Luthien Reaches

Beginnings
And lo the heroes did arrive at Fort Remote...

In this session we built characters, and then decided on and shared the identities and the background of the PCs.

The hyrkanian warrior Sonja and the half-orc explorer Brent arrived in Fort Remote together. Sonja is heading north in pursuit of servants of the Dark God, who she has been told may have special plans here. Brent is heading into the wilderness looking to discover the identities of his parents. The two met up a few towns down the road and agreed to travel together; their personalities and abilities make them complements to one another, so traveling was comfortable even as signs of civilization becomes sparser.

Arriving at Fort Remote, the two met Morwenna—a local guard and paladin, and a veteran of the civil war. She had heard rumors of Sonja’s coming, and had been assigned to watch the warrior and make sure she didn’t and undue trouble or harm. Morwenna disapproves of Sonja, particularly her manner of dress (or lack there of).

The group was joined by Greggg, a dragonman cleric. Gregg’s travels to see the world had taken him to to Fort Remote, where he found that he got along well with the Morwenna (who shares a similar outlook on the value of good and justice). Gregg was surprised to meet the newcomers, as he and Brent had actually known each other as children in the same orphanage back in Marik!

Finally, the group has hired Tryn, a wandering halfling thief. Sonja knew Tryn by reputation, having heard of the halfling during previous contacts with a thieves’ guild in Marik. While Tyrn is also a newcomer to Fort Remote, her knowledge and skills were such that the group agreed to pay her to help them out—for now.

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Hunting Orc
And the heroes did set forth in pursuit of those who harmed the innocent...

The PCs were summoned by Commander Alexander (the commander of Fort Remote), who asked them to in effect patrol the region surrounding the fort. The PCs were told a number of items of interest:

  1. Some other patrols had disappeared after going to investigate a mysterious light on top of a hill to the west of the fort.
  2. A number of villages surrounding the fort had been attacked by Orcs recently, in an area generally to the north-west.
  3. The Commander gave the PCs a map etched into a stone tablet. Dwarven runes (interpreted by Morwenna) identified the map as leading to somewhere called Cragpost, to the north of the fort.

Morwenna (backed by Sonja) decided that protecting the villagers should take first priority, and could lead to more information about Brent’s parents as well. Since Morwenna and Greggg had tended to and helped refugees from the raids, they were aim to get directions to a village that had been attacked a few days prior. The Orcs had ridden in on wolves in the middle of the night, attacking the villages. With these directions, the PCs set out.

Reaching the village, the PCs were able to track the Orcs’ movements (they had not been stealthy, dragging what seemed to be the body of a dead cow behind them). The PCs followed the tracks, with Sonja taking lead. Although a small group split off from dozen estimated in the band, the PCs stayed on course for the main group. Eventually the party came to a campsite where the Orcs had stayed for a few days (and the smaller group had rejoined, now dragging their own dead cow). Realizing that they were catching up, the PCs pushed on ahead into the night, hoping to catch the Orcs unaware.

Traveling through the forest at night, the PCs discovered an ambush the Orcs had laid for them at a small defile in the forest. The PCs attempted to turn the tables and sneak up behind the Orcs, but the monsters saw them coming and battle was joined. During this fight, an Ankheg leapt out of the ground to attack both PCs and Orcs alike, though Morwenna charged it and ran it through.

Although one Orc attempted to flee, Brent put a pair of arrows through its kneecaps. The PCs interrogated the Orc (in exchange for a quick death) to discover that the monsters were raiding human settlements for food, and that the tribe was located further to the north-west. Deciding that this is a matter for the Commander, the group headed back towards town. Brent stayed up through the night watching for the rest of the Orc raiding party, but the party was left undisturbed.

Arriving back at the fort, the PCs informed Commander Alexander about the Orcs. He was skeptical about bringing in more men to take out the tribe, but offered to pay the PCs 1000gp if they would “take care of the problem.” He also paid them 250gp for bringing back the information they did find.

The PCs decided they would head out to the Cragpost next, potentially hoping to discover more about why the Orcs were now beginning to raid the human villages (or something that might help them in defeating the Orcs).

