A Garden of War

Escape from The Brineshell
Campaign: A Garden of War

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The First Sword of Summer’s Descent

  • Our heroes began the next leg of their journey deep beneath Brineshell Keep in a dusty library kept by Rohmanar the Knowing, arguably the greatest loremaster living in the kingdoms. They spent the entire night listening to the stories the old man wove, alternate histories that he learned from the most peculiar source; an ancient dragon. Rohmanar did all he could for the party, but the Old Tongue was still largely untranslated, so the wizard pointed the group toward the dragon who speaks the lost language.
  • To make the translation possible, Rohmanar gifted Sarien with an incredible blade, ancient of make but powerful, and sentient. The loremaster explained that it is the blade that translates the Old Tongue when he visits the dragon in search of information. Finally, Rohmanar looted the castles coffers so the party could bring gifts and gold to the greedy dragon.
  • With their path known before them, Rohmanar and our cast of heroes made their way through the royal escape tunnels to a mundane street beyond the walls of the ocean keep. In a final message, Rohmanar reminded the party not to take Ol’ Rhaz lightly, he had slain many great warriors, and nearly killed King Cassio in his valorous youth along with the wizard himself. He wished them to avoid conflict at all cost; for no matter the outcome of the fight, great lives and impossibly deep pools of knowledge may be lost forever. The wizard then circled the carriage and horses he had arranged for them, and cast feather fall on the train of animals.
  • With Vehana only just rising above the eastern hills, our party began their escape from the Brineshell. Along their way they encountered castle knights seeking royal identification (which the party was happy to show for); a displacer beast from a menagerie that broke loose (held with magic, then covered with mist and fled). They waited out a slow moving funeral procession for fear of attracting too much attention then blasted through a guard rail only several blocks beyond, ramping their feather-falled carriage onto rooftops, crushing chimneys and fruitcarts below when they returned to the streets. They raised the ire of a local wizard by ruining his precious experiment, and generally raised great alarm along their winding course through the city streets.
  • Not a block from the ramp that would take them up and over the city wall, three Judges blocked the street and read the party their many crimes. Some where true, but the worst were a case of mistaken identity and wrongful accusations. “Lay down your arms and hand over THE DEVICE or part with your lives to be judged accordingly” they threatened.
  • It was two of the tree Judges who were parted with their lives to be judged. The third, Judge Grice was behanded but left alive to seek the truth of the awful confrontation. Before the conflict ended however, Sarien had a magical permanent branding on his forehead that reads “outlaw”, and glows in the presence of a holy symbol of Oldar.
  • With their foes defeated, our party charged up the ramp, blasted a hole in the crenelations, and launched their carriage off the several hundred foot high cliff overlooking the bay of leaves beyond!
Creature Name CR XP # XP
Carriage Chase 10 9,600 1 9,600
Brineshell Archers 6 2,400 4 9,600
Brineshell Guards 5 1,600 4 6,400
Judges of Oldar 12 19,200 3 57,600
Subtotal 83,200 / 7
Total 11,885xp
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The Gold Goblin's Revenge!
Campaign: A Rumor of Hope

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The Twentieth Sword of Summer’s Descent

  • Racing to the headquarters to beat the hordes’ approach, at the headquarters Hess quickly went to work laying explosives with their remaining gunpowder around their hidden secret exit to the complex in cast they needed to make a quick escape.
  • And so the Horde attacked the heroes’ beloved underground HQ. Ankhegs burrowed tunnels into the base while frost giants pounded in through its earthen ceiling. The Gold Goblin, leader of the Horde himself lead the attack, astride a black dragon. Adding to the drama and confusion, Orden, Farius, and Edra recognized the armor the Gold Goblin wore as that of their fallen prince Ferron – Edra’s father!
  • The Gold Goblin sent in another of his generals to cut off the heroes’ escape. Karg the Cruel, mightiest of all bugbears strode into the chamber, an anti-paladin of terrible power. Once again his abilities proved to be of the realm of the mythic, with an adamantine mind, and godlike toughness, the bugbear stood alone against the entire party. Fearing their end imminent, Orden bravely stepped forward and ordered their group to flee – he would cover their escape. The party argued but eventually followed orders. Half-way out of the base, Edra had a change of heart and bolstered her friends to return to the fray. While Orden stood toe-to-toe with a god-like terror of war, his friends rushed back to his side, and together smote the anti-paladin with their swords and spells combined. The Gold Goblin was furious, and ordered his host of Frost Giants to attack, but they were too late.
  • The heroes held back the invaders long enough for the civilians and refugees to evacuate through the secret exit, and blowing the gun-powder kegs, covered their escape in a cloud of dust to wrap up the season!
Creature Name CR XP # XP
Ankhegs 3 800 4 3,200
Bugbear Flesh Glutton 8 4,800 2 9,600
Bugbear Bloodmage 11 12,800 1 12,800
Bugbear Lurker 8 4,800 2 9,600
Bugbear Cultist 7 3,200 2 6,400
Hobgoblin Battle-Priest 8 4,800 2 9,600
Karg The Cruel 14 38,400 1 38,400
Subtotal 89,600 / 6
Total 14,933xp
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The Battle of Hope's Return (Part II)
Campaign: A Rumor of Hope

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_The Fifteenth Sword of Summer’s Descent; Daetheleor’s Day

