View Full Version : Journal Campaign Journal: The Altonshire Adventures (5e)

2015-10-23, 03:00 AM
Disclaimer: I'm just one of the players, you won't be getting the behind the screen thought processes from this Journal, but if I can keep this up for a while, I'll show the GM.

Zerrian Donnodel (Me): High Elf Wizard 4, Acolyte Background. Evocation School. Priest of Mystra that is out on a pilgrimage now that the Lady of Mysteries is returned.

Laucian Liadon: Wood Elf Fighter 4, Folk Hero Background. Champion Archetype. A 700 year old hunter that seems a touch despondent if not directionless.

Benson Appledown: Human Fighter 4, Caravan Guard Background*. Battlemaster Archetype. A young man of very few words who seems easily swayed by any plan with a majority.

*This is a custom background and I know nothing about it other than it seems he can get tabs on any caravans leaving or entering town fairly easily.

I had left Waterdeep and my dear friend Frederick only about a month ago, now. The road south has been both pleasant and difficult, but without any sincere timetable or schedule, I believe my slow pace to be a saving grace more than once. Goblins have been harrying the Trade Way and I've had a few close calls, but I've made it to the next major settlement: Altonshire.

It's situated nearly halfway between Waterdeep and Baldur's Gate, just on the northern brink of the Fields of the Dead. This being my first journey out of Waterdeep in my life as a priest, I've never been this far from home before. As I arrived, I saw that although there was a guard post outside the outer wall, no guards were within sight. A little put off, I continued into the city. I passed many homes and other buildings and came to another wall inside the city. This one was manned but the guards took no interest in the people coming or going, so I continued deeper. It was late in the day and instead of taking my chances in an Inn, I asked around and learned that Helm had a temple in town. I made my way south and found the massive cathedral and stopped to stare in awe for a moment. It seemed like a small castle.

"What do you want?" a Helmite asked from the front gate.
"I'm just a priest on a pilgrimage, I was hoping to find shelter for the night," I replied. The Helmite's tone changed quickly and he was overjoyed to usher me inside. Once seated and with a bowl of stew in my hands, he asked how long I had been with Helm.
"Oh, no, I don't serve Helm," I replied. His look of consternation returned and he asked if I was with those others from across town. I told him that I had only just arrived in town and that seemed to mollify him.
"Then who do you serve?" he asked.
"The Arcane Lady, Mystra," I said as I pulled my holy amulet out from under my shirt.
"Oh?" He looks surprised. "I thought..."
"She has returned. Only a few months ago."
"I see. Well then we're glad to have you here," he says.
"I only need a bunk for now. Nothing fancy."
"There ain't nothing fancy here anyway," he says with a laugh. Shortly after my meal I'm brought to a cot in a barracks and allowed to rest. It really was nice to stay indoors after so long on the road.

The next day I packed up my possessions and received directions to the Marketplace. My first order of business was to buy a map of the town, in order to better grasp the layout. After a short bit of haggling, I had in my hands a beautifully crafted map of Altonshire, as accurate as one can be. Only after leaving the stall did I realize that it was still without legend or labels and that I may have bargained myself into an unfinished product. I contemplated returning for a refund when I noticed that several people were running excitedly down the street to the east. Some guards were among them and they weren't the happiest of the bunch. I decided to let the map serve as a lesson to myself and eagerly followed the crowd.

I came to stop in front of a large tavern with a crowd of people just as a man in very gaudy and garish clothing was thrown from the front doors of the establishment. Before he had a moment to gather his wits, a large half-orc threw a lute at the man, shattering it across his face to the raucous cheers of the crowd. Tensions seemed to shift a bit as people started kicking and throwing half-eaten food at the unconscious bard on the street. Sensing a riot was close to forming, I stepped back and put some distance between myself and the mass of the crowd.

That was when I noticed the elf with the wagon barge into the crowd with his horse. He hopped down, picked up the unconscious bard and after exchanging some words with one of the crowd, tossed him into the wagon. I lost sight of the bard's savior as a large, thick looking human brute asked me if I was heading into the Devil's Washboard.
"Uh... what?"
"The tavern there. Jus' askin' cause you don't look so tough. Proba'ly not the bes' place for ya," he said with a grin.
"Well, looks can be deceiving," I said, foolishly.
"Oh? Ya think ya can take on me?"
I stopped and suddenly realized that the catalyst for a riot could still spark from a confrontation with a man like this. And not only would that be a bad idea, but I also knew that in a stand up, fist to fist fight, I would be about as effective as a schoolchild. Quick thought may have saved my life again as I replied, "Oh, no! Not at all. In fact, quite the opposite. That being said, where do you think a man of my 'stature' should go for a drink?"
"Heh. Try the Dented Mug, 'cross town." He laughed as he walked off. Once his back was turned, I used a touch of Prestidigitation to foul his backside and quickly walked away.

I made my way down another street and past a series of taverns with no Dented Mug in sight. I passed by the elf with the wagon and the unconscious bard. The elf was trying to wake up his friend (?) by dunking his head in a horse troth. I decided that I should leave them be and asked a passerby for directions. He laughed and said that anyone directing me to the Dented Mug must have hated me somewhat. Instead he brought me to an establishment known as the Nose 'n' Pick.

Inside I took a seat at the bar and was soon joined by the elf from outside. I asked the barkeep, "So, may I ask about the name of your tavern?"
"Oh sure. Y'see, first time we were ever robbed, that's what happened to the fellow. Pick went up nose," he said with a laugh. "It was only our second day, too. And yeah, I know, I opened a tavern without a name, but the rest of it was ready there wasn't any point in waiting about."
"That... makes sense," I conceded.
The elf to my right laughs at the story and asks, "So, what's going on with that bard fellow? No one seems to like him."
"That's because he's ****. Completely terrible player. More likely to damage ya with a song than draw in business. Why you ask?"
The elf replied, "He just got kicked out of the Devil's Washboard and I got him out of there before the crowd killed him."
"Ah, you're not a friend of his, are ya?"
"No, just passing through." The elf at this point pulls a small hunk of wood from his pocket and places it on the bar. "Here's his lute."
The barkeep bursts into laughter and pours the elf a drink for free, "You're a good man, friend."
I sat mostly still and listened to the story with a bit of laughter myself. We were then joined by a young human man that seemed to have the affect of a caravan guard: dirt covered boots and bloodstained sections on his armor. Another man apparently mistook the three of us for a group and approached with a request: help the city guards thin the goblin hordes that have been attacking people on the roads.

The elf seemed to like the idea, and the human liked the idea of getting paid to do what he had already done on his way here. I felt the subtle pull of adventure and decided that this wouldn't be so bad. We introduced ourselves and that was how I met Laucian Liadon and Benson Appledown. We finished our drinks and made our way to the guardhouse in the city, riding in Laucian's wagon while leaving the bard in the mud behind the tavern.

When we got there we confirmed that that there indeed was a bounty on goblins but no set amount. The guard on duty said it was a special rate that increased the more of the vermin you killed. That made some sort of sense to us and so we agreed and headed out of the city to the east.

Several hours later we started noticing the goblins in the distance. Laucian had us approach at a steady pace in the wagon and soon the goblins noticed us too. They set up an ambush point down a path between two very large bushes with plenty of trees nearby. Our plan was to approach a ways further and I'd drop some spells on the hiding goblins while the two others would branch off and deal with separate bushes. Like all plans, it died with first contact with the enemy. Meaning that the goblins shot down the horse before we launched our counter-ambush. Suffice to say, we were a little surprised at that.

