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The sun came out and the larpers came with it as we gathered to adventure once more in the sun.

And so, Rowan Tait took to the moorlands somewhere to the west of Whitebay and Egdon Bridge, lands of the landed knight Sir Francis who claimed to have a foulspawn problem that required the attention of bold adventurers.

Thank you Tees Valley Branch for a top day out in the sunshine. If you know you took part in one or other of the missions but are misnamed or unnamed, please contact me on wolfish dot written dot author at g mail dot com or comment below.

Monster Mission – Those pesky dark dwarves …

Strange things were happening near the village of New Town, where the forest was burning but the fire was not spreading, and dangerous dark dwarves were attacking the smaller villages in the surrounding area. Adventurers were needed to investigate and who better than:

Sir Obadiah Hakeswill, Guild Protector of the Alchemists; Apprentice Tiberius Spark, Alchemist; Woodsman Brendan DePiercy, Scout; Apprentice Mercenary; Apprentice Leonardo Knighte, Physician; High Guildsman Johnny Test, Enchanter; Guildsman Drake Darkwater, Demonologist; Brother Benedict DePiercy of Crowa; Mother Rose Eliza Day of the Holy Rose Order, Defender of the Faith of Crowa; Novice Madeline Blanchefleur of the Holy Rose Order; Supplicant Ember Rich of Rolbor.

 

– Note – As usual, the monster mission will be bitty and brief as I have no idea what happened in certain encounters –

 

The gallant party set out, stopping to witness a small ceremony where Defender Day welcomed Madeline formally into the Rose Order – a holy order of Crowan women similar to the Knightly Orders of Ithron. As the adventurers began to make their way through the streets of New Town they came upon a gate guard, fleeing for her life, babbling about dark skinned dwarves and the death of her companions. As Sir Obadiah and Ember tended to her wound and finally managed to get some sense out of her, the rest of the party rushed to the aid of the fallen gate guard, beating the dwarves off and tending to his wounds, though they could do nothing for his colleague slumped against the gate post where they had left her. After getting a better report of what was happening in the area, the party pushed on – getting directions from a pair of people – encountered a group of dark elves investigating a dead dark dwarf with their pet demon – until they reached the small hamlet of Woodsview, a little place out of the way looking down onto the burning trees. Mostly deserted with only a few villagers left gathering the remains of their belongings, the party learnt that they were in the process of evacuating the village. Earlier that day they had been attacked by a group of dark dwarves who had made off with a guard and a villager. With the sudden increase in these attacks, the villagers had had enough and were heading for the relative safety of New Town’s walls.

After refreshing themselves from the village well, the adventurers promised to try and return the missing villagers and set off – hot on the trail of those dastardly dwarves. They managed to interrupt a ritual involving the captured woman though unfortunately could do nothing for the guard and they pressed on to the next village.

 

They saw a number of dark dwarves spread out around the village who fended them off until another of their number appeared with a large package which he dropped in a freshly dug hole, cried aloud to the Red Lady and the powers of magic and activated a glowing rune on it’s surface. As soon as he had completed his task, the dwarves turned tail and ran away – leaving behind a sinister object and a hole. The adventurers investigated and attempted to dismantle the bomb, unfortunately with little success. A pair were caught in the explosion of lava from the bomb, the rest were caught in the shock wave and the physician was trapped beneath a tree after the bomb exploded, but the party acted swiftly and none were lost (though some were slightly singed). Detecting the work of the “Red Lady”, the dark goddess of these strange dwarves rumoured to be a fire elemental and the cause of the strange ring of burning woodland, the party decided it was time to bring her down (!).

 

But on the road they encountered a lone figure and mistakenly greeted her as the Red Lady (though not very politely), rousing her anger at being so insulted. She was an Oread, a stone maiden similar to the dryads and naiads and just as dangerous, so the women of the party approached her. It seemed she and her sisters was seeking aid at retrieving their fourth sister from beyond the firey vale where she was in agony and burning heat and something was desperately wrong. After some posturing and Johnny Test almost being dragged into the earth by one of the maidens, the adventurers agreed to seek out the spirits’ cousins the Naiads (water spirits) to help them get beyond the fire and try to rescue the stone maiden beyond. Whether they are successful remains to be seen.

