Aleview

The Hunt

Running low on components after a horrible, horrible series of deaths in a single hallway, the guild needs to replenish items that allow them to bring people back from the dead. Hunting down rumors of a beast to the east, they make their way to a not-so-quaint inn called the Slugs N’ Snails Inn.

Doors at the front of the building are barely hanging on. The place has seen better days. A wooden sign is nailed to the door that reads as follows
Rules:
1) No bar tabs
2) No killin. The followin is ‘ceptable; Scrappin, punchin, roughhousin, kerfuffles, shenanigans, wrasslin, shin kickin, brow beatin, tom foolery, feudin, fussin, cussin, melee’in, disputin, scufflin, scrimmagin, tusslin, fisticuffs and fracases.
3) This place is neutral territory, if you can’t abide, I can’t abide you. See #2.
4) No bar tabs

There are 3 people inside. Faceless Garvey, the proprietor. His face is a mass of tangled scars, but he seems pretty chipper. He sets up some drinks on the counter for the newcomers.

“They call me Faceless, Faceless Garvey. Garvey’s me name, the Faceless part is cuz ’o me face bein all scarred up like.”

“The old Slugs N’ Snails used to be a nice spot. She’s gone to pot of late. Now there’s beasties running lose in most of these woods, so all we get are hunters”

“Mmm. I don’t really know much about a beast. These fools show up time and time again, say they’re hunting something, go out to the woods, then come back and lick their wounds.” Whispering “It’s quite a chuckle really, fools”.

There’s a Half-Orc female with a few large wounds, covered in bandages. A bow rests on the table. She’s being tended to by a small, gray gnome.
Grunting “Greetings. Millary Ood. I have claim to hunt. You leave.”

The gnome has a ack of medical supplies opened on a table and is rummaging throug and applying different bits and pieces to Millary Ood.
“Don’t mind her. She’s a bit rough around the edges and we’ve had a hard week. My name is Maynard Regence. Miss Ood here took me on as a retainer a few weeks ago. She’d heard of a creature roaming these old woods and wants a new trophy. We’ve made a few forays into the trees seeking out the beast, and tracked it down. It’s …quite a bit larger than I expected.”

The rather brief conversation ends as the party heads out along the road to hunt down the beast. They travel across an old toll bridge, stopping at the building beside it. Searching, nothing of interest is found, but for some reason, a couple of the group seem to think they’ve missed something. Searching continues, becoming more and more thorough. Holes are bashed in the walls, floorboards are torn up, cupboards smashed, but still, nothing of note is found, so again, they search.

Finally leaving the now ruined ruins, they head towards a broken stone wall. The minotaur in the group deftly leaps out of the way of an enormous pit trap as the false top collapses into it. The party skirts around it, and through the wall. An old building sits in a clearing, but most of the walls have collapsed. Snapping trees are heard coming through the forest, as something big comes this way. People spread out, hiding, or turning into a tree…

A creature busts into the clearing, A Gorechimera stands on the ruins. The group attacks it quickly, battling it’s 3 heads. After a brutal back and forth, they manage to slay the goats head, only to have it come back to life shortly thereafter. The group takes a beating, and some of them are knocked out cold. It seems the ruins are made of lodestone, and act almost magnetically on ranged attacks, making them more difficult. The grass itself is a hindrance, as it swiftly grows into the skin of any prone creatures. The party rallies, and rouses the hurt, escaping back to the Slugs N’ Snails. Faceless Garvey is there, setting up more drinks for them. Several other hunters are there waiting. It seems 3 different parties are trying to take the beast down.

After heated discussion, it’s determined that the group will keep any components they gather from the beast, but will pay the other hunters for their assistance. Regrouping into a larger party, they head down a back trail, and come out on the other side of the clearing. The extra hunters are quick to help, creating distractions. Millary and Maynard seem upset that someone has set off their pit trap, and it’s empty. Several hunters are killed, but some of the group manages to scale the back of the beast, delivering blows with deadly accuracy. A piece of hide, a horn, and the snakes head are quickly gathered, and the group retreats before the wounded beast can do them any more harm. Limping back to the guild hall, they’ve collected enough components for 4 more resurrections.

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The Owlbear Run
Racing ornery beasts over a mountain

Our runthrough of The Owlbear Run with a few small alterations from the DM, and a few huge alterations from the party.

