Episode 15: 7/18/09
Ashelia Raminas, elf ranger-rogue/2-3
Haroldur, human cleric/5
Nineve, human knight/5
Sarek, human wizard/5
Xicar, human cleric/5
We’re still reeling from our battle with the ogre matron when Zasalamel appears on top of the barn! He declares that we have been judged and found wanting. Again, he accuses us of being servants of chaos. At this point, we know he can’t be reasoned with, so we wade right in. As usual, he puts up a fairly tough fight, but disappears before we have a chance to defeat him once and for all. We grumble about his random attacks and crazy conspiracy theories as we head back inside the barn to tend to the survivors.
In cages inside the barn we find two prisoners, Edain and Orrin. Orrin is a teen with a broken arm. His family runs (or more accurately, ran) the hunting lodge. He also turns out to be Astrid’s brother. Their reunion is hardly happy, but they do seem glad to see each other. Edain is a ranger from Blackwall keep and was captured when he left the keep for the lodge. He is missing his left foot. He tells us the ogres cut it off a day ago and ate it in front of him. Nineve nods knowingly, but the rest of us cringe in disgust and try to change the subject.
While the humans converse amongst themselves, I notice that the strange dog I saw in the cage earlier is in fact an elven hound! It’s not very happy at the moment. I spend some time interacting with it and manage to calm it down somewhat. I let it out of the cage and it slowly wanders off, but stays close to the lodge.
Orrin breaks the news to Astrid that their parents didn’t make it. She takes it really hard. We attempt to talk her through the pain and ease her suffering, as is our duty, but her grief is too great. Overwhelmed by the events of the past few days, she sobs inconsolably, and we eventually leave her to be alone with her sorrow.
Once the excitement dies down, we remember why we initially came here – supplies! We search the lodge and find food, along with several caches of the ogre’s spoils:
obsidian statuette of a hunting dog
bent silver crown with opal inlays
bone wand with spiral gold inlay (CMW)
scroll of Fire Shield
scroll Lesser Restoration
iron-bound chest containing 600 gp
pair of silver chalices
Everfull mug with Dwarven runes
scroll Bull’s Strength (D)
copper inlaid trumpet
gold anklet with inset bloodstones
cloak (of Resistance +1)
We get the prisoners fed and settle down for the night. That evening, Zollara appears.
Nineve – The Cyclone
Haroldur – The Paladin
Sarek – The Keep
Ashe – The Uprising
Xicar – The Forge
The Winged Serpent ….... The Crows …..... The Keep
The Liar ….............. The Carnival ….. The Cyclone
The Juggler …........... The Forge …..... The Fiend
Regarding the past, the Winged Serpent represents knowledge and prudence – the lessons and training that have allowed you to come this far. The Juggler represents those who play with the lives and destinies of others – misaligned The Juggler falters and tragedy is assured for those whose lives he meddles in.
In the present, the crows are a dangerous bunch who violently take that which is loved. Here I see 3 where once there were 4, but misaligned they may aid you despite your misgivings. The Forge represents dangers that require many sources of strength to overcome.
As for the future, the Keep may be taken literally here – as an indication that you will reach your goal. The cyclone represents a force that tears through all opposition – but not a natural force – one that instead comes from an intelligent being. The Fiend indicates many deaths in a great calamity and a great intellect behind it.
We go to bed that night with Zolara’s calamitous predictions echoing in our minds.
After breakfast the next morning, we head out in the direction of the keep. As we arrive in the valley containing the keep, we find it besieged by scores of orcs, goblins, ogres, and the like. I start scouting as evening falls. After moving along the ridge for a short time, I find a supply camp filled with orcs and a giant of some description. This camp is buzzing with activity, as if they are preparing to move. Further up on the ridgeline, I find another camp with siege weapons manned by goblins. There is a thin reptilian figure that seems to be in command. I head back and report my findings. We discuss tactics and decide to wait until the giant and its entourage move out of the supply camp, then raid the camp to arm the convicts. Then, we’ll attack the siege weapon camp and use the ballistas to take out the giant.
As predicted, when dawn breaks, the giant sallies forth towards the keep, and we enact our plan. At the supply camp, we encounter the rear guard of orcs, ogres and goblin scouts. The little resistance they offer is swept aside and we easily take the camp. We outfit our convicts and take what food can be found. Nineve raids the horse pens in the back of the camp and locates one among the sorry, malnourished lot that used to be a trained warhorse. She mounts up and we move on.
As we approach the siege camp, we can see the giant and his entourage have made it about halfway to the keep. Large, bat-like creatures wheel through the air above the various orc groups.
In the siege engine camp, we find 3 ballistas, each manned by a goblin squad. Two hellhounds guard the base of a watchtower containing 2 goblin archers and a tall reptilian leader. We charge up the hill and the battle is joined. The reptilian, a half-dragon arcanist, throws fireballs around while hoards of goblins swarm me and Tamclar. Nineve keeps the hellhounds busy while Haroldur and Sarek focus their attentions on the tower. Eventually, the casters burn the tower down, exposing the half-dragon leader. At length, we take control of the siege engine camp, but not before Nineve loses her mount and we all get quite singed.
Our army of convicts, led by Black Bart and Edain, rush the hilltop and cheer our victory! We quickly man the nearest ballista while our convict army prepares to defend our position. Tamclar’s extensive engineering knowledge comes into play and he directs us as we all work together to fire the huge machine. We alternate between firing fire pots at the incoming orc warbands and sinking spears into the massive giant.
After a few hits, the giant turns around, enraged, and starts barreling towards us. Fortunately for us, he’s quite a ways off and encumbered considerably by the heavy armor he’s wearing. We struggle to fire the ballista quickly and accurately, and soon the giant is close enough to start throwing trees at us. He nearly hits us once, completely demolishing our ballista. Fortunately, there were three of them on the ridge, so we move to the next one and resume our assault. Just when we think things can’t get worse, a red wyrmling, about the size of a very large dog, starts circling above our position and breathing fire down on us! The giant is almost upon us. We’re about to break and run, but fortunately, our parting shot brings the juggernaut down with a tremendous crash! The wyrmling flies off, and we’re safe!