Blackmire Marches

The Highlanders Rescued, the Mine CLEARED!

We headed back to the mine to finish rescueing any remaining prisoners. When we arrive, the place appeared abandoned. There were no sentries, and all the lanterns had guttered out. We still proceeded cautiously deeper in, and found signs of a hurried ransacking. Weapons and a large quantity of foodstuffs were gone, and several pieces of furniture were overturned. Since the place appeared to be desserted Abdullah wanted to make a more detailed search of the secret passage we had found on our previous trip. There wasn’t much to explore, but we did find a bolthole to the surface. I’m sure that will come in very handy if we have to assault the place again. Or to escape from. The more I explore the place, the more it seems like it would be a good operation to start up with willing workings from the town. Since we found so much copper and silver ore, I figure it’d be much more profitable than the tin mine.

With all of our hired help, we were easily lowered to down on the elevator. I just wished someone thought to oil the mechanism before we tried. With every squeal of the chain, I winced for the warning we were giving them. No immediate foes were waiting for us, but the direction we should head was obvious. All the other passages were cold and dark, only the Southern one was lit. The first door we came, Abdullah was able to detect sounds of moaning. He said they sounded like good moans, but I wasn’t so sure. He tried the keys we had recovered, but had to resort to picking the lock and then picking the lock again and then picking the lock for a third time. Once he finally finished fumbling with the dooor like a young boy trying to get a corset unlaced, we were able to open the door. we find the prisowners locked in a room. At first they were suspicious of us, unsurprisingly, but quickly saw their freedom. The prisoners seem to be battered and hungry, but none were severaly injured. While Bila and I moved among them looking for serious injuries, Abdullah worked on their shackles.

When we have Abdullah and Khalid with us, theres just no such thing as stealth. We could have picked through the large door. Or scouted for another entrance. Instead, the door was kicked in and we were greeted by a volley of javelins. When everyone rushed into the room I began thinking we overextended ourselves. Luckily the goblins didn’t try to surround us. The dynamic duo was able to begin whittling them down, and Welyn’s dogs proved their value. I did my part by absorbing some of the damage meant for others, and proved to be an able target for the goblins and hobgoblins in the back ranks. My companions actually needed little of my magical assistance which was good because I was busy healing myself. With one final might thrust Abdullah downed their leader Hrulgrek. For a few brief breaths I thought we the battle was assured. But a blood curdling scream sounded from the side door. Moments later, a large hobgoblin and a decanus barged in from either side. With nothing between me and the racing Decanus I had to react quickly. I unleashed one of my newly acquired spells and prayed to Boccob that it would be enough to save me. My prayer must have been heard, because the hobgoblin froze in his tracks. Side stepping a measly goblin that stepped up to defend his leader, I took great pleasure in seeing how deeply crossbow bolts to penetrate when fired at point blank range. I actually think they may have had less momentum, but the increased accuracy still made them deadly.

Once the battle was done, it was surprising to see the freed highlanders stuck around. We let them take as much mundate equipment and foodstuffs as they wanted and they departed. There remained a hobgoblin girl, an alluring half-elven woman, and several townsfolk we escorted back out to safety.

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More Prisoners

Abdullah’s Journal:

We gathered some supplies and beasts of burden and headed back to the mine. The place had been ransacked badly. We first checked the secret passage, which only ended up being an escape tunnel to the surface.

We found the storage room still intact and the silver and copper safe and secure. We then headed down to the next level and found some prisoners behind a locked door. The lock was incredibly complex, I was shocked to find such quality in a lowly mine filled with hobgoblins. I was proud to have overcome it. The prisoners told us the remaining hobgoblins were down in the castellan’s room, so we headed there to kill them.

Opening the door was a tightly packed throng of goblins, hobgoblins, a few lizardmen, and the castellan Hrulgrick. A hail of javelins and arrows greeted us and I was knicked by Hrulgrick’s javelin.

Khalid & I immediately advanced together and engaged the front line of enemies. We killed several of that line, then moved into a flanking position on Hrulgrick. I was able to inflict a painful wound to the back of his knee, just inside the armor grieve. Bila was busy healing and Weylyn used a flaming sword to great effect. Tarmon kept getting pelted by arrows and was not of much use.

