Fellowship of the Goose

Murphy's law

When the Fellowship of the Goose tried to rescue the Gustavsons from the cruel fate John cast on them, all went completly wrong. In the end the group found themselves in the swamp relieved of their money and some equipment and banished from the village.

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…. typical Murphy’s law

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The Goose Speaketh

Braenn excused herself after the meal. Maybe the big helping of meat had been too much.

Bredda Gustaffson sent the party to Michael the Woodsman, whom they found on the marketplace, to fix up Rosencrantz. Gil and the “expert” set up a “fowl” scheme to scare the gander out of its catatonic state. Gil made Michael invisible, and when he popped back into visibility he startled the hypnotized bird so much, he just snapped out of it, leading to a very relieved Gil as well.

After being asked about missing girls Michael said he hadn’t seen Annika Njörnsen in a while. They made plans to get information out of the Njörnsens and the town elder. They asked to be let in for an audience with the leader, but he did not want to receive them.

John Herder talked to mother Njörnsen about her missing daughter, revealing – on purpose – that Bredda Gustaffson had given her away. She shouted out loud and slammed the door on them. An old guard had observed them and scrambled away. Gil stopped the guard before he could reach the town elder’s house by casting Ropework on his shoelaces. When they helped him up, he talked to him that he should be concerned about his daughter, to which old Hakon reacted quite unfriendly, but Gil calmed him down. The guard entered the house, and the guard by the door approached Gil to inquire what had been going in.

Gil told Holmgrimm of the Spear that the whole town was in danger, that an army might conquer and destroy it and that he knew of the Swamp Daughters. The guard blew a horn and 3 more guards arrived. Gil tried to cast ventriloquism but it misfired. When the guard wanted to tell the others to arrest and bind him, all voices in 100’ radius were swapped and the words appeared as if spoken by someone else – with an echo too! Words the guards said came out of the party’s mouth, and the voices of the party, some people in nearby buildings, the guards and a grandpa with his granddaughter were randomly swapped with each set of sentences they spoke. Chaos ensued – plus some wild cussing. Rosencrantz got to speak some as well.

Apparently some of the people, and the town elder, know of the nefarious scheming going on regarding the Swamp Daughters, and they were able to hear some snippets of conversation – sometimes by speaking them themselves! – before the town elder hushed Hakon the guard up. Gil was taken away, and the magic went with him – before John could use the confusion to incite a rebellion.

The guards locked Gil in a metal cage dangling from the other hillside. They returned to speak to the town elder. After all but Holmgrimm had gone inside, Timo turned to his most charming self and cast it upon Holmgrimm, the little girl Eeda and, just for laughs, on John Herder as well. She sent Holmgrimm inside to listen to the conversation between the guards and the elder.

From the little girl she learned, that the Njörnsens have an older son, and several daughter – Annika, Almud and Hilda. Annika is gone, but Eeda plays with Hilda. The town elder also has a little girl named Alva. Also, Hilda is quite sad and misses her eldest sister.

From the returned Holmgrimm Timo learned that the town elder will give Bredda Gustaffson a stern talking to, and there might even be a trial. Apparently Hakon overheard Gunda Njörnsen’s outraged comments to John Herder. When pressed further Holmgrimm told them that the villagers had a demonic pact with the Swamp Daughters. The people of Marchson had to sacrifice some girls each generation, in return the Swamp Daughters bewitch the swamp, so travellers can only pass with a pilot. And in the past the people of Marchson defeated the army of Leavendale by the cursed magic of the daughters of the swamp. Holmgrimm revealed that he and Artur had accompanied the town elder when they delivered the two girls required by the Swamp Daughters. They had turned with the boat into a sidearm of the Morro in the swamp, tied their boat up and walked to a pool where several of them appeared and led the girls away.
After all this disclosures John left the scene to prevent the Gustavsons from the cruel fate he cast on them…

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Every goodbye is the beginning of a new journey
Reunited team, session of 26 May 2014

