Carrion Crown

Newcombers

When the party returns to the room beyond the secret door through the walkway to the north where they fought the rust monsters, they find a dual whip wielding warrior and an Inquisitor taking down the last of half a dozen bugbears.

The twins faced the party as they came in and introduced themselves. Garren and Arland were hunting down a group called the Whispering Way. After the introductions the party decided to join forces in searching for their common enemy.

They continued over a chasm by crossing over a rickety bridge. The other side contained a small ledge with a door and a few statues. Not leaving anything to chance the party pushed the statues over the ledge before continuing through the door.

on the other side of the door was a couple of benches and a small square room with doors on every side. The party stepped back as they heard movement from the door to the north and a small demon walked through. The party quickly killed the creature and discovered it was attached by a short length of rope to a larger demon with three other smaller demons like the first attached by a leash.

As the party prepared for an assault another group of demons assembled in similar fashion opened the door to the south. The party held their ground and were able to quickly dispose of the unwelcome hosts.

The party searched the room to the south and found a secret door that lead to a basement. In the basement was a desk and small hidden chest in the ceiling. Arland pulled the chest down with his whip and set off a gas trap. Arland, shakened by the fumes refused help and pushed the group forward to the room to the north.

MhThe room to the north appeared to be a warehouse with a number of closed crates and a couple of tables. The party with loot in their eyes decided to find out what the crates contained. All the crates held straw except for one that held six flying Medusa heads. The Medusa heads seemed excited to see the party and started flying around the room and tried to get acquainted with the party by biting and screaming at them.

Someone from the party recognized the creature and warned the others of the possibility of turning to stone from their bites. The party initially fought defensively and took opportunities to strike the creatures as they approached. The heads abandoned the fly by attempts in exchange of screeching at the party so the party charged them and quickly showed them their own form of greeting.

After clearing the room of the Medusa heads, the party returned to the small room with two benches and doors on each wall. They went to the room to the west and were disappointed to find nothing of value there or anyone interesting to meet.

Sarcophagus
The door to the north held a couple of sarcophagi. One of the sarcophagi attacked the paladin when he got close enough. The creature slowly drew the paladin into itself. Some party members tried to pull the paladin out without success. Other members attacked the creature and was able to kill it before it was able to finish eating it’s victim. The party was rewarded for the encounter with a couple of items the sarcophagus contained to lure its prey.

Soa ocean nymphThe northern room had two other exits: a door to the north that led to a cliff trail and a staircase that led down. The party, hesitant to travel the sketchy chasm trail, decided to take the stairs.

The stairs led to a room with a container that the paladin could easily recognize as evil. Unsure how to proceed, the paladin decided to smite the evil with his weapon. Inside the bottle was a sea nymph entrapped inside the evil container. The smite broke the bottle and killed the sea nymph in the process.

The distraught party decided to take the nymph back to town to see if they could revive her. After paying for the resurrection, the clerics were able to bring the nymph back to life. Unfortunately, as soon as the nymph drew her first breaths, the party were struck with blindness at witnessing her beauty.

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Divisions In The Wilderness

((We’re experiencing a change of a number of players, so I’ve written this entry to help bridge the gap))

As O’ck slayed the last rust monster, a huge grin crossed his lips. “That was good.”

Fedifensor looked at several pieces of his armor and weapons, clearly affected by the touch of the beasts. “That’s easy for you to say. I’m afraid that we’re going to have to head back to town. It’s not wise for me to press forward with half rusted armor. This stuff looks like it could break any minute.”

Leah peps up. “What about the beast?”

Fedifensor looks at the sorceress. “He’ll have to hang tight an extra day. This place is infested with a lot more monsters than I expected. We won’t be in good to him if we’re torn to shreds.”

She nods in agreement, and the party heads back to Lepidstadt. Half way on the trip back, they pause for a 15 minute meal break. O’bk breaks out another “Dragon Jerky” he obtained earlier.

“MmmMMmm…this is yummy!” The half-orc’s schlurping sounds could be heard yards away. Leah turns around, clearly frustrated. “That’s it. I have tried the direct approach. I have tried to be understanding. But this ends now!” Her hands start afire.

Fedifensor steps in between to what is clearly going to be a problem. “Look, O’ck could you stop, you know, eating that?”

“Why should I?”

“Because I asked nicely.”

“O’ck eat what O’ck want, metal man.”

“Excuse me?” The paladin replied.

O’ck continues to eat the meat rather loudly, clearly ignoring Fed’s direction. His hand reaches for his mace. “No one insults me in such a manner and…”

O’ck jumps up, tossing aside the rest of the jerky. “O’ck bored. Too much talk, not enough smashing. O’ck find something more fun to do.” O’ck pats the paladin on the head. “O’ck see you later, metal man”

“What?” the paladin asks, a bit surprised.

And at that, O’ck walks off into the forest.

“Should we go after him?” the Kitsune asks.

“Hell, no.” replied Leah.

After returning to town, resting, repairing and returning to the redoubt, the party did not see O’ck again.

