Blackmire Marches

Exploring the Cradle Wood

Melody asked me to join her in another expedition to the Cradle Wood. Melar and Hurmore joined us again. We decided to head back to the Orc camp, just to check it out, and on the way we encountered a Black Bear cub playing with a butterfly. We watched the joyful cub for a bit, then went on our way.

The Orc fort was abandoned, so we went to some ancient temple. We got to the temple and found some sort of large stone pillar. It looked to me like something had been here recently, but we couldn’t tell what or how many, so we decided to enter the temple. Just as we entered the remnants of the room, Melody shouted out a warning and a group of skeletons attacked us.

I took one look and their bony structure, and knew my axe would have little effect, so I turned the blade around and began attacking with the flax back of the head. It was unwieldy, and took me a couple of swings to get the feel for it. It looked like we were in trouble for a moment, but Melody started singing and bolstered all of our spirits.

With Hurmore clearing the right flank, Melar and I were able to move in and clear out the rest. Melar and I were pretty banged up, so we decided to head back to town.

We rested for a few days, and headed back towards the temple. We had just entered the Cradle Wood, when we ran across our old friend the Black Bear cub. Unfortunately, we were not the first ones there. A group of Orc’s with a pack of war dogs were already harassing it. I insisted we help the poor animal, and Melody slipped forward and cast some sort of spell that distracted the Orc’s and allowed us to charge them and take three out before they even realized we were there.

Now the real battle started, and the Orcs called in their dogs. Melar ran off after an Orc leaving Hurmore, Melody and I facing four vicious dogs. We fought hard, taking several down, but two of them surrounded me and everything went dark.

I woke up in Blackmire, with Bila standing over me healing my wounds. Melody was there, and she informed me that Melar didn’t make it, and told me the story of how her and Hurmore found a large chest full of strange silver coins. One side had a warrior holding a sword in the air wearing a winged helmet. The reverse side showed an odd pattern of chains.

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Bandit Hideout

They went forth to explore old haunts with dangers no more
But what they found were enemies all around
Orcs were chopping, felling, building
A fort so defensible but did they think themselves invincible?
To risk human ire so close to Blackmire?

With minimal fear the heroes did appear.
The Barbarian became an Ogre (pit traps so easy to step over).
Swords were swinging, slashing, slaying
The orcs were quickly dead so we took the big one’s head
To prove to any passerby that this tale is no lie!

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Bila's Nightmare

Bila has been with me through so much, I knew it was my place as her friend to join her. In preparation I bought myself aDarem buys a horse. I never cared much to ride, but I knew a horse would speed us along. Our trip out of Blackmire and to the Coppice Lakes was uneventful. Luckily we were able to rustle up some fisherman (74,16) to inquire about news. The pair were able to direct us to a small fishing village further North. We headed almost directly north (74,15)→(74,14), or so Olaf claimed, crossed a ford (74,13), and then another ford (73,12).

Once again luck and Olaf’s skill led us right where we needed to go, a small group of earthen huts housing several fishermen(75,10). After Bila explained why we were venturing so far north, one told us a group of halflings he encountered several years ago. He directed us roughly towards a copse of trees in the distance (77,10). By that point the sun was setting low, so after sharing a large skin of ale we spend the night with them. Taking out the next moring along the South of the lake, we head towards the eastern ford (75,10).

Crossing along the outside of of the island oval (75,10)→(76,10)→(77,10) Olaf noticed a rustle in some tall grasses. I thought our quest may be almost done, but out leaped a dire wolverine! My poor horsey took a nasty gash, but after dropping out of my saddle the wolverinehad a more concerning interest than a horse, one angry dwarf! Between Eiger and meself, with some well placed assistance from Olaf and Bila we chopped him up good. We couldn’t find anything in his lair, so we moved on.

We cross to the small island (78,11) to continue our search. Olaf finds some small arrows (77,10) but no other clues on the island. We go back and search on the north side of the river (79,10). Olaf picks up a faint trail heading northwest towards (78,10)→(77,09), after a brief scare were we lost the trail Olaf is able to pick it back up again.

By that point we were following the faint sound of music through undergrowth dense enough to make us get off our horses. As we came to a forest clearing(76,09) we saw a satyr playing some pipes. But that wasn’t the strangest thing, cause there were also a spindly wild elf trying to mount a womanly centaur, and I don’t mean in a good way if you get my drift. Once the Satyr directed the pair to kill us, I knew who I should go after.

Charging the lil’bastard I find his devilish power putting me to sleep. The next thing I know, Eiger is standing over me slapping me, at least he wasn’t pulling on my beard. I groggily stand up and continue the last thing I remeber doing, charging the Satyr. With a massive enraged hit I kill the horned fella, someone must have softened him up for me. Hehe. It’s then that I notice I can’t hear anything! It takes several moments for me to realize what’s going on and step away from the corpse.

