Lords of the Green

Stolen Land - Session 1
Campaign Intro

Brevoy is a nation divided. King Noleski Surtova rules from the northern realm of Issia, and noble houses across the kingdom bend the knee to his crown. Not all are happy to do so. Rostland, in the south, remains a hotbed of dissention, as it has since the days of Choral the Conqueror.

Beyond Brevoy’s borders lie the wilds of Iobaria, the outlaw River Kingdoms of the Sellen River delta, and the barbarian tribes of Numeria. Threats from these realms are ever-present, and may be the only thing keeping Brevoy united.

It is against this backdrop that your story begins. Wedged between Rostland and the northernmost River Kingdoms of Pitax and Mivon rests a tractless wilderness called the Stolen Lands – a vast hinterland that has seen its share of failed kingdoms.

Bearing an official charter signed by Restov’s Lord Mayor Ioseph Sellemius, you have been charged with exploring and mapping the Greenbelt – an area of the Stolen Lands rich in timber, gold, and other resources. Your tale begins at the Guild, a gathering place and sparring ground for the Aldori Swordlords, Restov’s famous duelists.

The half-elf Iamandi Aldori, Restov’s most celebrated swordlord, and Florian Orlovsky, a grizzled officer of the Restov Guard and accomplished swordlord in his own right, have just handed each of you the Lord Mayor’s charter.

Session recap

  • Party receives charter to explore the Greenbelt on the 25th of Calistril, 4713 AR.
  • PCs chat with Iamandi and Florian, asking what they can expect in the Stolen Lands and so on, then take a few weeks to make their preparations and set out as the snows begin to melt, late in the month of Pharast (March).
  • Arrive in the village of Nivatka’s Crossing after a day of travel, where the party meets Maegar Varn and his Varnling Host. The party becomes fast friends with Maegar, who plans to head south from Nivatka’s Crossing to explore the Nomen Heights and Dunsward plain, with a charter similar to the party’s. Maegar tells tales of his childhood in the north, on his family’s estate near Silverhall, and of the adventures of his mercenary company, the Varnling Host. The party’s half-orc member of the Order of the Dragon brings back a brace of coneys after a successful hunt and cooks them up for Maegar and the rest of the Varnling Host.
  • The party leaves Nivatka’s Crossing the next morning and arrive late in the day at Fort Serenko, the last bastion before the hinterlands. The party is greeted by commander Vasili Karnov, and are introduced to Hannis Drelev and his wife, Pavetta Stroon-Drelev, who have been charged by the Swordlords to establish a colony near Hooktongue Slough, on the western edge of the Stolen Lands. The party is unimpressed by the dismissive Hannis and his shrewish wife, and bid them well on their endeavours before leaving Fort Serenko in the morning.
  • The party narrowly avoids a confrontation with a black bear and her cubs waking from a long wintersleep, and arrives at Oleg’s Trading Post two days later, on the 30th of Pharast. They are greeted by Svetlana Leveton, Oleg’s warm and welcoming wife, and Oleg Leveton himself, who is gruff and reserved. The Leveton’s are dismayed with they find out that the PCs have not been sent to deal with their bandit problem, but are happy when the group offers to help them nonetheless.
  • Oleg and Svetlana explain that a group of bandits has arrived at the trading post three times over the past three months, demanding furs and trade goods. They expect the bandits again the day after next. Although the PCs were not sent to deal with the Leveton’s bandit problem, they do not take long to promise to assist the Levetons. Oleg gives his grudging respect, while Svetlana shows her appreciation by granting the party free room and board at the trading post.
  • The party takes a day to prepare an ambush against the bandits. Some assist Oleg with repairs to the trading post, while the half-orc goes hunting.
  • The PCs sring their ambush on the unsuspecting bandits, five of them, the next morning. One of the bandits is killed by the half-orc, while the other four are captured, including their leader Happs Bydon.
  • Through interrogating Happs Bydon, the party learns that the bandits are camped some thirty-six miles to the southwest, on the banks of the Thorn River in the Narlmarches forest. Happs reveals that there are a dozen bandits at the Thorn River camp (including the five that attacked Oleg’s), and that they are led by a hand-axe wielding woman named Kressle. The party retrieves a silver amulet in the shape of a stag from Happs, who says it was given to him by Kressle. He doesn’t know what it signifies, but says that she has one too, and that he suspects she received it from someone else.
  • Oleg demands that the bandits be executed and hung from the outer walls of the trading post as an example. Some in the party are hesitant to use such harsh methods. Using divine magic, Alys demands repentance from the prisoners for their crimes, and assurances that they will leave their banditry in the past. Two of the bandits repent, while Happs and the other two stay silent on the matter.