After leaving Lord Garenburg’s castle, Gildorel, Braenn and John bought a lot of stuff, perhaps helpful in the future but heavy to carry around in the present. John tried to manufacture a beaver cap of the “justin” beaver pelt, but failed. After that he only could sell the damaged pelt to an old lady for 10 cooper coins.
Next they went to the docs to get a passage to Marchson, their first station on the rescue mission for Lady Julinde, Lord Garenburg’s daughter. At the nearly empty docs they only meet three arguing persons. One seemed to be a sailor, the two others were a strange couple – a halfling and a tall human man. John just interrupted their talk by stepping forward and offering the sailor the help of the Fellowship of the Goose. The fellowship would protected them for a free passage to Marchson. But the sailor wasn’t interested in protection, even the powerfully eloquent Gildorel failed in persuading him of the deal. So all passengers had to pay two gold coins for the boat trip to Marchson. The ship would leave one hour after dawn.
After they had booked the passage the other travellers introduced themselves. The halfling was called Rolfo and the tall man was the wizard Timotheus. John recognised Tim, and confronted him with his desertion when the group had to fight the ogre and Gil wasn’t pleased to meet Tim, because Tim charmed him twice in the past. Tim rescued his head by charming John who stammered afterwards something about a mistake. Gil still was mistrusting Tim, but for the moment he declared armistice.
John went to the Bruildir’s to visited Ada for the last time before departure. First she was a bit upset that he would rescue Julinde another woman, but when John told her the truth about Aennwyn and gave her Aennwyn’s letter as act of faith, she burst with joy.
In the meanwhile Gil, Braenn showed the “Fursty Ferret” to Tim and Rolfo. They decided to stay in this homely inn for the night. Gil started to play his flute. First the audience were only sitting on their chairs and drinking beer, but then the atmosphere started to get jolly and all persons in the bar room clapped their hands and sung out loud. Braenn spent a mushroom pipe. After a while she started to talk to “Kylie“ the ghost ferret of “Fursty Ferret” only visible to her.
In the next morning, after a night of drinking and smoking, they looked quit hung over when John entered the “Fursty Ferret” and guided them to the ship. He looked happy but didn’t talk to them about the night with Ada, but they noticed that he had lost his last goblin spear and his underwear.
Four days of voyage down the Morro without any special events passed.
At dusk of the fourth day the bark arrived safely Marchson. On the west side of the river a hill rises. Noble stone houses on the hilltop look down on the docs and wooden cabins beside the river. The village is surrounded by a stockade. On the east side of the rive the wild forest sprawls.
Before leaving the boat Gildorel interviewed the captain of the bark. The captain told Gil that the Ice Mire was a strange place. If a captain tried to cross the swamp without a pilot he will always get in trouble and be lost. In the time of his grandfather you could safely cross the Ice Mire without a pilot. Gil asked the captain if he knows Krell the pilot on the ship with Lord Garenburg’s daughter. The captain said, that he knew Krell and never had had a problem with him. The captain hadn’t noticed something special on his trips on the river, only the usually crap. He informed Gil that the village had an inn called the “Rover’s Inn” and that you not should took a bath in the river because it was full of bloodsuckers.
The crew of the bark and the Fellowship of the Goose went to the “Rover’s Inn”.
The inn was one of the stone houses on the hilltop. In the bar only some people drunk their beer. After they ordered some meat Tim and Braenn started to discuss. At the end Tim tried to charm the priestess of Ildavir, but he underestimated the willpower of Braenn. The spell had no effect on Brann but hit Tim, who barged through the room, because by the spell one of his legs got an inch longer than the other. In the meanwhile Gil located the owners of the pub. He sent John to Miss Persson the innkeeper’s wife. John tried to twist Miss Persson around his finger by telling her of the dangers he survived. But the woman wasn’t impressed by John’s stories, she told him that this inn was a traditional place for adventurer, named after the “Band of Rovers”. The Rovers donated a big orc blade hanging over the bar to the Perssons. Then Gil joined in the conversation, and nearly told the truth about their mission to Miss Persson. John only could stop him by kicking his leg. When Miss Persson shouted that Gil needed a healer, Braenn arrived at the scene, and some persons thought they would see a flashing blue light on Braenn’s head, but perhaps this was only a side effect of drug consumption. After this show Gil could persuade Miss Persson to tell him all she knows about the kidnapping of Julinde Garenburg. Miss Persson told Gil to ask the Gustavson about this. After a little exploration of the village, when Gil offended the guard Garnulf by offering him something to drink and Tim get the tip to go to the boot maker because of his strange walk, they went to bed and slept until the next morning…

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Got me an idea, oh yes...
Drama Class Classics

Okay, yesterday’s intermezzo with one of you as Ada, the farm maid, and John the Herder as player-player NPC-PC interaction gave me an idea…

So I could prep in advance for a key NPC a little cheat sheet for them to be played by one of you, instead of all the NPCs being to be played by me. One of you will get a sheet with the rough conflict of interest in the character, a mannerism, a name and – yet to be revealed – a secret (folded in). If you roleplay it sufficiently, the secret will be revealed to the player handling the NPC and he may then convey it to the PC at the right moment.

