Rise of the Runelords

soulnova

Hello Kyuubi
As you make your way towards the temple under the rain, you pass several townsfolk hurrying along doing their business. The general feeling is a bit gloomy and the rains don't help much. They are covered in long sleeves and cloaks... so only Rose's eyes are sharp enough to notice a couple of people have a small tiny tattoo somewhere in their wrist or ankle. A small tattoo with the familiar form of a seven pointed star. The Sihedron mark.

This Temple of Erastil is particularly large compared to most other temples you have seen except perhaps the shrine at Sandpoint's Cathedral. It is clear this church of the Stag Lord has a prominent importance in this region, providing very needed help to local families, farmer, hunter and trappers... The building is made of stone and has two levels of high ceilings, taller than any of the other buildings.

As you enter the building looking for Mayor Shreed you arrive at the end of the sermon. A dark skinned aged cleric in simple, yet clean, brown and green tunics speaks to the congregation of about 30 people. They all turn to look at your arrival surprised by your presence and turn silent for a second.

The cleric, simply gives you a small gesture acknowledging your arrival and continuing where he left of.

"...And that's why we must sow the seed of kindness, starting with our hearts. Never forget to share the blessed bounty of the land with your neighbor," he says as he brings a basket with small pouches with either a few seeds, dry fruit, jerky or arrow heads. Each person has their pick before giving thanks to Erastil and leaving.

Once finished, the man walks towards you with a kind smile. "Well met, travelers. I'm Mayor Maelin Shreed and faithful healer of Erastil. Tell me, how can our community be of your service?"
 

Cardboard Tube Knight

Oh, did I win?
Rose regards the man with some caution, while trying to get a clear look at his wrist and arm to see if she notices the same thing on him. She speaks, in a much smaller voice than her usually speaking voice. "Téra, I've been told I'm not to speak for the group--"

As if realizing what she was doing Rose stopped abruptly.
 

WorkingMoogle

Well-Known Member
Addo steps forward with a slight chuckle. "We were sent here from Magnimar. There were some murders there; we have concern that the culprit might have a co-conspirator that is now in this area." The aasimar has little concern with the cleric being involved in the conspiracy.
 

soulnova

Hello Kyuubi
Mayor Shreed is taken back. "Murders? Goodness gracious, that's terrible. I don't think we have had murders in a while," the man frowns trying to recall anything. "We lost our fair share of poor souls when the Paradise sank into the lake a few weeks ago. That still weighs heavy in our hearts... and then we haven't heard from the Black Arrows for a while now as well. I sent a couple of messengers up the mountain to see if something was going on but they didn't return either. I have asked the rest of the community to not cross the river's bridge until we had any news. I sent word to Magnimar for help with sending a patrol to the fort to check in," he explains.
 

Hidden Nin

sorry bitch i don't say sorry
After the excitement with the giant snapping turtle, Mirenia is relatively carefree about the journey, playing tunes to help lighten spirits on the deck and otherwise making music to help keep the mood up. In Wartle she makes some small talk with the fishermen there to and isn't surprised to hear what they have to share about the past disappearances...

In Whistledown she's far more active. She looks to acquire for herself a Masterwork Attachment for her Flute, dragging Sumara along for help with selling some of the instruments she already has for collateral. She tries to pick up some Gnomish while there, chatting eagerly with the inhabitants in an effort to get a handle on the language; she makes freakish amount of progress during the time spent, and takes along many tips with them to their next stop.

Docked at Ilsurian, she remains on board and plays a haunting, eerie tune in an effort to get any locals to turn away and give them a wide berth...

And finally when they arrive at Turtleback Ferry, she's happy to stretch her legs again and thanks the Captain kindly for her help, moving with the others into the settlement in search of the Mayor... and finding him promptly. Standing studiously through introductions, Mirenia steps forward when she senses a lull in the conversation.

"Well, we are effectively the help sent by Magnimar, so if you do not mind, could we obtain some mark of safe passage to pass the checkpoint on the bridge? It will likely be in all our best interests we start our patrol without dragging out feet too much."
 

Ronnam

Gorrendux / Red Royb
"Aye, a mark of safe passage would be most appreciated," Gorrendux echoes Mirenia. "And tell us more about your messengers who never returned. I'm starting to fear some sort of calamity has befallen Fort Rannick. What more do you know about the Fort, and what might be the problem up there?"
 

soulnova

Hello Kyuubi
"Of course, I can come up with something. You might want to just keep it dry from the rain. This weather has had us down for several days already. Very grim times indeed."

