Rick's Hold

February 22

After a couple days in their keep, the party decided to renovate and add more buildings. After all, there were a good 40 more men to house (not to mention the housings for the current servants are already insufficient, which [along with insults from their dwarven employer] led to Jeremiah, the Butler, and a groom, some wonderful halfling, quit. Their loss).

While the building plans were paid for and finalised, the last of the men were outfitted as best as Rick’s Hold could afford to outfit them. The group also hired a full-time smith name Vitaliy to run the smithy they are adding to the keep premises.

Also, Gil Vihela suddenly realised he had gained a level without noticing it, so he upgraded himself accordingly.

After replacing the lost groom with a new one, and also hiring a new halfling (dime a dozen, aren’t they?), the party, led by Dimitri, decided to travel to the nearby kingdoms of elves and dwarves. The paladin and the bard hope to find resources, including horses, among the neighbouring demihuman realms as Rick’s Hold’s market left something to be desired. So, after returning home from a multi-month journey less than a week prior, the party apparently had wanderlust once again and took off upon a new adventure! Within three days, they ran into guards who informed them of raiders, composed of goblins and at least one ettin, that has passed by wreaking havoc recently, very recently.

The party aggressively took on the hunting of the creatures themselves. They briefly travelled to a nearby settlement to recruit a tracker to help them follow the retreating raiders. The tracker, though named Takahiro (his name means “Big Valuable”), has a strikingly similar accent to our monster tamer, Irwin, back at the keep.

Led by Big Valuable, the party was fast on the path of the raiders. Shortly into the journey, while they rested, the group was accosted by a roaming bulette. The huge, hungry beastie caught the majority of the group asleep, unarmed and armoured. Despite a few close calls, the party was able to put down the monster, using all the mighty weapons at their disposal, including a fireball, two searing lights and a lightning bolt. It was quite a light show! The forest burned brightly that night, probably. Or maybe not. We didn’t really get into that.

The party had Takahiro skin the monster, not knowing what else to do with it, and the wizard decided to hire him on permanently as their tracker. Once this was accomplished, the group went back to sleep with plans to continue on their way in the morning.

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February 13

The party returned to Riverton, where they gathered the magical items they had ordered from Admaris, the old elf wizard. Taking their scrolls, potions and other [potted meat] valuables from the war campaign, the group returned to Rick’s Hold and their keep. On the way, Dimitri and Nuati each hired a wizard to assist in creating items for the group.

Upon returning to their keep, the group is greeted by a horde of civilians, all wanting to pledge allegiance to one member of the party or another. Dimitri was welcomed by 25+ warriors, the beginnings of a warband to say the least. More people came to join Nuati and his non-erotic band of elves. And, much to his brother’s surprise, the Cleric found 5 dwarven warriors wanting for his arrival to join his cause.

The party accepted all newcomers, paid them and outfitted them as best they could with their hoarded loot. In addition to warriors and wizards, the paladin of Pelor was granted a larger holding of land, and gained the patronage of 4 more farming families.

It was a time of accountancy and paperwork. Much joy was had by all!

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February 5

The party made it safely to the outskirts of Seine, with their freed scout in tow, just in time to witness the beginnings of the trolls’ assault on the city’s walls. Led by the earlier escaped lizardman druid, several trolls were battering the wall down. A dozen militiamen fired arrows from the wall into the troll line, but to little effect overall. Behind the druid, a group of cavalry had clearly been heading for the enemy when they had become completely ensnared in an entanglement spell cast by the druid and that is where they remained when the party arrived. Several of the men and a few horses had been ferociously mauled while unable to get away from their antagonists, but many were still healthy and hale, only caught in the spell. The mighty Morgwais was amongst the latter, having enlisted Gigglecloud as his rider.

The paladins and other martial team members sprang into action against the nearest trolls and the druid leader. The bard immediately launched into song, bolstering the party, and the the wizard opened up the combat with a blast of lightning to the leader, his pet, and a couple trolls to boot. The cleric freed the snared riders right away, allowing them to join and (sort of) aid in the combat. The DM quickly forgot one of them, so a single soldier stood around in the middle of the melee, watching dispassionately.

Clearly not wanting to be outdone, Dimitri quickly dropped his shield in order to lay into his adversaries with even more vigor and brought ruin upon a few trolls while the rogue followed behind slashing downed trolls’ throats. The party’s timely arrival drew the attention of some of the troll attackers away from the city walls and the civilians thereon. Near the end of the combat, the trolls did break through the barrier separating them from the citizens of Seine. While the militiamen put up a brave and valiant effort, they stood no real chance against the powerful trolls who quickly ripped the dozen men apart, while only one troll was brought down by the entire force. (They did knock one down and keep it down until the party truly finished up the battle.)

