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  #46  
Old Jan 25th, 2022, 05:32 AM
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Battleground
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The march out of the swamp was frustrating but brief. Pieces of mossy ground gave way beneath their feet more than once, sending them knee-deep into cold, sludgy water. Nowhere was the water perfectly still, either, as they were technically still on the river. This gave them pause, for who knows what else could be lurking beneath the waters. So they moved slowly, if not stealthily,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulf
Five, now six. How many more were lurking under the water?
keeping an eye out for danger.

None was to be found. They climbed a small hill to a rolling grassy meadow, verdantly green under the cloudless sky. Gnarled trees of the swamp stretched out behind them and to the east, and the river flowed away from them west. In the north, they could see the Keep on its rocky mount, a foreground to the mountain range beyond. Given the danger they’d already faced, they were not in a bad position. They crossed the river without getting any gear above their knees wet. They took some blows but were magically healed of most of it, and they made a new friend. Not to mention the gold and potion taken as loot. Spirits high, they stopped a moment to take account of the land.

The grassland rose steadily in southwestfront of them up to a ridge line about five hundred feet away, a small rocky cliff maybe fifty feet in height. Atop that, the ground flattened out again for a short distance before another ridge of similar height rose, winding in shape. On that second rise lay the line of trees, the thick forest wherein the green-hoods made their lair. And who knew what else?

The lower cliff extended to the southeast about a quarter of a mile, before an abrupt edge. Past that, they could see a fork in the river on the valley floor, with more marshland and then that dark-looking forest of evergreen trees behind that. And somewhere further south lay the ocean.

The next challenge would be finding a way to ascend the two fifty-foot cliff sides, for no easy route up was apparent at this distance. Only then could the ranger and barbarian enter the forest proper. Continuing their slow pace, they traversed steadily over the open terrain, a gentle breeze at their back. With the good weather and picturesque landscape, one could truly feel the thrill of adventure. Perhaps closer to the cliffs they would spot a place to climb up.

What they found instead soured the mood, as the stench of day-old corpses greeted them at the base of the ridge. Three men with green hoods still covering their heads lay dead, stabbed by spears and struck by stones. Killed by kobolds, who had seven of their own dead littering the nearby ground. A few of the dead kobolds had 5 arrows in total. Regular, usable arrows, can be recovered with DC 15 Survival for each one (Failure breaks the arrow, only one character may try).arrows sticking out of them. All coin and other valuables appeared to have already been taken from the bodies.

The fifty-foot wall of exposed stone rose above them. It looked climbable enough…


 
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Old Jan 30th, 2022, 01:09 PM
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As they traversed, Horst smiled to himself at their good fortune. Surely things were looking up. He and Ulf kept a constant, albeit cautious pace as they approached the ridges.

As they reached the base, bodies littered the area. Horst raised a slowing hand to Ulf and crept forward, scanning side-to-side, just in case not all of the combatants had fully left. As he saw that these bodies were clearly a day old, he relaxed slightly. Besides, Ulf was keeping watch while Horst investigated.

Horst knelt near the battlefield and studied the tracks. After a bit, he moved forward and investigated the bodies.

Six sets of human boot tracks come in from the West. These Kobolds clearly came from the same path we just followed. It looks like they chanced upon each other - the green-hoods weren't set up for an ambush of any kind. Half the green-hood number fell and it looks like a fourth lost his sword. Seven kobolds, but only six spears. So he helped himself to a spear after the battle...

The humans continued on foot to the East, they didn't even approach the cliff face. There is likely no use in climbing. The question remains, should we follow the three to the East? Or go where they came from in the West. Either way, it may make sense to put on something that will make us a bit more inconspicuous at a distance.


As he finished thinking, he waved Ulf over and explained to him what he gleaned from the tracks and signs. Horst turned over the green-hoods and found the two cleanest looking cloaks of the three. He hoisted one over his shoulders and pulled the hood tight. The other he tossed to Ulf.

"If they insist on being so mysterious, why not use it to our advantage. At a distance, they won't be able to realize we aren't additional green-hoods. That said, the disguise won't hold up under close scrutiny."

Horst further studied the tracks to see if he could understand and attempt to replicate the green-hood movement. Do they sneak about in this forest? Or do they stride with confidence? As he mulled the thought over he asked Ulf, "So, do we follow our quarry to the East, or do we try to find their lair in the West?"

As they talked, Horst took the shortsword on a whim. If the green-hoods used shortswords, they would see one on his hip.

