Bastion

The Spawn of Torbane
Week 17

written by Drafter (feel free to edit)

Still in the destroyed colony settlement, our group decides it’s too late in the day to travel, and so take shelter in a partially constructed tamped-earth dugout. We are able to barricade it well and have a semi-restful night. Tanna hears some sounds of movement during the night but nothing beyond that. During the night, however, Ayrdra regains consciousness and is able to tell our group about the attack.

As food became short for the colonists and desperation began to settle in, Gilus orders some of the mercenaries to take some colonists and head out to search for food. There are sporadic attacks by a few werewolves on the settlement, and werewolves are spotted nearby with increasing frequency. Some time after our exploration group left, a major attack by roughly a dozen werewolves virtually destroyed the colony.

Macdaman and Westin explore the surrounding area and discover human tracks of a large group of people, leading us to believe these are the surviving colonists who have fled. We decide to follow those tracks downriver as it seems to lead to safer lands to the south. Unfortunately, it’s not long before we discover that, along with the survivor tracks, there are numerous gnolls tracks. Tumdrum sends a letter to Captain Otta who is still on The Sea Otter, using his divine gift griffin Amanus. It gives Otta several options, some of which may involve us meeting up with him again.

VanHyden gains consciousness and gives more details. He says the first group to leave the colony went in search of the Ech’lun. He says the attacking werewolves numbered about 2 dozen. He’s also very discouraged and hopeless on their continued survival.

Traveling along the river, we come upon an old campsite, possibly made by our fleeing colonists. We are attacked there by 4 gnolls and a gnoll bloodknight. We are able to defeat them and take a magical strength belt from the bloodknight. We march another half day along the river but are attacked by gnolls again – 3 gnolls and 2 hyena fiends. We defeat them, but not much further along the way, are again attacked. This time, it’s 5 gnolls and 1 bloodcaller gnoll. We do kill all but are more heavily damaged due to the bloodcaller spells.

We proceed more cautiously, hiding when we can. Tanna scouts ahead and reports seeing many gnolls drifting about, a presumably odd occurrence. We are able to elude them through use of a ditch alongside the black roadway near the pyramid lake. We finally reach our Ech’lun friend settlement. It’s evident that the Ech’lun have been fighting off gnolls as well, though they are fairing much better. More importantly, many of the surviving colonists are here in various wounded states. The Ech’lun say the gnolls are everywhere and they will be moving their settlement further to the south in an attempt to escape their attacks. The Ech’lun theorize that the gnolls are being driven from their original territory by the Bear Clan Ech’lun.

When Macdaman examines the surviving colonists, he discovers 6 of them are infected with lycanthropy and are now beyond the healing powers of Macdaman. They have a limited time before they will begin to turn. Gilus is among those infected. Some in our group argue with Gilus about his poor judgment in the placement of the settlement, and he bitterly rebukes them back, inviting them to do a better job. The Ech’lun are wary of the infected colonists, and give our group 1 week to either cure them or they will be executed. We decide to take those 6 to Alandra’s temple in order to appeal to the goddess for a cure.
We rest for 3 days before journeying on.

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The Sympathy of Beasts
Week 16

Written by Drafter (feel free to edit)

On our way back to the Sea Otter, we had to camp for the night. In the middle of the night, we were attacked by 11 orcs and 1 Deathswarn Ogre. We were able to defeat them. We are able to rest for the remainder of the night, then the following day load up the ship with the donated supplies from the Dwarves. Before we leave, Tumdum has some conversation with the Paladin of Anitar.

Deciding to sail to the west and around the island that way, thus shortening the journey by a bit, we sail on. We sail by the city marked on the map as ‘Drakkisport’. There are smaller boats in the ports but from a distance, the people appear to be fearful of our much larger ship. We do not land but continue, wishing to make it back to the other colonists.

Journeying five days further south, we spot something in the sky, which turns into an “obsidian wyvern”. It lands on our ship and begins attacking. Through teamwork, we manage to kill it but not before losing the life of a sailor. It’s decided that the sailors need to back off and hide if we get attacked by anything else, since they are too valuable to lose.

