Reclaimed Glory

Mother crawler!
On which the party delves into a natural cavern and encounters a centipede matriarch

The unfinished/natural area under the tower is home to stronger versions of the centipedes encountered earlier.

In the deepest chamber is the brood matriarch; a towering geopede with a rock-hard carapace and a maw large enough to swallow a person whole. After a tense fight, the party vanquishes the matriarch and explores the area. It is determined that the geopede burrowed in from the east – the resulting tunnel leads to a coastal cliff face.

As the party heads back to base, they are alarmed when a disembodied voice accosts them.

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Creepy crawlers
On which the party explores the remains of the southern tower

The party next decides to investigate the ruins of the southern watchtower.

Stealthily infiltrating the hobgoblin territory, the party locates the southern watchtower and is surprised to find the area laced with spider webs… and web based traps! Magic flows easily here, and it is determined that this is an area of high mana. A cautious battle ensues with a pack of giant spiders and an ettercap, then the party descends into the basement of the tower where they encounter a swarm of giant bugs which the spiders were obviously feeding on. These giant centipedes are frightening but pose no real danger to the party.

Exploration reveals a hidden area containing a temple to The Blood of Vol, another chest of coins, some more dusty and rotted books, and a skull engraved with extravagant runes.

It is also revealed that this basement was founded on a natural cavern and the party rests briefly before venturing into an unfinished area of excavation.

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Not quiet on the western front
On which the party reaches the western guard tower, defeats a pair of chimeras, and locates their first warforged

The watchtower is obviously the den of some very large predators. Bones litter the ground around the hill and the whole area stinks of ammonia.

Two chimeras immediately engage the party but are quickly dispatched. While searching the area, the party locates a basement that has been undisturbed for over a century. Inside are several dusty books, a chest of coins, and two inanimate mechanical humanoid bodies.

The party hauls these objects (plus some portions of the chimera bodies that seem likely to yield alchemical components) back to the main camp.

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Scout's report
On which the party sends scouting parties in all directions and investigate a ruined watchtower

With the huge crop of boars meat, the expeditionary scouts are freed from hunting duty and are sent to map out the surrounding area. They are ordered to prioritize their own safety as a reliable general overview is more important at this stage than in depth reports of local hostile forces.

South
Territory to the south is controlled by Hobgoblins:

  • Militaristic, very tactical.
  • Force size unknown due to unknown size of territory.
  • Local force has a well defended village/stronghold.
  • At least 50 hobgoblin warriors and 60 kobolds garrisoned there.
  • Regular patrols in their territory of 4-7 Hobgoblins.
  • Must have a leader, but was unable to locate.
  • Well geared.

Kobolds do not appear to work for the hobgoblins. The arrangement appears more mutual – as if they serve a common master or cause.
Kobolds have an underground complex. They can be seen taking regular small caravans north along the same route as the hobgoblin quarry caravan.
Bands of 6-12 kobolds patrol the wilderness immediately around their complex.

North
Territory to the north is controlled by Gnolls:

  • Appear tribal. Poor discipline. Strength leads.
  • Aggressive but not particularly tactical.
  • Large and unsettling. Scouts moved quietly further north until they reached the ruined coastal city mentioned earlier.

City to the north:
The ruins of what was once a great coastal city has been spotted 3 days north. An eerie feeling overcame the scouts as they approached, building to dread. Rangers were gone most of the week at this point, and needed to return. They opted to note the city presence but not investigate further.

Wizards tower:
Scouts found a strange open roofed structure. It did not appear to be ruins despite the roof. Upon discussing this with the elves, the elves confirm that the wizards tower is sometimes located in that location. The foundations of the tower remain in place as the tower “moves” from one location to another.
The elves are wary of magical boobie-traps.

Ruins:
Three watch towers in various states of disrepair were located to the north, south, and west.

The tower to the west appears to be directly west of the underground stronghold, near to, but on the other side of, the elvish steading. There were animal and hobgoblin bones littered on the ground just outside. The scouts did not venture in.
Upon hearing of this ruined tower, the elves explain that the tower once housed an emissary to their lands. They raided it after the inhabitants were driven off/killed a few hundred years ago – eliminating all clues to the nearby presence of elves.

