Harkenwold Four

Wed. June 18, 2014
The Adventure Begins!

The characters met each other on the King’s Road heading south to Albridge. At first, they were reluctant to talk to each other (except for Ducain, the cleric, who kept trying to talk to everyone about the glory of Torm), until they came across Keiji at his roadside camp who sang them a song to lighten the mood. While Alek and Ducain sat down to talk and rest a while, Lady Caruvial pretended to read her map while eavesdropping on their conversation. The group got up to continue down the road, when Keiji asked about the gnome girl who seemed to be always near the group but never part of it. Alek answered in Elvish that she was no threat, but Lady Caruvial spoke Elvish, and was offended. She turned and threw up dust from the road to give her cover, then slipped behind Ducain’s back and put her short sword to his throat. This caused Keiji to run away, and Alek to laugh. When Keiji ran a little bit further down the King’s Road, he saw a pillar of smoke in the distance, and ran back to tell the rest of the group. This caused Alek to want to investigate, and Keiji followed. Lady Caruvial let Ducain go, and he immediately headed toward the smoke, hoping that his deeds at the source of the blaze would be sung of for generations. Lady Caruvial continued her trek towards Albridge. When the group arrived at the end of the dirt road, they found a farm being attacked by some brigands and a pair of wolves. They confronted the ruffians, and a battle ensued. Ducain wasted no time let tin the cutthroats know that they were to be judged by the hand of Torm, and they responded with bites and swords. Alek showed his dominance early by unleashing a powerful blast of fire at his foes, and the blast was heard on the King’s Road by Lady Caruvial, who decided to investigate. As the battle was beginning, Keiji was too scared to move. He was terrified of the wolves for some reason. The battle raged on looking a bit one sided in the favor of the adventurers, when Keiji joined the fight. Everything changed when a brigand landed a critical hit on Keiji’s poorly armored head. It knocked Keiji unconscious, bleeding, and on the verge of death. This caused the group’s morale to suffer, and the fight to reach a sort of “dead heat” alternating between the heroes on the verge of death and rallying. At this point Lady Caruvial arrived on the scene and decided to sneak around the battlefield to check on the Main House of the farm. Inside she found Ilyana, who explained that the men were bandits attacking her farm. Although Lady Caruvial begged her to run with her boys to safety, Ilyana refused, saying that this was her land and she could not leave. Lady Caruvial left the house to join the fray, and the battle was won! When the last soldier had perished, the adventurers entered the Main House. There they questioned Ilyana about the brigands, and learned of the Iron Circle and its grip on the valley of Harkenwold. They also learned of rumors that a man named Nazin Redthorn, who Ilyana thought might be the leader of the Iron Circle. The players agreed to help rid the valley of these mercenary thugs, and were told that their best bet was to go to the nearby town of Albridge. The adventurers then slept in the Main house, after being fed by Ilyana. In the night, Keiji awoke from his bedroll by the fire and cased the house for valuables, but decided that nothing was worth his time, and went back to sleep.

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A summary of the characters adventures since
abridged version

After saving Ilyana‘s home from the Iron Circle bandits, the adventurer’s took her advice and headed to the druid’s grove to seek the help of the old sage who lived there. The woman at the center of the grove had her acolytes check the group for the mark of the Iron Circle, and when it couldn’t be found, she admitted them into her hut. She told the group of the Iron Circle’s hold on Harkenwold, and how they had set up their headquarters in Harken. Albridge was where the adventurers were told they could find a small resistance being led by Dar Gremath. When they asked how they could help this resistance, they were told of the small village of Tor’s Hold to the east. The village has a small fighting force which could be persuaded to fight for the resistance, but they were being threatened by monsters hired by the Iron Circle to keep it out of the fray. They set out to help the town. When they arrived, they found a town peopled by one main family and its branches, all descended from the hero of legend, Tor. He had settled here and his descendant, Bran Torsson, was the current leader. The group told Bran of their wish to rid the town of its problem with the monsters so they could help the resistance, and Bran agreed to the plan, offering them lodging until they could head out the next day. The group used the rest of their day in town to enjoy the simple life. Everyone went to a local watering hole for a bite to eat, and were enjoying Keiji’s songs when Alek had a bit of an episode. While Ducain tried to calm him, Keiji and Lady Caruvial set off to find other forms of entertainment.
