Blackmire Marches

Corpses in the Forest

A hastily written letter…

To Arch Revant Herar,

There are certainly powerful and peculiar necromatic spells at work within this fringe settlement. At the request of a sell sword we traveled North and found some undead creatures within the dimly lit woods. Swarmed by skeletal rats and chased by nimble and corpsed wolves we lost the sell sword to a large skeletal bear. I am unsure what causes so many undead to seemingly appear in this locale though I will continue to investigate. Whatever the cause i’m sure it will provide useful to the great malevolent one.

Sincerely, Avi Ises Nai

A Black Day in Blackmire

A Sealed Letter Back East,

At the request of the Arch Revant Herar of The Dark Horse I returned once more to the graveyard just outside Blackmire. Convincing though begrudgingly enough the Man at Arms who accompanied me last time to come once more for double the momentary reward. While also being joined by a new face within the region a druid of some likes who proved useful enough.

The trip to the graveyard was as easy as the last outing, with Blackmire still within sight as the hedge maze escalated ever higher upon approach. The maze having obviously shifted we entered cautiously and proceeded with little concern for most of the desecrated location. Slaying skeleton soldier after skeleton soldier before coming upon a creature of most regrettable encounter. A large skeletal Troll to which proved the might of whatever black magics reside in that labyrinth, as it made quick work of Hurmore the aforementioned man at arms. In bloody retreat we headed for the exit as the Troll lumbered behind us in its pursuit. Turning I saw Hurmore his wounds still bleeding profusely making his last few staggered steps before the creature bellow a hideous roar as it decapitated the slow warrior.

In debate we stayed outside the maze for the night as I seeked council for our next move. A popular face within the local pub I attempted to recover his body, though not without thought to future ambitions that this action could also likely accomplish. However we found the maze to have shifted yet again… With no sight of the corpse or Troll from the previous day we headed back to Blackmire.

This will not be my last venture within the labyrinth so know that I will continue to pursue information for what propagates the magics within the hedge. Though until then you may rest easy that your servant of The Dark Horse continues to heed your call.

Sincerely, Avi Ises Nai

A Castle, Some Highlanders, & a Horde of Goblins

A complete letter found among Ba’zous collection of assorted and torn adventure logs.

The day was a sunny one in Blackmire as we headed into the Highlands once more. The horses moving swiftly through both the moor and the outer wall as we approached the McLeod settlement. While not warmly engaged the McLeod’s tolerated us long enough to provide the necessary reinforcements before we were off once more. With the shadow of the towering castle coming into view I still marvel at the wall that drifts off and over the hills to the west and east.

Debating momentarily we headed west and around to enter the castle from a different angle then through the intimidating front gate. Soon finding a small opening to which we made good use infiltrating the darkened and crumbling fortress. I went first followed closely by Quintus to hear the sounds of Hyena’s to the North. Not one to wait I engaged them immediately dealing significant damage as Isidren lay down a grease spell. Stupid mutts, I still find myself chuckling to that statement in memory of the rabid beasts falling all over themselves. With the North occupied I heard the others proceed deeper into the abyss though I had my own situation to deal with.

And so the last Hyena fell as a large Bugbear came out of whatever hole he had been in to engage me. His whip was fast and I soon found myself on the ground and at the mercy of his shortsword. Standing I managed to fend his assaults of long enough to sever an artery and lay him down with his hounds. Turning I headed toward the sounds of more fighting to see some goblins entrapped in a web by Levin. Shouting I told him to ignite the magical strands as the goblins scream in agony before I set Eno and Owt to them. Though this victory itself was even shorter enjoyed as more goblins streamed into the hall as I head to aid the others calling my faithful dogs to my side… And here is where I will never doubt the power of such potent magics again…..

The halls full of goblins, their wicked weapons of crude design encrusted in rust as they banter on and off with their high pitched speak. I turned to see Levins flank filling with even more of the wretched beasts. Where were the others I found myself thinking before a voice filled the stonehewn corridor with my attention on the wizard behind me. His whispers that of this voice, a god to the goblins it sounded like as I soon found myself not understanding a word of it. Though miraculously enough the goblins quaked with fear. Their pupils narrowing and their weapons trembling they turned as I stepped up to cut down the last goblin in front of me and ran. Hahaha, the arcane is truly an interesting topic though I may have to inquire with one a bit less crafty then Levin. One never knows if what he says be earnest enough… Or atleast thats what Isidren seems to believe..

