Campaign of the Month: June 2018

Shaintar Legends Awaken: Rangers of the Greenway Road; Regional Command-Echer'Naught

Campaign Report 69
Into the Underworld: Part 2

Kura’Kai Report-Part Two.

Still, 1st day of Festival Moons, Year 3125

This is my report

We entered the tunnels and caves beneath the rocks. I led because I could see…and smell the enemy. My band, brave as they are, were simply not cut for this kind of work.

Mines. Been in places like this before. Back home, there was a goblin run operation south of my Gather. Way south. 2-3 days.

I was protecting a convoy for my Mak Torkash, picking up ingots and things for forging. Learned real quick that mines are no place for anyone. Place was crawling with rats the size of dogs, and worse.

The more things change, no? Lost half my band back then. Figured I’d lose more here.

This place was nothing but Darkness, and I’m not talking about the lack of light.

When we first stepped inside, the silence, well, dull roar, was almost deafening compared with the raging storm outside. Corporal’s got more chutzpah than even I gave her credit for. She would make a worthy enemy.

Wall of wind and water behind us, and dank, reeking mines ahead… Ancestors I love my jog.

Brother Toma lit his blade like a torch. Something to do with the Church of Light or his mind powers. Dunno. Magic is strange.

Didn’t bother me nun, till I heard them. Sounded almost like silk ripping over rocks, but faint like. A whisper. Then I saw the shadows, long spindly ones, moving against the light. One nicked the Sergeant, the other Brother Toma.

Dakota was behind me. Close. I could smell he scent of flowers, and decay. Flipped her to get at them. Shadow spiders. I killed one. Bard Leora did good with the Chuktar. Now I can kill anything.

Shadespider is what Danica yelled. So that’s what they were. More came, people got bit. Dakota too. Tough girl. Sad to think she will die soon. A waste.

We killed a couple, but they seemed attracted to the light. So, Sergeant said douse the blade. Well, Wyvern tossed his cloak to cover Brother Toma’s sword. The Brother looked a bit peeved, but he killed the light.

I didn’t mind. I can see in the dark. Better even than the elves. So, I saw what came next.

Can’t say that being in the dark was any better for us, but seems those Shadespiders need a least a little light. So, we defeated one enemy by making ourselves vulnerable to another. Fair trade? S’pose so. Not my call.

Next came the Arachnaurs. Two of them. One toward Dakota, the other on our right from another tunnel. Steile, I think his name is, he ran into the flamed thing. Don’t know who was more surprised. The strutting elf has moves, but he’s a depressed sort. Gets flustered easily. Not a warrior, but something else. He punches good enough.

I leapt Dakota again, got webbed, broke free and killed my spider. Stiele played around a bit, not real serious. Guess he’s not easily impressed, but he eventually got the job done.

Our soldiers mostly got stuck. I think Bard Leaora and the Corporal worked to get them unstuck in the darkness. Honestly, don’t know. I know we came out with fewer than when we went in, so, some of them may still be there.

So, we went deeper in the mines. Left first. I lead. Next tunnel, more spiders.

Me and the Sergeant got webbed. Bad. The others were cut off. I broke free and charged, cut down one of the spiders. Behind me, the Sergeant started talking to a horse? No, unicorn.

Never seen a unicorn. Some say they ain’t even real. Saw an ass with a horn glued to his head that the shyster claimed was a genuine thing. It wasn’t, though donkey doesn’t taste half bad.

Nor does shyster…

Whatever he said worked. Cause I could see. Not just the red blood of my enemies. I could see proper. Arachnaur’s are ugly brutes, I can tell you that. All of them we fought, women. Odd, no?

So, the others, behind the webs, start cutting through. Sergeant gets free, so does Brother Toma and Steile and the rest. Corporal and Bard Leaora stay well back. Helping the soldiers or hiding, don’t know, don’t care.

Onward to another cavern. This one is bigger. Left or right. Left smells bigger and wetter, right seems darker, closer in. Sergeant says right, so I go right.

Me and Danica get ahead, come into another chamber. Guess what’? More Arachnaurs. Almost like they live down here.