The old man gestures an acolyte to bring him some parchment and ink/quill to write the permission as he explains.

"We sent two men, Ephrem and Balsius Shale, brothers who work at the docks, but because it's been really slow lately, they volunteered to go check on the fort. We knew something was up because the Black Arrows come at least once a week for supplies to the town and to send their reports on Firedays, and that's not even counting the free day each one usually gets for leave, or when they are coming back late from a patrol around the lake and stay in the inn to return the next day. I've been here for more than 30 years and nothing like this had ever happened. There are about forty men and women up there... They lose a couple every year but recruitment and volunteers keep the number stable."

"As for the dangers up there? There are many... The mountains and forest on the other side of the river are full of trolls, ogres, dire wolves, dire bears, vermin of unusual size... that's what I can confirm from the fort's reports," he recounts. "But to be fair these are old woods with many legends behind it of creatures as ancient as the dam itself. People's imagination also run wild with the Sanos Forest to the west of the lake, as many claim somewhere there might be an entrance to the First World the gnomes use to come to Varisia."

DC15 planes First World: The First World is so called because it is believed to be the gods' first draft of a subsequent plane that would later split into the Material Plane and the Shadow Plane. Its chief inhabitants are the fey and all sorts of "first prototype" versions of plants and creatures that were left to their devices there by the gods. Gnomes are said to have come originally from there and eventually became native to the Materia Plane.

"In any case, without the Black Arrows patrolling, we have noticed an increase of animal sightings and cattle missing, almost as if they were fleeing or forced out of their usual territories. We can manage keeping everyone safe with limited outings right now, but with winter approaching, that's not going to be able to be sustainable for the town," he says with a grim tone. "Our village would be in debt with you if you can manage to help the Order with whatever they are dealing with."

He provides you with a small letter to show the guards at the bridge.
 

Hidden Nin

sorry bitch i don't say sorry
"Aha... the First World, is it?" Mirenia accepts the missive with a slight curtsy. "We'll get on this as soon as possible, Lord Mayor. Thank you for the information and assistance," she says with another nod, before departing to do some information gathering of her own; canvassing the locality for information on the Black Arrows and the relationship they had with the town. Any strange happenings before the recent disappearances? Causes for concern otherwise? She casts Raiment of Command to boost her force of personality.

Result: 1d4 (4)
#Gather Information: 1d20 (13) + 18 Total: 31
 

soulnova

Hello Kyuubi
It takes a little time to find people to open up to outsiders.

First, Mirenia hears again about the "Paradise incident". She learns that "Paradise" was a ferry turned casino/bar/brothel that arrived to Claybottom several months. Part of the town was happy to get something else to do than just drinking at the only tavern in town, but the other more conservative side felt disgusted by this place of gambling and debauchery. This "pleasure barge" even attracted more than a few people from Ilsurian for it's high quality entertainment and drinks. The owner was a red headed woman named Lucrecia, as beautiful as she was quick for business.

Turns out that a week or so after the last time the town had contact with the Arrows, the barge caught fire and sank with everyone onboard, some two dozen souls. Had a hunter returning home late not spotted the barge’s lights out on the lake winking out one by one as it slipped into the water, no one would have noticed the loss until the next morning. People rushed to help on their boats and rafts but found no survivors...

In the days following the tragedy, investigations into the event took place. Locals attempted to dive down to the wreck to recover bodies but failed due to a combination of the depth and the particularly vicious fish that have converged on the area for a free meal. During the same week, a half-hearted inquest by a lone official from Ilsurian turned up no additional clues as to why the barge sank. Mirenia can tell the townsfolk is not surprised because people from Ilsurian rather be back to their cute little hill town than do some hard work.

As for the townsfolk themselves, most believe passions got carried away and people were too drunk to realize the boat was on fire, while others believe a lake monster sank it, maybe Pinkeye, a giant gar said to be dwelling at the bottom of the lake, or even Black Magga, a legendary monster from the Storval Deep itself. The other more conservative folk claim the barge was sunk by the combined weight of the sins of those on board...

From the bonds the Arrows have in town, Mirenia hears they used to spend one day at the tavern but a couple would also sneak in for a good time at Paradise while it was still operational. They were mostly friendly but most kept to themselves. It was unusual to hear of someone having a relationship with one of them as it was expected they would dedicate their life and time to the Order itself. There are stories of a few deciding to join in and marry in the Order, and at least one such couple managed to raise three children in such conditions (now adults for what she understands), but it is clear the life in the fort can be very harsh for a child and no other attempt has been tried.