  • The goblin army scattered like cowering dogs to the superiority of the resistance forces. Their frost giant slain, and juggernaut bettle juiced, the goblin forces morale had been crushed. All but Putrix the Goblin Lord and his most loyal subjects remained on the field to face their enemies – the resistance officers. While Claymore and his men cleared the remaining threats from the field, the party faced the Gold Goblin’s general. It was soon obvious why the Gold Goblin had assigned Putrix such a title, the goblin king fought with a ferocity and indomitably that could come from contact with Ringfall. Putrix was a Chosen One, touched by Ringfall, blessed by Asgirrathad. But even with his mythic abilities Putrix was but one warrior against a party of stout heroes. He fell, and with him the first of the Gold Goblin’s commanders had been slain!
  • Before the smoke of battle had settled, Claymore approached and thanked the heroes. His appreciation soon turned to judgement, as Orden announced Edra and her true heritage. And so a violent debate ensued in which Claymore defended his decisions and leadership of the Church of Daetheleor in the colonies, and his fervent pursuit of Ferron’s “Oath against Savagery”, now known to be false. Claymore ultimately admitting to pushing a false agenda, defending himself by claiming that Ferron had fallen under a witches spell. But Edra and the heroes knew Ferron had only fallen in love, and his love lead him to seek peace with the natives, not war. The suffering of Edra’s people fell largely on this man’s sword, and he still defended his murderous ways.
  • And so Bishop Claymore was revealed to be unredeemable; a mad zealot who has twisted the word of the church of Daetheleor into corruption for many years. The tone of his execution following the victorious battle was grim and somber.
  • Their bloody deed done, the heroes bolstered their armies morale, for they had just won a great battle! They would tally their dead that night at 100 brave men and women, though they were bolstered by Claymore’s 200, with a net of 100 swords gained (mostly Knights of Daetheleor). That night they would celebrate as none in the colonies had caroused in the months since the horde’s rise. Even love found a way to bloom in the heat of the moment, with Edra getting intimate with a young and strong barbarian screamer, and Farius bonding with Dame Emiline under starlight.
  • Interrogations of captured goblins revealed that the horde planned to march north come the new moon, now half-a-moon away. The heroes knew they had no time to loose with a march back to their headquarters still ahead of them.

The Sixteenth Sword of Summer’s Descent

  • In the dark of the early morning the resistance army and their new charges rose from their slumber, gathered their things, and stood in attendance for the burning of Hope’s Return. The heroes chose to raise the castle rather than see it taken and used against them by the Gold Goblin. So they gathered their dead and carefully lined them along the walls, piling sticks and flammables at their feet. Dame Emeline, defender of Daetheleor would light the pyres that would burn her church to the ground. The mood was once again somber as the triumphant army watched Hope’s Return and the promise it once stood for, burn to ashes.
  • For four days their bolstered army marched back toward The Crossroads and their secret hide-out, now daring to take more open roads since their immediate threat had been addressed.

The Twentieth Sword of Summer’s Descent

  • As the resistance army crested the final hill that would afford them a view of the ruins of The Crossroads, they looked on with dread to see that the Gold Goblin’s army was already marching! While the main host – perhaps some 50,000 strong marched west toward Hope’s Return, a huge contingent numbering in the thousands had broken off and were marching directly toward The Crossroads, and presumably, the resistance headquarters where many innocent’s still hid in wait to be ranged over the mountains. Quickly orders were given to all of the resistance forces and their trusted leadership to make for the pass over the cascades immediately. The officers would ride alone into the fray to rescue those who’d remained at the headquarters in hopes they could evacuate and buy time for their fleeing force.
Creature Name CR XP # XP
Goblin Stickylords 6 2,400 3 7,200
Lord Putrix: Goblin General 14 38,400 1 38,400
Paladin of Daetheleor 9 6,400 1 6,400
Sacred Sorcerer 9 6,400 1 6,400
Bishop Thadeus Claymore 13 19,200 1 19,200
Subtotal 77,600 / 6
Total 12,933xp
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The Battle of Hope's Return
Campaign: A Rumor of Hope

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The Fifth Sword of Summer’s Descent

  • With Bishop Claymore sworn to ride out from Hope’s Return in just a tenday, five of those required to march their ragtag army, the resistance began preparations for open battle. With their newly acquired ringfall procured by the party of heroes, they would forge weapons and brew potions while Orden, a tactical genius, talked over battle-plans with Edra and the rest of the resistance officers.

The Fourteenth Sword of Summer’s Descent

  • On the evening of their fifth day at march, the resistance reached Hope’s Return and got their first looks at the goblin army entrenched around the stout keep. Over a thousand goblins were starving out the survivors within the castle. With Bishop Claymore’s 200 men, and the resistances 250 soldiers such as barbarians, knights, men-at-arms, priests, and flintlock sharpshooters, they were still outnumbered 2 to 1. The resistance would have to dig deep and rely on superior skill, tactics, and leadership to hope to win the coming battle.

The Fifteenth Sword of Summer’s Descent; Daetheleor’s Day

  • At high-noon on Daetheleor’s Day, with Vehana flying at her zenith, Bishop Claymore charged forth from Hope’s Return, their armor shone, their banners danced, their horns sang. Unawares of the resistance army’s flanking maneuver, the goblin army moved to face a single front. From behind rode the resistance’s screaming barbarians lead by Edra and Jarl Ingmar the Blackskull. Each officer lead their own contingent of soldiers, each had their duty in the bloody battle ahead.
  • The goblin general Lord Putrix lead more than just a contingent of his own kind; for his ranks were bolstered by orcish gorthek riders, a frost giant, and a juggernaut beetle that the general himself rode upon. It was a fearsome battle, with the frost giant hurling trees into the folds and a Goliath beetle scything through the resistance warriors, but the heroes triumphed in the end, dismounting their opposing general and moving in for a face-to-face against the first of the Gold Goblin’s generals they’d meet in battle!
Creature Name CR XP # XP
1st/2nd Goblin Brigade 10 9,600 2 19,200
Gorthek Platoon 8 4,800 1 4,800
Frost Giant 8 4,800 1 4,800
Juggernaut Beetle 10 9,600 1 9,600
Subtotal 38,400 / 6
Total 6,400xp
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The Stormwarden's Sign pt. 2
Campaign: A Rumor of Hope

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The Fourth Sword of Summer’s Descent