The tower to the north is in use by creatures similar to the “orcs” that were imprisoned at camp, only these were much larger. Observation is that there are probably between 20 and 30 warriors stationed there.

The tower to the south is overrun by vegetation and large… insectoid creatures? It is still standing but is in rough shape.

Dens and predatory activity:
The river appears to be a gathering ground for both predators and prey.
Groups of very large predators were spotted hunting along the river; both felines and canines were observed. Scouts retreated.
Giant birds are occasionally observed in the distant sky. They do not appear to hunt in this area normally.

A decision is made to explore the Western tower first due to it’s proximity to the elvish grove. The party sets out. Along the way, they come across reasonably fresh remains (i.e. a week or two old) of a couple of humans. Evidence at the scene suggests they were run down and killed by a hobgoblin pack. After judging the area currently safe, the party deigns to bury the remains. A few personal belongings are collected in hopes of returning them to family, should the party come across these unfortunate souls settlement.

Digging the graves takes the remainder of daylight so the party sets camp rather than pressing on. During the night, the party encounters a group of dryads who attempt to lure them into the woods. The situation is resolved without bloodshed. Come morning, the party presses on towards the watch tower.

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Giants and boars and Rocs, oh my!
On which the party seeks to ally with a hill giant, fight a giant boar, and escape a Roc

The expedition finalizes it’s move to the underground border outpost.

Seeking more allies as the stakes raise, the party consults the elves about the local giant, which they had found signs of not far from the original camp. They learn that giants are often used a powerful units in armies, and that this particular giant was old enough to have served such time in an army. Older giants tend to seek solitude when no longer attached to a military force.

The party ventures forth into the giants territory and, after an initial scare, manage to negotiate a non-aggression pact between the excursion and the giant.

While leaving the giant’s territory, the party is surprised by a gigantic boar. A spectacular maneuver fells the beast in a single blow and the immense carcass is slated for a celebratory feast,. The journey back to camp is fraught with tension as a they narrowly avoid the attention of a Roc hunting overhead.

An abundance of meat fuels a week long feast, with even more meat being salted and stored for emergency long-term provisions.

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Warparty
On which the party patrols the river and encounters a hobgoblin and ogre warband

The expedition decides to move to the dwarven bordertown stronghold. An outpost will be maintained at the original came site for advanced warning, via watch hill, and protection of the anchoring cove. Preparations for the move begin.

The party patrol the river valley area, seeking additional food sources and a greater understanding of the area. While nearing the end of their patrol, a warband composed of hobgoblins and an ogre is encountered. A frantic battle ensues with the party narrowly securing a victory through excellent use of terrain and mobility.

It is evident that the hobgoblins are aware of the human intrusion to their lands and are escalating the strength of their patrols in response to recent defeats.

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The wyrdstone!
On which the party explores a ruined tavern, discover the entrance to an underground kingdom, and exterminate an ancient evil

The party had noticed an ancient ruin in their way to the quarry and this week decided to explore more fully.

Hampered by the heavy wear upon the structure and the extremely overgrowth of vegetation, the party finally concludes that this was once a tavern or waystation. They note a collapsed entrance to an ancient structure and, after clearing the rubble, discover an underground guard post. The obviously ancient ruins are eerily marked with the signs of an ancient struggle and retreat further into the structure.

As the party moves further in, it becomes apparent that this a border station, and one of the nations was populated by a short and stocky dwarven race. They are swarmed by skeletons which, horrifyingly, refuse to stay incapacitated once defeated. Vanquished skeletons rose again within a few seconds. The party noticed signs that the original occupants of this outpost were performing a fighting retreat, and the party follows in their footsteps. Eventually they find and defeat an especially strong skeleton that is holding a glowing stone that radiates malice and power, They take the stone further into the outpost and scramble into a shine of Onatar. The shrine is in a miraculously preserved state.

The wyrdstone is cleansed by the shrine, and the skeletons finally clatter to the ground. In the aftermath of the epic battle, the party explores this underground bordertown. It appears to have everything needed to sustain them while presenting a more defensible location than their original camp. There was once a road further underground, but this appears to have been caved in during the cataclysm.

