Monday, 2 December 2013

WB1, Session 5: Into the Wild

Session 5: "Into the Wild"
Sunday 7th, March 1001 AC

And so the party returned to the eastern trail, heading toward Hrodik's farm. The way was well known to them now and the journey was uneventful. Spring was showing more and more signs of it's arrival, the snow slowly thawing into mud with the temperatures slowly rising but dark clouds were amassing in the west. As they walked, the companions also noticed the lone wolf, sometimes trotting alongside them, sometimes disappearing into the distance.

After a day and a half, they reached the farm. Leaving Hrodik at his farming tasks, they followed the directions the ranger Ulfar had given them previously: North along the western woods until a rock formation called the Reaching Fingers, then northward toward the Mauler Hills and the Mengul Mountains. As time arrived to start preparing for the night, Urist noticed a small cabin in the woods and the companions decided to have a look, hoping to get some protection from the rain that the clouds above were announcing.

The wooden cabin was small, apparently some kind of forester refuge. It seems abandoned but quickly they noticed signs that it had been broken into. The door was off it's hinges, tools were missing from the shelves and soon Serrin found goblin tracks. To be sure the area was secure, Grom decided to check if there were any animals around he could find that would have some information about what had happened and he stepped into the night alone. Meanwhile, Serrin was checking out the area, testing the roof and otherwise kept busy. Urist was hard at work cleaning up the place and preparing for dinner, making sure the fireplace was in order. Danik took the spare time to magically mend the hinges back into place, then focused his attention on the lock, though, in the end, no key could be found.

As Grom returned, he informed the party that:

"The white tail Elk of the wood spoke words of the Goblin, the greenskin - they had not seem them for some light days, though they had been in this area. Yes. They speak of the greenskin moving toward the big rocks"
Feeling more secure, the party decided to rest here, blocking the door with a plank, lighting a fire and preparing dinner. The night itself was calm and comfortable though a light rain did start falling around midnight and would keep up for the next days.

In the morning, the companions resumed their journey north, following the tree line. After a couple hours, they reached the end of the woods but after a while, Serrin noticed some rock formations further northwest, past another small forest. Not wasting any time, they resumed the march. An hour after mid-day, they finally found it: The Reaching Fingers. 5 huge rock formations, looking like massive rock fingers pointing toward the sky. There, Danik found more goblin tracks in the mud, clearly heading north.

Pushing on, they finally reached the area called Mauler hills and were ever closer to the massive and wild Mengul Mountains. With a couple hours before dusk, Serrin suddenly stopped the party in the middle of the tundra and pointed to smoke rising from a forest a mile or so ahead. Quickly, it was decided that Serrin should investigate while the others remained behind and the bounty hunter, staying low, moved northward.

30 minutes later, Serrin reached the forest and disappeared inside. 30 more minutes passed and still no sign of Serrin. Grom, Urist and Danik, exposed under the rain in the open Tundra, decided to move toward the forest edge, hoping to see some signs of Serrin. There, looking about and trying to lay low, another hour passed and still no sign of Serrin...

...Finally the hunter emerged from behind a tree, looking roughed up slightly but in overall good form. He urged for silence and the party gathered close, whispering as Serrin reported what he saw:

  • Goblins were ahead for sure. 
  • The smoke was quite a bit away, 30-45minutes in the forest. 
  • There were traps in the forest, "Suspend and Alert" said the bounty hunter with professionalism. 

For a while, the companions drew plans, discussed the next course of action. Finally, they agreed that they just lacked information and Serrin was sent back out to scout further in. More time passed as Grom, Urist and Danik tries to hide in the undergrowth. With another hour gone, the forest was getting very dark and Serrin was nowhere to be seen. Finally, Danik decided to send his trusted raven and look for Serrin.

30 minutes later, Serrin once again emerged in good shape and after some grumbling about some bird ruining his style, and reported what he saw. Meanwhile, the lone wolf approached and casually laid near Grom:

  • There was a camp ahead for sure, with tents. 
  • The caravan carts were in the camp and he spotted what seemed like dwarves. 

With the night fully upon the forest, clouds covering the moon light, it was hard for the two humans to see anything past 10'. Tactics were discussed, plans and other plans. Grom took notice about bad weather closing in and was not convinced that an immediate attack was the way to go but after a while, the other convinced him. After sending the lone wolf away south, kilek soon following, the companions prepared themselves. As Urist and Danik were discussing how to guide everyone properly through the dark night, Grom changed once again into a large wolf with dark brown fur, covering with slight red markings, his golden eyes glistening in the night.

