Testing Sanity

01-05 - Meet the Pechs

Chapter 01 – Blingdenstone

05 – Meet the Pechs

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Getting Ready For The Bane

While resting, everyone engages in their various downtime rituals. The elves go to bathe and engage in exercises that seem like a type of yoga. Gnomes look on at the exercises with curiosity, with a few trying to copy them. The young gnomish men steal lustful looks at the female elves; Kade and Calidor get the same from the young gnomish women. Each elf takes turns leading the practice. They gently correct the gnomes that joined in when they do things wrong. Those gnomes can’t believe how much better they feel after the workout. They start gossiping about it.

Puggter engages in deep prayer, expressing his devotion to Moradin, and asking that he blesses the party with success. Rynox and KalEl workout by running together with Pugg joining the lap of their run after his prayers. They then engage in some sparring, as strong fighters are apt to do. This turns out to be a real show, with gnomes in the area forming a circle around the combatants while cheering them on, and some gnomish warriors even jumping in even though they are no match. It’s easy to see admiration that the gnomes are feeling for these mighty heroes. More gnome gossip ensues.

These are much needed bright moments in these dark times for the gnomes. The gnomes provide the party with meals. The elves and KalEl have a harder time with the mushroom based diet of the gnomes – well, mostly the elves; though they only do so we the gnomes give the group their privacy, as elves would find it unseemly to insult their hosts and KalEl is very stoic to begin with. The dwarves tease them for being such lightweights and that they’ll need to get used to it since they will all be there for a while. Everyone shares a laugh around the whole thing.

The group finally gets ready to head out – donning their armor, sharpening their weapons, organizing their backpacks. They check unnecessary equipment with the staff at the barracks, like their tents, the mushrooms gathered for Mialee, etc. They expect to come back. The gnomes are not so sure.

Off to See the Pechs

The gnomes point out to the party which way to go to the old Guild of Armorers and Weaponsmiths. On their way, the party encounters another gnome barricade.

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“You are going to see those pechs? They are nothing trouble! You’ll see when you go in there. They ruined the whole Guild space! Those vandals would cover everything over here with stone if they got past us!” rants the gnome sentry.

Pugg says with dwarven matter-of-factness, “Doesn’t matter. We need to get through.” He points at the barricade. The sentry looks at the group, then he shakes his head. Lets the group pass through the barricade. Issues a final epithet as the party walks in, “Don’t trust those weirdos!” The party heads in.

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Past the barricades, the tunnels of the ruined city are eerily quiet. There is no light here, so the elves start having trouble seeing. Pugg pinches some glowing moss from his component bag and touches Calidor’s waist sash, which beings to glow, saying “Tag, you are it, new guy.” Calidor looks down a little surprised but quickly regains his composure as he and the other elves can now see clearly. The party draws their weapons, not knowing what to expect.

The guild cavern comes into view. Stalactites hang low from its ceiling, sometimes touching the stalagmites jutting up from the floor, and the walls are blackened with ancient soot. At the very edge of your light, a small form—too lithe to be a deep gnome—flits behind a stalagmite and out of sight. The group rushes over to where they last saw the figure, but they see nothing. “It’s like they disappeared into the stone, I don’t get it,” mutters Kade. His eyes open wide (rolled 20 on Perception!), “Wait, who ever that was DID go into the stone!!!” he exclaims as he tries to whisper.

Forges at the far eastern end of the cavern are still and dark, partially covered with stone that looks as if it has flowed over them. Alora kept thinking about what Kade said. She gasps lightly as the realization suddenly hits her (rolled 17 Arcana). “Brave friends, sheath your weapons and drop your guard. Kade is right, the pechs can travel into the stone. In fact, they can speak to it and coax it into growing like we see with those forges there. They are known to be cautious and will mean us no harm, so we need to show them that we mean them none either. I will use the language of the elementals to express to them this fact. I ask that you, friend Puggter, do the same in your tongue.” Both Alora and Pugg take turns expressing that the party comes in peace and wish to talk on behalf of the deep gnomes. One pech comes out of the stone and approaches the party, as other pechs peek out of the stone to bear witness. “I knew it!” Kade thinks to himself. He lights a candle on his head.

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He speaks in Primordial, Dwarvish and finally Common saying the same thing, “My name is Gallus. I will speak for my people. Why have you come here?”

Rocky Diplomacy

Pugg answers Gallus in Dwarvish, “I thank you for speaking with us. We are trying to help the community and we need your people’s assistance dealing with earth elementals under the power of an evil entity.”

Gallus looks at the group intently, esp. the elves. He responds in Dwarvish, “You speak of the Raging Spirit? The Raging Spirit dwelling in the Wounded Cavern?” He can tell that the elves do not understand him, so he speaks in Common, “Your companion asks about the Raging Spirit dwelling in the Wounded Cavern. But I ask YOU,” still looking at the elves, “what is YOUR purpose here? Have you come to kill another of my people?!” he ends with a raised voice in accusation. more so than the rest of the group Pugg can sense he is angry but he is also afraid, more on the afraid side in fact but is incredibly keeping his composure. Gallus is keeping a safe distance, though.

Alora exclaims with wide eyes, “By the Moon Goddess, no!” She puts her hand over her mouth. Gallus watches intently. “We would never…what happened? One of your people was murdered, noble Gallus? Someone that looks like us?” She moves to step forward without thinking, but immediately Gallus moves back a little. Alora takes immediate note and stops. “I’m sorry, we will not take another step. And we are not the murderers you speak of.” (persuasion +1, rolled 16). There is silence with Gallus just looking at Alora and then scanning the group and then back to Alora.

“Your skin. Your skin is pale under the candlelight.” He pauses. “And you do not look the same in the dark either.” He pauses. He looks at Kade, “Your hair looks like hers. But her eyes, her eyes in the light were red and her skin black. Her two monsters look like him.” He points to KalEl, “But smaller, and with more hair. Hair all over and bigger point ears. One white. One black. They held him down while she tortured him before us. She delighted in it, so very much. Ending him was the most merciful thing she did when she was done. She told us the same fate awaits us if we help the Grey Ones.”

Kade would think about it for a moment, “Looks like me, white hair like me, black skin, red eyes.” He’s been to the Underdark before. He and Alora (who was also thinking about it) would say almost in unison, “A Drow!” Kade would look to the others, “Traako! (Shit! in Elvish) A dark elf. And a woman. She should be particularly sadistic.”

Pugg looks at Kade and can’t help to grind his teeth. “Those oily, lily-livered, clan-betraying, spider-licking oathbreakers,” he mutters in Dwarvish. He then speaks up (still in Dwarvish) and looks back at Gallus, “My friend here believes you are speaking of a Drow. An evil form of Elf like our friends here. The Drow, delight in torture and conquest and will stop at nothing, not even killing their own kin, to gain power. If this evil bitch lurks around the area, I swear, by Moradin, we will bring her to justice! Until that time comes, can we count on yer help?”

