The Stonelands Expedition

Up on the hill

Session six

While Cromweld shuts himself in his caravan, wallowing in xenophobic despair, the rest of the group decides it’s time to strike back against the wolves. They gather in the war tent and start planning.

According to Ignace’ reports, the werewolves territories lie too far away to launch an assault in one day. They decide to establish a new base of operation closer to their target, and keep scouting from there.

The PC’s travel along the edge of the woods, and set up camp halfway between Deadgoblin and the werewolf territory. They have taken Ignace with them, as well as five of the original Purple Dragons. They start cutting trees to set up a quick and dirty palisade around the camp.

Shortly after they arrive, a cloaked figure walks up to the group, accompanied by a huge black dog. It is Aran Beyron, a druid from the Hullack. He says he came to Deadgoblin to aid with the Tilverton plague, but reports of the werewolves’ activities compelled him to help. Not eager to turn away an ally, the party welcomes the stranger.

Horst and Ignace scout ahead of the camp. A few hours away they see two long poles rise from the ground, with the skin of a small humanoid spread out between them. On the hide is painted a red circle, and Ignace concludes it must be a territorial marker.

They report back to base, and the group decides to venture into the forest the next morning. They set up a guard rotation and go to bed, while Aran goes into the forest to sleep.

The next day it starts raining, and they trek into the forest looking for wolves. They pass the marker and encounter a few lone hunters, but they all die or flee before any information can be extracted. After a few hours of searching, they encounter three orcs sitting around a fire, and a wolf by one of their legs. The orcs leap for their weapons, but the fight is over before any of them can fight back. The wolf flees into the bushes, and the PCs run after it. They chase the beast through the woods until it disappears at the foot of a small hill.

After examining the hillside, they find a cave entrance in the undergrowth. It is too small for a human to stand upright, so they send Horst and Cromweld in to look. The halflings examine the cave, and Horsts keen ears tell him there are goblins in a corridor to the left. He also hears the faint tapping of rain ahead (natural 20 on his Listen check), and they deduce the cave must have an exit further up on the hill.

Not keen on fighting goblins on their own, the halflings leave the cave and report back to the group. They discuss plans of action. If the goblin caves lead to the hills, the werewolves must have a base of operations further up. Terjon casts detect magic, and senses a transmutive aura on top of a flat in the hillside. Unfortunately, the aura is way too far up to see anything. The hillside is too steep for the armored soldiers to climb, so they start circling the hill to find safer path up.

On the northeast side of the caves, the hillside evens with the forest floor, and Ignace and Horst help the rest climb the slope. The terrain evens on top of a flat plain in the hillside, but the slope continues up to the top, and they decide to climb it all the way.

The top of the hill is still below the tree border, but the group can see smoke rising from a nearby clearing. They send Horst and Ignace to scout ahead. In the clearing they can see a few huts and tents, and a giant construction of twigs and branches, separating into two arms reaching upwards. The wolves have hanged offerings of meat and skin from the idol, and between the arms it is topped with the skull of a great stag, giving it a vaguely humanoid appearance. Orcs walk around it scattering powdered silver on the ground, and they can see a bald headed orc dressed in skins and branches, anointing the earth in unholy water. The ground is strewn with the corpses of various humanoids.

The group decides to launch an ambush immediately, perhaps stopping the ritual and eliminating the leader before the wolves can fight back. They charge into the clearing in time to see the priest desecrate the ground and awakening the corpses.

They chop down a few orcs before Aran casts entangle and roots the priest and the undead to the ground. The orcs turn to wolves and charge the PCs while the corpses thrash against the roots holding them down.

Horst crushes some dead heads, Log stabs the priest in the lungs, and Cromweld sets the meat covered wicker man on fire. Terjon reinforce the group with spells while the purple dragons swap blows with the werewolves. A wolf tears out the throat of one of the soldiers, and another manage to escape, but soon the cormyreans are the only ones standing. The wicker man falls to the ground and hurls cinders in all directions as it gets smashed on the ground.

Terjon casts gentle repose on Bran, the fallen soldier. The fight has taken its toll on the group, and they decide to camp out on the hilltop for the night. They get comfortable in the huts while Arans dog Garm stands guard.

They awake in the middle of the night by the sound of barking. Outside the tents they see three gnolls holding Garm back with wooden spears, while a fourth yells at them in a strange language.

The gnolls leap at the PCs, giving Garm the chance to pull one of them to the ground by its ankle. The PCs butcher three of the gnolls, but a fourth turns into a wolf and runs for the bushes. After a short chase they lose it between the trees. Aran calls down a few lightning bolts it the wolf’s direction, and after searching the undergrowth for a few minutes they find the beast’s charred corpse.

They don their armor, strap on their packs, and two of the surviving soldiers put Bran’s corpse on an improvised stretcher.

The group marches through the woods in the direction of whatever the werewolf was fleeing towards. Suddenly, the ground gives way and they can see down a thirty foot dive onto the flat area they ignored on their way up. A narrow path winds its way down between the rocks along the hillside.

The area below is sparsely grown, and contains half a dozen clay huts and lean-tos. A larger hut is set into the side of the cliff, with a huge figure standing guard outside it. It looks like an enormous humanoid made of orc, gnoll and ogre flesh, sewn together with strips of leather. It stands perfectly still, rain running down its snout and soaking its scattered patches of fur.

The group sneaks one at a time down the path, trying to hide from the creature. They position themselves in the bushes next to the huts, and the more keen eared of them hear snoring coming from inside.

Storm clouds gather above the hill as Aran calls lightning down on one of the huts. A loud yelp erupts from inside, and a huge frothing wolf leaps from the burning wreckage.

The flesh construct turns around and enters its hut. A few seconds later, a hawk flies out of the hut, with the construct stampeding after it.

Gnolls start running out of the huts and lean-tos, while the construct charges down the hillside. Cromweld burns the gnolls while the rest of the group waves their swords around, and Aran starts calling forth large bears from beneath the earth to join the battle.

The hawk circles the battlefield and lets out a cry, calling bolts of lightning down on the PCs. Aran answers in kind, and electricity crackles around the bird as it loses its balance mid flight.