Session 1 Treasure

Session 1 XP

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Stolen Land - Session 2
  • Party escorts the two repentant bandits to Fort Serenko, where they are given over to commander Vasili Karnov to be put to work, and prosecuted if necessary.
  • After returning to Oleg’s, the party ventures southwest and into the Narlmarches forest, following Happs Bydon’s directions to the bandits’ Thorn River camp. The party finds the camp and take it by surprise. Nisha the tiefling witch knocks out several bandits with sleep spells and glamours their leader, Kressle, into quaffing a vial of flour. Kraig the half-orc skewers another with an arrow, and in the end the party captures three of the seven bandits, including Kressle.
  • From the prisoners the party learns that they are part of a larger force of bandits nominally led by the so-called Stag Lord – a violent and brutish drunk, according to one of the bandits. The party learns that the Stag Lord’s fort is further to the south, where the Thorn River feeds into Tuskwater Lake. When the bandits are asked about Svetlana’s missing wedding ring, they learn that the Thorn River camp was raided several days prior by a gang of mites – pitiful, craven goblin-like creatures – who made off with the ring and several sacks of copper coins and trinkets. The bandits indicate that the mites have a lair in the old sycamore tree in the Kameland hills to the southeast of Thorn River camp. The party camps out at Thorn River for the night, and starts back to Oleg’s the next day.
  • Mistral the aeromancer, Alys cleric of Abadar, and Yetar the rogue continue on to Oleg’s, while Nisha and Kraig take time to fully explore and map the route back to the Trading Post. On the second day of mapping the Narlmarches southwest of Oleg’s, the two come upon a clearing in the forest. Hearing the sounds of moaning coming from the clearing, Nisha and Kraig approach cautiously, surprising four kobolds who overstuffed themselves on moon radishes. The kobolds yelp and stumble to their feet, pointing their sharp spears at Nisha and Kraig. While initially aggressive, Nisha manages to calm the kobolds down and trades a bottle of the bandits’ herbal liquor for the baskets of radishes the kobolds have already harvested. She promises to leave a message at the radish patch if she finds the need to get in touch with the kobolds again.
  • Meanwhile, the captured bandits are put to the sword back at Oleg’s. Alys, Mistral, and Yetar meet Kesten Garess, the leader of a small group of soldiers sent to help the Leveton’s with their bandit problem. Through conversation with the party Garess lets it be known that he’s been on the hunt for a Varisian man he worked with several months ago named Falgrim Sneeg. Sneeg robbed Kesten, and it is the soldier’s belief that he fled to the Greenbelt. He promises a reward of several masterwork weapons of the party’s choice if they manage to capture Falgrim Sneeg alive.
  • Another visitor arrives at Oleg’s Trading Post around noon on the 12th of Gozran (April – a travelling cleric of Erastil calling himself Jhod Kavken. Jhod’s accent suggest he hails from Galt, and the man is somewhat circumspect regarding the events that led him to Oleg’s, claiming to have heard of the charter granted to the PCs while in Restov. Nonetheless, he warms up to Alys readily enough, and after several hours of conversation tells her that he believes there is a lost temple to Erastil hidden in the Narlmarches to the south, which he suspects is guarded by a large bear (so he’s heard). If the party can find the lost temple and put the bear to rest he would be extremely grateful, and would willingly offer whatever healing and spells the party requires upon completion of the quest.

