Red Hand of Doom

Shale Journal Entry Day 2 - 3
Drellin's Ferry in Need

The day was difficult for us. Our group started out this morning at Drellin’s Ferry to help out the farmer Vaulk. What we got into was a fight with a group of hobgoblins and a giant that almost was too much to handle. On our way back to Drellin’s, outside the town we discovered a war party of hobgoblins attacking the town. Trying to get inside we were attacked and survived by the skin of our teeth. We finally have gotten back to the town, and a much needed rest. This was a long day.

We approached the guard post. The closed gates were guarded by no less than four town guards. Onji approached first, he had gained their trust in the fight moments ago. “I am back, with my friends. We dispatched the hobgoblins. We would like some rest and nourishment.” The guards respond by saying the group must have been lucky to get past the hobgoblin raiding parties. “Luck has nothing to do with it” the large dragonborn Oversoul curses at the guards on duty. “Your best bet is the Green Apple or Old Bridge.” The lead guard rolls his eyes and opens the gates for the group. Thanks were given all around to the men. We went for the closer, The Old Bridge Inn.

At the Old Bridge Inn we walk in to see a good group of people. There is mostly standing room only in the large tavern. A group of halflings quickly move behind the counters serving the large crowd. Loud cheers came from a dark corner where a Three Dragon Ante game was being played. As we make our way to the bar we notice lots of talk about the invading hobgoblins. In the corner there seems to be a gathering of people listening and asking questions to a few others, maybe town officials. Onji speaks to a halfling behind the counter. He says he is Kellin the proprietor. He has many rooms available. We pay for the rooms and Onji speaks to Kellin about the group. Kellin says they are here to see what the town officials are going to do about the hobgoblins attacking the town. Onji mentions we just got through the gates fighting a mob of the beasts. Kellin knocks off half price of the rooms, and thanks us for killing some of the raiders.

We all settle into our rooms, and have a quick talk about our next day exploits. We start to speak about either helping Drilling’s Ferry or going onto the keep, as there is a knock at our door. A large man and a slender woman enter the room. We notice them from the group below, in the center of the gathering. The large man introduces himself as Norrow Wiston and the lady as Serana, Captain of the Guard. They have heard of our entry into Drilling’s and want our help.

The hobgoblins have attacked their town and have been killing townspeople, travelers, and outlanders. They have shut down all ways in and out of Drilling’s Ferry. Serana speaks quickly that these hobgoblins have attacked the town before, but her guard has always been sufficient to warding off the attacks. This group is much larger and better prepared. She is worried they will take the town in good time. They are in need of more experienced help.

Narrow continues that the Dawn Way is the lifeblood of Drilling’s Ferry. They need to secure that road as soon as possible to keep reinforcements and supplies coming for the defense to hold. Daz speaks from under his cloak, “Seems like you guys really need our help, and I do love treasure and love to help friends with treasure.” The large man seems to ignore the warlock, says they would do great service to the town if we could help. “We don’t work for free.” Daz continues. “Ok if you can drive them off, we will thankfully reward your exploits with 500gp.” Negotiating for the group Daz prods the man, “Treasure is much more interesting.” Norrow is discouraged by the warlock’s demands, “700gp each and we can give you some items to help start you off. Now we really need your help.”

I speak both at Daz and Narrow, “That is fine of you. Now what can we do to help.” Onji brings out the map we have come across and we all discuss the areas where we are needed. The officials seemed to have a lack of information. They didn’t know the direction the hobgoblins came or the estimated numbers of attackers or concentrations. Only that the tribe was an aggressive one from the Wormsmoke Mountains. Onji also wondered if giants were involved, they thought the question idiotic, why would giants and hobgoblins work together. They just wanted us to clear the Dawns Way and seemed to be annoyed with our questions. They were busy people and are needed elsewhere. Serena says we should speak with Jor, he knows the outlands better than anyone. He is at a cabin a ways out of town, but would be a very good source of information. His cabin was near the Blackwater Witch trail. Down the Dawn Way take a right 9 miles from forest edge or left at the first trail crossing 7 miles in.

The Captain and her charge leave the room and we all seem to lose all our energy. We needed food and sleep. We decided to eat a quiet dinner and drink a bit in one of our rooms, being the tavern was crowded and loud. The halfling innkeepers all happily served our dinner to our rooms. We ate in silence and all slept fully that night. Another full day awaits.

Shale Journal Entry - Day 2 - 2
On The Road Again

Day 2 cont..

After our mission completed the journey back to Drellins was a good one. The party was tired and ready for good rest. We reminisced about the fight with the hobgoblins and the rude farmer, Vaulk. I didn’t participate in the farmer bashing, he was having a tough time, but understood that ones who help the unfortunate sometimes don’t get the respect they deserve.

The closer we got to Drellins the more we spoke about the continuation of our party. Normally after a given task I would disband as needed and go about my own way. This group was different. There was a real camaraderie there. A good mix of talents. None of the group seemed ready to go their own paths just yet. Another adventure was just on the horizon, Vrath Keep. We spoke of the map we found in the giants cave, and everyone had the same conclusion. We would check it out together after we had food and rest.

The sun was falling fast, and the day closing to an end. We could see the lights of the town up ahead. But as we got closer we quieted. We could all feel it, something was wrong. Without a word we all seemed to keep quiet and kept our eyes peeled. We turned a bend that lead downwards and a long straight road, we discovered a small group of hobgoblins a good distance away. We dashed into the trees.

Observing the party noticed a few other groups of hobgoblins destroying and looting buildings off the road. Some seemed to be watching out for any road travelers, while the others took apart anything they could find.

