Kingmaker: Guardians of the Greenbelt
The journal began with Lasicl. Ithus took the journal and kept on writing the entries.
The journal’s cover and earliest entries are ruined by bloodstains. The legible content begins on the 1st of Pharast.
Pharast 1 – Travelling down south from Restov, with new charter companions. Two half-orcs, one a trader/tinkerer of sorts and the other a barbarian from the Land of the Mammoth Kings. A cavalier named Claire de Tremelay with aspirations of nobility, and an elven mage called Mailin.
Pharast 2 – Made it to the Trading Post, surprised to find it on fire. No signs of Olaf and Svetlena. Ambushed by 4 orcs with insignia of an eye dripping blood. Iron-clawed (booted?) orc tracks go S-SW. Also signs of heavy hoofed land animals, like big boars. There are survivors at the site. The trading post/fort is still defensible, but the buildings themselves are in ruins. We hear rumours that in the forest are trolls, orcs, and Tasmanian tigers. We stay the night at the post, keeping an eye out for more orcs.
Pharast 3 – In the morning a local human trapper named Kreelie comes into to the post. We hear of a man named Bokken in the east, he brews potions. There are stories of a mine in the south, dug by Taldans but long abandoned. We leave to look for surviving victims taken in the raid.
Pharast 4 – We lost the tracks in the rain, but we discovered a river. According to the local lore it is the Thorn River. We explored the surrounding area and at mid-day we found a ford in the river. The ford turned out to also be a bandit camp site and we got ambushed by orcs, although we had a chance to get cover. There were 3 orcs in tree platforms, and a few more on the ground. There was also a witch with them, who kept trying to hex us. There was a boar, tied up, so we figured the survivors from the trading post would be here. During the fight, Thokl tried to sneak up on the witch and an axe-wielding orc. He was almost successful, but the axe orc cut him down with a single stroke. Wolf did an amazing feat by charging a tree and knocking it over, bringing down the orc that was up it. After we killed off most of the orcs, there was 1 who fled, we found only 1 survivor. Poor Olaf had been used as target practice for orc arrows. I wrapped him in sheets and we brought his body back for proper burial. Svetlena was found tied down and had been abused multiple times. We soothe her as best we can. We burn all the orc bodies and rest for the night.
Pharast 5 – We spend the day travelling back to the tradepost, hunting and killing a boar for food.
Pharast 6 – Arriving back at the tradepost we meet Dierdra, a cleric of Pharasma. She delivers a service for Olaf. There is also a group of 10 people, and they need a steady supply of food. We also recruit another half-orc barbarian called Grunk Bonecrusher. He seems eager to kill. Good for our exploration, but a potentially long-term liability.
Pharast 7 – When next we see Svetlena, she is wearing armour and strapping a longsword. Apparently she has been appointed as bailiff of the area. There are metalsmiths and carpentrists who want to come, but they are held up by a lack of supplies. We meet a Marshal of Brevoy by the name of Kestin Garess, and although his manner is gruff he has missions for us. One of the missions involves kobolds in the area, either befriend or attack them. The kobolds have not proven to be a menace yet.
Pharast 8 – We explore some area to the southwest of the tradepost, looking for a steady supply of food for the settlers. We kill a deer for food.
Pharast 9 and 10 – We finish exploring and return to the tradepost.
Pharast 11 – We kill a large buck and explore some rolling fields. There should be enough explored fields for the settlers to use and feed themselves.
Pharast 12 – We pass through the trading post as we continue to explore the immediate area.
Pharast 13 – As we explore we find some menhir ruins. It is snowing, which is unusual. As we approach the ring of menhirs 2 ogre skeletons rise up and attack. There is a general bad feeling from the ring. Searching ring, we find the menhirs are carved with frog-like creatures. In find, in the mouth of a frog, a very well-hidden sword. It is a beautifully made greatsword, but the pommel is carved into a figure of a squatting frog. We finish exploring the area.
Pharast 14 – Exploring more rolling fields to the east of the trading post. We find a house that looks like it has been empty for a while. Inside the house we find a room that used to be an alchemist’s shop. There is a dead man, mummified, with a short sword in his chest. We soon find out it is Bokken’s corpse, because his ghost tells us so. Apparently his brother killed him in vengeance for being hit. Bokken, before his death, was also cursed by someone named the Old Beldane to make the perfect potion. Death didn’t stop the curse, but since Bokken can’t hold things now, he wants an apprentice to teach the art of potion making to fulfill the curse. We find a secret stash of potions behind the fireplace. There are 5 potions there (2x Endure Elements, 2x CLW, 1x CMW). We promise Bokken to find him an apprentice, and we will bring his body back to the trading post so his ghost won’t be stuck in the wilderness. Hunt a brace of coneys for food.
Pharast 15-17 – Explored a bit further east, then south, then south-east. Kill a deer.
Pharast 18 – Going west we find a tree, struck by lightning and it stands out. Investigating we find a dig spot with a hidden bundle wrapped in a cloak. We find a well made morningstar, a wand of Bless (originally with 6 charges), a silver ring (60gp), 2 scrolls (Identify and Sound Burst), and an elixir of hiding. We kill a deer for food.
Pharast 19 – We head west again, in the rain. At least there is no more snow. We find a series of rocky crags, and we spot a 5 foot crack in the rock, which turned out to be a collapsed entrance to a mine. This could be the abandoned Taldan mine we heard about. We find a piece of raw gold and find a gold vein. This will be very important for the future settlement. We kill a deer.
Pharast 20 – We explore along the Thorn River. We kill an elk and camp near the ford in the Thorn River.
We got ambushed that night as most of us were sleeping. A plant creature, which turned out to be a shambling mound, came out of the forest. As Claire moved in to attack, it easily swatted her aside with a powerful swipe of its “arm”. I thought maybe it was attracted to our fire, so I put it out with a Create Water spell. That seemed to calm it, as it promptly left our camp. Thank the spirits!
Pharast 21 – We travel northwest in the drizzly rain. Then the rain stops and it became eerily quiet. Then the surrounding nature seemed brighter and more vibrant! I felt flushed with energy. We also had a feeling we’re being watched, and heard giggling voices. We found a human, decomposed and killed by orc arrows. That human was wearing a silver stag amulet. Out of the corner of our eyes, we saw an orc in the woods. Strangely it was not moving. We investigated and it was dead with a vine around its neck. As we approach it we got ambushed! It was an assassin vine (as I found out later by asking around). It easily grappled Wolf, and since we had no immediate means of defeating it, we ran away. Marking the area as dangerous by carving signs on trees, we left the area. Later we found 2 more dead orcs. 1 was pincushioned with what I determined to be pixie arrows. 1 was dead with mushrooms growing out of its body. We found a magical shortsword, which Wolf took. At night we kill a deer for food.
Pharast 22 – As we were exploring a new area, Claire and her horse get caught in a giant net trap. We manage to cut them down to safety. Later, Wolf and his horse fall into a pit trap dug on the main trail. The horse breaks its leg and he decides to kill the horse out of mercy. As we chop up the horse for its meat, orcs are coming out of the forest…
Thus ends the journal of Lasicl. I am told the band tried to ambush the orcs, but Lasicl was killed with a single arrow. Apparently he was pinned to a tree by the arrow.
Pharast 22 – I awoke tied up and thrown across the saddle of a black charger. My gear was still in saddlebags, for which I am grateful. I don’t remember much after walking alone through the woods. Presumably I was jumped by the orcs and knocked unconscious. Out of survival necessity I join this band of adventurers, who say they have a charter to clear the woods of menaces.
