Guardians of Grandfather Tree

The First Step

Players have been in Ravensburg and are noticing posters crop up everywhere enticing people of all walks of life to speak to their nearest lord or lady about joining a pioneering expedition to the north-western lands known as Vaasa. PC’s are having a drink in a local tavern, The Dirty Hoe, when they are approached by a pair of identical twin halflings named Flotsam and Jetsam. They ask the party if they have heard about the expedition before rushing outside to calm their large canine friend down with a troll femur bone.

A town crier enters the tavern and bids all hopefuls for the expedition to gather at the Helmont garrison for a brief speech followed by instructions about the expedition. It is here that the party discovers the reward for successfully establishing a Damaran township in the lands of Vaasa, a minor noble title.

Duke Helmont decides to send Joseph Ford on the expedition in order to remove him from the public eye (sparing him the humiliation of being known as a bastard son) and for the opportunity to earn a minor noble title to somewhat validate his heritage.

A local lord (Talsly Devlin) “volunteers” to spearhead the expedition in order to expand his family’s reach and fill their coffers.

A caravan of six large covered wagons is assembled and departs for the duchy of Arcata.
The caravan is comprised mostly of families that were once farmers but are interested in learning the craft of prospecting. There are also a few families that have decided to attempt to farm the land of Vaasa, despite the common conception that its lands are virtually impossible to yield crops. The rest of the bulk of the caravan is made up of a combination of young warriors who might serve as potential for a town guard, a few merchants looking to set up some trade stations, and a priest of Tyr with a small contingent of disciples with the intention of setting up a church of Tyr. In total, there are 72 people traveling on this expedition.

The caravan sets out the next morning. The party notices that there are quite an unusual number of horses traveling with the caravan, but ultimately disregard it. After traveling a bit, the party notices that the two halfling twins have stowed away and decided to come along for the ride. Their story doesn’t seem altogether kosher, but the party gleaned no sinister motives and so decided that they were harmless.

The caravan was beset with a combination of strange, dangerous, benign, and interesting encounters on its journey up the King’s Road to the Duchy of Arcata. However, due to the presence of the party, the caravan eventually arrived in the town of Valls entirely unharmed. The first leg of thier journey came to a rest as the expedition was pausing to rest and resupply before continuing the trek all the way up to the Galena Mountains and into the Bloodstone Pass.

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Second Guessing

Upon arriving in the town of Valls, the party decides to see what the town has to offer in the ways of entertainment. They commission Joseph Ford and the militia-men to serve as the caravan security for the first day. He agrees, as long as he and his men are allowed the same courtesy on the following day.

The party begins walking down King’s road in search of a good tavern, when they come across a group of people in mourning. Upon further investigation, the party discovers that a nobleman by the name of Carlin Drannor has recently died.

The party enters a tavern known as The Cranky Tankard and mingles with the patrons a bit. The tavern owner is mildly annoyed by them and his interactions with one member of the party almost escalate to a full-blown hostile confrontation. Through the actions of the party, a crowd begins gathering outside of the tavern. The gnome and the dwarf use this opportunity to delve further into the mystery of the dead nobleman. A contest is born in which people tell stories of the nobleman to win a free mug of mead. Many stories are told (all good) and the dwarf suggests that someone tell a dark secret about the nobleman. At this point, the gnome notices a dark haired man in burlap clothing give a slight smile. When no one has anything dirty to reveal about Carlin, the dark haired man’s smile fades and he shuffles off into the crowd.

The party decides that the information they have gleaned about this mysterious death is important enough to relay to the local sheriff of Valls. They go to the sheriff’s house and reveal the goings-on of the contest, as well as confess interest in aiding the investigation. The sheriff decides to trust them and explains that his investigation has not been going well because of the Damaran mourning custom of locking the family of the departed in their respective family house for one week. Legally he has no evidence to suspect anyone of foul play and therefore cannot break the tradition and interrogate the other family members. The only evidence he has to go on at this point is the body of Carlin Drannor, which is currently being kept in a magically cold shed behind the sheriff’s house.