Soon the party moved on as silently as possible through the forest, following Serrin's guidance. After a long 30 minute walk, Urist guiding Danik through the dark night, Grom guiding Serrin, they saw the light of the campfire finally. Stopping near a tree, Urist and Grom noticed two black skulls hanging in the air by a cord tied to a tree branch. Pondering at this, Serrin casually indicated that these skulls indicated traps. Urist was not that casual however, these black skulls sending shivers down his spine as he remembered his studies on foreign religions:

  • These skulls reminded him of Yagrai, an immortal of Death, Destruction and Perseverance through Pain. One of the immortals of Entropy, known to the Dwarves because Goblinoid tribes sometimes follow him. 

Pushing on closer to the camp, the companions readied themselves for battle....

Serrin, a shadow in the dark, entered the camp on the left, heading toward the prisoners. Closing the first tents, he noticed sleeping goblin as well as a couple females and with a quick movement slit the goblin's throat.

Meanwhile, Danik moved right, keeping behind the cover of a downed log, ready for anything. Urist, after quickly praying for Kagyar's blessing, moved in closer to the middle of the camp with Grom.

On the left, Serrin shot a goblin standing guard near the prisoners and that was the signal the others were waiting for. Danik shot another with his sling and Urist charged in, scaring a female who tried to find refuge in the northern big tent.

Grom, still laying low, approached one of the bigger tents. Inside, he saw a big goblinoid engaged in rough sexual activities with two goblin females, grunting and panting. Grom approached carefully then lunged, grabbing the big hobgoblin's arm then dragging him outside, screaming.

The goblin camp awoke at this point and chaos erupted under the night rain, thunder still echoing in the distance.

Urist charged into the big tent after the female and came face to face with a goblin covered in heavy furs, reaching for a mace. Radiant flames erupted but failed to leave deep marks and the goblin turned, grinning then raised a small black skull then whispering some words: Immediately, Urist's skins began to crack and blister, leaving horrible open wounds all over his body. Despite the immense pain, Urist stood fast and, trusting in his god to face this new evil, he managed to seal close some of the wounds.

Grom and the hobgoblin were in their own world, circling and attacking each others. In his wolf form, Grom managed to bite the hobgoblin several times.

Danik too jumped into the fray, closing the middle of the camp and used spells and sling to confuse and kill several.

On the left, Serrin rushed toward the prisoners, managing to make quick work of one of the locks. Seeing that other goblins came out of the tents nearby, he gave his tools to the now freed Heldaner so that he could free the others, then moved in to battle.

One goblin managed to release a frenzied warg from his restrains who immediately jumped after Serrin. The hunter quickly disengaged for fear of being overwhelmed as the second warg was also set free. Frustrated by Serrin's mobility and elusiveness, the wargs moved after Grom!

As the fight was happening, a low rumble was rising in the earth. The tents began to shake, trees seemed to be dancing to some silent tune.

Suddenly, a shock-wave hit the camp and all hell broke lose: An earthquake!
Still engaged in bloody battles, everyone was now also trying to remain on their feet as the earth shook and curved under them. Most couldn't and fell down, tents fell on themselves, and rocks from nearby cliff started falling. One such exploded on the ground near Serrin and as a big fragment caught him straight on the head, he lose consciousness.

Elsewhere in the camp, it was pure chaos. The goblin shaman was losing his fight against Urist and tried to run on one of the wargs but the cleric would not let that happen, his radiant flames catching the shaman fully, sending him down to his death. Urist then rushed to Serrin's aid.

Grom meanwhile was now facing the two wargs and the hobgoblin but had so far managed to not become overwhelmed thanks to Danik's help and magic.

As another wave of force from the earthquake brought everyone to their knees, the hobgoblin, badly hurt, realized that he had to flee. As he was standing up, he felt a poke on his forehead and found a small stone in his hand. Confused, groggy, he looked about, and soon his eyes locked on Danik, sling in hand not 10' from him...then fell face down, dead.

As the shock-waves of the earthquake subsided, the battle ended. The two wargs vanished into the night as did the goblin females and the companions stood victorious among the ruins of what had been the goblin camp.