Behind us, the rest of the band got ambushed by waves of skeletons. I didn’t see the battle. Well, not till the end. They did well enough. Steile dropped one or two. The Sergeant did as well. Wyven didn’t die. The healer stayed busy, I hear keeping us all alive.

Eventually, the Sergeant collapsed the tunnel they was coming from. Not sure if I would have, but what was done was done. We killed out three bugs. Well, I killed two, Danica her one.

Regroup and re-think. Our bard figured the best way was left, but that was blocked, so we went right again, back past our spiders and then left. Tunnel looped around again and we entered a large cavern.

The mine proper. Tracks, carts, lamps, the works.

I also heard and smelled water. Brackish vile stuff, but water it was.

And bridges.

With lights came Shadespiders. Sergeant said push, so I pushed.

I made it across the rickety bridge, one of two, over the chasm. Sergeant and Danica with me and Brother Toma made the leap. We were met by crossbow bolt and Dwergs. Oh, and they dropped our bridge.

Never faced a Dwerg before but they are tough as reported. Steile leaped the chasm. Seems now that he can see proper, he has a bit more spirit. I suppose Sergeant’s spell missed him. Or, he wasn’t worthy. Dunno. Magic is odd.

I take on my handful, Brother Toma, the Sergeant, Danica, and Steile join in the fun. Drainer, the healer, runs around to cross the other bridge. Not smart.

Snickt!

Down it went with a surprised looking dwarf. And sploosh. Dwarves can’t swim. Oh well, there goes a perfectly good healer.

Dwergs maybe ugly as sin, but they hit hard as an anvil. And them crossbowmen were no joke. In no time, Sergeant goes down. Brother Tome tries to cover him, and then he goes down. Seemed almost like he off’d himself. Magic maybe? Odd stuff.

So, me, Danica and Steile have the Dwergs all over us. The Corporal is covering us. Not sure what Wyvern and Leaora are up to. Maybe they and Dakota are fishing the dwarf out of the drink? I hear a lot of shouting.

Course, then a lucky hit and I’m seeing red. Missed the next bit. Just know I cleared out the Dwergs just in time to hear some bloke laughing from the shadows ahead. I couldn’t see em, but I could smell the Corruption. Then, the rumble started.

It sounded almost like thunder, but this thunder came with smoke, fire and lots of rocks. We were trapped on this side of the river with the whole bloody place coming down about our heads. It was a neat little trap, I can’t lie.

I mastered myself in enough time to see Danica screaming. The Sergeant and Brother Toma were down. No WAY they were getting across that chasm. Steile made the leap. No hero there. Danica would have died with me, so I scooped them up and hurled them. That’s when the rocks came down…

Dunno what happened next. Swore I saw a Unicorn. Probably just hit on the head by a rock. Next thing I know, I’m standing on the far side, head just spinning.

Danica’s screaming, the dwarf is coughing up black water. Wyvern is dying. What in the Abyss was going on.

Leoara starts screaming about a rope, so she and Danica throw out a line and we all grab on. I scoop up the Sergeant and Brother Toma. I nearly dropped them the ground shook so bad. We had to hurry, pieces of stone the size of a Mak Torkash’s hut were crashing down all around.

I could at least see. Most couldn’t. Not sure who was luckier. So, I held on and ran trusting the Elf to lead us free.

Out through the tunnels passed the piles of dry bone, out passed the webs, out of the caves into the exterior mine. It too was coming down. Like the whole world was exploding around us.

We ran, slipped and clawed over a carpet of bodies, men, horses, corpses and worse. All the while the walls around us tumbled like a child’s toy knocked over by a prat.

Finally, through the smoke and dust, we could see the exit. I dropped the rope and sprinted. So did everyone else. Coughing, covered in soot and blood we staggered drunkenly out of the rocks to fine a wall of men…with their backs turned.

No more than a hundred Olarans stood shields locked facing outward. Beyond them, a scene of nightmare. Flame creatures and undead tore at each other, and the Olarans in a grande, bloody free-for-all. The Commander, Lord Kelles, nor horse or helm stood grimly surveying the field.

