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The Stolen Lands


Background

Nowhere is the Rostlandic spirit more alive than in the Free City of Restov. The city owes its allegiance to the Brevic crown, and Lord Mayor Ioseph Sellemius must bend his knee before the Dragonscale Throne like any lord, but otherwise Restov belongs to no house, making it a haven for the lost glories of the Aldori swordlords and those who look back to the old days before the coming of the Conqueror.

Restov is a city of both refinement and rough-and-tumble manners, as only a colony can be in fondly recalling and imitating its motherland. The gentry of Restov consider themselves sophisticates, although a Taldan visitor would consider their ways quaint, and touched with no small amount of northern barbarism. The city is a bustling trade center along the border. Restov’s relative wealth supports no small number of idle and titled lordlings and merchants’ sons. They frequent the various Aldori and Taldan dueling schools, as well as the alehouses, and fight each other in street corner challenges at dawn and dusk. The schools, salons, and taprooms of Restov are also hotbeds of rebellious talk against the reign of King Noleski Surtova, with young firebrands in search of a leader to rally them to the cause.

Spurred to action in part by an increase in aggression among the bandits and barbarians of the Stolen Lands and by the building political tensions to the north, the Wwordlords of Restov have sent out a call for agents to explore and settle the Stolen Lands. The establishment of four new puppet kingdoms, all beholden to Restov’s swordlords and the rest of Rostland, would not only bring freedom from banditry and raids along Rostland’s southern border, but also the resources and clout needed to make a play for a higher station in Brevoy’s complicated political scene. If all goes well, the just return of the Stolen Lands to Brevic control could well give Rostland the footing it needs to challenge the Surtova hold on the crown!

Exploration Charter

Be it so known that the bearer of this charter has been charged by the Swordlords of Restov, acting upon the greater good and authority vested within them by the office of the Regent of the Dragonscale Throne, has granted the right of exploration and travel within the wilderness region known as the Greenbelt. Exploration should be limited to an area no further than thirty-six miles east and west and sixty miles south of Oleg’s Trading Post. The carrier of this charter should also strive against banditry and other unlawful behavior to be encountered. The punishment for unrepentant banditry remains, as always, execution by sword or rope.

So witnessed on this 24th day of Calistril, under watchful eye of the Lordship of Restov and authority granted by Lord Noleski Surtova, current Regent of the Dragonscale Throne.

From the journal of Dindenion master magician Ford perfect We need some intelligence about life inside the fort before we strike. So we could set out to ambush a group or we could try and parley with a group, though this latter course seems more risky. So we decide on an ambush at the ford with bear traps hidden underwater. After 3 days a group of 6 bandits approach from the North on foot, we move to a hidden position behind the brow of a hill and wait for them to cross. Two cries go up as two folks step into a bear trap. We charge in on horses and it is soon over. We have one prisoner. After considerable brow beating of the prisoner he opens up about the fort and the stag lord. Apparently there are only a handful of core people in the fort – about 7 or 8 including the stag lord and his lieutenants: Ox, Akiros and Doven. He tells us the current password – we hope. Fort perfect After much debating we decide on the direct approach, riding up to the gate and give the password, and say Ronolph sent us. The gates open and four guards stand in front of us to question us. Tristan of the silver tongue talks to the sergeant and persuades him that we are new bandits for the cause. He believes us! We are directed to stable our horses. Then we wander round unaccompanied and check out the layout and inhabitants. There is one bandit in each of the three watch towers and four sat at a table in the common room. So there are probably at least 11 bandits in total in the fort. Also off the common room is a cage containing an Owlbear – the stag lord’s pet. The bandits are Falgrim Sneag (from the wanted poster in Oleg’s), another is fat Norry, a shifty guy Jex, and Topper Red. We wait until they are chatting and then they are color sprayed and coup-de-gras’d! All without the alarm being raised! We immediately head off to get the Stag Lord. Turning the corner the stag lords door is guarded by the man we think was described as Akiros. He shouts out as Denion moves in and Glitterdusts the area blinding him (and hopefully the hidden stag lord). Tristan charges in followed by Baldwin who lands a mighty blow killing him outright and the stag lord is then engaged. From the room we just left we hear the sound of bars being raised. The owlbear is being released. Denion greases the entrance to the room and a bandit falls on his ass charging in. This gives Denion the chance to find cover. After a long fight the stag lord almost escapes before being dropped by a flaming sphere and a magic missile. The owlbear is held up for ages scrabbling on the ground in the grease which gives us chance to finish off two other of the stag lords lieutenants and the third one legs it. Only then does the owlbear find its legs, stand up and lay into us. Too late as we concentrate on it and goes down quickly. Victory! One lieutenant ran away and the three watch guards have also ran away. But the fort is secure. On surveying our new base we find lots of stuff. On returning as conquering heroes we are given a new charter to rule the lands we have explored as our kingdom. The kingdom of Stoland is founded with Deepwater as our capital city built on the site of the stag lord’s fort.

