- Wickett, female human fighter
- Jillian, female human rogue
- Egg Fu, male human monk
- Doc, male human cleric of Kelemvor (formerly of Torm)
- Gideon, male human paladin of Torm
- Stump, male human barbarian
3 Uktar, 98 NR
Today’s XP: 1,675 each
It seemed like a simple job. It would have been a pleasant change of pace, to have a nice, un-complex job for a change. Just once. The party had been sitting in an Argalisi tavern eating lunch (and the Cracked Flagon serves a mighty fine salt pork stew), minding their own business. An angry old man at a nearby table spotted the group of obvious adventuring-types, and hired ’em on the spot.
He was Ivan Rassylov, a well-off merchant from a little town called Drellin’s Ferry somewhere in the Elsir Vale. He’d just received a letter from his wife – their only son Boris had disappeared. The lad fancies himself to be an inventor, and he’d been tinkering with a one-man flying machine for many months. Ivan thought it was a ridiculous waste of time that would never work, but apparently the boy got something right. Boris had flown off in his machine, headed to go see the Five Wonders of Faerun. His first stop? The Talons of the Horned King, located somewhere in the far northern kingdom of Ternyziem.
Ivan offered the adventurers a 3,000 gp reward if they could find him and bring Boris back. Alive, of course.
Ivan was good enough to buy passage to Ternyziem, and he also paid for the cold-weather gear the party was sure to need in the wintry climate. So in a surprisingly short time the party found themselves trudging along an icy road from Ternyziem to the small border town of Kyarovsk, the closest civilized town to the legendary Horned King.
While preparing for their wilderness trek, the party learned that several weeks ago a shooting star streaked across the skies above the Talons, shining so bright “it turned night into day.” Ever since the star fell, strange blue lights have been seen flickering and dancing in the skies above the Horned King, and the strange twisting of magic associated with the Talons has stretched outward, with at least one reported magical failing that happened several miles from the Horned King…
While in Kyarovsk, the adventurers also learned that the karradan – a mysterious yeti-like race of 7-8’ humanoids covered in white fur, notably peaceful and shy – have recently been seen in far greater numbers, and the normally gentle creatures have been unbelievably hostile. The karradan have attacked everyone they’ve encountered with a vicious, mindless ferocity that was terrifying for those few who have survived the encounters.
In Kyarovsk they secured the services of a guide, a grizzled veteran who led them through the snow-covered wilderness for many miles. At the entrance to a narrow canyon he pointed them toward their goal, saying that the canyon would take them right to the Horned King, which lay at the far end. The guide then headed for home, fearing the strangely savage karradan and claiming to have a wife and children waiting for him back in Kyarovsk.
The icy canyon wound deeper into the Nyfall Mountains, and the adventurers made their way carefully, expecting trouble. And they were right. They’d barely been walking for an hour when they spotted a blood-spattered body lying on the path ahead. The sharp eyes of Jillian and Egg Fu weren’t fooled though, and both realized there was something strange about this “body.” They spotted the ambush almost simultaneously, and called out a warning as eight orc bandits leaped out to attack!
The orcs apparently weren’t expecting to encounter a seasoned group of adventurers though, and the party turned the ambush around and carved through the bandits quickly. They also managed to capture one of the fallen orcs, giving him just enough healing to bring him to consciousness, and questioned him. The brute didn’t know anything of value, aside from confirming that the orcs were just bandits and that “Koto will make you pay.” Gideon gave the orc a cleaner death than he probably deserved. Aside from their weapons and a few coins, the orcs had little of value. The orcs all had a crescent moon tattoo on their right cheeks – it appeared to be a clan marking of some kind. The “body” lying in the path turned out to be a straw dummy (though the blood appeared to be real).
The party was about to continue down the canyon when Jillian spotted a cave opening hidden by snow-covered brush. Closer inspection showed that this looked to be the orcs’ lair, and the group entered the rough-hewn tunnel with weapons at the ready.