Khalid landed two heavy blows with his shortswords, and created just enough of an opening that I was able to land a killing blow to the kidney. It was quite satisfying. Apparently the castellan had a lover, for as he fell a scream of anguish erupted from another hobgoblin who revealed himself from a side room. I guess these fellows have been away from women for too long …

We cleaned up the rest of the ruthless buggers and commenced looting!

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Clannach Prisoners

Starting to secure and investigate the area, we discored a trio of goblins hiding in the kitchen, which from their garb I deduced to be cooks. While our sword happy companions started menacing them I kept a watchful eye and keen ear for anymore trouble. When I begin to hear scuttling far down the hallway, I alert Abdullah and we attempt to cut of whoever it is. Despite our swift running we can’t catch up. Lucky for us, Olaf happens to have an eye out as well and downs them with his bow.

WE have the tiny Loopa keeping watch for any hobgoblins coming out up and out of the mine while we continue canvasing rooms. The first room we search appears to be an office of sorts with an emaciated hobgoblin hiding under a desk. All those texts in the room make my hands each, but Abdullah prevents me from rushing pell mell into the room to start searching them. There were several mundane books on mining and metallurgy, but what was of most interest was several reams of paper written in goblinese. I packed them all out so I could study them in-depth back in town.

While I was leafing through the office, Abdullah find a small hidden compartment in a dresser that lead to a narrow set of steps leading up. We decided to save those for investigation once the place was more secure. In another room we found 10 large chests, half with symbols of the Ancient Verundian Pantheon and half with the Verundian Numeral 7. Kinda makes me wonder why the numeral 7. Eh, anyway only half of them actually had anything in them.

Impatient, for the hobgoblins to come to us, we made are way down the elevator. I knew we should have waited, because there were two hobgoblins smart enough to be waiting for us. Sheer numbers insured that battle and we methodically cleaned out other rooms rooms.

I think there was some miscommunication between us, because Abdullah and Khalid ran down the corridor to face a whole cohort. Fortuitosly, I was able to follow them down to follow them south to provide what aid I could. Later, I found out Bila, Loopa, and Welyn were able to free many of the prisoners.

The most interesting door of course held the most interesting battle. Inside was an angry looking hobgoblin in formal robes. We slowly overwhelmed his defenders like a wave and dealt with him solo. The power of whatever deities he worshipped was no much for the combined might of Boccob, Yondalla, and sharpened steel.

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Dead Highlanders Cont.

We finished off the rest of the hobgoblins, and took a breather.

Continuing on, we found a few goblin cooks and servers who were brutally interrogated. They didn’t know much, but were able to tell us that the slaves were on the mine level below. They were killed. We found a hobgoblin clerk who gave us a key to the storage room. He was promptly killed too. Interestingly, we found a secret passage way leading up in the back of his private closet. The passage was covered with dust and looked to have been forgotten. Not wanting to miss the chance to ambush the hobgoblins, we saved this area for later.

We headed down to the storage room and stables and found several chests filled with silver ore and copper ore. They were designed to be carried via stout oak poles by horses or mules. Sadly the stables were empty. Olaf and I lowered everybody else down to the mine level via the elevator and all hell broke loose. Several hobgoblins attacked from multiple directions, but Khalid and Weylyn (wielding a flaming sword of Janus) killed everyone. By the time I slid down the chain, all was quiet.

We found a few more hobgoblins in barracks attempting to get their armor on, so Khalid and I killed them. A two front battle broke out, with Khalid, Tarmon and I fighting a phalanx of hobgoblins, while Weylyn, Loopa, and Billa fought another group near where we thought the miners were. Weylyn’s group was able to defeat the guards and free several Highlander slaves. Interestingly, there were also orc and hobgoblin slaves too. Due to splendid cooperative technique by Khalid & myself, we were victorious.

We entered into a temple, and engaged three acolytes and a priest. I immediately closed on the priest and prevented him from casting. We killed them all and returned to town.

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Exploring the graveyard

Alfonsus organized a group of adventurers to explore the recently discovered ancient graveyard. He enlisted the help of Slayde, Talia, and Teak. Alfonsus prepared himself for fighting skeletons as best he could, and they headed out.

