Westmarch

Westmarch - Mission 01
Journey to Shunned Valley

Mission 1: The Shunned Valley

Party: Hilniflit, Ostric, Franmar, Fledermaus

Day 0: Westmarch – Party (P) met with Ashryn at the Fellowship of the Wand and Sword. Given adventuring passes and stones of returning (meditate for 10 minutes and you can return instantly to Westmarch). Stocked up on rations and potions.

Day 1: Left the city proper, inner walls large and stone, guarded by city’s Dragon Guard (humanoids). Remote, outer walls are large and wooden and also guarded by Dragon Guard. Outside the outer walls in the grassland can be found scorched earth where the dragons repel any enemies that encroach from the surrounding forest. Night watch uneventful.

Day 2: Came across a messy camp seemingly left by adventurers. Searched the camp for anything of interest, nothing found. Buried the trash in their latrine and moved on. Came across a party of humans fleeing Dulwich that had been attacked by goblins earlier. Mother and younger son dead. Ostric revived the survivors (Swampo Masterson = father, Vilgo = teen son, Satu = older daughter, Lena = younger daughter). They are a wealthy merchant family fleeing Mayor Weido Gall of Dulwich who they describe as a warlord. (P) gives them rations, spend the night with them, help bury the dead. Can’t find goblin tracks beyond an ambush point that had nothing more than chicken bones.

Day 3: Send the Mastersons off to Westmarch. Hil marks their cart with her visible arcane mark in case it helps them gain access to town. (P) sees smoke in the distance and sneaks up to find a hunting party of 3 humans eating boar. Learn about goblin presence in the Eastern woods, they live in Dulwich suburbs outside main city. Learn Weido (the mayor) is making life difficult for the merchants in town. Weido’s friend, the high priest of the town, died recently and has been replaced by a new high priestess (Irori) that does not like him much. They shared some boar and (P) let them be. Following lake shore, party came across a honeycombed stone stronghold that seemed ancient and magical.

The surrounding moat is filled with garbage and detritus. (P) notices they are being observed and when they try to speak to the observer in a tower, they are met at the entrance by a bugbear in scale armor. Makes it clear we’re not welcome. (P) decided to put a pin in this and moves on without conflict. The night is uneventful, but (P) hears a lot of night time activity that makes it seem like something is afoot around Dulwich.

Day 4: Warm day, hear a party of hunting dogs and horns nearby, can’t locate them, (P) moves on to town of Dulwich and enter through the East Gate. The East Gate Inn is close at hand and (P) enters. Hil and Fledermaus hang with the wealthy merchant clientele to get a feel for the mayor. They don’t like Weido at all and say he’s meeting with foreign mercenaries. After hearing some rumors about Shunned Valley (stay out of the water ‘cause ghost lady) and learning of a wealthy hunter named Custarelda (who is likely the hunting party we couldn’t track), Hil and Fleder rejoin Ostric and Franmar and head to the Dancing Bear Inn across town.

Dancing Bear is lower class clientele and tell us Weido is planning on expanding to a town East of Dulwich called Long Bridge (?). He has a female captain of the guard, called Tula, who the locals call the “Iron Maiden”. (P) gets a single room in the Dancing Bear for the night (Hil and Ostric share the bed and there was nothing untoward about it) and restock on rations in the morning.

Day 5: Shunned Valley – Recap from the map marker: A valley consisting of a marshy pool fed by a small creek that feeds out over a waterfall/rapids. At the floor of the valley are 3 ancient, moss-covered cairns. The sides of the valley are dotted with a few caves (E,F,G) that have been converted into 2 hobgoblin tombs (E,F) and an owlbear lair (G).

Mission 1: E explored totally. A hobgoblin tomb covered in murals depicting a hobgoblin priestess/wizard sporting a flaming lightning bolt insignia. Traps protected chests filled with moldy, wealthy, foreign (unknown) clothing and coins (looted). A sarcophagus chamber containing the remains of the hobgoblin in the murals (presumably) guarded by a living stone statue of her likeness (destroyed and sarcophagus looted). F explored partially. Entrance guarded by goblin skeletons (destroyed). Not explored further. G owlbear lair occupied by young owlbear that “spoke” to Hil, leaving the impression an adult female was out hunting. (P) killed the owlbear. Large bat grotto covered in a few feet of bat guano (did not search).