Gallus pauses. He looks back to his people. He turns again to the party. He says in Common to Pugg, “You offer to bring the Dark One to justice? In exchange for our help to expel the Raging Spirit?”

He looks to the whole group. “We are not friends of the Gray Ones but we are not their enemies. We have avoided the Gray Ones. We do not like the way they alter the caverns and wound the stone. We have worked so much for all this time to heal the stone here.”

Gallus continues looking at each member of the party in turn, “They treat the Earth Spirits badly.” The party members think he means the earth elementals. “We think the Spirits in the Wounded Cavern are wild because how the Gray Ones force them to do what they want. The Raging Spirit uses their suffering to excite them and make them dangerous. We avoid them rather than risk receiving the result of their anger.”

“The Raging Spirit itself has much power. Even when the Gray Ones were here in far greater numbers many years ago, the Spirit drifted about, freeing the Earth Spirits and driving them into great anger. You see, it takes the form of a cloud of dust. Your weapons cannot harm a cloud of dust. Only magic can.”

Pugg got him on a roll. “You see, the Gray Ones called on the great Entemoch in a cavern about a day’s journey from here. Entemoch is the powerful Ogrémoch’s twin brother. Entemoch is the consort of Sunnis, Princess of Good Earth Creatures. He granted a blessing in the cavern, the Giving Spirit.” The group thinks he’s referring to Entemoch’s Boon. “The Giving Spirit makes magic from the Clean Earth more powerful. But like the Moon Goddesses are in eternal war with one another, there is also a war between Entemoch and Ogrémoch. To spite his brother, Ogrémoch must have brought the curse of the Raging Spirit. It is here only to destroy the Giving Spirit. But it must not be able to do it alone or with the Earth Spirits because it would have succeeded by now. The Gray Ones deeply love the Giving Spirit, enough that they would never want to harm it even if it means lifting the curse.”
“By telling you all this, I have given you much. I have trusted you enough to give you this knowledge. Now you must earn our trust. "

“The Gray Ones have sent you to request our help, yet they put defenses up against us like we were the Savage Ones. We who have done nothing to them, brought them no harm. They do not even come themselves to speak to us and instead send you in their place. This is not fair treatment. We insist on getting respect. We want to discuss with them how we can live in peace. We do not like what they do, but we understand that, like us, they need a home too. It is better that they stay in the remains of their old homes where the damage to the stone is already done. And yes this cavern was once their old home too but it is our home now. We have worked hard here for many years.”

“The Savage Ones attack the Gray Ones, but we watch them. They avoid us for the moment. It will not be long before their fear gives way to their savage nature and they also attack us. We will not be able to stop them.” The group thinks he means the orcs.

“We know this because we are not able to stop weaker enemis, the Small Lizard Dogs. They have no fear of us. They come to our cavern looking to feed or to steal. They are not welcome here. We ask the stone to help stop them but they continue to invade. We would like to never see them here again. If the Savage Ones ever learned that the Lizard Dogs come here, I fear the worst. The Lizard Dogs must be stopped immediately.” Everyone figures he means the kobolds here.

“Prove to us that you can be trusted, you mighty warriors, that you are friends of the Pechs. We help our friends.”

Pugg smiles widely, “Sounds good to me! We all love killing kobolds. Just point us in the right direction and we will destroy them for you.” Kade says, “Kobolds indeed.” Alora says, lost in thought, “Kobolds? I have never killed any of those…” Kade, Calidor, and Mialee start chuckling. “Alora, you haven’t changed,” mutters Calidor as he laughs. KalEl raises a brow and looks to the dwarves, who shrug.

Alora blushes, “Well we should probably try to reason with them first, like civilized people…” At which point Puggter and Rynox start laughing. KalEl joins them. “Aye, you can try. Just make sure our axes are there when you do,” says Pugg, enjoying the laugh.

Gallus just looks on. The laughter dies down quickly when the party notices the pechs are not laughing. They seem to be a very dry people. “You can go back the way you came here. Rather than go to the home of the Gray Ones, just take the other tunnel by their barrier. The Lizard Dogs seem to be coming from there.”

With that, the party bids Gallus and the Pechs farewell and head back. Rynox remembers, “That gnome bard wanted us to get those stones for him too.” Pugg nods, “We need tools from the gnomes then.” Rynox responds, “A few good picks for sure.” As the party turns the corner out of the Pech’s cavern, they see the tunnel that Gallus was talking about. They hear a frantic gnome yelling from the barricade, “Warriors! Are you there? Help! Help! It’s the infirmary! It’s under attack! By the dead!!!”

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01-04 - A Walk Through Blingdenstone

Chapter 01 – Blingdenstone

04 – A Walk Through Blingdenstone

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The Infirmary

Walk through blingdenstone 01

The party walks through the Silent Shrieker, an area that was the marketplace where gnomes once traded fungal spores stands in shambles. This cavern now serves only as a passage between areas the Golden Hills Hearth (which they just left) and the Trader’s Grotto (where the infirmary now is. Mialee asks if everyone can help her pick some mushrooms growing here. After about 15 minutes, they gather all she needs.

Walk through blingdenstone 02

The party reaches the infirmary. Jalless and Krell, the two healers, welcome the help. Jalless had given the group mission #5 – eliminate the orcs. Everyone notices that while they are helping with the healing, Jalless and Krell do not have any divine powers – they are not clerics, druids or shaman. They help the gnomes heal by treating their wounds the natural way.

Alora asks them if they have any priests that can help, Jalless sighs and says, "Well, there’s Pingtu, and he sometimes comes to help out. Mostly, though, he’s at the Speaking Stones, listening for the old voices that have fallen silent.” (The party did meet Pingtu at the Speaking Stones [not the Singing Stones], who seemed very lethargic, he gave the group mission #4)

Kade is the first to notice a bowl of citrine and white quartz in the infirmary. Some of the stones are crushed. He asks Jalless about it. Jalless just says, "Scouts bring these from the Wormwrithings, and I know a thing or two about crystals and gems. I appraise the stones for a small share. The sand is useful as an inert part of bandage paste or cast plaster.”

She asks the group about their stay so far and KalEl boasts about their victory over the orcs. “If they are that weak, we will kill them for you soon.” Jalless’s ears perk up when KalEl mentions the orc being taken prisoner. She scowls, saying, "Fendrick is just a lackey for Kargein. Kargien just wants to wear the crown and sit on the throne, but he is unworthy of that honor. A rightful heir to the royal line should be found, but Kargien seeks power for its own sake. Someone who does that would not be a wise or beneficent king, which is what we need in these times. Frankly, there’s something weird about…”

When she says that, Krell clears his throat loudly. He rolls his eyes at Jalless and says with his voice raised a little, “Jalless! We have work to do here, can you chit chat with our guests here some other time?”

Jalless gives Krell a stern look. She’s about to say something to him but stops herself. She sighs, “He’s right. We’ll take it from here. Please go on and get your rest. I pray you’ll be able save us from those orcs soon.”

