Faroth: Bildur’s Buddies help the ‘Scales

barrel-headThe Singing Dragon Scales had just bashed the last bugbear to climb the tower stairs, and they look over to Nillaffin, on the floor, prone and still, breathing painfully. Lothric, Grotto and Lamanon try to lift Nillaffin onto an broken, unhinged door as a stretcher. As tears stream down Nillaffins face and he gasps and cries in pain, they discover how broken he his after being thrown against a wall by the bugbear chieftain: literally a broken back. Unable to move him–Nillaffin, unable to wiggle his fingers or toes, had not long to live. Lothric and Lamanon raced back to Drafter’s ranch. Drafter raced into action and took them right to Tallum Ironspun, the most skilled cleric on the island.

Kevbin did not go adventuring with Nillaffin and the rest of the ‘Scales. He went into town, and started chatting up the local shop keepers, and wound up at Tallum Ironspun’s workshop at the suggestion of Mr McGinty. Tallum opened the door for Kevbin, when Drafter ran up the lane, shouting for Ironspun’s help, crying “Nillaffin’s hurt! Tallum!”

Barron Ultrapoor (Barron Poorrich), Elmore (was Taj, a monk) and Halt (Soren’s character, a ranger) were also at McGinty’s, trying to determine the value of six plates of dried spider carapace, spinnerets and poison glands. McGinty recognized that those components might have value, but none of the residents practiced the kind of magecraft that used those components, so all he said to them was “I don’t know who would buy those, lads. Maybe Ironspun would know.” As they walked out the door, Drafter, Ironspun and Lotheric were all talking loudly about Nillaffin. Elmore and Halt, knowing they can help heal people, volunteered to help.

Back to the coliseum they went, leaving the Barron, Kevbin, and Grotto (who went to the Axe and Sparrow). Across Drafter’s fields and through the ruins they went. At the tower inside the coliseum, Ironspun gathered the group around the helpless body of Nillaffin. They all got out their healing components and all started a prayer to Elhona. But they were not synchronized. Such a diverse group–still mostly strangers–could not truly be in tune. Some gave up faith, some forgot their words, but most strove for his well-being. The blurry sunbeam coming through the tower window slowly slid across the floor as they repeated their prayers.

A gasp! Nillaffin’s chest rose with breath and renewed strength. The group gasped and sighed as he blinked and asked why he was on the floor. He was healed enough to be placed on the door-nee-stretcher and they took him back to Drafter’s ranch.

Elmore, having finished being of service, decided to go back to town–a beer sounded nice. Soon enough, he was sitting next to Kevbin, the Barron and and Grotto. The clouds grew thick and the light quickly waned as afternoon grew late. Snow fell outside, creating short drifts along the street. The door of the Axe and Sparrow quietly yielded a tall, cloaked, dark skinned elf. A step before Antsy Thinbone served them their drinks, this Drow sat at Elmore’s table.

“Hello, Vlonneth. I notice you still have an unpaid tab,” Antsy mumbled as he served drinks to Elmore, Grotto, Kevbin and the Barron. Vlonneth was well dressed. Below his dark wool cloak, he wore black satin robes, sported black onxy loop earrings, and red jasper eyebrow studs. Across his cheeks and forehead were the mild scars of an intricate black tattoo on his dark face. He raised his hands and rubbed a golden ring on his finger…grinning like a card player.

“Greetings, young chaps! Some of you I’ve heard about. Some I’ve heard from a distance.” Grotto and Kevbin immediately took offense and blamed each other for their reputations. “Enough, boys!” Vlonneth interrupted, “I’ve heard about some good battles lately, but I’m interested in those who recently chopped up a giant spider!”

“A giant spider?” thought Kevbin, “why hadn’t I heard of this?” But Vlonneth was eying Elmore and the Barron. Grotto wondered what he was doing there. But the thought of new spell components was interesting. He has a mostly full component bag, but rare components are always worth the time…

“Do you have the goods on you?” asked Vlonneth. “I have a buyer. I’m getting up after I finish my drink, and we’re leaving.” Some muttered conversation bounced between our party for a minute before they agreed to this…suggestion.

