Entourage

A tower in the foothills, an outpost in the mountains

Entering the foothills of the Gowdai, the Entourage encountered a rundown tower guarding the entrance into the main pass. The tower was a remnant from some long-dead empire who guarded against incursions from the pass. Nothing much has come out of the Gowdai mountains in centuries, so why anyone would guard the pass in anyone’s guess.

The adventurers found that the tower, now barely three stories tall when it had once been much taller, was filled with goblins. After a long and annoying and battle, the goblins were easily overcome. Several goblins escaped up the pass into the mountains, and the adventurers pursued them.

GM’s Epilogue:

While they had hoped to hunt down the rest of the goblins, and proceed across the mountains, things did not go quite as planned. The goblins set many incompetent ambushes, sure of themselves because they had the advantage of numbers and knowledge of the terrain. Nevertheless, the adventures easily overcame the simple traps the goblins laid, and took a heavy toll on the goblin numbers. With the weather turning cold, the adventures pressed on across the endless Gowdai mountains, frustrated by their inability to finish off the increasingly desperate goblins. When would these mountains start to end?

When an early snowfall hit the mountains in mid-Fall, the adventures became very worried about their dwindling food supplies and their ability to get out of the mountains before Winter set in and made travel dangerous and even more difficult. After two solid days of snow, the adventures picked up the an odd goblin trail, heading in a straight line with no attempt to conceal their passing. Without no where else to go, the adventures followed the trail…

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Snow Day
Here, There Be Dragons

Excerpts from Joral’s Journal

Snow continued to fall as we trailed the Goblins deeper into the wilds. We knew they were out there somewhere but couldn’t find any firm evidence of where. The elf Therren seems a competent enough tracker – but they continue to evade us. The spirits are silent and refuse to give my any guidance.

...

We camp under a Wayward pine, grateful the scant shelter. Snow continues to fall, it’s now up to my neck now. Etoila is still cheerful, despite it being freezing. Torr seems toasty warm in his fur. Food is running out.

...

Finally a break! The goblins got lazy and left a trail – and was fresh! We quickly followed it and were lead to the base of derelict keep with (best of all) a dead goblin lying across the path. He seems like he was half eaten and was running away from the keep. Wonderful! Following the maxim that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” we figured we could cosy up to these fellow goblin hunters and maybe even get a meal and some shelter out of it.

Etoila covered our rear as we headed in. There was no door, just a broken down section of the wall that lead to a staircase. We heard a loud CRACK as we entered, but couldn’t figure out what it was. We came upon a set of double doors with torch light coming from underneath. Salopard lead the way, hoping to use his silvered tongue to avoid bloodshed. We knocked. No response. So we opened the door…

sally

I don’t remember what happened next. I’ve been told that on the other side of the door were two flaming beetles and two orcs. They were clearly NOT friendly, and proceeded to attack. Salopard tells me that two axes flew at me, one striking me deeply in the neck. THEN the beetles blew flaming spit at us. I dropped. Apparently I was lucky to survive. Salopard laid his life giving hands on me, and I felt light return to my eyes.

Tor, despite what they’d done to me, didn’t consider these foes ‘worthy’ and so waded into battle half-heartily. (I must say, even half-heartily that man is a beast! I wouldn’t want to be on his bad side.) Therren, quick as lightning, fired arrows at them.

I called upon my Spirit, whose very presence bolstered my moral. With our team ready for battle we made quick work of them. We took a short rest to lick our wounds and burn marks. I was also feeling mischievous, so I played a joke on Torr. I (shh!) drew some Bahamut defacing pictures on the hide of the orc, hoping to enrage the Avenger into using his ‘big sword’ next time. I don’t think he caught on. <snicker>

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Six Underground
Therren

Waiting out the winter season has been difficult, and doubly so for my new companions. The Paladin Salopard and his charge Etoila aren’t used to the hardships of adverse weather and hunger, having come from a noble’s court. Hunger is setting in and the burden of finding extra food has fallen to me. Etoila spends most of her days wrapped up close to the fire complaining of the cold, while Salopard and Joral are so short they practically get buried in the snow drifts. I’ve tried to teach Torr how to use the crossbow we found, but his skill is poor with it, and his unwillingness to eat the dragon meat has sapped his strength and made him unfit to venture outdoors. The weather looks like it might finally be breaking though; perhaps we’ll be able to push onwards soon.