The party heards toward Telvorn and meets up with Griss and his neighbors. Presented with the first possible choice, to head south towards Telvorn or to stop and talk to Griss, one of the party, a chaos sorceror named Mona, declares they should go north…
After a few minutes of argument between them, they read the sign Griss has posted. “Let’s destroy the sign” is the next helpful suggestion from a minotaur berserker named Olo. Griss says “Well you can destroy it if you want stranger, but I’d be obliged if you didn’t. I’d just have to make a new one.”
Things proceed at a better pace and they get some information from Griss and his neighbors, although Griss has trouble pronouncing the word Astrazalian and the party now wants to take a detour to “Assland or whatever the old guy said.” A neighbor clears up the confusion. Hearing about the other groups that are participating, the tentative plan is to hire Brandok’s Brute Squad to run an owlbear for them.

Once they arrive at Telvorn, they see some kids running around with owlbear bobbleheads and decide they each need one. Mona ends up with a stunning rendition of a carved owlbear, each feather showing up in detail. Olo managed to get one with each eye pointing a different direction, and a vaguely phallic beak. Olo returns his to the shop, angrily, while Mona fashions a shoulder attachment and wears the bobblehead there for the rest of the adventure.

Meeting up with the Ramshackle Twins, they are asked what their group is called, “Poundcake”, and what their specialty is, “Patience, obliviousness, comic relief”. Listening to the details of the contest, Mona is quite perturbed upon hearing the rules about teleportation and flight, and uses her Ham of Wonder. This causes one of the Ramshackle Twins to begin to grow larger and larger. Both of the brothers find this quite hilarious, and they use their own magic to take it beyond the limit of the spell, until one of the brothers pops into a cloud of confetti. “Don’t worry folks, he’ll turn up soon enough!”

The following hour is spent going back and forth between the sponsors and having various conversations, and checking out the owlbears.

  • Lady Fazgahrd comes across as a bit snobbish, but they keep prying for information. After checking out Lucky Lady and seeing how aggressive she is, they decide it’s not the right fit, but have a sneaking suspicion that there’s going to be something on the mountain that only dwarves can pass.
  • Moving on to Lord Burl, they get along well with the man, and are pleased to hear that his daughter has named the owlbear ‘Kitten.’ They do not investigate the owlbears other than to glance at their attitude. They make a note that this is probably the right sponsor for them.
  • Lord Klavin does not make a good impression with the party, and just rubs them the wrong way. The sight of Manslayer seals the deal, as they have no interest in dealing with such a beast.
  • Sir Tomire doesn’t have much in common with the group either, though they are impressed with the size of Terrible Tharizdun. They do ask a few questions about the owlbears coloring and feathers. Though they have no interest in Tomire, they decide to try and impress him anyway with an arm wrestling competition.
  • Finally checking out Rolling Boulder, they make note again of his coloring and begin to ask questions of how the owlbears were gathered. Are they all part of the same breed, the same pack? Do the spots on one owlbear math up with the others?

The 3rd member of the party joins late and starts catching up on information. They head back through all the sponsors again and question them about how the owlbears were caught. More questions about the coloring and any similarities between the owlbears. At this point they return to Lord Burl and the details of sponsorship are hammered out. He quietly suggests that they should visit the church as they seem like a nice bunch of kids. They head to the church and donate enough to grant them Avandra’s blessing, and 3 rituals.
(So I should point out that the party is actually level 18, and have a few years worth of unique items saved up. I assumed that just bumping up the DC numbers and making a few changes would be enough to deal with any eventualities.)
After a few minutes of deliberation, they come up with the idea to have the ritual Reduce Beast written to 3 scrolls. Happy with their decision, they head to the inn for the night. They see members of the other groups there and eavesdrop on conversations, oberve behaviour, and try to hustle any information they can about their competitors. They like what they see with the Stormhammers, are apathetic about the Fey Band, and strongly dislike the Brute Squad.

The morning of the race, they are gathered by Kitten’s wagon. When the wagons are unlocked, they proceed to wave pieces of meat in front of her and say things like “Who’s a pretty owlbear? Yes you are. Woozaboozapwetty girl?” They are angered to learn that Liniel’s Fey Band has simply opened the gate and started walking with the owlbear towards a path. From a couple hundred yards away they hear the loud snap of a beak and some screams, and assume that Manslayer has claimed another victim. The party manages to slowly coax Kitten out, plying her with treat and praise, and head towards the mountain.

