WTF! Talking Wolves?

Torchbearer
Cursed Lands Session 10

December 6, 2018

The party set out form the forest, making their way back to town. On their journey, Rasotto successfully scouts and hides from a patrol of beastmen walking around in complete darkness. Mad Jack sets off to find a perfect camping spot. Upon returning to the party he couldn’t remember where it was, though he recalls it being well hidden, would provide shelter from the elements and had a nearby pools of water.

Tiberius blazed a trail and ended up taking a wrong turn ending up in the campsite of Lord Melleck. There was evidence of sorcery since any clue that a fire was here was long absent. Mad Jack searched the place for something that could in any way help to find Lord Melleck, but his search turned up nothing but a sinking feeling like he failed.

They made camp here and recovered a bit and hunted a rabbit. The party set out, but after cooking, they realized they attracted the attention of wolves. Before the conflict, Rasotto and Tiberius ran off, afraid for their lives. During the fight, Mad Jack delivered the killing blows to both wolves, but not before realizing that they were able to speak the common tongue. After killing the beasts, they set off to get Rasotto and Tiberius, before they ran off too far. They caught up and had a quick word about the meaning of bravery. Tightening their belts, they were getting ready to head back to Crowthorn.

Big Tree Getaway

Torchbearer
Cursed Lands Session 9

December 2, 2018

Rasotto, Mad Jack and Billy were down in the hole when they heard Samson exclaim “spiders,” and heard him run off! It was not spiders but some giant rats. Samson went outside to get Tiberius. He agreed he will help out by continuing doing precisely what he was doing. Watching the exit.

So Samson went in alone and told them that it was just rats. And was promptly chased out of the First Tree by them. The remaining party was led out of the pit by the dwarf, Rasotto after being pulled free by “Mad” Jack. They had gotten Billy to squeeze through the gap and collect the grappling hook first. Now there was just copper coins and a single unspent torch in stalactite room.

Once outside, they decided to make their way to Crowthorne, and so set out in search of it. Billy, the Halfing, took the lead and led the group to a strange tree structure in the woods. Here they made a pact to exact revenge on the beastmen and bring the children their heads so that they may bathe in the blood of their enemies, in return they were allowed to camp by the structure.

Gold Sloggers

Torchbearer
Cursed Lands Session 8

November 25, 2018

After the party made its way from the Marigold, the Old Witch of the woods. Tiberius set off to find his way to the Pool of Sorrows. Tiberius was skeptical that it would be any challenge to find after consulting the tapestry in Merigold’s Hut; he set off in the most direct course he could.

After a time Rasotto spotted lights bobbing in the dense forest mist. After watching them for a while, he was magically compelled to follow them, and as the party realized what was happening and chasing after their companion, they too fell in thrall to the lights. All except “Mad” Jack.

The group found themselves walking forwards through the forest and kneeling not of their own volition.  They began to put their faces into the water and start breathing in deep. Inhaling water. The dwarf Rasotto managed to cough up the water quickly. Billy, who was off lost, found the group but was so too enthralled. Breathing in the water left those who couldn’t cough it up sick.

Samson managed to make poultices to treat exhaustion since the first step of treating sickness is making, those who have trouble sleeping, a sleep remedy. Billy updated the map to include the Witches Hut. The party after resting as best they can make their way West to the cursed First Tree. In the middle of a dark groove, with a ring of grisly trophies, the First Tree stood a mighty 500 ft high with a base thicker than a large house. Amid blacked earth. The dead tree had no leaves. The party searched the bottom of the tree and after extracting Tiberius from a thick web that he a falling into found a hollow in the tree. This hollow was big enough to climb into.

They also spotted, in the lowest bough 40 ft up, a cart swinging in thick webs. Rasotto volunteered to scout out the crack in the tree and upon entering struck a torch and realized space made up most of the interior of the tree. It was as if it was hollowed out. He accidentally stepped on the hole covered in the web, and the weight of him and the branches that were covering it caused it to collapse.

“Mad” Jack climbed into the crack and made his way to the edge of the pit. When Rasotto came to, he looked about and saw a deep black pool of water and a small cave chute whose entrance was only a few feet wide and maybe a foot tall. Deciding to check out a nearby low cave, and to do a bit of spelunking in this extremely tight passage, Rasotto pushed his way through and found an area that contained bone, rags, and other odds and ends. He went through the pile and found a bow, a grappling hook, coins, gems, and some torches.

