Dermimancy, the art of imbuing skins with magic

Many adventurers can benefit from the workings of a skilled dermimancer to magically imbue animal skins. The power and rarity of the animal skin affects the nature and quality of the enchantment. Other reagents must be used while imbuing the leather, so no attempt can be made without cost. The skill of the dermimancer impacts how likely the skin is to become magical as well as the cost per attempt. Magical skins have a ⅙ chance of being cursed with the worst qualities of the animal, ⅙ chance of having the best qualities, and a ⅔ chance of having a mundane quality. The player should not know whether the item is magical, nor should she know which effect was rolled.

When a cursed leather is touched by bare skin, the leather will rot away and the curse will transfer to the player permanently. Curses can be removed per your game rules regarding curses. Dermimancers do not handle treated leathers with their hands for this reason, some employ mages to identify their skins - this should greatly increase the cost of the treatment. Others might test the skins by touching them to unfortunates or prisoners, this would increase the cost less significantly but would also make people in the general area react negatively to your imbued skin. Imbued skin must be in contact with the flesh of the user for their effect to be made manifest. Some take the additional step of having a tailor sew the skin into their armor or gear, other will wrap the skin on their arms as a bracer or cover their weapon in the skin so that they will gain the effects in battle.

Dabbler in the arts - 2/6 chance of success - costs 25g per attempt

Flesh worker - 3/6 chance of success - costs 40g per attempt

Dermimancer - 4/6 chance of success - costs 60g per attempt

Cost of identification - 20g

Cost of testing for curse - 5g (available at the discretion of GM, only in criminal areas)

Cost of working the enchantment into armor should scale with the armor, anywhere between 5-50g

Badger

Major (6/6) - You gain combat advantage against foes larger than you.

Mundane (2-5/6) - When you are angered, gain advantage on Intimidation.

Cursed (1/6) - When angered or surprised, make a wisdom check or respond with unbridled aggression.

Bat

Major (6/6) - You gain combat advantage on all Perception(Hearing) checks.

Mundane (2-5/6) - You feel at home in the night, suffering no discomfort from the dark nor any desire to sleep until dawn.

Cursed (1/6) - You only gain the benefits of a long rest if you sleep upside down.

Black Bear

Major (6/6) - You gain +1 to your Strength attribute.

Mundane (2-5/6) - You have advantage on attempts to forage in temperate forests.

Cursed (1/6) - During winter, you only gain the benefits of a long rest if you sleep for 12 hours.

Boar

Major (6/6) - You may move an extra 10’ when moving into combat.

Mundane (2-5/6) - You can digest anything, gain advantage on checks related to resisting the ill-effects of bad food.

Cursed (1/6) - Your hair thickens and expands into unsightly stiff bristles. Lose 1 from your Charisma attribute.

Brown Bear

Major (6/6) - You gain advantage on tasks and actions that protect your loved ones.

Mundane (2-5/6) - You can stand your ground in the face of any assault. Advantage to resist any pushback.

Cursed (1/6) - During winter, you only gain the benefits of a long rest if you sleep for 12 hours.

Camel

Major (6/6) - You may go twice as long without needing to hydrate.

Mundane (2-5/6) - Increase your encumbrance limit by 10lb.

Cursed (1/6) - Your are compelled to spit at inopportune times.

Cat

Major (6/6) - Advantage to stealth in natural environments.

Mundane (2-5/6) - You can see in low-light as if in full light.

Cursed (1/6) - Your teeth sharpen and you eat only meat, preferably entire animals. You cough up furballs afterwards.

Constrictor Snake

Major (6/6) - You gain advantage on grapple attempts against targets your size or smaller.

Mundane (2-5/6) - Your tongue can taste the air, giving you advantage on Perception(Smell) checks.

Cursed (1/6) - You prefer live prey and only gain nourishment from consuming raw or living meat.

Crocodile

Major (6/6) - You can swim an extra 10’ per turn.

Mundane (2-5/6) - Advantage to stealth in muddy pools, swamps, and stagnant ponds.

Cursed (1/6) - You grow a second, vertical pair of eyelids, and your eyes become disconcerting vertical slits which cause discomfort to others.

Deer

Major (6/6) - You can jump an extra 5’.

Mundane (2-5/6) - You can run an extra 5’ when running from danger.

Cursed (1/6) - Your skittish nature gives you disadvantage on any saves against fear or intimidation.

