Gyruff (Grand Duchy of Geoff)

Hochoch Street Blues Part 2s

The Crown Prince has been petitioned to eliminate harsh fines and penalties for minor theft and other offenses that appear to target the poor and destitute.

Of course Rhys is sympathetic to the plight of the unfortunate, but we must have Rule of Law and need to stamp out theft and other crime. He’s considering the proposal, but we can work through this (and any other proposed legal changes) on Saturday.

New declaration:
• Those with legal enforcement authority within Arweth will hereby be granted an incentive bonus of 10% of any fines levied by the Crown Prince split among the authorities making the arrest(s).

With that new declaration, arrests for criminal activity have gone up tenfold, but that has also caused congestion in the court. Trials are often delayed several days, awaiting the Crown Prince’s time. Although initially an improvement in troop morale, a certain undermining between law enforcement agents has developed, especially among those troops “stuck” on castle or gate duty who are unable to make lucrative arrests.

With his recent windfall from the seizure of the Neheli vessel “River Witch” and her cargo, plus the multitude of fines and fees, Crown Prince Rhys has been hiring as quickly as he can. For the confiscated vessel, he’s hiring a ship captain and a crew of 40 sailors with an average rate of pay of 2 gp per day. He’s beefing up the tax collection service with 6 dedicated tax collectors (one per sector of the city plus the docs), each with six armed guards (thugs). The Teamsters Union has been very helpful in producing qualified guards (thugs) to help collect taxes. – Soon he will be begin hiring permanent members of the town guard.

The thug-ish members of the Teamsters Union have been depleted to less than a quarter of their ranks from the time the Crown Prince rose to power. They have made formal complaints to the Crown Prince about “stealing” their members and not investigating the disappearances of members lost over the last two months.

Murders and disappearances are in a slight decline in the Low Quarter and Old City, but they are still a problem.

Undead registration had 3 intelligent undead registered in the first week.

All eight of the city’s ratcatchers have constant work as rats continue to be a problem throughout the city, eating into buildings and food stores. Stockpiles should last the winter, but there are many complaints about the rat population. Whether the rat overpopulation is due to the bountiful harvest, the decline from fourteen to eight ratcatchers, some of the new arrivals or some supernatural event is a matter of some debate throughout the city.

Work has already begun on Muninguluss’ Estate (O5) in the Old City. His arrival has created a short-term boom for the construction trades from excavators, masons, carpenters, tilers, painters and artists. There is some competition for craftsmen with the devil Mezophilosis rededicating the Temple to Asmodeus. Mezohilosis has applied for casino, brothel, alcohol brewing and drug production facilities between the temple and acquisition of the House of Yellow Sails (formerly used for poison production). There is some confusion over the definition of “poison” as written in the current code of laws, as many medicines and drugs could be construed as “poison” in different doses…

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Hochoch Street Blues 2

Readying 618

Morrick has examined Aoth’s baby acquired from the hags and has determined that she is a baby hag. Aoth does not know what to do with her. Killing an innocent babe seems so wrong and he hopes to change her.

Prince Rhys offered a reward for information on several people. He found many people willing to provide information.

Kendra is a female halfling archeologist. She got a permit from Count Gareth to excavate under the Boar’s Knuckle. Kendra has not been seen for several months. Mazer had been with a group last month who investigated the Boar’s Knuckle and found a portal to the Abyss and symbols of the Chained God. Prince Rhys had ordered the tunnels collapsed to prevent further digging. According to Gelwen, there is continued activity at the Boar’s Knuckle.

Count Gareth was with the Hextorites. They all left by boat downstream within hours of Prince Rhys’ arrival. Garson and Rhyzzat are rumored to be with Count Gareth.

Andan ap Arendil left when Gareth fled, possibly to the west.

Prince Rhys then led a group of us on a patrol of the Old Quarter. Princess Jagr, Mazer, Dentrack, Dandelion, Morrick, Aoth, Evendur, Uaithne and I accompanied him. We first visited Lord Nestor Eldoran at his estate. There are rumors Lord Nestor has a license to worship Vecna from Count Gareth, but this is not illegal under Prince Rhys either. Lord Nestor is a wealthy individual who retired to Hochoch. Aoth investigated his library and found several old books with no visible titles. These books were probably purchased from Mundinguluss, the rare book dealer who recently moved into town.

Lord Mundinguluss had recently purchased an estate from Ser Korum, who thought the new law requiring the undead to register was an infringement on his freedom, even though 3 other intelligent undead have registered. Ser Korum and his followers have left for parts unknown. Lord Mundinguluss hosted us graciously and offered us fine wine and refreshment. Dandelion persuaded Mundinguluss to tell us which books Lord Nestor had purchased. He purchased books on the history of the Flan, Llweyllen, the Dawn War, Titans, and Primordials. These books are very rare and expensive. Lord Mundinguluss has associates in several large cities, such as Niole Dra and Greyhawk City. We then asked if we could see the work he was doing in the basement. He was excavating and planning bathes and other things. The tunnels were made with spirals and curves and had egg shaped rooms also decoratively carved. It all seemed very alien. Lord Mundinguluss also had several servants who were unintelligent but muscular. The butler was named Lee and there were several others around also.

On our way back to the castle, we passed the Neheli estate. Lord Kosseth Neheli, a young Sueloise man in his twenties with sharp, almost rat like, features and a lanky build, came out of the estate to speak to Prince Rhys. Lord Kosseth petitioned Prince Rhys for the release of the River Witch. Dandelion taunted Lord Kosseth, trying to provoke an incident. Lord Kosseth replied with a thinly veiled threat that governments can rise and fall all the time. Dandelion did some investigation at the tavern later and found Lord Kosseth’s wife, Lady Patpi has bright blue eyes and is talkative. She also missed Keoland and is not very wise.

Prince Rhys went back to the castle. We were hailed by the temple of Ehlonna. They are overwhelmed with 100 to 150 insane people and are renting boarding houses in the lower quarter and the common quarter to house all the patients. A traveling priest cast greater restoration on a few patients, which cured them, but they quickly reverted back into insanity. Upon investigation, this does not look like spell plague or any of the fey curses. We traveled to the boarding houses visiting the insane to determine a pattern. They seemed to come from the northern area of the lower quarter around the Crackling Crow boarding house. Or the insane came from a large area in the Commons quarter around the Boar’s Knuckle. They were laborers, beggars or poor street merchants and their families. It seemed that once one person was infected, the entire household were infected. This insanity is taking a lot of resources from the good clergy, the town guard and the government. We wonder if it is a distraction for something. Of the insane, 5 were magical persons. Mazer was using in glasses of detection and the insane were calling him Eyes that See and also One of Us. This is causing us to wonder if the insanity was related to the Chained God.

The insane were trying to follow Mazer, so we let one go and followed him. He led us to the Boar’s Knuckle and then wanted oil. Dandelion supplied him with oil, which the insane man used to douse himself. He then tried to set himself on fire. Mazer and I tried to clean him up with Prestidigitation. He then attacked Mazer, who shot him with a firebolt. Mazer would have missed, but the insane man dodged into the bullet, catching on fire and dying. We later heard that the other insane when wild around this time and trying to kill themselves. Somehow they are connected to each other.

We decided to investigate the Boar’s Knuckle and look into the new excavation. There were lots of rats around. Suddenly a giant rat peed on Dandelion’s shoe. He cleaned it off with Prestidigitation. Then we heard a scream about a block away. We ran toward the screams and saw a woman collapsing under swarms of rats. Aoth noticed several giant rats watching from nearby houses. We killed one giant rat, who then turned into a Flan man of Dandelion’s acquaintance. Princess Jagr and several others ran up to attack the rats swarming the woman. Aoth summoned 8 velociraptors, which were vicious little creatures and drew some of the rats’ attention. However, there were many more rats then we thought, 200 to 300 regular sized rats or more and a dozen or more giant rats. I did not see any people in the streets and did not think about them being in the adjacent houses. I cast a fire ball on the spot when the woman had been swarmed, killing a lot of rats in the area and causing the others to flee. Unfortunately, none of the slain rats were wererats. Even more unfortunately, the fireball set 3 nearby houses on fire. One person each came running out of two of the adjacent houses. Morrick and Dentrack were able to put out the flames before they died. Dandelion flew off to get water from the river to put out the fire. And I cast chromatic orb cold to knock down the burning houses to contain the fire. Aoth was able to use a spell to create small rain clouds to prevent spread also. Once the fires were out, we discovered 11 dead people in the houses.

People were understandable upset and we all went to explain things to Prince Rhys. I explained the fireball was in protection of Princess Jagr. The Prince paid the cost of the buildings to the landlords. I paid 50 gp for each person killed (including the rat catcher who was the original target of the rats) to the families. That took most of the money I had, only leaving a little for living expenses. Aoth and Mazer discovered that Prince Rhys is planning to build a palace outside of town to the north as a surprise for Jagr. The cost will be 500,000 gp. The Prince got a loan from the Rhola and the 10% down payment of 50,000 gp is due in three months. This at least partially explains why the Prince wants money. I think this is a bad idea at this time, as Hochoch needs so much. And selling buildings and permits to anyone for anything is not helping clean up the town.

The Prince allowed us to sleep in guest rooms in the castle. Mazer was in the kitchen getting a snack when he got creeped out. He woke Morrick who noticed a muddy boot print in the hall and suggested waking Aoth. Morrick then went to don his armor. Aoth noticed that the mud was actually sewer matter. They then quickly woke up the rest of us and went to check on the Prince and Princess. Evendur also decided to don his armor, but the rest of us raced up the stairs. Mazer knocked and burst in, with the rest of us on his heels. An assassin was in the bedchamber and had just stabbed the Prince. Uaithne went for Morrick. Dandelion stabilized the Prince. Mazer and I fired magic at him and Dentrack shot him with arrows. The assassin again attacked the Prince. Dandelion was forced to attack with his dagger, which had no effect. We attacked and Princess Jagr shot him with ensnaring strike. The assassin was getting damaged, so he tried to flee out the window, but could not escape the ensnaring strike. Morrick arrived and stabilized the Prince. Dandelion read his thoughts and found he was a wererat. He received a contract for 5000 gp on the prince through Ian the Hearty. He did not belong to the Obsidian Blade assassin’s guild. Prince Rhys decided to keep the assassin in a cell for a week. He commissioned silver spikes to attach the assassin to the cell wall.

The next morning Dandelion disguised himself as the assassin and we went to find Ian the Hearty. We began our search in the low quarter and were soon accosted by 19 beggars. Mazer threw 20 gold pieces down the street and the beggars went after them. Evendur noticed that a piece of his magical cloak was missing, probably to be used to scry on him. The next time we were accosted by peasants, Aoth turned into a dire wolf and scared them away. We need to look poorer in the low quarter.

Dandelion soon found Ian and through persuasion and detect thoughts, convinced him to share information. Payment is to be in Ioweth Square in the fountain when the Prince is confirmed dead. The sponsor is a tall, lanky Keoish man with blond hair, blue eyes and green clothes. He came on the River Witch. From the description, this is the dead first mate of the River Witch, but the will to see the Prince dead probably did not die with him.

Aoth noticed that no guards were on the castle walls, so we decided to hurry back to the castle. Uaithne went to volunteer at one of the insane wards, as they always need help. Mazer cast fly on himself and me and Dandelion got fly and we headed for the castle, landing on the third floor parapet. Aoth turned into a war horse and carried Morrick, Dentrack and Evendur behind us.

When we landed, we noticed that the area smelled of chlorine. Upon entering the castle, we found a yellowish green fog of poisonous vapors heading down the stairs. We found 3 dead guards which were beyond help. Prince Rhys was not in his room, so we took the stairs down to the second floor. The great hall was scorched with the evidence of a fire ball and several dead bodies. Five sets of prints left the great hall, 2 female and 3 male. 2 males and 1 female went into the kitchen. The sooty prints soon dissipated, but we cautiously followed the stairs down. The fog had settled in the entry hall and seemed to stay there. The others caught up with us and we headed down to the dungeons. Morrick was able to heal two guards who had been blasted with multiple fire bolts in the chest. They had not seen anything. We continued around a corner and Mazer detected magic. We could not see the magical person, but tried to shoot where Mazer shot. We were hit with two fire balls before we finally captured two assassins. They were mages and members of the Obsidian Blades. The bounty on Prince Rhys had gone up to 10,000 gp. The Prince will have to decide their fate.

Someone has taken the events of the past few days and misrepresented them to the people. It sounds like the Neheli are behind the rumors in an attempt to remove Rhys from power.

I spent some time at the temple of Lydia researching the strange architecture under Lord Mundiguluss’ home. I discovered that the architecture is a mind flayer lair.

Prince Rhys and Princess Jagr soon issued a new decree in response. They are taking steps to restore law and order. An unfortunate side to this 8s that I am under arrest and awaiting trial by a judge to be elected by the people in two weeks. With the way publuc opinion has been directed, I do not have much hope of a sympathic judge.

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Hochoch Street Blues
Fireseek 618

Prince Rhys and Princess Jagr were looking for heroes to help restore order to Hochoch and Arweth. Arglwythes Briallen loaned them 4 longships and crew to get us to the city. Brehyr Mazer picked up 2 ban cants of archers and 2 ban cants of mounted spearmen as well as a priest in Fort Resolve. Dentrack, Dasut, G’zo (formerly known as Garbonzo) and Spector also joined us. We had heard rumors that gangs were controlling the city, even the castle. Prince Rhys decided that the castle was the first target we should reacquire. We had the troops stay with the boats. We used the rowboat from the Illustrious to sneak to White Beach under the castle while the boats continued to the docks. Dasut spotted one guard in each of the two towers and several guards on the roof. The guards were all wearing plate mail and shields and armed with a long sword and heavy crossbow. Dasut climbed the south tower and dropped a rope for the rogues. Between them they managed to kill the guard, although he screamed out, drawing attention. G’zo used the hat of disguise to convince the other guards that everything was ok. Dasut then climbed to the other tower and dispatched the other guard.

