King Makers' Road

-The Tale of the First Battle of the Singing Sword

In the strange red, green glow of the huge ice cavern of the Jarl’s throne room, the two massive combatants stood thirty paces apart, facing each other. The holy knight, somehow standing almost twelve feet tall, bedecked in resplendent armor. His opponent, slightly taller and more impressively muscled, was less adorned but imposing none-the-less. He stood, with a half-smile, cracking his frost hued face, easily seen despite the icy blue beard covering his face, moving to a rhythm only he could hear, drumming a cadence by slapping his sword to his armored thigh.

There may have been a slight murmuring in the room, I don’t recall, it doesn’t matter. All eyes and attention were glued to the two champions near the center of the cavern. It may have been colder or warmer than normal but all that was all forgotten once the Jarl, draped on his decorated throne of death, broke the anticipation with his booming voice, “BEGIN!”

In a blur of speed, surprising for a being of such size, the giant raised his ballista sized crossbow and squeezed the trigger and then let go of the contraption in the same instant. In one fluid motion, swiftly kneeling to pick up a shield that was large enough to protect the broad side of a plow horse. He stayed in a low protective crouch. The move may have been too swift as the bolt he shot flew high and to the side, embedding its barbed head into the white wall above the knight’s companions, who stood a rock’s throw away.

At the same time as the giant raised his crossbow, the knight’s stance changed in an instant. Where he was once alert but at ease, he raises his sword to a guard position, protecting the right side of his body and left side of his face. There seems to be a metallic hum in the room emanating from his weapon, a tone that both feels and sounds expectant, like the rumble of a distantly approaching storm which promises fury when it arrives.

The warrior breaks into movement, running, charging forward, with a sneer on his face that promises death to the evil that confronts him. In an instant the two clash without words, letting their deadly prowess speak for them, expressing their mutual contempt. At the last possible instant he ducks below the shield bash the giant prepared, allowing him to shift slightly off balance to his left, thrusting his sword towards the hip joint of the fell creature’s armor, hoping to pierce there and drag it up with a backhanded slash from the left hip diagonally across the belly. The storm arrives, the hum that had started now growing in intensity.

Before the disemboweling move is complete, the frost giant recovers, grunts in pain and pivots on his right foot, dislodging the blade from his hip, releasing a gout of blood in the process. Undeterred and still moving with surprising speed and fluidity, he brings his enormous sword across the head of the human confronting him, sending his helm and part of the scalp flying across the room to clatter against the west wall. Momentarily dazed, Jarvin is caught by a second slash across the bicep of his shield arm, nearly severing the muscle and sending the feeling of dull fire from fingertip to shoulder. As his vision clears, he is able to jump back and avoid the third, potentially killing thrust that was aimed at his heart.

Seeing the chance to quickly end this threat and prove himself to both the Jarl and the rest of his clan, the giant presses forward toward the injured man. It is here that the first, fatal flaw is made. The icy floor, now slick with the warmed blood of the combatants, causes him to slip and lose momentum. Jarvin, recovered from the blow to his head strikes quickly to the unprotected knee, chopping down and cutting deeply into the thigh, hitting bone hard enough to nearly jar the shrieking sword from his grasp. Reversing his grip, he thrusts it in and up, trying to catch the creature under the chin while ducking and kicking out with his right leg trying to connect with the savaged leg of his opponent. The frost skinned creature proves more stout and balanced than he anticipated and despite the mangled thigh, maintains his stance despite the slick footing and injury.

The shining knight, having left himself open with the kick is struck by another blow to his midsection, armor caving and rending, and Jarvin feels the sharp cold pain as steel slides below his lowest rib. He screams Torm’s name, half in prayer, half in supplication as the giant pulls the blade free with a sickening sucking sound, his sword point awash in the vile human’s blood.
Despite the pain in his belly, he sees his opportunity as the giant, screaming something in his language, lunges to finish the fight. Torso unprotected, the giant recognizes too late his error as Jarvin swings with all his might. The sword, screaming now in a deafening wail, arcs through the air, cleaving through armor, bone and flesh, finally stopping midway through the giant’s upper torso. Tearing the blade free of the toppling creature, the body is dead before it hits the ground; a torrent of steam rising from the widening pool of blood spreading from the corpse at Jarvin’s feet.

Sheathing his sword to end the ear splitting shriek, Jarvin faces the Jarl, panting as he catches his breath, and begins to truly feel his wounds.

“IT IS DONE! YOU HAVE PROVEN YOURSELVES WORTHY.”

The slain giants belongings, wife and children were given to the next sub chief selected by the Jarl, for this is the way of frost giant clans. The group was quickly blindfolded and taken to the secret path leading the way to the land of Snell, king of the fire giants; they could not see the hatred in the eyes of the two children watching from a shadowed alcove. They also could not know that this battle’s tale would be told and spread through the clans, the tale of the War Band of the the Singing Sword would frighten giant children and inspire young warriors for generations to come.

-The Tale of the First Battle of the Singing Sword
_ Tomlin Berrypicker, Bard of the Cove_

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Continued... Day One in the Land of the Frost Giants

Eager for some action, the party pushes forward. They enter the next cave in the chain as they head south along the east wall of the crevasse. Entering it, they are faced with a choice of three different directions to head in. They decide to explore the tunnels from left to right.

Entering into the leftmost tunnel, Jarvan calls for some light. Som accompanies him, igniting his holy halo to guide the way. Unable to proceed without detection, the creatures in 7 are alerted to the presence of intruders. Realizing that the initiative is escaping them, Jarvan rushes in with Som following close behind.