Fresh Graves

A letter back East,

I have arrived within Blackmire and found a Man at Arms willing to take me within a local and cursed graveyard known to be a mysterious location to the citizens of this small settlement. His name is Hurmore and appears to be a battle hardened veteran. Along with him he also brings two guard dogs though I never bothered to learn their names.

The trip to the Graveyard was uneventful though not entirely by design as we chose to avoid a large and monstrous spider hiding in wait by a small copice of trees as we traveled. The rest of the short trip proving to be much the same as we wandered into the fog enshrouded maze only to be ambushed by a couple of ghouls. This first encounter proved to be rather short lived as Hurmore dispatched the two creatures swiftly with his rabid hounds before we continued onward.

Our path within the hedged maze becoming confused our next encounter came but a room away as we found a small group of skeletons to dispatch. This while simple enough did cause me to become careless enough to miss a pit trap. Feeling foolish I pulled myself up before we continued ever deeper into the labyrinth. With a sickle like axe being our next challenge as it cut deep into one of Hurmore’s hounds. Better the mutt then myself… Though I digress to continue, from here we had a few more encounters with the true challenge coming at the end as we headed down a simple path only to be ambushed by more hidden and starving ghouls.

These creatures unlike the first caught us off guard as they ripped into Hurmore and his hounds. Backing away I did what I could to call on the Dark Horse to show these creatures their true place but with little avail. Yet again I called upon our deity but I found no answer with the monsters now pulling flesh from one of the dogs as it lay no longer twitching with life. The other doing the same to Hurmore I knew the odds of me returning to the settlement would dwindle quickly if I lost the aid of my escort and so I called one final time for the power to unsettle these weak minded wretches. And… My call was answered as they cowered away in awe, allowing me to tend to the downed Warrior as he dispatch the foolish creatures. Healing the other mutt we then headed from the graveyard back to Blackmire. A close call for my first time within this fringed and wild marsh, though I feel as if it won’t be the last.

Sincerely, Avi Ises Nai

Goblin Intelligence
Isn't that an Oxymoron??

Journal of Bernardo Gui:

Ba’zou approached me for my wisdom in how to best go about capturing a live Goblin from the Warrens on Howling Moor. I attempted to explain to him the various schools of thought on goblinoid abscondery but he was hard put to comprehend the finer points of my discourse, so I agreed to lead him and his friends on the mission.

We made quick and easy time to the only entrance we have personally identified. I must make a note to find and explore these other entrances at some time.

But I digress, we entered the caves and overcame a small ambuscade of goblins hiding behind a spiked fence. We then entered a main lair area and battled several groups, including a leader of some sort who had magic gloves that now grace my collection of curiosities.

I was concerned that we were near to being overwhelmed and retreated with my manservant to hold a fall back position. My fears proved unfounded as Ba’zou and his infernal hounds went of a spree of destruction, aided by the newcomer with the giant sword. We recovered a chest full of coins as well as finally captured a goblin archer prisoner. The trip back was as swift and uneventful as the outbound journey.

Highland Silver

Isidren organized an excursion into the Clannach Highlands to determine the source of the strange silver coins the the orc tribes have been given to cause us trouble. They seemed like they could use the healing power of Janus, so I agreed to join them. Led by Olaf, Isidren, Ba’zou, Levin and myself made an uneventful trip South to the Vespasian Wall.

We found a way through the wall and made our way deep into the highlands seeing nothing but a herd of sheep before we found a large village. We waited on the ridge until a party of highlanders came out to meet us. Isidren stepped forward, and befriended the leader of the highlander party, Cormag Bannackburn. He didn’t know anything about the silver coins, but gave us directions to the MacLeod clan.

En route to the MacLeod village, we came upon a wounded highlander facing off against a Dire Wolf. Without a second thought I drove my horse directly at the Dire Wolf and dove off hoping to attract its attention. With the aid of Ba’zou circling to the north, and something Isidren did, the Dire Wolf appeared confused and back up a little. I stood up and moved between the wolf and the highlander, who appeared to have lost his sword.

We moved in on the wolf, and he hit me pretty good and drove me to the ground. Luckily Ba’zou send his dogs charging in and Isidren made a pool of grease appear beneath the best. this was enough bring the creature to the ground, and we were able to quickly dispatch it.