The party comes to a Rough Crossing and Kitten plants herself in the dirt, refusing to move. They stop trying to coax her across and start to play with her and give her more treats. Mona(the player asking rather specifically, “are we friends with Kitten now?”) gets out a ritual scroll and proceeds to cast away. Kitten seems very disoriented as she shrinks down to a pocket sized owlbear, and is scooped up by Mona and put into a birdcage.
(I can see where my night is going, and as usual, it didn’t take long for the group to throw me a curve.)
Kitten is inside the cage, but is now screaming a tiny, pigeon-like scream as she runs in circles. The group heads across the bridge, trying to stuff more scraps of meat into the cage as they they pass by this first challenge.

The Lord of Death is upon them soon enough and makes his demand for a sacrifice. Olo offers his bobblehead owlbear, claiming it was a great prize from the carving master, granted to Olo as a reward for his perfect carving skills.
“Your offering is empty” replies Khazal the Destroyer. “I can hear the screams of damned souls”. Kitten is still in her cage, screaming like a pigeon gone mad. Mona offers up a jar of glow worms, placing it on the ground before her.
“The souls are trapped in the vessel.” is all Khaz volunteers this time, stepping closer with his rusted axe draggin behind. Mona begins to shoo the glow worms out of the jar and offer them to Khazal. Olo offers the Death Lord a piece of chicken, saying it was a valiant beast that fought to the end.
“The sacrifice is welcome, let me show you to the Gates of Death.”
“OOOOhhh, it had to be something dead. We should have stepped on the glow worms.”
The party is lead to a mining tunnel, and Khaz waves them inside, saying “Beware the souls of the damned, they lurk inside. Teeheehee!” as he giggles and runs off. They determine it must have been one of the fat, giggling wizards in disguise.

Traveling again, the sound of a tiny snapping beak and some growling from the cage causes the group to look around. They find themselves in a stretch of berry bushes. Fetching some berries to quiet the owlbear, they notice the world shimmers and changes, and the path is no longer nearby. It’s quickly determined that it’s an illusion, but no real effort is put into dispelling it, as Sever, the assassin, recalls owning a special boon, obtained long ago. Whereas everyone else forgot it ever existed, Sever likes to hang on to things, for years even, waiting for the right time. The boon is used to change any terrain that is not-as-it-seems, into something more hospitable and beneficial to the party. The illusion rights itself back to the natural path, and the party quickly forges ahead on The Lost Trail.

Coming to a cottage, the tiny, caged Kitten, throws a couple of low grunts into her screams. Unable to deduce the cause of the noises, it’s decided that it’s ‘a trick to slow us down’. As they walk past the cottage, they are ambushed by Brigands throwing daggers from various hiding spots, in the trees, the cottage, apparently all around. Trading blows, the 2 groups wound each other before Olo catches a glimpse of one of the sponsor badges peeking out from under a lapel. With some quick thinking from the party, they discover the brigands are working for Lord Klavin. The late joining party member, the assassin Sever, bluffs them from the shadows with “The jig is up, let’s get out of here before they can identify us all to the sherriff.” The brigands slowly lose their nerve and retreat. Once they are in the clear, the party notices that the cage seems to a bit more full than before. Kitten is getting bigger again. A few calls to the heavens of “shenanigans” and “that’s cheating” ring out, before they recall the ritual only works on friendly animals. A constantly terrified, pocket sized, screaming owlbear becomes less friendly over time, no matter how much meat you poke through the bars of the cage saying “treaty num-nums?”

The path leads them to a Dead End Ridge. Looking up, another path is seen above the ridge, and it seems an easy climb. A ‘sproing’ noise alerts them to the cage, where a single, meaty, owlbear hindleg is hanging out the cage, bent metal bars around it. The top is quickly ripped off the cage by Olo, allowing a schnauzer sized Kitten to firmly plant herself in the dirt, scowling and growling at those nearby. Apparently rubbing berries and meat on the owlbear’s beak has no effect, other than to cause injury to the food wielder’s fingers. Obviously this is an oversight of the universe, so they continue to apply berries and meat to the situation, in hopes the universe will right itself. Mona climbs the ridge easily, and Olo leads his horse to the top with little difficulty. The plan now, is for Olo to pull Kitten’s leash from the top of the ridge, while Sever remains below, prodding Kitten with a 10 foot pole. This is eventually effective, with the horse’s help, though it does little to ingratiate Kitten to the party. She grows constantly more foul. As they get her to the top of the ridge, she has now regained most of her true size, and her struggles cause dirt and debris to expose a rune covered stone at the base of the ridge. Investigating it, they realize it must be some dwarven magic, and deduce it’s something of Lady Fazgahrd’s design, likely to be used to help Grembul and his men to the finish line. The party buries the rune stone under rocks and branches, and hurries along their way, dragging Kitten along with them, tethered to the horse.

