RPG@QUT Matt's D&D

The Joust - Matt's rough notes

These are just rough notes; players, please write something prettier!

It is 20 Patchwall 598 CY. See timeline and calendar.

Heroes all came to Harkenwold. To the festival came many from Fallcrest, to buy, sell, and see the Joust. The wizard Fenstrom, disguised as an elixir seller “Stormy”, came in a big wagon and showed off the “Cloaked Wonder”. Later it was revealed that this was Moosook, who killed Ercullum in the joust and, supported by other goblins, demanded tribute. The heroes beat Moosook, who told them more about Fenstrom. The Woodsinger Clan traced the wagon down the King’s Road to a spot in the west part of Harken Forest.

The heroes decided to release Moosook and his underling goblin, and follow them into the forest, to quickly find Fenstrom to Daggerburg Keep and take him on before he has a chance to settle in and build up his defenses.

See Theren for more of his backstory.

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The Joust
Theren's Log

Zippy says: This is Theren’s account of events. For the TL;DR version, without Theren’s blather, see The Joust – Matt’s rough notes

Everyone in town was admiring my new weapons and armour. I have to admit they do make me look even more strong and handsome than I actually am – which is a difficult task! Anyway I had decided to come to Harkenwold‘s famous jousting competition to see what funny little things the humans were up to. Naturally I wasn’t going to participate myself because that would be unfair to everyone else. There were lots of people I recognised from the village, and a few out of towners who had come all the way from Fallcrest to admire me and the lands that I protect.

There was one guy who came into town on a big wagon that was all covered up. He was wearing the stupidest wizard hat I ever saw and calling himself ‘Stormy’. PAH! I wasn’t taken in for a second. As if someone of my intellect would ever believe such nonsense. Unfortunately the humans were all besotted, and were buying his dubious wares. So as not to arouse suspicion, I too pretended to be taken in by ‘Stormy’, perusing his wares and talking loudly about how amazing he was in the hopes of finding out more about him. I should remind my readers that I was pretending even though my acting is so amazing that even I am sometimes taken in.

‘Stormy’ was not only selling wares – he announced that he had a champion to compete in the Joust. This so called champion was pretty big. He was wearing a huge cloak to cover himself and swaying around like he was drunk. When that Cloaked Wonder got in the ring though… even the dimmest of candles could have told you there was something wrong with him too. He was far too aggressive in his first fight – snapped the baker’s leg as though it was a twig. These fragile humans seem to break so easily. The only person in the Joust who could stand up to him was the cleric from out of town, Ercullum.

Ercullum and the Cloaked Wonder went at it, and for a while it even looked as though Ercullum might win. In anger, the Cloaked Wonder started to attack with his full might, striking at his opponent with intent to damage, until finally he had Ercullum down on the ground, and stabbed the stricken cleric right through the chest. It was in the aftermath of this shock that the Cloaked Wonder revealed that he was none other than Moosook, a hobgoblin and chief of the Rock Roller Clan. He was there for revenge on Ercullum who had lead a raid on the goblins some time earlier. Other goblins began to pour into the arena, armed to the teeth. There must have been hundreds of them. Moosook demanded tributes from the villagers, who were too cowed to rise up against the goblin army. I was not intimidated by the odds, and would have slain them all myself then and there if I had not feared that innocent people might be caught in the crossfire.

As it was, there were a few others that I picked out in the crowd. There was a lad from my village – he is young and foolish, but one day I fancy he would like to be as strong and mighty as me. There was a dragonborn that didn’t look like they would be easily subdued, a mage who looked indignant to the point of rebellion (you know how delicate a mage’s ego can be), and an elf. I share an unspoken bond of kinship with elves, so I knew I could count on her help. We met up in secret to form a plan of attack. From there I snuck into the caravan from which the goblin army had spewed forth, with the hope of finding something to use against them.

It was black in there like the depths of an outhouse pit, and it smelled about ten times worse. This was very trying for my preternaturally keen senses, but I investigated as best I could. All that I could find was a smelly pot with some kind of mashed up mess in it, an array of weapons, and a medium sized trunk surrounded by gobbledygook symbols. It looked too heavy to move, and when I went in for a closer inspection an alarm went off. Naturally they were aware that they would need a powerful spell to keep me from stealing away with their treasure… unfortunately they had one. A few people, turned evil through greed or fear, leapt in to pull me away, but I struggled free. I grabbed the smelly pot, thinking that it must be some kind of potion – after all, potions usually smell like dung, and they taste as though you are licking a pig’s armpit.

When I got back with the prize, I was told that it was just food stuffs but personally I think it was just magic that was too advanced for our mage to understand. Knowing he was of the temperamental variety, however, I did not say anything. Thinking that it could be used to lure the goblins into eating narcotic laced meats, however, someone popped off to a herbalist to get the recipe and then went out to the woods to get a few of the herbs. I don’t care too much for this flower picking business, even though (as an elf) I am fantastic at it, and incredibly in tune with nature.