No less than 3 groups were seen, with around ten to fifteen in each group. The three roads leading into the town gave us options. We discussed those options. Do we attack these raiders? Do we bypass the town, and leave the guard to deal with the attackers, continuing on to the keep? Do we sneak into the town and reevaluate once we get more information?

We all felt we should help, and Onji was decided to sneak into the town and find out more from the town guard. We would create a small diversion to help him out, but not engage the battle.

With the cover of twilight Onji chose his path and left our group. A short while later we decided to gain the attention of a group of goblinoids. The shadowed area we gained keeps us as close as we can without being seen. The group of hobgoblins seemed to be gathered around a disturbing looking house near the road.

We spotted Onji’s sneaking shape in the distance behind the building, and noticed a group of hobgoblins near his position. Our options were growing thin, the position we currently kept was not good, but not many plans seem to be perfect. The two war dogs would prove to be difficult. So we went for it, we were running out of time, Onji was counting on us.

A few of us whispered of the plan’s success. The sheer number of the goblins, the dogs at their command, and the slow speed of our group were leaving questions to the diversion. Daz was against the diversion all together and thought Onji could handle it. A sense of immediacy cried for action and I decided that we would just go for it. We all started for the road.

As with our last battle, this didn’t go as plan. We walked along the path ready to bolt at the first sign of trouble. Before we even gain the attention of the group of hobgoblins, we were being stalked as well. A spear flew by my head, and I turned to see a hobgoblin dash behind a tree behind our position.

The hobgoblin screamed an alarm and the group near the old house rushed to attack. Too soon for our liking, we all ran back, to let Onji sneak through. The issue for us was getting away without a fight.

The scrawny war dogs got to us first. I stumble as a dog nips at my heel. The heat could be felt before I looked back. Fireballs for eye’s this dog was no regular canine. The dog blew fire at me and I dashed out of the way. Hell hounds, where did hobgoblins get hell hounds?

We ran, not far from to the safety of the trees, my small legs pumping with fury. The hobgoblins were not far behind. We hoped the tree line would help us in escape or even defend against our attackers. Next thing we see are arrows flying at us from the shady forest. All are hit with the barrage of arrows. We were surrounded.

Trying to shake off hell hounds as well as dodging arrows and spears, we see more attackers charge from out of the forest. The other goblins from the road also close to our position; they are everywhere. Oversoul breathes fire of his own on a hound and two charging hobgoblins. The goblins aren’t fond of the fire, but the hound doesn’t flinch, bathing in the flames.

We seem to be getting beat here, we need some help. Being attacked from all sides, with more goblins waiting near the old house in the distance. Already we have many wounds from the battle, and haven’t touched many of our enemies. The goblins in the distance seem to charge in the opposite direction. Onji! I thank him for that, if he meant it or not, and hope he will be okay.

The luck starts turning our way as we drop a few hobgoblins to even out the odds. Daz keeping distance from the mob fires his magic at the raiders, felling his share plus more. I am glad to have his powers on our side. Oversoul takes on a troublesome hell hound, as Solana travels the battlefield healing those in need. I kept the ranged goblinoids in check, taking hits with greater frequency.

Daz continues to amaze, killing a hound and another few goblins. The tide of the battle turned quickly in our favor. We only hope Onji has made the town gates.

The fight moves toward the road near the old house. Without warning a large group of hobgoblins pour out of the broken down doorway. A large commanding hobgoblin and shaman accompanies the warriors. Trouble again.

Feeling the rush of the battle Oversoul and myself charge into the group, hacking and slashing as we go. The goblinoids are easily dissuaded, but that shaman was a troublesome one. A bolt of green vitriol arcs through the air and hit me with great force. I stumble to the ground; all I can do is fight the pain.

The large hobgoblin commander makes his way through the crowd at Oversoul and Solana. The fury of that goblin would be difficult. His large axe taking on both of his targets.

As I try and shake off the pain of that blast, we have one bit of good news. Onji is running down the road asking if we need help. His lean muscular body flies into the mob and take down a few of the goblinoids from the back.

The large goblin turns his axe fully on Solana. The heavy hit keeps her clutching her arm, to keep the gash from being worse. Daz continued his mastery of killing hobgoblins and downs another few; Oversoul joins Daz in the killing spree. The last few hobgoblins fall and we concentrate our efforts on the raging commander and the hexer in the distance. The hexer runs defeated back into the dilapidated building. The rest of us are no match for the commander, and take his down without problems.

We decide to go after the goblins in the building, hopefully there aren’t too many left. We split into groups and circle the building. We searched the windows for a hint of what was inside. Seeing nothing through the milky white stained windows, we bust down the old door and gained the front room.

Inside the smell instantly hit our noses. The smell of hobgoblin stench. Seemed like the house was a staging area for quite some time. The wooden floors had a few bedrolls, straw piles, a used fire ring, and half eaten livestock. In a corner we found 5 human bodies in a pile, been dead half a day.

There were no rooms or stairs up or down. Where did our shaman go? Daz searched using his knowledge of magic, and noticed a disturbance in the corner. As Daz points, a green arcing shot strikes the unsuspecting warlock. The bloody hexer goblin appears, cursing us. The hobgoblin is killed without incident.

After the battle we searched the room in more detail. Daz and Onji searched the bodies, as Solana and I ask Avandra to care for the slain humans. Oversoul picks up a shining holy symbol from the hexer’s body, holding onto it for study later. Amongst the bodies, Daz and Onji came up with 355 total gp from the hobgoblins.

We ask what happened with Onji getting to the town. He told us he got to the gates and the hobgoblins chased him. He asked the guards on watch to let him into the town, but they wouldn’t let him in until the goblins were away from the gates. As the hobgoblins closed the guards decided to help Onji dispatch the stupid attackers. The guardsmen weren’t too much help; Onji took out most by himself. Afterwards asked the men to help his friends, but would not leave the gates.