Once the tower guards were taken care of, we all climbed up to the south tower, and then down to the second floor of the castle. We then when up inside the castle to the 3rd floor. G’zo in disguise as a guard climbed up to the roof to evaluate our situation. He estimated there were about 10 guards on the roof. We were planning what to do next when the door to the Count’s former quarters’ opened, revealing 4 individuals. One individual was a magical female wearing a mask. After a fight, we managed to capture her and kill all attackers. Dasut blocked the exits from the area to prevent more guards from coming to her aid. On questioning, the woman revealed that she was Danille, one of the lieutenants in charge of the castle since Gareth was disposed. In all, we found about 50 guards. Asoth ap Brundil had been running things with two lieutenants. Asoth, the other lieutenant, Garson, and 4 or 5 guards had escaped. Danille claimed to be holding the castle since she did not know who the rightful ruler was. I am not sure what Prince Rhys will do with her.

We also found notes that Rhyzzat had been keeping on deals Gareth had been making with people. Apparently with enough money, one could get an estate or building and have it be outside any laws, not the Gareth had any. We found a temple to Wastri for a sovereign nation for humans only. The people at the temple would only speak to Dasut, as he was the only full human in our group. They did tell us the worshippers of Incabulous were creating a zombie disease somewhere in shanty town, but they move. We found an empty temple to Hextor which Gareth had recently occupied. Gareth had been writing about the strong ruling the weak and we found evidence of a empty military training area. We also found an empty temple to Nerull, but his name had been erased everywhere. Evard the Black had an alchemy lab in the hilltop district which had been recently used, but abandoned. People are clearing out now that Prince Rhys has come to take rulership of Arweth, but where are they going?

Various gangs control the different districts of Hochoch and control different districts. They are saying that they are willing to follow the laws, but it might just be lip service from many. Prince Rhys needs to establish laws and the judges and town guard to reinforce them. For now our troops can patrol and enforce the law, at least in the Hilltop district. We found several supposed temples which are actually brothels. Prince Rhys does not seem to care, as long as they pay taxes.

We also read in Rhyzzat’s notes that Ser Korum ap Melwyn has purchased an estate in Hochoch. He is the head of Prince Rhys’s Griffon Guard who is rumored to have died in Storm Keep. The estate has a misty quality and vampires are rumored to be seen. Mazer is working on sending a message to Regent Eridan asking for help to clean out the vampires. Lord Nestrum Eldoran also purchases an estate and a license to worship Vecna. We will have to convince Prince Rhys and Princess Jagr that such deities must be outlawed.

The most disturbing thing we found is that someone had been given the Boar’s Knuckle for private research, worship and archeology. The Boar’s Knuckle had been condemned before the giant war because someone opened a portal to the Abyss. We investigated and found an underground tunnel to the portal. Someone had rigged a platform to go over the portal. In the center of the portal was a stone cylinder of black stone with purple veins, which Mazer had seen before in the Stark Mounds. Dasut and I took the platform to the cylinder. We found a mark which Dasut identified as the mark of Tharizdun, the chained god. Dasut found a disturbing letter. Someone named Heidi and written to someone named Kendra about a gem in Hochoch. It mentioned that they already had 15 gems as of Patchwall 617 and needed to collect them all at the Temple of All-Consumption before the primordials were awakened to harness their power. It also mentioned getting Dagda to help release The Chained God. We will get word to Regent Eridan about this soon also. Mazer was contacted by Tharizdun and threatened, so we will need to watch him.

My trainees have learned as much as I can teach them. Hochoch has need of guards, so maybe they can get hired here. The acolytes will find a calling soon, I am sure. In the mean time they can help out the temple here.

I spent one week to research The Chained God. I found some information on his holy symbols. His holy number is 333. He is also called the Elder Elemental Eye, although most followers do not recognize them as the same deity. He is described as a huge mottled, tentacled being or as a pillar of vast elemental force with a body of burning magma, radiating steam.
I also spent three workweeks (15 days) patrolling the streets with my trainees for 6 hour shifts. I learned that activity is continuing in or near the Boar’s Knuckle, even after the tunnels are collapsed. Someone seems to be excavating. There are reports of Undead seen in or near the river. Many of the people reported missing are teamsters. The Commons Gang is suspected, but an entire cart crew and their carts are missing. Tax collection is still only about 10% of what it should be. Bribes and graft still occur. The head of the Incabulos cult is named Edith. Momma Regina’s Orphanage may be using the kids to steal. At least one of the missing Teamsters is working for Mundingluss.

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Hochoch Street Blues - Fireseek 618

Prince Rhys is working on retaking Hochoch and Arweth and has asked for heroes to help. Uaithne and I decided to help. We met up with Aoth, Tornado, Morrick, Bothan and Evendur and were briefed on some of the problems. It was difficult to decide which of the many problems to work on first, but Bothan and I wanted to start in the low quarter at the House of the Yellow Sails. Prince Rhys had heard rumors that slavers might be operating out of that establishment, so we needed to check it out. Aoth wanted to investigate the Teamsters’ Union, but that did not seem as important.

We headed to the low quarter to begin our patrol. Aoth talked to one of the local scrappers and found that the Commons Gang were asking people for protection money. The Commons Gang is headquartered at the Defiant Gesture Inn and Tavern. The Commons gang does theft and shake downs. Aoth also found out that the Temple of Wastri is unsafe for nonhumans. The area is not safe at night and people are being kidnapped and mugged, probably the work of the Dir Diggers Gang. The Dirt Diggers are rumored to be head quartered in either the Temple of Wastri or the House of the Yellow Sails.

Aoth watched the Yellow Sails for a while and observed about 15 to 20 people trickle in with about the same number trickling out as relieved from duty. When a covered cart came out pulled by 2 strong people and guarded by six more, we decided to follow the cart. Aoth and Bothan halted the cart as law enforcement officers of Prince Rhys. The boss of the cart crew kept calling Aoth and Bothan boss and tried to bribe them. But the cart crew refused to allow them to examine the cargo, so Bothan removed the tarp. He found crates and barrels of vials packed in straw. The vials contained torpor, serpent venom, oil of taggit and black scour taint. They pointed out that the poison was not illegal in Arweth, which unfortunately was true. We shall have to speak to Prince Rhys about that. Fortunately however, Morrick remembered that black scour taint was illegal in Gyruff, of which Arweth is again a part. The people at Prennffryth had been dumping the black scour taint water from the well in the swamp in Arweth about 30 miles from here, so that must be where they got it. We used the illegal nature of the black scour taint to confiscate the cart and its cargo. We got the Yellow Sails crew to tell us that Sergar was the boss of the Yellow Sails and that they made poison there. They also told us that the cargo was for the River Witch. Bothan remembered that the River Witch was a Neheli flagged ship which was involved in an attempt to steal the Light of Lydia several months ago.

The Yellow Sails crew wanted to be let go so they could let the crew of the River Witch know that the cargo was confiscated. We wanted to use the cargo to trap the River Witch crew, so that was not acceptable. While we were debating what to do with the Yellow Sails crew, a group of teamsters led by Bareris Calid came through the gate. They insisted that they must move all cargos over 25 lbs. This had been the decree of Brenin Rhys. The teamsters also called us boss and attempted a bribe. Bothan persuaded them that since the cargo was illegal, that we as law enforcement officers must retain control of it. Then Bareris offered to take the Yellow Sails crew to jail for us. We agreed to that to solve our problem of what to do with the Yellow Sails crew.

We continued on the the River Witch with their delivery. The crew was all Sueloise. The first mate came onto the dock to inspect the cargo. We tried to arrest them when they offered us money for the cargo, but they refused to surrender. Bothan jumped on the ship and prevented the crew from casting off while the rest of us fought our way onto the ship. Uaithne and I stayed on the dock longer then the rest, as I wanted to keep him out of melee. We kept crew away from the rope attaching the ship to the dockThe fight was going fairly well until a mage cast cone of cold on a large group, including the first mate and several of the crew. His spells destroyed the cart and cargo (and evidence), but we battled on. Luckily Uaithne and I were outside the blast. We all concentrated on the mage and got him down, but his was rescued by his crew and sent below decks to be healed. Aoth used his moonbeam to good effect and frightened the crew with his bear. Just when the fight was almost over, the mage cast fireball. Most of our group was knocked unconscious. I found Morrick’s healing potion and gave it to him. He then healed Aoth the druid. They healed everyone else. As we were debating what to do next, the mage flew out of the hold and toward the castle. We could not allow him to attack the castle, so we all attacked him until he fell into the river.

We managed to capture the ship owner, Lord Starles Neheli, the family cleric, a bard and several sailors from the crew. Lord Starles insisted that the deal with the House of Yellow Sails had been made by one of his cousins, the dead captain or the dead first mate or maybe the dead mage. And anyway it was our word against his since the cargo was destroyed. We took everyone back to the castle to receive Prince Rhys’ judgment. He believed my argument and three Lord Starles in jail for 18 days. He also confiscated the River Witch. The others received lesser sentences as accomplices.

The next morning we had a longer meeting with Prince Rhys. We convinced him to outlaw poisons and bribery. We also convinced him that all undead should register. Hopefully those changes will make the community safer. We inquired, but no one had brought in any prisoners the evening before. Prince Rhys summoned Bareris. His story was that the teamsters were attacked on the way to the castle and all the Yellow Sails crew were killed. Prince Rhys sentenced Bareris to jail time also.

We decided to continue our investigation into the House of the Yellow Sails. Before we got there, an urchin caused a disturbance in the market. Another urchin used the disturbance to steal some apples and purse from an apple stall. Aoth chased down the urchin and caught him. His name was Yahanni and he was staying with Regina DeMill in a house down the street. Aoth turned Yahanni over to the town guard and we continued to the Yellow Sails.

We easily picked out the guards that Prince Rhys had sent to keep an eye on the place. For sailors, they aren’t doing too badly. We are lucky that Argwlythes Briallen has lent Prince Rhys 4 ships and their crews for a time until he can reestablish law and order. When we approached, the Yellow Sails crew all entered the building and barred the doors. Bothan knocked and demanded entrance. When he was denied, Evendur broke open the door. All the people in the place tried to shoot him with crossbows, but missed. The others urged me to do what I could, so I cast a fireball inside the building. I killed all but four of the crew, who quickly surrendered. We left the four with the town guard and investigated downstairs. We first took the passage to the right and found nine prisoners plus a corpse chained to a table and being drained of blood. We freed the 9 prisoners and sent them with some town guard to the castle.

We then followed the passage to the left and found a magical alchemical lab with 3 pillars arranged in a triangle shape and potion brewing equipment which was stirring itself. In the ceiling above the 3 pillars was an unholy symbol which I had been told by Gelwen represents the Chained God. I was so alarmed I blurted out his name a couple of times before Bothan could get me to calm down. I started to cast detect magic as a ritual and was close to done when a door off the lab opened to a “sweet” woman who called us dear in a creepy, sickly sweet manner. She called herself Grandmother Twitchwillow and her daughter Auntie Wormwood. She admitted to having another daughter, who was out at the moment but who had left her baby with them to be watched. I suspect that the women are hags and not to be trifled with. I have heard rumors that hags can be quite dangerous. Bothan asked questions of Grandmother until my ritual was done. The baby was magic, as were the two women and their flesh eating horse, a nightmare. The lab equipment and the portal were magical. Grandmother insisted that the symbol and portal were there when they moved in. They are potion makers for Iowerth of the Commons gang. They would reluctantly come to answer questions of Prince Rhys after whispering between themselves that he would make a good addition. But no, we could not see the baby unless it was one at a time. And they hinted that we could have a potion to put Dagda to sleep. He had bee tricked before into absorbing the potion and going to sleep.

I do not know if I am right or wrong, but I did not trust the women. I strongly suspect that they are up to no good and are hags, who are dangerous and tricky to deal with. Thus I made an offer to make a deal with Prince Rhys for them. In exchange for the list of ingredients for the potion, they would leave Gyruff and not return. I got both Prince Rhys and Grandmother Twitchwillow to agree. They let Aoth hold the baby, gave us the ingredient list and disappeared with their nightmare. I hope I have done the best thing. And I hope they really leave Gyruff.

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Excerpts Bothan Rodric the dwarf's Journal #5
HochHoch Street Blues

Day 208 (“recorded on day 209”)
I celebrated the success of our mission to bring Ravonnar back to the previous management. If only we had been able to capture that Neheli ship the “River witch” which was trying to get its hand on the light of Lydia. I heard and believe the rumor that they had attacked and killed those at ten-walls

I had fond memories of Emyr’s wedding festivities so it seems right to continue them just a little longer. So from sunrise to sunrise I spent time drinking down at the Ravonnar’s docks. There was drinking and singing and dancing and more drinking and still more drinking. I was impressed with the sailors. They can sure put away the grog. Maybe not as good a drinkers as us dwarves but compared to other folk I have met it was impressive. Why I only lacked for a drinking companion in the last hour before sunrise. One minute that half-orc was still matching me when I heard a LOUD thud and then turned to see he was unconscious. At daybreak I then rambled out of the tavern and woke the townsfolk with singing and poetry. The Lydians seemed most appreciative of my prose. Only a disgruntled few threw boots or bedpans out their windows. They lacked the ability to understand the nuances in a dwarves artistic leanings.

Day 209
I made sure that all was well with the Lydian’s and those that have taken management of Ravonnar. Looks like Emyr is holding to his agreement.

Day 233
I have found no interesting adventures to participate in as of late. It sounds like all the activity is going on in the east of Gyruff. I heard that their was a great battle. Evidently the Gyri forces the Knight of the Watch forces have had some success against Caswallon’s army. I sure wish I was involved in the fighting over there. It sounds like a wonderful set-to

Day 238
Rumors have it that some old druid was brought back to life and Caswallon actually yielded to his wishes. But somehow Caswallon’s army hasn’t dispersed. Also there are primordials back on Oerth. That should shake up the power structure a bit. It should be interesting to see what big D…. will do.
Perhaps I should head back east so I can get in on all the commotion.

Day 240
Just when I decided to head east The crown prince Rhys requested assistance with the chaos that is now HochHoch. The last time I was their the place was a pigsty and we had to save a noble lady from that blowhard “Count Gareth”. I really didn’t care much for HochHoch the first time I saw it. But if us heroes don’t pitch in then law and order will never return to that small town. So I guess I’ll head out today and see what Rhys ap Rhys needs.

