Blackmire Marches

Ambush the Invaders

Abdullah’s Journal:

With work continuing on the defenses at the the mine, we scouted around the area and discovered a caravan of hobgoblins on the old Verundian road. Khalid and I decided they were too close to our mine and decided an ambush was in line.

We were able to get ahead of them and find a good ambush spot. The column was large and appeared to have some injured. It included ogres, priests, and outriders. Our ambush was only partially successful, and a pitched battle ensued. Khalid, Slayde, and I were able to surround the ogre and stab him repeatedly, but his huge club was hard to avoid and I was badly wounded.

Our legionaries engaged the hobgoblins guarding the wagons and priests, using clever tactics and formations to overcome the enemy. Hurmore and Keller provided cover and ranged death dealing with their bows. As the wagons were fleeing, Hurmore managed to kill one of the goblin drivers who was transporting a high ranking hobgoblin priest. Keller pin-cushioned the priest as he scrambled to get the reins and get the horses moving until Hurmore ran up behind the wagon and grabbed a firm hold. Hurmore tried to wrestle the priest, who attempted to cast some evil spell upon the faithful hireling. However, Hurmore was able to prevent the spell by pulling at the priest’s evil symbol. Hurmore finally got the priest in a headlock and choked him into unconsciousness.

As the last Hobgoblin fell, we chased down the remaining wagons with several of their legionaries in support. The remaining Auxilia and goblins surrendered.

We checked the wagons, and in the first one are 10 Hobgoblins, 7 obvious Legionnaires and their Decanus, and 2 spindly Auxilia. All were wounded, some barely conscious.

The second wagon contained 6 Legionnaires, 2 Decanus, one of which looked close to death, and 2 anxious Auxilia.

Khalid and Abdullah looked into the last wagon and saw 10 Hobgoblins, 3 were clearly auxilia and 6 were legionnaires. The last Hobgoblin seemed older and tougher, and was sitting with his back straight and head held up high despite several oozing wounds and a large knot on the side of his head.

He looked Khalid and then Abdullah in the eye, and then said in a mix of mostly Verundian with some Goblin and Common mixed in “We must be in worse shape than I thought if the General sent Humans to rescue us, but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers.” He just looked at us and held out his bound hands, fully expecting us to cut him loose.

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Back to the Tomb

Wendell’s Journal:

Alfonsus started talking at the Wager again about heading back to the tomb we discovered last month. He recruited a few newcomers that had just arrived in town, including a peddler of some sort and yet another dwarf brimming with weapons and armor. These dwarves are a gruff, surly lot, especially Ebban. Darem flies into rages more often than not, so it will be interesting to see how this new fellow fits in. Slayde is coming too which should be handy in case the Verundian’s placed any booby traps about the tomb. Slayde is as quick as they come and has nimble fingers too.

I would have liked to prepared a few scrolls and picked up some supplies, but I am saving for some better armor and don’t have the funds right now. Hopefully if we can get inside the tomb and discover some coin. Of course I will devote any excess coin to my temple and perhaps the destitute adventurer’s fund Bila started.

Sadly, Kellor’s family was visiting and he was unable to lead back to the tomb entrance which left me to lead the party over the moor, which is a confusing place at best. About halfway there we were attacked by some vicious dire weasels, but luckily Slayde’s sharp eyes spotted the beasts before they could sneak upon us. The beasts charged the battle was on. The savage beasts attacked Hurmore and I, and latched on with strong jaws. The beast sucked my blood and I felt weakened. Hurmore and Slayde were able to kill the beasts with well placed blows and we skinned the beasts and headed back to Blackmire to rest and heal.

240 xp
6 gp each for Dire Skins

After a day of rest we headed back out over the moor. We stumbled upon a moorland hidden pit and disturbed a swarm of bats that came hurtling out of the crevasse. The angry little mammals settled upon and about poor Clorian. Alfonsus fired some magical fire that seemed to harm the swarm, but it then engulfed Clorian and Hurmore (who had been foolish enough not to move away from the swarm). I waved a torch at them and Alfonsus hit them with another magical fire. Apparently afraid of the fire, the bats flew away, thank Heironeous.