We’ve finally emerged from the Gowdai Mountains. It’s nice to see trees again, and not feel so open and exposed to attack when travelling.

Attacked while eating breakfast. Enemies poured through the bush and immediately set upon us. Etoila was knocked into the fire and burned…I’m not sure how badly at this point, but Salopard is looking after her. Joral and I took a look at the bags our foes were carrying and a found them filled with dismembered Halfling bodies. Joral asked me to tell the others. He had a crazy look in his eyes at the sight of the starnge tatooes on our slain enemy’s faces and kept talking about collecting his trophy, so I’ll leave him be for a while.

We’re on the move again. We encountered a live Halfling while gathering our strength after our encounter who was able to direct us to the closest settlement. There has apparently been a war going on in these parts, but both sides have joined forces to eliminate a bigger threat. We were asked by a Lord Brunkly to investigate where our attackers from the previous day might have been travelling as they suspect that they might have had an alternate way into the mountain keep they have under siege. We left Torr behind in the army camp because he was unfit to travel with us. Etoila tells me she saw him late at night towards the end of our stay in the Gowdai’s, overcome by hunger, searching through the scraps of rancid dragon meat that remained, and is sure that is the cause. We’ve just found the entrance of a cave they want us explored. I hate to be in enclosed spaces, but the pay is too good to turn down.

We’ve been travelling through the caves for what seems like hours and have encountered some hostiles along the way. Etoila was obviously rattled by getting knocked into the fire a few days ago, and has shown her inexperience while exploring this cave. She’s been extremely tentative and been on the receiving end of a lot of solid blows; she should be thankful her father invested in such a sturdy set of armor for her. Salopard has been trying to give her pointers with the blade, but I’m not even sure if I’ve seen him lift his own sword since we left the Gowdai’s. Torr has returned to us though. He was able to track us to the cave entrance and follow the marks Salopard has been carving in the stone to guide our way back. Unfortunately, Etoila has been stricken with filth fever. Fortunately, I’ve come across this in my travels, and should be able to help her providing we’re able to get some rest soon.

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Thurst deep into the damp cave

Except from Joral’s Journal

You think I would learn? What are we doing wandering around this damn cave complex?! I hate caves. Every now and then flashbacks hit me and suddenly I’m back in that damn Formorian mine..feeling the sting of their whips and the stench of death. I’m keeping up a brave face as much as possible – I just hope we don’t get trapped in here.


Now this was a little surprising. We came across a large fallen shaft pillar that spanned a chasm today – and it pulsed, throbbed even with magic energy. I’ve never seen magic like this before. Being the lightest, I volunteered to test it out. Etoila was eager to climb onto the rod, but we held her back until it was safe. I held my breath as I crossed, but it held my weight. The party crossed one by one, lit by the strange green magical light.


...

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Fight or Flight?
Therren

We’ve emerged from the cave into a clearing in the mountains, and sought the cover of a nearby copse of trees. Darkness has fallen and there’s flicker light through the trees at the far end of the glade. The party is battered up from our previous encounters, so they’re taking a rest while I keep watch and try to cure Etoila’s filth fever.

...

In the middle of the night we made our move. As stealthy as we try to be, the Halfling continues to be our undoing in that regards. Once again he walked flush into a tree in his plate mail. Luckily it seems as though the howling wind was enough to cover the sound. The source of the light turned out to be a small cave entrance. We can hear chanting coming from it, which means we’ll likely be fighting again.

...

