The Story So Far… 2014-09-24

Shortly before dawn, a half-Dragon warrior bellows a challenge to the defenders of the keep in Greenest.  Accompanied by 16 kobolds who roughly shove a woman and three children into view.  Sergeant Markguth runs down from the wall yelling, “That brute’s got my family.”

Governor Nighthill looks at the remaining adventurers, just after sending some on to rescue the survivors in the Sanctuary.  A dragon born fighter – badly injured, a halfling in leather armor, and a wood elf by the look of her.  Nighthill order Markguth to stand down and let one of the adventurers answer the challenge.  Markguth growls at the party, “You’d better save my family.”  Then, draws his bow as they approach the Keep’s main gate.

The elf, Anna, takes the lead and strides through the main gate, confidence on her face and in her manner.

With a nod at the kobolds, the half-dragon mocks the elf and calls to release the children.  The halfling, Roscoe, rushes forward and ushers the children into the waiting arms of their father.

Anna draws her sword and charges the big man-dragon missing completely.  The half-dragon slaps her and she comes on strong.  But she’s just not tough enough to withstand the beating that he gives her.  As she falls unconscious at the brute’s feet, he yells, “Enough.”  Then thanks them for the sport and departs, leaving the prisoner behind.  As he leaves, the dragon born fighter carries in the elf’s body and the woman is joyfully reunited with her husband and children.

After some healing and rest, Nighthill asks the adventurers to find the raiders camp and return with information.  Prisoners and treasure would be nice too.  But information is what he really needs.

The adventurers follow the trail easily, eventually sneaking up on, what turns out to be, 3 cultists and 5 kobolds having lunch.  A short battle ensues as the party slaughters the cultists, with the elf and halfling demonstrating their prowess with the bow to take down the fleeing kobolds.

As the terrain turns rockier and the earth is broken into large rock formations and plateaus, a sudden shower of boulders and rocks comes down from the plateau above, squishing the halfling and breaking the elf’s leg.  Vokul quickly lifts the boulder off Anna and she draws her bow, managing to still be highly effective against the uniformed cultists above.  After throwing his axes and withstanding the slings of his adversaries, Vokul moves to rescue Roscoe from the crushing damage, using one of the Healing Potions, he restores the halfling to vigor and Roscoe immediately draws his bow to exact some revenge.  Vokul then charges up the hill to take on the cultists with his sword.  As he crests the ridge, so do the Guardsman and Acolyte, also uniformed, as they came to support the cultists.  With Anna’s arrows slicing through armor, flesh and bone, and with the ready aid of Roscoe and Vokul, the newcomers fall more quickly than the cultists had.

With a united sigh of relief, the party takes to rest for an hour before proceeding on…

Introducing Lt. Vokul Korshim

As 1st Lieutenant in the King’s Dragoons, Vokul Korshim was widely accepted as a great and honorable fighter. This could be attributed to his Brass ancestry as a Dragonborn, as well as being a soldier since the age of 8. Because of this, combat has shaped him into the six foot tall 285 pound fighter that he is today. His fellow Dragonborn have followed him into battle countless times and he has always emerged victorious. This made Vokul think that he could not be bested in combat, which turned out to be a fatal mistake for him and his soldiers.

A simple mission is always a great thing isn’t it?  That’s what Vokul thought when they were sent to destroy a bandit camp that had been raiding the town of Mirilav. These bandits had been reported to have been raiding the town week after week, but never taking anything.  “Interesting,” Vokul thought, “usually these bandits would take anything that isn’t nailed down. No matter.  My Dragoons and I will bring them to justice, whether it be in shackles or by the edge of a sword.”