Most of the gnolls are down when the construct crash into the PCs. Horst jumps up on a lean-to and looks the creature straight in the eyes, before almost breaking his hand in half against its jaws.

Cromweld suddenly remembers an interesting fact about golems, and hurls a fire evocation at it to slow it down. The golem’s movement becomes sluggish and uncoordinated, and Horst manage to avoid its blows well enough to stay alive.

The bears maul the remaining gnolls, while the group swarms the golem. Aran hurls his last lightning bolt at the hawk, which turns to flee. He takes the shape of an eagle and pursues it.

The hawk lands and takes the shape of a gnoll, running through the forest with Aran on its heels. All of a sudden Aran feels an uncontrollable anger build up inside him, and at the same time the gnoll turns around and snarls. Consumed with rage the gnoll leaps at him, but Aran batters its skull open with his staff.

Meanwhile, the group has almost made the golem fall apart. It very nearly rips Horst in half before Terjon can heal him. Burning from Cromwelds firebombs, its head dangling sideways and patches of skin hanging loose, the PCs can see a framework of stone and wood showing where the golems flesh has been ripped open. With a loud crack the golems granite spine breaks, and it crumples to a smoldering heap.

DMs note: Notice how elegantly my players circumvented the entire cavern, leading to my combat encounters being fought in reverse order. Please don’t accuse me of railroading again.

DM other note: That first wolf in the gnoll camp was actually a boss NPC, with barbarian levels and a flaming sword and everything. A good damage roll and a poor will save turned him into just another wolf before he could even get out of bed. Serves me right for letting the druid exploit the weather.

Restless dead

Session five.

The following days of the full moon, Beltan continues to try healing Ignace and Ragnar. Ragnar recovers on the second try, but Ignace’ disease persists, and he turns every night until the moon wanes. However, he achieves some control over his condition, and on the third night he manages to change back to human form before the moon goes down.

Terjon deposits Saeyir in his tent for interrogation. The fey’ri admits to actively working against the expedition’s success, and his attacks on sr. Harlock. Unfortunately, he escapes his bonds before any more information can be extracted. He calls down a patch of magical darkness, before he sheds his disguise, grows a huge pair of bat wings, and flies away into the distance with a cackling laughter. Terjon returns to his duties in silent rage.

A few days later, a line of caravans arrive in Deadgoblin. They are mainly reinforcements for the Purple Dragons, but are accompanied by a single mobile home, drawn by horses and steered by a young half elf. The soldiers dismount, and their leader acquaints himself with Gunnar, the old sergeant.

While they start reorganizing the forces, an old, tall elf exits the mobile home. He walks up to the nearest worker, asks for the camp leader, and marches straight into Sr. Harlock’s tent. Meanwhile the driver, Volatile Log, fasten the wagons wheels and releases the horses.

Log has no idea why his master wants to visit this hellhole, but he’s apprenticeship is his only alternative to professional pickpocketing, so he asks no questions. While the old fart might have dangerous research to do in the wilds, all Log has to do is look after his things while he’s gone.

A few of the camps inhabitants greet him curiously, Terjon and Cromweld among them. He presents himself as “Log, apprentice to Criil the conjurer”, but it sounds less impressive than he had hoped.

After exiting the war tent, Criil walks out of the camp and casts a spell. The workers stand in awe as he summons a phantom steed, which carries him west over the horizon.

The following days, the camp is quiet. The reinforcements let the soldiers stand guard 24 hours a day without exhausting themselves. Log makes himself comfortable in Criil’s home, and Horst and Ignace finally get their distillery going without being bothered by Terjon.

The priest is preoccupied with his Master. Sr. Harlock seems more and more devastated by his actions under the full moon. They decide to send a letter to the church in Suzail and have the high priest decide what to do. Edwin dictates his confession to Terjon, and Terjon also writes his own account of the events.

The answer arrives after four days. Sr. Harlock is relieved of his command and his title, and must return to Suzail to atone. Meanwhile, Terjon will take over his post until a replacement can be found.

Cromweld is still helping feeding the camp and mingling with the working folk. He hears some of the men talk of a ghost roaming the area. They say the site of the battle against the goblins is haunted. Some have seen strange lights in the middle of the night, others claim to have heard voices when they go to gather wood. Intrigued, Cromweld go down to check on the rumor, but finds nothing but a few scattered goblin bones.

He waits until nightfall, and goes to look for the ghost again. After a few minutes he comes face to face with a giant rat. It flees into a nest under a bush, but Cromweld runs after it and casts burning hands down the hole. He hears the rat thrash and squeal, and as he’s about to cast the spell again a ghastly figure rises from the ground. The ghostly creature looks like the one armed corpse of Bagnak, the goblin chief. It lets out a horrid moan, which sends Cromweld reeling back with shock. He runs panicked back to the camp.

He tells Terjon what has happened, and they go back to the rat’s nest to look around. The place is deserted, but after casting detect evil Terjon senses something down in the rat’s nest. They fetch a pair of shovels, and after chasing away the giant rat they find a small skull hidden under the ground. The skull is covered in dried blood and grime, and the priest can feel an aura of malice surrounding it.

Terjon holds the skull up above his head.

“Show yourself, Bagnak, or I’ll smash it against the ground!”

With a loud rasp the ghost rises from the ground. He starts moving towards them, but Terjon interrupts him.

“What do you want?”

“My arm.”

After a short argument Cromweld concedes and goes to pick up the goblins arm. They lay it on the ground in front of him.

“Now, will you leave the camp alone?”

“No. Give me the rest.”

“We burned and scattered your remains. If you want us to go chase ashes on the wind, forget it.”

The ghost growls and casts a spell. Lightning shoots from the sky and hits Cromweld square in the head. Terjon yells for reinforcements while trying to hold the ghost back with his magic. The rat creeps out from its hiding place towards Cromwelds lifeless body.

Sounds of lightning from the clear sky draw the attention of the rest of the group. Log, Ignace and Horst come running in time to see the rat rip Cromwelds throat open, while Terjons spiritual weapon chases Bagnaks ghost into the earth.