After killing the goblin skeletons, the party left cave F and returned to Westmarch by stones of returning. The paladin, Ostric, has the ledger of the loot. Hilniflit has laid claim to a masterwork cold iron dagger and will be honest about it when she returns.

Loot list:
Valuable Gem
A Plainly Wrought Dagger
Leather Bracers
(300GP
value in total)

Masterwork, cold iron dagger (in Hil's posession)

50 GP
15 Silver
Blue Potion (unknown)
map (unknown)
various jewels from the tomb wall carving (to be appraised)

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Westmarch - Mission 02
Sometimes, it's the journey that matters...

Mission 2: Bugbear Stronghold

Party: Hilniflit, Franmar, Fledermaus, Ioelena, Callehalahath, Finial

Day 0: Settled up with the city taxes for Mission 1 loot: Tourmaline gem: 250GP, Gem shards from the walls: +100GP, Potion of cure moderate wounds (300GP, given to Finial), Bracers of Armor +1 (1000GP, given to Fledermaus), Masterwork cold iron dagger (306GP, given to Hilniflit).

Guild profit from Mission 1: 100GP, 15SP

Yanos Fazumin(P) studied the map found in the Shunned Valley and found it marked a city called Khundrukar to the South of Dulwich. Ashryn sends (P) to meet with Yanos Fazumin at The Arcane Codex, Library of Knowledge and Scrolls to ask about it. (P) learned it is an old dwarven city, once home of Durgeddin, a dwarven smith that made powerful swords. The city has since fallen to goblins and hobgoblins and has been empty for centuries.

Yanos has heard rumors that the city of Newkeep is having an ettin (giant) problem with their bridge.

(P) restocked rations and left the city to explore the Bugbear Stronghold found in Mission 1.  Nobody in Westmarch knows anything about it, either.

Mission 2: Bugbear Stronghold

Day 1: Reach the edge of the forest outside the city, following the same trail as Mission 1.  During the night watch in camp, (P) sees strange weather patterns that suddenly appear.  The wind picked up and they could see weird clouds in the distance. Dissipates quickly. Nobody can determine what's causing the event.

Day 2: After setting off in the morning, (P) comes across a strange copse of bone white trees that seemed to have been poisoned.  They have no leaves and there were no leaves on the ground, but there were small green buds growing on them despite the trees being desiccated and dry.  Hil collects samples of branches and buds to bring back to town for further study.



Strange weather appears again in the afternoon.  Still no clue what it is.  There's a heavy mist on the lake that appears during the night watch in camp.

Day 3: Cloudy and warm.  (P) comes across a pack of feral dogs attacking a dire wolf.  (P) decides to help the wolf after Hil speaks with the wolf and determines it's hungry.  (P) kills the dogs and offers them to the wolf.  Calle and Sasha make dead dog overtures to the wolf.  It decides (P) is its pack now.



That night in camp, Franmar and Ioelena find a trail of blood and follow it to a druid's grove (circle of trees) where a massive wolf (larger than a dire wolf) lies dying, pierced with arrows and covered in strange black wounds.  They return to camp and wake (P) including the dire wolf who approach the dying creature to see if aid can be offered.  Party is generally unsuccessful as the wounds seem magical and can't be healed.  The wolf speaks telepathically to Die Fledermaus and Calle and says it can't be saved, but if they pray to their god, it might help.  It is the Spirit of the Woods and it is succumbing to some unknown danger.  Fledermaus tries pulling the arrows from its body.  This doesn't seem to help, but the Spirit, who has bonded with the dire wolf by this point, suddenly takes the body of the dire wolf.  This turns the dire wolf's fur white and the Spirit thanks us for giving it a new body.  Promises a favor if it can ever repay us in the future.  Then it disappears.



Hilniflit collects teeth, bone, fur and claws of the Spirit's former remains… just in case.  Die Fledermaus and Calle bury the remains.

