The Western Borderlands

A Strange Man with Strange Money

A merchant by the name of Basim Ghassan who is staying at the Keep approaches the party. “My friends, I have a lead on a profitable venture.” He hands over a pale gold coin. Strange patterns and glyphs you have never seen before adorn its surface – it is of a mint you have never encountered. “The last time I was here, this coin found its way into my coffers. I thought little of it and returned to my hometown in the east. There an alchemist friend of mine commented on its peculiar qualities. He says that this gold is a most interesting specimen, something he has never encountered. He wishes to acquire more of it, that he may investigate its properties. When I return to this keep, I ask many questions. The traders here, they say that they usually saw these coins when Barrington Village would come to purchase supplies. Perhaps they found a stash of coinage from the Devonian Empire? In any case, I hear the village is abandoned and travel there can be dangerous. I also hear that you are people of specific talents who may be interested in an opportunity to make coin. What say you?”

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Village of the Lost and Found
My 2 brushes with death...

A man came to us offering 3 for 2 base value of special gold coins with a different stamp of the realm, we left as soon as we could. We decided to take the forest route ( unanimous vote: screw the swamp) and walked much time to the abandoned village. On the way we had to avoid the two Dire Boars looking for food. I should also note as soon as possible we need horses, I hate walking. Through woods and over hills we walked and then turned south until we found the village, it was mostly in ruins. A few were sound enough- the church, the waynewright, the blacksmith, leatherworker, and a few residences.

The first signs of life were goblin cavalry. We killed a few wolves to draw them to us and then killed enough to route the rest. Instead of heading to the hills they instead climbed down into the well! We killed their wolves and kept the meat and pelts. We thought the best thing would be to scout the ruins before following the goblins to secure our escape if necessary. We met tough resistance in the church from a giant spider and an ettercap. We killed them both even though the impulsive warlock set them of from running in where stealth was needed. It was worth it as we found some of the desired coins plus others to fill our coffers. Plus we found a map and other materials.

Luckily when we found the Ettin it/he was able to be reasoned with by the Warlock. In trade for information and peace we gave it all the wolf meat. Once the ruins were secure we went down into the well, we were cautious this time and were able to use stealth. The battles we had with the goblins down there were ferocious. The barbarian almost died due to a dire wolf and regular wolves attacking us. He played dead to survive. We were able to capture 2 goblins later so we could find out what were behind two doors we found with goblin writing on them. They said danger: stay out.

We found out many goblins died in them. After sending in one to scout the room and then drilling a hole in the door to look, the warlock investigated further. The room turned out to be unsafe after the warlock busted open a glass case to get a ring. A nearby suit of armor animated and attacked. Moments later we were in retreat as the barbarian and others were greatly injured by the suit. A unanamous vote of “RETREAT” was called for. After we left it closed the door behind us.

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Progress - of a sort
In which our heroes make allies and encounter beasts from before history