Well it worked – the stupid goblins fell for the trick, and I must have been right about the herbs being a magic potion because the goblins looked extremely ill once they were done eating. Only a potion could make you look that bad. We used the opportunity to climb up one of the stands, hoping for a surprise attack on our foes. There were snipers hiding in the area, but we could only see a few of the stupider ones, who hadn’t quite managed to conceal themselves.

Our elven paladin charged down to our enemies, graceful and sprightly as elves always are. Trying to get down from the stands she fell face first onto the ground. I was confused at the time as to how this might have happened, thinking that perhaps the goblins were using magic to defeat us. I have since come to realise that she was trying to lull the opposition into a false sense of security – how clever! I truly have a way to go before I can call myself an elf. A small way, not too much of a way, but a way never-the-less.

The dragonborn was about to attack when they heard a cry from their mother and had to rush off to defend their family. I can understand the sentiment, although my family does not understand me. Even though they are mere humans I would defend them with my life. It only goes to show that this dragonborn is loyal and dependable – I hope that we will journey together later.

We were mysteriously joined by a dwarf cleric. He is a funny sort, wearing shoes that are so tall he can almost speak to me eye to eye. I don’t trust him much, he’s a suspicious looking fellow – but I suppose that is because I am an elf, and he is a dwarf, and traditionally we would not like one another. It also might be because he has a suspicious looking beard, is he trying to hide something?

I got in the first shot, sinking one of my bolts right into Moosook’s neck, and drawing the first blood. He looked at me, and would have roared in anger if he had not seen my fearsome visage and trembled instead with fear. He and his fellows were stricken with sickness and looked to be quite sluggish for the first part of the fight, allowing us to find our places, and for the less experienced fighters to get their footing.

During the battle our main party wallowed about in the mud while I tried to make sure the stands were free of snipers. Alas the snipers were too well protected, no doubt by some sort of powerful magic. In the end I was forced to join my fellows on the ground where I could do more damage. The dwarf cleric stayed up in the stands, foiled by snipers, or perhaps dawdling because he was too afraid to enter the proper fight. Our mage took a number of arrows from the snipers, and was looking poorly by the time the fight swung in our favour. We surrounded Moosook and threatened to reveal his family’s past scandal if he did not order his forces to lay down their weapons. Utterly defeated, he prostrated himself before us, begging for us to spare his life. Thus we defeated Moosook and his army of goblins, and saved the humans. Unfortunately the carriage drove away. Using my keen eyesight, I saw that the driver was none other than ‘Stormy’ who had been mysteriously absent during the battle. He managed to get away, but not before our mage struck him a near mortal blow. ‘Stormy’ cried out to our mage, saying that one day Zephyr would work for him, but it was clear that this was a desperate bluff. The elves of the Woodsinger Clan attempted to follow ‘Stormy’, but even their valiant white steeds were unable to keep up with the foul carriage, magic’d as it was for speed.

While we were interrogating the goblins, that dwarf cleric healed our enemies. I am not sure why he did it, but I strongly feel that he is working from within the group to take us down. I will be keeping an eye on him. I managed to coax Moosook into giving us information on ‘Stormy’ who shall now be known as Fenstrom. He is indeed a wizard, and a treacherous one at that. Fenstrom has taken over Daggerburg Keep, and the Rock Roller Clan who live there. The group decided (unwisely) to allow Moosook to go free, largely at the behest of that dwarf. The group also decided to follow Moosook back to Daggerburg Keep to finish off Fenstrom before he could ready a retaliatory attack.

On the matter of Ercullum. His uncle (who was at the Joust) begged us to take the cleric’s body to Fallcrest to get him revived. I honestly do not know if we will have the time to do that. We must defeat Fenstrom and his band of goblin lackeys to make sure they do not attack the villages of Harkenwold in search of retribution for their defeat today. We cannot truly venture forth from home before we know that we have made our home safe from those who wish to hurt us where we are least protected. I am sure the dragonborn would share these sentiments, even if the out of towners like that dwarf do not. It is a shame that the cleric Ercullum has died, but he will be only the first of many if we do not succeed. We will do all that we can to see him revived but it is unlikely that we will succeed in this particular task.

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Chasing Moosook-- Matt's rough notes

These are just rough notes; players, please write something prettier!

The party decided to wait until the morning to free Moosook (and his surviving soldier underling Gorg). Fenstrom will get a bit more time to fortify, but he’s already far ahead, and one night would not matter much.

In the meantime, they shopped and visited friends, family, and mentors to say farewell and get last bits of advice {which in DM-speak means they learned their 1st level feats}.

They noticed that the body goblin soldier they killed, named Ang, vanished from the arena. Peque knew from historical studies that this was unusual for Moosook not to have demanded the body. They interrogated Moosook who was silent, but when they tried a gambit to lie to Moosook that they had the body of Ang, Kat’s insight revealed that Moosook knew they were lying. So the party thought that Moosook in fact knows where the body is.

The party established their alignments, went shopping, and learned feats from their various mentors.