Session 2 Treasure

Session 2 XP

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Stolen Land - Session 3
  • On the 12th of Gozran, a merchant wagon from the northwest road stops at the Trading Post. One of the wagon’s guard, a reformed (so he says) elven highwayman meets the PCs and requests to join the group after hearing about the charter. The group agrees to take on the elf on assurances that he has left his days of bringandry behind him.
  • The party heads west on the 13th of Gozran, a day somewhat more humid than typical for spring in the Stolen Lands, and maps the moors west of Oleg’s. They head back to the Trading Post on Kraig’s insistance, and the rain that was threatening the day before opens up in a deluge as the party arrives back at Oleg’s.
  • The group heads east on the 15th, mapping the moors and scrubland east of Oleg’s, and come across the old hermit and herbalist, Bokken. Bokken asks the PCs to collect some fangberries for him if they get the chance, promising to give them a 25% discount on potions for a month if they do. He tells them about a fangberry patch in the Narlmarches, and says they’re typically ripe mid-summer.
  • From Bokken’s hut, the party takes a detour to Fort Serenko, and then back to Oleg’s on the South Road. At Oleg’s, the party meets the Iron Wraiths, an accomplished dwarven adventuring company headed for the western borders of the Stolen Lands with a charter of their own. The weather turns cold while the party regroups at Oleg’s, and on the 21st of Gozran the Greenbelt is hit with a bitter spring snowstorm as the winds howl down from the north. The party is snowed in for three days, during which time they get to know the Iron Wraiths and a local, semi-retired trapper named Vekkel. Vekkel regales the PCs with a story about how the boar Tuskgutter tore off his leg almost a year ago. Vekkel also warns the party to watch out for a trapper named Breeg Orlivanch, a vile cur who likes to disguise his traps to catch unwary travelers and fellow trappers.
  • The storm passes the next day, but it is a week before the snow melts enough that the party can resume its explorations. They decide to head southeast towards the so-called Old Sycamore, the location of the mites mentioned by the Thorn River bandits. Mapping as they go, the party encounters a giant trapdoor spider, hungry after a long winter. In the spider’s lair they discover a crude map on a dead brigand, and a couple of days later discover the dead pine tree indicated on the map. Within a heavy leather coat buried near the dead pine they discover a forgotten cache of wizardly items. From there, the party marches on, searching for the Old Sycamore.

Session 3 Treasure

Session 3 XP

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Stolen Land - Session 4
  • The party continues southeast, further into the Kameland hills. They explore the region up to the Shrike River, a wide, fast-moving river of varying depth.
  • Late in the day, the party comes across a ruined rope bridge called Nettles’ Crossing. Yetar rings a brass bell at the foot of the bridge. The air becomes still, the clouds heavier, and as the bell’s toll fades, something rises from the bridge debris downriver. A rotting, putrescent corpse strides atop the water, carrying a dripping ranseur in its skeletal hands. Alys, muttering a prayer to Abadar, senses the thing’s power as it approaches. It glares at the party with milky eyes and speaks with a terrible, drowned voice:
    “You are not my tormentors. My quarrel is not with you. Bring me the Stag Lord’s body, that he may join me in my watery grave.”
    Wary of the undead creature’s intent, the party learns that he was once Davik Nettles, and that he operated a modest toll across the Shrike River at this location, charging five coppers to hunters, trappers, and anyone else seeking to cross the river. That is, until he ran afoul of the Stag Lord and his minions. After crossing without paying the toll, the Stag Lord and his bandits returned to Nettles’ Crossing and destroyed the bridge, burned down Davik’s small shack and fed him to the deadly river. Ever since, Davik Nettles has haunted the toll bridge, cursed with an undying need to extract vengeance upon the Stag Lord.
  • The party agrees to deliver the Stag Lord to Nettles, hoping it will bring some final rest to the undead menace, and gladly leave the crossing. They head west, where they hope to find the old sycamore tree and the lair of the mites.
  • While exploring and mapping the Kamelands west of Nettles’ Crossing, Kraig successfuly brings down a male elk. The party takes a day to dress the mighty animal before moving on. They eventually spot the old sycamore – a massive dead grey hulk extending high above the landscape. The scrub and granite-strewn hills nearby are spotted with bones – evidence of battle between the mites and their hated enemies, the kobolds. The party sees no evidence of mite activity as they approach the tree, although they do discover a small entrance hidden between the massive roots. Nisha, the tiefling witch, proposes an idea: douse the elk meat with the spider poison she retrieved several days ago and leave it in the hole. Though some of the party object to such a plan, practicality wins out and Nisha gets to work poisoning the meat.
  • The party squeezes into the mite lair an hour or so after leaving the poisoned meat to find a warren brimming with foul, bloodthirsty, and severely weakened mites – their puny muscles atrophied even further by the poisoned meat. The evil fey-kin put up a brave fight, aided by the cramped environment, but they eventually fall to the PCs’ greater strength. Nisha gathers a sackfull of giant centipede eggs in the mites’ hatchery, and Kraig rescues a captive kobold named Mikmek. The party retreats back to the lair’s entrance to speak with Mikmek. They learn that the mites stole a precious object from the kobolds – a statue of some unknown diety Mikmek calls ‘Old Sharptooth’ – which Mikmek believes to be in the possession of Grabbles, the mites’ chieftain. The party had no plans to leave the mite chief alive, and agrees to help Mikmek retrieve the statue.