 

 
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  #48  
Old Jan 30th, 2022, 01:54 PM
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Battlefield
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As they approached the battlefield, Ulf kept watch on the surrounding area, while Horst inspected the site. Ulf kept an especially wary eye on the cliff and the forest. After a while, Horst explained what he could make of the battle and tossed a green hooded cloak to Ulf and he donned another.

"If they insist on being so mysterious, why not use it to our advantage. At a distance, they won't be able to realize we aren't additional green-hoods. That said, the disguise won't hold up under close scrutiny."

As Ulf donned the green hooded cloack, Horst aked, "So, do we follow our quarry to the East, or do we try to find their lair in the West?"

Ulf considered it for a moment, then said "If you believe they came from the west, then I thick we should follow those tracks into the forest, maybe that will lead to their source."

Ulf squirmed slightly in the green hooded cloak, it didn't necessarily fit him properly and felt restrictive. They'll probably never believe I'm a green hood up close.

 


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  #49  
Old Jan 31st, 2022, 11:29 AM
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Mysterious TracksTheir quarry was close. They had evidence of the green-hood bandits, perhaps a trail that would lead to their hideout. The game was afoot as Horst and Ulf donned hoods of green cloth that obscured their features, hopefully marking them out as allies to the forest-dwelling brigands from a distance. They set out at a slow pace to the northwest, along the base of the cliff. Horst led, stopping every other moment to investigate the ground, while Ulf kept watch, gray eyes scanning the horizon. Save for the cover of the cliff, they were in wide open terrain - who knows what could be watching them?

After a few minutes, Horst paused. The trail left by the cliff seemed to disappear. Looking around, the ranger Survival of 23!spotted some lightly trod-on grass, coming straight from the north. The bandits came directly south, and then turned southeast upon reaching the cliff base. And then encountered the kobolds.

This trail across open meadow proved much more difficult to follow. Ulf had been taught the fundamentals of tracking, though usually across snowy tundra. What Horst did required another level of expertise. He examined the slightest depressions in the dry earth, the subtlest bends and breaks of blades of grass along the way. It was certain: the bandits came straight south, all the way from the river.

Strangely enough, the trail ended there. Horst and Ulf stood on the south shore of the wide, winding river, their path they picked through the marsh about a quarter-mile to the southeast. Horst investigated the shore of the river thoroughly, but he was certain that the green-hoods emerged straight from the river. But there was no apparent sign of their gear having been soaked, and this part of river looked particularly deep and treacherous. No boat or raft was in sight, either. Could the bandits have really swam to the south shore of the river here? Did it even matter, or had they picked the wrong trail to follow?

Something didn't add up.


 
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Old Jan 31st, 2022, 05:07 PM
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Wrong way?
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As Horst and Ulf arrived back at the river and the tracks ended, Horst had to assume that they crossed the river. There were no signs of doubling back, and he looked several paces to each side to see if the green-hoods leaped as far as they could to disrupt the tracks. There weren't even trees that they could have climbed on to throw them off.

Talking with Ulf, they decided it best to head back to the battlefield and continue, this time following tracks to the East. When they returned, he was Survival of 24!easily able to pick up the trail again. He checked his gear once more and took stock of his surroundings to make sure other green-hoods (or anyone else) hadn't passed since they came through.
 

 
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  #51  
Old Feb 1st, 2022, 03:47 PM
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CampsiteGusts of cool air from over the river buffeted the adventurers as they trekked over the grassy hill, staying aware of the open terrain around them. They If "L" was the path to the river, "" was the path back, you walked along the hypotenusecut across to the battle site quickly, no new tracks/developmentstook stock, and moved southeast.

They got a good view of the valley and fens as they moved in the opposite direction along the base of the cliff. After only a minute or two of hiking, the tracks led Horst and Ulf to a large alcove on their right. Hidden from sight from any distance, but clearly visible were one to stumble in to this rocky depression, was an old rope hanging down the length of the rough stone wall. The rope looked thick and strong, and was knotted every few feet. Assuming you climb for the sake of brevity, no checks requiredThey went up one at a time, the barbarian taking the lead for the moment. As Horst hauled himself over the ledge, Ulf was flexing his grip on the warhammer, scanning the new environment. The grassy fields were covered in blossoming flowers, sharp hills rising up slowly to the next cliff face up ahead. Unlike below, there were trees here, gnarled old trees with wide trunks and roots that dipped above and below the soft earth. The spaces between the trees were rather wide compared with the thick forest that gloomed over them from atop the next rise.