Laucian hopped off and took cover behind the wagon, waiting for the perfect moment to fire into one of the little marauders. Benson hopped off the other way and ducked behind a tree at an approach angle, ready to leap into action once an enemy was presented. I, being unused to coordinating with allies, stood up and threw a blade of ice into one thicket, not knowing if I hit or not. I was rewarded with an arrow to the arm almost immediately after.

Laucian practiced his patient form of hunting and continued to wait for his targets to present themselves. Benson hopped from cover to cover closer to the thicket that I hit, but not yet arriving. Learning strangely slowly, I summoned a snowball swarm in that same thicket and maintained my standing position on top of the wagon... in the middle of the road... while my allies were behind cover. When the expected attack came again, four arrows bounced off a rapidly erected shield spell.

Laucian gave up watching the same thicket and changed his position to keep an eye over the other. Benson stepped forward and started fighting with one of the goblins in the frozen thicket, later reporting that one was already dead when he got there. I took my cue and hopped down and found cover behind a tree. The next volley of arrows went a little wild, but one struck Laucian.

In response, the wood elf abandoned cover and strode into the bushes of the surrounding area, coming up close to me. Benson finished off the remaining goblin and started making his way across the trail to the other thicket. I decided to change things up a bit and threw a chromatic orb of fire into the hiding place of the goblins. The bushes caught fire quickly and the smoke and fire gave us enough cover to get a better angle.

The goblins ran from the flames but we were there, ready for them. Laucian and Benson waded into melee combat, each using a rapier of his own. I kept the rays of frost coming and soon we were down to only the big one left. However, the fire remained unchecked and that was liable to cause problems in the future. As Benson shot down the goblin boss, Laucian and I dug a trench of ice around the burning bush and kept the fire controlled. It was hard work, and after a bit of proof collecting (Laucian took their ears), we decided to take a break nearby.

Not too long into our break, I noticed a pair of goblins in a tree high above us. I pointed it out to the others and the goblins pointed back. Laucian one upped the goblins by pointing with two hands, and one returned the gesture. It took a half a second to regain it's balance as it began to fall out of the tree, but it held tight. I pointed again, and this time released a ray of frost, nearly knocking one off his perch, but he held strong as well. Benson and Laucin fired off arrows and another ray of frost brought the both of them to the ground the fastest way possible.

Laucian approached them with dagger in hand, intending to collect their ears, when another ambush broke out from a nearby bush. We were all tired, rather worn out, and somewhat injured, so this was definitely not a good time. Laucian cuts down on of the two new goblins but can't seem to find his mark on the other. It seems to be wearing better armor than the others, much like the previous goblin boss. None of us can get past the shield of this little marauder and soon he's cowering behind it, weapon dropped, shouting, "Bree-Yark!"

None of spoke goblin, but thinking it a call for help, I took a moment to scan the surroundings for more goblins. I saw none, and said so. Laucian tells the goblin, in common, to put down his shield and we won't hurt it. It responds in a very broken common and we learn that "Bree-Yark" means "We surrender." So there we were, three relative strangers around this surrendered goblin that moments ago was fighting to maim and kill. I suppose this is where I got the measure of Laucian best as he let the thing go. Benson put up no argument and I felt there was no threat from the unarmed little creature, so we also let it flee. Laucian went about collecting the rest of the ears and we headed back to Altonshire without rest.

We returned the nine pairs of goblins ears, properly matched up so that the guards didn't think we were cheating them, and had a chance to learn the laws of the town. They were posted up inside the guardhouse, and it seems that they were rather reasonable. We got directions to an Inn guaranteed to provide a peaceful night and were told to go to the Whitehorse Inn in the Marketplace. Tired, beaten, and probably hungry, we shuffled along through the bustling marketplace with a singular destination in my mind: a comfortable bed.

That was when I noticed a halfling tugging on a pouch on my belt. With a quick grab I get him by the hair of his head and nearly lift him off the ground. He tried to escape but I held strong.
"Pickpocket!" I yelled out loudly, holding the halfling by the hair. Many eyes turned towards us and some people spat on the little man. I asked a passerby, "Uh, what should I do with him?"
"Well, you caught him. I suppose it's up to you," he said disinterestedly.
I turned to the halfling, "Turn out your pockets."
"I got nothing," he said with a sheepish grin and empty hands. I started arcing some sparks between my fingers of my other hand with Prestidigitaion and inched it closer.
"Don't lie to me," I said. His eyes went wide and he quickly spilled a handful of coins on the street. The shining glints of metal were picked up almost instantly by a gaggle of shoppers. I tossed the little thief down and warned him, "Next time I won't be nearly so nice." Laucian and Benson had no comment for my little escapade, but perhaps they learned something of me that I hadn't yet explained. If so, they kept it to themselves.

We arrived at the Whitehorse Inn shortly after and each man got himself a room. I rented mine for three nights ahead of time, just in case. Once inside, I stripped off my heavy pack and slumped down onto the bed. My wounds were throbbing, but I was pretty sure they were closed. It just felt so good to be in a bed again.

And that's our first session. This is a weekly game so I should be back here next week with more. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below and I'll try my best to answer them.


2015-10-30, 01:57 AM
Session Two:

With the door locked and away from prying eyes, I chose to rest in the way I was accustomed to in Waterdeep: incredibly human-like. Merely five or so hours later, I crawled out from under the blankets, redressed and went over my notes from the previous day. I spent a couple minutes preparing spells for the day and a few hours writing in my journal. By the time a steady din could be heard from below, I decided to venture down and inquire as to breakfast.

Benson was already seated with a large plate of fried meats, eggs, and bread. Laucian was sitting with him with a considerably smaller plate. I pressed a silver coin into the serving boy's hand and asked for a plate as well as I joined the two men from the previous day. We ate in a comfortable silence, each of us seeming to pick up the elevated mood in the inn. It seems that the goblins had retracted their caravan raids and there was a faint hum of cheer in the morning crowd. Pleased with our own positive effects, the three of us decided to return to the Captain and ask about more work as a group. After all, we seemed to work well as a team.

We made our way through the bustling market crowd, my coinpurse now tucked into an inside pocket of my vest, and soon reached the entertainment district. We turned north towards the guardhouse when out of no where an ear-shattering shriek split the air and a pair of large, deer-headed bird monsters burst from the doors of a large building. The street was less crowded and only us three were even nearby. I recognized them as perytons almost immediately and was able to relay that to my comrades as: "Carnivorous, very dangerous!" And the impromptu battle was on.

Laucian fired in an arrow and took a flying dive to the chest with both antlers and claws. I was able to get off a ray of frost before the other dived for me as well, but it's attack was largely deflected by a hasty shield spell. Still unsure of how to work with the new allies, we had a tough time of the fight. The proprietor followed the monstrous beasts out and begged us not to kill them as that'd be a lost investment. Begrudgingly, we tried to acquiesce. Some more wild ice spells out of me with partial accuracy and each of the others managing to keep a beast's attention on their own, we whittled down their endurance. Benson threatened one well enough to scare it off, and Laucian fell to the more dangerous of the two. That peryton then charged me, and as my vision darkened around the edges, Benson rushed up from behind and knocked it out with the haft of his rapier.