He seemed surprised out our appearance. I was just about to drop the two when a horn sounded in the distance. Coming over the ridge that we had camped on just last night, another army appeared.

Small, but very well drilled, above them rose a standard, a Lightning bolt on a Midnight field…

Tempest…

It is a good day to die.

… to be continued …

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Campaign Report 68
Into the Underworld: Part 1

Kura’Kai Report-Part One.
1st day of Festival Moons, Year 3125

This is my report

Now with horses we find ruins that are run down even for ruins. This is where I will sit for weeks. At least these Free Riders know their business. Sergeant says we arrived on the 31st of Eternal Sun. So, I guess we did.

The Corporal had me guard a pile of rocks on the south side. There were three of them. One was big with moss. One was mid-sized and kinda brown. The smallest was actually pretty. Some crystals and such. I figure they might have been a wall once. All they could stop now would be an anemic ratzin with one leg. Orders are orders.

Hey, and that strutting elf showed up a couple days later. Turns out he got lost in the mists and managed to save our elf escorts. I’m still not sure if they are there to protect us, or keep us prisoner. Anyway, now we have more elves. Yay!

We spent three days piling rocks for walls. Hey, my little rock garden grew into a wall…or at least a pile of rocks resembling a wall. As long as I didn’t lean too hard, they usually stayed stacked.

Then, on the 1st of Thunder Hawk we got more horsemen. Wolfhaven Free Riders. There sure are a lot of these guys our here. I thought we were in elven lands? And, I don’t think this fort was ever designed for this many horses and warriors. A bit crowded.

Things were pretty boring after that. I watched my rocks. Horses stamped and farted. Rangers paced and pouted.

Then the real warriors arrived. Late on the 3rd the Corporal Ravenwood sounded the alert. We all scrambled up the rocks to see a sight which brought a tear to my eye. Down below, snaking across the valley was a perfectly ranked column of warriors in tight formations. Pikes, billhooks, swords and, oh wait, were those combat engineers?!

Beautiful!

The Olaran commander is a Lord named Kelles. Fully decked in plate, astride an Olaran warhorse. A Knights Knight. He also had a human giant as his second. Topping in at seven and a half feet, the man was more of a bear. Maybe he WAS a bear in armor. I never did see his face.

Sergeant had us form up to greet our new Lord. We looked a little thin with only eight ragged Rangers, but I was proud that every Ranger stood proudly. The Riders were not bad either.

So, with the Olarans in charge…we had NOTHING to do. Literally, we were relieved of duty. The drunk got a job peeling potatoes for the Olarans and the singing elf acted as the Sergeant’s aide at officers meetings. Even though he’s not technically an officer.

As for the others. The Corporal rested. The Drainar healed. The not so quiet man, I don’t know. Danica stayed with Dakota who lay in her tent and slowly died. As for me, I hunted down the singing elf and got her to help me buy Whitesilver enhancement for my Chucktar. The drunk got his pig sticker enhanced as well.

She may sing to horses, but damn that little elf drives a bargain.

So, I made the rounds, trained, ate, and spent time with the Olarans. I like these folk. Strong, straightforward and militaristic. Sad, Sergeant banned us from leaving the hilltop fort, so I never visited the camp.

Oh, but the Olaran Combat Engineers were top notch. Within the week, our little pile of rocks was a bone fide fort. Impressive.

We waited for about a week. Then on the 8th, or so the Sergeant says, the elves arrived. Stuck up bunch of tree lovers. Also, the Sergeant has a girlfriend. At least I think. A druid no less. She didn’t seem to be part of the other bunch. Soon as she arrived, she went off to visit Dakota.

Which is surprising given that I thought all elves were afraid of the sick one. Hmmm. Curious. And, the orders were if our elves spoke with any other elves, death. So, who is the Sergeant’s woman? Dunno. But she has balls.

Yeh, also, the night the elves arrived, it started freaking raining…and rained…and rained…and rained. I saw men nearly drown standing up. I’ve never been so soaked in my life, even in the wash.

