Heroes of the Mists

Vampires, vampires, vampires.
Five days in & things just keep getting worse.

Having burned down the mill and saved a pair of children, the party returned to Vallaki. Along the way they were accosted by some dirty hermit, who appeared to be attended by vicious twig creatures. It was a short fight.

On returning to the Blue Water Inn, the rescued children immediately ran to Ismark Kolyanovich & Ireena Kolyana. They both recognized the children, and with no one else available for the task, Ireena took responsibility for them. Ziggy Bismuth attempted to bait Maiesse Tolivant when he told her of Sigra Ironshoulders’ death, almost getting an arrow for his trouble. It is now questionable if Maiesse would go out of her way to save Ziggy if the need arose.

With all of that sorted, the party proceeded to take care of business: armorsmith, buying supplies, etc. Ruby Silverforge & Brimstone Silverforge ended up in the town square, where they saw guards swapping signs about a festival while under the direction of a strange & unpleasant looking individual armed with an axe. They also saw a number of people in the stockades, wearing donkey masks. Ruby found out that their crime was malicious unhappiness: they basically weren’t happy enough.

The entire group went out to the festival the next day. Despite being the Festival of the Blazing Sun, it was very cloudy and it began to rain steadily. They saw the burgomaster, Baron Vargas Vallakovich, arrive with his wife, Lydia and begin the festival. They also saw the wicker sun fail to ignite due to the rain, and then they saw that the burgomaster has absolutely no sense of humor wen one of the guards had the poor sense to laugh at the wicker sun not igniting.

While the burgomaster amused himself by dragging the hapless guards around in the mud from his horse, Ruby made her way to the wicker sun and managed to ignite it with her magic. What followed was an exchange of pleasantries and bullshit where Ruby flattered the burgomaster and managed to talk him into showing the guard mercy. Ruby also managed to out Ireen & Ismark, and got the group invited to dinner at the burgomaster’s home. And as if that wasn’t enough, there was suddenly much screaming and roaring and yelling about a monster.

As the townsfolk ran around in fear & confusion, the party followed the screams to Arasek’s Stockyard, where they found two hysterical young drunken idiots. They also discovered that the creature that Rictavio kept in his wagon had gotten free. Sending the drunk fools on their way, the party assisted Rictavio in tracking down his pet, which turned out to be a smilodon in plate barding. Rictavio was able to get the cat back to the wagon, and the party secured it. Ricgavio decided leaving town would be best, and Ireena & Ismark, as well as their two young charges, decided it was probably wise to go with him. Rictavio told them where they could find him, hiding out in an old, abandoned tower, and then the group made a hasty retreat out of Vallaki, Maiesse decided to go as well.

Finding themselves with some spare time, the party decided to check out St. Andral’s Church. There, they met Father Lucian and found out that the bones of St. Andral, which provided the church with holy protection, had been stolen and few nights before. Ruby was able to get Lucian’s charge, Yeska, to admit that he had told Milivoj, the boy who took care of the grounds, about the bones. They then questioned Milivoj, who was initially uncooperative. Ziggy was able to get him to talk by throwing money at him, since it turned out the boy had stolen the bones to make money so that he could feed his siblings. It was revealed that the bones had been given to Henrik van der Voort, the town coffin maker.

Armed with this knowledge, the party went off to the coffin maker’s shop. After much scouting, hemming, hawing, and failing to sell their story to the man, Brimstone ultimately just kicked down the door. Henrik immediately fled upstairs, calling for help. Strangely, this didn’t cause a sense of impending doom. Brimstone chased after the man, not paying the very large crates in the upstairs much mind. Until one burst open and Brimstone found himself face-to-face with the living dead.

Four of the living dead, to be exact. The fight was brutal, terrible, and if not for Sterling Silverforge managing to call upon the power of Stryme to cause one of these creatures to flee, it might have resulted in deaths. Once the creatures were vanquished, they questioned Henrik, being told that he had stolen the bones at the request of Vasili von Holtz. The bones were quickly found, and before the party fled, Ziggy made Henrik eat the Dream Pastry that he had gotten from the hags. With that, the fled before the last vampire spawn could return, and ran to the church.

Father Lucian was overjoyed. He tended the party’s wounds as best he could, then began work to return the bones to their crypt. He also agreed to allow the party to spend the night at the church, after they had their dinner with the burgomaster.

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Meeting new people, & going to Vallaki.
Barovia becomes increasing more grim.

Having buried their dead companion, Gedney Foulkes, the party heads back to the village of Barovia. Along the way, they meet a strange figure in heavy robes & a mask, who turns out to be a deep gnome by the name Esoban.