I was glad we got through that mess. We headed straight to the gates, to finally get into Drellins Ferry.

The Battle - Day 2
The First Battle

A group of five wonder through a dense forest; following a large set of giant tracks. The party was searching for a small group of hobgoblins that were stealing livestock from a farmer close by. The armored paladin of the group was charged with finding the livestock and returning them to the farmer.

The tracks wind upwards and come to a clearing in the forest. The clearing crested over a small hill and ended at a large looming rocky cliff that jutted into the sky. The party hid in the shadows and quickly spotted bloody carcasses in various stages of decomposition. There near the back of the clearing were a few hobgoblins carving parts of the dead, half eaten livestock. In the side of the cliff stood a large mouth like cave entrance.

As the party formulated a plan to ambush the hobgoblins, one of the enemies strolled into the cave carrying arm full’s of meat. A few moments later another goblinoid comes into view from the cave. This one was a beast, definitely the captain of this group. With a turn of the winds a few faint sounds of a sheep touch the party’s ears.

With the plan formulated the stalkers waited a few moments behind a group of trees. The goblinoids got together and the chieftain spoke his soldiers in harsh tones. Onji stalked through the trees to the rock face of the mountain and made his way towards the cave. With the monk in position he started yelling at the hobgoblins. He made his way forward in his loose fitting clothing and walking staff. He walked with the purpose of a crazy old farmer coming to scare off the few kids playing in his garden. The hobgoblins all snapped to attention once they caught sound of the man.

Onji picked up a few good sized stones while he cursed and stumbled. The Hobgoblins took a quick study of the man and pulled their weapons to dispatch this idiot of a human. Onji peered, taking aim and loosed a rock at the enemies. The rock missed by a good distance, the group almost seemed to smile at the fun that could be had at the expense of this foolish man’s life. The second rock hit the leading goblin square in the forehead. They didn’t appreciate that and they charged the monk.

The act was up; Onji set his feet and gripped the staff in both hands, ready for the onslaught. He makes his move, takes a few steps and unleashes his fury upon the nearest goblin. Spinning, punching, and kicking, the surprised beast narrowly avoids the attacks.

Onji’s companions studied the battle, waiting for the right moment to make their move.

Impatient and ready for blood, Oversoul, the dragonborn brute, charges calmly toward the two goblins holding back at the caves entrance. The other party members try whispering the dragonborn back, to wait, to no avail. The goblinoids take note of the new enemy and lick their lips for the challenge brought them. Little do they know the dragonborn feels the same way.

The cloaked human, Dez, seizes the opportunity to surprise the goblins staring down Oversoul. His spindly body spins around the tree and his arms crook as he focuses upon the two goblins. He releases a bolt of black eldritch force at the nearest goblinoid. The goblin notices the bolt at the last second and jolts with surprise, and avoids the warlock’s power. The two goblins at the cave entrance seem to notice they are being stalked and look around the clearing edge for more attackers.

The large goblin of the group nears the monk and unleashes a hobgoblin yell as he swings his axe with his might. The quick moving artist dodges the lumbering attack with ease.

The elf woman Solana, in bright shining chain armor, calmly steps from the trees and watches the two groups with interest. She makes her way in a brilliant position to help both parties should they need her. The short, heavily armored halfling, moves along with Solana, taking a commanding look at the battlefield and weighing defensive positions.

The smaller hobgoblin near Onji swings with his bloody meat soaked sword, again no problem for the monk, whirling he deflects the attack with his staff. Suddenly Onji leaps in the air to striking the goblin, staggering him back. A smile from Onji shows his playful attitude towards the fight.

The dragonborn makes his way toward the goblins readied near the cave entrance. He shouts as his swings target both goblins, and both find the blood of their enemies. Taking on both goblins … this is what Oversoul lives for.

The goblin strikes at oversoul with his spiked club, and hits with nice technique on the back of the brute. Grasping at his back with sword in his hand, he grimaces at the pain, and seems to have missed a step with the blow. That goblin in particular has gained his attention.

Moving through the bushes in the clearing towards Onji, Daz nears eyes his target from behind a bush. Whispering words that seem to echo in the wind, the smaller goblin looks at Daz with fear. A crackling ray of power launches from Daz’s fingertips at the fearful goblin. He questions his moves, and becomes a victim of the warlock’s blast. The ray punches a gash in the side of the goblinoid as he roars with pain. His eyes close as he takes a knee for a short moment to fight the pain. He gains his feet to ward the constant attacks from the monk.

The large hobgoblin peers at his failing counterpart beside the human monk, and has hate filled words for the goblinoid. The axe quickly makes a move on Onji and nicks the shoulder, ripping the shirt in the process. Not too bad says Onji. The chieftain slides near his partner and the two seem to move in sync, and the openings seem much harder to exploit from the monks perspective, these two aren’t going down too easy.

Solana raises her hands to the heavens and the light around a goblin shines and burns the hobgoblin. He tries to shoo away the burning light.

The goblin near Oversoul shakes off the pain and moves next to his goblin companion. The tandem again makes a tough pair. And the goblin misses wide with his attack.

The paladin decides Onji needs assistance with the Chieftain pressing in on him. Shale loosens his grip his small blade, bangs it against his large shiny shield, and churns his stubby legs into the fray. A shout a challenge upon the Captain to gain his attention away from Onji and give the monk a greater advantage to hit home with his strikes. Shale takes a flanking position on the smaller, bloodied goblin, hitting and daring the foe to come for the short halfling.

The blood soaked goblin turns to find the armored halfling ready for the punishment. The raging hobgoblin moves and hits with surprising power.

Onji smiles at the confusion caused by the shiny defender. He spins and lands kicks and punches, but none seem to cause enough damage.