The Illusionist Shop

Walk through blingdenstone 03

Svirfneblin refer to the area by the name of one of its long-gone buildings, a spell component shop catering to illusionists. This cavern has a supply of fresh water welling up in a pool.

The proprietor of Phantasmal Glamours, an aged svirfneblin named Henkala Shadowsong, survived the fall of the city more than a hundred years ago. She stays in this cavern, feebly trying to reassemble her shop. Lively in conversation, her face and eyes are still bright despite the decrepitude of her body.

Henkala believes that the pechs can help deal with Ogrémoch’s Bane. The adventurers’ arrival gave her the motivation and the opportunity to put her theory to the test.

She had spoken to the party before, saying “Let me tell you something Burrow Warden Kargien won’t listen to and I can do nothing about at my age. There’s an evil elemental spirit, you see, that’s haunted Blingdenstone since before it fell. Now the creature keeps to the Miners’ Hall, but who’s to say it’s going to stay there? Once it gets the idea in its gravel head to send elementals our way, there won’t be much we can do.”

“But pechs have moved into the old Armorers and Weaponsmiths Guild. They know elementals, and if anyone can help us deal with Ogrémoch’s Bane, it’s them. Talk to them. Do what you can.”

“Kargien might not thank you for it, but I will. I assure you, the gratitude of an old woman is something to be treasured.” She winked at the group.

Alora asked the group if she can take a look at what Henkala has this time around. Kade joins her. Henkala welcomes her the makeshift shop, which is just a counter and a magic chest where she keeps her merchandise. She hopes to get her building rebuilt in the near future. If the group helps fix Blingdenstone’s problems, exiled deep gnomes will hear about it and move back to the town. She’s particularly happy that the party will take on the Bane.

The rest of the party spends time outside talking and watching the barricades here for another orc attack. To the disappointment of some, the orcs are a no-show.

The Barracks

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Wide columns of stone divide this large central cavern, which now serves as a barracks for weary gnome warriors. The Speaking Stones are on the eastern side, and the Singing Stones are to the west.

The Singing Stones was once a tavern that attracted large crowds to hear minstrels perform by altering the pitch of vibrations emitted by a specific type of crystal. Few members of other races could hear the vibrations, let alone appreciate the intricate harmonies, but svirfneblin consider it the highest form of music.

Although the tavern is in ruins, Gurmadden Stonesinger, the eager young bard, is striving to recreate the effect of the stones. Gurmadden is cheerful and earnest, and he welcomes adventurers who show any interest in his work. However, he is unlikely to get results without help.

When he saw the party the last time he explained, “Many of the stones were damaged in the drow assault and over the years since. I know where replacements can be found, but the journey is too dangerous for me to undertake. Fine crystals from the Wormwrithings sing perfectly, but kobolds infest the place.”

“Those same kobolds have moved into the southeastern caverns of our city. Kargien thinks they must have found a passage from the Wormwrithings.” Gurmadden hesitates, nervously twisting a silver ring set with a fire opal around his finger.

Then he says, “I know it’s asking a lot. But you’d be doing me and the city a great service if you’d cut your way through the kobolds, find the passage they’re using, gather at least six singing crystals, and close the passage on your way back.” He showed the party a few of the crystals he’s looking for. He offered to pay 10 gold for each one the party brought back.

Kade asked him about his ring. He said it was a family heirloom that dates back before the fall of Blingdenstone. The Stonesingers used to be important folk at that time.

Seeing the party this time around, he expresses his hope that they would be keen on taking on his quest first. He also heard stories of the fight in the Golden Hills Hearth and even the infirmary and promises to start writing songs about it.

Outside of that, the party is able to rest uneventfully.

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01-03 - Arriving at Blingdenstone

Chapter 01 – Blingdenstone

03 – Arriving at Blingdenstone

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From the Surface, Down.

About a century ago, several thousand svirfneblin called Blingdenstone home. Svirfneblin are also known as deep gnomes. The most notable difference between them and other gnomes is their dark grey complexion. Their former settlement is a mere forty-five miles from Menzoberranzan, the drow city, but the gnomes used illusion, geomancy, and traps to avoid drow attention. This peaceful existence was shattered, however, when drow came in force to enslave the svirfneblin. Fewer than a thousand gnomes escaped to the surface, finding refuge in city of Silverymoon in the Silver Marches, where most have lived in exile ever since.

In the last four decades, svirfneblin have begun moving back into the ruins to recover their homes, with aid from the folk of the Silver Marches. But developments in the past few years have drawn the attention of surface folk away from Blingdenstone. Efforts to reclaim the ruins have stalled. The gnomes’ supplies and numbers have begun to dwindle. They need help to reclaim what is rightfully theirs.

The caravan arrives at the base camp in the entrance of a cave on the side of a mountain. The gnomes were expecting the caravan. Their guide is a svirfneblin explorer named Briddick, who is slender with slate-gray skin, a bald head, and wide, gray eyes. He leads the way through secret tunnels and a winding labyrinth. As travel down, Briddick starts sharing with the group. He mentions that the town is thankful that this caravan was able make it in, they are in need of those supplies. Alora tells him the story of your trip, with different members adding their bits here and there. Briddick is impressed and expresses his thanks again, he says that you must be the help that was promised to them from Silverymoon. He looks at the elves and says that another person like them arrived a few days before to help also, though he’s not dressed for battle like the group is. Finally, the team reaches the ruined city. Work to repair damage the drow dealt continues. The gnomes wear tattered armor and bloody bandages. They carry notched and broken weapons, suggesting that the fighting has been fierce and frequent.

Brando had provided Rynox with a map, the link is here – Blingdenstone Map

The gnomes have already reclaimed areas 1 – 5 (the entrance areas), 8 (the Ruby in the Rough), 11 (The Silent Shrieker), 12 (Phantasmal Glamours), 13 (The Trader’s Grotto), 15 (The Singing Stones), 16 (The Golden Hllls Hearth), and 18 (The Speaking Stones).

The main entrance to Blingdenstone is a wide stairway between two walls of stone. The stairs go up to a landing. Beyond the landing are two immense metal-banded doors that open into the city. In the wall of the stairway, a tunnel sized to allow ore carts through leads up to a small side chamber. After such carts are hitched to a chain at the bottom of the tunnel, a single svirfneblin can turn the crank at the top of the ramp, hauling carts up to the landing. The merchants part ways with the group at this point, again expressing their thanks.

Blingdenstone is a series of chambers connected by low tunnels. Past the entrance doors is the largest cavern, home to the city guard and designed solely for defense. A narrow corridor, where even gnomes must march single file, leads into the rest of the city from the entrance cavern.

The adventurers’ guide led them up the stairway and through the defensive labyrinth in the entry cavern. Neither the maze’s twisting tunnels nor the deadly traps found in them are accurately depicted on the map. If the group wishes to leave, they must secure a gnome guide to lead them out or risk becoming hopelessly lost in the tunnel network.

