Wagons, HO!

Session 5 Into the Depths
into the dungeons where a harpy feared tread

After a night recovering from the many battles of their first foray into Brinewall Castle, the exploration team returned to the keep. Bizarrely enough, many of the corpses they had left in their wake had been mutilated, with limbs, organs, and even heads missing.

Continuing their investigations of the eastern part of the castle, the explorers disturbed a monstrous bat with an agonizing screech, but soon put the beast down. In the chamber below the mobat’s lair, the discovered a macabre workshop where some twisted soul had created horrific sculptures from the flesh and bones of dozens of creatures. As the travelers from Sandpoint were taking in the sight, a strange blur leaped to attack, dealing grievous, poisoned wounds and disappearing into the scattered junk. Eventually, a lucky blow landed and laid the creature low, revealing a tiny, delicate fairy-like creature, apparently the quickling known as Buttersnips.

After searching the area, the heroes pressed on to the slime-covered pond where they had seen the ogre-kin wrestling the prior day. One step too close, and a monstrous, stinking insect grabbed hold of an unfortunate victim and tried dragging them back into the muck. The beast was no match for party’s combined might, however, and was quickly dispatched.

Searching the lower levels, they discovered the lair of the troglodytes, still reeking of the vile reptilians. Strangely, the trogs seemed to have stashed a lovely, jeweled gown in a heap of bedding. There was also a small, mobile plant lurking in the cellar, which attacked the party with squirts of acid. It was no match for a well-armed group of adventurers.

Moving deeper, the explorers ventured into the dungeons beneath Brinewall, where they overheard a heated discussion in Giant. Barging in, they got into a skirmish with a massively muscled ogre and a trio of ogre-kin, led by a cunning and hideous female. Despite the ogre delivering a few massive hits, the travelers proved triumphant.

In one of the cages, they discovered a muscular, scarred Ulfen woman. Despite the lack of a common language, they struck a bargain, of sorts, setting her loose and returning her arms in exchange for her company. Kelda, as she was named, indicated that some great threat lay deeper in the dungeons.

Downward further, the travelers found a large, natural cavern, where a series of cliffs and ledges opened into a vast space. As they traversed the drops, a horrid, gurgling voice cried out, and they were attacked with spells from the darkness.

As the battle moved into the room, and magical light was brought to bear, the enemy was revealed to be a horrid, octopus-like creature, flying around in bat-like wings and unleashing blasts of fire. With a shortage of missile weapons, the party was reduced to chasing after thrown javelins and trying to lure the monster into melee range. The fell beast seemed to have some existential dread, as whenever someone landed a lucky blow, it fled in babbling terror for a few moments before returning to the fight.

Finally, Jebediah transformed into an eagle to take the fight into the air, but unfortunately, the fiend got the better of him, snagging the druid in its tentacles and slowly crushing the life out of him. A lucky javelin finally dropped the beast, but the fall of nearly 50 feet left Jebediah a twisted corpse among the splattered remains of the decapus. Victory, but at a terrible price.

The monster had amassed a fair hoard, including a statuette of a bird-like demon that promised to grant the bearer supernatural charm, but was, in fact, cursed to labor the unfaithful with the weight of their heresy.

XP
Koya likes Samantha better: 400
Ended haunts by slaying Kikonnu: 1800
Slew the mobat: 800
Defeated Buttersnips: 800
Killed a giant toe-biter: 800
Dispatched a phycomid:1200
Conquered Muthilda, Slugwort, Torg, and Glorb: 2800
Rescued Kelda Oxgutter and made an alliance with her: 800
Ended the terror of Nindinzego the Twice-Cursed: 2400

New total: 11,964 XP
Next level: 15,000 XP

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Session 4 7/27/13
exploring Brinewall I

Arodus 14

Starting out bright an early, the exploration team elected to investigate the graveyard before braving the castle itself. They discovered that the iron gate was crudely barricaded from the outside, as if to keep something in the graveyard. Rather than risk being spotted forcing the gate, Jod bent a couple of the fence bars with the aid of Winthrope’s magical anytool.

