Chapter One: For Great Justice
Group meets, small guarding/adventuring in the background.
With a brief and murky history, an adventuring group sits at their table—probably drawing stares of curiosity and hostility. Composed of an elven magus, a half-elven druid, a human monk, an elven bard and a half elf summoner.
The celebration is interrupted by a loud and increasingly harsh verbal exchange between two gentlemen; one a bearded Sword Lord, the other a peacock northerner in flamboyant attire.
Insults get personal, then begin involving parentage and comments about mothers.
Astoroth speeds things up with a pointed comment about the proper decorum observed by nobles, and gets them to fight out front with blades instead of invective.
Some notice that as the duel is prepared, 8 cloaked figures wait in alleyways, apparently ready for an ambush.
The blue-clad nobleman convinces to drunk bully-boys to join him in his attack on the Sword Lord.
Try warning Sword Lord via whisper, but he is only confused, prompting the attack with a line “Whats going on here?”
Two drunks are dropped by color spray, but magus is dropped by critical hit from an assassin.
Bolts and arrows strike the ambushers, while the monstrous Syzygy and Tony the tiger maul the attackers
Nobleman engages Sword Lord, who in his wisdom and arrogance turns to fight the weaker assassins, saving his main opponent for “last.” He is then flanked and is stabbed in the back twice for his trouble.
Monk falls after defending the body of the fallen elf.
Bard sleeps most remaining assassins.
Nobleman backed into a corner by Stormlord and Syzygy, drinks potion and goes invisible
It looked as if Syzygy missed its opportunity strike, but the blood on its talons told another tale.
Tony tracks the fleeing nobleman halfway across the city, and after much coordinated effort with Syzygy the invisible running nobleman is brought down.
Meanwhile, Druid had healed the two fallen companions, and once the nobleman was caught quickly staunched the flow of his lifeblood in an amazingly deft display of skill, preserving him for capture and questioning—all this while the subject was invisible.
Sword Lord brings us to his semi-secret base, we attend a dinner party with 3 adventuring/soldier groups. Nobles, Wraith knights mercenaries, and presumably the Sword Lord’s own group of soldiers/troops.
Accept a commission to restore order to the River Kingdoms and Stolen Lands—receive permission (also, orders) to kill or neutralize any bandits we encounter. The noble group will be heading to the west of us, while the Sword Lord’s men will explore some mountains that will be east of our target area.
Travel with Sword Lord’s group to the mountains, where they depart—never to be seen again, me thinks. Then we catch up to the big noble procession.
Pass them early in the morning, head to the Trading Post.
Just Oleg and his wife Svetlana, who are currently being extorted by bandits.
We offer to help. Bandits are due the very next morning.
Four tower-mounted Ballistas look cool but are all trashed, so we set up a trap with a pile of fake treasure. With greed comes gullibility.
Spring ambush, shutting door so they are all trapped inside. The entire group of bandits are captured or slain.
Oleg cuts throats with our blessing and possibly even encouragement.
Remaining pair of bandits questioned and base of evil axe woman found—a camp in the forest.
Final executions, then we’re off, bringing the bandit’s clothes, the wagons and great justice along for the trip.
Dressed up as the bandits, we arrive pulling a wagon full of fake treasure and two ally beasts.
Druid entangles everyone except the archers in trees.
Axe woman put to sleep by bard, archers are slain, rest are captured.
Questioning then hanging. Learn a little more about the Stag Lord (?) who lives along the lake to our south. Some kind of bandit king, his base is a building or fortress of some kind.
Axe woman’s throat slit by bard as she was allowed to watch the other executions and allowed to believe that she was going free. Probably the least “good” act of the adventure so far—not bad!
Looting of camp, string bodies up in a conspicuous tree along road.
Deadly ambush by hostile wolves—a sad and unfortunate outcome.
Chapter Two: Overcoming Extreme Adversity
We gradually make our way back to Oleg’s, traveling slowly due to wagon mechanics. But since it’d be such a shame to abandon a potentially useful future resource, we take it easy, exploring the area around the wagon as we go.
A day or so out from the trading post, I thought it would be nice to do a little hunting, so that we can both bring back a nice present upon our return as well as getting a nice meal out of the deal. After discussion with our naturalist Aspen in the Fall, the notion was acceptable so long as we used the entire animal. The wild-eyed half elf made an obscene comment about the defication and waste of the being… at least that’s how I interpreted it at the time. I did catch a whiff of his breath lather, however, and… well.
Tony and Syzygy raced across the horizon ahead of us, my fellow half-elf directing the hunt in primal communion with the land. I watched with appreciation as, demonstrating his mastery and instinctive understanding of the natural world, he quickly cornered a boar—an immense beast with six inch, no… foot long tusks! This 600 pound monstrosity was laid low by a volley of arrows and bolts, and fell dead beside a tree. Some stray arrows had hit the tree, and the day’s conditions being perfect for the flow of tree sap caused an eruption of delicious, sticky maple syrup to drench the target, giving it a sweet glazing marinade. Aspen in the Fall was quick to spot a variety of flavorful wild herbs which he proceeded to collect for dinner.