 

As the party returned, they came across a small party who quickly changed direction – three figures pushing a fourth before them. As this maiden saw the party she called out for aid and was swiftly silenced, though not before the party’s suspicions were roused. One tried to fend off the adventurers to allow the other two to escape but was surrounded and her fellows ran off – so she took a sword to her captive’s throat. Luckily the Crowans managed to down her before she could do any real harm and her fellows were caught and killed as they tried to flee. Inspecting the bodied they found enchanted throwing knives and empty alchemy vials and tattoos of a dragon on their hand – a notorious bunch of assassins in Tisa Vale. With one alive and bandaged, Defender Day hoped to bring these pesky villains to justice – but someone had slit the girl’s throat. With a quick thinking alchemist to hand, she was saved and dragged off to the Guards for questioning.

 

And so the party returned to New Town to seek out the Naiads and question an assassin as to what they were doing with a young lady of a powerful trading family in Tisa Vale.

 

Player Mission – Foulspawn problems? No problem …

Rowan Tait, stretching her legs after being kept close to Newcroft, headed down to Tisa Vale for a change of scenery. Travelling further south than usual, she came across a notice from a local land owner and met with others looking to assist him. Sir Francis had sent patrols out to try and clear the foulspawn off his lands – generally causing bother and making off with livestock and folk – but to no avail. He needed the wisdom of hardened adventurers and armed with a map, the party offered their assistance.

The adventurers who answered his call were as follows: Sir Ranulf de Brus, House Knight of the Knightly Black Order; Hunter Rowan Tait of Amblevale, Scout; Apprentice Garrison, Mercenary; High Father William Klider of Sidhe, Chaplin of the Knightly Grey Order; Novice Sorcha Gravesong of Kharach; Miss Barnaby, Necromancy; Junior Guildsman Lucien Godfrey; Junior Guildsman Ash Witherspoon; Journeyman Sorely Brewerson; Elias and Bluey.

 

Climbing the hill the adventurers reached the toll bridge near the Coach House Inn at the foot of the knight’s lands, following the proposed route Sir Ranulf wished to take – investigating a small ruined monastery he had visited before. As they discussed payment of the toll, the bridge keepers mentioned that a kharachian seer of their village had gone missing – perhaps she’d gone wandering and not returned, perhaps something worse had happened. The adventurers agreed to look for this Seer and try to bring her back to their village alive. Travelling north along the river, Rowan scouted ahead for signs of foul spawn and other trouble until she led the group to the ruins. Entering the ruins their eyes were drawn to a small pedestal with a sundial – a sundial splattered with blood. But – as Sir Ranulf went to take a closer look, Rowan spotted something in the dirt and called a halt. Someone had been here before them. And the strangest thing was that three people had come to the monastery, but four had left and there was no sign of where this fourth person had come from – simply that they had appeared.

The party investigated the sundial and the surrounding area whilst Rowan took a closer look at the prints and the perimeter – discovering that some roses had been cut from a bush and that the prints had not returned. Deciding to expand her search, she made her way along the road under the watchful eye of Garrison and came across something strange – undead foulspawn corpses, smashed and crushed to bits. Reporting their findings, Sir Ranulf told them to show the bodies to Miss Barnaby for her knowledgeable experience of undeath, and the pair escorted Miss Barnaby and her apprentice to examine the corpses. Her conclusion was this – that something with either magic or holy power had stripped these corpses of the life giving essences in all undead things and that they might be very powerful. More wary, the four returned, reported their findings and eventually the party continued on.

The conclusion was that the sundial was some connection to the past or the future, some fallen pillars marked with Axirian numbers, which would explain the appearance of the fourth pair of boots.

 

The adventurers continued on the western side of the river until they came across a gathering of people in black by a shrine. It appeared to be legitimate, the worship of Kharach with a dead body about to be laid to rest, and whilst Rowan paid her respects, she had a feeling that something was wrong and she kept her eyes on their surroundings and a hand on her mace pommel. The pair of Kharachians discussed what was going on with the Father tending the shrine (with some raised voices and some strange ideas of what was good and proper in the eyes of the Merciful Lord) – Sorcha conducted a ritual of lay to rest on the corpse – and Rowan was quietly told by Sorely that there was a number of spell casters amongst the Kharachians who had spell cards to hand. There were also a number of blessed blades present, almost an unusual number that added to Rowan’s sense that something was wrong here – and a woman seemed to be under guard. Eventually she was split from her captors and identified as Isabella Clay, the Kharachian Seeress who told Rowan these people were bad people and that they must be stopped. Ready for battle, Rowan sought a report on the body from Ash who had taken a quick look, but took her own look after the Seeress mentioned that the Kharachians had killed people at the shrine, a sacrifice.

She was also given an inkling of her own death, which she took with thanks and a smile – death by the sword. Typical for a Crowan or a Scout.