"Oh, by the gods, thank you for not killing them!" the proprietor said from his doorway. Benson quickly stabilized Laucian as I kept an eye on the peryton perched on the roof.
"Yeah, about that. Our friend took a lot of bad hits trying to subdue your... pets. Could we get inside and recuperate for a bit?" I asked, not mentioning my own wounds.
"Uh... sure. Yeah, I owe you at least that," he says as he lets us in. "Could you bring in that unconscious one?" I was able to put it on a floating disc and carry it inside as Benson took in our comrade. Inside the store was a wild menagerie of various beasts and monstrous creatures behind varying degrees of cages. Some of the most dangerous even shimmered with the telltale signs of being reinforced with some spell or another. We saw stirges, gricks, and even hellhounds. There was so many more creatures that even I forgot most of the more mundane ones. And that didn't even cover the bestial noises heard from back rooms that we couldn't see. This place was truly an exotic wonder.

"So, what the hell was that about?" Benson asked in relatively civil tone for someone fresh from a wild combat.
"Oh, the perytons? They escaped as I was trying to give them a bath." The proprietor looks a little embarrassed at this, but otherwise seems to claim no responsibility for his irresponsibility... which I am just realizing now makes perfect sense. "This is an Exotic Petshop," he adds. "I supply some of the most sought after wild monsters wealthy patrons can buy."
"Uh huh," Benson said, "And how well do you train your wares?"
"Train? Not at all. I'm running a business here, I don't have time to train each of these beasts."
I chime in, "Well what do you expect to happen to your customers?"
"Oh, they know what they're getting into," he said with confidence. I decided to drop the matter of the man's business practices and asked what we were owed for not killing his profit margin outside. "Oh, yes. Thank you again, truly. I believe I can spare one of these..." he said as he rummaged through a small chest on a shelf. He handed Benson a small glass bottle with a red substance inside. Benson seemed to assume it was a healing potion and instead of testing it, or checking it, or really being considerate at all, he poured it out on Laucian's face. Benson's instincts proved true as soon the elderly elf was sputtering and getting to his feet of his own free will.
"The hells happened?" he asked groggily.
"The pair of peryton's were punished and we're parlaying with the proprietor," I offered. "Who's name is..."
"Grim Fiddle."
I stared at the man, "...of course it is."
"Well, how much are those pery-thin's worth to ya, Fiddle?" Laucian asked as he stood to his full height.
"Are you interested in buying? I could let one go for merely... 450 gp?" Fiddle offered.
"Then let's say the healing potion's worth fifty. Then that means you still owe me 400," Laucian said sternly. Benson and I looked at each other in confusion. Neither of us were really expecting to be paid so much for simply not killing the beasts. In fact, it seemed a bit too akin to extortion for my tastes.
"What...?" Fiddle asked, his confusion as plain as ours. "I'm afraid I made no such deal and that I'll have to decline, sir."
"Yeah, Lau, what are you talking about?" Benson asked.
"The way I see it, he owes me 400 for his stupid birds!" Lau said. "I just... you guys don't...? Fine. Let's get out of here." He left the establishment rather quickly after that, perhaps from embarrassment.
As Benson followed the other elf out of the building, I turned to Fiddle and quickly added, "Apologies for our friend, it seems he hit the ground rather hard. If I may ask, were we to bring you similar specimens as to what we see here, would we be awarded a finder's fee of some sort?"
"Huh? Oh sure. That's a great idea. Yeah, bring me whatever you can catch and I'll pay you for your efforts."
"Thank you, good sir," I said as I quickly followed my allies. There was always a chance that knowing where to offload a dangerous beast in town could be incredibly useful.

We walked north to the same guardhouse as the previous day and now, walking among the people instead of in a wagon, I noticed that there were a lot more fight-ready folks in the area. In fact, some of them had rather exotic armors, weapons, and styles among them. It took nearly another ten minutes of just noticing the various fighters to realize that they were likely gladiators and then *CLICK* I realized who Fiddle's main buyer must have been. I decided to keep it to myself, but it was entirely likely the others had figured it out as well.

At the guardhouse we requested to speak with the Captain from last night and we're lead inside. Captain Torinn Alynurrilian, the dragonborn guardsman, greets us with a bittersweet look in his eye. Yes, the goblins had stopped attacking caravans, however his scouts were reporting that they were harassing the logging camps a couple days out of town. A pang of guilt seems to cut through the group as we realized that we only told the goblin last night to leave the caravans alone and they seemed to have taken that to heart. In any case, we agree to investigate and hopefully put a stop to the attacks. This time we're told to be on the lookout for a large hairy beast as well, and that we can receive up to 5 gp per goblin head. The way the bedraggled Captain haggled for that low price spoke volumes of bureaucratic underfunding to me. However, my allies seemed a little snubbed at the "paltry sum." We were allowed about an hour to rest as we resupplied and took a meal with the guards for lunch. Afterwards, we met with one of Captain Alynurrilian's scouts at the south gate of town: Nikolo Dona.

The second half of the day passed uneventfully as we traveled out into the wild plains of the surrounding area. Over the course of the day, Laucian was able to hunt down enough rabbits to feed the four of us. The night also passed without issue. During the second day, however, our good luck came to a crashing halt with the sound of a faint *pop*. A large, blue and white spider just appeared between Nikolo and and Laucian and dove for the elf. Nikolo took off running as the three of us worked together to combat this terrifying creature. Over the course of the battle I was able to recall what I know about phase spiders and we devised some sound tactics. Knowing the limited visibility from the ethereal plane, I had us split up and prepare to defend or assist whomever the spider targeted. With some effort we slayed the beast. I checked for eggs, in case Fiddle would be interested in buying up a clutch, but no such luck. We made the group decision to stick to the road from now on, fairly confident that there'd be less chance of invisible phase spiders bursting into reality. The rest of the day and night passed without issues.

As we approached the logging camp, merely 500 feet away, Nikolo stopped us. "This is as far as I go," he said. "I'll wait here up to 24 hours for you to return, but otherwise I'll be heading back to Altonshire."
"That's fair. Thanks for getting us this far," Laucian said. Benson and I agreed and soon the scout was off to find a good hiding spot.
"So, maybe this time we come up with the tactics before we start fighting?" I asked the others.
"That sound's like a good idea," Benson said with a chuckle. "Any plans?"
"Yeah, how about we send in an experienced hunter to get the lay of the land and give us some idea of what we're up against?" I said.
"Oh, gee, I wonder who that could be," Laucian said as he crossed his arms.
"It's not going to be so bad," I said as a put a hand on his shoulder and cast invisibility. "See? How often do you get to go scouting invisibly?"
"Hmph. Well, that's kinda neat, I suppose," he said. I had no idea if he was smiling, but one could hope.
"Alright, let us know when you're back," Benson said as he and I found a suitable spot to squat down and wait it out.

A couple minutes passed with Benson and I waiting patiently. He had been more talkative lately, but this was one of those times where silence wasn't so bad. Laucian found us quickly and reported back, "There's about six of them wandering around camp. Goblins only. We got some tree coverage on the far side, but it's largely open ground from our approach. I didn't see any loggers, but they're likely in the basement like Nikolo said."
"Alright, let's get them from two sides. If you can approach them from the heavily wooded side, we'll come in from our side. Yeah?"

We agreed to the plan and headed off. Just inside Benson's prime range with his longbow, Laucian split off and worked his way through the trees to a position. Foolishly we had dismissed the invisibility earlier to better communicate, but he wasn't spotted. Shortly after Laucian had left us, we saw an arrow fly out of the woods and soar over a goblin's head. At this point I realized how our optimal ranges differed. Benson was able to fire an arrow into one of the goblins by the outhouses and the creature fell over dead. I was unable to target anything at this range and had to continue to move forward, now with a trio of goblin archers tracking my movements. They fired a concentrated volley and my shield blocked an arrow, but let through two others. Heavily wounded, I changed tactics and became invisible as I ran for cover. What followed was an exchange of arrows between three goblins per each of my allies for quite a few seconds. I was able to sneak up and cut the throat of one of the murderous little critters that was hiding behind a building, a rather ruthless act but the heat of battle had me lose sight of the greater goals at hand. Laucian was a force to be reckoned with, dropping foes as close as ten feet with his arrows without flinching. The goblin's numbers dwindled swiftly and soon Benson knocked out the last one and had him bound.

