The Continent

The one with the Plan
'Bee' aware- the plan is extremely evil!

Time had past; belts had buckled, skin had cracked, beards had grown.
Our team enjoyed the last of their RL downtime before setting foot once more into the strange and troublesome world of the continent.

Eager to continue in their good-natured ways, Lylah and the gang set up another food kitchen for the hungry locals to revel in. During the famous ‘Good cop/what cop?’ routine orchestrated by Oben, Grimes recognised a friendly and welcomed face in the crowd: the Leban from the Church of Datum-Lyn (Leban being a head of temple in Terrandor).
Our hero left Oben to keep the great unwashed at bay to seek parley: the Leban had been true to his word and found information which pointed towards a possible cure for the fever which had afflicted our poor Ryykan warrior. Bouyed by this turn in fortune, he left all thoughts of the ‘Murder Cauldron Maze’ behind and beckoned his team onwards to adventure!

After assembling at the Southern Market gate, they headed East along the North-Eastern supply road to the farmstead of Baron Halthswith; a wealthy land owner whose family history stretched back to the founding of Grate! The trail passed onwards through a small forest where, much to the dismay of the Priest of Tripos, Oben and Grimes heard an all too familiar sound rumbling through the trees- a writhing, enveloping swarm of wasps! Caution was thrown to the wind as Philleo made the sharpest of exits along the road, closely followed on his coat-tails by his comrades. The swarm pressed closer, yet thankfully they had the wisdom of a man of the forest on their side, andOben issued instructions to dive into a stream nearby and cover themselves for protection. After what seemed like an eternity in a cloud of anger and swirling hate, the swarm passed and the team were able to continue on their journey.

Leaving the forest in their wake they continued on until they reached the wholesome fields of the Halthswith estate- a large, white two story home greeted them in the distance, flanked on the horizon by numerous windmills and grain silos. The golden grain reflected the sun happily as the team approached, for them to suspiciously discover the imposing front door mysteriously open. Shouts inside were issued but without answer; cautiously, Grimes booted the door open and the gang burst into a peaceful entrance hall. Discussions amongst the group were short and it was decided that the ground floor should be explored.
Taking the first room on the left, they entered a large dining room; a table was set but no food was upon it, and the curtains were drawn. It was then in a moment of inspired clarity that the most heinous, devilishly tricky of traps was conjured by Oben: in his mind’s eye he could see the terror and madness it would instil in any enemy, the downright insanity of his plan would send any normal man to the grave- he grabbed a plate from the dining table, and sat it atop the slightly ajar front door!
The team moved onwards, discovering a kitchen whose hearth indicated it had been used in perhaps the last day or so- Grimes found a Halthswith family heirloom in the form of an engraved silver cleaver, which found the depths of his back-pack faster than Philleo gets tipsy on water. Finding no signs of a struggle, everyone continued searchiing, moving through to a study and then a sun-corridor before arriving at a room which appeared to be used for business. An impressive suit of old, worn armour gazed over a writing desk and a table set for four idividuals to discuss terms over. More interestingly, a large locked reinforced chest sat proud, hiding whatever delights may be within. As they examined it in a loot-hungry craze, movement was heard on the floor above them!

Grimes didn’t need telling twice- he rampaged through the sun-corridor, through the study and made it to the door only to have his world shattered: the plate propped against the front door had been somehow moved to the study door, and subsequently fell and smashed on the floor. The hunter had become the hunted! Grimes shook off the daze and confusion quickly enough to continue onwards, and somehow managed to avoid a bolt which managed to zip past him from the shadows at the top of the stair, crashing with a thunderous thud into the wall. He pressed on, reaching the top of the ascent to be greeted with two well placed bolts into his shoulder and leg- the battle was on!