The fight went very badly. We managed to suprise them, my arrows finding their mark 4 times before they could react, but things quickly went downhill. For all his tactical prowess is sneaking, when the fight is on, Torr’s blood seems to boil with a divine rage and he’s utterly careless. He ran strait into cavern after my opening volley and got himself hopelessly surrounded. Despite his shiftiness and innate ability to move through the battle, he was soon back to the wall and surrounded on all sides. Salopard and Etoila rushed in to aid him, but the mass of foes in their way was too much. Torr fell, and his surrounding foes turned on Salopard before his body even hit the ground. Surrounded, the Paladin was felled by a wicked shot that rang off his plate helmet like a bell. And still, more enemies poured out from around the corner! But Etoila proved her worth today. With plans of flight forming in my mind, she yelled to me that she’d hold the line and to keep loosing arrows. Foes swarmed Etoila but still she would not buckle under the assault and let them reach me, and despite taking many blows, the bodies were piling at her feet. But there is only so much a seasoned fighter can take, let alone a 16 year old noblewoman. I saw one of the dishevelled humans find a chink in her armour and bury his blade. With a strangled cry to Salopard on her lips, she fell. But no longer was the opposing force twice our strength in numbers! Etoila had done well, and Salopard, having heard his charge’s cry, was getting to his feet! Renewed by this sight, I let fly another volley while Salopard engaged the foe, and within seconds it was over. Salopard and I worked quickly to stabalise Etoila and Torr, and after a short rest it looks as though they are ready to push onwards.

...

We’re taking another short rest now and arguing if we should continue on or try to rest in this somewhat defendeable position before moving against the unknown ahead. Etoila, boldened by her recent success is pushing to move onwards, but I know seh’s hiding how hurt she is. We’ve just emerged from our 2nd major battle. We encountered a strange beam device in a room ringed with mangled corpses. The beam was blasting into a portal, and seemed to be linked to the undead we’ve been encountering, so we tried to disarm it. Unfortunately, none of us seem very proficient in the arcane arts and all we managed to do was burn ourselves on the beam an get sucked into the portal. We emerged onto the other side, and we’re unsure where we actually are. Our only encounter so far has been a fight against some defence mechanisms that we made relatively short work of, but hopefully we’ll be able to get our bearings soon. Looks like a decision is about to be made about whether to stay or try a rest…I hope they heed my advice.

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The Vivid Dream
Therren

A lot has transpired since I last made an entry. After emerging from the caves we found ourselves in the courtyard of the keep as battle raged around us. Fighting for our lives, we made our way to the top of the walls and held our position so the council’s men could retreat. While we were there, we sabotaged the fortifications, as word of a strike the next morning was circulating among the soldiers. This proved to be a turning point for our assault on the keep the following morning, as our work turned the tide of battle in favour before our first man crested the battlements. Victory is tainted with sadness though, as our companion Joral is still missing. Etoila is optimistic we will find him inside the keep, but knowing what it took to get out, I have little faith in finding our friend alive again.

Finally, there is another thing that bears recording. Etoella, Tor and I have all experienced the same dream, but our recollections are as vivid as if we each lived it.

We awoke on a cold stone floor; unsure of where we were or how we got there and why we seemed to be glowing with a faint green energy. To add to our confusion, my face bore the telltale marks of an uknown fight, while Tor and Etoella were inexplicably covered in filth.

Without the Paladin Salopard present to reprimand me, I found my eyes wandering to Etoella as she shed her filthy equipment. It was naïve of her to think Tor or I wouldn’t notice her impossibly ample chest in such an undergarment after so many months on the road (for those not present, Steve actually crit’d his dice check on how impressive they were). But with a little wink in our direction I’m left wondering if I am the one who is naïve. If this is a subtle way to gain our loyalty, it appears as though it has worked. Torr leers at her blatantly and incessantly now, and even though I am no master of how a Shifter thinks, I can see his is bonded to her.