Outside, the sunlight had completely fled. Few citizens were in the avenue, and their walk to the marina was nearly silent except for the rising sound of the breeze and the crunching frozen dirt underneath their feet. Paying close attention to not slipping on the frosty dock that lead to Vlonneth’s ship, our party froze as they gazed up at a splintery two-masted frigate decorated with orc bones on the bow. The dark eyes of a minotaur captain meanly surveyed them. His grayed leather vest sported three pairs of daggers. Fog billowed out of his mouth when he ordered them to come aboard and “stay to the foredeck, land worms, or I’ll beat your heads and toss you overboard.”

A dim green glow crossed Vlonneth’s silhouette as he stepped aft, across a brass strip that spanned the beam of the craft.  He sat at a lone bench and reached under the table, fetching a black bottle of wine. “Do as Vall says. He’s the captain! You want this deal, don’t you?” Yes, they did. As they filed to the bow, a soft chill filled the threadbare sails and the docking lines threaded themselves back into coils on the unmanned deck. The ship was underway in moment.

Vlonneth was pleased with the group. After a gulp of wine, he asked, “Do you know how Vall pilots this craft? He stands in a cursed magic circle. He dips his hand in a bucket of blood and flicks it in the direction he wishes to go.” Clearly, Vlonneth was quite amused at this disgusting mechanism.

Kevbin and Grotto continued to argue what a bad idea this all was. Ultrapoor couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Elmore continued to say the least of the party. Theu stepped onto a ship of the dead with a friend of a … devil? And evil was filling the sails. The Maligna bore south to Willow Island.

An hour of sailing later, the Maligna pulled into the docks of Willowhall fishery, alongside a the salty-white tin-plated hull of another two-masted frigate. Six orcs with oiled canvas jackets over their black vests and red sashes stood stoically on guard around the captain’s wheel on the poop deck. Behind a table and chest on the fore deck of the tin plated ship, a very tall half orc with a black vestments and a red cape stood expectantly. Kevbin and Grotto immediately blamed each other for bringing them to a trap. How could they have been so stupid?

Vlonneth, having finished his bottle of wine, foolishly waiting for Grotto or Kevbin to shut up, briskly stood and smashed the bottle on his own bench to gain their attention. “Fools!” Vlonneth hissed. “You will now show some respect...and by respect, people expect….silence!”

After some spluttering, Grotto and Kevbin decided to not talk. “Now,” Vlonneth continued, “I shall do the talking. I am the agent. You can only talk to our seller if you have a contract with him.”

“Vlonneth!” the rich voice of the half orc bellowed from the adjacent ship, “come aboard! I haven’t seen you in some time!” Grotto, who looked keenly at Vlonneth the first time they met, looks keenly at the half orc. Whispering to Kevbin, “that’s a priest of Vecna.” This was not a silly trading run at midnight.

A plank was placed between the ships and promptly Kevbin slips off the frosty board and about meets the drink when Elmore and Grotto grab him by the hair and an ear before he splashes in. They quickly look up towards the half orc and smile: “be right there!” Vlonneth bites his fist and looks away.

Kevbin can’t wait, “what do you have in the chest?” While Grotto spouts, “how much are you paying us?” Vlonneth clenches and unclenches his fists and bites his lip while Elmore grabs the chatty pair by the shoulders and pulls them back to the gunwale. “Wait, I have questions!” Kevbin shouts.

A loud guffaw quiets them all. “Vlonneth! What a happy bunch you’ve brought tonight. I haven’t had a smile on my face for months. These young boys must know nearly…nothing!…to be so entertaining!” and grandly gestures with a big grin on his face.

“What do we get paid?” Kevbin demands. “I’m going back” the Barron mumbles. “We’re not young!” challenges Grotto. Vlonneth waits for his turn, then mentions, “This is Priest Asomi.”