Pharast 23 – We journey back to a place called Svetlena’s Trading Post.
Pharast 24 – Arriving at the trading post there is a flurry of news. Some hunter named Kreeley was mauled by something called a tatzleworm. Svetlena, who apparently no longer wants to operate the trading post, has been named bailiff. A half-elf named Jodd Khavkin, a cleric of Shelyn has arrived thanks to a vision sent by Shelyn. He calls on the group to look for a lost temple of Shelyn somewhere in the woods. He asks for us to bring back a stone rose as proof of the temple’s existence. If we find the temple, he has promised us free use of his spellcasting in perpetuity. Some Marshal of Brevoy named Kestin Garess is looking for the group. A beautiful female elf named Shorata Pamoday, a priestess and/or wizard of Calistria arrived at the camp. There is a swarthy Varisian merchant named Avery Slagg selling goods. I decided that Erastil needs to have more of a presence here, so I hold a sermon. It seems most people are already going to Pharasma’s church as a cleric named Dierdra is already working the crowd. I’ll have to increase my attendance here. Erastil is much more suited than Pharasma. There is a nice party in the evening to celebrate the growing camp.
Pharast 25 – Marshal Kestin comes into camp. We make a new group charter, officially calling our group the “Greenbelt Guardians” and given the ability to write in new members. I am the first new member with this new charter. Marshal Kestin also informs us that there is a marauding band of orcs down south, based out of a fort on the Tuskwater lakeshore, and led by an orc called the Riveted Lord. We are tasked with finding and killing this band of orcs and their leader. Some ghost named Bokken has found an apprentice and is extremely happy with our band. From now on, we receive a 25% discount when purchasing potions from him (alchemist spell list). A strange trader with a stone dog also begged us to find the creature that turned his pooch to stone, and find a way to turn it back alive. We promised to keep our eyes open. We leave soon after, still in the morning, and at night we camp near the Thorn River. Apparently this was where an earlier orc camp was located. We are surprised by a “land fish”, a fish floating through the woods. We kill it and eat it, and it was surprisingly good. Erastil provides.
Pharast 26 – We found a stone statue of a deer, a squirrel, and a human hunter. They are oddly life-like, much like that trader’s dog. We also found rooster tracks, and theorize there is a cockatrice about. Soon enough we find the dangerous bird-thing, and fight it. Apparently its blood will turn its victims back from being stone. Unfortunately, during the fight Claire gets pecked by the cockatrice’s beak and she turns to stone, too. We manage to kill the creature without any more casualties, and luckily there is enough blood to turn Claire back to flesh, and a little left over for the dog. Thank Erastil the cockatrice won’t harm anyone else. I will have to come back later and save that poor stone hunter, once I have proven myself to Erastil and gained more power. Claire headed back to the trading post with the cockatrice blood to get our reward. The rest of us wait in the woods for her. Wolf decided to leave the Guardians for the wildness of the woods. I wish him the best…but now I am stuck alone with Grunk…who mutters to himself in orckish and stares about with crazy eyes…I am starting to become afraid…
Pharast 27 – I spend all day with Grunk in the woods. His eyes stare wildly at everything and he keeps gripping that dark greatsword.
At last Claire returned, with 2 new members for the Guardians, but to tragedy! One of the new charter members was a paladin, according to Claire, and as soon as he appeared in our camp, Grunk went berserk! Something possessed him and he cut down the paladin with one strike of the black greatsword. The poor paladin had no chance. The rest of are able to knock out Grunk and tie him up. We decide to bring him back to camp for a trial or punishment. The paladin also deserves a proper burial. The other new member, some dual-wielding fighter, took the paladin’s gear, as they hadn’t been officially sworn in yet. We leave for the trading post with Grunk tied up and unconscious. Oh, and Claire brought back our reward for the cockatrice deal: 6 magical animal bane arrows (1).
Pharast 28 – We travel back to the trading post.
Pharast 29 – While we camp at night there is a mysterious glow in the distance. Satarvish goes off to investigate and we promptly lose sight of him. We do hear his cry for help, though, as something happens to him. I tie a rope around Claire and she goes off to help. Soon there is a cry for help from her as well. Following her rope I find they both have fallen into a bog. What looks like a will-o-the-wisp is floating nearby, and my arrow goes through its “body”. We manage to drag out Satarvish just as his head goes under the bog water. Once rescued, and his fear subsided, the wisp disappears into the forest. We thank Erastil for being alive and remain in camp the rest of the night.
Pharast 30 – Arriving back at the trading post, Svetlena is sad to hear of our latest loss, but has some recruits in mind. She also shares her suspicions of Dierdra, though she nothing specific to share. Grunk is thrown in a tent and apparently Marshal Garess will judge his fate once he returns. I brought the dark greatsword to Shorata, asking that she destroy the sword, for it is definitely evil. She said she would destroy it in exchange for spending a night with me. I accept her offer, and return wearing a loincloth as she requested. Later I discover that this sword was a relic of Sa——-, some evil alien entity. Shorata had the gall to sell it!! She claimed it was far away, in Absalom, and would endanger us no further, but that wasn’t the point!! She betrayed my trust, and willingly allowed a very, very evil item (whose purpose is to kill all lawful good creatures) to continue to exist and do harm. She wanted to give me half of the profits (around 3000 gold), as if I could actually accept that. Evil blood money. I returned the coins to her, and will no longer have anything to do with her. Even a follower of Calistria should have more sense than to allow such an evil item to exist. A shame, really, that I shared my bed with such a creature. I must find a way to exile her from the community. Such a lack of judgement will prove ill in the future.
Pharast 31 – During the night, Dierdra was murdered. She was killed in her shrine and the church lockbox taken. An acolyte saw a half-orc kill her in a rage, with a description fitting Grunk. We follow his tracks to Shorata’s tent, and I stayed outside as the others questioned her. Apparently, she teleported him down south, in all likelihood he will join the Riveted Lord. This is yet another reason not to trust Shorata and ban her from the community.
After all these events in the morning, we find another recruit for the Guardians. An Inquisitor of Iomedea, and a beautiful female elf to boot. Quite a lot of elves around here. Rather odd. We head off to find those tatlzewyrms.
Gozran 1 – Spent all day travelling
Gozran 2 – We believe we are around the tatzlewyrm territory, but didn’t find any sign. We do find a brush dog in a pit. I feed it rations and we throw in enough dirt to make a ramp and let it free.
Gozran 3 – We go northwest. We found a clearing with 2 stone towers and some ruined buildings. There we saw a slurg (a nasty slimy frog bred, and rejected by, dwarves long ago) bathing in mud. A boggart comes out calling “Truce! Truce!” It doesn’t speak much other Common, but we manage to communicate with it. We left it in peace and in return it told us where the worms were, along with a few other sites in the area.
Gozran 4 – Going southwest. There are ruins of a bridge over a river, and we get rushed by 2 tatzlewyrms. During the attack poor Yala, our newest member, dies from a nasty bite wound. While it is rather selfish of me, I am rather glad that the curse of new members dying passed me over. We found skeletal remains on an island in the river and some rather good gear. There was magical scalemail, a cold iron longsword, a watertight scroll tube with a scroll of Blindness/Deafness and a map of some of the northwest area, a pewter drinking stein, a jade carving of a naked male elven monk, a silver ring with ivy branches, and a bunch of coins. We bury Yala and continue to the northwest, following the new map we found.