Nothing moved for two days.

Then, the sun pops out and the heat was like an oven. We dried quick, but everything shrank. Rangers running around in neck scarves where cloaks should have been. Woulda been funny if my crotch didn’t itch so bad.

So, the 11th, or so the Sergeant says, the rain stopped and Lord Kelles got the column moving. We were selected for the Van. And I thought all Olarans hated us? Guess the Sergeant knows how to kiss ass well.

Up and out by three. We linked up with the elves and the Olaran Wardens. And if you thought regular Olarans hated us, these blighters HATED us. And they were in charge. Hilarious.

We marched 5 days north reaching the battle site on the 17th. Or, at least the Sergeant says we did. Funny, no sign of battle. In fact, it looked exactly like it had when we first arrived…what a month ago?

So, we secured the site with the Olaran column arriving over the night. By the following day, the 18th, we were camped on a ridge, the same ridge that we had lost the Olarans before.

This is where everything went sideways. Turns out, the BEST day for the ritual was like, two days before. Due to the rain, we missed our opportunity. The next available date, two weeks. That’s right. We had to camp on Darknesses door for two weeks. Kelles was pissed. The Sergeant wasn’t real happy either.

The Rangers got the inglorious duty of prepping and preparing the ritual site. I just followed the drunk around while everyone else shoved sticks into the ground. Well, except for the Sergeant who was overcome with constipation. He spent the whole day straining.

Then we waited. Rangers spent our time at the ritual site, while everyone else patrolled the rocky outcropping. That and got themselves captured/killed. I don’t know how many overall, but by the night of the 33rd, our Riders had lost 15 men out of 60.

Worse part, we never even saw the enemy. Damn Darkness.

Ok, so couple days before the 33rd, the Druids, minus the Sergeants bedmate, all gathered and started pouring water on the ground and singing and whatnot. Stuff magicky types do.

We were on high alert, triple guards and all. Kelles figured that the most likely target would be the ritual or the druids. Without them, the spell remained and we couldn’t see squat.

So, for two days I watch a bunch of druids pleasure themselves. Then, the night of truth. Kelles formed his army, expecting an attack and the druids began to chant.

After a bit, I even got a headache, but you could cut the tension with a knife. I gripped by Chucktar, sniffing the air for any sign of trouble. Around me, the Rangers tensed.

The chanting reached its climax and then…NOTHING.

Jack and shite.

Are you joking? All this for that? Well, the spell worked, so they say. We M finally see the rocks the Sergeant had blasted.

More than 500 men had marched to this spot to enjoy the Sergeants landscaping. I figured Kelles would have us all executed then and there. Strange thing though, the Sergeant was called to meet him.

It was brief. Then, we were ordered to lead the march into the rocks.

I could feel my blood up. It didn’t take a genius to realize we were walking into an ambush. Greatest day ever.

And that druid lady, the one who beds the Sergeant, she actually led the attack. She has bigger balls than he does. Guess he’s into that?

So, we march in and immediately, I smell the blood and death. The passage was winding and narrow. A perfect kill zone.

We make it ALL the way to the mine site in a natural rocky amphitheater before the trap was sprung. Course, we all knew it was coming, but still. Impressive.

All at once, we were hit with Darkness and the world around us dimmed. Then, the ground shifted and moved as corpses rose to kill us. I could smell death, blood, and rot along with leather, steel, and oil.

From above, Troglanesh rained arrows down on our heads. From the ground, undead rose to grab our legs. From the walls, dark spirits wailed and grasped. It was as if entering the Abyss itself!!!!

The first Wraith which reached for me felt the cold touch of my White Steel Chucktar. Its death wail was like the singing in my very soul. Nothing can now stand before ME!

Behind him to the right, the drunk, no Wyvern charged, his eyes wild. And to my left, Brother Toma, his grim mask upon his face, his saber gleaming blue. As battle brothers, we tipped the bloody spear.

I had wondered if the Sergeant was more than bluster, and so he is. Purple energy ripped around him, smashing our foes likes kindling. Her arrows screeching past our ears, the Corporal was the bringing of annihilation.