491578.jpgSummary of last night’s adventure (until somebody writes it up in the blog): The players returned with bardic help and leveraged a battering ram and magic to exact their revenge against the helmed horror guarding some religious finery – which included a crown, scepter, suit of magic chain mail and a ring of warmth. Afterwards, they stumbled onto a goblin alchemist, who unleashed his horrible creation on the PCs – which promptly ate him. The party agreed to shut the door and walk away quietly to leave the ooze to digest its dinner in peace. After being ambushed by a particularly brave pack of goblins trying to keep them from raiding their nursery, the bard sweet-talked the goblins into an audience with their chief. After proper tribute and flattery (including the totally awesome crown and scepter), the goblin chief decided to let bygones be bygones, and shared what he knew of the previous residents of the under temple. The players agreed to defeat a horrible creature in a cavern to even out all the goblins they’ve killed, and the goblin will trade them his old coinage (the reason they came down here) for gold coins. After being led to a part of the temple goblins no longer approach, they dispatched two specters in what was taken to be a kinky sex room, but in fact turned out to be a ritual purification chamber. While poking around what looked to be a sacrifice chamber, a wounded black bear which had fallen into the dungeon limped upon the players. Despite having been placed into the adventure specifically for the ranger to befriend, they flubbed like six animal handling checks in a row and just pissed it off. In another remarkable show of cunning, they willingly uncovered the pit and woke up a gibbering mouther which put up a remarkably enduring battle despite being limited to babbling insanely – to be fair, the heroes joined in the insane babbling (against their will). From within it’s fleshy corpse, the bard retrieved a dagger +1 that would require a sanity check to wield in other game systems. While looting a pouch of coins from an adjoining torture chamber, the rogue was, unsurprisingly to all, attacked by a mimic which had disguised itself as a rack and started to try and tear him to pieces. Despite having the rogue completely ensnared within it’s rack-y form, it did zero damage to him and the DM made a note to purchase new dice shortly after it met its demise. They finally gathered the bravery to enter the dank natural cavern that housed the beast, and in a plan that clearly involved a minimum of thought, initiated the battle by sending the barbarian alone into a dank pool of water. A hideous Cthulhu-lobster emerged and chomped, clamped, poisoned, and strangled the poor half-orc until he fell to near death, and it then scurried with unearthly speed and literally ripped the bard in half. The Thing That Should Not Be™ snatched up the sacrificial dagger in its mouth and pulled it and the half-orc’s corpse back into the water with it as the party decided to retreat the 50 miles back to the keep and gather reinforcements and possibly bug spray.

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Journal entry #34 6/27/15
My adventures in in crazy town

So, we all rested and then back into the well we went. This time we took a battering ram with us to better deal with the armored magical guardian that almost killed Ash. Ahg carved a likness of a rhino into the front of the ram. (This guy is obsessed with rhinos. Seriously, its all he talks about. “I love rhinos, rhinos are powerful, I wish I had a pet rhino, I wish all of you were rhinos. Its getting a little creepy honestly… ) Ahg and the unusually strong, but eerily quite dragon ranger manned the ram and made short work of the armored guardian, with a little help from Ash and myself.

Its funny how much better things go when you plan and prep a little beforehand, right Ash?
Oh, Azelan, wielder of lutes, sang a little while we killed it.

Anyway, we managed to scavenge the magical items from the room after that: a ring, chain mail, a scepter and a crown. The group distributed the items evenly to “attune” them or whatever. Someone must have known a little bit about how the items work. Some details on why the attuning works was explained, but all I heard was “Blah, blah blah, the halfing doesn’t get any of the magic items”. Well, I did get the stupid looking crown after everyone else decided they didn’t want to wear it, but it didn’t fit me.
Another reason being “fun-sized”, as I heard an ogre call me once just before he tried to bounce my head off of some concrete, is a problem.

We wandered through the horrible temple/lair and came across a goblin alchemist’s lab. The goblin alchemist was in there, but only for a second. When we opened the door to the lab, the guy got so spooked that he unleashed this evil yellow blob in the hopes that it would attack and kill us.
It didn’t.
It ate him. Immediately.
We all just stood there for a few seconds, dumbfounded, while the alchemist was dissolved and devoured by the blob, after which I quietly closed the door and we all decided a different way would be best.

We bypassed the horrible acidic ooze of death and managed to successfully sneak further into the temple, or so we thought. Apparently the goblins had had a minor amount of success tracking our movements, and by minor amount I mean they had been completely aware of where we were and what we were doing. The entire time. I swear these people I’m running with now are going to get me killed.

Azelan, the King of singing, managed to talk to the goblins and convince them we meant them no harm, even though we had killed every goblin we had encountered up unto that point. Goblins are dumb.
We were allowed to have an audience with the goblin king, who turned out to be of high intelligence for his kind. Which meant he was average intelligence at best. Azelan, master of words, convinced the king and his followers that we were friendly, again, even though we had killed every goblin we had seen until then. He also managed to get the king to tell us about the temple and the coins we were looking for. He managed to win the king over by offering up the crown and scepter as an enhancement to his already regal stature. I’m glad Azelan, lexiconarian the great, was talking then and not me. I think I threw up a little in my mouth when he said that. Azelan, word assassin, then asked about the old coins we were looking for and it was at this point during the negotiations, Ash decided to speak.