Asomi resumes, “What have you brought tonight?” They all chatter at once. Asomi laughs again, and chides them in his low voice, “Oh oh oh, just wait, young fellows! You should let your agent make the deal. Otherwise, you’d have to enter a contract…with me.”

“Asomi, sir, you’ve got some unusual components for sale tonight. Freshly dried spider husk, a mandible, two poison glands and two spinnerets.” Elmore unloads his sack on the table. Asomi unsheaths his dagger and pokes at the guts on his table.

“Fresh, but starting to spoil. Fifty gold pieces…” Asomi mutters.

“We’ll take it!” Kevbin and Grotto shout. Vlonneth’s eyes go round and his knuckles go pale with anger at their idiocy.

“…for it all.” Asomi finishes.

Vlonneth spins on his impetuous marks. “Fools!” he hisses, and calmly rotates back to Asomi. “That was…quick. Sounds like we’ll take it.” he quietly says. Asomi just grins, thinking of a orc mage who would love to buy some spider-shell armor.

Grotto, Kevbin and the others give Vlonneth his split and end up with about twelve gold pieces each. Asomi asks, “and I have some things you might want…” reaching under his table, he brings up a wooden box, and opening the lid, he places three rings on his table. “These either save you from arrows, sword blows, or the sight of others.” Elmore buys a ring immediately.

Kevbin stays behind as the rest of the group re-board the Maligna. “I’m a sage. I know how to make potions and spells and I can help you. Hire me!”

Vlonneth pushed him back and faced him, “You know what you’re asking? You want to be in a contract with this priest? It’s typically for five years.”

“I just want off this dumb island!” Kevbin responded.

Placing his hand on his chin, Vlonneth turned back to Asomi. “You’ve got a smart little human there…rare find, not many of them aren’t intimidated by you. He’s got some craft. He would have been working for that Dwarven cleric on the island today if I hadn’t invited him along.”

“Vlonneth, I haven’t been disappointed in the people you’ve brought me so far. I’ll take him for 2000 and five years.”

“Give him some credit, he’s not even afraid of you, and he argued his way here, 2100 and three years.”

Asomi raised his eyebrow, put his hand in a pouch and handed over a vial of diamonds to Vlonneth that lept into an inside pocket of his vest, vanishing without sign of a bump. “Thank  you Kevbin, I hope to see you around.” Vlonneth crosses the plank back onto the minotaur’s ship and promptly fishes out another wine bottle from under his bench as they start sailing north.

Hadreus, sloshed from a fun evening in the Axe and Sparrow, stands silently, swaying slightly,  in the snowy pre-dawn breeze as the Maligna’s ropes magically tie them selves to he dock’s cleats. Elmore, Grotto and the Barron debark without trouble and the ship silently leaves. As the group turns to walk up the dock to the town, Hadreus shouts “Boo!” and startles them to bits! And has a good laugh. “Where’s Kevbin?” he asks. “New contract,” they answer, glum for some reason.

“Well, I haven’t see this new camp of Bildur’s. Let’s head over there. This town’s all shut down for the night.” And off they head, getting to the dwarven dell before dawn. The workshop is still warm from the heat of the evening’s fire, and they toss their snowy drenched cloaks atop a blank stretch of workbench.

Grotto pauses, hearing something: claws. “We’re not alone,” he says. Elmore shakes his head, wondering why the day isn’t done yet. The Barron reaches for his spell component pouch. Hadreus opens a window and sees…goblins!

Grotto, out the opposite window, casts magic missles at the nearest one, promptly dispatching it. The Barron opens a door, and casts acid spray, but misses. Hadreus fires his short bow out his window, missing. Elroy leaps out his window and smashes a goblin to the ground with his quarterstaff. The goblins advance, and Grotto dispatches a second goblin with another group of glowing missiles, Hadreus misses, the Baron gets clobbered, and Elroy cracks the neck of the goblin he smashed with his staff. Grotto sends more glowing missles into the goblin that ran across the Baron, finishing him. Hadreus kills one outside, and Elroy clubs the last one down.