 

Examining the body led to the disturbing revelation that it was covered in very precise, almost surgical marks, and that the body had been dragged to the shrine whilst bleeding before being sacrificed at the shrine. It smacked of Kharach’s darker side and Rowan immediately reported this to Sir Ranulf at an opportune moment whilst the Father of Kharach insisted on calling Sorcha “little girl”.

Informed, the Black Knight’s face turned grim and he returned his attention to what was going on with the Kharachians. But there was a change in the party – a strangeness as the adventurers were asked to give a name for the Kharachians to go find and kill. Something kicked off the fight and whilst the Black Knight could resist the spells cast at him, Rowan took a wound to the head and collapsed, sparking the mages to unleash spell after spell at the Kharachians and them getting put down. One escaped, but the others were gathered together and their souls sent to Kharach.

 

Rowan saw the Seer back to her village and rejoined the party as they prepared to cross the river at the next fording point and travel around the northern boundary of the Knight’s land.

Crossing the river, Rowan noticed a suprising absence of tracks in the soft ooze of the marshland and the party were approached by a thing made of leaves and mud and ooze. It told them to clear off and attacked them until an agreement was reached – if it was supplied with two pigs, it would keep clearing the foulspawn off “its” land – which seemed agreeable to the party. With safe passage granted, they pressed on until Rowan spotted a group of foulspawn (and was spotted) and a scrap kicked off. The oozy fellow (a Marshkin) assisted and the party paused to take a breather. Sir Ranulf sent Rowan off to take a look up ahead where she encountered a group of mine labourers pumping water from the mine.

I admit she didn’t quite tell the truth when approaching them – alone with three of them carrying weapons and generally looking slightly dodgy, but when they were attacked by a group of foul spawn she stood her ground and blew on her whistle. Summoned by the whistle, adventurers came to her aid and put the foulspawn down, Rowan and some others running after the next group of foul spawn and Lucien and Rowan chasing down a small goblin dragging off a mine worker. Catching its attention Rowan tried to disarm it but turned to the skills of the mage at her side to make it drop a weapon – in suprise it dropped both and Lucien and Rowan got it. Dragging it back to the others, Rowan reported than no others had escaped and watched respectfully as Sir Ranulf laid the creatures to rest before contemplating where to go next. The mine workers said that their folk were frequently stolen from the mine and taken away into the moors. The decision was made to investigate this and whilst Rowan rapidly lost the tracks amongst the heather, she noted alot of foot traffic on the road.

 

They came across a group of foulspawn cooking a sheep and whilst High Father William tried to speak with them, they were attacked and the party responded as adventurers do. Rowan bandaged the Sidhean and roused him and he attempted to get some sense out of the single living foul spawn. The party were then approached by a group of foulspawn who wanted to talk – the local Chieftain and his warriors. It seemed he was stealing folk from the mines to add to his “clan” as the Knight was killing off his people and had stolen his son. He was preparing for war, but High Father William managed to come to an agreement that the adventurers would try and find the Chieftain’s half-orc son or seek out news. Given until sundown, the adventurers took the road heading to Thorgill Keep to speak with Sir Francis and get to the bottom of this,

As they entered the courtyard, Rowan took watch point and was approached by a Kharachian looking to speak with a priest and trying to get in. Calling for Sorcha, Rowan turned her back to hear a shout of suprise and the mages surging forward, yelling that the Kharachian was the one who’d escaped earlier. Knocked unconcious, Rowan listened as Sorcha and High Father William debated whether they should allow him to be killed or attempt to understand him, eventually offering to bind the man’s hands and to knock him out should he become dangerous. She also gagged him for good measure, getting first hand experience of her future life as a Forester. She also disarmed him after the mages had removed the alchemy he had concealed in his palm.

What followed was the Kharachian attempting to gain access to Sir Francis and trying to get his alchemy back – which was not an option as far as Rowan and Sorcha were concerned. As the adventurers filed past, their business concluded with the lord of the land, there was a brief exchange of words between the Kharachian and Lucien which led to a scuffle and Rowan making good on her threat to knock him out.

 

The Kharachian was taken to the local Shrine at Dunholme, the alchemy was to be investigated and it seemed that the business with the knight was concluded to the satisfaction for all.

 

———

And with that, Rowan has completed her path as a scout and has entered the Guild of Foresters as a woman of the Law.

On Tuesday night at the pub, Ethan Fairbrass was put on trial for the crimes of heresy and found guilty, to be branded and sold as a slave. He was bought by High Father Cornway, but promptly escaped. Who knows what will become of that alchemist …

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