No mercy was shown, and none needed to be administered- with one almightly throw from Grimes one assailant fell, the siler cleaver embedded in his chest. A satisfying spray of crimson fizzed agsint the wall, as the other enemy pressed. With subtle skill and deft movement the nimble fighter managed to cut himelf on his blade, strangely rendering himself unconcious. The opposition were bound and seperated into different rooms; during a lengthy interrogation process where neither prisoner was eager to talk (in a common tongue at least) some interesting discoveries were made- the body of an elderly gentleman who had a dagger twisted deep into his neck in the master bedroom and a playroom in which Oben found a 4 foot, pregnant talking cat. Bringing the newborn into the world, Oben claimed the kitten and quickly placed it into the depths of his satchel. Sadly, the mother did not survive the birth and joined the list of the dead that day.
Keys on the elderly gentleman granted access to the locked chest, in which Phil found a strange tool which administered a watery substance through a metallic rod into a person’s body; Lylah confirmed that she had seen such things in Rigeselle, and was confident in using the device to apply the supposed serum to Grimes’ buttock. With laughter erupting throughout the home, the team eagerly await their return to Grate.

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This city is Grate- I mean Fantastic
<No, we shall not use punnery>

Within a few days of travel the team arrive at the famed city of Grate; known to some as the ‘Northern Rock’ and renowned as Lord Fairbrow’s second home, the vista was a welcomed sight.

Approaching the walled populous from the South Eastern trade gate with a wicked cauldron half filled with gruel, they hatch a plan- to provide free porridge to the masses! After stabling their horse and paying a rental fee for ‘docking’ their crude wagon, they are pointed in the direction of the ‘Workers District’ and proceed to enter; they are greeted with the sight of cramped, filthy living conditions, streets narrow and imposing, and an intense stench fills their nostrils.

Skirting the streets’ central sewage gulleys (and attracting a lot of interest from the local hoi polloi) they reach a church belonging to Tripos, the deity of our heroine Lylah. After much discussion and fevered organisation, order is brought to the rabble and the sweet (note: may not taste sweet) tasting gruel is dished out to the hungry slummers.

As the team high-fived and cleaned up, they were approached by a man declaring that Kenwyn Lightroot, Forza’s aid, required a meeting with them later that evening at the ’Hog’s Feast’ Inn, and that they should look for the man with thick, dark dreadlocks. Unsure whether or not to take this on face value, our heroes cautiously accepted, and then decided to conduct a smidge of retail therapy.
The road had been long and hard, lizards had been fought, witches burned and rat-beasts vanquished; the heroes had earned their rest and opportunity to visit a world- famous market place. They all had a prayer in their hearts that they would not meet a hard-talking merchant… but were sadly disappointed upon encountering Malama’had. Phileo managed to purchase a fine tent from the man after a long bartering process, which resulted in both parties leaving satisfied. A new cloak was bought by Lylah, and a new wooden shield for Grimes.

The night drew in, and their meeting took place. Entering the Hog’s feast, they quickly spied the man described to them by Daigon and sat away from him, allowing him the opportunity to approach at his leisure. A round of the finest liqour was ordered, which tasted somewhere between horse piss and spoon gruel, which quickly turned the noses of all but Phileo; the musical maestro was introduced to what the barwench called a ‘Dirty Rainbow’ (One Brown, One Green, One Clear, One unclean) and within minutes he was the life and soul of the party.
Whilst he entertained the other patrons in the bar, the team received some interesting details about the serial-killer who was causing them so much trouble. Kenwyn hinted at the possibility of the latest cult on the streets being responsible, and suggested they looked there as a first action. He informed them that Daigon had prepared lodgings for the team and allowed them to leave.

They rested soundly in the night, and were greeted in with the breaking of dawn to a message, scrawled on paper, passed under the door. It indicated that the cult would be meeting in the Northern square this midday and that they should seek the man with an eye-patch to try and gain entry to their group. Whilst Oben and Grimes went to do further exchanges of coin for goods, Lylah and Phileo investigated.

