Red Tide

The Thing in the Tree
...and the Zombie Kobold

Secondmonth 3, 301 AL – Secondmonth 5, 301 AL

Unfortunately, the hobgoblin is severely weakened by his injuries, and it’s decided to make camp. Equally unfortunately, the party is awakened in the middle of the night by a dozen man-sized, bright red ants going going through their supplies. Walderson quickly calls for torches and with much shouting and waving of fire, the ants are driven off, and a potentially deadly (for the party) battle is averted. Alas, a night of rest in the forest shows no signs of recuperation for the hobgoblin. It’s finally decided that the hobgoblin will have to be lead around on Walderson’s horse.

Several hours of travel through the dense jungle brings the party to a ridiculously large tree. As the party searches around the base of the enormous tree, San Chal hears a scraping sound, and looks up in time to see a huge serpent, with the head and forelimbs of a dragon and the body of a giant snake, lunging out of the tree’s branches toward him! It entwines the cleric in its coils, and nearly crushes the life out of him. Luckily, Shi Go nearly decapitates the thing, and Jian finishes it off by pinning its head to the tree with his spear.

Badly shaken by the attack, San Chal calls upon his deity to return the vigor to his limbs and heal his bruised ribs. A continued search finds the special moss, and Qiang’s search of the upper reaches of the tree discovers several dead men draped in the branches. They must have been wealthy merchants or nobility, because their cloaks and jewelry are very expensive. The party loots the unfortunate corpses, and asks the hobgoblin what it was that they just fought.

“Is ‘claw-dragon’”, it says in broken Imperial. “Very sneaky. Me no think is true thing. Me is wrong.”

There’s talk of continuing, but darkness is rapidly encroaching as night falls, and despite the sickness spreading back in town, the party is forced to make camp once more.

That night, the party’s rest is once again interrupted, though by a much more… interesting visitor. It’s basically a zombie kobold with a rat riding around in its skull. The party is on guard, but the zombie stumbles around mindlessly, so there’s no immediate move to get into a fight. The rat seems intelligent, but nobody has the ability to understand its various squeaks and chitters. The cleric views the duo through the veil of divine morality, and while the zombie kobold glows an obvious and malevolent red, the rat on top does not. Despite this, the party decides that strange pair are not a threat and eventually the zombie stumbles out the other side of the camp, taking its rat co-pilot with it.

The next day, the party prepares to travel to the witch’s hut.



Treasure:

  • a really nice short-bow (worth maybe 3GP),
  • a signet ring with the image of a flaming hawk (worth about 5GP),
  • a fine fur coat (nearly 5,000 gold koku, if cleaned up),
  • an ivory bracelet etched with battle scenes (worth about 500GP),
  • a pouch with 9 gold koku and 12 silver wheels.

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Rumors of Disease
Panpo is the wrong place to look for help.

Firstmonth 3, 301 AL – Secondmonth 3, 301 AL

The party scraps up enough coin between them to have the Temple of the Nine uncurse Walderson, and identify a couple of magic items, to boot. A blood-forged (+1) scimitar and a Wand of Lightning Bolts! Sweet!

Meanwhile, Shi Go makes the rounds of the small city, keeping an ear out for rumors of adventure. He hears of a man, Umar, seeking help in curing his small lumber town to the north of a horrible plague. Panpo is, of course, very paranoid about illness, and immediately boot him out and burn their gloves afterward. The party interview him, and he promises some meager gold coins in return for their aid.

The adventurers agree to help, buy a new mule, and gather their twelve-man party to travel to Breivik. The trip is thankfully uneventful, and Umar takes the party to meet the village alchemist, Laurel. She’s doing her best to soothe the afflicted, but a cure requires ingredients listed in her grandmother’s old book, and she can’t go retrieve them and tend to the sick at the same time. Others have sought out the needed items, but never returned. The party agrees to help for a small sum and a dose of the cure for each of them.