I answered the call for adventurers to help tame the stolen lands. I find myself before the mayor and his entourage with the strangest bunch of misfits that you couldn’t imagine. The story of my life really. We each read and accept the charter which gives us freedom of passage in the greenbelt and authorises us to deal with banditry with extreme prejudice. We are being offered no equipment up front though we can keep what we find.

The group consists of:

After finding out what we can about the area we join up with a caravan to Oleg’s Trading post – offering our protection in exchange for food and transport. Our journey is largely uneventful and we arrive at the old fort that is Oleg’s trading post. Oleg stays here with his wife only. His wife Svetlana is a stunning beauty from Varisia and only half Oleg’s age. She greets us all with a hug and a kiss on the cheek, seemingly hugging Edwin a little bit longer. We note Oleg watching closely.

She asks us if we came to help with bandits. We acknowledge and she and Oleg explain the situation. They are periodically robbed by bandits on the first sunrise of the month. They are helpless to resist, though fortunately this is the off-season so there isn’t that much to steal. We plan our defence for the following morning.

We take our positions as the gates open and wait. We don’t have to wait long as the bandits swagger through the gates and approach Oleg. We spring our trap and surprise the bandits to limited effect though my Grease spell deals with the front line. Though Edwin goes down to a well placed blow almost immediately.

Then Denion steps in and drops two with a Color Spray. Am I doing this all by myself? Ah, one of the bandits has run away. With three down the fight quickly turns our way and two more are dropped. The leader surrenders and asks for quarter. Unfortunately this happens just as Raenari runs after the fleeing bandit and Ancillion jumps on a bareback horse and rides him down. So the bandit leader is left with Edwin and Malachi. When he fails to talk he is led up to the wall, a rope tied around his neck and he is thrown off the wall without talking. Our first unrepentant bandit.

Oleg wants to hang all of the bandits from the wall and we concur. A standing reward of 400gold is available for six bandits. Oleg says he will send word to Restov and our reward will follow.

Svetlana comes out, runs over to Edwin and gives him a big hug, and then does the same to each of us in turn. Oleg thanks us and tells us that we can stay here free of charge indefinitely. He tells us that when we track down the rest of the bandits that if we recover Svetlana’s wedding ring he will give us 1000 gold of trading post credit. He also gives us 3 potions which are immediately split according to role.

Our plan is to track the bandits back to their base while the trail is fresh so we set off immediately. Tracking is slow work and after a few hours we have travelled only a few miles but we come to signs of their partially hidden campsite. Proceeding on, the grass is starting to get longer and we can see a forest in the distance. The bandits track of pressed down grass through the long grass is easy to follow and heads towards the forest. We press on until we reach the edge of the forest in late afternoon.

The majority of us set up camp while the others cautiously follow the tracks a short way into the forest. They return a short while later and we set watches for the night. During the night we hear the baying of wolves but nothing comes close to the camp.