Now, I’ve developed a reaction to Ash in the short time that I’ve known him. A reaction that has been cultivated from the repeatedly brash or hasty actions committed by someone with little to no patience and the solid knowledge that when said person does those things, or opens his mouth no matter the cause, it almost certainly makes things worse. Where Azelan, language smith, might assassinate with words, Ash simply assassinates words themselves.
So, as I said, Ash decided to speak and I involuntary winced. Before it was over Ash single-handedly negotiated exactly half of our expected profit away to this self proclaimed goblin king. I winced again and then set about quickly removing all of us from the audience chamber before he gave away the rest of it.

We were led to the “off limits” part of the temple where the creatures that were too powerful for goblins to defeat dwelled, you know like house cats and injured rabbits. We cleared a small room of two specters that seemed unusually attracted to Ash. What is it with that guy and getting into unreasonable amounts of trouble anyway?
At the other end of the specter’s room was this weird kinky religious room with ointments, whips and chains everywhere. OF COURSE, Ash was able to explain what everything was as well as explain his previous and current dealings with a succubus where they use most of those things. In detail.

On an even more random than normal note, we ran into a wounded black bear shortly after that. I’ve heard that normally rangers are pretty naturey, but ours just sort of stared at it for a while and then ran up to it really fast like he was going to poke it. This scared the bear and we just barely avoided having to fight the stupid thing before it wandered off.

The next room we came across after dealing with the bear was quite large with a boarded up pit in the center. I’m not entirely sure who moved the boards off of the pit initially, since I was busy checking the perimeter of the strange room for traps, but it was probably Ash…
As soon as the boards were moved this horribly unearthly jibbering screamed forth from within it. I immediately rummaged though my clothes and fished out a mass of wax which I used to plug my ears against the noise.
-Note: I need to clean out my pockets again. There was a big ball of lint on one part of the wax that went in my ear. Didn’t have time to pick it off. It was crunchier than lint;might have been a bug. Pretty sure its still in there since I didn’t see it when I took the wax out, whatever it was.
I tried to tell the others to plug their ears as well, but by then everyone seemed to have lost it and started attacking each other or running into the walls. Dispite the others being mostly insane, we were able to dispatch the blob of a creature at the bottom of the pit, after which Azelan, the yodeling spelunker, climbed down and retrieved some evil looking magic dagger that changed shape.

We checker out the next room which turned out to be an actual torture chamber, filled with devices I had never seen before. While looking at an interesting item, one of the devices sneaked over and quickly grabbed to strap me into its mechanisms.
I had heard about this type of thing before from a relative. My grandfather Caden Finder had once been grabbed and carried off by a portcullis only to narrowly avoid death at its hands when he was rescued by his friends.
Since I was aware of what this thing was intending I was able to narrowly avoid any lasting injury from it and was actually break free of its grasp. Bless you Grandpa Finder.

After this last surprise we all decided to rest up. We were told that the creature we are looking for is in a large cavern and the last door in this hall leads to just such a cavern.

Azelan, the bardiest bard that ever barded, looks like he’s getting spells ready. He’s mumbling something about “putting it to sleep”, Ash is pacing back and forth making hand blasting moments each time he turns, Ahg is muttering about how useful a rhino would be and the dragon ranger, WHO I STILL HAVEN”T LEARNED THE NAME OF is sitting in the corner, not moving or speaking. Sometimes I wonder if he even breathes…

Looks like everyone is really prepared for the fight should be an easy one.


We were not prepared for that fight. It was a slaughter. Ahg took a few steps into the water and was immediately attacked by a huge pincered creature.
It was so fast.
Right after it bit Ahg he went limp and fell face first into the water. The monster then bit and clawed at his body a few more times before charging straight at Azelan the panicked, and myself.
I’m confident that I’m alive because I’m smaller. It had its choice of the two of us and chose him since he was made of more meat. I heard Azelan, the doomed, trying to get a few hurried words out, presumably the sleep spell he had prepared, when it picked him up above its tentacled head and in one fluid motion tore him in half.