Day 241
Looks like I’m not the only hero who decided to answer Rhys’ call. The only one in the group I have met before is a fellow dwarf by the name of Morrick. The others seem to be companions of other heroes that I have adventured with but had not had previously met. One is a druid named Aoth. Some strange person with flaming hair, another fighter type, a mage name Xilvyre with an accolyte attending.
I had met prince Rhys the time we scared Gareth away. And he evidently was happy with the others in this new band of heroes. For he immediately deputized us giving us law enforcement powers. He provided us with a list of the laws for HochHoch. Only a handful have been added since Rhy’s rise to lead this cantrev. He really needs to get on that if he wants law and order to take root. He also went through about a hundred missions that were needed to be taken care of in HochHoch. Well maybe not a hundred tasks. After a while my eyes glazed over and I stopped paying attentiong. But it was a lot. Rhys then left us to our own devices to choose what tasks we willed.
Aoth seemed interested in the taking on the teamster gang. I suggested we might want to look into the gravediggers in the low quarter. No one knows where Gareth is or the money from his treasury. If he is lying low I thought it may be in the low quarter as that is where he arose from and perhaps he has returned their. If we do our patrolling in this quarter perhaps we will get some new on Gareth’s whereabouts. Also there were rumors of slavers at the yellow sails in the low quarter. Xilvyre and Morrick seemed keen on rooting this out and the rest of us agreed.
Upon entering the low quarter Aoth started up a conversation with an inhabitant who’s job is a skin scraper. He was happy to tell Aoth all about his woes. I asked him if any gangs had approached him recently requiring protection money. He indicated that the Commons gang had done so. I commented that I thought the common gang worked out of the Defiant Gesture tavern in the commoners quarter. I asked him why that gang and not the gravediggers. He said that the gravediggers mostly do robberies and muggings and it was the Commons as had been causing problems. He said they seemed to be associated with two areas. the Temple of W???. This religion hates all nonhuman and wishes them dead. And the yellow sails. People have been disappearing and corpses have been showing up in the gutters only to disappear overnight.
We head up to the yellow sails and spend some time watching the place. The yellow sails is a single story house with an attached small warehouse. After a while a covered wagon with 10 guards show up and enter the yellow sails warehouse. Then another covered wagon with ten guards leaves the warehouse. Aoth wants to follow the cart and see what they are planning. Our thought is that they’ve gone out to kidnap some more slaves. But as it turns out they head out to the docks. Once out of HochHoch’s gates we stop them identifying us as law enforcement. Aoth and the groups leader get into a discussion mostly the leader is trying to bribe Aoth to let them pass unmolested. Unfortunately bribery is not currently a crime in HochHoch. We should discuss that with the crown prince Rhys. Anyhow the discussion was going no where so I just went over to the cart and pulled its covering off. The cargo was some types of liquids. They verbally objected to my actions and when I asked them what they were hauling they said medicine. On further examination we determined that the medicine was actually different poisons and the black scour taint. They plead that even though their cargo wasn’t medicine it was not illegal to deal in such goods in HochHoch. Well perhaps the poisons aren’t, but the black scour taint is illegal in all of Gyruff. Upon which they again attempt to bribe us. I make it clear to the leader that he had best start cooperating. I intimidate him into telling us who the delivery is for. The “goods” are to be delivered to “The River witch” owned by the Neheli.
On hearing this name, I immediately realize my good fortune. While that Neheli ship may have escaped Ravonnar without consequences it looked like its luck was over. I pulled Aoth aside and told him of this nefarious ship. I suggested we should confiscate the cart. Send the guard back into town with a warning and use the cart to get close enough to board and take the ship. I argued that we should take the ship and worry about the yellow sails later as it will not be going any where. We spent too much time arguing about the details. When a large mob comes through the gates heading towards us. It appears that the reinforcements have arrived and we will not be able to confiscate the cart without a fight.
However it turn out that we are in luck. The mob is from the teamster gang led by someone named Berris? He objects to non-teamster hauling goods over 25 pounds. He wants us to turn the cart and the carters over to them. I tell him that as the towns law enforcement we have to handle the matter and can not turn them over. After a polite discussion which also includes attempts to bribe us we come to a mutual understanding. Berris has the excellent idea of us deputizing him for the purpose of taking the carters to jail for us. In return we can keep the cart and the evidence intact. This solves our problem. If we turn over the carters then they will not be warning anybody and we can continue on to the docks in their stead. I hair of doubt raises in me that Berris will actually take them to jail. But he sounded so sincere that I accepted him at his word. Now the very group that Aoth wanted to take down are our “friends”
Well we hide out tabards that show us as law enforcement and head to the docks and the River witch.
The ship is using the same strategy it did in Ravonnar. The crew all appear to be on board. The lines attaching the ship to the dock are loosely tied with a sailor on each end ready to loose it on a moments notice.
The plan goes perfectly. The first mate provides us with probable cause to board and arrest its occupants. You see he has the cart checked to ensure that all of the goods they ordered are there including the illegal black scour taint. Upon seeing that all is in order he hand the payment to Aoth. Aoth seemed to be hesitating, so I decide to take matters in hand. I jump aboard the ship near one of the sailors with the dock line. In my most intimidating voice I tell them that they are under arrest and the ship is hereby confiscated for dealing in illegal goods. As we are trying to represent law enforcement in HochHoch in an upright manner I refrain from attacking the sailor. And who knows maybe they will surrender without a fight.
However, they all reach for their weapons which turn out to be concealed against the side of the ship. This frees us to engage them. The battle starts off quite well. I use non-lethal damage on the sailor next to me keeping his line tied to the dock. The sailor on the opposite line cuts through his dock line. The average sailor appears to be trained but with only a little experience and are easily handled. The first mate turns out to be a tougher opponent although he has trouble hitting. Also we are surprised by a mage who casts a cone of cold on most of my compatriots. He however appears to have no care about injuring his fellow crewman. The first mate is now badly injured. My companions focus on the mage and take him down. While I am defending the dock line and taking out the common sailors who dare to approach. More crew scramble up on to the deck. Unfortunately the crew are able to give the mage a healing potion and take him out of view below decks.
Things look like my fellow heroes have things well in hand on deck. So I crash through a window leading to a room on the deck where some of the crew are exiting from. The room has more enemy then I expect. I was hoping to clear those in the room and act as a bottleneck for those climbing the stairs from below Instead I am hard pressed and can not reach the stairs. Meanwhile my friends above are no longer making forward progress as crewman from below come on deck. Most all are getting injuries here and their. And there seems almost no end to the number of crew. And on top of that I can hear someone casting cure wounds which I assume are for the mage who we definitely do not want back in the battle. Well my friends are finally able to dispatch those outside on deck with four of the deck crew surrendering.
In this cabin I am focusing on the captain who attacks me three times for every one of my attacks. I am still being pressed by the crewman as well. Happily my armor is turning most of the blows and I am able to get a second wind to heal up.
Which is when my friends begin to show up at the cabin’s door. Err… well at least I thought they were my friends. Not one moment after I get done using my second wind someone throws a sound weapon into the cabin injuring everyone inside including myself. Then with only one more person left on our side to go the druid casts a fairie fire into the cabin. Everyone except the captain including myself are lit up like a christmas tree. I am not looking forward to the captain attacking me 3 times at such an advantage.
Happily the captain sees that all is lost and surrenders. We are victorious. Or at least that is what is thought for a split second. All of a sudden a fireball goes off in the cabin and spills out onto the deck. It envelopes all of my band and also kills the captain and the crew that were in the cabin. Xilvyre’s accolyte, the flame haired guy, and Morrick are all knocked unconscious. Xilvyre, Aoth and I are reeling and can barely stand. The tide has turned yet again. Us three are able to find enough healing potions to awaken the other three. But noone is really healthy enough to continue the fight. And we know that a powerful mage, a healer and Ehlonna knows who else is still down below decks. People are asking what we should do next. I’m thinking come on let’s get as healed as we can and finish them off. While this is going on we see the mage who is glowing come flying from below deck. Literally he flew off the ship and starts heading towards the castle. Well most of my friends have range weapons and attack the mage before he can make good his escape. He lost is concentration and plummeted into the river. Clearly unconscious he begins to sink. I suggest to my fiery haired friend to go swim and recover his body and he does so. Half the rest of the party continues pummeling the unconscious and drowning mage that is if he is even still alive. Can you say OVERKILL. I guess the mage almost killing everyone sort of caused an overreaction.
Well with the mage dead after fleeing, I am feeling more confident that we can finish of the rest of the enemies. So with total disregard for my safety and the fact that a 15’ drop would likely send me unconscious, I jump down into the cargo hold and demand those below to surrender. Luckily it was only a 10’ drop or I would have looked awfully silly. And happily the owner and the remaining crew dropped their weapons and yielded. I guess they didn’t notice I was tottering to remain upright.
And wouldn’t you know. The mage (deceased), the captain (deceased killed by the mage) and the captain were all cousins and nobles of the house of Neheli.
After securing the ship and between the payment of the illegal goods we were able to gather thousands of gold pieces to help fill the empty treasury. Some of the group wanted to keep the money for ourselves. Morrick and I informed them that all proceeds would be turned in.
We took the living prisoners to the crown prince Rhys for questioning. At the trial we let Xilvyre speak for the group. The evidence in the cart had been destroyed so we had only our word. I didn’t expect that to be a problem as we are heroes and friends of Rhys. And turned out he did believed us. I also think that the gold and ship also had something to do with it. He confiscated the ship and its treasure and jailed the owner and crew. Along the way we also convinced Rhys with some difficulty to enact laws against bribery and against poison.
We really needed to rest before we try to take on the Yellow Sails. So I tell Rhys that we haven’t been able to take them down yet. We did use their confiscated cart and had Berris take the carters to jail. Rhys tells me that no carters were brought to jail. Guess I couldn’t trust Berris after all. Rhys sends for Berris. I suggest that Rhys set someone to watch the Yellow sails until we are rested and then our band and a bunch of guards can go their and take care of things. This got Rhys to thinking and he made a note about hiring spies. Someone suggested that maybe he wanted a scribe as well so he didn’t have to write things down himself. Also the idea of an accountant was noted.
I am beginning to worry about Rhys. He seems more interested in making a gold piece then his people. He also doesn’t seem to know how to run a cantrev. I hope another fiasco like when Gareth “owned” this cantrev doesn’t occur.
Hey but on the bright side with two Neheli nobles dead and one imprisoned it seems that if I stay in HochHoch long enough, I will not need to head east to find a nice battle of armies. I wouldn’t be at all surprise if the Neheli sends an army over here when they learn of what has transpired.