Next day we continue to follow the trail which is skirting the woods. After five hours of tracking we lose the trail. So we then have to hunt around for hours eventually picking up the trail again. After a days tracking we set up camp again and cook more forest animals. Wolves are again heard in the night, closer this time.

Another day tracking. This is getting tedious. Ancillion draws an arrow and aims into the brush. Two boars emerge look at us startled. Ooh look, dinner has come to us! Another camp another uneventful night, not even the baying of wolves.

The forest here is made up of many young trees forming a complete canopy. Possibly a forest fire ten to twenty years ago? The trail is only faint now so tracking is time consuming with lots of backtracking. After lunch we come to a clearing at the side of a stream. There is a pallisaded section of the clearing. An alarm cry goes up as the guard spots us as we spot him.


From the journal of Edwin Fitz Allen

We have found the bandit camp. There is a tied up half elf on the ground. A fight breaks out. Raenari stumbles out of the woods and fails to stab his opponent. Edwin cuts the monks bonds. The monk charges the leader punching her in the face. Raenari is injured on the ground. Ancillion slays the first of the bandits. Malachi casts a fear spell and an axe wielding bandit flees. Edwin goes down to a sword blow. Ancillion cuts the bandit leaders’ head off with his great sword. Ancillion is cut down. The monk does a flurry of blows and knocks out his opponent. Ancillion expires on the ground. Malachi chases after the bandit cleric and slays him. He is charged by the barbarian. Malachi the coward runs off leaving the monk to face the barbarian alone. Edwin expires on the ground. Stuff is looted.

When they get back to Oleg’s cabin they find two guards outside the gates wearing tabards with the insignia of Restov. There are four tents. There are two more guards with a leader. Sir Tristan a scarred warrior says he wants to join the charter. He is joined by a ranger called Baldwin who used to work on his father’s land. They are late because they were busy wenching. Svetlana is sad to hear of the death of Edwin and Ancillion.

They have found some greenish herbal liquor with a note saying it’s for the Stag Lord. Oleg mentions a hermit that makes potions not far away to the south east. The guards from Restov are here to protect the outpost. Kestin Garris their leader is sat nursing an ale. He is told about the bandits that have been killed. He has heard of a bandit leader called the Stag Lord who has been rallying the local bandits. He is looking for a guy called Falgrim Sneeg. He was a mercenary that served with them but robbed them. He is keen to get his hands on him. He is going to be staying here indefinitely. He seems to be morose and moody.

We decide to explore the area near Olegs outpost. It’s rolling plain. We spot an old abandoned cottage. It has started to rain. The cottage roof has a hole in it. There is some rubble on the floor. We spot a trapdoor under the bed. There is a strange rune on the trapdoor and some rusted lock stopping anything getting out. There is a faint odour of magic coming from the rune. We attach a rope to a horse and it pulls the chains away. Inside is a skeleton warrior. Raenari is disrupting the undead creature. Sir Tristan smashes the skeleton to pieces with his warhammer. We find a magical ring.

On the third day we find an intact cottage with smoke rising out of chimney. An old man appears. We converse with him. Bokken the hermit has some potions. He is able to make some more. We ask him to make some more healing potions. He needs some ingredients. He wants fangberries. They are a fair way to the SW. He tells us that the East Cellon river is the major trade route through the kingdom. There are reports of a unicorn living in the marches. There is a haunted broken bridge. The bandits who wear stag amulets may follow a demonlord.

We see a thick white layer of what looks like bird droppings. As we head south we see some herds. We come across an area littered with the skeletons. There may be some large spiders around. In the middle of the area of skeletons is a trap door spider. We hunt some rabbits and hang them around Frampton hoping to set off the spider. We shoot at the spider. Frampton kills it.


From the journal of Dindenion, Master Magician

Continuing our mounted exploration of the greenbelt, the path leads to an arrow shaped clearing. There are moon radishes growing here, three baskets sit on the ground filled with them. As we enter the clearing several kobolds stagger up from the grass grabbing their spears, apparently gorged on moon radishes.