Coming to another of the mountain’s many bridges, a transparent image of Delzar appears before them. He tells them to prepare for the Riddle Bridge.
“A bother to its mother, Who would abandon it if she could, Her waif-like, worthless only child That grows up plump and fat lying abed, On the verge of a sea change. ‘
Such a pretty thing,’ the men say one day. They knife the mother, seize the daughter, Bind her to the others…
Mona interjects with, “A pearl! Let’s go.” The image of Delzar seems a bit surprised, but giggles like a fool before vanishing, and the party continues along.

Rolling on down the path, a cottage approaches.
(Did he say a cottage approaches? Hah, it sounds like it’s on legs. Can you imagine a cottage with little legs coming at you? …pause
Well shit, it’s actually on legs?)
A voice calls out from the Charming Cottage, after it settles down and it’s many horse legs disappear underneath it. The smell of a delicious feast comes through the door and windows. As they near the door, a wave of magical badness springs forth and causes some of the group to become famished, and want nothing other than to eat the spread that’s set out in the cottage. Those unaffected decide it’s best to follow along with the others and see what happens. Once all are inside, the charmed dig in, eating with a frenzied speed. Mona and Olo take turns, once they’ve discovered the source of the magic, trying to disarm the spell and dislodge the door. Eliminating that problem, they realize that Kitten is quite content to remain and eat. Some more ‘meat-lure’ tactics and tugging on the leash eventually manage to get her back outside and on the path.

Feeling a bit worn, the party manages to find another cottage. “These cottages all look pretty similar.” Some thought into the subject reveals that lots of neighborhoods use the same design over and over. Smoke wafts up from the chimney, voices come from the door and windows, and Kitten alternates between her trilling, pigeon-like cooing and low, gutteral growls. Olo hangs back, with Kitten leashed to his horse. Heading to the door, the others meet a woman named Lora. She’s preparing a meal while the children play on the floor.
(“What do you think? Did Kitten used to live here? Maybe she was their pet. We should let her in and see what she does. Maybe she likes kids.”)
Sever asks Lora, “Do you live alone?”
Looking at the minotaur, revenant, and crazily colored woman escorting a gigantic horse tethered to an owlbear, she replies, “I’m not really comfortable answering….my husband just went to get some firewood, he’ll be right back.”
Kitten begins to pull with everything she’s got, dragging Olo and the horse towards the cottage. The party starts to yell conflicting suggestions, as Olo tries and tries to keep the owlbear back. Realizing they don’t have time to come up with a solution, and seeing that Lora has slammed shut the door, they yell to her to get out of the house. A scream is heard through the door, “Leave us alone!” Some more convincing pleas send Lora scrambling out the back of the house with her children, as Kitten bashes open the front door. She starts tearing open the cupboards, trashing everything in sight, and pushing a pile of debris into the corner. Circling around in the pile, Kitten begins making horrendous, nasal noises, “Hroonk!” as an unexpected show begins.
(Schloorp) Kitten deposits a wet egg, about a foot and a half high, in the middle of the nest.
(Schleerp. “Jesus, could you stop making that noise”) Another egg, followed by 2 more, along with various other accessories of mammal/avian hybrid birthing. Something akin to a sigh is heard, before Kitten circles and lays gingerly atop Kitten’s Eggs.
(“Well shit, now what?”)
Sever begins to study the situation, as they realize they are more likely to lead her along with her own eggs, rather than random meat-bits. He tries his luck at anatomy and guesses at a bulge of owlbear fleshiness, and slides his arms underneath, up to the elbows. Meanwhile, Mona and Olo have begun to rig some sort of matress/egg carrying contraption to place on the back of the horse. Sever snags an egg and gets it partway back, before it gets stuck on another egg. He quickly exricates both to everyone’s delight, handing off the eggs to be snuggle in the mattress monstrosity. He goes around to the other side of the creature to try again, this time knowing where to dive in. His arms make it in, almost to the elbows again, before he snags on some unknown bit of owlbeariness. Kitten awakes with a start, and turns to look at him, eye to eye. Kitten jumps up to snap at his face, and he dodges away. Some quick communication gets Sever to lure Kitten from the nest, and then hide in one of the back rooms. Olo and Mona manage to sneak up and grab the remaining eggs, placing them on horseback, before Kitten turns around and realizes what’s happened. Enraged, she gives chase. Mona and Olo are on horseback, with Kitten in hot pursuit. Sever is keeping pace. The mottley arrangement manages to get quite far down the path before Mona notices some of her knotwork was a bit hasty, and the egg holding contraption starts listing to left. With one in Olo’s mane, and one on the mattress, she continues along, trying to keep everything from falling off. Sever manages to run astride Kitten, and leaps onto her back. He searches through his mental inventory for a useful poison or sedative, but realizes he doesn’t want to kill her or drive her insane. Ahead, Mona’s mattress begins to shift to the other side, and she sees yet another of those damned bridges ahead. It’s littered with men dressed as soldiers or guards. A bearded man in chainmail squints at the oncoming storm of owlbear and horseflesh, and yells out “Routine Inspection Point! Please cross the bridge in single…please slow down!”
Sever selects a poison and jams a poison-tipped crossbow bolt into Kitten’s neck. She immediately slows to a fraction of the horse’s speed. Mona holds the mattress ropes together as they barrel into the guards stationed on the bridge. Several go flying down into the water, while Mona herself is thrown from the horse, rolling across the bridge. Olo remains firmly mounted as the remaining guards manage to gain a little decorum and point their spears at the party. The guards appear quite perturbed at this point, but the party recognizes their insignia and quickly display their badges from Lord Burl. The guards take their time coming to a decision, but begrudgingly allow the group to pass.