Zepher checked on Ercullum and found him on the kitchen table of his uncle Ernst. The latter was completing a home-made remedy to prevent his nephew from being taken as an undead. After some dispute, Zepher’s diplomacy (with a good word from Peque) convinced Ernst that his Gentle Repose ritual would do more good, and not convert him into a demon.

After an extended rest by the party, on the morning of 21 Patchwall. Moosook and Gorg were released, and headed off after a brief speech of impending revenge, which the party mocked. The party followed at a distance.

{Matt explained how skill challenges worked}

“At first the goblins move through the edge of Harken Forest, which has been felled and settled over the years. You are pretty familiar with these parts, as are the goblins. You see farmers hide in their houses and lock their doors as the goblins approach. You keep your distance and have to hustle to keep up. These goblins are in fighting shape and it’s quite a lot of effort to not lose sight of them.” The party tried to keep up and did fine. {Did two collective Endurance checks, and passed one but not the other, resulting in simple success— not a failure, not a bonus.}

“The goblins have headed into the thicker forest, which has not been felled for decades due to fear of the goblins. This is their territory and it’s getting dark and forboding. You can’t keep sight of them without giving yourself away, so it’s up the trackers in the party to read the signs.” They tried to remember where an old trail, dating back a hundred years, might lay, but they could not recall. {Did not make a History check.} The two trackers, Amos and who else, tried to pick up the trail. After one bad start {both failing the Nature check} they found the trail and led the party. {Amos made the second check, which was good enough— half or more the participants need to make the check. As a result, they party got a simple success.}

“The forest is getting swampy and the trail is easier to follow now with big wet footsteps marking their passage. You come across a gorge and the goblin trail leads right up to the edge. Draped down far side is rope bridge. It can be hooked onto some stone pilings on this side, but the goblins obviously did not bother—they probably jumped across. You are not so confident that is a good idea. Only one can make the jump, but anyone can help out. The helpers, if they pass their check, each give a +2 to the jumper by giving a good strong pushoff. If you help and fail the check, you will slip in your aid and give the jumper a -2.” Amos elected to try the jump. Theren stepped in to help. Peque offered aid as well but Amos thought better of the idea {since Peque was untrained in Athletics}. With a mighty heave from Theren {who rolled a 20 to give a +4}, Amos made it easily.

Meanwhile, Jorn had noticed a glow as of sun nearby. The party found an old stone post with a sigil carved into it. Though Jorn did not recognise it, Theren and Peque quietly recognised it {with a Religion check} as a sigil of Pelor worship which was centuries out of popular use. It was made of gold and some gems, and looked like it could be worth quite a lot. When Jorn was not looking, and Peque standing lookout, Theren stole it— cracking its edge in the process and losing one of the gems {with a failed Thievery check}. Theren put it in his bag.

The rest of the party crossed on the restored bridge as the theft was done. As Theren and Peque crossed the bridge, blinding light seemed to fill their eyes and the bridge felt like it was shaking. They tried to hold up {failing Acrobatics check} but fell down the chasm painfully. Thankfully the sloping sides stopped them before hitting the rocks at the bottom. {Each lost 1 healing surge.}

In the dark forest, following the muddy trail again by candlelight, they finally came to the goblin camp, hearing Moosook, Gorg, and some of the goblin snipers. Theren attempted to sneak up to listen to their conversation, but in a blunder {rolling 1 for Stealth} ended up with a lot of spiders down his back and he yelped. The party cowered in hiding as the goblins looked for them, but eventually the goblins left in haste.

Party got 50XP each for completing the skill challenge!

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The Hunt pt.1
Theren's Log

This is Theren’s log post on the first half of the skill challenge. For a less biased/more accurate account see Chasing Moosook— Matt’s rough notes

Well before we all left to follow Moosook there were a bunch of things that happened. For a start our wizard decided to keep Ercullum’s body fresh with a bit of his mumbo-jumbo, so we might be able to get Ercullum resurrected after all. Ercullum’s uncle Ernst was there and proved difficult when we said we wanted to keep the body fresh. Our wizard (Zephyr is his name, although when angered he is more a hurricane than a gentle breeze) exploded with irritation at Ernst’s obstinacy, which only goes to prove my earlier observation about the touchiness of wizards. Of course being right all the time is very tiresome but I always try my best not to become too jaded and cynical.

In any case I left because the mumbo-jumbo was taking forever! On my way out an old street buddy of mine called me over. He’s always – hold on the dwarf is trying to read over my shoulder, I’m sure of it! I’ll write about my PRIVATE, PERSONAL experiences later.

Anyway after learning some secret techniques that are cool and secret I rejoined the rest of the group. The dragonborn (Peque) was there too, which is great because I need someone I can trust, if that dwarf is going to be in the group. Everyone got some adventuring kits, strapped them on, and met with the newly released Moosook. Actually first we looked for the bodies of his friends but they were gone… weird stuff and kinda suspicious. We told Moosook we had the bodies but he didn’t comment except to say something like “What you don’t kill will come back stronger to get you” I don’t really recall the phrase very well, because it was obviously a bluff, and I wasn’t frightened by it.

