The Foreshadowing Beaver

In which a beaver foreshadows Derringer's Near Death Experience

15 Planting, CY 576

In which Hoftar and Derringer drag Dorien and Korlin away up around Monastery Hill, toward the Red Mine and get lost looking for Rhogan’s Keep. While orcs lighting strange fires were avoided and beavers were vanquished, spiders nearly claimed their second death.

The next morning after licking our wounds, we started off on the trail o’ the demon wolf. Now that we killed it, we wanted to find its lair – ’cuz thar be the treasure.

From the woods, the wolf’s trail went through the woods up the hill somewhat towards the monastery or at least the hills. There amongst all the wolf poop there was a cave. Nothing apparent but wolf scat, bones and wolf hair. Dorien and I checked out the stone walls of the cave. Unworked and mostly stone. A good hour of looking and … well, nothin. But walls. A good hole to hole up in, but naught else.

There were however, tracks up away and towards monastery hill itself. So, why not check that out? If you’re drinking a new ale, might as well find out what’s on the bottom of the mug.

As we traveled, we noticed that the two separate standings of forest aren’t separate anymore. The tracks themselves seem to be skirting the hill itself.

But then the trail went cold. On the other hand, the booted tracks of humanoids got to be more common.

So we headed through the hills towards the mine somewhere on the other side so that we’d be a bit off the trail. Hoftar set some snares, while I climbed a tree to see if I could get a eyeball on the’ mine.

I couldn’t. Turns out we were MUCH CLOSER to the Monastery of Monastery Hill. We were 150 yards from the western edge of the forest and then another 150 yards up the hill I saw a walled enclosure with several buildings. The wall was stone, 10’ or so, with towers 15’ every 200’ or so, about 1000’ on a side. Most of the space inside was treed, spaced regularly. Huh. At least 3 buildings, large ones, and another larger one farther west. Some of the towers had movement. Humanoid figures climbing ladders up to the towers hurriedly, carrying stuff on the ladders. I didn’t see a gate. Wouldn’t there be a gate and why wouldn’t they use it? Is the gate cursed?

So, not wanting to spend the night so close to so many, we picked up the snares, covered our tracks and made time toward the mine.

As the sun set, we saw a fire from the monastery in the shape of a circle, almost like a sun with a face on it. Like the amulet we took off of the ghoul. What were humanoids doing making a symbol that looked like the symbol of Pelor? Then we saw another light more south.

Not wanting to still be so close to the monastery, we booked it through the woods and onto the plains.

After finding the road, Hoftar thought we were north of the mine and so we headed south.

Then we heard a dog bark, one of them orc dogs. So we took cover 50’ off the road and held our breath. The orcs thankfully paid little attention to their dog and they were intent on getting away from the mine before dawn.

Turned out we were south of the mine. Ok. So we went back.

The miners welcomed us. Mushroom brandy! Dorien and I partook. The miners were half and half dwarves and humans. We told them of the demon wolf and the lights on Monastery Hill.

The miners told us that Rhogan’s Keep was built to protect them and that no one’s been there in 50 years. At all. They said they orcs around there have two brands. Cheap brand: goat skull tatoos on their face and other humanoids with goat skulls worship the demon Torass, crazy rumors about whom is all they had. Torass was involved in the cataclysm and lead an army that besieged Rhogan’s keep. The castellan, Lathan was in charge of the keep at the time. The tougher brand of orcs are the orcs of the Golden Plain. Apparently, they don’t get along with the other humanoids. Those orcs have the dogs.

After resting that day and the night, we decided what the heck, we decided to check out Rhogan’s Keep.

First we left a note for the rest of our friends, relating what we saw that night and that we were going on to Rhogan’s Keep via the north fork of the road past the mine. It’ll go to whoever is at Rausham’s the next time the caravan comes.

North of the mine the road headed into a ravine, still paved but with lots of vegetation that had overgrown it. By mid morning we past the creek and a beaver damn. Hoftar couldn’t resist, so we stopped and let him hunt while the rest of us took watch. Hoftar came back with a beaver. Funny thing – the beaver had a brand of a spider on its head.