The svirfneblin have secured a ring of caverns and tunnels surrounding what was once the temple of Segojan Earthcaller. Barricades assembled from rubble define the boundary between the reclaimed portion of the city and the wilderness beyond. Where the gnomes’ boulder-like buildings still stand, they are cracked and crumbling, testimony to the fury of the drow attack that destroyed Blingdenstone. Shallow caves in the ruins are deserted, but some still show signs of those who once lived within. Connecting tunnels are choked with bones and debris, although the gnomes tidy the remains when they are able.

Briddick introduces them around and then has to run off as he is needed elsewhere. The group tries to gather information. Almost everyone strikes out pretty badly, except Kade and Pugg. They find out the following needs doing -

1. The Bane – The owner of Phantasmal Glamours (a spell component shop catering to illusionists), Henkala Shadowsong, says that there’s an evil force called Ogrémoch’s Bane that is influencing earth elementals in the Hall of Miners (area 6), making them dangerous. The group needs to secure the help of some creatures called pechs to help them with the Bane. The pechs are living in the Armorers and Weaponsmiths Guild in area 7.

2. The Wormwrithings – The young bard, Gurmadden Stonesinger, was the group to collect singing stones for him. One of the leaders of Blingdenstone, Burrow Warden Kargien Dissengulp, wants them to clear it out of kobolds. Someone needs to close off whatever passage they are using to get in and collect singing crystals in the Wormwrithings. Gurmadden’ll pay 10gp for each stone.

3. The Crown of Blingdenstone – The Crown was lost in the House Center. There is an evil in the House Center that needs to be cleared out. This came from one of the leaders of Blingdenstone, Burrow Warden Kargien Dissengulp. Kade and Pugg could tell he wants to wear the crown himself.

4. Wake the Speaking Stones – The priest Pingtu believes the Stones are silent because of a drow curse. He needs the group’s help to life the curse and revive the Speaking Stones.

5. Stop the Orc Raids – The healers Jalless and Krell in the Trader’s Grotto say that someone needs to stop the orc raids. Jalless does not like Kargien, he is unworthy of the crown.

6. Negotiate Trade with Mantol-Derith – Supply manager Fendrick Pestle needs the group to go on a trade mission to the trading post Mantol-Derith. For some reason they won’t trade with the gnomes, so the group must not let on that they are with the gnomes.

As the group was collecting the above information, something happened. They were talking to Fendrick in the Golden Hills Hearth, 4 orcs attack the northern barricade. They all wear studded leather armor and wield greataxes, much like KalEl’s. The gnomes defending it don’t look like they will stand a chance, they are outnumbered and half the size of their attackers.

In a large temple that dominates this cavern, the keen ears of the wood elf monk Calidor hear the sounds of battle.

01 03   orcs at golden hills hearth pt01

Orc Attack Part 01

Gnome 1 yells at Orc 1 in Gnomish, and to the party’s surprise he becomes blurry. Out of the temple to the East, the wood elf Calidor comes running out with his longbow, wearing what looks like monk garb and heavily tattooed. He lines up a shot and hits Orc 1 through the arm (-3 hp).

Alora runs up, lines up her shot and also hits Orc 1, her shot goes through the orc warrior’s leg (-3 hp). He is starting to get bloody. Mialee runs out and shoots at Orc 3, hitting him in the forearm (-3 hp). The orc yells and becomes enraged.

Orc 1 swings at Gnome 1 with his great axe (much like the one used by KalEl) and misses his blurry opponent. Orc 2 has better luck. His great axe cleaves deep into the shoulder of Gnome 3, who yells out a death cry and falls to the ground (-11 hp). In his rage, Orc 3 jumps over the barricade and runs at the party with a war cry!

Seeing the Orc charging, Kade gets besides his elven sisters and lets loose a shot, but misses. KalEl’s first instinct is to face his opponent toe-to-toe and charges full speed at Orc 3. Pugg follows behind him. He curses that the orc is looking like he is just out of range of his divine wrath. Pugg pulls out his crossbow with a grumble while he is running up. Moradin must be with him as he fires the bolt, since it strikes the charging Orc 3 right between the eyes (20!). With wide eyes, the orc’s head jerks back as his feet keep going forward, falling backwards to the ground dead.

Seeing his friend felled by Orc 2, Gnome 2 goes blurry also.

With KalEl running so far ahead, Rynox runs to catch up. However he lags a bit behind, as dwarf’s legs are shorter than those of his half-orc friend.

Orc 4 sees his fellow warrior go down. He yells angrily (KalEl can understand, “For Gruumsh!”), jumps over the barricade and tries to charge at the group but comes up a little short.

01 03   orcs at golden hills hearth pt 02

Orc Attack pt 02

Grey gnomes have a very communal society. Since they are young, they are conditioned to work together in teams. Maybe it came about as a way to survive the many dangers of the Underdark. Naturally that teamwork is part of how grey gnomes fight. Thanks to Gnome 2 also engaging Orc 1, Gnome 1 is able to coordinate his attack with Gnome 2 and drive his pick into the guts of Orc 1 (-7 hp), taking the orc down.

Calidor sees the party seems to be helping out the gnomes and runs up. He pauses for a split-second and whispers to himself, “Mialee? Here?” But seeing the grey gnomes in need, he recovers his focus and lets loose another arrow, this time at Orc 2. The arrow strikes the orc (-4 hp) who grunts loudly trying to hold back a pain filled scream.

“Wait, is that…Calidor?!” Alora thinks for a moment, but regains her composure as she sees Orc 4 about to clash with KalEl. With her bow in her left hand, she reaches for her wand that is in a pocket of her robe with her right hand. With a slightly haughty tone her race is known for, she exclaims, “Eat cold death, vile creature!”. She gestures and mutters a magic word effortlessly, causing a thin blue ray streaks from her wand to Orc 4. The ray strikes true. The orc starts to shiver and starts to visibly slow down (-2 hp).

Mialee runs up and finds herself next to the stranger that has joined the battle on her party’s side. She opens her eyes wide, “Calidor!? Brother!!” she yells out. Calidor looks back with surprised look he tries to hold back. Before he can say anything, she interrupts him with frowned eyes and a smile, “There will be time for cheer soon, after we finish fighting this scum!” She fires her arrow at Orc 2 and nicks him (-2 hp).

Orc 2 is starting to bleed badly. With two of his pack down, he begins to fear for his life. “I must warn the boss!” he tells himself to justify his flight. However, in his panic and with the blood he is spilling, he slips trying to get over the barricade set up by the gnomes and cannot get over it. “You won’t get away, you coward!” yells Gnome 2 in Common.

Kade sees his opening. But as he rushes up next to Mialee he also pauses, “Who’s Cali…?” he thinks to himself with a confused expression. He then spurts out, “Wait…Calidor!” He then quickly thinks back, “I have to take the shot!” With his time living in the streets, Kade learned how to press an advantage over his opponents. He learned long ago that few threats are more dangerous than a group of thieves ganging up on an opponent; there’s not such thing as fighting dirty when life and death are on the line. With Gnome 2 engaging Orc 2 and the orc having his back turned, Kade grins. He fires his arrow and drives it right into the middle of orc’s back (-3 hp and -3 hp sneak attack). The orc loses his wind and cannot let out that final scream as his mouth opens wide in the attempt. He can only wheeze and cough up blood as he slumps awkwardly face first onto the barricade.