When Moosook and his little friend had run away as fast as their legs could carry them, we started following. They were going quite fast, as if fearful of us changing our minds! At first we could keep up easily, but after a while even I started to feel a little tired, and one of the dwarf’s high-heels broke. I think his name is Yawn or something, maybe because he’s so tiresome.

After a while we came to a more woody area. It was pretty dense and although I could move easily enough (being an elf and used to the wilds) the rest of the party was hindered. Being that no one could think of any possible game trails to follow we had to slog (I mean they slogged, I just walked) through the thick of it. The group managed to recover the goblin footprints, because goblins are so stupid they didn’t even think of hiding their tracks. Anyhow we followed the tracks for ages. I should mention here that Yawn kept trying to light up sunsticks or whatever they are called, to give our position away to the goblins. What a dope! I will have to keep my eye on him after all.

As an unrelated note, let it be known that I hate marsh lands! They are wet and sticky and there are SO MANY BUGS. This isn’t what adventuring is supposed to be about. I think I got bitten by so many bugs that my whole body is one giant itch. I took off my shoes a minute ago and twenty leaches must have been in there.

We eventually came to a chasm of sorts with a broken bridge. It looked like those gobbos had jumped right across. Well the others couldn’t make that jump and it was starting to get dark, so we decided to try throwing someone across so we could fix the bridge. I helped with that of course, because I am by far the mightiest in our group. I could have made the jump myself, but I wanted the young lad from my village to have a go. He’ll never get as awesome as me if he doesn’t practice, after all. I think he is called Amos Swiftblade. So while young Swiftblade was at work on the bridge, I noticed that dwarf looking at something. He seemed to have no idea what it was, but of course I recognised it as a Pelor symbol, made of gold and gems of all things! Out in the middle of nowhere! Just goes to show that Pelor worshipers have too much gold, really. Well I had a look around but there didn’t seem to be any reason to leave the thing behind, and I imagine it could probably sell for a tidy sum. I reckon it’s not getting worshiped out here or anything! What a shame… So I figured I could sell it to someone who will appreciate it in one of the cities. It’s a favor to Pelor, from me, which is pretty generous on my behalf, I think. I didn’t tell Yawn what it was because otherwise he’d probably light a candle on it or something and demand that we leave it where it is. Yawn left to go over the bridge, and everyone followed except Peque who stayed with me. I knew I could trust him! I’m such a great judge of character.

The thing must have been rusted in or something, so it broke when I levered it out; one of the gems came out and fell into the chasm. I still put the symbol in my bag but I don’t know if it’s worth quite as much now as it was before it broke. Peque and I went to go across the bridge when suddenly a foul spell fell over us. I am sure that dwarf was trying to kill me! He knows I am wary of him, and he was trying to get rid of me. A great light was shining in my eyes so I couldn’t see a thing. I screwed my eyes closed but the light was still there, as if I were looking into the mid day sun. That’s how I know that sun worshiper is behind all this! The bridge started to shake so that I lost my balance. Poor Peque was still with me at the time, and if an elf cannot keep his balance there is no chance for a dragonborn! We tried to leap to the other side, but were tossed into the chasm.

Despite the bright spots on our vision we managed to catch ourselves from falling the entire way, but not before getting a bruising on the way down. Yawn threw one of his stupid sunthingers in as well, just to add insult to injury. I was going to leave it there, but the lovely maiden elf who travels with our party requested it to be retrieved. I am sure she is just trying to make the dwarf believe that she is on his side, because a forest sister would never really side with a beardy weirdy like Yawn over an elf, like me.

When we caught up with the gobbos we found that they had made camp. A few of the snipers that ran away before had joined up with them, and the whole group was talking in gobbo speak. Young Swiftblade was going to sneak up on them, but he bowed in deference to my superior skill. Unfortunately the goblins are craftier than I suspected, and they launched a trap on me where a large number of spiders and creepy crawlies were dumped down the back of my armour. I think I trod on the tail of a fox or wolf because there was a terrible yowling nearby. The rest of the group is saying it was me, but actually I remained stoically silent. Whatever the yowling was, the group had to hide while the goblins searched the area. Luckily they didn’t find us.

I may not have the chance to update this journal when we get to Daggerburg Keep, which is why I am writing what has happened so far, while it is still fresh in my mind. I will try to keep up with these entries but it might have to wait until after the group proves themselves victorious over the dastardly Fenstrom. All things considered, we’re in the dark, and the cold. We’re damp from the swamp, and I’m not allowed to speak (the others say it is because it might alert the gobbos to our position). This isn’t at all what I imagined an adventure to be.

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Zepher's Log: Don't take tea from strange old women kids!

This is Zepher‘s rather brief account on the events of the past few games. More thorough entries (and less honest ones in Therin’s case) are available below and above.