Oversoul swings his swords quickly at both adjacent goblins. Gritting his teeth, the cuts find flesh and take a tole on both enemies. After a few final moves, the imposing dragonborn takes a big breath and rears his head back. A short moment of quizzing looks from the hobgoblins give way to a fire cone erupting from the beak of Oversoul. The aware goblins both dash away from the heat and avoid any major pain.

One goblin rolls to extinguish the few flaming bits of clothing and gains his feet in one fluid movement as he makes an attack at his fire breathing attacker. The fighter stumbles as he seems to have lost a step.

Daz turns his focus on the goblin punishing his warrior friend. He utters a curse under his breath. The words echo on the wind and penetrate the mind of his foe. The words corrode his defenses and the goblin feels compelled to hurt himself. He screams in pain and hits his head repeatedly with his palm, trying to drive the demons away. This attack isn’t exactly what the warlock had in mind, but as an added effect Oversoul sees an opportunity to make an extra shot in at the goblin. The hobgoblin regained his thoughts just in time to block the blows.

The elven cleric studies the moves of her friends. The battle seems to be in hand and she waits to assist until her talents are needed.

The other goblin near Oversoul attacks and hits the fighter, who grits his teeth against the pain. These two goblins are hammering the dragonborn.

Shale steps around the smaller of the goblins near Onji. The short sword scores a direct hit. The goblin falls dead at the short legs of the paladin.

The large goblin Chief is the last enemy between Onji and Shale. Onji takes a few shots at the goblin captain, jumps in the air and kicks with fury. The hit pushes the goblin back and staggers the enemy.

Oversoul feels the pain coursing his veins, and lashes out at his two enemies, the pain affecting his strikes. Both attacks miss their targets. Oversoul growls.

The goblin strikes back at the dragonborn, this time Oversoul blocks the attacks.

Daz stalks the goblin striking at the Oversoul, readying his magic he fires crackling black magic that arcs wide. Seeing the bolts trajectory, Daz squints as his hands turn and twist as if willing the bolt toward the goblinoid. The surprising power of the warlock shows turns the bolt in the air just enough to strike the Hobgoblin squarely the side.

The large hobgoblin takes his shots against the farmer dancing in front of him. The attack gouges deeply in his leg.

Solana examines the damage done to her friends. She calmly spins her magic and lets fly a healing blast at a nearby goblin. The hobgoblin shines and the nearby attacker, Oversoul, takes note. The enemy seems confused by the light covering his body.

The goblin opposite the glowing soldier attacks Oversoul, his attention on the other goblins glowing body. The attack is easily shrugged off.

The halfling steps near the large remaining foe and calls a challenge to the gods. From underneath the shadow of his shield he swings his small blade at the target. The cut goes unnoticed by the goblinoid twice Shale’s size, but the hit revitalizes the paladin.

As the fight continues with both sides not giving ground, a deep throated scream comes from inside the cave entrance. The hobgoblins seem to smirk, as the group seems eager to finish the battle.

The monk moves with fluidity and strikes at the Chieftain. The final punch of the combination hits solidly in the side of the beast and a cracking sound follows the blast. The Hobgoblin winces in pain at the constant pain from the blow.

From the cave entrance a large figure appears. A large lumbering giant, slow and powerful, fitted with a giant club, and rags covering his dirt and dried blood body. He watches the fight with unintelligent stares.

After the devastating combination Onji speaks to the giant in his native tongue. “Giant of the Cave, I am Onji, what may I ask is your name? We are here to find a stolen pack of livestock, do you know who stole them?”

The giant slowly responds, ” I be Skrawl, dose goats be good eatin.” as he remembers the meal he smiles and rubs his belly.

As the fight continues on, the group looks at Onji surprisingly speaking the giant tongue. The monk relays the message and answers to his friends. The goblins laugh and taunt their victory to the party.

Oversoul continues his rage and attacks his two goblin marks. The stronger of the two is hit in the shoulder. The goblinoids seems to all be close of losing the battle.

Onji continues his dialogue with the giant, “Where are your friends? Are the hobgoblins friends?”

Standing at the caves entrance with a finger in his nose the giant says, “Skrawl no friends, mean guys feed Skrawl to help army.”

Oversoul dodges an attack and rolls around the goblins to gain the advantage. Noticing his position one of the goblins moves away from the attacks of the fighter, the dragonborn spots an opening, but the goblin moves to quickly. The hobbling hobgoblin runs away from the battle to the fringes of the forest as oversoul yells “Coward!”

Speaking the language of the giants, Onji asks “Where are you from?”.

The giant responds, “dis Skrawl home.”

Seeing the giant is not focusing on him, Daz stalks around some bushes and eyes the huge creature. He looses a powerful attack that fires in multiple directions. One flies past the head of the giant, the other into the back of a hobgoblin near oversoul. The goblin grows frightened, his wounds piling up and the fleeing of his comrade. The giant roars at the missed attack and grows furious. Onji scolds Daz for the shot.

The Hobgoblin Captain yells a command, turns and runs into the forest from the distracted attackers. He laughs as he gains the edge of the forest.

“He is not against us Daz! What are you doing!” A scolding glance back from the Warlock, tells Onji all he needs to know.

Avoiding attacks, the paladin speaks, “Onji, make a deal with the giant to help us…” Before the sentence is finished the giant rushes at the warlock in the bushes. Daz peers at the giant charging toward him with unflinching bravado.

“If Skrawl will help us we will leave him to his feast and never come back to Skrawl’s cave” Onji fumbles with the awkward language.

The giant slows and stops in front of a crouching Daz who is ready for the giants attack. The wheels in the giants head seem to be turning. Skrawl ponders his options. The huge club sways as Daz watches it with intent interest.

