Dragons of Blackminster

CoS 05 Thorns and Orcs

The elf wizardess, Aya, had told them that the Gur (the “gypsies”) were somehow aware of the magical dangers of the Mists. They are tied to it in some way – especially the boy they had brought back. His fear seems to be summoning the mists so it is reckless of them to goad the poor boy as they have been doing.
Seeing his uncaring behaviour towards the boy, Aya has no further romantic interest in La Ruina.

The party set off in pursuit of the boy’s uncle – in possession of a small box of gems. Once again the mists speed them on their way and despite the Gur’s 1-day head start, they catch him in a couple of hours near the edge of Gumpen Marsh. On a causeway across part of the marsh they find him in heated discussion with a gnome Merchant. The hand-cart (with “Relics R Us” written on the side) is on the causeway and the gnome, with four guards (an elf a dwarf and two humans) is shaking his head at the Gur – Rilynin.

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“Oh no – only 10 flasks of holy water for the 12 gems, and that’s cutting my own throat!”
Rilynin protests but then our “heroes” arrive and Maklum intervenes in the transaction. “The gems are stolen and this man is a thief”.

The gnome, whose name seems to be Chucky, wants to know if there is a reward for the capture of the fugitive and whether a few of the gems could still be traded. His lead guard is not so keen to get involved – especially with such a dangerous-looking group (pointing at the two disfigured half-orcs).

Rilynin makes a break for it, sliding down into the marsh and trying to duck behind a big gorse bush. La Ruina skewers him with an arrow and Mandingo leaps after him and hacks him in half. The box of gems is scattered. Before they can stoop to pick up the gems, the gorse bush reaches out thorny vines and drags the body into itself, ripping and tearing at the flesh.

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Other bushes animate with smaller figures that shoot long thorns like darts.

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In the battle that follows, our heroes are victorious, but both half-orcs and the priest are badly wounded and the elf is almost lost in the quicksand. They had fought side-by side with the guards and when they stagger out, Chucky wants to finish them off and take the gems, but his head guard – Alistair, talks him out of it “We didn’t sign up to become brigands and bandits”.
Reluctantly the gnome relents and sells Maklum two flasks of holy water and bids them fare well.

The mists take them back to the Inn in a couple of hours and they decide to rest for the night. They amuse themselves by terrifying the boy and describing the horrific death of his uncle. The rest of the inn’s occupants are becoming pretty scared of these adventurers – especially when Maklum becomes a skeleton again that night.

Aya sends them out again in the morning – this time to track down the cartload of weapons taken by “Papa” – the boy’s father. Through intimidating the boy and by promising not to kill his father, they learn that Papa has gone to recruit some of the Orcs of Thar in a nearby fort.
The Mists thicken and soon they are on the road leading to the Fort. In the daylight most of the Orcs will be asleep but they run into an ambush from two scouts guarding the road.

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A snare whips Revan up dangling under a tree while the orc guards shoot crossbows at the others. [DM:two criticals for lots of damage and Mandingo wasting a couple of rounds trying to climb the tree to get his brother down – make this a much tougher fight than it should have been.]
Eventually they kill the two guards and revive Maklum. They take a short rest to recover and then continue to sneak up on the Fort.

They manage to make very little noise as they creep into the courtyard and there they find Papa, in a cage and the cartload of weapons. The orcs are all sleeping in two large barns – there are about 30 of them [DM: and our heroes were nearly slaughtered by just two!]. They release Papa and convince him to give up on hiring orcs and to take the weapons back to the Inn.

They lock the doors or block them with rubble, they drop the portcullis to slow pursuit and then burn the bridge for good measure. Papa tells them that his wife, Sybil had some cloudy vision of terrible happenings. The Mists are coming into the world, full of zombies and a chunk of the world of Faerun (their world) is going to be swallowed up by the mists and dragged to the Domain of Dread.

They make it back to the Inn but by now the mists are getting very scary.

The only remaining Gur on the loose is Grandar. He is a wise man – herbalist who tried to help the Cook. But surges of wild magic must have made the potion too strong and now the cook is in a deep slumber. Grandar went to seek help from the Wise Woman of the Quivering Forest – Jenny Greenteeth – although there is usually a terrible price to pay for her help, they need it if they are to have any chance against the evils of the Mists.

[DM: we finished early as I didn’t want the next section with only half an hour to go. Hopefully next time there will be a bit more heroic behaviour from the adventurers and a bit less intimidation of the helpless!].

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MickH666

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