We arrived back at Oleg’s with the quarter ton of bacon-to-be in the wagon, only to be stopped at the gate. A man we didn’t recognize, but wearing the uniform of some form of soldier, began to question us. Before we could get righteously indignant about the welcome, we heard Oleg shouting for us to be let in. We noticed the bandit heads had been taken down from the spikes they’d formerly occupied.
There were people there now—quite a few I’d say, but not a lot. A group of guards were now stationed at the trading post: their leader, whom I will refer to as Captain Kesten, was a human of middling years. Svetlana came out to greet us, and we let everyone goggle over our abundance of pork before asking her to cook it for a feast… for everyone! The new guards are so happy to be included.
(Some of the guards’ behavior is potentially troublesome. Saalus guided us through some potential social fau pax. The men, admittedly in comradarie after hearing of our fantastical exploits of the previous week, offered us drink and drank with us—while on duty. I’m no military genius, but due to the danger of this territory, and the immenant threat that the bandit king Staglord poses to us. Since he will surely seek reprisals against us, as any king would when his minions are messed around with. If the guys on watch are drunk or passed out when we’re finally attacked… not good.)
However, in the theme of the evening, we were seeking to build trust and alliances, not alienate or instruct. A brief outline of events was given, to be further detailed by our bard at a later time, and those in the courtyard were suitably impressed. We collected bounty on the bandits we’d hung on the conspicuous hanging tree, using their armor and equipment as proof since Kesten was unwilling to venture that far, fearing for his men’s safety in this admittedly hostile realm.
A halfling by the name of Kaden Bale introduced himself to us shortly after the abbreviated version of events was made known. He was impressed by us, and we, for our part, were mostly impressed by his clothes, manners, and the offer he made to our group. He will purchase any goods we acquire during the course of our exploits at 50% of cost, and has the money to bankroll the transactions. We requested that he send someone to Restov to pick up two cure light wound wands, and one of mage armor. Little do we know that they only had one cure wand left on the marker.
Some time after this, we met another human—this one old. His name was Jod Caven, a cleric of Erastil (seem to be a lot of those), who was searching for something—namely a group of badasses who could find the holy place of Erastil he’d seen in his dreams. Us. After getting some vague notions of where and what the place might be, he muttered something about finally getting “redemption”.
Instantly, Saalus was upon him. He wanted no part in any revenge plot, or so he made it seem. The vehemence of his argument was impressive to me, especially since I’d interpreted this sad old man’s statement completely differently. He refused to speak of the deed or circumstance which required redemption—but Ilya the silent whipped out his chalkboard and began scribbling furiously. He offered to share tales of personal sorrow and failure, and proceeded to write down, in excrutiating detail, the events which led to his present circumstances.
After around 10 minutes, when he was just starting to get going and Jod was beginning to look around a little wild-eyed, as if searching for an escape, we left the cleric to Ilya, and went around doing other stuff, including drinking with on-duty guards. Ilya did eventually obtain the information: apparently this priest hunted werewolves, and mistakenly killed (or burned) a human who wasn’t affected by the curse.
The feast went magnificently. Saalus told an epic tale of our recent exploits, with a stunning rendtion of the battle scenes and the fall of the Axe Woman. It was touching to see the looks of awe and wonder in the collected faces of humanity, even an aging priest of Erastil whose withered face seemed to lose some of its decrepitude during the recitation of Saalus’s song. Ilya put on a good face, but I could tell the delicious bacon and pork chop smells were getting to him. Oleg was convinced to break open some casks of wine, and we all were merry well into the night.
When we awoke the next day, we decided to explore the area around Olegs. Sometime that afternoon, we encountered a raving, savage looking man. Unkempt, with a frazzled beard and crazy look in his eye, he begged us to help him. He’d been attacked, in the woods over there… could we help?
My companions were instantly suspicious. They demanded the man keep his distance, and it took me a moment to catch on—something was wrong with this fellow. Obvioiously his words were a trap, but from Saalus’s reaction they were no mere bandits. Hyandaner mouthed the word “werewolf” and it became all to clear.
We pretended to acceed to the man’s wishes, but were quickly forced to slay him—a task easier rendered through word than deed when confronting lycanthropes. Heady with the taste of victory against an opponent all but immune to our weapons, we proceeded into the woods to the supposed ambush point. Hearing the mutterings of the rest of the lupine accomplices, we drew them out with a poor attempt by the bard to imitate the dead werewolf’s voice—but it got their attention all the same.
A truly epic battle followed.