The majority of the party enters into the cavern just in time to see a small band of Ice Trolls fleeing into the darkness. This sight is followed by low grumbling; a dire chorus emanating from beyond light’s reach. Before anyone has time to react, the beating of wings produces a squad of low-flying monsters. They are identified as half-white dragon ogres! Encircling the party, six of the flying terrors unleash cones of cold. Their frosty breath nearly takes down Som, who through heroic efforts manages to work past the pain.

The tide would turn quickly. The combined firepower of the group wipes out the beasts in less than 12 seconds.

With only the original Ice Trolls remaining, the party moves in for the kill. Som, newly proficient in Giantish, hears one of the trolls call out and beg for parley. Som passes this information on to Jarvan who grants parley to the Ice Troll leader. They seek only freedom and are willing to part with all their possessions to buy it. Extorted of coin, intel, arms and armour, Jarvan orders them released.

Still hungering for action, the group returns to the split in the path and choose to head down the center tunnel. The Ice Trolls have informed them that this tunnel leads to a cavern with several frost giant guards. Possessing actionable intelligence for the first time, the group makes an attempt at strategy. They hope to lure the giants to them, instead of charging in blindly like usual. The plan has limited success. The frost giant guards, already on high-alert, are very suspicious of the groups attempt at subterfuge.

Only one very cautious giant is coaxed out towards the group. He pays dearly for leaving his post. The party sends him back – blind, slashed and burned. Following the whimpering giant, the group bursts into cavern 9 and a great battle ensues. In the end, the giants’ weakness to fire proves fatal. Six of them are killed; two flee down an unexplored tunnel that leads to the west.

Game Recap for 1/20/2013

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Day One in the Land of the Frost Giants

Following the successful defeat of two Frost Giants and a pair of Hill Giants, the party opts to push ahead, deciding that the best defense is a strong offense.


A majestic eagle swoops down at Tamarisk’s head to get his attention. Lowering his mind shield, Som accepts the telepathic link from Tamarisk and informs him that there are another pair of Hill Giants on the opposing cliff. He then rejoins his flock of eagles and flies across the crevasse. Lightning bolts are seen and loud claps of thunder join the howling wind of the snow storm already in progress.

As the party prepares to storm the icy cavern, a magical sensor is noticed floating around the cave entrance. Fearing that the enemy is using it to spy upon them, the party spellcasters dispel the snoop.

Clambering over a dead frost giant partially blocking the cave entrance, everybody files slowly into the icy cavern. As they do so, the magical sensor reappears. Further attempts to dispel it are unsuccessful.

Entering into the icy cavern, the party encounters a lone frost giant guarding a southern branch of the cave network. After a brief struggle, the outnumbered and over-matched frost giant is subdued.

At the rear of the party, Kizan notices that the magical sensor has disappeared. Shortly thereafter, he sees a brilliant flash of light at the cave entrance. To his surprise, he sees a pair of Sun Elves, one a divine caster and the other an arcanist, standing before him. Peaceful contact is made, and the Sun Elves explain that they have arrived with a “guest” that they wish to release into the party’s custody. It is the long-absent Asher.

Old friends queue up to greet their long lost friend. However, they are somewhat disturbed by the grotesque physical transformation that she has gone under. Touched by the taint of an aberration, Asher now possesses freakishly long limbs and stunted wings. Though never a beauty to behold, she is now a monster. Undaunted, the group is desperate for any help they can get and gladly welcome her back into the fold. They even ask the Sun Elves for assistance and they oblige in the form of some healing spells.

Their business concluded, the Sun Elves (determined to be followers of Lathander Morninglord) disapparate.

With a brief reprieve from the rigours of non-stop combat, the party takes in a spectacle of nature’s raw fury. Against a dark sky poorly lit by the pale moonlight, angry flashes of lightning strike the opposite cliff. No one is quite certain, but some say they can hear the groaning of giants carrying across with the howling wind.

It is in this moment that group members become aware that both Nidalee and Tamarisk are missing. Nidalee had pushed further into the southerly branch of the cave network and begun looting the room marked as 2 on the map. She returns dutifully with a large bag of gold.

Meanwhile, Tamarisk Sungold had turned himself invisible and ventured alone into the unexplored northern branch of the cave network. Being unable to see in the dark, he cast light on a rock and tossed ahead of him so that he might see any trouble in his path. Eventually, he found it.

Entering into the room marked 1 on the map, Tamarisk finds that a quartet of frost giants have setup an ambush here. They are alerted to his presence by the appearance of his magically illuminated pebble. A pair of very observant frost giants detect Tamarisk himself and hurl boulders at him. One misses, but the other hits him solidly. The blood spray on the icy cavern walls reveals his location with a brilliant red outline. Barely escaping with his life, Tamarisk runs further into the cave network, instead of towards his nearby comrades. At first blush, this tactic seems puzzling, but Tamarisk’s ultimate strategy does pan out as he planned all along.

Preparing to move on Tamarisk, the frost giants are distracted by the war cry of Jarvan Proudmore as he charges down towards them, intent on saving his endangered comrade. They reset their ambush and wait.

The first to enter the room is Grim. He enters the room and is immediately pummeled by a pair of boulders. Staggered, he thinks better of his strategy and withdraws to safety at the rear of the party.

Undaunted, the rest of the party begins to file in. Cainam traps two of the frost giants behind a wall of fire. If they want to enter into combat, they’ll need to brave the flames… a tough sell for a creature with fire weakness.

Jarvan and Asher charge into combat against the two closest frost giants. They are pummeled mercilessly, but they give as much as they take. Kizan joins the fray and proves just how useful a fire mage is down in these frozen depths.

