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Pointer-left Purpledragonskull_thumb
Posted by the GM
Sword Coast and Beyond
After a long night
6th of Flamerule

A night of rest does wonders for the group. Three had fallen the night before during expeditions to help the town. In an effort to repay their bravery, the clerics worked hard to heal them. For the most part, they were successful. Unfortunately, they were not able to do anything to restore Bob’s eye.

Governor Tarbaw Nighthill

Their deeds spread quickly through the Keep. Governor Nighthill was so impressed he offered them 250 gp each to follow the raiders south. “Find out where they are going. Find out what their numbers are. Rescue any prisoners they have taken.” It was at this point, the discussion was interrupted by a young monk. Nesim introduces himself and pleads for the group to find his master, Leosin. He is certain his master was taken in the night be the raiders. He hands a choker to the group as evidence of his disappearance. “He will recognize this if you show it to him.

After resting for the morning, the group heads south, following the large swath of a trail left behind by the retreating raiding party. The tracks leaving the town were deeper and more predominant than the tracks heading toward town. Another indication the raiding party was carry a large load of treasure.
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Pointer-left Purpledragonskull_thumb
Posted by the GM
Sword Coast and Beyond
The Coming Together
5th of Flamerule

Each member of the party descends on the small town of Greenest for their own reasons. What they find as they arrive is a town under attack and in shambles. Banding together, they decide to help the town and find out what in the nine hells is going on.

It isn’t long after they enter the town, that they are confronted by a small band of kobolds...

Comprised of two well-trained fighters in Elissa and Draak-kor, a nature cleric name Mal and a … uhhh … a Tolly, they dispatch the small lizards quickly. Moving further down the street, the party starts picking up citizens in need of assistance. Everyone tells them the Keep is the last safe place in town and begs them to escort them there before the villainous raiders close off access.

The group encountered several more small groups of kobolds. They were equally as easy as the first group. Yet, as they travelled closer to the keep, the kobolds were joined by rugged looking mercenaries.

If they weren’t chasing and harassing the citizens of the town, the kobolds and mercenaries were carrying away large amounts of valuables from the town. During one encounter, the groups was aided by a mysterious tiefling. He showed an expertise with his bow and rapier. Especially from the shadows. Each encounter was getting tougher for the group and there was a feeling the raiders were closing down from behind. With this in mind, the stranger was welcomed into the group.

The Keep was in sight. Just up the hill. The winding path led to the gate, but it doesn’t provide any cover. The citizens rushed forward while the group held the rear. With the citizens safe, the group moved toward the Keep and to safety. Looking back to wave a indignite gesture at the bad man who was calling off the attack, he saw one winged kobold swoop down to drop a rock onto Mal’s tender head. The blood was bright red as it flowed from her crown. Defying the other’s request to rush into the Keep, Tolly made his way back to the fallen Mal. He poured a homemade potion into mouth and watched her flicker back to consciousness.

Inside the relative safety of the Keep, the group began to strengthen themselves with healing from the town clerics. A man of notable stature was organizing the defenses with the help of a sturdy dwarf at his side. It was soon discovered these individuals are Governor Nighthill and Costall Escobert the Red. Reports were coming in that the raiders were ramshacking the entire town. Fires were ablaze everywhere.

Amid these reports, Governor Nighthill introduced himself and thanked the group for helping his people to safety. Congratulations were interrupted by a panic coming from the sallyport as it came under attack. Nighthill instructed several of his guard to rush to the scene before turning to the band of adventurers. “I call upon your aid again. You have shown yourself capable in a scrap. Can you push back these intruders?”

The fight came in two waves as the raiders (kobolds, acolytes and guard drakes) broke down the gates. The success of the group was at the cost of Tolly being impaled upon a spear. Luckily, Mal came to his rescue this time. While giving the halfling his rest, the group sent for a cleric to mend the doors before the secured them with reinforcing bars.

The rest was useful as another report came in that the raiders were attacking the town sanctuary. A large contingent of people fled to the church when the raids began. To make matters worse, another report indicated the raiders were spotted near the grain mill attempting to burn it down. The group had to make a decision. Save the people in the sanctuary or save the food the town will rely on through the coming winter.

