Faroth: Repelling Bugbears

Jan 28 write-up by Liam. His characater is Lotheric, who appeared the episode following the courageous death of his first conflicted character that took on a bugbear in the Coliseum.

The session began with the introduction of  Liam’s new character, Lothric Emberwind, a young- ish soldier who had, before fleeing on the boat, been getting people on the boat, forcing them away from the monsters, and their homes. After he came to the ruins, he had a bit of an introduction to the party, but then Hilde’s character noticed, while climbing around, that a group of bugbears were heading straight for the town. Lothric, being the fastest runner of the party, ran off back to the village, to tell the guard. He and two of the guard rushed to where the bugbears were coming from, an old, abandoned creek bed, running alongside an ancient, giant statuary (group of statues). However, being that they were ancient, and a fire giant had come through here, the statues were but rubble on the ground, all that remained were there huge pedestals. Jesse’s character, and Brendan’s character crept behind the bugbears, and while the guard were distracting them, they hopped from pedestal to pedestal, before eventually casting mage hand and toppling a pile of boulders onto the bugbears. And that was the session.

Faroth: Chasing into the Deep

We began this session with Brenden, Jesse P, Sorin, and Liam. Our party wanted to find, and eliminate the one final bugbear, and so to begin, they headed down the one tunnel they hadn’t explored of the bugbear warren. It was dark, and after a while, it began to round, and felt oddly slimy, as though it had been carved out by something round. The further they went, the stranger the tunnel got, with smaller rounded holes branching out from the main one, twisting this way and that, ’till they had no idea where they were. As they trekked, they began to hear the sound of metal scraping on stone, and a very faint clanging sound. The tunnel began to widen out, and in front of them, they found a huge, gray worm, covered in a hard scaly exoskeleton, and with huge mandibles peering down at them.

They had stumbled upon an ancient skeleton, seemingly undisturbed by anything, except the faint light shining down on them form some holes in the ceiling. However, the scraping sound persisted, and being the smart adventurers they were, they hid behind the skeleton, and waited. For nearly a minute, the cavern was silent, but our adventurers grew tired of waiting, and Halt (Sorin’s ranger) went out to investigate. He slowly inched himself out from behind the worm, and across the dimly lit floor, and heard a “swooshing” sound, as if something had fallen.

Carefully turning behind, he found himself face to face with a grinning, scarred bugbear. Halt, being no coward, pulled out his longsword, barely missing the beast, whose morning star sailed right across Halt’s left shoulder. Lamanon (Brenden’s Bard) peeked his head out, sensing commotion, and began to pelt the beast with stones from his sling. Now, fully alerted, Lothric (Liam’s fighter), and Thorfin (Jesse’s Cleric), rushed out to save Halt. The bugbears last strike had missed, cracking off the body of the worm. Together with the combined strength of their blades, magic, and slings, they finished the last known bugbear. 

After some healing, they continued down the tunnel, eventually reaching a melted, Worm-shaped hole and a dwarven brick wall. Through that hole, they came to what appeared to be a dwarven hallway, with a wood plank floor. They carefully checked to make sure it would hold their weight, then began to walk across it. Lothric went first to check it out, and after rounding the curved walkway, and being out of sight of the rest of the party, he began to yell!

Lamanon, leading the others on, ran to check on him, only to find the beyond the curve, the wall disappeared, only to be replaced with an empty space, leading to a seemingly bottomless pit. Lothric was pressed against the wall, trying to stay far away from the edge, and rightfully so, as Thorfin dropped a rock, and they never heard it hit the ground.

Across the crevasse, we could see other small walkways, ladders, and staircases snaking around the walls, and a faint light pouring in from the ceiling. Not wanting to find the bottom any time soon, our heroes continued on, and breathed a sigh of relief when the reached a fully enclosed portion of the tunnel. Thorfin, being a literate man, began to study the dwarvish runes on the walls, which warned the readers to not “Go down,” but giving little more information as to what they meant.

At the end of the hall, they could hear a loud clanging sound, not dissimilar to that of a hammer on an anvil. This area seemed to be where all other walkways converged, as they could now travel onto many wooden paths, but stayed in this large hall, with large, stone stairs, that seemed overly large for any dwarf…even big for any human! They found themselves before a large anvil, with two huge gears powering two large “hammers,” still trying to shape metal that was not there.

After wondering at the contraption, Thorfin took an arcana check, and determined the gears were kept in perpetual motion by magic, which seemed somewhat obvious. Venturing forward, there was an armory, full of rack upon rack of old, rusted, bent weapons and armor, with many sets missing. Feeling curious, Thorfin took one of the dwarven helms, and brought it onto the anvil. Seconds later, it was the width of a thin book, shattered and squished into more of a plate than a piece of armour.

After the armory, there was a large throne room. Towering statues on each side of the wall, each a different dwarf lord, all holding large, stone torches. Staring in marvel, the party hardly noticed as a groaning, undead abomination, with most of it’s left half singed and melted, armor stuck to it’s decrepit body. It wielded a gold embossed, heavy morning star that had not appeared to have aged a day.

They unleashed their fury on it, blow after blow it received, but it never faltered. However, when Thorfin cast a shield of faith on Lothric, the abombination became enraged, and ran him down, colliding with the statue behind Thorfin. Thorfin retreated, and the statue came crashing down upon the creature!

Lamanon and Halt discovered levers that ignited the torches carried by the statues, brightening up the room. At the end of this hall, our party discovered three stone thrones, the middle of which was big enough for a giant and was flanked by two more dwarven-sized thrones. The throne on the right was empty, while the throne on the left had a suit of armor, melted onto the throne itself, worn by the down mostly decomposed skeleton of a dwarf. On the center throne there was a crown the size of a wagon wheel, if not bigger, made of some dark, gold embossed metal, that had been cleaved in two.

Through the doorway at the end of the throne room was a huge, giant-sized door, leading into an abandoned armory, filled with mostly empty racks carrying armor and weapons, all missing or rusted. Beyond, a large, giant sized staircase led up, and our characters rested on the wide stone stairs to regain their strength, and then continued up them until they reached a cave in, and were forced to venture up the branching staircases. The first lead to another cave in, while the second led to a wall, that seemed rather out of place, and the party puzzled over it for several minutes, before Thorfin attempted to hit it with his mace. Upon contact however, the wall shattered, with the sound of breaking glass, and the rubble disappeared, leading them into a small bedchamber, containing the corpses of two dwarfish guards, and a large bed, upon which lay the corpse of a dwarf, wearing on its head a crown, and beside it, a chest, that was quickly smashed by a Thorfin’s mace. Inside, was a shield with the dwarfish symbol of fire on it. They left the room, and on the final staircase, they managed to squeeze their way out of a hole in a broken wall, and rushed back to the camp to take a well deserved nap.

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: 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.