Land of Suldaire

Khord's log

After escaping the mass desert, I stumbled upon a forest. As I delved deeper i noticed patrolling orcs. I have a history with orcs and their battle tactics, but these seem to be more militaristic. I spent the following weeks slaying small orcish parties to get closer to a safer ground.

More recently I have spotted larger scouting groups. I guess they have been worried about what has happened to their men.

Update

I have been captured. I was surrounded by many orcs. It would have been simple to cleave them all, but I felt a power of magic at work even my own mind would not handle, and I fell unconscious.

I awoke in this cell, seems as if some of these humanoids were here for quite some time. The only recent addition here, besides myself, seems to be an orc in the cage next to me. These orcs seem to mean business.

They shackled me with 4 sets of chains, I guess they are worried about me escaping. The ceiling is low, which would make escape difficult. Seems as if the orcs only keep 2 guards here at a time. I will mediate and escape when the opportunity arrives. Perhaps this orc prisoner could be some use.

UPDATE!

I was hearing some racket, I awoke to see some orcs gambling over my gear. As if they could wield the Sword. I was debating on doing something, then I saw one of the orc’s heads explode. Looks like that commotion I was hearing down the halls were an adventuring party. When they released me from my bonds I quickly stood, hitting my head on the ceiling. SO I had to lurch down to get to my gear. Seems as if they were sent here to free these prisoners. Perhaps i can persuade them to go kill the magic-user. I will have my revenge.

UPDATE
As we were attempting our escape, I thought I saw 2 worgs. I thought that we were done for, for the prior orc i just slew stabbed me pretty hard. But I was slightly relieved when one of the wolfs became a female. She had powers over the plants. In mid fight she cast a spell that caused the roots in the ground to become alive. They entrapped me. I need to keep an eye out on that one. Eventually she released it so we could escape.

Now that we are camped out, we can all rest and possibly plan on a way to get to the magic-user. These men, and the new female, could work to my benefit.

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Orc Tracks (Carsys)

After spending days tracking the Orcs I found a cave. There were several slain Orcs outside the cave. However, one lived and was tied up. After spending several hours questioning him he indicated a group of adventurers stormed into the cave. That was all of the information I could get out of him so I killed the evil scum.

After disposing of the bodies I enter the cave in hopes to find and rid the forest of this nuisance. The Orcs have been killing my animal friends and leaving their bodies to rot and be picked at by scavengers. Earlier in the day I found two badgers slain and left to rot. The Orcs will pay. However, the strange thing about it was the wounds seemed to be dealt by more sophisticated weapons. Though, I don’t have my doubts that it was Orcs who killed the badgers. I will teach them to mess with Ehlonna’s creations.

After entering the cave Midnight picks up the scent of humans, I shift into a wolf form to travel faster along with Midnight. After a few minutes we arrived at a large opening where a battle was taking place. I could tell right then the Orcs were fighting a small group of men. I decide to help and entangle some of the Orcs with a spell. While midnight charges in for a kill without me telling him. He is such a great friend, but one day I fear he will be the death of me.

During the fight I notice the men are pretty badly hurt, but these are the Orcs I have been tracking the past few days. I must see them all dead, so I continue to fight. The men insist we fall back. Against my better judgement I do as they ask. And help them mend the wounded when it is safe to do so.

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Into the Breach (Marcus)

Finally! After avoiding patrols and evading detection, we have finally managed to find the orcs’ lair. These are more along the lines of what I know Orcs to be: stupid, fearful, brutish, and generally disorganized. We managed to fool and slaughter the entrance guards with an incredibly simple ruse Trent came up with: casting Light on a stone and throwing it out in front of them! Those silly oafs fell over themselves and even fought over it, so amazed were they by it.
Sharn, Trent, and myself managed to decimate the small group, with Fain doing his usual admirable work. One of them almost made it’s way back into the den to warn any of the others, but I managed to stop him with a well-timed Magic Missile. We also managed to take one captive, although he was nearly useless for information, other than to confirm my suspicions regarding their overwhelming fear of magic. We’ve knocked him unconscious and tied him up; he’ll stand for his crimes and be left to the tender justice of the villagers in Cajem and the surrounding countryside.