Dindenion shouts out in Draconic “Hail, well met kobolds, we come in peace.” Then dismounts and walks forward. The response is “leave now, or die”.

Malachi advances and tries to intimidate the leader with open threats. The kobolds look at each other nervously. Dindenion tells them it can end one of two ways, with them dead or as our allies. Their spears come back up. Malachi continues to intimidate and converse with the kobolds for several minutes. In the end they agree to us meeting their chief here in a week’s time. Our plan is to buy many trinkets at Oleg’s to woo their chief.

Returning to Oleg’s the post is guarded as expected. The bodies have been removed from the walls to be replaced by heads on sticks, some way from the walls. A man approaches us and introduces himself as Jed a cleric of Erastil. He asks us if we have come across a ruined temple on our journeys. Apparently he had a dream. If we find it he would like to know. He offers us his divine services for free if we find it and help him rededicate it.

We retire to the bunk rooms to sleep. Oriel notices an odd panel above his bunk. Opening it he finds a bottle and a letter. The letter is dated 40 years ago from Bartholomew Aldemon addressed to Jonathan Trentavoy. “If you are reading this I am dead. Let Ophelia in Restov know that I love her and to name the first born after my father Eudorus”. There is also a little map with an X on it. The bottle has a ring in it. Asking around yields no information.

Next day, having ordered horses, trinkets, food and drink, we set out to explore some more of the greenbelt. As we only have four horses, Dindenion has to walk along with Raenari, such ignomy.

While scouting ahead Raenari cries out - a bear trap snapped around his leg. The fighters rush forward to prise it off. Searching around we find another trap nearby. They are not marked with any warnings for humans to see – which though not illegal is seriously anti-social. We decide to take the traps with us. After more investigation Raenari discovers another bear trap – the hard way – and collapses unconscious. Another trap added to the collection. Later we find one with a stick and collect that one too. No more are found that day.

Next day we come to a small lake blocked by a beaver damn. A beaver lodge is visible 20ft out in the lake. The trail goes through the lake. We decide to skirt around it rather than disturb the damn for now. Continuing on we explore lots and lots of forest.

In the morning Sir Tristan’s picks up his sword and the sound of an alarm bell goes off. Denion shouts out “Good morning Fey” in Elven and Sylvan. No reply. So after checking around and finding nothing we move off. Later that morning Sir Tristan falls off his horse, his saddle undone. Faint giggling heard from above. Later water pours over his head and his sword turns pink. At supper that night food flies off Baldwin’s plate and hits Oriel. Dim giggling again is heard.

Night passes uneventfully though Sir Tristan’s horse Fairfax is now painted as a black and white cow. It is washed off in a nearby stream. Irritated we head straight back to Oleg’s to get ready for the Kobold meeting. Loading up our kart with all the trinkets, food and drink.

The Kobold lair

Three kobolds meet us “Natpick take you to see chief Sutscale!”. We agree though. Baldwin barters for a moon radish and eats it. Following them for three days through hills finally coming to the kobold lair alongside a large river. Along the way I overhear them talking about Tartuk with a hint of fear in their voices and a statue. On questioning them about it they explain Tartuk is a shaman.

A faded sign “oak top silver mine” lies at the side of a dark entrance. A small blue creature is sobbing in a wooden cage nearby. Leaving our horses outside Natpick leads us into the lair. We are led through very narrow tunnels to chief Sutscales chamber.

“Greetings lord Sutscale we bring tribute and offerings and seek an alliance.”

He replies “You help us, we help you”. “We are at war with the Mites, they have stolen our holy statue, if it is not returned we are cursed.” He introduces us to Tartuk and describes the statue to us and tells us the Mite lair is under an old sycamore.

Malachi tries to interrogate the captive Mite, but finds that he doesn’t share a common language – in fact none of us do – he speaks undercommon.