A common room held a smoldering firepit surrounded by a scattering of charred and well-gnawed bones, and the sickly-sweet stink of burnt flesh filled the cave. Three other passages led from this room, and the adventurers chose the left-most. It led to a smaller cave that held a pair of burly orcs in heavy armor; they postured threateningly and the bigger identified himself as Mukhur Koto, leader of the Broken Moon tribe, and demanded to know why the humans attacked their peaceful clan. It was merely a stalling tactic though, allowing the rest of the bandits to attack the party from the rear.
The Terribles were ready though, and Stump leaped forward with a roar of challenge; with a single mighty swing, he actually cut Koto’s companion cleanly in half!
A frenzied battle ensued, but the orcs were clearly overmatched and fell quickly. Mukhur Koto was the last to fall, and with him fell the Broken Moon tribe.
The orcs’ ill-gotten treasure was found in one of the other rooms – a heavy steel chest held their loot, and a barrel held a collection of more orc-made falchions and javelins. Wickett somehow produced the key – which led to an introduction of her kleptomaniacal pet weasel – and luckily avoided the poison needle trap in the lock. The chest was full of silver and gold coins, along with seven bolts of Tyrish silk.
After divvying up the load, the adventurers continued down the canyon. After traveling for about half an hour, they came upon a chasm that blocked their path. A fragile-looking rope bridge crossed above a forest of icy spikes 30 feet below, and the party’s keen eyes quickly noted that bits of broken armor and equipment lay scattered among the icy shards. They opted to cross the hard (but safe) way, using ropes to climb down to the bottom of the chasm and walk across. It turned out to be the smart way, as Jillian pointed out that the rope bridge was rigged to collapse if anyone tried to cross.
Continuing past the chasm, they next encountered a polar bear sitting in the entrance to its cave lair. The giant bear was contentedly eating the body of an unfortunate orc and didn’t seem all that interested in the party. Stump apparently didn’t like that, so he tried to casually walk past the temperamental bear into the cave.
That shit don’t fly.
The bear tore into the foolish barbarian with its claws, leaving him lying on the ground in a puddle of his own entrails but not quite dead. The rest of the group jumped to his aid, engaging the angry bear in combat and distracting it so Gideon could staunch the barbarian’s bleeding just long enough for Doc to administer some magical healing to their companion.
Despite its rage and its size, the bear couldn’t stand against the entire group and fell before dealing much more damage with its savage teeth and claws. The bear’s cave held a few bits of treasure – including a ring of climbing – and in the orc meal’s intact pouch they found a crudely-drawn map and a letter from Mukhur to someone named Oghul.
They chose to spend the night in the relative safety of the bear’s cave, and though Stump spotted a huge wolf making its way down the canyon in the middle of the night, he wisely decided to let it pass by unmolested.
Their next encounter along the narrow canyon was quite strange and foreboding. A strange metal device completely blocked the path, wedged tightly between the canyon walls. On closer inspection, the thing was extremely hot to the touch (as Egg Fu quickly discovered). It had a row of odd buttons on its side, but these didn’t seem to do anything. After some poking and prodding, the adventurers simply climbed the canyon wall and moved on without disturbing the weird machine further.
The final encounter of the evening was their first with the mysterious karradan. They spotted a pair of the big, shaggy humanoids at the edge of a frozen pond, and the karradan charged immediately. It turned out that this rumor was completely true – these creatures attacked with a mindless fury, swinging tree limb clubs with awesome strength. Egg Fu was unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of two of those swings, and was nearly done in by the raging beasts. The adventurers pressed their attack though, and they were able to save the monk before death could claim another adventurer this day. The primitive humanoids packed a mean wallop, but weren’t able to withstand the party’s assault.
- End of Session. -
DM Notes: Nicely done. But as I said Tuesday in the aftermath, don’t expect me to pull any more punches. There’s shit in here that’ll kill you dead in a hurry, so don’t come running to me when your character gets his/her legs bit off…