120 xp

We made it the rest of the way to the tomb entrance and confirmed that the chamber was empty. Moving to the barred door in the antechamber, Alfonsus cast a very useful spell that he called “Knock”, which opened the door! The interior was worked stone and opened into a hallway with three doors that had writing on them. Alfonsus, the bookish mage, attempted to read the writing on the doors but Slayde stopped him abruptly and carefully searched to doors for booby traps first. He found no traps but it looked like there had previously been some type of plaster seal around the doors that has been subsequently broken. Alfonsus identified the writing as ancient Verundian and translated:

1) Julia Minor Metellus
2) Livinia Frontinius Metellus
3) Marcus Licinius Metellus (north door)

Slayde attempted to open the door to Marcus Licinius Metellus’ tomb but it didn’t budge. As we were pondering how to get through the door, all three opened and we were ambushed by troglodytes and tough looking-monitor lizards. Alfonsus and immediately injured and looked overwhelmed. A huge trog (presumably the chief) wielding a stone axe smashed my shoulder, the pain shot through down to my back and I almost lost my sword. Suddenly, a huge ball of fire manifested upon the chief, I can only assume Alfonsus conjured more arcane magic.

The battle was on and I attacked one of the lizards, striking a solid blow but then being savagely bitten by one again. I was was hurtin’ for certain and in a precarious spot, cut off from the party except Hurmore. Slayde closed upon the lizard I injured while Clorian called upon the power of his deity to Bless us. Two trogs closed on us but Hurmore pierced one nicely with his long spear. Alfonsus fired a bolt of magic energy over my head and I heard the sound of a trog drop.

Apparently the chief went down because the trogs fled though the lizards kept fighting on. I saw Alfonsus pull out a scroll and another bolt of magical energy blasted one of the lizards and it went down. I finally had some breathing room and Heironeous healed me. Clorian then dropped another lizard with a blow to the skull! Alfonsus was bleeding so I called on Heironeous to heal him and then guarded a passage leading to the north out of the tomb of Marcus Licinius Metellus. Sadly the tombs had long ago been raided and were empty. Despite detect magic spells and thorough searching by Slayde, we found nothing.

720 xp

We headed north and found a room with chains where the lizards appeared to be kept. Further on we found the trogs lair which contained:

2 MW short sword (verundian)
1 MW morningstar
1 MW dwarven warhammer
50’ rope
map case
MW craftsman tools w/ sledgehammers
tattered wizard robes (magical) – 2 auras(healing, evocation)
– ring of spell storing, minor (3)
– potion of CLW3
(4) steel hooded lanterns
34 GP, 65 SP, and 31 CP (all used for Identify)

Amazingly, I spotted what appeared to newer masonry on the north wall of the chamber which might lead to more passages. Hurmore used one of the sledgehammers to pound through the wall and then Slayde sneaked down the revealed hallway to investigate. Slayde came running back down the hallway claiming some “blob” was after him so we all fled back onto the moor. We went back to Blackmire as fast as we could and made it safely!

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In Search of the Tomb

Wendell’s Journal:

Bookish Alfonsus organized a rather spindly group to find the long, lost tomb of some dead Verundian referenced on an old map found in the Goblin Warrens. I was hoping some sturdy warriors would accompany us, but instead it was an odd crew: two wizards, a halfling, and my gnome companion from my previous excursion, Keller.

We headed south across the moor and were ambushed by goblins within site of Old Monastery. We immediately peppered with arrow fire and many of us took wounds. Leandros the wizard created some magic wall that appeared in front of us, much to my surprise. Apparently it was an illusion and some of the goblins were fooled but some were not and I was hit again. Keller dropped three goblin with a well placed arrows and Alfonsus fired a bolt of magic at the leader. I engaged the leader and was struck a savage blow. Slayde joined me in the melee and soon we were surrounded by goblins. I felt a brush of air under my elbow and then one of Keller’s tiny arrows took a goblin I was fighting in the throat. Slayde tumbled behind the goblin line and stuck his dagger into the kidney. Back behind us a goblin had closed with the wizards before Keller killed another. The leader fled but was killed by a blast of magic from Alfonsus then I finally killed the last goblin.