There is a good deal of confusion as they talk, due to Esoban talking about places the group has never heard of & vice versa. Hand-waving the issue and the fact that Esoban is both strange & unfriendly, they all head back into the village. They find the place barely more lively than it was the night before, spotting only an ugly old woman pushing a cart along a street. When they try to approach her, it is quickly apparent that she is trying to avoid them, so they give up & head to the tavern.

The tavern is largely empty and doesn’t have a lot going for it. The group does meet Ismark Kolyanovich, who gives them some information about where they are and what dangers may lurk around the corner. Ismark also asks them to escort himself and his sister, Ireena Kolyana, to the fortified town of Vallaki. It appears that the Devil Strahd has taken an unusual interest in Ireena, and Ismark wants to get her to safety before it is too late.

The party agrees, they go to the the recently deceased burgomaster’s house, who happens to be Ismark’s father, and they meet Ireena. It is quickly settled that they will help Ireena with getting her father a proper burial.

They go to the temple of the Morninglord, finding it to be a sorry place, with an even sorrier priest. While there, they hear screaming coming from under the floorboards, Father Donavich explaining the tragic tale of a wizard who came to Barovia, stirred up the masses, and then attempted to overthrow Strahd. The wizard was seemingly defeated, and many of those who followed him were turned into vampire spawn. The screaming was coming from the good Father’s own son, Doru, who he has kept trapped while he attempts to determine how he can save his son. Taking it all in stride, the party gets on with the funeral.

Along the way, Ziggy Bismuth & their new, odd gnome companion, spot the old lady with the cart again. They also see some Barovians apparently trading their child for some of the pastries that she is selling. The pair immediately intervene, pay for the child to go free, and Ziggy also buys a pastry for later examination. Ziggy ultimately follows the old woman to the edge of the village, where she quickly disappears into the misty forest.

The group sets out the next morning, their journey largely uneventful for a while, if you can call a mysterious hanging body appearing and disappearing uneventful. Eventually, they are attacked by a group of dire wolves. The battle is over quickly, with no injuries to the party or their charges. It is also very apparent that Ismark is a skilled swordsman. They continue on their way until they come to a gorge with a bridge over it.

There, the party sees a white raven, seemingly trying to lead them down a barely visible footpath. Recalling the white raven that led them to their lost companions before, they follow. Eventually the path leads to a Vistani camp. The encounter is largely pleasant, with some of the party going into a tent to meet with Madame Eva. Madame Eva gives them a card reading, most of which means little to the party at this point. Still, they take note of what she says. Once that is over, they head back to the bridge and continue on their way.

Along the way to Vallaki, the group spots the windmill that Ziggy believes he has the deed to. It is decided that getting to Vallaki is more important for the time being than investigating the windmill.

On arriving at Vallaki, they find that the town is, indeed, fortified. The guards at the town gate are also suspicious. Still, they are allowed to enter, being directed to the Blue Water Inn. Along the way, they spot a strange wagon in Arasek’s Stockyard. The group finds the inn nice, with a limited menu. Urwin Martikov, the innkeeper, arranges for rooms for everyone. They also hear a bit about Rictavio the Bard, the owner of the wagon that they saw. Urwin also talks about the wine shortage, offering the group free room and board if they will go to the Wizard of Wines and find out what has happened.

Once everyone is bedded down for the night, Ziggy sneaks out and heads over to snoop around the wagon. It quickly becomes apparent that there is something large and dangerous in it, though it’s not exactly clear what it is. Ziggy also finds a secret compartment, within which is all manner of gear appropriate for monster hunting. Feeling very satisfied with himself, Ziggy heads back to the inn, finding it pretty much empty and quiet. He heads immediately to Rictavio’s room and starts making cheeky comments about his monster hunting activities.

Rictavio, apparently lacking a sense of humor, draws a sword on the gnome and puts a lot of thought to killing him. After several tense moments, the bard decides to let Ziggy off with a warning. At that point, the gnome decides to call it a night.

The next morning, the party prepares to head out to the windmill, affectionately known as Old Bonegrinder. Maiesse Tolivant decides to stay in Vallaki with Ismark and Ireena, though Sigra Ironshoulders is more than happy to go along.

The trip is uneventful. and the group just goes barging right into the windmill. There, they find an oven with cooking pastries, and the old lady that was pushing around the cart in Barovia. Ziggy produces the deed, claiming to be the owner. The old woman essentially tells the gnome to get bent, but Ziggy persists. The old woman’s response is to throw a lightning bolt at the group. The old woman’s pair of apparent daughters quickly join the fight, shedding their disguises and revealing themselves to be green hags.

