Blackmire Marches

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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Clearing the Notch Fells

Greetings Mother and Father,
I have gone out on yet another great adventure. Ebban, he is the grizzled Dwarven warrior I told you about, and I organized a foray into the Notch Fells, which apparently are infested with giant, semi-intelligent spiders. We brought Weylyn, Darem and Bila with us. Darem brought his new, completely heterosexual I am sure, partner with him. We traveled around the Cradle Wood, and got to the edge of the Notch Fells, where we went about drinking anti-toxin and casting preparatory spells.
Once we were ready, we headed straight towards the center of the Fells. The farther in we traveled, the more spiders began to appear around us. Before too long, enough of them had amassed, and came for us. We quickly cast some last minute spells, and the spiders were on us. I was stationed in the center of the group so I could make the best use of my spells, and I did. I cast burning hands in every direction, scorching the swarms of little spiders that were hindering our fighters. Luckily Bila was with us, because I was standing in the middle of all of the swarms, and they bit me within an inch of my life.
Ebban is a fierce warrior, as we were being swarmed, he hollered at me to cast my spells in his direction, so we could finish the swarms. It is not a pretty thing to harm your friends, but in this case, it was necessary. Our Druid friend Weylyn called lightning bolts from the sky, and helped me scatter the swarms.
While I was dealing with the swarms, the rest of the party was chopping spiders down left and right. It was a fast and brutal battle, but we managed to kill all of the spiders, and took a few minutes to rest and eat some of the magical berries Weylyn supplied.
After we caught our breath, we continued on into the Fells, and found the old hill fort a previous party had spotted. We got there, and saw many more spiders, including a massive beast with glowing red eyes. Darem offered me a scroll he had, which happened to be a scribed spell of Fireball. I have never cast such a powerful spell, but I knew it would greatly help our party if I could. I ran over to look straight into the fort, and read the scroll, calling forth the magic, and nothing happened. I felt a tingle going up my arms, but managed to calm myself and the danger passed. As the party moved towards the opening of the fort, the spiders started coming for us. Seeing that this would be my last chance, I tried again to cast Fireball, and this time it worked.
A tiny orb of fire shot from my fingers, and landed in the center of the fort, and burst into a giant ball of scorching fire, killing several small spiders, and would most of the larger ones.
The spiders charged the rest of my party, and they hacked them down. The fight was over almost before it began.
This is hard to explain, but when the spider with the glowing eyes died, I could feel a great tension releasing from the Fells. Through my link with Mustella, I could sense a feeling of gratitude coming from the spider. After she was dead, the rest of the spiders scattered, and the forest no longer felt so gloomy and foreboding.
Until next time,
Your son,
Alfonsus Cassius

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Against My Better Judgement...

Ebban’s Journal:

A scrawny human wizard who had been hanging around the Wager decided he wanted to brave the Notch Fells. I was in no hurry to go back, but I still felt I should at least retrieve Orshar’s body and give it a proper dwarven burial. It was a rather pint-sized crew he put together with Weylyn and Bila coming along, though thankfully Darem came too.

We headed into the Notch Fells and once we approached the center, the fucking vermin started coming from all directions. I must admit, I have faced and killed hundreds of goblinkin, but these spiders made my skin crawl. I questioned my sanity for having come back to this place…

Bila figured the vermin were magically controlled and called upon the power of Yondalla to dispel magic but sadly only dispelled out magic. As predicted, the weakling wizard was nearly dropped but Bila saved him. The swarms of spiders got under my armor and caused more pain and suffering than you would think they could. I killed several of the medium sized spiders and and Darem killed one of the large creatures with two tremendous axe blows. Weylyn, who had taken the form of a leopard, snarled in pain when his animal companion wolf went down.

At one point, I screamed at Alfonsus to burn the little creatures regardless of whether I was in the way, and by Moradin he sure did; not once but twice! Tired of being burned by Alfonsus and completely surrounded by vermin, a split the brain of a medium spider and then used the momentum of my swing to follow through and split one of the large spiders into a gooey mess. Bila healed the wolf and we were all back on our feet.

Thoroughly angry now, I started cleaving vermin on my left and right with precise killing blows. Darem too was slaughtering spiders at an impressive rate. Weylyn, Darem, and I killed the last spider and continued towards the center. We searched around for Orshar’s body…

We discovered the remains of an old Hellic border fort and the webs were much thicker. Moving in closer we saw many spiders, including a HUGE, hulking, black, beast of a spider that was as ugly as Alfonsus is weak. I couldn’t see because he was because he was behind me, but I heard Alfonsus fumbling with a scroll that he claimed would incinerate the entire area but nothing happened. Apparently, he got it right the 2nd time as an enormous ball of fire exploded in their midst! Many of the smaller spiders and swarms were incinerated immediately, though the larger ones kept coming.

