Wednesday 20 September 2017

Keep on the Borderlands - The Path of Evil - Session 54


"Fortuitous blessings from our Infernal Master indeed," Lucien clasps Kord's shoulder, "cracking tactic, indeed.”

“Silence as we exit, lest we attract any remaining denizens, once we are clear of the valley we can converse more openly." Lucien basically repeats the same in draconic for the kobold.

The party get into formation, gently ushering the saved humans into their midst whilst roughly handling the bound humanoids towards their rear guard. 

They make the outside of the cave system without interruption and begin their journey back to Cragmaw Caves. 

Once out of the valley, Talmark quips "Well now, we have no need to go easy on those Hobgoblins anymore." 

To the rescues he says "We had been searching for you, Geneve. Berowalt has been beside himself since your capture and the 'good brother knights' would do nothing to aid in retrieving you. Mandel, I am sorry to say that we had no idea you were missing, but glad we found you all the same. After some rest we will finish off the rest of that Bugbear tribe to avenge your treatment, then return focus to the other badies.” 

“Say Mandel, any chance you may be able to make me a new Tabard, perhaps something with a symbol for our little band that we can create? It would be nice to be able to leave 'calling cards' to those we have vanquished, and perhaps to strike fear into those we target next." 

He looks to his companions. "What do you think? A company emblem?"

Mandel looks gratefully back at Talmark. Still somewhat overcome from the relief of being rescued he says, “Most certainly my sire. I am indebted to your good selves and would gladly make you a tabard and some calling cards. Whatever I can do to bring about the destruction of those foul beasts.”

"An excellent idea," Per responds. "I shall wear mine with pride. Do you have any suggestions for such an emblem?"

Lucien slyly smiles, "For most of us, our faith favors a stylized red pentagram on a field of black," he hesitates slightly to gauge the reaction of the rescued, "I am content to leave the details of the design to those more interested, I would request that a red pentagram is incorporated somehow in the design, however."

“Ahh the symbol of Asmodeus, yes. I see from your garb and the scar on your face you are perhaps a priest or a devote worshiper. I am, as a tailor, of course very familiar with the symbols of the faithful, particularly that of Asmodeus whom I myself worship and Irori whom the knights worship. I have worshiped Asmodeus since my birth, and welcome more of the faithful to the Burg. We are not plentiful in the Burg but we are tolerated by the knights.” He looks at Lucien and then feebly spits on the ground, his weakened body denying him the strength to which he wishes to show his disgust. “Those damned Knights. They preach law and strength but they don’t live it anywhere except inside their precious Burg.”

Geneve looks at Mandel and shakes her head, “Why, why didn’t they come and rescue us.” Over whelmed she begins to sob, relieved that she has been saved from her ordeal. 

They arrive back at Cragmaw Caves just before dark. Their guard comes out to heartily great them. They are taken aback the state of the heroes, covered and gore and wounded to the point of barely being combat effective. It had not been more than 8 hours since they’d left the cave and the change in their state is remarkable. The guards are even more surprised that the party has brought back two rescued humans and two monster prisoners.

They rush forward to help their employers and the rescued with two of the guards taking over watching over the kobold and the orc. 

That evening the party discuss their plan. They’ll stay in the safety of Cragmaw overnight, heal up in the morning and then travel as quickly as they can to the Burg. There they can escort the rescued Geneve to Berowalt and Mandel to Dearg, dispose of their loot and reflect upon their experiences (ie level up). They’ll leave the kobold and orc in the custody of the guards and, upon their return, they’ll interrogate them. 

Overnight all the wounded heal 1pt per level and the next morning Kord casts Cure Light Wounds upon Geneve and Mandel, healing them by 4pts and 3pts respectively. He then cures Talmark by 3pts. Luicen cures Talmark by 7pts and Per by 4pts. 

Party strength now stands at:
-        Lucien 15 of 15
-        Kord 17 of 17
-        Talmark 20 of 20
-        Mandalir 17 of 17
-        Per 14 of 23
-        Fremont 10 of 12
-        Clovis 8 of 12
-        Barret 12 of 12
-        Geneve 6 of 6
-        Mandel 5 of 8

Rejuvenated, they gather their items and march towards the Burg which they reach without incident.

It is midday on day 25 as they unsuccessfully attempt to negotiate with Knight Lorenz, duly hand over the 10gp fee and enter the Burg. 


Friday 15 September 2017

Keep on the Borderlands - The Path of Evil - Session 53s


Lucien's mind prioritizes... Humans, save. Goblin, kill. Orcs and kobolds, save for now, interrogate and kill later, or leverage as hostages against their own tribes...

Talmark says, “First priority is find out who the humans are, then question all about what we don't know about the caves and this warren.”

“We can keep the kobolds if possible, or at least use them as barter to get the loyalty of their tribe. The goblins are useless, and the orcs are dangerous if not even more useless. Either kill the later 2 or enslave them in a big way. Depending upon who these humans are enslaving may not be a good idea to do in front of them. Maybe take them back to our cave and turn them into undead guards?”

Kord likes this idea of turning the useless humanoids into undead guards but he know he doesn’t have the power…..yet. He thinks of some different ways to interrogate the humanoids like falsely befriending them or killing one or two of their fellows in front of them to incentivize their fellows to talk. 

