Kingmaker

Death in the Perpetual Twilight
Because this plane has no real concept of "afternoon"

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 5, Month 9

Abaddon: The Rotting Corpse Expanse

After a rest, we came back through the mirror and have begun to explore Abaddon on foot. I've only brief time to write during our infrequent rests, so these entries must be short. We set off westward from the ruins, threading our way past lava pools, and found ourselves here. "Here" is a vast plain covered in piles of rotting corpses which explode if one comes too close. I've dubbed it the Rotting Corpse Expanse.

Narzeth has contracted some kind of demon fever, no doubt from the miasma in the air. I dried to delay it, but apparently Abaddonian diseases don't react well to humble nature magic: Narzeth fell over retching, and is now weakened and sweating. As we continued, Shella and Gelros also became feverish. We've now paused so that Avariel can treat the three of them with more conventional methods: water, herbal compresses, and such. But we must be moving on; I see some type of weather approaching from… by fiat, the direction it is approaching from is East. There, now we have a frame of reference, if only temporarily.

Abaddon: The Lost Lover

We found that tavern. Good thing too, because we were caught in a soul-storm. That's right; it was raining the souls of the damned. They're so cold they burn when they touch you. So we ducked inside "The Lost Lover."

I've parked myself at a window to watch for the weather to abate. I'm taking notes while I wait. This place is exceedingly odd. You might think the weirdest bit would be the lady-daemons (same type as Narzeth summoned; Gelros told me they are "erodaemons"), or possibly their soul-eater assistants just floating about, or maybe the fact that we recognize two of the three patrons: the fallen souls of Imekus Stroon and some rabble-rousing bard who we killed a long while ago. But, no, all of that seems par for the course here in Abaddon. The weird bit is that the hostesses say everything is free, we just have to stay. Suspicious.

Oh dear, Imekus Stroon has noticed us and is making a ruckus. His erodaemon waitress/mistress is trying to calm him down. The bard is just playing very loudly on his lute. Awfully noisy for a transparent stringed instrument.

And now Kris has sat down and asked for a drink. That seems… unwise. Another erodaemon dropped it off with him and gave him the slightest brush with her lips. He seems pretty smitten. That seems… not great.

Gelros has gone to the bar to question the barmaid. Narzeth, shivering, is joining him. I can't quite hear; repositioning… Huh. They're asking her about the Occulus point blank. I think I saw a flicker of alarm before she recovered her composure. Sounds like she might have info, for a price?

Souls. The price is souls, or more specifically soul gems. Five of them.

Narzeth counter-offered three. (Three? We don't have any.) She's not having it. Upped her price to six. I hate this place.

I just noticed something: none of these erodaemons are moving their lips when they talk. That means they are speaking telepathically. I wonder what they are hearing telepathically?

Ah, the bard's erodaemon just ate him, and now it's quiet. I think I know what the price of dinner is now. Look, the rain is done. Let's go! We're going! Going to, ah, collect some souls! Oh, Kris's erodaemon is coming too. Lovely!

Abaddon: The Dusty Plain

Good news: I'm alive to write this! Also good news: nobody else died either, but we managed to lose the erodaemonbitch. We've got a few moments to catch our breath, and I'm trying to get the voices out of my head. (No, really. Hang on. They'll tell you, I mean I'll tell you about it.)

From the tavern, we first explored "south", through some pools of magma and lava jets that seemed to not like us. We ran away, to this dusty plain. The dust and wind on this plain interfere with magic. This got us into a pickle: we ran into a cloud of some little beasties Gelros called cacodaemons, and had some trouble carving through them. Spells kept failing, and my magical quiver sealed itself off: no arrows. Gelros had to loan me his quiver. The combat was relatively horrible: lots of swatting down daemons, while they were biting at us. One bit my shoulder, and that's when the voices started. We'll get you! You're done for! More souls for us!

Without magical enhancement, our weapons were somewhat underwhelming, but we still cut through the swarm eventually. Jaric summoned an air elemental, which kept winking in and out of existence but was quite effective during the "in" phases. Narzeth used a lot of fire. He burned our erodaemon friend in the process, who complained to Kris. Kris said something to the effect of "Not now, dear! I'm a little busy!" and she left in a huff. Good to know it's that easy. Although I'm worried about Kris's reaction. So far, he hasn't done anything stupid. I mean, no stupider than normal.

After the daemonswarm came rock trolls. Shella and Kris worked their way through these. Die mortal! Ugh, this brain fever is getting distracting. Then came some flying daemons with large bows. These proved not so bad: I shot one up and Gelros reduced a second to vomiting. At this point they cut and run. So did we.

You can flee but you can't escape us! SHUT. UP.

XP

  • Driving off the daemonswarm (60,600 XP)

Loot

  • TBD
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Abaddon Survey Corporation
Naming the flora and fauna of Abaddon since... yesterday

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 5, Month 9

Candlekeep

A lot has happened in the past year: we enlarged Arborian borders westward to Fort Drelev, Shella consolidated the army, I expanded the reach of the postal service, and Jaric spent considerable time resettling refugees from the west. Kris did, well, Kris keeps what he does to himself, so I don't really know. Oh, yes, and the populace crowned Gelros king. Frankly, I'm surprised it took them this long. With his new position, Gelros has acquired a new charisma and discipline. He's almost the same, but in place of his old carefree adventuring attitude is a subtlety different sense of self-assured purpose. I guess that's what becoming a monarch does for you.

However, this journal entry is about the activities of Narzeth. Still intent on redeeming the eye, Narzeth has spent much of the past year locked in his tower in study or abroad on information-gathering missions. Gelros and Jaric have been strongly supportive, I suspect each for reasons linked to their own deities. Gelros and Narzeth have acquired a ludicrously expensive artifact from earth-knows-where: a mirror that allows magical scrying and the creation of teleportation gates across any distance and indeed even into other planes of reality. Ostensibly, it is to assist the Kingdom. (And, in fairness, we have used it to gather intelligence that allowed us to fend off two barbarian incursions and a hill giant raid. In the latter case, we just dropped Shella through the portal; it was the easiest method.) However, the mirror also, conveniently, is our ticket to Abaddon.