The party needs “elderwood moss”, a root called “rat’s tail” and “ironbloom” musherooms. Laurel suggests that they stop and ask for directions at the lumber mill on the way, but the party decides to make a direct drive for the forest instead. They pass a burned out building at the edge of the forest, and then begin rather blindly tromping through the misty woods.

Shi Go spots a fox caught in a trap, and approaches it and attempts to free it. It is badly injured. The hobgoblin trapper hiding in the woods doesn’t take kindly to this, and threatens the party. They try to recruit the beastman to help them find what they need, but the beastman considers their offer stingy and has his razor-beaked monster-crows attack while he begins firing his bow at the party.

The adventurers make short work of the razor-crows, and then run down the fleeing hobgoblin. It almost dies, but San Chal heals it. Now the hobgoblin agrees to help them, though he can’t walk and has to be lead around on Walderson’s horse.

Unfortunately, while everyone is preoccupied with the hobgoblin, nobody notices a giant centipede that sneaks up and bites Yosif. The dwarf is poisoned and becomes violently ill. His henchmen decided to take him back to town to rest. Oh well.

Unfortunately, Fleta, Walderson’s hench-sweetie, is in Yosif’s employ, and she has to leave the party with him.

The hobgoblin knows where the eldest tree in the forest probably is, and that’s where the party was told they’d find “elderwood moss”, so they prepare to go.


Unfortunately, the dwarf’s player had to drop out, so he was (in)conveniently put out of commission.


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The Mage Croaks
(...and Hops)

Twelfthmonth 26, 300 AL – Firstmonth 3, 301 AL

The new year starts without fanfare while the heroes are on the road between Panpo and Manba. Settling back in at the small village, rumors of increased attacks by bandits find them, and so they keep an eye out for trouble on the way to the ruins of the “Yellow Throne”.

Arriving safely at the dungeon, the party enters and encounters a few bandits guarding the room to the east. The bandit bowman responds to threats from the party with a clever “Taste my shaft!”, much to the amusement of his comrades. Two of the men are killed in the ensuing melee, but one bolts down the hall with the party not too far behind.

Running up the hallway, the party throws open a door to reveal more bandits waiting in ambush, but they don’t last long. One surrendering bandit tells the party where in the dungeon they can find the bandit leader, Jafar. They release him, and go to find the boss.

Another battle is averted, as Walderson cast a Sleep spell on an entire roomful of bandits.

On their way out, however, they are ambushed once again. Apparently their informant came back and warned the real Jafar, who set up a pincer maneuver to surround the party in the hall. Walderson’s second Sleep spell shortened the encounter greatly, and when the party finished cleaning up, they found their informant once again surrendering. In exchange for his life, he promises to show them where the bandits’ loot is stored. For real, this time!

The party gathers their treasure, including some potions, scrolls, a magic ring, magic sword and magic shield. Unfortunately, something ate their donkey while they were out, and so they had to pull their own cart of loot back to Manba.

Walderson and a couple of the henchmen level-up!

Walderson has an intimate encounter with a hench-lady, after which he begins studying his new scrolls, only to be turned into a toad by a curse!

The party, now in need of a curse removal, as well as magical item identification and spell-training, packs up and returns (without incident) to Panpo.

While others see to important matters, Shi Go looks for work and rumors.


Treasure Found

  • 1000 Silver
  • 5000 Electrum
  • 3 Gems
  • 1 Wooden Bracelet
  • 1 Glass Necklace
  • 1 Porcelain Pendant
  • 1 Potion of Clairvoyance
  • 2 Other Potions
  • 1 Scroll with Continual Light and Polymorph Other
  • 1 Cursed Scroll
  • 2 Other Scrolls
  • 1 Amber Wand
  • 1 Magic Ring
  • 1 Magic Longsword
  • 1 Magic Shield

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Sorry No Cultists
Goblins, though.

