Badlands Session #11

Just after dawn, the adventurers’ find themselves discussing the direction to take.

“Let’s follow the road – they were taking this cart somewhere, we play the fools once again!” – Nitsuj argues.

With no other plan, they head east along the hard earthen path, just barely wide enough for the cart. After a few hours of travel, the air heavy with the cold of autumn, they find a small clearing and rest.

“Does anyone else smell that?”, Anastasia asks right before a large brown bear smashes through the brush and charges Sebastian.

Sebastian pulls Heaven’s Vengeance up to take the blow and is thrown back, getting the wind knocked out of him as he lands hard on the ground.

Galan dips behind a stump, sees the perfect moment to leap up onto the back, sliding down, ripping a large gash in the side of the bear.

Nitsuj pulls out his holy symbol – “Begone you zombie bear!” and drives the symbol toward the towering ursa. If undead, the bear is unaffected by Nitsuj’s efforts.

Nitsuj watches the huge bear rake Sebastian with his razor sharp claws, nearly disemboweling him. Enraged, Sebastian retaliates with a mighty blow directly to the bear’s head.

“That’s the one!” – Sebastian yells triumphantly.

Even though the death blow had been delivered, the bear still managed one last violent blow connecting with Anastasia. The massive bear paw, nearly half the size of the halfling, pins her to the ground, bones breaking. The bear falls to the ground, dead.

Surviving the attack, healing spells are immediately rendered to Sebastian and Anastasia.

“That bear was going to eat you! But don’t worry! I was going to cut you out of it’s belly!” Galan says, trying to break the ice of the nearly deadly encounter.

A closer inspection of the body yields that this bear was not a normal average bear. Large patches of fur and flesh are loosely hanging on the body. Huge lesions cover the underbelly. The skin is almost translucent.

Determined to take the head back to Renye, Galan goes about beheading the beast, and processing out the body. Inside the stomach, Galan finds a chewed up dog collar similar to the one they recovered off the unholy beast earlier.

“The bear must have eaten one of those demon dogs, and probably some undead. Makes sense. This bear is more a zombie and bear to be honest. This collar though – magic or not – certainly worth a lot of gold. Rubies, maybe electrum, it’s valuable.” – Galan reports.

Continuing up the road, they spot 3 carts being pulled by 6 cultists. Shadowing them, they observe the cultists setting up for camp.

Deciding that an ambush while they sleep, stealing their cargo, and just continuing up the road is the plan, they quickly enact it.

Waiting until daybreak to attack, Galan starts off by sneaking down into the middle of the camp. The cultist on watch, completely unaware of Galan’s presence. Galan approaches, dagger in hand, and trips over a stone, completely foiling his attack. The watch screams for help, and soon, cultists are pouring out of the tents.

Watching the chaos erupt below, Anastasia casts sleep from the overlooking ridge, sleeping most of them. After a few minutes of deadly combat, the cultists are put down.

“Let’s pile their bodies on the carts – maybe we can turn them into red juice, we can sell the story with them, who will question us? They only identified us before by Morgane’s height. We don their cloaks, and ride in with these fresh bodies on the carts. We take some of their dug up bodies with us. Mix them up. We are just doing our jobs… digging up bodies, you know…” – Nitsuj offers.

Deciding upon that, the adventurers’ sleep for the night. Packing up the carts with corpses, they pull the carts north along the path.

After a half day of pulling the carts, a rough fort is spotted off the road along a small creek. Making sure their disguises are in order, they pull off the main path toward the fort.

The cultist out front of the door pulls a large lever and the door swings open, and waves them inside. Inside a foreman directs them to take the bodies to the upper floor. Wanting to blend in, they quickly unload the corpses into the juice hopper.

“Let’s steal some of these jugs of juice. We can’t burn this place, too much stone, and too many to assault directly, but clearly the juice is a precious resource. As long as they don’t have it, we are slowing them down” – Nitsuj whispers as they head to the room of empty flasks. Taking 4 large glass flasks to the room for filling, they fill them up. Nobody even sees them They load them into a cart, and wait.

Waiting for the cover of darkness, just as the gate was getting ready to be closed for the night, they drag the cart out the front. Behind them, they hear someone asking a question.

