react, he simply made his unease known and delivered the
letter to Edric.

Cheered by the news of potential allies to the east in the years to come, Edric shared the news.

In the meantime, Jhod Kavkin approached Kosgrim to talk cleric shop. It seems, he said, that rumor has it that the lost temple to the south may have a guardian – a huge bear. And that the bear seems to be “not quite right”. He didn’t elaborate on how he came upon this news, but the warning was well-appreciated. Kosgrim showed Jhod the stag amulet they’d recovered from the spider victim, mentioned it looked similar to one that Happs Bydon had been wearing, and asked if it might be a holy symbol. Jhod hadn’t seen such a symbol before, but promised to keep an eye out. Similarly, Jhod was perplexed at Kosgrim’s description of the golden sphere the party had seen floating a few days earlier.

A hunter was visiting Oleg to sell some pelts. Kosgrim asked him, “Do you have a hovel east of here?” The indignant, “I have a HOUSE!” that came in response showed just what the hunter thought of being asked about a hovel. (OOC: Much laughter was had by the whole group from this gaff.) Though it turned out that the hunters home was west of Oleg’s, not east. Oleg suggested that they had perhaps come upon Smitty’s home to the east.

There was much drinking and dining and revelry and accounting of adventures, resulting in the heroes gaining confidence in their abilities. (OOC: Ding! Level 2!)

The next day they headed into the woods. Strange happenings were afoot.

Taking point at the front of the party, Marra suddenly vanished! Kosgrim and Edric expressed alarm, which was confusing to Marra since she hadn’t noticed anything unusual. Her compatriots could hear her talking, but could not see her. She approached Edric and poked him in the belly, at which point she suddenly reappeared. Edric’s spellcraft told him that an invisibility spell, or similar effect, had affected Marra for unknown reasons. They examined the area but could find no explanation.

Marra discovered the Edric didn’t particularly like being poked. This discovery led to the now-visible Marra poking the sorcerer several more times over the rest of the day for little reason other than to be annoying. (OOC: And because the player’s reaction to being constantly poked was a pricelessly bewildered face.)

Later, the tree roots and vines and flowers suddenly sprung to life and began grabbing at the legs of the adventurers. Edric escaped quickly and discerned that an entangle spell had been cast on the area. Soon the spell expired with no follow up attacks from anywhere and no harm done. Edric suspected fey pranks.

They left an offering of sweets for the fairies, and Marra poured some wine around it.

That night Kosgrim and Marra awaken to the sound of war cries and dozens of men running through their camp. Exiting the tent they found Edric sleeping on guard duty and no sign of intruders. They awakened Edric who was able to detect dim residual magical auras in the area and upon himself.

Looking at the place the sweets and wine offering had been left, they found one of their own pieces of paper with a note scrawled upon it: “HOW ABOWT BOTL NEXT TIME?” with several of the letters backwards or incomplete. Chuckling, they left a wine offering using a bottle from Kosgrim’s alchemy kit.

An uneventful day followed as they continued mapping the area. The only thing of note was a gigantic cashew tree, 200’ high, with the ground all around littered with cashews. That night, Kosgrim (on guard duty) was suddenly blinded when a flare spell went off on his face. His yell of alarm awakened the others, but no attackers could be found. Edric suspected the fey and was growing impatient with their antics.

In the morning they noticed another prank: The side of Marra’s horse had been painted with the words “Unmarked Constable Horse”. (OOC: If you don’t get the joke, this might help .) The group laughed appreciably at what they now were sure was a harmless fey prank.

Their appreciation drew a tiny grig and a faery dragon named Tyg Titter Tut and Perlivash to come and introduce themselves and thank the group for being good sports. They could now see that these “biggenses” were different than the “mean biggenses”, and upon talking to the group were happy to hear that these heroes were here to drive out the big meanies. They promised to stop their silliness.

Talking to these fey, the party learned the location of Kressle’s camp of bandits, and also got a detailed description of where they could find a lost shrine to Erastil (along with a frightful warning of a crazy bear living there).

The fey also mentioned a moon radish patch, but warned that it had been taken over by mean kobalds. When they learned that these biggenses had eliminated the kobalds, Tig Titter Tut and Perlivash happily went off to go enjoy some radishes.

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Let's throw an octopus at it!
I wonder if moon radishes taste good with calamari?