The Miteys are fallen

We prepare and set off for the old sycamore. A dark narrow pit that is a tangle of roots descends into the darkness ten feet below. Malachi goes first and finds himself between two Mites as Sir Tristan drops into the room and joins combat. We all pile in as the mites are felled and pushed back. Very narrow passageways lead off and we find ourselves fighting on multiple fronts in very narrow passageways –hindered and only one person can fight at once on each front

Raenari, Tristan and Dindenion approach some sort of nursery room is encountered with giant centipedes being tended by a Mite. The mite runs off while the centipedes attack, which prove difficult to despatch due to the confined space.

Malachi, Baldwin and Oriel set off in the other direction along a very long and narrow passageway until they come to a room with a screaming kobold tied up and laying on the ground - several mites torturing it with daggers. Three limp kobolds hang from the wall. They pile in and soon dispatch them all. Negotiating a narrow chasm they carry on and find a large room with a mounted mite and several other mites.


From the Journal Of Baldwin

Oriel the monk bravely charges into the final cave. Denion colour sprays the mites. Raenari foolishly rushes into the cave. He is bitten by a huge spider and falls to the ground. Frampton is summoned and smites a mite. Malachi and Baldwin attack the tick. Malachi is bitten by the tick. Baldwin chops the ticks head off with his greatsword. Denion causes the Mite leader to drop his trident. Oriel finishes him off.

In the centre of the room is a map. On top is the statue we were looking for. Within a sack is some treasure. Malachi finds another monster to fight. It looks like a giant centipede. Raenari (speedy gonzalis) runs around the cavern to flank the creature. The monk jumps over the pit. Ser Tristan points out the weak point. Malachi is bitten by the centipede. Oriel swings on the rope bridge and kicks out at the creature. Baldwin steps up. Oriel aims a kick at the centipedes head and finishes it off.

After some exploring we head back to the Kobold Lair. We hand over the statue to Chief Sutscale. Surprisingly he smashes the statue. He cheers and says that he has freed us from the curse. The kobolds are stunned by this action. Sutscale shouts help me to kill the Usurper. We charge in to fight the shaman. All of a sudden there appear to be six of him. We whittle down the images. Raenari chops the kobold shaman in two. We lift up Chief Sutscale on our shoulders. We find some bracers of protection, a wand of magic missiles and the wedding ring, a journal. We discuss an alliance.

The treaty with the Kobolds is a non aggression treaty. They will not attack humanoids. We agree to help each other in times of need. They also have access to Olegs Trading Cabin. They can have the mites lair if they wish.

As we are exploring the hills we see rabbits with horns in their heads. They are known as blink bunnies. We cowardly run away. Later on we find a ruined bridge. A sign post says Nettle’s Crossing ring for service. Ser Tristan rings the bell. Nettles walks on the water. He looks undead. He speaks in an eerie voice. He says “You are not my enemies throw the head of the Stag Lord into the river or face me.” The River is called The Shrike and Davik is the name of the undead creature. Naturally we run away.

We find an overturned boat in a lush area by the river. There is a goat with some residual magic on it. Malachi talks to the goat. It talks back. It is Jasper de Conroy. He says that he came to fish and found a fey creature. Enraged she turned him into a goat. He hasn’t seen the fay woman recently. He comes from Brevoy. We take the goat with us.

From a map with an X on it we find a tree. It’s a dead old oak tree. The trunk is hollow and there is a stone. We remove it and dig down. We find a rotten old leather satchel. There is a cloak, a silver ring a spellbook and a dagger. Cloak of Elvenkind magical dagger, Baldwin takes the Elven Cloak. The spellbook contains five spells.

We find a crevasse with bones – human and bear. The cave walls are sparkling. Up on a ledge is a cave fisher. Denion greases the ground causing it to fall. Raenari slays it. We see a vein of gold. We disguise the entrance.

