Chapter 1: Burnt Offerings - Part 6: Thistletop Keep
- Looks like that goblin druid came through. There was a trail left by a slain horse that we followed into the encampment. After a bit of a winding path, we came to a bridge that did not have any goblins manning the post. Israa was able to find a trap on the bridge and disable it in case we need to make a quick escape.
- I have to say, it is really nice when things actually go our way.
- We parlayed with the druid, remind me again why we would negotiate with goblins? He wanted us to clear out the ‘longshanks’ and leave the goblins – insisting that the goblins wouldn’t have bothered Sandpoint otherwise. In his position, I would have done the same thing. Glinvizz seems to think this is a good idea, it must be a horrible one – let’s try it just the same. Worst case, we step into a better prepared trap and have to kill them – best case we side step the lot and can do what we came to do.
- Finally, I feel the group is starting to see things my way. As opposed to attacking the goblins that were residing in the various rooms, we rigged the doors so that they could no be opened from the inside.
- Sadly, our stealth mission couldn't have lasted forever. We eventually made our way downstairs and encountered a room that housed goblin dogs, a nursery, and a room full of goblin concubines in which Bruthazmus was in a state of reduced size and partial dress. The fight went pretty well, though he really had it out for the elves in the party. His shots fired especially true against them, causing a great deal of damage.
- Some yeth hounds and a temple later, we found their war room. Here, we encountered mage named Lyrie as well as Erylium once again. Both got away, but I'll get to them later.
- On the way up the stairs, we encountered a human named Orik. He looked like the mercenary that we were informed about and he informed us that he recently got out of their jails. He seemed to be telling the truth, so we tentatively let him come with us and offer him a share of the treasure to try to win his allegiance.
- After a bit more exploration, we stumbled into the lair of Ripnugget. We tried to negotiate, but it quickly turned into fighting. We surprisingly held our own pretty well, though there was no reprieve.
- So far, so good – Gogmurt seems to have held up his end of the bargain. All the same, I jammed the locks on the doors. If we are going to be double crossed, I’ll make them wreck their doors. While we had Gogmurts attention we should have gotten a better layout of the place – I’m guessing down is the appropriate way to go.
- Goblin dogs, goblin babies, goblin whores and a shrunken half naked bugbear oh my… We made short work of the concubines and Bruthazmus made short work of me. He was incredibly tough, almost like he spent his entire life training how to fight elves. Lucky I’m only half elvish and not above hiding – let someone else deal with this problem. It isn’t cowardice, it is delegating.
- Once Bruthazmus was dispatched we elected to head north – you know, through the door with the wheezing unknown sound. This happened to be some demon beast dog, a yeth hound. We couldn’t decide on the best solution to take it out, so I took a page from the Haneet playbook and charged over it. Once we had a suitable flank setup we made short work of it. Maybe I should charge headlong more often?
- Another yeth hound and we found our way into the planning room – here we met up with Lyrie and everyone’s favorite flying boob, Erylium. We got them on the ropes and they retreated, leaving us to find Orik. He was the sellsword that Gogmurt told us about, no one trusted him but we still tried to put him to good use.
- We stumbled into what I think was Ripnugget’s bed room and found his treasure horde. I submit we should have bailed at this point, but we didn’t. Instead we walked right into the ‘throne room’. This produced a fight – so much for not killing goblins.
- Soon after Ripnugget is taken care of, we have to deal with the sudden but inevitable betrayal by Orik and the reappearance of Lyrie. All this, and we have Erylium revisit us for a third time while Nualia finally arrives on the scene. We were able to get Lyrie to stand down, though we quickly took the life of Orik. Nualia we a fierce opponent, proficient with both sword and spell. We were able to quell her evil influence, but Erylium got away... again. I have a feeling we will never be able to put an end to her.
- Gogmurt took over the goblin tribe, promissing to never attack Sandport again. I don't know how trustworthy he is, but it is better than what we were dealing with. Pretty drained, we decide it is best to take what loot we gathered and remove ourselves as quickly as we can from these woods. It's been too long since I've been able to enjoy the comfort of a good book.
- We managed to finish off Ripnugget and the rest of the court… then we heard Lyrie and Erylium show back up. I went to charge one of them and Orik blocked my path – useless sellswords… No matter, he had his chance to stand with us and live another day – instead we put him down and turned to the mages. Lyrie was ‘easy’ to subdue, compared to Erylium anyway… who got away again.
- Enter Nualia, on the one hand I am glad we are here and not Hemlock – on the other hand, I am much better suited to not standing toe to toe with evil death dealing she beasts. As I like to say, better lucky than good – and I was lucky enough to catch a nice soft spot on her before she squashed me.