There’s little good-will left in the group by now, as the events of the race have drained it from them. They draggingly continue to lure Kitten along, although she seems more at peace now that she sees the eggs aren’t getting any farther away from her. The noise of a crowd is heard in the distance, and they realize they must be close to the finish. Skirting across a few small streams, they come to a final bridge, with the town of Milvorn in the distance. As they reach the bridge, another owlbear steps from the trees at the opposite end, eyeing the group and issuing a few growl-barks before rising up onto his hind legs and screeching. Kitten rises up and screeches back.
(“Are they going to fight? Is it going to fight us? Maybe we could just let her go and let them fight and take they eggs? The rules said we had to cross with a live owlbear, it didn’t say it had to be the one we left with.”)
Olo looks ahead and says “I’m going to charge at it”, brandishing his weapon. He races across the bridge in front of them and delivers a glancing blow with his axe, lodging it in the owlbears shoulder. The new owlbear reaches down with his beak and removes the blade from his shoulder. Sever races across and passes the owlbear, continuing down the path. Mona follows suit on the horse with the mattress-egg containment unit. There’s a kerfuffle as she tries to pass the narrow end of the bridge, and the new owlbear latches onto the horse. Olo moves away, and Kitten charges in, also tearing into the horse. She steers the horse out of their grasp and everyone continues towards the finish line. A steep hill drops down before them, and they all hurry down. Sever rushes down and loses his footing, faceplanting and sliding down. Olo hoofs it, literally, and makes it to the finish. Mona nudges the bleeding horse closer to the line, but it’s snagged again. She grabs an egg under each arm and tries to teleport across the finish line. The shenanigan proofing stops her just short of the line, but she steps across quickly. Kitten and the other owlbear each snag one of the remaining eggs in their beak, and proceed to climb back up the hill. The wizards judging the contest are unsure what to make of the eggs, and call for the Duke to come and give a ruling. “When does life begin, when the owlbear egg is fertilized? When it hatches?”
Sever manages to snag the trailing leash of Kitten and wrap it around a stump. She pulls and pulls at the harness, and the other owlbear sets it’s egg down to snap at the harness with it’s beak. Sever quickly runs up and snatches the egg from the distracted beak of Kitten, ducking the other owlbear and grabbing that egg as well, and rushes back towards the finish line. With the entire party now at the finish, panicked looks come from the crowd, as the owlbear snaps the harness from Kitten, and the 2 creatures come galloping towards the line. Placing the eggs on the ground and backing away, the party waits to see what will happen. Kitten and the other owlbear come and take a few minutes trying to place the huge eggs in their beaks, 2 at a time, before turning and heading back up the hill.