Session 10: Journey to the Biting Marsh

Renn’s Downtime

Renn spent some time with High Priest Ressimilae Starlight helping the refugees. While doing so he heard of some highwaymen waylaying refugees heading south.

Return the Slaying Stone

The party went up to the keep to give Kiris Alkirk the Slaying Stone. They saw the town militia arming themselves in preparation for the Orc attack that seemed imminent. Alkirk thanked them for their deed and said that the stone might be useful in the coming attack. He gave them a chest with 300gp and some gems and told them to stay safe.

Finding a Vessel

The group decided to get out of town before the attack, and went looking for a boat south. The prices were very high for boats on this side of the waterfall. A new row-boat sold to a rich man for 100gp. The party decided to get on a river-barge that was almost overloaded with passengers for 5sp each.

The Interruption

The journey went unremarkably for the first afternoon and night. However, the boat ran aground a small sandbar during the late morning of the second day. Theodore and Renn tumbled off the boat into the water along with half the passengers. Renn made quick work getting back on the barge, but theodore began slipping away into the strong current along with some of the other struggling passengers. One passenger screamed in surprise and was pulled down into the water, air bubbles indicating his position. Theodore was able to get back on the boat with the aid of Al’s thrown rope, and the two of them went about trying to help passengers and unmoor the boat. Renn dove in to try to save the drowning passenger, finding a zombie like hand grasping the leg from out the mud. Renn lost his dagger trying to free the passenger, but managed to unclasp the hand after a few rounds of struggle. Once the hand lost its prey, it made a grasp at Renn. Luckily, it missed. In the stress, Renn bounded up to the surface but forgot to bring the passenger with him. He returned and finally got the seemingly lifeless body up to the boat. His first resuscitation attempt was fruitless but a magical healing did the trick.

Fort St. Argus

Fort Argus loomed ominously above the river, sitting on an embankment of lichen-covered stone. Rickety docks held a variety of barges and row-boats  belonging to refugees from the north. A few illkempt guardsmen stood at the open gate, passing a cigarette with yellow paper and a strange smell. The fence seemed made from swamp wood, a ramshackle assortment of whatever could be found and scrapped together. It wouldn’t stand up against much of an attack, but seemed suited to helping the townspeople forget that they were living in such a dreary location. Unfortunately, even with the surrounds out of view, the town was equally dreary. People loafed around in the late evening, the smell of cook fire in the air. The smoke from the pits seemed to sit thick in the town as if afraid to venture too far from the hearth.

Twice-bitten Tavern

Al had been to town before, and led the group to the only inn with a bathhouse. They checked in and paid their 1g each. Al went to the barkeep, Dick, and chatted to him about the recent goings-on. Dick told Al that he didn’t know where Redmaine was, but that the tanner or the witch might know. They would both be around the market in the morning

Merchant Knights of Flatstone Fortress

In the tavern, the only patrons of note were Ser Caliba Thial and Ser Neve Mezer. Both were dressed in strange armor, seemingly of Tortoise shells and other rare materials. They were discussing trade values in nearby locations when Al approached. He asked if they knew where Redmaine might be found and they demurred, but said that he was known to trade at the Flatstone Fortress. They asked if Al was buying anything and ended up selling him 5 doses of Saporific Slime for 10g.

Alfie Richardson - The Tanner

Alfie and Al had met on Al’s previous visit. Alfie slowly remembered Al from the tavern, and warmed up to him. He said that Redmaine tended to come by with skins and pelts twice a month, and that he had last come 6 days ago. He indicated the area where he thought Redmaine lived, in the haunted woods behind Kalton Manor. He also offered to assist the party with some magical leather armor in exchange for assistance with a task. He told the party to come back in a few hours to sit with him at lunch for more details.

Session on 9/11/17

Wandering Beyond Sessions 2-7 Summary

Session 2

Genevieve found the Goblin sorcerer’s map of Kiris Dahn  with locations where he had detected magic. The hot springs and the manor house were the two locations that were marked. The party decided to proceed to the hot springs.

On the way out of the library, they found two orcs looting a secret room. The room had been raided, and where there was clearly once a location for the Slaying Stone there was now a painted eye.

Exiting the library, the party beheld a large group of kobolds. They asked the Dragonborn paladin if he was there to save them. They agreed to help the kobolds. The kobolds scattered and readied for themselves for revolt.