Day 242
After resting and healing we returned to the Yellow Sails with 20 guards. The two guards that had been watching the place had very little too report. Only a guarded cart had arose. While we were talking to the guards a nearby commotion ensued. Somebody caused a distraction and a waif ran off with a basket of apples and the vendors coin purse. Aoth told us to wait and ran after the boy. I was like, Really? I was thinking just send a guard or two to chase the thief down. We have a more important job at the moment. Eventually Aoth comes back with the miscreant in tow. His name was Yahny and he evidently was stealing at the behest of some woman beggar. Finally Aoth turned him over to two guards to deal with. I heard later that he was sentenced to a fine and had to go to the workhouse to pay it off.
We had the guards surround the Yellow sails and wait so that no one could escape to the streets. Those guarding the 3 different sets of doors saw us coming and went inside barring them. Our band wen to the back door. I announced that we were law enforcement and those inside should surrender peacefully. I then proceeded to try to break through the door. I failed in my attempt to the other big bad in our group was able to knock it down. I didn’t catch his name, but from what I heard he likes Medusa’s and fairy queens. Well the employees of the Yellow Sails were waiting and all shot their crossbows at them All 30 missed him. They were mostly grouped up nice and close so I suggested to Xilvyre that an area affect would be useful. She concurred and after her fireball went off only 4 remained standing. The use of overpowering force cowed the few left alive and they surrendered without further incident. After going downstair we came to a crudely dug hallway. We headed right andThe passage opened to a room with several pillars. Townsfolk including a dwarf were chained to pillars and a corpse was chained to a table where its blood had been collected. We released those yet alive and told some guards to take them to be cared for.
We then headed down the left passage. It lead to a door for a room the contained an alchemist laboratory. There was one other door leading into this room. There was also a set of three pillars making a triangle that looked they could be some sort of magical gate or portal. Xilvyre wanted to cast detect magic as a ritual so as not to use a spell slot. We hadn’t met any significant opposition as of yet, nor had an alarm gone up so we figured we did not need to be in a hurry. I strongly suggested that no one should pass through the pillars nor mess with the alchemical equipment for the time being. We mostly waited near the other door to surprise anyone should they come through.
Xilvyre was about three-quarters of the way done when an elderly woman came through the door. In the other room was a horse of fire, nightmare. I immediately identified ourselves as law enforcement officer. That we were here because the Yellow Sails had been doing illegal business. She introduced herself as grandmother Twitchwillow. She said that they were but poor alchemists working in the employ of the leader of the commoner’s gang by the name of Isleworth. That he owned the Yellow Sails.
In addition to grandmother Twitchwillow and the nightmare there was Auntie wormwood and a baby. They told us that a third daughter was out at the moment. I felt very disturbed in there presence and am not ashamed of being somewhat intimidated by them. They were not what they seemed and I believed a lot more powerful then they let on. So far they were responding in a nonviolent manner. I wanted to stall to give Xilvyre a change to finish her ritual. So I thought I would stall so she could finish. I decided to make sure that I was always polite and in questioning them not to push things to far. Perhaps I could convince them to come upstairs without the nightmare. That way if violence broke out we would have the guards to bolster our numbers and not have to face the nightmare.
We asked to see the baby who was the next room from that which held the nightmare. They agreed as long as we came with them one at a time. Which we politely declined. Twitchwillow asked if they could pay whatever the fine was and I responded that the Crown Prince Rhys would have to be the judge for the fine. But that he was a reasonable man and since you were simply employees that I was sure things could work out. However we would have to escort them to Rhys for his judgement. They asked if Rhys could be brought here. Twitchwillow and Wormwood rarely left the Yellow Sails. I responded that was not possible, him being the one in charge and all. We would have to go to him. They discussed it among themselves and I overheard them saying that “Rhys would make a good addition”. So they agreed to come with us.
About this time Xilvyre completed her spell and saw magic coming from the pillars, Twitchwillow, Wormwood and the baby. It was also about this time that we saw the symbol on the ceiling within the pillar. It was the symbol of the chained god. Xilvyre told the others the actual god’s name that it belonged to. She also repeated his name T………. a second time. She finally caught on that saying his name was not a good idea. Thankfully, him nor an avatar seemed to take exception to his name being said. Twitchwood verbally distanced themselves from the pillars and symbol saying that they were here when they first arrived.
Anyhow Twitchwillow, Wormwood and the baby gathered their things to go meet Rhys. The baby was kept completely covered. I told Twitchwillow that for security reason that the bag she was taking could not be brought into Rhys’ presence.
It was at about this point that we heard a commotion and what seemed to be a guard calling for help.
I first told them that the bag would need to be held by one of the guards in the guard room. She said that the bag had valuables and asked if we weren’t worried about the commotion going on. I then said that the bag could be brought to see Rhys if I first searched the contents. She finally decided to the leave the bag with the Nightmare.
As the commotion may have indicated that some more members of the commoner’s gang had showed up, I made them promise that they would not attack us should those above do so. They agreed. We let Grandmother and Auntie go first. In the distance we heard someone command “leave and return to your posts”. We met know one in the building and when we got out and talked to the guards they thought we were the ones that had commanded them.
I turned to Twitchwillow and asked her whether it was possible that it was the other sister invisible saying these things. She acknowledged it was possible. When I asked her to request that the sister appear if she was present she sidestepped the request and said that the sister often goes out and she didn’t know where she was.
At this point I didn’t really want to bring them to Rhys as I thought it would be too dangerous. But I was having trouble figuring out how to proceed when the old hags provided a solution. They suggested that they had something that we most needed and could provide it for us. I suggested that it must have something to do with the primordials. She responded by saying “Oh you know the primordials are back”. I responded by asking how they would know they were awake if they don’t come out of the Yellow sail and she made some excuse. In any case they offered to make us a potion that would take of the big D. They also agreed that they would leave HochHoch. Which with them gone the Yellow Sails would be out of business. I suggested that the terms should be that they should leave Gyruff and never come back. They agreed. I told them that this appears to be a mutually acceptable solution. However, we would need to get final approval from Rhys. With that they wished to accompany us to see him. I was able to convince them that Xilvyre could go and get Rhy’s approval. That there was no reason to inconvenience the ladies who do not like to leave the Yellow Sails. They agreed. So Xilvyre went to speak with Rhys and we went back below the Yellow Sails.
While Xilvyre went to talk to Rhys, Aoth could not leave well enough alone. He asked to see the baby again. They agreed and he ended up holding the baby which looked perfectly human. Xilvyre returned and the agreement was struck. Only it didn’t exactly finish the way I had wanted. Some how the exile was only Anterth and instead of them brewing a potion Xilvyre asked them to give us the recipe for making the potions.
I felt my stomach sink at that. I was sure the recipe would require virgin human sacrifice and or some other morally impossible requirements to make. So they gave Xilvyre the recipe. Then grandmother, auntie went to nightmare and they all vanished.
And they left the baby still in Aoth’s arms. I do hope it is just a normal baby but Xilvyre had seen magic from it and one can hardly expect that to be the case.
I need to do some heavy drinking. Maybe I can forget today and they bad feelings that still cling to me.

Day 243
Crown Prince Rhys is INSANE. He sold the Yellow Sails with the chained gods gate to a devil. By devil I don’t mean an evil human. I mean an actual DEVIL. D. E. V. I. L.

View
Dominance of Druids Conculsion

Llewellyn knew where to start looking for this Caswallon, for it was Llewellyn himself who pulled the Isle of Rhûn and Kindler’s Isle into their own demi-plane. He (correctly) assumed that the means to navigate to the demi-plane would be kept as a Druidic secret. This place would be a last refuge for any Druid leadership. From what his (new?) friends told him, the world is much less natural than it once was. There is no longer a balance between man and nature, and it seems that the scales are leaning towards the industry of man. It seems as if the Gyri have forgotten their roots and place in the world. The fey, nature, druidic magic and the Gyric people are interconnected in ways that are hard to explain to outsiders.

Navigating to the Isle of Rhûn was more muscle memory than conscious thought, for his memories have become a tangle of mostly forgotten threads, possibly made worse by his air elemental form. The flight up the secret stair to the local aspect of the Summer Tree was just as he remembered it, all those thousands of years ago. Praying at the base of the tree must be this Caswallon or one of his trusted followers, so Llewellyn returns to human form and addresses him (in Druidic). “I seek the man known as Caswallon.”

The man rises purposefully, wary of the intruder. “I am Caswallon the Green, the second Druid-King of newly reformed Pellham. Who seeks me out on this sacred isle?”

“I am he who raised the first Standing Stones. I united the Flan tribes of the Sheldomar Valley to fight the giant incursions. With the discovery and guidance of Beory, Ehlonna, Nerull, Obad-Hai and Pelor, I founded The Faith. I established relations with the Fey nobility and we created The Ways of the World. In the end, I was sacrificed to become the first Green Man.”

Caswallon is incredulous. “That cannot be so, as the soul of Llewellyn was consumed by the rite over four thousand turns of the great wheel ago.”

Llewellyn, “From my understanding, it was four thousand three hundred seventy five. – It was a cold Sunsebb night, just before the first of Needfest. My ascension was to bring in a new era of peace and harmony for our people. My dearest and most loyal friend Grellyn was there to ease my passage and complete the ritual. I have passed through the veil and returned as you see me. – I understand the need of the people is especially great just now, which is why I have returned. – I shall offer my guidance and wisdom to those who will have me.”

Caswallon, “I do not believe you are who you claim to be! I believe this is a trick or conspiracy by my enemies. Begone or I shall destroy you.”

Llewellyn, “You have not done well for yourself or The Faith. The People tear at the land. The great forest is divided. The People war against each other and I hear you have embarked in a genocidal crusade in MY name!”

Caswallon, “I KNOW the tenets! – Purity of Body. Purity of Tradition. Purity of Vision.”

Llewellyn, “The Ffordd Purdeb is much more than a few tenets!!! Those first three were those of my youth, but you must learn the lessons of wisdom from my later years. Patience of Hand. Patience of Heart. Patience of Thought. – These are the marks of a wise and just ruler.”

Caswallon, “I see my earlier concerns were warranted. As an imposter, you look the part, but you should have picked someone who wasn’t consumed by the ritual. There is no way your soul could be returned to life, and if you don’t depart, I shall summon the true soul of Llewellyn to cast you off this island!”

Llewellyn, “My soul was sundered and only half was sacrificed to the Green Man. My better half was safely secreted away by the Oerth Mother and faithfully reborn each generation to protect me from Nerull.”

Caswallon, “This is twice you have mentioned this Nerull as if I should know it. Of whom do you speak?”

Llewellyn, “The god of the dead. The Reaper. Foe of All Life? – Father Winter?”

Caswallon, “You see, you know nothing of the Old Faith. – The Raven Queen governs winter and acts as a guardian for the dead, escorting them to the realm of their deity. More proof that you are an imposter.”

Llewellyn, “Very well, I see that reasoning with you is getting nowhere, though my soul was sundered and only half became the first Green Man. On this cold winter night, I challenge you, Caswallon the Green, for leadership of The Faith and title of Archdruid! – Choose your terms carefully.”

Caswallon, now angered. “ Very well, though I have seen enough of death of late. We fight only until the other concedes. The winner shall be the head of the Old Faith order and the loser shall be his servant. I warn you, imposter, that although I have fewer works, I am as powerful as the legendary Llewellyn ever was. – On your guard!”

Caswallon, “Obad-Hai, grant me the powers and form of a titan that I may smite this imposter and resume your good works!” – His form alters and he grows to over thirty feet in height as he gestures for Llewellyn to act.

Llewellyn transforms into a similarly sized figure and the two immediately begin to brawl. After a number of blows, Llewellyn staggers back and loses his concentration, becoming human again.

C: “You see! You are no match for Archdruid-King Caswallon the Green! Concede now and serve Obad-Hai with me.”

Llewellyn again transforms into a thirty foot tall Empyrean and continues the fight.

C: Surprised that Llewellyn can do that twice. “Wha? You cannot do that! I know of no one alive that can cast that more than once a day!”
L: “You will find, Caswallon, that you are mistaken about a great number of things. I shall not submit!”
C: “Fine, if it is destruction and humiliation you seek, I shall grant it to you!”

Llewellyn fails to land a couple key blows.
C: “I see the ‘mighty’ Llewellyn has forgotten how to fight. Let me show you!”
Caswallon strikes him for a massive concussive blow, but Llewellyn’s concentration holds.

L: “Do tell, as I find your fictions and self-delusions amusing. – You will discover soon enough that I am Llewellyn returned from the grave to restore you to the TRUE path of our people!”
C: “Only the Ffordd Purdeb is the true path. We must seek Purity to overcome our enemies!”
Caswallon transforms into a Mammoth and continues the attack.
L: “Those were words from my youth. Have you learned no wisdom in your years?”

Despite being an animal, Llewellyn can hear the thoughts of Caswallon.
C: “I have plenty of wisdom. Enough to deduce who you must be. – The soul of Llewellyn was consumed into the Spirit of the Greenman, styled after Obad-Hai. Even if you are the body of Llewellyn, which I am not willing to concede, you could not possibly have his soul!”

L: “My soul was sundered at my birth and only half was consumed into the first Greenman! – I am Llewellyn indeed!”
C: Distracted in thought, Attack misses
C: “Wait, there was another… Llewellyn had a co-ruler… Grellyn, I believe. He was corrupt, cruel and readily volunteered to end his friend and co-ruler’s life in order to become the next ruler of Pellham! You’re GRELLYN, aren’t you?!”
L: Surprised at the allegation. Attack misses horribly
L: “Oof! – We shared a soul, the same soul, and I am Llewellyn’s body reborn, so I am just as much Llewellyn as the half a soul that entered into the Greenman!”

C: “Except that soul has been diluted with fey spirit and rewashed many times over the years, hasn’t it. All that was good, wise and just went into Llewellyn, while you got what was remaining… What does that make you?!”
Llewellyn’s concentration fails, turning him human again.
L: “I am still Llewellyn, and I shall defeat you to prove it. I AM LLEWELLYN!!”
Lewellyn gestures at a tree that pulls up its roots and moves behind the Caswallon Empyrean, flanking him.
Tree: 2 slam attacks upon Caswallon, neither of which hit, but slightly distract Caswallon.
Llewellyn then transforms into a huge lizard-thing with exceptionally large head and vicious teeth. (T. Rex). He bites twice, hitting once and misses with the tail.

C: “Arrrgh! Very well, but I can’t have this tree on me…”
C: transforms into a fire elemental and attacks the tree
C: Attacks twice, hitting both times and setting the tree on fire.

L: “Rrrrawrrr”
L: 2 Bites and a Tail all hit
The Tree takes fire damage, but continues to slam Caswallon the fire elemental, the extra damage showing on his now human form.
Caswallon transforms into an Earth Elemental and continues to slam on the tree.

The Thunder Lizard (Llewellyn as a T. Rex) continues against the Earth Elemental.
The tree continues to fight the earth elemental until it is consumed by the fire.
Caswallon then transforms into a giant ape that jumps up onto the huge lizard, pummeling it’s head with his huge fists.

The dinosaur bites down hard on the giant ape, but his time in that form comes to an end as the giant ape continues pounding on the dinosaur.
Llewellyn turns into a giant ape of his own with a dark purple fur. He pounds on Caswallon as a giant ape, who now has to transform into a whirlwind air elemental. As the wind howls, Llewellyn the giant ape is forced to grab onto a stone outcropping to avoid being blown over the cliffs to the rocky lake shore far below. The magical giant ape reaches out and begins to crush the essence of the air elemental. The winds continue to howl, but Caswallon is unable to blow the great ape off the mountain.

Taking another tactic, Caswallon reverts to his human form and creates a powerful firestorm around Llewellyn as a giant ape and then Caswallon transforms into a water elemental. Llewellyn, apparently immune to fire, just roars and pounds the water elemental. Caswallon pulls the fight closer to the lake, but Llewellyn approaches cautious enough to avoid being pulled down.

As the fight causes each combatant to pass through human form, spells are cast before the new form is taken until all their spells are spent. (Feeblemind, Firestorm, Heal, Greater Restoration, Sunbeam, Stoneskin, Wall of Fire, Conjure Animals, Absorb Elements, Hold Person, Entangle, Poison Spray, Shillelagh and Produce Flame) – The contest continues through a long list Megafauna (Rhinos, Elephants, Gorillas, Tigers, Bears, etc.) down to ever weaker creatures, especially as Caswallon moves the fight down to the lake to make use of aquatic forms. Each form has to be defeated and only on rare occasions is there enough damage to spill over onto the corresponding druid’s natural form. Each can use their magic to heal themselves without impairing their ability to change form, until the magic is gone. The fight quickly becomes a contest of endurance lasting several hours.

Caswallon begins to tire first, since he was wounded earlier in the battle. Llewellyn seems unaffected, but he has allegedly just recovered from a four thousand year old “nap” and now has a new body. They battle above, along and below the surface of the lake as birds, mammals, reptiles, dinosaurs, amphibians, fish and other forms.

Caswallon continues to slow down, but Llewellyn shows similar signs of fatigue.

They continue the fight without break, while the sun moves in its track across the sky. While Llewellyn’s body is new, it doesn’t have as much endurance, leaving Llewellyn gasping for breath and staggering, but Caswallon isn’t far behind. They continue fighting on for a while more before Llewellyn finally has to concede that he cannot continue and collapses on the beach. Caswallon, more than a little surprised that he was successful, drops to the sand next to his former hero. Too tired to continue to fight or even move, they have nothing to do, but talk.