Once he arrived at Mirilav with the rest of the Dragoons, Vokul had sent some troops to scout the surrounding area while he spoke to the Mayor. The Mayor was in shock as was the rest of the town, why hadn’t these bandits taken anything? The bandits would burst in the town, with mysterious black robed figures behind them.  These figures had no other features other than a red circle on their back, with a line drawn down the middle. They would order the bandits to grab the townspeople, and would examine them almost as if they were looking for someone. “I have no idea what language they spoke but,” said the Mayor as he was interrupted by one of Vokul’s soldiers bursting through the door to the Mayors room. “They have captured most of our forces Vokul!” the Dragonborn said, while clutching his side, which was devoid of scales. “What happened to you? Why are you clutching your side?” Vokul asked. Before the soldier could answer, he was engulfed in a bright flash of red and fell to the ground, but as a human. Standing behind him were the robed men, one of them holding an orb that had sucked the draconic essence out of the Dragonborn soldier.  Angered, Vokul charged forth, hacked the figure in two, and proceeded to slaughter the remaining enemies.  One of the bandits sneaked behind him however, and drove a poisoned dagger into his side. Vokul began to stagger, and then fell, unconscious.

* * *

Vokul awoke in a forest glade, naked, bleeding and feeling terrible.  Struggling, he tried to remember what had happened.  The details were slow to come back, and to his horror, he did not remember much more than scattered imagery of an orb, a flash of red light, his friend falling before him, blood, anger, and then, pain.

After heading East for several slow and painful hours, by his reckoning, Vokul came upon a village.  Laughing at his nakedness, the layabouts looked on as a kindly old woman brought him a pair of trousers to put on.  She then led him back to her humble, thatch-roofed cottage, where she inquired as to what had troubled him such that he came here in this manner.   He explained as best he could, but he just could not remember anything.  As he rambled on, the old woman puttered about the kitchen, boiling water on the pot-bellied stove, adding a variety of herbs and spices to make a tea.  With a fancy flourish, she laid a cup and saucer before him and said, “Drink up dear.  Here, let me take a look at that wound…  It looks like you’ve seen the sharp end of a sword a lot, some sort of fighter are ye?”  Puttering around again, she assembled something in a bowl that smelled horrible.  Vokul hoped he wouldn’t have to eat it.  “Here dear, let me put this poultice on your wound, it will help to draw out the poisons and rot that are in there.  As she applied the foul mixture to his wound, she said kindly, “There’s a cot in the back for ye to rest upon.  Take a nap to let this medicine work its magic.  I’ll be back shortly.”  Then she picked up a basket and went out the front door.

Vokul stood up, and immediately regretted it.  His head was swimming and his side was hurting.  He tottered on wobbly legs into the back room and just about fell into the cot.  Within moments, he was sound asleep.

* * *

Vokul dreamed.  Of meadows and sunrise, of maidens and kisses.  Then a giant figure in black robes, a red circle for a face, smashed his dreams to smithereens.  It conjured an orb into its hands that seemed to be sucking the whole universe into endless darkness.  Red flashes of lightning pierced the darkness.  The sky turned blood red and poured into the orb.  Then he started falling, and falling, and falling…

With a start, he awoke to the old woman’s touch.  “Ah, the great beast awakes,” she smiled.  “You had me worried there for a few days, but you took the gruel well enough, even though you would not rouse.” “A few days?  How long have I been asleep?”

“Nigh on a 10-day, I should think,” she replied.  “I found you some clothes, some armor and a sword while you slept.  I think they’ll more-or-less fit ya. Ye bein’ a large fellow an all.  I imagine you’ll be wantin’ those before you leave.”

For some reason, Vokul found himself dressing, suiting up, and strapping on the sword belt; then sitting in the old woman’s kitchen and eating a feast fit for a king, thanking the old woman then departing toward the west, hoping to find out who and what he was and what had happened to him.  After a few days journey, he came upon the town of Greenest, where he took a room at the Inn on the Green.

The Story So Far… 2014-09-10

The Keep at Greenest was in crisis.  Men-at-arms hurried to and from the walls.  Injured and broken bodies lay strewn about the courtyard.  As the Townsfolk were escorted away toward the safety of the keep.  Despite the urging of the cleric to stay put, he followed them to have his own wounds tended to.  He was later seen on the Western wall, frost rays shooting from his hands into the tumult below.