What follows is a brutal, bloody fight. When it is all said and done, one green hag is down, while the old woman is decapitated, which leads to the revelation that she is a night hag. The second green hag makes her escape. Half the group is down, while Sigra is actually dead from one lightning bolt too many, and the Bonegrinder is on fire thanks to a lightning bolt hitting the oven. A quick check of the building finds a pair of children, who are immediately freed and led to safety by Pewter Silverforge.

The party gathers a safe distance from the windmill, watching it as it burns. They also bury Sigra, with Brimstone Silverforge taking her loss rather hard. He leaves his maul as a grave marker, taking Sigra’s warhammer so that he can honor her memory. With that, the party starts back to Vallaki.

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Death House
Not a typical cozy place to hang your hat.

The party heads into the attic, finding several doors off of the main room. They quickly identify a locked door & decide to begin their exploration there. Inside, they find a bedroom fit for children, complete with toy box. There are also a pair of small skeletons wearing somewhat familiar clothing, one clutching a doll that they just saw outside not long before.

Ruby immediately goes to check out the toy box, but as soon as she touches one toy, the ghosts of Rose and Thorn, the children who convinced the party to enter this house, manifest. Rose politely asks Ruby to not touch their toys. The ensuing conversation covers several subjects: where to find the hidden stairs to the basement, how the children died, the fact that the children don’t seem to know who the party is, and the fact that the family has a crypt in the basement. When Ziggy starts the leave, the two ghost children react strongly, Rose attempting to possess the gnome.

A brief discussion and negotiation takes place, and Ziggy allows Rose to ride along inside his body. Ruby does likewise for Thorn. The party collects the children’s remains, and then heads straight to the hidden stair, which is accessed in another room. Before long, the party is descending ever deeper into the bowels of the house.

The first thing they encounter is the family crypt. After a little exploration, they find two crypts that had been prepared for the children. The remains are put in place, last rights are given, and the only disruption is Ziggy bizarrely attempting to keep one of Rose’s bones, something she does not like. Once that is sorted, the two child ghosts vanish. All the while, the party can hear some distant, indistinct chanting.

It becomes very clear that this underground complex is more extensive than expected. As they explore, the encounter some sort of worm creature that tries to eat them. They manage to kill it. The party then finds even more stairs leading deeper into the earth. As they descend, the chanting becomes louder.

At the bottom of the stairs they discover a reliquary. Several gruesome items are displayed, but none prove to be magical, valuable, or useful. The party also finds a portcullis that appears to lead into a flooded room. The chanting grows even louder as they approach the bars.

Using a little dwarven brute force, the portcullis is raised and secured. Beyond, in the middle of the flooded room, as a dais with a blood-covered alter. The chanting stop as soon as they enter. The party spreads out, Brimstone & Sterling moving forward to examine the alter. The party also notes a pile of seemingly rotting vegetation piled in a gap in the room’s wall. When the brothers start to climb the dais, ghostly apparitions appear around the room, clothed in dark robes. They begin chanting that one must die over and over. Brimstone strangely suggests sacrificing Ruby’s pet mouse, the idea being immediately dismissed. It is quickly decided that the apparitions can screw off and that no one is going to die. Apparently angered, the apparitions call forth Lorghoth the Decayer, which turns out to be that rotting pile of vegetation. Brimstone, Sterling, and Sigra form a line to hold the plant monster back and allow the rest of the party to retreat from the room. The battle is brutal, but ultimately the party wins, hacking apart the plant monster.

Further exploration finds a prison, where the tired adventurers rest for a while. Then they’re off again, back up the stairs. They start to expand their exploration, only to be ambushed by a number of ghouls. Sigra goes down, but the ghouls are dispatched. Deciding that the party may need to recuperate a little more than they have, they decide to vacate the cellar and head back up into the house. Sigra remains unconscious but stable the whole way.

Upon returning to the attic, they see that the house of undergone a strange transformation: the doors are replaced by whirling magical blades and the walls look like they’re rotting. Sterling quickly decides to not brave the blades and uses his axe to hack his way through the floor. Back down in the nursery, the dwarves continue hacking their way. In the room on the next floor down, it is discovered that the fireplace is spewing forth poison fumes. Thanks to his dwarven fortitude, Sterling is able to withstand the fumes and hack through the floor to the house’s entry hall on the first floor. Pewter, deciding it might be a good idea to have a second option, starts hacking through the nursery wall, only to face a swarm of rats as the vermin stream out of the wall.