We head back to Olegs’ Cabin. We hand over Svetlanas ring to Oleg and tell him of our alliance with the Kobolds. Malachi tells the cleric and Oleg of the goat. The Cleric is unable to turn him back to a human.


From the Journal Of Baldwin

We arrive back at Oleg’s trading cabin and there are no guards on the gates. We hear the sound of raised voices. There is a gypsy caravan. Svetlana has gypsy origins. There are heated words in a language we don’t know. There is a face off between the guards and the gypsies. There is a fellow loudly demanding his food. We get rid of the gypsies by intimidating them. We tell them that we will check Svetlana for charms and entrancements. We find none.

Baldwin remembers that Taxleworms are a primitive form of dragons. We meet Barandas who also has a charter. Malachi orders a silver mask. We tell the gypsies what we have found. They don’t believe us. We plan to go exploring and hope to find the hidden temple. Some fey play tricks on Ser Tristan.

We find a large clearing with what look like stone ruins. There is a ridge of rock. It has been carved in the likeness of an Elk. There is a pool of water with algae floating on it. We recognise this as a temple of Erathis. There is an aura of magic around the pool. Malachi loudly moves in. He seems to think he is being stealthy.

A bear roars and charges out. Ser Tristan charges it and Baldwin looses an arrow which thuds into its chest. Dandelion shoots an acid dart at the bear. Ser Tristans horse, Fairfax, proves its worth. The bear rends the horse. The bear collapses and turns into an old man then turns into a skeletons and crumbles to dust. . At that moment the pool becomes clear and the temple seems to become brighter. Inside the cave is an alter.

Baldwin sees a chest down in the pool. He swims down to it. When he touches it he feels disoriented. He flails around in a panic. The wizard uses an unseen servant to grab the chest. The rest weight a rope which Baldwin eventually grabs and is helped up. He coughs and splutters for a while. Inside the chest on a velvet cushion is a single arrow. It is an undead slaying arrow.

Ahead of us a tree has fallen across the path and we spot some fungi. Dandelion thinks it’s a slime mould which is a kind of mould. For a change we decide to attack. Denion is engulfed by the mould. Ser Tristan does the killing blow.

We tell the cleric the good news. We escort him back to the temple and reconsecrate it. We find some abandoned buildings next to a river. We hear a roar. We see some creatures. One is a toad and another is a fanged toad. It cries out truce. They have a lair by the river.

We hear some barking from down a pit. Denion looks down the pit at the animal and falls in when the earth collapses underneath him. Malachi also falls in. Barandas keeps his feet. Later on we discover a fangberry thicket. We spot chew spider webs. Malachi heads in to gather some berries. He is covered in spiders. He runs out and Denion burns them. Denion sends in a dog which dies from thorn wounds. The next day we collect the fangberries.

In the forest we hear a roar and a dire boar charges out at us. Fairfax performs well again. He really is carrying Ser Tristan in more than one respect. Baldwin steps up and cleaves its head off.


From the Journal Of Baldwin

We head off – it’s a nice day.Find a bridge. Barandas crosses safely.He comes back and crosses again, this time with his horse and both fall off into the river. Baldwin spots some tracks heading south to north. The group move downriver and find a place where they can swim across the river, though Dandelion struggles. Raenari lassos him. We pick up the tracks. We ride ahead and head up a hill. Oriel focuses deeply and spots them in the distance.

We gallop towards them. They loose crossbow bolts. Ser Tristan charges in lance lowered. At the end of the fight Barandas is dead. The evil Malachi beheads him and mutilates the head. The leader of the troop had a stag amulet and a magical longsword. We decide to rest where we are. We head towards the hermit and buy up many healing potions.

We make our way back to Olegs. There is a dwarf there, Thorgrimm, bearing the Holy Symbol of Torag. He seems to be a god of the forge. He is approached by Ser Tristan. He seems to be a cleric and also has a charter - there is much preaching to be done! We head north to the village to hand in the boars head. We receive a masterwork bow as a reward. Robert of Hamlet (Bob) the porter is hired by Ser Tristan.

