Session Date: June 22, 2013
Starting Date: Gozran 24, 4711 AR
We left the crypt to rest up; in the morning we were missing two elves with only a vague note giving a hint of their presence. We decided to venture forth, so as not to deny our companions satisfaction of taking part in the cleansing of the evil catacomb beneath Kingsholm. That and the promise of more and worse undead monstrosities awaiting us below, but we will only admit that to ourselves.
We began exploring the hilly land along the Shrike River; perfectly navigable except for the waterfalls looming in the distance… wolves circled our camp that night, but didn’t bother us. We proceeded onward, and found a tree in the shape of a claw, alone on a hilltop. We approached cautiously, but all that awaited us was a bundle of treasure stuck under the roots.
We encountered an undead abomination that haunts the old river crossing; the owner was slain and apparently came back to get vengence upon the Stag Lord (or at least lament his own demise and yearn for revenge). Aspen in the Fall had noticed some potential bandit footprints, which lead to the former ferry (or bridge?)-crossing. Now it was reduced to a lone rope stretched across the 200 foot wide river. Upon hearing of his plight, I reflected upon how lucky he was that we came along, since we had made it our business to put the living dead at ease and back into the state where they belong (death). I told him that we’d destroy the stag lord and avenge the crime that was committed.
Proceeding from there, we decided to hunt some elk, all of which apparently suffered from chronic wasting disease. Or rabies. Syzygy and Ilya tried sneaking up on them, but the silent monk snapped a few twigs on the way, spooking the giant beasts. He ran up and punched one, only to have the whole group go crazy and begin goring everyone in sight. Aspen had made it clear that only one was to be killed; Syzygy quickly dispatched the one dazed by Ilya’s punch, while Hyandaner fended off two that had targeted him. The monk grabbed another elk that was attacking him, and after the other two had fled Aspen spoke with the pinned quadruped. We basically just let it go, Aspen explaining that we were the top of the food chain.
Aspen found tracks leading into a titanic old sycamore tree. At the base of the tree, roots poked up and dark passages led into the earth. From earlier clues we knew this was a lair of the mites, and were resolved to exterminate them. We surprised the first two groups of mites, killing them without a sound. Under the tree lay a network of caves and tunnels. We heard screaming from further ahead—a kobold being tortured. We rushed in, slaying his captors and healing the cute but vicious little thing. I explained that we were its saviors, and that he could follow us if he wanted to see vengence smitten upon his foes. He was eager for that, and joined us.
We came to a ravine in the cavern system; a 30 foot wide chasm at least that deep. Rope loops were strung across the ceiling, presumably a makeshift monkeybars. The acrobatic Ilya weaved across the pit, only to have one of the rope loops fall away—a trap! He recovered, but noticed a giant insectile monstrosity approaching from the ravine below him. The huge centepede had two whip tails which cracked out at the monk, who deftly wove his way back to the chamber where we were watching this take place. We backed up, hoping to force the gigantic bug to come to us rather than engage along the ledge of a 30’ drop. We made short work of it, explored where it came from, got some loot and moved on, climbing the other side of the ravine to another tunnel.
This led to what amounted to their main force; 8 or so of the little critters hiding in a corner, led by another one riding a giant, mean-looking tick. Syzygy spotted them while continuing its amazing sneakfest, and surprise the ambushers had become the ambushees. The longest battle yet, the tick was particularly hard to put down and Syzygy was having the time of its life in an epic battle with another scythe-taloned monstrosity, only to watch as Tony ran up at the end to finish it off with a single bite. During the battle, a wave of a half-dozen giant centepedes (not as giant as the previous one) almost surrounded the brave/foolish summoner who’d stepped into the room to get a shot off with his crossbow, but Ilya and Hyandaner quickly took up position, allowing him to withdraw unscathed. Some kind of casting mite female led the centipede attack, but she was quickly dealt with by Ilya, Hyandaner and Tony.
We looted the bodies, searched the place, and other than a pile of centipede eggs, totally cleared the place out. Two objects of note were Oleg’s ring and a 250gp idol of a demonic face—a face our kobold told us was that of Sharptooth, the being they were forced to worship. We would later find out that these were indeed all the mites that threatened the kobolds—one of the main features of the next chapter in our story. This one ends with the fact that although I argued for the destruction of the centipede eggs, Aspen in the Fall was adamant that the vermin were just a part of nature. We’d found a wand of burning hands Hyandander was almost ready to fry those disgusting things with, but we respect the druid’s intuition about the natural world. Still, if there’s ever a report of someone being dragged off by gigantic centipedes… Aspen thought maybe you could eat the eggs, but when even the kobold refused, gave it up for a bad idea.