Before it is all said and done, the rats are dispatched and the entire group is down on the first floor again. Outside, they see Gedney attempting to confront an intimidating figure astride a nightmare. This figure holds the seemingly dazed form of Sylva in is grasp. Behind him, the party can see shambling figures coming out of the retreating fog that had surrounded the house. With utter contempt, the figure has the nightmare smash in the gnome’s head with one flaming hoof. He then simply waits to see what the party will do about it.

Brimstone, almost completely overcome with rage, has to be held back from barging through the whirling blades to attack the rider and his infernal mount. The party opts to use their abundant missile weapons, with Brimstone striking a truly palpable blow with his heavy crossbow, only for the rider to seemingly brush it off. Deciding that the confrontation is boring, the figure rides off into the sky, leaving the shambling undead at the house to wait for the party. To their horror, the rider takes the slack form of Sylva with him. The party decides to bed down in the hallway rather than risk a fight with very poor odds.

When morning comes, proving to be almost as dark and gloomy as the night, the party sees that the house has returned to normal. The undead are gone, but poor Gedney’s body is still where they last saw it. They take the forest gnome’s remains out into the woods to bury it in the custom of his people. Maiesse also takes the time to gather up some medicinal herbs. Once all of this is done, they head back to the road, where they see a lone figure of small stature trudging along towards the town where so much has happened in a very short amount of time.

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Horror, fleeing, fog. Lot's of fog.
Terrible, terrible fog.

So there’s the party, wondering what lies ahead in the chambers beyond. They start to cross the rock strewn chamber and are immediately attacked by strange, eel-like creatures that try to eat their faces. The party wins the fight and continues on.

In the next chamber, they get ambushed by four of those rat creatures. Ziggy Bismuth is immediately dropped.Brimstone Silverforge gets the gnome out of the way and lures the rats into the tunnel, hoping to create a bottleneck. Except they can burrow, which one does. Right into the wall. Ziggy succumbs to the effects of the poison on the bone daggers being used against them, temporarily losing his sight and being generally impaired. There is fighting, there is blood, and finally the rats all die. The party seriously considers retreat, because at this point, they are in rough shape.

Maiesse Tolivant volunteers to go on ahead and scout out the situation. As they party waits, they can hear some sort of chanting. Then they can hear an exchange between Maiesse and someone else. Then Maiesse comes back to the party, though not before she fired off an arrow at the person she was talking to. Hearing that Sarrus Togren appears to be in a very bad situation, the party runs forward, with Sigra Ironshoulders leading the way.

In the chamber, they find what is definitely a very bad situation. There are approximately 20 of these rat things, Togren is suspended by roots that appear to have grown into his skin, the missing student Drew is deader than dead, and Nymea Goswynn seems to be running the show. Later on, Maiesse reports that she also saw Regis strung up in the chamber, though she wasn’t certain if he was alive or dead.

Nymea hits the group with some magic, since it turns out she’s a spellcaster of some sort, and Sigra succumbs to the magical fear and runs for it. Maiesse tries her hardest to kill the traitorous bitch of a half-elf, but then she and Sterling Silverforge get flattened by Nymea’s magical counter attack. It is at this point that Brimstone declares a retreat.Ruby Silverforge picks up some droped weapons and then the entire party runs like hell for the entrance to this hellish underground domain. Once they get outside, Brimstone dumps a very large amount of oil down the hole that is the entrance, then sets it on fire. The party quickly sorts itself out, grabs the mule, and hastily puts some distance between between it and the burning hole.

After some distance, the party decides it can’t go on anymore and needs to rest. Camp is set up and people rest as best they can. During the night, the ever-present fog gets significantly thicker again. Come morning, Maiesse points out that the terrain is different. Sure enough, it looks like the camp was somehow moved during the night. Meanwhile, the fog swirls around them. Not knowing what else to do, the party picks a direction and gets going.

After a couple of hours, the group finds a dirt road in the woods. Everyone is pretty sure it shouldn’t be there, but with no other good options, they start following it. After a while, they start hearing the howling of wolves. Howling that unfortunately seems to be getting closer. Before long, four massive wolves come out of the woods and attack. The party takes down two of them, while the other two kill the mule, then retreat back in to the fog shrouded trees. With little else they can do, everyone takes what they can from the dead mule and continue on.

After a couple of more hours, the group comes to a gate, which is flanked by a pair of ancient statues depicting warriors. As they draw near, the gate opens for them, then closes again once they pass through it. There is no sign of anyone about. A short distance later, the smell of rotting meat is detected. Following it, the group finds the remains of a young man, clearly dead for a few days and bearing the marks of fangs and claws. In his hand is a letter, apparently written by the Burgomeister of Barovia and addressed to any would-be heroes who might enter this mist-enshrouded land.