- Will the new king of Thistletop hold up his end of the bargain? I seriously doubt it – but we know how to get in and know the layout.
Chapter 1 Synopsis
- Tokki Taken from his series of haikus
Glass laden new home
- Greets me with its festival
- Please don't be aflame
Goblins run amuck
- Bringing fire and evil
- Adventurers, go!
We are now heroes
- I just wish to shy away
- and keep lasting peace
This town is shaken
- New law, a foul murder, and
- just go hide your kids
Watch them on their raid,
- The glasshouse shatter and sings
- songs of bloody wails
Delve ancient ruins
- and watch the backs of the team.
- Danger is afoot.
There is much worse than
- goblins and their evil ilk;
- flying, hexing tits
The Chopper's Island.
- Lost souls and long, dried up tears
- Put a boy to rest
I set through the planes
- Clearing ghouls and death's children
- Please mind the ogre
Hidden paths of pain
- Vines and twigs claw and scratch but
- a goblin is soft
Lonshanks and shortshanks
- They worked hand-in-hand and were
- buried just the same.
- I ventured to Sandpoint looking for an easy mark or three. Make some quick money and move on. I’m not sure when it all changed. Initially, I got swept up in the frenzy of the sudden goblin attack on the town. Afterwards, I was curious about the undead in the cemetery. Then I was shanghaied into service as a constable (a duty I still find wildly amusing). I could have bailed… I probably should have bailed right before the Glassworks.
- It was here that everything changed – I get the feeling we are dealing with something bigger and more sinister than what we have uncovered. Old powers being activated (the runewell under Sandpoint) and old powers being sought (the digging Nualia was doing at Thistletop). Never mind the statues of the Runelords and demons we keep stumbling across. No, now I fear I am in too deep – I am too well known in Sandpoint, if someone were to question one of the locals – I have no doubt they would tell them about me. That doesn’t even take into account Erylium – thrice encountered, and thrice escaped. I don’t know what she is up to – but I wager she is acting on behalf of someone. That someone, I am sure now knows about me. In the interest of self preservation, I should stick it out.
- What’s next? Damn if I know – I suspect some sign will show itself in due time and off we will go, looking for trouble. Hopefully Sandpoint will remain safe and I can turn a little profit while doing something good.
- What can I say about my time here in Sandpointe? It has been interesting. I originally thought I had found a place where I could live, alone of course, but in relative peace. It would seem this was not the case. Goblins attacked, burned my little apartment and left me homeless. (again) But the strangest thing happened, I was housed at the inn with others who lost their homes, and they were actually nice to me! I was stunned, no one since the master really wanted anything to do with me. And then I got a job! Hauling corpses, but it was paying work.
- Strange goings on here in Sandpointe, goblins, undead, and even murders. So many things I am not used to dealing with in the wilderness. The adventurers have let me tag along with them, I think we may even be becoming friends. The older wizard has bathed me with magic, turned me into a giant, and helped me in battle. The cleric has healed me over and over. And neither has demanded payment yet! I have been a corpse taker, sherriff, and had so many adventures I hardly know where to begin! People talk to me regularly, and not just curse words! I almost dare to hope I may have a home here.
- Dark things are on the rise. I have fought monsters, half demons, imps, and so much more. Kidnappings, murders, and war have all happened. If I can help these people who are kind enough to tolerate me I will do my best. I have wrestled a tree, been a giant, and taken blows for them. Even if they never see me as a friend, I can't see them as anything less. The force of life is in all things, but it is wasted by evil, returned to the source before it has a chance to thrive. Perhaps I can put it to a better use? I will think on it. No telling what dangers may come. I will stand ready, the little wild one likes the way I "dance" so I will stay with them until the music stops or my body does.
- I got back to Sandpoint from my little side project shortly before the festival-attack. The arrogance of these fat headed little vermin. We slow scores of goblins, safeguarding the people. Among the heroes were my half-brother, a deaf guy, a dwarven priestess, Calum (who I really think has the forgetting fits disease), a dwarven grotesquerie, a sullen warlord and a Haneet.
- The attack was followed by incident after incident - a kidnapping, a goblin and it's dog keeping a boy hostage in his bedroom, a pair of corpses on the beach and a lieing aristocrat. This culminated in a brawl at the glassworks, where I once again saved the day. This guy threw a baby at us, can you believe that? If I'm lyin' I'm dyin'
- Flash forward a couple days (I...I've been drinking heavily, it's how I keep the charm topped off) and we're getting in bed with this Goblin druid - Natureface or Briarteeth or Squealyspooge, I dunno. He asks us to kill the non-goblins corrupting his tribe.