The enemy divided, things go poorly for the giants. Eventually Nidalee joins the battle, piercing flesh from afar with her arrows. Even Grim rejoins the battle after a quick spot of healing by Cainam. Ultimately, the force of Jarvan’s sword, Asher’s sacrifice, Cainam’s Wall of Fire and Flame Strike, as well as repeated scorching rays from Kizan all prove to be too much. The enemy is vanquished.

That problem resolved, the question now returns to the whereabouts of Tamarisk. His bloody outline is detected on the caverns South wall. Nidalee tracks the fresh drops as they lead down a tunnel, away from the ambush. After 30 feet or so, the blood drop trail disappears. Assuming that Tamarisk is to be found further ahead; Jarvan, Nidalee, and Kizan charge down the hallway.

Back in room 1, Asher’s limp body is pulled out from under a deceased Frost Giant. She is healed enough for her to get back on her feet. Cainam proceeds to dispense further healing as necessary. Som rejoins the group, looking rather beat up. He finally defeated the Hill Giants on the other side of the crevasse, but they extracted quite a bit of retribution before they met their end. Streams of blood red sap trickle down his simple hemp cloak. He convalesces with Asher, joining hands (or what passes as hands for the two of them) with her and praying to the Selune. It is fortunate for them that it is near-midnight. The ever-loving power of the Lady of Light warms their tired bodies and they are healed of their hurt.

Meanwhile, Nidalee, Kizan, and Jarvan do eventually find Tamarisk. Though still invisible, he contacts them telepathically and then verbally. He turns over some treasure that he found in the storeroom (marked 6 on the map). They find that the long tunnel continues past the storeroom and ultimately leads back out to the vast crevasse. Unwilling to proceed with only half the party, Jarvan orders everyone back to cavern 1.

Refreshed, but wary of further combat, the group debates how to safely rest for the balance of the night. It is a little past 1am and the most sleep anyone has had totals to less than an hour. After a long brainstorming sessions, Jarvan has an epiphany. They will enter into one of the dead-end tunnels that were of no interest to anybody and have Som wall them in with a column of ice spell. This false bottom would allow them to rest unmolested by outside forces.

Relieved by his brilliant suggestion, the weary adventurers proceed to rest for the next 8hrs. During this time, they do hear the muffled screams and yells of Giantish, as the carnage the party left behind is uncovered.

At about 10am, the well-rested party begins to chip their way out of their icy tomb. They emerge to find the cavern network quiet and abandoned. The giant corpses had been removed while they slept.

Studying the map, they realize that the long corridor connected two relatively distant cave entrances. There was one cave entrance between the two. They decide to explore this one.

Entering cavern 3 cautiously, they notice that this icy chamber has a ceiling covered with beautiful icicles. Asher opts to explore the Northern branch of this chamber. Proceeding slowly, she turns the bend and finds herself facing into a den (4) of winter wolves. They growl menacingly at her, but do not strike. She returns to inform the party of what she saw. Som moves forward, prepared to assist, if called upon. Indeed, Jarvan asks Som if he might be able to do something about the wolves.

Som moves slowly, but not very quietly towards the wolf den. He doesn’t want to surprise them. When he turns the corner, he identifies himself as a friend of nature and proceeds to use wild empathy to allay their concerns. The wolves, only interested in protecting their young, are agreeable to a non-interference relationship. Returning to the party, Som informs them that the winter wolves will not attack them if left alone.

That settled, the party turns south and enters cavern 5. They discover a macabre scene. Eight humanoids are found frozen in solid blocks of ice. They all appear to have died gruesome deaths, judging by the varying degrees of mutilation their corpses have suffered.

Uninterested in recovering the bodies for decorum’s sake, the party only turns to pay heed when they spot several interesting items encased with the bodies. A quick scan with Detect Magic reveals that more than one of these items has a magical aura. The treasure hungry members of the group proceed at once to free the corpses from their frosty embrace.

Jarvan, who was previously serving as lookout, has qualms about grave-robbing. Bickering ensues as various moralities clash. Eventually, Som is able to mediate an agreeable solution. Jarvan sets about digging graves to dispose of the corpses in a more dignified fashion. Som takes Jarvan’s position as lookout at the mouth of the cave. Nidalee slumbers peacefully in her cozy drow box.

As Tamarisk, Cainam, Asher, Kizan and Grim continue to smash their way into the frozen cubes of flesh and treasure, a low grumbling occurs. With a sudden jolt, the icicles from the cave ceiling work loose and skewer the grave robbers below. The damage is moderate, but annoying. Spellcasting and wand charges must be expended to heal the injured.

After an hour of work, the party does finally extract the baubles that many so jealously covet. However valuable they may turn out to be, they appear to be of little use in these frigid environs. Why this band of ill-fated adventurer was doomed to death becomes apparent as their magical items are identified. It is better to charge a frost giant with a spoon, than a staff of frost.

Game Recap for 1/13/2013

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Politics, Bureaucrats, and Vampires pt 2