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The Invitation, Part 2

Click here for first part!

O’ck’s ear started to burn, rousing him from the boredom that is second watch. “Lady?” he whispered into the night, holding the earring gently. “Yes, the druid left, as you thought she would.” A little while later… “Yes, you saw it correctly. The newcomer was killed, as was the one we were told to look for. A tragedy, that”, he finished, once again listening to what his lady was saying. “Yes, I have the materials that you asked for.” He rooted around in his backpack and pulled out a bag, which quickly shimmered, the contents replaced. Surprised, he looked in the bag and found some scrolls. After a bit more listening, “Yes, I’ll give them to Kendra. These will strengthen our gear?” He listened a bit more, and said, “Good night milady. I’m sorry for your loss.”

The next morning, O’ck handed the scrolls over to Kendra. “What are these?” she asked him to which he replied, “They make stuff stronger! This one makes my armor stronger! Pretty Lady said so!” Intrigued, she looked over the papers mumbling to herself, before incanting the spell on the scroll. A brilliant flash of lightning arced from the cloudless sky and hammered into O’ck’s chest, knocking him flat and drawing the attention of the others.

“Not ouch”, O’ck said to himself as he picked himself up, looking at his scale armor. It was not the same: where once the scales were dull, now they shined… “Now them turns”, he said, pointing to the others.

GM’s Note: These events are pending a “Good” ending of the Forzega campaign. It may be best to not explore this too much further as the rest of that particular story has yet to be told.

Fluff: Kendra will have to study further to learn how to properly use the enhancement scrolls. As she learns, she will be able to apply those enhancements to the team.

Crunch: This will take place upon successful completion of the Forzega campaign with a “Good” ending. Once completed, Kendra will be able to give any Carrion Crown player who participated in the Forzega campaign a one time +1 enhancement to any weapon or armor (Some limitations may apply).

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The Final Trial Date
Justice Will Prevail

Upon defeating the alchemists we searched the grounds for clues to aid in our defense of the creature. One more day of the trial and the biggest case they have against the creature is to come. Thankfully our searches proved fruitful. The group found various costumes made of skins and faces of famous people that had gone missing based on stories and testimony the townsfolk had relayed to us during the investigation. O’ck finds a silver drinking cup inlaid with obsidian and a bunch of papers that he almost carelessly tossed aside. As useful as the half-orc is to the group in combat, I can’t help but notice his lack of care in delicate matters. Thankfully he handed them to Leah. A smart move for she had recognized them as ledgers.

Customers had purchased stolen cadavers and anatomical parts. Some of the names were doctors and scholars which the group didn’t really see all that odd considering this sort of practice was common amongst the medical community. I have a feeling Fedifensor would see things differently. One name did stand out Doctor Brayda with the assistant (The Blind Man) from Sanctuary Institute and Auron Brood as one of the Whispering Way necromancers we had found in conjunction with professor Loramore.

After gathering the evidence we headed back to town to prepare for tomorrow’s trial. On the way back, however, there was the noise of a crowd in the town square. Some of the townspeople had gathered for a riot. Amongst the shouting could be heard things about allowing the beast a trial and what a mockery to justice this ordeal was. The mob was gathering outside the courthouse. With no sign of the town’s police force and no time to waste in waiting for them we did our best to thwart the attack without bringing the hammer of justice down upon ourselves. The Cleric and Paladin in the party did a great job in persuading the first four people at the front of the riot to turn back.

Jorilean successfully used her booblamacy powers to distract one of them…meaning the others in that group must have been uninterested in females.

The militia finally arrived several minutes after we had dispersed the crowd. The head of the militia casually walked off and left a couple of extra guards to watch the front of the courthouse. This was after a stern lecturing from Fedifensor to which she didn’t seem too pleased or interested in hearing.

After getting to bed around 11:00, and a good night’s sleep, we awoke and prepped ourselves to meet the challenge of the day.

The blind assistant of Dr. Brayda’s was eating breakfast in the inn we had stayed at. Jorilean’s scent was picked up by him along with O’ck’s odor. The cleric decided she was going to be the one to question the blind assistant regarding the testimony he was to give at the trial today. I smelled under my armpit at Jorilean’s of hygiene, not smelling anything out of the ordinary.

Jorilean questioned him on several aspects regarding his story. She suggested to him that Vorstag and Grine wanted Brayda out of the way because it is illegal to traffic corpses. The assistant did mention an event that happened the day before the fire. Brayda was complaining to the traffickers about them trying to raise the prices and he was going to blackmail them to prevent them from doing so. The doctor was going to go to the authorizes and they wouldn’t have allowed that to happen. They would have silenced him rather than have him turn them in.

After that revealing bit of information it was about time for the trial to begin and we went to Barrister Gustav Kaple with this new bit of testimony and reminded him of the evidence we had collect to make sure he’d mention it in court.

We had the connection to Vorstag and Grine to the original location on the island where we found their tools…and that’s where we convinced the court from where they must have been getting the body parts. Karl got to the stand and told the story of what he saw from before we presented him with the evidence.