Duke Hightower to comes greet them, explaining that they’ve shown up before anyone else has even rounded the bend. All the other paths are clear. With a winner declared, the nervous crowd finally celebrates. Lord Burl comes to the them, ecstatic that they’ve won, Kitten is safe, and his daughter got to see her again, especially with eggs and a boyfriend. He explains they will get their promised rewards, with a bit more on top of that, but first the Duke has to speak with them about another matter…

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Aleview, 20 years later, take 11

Guildmembers attended a dinner party at the mountainpass lodge.

A mist descended on the party, blocking out the sunlight. Strange noises were heard outside. One of the party guests went to investigate, and the guild joined him. They found nothing, and the guildies headed back inside. A scream from Gustave Lillavivut Rucht rose up outside, and when they rushed out again, he was gone. Instead they found a headless horseman charging them down. The horseman, and the gibbering heads that followed him, attacked the party, trying to gain entrance to the lodge. They were held at bay by the gate, and the guildies escaped back inside. Investigating further, they discover that Eli Van Hassen, the new owner of the lodge, and his daughter Talitha both know something of what’s happening, but are less than forthcoming about it. They manage to piece together the following…

A few months back, a hydra crept out of the woods, and stole off with livestock from the area. It’s body was scarred, and a few of it’s heads were missing. It was weakened, but it was too much for the retainers here to fend off. They lost sheep, horses, and a few employees and neighbors. A man rode in from the Guildhall to help. He rode in on an old nag, jokingly dubbed Spitfire. He stayed at the inn, playing a silver stringed lute and singing ballads that inpsired him to take up adventuring. Talitha Van Hassen was smitten with the adventurer, followed him around, hanging on his every word. The adventurer felt some pull towards her as well. Eli watched his people fawn over this newcomer, and saw his daughter grow besotted with him. His heart burned with hatred that his only daughter was falling for this bragging fool.

For weeks this went on, the adventurer and some of the retainers seeking out the hydra’s lair. The men finally discovered the location, and vanished for a tense 2 days. Most of them returned, bloodied and bruised, but victorious, laying 3 great reptilian heads out for all to see. For weeks more, the adventurer stayed, getting to know people, walking with Talitha.

Eli Van Hassen could take no more, yet neither could he simply order the man banished or slain. His employees and retainers would just as soon kill him as this hero. He decided he must turn the people against the adventurer to drive him out. Talitha wept at this, but she obeyed her father in all things, and agreed to his demands. The retainers set upon the adventurer, dragging him from his horse. He grabbed a rusty sickle from the fields and defended himself, slaying several before they overwhelmed him. He was dragged to a block of wood, and there, at her father’s behest, Talitha told the people horrid lies, claiming that she’d been taken advantage of and ravished by the man.
Eli sent his guards forward once they crowd was enraged, and the adventurer screamed his innocence, begging Talitha to recant. He was forced down onto the wooden block, and with a dull thud, the axe severed his head from his neck, the hero dead.

His body was dumped in a shallow grave, the people bitter and betrayed. One week passed, and a storm brewed. There was no rain or lightning, but a thick fog. A sudden, unending thunder deep within the fog resolved itself into the beating of a thousand hooves. The noise was deafening, but no horses were seen in the moving mist.

The following dawn, the men found their crops and gardens trampled under uncountable hoofprints.

===============
Realizing this, the majority of the party took action, drying to drag Eli out to face the horseman. Some of the party abstained from this action, viewing it as cruel and dark. Talitha screamed and cried for her Daddy. She threw fist and nail at the men trying to drag her father outside, but they simply shrugged her off, telling her it was for the best. The ground and buildings and all that was within, seemed to act to protect Eli. Chairs moved into the guildies’ path, windows cracked and broke letting insects in, floorboards broke under their weight. The horseman appeared outside, sensing that Eli’s fate was drawing close. The horse and rider took turns trying to destroy the protective wards that Eli had hidden underneath the grapevines of the long, low wall surrounding the lodge. The guildies tried to reinforce the wall, while changing tactics, and attempting to convince Eli to volunteer himself to the horseman. They battled against swirling masses of heads that rolled and flew, biting and grabbing on. Eli was convinced that he could face the horseman, but only if they took Talitha away to protect her. As she was drug outside the back door, Eli went out the front to face his enemy. He had no remorse or shame about his acts, viewing it as the right thing to do. The horseman took a swipe at Eli’s neck, as Eli knelt on the grass. The blade passed through harmlessly.

The horseman backed away, and wandered off down the road, toward his shallow grave. Eli and Talitha followed after him. As the horseman neared the grave, he began to fade from view, and vanished entirely as he reached it. Some of the party members dug up the grave, as to rebury him properly. Talitha wept the entire time, yet Eli stood, unemotional.

