West Marches: Westmoor

Climbing the Sentinel

Sid, Carlos, Lars, Garrett and Lothric are enjoying a tankard of ale as a new comer makes his way into the Stag’s Head. Seeing that this new fellow looks to be of the adventuring type, the group invites the man, Dwight, to join them on their next journey. He shares stories about the land similar to what they’ve been hearing around town. Dwight tells about his trek into Westmoor guarding a caravan and how the unseasonal cold and uncharacteristic earthquakes are spreading throughout the land. Stirred by shaking tremors and the gnawing cold, the group decides to investigate the cause of this growing issue.

They go to the Wizards Library to see if the wizards can give any insight to what is going on. Working around the clock testing every magical possibility, the wizards cannot provide any insight into the cause of the cold. They do share with the group that the cold seems to be coming from the mountain south of town, the Sentinel. Sitting atop the mountain is Castle Jordeay. An old Elvin fort from the Great War, it’s rumored to carry Elvin treasures and other riches. At night they have seen things flying around from the fort but no one knows what is up there. Thinking about the bountiful rewards, the group decided to risk climbing the mountain heads off toward the Sentinel.

To avoid being seen the group decides takes a path around the back of the mountain instead of the main path. While it is a much longer trek, they think that maintaining the element of surprise is worth the trouble. As they start to make it up the base of the mountain the sun begins to set and they look for a place to set up camp for the night along a stream at the bottom of a small waterfall with weird colorful properties. Unsure of the magical looking water, the group climbs up to the flat area to make camp but they find an odd looking area. The area appears to be unnaturally flat and is surround by stones in a weird pattern. In the center lies a large flat crystallized rock is the middle with the stream running near it. Upon closer inspection, the group fines that the rock is crack almost perfectly in half and the stream flows straight through it. Garrett takes the opportunity to break off a piece of the valuable looking crystal rock and the whole group ends up taking some. Sid finds that the water has magical properties and the whole group dips some of their weapons in the water giving them some unknown properties.

They continue up the mountain and when night falls so they decide to look for some shelter to make camp. Garrett finds a cave that leads up into the mountains. As the group ascends up the stairs they pass by some skeletons covered in red dust… they aren’t sure what the cause is and they continue up the cave with caution. They spot a granite door in the wall and sick of endless stairs, Garrett mauls right through the door into a room full of sarcophagus. They appear to be left over from the Great War. Looking for loot, Garrett opens one and two black beings rise up out of the coffins. The group quickly takes them up but while they were fighting, a strange insect stuck up behind Carlos and brushed strange brush like arms on his armor. The armor suddenly turned into a pile of rust! The group attacks the bug but everything metal seems to rust on contact with the bug. Before they can kill it, it takes off down the hall from them and they decide not to pursue it. Garrett and Lothric gather up as many tapestries they can carry and head back to town leaving Sid, Lars, Carlos and Dwight to keep moving up the stairs.

As they keep heading up, Carlos releases an owl from his fuzzy bag of tricks. The owl flies ahead but gets caught in so strange slime that reached down from the ceiling! Carlos throws another fuzzy ball and a giant Bull appears. It charges through the goop but the slime drops down from the ceiling coating the bull. The group tries to attack the slime but the bull keeps moving trying to get it off. Lars sends an arrow along the side of the bull and the slime falls to the ground. The slime tries to reach out and grab the group but they manage to kill it before it can grab a hold of anyone else. As the group finally rounds the top of the stairs, they can see light coming out of 3 massive claw marks on some doors up ahead. They find that the scratches may be from a dragon so the group quickly backs out of the cave, silently sneaking past the rust bug. Knowing there may be a dragon ahead, they decide to head back to town to gather a larger party and prepare for the battle ahead.

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Gangs of Westmoor

Dastard Dunncon enters the city of Westmoor after his Traveling show disbanded. While making his way through town, he can not help but to notice the un-easy and nervous feelings of the travelers in town.

Dastard finds his way to the Stag’s Head where he meets up with Lars Omvalgard and Armen Hammerman. After chatting for a bit, the three decide to see if the can help out in dealing with the rise in crime. The meet up with the captain of the gaurds, Rog Loray and are able to find out most of the crime seems to be tired to the Thorns gang. Rog takes the trio down into the prison cell were there is one of the gang members locked up. The group attempt to get some more information about where the gang is located, without any success. Rog tips them that witnesses have seen the gang heading south west, but that is all the info they got.

Armen has a brilliant plan to catch the thieves! We set them up, but pretending to be a trade cart, and when they hit…we take them out. Armen buys a Cart, a large chest filled with “gold” actually rocks, and Edger…the best Donkey a man could ask for.

