The Heroes of Hirot

From the Journal of Benny, the Magnificent, First of His Line
You'll Fly When I Tell You, Fools

Benny’s Journal:

Having obtained a fine, leather bound book, I have chosen to chronicle my exploits in hopes of passing along my insights to those who will inevitably follow me. We traveled East towards a remote and primitive trading posts so that some of the men-at-arms could better equip themselves since they rely on the strength of their steel rather than the steel in their hearts. I have the good fortune of traveling with my apprentice, Star, who seems to be learning quite a lot from me as we spend the days discussing The Art and other philosophical topics. His mind is not as keen, of course, but it provides a pleasant distraction from the crude ramblings of Ming or the mumbling of Floyd. I must admit that the priestess, Daphne, also provides a pleasant divergence. She vexes me though. At times, she hangs on my every word and looks at me with unconcealed wonder, but she is shy and whenever she finds herself too close to my impressive physical presence, she becomes a shy and awkward girl. If I decide to take her as a mate, I will have to break her of that as it will just not do to have a wallflower clinging to me.

The Fates deemed me valuable enough to gift me with a valuable servant; a mist elemental I’ve taken to calling Brume. Of course, the neophytes I travel with hardly realize that it is just a pun on the fact that Brume actually means mist. Ahhh, the simple minded. How I pity them.

As we were surveying the squalor that the frontiersmen call a trading post, we deduced that they were in dire need of our assistance. We traveled with a guide to locate some of their missing peasants when we met up with a savage hermit. He was friendly at first, leading us to his dwelling which was nothing more than a hole in a tree, when the poor fellow went mad and turned on us. Even though he had two pets that he tried to sick on us, we quickly dispatched him and his beasts. I must say that the Priestess showed great resourcefulness by calling upon Amantor to command the simple minded savage. We had the rogues search his dwelling but they required my assistance in finding a trap door leading down into a dungeon where I was able to rescue the peasant family (minus the adult male). It became apparent to me that they were held in some sort of feeding chamber for a foul abomination, so I set the group to prepare a trap. After some trial and error, we drew the foul beast forth and began harrying it. Realizing that it would quickly slip away, I sacrificed my beloved, demonic snake horn to The Fates and closed off the beast’s retreat before sending forth meteors to obliterate it before it could harm those under my protection.

We then descended into the cavern it used as a lair and discovered some fine, exotic weapons and armor which I gladly distributed for an adequate attempt by my group in battling the aberrant forces. I shan’t be too hard on them because they lack the means to channel the forces of Fate with a mere thought. I did find a nice, golden torc amid the other rubbish which looks quite good on me. The poor, misguided armsmen were about to crawl into a corrosive cavern to check on three obviously deceased cadavers before my voice of reason saved them from a tragic (and ultimately inconvenient) death. So, we head back to the surface to investigate the strange woods that the weaker minded claimed gave them bad dreams the night before. It’s a burden, but one I take on to further my quest to rid the land of imbalance and corruption.

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EASTERN PROMISES
No beginning, no middle, no end.

We have two new additions to the party: the Wizard’s Familiars. Both of them, given a few rounds, can kill an adult human male of the begger or farmer variety. See my amusing and informative entries in the Characters tab!

A quick trip East to a trading outpost called Kelisk, manned by hardy frontiersmen and led by a large man called Harald, led to the discovery of a side path that leads off to rumored ruins according to Iraco, who is acting as guide to the outpost).  The outpost itself yielded a number of useful items that the party had been looking for but unable to purchase in the backwater of Hirot, such as armor and weapons. The party learned of an enemy that the outpost deals with from time to time; fierce, large humanoids who speak a growling, barking language but don’t show much strategic sense, attacking piecemeal and getting wiped out when they try direct attacks on the outpost. Some of the homesteads have not been so lucky.

Upon entering the outpost you learned that the family of Bior the shepherd had disappeared from their secluded cottage in the forest; he, his wife, Mira, and their son, Cullen had gone missing, probably the previous night. There were signs of a struggle and blood. Since there was time to kill while waiting for some scale mail to be repaired, metal sling bullets to be made, and a sword to be crafted with gems, and also because the party likes a good fight, it was decided to see if the homesteaders could be found.

A guide, Stefan, led the party north of the outpost towards the home, but was intercepted by a local crank and hermit with his huge dog (wolf).  He claimed to have clues from the homestead and insisted that the party follow him back to his house. Which turned out not to be a house, but a hollowed out chunk of tree trunk in a HUGE oak tree.  Upon nearing his “door” the hermit turned and went immediately berserk. He attacked the party, as did his wolf and a lynx that was waiting up in the tree limbs.

However this was not the party’s first rodeo, and they fought back with spells, arrows, swords and a straight razor. The wolf was sent to Sleep by Star and was soon dispatched; the hermit succumbed to a Word of Power from Daphnee and dropped to his knees, unable to fight. The lynx tried to flee but was cut down by arrows. The hermit was pounded to the point of death and some attempt to get information out of him was made, but it was gibberish about how he was the defender of the forest and sacrifices were needed. Floyd grew tired of his voice and made sure he’d never speak to anyone, ever again.  Where’s Andy, indeed.

The party was unharmed and saw drag marks leading up to the opening, so they cautiously entered. Finding a trap door with circular stars winding down, they sent Brume the Mist Elemental to scout and proceeded down.  Brume discovered a chest at the bottom of the stairs and a locked room that contained torture devices and a few cages, one of which held two of the missing people—the woman and her son.  The father was nowhere to be seen.