After trying to extract himself, he managed to get himself stuck. “Mad” Jack and Billy went down to save him while Samson stayed at the top of the pit, and Tiberius watched the stuff outside. This was when Samson heard the distinct chittering, tapping on wood, of a creature approaching him.

A Flower in the Forest

Torchbearer
Cursed Lands Session 7

November 18, 2018

Tiberius and Rasotto set out from camp to push into the Old Forest to find the lake. Tiberius was skeptical that finding the way was hard and so decided on leading the group directly in a straight line towards where he thought  Melleck’s old camp was. They made it maybe halfway there, and Rasotto saved Tiberius from walking into a barely visible spider web; since Rasotto was on the alert for danger.

Tiberius knowing it was more complicated than it seemed decided to work out the rest of the way using his wizard’s sight. Eyes glazing over and letting his inner sight guide him, they walked in a winding path and made their way to a house standing on a large stump carved to be an eagle talon. Tiberius’s sight had caused them to go astray, directly towards a magical aura.

Tiberius recalled an old tale about a shape-changing woman that lived in such a house and that the key to surviving an encounter was to have impeccable manners. They decided to drop in and ask for directions. The asked if anyone was home and if they were allowed in. They humbly asked for directions to which the old women said she would deliver but first invited to stay for dinner. The old woman prepared soup.

While this was going on, Tiberius stared at a magical tapestry that depicted the forest and the house of the women. Tiberius learned a few things about the ancient history of the forest and an ancient curse tied to a cathedral, a castle, and the First Tree. After learning that one of her many names is Marigold, she asked them if they can hunt for a rabbit in the woods. Rasotto eventually caught a rabbit but not before he became desperately hungry. Drunk on knowledge and knowing full well it is rude to ask a lady her age, Tiberius decided to preface the rude question with “I know it’s rude to ask a woman her age but….” and he was unable to persuade her that he was a tad bit insensitive. She kindly decided that she would not eat them but to eat soup in silence and to not answer any more questions. She made them leave. Rasotto scolded Tiberius for being rude as they stepped off the eagle’s talon.

Rebel Yell! Aahhhh!

Torchbearer
Cursed Lands Session 6

November 11, 2018

Tiberius, having been lost and alone joined the group. He has spent much time exploring the labyrinth having been lost in it previously. He and the group decided to check out the outside of the castle walls.

The castle was a square castle with each wall facing a minor cardinal direction; SW, NW, NE, and SE. Upon inspection, each wall had its own problem. There was a ruined section of the wall that held loose rocks and was the most open and likely guarded, the main southern gates are rusted and have fallen in, the northwest wall was scalable, but a challenging climb and the northeastern wall was home to a collapsed tower.

The party climbed at the tower since the rubble provided a boost, so it was only half the distance. When they got to the top, they were immediately spotted by guards. A foot race back into the hedge maze began. The dwarf was tackled almost right away. The beast-men caught the party after a lengthy foot chase, with Tiberius stowing his stuff somewhere in the maze.

The beast-men inducted them into slavery. Rasotto was forced to work to attempt to bust into a vault, beneath the castle, in the crypts with a pickaxe but the work was slow. While Samson and Tiberius were sent to the wheel of pain. Later during slave break a. k. a. the sleep cycle, Tiberius and Rassotto sparked a confrontation between the beast-men and the human mercenaries and cult members.  In confusion, the party made their escape, found the supplies and made off to the camp in the woods. Tiberius made an enemy for rather than call for the slave uprising he argued against the slave rebellion leader and that a skirmish between the beastmen and the mercenaries was the best course of action, causing him to lose his mind and don the moniker, Chain-Guy: hero of the slaves.

The Telltale Hambone

Torchbearer
Cursed Lands Session 5

November 4, 2018

The adventurers awoke from camp and while Rasotto and Samson pack, Billy decided to go and survey his map. A short while later “Mad” Jack stumbled into the campsite, annoyed that Lord Melleck escaped his clutches, but otherwise was in good health.

They called out to Billy, but he was nowhere to be found. They thought maybe he went on the Crowthorne or to the forest.