  • With the Thunderbird in it’s death-throws, the heroes turned their attention to the charging gorthek riders. The orcs bore grizzly iron masks that had been screwed onto the flesh of their faces, which matched the equally brutal, yet much larger masks that the mounts themselves wore. The 9000 pound beasts charged with abandon as the orc cavaliers lowered their lances on the party. But only the greatest of orc warriors can stand against the might of the Resistance officers, and they and their beasts fell one by one.
  • Just when the group thought the fight finally over, another thunderous crack sounded nearby. This came from no storm or bolt of lightning, but from the snapping of massive timbers, as a gargantuan Juggernaut Beetle charged through the forest toward them. Atop the massive armored insect rode a trio of goblin alchemists flinging fire and sticky-bombs. The beetles mandibles were a fearsome force, cleaving through the front-line of heroes like the trees it had just trampled. But even this great beast couldn’t stand against the party, and it fell after a volley of powerful attacks, ending with a skull-shattering blow delivered by Bronn’s long-hammer.
  • After a gauntlet of combats, the fight was finally over. The party quickly looted the orcs and goblins, while Colya fetched the wagon and half-dozen resistance men they had dispatched to the scene, but had told to stay back until they cleared the area. Their men brought pick-axes and other tools to extract the ringfall, and with all hands, they excavated the magic-infused stones in quick time. Once loaded in the wagon, all present took a moment to look over the incredible treasure that had just fallen from the sky, which at the quickest of appraisals was figured at hundreds of thousands of gold pieces.
  • Their fortune loaded, the group rode back to the headquarters where they were greeted with cheers and elation, the heroes had returned victorious once again, and brought a treasure in tow!
Creature Name CR XP # XP
Orc Gorthek Riders 6 2,400 3 7,200
Gortheks 7 3,200 3 9,600
Goblin Stickylords 6 2,400 3 7,200
Juggernaut Beetle (-2 CR) 12 19,200 1 19,200
Subtotal 43,200 / 6
Total 7,200xp
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The Stormwarden's Sign
Campaign: A Rumor of Hope

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The 1st Sword of Summer’s Descent

Orden, Edra, and Colya

  • Beliden’s rescuers stood in the remains of a Church of Vehana in the raised town of Lassley. On the floor before them were the corpses of the bugbears they had dispatched. Beliden lay at the altar, beaten and bloodied, clearly showing signs of violent interrogation. Orden quickly healed his old friend, he would live, though he didn’t immediately wake. The exhaustion of their long day finally set in on the party, so the group decided to rest for the night. First, they looted the bugbear corpses, then threw Beliden over one of their horses to ride a ways out of town before camping for the night. Edra found them a safe, dry place to sleep. During their watches the heroes heard drums and horde activity coming from the town, and were thankful they had left the scene before being caught.

The 2nd Sword of Summer’s Descent

  • Beliden woke in the morning along with the rest of the party. He expressed his gratitude to the group, then proceeded to tell them of information his keen elven ears had overheard from the Bugbears.
  • The savage horde was nearly ready to march, and by all accounts they planned to march north on the new moon, just under three tendays from now. The Gold Goblin had assymbled his army of eight savage races; Hobgoblins, Goblins, Orcs, Trolls, Frost Giants, Gnolls, Bugbears, and Ogres. Each race had is respective leader, be they chiefs, jarls, or kings; each of which now stood as the Gold Goblin’s generals. From the way the horde units talked of their leaders, it seemed to Beliden that killing these figures may pose a great threat to the army as a whole, for if a races leader is eliminated it will surely thin the numbers of the army by loss of morale. Further, before the army marched north, the Gold Goblin had one more target in his sights: Hope’s Return. He horde leader couldn’t allow the keep to stand, as it represented the last bastion of hope for the colonists who’s lands had been violently taken from them. Thus he would send his forces in Hob’Gamor to Hope’s Return to sack the castle and march north on the new moon. Beliden also learned that the bugbear general Makog the Malicious had been specifically assigned the job of finding and eliminating the resistance. The party had been extremely fortunate to rescue Beliden when they had, for he was being brought back to Makog for personal interrogation; they could have very easily lost their last advantages to the horde had their companion been taken in.
  • With that information out of the way, the party rode west for the Crossroads. Several hours into their ride they reached a narrow bridge that crosses the rushing Siger river. Orden’s sharp eyes noted figures on the bridge. Several dismounted and snuck up for a closer view. A score of horde warriors guarded the bridge, laying simple barricades across it to stop unwanted travel. The group deliberated and chose to ride upstream and ford the river, adding an hour to their travels. They crossed the river successfully, and reached The Crossroads and the headquarters at night.

Bronn, Hess, and Farius

  • Some eighty miles to the West, Bronn, Hess, and Farius stood over the maimed and lifeless body of Blackjack Burgermeister. Waves of emotion crashed over Bronn; his party was in dire straits before he killed his nemesis, but in doing so he just silenced the man with Bren’s last known whereabouts. With the aid of magic however, the dwarf hoped to get his answers. First the group discussed what questions should be asked, and after some deliberation they came to a decision, and the dwarf cast his spell.
  1. Where is my daughter Bren? I do not know, anymore.
  2. Where did you last see her? The Kingdom of T’Met.
  3. Who did you sell her to? The trader Zegwe Tesafi.
  4. How long ago was she sold? Three moons past.
  5. one more question
  • With that knowledge gained, Bronn called over Sir Anson Danst, the man he had sent ahead to hunt down Burgermeister. He would once again send the grizzled knight along with his two best swords on the long and treacherous ride to T’Met. Danst would be searching for clues and information as to the whereabouts and affiliations of this trader Tesafi. The savage horde was to march north toward T’Met and the kingdoms beyond, so Bronn would be heading that way soon, and planned to meet with Danst in the future. The knight took his orders with stoicism, listening intently, and swore his loyalty to the dwarf. He would ride north in the morning.
  • Along with this discussion, Old Griff and Danst had come up with an idea to contact those inside of Hope’s Return. Griff would send his companion kestrel Bolt. Bolt would be sent to fly into the castle with a message from the resistance (should the party wish), and would wait inside for a message to come back. So the party drafted up a simple message, stating who they were, and inquiring of conditions and situations, as well as who was within the walls of Hopes Return, and who was in command. Old Griff spoke to the bird in a strange avian tongue – whistles and chirps – then attached the small scroll to Bolt’s leg and the bird carried the message beyond the trees. The druid sat at the base of one such tree, his eyes rolling into the back of his head, as he looked through the sparrowhawk’s eyes.
  • An hour later a message returned with a brief report.
We are swords 200 strong inside the keep, 100 knights with horses, 100 men at arms; plus 200 civilians. We’ve been surrounded for a month, have strictly rationined our food, though it has nearly run out. Bishop Claymore, the one in charge, has vowed to ride out on the Day of Daetheleor, the Fifteenth Sword of Summer’s Descent, at high noon. If you can send help, we will surely be in need of it, Claymore rides for death or glory; I am more sure of the former than the latter.
-Dame Emilene of the Lake