This will mix things up once in a while, methinks.

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You think I am too elven? You shell meet my sister...
Owl team, session of 19 May 2014

As the divine intervention of Ildavir cleansed the cave and the pool, Braenn was completely drained of her powers. She will need couple of days before she can heal anyone or cast a spell. John decided to swim into the pool, to retrieve headless body of Urgmerr. The moment he stepped into the cleansed pool he felt its holy, purifying powers. With more strength than ever he get to the Urgmerr’s body and brought it to the shore, where he told Braenn of his discovery. She filed her water-skin with divine liquid, while John the Herder carried killed boy’s body outside. He told Gildorel to take a bath in pool, since Braenn couldn’t heal him from his wounds. Gil was so occupied thinking about sad love story of Aenwyn and Wulfhard, that he was already fully naked standing in front of the pool, when he realised that Breann is still praying in the cave. Fortunately for embarrassed elf, she did not realised his presence at the moment (or was polite enough to pretend she did not see him).

Healed and dressed Gildorel stood in front of the marble sculpture of witch when he heard from BraennIt has to be destroyed, turned into pieces, and the pieces shouldn’t be left all toghether”. Elven artist had many objections to destroy such a beautiful sculpture, but Ildavir‘s cleric explained, she is afraid that the witch could be dispelled and broth back to life. Using great strength of John the Herder and Gildorel’s knowledge about sculpturing they manage after few attempts crush the statue. The head of witch felt of and then the corpus broke down to two parts unrevealing living, beating heart. Braenn took form John the Herder silver dagger and stabbed the heart. It stopped beating, but just to be sure they burned it in the fire to dust. John the Herder collected marble witch’s head and all team left the cave.

Outside they were faced with big question: what shell they do with the young lovers or criminals as John would named them. Big debate between elf and warrior started, as John the Herder wanted to bring youth ones to justices, while Gildorel wanted to give a new start to Aenwyn and Wulfhard. Finally the arguments about freedom due to every man and woman won the battle, and the young farmers were send in coach to Gory to Cillamar.

Our group decided first to bring back Urgmerr’s body to his parents, so they travelled to Grendelstuir farmstead. The family was very grateful and hosted our travellers. They were asked to stay overnight and participated in Urgmerr’s burial. John the Herder presented most of the story (leaving out Aenwyn and Wulfhard romance) to the farmers and gave a big credits to Braenn and her godess. After the morning service thankful Urgmerr’s mother gave Braenn her mothers pearls as a signe of gratitude.

Shortly afterwords our travellers went to Leavendale to inform Lord’s clerk, Godfrey about the ending of headless rider story. As John the Herder presented witch’s head of marble they were paid 50 pieces of gold and informed that Lord Gerrenburg is expecting them.

When they appeared in front of Lord Gerrenburg and saw all the guards surrounding the room, they knew something unpleasant is happening. Lord was talking directly to Gildorel, ignoring the other fellows, and his voice wasn’t pleasant. The fellowship got to know that Lorelei, Gildorel‘s beloved sister, was captured in Leavendale. She was supposed to be an elven diplomat and ambassador but she was accused of espionage and treason. It also seems that lords of Anseur Forest are not in hurry to act accordingly to imprisoning one of their own. However time is something that elves have so much more than humans. However Lord Gerrenburg proposed our fellowship a deal: if they will agree to follow his quest, he will grant Lorelei her freedom. He also explained that his daughter was kidnapped by mysterious shadows. The Owl team agreed on accepting the quest, although Braenn could not stopped herself, and pointed out to Lord Gerrenburg, that anyway they would try to save his daughter and there was no need to use Gildorel’s sister in such a way.

After the audience elf was allowed to see his sister. Lorelei was caped in decent conditions, as suites for noble prisoners. She did not want to reveal the details of her case, what have she done or why. She just assured Gildorel, she did what had to be done, and that she will gladly accept help from her brother and his companions.