The group carries Cromweld back to the camp. Terjon holds a small ceremony, and they bury his body in a small plot north of the town after Log loots the sorcerer’s tobacco.

To prevent the Bagnak from rising again, Terjon decides to burn his skull in holy fire. They grind their silver coins to dust and spread it around the camps fireplace. Terjon casts consecrate, and they throw the goblins remains onto the coals. Desperate, the ghost summons a spirit into the fire, taking the form of an elemental. It snatches the skull and flees the camp, but the group catches up and destroys it.

Horst decides enough is enough, picks up the skull and covers it in his corrosive breath. As the bone melts and falls apart, Bagnaks ghost appears screaming above them. It casts produce flame and starts setting things on fire, but they batter it with spells until it fades away.

The last thing Cromweld can remember is his flesh boiling, while gurgling a prayer to Tymora.

An old woman walks unnoticed into the burial plot, and descends into his grave. She examines the corpse while muttering prayers to her vile goddess. Magical energies consume the carcass, and a new body starts forming.

Cromweld wakes up in the cold dark of his grave. He coughs and sputters, and starts clawing desperately at the dirt above him. After a few minutes he digs his way out from the ground while gasping for air.

His first impression is that everything seems bigger than it was. It takes a few moments for him to realize he has shrunk to the size of a child. He staggers back to his wagon, gathering frightened looks from the guards on watch, and creeps horrified into his bed.

Terjon is awoken by a pale faced guard.

“Sir, I think you should see this.”

He leads the priest up to Cromwelds caravan and knocks on the door. Cromweld yells for them to leave him alone, and starts sobbing uncontrollably.

“It’s just me. Please open the door.”

The door slides open. Terjon urges the guard to leave, enters, and finds the sorcerer curled up on his bed. He sits up, and it becomes apparent how tiny he suddenly is. Somehow, during the night he has been remade as a halfling. Terjon tries to console him, but has no idea what to say, and soon Cromweld starts wailing again. He leaves him to his misfortune and goes back to bed.

DMs note: For those who didn’t get it, the ghost had druid levels and the rat was its animal companion. He tried to make it gather his remains together, but trying to make a rat find a certain set of bones in a corpse strewn wilderness can be frustrating.

DMs second note: Cromwelds reincarnation was a result of his player whining. It was a moment of weakness, but I plan to make the most of it.

Full Moon

Session four.

On the eigth day, Saeyir spends all morning bolstering sr. Harlock’s confidence by charming him and complementing his exeptional leadership skills.

They gather in the war tent with Terjon to interrogate Bagnak, the goblin chief. It does not go well. Bagnak spits in their faces, refuses to answer questions and rants long and hard about how the tribe will return ten times stronger and slaughter them all. He then turns into a snake, but Terjon manages to pin him down so Saeyir can cut him in half.

Saeyir then strolls out to the middle of the camp and holds a grand speech about the success of the expedition, and how they must surely be invincible now that they’ve defeated two whole tribes of savages.

Cromweld makes a sign saying “Deadgoblin”, and nails it to a post in the middle of the camp. He then loudly proclaims this as the settlements new name. Terjon takes the sign down after a few minutes, pointing out that Cromweld has no authority to name anything.

Meanwhile, people have begun dragging goblin corpses and piling them a few hundred feet south of the camp. They set the pile on fire, and mount Bagnaks head on a pole next to it. Cromweld finds Bagnaks severed arm, smuggles it inside the camp to his housewagon, and lays it on salt to preserve it.

Horst, who is standing guard, spots a group of goblins beyond the pyre, and alerts the other guards immediately. They stand there for a while, but makes no move toward the camp, so the guards decide not to pursue them.

A few hours later, twenty goblins come marching from the south, giving the corpse pyre a wide berth. The guards begin lining up shots, but before anyone has a chance to attack, the goblins stop and throw their weapons to the ground.

Horst, Saeyir and Terjon ride out to meet them. The leader seems to be the robed goblin who escaped the night before. He tells them he tried to make the tribe surrender after their defeat, but only these twenty followed him. The rest went south to join Worscha, a wyvern revered as a god by the tribe.

The PC decide to let the goblins take up residence in the former orc tribe’s village, if they do some manual labour for the camp first.

Terjon starts surveying the damage from the battle the previous night. Most of the camp is intact, but he finds that the camps food supply has been severely damaged by the fires, and will now only last until winter. He arranges a meeting to discuss what to do, and they decide to send a few riders out to the Purple Dragon garrison to send a message to Arabel about their situation, and then to One Horse to procure more supplies.

The ninth day, Terjon and Saeyir start riding out to the nearby settlements to procure more supplies. On the way they are assailed by a trio of massive werewolves. They outride two of them, but the third manages to keep up and fells Terjons horse. They quickly kill the beast, but not before it bites Terjon and infects him with lychanthropy. He heals his mount, and they ride on before the two wolves can catch up.

They reach the garrison, and tries to recruit more soldiers for the camp. Unfortunately, the garrison has no soldiers to spare, so they put in a request for reinforcements in their letter to Arabel. Terjon asks if the garrison force include any competent healers. He’s not so lucky, but finds out that there lives a powerful priest in One Horse.

They arrive in One Horse the next morning. It’s a tiny village east of the Storm Horns, surrounded by a dozen farms. The Villagers seem eager to help them, and organize a town meeting to coordinate their support, despite Saeyirs attempts to make them give up everything non-essential right away.

Frustrated and tired from riding all night, Saeyir bullies a family of farmers to lend him a spare bed. Terjon asks around about the priest. He’s told his name is Beltan, and he lives in a cottage two hours south of the village proper. The town meet is to occur in the evening, so he has time to talk to the priest first.

The priests cottage sits below the foot of a small hill. Terjon knocks on the door, and is greeted by an old man with a long beard, wearing the holy symbol of Chauntea around his neck.

‘I need help. I was told you were the best doctor in the area.’

‘Of course, come in. Would you like some tea?’

