I'm currently running a group here in Houston, and we're playing Castles and Crusades. The group is currently adventuring in the Counties in Airhde (Kleaves, Ceeana, Kareelia, and Anglamay) with forays into the Hobgoblin Kingdom of Burnevitse, and the Hanse Cities. This is their story, we will see how long it lasts
Vivi Mcthiefty, Halfling Thief
Chester McShoulder Stomper, Gnome Illusionist
Lorden Kinsfolk, Human Druid
Guddar, Dwarven Cleric of the All-Father
Severence, Half-orc Barbarian
After successfully hunting down the "Bandit Lord" Angrad in the Ceeana Wilderness our intrepid group of adventures found themselves on the road to Capua (Capital of Ceeana) where they could claim their bounty. They were actively discussing what they would do with the 1000 GP bounty Angrad's delivery would bring them. Even with the expenses of two months in the field each of them was expecting over a hundred crowns. Their joking and dreaming was cut short by the sound of a familiar war horn. It seems Angrad's lackeys weren't willing to let him go just yet.
Quickly 7 Bandits on horses, 3 riding double, crested the hill in front of them at full charge. The leader was easy to pick out since he was the only one alone on his horse, and didn't have any problems shouting orders at the other 6. With no time to ready themselves to stand against a charge Serverence and Guddar immediately advanced on foot to meet their foes as far from their wagon as possible. Vivi, as normal, relied upon her shortbow and deadly aim. Lorden was driving the wagon and was occupied with maintaining control. Chester, took up position in the back of the wagon and kept an eye on their captive.
Severence and Guddar managed to easily break up the charge and delay two of the horses. One of the riders on each dismounted and engaged while the riders swung around for another pass. The remaining horses managed to charge past towards the wagon. Vivi's arrow took the leader of the double riders in the chest, but the passenger managed to grab the reins and keep control. Using his dead companion as a sheild against Vivi he and the horn blower made for the wagon. A quick excahnge of blows found both Guddar and Severence with dead men at their feet and ready to intercept another charge, meanwhile the two bandits that had made the wagon had engaged Chester. "Just toss me Angrad's head!" screamed the Hornblower, but all he heard in response was a wail of terror quickly cut short by a gurggle. Chester had distracted the bandit with a terrifying illusion and the followed up by slitting his throat. The horn blower managed to reach over the side of the wagon and grab Angrad by the hair, but a grazing miss from Vivi kept him from pulling the bound captive from the wagon. Seeing half their number defeated the remaining two horsed bandits broke off their charge and fled. Left alone, the horn blower, was quickly subdued by the combined might of the party.
The encounter caused Chester to take a much closer look at the tatoos that lined Angrad's face, and after a quick conversation and a forced shaving it was clear that Angrad had one more secret to share to the party. A map of sorts had been hidden under his hair. Angrad happily traded information for his life as he knew his bounty was dead or alive. He informed the party the map was to an old ruin just beyond the Great Wall where they had stashed loot for a former employer. Coins, trade goods, weapons, and anything else that was requested. Their last drop had been several months ago, but nothing had been removed in the 2 years he had been making drops. Since Angrad was being cooperative the party decided to let him reach Capua alive. It was unlikely that Angrad would survive his sentence, but apparently he was willing to try anything for the chance to stay alive.
The remainder of the trip to Capua was uneventful. The only excitement being the entrance to the city where they had to formally claim the bounty. The gate captain attempted to separate Angrad from the group, but Severence was having none of that. She insisted that they stay with him the whole way to the bounty office or that the bounty agent meet them at the gates. The gate captain quickly assigned a squad of soldiers to escort the party to the bounty office. Paperwork was filled out, receipts were given, and the party agreed to return the following day for the reward, as the office did not keep that much currency on hand. The night passed over cups of wine, fine foods, hot baths, and warm beds. Two months of harding living had left their marks, but a night of luxury was on the menu. The full reward was collected the following morning and left the party with a fair sum after expenses. They immediately set out planning how to find Angrad's Stash. The alterations Severence had made to Angrad's head tatoos, and the tongue swelling berries Lorden had forced down his throat ensured any other would be seekers would be well behind the party.