After the incredible shrinking hallway act, the fight continued. Grim charged up the stairs and seeing a door open without aid assumed with was the invisible paladin. He charged to try to pass Canum but Canum held strong with the might of Alona at his back protecting Jarvan. Jarvan charged the vampire healer and smited with all his might (he overdid it a bit) and viciously murdered the healer again. All the while Kizane sees a pair of half drow half elf full vampires (not to his knowledge) climbing the side of the house. He keeps moving and makes his way through the kitchen (to Canum’s dismay) to the battle. They eventually got into the house and all kinds of vampire shenanigans unfolded with the rest of the party aloof. The Lord vampire that was just healed poofed into smoke and went through the chimney. Eventually Grim was able to break through Canum’s defenses and assault Jarvan. This time though it was time to deal with the dominated dwarf. Canum and Jarvan quite literally beat him with the broad site of sword and mace until knocked unconscious (where he remained for quite some time). Nidalee came into the hallway and with her insider knowledge told us to follow her, she went to the end of the hall and opened a door. Canum healed Jarvan a bit to sustain him while Kizane came up the stairs relaying the existence of the Lord and Preslin inside. He shot rays but missed. All the while any non-vampire is having the wisdom sucked out of them or at least trying to resist such (filling the DM’s action point surplus). Nidalee was inside and they shut the door once they saw the ranged capabilities of Kizane. However Jarvan was able to push the door in with ease revealing the foursome of vampires. He charged in and attacked the closest vampire but Preslin was waiting for him but luckily he was not able to hit Jarvan. The Lord was then struck by Kizane’s scorching rays as was incinerated back to dust and it fled to the adjacent room. However, a lot happened at once all between the Vampires. Preslin told Rialty to protect him and his coffin, along with telling Nidalee not to harm him or his coffin. Then Rialty told Nidalee to go find the Lords coffin which she did right after Rialty dominated Canum and told him to protect Nidalee. So Nidalee climbed through the window, Canum ran to the master bedroom to find the coffin while Jarvan and Kizane dealt with Preslin and his coffin. Jarvan turned the remaining two vampires away causing them to flee while Kizane went to work setting the coffin ablaze (along with the hallway). All the while Nidalee and Canum are able to destroy the bed to find the coffin and begin to burn it as well. It soon became apparent we burned the coffins but in the process began to burn down the house. Nidalee grabbed some dirt from Rialty’s coffin and we got out of the house as quick as possible after healing and tying up Grim. Kizane and Jarvan stayed at the mansion to be assured the vampires would not return to their coffins remains to come back to life which proved a smart idea. Nidalee, Rialty, Grim, and Canum headed back to the Manor for some much needed rest. By nightfall the next day the vampires were vanquished, the mansion was in ruin; we had two awaking vampires; and our friendly Grim back. We had a group talk to have with our new status. Rialty informed us about a drow uprising happening right below our feet. We were unsure of what path to take, finish the vampire uprising in Harrowdale, find our demon, or go figure out the drow uprising. Soon after the choice was made for us when Shamus flew to our rescue to warn us of the incoming town guard unit and we gathered our things and booked it to the back secret exit. The group (now apparently over our troubles with cliffs and water) was able to get to Shamus’ boat with relative ease. Jarvan walked to the boat along with a gaggle, flock, swarm or whatever the hell two bats and some birds are. Shamus arrived back on board and told us he would take us wherever we liked. We decided to go to uncover the drow uprising. We embarked on a new part of our journey and hopefully to a part of it which does not involve burning towns, mansions, or releasing demons.

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Politics, Bureaucrats and Vampires

We received a strange invitation from Lord somethingrather to attend a dinner and a hunt on gold embossed paper. After some looking into the Lord we found out a few things. Jarvan, Canum, and Kizan went to the Temple to Torm and talked with the high priest there. He was able to tell us more about the political unrest and how Lord somethingrather is a rather newly appointed (by the insurgents not the royal family). Rialty went to taverns and asked around town for more information and apparently found out the location of the mansion and went to investigate. After our search for information we decided to accept. After a bit of shopping the group (minus Kizane, Asher and Rialty) went to the Lord’s mansion. We were welcomed by a servant and ushered to an outside table encircled by braziers. Canum had the insight to “use the restroom” to check out a bit about our host. He was ushered upstairs and noticed that the house was a bit peculiar for a Lord. He also sent a message to Rialty, which turned out to be quite ingenious. It gave us our first hint of foul play, by the response “kill Preslin.” After a rather uneventful dinner, besides Jarvan being the usual loudmouth he is, we were asked for a drink while the “hunt” was prepared. We were served wine, in silver cups, the Lord in a gold cup. Apparently Jarvan was the only person stupid enough (or confident enough in his opinion) to drink the wine. He knew something was amiss but did not know what. But when the Lord slouched onto the floor and everyone felt a strange aura the “hunt” was on and we were the prey. Jarvan sensed evil in the room and checked the Lord. Grim attacked a large vase in one of the corners of the room and out came a deformed zombie creature. While this happened the Lord vaporized into white dust. We were able to quickly dispatch it and started on another vase when another noble came into the room hearing the ruckus. A flash of magic overcame Grim and in an instant became their pawn. The command was given to “kill the paladin.” At that moment the Lord reformed and attacked. Jarvan smited the newcomer immediately while Nidalee and Canum finished off the other zombie. Grim hacked at Jarvan dealing massive damage. Canum and Nidalee changed targets to the other noble and seemingly vanquished him as he turned to a white dust. We realized that he was a vampire at that moment. Knowing he was not dead we turned to the Lord. The Lord had been slapping Canum and dealing more damage than expected all the while Grim was demolishing Jarvan. Canum poured what seemed like 50 gallons of water onto the Lord which weakened him greatly. All the while Rialty showed up and grabbed Nidalee (hence the lack of arrows) and pulled her into the adjacent room locking the door seemingly to protect her. Jarvan charged and smited the Lord back into the white powder and both of the powders escaped up the chimney. Canum went the door and shattered the lock to help Nidalee. Rialty was on top of her and told Canum to go upstairs to destroy the coffins. He for some reason ran the opposite direction the stairs which he had been up before. Jarvan was being overwhelmed by Grim and was forced to use an invisibility potion and pray he was not struck by Grim anymore. Torm was with him as he was able to drink another healing potion and escape to follow Canum. However before he is able to get far Canum came back out heading the correct direction to the stairs. We ran upstairs on the hunt to kill Preslin all the while thinking Rialty is helping Nidalle rather than turning her into a vampire…. Canum gets to the top first seeing Preslin newly healed. Jarvan is close behind still invisible as Rialty tells Grim that the paladin went up the stairs. Grim passes Jarvan somehow but soon hears him and swings wildly again. Jarvan sprinted up the stairs to help Canum finish off Preslin once more and turn him into dust. We are faced with 5 rooms to search for the coffins. Canum opens the closest door to find it uninteresting, Jarvan opens one and finds a what appears to be some sort of Dracolich restoring the Lord back to his previous state. To be continued.