With Laucian doing his ear collection routine, I assisted by divvying up what coins the creatures had on them. We restrained the prisoner and knocked on the basement door of the main cabin shortly after. With Nikolo's name mentioned the loggers and carpenters opened their door and came out into the light. They were a haggard bunch, but seemed ecstatic to be alive and well. We promised to spend the night to investigate the bugbear activity, for that's what we assumed the main threat would be, and help escort them to Altonshire in the morning. They seemed amenable to this and went about packing up whatever gear they might have owned and attending to their business here at the camp.

Around an hour or so later, the goblin woke up. We kept him tied up and had a little chat with the creature. It seems that civility and politeness were sorely missing from this one's life as it responded much better to my base courtesies than Laucian's threats and bullying. Benson kept a firm anchor in the discussion and would keep us on target as Laucian and I were fully capable of veering wildly off-course. From the goblin we learned that there were about nine bugbears in the general area; his chief's name was Gorgak; and that his chief's chief was Redskin, a Bigger-Goblin. We realize the description of Hobgoblins applied and grim picture seems to paint itself for us. If the goblins were being organized by a hobgoblin with bugbear allies, they'd be a much more difficult fight than we were ready to give to them. At this point the goblin asked us if we could promise it safety for secret information. We encouraged him to explain better, but we tempered our promises by saying that our chief needed to decide. This seemed good enough for him, so he revealed that Redskin wants to invade and conquer all of Altonshire and that he had an actual army of hobgoblins and goblins at the ready!

This news was dire and so we changed all our plans drastically and immediately. We quickly rounded up all the loggers and explained that we were leaving as soon as they were ready. Some of them had heard the exchange and were more than eager to get going. We reconvened with Nikolo nearby where we left him and explained the situation again. He agreed and we set off for Altonshire immediately, with the bound goblin (named Lak, we discovered) in tow to retell his tale to Captain Torinn Alynurrilian.

Over the next couple of days we encountered next to nothing on the road save a lone riding horse, saddled and bridled but short a rider, and were making good time. However, on the third night, everything went to hell. My watch was third in the rotation, so as to actually get some rest beforehand. When Benson woke me he explained that Laucian had noticed something just beyond the edges of detection but was unable to spot anything. I thought that to be strange, so I summoned a small group of dimly glowing orbs and cast them out to float a lazy perimeter of our campsite. As they spun around, I noticed a strange lump in the grass. Then I noticed that it was in a different spot when the next light came by. We roused Laucian and his answer was to fire an arrow into it. Nothing happened. I fired off a ray of frost. Nothing happened. I started approaching and Laucian fired off another arrow.

When I was about twenty feet away from the strange lump, it pounced on me. A large, humanoid tiger wearing a tattered cloak with a sheathed scimitar and a longbow on his back. I lost concentration on the dancing lights cantrip, but was able to keep my feet. Laucian was just a couple feet away from me, but we were both some distance from the camp. Probably about 50 - 60 feet off. Benson had the wits to rouse the rest of the group and light a lantern. I gathered my own wits quickly and turned in place, shrouding myself in mist as I teleported halfway back to the campsite and recast the dancing lights around the beastman. Laucian dropped into his crouch and tried firing an arrow point blank into the monster's face, but the arrow snapped in his haste. In response, he pounced on Laucian and knocked the other elf into the grass. Benson rushed forward and got a solid stab of his rapier into the creature's flesh, but the wound seemed to heal almost as fast as the rapier was withdrawn. I noticed a strange look cross the caravan guard's face, something crossed between fear and disappointment. It dawned on us suddenly that we were up against a very dangerous foe, a weretiger, in fact. With a burst of speed and adrenaline, Benson scurrieds back towards camp. I fired off another ray of frost at the beastman, more hoping to slow him down but he dodged it easily. Laucian got to his feet and also stepped back away from the terrifying hunter. We had a split second conference of minds in which I told Benson to take the horse back to Altonshire as we had previously agreed and that I meet up with him eventually. Laucian told the other men to scatter and they are almost ahead of him on that front. Then, with a determined look and a half-hearted smile, the older elf pulled out a fist full of silver coins and charged back into the fray.

At this point I think I understood a little more about what it means to be an elf: self preservation need not be a lifelong drive. I was horribly impressed by Laucian's bravery, but I couldn't see it as anything other than utter foolishness in the face of danger. For my part, I ran back towards camp, scooped up Lak and teleported further away between steps. We had ran off into the night, scattered like mad prey, leaving Laucian Liadon behind.

It's not even a fight. The weretiger takes pity on the elderly elf and doesn't even put up a guard or dodge too quickly. He then knocks the elf out with a nearly playful swipe of a claw. Some time later Laucian awakens in the same spot to find the weretiger standing over him. He compliments the elf's bravery, even going so far as to take the meager hunter on as an apprentice. Seeing his options to be limited, Laucian agrees, but makes an attempt to resist the bloodlust of the Lycanthropy bestowed upon him. He's made aware that he owes his master a great favor in the future for sparing his life. It seemed that Laucian was amenable to whatever it took to keep himself alive and agreed wholeheartedly.

As always, reply with comments or questions if you wish and I'll do what I can to get back to you with an accurate answer. Cheers.

2015-11-07, 12:01 AM
Session 3:

We ran. I had cut Lak free of his bonds and he was able to keep pace with me. Occasionally Nikolo would guide us if we were too far off course, but otherwise I never saw the man. We ran, sprinted, and jogged for hours. It has become somewhat of a blur to me now, all I truly remember is my feet pounding the ground as the night wore on and a gray dawn arose. Eventually, after what felt like weeks of running, we had returned to Altonshire.

Outside of town I retied Lak's hands and explained that a free goblin in town might as well be a dead one. He seemed to dislike the bonds but made no attempt to escape. We quickly cut through the Entertainment District and found ourselves at the Guardhouse. Once Captain Alyn let us in, I explained the impending doom. It seemed that Benson had already arrived and explained as much as he could before he passed out on a cot. I explained also that Lak was the source of my information and that I had promised to let the goblin go free once we had convinced the right people. Captain Alyn was reticent to allow Lak to stay and rest in his Guardhouse, so I offered to bring him to the Helmites at the Cathedral for questioning.

Still exhausted, Lak and I hurried over to the cathedral while we were still able to walk, leaving Benson to rest. Along the way, passersby would hiss, shout, and throw things at Lak and there was little I could actually do to stop them. We made decent time, nonetheless, and were stopped at the gate by a well armored Helmite. I explained the situation to him, and demanded that they assist in honoring my word that Lak would live to leave town. He seemed to find some pleasure in toying with my expectations and wouldn't outright promise anything but I was far too tired to argue anymore. Instead, I knelt down and took Lak by the shoulders, saying, "This is it. If you lie to these men, they're allowed to hurt you. As you can see, they're much bigger and stronger than me, so it's not like I can protect you from them. Tell them the truth and we'll get you somewhere safe very soon, okay?" He took a moment, scrunched up his face a bit and agreed. The Helmite took me in and gave me a bowl of stew and a cot as they led Lak deeper into the cathedral.