XP: +150 for people with background (Sonja, Brent, Greggg, Morwenna); +230 for the party (battle)
Loot: +50gp each

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Exploring Cragpost
And the heroes ventured into ruins of the watchtower...

The PCs head north for Cragpost, following the map previously provided by Commander Alexander.

On the journey, they spy a trio of Orcish wolf-riders following the part. The party eventually reached a ridge-line at the base of the foothills, and hid behind some large boulders in order to set their own ambush. As the Orcs road up, Brent shot the wolf out from under one of them, sending the Orc crashing to the ground. Sonja charged into the midst of the other two, and although she was swarmed, managed to cut down two wolves and an Orc (apparently sharpening her blade helped). Tryn stayed hidden, dropping an Orc with throwing knives without him even seeing her. In short, the PCs handily dispatched the Orcs. Looking over the bodies, the party found that the Orcs were wearing bloodstained wolf-tooth necklaces, a sign of their clan.

The PCs continued on to Cragpost (a few days to the north). Arriving, they saw that Cragpost was a watchtower built into the side of the mountain—a pair of doors as its entrance. Heading inside, the PCs found the remains of a battle—a destroyed guardian construct and a pair of dead wolves. Apparently the construct had been destroyed by another trio of Orcs, who lost two of their mounts in the fight. Tryn and Sonja managed to pry a pair of large, light purple gem from the back of the construct, each engraved with a single dwarven rune.

Following the hallway into the tower, the PCs passed an open door to an abandoned mess hall filled with the skeletons of long-dead dwarves, as well as the bodies of two recently slain Orcs. The PCs investigated the bodies, and saw that the Orcs appeared to have been killed with the weapons held by the dwarven skeletons. When Brent picked up a heavy stone chair to try and smash one of the skeletons, the lot animated and attacked the party! In addition, two more dwarf zombies charged in from the doors opposite the mess hall. The PCs fought off the undead without too much trouble, and vowed to put any remaining dead to rest.

Across the hallway from the mess hall, the PCs found the barracks, and attached to the barracks the ancient armory. In particular, the armory contained empty display stands for a suit of plate mail, a large axe, and a sword. The mail and axe stands were labeled “Troll-bane”. The empty stands, plus an extra pair of beds (and the missing Orc) suggested that there were further undead in the tower.

Heading down the hallway and up the stairs to the watch area (about 150’ up), the PCs discovered the last orc—having climbed the stairs and bled out.

In the next room, the party found the last two undead dwarves looking out over the land: one dressed in heavy plate and armed with an axe, the other dressed in leather armor and carrying the sword. The PCs charged in to destroy the undead, causing the dwarves to turn and flank the entrance corridor. Morwenna smote and dazed one of the undead, keeping it pinned down and unable to effectively fight. Sonja critically hit the dwarf with a rage-fulled attack (a daily), severely wounding it.

Inside the room also was a corruption demon, who tried to assist the undead, though the party was able to generally resist its evil influence. Indeed, when the demon tried to incinerate the party with a fireball, it misses all of the PCs but critically burnt the remaining dwarf (the other having fallen), destroying it. Under the combined might of the PCs, the demon soon fell as well.

The PCs recovered the platemail, axe, and sword, all of which were made of fine dwarven steel. The greataxe was shiney really sharp, in surprisingly good condition, and its grip was wrapped in trollhide. Both the axe and the mail were engraved with runes reading “troll-bane”.

Having encountered the corruption demon, Sonja wonders if maybe the dwarves of the area had been corrupted by the Dark God she hunts—who is to say? It was suggested that the axe be presented as a gift to Commander Alexander, potentially in exchange for his help and future influence (i.e., “favor”)

XP: +150 for Sonja (adventure log, comments); +100 for Brent (comments)
+650 for the party (battles)
Loot: 2 large gems (dwarven runed)
troll-bane greataxe, troll-bane platemail (to Morwenna), dwarven steel sword (to Sonja)
(dwarven steel: increases enhancement bonus by +1; +d8 critical hits)

Action Items
For Robert:
- how much are gems worth?
- what do the axe, plate, and sword do?
- what do we see from the tower? (post a map?)
For Party:
- what to do with the axe?
- where to next?