  • With more discussion between the group, they send a final message into the keep; that they will muster their resistance army, march to Hope’s Return, and battle against the large goblin contingent; for death or glory indeed.
  • As the day waned the group decided to camp out for the night before heading back to the headquarters in the morning. Bronn and Danst stayed up for some time discussing the knights mission, to which I would ride in the morning.

The 3rd Sword of Summer’s Descent

  • As Sir Danst rode north for the Kingdom of T’Met, the trio had a final talk with Old Griff before riding back to the east. They asked the old druid to stay in the vicinity of the castle, to watch, and to wait for the resistance’s march. He would stay in contact with Lady Emilene, and would report to the party once they had returned with their army.
  • At last the group rode out, and hustled to the headquarters so they could deliver the tidings, and prepare their men.

The 4th Sword of Summer’s Descent

  • As Bronn, Farius, and Hess return from the west, Orden, Colya, and Edra are interrupted by guards alerting them to a ringfall event! The six heroes though still miles apart, all witness the sky’s illumination as the magic infused stones fall to the earth. Without more than a word, the heroes knew what needed to be done, and the six rode toward the place of impact, and unwittingly toward eachother.

The Party Reunited!

  • The six heroes crest a giant crater caused by the massive impact to look down on a colossal avian surrounded by a raging storm! The Thunderbird sat perched atop the ringfall as if it were a nest of precious eggs. From opposite sides of the crater the heroes charged toward the storm and battled with heroism against the great bird. Just as the party thought they had the fight one, drums sounded in the distance – orcish drums – and a moment later orcish gorthek riders burst from the trees, for they too hunted for the fortune that fell from the sky!
Creature Name CR XP # XP
Circumventing the Blockaded Bridge 1,000
The next clue in the hunt for Bren 2,000
Letters within the Keep 1,000 1,000
Mythic Invincible, Mythic Agile Thunderbird 13 25,600 1 25,600
Subtotal 29,600 / 6
Total 4,933xp
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Riders to the West: Burgermeister's End
Campaign: A Rumor of Hope

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The 1st Sword of Summer’s Descent, The Day of Longest Light

  • While Orden, Edra, and Colya prepared to ride east for their captured comrade Beliden, Bronn, Hess, and Farius saddled up to ride west for Burgermeister.
  • Hess caught up with Konah, son of Grima. The gunslinger owed the mother of this young warrior his life, and he wanted to make sure Konah was in good hands. While it was clear that he had found strength in numbers with Blackskull’s raiders, the Konah spoke with a bit of concern about Ingmar’s decision making. It had kept them alive so far, but he feared the Jarl may act brashly and put his men in jeopardy. Hearing this, Hess requested to send Konah to the resistance headquarters with Zisk and those riding east. They would reunite when the gunslinger had returned from the mission at hand.
  • From atop the Rock of the Ancients, Edra spoke a warning of an approaching storm coming from the east, blowing in off of Breaker’s Bay and the Sea of Solitude beyond. Both groups rode out at once, wishing to make as much ground as possible before hitting the storm.

Bronn, Hess, and Farius

  • The three slaver-hunters made haste down the hilly roads that wound up the cascades to the ancient barbarian meeting-place. For two more hours they pushed their horses, racing down the main roads, throwing caution to the wind. Eventually the trio reached the raised town of Redwater, and opted to find a way around the city rather than passing through it. Bronn was in the zone, and immediately found a game trail in the forest, and blazed on to the west, not even loosing time despite the thick foliage of the forest. As they came from the forest to meet the road once again, the exhaustion of their situation set in. Their horses were sweating and laboring, they knew they’d need to stop if they wanted their mounts healthy for the following day’s ride. Bronn found the group a shallow cave along a rock wall. He posted up within eye-site of the camp, and the road, not wanting to take a chance of missing Anson Danst riding in the opposite direction.
  • The storm hit in a wall of rain and wind; the dwarf let the raid wash over him as he contemplated the coming day. Should he capture Burgermeister, how far would he go to get the information he needed?
  • Day gave into night and the three decided to set up watches for the night. Hess took first watch, and made it through most if it without incident, but in the final hour of his watch around midnight, The gunslinger heard hoof-falls in the distance, but waited to wake his friends. He crept closer to the road and waited for the riders. Five horde soldiers, probably hobgoblins, hustled their horses east down the trade-road, riding opposite the party. Hess let them pass on, and the rest of the nights shifts went by uneventfully, despite Farius nodding off on his watch.

