Billy’s Pilgrimage

Torchbearer
Cursed Lands Session 14

January 27, 2019

Billy and Rasotto discussed the next course of action a bit. They decided to go back to town, drop off the porters and get new ones to allow these ones some time for self-care while taking the goods back to get rewarded. But first, they decided to go to the first tree and get Rasotto’s bottle and iron spikes.  Since it was on the map, it was just an easy few days journey into the words.

Afterwards, they went to Crowthorne and gave the large sack full of goods to the merchant from Crossroads Keep. Of note, in Crowthorne, the stables had burned down. The merchant gave them a preserved ration which is accepted as trade-in Crowthorne. Billy used the gold to bribe the butchers’ guild for a job. They wanted a stag, and they will be waiting to cure the meat at the gates of Crowthorne. Rasotto used the preserved rations as trade to hire the porters Ludolf, a third-generation immigrant and Sledgy, an old farm hand with a coarse voice. Billy emotionally unloaded on Rasotto about not knowing his real parents, and one of the only clues is that St. Vicious might know more.

The next course of action was then to travel to St. Vicious’s Cathedral deep in the woods and see if anyone there knew anything. They set out and went to My Son Rock. As soon as the party sent out, Rasotto went out to start scouting and immediately ran into some beast-men on the prowl. The beast-men recognized Rasotto as the slave who was apart of the slave escape up near Liar’s Castle and so tried to capture them. A scuffle ensued, and it resulted in a buckle on Rasotto’s leather armour being torn, and the beast-men at weapons’ point. They realized these were the beast-men who the Forest-kith bargained the heads for. They broke their ankles and were planning on dragging then back to the Forest Place when the wind spoke with the voice of the children. They were to drag their bodies onto the rock and decapitate them. The beast-men were eyed wide as Billy and Rasotto callously discussed how they need to decapitate the body on the inside first since they don’t have a large blade. They pummelled the neck with a large wooden mallet. It was hammer time…

They quickly collected the porters, since they didn’t make it far in the dark wood, and they took off in the direction of the cathedral. After hours of travel, they came across a strange clearing in the leaves thinned, allowing rays of light through the canopy. The leafy pattern of light through the canopy danced wildly across the mossy ground. In the clearing lying face down in the moss, sleeping, was a man.

The Bandit Slide

Torchbearer
Cursed Lands Session 13

January 20, 2019

The party went into the cave to check it out. It was a small animal cave with a chute at the back where dripping noises were coming from. Rasotto recalled some lore about animals and was able to determine that this cave was a hibernation cave of some larger animal used only in the Winter.

After looking around, they jumped into the chute, and with some quick pushing, Rasotto managed to get everyone down the shoot without incident. Deep in the cavern fog obscured a sizeable round figure. Their footfalls made a slight wet noise, the slippery watery covered floor. It spoke in a rich piping noise as if playing its vocal cords like a bagpipe. Its spindly arms ended in webbed hands, and the frog face stared back with coal-black eyes. Samson listened and determined that the language that the frog-man was speaking was old and not often heard by man and that he was a river spirit from the northeast near Alderport.

The runes that encircled it mention danger and eating people was the reason why he was imprisoned. Here and there woven into the story was the lock that the runes themselves were powering. The frog creature gesticulated and silently pointed at the rune lock. Unable to read and perhaps bored with the pantomiming of this weird, dangerous frogman Rasotto smashed the runes with a heavy pointed rock and freed the giant.

The frog spirit belched up gold and did a ritual and poured something on himself and turned himself into water vanishing. A little relieved but sure that they released something evil into the world, they started when they heard “Mad” Jack’s voice. He had tracked them to the cave, and with his help, they managed to easily extract them from the chute and out of the cave.

“Mad” Jack managed to find the trail of the bandit back to their camp where they saw the two brother porters standing on buckets with nooses around their necks. Mad Jack thought this smelled fishy and so circled the site but altered the bandit.

The bandit was ready and fired at the buckets beneath the porter’s feet, making them topple over. This let the party with the choice to free the brothers or immediately try and capture the bandit. They saved the brothers, and after picking up the trial, they pursued the bandit into the night. After a great chase, the bandit had managed to evade the group, disappearing into the darkness. The party was able to see the lights from Crossroads Keep far in the distance, in the direction the bandit was heading.