Ninthmonth 19, 300 AL – Twelfthmonth 26, 300 AL

I’ve lost track of time a bit, but eventually the party decided to investigate the cultists that Walderson’s henchman had mentioned. Returning to Panpo, and then to the small mining hamlet of Silverton, they found goblins hoarding stolen silver ore, but no cultists. Having returned the ore to the miners, the party decided to return to the not-yet-fully-explored Yellow Throne. First, however, Yosif sought to fill out their ranks with some henchmen. He met a strange warlock looking for work and was lucky enough to encounter Fleta once more, so he hired both, as well as a simple townsperson, looking for adventure…

The weather begins to cool to a more tolerable level as the seasons change…

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Busywork & Wights

Eighthmonth 21, 300 AL – Ninthmonth 19, 300 AL

About a month is spent in Panpo as Walderson learns new spells and everyone looks for new hirelings, hopefully one with some skill at infiltration. Junko the cleric and Qiang the thief join the party, though apparently neither wants to work for Yosif. Junko says she was here looking into rumors of a cult in a nearby town, but the party isn’t interested in going there right now.

San Chal also shops for a magical weapon, and indeed finds a blood-forged tetsubo (+1) that he unfortunately can’t afford.

On the return trip to Manba, the cross paths with a fighter on horseback who claims to have cleared the beastmen out of the Yellow Throne. As awesome as he is, he isn’t interested in joining up with this party of adventurers.

In Manba, they meet a traveling fighter named Shi Go, and he agrees to join them (new PC!).

Another foray into the Yellow Throne finds a natural cavern extending from one room. The party enters, suspecting that it connects to the last cave they were in nearby. Instead, they find morlocks, kill them, and then descend a natural stone “stairway”.

The room below is filled with bones, is icy cold and creepy. The party draws attention to themselves, and a carcass scavenger answers. Thanks to some solid attacks and a crazy charge by Jian the hireling, they make short work of the thing.

Despite the full-on horror-movie vibe of the room, the party hangs out there for an hour while Yosif and San Chal recover from being paralyzed. That’s when the wights show up.

They’re creepy-looking as all get-out, and dressed in ragged clerical robes, but they aren’t immediately aggressive. However, the party is, and jumps in swinging. They quickly find their weapons ineffective, and then realized that these things are soul-draining horrors, and San Chal (barely) turns undead, sending the things fleeing long enough for the party to do likewise. They set fire to a patch of oil in the stairway and then leave the dungeon for Manba.

On the way back, they notice a beetle lair of some kind, but ignore it for now as they plan their next move.

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Gnolls!
RUN AWAYYY! No? Um, ok. FIIIIGHT!

Eighthmonth 20, 300 AL – Eighthmonth 21, 300 AL

The party travels about half of a day, following the river to Panpo, when suddenly they hear splashing and see a band of 10 gnolls charging across a ford toward them. Luckily, with the water slowing them down, the gnolls’ surprise attack was wasted, because instantly things were looking bad for the party.

The sub-chief gnoll lead the pack, and was huge and hard to hurt and hit really hard. While nobody was taken out by the monsters, it was obvious that it wouldn’t be long. Luckily, Walderson was able to get off a Sleep spell in time, and all of the gnolls were overcome by arcane slumber… except for the two archers that hung back in the water, who promptly awoke, choking in the river, and then ran away as soon as they got their feet beneath them.

Throats were slit and bodies looted (not that there was any loot to be had), and one gnoll was questioned, but either didn’t understand Imperial or had nothing to say. There was talk of trying to release it and track it back to its lair, or bring it back to town, but all of these options were considered too risky, and eventually the gnoll was left behind as the party continued to Panpo.

A day later, they arrived (and San Chal leveled again!)

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Score!
And some leveling...

Seventhmonth 28, 300 AL – Eighthmonth 19, 300 AL

After spending three weeks healing and recruiting, the party travels once again to the Yellow Throne. On the way, they narrowly avoid tromping through a camp full of bandits, but they do avoid it, make note of it, and continue to the ruins.

They search about the spiral staircase again before Walderson remembers what the one captured brigand said about his cronies hiding a cache of loot “in a cave near some ruins”. He suggests that they go looking for it, and in less than an hour, they find it.

There’s the dead husk of a giant centipede here, and preparations are made for smoking the inhabitants of the cave out, but minds are changed at the last minute, and instead they light their torch and head inside.