With the front gate and the sallyport no longer options to leave, Escobert the Red recalls there is a tunnel that leads out of the Keep to the stream south of town. It hasn’t been used in ages, but was installed for just such occasions. It is cool, dark and damp as it leads from the storage room to the stream. The strange tiefling, Bob Blackhead, offers to scout ahead. In the darkness, the rest of the group hear the sound of a large swarm of rats, followed by the thud of a body on the clay floor of the tunnel. When Mal arrives at Bob’s body, she sees a massive amount of rats climbing all over a form on the ground. Pressing the swarm back into the crevasses that they emerged from showed the body of the tiefling. It is at the moment, they realize what Tolly was talking about when he was mumbling, “Rat has an eye! Rat has an eye!” Bob was missing his left eye. It, apparently, had been popped out by the rats and carried away.

Acting quickly, Mal stops the flow of blood and pulls the patch Bob is wearing over his missing orb socket. With the renewed healing, Bob is persuaded to continue out of the tunnel. To be honest, it doesn’t take much prodding. As they exist the tunnel, they are confronted by a mob of kobolds and raiders. Before they can warn others, the party squashes the battalion and moves to head toward the sanctuary.

The grounds of the sanctuary are lightly obscured by the smoke of fires used by the raiders to flush out the citizens inside. A patrol is circling the building while a small group set up a battering ram at the front door. Investigating the scene under the cover of the smoke, the party is able to get the drop on a few of the raiders trying to sneak in the back door. Acting quickly, the group gathers the folks inside and ushers them out of the sanctuary just before the front door caves in from the barrage of the battering ram. They are able to quickly usher most of the group back to the Keep.

News wasn’t getting any better upon their return. If all the attacks by the raiders and kobolds weren’t enough, the Keep was now being attacked from intermittently by an adult blue dragon.

Many guard on the top of the Keep had already lost their lives to the powerful electric attacks of the dragon’s breath. Cautiously, the group climbed the tower steps and attacked the dragon has it would get close enough to barrage the tower. Eventually, it looked like the dragon became bored with the attacks and flew off.

There was a bit of respite for the Keep and it’s occupants before dawn. The raiders seemed to be retreating to some degree. It was at this point, a dragon-type humanoid approached the front of the Keep gates with twenty or so kobolds. With them were a woman and several children. This half dragon creature called out for a challenge! If someone will challenge him in one on one combat, he will free the woman and children. If not, they will leave with them. A guard called out, “That is my WIFE! I will do it!” The guard looked weary from the night and heavily injured. As a proud and honorable knight of her land, Elissa could let this stand and insisted she will stand in his place. She limped out to meet the large half-dragon.

The battle was brief. The half-dragon, after establishing the rules, engulf the beautiful fighter in his electric breath weapon. She fell from the damage. The smell of burning, electrified flesh filling the air. Calling out the Keep, “This is your CHAMPION?!”, he sinks his weapon into the fallen fighter.

True to his word, he tells the kobolds to release the prisoners as they stride out of town.

Healers quickly approach Elissa and stop the bleeding. More healing would be require to bring her back to consciousness.
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Pointer-left Silvarn_thumb
Posted by the GM
The Tomb of Dreams
Episode 2.19

1) The Circle returned to the island and started construction efforts for a temple to the Sun. Syn checked in on that town where the plague started and found that Bright Shadow's cure was working well. Taiphen reported to Bright Shadow that the Crone had planned to return to Gethamane when she discovered that her portal had been compromised.

2) After a few days, they returned to Maidenstar. They discovered that one of the King's spies reported that the Bull was mobilizing and marching toward Hiemal. This message did not reach the Circle because the runner had been killed in route. The Bull's forces would arrive in about 19 days, according to Syn's estimates.

3a) The party split up. Syn and Northern Light used their speed to reach Godshroud, the home of Hiemal's Trinity Goddesses to ask for help. They would then drum up support on their way back to Maidenstar.