The 2nd Sword of Summer’s Descent

  • The trio rose early to meet the dawn, and rode out at once along the trade-road again. The road was muddy from the recent rains, and only the hobgoblins footprints from the previous night were fresh on the road. After miles of riding even those disappeared, having been washed away by the storm. Later, the trio passed a disfigured statue along the roadside, not even slowing down to examine it closer. Eventually the group neared The Breach, though the resistance didn’t have a lot of information on the town, it was supposedly raised like all the others, and was likely to be housing horde forces. Once again the group opted to move around the town rather than through it, and rode some five miles through hills and forest to eventually meet back with the road. Thanks to their tracking abilities, the group lost very little time on this detour.
  • After the day’s noon hour Farius took note of an interesting bird in the trees along the roadside. He recognized it at once as a Western Sparrowhawk, which weren’t native to this area in the slightest. In fact, as far as Farius knew they only lived in Old Gothrillad, specifically in The Skyrealm, which was on the opposite side of the world. It was very strange to see such a bird here. As soon as he moved to look closer, it flew away. Some ways down the road the bird appeared again, it seemed to be following them or watching them. As the group rounded a corner they came to an old robed man standing in the road, leaning on a yew staff. The suspicious bird flew down to his shoulder, and the party approached cautiously. Farius introduced himself, as the stranger did in kind, naming himself Gryff Willowfall. Farius and Bronn knew by his robes that he was a druid belonging to the Rootbound Brotherhood. The dwarf apologized for his hurry, but insisted that they had to ride on immediately, thus Old Gryff whistled his steed over, mounted up, and joined the riders and the resistance!
  • And so the four riders continued to the west, and when Gryff learned that they rode for Hope’s Return, he reported grim tidings. Apparently the castle was surrounded by a horde army. The horde hadn’t yet moved to attack the castle, but instead surrounded it, cutting off any escape for those beyond. It seemed as if the horde was waiting them out, a tactic very foreign to savage minds. Once again, a master tactician must be at hand.
  • Around the third hour of the afternoon, as the group neared their destination a sudden and shrill whistle came from the woods, and several figures stepped from the brush. Anson Danst stepped out from behind a tree, and greeted the party, particularly Bronn. He wasted no time, seeing the desperation in the dwarfs face, so he reported that he and his group had identified and located Burgermeister. An opportunity to take him covertly hadn’t presented itself yet, so Danst and his men awaited backup. The grizzled knight knew where Burgermeister would be found, and soon, so they headed in that direction. Danst also highlighted news of Hope’s Return and the siege, which further confirmed Old Gryff’s tale. Once close to his charge, Bronn dismissed Danst and his men, and sent Gryff along with them. They were loyal, and capable followers, but he didn’t trust any of them with his daughters life when it came down to it. He only trusted Farius and Hess now. And so the three entered a glen to confront the only man who possessed the one thing Bronn desired most in the entire world.
  • Burgermeister kept company with half-a-dozen armed goblins, a hobgoblin battle priest, and an orc witch-doctor. But most dangerous of them all was Blackjack himself, who’s skills with a rapier soon proved very nearly fatal. So dangerous was Burgermeister, that when their lives nearly drew to an end, Bronn himself dealt a viscous and fatal blow to the turn-coat slaver!
Creature Name CR XP # XP
Goblin Ambusher 4 1,200 7 8,400
Goblin Chief 9 6,400 1 6,400
Hobgoblin Battle-Priest 8 4,800 1 4,800
Orc Witch Doctor 8 4,800 1 4,800
Blackjack Burgermeister 12 19,200 1 19,200
Subtotal 43,600 / 6
Total 7,266xp
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Rider's to the East: Beliden's Rescue
Campaign: A Rumor of Hope

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Orden, Colya, and Edra stand victorious in the ruins of a Church of Vehana.

The 1st Sword of Summer’s Descent, The Day of Longest Light

  • After the intense parlay with Jarl Ingmar, another rider approached the Rock of the Ancients. The group knew her immediately as Madeline the Merry, a bard of local renown who had joined their cause. She delivered a dire message to the party: Beliden has been captured! The rogue bravely held the bridge at Lassley, while his charges fled from a pursuing horde party. These were his last known whereabouts. Lassley was once a budding small town that stood about a half-day’s ride to the East, that too had been raised by the savage horde. If they hustled, they could be there in three.
  • Meanwhile, Bronn had already begun packing his horse for a ride west to seek Burgermeister, having fulfilled his obligation he’d promised Farius the day before. With the recent news, the party discussed possibilities and decided to split three-and-three. Orden, Colya, and Edra would ride East for Beliden, while Bronn, Hess, and Farius would ride west for Burgermeister and the only man who knew the whereabouts of Bren, Bronn’s daughter.
  • Zisk the Sixth approached the group, and offered her services to the Resistance. The Blackskull was displeased with this, and demanded a trade as collateral. Madeline gladly stepped up, and a deal was struck. Wanting to delay no further, the six heroes divided and rode in opposite directions; to victory or to ruin!