After the beast was dead, I cast Comprehend Languages and approached the highlander, through some pantomime, and healing myself, I gained his trust and healed him. What commenced was some very difficult communication, but eventually he took a liking to us and invited us back to his cave. He told us his name was Luag MacLeod, and he was a ‘retired’ member of the MacLeod clan.

Luag told us a lot about how the clans work, and with an impressive illusion by Levin, we were able to get him to understand what we were looking for. We spent the night with Luag, and the next morning he led us to the MacLeod village.

Luag appears to be something of a legend here, as the whole village turned out to see him. He led us to the long house, and we met The MacLeod. Through much negotiation, they agreed to tell us everything they know about the silver coins, if we would clear out an ancient Verundian fort of a group of goblins. They even agreed to send some of their warriors with us.

We let them know we would need time to prepare, and made our way back towards Blackmire. My companions were itching for a fight, so we camped out in the Howling Moore hoping to ambush some prey. Unfortunately, we were the ones ambushed. While I was on guard duty and the rest of the party was sleeping, we were attacked by a group of skeletons and a group of Stirges.

The power of Janus made quick work of the skeletons, and Levin caught most of the Stirges in web. A very quick battle ensued, and we defeated the Stirges. We decided this was enough, and went back to Blackmire to prepare for our raid on the goblin castle.

Amongst the Graves
Seeking wisdom among the undead

Shinzo’s Letter to Master,

Having spent the last two months meditating and pondering the dichotomy of space and time, I was convinced by my peers at the Winning Wager to travel to a nearby haunted graveyard known to be infested with undead creatures. I am still striving to understand the place of undead in the world of the living and wanted to examine these abominations closely. Heading out with a veteran warrior and wizard, along with a greenhorn man-at-arms named Cedric we invaded the graveyard and were promptly surrounded by skeletal minions bursting from the earth.

Cedric was almost immediately incapacitated, a state he would find himself in frequently during our exploration. I was very impressed with the arcane powers displayed by Isidren and the savage fighting style of Bazou. Master, you would be proud to have seen how well I have learned your teachings. I maintained rigorous discipline and dispatched several skeletons with fists and sling.

Our next challenge was by far the most daunting of my wanderings. What must have in life been a troll or giant, but now was an enormous animated skeleton attacked our party. Again Cedric was immediately incapacitated and Bazou nearly fell too. Isedren’s magic, my well-placed sling bullets, and Bazou’s martial abilities saved the day.

A short time later we stumbled into foul creatures called ‘ghouls’ which the veterans said could paralyze you with a bite. Other than a foul stench, I found their bones and limbs to break as easily as humans.

Master, I admit I still do not understand how the undead fit into our world. They exist only to kill and serve no natural purpose that I can discern. Could it be that by destroying these unnatural creatures I am bring balance back to the world? I eagerly await your thoughts in this matter.

Your Faithful Student,

"The Darkness" and Goblin Punching

Isidren bar Turion
Personal Log: Blackmire Year 1st, Month 3rd, Week 2nd

Location: Goblin Warrens
Party Members: Isidren, Armras, Ba’zou, Bernardo

“I am a cornucopia of expulsions”
~ Armras Saralonde

The Goblin Warrens had a fearsome reputation among the old-timers here in Blackmire. Apparently several overly eager adventurers, perhaps in their thirst for gold and glory, had faced their untimely end within those goblin infested caverns in the past. This penchant for “culling the herd” so to speak, had given the place a certain notoriety which, in my opinion, is quite underwhelming. It might be though; that our party was simply powerful or well prepared seeing as only the hired help we had with us kept on falling flat on his face because of the injuries he suffered.

On the day of the expedition, we all met at the Map Room to discuss our plan of attack. There was no clear goal for this trip other than to explore the warrens, reduce the number of pesky goblins therein and take whatever items we find that had any sort of value. After a short discussion, it was decided that with his knowledge of tunnels and dungeons, the wizard Bernardo was to serve as our party leader. We hired the services of a guild fighter whose name I don’t remember and set out to our destination. I also had a new dog named Sventar and spared no coin to have a custom chain shirt crafted for him hopefully so he can avoid the fate of his predecessor.

It was clear when we arrived that Bernardo’s assessment of prolonged and utter darkness was not overstated. However, between our spells and ample supply of sunrods, illumination was not much of an issue… unless you ask Armras. As soon as we entered the caverns, the rogue started referring to himself as “The Darkness” and was acting like light annoyed him. As far as I know, the rogue was fully human and had no dark vision or variations thereof and therefore no reason to shun light. Looking back, I suspect that Armras may have had too much of whatever that strong stuff Helmut brews in the back of the Winning Wager. Either that or he truly is committed when it comes to his jokes.