The defense attorney brought in the skin of the shambling man. The beast is even apparently taken aback at the grotesqueness of it.

Jorilean took the stand…looking lovely as usual…as she presented the evidence we had found at the alchemical works. The ledger proved that Dr. Brayda was receiving bodies from Vorstag and Grine. After the testimony given by Karl, the now-blind assistant he told them what we had already suspected regarding the blackmail and motive for Brayda’s murder and the cover-up destruction of the facility.

Chief Card announced the trial was over and they took a recess. The court quieted down as we all waited with baited breath. Upon the evidence they’d heard…and after thanking Farazma they found the beast innocent on all counts.

The town was very angry and incensed as they get pushed out of the way by the guards. Not many were happy except for the beast and us. The beast thanked us and was clearly very happy, sobbing and such. He called us his best friends in the whole world while hugging us each in turn. O’ck almost lifted the beast when he came around to his hug. I awkwardly gave him a pat on the back as he nearly crushed me with his hug.

He wanted to see his father and we said we’ll join him soon as the guards were leading him out to the swamp to protect him from the angry villagers.

We receive a note from Judge Deramid that was sent to us from a messenger. O’ck hugged him as I made an observation to myself that he seemed to be in a huggy mood today. We went to the messenger’s house and we get thanked by her one by one. We got some nice reward money from her in the form of platinum as well. She informed us the beast might be dangerous and that we should find his father to help him out. We’re warned that some of the townsfolk are planning on tracking down the beast to exact their own justice on him.

Not having a moment to lose we listen to her request and find that the father the beast had spoken of is believed to live at Schalcsh Calamark; a distance approximately 24 miles NE of here. It’s a rocky gorge in the swamp (forget the name). Count something or another that established his position as an eccentric that lives there in a cool castle type thing. He’s well known for his discoveries and mysterious creatures.

We see a large number of people gathering on the streets with farm implements and torches as we head out to the swamp and travel to the location told to us by the judge. We soon come to the towering cliffs and the castle that the count lives in.

As we approached the gates we were met by two huge trolls and their hounds. Leah quickly puts the hounds in a pit while we were battered by the trolls that seemed to be self-healing. “Well that’s new,” I said to myself as I watched the others to see how they would handle it. It seemed fire or burn damage would prevent the wounds we dealt to them from healing.

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An Epic Battle

As we proceeded into the Chymic Works facility owned by Grime and Vorstag. Leah, our pyromaniac sorceress with her fiery red hair and martini-garnished eyes felt bad about killing the mad corpse-dog and even Perlivash, her fairy dragon had his ears drooped a bit. It’s not like we had a choice and it was pretty ugly.

After inspecting a bit more we went to a door leading off from that room and the paladin was unusually bold in opening it…right into a packing room filled with beast men. They instantly stopped what they were doing and stared at us when we opened the door on them. I had a feeling our paladin was having fun sneaking around if he was so excited he forgot to check to see if anything was on the other side.

Before we could introduce ourselves the staff of monstrous like creatures grabbed whatever they could find to bludgeon us with and advanced on us. After we started wrecking them, a few retreated out of the facility past us. Then we were free to continue on. Upon entering the room filled with guys with masks on…for some reason they ran off apparently afraid of the ninja clearly. They were wearing masks…the purpose of which we did not figure out until we tried to exit on the other side of the manufacturing room.

The air started to get stale and our visions blurred as we started coughing. Of course in a chemical factory there would be noxious fumes in the air. Why weren’t we more prepared? It was then that Grime and Vorstag appeared. It appeared they had been waiting for us. We didn’t know it but these two would prove to give us quite an epic battle. Vorstag was completely cheating by disappearing early in the fight to sneak up behind our cleric and mage. Meanwhile I was trying my best to pursue the little gnome Grime that was showing off by traversing atop narrow ledges and rims of vats. Not only did I have to worry about falling off the beams but I had to put up with the little bastard’s poisoned axes he was throwing at me the whole time. It didn’t help that our paladin was afflicted with nausea early on in the fight, preventing him from attacking. The mage was casting pits which didn’t do much against the well prepared foes.

Eventually Fedifensor was able to stave off his illness and use smite on the two alchemical factory owners. Surprisingly it worked. We had defeated them after a long and tiresome battle. We knew then that they were evil. But what purpose did they serve in this town and what were the motives behind their chemicals they were making and shipping? Perhaps further investigation will shed some light on the situation.

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Room Full of Ghasts

O’ck is sitting around the campfire, telling a tale to some of Zeph Lee’s orphans.

“So we there in village with Beast thing. They say he do bad things, but he not bad. Not really. Girl say stuff to lots of people, they get mad. We happy. I don’t know why. We then went to talk people and then went to church. Church was fun! Dead things downstairs stiffed people. New ranger comrade didn’t like them and same with dragon-girl. We crushed them good. O’ck smashed most.”

O’ck finishes his tale, gets up and walks away.