Abaddon. I used to doubt the existence of heaven, hell, and all that, but now I know better. (Deities, well, I'll believe when I see one. Religion be damned.) Narzeth believes the focus of his eye is somewhere in the plane of Abaddon, land of death and daemons. So, naturally, we're going to retrieve it. In preparation, Gelros transcribed for us some of his research:

Abaddon is a plane that is inhabited by neutral evil daemons who are mostly interested in destruction of the world and causing misery in Golarion. Abaddon does have a pretty healthy amount of people who regularly plane shift to/from it. Spells that rely on the aid of the more good aligned gods (good descriptor) are harder to cast and may fail entirely. The terrain of the plane is not something that remains constant. It's not a swirling mass of confusion, but powerful entities may alter the landscape if it falls under their domain. Most daemons have resistance that can be overcome with good or silver weapons; some require both. Almost everything has spell resistance and resistance to elemental damages. Most are resistant at least a bit to all the base elemental damages: fire, electricity, cold.

Cheery place.

Today, we began the process of figuring out how to get there. I learned something new today: to scry magically, you apparently must know something, or someone, at the location you wish to scry. Enter: foul sorcery. This afternoon, at Narzeth's request we convened in Candlekeep in the Chamber of Gazing, as we've taken to calling the location of the mirror. Narzeth announced what we had known for several days, that we are now ready to tackle Abaddon. At which point he asked Jaric to go gather provisions. An odd request, but the reason became apparent quickly.

Shortly after Jaric left, Narzeth traced a magical circle on the floor, then summoned and trapped a daemon. She had a strange elven beauty but was simultaneously scarred, burned, and repulsive. At first, she was all coy and flirty with Narzeth and Gelros. However, at this point, it became evident that Gelros and Narzeth didn't have a plan as to what to ask her, and the two of them and Shella got in a bit of a debate (in front of this daemon) as to just how forthright the questions should be. Our friendly daemonette was now looking confused and a bit impatient.

Abruptly, Narzeth turned to her and pointed to his eye: "Do you know what this is?" "Oh. Oh my." She panicked and tried to cast a spell. I shot her in the leg and told her to cool it; we weren't done questioning her. Gelros then changed his mind and requested a dismissal. Avariel tried, but failed. The daemon-lady then tried to cast another spell, but Narzeth disintegrated her first. So now we have daemon-dust. And, according to Gelros, the effect is roughly the same: a summoned daemon can't be killed here on the material plane.

Around this point, Jaric returned with two servants and all our stocked provisions. He slowly looked at the magical circle, Narzeth, and the pile of dust. "What. Happened." Shella told him. He looked at me for confirmation, and, having no reason to lie, I nodded affirmative. (More specifically, I had every reason not to lie.) Jaric looked upset and left, muttering something about consulting with his deity. Narzeth gathered the dust into a vial, verified he could scry our daemon friend back in her home (Abaddon), and then left to take a nap.

Candlekeep

We've now gathered a rough plan of attack. Gelros has handed out some gear, and we've started a remote survey of Abaddon. This began with scrying our daemon friend, followed by clairvoyance magic from the mirror. Abaddon is a hellish place. (Though it is not actually hell, Gelros keeps reminding me.) Then, the survey proceeds roughly as follows:

  1. Scry a patch of Abaddon
  2. Observe through mirror
  3. Create a portal
  4. Narzeth and a few others step through
  5. Narzeth draws a bead on the direction his eye seems to want to go
  6. We take quick notes and sketch up a map
  7. Daemons spot us and move over to attack
  8. We retreat through the portal.

Rinse, repeat.

After a good bit of this, we found an ordinary looking tavern called "The Lost Lover," but were unable to open a portal near it. After a bit more, we found a ruin where the Eye's directional preference is indeterminate. Here, we decided to make our entry.

Let's just say it was a learning experience. Within minutes of all stepping into Abaddon, we were beset by three colossal oozing hulks of blood, gristle, and bone. I've dubbed them Abaddonian Blood Oozes. Because someone has to discovery and name the fauna, right? The beginning of the fight was… interesting. I shot one, which split in half. I stopped shooting. Narzeth disintegrated one. Twice. It was still twitching forward afterward. Shella then exchanged blows with the third; the return blow hit quite hard and Shella looked sickly. A large chunk of an ooze split off in retaliation.

But, as a mentor of mine used to say, "brute force and ignorance often succeed where finesse fails." It turns out that even though they split when you chop them, if you chop them (or shoot them) long enough all the bits eventually die. Die? Might not be the right word. Disperse anyway. Soak back into the blood-drenched earth. Whatever. So this is what we did, and then we retreated back to Candlekeep to take stock and heal.

XP

  • Kill the Abaddonian blood oozes (76,800 XP)

Loot

  • Well, we escaped Abaddon alive. That's worth something, right?
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The Crowning of a King
handing out moistened swords is no basis for a goverment

Arboria has grown to be an economic powerhouse.  In the nations surrounding Arboria, merchants speak of the wealth of the young kingdom.  Every day, new farms are built, new families come to the land to seek a better life, and more and more gold fills the royal coffers.  Soldiers in surrounding lands speak in hushed voices about the famed militias of Arboria, and try and plan for the possible aggressions of a land with few troops, but with a populace that worships Gorum the god of war with a somewhat worrisome fervor.  Scholars flock in unprecedented numbers to the famed libraries of Bandits Rest, delving into the ever expanding storehouses of knowledge.   And the people of Arboria love it.  No kingdom around can compete for the love an adoration that the common citizen of Arboria shows to their leadership. 

The streets of Bandits Rest ring out with cheers.  A procession is winding it way through the heart of the city, flocked on the sides by cheering citizens.  Streamers and brightly colored flags flutter in the breeze.  A small child sits upon his father shoulders, and watches with wide eyes as the procession winds past.

"Father, Father, where are they?" he asked.  His eyes scanned the ranks of soldiers and artisans walking past.

"They will be here soon.  This is in honor of them after all." laughed his father.  "Just stay patient for a little while longer."

The young boy could barely contain himself.  He wasn't 100% sure what the parade was FOR, but he didn't care.  All he knew was the Heroes would be walking by soon, and he couldn't wait to see them!

The first sign that his wait was over was the sound of the approaching trumpets.  The sound of their melody rang out through the streets.  Soon the trumpeters could be seen, marching in front of a group of great lords and ladies. 