Two ravens dropped from the branches of a tree as Horst inspected the tracks once more, and they sailed over the adventurers' heads as the ranger led on. It was less than thirty paces from the old knotted rope that the tracks ended abruptly, in a shaded hollow surrounded by gnarled trees. Their long, swooping branches cast cool shade down onto a bed of leaves in a depression in the earth.

As Ulf patrolled the edges of the site, wary to prevent a third ambush in the span of two days, Horst climbed down into the depression to Survival, smokin' hot roll of 24!investigate. He picked up a leaf here, a leaf there. One was torn, another crumpled. Another... Burned. Carefully stepping around the depression, he discovered the source of the burn - ash and charred pieces of still-warm split wood told him of the fire that was built here last night, and died out this morning, and then covered with leaves. Investigating further, the ranger concluded that a man had certainly slept near the fire, resting his head on that root - and another one, over there; suddenly, a worried look fell over Horst's face. They had tracked three green-hoods from the battle site up to this abandoned campfire, but more than three had slept here. It was difficult to tell how many exactly, but it was more than six.

This was confirmed as he discovered more boot-prints in a patch of mud nearby. Recent prints, from earlier this morning, leading away through the trees to the southeast. And older prints too, perhaps a day old, pointed towards the campfire from the southeast. Horst adjusted his approximation. At least six bandits had come from the southeast, meaning that they were hot on the trail of at least Three you were already tracking, plus this new group of six (or more?) that joined them last nightnine green-hoods.
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Old Feb 4th, 2022, 01:37 PM
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Maybe you should get some more guys, then it'll be a fair fight
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Horst kneeled in the depression at the top of the cliff face. Studiously observing the wear on the ground, he came to multiple conclusions.

"Ulf, we've got bad news. The three we were following made their way up here last night. It looks like some of their friends were here waiting for them. Not sure how many yet, but they had a fire here. This fire was put out early this morning, but they don't have that big of a lead - maybe we can trail them but keep a bit of a distance. Best case scenario would be if they are still more than a day from their main camp. With these numbers the best way to engage them would be at night when most of them are asleep..."

As he relayed the information, Horst patrolled the nearby area, looking for other clues as to the numbers and destination of the bandits.

He found what he was looking for.

He did not like it.

Horst's brow furrowed as he stopped and observed the tracks. It was tricky because there were two different groups at work here, going in opposite directions at different times. The second group clearly wasn't concerned with the first - they walked right over obvious tracks.

Then Horst understood. The first group was the group that met their quarry at the top of the cliff. The second group was the first group, plus the other three. From his estimation, there were at least nine of them now, moving at a slow, methodical pace. These tracks are only about an hour old!

Mentally recalling the map of the area, shown to them by Aeric, Horst doubted that the green-hoods would camp another night. Even if they continued southwest to the end of the cliffs, they would end up directly south of where he and Ulf had fought the bullywugs. That wouldn't take them a full day. Attacking with the cover of night would not be an option without extenuating circumstances.

It was times like these that Horst wished he had more ranger training. He knew there were incantations that could lighten the footfall of his own step, but these things so far had escaped his grasp. They would have to make do with their current limitations.

Turning to Ulf, realizing the Northerner had been waiting patiently as Horst calculated for several seconds, Horst began speaking softly, worried about a potential ambush.

"Ulf, there are at least nine of these green-hoods headed southeast, moving roughly parallel with the cliff-face. Judging by Aeric's map last night, they will reach their main camp today. That means that unless we want to tangle with nine of them... or their whole camp, a head-on confrontation is out of the question. I propose two alternative plans that create less risk for us. First we could descend back down the cliff face, then parallel the southeast trail from there, assuming they don't change direction, and hope that there is another entrance somewhere there. Second option, we head south about a few hundred feet, climb the next ridge, then turn southeast. This also makes us less likely to be ambushed, but the advantage here is that if they turn from their southeast direction, they most likely will have to head in a more southernly direction, and would have to climb up to us. That seems like a good choice to me.

Overall, with their slow and careful pace, I suspect they think something is up and that they are wary to lead us back to their camp - so they are preparing something. I think following them directly is inviting death today; which I am unready to accept.

If we go south a bit and climb, and parallel their path, we can potentially see them from overhead. Or we can just go until we hit something interesting, or the cliff face. Then we could double-back northwest and see them from another angle; which they likely won't expect.

Either way, we need to be quiet and slow. Matching them. If we are seen, we want to fit the picture of a green-hood, and they move slow and quiet. Not to mention that if we go too fast, we will overtake our quarry and then be guessing as well... I don't know that I am feeling that ambitious.

What do you think?"