Danica and Dakota fought well. Of the Strutting elf, what can I say. He should think about finding a sword.

My greatest surprise came from the she-elf druid. Should I ever walk again among my own people, I must warn them that the southern tree-lovers are not the weaklings we have come to imagine them to be. No, Lady Treesinger is the bringer of death, destroyer of all. Towering trees, snapping vines and thorns as sharp as a blade, and long as a spear sprouted from every rock and crevice. I could hear the anguished cries from the Trogalnesh as they were torn apart by her children.

All the while, Bard Nazi’s voice rang clear and strong, singing a song to light a fire in my soul!

We charged, our Wolfhaven Free Riders around us, we charged.

Down into the valley of undeath, we charged.

Around us, the Druidess wove a tunnel of vines, supported by living columns, trees, elm and oak.

We charged.

Wyvern slashed and cut, though himself bleeding and ragged.

We charged.

Brother Toma split our minds with his voice, calling the Commander’s will to our ears. Find the enemy. Root him from the very earth.

We charged.

Sergeant raised his hands in a torrent of edritch fire as the scaffolding and platforms of the enemies mines were shattered along with dozens of the enemy soldiers.

We charged.

Rising above our heads on a column of wind, her eyes flashing like lighting, the Corporal called down a tornado upon our very heads, whipping the debris into a devastating wall of blood and pain, the Druidess’ trees bowed and groaned, but not even THIS could best her magics.

And then she called forth living creatures from the very ROCKS! Golems to smash and crush.

We CHARGED!

Into the very heart of the enemy’s lair, down the rabbit hole into the underworld.

Together, as a band.

We. Charged.

…to be continued…

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Campaign Report 67
Battle in the mist

Kura’Kai Report
30th day of Eternal Sun, Year 3125

This is my report

I have had the greatest day of my life! Had I known Rangers had such battles I might have joined years ago.

Strange, my companions found little fun in our glorious battle. Southlanders. I will never understand these people.

The battle began almost as I was concluding my previous report. As I put away my parchment I noted a sudden darkening of the skies. Sundown was at least half a turn of the glass away, so this was odd. More strange yet, mist began to coil about my legs.

We were under ATTACK!

My band seemed slow to respond. They were still talking about rocks. By the ancestors. I was considering shouting a warning when I found myself standing in a cloud. At least, I assume that is what it would be like. I am an orc. I don’t fly.

Maybe I’ll ask the winged elf. Come to think, where is he. I have not seen him around. Strange.

As I stood in the mist, enjoying the feeling, I began to smell the cold, rotten stench of death and corruption. We were definitely under attack.

My soul soared!

Gripping my chucktar, I planted my feet and waited for the strike that herald the bloodletting. Around me, I began to hear muffled sounds of combat as creatures of undeath engaged my band. I am ashamed to say that I felt a pang of jealousy hearing their screams. How fortunate to be the first struck.

Fortune smiled, I was quickly engaged by Trogolodyte by its putrid scent of sweat, corruption and boiled leather with a hint of cold, coppery metallic accents. It was a familiar stench.

Almost the instant I detected its presence, I felt the air caress my cheek as his axe blade nearly separated my head from my shoulders. Death had never been so close! Finally, some entertainment.

I unleashed my battle cry “KURA’KAI!”, and counter attacked. Maybe it is the southlands themselves, with their weak people, and lush, bountiful fields. The Troglanesh here seem somehow…weaker and more pathetic than those of my own lands. It was felled by a single blow.

Disappointing, but I had my first kill of the day. Actually, first of the month, I think. Well, at least many weeks.
Around me, I smelled blood, fear, sweat and undead. I think my allies were bleeding, sweating, and fearing. Can undead sweat? I shall ask the Sergeant. He is full of useless knowledge.

I stray. Nearby, I could make out the sound of the Sergeant and the not so quiet man engaged in battle. The Sergeant is easy to find. He makes the most feminine sounds in battle. That, and his constant muttering arcane gibberish. The not so quiet man is harder. He doesn’t say much. But, we have only two human males, and one smells like a winery.