With his opponent close at hand, KalEl instinctly enters into his rage with a mighty war cry, “The pain is coming, sheepfucker!” He crouches low and charges Orc 4, speartackling him into the ground (-4 hp) and restraining him.

Pugg runs up and tries to take a shot at Orc 4 with his crossbow. He’s unable to get a clear shot with KalEl on top of him and misses.

Seeing what KalEl is trying to do, Rynox moves up on Orc 4 while he takes out his maul. He swings low and hits Orc 4 across the face with that giant sledgehammer. However, he holds back enough to knock out the orc rather than kill him, bringing the battle to an end.

01 03   orcs at golden hills hearth pt 03

After the Fight

With the orcs defeated, the party can finally drop their guard. Mialee jumps on Calidor and they give each other a big hug. “Brother!” she exclaims in Elvish with a big smile. “Yes, it is I, my dear sister.” responds Calidor in Elvish with a relaxed tone and a slight smile. Kade and Alora come over to also greet their friend Calidor. Being High Elves, Kade and Alora as little more reserved and exchange light hugs with Calidor rather than the hearty embrace he shared with Mialee (“Wood elves,” they would both think to themselves). They all talk in Elvish. KalEl and Rynox are busy stripping the prisoner to his undergarments while he is unconscious and tying him up.

Pugg clears his throat, “Who is this guy again? And talk Common like the rest of us.” Rynox and KalEl are still too busy with the prisoner to hear. Alora responds, “My apologies, friend Puggter. Calidor is Mialee’s brother. We are so excited because we have not seen him for a long time, even for us Elves. We grew up togther. But he was accepted into Order of the Silver Arrows many years ago. It is an order dedicated to our Lady, Sehanine Moonbow.”

Calidor pipes in, “My apologies, brave dwarf, it was rude of me to speak in our native tongue in your presence. My name is Calidor. I was sent here to offer assistance to the deep gnomes here in Blingdenstone.” Pugg replies, “Puggter. That over there is my cousin, Rynox. And the big guy is KalEl. Mialee is a friend. That was good shooting.” He shakes hands with Calidor’s hand with a firm grip. They are interrupted as they hear some gnomes yelling in Common -

  • “Someone please help us!”
  • “Krick is dying!”
  • “We need a healer!”
  • “Our friend needs help!”

“We need to help!” says Mialee. Pugg nods, “We’ll pick this up later. The rest of you should take a look at the bodies.” Pugg and Mialee rush over to the gnomes. Alora says, “Let us search the bodies.” Kade looks at the fallen orc close by. Alora and Calidor follow the priests, as there are two bodies in the barricade.

When Pugg and Mialee arrive, they pause at the large wound caused by the orc. “The orc did this with just one blow?!” mentions Mialee. Pugg uses Spare the Dying to bring back the gnome. Mialee casts Cure Wounds to try to restore some of his health back. The gnome is brought back far from the brink of death. He and his friends are amazed and bow deeply in gratitude. “Thank you for saving my life.”

The party recovers 34 silver pieces and the equipment used by the orcs. Rynox and KalEl ask Pugg who the new guy is. Pugg tells them that’s Mialee’s brother. Fendrick finally steps away from the supply store to talk to the group, accompanied by two gnomes. “Good fighting. Thanks for the help.” He looks at the prisoner Rynox and KalEl are holding. “Kargien will want to have his gnomes handle the interrogation. We will share what we find with you. These orcs have been a pain in our asses for most of the year and this is the first time we had one in custody. Please hand him over.” The party members look at each other. Pugg starts to nod OK. Alora agrees and speaks for the group, “Very well, you can have our prisoner. Would it be prudent for us to participate in the interrogation, good Fendrick?” Fendrick motions to the two gnomes and they proceed to escort the prisoner, shoving him and menacing him with their picks.

Fendrick watches them as they walk away. He turns back to the group, “What have you got there?” He looks over at the salvage the group collected. “Tell you what, we could use the steel and the leather from that stuff. I’ll give you 10 gold.” Puggter frowns, “Someone else will give us a better price.” Fendrick smirks, “I’ve been told you’ve been walking around our little town today. I think you know that I’m the only game in town right now for this kind of stuff, friend dwarf. Henkala only deals in illusionist stuff.”

Kade interrupts, “10 gold is an insult, my friend, but I know you would not insult us after the help we have offered Blingdenstone. But we are in a generous mood and don’t feel like carrying this merchandise around. 20 gold. The equipment would be a bargain at twice the price.” Fendrick looks at Kade right in the eye for a moment. “Very well. I’ll need you to bring it over to the store.” Kade extends his hand and Fendrick shakes it, the deal is done. Fendrick offers a silk rope in exchange for the one lost to the prisoner. KalEl grunts and takes it.

The group walk away from Fendrick, towards the large abandoned hall in the cavern to get some privacy. Pugg says, “This matter of the earth elementals and the pechs sound interesting. Let’s help with that first.” Alora agrees, “That would be interesting indeed. I’ve never seen a pech or an elemental in real life. How intriguing an adventure that would be!” Rynox says, “The orcs are a big pain here. We should go kill them.” Mialee objects, “Pugg and I saw that they did to that gnome, we should get more combat experience before taking those orcs on. We don’t even know how many there are or how well they are organized.” KalEl grunts out, “The Bane.” Kade nods, “Yes, I agree. The Bane.”

Calidor says, “Since I’m here for the same thing you all are, maybe I could join you?” Mialee says, “Of course! You must!” She realizes that she did not check with the group yet, “Well, if it is OK with everyone else, is it?” Kade says yes. Alora says of course. Pugg says, “Well, since you are Mialee’s kin that should be fine.” Rynox interjects, “When things get rough, you better pull you weight, that’s all I’m saying.”

KalEl looks at Calidor, “Are you only an archer? Where is your armor? You only fight with those little daggers?” Calidor responds, “As part of our training growning up we learn to use the bow. And my order is one of the few that embraces it. But when things get rough…” Calidor punches a nearby stone stalagmite with his bare fist, breaking it, “…I’ll be sure to lend a hand.” The party is impressed, this being the first time some have seen a monk.

Pugg says, “It’s settled. Now to get these pechs to journey with us.” Mialee says, “Pugg, I just need some rest first. We should probably stay at the barracks in the Singing Stone where we met that bard, Gurmadden I think was his name. But we should probably walk through the infirmary first and help out a little.” Everyone agrees. They start walking.

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01-02 - First Test
An Ambushy Thing Happened On The Way

Chapter 01 – Blingdenstone

02 – First Test

Post to the forum here → Chapter 01 Forum

Heading out.