I assume Ahg is dead, though I didn’t see what happened to his body.
We’re taking a short break here before updating the goblin king about his understated monster problem. Then we’re going to head back to the keep for more crab food, or fellow adventurers, what ever they call themselves.

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Ankhegs and lobsters and eyeballs oh my!
Upon making the journey back from the tunnels neath Barrington, I hesitantly entered the tavern. I needed to find answers as to what was plaguing the creatures in the area. The barkeep pointed to a table where a human was talking to one of my kinsman, saying that one o them had just returned from the village. As I approached, I noticed that the older one was no dwarf, but in fact a human and the human was a half elf. This place is confusing. Oh how I longed to get out o’ this place and feel the dirt beneath my feet again.. but I needed answers. After a short conversation with the men, I learned that Ash, the half elf, was part of an adventuring group that had recently run in to a bit of trouble in the tunnels beneath the village. Now, I’m not one fer pokin’ my nose into the business of adventurers, but it seems that it weren’t just the goblin tribe that they found down there. Ash and his small friend told me of a horrible creature that was clearly an aberration, and must be put down. While we were discussing this, Ahg a half orc and coincidentally enough the brother of one o the half elf’s deceased friends, piped up and offered to lend his blade to avenge his kin. Before long we were on our way back to the tunnels below the village, to lay low this abomination of a creature. On our way we happened on a mated pair of ankheg.. which normally would no be a problem.. but this damned ranger starts peppering the poor beasts with arrows before I can even try to see what was botherin’ em. Most likely we were too close to the nest, an they were protecting their young. But once you go an piss of a pair of ankheg, yer options are kill or be killed. We dropped the male without much problem, and I had jus ripped the forepincer off o’ the female when she ran for cover. Thankfully no one was foolish enough to pursue th’ damn thing. Poor girl went to nurse her wounds an her young no doubt. Ash tried to save a bit o’ the acid from the male.. but just wound up with a hole in his flask. I carefully cleaned out the carapace, I’ve heard they can be made into great suits of armor. The rest of our journey to the tunnels was without incident. Once below the village, we ran into a group of goblins that were tryin quite unsuccessfully to butcher a giant goat. So Ash gets the bright idea to shoot the damn thing in the face with a bit o’ magic…. that didno go so well for him. Bwahahahaha twas one o the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time, the size o’ his eyes as the goat rammed him at full speed. Knocked him right on his arse. Sure he got up and finished killin the thing… but it was definitely the highlight o’ the journey up to that point. After Ahg retrieved an organ from the goat, we headed to where this terrible creature was hiding. When we reached the area outside, we made our preparations. I used the power granted to me by th’ gods to harden my resolve, and to take the form of a brown bear. Ahg took the goat bits an attached em to Ash’s grappling hook. He then went about tyin’ off the rope and proceeded to go fishin fer aberrations. After a couple of passes, this clearly was not working, so he started to splash a bit with his pike at the edge o’ the water. That did the trick, and the ugly thing emerged ready fer a fight…and take the fight to it we did. With Ahg and I keepin the thing busy, Ash, Finder, an…. the dragon (I don’ think he ever told me his name) unloaded round after round of bolts, arrows, and magic into the damned things face. With a mighty roar I clamped down on the misshapen creatures throat and felt the life fade from it. After retrieving the remains and possessions of their unfortunate friends, we set back to see the Goblin king. He was most pleased to hear that the creature had been dealt with, and honored the bargain he had struck with Ash and Finder the week before. He traded them some strange coins for what we had found. When we returned to the keep, Ash immediately set out to find his employer, and we were all rewarded with a healthy sum of platinum pieces. I went to visit the armor smith, in hopes that he could do something with the hide of the unfortunate ankheg. In the tavern, Balek told us of a cave he had once been in that held more of the strange coins, and the misshapen idols that we had seen ‘neath Barrington. We agreed that after a few days o’ rest we would set out toward the swamp in hopes of finding the cave and ridding the lands of its corruption. It took several days of exploring the swampland, but we finally found what we believed to be Balek’s cave. Outside I found obvious sign that it was indeed being occupied, and inside Finder and the not so stealthy dragon-who-has-no-name found some strange humanoid creatures. It was odd, they appeared to have once been human, but now most definitely were not. We managed to take them out without incident. Well, Ash did learn the hard way not to read strange runes. Apparently this place is called New Barrington, and we were supposed to go away. Further into the cavern complex we went, with Finder the stealthy scouting ahead and periodically reporting back what he was seeing. During one o’ his reports he spoke about a foul creature that I had to see with my own eyes. In all of my travelling through these lands I have never seen its like. The creature was no more than a giant floating eye, with long stalks and smaller eyes on the ends. It’s mere existence was an insult against the natural world, and I had no choice but to end it. It possessed powerful magic, but my resolve was stronger. The thing managed to confuse poor Ahg, who started attacking…that one guy with the bow. Young Mr. Finder found himself running in fear, as halflings often do. I landed a mighty swipe of my claws, sending it into a spin and setting up Ash to send it to it’s death. We proceeded into the cave system cautiously, and happened upon another of the water dwelling creatures that had slain Ahg’s brother. It wasn’t long before I had ripped off one of its pincers. I think I may be acquiring a taste fer the things. Ahg found a most unusual ancient greatsword in the rubble of the things lair. I can’t help but get an uneasy feeling round the sword. As we pressed onward we came to a dark tunnel leading down deeper into the earth. It was decided that we would finish exploring up here before descending into the depths. After another encounter with the strange humanoids, we found a small antechamber with 5 small cells. Inside we discovered several strange items. Some rations that were most odd, a magic belt on a petrified corpse, and some strange goggles. With this being a very defensible position, it was decided that we would rest here. Finder is taking the first watch…
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Journal entry #37