Entry 46
It has been a long while since I last updated this journal and much has changed since then. We arrived at the festival which was short overcome by a gang of goblins. Most of which were slain by both myself and several adventurers. I do not wish to reflect on this too much. Fighting goblins once again and the stress of having to use Gentle Repose to preserve Ercullum, a cleric who fell during the battle, all in one day was almost far too much for me to bear. To cut a long story short I have left the performers for now and have grouped up with the adventures with whom I fought. We are in stealthy pursuit of Moosook, the goblins leader, who we let go( I still think we should have tortured him first) in the hope of finding the mysterious wizard Fenstrom who started the attack (and knew my name???)

The party is nice, if a little clumsy. In the last few days I have seen: our elvin paladin “Kat” fall face first into the ground after trying to perform some sort of battle charge , our rogue Theren and warlock “Pella” fall off a seemingly completely stable bridge and our dwarven cleric “Jorn” (He walks on stilts….I thought that was noteworthy)actually HEAL Marsook…There’s also Amos who seems slightly more capable on his own two feet. Despite his incredible arrogance I must at least give Theren credit for sharing my opinions about TORTURING THE EVIL GOBLIN LEADER RATHER THAN BLOODY HEALING HIM! …Anyway that brings us about up to date until now, as for what’s happened today…..

It all started late last night when for some reason Kat and Pella ran off to attend to something involving… quite honestly I wasn’t paying attention. Shortly there after the remaining party encountered a small hut. After cautiously approaching with Therin’s stealth we then sent the overly trusting Jorn in to investigate.What we found was a very old woman who offered us stew. Then after asking about why were here offered to make us a tea that would allow us to better track the goblins…whose tracks we had just lost.While she was preparing this tea I decided to detect magic on one of the more unusual jars on the shelf hut. To my surprise I instead detected an incredibly powerful field of magic coming from the woman herself. I informed the rest of the party an immediately began questioning her. Her story seemed fair enough but I still felt very uneasy. When the tea was ready Jorn (overly trusting clerics) and Theren (apparently foolish as well as arrogant) immediately drank up. Me and Amos felt we should just let the pair lead us but the woman wouldn’t seem to accept this. I pretended to drink the tea as did Amos, though unfortunately he was caught and then drank the tea seemingly out of guilt. The consequences of this became apparent shortly after…when my companions started to claiming “The tree’s are trying to hit me”. I’ve since been following them through the wilderness trying to bring them back to reality and making sure they don’t hurt themselves.Their hallucination were most vivid and I even had to convince them at one point that the ground was not shaking, nor were the boulders surrounding us giant turtles. I must give them credit for their own attempts at staying alive though their drugged state did leave them for the most part fairly helpless.They seem mostly better now, though I feel as though I’ve spent the last few hours working as a baby sitter for many small, uncontrollable children. I left a “Magic mouth” awhile back to instruct Pella and Kat on how to find us. Hopefully they shall catch up soon, and without running into that wretched old witch. I can hear croacking up ahead.Jorn has just found another Relic and Theren is acting weird…er than usual.I’m beginning to wonder if I should have stayed with my performer buddies. Is slaying more goblins really worth all this?

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Chasing Moosook 2-- Matt's rough notes

As always, these are just the bare bones. Thanks to Zepher and Theren for their much more colourful additions! Check out their links for their fine bios.

Peque had to stop to meditate for an important Dragonborn holiday, and Kat stayed behind to keep watch. {Kat and Mayra were not at the session.}

By the time the party came out of hiding, the goblins and Moosook had moved on, and since this was drier ground, the party soon lost their quarry’s trail. It was fully night and getting cold so they started wondering where they would shelter. They came across a small hut with a cooking fire inside.

Jorn first approached the hut and met Vilma, a very old woman. She seemed harmless and nice enough, and confident that her hut was safe from goblins. Soon the whole party was inside eating stew. Vilma offered them a special tea which would keep them warm all night, and help them see goblin tracks. Zepher quietly tried to detect magic and noted that Vilma has a strong magical aura around her, perhaps protecting her, perhaps disguising her, and was suspicious. Jorn and Theren drank the tea happily. Zepher and Amos were more reluctant and tried to demur, but Vilma insisted and seemed a bit insulted. They both tried to bluff her to make her look away and pour the tea out, but only Zepher succeeded, aided by Amos’ botched attempt.

Interesting note: Jorn noticed a mislabeled jar of mushrooms that seemed to be intending to scare off anyone from opening it. Keen eyes saw a rolled-up vellum note there, which we will call Vilma’s Note. But they saw no good way to get at it with her there.

Soon they were all feeling warm and energised, except Zepher, and headed out into the night, able to soon find and follow glowing goblin tracks.

