016: Consequences

After licking their wounds, our heroes advance further into the cave — and are surprised by the triggering of an explosive kobold trap. It seems, while they were resting, the remaining kobolds had been hard at work preparing for them. The party fights through the narrow tunnel where they were briefly trapped, meeting the kobolds head on — but that is not the last of the surprises. Taelyn is beset by horrific rot grubs, and nearly killed but for the fast inspections and deductions by Khamul and Tasi. Kamina discovers a body in the back of the cavern, and the party recognizes it as the tortured remains of the messenger they'd hired in Nettleton to follow after Gundren. With guilt weighing on them, the party ties up the last, surrendering kobold, and determine he will lead them to where Gundren is. For, they learn, these green-painted, self-mutilated kobolds are in service of a dragon called Cragmaw, and it was Cragmaw who wanted Gundren in the first place.

The party travels straight to the ruins of Thundertree, a town destroyed thirty years ago by the eruption of the local mine. They approach cautiously, discovering it is overrun by "plant monsters" (which they discover to be the nonaggressive twig blights) and, apparently, zombies. They argue for some time about how to approach the tower keep on the hill, which the kobold tells them is Cragmaw's lair. In the end, they let the sniveling kobold go, ensuring he runs off into the forest and not to snitch on them. Then Tasi, Khamul, and Baat settle into one of the ruined homes to shore up and wait while Taelyn, Kamina, and Rowan sneak forward and into the keep to do some recon, and hopefully kidnap another kobold with greater intel. As they advance to the tower entrance, however, they notice the rotting corpses of giant spiders— rent and killed by massive claws. This Cragmaw, it seems, is no small threat…


015: A Murder of ̶C̶r̶o̶w̶s̶ Kobolds

The party returns to the site of the previous cart ambush, and locates the kobolds' cave hideout. They sneak their way deep into the cave, and would have gone further, too, if not for a lucky lookout by a perceptive kobold guard. Battle ensues, and the kobolds don't pull their pack tactics punches one bit. Kamina is almost killed in the fight as she is surrounded by kobolds and made a pincushion — but the party rallies to save her, and are victorious, after all. They retreat into a back cavern room to rest before continuing on.

014: Zenith

The party arrives in Zenith and runs several errands, including finally healing Rowan’s legs, shopping, getting a day job, scouting for info on kobolds, reporting about the missing Gundren, oh and going and having a chat with a cussing banshee.

013: Flight and Fight

The party leaves Lord Blackmoor’s estate, saying their goodbyes after a hearty breakfast, some sparring, and a flying “lesson” for Willet, and travel northwest toward where the guard captain pointed out the recent migration of another group of kobolds. After a day’s ride, they encounter an overturned cart and dead horses in the road, and are ambushed by the scavenging kobolds. These kobolds are adorned very differently than the ones they previously fought – they’ve painted their scales green and ritualistically scarred their maws; adding piercings of animal teeth outside their own. The group nearly lose a horse in the fight, are beset by snakes and poisonous gas, and are assaulted by falling rocks, but they finally rout the small dragonoids. However, Khamul is not satisfied, and chases after one of the fleeing winged kobolds until it is killed. Baat and Tasi, who chased after him, are unnerved and suspicious, but they three rejoin the party, where they work together to tend their wounded horse, recover the remaining goods, and mend the overturned cart. After some discussion, the party decides to move on toward Zenith (and hopefully a cleric for Rowan) to drop off Gundren’s and these new goods first before pursuing the kobolds, and Gundren, further. This way, at least they’ve accomplished half of their original assignment from the King’s Own… if their escort-turned-rescue mission should come to worst.

012: A Family Affair

The party fights and loses, and are forced to let Zoreene go with Willet in tow. They take time to heal back up, and decide to 1) Baat and Kamina rush to Lord Blackmoor to inform him and 2) everyone else rushes after Zoreene and resumes conflict. They manage to LITERALLY JUST BARELY save Willet from Zoreene’s killing blow, and rout her — however she escapes via magic. They return to Lord Blackmoor with Willet, receive their monetary reward, and settle down for some much MUCH needed rest.

011: Priest of the Buried God

party continues assault on Rhorluk, the fanatical kobold leader, it’s rough but they win and get dat sweet loot, find Willet, escort him out, meet Zoreene on the road and do not trust her, and she springs her trap

010: And Then There Were Six

party continues deeper into the Keep, discover the ranger hired by the Blackmoors who didn’t return – Rowan, badly injured. They find dire weasels and acid, too, but no Willet. They engage the fanatical kobold leader who refuses to return the child he intends to sacrifice 

009: Beestings, A Chemist, and Traps, Oh My!