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On the path to glory and riches
Continuing where Tamarisk, the Dragon Slayer, left off they traversed down the small tunnel following the status that Canim had cast on one of Shamus’ brethren made their way to an opening in which they heard the final cry of the Adult Blue Dragon and continued forward. They joined up with Shamus and woefully watched all of the dragons horde disappear into the Goliaths’ bags. Jarvan and Nidalee (well Nidalee) finished gutting the younger dragon we were charged to dispose of. We met back up with the group at the Elephant carcass and continued back to Highfort.

Once again back into the mundane world of town lordship, or so we think. Once we settle in we all go to our respective tasks. Jarvan: writing letters requesting aid from the Harpers, assuring townspeople they are safe and we are doing our best to keep them safe, and other Jarvany things. Tamarisk: sing in the tavern, drink, be merry, etc. assist in the running of the Thieves’ Guild. NIdalee: Train her wolf. Tanklin: continue training the town guard, put the dragon head on a spike, usual Tanklin gore that we all know and love. Ronin: be sneaky, join in Tamarisk and his frivolity, run the thieves guild, etc. Canim: pray a bunch, talk to Jihad about our next mission which entails clearing out the Temple a day outside the town. Ducain of Clan Ducain and George the Bi-curious: Assist with fortifying Highfort with his druidic abilities. Play with George the Bi-curious. Asher: walk around and watch over the town ever so vigilantly.
Eventually we move on to bigger and better things and attempt to clear the Temple for Jihad. However we run into a slight inconvenience on the way. And when I say slight I mean a super scary smart troll. He is a brazen, cocky, smelly creature who had been sent to assassinate the Lords and Lady of Highfort. Unbeknownst to us he is a member of the Cull (a dark assassin for hire type of guild hired by the Black Hand) and is quite the opponent. Using our perfect tactics (stand in a group and charge) we are caught off guard by his ability to cast spells and most of our party is trapped in his entangle spell almost immediately giving him a large advantage. The meat shield took front and center and took massive blows from the troll hunter giving the group time to escape. Jarvan became worried for the group’s safety when the Troll was continuing to not drop or relent in his attacks. Jarvan yelled and screamed for Tamrisk to aid with his wondrous song of courage but was too concerned with his own safety. The group was finally able to break free and aid in the attack. Ronin snuck behind him and hit with some sneak attacks, Canim healed Jarvan and aided with his mace and Nidalee with her bow. Eventually after finally working as a team we fell the creature, looted his body (finding the letter of hire from the Black Hand), and finally burning it.
We made camp soon after, happy to have Nidalee’s random shack finding skills on hand. Canum heals us back to full and Jarvan touches himself as usual. The next morning we come within striking distance of the Temple. Tamarisk and Ronin in the cloak of night sneak to the watch tower (with the aid of the map given to us by Jihad). They see a very tall wicked bush that completely surrounds the Temple and make their way to the tower wall. They look but see nothing. But Tamarisk has the insight to listen against the wall and hears a dark voice bearing dark words but none with any meaning. They return to us slightly shaken but still in one piece. We change our breach location away from the tower and Ducain uses his powers to diminish a section of the wall to pass through. We realize there is not a single sound coming from within the opening but continue on with our mission. Jarvan checks for evil but is shocked at what he sees. Everything is evil. Despite that we still opt for our usual tactics, charge now think later, and Jarvan somehow resists the will to smite everything. We book it to the Temple doors and break in. It is pitch black inside but we use light spells and the elven orb to guide us. However it is clear something isn’t right. George the Bi-curious and Nidalee’s beloved wolf cower and back away. Their respective owners chase them outside to determine what went wrong. When they do the remaining group sees shadows moving towards them. They shadows come out of the floorboards and attack us. We fight them head on without any idea what is in store for us. Our attacks barely do anything to them and more often than not glide right through them. They however are more successful in their onslaught and begin slowly ripping our souls away with fingers of ice. Jarvan and Canum however specializing in dealing with undead turn them away giving us the ability to search further into the temple and
along with Ducain’s brilliant idea of his fairy fire spell we seemingly gain the upper hand. Tamarisk however with his usual curiosity for adventure, gets far separated from the group and is attacked by another wraith. The battle takes a turn for the worse as more and more of our souls are ripped from us. Ronin, Tamarisk, and Canum all suffer greatly at the cold hands of the wraiths. We are finally able to scare them off again and begin searching again. And once again Tamarisk gets too curios and is enticed by a magical book on a table below the altar. Canum soon comes to the aid of Tamarisk but is lured by the book as well. “I shall give you power” the book promised the pair. But before the book has its chance Jarvan comes realizing the book is the epicenter of evil, uses all his holy might to smite the book. However he made a huge mistake in doing so. He released a dread wraith that was horrifying to look upon. The dread wraith beckoned us to join him and it promised us power. We were un-swayed and tried to vanquish it. It came down to Canum, Tamarisk, Ronin, and Jarvan versus two wraiths and a dread wraith. Tamarisk used his mirror image spell to give us time to take on the dread wraith. We assumed if we cut of the head of the snake the other wraiths would vanish. Despite our best efforts the wraiths took over and got through our defenses and focused on Ronin. He was already weakened by the first attack and had come to help us but in the end his entire soul was ripped away. All seemed lost until a blinding light shot from Canum’s hands and seared into the dread wraith. With that our courage was reborn. We were able to cut through the dread wraith and finish him off for good. With that the other two remaining wraiths ran from us and cowered from us. The evil aura left the Temple and our mission was completed but at a dreadful price, our dear companion Ronin.
We trudged our way back to Highfort carrying our comrade’s body and luckily befell no more evil on the way to our town. Once back we held a grand funeral for our friend. After a brief period of grieving we were back to our mundane tasks. But the main focus was preparing for the expected siege of the Cull now that we had defeated one of its headhunters. We prepared battlements, trained archers and militia, prepared traps, called for aid from all sides. And to our pleasure some aid had come from our calls. An engineer had come to help fortify our wall and towers, along with a particularly special Harper named Kizan. He was sent to help us in all of our efforts, Jarvan was reluctant to allow him to help the group but his reputation as a Harper eased his uncertainties, along with our much lacking magical abilities. Jarvan then gave a speech and called all the outlying farms to temporarily relocate to within the protection of Highfort. Two final things stood in our way, sending word to Oleg and his town and one last were-tiger. I was to ride to Oleg’s to send word and bring them back to Highfort and the rest were to handle the were-tiger.