- We helped him with this problem, liberating several treasures along the way: First there was the hall of doors, which we kept mercifully shut. Then the bordello of hobgoblins, oh that reminds me goblins have whorehouses so if you're still job hunting... It was just past there we ran into the Yethhound.
- Goblins don't keep Yethhounds - hell goblins barely keep pants. But there were two of them and a large altar desecrated to Lamashtuu. We dispatched them though there was no time to profane the profane. Instead we ascended the stairs and shanked the fattest of goblin lords before capturing the Magess of Mirror Image.
- Her top heavy concubine escaped, winged quasit little tramp. But have no fear, lass, we'll get them - We're heroes!
- Well, it's been an interesting Fall. My Thassilonian research in Sandpoint is finally beginning to pay off, albeit in a way I would not have expected. The cathedral here recently re-opened, and of course I went to the dedication ceremony; I figured I'd reward myself, after having finally cracked a tricky phrase on the remains of a plinth. And my effort to be sociable by participating in a trivia contest of sorts won me a 20% off coupon to the Old Curiosity Shop in Magnimar. That should come in handy this Spring.
- But of course, nothing in Sandpoint ever goes exactly the way it's meant to; that's part of the town's charm. An unexpected goblin attack caught everyone by surprise, except a few adventurers who happened to be traveling through; they were level-headed enough to draw weapons and begin to defend themselves and the helpless townsfolk. They were a motley bunch, as one might expect, including a deaf Gnome, another Gnome who seems to have been raised by wild animals, a shifty, sly half-elf, another half-elf conjuror (I refuse to dignify them with the name sorcerer, which they seem to prefer), a level-headed Dwarven devotee of Torag - perhaps the only sensible one of the bunch - and another dwarf who is certainly the ugliest and most pitiable creature I have ever had the misfortune to lay my eyes upon. I offered what assistance I could, seeing an opportunity to practice my spellcasting, and managed to make a positive contribution to the defense of the town.
- As it turned out, however, the goblin attack was but a ruse, meant to distract Sandpoint from the true mischief: an evil cultist breaking into the town's graveyard to raise some dead as zombies and skeletons. The adventurers I mentioned before were asked by Mayor Deverin and Sheriff Hemlock to investigate that incident, and they invited me along, seeing as how my spellcasting had been useful to them already. Once I began to see the possibility that these cultists were attempting to learn more about the Runelords, I realized that continuing to investigate their activity would afford me a convenient (and hopefully remunerative) way to advance both my magical aptitude and my research into the secrets of Thassilon's past at the same time. So it is that after some 30 years of reviling adventurers as lazy, shiftless, greedy trouble-makers and responsibility-dodgers, I have become one myself. O the irony!
- But the sacrifice of dignity has been worth it, for I have finally uncovered direct evidence of the existence of the Runelords for myself. I could scarcely believe my eyes when we came upon the unmistakable statue of Runelord Alaznist, in the antechamber of a hidden fortress we discovered beneath the Sandpoint Glassworks. We were asked to investigate the glassworks in search of Ameiko Kaijitsu, the proprietress of a favorite inn in Sandpoint and daughter of the wealthy and powerful but degenerate Kaijitsu family of Sandpoint. Her disappearance turned out to have been the work of the evil cultist of the graveyard, none other than her disreputable half-elf brother, Tsuto.
- One of my dearest friends in Sandpoint, the seer Madame Mvashti, had warned me that some fellow would try to shoot me with an arrow. Tsuto had some skill, but it wasn't a match for my new adventurer companions and myself. We slew the goblins he had allied himself with, and then him. Upon discovering the hidden rooms beneath the glassworks, which he had been using as a base of operations, we discovered that he had been led by a local woman named Nualia, who seems to have worshipped Lamashtu and aspired to become a demon. In a journal of his that we found, we learned that Nualia had forged an alliance with all five local goblin tribes in an effort to bring Sandpoint down - with the goblins of Thistletop being pivotal.
- I'd heard about the dangers of Thistletop - not called that for nothing - and I would far rather have spent more time examining the Thassilonian relics we found in the fortress under the Glassworks. But perhaps this is what I deserve for deciding to cast my lot in with adventurers - distracted from my work not by the demands of family responsibilities, but by the call of another adventure, another battle. The expedition demanded all our combined efforts, and left many of the group wounded, some rather badly. The shifty half-elf and the ugly dwarf seem to fancy themselves heroes of a sort, and frequently find themselves in need of the cleric's healing magic; for the first time, I do begin to see the point of it myself. In any case, we managed to negotiate a deal with the goblin leader: eliminate the demon woman, the real threat, and her minions, and leave the goblins to their own affairs. Though I questioned the wisdom of this deal, I nevertheless recognized it as the quickest way to our objective.