"Father there they are!" cried the small boy.  There was the Iron Lady,  standing tall with her massive sword strung to her back.  The Postmaster general was astride her great warhorse, looking a bit uncomfortable with all the show but very impressive with her great bow and mount.  "It's Spike!' cried the boy, as the great dinosaur rumbled by, accompanied by his handler and companion.  They boy wished ever so badly to ride the great beast, but knew that spike would only really follow the great Kris into battle, and the boy was super jealous.   Following spike was the radiant Jaric, Warden of Arboria and High Priest of Iomedea.  Iomeda wasn't nearly as cool as Gorum in his humble opinion, but she did like to smash bad guys, so she was okay in his book.   Next came the Dark one, as the other kids called him.  Floating along a good 10 feet off the ground, dark cowell raised and red eye gleaming, Narzeth was surrounded by a nimbus of dark swirls and flashing sparks.  The other kids whispered that the dark one was evil, but the boy knew that whatever he might be he was a protector of the realm, and man was that glowing eye SUPER cool.  There was a slight gap in the procession, and the cheers of the crowd grew even larger, if that were possible.  Casually walking down the street, hands raised in greeting, was Gelros Zhevons the First, Newly crowned King of Arboria.  The small boy cheered and shouted with the rest of the crowd, proud Arborians celebrating the crowning of their new king.  No longer would they worry about where they had come from or what nations they were beholden to.   They were ARBORIANS, and with their new King leading them, lands far and wide would come to know them, and wish they were Arborians to!

As the crowds followed behind the procession, heading towards the grand palace that they had built on the shores of the lake, a murmuring in the crowd turning into a chant.  As it grew and swelled and reverberated off the buildings, for miles around "ARBORIA, ARBORIA, ARBORIA!" was the only sound that could be heard.

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Oh Oh It's a Snake
Ok, I suppose technically, a naga is NOT a snake

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 4, Month 7

Bandit's Rest

I have just returned from an extended tour of the outlands. My compatriots have been busy while I was away: apparently they overthrew a minor boggard monarchy. The former king, now much disgraced, is atoning for his sins by converting to Gelros' deity. I will never understand this religion stuff. What I do understand, though, is that he was under the influence of a naga, who we've now taken it upon ourselves to track down and eliminate.

Also, apparently Gelros and Baern have invented a ship that flies in the air. An airship, if you will. Fascinating. Somewhat terrifying. But definitely convenient. I hear we are using it as our primary mode of transportation now.

South End of Hooktongue Slough

The swamp is thick here—nearly a jungle. I've picked up the trail of a large snakelike creature, which is probably our naga. Tonight we rest, and I'll prepare some magic to deal with this undergrowth.

South End of Hooktongue Slough (Following Day)

Our spirit naga turned out to be a tough quarry. Not because she herself was tough; she wasn't. (When we finally caught up to her, Shella dispatched her in a few blows.) Rather, it was the fact of fighting an accomplished spellcaster on her own turf. Or mud, in this case.

We tracked her to her cave, but found she had multiple underwater entrances. She was adept at using invisibility and hiding in the undergrowth. The game of cat-and-mouse went on for nearly a minute. She hit several of us with a cone of cold, and at one point briefly had Kris under mental domination. Gelros eventually nailed her with a spell that left her weak and retching into the swamp. At that point it was over.

We recovered a few knick-knacks and some valuables from the cave, but mostly, the reward was knowing the creature was no longer lurking on the edge of our borders.

East of Hooktongue Slough

Fought some chuuls yesterday. I still have occasional nightmares from the first time. This time Narzeth turned one to dust and I turned another into a pincushion before they could close. Shella knocked a third back, and Gelros finished it with a piercing scream. How he directs sound like that I have no idea, but it is effective.

Eastern Plains

Much more eventful day today. Following the tips of some of Fort Drelev's adventurers and scouts, we tracked down a herd of wild horses on the upland plains east of the lake. We had heard that the black stallion Windchaser leads the herd, and his offspring are prized as warhorses. What we had not heard was that Windchaser is no ordinary horse.

When we found the herd, I rode out ahead with Bessie to befriend them and take stock of the, well, stock. As I was feeding apples to a couple of the foals, a huge black stallion rode over warily. I offered him an apple as well, to which he replied in accented but clearly understandable common, "Thank you, but I am not hungry just now." I about fell off Bessie. He then proceeded to inquire about our business with his herd.

I had heard of awakened animals, but never encountered one. When I had sufficiently recovered my composure, I politely introduced myself and then Gelros. (Hey, Gelros deals with talky things; I generally deal with non-talky things.) Turns out this was Windchaser, who had been granted his intelligence by a great druid that he served for many years. Asked about the druid, Windchaser said he had "returned to the cycle." Windchaser was touched by our kindness and impressed with Gelros' manner, such that he offered to come with us and serve as a mount. The plains have been good to him, but I think he misses the thrill of the hunt.

Well. Here is an opportunity I couldn't pass up: the famous Windchaser, willing to be our companion. After some discussion, we decided I should ride him. But what about Bessie, faithful companion? I slept on it, and in the morning talked it over with her and the other horses. (Even from friends, you get funny looks when speaking horse.) Bessie was willing to settle down here with the herd, even though she said she would miss our adventures. A little. When pressed on it, she sounded content to run and eat the wild grass. So that was that. On top of this, Gelros surprised me by personally teleporting himself and Narzeth back to Candlekeep to track down a scroll of awaken. So they did for Bessie what the druid had done for Windchaser long ago, and now she will lead the herd. I had a long talk with her, as did Windchaser, before we left.

As I said, Windchaser is no ordinary horse, and I don't know how long he will want to stay with me. I've resolved to teach him what I know, or perhaps he will choose to learn from another of us. I am lucky to have his companionship for now, but I expect he will eventually want to return to his herd or otherwise strike out on his own.

Oh, yes, and I almost forgot: Windchaser and the other horses spoke of a band of "twolegs" to the south that sound like they may need some help. So, off that way next.

Eastern Plains

We found the "twolegs": a band of religious refugees from Pitiax on their way to Arboria to escape oppression and persecution. They were hungry and desperate, having been cut off from progress by a "many-headed water beast" to the west. A hydra of some kind, by the sound of it. We fed the refugees and boarded them onto our airship. The plan is to track down the hydra and destroy it, then escort the rest of them to within Arborian borders.

Eastern Plains

Shella jumped into the water and stabbed the hydra to death. Didn't even bother with it's heads. And that was that.