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Evidence Gathering

I caught up to the party. They’d left me back there…asleep in my bed. I had to jog the whole time to catch up…then swim to an island. I got out a notepad as soon as they said they’d need someone to take notes.

The island appeared to be 60’-70’ in diameter. There is a small clearing in the south and graves everywhere marked by fetishes in a style I’m not familiar with. I was told it was similar to Voodoo…whatever that is.

Six graves appeared to have been tampered with. Sagging as if collapsed below. Six graves empty. Not marked with names…just fetishes. O’ck’s questions seem to be well thought out for his usual half-orc.

I’d deduced the bodies were taken, which turned out to be the case.

We found a camp that hadn’t been used in a while since the campfire wasn’t emanating heat. A water skin, fireplace, trail rations, and glass vial. Dried remains of a green substance that smelled like carrots was in the vial. It was a small camp, suitable for one person. Kendra determined the substance is not a potion but a dark-vision extract that would allow an alchemist low-light vision.

Kendra’s ability to determine potions proved valuable as she bragged to the cleric saying she’s not just all looks. Golems have dark vision…they don’t need to see the vial to see in the dark.

I found something hidden in the trees along the s/w shore of the island a coracle (small row boat hidden in the brush dry blood on the bottom of it). An oar a moldy travel bag and an artesian outfit were laying inside of the boat. A horrifying object…a detached human face carefully cut as if to be used as a mask. A length of rope is attached from the boat to an anchor of some sort.

O’ck and Fedifensor pull it up. A large sack at the end of the rope has dried blood in it and inside the sack is a gag, rope, a rusted lantern, a trio of heavy knives, and a rusted shovel.

The cleric also found a set of silver tools bound in a leather kit, which was identified as a surgical tool set used by surgeons and I noticed a Small symbol on the handle depicting a raven. We found the island was searched by us at this point.

We discussed our next move and assumptions based on who this stuff belonged to. We head back to the village and on the way meet up with the man that rented us the river boat. Fedifensor seems to not be too fond of him because of having to use money to borrow his boat. I think he sometimes worries too much about gold…thrifty spender? We asked him if they have any doctors, trying to figure out if someone he knows is the owner of the medical kit. The man spit a lot while replying and explained that they rarely get sick…called us city slickers. I facepalmed when I heard that this simpleton is going to be testifying at court. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I whispered under my breath. We asked him a lot of questions but didn’t seem to get much help from him.

Fedifensor offered to sell the boat we found on the island, trying to make up for his precious lost gold earlier. O’ck showed the man some the dragon wings. From what the party was mentioning to him, apparently they had killed a Manticore mother and baby earlier; seems like I missed out on the fun.

We showed him the tools and he said they were fancy but otherwise didn’t seem to know anything about them. Not impressed by anything. Said there might be undead out there. He told us about a gator that tore into something fierce and there was swearing. A swearing monster…from what the party described about it, it didn’t seem to have the brain power to swear like the man said it did. The Moon was behind the beast during the attack so we can’t even be sure what the gator attacked was the beast based on his description.

We showed him the human face and he jumped back in shock. That’s the face of Nan Klebem he said. A poacher that they hadn’t seen in the village for a year…which was around the same time the beast supposedly started its attack. She was a poacher of average height. Hunting swamp creatures…she skinned gators.

We got everything we could from the man and then we went to go to the alchemist/herbalist to see if there was poison on the surgical tools.

Lepidstadt University had about 20 artisans working locally. Surgeons flat is the location that they go to show the symbol to them and we find the raven marker is used by Brasslove Aura and Sons in the tiny alley. We had an hour left and we met someone at the artisan makers mentioned above. He asked us if we were there for tools. Vladka Kosteel is who he said he sold the tools to. She was said to be wearing a swan necklace and she worked for an auction house. We left for the courthouse after that due to the time restraint and we got ready for the trial.

Barrister Gustav Kaple, the monster’s defender, was waiting for us and we showed him the evidence and information for submittal to the clerk. Fedifensor hadn’t fought anything and he was itching for a battle but we waited to watch the trial and decide to help defend the beast alongside Gustav.

From what we find out at the court house in regards to cases, majority verdict is acceptable. The 80 year old judge was presiding. A Holy Sister of justice wore a grey hood, essentially she was a priestess watches for spell casting. The Herald of the Court is the bailiff type role held by an intimidating-appearing knight.

Knight court prosecution and defense. The place is packed as a group around the beast as he is led into the court. He’s forced into a chair while bound in shackles and the judge is prosecution Otto Jahara. The Trial is fast paced but long winded as the defense attorney is jeered and booed by the crowd.
An hour and a half later, Gustav called his witnesses. Our cleric was called to the stand. I was hoping she knew what she was doing. I crossed my fingers, glad it was not me.

The first piece of evidence was the graves being robbed or bodies missing.
We concluded that the potion belongs to an alchemist…it was made only for an alchemist to use. The beast would not need a potion to see in the dark nor is it an alchemist. We convinced the court of the importance of this piece of evidence.