Day 4: Raining and muddy, travel is slow but uneventful.  That night in camp, while Fledermaus and Callehalahath are on watch, they are approached by a well-armed human adventurer. (P) learns he is Valio Ilmonen of the Order of the Cockatrice.  The Order is made up of wealthy sons of nobles that don't have birthright claims, so they go adventuring to prove themselves. Valio is incredibly charismatic and charming and has a war horse.  He agrees to help when told about the Bugbear Stronghold and (P) negotiates his cut to be 30% of all loot if he helps. (P) is not as charmed by his aggressive negotiation, but they are generally trusting of him.

BugbearDay 5: (P) quietly approaches the stronghold and sends stealthy kitties out to go assess the situation. Valio suggests storming it outright, but (P) spots a party of goblins lead by a bugbear heading out of the drawbridge entrance (which is open when (P) arrives).  (P) decides to set up an ambush in the woods, stringing a rope across their path in the hope of tripping them up.  Valio is left to keep an eye on the stronghold and he says he'll come to help if we need it.  (P) loses the element of surprise because being stealthy is hard.

The Ambush of the Bugbear Party

The battle is relatively quick, but Fledermaus takes the brunt of the bugbear's wrath and is nearly killed before (P) kills it.  Valio shows up at the last minute to "help" and doesn't really help much.  Finial restores Fledermaus to full health and then (P) sets about looting the goblins.

Despite Valio basically being a useless tool, Hil settles up his share of the loot so we can send him on his way (Valio takes the agate and abalone shells).  What Hil didn't mention is the unknown value of the mask and potion, so Valio basically got 30% of the known value of the loot as opposed to the full value of the loot… so that was kind of a silver lining.

Loot:  150SP, 18GP, carved ivory egg (40-50GP), Potion of endure elements, magical wooden mask that seems to alter the wearer's voice to be a couple octaves lower (not cursed), 1 pot of alchemist's fire (Hilniflit claimed this).



Valio's share: agate (9GP) and abalone shell (10-20GP)

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Westmarch - Mission 03
We almost die and still want to fight an owlbear...

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

Mission 3 Adventure Map

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 AssaultBugbear Stronghold



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.

Stronghold before attackFledermaus 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.

The assaultMeanwhile, 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.

Snunned Valley

(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.

Loot:
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)
Silver circlet
Masterwork long sword (Karen's character)
Masterwork buckler
Gold ring
Silver armband
owl bear hide (look away)
masterwork war hammer w/ lightning bolts
4 small, yellow gems
6 pots Alchemist's Fire (Hilniflit)
Masterwork chain shirt

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Westmarch - Mission 04
The Cleaners Cleaning and PONIES

Mission 04, Journey to Shadowed Keep

Party: Hilniflit, Franmar, Fledermaus, Exandra, Ioelena, Finial

Day 0: Settled up with the city taxes for Mission 03 loot. Guild Kitty after buying supplies: 425 GP, 5 SP

Mission 4 Map

Day 01: The party, after meeting with Ashryn to settle taxes, gets a message from Yanos Fazumin at The Arcane Codex, Library of Knowledge and Scrolls saying he has news for us. He says the bone white sticks Hil brought back from the last mission are evidence of a fey protector-of-the-grove expiring. However, he can't explain why there are buds growing back.

(P) then heads South out of Westmarch towards the Bugbear Stronghold to check in and see what's up.  The night at the edge of the woods is uneventful.

Day 02: As (P) heads south through the woods, Fledermaus finds a shortcut that brings them to a small temple covered in writhing snakes. Hilniflit speaks with the snakes and learns just about nothing at all except the snakes like their home. The snakes allow (P) to search the temple and they find it is dedicated to Sarenrae, god of the sun and depicted as a rising angel.  They find a ceremonial table with an ornate ceremonial dagger (too delicate to use as a weapon). Franmar decides to take it without the party's knowledge and then second guesses himself and quietly returns it as the party moves on. The night in camp passed uneventfully.