The cottage is full of potted plants and dried herbs, and smells of incense. Beltan pours some strong smelling liquid into a cup, and hands it to Terjon. As he takes a sip, the fumes from the brew makes him lightheaded, and he feels a prickling in his toes and fingertips.

‘Quite a pungent brew. What is it?’

‘A concoction of my own design, thank you. Now, who are you and what do you want?’

‘My name is Terjon. I’m from the expedition camp in the Stonelands, here to buy supplies from One Horse. We were riding east towards the mountain pass the we were assailed by werewolves. One of them bit me, and I’m afraid I picked up their disease.’

Beltan looks troubled. ‘Werewolves? When are you going back to the camp?’

‘Next morning, if all goes well.’

‘Go back to One Horse. I’ll meet you there in the morning and accompany you back.’


‘Listen up lad. There is nothing I can do for you right now, and I’m not leaving you alone when the full moon rises. But, I refuse to risk a werewolf running free in the village, so well ride back together. Now I’d prefer it if you left, I have a lot to pack.’

Meanwhile, the goblins get interned in a few spare tents north of the camp. They are set to work clearing the surrounding areas of stone and bring it back to be used in masonry, as well as gather clay from the brook to make mortar.

The guards keep the goblins separate from the rest of the camp, to avoid unneccesary conflict. Still, they suffer a lot of harassment from Cromweld, Saeyir and many other members of the expedition. On the other hand, Horst starts feeling closer to them than to the tall folk of Cormyr, and befriends the goblin leader and his subjects.

Bereft of an advisor to lean on, sr. Harlock spends his days on guard duty. Cromweld helps the carpenters, cooks the meals and teaches Comma to butcher animals. He also spends the time getting to know sr. Harlock better, which helps to raise the paladins spirit. Horst spends most of his days in the forest, claiming to be hunting. In reality, he use his time looking for his mysterious love, the dryad. He finds nothing, and grows more melancholic as the days go by. What little game he brings back, he shares with the goblins.

After four days, Terjon and Saeyir returns with Beltan and two wagons loaded to the brim with flour, grain and vegetables.

Beltan spends the following days helping Alexandra in the infirmary and practicing or discussing alchemy with Cromweld.

Cromweld suggests to sr Harlock that they hold a feast for the camp on the full moon, to celebrate the expeditions initial success and raise morale. The paladin loves the idea, and announces it immediately to the workers. Cromweld starts preparing for the feast immediately, and gets some workers to help him, making decorations and organizing some entertainement.

While searching the woods for his dryad, Horst happends to come across the former orc village again. To his surprise, the trees have allready begun to grow back, and now cover about a third of the area. He return to tell his friends about it, and Beltan tells them that the most likely cause is a druid spell called plant growth. It would seem that some resident of the forest is taking it’s chance to reclaim the area before it gets repopulated.

Day twelve, the PC’s decide it’s time to learn more about the surrounding wilderness. They send Ignace to scout the area west of the Orc Woods. He does not return that night, or on the next day. On the fourteenth day, they decide to send someone to look for him, two elves named Silsyir and Follous. The elves return carrying Ignace between them, bloody and mangled by wolf bites, but still alive. Now Beltan have two patients to treat during the full moon, and the PC’s have a place to start looking for the werewolves.

The goblins finish gathering the materials needed to build a lookout tower, and get the permission to leave for the forest. They do so immediately, eager to get away from the humans as fast as possible.

Saeyir follows them a little later. He finds his way to the now overgrown orc village, and finds the goblins huddled between the trees, trying to build primitive shelters. He requests to speak with the leader.

The goblin leader is meditating by a small pond in a clearing.

‘Can’t this wait? I’m busy.’

‘I need to talk to you about the defense of our camp.’

The goblin stands up, and turns to face Saeyir. ‘Very well, what do you need?’

‘If we come under attack, I’m going to send you a messenger. When I do, I need all your men to go to our camp immediately, and help defent it. If you need weapons, we have enough in our supply sheds. The guards are notified to let you in. Can you tell them that?’

‘I’m sorry, but my “men” are mostly peasants and kids. We can’t do much against anything that could endanger your camp.’

‘Perhaps you didn’t hear me that well. If we come under attack, your men are to go into our camp and grab weapons, then start fighting whatever is attacking us. Otherwise, you better hope we can’t defend the camp ourselves. Understood?’

(Successful intimidate check)

‘All right, I’ll tell them. Just don’t expect much, okay?’

On the fifteenth day, the day before the first night of the full moon, most of the camp is getting ready for the feast. The workers get a half day free to prepare and relax, with Cromweld leading the effort. Meanwhile, Beltan prepares the spell to treat Terjon and Ignace of lychanthrophy. Terjon asks Horst and sr. Harlock to join Beltan in the proceedings, knowing full well that he’ll turn into a savage wolf if the spell fails.

When the feast is about to start, Saeyir takes a large amount of food with him out to the forest. When he’s asked what for, he says he want to feed the goblins. Cromweld grudgingly lets him go.

The moment he steps out of sight from the camp, he throws it away. He marches straight into the goblin camp, and demands to speak to the leader again. When the leader arrives, Saeyir draws his glaive and tries to chop him down.

The goblin takes a few steps back, casts obscuring mist, and shouts something to his followers in their language. They start running through the mist in different directions. Saeyir lets his disguise fall, and reveals his true form as he takes flight after the leader.

Saeyir is much faster than the goblins, but his wings are too broad to fly below the treetops, and they vanish in the undergrowth before he gains the height he needs to follow them. He swears, and starts flying back to the camp.

On the way he sees a humanoid figure in a clearing, by a small pond. He turns to fly towards it, but it spots him and flees before he can see what it is.

Night approaches. As the camp lights up with fires and people start dancing and singing, Beltan, Terjon, Horst, Ignace and sr. Harlock gather and start walking towards the edge of the forest. Saeyir, just coming back from his botched assassination attempt, sees them and follow, as does Cromweld.

Saeyir stops sr. Harlock. ‘I need to talk to you. It’s urgent.’

‘It’ll have to wait, I’m wery busy.’

‘It won’t take long, I promise. It’s important.’

‘This is more important, now leave us alone!’