The poacher’s face is determined to have been removed from the poacher in such a way that it could be used as a mask. The crowd booed at this new revelation. The court adjourned until tomorrow as the beast was led away to the booing crowd. The attorney said we were awesome. Herdstad will be talking about the murders next.

2:00 pm. We had 8 hours. Most businesses (auction house included) are open until 6:00 pm.

We head out to investigate the murders. It’s a fallen farming village that’s gone to ruin. The crops had overgrown resulting in poor visibility. We could see that the village farmhouses were in disrepair as we get closer.

The party heard a snap as Jorilean’s leg gets caught in something, a huge bear trap that caught around her leg, the armor saving her a bit
.
It took a while for everyone to get her free and out of the bear trap.

We happened upon what appeared to be a discarded scarecrow in the distance. As we got closer, we found it was a man, or rather, the remains of a man stuck in a bear trap. We checked his pockets for contents.

I got a thieving device kit of some sort to help me disarm devices, something that would have been able to help a few minutes ago. We saw a tangle of willow trees scarred by fire. Using my keen ninja eyes, I found the remnants of some poetry book in the ashes of the fire.

Jorilean heard the voice of a child in the distance and we headed in that direction.
We also detected evil in an area along the way. Jorilean saw that the graves of the 6 murdered children were in the church yard cemetery. Four of the children’s graves were empty…we assumed the bodies were never discovered. Somehow it made me hope that the children were still alive.

We jotted down the six children’s names written on the graves. Elsa, the monster’s friend was buried there…the one that the monster had brought into town when he was seeking assistance for her. Karen was also buried. Allen, Gaard, Rachel and Martine’s graves were empty. Someone in the party recalled the beast saying he was hanging out with a girl here.

The monster found the body at the lake with a supposed ghost.

Jorilean spotted, about a hundred feet away, in the side of a hill, a cave that was concealed with foliage. We headed toward the cave.

We found Brother Swarm.
Brother swarm
We heard a snap as O’ck got stuck in a bear trap around his ankle.

We see a Wraith spawn. I free O’ck from the trap using my new disable device kit…after the 2nd attempt. :/

We beat and attack the children that are trying to attack us. Brother Swarm appeared behind Kendra suddenly.

The confused children spirits were running amock giving an attack of opportunity to Fedifensor. We nearly got owned but Fedifensor was feigning going down. I sliced into the kid without showing emotion when someone suddenly steals my kill. _ Oh, it is on now. I go into a ninja rage but don’t really do much else for the fight.

After finally killing the six ghosts of the children we search the cave for loot but don’t find much else other than the four missing children’s’ bodies. Their spirits should return to their proper places and Kendra casts a spell to bring the dead back to life. O’ck is suggesting we do it in court. >.>

Bodies were found in a cave and we fought the wraith that killed the children, based on the Beast’s testimony. Speaking to the dead is a legitimate form of testimony. Kendra raises Rachel, one of the children from the dead and the girl’s soft voice replies and sits upright facing the party.

They asked her a bunch of questions and she replied to the one as to what or who killed her. She heard Martine called for her to play with him on the hill with dark eyes moving and blanketed arms killed her.

Kendra held up one finger, indicating we have one more question. We discover Elsa is her friend. Kendra reminds us the village isn’t particularly religious…and there may be some influence having heard the testimony from the witness’ lips first hand.

O’ck digs up Elsa, once again to the chagrin of Fedifensor and the rest of the party explores the buildings in the village.

Karen’s bedroom has an Unmarked window shuts from the inside with a stout latch, 15 feet off the ground on the 2nd floor. 7 months ago is when the monster attacked here.

O’ck and Kendra go to the courthouse to check on the names of the witnesses and hand over Elsa’s body for evidence along with testimony.

We went to the inn and questioned the innkeeper where the survivors from the farming community are staying. The priestess flaunts her stuff at the innkeeper and we find their room 12 to see some ladies in their late 40s from the community.

Garo Starley and Flitch were their names. She starts to defend the honor of Lepidstadt. We interview them…the priestess seemed a bit unsure of what to say apparently. They mentioned a ghost. The beast walked in with Elza dead in his hands. They recalled the huge beast laughing maniacally. I shudder at the thought said Fletch. As soon as the men saw the dead body they chased him with pitchforks. Jorilean explained to the ladies the idea of wraiths and explains to them as the creature. The priestess can’t convince them otherwise and we don’t get much information from them.

They weren’t able to figure out that the children. Karen died in her bed two days after the beast was driven away in her bed. A mark was on her. Mark on her was consistent with a wraith. No evidence of a struggle. We know for sure she wasn’t killed by the beast.

Fedifensor intensely intimidates the barkeep to learn which of the merchants the woman we’re looking for that wears the swan works for.