Upon gaining entry to the cave, we found it to be remarkably small on first inspection. Obviously, there was a secret entrance, hid by a hide covered with rocks and pebbles adhered to it. We decided to venture in further.

No more time for discussion, as we are preparing to venture further in. Maybe now this mystery will have some more light shed on it!

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_Narrator's Log_
14th Mirtul, the Year of the Cauldron

Following the battle with the enraged dire badgers, the party spends a moment to recover, bandaging wounds and applying healing magic as necessary. Marcus runs a hand along the fresh scar on his chest, reminiscent of the near fatal slash of one of the badger’s claws. Had it not been for the true strike of Sharn’s spear felling the beast and Trent’s able manipulation of the gifts granted to him by Lathander, Marcus may not have survived. After consulting together, Caidren and the other two rangers decide to salvage what usable meat from the creatures can be carried and move out of their territory to find a suitable camp site. Mot eventually climbs down from his tree, muttering to himself about the fools and hypocrites in his company. As the group moves on, looking for a safe place to camp Mot continues muttering, sullenly trailing near the rear of the group and appearing to argue with the strange serpent creature twined around his head.
As twilight descends the rangers spot a relatively safe looking place to make camp, against a rocky outcropping. The exhausted party lays out bedrolls and gathers around the camp fire. The musky smell of badger meat roasting on the fire is an odd scent to most members of the group but not unwelcome considering their grumbling stomachs. Mot refuses the food and sits by himself, rocking back and forth and muttering. After the meal, the night sounds of the forest loud around the group, bids for a watch rotation are made. Doubts as to who is in a right condition stand watch or who is trustworthy enough are raised, but in the end it is decided that if everyone takes a turn the watches can be short enough to leave everyone refreshed for whatever dangers await the next day.
The first watch finds a comfortable stump to sit on with his back to the fire as the others settle in. Rustling sounds, the howl of the wind and the scurry of animals in the forest around them keep the watch on edge, eyes peering into the darkness. At the edge of the firelight he sees Mot still rocking, his eyes wide and staring, continually muttering. Second watch passes much the same – tense, uneasy, but uneventful. When it is Mot’s turn to take over, the man being relieved considers staying up for the extra time, exhaustion or not and leaving him to rock on his own; however out of nowhere Mot is suddenly standing next to him, tapping him on the shoulder and assuring him that he will take the watch. Restless dreams and fitful sleep plague the group, but their bodies are able to rest and the night passes without incident.
Only in the morning when everyone is gathering their gear, grabbing a quick meal and preparing to break camp, does anyone notice that the group is one short. Mot, his bedroll, equipment and strange serpent companion are gone without a trace…

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Continuing complications (Marcus)

The simplicity of this situation is rapidly dissolving as time goes on. The first reason for discontent came from finding a unsettling piece of paper I found on the largest of the Orcs, probably the raid leader. On it was a fairly detailed sketch of the town and surrounding area, as well as a set of portraits of myself and my compatriots: Mot, Fain, Marcus, Sharn, and Trent. The picture also depicts ‘magical’ lines around some of our band, specifically Mot and Trent. I’m glad that whomever drew this up doesn’t know about my magical capacity, although now I’m suspect even on that count. I must act as though they do now. It also seems as though there are one of three possibilities: 1. There is, on the opposing side, a fairly gifted diviner that has, for whatever reason, singled us out. 2. Through whatever means, we were brought here specifically for malicious intent. 3. There is a spy somewhere within the town that has been reporting our activities.

I disclosed the finding first with Fain, who is very level-headed and pragmatic, and later with the group as a whole. Since the majority of the group had a common link via Gideon Thurvil, I thought it would be a good avenue to find more information regarding him. What I found brings far more questions than it does answers. It was a hard decision to not leave the group entirely and head immediately to Shard’s Crossing to get answers, as I think that whomever ‘Gideon’ is, he is near the very heart of the matter. I only wish I could read the script that was on the paper, as it would surely shed some light on the subject. I shall have to send a missive back to the chapterhouse, and will make arrangements with the captain to have one sent out to the nearest outpost available.