Orden, Edra, and Colya

  • It was the first hour of the afternoon when the party rode out to the east to save their friend, Edra, intimately familiar with the weather patterns in the area, noticed that a storm was brewing in the east. As the group continued their ride, a great storm grew before them, charging to the west off Brighton Bay and the Sea of Solitude beyond.
  • The group passed The Crossroads on their race east, Zisk broke off and made for the headquarters, where she would meet the party on their return. Though they yearned for a break on their ride, having been on horseback since daybreak, the party drove on. Colya had a hard time with the ride, fatigue gave way to exhaustion, and Orden had to treat her with divine power to regain her strength.
  • In the second hour of their ride the storm hit. Like charging into a wall of wind and rain, the group was pummeled by the gale. Lighting flashed, and thunder sounded overhead. A bolt of lightning stuck some ways down the road from them, with a tremendous clap to accompany it. After minutes the group made-out smoke rising in the direction they rode, and traveling on they eventually met it’s source. A massive oak tree stood aflame, its bulk split down the middle by lightning, in the middle of a glen to the side of the road. The rain had recently stopped and the sun returned, mists began to rise from the meadow. Something about the wreath of flames, the tree’s perfect placement in the meadow, lent to the ominous feeling the site brought. Asgirrithad is after all, the god of storms, lord of the winds of change. On the same hand, Vehana the Dawnflower is the goddess of fire, and today was her longest ride.
  • As Vehana’s ride reached its final hours, she dipped low enough in the sky to ride behind the rings, creating “Ring-glow”, shrouding the land in a deep red light. The group continued on from the tree and eventually came to the outskirts of Lassley. The once bustling town was naught but ruins, husks of buildings loomed in the growing dark, as mist rose from the streets. Several blocks into the town the party came to the bridge, the place at which Beliden had last been spotted. The group searched for clues. Signs of a struggle were obvious, there was blood everywhere, with dozens of footprints. Colya spotted several bodies downstream, floating but stuck along the shore. Edra tracks leaving the scene, and the party followed cautiously. After several more blocks of stealthy movements, the group came upon a ruined church. The Church of Vehana still stood, though much of it was ruined. A finger of smoke rose from within the sanctuary.
  • Colya used his invisibility spell to scout the scene, and recognized their enemies to be Bugbears; which the party had yet to meet. It was no surprise that Bugbears had joined the Gold Goblin’s ranks, being goblin-folk themselves, but the implications were anything but pleasant. Bugbears are considered among the most violent and sadistic of all goblinoids, and their looming seven-foot frames did nothing to dispel the fear. Colya reported back and the group made their plans.
  • Colya attacked from the side of the church, while Orden and Edra rushed through the front door. Bugbear brutes and rangers met the warriors, and a powerful fire-mage battled intensely with Colya, flinging fiery spells at each-other from opposed balconies in the sanctuary. Hands were removed from arms, bodies were burnt to crisps.
  • During the fight they had spotted Beliden at the altar, bound and bloodied. After the fight they moved to help the elf, who was within inches of his life. They had won the day against powerful enemies, and their friend was saved!
Creature Name CR XP # XP
Bugbear Cultist 7 3,200 3,200
Bugbear Flesh Glutton 8 4,800 1 4,800
Bugbear Ambusher 10 9,600 1 9,600
Bugbear Shadow Sneak 10 9,600 1 9,600
Bugbear Bloodmage 11 12,800 1 12,800
Subtotal 40,000 / 6
Total 6,666xp
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A Queen Emerges
Campaign: A Rumor of Hope

AQueenEmerges.jpg

The heroes engage in a heated parlay with The Blackskull over their potential allegiance.

The 21st Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • Having returned from their ride triumphant, the heroes of the resistance went their separate ways once reaching the headquarters, seeing to various tasks. Orden and Farius decided to make their way back up to the city above, where Izkrael was to be waiting. They found the ranger in the steeple of the fallen Church of Illyra. His mood was somber as he explained what happened. He and his men were attacked by gnolls while entering the Steppes of Ivoria. They were on their trek through the Valley of the Bahukbala (river) when they struck. The gnolls came out of the night, ravenous and mad with bloodlust. Though Iz and his men finally defeated the beasts, it didn’t come without heavy lost. The resistance lost ten brave fighters that day, and twice that many innocent lives were taken. Orden comforted his old friend, as he and Farius inquired more about the gnolls.
  • Iz dragged his injured party for miles through the valley before finally arriving at the meeting-place, where Qupodo awaited. The tribal warrior reported the the gnolls seem to have risen across the steppes, as various (human) tribes had reported attacks from the hyena-like creatures. The Matemala elders believed there to be a connection between the gnolls and the savage horde, though the horde had yet to advance into the steppes. Still, it seemed likely that a connection between the savages had been made.
  • Meanwhile, Edra prepared messages and riders to be sent out this night. Four riders would be dispatched, carrying two messages. Should they encounter colonists, the message spoke of Edra the lost heir, daughter to Ferron calling a meeting. If they encountered barbarians, it would be Edra daughter of Flukka who had called them. Either way, she summoned all those who would attend to the Rock of the Ancients, which was an old barbarian sacred site. They would meet at high-noon on the Day of Longest Light, the summer solstice, nine days away.
    Edra also prepared to make her speech to the resistance about her origin, her identity as Ferron’s child, and as the lost heir to the kingdoms. When everyone had assembled in the common room, they stood shoulder to shoulder, packed in and awaiting the announcement. Edra and the officers of the resistance stood on cots looking on the brave faces of their two-hundred warriors.
  • Edra spoke proudly, honestly, and with nobility, as she explained who she was. She explained the misunderstandings of Ferron’s intentions, Orden swore her words to be true “by Daetheleor”. Heir or not, she promised her sword, and indeed her life, to defeating the Gold Goblin. Even more, once she slew her nemesis, she also swore to reclaim the throne and unite the kingdoms once more! The room erupted in excitement, and as people quieted, those present began to kneel, taking knees and swearing allegiance to her, “their queen”.