What a day: saved a life, did a deal with a devil worshiping scumbag, and killed a pile of ambushing goblins. Life doesn’t let up in Faroth. What will there be next?

 

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Faroth: Singing Dragon Scales Have Leveled Up!

This scrappy band of refugees has really done some work!

Date CR Monster XP Qty Updated Liam Jesse R Jesse P Brenden John Hilde Kai
01/14/17 1 bugbear 200 2 x x x x x
01/21/17 1 bugbear 200 1 x x x x
01/28/17 1 bugbear 200 2 x  x x
02/04/17 1 bugbear 200 6 x x x x x
02/04/17 1 bugbear chief 600 1 x x x x
XP: 2/8 550 600 550 700 150 100 450

Faroth: Singing Dragon Scales Fight in the Den of the Bugbears

Our group, comprised of both Jesse R and Jesse P, Brendan, my character, Lothric, and the two NPCs Hadreus and Nillaffin, began the quest outside the entrance to the tunnels in which the bugbears had taken up accommodation.

The group schemed up an idea to use Grotto (Jesse R’s character, a halfling sorcerer), the stealthiest of the group, to run in and lure the bugbears out, into the fire that would be set around them. However, as Grotto was spelunking through the dark labyrinth of tunnels, he heard a faint clunking sound.

Assuming this was the bugbears, he cast light on a rock, threw it down the tunnel, and ran back to the party. Convinced he was followed, he told them to light the fire. However, no bugbears came through the tunnel. After several minutes of waiting, Brendan’s character, Lamanon (a halfling bard), ventured up on top of the cave, only to be ambushed, by a bugbear, and run through by a javelin. The bugbear, perhaps not the brightest, jumped down only to be annihilated by a flurry of blows from the whole party.

Not wanting to be sitting ducks, Jesse P’s character (a human cleric), Grotto, and Nillaffim all ventured down into the caves. They went onward, twisting down the narrow tunnel into darkness, until, suddenly, Nillaffin was grabbed by some unseen force, and pulled down deeper into the darkness. They rushed after him, and found themselves in an old prison, or bestiary, of sorts. After walking a few steps, a bugbear, covered in scars, cuts, and scabs, stumbled out of one of the cells, as angry as it was injured. In one blow, it felled the cleric, and sent the others screaming for help. Miraculously, the others heard, and rushed to their aid, sliding down the steep tunnel. Lothric was also nearly downed fighting the beast, but they succeeded in slaying it.

Moments later, the door at the end of the hall burst open, our party prepared for another bugbear, but instead they encountered Nillaffin, barely conscious, carrying the head of a slain bugbear. In the room he came from, they found a great portcullis, leading to the coliseum. There was a lever, but it appear protected against people’s hands touching it, so Lamanon used mage hand, pulled the lever, and opened the gate.

They escaped into the open coliseum, hoping for an easy walk back to camp, but the gods were feeling cruel today, and as they marched forward, a bugbear chieftain and his two guards ambushed them! They, dragging the corpse of their cleric, rushed up one of the watchtowers, bolted the doors, and fortified their position as much as possible.

In the tower, they found an old wooden chest, containing a first aid kit for competitors in the ancient tournaments the coliseum once held. With it they healed their cleric, who in turn healed the rest of the party. They rained projectiles on the advancing bugbear cohort, but the damage was minimal, and the bugbears rushed up the narrow stairs, smashing the doors as they went. They managed to defeat both of the however, by dropping flaming objects on their oily fur.

Finally, the chieftain charged up the stairs, straight into Nillaffin, crushing him, and very possibly killing him. Fortunately for our party, they were able to defeat him, as he was totally surrounded.

Faroth: Spider attack!