‘More important than one of our own being a werewolf?’

The paladin stops for a moment. ‘So you know, huh? Accompany us if you must, but stay out of the way.’

‘I’m talking about Ragnar, the soldier. He was bitten, remember, by the wolf that followed us from the orc village?’

‘By the hidden name, why didn’t you bring this up sooner? Terjon, get Ragnar! He can’t be left in the camp!’

In the edge of the woods, they chain Ragnar, Terjon and Ignace each to a tree, and start waiting. After a few minutes, the moon becomes visible over the treetops, and the three start to writhe in agony, tearing at their bonds. Beltan casts remove curse at Terjon, and he calms down as the spell purges the curse from him. He casts the spell again on Ignace, but it fails, and both Ignace and Ragnar scream as they start to change. Their clothes are ripped apart and their armor falls off as they transform into massive wolves.

Ignace is held in place by the chains, but Ragnar breaks loose and leap at Horst, trying to tear his throat out.

Saeyir turns to sr. Harlock and grins. ‘Do you see what you have done? You knew exactly what I was, and still you let me run rampant through your expedition. Everything that has gone right or wrong has been because of me, pulling your strings. I thought you holy warriors were supposed to have integrity, and not depend on your squire telling you what to do at every turn.’

Sr. Harlock turns red, and overcome with anger and shame he draws his sword and smites Saeyir. At that moment, Terjon feels the paladins aura of courage fade.*

Meanwhile, Horst swaps blows with Ragnar the werewolf, and Beltan unlocks Terjons manacles before he retreats back to the camp. Cromweld tries to join the melee, but Saeyir has drawn his glaive, and keeps him away with the blade.

Two werewolves, in a form halfway between wolf and orc, comes to Ragnars aid from between the trees. One of them swings at Saeyir with a crude blade, and he turns to face it instead of Cromweld. The werewolves are followed by a bald headed orc wearing robes made of hides and tree brances, who stays at a safe distance, half hidden by the vegetation.

The second orc-wolf and Ragnar gang up on Horst, but the little green one is much to handle, even for two lychanthropes. He gets help from sr. Harlock and Terjon, and they both soon lie bleeding on the ground even though the strange orc heals them. However, one of them manages to infect sr. Harlock with it’s disease before it is put down.

Saeyir takes some heavy hits from the remaining wolf, but repays them in kind. Cromweld casts burning hands, and they both fall to the ground burning.

The strange orc flees through the woods with Horst hot on his tail, but manages to escape.

With Saeyir battered, burned and unconcious, Cromweld readies a spell to finish him off. Terjon draws his sword.

‘No! He needs to be held and questioned, not killed!

The PC’s carry Ragnar and Saeyir to the infirmary, gathering puzzled and concerned looks from the rest of the camp. Saeyir gets bound before he is treated, but Beltan assures everyone they have nothing to fear from Ragnar that night. He is nearly dead, and won’t wake up before he turns back.

Horst and Beltan look after Ignace all night as he howls and thrashes against his chains. The others let the celebration continue, to drown out the noise of the shackled animal so they can get some sleep.

  • Trying to kill someone who pose no threat is an evil act. When a paladin performs an evil act, he loses all special abilities granted by the paladin class, and cannot regain them before he atones for his sins.

Session three

The next few days, the PC’s use their time to get the camp up and running. They send some hunters out find food and scout the terrain, set some workers to chop down trees and start building houses. Cromweld helps the carpenters drag treetrunks until Teryon points out that he should use his time on something that might yield results, at which point he claims the position of cook. Horst starts gathering stones to build a monestary outside of the camp, but lacks the neccesary skills of masonry. All he manages is a stone ring, which he claims as his territory.

Sr. Harlock, heavily wouded from the battle, spends the next day in the newly opened infirmary, being treated by the doctor Alexandra. Saeyir sees his chance for a one on one with the paladin, and manages to get the doctor to leave them alone for a while. He then casts charm person, making sr. Harlock eager to hear everything he has to say, and spends the better part of an hour explaining how everything that has gone wrong with the expedition is his fault, and his alone. After Saeyir leaves, Edwin is a sobbing, remorseful mess.

Cromweld sets up a kitchen in his portable home, and hires a young boy named Comma to be his assistant cook. During the first collective camp dinner, Horst notice that Commas vest would fit him great. Ge tries to buy the childs clothes for liquor, but chooses his words less than wisely.

Frightened by the reptilian trying to talk him out of his clothes, Comma runs for his life back to his parents, with Horst on his heels. Cromweld runs after them, swatting Horst on his head with his spatula, and in return Horst beats him senseless. Commas frightened parents give Horst one of their sons vests, and he throws them five pieces of silver. Teryon heals Cromweld, gives Horst an earful, and goes back to his meal shaking his head.

On the fifth day, the hunter Ignace comes back with news. He has spotted a group of goblins, who told him to shove off back over the mountains. Sr. Edwin calls for another meeting in the War Tent, and the group decides to send out a scouts to find the goblins camp.

Horst is setting up his makeshift distillery when Teryon and Ignace step into his stone ring. ‘We need you on a scouting mission. Goblins have been spotted to the south’. Teryon is displeased to find the halfling making spirits on his free time, and throws out the ingredients.

Horst agrees to go with Ignace to scout for goblins. ‘You should be a little more discreet around the priest’ the hunter says. ‘If you need a safer production locale, you could use my tent.’

They deduce that the goblin camp must lie near a source of water, and start sneaking along the brook that runs past their own encampment. They turn out to be right, and after a few hours, they find a large mass of tents and fires, with forty-fifty goblins running back and forth. Ignace realizes that the size and number of the tents is disproportionate to the number of goblins in camp, meaning that many of them must be out hunting, gathering or patrolling. They return to camp unseen, after Horst relieves himself in the goblins water supply.

The group gathers in the War Tent to discuss how to deal with the goblin tribe. They have allready destroyed one local civilization, and some suggest that pointing this out to the goblins might make them leave the camp alone. They decide to send their most impressive looking warriors, armor clad, mounted on warhorses and bearing throphies of the earlier battle, to try and threaten the goblins into submission.