After this short encounter Gildorel joined rest of the group and they visited once more cleric Godfrey to get to know the details of Lord’s daughter capturing. Godfrey led them also to meet Lady Gabriel: commander of the guard and eye witness of the kidnapping.

That is what our travelers got to know:
-the daughter of Lord Gerrenburg was kidnapped by shadows;
-the incident had place on the river near the city “Marchson”;
-The Marchsons and Lord Gerrenburg are not a good neighbours, because the Marchsons are taking big feese for guiding the ships and barques on their way to Galaron through the “Ice Mire”. Therefore there is less trading than it was in the past.
Lady Gabriel told:
-Lord Gerrenburg’s daughter was on the way to Galaron to the king’s court;
-she should be introduced to the court. She was awaiting this as a great event in noble teenager life;
-the incident happened on the 9th day of travelling away from Leavendale;
-they passed the village “Marchson” in the morning of that day;
-at the time when dusk fall, several shadows appeared on the water and pass to the ship. They just came through the floor of the boat and flew with Lord Gerrenburg’s daughter away;
-the weapons of the guards couldn’t injure the shadows, it just moved across them doing no harm;
-Lord Gerrenburg’s daughter was carried to the western shore, the Marchson village lies on the same side of the river.

Great thanks to John the Herder for his notes.

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Letters from Gildorel: 2 - The wisemen murders

The present missive is hereby entitled to Adept Gory, he who is free from the chains of slavery, and presently young wizard of the Cillamar province.

I bring news to thee, my very human friend, for it is I, Gildorel, marking on parchment these words. I hope thou fare well in the big town: It is a fair reassurance to have good, trustworthy friends as thyself around Morrain. Do you still meet Alrik, Clio and Milva often? I am confident they are making their very own fortunes at the time being.

First of all, let me introduce to your wisdom the two young fellows who just happened to hand you this paper. The very human boy with just a veil of first beard on his chin is Wulfhard, a survivor from the warland to the west of the Morro. He traveled most of his youth to escape the cruelties of the war. The fair maid is known as Aenwyn, and she belongs, or better ‘belonged’, to a renown farmstead family I will present myself from mentioning here for privacy reasons; I am sure you do understand verily. The two youths are in love indeed: I am not speaking of the fickle sentimental jokes of youth, no. I am speaking of the kind of love that makes you take severe risks, risks who lead to misunderstanding and desperate acts. Alas, imprisoned were the two of them by a witch, one they unwillingly summoned to escape the girl’s arranged marriage. While, thanks to the strong arm of John and the wisdom of sweet Braenn, the fellows were able to tear the youths away from the clutches of that witch, they were still far from free to express their mutual love. The solution I crafted was to have them travel unanimously to our old hometown of Hommlet, to raise a family there. They are able farmers, I am very positive that with the help from Josefold they will be accepted in the small community. What I will ask of you, my very friend, is to arrange a safe travel for them until they reach the village. For this favor, I am thankful to you.

And indeed, speaking of our old very fellows from Hommlet, I do have news concerning the fate of your once wizardry apprentice mate Ambrose. We know that he is travelling not alone, but instead with your previous teacher Alfrond, together with noone else than Gornum the half-assassin, and at least two grunts followers more. Our robust ropemaker Macario is still on their trail, making it easier to follow their party. I am afraid that the black magic grimoire we recovered from apprentice Brahst has tainted the soul of our old friend.
Here in Leavendale, they very assassinated an old wise man, advisor of the local feudal lord, in a fashion not dissimilar to how they disposed of Cillamar’s herbalist. As for the previous case, they took possession of some alchemical compounds the wise man owned. We fear these are also ingredients required for one of the dark magic rituals of the compendium.
That is a risk we can not afford to take. How long will Ambrose and his party plan to go on murdering all wise men in the urban settings they visit? What if they manage to collect all the components for the ritual? We must put a very stop to this, and quickly. According to the information we acquired, they are currently travelling towards Galaron, the capital, downstream in the Morro. We plan to follow them on a short notice, provided no further obstacles will very hinder our journey.

Once and if you will manage to translate the Nemesis cult cloyster scrolls I sent you last time, I hope you can find a way to very message myself. Their content may be instrumental to our quest. Until then, or until we meet again, stay safe my very arcane human friend. Good speed.

Gildorel

P.S. Please tell Cliomenica that Rosencrantz it is fine and more heroic than ever.