The goblins dispatched, we searched several square kilometers south of the monastery all the way to the ruins of the Vespasian Wall, all to no avail. Finally Slayde found a hole behind a stone slab not too far from the monastery (76.36). It led down under the moor. We descended into a large cavern and Keller spotted clawed tracks that we could not identify but were not goblin. We finally found a Verundian burial chamber that Alfonsus was able to describe in impressive detail. The claw tracks led into a far door in the burial chamber. We were searching the room when tall, thin lizard creature walking on two legs came through the door! It sparred with Slayde before fleeing through a door and barring it from the other side. Having found the tomb we decided to head back to Blackmire.

On the way back Slayde and Alfonsus spotted a skulking beast hiding on a hillock. Two fiery red eyes materialized and we were facing a monstrous wolf! The ferocious dire wolf bound across the moor and savaged poor Keller. He went down a midst a pool of blood. I felt a strange sensation and then I grew twice as big! Apparently Leandros had magicked me, so I stepped forward and sliced the beast with my now huge sword. The wizards fired magic at the beast while Slayde moved around behind the creature. I struck again and again with tremendous blows before Alfonsus’ magic bolt staggered the creature. The beast tried to flee but I was able to chase it down and kill it. Heironeous healed Kellor through me and we went back to town.

Treasure: 16gp, 1sp
XP: 440

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The Study of Necromancy

Keller’s Journal, Nov 13th 10:00PM

I just returned from my most exciting adventure yet. Leoandros was asking around town for some adventurers to accompany him to the graveyard to investigate some reports of necromancy. I volunteered to guide the party to the graveyard to further familiarize myself with the area around Blackmire to to keep my Ranger skills sharp and active. We set out and arrvied at the graveyard with no issues as expected. You can practically see the graveyard from the front gates of Blackmire.

We stepped inside the graveyard and found ourselves in a maze of narrow pathways caused by overgrown thorny vines. As we started through the maze, we ran into 3 skeletons. They were easily dispatched and caused us no harm. I learned though that piercing damage is nearly ineffective on skeletons. I’ll have to remember to bring a bludgeoning weapon if the issues of undead are encountered again. We continued on our path and ran into 6 more skeletons. They cut us up a little, but it wasn’t too bad. Ronan let me borrow his sling with bullets since my rapier and my longbow was ineffective against the skeletons, I’ll have to pay him back when I see him next. Tresa’s heavy mace was exceptionally useful against these undead. Leandros the wizard was well prepared for the battle, readying Disrupt Undead. I think he needs to practice the spell in his off time, in the heat of battle he was unable to remember how to cast it correctly. We ran into a dead end and decided to back track our steps to find another path.

As we headed south I heard a low groaning noise coming from up ahead. I warned the rest of the party and we proceeded with caution. As we approached, we saw the zombies. They were hideous, unlike anything I have ever seen before. These abomonations to nature had to be dispatched immediately. Ronan spurred his mighty steed, the War Pony, forward and drew 3 zombies to himself. The 3 of us fought the other 3 zombies. These zombies, while easy to hit, were able to take a lot more hits themselves. We traded blows with them and they seems a little more adept in combat then the skeletons we had run into earlier. Leandros cast Enlarge person on Tresa, I have never seen a human so large in all of my existence. She became a monster — though it didn’t do much good. A zombie critically hit tresa and she fell in combat. Ronan was impressive though and he held his own against the Zombies. I will not underestimate him or his war pony after seeing them in combat.

We dragged Tresa back to town so she was able to rest and seek medical help — Luckily we didn’t have to go too far.

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Mirth River

Contemplations of a cleric gnome:

Tonight we headed out of Blackmire in the fold up boat on our way to investigate rumors of a ghost haunting the former keep of Hurazrod. I suppose that one glance at the map in the Winning Wager should have reminded me what lay in our path between here and there. I must be getting careless, but I’ve been feeling so antsy in town lately and was in such a hurry to get out and feel useful, healing a party of adventurers once again.

The path along the Mirth River is of course littered with hobgoblins. They seemed determined not to let us pass. Perhaps we should have listened to Darem’s offhanded comment about seeing if we could pay a toll to pass. Faced with an army on the bridge ahead of us, we quickly beached the boat. Sneaking forward we encountered a small group of hobgoblins that had been sent to look for us. We quickly and easily dispatched them, but in looking further ahead determined that the sheer quantity of hobgoblins made a direct path forward impractical.