3b) Meanwhile, Bright Shadow, Kagi, and Kumasi traveled south to Benkirk to meet their family and ask for their help as well

3c) Also meanwhile, Taiphen went north and found the shunned corpse of the murdered Linowan messenger. His investigation uncovered that he had been killed by a lightning strike, and that the scarring formed the name "STRUN," which was a local storm god of Hiemal.
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Pointer-left Silvarn_thumb
Posted by the GM
The Tomb of Dreams
Episode 2.18

1) Circle travels north to investigate Geir's hideout
2) Discover it inside of a large boulder
3) Open the boulder to find link to Southern waters
4) Attack island of pirates and either kill or convert its inhabitants into a heterodoxy of the Immaculate Philosophy
5) Quickly return to Northern waters to pursue fleeing vessel
6) Catch up to it to confront Captain Geir and the Crone
7) The Crone makes an offer of apology and possible alliance, but Northern Light offers her terms, which the Crone does not agree to. Northern Light then shouts away the Crone, who transforms into a beautiful young woman and escapes in a flurry of white birds.
8) Below deck, the Circle discovers cargo and Prince Frode of Keening
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A Fourth Letter Send Via the Lady's Temple
To Acolyte Magret Shepperd of the Lady’s Temple at Halvor,

At last, a chance to write as we’re back at sea, not riding until we cannot any longer, then collapsing sore and exhausted to too little sleep. The sea’s a more proper place, where one can let time pass as it must, and set one’s course based only on tide and wind and not the stubborn mind of an ill-tempered beast.

But I am ahead of myself, and these letters are to keep Halvor informed of our progress, so I should return to where I last finished.

We rode from Tiranin as fast as we could, hoping to gain ground on the larger warband, which were like to be only as fast as their slowest member. Yvor seems almost born to horseback, and rode out scouting ahead and beside our way often, reporting back what signs he had of the warband and, troublingly, of four others following the warband, two groups of two if they weren’t one quartet. We reached the first wayhouse not long before dark, and they had passed through some hours before us, pausing only to exchange horses and purchase all the lamp oil that could be had.

We paused longer, both so we could ride the next day on rested mounts and to allow Dama Kaela the time to consult her Patron, divine guidance being among our best hopes in this mad chase. We had questions both of our recently ended experience and of the MacKinzie’s plans, which I will record here as they were asked and answered.

“Will my companions who were affected by the dimness in the shadow realm recover normally?” No. (I find this quite disturbing. I don’t notice the dimness most of the time… but when I do, it is and unpleasant reminder of that place.)

“Is the MacKinzie still under the influence from the shadow realm creature?” He is slowly awakening from a long nightmare. (A good sign.)

“Did the Red Spear summon the being from the outer planes?” Yes, at the behest of his Master. (The first we’d heard, I think, of a power above the Spear other than Dread Zolos. I will need to do some research in the Journal for more clues here.)

“Are the people in Tillman’s Notch willingly given over to the Dark?” No, nor in any other way. (A good sign for them, but bad if the Warband rode on them with fire on their minds.)

“Is Ursula actually on this island?” Yes, she hunts for you now. (More bad news. I fear what she might be if the shadow doppleganger of her was a mere hint.)

“Is there more than one heir to the Blackbyrne line?” No. (A relief.)

“Will the MacKinzie order us to be attacked on sight?” No. (Likewise.)

“Is the Red Spear’s Master the Blackbyrne heir?” No, not the heir. (So the roles of Master, Spear, and Heir remain related in some uncertain way.)

“Is the goal of the MacKinzie Warband something that we should stop?” The fire of the warband is fueled by lies. (Dangerous. And again, fire. All the more reason to make haste, despite that it means more time dealing with horses.)

Out of caution, we kept watch even in the wayhouse. Some of those four followers may have decided we were worth attention as well. Jokhula and I had first watch, so we could get a full night’s sleep after to refresh or magic. But all we had to show for it was catching the farrier’s boy trying to unshoe some of our horses to make business for his master. We chose not to punish him, on his promise to inform his master in the morning.

During the third watch, just before dawn, Yvor caught sign of two watchers, splitting up as they moved away, one toward Tiranin the other on toward Mawrs Landing. He says he gave chase to the first, but lost him when the pass grew too rocky.