Day 03: Light rain slows (P) progress and even sets their nerves on edge as they were startled by a party of raccoons that Hilniflit decided not to talk to.  When the party arrives at the Stronghold, they find it covered in a swarm of crows, feasting on the goblin corpses the party left behind.  They decide to make camp in the stronghold, so they begin by moving the corpses out to the garbage moat.  The crows aren't very happy about this, but at least we left them their meal instead of incinerating it.  You're welcome, crows!  Near dawn, the watch was engulfed in an unexplained swarm of moths and bugs.

Day 04:  The rain clears and as (P) moves on to Dulwich, they come across a man painting in the wilderness.  He is painting a picture that appears to be Fledermaus fighting a large, silver cat.  (P) begins to grill the painter and he responds by fading away, leaving his painting behind.  (P) inspects the painting and find everyone in the party is somewhere in the painting.  Before they can lay hands on it, it fades away as well.

(P), bewildered and kind of skeeved out, move on to Dulwich where they head straight to Saini to ask about the painter. She doesn't know anything about him and has never heard of anything like it.  When asked about the Shadowed Keep, she says it's filled with bandits, lead by a she-devil.  She also mentions that she has heard the great adventurer, Valentein (who once held the Keep) possessed maps to Khundrakar, the dwarven mine to the South.  She offers (P) 200gp if they would bring those maps to her. (P) asks about getting copies made and she says they'd be worth significantly less if there were copies.

(P) decides to spend the night in the Dancing Bear Inn.  Hilniflit meets a sad young woman named Cora whose father has gone missing recently.  He is a fisherman and disappeared on the lake at some point.  She begs us to see if we can find him, but she doesn't know enough to even know where to start looking for him aside from the fact he's been missing for a week.  Hilniflit  tells Cora to write Hil at the Guild if she uncovers any more clues.

Shadowed Keep

Day 5: It's windy as (P) approaches the Shadowed Keep.  The Keep is rectangular, with a high stone wall.  It has a tower in the Southeast corner near the entrance and a donjon (castle condominium) in the opposite corner that is a couple stories tall and partially unfinished.  The gate is found to be slightly open, with enough room for one to slip through at a time.  Just as the party slips in, a half-elf named Firean, wielding a spear emerges from the tower, followed by a male human named Cullen and his wolfhound (Fang).  Firean asks (P) what it is they're doing here and the party tries to play it off like they didn't know the Keep was occupied… and that we were um… cleaners.  Here to uh… clean the Keep.  Firean doesn't buy this and asks if we are bandits or adventurers and (P) admits they are adventurers.  Firean then mentions that the donjon is infested with goblins.  They mostly keep to themselves, but they come out occasionally and her bandits do their best to keep them contained.

(P) boasts about their track record for slaughtering goblins wholesale.  Firean is skeptical, but she tells the party that if they deal with the goblin infestation, she will let us keep some portion of whatever loot we find.  The party agrees.  No oaths sworn or handshakes (or even any specifics)… so we'll see how that goes.

(P) enters the donjon and searches the ground floor level.  There are no sign of any actual goblins, but the party had to fight off various vermin like giant rats and giant spiders.  Next to the Great Hall is a stairwell with its walls covered in Blood Moon goblin paintings on the wall.  It's assumed this is the entrance to their caves.  Upon closer inspection, the party finds a secret door off to the side of the stairwell.  This leads to another stairwell that goes down underground.  Thinking they have found a secret entrance to the goblin caves, the party heads down to find a long hallway with lit torches at the end and a demonic face carved into the stone over a locked door.  As the party approaches the door, they are attacked by two small fire elementals that spring from the torches.

After a short battle, the party finds the torches are ever-burning torches that give off low heat and stay lit forever.  (P) then notices that the demon carving's mouth is open and it goes pretty far back.  Hil gets on Franmar's shoulders and looks into the mouth to find a button deep in the back of the hole.  She uses one of the ever-burning torches to reach the button and the demon's mouth slams down, biting the torch in half, but sparing Hil's arm.  The locked door is now open, but some kind of gas fills the room and bad things might have happened, but not to Hil, so we'll just keep going.