The party arrived at the Hot Springs and searched a nearby home. The bottom floor was covered in dust, they heard skittering upstairs and left the house.

Session 3

The party walked up the hill behind the hot springs and found a place to take shelter and rest. From their vantage, they could see that the Kobolds had started revolting across towns, fires and combat sounds were springing up. After some time, the gate of the manor opened and the Hobgoblin leader emerged with a goblin horde. The party also saw the band of orcs, who were also searching for the Slaying Stone, enter the hot springs cave below them.

They decided to enter the caves below, and followed the orc trail. One orc ambushed them and was vanquished. The other orcs were encountered in a large storeroom, they were running towards the party. Only after the party killed them did they discover what was chasing the orcs. A number of wolves ran out followed by an orc witch. When the wolves were slain, the witch offered the injured party the chance to parley.

She offered the Slaying Stone in exchange for the head of Vhox the Betrayer. He had turned his back on Gruumsh when human clerics of Bane came and offered promises of power. The witch said her name was Ursula, and she led the party to her lair. She began butchering the dead orcs. After the party agreed to help her she took a lock of hair from Theodore the halfling sorcerer.

The party proceeded upstairs from the caves into the manor.

Sessions 4 & 5

The party explored the wing of the manor where they emerged, it was mostly abandoned. They found a drunk hobgoblin passed out in a latrine room on a pile of rags. They slayed the monster with a coup-de-grace and turned him over to find a charm below him. The latrine seemed to be a crack in the foundation which led to a cavern below.

The party continued exploring the manor, saw that the door was open with the guards all outside. They closed and barred the door, which alerted the goblins guards but also sealed them out.

They explored a hallway, finding a room with two goblins bickering. They killed the goblins and saw that they had been left to guard a captive family. They freed the family and told them to stay put while they explored more.

They went upstairs and found the chambers of the hobgoblin, discovering a hidden chamber filled with treasure chests and valuables. They did not take any treasure, but instead sealed back up the room. While they had been in the treasure room, they heard cries of help from the family they had left below. They entered to see two adolescent guard drakes had pinned the unarmed family into the corner of the room.

A tough combat ensued in which both Sam and Torren, the paladin and cleric, were killed.

Session 6

We began in the town of Fallcrest, fast-forwarding the return of the remaining party members and the freed hostage family.

The town was receiving an influx of refugees fleeing from the orc raids. In the tavern, the party overheard a family who were trying to bury their daughter but the crypts were inaccessible from some sort of monster within.

The party went to the Septarch’s Tower to discuss the disturbance in the crypts. Septarch Nimozaran was convinced to give the party the code to awaken the tomb guardian construct.

The party did not trust NImozaran, and checked with High Priest Ressilmae Starlight who confirmed the code.

They arrived in the crypt to find the ceiling caved in, revealing a substantial tunnel through the stone above. Around the next corner a large worm had knocked over some sarcophaguses and appeared to be vomiting on one of the bodies.

It was a close combat, but the party slaid the Carrion Crawler and returned to receive their reward.

Session 7

Theodore and Al overheard a smuggler in the back of the tavern, and followed him to the docks. They purchased a boat from some refugees and followed the man across to the Tower of Waiting. They explored for a while, looking for a hidden way in. They found some high windows that would require a grapple, and also saw a cellar entrance, but it was covered in large rocks and inaccessible.

They stumbled upon a giant spider which almost killed them both, they barely got back to town and lost the boat in the process.

Session 9 – Reuniting with Ursula

Ursula

The worm continued to gnaw at Vhox’s brain until Al approached, trying to sever the Orc’s head. Spittle and dura-mater bits sprayed over Al as the worm reared back and hissed a warning. The group soon attacked the worm, slaying it just after it latched onto Grumble’s bear-form head.

Al clumsily hacked away at Vhox’s head, standing up in time to see Theodore walking as if in a daze towards the fishery. Al and Grumble followed along, Al had a bad feeling in his stomach as he approached the wooden building covered in fishing nets and other gear. Theodore walked in through the ajar door to see a dead orc slumped against a wooden counter. The room was lit by a greenish light coming from the stone salt-aging room.

The group slowly approached the door, Al tried to hold Theodore back but the compulsion to enter was too strong. Theodore pushed the door open to see a green fire beneath a cauldron. Ursula the orc witch was in the room, and with a flick of her wrist sent the flames flaring up before dying back down. The room smelled of bone broth, and the remains of a butchered Orc were piled in the corner.

