Lands of Astoria

Session 6: Northward Bound
25 words at a time

SGT Madoc's Report

Day 1 of Operation Queen’s Alliance of Convenience

We left Ballinor for Valtarum in pursuit of recruiting the dwarves, stopping over in North Stoke and then proceeding to Min Barom, and from there to the Capitol of Thol Darum.  At some point Hesskn Hn left our group for reasons unknown.

Upon arriving at Stoke we observed a number of bodies hanging from a building near the town square, and I was informed that there were other Wolves in the vicinity. Upon entering the tavern I learned of a separate Operation being conducted there by CMDR Killgor, supported by SGT Jorin and a dozen Journeymen, using the village as a staging ground for any Operations being conducted in the North. CMDR Killgor informed me how to get from Min Barom to Thol Darum, and provisioned me with winter supplies. CMDR Killgor also informed me of a Dwarven Artificer currently staying at the inn who could be useful given our recent airship acquisition. We recruited this Artificer, Vera.

The rest of my party was unhappy with how the Wolves were conducting themselves, and Tor confronted me about it. I sought guidance from the Castra and was informed that while this was an important staging ground, if we beat CMDR Killgor by trial of arms then he did not deserve to lead and there would be no hard feelings regarding the Wolves losing North Stoke.

I put this to Tor and he challenged Killgor to a trial of arms, with quarter to be given. Should Tor win, then CMDR Killgor would give up his rank and the Wolves would vacate North Stoke. Should CMDR Killgor win, Tor would renounce his paladinhood to Bahamut. Tor agreed. Tor was struck down, but CMDR Killgor withheld the killing stroke so as to allow Tor to seek quarter, presuming that Tor would want to do so. Tor took the opportunity to strike CMDR Killgor instead, before being knocked unconscious. CMDR Killgor was of the opinion that as he had offered quarter and quarter had been refused, quarter would not be given and he would take Tor’s head. His blood price for not doing so was too high for our party to afford given the stakes in our current mission, so he killed Tor.

We then left North Stoke for Min Barom. En route, our priestess Eleanor used one of the scrolls of resurrection to bring Tor back. Curiously, his scales changed colour from brass to white, and I did not see him use any of his Bahamut-given abilities in the subsequent battle, though he was taciturn as to why he struck CMDR Killgor and what effect this action had upon him. In mid-afternoon a red dragon attacked the Valiant, incinerating Eleanor during the ensuing battle. Before Tor struck it down, the dragon demanded that we hand over our wealth in the name of ‘Serathastor’, presumably its master. Tor managed to use another scroll of resurrection to revive Eleanor, and we continued on to Min Barom, harvesting the dragon en route. We arrived just before nightfall and stayed in the Leaky Mule’s VIP suite.

Day 2 of Operation Queen’s Alliance of Convenience

We awoke to Tor’s absence, his Bag of Holding and Ring of the Ram, and a note explaining briefly that he had to go. It would appear that he has fallen and can't get up.

We split up, with most everyone going to meet with Min Barom's lord and myself going to recruit a pilot. I located the Pilot's Guild and found their sole remaining pilot, Cogline, being courted by a group of Efrians. After ferocious and unrelenting negotiation I beat their insulting offer of 10000gp with my own offer of 10100gp, this figure having been obtained from the Efrians' poorly guarded negotiation notes. The pilot did not take well to the Efrians' manner when they were informed of their loss, so he kicked them out of the guildhouse. I met up with the rest of the party, who had been successful in their audience with Min Barom's lord, and we proceeded into the tunnel systems to Thol Darum.

After 8 hours of twisting tunnels and rushing rapids, we arrived at Thol Darum. Vera had informed us that Thol Darum's canals were known for their clear, almost glowing water, and the city itself for its opulance. The city actually appeared to be afflicted with some manner of sickness, with the canals covered in fungal blooms and numerous seemingly plague-stricken homeless dwarves in the street. We were greeted by the harbourmaster and his guards, who had crazy eyes and hostile manners and who demanded to know whether we had come to steal their gold. They also wanted a docking fee to the tune of a thousand gold, the rat bastards.

