Mission 03, Bugbear Stronghold & Shunned Valley
Party: Hilniflit, Franmar, Fledermaus, Astrid
Day 0: Settled up with the city taxes for Mission 02 loot. Learned a little stuff about things… that we didn't write down.
Guild Kitty after buying supplies (need more clerics): 140 GP, 5 SP
Day 1: Left town, made camp at the edge of the woods (as is becoming habit). Uneventful day. Astrid on night watch, spots a large cat and a large boar fighting. She wakes (P) and (P) decides to leave nature to its own devices and doesn't take sides. (Circle of life is cited?)
Day 2: Weather is pleasant. (P) spots a large murder of crows circling over the woods. We go to investigate, come upon a very old stone fountain covered in roosting crows. the fountain is filled with murky water. After a quick conversation with the crows, we learn they call this fountain home. We tell them we mean them no harm and they are otherwise unhelpful with local intel. Search the fountain and find some beads and a shard of reflective glass. Hil offers the beads to the crows (which they seem to appreciate) and keeps the mirrored glass for almost no reason whatsoever. Later (P) comes across a possible goblin skeleton in armor killed by arrows. Night passes without event.
Day 3: For a while during the day, party is followed by something in the trees. They choose not to investigate. (P) makes camp a ways back from the edge of the woods surrounding the Bugbear Stronghold. Strange weather noticed from previous adventures witnessed again on night watch.
Day 4 – The Stronghold Assault
When (P) arrives at stronghold, they spy from the edge of the woods and find the burned head of the bugbear from Mission 2. Three human heads on spikes are outside the stronghold as well. The drawbridge is still down, but the entrance is now plugged with crude, criss-crossed sticks rigging a series of smaller entrances. (P) spots watchers in the towers and tries to kill the closest with a magic missile. This only alerts the stronghold and (P) formulates a plan to torch the entrance as the goblins are focused in the direction the attack came from.
Fledermaus sneaks around the back of the stronghold with a jar of Alchemist's Fire. The rest of the party waits at the edge of the woods until he is in position. Hil fires a series of Dancing Lights at the goblins watching the party's position to make them think they're being attacked, Fledermaus then throws the Alchemist's Fire at the entrance. The party waits for the structure to be burned and then races to join Fledermaus near the wall. Goblins fire arrows from the parapets. It requires a bit of hacking from Fledermaus and Astrid to get through the charred mess and while waiting for them to do so, Franmar and Hilniflit scale the wall with grappling hooks.
When Astrid and Fledermaus get through the tangle, they are ambushed by goblins with Alchemist's Fire and it wasn't pretty. Astrid takes the most direct hits and spends multiple rounds trying to extinguish the flames. Fledermaus gets through unscathed and tries to engage the largest goblin that seems to be leading the stronghold, outnumbered he begins to succumb to the numbers.
Meanwhile, Franmar and Hilniflit are clearing the walls of archers and are not totally aware of what's happening below. As the tower guards with arrows kept going down to assist with the frontal assault, they are more successful gaining progress.
Astrid is eventually consumed by flames before she can pull the stopper on the party's only healing potion and Fledermaus gets overwhelmed. Eventually, Franmar and Hilniflit are able to take out the last of the goblins and revive Astrid and Fledermaus after tossing the stronghold for more healing potions.
(P) then searches the stronghold and the dead goblins: The loot includes some basic weapons and armor, 105 GP and a wooden trinket that looks like the carved wooden mask from Mission 2. Franmar gets to experimenting with the wooden mask itself (Hilniflit brought it along for unknown reasons) and finds a stool that follows him around when commanded to by the mask.