C: “I knew you couldn’t be the great hero Llewellyn, but I will take you into the circle.”

L: “You still doubt that I am Llewellyn. I can respect that, but that doesn’t matter. If you believed in the wisdom of this long dead Llewellyn, then why do you deny his complete teachings. Llewellyn the Druid-King formed a legacy that has guided OUR people for millennia. The words and ideas are more important than whether I am this man or not.”


Archdruid-King Caswallon the Green and his new Watcher of Autumn are still lying on the stony beach when two figures approach. They are Caswallon’s daughter and one of the Regent’s messengers. When they get close, the messenger hands Caswallon a small scroll, neatly tied with ribbon and wax sealed by the Regent of Gyruff. Llewellyn looks inquisitive, but remains silent as Caswallon reads.
C: “The Regent believes you are THE Llewellyn and thinks you can teach us all to get along. He says the cycle has ended and another begins.”
L: “What are you going to do?”
C: “Surrender, of course!” with a chuckle.

Maelan merch Caswallon: “WHAT?! After all we’ve done, all we’ve been through?! – You would give up so easily?”
C: “Daughter, so many have died in this cause and while I’ve won today, we’ve lost too much as a people. Perhaps it is time that those of true faith withdraw to the mountains and leave the lowlands for the people to find their own way. – The Druidic order can continue to advise and provide our wisdom when asked for, but it is obvious that Obad-Hai did not favor us to rule over the heathens. He abandoned us when we attempted to form our own state, so that is not to be. – One does not question the will of the gods. One can only attempt to interpret the signs and divine what the will of the gods is.”

Llewellyn nods at Caswallon’s wisdom.

M: “I cannot believe that you would abandon everything we’ve struggled for because of a little setback!” She fumes.

C: “Watcher of Autumn, will you travel to the Regent of Gyruff and arrange a meeting. We have much to discuss and the future to plan. Offer the Druidic order as advisors, judges, healers and guardians of The Land, but stress that we will be there to serve, not rule. I will meditate and attempt to commune with the gods to divine their will in preparation for our meeting.”

L: “As you wish, Archdruid.” He takes the form of an eagle and heavily takes to the air.

Dawn breaks on Dersyth as a weary eagle lands and turns into an equally weary man. His words are strange, but he bears the message from the Regent, so the guards let him pass to meet with the Regent.

Perhaps through magic, Arglwyth Eridan Shadowblade, Regent of Gyruff, is able to communicate with Llewellyn. He translates for his advisors. “This man claims to be Llewellyn returned from the dead. He brings a response from Caswallon, who desires peace and reunification.”

Llewellyn is still speaking with the Regent, negotiating a meeting to bring about peace and reunification when a sparrow arrives with a whispered message for Llewellyn. Llewellyn turns with a heavy head and speaks to the Regent.

Eridan translates: “We are too late. Caswallon the Green is dead. With his dying breath, he has dispatched this bird to ask Llewellyn to repair the damage he has done. He acknowledges that he was wrong to go to arms against his brothers and that any remaining followers of Obad-Hai or the Ffordd Purdeb should lay down those arms and rejoin Gyruff.”

The two then begin talks in earnest about reconstruction and the future of Gyruff. How can the country support the diverse cultural and religious beliefs between the old and the new?

Those plans are interrupted by a guard with an urgent message: “Lord Regent, one of the mountains to the southwest has ‘stood up’ and is headed this way!”

Regent Eridan: “Excuse me? – What do you mean headed this way?”

Guard: “It grew legs and is walking … at a somewhat lumbered pace… in this direction, My Lord. – It stands at least ten thousand feet tall and is at least as wide at it’s …. um, waist?”

DagdaAwakened.jpg

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Dominance of Druids Intro

Llewellyn knew where to start looking for this Caswallon, for it was Llewellyn himself who pulled the Isle of Rhûn and Kindler’s Isle into their own demi-plane. He (correctly) assumed that the means to navigate to the demi-plane would be kept as a Druidic secret. This place would be a last refuge for any Druid leadership. From what his (new?) friends told him, the world is much less natural than it once was. There is no longer a balance between man and nature, and it seems that the scales are leaning towards the industry of man. It seems as if the Gyri have forgotten their roots and place in the world. The fey, nature, druidic magic and the Gyric people are interconnected in ways that are hard to explain to outsiders.

Navigating to the Isle of Rhûn was more muscle memory than conscious thought, for his memories have become a tangle of mostly forgotten threads, possibly made worse by his air elemental form. The flight up the secret stair to the local aspect of the Summer Tree was just as he remembered it, all those thousands of years ago. Praying at the base of the tree must be this Caswallon or one of his trusted followers, so Llewellyn returns to human form and addresses him (in Druidic). “I seek the man known as Caswallon.”

The man rises purposefully, wary of the intruder. “I am Caswallon the Green, the second Druid-King of newly reformed Pellham. Who seeks me out on this sacred isle?”

“I am he who raised the first Standing Stones. I united the Flan tribes of the Sheldomar Valley to fight the giant incursions. With the discovery and guidance of Beory, Ehlonna, Nerull, Obad-Hai and Pelor, I founded The Faith. I established relations with the Fey nobility and we created The Ways of the World. In the end, I was sacrificed to become the first Green Man.”

Caswallon is incredulous. “That cannot be so, as the soul of Llewellyn was consumed by the rite over four thousand turns of the great wheel ago.”

Llewellyn, “From my understanding, it was four thousand three hundred seventy five. – It was a cold Sunsebb night, just before the first of Needfest. My ascension was to bring in a new era of peace and harmony for our people. My dearest and most loyal friend Grellyn was there to ease my passage and complete the ritual. I have passed through the veil and returned as you see me. – I understand the need of the people is especially great just now, which is why I have returned. – I shall offer my guidance and wisdom to those who will have me.”

Caswallon, “I do not believe you are who you claim to be! I believe this is a trick or conspiracy by my enemies. Begone or I shall destroy you.”

Llewellyn, “You have not done well for yourself or The Faith. The People tear at the land. The great forest is divided. The People war against each other and I hear you have embarked in a genocidal crusade in MY name!”

Caswallon, “I KNOW the tenets! – Purity of Body. Purity of Tradition. Purity of Vision.”

Llewellyn, “The Ffordd Purdeb is much more than a few tenets!!! Those first three were those of my youth, but you must learn the lessons of wisdom from my later years. Patience of Hand. Patience of Heart. Patience of Thought. – These are the marks of a wise and just ruler.”

Caswallon, “I see my earlier concerns were warranted. As an imposter, you look the part, but you should have picked someone who wasn’t consumed by the ritual. There is no way your soul could be returned to life, and if you don’t depart, I shall summon the true soul of Llewellyn to cast you off this island!”

Llewellyn, “My soul was sundered and only half was sacrificed to the Green Man. My better half was safely secreted away by the Oerth Mother and faithfully reborn each generation to protect me from Nerull.”

Caswallon, “This is twice you have mentioned this Nerull as if I should know it. Of whom do you speak?”

Llewellyn, “The god of the dead. The Reaper? Foe of All Life? – Father Winter?”

Caswallon, “You see, you know nothing of the Old Faith. – The Raven Queen governs winter and acts as a guardian for the dead, escorting them to the realm of their deity. More proof that you are an imposter.”

Llewellyn, “Very well, I see that reasoning with you is getting nowhere, though my soul was sundered and only half became the first Green Man. On this cold winter night, I challenge you, Caswallon the Green, for leadership of The Faith and title of Archdruid! – Choose your terms carefully.”

Caswallon, now angered. “ Very well, though I have seen enough of death of late. We fight only until the other concedes. The winner shall be the head of the Old Faith order and the loser shall be his servant. I warn you, imposter, that although I have fewer works, I am as powerful as the legendary Llewellyn ever was. – On your guard!”

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On the shores of Avon Ffyn

A convocation of giant eagles land on the shores of Avon Ffyn and transform back into humans.

MaelanMerchCaswallon.jpg

A strong woman (Maelan) in winter furs, her face covered in blue woad as paint, strides over to her father. Her skin has is pale with a coppery hue, dark eyes and hair unmistakably Flan in origin. Her wolf-skin armor moves and shifts about her body, almost seeming to be alive. Her plain brown tunic and green plaid skirt are splattered with mud and blood, but she scarcely notices. Caswallon, recognizing her fury, walks away and gestures for her to follow and speak privately. She immediately tears into him, “Father! What was that?!”

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Caswallon, an elder Druid long before the giants came, begins to show his age. His long and somewhat unkempt beard and hair fit this ancient druid of Obad-Hai. His plain long brown robes reflect his modest lifestyle and how he lives close to The Land. Once they have some measure of privacy, he turns and looks up sorrowfully at his daughter. “We were defeated, daughter. I am not sure how or why The Land and Obad-Hai forsook us, but they did. Perhaps our cause is not as just as we once thought. Perhaps I am not the champion they seek.

Maelan, even more angry, “We had the opportunity to crush them in a single stroke and you squandered it! We should have taken and kept to the SKIES, swarming their flying troops and bombarding the army below!”

Caswalllon, obviously distraught, “That would have killed indiscriminately. We would have killed invader and Gyri alike. I did that at Trehalwn out of necessity, but I did not want to. I do not mean ill will to the other races, but we must defend our place to follow the Ffordd Purdeb and become strong again.”

Maelan, “Purity of Body. Purity of Tradition. Purity of Vision. We must have a place to purify ourselves and clean from our branches the notions that are not pure. We must return to the Old Ways and that army represents all that strives to destroy that! – The Knights of the Watch and Keoish have infected us. Ever encroaching, they move into our lands, build their dams and industry. They cut down the forests, kill the animals and rip up The Land for their own comfort and profit! – Before we declared an independent Gyri state, they pushed their way into our communities and filled the heads of our youth with a foreign language, radical ideas called “progress”, an alien culture, heathen gods, a total disrespect for The Land and have attempted to breed us out! – As a child, you often spoke to me of the evils brought to our people by the giants and their minions, but listen to me as I warn you that these foreigners are doing the very same in human or human-like guise!”

Caswallon, “I never wanted a race or culture war. We need to fight to protect our people, our way of life and The Land, but perhaps there is another way. I’ve never despised other cultures and peoples. In many ways, I admire many of them and what they’ve accomplished, but I have no desire to be like them. What is good for the Suel, Oeridians or Bakluni is not necessarily good for our people, the Flan Gyri who try to live by ancient custom.”

Maelan, “We have compromised too much. We have lost our way. You have shown us a new way, the way of Llewellyn. The way that we should live.
“Purity of Body! – We shall purge that which is not Flan from our bodies, but the Physician’s Cauldron is lost again! – Who knows what foul things the infidels are doing with it!? – Even now, they are probably dragging it back to their capital to put in a vast treasure room as a trophy of defeating the poor back-country hick that fashioned himself king. They’ll cut down a forest and rip minerals from the Oerth to build monuments to their own cleverness…
“Purity of Tradition! – Our people have lived at peace with The Land for millennia! – We had fertile fields, green pastured hills and a wonderful society of equality, harmony and balance with The Land. All the important things were known and the rest didn’t matter. – Our enemies, the invaders, don’t understand. They think of wheels, coins and political advantage. They see The Land as something to be tamed and domesticated. Obad-Hai has taught us that nature, in all it’s terrifying glory, is meant to be wild, not enslaved tamed and neutered.
“Purity of Vision! – We, as a people, need to be unified in purpose and thought. It was the disunity and individualism that distracted us and allowed the giants to invade and conquer us! Together, we are invincible. – It was YOUR indecision and urge to pull back that cost us the victory we needed in Dersyth!”

Caswallon, tired and sorrowful, “So many have died that did not need to. We could not attack indiscriminately…”

Maelan, “You’ve grown weak, old man. Ssarung was right. We need to make a place for ourselves and make it great again!”

Caswallon, a little confused, “Maelan, what are you saying?”

Maelan, “You need to sleep, father. Go ahead to the Isle with the others and get some sleep. I have an idea, but I need to scout around a little first…” – She transforms into an eagle and takes again to the skies.