Keiji went in search of a brothel with Lady Caruvial in tow, and found one shortly. The old lady who turned out to be the proprietor led them to her business, and Keiji took one of the girls upstairs while Lady Caruvial waited in the lobby. After Keiji was finished, they walked back to their lodging in Bran’s house. On the way, Lady Caruvial opened up to Keiji about her tragedy of a past. She had been attacked on her family’s plantation by the Iron Circle, and they had killed her family, and burned down the building and her farm. She had pursued the attackers to this valley. Keiji’s charm had won the truth of her background, but his drunken state meant that he forgot most of the night the next day. It is yet to be seen how much he remembers, but Lady Caruvial remembers it all clearly.
Meanwhile, Alek and Ducain had gathered quite a crowd around them. Alek’s episode was being “held in check” by the prayers and ministries of Ducain, and the townspeople were enjoying every minute of it. Ducain “drove away Alek’s demons”, and the fit left him. When the townsfolk saw this, they were so sad that they had lost their fun for the evening, and some tried to pressure him into anger again, but he kept his cool and paid their tab before they headed back to their host’s domicile for a good night’s sleep.

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The next day and the Battle of Toadswallow Caverns
Bullywogs suck eggs
The next day, the group awoke and searched for food and supplies for their upcoming fight. They were directed to the barracks by Bran, where they were begrudgingly allowed to eat with the militia troops. Keiji arrived later than the rest because of his night of drunken folly, and he had a bit of an itch, possibly from his visit to the brothel. they ate and went about their individual errands. Lady Caruvial and Alek went off in search of better armor. The village armorer was found to be a reshaper at best, with most of his material coming off of corpses found around the area, and all of the Scale and superior mails being reserved for Bran and the militia. Alek headed off to Bran’s house to ask for special permission to use some, while Lady Caruvial went to the gate to wait for the rest of the group. Alek arrived at Bran’s house and found that Bran was in possession of one set of Scale Mail, and it belonged to his father. He took Alek to speak to his father, and the man was found to be sick in bed with a terrible rasping wheeze. after revealing to Bran that he could understand his father’s gasps and sighs, he convinced him that the old man wanted Alek to have the mail, so it was gifted to him. Alek donned the armor, and went to meet his party. Ducain and Keiji went to the potion master to find a cure for Keiji’s itch, and to see if they had any potions which might be of use. They found a woman stirring a pot that was spewing a green smoke. She gave Keiji a cream, and told him to stay out of strange holes…in the wall :) Keiji and Ducain also found that some of the songs and teachings of Torm that they had recited last night had been making their way through the town and were becoming quite popular. They were both very pleased with themselves. The group met at the gate out of ton, and headed west. They soon came upon the cliff face leading up to the entrance to Toadswallow Caverns, and scaled it. When they reached the top, Ducain fearlessly walked in to confront the guards at the mouth of the cave. Keiji tried to reason with the Bullywogs, but he found he could not buy them off, and a battle ensued. Ducain suffered some grievous wounds, but the group triumphed and was granted a moment’s rest. Venturing further in, they found a black Dragon’s skull, which played home to the leader of the Bullywogs, Gloorpk. He told them that they would never be able to pay them more than the Iron Circle, so they would have to be killed for opposing them. An attempt was made to persuade them with the skills of the town’s potion master, but the Bullywog leader said that they would simply take her on their next raid. HE called his Bullywog minions from deeper in the caves, and they attacked the adventurers. when the minions were falling like flies, he called out his pet Gray Oozes, which almost killed Lady Caruvial and Alek. The group defeated them and the minion frogs, and Gloorpk tried to bargain for his life. Alek would have none of it, and while Keiji and Ducain were trying to discern the location of Gloorpk’s treasure, he killed the frog leader and healed Lady Caruvial. He then reprimanded them for their greed, and found the treasure’s hiding place, telling them he would wait for them at the mouth of the cave. When they arrived, he gave them an ultimatum: be a member fo a group that looks out for the others, or take their share of the gold and leave. The group agreed to stick together, and headed back to town with Gloorpk’s head on a spear.