The Northern square welcomed them with a font of heresay and charismatic conjecture; a man in a loose toga started spouting well thought-out lines regardng their new God Chaccaronn, urging the crowd in front of him to join their cause. Many agreed and, upon noticing the man with an eye patch skulking in the shadows, Lylah and Phileo decided to tag along incognito to spy on the proceedings.
After following the man out of the town and through the surrounding fields, they were ushered in to a Grain silo which had a number of old wooden tables lay out like beds; more than enough for everyone, including our two anxious heroes to get comfortable on. The ‘Priest’ of Chaccaronn began moving from table to table, cupping the head of the recipient heeding his blessing in one hand, whilst gently stroking the top of their head. In turn, each person would rise from the table and move without hesitation off to the side of the room. The priest moved swiftly and elegantly, working his blessing throughout the herd, including our hero Phileo.
As he approached Lylah, with hands drawn and ready to ‘save her’ from her false God, a great commotion could be heard from outside, finishing with an almighty crash as toga-wearin thug burst through the door head first. Stepping through the doorway came the silhouette of a redeemer- none other than Grimes himself! Oben followed in his wake, and a stand-off ensued.

All the new disciples appeared happy to stay with the Priest, including Phileo, but after a quick and quiet discussion between him and the Holy Man he was free to continue on with the party. One other young girl followed along with the team as she had not yet been inducted into the majesty of Chaccaronn, and returned to Grate.

Puzzled and no closer to the serial-killer answer, the team returned to their lodgings to regroup, re-assess and rekindle their efforts to find the murderer.

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The Bog of Stinking Misery
<Detecting Evil: A Beginners Guide>

With the sweet smell of charred meat in their nostrils and the ratbeast condemned to a shallow grave, the heroes set off with the hastily modified caravan in tow. The days remain cold, much to the chagrin of Grimes whose ordeal with the rat beast has left him with a curious malady which has weakened him at his very core. As the road continues before them the carrion birds circle above, but with the assistance of Lylah and Oben the sharp edge of the fever is alleviated- dismissing the hungrily waiting flock.

In a curious event, a solitary raven appears; after being greeted and fed by Oben it perches itself on his shoulder and beckons the righteous paladin to aid its mistress, a woman trapped somehow in the swampy marsh to the West. Interpreting it as a sign from his God Bonum, he seeks the team’s understanding by taking over the reins and moving the cart off-road.

The team hides the cart and take the two ponies with them as they travel West- the terrain becomes horrid, sucking at the team’s feet as they wade through a midge infested bog. After an hour’s squelchy progress, they see in a clearing ahead a small thatched hut, whose sight fills them with much hope for a speedy rescue so they can return to the critical mission of getting to Grate in one piece. As they traverse the last stretch of the cold, skin-chilling swamp they are greeted by the emerging presence of some cruel, dastardly beings.

Seemingly growing out of the bog around them, appear the figures of six crudely constructed swamp men. Covered in moss, branches and bramble and emitting a stench only matched by Grimes’ underwear, they seemingly glide across the bog to attack the intruding humans. A tightly contested battle ensues- Philleo is battered and bruised as a couple of heavy blows befuddle the young minstrel. Grimes, ever eager to test his mettle, rushes into battle only to lose his footing in the unforgiving terrain, his trailing foot sticking firm and surprised face slopping into the floor. Oben slays a number of mossy creatures, but as quickly as he is smushing them asunder a new foe appears close-by.

An old female face appears at the window of the hut, crying at them to run to the safety of her shelter; quickly and almost instinctively, Plan B (aka runaway) is instigated, and the heroes pile in to her tightly cramped home.

The woman introduces herself as Margal, and she explains that she has been trapped in the swamp by her jilted lover, a ‘God Blessed’ called Egris. She tells the team that as punishment for no longer loving him, he banished her to this pitiful place with only the company of the bogmen, her raven Neesto and a magical spoon of gruel to keep her alive. As a caring man, Oben subjects her to cross-interrogation and numerous magical tests (later to reveal that he discovered that Margal was in fact of an evil disposition) but does agree to save her from her plight. A plot is drawn up, where Grimes will potentially sacrifice his life to draw the bogbeasts away from the shelter and thus allow the rest of the team escape with the old woman.

