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Tairn » 1531.8.13 to 1531.8.15 - Hobgoblin Tracking - Dwarves, Ghouls, Dragonne and a Troll

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1531.8.13 to 1531.8.15 - Hobgoblin Tracking - Dwarves, Ghouls, Dragonne and a Troll

Play date: June 20th, 2006
1531.8.13 – 4am
As Keddick is casting a spell (detect magic), two dwarves emerge from the woods and one cries “Hail the camp!” They come forward with weapons sheathed. They approach Varendë, and he recognizes them as the two dwarves that he gave food and water to in the hobgoblin outpost. One is wearing a breastplate; the other is wearing banded mail; both carry heavy steel shields. The breastplated dwarf carries a warhammer, and a warhammer is emblazoned on his shield and armor. The other dwarf carries a wicked looking axe. The dwarf with the warhammer introduced himself as Banic and his companion as Malperder in broken Tairn Common. They say after they were released from the Hobgoblin prison, Captain Karthal returned their possessions. They were told a little of the two groups that followed hobgoblins away from the outpost. Eager to get revenge, and feeling some debt of honor towards their Elven benefactor, they pursued your group hoping to find either the group or the hobgoblin in the mountains. A few minutes ago they thought they heard the din of battle, but it faded. It then started again and they ran towards the sounds as fast as they could. As they approached, a huge gout of flame broke the darkness. They approached more cautiously, and the battle sounds faded again.
Banic moves among the group healing wounds.

Malperder offers that the dwarves can watch the last two hours until dawn while the battle-weary sleep.

At false dawn, Tiera starts a fire and burns the weapons of the bugbears. She follows their back trail and discovers a dead deer and a pile of javelins. Were the bugbears just protecting territory when they attacked?

Tiera leads the group north. Four hours into the morning she stops the group and points ahead to a circle of stones forty feet across surrounding what looks like seventeen fresh grave mounds. A large clearing surrounds the stones. The hobgoblin trail heads straight for the circle. Tiera feels it is ominous and makes a wide circle looking for the hobgoblin trail coming out. She returns from her fruitless search as Jack and Keddick approach the circle. Keddick casts a spell and studies the circle moving ever closer. Jack steps right up to the circle and two bugbear ghouls tear out of the two closest mounds. Battle ensues. As Jack and others move further into the circle, more ghouls come out of mounds. The ghouls bite and claw. Malperder hews them down with blow after blow on one side of the graveyard while Varendë takes the other side with Jack and Banic in between them. Tiera and Keddick pepper them with arrows and bolts from outside the stone ring. Jack goes rigid with paralysis and Banic follows shortly. While the battle rages around them, Jack and Banic stand helpless. Banic shakes off the paralysis, but is quickly clawed again and his muscles fall back into paralytic lifelessness. When all is done, all but Tiera and Keddick have been bitten and clawed, but fourteen of the undead have been returned to death. The bodies of the ghouls include goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, humans, and a single dwarf.

Banic cleans the claw and bite marks and heals many wounds. Keddick foregoes searching the graves for loot. Tiera searches the stone circle and discovers what she thinks is the trail of the hobgoblin leaving the circle bleeding. She isn’t sure how long ago the hobgoblin was here.

Tiera leads away north again. At a break for lunch, Keddick studies spells while Tiera searches yet again for the trail gone cold. She does find it again, and the group continues until the light fails. The group moved for twelve hours, but the slow pace has allowed people to keep going. As the day wore on, everyone started noticing occasional cave openings in the mountains around them.

The night passes uneventfully with the exception of Malperder telling Varendë he heard sounds far north of camp. Varendë later hears what sounds like a death scream of a deer pierce the night from the same direction.