The dawn of the second day arrives. The team meets the caravan at Hunter’s Gate, which is the entrance to the city of Silverymoon that goes directly to the market area. Everyone is geared up and ready to go. Mialee hands everyone a healing potion that she made for each of them, thanks to Brando getting her the valuable materials she needed.

It is a 3 wagon caravan with the lead wagon being covered. It is a group of 4 merchants with 4 guards. Two of the merchants brought a young boy each to assist them. The team is asked to ride inside the lead wagon as guests of the merchants. The guards will provide for their safety.

They head out to the Northdark. Alora mentions that Kade used to take trips there with her fath…she realizes it may be a difficult subject to bring up. Kade holds her hand, it is fine. He tells them that his family was killed in a fire and that he believes they were murdered. But his trips with his father to places like that Northdark were fond memories and shares a story or two with the group. He says proudly that his father’s willingness to trade with merchants in the Northdark helped him prosper; “You have to be willing to do what others won’t so that you can have what they can’t,” he would advise Kade.

Trip Interrupted…

Goblin Boss Zot decided that his group was getting restless. And when goblins get restless they start doing dumb things like challenging him for leadership. While thinking about what to do, his main enforcer bugbear, Nurb, said that maybe they should ambush a caravan, kill everyone and take their stuff. Zot then had a brilliant idea, “Let’s ambush a caravan, kill ’em, and take their stuff.” His boys got excited.

They arrived at a great spot by a bridge. “Here’s the plan. Nurb, you take these 5 and hide out on that side of the bridge, we’ll hide out on the other end. When the caravan gets on the bridge, we’ll jump them from both sides. That way they can’t run awayz! You got it!” Nurb nods.

As they wait, Nurb can’t believe how lucky they were. A lightly guarded caravan was coming by with just 4 guards. This was going to be easy. Unfortunately for Zot, Nurb gets a little too excited and gets his crew to attack before they cross the bridge. Now there are two things goblins are very good at – hiding and bushwhacking. They make short work on the two guards by the lead wagon before anyone knows what’s happening.

Globin Ambush Round 01

A Bit More Carnage

Zot yells out in Goblin, “NURB YOU IDIOT!!! YOU SUPPOSE TA WAIT!!!” He looks at his guys, “What are you dummies waiting for? An invitation! Run over there!” The goblins on the other side of the bridge run out to join the attack.

Nurb is in full bloodlust mode like the rest of his crew. If Zot said anything, he didn’t hear it. He and his goblins assault the two frightened merchants in the lead cart.

The heroes now realize what is going on and get their weapons ready as quickly as they can. Alora get a chance to cast Mage Armor on herself. Pugg blesses the group. Unfortunately for the merchants, the heroes are not ready in time to help. The merchants behind are frozen in fear, as are their guards.

01 02   globin ambush pt 02

Goblin Ambush Part 01

The goblins are overjoyed and in a frenzy as to how easy this ambush is turning out to be. The prey is falling under their maces and arrows. They dream of the riches from the haul and all of the Swords in hand, Kade kicks open the left door and runs through Gob 8, who was busy attacking a now dying merchant. The Gobs 5 and 6 and the Goblin Boss pause, looks like this isn’t going to be that easy, they wait to see what happens next.

Out the door comes out a big pissed off half-orc. KalEl cracks a bit of a smile as he sees that the biggest guy in the crowd is about to meet is axe. He jabs the bugbear hard with the head of his axe (+9 damage), the bugbear grimaces as he felt ribs crack.

The Goblin Boss opens his eyes wide and fire an arrow at the beastly half-orc, but he was too shocked and fires widely. He yells at the Goblins to take him out! Goblin 5 runs forward and fires an arrow that hits the barbarian, but only to find that the arrow falls to the ground not even piercing the skin! Goblin 6 attempts to shoot also but breaks his bow string. He throws a little tantrum and slams his bow to the ground.

Goblin 9 wants to see what’s going to happen on his side of the wagon. Before his eyes the wagon door swings open and he sees Gob 11 convulse and drop dead as lightning comes out of Alora’s elven hands when she touches the goblin with her Shocking Grasp.

Meanwhile, Goblin 4 rushes towards the barbarian and unleashes an arrow which misses. The bugbear answers the half-orc’s attack and is filled with pride as he lands his morningstar right on the center of the chest. His eyes open wide when he sees that KalEl hardly flinches (+10 dmg turns to only +5 damage because of barbarian rage damage resistance). Goblin 1 hangs back to stay at his boss’ side, he fires an arrow at KalEl and misses.

Lots of goblins and fighting up close, Rynox decides to take out his trusty handaxes and comes out swinging on the right door of the wagon. He decapitates Goblin 10. Goblin 3 runs up and fires a shot at Rynox and nicks him (+2 dmg).

While KalEl is fighting the bugbear, Mialee whips around from behind, with shield and shortsword in hand. She lets out a prayer and the area in front of her lights up in magenta, thanks to Faerie Fire. The bugbear and Gob 4 avoid the effects, but Goblins 5, 6, and 7 become enveloped in the magenta glow.

Puggter pops out of the wagon following Rynox. He needs for a moment and touches the fallen guard. He then rushes out of the wagon and charges Goblin 9 with his battleaxe. Unfortunately the little guy was too quick and gets out of the way.

Goblin 7 makes his way through the thick shrubbery and his mace lands squarely on the Mialee’s side (+4 dmg), she howls in pain. Lastly Goblin 2 rushs up and takes a swing at Pugg with his mace, which Pugg easily bats away with his axe.

HP → Alora = 7, Kade = 7, KalEl = 10, Mialee = 5, Pugg = 11, Rynox = 11.

01 02   globin ambush pt 03

Goblin Ambush pt 2

Hearing Mialee’s howl, Kade reacts with a protective instinct of a century-old friend. With some recklessness, he moves behind KalEl but not before the bugbear could take a swipe at him. Kade reflexively avoids the bugbear’s morningstar with ease. As he comes around Mialee he finds his mark – a goblin with a smile a mile wide winding up for another big hit on Mialee. That wind up is abruptly interrupted as Kade, with Moradin’s blessing, quickly twirls his shortsword and drives it through the goblin’s trapezius and into his rib cage. Before Goblin 7 could even let out a peep, Kade drives his other shortsword through the right side of his skull. As he pulls out his blades, the goblin drops like a rag doll.

The Goblin Boss cannot believe that this is happening. Sure Nurb screwed up again and started the attack early, but things were going so well! Where in the Hells did these people come from?! “Kill them all!!!” he yells as he fires an arrow at KalEl, but the barbarian’s scale armor does its job and deflects the arrow. He curses again in Goblinish.

Goblin 5 is angered that his buddy, Goblin 7, went out like a little bitch, to an elf no less! He rushes Kade with mace in hand and connects but Kade’s leather armor absorbs the blow. Goblin 6 rushes through the shrubbery to finish the job Goblin 7 started with Mialee. He swings and connects (+3 dmg), hitting her leg. She buckles but recovers.