Keeping going, the path curved east north east and the ravine got deeper. The path was badly maintained and eroded. After a cloud break, we did decided we had headed straight north. The growth became more dense and we came to a large tree that blocked the road.

So we played silly and said loudly that we were going back to the mine and did go that way 100 yards. And then headed off the road about 50’ before turning back north.

Up closer to the blocked road, we saw a bundle, a human shaped object wrapped in light gray silk. We stopped. We looked up and sure as shingles, there was a spider coming down. Both Hoftar and I unloaded arrows and stones, but we missed. There were two of the suckers, and the bigger one came down on me. And bit me. And I felt my left shoulder go numb. DUMATHOIN!!! Meanwhile, Hoftar had skewered his and Korlyn got off a sound burst. They killed them, but I was in a bad way.

Hoftar found a grape-ish kinda plant that he gave me and slowed the poison some. Dorien cut open the gray silk shape that might have been a bug bear.

He had a pouch with 14 cp, 14 sp, 8 gp, a nose ring of gold 40 gp with a matching amulet of a golden tusk 130gp. Some fashion sense for a bugbear. He was armed with a long composite bow and a dagger. He had a goat head tattoo.
Off to the side Hoftar found a large metal shield and a great sword.

(By this time, I’d taken 7 dex damage.)

A coldness came over me! I was stiff and all. So Hoftar and Dorien made a stretcher with rope and the shield from the bugbear and carried me.

Over night, Dumathoin stopped playin’ and I seemed to beat the poison. But boy was I stiff and woosy and shaky. Worse than when I drank too much of that Orc brew and it wouldn’t go away. So we decided to wait 5 days for the next caravan. I made sure to lose a bit of gold playing dice to make everyone happy and we shared the beaver that Hoftar killed.
Hoftar went hunting, and found some goblins in addition to the bunnies and deer, but didn’t fight the goblins. He did find a couple of dead hobgoblins. Recent-ish. Still had 2 x scalemail. Have the goat tatoo. Killed by spear and the other from something bladed.

And then with the carvan, we made it back to town.

Pelts: 4x bunny pelt, beaver pelt, dear pelt: 55 gp

Clamilla was very enthused to see the ghoul’s sun amulet. I let her divine upon it. She said it was an ancient holy symbol of Pelor. Perhaps the Monastery was once a monastery of Pelor, but that is unknown. She was both intrigued and concerned by the report of the firey face that the orcs were making on Monastery Hill. We also showed her the gold collar of the wolf and described how it appeared to have been ensorceled or possessed by a demon. And then told her how the goblins had told us that their ritual in town had been to direct the demon wolf away from the goblins and onto the town.
She gave us a discount on healing, but even with 3 spells I was still down.

At first the town folk didn’t buy that we were the killers of the beast that killed their sheep, as the damn drunk, I mean shepherd boy, thought it was a bear. But with the collar and the undeniable coincidence of their sheep not getting killed any more they accepted us as their champions. As a reward for killing the demon wolf, if there are no more attacks, the shepherd folk will host us free for the rest of the summer. Which is a good thing, because I need to sleep off that spider venom something fierce.

We poked around a bit, trying to learn more about Rhogan’s keep. There are a few dwarves and elves that go back before when Rhogan was still around. Korin, a dwarf was a road engineer. He lived in Fort Talmadege back in the day and still does. A half elf, Cilya. She was a scout.

We found Korin at the bar, And bought him what he liked, the 2nd best expensive ale.

He said to take the fork a mile and half south of the mine to get to the keep. He remembered the glory days of Rhogan and Zelgar. The entrance to their keep was in the side of a little cliff. Wasn’t really a keep, as most wasn’t above ground. He did know one guy that left about 20 years ago, name of Thalas, dwarf. Took the boat to Greyhawk, thinking about going to the Bright Desert – ‘Mines of the Eye.’

Clamilla gave Derringer a break on healing some of the damage from the spider venom, but even after 3 castings of Minor Restoration, Derringer still has 3 weeks of rest to heal his dexterity damage.