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While Greggg Was Out
Greggg's adventure

Last week, as the rest of the party headed to Cragpost, defeated undead dwarves and recovered dwarven loot, Greggg got a bit sidetracked.

His adventure started a day before the rest of the party set forth. Excited about the upcoming journey, Greggg had planned to rest well on the nights leading up to their departure. As he attempted to drift off to sleep, something nagged at him, and he couldn’t quite pinpoint it. The nagging sensation ultimately led him to his rucksack beside his cot. He shuffled through it, looking for something (what, he wondered?), and his frustration ended in his angry dumping of the entire contents of the rucksack onto the floor.

What caught his attention was an envelope with a wax seal that he had not noticed before. With trembling dragon fingers, he reached down and opened it. He gaped at the handwriting that he recognized immediately; how could he have overlooked such a precious letter!? Where had it been hiding all this time?

The letter read: "Events and tragedies are unfolding quickly. If I suggest (or suggested) to you that you take refuge at Fort Remote, for any reason, please take heed of my advice in this letter. There is someone who means a great deal to me, who I think you should see.

“A town lies one day to the east of Fort Remote. If you manage to travel there, ask for ‘Byron.’

“That is all the information I can put into this letter without jeopardizing you or anyone else. I hope this letter finds you well and out of harm’s way.

Blessings and peace,
B."

Bernard: the priest captured in the war, and his former mentor. Greggg endured a fitful night of sleep, then set out two hours before sunrise, before any members of the party could wake and accost him. He gathered his belongings, replenished his water supply, and headed out. Going after an unnamed town would be difficult, but he would have to try his best. He journeyed due east for a day, and sure enough, spotted a small village on the horizon. (During his day of travel, he kept an eye out for orcs but luckily did not run into any of them.)

He took stock of the village and turned on the charm. This was always a bit of a stressful process for Greggg because, while he had the ability to converse easily with strangers, a part of him always dreaded it. He approached local after local with a smile and a beseeching attitude. No one had heard of a “Byron.” He couldn’t help but feel a little bit frustrated with Bernard’s evasiveness, as ridiculous and impractical as that frustration might have been.

He had just gone through every drinker at the local tavern — and had mostly been met with belligerence — and stepped outside when he practically tripped over an old, wizened man making his way slowly through the road. “Oh, I’m so terribly sorry,” Greggg mumbled, his scales blushing.

The old man regarded him silently for a moment. “Can I help, you, boy?” he said finally, and for some reason when he said it, it gave Greggg chills.

“I-I…” Usually Greggg was not put off his charismatic streaks so easily. He took a moment to breathe, then recovered himself. “I’m looking for a Byron. Do you know him?”

The man’s eyes sparkled. “Ah, but of course. Byron.”

Gregg wondered for a moment if this man were just pulling his leg. “Really?”

“Yes. I’m afraid he’s out of town, though. No one knows where he is when he goes out. But he will probably be back in the next few weeks.”

Greggg tried to hide his exasperation. “Probably?”

“Yes, boy. Come back this way in a few weeks, if you can. You can always wait for him, but it might be a while. Next time you’re back this way, just come back outside of the tavern. I’ll be around.” The man winked eerily at Greggg and shuffled off at a surprisingly fast pace.

Greggg almost followed him, but stopped short, his mind racing. He had a few options. He could stick around and continue to ask people about Byron, but at this point he was pretty sure he had questioned everyone within a 50-mile radius. (It was a small town. He still didn’t know the name of it.) Or, he could return to his party, who probably needed him, and then slip away in another few weeks, if he could. He had the suspicion that he would be better off returning to his new friends and to continue on their adventure, at least for a while. Bernard’s words could wait. Greggg would just have to be patient… and it might be a struggle, but he would give it his best shot.

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The Light on the Hill
And the heroes braved the flames before them...

Unfinished Business: Tryn stole the engraved gems and ran away (party intends to hunt her down… eventually).
The PCs gave the greataxe as a gift to Commander Alexander. He now owes them a favor.