Per says, “I agree that the humans must be saved. I care nothing for the fate of the other captives and will go along with whatever the group thinks is best for them - rescue or slaughter.”

One of the orcs visibly cringes at the word slaughter. 

Lucien speaks to the others, “My vote is we unlock the humans first, then one kobold and one orc, rebinding them for control, lead them all out and kill the other prisoners.”

"We only need one kobold and one orc for information.  I am of the opinion it is best to get out of here quickly when we have liabilities like this and question the prisoners outside, away from the caves instead of delaying here where there are few options." 

“Takez mez” says one of the orcs, “Iz speakz goodz commonz.”

Talmark begins unfastening the humans while leaving monsters to the others. "I am Talmark Feldrac," he says quietly to the humans, "our party is headed back to the Burg. You are welcome to accompany us. Who might you be?"

As Talmark begins to release the humans the man speaks first, “Oh thank you my sires. I’ve been trapped here for over two weeks and I was sure that I was next. I am Mandel of Burg Liechenstein. I am a tailor and was set to join Dearg, the proprietor of Valor Trading, to work in the Burg but I was captured by these awful beasts.”

“And I am Geneve, betrothed to Berowalt of the Minotaur Blacksmithery at the Burg.” Talmark is shocked. Geneve is so emaciated she looks nothing like the description provided by Berowalt only a few days ago (the party last spoke to Berowalt about Geneve on day 21 in session 44). 

“How did you come here?” Talmark enquires. 

“I was captured by Hobgoblins whilst in a caravan traveling to Cettigne to procure some tools for Berowalt and the smithery. We were surprised as they had laid in ambush. They killed about half of us and the rest were taken prisoner. They took us back to their cave and they started eating us one by one. Then one day they grabbed me and a few of the other prisoners and they dragged me out and they gave us to these bugbears. It’s no better here. The bugbears torture us mercilessly. They don’t want information or goods they just want to accrue fear.”
“Where are the others?” asks Talmark. 

“They’re all gone,” the maiden replies, “I’m the last one left.” She starts to weep as she begins to realise that her ordeal maybe over. She looks up at Talmark with tears whimpering down her face, “Please can we get out of here before the bugbears come. Can you please take me back to the Berowalt and the Burg?”

“Shhh it’s alright,” Talmark reassures her. “We’ll get you back to the Burg, here come with me.”
Talmark leads Geneve and Mandel out of the room. 

Lucien calls to the Men at Arms, “Fremont, untie and bind one of the kobolds and one of the orcs.”

As Fremont begins to untie one of the monsters they all start scrambling to be let free. A wail of begging ensures. Kord turns to Lucien and says, “Lead the party a safe distance, Fremont and I will gather the two prisoners you desire.”

Lucien ushers the rest of the party from the room and back to the guard room. A few moments later he faintly feels the wraith of Asmodeus. 

Fremont and Kord emerge from the chamber with their two bound prisoners in tow. Kord has a broad smile on his face and another ½ dozen sets of ears in his hands. “We’ll that’s the easiest bounty we’ll ever collect,” he wryly remarks. 


Wednesday 13 September 2017

Keep on the Borderlands - The Path of Evil - Session 53r


Lucien's curiosity is piqued by Malandir's report, "The murmuring could be anything from slaves bemoaning their fate to a sawbones hovel for wounded bugbears and a shaman or witch doctor to care for them."

He sighs, puts his head down, squeezes his eyes shut for a few seconds, then looks to the group, "I'm not one for regrets, and we may still be pushing our luck, but if Talmark's wounds were healed up with those potions to bring back enough vigor, it may be in our best interest to check that door after all. Myself, Kord and Malandir are still combat capable and Kord and I still have some minor spells and scrolls left."

Malandir nods his agreement. “The discovery of those potions offers the potential revitalisation of our battle strength. If they are bugbear wounded, they will be easily finished off, but it’s just as likely to be slaves or prisoners. The secret door is of interest, but could wait for a return trip”

Talmark glances at the ground, then the sky before puffing out some air. "I'm betting they are most likely wounded prisoners, which would be very good to rescue as it will give us both more credit with the Burg's denizens and more allies. If they are indeed wounded bugbears, well, that's more ears for us which is just as good. And in either case, dealing with it sooner is better than later. If you'll hand me those vials we can be about the business..."

Talmark takes the first potion healing 8pts, healing him to 9hp. 

“That’s enough,” remarks the tough fighter. He hands off the spare potion. “Here hold this, if I need it, someone pour it down my throat.”

The party forms up and starts to head east. They get to the guard room in just a minute or so and then turn west toward the murming room. 

Readying themselves, Talmark and Per put their shoulder to the door and BOOM, it is burst open.
What they see inside shocks them to the core. The room is rank with filth. Chained to the wall are 3 kobolds, a goblin, 4 orcs and 2 humans. They have been poorly treated by the bugbears. Starved to the point of emaciation they are barely alive.   

The humans turn to the party and with hoarse voices they whisper, “Help…”

With a mixture of fear and hope the monsters raise their hands, showing their chained wrists and begging to be set free.