We instead put the boat back in the water and headed to the Silver Mine where we were greeted by friendly and familiar faces. Around the campfire that night we had an interesting discussion about our purpose and approaches. Despite the way that we put our lives in each other’s hands almost every time we leave Blackmire, we are really very different people. Some enjoy exploring, finding what’s around the next bend. Some enjoy building forts and leading a small army. Personally, I seem to have a need to feel useful by sharing Yondalla’s healing light. On these trips where it’s not needed, I feel like so much dead weight (even if it is gnome sized). Hmm, we’ll see what morning brings when the rest of the party awakes.

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Goblin Warrens is New Again

First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Rena and I consider myself an accomplished woodswoman and protector of nature. While I was in town making sure the local stable kept good care of their charges I overheard a boisterous group planning their first adventure. Having never been on anything of the like I figured maybe I should broaden myself.

It was rather late in the day when we finally got everyone moving. This city life sure makes for some soft people. But our guide was quite skilled and was able to lead us to our target, a warren infested with goblins they had overheard more experienced adventurers talking about. Personally, I had never seen one, and didn’t really know what to expect. Our very first encounter however, was not with little green men, but a poor mountain lion holed up in a cave. He looked pretty ragged and hungry, and I thought I could help him out. I’ve never had any problems talking with the birds and squirrels of the forest, and thought I could handle him. I was wrong, he was so desperate he attacked almost on sight. I wish it hadn’t been necessary, but my companions killed it defending me.

Leaving the poor beast behind us, we ventured further back in the cave. Spotting goblin tracks, we wormed are way deeper and discovered an elaborate sight of caverns, just like the older adventurers promised. Thus our exploration begin and my first real adventure.

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Greenhorn Rangers
Wendell protects some greenhorn rangers in the Cradle Wood

Wendell’s Journal:

It had been quite some time since I had left Blackmire, keeping myself busy spreading the word of Heironeous to the poor and training with the sword and shield with fellow acolytes. I had heard that the Notch Fells had been cleared of some monstrous spiders, clearly the work of some demon or other enemy of Heironeous. Nevertheless, reports of a few stray spiders still frequenting the area convinced me to head out and slay these unnatural creatures. Not being much of a woodsman, I asked about the Winning Wager for some stalwart companions, but instead only a miniature gnome and a skinny elf were up to the challenge. It looks like my sword and the blessing of Heironeous will be doing most of the hard work on this excursion. Hopefully, we won’t get lost in the woods as both of these fellows claim to know the wilderness.

We made it to the outskirts of the Notch Fells without incident with the gnome Keller leading the way. Castien’s sharp elven eyes spotted some feral dogs fighting over a carcass, but we headed the other direction and avoided an unnecessary confrontation.

We next spotted a menacing, pre-historic weasel slinking through the Fells. He then spotted us and it was on. The creature immediately charged little Keller, while I called upon the Blessings of Heironeous to help us. Of course Castien missed with an ineffectual thrust of his rapier. The beast immediately bit Castien and nearly killed him, so I had to send the Health of Heironeous flowing into him. Castien was able to injure the beast but then it turned and took a chunk out of Keller. The rangers had moved into a flanking position and traded quick stabbing thrusts, with Keller landing the final killing blow to the throat.

I healed Kellers as best I could and then we skinned the beast and headed back.

Treasure: 3gp, 3sp, 3cp (Keller gets the extra cp)

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Vault of Kings the Return

Ebban’s Journal:

I had wanted to get back to the Vault of Kings for some time, so I grabbed Zeke & Quintus. Everybody else was either out in the Mirthful Meadows or a big craven goblin. Not being a woodsman, I hired Olaf and we headed out.

Just north of the Cradle Wood two hippogriffs spotted us and attacked. One of them flew by and gave me a good slash with its talons. Zeke and I smacked the damn bird and Olaf plunked it with an arrow. It tried to fly off but Zeke finished it off. Quintus was in close combat with the other beast so we surrounded it and started wailing away. The beast was quickly killed.

We headed up the old dwarven road and were surprised by an owlbear that leaped from behind some rocks! Again, we quickly dispatched the ferocious beast with little trouble.