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The party buries the body as best they can, though it’s only a shallow grave because, before long, the howling of wolves can heard once again. Sterling says a few words over the grave, and then they group continues on. After a couple of more hours, the group comes to a quiet, seemingly empty town of strange architecture. A faint sobbing can be heard from somewhere, but beyond that, there is initially no sign of life. And then they see the pair of children.

The children, who never actually introduced themselves, nor were they asked their names, tell the party that there is a monster in the basement of their house. They indicate a three story (not including attic) house. After a little bit of unhelpful questioning, the party decides to check it out. The children remain outside, being unwilling to enter the house while the monster is still loose. Sylva Montrose decides to stay in the foyer of the house and wait for the party to sort the monster out. Gedney Foulkes decides to stay with her to keep her company and protect her.

Inside, the party finds a nice, richly appointed house. Different party members have to keep reminding other party members that they are there to help these people, not rob them. That doesn’t stop Ruby from acquiring a top hat. On the second floor, a secret room is found. Inside is a library of books about necromancy and summoning demons. There is also a dead body slumped into a chest that has been there for a very long time. Inside the chest are a few scrolls (held onto by Sterling) as well as a will, deeds to various properties, and a letter that Ziggy pockets without opening. He also decides to hold onto the deeds and will.

On reaching the third floor, they find it in a state of disrepair, unlike the first and second floors. There is also an old suit of armor, and no sooner does Ziggy make a comment about it attacking them, when it attacks them. After knocking the crap out of it, Brimstone starts to joyously dump some of his camping gear so that he can gather up the armor. Meanwhile, Ziggy, Maiesse, and Sterling go on to check out what turns out to be a bedroom.

As Ziggy checks the room out, a spectral undead manifests and tries to kill him. Working together, the party is able to take it out, and then are able to finish checking out the room. A nursery is found off of this room, with an old crib in it that is empty save for a bundle of sheets that made a convincing baby-sized decoy. There is also an exit out onto a back balcony, though not much can be seen due to the wholly unnatural fog swirling around the house. Finally, a secret door is found that leads to the stairs up to the attic. Gathering together, the party prepares to head up and face what awaits.

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Deeper into the Forest
And the horrible things that happened.

The next morning saw the rain, only to be replaced by heavy, oppressive fog. The only person whose spirits weren’t diminished at all was Professor Togren. Even Gedney was subdued.

After breaking camp, the expedition went deeper into the forest. Along the way, a few artifacts were found, including a short, carved, stone monolith. Brimstone became very nervous when the professor dismissed the concerns that it might be cursed and moved to examine it closely.

Ziggy found a dagger of much more recent make, its blade encrusted with dried blood. Further investigation revealed evidence of a battle, probably involving the bandits from the previous day. The party continued on. Two or three times during the day, there was evidence of something moving in the forest, though no one managed to get a clear view of whatever it might be. After several damp hours of trudging through the wet, muddy forest, the expedition made camp.

The morning, the fog had drawn back some. It was discovered that some of the baggage had been rifled through, with a few small items missing. Shockingly, Brimstone didn’t punch Regis in the face again.

The day brought more wetness and mud, as well as a few small items that made Togren very happy. As the day approached late afternoon, Ziggy, acting as advanced scout, made a horrific discovery. Well, horrific for everyone else; he seemed to simply find it interesting.

In a clearing, the mutilated remains of five or so bandits were found, positioned around a monolith about twice as tall as the previous one found. Blood was splashed on the monolith. Keeping most of the group back, so as to avoid a panic, a few came forward to investigate the scene.

Sterling Silverforge determined that the bodies were very fresh and more than likely were the bandits. He also discovered some evidence of small burrows that had been filled in. Sigra Ironshoulders determined that the burrows had most likely been collapsed from the inside. Maiesse Tolivant was able to put together that this had been a last stand, and that the bandits had been battling small, non- human creatures of some undetermined sort. She also found a bone dagger, with evidence of some sort of green substance on the blade.

Professor Togren & Nymea Goswynn examined the monolith, which depicted scenes of humans or possibly elves with smaller, gnarled humanoids. They appeared to be worshipping some large, central rat-like demonic figure. On seeing the depiction of the demonic figure, Togren became strangely lost in thought, until Nymea shook him out of it.

Togren decided that the situation had simply become too dangerous and that it was time to head back to the Avauntz Inn. As the party turned around and began backtracking, small fetishes made of twigs were noticed hanging from the trees here and there. And then there were the ever present crows. Ziggy attempted talking to them, but all he got as a response was “Danger”. So no real revelation there.