 

 
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  #53  
Old Feb 4th, 2022, 04:02 PM
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Hot on their trail
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Ulf waited patiently while the ranger surveyed the campsite. When Horst had laid out his plan, Ulf responded.


"You have a keen mind, I like this plan, lets head south a bit and parallel their track. Perhaps if we could get to higher ground we can possibly see where they may be headed."


 



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Old Feb 7th, 2022, 11:51 AM
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The climb
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As they proceeded south to the cliff face, Ulf felt invigorated here was something to do, something to conquer. He began climbing up the cliff face with obvious skill, he had climbed many cliff faces, sides of buildings, and fort walls in his raiding days. Climb rolls of 19 and 23He found many footholds and there were many roots and vines, he tested them thoroughly before trusting them. He pulled him up onto the next ledge, dusted himself off and looked over the side to see if Horst needed any help.


 



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Old Feb 7th, 2022, 12:12 PM
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Trying not to do my best Tom Petty... Free fallin', now I'm free falling!
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Ulf was quick to the step and as he agreed with Horst he led the way, moving quietly to the next ridge (due south). Ulf was clearly an experienced climber and shuffled his way up like a four-legged spider, using three points of contact most of the time, but also using his brutish strength to launch up in some cases.

Horst shook his head and grinned inside his cloak. Spitting on his hands and rubbing them together, glancing at the calloused, worn palms, Horst took a more cautious approach. He was better at climbing trees than cliff faces, but at least this looked somewhat friendly. There were an abundance of outcroppings and cracks that were available for finding.

Horst's strength proved worthy and as he climbed, he ignored the slight burn in his fingers. While strong, Horst hadn't worked his fingers in this way before and all those small muscles that present themselves in rock-climbing were underdeveloped. As he passed the halfway point, he saw Ulf pull himself up over the lip of the ridge. The burning was more intense now, but Horst pushed on; urging himself to greater speed to relieve the pain in his hands. That was a mistake.

As Horst was feet from the top, he reached for a hand-hold with his right hand while also moving his right leg up. The outcropping he grabbed was not solid and as his hand ripped rubble out of the cliff face, he panicked, and missed with his right foot as well. Horst spun clockwise and gripped tightly with all the strength his left hand could muster. His training and discipline kicked in and once again he was in control, his left forearm bulging as he forced his left hand into a vice-like grip. He had spun so his left-side faced the cliff and he forced his body to reverse momentum. He grabbed a hold of a closer, more secure hold with his right hand and caught his breath. He was only a few feet from the top now. He slowly, cautiously moved his right foot up. Then Ulf leaned back over the ridge and extended a hand. Taking it, and feeling the boost of the strong north-man pulling him, Horst found a couple more footholds and made his way up the face.

Why must everything in my life barely work? I suppose it's better than barely not...

Horst nodded at the north-man in thanks. Realizing he was extremely parched following the climb, Horst unstoppered his canteen and took a drink of leathery water. He wiped the heavy beads of sweat from his eyes, simultaneously clenching and unclenching his hand muscles to try and release the tension. Under his low hood, he scanned the horizon. Just because they climbed away from the green-hoods didn't mean there couldn't be new dangers here.

 

 
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Old Feb 7th, 2022, 02:33 PM
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RavenwoodGnarled but strong roots provided a final handhold for the ranger as the barbarian helped to hoist him over the edge. Dusting themselves off, the two Perceptions 10 and 19took stock of their new surroundings. The forest here was thick and tightly packed, roots and brush filling the narrow spaces between trees, and twisting branches high up wove a canopy that cast most of the area into shadow despite the bright sunlight. A gurgling croak was heard in the back of a black-winged bird's throat as it and a few other ravens swooped through the trees. A chipmunk, spooked by the sudden arrival of the adventurers, climbed up and around a nearby trunk, disappearing entirely.

There was no company for them here but ravens and squirrels.

Would that luck hold?

Wearing the green hoods that they had taken, Horst and Ulf crept along near the edge of the cliff; far enough from the edge to not be spotted by anyone traveling below, but close enough to check often for the bandits they followed. The sun rose steadily in the sky as they moved southeast.

