Out on the frontier

Brief recap: Havenwale Burial Mound

This is a quick recap/summary of past adventure sessions. It is not meant to be comprehensive at this time, nor is it in character.

Session 6/15/2016:

PCs Present: Tarak, Dai’ga Kayaldra, Magic Jack
PCs Missing: Boominott, Avonde
NPCs Present: Kiint, Menelaus
NPCs Missing: None (Millipen died in previous session)

The Burial Mound near Havenwale
The group followed the gnomes’ description up to their old burial cavern. In past years, this used to be a well-maintained entrance to the town’s crypts where the dead were buried with honor. Since the Witch Queen sent Ceroneus to take over the town, the crypts have fallen into disrepair. There is still a sturdy, wide door to the entrance, but upon opening it, the party was presented with a horrible stench of decay. Inside, water had infiltrated to make everything slimy and promote decomposition. The center of a large entry chamber was filled with partially rotted gnome bodies in a huge pile where they had been deposited by the orcs and ungen without the traditional embalming rituals.
Tarak had cast Detect Undead and immediately perceived there were some medium-powered undead somewhere in the pile. The other exits from the room appeared to be sealed off from the rest of the tomb by cave ins triggered by the lack of upkeep.
Three gnome ghouls burst from the pile and attacked the group, paralyzing both Dai’ga and Tarak in their initial assault. However, the rest of the group were able to dispatch them without all becoming paralyzed and Tarak and Dai’ga quickly snapped out of it.
Another scan of the room by Tarak showed no more undead – at least in the accessible portions – and he noticed a number of glittering items. It was clear that the ghouls had been raiding the deeper tombs up until the passages collapsed and had looted some treasure.
From the corpses group retrieved:
[44 pp and 200 gp] These were returned to Havenwale to help them rebuild.
The rest of the below were revealed by Boris Micklewax as part of his own ancestor’s personal treasure. He offered them to the party as thanks for the town’s freedom with the condition that we offered the jewelry to the Micklewax family in Botkinburg first so that they had an opportunity to buy back these heirlooms:
400 gp jewelry (sold at value indicated to Herbert Micklewax in Botkinburg; at about 2x the appraised value)
Magic Short Sword (later revealed as +1); holding onto for now
(4) Magic Crossbow Bolts (claimed by Dai’ga)
Magic Helm of Comprehend Languages and Read Magic (claimed by Tarak)

We met with Boris Micklewax – the leader of the gnomes that had been ensorcelled. He and the freed gnomes led an assault party to take over the inn from the renegade traitorous gnomes and restore the village. We promised him to keep the location and other information about Havenwale on the D/L; they would have enough problems with Freyland’s bandits having been there periodically. When asked, he provided better directions for more direct paths onto the road to Botkinburg so that we could easily return if needed without having to travel through Gypsheim and Dredston.

Retrieving the carefully-bundled Witch Queen’s mirror, we next headed back to Dredston with Nurfin’s wife Frema and daughter Owlen. On the way back, we encountered an Ogre attempting to ambush us, but Tarak easily noticed him and the party turned the ambush back on him. Fearful that he might cause problems with the gnomes if left alive, they quickly dispatched the ogre. Other than a 25-30 gp necklace he had been using as a nose ring, he had little else of value.

Nurfin’s family were reunited and were extremely grateful. They headed off towards Havenwale to return to their home.

Returning through Neagle’s woods on the way to Botkinburg, we were greeted by the dwarf (who put on more mud stew) and Neagle. She was extremely interested in our journey and in the mirror…

(Update to follow)