As always the captives were appreciative. Though, not nearly as much as I would have figured. Unable to speak to the centaur, we turn to the elf Allain Silverbow who says he thinks he’s very far south of his homeland, which is far to the north of the foggy bottom area. With great disdain for the halflings that invaded his territory, the elf tells us of their village. I guess saving his life was at least enough enticement for him to direct us there, along the middle river and around (75,06) (76,06) (75,05). With no way to talk, the Centaur wanders of to northeast. I take the Satyrs head as a trophy and we loot the rest of the body. A little further away along an easter trail we camp at an abandoned halfling village (77,08) for the night and Bila heals our wounds.

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Monastery Safe Again

Hearing of yet another group of green adventurers meeting there end at the Monastery, I grew upset. That place was supposed to be relatively safe, and now dirty Goblins have th audacity to move in. I bet the wouldn’t be nearly as brave without their leader Yargloo. Past time he was dealt with, so I gathered up proven companions for this trip. As we were leaving time, Rolf ran up and asked to join us. I was reluctant at first, but he’s free to make his own choices and I can understand his desire for revenge. Can’t say as we used a lot of tricks or such, just came in the front door and started cutting up goblins, most fun I’ve had in months! I’ve been too long in town, now I feel the adventurer lust come upon me! As we got Yargloo and his pansy ass healer on the run, more goblins stepped up to die. I couldn’t decide whether they were brave or stupid. In the end, I killed them either way. As is true for the race, most of them turned tail and ran. Wish we could have finally dealt with Yargloo, but he’ll have to wait for another day. We gathered up the fallen adventurers for a proper burial, looted the goblins, and grabbed some honey.

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There has to be an easier way to get honey

About a week ago Rena came stumbling back into Blackmire after heading out to the Monastery to collect some honey with Castien and Gria. Apparently some vicious goblin wolf riders had taken up residence in the Monastery, and killed the rest of her party. So she decided to organize a body retrieval party, and I volunteered along with Clorian, who just got back from a trip back East, and a new arrival named Ora. Rena hired Philip and Rolf, and we headed out.

The trip did not start out well, and we should have heeded the omens. We were attacked by Stirges, and left Rolf and myself week and close to death. In retrospect, I think the Stirges replace our blood with some sort of Luck toxin, or the God’s took pity on us, but more of that later.

As week as we were, and still close to Blackmire, we returned to town, and rested for a few days with Bila provided us with healing. Once recovered, we set out again, and made it to the monastery with no trouble. We tried to enter the side door, and it must have been nailed shut, so we worked our way around to the main doors. Ora opened them, and I moved in and set my spear, seeing several wolf riders inside.

One charged me and drove his wolf right onto my spear, and the last thing I remember is the searing pain as a lance pierced my chest.

I came to in time to see Clorian fall at my feet. Seeing most of the party dead, I tumbled out of the doors, drank a potion, and ran like a bat out of hell back to Blackmire. To my surprise, Rolf came wandering into town the next morning. Apparently he went to ground and Yargloo eventually lost interest.

I told my story to all of the adventurers at the wager, and Darem declared this menace must be eradicated, and began organizing some of the veteran adventurers.

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Warrens

Heading out to our usual entrance along the usual path. What was different this time was the Bat Swarm that came to investigate our clomping racket of a dwarf. I tried to drive them off with my new skills, but was unsuccesful. Not surprising, I don’t have the best luck with animals. Sad isn’t it? The bitey little things took their time investigating us before tiring and returning to their roost.

As we delved ever deeper, meeting no resistance we came across a lair of wolves and goblins. For once, we spotted them first and moved in unison to attack. As they noticed us, the goblins mounted the wolves and charged us. Eager to see my new studies pay off I once again tried to turn back the pack of wolves. This time they result was spectacular, four of the five wolves turned tail and fled. The startled looks of their ridings was hilarious. The remaining goblin rider, was dealt with easily. Perhaps if I were he, I would have find the wiser thing to do would be to flee. Scooping up their treasures we moved north on to a great open cavern with stalagmites. Navigating around the towering rock formations we received a volley of javelins from goblins high on a ldege above us. So far away they were and on the higher ground our dwarven leader decided to retreat. From what I’ve heard of dwarves that came as quite a pleasant surprise. Perhaps she is the genius of there species.