As the spiders charged us, Darem and I waited and struck the demonic looking spider savage blows as she closed on us. With a final slight axe blow, I smacked the chief spider in the head when she let off a terrible scream. Upon her death the other spiders tried to flee but we killed them. The entire Notch Fells seemed to lighten a bit at her death, almost as if a curse was removed. The looting commenced.

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Silly Hobgoblins, This Mine is Ours

Abdullah’s Journal,

So we had just finished building the first stone guard tower above our “secret” passage that exits from the mine. The hobgoblins apparently decided that they wanted their mine back, but they failed to realize that THIS IS OUR MINE NOW! Go back to where you came from and be thankful we don’t have the time to track you down and kill every last one of you!

They approached from the north, with ogres, cavalry, bowman, legionaries, and siege weapons. We picked off quite a few with our bows from a distance, while Weylyn reigned down lightning and entangling vines and weeds. Tarmon, cast a highly strategic sphere of darkness that encompassed the onagers.

A hail of arrows was able to bring down one of the ogres, and Khalid and I moved out to engage the buggers. As Khalid and I plunged into their lines, hobgoblins fell like flies. As we continued dealing death to their pathetic warriors, their onagers finally started firing flaming boulders at us. It was a scary sight…

The battle continued in our favor, as the hobgoblins fell like so many lambs to the slaughter. At one point, they must have become desperate, as they started firing flaming onager boulders into the midst of a melee including their own men! As is typical, their aim was woeful and they killed more of their own men than ours.

Khalid and I were separated and he ended up fighting the last ogre with Bila’s help. Tarmon healed me while Weylyn (in the form of a leopard) and I engaged a decanus and legionaries. Once the ogre fell to Khalid, the hobgoblins began fleeing and the slaughter was on. Tarmon and his contingent of guards started picking off helpless hobgoblins ensnared in Weylyn’s creepy-crawly vines. Only two of our men fell while over 50 of the enemy fell.

Now we have an onager and two scorpions, ho-ho-ho.

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Investigating attacks in the Cradle Wood

Quintus organized a search party to investigate some mysterious attacks in the Cradle Wood. Talia and Slayde agreed to come with me and Thorhild, and we recruited a newcomer by the name of Vittorio to accompany us. We headed into the wood, and with the directions I received from Sven and the guild, we were able to find the first attack site.

We searched around, but found nothing, so we headed to the second site. We got to the point where the fisherman’s body had been found off the road, and headed into the woods, searching as we went. Just before we entered a clearing, we heard the sound of pipes. We entered the clearing and saw three of the Blackmire guards fighting each other to the beat of a strange horned goat legged fellow (I liked the cut of his jib) playing a set of pipes.

The guards turned and charged at us, and the battle began. Thorhild and I were attacked by two of the guards, and Thorhild went down. Slayde and I were able to maneuver, and take down the guards, but unfortunately, one of them died before I could heal him. In the meantime, Vittorio and Talia were trading shots with the creature, and Talia went down. I turned and charged the beast, and gave him a good shot across a shoulder and Vittorio got him in the chest with a shot from his massive crossbow. The creature was clearly close to death, and fled.

I left the pursuit to my companions, and I raced back to save the two dieing guards. I patched them up, and we decided to head back to town. On the way back, we ran right into a party of Orcs with attack dogs. The Orcs released the dogs at us, and hurled javelins, which all missed Thorhild. I charged passed the dog attacking me and called upon the might of Janus, and sent a blast of sound directly into the midst of the Orcs, and killed four of them. Vittorio shot the last Orc with his crossbow, and Thorhild and I joined Slayde in fighting the dogs. We killed two of them, and the last dog submitted to us, so we decided to bring him back to town with us.

When we returned to town, the Sheriff of Blackmire met us, and thanked us for saving two of his men, and bringing the body of the third back. (I missed the names in maptool) The rest of the guards took up a collection, and provided us with a reward.

After meeting with the guild, I went looking for Weylyn, and asked him if he would like to watch after the dog we brought back.

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Staffing the Mine

Khalid, Weylyn, and I headed back to town and picked up our staff along with Serena, Hurmore, and Olaf. We got back to the mine without incident and set our staff to cleaning, mining, cooking, guarding, etc.