Meanwhile, a red-headed dwarf, strides across the square toward Alain when shouts and the sounds of fighting break out at the Eastern sally port.  “Quickly, you there, to arms!” he yells toward Alain, gesturing to the sally port.  Ephidra echoed the sentiment, urging the young fighter on with her bloodlust.

Vokul turned toward the sound of the fighting near the sally port.  He saw a man, 4 kobolds and a drake entering the keep through the now shattered heavy wooden doors of the sally port.  Another young half-elf came charging up, swinging wildly at the nearest kobolds.  Slaying one, he challenged the man in robes.  Realizing the danger they all faced if the sally port was not repaired, Vokul laid to as well.  The two fighters made short work of the kobolds, though Vokul was gravely injured by the drake’s ferocious bite.  Suleman blessed the young half-elf and healed the worst of the wounds.  Alain, after striking a mighty blow to the man in robes, dragged him to the ground, where he interrogated him while men-at-arms and a wizard or two went about repairing the damaged gate.

Upon learning that the man was a member of the Cult of the Dragon, and that the raiders are collecting loot for the great hoard that will usher in the reign of the Queen of Dragons, Alain turned him over to Escobert, the dwarf, who sent him on to Governor Nighthill for further interrogation.

As the prisoner was being dragged away, a loud cry of alarm rose from atop the Northern wall, “The Dragon is attacking!”  Moments later, lightning forked across the wall, striking several of the defenders dead where they stood.

Vokul was already heading up the steps to join the defenders, their arrows barely able to scratch the great dragon’s scales, when Ephidra once again spurred Alain to action.  Suleman followed.  Once again the dragon breathed lightning, slaying yet more of the defenders on the wall.  Vokul hurled one of his three axes at the beast, only to watch the blade go skittering across the dragon’s scales.  Alain proved equally unsuccessful at piercing the dragon’s defenses.  Suleman, running low on spells, resorted to his Sacred Flame cantrip and managed to anger the dragon, then injure it a little.  Vokul and Alain meanwhile, had turned to an old ballista mounted on the corner tower of the keep.  Their first shot went wide, so wide that the dragon didn’t even notice the attempt.  But their second shot was true.  And with it, the dragon decided he’d had enough and flew away.

Returning to the square, they once again found Escobert, this time accompanied by Governor Nighthill.   Their concern was palpable.  Nighthill said, “We need you to go out into the city to…,” but he was interrupted as two different messengers came running up.  Both started talking at the same time.  One was saying, “They’re burning the mill.”  While the other said, “There’s people trapped in the chapel.”

Nighthill turned to Escobert and the two fighters, “I need you to send a couple of my soldiers with these two fighters to make sure the mill doesn’t burn.”  Glancing at the sally port he continued, “send them out the old tunnel.  They should be able to sneak past most of this fighting and get to the mill in short order.”

Escobert, turned, obviously expecting the fighters to follow — which they did, trailed by Suleman.  Escobert called to a couple of the guards, getting them to come along too.  A few minutes later they stood in front of a basement chamber, stocked floor to ceiling with boxes, crates and barrels.  Escobert indicated the southern wall of the room, “the old tunnel is behind those barrels, here’s the key.  Hurry, you need to save the mill as the city depends on it and the grain stored below it.”

* * *

After digging through the barrels, the adventurers traversed the tunnel, fighting off a swarm of rats as they neared its exit.  Taking shelter in the tunnel mouth while a roving band of kobolds moved past, the party followed the creek to the mill where they observed for a few minutes.  It seemed that the whole “burning the mill” was a sham as the kobolds and cultists doing the burning were actually burning straw and leaves around the mill, not the mill itself.  Realizing it was a sham, the party decided to drive off the arsons.  A short battle ensued as the party made short work of the handful of cultists as the kobolds ran off.  Then, amazingly, the adventurers barged into the mill, right into a trap.  Spears rained down from the rafters as cultists and guards waylaid the unsuspecting crew.  Thankfully, most of the spears missed, and those that hit, did little damage.  Suleman’s talents were, nevertheless, put to good use as the battle raged.  Outnumbered and overpowered, the band of adventurers managed to win the day.  Using the same route and tunnel to uneventfully return to the keep, fighters hoped they would be able to rest and put this day behind them.