 
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Old Feb 9th, 2022, 01:10 AM
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In PursuitThey tread on lightly, hoods shading the afternoon sun from their eyes, along the edge of the shadowed Ravenwood. Wind rippled at their clothes as the pair kept watch out to the woods on their right, and kept an eye on the area below on the path of the green-hoods they were tracking. Horst couldn’t study or follow their tracks at this distance, but the shelf below had narrowed considerably in width, so unless the bandits had decided to scale up or down one of the cliffs the ranger and barbarian could approach them unseen from above. And study them, and devise a plan will help them face less green-hoods at once. Two against nine? Comfortable beds and blessings of traveling frog-paladins aside, the likely outcome of such a conflict would surely end with them dead or captured. Thoughts of how outnumbered they were crept in as they stalked forward at a steady pace. From the top of this cliff side, the view of the entire Borderlands valley was on magnificent display. The Keep, a thorny block of stone basking in the sun, kept watch over the river and marsh and forests.

It was only a few minutes until Horst held up a hand. Anchored to an incredibly strong root was the end of a thick rope, knotted in intervals like the one they had climbed previously. Horst peeked down over the edge of the cliff, checking for any company hiding in the area below. The rope dangled the fifty foot length in a similar alcove-like depression in the rock. Turning back to quickly study the area around where the rope was anchored, Horst picked the trail back up immediately. More than half a dozen bandits had climbed this rope very recently, and set out at a slow but steady pace into the Ravenwood.

The upper ground was gone from them, for now.

As Horst studied the tracks and tried to discern details, something caught Ulf’s eye in the nearby roots. That shade of pink was unmistakable. Successful DC15 Nature checkWild sageroot. Known for its healing properties, this root was shown to Ulf as a child in the north. That seemed like a lifetime ago, and a world away. But here it was, in a place so green; did this root grow all over the world?

Ulf chopped roll 1d4, and add that many "wild sageroot" to your inventorysome of the root up and placed it in his bag, for it could come in handy later. Then they set out to follow the trail of the green-hoods, a path that led them directly to the south.

A Regretful Leader
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Not long before…

Brom drew his green hood back as he watched the last of the crew pull themselves up and over the edge, subconsciously counting each one climbing the rope. Eight. Nine. Ten. He fidgeted with the strap of his circular shield; the shield of the dragon slayer caught the light beautifully with a silver glow. He tried not to think of numbers, but thoughts of how outnumbered they were crept into his head. Including himself they were eleven, against at least twice that. The only reason these hoods still followed him was because he had lied.

"I’m glad we’ve found you," he had told the group of three they met up with the previous night. "Now we have the numbers. Owyn is alive and a prisoner of the kobolds at Raven Tor. Come morning, we must go back. Drive the beasts from our land, and save my boy."

"How many are the dragon-men?" The question was inevitable. He leveled his gaze on the hood who had asked it. There were two dozen kobolds that he had seen when he scouted the area.

"I only saw so much. But I believe there to be no more than fourteen."

And now, he may be marching these men and women to their deaths. His adherence to his own morality had faltered long ago now, but this… This turned his bones to fire with the guilt that he suppressed. But he would throw every single soldier under his command into the gates of Hell, and present himself before the flames as well before he let any harm come to Owyn.

"We head straight south," he told them as they all gathered at the edge of the wood. "Arrows ready in the quiver, swords loose in the scabbard. We eliminate as many as we can in one decisive strike, and then mop up the rest. Quietly, now. Oskar, take the lead. Dylon, Julius, the rear." They moved forward into the forest at his command. Unstrapping the shield and slinging it onto his back, and then securing it, he brandished his yew longbow and set out with them. Brom was a deadlier shot than any of them, after years of training in service of his King. He would enter the fray when the time came, but he would start by eliminating the most dangerous threat on the battlefield: their sorcerer. And with those heavily armored bodyguards that always flanked the reptilian mage, the best way to do that was from range.

They approached quickly; it wasn’t far. It was likely that most of them would die against the foe ahead, but it was the only chance that Owyn had.

The Nick of TimeElsewhere…

"I like living and it would be dreadful if I perished at the hands of these kobolds. What are the names of my new friends?"

"We don’t have much time. That dragon egg is going to hatch. We need to figure out how to get out of here before we become its food. How long until your father gets here?"

Owyn was unable to respond as the feather-dressed kobold approached the three prisoners quickly, his draconic wings flaring out behind him. His fervent gaze swept over the three of them, then locked in on Drac - and he smiled, producing a curved knife and holding it opposite his twisted wand. The two armored kobolds stood at attention on either side of him, and the throng of kobolds continued their chanting and dancing around the fire.

" Nomagqe hesi ithquent rigluinic itov ekess lekar nomeno treskri… Dout scivarn geou ultro asta uthwix!" The winged kobold spat the harsh words at the dwarf as he moved closer, holding the curved knife to the cleric’s throat. Drac let out an involuntary groan; he had just had his throat slit by a lizardman in the past life of whatever brutal cycle the gods have pushed him into, and he didn’t like the idea of it happening again so soon. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience.

