Rise of the Runelords

Plan B

With one companion slain the T.H.U.G.S. contemplate how to move forward.

When they return to mayor Shreed, they encounter a mysterious half-elf named Bainwen. Called by mysterious powers to Turtleback Ferry; Bainwen joins the group on their quest.

With the enemy significantly weakened and the element of surprised ruined, the T.H.U.G.S. prepare for a frontal assault on Fort Rannick. The wizard Mortimier Quink decides that he will also assist the party (since his business will be ruined if the party fails). Arya also decides to cash in on the promise from Airrin Flynn and uses the ankh to summon him.

Once all the preparations were set the band set out to take back the fort (again). Arya and Airrin went about using guile to take down the tower guards. Then ropes were dropped down allowing the rest of the group to get over the walls while the rest of the keep was distracted by the remaining black arrows and Shalelu.

The group battled the divided forces of the Kreegs and the battle was going well until Jaagrath and Lucrecia arrived on the battlefield. Mortimier cast enlarge person on Tomin who challenged Jaagrath. The raging barbarian’s ogre hook proved too brutal and after a couple of lucky hits Tomin fell in battle.

The heroes pressed on to avenge their fallen comrade. Down went Jaagrath, then before Lucrecia could teleport away she was grappled by Quink’s black tentacles and quickly subdued afterwards.

The battle was won but not without casualties. The Black Arrows have a difficult task ahead of them rebuilding the fort and increasing their numbers. Shalelu is unsure whether she will stay and help her estranged step-father or return to Sandpoint. Quink is debating relocating to somewhere less troublesome and more lucrative.

With the unseasonable rains and dark skies it feels like there is a darker force at work and this is just the beginning.

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Reclaiming Fort Rannick

The group decides to infiltrate the fort by stealth and works its way through the shocker lizard warrens and enters through a hidden passage beneath the keep. To their surprise they are met by the recently deceased Lady Lucrecia.

Revealing that Kaven Windstrike was the traitor who made sure the fort was weakened she offers the PCs a chance to join her. Declining her offer, Lucrecia reveals her true form as the sister of the lamia matriarch Xanesha the party fought in the Shadowclock Tower. After toying with the party for a bit Lucrecia teleports away. The remaining and now even more resolute Black Arrows find justice in the death of Kaven Windstrike and wish to carry on taking back their home.

Battling through an ogre infested keep the T.H.U.G.S. make pretty quick work out of its new inhabitants. Slowly working their way through the keep and ogres alike, the party finds its leader Jaagrath Kreeg a hulking barbaric brute of an ogre, and Lucrecia by his side.

Lucrecia already prepared haste for the ogre king who in turn cut down Vale Temros with his human bane ogre hook. Tomin in all his heavy armor was taking ranged touch attacks by the clever sorceress and chose to make a tactical repositioning maneuver. Sadly this left Da Bukes all alone in the doorway with an enraged Jaagrath thirsty for more human blood. Jaagraths full fury was too much for the cleric to endure and she fell.

With the healer KIA the party retreated.

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Graul Family Farm

The T.H.U.G.S. arrived in Turtleback Ferry, a small remote township perched on the rain-drenched north shore of Claybottom Lake. The ominous unseasonal storms brewing under the shadow of the Hook Mountains immediately gives the suspicion of something unnatural at work.

There is not much to do in the small town but the party does notice a few small tattoos in a eerily familiar shape on some of the townfolk. When pressed the villagers tell of the tradgedy of the Paradise, a gambling barge, had sunk killing all passengers and even the lovely proprieter Lady Lucrecia.

They finally meet with the townships current mayor an aged cleric of Erastil who sends them on their way to investigate Fort Rannick.

On the way to the fort, the party encounters an ogrekin hunting a small mountain cat . The party drives the beast away. Shalelu recognizes the cat as another ranger’s animal companion. Releasing the cat the party follow it back to a small dilapidated farmhouse in the woods.