Gozran 5 – We go west. There is a serene quality to the air here, but signs of life. In a cluster of trees we found a body of a glowing horse. It turned out it was a unicorn, and the horn had been snapped off and broken in half, discarded on the ground. The creature was blind at the time of death. There are footprints of a naked humanoid, possible elven. There is a faint necromantic aura, a side-effect from whatever killed the unicorn. No insects come near the unicorn. I keep the 2 pieces of unicorn horn, maybe they can be useful in the future and redeem the poor creature’s death. The humanoid tracks come from, and go to, a circular hole of trees. It looks like a gate. This requires more investigation in the future.
At night there are shooting stars, and 3 chunks land, although not nearby. Starmetal?
Gozran 6 – Nasty weather today, wind and rain. We go back to the woods, on the edge of the Knarlmarshes. We found a burnt out hunting lodge, and a miracle! A 15 foot tall statue of Erastil in his hunting avatar form, with the elk head. The beautiful statue is made of marble. I cleaned it up and sanctified it, and felt Erastil’s pleasure. We were blessed with keener weapons. He also blessed our hunt as we killed a mated pair of elk.
Gozran 7 – We go northwest and find another ring of menhirs, with the frog-like faces. It also glows faintly of magic, and has a vaguely menacing aura. This place deserves future investigation.
Gozran 8 – We go east to find sulphur pools, and in the pools bathed 2 giant frogs. At Claire’s behest we leave them alone.
Gozran 9 – We go east and we discovered the shrine to Shelyn! It is a stone outcropping with a fountain, beautiful statues of a man and a woman, all masterwork. There is a habitat in the cliff face behind a waterfall (only a thin trickle of water). There is a fresh pool of blood near the fountain with a perfect rose, dripping blood. The place is covered in thorny shrubbery with roses. We find a hidden door handle to the habitat. Several rooms are there, including a workshop with powerful magical artisan tools made of silver and platinum. They are a hammer and chisel, and I take them for Jhod Khavken. We find a bedchamber where there is a stone dagger and a dark stain. Did someone carve this dagger and kill someone here?
The pool for the fountain has run dry, and we search for the source, a spring. We clean out the dirty aquaduct, but that doesn’t restore the springwater flow. I say a prayer, and I can feel something listening, but nothing else happens. We may need Jhod to say a prayer here.
Gozran 10 – We ride back to the trading post to report our progress.
Gozran 11 – On arrival at the camp we find new walls being put up. Apparently orc raiders hit the camp last night. We give the stone rose to Jhod, and I give him the tools at a quieter time. He promises us free spells for life.
Svetlana asks for aid in the defence of the camp and we promise our aid.
Gozran 14 – Over the past few days we train the new militia, we send hunters south to scout, we reinforce the walls and put in stakes and other defensive measurements. I wrote up a few scrolls for emergencies during the early evenings. I also give a few more sermons, as the people here need spiritual guidance now that Dierdra is gone.
A hunter brings in a landcarp tonight. We laugh, but let everyone know it tastes good.
Oh, and we have a new member in the Guardians. He’s another elf, and apparently a sorcerer. I’ll protect him as best I can during our skirmishes. His name is Talathiel Sparksand.
Gozran 15 – A scout came into camp reporting a cloud of dust approaching. Temujin goes out to scout numbers, and soon enough we can all see around 16 orcs and 2 ogres with bags fill of rocks. The alarm goes out, the gates are closed, the militia mount the walls, and we prepare for battle. The orcs are riding on boars, and light up some flame arrows. Temujin, riding on his wolf, surprised the orcs by charging in their midst, and they used all their flame arrows trying to retaliate. That was lucky for us, as they didn’t have time to re-light before they charged. Two groups of 8 orcs hit the camp in waves, with 2 orc witches cackling their hexes at us. The ogres managed to crash open one gate with their rocks, though we managed to make 1 ogre flee. We held the breach, though, in large thanks to Claire and Satarvish, and not 1 enemy made it into the camp. Thanks mostly to the Guardians, the attack was successfully repelled, though we had a few losses. Marshal Kestin Garess and 5 militiamen died in the battle. Shorata was knocked unconscious when she fell from the walls, and someone pilfered her during the fight. That shows how much respect she has amongst the people here! I performed a funeral service for the fallen, in the name of Erastil, and there was a large victory celebration. Everyone definitely earned it.
Svetlena, who did an amazing job rallying the commoners and keeping control, urged us to find the fort and end the menace of the Riveted Lord once and for all.
Gozran 16 – A day of rest, recuperation, and preparation. Equipment was bought or ordered, some affairs were arranged, the bodyguards left with Kestin’s body for Brevoy proper, and Sparksand shared some news with me. A slow day, but a good day.
Gozran 17 – We left for the fort on the Tuskwater. There was heavy rain, which got much worse at night. Still, Claire managed to spot a giant rook in the sky, flying south. That was ominous.
Gozran 18 – An overcast day, but better than rain. We entered unexplored territory in the south. We found a rickety bridge that was 20ft over the raging Thorn river. The river was flooded with rainwater and moving swiftly. Most of us manage to cross over safely, but Satar came last with his 2 horses and likely their combined weight was too much for the bridge. Although Satar just made it, his 2 horses fell into the river and disappeared in seconds. A sad fate.
We got ambushed tonight! My alarm went off as 5 orcs attacked the camp, and somehow the others were awoken by our campfire bursting into flame and smoke with a loud ‘whoosh’. Someone/thing is watching over us. Too early and mysterious to tell if it is a protector or something else. Temujin told us later that the witch put himself and his wolf to sleep. If it hadn’t been for that fire warning, they likely would have been dead, killed in their magical sleep. We dispatched the orcs easily enough once we rallied.
Gozran 19 – A windy day, we found that the Thorn river merged with the Shrike river. It became shallow and fordable. We explore the area and prepare to look for the fort.
Gozran 20 – The weather calmed. A good sign. Temujin goes off on his wolf to scout the fort while the rest of us make our campsite a little more defensible. A ditch with a mound of dirt should slow any attackers while giving us a little ranged advantage. Temujin comes back later that night with a “map” of the fort made from coney skin and his own blood. Crude, but effective, although no one else can read it. I provide some parchment and ink, from my scroll supplies, and he reproduces the map into a legible affair. We make plans for an assault.
Gozran 21 – We decided to set up an ambush of their hunting party, which Temujin saw before. The ambush went surprisingly well, with 3 orcs going down before they could shout any alarm. Flawless. Nothing else happened that day.
Gozran 22 – Nice weather. Another good sign. We return to our ambush site and wait for a search party for the hunting party. Not sure if they were a search party, but 3 creatures come out. An orc, a human, and…Grunk! Most of us salivated at the opportunity to reap vengeance on that scum. Although we surprised them, Grunk and his sixth sense prevented an early injury. The orc took a few arrows, charged us, took down Sparksand in one hit (though I healed him soon enough), then died. Temujin, coming back from his advance scouting position, rode down the human (who tried to use poison daggers, but the gnome proved too hardy). Grunk…well, let’s just say that vengeance felt good. Erastil blessed me with good fortune when my Hold Person spell paralyzed that half-orc bastard. Claire charged in with a strike before Satarvish took Grunk’s head clean off. Although I didn’t want Grunk to suffer more, because no creature should suffer when he dies, I did want him to know it was me who set him up for the fall. I think he knew, though. Thank Erastil that Grunk did not have that evil sword. It looks like Shorata did indeed send it to Absalom. While it should no longer be a threat here, I am still disappointed it is a threat somewhere. Grunk did have a magical greatsword, though, and that went to Claire. She can put it to good use. The human had a magical rapier, which Satar took. While it’s not his favored weapon, it should come in handy if we face certain magical creatures. Best be prepared, as Erastil likes to preach.