We made it to the entrance again and found a pack of bugbears and hyenas waiting for us! Zeke and I were both bloodied quickly, as I charged into the waiting mongrels. I was quickly surrounded by snapping jaws, only my thick armor saved my hamstrings. A witch doctor appeared and tried to afear me, but I shrugged off the weak cantrip of his god. I commenced swinging my axe in short arcs and was felling foes quickly.

Finally a hyena got under my legs and tripped me. Now down on the ground, I was an easier target for the pack and the remaining bugbears. Blows and fangs fell like rain. I must have blacked out because the next thing I knew I felt the power of Janus flowing through me and I forced my way back to my feet. The arse-licking dog handler pulled my axe out of my hand with his whip, pissing me off to the extreme.

I ended up battered and bloody on the point of collapse so I was forced to back into a narrow 5’ wide passage that led to an arrow slit. With only one enemy able to come at me at a time, I drank a healing potion and made my stand. I killed two bugbears while hearing the sounds of Zeke and Quintus fighting the shaman, handler, and hyenas. Exhausted, I finally killed the bugbears in the passage and drank my last healing potion and speed potion. I drew my magical javelin and prepared to re-engage…

Bursting back into the room I attacked fearlessly. My javelin was ineffective, but I lured the whip master (now wielding my axe!) and shaman into my killing zone. I dropped the whip master with a backhand blow with my morningstar and crushed the arm of the shaman with a savage blow. He tried to flee but I crushed his skull and let out a Goblinslayer warcry.

The monsters had blocked off the access to the inner hallways with boxes of crates. We found some treasure and holed up to rest. Olaf had apparently thought us lost and fled. After awaking the next morning the clerics called healing power from their gods and we all felt better.

While resting later in the afternoon with Quintus on watch, an arrow came flying out of the northern passage and thwacked into Quintus, quickly followed by another before he could even yell out. We soon found ourselves battling some type of fierce demoness with a wings and a wicked bow. Quintus was smacked with a few more arrows, while Zeke called upon Janus and a spiritual bow appeared and started firing force bolts. The demoness must have fled so Quintus healed up and we used the the battered doors to avoid the magical arrow traps. So protected we advanced to the end of the corridor. Sadly, the magical trap appeared to know which way our shields were facing as I was hit with an acid arrow from behind.

Upon entering the far room an arrow flew from the east and the bitch was after us again. We chased her into up some stairs, with her continuing to take pot shots. We finally cornered the bitch but she vomited a line of acid that caught me squarely in the chest. I needed healing from both gods to overcome that one. We then continued our pursuit. We entered a large room with two ballista, which ended up being animated and fired at Zeke, dropping him but not before he was able to blind the bitch with the awesomeness of Janus. I took two ballista bolts in the side before grabbing Zeke and dragging him back into the safety of the hallway. Quintus healed him and we regrouped in a nearby guardroom.

We rested until the next morning when the healing commenced. We hatched a plan where Quintus would call forth an obscuring fog in order to conceal us from the ballista. We raced through the fog as bolts fired upon us. We came upon a circular staircase and headed up. On the next level up we found a room with a domed, vaulted ceiling that looked as if it had been blasted with acid. A hole was visible in the ceiling and we saw blue sky above. The floor appeared to have some type of mosaic or design that was partially destroyed by the acid damage. There was dwarven runes: “Wyvern Pass” & “Khazad Durn”. Attached to the map room were overwatch rooms with narrow slits at dwarf height providing views of the east, south, and west. We searched the rooms and found the demon’s nest. A small piece of the map that was under a pillar was not damaged by the acid: Khazad Barack (NE of Khazad Durn), SE of Khazad Durn is Forge of Gurgen the Black.

Having cleared the area we decided to head back. Upon leaving we encountered a monstrous chimera with three heads flying towards us at top speed. When close, the black dragon head spit a stream of acid, that I was able to dodge for the most part. It then charged at poor Quintus and bit him. That was a tactical mistake, as now I was able to sink my waraxe into its side. Again the dragon head shot acid at me that I easily avoided. Quintus was gored by the goat head and bit by the lion head (he always seems to incur extra wrath from creatures we meet). Zeke and his spiritual bow did serious damage and the beast fled with its tail between its legs.