KalEl can sense that the bugbear wants to finish off his friend druid. But as the bugbear gets a grin from seeing Mialee being set up for him to finish her, KalEl sees his opening. KalEl swings his axe around and drives it right into the chest of the bugbear. The smile turns into a scream, his last.

Goblin 9 takes a swipe at Pugg with his mace, Pugg effortlessly swipes his attacks away. Pugg yells out, “That’s all you got? You are the weakest goblins I’ve ever had to kill! And by Moradin, I have to!”

Alora is a mage. Mages don’t wear armor. And the only cover is this wagon. She’s never killed a goblin in her life. She only read about them or heard other elves talk about battling them. But she just killed one seconds ago. She’s excited. She wants to kill more! She sees that her lifelong friend Mialee is in trouble. She can see Goblin 6 through the wagon door, glowing magenta. She crouches down, draws her longbow at an angle since space is tight, and lets out a shot, saying “Have at thee base goblin!” Now normally this was not one of her better shots, however, she feels a divine hand correcting her aim just as she lets loose her arrow and it finds the left side of Goblin 6’s skull, going right through. She has a new respect for Moradin and his cleric.

Goblin 4 just saw Nurb the bugbear go down, he saw his buddy Goblin 5 take one to the head, but he seems that elven druid barely holding it together. “I can go in, take her out, and get out of here. I would have taken one of them out!” he thinks as he goes in for the kill. But Mialee is not dead yet, she summons her strength and swats away the goblin’s attack. Goblin 1 takes a shot at her, but the arrow flies wide to the right, into the shrubs that are providing her cover.

Rynox axe has tasted blood. The axe speaks to him. It is thirsty for more. His other axe is jealous of the first one. He likes to keep them happy. He advances next to his cousin. It’s the first time they were fighting someone to the death together. He liked having Pugg on his side. It felt right. His right axe cleaves Goblin 2’s head in half. It is happy. However, his left axe continues to go wanting, as Goblin 9’s armor saves him from that attack. Goblin 3 comes in to avenge Goblin 2 and misses pathetically. “You are right, Pugg! They do suck at this! Moradin’s will be done!”, Rynox says with a laugh.

Mialee knows her goddess is with her. She utters a quick prayer and the moon goddess heals her wounds completely. The goblins see that the elf looks like nothing happened to her and are starting to doubt they will make it out of this alive. Pugg briefly touches the fallen merchant. Pugg then summons the power of Moradin and commands Goblin 9, “Fall!” Goblin 9 thinks that makes perfect sense. He drops to the ground.

HP → Alora = 7, Kade = 7, KalEl = 10, Mialee = 9, Pugg = 11, Rynox = 11.

01 02   globin ambush pt 04

Goblin Ambush pt 3

Life in the hard streets have taught Kade that when your life or the life of those you care about are on the line, there’s no such thing as fighting dirty – there’s only fighting to win. Goblins 4 and 5 were on the wrong side of that fight today. The glow of the faerie fire beckons for their slaughter. They take their eyes off Kade for just a moment after seeing the monstrous half-orc fell the bugbear. Kade’s eyes turn white. That is all the opening he needed, with his right hand sword Kade stabs Goblin 4 in the neck. Goblin 5 quickly reacts and evades, but Kade feels a divine hand guiding his left blade through the goblin’s heart. “No slimy goblin touches my girls,” he mutters. He feels impressed with blessing that Moradin’s cleric conferred on him.

Goblin Boss Zot is furious! Out of frustration he fires an arrow at KalEl. It strikes the barbarian right in the arm. The arrow falls down. The barbarian does not even bleed. His eyes looks straight into those of the goblin. Anger gives way to the chill of complete fear, Zot is now certain that if he stays any longer this will be his last day. He turns tail and runs.

KalEl wastes no time. He is not letting that little bastard get away. But that little bastard kept his distance on purpose, he as a good head start. In his rage, KalEl wants to kill him so badly! He puts his axe away and draws his new longbow. He hits the Goblin boss in the back, but the goblin is still standing!

Alora sees that there are two goblins in the way and pauses a moment to allow the dwarves to finish their work. Goblin 9 shakes his head and wonders how he ended up on the ground. He quickly gets up. But it’s too late.

Goblin 1 is freaking out. His boss is taking off and running. The beast that killed Nurb is just a few feet away. He prepares to shoot his arrow, hoping to wound the monster in the leg so he can get away. His bow breaks. “FFUUUUUUUUUUUUCKKK ME!”, he runs with tears in his eyes. And puddle of pee forms beneath him.

So why is it too late for Goblin 9? Because Rynox axes slam down their weapons as he walks between them. As Rynox passes through, his axes find the backs of the necks of both Goblin 9 and Goblin 3. Pugg bats away Goblin 9’s flying head with his shield. Their bodies stand for a moment spurting blood in the air like gruesome fountains, and they drop to the ground. Rynox’s left axe is finally happy to have its thirst quenched. Pugg is a little disappointed his own axe goes wanting.

Just as the bodies drop, with such grace as if she were floating in air, Alora runs past the dwarves with her longbow in hand. She stands next to KalEl and exclaims, “Fall, foul goblin, for your reward is Justice this day!” However, she fires but she fails to line up the shot like she wanted. “Curses!” she mutters, a bit embarrassed. But suddenly a gust of wind blows over the bridge. That gust of wind, the hard step of his feet, his heart beating so fast, these are the last things Zot feels. The arrow lands squarely in the boss goblin’s skull. He drops face first to the ground. Alora jumps for joy. In that moment she forgets herself and hugs KalEl, bow in hand, despite the odor he is starting to build up. She actually finds herself thanking Moradin before she realizes what she’s doing.

Pugg heard that, as he appears next to Alora. “The friends of Moradin will find him generous with victory in battle, as will his enemies find him generous with his righteous anger!” With that Pugg yells in Dwarvish, points the holy symbol on his shield towards the very wet goblin as the goblin is burned by sacred flames. He screams and flails has he burns but he does not die. The arrow through the head does that. An arrow that Mialee also thought was going to miss. “Praise Moradin indeed,” she says softly as she looks intently at the goblin giving up the ghost, his body being consumed by the growing flames, as if he were a sacrifice to the Dwarven god.

01 02   globin ambush pt 05

Overwhelming Victory

After the Goblins are defeated, and before Alora can hug Pugg too, Pugg rushes over to the guard and the merchant on the other side of the caravan. Mialee dispells the faerie fire. Alora collects herself and says, “Sorry about that, brave KalEl.” KalEl blushes a little. She waves her hand and both she and KalEl have a pleasant perfume. KalEl is a little confused, he never smelled like perfume. He does not know if he likes it or not. Everyone goes to see what Pugg is doing. Rynox and Mialee though look around to see if more enemies are about. They don’t sense anything. The remaining people in the two carts behind run over and thank the group for saving their lives.

