To Serve and Protect?

Session 7

Death from above

Shadrach caught up with the rest of the group returning from his pilgrimage with a pair of newly formed semi-functional wings . Theo declared this to be a miracle , Shadrach’s reward for his unflinching opposition to enemies of Menoth’s good works . Shadrach delivered a message from Lantona that Theo was to report back for Officer Candidate Training School . He eagerly drove off , glad to leave the band of heretics and monsters he was forced to work with behind . Shortly thereafter they were approached by Hathor and Jak , old acquaintances of Crow’s. They joined the party without comment . That night when Hathor awoke to relieve Ace from watch Ace was nowhere to be seen . Hathor and Crow started looking for tracks while Shadrach found Renwald lying in a pool of blood , the victim of multiple stab wounds to the chest . Max healed Renwald but he was also suffering from the same kind of poison that had effected Shadrach in Homlet when he was attacked by Furnock . Hathor found a hatless Ace sleeping in a ditch a short distance away . After being awakened Ace told them he had seen someone sneaking into the camp and tried to sneak up on them but was taken down by a sleep spell . Crow and Hathor tracked the intruder for a while , finding a spot where it seems he met up with another party and they both rode off . Returning to meet with the giant eagle and the hippogriffs the party asked if they would help them search the area before proceeding on to the dwarven weaponsmithing operation .

A few hours later one of the hippogriffs returned and the crew mounted and flew to a small stream where a riderless horse was drinking . Presuming it to be mounted by an invisible personage Shadrach launched himself off his mount and unfurling his new wings executed a devastating diving attack that sliced the horse in two . The rest of the party landed and Ace looked around with his magic , seeing no invisible corpses laying around . Crow and Hathor picked up some tracks – their theory was that someone had dismounted , walked a short ways and then was bushwhacked . Only one set of tracks lead away from the site of the scuffle and they were quickly lost . It was determined that whomever had left the tracks had initiated some fairly sophisticated counter-tracking measures .

The eagle suggested that they continue on to the dwarf-hold and some of the hippogriffs would search the area in the meantime . Upon hearing that the only known entrance to the operation was a smelting chimney guarded by two manticores abandoning the mission was discussed . Ace took charge and outlined a plan . Shadrach would attack from above then retreat to a spot where Ace was set to spring an ambush . They would briefly engage and then retreat again , leading into a killzone where Crow and Hathor would rain down arrows . Shadrach mounted up again and then executed a HALO jump , catching the manticores completely by surprise and gravely wounding one with a channeled Shocking Grasp/Blade of Blood attack . He then Expeditiously Retreated with one manticore in hot pursuit while the wounded one fled . Ace sprang his ambush but missed and was pounced upon by the manticore and mauled badly . Hathor began firing as Shadrach and Crow rushed to save their precious leader . They battered the beast to bits and Ace commandeered all Max’s healing for the day – because without the leader, all is lost .

Searching the area they found (and shot and beat up) a slave that had escaped with the help of a elf-maid who was pretending to be charmed by the overseer and doing what little she could to help the other slaves . He had a Censor of Sweet Air that helped him climb up the chimney without succumbing to the fumes . It was seized and he was offered a ride on one of the hippogriffs down the mountain . He accepted and immediately fell to his death . While Ace discussed his plan to climb down the chimney and scout, Jak climbed down the chimney and scouted .

Ace formulated a plan that he and Jak would use their stealth to assassinate the dwarf overseer . This plan was changed several times which necessitated climbing back up and down the chimney several times . Eventually Ace lost his grip was about to plunge into the molten metal below but was saved by Max’s Levitate spell . Shadrach contemplated jumping down on top of him but ultimately was dissuaded . Ace told his compatriots to block the chimney with the manticore corpse and they would use the distraction to make their move . While Jak and Ace were studying in area in preparation for the assassination they could not resist pushing a careless bugbear into the smelter . No one seemed to notice so they did it again, but this time Ace was seized . He was taken into a shack and shortly thereafter came out and climbed back up the chimney , telling them to remove the corpse because they had “won” . Hathor chopped the body up enough to the point where it slid down into the molten ore . Seeing that Ace was assisting the dwarves and bugbears, Jak stealthy flicked some of the molten metal into the pocket of one of the dwarves . Ace found this hilarious and was dragged into the shack again .