En route to meet with the Orsaker Brighthammer, the Queen's godfather, we encountered a dwarf unlike the others who flocked Thol Darum's streets fearful of their own shadows, who asked to accompany us to meet Orsaker. He (Puvin Silvervein) informed us regarding the local power structure – the Lords of Gold, Stone, and War – and that our destination was the Temple of Moradin. We arrived at the temple and were granted entry by the Orsaker, who informed us the Efrian delegation had arrived well ahead of us but were essentially useless. We volunteered our services to end the plague and now the military's banging on the door and I'll have to cut some stupid idiot's head open agai

The handwriting on the report becomes decreasingly legible in the final paragraph

Side Adventure: The Tales of Quinn Savage and Talon Brightwater Part 2
On the order of the Queen.

Quinn Savage and Talon Brightwater was finishing up the night in their tavern, The McGeachie Inn, when a cloaked figure entered through the door looking for them. The figure was a human woman who asked for them by name. Quinn offered to bed the stranger, and was put under a hold person spell. Talon tried to stop her, but was knocked to the floor, noticing the signet ring on her hand and realising that she belonged to the royal house of Termainee. Revealing herself as Queen Lucielle Alexandra Termainee III, the Queen informed the dynamic duo of a mission of great importance. She needed them to collect a crate of Residuum from Balthazar's Bazaar of Magical Goods and Sundries (for all your magical item needs), and covertly smuggle it out of the city via stolen airship and deposit it in the village of North Stoke, just at the border between Tegria and Valtarum. When asked why, the Queen only stated that another group of adventurers on a vital mission for Tegria would need it. For this mission, the pair were paid 5000gp, with 5000 more upon delivery. 

The two caught Sky Gondolas to Balthazar's and bought new magic weapons in order to gain the attention of the eponymous wizard. He supplied them with the crate of residuum and warned them not to expose it to magic, as this could detonate it. 

Talon then went to the docks to scout out a ship to steal. He identified a small cargo airship as being an easy target, when he drew the attention of his Thieves' Guild contact, Fingers. Fingers offered Talon and Quinn a job: to come to the docks and secure a crate of cargo which was to be brought in today. Talon surmised that Fingers was out to steal the same shipment that he and Quinn were meant to smuggle. Talon bluffed Fingers into thinking none the wiser, and declined the job. 

Talon and Quinn sought out guards costumes and then prepared to make a move on the docks. They paid a dockworker, Karl Goldsteen, to carry a fake crate onto the docks to draw the attention of Fingers' and his men. To their horror and dismay, they saw Karl as three arrows struck his chest, killing him. There, they saw Fingers and his men: a gladiator, an Efrian Knight, an an archer and a wizard. What was worse was that the nearby guards did nothing, evidently on Finger's employ. Talon and Quinn rushed into battle and used their disguises to intimidate the guards into fulfilling their duty. The Guards were quickly cuit down and Finger's shrewdly saw through their disguises. A fierce battle ensued, with Talon brutally cutting down Fingers, who slowly bled to death. The Wizard threw lightning bolts and fireballs, but luckily Talon and Quinn were able to withstand the magical onslaught. Quinn showed himself to be an exemplary warrior, as he weathered many a fierce blow with his shield and tough skin. Talon meanwhile used his new found Rogue abilities to deliver decisive damage to the enemy. The battle was soon won, and Talon and Quinn quickly made out of Ballinor in their stolen ship. 

They arrived in North Stoke and delivered the Residuum to Bartler, owner of the tavern and a former member of the Queensguard. He congratulated them and paid them the rest of their money. The pair rested for a while before setting off for their next adventure in the mysterious lands of Taikashi. 

Session 5: Welcome to Ballinor City
The Trial of Frederik Von Pirn

The party awoke in Keep and spent several days preparing for their journey to the Tegrian capital of Ballinor. On the 5th day, an Airship from Ballinor arrived, The Valiant, and the party were beckoned to meet with Lord Darrington in his hall. It is revealed that the party will smuggle Frederik Von Pirn to the city aboard the airship while the Lord marches forth with his knights. 

After being attacked by a pack of wyverns, the party arrived in Ballinor and were met by the Lord High Justice and his retinue of Knights of Good and Knights of Tegria who escorted the prisoners. 

The party spent considerable amounts of time shopping. 