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Quarry and Caravan
On which the party locates a Hobgoblin and Kobold controlled area and ambush a caravan

The party explores to the south and finds a quarry across the river. Kobolds and Hobgoblins appear to be working together in extracting stone. The stone is being transported to the north west via a well made road.

Stealthing around the quarry, the party decides to ambush one of the caravans. After carefully picking a spot, they spring their trap and win a hard-fought battle against combined Hobgoblin and Kobold forces.

The oxen and carts are commandeered for the expedition’s purposes. In a hidden compartment, the remains and belongings of several elves are found. The elvish allies reward the party for the return of these heirloom items, providing some minorly enchanted gear and offering to share additional knowledge to the party members – both normal skills and magic training become available.

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Elves and hobgoblins, oh-my!
On which the party is greeted by an elvish diplomatic party and then narrowly survives an encounter with a powerful hobgoblin raiding party.

The party begins to feel a nagging inarticulate discomfort. Their dreams are odd and disturbing and the night provides little rest or recuperation from the strains of the previous day.

At dawn, the camp guards scramble as a group of lanky humanoids are spotted in the distance. The strangers hold position in the open and await the reaction of the camp. While the camp churns with activity, the leaders decide these humanoids are, at least temporarily, non-hostile and invite the diplomatic envoy inside.

It becomes clear that these strangers are Elves and that they are cautious allies to the humans. Their leader, a female shaman named Liliath Silverbloom, explains that she has had a prophetic dream regarding the humans. The elvish god Arawai appeared to her after many centuries of silence; the elves must help the humans to drive back the darkness which has encroached upon the world for this past millennium.

The elves are a secluded and xenophobic society that only leaves the safety of their grove – the area of lush vegetation 30kms west of camp – to monitor the area. They observe the movements of the fouler races but avoid engagement whenever possible. Their grove provides ample protection from enemy incursions; the magics subtly turn uninvited sentient creatures away – they unconsciously adjust their course around the grove.

Liliath presents a large moonstone (roughly the size of an ostrich egg) to the party and explains that the stone will protect their minds from contamination by the foul land. Sleeping in a camp protected by the stone will alleviate the bad dreams and psychic onslaught of the lands corruption. She also provides a dozen amulets with small moonstone inlays which will protect the wearer for up to 7 days – after which the amulets must recharge within proximity of the large stone.

The shaman teaches a couple of new spells to the expedition casters.

After the elves leave, the party ventures out into the woods again, this time heading slightly north west from camp. As the day draws to a close, they stumble upon a hunting party of hobgoblins that are settling down to eat. Despite being out numbered and outmatched, the party leverages the element of surprise to eek out a victory – killing several of the massive warriors and driving the remaining into retreat. Severely injured, they rest over night within the hobgoblin camp and return to the main camp the next day.

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Lay of the land
On which the party climbs a cliff and gets a feel for the immediate area

The party sets out to climb the hill beside camp. It is a long, difficult, and dangerous climb where, despite the use of climbing equipment, several party members are battered by slips and falls. Ultimately the party safely makes the summit and gains an appreciation for the basic terrain layout of the immediate area, and notice mountains off in the north-west distance.

  • The surrounding area is heavily forested with a river valley running through it. The nearest point of the river appears to be approximately 2 kms away from camp.
  • Directly west, approximately 30kms distant, is a particularly vibrant pool of vegetation.
  • South of the camp, the forest appears to continue but the terrain rolls heavier with hills and rocks.
  • North of camp, approximately 30kms up the coast, is seen the overgrown remains of a large city
  • The ocean lies to the east, however a thick fog obscures everything beyond a couple of kms out. There is no visibility to the homeland.

The top of the hill is explored a little further and old bones are noticed strewn among the remains of a long abandoned avian nest.

The party makes plans to establish a watchpost on top of the hill. The climbing ropes are left in place to facilitate this endeavor.

After climbing down, the party rests and then sets out towards the river with the intention of exploring the area, securing fresh water, and evaluating the food situation. Wildlife is abundant and hunting is expected to be an excellent compliment to the shipped supplies.

Upon reaching the river bank, the party is immediately noticed and engaged by a pair of worg riding dark-skinned orcs. The worgs are slain, the orcs are defeated and taken captive.

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