Once inside the cave, we were immediately set upon by goblin wolf-riders. These ugly creatures where fearsome and in no time, they had one of our arms men bleeding on the ground. The rest of us however were more than a match for their lupine cavalry and through magic and force of arms, made short work of them. It was notable however, that one of the goblins, who was dying due to well placed magic missiles I administered, fell not through the sword or arcane might but through the spiked fist of our roguish companion. This ignominious and rather hilarious death inspired Armras to try and kill as many goblins as he can by punching them. After pausing to administer some first aid and give a precious healing potion to our injured fighter, we continued on our quest to relieve the world of more goblins, and to relieve the said goblins of their worldly possessions. We encountered another group of goblins whom we dispatched with ease except for the fact that our guid fighter was once again sleeping on a puddle of his own blood leaving Bernardo to drag him out of combat and into a safe area. Armras ,for his part, continued chasing the goblins and tried to punch them to death. He even insisted that Ba’zou step aside so he could flying punch the poor creature the shielded fighter was bashing. Clearly amused, the warrior did as the rogue said and simply rolled his eyes when Armras failed to connect. As it happened, this was to be our last encounter for the trip. Probably tired from having to drag our guild fighter to safety after every encounter, Bernardo decided that we should return to Blackmire after looting our fallen foes. Disappointed by not being able to explore the whole caverns, I joined my companions on our trek back and decided to visit the caverns again in the future.

Pike Forest Incursion part III - Ambush and Diplomacy

Eiger’s Journal:

I signed up with one of these newcomers named Buzzard or some such to go back to the Pike Forest. I showed up ready to stand in the line and be a good soldier, but as it turns out my leadership was needed. I decided to take the same route into the Forest, mainly to show the newcomers the lay of the land.

Interestingly the fountain we saw last time was gone. Clearly a powerful magic is at work. The alchemical workshop area was still deserted and a burned out shell. I did find a path along the irrigation canal. We decided to set up an ambush to catch whoever was using the path. It went off perfect to plan. We killed a patrol of soldiers and freed some slaves, only one of which agreed to come with us back to Blackmire.

Afterward we decided to leave by a land route through heavy woods to avoid pursuit. We stumbled upon a dwelling of the Panther men. We have promised not to reveal it’s location in the hopes of enlisting them in a fight against the Cultists. Isidren is negotiating with them as I write this…

Coppice Lakes Verundian Outpost

This was my first time back out in the field since expanding my druidical abilities. Several of my companions had been to this Verundian fort before and were anxious to finish the job. This was also the first time I brought my mule Sal on an adventure with me. People said I was crazy for training a mule as more than a laborer, but I think I proved Sal’s merit.

It took several hours of hard walking to reach the fort. We approached through heavy undergrowth from the north. I gather there was a larger entrance on the other side, but I trusted my companions since they’d been here before. Forcing our way through the locked door, I quickly find myself in darkness. I don’t know whether it was like this the first time, if so one would have thought that my companions would have had some torches ready. Betime we finally were able to see, I’d say the Gnolls knew we were there and ready for us. Since I heard they had hyenas with them I tried to convince them to sit out the fight. I told the hyenas if they’d just sit this fight out I would make sure that I would see them well cared for after this fight.

The battle was intense, especially since the hyenas declined my offer. It also didn’t help matters that our muscle rushed ahead strung out the party. Myself, Bernardo, Amras, and my two animals companions were left to occupy the Gnoll forces in the main chamber. Bronson fall to the continued assault of the Gnoll’s leader and a hyena while Bazou dealt with the Gnolls caught in Baernardo’s trap. Poor Meeghan took fell twice, requiring my healing to bring him back up. Wolf falls. Two heals on bazou, one off scroll. Both Bernardo and myself were out of spells and having to rely on stored energies when the Gnolls finally broke and ran. Given what I’ve heard about Gnolls, I’m surprised they didn’t run sooner, but I guess seeing Bronson on the ground and the pitiful state of my pets gave them couraqe.

Catching our breath we made a survey of the complex. It was mostly in ruins, but we did find a single basement room. Obviously filled with wicked looking rats, no one was brave enough to climb down. Channeling my druidical might I was able to drive them into a corner while a quick search was made and book-ssized leather case recovered.


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