The PCs returned to Fort Remote for a few days. Morwenna had her new armor resized, while Sonja inquired about the history of the local dwarves from the Wizard Kremlin (the Fort’s resident wizard and Lorekeeper). The dwarves seem to have disappeared about 100 years ago, and no one quite knows why. Kremlin does give Sonja a map of the area, and points out a few notably large dwarven ruins. The ruins should be added to the map

The PCs soon headed out to investigate the mysterious light on the hill that Alexander had told them about. As they approached, Brent looked through a spyglass he borrowed from the Commander: he could see that it looked like there was a fire on the hill, but no smoke.

That night, Greggg was taking watch and noticed a wolf stalking the PCs. The group was soon attacked by a small pack of wolves, but the PCs handily defeated them. (As one leapt at Sonja, she shoved a dagger into its side and body slammed it into the fire). The wolves seemed to be of the same species as those kept by the Orcs, but were wild. The PCs also skinned a few of the wolfs and gathered some bloody wolf pelts.

The next day the PCs reached the hill, following a winding path the the top (the light was still visible even during the day). There were tracks going up the path, including a set that were singed around the edges.

At the top of the hill was a caldera containing a grove of trees that appeared to be on fire, but was not being consumed. Heat radiated from the flames. The PCs circled the edge of the caldera, and found the incinerated corpses of Fort Remote soldiers (they appeared to have been fireballed), plus the tracks of something large with claws.

Greggg invoked the power of Bahamut and granted the PCs the ability to endure the flames, and they headed down to explore the grove. They found a cave in the middle of the trees leading down into the hill.

Moving through the tunnel of the cave, the PCs were attacked by a swarm of fire bats. The bats were agile and hard to hit, and managed to swing past and burn the heroes. As the PCs were fighting, small fire men grew out of the cracks in the ground, which exploded when struck with weapons. Nevertheless, the PCs managed to defeat their enemies.

Following the tunnel, the PCs reached a large room containing two pits of lava. At the edge of the pits were two humanoid figures encased in heavy armor and wielding spears. Behind them was a man in red robes with dark vinyl obsidian-like skin, and facial features made of fire (a magma man). And flying around the room was a young red dragon who taunted the PCs in a squeaky voice.

The PCs moved in to engage—Sonja skirted the edge of the room (leaping over the lava pits), while the magma man launched beams of fire. As Morwenna charged in to attack, the dragon moved to engage her, knocking her cold (ha!) with its claws. Greggg quickly revived the guard, who grounded the dragon. The fight continues, with Sonja skirmishing and eventually dropping the Magma man, while Greggg and Brent took down the armored warriors with their ranged attacks and Morwenna fought with the dragon. As the dragon (bloodied and beaten) moved to flee, Greggg blasted it with the holy energy of the Platinum Dragon, destroying it.

XP: +100 for Sonja, Brent, Greggg (adventure log & comments); +50 for Morwenna (background development)
+732 for the party (battles)

Unfinished items
Any loot from the fight (should we bring the dragon back to town for parts)? What happens to the flaming forest (can we sanctify the grove or anything)? What does Alexander say when we inform him about the fate of his guards (do we get rewarded for that too)?

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The Orc Problem, Part 1
And the heroes agreed to support patricide...

Unfinished Business: Loot: +125gp each (dragon parts); +25gp each (wolf pelts); Brent acquire a Wyrmspine Bow.
Wizard Kremlin suggested that the fiery trees were probably close to a portal to the Plane of Fire, and there was not much we could do about it.

After the PCs informed Commander Alexander that his troops had been flambed, he realized that the only help he could give them in taking care of the Orc problem was to send along the increasingly mysterious Wizard Kremlin.

With their new companion, the PCs headed towards the other side of the river, where the Orcs were located (to the north-east). The party planned to head straight into the Orc encampment, figure out what was going on, and basically tell the creatures to stay on their side of the river.

