Session Date: July 27, 2013
Starting Game Date: Desnus 3, 4711
Using information from the infiltrators, the party prepares for an attack on Oleg’s. A group of pilgrims in cloaks rides out from the trading post while the rest of the citizenry huddle in Oleg’s house. Shortly after, the PCs use a mirror to signal to a copse 1000 feet to the south. A group of men and half-orcs emerges from the trees. They are lead by a large half-orc wearing a black bandana. Saalus identifies the group as Rorn’s Raiders and their leader as Rorn the Black, a fearsome brigand known for leaving no survivors.
Rorn’s Raiders approach the gate leading into the trading post, left slightly ajar. As they enter, the PCs begin their assault. Rorn falls into a deep slumber from Hyandaner’s spell and Aspen casts entangle, holding the rest of the Raiders in place. Astoroth blinds a number of them using glitterdust as Syzygy and Ilya rush forward, battering down the first line of foes and working their way back. Soon, all of Rorn’s raiders are dead, except for two which are kept for questioning. Before these scofflaws are hung with the others, they say Rorn received a tip from the Staglord that Oleg’s would be ripe for the picking. The final two brigands have little to add and soon join their comrades swinging from tree limbs.
The party departs for the Staglord’s Fortress, arriving after an uneventful 2.5 days. The fortress sits on a flat hilltop, surrounded by deformed trees with the cool waters of the Tuskwater to the south. A packed trail winds up the north side of the hill to the gate of the fortress. The party watches for a day, observing three guards in watchtowers and an oafish figure who stands on a roof and parades around with toys.
The next day, a troup of bandits heads towards the fortress and are ambushed by the PCs. Four are killed, one is left alive. Questioning reveals the password to get into the fortress. The PCs also learn the names of the Staglord’s three lieutenants: Auchs, a muscular, dangerous brute, Dovan from Nisroch, a skilled duelist, and Akiros Ismort, a Taldan with a noble bearing and mysterious past. The captive also describes a twisted old man who dispenses healing magic.
Leaving their captive manacled to a tree, the PCs approach the fort at night. Astoroth, Hyandaner, Ralga and Saalus approach along the packed trail while Aspen and Ilya approach stealthily along the hillside. Halfway up, undead hands reach up from the ground, grabbing for Ilya and Aspen. Aspen, Szygy and Tony make short work of zombies on one side of the trail while Ilya tears into another group, using his fists then switching to kamas.
The main group reaches the gate as Ilya fights off the undead below. After sharing the password, Saalus convinces the guard closest to the gate they have the best of intentions despite the late hour. The guard drops the bar off the gate and is torn to shreds by Szygy before he can even scream. The other guards on lookout scream a warning as the PCs pour into the compound. Ralga and Astoroth pepper the guards in the watchtower with missile weapons while Aspen, Hyandaner and Tony rush the main structure. Ilya, having disposed of the undead on the hill, rushes up to join the others.
Dovan wakes with the guards and unlocks the cage to the owlbear. The creature emerges, enraged, and focuses its attacks on Ilya. Dovan positions himself to flank the monk but the duelist falls in a deep slumber from a hex cast by Hyandaner.
Akiros emerges from the back but is ensorcelled by the magus and joins Dovan, sleeping on the ground. Auchs, enraged at the interruption in his sleep, begins making his way down. Tony and Aspen cut through the surviving guards, who make it to their feet but are overwhelmed by the wrath of the tiger and druid. Astoroth casts haste on the group, causing most of the party to move at lightning speed.
The Staglord, firing from hiding, nails Ilya with an arrow. After another shot, the monk goes down. Saalus faces the wrath of Auchs and is chased outside the compound. As if things could not get worse, lightning begins to rain down from the sky on exposed PCs.
Szygy attacks the Staglord while the owlbear swipes at new foes. Hyandaner delivers a deadly strike to the owlbear, channeling electrical energy through the blade, and then finishes the beast off. Ralga and Aspen both manage to channel curative magic into Ilya, bringing him back into the fight. The Staglord is cornered in a backroom and killed as he is swarmed by Ilya, Szygy and Tony. The two bandits above disappear from view.
Outside the compound, Auchs drops Saalus with a mighty blow from his greatclub and then turns his ire on Hyandaner. The lumbering brute is quickly put down, but lightning bolts continue to rain down from above. Aspen finally notices a sparrow sitting on the palisade logs, curiously watching the fight. Tony climbs the palisade and ravages the bird with his teeth and claws, but does not kill it. Ilya hits the creature with a spike, but it still lives. The sparrow flies off to meld with a large stone in the middle of the compound.
The PCs regroup and heal themselves as Ilya repeatedly punches the rock. Almost a half minute later, a grizzly bear emerges from the rock, unscathed. The bear has time to swipe at one of the PCs before the party takes it down with a flurry of attacks. Dying, the bear changes into the form of an old human male.
The party searches the compound as Aspen and Tony track the missing bandits. The pair find a tunnel leading south out of the compound. Aspen follows their tracks and finds the bandits behind a bush not that far from the fortress. The bandits refuse to surrender and one is killed while the other, Falgrim Sneech, is captured.
The party loads their horses with trade goods and other treasures found at the Staglord’s Fortress. They ride back to Oleg’s, laden with treasure. Once there, they send word to Restov that the Staglord is dead. Kesten Garress takes Falgrim Sneech under control and agrees to pay the PCs in gold instead of masterwork weapons. Over the course of the next week, a wagon is sent to the Staglord’s fortress and the rest of the loot is brought back.
The Swordlords, responding to the good news, send a substantial award to the PCs in the form of gold as well as a charter giving the PCs legal right to settle the Stolen Lands. While the latter is of dubious legal significance, the Swordlords also send a caravan of goods and settlers to allow the party to begin building their shining city on the hill.
Ending Game Date: Desnus 15, 4711