The Story so Far… 2014-08-27

Alain Vistaros strolls eastward toward the town of Greenest.  Well… not really strolling toward, or away, from anything, except perhaps his own inner demons, and Ephidra, his trusty, if cantankerous, longsword.  In the dim light of dusk, he notices someone cresting the hill ahead of him as lights and shadows flicker off the evening clouds.  Suddenly, the lone figure breaks into a run and disappears behind the ridge.

* * *

As he crests the hill, Rhelus was astonished at the sight before him.  The town of Greenest, he assumed, was under attack.  Shadowy figures, short and tall, accompanied by large, bulky shapes, were burning the town while a great dragon flew circles above, occasionally lighting the sky with lightning strikes from its mouth.  Breaking into a run, Rhelus felt the wild abandon of his youthful nature taking over. 

* * *

Jogging to the top of the hill, wondering where the stranger had run off to, Alain was terrified by what he saw, dragons and orcs and hydras and worse all came to his mind.  He turned to run away.  Once she understood the situation though, Ephidra insisted that they go and help.  It took some coaxing, but she was used to overcoming Alain’s will now.  Soon enough, he started to reluctantly walk toward the stranger, who, he realized, had stopped and was looking straight at him.  “Probably wonders who I’m talking to,” Alain said, as much to nobody as to the blood-thirsty sword tied to his hip.

* * *

Rhelus waited for the stranger to approach, casually spinning a small ball of invisible energy from hand to hand.  “You thinking what I’m thinking stranger,” said Rhelus.

“Probably not,” sighed the stranger in a resigned tone.

“Go with him,” urged Ephidra.

“I don’t want to,” said the stranger.

“What was that?” asked Rhelus, not certain of what he heard.

“Nothing,” sighed the stranger, sounding even more miserable than the first time. 

“Well then, let’s hurry if we’re to get a piece of this action.  I’m Rhelus.  Do you know how to use that sword you carry?”  Not waiting for a response, he urged the stranger on, “Let’s go put it to good use then.  Greenest needs a couple of heroes like us tonight.”  Then he turned on his heel, and started off at a jog this time, not wanting to get as winded as he had after sprinting down the hill.

“I’m Alain,” Alain meekly called after Rhelus, as Ephidra shouted at him, “Catch up you coward!  There’s blood to spill.”  To his undying shame, for he knew the truth of her words, he tucked tail and ran after Rhelus toward, not away from, Greenest.

* * *

A half hour later, the evening sky painted dark red’s and deep purples on the horizon as Greenest fell into shadow, the two young half-elves saw movement in the bushes ahead.  To their astonishment, three small, dog-faced kobolds leapt out of the bushes, brandishing spears and arguing amongst themselves, accompanied by a rather large dragon-like lizard — known in these parts as a drake.

The drake hissed angrily as one of the kobolds poked it with its spear. “I’m in charge of the drake,” the kobold yelled at his compatriot. “You’re in charge of the prisoners.”

“Am not, I’m in charge of the drake, he’s in charge of the prisoners,” the second kobold said, gesturing at the third.

“All right then, I’m in charge of the prisoners,” said the third, seeming excited at this opportunity. Turning his attention to Rhelus and Alain, the kobold demanded, “Surrender, prisoners, or die!”

Rhelus selected a suitable cantrip and let fly. An icy blast of white frost jetted out toward the noisy Kobolds, striking their erstwhile leader and freezing him solid.

The other two kobolds, yelled in unison, “Oh, it’s on…” and charged the pair as Alain reluctantly drew his sword, a dark smile slowly distorting his face. The drake rushed him as he let fly a blood-curdling battle cry. The drake’s sharp teeth drew first blood, and then Alain hacked at it with that sword of his, slicing off its left front leg.   Rhelus threw an acid blast at both Kobolds, scoring on one, who fell to the ground clawing at his eyes and nose before expiring.

