Guards and Wards

From Ardrana

This adventure began with the party, currently led by Toshiro, leaving Promise Junction bound for Vamnik Outpost, where they would meet a caravan from Floyk delivering supplies to the village. Their task was to escort the caravan past the Grazhnakh settlement of Blukh Ukh along Onyx Road 46. To that end, two of the humanoid residents of the village -- an orc named Makdad and a gnoll named Lamu -- had joined them along with two members of the now-being-rebuilt temple of Perasin, Stom and Pete.

Alvin received some supplies from his boss Cellani at the Red Dragon Inn, while Solidus Proudfoot provided several newly-created healing potions. After Rin checked the weather, the group set forth.

The road west

Getting underway

On their way, they had also been instructed by Bramus, the head of the village guard, to meet with Tara Goldmoon and possibly Rodney regarding the magical seeds mentioned by Maud Frickert. Passing through Eskalikor, they first met a large man carrying an axe, but could not communicate their desire to be led to Tara's dwelling. Rin then spoke to a weasel, who guided Emi, Makoto and Siege to what turned out to be Rodney's house. They relayed the message, and Rodney warned them about some dangerous creatures on the road ahead.

Fight for shelter

After exiting the forest, the group came across an abandoned fort. Hoping to use it as shelter from the snowy weather, Emi and Makoto attempted to climb the walls of the keep, but they proved too slippery, with Makoto injuring her ankle. They decided to chance entering through an archway on the north side. They discovered several buildings within, and when Toshiro poked his head into one he was nearly hit by a rock. After lighting up the building with fire, arrows followed, and Eckhorn questioned the wisdom of proceeding. After camping outside was dismissed as an option, Stom and Pete went inside, followed closely by Nyla and Lamu. They were confronted by several creatures, and battle commenced.

The party was able to use magic -- primarily hold person from Rin and blinding light from Alvin -- to impair several of the creatures. The enemy proved difficult due to their ability to paralyze their foes, resulting in several party members -- Nyla, Eckhorn, Stom, and Pete -- also becoming incapacitated. Makdad was able to tackle an archer off the balcony, but ended up being killed himself before the party finally finished off their foes.

While a cairn was raised for Makdad, part of the group explored the other buildings, finding the remnants of what appeared to be Onyx Empire heraldry. The party made camp in one of the buildings, then set out again in the morning.

In and around Blukh Ukh

The group passed a small settlement, then after lunch they encountered Ulsi Taligus returning from Sandpit, whom they asked about news from Promise Junction. Toshiro tried to summon an animal for food, but produced a mountain lion, with which no one wanted to mess. A second casting produced a deer, which the group slew and cooked.

The next morning, the party arrived at the outskirts of Blukh Ukh. Toshiro and Makoto scouted ahead, with Makoto in fox form and Toshiro under a camouflage spell, but found no danger before returning. The group carefully made their way through the Gar-bears Orc city, encountering nothing but occasional Orcish voices, before resuming their previous pace.

The group crossed a bridge over a small frozen stream, then passed by what smelled like a garbage dump, but otherwise the day passed uneventfully. That night, the group heard the sound of wolves howling as they had before, but this time it drew closer to the campsite as the night wore on. During the second watch, Klaven spotted two shapes approaching and sounded the alarm. The wolves -- or, rather, worgs -- charged into the camp, causing the party's draft horse to bolt. Other animals set about mauling Pete and Emi, while Toshiro's pony was also badly injured. Alvin was able to blow one away, literally, and Makoto scared off another while the group rallied to kill two others before the remaining worgs broke and fled.

The next morning, Eckhorn suggested Toshiro talk to Lamu, who had left camp, about not doing so again. The earth priest did so, and arranged for Siege and Klaven to hunt with him at night in the future. The next day passed without incident, but early the next morning a herd of buffalo-like animals came close to the camp. The group's hunters attempted to pick one off to no avail.

Arrival at Vamnik

As the group set out, Rin cast cloudview, from which she saw a group approaching the outpost from the north. She described an animal that Toshiro thought could be an elephant, but upon arriving a short time later, they discovered from its handler, a githzerai named Ali that it was instead a creature called a baku, part of a traveling circus that was also staying at the outpost. They soon met another member, a gnomish tumbler named Pikilily -- who picked Siege's pocket only to find she had pilfered a tube of glue -- before being introduced to its ringmaster, Barnaby.

They soon entered the main building of the outpost, hoping to warm up and get a meal. While scouting the common area, Toshiro met some other members of the circus: a pair of tieflings named Ixtala and Lady Maib, and a half-ogre named Biliko. Meanwhile, Lily confirmed her vocation as a thief with Makoto and Emi.

After lunch, Toshiro and Eckhorn visited Barnaby and Maib in one of the wagons. There, they offered to lend their aid to guard the circus, and discovered that the circus was being sponsored by Hest Travel. After some discussion of payment, they returned to the rest of the group to review their options. At that time, they learned that Lamu was missing, sending the scouts and Siege to search for him to no avail. Siege encountered Mrox, the leader of the outpost, but learned little.

Just after sundown, the caravan proper arrived, led by The Inscrutable Vasnorbid Prossskulogreth Hyi'i'i'i Zq Jomwix...

Cast of characters

This adventure is currently being run by Shelley Proulx. Below is a list of characters who have been involved at one point or another:

Adventure timeline

Previous adventure Current adventure Following adventure
Branching Out Guards and Wards TBA