Our kobold has a name. Its Mikmic (McMc?) [Mikmek]
We continued on, McMik offering to lead us to the kobold’s lair. We got him to tell us about the layout of the lair, including a secret passage that only the leader was supposed to know about, and planted the idea that since he knew about it that kind of made him the leader. He was nervous to talk about it at first, but our displays of badassery against those poor little mites had left a great impression upon him, especially since I kept ordering him to keep his eyes open and watch what we did.
We decided to put an end to the tyrannical reign of the new kobold boss [Tartuk]; some shaman-type who made the clan sacrifice fellow kobolds to their dark “god”, Sharptooth, which resembled a bearded demon. I wondered if it might be good to let McMik proceed us, telling tales of our amazingness to the rest of the clan, and maybe spreading some of the several hundred copper pieces we had let him keep after clearing out the mites. However, total surprise does have its advantages, and I was persuaded that the direct route was probably for the best.
Once again, we were extra sneaky, making our way into the secret passage. In a chamber ahead, we heard screaming as a kobold was apparently dipped into boiling water. We rushed in, Syzygy at the ready, and were able to take out the obvious leader before the others knew what to do—I informed the kobolds that they were about to witness a historical event of some importance for their tribe, and we killed the shaman to death… permanently.
Sootscale, the former leader, came in and we explained what had occured. The kobolds were soon eating out of our hands, and I went to great lengths to impress upon them that I was their new lord, and that they must obey certain rules in order to continue surviving—and if they obeyed the rewards would be great—like these couple thousand of copper pieces that had formerly been theirs, been taken by the shaman, then looted by us, only to give them back to the kobolds—talk about generous! And some elk meat I believe. Anyway, they know to stay away from humans, not to harm, kill or steal from humans or human animals like cows and whatnot. Also, their caves are filled with SILVER waiting to be mined!
They asked whom they should sacrifice to Sharptooth: with a meaningful glance shared between the party, Ilya brought forth the Sharptooth totem/stature, and everyone bowed before it. I declared Sharptooth was dead, and Ilya crushed the idol in his meaty monk hands. The kobolds gasped, then cheered, elated to be free from having to sacrifice each other. They ran to get a mite prisoner, to torture in celebration. I looked around at my friends but saw no one seemed to have qualms about needless torture… as the mite was brought out Syzygy informed the clan that “All sacrifices are now for ME” and sliced the little thing’s arms off with its talons and bit his baby-sized torso into pieces, flinging bits and pieces around the room. I agree with his premise, although the route he chose was a little dramatic for my tastes. Hopefully they’ll think twice about torture and killing when they know that IT is the one who should be allowed to do the killing. They needed a new god to worship anyway.
We left, presumably in control or at least highly influential amongst our new little friends, but who knows for certain? We’ll check up on them periodically. In the meanwhile, we continued exploring the hills, making our way back to Oleg’s Trading Fort. Along the way, Aspen befriended some wolves and some thylicines (which had been eating the bandits hanging from the tree). The elk helped in both meetings.
Somewhere along the way, we encountered a group of hideous, floppy-faced giants inhabiting a small natural cavern. We destroyed them, and i think it was there we discovered the veins of GOLD.
We made it back to Olegs, had a good conversation with Lars about progress and future ideas, and asked him to recruit someone he trusted who knew about mining. We turned in some quests, let Oleg know about the kobold situation (its handled, and they’re on our side! no really!), and were weirded out by two suspicious guests at the latest celerbratory banquet (less festive without the bard). Someone detected that they were lying and being evasive, so they were impolitely escorted to a different room—freaking out some of the people dining with us. I told them to relax, everything is under control—we’re the good guys, remember?
I entered the room to a muffled scream and Ilya breaking the man’s leg. So much for the moral high ground. However, a quick search turned up the ubiquitious stag lord pin these fools love to carry, and after displaying the evidence and circumstances to the rest of the folks at Oleg’s, we quietly hung the two in accordance with the law of the land.
We had gotten information, of course. The Stag Lord was sending a group of bandits to attack Oleg’s tomorrow, assuming our group had left by 10 or so these two would signal the woods with a mirror, and open the gates to a surprise assault. I patiently explained this to everyone, even the eldarly humans who were almost panicky and wanting to leave. You fools, i thought, and “Good People”, i said, it was important that everyone stay inside Oleg’s—there were probably bandits out in those woods right now waiting to pick you off! Stay here, protected by the walls and the guards and most of all US. We thought to send out a small party in the morning masquerading as us, then proceeding with the signal. We’ve been waiting for a chance to cut the bandit numbers down, and now we’ll have that opportunity.
Ending Date: Desnus 2, 4711