These starlight goggles are amazing. I can see in complete darkness, just like a dwarf. Sort of hard to write in though.
I ate a pack of liquid hours ago that we found down here. Probably shouldn’t have, but haven’t felt even slightly hungry since. Those could be useful. I need to stash them for later. I hope they don’t make me grow a third arm or something. Actually, that could be useful too…
Anyway, on a different note, I thought this new half-ork we have with us was alright, but the more I get to know him the more I dislike him. I can’t put my finger on it per se, but something about him just seems off.
Well, that’s it for now, better get back to my watch. Don’t want anything sneaking up on us and ripping anyone in half…again

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Journal entry #40

I almost died in those caves. I think the magnitude of that has only now set in. I haven’t been able to sleep for more than a few hours since it happened. I acted like it didn’t bother me, but every time I fall asleep I see Guur and Azelandrik staring at me just before they’re ripped apart by those creatures and drug under the water. I can’t help but think I could have done something to save them. I just stood there and watched, too worried about myself to take action.

And then there’s the children.
My first reaction was to kill them all and I would have if it hadn’t been for the others. I’m glad we didn’t. I see myself in each of them now. I was just like them once. I need to help give them a chance.

The guilt of the deaths and what could have become of the children at my hands is crushing. I need to give back, to be a better person, to help someone other than myself.

If it hadn’t been for that cleric, I’d be dead now. Not to mention everyone else; they rushed in and helped me with no regard for themselves. It was stupid, but I’m glad they did it. I think I might just be able to trust these people.

Well, time for another half hour of sleep…

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The Keep Ostrom's Catacombs

By Tyr’s hand we have been lead into the catacombs beneath Ostrom Keep at the behest of the Castilian.

While my heart and mind ache for the children of Barrington I push forward for them. Oh Tyr, lead me and my friends to safety and give me the hand to strike at those who mean us harm!

By Tyr’s Eyes! The things found under my own feet astound and frighten me. Shimmering panthers, more Barrington fish people, machines that move by themselves, skeletons working chain lifts and a brain in a jar!

A trap in a room would have meant our quick demise if not for the ingenuity of the halfling Finder. I find myself quickly relying on him despite his chosen profession. He is funny, kind with the children and generous but in combat he is a demon! His bolts fly faster than I’d of ever thought possible. I’ve never seen anyone reload a crossbow that fast. His rapier moves just as fast and his strikes are deadly. Tyr, I know you see him as your child. Lead him to You and use me as a torchbearer to guide his path.