We go exploring and find a barrow. We foolishly give Bob a sword. We hack away at the brambles in front of the door. There are very faint runes on the door. We push the stone blocks aside. There is a narrow entrance. It’s dark and musty inside. A stone crashes down and Ser Tristan jumps out of the way, though he and Malachi are both trapped on the far side of a large granite block. Some skeletons animate in front of them. The rest of us run around the passageway, seeking for a way to join them. Raenari falls into a spiked pit. We find another secret door. Heading through we find another room. There is a Wight! By the altar is a magical morning star. We slay the Wight but find no way through to Ser Tristan and Malachi who remain trapped.


From the journal of Dindenion, Master Magician

Rescue of the block heads:

The Wight defeated we stand in silence as a sense of loss sweeps the party. Then we go back to the fallen block. It isn’t a perfect fit and we can hear the others though not see them. They live!

I go outside to check the top of the mound. As I exit the mound a kobold approaches and says “hello Denion” in Elven! Whoa. It is Izzy the kobold we saved from the Mites. She explains she has been following us and wants to be my apprentice! A kobold might be useful as they know caverns and traps, so I invite her to take a look at the block.

Izzy explains that the roof and walls is made up of large blocks of stone. The floor however is paved earth. So we start to search our packs for tools to help us lift flags and dig earth.

Just as we are getting ready to dig a cry comes out from behind the block. The skeletons have risen again and are attacking! However they are soon defeated.

Soon after Izzy casts some digging spells, lots of earth spreads out from the floor, the block falls into the hole and earth pours down from above. More digging spells and Malachi decides to stay behind to research the reanimating undead. Izzy asks to come with us and we agree. A kobold in the party. Female apparently – how do you tell with Kobolds?

The Izzy Supremacy:

Next day we set off south exploring once again. We spot a rusty weapon sticking out the ground. Exploring the area we find more rusty weapons and bone fragments. It appears to be an ancient battle site.

Another day.Another few miles. A crumbling stone hut is spotted in a hollow. Izzy goes to check and we all follow. Entering the hut a skeleton is nailed to a wall with heavy iron spikes. Izzy says the man was obviously tortured before he died. Written on the wall in blood is: “He failed me. He is Guironas now. I cannot afford delay my love I will travel south to the monastery in the hills. I hope you will join me soon.” Tristan smashes the skeleton as a precaution. We decide to spend the night here in the shelter of the hut.

Travelling east we enter a forest and come to some hot springs stinking of bad eggs. The springs seem to feed a large pool of water about 150 foot across. A river heads off southwards from the pool. Suddenly tongues lash out at us. Denion is dragged off his horse, ow, and pulled towards the pool. There are 3 giant frogs at the edge of the pool. A color spray, an attack from Tristan and a spell from Izzy and it is all over. Teamwork. However the lack of a healer in the party means wounds cannot be healed.

Moving on we find a patch of blood berries – hallucinogenic berries that are potentially addictive. We gather a few for later use.

Further on we find a 15ft tall statue overgrown with moss and stained. Denion cleans the statue off with a spell. It is of the god Erastil. We will tell the cleric Jod when we see him.

Lots of forest is explored until we come across a stagnant swampy pool in the middle of a clearing. A dead horse lies by the pool and insects swarm about but not near the dead horse. On approaching the dead horse is a unicorn with milky blind eyes! It’s horn has been removed. No marks are visible on its body and no signs of poisoning. Possibly killed by magic. A faint necromantic aura is discernible. Magic that leaves no marks and kills and repels insects is likely very powerful. That stinks of evil Fey. We edgily move away.

Later exploring the river we find a sandy ford and several islands in the river making a natural choke point. Branches and debris pile up against the islands and the bank. Two lizards are basking on one the large islands. Tatzlworms?!