Assault on Dreddston - Part II
The Fall of Dreddston

Though wounded by the goblin shaman’s multiple Sound Bursts and a few lesser attacks by the goblin lieutenant, the party quickly regrouped and prepared against Reglar and his bandit force, who would certainly be upon them quickly given all the racket coming from the Inn.
Potions were drunk while doors were barricaded and braced.
As Reglar and his dwarf aide Grattl approached the door from their quarters, Avonde saw an opportunity and unleashed a well-aimed arrow from the treeline. The bandits began to reorganize outside as Grattl rushed the door, allowing several bandits entry. Reglar chose to fire his crossbow from a safe distance away and did some significant damage with a few choice shots.
However, Magic Jack had a few more sleep spells that he unleashed against the bandits and their leader. With missiles magical and mundane flying from woods and Inn, some crushing blows by Tarak and a few dagger strikes here or there, the bandits were vanquished.
Tarak and Millipen began searching the remaining houses and were able to free the gnomes and other enslaved humans. After Tarak reiterated his promise to locate Nurfin’s wife and daughter, Nurfin told him how to find Reglar’s house, and the stashed map to Havenwale Nurfin had described – obscured by Gnomish magics to appear like a family tree unless the proper trigger words were spoken.
Meanwhile, Avonde and the others began questioning Reglar’s crew (in a somewhat brutal and bloody manner.) Two of the surviving bandits quickly assessed their plight and appeared to be relatively content to return to the simple village lives they had prior to becoming recruited into Miles Freland’s gang – it was better than having their throats slit. As part of the negotiation, one offered up Reglar’s hiding place in the woods where he had buried his stash.
At this point, Tarak returned and offered to return their basic possessions and weapons, along with some small coin to ensure they got back on their feet before having to resort to criminal endeavors again.
The freed humans begged that the group escort them back to civilization. Agreeing to this, the entire group made its way cautiously back along the trail, widely skirting Gipsheim, eventually making their way into Botkinburg. As a parting gift, Tarak returned a handful of gold to the refugees – a small but welcome compensation for their loss and years of hardship.
Although Aldadius was away at the time, they recapped their recent discoveries to the Sergeant of Arms, who promised to bring him up to speed.
Vowing to locate Havenwale and take on the Ungen next, the group set off again, travelling though Neegle‘s wood as it was on the way. For once, Neegle and her dwarf “cook” seemed to be happy to see them and paid close attention as they related their tales of Risticulian and the return of the Ungen. They even partook of the meals the party had brought with them, glad to be rid of the mud-stew that was normally their daily fare. As a parting gift, Neegle found a few more healing draughts that she’d been working on since their last visit.
Rested and refreshed, the group set out, determined to figure out what was going on in the caverns of the SlagHeap.

The Fall of Kreetkruk
Or the liberation of Nordin the Translator

Trailing Kreetkruk through the night, we catch up near dawn 

Captured Nordin – a human translator.

Slagheap – the mines near Havenwale.

Winter camp not far from Botkinburg made it convenient to stage the attacks.

Freyland is not responsible for the attacks on Botkinburg; he is far more concerned with Ludenshiem.

Freyland – 40, sandy hair, keeps himself in good shape. Never saw him in any armor or heavy weapons; just flowing leggings and a belt knife. Never seems to get cold. Very dangerous.

Dresden is not the choice posting; Reglard and his crew are the scum of the scum. He has an evil dwarf Gretle and there are about 10 others.

Upstairs of the Inn is basically fallen apart. Only 6 or so goblins left now including a priest. All slept in the kitchen including Kreetkruk. Kept his trunk in the kitchen cabinet.

Dietrick going to bring us a bunch of money to stop the attacks as they were not working. Kreetkruk's plan was probably to double-cross him and continue the raiding.

Dietrick was paying Kreetkruk to give the Rotten Kip money to stage the raids near Botkinberg; they were not supposed to wear the Red Caps to obscure what tribe they were with, but given the tattoos, it probably wouldn't be that hard to figure out. Originally Moglerod was being paid, but Kreetkruk eventually took over.

Dietrick's crew is dangerous, though not as tough as Freyland.

Reglar lives in the big house a few down from the Inn; he's Miles Freyland's guy at Dresden.

The Ungen came for supplies; talking with the bandits. Brought a cart south towards the Slagheap, traded some gnomes in exchange for some wine and similar to Reglar. One big Ungen and two little ones, along with some orcs.

We let Nordin leave with his gold, weapons and some supplies.

As we camped in the woods off the trail to rest up from the long overnight, Kiint spotted a raiding party of 10 Orcs passing nearby. Although they were passing relatively stealthily off the trail, we were well enough concealed that they did not notice us and Kiint allowed them to pass by unnoticed and without noticing us.

We slept through the next night and returned to our surveillance point outside Dresden. Settling in for a long watch, we divided our shifts over 24 hours, with Millipen and Tarak focusing on the heart of the night and Kiint, Magic Jack, Menelaus and Dai'ga dividing the daylight hours. For the most part, the town ignores the absence of Kreetkruk and his group as he was expected to be away for several days on his errand to Gipsheim.