The trip was two week march by foot, but only one week by horse. That and Capua being the center of the horse trade, with the finest horses in Airhde decided the party on upgrading their transport. Their wagon ensured they would be able to carry enough supplies to the sight, and be able to recover any of the heavier "trade goods" Angrad described. So it was with good mounts and high sprits the company set out for the Great Wall and Bruneviste beyond.
The trip to the wall was uneventful and they were able to pass through one of the many gates/gaps of the old ruin. Both Ceenana and Burnevitse post patrols on the wall in this area but trade must flow, and beyond the occasional raid in both directions things were quite these days. Inside Burneviste they encountered a Hobgoblin trade caravan that warned them of wolves in the area as well as the occasional bandit group. Ash Feat the next town down the old Imperial Road was good for trade and open to all travelers. After sharing a meal and a campsite they parted ways. It wasn't long before the party found the area described by Angrad's map (Chester had a fine hand and had created a copy). The path led into The Coal Range Mountains. The rocky terrain slowed their progress as the wagon had to negotiate some tricky passages, but it was clear the area had seen wagon traffic in the past. Curiously it was if the current 'road' had rocks and debris dumped on it deliberately. Finally the party came upon the entrance to a box canyon at the top of a rise. Looking down they could clearly make out the valley. A stone structure matching Angrad's description was at the back of the canyon up against a mountain side with lake in front of it. Steep cliff walls rose to either side. What Angrad had failed to mention was the Kell of Goblins who were living between the mouth of the Canyon and Lake.
The Kell was small, maybe 100 individuals all told. Most were women and childern, but it was clear they had been spotted some time ago. As a group of Goblins were already waiting for them. They didn't advance to attack immediately so a parly was apparently in the offering. The party heaved to and signaled their desire to talk. Seven goblins, one a bit larger and much better armed than the others, advanced to meet them. Guddar decided to take the lead, but was quickly questioned by the goblin leader.
"I am Throkard Skullsmaster, who are you..."
"I am Goddard, and these are my companions. We seek..."
"... and why are you here?"
" to enter the temple on the other side."
"Ah, so you wish to trade..."
"Indeed, we are willing to trade for safe passage through your village. What would..."
"Give us the wagon."
"That is outrageous! We simply want to pass..."
"Give us the wagon."
At this point Chester started moaning and waving his fingers. His attempt to charm Throkard did not go well, and his poor attempt to hide what he had done enranged Throkard Skullsmasher. "You will now give us the wagon and everything on it and we will let you leave!"
"To hell with this." said Goddard, "Attack!"
Battle was joined, but the party was of two minds. Goddard began casting another spell, while Guddar and Severance charged forward to engage Throkard and his minions. Lorden and Vivi on the other hand were focused on retreating from what they viewed as very poor odds. There were only seven goblins here, but it was clear there were more warriors nearby. Lorden cast an entaglement spell while Vivi got the wagon turned around. Severence and Guddar managed to dispatch one of the goblins that avoided Lorden's vines while Chester found himself between two more. Vivi an Chester got the wagon moving and called for their compainons to follow them, but it appeared that Throkard had broken free of the vines and had engaged Severence. The Barbarian was surprised by Throkards ferocity and quickly discovered the Goblin Chief was no easy opponent. Guddar found himself ambushed by 2 more goblins who had been hiding nearby. He took two grevious wounds from their spears before crushing the head of one of them with his hammer. Chester, ill equiped for close combat, was quickly knocked unconscious by his opponents. Which allowed those goblins to move in behind Severence and Guddar cutting off their retreat. Vivi managed a deadly shot from the retreating wagon dropping one of the goblins that had moved in behind Severence. Severence and Throkard's duel had reached a fever pitch and both were bleeding heavily from multilpe wounds, but Throkard was able to trip her with help from his minion behind her and quickly take her out of the battle. As the wagon dropped below the crest Vivi witnessed Guddar being overwhelmed by the rest of the goblins.
For the next hour Vivi and Lorden whipped their horses in a fast retreat to put as much distance between them and any chasing goblins as they could.
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