Faroth Adventure 2017-02-04

James: Sabanin
Lucas: Sakool
Alice: Erin
Dylan: Barron Poorrich
Rob: Taj
Alan: Laferic

The roosters crow in the gray morning of Sing’jar while our characters start their day. Shouts are heard and orcs are spotted on the horizon. Before the full city guard can make a line of defense, the orcs have over-run the city boundary and farmsteads are already aflame. Surviving city guards drop their spears and turn to try and save the residents, herding them to the marina. Our party is alongside the members of the soon to be members of the Singing Dragon Scales, getting sea sick, trying not to fall overboard, and after an interminably dark night, struggling off the fishing boat onto the pier at Faroth. Up they straggle to the town square and are greeted by the irascible captain of the guard, then they nap at Drafter Crushton’s ranch.

In the morning, they are greeted by Drafter and his rangers, and ranger Bildar picks Sakool, Erin, Taj, Barron Poorrich, Paladin Laferic, dwarf Sabonin, and mainland ranger Gragor to find a neighborhood in the northeastern ruins of ancient Faroth to settle. They don’t mind each other’s company. They chat a bit about retrieving the dragon-born Manja out of the bay when they were on the boat. They all seem to be in agreement that they can be a make-do group, but start to have doubts about Barron Poorrich, who tends to laugh at his own private jokes out loud.

After a mile of hiking, they find a relatively intact neighborhood in the ruins, once clearly populated by Dwarves. Runes are visible on doorways, and between three giant hill-sized boulders, is a dell harboring a stone-walled workshop, an open-sided blacksmiths forge, a small two room dwarven house (probably for the previous blacksmith), and the roofless remains of a museum: statuary and scupture were once whole on the pedestals and bleached remains of tapestries drift and swing on the walls. The forge is in surprisingly good condition: two sides of it were covered in blown sand and the mouths of half a dozen coal barrels quietly gape out of this accidental slope. The anthricite in the wooden barrels has started petrifying the wood. Tools are scattered amongst flaky and rust scabbed piles of once-iron sheets used to make iron. Stone pedestals in the workshop reveal body-shaped indentations used to for pounding iron sheeting into armor.

Bildir coaches the team on conserving wood, shows them how to find the ancient caches of charcoal buried in the sands of the island. The decide on shifts for tending the fire and keeping watch at night. Our group is tired and they decide to split into a watch and a rest shift. Bildir suggests the rangers and Erin the elf, gather for a moment of prayer to Elhona. They surround the carefully constructed circle of stones shrouding their small fire and each feed sticks into it with their prayers:

Elhona, we thank you for your guidance and protection
We have traveled far and lost much
Yet we remain to protect the forest and the life it gives
Please, Elhona, grant us luck in this new chapter of our lives

…and they bow their heads. And tingle! Erin looks at Gragor. Gragor looks at Taj, who looks at Sakool. They are surprisingly refreshed and feel like they have been touch with the grace of Elhona herself. No one knows if they will get to sleep if they feel this good.

Sabanin lays down in the workshop, his cloak under him, a burlap bag wadded up as a pillow, and stares up at the darkening ceiling. As the light fades, his the elven quality of his vision picks out a mist covering the underside of the roof slates. No wonder this building didn’t burn: slate roof, he thinks. But that mist isn’t campfire smoke. No…it’s spider web. He gets up and rustles Sakool, Erin and Gragor.

Sakool watches the web sway as if eight giant fingers walk their way across the web into the darkness of the loft–and takes a nervous step backwards. His mind races. Rangers protect wild life… but these last two days…He’s been the wildlife without a home. This is the only building for miles he can call his own. A giant spider is not going to share it with him. “Fire…” he mutters.

Sabanin, poking his head out the door, he tsk-tsks the Baron into the workshop. “What’s that?” he points. Barron Poorrich walks into the workshop and says, and ducks his hand into a pouch at his side. No, wrong pouch! Well, to heck with that—and throws a rock. The spider darts to the middle of the margin of the loft.

Erin hears him, but doesn’t know what to think. This is strange: why is this ranger so afraid? I should nock my bow…but how will the spider feel when we light it’s home on fire? Angry. “Open the door, and don’t block it!” she says.