Session 4 Treasure

Session 4 XP

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Stolen Land - Session 5
  • Mistral, Yetar, Alys, Kraig, Nisha, Variel, and their kobold companion Mikmek venture back into the dank, earthen warren under the old sycamore. Travelling back through the centipede hatchery and into the mites’ disgusting “common area”, it is not long before the party finds the mites’ war room – a filthy, cramped chamber crisscrossed with hanging roots. A dark, yawning chasm can be seen at the room’s far end – presumably the other side of chasm discovered earlier.
  • Most prominent in the room is a fearsome insect – easily five feet from head to abdomen and three feet high – a giant tick by all accounts. Sitting astride the tick is a spear—wielding, chain shirt-wearing mite- Chief Grabbles. Flanking the chief and his terrible tick are four mite warriors. The five mites and the giant tick stand ready for the party, warned by their previous assault and by the light of Variel’s torch. Battle is quickly joined.
  • The fight is hard fought. Grabble’s giant tick mount proves a significant foe. Kraig charges into battle with it and nearly meets his end. Alys keeps Kraig alive with her healing magic, while Nisha, Yetar, Variel, and Mistral whittle down the opposition.
  • As the battle finally nears its end, the party is set upon by a new threat from the chasm to the west – a giant whiptail centipede as long as three horses end to end. The centipede is restricted by the chamber’s cramped quarters, and despite the party’s weakened state, the centipede is eventually dispatched.
  • Nisha gathers as much venom from the centipede as possible, while the rest of the party inspects the mites meager spoils. Though there is no sign of Svetlana’s wedding ring, the kobold’s statue of “Old Sharptooth” is discovered, much to Mikmek’s delight. The statue appears to be nothing more than a well-made statue of a horned devil, but Mikmek cradles it in his bony paws like a divine relic. The group leaves the mites’ lair with Mikmek and set up camp several miles away from the old sycamore.
  • Sometime after midnight, Kraig hears the whimpering of an injured animal in the distance. He investigates and discovers a wounded wolf in the lee of a large boulder. A mite’s spear is still lodged in its leg – the mite who wielded it lies dead several feet away. Kraig soothes the wolf and carries it back to camp, where he convinces Variel and Alys to help heal the animal. The party awakes on Starday, the 6th of Desnus, ready to continue southeast towards the realm of the Sootscale kobolds.