The party pushes into the next room to find it filled with loot. Suddenly, a large skeleton of a snake with a human head rises up and attacks the party.  Hilniflit's aversion to the undead causes her to create a five foot rolling ball of flame that hits the creature.  As she concentrates on keeping the ball of fire on the creature, the rest of the party assails it with weapons and summoned ponies and it's destroyed relatively quickly.  (P) searches the room and finds an incredible amount of wealth.  Hilniflit has pressing matters back in Westmarch, so she decides to transport back with the loot and leaves the rest of the party to explore the remainder of the donjon.

Hilniflit's loot haul:
454 gp, 5 sp, 18 cp
4 masterwork arrows (Fledermaus, Franmar took these?)
reduce person potion
dagger w/ 3 dark green stones set in it
expensive hard liquor
anti-venom potion
ornate scroll tube (valued 20gp) with scroll of identify (which Ioelena should take, actually – Hil can't use it).
ever-burning torch
masterwork, cold iron sword
screaming crossbow bolts
Large black tower shield with Ironwolf Keep symbol on it
Spellbook with: L1 disguise self, L1 hold portal, L1 hypnotism, L2 false life, L2 dark vision, L2 invisibility
Thieves' tools (Hilniflit claimed them)

At this point, Fledermaus takes over the journaling…

After Hilniflint “bamfed” back to Westmarch the hardy adventurers soldiered onward to clear the Shadow Keep of its goblin infestation.

Shadowed Keep - 2nd floor

2nd Floor
The party decides to explore the 2nd floor of the keep and would then explore the basement once everything upstairs was cleared. The first few rooms that we entered into were devoid of anything interesting. However in the third room we open into a bedroom that looked incredibly opulent and rich, however everything in the room was utterly destroyed. There were several bodies in the room that look like they have long since decayed over the years. There was a skeleton on the bed that looked like it belonged to a female human whose head was caved in. There were 3 additional bodies at the entrance that looked like they belonged to a hobgoblin and two regular goblins. None of the bodies turned up anything.

The party walked back into the hallway and Franmar hears the crying coming from the room next door. We enter the room only to see the spectral spirit of a dead boy whose throat was cut wailing and crying uncontrollably. Everyone in the party attempted communication with the ghost but no one was able to reach or communicate with it. The party made the decision to back out of the room slowly without searching it.

The last room on the 2nd floor we come into what looked like it could have been a dining room or meeting room of some kind. After a thorough search we discover a masterwork dagger hidden in a table leg, a pouch of 25 gold, and a vial of oil of magic weapon.

* author’s note *
It is of the opinion of the author that with this vial we could coat the weapons that we have in our possession to be able to defend ourselves from the specter next door and send it’s spirit to the next world as an act of mercy
* end note *

As we are leaving the last room to make our way back to the stairs we come across a lone goblin that must have wandered from the lower levels. Franmar uses his mask to command the goblin to drop his weapons successfully. We then quickly kill the goblin and recover 1 copper piece.

The party makes its way back down the stairs to then make our way back to the basement stairs of the keep. Unfortunately there were 2 dire wolves waiting for us. After a brief battle the wolves were both killed, but not before inflicting deep wounds to the fighter Exandra. The cleric Finial was able to heal all the wounded. We skin the fur of the 2 dire wolves and move on.

Shadowed Keep - Under the Donjon

The Basement
The long staircase from the 2nd floor leads to a large room below guarded by 6 goblins. There were your 4 regular goblins armed with junk swords and short bows and two other goblins that seemed higher in rank possibly. The other goblins were armed with light maces and light crossbows.

Franmar tested out his goblin mask by telling all the goblins to drop their weapons. Unfortunately only 2 complied to the orders. We quickly killed all the goblins with a lot of arrows, fast sword work, and many ponies. Collectively we gathered up about 2 gold and took the crossbows and maces.

We had at this point 2 choices we could go straight ahead from the staircase or we could head north from our position. We decided to head straight ahead and eventually back track to the northern hallway afterwards. The next area opened up to a door to the left and right and further down the hall the area would turn to the south. We decide to check out the doors to the left and right of the hallway first.

The door to the left headed to a pantry type room filled with barrels of bad wine that has turned to vinegar and some salted meat that looked only fit for a goblin to eat. After a search we turned to the next room across the hall.