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The return to Tor's Hold
Deception and Betrayal
The group returned to Tor’s Hold and set the Bullywog Chief’s head before their gates. They were begrudgingly led into town, and offered meager lodgings. The group was quite angry with Bran, as the numbers they were given about the estimated strength of the Bullywog forces had been greatly underestimated, and it had led to the near death of many of the party members. Bran gave a small apology, and some excuses, but the group remained largely unpacified. They retired to the house that had been set aside for them, and tried to relax. A knock on the door was followed by the netrance of a shaky page boy, and a quiet chef. the page boy set to pouring wine, and the chef set a pot on the fire and began stirring. Ducain noticed that the page boy tried to slip something in the wine cups, and asked him what it was. On being discovered, the boy threw sand in Ducain’s eyes and ran out of the house down an alley. Keiji pursued. Once outside, Keiji transformed into a rat, and ran through the alleys after the boy, smelling out his trail whenever he lost sight. He came to an abandoned warehouse. Inside a man with a familiar voice told the boy he had failed and stabbed him. He left through the front door, and Keiji followed him to Bran’s house. Keiji crept in through an upstairs window into Bran’s Father’s room. He was spotted by the old man, and his wheezing made Bran come check on him. It was at this point Keiji realized that Bran’s voice was the voice he had heard in the warehouse. He followed the man down into the main room, and saw him seaking to a bald man. He discovered this man was the wine merchant that had attempted to poison the group using his apprentice as a scapegoat. They were going to pawn off the failed plan onto the Iron Circle by painting a gray circle on the boy’s neck. Keiji crawled back up to the old man’s room, and out the window onto the roof, changing back into a man. Meanwhile, the other three of the group were questioning the chef. It was discovered that he had no tongue and was therefore mute, but he could write. He wrote that he worked in a bar of sorts in town, and he had been hired just a short while ago to bring food to the heroes. They followed him to where he worked, and found it was the same bar that they had visited on their first night in town. They discovered that the orders for food and wine had come from Bran, so they headed to his house. When they arrived, they met Keiji outside who filled them in on what he had heard. They decided to head to the abandoned warehouse, and left Keiji and Ducain to watch Bran’s house. Alek and Lady Caruvial found the bald wine merchant at the warehouse planting the fake evidence on the boy’s body, they bound him and started to carry him around town forcing him to tell the village of his and Bran’s deceptions. They continued until they were joined by Ducain, who had heard their knocking from Bran’s house. He helped them spread the word of the deceptions and Torm’s goodness. They came to the house of the leader of the militia, and she said she would spread the word to the small part of town they hadn’t told yet, and to get ready to take Bran’s house. Meanwhile, Keiji had seen the old man’s hand in the window of Bran’s house, and a lamp in the same room. He made his way up to the room, and discovered that the reason for the man’s wheezing was a Giant’s Toenail stuck in his throat. When it was removed, he told Keiji that he needed his sin removed as the leader, and that he wanted to replace him with a priest. Keiji helped the old man down into the town square, and the town slowly gathered there. The militia stormed Bran’s house and brought him and his family out into the square, where Bran was judged, and beheaded for his crimes. He had been killing any outsiders that had questioned any of his ways or orders to preserve the way of life in Tor’s Hold. When he was killed, his father, Stan Torsson, appointed Ducain the new leader of the town, and Ducain renamed the town Torm’s Hold, and gave the group lodging for the night and the promise to speak int he morning.