Session 5 Treasure

Session 5 XP

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Stolen Land - Session 6
  • The party accompanies Mikmek to the Sootscale kobold lair, located in an ancient silver mine abandoned by humans decades ago. The group is joined by another kobold named Nakpik, who convinces Mikmek and the rest of the group to bring the statue of Old Sharptooth to Chief Sootscale, rather than the sorcerer Tartuk.
  • The group parlays with Chief Sootscale for a time. Sootscale destroys the statue and rallies the dozens of kobolds in the warren against the usurper Tartuk. The party assists Sootscale and defeats the purple-fleshed kobold Tartuk. Alys dazzles the kobolds with a display of Abadar’s healing power, and over the course of a couple of hours the party brokers an agreement with Chief Sootscale – the party will continue to trade goods and alcohol with the Sootscales in return for the tribe’s vow of peaceful interaction and friendship. In addition, with help from the PCs in the form of equipment and tools, the Sootscale kobolds agree to delve deeper and potentially reopen the silver mine, for a share of the profits of course.
  • The kobolds donate a share of Tartuk’s treasure with the PCs, including Svetlana Leveton’s missing wedding ring, which the kobolds had stolen from the mites. The party takes its leave of the kobolds and travels several days north bag to the Leveton’s trading post.
  • Fireday, 12th Desnus. At Oleg’s the party learns that Jhod Kavken and one of Kesten’s men ventured into the Narlmarches two days past, searching for the lost temple of Erastil apparently. Several party members decide to take a journey east on the South Rostland Road to Restov in order to check in with Swordlords Iamandi Aldori and Florian Orlovski. Nisha, meanwhile, begins tending to her giant centipede eggs. With some help from Oleg and Kesten, she begins to build a small hut outside of the trading post’s walls. Oleg is only too happy that the tiefling witch decides to set up her shop outside of his trading post.
  • Fireday, 19 Desnus. While in Restov, the party meets with Florian Orlovski. Florian examines the party’s map and expresses the Aldori Swordlords’ pleasure with their progress over the last two months. He rewards the PCs for their efforts thus far, and provides the group with another goal – the eradication of the so-called Stag Lord and his gang of bandits. Florian tells the party that their successes prove they are well-suited to the task, and hints that the Swordlords may ask the party to begin settling the region if and when the Stag Lord and his minions are defeated or routed.

Session 6 Treasure

Session 6 XP

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Stolen Land - Session 7

Fireday, 19 Desnus to Oathday, 2 Sarenith, 4713 AR

  • Kraig, Mistral, Nisha, and Variel sell items and stock up in Restov before returning to Oleg’s Trading Post. The encounter six bandits on the South Rostland road between Fort Serenko and the trading post.
  • Back at the trading post, Kraig and Yetar bring down a grizzly bear that gets to close to the compound. Kraig fashions a bear skin cloak and hood for himself.

Sunday, 5 Sarenith to Wealday, 8 Sarenith, 4713 AR

  • The party searches the northern Narlmarches for the lost soldier, Timur Penkin. They discover many of the reviled trapper Breeg Orlivanch’s hidden traps and disarm many of them.
  • The party is tormented as they venture deeper into the forest – they believe their pranksters to be faeries. They are set upon on the night of the 8th by a monstrous troll. During the fight their former tormentors show themselves and help defeat the troll. The PCs become friends of a sort with the two faeries – a faerie dragon named Perlivash and a tiny cricket-like creature with the torso of a human female, named Tyg-Titter-Tut – once it is clear that they are not the same “bigginses” that have been in the forest of late (meaning bandits and evil trappers like Orlivanch).
  • Perlivash and Tyg-Titter-Tut tell the party that Kesten’s man, Timur, fell victim to one of Orlivanch’s traps, and promise to lead them to his body the next day. Perlivash admits to taking one of his pranks a bit too far, ending in the demise of the vile Orlivanch. The excitable faerie dragon shows little remorse in bringing about the man’s death, however.