The third room contained a room full of suits of studded leather armor and bucklers. All the armor was goblin sized and nothing magical. We do find a pouch with 13GP and a tarnished gold ring.

After a more thorough search we discover a hidden room behind a secret door. The secret room had a single chest. We were uncertain as to whether or not this chest could be booby trapped so everyone but Franmar clears the room. Franmar then proceeds to “Hurt Locker” the chest and was able to open it. Unfortunately the chest had nothing in it but dirty clothes and rotten fruit.
We then search the rest of the secret room and discover a potion of invisibility.

We decide to backtrack to the first room we entered from the staircase and then head north to explore the area that we decided to pass by. The northern room was large and empty but it had an underground well and a hallway that leads to the west.

From the hallway we could hear what sounded like heavy breathing. The ranger bravely and courageously attempted to explore ahead, but unfortunately was attacked by three ravaging gnolls. The ranger went down swinging and had fallen unconscious from their savage attack. The rest of the party leaped into action and with much bravery slew the three gnolls. The gnolls had a total of 10 GP between them all.

After the battle we also checked out the well that was located one room before the gnoll room just to be certain we weren't missing any potential hidden treasure. We lowered the halfling down with ropes to do a thorough search but we didn't find anything.

Additional loot:
Masterwork Dagger
Vial of Oil of Magic Weapon
Potion of Invisibility
2 light maces
2 light crossbows
Tarnished gold ring
2 hides of dire wolves
50 GP total

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Westmarch - Mission 05
We're easily distracted...

Mission 04, Journey to Shadowed Keep

Party: Hilniflit, Franmar, Fledermaus, Ioelena, Finial, Callehalahath

Day 0: Settled up with the city taxes for Mission 04 loot. Guild Kitty after buying supplies: 906 GP, 18 CP

Westmarch Map - Mission 05


Day 01: Party heads out of town with the intention of returning to the Shadowed Keep and clearing it of its goblin problem. Hilniflit was a bit distracted the first day, but something about meeting and talking to squirrels happened?

Day 02: (P) decides to take a new approach to the Shadowed Keep via the town of New Keep after hearing about a giant destroying the town's bridge.  The journey on the new trail is otherwise uneventful and (P) makes camp an hour or so just outside of the town.

ettinDay 03: New Keep turns out to be a hamlet of some 30 homes and an unfinished keep.  When (P) arrives, they find chaos as a two headed giant (a ~15' ettin) is rampaging the cattle stock, swinging a massive piece of timber, killing townsfolk, smashing structures and stealing cattle.  The ettin roars at the party and retreats into the surrounding woods before the party gets a chance to attack.  The village is too preoccupied with tending the wounded and hastily repairing structures to give much detail, but the party is pointed in the direction of the Iomedae temple where they find the priest Restic.

Restic explains that for the last few weeks, this ettin has been coming by day in a rampage as witnessed by the party, but has also been spotted sneaking around at night, quietly.  It is even suspected of scrawling a riddle on the wall of the temple:

Two heads have we but born with one,
We avenged, healed and protected,
Our master was invincible,
But punished all we who objected,
He did we the six-armed king,
And so by our god were rejected,
Thus, this is our fate,
One head, twice bisected.

Restic tells the party that he even suspects the paint and brushes that were used for the riddle were stolen from Jolden, a farmer in town.  The party's line of questioning leads them to the village elder, Hanah who fills in some of the local history:  Hanah tells the party about Aranda, the mayor of new keep and Malwick, the half-elf son whose father was killed by the ettin after his father shot it with an arrow.

The party, suspecting a mystery afoot with the strange behavior of the ettin between night and day, heads to the mayor's keep to meet with her. Aranda, the mayor, fills the party in with some more local history: New Keep is called New Keep because the villagers had to flee Old Keep (a few hours South) because an evil wizard took up residence in the Old Keep and drove them away.   They were just starting to scrape out an existence when this ettin arrived and started causing problems and smashed the town's bridge, hindering their ability to seek help.

The mayor points the party in the direction of Malwick, the young half-elf whose father was killed by the ettin.  Malwick is obviously distraught and only has thoughts of slaying the ettin.  The party suspects there's more to the story, so they decline his company in their plan to track the giant.