XP

  • Defeat Nagara, the spirit naga (28,800 XP)
  • Revenge of the King of the Boggards (19,200 XP)
  • Explore swamp hex (6,-2) (150 XP)
  • Defeat the chuuls (9,600 XP)
  • Explore swamp hex (7,-4) (150 XP)
  • Explore swamp hex (7,-5) (150 XP)
  • Explore plains hex (7,-6) (150 XP)
  • Explore plains hex (7,-7) (150 XP)
  • Explore plains hex (9,-6) (150 XP)
  • Murder hydra (19,200 XP)
  • Explore swamp hex (9,-5) (150 XP)
  • Escort refugees to safety (19,200 XP + 9,600 XP)
  • Quest: Chasing the Wind (19,200 XP)

Loot

  • Headband of mental prowess +2 (CHA, WIS)
  • MW quarterstaff shod with silver at either end and decorated with carvings of predatory birds, worth 900 GP
  • Wide leather belt of mighty constitution +2
  • Silver ring of jumping
  • Coral holy symbol of Gozreh worth 250 GP
  • Stylized mithral brooch in the shape of a gilded leaf worth 500 GP
  • Uncompleted, leather-bound spellbook in a waterproof case containing…

    • All 0-level spells
    • Control water
    • Fabricate
    • Move earth
    • Stone shape
    • Transmute mud to rock
  • +2 Loyalty for Arboria
  • 12,000 GP
  • 341 PP, 1881 GP, 260 SP, 800 CP
  • +2 Throwing Warhammer
  • Bracers of the Avenging Knight
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The Taming of the Weasel-Badger-Shrews
They're as horrifying as they sound

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 4, Month 3

Bandit's Rest

Following our adventures in Mendev, we regrouped to plan the remaining exploration of the lands around Fort Drelev. Around this time,  we found the dragonfly wings from half a year ago moldering in the bottom of a bag of holding. A quick cast of mending and they were good as new. We took them to that Berzaki fellow, who crafted us a cloak in exchange.

With that out of the way, it seems the main threat to Fort Drelev is a man-eating tiger (real? myth?) that has made the farmland north of the city unsafe for several years. So we are setting out to solve that problem, and get a better feel for the eastern lands as well.

Northeast of Fort Drelev

Our exploration had been relatively uneventful until today. The boggards gave us no trouble. We found a cave infested with chimeras (a creature I had never seen in real life), but they were little trouble. Narzeth turned one into dust and Raven turned another into a rabbit. I made rabbit stew.

The aurumvorax, on the other hand, were different. We encountered them today while investigating a barren area full of little holes, as if oversized prairie dogs were living there. However, what we found instead of prairie dogs were nearly a dozen magical beasts that seemed part badger and part weasel. And all teeth. Gelros tells me they are called aurumvorax.

These buggers were tough. I was unlucky enough to be point when the first one jumped out. I shook it off once, but then it bit my shoulder and came along for the ride as Bessie ran away. Shella dispatched that one, but we could hear movement. We had only a few moments to prepare before ravening weasel-beasts burst from the ground all around us, working as a pack to take us down one by one. It was a hell of a fight. Every time we thought we'd dropped one, the damn thing would bounce back up and keep attacking. For instance, I tried to shoot one off of Jaric's face, but with three arrows in it was still thrashing. Gelros has to finish it with a missile from his trusty wand. We did eventually take them all out. Apparently aurumvorax are either too stupid or too stubborn to retreat.

As reward for surviving, we got to recover all the gear and coinage from the previous poor saps who had wandered through here. It was a decent haul. What's more, Gelros found 5 aurumvorax kits. They're not quite as horrifying when they are small like that, but I still don't like them. Sounds like they're worth a lot of money, though, so Narzeth teleported them off somewhere for safekeeping. Onward.

North of Fort Drelev

Two days ago I found the big cat's tracks, and yesterday we tracked it to its lair. Loathe as I am to put down a predator simply for being a predator, it does seem that this one had developed quite a taste for humans and livestock—at least judging by the refuse near the cave. He wasn't in just then, so we set up a blind for me and used Shella and Kris for bait. Some of us, ahem, were more patient about the waiting than others, but he did show up. What a brute too: 14' long and 8' at the shoulder, with teeth the size of my forearms. He nearly killed Kris before we could put him down.

I've arranged to have him mounted and sent to the Museum of Natural History. It would be a shame to waste such a specimen.

XP

  • Explore plains hex (3,-1) (150 XP)
  • Kill Chimeras (14,400)
  • Explore hills hex (3,-5) (150 XP)
  • Kill Aurumvorax (24,400)
  • Explore hills hex (3,-6) (150 XP)
  • Explore hills hex (3,-7) (150 XP)
  • Explore hills hex (2,-6) (150 XP)
  • Explore hills hex (2,-7) (150 XP)
  • Explore hills hex (1,-7) (150 XP)
  • Explore hills hex (0,-7) (150 XP)
  • Explore hills hex (4,-5) (150 XP) 

Loot

  • Rudimentary robes (smelled bad)
  • Bracers of armor +5
  • Wand of Lightning Bolt (28 charges)
  • 2,530 GP
  • Fancy ivory scepter studded with opals worth 1,800 GP
  • Gold necklace worth 600 GP
  • Tattered vest with 6 MW silver daggers
  • Ring of climbing
  • +2 defending kukri
  • +1 ghost touch short sword
  • 5 aurumvorax kits
  • +1 bashing heavy steel shield
  • +1 Taldan dueling blade
  • +1 animal bane composite longbow
  • Efficient quiver
  • 2 animal slaying arrows
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There and Back Again
In which "there" is Mendev, land of demon-fighting paladins

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 4, Month 1

Bandit's Rest

It has been some months since our last adventure. Gelros has spent the time expanding the borders of Arboria, but Jaric and Narzeth have been researching how to redeem that eye of Narzeth's. I gather that from the libraries in Candlekeep, they were able to link it to Abaddon, an alternate plane of existence consisting mostly of demons. (Look, I don't know how this stuff works, ok? I just write it down.) However, they weren't able to learn much more about its origins or how we might redeem it.

The upshot of all this is that we've decided to go to Mendev, land of demon-fighting paladins, to see if we can find out more. Gelros found us a visiting paladin whose uncle Arnath is a captain in Nerosyan, so we have a contact to try. We plan to travel fast and light; no cadre of followers this time.

Speaking of which, turns out Raven isn't coming with Narzeth either. Apparently she's expecting, and they both would rather she stay where it's safe.

Nerosyan, Mendev

We arrived this morning in Nerosyan, capital of Mendev. We chose a relatively straight path, through the eastern wilds of Numeria and then along the southern edge of the Estrovian forest. There were only a few events of note. The first is that on our third path through the swamps north of Fort Drelev, we finally found the fabled Wyvernstone bridge over the Hooktongue river. That will simplify road building for sure.

On day 2, we came across yet another cadre of brigand hill giants. (I swear, it's an epidemic of them around here.) We heard them before they heard us, and could have bypassed them. However, Gelros would rather not have the giants on our borders, and authorized us to take them out. I was about to organize an ambush, when Kris decides he'd rather face them in a fair fight. (I don't think you can call it "fair" just because we didn't shoot first, but ok, sure, whatever.)