However, soon those who drank the tea started to feel very odd, followed by hallucinations and paranoia. Zepher was unaffected but had his hands full trying to keep them from freaking out, getting lost, bashing themselves into sharp rocks, trees, and into sucking mud. This was a skill challenge of a mental sort, in the mold of the Obsidian skill challenge. There was many valiant successes and even more hilarious failures. Jorn slapped his companions with a cold, wet shirt. Theren tried to weigh himself down on the swaying ground with a large rock. Amos distributed antidote herbs of dubious origin. Zepher used history, arcana, and diplomacy to talk them down and keep them calm. In the end, they made it out pretty well, with just some minor injuries and a racking cough from the damp cold. {This was a “partial victory”. They all lost 2 surges and got full XP, 100 each. A full victory would have been no surges lost and a loot bonus. A defeat would have been four surges lost and half XP. Good job all around using good RP, clever ideas, and use of backstory to help weave this story.}

As they came down, Jorn saw a ray of weak sunlight shining on a mud pit. He waded in and came back with a +1 Holy Implement, the party’s first magic item! Theren, the only one who knew intimately the details of the Pelor artifact by the bridge, noted that this newly found implement had on its back side a raised seal in the exact shape of an indentation in the back of the artifact, as if they could fit together. Theren decided to keep this to himself, however…

They came across a swamp filled with mud and thornbushes which looked a bit like frogs. Or maybe frogs that looked like bushes. Jorn knew all about these; they were his favourite creature in nature classes {he rolled 20 on Nature}} and recognised them as Thornskin Frogs, quite dangerous. Theren tested this theory by shooting one. They responded aggressively and one lashed out at Jorn with its sticky, thorny tongue, trying to pull him into the mud, but he shrugged it off with Dwarven stoutness. One took a good chunk out of Theren and pulled him into the mud. And the fight was on!

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The Hunt pt.2
Theren's Log

For a more accurate account see Chasing Moosook 2— Matt’s rough notes, and for Zepher’s thoughts on events, see Zepher’s Log.

Theren’s true and accurate historie of the events that unfolded in the house of Vilma, an old lady hermit, and in the wilds afterwards, when the adventurers had moved on:

Forget what I said about being cold and damp, at the moment I am writing from a fireside seat in a small but homely house, being served delicious stew. How did I get here? I found a secluded little house that looked well cared for. My fellows were too frightened to approach so I silently approached the house. To ease their fears I spied upon the occupant, and found it to be a charming old lady. Still uncertain, they decided to send Yawn to test the waters so to speak. The ungrateful dwarf showed his colours, and lied his way into the house, leaving us out in the cold. Are Pelor worshipers even allowed to do that kind of thing? I am seriously starting to doubt that Yawn worships Pelor at all; he didn’t recognise that Pelor symbol and now this! Anyway the rest of the group decided to get ourselves invited in as well, why should we stand around in the dark? At first the lady seemed reluctant to let us in, but after finding out what a witty, and generally charming chap I was she was more than happy to share her house with us.

What luck! The kindly lady has just offered us some special tea that will make goblin tracks glow in the dark. All of the others suspected her to be a witch, but as I am an excellent judge of character I knew right away she was a benevolent and kind soul, after all, anyone who appreciates me must be wise, and intelligent. Yawn pointed out that she was keeping a mysterious scroll hidden away in a jar. What does he expect us to do? Steal from an old lady? It’s probably one of those romance scrolls or something, like the ones my granny used to read all the time. She said they were good for stimulating the blood. Yawn really is the rudest individual I have ever encountered. The others still seem dubious as to whether they should drink the tea. I will show them that there is nothing to fear, but more importantly, Yawn has decided to have some tea, and I don’t trust him to lead the party by himself! I tried to drink young Swiftblade’s tea, as he seemed to be having trouble refusing the old lady’s offer, but she was concerned that without the tea Swiftblade might become frostbitten or some such. Oh well, I will write more later.

[New Entry]

I will kill that old witch if I come across her again! Never before have I met such an untrustworthy, filthy, foul old bat, who is obviously as mad as a stoat, and many times more dangerous! I knew it as soon as I set eyes on her, and anything written to the contrary was merely because at the time I feared she could read my words.

Well the tea was good to start with. I was warm and I could see tracks, as promised. Our wizard, feeling slighted by the old woman when she expressed distaste over his magic (you know how wizards are), did not consume any tea. He looks terribly cold, and with his frail scholarly body it is little wonder. He has been quite stoic about it though, and I haven’t heard one word of complaint from him. This makes me feel confident that I have chosen a good wizard for the party. I must (the writing gets messier here) stop writing for a moment the words are trying to nibble my fingers!

Tree menacing Theren

(Writing resumes relative legibility) Everything if ok, I realifed it waf the fnake fhaped letterf leading the other letterf aftray, hence I am replacing them with ‘F’. Anyway, no fooner had we ftepped out into a forreft than the treef ftarted trying to kill uf! The wizard waf the only one not feeing the tree monfterf, fo I thought it waf a magic fpell of fome variety, but it waf the tea, giving uf hallucinationf. I knew we fhouldn’t have trufted the hag! FPIDERF! The fpiderf! We have had to trudge through heavy mud, rifking life and limb, fighting off hallucinationf left, right and center. The wizard explained everything to me very clearly a moment ago, which if why I thought it would be a good idea to take fome time out to write my journal. It if very calming to think carefully about thefe difturbing eventf. The were fome rockf that looked like turtlef, and the ground waf shaking fo much I couldn’t ftand ftill. I KNOW fomeone if ftanding juft behind my left fhoulder but every time I look they are gone, but I am not frightened, becaufe I’m a dragon.