At camp that night, Sylva approached Pewter Silverforge with some information. He, in turn, brought her to the rest of the Silverforge clan. She reported that she’d secretly read through Togren’s books and found that the people who had lived in this area weren’t the Ancients, but were actually outcasts from the Ancients who had practiced demon worship. The passages also talked about strange, inhuman creatures that these outcasts found living underground in the area who shared forbidden knowledge. She suggested that these creatures might still be around and might have killed the bandits. Pewter also admitted that the portents he’d seen kept indicating dark things in the group’s future.

The night passed normally enough, but come morning it was discovered that Drew was missing. Worse, one of those filled in holes was located right outside his tent. Having no other options, it was decided that the group would press on.

As the group made its way through the forest, the rain started up again, more of those twig fetishes were seen, and stacks of stones started marking their path. And always, the crows. After a few hours, the group came to a tree with hundreds of twig fetishes. Examining the tree, a severed finger was found tied to one fetish. The finger was freshly severed, and it was assumed that it belonged to Drew.

One last discoverly was made before the group finally made camp: three more monoliths with another mutilated body amongst them. Closer examination revealed that it was most likely another bandit.

In the middle of the night, while Brimstone, Sigra, & Gedney were standing guard, all hell broke loose. A number of hairless, rat-like creatures erupted from the ground and attacked.

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Once the fight was done, there were six dead rat creatures, one dead pack mule, with the other having run off into the forest, and Professor Togren, Nymea, and Regis were missing. The remaining members of the group got themselves sorted out, Brimstone & Maiesse Tolivant tracked down the surviving mule, and once the sun was up (such as it was), the group began to press on. Before long, they came to a lone fir tree, on which were hundreds of crows. And then a single white crow appeared, transforming into a white raven. It indicated that the group should follow, so they did.

The raven eventually led them to a giant, gnarled tree with a sizable hole admidst its roots. After some discuss, the group descended down beneath the earth. The first thing they encountered was a chamber with 5 idols of some unknown substance, depicting unknown demonic entities. The roots sealed the exits from the chamber, and it became quickly apparent that the idols were both magical and dangerous. Even as the group was assailed by the idols’ magic, they all worked to destroy the stubborn things, eventually succeeding. They then set to cutting their way through the roots that sealed the three exists.

The next chamber they found appeared to contain individual nests. It also contained the partially consumed bodies of a number of local farmers and woodsmen. Most of the group showed little interest in the remains, while Ziggy’s interest was only if there was any loot (there wasn’t). No thought was put to whether or not the families of the deceased might want to know the fates of their loved ones.

The second chamber was a foul-smelling larder, with the butchered remains of various animals and still more people. The third chamber appeared to be an even worse-smelling cesspool. A gilded sword of ancient design was spotted in the pit, which Pewter was able to retrieve through his magic. Ziggy showed a shocking lack of sense and desire for self-preservation, wanting to jump into the pit to look for more treasure, despite the evidence that the cesspool was home to dangerous vermin. And it smelled really, really bad. The group managed to talk him out of this possibly self-destructive path.

The group finally paused when they came to a large chamber that was full of roots and rocks. They could see another exit across the room, but decided to take a moment to assess the situation.

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Hello Troye
And on to the next adventure.

Surrounded by goblins and pelted by arrows, the party had to do something quick. Brimstone immediately drove the horses forward into a run, just smashing through the dozen or so goblins ahead of them, two of the little beasts being trampled to death in the process. The goblins immediately gave chase, attempting to score a few more hits with their bows.

Pewter momentarily stymied their efforts with a magically summoned fog cloud. Ruby attempted to cast as well, but the bouncing of the wagon was too much for her. The goblins continued to give chase, and their bows proved to have a distressingly long range. A couple of more arrows found their mark. Ziggy used his illusion magic to distract the goblins, and then Pewter summoned an illusion of a troll. The goblins, not entirely sure what was going on, decided that discretion was the better part of valor and gave up the chase. Once the wagon reached the safety of the inn, the gatehouse was informed of the danger, and then the Silverforge clan could relax.

Unseasonably heavy rains came in, causing a delay in their departure. Deciding that the rain wasn’t going anywhere soon, the group continued on their journey after staying an extra day at the inn. Despite being early summer, the weather was much more like autumn. Eventually the rain let up, and after four more days on the road, they reached the city of Troye,

Their first stop was the Traveler’s Rest, their favorite inn and one of about a half-dozen so-named inns within the city walls. Oswald, the innkeeper, told them of a scholar who was seeking guards for an expedition. The group decided that they would meet this scholar at The Gilded Mouse, a bit of a lower class inn.