Once the party hits the scene they are immediately attacked by another ogrekin. Defeating him easily the party begins to investigate the filth and trap-ridden house clearing it of all it’s inbred hillbilly horror inhabitants. After a showdown with Mammy Graul and her sons the party finds the owner of the animal companion. In a strange twist of fate it is none other than Shalelu’s stepfather Jakardos Sovak. Freeing Jakardos and 3 other members of the Black Arrows he informs them that Fort Rannick has fallen to ogres.

The party decides that they don’t have time to wait for reinforcements from Magnimar and will reclaim the fort.

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Investigating Fort Rannick

After a week loafing around in Magnimar T.H.U.G.S. are summoned to the quarters of Lord Mayor Grobaras. While eating his mid morning brunch consisting of leg of lamb and wine; he informed them that under pressure of the Magnimarian government, he had a task (he seemed to trivialize as nonsense) for them to undertake. He charged them with finding out why there has been no contact from Fort Rannick in the shadow of the Hood Mountains for weeks. He offered (begrudgingly) 750gp each for traveling expenses and to find out what is going on at the Fort and report back. The party agreed, reluctantly but they agreed. They decided to travel by horse and face the perils of the road for five days.

While at the stables the party happens upon a friendly face. Shalelu Andosana the elf ranger of the Sandpoint Hinterlands. The party gained valuable intel on the goblin tribes around Sandpoint and was able to use that information to prevent a massive organized raid. She offers her services as a guide and tracker if she can accompany them to Turtleback Ferry. The party realizing how valuable a ranger could be in the wilderness takes her up on her offer and they set out.

The first few days are uneventful and the PC’s take turns on watch at night. On the third night during last watch Bukes hears something in the bushes and uses her raven figure to summon Caw-Caw and casts light on it revealing a group of trolls right before they attack. Bukes rouses Tommin then the rest of the group before the trolls hit the camp. Luckily for Bukes she had donned her heavy armor when she took watch, the rest of the group was wearing light armor and was ready to square off against the trolls……except for Tommin who grabbed his falcion and stormed into battle in his old-tymey long johns with one button unsnapped exposing half of what must be the only part of him not covered with beard. The trolls were finally cut down, and before they regenerated enough to rise they were torched and put down for good.

The following day and night although uneasy were uneventful as the first. On the fifth day while crossing a large clearing the road erupted in a blast of fire knocking most the party from their mounts. Three fire drakes dove in blasting with fire and fly-by attacking the travelers. Arya, Tommin, and Shalelu began firing arrows at the wannabe dragons. Bukes hit the lead drake with smite evil, blinding the beast and setting it up for a fatal charge from Tommin. The remaining two blasted the two who had just slain their comrade with more fire before focusing on the archers. Tommin moved in to fell the beast but instead he just fell on the ground tripping over the drakes tail as his only remaining button came loose. The drake now out of cheap tricks was slain finally put down. The last drake realizing the group was not an easy mark flew off screeching over the loss of it’s brethren.

The team healed up while Shalelu harvested the drake’s hides and made an effort to make up for lost time, but came up short and had to camp for one more peaceful night.

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Shadow Clock Tower

The previous session concluded with the PC’s breezing through the Seven’s Sawmill and stopping a bloodthirsty cult of demented serial killers. That gave enough XP for them to reach level 7.

Using the information the party gathered from the defeated and no longer charmed Justice Ironbriar, the group decided to gear up for the final showdown with Xanesha. Some items of note: Potions of Protection from Evil and CLW, Cloak of Protection +1.

Once the group was leveled and stocked up they arrived at the Shadow Clock, an ominous rickety structure sure to be the last place they would visit on this plane. Once inside they were greeted by the awakened flesh golem that Xanesha adopted as her guardian from the Brother’s Seven. Tommin charged while the others got into position, surrounding the Scarecrow. Seeing the little dwarf and feeling his axe hit him multiple times the Scarecrow focused on Tommin, just barely failing to confirm a x4 critical with his +1 Scythe and nearly entered rage. Once the PC’s had him flanked it was just a matter of time, and he was cut down not soon after.