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Battle of Dersyth

Battle of Dersyth
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Per the commander’s orders, the Knights of the Watch separate into two armies. The bulk of the army begins tending to the dead, giving last rights and digging graves. The second and more mobile portion (formed largely from the flying monster mounts), presses forward to keep Caswallon’s army on the move. The advance force makes quick work of any defenders within Dyffryn y Rheswm, though the bulk of the army is at least a day behind them.
Meanwhile, the Regent’s combined armies from Cymeravon, Ffrthlon Dol and Eryrnyth are mere hours behind Caswallon’s army, which is slowed by the large number of prisoners they are dragging back to their capital of Dersyth.
Caswallon’s army reaches Dersyth just before dark, but find it already occupied by unfriendly forces with the roaring head of a black panther on a field of crimson. Heralds identify it as the sigil of the Robber Baron Lord Krell, who lives just west of the borders of Rhychdir Rhos. Lord Krell made a name for himself as a mercenary during the war against the giants, and it seems he’s taken the opportunity to secure Caswallon’s last stronghold.
Scouts report that Caswallon transforms into a titan and blasts (variable energy type) Krell’s forces from at least 500 feet away. Unable to deal damage against their foe at that range, Krell’s cavalry make a desperate charge, but Caswallon is largely impervious to their blows. One of Krell’s arcane casters manages to cause some damage with magic, but becomes Caswallon’s focus until he stops casting. The whole battle is over in less than 20 minutes, with scattered elements of Krell’s forces retreating to the southwest. Although a loss for Krell, Caswallon was unable to unleash his might against neither the Knights of the Watch army nor the Regent’s army!
Caswallon’s army and captives reoccupy Dersyth, with a military focus on the walled monastery.
DersythMonastery.jpg
According to surviving (friendly) druids, Caswallon is Circle of the Moon, which allows him to easily Wild Shape (as a bonus action). As an Archdruid, he can use his Wild Shape an unlimited number of times. When Wild Shaped, he can use a bonus action to expend spell slots to regain 1d8 hp/level of the spell slot expended. He should be limited to a beast (or elemental) of CR as high as his druid level divided by 3, rounded down. Ancient dragons and titans (empyreans) are NOT beasts!
A few Knights of the Watch on flying mounts can brief the Regent of Gyruff on what happened at Trehalwyn: The knights have seen him as a shadowy green dragon, we were able to force him out of that shape, but he changed again quickly to something smaller and we couldn’t track him in the dark. We believe that he is limited in his ability to assume larger forms. We advocate for keeping up harassment until the bulk of our armies can launch a full assault. If we can deny him a chance to rest and regain his full strength.
Regent: Agreed. We’ll split our main force into two parts. A faster force to circle around to the west and attack Caswallon’s army from there and the main force attacking from the south. Split casters between the two forces. In theory, Caswallon, if that is who he is anymore, can’t be in two places at once. Guerilla tactics to thin out his army and scatter and regroup once Caswallon appears. Focus all long range magic on Caswallon until breaking off. Use any energy resistance we have to mitigate Caswallon’s damage. Any additional advice from Angus or anyone else?
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The light cavalry are most maneuverable, so they are going west.
Scouts hide and move stealthily once they are close to town.
Siege engines, supply wagons, heavy cavalry and heavy infantry are best kept to the roads. The fields are more firm than in spring, but still difficult terrain for these units.
Light cavalry and scouts are screening for the infantry and archers, who are screening for the spellcasters. The bulk of the fast moving Eryrnyth infantry and archers move across the fields to approach from the west?
The bulk of the Knights of the Watch army (infantry and supply) are a full day behind, but the cavalry are riding ahead. They are a little behind the Eryrnyth army, but not by much.
I = Company (~100-140 men)
··· = Platoon (~20-30 men)
·· = Squad (~10-15 men)
It is nighttime in a cold, but yet unseasonably warm for Sunsebb (December) under the first quarter of the large moon. Based on conditions, visibility is dim/shadowy 60’ (Disadvantage on Wisdom(Perception) and attack rolls based on sight). I’ll provide a 60’ radius circle on the map for convenience. Half land movement in the dark or risk tripping/falling hazards for those in dim/shadowy. (DC10 Athletics or Acrobatics)
Torchlight provides 30’ bright and 60’ dim/shadowy illumination, but also makes you visible for over a mile. Visible at a distance does not negate the attack roll disadvantage, but it does allow enemies to see where you are. I put a yellow circle under the troops I believe to be using light. The stealthy (rogues, rangers, bards, arcane and flying) troops probably travel without light sources to preserve their stealth.
Flying troops continue moving on the town/fortress, but are bound by the same dim/shadowy vision rules. The Gyri can see that the monastery/fortress on the hill is well lit from torches and there is obvious movement on the walls with several companies of troops moving about. Most of the town is quiet and there are very few fires going.
The light cavalry on the left (West) flank begin the slow incline up into the town. As they get closer, they notice the ground rises up more quickly (at the 100’ elevation). In many places the incline is nearly a 45 degree angle. Getting closer, they can make out which buildings have a little light spilling out of them.
The griffons and pegasi riders should be within maximum heavy crossbow range of the monastery. Despite the monastery being lit with torches, the shots will be at disadvantage unless shot from within bright illumination (30’ of torches). According to their commander’s instructions, they continue to hold fire in order to minimize warning time of their approach.
Other troops advance without opposition or anything notable.

ELEVATION:
These flying troops can increase elevation by up to ½ their move, so the Pegasi can increase elevation by 45’ in one move or 90’ in a double-move. Griffons by 80/160’, and Hippogriffs by 60/120’. Descent is up to 504’ per 6 second round (i.e. free fall).
The walls of the monastery are about 320’ high. – The pegasi and griffons start the round flying about 75’ above the rooftops (105’ total elevation). They’ll begin climbing each round (unless you contradict that order) until they get to an understood ceiling of 390-ish feet.

The 31st Hound Skirmishers spot large webs covering some of the building east of the monastery.
The 25th Thunder Heavy Cavalry and Cymeravon Light Cavalry suddenly light up with Faerie Fire (circles are purple) and the monastery immediately begin firing at them. The disadvantage in the dark is offset by the advantage given by Faerie Fire.
The 25th have 7 casualties and one wounded (40 hp damage) out of 132 Knights (now 125)
The Cymeravon Light Cavalry have 27 casualties and one wounded (4 hp damage) out of 142, now 115.
(It is probable that spellcasters are in some of the buildings near the affected units, since effective range of the spell is only 60’.)
The Griffons and Pegasi Knights swoop down into visual range long enough to fire their heavy crossbows and pull up into the dark. (The increase in elevation may have occurred a round late, but the monastery troops expended their attacks upon the land-based knights.) – They cause 9 casualties among the 500+ defending Pellham warriors.

Alena is detecting magic, but nothing so far.

The 25th Heavy Cavalry advances, but discovers more giant webs (now shown on map). Likewise, your left flank light cavalry encounter other giant webs blocking your approach. None of those troops can assess if they are magical or non-magical in nature.
Starting elevation for the Hippogriffs was 255’ and they are only able to climb to a maximum of 285’ by the end of the round. Griffons could be at 395’.
The troops on the wall are at 320’, a difference of 35’ in the Z axis for Hippogriffs and 75’ for Griffons.
Horizontal distance is an average of 110’ to the Holister Unit, 140’ to the Garth Unit and 130’ to the Belatros Unit.
The aerially mounted Knights of the Watch dip down and shoot, killing 15 of the defenders along the wall, then the Knights pull back up into the night sky.

One group (the Earthguard, if you’re keeping track) uses their longbows to take aim upon the 25th Heavy Cavalry and take down another 5 Gyri Knights.
Each warrior can burn a 5 foot section of web in a single round.The cavalry units begin to burn through the webs.
Flying units take pot shots at the defenders on the wall only hitting twice (wounding one defender).
A conclave of 41 giant eagles swoop down on Holister’s 20 Hippogriffs, attacking the mounts. The eagles make quick work of the hippogriffs with their double attacks (beaks and talons). The knights fall from 315’ elevation to the ground at 200’ elevation, taking 39 points of damage and surprisingly still alive.
A group of 25 giant spiders rush the (132) 31st “Hound” Skirmishers, taking down 13 of the skirmishers.
A rain of arrows continue to fall about the 25th Heavy Cavalry. 8 more knights fall, leaving 105.
Alena still does not detect magic.

The 31st Hound Skirmishers counterattack on the giant spiders. 4 of the giant spiders are turned back into druids and then slain.
The “giant spiders” attack back: Cutting down 15 of the skirmishers, but the weight of numbers is starting to tell. There are but 21 spiders remaining versus 104 of the skirmishers.
Airborne knights pull back for another charge at the appropriate time.
The cavalry burn away all the webs near them on the south side of the fortress.
Defenders in the fortress continue to shoot away at the 25th heavy cavalry and another 20 knights fall (leaving 85).
The (2) trebuchets begin opening fire at the front gates. It takes 2 actions to load, 2 actions to aim and 1 action to fire, but they have full crews. The first trebuchet goes very wide and long (roll of 3 to hit), but the second is spot on (natural 20) doing 88 points of damage to the outer gate, opening up the outer courtyard, where one company of Pellham warriors are defending. The drawbridge to the keep is up and the gate on that wall is down, but your troops will be able to enter the courtyard next round. Note that the defenders are along the walls and in the towers, not solely in the unit markers.

24th Bulldog Skirmishers begin searching the town starting with the southernmost lit building. They encounter a number of (24) bards in a couple of the buildings that the Cymeravon cavalry passed by. They engage the enemy and 12 bards fall. The remaining 12 cast a spell (invisibility) and flee, cutting down another 2 before the rest flee invisibly into the night.

31st Hound Skirmishers continue fighting and drop 4 of the spider/druids.
The druids fight back, taking down 15 of the skirmishers.

The Siege Engines throw again, but aiming for the gate by the drawbridge. Both shots miss! The first is a 2 with disadvantage. It goes short and left, landing in the courtyard. The second shot is close, but lands in the ditch north of the gate.

The monastery, including the courtyard, is well lit. Faerie Fire has disappeared around the Cymeravon Light Cavalry, but the Heavy Cavalry are still lit up.
21st Zephyr take down 11 defenders.
25th Thunder Hvy Cavalry take down 20 defenders.
7th Whirlwind fail to take any down
Ffrthlon Dol take down 13 defenders
Cymeravon take down 17 defenders.
Sir Belatros’ Griffon Knights fail to take down any defenders.

The Defenders (#2) of the courtyard strike back, taking down 2 heavy cavalry.
The other warriors (#1, #3, Earthguard) take aim at the 21st Zephyr, taking 32 down.

The Pegasi Knights land near Briallen’s forces, ready to do a pickup.
The 24th Bulldog Skirmishers are in pursuit of the invisible bards, but they are difficult to catch.
The 31st Hound Skirmishers shift in their attack on the spiders (killing 5) to allow the 64th KoW Bear Light Cavalry a place in the melee to finish off the spider/druids.
In the courtyard, the cavalry continue to shoot into the defenders, while the dismounted knights begin moving in. They cut down 53 of the defenders (leaving just 29). The defenders succeed on their morale roll, so they hold their ground.
The defenders shoot at the 21st Zephyr Light Cavalry, killing 56.
The giant eagles return, swooping down on the Griffon knights, once again concentrating on the mounts. 9 griffons crumple and fall with their knights (80’ drop = 25 damage to each knight), leaving 12 griffons still flying.
The two trebuchets both hit the gatehouse this time, cracking it. A third hit should collapse the gate and provide access to the currently raised drawbridge.

Cavalry and the 29 grounded knights (combined Holister and Bellatros mount-less knights) in the courtyard finish off the courtyard defenders with a few shots remaining to fire up at the main monastery (misses).

The monastery troops fire down into the courtyard, focusing on the hapless light cavalry.
The 21st light cavalry take 20 casualties, the Cymeravon light cavalry take 31 casualties and the 7th light cavalry take 21 casualties.
As a result of the pounding, the 21st light cavalry fail their morale roll and flee.
The Cymeravon, 7th light and other units hold their ground.

Sir Bellatros launches a fireball into the giant eagles, before his griffon knights melee with them in mid-air.
Fireball Results: 3 eagles burst into flame as 6 more are singed.
The griffons and their riders kill the 6 singed and 4 more. (Total: 13 giant eagle casualties)
The surviving 28 giant eagles kill 6 more griffons, dropping their riders (painfully) to the ground (to eventually join Holister’s dismounted knights).
Alena picks up a sign of magic and alerts the Cymeravon spearmen who are next to the detected magic.
After busting open the locked door of the house(s), another group of 24 bards is discovered.
One bard is cut down, but the others bust out a window and turn invisible in the darkness.
Faerie Fire around the 25th Heavy Cavalry drops.
Gretta Lea takes her archers advancing quickly towards the now invisible bards.
Sir Boltar on his wyvern joins Sir Garth and his Hippogriff knights as they approach the courtyard and aerial melee.
The two trebuchets fling stones again. One breaks open the gate from the courtyard to the trench, while the other lands harmlessly where the 21st light cavalry just vacated. Your troops would need to traverse a chasm about 50’ across and about 50’ deep. The hilltop is about 300’ elevation (above the 260’ of the courtyard) and has 20’ high walls with gates and towers at key locations.

Life really sucks for those poor 24 bards in the southeast corner. They waited too long to run and while they are invisible, Alena’s Detect Magic can call them out to her allies:
• Gretta Lea and the 52 Ffrthlon Dol Archers
• 142 Cymeravon Spearmen
• 142 Cymeravon Archers
• 132 Eryrnyth 17th “Pheasant” Archers
Even with disadvantage, the bards are cut down quickly.

As the other troops move, they check the other buildings. Of the people there, most are young (age 0-12), older (age 65+) or infirm (including wounded).

Belatros’ Griffon Knights cut down 3 Giant Eagles.
Sir Boltar’s Wyvern and Garth’s Hippogriffs join the melee and cut down another 3.
The Giant Eagles tear into the Hippogriffs first, cutting down 8 of them. The battered and grounded knights will move to join Sir Holister next round.

Sir Holister’s unmounted knights take to the walls of the outer courtyard, which makes room for more cavalry.
Volleys of crossbow bolts and arrows rain upon the monastery. The walls, towers and arrow slits give the defenders ¾ cover (+5 AC and Dex Saves).
16 defenders are killed.
Suddenly, 2 firestorms erupt into the outer courtyard, targeting the newly arrived KoW 64th Bear Light Cavalry. 40 warhorses perish and the knights take 39 damage each.
Then a blade barrier appears along the wall, cutting into the already wounded Sir Holister’s knights. 20 knights fall and the wall continues to whirl, 100’ long, 20’ high and 5’ thick along the outer courtyard’s north wall.
3 Insect Plagues target 20’ radius spheres in the courtyard, stinging knights and mounts alike. The KoW 64th loses 72 warhorses, the KoW 65th loses 84 warhorses and the 25th Hvy lose 60 warhorses. The now dismounted KoW cavalry are more than company sized with a thin minority (44) still retaining a wounded horse. – Next round, you will need to leave those areas or take more damage, although any creature passing through those areas would take damage as well.
(Next turn, I’ll consolidate the 44 mounted KoW into the 65th and convert the 64th into another overstrength infantry knight unit.)

Then 144 giant eagles from the monastery take to the air, most climbing past 380’ elevation to the south and into the night, but at least a hundred head northwest somewhere around 340’ elevation. Many of those headed northwest have a shimmer about them (not enough to give advantage, but enough to tell there was magic involved).
Regent: Intelligence Report on the Monastery and Druids under Caswallon!!
Intelligence Analysis:
• After the big druidic fight, the “Path of Purity” is believed to only have 30-50 druids.
• It is generally believed that one has to be a fairly powerful druid to assume a form that flies.
• Giant Eagles are believed to be rare, with a single convocation being less than 50 adult giant eagles.

Speculation:
• Were-eagles?
• Magic spell(s)?
• Maybe unknown class of druid feature(s)?
• Divine intervention from Obad-Hai?
• Illusionary magic?

In the rear, the 31st Hound Skirmishers are sneaking around back, through the trench and up the embankment to the Garden area north of the monastery. Thus far, they seem to be undetected.