Ursula laughed maniacally and displayed a totem of Theodore, made from the lock of hair he earlier provided her. She whispered into the totem, “give me the head of Vhox” and Theodore felt himself compelled to ask Al for the head. Al handed over the head to Theodore, who walked in in turn across to the Orc witch.

She took the head from him and the compulsion charm faded. Theodore stepped back to behold Ursula whisper a twisted spell that coaxed the skull out form Vhox’s head. She dropped the bone into the broth and held up the face for all to witness. She whispered “What fun I am going to have with you Vhox!” and chuckled to herself.

Al spoke up, “You promised us the Slaying Stone.“ Ursula chortled, “Did I? I suppose I did. Very well, you kept your end of the bargain, I will keep mine.” She retrieved a leather-wrapped stone from the corner of the room and handed it over to Al. She mused, “You all have been good servants to Ursula, and servants are hard to find. Are you looking for more work? I have many enemies to slay and tasks to be done.”

Al demanded that Ursula relinquish the totem of Theodore, and Ursula agreed that she would do so in return for information regarding the Hermit Redmaine, who she believes to live to the South. The party assented and made their exit.

Watch Tower

As the group set fire to the remaining watch tower, they skirmished with a small band of orcs and goblins. Grumble and Al were coaxed to larger sized by Theodore’s magic, and made quick work of the enemies. The last goblin fled in terror from the giant bear, and the party did not give chase.

They readied a boat and waited as the fire took, ensuring that the tower would burn down. After a few minutes a large group of orcs and goblins returned to the area, led by the escaped goblin. The leader saw the burning tower and ordered his troops to put out the flames with water from the river. Theodore cast Fog Cloud on the riverbank, delaying the goblins for long enough to ensure that the tower was lost to the flames.

The Inn

The party returned to the inn, paying 2g each for a night’s rest. Al found himself drawn towards the bar before he retired, and he took a seat next to Beatrix the Tailor. She chided him about his ragged garments and then he asked her if she knew anything about the Hermit Redmaine. She related what she knew:

The Hermit Redmaine was once a trusted guard to the noblility of Fallcrest, Lord Faren Markelhay. When Lord Markelhay was still a young lord warden he was besmitten for a woman who called herself Lady Oblington, who came calling under the auspices of being a student of the wizard Fox Erlong, famous through the lands. Lady Oblington earned the trust and affection of the Lord, but before long made a quiet escape with some family heirlooms, the original hand-written score of a musical masterpiece that raised Faren’s grandfather from his humble origin to nobility, a song titled the “Snare of Rage”.

Lord Markelhay sent Redmaine after Lady Oblington, and after seven weeks Redmaine returned with a tale that he had failed to find the Lady. Soon afterwards, a report surfaced that Redmaine had, in fact, been spotted with Lady Oblington. The rumor was that he had fallen in love with her, but that she had slipped away from him as well and disappeared from the land.

Redmaine was disgraced and exiled, and has made his living as a swamp trapper in the Witchlight Fens.

Beatrix claimed not to know where he could be found specifically, but a fur trader that sold his wares each Friday morning might know. She also mentioned that some of Redmaine’s old comrades-in-arms at the keep might know more of his tale and whereabouts.

The Dream

In sleep, Theodore descended a wormhole of fish before gaining awareness of the Fishery room from before. He beheld Ursula conjuring a gelatinous mass from the thick bone stew. The mass took the form of a huge humanoid creature, and Ursula placed the face of Vhox over the head. Soon, the translucent form grew opaque and became indistinguishable from Vhox himself. Ursula chuckled in glee in front of the naked orc, and Theodore’s dream faded away.

Session on 8/28/2017

Session 8 – Vhox’s Brains

Wandering Beyond on 8/14/17

The town of Fallcrest has been receiving refugees from the frontier. You met with Kiris Alkirk to catch him up on the status of your quest, you need to kill Vhox, leader of the Severed Eye Clan. He tells you that he has received news that the Severed Eye Clan is moving on Greycrest.

Quest: Kill Vhox (Complete)
Quest: Burn the 2x Guard Towers (½ Complete)
Quest: Rescue the Stragglers (Complete)
Quest: Find the Curio from the house of the merchant Hannu Hardel
Quest: (Theodore) Find Ursula in the Fishery

The group spent 12 gold to buy a rowboat from the war refugees arriving in town, profiting from a struggling and scared family. The trip upriver was uneventful, the group put in just past town.