We arrived at the entrance to the graveyard without any problems, and went in to investigate. This is where the trouble started. Just inside the entrance were 3 skeletons equipped with longspears. I moved in behind Slayde, and cast spells at two of them that disrupted their animation. Slayde discovered that stabbing a skeleton with a dagger was not very effective, and pulled out a club. Talia and Teak tangled with the third skeleton, and just when we were about to celebrate victory, the skeleton stabbed Teak in the chest and pierced his heart, killing him instantly. The skeleton was quickly destroyed and we retreated back to town with Teak’s body in tow.

We rested and regrouped, enlisting the aid of a new adventurer in town, named Emet. We went back to the graveyard, and had a better time of it. The odd thing is, even though we entered the same way, the layout of the graveyard was different. We fought 3 skeleton’s with scimitar’s and shields, with much magic flying from both myself and Talia. After the fight Slayde led us into the next room, and was nicked by a hidden blade. He deftly disabled the trap, and we went into the next room, which contained several human skeletons and a wolf skeleton.

Slayde went charging in occupied most of the skeletons and Emet fought the wolf. However, one of the skeletons maneuvered around and attacked Talia and myself. We quickly blasted it, and I moved around the way he came, and helped Slayde by blasting the last two skeletons with fire. Slayde and Emet finished off the wolf, and we headed back to town.

We decided to make one more trip, and I am glad we did. We found a room that had 6 skeletons in it, and a foot and a half golden statue! We stayed in the entrance-way, and one by one, destroyed the skeletons, and Talia and I jumped the stream to investigate the statue. I took a look at it and it is an idol of the Ancient Hellic god of the Dead.

We took our loot and headed back to town.

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Dead Highlanders?

Abdullah’s Journal:

I must admit I was well into my cups one night at the Winning Wager when little Bila burst into the common room, all in an uproar about some poor Highlander who had died or some such. I hear these Highlanders are a brutal people, but the only one I knew was a tall fellow named Firentis who was likeable enough. Sadly, he is spider food now but that is beside the point.

Regardless, Bila genuinely cares about people, and healing the sick, and feeding the hungry, blah, blah, blah. Having said that, I can’t count the number of times she has healed my wounded arse and kept me from ending up like Firentis. She was dead set on heading straight into the hobgoblin homeland because in theory they are the ones who killed the Highlander and supposedly they have more Highlanders working as slaves or some such. In any event, I owe her a few debts, so I’m going to go with her and make sure she doesn’t get in any trouble. Newly pious Khalid is coming so this should be fun. A little gnome singer Loopa, Weylyn and his kennel, and a sickly cleric named Tarmon came with us, led by Olaf the Tracker.

We crossed the Howling Moor into some grasslands and started searching for a mine or something, I must admit I wasn’t paying attention. It was a pleasant day and I was contrasting the pleasant greenery with the harsh browns sands of my home. Soon we spotted an ogre and hobgoblin coming our way. We hatched a great plan and leapt into action. Bila paralyzed the hobgoblin, who appeared to be a handler of some sort, with the power of Yondalla. The rest of us charged the ogre. The hobgoblin was frozen and we had nearly surrounded the ogre, when he hit me with such force that the world went dark.

I awoke to Bila kneeling over me yelling “He’s getting away!”, so I promptly pulled out my horn bow and pierced the ogre’s butt with an arrow. It must have made him angry because he turned around and charged back at us! That was his last mistake as Khalid dodged his wild charge and hamstrung the big brute. Weylyn’s kennel then chased down the fleeing handler. With a little persuasion, he told us that the mine was just a few hundred meters away.

We found the mine entrance, basically just a big pit. I wonder how me missed it the first time past. The entrance was a slope downward, and we were on the high end. Below us concealed under an entrance were two hobgoblins talking. Loopa sang a beguiling song and then Khalid and I swung down on ropes like pirates swing onto a ship! It was pretty dramatic and the guards were caught completely unawares. I felled one and Khalid struggled with another. Sadly, he got away and began ringing a bell. Now the narrow hallway was filled with hobgoblins, but Khalid and I engaged them all. I heard a terrific boom behind me as Tarmon fell down, apparently unable able to hold onto a rope. Weylyn finally came in behind us riding his wolf and healed me, while his wolf ripped the throat of a guard.