The party is allowed to inspect the body and it is revealed that Carlin was poisoned using wyvern’s poison, a poison that is quite rare for this particular location. The sheriff explains that the only source of wyvern’s poison would have to have come from a traveling merchant of some sort. At this point the party decides to split up. Three of them go to the manor to try to catch some servants leaving so that they can ask them some questions. The other two decide to seek out the merchant responsible for selling the wyvern poison.

The merchant is found and is convinced to reveal the person to whom he sold the poison. Using a ring of chameleon power, the dwarf changes his appearance to match the description given by the merchant until the merchant is satisfied that he appears close enough to the woman who acquired the wyvern poison. With this new information, the two party members go back to the sheriff and show him the image of the woman. The blond haired lass turns out to be none other than Carlin’s wife. The sheriff says that this is enough information to officially open an investigation and break Damaran custom to interrogate the Drannor household. He says that he will begin the interrogations first thing in the morning, but that the party should continue until then in hopes of shedding more light on the situation.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party is somewhat successful in questioning the servants of the Drannor household. The servants reveal that, prior to his death, Carlin was not his usual self. He had been isolating himself from the rest of the household and would run off in the middle of the night without telling anyone where he was going.

The party sends the rogue to sneak into the Drannor house late that night. He is quite successful in infiltrating the house and shows amazing restraint as he moves quietly through the various rooms of the manor. In his search, he discovers and takes a sample of a small bit of dried vomit in the floorboards of what was obviously the room of the late Carlin Drannor. He also discovers a letter in the possession of the recent widow, which he also deftly pockets before returning with haste to the sheriff’s house. There, it is discovered that the vomit did indeed contain trace amounts of wyvern poison. The letter taken from the wife was deciphered and read:
TF,
We can finally be happy together once the brother is out of the picture.
Your love.

The next morning, three of the party members accompany the sheriff to interrogate the Drannor family. The other two stay behind and relieve Joseph Ford and his men as the caravan guards. The interrogations begin with Salana, the recent widow. When presented with the staggering evidence against her, she confesses to murdering her husband after discovering that he was cheating on her. She also claimed that he was going to harm his brother, Dortil. The interrogations continued with Dortil and it was revealed that he was, in fat, the dark haired man in the burlap clothing from the day before. The burlap clothing was discovered in his armoire. A small inkwell was also found on his writing desk which contained the exact same type of red-brown ink that was used to write the letter. Dortil, after some pressing, admitted to conspiring to kill Carlin for the love of a woman named Trelyn Fedaris, a local courtesan. This led the investigation to the residence of Trelyn where it was revealed, by feline manipulation, that Trelyn had been purposefully playing the brothers against each other out of sheer megalomania.

With the mystery solved, the party rejoined at the caravan and began preparations for departure. Later in the evening, Joseph Ford returned to the caravan feeling quite ill. Upon further inspection, it was discovered that he had been poisoned. The rashemi barbarian immediately suggested foul play at the hands of the halfling stowaways, Flotsam and Jetsam, which peaked Ford’s interest because he had, indeed, been drinking with them earlier that day. The party brought Ford to Father Lorno and cured him of his illness and proceeded to the back of the caravan to search for incriminating evidence among the halflings’ belongings.

The party was successful in distracting the large canine companion of the halflings and began searching their belongings when the halflings approached with weapons drawn, demanding that they cease their unlawful search. When the halflings approached to within 10 feet of the party, the rashemi barbarian attacked one of them with his drawn spear. This initiated a hostile encounter, in which the halflings rendered the barbarian unconscious and then proceeded to retrieve their belongings and retreat from the caravan.

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Lost Ambitions

Having solved the mystery of the dead nobleman, we find our intrepid heroes preparing to head north to the Damaran Gate. The halfling twins, Flotsam and Jetsam, have been driven off being suspected of poisoning Joseph Ford; and the party is finishing up final preparations. Soon, they depart from the town of Valls and begin the three day journey north.