Toriandaxus learned that the Grandmaster of the Knights of Tegria has gone AWOL

The party arrived for the trial of Frederik Von Pirn, however halfway through he was supposedly murdered and the party was accused and locked up. They were later freed by Lord Darrington and Queen Lucielle who have charged them for a new quest: to head to the Dwarven and Elven kingdoms and secure alliances for the coming war. 

The Queen returned their gear, gifted them 50,000gp for expenses, provided 8x scrolls of raise dead and three scrolls of teleportation circle. She has also given them access to the Airship Valiant. The party made their escape from the city. 

Side Adventure: The Tales of Quinn Savage and Talon Brightwater, part 1.
Big Heist in little Keep

The following events take place six months before the main adventure. 

QUINN SAVAGE, a half-orc Barbarian Tegrian war vet who never found his feet after the war, and TALON BRIGHTWATER, a keen wood elf Monk with criminal connections, were sitting in the Two Tiger's Inn drinking away the last of their gold. Suddenly, Talon suggested using his criminal contact, Fingers, to find them a paying gig. After making his mark with a stone in the alleyway, the party were soon met by Fingers, who told them of a score that could be incredibly lucrative for everyone involved. The job involved a shipment of coin that Gerhardt, the General Store owner, was keeping in a hidden warehouse. If Talon and Quinn could find the location of the warehouse, they could sneak in, dispatch the guards and make off with the coin. In return, they would have a 50/50 split with Fingers. 

Quinn went into Gerhardt's store and began sussing out the place, pretending to inquire about a broken wagon. When this failed, Talon sneaked into the store and threw a lantern against a stack of tin cans, distracting Gerhardt. Using this opportunity, Talon snuck behind the counter and lifted a sack of gold, set of keys and business ledger before heading into the back room. In the back he found a shipping crate with the address still on it, and dozens of bottles of 1000 year old Elven wine (of which he took three). With Gerhardt and his guard Gorion alerted, Talon headed upstairs to make his escape. Unable to open the chest in Gerhardt's room, he smeared poo from the toilet on his bed and then jumped out of the window, managing to vanish into the streets. Quinn was accused by Gerhardt and questioned by the guards, who later found there was no evidence to convict. Quinn and Talon had learned that the warehouse was hidden in mine 27. 

Enacting the second stage of their plan, Talon and Quinn set about purchasing a donkey and wagon as an escape vehicle. Going to the local stables, they were conned into buying a donkey bred from prize race donkey stock (Tegria does not race donkeys) and a Mark 3 Lightning Bolt Wagon (no such brand exists). Luckily, Quinn's natural charisma meant that he was able to negotiate to a price where they were only slightly ripped off. 

Talon went to investigate the mines and ran into the foreman, Dunbar. Dunbar was down on his luck after a nasty divorce and responded well to Talon's politeness. Talon organised to bribe Dunbar with enough gold to take a holiday in the capital of Ballinor if he helped them sneak their cart into mine 27. He agreed and they returned that night, with Quinn having taught the Donkey to come when whistled, sit on command and enter into a Donkey Rage. 

Working their way into the mines, Talon and Quinn quickly found the strong room where the loot was kept and dispatched of the 10 guards within. Quinn used his barbarian strength to rip the doors off of the strong room and to break the locks on the chests. They loaded the loot onto the wagon and made good their escape, profiting 3000gp and 10000sp. Having decided to keep their word with Fingers, they gave him his cut of the gold. So impressed with their work, and needing someone capable to run his new venture in Ballinor, Fingers offered Talon and Quinn the deeds to McGeachie's Pub in Ballinor (partially a money laundering business) and told them that he and the guild would be in contact soon. 

Talon, Quinn and Donkey rode into the sunset drinking 1000 year old Elvish wine. 

Session 4: Catacombs of Orcwatch Tower
To capture a Von Pirn

The party rested for a moment in the ruins of Orcwatch Tower, having just dispatched the Orcs of the Bloodspear clan who had been guarding it. They thought momentarily what to do with their Ogre captive, when an elvish arrow struck the beast in back of the head, killing it. This introduced the party to the elvish ranger, Firlawyn. George Madoc spent considerable time interrogating the Orc prisoners to discover details about the catacombs below and the disposition of enemy forces. He then began to instruct them on a plan to get rid of the Orcish forces still below. This took sometime to teach to the prisoners, but eventually the party had to move ahead. 