Following the ettin's trail cautiously (and surprisingly stealthily for this group), the group stumbles upon a party of 8 hobgoblins lead by a hobgoblin named Boothram. Hilniflit, scouting the forward position, decides that now is not the time for a rousing scrap and instead decides to try speaking with the hobgoblins – who seem a little rattled. It turns out they have also been harassed by the ettin – even after trying to ally with it in common, bad-humanoid agendas.  They tell the party that the ettin is holed up in Old Keep.  The party suggests if they can resolve the ettin problem for the hobgoblins, the hobgoblins will leave the town of New Keep alone.  The hobgoblins agree to this deal and both parties part peacefully.

Shortly after, the party stumbles across a smaller giant with beady eyes, standing in the middle of the road – an ogre. Before the party knows what's happening, another ogre steps out of the woods behind them. Diplomacy is clearly off the table, so Fledermaus knocks an arrow and buries it deep into the rear ogre's eye.  The ogre bellows and charges Iolena and smashes its club into her.  Callehalahath's tiger springs into action to attack the front ogre and is joined by the rest of the party.  Finial races to Iolena's aid and tends to her wounds despite an ogre bearing down on their position. Fledermaus somehow escapes near death this time and actually manages to drop the rear ogre with just three arrows – an impressive feat, really.

With a combination of fire, weapons and tiger teeth, the front ogre is eventually dispatched as well. The ogres were carrying 100 GP and a very old, gold ring etched with fish designs. The party learns it's a Ring of Swimming that allows the wearer of the ring to swim far beyond any natural ability (+5 to swimming skill worth 1000 GP).



The party nears Old Keep as it gets dark and decides to make camp in the nearby woods.

Day 4:  The party observes from afar that Old Keep is a squat, old stone tower with a circular parapet.  The same riddle from New Keep seems to be scrawled on the outer wall with blackened firewood, but much is smudged.  They also see a few relatively new gravestones with the names Zimian, Kordel and Thorvald Halfgranite inscribed on them.



The party decides to stay hidden and wait for the giant to emerge at night when it's presumed it will be more docile.  Then they will track it back to town and/or search the keep while it's gone… anyway, this all seemed rather confusing to Hilniflit, so she decided to ask the ettin himself what was up when he came out. Hilniflit, using the message spell, greeted the ettin when he eventually emerges. There was a confused moment where the party tried to sort out the giant/common translation process between Franmar, Hil and the ettin, but fortunately, it turned out the ettin spoke common and things proceeded quickly.

Hilniflit made clear the ettin was in no danger if it was peaceful and the ettin told the party everything is peaceful as long as the other head, that was sleeping through all this, stayed asleep.  The party emerges from hiding and the ettin tells the party he was once a cleric of Iomedae, named Kernan. Kernan came to Old Keep to confront the wizard with a band of adventurers. The wizard cursed Kernan and turned him into this giant, who now shares a head  with another person named Muck. Kernan insists Muck is responsible for all the bad stuff he's been doing and he's afraid Muck is gaining more and more control over Kernan as time goes on – including killing the rest of his party (Kernan then buried them in the new graves the party noticed earlier). Muck is also responsible for smashing the bridge and raiding New Keep.

Kernan has been scrawling the riddle, hoping somebody could help him solve it and tells the party if they can't solve it, he'd prefer the party killed him before Muck wakes up again.  He also tells the party the wizard (Stondalis) that cursed him is dead and buried beneath the keep.

Fledermaus and Franmar decide to search Old Keep for clues with Kernan.  They find a polymorph scroll, a potion, a magic sword, a spear and some chainmail – but not much that helps to solve the riddle. 

Meanwhile, the party still outside is confronted by a mob of New Keep townspeople lead by a drunken Malwick.  The townspeople are determined to slay the giant that has been raiding their town. Iolena eventually convinces the mob to stand down.  She tells them the giant will be dealt with by the party – who is currently slaying him in the keep as they speak.  The townsfolk buy it for the moment.