A long running battle ensued, with our party making a good show of it. Soon we were spread out along a hallway in many individual battles. Khalid and I burst into a room and killed two hogoblins, but Weylyn had overextended himself and was surrounded. Even Tarmon found himself having to swing his morningstar!

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Graveyard Recon

Hearing the tale of a strange and potentially magical graveyard with animated undead from a group of loggers piqued my curiostiy.

A fighter named Lily and a strange little little singer called Loopa, both new to the area, were brave enough to accompany me on my research trip. I was still a little leary of our chances so I decided to hire some help, a female brute called Margarita. When I showed up to formalize our contract, the guildmaster pulled me aside and tole me of some diffculties they’ve been having with her attitude. So on his recommendation I decided to hire Thorhild instead.

With very little effort, we were able to find the graveyard. It actually wasn’t far from town, which I guess makes sense. The place was so oververgrown hedges and shrubs, the paths were almost inpassable. We did face several small bands of skeletons, which were dealt with pretty easily. The numbers were definitely in our favor so Lily and Thorhild could deal with them. I had really hoped that we’d be able to capture one for study, but I didn’t want my companions to face anymore than they had to. Since we were so close to town, we decided to call it an early day, and sleep somewhere safe. It also allowed me to make sure my companions were ready to face another day in the graveyard.

Our second day started off well, but we had much more trouble. The biggest obstacle was a single skeleton. Not that he was soo bad, but the river… What should have been an easy leap for Thorhild ended up with him in the drink. Despite not being to athletic myself, I wanted to rescue him. Unfortunately that just end up with me in the river as well, worse off than him. Our companions helped us out after the final skeleton was dealt with. The sekeletons actually weren’t threatening by themselves with Loopa song to encourage us.

The next room we entered was even more daunting with twice as many skeletons as we faced before. Three of which had bows and a great height advantage on us. For the very first time I tried channeling the direct might of my god. And wow, what a god. He destroyed all of our foes, just turning them into dust. Our next battle seemed assured, until an even uglier undead jumped on Thorhild’s back leaving him frozen. Nowing that we could not face such a potent threat I called on Boccob once again to destroy my foes. The skeletons were certainly destroyed and the ghoul was driven away. I immediately started tending Thorhild’s wounds, rinsing them clean with holy water. Figuring that ghoul would be back for us, I set up Thorhild and Lily to ambush him with myself as the bait. With three of us beating on him.

We were debating about whether to head back to town, and decided we had a little more left in us. We probably should have headed back to town, because we were pretty worn down. Thorhild fell once again, but I was able to bring him back up. We were so worn down that the battle was pitched. Knowing when to call it an adventure we hightailed our way to town. I spend the night watching Thorhild’s condition to make sure he didn’t sicken from the Ghoul bite. I just hope that all of Thorhild’s close calls does not put him off from adventuring with us in the future.

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Exploring the Wyvern Pass

Ebban’s Journal:

So I got it in my head that I should find Khazad Durn or the Sentinel of Kings, an old Dwarven surface outpost surrounding a Dwarven homeland. In theory, somewhere near the Wyvern Pass is one of these outposts, and I mean to find it.

I’m still looking for a good spot where Clan Goblinslayer can start a colony, as our existing mines are yielding less and less. Perhaps this will be it.

So I rounded up some dwarves, Zeke & Darem, the elven sorceress Serena, little Bila, and some new priest in town. I hired Olaf the Tracker to lead the way and off we went. We headed north through the Cradle Wood into the Coppice Lakes. We spotted some fisherman on one of the lakes, which must mean we’ve cleared out that area pretty well too.

We headed west out of the Coppice Lakes and could see hills in the distance, and beyond that large mountains. Heading up into the hills, we spotted a large flying creatures up ahead. Zeke, Darem, and I recognized the creatures as hippogriffs, part eagle part horse. They came flying straight at us! We made quick work of them, highlighted by Darem’s impressive javelin toss through the trees into the beast’s breast. Serena spotted a nest high up on a rocky outcropping. Darem climbed up the rock face, triggering a rock avalanche that wounded several of us down on the ground. Finding two eggs, Serena used a magical scroll of Spider Climb to speed up and down the cliff face and then stowed the eggs in her Handy Haversack. Having hiked a long distance, we decided to camp for the night.