We arrive near our colony, sailing upriver to a disembarking point. It’s decided to leave the supplies here with the sailors on the water for protection, and the 5 of us go to get help to move the supplies. But on getting near to the colony settlement, we discover it has been savagely attacked and partially destroyed. Crossing the smaller yet still very wide river can only be done by swimming and we arrive exhausted. Tanna puts on invisibility ring to scout the colony. It’s discovered that 3 werewolves are still in attendance, prowling about the place. There are many dead bodies, and many are missing. An estimate of 52% of the colonists have been killed, many of the walls are burned, some by alchemist fire. Returning to her group, she gives them the grim news.

A strategy of attack is devised wherein the others will act as a shield/wall while Tanna attacks with Tumdrum’s silver dagger since she can move faster. It is a very hard fight as the alpha-werewolf is very fast, can attack multiple people at once and can leap over our ‘wall’ of protection. Three of our group are bitten and infected with lycanthropy. We are finally able to kill the werewolves, but Macdaman has a big job healing everyone.
We find Ayrdra (cleric of Salt) and VanHyden (quartermaster) unconscious but still alive.

Night is coming soon and we must find safe shelter before deciding what to do next. It’s obvious not all the bodies can account for the rest of the colonists, but where are they?

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Cloak and Dagger
Week 15

Written by Drafter (feel free to edit)

Still at the dwarf mountain kingdom of Coalbrond, our group was resting after all the visitors when another dwarf nobleman arrives, Resof Firechest. He seems friendly enough and offers our group a round of drinks at a local tavern. He seems most anxious to be both hospitable and wishing a private conversation.

On the walk to the tavern and within the tavern itself, the group learns that all is not well within dwarven politics. Resof tells us the king did not simply die, but was murdered in a bloody way. Our group begins to doubt the word of the other noble of their acquaintance, Khulgrumi Stonemar. According to Resof, Stonemar is responsible for much of the political intrigues, and may have had the king killed.

When our group brings up the name of Alandra, Resof mentions a little knowledge of the Valkyrians who used to worship Alandra. It seems they were all killed by the ‘humans’ from a place called Kou. The Kou had been having problems with ‘fiends’; some of the Kou women gave birth to strange red-skinned babies. The Valkyrians attacked Kou when word of these fiendish encounters began to be circulated.

Upon arrival at the dwarf tavern, they are served beer, which proves to be very strong. Talk turns as our group begins to question Resof for information. He expresses shock at hearing what happened at Gungrin, but pumps the group for information about the fugitive dwarf survivors. Then Resof shocks the group when he tells them those dwarves are now dead. The group realizes that everyone connected with Gungrin except for themselves is dead, and they may be targeted next.

Thugs enter the tavern, lead by Galrok Yanaduum. They close in on our group and begin to attack. With some help from some other noble guards already in the place, our group defeats the thugs. One thug survivor is kept alive. Resof suggests we stay at his home instead of the quarters we’d been given, fearing it is a trap. He also suggests we attempt to meet with a Palidin named Velm, who is thought to be fair and above reproach. On the way back to Resof’s, the group is again attacked, this time by an assassin. The assassin fights but is incapacitated by our group, who take him prisoner. Resof says this assassin looks as though he comes from the ‘South Humans’ (Kou??).

On getting to Resof’s home, they quickly secure it against attack and question the prisoners (surviving tavern thug and the assassin). It seems the thug doesn’t know too much, but remembers seeing his boss Galrok meeting with a messenger in the same livery colors as Khulgrumi. Resof sends off a messenger to bring the Paladin Velm to them, who may be able to act as an impartial judge in all the matters. In the course of securing the assassin, Tumdrum cuts off the prisoner’s thumbs to ensure he won’t be killing again.

Paladins arrive during the night, and on hearing all of these stories, suggest it may be better for our party to leave the mountain before we are assassinated. They are able to arrange some guards to escort us to our ship, along with a donation of 500lbs of food & supplies for our colony. As we make our way down the mountain, we are attacked by undead skeletons led by a Deaths Bite Shaman. All enemies are killed and we proceed toward the bay where our ship lies.

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The Halls of Coalbrond
Week 14

written by Drafter (feel free to edit)

Still sailing north along the east coast of Aloseph on the Sea Otter, on a journey to return the six dwarves to the Dwarf Kingdom of Coalbrond. It is just after the battle with the Drow. Our group confiscates a smaller boat used by the Drow, tying it to the ship. On boarding and searching, Drow weapons are taken, as well as two mysteriously carved rocks. Macdaman secures them within double metal boxes after detecting transmutation and psychic magic on them.