No booze, no drunk.

So, my foe in pieces at my feet, I leaped to the Sergeant and swung wildly at the foes around us. I only ever faced a Wraith once before, but I was blessed by our shaman then. Apparently you need magic to kill Wraiths…and Specters.

That is something I must fix.

Though I could not see the others, I do recall the scent of flowers. Not sure about that one.

While I vainly battled the Wraith, the not so quiet one to grazed by the creature and decided to take a nap. We had been walking a long time, though I’m not sure that the middle of battle is the best time for a sleep. Anyway, he slept very soundly.

I felt so sorry for him. He missed the entire battle and claimed no kills for himself. Maybe, I could round up some undead so that he could get in practice?

At some point, Danica arrived. I know because she smells of woman and steel. I like it. She was battling too. I think that she and the Sergeant switched dance partners. Or maybe the Specter was too much for the Mage? Either way, I could hear, even over the clash of weapons that the thing had caught her up in its deathly grasp.
Once saw an Orc get sucked down to a husk by one of them things. Horrible way to go. Bout this time, the Sergeant lost his courage, again, and ordered us to flee with tails tucked.

Truly sad.

Not so quiet man was on the ground, but the Sergeant was groping vainly to find him. Danica’s pleasant bouquet was close. Only way to get away from of those things is by force, so I took a running leap and followed my nose.

Danica is surprisingly hard for a human woman. Stout. Heavy. I like that.

We hit the ground, but I could smell the blood and stress. Nothing doing, orders were to flee like frightened children, so I snatched her up and took off after the Corporal.

Now there is a scent if I’ve ever smelled one. She’s got that elf woman thing…sweet, floral with a hit of…earth? But the corporal also smells of boiled leather, wood and sinew from the bow, oil from the armor and ozone, like the air right before a rain.

Never smelled nothing like it in all my years.

Good thing though, hell of easy to find. It’s a wonder she isn’t hunted down all the time. Too easy to mark.

We make it out of the mist and I was happy to see that the battle wasn’t over!

To my left, the drunk was crying about a little arrow through his chest. Idiot. Further on, the Corporal was playing with a couple Shayakar. Looked like fun.

Nearby, Dakota stood with wild eyes. I’ve seen those eyes, right before some blood-mad orc decides to take on an entire Maelstrom slave column himself. But, at least she’s got some spirit. Odd though, none of the Darkness beasts showed much interest in her.

Probably cause she wreaks of corruption and death. Maybe there is something to this sickness? What a waste. I’m not into the elf thing, too easily broken. But…I dunno. Crazy can be fun.

Knew this orc shaman once. She hailed from a gather a few days south. Anyway, crazy orc tried to bed anything that slowed down long enough. And she wasn’t bad to look at. Trouble is, she stabbed every poor sod that rolled her. Got so bad, about half the gather sported wounds from her blade. Became something of a bad of honor for the gather. Women folk didn’t care too much for it, tho.

Anyway, she got older and it got harder for her to lure victims to her bedroll. After that, she just stabbed whoever she could get the drop on. It paid to keep a watchful eye out when trading with that lot, let me tell you. Old biddy was fast.

Dakota kinda reminds me of her somewhat. It’d be fun to go for a roll, but I should probably keep my armor on. To be safe, you know?

Oh, yeh. The battle. So, that all was going on off to the left. Ahead of me, where the horses were the Olarans had formed a shield wall and were being pressed by some more of Shayakar fellows. Behind them, the singing elf was singing to the horses, oh and the one ass. Muriel, not any of the Olarans.

Well, also that little dwarf was there. Turns out he can speak, but only when casting spells. He’s a healer and mage. I always figured you had to be one or the other. Turns out not. Though, seeing how much time it takes to master that stuff, who would want to try and do more? Dunno.

But, he’s pretty tough for a midget. I guess.

And, off to my right was the most beautiful sight my eyes have beheld. And entire army of Darkness marching down on us. Bone golems, trogs, and them black robed necromancers. Things were just getting good.