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The Invitation

O’ck sits at the campfire, munching on dragon jerky much to Leah’s consternation. To hear her muttering curses under her breath is exactly why he does it. In his other hand, a small ruby earring twirls. He is playing with it anxiously when suddenly the forest goes quiet for a second. Stepping out of the campfire is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen… He is momentarily shocked at how different she looks then when he last met her. Her golden hair is now flame red, twice as long and she is taller… Gone are her military armaments, they have been replaced by a sheer dress, staff and unwieldy heeled shoes that don’t seem to sink into the freshly muddy ground. She is wearing a single earring, a match for the one in O’ck’s hand.

O’ck’s surprise is gone quickly. “Milady, you came!”, he says in his best common, obviously making an extreme effort. Taking her by the hand, he leads her into the forest, talking all the way in Orcish. She nods at times as he tells his tales.

“Are you sure he is a good fit?”, Verla asks him once he is done. “You know that the Blue Ravens have high standards.”

“Metal-Man is good man, but sometimes he too good”, he slips into his usual broken common. “He right over there”, he says as he points towards a rock where the paladin is sitting, deep in thought.

“Thanks, O’ck. I’ll talk to him, if you’ll give us some privacy?” she asks. O’ck nods and heads back into the woods. She walks up to the paladin and clears her throat in order to get his attention. The paladin jumps in surprise and turns to face her, taking in her beauty, supreme confidence and evident power. He can’t help bowing.

Before he gets a chance to say anything, she smiles and says, “It’s nice to meet you, Metal-Man. My name is Verla and I am a representative of Forzega’s Blue Ravens. O’ck speaks highly of your prowess, and higher still of your honour.” She stalls any response from him and goes through her spiel of who the Blue Ravens are. “We are a guild of adventurers that have been tasked with investigating and closing portals that have been opening in our world and also, yours. We’re stretched really thin at the moment and we’re looking for people of the utmost morality to help us by defending he world, since we cannot be both here and defending our home at the same time.” She takes a quick breath, and continues. “We cannot guarantee you items of power to aid you at this time, but you’d receive the same considerations as we ourselves do. Knowledge is something we can offer now. Are you interested in being Galorian’s voice for the Blue Ravens?”, she asks and waits for his response.

Fedifensor looks around – thinking of the young heroes in his charge, the dashing ninja, the scrappy sorcerer, the daring ranger and many others. It has been hard getting the weapons and equipment that the party needs. No more begging clients for gear or haggling with townspeople. A tight smile peaks from his lips as the strange lady begins tapping a foot impatiently. I guess she thought my acceptance would be automatic. Life is never that simple or straightforward. Plus stalling might tune the arrogance down a notch. Additionally the support staff would be beneficial for his people. Finally it is being able to better help his world exceeds the cost of surrendering his team’s sovereignty. “Well, milady. We accept. You are joining with some of the bravest warriors I have ever met. Now let’s talk about how soon my people can get scrolls, arrows, potions, weapons and armor.” Stunned at his forwardness, Verla nervously twirls a red lock. “Milady, the Church is my first love. Even your beauty pales before that. Now let’s get to the matter at hand…”

Verla, feigned her shock, knowing full well how arrogant paladins can be. “The invitation is not extended to them. It is you we want, the rest are… unknown entities. O’ck does not trust them yet, and frankly, neither do I. We want a leader on this side, in O’ck’s adopted world, nothing else at the moment. You’d still need to prove yourself to us before we can just give you anything”, she finishes. “This is what we offer: you and O’ck find warriors and other would-be heroes to join our ranks, and supplies will follow, if you meet expectations.”

“So, let me get this straight. You want just me and not my team and we get none of the “Blue Raven perks” for putting our lives on the line and incidentally adding your enemies to our own. Oh, and by us taking your name we would be building your reputation and not our own. I vouch for every member of my team. If you can’t accept all of us than I will continue building our reputation in this land. I’ve already made a good start. How about you?"

She looks him over. “You fight your own battles, because of who you are, not who we tell you to be. If our own enemies were to come to your world, be sure that you would fight them on your own, without our help, much as we would fight yours, should they wreck havoc on ours. We’re not looking for beggars here, we’re looking for accomplished adventurers, people who know how to fend for themselves while still doing good in the world. The Blue Ravens have never received such handouts, and we don’t expect our chapter leaders to expect them either. You must be willing to fight evil wherever it stands, hides, or crawls, with or without the help of others. That is the courage of the Blue Ravens”, she says. She never really did mention any of the monetary perks of membership… all she mentioned was the aid of knowledge, other members and the possibility of cheaper goods, should the guild successfully build relationships with those that produce them. The fact that he assumed that membership was a monetary reward upset her, when she was simply putting out a hand in friendship. “Maybe he isn’t Blue Raven material, after all”, she quietly wonders to herself.

“Ok, no support personnel. No additional equipment access. For an organization that is unheard of in my world. I have committed my life to bringing justice to my land. This other realm has heroes even as we do here. Two can not walk together if they don’t agree. “Unfortunately milady, I will decline at the moment. When my team becomes better known and when their courage and deeds inspire the local villages, we might discuss this further. Until that time, I will continue doing what I am doing: saving lives in this realm and making long lasting changes one day at a time.”