Loaded up the trio takes the road heading south in the steady rain. After 4 hard hours of travel in the mud without so much as a hint of a bandit, Lars spotted what looks like a path in the woods across a field. After inspecting it out, he is able to make out cart tracks going in the little opening, which opens up once inside. Having no luck on the road, the trio decides to try this path out. Singing loudly…and not very good, they are stopped by a hooded man in the road. Dastard attempts to convince them they are just lost, with there shipment of gold, but the stranger does not buy it, and sends an arrow right between his legs. Not wanting to get into anything, the trio turns the cart around and heads out. All seemed well until Armen taunts the man, and when he looked back he was gone.

Out of the trees they came, and surrounded the cart…Bandits! Surrounded the trio decides to flee. the Bandits close in, hitting Lars, and nearly killing Dastard. Lars is quick on his feet and casts a smoke cloud around the party. Dastard leaps on the cart, while Armen mushes Edger to Flee! Edger is scared stiff and doesn’t move and inch. Two thugs grab the chest, which Lars pushes on them trapping them beneath the rocks. Two other grab Dastard, while one grabs Lars. Arman is able to take out the bandit blocking the front of the cart, as Dastard was able to kick free of his foes, and in a RAGE knock the bandit holding Lars clear to next week with his mace. Lars now freed leaps over the cart into the trees and pulls of a quick shot with his bow, taking out another bandit. Arman, and Dastard and able to take out 2 more. Tables now turned, the remaining bandits flee back into the wood…except for one, still pinned under the chest. Fear of Death, the captured bandit spills the beans on the entire operation.

The captured bandit informs the trio that the Thorns main camp is located just down the path on Norton Lake. This is also the primary safe house of their leader Freda. There are 20 or so armed bandits at the camp, that has some traps set up. There are also a few other smaller safe houses in the area, but the prisoner didn’t know where they were. Aside from gold and goods, they have also been gather Elven treasures as well.

After spilling all of his beans, we crammed the prisoner in the chest and hauled him back to Westmoor and shared our findings with Rog Loray. The trio were rewarded for the capture of the gang member and were going to rest up before trying to take out the Thorns main base, reinforced with the city gaurds

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Trees and Magic Mushrooms

Still determined to find the earl (and his full pockets), Carlos, Garret, Sid, and Armen made haste back to the bloodied body on a stump near the logging camp, noticing overgrowth and changing paths from their last visit. Evil magic vines attempted to stall their progress, but the group managed to escape after stabbing an innocent looking flower and shooting a hawk for no reason. Following the source of said evil, they discovered up above a magical pouch containing three furry brown balls which, when thrown, turned into a bear and a mastiff respectively. They kept the pouch and it’s remaining contents and the group trudged onward, stopping at a clearing in which a forest witch had cocooned a member of the aforementioned logging camp in some kind of bondage ritual. I think she was turning him into an evil tree or something. It was pretty weird. Anyway, several enemies fell as she attempted to fight, charm, then finally flee from the group of mad swole heroes. She was rendered unconscious and was ultimately handed over to Azole(sp?) after Garret took her thorny crowny thing. Azole then revealed that ‘Brier of Thorns’ had been encroaching on her territory, taking advantage of the evil afoot. After she vanished mysteriously, the freed member of the logging camp said he had been their for at least a week. We moved forward, dude in tow, and stopped to take a long rest, ending their journey for the time being.

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The Haunted Fae Forest

Sid, Carlos, Garret, and Armen set out to find the magnanimous Earl of Duke at his last known whereabouts: the logging camp in the forest to the south. The journey was largely uneventful, save for passing by the now magically terraformed tomb of Mr. T without incident, and they arrived at the logging camp by midday. It had been completely vacated. Our adventurers applied their incredible tracking abilities to the surrounding forest and soon found a freshly-hewn path to follow. The path was full of hostile tree shrub men, but they were quickly dispatched. The path opened on a clearing surrounding a large tree stump. In the center of the stump was a massive axe, and nearby lay a bloodied body. Investigations were conducted, but no meaningful conclusions were drawn. Incredible tracking abilities were again applied to the surrounding forest, and another path was discovered. This path lead to more hostile tree shrub men, this time with ranged spiny abilities, and a magical malevolent vortex. Luckily, conventional weaponry was able to hurt all of them, and the enemies were soon felled. In the chaos of battle, Armen cut his way through some shrubbery and discovered a giant egg. Armen took the egg and ran. After the encounter, the group headed back to the clearing with the large stump, and found themselves face-to-face with a powerful fae witch of the forest. She told a fantastical tale of an evil spirit released from the giant stump that was corrupting the surrounding forest. More importantly, her tale included the promise of a reward for aiding her in banishing the evil spirit. It was decided that her cause was honorable enough for our heroes to lend their aid. With that, they were magicked back to Westmoor to gather supplies and provisions for a future assault on the haunted wood.