Yawn juft made himfelf a wet fhirt. He ufed it to flap himfelf in the face, and then he ufed it to flap Fwiftblade in the face. He’f bringing it over here, and I’m juft waiting to fee what he doef next. THAT DWARF! HE FLAPPED ME IN THE FACE! I’m going to eat him! RAWWWRRRRRR! How dare he flap the mighty… (the writing stops here as though Theren lost interest)

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Elven Writings
Entry One

After much consideration I have decided to make a record of the journeys of our brave band of warriors. I must admit that we are a rather interesting group and I am developing a fondness for this odd group of travellers each with their own agenda and spirited ways.

Upon our first meeting I looked to this band of odd characters and thought we had no hope of taking on that scoundrel Moosook and his rabble. Yet that day turned not only into a great victory but also created a bond that seems to be growing stronger every day.

Of course it is our honor and the desire to help others that has drawn us along this path of retribution; however I do have my suspicions that some of our brave band are in search of a little treasure along the way. This is one of the curses of life for some people I guess, yet I seek only justice and divine power this is my treasure.

Our first battle went as well as could be expected for a band of adventurers who had no previous experience of fighting together. I must say that young Theren showed much bravery and is quite handy with that rickety old crossbow that he lugs around everywhere. I might even talk to father about getting him a real bow one day. Hmmm he does have a passion for all things elven I am told. (chuckle) I have heard many a tale of young Theren’s escapades with the Woodsinger Clan and it makes me smile to think I am here fighting side by side with Theren the human elf.

Jorn, Cleric of Pelor, quite a title for such a young and very capable fighter and he has quite a fascination for the light. A worthy pastime if you ask me. Although even though Theren is not so comfortable with our dwarven friend he battled bravely today.

Zepher seems quite a capable wizard better than many I have met and he kind of reminds me of someone I once knew but I can not quite recall who. I am sure it will come to me eventually. My recall is normally quite vivid.

I do believe Amos will prove to be very handy with those twin blades of his, most impressive weapons for their origins. He does so seem to enjoy using them too.

Peque is the most interesting of our group theologically speaking that is. A real Dragonborn, I have never met one before and Peque seems to be quite devout in his mystical beliefs. I am accompanying him on his sabbatical this week just to help out if I can and perhaps learn a little more about our Dragonborn friend.

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Chasing Moosook 3-- Matt's rough notes

Once again, these are just rough notes to nail down the spellings and wiki pages. I count on the players to keep making their much more vivid and entertaining additions!

The frog fight escalated once Kat Rosie and Peque came running in. {Party note: Kat and Mayra were here for this session, so we started the fight over. Also, we learned that Mayra is soon headed back to Mexico City after her semester abroad. We’ll miss you Mayra! And we will miss Peque. At least he makes a great showing in this battle!}

The fight started against two Murklord Frogs and two Thornskin Frogs. They pulled heroes into the sticky mud. Kat was downed but Jorn got her back up again.

Then Vilma showed up on the far side of the swamp. She cackled, “Isn’t my tea fun? I love when adventurers come to visit. I still hate Moosook, but you lot are much more fun to torment. Now it’s time for my little pets here to have a much-needed dinner!” Amos realised that Vilma was speaking with a goblin accent. She started flinging spells, most notably ones that blinded Zepher with a Blinding Hex and stuck Kat on the spot with a Stinging Hex.

A frog went down and the party noted that Vilma was freaked out by Peque’s infernal sorcerer magic. She kept hiding so the Peque could not see her. This all got to be too much when Peque summoned fires from the heart of Hell itself {getting a critical hit with a Hellish Rebuke} to transform a frog into a charred skeleton. She fled, yelling, “You field mice! Sparrowbrains! You have not seen the last of me! I’m off to gather flowers in the moonlight until spring. Don’t you dare enter my hut or else you will suffer my CURSSSSSE!”

Theren had earlier taken a look around and saw a nest of frog eggs. Amos’ nature knowledge revealed that squishing them would probably be a bad idea, from the glaring frog eyes watching him balefully. He went over and searched the nest for the treasure he knew the frogs likely regurgitated there. He found a Circlet of Second Chances, which Kat now is wearing.

After some debate they went back to the hut. After more debate and a lot of tentative probing they realised it was empty and not immediately threatening. Jorn made tea which poisoned himself, Kat, and Amos. {He rolled 1 on Heal as he made it; they each lost a surge.} The party puzzled over the very neat and carefully placed stacks of silver coins, 99 in all, placed around the hut. Only after Zepher moved a pile with Mage Hand did Peque remember {with a History check} that there was an old, nearly forgotten story about how goblin hexers (for that is what she likely was, from their scouring of their memories about history) did exactly this thing to place a curse on whoever disturbed the coins. But it was more like a children’s tale than a verified fact… but for now let’s refer to this putative effect as Vilma’s Curse.