Upon discussion with the rest of the group, it was decided that we should strike at the Orcs now, while they are still recovering from what is sure to be a hard loss in their numbers. Fain has found a group of agreeable hunters to lead us as far as the limit of the forest where the Orcs patrol(!), and then leave us on our own. On our fist day out on the trek, nearing evening, we were nearly surprised by a set of monstrously sized badgers! The group, for the most part, reacted admirably to the threat. I was wounded nearly to dying, if not for Trent’s quick actions. I’ve decided to conserve my magic for emergencies only, to try to keep it a surprise if at all possible.

Mot! Mot climbed a tree and refused to participate in the conflict. I know he’s not a coward, as his actions on the palisade proved, but instead claimed it was immoral to attack the badgers without first discerning their intentions. Intentions? They’re giant badgers! Animals have no intentions other than eat, sleep, reproduce, kill, and die. I fear his madness has taken a new coloration, and would like to keep him at arm’s length now. Not just to prevent a stab to the side brought on by a sudden burst of madness, but also to provide an easy means to incapacitate him if need be. Something seems to be troubling Fain as well, and I would like to help him if I can. He is an honorable man, and I hope that a friendship is being established.

Anyway, night is coming on, and we are all tired from the fight. I will provide more insights as new events occur.

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From the Journal of Fain
A Page of Curiosity

Day 26 (Evening Still): It seems that I didn’t need to get bandaged by the rangers in the lodge. Before I could limp back, Trent (the welcomed religious zealot of the group in Cajem) called upon his Lord and my strength, not to mention my constitution, returned to me. I even had enough wits about me after the battle to forage amongst the dead Orcs. I found a few useful items, one that used to belong to someone. I asked the town’s leader on the whereabouts of it’s owner. I’ll meet them later, I should expect.

But the evening wasn’t over! I met with the man Marcus. Both he and I believe the Orcs are being driven. By whom I don’t know, but there was a paper Marcus found amongst the slain Orcish party that seemed to indicate someone was expecting all of us to be here. Who could predict such random sets of events? I feel a scrier is involved behind these assaults. Perhaps Trent’s god could prevent us from being spied upon.

We (me and the ‘heroes’ in this town) met and discussed the implications of the dirty slip of paper. We can’t just wait for more Orcs. We march out to meet them tomorrow.

I’m going to send a slip on a pigeon out to Jed. He would find this interesting, I think.

Day 27 I met the family, the Ramses’ this morning. As I gave them the necklace back I had retrieved, I found out a fact ascertained from the observations of the farmers: the Orcs are being driven harder with every advance. I think the raids are only going to get worse unless we stop the flow of Orcs.

After gathering our packs, we set out. Mot came along as well for we couldn’t leave him in the town. (I hear he ‘innocently’ burned down a mill! It can be reclaimed, but the damage was done.) I had asked for the odd one to stay up forward with my ranger brethren so he could be watched, but the slippery bastard melted into the crowd, only to show up behind be in the group near Marcus. I think that man Marcus can be trusted, and Mot knows it.

I have yet to see why Mot is trusted by them.

The march northwest was slow and laborious. Just and the sun set on our day, the other rangers ran out to the sides to gather dinner. That’s when a trio of extremely large badgers ambushed the group. My nerves, already on edge from expecting a Orcish ambush, tripped me: I attacked the beasts before decided their intentions. This seemed to offend Mot’s… sensibilities and the bastard climbed a tree to escape the situation. I may yet loose a bolt into one of his dead, fishy eyes.

The other three (Trent, Marcus, and Sharn) proved more than effective than I in this fight. My skin tingled with the magic used tonight as wounds were created and cured in the blink of an eye. Yes, I loosed a lightning bolt (my private pun!) but I wasn’t in my element. I failed my ranger’s instincts. For that, I lost five bolts, all of which were ineffective. I couldn’t even tell my brothers what really happened tonight.

Still, I’m feeling like I’m become part of something more than just a charitable wanderer. And that feels good.

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Sitrep: Post-encounter (Marcus)

Many interesting things to think back on today. This is turning out to be more interesting than I anticipated.