Session 7 Treasure
Session 7 XP

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Stolen Land - Session 8

9 to 19 Sarenith, 4713 AR

  • With the assistance of the Perlivash the faerie dragon and Tyg-Titter-Tut the grigg, the party recovers the bodies of both Timur Penkin, Kesten Garess’ man-at-arms, and Breeg Orlivanch, the mad trapper. They have a scuffle with three wild boars while burying Timur, and feast well on fresh boar meat that night.
  • The party spends a week exploring and mapping the forest in the region near Perlivash’s and Tyg-Titter-Tut’s domain before heading south, where the two fey indicate the party may find Jhod’s lost temple of Erastil. Perlivash and Tyg-Titter-Tut recall their own fey-kin legends regarding the temple, including one about the guardian bear at the site, which is rumoured to have originally been a priest at the temple who went mad and was cursed to reside and guard the site for eternity in the form of a bear.

Moonday, 20 Sarenith, 4713 AR

  • The group finds the site after several days – an overgrown semi-circle of crumbling pillars around a large, algae-filled pool, set in the shadow of a vertical bluff a hundred feet high by three hundred feet across. Out of a cavern in the bluff comes the guardian bear, an ancient and angry grizzly. After a brief battle the party puts the old guardian to rest. The bear seems to breathe a sigh of relief as it dies, and its body transforms into the shape of an old wizened man before crumbling to dust before the PCs very eyes. With the mad priest’s final death a shadow lifts from the temple – the air seems cleaner, the surrounding trees more vibrant, and the algae-filled pool turns clear as crystal. Kraig takes a draught of the pool’s water and feels his wounds heal. He decides to transfer the dust of the cursed priest to the pool; moments after he doesso a vision of a mighty white stag appears just outside of the temple’s boundary. Kraig and Alys catch a brief glimpse of the majestic animal before it fades into the forest.
  • The following day, a fearsome summer storm rages through the Narlmarches, bringing lightning, heavy rains, and tornado-force winds. The temple itself seems immune from the worst of the storm, and the party takes shelter there until the storm finally passes. Much of the surrounding forest is heavily damaged, with many downed trees and overflowing brooks and streams.

Wealday, 22 Sarenith to Fireday, 24 Sarenith, 4713 AR

  • The party thanks its good fortune and continues southeast with a plan to continue exploring the forest before heading north and mapping it’s edge heading back towards Oleg’s. Two days after leaving the Temple of Erastil the party encounters and defeats a dire boar – presumably the infamous Tuskgutter mentioned by the trapper Vekkel months ago. The group severs the beast’s head and prepares to transport the heavy burden back to the Trading Post.

Session 8 Treasure
Session 8 XP

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Stolen Land - Session 9
  • Fireday, 24 Sarenith to Oathday, 14 Erastus, 4713 AR
  • The party continues exploring the Greenbelt, heading east and north along the eastern edge of the Narlmarches forest and into the rocky hills of the Kamelands. They find and harvest several batches of fangberries – just beginning to ripen – for later delivery to Bokken the hermit.
  • The party also discovers a small band of brigands camped near a brook deep in the Kamelands. After a less-than-cordial conversation with the bandit’s lookout, the party retreats and waits for nightfall. The group sneaks up on the bandits in the dark of the night. Nisha casts a hold spell on the lookout before slitting the unfortunate bloke’s throat. The rest of the party creeps into the main camp at the brook’s edge. They stand over the five bandits and coldly put all but one of the sleeping men to the sword – an action that leaves some party members with a leaden feeling in the stomach, heavy with the knowledge that a line has been crossed that cannot be undone. They keep one of the bandits – a disarmingly calm man named Ayles Megesen – alive long enough to question. Ayles reveals that entrance into the so-called Stag Lord’s fort is possible only with a pass-phrase, the contents of which change every fortnight. The party learns that the current code is valid until the 16th of Erastus. The next code, valid from the 17th to the 30th of Erastus, is “By the bloody bones of St. Gilmorg, who wants to know?”
  • The party returns to Oleg’s on the 14th of Erastus. They find the trading post considerably busy now that it is highsummer and news of the group’s successes has spread. A small camp has grown up near the trading post – merchants’ wagons and tents, and the temporary abodes of craftspeople, washerwomen, the odd guard or two, and several desperate families determined to eke out a new life on the frontier.
  • The group finds Mikmek the kobold has also made the journey to Oleg’s. Kesten confesses that he nearly shot the kobold dead as he approached the trading post. Since arriving, Mikmek has been tending Nisha’s giant centipede larvae, and plans on taking several horses laden with silver mining equipment back to the Sootscale mine when he leaves. Kesten insists on travelling with Mikmek, if only to ensure that the horses make it back alive.
  • Kraig finds a new visitor in the makeshift forge still under construction – a dwarf woman named Singer Ironbound. Singer is a blacksmith from Restov, come to assist in the forge, and is also a representative of the Aldori Swordlords. Singer reveals that she has met the kobold Mikmek, and despite her own personal reservations regarding the Sootscale tribe, has reported back to Iamandi and Florian regarding the party’s apparent success in negotiating a peace accord with the tribe. She rewards the party with 1200gp on behalf of the Swordlords.