Pugg kneels to touch the guard. He stands and touches the merchant. The group notices that they are breathing again, as are the other guard and merchant. It turns out that they were dying, and had not passed on yet. “Moradin spared their lives,” Puggter states and he prays. When he is done, “Praise Moradin!” shout the merchants and guards.

Everyone takes a moment to catch their breath. “We need to move to a safer location,” Mialee says. Rynox nods in agreement. “We need to put the injured in the wagon then,” says Pugg. Rynox nods in agreement. “We need to check the bodies for clues,” says Alora. “Yeah, clues,” says Kade with a detectable sarcasm. KalEl nods in agreement with a smile.

Alora, Kade and KalEl look through the bodies and find pouches with silver and gold pieces, a couple of cheap ornamental gems, and 4 potions. Mialee, Pugg and Rynox help the injured into the wagon. They head out. Rynox and KalEl drive the horses of the wagon. Once they get a few miles out Rynox finds a good spot to rest. They set up camp and plan to rest through the day and night until the next morning. Pugg treats the wounded with Mialee’s help. Rynox leads Kade and KalEl on a hunt and they return with a dead boar. Alora identifies the potions as climbing potions. Mialee and Alora forage for berries and herbs.

That night, over dinner, the merchants offer the group 120 gold pieces in gratitude, this is clearly a big sacrifice for them but they realize that without the team’s help they would probably all be dead. The group asks for a moment to discuss. They have an informal vote. All except but Alora are in favor of accepting the money. She concedes and is in fact the one who graciously accepts the reward on behalf of the group.

The elves take turns watching as they do not require much rest. They do wake up partners amongst the others for short periods as they need more rest. The caravan continues its journey in the morning after some breakfast and other morning rituals.

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01-01 - First Mission

Chapter 01 – Blingdenstone

First Assignment

At the Golden Oak Inn

On a fateful night Kade was performing at the Golden Oak Inn in Silverymoon with Alora in attendance as part of show with a number of local acts. They both saw Mialee enter. Kade kept playing; the show must go on. Alora smiled, gracefully stood up and raised her hand to Mialee. It was odd that Mialee would come to a tavern, but maybe she came to hear Kade play. Behind Mialee entered two dwarves and a very large half-orc. Alora raised an eyebrow thinking that was odd. Mialee had already taken notice of Alora and made her way to her. The three behind her followed. “What in the name of the Goddess…” thought Alora. Mialee mentioned that they would find a table in the back and if Alora could get Kade when they were done and meet with them. Kade continued playing. He had recently made a new song, a song of hope and overcoming hardship.

After he was done and thanked his fans, he excused himself and Alora brought Kade to see group. The next act came on, a pair of lute players. They all ordered drinks and Mialee introduces Puggter, Rynox, and KalEl. When asked how they know each other, Mialee mentions that she knows KalEl and Rynox having met them in the Glimmerwood; she helped them survive orc search parties hunting them. Puggter is Rynox’ close cousin. She mentions if Kade remembers a certain bard and hands Kade a letter. Kade recognizes the seal.

They were being summoned. They were to stay at the Golden Oak until the closing of the bar; it would give them an chance to start sharing stories and knowing each other. A gnome in a red cloak would come to meet them. She would take them to they were to meet the person who called upon them, the bard Brando Lunablanca.

Like clockwork, a female gnome in a red cloak enters the inn. She looks over the room and walks over to the bar. She whispers to the innkeeper and gives him some money. He smiles. They both look over to the group and the innkeeper walks to the end of the bar closest to their table. “Why don’t you folks come with me?” He nudges his head towards the back of the place. Pugg whispers to the group as they all get up, “Remember to thank her for picking up the tab.”

The bartender leads you all to the back mentioning loudly that the Inn has a renowned cellar filled with rare wines and aged spirits (the drinking kind). Everyone is a bit excited about the prospect, but those hopes are dashed when, as the group gets out of sight, the gnome whispers, “Act natural, we are leaving through the back.” The weapons the group had to check at the door are returned to them and they all follow the gnome out.

The Mission

The gnome leads the group through a grove of trees in the center of this city block. She accepts the whispered thanks of the group for picking up the bill at the inn. She takes them to the back door of a building. She tells them to all to enter, that Brando is waiting in side. As the group enters, she grabs an orb, says some magic words, and copies of everyone appear. “I have to walk back now. Please go inside. This is so exciting!” she says with a smile and walks away. The copy of the group walk with her.

Inside the group meets a familiar face, Brando greets everyone with a big hug for each of them. A young human girl pours drinks for everyone, wine for the elves, whiskey for the dwarves and the half-orc, along with some hors d’oeuvres. “My friends, thank you for coming. I hope you were not made uncomfortable by all of our precautions, but these days you cannot be too careful. Please sit down. I hope these fine drinks will help set you at ease.”

There is plenty of seating for everyone in the group. The drinks are delicious. “Some call it luck, but I believe Destiny had weaved our paths together, each and everyone of us. I remember when Kade and I went around entertaining for that year and how I met the lovely Alora through him. I remember meeting Rynox, Puggter and KalEl after that harrowing experience which Rynox and KalEl survived with the help of Mialee. And I was blessed by the Moon Goddess for the privilege of knowing Mialee. And now look at all of you. I am pleased you have all completed your training and are now ready for whatever the world may bring. To new beginnings!” He raises his glass. “To new beginnings!” everyone responds and take a drink. The young girl comes around with bottles and refills everyone’s drinks as Brando continues talking.

“I will not mince words. I saw something special in each of you. You all exhibited, naturally without any manipulation, qualities that we find in the heroes that bards like me sing about or in the epic legends we have all heard or read. I must make a confession to make. I have been for sometime under the employ of a powerful group. This group has made it their mission to foster heroes in this world that is in such dire need of them. We are in a world where murders go without justice, where the innocent are enslaved, where the people are made powerless and oppressed by tyrants. I am sure none of you are strangers to these evils. I think each of you know what I am talking about. I offer you the opportunity like none you have ever received in your rather long lives (compared to us humans). Will you heed the call? Will you join together and make a difference?” He stands up and looks at everyone in the group.

The members exchange looks. Brando’s words struck a deep chord. With a creepy unison, everyone steps forward at once. “Yes!” says Alora, “Aye” say the dwarves, KalEl thumps his chest twice with his right hand, Mialee nods once. “Then it is settled. Our benefactors have found those that are in need of your help.”

Brando lays out the group’s first mission. They are to meet at Hunter’s Gate in two days at dawn. There they will be taken along with a merchant caravan to a village in the Northdark called the deep gnomish town of Blingdenstone. Years ago, the Drow of Menzoberranzan razed the town, killing every gnome that did not manage to escape. The survivors and their descendents are only now trying to re-establish the settlement. The gnomes are failing. The benefactors believe that there may be outside interference causing them to fail, including some organized group. The benefactors want the group to go to Blingdenstone and help remove this interference.

In the days leading up to the mission, Brando helps team get the equipment they need to be successful in their mission. (This is the generous equipment list everyone currently has in their character sheets).

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