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The Rider and the Crow: Boss Battle!
Owl team, session of 12 May 2014

It takes a bit of exploration for the Owl team to find the entrance to the underground cave where the mystical pool is located. Inside, the innate magic emanating from the place is immediately evident: large, threatening runes are glowing from the walls and ceiling of the grotto, the water exhales vapors of arcane energy.
While the fellows of the goose, and the goose, are still adapting their eyes to the darkness, they are ambushed by an axe rising from the waters. It is the headless rider, emerging, fully healed, from the corrupt pond. The fellows engaged him, bravely fighting the fearful aura which surrounds the headless monster, but another dire danger is revealed: a spellcaster is also attacking them, raining fire over the heroes and summoning undeads to keep them at bay. Worsening the balance, Ildavir’s sacred influence appears to be obstructed by the corruption of the ancient pool, weakening the divine magic of Braenn. The situation seems most critical when Gildorel is dropped unconscious by an enfeebling ray while the priestess of the wilds is towered by a hulking ogre zombie.
But in the direst moment, the fellows find the courage again, like true heroes. John the herder of blades pushes back the headless rider, his shortsword more effective than any zweihander. Braenn finds again the connection to her goddess and raises Gil, who quickly swims to the spellcaster, an ancient but beautiful creature of womanly features albeit clearly non human, and strikes her down with a chilling thrust of Lucy the javelin.
While catching a breath of relief, the fellows untie the two prisoners of the magical Crow: a boy and a girl. They are dragged out of the cave together with the Crow’s body, which is tied like a salami and gagged, just in case, you never know with these creatures. While Braenn is praying for restoring the power attunement with Ildavir, the two youths come to their senses again: they are indeed Aenwyn and the Hurnesons’ farmboy. The fellows try to make them comfortable, and in the end the two reveal their story: they had killed Urgmerr unwillingly after he discovered them in lovely embrace and attacked them out of jealousy. The two then decided to play according to the old legend, and pretend that the headless rider killed Urgmerr. Alas, they set up this plot even too well, for when they threw Urgmerr’s body into the mystical pool, they summoned the Crow to the place, thirsty for chaos and human lives.
Strong in her faith, Braenn sets up a ritual in the cave to cleanse the corruption, and despite this requires a toll in her bond with Ildavir, she finally succeeds in purifying the place. The cave walls open into a bright valley, where green vines and branches take place of the glowing runes. The Crow’s body turns into a statue of marble, while Urgmerr’s lifeless (and headless) body emerges from the waters.

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The speaker is always behind you
Owl team, session of 05 May 2014

The Owl team sprints into a dynamic chase of the headless rider, who is escaping the murder scene at the Bruildir’s farmstead. John the goat knight manages to drive his mare into a spirited gallop, while Gildorel cleverly decides to take the path where a snake is lurking. His horse halts and rears immediately, projecting the elf into a facepalm in the wet dirt (again, duh!). Braenn manages gracefully to stay in the saddle. In the meanwhile among the woods, john’s mare falls into a pit trap with her forelegs, and starts screaming and trashing, in visible pain. John is having hard time in calming her down by the time the priestess and the elf arrive on the spot. Casting a sleep spell on the mount gives the fellows enough time to tie a rope around it, so they can free it from the trap. Some carnivorous creature has gnawed hungrily at the horse’s legs, but that is nothing that the holy nature magic of Braenn can not heal.

The fellowship resumes the march more slowly, this time carefully following the hooves prints left by the rider’s summoned nightmare. They must stop as they reach a deep chasm, 10 meters large, thorough obstacle to overcome. As they are figuring out how to cross it, a thunderstorm meets them unexpectedly, forcing them to find shelter under the old dolmen construction, in the middle of the small hills clearing. The spiritual aura pervading the zone is evident, so Braenn decides to attempt in contacting the spirits who reside here. In the delirium provoked by her hallucinating mushrooms’ salad, she finally manages to connect to the ancient souls of the druids of the ‘circle of the old farts’. These wise, albeit not very polite old men, speak only when Braenn is looking on the opposite side… weird… well, they are druids what do you expect? (everyone who lives in the forest too long goes a bit cuckoo, as a wise lady once said). At any rate, the priestess of the wilds manages to acquire some precious information on the quest: ‘The rider’s source of power is the pool, which has been corrupted, the pool is in the cave, the cave is in the center’, goes the riddle, ‘but cleansing the corruption is not enough, for you must find the origin. She who is the black crow wants to spread sadness and discord.’ (or something like this, I don’t remember clearly).