The sky over the town was pierced by irregular clashes of battle, hacking of wood, and a few plumes of black smoke.

The group snuck up on the edge of town, spotting 5 orcs and 2 goblins trying to enter a barricaded home. Theodore was knocked unconscious during the fight, but the group otherwise emerged without too much damage. The group escorted the stragglers back to their boat and sent them on their way.

They made their way up to the first guard tower without being spotted, using the scroll of create bonfire to set it ablaze. As they made their way towards the second tower, Vhox himself stepped out of the warehouse with a human head in his hand. He tossed it towards the group and readied himself for the fight.

A short two rounds of combat later and Grumble’s ferocious claws tore Vhox apart, adding to the effect were notably also Pan’s Guiding Bolt and Theodore’s brain-sucking Enlightening Worm.

As the worm sucked Vhox’s Brain, the group paused to regroup.

Session 1 – Kiris Dahn

The party began in the town of Kiris Dahn. They had been tasked with retrieving the last remaining Slaying Stone from a human town which has been eight years fallen to chaos. Orcs, Goblins, and Kobolds have made the town their home.

The party stealthily approached the edge of the town and observed some goblins beating up a kobold, they took advantage of the distraction to sneak deeper into the town to look around.

They looked at a map they had been provided and decided to sneak through the woods to approach the library. They hoped to find the stone within. Some of the party were a bit heavy-footed passing through the woods. Some nearby kobolds saw and heard the party leave the woods near the front entrance to the library. The kobold ran up to behold the Dragonborn in the party, and asked him if he was there to liberate them from the oppression of the goblin overlords.

The Dragonborn, Sam, was made uncomfortable by the situation and answered affirmatively in the attempt to get the kobold to leave them alone. The gleeful kobold ran off saying that he would spread the word that it was time for rebellion.

The party snuck into the library and the rogue went to dispatch the goblin patrolman that was singing a song in a nearby hallway. His attack missed and the goblin went running into the main room. The goblin was struck down but not before raising the alarm. Goblins from upstairs swarmed down into the main room of the library, and the party took a few well struck blows before cutting down the last goblin.

They proceeded upstairs, searching for a Goblin named Rort whose name they had found written on a note in the pocket of one of the goblins. Rort was found in a room full of books, devices, alchemical contraptions, and other junk.

Rort was surprised by the group, but was denied the opportunity to respond due to a Sleep spell. He awoke tied up and answered the parties questions about the town. He said that there were two areas of the town that had undiscovered magical items. The manor house and the hot springs. He moved to the table to show a map to the party, and stealthily readied a darkness scroll.

After a few moments of discussion, he activated the scroll and made a dash from the room. He bumped into Genevieve on his way out, and Genevieve was able to keep up with him. She caught him in her next Sleep spell and cut his throat while he was held on the ground.

Session 3 – Return to Safe Harbor

We began in the Orc Lair. Some gems were hidden in the chieftains chair. Xanadorf claimed a wooden flagstaff as his quarterstaff on the way out.

The party returned to the headquarters of the Highwaymen and, after a long debate, convinced the highwaymen to let them take Rufe back to town to face trial.

They then led Rufe back to town and arrived during the evening. They met with the mayor and were able to convince the mayor of their innocence. They also convinced the mayor that the elves were somehow complicit.

Som Tawyer wanted the mayor to arrest the elves, but the mayor informed the group that elves had already departed from town.

The mayor gave them a week’s stay at Winkle’s inn, “Little Winkle’s Watering Hole.” Winkle would not give them free drinks, and after some prodding, Winkle offered them free drinks if they could rid the town of some local ruffians that often caused trouble. They were called the Brothers Olaf and they are fur smugglers working in the leather vest gang. He said they would likely be found down by the Fighting Dog Pub.

The party went to the fighting dog pub, and convinced the leather vest gang that they had a dire wolf pelt for sale in the alleyway.  The gang stepped up and saw the druid shape-shifted into a wolf. The leather vest gang saw through the ruse and mocked the adventurers, stepping into combat. There were some rough blows dealt, and the combat was ended when the cleric cast Thunderwave and blew all the combatants off their feet.

After they had been knocked down, they pointed the party towards the Brothers Olaf house, at the end of the street near the lumber yard.