On settling back for the journey on the Sea Otter, our party converses a good deal with the dwarves, now that they are calmer and make a little more sense. They say the following:

- the slivers arrived at their home, Gungrin, a few months ago.
- appeared after a deep shaft was opened; efforts were made to block off the shaft once the danger was realized, but they failed.
- prior to this, the dwarves of Gungrin traded with humans and others outside of their mountain. When the Ech’lun/werewolves began moving into the area, the humans became scarce, and therefore the trading post was closed. Once the werewolves began attacking, the dwarves withdrew completely into Gungrin.
- the ‘humans’ they previously traded with were from the NW; described as sometimes looking half-bred with something else (tieflings??).
- The dwarf king is Goldenbraid. Mention is also made of the Paladins of Anitar (dwarf holy army). They are ‘pursuers of innovation’. Dwarves of this region seem to worship Anitar (a god), but a small group still worship Baelhal, the dragon.
- the dwarves knew nothing about the metal wolf that attacked TumDrum.
- the dwarves say there are many other dragons who aid Baelhal (consorts, offspring, etc).
During the journey north, the Sea Otter is attacked and boarded by more Sea Drowners, accompanied by four large tentacled creatures trying to slither onto the ship. The attacks come in three waves, the final being lead by a baron with multiple arms. Between our party and the sailors, we are able to defeat them but the fighting was quite fierce.

The group sails on until they reach a NE shore, closest to hiking to the dwarf kingdom. The boat is moored, the captain and sailors remain, and our group and the dwarves hike inland. While in night camp, the group is attacked by an Owlbear, but kills it.

Arriving at the dwarf mountain, we are reluctantly let inside. When we are searched, Tumdrum’s godsmirror shard is discovered, and the dwarves express disgust at the item, telling us to destroy it. The rescued dwarves tell of their troubles, and the guards escort our party to the inner parts of the fortress. It is noted that the mountain appears to be heated by deep flows of magma. Given a generously sized apartment to settle in, our group is able to clean ourselves and be presentable.

A dwarven official (record-keeper?) enters, and we tell our story. He’s mostly horrified at the events, angry at the Gungrin dwarves for digging too deep and because they stole the artifact from the pyramid.

Later, a warden arrives, along with a paladin and a nobleman (Khulgrumi Stonemar). After telling our story, we request to meet the king. They tell that their king is ‘indisposed’, and it seems likely a new king will be chosen. The king’s son was formerly at Gungrin and is presumed lost, so there appears to be some political turmoil in choosing the new successor.

The dwarves promise to resupply us with things greatly needed by our new colony.

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The Lady's Shepherd
Week 13

written by Drafter (feel free to edit)

Party is still on the way to the dwarf mountain (‘Gungrin’) near the abandoned trading post.

On the way, they encounter a moose/elk of enormous proportions – tall as a tree. It turns out to be magical and sentient, calling itself “Arulgrout”. It hints about the Lady of the Wood, and is surrounded by many little points of light. One point settles with Tumdrum and becomes a tiny griffin named Armanus. It warns of great harm done to the land, that trouble will continue unless that harm is healed.

On reaching the dwarf caves, the group have to crawl into the dwarf caverns through an opening on second story. Discover cannon room, evidence of bloody smears a week old, and other rooms, including a mysterious figure that runs away.

Dwarves are discovered cowering behind a barricaded door. Dwarves first seem crazy and try to attack, but are pretty inept. After calmed, they claim their settlement is overrun by ‘creatures’ and want to leave. Group is soon surrounded by other creatures — part metal, part creature — that are unknown to them (“slivers”). Group decides to abandon exploring the mountain and rescue the remaining dwarves (6). Leave quickly; the slivers do not attack on leaving.

Make way back to colony camp. Gilus agrees to allow the group to return the dwarves to their main kingdom located far to the north (“Coalbrond”), even going so far as to allow them a ship to do so.

While sailing along the extreme eastern coast, ship is attacked at night by several Drow. Drow are soon defeated and killed, but not before they reveal they are after the “heir”, use the name of Despath (Dradiira’s last name). They think we kidnapped her. Tumdrum points out that Drow will stop at nothing to get their heir back.

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The Iron Wolf
Week 12

The scouts return to the Ech’lun village with Barric, where the ceremonies for burial can be prepared. On the road, some of the scouts begin to have inexplicable nose bleeds, though it is thought to safer to ride on to the village, than stop and risk another ambush.