Villagers in the outlying farms had been consistently attacked and entire families went missing or were found in a macabre scene of blood and gore. But luckily for the remaining farmers they had a five man team coming to their aid. The team astutely recognized a pattern of the were-tiger and set a trap. They lied in wait, on the roof and inside the house and attacked without mercy. The tiger set its sights on Nidalee who was perched on the roof but It was quickly attacked by a lion summoned by Ducain. But the lion only slowed it down. He jumped up on top of the roof and attacked, which soon became a rooftop battle royal. Everyone climbed up to aid Nidalee, scorching rays flew, hippogriffs were summoned, blood flew, but when the dust cleared, it was Nidalee scouring the body as usual. The last set of were-tiger fangs, the last pelt, the last teeth were finally hers. They did quite well without their self- proclaimed leader, Jarvan. They returned to Highfort with the remaining farmers (hopefully except the stupid bridge guy). Jarvan also returned successful with Oleg and company in turn. All was ready for the Battle of Highfort.
We sent out scouts in order to give us any word of oncoming Cull and lied in wait. Each Lord of Highfort had a battle group. We also had Oleg’s small force join in as well. Everyone had their tasks and the stage was set. We see shapes overhead in the clouds, just vague outlines of the creatures that plan to end us. They get within volley range and we begin to loose arrows. Hundreds fly, only a few strike their targets. They are speeding closer and closer and it is clear we have hurt them badly. One goes down behind the cliffs of Highfort, and then they are upon us. Black Riders upon wyrems sweeping down using their talons to pick up men and drop them from the sky. Two crash-land inside the walls but not as many men go to fight the Black riders as expected. Some crippling fear gripped the men, it left them cowering from fear and few to fight. However the few that resisted the fear set upon the two crash-landed targets. Jarvan and his paladins take the first one and kills it quickly. Kizan sets one on fire and it crashes into a watch tower killing all of his men. Canum is picked by one and dropped outside of the walls and is left alone with a Black Rider and gets downed. All the while Ducain goes to see what happened to him and leaves him. Nidalee is firing arrows from her perch dropping massive damage. Jarvan and his paladins make quick work of the second Black Rider. Tanklin and the others finally regain their composure and join the fray. With all three wraiths finally downed the one we thought we killed on the cliffs arrives, wielding a great sword in one hand and a two handed flail in the other, the Witch King. Jarvan charged and dropped massive damage, Kizan scorching rayed him, but he would not go down. But Nidalee runs up and in one foul swoop kills the Witch King in a single stab with her dagger. She made it look easy.
Once the commotion settled and we healed the remaining survivors, Jarvan looked to see if our assets were still safe. He ran alone to the secret hideout to check the gold. He asked Alex to protect it or have someone protect it. However when he arrived he noticed gold was missing but in its place a trail of blood leading to a trap door. He gathered the rest of the group and we began down the trap door. We also found the paladin from Olegs shield. We went down the trap door and came across bare walls, strangely bare walls. We soon found why, black pudding. A vile ooze that dissolves everything around it. We tried to fight it using slashing weapons but soon found that was futile, fists and maces were much more effective. We killed the creature but lost George the Bi-Curious in the process. We took a lot of damage in the battle but had to keep going to our friends. We avoided a sickle trap with ease. Then we saw a large pile of treasure. Of course our Abathor worshipers went straight for the pile and started putting on the charms, to our dismay. Four dark spheres appeared and began attacking us with electricity. They were exceptionally hard to strike due to their very high dexterity. We threw everything we had at them but still got worn down slowly by the wisps. However our endurance out lasted theirs as we killed them one by one despite the difficulty to hit. After a long bitter battle we kill them all. Back to the pile!!! Of course, Nidalee puts on a silver necklace and immediately began thinking the entire party wanted to kill her. She was acting very aggressively and seemed a different person. We try to grapple her and tie her up but another wisp came back and began attacking us again. In the confusion Nidalee escaped her bind and the necklace spoke to her and told her to go for the secret door. She ran to where the trap was and pulled a chain opening a secret passage. However two goblins were waiting for us. They said that they were waiting for us and their king wanted to speak with us. We follow the goblins to the king who gave us an offer we couldn’t refuse. He had Tamarisk, the paladin from Olegs, and Alex held captive along with our gold. He asked us to delve deeper into the earth to clear out for the goblins expansion. We open the large double doors and come upon a large pillared room. The room has a very strong cross breeze coming from what looks like airways above the room on each wall. We expected something fell was afoot so Nidalee shot two arrows into the room causing the wind to get louder and louder. Tanklin then yelled hoping to provoke something. The wind got even stronger and we saw a vortex coming towards us, which we knew was an air elemental. It is huge, 5 times the size of any of us and packed a punch. It slammed us against the walls and out of nowhere Tanlkin reaches into his bag and puts on a broach and flies to the ceiling. He gets stuck and seemingly defies gravity. The rest of us beat on it and try to punch through the howling winds of the air elemental. Eventually we are able to take it down. We continue on to a hallway ahead. We seemingly walk forever and Tanklin is astute enough to use chalk to see if we are being tricked, which we were. We come back the way we came and Canum steps out into the large room again only to be shot with bolts of who knows what. He essentially explodes with light and smoke. Two less beholders were lying in wait for us as we were stuck in the infinite hallway. They were smart creatures and could speak common. The team set a plan to have Jarvan invisible and silent charge the beholders. He crept out into the room but all the planning went out the window when they were 20’ up in the air. Jarvan retreated and they hatched a new plan. The group encouraged Jarvan to put on the necklace and hope his will was strong enough to overcome the evil and speak with the item. Nidalee had mentioned that the necklace knew the stronghold, so it was the best bet. He donned the necklace and spoke candidly with the old master of the fortress. Jarvan spoke with the man and learned quite a few things. This fortress had simply been a domain for his experiments long ago, we also learned how to avoid being attacked (two fingers facing out on your forehead), and where the correct pathway is to delve deeper into the compound. The question is what lies waiting for us next?