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Aleview, 20 years later, Silvervale

The adventurers tracked down clues leading them to a northern town called Silvervale.

They sought out a man known as Magrak, the mayor of Silvervale. The townsfolk pointed the way to the town hall, the charter, and eventually to Magrak himself. His yard was laid out with traps, and he burst forth through his front door to engage the party. It was discovered after his defeat, that he was a changeling impostor. The true Magrak was imprisoned inside his home. He spoke of someone coming to his door, and he answering, meeting himself, then waking up later in this prison.

While the party rests in Silvervale, the community of were-folk discuss things with the real Magrak, and the party. The Northwood has come to be called the Forest of the Damned, as people go missing there, and the terrible noises that rise out of it. Several of the children are sketching things, and share them with you.
They say they’ve seen creatures like these floating around the woods, tearing things to shreds. There are more and more of them as time goes on. A name is mentioned, Open Sky. This druid used to call the Northwood her home, but a trio of kindly old ladies called on her one day, and the people of Silvervale showed them where to find her. The woods began to grow dark after that, and that’s when Magrak’s impostor took over.
From the description of the women, you note certain similarities to Aunt Agnes, the ‘kindly old lady’ you met in the Bogmire. If they were truly Hags, like Agnes, you know they have very powerful magics at their command.

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Aleview, 20 years later, take 3

A different group of adventurers set off from the hall this time, seeking out the rumors of the missing caravan from Moanhollow outpost. They traveled to the great trees, and rose in a platform, hundreds of feet into their boughs. A priest, Brother Edgar, was there with some other folk, mostly hunter types. They had made this Eladrin outpost their home, and looked unkindly toward outsiders. While tense discussions took place, with weapons drawn, a scream was heard to the south. A large, lumbering creature was coming across the bridge from the old section of town. Spikes adorned it, and zombies were attached to those spikes. A brief battle later, and the animated monstrosity was defeated. Brother Edgar informed the party that it likely hailed from the Nations of the Dead. Moanhollow kept the old section of the outpost walled off, as it was filled with undead. The caravan was sent out to deal with this problem.

The party set off in search of the lost caravan, traveling to the Desert of Wyrms, on the road to Stygia. They found the wagons, but not the people. Statues of Bullywug and Lizardmen were found inside one of the wagons, and a note. An old chest was found buried in the sand. The note warned not to open the chest, nor to dally in the chasm nearby. They traveled through the chasm, into a cliffside cavern. More bodies were piled here, and they spoke with some Medusae. They completed the caravan’s mission, trading the old chest for the blood of a Medusa. Returning to Moanhollow, they made their way into the tomb of an ancient knight, and sprinkled the blood of the Medusa on his weapon. He rose, and told of his legend. He had entered the underworld to retrieve his lost love, and not knowing it’s power, stole a weapon from the guardian of underworld. The dead followed him back to Moanhollow, and those that died nearby were cursed to rise again. Now that said curse was lifted, he could rest, and the dead would fall silent at last.

One of the adventurers retrieved the knight’s Mace of Disruption. Also found were scrolls of undead disruption, and they held onto the remaining Medusa blood, in case it came in handy again.

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Aleview, 20 years later, take 2

After dealing with the whackiness of the Hag magic, a collection of adventurers meet Benowin, a half orc guild member. He had offered some coin, way back when, to a couple of younger adventurers. He recognizes the mage in this group as one of those he had hired, and ups the price a bit this time around. They set off to the Cursed Wood, north of the main road out of Aleview, in search of …well, an ass kicking little girl. The last time the mage went in search of her, she and her companion were a little bit inebriated. The tales of a shape changing little girl with a gigantic splitting axe were less than believable in the hall. This time, a larger group(Tiefling Pyromancer, Dwarven Cleric, Dwarven Paladin, Dwarven Warpriest, Shade Nethermancer, and a Vryloka Assassin) were sober(except for Hydrix the Paladin, obviously) when they encountered the girl. Tall weeds and grass had overgrown the area, and she snuck up behind them asking for food. The Nethermancer pulled some meat from a magical robe of meat recovery, and the girl set off into the woods again. The paladin tried to stop her, but stumbled in the tall grass. They found a small cottage, and this time the paladin had a bit more luck. He burst through the wooden door as though it were paper, and through an even sturdier door behind that. The party searched the house, finding 2 dessicated corpses tucked into bed. The pyromancer detected an odd looking floor board, and the paladin, perhaps compensating for his failure in the grass, elbow dropped through the floorboard, to retrieve a note.