Still desperate for cash the group decided to press on into The Old Wood again. Samson led the group by quickly stopped because of distant drumming. He then decided to scout ahead. While the group caught up, a voice from beside them warned them from going into Ol’Town for goblin and worse reside there. “Mad” Jack familiar with madness quickly determined that this fellow was indeed insane.

This man who claimed that he wasn’t anyone later recalled that his name was Korben.

After running away and being caught by Samson, Korben was convinced to at least act as a guide to the buildings of Ol’Town, the matter settled by hambone.

He was too scared that the Drum would get them and Rasotto said he shouldn’t be scared when… *busted out into a hambone*. Korben started to believe that they could protect him if something happened.

He pointed out the buildings including where the goblins have trapped two buildings, where Drum lives, The Goblin Hall, and the Desecrated Church. Korben then climbed a tree and pretended to be a bird, hiding only his face.

The group decided to carefully inspect Drum’s house through a window and saw a figure between 7 or 10 feet tall thing sitting and beating a drum. The party then searched a nearby shack, that Korben specifically didn’t mention. Korben burst in, grabbing the hems of their clothes, begging them to leave his house. They pressed on and found a pile of notes.

Eventually, they left but not before convincing Korben to come along and help them get into the castle, which the party named Lair’s castle. Korben was instructed to take a bunch of sticks and toss them into the moat. He did that, and then the party swam the moat and navigated the hedge maze. There they stand and at the open gates of Lair’s Castle. Figures in shadow and in torch patrol atop the ruined walls.

Burning Down the Tent

Torchbearer
Cursed Lands Session 4

October 21, 2018

“Mad” Jack was incapacitated at the same instant when Billy the Halfling stumbled upon the Lord Melleck campsite. He proceeded to convince Lord Melleck that him and his companions – lying about not knowing “Mad” Jack – were vital to escape the Forest alive and that they should search for Billy’s friends and use the map to escape the forest. While Rasotto scavenged a purple tree fruit, Samson overheard this the discourse and came out to greet Billy and his newfound friends.

Samson devised a play and relaid it to Rasotto hiding in a tree and then back to Billy, using the excuse that he needs to hunt for food to leave to talk to Rasotto, bringing the tree fruit back as proof that he was hungry.  Rasotto snuck behind the tents and lit Lord Melleck’s aflame after the camp settled. In the intervening chaos, the party fled with the captured prisoner, “Mad” Jack.

Lord Melleck’s goon’s tried to pursue the party, but the party escaped and were lost again, while Lord Melleck’s crew were separated and afraid, not all of them, however. The Party decided to get back on Map and Billy blazed the trail back to the campsite North of Crowthorne out of the forest and into the hill lands where the party was ambushed by the Thugs. Once again camping near now skeletonized remains of the three Thugs. During Camp Billy mapped the path from Crowthorne to “My Son” Rock and Rasotto tired to recovery from his exhaustion using his cloak as a pillow but his battered muscles were too strained for having to carry both his small sacks in his hand last session. Breaking camp on a new day the party has few foods but are hopefully optimistic that they won’t die, next time on Torchbearer.

Dark Forest Blues

Torchbearer
Cursed Lands Session 3

October 14, 2018

Their source of light went out and plunged them into darkness. In a panic, Rasotto rummaged through his pack and pulled out his tinderbox and torches. Attempting to spark a light anew enraged the spirits of the forest as they gave warning to not light any more fires. They threw rocks, stones, sticks, and acorns. This made lighting the torch with flint and steel impossible.

In utter darkness, the party was accosted. The voices rushed out from the forest forward to capture the party. The party had no choice but to flee further into the woods. Rushing, dodging trap and trick they managed to outpace the forest dwellers. With no real light and having rushed headlong into an unknown direction.

When the torch was light, the party knew then that the halfling disappeared. After consulting their needs and desires, the need to rest outweighed the desire to find treasure. At camp Rasotto went off alone to relax and calm his nerves with rock collecting, unable to steady his fear he returned without a rock. While Samson attempted to start a new map starting from here, as they knew not when or if Billy would be found. He fumbled with the ink and spilled in over his bag and cursed out loud. That is when they heard noises of men walking nearby.