Dorian watched in horror and Owyn breathed a prayer to any god that would listen.

Perhaps someone was listening.

A gurgled cry croaked out from one of the kobolds keeping watch through the cavern opening. The music and dancing of the kobold ritual faded as they all turned to face their kinsman who had a long feather-shafted arrow sticking through his heart. As the kobold’s body hit the ground, all of the creatures in the room exploded into action, grabbing weapons and flooding down the sloping cavern floor to whatever entrance was out of sight.

" Dout iejir geou qe klael poktosh!" The winged kobold hissed at Drac as it drew back, sheathing the dagger and moving with the shieldbearers. It began shouting at the rest of the tribe, hurrying them along. " Eligne hesi okarthel!"

Within moments, all of the kobolds were drained out of the room except for one, another archer who stood in the opening with his back to the prisoners, firing arrows down towards whoever was assaulting the cave. Battlecries from human throats rang out from the outside with sounds of battle. "My father’s here! Let’s get out of here!" Owyn whispered harshly as he and Drac began to struggle futilely at their bonds as Dorian’s eyes rolled back into his head. Through Dorian’s eyes, the world was drained of color.

A green-burning flame appeared in front of the halfling, a fire that only he could see. A voice boomed from it, a voice that only he could hear.

"YOUR BLADE, FLAMEKEEPER. I AM NOT FINISHED WITH YOU YET. THE VIRIDESCENT FLAME COMMANDS YOU TO STRIKE DOWN OUR ENEMIES."

Dorian’s vision returned to him and his eyes cleared as the flame vanished. Owyn watched in awe as the bonds around the halfling’s wrists suddenly burst into greenish flame, burning them away to ash but leaving Dorian’s skin untouched. A serrated dagger appeared in its place, his grip on the hilt.

"How did you do that? Quick, cut me loose!" Owyn shuffled over on his knees and pleaded with him. The kobold archer turned, seeing Dorian, reptilian eyes going wide with shock, his hand darting to nock another arrow.

The black-scaled egg sat guarded by nothing but the roaring bonfire.

Into the FrayAs Horst and Ulf made their way south carefully, they could see glimpses of a tall mount of rock ahead through the trees. Black-winged ravens sat perched along it’s shape against the afternoon sky.

"There’s something happening up ahead," Ulf 23 perceptionwarned, shield and warhammer at the ready. Horst 22 perceptionsensed it too, and they moved carefully out of the brush. As soon as they did, battle erupted in front of them. To the left, they could see nearly a dozen green-hoods charging up a hill with swords and bows. An older bandit with a blonde beard stood atop a small knoll, firing iron-tipped arrows from his longbow. A circular silver shield was strapped to his back. Kobolds swarmed down the hill from a cavern in the mount to meet them, spears and slings at the ready.

Quickly Horst and Ulf realized that they were in the line of sight of two green-hood archers who stood at the back of their troop while the others charged ahead. They both looked to be little more than boys. They moved to take cover behind a large boulder, one at a time - Ulf traversed Successful stealthunseen, but the sound of Horst’s mail Failed stealth checkdrew the gaze of one of the bandits.

"What the — where did you find those hoods?" Confusion quickly gave way to anger as the young bandit concluded that Horst was an enemy. Perhaps the gang of bandits is so small there would be no mistaking an impostor, or perhaps this brigand was simply smarter than most. He pulled back an arrow and shot, much too slow for Horst’s dash behind the boulder. The missile exploded into wooden shards upon contact with the boulder. "Dylon, we have company!"

"You mean besides the horde of murderous kobolds?!" Dylon shouted back.

Behind them, the grizzled leader glanced over after firing his longbow. "Dylon, help Julius deal with that! The rest of you, as one! Protect each other!" The green-hoods shouted battlecries as they braced for the horde of kobolds bearing down on them. They began to trade blows as they met the first of the dragon-men, who brandished their spears and slung stones at them. Fear and shock fell over the bandits’ faces as all of the kobolds poured out of the cave, over twenty in all.


