Ashfen Campaign Log – Session 2

 

The Party

Costine NortHalf-Elf Druid, a habit of hiding and or turning into stone at inappropriate moments

Everard Sosa, Human Wizard, eyes go gooey at dark magic, pretends he doesn’t take advise from a talking book.

Kristian,  Human Ranger, ‘boom headshot’, fear of turning into a small person

Ozwald Percival, Tiefling Warlock, carries a magical bag of beans, rather level-headed.

Jess Goldfloom, Human Paladin, has 99 problems and they’re all Tarrasques, remembers to loot.

It is the 3rd day of Jaxus.  The party is within the Azure forest, outside the ruins of Sarkoth keep having recently saved a large band of hostages from the clutches of a band of orc slavers. Including most importantly Maxwell Bolthorn, a human noble whose return would net the party 1000 gold coins from his grateful family.  As they discussed what to do next a passing Paladin by the name of Jess Goldfloom came upon the group. Seeing innocents in need she offered to join the party in protecting the hostages and likely sensed the strange demonic activity in the air. ( And also in Ozwalds satchel)

Many of the orcs had managed to escape the parties grasps and had escaped with a smaller group of hostages the party failed to save. Kristian had managed to track the direction these orcs were going, towards the south-west and the party had to decide between tracking the orcs or bringing the hostages back safely to the village.  The party decided that following the Orcs was too risky a proposition with all the hostages they had, especially the incredibly valuable Maxwell Bolthorn, and decided to venture north up Mortling road to the village of Hogsfeet.

A few hours into their journey as they reached the outskirts of the forest a foul stench pervaded. This was the first sign of a macabre procession that came into view.   4 goblins holding aloft a great, bloated, demonic creature on a huge throne of bones led by a cloaked female human. On the throne of the demonic creature was chained a male human in tattered but otherwise fine clothes.

The cloaked woman approached the party and as she grew closer they noted her straggly hair, rotting teeth, and strange gait. They readied their weapons but heard what she had to say. She greeted them as Nana Grishnak, the humble servant of Lord Makka – Blessed one of Ubilex.  She explained the being behind her on the throne is the newly born Jarlax and that she required a simple offering. She asked for either the Dwarven Miller Banain or the noble Maxwell Bolthorn as a willing tribute, if they took it she would safely let them pass.

Deciding that this prospect was not a tenable one the group launched an attack, they were quick and managed to slay Nana Grishnak before she spewed poisonous phlegm that they could see welling up inside her. The demonic creature Jarlax and the goblins, however, would prove tougher opponents the Jarlax charged towards the party wielding the thigh bone of a human as a club. The Paladin met the creature in kind and a whirling combat ensued.

Within the fight, Maxwell Bolthorn took it upon himself to charge Jarlax, swingy wildly with a sword nobody had realised he got his hands upon. He missed miserably with his attacks however this still drew the monstrosities ire but the Paladin managed to distract the beast with a mighty blow and turn the creature’s attention away from Maxwell which would have certainly killed him otherwise. Ozwald followed this up by convincing Maxwell to get away and he spent much of the rest of the fight inspecting the branches in a nearby tree.

The goblins scuttled forwards and proved tough targets as they hid within the foliage and pinged out with their short bows however the Druid had keen elf eyes which could spot the creatures even in their hiding places and the wizard had many elemental area attacks which were able to oust them regardless of being seen or not. The Paladin dealt the final blow against Jarlax who fell crashing to the ground and the goblins were picked apart by the party.

By this time the man who was chained to Jarlax’s throne had escaped from his bonds and was fleeing up the road but the party left him to it and did not give chase. They did destroy this throne and loot the bodies for what they could find.

They then continued onwards past a shrine of Jitune, goddess of wayfarers. Here they stopped and rested for the night before carrying on into the village.

When they arrived in the village in the morning they passed a great mill at the entrance to the town. Banain the dwarf’s eyes lit up as two halflings rushed out towards him from the mill in exultant jubilation.  They introduced themselves as Bip and Bop and thanked the party profusely. The ranger took some strange slight to this thanks and patted Bop patronisingly on the head. Bop grew angry and challenged him to a fight for this slight, revealing oddly muscular arms for a Halfling. Banain calmed the situation down, this was no time for fighting. He said that should the party ever need a place to stay, a mug of ale and a warm loaf bread they would always be welcome at his home.