The threat of bandit reprisal weighing heavily on the minds of our heroes, they set about fortifying Oleg’s Trading Post as best they could. Expecting an attack near dusk, they were surprised to see soldiers riding towards the fort at noon. The protectors Oleg had been expecting finally arrived: Kesten Garess and the Free Irregulars.

The competent-looking team was comprised of five: Their leader, Kesten, and his four followers Gael, Dhavik, Marcus, and Harris. All five looked hardened but none were so intimidating as Dhavik, whose partly orcish lineage was betrayed by inhuman musculature and a small tusk-like tooth jutting upwards slightly over his upper lip on the left side of his mouth.

Kesten and the Free Irregulars made it clear that they were chartered to garrison this fort and protect it from brigandry. They were impressed that the PCs were successful in not only defending against the earlier attack but even managed to capture the leader. They were less impressed that a witness got away. They further interrogated the prisoner, but got little additional information. Kesten set his men to watch and prepare for the expected reprisal.

But it did not come that night.

The next day at noon saw the arrival of Jhod Kavkin, a priest of Erastil. He claimed to be seeking a ruined shrine somewhere to the south. When the band of chartered adventurers offered their assistance, he accepted it gladly and promised that if he was able to restore the shrine with their help then they could look forward to him providing free divine spell casting from him for as long as he finds himself able. Jhod then made himself useful around the post.

The next to arrive, in the late afternoon, was a beggar on muleback named Carl. He was on his way to Restov from Pitax, in hopes that Restov would tolerate his presence better than Pitax where he’d been rousted and kicked out, told not to return. He begged a bed for the evening, and upon agreeing to help with the work on the fort, it was granted him.

But Carl was not what he seemed. Instead, he was a member of Kressel’s crew sent here in disguise to gather intelligence on the fort’s defenses – specifically, the size of the group of defenders and their likely capabilities. He was under the impression that Happs Bydon had been killed and was unable to hide his surprise at meeting the prisoner being kept in the (now clean) middens pit. Challenged, he decided to make a run for it. Seeing Kosgrim standing before the now-closed gate, he decided to run to where he could find a ladder up to the battlement where he might be able to jump over the palisade and run to safety if he survived the fall.

Swords swung and bolts flew, and Carl seemed to have the luck of a leprechaun for a while. But he didn’t know his way had been blocked by a large overturned table, specifically set to control the motions of any enemy that might get into the fort. He tried to get past it, but fell. Before he could regain his feet, he was captured.

Successful interrogation confirmed the information Happs had provided, but also more:

Upon hearing of the slaughter of her men, Kressel decided to move cautiously rather than committing to a frontal assault on a fortified position protected by a force of unknown size. She sent Carl to gather intelligence on the opposition, and ordered him to arrive unarmed in order to allay suspicion and improve his chances of success. (Sadly for Carl, Kosgrim proved to be a good judge of character and Edric read his reaction to seeing Happs all-too-accurately. Carl would have liked to have had a sword at that point.)

Additionally, Kressel moved their camp upstream six miles just in case any prisoners had been taken who might betray her. She also sent two of her number south to report the loss to the Stag Lord, whoever that is.

Kesten struck the group as a good leader. They saw he had been watchfully staying out of the way and allowing them to work even though he could have stepped in at any time. But with this latest news he assured the party that he and his men could securely hold the fort against attack and that while he’d accept their help if it was offered, they were more than free to conduct the business of exploration for which they’d been chartered.

So, on Pharast the 4th, the band struck out into the plains. They went southeast towards Bokken’s Hut to begin their mapping. While in the area, they visit Bokken who mentioned he was in need of fangberries and would provide discounts for a month to the group if they brought him some. Finding little in the area but a field of sunflowers from which they harvested some seeds, they spent three days mapping and returned to Oleg’s on the 7th of Pharast. Life at the fort seemed to be settling into a routine for those staying there. Asking around to see if any help was needed, they found that Svetlana was willing to pay in the form of a substantial store credit if the group could return with some moon radishes so that she could make Oleg’s favorite soup. They promised to see what they could do.

The next day they headed northeast. While exploring on the second day, they heard the sound of fiddle music and soon found themselves unable to resist dancing to the tune. As they danced, four tiny cricket-like fey with elven countenance revealed themselves and continued their performance. After several minutes the grigs departed with giggles floating back on the air, having done no harm, and the group was released from their thrall. Edric explained that these were grigs. At his suggestion, they left an offering of sunflower seeds and continued their exploration finding little other than some blackberries.