With the morning light, Tiera again leads the party further into the mountains. Shortly after leaving camp (15 minutes) she finds large three-toed prints crossing the path of the hobgoblin. Everyone examines them and moves on. More caves are passed, and by early afternoon Tiera has lost the trail completely. She searches for quite some time, but she fails to find the hobgoblin’s trail. As everyone stands discussing it, she tells everyone to get down and be quiet. Varendë hides. High overhead, an animal flies east on what look like dragon wings. Keddick identifies it as a magical creature with the body of a large cat and dragon wings. He doesn’t recall the name of the creature or anything else about it. It disappears behind the mountain to the east the group is by.
After some discussion, Tiera searches more for the hobgoblin, and Del circles wide looking for the cat-dragon. He returns within an hour to tell Keddick he spotted the creature on a ledge on the north face of the mountain in front of a cave entrance. Tiera returns an hour later with no sign of the hobgoblin. Keddick relays the location of the cat-dragon. Everyone chooses to leave it be and head back to the outpost where Jerim might contact Tiera. Everyone travels back south and east until dark.

During Varendë’s watch at about 11pm, he hears a sound that alerts him and then a great crashing as a huge green-gray creature comes running straight at him. He starts to wake the dwarves, but it is on him. Its throaty roar is enough to wake everyone as he stands over Jack and swings at Varendë. Malperder stands and the thing lashes out with a great clawed hand, ripping his arm open. Malperder’s axe bites into the things side. It faces the dwarf, connects with his jaws and both claws, and rends the barely awake dwarven warrior. Other weapons bite into the creature, and Malperder steps back. A jet of flame surges from Keddick but misses. Varendë notices some of the creature’s wounds healing. Malperder hurls his axe, and it lodges in the creature’s chest. Keddick’s second ray of flame misses as well. Tiera shoots and arrow deep into the creature as Jack, Varendë and Banic all land telling blows with rapier, longsword, and hammer. Keddick sends bolts of energy flying from his fingers, and the monster drops to the ground unconscious or dead. Varendë steps over the creature to plunge his longsword deep within it. For extra measure, Banic smashes its head with his hammer.

Varendë tells everyone that his is called a troll. Varendë and Keddick search the naked creature but find nothing of value. The Elf pours lamp oil over the body as others clear brush away at Tiera’s direction. Varendë lights a few sticks and twigs to set the body on fire. He throws additional brush on the troll. Tiera leads everyone half a mile further south to sleep the rest of the night peacefully.

In the morning, she leads the group back to check on the charred troll. It is still dead.
A full day of travel gets the group back to the hobgoblin outpost which is now deserted.

Near dusk, Tiera notices a small bird with a note tied on its foot. She removes the note. She tells everyone that Jerim has written her. He says that they have lost the trail of the hobgoblin they were following, but they intend to search throughout the mountains looking for the hobgoblins. Ash is waiting for her by a river they found running through the mountains several days north. He tells her to head straight north until she finds the river and then follow it west until she sees a certain grouping of pines.

Dearest Tiera,
The hobgoblin eluded us. He seems remarkably skilled at our craft. His trail was clear as he ran fast and fleet for a day and a half. Then he seemed to actively start hiding his trail. Luckily, Traver has shown some glimmer of the aptitude I remember in you when we first met. Together we have always been able to pick up his trail until now. We found a deep river running east, and his trail disappeared into it. Were this a normal hobgoblin, I would say he drowned in the fast flowing water, but I suspect he used the water to erase his trail. We have decided to travel the mountains throughout the winter in search of the hobgoblin stronghold. Ash is driven. He pushes himself beyond the endurance of most warriors I have known. Something of this Elven Lady troubles him deeply, but he won’t discuss it. Travel north to meet us as quickly as you can if you get this. Keep yourself well-hidden. When you find the river, follow it ½ day west until you find a stand of pines at its edge that look like this:
I will leave a note hidden in our usual way there for you. I will send birds back to you until I see you in the mountains. I pray that you are safe. If you still travel with the rest Traver’s friends, tell them to winter at Lake Catherine. These mountains are no place for those city dwellers during the winter. Tell them we will contact them on the first day of spring. Ash won’t leave regardless of what I tell him of the hardship ahead. I love you. Be careful.
 Tiera hands the note to Keddick and says “You should head east to The Hawr and follow it south to Lake Catherine. The distance is further, but there is no chance of you becoming lost. I’ll be leaving early to join Jerim in the mountains tomorrow. We will search out the hobgoblins and send word to you on the first day of spring month. You are all worthy companions, and I appreciate your efforts. We will look for you at Keylon’s School.”

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