Thursday, 27 April 2017

Keep on the Borderlands - The Path of Evil - Session 32


Reflecting back on the conversation with Wallache, Lucien and Talmark recall Lucien’s response to Wallaches enquires to Kord, Malandir and Per, “Capt Wallache, it through the enlightened inspiration of our god that sound choices and appropriate tactics came to mind quickly, resulting in not attempting to take the entire tribe all at once. We are a capable band, dedicated to helping civilize and tame this area.

You'll find that these non-combatants you dismiss so readily will breed combatants or grow to become combatants in short time, do not slight them so lightly, think towards the future."

Talmark adds, “Lucien has the truth of it. Judicious use of tactics, blocking terrain, and the fear caused by a group working in concert to slaughter their enemy can reap, to use a phrase, mass enemy casualties while minimizing harm to one's own band. That particular tribe will be trouble no more.
As for the ogre... We made 2 forays into the Goblin lair. There was a pair of men with the mace of Toreg upon their shields, slain. We found ogre footprints, and there were some near the Caves of Chaos. We encountered it a few days ago, on our first foray into the goblin's den. It fought fiercely as their ally, and we lost one of our hired hands, and thus retired to rest for a bit before continuing our assault later. It may have had a hand in the pair's death, it may not have. And there may be more than one, so do not be surprised if we bring you another set.”

Turning their attention to the observation that the town had been quiet Talmark remarks, “I am sure that Wallach and the others will soon begin to wonder where it is that we stay, when we do not return here immediately after our forays. At some point, we will have to give tell about our base camp. There is a part of me that wishes to better fortify our hide, building a true palisade and tower in front of the cave mouth itself, and yet another part that wishes to keep it hidden. And then there is the question of the Toregites. The powers here may request being lead to their corpses or burial plots. Something to keep in mind. I think we should not tarry here long to minimize the number of question that could be asked of us, but we need more building supplies regardless.

We need a better locking mechanism for our present front gate, as well as 2 other gates to set within our system. One in the western passage that can form a backup to the front gate and prevent/delay invaders from passing into our sleep chamber and then to the bridge, and the other to form a block below the bridge. This I think would involve putting some sort of grate into the stream, I cannot recall how deep it is, as well as a wooden wall with a gate in it to block access along the stream. This can be tied into the bridge above to form a solid barrier. Then, in the future, perhaps we can expand outwards."

Kord scratches his chin, “The stream bed is dry. I figure it either never flows or only flows occasionally with water. Given the nature and size of it I’d suggest that it doesn’t flood. My brothers I’ve been studying engineering, as I’ve always had an interest in both tactics for defense as well as attack, and I think, with the right materials and man power, I could manage a gang to build a better structure, although I know nothing of locks.”

Malandir puts up his hand, “I might have dealt with the odd lock from time to time so I can help in that regard. Perhaps we should also sow the stream with caltrops as a little extra welcome to any who try to cross it or use it to attack the position. When I have some more time, perhaps I will spend some time learning basic trap-making that we can employ on the approaches to the cave as well.

Otherwise, as soon as you are all ready, I agree, let's get back out to the wilderness and earn some more trophies!”

Turning the attention of the conversation back to the current status of the Burg, Lucien says “Could be there is trouble amiss and that is the reason for the deployment of the knights of the Burg," Lucien smirks, "Let's hope so - and that their numbers are suitably whittled. A part of me is sure Wallache feels threatened by our last foray. He seemed taken by surprise, not happily surprised, but taken aback that we were able to wipe out the tribe." 

Talmark observes “Lucien, I have the same feeling about Wallach. If we continue to do 'too well' our group may go from being a help to being a target much sooner than we wish. I propose that we talk to other burg merchants and residents and Caravaners about our deeds, but in a way that makes us sound like we are genuinely here to help rather than tearing the Knights down for their lack of progress. ...until later.

You know, I wonder if they mobilized to search for those two Torag we dealt with? I tried to be as vague as possible with Wallach about them without giving any outright falsehoods. Jumbled, yes, omissions, yes, but no lies. Those may need to come later as well..."