Dousing the campfire they sat and listened. “Mad” Jack as mad as a bulldog rushed off when he recognized the sound of Kevin Law, Lord Melleck’s Justicar. He followed them along ahead just in the torchlight of the torch Samson’s hand. The justicar went back to his campsite, and so “Mad” Jack alone and vengeful waited to ambush the camp at the opportune time. Being hasty and not heading the watchful eyes of Rasotto, Jack went to sneak into the Lord Melleck’s tent. What Jack thought was a dosing archer was actually just slumping over because he was trying to tie his belt tighter. And so Jack was spotted and halted by the bowman. Lord Melleck threw aside his tent flap slow, clapping the bowman’s luck and prepared to capture the seething angry “Mad” Jack.

My Son

Torchbearer
Cursed Lands Session 2

September 23, 2018

The group awoke to find Tiberius Drakkenhoff gone. With the assumption that he went off to get to Crowthorne, the party set off after him. Billy searched high and low and managed to find a trail whose destination was only guessed at. They assumed that it would lead to Crowthorne. Blazing this trail anew the party made it to Crowthorne after walking all day and were exhausted when they reached its gates.

Samson ate all fresh rations lest they go to waste and were thrown out to the dogs.

The party realizing they had barely enough to bribe a local about the whereabouts of the treasure of The Old Wood, proceeded to do just that and left in a hurry. They didn’t want to find themselves sleeping in the filth infested streets. Exhausted, near dusk, they entered The Old Wood and found themselves in utter darkness. An old man they bribed had given them directions that few had ever heard rumours but as the legend goes, to seek the treasure first you must find the grove to the south and turn west and travel for a day, then the tallest tree in the forest houses that what you seek.

After getting lost in the woods, they found themselves at a boulder in the woods with a flat top. Hearing laughter all around them like whispers blowing through the trees. Looking about they then saw their torchlight glinting off a half dozen sets of eyes all around. Seeking to trick them, Billy said of that he was a child. And Samson added to the lie that he was, in fact, his son. Not understanding them, the creatures argued about the forest and their origin. How can he be a child if he doesn’t have green hair? During this talk, they hinted that if they took axe and flame to their forest, they would hunt them down and kill them. They decided that they would watch the heroes and alluded to not killing them themselves for “She will catch them! She catches all who seek the treasure.”  This made Billy, Samson, and Rasotto quite scared. Mad Jack wasn’t paying attention and stood to watch. After they talked, the lights went out!

Humble Beginnings

Torchbearer
Cursed Lands Session 1

September 16, 2018

The intrepid adventurers met at the Tavern in Crossroads Keep, a major overland crossroads connecting the western borderlands to the central and eastern heartlands.  They quickly set off to Crowthorne in the Southern Wilds to seek the hidden treasure of The Old Wood.

Crowthorne hasn’t been heard from in recent times. This generation was nearish to 30 years. Tiberius Drakkenhoff obsessed with the idea that the extremely isolated town held real ghosts, peered into the world using Wizard’s Sight and lead the group down the trail when it waned. They approached a small pass with a few trees when out from the underbrush sprung three bandits.  During the ensuing fight, “Mad” Jack struck a mighty blow and fell two bandits with a fury of swings and Samson hucked his backpack at the bandits as a distraction. Unfortunately “Mad” Jack sustained injuries and was incapacitated from battle. The last remaining bandit was disarmed and quickly dispatched. Samson’s bag sustained a rip, and until he fixes the problem, his backpack will periodically drop the bottom-most item. The bodies where looted and a quiver, a sack of silver and a small vial were discovered.

The plucky halfling Billy took the lead and looked for a suitable location to rest and mend. The disciple Samson used his training in first aid to see to Jack’s hip. The wound would close, but Samson was unable to repair some damage and Jack would forever be able to not ride a horse as well as he was once able to. During this time Billy started a map and mapped three locations: The Old Road, The Ambush Point and the Campsite near the Ambush Point. When Samson recovering from his wounds, the party looked to him to mend Samson’s bag, since he had the know-how to accomplish such a feat. Tiberius spent his time tasting and inspecting the vial and guessed its contents to be a Potion of Friendship. If drunk empowered the user to use hypnotic suggestion to befriend the target of the drinkers gaze. With the light of dawn approached the party broke camp and decided to continue on.