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The Impossible Castle
Holy S#$% We Didn't Die

Garrett, Grigg and Sid try again at rescuing Armen. This time they limited their distractions and head straight for the portal, but once on the other side they ran into a problem. When they tried to approach the Impossible Castle they could not make any noticeable change. They tried leaving arrows to see if they could tell distance better, but even though they could walk away from the arrows they still could not approach the castle. Garrett had the idea of trying to walk backwards towards and in a matter of seconds they were at the base of one of the pillars in the arch. Now they came upon their second problem, how to scale this impossible arch. Grigg, without hesitation ran straight at the arch and proceeded to run up the side as if gravity had flipped sideways. With some effort the rest of the team joined Grigg and they made their way to the castle. But before getting there they could reach it they stumbled upon two humanoid bears. The adventures restrained themselves and did not attach, and instead tried to communicate with these creatures. They found that these creatures knew elvish and they were able to convince them they were on their Master’s side. Speaking of their Master seemed to invoke some unpleasant reaction from the creatures and the bearfolk decided they would bring the adventures to their Master. On their way to the throne room the aventures witnessed other creatures, boarmen and ratmen, in different locations. In one instance a ratman was used as a sacrifice to open a set of large golden doors. Before entering the throne room the adventures noticed that all the creatures had a bare spot on the back of their necks that looked different than the creatures normal skin, but they could not figure out what it meant. As they entered the throne room Grigg stepped into the shadows to hide while Garrett and Sid were brought before the throne. At the throne two bearmen, twice the size and wearing radiant and terrifying armor stood guard while a group of boarmen stood at the back of the room. Then suddenly the two giant bearmen roared for everyone to kneel before the Master and a ghostly presence appeared on the throne. As the sorcerer king Thienerdhald integrated Sid and Garrett, Grigg was overcome by the urge to poke one of the boarmen’s bare spots while it knelt. The shock of being jabbed in the back of the neck sent the boarmen jumping forward screeching. Enraged Thienerdhald turned and with one movement obliterated the creature. Sid and Garrett stood stunned now starting to comprehend the situation they were in. Garrett’s silver tongue started working trying to convince Thienerdhald that we were on his side and that we had a plan to return him to the other plan. With luck Garrett was able to convince the sorcerer king and he sent them away for the night. While Garrett and Sid were escorted to their new rooms Grigg snuck off to do some investigating(read thieving). From room to room Grigg snuck look for expensive items to steal. In one room lined with cages he found an ancient book. In the middle of pocketing the book he heard a noise coming from one of the cages. Peeking into the cage he saw a small humanoid figure wrapped in a cloth. The creature roared that he would not be broken and they could do their worst. Grigg spoke with the creature until it revealed that he called himself Armen. Excitedly Grigg told Armen that he was here with Armen’s companions and they had come to rescue him. Grigg hurriedly unlocked the cage and helped Armen out of his binding cloth. But as Grigg stepped back from Armen he was shocked to see that Armen was no longer a simple dwarf, but by some magic has be transfigured into some half-dwarf half-badger creature. He was now Armen Badgerman.
Meanwhile Sid and Garrett were shown to their rooms. Before being locked into their rooms for the night Garrett tries his luck at sowing discord between the different races of creatures that Thienerdhald was using. But as the conversation went on he was shocked to find that these creatures had once, long ago, been elves. Garrett decided to take a chance and reveal that Sid and himself were in fact opposed to Thienerdhald and were here to rescue their companion. The two bearmen shared their names, Ithileal and Alaren, and reviled that they were not bearmen but bearwomen. Garrett and Sid asked for their help in rescuing their companion and offered to aid the elves once they rescued Armen. The bearelves escorted Sid and Garrett to the room that Armen was being held in only to stumble upon Grigg and Armen preparing to make their escape. For a while they discussed their options: flee to safety, try to fight their way to Thienerdhald or to continue to explore the castle. The bearevles impressed upon the adventures the strength of Thienerdhald and of those who are loyal to him. They had no chance of making it to Thienerdhald’s corpse to attempt to destroy it. They had to flee or risk dying in the Impossible Castle. Sid, feeling helpless and defeated by opponents much stronger than him, did the only thing he could think of to strike at Thienerdhald. He looked around until he saw some lab equipment and he grabbed as much as he could carry. At this point the alarm bells were sounded and the adventures knew they were in trouble. As quickly as they could they fled down the corridors to escape the castle. As the sounds of their pursuers grew louder Ithileal and Alaren offered to stay behind and give our adventures time to escape. Once out of the castle our adventures got separated by the weird rules of this plane. Sid laid down to rest in the holes created upon their first exploration of this plan. When he awoke he found himself in the inn under someone else’s bed. Sid confused this person to give him time to escape by claiming this was in fact his room and the other person was in the wrong. Grigg, Armen and Garrett ended up getting teleported into a bandit camp while everyone was asleep. On their way out of camp Grigg stepped into a tent to find a sleeping women and chest. He grabbed the chest and brought it back with them to the inn, which was a good decision since when they opened the chest it had an alarm spell on it which screemed that someone was steeling the chest.

