Grazak Half-lip washed up in Rausham’s and so we hired him as extra beef for the trip to Roghan’s Keep, if we could find it. And we did – though the tale grows in the telling.
We set out for the mine on a bright sunny day. Too sunny if you ask me. Sure enough, on top of the escarpment we saw orcs. Vanna’s elf eyes spotted six of them. Too bright for me. So we brandished weapons and kept walking, thinking to show them we are strong and didn’t compare about them. But as we got closer, Vanna saw them get ready to shoot bows. Apparently they weren’t impressed by our ferocity. But their laughing reveal that there were a dozen, with 5 bows. Though no dogs were seen. We moved on and then took cover before they were in bow range. And passed their spot by.
Moving on, we left cover and saw a few orcs on the escarpment. We traded shots with them and Vanna took one out. And then another one. That seemed to speak a language that the orcs understood.
The miners didn’t appreciate our new friend Grazak, but we lost money dicing with them, and that seemed to help. We slept in the next morning and then went hunting to bring meat in to the miners. A bunch of rabbits and Hoftar got a deer. So they served us up the good beer that night.
Next day we set out early. The rangers were out front and we worked out signals for them to warn us. But after two miles 3 spiders jumped out from the trees. Wasp spiders. Vanna got bit, but the poison didn’t take – whew! I let out a sound burst and killed one but the other chittered it off. Grazak earned his pay and charged – bashing it with his morning star and smacked it down the road. Score!
Then Dorien charged and gored his too. But it was still up, but we got it pretty quick. Grazak messed about with the spiders attempting to get some poison from them. Well, he is an orc. He smeared something from the spider on his morning. While Vanna and Hoftar stood watch, I climbed a tree, looking for any cocoons they might have made. We didn’t see any, but we looked and saw whisps of web. We back tracked half and hour and then a bit off the road and we found a copse of trees with cocoons in them. 2 kobold bodies with 23 cp, 4sp, 1 orc with shortbow, great club, hide armor, 13 gp, 23 sp, 14 arrows, really nicely done wooden carving of Toraz symbol (½ goat’s head) worth 20gp, 2 gnoll bodies, 28gp, 2 spears, short composite bow, long composite bow. A few more bodies were on the ground: kobold, 8cp, hobgoblin scalemail (not great condition), 2gp, medium metal shield (insignia: half goat’s head), dagger.
I argued briefly to take the spider eggs back to sell, but did not press the point when Hoftar nearly jumped into the tree to disagree with me.
Gazak took the long composite bow.
We made it to the fork where we saw a bunch of humanoid tracks, and sure enough and we saw tracks on both choices, about twice as many on the straight. Thinking that would mean their lair, we went straight. We slowed down to keep cover off the road.
Up ahead, we heard shouting, including some barking. Gnolls? Or dogs? Both? Grazak said there was a lot of name calling, and arguing whether to team up or not, there were references to the plains and such. There were orcs that were calling the other group “toad lickers” and lackeys and the other orcs and humanoids had barking.
Soon enough they were fighting. We didn’t mind them doing our job for us. Grazak wanted to skip around, but we appealed to his better nature of greed. Or at least I did, and think that is his better nature.
We got lucky and they kept fighting. 1 gnoll and 4 orcs ran and the others followed.
Bodies 4 gnolls, 4 kobolds, and 7 orcs.
Gnoll: 16 gp, great axe, 29 sp, copper ring, dagger, 46 gp, 67sp, 2 composite long bows, short bow, 3 daggers, 2 spears, great sword, silver amulet of demon horn
Orc w/out tattoo: 11 sp, spear, 30sp, 10 gp, short bow, spear, spear, broadsword, 35 sp, 5 gp, 2 spears, great axe, 27cp, 7 sp,
Then the rest came back. It was a touchy moment. Korlin sound bursted them and the rest was easy.
17sp, 16gp, 2 spears, 1 wooden falchion, long bow,
It was just past noon by now. We made a cache with 10 suits of boiled leather armor from the orcs. Hoftar did some ranger work to hide it and mark it.
We went on the west side of the trail, keeping in the woods for cover. After about an hour and a half, we came to the big lookout. We skirted that and went south.
Hoftar found the cut off. He and Vanna went down the side and saw the kobolds on their log and came back to the rest of us. So we concocted a plan! And it worked! Grazak is dangerous when he charges – there simply wasn’t much left of the kobold he smashed.
The big loot from those critters: 20sp, and 1 gp
So we kept going south on this fork. It twisted and turned, rockier and up and down. Still had some cover. It skirted around a high spot and went between two hills.
We saw a cave entrance! Ah, sweet cave. That’s what a dwarf needs, a hole to enter. The entrance was supported by timber frame. There was a water fall and other features on the hill side. And another cave entrance!
We saw gravestones in front of one entrance. There were goblins and hobgoblins building a palisade FACING the gravestones. Even windows in the hillside further down. Lots of caves!
We retreated after watching the hobgoblins for a bit
Some killing and some loot: 69 sp, 3 daggers, a mace
Then 2 goblins discovered us, and Dorien broke his crossbow. But we were able to spend the night unmolested, other than what Gazak did to himself.
Woo, but Hoftar took 5 hours finding our way back the next day. And there they were, the hobgoblins at the palisade. We had Vanna talk to them – you have enemies, the undead. We hunt undead. We kill your enemies for you. You let us pass. They agreed.
A human appeared from the cave and spoke to us from the cave with a Furyoundian accent. “What an unusual party. My mistress would speak to you.”
We answered that we were hunters and explorers from Talmadge and yes we would speak with your Mistress.
And as we advanced on the stone path, we noticed that the ground was muddier than expected given the hot summer. Unturned earth due to things coming up from under the ground?
And then the hobgoblins attacked. Dorien took a couple of hits.
So, shouting as we ran “May we come inside?”
“I take that as a yes” he replied.
Vanna heard the goblins shout “Get them”.
Inside the 50’ wide 8’ tall cavern, there was a circular pit in the center, a woman and a zombie. The woman, apparently Stephan’s mistress, addressed us and we agreed to repel their company of goblins together.
There were 3 exits besides the entrance and the pit. Arianna, obviously a gothy priestess of WeeJas introduced herself and her zombie as Rodrigo.
She offered us stew and said that we had indeed found Roghan’s keep – just over there (toward the waterfall). She said that the goblins had aspirations to Roghan’s keep but neither them nor Torass the demon himself ever got in.
She said that she had an unusual pest that she would pay us to deal with. A Jarmaloh, a cat demon man sort of thing. It took some of her “alchemicals”. It is intelligent. If we retrieved her “alchemicals”, she would pay us in potions – healing or invisibility to undead, as we like. It has hands and can use weapons.
The wet ground “would not be nice” to us if we were her enemy.
Her cousin Talanmar might be a druid – but they’ve had a falling out. She likes spiders.
The zombie Michelle was making stew and serving it to us. Etian the zombie brought wine.
Her zombie Etian brought in the loot from the hobgoblins – 2 long bows, 7 gp, 22 sp, 2 daggers, 2 big shields, 2 scalemail, 18 arrows. Plus from a goblin – 5 sp, mace.
Any port in a storm. We stayed the night with the zombie lady. We were asked not to wander into the other two passages from the pit entrance room.