Morning comes, and Grimes is strapped and booted and ready to battle. Margal offers him a token of her appreciation, a silver necklace with an inset emerald, which she hopes will afford her hero a modicum of luck. He is blessed by Lylah and given the protection of Tripos. He leaves the hut, and wades through the muck as the enemy gives chase. An incredible battle ensues, with Grimes ducking and weaving as the full fury of the swamp is spewed forth upon him. He takes a couple of minor scrapes but remains resolute, allowing the others to escape. As the bogmen vainly pursue Margal, Grimes doubly makes his exit from the fray.

Everyone returns to the cart to tend to their wounds. They begin to travel to Wickford, Margal’s home town, as they graciously agree to return her safely home. On their journey they spot a Zeppelin in the air, which Philleo informs everyone is a mode of transportation for the high-brows in society who choose to travel far above the dirty masses between the larger cities within the assembled empires.

On the final morning with Wickford just a few hours away, Margal goes missing before breakfast. A decision is made to try and follow a raven which appears to be circling in the distance, which in turn leads to Philleo and Grimes spying the town of Wickford. They approach and are greeted by the Guardsmen in the entry-tower, who after hearing the tale of the freeing of Margal rushes to fetch none other than Egris himself.
It quickly transpires that Margal had been terrorising the town, poisoning the livestock and more importantly, as mentioned by Benny, blowing the clothes clean off old people with a point of her finger. Egris shows his disappoint with Oben and the gang, and implores them to do what is right- travel to Widow’s peak and stop Margal. It is generally agreed to do so, and the team camp for the night to recuperate. With dawn they greeted by the peculiar site of a rain of toads falling from the sky, slamming into the village causing a great ruckus as roofs were breeched and toad- offal was splattered across the streets. This would not do.
The heroes travel to Widow’s peak, and see a gaping cave-mouth, inviting them to venture into. A winding, cramped cave weaves around to reveal a large interior room; a bubbling cauldron sits in the centre, flanked by runes dedicated to Duenna on the floor. Margal stands at the opposite end as parley is eked out. The ‘wildcard’, the ‘loose cannon’, the ‘uncontrollable’ Philleo tired of discussions with the heathen wench, and loosed an arrow which narrowly missed his quarry. Margal responded by asking for Duenna’s aid- the summoning of fire-spitting flying monkeys!

A fierce battle erupts- the monkeys do well to disrupt the heroes’ attacks, but they are unceremoniously dispatched by the powerful melee presence in the party. Margal tries in vain to cast the cruellest of spells on Philleo, lighting her ‘evil eye’ to diminish the bard’s power. Fortunately, Philleo had luck on his side and ignored everything she tried to do.
With her demise almost certain, Margal dropped the magical veil which covered her persona, revealing to Grimes and Philleo that she was in fact a gruesome, puss-covered shell of a woman. It was too much for them to handle, causing a loss of stability in their stomachs. As the team close in for the kill, Margal begins to plead for mercy- on Lylah’s request she denounces her God, but this is not enough, as Oben cuts her arm from her torso, spraying thick, black blood all over himself and the cave wall. As she lay quivering in a defenceless heap, Philleo dispatched her to the afterlife via a rapier through her face.

They return to town after looting whatever meagre items Margal coveted in life, and informed Egris of their success. They once more burn a body of a dastardly foe, and look to the North; Grate just days away, awaits them.

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The Autumn Hunt (Part 2)
<may contain cold-blooded murder>

After registering the day’s kills, Barnet and co leave the heroes decide to seek an evening’s entertainment in the town’s lively cider inn.