When I finally stirred myself from reverie, Benson was leaning against the wall across from my cot. Next to him was the Helmite from earlier and Lak. The goblin looked a little bruised, a bit beat up, but otherwise in fine health. I took that as the meager solace that it was and asked, "So, what did you learn?"
The Helmite turned and looked at me and answered, "He said they'll be marching in a week, during the full moon. Something about goblin superstitions. He also said that the goblins have a chief, the bugbears have a chief, and the hobgoblins have a chief, each of which answers to the Big Boss."
"So, that's a bit more worrisome than before..." Benson added.
"Well, what can we do for allies?" I asked, "Surely the Temple of Helm won't allow their town to be massacred so easily, right?"
"The thing is, as much as us rank and file Brothers want to run off into a good fight, the higher ups are still undecided on the information," the Helmite said.
I stood up from the cot at this point and began thinking aloud, "Well, if we have the Guards, and the Helmites are undecided... who else? There were those gladiatorial folks we saw the last time we were in town, would you know where to find those glory seekers?" I directed the question to the Helmite.
"No," he said too quickly. "I mean, I know a guy who might, but to what purpose? How do you think you'd persuade them into fighting an army?"
"With glory, gore, and of course financial sponsorship! There's an army marching on this fair city and if those burly, exotic fighters want real glory, well why not go toe-to-toe with a legion of bugbears?! That's gotta be worth so much more than fighting in secret," I said. Benson nodded along and the Helmite considered his stance on the subject.
"Okay, meet me outside in ten minutes," he said. Benson, Lak, and I readily agreed.

While outside of the cathedral, a few steps down the street, Lak took the chance to reveal that the armies would be marching in two weeks and that he couldn't help but lie to the Helmites about the timeline. Benson and I also questioned our own roles in this incoming invasion. Why was it that we were so eager to stand in the way and fight? Why didn't we just set out for Baldur's Gate immediately? Why did we feel it our responsibility to garner the forces? Okay, honestly that last one was directed at me, and in a moment of introspection I realized my own ambition seeing a mass of opportunities here. Publicly garnering support from various groups to assist in building a reasonable defense against a threat that I also discovered could very well lead towards a minor noble title or some other accolades. However, I kept this to myself at the time and we both agreed that while it was the right thing to do, we were also confident in our ability to disappear the moment before all hope was lost.

The Helmite found us outside and introduced himself as Cairun Basha. While we walked generally eastward, he discussed with us the other possible factions and groups to rally: Count Marcon would be able to provide financial and public support, Wizard Rowan might have some trick he'd be willing to part with, the Knowledge District could be creepy beyond measure and may be of some use, and there were a number of Blacksmiths in town from the very best being Ironfist at the Shining Flail to the considerably less good Blind Blacksmiths. He also mentioned to me privately that if I were eager to find financial folks with few scruples then the Grinning Idol in the Knowledge District would be a good bet.

We're interrupted at this point by a complete surprise: Laucian Liadon approaching us from down the street. We were absolutely stunned, having assumed that the weretiger had made a visceral mess of the wood elf, but there he was. As he caught up to us he handed me my books (Spellbook, Prayerbook, and Journal) that I had forgotten in my haste to leave the camp. Still rather shocked, I think I even forgot to thank him, instead I made a comment of zombies looking so lifelike and broke into nervous laughter. Apparently Laucian woke up some time after everyone else had left and was as surprised as the rest of us that he had all his parts. He claimed not to remember anything of what happened last night other than the fact that he "punched a tiger in the face!" I don't think anyone believed him, but I also don't know if he believed himself...

Soon Basha had us outside of a large, rather nondescript building and stepped around back to make the arrangements. All along the way people were jeering and throwing things at Lak again and I decided that I had had enough by this point. I went over the plan with Benson again and told him that I'd be talking to Captain Alyn about getting the goblin a rowboat. I left them there and continued back through the Entertainment District and to the Guardhouse.

At the Guardhouse I got the Captain up to speed on our new information and the estimated timeline. I told him it was a week off partially because I couldn't very well tell if Lak was lying to me or not and partially because I liked having that bit of secret information. I mentioned that the Helmites were nearly on board and that we were in talks with the Gladiators to man the front lines. He stopped me at this point:
"You know where the fighting pit is?" he asked, his eyes wide.
"Well, yes. War makes for strange bedfellows, I've been told," I said.
"No, no you don't understand. How long have you been here?"
"About maybe two days or so-"
"Two days?! I've been looking for them for TWO YEARS! How in the Nine Hells did you find them in two days?!"
"Captain," I calmed myself and put on a stern tone. "If you're so hell bent on finding them, I may assist you, but only after this attack is dealt with. I won't so foolishly lose fresh allies before I've even made use of them. If we're both alive after all this, then there's a chance I'll lead you right to their door. For now, we need to fill our ranks with glory seekers and men of slaughter. Understood?"
The dragonborn Captain took a long inhale and I suddenly remembered their propensity for breathing volatile spell-like substances, but he turned it into a heavy sigh. "Understood."

With the tense situation defused I returned to my original point of requesting a rowboat in exchange for my services in goblin slaying. Perhaps the show of tactical dominance clouded the Captain's mind, but he agreed to my demands and we brought Lak down to a pier on the South side of town. The river, which I believe is known as the Winding Water, flowed north through the center of town and then west, out towards the Sword Coast itself. I told Captain Alyn that I would be seeking the Wizard Rowan's assistance next and bid him good day. I joined Lak in the rowboat and we set off.

I taught the goblin the basics of rowing and he took to it naturally. Soon we were riding the flows of the river and dodging other crafts with ease. Along the way to the Knowledge District I mentioned that Lak should take up hunting animals. If he could hunt and skin animals, he could make trades with people instead of robbing them. He seemed keen on the idea of learning something that I didn't know and when I arrived on the pier he looked to be deep in thought. We bid our farewells and off he rowed.

I made my way through the Knowledge District encountering nothing creepier than a group of hooded fellows walking at a brisk pace in the opposite direction. I kept myself to myself and they did the same and soon I was in the Rich District. I passed by a beautiful mansion surrounded by a high wall. As I passed it by I noticed the name Marcon on an arch over the gate. It seemed I had also discovered the Count's residences, but having no official sway I decided to return at a later date with Captain Alyn at my side. Continuing along the street I noticed many well dressed men and women going about there day, paying no attention to me, almost to the point of blatantly ignoring my presence. That suited me fine at the time, but perhaps one day that could change. I soon arrived at the large tower where I was told Wizard Rowan made his home.

As I approached the door, it said, "Hello."
Slightly surprised I replied, "Hello, I'm seeking an audience with the Wizard Rowan."
"He's busy."
"Then I'm seeking an audience with the Wizard Rowan's second in command."
"Huh... I suppose that would be me today," the voice said. I had deduced that by now it wasn't the door speaking, but a voice being transmitted through the door from up above.
"Wonderful. I'm here to warn about an approaching army of Goblins, Hobgoblins, and Bugbears. Would you or the Wizard Rowan be willing to assist in the town's defense about a week or so from now?"
"I'm busy, too."
"Ah, well, is there any lesser apprentice I may-"
A different voice cut in at this point, slower and deeper, "My, he talks a lot. Who is he?"
I speak up again, "My name is Zerrian, and may I assume you've heard my request?"
"At least he's a quick learner," the deeper voice replied. "Yes, I have. There may be a favor you can do for me so that I can grant your request. I loaned a book to Maverick and I want it back."
"May I ask some questions of you to better perform the task?" I said. If this was the Wizard Rowan then it was very much in my best interest to practice every damn nicety I knew.
"First, how long ago was the book loaned to Maverick?"
"Six Months."
"Second, who is Maverick?"
"The owner of the grand bookstore, The Vault, he calls it."
"And finally, where is the Vault?"
"Just down the street there, northwest corner of the Knowledge District."
"Thank you, Master Rowan, I will return with your book in time."