“Our magician is scared by the strength of Skrawl.” Onji says coaxing the monster.

Daz swaying with the motion of the club, looks into the eyes of the monster who gazes into the heavens. As the giant thinks his gaze moves down to the warlock, small as a fly below his belly. As their eye’s lock the question seems to leave the giants small head and Skrawl’s instincts kick in. With surprising quickness the giant lashes and roars at the fly. The thoughts Daz had of being ready for the attack were a joke of the past as the club smashes into his side and throws him into the air and into a pile some feet away.

Onji yells at Daz for his inconsiderate actions. The battered warlock hatefully yells, “The giant is with the hobgoblins if you didn’t notice!”

Solana, frustrated with the fighting amongst the associates looks to Daz to see if he needs any assistance. The warlock seems only minorly hurt by the blow. She waits for when she is needed.

Oversoul takes a moment to look at the battle unfolding between Daz and the giant. The battered hobgoblin near takes his chance and runs into the forest, away from the battle.

Shale, watching the beaten hobgoblins flee the battlefield, joins the task of bringing down the large giant. He moves near the battered dragonborn to heal his wounds for the next phase of the battle. “Let’s get em Draco.”

Onji also makes his moves toward Skrawl.

Oversoul, cursing the cowardly hobgoblins, charges his fleeing enemy. Making a few last swings of his sword, the hobgoblin darts safely and over the edge. Out of the sight of the fighter. “DAMN COWARDS!”

Onji speaks his last words to the giant, “It is you and us. Call it even and we will leave you in peace.”

The reply is short “I will sleep on your bodies!”

Daz can contemplate the message from the giants tone and fires at his cursed target. The bolt rips into the giant and stagers the beast.

Skrawl’s head rings from the last attack, he picks up a nearby boulder with ease and heaves the rock at the warlock. Being overconfident Daz’s reflex isn’t fast enough and is hit squarely with the boulder.

Solana quickly comes to Daz’s peril and heals the battered human.

“Skrawl will use your bones as toothpicks!”

The halfling darts around his huge attacker, placing himself behind the huge brute. He issues a challenge of the gods, as he turns to face the paladin barely the height of his knees. The attack made by the Paladin does nothing the target.

Onji calls on his vitality and moves into a flanking position with Shale. The powerful blows mostly bounce off his thick flesh, but still make a measurable effect upon Skrawl.

Oversoul takes a last look into the forest to catch a fleeting glace at the cowards. Then turns to face the giant. He charges the giant and pours his frustration at the fleeing hobgoblins into the blow. The shot takes a huge gash out of the side of the giant and he screams out in pain.

Daz moves with a blur and fires another bolt at the enemy. The giant continues taking the punishment dealt him.

The giant surveys the mob of attackers surrounding him. He starts to doubt the fight. He makes a sweeping attack at the two attackers standing together, the fighter and paladin. The club connects solidly on both defenders and throws them in the air and to the ground. The giant seems to focus and become more enraged.

Solana moves towards the battered defenders and heals the dragonborn lying on the grass.

Shale rolls to his feet, clutching his side, and again moves near the giant. Hiding his face with his shield the paladin keeps the giants full attention.

Onji strikes at the giant, trying to find a weak point in the thick muscle, to no avail. The frustration is masked in his face.

Oversoul yells as he gains his feet and charges his target. The attack finds its mark. The giant seems to be wearing down at the constant barrage of attacks.

Skrawl swings his club at the defenders. Both are thrown again into the air and in a pile. Shale screams in pain as he hits the ground, holding his side, pain shooting with each breath.

Daz takes another shot at his cursed enemy. The shot doesn’t seem to affect the monster, but Daz concentrates on his talents, and seeks the burn. The effect shows upon the creatures face and Daz smirks at the attack.

The giant takes a lumbering step towards the two attackers lying on the grass. Both look up at the huge monster raising his club in the air. As the club seeks smash the paladin into submission, Shale moves with halfling speed to dodge the blow, but wasn’t fast enough as he club smashes his side. Shale rolls in pain, almost too much to bear.

The group needs Avandra’s help. Solana calls upon her goddess and the group is blessed with healing. All in the party are ready to continue.

Shale, no longer in so much pain, rolls to his feet. He calls out to Avandra himself, lowers his shield, and moves in between the giant and his cave. “Now you have to go through me you lumbering oaf” Speaking more to himself then the giant.

Onji moves into a flanking position, again the blows don’t find an opening. Onji speaks to the giant, “how would you like your family informed of your death!” and pours his fury at another attack. The kick forces the giant to hold his ribs to lessen the hurt.

Oversoul stands and moves in on the giant. His fast strikes seem to come from nowhere and strike with a flurry. A few of the shots take chunks of flesh out of the giant’s thigh. The target looks scared and pain filled.

Daz stalks in the distance, takes another shot. The giant’s eyes stare at the warlock, and he screams a death roar. He is not giving up!

The giant turns back to the paladin standing to the entrance of his home. The halfling is the smallest target, and the one that seems to piss Skrawl off. The giant swings his club but this time Shale is ready. The blow glances off the large shield.

A bolt of white light arcs from the holy elf’s symbol of strength. The giant lights up with a holy light. “Go for it guys!”

Shale strikes the towering foe, and seems a pesky fly as the short sword can’t find purchase in the boney lower legs of the giant.

Onji’s starts another combination and with the first few strikes find a tender spot. Skrawl yells and falls to a knee.

Onji spots an opening from the lowered giant. The quick scrappy human seems to glide up the back of the giants back and lands a kick upside the giant’s boney head. A slap sound is heard as Onji’s foot smashes into Skrawl’s temple dropping the giant faster than a tree. Skrawl the giant’s life is ended.