The trebuchets have two more direct hits on the drawbridge. One more will shatter it, then there is the gate and you can swarm the inner monastery.

Sir Belatros’ griffon knights against the giant eagles, dropping 10 of the majestic creatures.
Garth’s knights kill another 4.
Bolthar and his wyvern get another 2.
The surviving 6 giant eagles in that group flee north, provoking some attacks of opportunity, killing another 2.

In the courtyard, the 64th, 21st and 25th cavalry are pinned down. They can’t leave the courtyard without passing through two swarms, which would most likely kill all their mounts and possibly the knights. Those who can, squeeze into the unaffected area. Those who can’t get out of the swarm dismount (rather than take damage falling off a dying mount) and join Holister’s foot knights. Another 20 horses form the 64th and 24 horses from the 25th are lost, but the areas with insects are now cleared.
The rest of your army pulls into town, searching houses and meeting minimal to no resistance. Soon, the whole southern part of town is packed with Gyri Loyalists and Knights of the Watch.

The 24th “Bulldog” Skirmishers find the Tavern (8a) with dozens or perhaps hundreds of captives herded in like cattle and the doors/windows locked/boarded. The captives don’t know where their guards went. – On the east, the Halfling rogues discover that the Knights of the Watch Chapterhouse (8b) was likewise turned into an improvised prison after it was looted for weapons and armor. – There may be additional captives in and among the other buildings (to the north and west of the monastery).
The 31st “Hound” Skirmishers scale the walls and the stable tower is occupied, leading to a fight; however, as they were undetected, they have a 1 round of advantage (that nullifies the disadvantage of attacking while climbing over the wall) from the surprise. They cut down 26 of the Earthguard and gain a foothold on the wall/tower top.
The Earthguard rage, slaughtering 60 of the skirmishers, who fail their morale check and flee back down the wall and into the dark.
The clergy of Obad Hai rush to the Earthguard and restore 6 of them.
The troops in and around the courtyard can fire upon the Pellham troops in the monastery, causing 20 casualties.
The Pellham Warriors 1 and 3 fire their bows upon the 64th, cutting down 4 more knights (down to 28). Due to advantage on their morale rolls (as knights), they continue to fight.

Clerics quickly diagnose the enemy wounded and civilians they can reach. They are concerned about Blackscour Taint if they use magic to cure people. No disease detected among the “Pellham” troops and non-combatants. They are 100% pure Flan. Detect Disease does detect, but does not affect the Blackscour Taint.
Among the prisoners brought up from Ffrwythlon Dol and Rhychdir Rhos, there are some with disease. Most of the disease among the prisoners is mundane, although there is a Wasting Disease (which originated here in Gwyrth Bryn and was cured by the Physician’s Cauldron). – Wasting Disease is not affected (either way) by curative magic, but curative magic doesn’t kill the patient.
Gyri troops begin surrounding and firing on the monastery.

Gyri forces continue to spread out and quickly look into the buildings as they go.
The 3rd “Fox” Light Infantry discover another group of bards and cut down 5. The bards crash through the windows of the houses, turn invisible and run into the night.
The 1st “Falcon” Archers discover another group of bards, but only wounded without killing. The bards crash through the windows of the houses, turn invisible and run into the night.
31st Hound fails to rally and continue to flee into a group of bards that cut down 4 of the skirmishers and cause them to continue fleeing for another round.
Boltar, his wyvern and Garth’s Hippogriffs flying north encounter the glimmering band of giant eagles who had turned south.
They cut down 3 giant eagles that turn into human clerics that fall 180’ to the ground for 60 hp damage. – SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT!
The giant eagles then swarm the KoW troops, dropping 4 of them 180’ to the ground… SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT! (8 remain and only succeed on their morale because they’re knights!)
The trebuchets smash the drawbridge and gate.
Around 1300 arrows and crossbow bolts take to the air (all troops that can reach), pounding the walls and inner courtyard of the monastery. 25 dead and another wounded by this volley are too much for the unit to hold, causing a rout from the nearest defenders. The panic spreads and they run for the back entrance, but are rallied by the clerics who also heal their wounded and dying.
The Blade Barrier remains in place as do the other insect plagues.
5 new Insect Plagues rip into the knights. Dozens of the wounded dismounted knights die. Over half the 21st Light Cavalry die and the rest panic and are killed trying to escape the outer courtyard. The 64th light cavalry are hit by another insect plague and panic (despite advantage) after their mounts die. The nearest “safe” place was recently inhabited by the dead 21st Light Cavalry, but many of the 64th light cavalry won’t make it to “safety” in time [about 10 of the men will start within the insects].
Some sling stones come flying over the wall into the 64th light cavalry, killing 8 of the wounded and panicking men who did make it to “safety”.
Then the Earthguard fire back into Holister’s dismounted and very wounded knights, killing 20. [56 remain with 8 hp, 24 dismounted Gyri knights with 19]
Although the dark birds flying over the troops in the east (Cymervon’s spear & longbow, 2nd Bear Heavy Infantry, and 61st Med Cav), they note that the stars are briefly blackened and a slight woosh as the great birds pass overhead towards the south.
Alena’s Mass Cure Wounds brings back 6 knights.

Belatros fires his second fireball into the giant eagles and 8 giant eagles turn into hapless falling clerics… Splat!x8
Bolthar, the Wyvern and airborne knights continue to attack, but attempt to drop the altitude 20’. 4 more giant eagles turn into falling clerics.
The giant eagle clerics attack, knocking out all the hippogriffs and dropping the knights 160’ to the ground for 51 points of damage (out of their 52 max hp).
The remainder go after the wyvern, which finally drops. Boltar hits the ground with a mighty thump and klang, but is barely blooded. He is able to rally Garth’s wounded knights to his side.

Earth Divine and Air Arcane are 40’ off the blow-up map, but Water Arcane are in the blow-up area. (Fire Divine is over by the heavy infantry to the east)
Earth Divine can cast targeted dispels (120’) on the insect swarms: They cast Dispel Magic, but they are unable to dispel the swarms.
I had given the default arcane casters (including the Winter Arcane) counterspell instead of dispel magic, with the idea that they could use it as an interrupt against Caswallon. I didn’t have Dispel Magic prepared. (The default clerics had dispel magic prepped, though.) – HOWEVER, they can pummel the defenders with fireballs! 25 Fireballs!! (That’s 70-140 points of fire damage, depending on saving throws!!)
Pop! Pop! Pop! Go the defenders of the monastery, which also drops the blade barrier and the insect plagues.
In the north, the halflings discover another unit of bards. 2 bards die before the others can turn invisible and run.
The remaining Ffrwthlon Dol light cavalry and Gretta Lea’s archers fire blindly (disadvantage) into where the bards are thought to have gone, despite cover of buildings (+2 AC). They take down another 2 bards and bloody a third.
Even as the siege engines are getting packed up, the giant eagles swoop down on the 59th “Dragon” Heavy Cavalry, turning into Giant Scorpions as they touch down and attack. 12 knights are killed.
The battle is far from over, but it is becoming clear that the Regent and Knights of the Watch forces are going to take the field at the end. The 8th Cheetah light infantry are moving up the northern slope towards the gardens and stables of the monastery.

The Pegasi Knights take their arcane casters around for a pass at the giant eagles. That’s 25 more fireballs (using up their 3rd level spells). The giant eagles cease being, although two of the falling humans turn into tiny creatures upon hitting the ground and disappear into the town.
Things do not go well for the fleeing invisible bards in the north. They are surrounded and cut down while trying to escape. The surviving 13 bards surrender, claiming they “didn’t know she was married”… – You also discover the remainder of the prisoners, locked into Arglwyth Andras Dryadson’s estate.
In the south, the cavalry attack the giant scorpions, killing 22 who turn into human monks that are finished off with another blow.
With a screech command from one of the giant scorpions, the surviving giant scorpions all turn into mice, disengage and flee in different directions into the night. All but one of the giant scorpions transform at once except one, who first gestures defiantly at the knights before transforming itself and fleeing with the others.
You have retaken Dersyth and defeated “Druid-King” Caswallon the Green! – The troops rejoice!

But the fight is not yet complete…
Everything has been quiet for about 5 minutes, then a rain of 80-100 large rocks (10-20 lbs or so) fall into the 59th “Dragon” Heavy Cavalry, killing 14 knights and 28 warhorses… [OOC: The rocks hit 12.5% of the 5’x5’ squares in a 100’x100’ area for 20d6 damage, Dex DC15 for half damage.]
There was no warning and the attack stops as suddenly as it began, in a single volley.

Alena and the clerics pick through the wounded, saving whomever they can, though preference is to those Gyri loyal to the Regent, then Knights of the Watch, then Caswallon’s forces. It is harder work in the dark with vision limited to torchlight.

The captured bards are somewhat coy. (The married remark was humor in the face of adversity.) – While not happy that they’ve been captured, they are making the best of a bad situation. They have every confidence that they’ll be rescued when their forces rally. It is obvious that you succeeded because the Pellham forces were weakened by the confrontation with the mercenaries who had taken Dersyth. If you treat them well, they will do their best to have you treated as well when the tables are turned… – They don’t know where Caswallon is, but you can be sure that he’s pissed!

The bards (who have bought into the Ffordd Purdeb obviously) and other prisoners also (sometimes inadvertently) give you an idea of the high level leaders of Pellham that may still be at large:
• Archdruid-King Caswallon, representative of Obad Hai on Oerth and leader of the Ffordd Purdeb
• Maelan merch Caswallon, his fanatical druidic daughter
• Leah Redoak, who recruited the giant eagles against the invading Knights of the Watch
• Lleucu the Badger, who led the giant spider defense
• High Priestess Gwendolen the Nature’s Rage of Obad Hai
• Islene the Bearclaw, Halgar the Hornwood, Darragh the Summac, Cade the Stalking Lynx and Derwyn the Charging Boar: – Druids venerating Obad Hai
• Gwydion of the Twained Elm, Old Lore Bard (College of Canaith) and Druid of the 5th Circle. Former Ambassador to Keoland from Gyruff, half-elf nephew of Melwyn Greatarm and cousin to Ffiona the Ebontress. Perhaps not as “loyal” to the Ffordd Purdeb, but his is loyal to the Old Faith and Caswallon is the head of the Old Faith after challenging the Druidic Circle. Besides, Llwyres Rhian killed his cousin.
You haven’t identified any of the above from the dead. But it is still dark. You’re having to search by torchlight.
The giant eagle/scorpions that turned into monks have few possessions (robes and perhaps a sling). They are tattooed with celtic knots and symbols of the Green Man (Obad Hai). Clerics on the scene identify the magic as “Animal Shapes”, an 8th level Druidic spell that lasts up to 24 hours.

To the west of the monastery, the splatted clerics that were giant eagles were likewise under Animal Shapes; however, it is likely that concentration on that spell was broken by the fireballs. All the clerics were followers of Obad Hai, but those burned up were killed by the blow-through damage. They had chain shirts and maces.
Forces within the monastery begin searching the corridors and find hundreds of crispy corpses. Many of the torches (14) around the monastery are continual flames, which did not go out even with the fireballs. Warriors had chain shirts, shields, spears and bows. Earthguard were barbarians with (now ruined) masterwork Gyric Longbows and greataxes. Monks had slings and staves. There were a few Obad Hai priests here too.
Another 5-6 minutes pass and then a rain of 80-100 large rocks (10-20 lbs or so) fall into the 61st “Giant Owl” Medium Cavalry, killing 12 knights and 23 warhorses… [OOC: The rocks hit 12.5% of the 5’x5’ squares in a 100’x100’ area for 20d6 damage, Dex DC15 for half damage.]
The stones appear to have come straight down. Inspection of the stones shows flakes of silver. Since there is a silver mine a mile or two north of town, it is likely that these are the tailings.
Under Peredur’s orders, the knights move apart, no longer formed up in a company.
6 minutes pass, when suddenly the building holding the Air Arcane lights up with Faerie Fire and the house is pummeled from above by the same rocks. Since the area of effect is approximately 100’x100’, other nearby houses are pummeled and the occupants taking 35-70 damage, depending on saving throws. 7 arcane casters die from massive damage, but the surviving arcane caster occupants are still glowing with Faerie Fire.

The monastery and Arglwyth’s estate have solid rooves, but have limited space for so many men.
Regent to Peredur: We’ll detail some forces to take control if the silver mine making sure they are equipped to deal with flying opponents. We’ll also break up some units into smaller details to search for the remaining bards and druids. Faerie fire is short duration and close range so they need to be near anything lit up. We’ll look for stone buildings to protect our most vulnerable troops.
It will take about 30-60 minutes for your troops to get to the mine due to the unfamiliar terrain (mountain trail) in the dark. (Arrival should be at +40 to +70 minutes.)
Your troops begin searching for the source of the Faerie Fire. A couple of your troops spot an Old Faith Bard sneaking away, but are caught in a Stinking Cloud. The bard(s) slip away, but your troops continue to push after them, driving the fleeing bard(s) out of town. After all, you have more than a thousand infantry plus hundreds of dispersed knights, a score of pegasi and six griffons to conduct the search in a small town (pop 2500)! The difficulty is in getting all those troops coordinated and sweep without “holes” or missing hiding places.

You sweep the southern and southwest sectors of the town with your more valuable troops (leaders, knights and demigriffs) inside the stone roof monastery or Arglwyth’s estate. Pegasi and Griffons are on patrol. The Faerie Fire dissipates. Then, sure-enough, about 6 minutes after the last “bombing”, the Fire Divine (on the east side of town) are “painted” by Faerie Fire and immediately subjected to falling rocks. Despite the disperses formation, the 100’x100’ area of effect still catches a lot of searching forces. 7 clerics take 35-70 damage (out of an average of 9 hp). Again, at least three bards are spotted fleeing the scene with a fourth (or fifth) bard casting Stinking Cloud on nearby potential pursuers. The Faerie Fire disappears moments after being hit by rocks.