Mirenia finds the last piece of information from an unlikely source. Just before the children at the school are called back in by Miss Henkenson to continue their lessons, they tell her what they believe is the most important bit of information about the Black Arrows. Some of them have animals! And they let them pet them when they come to town to visit! Isn't that amazing?? Some have a wolf, a small bear and even a firepelt mountain lion! They are so cute and they don't bite because they know they have to play nice. The children hope you can help the Arrows because they heard from the grown ups they "might be busy" so they haven't come in a while and they miss them.
 

soulnova

Hello Kyuubi
The party sets out to Fort Rannick under the constant rain.

It's a short walk to the bridge where the two 'guards' are making sure no one crosses the to the west side of the river. They practically don't ask you for any papers. One look at you and they realize you must be the city folk that came to investigate. The old wooden bridge has certainly seen better days but it seems wide and sturdy enough to allow safe passage even to a wagon.

As you get to the other side of the river, you can see the muddy trail following the river north along the edge of the forest. The rain barely allows you to tell the mountain ahead of you but you are pretty sure the road will being climbing soon part of the way for a hike.

Less than few minutes later as you advance, Sumara Mirenia, Rose and Shalelu hear a yowl of pain in the woods to their left, as if a large cat were wounded.

What do you do?
 

Hidden Nin

sorry bitch i don't say sorry
Mirenia takes her time in speaking to different individuals around town, doing her best to turn on the charm and draw them in to the party's needs. She thanks everyone for their time and then nods to the party, reporting what she's found and preparing to set out with the others.

When her ear's caught by the sound of the pained animal, she blinks, glancing at the others. "Did anyone else hear that? It sounded like an injured animal."
 

soulnova

Hello Kyuubi
Shalelu nods "I heard it. Sounds like a big cat. That way... not far from the road..." she points into the woods.

"I have speak with animals prepared since the day we encountered the turtle in case you want to try something, " She offers.
 

Ronnam

Gorrendux / Red Royb
Nodding, Gorrendux starts hiking toward the left, toward the sound of the injured animal. As they get closer, he will try to use his "remote viewing" domain ability when he thinks he can generally estimate the distance, to cast clairvoyance to get a preview of what awaits us in the woods. He loads a crossbow bolt and keeps his green ears poised.
 

soulnova

Hello Kyuubi
The group moves towards the sound through the woods, and not long after come to a small clearing where you can see a fire pelt cougar who has stepped on a very nasty rusty bear trap. The cat desperately tries to pull free. A second later, it ears perk up, noticing your presence. It grows excited, even pulling towards you, only to tug painfully at the iron bear trap around his back leg and hisses at it. He lowers himself and lays onto his side, showing his belly and extending his front paws towards you. It looks anxiously towards deeper in the woods.

K.Nature/Animal Handling DC15 The behavior is really rare in a feral animal and he's well trained, likely an animal companion used to be around people.

At this point you also hear something getting closer through the forests. The sound of large dogs howling and barking and someone singing happily.

The cat's ears go back and lowers himself into the floor as much as it can when he hears the noise and it meows and purrs in your direction desperately.

Shalelu tenses up. "I think it's someone's companion... and something is hunting it," she comments with a hand ready to grab her bow but waits to follow your lead.

The sound of the dogs are closer and will arrive in about 3 rounds.
 

soulnova

Hello Kyuubi
Addo moves to interpose himself between the cat and the sound of barking hounds, while keeping a healthy distance from the reach of the cat and casts Shield of Faith on himself.

The cougar doesn't react in a hostile way to Addo approaching and keeps low to the ground.
 

Hidden Nin

sorry bitch i don't say sorry
Mirenia walks over towards the creature to pull up with Addo, then begins playing a tune on her flute to ease the firepelt's pain and help it relax. The tune is light and airy, as if they could all buoy right then and there. (1 round bardic performance spent)

Next she waits a tick, then casts Haste on whoever is present and begins to Inspire Courage on her flute.
 

soulnova

Hello Kyuubi
The song soothes the cat and fills him with enough flexibility to tug once more from the bear trap and escape it. He limps away towards Mirenia purring and takes a defensive position towards the barking as well.
 

