Present: Brian, Dave, Jess, Ken, Ron; Absent: none!
Current Goal: capture and hold a fort in the Esmersdan province of Kiergard until the Prince’s men can arrive to reinforce it.
Last Session Recap: marched with dwarves through tunnels and mountain trails, fighting off a giant spider, avoiding some stone giants, and negotiating with some trolls. After the dwarves left them at the border of Kiergard, the group dodged mounted patrols as they headed toward the fort. One evening they were confronted by pixies that were building a magic stone circle, and the nimble sprites put everyone to sleep with their poisoned arrows.
Game date: August 3, 561 (Brecht)
Vendar reiterated his experience with the druids at the secret portal and the apparent involvement of fey (pixies), an elven wizardess, and someone who looked a lot like The Winter Witch. Jenneken explained that The Winter Witch was an awnshegh that ruled a province in the far north of Rjurik. What could The Winter Witch be doing with the elves and the fey? When pressed for details, Vendar explained that when he tried to get answers himself, he was shunned and threatened to stop nosing around. After a fairly obvious attempt on his life, he realized he was no longer welcome in the groves of the Emerald Spire. He’s been wandering Cerilia ever since.
Game date: August 4, 561 (Brecht)
In the morning, owl-Vendar flew back to the fairy ring. There were now 6 pillars of standing lightning surrounding the ring. To the north of the ring were hundreds of troops – horsemen, orogs and mercenary humans – in a town about a day’s march north of the ring, clearly getting organized for some event.
Owl-Vendar flew to the town then snuck around in small cat form: he overheard that the soldiers had noticed the circle and weren’t sure what it was. The soldiers had been given orders to surround it. A wizard representative from The Gorgon’s Hold magic would be coming to address the circle, and was expected to arrive in a day or two.
After Vendar flew back to relay his findings, Almira thought that maybe the lightning had been captured to give power to the portal. Johan noted the energy could be used to move a lot of things through the portal, or to keep it open for a long time. Jenneken noted that the orogs at the fort might have been called to the town to help with the portal – the fort might be empty!
After some rest, Owl-Vendar flew over to the fort to scout it and its surroundings. The nearby village looked well maintained but empty. The fort itself was a smooth, round stone tower. The top was open, with battlements around the edge and a large basket thrower mounted in the middle. A large pile of rocks looked like ammunition for the thrower.
The only sign of activity was from the fort itself, where a small column of smoke rose from a chimney. Having landed to have a closer look, a crossbow bolt thumped into the ground right next to Vendar!
Vendar hastily flew back to the group, and they decided that Almira could use her ghost form to scout the village a bit more. Once there and mostly invisible, she peeked through the window of one of the buildings and she saw an armored orog with a crossbow. Another building held four humans in chains, likely caravan guards and a driver. Checking out the fort, there was no way to enter as the closest windows were 10-12ft above ground level. Almira noted that the entire fort was made of a strange green soap stone, unlike any other rock in the area. As she was returning, she noted another building with a long crossbow-wielding orog hiding within.
Back with the group, Almira noted that soap stone was often used by wizards when they worked with stone, as it was easier to carve the necessary symbols into the softer rock. After some rest, she used her ghost form spell again to finish checking the other buildings in the little town.
A long 3-sided shed held a ruined cart and horse harnesses. A building close to the fort held 4 bound goblins and a dog-sized lizard that had its mouth banded shut. A smaller building was closed tight, with its door clearly locked.
After Nick complained that Almira wasn’t brave enough to investigate the fort in her ghost form, Almira cast her ghost spell on Nick! After sneaking through the village, ghost-Nick approached the fort but found that some charm there made it difficult for him to pass through the front gate. With some concentration, he managed to peek through enough to see the floor just inside was a pit, but the other side of the floor had a spiral staircase leading up. Animal sounds came from the pit, and boot steps thumped on the floor above him.
After Nick rejoined them, the group managed to make their way back to their camp without incident.
That night, during Vendar’s watch, he noticed a brown bear rummaging around in the gorge leading toward their camp. Using a variety of food bits and distracting noises, he managed to lead the bear away from the camp. As he did so he noticed that the bear might be wearing a collar.
During Jenneken’s watch, in the distance she saw a small group moving from the town toward the magic circle.
h4.Game date: August 5, 561 (Brecht)
In the morning, Owl-Vendar scouted the faerie ring and saw that the army was moving from the town down toward the ring. A smaller group had already made camp near the ring.
After discussing what to do, Jenneken noted that if Almira cast the ghost spell on her, she could go and observe the orog sentries so that that she might impersonate one or both of them. Having completed the spell, ghost-Jenneken infiltrated the village and peered into one of the buildings where Almira had seen the sentries. Unfortunately, the orog saw her and ran to the fort, terrified. A short while later 4 orogs emerged, one wearing a breastplate emblazoned with the symbol of the orog deity. As the orogs searched the area where ghost-Jenneken was spotted, she managed to sneak into the abandoned house that was right next to the fort. After a while the orogs concluded the sentry was seeing things and returned to the fort. As ghost-Jenneken moved to rejoin her companions, the other orog sentry spotted her and ran screaming to the fort.
After more discussion, the group decided they should move to take the fort now before the shaman orog had more time to prepare.
Nick and Lion-Vendar snuck up on the closer orog sentry and successfully ambushed him, with Nick quickly decapitating the brute. On Vendar’s signal, the rest of the group hurried up the path to join them.