Running his fingers through his hair Lucien considers Talmark observation and reasons “I am not convinced enough time has passed for them to be aware the Torag's were missing before we arrived. Think about it...

Unless #1 -- The Torag Clerics deployed from the Burg after us, in which case we maybe should have recognized them?

Or #2 -- Unless they split off from a bigger group that arrived at the Burg and are no longer here. In which case why did they not check on the split off pair immediately when they did not return? Why would they wait until they are even further away before asking to deploy a search party - and why would Wallache not be leading the mission?

I feel these 2 possibilities are too convoluted to be likely.

AND - with the tribes, caravans and people (Sildar for one) do apparently tend to go missing on occasion and not much seems to be done to locate them individually. No one specifically asked us to look out for a missing caravan guard or locate ambushed property.”

Later that day the party seeks out some of their contacts in the Burg to find out more about why the fortress has been so quiet of late. 

Sgt Engel says that from time to time the brothers of the faithful must go on a mission to prove themselves and undertake a great test. Those that survive return with a higher ranking. Sildar is amongst those that have left to face the beast - Bymbir, Lord of the White.

Berowalt confirms that the order had recently purchased equipment and weapons from him including additional long spears, bows and arrows, crossbows and bolts etc. Enough to supplement the equipment of a 'company' of men.

Berrin says that Bymbir is a white dragon who is said have great wealth and that the brotherhood want to recover the dragons horde. He says that Bymbir has a cave, high in the peaks of the snowy mountains.

That evening the party reconvenes.

Lucien proposes “If everyone else agrees, I think we'll pin the dragon part for now.

We'll make innocent enough inquiries and deduce the "precise enough" location later, but I do not think we should even consider reconnaissance until we are all around fourth level or so and have defeated the Caves of Chaos.

Talmark agrees “Indeed! Though I like the idea of capturing a dragon's horde, if it has a name it must be a big and older one, so it can keep to itself for a bit LONGER! Especially if the Burg Knights do not succeed.”

Kord nods his head, “Then it is in agreement. Let’s prepare for our next foray into the Caves of Chaos once more and we’ll keep a watch on the white dragon and we’ll deal with it later. 

Thinking to himself Talmark resolves that hearing of the Dragon will lead him to inquiring more about it, such as its age and history. His dream of having his family sword imbued with flame has found an ultimate target, his destiny.

Kord asks the group a question “If we’re going back to the caves, who should we target next? Should we attack the hobgoblins or maybe scout out the other caves and try for the orcs or some of the other monsters that Ragnar mentioned?”

DM’s Comments: Just a couple of observations about the character level ups and the new character. As everyone has picked up upon, Lucien now can brew potions and has a host of new abilities. Kord has picked up the skill Engineering, specifically to help with the fortifications at Crawmaw Caves. Talmark has picked up the feat Combat Reflexes and now will get multiple attacks of opportunity which will help when opponents try to flee or try to get past him to attack weaker party members. Per has a fairly offensive character build with high strength, decent dex and he has a reach weapon with Combat Reflexes. If the party gets charged by a horde of weaker opponents it’s likely that he’ll cut down a number of them before they reach the line.



  1. Per agrees that to confront a dragon whilst the group is still relatively inexperienced would be foolish. He is happy to bide his time until he and the others have gained more levels. In the meantime, he would like to spend a bit of time honing his combat skills, perhaps by training with the town guard if that is permitted.

  2. Talmark claps Per on the shoulder "Per, my friend, I have found the burg's knights to be somewhat reticent in sparing with new comers, though they do occasionally indulge. If you can find no partner I would be happy to train with you.
    "As for a next target... We have already clashed with the Hobgoblins, and they can be a tough bunch. Orcs will be much more difficult. As I recall, the two species hate each other, so perhaps we can enlist the hobgoblins help? They did try to talk first both times we encountered them. Though, since we butchered the last four and took their ears they may be less willing to converse...
    "I'd be willing to take on the Gnolls before the Orcs if we have no help from the other denizens of the caves. I doubt anyone has any love for them, and their hides may fetch a bounty as well, from those with no aversion to having rugs made from 'intelligent' creatures!"