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The Monastery sounds like a good idea

Quintus organized Eiger, Weylyn and Darem on an expedition back to the Monastery. We entered the basement, and noticed a flickering like to the south. We went to investigate, and discovered a glowing ball of light. If moved towards us, and informed us it was a messenger of the God of Light, and would lead us to the Fire Opal if we would cleanse this monastery of it’s evil inhabitants.

It showed us a previously unknown secret door, and we headed that way. We followed the corridor and were attacked by 4 Ghouls. We killed two of them, but one of the remaining ghouls managed to sink its teeth into my arm, and my entire body was paralyzed. I was forced to watch as it grappled onto me and began to tear at my flesh. Luckily Eiger and Darem were able to defeat the creature before it could do too much harm to me. A quick call to Janus, and I healed my wounds.

We went down the next hallway, and ran into a large group of skeletons. I attempted to call upon Janus’ power and turn these abominations, but they resisted my attempts. Our party effortlessly dispatched them, and we headed down another corridor. This time we were attacked by 4 more skeletons, who again withstood my attempts to turn them. Even so, they were quickly defeated.

As we moved along, Darem and I found a large pile of skeletal remains, and while searching, Darem was attacked by a large 4 legged skeleton. Darem quickly turned around and with a mighty roar, shattered the skeleton with one swing of his Great Sword.

We went into the next room, and discovered the ghost of a Gnoll. The ghost possessed Darem, and we spent several rounds before we were able to subdue Darem. Eiger tied him up and prepared to carry him out, when the ghost left Darem and attempted to enter Eiger, but he resisted, and the party fled the room. We managed to escape with it following us, so we headed back to town.

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Ore Delivery

Abdullah’s Journal:

So after a month of being an mine owner,, it was time to take a load of ore to Blackmire for sale. Weylyn, Khalid and I set out with two wagons and 8 of our men-at-arms. About halfway to town near the river we crested over a rise and the horses started going crazy, kicking and whinnying. Sure enough a pack of crocodiles smelled horse flesh and attacked!

As expected, Weylyn was able to charm one of the beastly reptiles and it sauntered away. Khalid and Weylyn’s wolf engaged one croc, while I took on two of the beasts. I nimbly dodged a tail slap but was wounded by a gaping maw that caught my leg.

One croc got near a horse and was able to injure a horse before a guardsman could get the wagon away. Between the guardsman who had formed a line, my sword, and the wolf’s jaw, we were able to kill that croc and let the horse escape. I teamed up with Khalid and killed another croc and there was only one left. It quickly fled and we continued to town.

In town we sold our ore and hired some more guards. I had missed the company of women for the last month, so made sure I visited the best brothel in town. The next morning we headed out with our new guards in tow. Halfway back to the mine Weylyn discovered the tracks of three groups of goblins ranging in size from 30 – 50 in number. We decided to head back to the mine and drop off our goods and greenhorns. The tracks veered off of our path to the north and passed by our mine by several kilometers away. We dumped the supplies and then headed out to follow the tracks.

The goblin party was heading toward the fortifications being built to the north by hobgoblins. Weylyn promptly turned into an eagle and soared off to reconnoiter the area. They appeared to be building some type of old stone wall, and smaller wooden ramparts were beint build by ogres and hobgoblins. The goblins were building trenches. There were about 80 goblins, 60 hobgoblins, and three ogres. They also had several ballistas and catapults.

Heading back to the mine, we heard noises. I sneaked to the top of the ridge and saw three lizardmen walking the opposite direction. I argued for allowing them to pass unmolested, but apparently forest gnomes have an ancient hatred for all reptilian folk, so Weylyn insisted we kill them. I didn’t want to see the little fellow hurt so I agreed to help. Having said that, apparently forest gnomes don’t like to fight lizardmen “as” forest gnomes so he turned into cheetah. As we closed, we noticed they clearly had recently been in combat. The lizardmen were brave and strong but were easily killed.

Following the lizardmen’s trail, we came across a bizarre sight. A troll was being attacked by a dire wolf and a wolf pack! It would have been interesting to see who was winning, but we decided to skirt around the battle.

It seems our Mirthful Meadows have turned into a dangerous place …

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