Bird Masked

Well-Known Member
Sumara slipped into the trees nearer the sound of the baying hounds and pressed herself into one's trunk. Her estoc was out and low, and while this was the first time in decades she'd seen so damn many trees she was grateful for the foliage and cover.

Stealth: 31
 

Ronnam

Gorrendux / Red Royb
"The cat is well trained," Gorrendux whisper-hisses to the team. "The cat's master may be looking for him."
 

soulnova

Hello Kyuubi
As everyone take their precautions, the sound of hounds grow louder until five large black dogs come out of the bushes. For a second, their ears perk up startled by your presence but they immediately come charging to attack you and the cat. They do not notice Sumara, but they do notice Rose and the others.

The charging dogs attack the first three closest targets, splitting up a bit.
Hound A comes with fury, attacking the cat and giving it a good bite.
Hound B charges Addo but his bites cannot pass his armor.
Hound C on the other hand comes towards Mirenia and bites her ankle, pulling her to the ground (PRONE -7hp)
Hound D charges at Addo without success.
Hound E charges at the cat and also finds a soft spot to bite. The cat hisses but they are not able to put it on his back.


Round 1
Shalelu 23
???? 19
Mirenia 18 (-7 PRONE)
Sumara 11
Rose 8
Cat 7 (-9)

Hounds 5
Addo 5
Gorrendux 3


Shalelu steps forward and tries her best to calm the dogs giving them some basic commands. "DOWN!" But the dogs do not seem to heed her orders. "Shit."

You can also barely make out the deep singing voice behind them slowly approaching.

"♫....-how I like kitty soup! With a side of human stew! ♪ hehehe, you found him!? Good work boys! But leave sum for me!" the voice from the distance calls to the dogs realizing they are attacking and the loud hiss from the cat. "uh...wait, what's that noise??" He questions at the sound of Mirenia's song.


The Cat tries to bite the dog that is closest to him and a prone Mirenia but only manages to claw at it once deeply in the face, yowling loudly.

Mirenia, Sumara, Rose are up.
 

Bird Masked

Well-Known Member
"Mirenia!" Sumara didn't have a lot of friends and seeing one of them knocked to the ground by large slavering hounds...well these were no turtles.

The half-elf raced forward and delivered a skewering blow that caught one of the dogs through the haunches and punched out the other side. Quick as thought she whipped it back out before the body fell and dropped back into an easy defensive pose. She'd plunged into the middle of the fray with snarling animals on either side, but what was life without trading personal safety for hope and friendship?

Will Parry the doggo attacks if they come
 

Hidden Nin

sorry bitch i don't say sorry
Mirenia doesn't take kindly to being pushed to the ground, and actually wasn't really a dog person. In one quick motion she gets to her feet while drawing her longsword, diving to the side to square up with Sumara and cutting across the other dog as her weapon is unsheathed. She shifts from flutework to singing as she does so, empowering her strike twice over with the tempo shift.

(Move Action to stand; +1 BAB lets her draw her longsword as well. Swift Action to use Arcane Strike, Standard Action to Attack, Free Action to continue Inspire Courage. Positioning to Flank with Sumara.)

#Hastily Inspired Flanking Masterwork Longsword of Arcane Power: 1d20 (15) + 12 Total: 27
Result: 1d8 (4) + 5 Total: 9
 

soulnova

Hello Kyuubi
Rose shoots another dog and it drops before it knows what hit him.

The dog between Mirenia and Sumara turns to the bard and tries to bite her hand from the flute, but it misses.
The other two with Addo start moving carefully to flank him but they simply cannot bypass his armor.

Round 1
Shalelu 23
???? 19
Mirenia 18 (-7 PRONE)
Sumara 11
Rose 8
Cat 7 (-9)
Hounds 5
Addo 5
Gorrendux 3


Addo and Gorrendux are up!
 

Ronnam

Gorrendux / Red Royb
Mortified to see his friend Mirenia knocked to the ground, Gorrendux watches one of the Hounds menace her with slavering jaws. He hears the canine growl at Mirenia and lean in to attack. The Half-Orc takes aim and shoots the threatening dog through the heart, dropping Hound C to the forest floor with a quick whimper, where its carcass collapses beside Mirenia's prone form.