Inside, the graveyard was surprisingly well tended, the markers clean and free of lichen, the lawns lush, trimmed and free of weeds. Near the edge of the cemetary was a small shrine to Desna, with a magical bowl that seemed to transform rainwater into holy water. Taking the water, but being careful to leave the bowl behind, the party decided to fetch Koya to get her opinion. The old woman, while fascinated, had no additional insights to offer, but she did shoo the rest of the party on their way, assuring them she could get back to the caravan safely on her own.

Pressing on, the explorers noted the haphazard patrol of dire corbies meandering about the walls, and used ropes to climb up. Moving directly to some large double doors, the party tried to force their way in. When they eventually succeeded, they were greeted by a sphere of darkness and a thunderclap of magic that shook most of the heroes and alerted the dire corbies on the wall, as well as the more horrible denizens of the keep’s stables.

While the party battled the high priestess of Pazuzu in her lair, the gang of dire corbies excitedly ratcheted back the arm of an old catapult, and a monstrous spider raced out of the stable to engage the travlers, followed by its keeper, a scrawny ettercap. The battle raged back and forth, but eventually the priestess, the spider, its keeper and the dire corbies were defeated. After examining their spoils and repairing wounds, the party pressed on into the keep itself.

Dispatching a few more dire corbies as they explored, the party eventually raised some sort of alarm. While they were resting in an elegantly appointed bedroom, they heard a frantic scratching at the window. A tiny, winged figure, carrying a pair of starknives, of all things, warned the party that a large force of troglodytes was searching the keep, and about to burst in on them. They had only a moment to prepare before the door flew open and a gang of reeking reptilian creatures rushed in.

The battle was brutal, as several of the party were left gagging by the stench rolling off the troglodytes. Winthrope was savagely bitten by a large lizard, and suffered a slow, painful poisoning of the blood, while Spivey, as the tiny azata was named, fluttered about delivering magical healing to several members of the party. Ultimately, the heroes prevailed, and seized the troglodyte chieftain’s magical weapon as a prize.

After recuperating and taking stock, the travelers decided to continue their exploration of the keep. Making their way to the larger tower, they observed a pair of hideous, twisted brutes wrestling near a scum-covered pond. Spivey said that they, and their sister, had made some kind of deal with the dire corbies to rent a lair in the castle. They also fell afoul of an undead spirit, apparently that of a little boy who parched to death after being pinned by fallen beams. The undead creature possessed a strange ability to steal voices and sap vitality, but was no match for Jod’s blade or Wendy’s claws.

In the tower itself, they discovered a beautiful, winged woman waiting impatiently for them. Silently signaling her peaceful intent, she reached out and touched Winthrope on the forehead. The halfling was surprised to hear her voice in her head. The harpy, Zaiobe, proposed a deal. She had been the paramour of the self-styled lord of the keep, a strange tengu called Kikonu. There had been a falling out when Zaiobe discovered that Kikonu was somehow able to use her voice, which she had mysteriously lost years ago, and refused to give it back. The harpy offered to lure Kikonu into an ambush, and join the heroes in dispatching him. Despite Spivey’s discovery that Zaiobe was “evil”, the party agreed and decided to attack in the courtyard.

After the travelers took care of the dire corbies manning the gatehouse, Zaiobe telepathically contacted Kikonu, who quickly rushed to the courtyard. Enraged by the harpy’s treachery, the tengu focused his wrath on her, but was eventually taken down by the combined might of the party. However, some unnatural vitality caused his flesh to continue knitting together even as he lay unconscious, and before the heroes could figure out how to destroy him completely, Zaiobe revealed her true colors and attacked.

A strange game of cat and mouse followed, as Zaiobe used flight to her advantage, and Jebediah conjured a cloud of mist to hide from her. Periodically darting out to hammer Kikonu’s body, and relying upon Spivey’s mobility, the heroes eventually drove the harpy off, but given her murderous spite towards Kikonu, it is unlikely that she would leave such an insult unanswered for long.