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Dragin slaying. . . Sort of

Upon returning to Highfort, we stumbled across an unfortunate sight, the murdered body of a citizen of Highfort. The Lords and Lady of Highfort took it upon themselves to clean up this mess and went to the streets trying to figure out who could have done this. Splitting into two groups, Canim rohin and myself encountered a man that turned into a beast. This weretiger was a worthy opponent but soon fell to our powers. After the weretiger died we saw 2 others that fleed the city and left out into the wilderness.

The following day sounds of battle could be heard from the harbor so we decided to personally check on the problem and see what was wrong. Upon reaching the harbor we saw that a pirate ship (The ship we bought goods from the other day) was firing upon another ship. We boarded the other ship and met Shamus. Shamus was a rather charming and intimidating individual. looking as if he was half draconian we soon found out his main mission was to slay an evil dragon that was dwelling near by. After eating and introductions we departed, but before we departed we offered our services to Shamus if there was anything we could do. Shamus came to High Fort the next day and said that if we were interested we could help him by trying to slay the younger child dragon that was also dwelling. After deliberating on whether to take this quest or pursuit the weretigers we came to the conclusion it might be better to take our efforts to the dragons. We geared up and left with Shamus and his companions.

After traveling a short distance we reached the area where the dragons were located, our parties seperated here, Ours to confront the baby dragon and Shamus’ to confront the adult dragon. Before leaving Canim had the presence of mind to cast his locate spell on one of Shamus’ men. Upon reaching the dragon we found that it was sleeping and thus, formed a plan. J4 initiated the battle by flying at it and smiting it dropping amazing damage. After the initial attack the rest went by fairly smoothly and we defeated the dragon.

The dragon fell out of the sky and Nidalee J4 and the druid took off after the dragon carcass, while me and my elven brothers curiosities were peaked by what the dragon could be hiding. We proceeded to climb atop the mountain and discovered a small tunnel that spiraled down inside the mountain. After entering the pitch black area we cast a few spells and prepared to enter.

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Shenanigans

After returning to Highfort and successfully resurrecting Nidalee, we again traveled to the town that had mysteriously disappeared. Upon entering the town we noticed, just as we had been told, that there were no signs of life anywhere. We proceeded to search the homes within the town and stumbled across something quite intriguing. A floating stick appeared and decided to attack us ! After being hit numerous times I decided I had had enough and decided to explore on my own. After leaving the home I had hoped I would be able to explore by myself but the untrusting Paladin decided to tale me to ensure that nothing was disturbed. With “J4” following closely behind I made my way a totem/temple across the way from the town.

“J4” and I entered the temple and my curiosity got the best of me yet again. Seeing a dark staircase leading up and up and up, I felt my curiosity push me towards the staircase to see what could potentially be up there. After climbing for a brief time I reached the top. Out in the open air I looked about to see if anything could be spotted. Luckily, Kanim had decided to follow me up the stairs without me noticing and alerted me that some unforeseen adversary was behind me. Letting my nerves get the best of me Kanim and I decided to quickly leave the area, but not before a gigantic spider creature appeared right before us. It quickly dug its ichor tipped teeth into Kanim and as quickly as it had appeared, it vanished. My curiosity rose again, but my fear suppressed my curiosity. Trying to leave as quickly as possible was what everyone had on their minds, but it may have not been the best strategy, cramped in such a tiny staircase pandamonium broke out amongst my companions and most of us stumbled and fell trying to retreat.

