Campaign of the Month: August 2013

Dragons of Autumn

Homecoming: The end of a 5 year sojourn

The group returns to Solace and find it anything but its namesake...

Along the trail north from Gateway to Solace, the sibling dwarves reunite. They decide to continue to Solace and visit the Inn of the Last Home before catching up. As the trail enters the farmlands surrounding the Solace region, the group is set upon by eight wild goblins. The goblins are visibly starved and mad with hunger; they resort to simple blows and attempted bites. The group quickly dispatches all of the wretched creatures despite the attempted escape of two who came to their senses. The goblins were clothed in rags that once held the appearance of military uniforms. The backs of the uniforms ribboned where the goblins had been whipped by some former masters. Perhaps this was the reason they were incapable of intelligent thought?
Draigo located the area where they were lying in wait and only found the remains of smaller vermin that had been picked clean.
As the group continued to search the area, they hear the approach of a pony on the trail. At the same time, the group is aware that they are being flanked on either side of the trail. They ready for battle as the rider approaches. The rider is the fattest and ugliest hobgoblin any of them had yet to encounter. When he dismounts to approach the group, they see he is clad in armor and garb similar to that of the Solace town guard. The hobgoblin approaching from the east and west flanks were similarly garbed, but without mounts. The disgusting rider demanded that the group hand over a blue crystal staff in the name of " Onyx " and threatened death if they refused. The group, confused by the demand, countered with threats. The hobgoblin chuckled over his bubbly chin and ordered his guards to destroy the group and search the remains. The group attacked and commence slaughtering the hobgoblin guards. In the battle, the hobgoblin leader loses his pony. Sensing the turn of tides, the rider flees after his pony to the north.
Draigo observing the flight, mounts Mora’s horse in pursuit. As Draigo rounds the bend of the trail, he spots the tail of the pony in the distance; he could not confirm if there was a rider. Leaving the rest of the group to finish the eight hobgoblins, Draigo searches the area near the trail bend after hearing a rustle. As Draigo approaches the source of the sound, a large deer leaps past him and continues west over the trail. Although startled, Draigo can see that the deer had received a bite wound – most likely from the crazed goblins. Disappointed at the escapee, Draigo returns to the group and assists in searching and hiding the bodies. The search reveals the hobgoblins all possessed legitimate uniforms and weapons of the Solace town guard.
The group continues toward Solace and on the edge of town encounters a checkpoint. Human towns guard from Solace are inspecting a farmer’s oxcart as the group approaches. Although there had not been a need for a checkpoint at the edge of town five years ago, these were certainly dangerous times as evidenced by their encounters that day. Exhausted and trail-hardended, the group is gruff with the four guards and their dog. During their routine inspection, the guards inquire about a blue crystal staff. The group is alert at the mention of this as the hobgoblin rider had mentioned not an hour ago. The group truthfully denies any knowledge of the staff and is admitted to town.
The group is welcomed by the autumn leaves of the Vallenwood trees and the smell of Otik’s potatoes entices them up the stairs to the Inn of the Last Home. Blz03 Upon entering they are immediately greeted by their kender friend Kip. Kip has reserved them a table by the hearth and the group seats themselves to recount the tales of the past five years. As they await their food, the group speaks with Otik the innkeeper and listen in on the patrons of the Inn.
Otik is busy in the kitchen and Almaia and Mora secure rooms for the night as they assist Otik move some ale barrels from storage. The rest of the group overhears many of the patrons discuss tales of strange men in hoods seeking a crystal staff. The patrons seemed annoyed by the presence of a likely magical item disturbing their country way-of-life and are eager to have it found and removed. One patron in the conversation mentions that the staff would find a good home with the Seekers. Although his friends scoff at the idea, the patron assures them that Elistan the High Seeker is an honorable and just man who would aid them with this staff business.