As I was writing my notes down in my own journal, Benson and Laucian arrived. They had some luck with the Gladiators but now Laucian owed their financier, a man named Carfide, an accurate accounting of the armies arrayed against Altonshire. They also may have started a panic in the Market District as Laucian was unable to keep quiet about the encroaching army in such a crowded place. Benson also learned that Laucian was bitten and may have been cursed by the weretiger. We deemed this a major, if not immediate problem. I reminded them that the next full moon was in about a week and we went back and forth on whether or not we try to cure him before hand or time his scouting trip to coincide with his transformation. Eventually we decided that a lycanthropic army would be far worse than our current circumstance. We were still standing outside the tower and so I asked the door and the first apprentice responded. We worked out a deal that he would remove Laucian's curse if we brought him a Hell Hound from Grim Fiddle. We decided that it was a fair exchange and offered to return the next day.

Night was practically upon us by now and we hadn't really been stopping to eat or even recuperate much after the harrowing trip back to town. We decided to call it a day and agreed to meet up at the Guardhouse in the morning. Laucian had been asked by Captain Alyn, nearly forcefully, to stay out of the Market District so as to avoid another mass panic. He made his way over to the Guardhouse alone. Benson and I walked back to the Market District and were able to find a Blacksmith's that was still open, even just barely. The Shimmering Flail, named to be confused with the Ironfist establishment, let us in and we inquired as to silvered weaponry. I couldn't actually afford it, but Benson left his rapier over night to be treated as well as paying half the bill upfront. While there we suggested that a large order may be on the way soon and that the apprentice should have their master meet us in the morning. He agreed and we were off.

We decided to wind down at the Whitehorse Inn, the same establishment that we'd stayed at previously. The Inn was a hubbub of panicked talk and drunken men babbling about what to do if an army were really approaching. Benson just shook his head in shame as a large man asked us if we'd heard the horrid news. I tried to talk him down and downplayed the rumors myself, it would do no one any good for a panic to truly grasp the populace. However, the big man wouldn't be convinced, so I took a different tactic.
"Well, if you're so scared about some army nonsense, why not start a militia?" I said.
"That's... that's actually a pretty good idea," he responded, thinking about it pretty hard.
"Yeah, you go around and you get all your scared little friends, and you get all of their scared little friends and you tell them that any man talking scared about some goblins oughta join those willing to fight them off!"
"And the guards would pay us, too!" another voice chimed in.
"Damn straight they would," I said. I pulled a platinum coin from my pouch, a coin taken from a particularly burly goblin, and said, "A round of drinks for every man willing to fight off what scares him!"
The Inn's common room erupted into cheers and I had a line up of men going to the bar with smiles on their faces and patriotic glints in their eyes as I passed the coin to the proprietress. Benson and I also got a large plate of food each and rooms for the night, all covered under the single coin.

Alone in my room I ate absolutely everything on that plate. It was a minor feast of roast beef, gravy, potatoes, and even some greens. Properly fed for the first time in a while, I allowed myself the comfort of sleeping through the night like a human, beneath soft covers with dreams afire.

In the morning I met up with Benson downstairs and we made our way back to the Shimmering Flail. The owner presented the silvered rapier and Benson paid the other half of his bill. I bought a small dagger since I doubted that Laucian would be returning mine anytime soon. Before we left, however, the elf asked us point blank what was going on. Rumors of an approaching army and our hints at a large order on the horizon were enough to get on his nerves. We came clean and even gave him the proper timeline, advising him that if the city didn't seem well enough defended then he'd best take a long vacation twelve days from now. He thanked us and we agreed that once we had the Count's backing we'd come to him first.

On our way back to the Guardhouse I also bought a load of gear to replace what I left at the campsite. A new backpack, rope, ink, pen, and bedroll bit into my already short supply of funds, but I wasn't able to keep walking around town carrying three books under my arm like some schoolchild. We arrived in short order to find Laucian bored and waiting. We discussed our options for the day and decided that since we were already here, we'd could collect the Hell Hound for Rowan's Apprentice and bring Captain Alyn to vouch for us in front of Count Marcon.

We explained said plan to the Captain and he groaned in pain. He did seem a little under the weather, but the small toppled cask behind his desk seemed to account for that. He sent a runner ahead to prepare the Count for our arrival and he accompanied us to Grim Fiddle's exotic petshop. Fiddle wouldn't admit to owning a Hell Hound in front of the guard captain, so with a roll of his eyes, Captain Alyn stepped outside. With that out of the way, Fiddle was as accommodating as could be. I was even able to suggest that if a battle were to occur in the vicinity then it might boost his sales if people witnessed his fantastical beasts slaying legions of goblins and bugbears. He really seemed to like that idea and we had to snap him out of his reverie in order to prepare the Hell Hound's wagon. Outside, when he brought it around he was very adamant that the contents of the wagon were wood. Growling, warm wood. Captain Alyn said nothing and we were off.

We traveled the less populated streets and came across only a few strange men picking up litter. They called themselves "Druids for a Cleaner City" but were not actually of the spellcasting variety. It was a moment in which I realized how enthusiastically I was taking this task of rounding up allies that I nearly collected a collection of garbage collectors to protect like actual protectors. But Laucian steered them away and the matter was dropped easily. We arrived at the Tower and the Apprentice actually deigned to come down and open the door. He seemed incredibly unused to sunlight and wouldn't actually leave the tower itself, but he used a floating disk to bring the wagon inside and confirming that he did indeed have a Hell Hound at his disposal, removed the curse of lycanthropy from Laucian. We thanked him and moved on to Count Marcon's.

It turns out that having Captain Alynurrilian with us was the right move as the doors kept opening up before us. Soon we're lead deep into the mansion proper and brought to a stately room with a large desk behind which sat the Count. He seemed like just a man to me, but perhaps after the mystery of Waterdhavian councils and shadowed wizard's towers I was expecting someone more... gallant. But no matter. We shared our tale with the Count and he seemed to see the wisdom in increased funding for the Guards. Laucian nearly ruined everything by straight up declaring that he had lycanthropy not an hour ago, but we smoothed that over as well. It seems like the wood elf actually has no ability to not speak his mind, a miracle indeed that he has lived to 712. In short order the Count had agreed that Captain Alyn had much increased spending authority but one of the Count's men would be supervising the costs. We, as individuals, had nothing but what Captain Alyn allowed us. This was fine with us and we chose not to push our luck or make any insane demands and quickly left. Outside the mansion's gates Captain Alyn was actually more surprised then than he was when we first mentioned the army. It seemed that he'd been asking for more funding for many years, always being turned down. As he needed to get to work, we had him quickly write out an order form that we'd be able to bring to the Blacksmiths on his behalf.

Being so close to the Knowledge District, we decide to head to the Vault next. I offered Benson and Laucian the opportunity to head over to the Poor District and start garnering volunteers, but they seemed intent to stick together. We arrived after a quiet walk through what has been reported as the creepiest part of town but has yet to really show any signs of disturbing behavior. The Vault was a large, square building with walls lined with iron and likely other materials hidden to the eye. Inside it was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen: books lining every inch of wall space behind protective cages. I really do mean every inch of wall space, and as we later learned, these were free to be perused. It was the books in the back rooms that had a reading fee.

