Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Session 7: Goblins, Goblins, Everywhere!

The end of last session saw the party, rather unwisely, camping out in a dungeon infested with angry and forewarned redcaps.  Within minutes of spiking the door and laying down to get some much needed rest, the door was blown open by the sorceries of a goblin-mage attended by a large party of warriors.  To make matters worse, their attack was coordinated with another band of redcaps who entered the other side of the room from a crack in the wall.  Flanked by an overwhelming force of enraged redcaps, the situation seemed insurmountable.  Fortunately, the party seized initiative and Theon was able to hold the mage, while a sleep spell, cast by Jin, reduced the redcap forces to a more manageable size.

Bvar and Akillian moved quickly to intercept the redcaps coming through the crack in the eastern wall, while Caitlin blocked the western door and, thus, the party was able to keep from being flanked and overwhelmed by the redcap's superior numbers.  The redcaps were so incensed by the invasion of their stronghold that, despite the heavy casualties inflicted upon them, they continued to attack with vicious desperation.  Finally, when their defeat was inevitable, one redcap broke and ran.  Fearing that he was going to summon reinforcements, Akillian gave chase and saw the goblin about to crawl into a small tunnel at the far end of a corridor.  It was a long shot, but Akillian attempted to bring down the redcap with a thrown dagger.  The dagger struck the goblin in the back, causing it to stumble, but the badly wounded redcap managed to drag itself into the tunnel network that, among the party, only Bvar was small enough to enter.  Since Bvar was reluctant to pursue the wounded goblin into a possible ambush, the party decided that it was time to return to Glen Morag to heal and rest.  This was a tough choice, since they feared that in the days of their absence, the redcaps would reinforce their losses, forcing the party to reconquer the areas they had already cleared with such great effort.

As the party made their way to the crater's rim they heard howling in the distance.  The vengeful redcaps had loosed warg packs to hunt the interlopers.  Returning to the spot where they had left their horses, the party found only bloodstains and piles of warg dung.  Akillian immediately began to smear the warg dung all over himself in attempt to mask his scent.  Reluctantly, the rest of the party followed suit, and covered themselves in the foul-smelling feces of the evil beasts.  They then hid themselves out of sight, all except for Jin who couldn't find anyplace to hide - the good spots had already been taken.  As the howls grew louder, Jin became more frantic to get himself out of sight and finally elected to climb a tree.  Akillian's gambit paid off, and the wargs ran past without ever catching the scent of the party.

Once the pursuers were past them, the party made their way around the perimeter of the crater to avoid being intercepted by the returning warg hunters.  They found some bushes and decided to spend some time resting and praying as Theon had exhausted the divine grace of Lir, and most of the party members were in need of healing.  Unfortunately, the stink of warg was strong on them and it attracted a lone warg to investigate the smell where it oughtn't to have been.  It's head pushed through the bushes mere feet from where the party sat and it uttered a low, menacing growl and then howled an alert before leaping to attack Bvar.  Fortunately the heavily armoured dwarf was able to keep the vice-like jaws from his throat and he struggled to keep from being overborne by the great beast.  Unfortunately, the howl attracted another nearby warg who charged and leaped upon Akillian, bearing him down and savaging him like a dog would a rabbit.  The party was able to kill the wargs before Akillian bled to death and they were able to heal him.

The party decided that it would be better to wait until they were safely away from the wargs before attempting to rest any longer.  They encountered only one further warg before reaching the safety of Glen Morag the next day.  After purchasing a cart and two draft horses, the party decided that they needed some additional manpower to properly assault the redcap nest and hired a muleteer, a couple of mercenary soldiers named Gruffydd and Rhys, and a pack-bearer named Melfyn to carry their stuff and hold the torch.

Thus replenished the party returned to the crater leaving the muleteer and Gruffydd to guard the horses.  As the made their way over the rim and into the crater's basin they found that their fears were realized.  The lift at the sinkhole entrance was now guarded by two redcaps one of whom held a horn to signal an alert if enemies were spied.  Akillian sneaked up quietly behind the horn-bearer and slit his throat before they even knew he was there.  The other attacked with a vengeance, felling Akillian with a savage sword-thrust before bending to pick up the fallen horn dropped by his companion.  A well-placed shot from Jin's longbow killed the remaining redcap just as he was lifting the horn to his lips.  Thus, the recaps remained unaware of the party's return.

Descending into the sinkhole once again, the party found themselves caught in a crossfire of archery from the landing platform below and a ledge on the other side of the sinkhole.  Most of the arrows rebounded off the lift's cage, but one of them struck the mercenary Rhys in the neck, killing him instantly.  The party returned fire, killing two of the redcaps on the platform, and when the cage landed they fought their way clear.  Again, one of the remaining redcaps fled to summon reinforcements.  The element of surprise lost, the party elected to simply fight their way through the remaining redcap forces without attempting subterfuge.  They did, indeed, fight their way through the level's remaining defenders and their clever traps, making their way to the lift that would take them to the second level of the sinkhole.

As they descended in the lift to the second level, they found that the redcap's there had been forewarned of their presence and a large welcoming committee was waiting at the landing platform to greet them...

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