We left at dawn, to the angry shouts of the farrier, and rode our rested mounts into the pass. I had studied the maps of the island, and did all I could to keep us to the best path, though I think Yvor’s scouting was still the more important help. Shortly after noon, though, we came to an unexpected sight. A badly wounded woman slumped at roadside, eying the road each way as if trying to decide which way to go once she could walk. She was practically dressed, and raised a hammer to defend herself as we approached, though with more desperation than skill.

Once she was assured we weren’t a threat, she told us she was a miner, and the mine had been attacked, somehow from inside the mine itself. I encouraged her to guide us to the mine, that we might be able to help. She does, and we find a scene of sorrow. An old iron mine, nothing remarkable, but its workers in panic, those still alive at least. Too many are laid out in an unusual fan around the mouth of the mine, felled as they fled, with not much of a mark on them. The survivors told their story of being chased from the mine by shadowy horrors. Examining the dead, Dama Kaela thought they had been killed not by shade or specter, but rather by fear itself. Perhaps a powerful illusion, convincing them so thoroughly that the body followed the mind into death. We found a broken wand and places where horses had been tethered that convinced us this was an effort to create a terrible diversion, to keep us from our pace. Reassuring the miners that they are safe and the MacKinzie would be informed, we returned to our ride, and I missed the relief from the saddle all too quickly.

We made the next waystation before nightfall and traded out our horses for what they could offer, which were those the warband had traded them hours earlier, but at least were rested. As night fell, with Jokhula in lead as her night vision is the sharpest, we pressed on into the highest, narrowest part of the pass. We made our way past two simple, reasonably obvious trip traps, and to a watcher who set off an alarm arrow. Jokhula flew Yvor up to quickly confront the watcher as Dama Kaela followed and the rest of us set for a likely ambush. They found a ghast in Blackbyrne Huntsman gear, who they promptly dispatched, and no ambush occurred. Just who was signaled, we could not say, but we rode on.

Come dawn, we were clear of the pass and making our way down in Mawr’s Landing, where the banners of the warband could be seen below us. We had found them, not yet launched toward Tillaman’s Notch! We rode down fast, and so of course were spotted as we approached. Gwyrr Stone, the housekarl, rode forth to meet us, to ask why we followed into such danger, as he had saved us from the MacKenzie’s wrath earlier. We gave our reason and the warnings Dama Kaela had seen in her commune with her god, and we were escorted to the MacKinzie himself, who was arranging sea transport for the Warband across to the Notch.

Lady MacNommra was there as well, as we had guessed, and she welcomed us with no hint of anger at our part in the fate of her house. Instead, her anger was at our shared enemies, and we needed to calm her and the MacKinzie Himself against their rash actions. She says she wishes she had destroyed the mirror herself, but I do not think that would have ended even as poorly as what had occurred had been, for her and hers or for Himself. And we asked, given the information we brought, if we might have just a week’s time, where we could scout ahead and find the truth of what waited in Tillman’s Notch. Somehow, against all likelihood, our offer was accepted and a dozen men and a ship were given to our cause, with Lady MacNommra to watch us.

And so it was that we exchanged horses and endless riding for the familiar comfort of the sea, albeit in a clumsy, sluggish tub, at least beside the Fenstalker. I hadn’t time to re-work the simple, basic rigging nor a dock to address the other flaws, but the SeaSkipper, as she is named with, I have to think, more irony than anything else, carried us a day and a half toward the Notch before we came on another ship.

She as crippled and adrift, without sails or anchor, and as we approached hailed us for aid. The Spear had set on her, killed her officers, and left her as we found her, not hours before. We left her with spare line and chain and two MacKinzie men to oversee her recovery and hurried on toward our destination.

As I finish this letter, we are just about in sight of Tillman’s Notch, and the watch has just reported seeing smoke in the distance. I fear that we may be too late for some, but hope we are in time to prevent the worst of what might have befallen had the warband continued as their planned.

I must end this now and send this to you, with hopes I can send another letter soon. And until such time, I remain you loyal friend,

Captain Padhraig of the Fenstalker
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