A larger throng of villagers arrived and when they realised the heroes had brought back the kidnapped villagers they gave out a huge cheer and began to praise the party, throwing garlands of flowers as well as coins out in front of them as they made their way slowly through into the village. Many of the hostages dispersed into the loving arms of relatives with only now Maxwell remaining and growing increasingly awkward.

The hum of the villagers grew silent as a knightly procession approached. A huge, ornate carriage with the symbol of house Bolthorn upon it ( an iron horn)  and behind them a procession of knights led by a tall, blonde haired human with the symbol of House Mortling ( a Griffen) on his shield.

The carriage stopped and a small stooped old lady was helped out by burly, armoured guardsmen. She introduced herself as Lady Bolthorn. The party had no clue who she was and she had to remind them, as you would a child not paying attention in class, that she was the Lady who had hired them to save her grandson Maxwell.

She began to talk to the party whilst ignoring Maxwell himself who shuffled his head hung low towards her.   The party was given their reward as they asked for it and the villagers were shocked at the sheer disgusting display of worth as a chest with 1000 gold coins were produced from the carriage. The party asked that the money was sent to the druids who had resurrected Kristian and Lady Bolthorn assured them this would be arranged.

The man with flowing blonde hair riding behind the carriage introduced himself as Sir Arthur Fenwick. He is a knight sworn to house Mortling, Hogsfeet is his village and he owns the manor that overlooks it.  He thanks the party for their fine job in rescuing his villagers. He bid the party rest and then join him this evening for he has a pressing matter for them.

The party journeyed to the Square Hog inn and rested weary after their trials and tribulations, the innkeeper, a half-orc by the name of Cedric, doing everything he could to look after them. They spent their idle time identifying some of the magic items that had come into their possession, including a ring of water breathing, spell scrolls of light and acid arrow, and a bone circlet of blasting.

Having rested the party dressed in their evening wear, well at least some of them did and journeyed to the manor.

They were greeted by the lords’ retainers at the door who asked them kindly to offer their weapons which the party did freely. The paladin also challenged the guard later to a javelin contest.   The party entered the sumptuous halls of the Lord and sat around his table, they were joined by his wife Joanna Fenwick and his daughter Joanna Fenwick as well as Maximilian and Lady Bolthorn.

The party was offered a sumptuous banquet, suckling pig,  spiced eels, venison and thick stew were just some of the foods on the menu. All washed down by wine and ale. The ranger ignored all table manners and tucked in greedily to the aghast looks of Arthurs wife in particularly who none the less bit her tongue. Lady Bolthorn too, having a high scorn for adventurers but viewing them as a necessary evil, turned her nose up at such uncouth antics.  The party recounted exploits of their adventures and Lord Fenwick listened intently. He was shocked to hear of such vagrant activity by demons and this news, in particular, troubled him much.

Talk turned to business.

Lord Fenwick explained he believed that one of the villagers was working with the orcs as he had no idea how the Orcs had managed to get through the defenses and various watches of the land and raid the village with such speed and ferocity or be bold enough to go as deep as the village lies within the verdant dale.

He had 3 suspects. The Priests of Nerill and especially their leader a man by the name of Kurbag who was known to be a half-orc.  One of these priests was currently in the village at the inn. The priests had appeared not long before the Orcs attack, collecting money to build a shrine to their goddess and mostly resided in a camp towards the south-east.   His Reeve( senior village official, collects taxes, deals with village disputes etc.) Rim Hammer nail, who had come into much money of late and in suspicious circumstance and also had the means to do things like bribe guards and watchmen and leave the path to the village clear. Lastly, he suspected Peregrine, the ferryman, he had gone missing the night before the Orc attack when a great storm hit the village.

Finally, he also noted the ‘cursed house’ on the outskirts of the village. During the lightning storm that occurred the night before the Orcs attacked. A family lived in the house who were suffering from the plague and the villagers decided to exile them lest they suffer from the pox too. During the storm, the house was struck by lightning and destroyed and the family that lived there, a couple and 3 children, had all but vanished.  Nobody would go near the house and it was left abandoned.