Well and truly exhausted, the explorers decided to head back to the caravan to recover, trusting that the remaining dire corbies would be left in disarray after the deaths of their leaders.

XP Awards

Defeated Nevakali 1200 xp
Defeated Flatbelly the ettercap 800 xp
Defeated Flatbelly’s spider 400 xp
Laid the attic whisperer to rest 1200 xp
Killed the troglodyte chieftain 600 xp
Slaughtered 4 troglodytes 1600 xp
Slew a pet monitor lizard 600 xp
Destroyed 7 dire corbies 2800
Defeated Kikonu 1600
Drove off Zaiobe 1600
Recruited Spivey 1600
Pitted Zaiobe against Kikonu 800
Broke the dire corbies 400
Broke the troglodytes 400
Helped Koya find a new site sacred to Desna 400

New XP Total: 9014 Welcome to 4th level!
Next Level: 15000 XP

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Session 3 7/13/13
travel

Erastus 18-Arodus 13

After taking a few days to purchase a wagon and lay in supplies, the heroes of the Brinestump Marsh were ready to to set off. However, at the last minute Shine decided that he would rather stay in Sandpoint looking after the Rusty Dragon in Ameiko’s absence. Fortunately, Jebediah Yoder, a friend of Shalelu’s, volunteered to join the expedition, and Jod convinced the eccentric Dr. Wallerbobber to sign on as medical advisor.

The first few legs of the trip were largely uneventful, as they passed through Galduria, Wolf’s Ear, and Roderic’s Cove with nothing worse than some heavy rain to contend with. However, the northern expanses of Varisia proved more dangerous, as the caravan suffered attacks from Nolander raiders and a group of ogre bandits, the latter of whom inflicted severe damage to the caravan before being driven off. A fair amount of plunder was recovered from the outlaws, more than offsetting the costs of repairs.

After close to a month on the road, the caravan finally reached Brinewall Castle. As they traveled the last few miles, Ameiko complained of a headache, and upon catching her first glimpse of the castle itself, collapsed in a faint. Her condition has baffled the combined expertise of Koya, Dr. Wallerbobber and Jebediah, but they have confirmed that she is not suffering from a disease. When the young woman jabbered an odd phrase in Tien, “One Treasure, Two Keys, Three Vault,” Koya suggested that her condition might be somehow connected to the mystery that brought them to Brinewall. Even Samantha’s attempt to use the magical sword Whispering Shrike failed to have any effect.

Sandru suggested that the group fortify the caravan, and split into two groups: one to stay behind to guard and care for Ameiko, the other to investigate the castle itself. While most of the expedition members set to digging in, Winthrope and Shalelu set off to scout the area around the castle.

The scouts discovered that the castle was occupied by at least one creature, a hulking, bird-like creature that Shalelu identified as a Dire Corby, a bloodthirsty race of demon-worshipping savages. They also noted that several buildings in the nearby village seemed to have burned down, and that the there was a fair-sized graveyard nearby. Of more interest was the broken, partially-sunken ship at the wharf, obviously a fairly recent wreck, and the massive corpse of some great creature being fed upon by a flock of seagulls.

Opting to swim the lagoon in order to avoid startling the scavenger birds, Shalelu and the butler found themselves under attack from large and aggressive lobster-like creatures, which grabbed and squeezed the poor halfling mercilessly. Eventually, the scouts triumphed, and managed to get a good look at the carcass that both the seagulls and the lobster-creatures had been picking over: a huge sea-serpent, over 40 feet long, that had apparently been killed by harpoons, one of which was driven almost its full length into the creature’s side.

Shalelu and Winthrope opted to return to the caravan, carrying one of the lobster-creatures, rather than risk further encounters, where Koya’s prayers to Desna soon mended their wounds. Acting on a hunch, Koya also attempted to use Desna’s power to drive out whatever was causing Ameiko’s affliction to no avail. After reporting their findings, Winthrope learned that Ameiko had sat up and delivered another cryptic message, but as nobody at the camp understood Tien, the meaning was lost.