- To my surprise, there were many more Thassilonian relics to be found in their workrooms in the goblin stronghold; the demon woman had a young wizard researching these relics herself, doubtless to evil ends. It was a shame we had to kill her; the least I could do to honor her memory was to take her spellbook, notes and the most valuable and relevant of the relics she was studying, so as to continue her research along a more positive line. This find made the entire expedition worthwhile, in my estimation.
- We eventually hunted down the demon woman and killed her as well, again not without great expenditure of energy and bloodshed. But for now, Sandpoint is relatively safe - and I have a wealth of both spells and Thassilonian objects new to me to apply myself to. My little foray into adventuring seems to have paid off. I can't wait to see that smug bastard Oderic's jaw hit the floor the next time I present at the Antiquarian Society.
- It's hard to believe everything that's happened here in such a short amount of time. When I first came to Sandpoint to see the dedication of the new temple, I wasn't sure how much good I could do here and how receptive the town would be to Torag's word. Still, it was nice to see the good work that the temple was doing for the community and how its dedication brought the town together. Of course, as I told you, the celebration was marred by the blasphemous misuse of fire by the goblin raiders. And that attack was not the worst of it. No, the raid was designed to hide the work of some evil arcanist disturbing the dead. We drove the attackers back, but they still managed to inflict a bit of damage.
- Because we saved his life, the local noble I told you about, Foxglove, asked us to accompany him on a hunting trip. The boars we stalked prove to be quite formidable, but we bested them nonetheless. I still have an outstanding invitation to visit Foxglove's estate to discuss Torag and his works, but I fear this man wants more from me than spiritual counsel.
- As we helped Sandpoint recover and rebuild, we were pressed into service as duties of the local sheriff while he went to investigate the goblins in their own lair. Of course, things in town did not stay quiet during his absence, but I feel we were able to dispense justice fairly. A hostage situation and a murder kept us relatively busy. There was also a kidnapping of a young child. We suspected the old Kaijitsu patriarch, but news that Amiko, his daughter, had gone missing after apparently going to a clandestine meeting with her half-brother reached us. We further learned of this brother's relationship with a woman (if one can call her that) named Nualia, who was trying to invoke some great evil power. We immediately ran to the glassworks, the location of their meeting, to investigate. Of course, the true perpetrator of most of the mischief turned out to be Tsuto, this half-brother. We were able to send him to meet his final justice, but were unable to prevent the death of his father. Amiko, understandably distraught and overwhelmed, asked us to investigate some catacombs under the glassworks that seemed to be the means by which the goblins entered the town. We did and discovered far more disturbing things than goblins. It seems that Nualia, along with Tsuto, was trying to raise one of the ancient Runelords. We, with Torag's favor, helped stop that awful event.
- While I was walking near the temple, contemplating the horrors we had seem, I was approached by Das Korvut, the local blacksmith. He was in deep distress over his son. The poor boy had been sent to his grave early by The Chopper, but his body had not been recovered from Chopper's Isle. I vowed to help recover the boy as best I could. I could see how much this strong man, blessed with Torag's gifts, was torn up inside. Though I don't believe he is a worshiper of Torag, I can see that he nonetheless follows him and honors him in his own way. After some ill-advised 'negotiation' with some goblins (and their defeat,) we managed to get to the island and recover the remains, though it was clear that place was still haunted by the horrific acts of the deranged man who has once lived there. Korvut was incredibly grateful, and it brought me peace to bring him some small comfort. While I assured him that it was all in the service of Torag, Korvut said he wanted to create a suit of armor for me as thanks, and I could not refuse such a generous and heartfelt gift. I know it will help me to better serve Torag, an Korvut is incorporating the holy hammer of Toarg into the armor. I hope that it shall be an example of his power and strength for all who see it.
- We further tangled with goblins, searching them out in one of their hives. We slayed the goblin ruler of that tribe before encountering the quasit and Nualia. While we were able to kill Nualia, the quasit escaped from us once again. I fear she will be up to even worse mischief in the months to come.
- As it is said, Torag's finest steel is forged in his hottest fires. I doubt that we have even begun to feel the true heat of the flames, but I can feel myself getting stronger and, in some small way, I have begun to feel closer to Torag, even out here in with open skies. I hope these deeds have done their part in sharing his good works and showing his power to those in Sandpoint.
- While I know it may be a while before I can see you again, dear brother, know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I look forward to the day when we can sit together at the family table and share a good ale.
- Be well,
Nualia: And I would've gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those darn adventurers!
- Before next session's day
- Extra Trait from DM's offering & extra non-core spell (or similar) from DM's offering.
- Not done