 

 
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  #58  
Old Feb 9th, 2022, 12:38 PM
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Tommyk382 Tommyk382 is offline
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Just a normal small combat with the DM making 50+ pre-fight rolls
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Without having to focus on the trail at their feet, Horst was able to relax into a monotonous pace as they trailed their phantom of a quarry from above. With the only immediate threat being at least at a slight range, Horst sheathed his axe and withdrew his longbow. Stringing it, he flexed the yew experimentally and nodded in satisfaction as it responded to his touch. He noticed the green cloak had a shoulder flap that was integrated to cover a quiver, keeping the fletching from the arrows from showing, but also protecting them from rain or other inclement weather. Unfortunately Horst wore a hip quiver along his right hip. Tucking the cloak behind this to ensure ease of access, he continued.

He couldn't help but reflect on the beauty of this land. It was a true dichotomy when the beauty and peace of the landscape was compared to the treachery and brutality of the lives of those who inhabited it. Due north, Horst could make out the Keep. It stood as a bastion for justice. Yet, as they were warned by Trey, Horst couldn't help feeling like the Keep's leadership wasn't infallible. He warned that there was more than met the eye with these green-hoods and that weighed on Horst. He really wanted to get to know these green-hoods before making a judgement. That could prove difficult if they were in fact a foe. The balance of his morals and his trainings demands to use all tools available, including surprise, fought each other, pulling Horst both ways internally.

Horst noticed the rope, interrupting his thoughts with the immediacy of the situation.

Holding a hand to Ulf, he glanced at the trail. There was less of an attempt to hide the trail here. They were still moving at their steady pace, but Horst could sense an impatience. Looking over the edge, he saw no evidence of the passer-by, and nodded into the woods to the south.

"They went that way. Follow me, but keep your hammer ready. They just came here. Pick your feet carefully and keep to the shadows. Trust your cloak to hide you. I hope to see you on the other side." Horst intended the comment to end words between them, and he continued using his best hand gestures from that point on.

As he finished the statement he turned to Ulf to see his response, but Ulf was kneeling, digging out a root with a small knife. He seemed familiar with it, maybe a bit surprised? Horst filed the information away for later. In his fledgling ranger training he had heard of herbs and even made a poultice, but it was very introductory. Perhaps something he would pursue at a later date.

The trek into the Ravenwood was... twitchy. Horst could feel his heart beat harder in his chest with each step. To him it sounded like a drum beat, but Ulf didn't seem to notice. Horst kept adjusting his grip on his longbow, his sweaty palms making the wrapped yew slick. They crept along. Every chink of his mail, every skittering squirrel, every rustled bush, caused Horst to flick his eyes around. Taking deep breaths, he attempted to force his step to be light and focused, but he knew he was failing. He was having difficulty focusing on the task at hand as he thought of nine green-hoods hanging in the branches overhead. His mouth was dry and he stepped on more twigs than he'd like to admit.

Horst sensed the danger as Ulf mentioned his warning. Steeling his nerves, Horst felt a burst of adrenaline overcome the butterflies in his stomach. Then he heard the tell-tale whistling of an arrow arcing through the air. He heard a meaty slap and knew there was battle to come. Immediately the air split with the sound of swords drawn, feet charging, and battlecries, both kobold and man. As they broke through the foliage a picture was painted before them.

The green-hoods were attacking a kobold cave. Their leader was off to the side, raining death with a one man volley on the charging creatures. Horst wondered why the green-hoods would attack here. They were outnumbered and lacked the high ground. They may be able to slay their foe, but it would be costly. There were clearly hardened veterans in the bandits midst, but Horst could see the inexperience as well. A bow gripped too tightly here, an overcautious moment in cover there, not to mention a palpable fear as some realized that they could likely meet their end here on this cave front in the Ravenwood.

There was at least one kobold that hadn't joined in the frontal assault and used it's shortbow and a high perch in the cave to shoot down on the field. It seemed to be turning to some commotion in the cave.

It must be giving orders to more kobolds. What if this is a leader cajoling his troops to battle. Maybe if I can put an arrow between his eyes, they will falter.

Horst reached for an arrow, but in their travel the cloak had come loose and was tangled in the quiver. Horst fought to untangle it, but as he did, the movement caused his armor to rattle loudly. Two rear guard archers took stock of them. Horst knew in an instant that the green-hood wasn't enough to hide his identity and watched as the youth drew his bow back. Horst sprinted to where Ulf had already dashed off to, behind a large rock on the northwest of the battlefield, his keen sense of stealth much better than Horst's today. The arrow wasn't far behind, but the youth had snatched at the arrow as he released, skewing the shot. It exploded onto the boulder as Horst slid into the shelter of the rock

He heard the discourse from the youths and the bandit leader. Yet Horst knew he couldn't kill these youths in cold blood. He thought of himself, not so long ago following in similar paths, just with a different organization.