Descending into the catacombs, the party was confronted by two doors. From one door they could smell roasted giant rat which suggested that Orcs were present. Leading his captive through the door, George entered and attempted to arrange for the Orcs' departure from catacombs. This was successful until the issue of the Orc Chieftain's chest came up. Unwilling to lose the chest, George successfully convinced the Orcish guards to flee, leaving only the War Chief and his Orog brother to fight. The Orcs were dispatched with some effort and Toriandaxus temporarily had his powers revoked by Bahamut after he slew a defensless Orog. Inside the chest was 200gp and 6 Potions of Greater Healing. 

The party traveled through a trapped room containing a pit trap, sliding staircase and animate archer statues. They found their way to another set of two doors, one containing Frederik Von Pirn and associates. A fierce battle ensued against Von Pirn and his associates Mr Skinner, Mr Fist, and Sir Clienshe. The party's survival was in doubt, but George Madoc was able to threaten Frederik Von Pirn into ordering his men to surrender. With Von Pirn captured, the party were able to return him to Keep a few days later, having received 2000gp from Lord Darrington and a further 3000gp from Frederik's own bag of holding (alongside a sash of infinite knives from Mr Skinner, Von Pirn's own firearms, and a Ring of the Ram). Mr Skinner and Mr Fist were left with a day's ration in the marshes surrounding Orcwatch Tower, Mr Skinner being left naked without any weapons. 

Upon their return to Keep, Lord Darrington congratulated the party and informed them that they would be accompanying him to Ballinor for the trial of Frederik Von Pirn. 

Session 3: Life and Death

The session begins with the party making their way from Woodpines on foot with a barge in tow. Once they escape the wintery weather, they hoist the barge into the flowing river without difficulty.

The party makes their way upriver to Orcwatch Tower with no incident. Ori's expert survival skills land them at the ideal habour.

The ranger Roth and his ursine companion conceal themselves in the swamp and make short work of the difficult terrain, serving as scouts for the party. They (undetected) discover a search party, using an arcane artefact to track the whereabouts of their Alliance. Roth and Crusher hasten back to the party to warn them of the oncoming attack.

The party take defensive positions and set up an ambush to catch their foes unawares before they are caught out. However, despite their terrain advantage and the element of surprise, combat is brutal. Crusher is slain. Cain reveals the unsavoury nature of his power. One of the mages escapes. Roth, utilising his limited magical abilities to their extent, is able to maintain sight of his quarry and sets off in pursuit, leaving the combat.

He is promptly blown to death in the explosion of a fireball spell.

Emerging victorious from the combat, the party is able to take a prisoner – Nora, the archer, mercenary of the Eagles of Langworthy. She agrees to trade a scroll of revivify (which she was expecting to use on her squadmates) and her intel in exchange for her life and all her gold. The party acquires two letters, meant for Frederik von Pirn (their target), indicating treason in the highest order.

George runs off to attend to the deceased Roth. In a show of holy power, Torian is able to use the scroll of revivify to restore Roth to life. Roth owes Torian the highest debt of honour. Through Roth, Crusher is also restored to life.

The party takes a long rest.

Sensing an incoming extraction party (mentioned in von Pirn's missive), the party hastens to Orcwatch Tower. Fifteen orcs stand guard at the ruined tower. Failing an engagement of deception, combat erupts. One orc escapes underground.When combat concludes, two orcs and an ogre are held prisoner. The rest (excluding the escapee) have been dispatched. 

The party peers down the entrance to the underground hideout. Von Pirn awaits below.