The remaining kobold struck back at Rhelus, nearly killing him with a well-aimed strike. Rhelus froze him on the spot, then turned his attention to the drake. Alain had managed to avoid most of the drake’s bites, and together the adventurers finished it off.

* * *

Alain and Rhelus marched into Greenest on the West Road. As they approached a cross street, some people ran into the square. The father, carrying his youngest, and dragging the older two children, paused as his wife stopped, yelling to him, “Keep going, I’ll catch up!” Waving a longsword at the kobolds filling the square, she cried, “Get back you little monsters! Get back!”

Ephidra just about came unglued in Alain’s head, “Help her! Slay them all!”

Rhelus tossed an acid blast, while Alain charged in, sword swinging. One of the kobolds gave the mama a nasty poke with its spear. Swinging her sword to maximum effect, she managed to nearly chop the little bugger’s head off. Alain was surrounded as Rhelus threw more and more acid into the mix, interspersed with freezing rays of frost that usually stopped the kobolds dead in their tracks. To his dismay, Rhelus saw Alain drop to the ground. The remaining kobolds now focused on him, and, unable to dispatch them all at once, Rhelus feared that all hope was lost, when he saw a street wretch, bent backed and twisted, wildly swinging its staff and condemning the kobolds in the name of Bahamut, striking some and staggering others. Not wildly, Rhelus realized, as most of the kobolds turned to face the new threat, but with purpose, the strange little man was carving a path through the kobolds to the downed body of Alain, where he laid a hand upon it, and breathed life, and fight, back into it. Alain, jumped up, noted the stranger and swung his sword at the nearest kobold, killing it.

As the last kobold died, Rhelus sagged to his knees. Near Death’s door himself, bleeding from myriad pokes and pricks. The stranger went to the woman next and bound her wound. She was able to walk, but the fight was gone out of her. She limped across the street to the shadows where her family waited. Now the stranger came to Rhelus, pouring something from a small vial down his throat. Rhelus felt the warm honey-sweet liquid course through him, watched as his cuts and gashes healed before his very eyes. His head cleared and the fog lifted from his eyes as he got his first look at the ugly little man before him. “I’m Suleman, we must go. Can you stand? Follow me. We have to get to the Keep.” Rhelus felt surprisingly well and stood without hesitation, joining the little man, Alain, and the family, in the shadows.

They managed to sneak from shadow to shadow, following the little man and staying together. Twice they avoided the marauders, doubling back and around. Both times they gathered in more people. Once they had to fight when three kobolds came upon them. When a small mob of six ruffians blocked the path to the keep, the adventurers, in hurried voices, called to the ruffians, “This way, this way, there is much treasure to be had and the kobolds are trying to carry it all away.” The cultists did not notice the townspeople hiding in the shadows and followed the direction so given, leaving the final sprint to the main gate of the keep open.

Sprint they did, helping the townsfolk and the family through the big iron gate before it came crashing down behind them and the heavy oak doors were flung shut and barred. “That’s it sir,” called someone on the gate, “we cannot open it again as there are attackers all around now.”

With barely time to catch their breath, let alone find their bearings, the little man gestured twice, once to a man-at-arms who quickly lead the townsfolk away, and once to the two half-elves, indicating they were to stay here.

Here endeth the session.

Encounters Sessions Begin Again…

So, this summer Hobbytown closed.  Which sucked.  But I have moved on.

Now I live near Spandex City in West Charlotte.  I asked if I could be a DM, and at first they said no because I couldn’t do Wednesdays.  I have rearranged my schedule so that I can attend on Wednesdays, and, unfortunately for him, Nate was unable to DM. My sympathies to Nate, but now I can DM again.  I am so excited.

Two weeks ago, we made characters.  One week ago, I stepped up when Nate was unable to come and we had entered the first session of the first Episode of the Hoard of the Dragon Queen Encounters.  Tonight, we are faced with low turnout so I am blogging and hoping for higher turnout next week while we wait for the rainstorm to abate.

Nevertheless, I will be blogging the progress of our Encounters.  I am looking forward to it.