Back at the camp, the sun is setting and among the scouts it is determined that diseases have been contracted. The ramifications of the disease is uncertain, as it was quick to be cured and purged, but it’s aura was found to be fiendish in origin. The dawning of a realization that others might be infected finds the scouts the next day, but too late. One of the Crow warriors that had attended them into the temple was deeply ill. In attempting to purge the disease, the warrior was seized by dementia, shouting curses and threats into the face of one scout known as Tumdrum, the implications of the dazed Ech’lun’s words echoing straight from Infernal lips. The warrior was soon subdued and cured, but there was no doubt, this would not be the end of it.

The scouts patiently looked on as the burial ceremonies were completed, and the Ech’lun returned to the earth. It seemed, however, that a time for farewells was not over. Another ceremony began almost directly after, where one of the young Ech’lun girls were prepared for pilgrimage, accompanied by one of the oldest warriors among the tribe. The scouts don’t know the purpose or destination of this pilgrimage, but do not hazard to press for much more information.

After returning to camp, it is learned that there was a death under strange circumstances and that the colony has likely been detected by the Men of the Wolf. No attacks followed, but the walls were nearly complete. To be safe, the group remains at camp for a week, resting and recovering, as well as questioning in regards to the death. Dradiira is questioned as well, but becomes defensive at the accusations.

Prepared for the road ahead, but with little solved back at camp, they choose to press on and investigate the Dwarves. Not long into the journey back to the Dwarven Fortress, a strange beast is confronted, a mix of metal and flesh. It attacks with a strength unparalleled, nearly eviscerating one of the scouts, before being slain.

“Alone in the woods or tunnels, survival is the same. Prepare, persist, and overcome.”

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Hallowed Ground
Week 11

The scouts retreat from the temple, intent to find rest. Fighting their way through the gnoll-infested grasslands, they arrive back at the Ech’lun village, covered in blood- some of which is their own. Once the gravity of the situation is imparted upon the Ech’lun, the sacrifice of their kin in the service of an old evil, the Warlord of Crows is intent to return with the bodies of his brothers and sisters, to put them to rest- with or without the aid of the scouts.

Seeing the sense in their cooperation, the group rides out to the temple upon horseback. Barric has little patience for the hallowed halls, not while the bodies of his family are being twisted into abominations, and presses on quickly down into the mausoleum.

The old Fleshcrafter is entrenched, still, but has been caught in the middle of a ritual to raise more defenders. Fleshcrafter Garrur seems favored to crush his foes fighting the uphill battle, that is, until a lucky arrow bites the flesh of his neck. Retreated into a corner as he is, the Cleric of the First Fire has no where to run, no where to hide, when the barbarian savages finally reach him. One of the adherents attempts to surrender, but is unceremoniously slain by Barric.

The bodies are recovered, the halls of the mausoleum finally cleared, but much more time will be required to re-hallow those desecrated grounds. One of the scouts, so enchanted by Alandra’s light, offers himself as her champion. Barric, while not so quick to to find allies of spiritual entities, cannot deny the the existence of something right before him. It is not known what conversation a barbarian, a warlord, would have with Goddess of light and justice, but Barric seems to come away from the temple… changed.

“As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy.”

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Fury of the Fleshcrafter
Week 10

Among the dead, some of the cultists are found to be something very different from that of a man. Creatures with tails or horns, eyes like a cat or flesh hued a violent red. The spawn of fiends and nothing more, they tell themselves. Gravely wounded, further clearing the evil from this place is not an option to the scouts. Bide their time, lick their wounds… evil is eternal, after all, and the crushing threat of oblivion has been pushed back for a time longer. The offer Agrippa’s gauntlet to Alandra’s holy fire, confident it’s destruction outweighs any advantages it may offer.

Even where the deity’s power is strongest, however, they would find no reprieve. The restless dead, lead by cunning living minds, assault them in their rest, hoping to end them at their weakest. The scouts survived for a time longer, but realize they cannot hold their ground. They must retreat further. Back out into the world above, the light of day settles upon their weary forms. The day is not finished yet, and their terrible luck knows no end. Cackling beasts descend upon the weak and weary, frothing with hunger and rage, their eyes alight at every claw that finds flesh, every bite that tastes blood. The scouts are realizing now, the error in signing the charter to this accursed place.