  3. {i had forgotten the stream was dry, I keep picturing it as running from the spring/pools in the NE corner of our caves!}

    "Say, Kord, when you say 'manage a gang', would that be us or do you suppose we should capture some slaves? Perhaps we should have kept some of those goblins alive after all!"

  4. "Talmark, I mean I could manage a small team of men from the Burg perhaps or some artisans that we hire to help. Perhaps some local labour that I could instruct. We should be able to build a much stronger structure with a little time and investment in raw materials."

    Kord's head rocks back as he reflects on keeping some of he goblins alive afterall "Those dead goblins have already served us. Giving us their ears for reward, weapons for loot and lives for experience. I'm sure that they might yet again serve us."

    DM's Note: Last time I ran the orcs I ran them Rules As Written but on reflection that was way too tough. It essentially provided the orcs with 18 hit points for a 135xp creature. In the future when they go below 0 hit points they'll just get one more round of action, ie the same rule that is used for player character 1/2 orc characters.

    Having said that I'm not trying to sway the group decision. Just it was pretty bruising last time taking on the orcs and that might be swaying your decision.

    Also, just so everyone that played last time knows. I'll end up changing a few details as well to keep it fresh.

  5. After reflecting for a while Kord returns to the subject of the Caves of Chaos and Talmarks remark about the gnolls. "Perhaps you are right. Gnolls are filthy beasts, more animal than humanoid. They are pack hunters as well. Very dangerous in open ground and they cannot be bargained with. I support the idea of an attack on them."

  6. "Another thought: fire. Being furred, I would bet that, like most creatures, Gnolls would be massively afraid of fire. Perhaps some breakable flasks of oil that could be lit might come in handy as area denial or even missile weapons. Flaming arrows too. Hmm, where is a no-good-untrustworthy Flame-Seer when you want one..."

  7. {Ya know Tim, I really like that the other denizens of this adventure have lives outside of their interactions with the party, unlike something like Diablo where the party is the focus of everyone. You give it a lot of life, and I appreciate that!}

  8. Per will most certainly take up Talmark's offer to train with him. I have no doubt that they will both be able to learn from each other.

  9. A lit flask of oil, while cheap, is also rather undependable on its own. Burning Hands, Spark, other fire-spells, Alchemist's Fire and bombs, will cause an eruption in flames every time on a doused opponent - tossing oil soon before or after such eruption extends the conflagration, definitely a tactic to give weight to.

  10. I vote we tackle the gnolls as well. I amso vote we cash in the other loot, I've been working out the crafting costs for what I am thinking the party could use (party funds, so to speak) and we need gold.

    I am thinking 4x CLW potions (over and above what I make for private PC use) and Kord crafting 4x CLW scrolls (using party funds since it is for the party) so we have some staying power.

    That is 200gp in just party funds we need for those eight things, if someone wants to buy upgraded weapons/armor... well, we NEED to sell the other loot.

  11. Ar some point Talmark wouldn't mind a slight armor upgrade... and magical flames for his sword! But that last one will probably be an adventure in itself as there are no mages in the Burg (that we know of...).
    Bombs... we could all be grenadiers! Though, in my experience such things are just as dangerous to their users and their friends as their enemies (you wouldn't believe how many fumbles I have rolled trying to throw something explosive...)

  12. The hobgoblins may not be certain that we killed the goblins ... although of course they have seen us once in the goblin caves, seen the slaughter we did there, and then lost a group of their own warriors in the goblin caves so will probably make the assumption it was us.

    Either way, they are weakened by their losses, but will be on guard and wary, so perhaps it is right to find another fight with an enemy who is not prepared for us, let the vigilance of the hobgoblins wane over days of inactivity. Malandir feels on the cusp of discovering new talents, but needs the opportunity to practice his skills further to hone his abilities. Getting out into the wilderness and killing goblinoids sounds like the perfect environment in which he may develop, so is eager to quit the Burg and go killing once more.