The roughed up adventurers proceeded to the house and scouted that the two brothers appeared to be inside. One seemed asleep in a chair and the other at work at his desk. The house was the last of a row of shoddily constructed row houses, any sound was sure to wake the whole block.

-end

Session 2 – The Highwaymen

Arrest

The parties’ enjoyment of seeing an enormous tree emerge from out of the roof of the rope store was cut short when the store owner’s shrill voice called out accusingly, “My store! What’ve you all done to my store!?”

A crowd was gathering to gawk at the giant tree. Townspeople were running up and pointing at the sight, shouting for friends. Through the bustle, four lightly armored guards carrying spears ran up. Their wonder at the tree was cut short when they heard Corbett’s cry.

Som Tawyer, the three-quarterling bard, made an impassioned appeal at innocence, trying to cast blame for the tree on Corbett’s nephew Rufe, the man who had earlier swindled the group and slipped off with a hefty purse. Despire Corbett’s distrust of his nephew, he was not moved to forgiveness and told the guards that the party was responsible for this travesty, that he had caught them in his storeroom and that they should be arrested.

Som made one last half-hearted appeal to blame Rufe before submitting to the imperious guards.

Jail

The party was led through streets of rough construction through a new neighborhood of the town. Wooden buildings of various sizes and purposes cobbled together in a somewhat haphazard fashion. Hawkers were selling goods of all sorts, many targeted towards explorers, gold-panners, lumbermen, and others trying to eke out a living from the wild continent around them. Most of the townsfolk were walking to see what all the commotion was with the giant tree that had just emerged.

Soon the group were walking along a cobblestone road and surrounded by finely crafted wooden homes. To the West the party could see heavily wooded mountains looming behind the buildings in the near-distance. The party was led past a stone wall and approached a heavily reinforced guardhouse. They were led into cells and removed of their possessions.

Som Tawyer and Kjango made jokes at the guards and began singing, while Maeve the goliath slept off his drunk. Som convinced the guard, named “Gard” to share his favorite song, “The Waves Crash Harder.” Fortunately, both Som and Kjango knew the tune and gave it a hearty rendition to win Gard’s tentative approval. After a few hours, the druid Xanadorf was begging for exile to get away from either the prison or his teammates, he didn’t specify.

The Mayor

That evening, they were visited by the town mayor who apprised them of their situation. He told the party that he had been investigating the occurrence all afternoon and that the blame seemed to fall squarely on their shoulders. He informed them that the tree-seed had been stolen from the elves, who were bringing it from the old continent to their settlement. The tree growing in the middle of the city was sure to be the beginning of a long and fraught land dispute between the elves who sought to be near their tree and the inhabitants who were already in the town.

The party proclaimed their innocence and, again, pointed their fingers at Rufe as the real cause of all the mischief. The mayor acknowledged that Rufe was likely involved and informed the party that Rufe had not been found despite a thorough search. He also reminded the party that they had been seen by witnesses to murder some town ruffians in a bar brawl. He told them that they would face trial the next morning and told them to prepare themselves.

In the trial, the party was told that Rufe had fled during the night, stealing supplies and a horse. The party was exiled from the town for their crimes, but if they could return with Rufe in tow, they would be exonerated.

An elf lord was present and spoke out against the sentence, saying that the party should be handed over to the elves for the theft and misuse of their most precious possession. The mayor dismissed these concerns and the elf stormed out of the courthouse, promising that this insult would be avenged.

Searching for Rufe

The party had their belongings returned and set out to track Rufe. The horse tracks were easy to follow North as the rain-softened earth made the trail visible to all. After a few hours of passage, a heavy storm approached. The party took cover under a protective tree canopy while the druid went ahead in animal form. The druid was able to discover where Rufe had left the road, also presumably to find cover. Xanadorf returned to the group and led them to the spot.

The party proceeded into the woods from off the road. They soon stumbled onto a grisly scene, the stolen horse had been hacked apart and strewn across the clearing. After carefully inspecting the area, the party discovered a torn loose belt and bag containing some gold pieces and a badly damaged map.

The party was unable to make sense of the map, not being familiar with the terrain, and decided to head back to the road when they heard the sounds of incoming wolves.

The Cartographer

When they arrived at the road, the party beheld a man approaching from the North. He wore a brown road and had a long unkempt beard, matted in some places and with beads and other objects fixed in at random. He carried a tall staff from which hung a lantern.