The party went back and camped near the Town gates and was spotted by a guardsman collecting weeds, thistles and grass for use in a tea to help sleep. During the camp phase, Billy added the route to the old tree to the map.

The Sticky Bandits!

Torchbearer
Cursed Lands Session 12

January 13, 2019

A merchant heading along to Crowthorne from Crossroads Keep was ambushed. Bloody and barely conscious, when leaving town the merchant fell into the arms of Rasotto. Barely conscious, he whispers that his goods were stolen. Samson exclaims that it is the guards he should be after, but the guards respond that their duty is to the community and not to some merchant wanting to get rich off of their isolation. When leaving town again, the man promised a reward if they could recover his goods. So they decided to go after the bandits.

They travelled north into the badlands. The Badlands is an area of maze-like cliffs and scrub that separates Crossroads Keep form the wild Southlands. Scouting the ground and forging a trail into the cliffs, they hit a dead end and were surprised when the voice from behind them. Three bandits stood there.

“You killed my brother!” One of the bandits exclaim. “You murdered him, cut him near in half and left him for the buzzards! Prepare to die!”

The party steeled themselves to capture someone who didn’t want to be. They fought and with only a few injuries managed to capture the man who claimed his brother died. The other two managed to escape. After a brief civil interrogation, he wanted them to torture or even kill him knowing full well that it was against the law and that his friends would take the risk of returning the goods and claiming the party were the real criminals. After debating the chances of making him disappear, they decided to return him to Crowthorn.

As they collected their packs, they noted that the porters have gone missing, having run away at first sign of conflict. They tracked them to a cave entrance that they must’ve entered. Only a shoe and a fork was all the trace of them, and they would probably have to check out the cave. Deciding that it would be easier to do, they returned to town and delivered the man to the guards they did so.

When they got back, the merchant came to speak to them about the reward was for recovering his goods. A bag of grain. He suspected that Crowthorn was hungry, so he brought them in a handcart to try and trade. His guess was correct, with the town’s foresters unable to trek into the forest to hunt due to them continually going missing, they were forced to eat only grain and whatever the grass scrubs of the cliffs could provide.

The cost of grain had risen to such a level as to be worth their weight in silver. Laws had been enacted, making the theft of food punishable by the rest of your life in a Gibbet. The guards delighted to punish a food thief led the bandit away.

As they started to set off a second time, a traveller interrupted them and claimed to see a man leading two people described as short and tall, much like Tom and Dil the porters are. They had their hands bound and looked in trouble. The party pulled their packs tight as Rasotto lead them back, ruminating on the way, his honour left away, leaving him feeling cynical and Faded. He promised himself that he would no longer play by the rules.

The GAMBLE

Torchbearer
Cursed Lands Session 11

January 6, 2019

After getting their barrings, Samson led the party through the forest. Samson asked for Billy’s help, but he was unable to help due to stinking fear making him scared. He leads them to a fork in the road, and though not lost, they had some thinking to do to set out on the trail successfully. Those able to helped determine which way to go and they soon found themselves in front of the boulder that they had dubbed My Son Rock. Here both Samson and Billy threw up their sickness, sweating out the fever of pneumonia that set it.

Now back on the map, they travelled to Crowthorne. They made it to the gates and rested before entering. Samson made a poultice, and Billy added the trek from town to the old woman’s hut to the map. The Blacksmith’s Guild was on duty. This was a peaceful town, and Rasotto managed to find a lucky penny.

Rasotto ever the shrewd merchant managed to get a deal and the bow as it was considered a unique item, it was an elvish bow of legend. “Mad” Jack went and played Wizard’s Dice using the Bow as an Ante and won. The moment he bet everything, their most valuable piece of treasure was intense. The party watched on as he rolled his Wizard’s Dice. The dice failed to come up traitors and caused a reroll with victory; there was an audible cheer from everyone at the table. He secured two additional bags of silver coins. Samson bought a few bundles of torches and asked around and hired Bruick The Forester as his guide and Rasotto hired Tom and Dil, a couple of labourers.

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.