On Pharast the 11th, they moved south. Finding little on the first day in this new area , they continued their exploration. On the second day they heard soft moaning in the distance and discovered four kobalds lying in the middle of a large patch of moon radishes, having gorged themselves to the point of sickness. They weren’t so sick as to avoid a fight, though. They felt this patch was theirs, and nobody was going to take it away! They fought to the death. They made the tactical error of ganging up on the strongest party member, thinking that they could together bring down Marra and make the rest of the intruder’s group weak. They failed to realize how hard it would be to hurt her though, and while they continuously made ineffectual attacks against her, the three humans quickly cut them down. They gathered the radishes, finished a third day of exploration, and returned to the Trading Post on Pharast the 13th.

On their way in, they noticed flies buzzing around the hanging bodies of Happs and Carl on the outside of the palisade. The Swordlords’ justice having been delivered by Kesten and his men. (Though Oleg was happy to report that they had let him personally throw Happs over the wall after they secured the noose.)

A thankful Svetlana told them to help themselves to up to 250gp worth of goods. A small misunderstanding was corrected when she elucidated that this was a total for them all, and not meant to be a total of 750gp between them. They used much of their awarded credit to resupply, including obtaining a dose of antitoxin. That may come in handy soon…

They spent the night at the Trading Post and set out again on the 14th, this time to the south. Their second day out, in the midafternoon, they came across a field strewn with the bones and dessicated carcasses of many animals. Walking about the perimeter and watching closely for some time, they witnessed a giant trapdoor spider exit it’s lair momentarily and then return. A while later, this happened again and this time they could see that it was removing the remains of prey from its lair.

They discussed options for dealing with this threat. Marra revealed a strong streak of arachnophobia. Kosgrim suggested summoning a monster to both draw the spider out and to attack it while they remained at range, using bows. Kosgrim’s favorite idea was to gain the element of surprise by attacking it with a summoned octopus. They also considered having Marra (the survivalist of the group) hunt down a wild animal of some sort to flush towards the spider’s lair to draw it out.

Tune in next time, to hear a giant trapdoor spider say, “Yum! Calimari!”

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A Kingdom Where Nobody Is Ever Pissed Upon Again...
(Unless they deserve it.)

Our heroes arrived at Oleg’s Trading Post at noon on the 28’th of Calistril, warmly greeted by Svetlana who assured them her husband Oleg would be finished working on a roof soon and would join them. She served them some stew for lunch, and soon Oleg appeared. He was happy to see them until he discovered that they were not the help he’d applied for. Disdainfully tossing their charter to the floor, he expressed his displeasure that the Swordlords had once again let him down.

When asked for details, he explained that bandits had been coming for months and robbing them of their stock. He’d applied to the Swordlords for armed help, and had been told it was finally on its way. Sadly, it seems the “help” wasn’t told of the problem since the party knew nothing of his issue. The brigands were due back the very next morning.

It seems, though, that the Swordlords may have chosen well when they selected this band to quell their southern border, because the group immediately began to make plans to deal with the problem and save Oleg and Svetlana from being robbed again.

It was decided that they would try to buy time by having Kosgrim warn the incoming bandits that plague had stricken the place and all were dead. For them to enter could mean their deaths as well. (The latter part would later prove true – entering the outpost was certainly a deadly decision.) If the bandits rode away, they might return to investigate, but at least more time for preparations would be had.

In case the bluff was called, the party also prepared the inside of the fort for ambush. They blocked half the gate, and used Oleg’s wagon and large tables to block anybody from running out of the ambush area. Marra and Edric Barevont-Medvyed would lie prone on the elevated wall and attack from there while Kosgrim would address the intruders from the southeast corner and then come join the battle if his warnings were ignored.

They kept watch that night in case of an early arrival, but they were unmolested and got a good night’s rest.

The next morning, right on schedule, the bandits rode out of the south. There were four of them on horses, and they were leading two extra horses behind them. Kosgrim called out his plague warning and described the heinous deaths that might await any who rode closer. The outpost is closed.

The leader of the bandits, Happs Bydon, would hear nothing of it and began to ride in through the half-open gate. Two of those following him were made nervous, though. They followed but were badly spooked by talk of plague.