The party reconnoiters in the keep where Kernan tells them Muck might be starting to wake up.  The party binds Kernan and locks him in a storeroom until they can decide what to do next. Iolena is able to read and cast the polymorph scroll, so the party decides to polymorph Kernan back into his previous form – but without a permanence spell, this would only last a few minutes.  With no other options to explore, the party decides to give it a shot and Iolena casts the spell after throwing open the storeroom door.

Kernan is successfully returned to his old form, but he still does not feel his powers granted by his goddess, Iomedae, have returned.  Without solving the riddle, this would just be a temporary fix.  Kernan pleads for the party to kill him while Muck is not a problem.

In a brief therapy session, the party asks what it was he could have done that displeased Iomedae so much and Kernan tells of incremental crimes that lead him down a darker and darker path.  When Kernan expresses regret and prays for forgiveness, he can feel his powers return and he casts dispel magic on himself.  The curse is broken.  The ettin has been slain… sorta'.  Franmar and a few others decide to dig a false grave for the ettin in case New Keep wants proof the ettin is no longer a problem.  The party dresses Kernan in the chainmail and spear they found and leave the keep.  They tell the villagers that the ettin is dead and buried and convince them to return home.  The party spends the night in Old Keep.

Day 5: The party returns to New Keep and sneaks Kernan to the temple of Iomedae and leave him in the care of Restic. Hilniflit gives Kernan a marked mug that he can send back to Westmarch if he wants to reach the party in the future.  They then decide to strike out East into the woods to see what minor adventures they can rustle up before returning home.  (Shadowed Keep can wait for another time.)  The party stumbles across an old stone hut, surrounded by incredibly annoying stinging nettles that can actually cause pain to distraction.  Hilniflit thinks she has an easy solution and burns the nettles away from the entrance, only to create a noxious smoke that ends up irritating some of the party anyway.

The Ghoul Lair under the stone hut

The party searches the hut and eventually finds a trap door that leads to some stairs underground.  The party proceeds cautiously to find a small room covered in a brown mold.  Callehalahath informs everyone that brown mold feeds on fire and despite a lot of side eye, Hilniflit steps forward and blasts the mold with rays of frost, killing it instantly.

The party files into the room and finds a small, sewer-pipe-sized tunnel opposite.  Just as they decide who should crawl into it, a gray humanoid form streaks out of the tunnel and attacks the party.  The creature, a ghoul, is fast and tries to slash and bite the party, but they dispatch it quickly.  Franmar searches up the small tunnel and finds the ghoul's lair, thick with humanoid bones.  Franmar searches the bones and finds a cloudy white potion and 4 amber gems (worth 50-150 GP). Franmar also discovers a tunnel in the ceiling that leads up to the surface, into the thicket of nettles.  The party, after a little further exploration, decides to move on.

The party continues to head East, further into the woods. They come upon a small clearing, where they find a couple small humanoids with goat legs who are clearly aware of the party. The two turn out to be fauns, Filn & Nilf, with a couple animal companions, a raven and a frog. The fauns tell the party that their animal companions are actually their significant others.  They were cursed by a hooded wizard with a cleft lip.  The wizard is trying to convince forest sylvans (magical forest creatures) to leave with him (they will be "well cared for") and any that refuse are cursed or killed.  Evidence of these killings is the bleached white trees the party has stumbled across in previous adventures.  The fauns are surprised to hear these bleached white trees are budding – they have never heard of such a thing.



The wizard is apparently from the East of the woods, but the fauns don't have much more to go on, even after the party tried speaking with the cursed animal companions who saw the wizard.  The party tells the fauns that they are sworn to defend the forest and the sylvans. The party asks them to spread word that we are available to help if this wizard turns up again. Hilniflit gives them a marked token they can send back to Westmarch if they need us to return.

The party then decides to return back to Westmarch after so much do-gooding for one week and bamfs back to Westmarch.

Loot:
100 GP
ring of swimming (1000 GP – with Franmar)
potion from the Old Keep
magic sword from the Old Keep (This longsword has an ornate basket hilt, which is chipped and dented. The blade itself is highly polished and glimmers in the light.)

white potion from Ghoul's Lair
4 amber gems (50-150 GP)

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