The party also finds a cage with the corpses of the human heads outside and a pile of bedrolls and trash where the goblins slept. One of the goblin wall archers was not quite dead and (P) finds him in tower 1. They capture the goblin and interrogate him. (P) learns the mask belonged to the Bugbear and when wearing it, it can command goblins (and stools) to act without question. Franmar then decides to keep the mask and wear it permanently. (Reader should take it as given from that this point forward, he commands everything he lays eyes on. Seems it's just goblins and stools so far.) The goblins called themselves the Dark Tree Gang and the new leader after we had killed the bugbear was Khlorak (the hobgoblin? with the spear). We also learn of the Blood Moon goblin tribe 2-3 days to the East – the largest goblin tribe in the woods, currently. (P) also learns the goblins had kidnapped some carpenters/engineers from Dulwich to fix their drawbridge, which is why it was always down. They killed the humans when we killed the bugbear leader in Mission 2. (Oops – don't think too hard about the mask and how it would have made everything about storming a goblin stronghold easier… mistakes were made.)
(P) decides to camp in the stronghold overnight. It is uneventful.
Day 5: On the way to Dulwich, (P) comes across a burial mound and that's all I wrote about that.
In Dulwich, (P) heads straight to the Cathedral for healing and blows through the recent spoils to get healed back up. (P) then learns of a wizard in town named Saini Alanen that researches mysteries. She's a wealth of local knowledge and a wealth of gold FOR knowledge. She tells us about the switchbacks leading to Khundrukr and we tell of everything we learned about the bugbear stronghold, including the fate of the captives, the tribe and the Blood Moons. (P) is given 50 GP for the information.
(P) also learns some stuff about town and the governor's crackdown, but again… lack of notes.
(P) also learns that the strange weather they're seeing on the lake is probably caused by a strange wizard living in Smoking Mountain that is West of Westmarch.
(P) shacks up in town for a solid rest before moving on to Shunned Valley to search the rest of the caves because Hilniflit won't shut up about it.
Day 6: Shunned Valley is an easy half day away from Dulwich and (P) finds things basically the same as they left it and quiet. No sign of owlbears.
(P) goes about exploring the rest of cave F (still avoiding the water) and finds a room filled with banners and shields of early hobgoblin tribes. There are murals depicting hobgoblin victories with symbols matching the banners and shields on the wall. On closer inspection, (P) finds one of the shields is a masterwork heavy shield that Fledermaus claims. Another is a masterwork buckler that (P) keeps as loot. (P) also pulls down all the banners in hopes that they can be exchanged for information in Dulwich with Saini.
In an adjacent room is another tomb with murals depicting a hobgoblin couple having sex and being victorious in battle and stuff. The tomb is guarded by a skeleton that attacks the party. Meanwhile, another skeleton and a ghoul attack from the tomb. (P) manages to dispatch them all with nobody dying and no cleric. (P) finds a silver circlet (thin, tiny, crown/headband thing), masterwork longsword (Fleder claims it), chainmail shirt, a golden ring, and silver armband. Everything is stashed for appraisal when (P) returns to Westmarch.
When (P) exits the tomb, they find the owlbear mother across the way. It had apparently returned from hunting. Hilniflit tries to talk to it and confirms it is the mother of the baby killed in Mission 1. When the mother starts trying to pick up the party's scent, Hilniflit hits it with a magic missile and (P) attacks. In a remarkably efficient battle, the party kills the owlbear and, um… skins it… because loot. (Insert Callehalahath's lecture here.)
Hilniflit then mumbles something about a claim and runs into the owlbear cave to survey the bat guano for possible profit and while wading around in the muck, finds some dwarf remains and a masterwork warhammer with lightning bolts on it (dwarves, amirite?) and 4 small, yellow gems.
(P) then returns to Dulwich, passes on Shunned Valley intel to Saini for another 100 GP worth of information. Hilniflit tries generating interest in bat guano mining and Saini humors her while the rest of (P) questions Hil's sanity. (P) then returns to Westmarch by stones.
Reflective glass from crows.
Plain stool (that follows mask, currently in Franmar's possession)
150 GP for intel gathering from Saini
Masterwork heavy shield (Karen's Character)
Masterwork long sword (Karen's character)
owl bear hide (look away)
masterwork war hammer w/ lightning bolts
4 small, yellow gems
6 pots Alchemist's Fire (Hilniflit)
Masterwork chain shirt
Westmarch - Mission 03
We almost die and still want to fight an owlbear...
Mission 03, Bugbear Stronghold & Shunned Valley