“Don’t look back – just keep going – we are on a mission! Just ignore them. If they come after us, we flee to the forest, and regroup” – Nitsuj commands under the strain of the cart.

Nobody followed them. Deciding to find a place to stash the cart off the road, they pull the cart south.

Anastasia thrusts her finger toward the forest canopy – “Look up there! Does that look like a glowing column of light? It isn’t like the other ones we have seen, but it is glowing. My halfling curiosity must know what that is!”

Carved stones form a rough trail. A carvings look Elvish in nature. Soon the main path is completely out of sight. Opening before the party is a huge tree in a clearing. Glowing lights surround the branches, blinking in and out. This is the source the light that Anastasia spotted.

92 xp combat
1000 xp lifting the curse
3000 xp stealing the juice (plot quest)

1 dog collar (1000 gold)
One beheaded undead bear & paw

Badlands Session #8

Nobody in the party slept well that night, knowing that they smuggled a corpse into the fort. Coming down for early breakfast, Anastasia is greeted by the entire party sitting together, already deep in their cups.

Sketching out a plan, they decide that getting rid of the body as soon as Kharbaram opens up for the day. After a few mugs of strong dwarven ale, the sounds of the town opening up greets their ears.

A page throws open the door, peers across the room, and locks eyes on the adventurers’ and walks directly to them, holding an envelope in his hands.

“You have been summoned by Lord Reyny. You will find him in the tower. It would be in your best interest to not delay. You will need this.”, and hands over a paper envelope.

Galan opens up the envelope, “It only says Lord Reyny – this must be our letter of introduction”.

Deciding to see Lord Reyny before they see Kharbaram, they had to the tower.

The tower is surrounded by a high wall. Two armed solders guard the gate. Seeing through the barred gate, the courtyard is bathed in sunlight. Flowers, shrubs, and children are spotted. You can hear sounds of spring, though outside the courtyard pockets of snow are underfoot. Strange magic indeed.

Galan hands the letter to the approaching guard and presently the adventurer’s are guided into the courtyard toward the main tower.

An older man opens the tower door. He is sharply dressed, older but not frail. He is human, moderate in height. “Welcome! I am Lord Reyny. I do not see many visitors. A bard came through here a few days ago singing of your tales. I had to see for myself. You certainly look capable. I have need for for someone capable & discrete.

Asking to hear about their tales, the party recounts their adventures, mixing truth with some fiction. Morgane attempted to mislead Reyny by saying they were simple pilgrims but Reyny saw through it.

Reyny, satisfied that the party was up to his request, asks them to spy on Kharbaram. “That dwarven company has been stealing from the treasury. He has been smuggling out artifacts. I know it, but have been unable to prove it. He only hires dwarves and kobolds, and I don’t trust either of those.”

“If you spy on Kharbaram, your obligation in taxes will be considered paid in full. All you have to do is provide evidence of his evasion. Capture it on this “- he hands over a clear orb about 3” in diameter – “this will record what the orb sees.”

Discussing among themselves, the adventurers’ decide that it is in their best interest to do what Reyny asks. Galan asks if Reyny has any items that might be good for his request.

Reyny is excited at the idea of trading items and asks for one of his guards to bring the party’s weapons so they may trade, and hands the guard a small bag. After a few minutes, the guard returns. Taking the bag, Reyny pulls weapon, after weapon from this small white bag. Gwan, jaw hanging, is fascinated by how big items can come out of the small bag.

“Finally!” – the scene on the table is a dozen plus weapons of all shapes and sizes. Bartering no trades were to be made.

“I haven’t seen one of those in many generations!” Reyny excited proclaims a his thin fingers wrap around the small toy horse.

“Have you used this? I haven’t seen one of these since I was a small child”

Anastasia sheepishly responds that they know it is magical but not its purpose.

“Come outside, using this inside is not advisable”, and walks toward the door, gesturing for all to follow.

Muttering a single word into his cupped hands, he places the toy horse on the ground. Right before their eyes, the horse expands in size until the back of the horse is taller than 4 elves. The small horse expanded several times over in all aspects – the small wooden horse now is a large wooden toy horse.