Party reaches Firestone Keep, encounter huge wasps and lots of traps and kobolds and it’s not a great time, and then they find a weirdly shrewd kobold alchemist who doesn’t care what they do as long as they leave him alone to his work so they have a hallway sleepover before continuing further

008: A Bird in Hand

the party travels to catch up to Baat, do, talk to the Blackmoors, agree to seek kidnapped son Willet, are ambushed on the rocky trail by mercenaries

007: The Trial of Grindol Farmoor

In the wee hours of the still-dark morning, Baat and Khamul are awoken by strange sounds from the room next door — Taelyn, Tasi, and Kemina’s room. Khamul has neither the energy nor the patience to investigate what eventually becomes recognizable as sobbing, but Baat has plenty of both. Baat goes to see what’s wrong, and finds Taelyn just absolutely heartsick in her sleep. He tries, gently, to wake her, to no avail… and so does the only thing he can think of: Retrieves a healing mushroom from his pack and places it on Taelyn’s head. Satisfied, he leaves.

When morning truly dawns, Taelyn is weary and troubled from her unrestful night, but the party gathers with the quickly warming rays of sun and go to the trial. Kemina is noticeably, and mysteriously, absent, but the party continues on; assuming she’ll return in time for the trial.

The trial unfolds to some interest of our intrepid party of foreigners, and some nerves. A dozen villagers volunteer to testify, most seemingly against Grindol – though Baat manages to intimidate away one of the number. Grindol’s social awkwardness is brought under fire, as is his status as an outsider from the community of Nettleton. Lise in particular stands up for Grindol, putting blame on whatever evil there is in Nightwall Cottage – reminding the village of her husband, Dale, and his uncharacteristic action and subsequent trial a few years before. She points out that the party are Kings Own Knights who investigated and found reason to believe there WAS evil in the house at work. Jalessa (the butcher) also briefly testifies that Grindol “did not act like a guilty man”. However, counter testimonies besmirch the trustworthiness and intentions of the party – revealing to the village that they are NOT, in fact, Knights of the Kings Own, but are only trainees and just let everyone believe they were fully fledged Knights.

The party, though, have their own pieces to say. Taelyn goes first and explains how Grindol was not like himself the night of the attempted murder, and also laid the rational groundwork of what they found in the caverns. Tasi not only cut off one of the nay-saying testifiers with a logical smackdown, but he also explained the intricacies of the notes and experiments that had been found and the not-very-strenuous logical leaps to conclude the nothic/Randall was forcing people against their will to his ends. Khamul describes the deep unholiness and wrongness of the caverns, vouching from his position as a paladin of Tanfana. Then Baat rounded out the group with a heartfelt plea that just because Grindol was different in behavior than other villagers, and just because they (the party) were outsiders from the village, that their hearts were still pure and they should be considered for their intent.

In the end, Imdarr and the magistrate brought out the recovered skull of the nothic – Randall Nightwall – and questioned him. This final testimony sealed what the party had already quite handily laid out, and the magistrate publicly proclaimed Grindol Farmoor an innocent man.

Once this was finished, the party returned to the tavern to seek Kemina, who had not shown up at the trial as they’d assumed. With some help from Sable, missing all morning until then, Taelyn was led to the woods outside town where she found Kemina’s deeply meditating form. Concerned for her companion — for Kemina’s body was as if it had been sitting there for decades, with roots and moss and lichen and other plants growing up over and onto her — Taelyn tried to wake her. But her first attempts were to no avail, until she removed one of her elemental dice and severed a root growing on the die. Kemina awoke, none the worse for wear or awareness, it seemed, and Taelyn caught Kemina up on the morning. Kemina, given a moment, seemed to remember what she had just experienced and the two rushed back to the tavern and inn. Kemina sent off a letter to her Druid circle while the others planned logistics.

Baat flew off to seek out Gundren, and the under-the-weather Khamul took a nap while Tasi, Kemina, and Taelyn went out to restock crossbow bolts and buy horses and a cart. Successful despite some unwelcoming shopkeepers, the party (minus Baat) reconvened at the tavern.

Baat, on his own, arrived at a large estate at the end of the day, having not found Gundren during his hours of flight. The butler of “the lord’s manor” turned the aarakocra away… but while Baat was setting up his own treetop camp, he spied something strange a ways off… and discovered a badge of authority from the King’s Own Knights pressed into the mud, amidst the wreckage of a recently-former campsite.


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