With the group all together, they made their way around the outside of the town to the building where the goblins were being held. As they moved, a warning blast from a horn came from the fort. They had been spotted!
Almira cast her portal spell on the building with the goblins, then Jenneken moved inside to explain to them that they were being freed. As Nick and Johan moved to cover the orogs that emerged from the fort, Vendar changed into his eagle-owl form and took to the air.
As Almira cast her unlocking spell on the chains holding the goblins, Nick and the orogs exchanged crossbow shots. Eagle-owl-Vendar pounced on one of the orogs, lifting him into the air.
Suddenly, three dire wolves appeared in a puff of magic right in front of where Nick and Johan were taking cover! As Eagle-owl-Vendar dropped his helpless victim to its death, Almira and Jenneken portal-ed out of the goblin’s prison-house to rejoin their companions. Jenneken quickly fired her bow at one of the wolves, wounding it slightly.
As Nick and Johan wrangled with two of the wolves, Jenneken’s arrow finished off the wounded beast.
Nick decapitated another wolf, and Almira used her portal spell to get into the locked small building. Eagle-owl-Vendar dove at the orog shaman on top of the fort – only to find it to be an illusion! He barely managed to avoid crashing into the fort roof.
A hail of rocks from the basket thrower rained down on the heroes by the goblin prison-house, with Nick dodging out of the way but Jenneken getting hit. A moment later she was struck by a crossbow bolt, causing her to bleed profusely. As Nick dragged her to be healed by Johan, eagle-owl –Vendar grabbed the soldier manning the basket-thrower and dropped him to his death.
With her wounds somewhat healed from Johan’s magics, Jenneken turned and hurled an arcane curse at the orog crossbowman that was harassing them, but it ducked the baleful magic.
Three orogs, including the shaman, rushed from the fort to take cover behind the building where the caravan crew was being held. As Nick and the others fell back to take cover behind the building where the goblins were being held, Jenneken quaffed a healing potion, restoring her to full health.
With an eerie wail, a twisted form of a wolf appeared near Nick. The summoned beast bit firmly on the lad’s leg, but wasn’t able to penetrate his thick armor. Nick counter-attacked, chopping deeply into the beast. With another blow, the mutated wolf breathed its last, disappearing in a cloud of smoke.
Eagle-owl-Vendar dive-bombed the shaman again, taking a crossbow bolt from the orog providing cover to the orog spell-caster. The shaman moved aside just in time, causing the huge owl to miss and slide across the ground. Luckily Vendar managed to avoid the shaman’s curse spell, flapping away to avoid the strike.
Changing her form to appear as an orog, Jenneken managed to fool the real orog that came around the corner a moment later. Convincing the brute to move away, she cast her mica-blinding spell on it, causing the orog to stumble blindly.
As Almira portal-ed into the goblin house to help them escape from their bonds, the shaman cast a spell that surrounded him and his two bodyguards with a large globe of gloominess.
As Vendar scooped up another orog crossbowman, Jenneken tried her draining curse on another of the brutes, this time succeeding in sapping its strength. Nick moved into the goblin prison-house to help Almira in freeing the goblins. Outside, Johan was hit by a crossbow bolt, wounding him badly.
Nick and Almira continued to struggle to free the last goblin, Jenneken cast an invigorating spell on Johan to help him resist his crossbow wound. A massive orog, far larger than the others, came charging out of the globe of gloom toward the building with the goblins inside. It closed with Nick (who had just stepped back outside), but paused to gauge the lad’s mettle given the carnage Nick had dealt so far.
With the goblins free at last Almira went outside only to be hit by a crossbow bolt. Her stoneskin spell protected her, but she flew into a rage and charged the orog crossbowman. Her dagger missed horribly, but her stoneskin spell continued to ward off any damage that the onslaught of bolts continued to bring.
The massive orog waded in to swing its massive club at Nick, but the nimble boy struck first, drawing blood. The brute’s swing went just wide, rumbling the earth under Nick’s feet. Johan joined the fray, but wasn’t able to penetrate the creature’s armor.
As eagle-owl-Vendar plucked yet another orog off the ground, Jenneken fired her bow at the massive orog but missed. Nick’s next attack struck true again, but the huge brute somehow managed to remain standing. A large snake appeared next to Almira, quickly striking at the sorceress but missing.
Jenneken emerged from her hiding place, trying her mica-blinding spell on the shaman but missing. The badly wounded giant orog tried to flee, but stumbled in its weakened state. Nick rushed up behind it and buried his shadow hatchet deep into its back, slaying it.
The shaman lobbed a brightly glowing ember between Nick and Jennken, and it burst into a fireball as it struck the ground. Nick’s armor protected him from the flames, but Jenneken was badly burned. Nick tried to flank around the shaman’s bodyguard, but the orog managed to slice the boy with its halberd. Nick closed with the shaman, his mighty blow shattering the orog’s magic armor. As orog-Jennken moved around behind the shaman and its bodyguard to distract them, the shaman reached out to inflict a foul curse on Nick. Narrowly side-stepping the shaman’s grasp, Nick countered with two quick chops. The first blow was mostly deflected by the orog’s armor, but the backhand chopped deeply into its neck.
Vendar grabbed the last orog from the field and threw him down the mountainside.
As the companions turned to check for any remaining foes, they realized they were victorious. The goblins appeared to be all dead from the savages of the summoned wolves, and Almira lay motionless under a tree. Examining her, she had at least one snake bite mark on her leg.
Session CP award: 10 points