Back tracking a little ways we decided to explore another route. Timing be damned, but we came to a rope bridge high over a rushing underground river to meet a large goblin force on the other side. I was all for destroying the bridge and calling it a day, but the decision was made to stand and fight despite a hail of javelins. Goaded on by either stupidy or bravery they advanced on us. Increasing the odds in our favor, three clumsy goblins fell into the rushing river. Melee insued with Castien finally cracking under the pressure and running off in fear. Hurmore bravely took his place and with Gria anchoring the line most of the goblins were felled. Their leader, an Acolyte fled with his single remaining companion but thanks to some precise shots from myself and Gria he dropped..

I have attempted to record our path through the tunnels for future use, but didn’t think to document the first couple of turns.
Left (South). We come to a T intersection and we go Right. Passage continues along which it turns suddenly to the right for 800 yards. Left (SSW) or continue (NW). We continue (NW) for 800 yards. After our retreat we returned and took the SSW passage leading to the rope bridge.

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The Infernal Buzzing

Balesley hears a faint buzzing.

Already faint and shaking from a close encounter with a group of squatting bandits, Balesley had followed the dwarf—the confusing female one who had told him, “You’re ugly” before slapping him hard in the back—into the courtyard of the abandoned monastery. That’s when he heard it, in the distance: an unmistakable, droning buzz.

His human half immediately quaked in fear, only for the orc blood in his veins to fill him with great shame. None of the friendly, formidable adventurers he traveled with betrayed any hint of fear, so Balesley steeled himself against his cravenness as best he could.

The bandit ambush had stretched his nerves taut and turned his knees to jelly. As soon as Jameak and Gria had entered the door they were surrounded, bandits emerging from damp corners and from behind dark pillars. Balesley had tried to stay out of it, shooting ineffectually into their midst, but then took a deep breath and stupidly charged the leader, Rathbone, and gripped him in a bear hug until Balesley’s comrades and spiked armor had done in the bandit leader.

“I hear ’em,” Balesley growled from the courtyard’s entryway, “I hear them bees.” After searching the room for loot the band set off towards the noise. It grew in volume and intensity as they approached, shaking the very ground, until it clearly emanated from behind a closed door.

Balesley would have never thought of it, but the others had a plan. The door was opened just long enough for three smoking sticks to be thrown into the room, and quickly shut again. That’s smart, reckoned Balesley.

The group waited, entering a lively discussion about how long until the smoke took effect. How fast does smoke work on giant bees? Balesley didn’t know.

In no time ten minutes had passed and the group figured they had better check the interior before the effects of smoke wore off completely.

Balesley was no stranger to those effects, not by a long shot. He and Gria (the confusing dwarf maiden) were nearest the door, and the dissipating fog washed over them as they flung it open. Balesley felt the familiar tingle of smoke in his lungs, and colors swam in front of his eyes, but when Gria began attacking angry bees he had the presence of mind to follow suit. Soon the world slowed. His senses dulled. He was vaguely aware the others continued the fight, but lost track of their movements. Figures faded in and out from his vision.

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Balesley’s whole being shook with the vibrations of a dozen glassy wings in flight. And there, in the midst of the rolling fog, buzzed an insect, king of insects.

Balesley steeled himself against the fear once more. It had to be ten feet tall and a thousand pounds of mighty insect. I won’t be mocked by no disrespectful bee! Balesley raged, and clenched the monster tight about the thorax.

“Balesley,” he heard a faint voice. “Balesley! That bee’s dead. It has no stinger.” Balesley’s vision was swimming. He dropped the lifeless corpse on the ground, the influence of the smoke dawning on him. What he was really was in need of was some fresh air, so he helped the others bring in the barrels from outside for collecting honey.

Still, at the end of the day there was honey money to be divided. It was more gold than Balesley had ever seen. And he learned his lesson:

There’s good coin to be had in the wrestling of dead bees.

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Goblin Hunting Practice

Castien was getting a little restless, and organized another jaunt into the Warrens. He was accompanied by the Dwarves Gria and Jameak and the Human archer Versonas. Since the last several attempts on the Warrens came from the mountain lion cave and the Monastery, Castien led the group to the Tin mine.

We arrived without any issue, and entered the Mine. We hooked up some rope to the block left by a previous party, and Gria and Jameak descended first. As soon as they his the ground, they were charged by a scurrying Rust Monster. The creature attacked Gria and dissolved her armor in seconds. A pissed off Gria hacked the beast with her axe, only to see it rust away as it cleaved through its side. The monster than turned and ate Jameak’s armor. By then Versonas had made the trip down and started shooting arrows, and Jameak switched weapons and attacked with his flail. By the time I got to the bottom of the shaft and maneuvered around, Gria smashed it’s head in with her warhammer, which also rusted away.

Meanwhile, two goblins showed up and laughed at us and hurled some javelins. We quickly charged them and they died quickly. We followed around the mine, and ended up in a room occupied by two more goblins, we attacked them, but they fled down another shaft. We quickly searched the room, and collected some coins and a very nice quarterstaff. We could hear some goblins below us, and since I still had my armor, I went down first, and was met by a wall of goblins.