As the group ascended the Terrible Stair about halfway up everyone but Alexander noticed some of Xanesha’s henchmen sawing away at the rigging that supported the four large bells at the top of the tower. Realizing what was happening still did not give Bukes enough time to react as it came tumbling down taking out a 10 foot section per level of the stair and Bukes along with it. Alexander tried to reach out and save her but she plummeted 50 feet to the ground taking 11d6 worth of damage. Still alive Bukes healed up and joined the party. The nimble rogue and monk of jumping had no problems jumping the gap in the stairs. A handful of lucky rolls plus a ring of jumping helped the two heavily armored members climb the rest of the way up without becoming dirt darts.

Once the party reached the bells they were engaged by 3 faceless stalkers, hideous amoprhic shape shifting swamp dwellers. Having some space to work they proved a tougher foe than the two that were stationed in the Foxglove Townhouse. Bukes cast hold person on one leaving it helpless but completely aware as Arya decapitated it with the Scarecrow’s scythe sending it tumbling down the gaping hole striking the fallen bell below. The remaining two lured Tommin into flanking position and using reach and sneak attack had their way with the dwarf, forcing him to tactically withdraw (run away like a little girl). Those two continued to torment the group and nearly dropped Tommin to unconsciousness by striking one of the bells. However, they were cornered and had nowhere to run and were finally cut down.

With no other obstacle sin their path the PC’s climbed the last part of the tower to face Xanesha. The lamia matriarch well aware of the hero’s presence was ready for them. Buffing herself and casting silence on the post near the door and major image to give the illusion of a giant demon circling the top of the tower she struck. Wisely the group drank their Potions of Protection from Evil, and Tommin shooting an arrow at the demon causing it to dissipate. Failing her attempt to use her Medusa’s Mask to turn Tommin into a statue to later send him tumbling 120 feet to the ground to reduce him to pebbles, she engaged them in melee. Striking with her Impaler of Thorns dealing WIS damage on the first hit of each round, Xanesha was slowly picking apart those foolish enough to confront her. Arya and Bukes raided the treasure chests along the south wall looking for anything that may help in the battle. Not appreciating her belongings being raided Xanesha flew up and cast scorching ray at Alexander, and magic missile on the rest of the group. Thinking they were softened up for some more impaler of thorns action she flew back down to finish them up. Now out of the area of silence Bukes cast smite evil significantly debuffing the matriarch. The suddenly vulnerable Xanesha was then struck from all sides with some help of the ring of true strike dropping her to less than 20 HP. Xanesha attempted to jump off the tower to make her escape but was pinnied by her tail and stabbed through by the rogue thus killing her.

Avoiding any party member’s death not to mention TPK, the heroes were victorious. Searching the tower revealed a plot to kill the Lord-Mayor and that there is something bigger brewing. The greedy Lord-Mayor was taken aback by this revelation. Feeling relieved to still be alive he gave the group the title of Protector’s of the Keep and rewarded them with 6000gp each.

The party will have some downtime and an opportunity to retrain their characters. Let’s see how long they can cheat death from a bloodthirsty GM.

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Travelling to Magnimar

After defeating the ghast version of Aldern Foxglove and putting an end to the evil imbued in Foxglove Manor the heroes of Sandpoint return to the Sheriff to report their findings. Coming to the conclusion that Aldern was responsible for all the strange ritualistic murders in Sandpoint; Hemlock tells them similar events are happening down the coast in Magnimar.

The news from the Sheriff and also having clues left at the Foxglove Manor pointing to Magnimar the heroes set off. Shortly before arriving they run into the Patchwork Gang. Making quick work of Patchwork Jack and a little help from an old friend, the group makes swift progress through the forest. They climb the last hill and can see Magnimar on the horizon…..

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