By sunrise the storm has cleared. The Owl Team manages to cross the chasm with ease after Gil casts a ropetrick spell tie a string across the two sides. Then Rosencrantz the goose takes flight looking for the center of the forest, but he is suddenly attacked by the air elemental who sends him in a spiral of freefall. Gildorel intercepts the goose in his fall, while John finds a shelter for the group in an old rusty hut, but where the stone fireplace is still standing solid. By the time the gusts of wind cease to blow, one of the walls of the hut was torn down, inevitably killing a beaver (named Justin) that was passing by. The fellows quickly make the best of the sacrifice of the poor animal, which indeed tastes great!

Justin_beaver.jpg

Moving south again, they arrive at a rocky landscape formation, while they hear a clear sound of dripping water underneat the stone. The corrupted pool is here, now the fellows have to find a way to access the underground chamber to continue their quest.

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Down the rabbit hole
Session of April 7th, Mattia´s group

After a kick-ass party in their honor, courtesy of the King of the Gnomes, our wasted group of adventurers needed to deal with some personal issues, debts and pacts with supernatural beings. They went away, accompanied by a reluctant Sandrine, who was ordered by her father to go with them. The company was integrated by Sandrine, Drugo, Gallion, Mr. Dieb, Alrik and Nottall.
They went deep into the forest, and got caught by a very heavy rain. Like any other adventurers, lately they have focused more in beating the crap out of weird creatures, get drunk and “mingle” with the local royalty members, so they were a bit unprepared to deal with the unpleasant weather. Fortunately, they found a cave, where they took refuge. After a first examination of the cave, they found really odd that nothing seemed to live in such a convenient place. After a closer look, they found no evidence of any form of life living in the cave. Not even Owlbears.
Thanks to the persistence of Gallion, they procured some firewood. While everyone else looked around and took care of the horses, Gallion tried to start a fire. After some unsuccessful attempts, he made it. Immediately after he set the fire, a light pentagram appeared on the cave floor under his feet, and a lot of smoke stared to emanate from the flames. The smoke covered Gallion and Nottall, who stood closest to him, and engulfed them in a very thick cloud.
As soon as they stepped out of the dark smoke, they realized that they were no longer in the same cave. The smoke dissipated very quickly and they saw that now they were in a huge, dark cave and their friends were nowhere to be seen. They started to walk, and soon found a pitiful creature. It was a Deep Gnome (or svirfneblin in thier language). Neither Gallion nor Nottall had ever seen such a being, but it reminded them of long lost stories of wars fought between creatures or the surface and the dark. As the creature seemed harmless, Nottall talked to him and asked for the way out of the cave. The Deeo Gnome said that his name was Elsemu, and said that he had never been out of that place. He talked about how the Deep Gnomes and other Underdark races were banished, and how terrible was for the Gnomes, who are enslaved in this world by an evil person called the Spider Queen. In exchange for guidance, he asked Gallion and Nottall that, in the future, when they become strong enough, they will come back to save the Dark Gnomes. Nottall, honoring the long tradition of the Fellowship of the Goose of making big promises to totally unknown and possibly untrustworthy strangers, accepted.
Elsemu told them that, if someone inside this world could know the way out, was the so-called Mage. The gnome said that he didn´t knew his exact location, but said that he possibly was in another cave nearby. They followed the gnome, and were attacked by a Gollum-like creature, that was quickly dispatched. After a while, they arrived to an interconnected cave. In one of the walls, a huge map was carved. While Gallion tried to memorize the map, Nottall took a closer look to it: the map had golden tiles. As soon as he touched one of them, they were teleported once again to a crossroad of caves, whithout their guide. It seemed like nothing Gallion had memorized.
Four paths to choose among, Gallion and Nottall noticed that one of the ways seemed to glow with a distant fire. In a rare moment of common sense, they decide to go in the opposite direction, only to be rewarded with the unpleasant sight of three skeletons, one from each of the remaining entrances, ready to slash them to pieces. One of them had two scimitars, one had a shield and an axe and the last one wielded a greatsword. Gallion and Nottall fought the skeletons, who proved to be mighty opponents. Gallion was able to use his magical abilities to protect himself from the devastating damage dealt by the skeletons and Nottall, with what he thought was going to be his last breath, finished the last standing enemy. Our adventures were not defeated, but they were not in a good shape either. They looted the skeletons, and followed their original plan to take the opposite path from the mysterious glow from the fourth entrance.
At some point, Gallion and Nottall arrived to a very strange part of the huge cave: they saw a forest of giant mushrooms!! They wandered around, but they had no idea where to go. Then, another creature appeared out of nowhere: a big cat, looking at them from above, with a mischievous grin all over his face. “You seem lost” he said. Indeed they were. Nottall talked to the cat, and asked about the mage.
“You are looking for the Mycomancer”
“Could you lead us to this Mycomancer?”
“I will not lead you, but I will point you the way”
With its fluffy tail, the cat signaled a way between the mushrooms. Our adventurers thanked the cat, which promptly disappeared. Gallion and Nottall followed the direction as straight as they could. The strange forest was dense, and they walked for a while. At some point, the saw a funny thing: a giant mushrooms with what it looked like a drawer. It was very strange. Gallion saw that the drawer was closed and had a keyhole. They looked around to see if the key was around, but upon a strange flash of inspiration, Nottall looked into his pocket: an unknown key was there. Amazed, they used it to open the drawer. It worked. Inside the drawer was a magic book with five different enchantments, all of them new for Gallion.
Still impressed by the randomness the cave, the finally arrive to a bifurcation in the path. One path had next to it the statue of a Frog, which said “Bobugbubilz, Lord of Amphibians”. The other had the statue of a Mushroom and no inscription. They followed the latter path, and after a few minutes they found a giant Mushroom (with humanoid features!), casually seated in a throne. This was the Mycomancer. Our adventurers, a bit perplexed by this character, introduced themselves and asked him for directions to get out of the cave. But the Mycomancer was not interested in giving any directions so soon, so he asked for a story. Nottall then, started to explain how they managed to end up in the current situation, starting with the incident in the Beggars King castle. At the mention of the unknown riders that they were following, before they got involved in the Gnomes problems, the Mycomancer interrupted Nottall. “You are chasing members of the Tipped Scale?” he asked. “Yes, before we started to look for the captives gnomes”. “I will show you the way out” said the Mycomancer.
The next thing Nottall felt, was a slap. It was Sandrine. “Wake up already!”, she said. He and Gallion were on the floor, away from where the bonfire started. “That wood Gallion was using is toxic!” she added. Their comrades had pulled Gallion and Nottall away from the smoke area, and while Mr. Dieb tried to clear the cave a bit from the remnant smoke, Nottall asked her if she remembered the fire pentagram on the floor. “I saw nothing. Once Gallion started the fire, it formed a lot of smoke, and you two passed out”.
Was it all a hallucination?. “No way, thought Nottall, it was so real!” Then, he saw that he still had the Great Sword he looted from the skeletons. As he examined his new weapon, Gallion realized he had two new scrolls, with two of the spells from the book found in the mushroom forest.
Fantasy it’s certainly one of the funniest ways to understand reality.