We began to make our way from room to room, trying to unravel the mystery of our whereabouts, and soon found ourselves in combat with a group of Gnolls who fell quickly to an onslaught of arrows and the greatsword and broadsword wielded by my companions. Pressing on, we came upon another group of Gnolls who were to meet the same fate. Tor pushed forward taking the fight to the leader with an incredible jumping manoeuvre, while I did my part and loosed as many arrows as I could as Etoella covered my flank. Tor’s aggression led him to be completely encircled by a Gnoll and Hyenas, but with a carefully placed arrow shot, I dropped the leader of the group, giving him an opening to take the fight to the hyenas as we Etoella finished off the last of the Gnolls. After a short rest we moved on and yet again came upon a grouping of foul smelling Gnolls. This group proved to be much hardier and resourceful than the prvious groups, making them a fine challenge. However, as we began to overcome them a hiding Gnell floated out of a pool of water in the room and attacked. It forced us to scramble around the battlefield and use healing powers we didn’t know we had, as Tor and Etoella both bravely fought off the beast. Finally, with a mighty swing and an oath to Bahamut on his lips, Torr felled the Gnell with a savage blow. The Gnell began to pulsate with Green energy even as we lost our own green hue. Things became hazy, and all I remmeber bfore blacking out was Tor reaching for a longsword with a drogon hilt that was floating against a far wall, and which pulsated with the same green energy as the Gnell.

...

And now I am back here, on the castle battlements, ready to push forward into the keep with all our companions. I relayed my bizzarre experience to the others and that is when I discovered that Tor and Etoella experienced the same events I did. When we return to camp, I’ll be sure to try and find someone who can explain this.

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A letter to the parents of the deceased Sir Gerry Gary

Dear Mr & Mrs Gary,

It is not without a great deal of grief on my part that this letter is being written. THe purpose of this writing is to inform you that your dear and humble Gerry was unmercifully cut down by a gang of undead minions while on a noble adventure. You see, I am the leader of band of valiant travellers and upon seeing us in his town, Gerry would hear nothing but to come along with us. He fought alongside on the wall of your keep, planting the Battle standard of Might in the midst of evil, helping his fellows gather the courage to fight on. He continued to survive battle after battle after battle. But, due to a certain lack of intelligence in our shapeshifter’s mind, dear Gerry was cast with the fearful shadow of a flailing undead. As soon as Gerry fell I was quick to engage his murderer, and with the rage that I held, I pulverized that unruly abomination.

Sadly Mr and Mrs Gary, the story does not end there. Since it was an undead that had stolen Gerry from us, he himself turned into them. I am sorry. This is difficult to write but I must press on. He, rose again, and we put him down with the gentle fangs of our beloved guardian animal, Moss. But again, the green power was strong and reanimated Gerry and in a twist of diabolical fate, Gerry turned on me, his beloved Etoella. Swollen with anger, our fearless avenger Therren split the sky, opened it up, and brought a final peace into Gerry’s struggling soul. You can be rest assured that your son fought valiantly, and that his death, although difficult to reconcile, was a necessity for the success of our mission to save your kingdom.

Due to the nature of your sons death, I advise that you to speak to your Wise-one and have him pray to the goddess Evening Glory.

I have sent 10 gold pieces along with this letter to help mend your broken hearts.

Signed,

_Etoella Dynith, Leader of The Entourage _

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Intermission

The end of “Esprit de Corpses”

Etoila led her followers to victory over the evil Deva, Zacraar, and his undead hordes. In doing so, the Zelen Wall and Keep were destroyed, along with a large portion of the army of Schof Valley. This has caused Etoila to be viewed as a hero by some, and a reckless fool by others. Comatose since the encounter with Zacraar, Etoila and her Entourage awoke a month later in the city of Overlook. Where will her search for adventure bring her next?

stay tuned…

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The Fall of Stonefang
Therren

Not much time to write these days. One adventure ends as two more appear it seems…Here is what has passed in the past little while.