After some small healing (again Erasil blessed us with a solid victory), we decided to assault the fort. After all, losing 22 orcs and 2 ogres should have put a good dent in their ranks. We ride up to the gates, which were logs tied together with ropes. Only 2 orcs stood on the walls. Though they mocked us, they seemed very nervous. Sparksand dissolved some ropes with acid, making some logs fall apart. Temujin squeezed through, while Satar tried to climb the walls. The Riveted Lord came out, and his name proved true, as he had a helmet literally riveted to his shoulders. He was stumbling drunk, and Falgrim Sneeg was with him, helping him along. He let loose his pet…a bloody hydra! The 5-headed beast charged forward, but thankfully was stopped by the portcullis at the gate. Satar and Claire climbed the walls and knocked off the orcs. My Spiritual Weapon took pieces out of the hydra, although it quickly healed them. Recalling some lore about the creature, I yelled to the others to cut off its heads. Otherwise, it would keep on healing. Sparksand climbed up as well and fired off magic towards the enemy. Although weak in constitution, the elf was certainly brave. Exchanging bites for blows, Claire and Satarvish swiped off heads, one by one. Just as the hydra was started to re-grow 2 heads for every 1 cut off, they managed to bring the beast down by cutting off all its heads. I was very impressed. With that deed done, it was time to confront the Riveted Lord, who was taking potshots with his longbow. First, though, we had to get the damn portcullis open (the orcs, before they died, had cut down the wooden gate, hoping the hydra would smash on through). Claire was more intent on the Riveted Lord and jumped down from the wall. Fearing for her safety, I cast Feather Fall upon her and she landed gently before charging off. Satar nimbly crossed the portcullis top and opened the lock while Sparksand raised the portcullis. I entered the fort along with Temujin. Satar and Sparksand weren’t so lucky with their jumps down and hurt themselves, Sparksand almost knocked himself out by landing badly on the hydra corpse. I healed them. Claire was busily engaged with both the Riveted Lord and Falgrim. Erastil was watching over us, though, because they could barely touch her with their blades! As the rest of us joined the melee, and Sparksand threw magical missiles of power at the Riveted Lord, we took the pair down in under a minute. Claire landed some powerful blows, the rest of us gave scratches and bruises, but in the end it was the power of Sparksand’s magic that felled the Riveted Lord! In the end, he proved to be a bit of pitiable orc, the drink was heavy on his breath, and his face was a ruined mass of scar tissue from multiple acid wounds. Whether self-inflicted or not, I cannot tell, but either way a sad tragedy.
We rejoiced in our victory!
Gozran 23 After we rested from our terrifying battle with the hydra and the Riveted Lord we woke up to a terrible rainstorm. Instead of departing we explored the rest of the ruined fort and found copious amounts of coin and trade goods. I also cast Gentle Repose on the hydra to preserve its corpse, and more specifically its heads. For during our search and general wait for the weather to improve we discussed the future plans of our city and realm. We made a few decisions, and Erastil blessed my arguments to be heard clearly. Through a series of eliminating votes we decided on a name for our city and our realm. I must admit a small amount of regret that Ithus was not chosen for either, but Erastil knows that pride is one of my weaknesses.
The name for our city was well chosen, it is evocative and powerful. Its name shall be “Five-Towers”, representing the threat that was slain to allow the city to form. As expected from the name, 5 towers will eventually be built in a concentric circle around the city, or at least the inner core of the city (should it be successful and continue to grow). In the council chamber the 5 inner members of the council will have their chairs decorated with a hydra head. Our banner will incorporate a hydra somehow, although it has yet to be finalized.
The realm shall be named Denroth, although I secretly still want “Myern” to be chosen. In time, perhaps. Although there is no special significance to the name, it has a certain ring to it and the originality will ensure that no other realm makes previous claim to its ownership.
The roles of leadership were fairly easy to divide, with Ruler being the one with the most debate. However, once Claire realized that being General means being a hero in the eyes of the people, she have up claim to the rulership. The others did not have ambition to be ruler. So, as may be guessed through my writing, it is I, Ithus, who shall begin as ruler of Denroth. While that may change in the future, as nothing is certain since Aroden died, for now it is so. Claire shall be General and champion of the realm. Temujin shall be Marshal, dispensing justice in the rural regions. Sparksand shall be Treasurer, declining both the Magister and Grand Diplomat positions. Finally, Satarbish shall be Spymaster, as his existing connections to all things improper will come in handy. We have names for most of the other positions, but we shall see if they are feasible. Svetlana we chose as Councilor, since she already has a connection with the people. Jhod would be appropriate as High Priest, considering I am Ruler. Bokken we chose as our Magister. After some internal dialogue, I swallowed my pride and bitterness and nominated Shorata as Grand Diplomat. Her training as a priestess of Calistria would be ideal for entertaining and manipulating foreign emissaries. There is only the position of Warden to be filled, although we have eyes on Wolf for that. At the moment a Royal Assassin is not totally necessary, although it would be beneficial. However, we can think of no likely candidate in the area. We shall keep an eye open.
Gozran 24 The weather is much better and we can depart for the trading post to report our success. We hitch our horses to some carts, load them with goods and pieces of the hydra, and leave for the north. We follow the Shrike and then the Thorn River so we can access the ford at the old bandit’s camp.
Gozran 30 Nothing much has happened on the trip up, except it was slow going and Sparksand has developed a strange addiction to moonradishes. Upon our arrival at Oleg’s we were stunned by the sheer volume of settlers. Their tents extended out at least a few miles. Many recognized us and hailed us, but many more did not. There were Brevoy royal banners flying from the walls of the fort, and although we were stopped by royal guards, when Svetlana came out and hailed us (in very formal Brevoy armour, strange), we showed the head of Grunk, the hydras, and the helm of the Riveted Lord to which a great cheer erupted from the throngs of people. A prince of Brevoy greeted us as well and we feasted that night. We received a formal extension of our charter to found our city and realm in the south. We learned that Svetlana was to be groomed as the Grand Diplomat of our realm, although she seemed mighty uncomfortable at the mention. We’ll talk with her.
Desna 1 A new month and a new excitement has rippled through the settlers. They are preparing to make a convoy south. We make plans to get the hydra heads stuffed and preserved for our future council room. Each head will have different coloured eyes, to represent ourselves. My choice is purple. We make other preparations to return south and finish exploring the area around the Tuskwater.
Desna 2 We depart for the south ahead of the convoy. It should take them a few weeks to go south.
Desna 4 We arrived in an unexplored area, and although there were plenty of thorn bushes heavy with edible fruit, there are also swarms of biting spiders that live inside them. We left them as a good test for new adventurers.
Desna 5 We decided to try and circumnavigate the Tuskwater Lake. Drizzly weather. We encountered a gnomish exploration party who had ran into some trouble. They had 2 ponies and a cart stuck in the middle of a raging river. Jubilost Narththrobble, their leader, refused aid (out of pride, a feeling I know well), although his companions cried for our help. I cast Bulls Strength on Satarbish who bravely launched himself into the river to reach the ponies. Temujin followed next, managing to make it by tying a rope to Satarbish’ rope. The gnome calmed the ponies and then together they led the ponies to safety. Unfortunately the cart could not be saved beyond a crate of moonradishes (which Sparksand promptly stole). Still, the gnomes were grateful enough. Being explorers I offered to exchange sites of interest on our respective maps. On a 1-1 ratio, we had a friendly exchange of information and discovered a few new intriguing places to go, including a witch, a barrow, the region where the kobolds are (finally! And they weren’t in the northwest?!), and an undead guarding another ford. The gnomes were chased after by a group of kobolds, led by a weird purplish skinned on who did something to freak out the ponies. Temujin found tracks of 10 kobolds going back to the north-east. We rest for the night with the gnomes, sharing stories and food.