We discussed the pressing matter with Maverick but the tiefling wouldn't budge from his standpoint: If Rowan wanted his book back, he could get it himself. I felt it best to also stay on this man's good side as I could easily see myself spending weeks in a place like this, so I asked more about what he wanted. Thanks to Laucian referring to me as "wizard" more than once, Maverick said that if I traded my spellbook, I could get Rowan's book. I offered, instead, the spellbook of one of his apprentices. He seemed amenable to that idea as well. For the time being, I paid a fee and was permitted to copy what I could out of Rowan's book to prove that I knew where it was. It turned out to be a small journal on spell concepts and ideas, not at all a spellbook. Benson and Laucian had wandered off while I was in the back room trying to decipher whatever I could from the many languages Rowan wrote in.

Some time later I was returning to Rowan's tower to find Benson watching Laucian argue with the door. He got it into his own head to talk Rowan into going down and picking up his own damn book. I was cautious, but let the elf say his own words. Once he was utterly exasperated with the Apprentice's cryptic replies, I stepped forward and asked to speak to Rowan regarding his book. It took a bit of cryptic back and forth before Rowan's deep voice sounded from the door, asking what I'd found. I told him about the small amount that I was able to copy and that Maverick would willingly trade a spellbook for the journal, but I couldn't afford to copy my own just yet. After a bit of haggling, Rowan presented me with enough supplies that I could do so, as long as I was able to spend the many hours working at such a labor. I agreed and again told him that I'd have his book for him soon.

And that's where we left off. We seem to be doing 4.5 hour sessions on a weekly basis for now, so we'll finish up the Battle Prep next week. I should mention that we'll be taking a small hiatus after that as we alternate campaigns to give the GMs a break. After next week I'll be running Out of the Abyss for mostly the same group. I'll be posting my own Campaign Log, so look forward to that.... like three weeks from now. Cheers.

2015-11-10, 01:36 PM
This is pretty good so far; mainly commenting to sub to the thread. I'm also a fan of your punctuality - can't remember the last time I saw a journal update with this degree of precision.

2015-11-10, 02:32 PM
This is pretty good so far; mainly commenting to sub to the thread. I'm also a fan of your punctuality - can't remember the last time I saw a journal update with this degree of precision.

Thank you. I feel that I should mention that while the Sessions take place Thursday night, it's so many hours to write it up that I usually leave the actual typing to Friday night. I will continue to keep this going. Cheers.

2015-11-14, 02:51 AM
Session 4:

After coming to a resolution at Rowan's tower, we decided to head in for the night. Benson and I made a detour in the Market District to the Shimmering Flail and placed the large order for Captain Alynurrilian's guards. The timeline posed some problems and Soveliss Erynstacia, the master and owner at this establishment, could only promise us a third's portion in time. We had let the elf know that would be fine but that we'd need to shop the other thirds out in the morning. While there, Benson produced Laucian's rapier and the requisite payment and asked for it to be silvered. They worked out the same deal as last time and we were told to stop by in the morning.

Immediately after the Shimmering Flail, we gave the Blind Blacksmiths' a shot. They were the only other smith open this late, but as we soon found out that was because they were actually blind. After a protracted back-and-forth with a blind smith, we agreed to return in the morning when their frontman would be in. He was the one that handled orders and such.

We returned to the Whitehorse Inn and it turned out that my good patronage the night before had earned me another free night. I resolved to meet with Benson in the morning to get back to our strange work and went to bed. It was a fitful rest given everything that had happened that day, but I got what I needed. In the morning I was mildly surprised to find Laucian sitting at a table with breakfast. He explained that because he'd done his utmost to not cause a panic Captain Alyn allowed him back in the Market District. We ate breakfast as Benson came down and I explained the several tasks ahead of us: We needed to finish the Smithing Order for Captain Alyn; we needed to recruit some warm bodies to fill the ranks, probably from the Poor District; and Laucian still had that scouting mission to complete for Carfide. I explained that I would be in my room all day working on this duplicate spellbook for Maverick, and they seemed to understand that I was trusting them to handle very important things. They agreed to the plan and left. I later found out that they planned to go out scouting immediately, because that was the one thing that would take more than a day.

For the remainder of the day I was locked away in my room copying down the contents of my spellbook. Occasionally I heard the sounds of a crowd, but I was utterly focused. Just as dinnertime arrived, Laucian and Benson returned with some interesting news. Apparently the entire Market District was on the cusp of an outright riot all day today. It seemed that Laucian's panic causing had some larger consequences than we imagined. Currently there was a curfew in place, but they were able to sneak back into the Inn because we had to go over the exact change in plans that they had come up with. I'll start from the top:

Captain Alyn reported that a halfling had been by looking for us by name, the guard captain then recommended we stay in town to at least see what the man wanted. Having their plans foiled, Benson and Laucian were able to make good on the rest of the Smithing Order. They were even the first to warn the Captain about the rumblings of a riot, but at no point did they try to intervene. But during the day they did meet with the halfling and he introduced himself as an apprentice of Rowan.

Said halfling then entered my room and introduced himself as Sil, apprentice to Rowan. He explained how Rowan never actually spoke to us, but that Travos was tricking me into performing these tasks for him alone. I looked back over the day I spent in the room rewriting my spellbook and worked very hard at not being too enraged. Sil then proceeded to explain that he thought he knew why the Hobgoblin's army was marching on Altonshire. He said he accidentally summoned a Hobgoblin once and not being contained by the spells and wards set up for something else, he was able to escape. Along the way, he stole a sword that had a tendency to allow it's wielder better command over subordinates. He suggested that the army was coming here to claim the rest of the treasures from the tower but that he could probably stop them.

We were raptly listening at this point and so he further explained that if he were to foul up the summoning spell again, he could very well bring the same Hobgoblin back, with the sword likely in hand. The catch was that he didn't want anyone else from the tower to realize his massive error and so we needed some place to perform the ritual. Benson had previously suggested we summon them in the Gladiator Pit and even went so far as to approach the Pit before coming back to meet with me. All they needed was to bring the wizard responsible for the summoning and then we'd have an audience with Carfide. With that settled we set in for a delicious dinner made by Benson and the remainder of the staff that were here when the curfew was enacted before we headed out to the secret fighting pit.

Once there we had ourselves a meeting with Carfide, the Boss of the Gladiator Pit and also owner of many well off shops in the market district. We explained the plan as presenting a "Random Grab-bag of monsters" for his own chosen gladiators to fight. He seemed to like the idea and the timeline worked in his favor as Sil needed half a day to prepare and that would give them plenty of time to get the word out and draw a crowd. Laucian spoke up at this point and asked when we should be expected to get ready for the fight and Carfide gave him smirk. We weren't actually going to be doing any of the fighting, that's why there were Gladiators. I thought the plan to be brilliant, but Laucian was rather peeved. Carfide offered him a chance to fight right then and there if he was spoiling so much, and in his agitated state the elderly elf said yes. He was asked what kind of fight he'd find fair and he responded by saying, "I have 700 years worth of fighting under my belt." Those words nearly killed him.

Laucian was offered a room in which to prepare for his bout, but he declined. He chose instead to wait by the sidelines of the current clash and look impatient. As the two fighters finally finished, Carfide announced to the room, "We have fresh blood today! An elven fighter with more centuries of experience than all the rest of us combined!" The crowd cheered and jeered and a man asked if we wanted to bet on our friend. Him being new and us being unknown, we weren't allowed to bet on the other side winning for fear of tossed matches. Benson and I agreed that that was a fair rule but both declined to bet on Laucian's victory.