Unable to go any further, they collapse into rest, the watchful eye of their burglar keeping an eye for sky-lining silhouettes. Day fades to dusk, to night, and to morning. Rested once more, the scouts march back upon the temple, unwilling to be repelled for long. The Fleshcrafter had wasted little time. More doors, more arcane machinations to reap bloody agony upon the intruders. By the time they find Garrur, he has entrenched himself deep within the mausoleum, surrounded by his undead, his faithful adherants, and all the power gathered over a long life of strong ambition and infernal morality.

The scouts barely escape again, finding themselves at a stalemate. The victory is not within grasp yet, it would require much more of their blood. Though it pains them, they retreat again.

“True desperation is known only when escape is impossible.”

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The First Fire
Week 9

The scouts drop into the home of the dead, a mausoleum thick with coffins, many of them sealed. The Lieutenant hazards to open one, and to no surprise to him, he regrets it. The blasphemy rouses both black spirits and the lurching undead. Outnumbered from the outset, it is to greater horror when one of the shambling fleshpiles breaks down the doors to the waiting meat it senses within the tomb. The battles is quick and fierce, the undead were laid low once more, but the brutality did not leave the scouts unscathed, reeling from the ambush. There was only one option, retreat. Retreat before it was too late.

Resting within the room of prayer, the fire within the bowl was warm upon their wounds as rest was found. Curious at the etchings upon the altar, the boldest among them hazard to place his hand into the flames. The flash scalded red, but no more offering was needed for communion with the divine.

Talks of the past, the present, the imminent future and all it’s dangers. Evil gestated below, black as death, and all-consuming in it’s purpose. Perhaps it would only win a small victory, perhaps it would be the first step to a war won against the light. A fire filled them then, one of righteous conviction and indefatigable purpose. Back down within the trap door, down further into the depths. The devils struck from the rafters, the cultists took a circle about their ritual, tuning to the rhythm of a beating heart.

Too soon. Too soon he’d been awakened, but.. twas such a small thing. The First Fire was impervious, immortal, and power overwhelming. Flesh of man and devil alike converged upon the group, the tiny force that had been mustered to defend this abandoned shrine. They were fell upon like the tides, Agrippa taking advantage of every mortal weakness. The expendable were being lost at first, battlecries marking the intensifying tempo of a melee. Blood soaked the floor, both fiend and mortal-alike, when the power of the Radiant Goddess was levied to swing the battle, to offer these brave souls a chance. The small details add up, the First Fire is stifled, cut off from escape, his servants lay dead and dying, when failure is imminent, there is no where to go, but back. The scouts are nearly dead on their feet by the destruction of Agrippa’s portal.

Before respite can be taken, it is clear they are yet to be finished. Resting upon the floor, where the fiend fell, is set a black gauntlet.

“Many fall in the face of chaos, but not this one, not today.”

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The Ruined Temple
Week 8

After a rest, it was clear what had to be done. Though the Dwarven gates loomed before them, the threat had to be reported back to the colony. A single werewolf was a threat to an entire village. With two dead at their feet, and suspicions of more, there was little doubt in any of the scouts’ minds that they lingered in dangerous territory.

It was well enough, for Mako needed to be returned to her people, anyways. At the notice of the nearby threat, walls were made a priority, but abandoning their best settlement after having already abandoning the first, with supplies dwindling by the day, was not an option. If a set of sturdy walls and farms weren’t started, and quickly, there would be nothing to harvest come the Autumn. A wide river and spiked wooden walls would have to be enough.

Returning to the Ech’lun, Mako is safely delivered. Instead of returning to camp, the scouting party instead decides to press further west, spying ruins in the distance. The druid says they are of the temple of a kingdom that had fallen to ruin. When the scouts reach this place, it seems the Briarhoof Priestess was true to her wood. Hardly two stones stacked atop another, but with a four-pointed star still evident upon the floor, not yet taken by the long grass and overgrowth of the plains. But yet, stone steps are found leading down, something calls, and they allow themselves to be drawn in, if only to sate a curiosity before heading back.

They find a temple, not quite devoid of it’s power, and not quite empty of inhabitants. Spirits linger, tethered by some foul force, traps of malicious intent lay in wait, chipping the scouts down, though they eventually find some progress upon uncovering a trap doors that leads further below.

“Mind, that such missteps are an exception, and not the rule.”

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