Desna 6 Solid rain coming down. We found the Old Beldame’s cottage, she is apparently a witch. There was an iron bell, which we rung to no response. A strange scarecrow and a regular crow were there. Temujin spoke to the crow and we found out she was out. We explored the area and returned in the evening. Ringing the bell again, the Old Beldame asked our business. I struck up a conversation with her about Bokken. She invited us in and we shared stories. She’s not a bad woman by any means, just misunderstood. Apparently she has some fey blood in her, making her look like a green hag. She laid the curse upon Bokken because of spurned love. A tragedy! She can’t undo her curse because it came from her fey blood, and a broken-hearted fey is a spurned woman indeed! Only a Fey Lord could break the curse. She told us about Samuel, Bokken’s brother and that he is mad and out east. Oh, and her scarecrow guards her cottage. If Sparksand could learn how to construct such things, we could use them as scouts and protectors in the farmlands. As for the pyrotechnics that saved us from the orc ambush, that wasn’t the Old Beldame. She says the fey are probably watching us. Hopefully they are watching over us. After our talk, and my guarantee that our new settlement will respect her privacy wishes and the truth of her be known, she became friendly. Our favour to her is to find some mushrooms, apparently it makes a great tea. She also told us about the Candlemere down south, full of will-o-the-wisps, and somelizardfolk, who are not friendly to anyone. Rather angry people. We told her about the unicorn, and she was sad, but told us to get rid of the horn. It came from evil magic and nothing good can come of it.
Desna 7 We go northwest, stopping our circumnavigation of the Tuskwater. It continues to run south, and we were warned the south has even stronger threats. Oh, and we heard about Wolf. Apparently he was angry about the rise of civilization and has gone south to find like-minded fellows. I think he will be trouble, too.
Desna 8 We go northwest again, and while the area is empty of threats, we feel eyes.
Desna 10 We moved on, and got ambushed by 4 wolves and a worg at our camp. Killing the worg made 2 wolves run away, which was fine by us. Temujin made a worg pelt.
Desna 11 Explored some more in grasslands.
Desna 12 We go off to seek the kobolds. We follow the east side of the Shrike going north. We see a plume of smoke in the distance. It turns out to be a wilted and charred chunk of twisted metal in a crater and smouldering the earth around it. The heat it gave off was intense. There were magical enchantments, but they are fading. Claire and Sparksand go closer to investigate, but Sparksand feels very ill approaching the thing. We leave it be for now.
Desna 13 We go south-east for now because we couldn’t find a closer ford across the Shrike. We go to the barrow. We find a crack in the hillside leading deep into the barrow. Inside we find an inner chamber with mosaics of simple farming life. The place was hundreds of years old. Lots of guano and spider webs. There is a body on the floor, skeletal. Then the bats came. Lots of them. We ran out, although Sparksand dove into the guano trying to crawl out. We laughed. Going back in I went to investigate the body, only to have the 4 carved heads on the walls belch out black smoke. We all felt a little tired after that, although Erastil allowed me to recover quickly. I find a Ring of Sustenance on the skeleton before we are surrounded by skeletons coming from the east and west chambers. Although they get the drop on us, I allow them to surround us before I blast their bones with holy light. It was easily done. In the northern chamber there was a sepulchre, and the room was chipped and damaged like attacked with a weapon. From the sepulchre rose an undead creature. It turned out to be a wight, and a tough one at that! It’s armour and hide were so thick we could barely get damage through with our weapons. Erastil’s holy light and Sparksand’s magic missiles slowly took it down, although it managed to get some solid strikes on us both. Unfortunately it also drained some of Sparksand’s life, and the poor elf has still to recover. We did manage to recover its weapon, a powerful rapier against the fey, but it is broken. I need to study more and train before I have a hope of repairing it.
Desna 14 We move northeast to some rolling fields.
Desna 15 We move northwest in the drizzly rain to the ford crossing guarded by some form of undead. There are the remnants of a bridge and a sign that says “Nettle’s Crossing”. Some kind of undead creature rises from the water, walking solidly upon the raging river and proclaims it wants the body of the Riveted Lord. Claire volunteers to ride back and get it. We wait.
Desna 17 Claire is back with some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the convoy had reached Five-Towers and was busy settling in. The bad news was that they had burned the bodies of the Riveted Lord and the orcs. She brought the ashes, but that wasn’t enough for Nettle and he demanded the body again. Satarbish tries to cross the rope hanging across the river, but Nettle attacks. We fight back, Satarbish barely makes it back because of Nettle’s strange gaze and powerful ranseur. We destroy Nettle but we think he will come back, until his demands are met. We try to cross the river. Claire barely makes it across riding Cinnamon. The rest of us have no hope with our horses. Temujin crosses with his wolf. Does that thing have a name?? I go to cross.
…okay, that went badly. I write this with shaking hands and a fervent belief that Erastil is keeping me alive for something. I tried to cross, and instantly fell into the river. I couldn’t keep my head up and I was tossed about like a child’s toy. By Erastil’s grace I could get a grip on the remains of the bridge downriver, healing myself with His power. Satarbish managed to land an arrow close to me, which I hung on to like it was pure platinum. Of course I ended up on the same side of the river as before! Sparksand came to my rescue and through his arcane might I could easily climb across like a spider. It is good to have such reliable and powerful friends.
Desna 18 We go west. We find a sycamore tree with a small shaft at the base going down. Below we fight nasty small blue fey called mites. Disgusting creatures. We rescued a kobold being tortured, and he says his name is Mikmek. Apparently the mites are fighting the kobolds and stole their sacred statue. If we take it back to their Chief Sootscale we could make allies with the kobolds. But, during a fight with 2 huge centipedes, Temujin impedes our movement with an Entangle spell and then kills the kobold in cold blood. I was furious! We can’t have a member of our group operate like that. If he does that now, what is he capable of in the future?! We have a big argument as we clear out the rest of the mite den. It turns out that kobolds are not the creatures I thought they were. They are all evil things…according to most of the Guardians. I may need to re-think my position of having them as allies. In the meantime, I offered a compromise where Sparksand, having dragon blood, can take over the kobold tribe and be their leader. Temujin might explode anyway, since apparently gnomes hate kobolds. I learned something new today.
…but I am still angry at the ranger. He should not go against his nakama like that!