Laucian was ushered into the long oval pit and on the other side a stout man with large hammer, shield, and a couple spears entered the pit. The crowd was cheering, "Kildrak Los Tibrador! Kildrak Los Tibrador!" and the fight was on.

Kildrak took a step forward and began beating his shield at a steady beat. He matched the crowd and the effect was rather daunting. Laucian fired an arrow from distance and it went wide. Kildrak took another step forward, keeping up his chant and demeanor. I think Laucian was a bit scared t this point, but he kept firing. He got one arrow into the shield and the other pierced the man's flesh, but Kildrak didn't waver, didn't flinch, didn't even lose rhythm. One step, beat, stomp. Kildrak Los Tibrador. Laucian fired off another arrow and this one sunk deeper. Kildrak was halfway across the pit by now and he threw his two spears in what looked like one movement. Both buried themselves in Laucian's flesh and if he cried out, no one could hear it over the crowd. Right behind the spears, Kildrak charged in and stopped with a mighty roar. The fight became Hammer vs. Rapier then, and after a rapid barrage by the hammer, Laucian hit the ground. Kildrak looked hardly impressed and nearly annoyed.

A cleric of Helm rushed out and brought Laucian to his feet. And the elf said, "So, how many rounds are we going?" He got Kildrak's attention, and the fighter told the cleric to finish the job. A moment later and Laucian seemed as hearty and hale as his elderly frame could. Kildrak held his hands out to his sides and gestured for Laucian to get on with it. The elf charged in with his silver rapier darting quickly... only for it to glance off the man's armor anyways. Kildrak smashed Laucian down with his shield, dropping him to his knees. He then brought his hammer down on the elf's back and neck repeatedly. I think I even heard a crack at one point. Surprising everyone, Laucian then stood up and swung his rapier at the other fighter only for Kildrak to step out of the way and smash him down with another shield bash. Laucian did not get back up without the assistance of another cleric.

The entertainment done with, Carfide agreed to our plan to arrive the next night and we were off.

As we left the fighting pit we chose this time to update Captain Alynurrilian on the news. He seemed pleased to report that his entire order was being filled and that we were making progress with the Wizard's favor, but we neglected to tell him anything of Sil's plan. In turn he informed us that he had a few men handling recruitment already and that we needed not worry about it. With the report done and out of the way, we returned to the Whitehorse Inn for the night, as per usual. Laucian seemed to still be out of sorts after the fight, perhaps even damaged in ways divine magic couldn't reached. But we didn't bother the elderly elf with our concerns and instead agreed to meet up the next night at the Gladiator Pit.

The next day went by in a blur as I finished duplicating my spellbook anyways. Laucian had left word with Benson that he would rather be attempting to scout an accurate count of the arrayed armies than return to the fighting pit that night. So it was just Benson and I seated in places of honor up on Carfide's little platform over the pit. Sil had spent most of the day working a large ritual circle into the pit and there were a ring of exotic gladiators around the arcane markings. Every other seat in the house was packed! Benson mentioned something about hearing a hushed hubbub about an "event" all day today and from my perspective it really looked like we couldn't fit any more people into that room. Before the fights began, Benson and I were told that our betting rights had become unrestricted for tonight. It was a pleasant gesture, but we weren't really ones to risk our meager earnings.

At Carfide's signal, Sil completed the final step of his ritual and in a burst of light and smoke and acrid stench, a large four-armed gorilla beast emerged. The crowd went spastic in sheer animalistic joy! The Gladiators tore into the beast and although a few were thrown to the wayside for the clerics to recover, they managed to slay the beast shortly. Those successful were able to retire to private chambers while a new batch were prepared for the next summoning. And so it went on for hours. After the first beast there was a huge animated armor, a storm giant, an invisible stalker, five phase spiders and after that I lost track. Eventually, as annoyed as he was, Sil managed to summon the Hobgoblins. Nearly a dozen of them put up quite a fight against the gladiators. The leader was the only survivor of the match, and Sil was quick to tell Benson and I that he had the sword with him. As the pit-side guards fired their crossbow bolts into the hobgoblin, he cut the bolts down mid-flight. Then wave after wave of bolts flew in and I even tossed in a beam of cold energy and the leader fell. Sil was quick to retrieve the sword and no one else seemed to question his right to it.

We thought we were done then, our mission complete and all, but Carfide kept the show going. Sil summoned a red dragon next and it nearly turned into a catastrophe. The gladiators were too shocked to even step up as gouts of flame incinerated the lot of them. Before it had a chance to really wreck havoc, Sil leapt up, tagged it, and they both disappeared. A half a moment later and the little halfling popped back into the pit without the dragon. "Sorry bout that," he said with a small shrug of his shoulders. The crowd loved it and the games continued.

A few more fights later and Sil and I both noticed the amounts of blood getting into the ritual symbols. He was hesitant for the last one, but the crowd and Carfide egged him on. And so it was that he summoned a monstrous, demonic fiend into the pit. It looked like the drawings I had seen of Balors but much smaller. In fact, it was much more like a cross between a Glabrezu and a Balor. Suffice to say, the gladiators didn't stand a chance. The moment after it was summoned, the demon created a cloud of blackness that seemed to engulf a large area around it. Everyone inside the cloud was ripped and beat to shreds. The cloud approached Carfide's platform but a protective ward held it off. The man didn't even seem worried, at first.

The demon busied itself with slaughtering the packed room as Carfide's ward started cracking. To his credit, the man seemed to grow more and more worried as the ward grew weaker. Then the demon flew across the room and smashed into the dome of prismatic force, bouncing off but nearly shattering it in the process. Carfide's men flipped his large seat back and the five of us hurried down the escape tunnel, with Benson and I in the back, of course. We were lead through a dizzying maze of side passages and dead ends until finally we arrived at a ladder. At the top, we found ourselves in a storeroom in the Helmite Cathedral. Carfide marched out of there like he owned the place and not a single cleric or priest would look him in the eye.

Once outside, he gave Benson and I a very curt goodnight and we got the impression that we'd best leave the man to his own businesses for the time being. Not feeling safe anywhere else in the city, we re-entered the cathedral and asked to stay the night. They asked us why Carfide was here and I, being an utter fool, honestly told them about the freshly summoned demon not three blocks to the east. The clerics, to their credit, did not dismiss me but instead decided that I needed further questioning. Benson was brought along as well for the crime of association. As we were being marched back through the halls, Sil popped up out of no where and, ignoring the clerics, asked me what happened. I took the chance to explain that his demon was still running loose, likely in the tunnels now, and the clerics got the point. Sil didn't even deny their accusations and claimed full responsibility for summoning the demon, as if he knew they couldn't actually hurt him. It was a little infuriating, but the clerics let us go because of it.

And that was where we left off. By striking a blow to the leadership of the armies, the GM allowed us to level up to 5. I can't speak for the others, but I'll be staying Wizard for now and probably grab Fireball and Haste as 3rd level spells.

A note on the next session:
We're taking next week off, and the week after we're starting Out of The Abyss, GMed by myself. I'll likely write that Journal too, depending on time. Doing alternating arcs like this should get us in about 4 sessions of OOTA before Laucian's player heads home for a couple weeks for the holidays. So by and large, this game should pick up in January. I will still have all my notes, so if there's any questions, ask away. Cheers.