They encountered the girl outside, with a pack of wolves and stray dogs. The mage unleashed a fireball destroying most of the pack, and the little girl waded in swinging her axe. The assassin climbed on top of the cottage for a better vantage point, eventually leaping off on top of the girl. The axe swinging child changed form from human to wolf, and then a hybrid of the two forms. A long battle, and the girl was near death. The assassin suggested that she surrender, or else “I’ll tear apart the corpses of your parents.” That had the intended effect, and the girl surrendered. They brought her back to the guildhall to discuss her background, and determine where the note was from, a town called Silvervale, far outside of Aleview.

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Aleview, 20 years later

From the guildhall in Aleview, new adventurers mixed with old set out to the Bogmire, in search of the source of local rumors. They trek into the swamp, and find an enchanted bridge, leading to a charming hut in the middle of a pleasant meadow. The smell of baking comes from the yard and hut, and cookies, pies, and other treats are laid out on tables. Inside, they meet a sweet old lady named Aunt Agnes. She makes them feel at home, and they chow down on some snacky goodness. A satyr is inside enjoying treats as well. Aunt Agnes sends them to find a Bullywug named Glurp and bring him back to her. They are set upon by a huge crocodile hiding in the swamp, and one of them is swallowed whole. The croc is eventually harmed enough that it regurgitates the prey, and they travel into the Bullywug lair. They meet Glurp, the Bloated. They talk him into traveling back to the hut, and he dines on baked goods filled with bugs and other lovely things. The kindly old Aunt Agnes changes her tone, and everyone that’s eaten one of her treats suddenly feels a bit strange. They twitch, and shrink, and then poof. Rabbits remain where the cookie munchers were. The rabbited folk can feel a pressure on their precious little ears, and after some investigation, they discover it resting on top of Aunt Agnes’s oven, while the unbunned are battling with the evil Hag. The bunnified paladin can’t manage to push the flickering gemstone, the source of the hag’s power, over the edge of the stove, as his little feet thump ineffectively, so he signals frantically to one of the mages. The mage then disables the gem, shattering it, and ending the enchantment. The other mage has destroyed the hag, by this point, rather disturbingly, eating her soul in the process. Glurp is grateful for the rescue, and hands over his magical belt. The unbunned paladin takes it for safe keeping, and the group returns to Aleview.

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Aleview, Session 10

Having dealt with the gnolls, the party descends into the depths beneath the throne of yeenoghu. They detect some creatures running by below them, and allow them to pass. They proceed into a mossy cave, with Sever in the lead. He encounters a mossy duplicate of himself, and feels lessened somehow. The rest of the party joins him, and they battle duplicates of themselves, who have stolen key abilities from them. The Avengers cannot use their Oaths, the Cleric and Paladin cannot heal, etc. As those creatures fall, a larger amalgam of the duplicates emerges and battles them, using their combined abilities against them. Defeating that creature, they continue on and find odd translucent tendrils on the ground, leading down a passage. More and more of these are found, converging at a point in a large room. It’s filled with thralls, the mind flayer lich they are seeking, and a huge brain in a vat of goo. They party is teleported around the room, beaten and knocked senseless. The brain controls the creatures to do it’s bidding. It’s been cut off from it’s society of thralls and brains, and is using the other creatures to dig it’s way back through a cave in. The party eventually defeats the creature, releasing it’s hold on the others. The Illithid King joins them and they make their way out.

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Aleview, Session 9, sort of

Information missing, quick version however;

The party followed the crazy old feller to a cave entrance. He got out his map, which only he could see…and tried to enter. Gnolls guarded the entrance. A Genasi Anthropologist was hiding in the area studying the creatures. She gave the party some gnoll bitch urine to mask their scent and let them enter the cave. Sickly, twisted, and demonic gnolls were inside. Some aggressive, some not, some too sick to do anything either way. At one section of the cavern, another cast-down deity was found. Yeenoghu and his exarch Nezrebe. The party managed to chat their way to Yeenoghu’s good side, while Nezrebe succumbed to illness and battle. Yeenoghu agreed to grant blessings to some of the party in exchange for assistance in battling Asmodeus and Orcus. An opening in the floor is discovered, and it seems that the party is headed there next. Unfortunately, Yeenoghu used this as his own personal commode. It will not be a pleasant trip.

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