It went about like the last fight we had with hill giants: battle chants, arrows, those extraplanar angels that Jaric always summons to aid him, you know the drill. Something that was a little different this time is that Gelros magically dominated one of them, and he thereafter served as our bodyguard all the way to Nerosyan.

On day 4, we had a nice dinner and chat with an old man we came across in the Estrovian Forest. Who turned out to be a gold dragon, who chose to reveal himself after the meal as he flew away. Now that's something that doesn't happen every day.

Nerosyan, Mendev (following day)

Mendev is an ocean of military activity. I've never seen so many people in heavy armor, and I served for years as a forward scout for Brevoy's army. Since he is literally sporting an evil eye, Narzeth has chosen to stay out of sight of all these paladins. We've been conducting our inquiries without him, which I'm sure he finds really annoying.

To Mendev's credit, Gelros was received with significant respect as a visiting foreign noble, although the queen politely declined an audience. We found this Arnath fellow, who directed us in turn to Scribe Keller. Scribe Keller, it turns out, is a knowledgeable middle-aged woman, but her knowledge of artifacts of Abaddon is still limited. She, in turn, directed us to Avungungungelvel, resident guardian angel of Narosyan. Resident. Guardian. Angel. (What is this place?)

Somewhat surprisingly, Avungungungelvel (what a name, by the way) agreed to meet with us. Maybe it was Keller's good word, or the fact that Jaric is a respected cleric of Iomede. Whatever. I have to say, this Avungungungelvel fellow is enormously impressive: golden skin, shining hair, wings… But his prowess wasn't just physical. He and Jaric spoke of Iomede and her followers for well over two hours when we first met him. I could see Shella was bored to tears, but she knew better than to fall asleep. I considered slipping out, but every time I gave it serious thought, the angel would glance pointedly in my direction. I gave it up.

Avungungungelvel finally got around to the eye. Destroying it would be "not hard" (for him or his associates at least); it just involves smashing it with a holy hammer. Redeeming it, on the other hand, is just a tad more difficult: you would have to travel to Abaddon, retrieve the focus associated with the eye, and bring it back to a place of opposing power for conversion. Sure! No problem.

Sigh. At least we know what we're up against now.

Avungungungelvel  was willing to give us this information, but not help us further. (In fact, he observed offhandedly to Gelros that simply meeting us at all was placing Gelros in a position of considerable debt to him, as far as he was concerned. There was something about "I might have to start charging you.")

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 4, Month 1

Bandit's Rest

After meeting with the angel, we spent a few more days in Nerosyan before Narzeth transported all of us, and our horses, back home. Gelros chatted up some local nobles and managed to secure some trade contracts. I gather also that Gelros and Shella found a potential buyer for Shella's prized greatsword, which she now plans to replace with that thing we found in Armag's tomb. Some fellow named Baron Tericius.

Speaking of which: Shella has been working with Narzeth and Baern Gorondur on a torq that will protect her from Ovinrbaane's wiles. I believe Baern has almost finished it.

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 4, Month 2

Bandit's Rest

Baern did it: he crafted something that will shield it's owner from magical mental influence. It does seem to work: Shella took us all back to Armag's tomb and relclaimed Ovinrbaane from the pillar. The shaman fellow (the tomb's resident guardian, if you'll recall), greeted Shella and brought us all straight to the chamber. Gelros deconstructed the pillar, and Shella claimed Ovinrbaane as her own. Condescendingly. So very condescendingly. It was amusing to watch the two of them battle wills, and even more amusing to watch Ovinrbaane come to the realization that it can't win the mental matchup now. Still, even if it's fighting on our side, that sword is trouble. I'll be keeping a close eye on Shella until I'm sure her defenses are sound.

XP

  • Explore plains hex (1,-1) (150 XP)
  • Explore plains hex (1,-2) (150 XP)
  • Explore plains hex (1,-3) (150 XP)
  • Explore hills hex (1,-4) (150 XP)
  • Explore hills hex (1,-5) (150 XP)
  • Defeated 5 giants (16,000 XP)

Loot

  • 8,200 GP of miscellaneous durable goods
View
Arborian Royal Safari Company
Catering to the elite since... they're level 2 nobles

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 3, Month 7

The Western Wastelands

When we returned to the tomb entrance, the barbarians had gone. (Ha ha! Problem solved.) There was some discussion as to whether we should pursue them further or simply return directly to Bandit's Rest. Shella apparently had some pressing religious matters to attend to, so Narzeth teleported her back. The rest of us took the slow road with our followers and wagons of loot.

We chose a route that mapped the northern edge of the River Kingdoms area, following the trail of the barbarians. It was mostly uneventful. At one point, we found some hill giants in a cave arguing over spoils they had looted from passing merchants. They didn't feel like to talking to us. They did feel like throwing things at Kris, including pickles. It wasn't much of a fight. Spike knocked one flat and I tripped up another. Together with a few spells, it was over quickly. We recovered what was left of the durable goods and moved on.

We pursued the barbarian trail into the foothills of an impressive mountain range to the north, on Brevoy's southwestern border. I recall visiting these mountains long ago while scouting for Brevoy. They are rough and full of, well, barbarians. After a days travel through the foothills, we found a barbarian garrison. The sentinels challenged Gelros, but he had no trouble convincing them to parlay. It took a few hours, but a warlord appeared to negotiate. The short version is that the barbarians are willing to abide by a truce. However, what they really want is that sword that Shella and Gelros buried back in the tomb. With it, they apparently think they can more readily invade Brevoy.

So, give away an invaluable magical artifact to a nation who explicitly intends to use it against our ally and pseudo-national sponsor? I'm no politician, but that seems dumb. Gelros said he'd think about it.

We returned to Arborian lands traveling east, without further events.

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 3, Month 8

Bandit's Rest

We found the rescued noblewomen convalescing in Candlekeep in the company of the Lady Quintessa Maray. (For some reason, I always feel compelled to use her full title, if only for the irony of it.) They assure us that they've been taking in the glories of Bandit's Rest and thoroughly enjoying themselves. We've scheduled a return expedition to Drelev in a few weeks. No teleportation this time.

Also, an embassy of Cheliax has moved in next to the Temple of Iomede, of all places. For some reason I can't remember, Gelros (or maybe it was Kris?) wanted me to attend their grand opening event. It's very nice inside. Shrug.

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 3, Month 9

Fort Drelev

Gelros splurged for some kind of magical pop-up tent. It packs down to the size of a handbag, sets up to the size of a command tent, and is bigger on the inside. Much bigger: 30' square or so, with individual bedrooms! He's housing the noblewomen in there every night like this is some kind of safari. (Even though he claims to have no romantic interest.) I would have made them rough it.