Uninterested in eavesdropping, Kip locates himself by a befuddled old storyteller near the fireplace. The storyteller recounts tales of mythical dragons, high magic, and the return of the true gods. At the mention of true gods, Kip asks the old man what he knows. The old man’s eyes flash with alacrity as he snares Kip’s arm in a firm grip. " I foresee a great and terrible destiny in your eyes. There is a Blue Crystal Staff which you must return to Xak Tsaroth! There, a few days hence, you shall face your greatest peril in contest for the greatest gift given to man. " The old man releases the kender as his eyes look around in confusion. The kender scurries away as the old man continues a story about an invisible dragon named Pete and his juvenile owner.
As the group returns their attention to their meal, a pair of plainsfolk, a man and a woman, enter the Inn and seat between the entrance and the kitchen. Shortly after their arrival, the door bursts open and the hobgoblin rider appears. He announces himself as Fewmaster Toede and is intent on the plainsfolk. He orders his pair of hobgoblin guards to search the man and the woman. The plainsman is tall for a human and he places himself between the two hobgoblins and the woman. Golden-blond hair and fair features disguise the terror of the plainswoman as she slowly makes her way to the back of the inn. The two hobgoblin begin brawling with the plainsman as Toede and a third guard approach the plainswoman. Mora, fearing for the safety of the human, launches an ale barrel she is carrying at the feet of the approaching hobgoblins. It shatters and washes their feet in the sweet smell of honeyed-ale. The hobgoblins approach undaunted and the human woman holds forth a plain wooden staff in defense. Fewmaster Toede scoffs and reaches out for the staff when the room is suddenly filled with blue light and a resounding boom. Toede is rocketed backwards from the woman, through the third hobgoblin guard, and crashes into Mora. As vision returns to the patrons of the Inn, they behold the plainswoman who is no longer brandishing a plain wooden staff, but a Blue Crystal Staff!
Mora pulls herself up from the mass of the overweight hobgoblin and observes that the armor around his midsection has been replaced with the inside of his midsection. A flash of recognition shows on the hobgoblins face as he locks eyes with Mora and expires. The hobgoblin guards and some of the Inn patrons, terrified by the event, flee from the Inn as the group begins to hear the echoes of approaching town guards.
Draigo and Donegin agree that the staff blast was not of an arcane nature and may be evidence of the divine magic they all had been searching for. Fearing for the innocent humans and the powerful item they possessed, the group escorts them to the kitchen trap door Otik uses to raise his supplies to the treehouse. The plainsfolk and most of the group exits via the trap door as the sergeant of the guard enters the Inn. Draigo and Otik discuss the events as the rest of the group waits below. The sergeant looks relieved at the sight of the blasted hobgoblin, but his visage turns grim at the mention of the Blue Crystal Staff. The sergeant, like many of the patrons, is eager to have this staff out from the quiet town and is now worried about the aftermath of its discovery within the small town.
Meanwhile, the group below witnesses the staff returning to its innocuous wooden appearance and introduce themselves to the plainsfolk. The plainsfolk are named Riverwind and Goldmoon. The group discovers that Goldmoon is a princess of her tribe who was worshiped like a deity. Riverwind was a warrior among his people who still believed in the old gods. The proud warrior fell in love with his princess, but the tribal elders would not allow such a heathen court their deity. They sent Riverwind on a fools errand to retrieve proof of his old gods. Riverwind agreed and set upon his task. The sacrifice of his acceptance touched Goldmoon who knew she was not a deity; she secretly began to love the warrior for his faith and bravery.
Riverwind would not go into much detail of his journey, but disclosed that he made his way to an ancient destroyed city in a swamp where he faced a nameless evil that he could not describe. He remembers very little after that except a beautiful shining woman who gave him the Blue Crystal Staff. He returned to his tribe with the staff as proof, but the tribe did not believe his tale and exiled him. The reappearance of the warrior and his heroic tale were enough to convince Goldmoon that she loved him. She left her tribe in exile to be at his side. The duo found themselves pursued at every turn by strange travelers seeking the staff. Their flight brought them across the plains to Solace.
Realizing that they were not being held responsible for the event in the Inn, the group retires to their rooms and invites the human couple to join them. The next morning, Kip insists that the group travel to the ancient city because of his encounter with the old storyteller. Denying the affair a coincidence, the group decides to travel for this ancient city to discover more evidence of the old gods. They gather a cart and supplies and depart Solace as soon as possible with their new plainsfolk companions.


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