"Take care, friends. I know dogs, and these dogs have been trained to behave this way, to treat us like animals fit to be prey. They were probably riding dogs, such as Halflings might domesticate, but something far more sinister than Halflings have bred and trained these beasts," Gorrendux warns the group as he moves to spread out more from everyone else.
 

soulnova

Hello Kyuubi
Shalelu nods at Gorrendux. "That's right, these are way too aggressive." She says as she puts down the last dog as quickly as she can.

Just as the hound collapses to the ground, a grotesque figure comes out of the bushes. He's a particularly mean-looking medium creature carrying a spear.

DC 12 K-Nature He's an ogrekin, otherwise known as a half-ogre. Usually shunned by both parents, ogrekin tend to form unstable clans of their own, often resorting to inbreeding to sustain the collective. This one in particular looks extremely inbred. He counts as a giant for Favored Enemy purposes

"Hey! Who the hell-! You kill'n me dogs!!? Y'all end up as Mammy's soup then!" He yells charging towards Addo and... hits! (Hit 33? I'm pretty sure that hits. -17 dmg)

The cat hisses at the sight of the creature and will stay at Mirenia's side in a defensive stance.

Round 2
Shalelu 23
???? 19
Mirenia 18 (-7)
Sumara 11
Rose 8
Cat 7 (-9)
Addo 5 (-17)
Gorrendux 3

Everyone is up!
 

Hidden Nin

sorry bitch i don't say sorry
Mirenia's brow is raised as she notes the half ogre, sheathing her sword (Move Action) and weaving (Swift Action) her spell (Standard Action) into the performance to suggest the ogre stand down and cooperate with them. Surely it was all a misunderstanding, the dogs attacked them first...

Mirenia casts Suggestion on lil ugly mane, DC 16 Will Save.
 

soulnova

Hello Kyuubi
Gorrendux shoots at the ogre-kin with his crossbow, getting him in the shoulder.

Mirenia's spell is not able to find hold of the brute's mind. "Hey! Dun't you get in me head!!"

Sumara moves to flank him, but as she gets position, he manages to strike her on the side with the longspear. She fails to parry the attack (-17 Sumara). She gets a great opening despite that and gets him in the chest.

Addo uses the distraction to strike one and then twice... severing the head just as the ogre-kin realized he was in a bad situation. "Mammy won't be happ-!"

The body slumps with the rest of his hounds as it continues to rain...

END OF COMBAT
Mirenia 18 (-7)
Cat 7 (-9)
Addo 5 (-17)
Sumara (-17)



The ogrekin's belongings are a +1 spear, a belt of giant strength +2 and a dirty blanket made with several patches. Some of these patches have insignias that have been ripped from some other cloth and sewn together... You recognize the insignia as the Black Arrow Order symbol you had seen on the papers the Lord Mayor gave you. A few of the patches have blood on them.

After the cat licks some of his wounds, he starts to make chirping noises at you and nibbles at your cloaks, tugging towards the poorly maintained trail that leads deeper into Kreegwood from where the ogrekin came from.

Shalelu frowns seeing the insignias. "Let me just try to see if I can get more information from it." She casts Speak with Animals and crouches at the cat level.

"Hey, buddy, what's your name? Do you know-" Shalelu starts asking and the cougar immediately perks up in surprise at understanding her. He frantically gets around her chirping and adding loud squeaks. "Whoa, whoa, slow down! Who? Where?"

Shalelu listens to the animal and her expression becomes grim.

She translates as fast as she can. "He says the rangers were coming back from a patrol and they found the fort was taken by ogres. They tried to expel them but it was too much. They fled into the woods as the ogres chased them... but the ogrekin caught them," she gestures to the brute in a puddle of mud and his blood. "They are torturing them... eating them..." she pales and stands up, her whole body tensing and looking at you with as much urgency as the cat. "Jakardros is there."
 

Ronnam

Gorrendux / Red Royb
"Torturing? Eating?" Gorrendux stammers, aghast at this cat's tale of woe, translated through the Elf ranger. "There's no time to waste. Gather close, let the healing light of Pharasma restore you." He channels positive energy, conveying 10 HP of healing to the cat and each PC.
 

Hidden Nin

sorry bitch i don't say sorry
Mirenia sighs after the half ogre is felled, shaking her head. "Stubborn..." she murmurs to herself, turning to Shalelu to listen to her, brows lifting further and further the more the ranger shares. She readily agrees with Gorrendux. "There's no time to waste. I wonder who this... Mammy is? And if half ogres are typically shunned by ogres... is this also related to the attack on the fort? It must, in some fashion..."
 
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