Taj doesn’t want to kill a wild animal, but where are they going to live? The broken down forge? The museum without a roof? Maybe if they get to the back of the workshop they won’t attract attention…no chance. I have a staff! He leaps onto a work pedistal, does a leap and whacks the spider with his quarterstaff. A crunch of chitin is heard as the staff crushes one of the spider mandibles.

Barron Poorrich says, “Oh, I should burn this critter with acid–” but picks up a rusty iron plate and throws it at the spider—and whacks it in the face! Laferic races out to grab a burning stick from the fire pit. Sabonin unsheaths his short sword and grips his shield tightly. No dumb arachnid is going to munch on my friends…Gragor nocks an arrow. Sakool readies his bow. Erin fires and hits with a rich cracking sound as the arrow pierces the thorax.

The spider jumps! It springs at the Barron and Poorrich reflexively shoots an acid spell at the spider. His shot strikes low and sprays onto Taj who starts screaming. The spider falls onto the Barron, failing to bite with its broken mandibles. Sakool, Sabanin and Gragor strike, and the spider is pummeled to death in a moment, surrounded by the party.

Things are looking up as Taj and the Barron surprisingly agree on something: spider carapace and spinnerets are valuable spell components and magical armor materials. They might be able to sell these items in town. Maybe they won’t be in dire straights for very long if they continue to be this brave?

Faroth party expands, shrinks. 

We had Rob, Soren, Amy,  Allan,  James and Lucas join us in a new party on Faroth. Sadly,  Kai is not with us much longer, and John and Hilde have retired from the party for parenting duties. We now have about 12 people attending, which was two groups today,  and probably three groups as we continue. 

Faroth: Drafter Recruits the Singing Dragon Scales!

Jesse Pickard joins us for the first time this week. Welcome, Jesse!

Thorfinn, a young priest of Elhona, was was enjoying the sluggish winter sunrise after visiting the market in Sing’jar, the largest community on the west coast of Vastlaan. The kale was good this year, and there were some nicely wintered squashes in his satchel bouncing on his hip as he made his way east to the church. The sound of town became drowned out by the cries of crows and gulls fighting in the air overhead, followed by shouts. Thorfinn looked ahead at the horizon: figures…marching. Hundreds of figures with torches and spears, growling and shouting violently: orcs!

Orcs would over-take the church well before he got there. Thorfinn spun on his heel and sprinted back to town. “Grab the children! Get to the dock! Orcs are attacking! ORCS ARE ATTACKING!” he screamed. Panic…chaos, screaming children and crying mothers…pushing onto the boats…then the rain and the swaying for a day suffering under a bitter chill that left him and all the other townsfolk that escape stiff and cranky with the inability to move their fingers or even get warm huddling together.

Thorfinn barely made it off the boat, slipping on the planks and falling onto the wet cobbles on the beach. But the clouds were breaking and the sun was rising again. He received food from the market and gladly slept in the hay at Drafter Crushton’s ranch. The refugees were brushed out of the stables the next morning, and rangers lead them into the ruins. Gunjor Tinwiddie, the butcher from Sing’jar, took on a bravado that befitted his large belly and callous attitude, and bossed people into a group. Thorfin could see where this was going. Before Gunjor could give him a turn of shouting and clouting about being a weak orc lover that let their town be crisped to cinders, Thorfinn ducked behind a large boulder and hiked in the opposite direction.

He found stark, plain beauty of the island as he hiked through the ruins. The food could be conserved, he did not need to exert himself, and there was plenty of time to reflect, meditate and pray. Sing’jar and its sacking was a shocking trauma, and he woke up easily. The time alone helped him find some peace. It also strengthened his resolve to help those in need. This island started presenting mysteries to him: how, with such a rocky landscape, do they raise cattle? How can they live on salted fish for so much of the year? Who were the dwarves and giant(s) that lived here previously?