The party hailed the man and asked him his business. He identified himself as a wanderer and map maker on his way to the town of Safe Harbor.

The party asked him if he could help them identify the map, he showed them where they were on the map and identified two nearby landmarks, a fortification or outpost of some sort, and some sort of dangerous location.

The party spoke with him at length and they were loath to let him get on his way down the road.

The Highwaymen

The party trekked back into the woods and to the clearing. Use loud noises and fire to scare off the wolves, they made their way through the western trail. Soon they stumbled upon and startled two roughians sitting around a fire. One grabbed for his spear and the other for a crossbow.

They called out for the party to halt and identify themselves, their noise brought plenty of support out from inside the longhouse that they had been guarding.

Some quick talking defused the situation, and when the party indicated that they had been exiled from Safe Harbor, they were welcomed as fellow exiles. The party said that they were looking for Rufe and the leader, Nelson Williamson, said that Rufe had been expected to return that day. He had stolen some elf artifact as part of a job that they were working from the elves.

The party indicated that they had tracked him to the clearing, where he had disappeared. Nelson cursed and indicated that he had probably gotten nabbed up by the orcs that lived in yonder caves.

The Rescue

The party and the highwaymen set out to rescue Rufe. They led a daring rescue and lost a few good men in the attempt. Finally, they entered the room of the chief. Rufe was shackled to the back wall. After a bitter combat, they unshackled him and paused to catch their breath.

Session 1 – A Missing Bookie

The campaign began in a harbor town on a recently discovered continent. The continent had only been known of for a century or two, long enough to have many humans but fewer members of the longer-lived dwarf or elvish races.

A halfling bard, Som Towyer, disembarked from a ship and convinced the dwarf cleric, Kjango, to help him carry his luggage into a nearby tavern.

In the tavern, the bard sized up the room and his eyes were quickly drawn to a giant goliath, The Count, standing on the far side of the bar. A scheme seized the bard, and he quickly set off to convince both dwarf and goliath to agree to have a drinking & keg chucking contest, and asked the goliath to help him to throw the contest. They all agreed on the terms, and the bard began raising bets and interest by hopping onto a table.

Quickly a bookie emerged from the crowd, Rufe began taking bets and put long 4-to-1 odds that the goliath would win. The bard went all-in with his 30 gold and a number of townies placed bets both ways. After some time, the group went outside to begin the contest. The goliath seemed less than fully committed to the contest and many in the crowd noticed his lack of enthusiasm. When the dwarf won the contest, cries of anger and dismay emerged from the crowd. The crowd surged forward intent on forcing a rematch, when the party suddenly noticed that Rufe was nowhere to be seen.

A keen eyed human druid had been watching from the shadows, Xanadorf is curious about the outcome of this exchange and followed the group on their search for Rufe. Their first stop was to go back into the bar to confront the barkeep.

The party entered the bar to witness Winkle the barkeep hoisted into the air by the collar of his shirt. Townies were crowding around demanding answers and demanding their money back. The meek barkeep seemed at a loss for what to do. As soon as the thugs noticed that the party had entered the room, the largest man dropped the barkeep. Winkle quickly scattered himself away behind a locked storeroom door.

The large man and his thugs approached the party, accosting them and insinuating that they were party to this theft. He demanded that the party tell him where Rufe had gone. The man followed up his demand with a string of insults and a ending with a display of spitting at the feet of Kjango. The party responded with hostile intent, and after killing the large man and one of his thugs, the other two thugs surrendered.

The party demanded that the thugs take them to Rufe, the thugs complied as best they could by taking the party to the store owned by Rufe’s uncle Corbett, the rope merchant. As the Rope Store was just around the way from the bar, it seemed a likely place that Rufe might have run to hide. The party let themselves into the back storeroom from the alley and found a room filled with ropes, crates, and barrels. They quickly began bashing open barrels in the back corner, seeing dust on the ground where a barrel has clearly been moved recently. After cracking open the barrel, the party found a long cylindrical wooden tube, almost black in color and covered in intricate carvings. One end looks like it might twist free, and the party chose to open the container with care. Slowly vapors seeped out of the container, followed thereafter by a thick liquid. The party backed away and watched with interest.