Once we reached the first floor of the temple we realized that we were in quite a perdicament. Thankfully, The rest of our group made their way to the temple, only to gaze upon ferocious spiders that could blink in and out of exsistence instantaneously. With our group in full force we proceeded to try to take on the spiders and seemed to be fighting a good fight. As the battle progressed something more sinister than the spiders showed up on the battlefield. With the ability to posses a persons body this foe had the nerve to posses Nidalee. (Now I cant complain, I was indeed glad that I was not possessed, but I am starting to think that Nidalee may be a cursed soul. Only days after dying and being resurrected she then receives more misfortune and is possessed)

Not fond of trying to harm our companion, but in a bind Kanim, Rohnin, “J4” and myself now looked at Nidalee as a temporary enemy. We tried to do our best to subdue Nidalee, but she quickly and gracefully eluded most of our assaults. With her excellent marksmanship and newly learned abilities dealing with magic we were having quite a difficult time dealing with her. Eventually, Nidalee fled the battlefield and returned to the temple. Taking a moment to catch our breathe we decided to pursuit Nidalee using our scroll of Windwalk. “J4” and Kanim quickly departed and flew with such amazing speed I could not follow them with my eyes. (how envious I was that they got to partake in such an exhilarating experience). When I finally met back up with the group Nidalee had been returned to her self and had in her possession an exquisite looking box. Nidalee proceeded to explain that the thing that possessed her took on a human form and had in its possession a box it took from the temple. Nidalee had tried to steal it from this person but was unsuccessful. Feeling compelled to try and see this interesting treasure, Nidalee and I tried to follow the man but only faintly saw him off in the distance. We knew that the man was some type of ghost and when Nidalee and I saw him walking away we saw that he had the form of a regular human, with that information, my knowledge of the box and the information “J4” got while speaking with the man we came to the conclusion that the stone inside the box must have possessed some type of wishing power. After coming to this conclusion we saw the presence of the people in the town through use of magic and made our final conclusion that the people of the town must have wished themselves invisible so that no harm would come to them.

Have finished our quest and figured out what was wrong with the town we know journey towards highfort and see what awaits our return.

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Running the town

After exiting the mining cave we proceeded to return to Highfort. Upon reaching Highfort many duties were to be handled.
-Deal with Goblins and their feud
-Help Jihad clear out the haunted temple
-Help Asher’s village (which we set out on first)

It seems as if the Paladin and Cleric have each started some type of following for their Gods and continue to meet with their followers. Rohnin was also appointed as spy for the town and rounded up some town people to help support him. Also, the group that is at war with the dark hand has agreed to somewhat of an alliance and will assist Rohnin in his duties.

One of the major holidays passed, but before that happened some jackass stabbed me. When searching the decapitated body we found a bounty for the heads of the new lords of Highfort; us. I was unaware that joining this group of people would be so painful ! We eventually found a villager that recognized the villain and told us he helped as a farmhand on occasion during the season.

I have not yet met this person, but the group speaks of an old hermit alchemist that lives outside the town. They returned some item to him and in return received plenty of versatile potions. It was discussed that Jarvan would later meet with this man and ask him to come back to the town now that the old Lord is gone.

A villager from Asher’s village came to Highfort seeking help. She alerted us that she had been gone for 1-2 months visiting relatives and that when she returned to the village all life was gone. She expressed that it seemed like people had been gone for upwards of a week. After hearing this we decided to set out and see what the dilemma was.

After setting out on horseback for Asher’s village we encountered savage beasts on our second day of traveling. The beasts were completely made of plants ! What a sight it was ! Never, in all of my travels have I came across such an interesting beast. It devoured beast and human as if it were but a tiny rabbit. Although they were beasts of colossal stature they stood no chance against the sound of my wooing voice. . . . oh and all the others within the party. We succeeded in taking down both beasts, but unfortunately we have lost Nidalee to the beasts. As I write, my companions work feverishly to see if there is any hope for Nidalee. We hope to cut her out of the beasts belly and see if there is anything that can be down. I am doubtful, but I hear my companions murmuring about a resurrection scroll. If they indeed have one then we will need Nidalee’s remains in order for us to proceed any further. I wish for the best, but fear the worst, the way that this beast devoured enemies was like none I have ever seen before. I can only imagine how this beasts stomach works.

If only that damn Drow didn’t go and get herself killed, I may have been able to gamble with her and win another Dagger !

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Ghost of Aniel

After your return to Highfort you were besieged by people seeking audience with you, not to mention all the mundane tasks that rulers are required to do. Being gone for a week allowed a lot to build up and you are exhausted by the monotony of it all.

One of the visitors seeking you is an elf maid who is a past neighbor of Asher; when she lived in Aniel. She comes seeking help to discover the mystery of what happened to Aniel’s inhabitants. While she was away visiting distant relatives the villagers completely disappeared. In the span of a few months Aniel Hanson from thriving hamlet to deserted ghost town. No sign of foul play or disruption, just abandonment.

You decide to investigate as your next endeavor. Heck, anything is better than the evils of town administration. A day out of town and you are beset by two horrid plant creatures. It is like a huge flesh eating bush has come to life. They are all tendrils and thorn-fanged maw and they are hungry. What seemed a quick dispatch of these plant creatures turns into a horrific battle as they devour Jarvin and Nadalee whole and then refuse to stay dead.

But you finally shred them and extract the two comrades but find Nadalee dead. Thank whatever god you take stock in because you have a scroll that may bring her back if Jahad is favored enough. You will see once back at Highfort.

Nadalee is fine after being resurrected, though what psychological trauma she has is anyone’s guess; was she really stable to begin with? So after a little rest, it is back to the road.

with Asher showing the way you climb to the plateau and find Aniel. It is deserted as expected but why? After Cainan casts a spell to see the invisible, humanoid shapes are seen around them for a brief moment. Jarvin and Cainan check out the temple only to find a hostile floating stick which beats on them mercilessly but doing no harm. They follow it up the stairs of the totem and finally Cainan sees the magical outline of a humanoid form.

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