The next day, the group concluded their business with the Borgandy family, Ruby annoyed one of the guards at the counting house, and then they were off to meet with Sarrus Togren, Tenured Professor of History at the University of Subtleties, located in Troye. He was accompanied by his assistant, Nymea Goswynn, Fellow at the College of History.

Togren explained that he was leading an expedition to the Yolbiac Vale, specifically to a region known as the Quillande Ferosc. He believed that the first human inhabitants, the Ancient Ones, left secrets to be found there. However, the region was highly dangerous, being a favorite place for fugitives and bandits to hole up. The group agreed to go along, the parties came to a price, and then the group went off to get supplies, since the expedition was leaving the next day.

Right at the crack of dawn, the rain came back. The party met the rest of the students and faculty from the University: Sigra Ironshoulders, Professor of Engineering & Geography; Gedney Foulkes, a student of arcane history; Maiesse Tolivant, a student with extensive forestry experience; Drew Connat, a physically inept student who probably should have stayed at home; Sylva Monstrose, a bright, bookish girl who apparently didn’t care for Nymea; and Regis Tenebro, a creepy, sullen student whose presence on this expedition left many wondering.

It rained more or less constantly for the almost six days it took to get to the Avauntz Inn, which is close to the Quillande Ferosc. Along the way, Regis was caught going throw the group’s wagon, which caused a brief physical confrontation with Brimstone. Sigra quickly broke it up. Once the group reached the inn, the riding horses, draft horses, and wagon would be left there and the group would continue on with only the pack mules.

During their stay at the Avauntz Inn, the party got a handful of local rumors about the area, though they didn’t really engage the locals present in much conversation, so it’s possible some useful information was missed. During the night, Ziggy, who was sleeping in the stable, was awoken by scratching noises at the stable door. The next day, he found scratches incongruous with an animal. It was also discovered that Ziggy, Ruby, and Sylva all had strange, disturbing dreams.

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Despite the still present rain, the group pressed on into the forest. After several hours of unpleasant travel, the expedition approached a clearing. That’s with the deadfall was dropped on them, hitting Brimstone. The party took out the bandit that had dropped it pretty quickly, and then they were engaged by a pair of archers. After an exchange of arrows and magic, Brimstone got to the archers and put an end to their antics. They heard other bandits in the trees retreating, though never caught more than a glimpse of them.

The group, shaken, pressed on a little further, then set up camp. During the night, the rain began to lessen. At one point, it seemed that there may have been something lurking in the trees nearby, but whatever it may have been was never seen by the sentries. And those disturbing dreams returned.

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On the Road from Remballo to Troye
A long journey indeed.

The party returned Savario to the Borgandy family. They were allowed to spend the night in the servant’s wing, and in the morning they were handed their pay. They returned to Four Corners to go over things once again, just to make sure they didn’t miss anything.

They discovered that the underground tunnel led to a seemingly abandoned cottage about a mile past the walls. They also found a little more evidence about who was running the operation out of these cellars. Lastly, they discovered that one of the tunnels came up inside one of the area warehouses.

As they were leaving Four Corners, they were met by the mysterious woman who had approached them the night before. They gave over most of the evidence that they’d collected about who had been running the smuggling operation and gave her a rundown on who and what they found. She finally introduced herself as Spider, said she would have the money sent to the Hood Falcon Inn, and suggested that the City Guard might be willing to pay a reward for knowing about the tunnel that went under the city wall.

The City Guard was grateful enough to not ask too many questions about how the party found out about this smuggling operation. And while they weren’t able to offer a monetary reward, they did say that the Borgandy family might. It was decided that they would forgo the possible reward.

The group spent the next month or so relaxing, taking care of business, etc. Brimstone Silverforge rented space in a forge to begin working on a suit of plate armor. Pewter Silverforge & Ziggy Bismuth spent a fair bit of time enjoying life. Ruby Silverforge got to know Remballo a bit better. Sterling Silverforge did whatever dwarf priests do when they have a month to kill in a predominantly human city.

Finally, the Borgandy family approached the group once again. They wanted to pay to have a box brought to their counting house in Troye. They gave half upfront, as well as some money to cover expenses, and just like that the group was on the road with a wagon and a pair of draft horses.

The road from Remballo to Manas was well-traveled and patrolled, though they did come across an ogre that had apparently attacked a farmer. It was over quickly, with the ogre dead and an extra moment or two taken to repair the farmer’s cart. After a single night’s stay in Manas, they were on the Rampart Road to Troye.