Philleo made a name for himself, playing to the crowd with such famed tunes as “The bearded Lady of Botley”, “The mole in my bed” and the wonderful “How did that get in there?”- the result of which was to earn him a sackful of loose coin.
Grimes sought information on the contest, but no solid details could be ascertained due to the amount of hyperbole being spouted by the teams in the inn. He was instead approached by Jessop Forfar, who was eager to seek funding for a venture to procure an abandoned property in Terrandor. The team ultimately dismissed the gnome, much to jessop’s disappointment. As the evening wore on, the team decided to retire to their beds.

Bunking down for the night, their rest is disturbed when Obenhoeff wakes the team to alert them to a disturbance close to their camp- some defenceless folk are under attack from the wild lizard threat!
The heroes spring into action: seeing a young girl being dragged into the darkness by this beast, Grimes dashes into the fray, foregoing clothing and rushes to deliver an almighty blow to the animal. Obenhoeff follows in turn, striking with his cruel spiked morning star.
Philleo Phisch aids the cause with a well placed arrow and choice notes from his instrument, whilst Lylah tended to the stricken lady on the floor. After a series of worrying bites to Grimes’ loin, the lizard is vanquished.
Their startled neighbour turn out to be a halfling couple named Binty Butterbarrel & Mobin Butterbarrel; Binty was shaken and discovered to be in a pregnant state, but after Mobin saw her to rest he promised to repay the kind help of the heroes with breakfast in the morning.

With the new day the team tucked hungrily in to the delicious, juicy and irresistable meat sandwiches which were served to them by Mobin- Oben was so enamoured with the tasty treats that he even had seconds and thirds! Barnet appeared and offered to take the lizard in to by registered, which Grimes obliges by tagging along (in an ever increasingly bloody state).
Upon handing the corpse over they are told that all lizards are now accounted for, and that an announcement shall be made that afternoon regarding the winner.

The team pack up and head to the town square, where they also spy Yidnig awaiting the results. After the third placed “Furry footed Burrowers” from Rigeselle take their prize, the crowd discovers that both “Team: Yidnig” and team “Super Farmer Powerhouse” are tied for first place. After a short deliberation, the victory is awarded to powerhouse due to allowing 2 of their quarry to live. They are rewarded with a keg of Appleseed cider each, a voucher for Edgar’s Emporium in Thalanton, a purse of gold and a big ol’ egg. Phil clears his throat to begin a winner’s song, but is quickly ushered off the stage for the legendary Munroe Plumpkin to perform for the crowd.

As they began to depart the team are approached by two guards to request that they follow them to the Guard house for a discussion. They are delivered to a well-presented Guardsman by the name of Forza Larkin, who seeks their help in bringing a serial killer to justice. After providing details he asks them to head to Grate and investigate the killings, and he will meet up with them after he has finished with further business in the coastal town of Botley.

The team depart Lesserford with the Binty & Mobin, who have sought protection on their travels to Grate. Binty tells Lylah a story of bandits which appear to be stalking the roads, killing travellers, stealing their belongings and tearing their arms clean off!
The weather turns prgressively worse over the course of the next few days, coming to noisy crescendo in the form of a full-blown thunderstorm. They bed down for the night in the shadow of a small hill, and a watch is set.
Grimes is pounced upon during his patrol by a beastly bipedal rodent, who sinks it’s fangs into his shoulder. Courageously, he moves to the gypsy caravan to try and afford protection to the travellers whilst he shouts for his comrades to wake.
The heroes stir to a raging battle; Grimes’ strikes appear to be doing minimal damage, and another truely struck arrow from Phil leaves no indication of harm to the creature. Oben joins the fray, delivering blow after bloody blow to the animal, but no progress appears to be made. Grimes makes a tactical decision, and after trapping the enemy in a net hoists it off the ground where it is trapped and unable to escape.