The fight was already to a bad start for the green-hoods. The kobolds poured forth, their momentous charge looking to overwhelm the bandits. Horst saw the high ground kobold fighting to nock an arrow. Hoping the youths recognized his attempt to help and praying they didn't shoot him, Horst moved Q30forward on faith, nearing a tree close to the base of the perch where the kobold stood. The face looked climb-able. If he could take that perch just as the last kobolds exited the cave, the positioning could be switched!

In an instant Horst had his own arrow nocked. It wasn't purposeful, it was instinct. Initially a 6 to hit, rerolled with inspiration to a 16He aimed, but he knew for some reason the kobold would move and he adjusted his sighting picture to the creature's right. The arrow exploded forth and unknowing, the creatures couple inch shuffle to it's right was a fatal mistake. The arrow ripped up and through the creatures lower jaw, locking the bottom and top jaw together. The body crumpled and the bow clattered on the rock.

 

 
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A sword wields no strength unless the hands that holds it has courage.

Last edited by Tommyk382; Feb 9th, 2022 at 02:33 PM.
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  #59  
Old Feb 10th, 2022, 06:42 PM
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Moravich Moravich is offline
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And, here. We. Go.
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As Ulf followed the ranger, he was able to analyze the terrain, the plants the animals, while Horst navigated the path. When Horst raised his hand to signal stop, Ulf focused on his immediate surroundings. He caught sight of a pink root, wild sageroot, just like he used to collect for Revna, the clan shaman. He knew she used to make potions and salves from it to heal wounds. As Horst spoke, he bent down and collected as much as he could, while they were stopped.

They turned south to follow the new trail Horst had located. Ulf was very careful to tread lightly and silently through the brush and undergrowth of the forest. As they neared a tall mount of rock seen through the trees, Ulf with warhammer and shield out and ready, heard the unnatural sounds of men or humanoids.

"There’s something happening up ahead," he whispered to Horst, but noted that the ranger had sensed it too. As they came out of the thick foliage, two green hoods came into view nearby. But it appeared the main group of greenhoods was further to his right engaging a group of kobolds coming out of a large cave in the hillside. Ulf ducked behind a boulder before the two greenhoods could see him, but they shot an arrow at Horst before he did the same. The arrow struck the boulder and shattered, narrowly missing Horst.

Horst acted quickly when he spied a lone kobold on a ledge above the fray preparing to rain down death on those below. He pulled his longbow and killed the kobold with one shot through its jaw. Impressive.

Ulf needed no prompting with Horst taking care of that threat he decided to flank the kobolds coming out of the cave. They may have been on the hunt for the green hoods, but Tray had said that the green hoods were not necessarily evil but may have been led astray. The kobolds however were definitely evil, he would deal with them first and sort out the green hoods later. Dash action to move to S27He quickly darted through the brush and undergrowth and took cover in the trees and foliage to the right of the oncoming kobold band. Stealth check of 23 (nat 20)!He crouched behind a large bush, preparing to surprise the unsuspecting kobolds. He remained calm for the moment, he needed to wait for the opportune moment, but he could feel his heart race and his blood begin to boil.


 




Last edited by Moravich; Feb 10th, 2022 at 06:46 PM.
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  #60  
Old Feb 10th, 2022, 08:21 PM
Greeko Greeko is offline
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Dorian's Action
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"YOUR BLADE, FLAMEKEEPER. I AM NOT FINISHED WITH YOU YET. THE VIRIDESCENT FLAME COMMANDS YOU TO STRIKE DOWN OUR ENEMIES."

Dorian heard the words in his head. He closed his eyes and spoke "Eldritch Powers hear my call, I am bound to the Viridescent flame. Fill my heart with courage and I will vanquish our foes!" Upon opening his eyes an arrow pierced the kobold who was about to release his arrow on its target. Was it by the will of the Flame that the creature perished before him or pure coincidence? Dorian looked and acted completely different from moments ago. It was as if a different person now was in the kobold cave. A person with determination, focus, and conviction. Dorian quickly freed Drac from his bonds and began scanning the room for more foes. My gear should be over there. I don't see anymore kobolds. I'll grab it and free this other fella so we can get the hell out of here... Wait someone shot that kobold. Could it be Owyns father or is something else going on outside?

"How did you do that? Quick, cut me loose!"

"I will free you in a moment. As for how I'd be happy to explain once we are far from here. We will have time to talk later. Either in this realm or in the afterlife!" Dorian responded as he moved over to pick up the rest of his belongings.

 


Last edited by Greeko; Feb 10th, 2022 at 08:23 PM.
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