A House of Cards

The party ventures forth!

Actually posted on 15 July 2015

June 24, 2015

AFK: Charlie.

The harpy’s temporary nest contains a copper necklace (200gp) and some gems (25, 40, 60 gp). The detritus of the hamlet’s citizens are also interspersed in the nest. It would appear that the harpies arrived after the hamlet was emptied of most of its inhabitants, based purely on the number of gnawed on bones. There just aren’t enough bodies and parts for the harpies to have caused the initial emptying.

We got 53xp! 58 XP for Temperance, and anyone else who has the +% XP bonus.

Afterwards, we return to Blackmarsh the same day so as to acquire food for the next forray into the southern lands and examine the other three hamlets which have also been abandoned or otherwise de-populated.

Upon the party’s return, the cleric, Salazar, visits the shrine of Amanar, dusting it off and otherwise making it more presentable.

Maedoc is “asked” by two of the Duke’s hired thugs to come to the Duke’s Court. There, she is asked to assist Silanus and the “hulking Mycenean” in their work for the Duke. He offers her a second chance to redeem her family name. She is asked to beware of less obvious threats as she traipses across the Duchy. The Duke hands her his sigil, and tells her to meet up with the party.

While re-provisioning, Temperance visits the Pantheon and asks the clerics if they know of anyone who has fled these now abandoned villages.

Silanus, needed elsewhere in the Duchy, sends us to investigate an abandoned village which once fed miners who worked a small vein of gold. We travel along the coast. For the first few hours, the landscape contains burnt-out turnip fields, orchards and neatly-trimmed hedgerows. The road carries farmers with small donkeys and carts. Most of the population we pass is very young or very old, especially among males.

While this land was once bedecked with ginger, the ginger plague of 42 eliminated it all. The lands become progressively wilder and wilder. Abandoned farms become more common. The clucks of chickens are no longer heard. A few of the farms are burnt out, but they are too far from the road to investigate. We plan to make camp at a sheltered dip on the land, relatively free of wind and commonly used by the Duke’s patrols, fog rolls in from the inland sea.

The Judge notes that fog is to be avoided, as it hides bad things. We ride faster to approach the bridge crossing Grant’s Creek. This creek is ill-named, as it is a small-sized river perhaps 100 meters across. Just beyond the other bank lies our proposed camp site. Ignoring the tension soaking the fog, Maedoc and Ionna bravely scout ahead.

As the pair pulls 100 meters ahead of the main party, the two are enveloped in fog. We can’t see more than 15’ or 20’ through the fog. Ionna starts to hang back, so that she can maintain contact with the main guard. Maedoc remains ahead.

The flattened and muddy road is replaced by worked stone. The causeway represents a major engineering undertaking, as small boats can pass under it. Maedoc reaches the causeway first, and can only see Ionna’s murky form behind her. In turn, Ionna calls back to the party.

Maedoc, heedless of the possible dangers, continues across the causeway. She snickers at the party’s fear “of a little fog.” About 3/4ths of the way across the causeway, she hears a wet splortch. Something wet and rubbery has crawled over the railing, standing taller than a man. It utters in Common, “Toll.” Its mossy hide covers a lanky frame. Wiry hairs adorn its head, especially its head. Its claws are filthy.

It leaps at her. Her wild swing misses, and it claws her cheek. The party hears the roar of something in the fog. The Judge states, offhandedly, “Tis but a troll,” drawing on the knowledge gleaned from lectures held by grey-haired mages in the Magical College. He does not share this knowledge, though, and remains in the rear as the party advances. Temperance spurs his horse onward, followed by Salazar. The hopolite Leontius advances to Ionna, and both dismount before advancing.

Maedoc spurs her horse backwards. The old nag has but three HP, but only takes a nasty gash on its flank. The horse bucks, though, tossing her to her bum but ten feet away from the troll. Seeing this encounter, Salazar and Temperance dismount. The Wizard and Mycenans arrive on the scene.

Ionna draws her bow and lodges an arrow in the trolls leathery hide. The troll lunges at Temperance, biting him on the shoulder. Leontius stabs it with a spear, but only lands a glancing blow. Salazar swings his hammer, but misses. The troll’s AC is 5.

The next round, Temperance swings and misses, Salazar hits, Maedoc backstabs it successfully. Leontius spears it well. The troll attacks Leontius, clawing him and biting him once for a total of 11 points of damage.

The Judge casts magic missile at the troll, with the bolt of energy striking the troll in the head. Temperance and Maedoc strike it for a total of nine points of damage, and it falls dead. However, upon hitting the ground, its wounds are knitting together rapidly.

The judge takes charge. He commands Leontius to keep stabbing the beast, while the cleric and paladin each take an arm and haul it toward the camp site. We also recall passing stone stairs that lead away from the bridge on to the waystation we have found.

Maedoc takes the already present kindling and wood into the fire pit, and starts a blaze, as befits her last name. We dismember the troll there, and as the blaze takes hold, toss the bits into the fire. This is accompanied by a lecture about the socioeconomic conditions and history of trolldom.

We then lay on hands to knit Leontius’ wounds. The next morning we track down two of the horses, but Maedoc’s mount fails to return. Afterwards, we find a troll lair attached to the side of the causeway. This cyst-like structure, made of reeds, sticks, and mud. Thousands of coins of gold, silver and copper are tossed into it. There are also four barrels. One is oil, three others are Barramain beer barrels. There is also a leather-wrapped brick of salt. One corner contains two large bundles of pelts three rolls of dirty but salvageable silk rolls (3,000 gp per roll). Twelve antlers (1000 gp for the set) and three jars of dye (blue, yellow and green) are also found. All told, this largesse is worth 15,000 to 16,000 gp. There is also a magical warhammer +2.

Using ropes and strong people, we haul out the loot. Afterwards, the Judge burns the cyst-house to the waterline.

The causeway is about 100 meters long, made of stone, and wide-enough for two fully-laden wagons to pass each other. From top of bridge down to the water line, the distance is 40’. It was built by the old Duke before he was assassinated by a cabal of wizards, when he hoped to expand this direction.

After packing our gear and riches, we press on. The only reason we didn’t reach the next abandoned hamlet was due to the fog. While but a few hours from our destination, we return to Blackmarsh to get a new horse for Maedoc and to divide up the loot.

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