Jak took his opportunity to climb back out the chimney . Negotiations were attempted but quickly reached an impasse . Max contacted Lady Mytara and they said backup could be there in a few days but no one wanted to wait so it was decided that the best thing to do was to block up the chimney and kill everyone with poisonous vapors . They tried boulders but they were transmuted to mud . They tried cloth and it was burned . Then they just started throwing crap down there, hoping to splash the slaves with molten metal for some reason . In the meantime Jak had found a crevasse that lead into one of the slave-pens . It was decided they would rest and recover and then attempt an assault in the morning . In the night Hathor’s dog started barking its head off and while everyone else ignored it Hathor fired blindly into the night . It was a bugbear night-raid . After a furious battle the bugbears were defeated and one taken captive . He told them about a secret entrance into the cavern . He promised that he would get all the other bugbears to leave before they attacked . He also promised to feed the slaves an elixir that would break the magic binding them . He further promised he would arm and free the slaves to coincide with the attack . Shadrack killed him .

The next morning ready for the attack the party saw the slaves making their way down the mountain lead by an elf-maid . Asking them what happened the former slaves said that the bugbears had broken the spells on them , set them free and armed them . They rose in revolt and the dwarves bugged out . Strangely no one seemed to wonder how this plan was enacted since the bugbear who proposed it was slaughtered . A few of the former slaves offered their magic items to the group in gratitude but they were refused . The party continued on to the smelting operation and freed Ace . They tossed the few Massog blades that had been left behind in the smelter to destroy them . In thanks the eagle granted them the fabled Spear of Phractos known sometimes as the Red Mist . The hippogriffs returned them to their campsite and they continued on their way to Bogsbridge . In the Forest of Trolls they encountered a wizard from Sundown who wanted to make sure that a wand of stone to flesh that he had purchased worked before it tried it on the petrified villagers in his home but was afraid to face a troll . A troll was buried headdown and Hathor prepared a bonfire and torch in case . The wand worked but the troll could not struggle its way out and suffocated . They continued on to Sundown prepared to face the fury of the basilisk that Arim the wizard said was there .

Ace scouted the area and saw no basilisk . The party sent Arim forward to use his wand while they kept watch . Arim used the wand and the statue turned out to be a petrified Vrock . Arim took off running and turned invisible . Using his magic Ace pursued and Crow followed . Hathor hid while Shadrach prepared to face the demon alone . Ace shot at the fleeing invisible mage and said that he killed him so Crow turned back to aid Hathor . The demon smashed some of the other statues while Crow and Shadrach assailed it . Once injured the demon teleported away . Shadrach searched the area and found a giant constrictor snake . He was about to kill it but it spoke to him in Draconic and there was a parley instead . The snake lead them to Arim’s body (whom he had killed) and then to the villagers hiding in the woods . Father Nolo said if they were willing to face the demon again he would aid them with this magic . He anointed them with holy oil to protect them from the Vrock’s deadly spores , enchanted their weapons to overcome its physical resistance , and went with them . The demon had smashed most of the rest of the statues when Shadrach came swooping down to attack . Nolo prevented it from teleporting away while Crow and Shadrach battered it . Ultimately it was brought low by Hathor’s arrows . The last three statues were turned back to flesh and Nolo told them the demon had attacked them and his acolytes had performed a ritual that would turn the demon (and themselves) to stone to protect the village . Shadrach recovered a Chalice of Blood from the demon corpse and Nolo said that he would work on turning it into a Chalice of Blessings that they could have if they ever returned .

Continuing on to Dramshae they stopped to see if they could pick up the long cold trail of Vacra . The only person in town was a old one legged man who was mending clothes while everyone else was out working in the fields . Max talked to him while Crow , Shadrach and Hathor went to work with the villagers (and terrify them with their nudity) . The old man told them that someone they assumed to be Vacra had come into town about the right time looking for a magic sword . Said sword has been wielded by a wicked elf who ran afoul of Old Scorchbark , the treeman who lives in Hollow’s Heart . They headed into the hollow and Shadrach was prepared to fight the treant but Hathor was able to speak with him instead . An irda did come into this area looking for the sword and Scorchbark pounded him into the ground like a nail . The body was exhumed and his stuff looted . The mayor/priestess of Dramshae agreed to cure Renwald but in return he had to stay and work off his debt . And so it was . The party continued on towards Bogsbridge without him .

Comments

That bugbear was an agent of evil, whose only possible contribution to the betterment of the world was to show us the hidden entrance to the forge. He promised many things, none of which could be believed.

Session 7
ChangoLoco

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