With their packs fresh with fangberries for Bokken and cleaned up with some prestidigitation the group spied a fort of some kind off in the distance. Aren’t many forts around here…so why not take a closer look? No harm in that. And if it happens to be the Stag Lord’s home base then even better!
Traveling to the next area and getting close to the fort – but staying close to the treeline – Valerie decided to take a closer look by sneaking closer. Approaching from the side of the fort to get a closer look things were looking well…none of the guards seemed to be paying much attention to the sides of the fort. Well, the reason why they didn’t seem to be keeping a careful out became apparent as suddenly zombies burst from the ground and began shambling for Valerie’s blood!
In a panicked response Valerie opened her mouth and one of the zombies became dazed (GM Note here) but that didn’t stop the other from bashing Val’s shoulder. Making a strategic withdrawal before the zombies could surround her, the rest of the group either stayed hidden or gave off a few pot shots with arrows to varying affect (with some magic missiles as well). One of the guards at the fort thought this apparent turn of events was hilarious pausing to laugh at Val’s misfortune (to which Tarvis’ player offered Val’s player petty player revenge on the chump – by playing the Plot Twist Card: Sickness, infecting the guard with The Freakin Bubonic Plague)
Once Valerie got back to the tree line however the zombies stopped, paused, and then sunk back into the earth.
Korin: “I don’t think this was relevant information that we were told about.” Referring to the field of the dead and the lack of its mention by the bandits they had captured.
Tarvis: “I do believe you’re right, we may have to have a talk about that.”
After discussing their options and deciding it wouldn’t be the wisest thing to suddenly show up as “Kressle” and a band of new recruits a few hours after some stranger was trying to scout out the Stag Lord’s fort…so in the meantime they decided to head West for a little bit and explore a couple other areas while solidifying their ideas for infiltration and any Plan B stuff. What if they made a fake head that looked like Valerie’s to help get some cred..? Yeah that might work…
Further into the forest the group came across some kind of pit trap that had a few leaves placed over it, hearing some yelps and growls coming from it. Korin, Valerie, and Alanea headed over to take a look to find out what was inside…and suddenly found themselves slipping into the pit! All three managed to land on their feet though but they found themselves staring at a horse-sized cougar with a dog-shaped head, pointed ears, and a blood red fur coat that seemed to…ripple…as it moved. The creature (called a “Blood Cougar” by the group) was emaciated and obviously starving and immediately leapt for Alanea…only to be crushed by Valerie who landed a split second after the others! (Valerie in this case played the “Plot Card: Where’d That Come From?” to land on the Blood Cougar before it had a chance to claw Alanea, damaging it from her fall and negating its turn)
Korin, Alanea and Valerie defended themselves as Sidney crawled to the edge of the hole like a fiddler crab to prevent himself from slipping on the sand and falling in, while Tarvis climbed a nearby tree to get a better view without having to actually get to the edge of the hole to see down it…thankfully though Korin managed to deliver a killing blow. The body was hauled up, analyzed, and skinned. Not much meat was had though predators tend to be stringy anyway.
Spending another day exploring the forest they decided to finally head back to the fort…it was time to infiltrate. Valerie prepared her Kressle disguise becoming a near perfect imitation of the female bandit (Sidney’s player adding the Plot Card: Familiar Face into the mix to further ensure her disguise) while Sidney and Tarvis helped make a fake disembodied Valerie head to bring to the fort. With Donkeyxote getting a pep talk from Korin about staying the course of the mission, the group hooked up the cart of booze they stole from the Thorn River camp so many weeks ago and made their way up the path.
Seeing the booze and Kressle approaching (albeit a bit beat up with some extra bandages added to her outfit) they were promptly let inside.
After giving their password “By the bloody bones of St. Gilmorg who wants to know?” (which Valerie remembered perfectly thanks to Alanea’s player using the Plot Twist Card: Earworm)the group was informed that while the password was out of date they would just have to pay additional ‘taxes’ to the Stag Lord. Successful plan!
Akiros Ismort, one of the three lieutenants of the Stag Lord and current second-in-command approached to see what the commotion was and upon noticing Kressle welcomed her back in his dead-pan “I don’t really give a crap” way. Akiros stood out from the rest of the bandits present. He carried himself much more professionally with actual clean armor and a fancy looking longsword at his side.
The Stag Lord himself upon hearing that Kressle had finally arrived with his precious booze made his appearance, an intimidating muscular man – bare chested with a longbow and of course the skull of a stag made into a helmet. “Reward these men for their fine job Akiros. Let the men party tonight, and give them an extra 20 gold for their trouble.” grunted the bandit leader before ripping off the edges of the wooden cart and dragging the entire thing back to his lair…
Sidney: “Was that normal? Cause I don’t think that’s normal…”
Korin: “We get money for this? I wonder what else the bandits need…”
Korin wasn’t one to let an opportunity go to waste and quickly arranged for the group to be alone with Akiros near the owlbear cage while he retrieved their 20 gold reward. “You seem like a professional, what are you doing out here in the middle of nowhere?”
“Needed to disappear from the world. This is about as far off the map as you can ever get, apart from being in the ground. So this is where I wound up.” Said Akiros.
Through their not-so-subtle negotiations Korin and Tarvis revealed that they were in fact from a group trying to civilize the area and that if they could count on Akiros’ support they would grant him a full pardon and welcome his addition to whatever they created here in Xen’drik. While it was still a mystery as to what Akiros thought of their offer he agreed that if they made a move against the Stag Lord that he would help.
“Good to know! So what do you think would happen if the Stag Lord is removed?”
“Dovan and Auchs would likely try to fill the power vacuum. It’s a split otherwise whether the bandits would run or fight. That is, assuming you actually could kill the Stag Lord.”
After trading some information Akiros retired to his room for a while, and the rest of the group explored the area and met a number of the other bandits…
Sidney sat down to a card game with a dwarf in ‘priestly’ robes over his leather armor named “Father” Avery Tessino, a hobgoblin soldier named Markard Ironmark “The Stitcher”, a human missing a number of teeth and a near permanently dented in face named Celthric “Handsome” Kilburn and an unnervingly calm man in his 30s named Falgrim Sneeg (which the group recognized as the bandit sought after by Septim Garess). Sidney quickly managed to charm his way into the good graces of the group and convinced them to make their card game more interesting by adding a lot more alcohol to the table…
Korin, Tarvis, and Alanea searched the grounds running into a couple other bandits, some of which seemed genuinely unhappy here and some of which were simply terrible people.
Dovan, one of the other bandit lieutenants made his grand appearance followed by the child-like warforged Auchs as the sun went down and the moons rose in the sky over eberron. Making a grand call to celebrate the arrival of their “flower” back to the group more alcohol was opened and roasted pig given all around.
‘Kressle’: “Yeah and my thorns might stab your eyes out!” staying completely in character.
As the celebration went on into the early hours of the morning Sidney managed to drink his challengers under the table but was completely tanked himself.
The time was now…under the guise of a bet between Korin and Tarvis to see if Korin could touch Beaky the Owlbear’s nose before losing his hand the group headed back inside the fort…a few drunk stragglers followed after though so they would have a little bit of an audience.
Korin approached the cage of the owlbear…the time was now…
Next time! The shit hits the fan in the Stag Lord’s fort!
Zombie x1 – 200xp
Hexes explored – 2 = 400xp
Blood Cougar – 800xp
1400xp total – 280xp each