After looting the chest of some treasure and discovering a set of keys, the party unlocked the door and tossed the keys to the hungry, dehydrated, terrified young boy and told him figure out which key worked in the lock and open it from a bad angle, to let himself and his shell-shocked mother out of the cage. The party might have done this for him, but they were concerned about the deep black hole that extends halfway into the room, and which they are convinced is the home of a hideous creature.  The boy confirmed this by telling the party, through his tears, that his father had been grabbed by tentacles that came out of the hole after the hermit had rung the big bell in the back of the room.

Stefan returned to the outpost with Mira and Cullen.

That’s where we are now—the party is trying to figure out the best strategy for dealing with whatever is in the hole.  The bodies of the hermit and the wolf have been dragged down the stairs to potentially use as bait.

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Doom of the Savage Kings
Victory and Betrayal

After reaching the tomb and thoroughly looting it, the party is in possession of the Spear of Ulfehenar and the Horn of Kings. Mr. Star the Wizard has also taken possession of a black orb that his thief was carrying around, when he caught the thief talking to it in a vulgar manner.

Walking out the front door of the tomb the party was attacked by hidden archers and a mage. You caught a few arrows but charged the archers, ultimately engaging most of them in melee. Benny the Magnificent and Mr. Star got into a spell-duel with the mystery mage. During the battle, Mr. Star and the mage clashed and caused a Phlogiston Disturbance—both were instantly transported to a different dimension.

The fight went badly for the brave archers, and you murder-hobos mobbed them and killed them all save the leader. Another had surrendered, but had unfortunately surrendered to a fighter in the middle of an ancient-magic induced berserker state, who did not even hear what the the guy was saying before he decapitated him. The Huntmaster explained the Jarl had sent them to kill you, but was himself furious at the Jarl when he was told about the rigged lottery box.

Meanwhile Mr. Star had invoked his patron, promising to brand a symbol on his chest and open a library/shrine to it IF IT WOULD JUST TAKE HIM HOME. The patron agreed and pulled him back.

On reflection, since Star got a good look at the mage, he looked familiar.

You guys are healed up, rested up, spelled up and heading over to the shrine stones to face the Hound, minus 1 Bard.

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Doom of the Savage Kings
A Lie Exposed, A Family Murdered

You rested until early afternoon after stomping around in the Sunken Fens and taking stuff that wasn’t yours. Upon waking you braved the screaming of the fanatic cleric in the plaza and managed a nice combo of buying armor while getting more info out of the locals. You browbeat said locals into selling you expensive armor, giving them shiny trinkets and glass beads in return.

Passing the screaming cleric in the plaza again, you met a Bard who claimed knowledge of Ulfenhor’s Tomb and spoke with locals for a few more pieces of info on the Hound. You also learned of the Mad Widow. Once again braving the rantings of the screaming cleric, you went out to her hut. At the hut you experienced the mind-blowing sensation of being in an extra-dimensional structure and saw the Widow making thread from fire. Which prompted Mr. Star to state, “She’s probably just a sham.” The Widow offered to make rope for you that could bind the Hound, if you 1) brought her hair from a corpse and 2) Benny agreed to marry her after the Hound was dead. Benny hemmed and hawed, and she tossed the bunch of you out on your asses. “Aaaaand STAY OUT!” is what you heard IN YOUR MIND.

On the way back you passed the screaming, frothing cleric again and Mr. Star HAD ENOUGH. Casting Magic Missile very quietly, he turned the priest into an acidic green pool of ectoplasm. There could have been bad repercussions, but instead there was much rejoicing.

Being very curious, paranoid and skeptical you created a complex distraction away from the town square, with warriors practicing loudly and wizards talking about stars. This was so Slim the Thief could get over to the lottery box and take a close look. He walked over like a Sasquatch, making noise that probably rose the dead in some distant land, but he got Lucky and wasn’t heard by the half-deaf Thegn. Slim discovered that the Lottery was a sham, much like the Mad Widow, and that specific names could be placed in a secondary box for pulling during the lottery. Quickly closing the box, he shared the info with the rest of you hooligans.

Deciding it had gotten late, you guys retired to the Inn for food, beer, cider, pipeweed for your glaucoma, etc. You decided to keep watch on the roof after that, and sure enough—once it got dark you heard howls and screams. Rushing back downstairs like a herd of armed elephants, your way was blocked by some unsavory sorts gambling in front of the door. Quickly making them move their Shiite, you poured outside and made a beeline for the hideous sounds. Upon arriving you found a couple dead watchmen and a damaged home. An inspection of the home found 2 more dead bodies mutilated and a young girl hiding in a small cabinet, who Benny was able to bring out to the Watch. Meantime, Slim double-backed and found a silver piece to steal.

Unable to sleep after this, and concerned that the town might blame you for this in-town visit from the Hound, you stalked off with the Bard as your guide to find the tomb. After a quick break in the woods to eat some hard cheese, drink some wine, and listen to a song you completed your journey and found the tomb. Crossing a large pond in front of the huge stone door you discovered 4 wrapped bundles in the water, with ancient skulls, coins, and swords in them. After 20 minutes of trying, you were finally able to move the enormous door…at which point the water receded around your feet and a serpent made of that water attacked you, narrowly missing the Bard. That’s where we are starting, next time.

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