While taking much of their resources, the party prevailed without losing a single member, though the trolls did indeed try.

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January 31

The little gray dwarf (a Smurfneblin non-technically) did indeed lead the party safely to the lizardman camp, a small set of caves, where they were immediately attacked, even while some members were still on the raft. The smurfneblin took some damage from his former captors, though he did not aid in the combat (either side).

The thief swam deeper into the caves before the rest of the party had finished the combat at the raft/entrance, where he was quickly surrounded by several lizardmen. The wizard, seeing his “ally” in peril and reacting quickly, assuming of course that his skilled, rogue companion would be more than capable of avoiding any serious harm, tried to kill him by flinging a fireball right at the halfling’s feet.

The fireball did the unexpected, burning and slaying several of the enemies while leaving the rogue untouched. Only afterwards would the wizard find out he had inadvertently scorched the thief’s snake familiar (oopsies?). The snake was “fine” (as in “not actually fine”), and after a quick spell from the cleric, was as good as a newly singed snake (mmm, delicious). No harm done, no need for the thief to be so sour. Jeez.

Following this battle, the party is engaged once again slightly deeper into the caverns. The wizard is blinded and rendered mostly useless at this point, so he whined about it a bit, leaving the rest of the work to the remainder of the party. The lizardmen in the caves were led by a relatively weak cleric of a crocodile god, who retreated quickly down a whirlpool to a lower level, right after blinding the wizard.

The cleric and Gil followed her down blindly (although not blindly, wink wink! ’Causethough they could still actually see). In the chamber beneath lay a monstrously overgrown crocodile, who was pissed at the intrusion and commenced chomping on the invaders. As more of the party joined the combat beneath the whirlpool, the thief (typical) raided the caves of valuables. While requesting aid from the wizard, who complied, the rogue pocketed a good portion of the loot without telling the rest of his companions. The group gets some valuables, including a necklace, but a golden comb remains out of sight and story; however the rest of the group is unaware and blissfully ignorant.

Taking several lizardmen prisoner, the party freed the captive scout from Seine who told them about a troll attack being planned against Seine. The heroes began to pack up and ready for the return march to Seine.

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January 24

The party crushed the animated objects and swiftly rendered the cause of their troubles (a Ravid) unconscious so it could no longer animate objects to thwart the group. After defeating the various beasties, the party made sure that the proprietor was re-animated from stone and were payed for their efforts. In return for their work on her behalf, the owner of the small shop offered to manufacture some simple potions and scrolls. Though the dwarves wanted to return to their keep post-haste, the rest of the party wanted to wait for their rewards to be crafted so they waited in the town of Riverton while their stuff got made.
Instead of kicking about and relaxing (who would want that?!) the group took on a new job for the region’s authorities in tracking down and hoping to defeat some marauding trolls. The party was told to report to an allied lizardman camp, where a scout of theirs was last known to have gone.
The group quickly realized that the lizard men were in fact no longer, if they ever even really were, allies. They engaged the scaled folk in combat but the Druidic leader of the lizardmen quickly retreated, turning into to crocodile and swimming away beneath the murky swamp water. The rest of the lizardmen were defeated quite soundly. The group ‘freed’ a captive gray dwarf and have enlisted his aid in recovering the taken scout. It seems the lizardmen have taken him, among possible others, as captives to be sacrificed in a nearby encampment.
Gathering their resources, the party is about to get on a rickety raft and entrust their travel to a captured gray dwarf slave. Though he is evil, the group believes he will guide them to the right place, as it is in his own best interest.

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January 17

The war is over!

There was a ceremony that the party mostly ignored and Gil was knighted. Morgwais was raised from the dead, though the group had to sell off most of their acquired weapons and armour to pay for it. After a brief rest and slight re-stocking of suppplies and gear, the party started on their return journey to Rick’s Hold and Home.

After 2 days of peaceful travel, the group came to the small settlement of Riverton, home of a mini-menagerie and mage shop. There were loose monsters from a small disaster in the shop, whereby several captives beasties got free.

The party was enlisted in returning the creatures to their cages and hopefully rendering the owner back to flesh from stone. (She got bit by a cockatrice). The party easily dealt with the reptile chickens and gave them (unconscious) back to the apprentice of the owner. Sir Krotchlikmeoff panicked at the sight of a rust monster and slaughtered it before it could reduce his prize armour to rust dust. The wizard berated him for his overzealous reaction until he himself accidentally slew a shocker lizard, which sort of shut him up. Besides those two mishaps, the rest of the creatures were returned to the shop alive, except for one shocker lizard that escaped up a chimney.

The party dealt with several animated objects (chairs, doors and a hat rack), 2 cockatrices, 3 shocker lizards, a rust monster and entered the final room to find a flying silver snake-thing with a three clawed arm. This thing was obviously responsible for the mischief, but it didn’t strike the party as evil, merely lost and confused. It hadn’t taken up arms against the group, but a small brigade of animated objects protected it mindlessly.