Shale Journal Entry - Day 2
Missing Livestock

This day was a doosy. I gathered my items and readied myself for the day. The five of us gathered at the inn for breakfast early morning. I was refreshed and ready to go, as were most… of the others, the remaining were sleepy eyed, trying to shake off sandman’s lure. After a quiet meal we headed out. The day was an uneventful walk along the same path I took to get to Drellins Ferry. I was grateful of the cooler temperature, a mild day that is hardly noticed or remembered. A short while after high noon we came upon the farm.

I left the group and approached the farm alone to speak with the resident about the details of our mission. I knocked as I did previously and the same old face appeared. “I have returned as I promised, replenished and with assistance. I have a few details to ask before we continue.” His face didn’t look happy to see me. He cut me off and spoke quickly, “Last night dey took the rest of da goats. I have nothing now. Get dem back fer me and kill em theevin bastards? They an’t gotten far.”

I was taken back, and felt as if I had let him down. “Sir can I ask your name, I seem to have lost my manners last I saw you.”

“Vaulk.” He said in a rudish manner.

“Ok Vaulk, I am sorry to ask, but my compatriots, some look for payment. I do not ask for monetary gain, and know your plight. For the safety of our journey we need these individuals. Can you spare anything upon our return of your livestock?”

He wasn’t very happy about the question, but after a quick moment he decided, “Alright I’ll give you guys 100 when you can get em back.”

“Alright that is fare of you, now about this goblin business…”

“I didn’t see em but you an see tracks in da barn area. Come find me when you get back, I prolly be in the fields workin, gotta make food somehow.” He said as he donned his straw hat, and peered into his fields.

I then said farewell to Vaulk and spoke with my party. We headed to the barn where, we discovered, Onji had a good eye for tracking. He quickly found 2 sets of fresh tracks in the barn. And after a little more searching noticed none of any livestock. We spoke amongst ourselves about this realization. Why would there not be any tracks from the livestock? Did the hobgoblins have something special going on, or is Vaulk up to something. Some wanted to immediately interrogate the farmer. My thoughts were the same as most of the group, to keep this to ourselves and find out more about the situation. So we locked in on the 2 sets of tracks and followed them west.

An hour west of the farm the tracks converged with more tracks. Onji studied the tracks more closely and discerned they were goblinoid, total group of four. Oversoul lingered a ways from the party, looking for something to strike, and noticed another set of tracks running parallel to the hobgoblin tracks. Onji observed the large foot prints. “Giants, don’t see many of these around here. I wonder if he was following, being followed, or if they are together?”

Daz’s eye’s flared and Oversoul drew his short swords slowly, surveying the countryside. We may be into a good fight here soon, but I had confidence in our ragtag group.

We continued along our path and entered a dense, dark forest. The tracks lead us to a clearing, with smaller brush and grasses, with a large rocky cliff jutting into the sky. One section of the large clearing sloped downwards into a large cave opening. Our eyes quickly focused on the piles of animal carcasses discarded all over. All in various stages of death, some newly torn apart, some teaming with flies and bloated from the sun, and some rotting from weeks of decomposing.

From the cover of the forest we could make out three hobgoblins cutting away at some of the meat leftovers, and one hobgoblin strolling into the cave entrance. We watched for a few moments, and started to formulate a plan. Before we could take a good inventory of ideas another hobgoblin walked from out of the cave. This one commanded respect, he was a brute. And judging from his garments was of some renown in the goblinoid tribe. A few faint sounds of livestock could be heard from the cave, we decided to make our move.

Our plan was for Onji to act as an angry farmer searching for his sheep. He played the part well, and even threw stones at the hobgoblins. Once he got their attention the impatient Oversoul went after the goblins that stuck to the cave entrance. So our battle didn’t start as planned, but all turned out in the end.

I was very happy with the group that accompanied me on this task. In the past I have hired henchmen that would run at the first sign of danger. Some sadly met their match, deservingly or not. But all these folks held their own.

I was very glad to have trusted Daz. His mastery of warlock magic served us well. He dished out more than his fare share of the damage and kept the battle on our side. His use of the dark magic was fired with deadly accuracy and precision.

Oversoul, while very impatient with the plan, took on two of the goblinoids himself and held them in check nicely. His furiousness was welcome, and usefulness with the two short swords in his claws.

Solana was almost at home in the middle of the battlefield. She strolled in between the groups hitting and pounding, waiting for any of her companions to need her blessings. The elf kept us alive, and without her help we would not have survived the encounter.

Onji was a sight to behold. I have never worked with a monk before, but knew of their powerful capabilities. But to work beside him was breathtaking. To move so fluid and with such power and form, was like a dance. To be able to lunge, kick, punch, & strike with his staff and unprotected hands. To hear the strikes crack, thud in all the right places made him a dangerous foe.

During the battle we divided the 4 goblins into 2 groups. Onji and I took the larger goblin along with another soldier. Oversoul took on the other two alone. Solana and Daz performed their work from afar. Daz firing eldritch bolts at whom he deemed necessary, and Solana waited to administer her healing to those who needed it.

The battle had gone to good blows on each side. Shortly after Onji and I cut down the first hobgoblin a loud roar came from inside the cave. A huge brute of a giant came strolling out to see what the ruckus was about. We all noticed the giant, and Onji quickly started speaking to the giant in his own tongue.

Trying to persuade the giant that we were of no harm, while dodging attacks from the large goblin captain, Daz fired a bolt at the giant. The shot pissed off both Skrawl the giant and Onji. Skrawl then went to smash his new enemy while Onji tried to calm it back down, to no avail.