Along the way, the party has a few encounters. On the third and final day, a small flock of carrion birds were seen circling in the distance, about 1/3 of a mile south of their destination. Vossak and Brodi rode to investigate and discovered a wagon being raided by a small band of orcs with their large wolf mounts. Brodi sent his bee to fetch the others and they both stayed and scouted the enemy. By the time the others arrived, they had discovered that there were a total of seven orcs with four large wolf mounts. Setting up a quick plan of action and utilizing some useful grenade-like weapons designed to attack the olfactory senses of the wolves, the party dispatched the orcs and even managed to keep and befriend one of the wolf mounts.

Upon arriving at the Damaran Gate, the party is questioned by the guards about their motives beyond the gate. After satisfying the guards curiosity, the party is allowed to enter. Once inside Bloodstone Pass, the party heads for Bloodstone Village to resupply for the long trip across the wild and dangerous lands of Vaasa.

In Bloodstone Village, the party is welcomed by the local Baron, Margran Tranth. He invites the party, as well as Talsly Devlin and Joseph Ford, to dine with him in his mansion on the hill. When the time for dinner comes, everyone is there except for Talsly. Over dinner, Margran inquires about the purpose of the party’s expedition into Vaasa. He soon reveals that he has a request. Margran has four sons and is eager to see one of them off to make a name for himself and to see the world. Margran beseeches the party to take his eldest son, Polock, with them into the lands of Vaasa. The dinner takes a turn for the worse when Garret pushes to open discussion about compensation. Baron Tranth is offended and quickly dismisses the party. Vossak attempts to apologize for the rudeness of his friend and states that he will attempt to set up a meeting between Tranth and Devlin.

Vossack and Amp proceed to Talsly’s wagon (where he was last seen) in order to facilitate the meeting of the two nobles. After questioning the Devlin house guards, the party finds that he was last seen traveling to Lake Midai with only one guard.

Following the lead, the party heads up the bank of the lake in search of the missing noble. Finding no tracks of any kind, the party decides to turn back; however, in the distance they spot a small lake house. Night turns to early morning and the party turns back to town to get some rest. They decide to investigate the lake house in the morning.

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Short Goodbyes and Long Winters

It is decided that Alboford and Vossak will stay behind and represent the caravan authority while Brodi, Ampere, Garret, and Joseph return to the lake house and investigate the whereabouts of Talsly.

The party arrives at the lake house and is preemptively cautious and sneaky. They infiltrate the house, blast open the door to the cellar, knock the old man who lives there unconscious, and take his weapons. From there, they find that one portion of the cellar walls is freshly established and built upon a soft, earth foundation. They tunnel under the wall and discover the holding area in which a naked and unconscious Talsly lies. They wrap him in a cloak and prepare to leave, but are encountered by hostile humanoid fish-like creatures.

After dispatching the creatures, the party is communicated with mentally by a creature who calls himself Zlorthizan. This creature seems impressed by the party’s victory over the fish-like creatures and implores them to proceed further into the cave so that they might speak in person. When the party refuses his offer and proceeds into the cellar proper, Zlorthizan’s image appears before them and commands them to return to the cave. He appears to be a floating, tentacled, fish-like creature with a row of three eyes on the top of his head. Brodi, carrying an unconscious Talsly, muscles his way past the image in a quite impressive display of force. Joseph and Ampere follow close behind with Garret in tow, who seems to be entirely captivated by the fish-monster’s presence.

Upon returning to the caravan, the party wakes Talsly up and discovers that he remembers nothing. His story is that he felt burdened with responsibility and wanted to run away from the expedition, but that he blacked out a ways down the lakeside. The female guard that was with him was never recovered. The party decides to rest up and resupply while in town, but their hopes of relaxation are dashed when they are approached by Tranth house guards who demand that they come with them because the Baron requires their presence. Suspecting no foul-play, the party is ready to acquiesce to their demands when Joseph expresses that he doesn’t trust them. Drawing his weapons, he refuses to comply and the party is quick to back him up. Slaying the house guards, the party quickly begins making preparations for their departure from Bloodstone village. Using the powerful chameleon ring once more, Brodi disguises himself to look like a number of people, including the Baron himself, and recovers the wolf being kept in the stable at Tranth manor.