The 22nd – 30th Sword of Summer’s Rising

  • Over the next eight days, our heroes would train and prepare in a number of ways.
  • Orden would help to train Edra in using her newfound Sunblade which they had looted from the Lost City of Gamor. He would also aid Hess in modifying Bronn’s dwarven longhammer to be even more effective. Besides these ways, Orden kept busy in the forge, making fair quality weapons, though more mass produced, for the soldiers of the resistance.
  • Hess would seek out a mount. In the stables the gunslinger found Flashfire, a sleek charcoal grey light war horse with a fiery spirit and a blackened mane; indeed the steed appeared scorched from his own speed. For most of his time Galleon worked in the forge with Orden and his apprentice. Most notably Hess upgraded Bronn’s weapon, using the help of his allies, modifying the weapon to a thing of absolute beauty and destruction. Indeed, Hess had produced his most masterful work, the likes of which could not be bested without the aid of magic and metallurgy of creating Ringsteel.
  • Farius had been alchemically testing several specimens the investigator had gathered on their travels so far. From the mushrooms looted from Dur’bag’s lair, he found them to be incredibly nutritious. If the mushrooms were dried out, they would loose half their size, and three-quarters of their weight. By simply adding water, they would plumpen-up and become edible again. They would provide perfect sustenance for a whole day, and got a total of eight servings from the specimens they had. More importantly, from the centipede’s blood the investigator worked wonders, somehow extracting the creatures mythic essence. (Mythic Surge Potion: Gain 1d6 temporary mythic points to be used with the mythic surge ability. [immediate action; add 1d6 to any check after the check has been made]). Farius also gathered information from the various NPC’s around the headquarters, taking particular interest in Thadeus and his explaining of “Words of Power”, and ancient form of spell-casting based solely on speaking the Old Tongue.
  • Edra would spend her time training with her new Sunblade. At first the weapon was awkward to wield at first, its size being that of a bastard sword, but its weight being like a short sword. Orden was able to give pointers and after days of study was able to wield it as effectively as she had her longsword.
  • Colya took most of her time in quiet contemplation. When Edra wasn’t training, Colya was often by her side; the archanist thought her interactions with resistance forces in these first days to be crucial, and she wanted to make sure nothing got out of hand. He continued to obsess over the fate of Archmage Eyzenore, all-powerful and all-wise.
  • Bronn spent most of his time with his new acolyte of Calune, Nevara. She was a bright-eyed colonist who found truth and solace in the Calune’s wisdom. The dwarf spent time making an open-air sanctuary in the city above, where he and any followers could worship their goddess in view of her aegis. The temple was very simple, and intended to be overlooked if any horde-folk wandered through, but it’s location was perfect and it served admirably. Bronn spent the majority of his time dedicated to learning the language of the barbarians, and by the end of the tenday would gain enough control over the language to participate.
  • On the sixth down-day, the heroes had an unexpected visitor arrive in the night. As Hess and Orden worked at the forge, the back-door to their base suddenly busted open, a crew of motley looking folks poured in. Orden immediately recognized one of them as Trade-Prince Nysm, the man who’s hidden-base the group had converted into a disaster shelter. The Trade-Prince was clearly peaved, yelling questions, asking who they hell they were, why they were here, and what they had done to his beautiful baths. Meanwhile Nysm held a resistance guard in front of him with a blade to his throat. Even though Nysm recognized Orden, the intensity of the situation still had to be diffused. Farius and Colya burst in the room in their night wear, and after a back-and-forth with the swarthy thief-prince, he put down his blade and released the guard.
  • From there Nysm took the conversation to the war room, which used to be an opulent sitting room. Once again he was angered by how they had “destroyed” his space, but he was very pleased when he peeked in the vault to see that the stores had actually grown since last he was here. Bronn returned from his night patrol and Edra from setting bear traps in the woods, so they too came to join the conversation.
  • Bronn, tired from the night’s duty nearly forgot to question these new men, a fact Farius quickly reminded him of. The dwarf took to questioning the men about Burgermiester, and one of the men’s eyes flashed with recognition of the name. Bronn didn’t miss the tell, and stormed across the room, grabbed the man by his collar, and screamed for any information about Burgermeister. Others tried to diffuse the situation, but Bronn pressed. The man revealed himself to be “Bray Buckler”. Farius recognized the name from a wanted poster he had seen… “Wild Bray” Buckler had been wanted for murder, rape, and theft, before being imprisoned at Shutter-Creek Penitentiary. In fear for his health, he explained that he met Burgermeister in prison, and “escaped” with him, though by that it was clear that they chose to serve the horde rather than die. He claimed to have escaped when the group was attacked by barbarians.
  • Bronn took Wild Bray in for further questioning, gathering any and all information he could on the whereabouts of his man. Bronn could expect to find the slaver in a division of goblins assigned to the encampment surrounding Hope’s Return.
  • Bronn was ready to go then and there, and it took a conversation with Farius to convince him to stay with the group. Edra’s mission, the summoning of any final survivors in the area, and turning them to the resistance’s cause was more important now. Farius swore to help Bronn as soon as their mission on the solstice was complete.

The 1st Sword of Summer’s Descent

*At midnight Bronn and Nevara held a ritual under Calune’s Full Guard, they had about a dozen resistance members in attendance including Edra. Bronn had a spiritual experience, feeling the moonlight wash over him and give him a sense of peace and relief he hasn’t felt since his daughter’s kidnapping.

  • The next morning the party rode out early, wanting to arrive well before the intended meeting time to scope out the area. Their trip went smoothly, and they stepped foot onto The Rock of the Ancients with an hour to spare before Vehana reached her highest point in the sky. Edra and Colya stood in reverence of the place, for countless centuries barbarians had held meetings here. The rest of the group took to surveying the area and found it to be clear of any horde presence. They settled upon the rock and waited.
  • Just as their shadows disappeared, a thundering sound came in the distance. Through the trees the group saw barbarian riders, one hundred strong. The rode into the glen and dismounted. Foremost came a woman, she spoke firm, proud, and clear. She introduced herself first as Zisk the Sixth, great-skald of the natives. Second, she introduced Jarl Ingmar the Blackskull, son of Ulferik son of Gorn, hero of the Battle of The Breach, Giant-slayer, bander of clans, breaker of lines, and enemy of the Gold Goblin. Though she delivered his accolades and titles well, a few in the party noticed a hint of something in her voice, perhaps sarcasm; as if she didn’t think much of this one who calls himself the Blackskull.
  • Hess also recognized one of the barbarian riders as Konah son of Grima. Grima was the barbarian woman who saved Hess from exposure, and brought him to Flukka for her skilled healing. She also had helped the people of her tribe accept Hess as one of their own. Sadly she had died in the uprising, but Konah had clearly survived, and made his way into Blackskull’s clan. He signaled to the boy, and got a nod in response, but now was the time for negotiations.
  • And so the officers fought the Blackskull, words as their weapons. Ingmar was stubborn, strong, and intimidating; clearly practiced at tribal disputes. Despite his advantages the Blackskull found many of the arguments hard to counter, and shook hands with Edra in the end, though he clearly stated he would not be staying in their “stinking city cave”. They would be on reserve, in effect.
  • Just as the negotiations finished, a rider from the resistance appeared. He carried a dire message. Beliden had been lost, maybe slain, maybe captured. His last known whereabouts put him outside of Lassley, a day’s ride to the east. Meanwhile, Bronn had already begun preparing his horse for the ride west toward Hope’s Return, and thus the party decided to split up. Bronn, Hess, and Farius would ride west for Burgermiester and the goblin division he is attached to. Orden, Edra, and Colya would ride east down the Siger river to Lassley in hopes that they can save their friend before it’s too late!