As Happs rode through the gate, he cast a glance over his shoulder towards Kosgrim, and caught site of a prone Edric who immediately threw a tanglefoot bag at his horse’s feet, slowing Happs down if he wanted to remain mounted. Realizing his mistake, Happs called the alarm to his compatriots – one of whom, already plague-spooked, panicked and immediately began his retreat.

With Happs and his horse blocking the entrance, and with the party of heroes all shielded by the fort’s wooden palisade, those still outside could do nothing but ready their weapons in case somebody showed their face. Happs rode further in to make room for help, and one of his team joined him in the ambush area. This tactical error – advancing when he should have retreated – was caused by his arrogance and his anger at being defied. It proved to be a serious mistake.

Happs quickly took a nearly fatal blow from Kosgrim’s crossbow. His compatriot was then unhorsed and wounded to helplessness by an excellent shot from Marra. Kosgrim returned fire, nearly bringing down Kosgrim in a single shot.

Seeing what was going on inside, the fourth brigand lost his nerve and turned to ride away. A shot from Marra put an end to those plans as an arrow pierces his heart and ended his life. Edric cast a sleep spell upon Happs and his remaining follower who both succumbed while their horses looked on and wondered why these two silly humans decided that now was a good time for a nap.

A coup de grace from Marra swiftly dealt proper justice to Happs’ last follower, but Happs himself was thrown into the middens pit just as he began to awaken.

The battle was over. Two bandits had been killed, a third escaped, and their leader was nearly bleeding to death while lying in a filthy middens. Happs was not happy. The questioning began.

At first he remained defiant, prompting Edric to relieve his bowels on the shit-covered prisoner while waxing poetic saying that he dreamed of building “a kingdom based on the premise that nobody shall ever be pissed upon again. Unless they really deserve it.”

A combination of intimidation and diplomacy through a bad cop/good cop/bad cop routine eventually led Happs to give up some of his secrets. A camp lay about 25 miles to the south where he and a woman named Kressle led a band of a dozen bandits, two of whom were now dead by the party’s hands. Kressel answers to a mysterious figure named the Stag Lord who rules from a keep much further south. He’s unsure of her allegiance to the Stag Lord, and unsure how she would respond to recruitment efforts by the bastard who pissed on him a few minutes earlier. He briefly described the defenses of his camp, and warned that his escaped compatriot would soon bring death and destruction down upon this fort when he returned with the rest of the group, possibly as early as the next evening.

The group cleaned him up, used Prestidigitation to clean one of the other midden pits, and threw him into the clean pit as a makeshift prison cell. Leaving Oleg and Svetlana to guard the prisoner, they then headed to meet Bokken – an old hermit Oleg told them about who sells potions half a day’s ride away. The ride was uneventful.

Bokken greeted the strangers suspiciously but became slightly more welcoming when they explained that they had just had a busy morning dispatching bandits and helping Oleg & Svetlana. They asked to barter for healing potions for the ridiculously low price of “helping him with some things he can’t do himself”, looking around at the flea-infested hut that was in dire need of cleaning. He let them know what he thought of that offer by suggesting that one thing he couldn’t do himself was reach his genitals with his mouth and perhaps Marra could take care of those for him. The cantankerous, dirty little old senile man. He then offered to trade a Cure Light Wounds potion for one of the horses they’d taken from the bandits. The horse was worth half again the value of the potion, so the party quickly denied that offer. Instead, it was agreed that Edric would magically clean the hut and the party would give over one of the horses, and in return Bokken would give them both of his Cure Light Wounds potions.

While Edric cleaned the other party members didn’t feel like engaging this crazy old man in conversation, so they simply watched as he puttered around his hut and mumbled to himself. Soon the cleaning was complete and the party headed back, arriving at the trading post around sunset. Oleg and Svetlana had both resisted the temptation of killing their prisoner, and the group began to hatch plans for defending against the impending attack.

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Heroes Are Born
Wherein The Geeks Assemble and the Heroes Take Shape

August 24th was the night it all began.

Characters were created and plans hatched.

KismetRose will be playing the part of Edric Barevont-Medvyed, a human male dreamspun Sorcerer with a hankering for travel.

KittyMama shall portray Marra, a female human fighter who just might decapitate you with the sword in her left hand after you block the one in her right.

And finally, Alkius will show us the styling of Kosgrim, a cleric of Pharasma who tends to both souls and gardens.

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