Then we patrolled our surroundings and headed towards the hobgoblin outpost. We saw it off in the distance on a rise. We formulated a plan of attack where Khalid, Marcus, and I would charge and climb the wall while Serena, Hurmore, Olaf covered us from a distance. We would attempt to open the gate and let Weylyn and his pack in. At the last second Khalid remembered he had a ladder in his robe of useful items and I recalled my potion of levitation. Serena would drink the levitation potion and reign fire and magic bolts at them while Khalid and I climbed.

We advanced as planned and deftly avoided inaccurate arrow fire. Two cavalry riding the strange mounts charged Weylyn and his kennel. Zeus went down and his wolf was injured too. A line of hobgoblins awaited me at the top of the wall. I got to the top and was narrowly prevented from tumbling through the line of enemies. Khalid killed one with a well placed javelin.

Weylyn was in a desperate fight and seemed to convince one of the mounts to attack the other cavalry rider! Serena fired a magic bolt and cleared a spot on the wall that I was able to tumble through and then Khalid followed.

In an incredible feat, Apollo was able to bite the hamstring of the lizard/horse and cause it to fall over! Weylyn continued in a tough fight and more hobgoblins came after him. Serena fired a ray of fire into the side of the wall, missing a decanus by 5 feet. Both Khalid and I were struggling against a horde of hobgoblins on the top of the wall. Then Zeus went down!

Serena webbed several of the bastards and then I struck with a killing combination blow on the decanus who had proven very tough. Khalid sliced and diced with his dual shortswords, while Olaf perforated a decanus attacking Weylyn.

Serena then sent a fire ray into the the web, hoping to burn the stuck bastards. By this time, Khalid, Marcus and I were carving the hobgoblins into pieces. Weylyn produced in flaming blade (lightsaber?) and started slicing hobgoblins to death. Soon thereafter, the auxilia started to flee as the battle went against them. More death was delivered as we chased them down. Two actually jumped from the walls in a desperate attempt to get away only to die in the attempt.

The looting commenced. We found some strongboxes filled with coin and some healing potions and transported everything back to our mine. It is satisfying to kill hobgoblins!

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Return to the Monastery

Quintus has heard about this abandoned Evil monastery, and organized Zeke and Eiger to head there with him. We got to the monastery, and headed down a corridor with what appeared to be Monks cells. I checked the first three, and they contained odd skeletons with giant scorpion tails, each with writing on them. We kept checking rooms, and three giant skeletons with scorpion tails attacked us. Zeke and I held the line, and Eiger attacked over our heads. In very short order we defeated them. We checked the room at the end of the corridor, and I found a scroll and a potion hidden in a notch behind a shelf.

Zeke cast Comprehend Languages, and discovered the tails said thus:

Obey the Master
Kill the warm things
Pray to Asmodius

We continued around the halls, and found a room that used to house a wormling dragon, that a previous party defeated. We kept searching, and found a room with a trap door leading down. We decided to leave it, and kept looking. We got to a locked door, and decided to bash it down. We entered the room, and it was some sort of workshop. We started searching, and were attacked by two Imps. We fought a running battle, and after many repeated hits on my, with my limbs barely responding due to all of the poison injected into my veins, Eiger and Zeke managed to kill both Imps.

A quick search later, and we headed back home.

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Improving the Mine

Khalid & I, along with his new cohort Marcus, Weylyn, and 10 men-at-arms decided to begin the improvements at the mine. We purchased materials (including a solid wooden door) and headed out to the mine in order to make sure no vagrants had taken up residence. We also planned to reconnoiter the surrounding area for any monster activity.

As we neared the mine, we saw a dust cloud in distance coming towards us. Khalid was certain it was mounted cavalry so the men formed up in a line. As they drew closer, we could tell they were hobgoblins mounted on strange horses that had claws instead of hooves. The hobgoblins charged our line with lances leveled and cause serious death and destruction. A terrific battle ensued and many of our guardsmen were injured but of course we prevailed. Afterwards we stripped the bodies of arms and armor in order to equip our guardsman in the future. Weylyn provided healing goodberries and many of our men-at-arms were revived.

We continued to the mine and found tracks indicating the hobgoblins had been about. We searched the mine for trespassers but found nothing alive so installed the solid oaken doors. The men-at-arms took up residence in the barracks while Weylyn, Khalid, and I scouted the area.

After about 2 hours we found a patrol of hobgoblins that need killing. They were dispatched with ease and I began to wonder why these hobgoblins even bother engaged us in combat. They would be better off to do something else.

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