After a few moments, a bark-like object emerged from the sand. Meanwhile, an irate Kjango and Som burst into the front room to demand that Corbett tell them where to find Rufe. The bark like object slowly rose from the cylinder, appearing to grow slowly. Xanadorft decided to prod the object with his staff, which immediately fused with the object. In surprise, Xanadorf let the staff fall to the ground, tipping over the cylinder and the object. The object quickly began to grow in size once exposed to the air, and appeared to fuse with everything it came into contact with. The party ran in fear and emerged out onto the street. They turned to behold a giant tree fusing with and growing out from the roof of the rope store. The party and Corbett watched on with wonder as a giant tree grew and expanded before their eyes.

-Session held on 2/23/2017

Session 0 – Orcish Prologue

We began in a Dark Forest. Ub’oorn, an orc fighter, found himself being approached by one of his few allies in the tribe. He was still considered a newcomer by most members, and bad luck too, as the sole survivor of the Plains Tribe.

The widow approached Ub’oorn frantically, telling him that she had news. The scouts had returned from the South and they brought news that tragedy had befallen the South Tree Clan. The widow begged Ub’oorn to investigate, as the last news she had of her exiled son told her that he had found a home at the South Tree.

Ub’oorn quickly made his way to the chief’s tent, where he beheld Mukluk, the tribe’s warlock, Rag’nok, the cleric of Gruumsh who Ub’oorn helped put into power, and Grum, the barbarian and second son to the chief.

The scout had just finished his report, and the chief turned to his son Grum. The chief ordered Grum to take his warband to investigate the disappearance of the South Tree clan, and to also investigate the camp of invaders that waylaid the scouts on their hasty return.

The scouts reported that not only were the South Tree Clan gone, but there was little evidence that they had ever been there at all. A tent post here, or a bit of waste there. But no sign of where the orcs would have gone. Also the woods had seemed eerily silent to the scouts, almost as if devoid of life and sound.

The party seemed equally enraged by the human camp as they are of the disappearance of their neighboring tribe. Rather than avoiding the camp, they made their way directly there to get what revenge they might have.

They arrived at the edge of the woods after the sun had set to behold a fortified human camp at the top of a small hill. Guards with torches patrolled the hill on this dark moonless night, and a large bonfire burned behind the tents.

The orcs took position and a well-placed eldritch blast destroyed one of the sentries. Another sentry was able to alert the camp, however, and the defenders took up immediate combat positions. They remained unable to see their attackers in the pitch black night.

Hearing the commotion, a member of the orc scouting party emerged from the woods and sent an arrow into another sentry. Krosseye, the sharpshooter, quickly joined up with the warband and they made a terrifying advance against the east line.

The wolf-spirit barbarian channeled his fury and howled like a wild beast, cutting a spearman in half. The Dark Forest echoed his howl a thousandfold, and the humans felt their bones chill in fear.

The party pushed the advance, and quickly saw that there was a beautiful human woman in a red dress, a plate mail clad man, a hammer-wielding dwarf, and a bowman standing in the center of the camp. The adventurers saw the orc warband, and quickly joined the fray.

The orcs saw that they were badly outnumbered, killed a few remaining guards and then hauled off a wounded spearman. The warlock channeled the power of his patron, Stan the Chaos Lord, and dropped a thick cloud of darkness to engulf the camp.

The party made it into the woods and woke the spearman. The terrified spearman answered the warbands questions about the camp. Evidently, they adventures were in the area in response to claims from nearby farmers that the orcs had disappeared. The nearby town of Harvest wanted to verify the good news, leery of a trap. The human had no idea what might have caused the disappearance of the South Tree Clan, as the humans had only just arrived and set up camp. The orcs quietly ended the life of the injured spearman and made their way south.

The party almost passed by the South Tree without realizing where they were, such had the region changed. Gone were all signs of habitation and silent were the woods. The party quietly searched around looking for clues, when Grum found himself staring into the beguiling eyes of a hooded figure. He found himself inexplicably drawn away from the group. Moments later, a hail of arrows emerged from the trees, many finding their marks. Six elvish warriors dropped from the trees, four holding longswords and two longbows. Their arrival was marked also by a ferocious roar, a large brown bear charged into the clearing and straight for the orcs.

The orcs rallied, concentrating their fire on the bear, who with its last breath dematerialized and a young elf druid appeared in its place. One swing of a greataxe was all it took to end the battered druid’s life, and many of the other elves fell soon after.

One elf saw that defeat was imminent and made a break for the deep woods. The battered warband had little choice but to let the elf go.

-Session held on 2/12/2017