After making a basic assessment of the situation and making the appropriate plans, I went to sleep in a bunk graciously offered to me by the guard captain, with one given to Mot as well. Upon rising, I was happy to see that a map of the area was tendered, which will help with planning and recon later. I was also given information about a hunter’s lodge outside the town walls that would be useful for implementation of the various traps. All the help we can get is excellent, and I have full confidence that professional hunters will build a much better set of traps than I, so that the plan will have the least chance of failure.

Trent was invaluable today! I had the man pegged all wrong; not only did he manage to garner support and volunteers to help with the traps less than a day after formulating the plan, but he also helped with the building of the fortifications himself, as well as personally tending to the wounds of some poor villagers who were injured in an unfortunate, ah, incident in town. I always enjoy working with a man of the cloth, but being with one who isn’t afraid to get the cloth a little dirty is a rare treat indeed.
Trent and I went to the lodge later, and were not disappointed in our search for aid. We were steered to a particularly skilled hunter, one Fain, who has proved himself to be quite valuable and capable as well. More on him later.

On our way back to town, we heard an explosion. Anticipating the worst, I ran back and started looking for Mot. As(unfortunately) expected, Mot was at the center of a fairly moderate disaster of his own making. Somehow, he managed to explode the town’s flour mill. Considering he was carrying around an open flame, I’m not too surprised. I managed to talk down the captain from putting him in irons or expelling him from the village, but I’m still not entirely sure why. He’s proving to be a greater liability than anything else, although my suspicions about his intelligence seem to be at least partly founded. He proposed several ideas around attacking the orcs, not the least of which involved using flour as an explosive means, and actually dropping the town wall(!!) on the invaders! He seems to have no concept of the efforts of people other than him, or how his actions might harm others. No, more than that: he just doesn’t seem to care, which is far worse. I fear I may be working with a madman, and a dangerous one to boot. Any more incidents, and I will wash my hands of him.

The assault came a little earlier than hoped for, but the results were, to be honest, mixed. We successfully killed all invaders that assaulted the walls, with only one casualty on our side, but the victory isn’t what sits poorly with me. I have underestimated the enemy, I think.
The first thing I noticed is that they didn’t use standard orcish tactics of main force entirely; we spotted a few of them actually flanking the front, which is highly unusual for a band like I was anticipating. These orcs know a bit about tactics, which leads me to believe that they are being led by either a veteran war leader, or possibly a fairly influential shaman or caster of some sort. It seems most likely the latter, since I noticed another thing: they weren’t generally impressed with magic. I used an excessive amount in the fight, hoping to gauge a reaction regarding such an expenditure, what with is being so uncommon, especially out here in the sticks. Instead, they were completely unfazed. Finally, after looking at a map of the region, it seems as though these orcs are set up in the middle of the spheres of influence of a few different towns. Orcs generally aren’t in the extortion business; they just destroy everything around them and move on, which I expect these beasts could easily do, if Cajem is to be the standard. What’s keeping them here? Knowing what I do now, I worry that perhaps WE were the ones being scouted as well. I’ll have to change strategies and start treating this like an organized enemy of mercenaries.

I have great respect for both Sharn and Fain after the battle. Sharn threw himself head-first into the fray, using a spear to great advantage. I mistook him for a warrior; after hearing his battle cries, I can safely say he’s a holy warrior, a Paladin, instead. I’ve never worked or trained with one, so this will be interesting to see how his tactics and mine can work together.
Oh! And Fain! The man never misses! He spent the fight constantly peppering the enemy, taking more than a few down, all while sustaining a huge axe blow to the torso. I have a lot of respect for the man as a fighter, and hope I can work with him more.
More to come later, but for now we need to recoup and regroup.

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Report home (Trent)

Dear Gavin,

I have arrived safely in Cajem, and delivered your message to the temple here. It has been an interesting couple days here, quite unexpected. I am hoping it will help me understand a bit of what is going on in the world, and perhaps, what is causing the uncertainty in the magic and in communication with our God.