The Brain names himself
Geoffrey Peninghast and is quite mad; intelligent, but quite mad. He speaks of things long dead as though they are from yesterday. It is quite unnerving and I wish to be rid of him because of his undead nature.

Speaking of undead, three times Tyr You have allowed this test to come upon me and thrice the might of The Great Judge smote them. Once against a huge flesh golem, once against ghouls and lastly against the grotesque Pytha, leader of this cult.

Upon completion we sought council with the Castilian and delivered Geoffery. With all haste we set off to finding a site for the orphanage. Finding a suitable site Ash, Finder, Ahg, Brother Bear and myself set off to clear anything unwanted in the vicinity. It was nice to be back abroad a horse and letting it run.

Malik, Brother Bear, is a man whom I’ve loved from the moment I met him. Had you not come to me Tyr I surely would have had no problem following Brother Bear in worship of the creation instead of My Judge.

But still…. A dwarf, a Druid?

After a fight with some vicious monkey monsters I blacked out, I knew Ahg was going to chase them. I figured I’d catch up later, and let the darkness have me.

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Journal entry #48

I’m sleeping better now and not thinking about death quite so much, though every time we get into a fight I find myself more focused on helping the others than worrying about myself. I’m starting to pick up some basic fighting techniques because of it, which I can’t say is a bad thing.

We finished clearing out the catacombs yesterday. Found a brain in a jar from the Devonian Empire full of useful ancient information, if not a bit crazy and we found a bunch of really interesting things down there too, like a portable hole. You can put anything in it that will fit and then fold it up and put in your pocket. I have no idea how big it is on the inside, but it weighs nothing and holds everything. Its never leaving my person. I’d rank it up there with my starlight goggles in usefulness.

We ran into a gnome named Tappen while exploring the wilderness around where the boarding home is going up and he took us to his home. Everyone managed to crowd in, but the ceiling was low. Sometimes being short has it benefits. Tappen seems to know a bit about poisons and might be able to teach me something of its use. I think I might take some time to learn from him, and of course get to know the gnome that will be living so close to the kids soon.

Ash rejoined us and managed yet again to turn up the creepy factor he brings to the group by finding a magical bleeding sword that talks to him. Every time I think he’s as creepy as he’s going to get, he proves me wrong…

Tappen also told us about a few creatures in the area that would be a threat to the boarding house so we’re heading out now to end them. Giant wasps first. How hard could it be to exterminate some big wasps?

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For the children!
Today we continued our hunt to clear the denizens of the forest in our new chosen home. We made short work of a mated pair of owlbear, after their defeat I was saddened to find a nest with an unhatched egg. I could not bring myself to smash it. I believe brother de Lucca and I had the same thought. We kept the egg, hopefully we can raise this one as a pet, perhaps even a defender of our poor orphans. After making quick work of the owlbears we decided to head to the giant wasp nest… I have to give it to Ash, I really wasn’t sure if they would accept me into the hive, but his plan went off without a hitch. I was able to fly in and set off the alchemists fire right in the heart of the nest. Ash and finder made short work of the wasps after that. After clearing the nest and putting out the fire, we made our way back to the gnome’s hut. Finder really is becoming quite obsessed with poisons of all kinds.. he asked me to carry back the carcasses of the wasps. It’s a little troublesome, but if Brother de Lucca isn’t concerned by it, I suppose I shouldn’t be either. Terrible. Horrible. Awful!. How can you wake someone up with the promise of beer… and deliver only a fight with a banshee?!! I’ll have to get de Lucca back for that one. The wretched creature seemed awfully intent on Ash, but given his history bedding demons, I can’t say that I am incredibly surprised. She didn’t put up much of a fight. I am sure that this is because of de Lucca. He is most impressive where the undead are concerned. Ah well, back to sleep. There damn well better be beer next time someone yells it. Spent the better part of the day flying over the forest scouting for signs of the manticore. I have spotted them torturing some deer at a lake a few miles from the gnome’s camp. Ash and I are going to fly over and keep them busy while the others ride in. There are only 3 of them, this shouldn’t take long. The area will finally be clear and we can give the children a home!
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