The night was dark and the sound of the light rain still falling was only broken here and there by the echoes of thunder in the distance...

Still shaken by the battle and the earthquake, the companions quickly released the two dwarves from their bonds. Vigfus, the human they had released earlier, was sitting, head in hand near one of the campfire and the other dwarves, thanking the party, joined him.

Urist and Grom rumaged through the bodies for some time while Serrin checked the carts and the crates outside. Danik went into the tents, looking for the dwarven accounts and anything of value.

(Serrin)From the carts and the crates

  • 10 crates of iron ore (20 pounds each, 2'x1') 
  • 2 crates of silver ore (20 pounds each, 2'x1') 
  • 10 rations 
  • 2 small carts in poor shape 
  • 2 wheeled vehicle 
  • Can carry up to 200 pounds in the back 
  • Can have up to 2 people riding in front 
  • Can be pulled by either 1 Large creature or 2 Medium ones 

(Urist & Grom) from the corpses

  • 10 goblin fangs 
  • 3 small spears 
  • 4 small wooden shield (buckler) 
  • 2 short bows and 30 arrows 
  • 3 small leather armor (need refit but overall good shape) 
  • 2 iron daggers 
  • (shaman) 1 iron mace (painted black, head carved in a skull shape) 
  • (shaman) 1 small bear hide armor covered with markings (need refit but overall good shape) 
  • (shaman) 1 small human skull, painted black (holy symbol) 
  • (hobgoblin) 1 iron longsword 
  • (hobgoblin) 1 iron shield 
  • (hobgoblin) 1 medium size ringmail (need refit but overall good shape) 
  • 5 gold, 19 silver, 39 copper 

(Danik) from the tents

  • Casket with broken lock (Account papers and logs from the Cold Heart mine, 5 pounds, 1'x1') 
  • 3 wood axes (probably from the forester lodge) 
  • 3x 50' rope (seems to be some kind of hair/fur) 
  • 3 small fur tents (20 pounds, 20 minutes to assemble, 1 medium creature) 
  • 5 snare traps 
  • 2 throwing nets 
  • 5 rations 
  • 3 water-skins (full) 
  • 4 small bags, 2 pouches and 1 large bag 
  • 2x 10' iron chains with lock 
  • 4 manacles (keys found in the hobgoblin tent) 
  • 30 gold, 2 silver, 12 copper 

An hour passed and everyone regrouped around one of the campfire, discussing what they had found, bandaging their wounds:
  • The two dwarves are Hurbim and Reighobelle from the Cold Heart mine. 
  • The human is an Heldaner called Vigfus. 
  • All the goblins and the hobgoblin had their left ear cut off and worn as a pendant around their neck. Urist quickly determined that it was a clean cut, not a battle wound. Danik didn't think it was some kind of religious ritual. 
  • The shaman body was covered by scars of old wounds. All the wounds were very clean, as if made on purpose but their size and shape made each of these wounds a potentially mortal one. According to Urist, the shaman might have done this to himself since this fit with the black skulls, symbols of Yagrai (immortal of bestiality, entropy, death and above all: perseverance through pain). 
  • The only traces of the two horses from the caravan were the carcasses near were the wargs were chained. Hurbim confirmed that the animals were given to the wargs after they arrived. 
  • Reighobelle explained that they were attacked soon after leaving the mines by a horde of goblins, completely crazed. Yomick (the corpse you had found previously) tried to run but was killed. As the rest were about to fall, another goblin force arrived, led by the now dead hobgoblin. Much more organized, these new goblins chased away the others then took control of the caravan. They traveled here under chains and since then, were used everyday as slaves to cut wood, organize the camp, prepare captured game and the like. 
  • Hurbim confirmed that they are only alive because of the Hobgoblin's authority and even though they were beaten many times and even tortured here and there by the shaman, the leader made sure that they stayed in some shape to work. 
  • The dwarves also reported that about a week ago, another Hobgoblin came into camp with more goblins. He stayed for a day then left with his troops. 

It was now the middle of the night and everyone was near exhaustion after the day's travels and the bloody fight. The rain was gaining in strength and the storm seemed ever closer. Shivering around the small warmth of a campfire, they had to make a decision...

...To stay and risk being discovered? To leave in a hurry into the dark of night, taking only what they could carry and risking exhaustion?

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