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Good Intentions

Garret, Selta, Sid, Carlos, and newcomer Grigg had every intention of finding and rescuing their possessed and abandoned friend Armen Hammerman. It would be so simple. Walk back to the mausoleum, smash the sorcerer-king out of him, then get back to the Stag’s Head in time for happy hour.

And for a time, things went according to plan. The march out the mausoleum was largely uneventful. The group came across a man attempting to haul a heavy iron chest to the nearest town. Our adventurers could not think of a good reason for why the man might be doing what he was doing, so an impressive salvo of questioning was brought to bear on the poor sod. His answers were found lacking. It was decided the mystery should be solved by more… direct means.

The pixie that burst from the forcibly-opened chest was visible for but a brief moment. It arced across the sunlit plains and out of view as the man chased after it cursing. Selta quickly took hold of the man’s mind with his black magics, and a new round of questioning was issued. Alas, the man proved an uncooperative dolt and his simple, useless mind was returned to him once he was discerned to be of no use.

Oh yes, the mausoleum.

Several miles later the cursed tomb came into view. It was still thoroughly haunted (as evidenced by the ghostly wind still howling within), and thoroughly vacant. Closer inspection was halted as undead skeleton warriors burst from the earth below. The adventurers quickly dispatched ghastly sentries, and the main force that protected the mausoleum proper.

Upon entering the ancient structure the group was surprised to find a mysterious planar gateway in the center. It is well known that such portals are not to be trusted, so they began to throw all manner of objects through it. Rocks, missiles, chaos bolts, anything that wasn’t bolted to the walls really. Through the process of elimination it was determined that a living being should be sent through the portal. Carlos was staunchly opposed to the idea of sending his magical ermines through. Grigg, being the newest member of the adventuring crew, was ‘volunteered’ as the next-best alternative and was quickly roped up and lowered into the abyss.

It was soon discovered that the portal had a sucking ability that could pull everyone into it, and apparently this ability was triggered by lowering halflings into it. Imagine our hero’s surprise! They awoke on the other side clawing themselves from shallow graves. An eerie purple sky and barren plains landscape lay around them. The only notable feature of the new realm was an enormous rock arch. Suspended at the apex of the arch hung an inverted castle structure. The adventuring crew was super creeped out by the whole ordeal and decided that a long rest was needed to come to terms with their new predicament.

Their rest was unnaturally deep. They awoke back in the same beds that they had began their day in back at the Stag’s Head. None of the inn patrons or staff could provide an explanation for the group’s being there. Such a mystery! Our adventurers were left scratching their heads and determined not to leave their lost comrade to an unknown (but probably gruesome) fate.

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Dual Time! Then tomb crashing!
The rise of Thienerdhald, and the fall of Armen