Departing from the village, the party whips up a quick plan to disguise themselves as Tranth house soldiers escorting civilians into Vaasa; however, their plan proves unnecessary when they arrive at the Vaasan Gate because the soldiers there are much less inquisitive of the party’s intentions.

Finally arriving in the untamed lands of Vaasa, after a short trek through the valley leading up to the Vaasan gate, the party takes a moment to contemplate the maps at their disposal in order to decide on a proper location to establish their new town. Ultimately they decide on an area in the far West of Vaasa, in between the river Pelauvir and the forgotten dwarven mine called Delhalls, reasoning that not only will it provide a suitable source of water and work for the farmers and miners, but it will also be far enough away from the path to the Vaasan gate that it will encounter less hostile traffic.

Having decided upon their destination, the caravan sets out on the long, 10-day journey across the dangerous lands of Vaasa. Encountering many strange, terrifying, and exciting creatures (including arctic dwarves, ghouls, wights, polar bears, packs of wolves, white dragons, wild horses, and the dreaded rhemorhaz), the party completes the journey in one piece. Arriving at the location for their new town, the party takes a well-deserved moment to rest and revel in their successful trek.

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Setting Up Shop

Having finally made it to the location of their new town, the party decides that the first step is to find a defensible location and set up a perimeter. They find a spot near the river, up on a hill, and begin making preparations for construction. On their first visit to the river, they run into a few ogres. After dispatching the ogres, they discover that the ogres had a mysterious eyeball in a bag. The party was disturbed by this and made a little wooden boat to float it down the river. About two months after the beginning of construction, a heavily armed group of ogres approached the budding town. The party head them off and dispatched them with ease thanks to the marvelous rod of the python. After finishing them off, the party found a small silver pearl tied around one ogres neck. They suspected another eyeball and cast detect magic on it, discovering that it was indeed enchanted with divination magics. The party went down to the river to repeat the process that worked so well last time, and was greeted by three women who floated up out of the river. The middle one walked up to the bank and requested her “eye” back. Brodi handed it back and as she was placing it back in its socket, Vossak fired an arrow at her. This began a very dangerous encounter as the three revealed themselves to be a coven of hags. As the party began to retreat, the hags used their powerful coven magic to trap them in a forcecage. Left with little options available to them, the party agreed to provide the coven with children. As the hags approached the forcecage the magic holding it together faded and the party took this opportunity to fight their way to freedom. Utilizing the powerful rod again, they managed to defeat the coven and secure the safety of their new town.

Upon completion of the initial construction project including the smithy, the barracks, and the inn, the party decided to travel west and clear out the nearby mine. The mine seemed rather empty except for a strange moss that covered the ground and walls. As the party ventured deeper into the mine, the moss became quite thick and they had to wade through large patches of it, which was a little disturbing because it caused an unusual feeling akin to trying to recall a far away memory. Eventually they came to a large open cavern. Cautiously entering the cavern, the party prepared for a hostile encounter. As they entered, the moss behind them grew up to the ceiling and blocked the exit. Large mounds of moss rose and took a vaguely humanoid form. The largest of the mounds began shooting streamers of moss at the party. As they were hit with the streamers, the smaller moss creatures began to take the form of the party member hit. The disturbing battle ended with the party victorious and they began searching the large moss piles for the remnants of victims of the strange moss creatures. As they searched the moss patches, they began to lose parts of their memories. Vossak was the first to try to eat some of the moss. Although it was destructive on his digestive system, he was instantly granted huge chunks of a victim’s memories. This began a trend for the party as they wished to learn as much as they could from the strange moss. After spending many days in the moss-covered cavern, the party gained vast knowledge about the innards of the mine. They discovered that hidden deep within the mine was a treasure vault that the previous adventurers failed to loot. Having gained the knowledge of how to traverse the winding tunnels, how to avoid the perilous traps and wards, and how to open the vault door, the party made their way into a throne room containing a creature made of pure ice. The creature believed itself to be Iraclea (the ice queen of the great glacier) and was quite offended at Ampere’s mockery of her. She summoned three large air elementals to destroy the party, but the party was victorious. As they defeated her minions, she allowed them to leave “with their lives.” However, just before leaving, Ampere shouted, “You’re a fake!” This angered her and the passageway closed before he could escape. The party re-opened the door to the throne room and saw that Amp had become the newest addition to the frozen decorations adorning the room. Amp’s adventuring had come to an end…..for now.