The goblinoids almost on cue, and almost beaten, all ran for the woods to let the giant finish the battle for them. All of us then went after the giant, which was a good fight all himself. Twice I was knocked clean off my feet and back a number of feet in a pile with Oversoul from attacks from the beast. That club was mighty fast for its size. Skrawl also pounded me once into the ground with his great club. I was crushed from within badly, when Solana came to my aid. The last few attacks he had on me I was much more ready.

After a good amount of gashes from oversoul, some broken ribs from Onji, and some burned flesh from Daz we felled the monster. He was a tough cookie, but we had a good amount of ability on our side and we found we could work well together.

We took a few moments to gather our thoughts and wipe the dust from our clothes. Oversoul and I had a moment of respect for the battering we both took. Onji leapt onto the bloodied body and dug in the giant pockets, he was not surprised to find them empty. Daz searched the hobgoblin captain. Two small tanned leather pouches had a decent amount of gold in them. “Hey found some goodies!” 75gp each pouch.

We then made our way into the cave. It is very large, but not deep. The inside was full of bones and debris. Nothing was left in the caves to cause us any troubles so a few searched for any items left over from the giant or his friends. Amongst the rabble another larger pouch that held 75gp, 4 gems (Amethyst, Bloodstone, Golden Yellow Topaz, and Malachite), and a scroll. The scroll was written in giant tongue, in which Onji reads.

“Bring goblins to Red Hand. Come to where Wormsmokes and Witchwood meet. We will defeat the humans and build an empire.”

In another corner of the cave a rolled map is also found. The map has a written note that says, “Find good treasure at Vrath Keep. Secret.”

We gather our items, and make our way back to Vaulk the farmer. We arrive late in the day and sourly asks how we fared. I spoke carefully to him, told him the livestock was found and was lost. A giant in the area was being fed by hobgoblins, we couldn’t save your livestock. Vaulk was upset, but was ready for such a letdown. Grumbling he gives me 125gp fee, which Daz and Onji start to protest, as I cut them off for explanations later. I give him Avandra’s blessings and farewell. Vaulk is understandably angry, and shuts the door on our party.

I quickly turn to Daz and Onji and give them the reward gold given by Vaulk. “This isn’t the total amount agreed upon, but you should be able to get a bunch out of the gems, and you can split the other gold we found in the cave. Do not be discouraged with the gold you missed out upon, we also came out with a map. There could be more wealth hidden at this Vrath Keep. I like your guys’ abilities and I will travel to this keep with you to fulfill my promise to your payment. If you will have me. Should we do this together and see what it brings?”

Daz and Onji both know the answer looking at one another. Oversoul and Solana both await their decisions. “I’m game.” says the monk. “Count me in.” Replies the warlock.

And we all head back into Drellins Ferry to rest and restock for the treasures of Vrath Keep.


Events - Day 1
In the Mountains

High in the Wormsmoke mountains a Hobgoblin Chieftain addresses a large gathering of his charges. Azarkool (translated, son of the dragon) of the Corkulzool tribe (people of the dragon) rallied the warring goblin tribes across the mountains. In the moonlight he united the once enemy tribes into one war party. The Red Hand of Doom was to rage war upon the races and gain dominion as the strongest in the land! The erupting yells could be heard for miles around.

Shale Journal Entry - Day 1
The Gathering

I awoke today to a different feeling then I was expecting. The night previous I was slumbering in a small cabin not far from Bremberwood. I had been helping out in the area and staying with the Bremberwood counsel man named Lamar. He was doing whatever possible to keep me around, and to settle the area, they needed a little Paladin help. I was being well taken care of, and the payment was a good donated amount to the local churches in the area and getting my equipment back up to where I would like them. As long as I felt comfortable with this arrangement I would stay, but I knew it wouldn’t be for long.

Instead of waking in my small cabin where I had been staying these past 28 days, I awoke in a field. This was very strange but I took it in stride. I have seen my fare share of odd tidings and have learned to keep a cool head about them.

As I sat in the field of grass I took in my surroundings. Not an area I recognized. The far mountains didn’t look like anything I had known, the trees and plants were common, so there was nothing to derive my position. I then noticed a small homestead some ways away; I quickly decided to start there. Getting up from the soft grass, I took a survey of my things. My travel pack sat a few steps where I stand. My pack had all my items I could need on my travels. My shield was strapped to the outside, and tucked away was the small blade which is very dear to me. Beside the pack was my trusty armor. The armor is my backbone, my skin, my purpose. I have had the armor ever since that mess under Haven. It had been worn pretty well since that time and was showing its age, but was refashioned recently from the dealings with Lamar, the wavy crest with the sun rising shown as bright as ever. Seems the longer I keep the armor the more I wonder about that symbol. Will it ever come to pass? Can I change things? It is a reminder everyday of the future that I hope will not come. I am asked from time to time about the symbol. Only a few comrades know of its nature, and I plan to keep it that way.

As I ponder the events of Haven and gather my things, I wonder why I am here and where this is taking me. What does Avandra have in store for me this time? My goals are clear enough to me, my path set. I only hope she has not piled more upon my already full plate, that this will help me in my current quest, and not another completely.

The day is lovely and warm. The clouds are sparse and white. This will be a hot day. Weather aside, I must find out what is going on here. I approach the dwelling cautiously, as I have in my countless travels. I equip my armor, sling my pack onto my back, and fashion the shield and sword on the pack such that I can pull it out quickly, as I have practiced on numerous occasions (and have used much more than I would like). I first skirt the site from a good distance and keep from looking suspicious. There was no one to be found around the house or the out buildings. The place looked quaint and safe (but not all are as they seem). I then took my professional approach. I cleared my throat, said a few calming words to no one in particular and headed for the door of the dwelling. My eyes search everywhere for anything out of the ordinary, but as most times, I gain the door without incident.