Armen, Garrett and Selta met a new adventurer, Sid, at the Stageshead Inn. After tell them his story of being run off the road by the local Earl, Wallace Viktir, they agreed to aid his search for Victor if he agreed to help Selta with a dual. Selta had agreed to dual a huge human barbarian the next day at noon, and spent the rest of the day planning a ruse to beat the barbarian. The next day Armen, with much glee, gathered the largest crowd he could for the dual while Garrett tried to impress the crowd with food and booze. With the use of a disguise and magic Selta was able to scare the barbarian who turned tail and ran. This ruse did not entertain the crowd who had been promised a dual by Armen and things turned violent. Garrett picked a random person in the crowd, a dwarf warrior, and punched them square in the face. Enraged, the dwarf rushed Garrett but Sid stepped between them drawing the dwarf’s attention. Free now from the dwarf Garrett turned his attention to the crowd seeking their applause and praise. Armen danced around the dual chanting with joy and, with uncommon grace, slid on his shield across the ground smashing the dwarf in the head with his weapon. Stunned the dwarf retreated from the fight. As the crowds left the adventurers decided to head to a Lumber Camp, south of the town, where Earl Viktir was reported to be camped.
Leading the way Sid promptly got the entire party lost. During their wild meandering through the countryside they stumbled upon a rundown abandon building. The gate was locked from within, but Selta was able to use magic to lift one of the two locks, while Sid reacted in and lifted the other. The adventurers creeped into the structure where they found a tomb engraved with elvish symbols. Sid revealed that the tomb was engraved with the warning: “Here lies Thienerdhald, sorcerer king thrice cursed.” As the rest of his companions shied from this warning Garrett stepped forward and unwisely opened the tomb releasing the creature trapped inside. The wraith of Thienerdhald came forth with gail winds. The adventurers fought tirelessly against the wraith, but the wraith, on the verge of defeat, ripped victory away from the adventurers by casting a possession on the might Armen. Armen, now possessed by the wraith turned on his fellow adventures and smashed Selta into the ground. Knowing defeat was inevitable Sid picked up Selta, and along with Garrett, retreated back towards town. As Sid, Selta and Garrett approached town they came across a three strangers camped in a clearing. These strangers seemed to recognize the name Thienerdhald, and after a long dialogue they were persuaded to come back to town with the adventures and possible to aid them in saving their lost companion.

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Revisiting Exploration XP

Greetings, West Marchers. February has been a fairly busy month for everyone, but we did have some solid gaming and a few happenings in the kingdom of Gyleon. I’m happy to see people pushing farther out into the world and uncovering new locations. However, I think I made it too difficult to reap the rewards of this exploration. Specifically, I want to update Exploration XP.

Here’s what I’m thinking for the new system to reward people for exploration. The new rule will still involve updating the wiki, but now instead of counting how many “facts” you add, I’m just going to ask if you updated the wiki. If you do, you get to add a number of XP equal to your share of a “standard” difficulty encounter for your level. I hope you guys get excited enough about the game that you add more than just a sentence or two, but I’ll leave that up to you.

Everyone who’s not playing, remember that you can read the wiki and see the cool stuff people are discovering! This is the “tavern gossip” you hear when you’re not adventuring.

So what do you all think? Please leave me some feedback as comments here.

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Beartrap Headbutt
The Goblin King

Garrett, Carlos, Armen, and Selta returned to the previously discovered goblin hangout in Dranzilthl’s Ravine to explore further. It seemed the goblins reinforced their base with a few traps and barricaded the doors.

After evading the traps and forcing their way through the doors the adventurers proceeded to combat some goblin guards and head through the Dranzilthl mosaic’s mouth. On the other side they encountered the previously discovered rope bride but this time there were two goblins on the far side. The goblins immediately started to cut the rope bridge down to prevent passage and managed to cut one of the support ropes while Armen was on the bridge but the adventurers were able to prevent them from completely disabling the bridge and got Armen back to safety.

With the goblins incapacitated (They thought the adventurers were kinda cool guys at this point) Carlos shimmied across the remaining rope and once on the other side he and Garrett mended the cut rope with a spell. The party crossed the bridge and went through the far door to Dranzilthl’s Palace.

Inside the door they found several more goblins and an odd hole in the ceiling. The found a way to go up, through the hole and there discovered more goblins and the Goblin King, who had a bad-ass beartrap for a crown. After a grueling fight the king and goblins were defeated and the adventurers found a horde of treasure.

Before heading home with their new-found treasure they took a peak down another corridor and accidentally alerted more goblins. The party grabbed their treasure and ran, creating a makeshift pulley system to transport it across the rope bridge without stressing the rickety beams. The pulley system worked perfectly and the adventurers narrowly escaped with their treasure and made it back to town.

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Mushroom Cave Monster
7 June, 399

Garret and Carlos the Coward, along with new arrivals Sulta, Jack, and Armen decided search for adventure and wealth within the bowels of a previously discovered cavern. With the help of Carlos’ weasel, some mean-ass piton placement, and a well-timed slowfall spell, they were able to safely relocate the cave and descend into its uncharted depths. What they discovered was an alien world filled with ancient ruins, towering fungal forests, and bizarre creatures.

Oh, and a terrifying Fungus Shark of incredible strength.

The Fungus Shark bit them, nearly to death. The adventurers smashed and shot the Fungus Shark. It bit them some more. Eventually the Fungus Shark died.

After that they explored a bit and scared off a smaller humanoid lizard thing. It was probably going to kill them, so it was for the best.

They chopped up the Fungus Shark and hauled it back to town to sell for rent money.

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