One charges Tristan and breathes on him. The other grabs Denion and breathes on him. Izzy casts a grease spell on Denion that allows him to escape the grapple. Izzy then casts an acid cloud on the other worm and it goes down. Go Izzy. Tristan then finishes off the other lizard. One of the worms heads is damaged by acid but the other one is undamaged. So we chop its head off to take back with us.

We continue our exploration of our designated area and complete it all before returning to Oleg’s vie the temple of Erastil. The Tatzlworm head is cashed in with Oleg. Izzy buys a new outfit from Oleg and a riding lizard from his tribe.

The Bandit Base

Once again we head off into the wilderness this time looking explicitly for the bandits. Starting from the bandit camp we found previously we work south following tracks when we find them. Eventually we follow tracks and the river south until we come to a large lake in the hills. Overlooking the lake, on top of a hill, is a large fort with wooden palisade and stone towers. A single path leads up to it. Is it the stag lords fort?

That is going to be one tough nut to crack. We need a new plan. The old plan of “charge” hasn’t served too well so far.

Hiding up in the edge of the nearby forest we monitor movements in and out for a few days. Every 1 or 2 days a group goes out or comes in. Some mounted, some on foot. Mostly they head north. Our preliminary plan is to take out the groups individually to weaken the bandits and gather information.


From the journal of Dindenion, Master Magician

Ford perfect

We need some intelligence about life inside the fort before we strike. So we could set out to ambush a group or we could try and parley with a group, though this latter course seems more risky. So we decide on an ambush at the ford with bear traps hidden underwater.

After 3 days a group of 6 bandits approach from the North on foot, we move to a hidden position behind the brow of a hill and wait for them to cross. Two cries go up as two folks step into a bear trap. We charge in on horses and it is soon over. We have one prisoner.

After considerable brow beating of the prisoner he opens up about the fort and the stag lord. Apparently there are only a handful of core people in the fort – about 7 or 8 including the stag lord and his lieutenants: Ox, Akiros and Doven. He tells us the current password – we hope.

After much debating we decide on the direct approach, riding up to the gate and give the password, and say Ronolph sent us. The gates open and four guards stand in front of us to question us. Tristan of the silver tongue talks to the sergeant and persuades him that we are new bandits for the cause. He believes us! We are directed to stable our horses. Then we wander round unaccompanied and check out the layout and inhabitants.

There is one bandit in each of the three watch towers and four sat at a table in the common room. So there are probably at least 11 bandits in total in the fort. Also off the common room is a cage containing an Owlbear – the stag lord’s pet. The bandits are Falgrim Sneag (from the wanted poster in Oleg’s), another is fat Norry, a shifty guy Jex, and Topper Red. We wait until they are chatting and then they are color sprayed and coup-de-gras’d! All without the alarm being raised!

We immediately head off to get the Stag Lord. Turning the corner the stag lords door is guarded by the man we think was described as Akiros. He shouts out as Denion moves in and Glitterdusts the area blinding him (and hopefully the hidden stag lord). Tristan charges in followed by Baldwin who lands a mighty blow killing him outright and the stag lord is then engaged.

From the room we just left we hear the sound of bars being raised. The owlbear is being released. Denion greases the entrance to the room and a bandit falls on his ass charging in. This gives Denion the chance to find cover.

After a long fight the stag lord almost escapes before being dropped by a flaming sphere and a magic missile. The owlbear is held up for ages scrabbling on the ground in the grease which gives us chance to finish off two other of the stag lords lieutenants and the third one legs it. Only then does the owlbear find its legs, stand up and lay into us. Too late as we concentrate on it and goes down quickly. Victory!

One lieutenant ran away and the three watch guards have also ran away. But the fort is secure. On surveying our new base we find lots of stuff.

Foundation!

On returning as conquering heroes we are given a new charter to rule the lands we have explored as our kingdom. The Kingdom of Stoland is founded with Deepwater as our capital city built on the site of the Stag Lord’s fort.


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Last Updated: August 2010