The wizard hopes to make an ally of the owner, as he has interest in his own menagerie in the future. What better way to acquire a cockatrice of one’s own after all?

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January 10

The party is assigned to accompany the cavalry in routing the retreating orc army. During the battle, the party slaughtered over a dozen goblins and several orcs before running afoul of a sorcerous orc who called in the aid of a fiendish Chimera.

Not shrinking from this new challenge, the group tackled (literally figuratively) this new beast with gusto, pomp, and pizazz. Quickly forcing the enemy caster into submission, the party soon turned their focus onto the Chimera, who was luckily more focused on eating the orcs foolish enough to be standing in front of it. While the orcs got chomped, the party rallied together and relatively quickly sent the evil beastie back to the depths from whence it originally came. During the titanic struggle, the party lost Morgwais (who will hopefully be raised) but nobody important cared.

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December 22

The army continued to be attacked by orcs and giants, a threat of increasing danger the longer the battle was prolonged. Morgwais and Gil led an attack on the giant(s!) with a small contingent of cavalry. Morgwais took a significant beating and beat a hasty retreat, much to Gil’s chagrin. With the point of their attack routed, the cavalry fell apart quickly, resulting in the death of a few soldiers and Abbot as well. Brody quickly, and wisely, disengaged like a coward before the same fate befell him.

While that disaster was underway, the rest of the party dealt with the combined forces of the remaining four giants and their accompanying band of orcs. After (relatively) quickly dealing with a sorcerous threat, the party slowly chopped the giants down to size, though this effort required the full expenditure of most of the party’s resources.

Though the party literally sweat and bled for every giant kill during the fight, it was the elven princess-ranger who stole every single final blow to every giant in her single-minded hatred for giants, her hated foes. What a glory hog.

The final giant (the one who killed Abbot) was the last to fall before the attack was thwarted. The party trudged wearily back to camp, less Tristan and Abbot, AND Giselle! Le boo.

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December 6
Against the Giants

…and the orcs and the undead and stuff, ow….

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November 22
Clusterf**k!

The party eventually returned successfully to the army’s camp. Refusing to leave their prisoners with the picket line, the group hid the halfling they had saved in Knurl among them invisibly while they passed through the various army sections.

Due to the importance of the information they had, the party set out immediately for the command tent, or pavilion if you will, of the Crown Prince to divest their tale. The Prince was attended by two of the paladin guard, a representative of the Wizard’s guild, Melan-Drach and his daughter, a couple lesser functionaries and, of course, the traitor Duke himself: Wince.

The Prince was concerned with the nature and aggression of our accusation, but before anything more could happen, all hell broke loose. The party became aware of screams and shouts from outside just after a dazed-looking Captain Ballsack entered the tent without reason, slowly advancing on the elven princess.

Before anyone could intervene, Ballsack seized the princess, attempting to drag her forcefully from the tent. Morgwais, standing in the entrance to the pavilion, at this point sees a great red dragon swooping over the camp. It set (what turned out to be the Wizard’s Guild’s pavilion) on fire with its first pass, and then was engaged with the Paladin Guard.

Inside the tent of the Crown Prince, while Ballsack attempted to kidnap the princess of Laughing Hollow, the wizard began casting a spell (Evard’s Black Tentacles) against the party and the Duke drew his sword against the group as well. The tentacles greatly hampered the combat in the tent, keeping the cleric wrapped for the majority of the battle and slaying at least two of the Paladin Guard.

At this point, the party became aware of the Dragon fghting just out the back of the tent, as well as a small group of orcs and a troll coming to take the elves princess from Ballsack. Morgwais, with Gil, moved to fight the dragon, leaving the rest of the party to deal with the forces with in the command tent. The wizard attempted (repeatedly) without success to fire spells at the opposing wizard, who turned out to actually be a hag in disguise. Having an off-day, the wizard was unable to do any significant magical damage to the hag throughout the whole debacle.

Eventually the party was able to bring the situation within the pavilion under control. Ballsack was knocked unconscious and left alive, as it appeared he was under a spell and not acting on his own. The hag was defeated but she, just like the assassin who showed up during the combat to kill the (supposedly) traitorous Duke Wince, escaped alive. The dragon too was able to get away, wreaking havoc and then flying off.

Having now survived the horrible ordeal in the Crown Prince’s tent, the party is restless and confused. The party is suspicious of who they can trust, as it is clear there are many things going on outside their knowledge. Regathering themselves, they want to speak more to the Crown Prince and answer some of their growing number of questions.

…Oh, and Nuati was entangled in the tentacles the entire time. Like a wimp.

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