XP Awards

Samantha started a rivalry with Sandru: 200 XP
Samantha strengthened her friendship with Ameiko: 1,200 XP
Winthrope rose in Ameiko’s esteem: 400 XP
Jebediah confirmed his friendship with Shalelu: 400 XP
Persevered through harsh weather without losing time: 200 XP
Defeated Nolander barbarians: 600 XP
Drove off ogre raiders: 800 XP
Slew reefclaws: 800 XP
Story Award for completing the trip to Brinewall Castle: 800 XP

New XP Total: 5014 Welcome to 3rd level!
Next Level: 9000 XP

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Session 2 6/23/13
rats and old bones

Erastus 7-17 4713

After a few days in Brinestump Swamp, during which they dealt with both the Licktoad goblins and the Brinestump Terror, the party returned to Sandpoint for some well deserved rest and baths. Dr. Wallerbobber seems to have had enough of tromping through mud and dealing with snakes, but a local “deputy” named Jod Vancascerkin offered to accompany Sam, Shine and Winthrope. Enriched by the bounties they had collected for ending the threat of the Licktoad Goblins, they took some time to give gifts to several of their friends, as Sandru, Koya and Shalelu had returned to town and were celebrating the reunion at the Rusty Dragon.

Among the treasures they had discovered in the goblin chief’s lair was a fine silken fan, marred by what turned out to be a rough map of the swamp, with three locations marked. Following advice from Walthus Proudstump, the heroes decided to visit Megus, the swamp witch who claimed the southern half of the Brinestump. However, upon arriving, they found her shack in ruins, occupied by a strange rat creature and its dire rat minions. After eventually dispatching the thing, and collapsing the house, they found what seemed to be Megus’ twisted corpse, as well as some magical scrolls and a fine map of the swamp. The map confirmed that the marks on the goblin-made map were a pair of wrecked ships and a cave in the southern cliff.

Checking out the wrecks, one turned out to be a ship called the Kaijitsu Star, which had been burned to the ground; the other, the Kaijitsu Blossom, was abandoned but for several skeletal undead. The bony warriors were no match for the party’s strength of arms, and were soon dispatched.

Making their way to the cave, the fledgling heroes encountered a monstrous spider and an aggressive slime, but quickly dealt with the threats. The greatest menace in the cavern was a skeletal warrior of some skill, clad in armor of Tien design and wielding a wakizashi with great skill. Soon enough, thanks to Winthrope’s cunning techniques, the undead samurai and his skeletal cohorts were put to rest, and the remaining treasures of the Brinestump Swamp were claimed.

While examining the samurai’s wakizashi, an enchanted weapon called Whispering Shrike, Winthrope discovered a letter concealed within its cracked hilt. Seemingly meant for Ameiko’s father, Lonjitsu, it contained references to some family secret being hidden in the abandoned keep-town of Brinewall. Upon the party’s return to Sandpoint, they gave Ameiko the letter, and after reading it through, she excitedly invited them to accompany her on an expedition to Brinewall, traveling with Sandru’s caravan. She offered to stake 2,000 GP to finance the venture.

XP awards

Defeated the Brinestump Terror: 600 XP
Crushed the ratling Jenkin his his dire rat allies: 1005 XP
Ended a giant leech that tried to suck Dr. Wallerbobber dry: 600 XP
Laid to rest the skeletons at the Kaijitsu Blossom: 405 XP
Wiped out a surprised giant constrictor: 600 XP
Dealt with a giant spider: 400 XP
Destroyed a giant amoeba: 400 XP
Triumphed over Tsutamu and his skeletal minions: 1475 XP
Took care of the last remnants of the Licktoad tribe: 810 XP
Shine befriended Koya: 400 XP
Jod befriended Shalelu: 400 XP
Sam befriended Shalelu: 200 XP
Story Award for giving Rokuro’s letter to Ameiko: 1200 XP

New XP Total: 3664 XP
Next Level: 5000 XP

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Session 1 5/25/13
The Adventure Begins

Erastus 4-6, 4713

On a fine evening in early Erastus, folks enjoying a meal or a drink at the Rusty Dragon Inn were surprised by the arrival of a panicked, bloody horse, carrying two badly injured people.