Saeyir, Horst and one of the soldiers take a trip back to the wreckage of the orc village, to collect heads from their fallen enemies. On the way, Horst notice someone spying on them through the bushes, and goes off track to find the perpetrator. A small figure, barely bigger than him, retreats back through the forest, but Horst manages to follow it until it stops to hide behind a tree.

Horst circles around the tree, and catches the creature off guard. It looks like a young elf girl, with wooden skin, hair made of leaves and eyes like chestnuts. He falls in love instantly.

The others catch up a few seconds later, and Saeyir tells the soldier to catch her for interrogation. They chase her through the undergrowth until Saeyir pins her down.

The creature don’t speak common very well, and they can’t get much sense out of her. ‘Tie her up, were taking her back to camp.’ Frightened, the creature wriggles itself loose and vanishes into a tree. It leaves behind it’s weapon, a finely crafted bow that seems to have grown rather than being cut into shape.

They return to camp with huge bundles of rotting orc heads, and tell the rest of the group what has transpired. Teryon enlightens them. ‘You just met a dryad. They are fey creatures bound to the trees. If you had succeeded in taking her out of the forest, she would likely have withered and died before we had a chance to interrogate her.’

The group straps on their armor, mounts the finest horses in camp, and set out to scare the marrow from the goblins bones. Sr. Harlock remains with the civilians to guard them, just in case.

They reach the goblin camp, a large cluster of clay huts and skin tents, surrounded by a wall of boulders. The envoy is greeted by ten goblins poking spears at them. An old, white haired goblin approaches, wearing robes and holding a staff riddled with carvings.

Teryon tries to open with a diplomatic statement. ‘Greetings from Cormyr. We come to inform you of our plans to settle the nothern part of the Stonelands, and wish to negotiate a truce with your tribe. Might I ask your name?’

‘Bagnak’ the chief grunts. ‘You are tresspassers here. Crawl back to your cities and well let you live, tall folk.’

‘I was hoping for a little more cooperation. We have allready defeaten one of the tribes of this land, and we can do it again.’

Saeyir throws a bundle of orc heads on the ground before him. ‘We have slaughtered the orcs in the northern woods, every man woman and child. We want you to keep your tribe far away from our terrirories, unless you want the same to happend to you!’

The chief looks unimpressed. ‘We would have butchered the orcs, had you not beat us to it, and we can just as easily deal with your little settlement.’

Saeyir uses charm person on Bagnak, but the spell fails.

‘And don’t you dare trying those kind of tricks on me!’ The chief looks to his men, and says in the language of goblins: ‘On my signal, kill them all.’

Lucky for the PC’s, both Cromweld and Teryon can understand goblin. Cromweld looks at Saeyir with wide eyes and nods his head backwards.

Saeyir uses suggestion on Bagnak, and the spell succeedes. ‘Keep your men back!’

The goblins itch to charge. The chiefs knuckles whiten as he klutches the staff, but he gives no signal.

The envoy turns around and starts riding back. ‘I’m sorry it had to be like this!’ Teryon shouts back at the goblins. ‘You have made your intentions clear! This means war!’

‘See you in hell, you son of a sewer rat!’ Cromweld adds, before the goblins dissapear from sight.

After their momentous failure at intimidation, the camp prepares for attack. The wagons are placed in a circle around the tents, with barricades of wooden logs in between to provide cover for the archers. All the civilians are herded into the one house they have managed to erect, and the soldiers and militia place themselves in a semicircle on the south side of the camp, with a small group to guard on the north. Horst moves his stone ring into the camp.

Nothing happends until nightfall, and they light torches and place them around the perimeter. After many hours of watching, the guards can finally see a large group of humanoids aproaching from the south through the darkness. The goblins bear no light sources of any kind, and are only clearly visible when they enter the dim light from the torches.

A group of about thirty goblins march in the front, cackling and yelling. Behind them comes the chief, riding a massive worg and followed by an honor guard of axe wielding goblins covered in tribal markings.

The first group charges into a hail of arrows, while the elites spread out to the side. The chief dismounts, waves his staff back and forth and screams a few syllables in goblin, and a huge swarm of rats crawl out of the ground and start gnawing at the archers.

Saeyir and a few archers wrestle with rats while the rest desperately try to keep the goblin horde on the other side of the barricade.

On the north side of the camp, Cromweld and two soldiers stand guard when five rats, the size of big dogs, crawl over the barricade and start gnawing at their shins. They slash wildly at them, but they all get bitten before the rats are put down, and Cromwelds wounds gets badly infected.

While the goblin horde gets slaughtered, the chief starts throwing magical fire at the wagons. A particularly small goblin in cloth robes has remained at his side. He looks frightened when the footsoldiers starts to get massacred, and pleads with Bagnak to retreat. The chief smacks him on the side of the head and continiues throwing fire at the camp.

The worg, who seems to have snuck over the barricade on the west, charges the PC’s from the back together with four goblins. They start to froth as they throw themselves into a blind rage before they charge. Another group comes in from the east, meeting sr. Harlock and three purple dragons. The PC’s kill the worg and a few goblins, before another group sneaks up on them.

With the rats dead, Cromweld charge towards the barricade. The goblins in front of the barricade are all dead or fleeing, and the chief starts to look unsure of his chances. The PC’s hold their own, and sr. Harlock takes some heavy blows, but fells a few goblins of his own before climbing over the barricade towards the chief. Cromweld jumps after him. The small robed goblin casts a spell that summons a huge cloud of fog in front of the barricade, and vanish into it.

Sr. Harlock swing his sword towards Bagnak, and cuts off his arm at the shoulder. He screams, but manages to cast entangle, and roots shoot up from the ground and ensnare the soldiers, the paladin and about half the remaining goblins. Cromweld evades the hostile vegetation, rams the chief to the ground and start pounding his head into the grass.

After a while the goblins all lie bleeding, and the chief is unconcious. Saeyir and Horst walk among the fallen and execute everyone still breathing, while Teryon administers healing to everyone who needs it and size up their losses. Four Purple Dragons and two of the militia are dead, and some of the wagons are burning lively. They organize a bucket chain and get the fires put out, and start to carry goblin bodies out of the way.