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Unfriendly Neighbors

Upon exiting the cave, Boford arrived and had ill news for the party. As they had spent the last week in the cave, the newly formed town of Sweetwater had been plagued with raiders who were much too dangerous for the regular town militia to handle. The party arrived back in town only to find that a staggering number of the people had been killed and the church had been razed to the ground. The strange raiders were described as orcs with beady, black eyes led by a troll.

The party decided that they should track the raiders down and attempt a rescue mission for Joseph Ford and the others. They tracked the orcs back to the mountains and eventually encountered a small skirmish party of them. Having encountered them, they witnessed the rapid healing factors they possessed and determined them to be some horrendous orc-troll half-breeds. They discovered the cave that the greenbloods inhabited and sneaked in as best they could. They slew a few and found many of the townsfolk, including Joseph Ford (who had been brutally tortured and mutilated). As they were hurrying the townsfolk out of the cave, the greenbloods were alerted and began to storm out of the back of the cave in droves. The party held them off for a long while until their leader, a rather intimidating troll, made his appearance. The party was holding him off at the entrance of the cave, but circumstances looked quite grim. Just as all hope seemed lost, Boford, in a last-ditch suicide attempt to save the rest of the party, flung himself on the back of the troll chieftain and shouted, “Run and save yourselves!” as he forced a flask of acid down the troll’s throat. In a very dramatic fall, the troll grasped at his throat as the acid seeped through his neck and decapitated him. The gnome, left standing on the dead body of the troll chieftain, gave a last hurrah at the rather large gang of greenblood orcs and then fled as fast as his little feet would take him away from the dark cave of horror and incest.

Arriving back at town as heroes, the party began the long and cathartic task of rebuilding the town. With what little survivors there were left, the dynamics of the family would have to change a bit. Each woman would have to take at least three men into her bed to conceive children so as to diversify the gene pools of the town. Over the course of a year, the meager population of the town increased by 50% and included in this progeny were some children of Vossak and Garret. As the town slowly began to build back up to its former size, something dark was on the horizon for this unfortunate town nestled in the unflinching wilds of Vaasa.

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New Friends, New Enemies

Realizing that the meager remains of their new town needed better defenses, the party made an excursion to Darmshall to recruit a larger and more diverse poulation of hopefully more able-bodied men to both fill out the demographics of the town and to boldter its defenses in the case of another raid. Garret and Vossak chose to stay behind and protect the town in the meantime.

Along the way to Darmshall, the party met a wolf-riding goblin named placeholder who chose to follow along in the interest of survival. The party accepted him because they needed all the help they could get and also couldn’t percieve any unsavory characteristics in him other than his goblinoid heritage.

Arriving in Darmshall after five days of travel, the party first made some very profitable market ventures and acquired, among other things: ten wagons, magical supplies for crafting potions and scrolls, three lots worth of books to fill the newly founded library as well as the temple, 50 rabbits to serve as livestock, a rather large amount of iron, and general supplies to secure the town’s sustainability. Afterwards, they made their way to the speaking area to recruit people for citizenship. They managed to acquire a fair amount of bodies to their cause, which also diversified the population enough to ensure the propagation of almost all of the races involved. Upon succeeding in their goal, the party set back out for Bittersweet with all ten wagons in tow, carrying the fruits of their ventures.