The couple, Jorid and Maya Selniski, were soon brought back to consciousness by Koya Mvashti and Shine, and shared a tale of a goblin attack along the Lost Coast Road. They also said that Rhondar, one of their drivers, had stayed behind to buy them time to escape, and were quite anxious that he had not made it to town.

Several townsfolk, Winthrope Van der Saar, Doctor Roffalo Wallerbobber, PhD, Shine, Samantha and Wendy volunteered to look into the situation, and before too long found Rhondar, unconscious and pinned beneath a dead draft horse. After seeing him back to town, they resolved to investigate the goblin attacks further, and set off to the Brinestump Swamp the next morning.

Resolving to find the self-proclaimed “warden” of the swamp, a halfling named Walthus Proudstump, the fledgling heroes set off the next morning. After trekking through the thick, eerie swamp, they eventually found themselves at Walthus’ tumble-down house, and the halfling himself badly wounded and sick from snake bites.

As the listened to Walthus’ tale of an attack by the Brinestump Terror, and Shine used the power of Sarenrae to heal his physical wounds, Winthrope grew more and more suspicious that Walthus didn’t seem to recognize him, despite a relationship that went back to his childhood. When challenged, “Walthus” transformed into a horrible, faceless monstrosity and attacked, quickly laying the other halfling low.

Whatever the thing was, it couldn’t withstand the combined fury of the party, and it was soon defeated. Shortly thereafter, the real Walthus Proudstump revealed himself. Apparently, he had been holed up in his safe room after a vicious fight against the creature, one in which he lost a great deal of blood, and the monster was badly bitten by his pet snakes. They had been engaged in a game of cat and mouse for the past few days, both too hurt to risk attacking the other.

As thanks for the party’s assistance, Walthus shared his knowledge of the swamp, and extended his hospitality for as long as the party wished to explore the swamp. He also shared his knowledge of Winthrope’s background, including the fate of his parents.

After recovering their strength, the heroes set off for the Licktoad goblins’ village. On the way, they saw more signs of the Brinestump Terror, horribly mutilated animal remains missing their skulls.

The Licktoad Village itself seemed deserted at first glance, with a large breach in the palisade surrounding the rough huts, and a heap of blackened goblin bones that suggested a massive funeral pyre. However, as the heroes investigated the buildings, they encountered small groups of goblins, who started off seemingly terrified, but grew more and more determined in their defense of the village. They wielded fireworks as weapons, often to little effect, but occasionally hurting the villagers at least as much as themselves.

Their explorations eventually led them to the stronghold of the goblin chief, where a cunning plan to attack from two sides was thwarted by a particularly stubborn door. Eventually, however, thanks largely to Doctor Roffalo Wallerbobber’s explosives, the chief was defeated and the party stood triumphant.

Some mysteries still remain, however, such as where the goblins acquired their fireworks, and who or what attacked them.

Experience Awards

400 XP Story Award: helping the Selniskis, finding and saving Rhondar, and taking the first step into the adventuring life by agreeing to look into the goblin attack

400 XP Relationship Award: Samantha’s friendship with Ameiko has encouraged the normally reticent young woman to occasionally share tales of her brief time as an adventurer

600 XP Defeated a giant boa constrictor lurking near one of the bridges in the swamp

135 XP Defeated an overconfident goblin using fireworks to ambush those crossing one of the bridges

600 XP Defeated the monster impersonating Walthus

600 XP Story Award: rescued Walthus before the monster finished him off

2025 XP Defeated Licktoad Goblins

600 XP Defeated goblin chief

800 XP Story Award: ended the goblin threat by dispersing the Licktoad tribe

total 6160
Each PC has earned: 1540 XP

This puts you a bit shy of the 2000 XP for level 2 that the Medium progression track calls for, so please keep your level 1 stats handy. Since the plan was to head back to town to report, and possibly raise relationship scores (which could net up to another 3600 XP), it is possible that you will hit 2nd before venturing back into the swamp.

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