Vilma had in her hut a few interesting things. One was an iron plate in her floor capping a shaft of stone, sealed with a Nail of Sealing. Let’s call it Vilma’s Cellar. Entry was impossible but the trick may be revealed by researching Vilma. Two more nails were found, ready for use. Also found were two Potions of Resistance: if used, spend a surge to get resist poison 5 until the end of the encounter. Some food was ready to take.

Lastly, the party carefully opened the jar that they eyed on their previous visit. Inside, the vellum scroll had the following {copied from DM notes}: A series of journal entries, in goblin, about how to navigate to “The Grove”. At the end is a sketch of a wooden door standing alone in a grove. In the door is a peephole. On the door is a series of Elven runes that have goblinoid question marks angrily scrawled near them, apparently because the hag could not understand them. Kat read them as “Keep Out! Yes, this means you, you ugly little gobin hag who stinks of swampwater.” Next to the door are drawings of golden armadillos. Each has what looks like a ruby embedded in its head. Two shiny pillars of a mysterious white substance also stand among the trees. There is also a drawing of what looks like a squishy soft human shape giving a big hug to a hapless dwarf whose eyes are bulging out. It looks very silly but dangerous, which may sum up the adventure this series of clues may lead towards.

The party slept, some in the hut, some outside. The next morning they resumed following the trail of Moosook, which was trending definitely southward, not, as far as they knew, toward Daggerburg Keep. {They took an extended rest.} They awoke on 22 Patchwall 598 CY. See timeline and calendar.

In the afternoon they reached an odd hill, with the tracks they were following merging with many other goblin tracks. Some of the party members {with two natural 20 rolls in Dungeoneering} knew this place very well, as it was their favourite tale in the Big Book of Adventuring when they were tots. It was the Twisting Halls, an ancient Minotaur temple buried by time, and uncovered, as many ruins are, by nasty creatures such as goblins, for residence. The dungeoneers knew it was a place that often was cleared of its residents and treasure. The historians knew the dark story of the place, which I won’t recount here; hopefully others remember it and will make notes. ;)

They took the rightmost of the tunnels digging into the earth of the hill, and arrived at the doors of the temple. A black horse was tied up near a pool. On entry they were attacked by two goblin cutthroats and soon their Guard Drake. Then a familiar cackle filled the air as they were blasted by Vilma, who was now in her true guise: a goblin hexer. Peque was blinded by her. When she was attacked by Amos, she created a Vexing Cloud and retreated, vanishing around a corner.

{Thus ended the session… more to come…}

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Elven Writings: Frogs and Stinging Hexs

Entry Two

Frogs good grief who would have thought that frogs could be so bothersome really… I must admit though my newfound friends are not only brave but also very resourceful. They did manage to keep together and fend off those dreadful frogs whilst I extracted myself from the mud and then retribution was mine. I called upon Kord for his mighty strength, No frog was going to get the better of me. One Valiant Smite and his slimy little tongue was no more. It was not long before another met a foul end facing our brave adventurers. Then that wretch Vilma blinded Zepher and cast a stinging Hex on me and my whole head was buzzing like I got it stuck in a beehive. Fortunately Jorn was quick to shine his light on the problem and step in to heal us. While Peque let her have it with a ball of fire he calls Hellish Rebuke (and I can see why). You should have heard that foul witch squeal, ran off like a rat being chased by a feral cat she did. The rest of the frogs ran off as well and there we were standing covered in mud and slime, on an island in the middle of a swamp… Daddy would be proud lol…

I must say I was most surprised that Theren and Peque managed to stay away from the treasure until the battle was done, (they do seem to have a nose for trouble those two), and even then it was the Ranger Amos who reminded us of the possibility of treasure being in the frogs nest. The treasure looked quite simple at first a few copper coins and knick knacks but then Amos found something most wonderful. A real thing of beauty (which looks elvan made to me) a beautiful circlet of silver and gemstones. It was a Circlet of Second Chances. I have read about them and was quite excited when I saw what it was. To my shock the group decided that I should receive this item of power to help defend myself and them. I was so excited I had to put it on straight away. I felt most privileged…

Don’t tell anyone but I do believe that Theren may have a soft spot for the young and defenceless and was making sure that no eggs were harmed in our search for treasure. This became even more obvious when we came across the horse. Poor thing tied up inside a goblin hovel, the minute he laid eyes on it Theren had it named and claimed. Wait I digress I am getting ahead of myself here.

After our mighty battle with those pesky frogs we went straight after that ugly witch. We walked right up to her house and sought her out. However the wily wretch was not home; so we made ourselves at home. (Note to self; was that a wicked grin) Theren, Jorn and Peque even slept there for the whole night. The others and I were less trusting and we set up a camp at a safe distance to keep an eye out for Vilma. Besides Jorn made us a delightful healing tea, which almost poisoned those of us silly enough to drink it. One should never drink a tea made by Jorn, or at least not one made in Vilmas hut. So I was glad for some fresh air, I prefer to sleep close to the trees anyway and found it most peaceful after such a hectic day of battle.  

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