Cromweld ties up the chief and hangs him from a tall pole, before Teryon talks sense into him. By now, everyone is dead tired, and the whole camp goes to sleep except for a small guard force.

Note: The players repeated failures at diplomacy and intimidation were all decided though rolling of the dice, and may be the biggest blunder i have seen in my brief carreer as a DM.

Note number two: Once again, the goblins were a mix between warriors, rogues and barbarians of different levels led by two druids, instead of the usual lvl.1 warrior from MM.

Note number three: Yes, a lot of the interaction between the PC’s give me headaches. Some of it is just priceless, though.

The Siege

Session two

The next day, sr. Harlock calls the others into his chamber, what will later be dubbed the War Tent.

They start the meeting by interrogating the orc. According to him, the orc village is situated a bit north of the clearing where they were ambushed. The tribe is about 30 strong, and misogynistic as orcs are, thats not counting women. The tribe is led by a chief named Kurgrek, who helps them survive in the harsh environment in return for complete obedience. The orc says he hates Kurgrek just as much as he hates the PC’s, and apparently, his rule over the tribe is fairly new. It also becomes apparent that Kurgrek is a worshiper of Malar, the lord of the hunt, which marks him as an enemy of civilization.

Saeyir tries to use detect thoughts on the orc to fin out if he is withholding any information. Unfortuantely, Teryon notices the spell, and starts casting detect magic to find out what the elf is doing. Saeyir leaves the tent without a word, and Teryon follows. Well outside of the tent, Saeyir casts charm person on Teryon to make him stop. It works, but not before the priest has discerned the transmutive aura of his alternate form ability.

Saeyir now has a to answer a difficult question, albeit to a charmed inquirer. He tells the priest some bogus story about how his clan has a tradition of casting transmutations on thier newborn to make them prettier. They then go back to the War Tent to a confused sr. Harlock, who gets even more confused when Teryon is suddenly in favour of all Saeyirs ideas.

They discuss plans of action for a while, and explore the possibiliy of createing a throat-cutting device for difficult hostages. After some tugging and coercing by Saeyir, sr. Harlock decides to ‘kill them all’.

Saeyir and Teryon start organizing a militia, finding people to fire every bow and crossbow in camp. They also bring half of the Purple Dragons, leaving the rest to guard the civilians. Cromweld start mixing lamp oil, vegetable oil and tar to make the most unpleasant combustibles possible. Horst talks Ragnar, one of the soldiers, into selling him some booze.

The little green one scouts ahead while the rest of the force marches slowly throught the forest. Including the hostage leading the way, they are sixteen men strong.

Two hours into the woods they see smoke rising from the north. The hostage confirms it as the fires rising from the orc village, and the PC’s execute him.

Horst leads the group carefully through the undergrowth, to the edge of a large open field. In the middle, the orcs have raised a pallisade of wooden logs, with four lookout towers and a large gate. The militia places themselves on a broad line along the edge of the clearing, start distributing buckets of Cromwelds Combustible Cocktail and stick torches into the ground.

The first volley of burning arrows take down the lookouts and ignite a few tents and a little bit of wall. Cromweld lights a bottle of CCC and manages to hit the pallisades gate with it, leaving the orcs only exit a roaring fire.

They keep shooting and throwing bottles of nasty, and Horst gives up his booze to make improvised molotovs of his own. Soon the orcs home turn into an oven, cooking them alive. When Cromweld runs out of things to throw, he breaks rank and start running towards the pallisade, to the sound of the groups roaring protests.

He gets ready to cast burning hands, but hears a loud growl from within the gate, as from some giant animal. A few orcs throw themselves out through the burning gate, and get hit by Cromwelds spell and a volley of arrows. A second group leaps out through the fire, but this time, some of them survive the volley and charge Crom. While they get to work on him, a third group rockets out from the inferno an joins in.

Soon, Cromweld once again lies in a mangled heap on the ground. The good paladin isn’t about to have someone die on his watch, and break rank to save him. It becomes apparent to the players that the situation is becoming very dangerous.

As sr. Harlock wades into the orc masses in a desperate attempt to save Cromweld, a thought hits Saeyir. This kind of leadership will get them killed. He draws an arrow, pretends to aim at the orcs and shoots sr. Harlock straight in the back.

The orcs shout and yell as they charge towards the group. The PC’s and the Purple Dragons draw their blades, while the militia pulls back into the woods to avoid getting slaughtered.

Fortunately, the orcs have been thinned out enough with arrows to allow the PC’s to gut them without too much trouble. A few of the soldiers are knocked unconcious while the PC’s cut off heads and break bones, until all of the orcs lie dead.

Teryon heals sr. Harlock, who in turn get Cromweld on his feet. The rest of the group make stretchers for the fallen Purple Dragons, and they start the trip back to camp.

After only a few minutes, the war party is assailed by a giant wolf. It seems to have been following them from the site of the battle, and makes the same loud growls as Cromweld heard from within the gate. The wolf bites huge chunks out of sr. Harlock and Ragnar (the Purple Dragon), before being put down. After receiving the coup de grace, the wolf corpse turns into a big muscular orc corpse.

‘Looks like the chief decided to show himself after all’ says Saeyir (i think).

Tired of orcs, and exhausted of combat, the group manages to get home without being harassed any further.

That night, before going to bed, Saeyir is greeted by a raven in his tent, bearing a small rolled up piece of parchment. It leaves as soon as he unties the message from its foot.

‘Make sr. Harlock fall from grace before the next full moon, and you will be rid of him forever.’

Note: The full moon will rise on the fifteenth day of the expedition, giving Saeyir just under two weeks to complete his quest.

Note number two: While trying to kill sr. Harlock, Saeyir actually saved him by shooting him in the back. The arrow wasn’t enough to bring him down to -10 hit points, but a power attack from one of the orcs certainly would have been.

Note number three: Saeyir started the campaing as chaotic neutral. When he tried to kill the paladin, I immediately changed his alignement to chaotic evil.