The party was reminded of the man the man they had seen an escape from the clutches of the demon and head this way and enquired if the Lord had seen this man as he might be involved. Then they turned and realized that the bard who had softly been playing music throughout the meal was that very man. As they noted him they realized the pallor of his flesh and the sickness inside him and as if possessed he began to grow suddenly more and more gassy and bloated. As though ready to explode

The Paladin Bravely decided to flee and walked outside to play Javelin with the guard.  The others all backed away as well. The Wizard was the only one really brave enough to stand, he first tried to warn Lord Fenwick of the danger but Fenwick would not believe him and gave the bard a huge pat on the back with his meaty arm believing the problem was merely indigestion. With quick thinking, the wizard twisted a shield around the bard and as his body bloated and then exploded the poison was safely encased within the wall of energy leaving a slopping mess on the floor.

Maximilian raced from the room and sounds of him throwing up could be heard. Lady Bolthorn simply raised an eyebrow. Lord Fenwick excused himself and his wife and daughter and asked the servants to clean the mess up whilst they all took the rest of the meal outside and breathed some much needed fresh air. The wizard gave good instructions to the house servants, a male human and a female half-elf, on how to resolve the mess and invented a strange contraption he named a ‘mop’, a stick with a cloth on the end so one can clean from a distance. Truly if the wizard were not an adventurer he would be a famous inventor,  the next Ballileo.

The group sat outside and finished the last course of their meal in the much needed fresh air.  Lord Fenwick gave them some parting information about the task he had set them.

He summarised that he was offering the party 300 (1500 total) gold pieces each to find out who was helping the orcs, what the orcs want, where the Orcs are coming from and, why they are capturing slaves and how they managed to attack the village as well as to stop the creatures from attacking again. He also said while undertaking this duty the party would have the power of justice, effectively being Sheriffs, however, they could only arrest and bring forth those they suspected, they could not administer the justice themselves.  He also offered them a necklace with his seal as proof of this.

The party agreed to the job, rested that evening at the inn again and set out in the morning towards the cursed house on the 5th day of Jaxus.

As they ventured to the house a ferocious wind picked up strangely so on an otherwise calm day.

They met some children playing outside the house, daring one another to throw rocks towards the house and then run to the rock and pick it up and return it. Ozwald dared one of the children to go as close as possible to the door and when the child was convinced he was grabbed by a strangling vine that was hidden in the doorway.

The party reacted and took to combat, the child managed to escape and the party soon realised the entire house was infested with these blighted, twisted , natural abominations. The bristling winds outside made the fire spells they had as well as ranged attacks ineffective.  They had to enter the house to really fight the creatures who shot them with barbed thorns, strangled them with vines and tore at them with blighted, razor sharp, claws of wood. The party managed to oust this infestation none the less and found the house in ruin. Searching the mss the party found a letter that detailed the sufferings of the people in the house to the plague and that they were going to escape the village and head towards the village of Redwater over Lake Tranquil. The ranger also noted foot tracks outside that led towards the ferryman’s hut.   There were many signs of plague in the house including the families sodden sweat covered beds and a hole in the ground where lightning seemed to have struck that revealed a tunnel full of rotting plagued water. This stream led from the Ashfen’s into the familys well. When the wizard used his mage hand to pick up some of this foul water small, wriggling creatures crawled over his ethereal hand.

Deep within the basement of the house, a huge, rotting, shambling, hulking creature lurked. As they ventured down inside it released itself and came to engulf them. Ozwald struck it with a mighty blow of eldritch energy that sent the fear of the hells into the creature and it retreated back into the basement where

They found deep within the basement of the house a huge, rotting , shambling hulk of a creature. They trapped it in the basement with a ring of greased fire and the paladin held it from coming up the stairs, it attempted to fight its way through Jess Goldfloom but she held strong, being used to fighting large, strange, wild beasts and after a long and arduous combat the group slew the creature.

They found int he basement treasure which was the last of the family’s belongings they had they had not had time to collect when they left.

This included

  • 2,233 Copper
  • 966 Silver15 Gold
  • 5 wheel(s) of cheese (5 gp)
  • 4 bottles of red wine
  • 4 lbs. of cooking spices (8 gp)
  • 9 carnelian worth 50 gp each
  • 4 azurite worth 10 gp each
  • A Potion of Healing

 

The session ends on the 5th day of Jaxus with the party in the cursed house.

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