As a heated exchange develops between Lylah and the group regarding why they are tourmenting a pregnant animal, Grimes investigates the caravan, finding evidence of everything not being entirely as it seems- man sized armour and clothes, a small pile of keepsakes and pairs of leather boots all hidden out of view.
Lylah investigates further, searching the cart from head to toe and makes a grisly discovery; in a sealed cupboard diguised as part of the caravan wall are a couple of hung human arms alongside some human arm bones- one of the arms has signs of it being peeled and prepped for cooking. In addition, she finds a peculiar shrunken head with a magical rune etched in the back of its skull.

This information is enough to condem the fate of the beast which, in the blink of an eye, somehow turns into Binty the halfling traveller. No amount of pleading was able to save the defenceless naked girl, and she was unceremoniously dumped into a hastily erected fire by Grimes and Oben. Philleo began making alterations to the interior of the cart to accomodate his sleeping needs while Binty wailed and screamed in pain as she became a charred corpse.

The team agreed to put the night’s events behind them, but to ultimately be on their guard- a long journey to Grate still remains, and with Mobin still missing and dark skies ahead who knows what further obstacles may present themselves to our heroes.

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The Autumn Hunt (Part 1)
Bards and farmers galore!

Arriving at the bustling festival of the Autumn in Lesserford, our party quickly formed.

Philleo Phisch earned a small purse of coin for his violin entertainment from the assembled unwashed and hired the young Ryyk soldier Grimes for protection. The priestess Lylah, here to help the unfortunate out of their squalor and also under the protection of Grimes, finished the trio.

Shortly after arranging payment for Grimes’ services, the group witnessed a procession of Lord Fairbrow’s Growlers being pulled down the trail into town, skirting the village to set up camp. A representative of Lord Fairbrow declared that the first inaugural ‘Autumn Hunt’ would be taking place, with great prizes for the winners. He showed the quarry – crested lizards.
Philleo had the wise idea to try and get as much information on the prey as possible. Grimes managed to convince the on duty Guards to escort Phil to one of the wagons where he took some notes.
They rest, and in the morning after being awakened by the shrill sounds of the breakfast trumpets the team decided to check for wagon trails leading out from the camp site- a Northern path to the village stream was decided upon.
On approaching the bank they stumble into an argument between a group of farmers and a burly man called Yidnig, flanked by his cronies. They dispute a kill claim, which Yidnig eventually walks away with. Grimes enlists the farmers into the team and fits them out with some of his arsenal. After setting up a net to catch fish a new path into a small forest is forged, where the team spy their prey!

A battle ensues, where the hunter becomes the hunted- fortunately with the help of Barnet Winterbrook and his courageous farmer companions they manage to take 3 lizards into their possession (2 alive, 1 corpse). They return to their fishing net and allow the valiant farmer team to return to Lesserford for the night; Barnet the farmer remained and trained with Grimes. In the night they are greeted by a Ryykaan by the name of Obenhoeff, who joins the trio to make create a quartet.
With the return of the morning the farmers reappear, announcing they have registered the team with the name “Team Farmer Powerhouse”. The farmers, led by Barnet, decide to venture to the orchards. Our team head to the hills, where they meet a panicked boy by the name of ‘Shiny’ Joe the boot shiner. He says that his friend Hank chased a lizard into an abandoned mine shaft and he hasn’t seen him since.

Braving the darkness, they discover an opening which descends into a deep cavern- light shining on the walls seems to make whatever mineral within ebb with a calming, serene glow. A lizard corpse is found, along with an entrance to a man-made room, with a blue, glowing orb at the far end. When Obenhoeff enters he seems to trigger the room’s defences in the form of 4 skeletal guards. Lylah made them cower in fear through the might of her Godly ways, and Grimes makes short work of their foes. Oben misses the stationary floating orb a number of times before he and Philleo force it into a sack. Hank’s body is found dead in the room, and Phil pinches his coin purse.

On leaving the mine they find Yidnig threatening Shiny Joe- Grimes stands up to the bully, starting a ruckus which ends with Yidnig yielding and leaving before much harm is done. The team return to Lesserford to register their Lizard tally, and ready themselves for the third and final day of the hunt.

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