“Fine”, she says, as she turns around and motions for O’ck to walk with her. “He’s impatient, arrogant and doesn’t have what we are looking for, unfortunately”, she tells him when she joins him in the woods again. “Without the will to rely on only himself, he is weak, as we can’t always be relied upon to be available in a pinch. You know how small we are.” This was said with a note of remorse, and loud enough for Fedifensor to hear, purposefully so.

Further into the woods, she stops and roots around in her bag, pulling out a gleaming mithral shield, a stunning Blue Raven depicted on the face of it. “This was to be our symbol here, this shield for the man brave enough to embody our ideals. But selfish was he!”, she says as she puts the heavily enchanted shield back in the bag, once again rooting around. A small pouch is produced next, full of golden rings similarly emblazoned with a Blue Raven. She hands one over to O’ck, which he puts on.

Verla hands O’ck a small pouch of items, which he takes from her without bothering to look into it. He smiles at her, a brutish, toothy smile. As she walks away, O’ck storms off into the woods and doesn’t go far before running into the paladin. “Lady is very good person, Metal-Man. She saved O’ck many years ago. Was different lady, but same lady, and lady is nice!”, he shouts and tosses the bag at the paladin, who catches it without thinking. Fuming, O’ck turns around and runs to catch up to his friend.

Fedifensor, stunned, looks in the bag. A dozen potion vials clink inside, alongside a wand, and a handful of scrolls. He cocks his head to the left and picks up the bag, gingerly returns it to Ock’s friend. “I disagree. Forging a team isn’t a sign of weakness, its one of humility. I know that I can not defeat the foes that we face in my own strength.” Squaring his shoulders, the young Paladin straightens before assuming parade rest. “However, given time, temperance and persistence – these youth that stand before you will not always be wet behind the ears. We will work, cry, pray and play as a team. And when this darkness that you speak of comes to this land – we will face it…as a team.” Fedifensor bows and calmly walks back into the forest to continue his search.

Verla hands O’ck the bag again. “It’s yours. He means to face the wrath of the planes on his own, with or without our help? You trust these companions to not… betray you?” As she says this, there is a brief flash of pain in her countenance. “I hope your travels are full of success, my friend.” She gives O’ck a quick hug and then disapears in a flash of light.

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True Confessions

Still weary from the long walk back from the prison, Fedifensor leaned heavily against the door before lightly knocking with a mailed fist. “Father, it’s me, Fedifensor. I am really sorry to bother you this late. I have sinned and I will probably add to that sin and probably doom the entire town unless I can work this out.”

He replies, “Sure…sure. Come on in.”

It’s not dark yet, but it will soon be. One of the acolytes is busy lighting various candles and activating magically lit lanterns. The Father walks at a calm pace as he leads you to his office. He motions for you to sit down as he closes the door.

“What can I help you with, my son?”

Forgive me Father for I have sinned….and I plan to sin again. Everyone else is alright with it but I am still angry and I want to hit him. I don’t care if he kills me; I have no problem with dying for what I believe in. That goes with my job description.

We found the remains of the warden. I wanted to preserve the body to give to the wife and then do a proper burial. One of my party, O’ck the Barbarian, smashed the warden’s skull to dust. His wife was happy just to have his badge of office but a good man’s body was desecrated and I couldn’t stop it. I challenged the barbarian to a duel and he ignored me.

Besides being insulted, I find it hard to be kind to him. I understand that he is not that intelligent but what he did is still wrong. If either of us die in a duel, it makes it that much harder for your town to be protected. I am tempted to wait until its all over to call him out again but I fear if I keep that harboring in my spirit for that long, I will lose my paladinhood and become a mere fighter.

“I see.” Father Grimburrow leans back in his chair, stroking his chin. The light from the lantern on his desk provides a steady light that casts an eerie shadow of his profile against the wall. You almost did not believe it possible, but he looks even older in this light.

“Your feelings are natural, my son. You have seen wrong take place, and you wish to correct it. There is nothing wrong with that. However, what is important is how you treat these feelings. You see, the big one just acts of impulse. That is not the way of Pharasma’s disciples. We act in accordance with the will of her holiness, and the law of the land.”

“Your friend has desecrated the undead….and the undead of a hero, at that. While it’s certainly not the most grievous of sins, such behavior is uncivilized and unacceptable. I doubt you will convince the uncivilized one to make proper restitution of her holiness, but he will need to pay his debt to society. You should report the infraction to the good sheriff. I’m sure he will know how to best address this issue.

“in the mean time, my son, you have a decision to make. I understand that you have agreed to take this one into your group because of his prowess with a weapon. However, it is clear that his mindset is not like yours. While he seems innocent enough in his thinking, he methods are unpredictable and chaotic. Such souls can be lead by men, such as yourself, to perform deeds of good that can please the deities. However, it can be stressful and problematic when faced with their complete disregard for the traditions and ways we have been taught. This one, he is a powerful force, but you have to decide for yourself whether the ends, and the good he can do under your direction, justifies the means.