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You say Goodbye, and I say Hello
Keiji got a Horse
That night, the group of three returned to their lodging. Alek went immediately to sleep, but Lady Caruvial had been placed into an unstable state by her brush with death earlier that day. She began to sob, and it woke Alek and sent him into a fit. He was shouting and banging on the wall separating their rooms, calling her Lady Denholm and asking who had hurt her. He crawled out the window, walked along the awning, and tapped on her window, still in his small-clothes. He repeated his questions, and when she was too flustered to answer to his satisfaction, he sprang into the street. He acsted a group of drunken revelers, and kneeled outside Lady Caruvial’s window, saying that he had vanquished those who would upset his lady. When she told him he had done well and to go back to sleep, he immediately complied, and she went to sleep as well. Keiji had gone in search of a drink to calm his nerves after the day’s battles. He came upon a man in the street sobbing, his clothes in rags and a whip in his hand. HE told Keiji that he was punishing himself for serving a corrupt government, but Keiji told him he could redeem himself by serving Ducain and Torm. The man thanked him for his kind words. Keiji then came upon a party being held in the house of a family that was celebrating the new leader Ducain. He decided this would be a perfect chance to study human interaction. He wandered in and asked for a beer, and one was brought to him by a red haired serving wench named Sarah, whom he took a shine to. He convinced her to take a drink for herself and go with him up to her room. When they arrived, she revealed that she was a bit more cruel than he had first believed, showing him a drawer full of severed fingers, and he had already drugged her at this point, so when she passed out on the floor he retreated back downstairs. He went into the kitchen to drink some more beer, and accidentally broke both barrels of beer, which the party goers told him was their supply for the year. The brother of Sarah also came down after finding her passed out on her floor, and threatened to burn the house down. The brewer who had made the beer then punched Keiji in the face, and he retreated to the groups temporary home. He stumbled through the door and passed out on the floor, waking both Alek and Caruvial. Alek threw him into his room, where Caruvial handed him a pillow and they all went to sleep. When Alek and Caruvial woke, they went to say their goodbyes to Ducain. He gave Alek a gift of Holy Water he had blessed himself to help him control his fits, and he gave Caruvial a handwritten pamphlet outlining the beliefs of Torm and his mercy and justice. They went to the town road west to meet the new member of their party that Ducain had apointed to accompany them, and to head to Albridge to join the resistance. Keiji awoke and was found by a page boy who led him to the same destination. At the exit to the west road, the group met their new member, Cortana, the former leader of the militia, who had been replaced by Ducain, who wanted to turn the militia into paladins, and who had appointed her to the group to fill the gap he was leaving. She told Keiji that he was late, but that she was glad to meet all of them, and they left the town to the sound of trumpets (one of which Keiji took with him) and cheers. On the road out of town the group had a bit of a “getting to know you” with Cortana, which went well until they entered enemy territory. Cortana was trying to stop Keiji from playing his new trumpet, because she was afraid it would attract the enemy, and she tried to do so by tripping him and stealing the trumpet. Before a full fight could erupt, the group spotted a caravan in the distance flying Iron Circle banners. Keiji and Alek tried to infiltrate their ranks by pretending to be the last surviving member of the raid on Ilyana‘s house and his prisoner. It was succesful, and while they ingratiated themselves with the group, Caruvial and Cortana hid on the outskirts of the road and followed the wagon. Due to a coordinated surprise attack and the fact that Keiji had tricked a few of the soldiers into drinking drugged water, the group made quick work of the caravan. They stole the cart, and Keiji befriended the horse pulling it, when Lady Caruvial saw the body of the caravan leader. It was the four fingered man that had killed her family and burned her home. she stabbed the body repeatedly until Alek comforted her, and then he cut off the man’s hand as a trophy for her.
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