As the party arrived back in Bittersweet, they began unloading their products and setting the rest of the town up for expansion. Shortly afterwards, a half-orc man rode into town exhausted and weathered. He was brought to the temple and nursed back to health. When he was conscious and spry he recounted that he was originally from the half-orc founded town of Palischuk and had been riding for days with little to no rest. His town had been under siege by unrelenting legions of undead from which the source was unknown. As his town’s defenses began to falter, he was assigned the task of petitioning nearby settlements for military aid. He had been unceremoniously turned away by Darmshall, being the extremely xenophobic and isolationist townt that it is, and also refused entry into the Bloodstone Pass via the Vaasan Gate. He pleaded that the town of Bittersweet, albeit a small and relatively new town, was his last hope.

The party decided that it would pursue this for multiple reasons. Boford petitioned that it was their moral obligation to assist these besieged half-orcs because it was the right thing to do. The other members of the party reasoned that this could potentially lead to a powerful ally in the town of Palischuk. It was agreed upon and the party set out immediately, again leaving the care of the town and the training of the new recruits to the capable hands of Vossak and Garret.

When the party arrived in Palischuk, they observed that the former stone walls of the town had been damaged so badly that they did not serve the town in any practical fashion anymore. Instead, temporary pallisades were in the process of being erected. Night was almost upon them and they were advised by their new half-orc friend, Brob, to prepare for battle.

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The Black Duke

As the last ray of sunshine winked over the horizon, the party stood behind the pallisades ready to defend their section of the city from the coming undead assault. The first wave was a troop of orc skeletons and a brute squad of bugbear zombies. The skeletons’ goal seemed to be to tear down as many sections of the pallisades as they could to allow for the bugbear zombies to push through and cause some real damage to the defense. However, their plans were laid to rest with the new-found holy powers of Boford who promptly sent the skeletons fleeing from the awesome divine display of the protection of Ilmater. Since the skeletons were wholly unsuccessful in tearing down the pallisades, the bugbear zombies were in for an uphill struggle having to shamble their way through the pallisades, allowing the party to get in a decent amount of damage before they were forced to take the fight to the melee.

The second wave was designed to debilitate as many individuals as possible with paralytic and hypnotic properties. A small contingent of ghouls comprised the ground assault, accompanied by an air force of two varghouilles and an allip. The ghouls were abruptly halted by the still-standing pallisades, which caused them to change their tactics to simply tearing down the pallisades to free up the pass for future waves; however, they were harried in their attempts by many summoned canines which ultimately led to their end. The air assault was much more effective, not having to bother with the troublesome pallisades. The first detriment to the party was the doubling-up on the varghouilles’ shriek attack, which paralyzed Boford. Then, the allip entered the battlefield and managed to hypnotize three other prominent members of the party with its maddening babbling. As Boford was paralyzed, one of the varghouilles took the opportunity to gift him with the dreaded “varghouille’s kiss,” which, if not treated, would have turned the poor gnome into one of the disgusting creatures over time. Although the encounter was quite a challenge, no one was seriously injured beyond the gnome’s new affliction.

The third wave proved to be the most devastating of all. Two dreaded wraith spirits floated in shortly after the previous wave was dispatched. They began sapping the constitution of the defenders rather quickly and even managed to entirely drain the party’s new friend, Brob, whose spirit promptly tore itself from its mortal shell and joined the wraiths in their terrible assault. The most difficult aspect of the fight proved to be the incorporeal nature of the wraiths and the ease at which they passed from one enemy to the other. Ultimately, however, the fearsome spirits were defeated, not without a costly price. Many of the party members were so debilitated from this attack that they could hardly stand.