“I do not feel he is evil, however, just very chaotic in his way of thinking. As you ponder your direction, keep in mind that, perhaps, the Sunflower crossed his path with yours in order that, over time, you might show him a better way.”

“I thank you, Father.” Fedifensor exhales, tension flowing out of his shoulders.

“I will file my report with the Sheriff now. May the Great Head of the Church continue to shine through you as you display His light, glory and guidance in this town.” Tightening his armor, he begins to exit the sanctuary until he spies the door to the practice yard. His eyes bounce between the two doorways. “…Well, I guess I can file the report in a half an hour or so…”

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A Problem with Orcs

Takehiko’s Log

No sign of O’ck the following morning of the huge disagreement between him and the paladin. Someone I didn’t recognize, Ms. Kravitz was her name according to the person nearest me I asked, visits and complains about some of the party members. She’s a little paranoid and saying stuff about O’ck organizing an attack against the town. She mentioned orcs and since he was half-orc, I was interested in finding out more about this. I didn’t want to believe he’d try attacking the town with a band of them…he didn’t seem the type. It was clear she was the town gossip. She amuses me.

Shortly after she left, we asked Kendra where we might find some research assistants, most of us not being the studious type. After talking amongst ourselves we determined which we can research. We can have Kendra help research Splatterman. Fedifensor and I don’t have the knowledge needed.
Kendra does the research at the prison while our party kept watch.

Professor Ferimor was his name…
Merging with a quarter-fox succubus that caused him to change his study to one of named obsession with a person’s link and what happened to that name of their name. He would spell his victim’s name one letter at a time until killing them in an intricate trap; much like a serial killer. The warden’s wife is the one whose name is being spelled on the statue, something I discovered only to learn the rest of the party had already figured it out. I guess that comes with the territory of joining a group of adventurers after they’ve been in the town for a few days already.

We check the side quest board and we see the sheriff needs investigating into Orcs that are gathering near town. The sheriff tells us about it and deputizes us under the insistence of Fedifensor. He might be an effective tank and adventurer, but sometimes I fear his compulsion to follow the rules might get in the way of completing something someday.

We determine the best course of action is spending the night at Kendra’s along with Fedifensor and Leah before checking into the Orc thing.

A commotion is happening outside after a woman screams and we go to investigate. People gathered around the gazebo as we see an R written in blood on it.
One of the farmers says they killed his sheep. That’s where the blood came from. Sherriff Caeller says the guy was locked up. They talked about the probability of a second accomplice. Fedifensor follows the farmer to his barn and from the looks of things the sheep’s head looks like it was hacked off by a dull blade or a weaker person, before it was bled out.

Fedifensor makes an urgent errand to the Messenger Office, sending out an emergency message to all of the Z-Men…wait…is that right?…Who names an adventuring group that…really? Anyway, he’s trying to rally the troops in no later than 2 days…running out of time on the name thing.

We follow the lead on the orcs for now and find their trail using my super ninja perception. XD
We follow the orc’s trail and we find ourselves in the grasslands once again facing an army of orcs.
We overhear a scouting party. Fedifensor and myself drew our bow and nodded to each other as we knocked arrows and both fired at the same time at two of the three orcs. The paladin’s arrow hit but I miss, hitting their huge WoW style shoulder pads. Leah cast shield on herself. “Damn, why do they have to have armor?” My second attack doesn’t fare much better as the next arrow bounces off one of their helmets.
Fedifensor comes to save me. Leah is shaking her head at me like I did something foolish. :/
I learned how to use abilities efficiently. I call out they’re very pissed as I go to the ground from a critical attack. From my barely conscious form I can hear the sounds of battle in the background. I hear Fedifensor battling against two monsters as eventually I hear a magic missile pierce the air and
It’s called kiting bro. Leah is awesome and kites while drawing there attention and I revive myself and use a potion to heal Fedifensor to health just before Leah topples the other two orcs. The four melee fighters are on the ground.

Fedifensor is pissed and comes back with a vengeance, his sword seemingly glowing. We finally defeated them and I got scolded by Leah. Her fiery temperament somehow causing me to become interested in her.

O’ck happens upon the party while we’re interrogating him.
Blood oath of vengeance on the town. Since their guard was killed by one of the town’s guards
Three challenges are taken according to O’ck’s translation.

The first is a race, O’ck manages to defeat his opponent using his superior abilities.

The second is a cave, fighting a dragon without armor and weapons. Fedifensor braves this challenge, using his stealth, he manages to sneak up on the dragon and defeat it using his guile.

The third is a fight against their champion, a well armored giant. This time I kept my distance as I felt Leah’s glares on the back of my neck, attacking from afar with my bow, the arrows bouncing harmlessly off.

With Fedifensor and O’ck attacking mercilessly against the giant monster our party eventually emerged victorious. As the oath stated, the orcs left the town without much fuss since we had completed the challenges and won. We then went to the Sheriff to give him the good news.

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