After working our way into the mountain, battling Orc’s the entire way we had a battle of wits vs. some inferior archers outside the tower. Needless to say we prevailed, and Salopard managed to acquire a giant boar for a mount/future supper. After a quick rest we headed into the ransacked keep. Injured from battle, Torr & Etoila tended to their wounds while keeping a watchful eye over our new Boar.

While sneaking in, Salopard stumbled and kicked a metal gauntlet making his way up the stairs then tripped a warning alarm by opening the doors of the first room. Not the stealthiest that man. Suddenly another battle ensued and Salopard and Pete held the line vs. some Orcs, an Orc Reaver & an archer, while Joral and I fired away. Sally fell, but was buffered by the healing skills of our Shaman. After the battle, we discovered some caged Dwarves in the room, then found more Dwarf prisoners locked in a trap door in the floor, along with Stonefang’s Heart and a magical item that shall likely be called “Torr’s Bane”. The dwarves told of a Dragon Mask wearing shaman upstairs, so after catching our breath, and despite Salopard being very worse for wear – less than full HP’s, 0 healing surges – we headed upstairs for battle.

As we crested the top landing, an Orc Shaman taunted us. We focussed fire on him, which proved to be a bit of a mistake as he was a sturdy enemy, while his squishy “friend” did a boatload of damage and summoned spirits to attack us. Sally fell, and hope was fading, but Joral had just enough healing to get Sally so that as he pulled himself off the ground he finished off the Head Shaman, then immediately fell again to his death throes. Joral and I kept up the assault but began to be overwhelmed by the summoned spirits. Joral fell, which meant Pete…the last line of defence for our ranged attacks, was gone. I was bloodied (bloodied!) but managed to break free from the spirits long enough to sprint across the room and behind a table, and finished the 2nd Shaman with an arrow, and then just narrowly missed getting hit by a lightning bolt he launched as he died, which would have surely killed me had it not hit the ornate leg of the table I was standing behind. After tending to our wounded, we discovered the last piece of Stonefang (his eye) in the room, along with a magical +1 fork that Salopard claimed as his own, and decided to heal up as we were all pretty banged up. After our rest we double-timed it back to the caves to put the pieces in the sacred circles and banish stonefang.

As we arrived Stonefang broke free and climbed out of the pit in the middle of the cavern. Using Stonefang’s own heart, Joral critted his domination roll and dominated Stonefang and made him climb back into his pit. Using this created space, Joral and I were able to quickly maneuver to the proper ritual circles and chant the proper blessings, taking away much of Stonefang’s might from the get go, while Salopard and Pete impeded Stonefang’s ascent from his pit. When Stonefang emerged, Sally locked him down, I slowed him with a barrage of arrows and Joral struck at him from afar. Locked down and being hit from all sides, Stonefang quickly crumbled before us and got sucked back into his pit as he vowed revenge. The strangely tattooed dwarves then returned and finished the binding ritual, sealing Stonefang more permanently again.

The heroes rejoiced, as the day was theirs!
Returning outside they found Torr equally elated, as he’d just scored twosies while playing jacks with Etoila.

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Etoella Lost
Therren

Terrible news…On the way back towards Overlook Etoila revealed to us she’s had her fill of adventuring, and would like to return back to her father’s castle. We’ve followed her for months now, and losing her is a blow to the party. I worry for the cat…he seems especially distraught and directionless due to this turn of events. Hopefully on the way back to Overlook we can convince her to change her mind.

~ Hastily scrawled ~

Etoella has left us to return to Overlook. On the road home we encountered a female villager under attack by were-beasts. We helped her in the fight and she told us she was seeking aid for her quiet fishing village which was being ravaged by the beasts. It was something we decided we must investigate, but Etoella is exhausted and sticking to her pledge of not wanting to get herself killed. We said our goodbyes and told her we’d find her in Overlook upon our return, and once the trouble in the Schof valley had subsided, we would see to getting her home. With that, we went our seperate ways. Hopefully the road will find her safely back to town.

I hate to see her go, but I love watching her leave…

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