Rounding the first bend, they find a cavern with strange, meaningless patterns of tentacles and eyes all over the walls. Also, giant centipedes. The fight begins, with good use of arrows by the henchmen, when the sound of battle attracts a flock of stirges who attack indiscriminately, both men (and dwarf) and centipede. One manages to latch onto Jian’s neck, but Walderson wisely decides to sleep the whole lot of them.

After a quick round of throat slitting (do centipedes have throats?) they continue into the tunnels. After a brief time-waste of a detour, they find another cave. This one has a furry figure slumped on the floor in the center, at the edge of their torchlight. They keep quiet, and Yosif investigates, finding a dead brigand in an expensive fur coat, slumped over his treasure chest. The main is quickly looted and the chest dragged out. Despite the slow going, the party manages to make it all the way back to town unmolested.

Six-thousand silver and a really nice fur coat, as well as a few gems and trinkets, push the party well over the mark for second level (though not quite enough for the henchmen). With all of their new loot (and nowhere good to spend it), the group decides to head to the larger market in Panpo to gear up and hire more henchmen for a return trip.

Next, overland travel!

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Ambush!
Sneaky Brigand Bastards

Seventhmonth 13, 300 AL – Seventhmonth 28, 300 AL

Despite barely spending half an hour in the dungeon, with nearly everyone injured and Lai Chao dead, the party decides to head back to Manba’s little corner of civilization. On the return trip, they encounter a heavily-armed convoy of merchant wagons, but after the merchants make it clear that they are willing to kill the adventurers if they get too close, the party gives them the rest of the day as a head start.

The next morning, funeral services for Chao are arranged, and new flyers for henchmen are put up. Also, Fleta Strauss leaves Walderson Turunen’s service, to find her own way for a while.

Over the next two weeks, as everyone heals up, Yosif Orefinder hires Glenna Nairn, a raven-skinned Gadaal woman who seems like she might actually be useful in a fight. San Chal hires Shi Jian, an Imperial man with some military history behind him.

Jian mentions being turned down by two other adventuring parties that have been in town recently, but he doesn’t know anything about them.

After a few purchases are made from the newly restocked market, the party travels once more to The Yellow Throne.

Or tries to. An hour into the jungle hills, the party is ambushed by brigands! Arrows from the foliage knock the mage from his horse and drop the two new henchmen to the ground, unconscious and possibly dead!

Seven brigands pop out of the bushes, and Yudai, Walderson’s ridiculously weak henchman, charges a group of three brigands with his spear, impaling one in the gut, and smacking another with the butt of his spear.

Walderson staggers to his feet from the mud and with a bold incantation, invokes a wave of arcane slumber over the four on the other side. San Chal and Yosif do their best to quickly dismount, and then the dwarf and the elf charge forward and attack. From the rear, Walderson kills one of the brigands with a well-placed shuriken, and the last brigand flees, with Hilt hot on his heels. He’s too fast, however, and soon escapes.

The fallen henchmen are patched up, but they won’t last the day without real healing. A closer look reveals that Jian took a serious injury to his leg, and Glenna’ right hand is crippled.

Walderson lets his mystic aura run free as he interrogates the brigand captives. One is intimidated into revealing that the other half of this crew, including boss “Fancy Feng”, took thier loot to hide in a cave they found near some ruins. Might those ruins be the Yellow Throne?

They leave the brigands, bare and bound, to their fate, and return to Manba.

Luckily, Wen and Fong are available to heal the two henchmen. Disheartened, Glenna leaves. Jian is having second thoughts, but sticks with the group.

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Pits: 2 - Adventurers: 0
The Dungeon is Not Your Friend

Seventhmonth 11, 300 AL – Seventhmonth 12, 300 AL

Once everyone has recovered, Yosif buys himself a battle axe to go with his hand axe, giving him the option to dual-wield or lay into thing two-handed, as needed. He also hires a pair of henchmen, the poorly dressed Hilt and the less-than-bright Chao, arming and armoring them as best he can from the poor selection of goods in town. Walderson, seeing the need for a ranged support option, picks up a handful of shuriken as well.