The place was decent sized and mainly well kept. My short stature kept the noises of my approach lessened. I made my way up the few wooden steps and across the porch. The boards cludding under my heavy armor, but still was quieter than most. I made three short rasps on the wooden door. After a few short moments an older man opened the door and, as most do, quickly moved his look a little lower than normal to the half sized person standing upon his porch. I was used to this, since most first impressions of me were pretty much the same. The look, then turned downwards, a short puzzling look as to say “what, a halfling…”. And quicker than a blink the look then turned more puzzling as they noticed I wore full plate male armor. Some looks were of puzzlement, the others had to keep from laughter. I took these all under the assumption that they know nothing of what they are looking at, so I never started off angry with anyone, even though their notions were already half made up.

I put on my game face for the gentleman, and always slightly leaned to one side to hide the handle of my blade. Calming most individuals and to surprise the dangerous ones. I quickly asked for his forgiveness of the intrusion, and that I was a traveler and new to the area. I was passing by and just wanted to get my bearings and find the safest place to stay for the night and get some supplies. He said that the closest place was Drellins Ferry which was 10 miles south.

Getting all the info I thought I could I was ready to be done, but before I could thank him he asked my name and where I was from. I never really get into any details with strangers. But I went with it, I told him my name was Shale and that I didn’t actually know where I came from. I just ended up in the field, and this is the only place I could see. I told him in a nonchalant way and mentioned this happens to me on occasion. That my lot in life is to help people in need wherever I pass and am prone to such occurrences. (Surly Avandra sees to that).

He had a small grin upon his face. He then excitedly asked of my help. He deduced from my appearance that I could be a tough little halfling. He said he was having problems with Hobgoblins recently. He pointed all around his property, “I have had most of my livestock stoled by em damn things. All da cattle, an most of da goats n chickens… They left me de garden though, bloody meat eaters. Do you think you could find where they taked em and get em back?” I pondered a second “My family can do for a little while, but this is enough where I suppose we couldn’t survive the winter times.”

Not having too many more options at this point, I told him that I would travel to Drellins Ferry to get my bearings, restock my supplies, get a good rest, and find some delvers to accompany me. I will return later tomorrow and we will find these goat nabbers. He thanked me and we parted ways.

Being a little disoriented it slipped my mind to ask his name and nor any payment for the help, but that is not my style anyway. I headed along a pair of cart ruts in the southern direction. The lovely day was getting warmer and I walked a little livelier to get into the shade of the trees ahead.

The walk was long, I kept to the shade as much as I could in my hot armor. As I drew closer to Drellins Ferry the roads were well used, and small houses littered short distances from the main roads. A large, wide river came in and out of view. I passed very few travelers, who all gave me a questioning look, and friendly nod. Just after sundown I reached the good sized town of Drellins Ferry. The town gates were well lit as I headed straight for the guard on post there. They started with a few questions to judge my intentions. I gave my normal pledge to Avandra, and asked their participation (which usually helps moves things along) and I asked the direction of a good inn. One guard said the Green Apple inn, which sits on the other side of the Elsir River is a good cheap place. He told me a few of the rules and things normal to new folk (checking in at guard posts, keeping the town peaceful and such, ect…) , and I headed to the Green Apple.

As I entered the small lodge a dwarf working the counters invited me in with a joyous smile. “Welcome to the Green Apple Inn my good lad. My name is Tharma. Allow me to care for you this fine evening.” A look around the place showed a few locals hunched over their ale, and to the looks of it a few potential employees. Not more than a dozen strewn out at the various tables and along the bar. Mostly it seemed a quiet even tempered place.

I unshouldered my pack and carried it to a dwarf sized seat at the bar. I placed my pack between my feet as I took my seat. Tharma quickly came to my aid from his raised flooring behind his side of the bar. “What can I get you, Champion of the road?”

“Just an Ale and the best of your grub.” I was promptly served and slowly consumed my sustenance. Not as good as I was used to, but it was good enough. As I paid the dwarf for the food, I also purchased a room from the dwarf.

My room secured and food in my belly, I asked more important questions. “I am not from the area, just passing by, and I have been hired by a local farmer, 10 miles out, to hunt some hobgoblins that have been taking away his livestock. I will need a few helping hands and possibly some info about the goblins?”

Tharma points to a few of the individuals sitting around the inn and says try any of those. As for the hobgoblins, he knows there have been talks of more in the area than usual. I thank him for his information, give him an extra tip for his information. I spoke to all the 7 people Tharma pointed out, only 4 were interested in work.

Solana was a tall elven woman of faith and was a healer by trade. She had a strong belief in helping the unfortunate and she offered her services freely. A burly Dragonborn, named Oversoul, sitting at the bar telling courageous stories loudly to two younger humans, was happy to be killing some goblinoids free of charge and joined my table.

The other two were all business.

Daz was a dark tempered, cloaked human, who made sure all his needs were met. I didn’t overly trust this guy, but he seemed good enough. His expertise was Warlock magic and would be very useful in most situations (if the price was right). Onji was a quiet man and one that showed great strength, not as a big brawny muscular oaf, but one of a practiced striker with great agility and ability. I liked the well rounded team, a healer is most recommended, a ranged attack specialist a very nice addition, and the two hardnosed fists were a good compliment to my own defensive specialties.

Onji and Daz both wanted payment for their expertise. I tried to get a number from them, but both seemed experienced enough in this to let the negotiation start from the employer. I offered 250gp each, which is a good payment in my neck of the woods. They both agreed, which told me both were not a greedy bunch, which lifted my spirits about the two.

After sharing the info about the job, I ordered 4 rounds of ale to the group and we got to know each other until late in the night. We each went our own ways to catch some sleep and decided to meet in the morning at the inn for breakfast before we left back to the farm.



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