Desna 20 – There was some mix up in the days recently, I’m probably still shaken by my near death experience on the Shrike. But it is a nice spring day today, for which I am glad. Although we will be confronting the kobolds today…
We find ancient ruins of a past Taldoran settlement. An old sign reads “The Oaktop Silver Mine.” That’s good news for the future. We find a crack in some rocks, and are not so surprised when a kobold jumps out and hails us. Nakpik, he’s called, or something like that. Sparksand talks in Draconic to it and gets us inside. There are quite a few of the creatures in the tunnels. We meet the Chief and Sparksand makes a deal that the kobolds will go south if we bring back their statue. We briefly go outside, where Sparksand explains the deal, then we re-enter. The Chief is curious why we returned so soon, but all the kobolds soon start cheering, or something, when the statue is shown. Sparksand gives it to the Chief, who breaks it. What in the name of Erastil!! He then rushes off to kill the “usuper”, whoever that is. Well, it turns out that purple skinned kobold was the usurper, but it is also a powerful arcane user as it shoots out a lightning bolt and kills the Chief. Then it orders the clan to kill us! While I still can’t call the whole race evil, I can certainly call them weak-willed. We have no choice but to slaughter the kobolds who fight us, though they scream for mercy as they attack (I will need to pray to Erastil over this. It was like killing scaly kittens). The outcome was inevitable, and after we kill the arcane usurper, the rest of the clan flee. Hopefully they flee south. The purple kobold had a number of magical items on its person, as well as a journal in Undercommon, which was strange. The Chief also had a magical amulet, which Claire wears now.
Desna 21 – We march for a day back to the ford where Nettles awaits. We have to cross again. Ugh.
Desna 22 – The plan is to fight Nettles again, and then Sparksand, Satarbish and myself will cross, since our mounts are on the other side. Claire, with Cinnamon, and Temujin, with Fafnir, will ride around to the old bandit crossing. Satarbish goes out, dancing lightly in his new elven boots on the rope, and lures out Nettles. We fight, Satarbish almost dies after taking some powerful strikes from Nettles, and my divine light temporarily disables Nettles. I feel a curse settle on my soul as I do so. That’s…unfortunate. We cross safely after that, and the party is split temporarily.
Desna 22 – There’s some confusion over the days again. I didn’t get a good sleep since Nettles is haunting my dreams, so that is probably it. We make it back to Five Towers and begin organizing affairs. Svetlana introduces us to a few new people.
Desna 23 – Claire and Temujin arrive back, regaling us with their battle against some tatzlewyrms at night. Funny how those creatures seemed so dangerous not too long ago. We have faced worse horrors and challenges since then. Too bad Yala couldn’t have been here, too.
Note added in later:
The past year has gone by so fast. I will try to add extra notes where I can. Political drudgery just doesn’t make good journal fodder. Yet for all that, it has been an exciting, fantastic year as our dream of a new realm comes to fruition!
Desna 24th onward – The Council is formed. The starting Council consists of:
Ruler – myself.
Councilor – Brikoff, an old farmer from Cheliax, but he has the respect and ear of the people. My first choice was Svetlana, but she chose to remain with Brevoy. That may cause problems later, but for now I cannot begrudge her that choice.
General – Claire. A natural choice, the people find her attractive and heroic. We’ll just keep some tales of her early career under wraps.
Grand Diplomat – Loy Rezbin, an energetic fellow from Andoran lands. A natural talker.
High Priest – Jhod Kavkin, the priest of Shelyn. He graciously accepted and is willing to open Denroth’s gates to all religions.
Magister – Sparksand. His power is growing, and he was almost manic at the thought that he could control the spread of arcane magic in the realm.
Marshal – Temujin. While I don’t like his mercenary attitude, he was a good choice. He’ll certainly keep the outlands in line, although I don’t want to ponder too long on his methods.
Royal Assassin – [We didn’t start with one, but got a “friend” of Satarbish’s from Galt to take the position. Lars Ulrich does the work for pay, and is paid by Satarbish. A man to watch out for.]
Spymaster – Satarbish. As much as I dislike this choice, he was the best one. His talents lie in this field and he is a natural. Which makes him all the more suspicious. I don’t enjoy double-thinking my own charter members, but he bears constant and careful watching. While I doubt he aims for clearing us all out, as he prefers to work from the shadows, I cannot safely say he works in our best interest. Ah, well.
Treasurer – Priam Agrivar, a paladin of Abadar, he was a smart choice for this position. He will ensure our coffers remain full.
Warden – Akiros Ismort, an ex-marshal from the River Kingdoms. A man of honour and strong ethics, from what I can tell. He should be excellent at keeping Five Towers peaceful.
Our first order of business was to complete the repairs on the castle and settle in. We chose our towers and watched as people flocked to the first set of houses in the city. Hythas, that mystery man, built some kind of watertower. He promised it would keep the water clean.
Saraneth – We needed food, as well as a proper bridge, so we expanded north and claimed the Shrike and Thorn river crossings. Farmland was quickly allotted and settlers could finally begin growing their crops. We also built a town hall in Five Towers. The town hall will be a place to gather, allow bedding for travellers passing through, and a temple to Erastil has been blessed inside. He is a practical God and his place of worship reflects that. I continue to give many sermons there, and hopefully will find some acolytes and a regular priest soon. We have a bountiful harvest of natural plants this month.
Erastus – We continue to go north with our claims, taking more of the Thorn river into our official territory. We build more roads and farmlands. The people are happy.
On a sidenote, Satarbish and I are still experiencing nightmares from Nettles. We are discussing how to get the Riveted Lord’s helm back from that swordlord.
Arodus – We claimed the old Taldor gold mine we discovered so long ago. That should bring in some needed income. More roads and farmland, too. Things continue to move along at a good speed.
Rova – We claim the area with the fangberry bushes. It wasn’t as bad as we thought, and the area is now farmland, too. Unfortunately there was a problem with the tax collection….there wasn’t one. Due to a mixup in new paperwork, no one went out to collect. One the positive side, the people took it well and there was a boost in loyalty.
Lamashan – We could not afford to expand our territory this month, as we had to save our coin. We sent of Loy to go north and bargain for the helm back. The prince was fond of arms and armaments, so we hoped the magical kukri, so powerful against animals, would convince him to trade.
Loy came back with dire news. The prince had been assassinated! Satarbish announces he has the helm, bought off some thief. His voice reeks of lies, and I recall a conversation we had about possibly stealing the helm. Satarbish’s minions are quick to the kill, and he thinks he can fool us with lies. My appreciation of his talents has gone down significantly over this. I pray to Erastil to grant me wisdom.
Although the curse has been lifted, as Nettles has accepted the helm, it is replaced by a deep bitterness.
Neth – Again we cannot expand because we do not have enough funds. Besides that it was a good enough month. Food from our farmland is sustaining the barony and we don’t have to import much anymore.
Kthona – We can finally claim some more territory, and we decide on the sycamore tree expanse. More roads and farmland are built. I am told we now have a surplus of food that we can sell to Brevoy. Excellent!
Abadius – We maintain our status quo in our territory.
Awful news, but luckily not as terrible as it could have been. Brikoff survived an assassination attempt! The assassin tried to make it a public kill, when Brikoff was talking with farmer representatives. But the cunning old man, while injured, survived the knife thrust. The farmers took care of the rest and beat the assassin to death. Shaken, the old man has retired from his role as Councilor. I don’t try to change his mind. The assassin has a Chelaxian dagger as his murder weapon.
There is a change in the Council. Priam Agrivar, being a man with good relations with the public, is the new Councilor. Sparksand has become Treasurer…with some reservation…and Shorata has become Magister. She instantly became haughtier (if possible), but I think she will do well in the role.
I spoke with the assassin’s corpse and I asked who hired him. Answer: He who holds art in the finest regard. Claire thinks it is Jhod, to which I scoffed. Not my best answer, but I was shocked she would think so. My second question was which city he was hired in. Answer: Where art lies in one hand, intrigue in another, and bandits walk the streets.
That is obviously not Cheliax, as bandits are chained and quartered, or fed to devils, or worse. Art is obviously important here. I must investigate further when given opportunity.