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Ghostrider with no head on fire!

In Leavendale they proceeded to sell their newfound gems. After first being misdirected to the shadiest part of town (even after spending a silver!) they found a jeweller at the market place. Asked of the stones’ provenance Gil spun a whole lot of cloth about them being from a grandmother in Cillamar who was a seer and had put them by for old age. Enough to convince the shopkeeper. He proved to be discreet and did not share anything about the lord of the town when asked, but pointed them the way to the Citadel and the Lord-Mayor’s mansion.

Originally they were only given access to the lord’s clerk, Godfrey. When he had weighed the facts of their story, an audience with Lord Gerrenburg was granted. The lord denied their request to see all of Old Grey’s possessions, as he deemed the journals personal and nothing missing. But he allowed them to read accounts of legends now stored in the lord’s library.

They found the legend of the headless horseman, and it revealed that the headless horseman can only be truly killed at its point of origin. It’s also rumored to abduct children. They also found a short account of elementals and it revealed the nature of air elementals to be “flighty” – not likely to stay in the same place for long. And mentioned the power of true names when dealing with elementals and fey folk.

The clerk also told them a farmhand named Helmut had been struck down the night before at Grendelstuir farm. After the incident at the Hurnesons’ the night before that one it seemed like the horseman might strike at Bruildir farm again. They returned towards the farm.