.
It seems that these people are being oppressed by the forces of evil. The orcs are raiding the villagers, stealing their crops and killing their people. I feel it is my duty to stay for a while and help them solve this problem. Rumour has it that these orcs may have possession or knowledge of some great evil artefact. Have no fear, my reason for seeking it is not what it once would have been.
.
Gideon Thurvil, the captain of the local guard has recruited a few of us to aid the village. One of the characters he has recruited, Mot by name may be more of a liability than an asset. He has succeeded in blowing up the town mill and nearly killing several villagers. Fortunately, the healing skills you taught me came in handy, and the most seriously injured ones are resting comfortably in the house of the Morning Lord.
.
It seems that at least one of our small group has some military skills. Marcus has been instrumental in planning out traps and organizing the villagers to defend themselves against the orcs. I was able to aid, by both giving a hand digging, a skill I mastered in the temple gardens, and convincing others to help. We were able to recruit a couple skilled woodsmen as well, one Fain has great promise, and seems perhaps willing to continue in the task of hunting down these orcs. Speaking of which, I should see to his wounds, he did suffer a severe cut, and with Lathander’s blessing I have been tending his and other’s wounds this evening.
.
Lathander’s blessing on you, my spiritual father and friend.
. Trent Valikor.

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From the Journal of Fain
Voluntary Draft

Day 18: I came to the lodge just north of the small town that is being constantly besieged by Orcs. I’ve seen these monsters patrolling (I do mean patrolling) in woods surrounding the fields of the village. I’ve seen Orcs before, and I’ve even smelled some goblin track here, but so far I’m not sure if I want to jump headlong into this one. The chances of finding anyone here vice the rangers to help me in a coup will be slim.

Day 24: After extensive tracking and questioning of the villagers that barely come out of the town’s gate, I’ve learned there’s going to be another raid soon. Orcs of an unknown number will soon storm the fields, taking what’s not theirs. The villagers seems tense, others terrified.

We’ve set traps around the lodge, but it seems clear due to history that the Orcs aren’t interested in us at all. What’s so special about a small, river-locked town that would drive normally brainless beasts into such a driven attack?

Day 26: A duo of fighters came to the lodge today. Seems they’ve been holed up in the town, giving aid and succor to the members of the village. They needed help making man-traps and pike traps to drive the Orcish raid into an ‘anvil & hammer’ stage. I agreed with the help of some fellow rangers, if for nothing but a since of duty. I’ve been at this lodge too long. My legs (not to mention my trigger finger) are getting restless.

Day 26 (Evening, now): The Orcs came. It seemed the ‘fighters’ (a term applied loosely to most of the ‘heroes’ here) wasted a couple of days before asking for help. My fellow rangers and I beat back the raid with the help of the village archers and a few spells from some of the ‘heroes’.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen magic thrown around so liberally. I even loosed an air bolt today. Somehow… it felt right.

Going to rest now. Damn Orcish axe carved a river in my torso. Needed a little help getting back to the lodge. I know I’m in good hands here.

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Changes - [Date Unknown #500+/-300]

Locale: Insignificant Town #019 (1) – Insignificant Province #005
Calendar: [Orcs|Town Defense|Artifact Staff] | [BLOCK] | [Corruption] | [BLOCK]
Pantry: 5.
Atrium occupied: Occupant (s): Marcus Lintonus (1)
Stoop occupied: Possiblant(s): Trent Valikor (1) / Sharn (1) / Cadren Fain (1) / Commander of the Guard of Town (1) / Gideon Thurvil (1)
Guest Book:
Marcus Lintonus – Martial Value [4+/-3] }{ Arcane Value [5+/-3] }{ Divine Value [2=/-2]
Personality type: A|R|V|N/O|?…
Trent Valikor – Martial Value [6+/-3] }{ Arcane Value [1=/-1] }{ Divine Value [3+/-2]
Personality type: M|S|?…
Sharn – Martial Value [4+/-3] }{ Arcane Value [2+/-2] }{ Divine Value [2+/-2]
Personality type: M|S|A|?…
CotGoT – Martial Value [7+/-3] }{ Arcane Value [1=/-1] }{ Divine Value [0=/-1]
Personality type: R|S|P|F|?…
Gideon Thurvil – Martial Value [4+/-3] }{ Arcane Value [2+/-2] }{ Divine Value [3+/-3]
Personality type: T|W|G|H|!3|?…

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