Calestrial – Satarbish brings news from his spy network. Carrier pigeons are going to Cheliax, and being sent by Sakandy Alventi, a Chelaxian merchant. Hmm, maybe my logic is wrong and Cheliax does have something against us. But what? They are so far away.
Also, Shorata is sending animal messengers to the east. That’s not surprising. She probably has been doing so since she arrived. But watching for whom? Elves?
Worst news yet, Northern Brevoy is investigating the assassination of that swordlord prince. Even if they don’t find a link to us in the south, they are sure to discover our new realm. It was supposed to remain a secret from Northern Brevoy. If they discover us, who knows what it could mean!
Pharast – We have saved up enough money to buy a guildhall. Oh, and I recall a case I presided over between Sakandy and Lixy P. They both wanted the same lot and both claimed the right to it. I made a ruling that previous claims were void when the barony was founded, but to make peace the one who would take a new claim at a discount would give up the old claim. Lixy was stubborn, so Sakandy took the discount. Lixy got to make her inn.
There is an economic boom, maybe because of the early spring.
We get called out for an emergency. Livestock had been killed a few days ago, and a woman was killed in town a night ago. It was on the outskirts of the city, and she had been torn apart and partially eaten. Temujin finds large bloody wolfprints that go into a bush and come out as human male footprints. Legends of werewolves echo in our thoughts. We buy silver ammo and weapons. I ask around town and there are stories of a Kellid tribesman acting odd. He came into town a few nights ago and is drinking himself silly. He is staying at Lixy Parmeter’s inn the “Belching Hydra”. I find out his name is Kundal and we get a room number. Satarbish and Sparksand wait outside and the rest of us are inside. The werewolf erupts from the second floor window and attacks the pair outside, seeming to go after Sparksand the most. I fly to the roof after the werewolf, much to the onlookers delight. Although I was not able to touch the creature and curse him, the others take him down with silver arrows and Sparksand’s powerful magic. Unfortunately the creature, or rather man, dies. It wasn’t really his fault, as apparently lycanthropy can be a curse, but there was no other way. The people who watched cheered their leaders. Maybe we should build an arena…?
Gozren – We build a pier on the Tuskwater, finally allowing the fishermen to dock on its wharf instead of the rocky shore. Hopefully we can start trading, too.
A year has gone by since we founded Five Towers. We had an explosion of growth at the start and we have slowed down some, but we plan to expand some more. We need to increase our coffers first, though.
(added August 12, 2011)
Gozren 23 – After a year of being caught in bureaucratic affairs the Guardians are back on the road exploring new territory in the south. The Tannersons want us to find their son, Tig, who is a spirited boy but has been gone for 4 days now. Stas the trapper wants Hodac dead, with Hodac being some kind of beast. We’ll recognize the thing because it still has a harpoon lodged in its back. On the road we meet Loran, a Halfling journeyman who wants to accompany our group. He follows along.
Gozren 24 – We come across a tense situation between local loggers and a nixie. The fey was angry because the loggers cut down 5 trees sacred to her. They ignored her pleas to stop, so she kidnapped 2 loggers and is holding them under water. She’ll release them when the trees are replaced. Satarbish wants to kill the fey, since the loggers are a part of Five Towers and if we bargain with the fey now, we set precedent. I disagree, since the fey were here first. Sparksand offers to switch places with the loggers underwater, to which the nixie agrees. I negotiate a truce and the nixie informs us where we can find a dryad to get quick growing acorns.
Gozren 25 – We find the dryad and her satyr companion in her grove. She begs us to aid her fight a nightmarish tree called a scythe tree, which is terrorizing the area. In return she will give us all her earthly possessions, including the magical acorns. We vow to do so.
Gozren 27 – We found the tree and reduced it to kindling. The danger lay in its long ‘limbs’ and sharp tips. It could even break off its branches and throw them like spears, which I discovered when I flew off to escape its grasp, only to be skewered in midair. Unpleasant. We found some items in its trunk, including a magical robe that Sparksand may be interested in.
Gozren 28 – We returned to the dryad, who was delighted to hear the tree menace was put down for good. True to her word she gives us her possessions, including the acorns. Thanking her we rode hard for the nixie’s pond and traded the acorns for Sparksand. The nixie was pleased with us and I promised to contact her in the future for negotiations regarding land rights and mutual protection.
Gozren 29 – Going northwest we came across a bubbling swamp and found an abandoned bell tower of Erastil. Satarbish climbs the tower and rings the bell on a strange whim. We collectively shat our pants as a huge green dragon emerged from the swamp to tell us to get lost. The dragon tore off the tower and threw it hundreds of feet away, with Satarbish still in it. Expecting to find him dead, he comes out of the adjacent woods wiping twigs and dirt off his clothes.
Gozren 30 – We go west. Sparksand tried on the robe today and apparently he can create skeletons with some of the embroidery.
Desnus 1 – We go southwest into a densely wooded forest. We found a large suit of armour, likely an iron golem because of its lack of rust, covered in vines. It appeared to be guarding an entranceway into the earth that is covered in clear glass. We decided not to investigate too closely as there was powerful magic involved.
Desnus 6 – I have to explain the gap in my journal. You see, on the night of the 1st, we were ambushed by trolls. 7 trolls to be exact. Sparksand tried fighting with magical fire, but the robe was apparently cursed and the poor elf was covered in biting insects. Turns out it was a Robe of Vermin. We got captured as food. “We” being myself, Claire and Loran. Sparksand, Temujin and Satarbish followed us to attempt a rescue when they could. We travelled for 2 days in sacks, fed gruel, and eventually stripped of our goods when the Halfling tried to keep attacking the trolls through the sack. We did manage to overhear that there was a “Dancing Lady” in a Keep, and the “fey queen” ordered the trolls to leave the Keep alone.
On the 4th of Desnus we arrived at the trolls lair and we were marinated. The outside trio rescued us on the 5th, storming in and out. The past few days have just been awful, I was so glad I could bathe. I also managed to uncurse Sparksand this evening, though along with his moonradish addiction the fellow is in bad shape.
Desnus 7 – We have returned to Five Towers to report on our southern journey and take stock of our town.
Desnus 8 – I am leaving Five Towers. I have had enough of Satarbish with his intrusive and extraordinary violent methods. I have stepped down as ruler and will go north to Brevoy with Sparksand.
I ought to explain. It happened yesterday after we returned from our wilderness excursion. There was trouble on the edge of town. An orator named Grigory was manipulating a crowd of peasants and townsfolk into believing the Guardians were selfish, inept, and cared not for the common person, etc, etc. He was trying to cause dissent, and he was getting results. As Ruler, I felt it my duty to win back the hearts of the people, so I engaged in debate with him. It took me some time, but I was consistently defeating his arguments and rhetoric, even when he used subtle magic to bolster his skill. Then, just when the crowd was about to boo Grigory off the makeshift stage, Satarbish gives the kill command to his assassin in the crowd! In plain view of everyone! I tried to throw myself in the path of the assassin’s dagger, but Grigory was still stabbed, although not killed. With the crowd in shock, and many of Grigory’s accusations suddenly justified, we all looked bad, particularly myself. Disgusted, I quit my post as ruler.
Desnus 9 – I am on the road with Sparksand, who slipped further into insanity when he re-donned the cursed robe. He believed the curse was removed entirely, when in reality the curse was only lifted temporarily so he could remove the robe. It took me a few tries to remove this curse this time. The robe is growing attached to the elf.