There’s some discussion of arbitrage trading, perhaps importing tools from Panpo to sell in Manba, but in the end it’s decided that there’s too much set-up for right now, and the best bet would be to loot what they can from the Yellow Throne dungeon.

A day of uneventful travel across the plain and into the hilly jungle brings the party back to the Yellow Throne. After checking for guards in the dim light of dusk, the group takes the same spiral staircase down into the darkness.

A dead goblin in the corner proves to be just that, so the party moves on. Knowing that angry orcs and goblins are waiting for them to the north and east, the party opens the door to the west, and files into the small room.

That’s when the floor gives out, dropping Yosif, San Chal, Hilt, Chao and Walderson’s dog into a pit, 10 feet deep. Everybody is bruised, but Chao is bleeding from the ears and non-responsive. He dies shortly thereafter.

The silver lining to this tragedy is, indeed, silver. A goblin corpse and an elven corpse are found at the bottom of the pit, along with a sack of ~4000 silver pieces. The survivors loot the pit, and using their available rope, climb back out to regroup.



Treasure: 4000 silver wheels (400gp), bloodstone (50gp), silver necklace (200gp), 2 bronze bracelets (150gp x 2), 12 gold koku (12 GP)

Henchmen Killed: Chao (0-Level Human)


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VNDE
VERY Near Death Experience

Seventhmonth 10, 300 AL – Seventhmonth 25, 300 AL

Finding the secret door in the corner that the goblin described to them before being forced to duel for its life, the party climbs through to reveal a room with a freshly killed body on the floor. Rolling it over, Yosif discovers that it’s an orc, apparently killed by two arrows to the chest and one to the throat. Yosif takes the orc’s signal horn, and they move on, ignoring the nearby door to take the hallway to the north.

Soon, the hallway ends in three doors. The left door reveals a crowd of chatter and squealing. The center door offers grunting and wet noises. The right door seems to be silent.

Apparently looking for trouble, Yosif peeks into the left door. The room is crowded with she-orcs and orc-spawn. They notice the light from Walderson’s torch, but Yosif quickly closes the door before they can see him.

Rather than leave, Yosif quietly opens the center door, to reveal four orcs eating… something. They totally notice Yosif.

A fight breaks out, but Yosif holds the doorway. One of the orcs escapes out a side door, but the other three move in to attack. When one of the orcs’ attacks comes too close to Yosif for comfort, Walderson sleeps two of them. Yosif fells the one that steps in to take it’s place, but its falling corpse wakes their “sleeped” champion, who can’t seem to take a hint, and keeps up the fight.

Meanwhile, Rekkae, Walderson’s hunting dog, begins growling at the left door, the one full of she-orcs, and the one by which Walderson is standing. Walderson calls out a warning, but it’s too late. The door flies open, and an orc’s cruel black blade takes Walderson down!

The party scrambles to react! Yudai avenges his boss with a spear to the orc’s face while San Chal tends to Walderson’s horrible wound. It doesn’t look good, and San Chal doesn’t think Walderson will keep his left eye.

That’s when the other orc drives its black blade into Yosif’s chest!

Desperate, San Chal launces himself at the remaining orcs, crushing the skull of the nearest, while Yudai once again masters the skill of vengance, piercing Yosif’s assailant through the throat!

Fleta staunches Yosif’s wound, but he, too, won’t last the day without real healing.

Luckily, the party still outnumbers the fighting orcs, who begin to back off. San Chal and the henchmen take the opportunity, closing the door behind them and dragging their fallen away as quickly as possible. It takes nearly a day to get back to town, risking travel through the night, and Walderson and Yosif are deathly pale.

Luckier still, there are just barely two clerics available, and they are quite willing to aid the adventurers who have come to rid them of these “beastmen”. It takes a week before they can leave their beds again, and another week of rest before they feel ready to continue.

The party considers what other supplies or preparations they might need before returning to The Yellow Throne



Kills: 2 Orc Champions, 3 Orcs

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