Muttering a word into his cupped hands again, Reyny flicked his fingers at the toy, and it shrinks to the original small size.

“I love to hear about adventures. I pay top coin for my monster collection. Bring me live animals, dead animals, parts, or even descriptions of strange beasts. I am creating a compendium of beasts. You look like you could fill out a few pages for me. Alas, I have a work to do, please excuse me”, Reyny nods to each in the party, and gestures for the guards to escort you out of the courtyard.

Remembering that they still have a dead Locke to deal with, Morgane heads to the taverns’ cellar/basement to fetch the cart and corpse, meeting the rest of the party at Kharbaram’s.

“Aye, that is my cousin, Locke. I never liked him much. Telling my wife that her cousin is dead… I do not look forward to tonight and tellin’ her.” – Kharbaram grumbles. “You did find my cousin, but I need to know what’s inside. Gold, gems, artifacts, I have lots of cousins.” (you notice that when he talks of gold, his eyes sparkle like gems themselves).

Reluctantly, the adventurers head back to the cave, warned about the Benar Brothers. Being escorted with their weapons to the town entrance, Galan works his charm, and beguiles the guard out of the magical bag that held their weapons.

“This town has a lot of factions – I miss the simple life – knowing how are your friends and who are your enemies. I don’t trust Kharbaram, and I certainly do not trust Reyny” – Sebastian frustratedly spits out as he carefully avoids the ice along the path.

Arriving at the entrance to the mine, the party finds evidence of another group ahead.

Venturing inside, the party checks for those creatures that would attack from above. Avoiding these, they make it to the inner door – pushed open a few feet.

Inside the cavern is massive. There are carved paths into the side of the cavern. The cavern has a very high ceiling, so high that the top cannot be made out. Looking down over the edge, lava occupies the bottom.

Hearing noise ahead, the party runs into a group of dwarves, around a bleeding dwarf.

“Who are you??!”, one of the dwarves barks out, holding up a mining pick menacingly.

“We are the backup. (coughing into her hand to disguise the name) Binar thought you could use some security” – Morgane offers to the miners.

“Ah yes, I seem to remember they were going to send backup. We expected you in about a week – glad you are here. We are miners, not fighters. “

Moving ahead of the dwarves, the adventurers are surprised by long cave worms with four tendrils that pull their prey into their mouth.

Anastasia almost lost her life as two cave worms each grabbed an arm, trying to pull the tiny halfling into their awaiting mouth. She barely escapes with her life. Her arms to this day, still bear the scars of the cave worm attack.

Quaffing a few healing potions Anastasia, feeling refreshed, scouts ahead. She is rewarded with niches carved into rough rock wall – finding several gems, and a black metal kris with a ruby in the pommel. Galan puts all the treasure into his newly acquired bag. The bag seems to always have room in it.

A large solid golden statue is the reward for clearing out of room of large beetles. Anastasia pulls out the orb and attempting to document the treasures by holding it above her head. The miners look at Anastasia with great distrust, as she performs this bizarre act.

“Hmm… I should work this into a costume to be more discrete”, Anastasia whispers into Sebastian’s ear.

The adventures work their way further deep, following the carved rock paths. Meanwhile the miners head to the top of the entrance, preventing being flanked. The air is hot, the smell of sulfur is strong as they push deeper in. Scouting movement, Anastasia reports that there are several creatures, taller than a human, with white eyes, holding axes.

Unfortunately, Galan was detected, and many Grimlocks poured to find their meal. Between the dwarves warning the party about the grimlocks coming from top, and Anastasia’s Wand of Magic Missiles, the grimlocks are put down.

Investigating the very bottom of the lava, there is an island in the center of the lava with what looks a golden statue of a dwarf, larger than life 3-4x larger than a dwarf. The golden statue is holding a book and a hammer.

Unable to get to the gold statue, the party heads back to the entrance.

Morgane offers a plan to the miners, breaking bread with with them. Unbeknownst to the dwarves, Morgane cast Putrify Food, causing the dwarves to have digestion issues. The dwarves, unable to ride back to Fort Noscar stay behind as the party heads back to town.