The trip back to Fort Drelev was relatively uneventful, but not completely. We were ambushed by boggards while crossing the swamp near the river north of Lake Hooktongue. We made quick work of their leaders, and the rest beat a hasty retreat. Raven did catch one, but he was mostly useless. Apparently the poor saps aren't even part of some organized boggard kingdom; they're just local bandits. He couldn't tell us much of anything. Eventually we let him go. If we claim this area, we'll probably have to send a military unit to sweep it clean, but it won't be hard.

A bit later we found an hilly area rich in cloudberries, which are in fact pretty tasty. It's also a hotbed for predators, both natural and not so much. The only one we encountered was a snake lady (Naga I believe?), who looked scary right up until Spike caved her skull in with his tail. We traced her trail back to her lair, where we recovered some stolen gold. Useful for offsetting the cost of this little safari.

That was three days ago. We arrived in Drelev yesterday just before dark. There was much rejoicing. Lord Numesti is making the best of putting the town back together, but it's still in rough shape. He's anxious for us to complete a connection by road so Drelev can formally join Arboria. All in due time, I guess.

XP

  • Explore (2,-5) (150 XP)
  • Kill Giants (14,400 XP)
  • Explore hills hex (1,-6) (150 XP)
  • Explore hills hex (0,-6) (150 XP)
  • Explore hills hex (0,-5) (150 XP)
  • Explore hills hex (0,-4) (150 XP)
  • Explore hills hex (0,-3) (150 XP)
  • Explore plains hex (0,-2) (150 XP)
  • Explore plains hex (0,-1) (150 XP)
  • Explore plains hex (2,-1) (150 XP)
  • Dealt with boggards (12,000 XP)
  • Explore swamp hex (2,-2) (150 XP)
  • Explore plains hex (2,-3) (150 XP)
  • Kill dark naga (4,800 XP)
  • Explore plains hex (4,-4) (150 XP)
  • Saving the noblewomen (19,200 XP)

Loot

  • Tools and building materials worth 500 GP or 3 BP
  • 5,250 SP + 1,610 GP
  • MW Breastplate
  • Spyglass
  • Golembane Scarab
  • Potion of Aid
  • Potion of Fly
  • Brooch of Shielding
  • Hand of the Mage
  • 3,350 GP
View
Armag-eddon It!
Cause Ovinrbaane never wants it to stop

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 3, Month 7

Armag's Tomb

It's not every day that one finds a sentient evil sword and buries it in a pillar of stone. I'm not even sure it really happened. I pretty sure I just finally snapped, and what you are reading are the ramblings of a madwoman. Then again, here's a sackful of gold, jewels, and weapons that tells me I'm at least not completely imagining the events of the last 24 hours.

So yes, let me ramble. Where did I leave off? Test of Tactics; right! I forgot to tell you that Gelros used some sort of special soap to wash both Kris and Shella so they could shake off the demons' mind paralyzing effect. After that, there was some discussion that I tuned out while I wrote my previous journal entry. The conclusion was to finish the exploration of the passageways around us before moving deeper into the cave.

The Test of Balance: After our usual roping up trick, we found our way back to the entry and went down the left-hand passage. This passage came out at a huge, smooth disc on the floor, which turned out to be a balance beam of sorts: you had to balance just right to walk across to the far side. I was busy brainstorming a way to rig a rope across when Narzeth floated the idea of using his flight spell. On the dinosaur. Yes, please, let that sink in: Narzeth cast flight on Spike, Kris's stegosaur. And so began the tale of how I got to live out one of my specific fantasies: riding on a flying dinosaur.

But, like all dreams, elements of it were just weird. First, Spike has no wings. Also, I hadn't anticipated riding alongside five of my closest friends or teaching Kris on the fly how to properly steer a bareback mount. But whatever; we flew right over that disc.

The Test of Agility: Through the misty passageway beyond the Test of Balance came a room I shall call the Test of Agility. This was a cylindrical chamber full of spindly half-pillars of varying heights. It was pretty clear that the intent is for a supplicant to jump from pillar to pillar across the room. But screw that. We were on a FLYING DINOSAUR. We flew Spike straight across to the other side and bypassed the pillars altogether, even when a hurricane-force gust of wind nearly blew us all off his back.

From the Test of Agility we arrived back in the chamber of the Test of Prowess. We decided at this point to rest, and did so. Surprisingly, nothing tried to eat us while we slept.

Armag's Army: Rested and ready, we passed beyond the test of prowess into a natural cavern. Turns out this cavern was filled with a skeletal army. We did what one does with hostile skeletons: we disarticulated them.

The Guardian: Beyond the Cavern of Surprisingly Disciplined Skeletal Soldiers, we found a huge man (I guess?) who appeared to be the guardian of the tomb. He stood sentinel in an ornate chamber that appeared very clearly a temple to Gorum, even to my untrained eye. This man was too ancient in attire and mannerisms to be a true priest; he was more of a shaman. In any case, he was not threatening, but instead simply watched as Shella entered the chamber.

"You can die or you can get out of the way. I am so sick of this place." That's our Shella! To my surprise, the shaman looked Shella up and down in careful assessment, and then stood aside for us to pass: "Armag awaits you in the following chamber." Shella told me later that this fellow is a "divine guardian of Gorum" (her words, not mine) appointed to guard this temple for eternity. Sure; fine; whatever.

Armag: Past the guardian was a door carved with one of the insignia of Gorum: a massive fist. Shella strode through like she owned the place. (Who knows; maybe she does now. I'm not up on Gorum's property succession guidelines.) In the next chamber we found a man pacing among braziers of fire with a giant greatsword, swinging it rhythmically. The corpses of many of the barbarian warriors littered the floor. When he saw us, he shouted maniacally, "My enemies are here! I knew they would come!"

Shella stepped up. "Armag" charged. The doorway became a choke point, surrounded by skeletons holding shields to assist their master. Both Gelros and Narzeth flung spells at the greatsword-wielding madman, but the spells had no effect. Even I had a hard time getting arrows in; I ended up focusing on the skeletons instead just to knock some of the damn shields out of the way.

Shella, on the other hand, was born for this. She and Armag went toe-to-toe, trading blows that would have bifurcated any normal person. And here is where it got seriously weird: the sword was screaming, and the ground began oozing literal blood and guts. Kris slipped on an intestine and nearly went down. Gelros teleported himself and Spike back behind Armag, and I lost track of him… although I could hear fireballs flying. Jaric shouted something, while Narzeth snapped a skeleton in two with a word. Then Shella cut Armag in half at the waste, and it was over.