After a day or two watching their movements, we determine that the bandits mostly mill around during the day, bullying the gnome slaves and drinking. As the night begins to fall, they start to turn in and the goblins begin to come out. They appear to be more organized and structured, which is a sad commentary on the bandits.

Having assessed this, we decide to try and attack the goblins in the Inn in the middle of the night after the bandits have turned in and/or passed out. We crept up to the Inn door, but as we prepared to attack, a goblin opened the Inn's kitchen door, mutually surprising each other.

The goblin, coming to his senses first, shouted "Attackers" and drawing his sword, retreated into the kitchen where three other goblins stood waiting. Tarak quickly cast Light on his mace and Magic Jack followed up, sleeping all four of them. We dispatched the sleeping goblins and Magic Jack and Tarak began to head towards the other room.

As Tarak crept towards the door to the main room,, a loud bang centered in the room stunned Dai'ga, Magic Jack, Kiint and Millipen – the victims of the goblin priest's Sound Blast. Passing through the main room door, another goblin attacked Tarak while the priest, entering from the kitchen back door cast another Sound Burst, taking out Magic Jack and Menelous and stunning his own ally. Tarak Commanded the priest to "Die", causing him to collapse.

Dai'ga attacked the downed priest, wounding him slightly while Millipin lunged towards the goblin in the doorway, widely missing. Tarak struck a crushing blow, caving in its skull and together, they quickly finished off the priest in the doorway.

Closing the doors to lick our wounds, we propped the doors and began to heal each other, preparing for the bandits, who were most certainly waking up from all the noise. As the others made preparations, Magic Jack opened the chest in the cupboard and discovered roughly 100 platinum and several gems. We were once again rich – if only we could survive the night…

Assault on Dreddstun - Part I
Observing the fallen village

After regrouping with Boominott in  Botkinburg, our party once again headed out to further investigate the towns under Miles Freland's domain. Having previously departed the bandit trailhead as it emerged on the main road near  Botkinburg, the gang decided to head there rather than return to the much further trail on the way to  Ludensheim.

Scouting along the trail, Boominott and Kiint encountered an emerging bandit raiding party. Both sides were caught off-guard, but the bandits pursued our scouts right into a hastily-constructed ambush. After a short battle, the 7 bandits were defeated.

We continued on to Gipsheim and monitored the town from our previous surveillance site for a few hours. Learning little new, we decided to make our way south to  Dreddstun. As we approached, we discovered it was even worse than the miserable reputation it had gained. Slightly more than a dozen small ramshackle buildings were clustered around a hilltop with a single larger structure roughly centered in the settlement. Scattered in the fields nearby, a number of weak serfs including several frail Gnomes were observed, as well as several thuggish overseers.

Kiint scouted a good vantage point and while the rest of the group watched on, Boominott made his way close to one of the further Gnomes. As he approached, the gnome warned him away lest the overseers notice, but he was quick to find concealment behind some nearby cover.

The Gnome was terrified and related how his group had been ambushed and taken on their way to  Havenwale. He was taken and forced to work the fields and his wife and daughter had been given up to the Ungen. They had a map that showed the trail to  Havenwale, but that has been seized and is held somewhere within town.

As  Boominott put him at ease, he opened up a bit further and related that Reglar was one of the bandit leaders of  Dreddstun. In addition to roughly 12 bandit men throughout town, there were also a handful of Goblins and Kreetkruk the Ogre,  who typically stayed in the Inn. Fearing he might draw attention with any further conversation, Boominott cautiously crept back to the party's hiding place.

After brief discussion, we determined that a score of bandits and Goblins as well as the Ogre would be too difficult for a direct assault. However, as we had heard that Kreetkruk would periodically travel to  Gipsheim, we decided to wait and see if extended surveillance would reveal anything. Luck was on our side and after only 3 days vigil, we saw Kreetkruk depart the inn, taking 8 Goblins and a reluctant human along with him. As they left at night, the human was particularly uncomfortable, stumbling along the trail since the rest of his group needed no light source to travel in the dark. Nevertheless, the way he carried himself gave the impression that he was otherwise a nasty individual and would not be easily taken. Kreetkruk himself was armed with a huge ball & chain that hung off his shoulder and had a large club slung across his back.

Our intrepid adventurers pondered whether now was the time to strike at the weakened defenses of Dreddstun in his absence, or whether they should instead follow Kreetkruk's small group towards  Gipsheim and try to get the drop on them when isolated from either village…

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