Traveling through the forest at the edge of the river early one morning, the PCs overheard the sound of battle. Investigating, they find two groups of Orcs fighting one another. On one side were members of the Bloodfang clan riding their customary wolves. On the other, a lone Orc warrior wearing metal armor and wielding a dwarven-steel blade. The armored Orc was managing to hold his own against 5 of the riders, demonstrating some skill.

When the armored Orc managed to knock one of his attackers off a wolf, Brent decided to pick off the now grounded creature. He released a pair of arrows—and then an exclamation “the odds look more even!” after the Orc fell down dead. This of course drew the attention of both sides. As such, the party charged in to take down the Bloodfangs… and did so with ease. Indeed, Brent stared down the last remaining (wounded) wolf, intending to begin taming it as a mount.

Also Wizard Kremlin is a spook.

The armored Orc introduced himself (in the Queen’s Common) as Korzagg, the son of the Bloodfang chief Korf’fang. Korzagg claimed that his father’s men tried to kill him and his followers in the night due to a disagreement, and he had been on the run since. This story sounded suspicious to the PCs, so Wizard Kremlin magicked the Orc, convincing him to share more details. Korzagg volunteered that his father had gone on an expedition to some ruins, and upon his return had been acting strangely—as if he had been affected by some madness. It was on Korf’fang’s orders that the Orcs began raiding the settlements around Fort Remote (and it was Korzagg’s disagreement with this foreign policy that let to his being attacked in the night). The party surmised that maybe Korf’fang has been possessed by a demon similar to that inhabiting the last set of dwarven ruins.

The PCs soon decided that they would support Korzagg, acting as an “attacking army” for him and enabling him to conquer his own tribe and dispose of his father. They snagged from bloodfang necklaces to help demonstrate their “allegiance” Healing the wounded wolf so it could act as a mount for Korzagg, the party set off towards the Orc encampment. The son-of-a-chief Korzagg helped them avoid patrols, and the PCs reached the camp without incident.

Blowing their warhorns, the PCs charged into the camp, but were met with no resistance until they arrived at the chief’s tent in the center of the camp. It looked like someone was going to get yurt. Issuing a challenge, the chief emerged from the tent, followed by the tribe’s shaman and a couple of guards.

Battle was joined. The shaman called out to Someonewhoinotgruumsh, but was quickly dispatched by Brent’s arrows. Korf’fang also was shown to be a bit of a bastard, as between Sonja’s manuevers and Wizard Kremlin’s spells, he repeatedly attacked his own followers. The fight was difficult, with Korf’fang able to withstand the PC’s combined attacked. Finally, Korzagg decapitated his father after Sonja dragged him into position and Brent put an arrow through his leg.

With the battle completed, Sonja told Korzagg to keep his word and stay on his side of the river. Meanwhile, Wizard Kremlin went to look at the head of the recently-possessed Korf’fang. As he explored the head with his magic, the wizard suddenly began screaming in fear a pain (before passing out like a chump). Everyone drew their weapons and…

Loot: gained bloodfang necklaces
Unfinished business Have not yet received XP for fights

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The Orc Problem, Part 2
And the heroes did thwart the undead chieftain, keeping him from getting ahead...

As Kremlin screamed, the decapitated body of Korf’fang stood back up. The severed head itself began speaking Villain, though what it said was not relevant apparently.

Sonja leapt forward and slashed at the head, trying to destroy it. Brent came up from behind and also stabbed at the head, then picked it up and tossed it into the fire pit. The body charged after Brent, but Sonja chased it down, dragged it back, and cut off one of its legs with a critical blow.

Meanwhile, mind-controlled orcs began shambling moseying sauntering in to try and defeat the party.

The head let out a scream and caused the fire pit to explode, then continued attacking the party with demonic mind-controlling magic before catching fire.

Brent eventually put an arrow through one of the head’s eyes, and the evil was dispersed.

Korzagg agreed to take the Orcs away from Fort Remote and not attack the humans anymore. Searching through Korf’fang’s possessions, the PCs find a crudely drawn map that points to the ruins where the Orc was potentially possessed. With that all settled, the PCs returned to the Fort for their reward from Commander Alexander.

XP: everyone advances to level 5.
Loot: +250gp each (reward from Alexander).

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