"Armag" turned out to be the sideshow. The main attraction was the sword. The next few moments were… uncomfortable. First, the sword complained audibly, "Well, isn't anyone going to pick me up?" Second, Shella picked up the sword. Next thing I know, she's standing tall and demanding fealty from all in sight. She was so terrifying that all of us knelt… even Gelros. It was involuntary. It was also not normal.

A look at Shella's face told me she wasn't all there. And I swear I could see her hobgoblin features soften ever so slightly and the ghost of a beard appear even as I watched. Shella-not-Shella turned to march toward the far end of the room, and Jaric, Gelros, and I immediately huddled up. "You think it's the sword?" "Yes, it has to be." "Jaric, I'll distract him. You make him snap out of it."

Gelros began quietly chanting, and Shella turned around. She stopped, watching Gelros. Jaric came up next to her, muttered something, and touched her arm. Almost immediately, the crazy look vanished as Shella jammed the sword point-first between two stones in the floor. What followed is one of the most bizarre conversations I've ever witnessed. It went something like this…

Sword: "No! Take me up; together we will slay the enemies of Gorum!"

Shella: "Let me be perfectly clear: I forge my own destiny. You can follow ME on MY adventures and perpetually feel the glory of blood on your blade, or you can lie here in the cold unfeeling ground for eternity."

Sword: "I… I will have to think about it."

We later asked the guardian about the sword. It is called Ovinrbaane, and "only a true champion of Gorum can wield it." The guardian asked us, "Will you not take the sword?" To which Shella replied, "Maybe. I do not relinquish my claim, but I will leave it here. For now." The guardian assented to this, but could not guarantee that another champion would not take the sword in Shella's absence. So, Gelros ensconced the cursed thing in a pillar of stone using that lyre of his. Like you do.

The Tomb: There is little more to the story. The tomb of the real Armag (not the insanity-induced Armag impersonation) lay just beyond the chamber of the dead barbarians. It was filled with treasure as I have never seen, not even in Vordekai's lair. With Shella's permission, we took all of it. I guess the sanctity of tombs isn't a thing with Gorum per se.

On the way out, Shella attempted to convince the guardian to come fight for Gorum in the arena, but he swears his place is with the tomb. He did take us directly to the entrance, somehow, which is in part what makes this whole thing feel like a hallucination. But regardless, the Tomb of Armag has been explored and plundered, and now we face the other pressing issue: the leaderless barbarian horde on its doorstep.

XP

  • Defeat Armag (57,600 XP)
  • Convincing the Shaman Zorek to stand aside (28,800 XP)
  • Cavern of the Slain (19,200 XP)
  • Surpassing the Test of Agility (14,400 XP)
  • Passing the tilting floor trap (7,200 XP)

Loot

  • Masterwork breastplate (x4)
  • +2 keen dagger (x4)
  • Unholy symbol of Gyronna (x4)
  • Spell component pouch (x4)
  • Bric-a-brac and traveler's castoffs worth a total of 2,100 GP
  • +1 Breastplate bearing heraldry of Gorum (x10)
  • +1 Greatsword bearing heraldry of Gorum (x10)
  • <s>200 arrows</s> (claimed by Nith)
  • Statues of Gorum worth 1,700 GP
  • Crates full of old helms worth 1,100 GP
  • Potions of cure serious wounds (x3)
  • +3 full plate with masterwork armor spikes
  • +2 keen battleaxe
  • Ovinrbaane (left entombed)
  • Amulet of natural armor +2
  • Belt of physical might +2 (Strength and Constitution)
  • Ring of protection +2
  • Cloak of resistance +4
  • Headband of inspired wisdom +2
  • +3 hide armor of light fortification with +2 dragonbone armor spikes
  • +3 heavy steel shield of arrow catching
  • 98 PP, 17,847 GP, 35,425 SP, 73,253 CP
  • 2 diamonds (1,000 GP each)
  • 1 large diamon (5,000 GP)
  • 1 fire opal (1,000 GP)
  • 6 violet garnets (500 GP each)
  • Electrum crown with a blue star sapphire worth 4,500 GP
  • Pair of silver armbands worth 1,850 GP
  • Malachite-adorned gold necklace worth 1,350 gp
  • Belt of incredible dexterity +2
  • Headband of vast intelligence +2
  • Bracers of armor +2
  • Salves of the Second Chance (x2; worth 2000gp each)
  • Bag of holding type II
  • Belt of giant strength +2
  • Horseshoes of speed
  • Necklace of fireballs (type II)
  • Pearl of power (2nd level)
  • 1 dose of restorative ointment
  • Ring of counterspells (contains enervation)
  • Wand of heroism (50 charges)
View
Cave of The Mountebank
What? It's full of mist and teleporting demons. What do you want?

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 3, Month 7

Armag's Tomb

We're four chambers deep into this cave complex and have just wrapped up another mildly horrifying combat. This whole place is reminiscent of the arena at the hand of Gorum: it's as if we're being put through a series of trials for someone else's amusement. I've even got names for the tests. They came to me naturally, as if I were acting out a script written by another. A curious feeling.

But I've little time to write, so let me sum up our progress.

The Entryway: The cave walls are rich in iron ore, which gives them an eerie semblance of being coated in dried blood. Thirty or so yards into the darkness, the unimproved tunnel widened out into a hewn stone chamber. Here, we found a line of red demons backed by a line of female figures in black leathers, all spoiling for a fight. We got the better of them once we had all managed to squeeze past the demons and into the room. It was interesting to watch the leather maidens' faces go from smug, to determined, to concerned. I'm not sure what they expected, but probably not a 7' angry hobgoblin lady who can blast beams of white and purple light from her greatsword. But it's hard to feel pity for a foe who is doing her best to have her pet demon eat your face off. We killed them and moved on.

The Test of Strength: Next came a passageway that involved hoisting a set of four boulders of increasing size up a series of steps and placing them in large impressions on the ground. There can be no purpose for such a contraption except to deter entry from weaker supplicants. Shella, with some assistance from Kris, got all the boulders in place in time on the second try. This opened another door.

The Test of Endurance: The chamber beyond was cold. As in, northern mountain glaciers in winter cold; we would have all frozen to death in there in an hour or so without protection. Again, the test wasn't subtle: Shella just had to turn a huge frozen iron wheel in the center of the room. Narzeth granted Shella magical resistance to the cold, and a minute or so later she had cranked the wheel enough to open another door to the left.

The Test of Tactics, Part 1: The passage beyond was filled with a mist that not only obscured vision but also appeared to mess with one's head. Several of us took wrong turns even when following immediately behind one another. I had us all rope ourselves together to avoid losing anyone, and we progressed through some webs to an illusory wall that led into the next chamber.