In the early morning hours, we were attacked by a huge troop of orcs and attack dogs. Little did they know that we were a well armed group of dwarves who would sooner kill orc scum than fornicate.
A more efficient killing spree I can’t recall.

The next morning we headed west searching for the Wyvern Pass along the base of the mountain chain. We spent a day searching for the Pass, but did not find it and were forced to camp again. We headed out again the next morning searching. On the third day of searching, Serena stumbled upon the remains of an old dwarven road (hex 57.12), much like Orc Mt. Joyfulness reigned! We immediately headed up the old road.

An enormous angry ogre met us as we went up the road and a terrible battle ensued. Darem & I flanked him while the clerics healed us. But I have never been hit so hard in my life. I saw stars and my ear rang. Serena scorched the monster with ray of fires streaming from her hands. In the end I cut his knee tendon before splitting his head when he went to his knee. Sadly, he fell over the cliff face, but Janus allowed Zeke to fly down to the bottom and bring back the loot which included several magical items.

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The second Abandoned Monastery Part two

…Darem continued to lead us through the basement of the Monastery, and as we entered a large room, we were blasted by a wall of fire. I nimbly dodged out of the way, but everyone else was not so lucky. As the fire cleared, we were confronted by a Dragon the size of a horse! We charged after it and chased it through several rooms. We cornered it in a large hallway, and proceeded to attack it. Unfortunately for Billa and myself, two Imps came fluttering around the corner and appeared right in front of us. While Darem, Zeke, and Eiger fought the Dragon, Billa and I sparred with the Imps.

While we were fighting, this incredibly sensuous elf poked her head out of a door, and disappeared just before Eiger’s guisarme would have removed her head.

After much fencing, the Dragon was taken down and we moved into the room the Elf came from. We found some papers and robes. While we were searching, we heard the sound of metal being dragged, and we all took off running back down the halls. Just as we turned a corner, we saw two Lizard folk dragging a large sack. When they saw us, they fled. We secured the bag, and found a large treasure. We decided to head back to town with our loot.

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Khalid's Vision

Abdullah’s Journal:

Khalid awoke one night in a fuss, claiming Mithras had spoken to him and told him an artifact was being used for foul purposes. I was skeptical, but felt I owed him whatever small help I might be able to provide. We purchased a skiff, and along with Serena (and Hurmore) and Weylyn headed west up the Blackmire River. Following Khalid’s “sense”, we passed through to the western edge of the Rattlin’ Bog. We then headed south following Khalid.

Serena sent her owl Glisten and discovered a camp of “humanoids attacking trees”. I sneaked up and discovered two groups of hobgoblin’s cutting down trees. We decided to move up and launch a hail of arrows, then close in and attack. The plan worked flawlessly and we killed them all with only minor scratches. Leading out of the clearing was a rough wagon track, which coincided with Khalid’s sense of direction.

Glisten again scouted ahead and found more hobgoblins. I sneaked ahead and found a wooden palisade fort filled with hobgoblins. We attacked with great strategery. Serena used her sleep spells to great effect, while Weylyn and his dogs ripped out their snoring throats. Hurmore & Serena were deadly with their bows, while Khalid and I engaged the enemy with our swords. The hobgoblins fought with strict discipline, making impressive shield walls that were difficult to penetrate. In the end, our tactics and abilities were too much for them.

Advancing into the central bailey, a squat log structure, Khalid and I were blasted with Holy fire upon opening the door. My reflexes saved me but faithful Khalid was singed. I tumbled into the little chapel amongst a priest and two acolytes and engaged the priest. Serena melted an acolyte with a fearsome ray of magical fire and the party quickly surrounded and slayed the evil creatures.

Inside, Khalid found the talisman of Mithras he was seeking, an engraved shortsword. Other magical loot and treasure were found too, a nice haul overall.

It is good to know that Mithras truly is guiding Khalid, as I was concerned he was just hearing voices…

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