Note number four: Instead of the normal orc stats from MM, I use a healthy mix of orc warriors, rangers and barbarians, most on lvl 1.


First session:

In Arabel, the second largest city in the kingdom of Cormyr, the regent is holding an arms tournament on the day of the Shieldmeet. The winner is to lead the crowns men on an expedition to reclaim the Stonelands, a region of Cormyr that has become home to tribes of orcs and goblins that fled after being defeated in the war. The Purple Dragons, Cormyrs military, is organizing a group of volunteers accompanied by a small armed force, to be led by whoever wins the tournament. If the expedition is successful in establishing a foothold in the Stonelands, the territories will be given to the settlers themselves, under the rulership of the expedition leader.

The characters all arrive in Arabel for the big day, some to fight, some to volunteer, and some just to enjoy the spectacle.

Saeyir Veluthriel has traveled all the way from Evereska to participate, hoping to help claim the region and worm his way into some land grants.

Teryon arrives with his master, sr. Edwin Harlock, a paladin hoping to lead the expedition to further the cause of his god. Teryon acts as sr. Harlock’s cohort and advisor, and is basically the simple paladins substitute for a brain.

Cromweld Hardtwerk has hoped to open a business in Arabel, but his life is made difficult by criminals, and the city is looking less and less like a viable place to settle down.

Horst Tappert has traveled from the Western Heartlands to seek his fortune, most often finding it in the bottom of a bottle. His newest idea is to join the expedition to erect a monestary in the wilds, as far away from the huzzlebuzzle of the city as possible.

Saeyir and sr. Harlock have both signed up for the tournament, while Cromweld buys tickets to watch. Horst gets drunk and tricks money from some lowlifes at the local bar.

At the first round of the tournament, the warriors fight side by side with training swords, to eliminate the hopeful and desperate without unneccesary killing them. Renowned warriors are not subjected to this kind of scrutiny, but since Saeyir comes all the way from Evereska, he has to cross wooden blades with amateurs before the real contest begins. Luckily, he knows his way around a weapon, and plows throught the competition with ease.

Further rounds are fought with whatever equipment the warriors need. The only exception is magic, which is forbidden to minimalize casualties. Saeyir chops downs a few opponents, before he meets his match, a sleek looking dual wielding human. When the human is about to win, Saeyir tries to cheat using a suggestion spell. Unfortunately, a pair of wizards are overseeing the tournament, and penetrates his clever ruse. So does Cromweld, but Saeyir gets discualified with or without him shouting that ‘the elf bitch cheated!’

Meanwhile, sr. Harlock goes undefeated throught he whole thing, and is hailed as the next great Carmyrean champion to be. Good times are had by the clergy of the Red Knight.

Cromweld strolls back to the local watering hole for a quiet dring, but hears from the bartender that Kru, a half orc loan shark, is looking for him. Given Kru’s gruesome reputation, he decides to skip town. He sees a notice looking for volunteers for the expedition into the Stonelands, and applies.

After he arrived in Arabel, Cromwelds horse died from thirst, leaving his portable home noticably less portable. To be able to move without leaving all of his belongings and his dog behind, he decides to buy a new one. Unfortunately, he cannot afford this, so he settles for a bull, and gets a goat throuwn into the deal for good measure.

The characters all congregate at the headquarters of the Purple Dragons the next morning. In addition to each other, they meet a raggedy band of hunters, farmers, builders and mercenaries, all eager to serve their country and build a new life in the winderness.

The group is granted six wagons full of food and supplies, and enough horses to drag the whole mess past Castle Crag, over the Storm Horns, through Tilverton and finally into the Stonelands. They also get accompanied by a dissapointing force of ten Purple Dragons.

And so, thirty four people, twenty two horses, six wagons, one portable home, a bull, a dog and a goat start crawling north, toward an untamed land, a new beginning, and for most of them, the worst years of their lives.

After two days, the caravan train reaches a small mining village called Whitedeep. The players decide to try and recruit some of the villagers to their expedition, and start talking to the community. They also send five soldiers ahead of the caravans to recruit people from One Horse, a town further north, a little off their route.

They manage to start some serious civil unrest in Whitedeep by taking about a fifth of their tiny community with them to certain death, and the soldiers return with a family elves from One Horse.

When they reach Tilverton, they are stopped at a Purple Dragon garrison on the outskirts of town. Apparently, a magical mishap has unleashed a plague on the town, and the whole are has been quarantened, cutting off the expeditions first choice of supply line. The caravans are led safely around the quarantene zone and through the mountain pass leading into the Stonelands, where the garrison forces leave them.

They make camp on the other side of the pass, near a brook flowing out of a small forest. After setting up tents and starting a large fire in the middle of the camp, sr. Harlock oraganizes a group to scout the forest for threats. The group consists of himself and, of couse, the PC’s.

They stroll around the woods for a few hours before being predictably assailed by orcs, bearing wooden spears and animal skins. After putting the orcs to sleep, they follow their tracks deeper into the forest, and see another duo of orcs. They fill the first orc with arrows and set it on fire (along with the undergrowth), but the second one flees into a clearing. Eager to do his part, Cromweld draws his sword and charges. He is immediately hit by the javelins of six waiting orcs, and falls in the grass like a rotten plum.

Teryon casts bless, and gets ready to heal stuff.

Horst sneaks between the bushes to ambush the ambushers.

Sr. Harlock draws his sword, while Saeyir holds the enemy back with his glaive.

After a few rounds of whupping and a well placed acid breath from Horst, all the orcs are defeated. One of them is still alive, and they bandage it up and takes it hostage. They get Cromweld back on his feet, and go back to camp to lick their wounds and plan thier next move.

Note: The party did not start at lvl 1, and some of the javelins aimed at Cromweld missed. Had either of these not been the case, Victor would have had to make a new character for session two.

Note number two: Sr Edwin Harlock started out as sort of a safety net for the characters, but degenerated into a punching bag pretty quickly. He is too dumb to make good tactical decisions on his own, but they do occationally respect his authority as expedition leader, and this has a tendency to lead to disaster. It’s nice to have someone to blame, I guess.


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