The questions drifted between the horrific images slowly fading in his mind after about four days when Thorfinn saw a dust cloud billowing into the air about half a mile before him. He raced up the side of the hill he was climbing to the ridge: to his east was the remains of a dwarven statuary and below him was an impressive rock slide grinding to a halt, pinning some bugbears into the dry creek-bed below. Little shouts to made him look carefully: two halflings jumped for joy and smacked their hands in a high-five. The neighing of horses drew his ear next: on the adjacent ridge, a fighter and five rangers on horses split between two heading down the to the creek bed and three leaving down the opposite ridge. The fighter did not see Thorfinn or his wave, and started limping away from the scene.

The halflings and the fighter made their way back to an ancient coluseum, and through some giant, rotten wooden doors with rusty ironwork, some cook fire smoke drifted. Thorfinn walked through the ajar doors and everyone looked up at him. “Hello! My name is Thorfinn, a priest from Sing’jar.”

And immediately, a dwarf, a halfling, and a tall human started bickering about who this guy was. Clearly, they didn’t hate each other too much. Maybe there was hope with this group of refugees?

A pretty dwarven woman hopped off a ledge and said, “these know-it-alls get on my nerves, so I’m going to town. To the pub. You coming with me?” And before Thorfinn knew it, he was following a spunky dwarf, followed by a the sullen fighter who waved off his offers of healing, trailed by the chatty human and argumentative halfling.

Thorfinn had not been back to town. Clearly, the master of the guard there was an authoritarian jerk wad, and the overall greeting to the refugees was tight-lipped. The group rolled into the Axe and Sparrow, and a large, wrinkled old half orc, Antsy, greeted them and served them some water. Bickering. The less argumentative halfling (there were two, that’s right) Laminon, tried raising the spirits of the pub with a song, but the patrons were busy and preoccupied. The argumentative halfling went up to the town square to practice his mime routine. The scene sucked at the pub, and Thorfinn headed out to the street.

In a moment, he discovered a church of Chauntea, surrounded by refugees of Sing’jar. They were pleading and badgering the three acolytes outside the door with their needs. Just inside the door, the priest, a huge shouldered farmer and probably ranch hand, was biting his tongue while pushing a refugee out the door. He glaced over to Thorfinn, gave him a nod and gestured him inside and shut the door. Thorfinn glanced behind him to find Kevbin has been shadowing him the whole walk and snuck in as the door closed. Our priest complained grumplily these refugees weren’t giving anyone a break, there were too many of them, and they were tearing up his lawn to make stupid little charms to be blessed. Grass is precious on this barren island, why don’t they open up their eyes? They need a leader to get them settled into the ruins, he said.

Back to the pub, they agree they need some money, they need to collect a bounty. These bugbears—now that’s a threat. The priest was flabbergasted that they encountered so many. Apparently the master of the guard isn’t doing his job. Kevbin proposes, let’s approach Drafter Crushton as merceniaries against the bugbears! And to the ranch the return. Drafter greets them at his desk, filled with maps and a half finished meal, looking engaged and eager-eyed.

“Good afternoon, gentlemen! Nalliffan, these are your charges?” And Nalliffan nods, as Drafter continues, “you people seem to have weathered the last few days better than most. You’ve actually defeated some bugbears! This is a problem we want your help with: why don’t we outfit you with some weapons and in return, you be our bastion against the bugbears since you’re the closest to them.” Yes, and opportunity arrives! And in minutes as they are passed swords, bows and quivers from the armory, a horn sounds, the sign that a ranger is in need!

Charging on horses through the ruins, they bring up short at the entrance to the coliseum to see a ranger prancing his horse around a pair of bugbears, a horn in his hand. As a skillful rider, the ranger has stayed out of reach, and the bugbears are mad and thrashing their spiked clubs at him. Our team leaps into action with accurate arrow flights, magic missiles and a flanking tactic. In a minute, both the bugbears are dead and blood from one’s neck has sprayed half the party.

“I’m not making any more soap!” shouts Kevbin, “no no no more soap! Let’s render these guys into oil so we can burn the rest out of the beastiary!” And up race the dwarf, the dragonborn, and the halflings to carve and render the bugbears, preparing for their next battle.