Session 2: Winter Comes Early

* The session started with three day's downtime in the town of Keep. Party members used the time to bargain for equipment they needed and to pursue their personal goals.
* On the last day before setting out, Tayis, Ori and George encountered Roth Abarac in the tavern. Roth announced that he was looking for adventurers to assist him on his next mission as part of a quest to reclaim his soiled homelands from a gnoll invasion. Roth joined the party as a tracker in their current mission to capture Frederik von Pirn. He hopes that in exchange for his efforts, the party will soon be able to return the favour.
* The party reconvened with Lord Darrington and recieved intel indicating that von Pirn looked to be fleeing north through the swamp to Orcwatch Tower. 
* After considerable planning, the party determined that their best bet of closing the head start von Pirn had on them was to head in a straight shot down the main road West-Southwest to Woodpines, where they could procure passage on a river barge heading North, downriver to Orcreach.
* The party rented horses and ponies, and set off in the morning.
* Travel was safe and smooth overall.
* The party was able to save a Halfling merchant's trade cart from sinking into a shifting patch of the mire. In exchange, they recieved 50g (?) worth of saffron.
* Upon arriving in Woodpines, the party stabled their horses (and Crusher the bear) and booked an audience with the resident Duke for the morrow.
* In the morning, the party was split. Half headed to secure river travel arrangements as soon as possible, and the other half headed to their audience with the Duke to keep the local authorities informed of their quest and see if there was any assistance they might be able to offer.
* Arriving at the impressive Ironbark-clad halls of the Duke, the party was informed that the Duke was indisposed and Baron Evilguy would see to their audience in his stead.
* Roth offered the baron the party's writ from Lord Darrington that certified their mission and their friendship of Keep.
* The baron promptly burned it up. He apologised for his mistake.
* Passing a persuasion check, the party was able to convince the Baron to draft them up a new one with a similarly meaningful seal of authenticity, only this time from Woodpines instead of Keep.
* Fearing an ambush or other similar mishap, the party left in good haste upon recieving the new writ.
* Meanwhile…
* The party made enquiries in the harbour district as to what barges were leaving North soon, and whether booked passage might be possible.
* They came across Old One Eye (who had zero eyes, and was completely blind), the captain of a sizable river barge. One Eye directed enquiries to his ship's boy.
* The ship's boy was a huge half-orc, who refused to barter and suggested the party run their own barge if they thought themselves capable.
* As they were leaving, Old One Eye's parrot gave some clue (which Louis has now forgotten) that something was terribly amiss on board the barge.
* The party turned back to re-confront the ship's boy, only to see that the barge had pushed across to the other side of the river and was effectively inaccessible.
* As both sides of the party reconvened, the weather started to suddenly and abruptly turn as though it was the dead of winter. Snow fell, and the river began to freeze over.
* The sailorfolk at the habour flew into a panic. There was a flurry of activity as sailors rushed to secure their watercraft from harm as the water started to freeze.
* In the panic, the party decided to steal a barge.
* Between the lot of them, they were able to lift a barge from the (unattended) barge rental shop. As they hastened upriver away from the harbour and the local effect of the magical weather, someone remembered to leave some gold (Louis can't remember how much) and a small note in place of the stolen barge.
* The log concludes with the scene of a barge scuttling through the snow, a small horde of legs barely visible under the hull. Four of the legs are furry and clawed.

Session 1: The Mines of Keep

The party were hired by Lord Darrington to covertly enter Mine-E and discover why the miners had not reported in. The party spoke to Holt Burgess, the Chief Foreman of the miners' guild in Keep and learned that the mines had recently been visited by a guest from the Efrian mines in Pirn, and fellow high ranking official in the miners' guild, Frederik von Pirn (member of the Von Pirn family to whom George has sworn enmity against). Upon entering the mine the party found it filled with Kobolds, an Umber Hulk and a fledgling Dragon Wyrmling. They also found evidence that Frederik von Pirn had manipulated the miners into mining into old passages which he knew led to the Wyrmling and Kobold warrens. The party fought the Wyrmling but if fled before it could be slain. Upon returning to Holt Burgess and Lord Darrington, it was discovered that Frederik von Pirn had fled the town, having slain two guards in doing so. Frederik was declared an enemy of Keep and the party were named friends of the town, paid and given lodging in Darrington's personal keep. The party have been told that they will be called upon again once Darrington has figured out what to do.

In addition to the loot below, you all have three days downtime.

1968gp, 2416sp, 4000cp, roughly.100gp of gems (on nate's sheet), 1x potion of greater healing, 1x potion of firebreath, 1x goggles of night, 1x sword of vengeance: sword of pirn (cursed to Sam)

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