It seems that the bards are acting in small groups and waiting for opportunities to “paint” valuable targets, because as soon as the Faerie Fire lights up, the rocks begin dropping in that area, while the bards make their getaway.
1 in 10 Knights of the Watch are Arcane (Eldritch) Knights with access to 2 second level (i.e. Darkvision) spells. Fortunately, it isn’t a concentration spell. So, it would make sense for each of the knights to cast it once upon themselves, so knight units can have 10% Darkvision and call opponents out to other members of their units and spend the remaining 2nd level Darkvision on a spellcaster, scout (i.e. skirmisher) or another person.
There are 688 Knights of the Watch, so there are 69 Arcane Knights (including Belatros and the Fey Enchantress, the only two “named” spellcasters in the KoW advanced group) who can cast a spare Darkvision on someone.
The Knights of the Watch have 6 griffon riders (1 of which is an Arcane Knight) and 20 pegasi riders (2 of which are Arcane Knights). Each can take 1 lightly armored passenger.
The Winter Arcane, who are currently on the pegasi, have used up their 3rd level spells.
Rhwng yr Coed’s Summer Arcane have 29 wizards/sorcerers with all spell slots.
Eryrnyth Water Arcane have 26 casters and Air Arcane have 19 casters with full spell slots.
The Eryrnyth 26 Earth Divine casters have used 1 dispel and 1 cure wounds.
The Eryrnyth 19 Fire Divine casters have full spell slots.
Rhwng yr Coed’s 29 Sun Divine have full spell slots, too.
Rhwng yr Coed also has 117 bards (most are 1st/2nd level, but 17 are 5th level or higher).

The Knights of the Watch use Darkvision and See Invisibility (using both 2nd level spells) up and running. Darkvision (8 hours) plus See Invisibility (1 hour) aid in your ability to scout for the bards. Most of the bards are using mundane stealth, the darkness and buildings to their advantage, but darkvision takes away one of the advantages within 120’. They’ve only been using invisibility (1 hour, concentration) when faced with melee with a superior force.
There are three patrolling groups: 10 pegasi at 350’, 6 griffons at 300’, 10 pegasi at 250’. Each group has at least 1 darkvision/see invisibility knight and 2 bard with the rest being arcane casters.
Since the attacks are happening every 5-6 minutes, you have enough time to reorganize your troops somewhat. The (216 including Alena and Eridan) Arcane troops are able to Detect Magic (now only 30’ range in 5e) up to 4 times for 10 minutes each. That’s 8640 caster-minutes of protection. You have approximately 72 “blocks” (40’x40’) of troops to protect. If you organize them into a giant block 320’x360’ and place your casters 60’ out, you’ll need 54 casters to cover the perimeter. That gives you 160 minutes of Detect Magic.
The first group of bards attempting to approach your perimeter find themselves in a world of hurt. As before, two begin to approach the troops. Once the spellcaster(s) call out the position of the bards, troops within the nearby block can shoot blindly into the area where the bard is. About 6% of the shots hit, killing one and gravely wounding the other. As before, other bards hanging back use stinking cloud to cover their escape.
A minute or so later, a sphere of Daylight (60’ bright, 120’ dim light, 1 hr duration) appears (on a sling stone) and is almost instantly flung about 100’ over a building and down into a group of troops (119th Hvy Cavalry), doing no damage itself. Within a couple seconds, the darkvision knight at 350’ spots a convocation of giant eagles 60’ away (400’ elevation and 35’ in the x-y axis). The area within the Daylight is pummeled by stones from above (30 knights and their nearby mounts are killed). However, the 8 arcane casters in the pegasi group and 4 from the griffon group pepper the area with fireballs. 15 giant eagles are transformed into hapless monks become falling objects into the knights on the ground killing 8 knights and all the monks. 3 knights were just seriously wounded). Holy symbols of Pelor are found among the bodies of the monks indicating that these may have been some of the monks from the monastery of Pelor here in Dersyth (which was used as a fortress by Caswallon’s forces).
The aerially mounted knights can move to pursue. The heavily laden pegasi fly up to 395’ elevation and within 5’ of the closest giant eagles. Using their crossbows, they shoot, but don’t take down any giant eagles. The heavily laden griffons climb to 340’ and shoot blindly toward the giant eagles, likewise not taking down any of the majestic creatures. The lower level pegasi climb to 295’ and shoot.
Clouds begin to form about 100’ above the gathering of your troops and 5 lightning bolts lash out at the divine casters and one at a wounded knight on the perimeter. 4 Earth Divine are slain as is the wounded knight.
Knowing that the slingstone and druidic call lightning came from that corner, troops begin scouring that corner for the enemy. They are immediately met by stinking clouds as cover.

300 gp of diamonds later Alena revivifies a monk. He’s still in a bit of pain, but alive and can answer questions. – Among them is why are monks of Pelor following Caswallon and attacking Gyruff?
Answer: The monks of Pelor have sworn service to the Druids of the Old Faith. – Caswallon is legally (within the order) the head of the Old Faith Druidic order through trial by combat of one Druid challenging to become the next Archdruid of the region. Whether or not any of the monks agree to his politics, they have sworn an oath and must obey. Want, desire or even a belief in what Caswallon is doing are of no consequence. He is the head of the Old Faith Druids and so he (the monk) and his brothers MUST OBEY. He completely understands if you need to put him to death for being a traitor to Gyruff. He will plead guilty and suffer your judgement, but know that there are others (especially among the Old Lore Bards and Rangers) fighting who also serve the Old Faith even though they don’t necessarily believe in Caswallon’s Path of Purity. Of course, there are many who DO believe and believe strongly!

Upon a command from the lead eagle, the giant eagles vere off, climbing to 480’, dispersing into a very loose formation at least 45’ away from each other and circling to the north at full (double) move.
The upper heavily laden pegasi climb to 440’, but are now at least 115’ behind the eagles, but has lost sight of the eagles.
The heavily laden griffons can climb to 380’.
The lower heavily laden pegasi climb to 340’.

Meanwhile, 5 more bolts of lightning from the cloud (roughly 180’ in diameter and 10’ thick about 100’ up) lash out at more spellcasters caught on the ground, killing 2 of the advanced Water Arcane Wizards. (Note: everyone within 5’ of where the lightning hits is also affected.)
It doesn’t take long to realize that the stormcloud is bad news, so troops begin moving away from the cloud.
Before everyone can get away (approximately 60’ x-y range from the cloud), 4 knights of the 119th and their mounts are electrocuted.

Troops continue to sweep the area, avoiding the lingering Stinking Cloud Areas. They spot a few bards at distance, who lead them on a raggedy chase through town. Although your sweeping troops are unable to catch the bards, they are unable to do further damage to the army. On a couple of occasions, they sense small animals (bats, rats, owls, mice, etc.) and shoot at them, but are only able to kill mundane animals in the dark.

About 6 minutes later, the giant eagles are well above where the pegasi are patrolling, so they aren’t seen. When they drop their 36 rocks, it is over an area 240’x240’ (1.6% of hitting a particular square) with the corner based on the center of the daylight area, which was already evacuated due to the lightning storm. By chance, some of the rocks hit the 24th Skirmishers, killing 2.

One of your clever and brave troopers (Gwan the Brave, one of Olfred Marsh’s men) figures out the correlation and throws the daylight stone as far from the camp as he can. Of course, he was electrocuted by the storm for getting too close.

Shortly afterward, the storm cloud dissipates.

The aerial troops extend their patrol altitude to the maximum (dim) vision range of each other (about 100’ apart in elevation +/- 65’ horizontal spacing) and increase overall patrol vision range to elevations from 900’ down to 500’. However, they don’t spot the incoming enemy.

When the eagles return the next time (about 5 minutes), they bombard over the daylight in an area of town away from the army.

About a minute later, the daylight goes out. You didn’t see what happened, because all troops were away from the daylight when it happened.

Four minutes later, the daylight stone is flung from another sling into the camp. As troops begin to flee the daylight stone, another daylight stone flings into the camp from another direction. And then another from a third, and one from a fourth direction until the camp is highlighted by four corners of daylight.

The loose formation of rocks (from somewhere above 900’) pummels the camp randomly:
• Sir Belatros and his griffon are wounded
• One of Sir Ostraman’s pegasi knights and his mount are wounded.
• One of Sir Holister’s men (previously healed by the clerics) is wounded.
• One of the knights from the 119th Hvy Cavalry is wounded.
• One of the knights from the 61st Med Cavalry is wounded.
• One of the knights from the 65th Light Cavalry is wounded.
• One of the Eryrnyth 8th Light Infantry is killed.
• One of the Eryrnyth 3rd Light Infantry is killed.
• One of the Eryrnyth 1st Archers is killed.
• One of the Eryrnyth 15th Archers is killed.
• One of the Eryrnyth 17th Archers is killed.
• One of the Earth Divine is killed.
• One of the Water Arcane is killed.
• One of the Air Arcane is killed.
• One of the Cymeravon light cavalry is killed
• One of the Cymeravon spearmen is killed
• One of the Cymeravon longbowmen is killed.
• One of the Ffrthlon Dol Archers is killed.
• One of the Rhwng yr Coed “Land” Rangers is wounded.
• One of the Rhwng yr Coed Song bards is killed.
• One of the Rhwng yr Coed Summer Arcane is killed.
• At least a dozen commoners are killed. (In addition to the couple dozen killed in previous rock droppings.)

The army quickly scrambles to cover the Daylight stones, and of course, the search for the bards and druids continues.

About 5 or 6 minutes later, several (5) of the divine casters on the perimeter are painted with Faerie Fire in five separate parts of the perimeter… but nothing happens. As the Faerie Fire wears off, more cases appear. After they dissipate, two more casters are lit up, but the giant eagles never return.

The surviving Pellham bards, druids and other survivors must have fled.

In an hour or so, about half the light cavalry dispatched to take the silver mine return. They defeated the returning giant eagles who turned into monks and had to be re-killed, but lost 45 of their own number. The leader of the giant eagles escaped, though.

Victory!

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Deals with Dieties – Ready’reat 617

Benton, Tunottoo,Thia, Osaris and Kosef brought the Heart of Caitlyn from Regent Eridan before we finished speaking. Dandelion bravely crushed the skull and summoned Nerull. Nerull was not willing to trade Grellyn/Caitlyn’s soul for anything Dandelion could offer. Beory motioned that Time had opened a portal to the past. Nerull offered to exchange Grellyn/Caitlyn’s soul, which he had long desired, for that of the Witch Queen Mazzel. As collateral, he would take Dandelion and Morrick back to his realm of Agathys. Then they disappeared, leaving only a film of ice behind.

I took a deep breath and started to enter the portal to the past when suddenly I was very cold and with Dandelion, Morrick and Tunotttoo. We were extremely cold, but not hungry or thirsty (which was good as the food and drink was not wholesome). Eventually I realized we were dead also. I roamed around Agathys, speaking to people here and there. Ffiona and Rhian continue their feud even in death. I doubt they realize they are dead. Tunottoo is working to free some souls from the consuming ice and has met some success.

Now and then the other deities come to make a deal to get some souls of the very faithful back for reincarnation. The halfling Death comes often with more souls. And Time is here occasionally also. He advises that we read to pass the time.

Nerull is preparing a special room in his citadel for Mazzel. He is even preparing a great library as it is said that she likes to read. Dandelion and I decided to peruse the tomes in an effort to gain some knowledge that would help us leave this place.

After what must be years or centuries, Mazzel arrives. The four of us are given to her as servants. Nerull is showering her with presents and attention, trying to win her affection. We are still not released and neither is the soul of Grellyn/Caitlyn. We will need to find another way out. Mazzel confides in us that Nerull has not intention of letting us or Llewlyn/Grellyn/Caitlyn go. Mazzel asks our help to overthrow the Winter King. At my urging, Dandelion made a formal agreement with Mazzel that she would release us and Llewlyn/Grellyn/Caitlyn in exchange for our help. She agreed, so the plan is to elevate her to the Queen of Death and dispose Nerull.

Many more years pass. We continue to see the deities visit Nerull. One surprise visitor is King Karackus of the Rushmoors Lizardfolk. He is making a deal with Nerull for hero deity status. He has dangerous ambitions. I am able to speak with Ehlonna and Obad Hai, but only succeeded in upsetting Obad Hai and causing him to refuse to die this year. Obad Hai is angered that people of Gyruff no longer respect nature and despoil the land and the forests. Morrick spoke with Berronar Truesilver, who gives him encouragement. Tunottoo continues freeing souls, who begin to worship Mazzel, or the Raven Queen, as they call her. Each soul he frees diminishes Nerull’s power slightly and increases hers.
Ehlonna let us know that the other gods are wary of Nerull’s lust for power and have used Mazzel to bait a trap for him. They have helped all they can to make her a match for Nerull in the hope that she can defeat him, including giving her some key books in her library.

After many more years of research with the aid of Maga Eldoran, Mazzel asks Nerull for permission to travel. We go to many times and places. Mazzel gathered the remaining Tears of Beory from Dagda, which she used to raise some Primordials to fight Nerull. She and Maga Eldoran managed to raise a few more titans also.

On our return, we worked harder to find a way to release more souls from the ice of despair. Dandelion and I tried playing inspirational tunes, but that did not work. Morrick tried to use flame to melt the ice. Dandelion, Tunottoo and I then tried giving them a speech of hope. I told them of our plan to overthrow Nerull and raise up the Raven Queen to bring them to a better place. Tunottoo and Dandelion stirred their hope and anger. As Nerull was fighting the Primordial army and drawing on the souls for strength, we were slowly taking away the souls and giving them to Mazzel. The heat of the anger of the freed souls melted more ice to free more. Mazzel took Nerull’s weapon, Lifecutter, and gathered the power of the souls to her.

As Nerull noticed the drain of his power, he turned to Mazzel to stop. She quickly struck him down with Lifecutter and absorbed his divine power. The other deities then arrived to take control of the dead. Obad Hai tried to take Lifecutter from Mazzel and she struck him down also that winter might come. Then she made a deal with the other deities to become the Queen of Death and Winter. Fearing another tyrant, they would not give her power over the dead, but would require that the dead go to the plane of their respective deities. She took the name Raven Queen and demanded that all other names be forgotten.

And then she kept her promise and let us go. I don’t know if I will every feel warm again.

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