Session 9 Treasure
Session 9 XP

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Stolen Land - Session 10

Fireday, 14 Erastus to Wealday, 20 Erastus, 4713 AR

  • Most of the group spends some time at Oleg’s (Mistral takes a horse to Restov, to meet with his mentor and benefactor, Storm) gathering supplies, crafting arms and armour, and dealing with business as necessary. Finally, after a week, the horses are saddled, swords and axes are honed, and bowstrings are oiled. The party heads south to find the Stag Lord’s fort and bring him to justice or the sword.

Sunday, 24 Erastus, 4713 AR

  • The party spots the Stag Lord’s fort on a hill deep in the Kamelands, near the banks of the Shrike River where it feeds into a crystal blue lake. The group waits until the cover of night to creep closer. Hiding in the vegetation of the surrounding hills, the party is able to count three bandits manning the fort’s barely-standing watchtowers. Unable to get a good look inside the fort, the party decides to chance its luck and use the password to gain entrance. They lead their horses up the main path and, with the added incentive of a bag of gold, manage to convince the bandits that they are brigands themselves, seeking shelter for the night.
  • While inside the ruined fort, the group learns what it can from the bandits. They count 14 brigands in total and a caged owlbear just off the common room. Three of the bandits seem to hold some command over the others – a tattoed rogue called Dovan of Nisroch, a stern and moody soldier named Akiros, and a simpleminded lummox named Auchs. Dovan and Akiros clearly bear little love for each other, and it is only when the Stag Lord himself comes to greet the newcomers himself (albeit only enough to claim the sack of gold the party offers before retiring with a bottle in hand) that they cease their bickering.
  • Kraig and Alys sense something amiss with the bandit called Akiros, and later on in the night they manage to speak with him privately. They learn that he carries a heavy burden of guilt and shame from his past, and that he was once, long ago, a paladin of Erastil. Kraig takes a gamble and shows Akiros the charter from Brevoy. Akiros says little, except to bid the two leave his sight when the Stag Lord calls out from the adjoining room.
  • As the night drags on, the back and forth with the bandits becomes increasingly tense. Nisha ventures up to the watchtowers on the pretense of getting some air, while Yetar slips away unnoticed and finds a perch atop the fort’s wall. Finally, the last straw is drawn: Dovan of Nisroch makes a slanderous move on Alys, and Kraig responds, bidding the lecherous rogue unhand the lady. Dovan calls for Auchs to restrain the half-orc, and then the unexpected happens. Akiros steps into the common room with his bow raised and demands Dovan unhand Alys. Dovan smirks at Akiros and tells him to grovel back to the Stag Lord – and receives an arrow in the shoulder as a result. The fort erupts into violence at that point. The party brings the battle to the brigands – luckily the owlbear is confined to its cage, as Nisha had the forethought to bid her centipede familiar to bite through the rope controlling the cage’s door earlier in the night. Akiros appears to assist the party, at least for the time-being. Bandits fall to the group’s bows, axes, and spells, and finally the Stag Lord joins the fray, stepping from the shadows with his mighty longbow raised. The Stag Lord’s face is obscured behind a massive stag helm – his exposed torso is a brutal mess of old burn and acid scars. The barest hint of a scarred and damaged jawline is visible in the depths of his helm.
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