The fourth wave consisted two great skeletons of chimeras accompanied by two evil dretches as magic support. The still-standing pallisades showed their invaluable merit yet again by serving to distract the chimeric skeletons long enough for the party to bring in a regiment of support with summoning spells as well as to pelt the large skeletons with enough artillery to bring them down without any real damage any persons. The dretches attempted to block line-of-sight with some stinking cloud spells, but were quickly dispatched by a combination of summoned wolves and a few spells. Once the battle settled down, the party steeled itself one final time in preparation for the last encounter of the night assault. Hopes were slim and, although the pallisades were standing, the outlook for this final confrontation was not good.

A dark figure emerged from the darkness to stand just in the dim reach of the torches. He was accompanied by three slavering vampires and the six remaining skeletons that had been turned earlier in the attack. His helm was a great skull with a gaping maw, as was his spiked shield. He wielded a bastard sword in his left hand which dripped threateningly with congealed frost. He wore a brilliant, silvery breastplate and the majority of his clothing was black with red trim. He addressed the party in a magically enhanced booming voice, challenging them to elect a champion to do engage him in one-on-one battle for the fate of Palischuk. The party spent a few seconds trembling and contemplating retreat, for they knew none among them could stand their ground against a vampire lord in single combat. Ignoring the cowardice of his comrades, Alboford Higgins stepped forward, determined to either rise to the occasion and become the hero of Palischuk or be slain upholding the most sacred aspects of his patron deity (that of self-sacrifice and martyrdom). Although he could not even compare to the awesome might of this evil vampire lord, or even match his material competence in magical arms and armor, Boford had the strength and determination of his deity on his side. Guided by the divine sacrifice of Ilmater, Boford continued to channel the positive healing energy that he knew was his only means of damaging the villain who called himself “The Duke”. Touch after touch hit its mark and quickly forced the vampire to commit more of his ferocity to the fight than he had intended. Upon delivering the fourth blast of positive energy, rending at the twisted soul of the vampire duke, Boford became worried that the fight would quickly swing back in the villain’s favor. However, the duke had no way of knowing that the little gnome had just spent the last of his invested divine power, and was under the impression that this would be the momentum of the entire fight. Not willing to fall in this battle, the vampire lord dishonored himself, fleeing the battle and returning to the safety of Castle Perilous for now. Victorious in his bold endeavor, the gnome, along with the rest of the party, requisitioned some restoration from their afflictions before returning home to Bittersweet as heroes.

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Homecoming

Upon returning to Bittersweet, the party hears news that Joseph Ford has departed for Damara with a small contingent who wished to return to their homes across the Bloodstone Pass. Ford’s intentions were not explicitly revealed, but it is assumed that he has gone to tell his “father” of the success of Bittersweet as the first Damaran colony in Vaasa and claim his reward of a minor noble title.

Shortly thereafter, Lemuel the half-orc rode into town and told the party of the plans to clean out Castle Palischuk. The party agrees that ridding the land of the undead scourge is the most important of the two options as it will not only secure the budding alliance with Palischuk, but also provide some small security for Bittersweet as well.

The party embarks to Palischuk to meet up with the assault contingent of half-orcs, but are harried a bit on their way to Palischuk by a wight, then some local barbarians, then a winter wolf with two worgs. Ultimately, however, they make it to town relatively unscathed.

Once they join with the contingent, the small force sets out for Palischuk. The trip to the castle is unhindered and upon reaching the castle the party sees that there is a problem. The castle is surrounded by a deep gorge and it is only bridged by the castle gate’s drawbridge, which is currently withdrawn. The half-orcs charge toward the gate, regardless, and upon reaching the lip of the gorge, two of them pull out extending rods that fly up toward the castle walls. Two half-orcs ascend the rods and begin throwing acid flasks at the chains. The party attempts to keep the skeleton archers from impeding their progress too much and soon the drawbridge falls.

Once inside, the party is ushered into the foyer of the castle proper while the half-orc forces battle the undead outside. The party is reserved about the furnishings and so proceeds cautiously and conservatively through to the next area, the open-air courtyard of the castle-proper. There they battle with some skeletons and zombies, and take their first steps into the dangerous fortress that is Castle Perilous.

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