The Test of Prowess: We filed into a large, circular chamber with an iron statue of what I assume must be Gorum standing on a central pedestal. Naturally, it immediately came alive and attacked us. (Don't all statues come alive and attack strangers on sight?) Our attacks were only marginally effective. Fortunately, Raven and Narzeth leveled some defensive spells at the golem statue: grease (Raven) and ball lightning (Narzeth), which, we discovered, didn't hurt it but did slow it down. With Gelros' inspiration and some assistance from another of Jaric's close personal extraplanar friends, the rest of the fight went smoothly. Basically, Shella exchanged blows with the poor prone golem until it stopped moving.

Immediately after we had all relaxed, the statue was drawn back to the pedestal as if on a string, and we all heard a deep chuckling of amusement reverberate through the walls. (I would have thought it was just me going crazy, but I distinctly saw Kris and Gelros looking around too.) Nope. Not creepy at all.

The Test of Tactics, Part 2: Having felled the iron likeness of Gorum, we chose to exit a hidden door just to the left of where we had entered. It was filled with… more mist. Also more webs, and insanity. We found out what was making the webs: some kind of multi-limbed demon spider. It's hard to describe; it was somewhat non-Euclidean. There were two of them, and they made a horrific chittering sound that literally made you lose your mind. I blacked out for 10 seconds or so before I recovered, but Shella and Kris spent the entire combat running about madly with no regards to proper battle discipline. Gelros and Raven ran screaming back down the original passage, but only for a moment.

Speaking of the battle, it was chaos. The demon spiders summoned swarms of wasps, flies, centipedes, and other vermin. Jaric summoned swarms of angels. (Ok, he only summoned three, but still.) The demons could teleport, and one did so to try to get around behind us. Its mistake; Narzeth and I finally had a clear target. Gelros started weaving information on their known weaknesses into his battle chant, which helped. While Kris and Shella distracted one demon and Jaric kept us all alive, I killed the other. This made the first angry (aw, demons have feelings too!) and it came after me. Which, of course, made it a target too. We had it down a moment later and the bugs vanished as quickly as they had appeared.

Moral of the story: always kill the summoners first.

We're pretty beat now, but Shella wants to press on. Jaric could use a rest. I could too; I feel drained. But this room may not be safe and we don't really want to redo any tests. The others are talking it over now. Oh, they're calling me; we must have come to some resolution.

XP

  • Defeat the leather maidens and their demon pets (19,200 XP)
  • Test of Strength (14,400 XP)
  • Test of Endurance (14,400 XP)
  • Test of Tactics (28,800 XP)
  • Test of Prowess (38,400 XP)

Loot

  • 1700 GP worth of discarded knick-knacks
  • 1700 GP worth of ancient relics and paraphernalia
View
You Won't Like Her When She's Angry
Sometimes she gets bigger when she's angry

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 3, Month 7

Armag's Tomb

After leaving the swamp, we moved steadily northward, following maps and the info Shella had sought out. After some searching, we located the barbarian encampment earlier today. This camp is smaller than I expected: a dozen or so guards, and a handful of tents. I had been expecting an entire tribe, but perhaps the others are nearby. There was, however, a large tent that appeared filled with captives.

While we scouted the camp, their lookout spotted us. Or, rather, he spotted Kris's dinosaur. Hard to make a dinosaur blend in, particularly when it is wearing armor. In any case, he sounded the alarm. Several of us braced for a combat.

As this expedition is Shella's deal, we all waited for her to make the first move. I expected it to involve beheading the poor lookout, but to my surprise, Shella didn't play it that way. Instead, she marched across the creek right up to the lookout and demanded to speak with his leader. Now. She looked very convincing. I'm not sure he understood the words, but he got the idea. He backed off and was soon arguing with his comrades, gesticulating wildly. We latched on quickly: Narzeth enlarged Shella (as if she isn't tall enough already), and Jaric began to use his menace tricks. It seemed effective; none of the barbarians in the near vicinity came after us.

However, the ruckus summoned some others from across the camp, who didn't look quite as convinced about not picking a fight. Several ran up and tossed axes at us. Amateurs. I filled one full of arrows as a warning. The others didn't get it, so Kris and Shella carved up the second. The third was still too dumb or proud to back off after Narzeth burned him a little, so Shella put him out of his misery too.

I do feel a little bad for the poor buggers. Even without the rest of us as backup, Shella is way out of their league. They had no idea.

At this point, I noticed that two tent guards had entered the tent and drawn weapons. This seemed bad; part of our goal was to find and rescue the lady Numesti's sister. So I pulled out something new I've been working on: plant growth. It's tricky, but if you do it right you can turn almost anything into a jungle. Narzeth immolated the one outside the tent, and the plants and the resulting confusion still gave me enough time to run up and get into a standoff with the two inside.

The standoff negotiations were going poorly. The guards had two women by the hair, heads pulled back and throats exposed. Jaric's hound archon friend came over and waved his sword, but said something in a language I don't understand and failed to look at all threatening. Meanwhile, bow raised, I told them to back down, but all I got was wild-eyed sword brandishing. Fortunately, Shella wandered over. Noticing that I hadn't yet shot them, she said "Well then, I defer to Nithlara's hostage negotiation." Sometimes I'm not sure if Shella is joking, but in any case, the appropriate response was "No please. Your skills are better than mine." Which is true. Shella ripped the top off that tent in a single pull and only had to glare at the two remaining guards before they soiled themselves and surrendered.

The captives were indeed five of the missing noblewomen from Drelev, including Tamary Numesti. (The others, for the record, were Anjana, Galine, Marinda, and Sophelia.) Rescuing them put us in a bind: how to protect five former captives when the barbarian leadership was still at large? Narzeth offered to teleport them away. There was a lot of back-and-forth, but in the end we let him, despite my misgivings at letting Narzeth take any young ladies anywhere using magic. It took Narzeth two trips, but he's back now and resting.

It's  midafternoon. We've taken over a command tent. The conquered barbarians don't seem to know what to do with us, but they've mostly just avoided us. And we them. After Narzeth rests, we're going to enter the cave. Did I mention the cave? It seems likely this is the location both the barbarians and Shella are after. Soon we get to find out what the fuss is about.

XP

  • Explore hex (3,-3) (150 XP)
  • Explore hex (3,-4) (150 XP)
  • Explore hex (2,-4) (150 XP)
  • Rescue Tamary Numesti (19,200 XP)

Loot

Nothing of significance

View

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