I was able to kill one of them and move over to make room for Jameak. Unfortunately there wasn’t room for Gria, though she tried anyway and landed on poor Jameak knocking them both down. I killed a few more, and Jameak stood up and killed another. They had enough and fled. We quickly followed them and came out in a large cavern defended by a line goblins, with a tougher looking one leading them. Gria got pin-cushioned by javelins, but still charged ahead. I was pretty beat up from the last fight, and used a scroll to heal myself before I joined the fray. It got a little dicey for a while, and Gria went down, but I was able to kill their leader and Jameak dispatched several other goblins and the remainder fled. I healed Gria with my last scroll and we searched the room. We collected some nice artifacts, and decided it was time to head back to Blackmire.

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Shinzo & the Dwarves Examine the Graveyard

Shinzo’s Letter to Master Kan:

Wise Master,

I led two friendly dwarves, Gria & Jameak, to an ancient Hellic Graveyard in the nearby Cradle Woods. I had hoped to find wisdom through ancient writings or perhaps a sense of solitude. Sadle, this place had not been cared for in several centuries and whatever holiness was there had long since been overtaken with evil. We immediately found zombies, disgusting rotten flesh undead who immediately attacked us. I was surprised at how strong they were, as they struck me with their fists and broke several ribs. Despite landing several well-placed blows to sensitive locations as you taught me, they seemed not to feel my fists. Luckily, the dwarves were capable fighters with their axes and hammers and flails and they killed the creatures.

We next found a hedge carving holding a gem, which Jameak hastily grabbed. A ghoul popped out of the earth and attacked Jameak, but this time my blows were effective, as I literally knocked his jaw off. The dwarves finished him off and we moved on, only to find skeletons!

Another battle ensued and Jameak again caused serious destruction to the undead. Gria and I finished off the last skeletons and headed back to Blackmire.

We returned the next day after I had rested and Bila, a powerful cleric, had healed me. We encountered another ghoul which attacked Jameak, only to be cut in half by his axe while simultaneously having its skill crushed by his flail. Apparently ghouls have some type of chilling touch that causes paralysis because Jameak shook all over like having a cold bucket of water poured over him. He explained to me aftewards that “dwarves are the toughest creatures on earth and no stinking ghoul was going to freeze him”.

We next found skeletons wielding scimitars and long spears. We easily dispatched them and headed back to Blackmire.

I feel I have discovered one truth: when encountering undead, it is best to be accompanied by angry dwarves.

Your Faithful Student,

Shinzo

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Gria leads the charge on the Warrens

A newcomer to Blackmire, a dwarf named Gria, organized a raid on the Warrens, and Hurmore and I joined her and another new dwarf named Jameak. We headed out in the morning, and I easily led us to the Mountain Lion cave, and we entered the Warrens, and headed to the temple of Mithras. As we were coming around the cavern, two goblins hurled javelins at us and tried to flee. I was able to chase one of them down and skewered him with my rapier. We followed the other one into the temple antechamber, and were met by several more goblins.

This batch of goblins went down quickly, and Hurmore warned us more goblins were heading into the temple. We all turned around and headed back to Hurmore, although I did here sounds of goblins heading our way from the temple. We all maneuvered to kill the three goblins that came from the other corridor, and just as the last one went down, three goblins came trudging down the hall, carrying a large crate. While we watched, the goblins hurled the crate at us, which splintered upon impact, and hundreds of rats came swarming at us. Luckily Hurmore was prepared, and took two mighty swings scattering most of the rats, but those that remained attacked him and Jameak. I moved around the rats and attacked, killing enough that the rest fled.

Now we turned our attention back on the three goblins, and quickly dispatched them. With all quiet for the time being, we searched the room to the right, and I sprung a trip wire and an arrow shot out of the wall and hit me in the shoulder. Undaunted, we moved on and I opened a chest we found. Yet another trap! I got stabbed by a poisoned needle, and did not feel good afterwards. We collected the treasure and headed back to Blackmire.

We decided to come back out the next day, after Bila graciously healed us, and brought Jarlath with us. This time we made it to the temple without trouble, and checked the other side room. We found another chest, and I opened this one, just to find an angry scorpion. It tried to sting me, but missed. So Gria stepped up and grabbed the thing and held it out so I could pierce it with my rapier.

Next the double checked the other room, it was clear, and headed into the temple proper. There were a large number of goblins here. As they moved our way, we were able to kill several with our bows before they closed with us. It was a very brutal, but quick battle, and only two of the goblins managed to escape their fate. We quickly searched the temple, and found a valuable statue and some potions. We took our loot and headed back to Blackmire.

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