Having skipped lunch they decided to hunt a contribution for the dinner in the forest. Both John and Braenn tried their luck as hunters. Instead of finding a quarry they came too close to a tree whose roots seemed to attack them. John first fended off the evil grabbing roots, but in the end got grabbed by the feet, first by one and then by a second. But they were not roots, they just looked like them. They were tentacles of sorts, bleeding some sort of ooze when hit.

John had already tried to pull out the creature by a tentacle, but his bout of strength was matched by its opponent. Neither did the thing manage to drag him in.

John_tentacle.jpg

Braenn tried to turn the unholy abomination, but while she did not incur the disfavor of her goddess, it was not enough to drive away what lurked below. In the end, after they had hacked away one tentacle and severely hurt another they all withdrew underground and Gil could hear something slither-crawl away.

Gil used his shovel to excavate more under the tree… After excusing himself to the innocent tree he had javelin-staked first. (Under pressure from his dead grandmother echoing through Braenn’s head.) They inspected the lair and found kobold skeletons, picked perfectly clean, some cooper coins and rusty short swords. And when deciding whether to crawl into the tight corridor the creature must have crawled away into, Gil stepped on something. Good luck that a silver dagger does not pass infection. Oh, and free silver dagger!

While Braenn brained a fat rabbit with her sling, Gil explored the forest’s edge. He found a small trail and a piece torn from a woman’s tunic in some brambles. They decided to track the trail and arrived near an ancient dolmen resting on three pillars, in a depression amidst three hills. Their trail was crossed by some other tracks – horse tracks leading to the south-east! They retracked their steps to the farm before dark.

Braenn brought her prey to the kitchen, and while preparing it less than expertly tried to ply some gossip from the women. Brunhilda was indeed a gossip, but her interest was mostly in Gildorel and if “elves are like us, you know.” Gil tried to gather more information from Ralf Bruildir, but unlike Gil’s suspicions Ralf seemed to hide nothing.

During dinner it became apparent that the mother of the household had placed Ada far from John and did not like Hilda’s attention for Gil either! When asking if all farming people had been accounted for, they said that Zill should have come back from the stable now. The Fellowship hurried outside into the farmyard upon hearing these news…

They found Zill with a goat on his farm coming around the corner from the back of the barn, but they Gil’s sensitive ears also heard the sound of hooves approaching. They shouted for Zill to start running, tried to warn him, and John and Gil ran towards him. As they approached him, the headless horseman turned around the corner and gave his horse the spores to charge towards Zill. Gil was grabbed by fear and stopped running, being paralysed by his dread. John was slowed down by his heavy armor, and missed when throwing a goblin spear. The horseman struck down the farmhand, but nearly lost his sword in the process.

Braenn failed to turn the abomination, but then thought quickly and spoke a word of command to the horse: “Roll!” It did, but the horseman jumped off with quick reflexes. The horse rolled back and forth under the influence of the magic. The rider now attacked on foot. He approached Braenn who panicked and ran when the unholy creature came close. John swept the creature off its feet with a jump, his legs slamming into the creature’s. It tried to hit John but broke its sword on his chest-plate.

The thing now wrestled John’s sword from his grip and stood up. It made a gesture and the thrashing horse turned into dust that fell to the ground. It got going again, ready to pursue Braenn who had reached the farmhouse and slipped inside. Gil put himself in harm’s way and a mighty spell made his hands burn with cold fire. He attacked the creature and savaged it. John had fetched a nearby torch and tried to burn the horseman. Not satisfied with the result he smashed a bottle of oil on it.

It struck Gil with John’s sword, enough to hurt but by far not enough to take out Gil. Braenn had returned to the battlefield after catching her breath and coming to her senses. John set the thing on fire. It dropped the sword, gestured upwards and a horse rose below it from the dust, and it rode away, his body a giant flame of burning oil.

Braenn put a healing spell on Zill – he will live. They fetched the two horses from the stable, ready to start pursuit of the flame riding away of them…

He’s riding through your town with his head on fire.
He’s riding through your town with his head on fire.
Halo burning. Eyes are crying. Halo burning. Eyes are crying.
Ghostrider, Ghostrider, Ghostrider, Ghostrider keep riding.
Never stop riding.
Hey, hey, don’t forget to burn, don’t forget to burn.
Burn with fire. With fire, fire, fire, fire!
(Rollins Band, “Ghost Rider”)

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