The Rampart Road was likewise well-traveled and patrolled, and for several days nothing really interesting happened. It did start to rain along the way, making the travelling somewhat miserable for a few days. At one point they encountered a knight and his retinue that warned of goblins being spotted in the area. He reported that they had already fought one patrol, and had apparently lost their leader.

As evening began to fall, the wagon slowly creaking towards the gatehouse and inn where they would spend the night, a barrage of arrows rained down on the group. Everyone was injured to one degree or another. With a chorus of battle cries, about 30 goblins swarmed over the road, some ahead of the wagon, some behind. Their numbers were formidable, the group was hurt, but succor was off in the distance down the road in the form of that gatehouse and inn.

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Remballo
And the things that went on there.

Our brave heroes, Sterling Silverforge, Brimstone Silverforge, Pewter Silverforge, collectively known as the Silverforge brothers, and their mascot, the tiefling girl Ruby, were in the trade city of Remballo, in the Kingdom of Suilley. No doubt having escorted a caravan to the city, they were paid what they were owed, and now found themselves a bit short on coin. Fortunately, having developed a reputation for desperation, a servant of the banking family, the House of Borgandy, came to them and asked that they come with him to speak to the head of the House.

Unable to think of a reason not to, the crew followed along and met with the elder Romero Borgandy, and his daughter, Isobel. They explained that a member of the family, Savario, had gone missing and they wanted him found and returned, alive if possible. If not, then those responsible were to pay the price for their misdeed. Romero offered a very handsome sum of money if they were willing to do this, and the mission was readily agreed to. Armed with a map of Dead Fiddler’s Square, the last place Savario was seen, and the surrounding area, off they went.

Not being natural investigators, the brothers and the girl fumbled around a bit, eventually hearing about a strange man with a dyed red braid referred to as Doctor Remora, and the somewhat odd things he’d recently bought: manacles and window bars. They also found out that he was the owner of the near-by Four Corners, which was a square surrounded by buildings.

The investigation turned up the fact that the Four Corners was practically a fortress, and it was guarded by rough and surly men. Eventually, the group ended up in the Hooded Falcon Inn, where Sterling did a little magical scouting with the help of his familiar. They were also approached by a strange and mysterious woman, who informed them that their investigation was somewhat obvious, and who also offered them an additional handsome sum of money to go into Four Corners and do some killing.

Emboldened, the brothers came up with the daring, and possibly foolhardy, plan of trying to provoke the gate guard into opening the gate to investigate their shenanigans. The guard, an elf who was apparently a little more thoughtful than expected, decided to instead summon the rest of the crew before opening the gate. That’s when the dwarves and their token tiefling attacked.

The fight didn’t really go well. While they downed the four gang members and their two mastiffs, Brimstone and Sterling were also downed. Doing a quick bit of looting, the band withdrew to tend to wounds and plan another attack. Along the way back to the inn, they came across a colleague of theirs, a gnome charlatan that they had opportunity to work with before in years previous.

Once everyone was back on their feet, they returned to Four Corners, using a little more caution this time. They only encountered a pair of guards this time, along with some random small stray dogs,. When engaged, the guards fell back immediately. Pewter showed a strange and unhealthy desire to kill the two dogs, despite their lack of threat. Brimstone suggested firmly that the wizard should probably keep his mind on the task at hand.

A trap door into a cellar complex was quickly found. The two guards were quickly found after that. Unfortunately, a very young bulette was also found, the guards unleashing it upon the party. Pewter created a simple illusion that served to momentarily distract the bulette, allowing the rest of the party to unleash hell on it and kill it before it had a chance to seriously injure anyone. The guards were then caught and summarily dealt with.

Searching the cellar complex found a number of things. There were a fairly large number of trade goods that appeared to be getting smuggled into and out of Remballo. The only person they found was the missing Savario Borgandy, who indicated that there should be more members of the gang present. It appeared, however, that anyone else must have fled rather than press a losing battle. After a cursory search, the party returned to the surface.

The party did a sweep of Four Corners, finding a number of valuables, as well as medallions indicating that the men they had fought were members of the Manas Thieves Guild, a guild known for its violent tendencies. They also found what appeared to be a contract between Doctor Remora and the Guildmaster of the Manas Guild. Unfortunately, it appeared that Doctor Remora has hastily gathered up his valuables and escaped while the party was underground. Savario was also able to find a number of letters of credit that he had been forced to forge, which he collected, with the intention of bringing them back to the House of Borgandy.

Their sweep done, and as much loot as could be found collected, the party escorted Savario Borgandy back to his family in the late night hours.

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