Party: Exandra, Pear, Hilniflit, Iolena, Franmar
Day 0: Taxes in town settled up:
Guild kitty after taxes and purchases: 5090 GP
Day 01: Use waystones to transport to Shadowed Keep. Everything is quiet. No sign of goblins. the party decides to head into Dulwich to see what's going on in town.
On the way to the Dancing Bear, the party notices that the town is largely subdued. There are very few nobles about and many more guards sporting new armor and weapons (red and black stripes on their shoulders). The party meets Nerlin and Isolde at the Dancing Bear.
Nerlin tells the party that the noble-backed East Gate Inn is not doing so well as most of the nobles in town are lying low. He also says that Weido is looking to push his influence into a town East of Dulwich, called Longbridge. Longbridge is a town straddling a river trade route and Weido is using his new forces to push a new road into it. This has put him at odds with the Longbridge mayor, named Hilduin Lorsch. Lorsch is from a smaller town further East of Longbridge, called Woodridge. Lorsch and Weido are both competing to secure control of Longbridge. Weido has the greater forces and there's some concern that when his forces reach Longbridge, things could get violent.
The party also learns that the Wool Guild has allied with the Irori in the Temple Stronghold and is trying to stay clear of Weido's agitation.
Next, the party heads to Saini Alanen to see what she knows about goings on about town. She first asks about the map to Khundrukar. The party lies that they never found it and suggests that they could pass word to the goblin leader, Saar, and see if he'll allow her to poke around the goblin lair for the map. Since the map is a large immovable, geode, the party's a bit worried that she might find it. So this strategy is a stalling tactic.
We then ask about Longbridge and Saini fills in the details mentioned above. Lorsch needs Longbridge to revitalize Woodridge and make it viable again. Weido's seemingly just trying to consolidate power.
The party spends an uneventful night at the Dancing Bear (10 sp).
Day 2: The party heads south, giving the Shunned Valley wide berth. In the woods, they come across a noisy group of a dozen goblins marching through the woods to drums. They are lead by a female shaman carrying a stick with a skull at the top of it. The goblins are all dressed in robes and they make no effort to be quiet. Hilniflit thinks she recognizes something about the skull and tells the party it's really important to get that skull.
The party moves to flank the goblin party. Franmar and Exandra set up distractions to draw the goblins' attention away from the party. Iolena summons three eagles that swoop down from the sky to try and grab the skull staff. One eagle gets a grip on the staff and starts to carry it away, the goblins, startled, attack the eagles with slings and knock the staff-carrying eagle out of the sky. Franmar runs to the dropped staff with Hilniflit close behind. The goblins are thrown into chaos as they try an regroup – especially after Iolena summons a horse in their midst. Pear climbs and falls out of many trees.
Franmar and Hilniflit fall back with the staff while Exandra and Iolena deal with the rear of the goblin column. After the party kills six of the goblins, the goblin shaman surrenders. Franmar and Hilniflit interrogate her and learn her name is Sibesa. She says they were once lead by an oppressive leader named Otlock. They found (what turns out to be) an orc skull in a gnome mine far west of this location. When the skull was found, Otlock disappeared. This made the goblins believe that the skull is a good omen and Sibesa has created a cult around it and they are now following wherever the skull takes them. They call themselves the Clan of the Orc Skull.
Sibesa is covered in tattoos that she claims are ork writing – which is strange because goblins fear writing. Hilniflit can tell right away, however, that it is definitely not orc writing. It's just gibberish. Hilniflit tells Sibesa that the party is keeping the skull. Sibesa resists, but the party makes it clear this is non-negotiable. Hilniflit suggests they travel North to the Shadowed Keep. She gives them a stone with her mark on it and tells her to speak to Saar and see if they can take refuge with the Bloodmoons. Sibesa is skeptical, but says she'll do so. The goblins move on.
The party loots the remaining goblin corpses and find three cure light wound potions.
Later in the day, as the party moves further South, they come across a group of dwarves in a standoff with a group of hobgoblins. The hobgoblins have cover and higher ground. Hilniflit messages one of the dwarves and asks if they need help. The dwarves welcome it. Exandra tosses a javelin and kills the first hobgoblin and with the help of the dwarves, they're able to kill the rest. The loot is two cure light wounds potions, 150 GP and a ray of frost scroll.
The leader of the dwarven party is Oberryn Steelhammer. He says they were tracking the hobgoblins because the hobgoblins were kidnapping people from a town called Vulgruph's Hollow, to the South. Oberryn also mentions that there is a waypoint West of the town controlled by Averryn Steelhammer.
The party follows Oberryn to Vulgruph's Hollow. The town is divided between dwarves and humans. The mayor is Vosk Vulgruph (dwarf) and he runs things with his town council, including a human named Hethan Pagemaker. Vulgruph's Hollow is farmland surrounding a river called Snow Crest Creek. The town itself is built upon stone blocks in the middle of the river. There are two inns in the small town, Blood and Thunder Bistro (filled with dwarves and some gnomes) and Giant's Run Inn (filled with humans and some halflings).
Day 3: The party meets in the street with Oberryn, who agrees to take them to Vosk. On their way, they pass the graveyard and notices shadows moving within. The graveyard is called Ancient's Rest and its tended by Reggald Ditchfoot. The party asks if he noticed the shadows and Reggald denies seeing anything. The party finds dried blood near the mausoleum in the graveyard but Oberryn warns them against disturbing the tomb.
Vulgruph's Manor is a well crafted building in the middle of town and Vosk Vulgruph himself is the son of the town's founder. He greets the party and answers some questions about Reggald (he's always been strange). He also expresses concern about the growing divide in his town. He doesn't blame the humans, but is looking to keep the peace. The party asks about the waypoint to the West and Vosk says it is heavily guarded and well defended by Averryn. The party asks if he can write a letter of referral to meet with Averryn. If passage through the waypoint can be negotiated, the party can help with the hobgoblins in the area by clearing out Khundrukar. Vosk agrees to do so.
Oberryn leads the party towards Mistfall. The party is told to wear blindfolds to be escorted in. The city of Mistfall is hidden from strangers through the mists of waterfalls and some magic and strangers are charged a toll to enter. The party pays 500GP to get access to Averryn.
Averryn welcomes the party and negotiates a 100GP fee each time the party comes through the waypoint. In addition, the party agrees to help Mistfall's wizard, Breyhall, to maintain the waypoint. The waypoint is similar to others the party has seen, but this waypoint is far removed from Mistfall proper and is covered in glowing and pulsing magical runes. Once passage through the portal is secured, the party decided to return to Westmarch with their ork skull and figure out their next plan of action.
Loot from this adventure:
5 potions of cure light wounds
Ray of frost scroll
Guild kitty after expenses (500 GP): 4540 GP