Desnus 11 – It was not a good day. I met with Brevoy agents and they didn’t care about what was happening down south in Five Towers. They had enough problems on their hands with the assassination of the prince. Frankly, they didn’t even believe me and my stories of Satarbish and his secret squad of stealthy spies and slashers. If I am honest, I must blame Sparksand, whose mind has gone off to the far realms. He raves and rants endlessly now. I had no credibility with him around.
Desnus 12 – It was a worse day. Erastil is not pleased with me and my recent decisions. His avatar came to me in a dream last night and spoke harsh words. I had abandoned my duty, my home, and my community. When I tried to argue my side, the Great Elk gored my dream-self with His antlers. I awoke in agony to find two weeping wounds on my chest, where the antlers had pierced me in the dream. While the punishment was severe, Erastil was forgiving enough to give me a second chance. I still had my spells and my healing, and a strong motive to return to Denrauth.
Desnus 15 – I have returned to Five Towers a humbler man, not seeking a place on the Council right away. In my absence, Claire has taken over as Baroness, which is appropriate considering her seniority. Somehow Satarbish became the General, though how the people see him as a hero I will never understand. Temujin also left in a panic, as the constant same patrol in the outlands of the barony caused him to start the Bleaching. Two brothers, mercenaries I think, have come to the city, intent on training the militia into something useful. They are Remus and Romulus and they do everything together. I am suspicious they are not brothers, but actually lovers. Loran the Halfling vanished at some point, I honestly forget when. A dwarven monk was temporarily Claire’s bodyguard, before he was summoned home. He was replaced by a mysteriously cloaked monk named “Sheik”.
Desnus 16 – The Guardians go forth again, circling around the eastern border of the Tuskwater Lake to explore some new areas before we confront the trolls again.
Desnus 18 – Tragedy struck again in the east. We crossed paths with a Cyclops, an ancient beast almost extinct and very powerful. It spoke Giant and at first I thought it was a hill giant, so I began diplomatic talks. Well, somehow it moved with ridiculous speed and surprised me (it is really amazing how such a bulky thing can move so fast), almost killing me with one strike of its club. I was not going to survive, but Claire came riding in on Cinnamon and saved me. Unfortunately, Cinnamon took the brunt of the next few hits from the Cyclops and died. As most of the group turned tail and ran, Remus and Romulus covered our retreat. We never saw them again.
Desnus 19 – We were lured by a leucrotta, a beast that can imitate voices, into a trap, but quickly killed the creature. We found its lair and some blue dragonhide armour and shield.
Desnus 20th – We turned around and went west.
Desnus 21 – We get to the Tuskwater and find some blackcaps for Old Beldame, unfortunately it is also the territory of a tenticulous, a strange plant creature. Inside its gut we rescue Roland of Bedevere, a paladin.
Desnus 22 – Keep going west, stopped by a river on the Candlemere, where we spot 6-12 lights flitting about as we camp. The lights are will-o-the-wisps.
Desnus 23 – We go south. We heard sobbing from something giant and found a hill giant named Monguk. I make an alliance with him because he wants to fight the trolls. We also promise alcohol.
Desnus 24 – We go east following a river and crossing at an old ferry station we meet a dwarven warrior who introduces himself as a dragon shaman. Intrigued, we let the fellow join the group. His name is Balanthor.
Desnus 25 – We go back west.
Desnus 26 – South of the Candlemere we are ambushed by worgs during the day. We end their menace.
Desnus 27 – We keep going west, and poor Roland got picked up by a wyvern. I cast a Fly spell on the Sheik and he tackles the wyvern in flight. Roland survives the fall.
Desnus 28 – We find the troll lair. The Sheik, perhaps over-confident from wrestling with the wyvern, leaps up to confront 2 trolls on guard at the entrance. He is quickly pulled apart limb from limb by the trolls. Another loss of a Guardian. I think I’m turning numb. As a group we venture inside, killing the 2 guards, and another 2 inside along with their 3 strange troll-hounds, who can also regenerate. Fire and acid works on them, too, though. Balanthor proves that by breathing his dragon fire. Handy fellow to have in the group, there. We meet a captive of theirs, a Halfling sorcerer named Jamiir Shadespawn. We are delighted to have arcane power again. We find their leader, a huge troll with a magical club and a necklace of fireballs. He was talking to some weird worm creature who said that Queen Nyressa wants us dead. Just before the worm creature teleports away, he releases the gaes on Monguk, who was working for them all along. Between Monguk slamming away with his club, and they troll leader, they beat most of us senseless, and I spend most of my time healing everyone to consciousness until I too fade to black. Monguk was killed before I was knocked out, and someone kills the leader, thank Erastil. On the wall of that cave is a map of Five Towers, showing an in-depth attack on our town, including weak points. The map was written in a neat hand. After killing the leader we find one more troll, some kind of two-headed sorcerer or witch, and a magical circle with powers unknown. He flees out the front entrance, only to be shot dead.
Exiting the troll lair we found ourselves surrounded by a ragtag army of barbarians, rangers, and other such wild folk. Leading them is Wolf. Wolf plans to attack our barony and restore the wildness of the Stolen Lands. Claire rose to the occasion and challenged Wolf to single combat. It was an epic duel, as they circled and clashed, cutting each other and fighting to the last breath. Erastil was on her side, and Claire defeated Wolf. Wolf’s wartribe disbands and fade off into the forest. They are broken for now, but will likely return if a new leader can rally them.
Desnus 29 – We rest and then go north-east. We find another landcarp with a fishhook in its mouth. We planned on eating it but it disappears that night, the ropes tying it were cut by a bladed weapon.
Desnus 30 – We came across a lizardfolk village where we hear cries of a little boy. Satarbish goes to talk with some nervous guards on the village wall, and suddenly we are engaged in battle with them! After the trolls, the lizardfolk are easy to defeat, with the exception of their chief, who takes a bit longer to kill. We finally find the boy, Tig, being held captive and tortured by some kind of spirit ghost. I think it may have been a will-o-the-wisp.
Desnus 31 – Summer has finally arrived. The weather is warm and wonderful. We meet ‘Catsfriend’, some crazy hermit with a puma and I have my suspicions he is Samuel, the brother of Bokken. How many crazy hermits could there possibly be, right? We had plans to meet Old Beldame and give her the blackcap mushrooms, so we do that while Roland remains with Catsfriend. Old Beldame is happy to greet us, we get some gems in return, and we confirm that Catsfriend is indeed Samuel. We hurry back, only to find Catsfriend dead. He tried to ambush Roland, who defended himself well.
Saraneth 1 – We return to Five Towers to see smoke and destruction. A huge owlbear had torn through town, destroying a block of buildings. We settle things down at home for the next few days.
Saranet 4 – We depart after the owlbear, which is easy to track. We find its lair and lure it outside. The beast is huge! We manage to kill it, but Roland dies under its vicious claws. I tried to save Roland, but my healing could not keep pace with the creature’s fury. After the owlbear dies, it shrinks down to regular size. There was some kind of enchantment upon it. We find a map inside its lair, with Five Towers circled and the lair of the owlbear clearly marked. Exploring the lair we encounter some violent fungi and shriekers. The violent fungi necrotize the flesh of Claire and Balanthor badly, while Jamiir goes off exploring invisibly. Jamiir finds a corpse with a magical ring, which he puts on. He also finds a baby owlbear and the ring charms it. Minutes later, though, the baby owlbear grows to adult size and pounces on Jamiir, tearing the Halfling apart. After we kill the owlbear, it returns to baby size. The ring was cursed to do that. The ring is made of nymph hair and was made by fey. We mourn our losses and build a cairn.
A year passes as we rebuild our town and settle further in.