XP Breakdown

Creature Name CR XP # XP
Edra’s Speech 4,800 4,800
The Trade-Prince’s Arrival 8 4,800 1 4,800
A Tenday’s Work 4,800 4,800
Roleplay at The Rock 10 9,600 1 9,600
Subtotal 24,000 / 6
Total 4,000xp
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Stab first, ask questions later
Campaign: A Rumor of Hope

Speakwiththedead.jpg

Brother Bronn casts Speak with the Dead on the remains of the frost giant emissary.

The 21tst Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • Following the skirmish in the Serpent’s Pass, the last remaining cannibal that hadn’t been captured, fled. Edra and Hess followed in hot pursuit. They followed across narrow ledges, over bolders, swung across vines, and leaped over chasms, and the barbarian was incredible agile. Despite his efforts, the two resistance fighters eventually wrangled the barbarian and began dragging him back to the group.
  • Meanwhile Farius had set up his alchemist’s kit and was busy brewing something special. He stepped over to the other captured barbarian, the sorcerer whom they faced, and slit a small cut on his cheek, gathering a bit of his blood. He mixed this blood into a concoction. While Orden buried the dead, Farius and Colya interrogated the sorcerer. They made very serious threats to try to get him to speak, even threatening to pour Farius’s mixture down his throat. Eventually they pulled back, feeling there was some moral border they didn’t want to cross.
  • Edra and Hess returned with the other barbarian whom they also threatened. Farius detected the thoughts of their enemies, but seemed to only pick up on their pure hatred for the party, particularly anyone who is a colonist. Edra also pushed a moral limit before Bronn snapped her out of her rage. Despite it all, they did get some information from the barbarians.
  • If what they said could be believed, the Gold Goblin was offering Ferron’s Gauntlet to the tribes of the Silver Strand, and to further the horde’s alliances to include them. Edra spat at this, she would never give up her homeland to these savages, and it wasn’t the Gold Goblin’s land to give in the first place. The audacity! The party decided to keep the cannibals tied up and bring them back to headquarters with them for further questioning.
  • While they finished up their interrogations, Brother Bronn prepared a casting of speak with dead on the head of the frost giant emissary, and thought deeply on the few questions he would be able to ask. Orden aided in the task, and eventually the other party members came over for the casting. They discussed more what they should ask, and finally Bronn finished his spell, and the dead frost giantess opened her eyes once more, though they were rolled back in her head. Her mouth creaked open and gurgled. Bronn posed his questions.
  1. Where could the Gold Goblin be found? Hob’Gamor. she responded
  2. Where is Hob’Gamor? Men called it New Oathilliam.
  3. What is the Gold Goblin’s next move? The army marches North to Gothrillad on the new moon.
  4. Where is Blackjack Burgermeister I don’t know that name.
  • At that answer Bronn thoroughly pulverized the giant’s head, finally having to be pulled off by his companions.
  • It seemed for the time being the group had gathered all the information they could. They were absolutely exhausted, having ridden all day to the Crossroads, only to immediately ride back out for three more hours of hustled riding, then to fight the challenging combat they had just faced. They decided to set up watch and rest in the pass for the night before riding out to the headquarters.

The 21st Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • The night passed uneventfully, save for the briskly blowing winds that blew through the canyon, howling down the rocks with an eerie moan.
  • They group rode out, each one with a blonde survivor behind them. Travels for the day were also uneventful until the late afternoon when Bronn spotted carrion birds circling ahead. The group approached carefully to find the corpse of a frost giant that was missing it’s head! Orden examined the body closely. It had many wounds, but particularly he noticed the decapitation; such a stroke had to be made by someone very strong, and well trained with a blade, for the cut appeared to have been made in a single swipe.
  • Others searched the area looking for clues. They found tracks around the area that seemed to be those of barbarians, and also found a broken arrow that the natives in the group agreed was of barbarian make. Perhaps the resistance did have allies in the area, or at the very least, enemies of their enemies. The group deliberated on trying to follow the tracks but decided against it, desiring to return to the headquarters and drop off their quarry, and their charges.
  • The party traveled for several more hours to reach the headquarters in the ninth hour of the evening. The group entered the base and immediately noticed the mood to be somber in the place. They asked someone nearby and he reported that Izkrael had returned, but he had lost men on his trip, and survivors. It was the first time a refugee-run had proven fatal, though everyone knew the dangers going in. Izkrael wasn’t currently in the headquarters, but was nearby, and was asking not to be disturbed unless necessary. He said he could be found at Illyra’s fallen church in the city above.

XP Breakdown

Creature Name CR XP # XP
Chasing down the fleeing cannibal 6,000
Interrogating the captured barbarians 6,000
New Gamor has risen (frost giant speak with dead) 6,000
Carrion Birds ahead (investigating the giant’s remains) 2,000
Subtotal 20,000 / 6
Total 3,333xp
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