I thought about meeting them head on, get a real challenge, but remembered our orders were to run away. So, I dropped Danica and headed over to help the Corporal. I hated to ruin her fun, but she was taking too long with the Shayakar. If that army got there, no one would be leaving and the Sergeant would be pissed.
So, I gutted one.

Dakota blasted the other. She has that whatdya call it…Arcfire. What them Builder types use. Crazy little elf. Cute, full of fire, and fearless. Maybe I am a little into elves?

Well, the Corporal was free and the Sergeant staggered out of the mist lugging the still napping not so quiet man. Boy he can sleep.

We were having a moment, enjoying the evening air when one of them black robed necromancers cut down the Sergeant. Well, now I had him and the not so quiet human down. Ugh.

So, I snatched them up and jogged over to the horses. The Olarans were making a good show of it. As was the dwarf. The singing elf kept singing. Strange woman.

I dropped off the two bodies and turned to see Dakota running at the enemy army. Curse it, she’d gone blood mad. No reasoning with’em when their like that.

So, I jogged after her to bring her back. Sergeant said we all had to flee. Since she was touched in the head, I figured she’d not follow orders. Speaking of, the Sergeant was bleeding pretty bad from his eyes and ears. I think that last bolt might have done some head damage. I’ll have to keep an eye on him.

I knew this troll once, had a rock fall on his head while building a wall. Healers couldn’t find nothing wrong. Said he had a slight headache, but nothing doing. So, he rests a day and then goes back to work. I swear, a week later, he just keeled over. Dead.

Head wounds are like that.

Anyway, the Corporal and Danica laid down some cover fire as the drunk staggered to the ass and everyone else, save the Olarans, got to the horses.

As I ran, I noted the crazed little elf was fiddling with her arcfire thing… I wondered what that was about until she charged the Necro and set it off. I THINK she was trying to blow herself up, and take him with her. A plan I would definitely approve, but the cursed thing just popped and fizzled.

Kind a tickled, really. Didn’t do much to the necro, but it did send her flying back to me. Saved me a few steps. So, I tucked her under my arm and head back. Danica put an arrow or two down range, but didn’t do a whole lot.

The necromancer tried to drop me, but I guess he’s never faced an orc before. Pissant little spells don’t do an abyss of a lot. C’ept maybe piss us off.

Well, I got back and everyone was on their mounts or dancing around with their horses. With all the singing and dancing, maybe southlands have some kind of ritual they have to perform? We don’t really use horse much, but when we do we just get on, and get back off once we reach where we are headed.

These southlands have to wine and dine their mounts before they’ll do as their told. I really think that everything down here, people, trogs, and horses are all soft. Makes killing easier, though.

So, now we’re all mounted, save for the Olarans. Do I envy them. Such a glorious battle and a death worthy of a warrior. But no, I had to ride this flamed horse away while they hogged all the glory.

They got roasted behind us. Spooked about half the horses. The rest of us had to carry out those of us thrown. Made riding a pain. Horses struggled with all the weight.

But, we got out. The team, at least, not the Olarans. Most of my companions were banged up bad, save for me, Dakota, and the weird singing elf.

Ya know, come to it. I didn’t see either the flying elf nor the strutting elf. I know the flying one has been gone a minute, but I swear that strutting leaf ear was there right before the mists. So many flamed elves, hard to keep track.

We rode till the horses died, then we stopped. Some of the Rangers field stripped the horses. Honestly, I figured these soft southlanders would be too squeamish for that rot. But no. Color me impressed.

We made camp just after dawn and got some rest and healing. I stayed on watch mostly. Me and the singing elf. Seems she’s the only one who knows where to go.

Oh, and not so quiet man finally woke up. Seemed pretty well rested, though a little sad he missed all the fun. So, we marched and camped and whatnot.

That night, though, we were all enjoying some horsemeat or sleep as was our wont. The singing elf said something was coming, so Danica went out. Couldn’t see nothing, so the Sergeant, the singing elf, and Danica went out there while the rest of us got ready for battle.

Twice in two days! Was not to be.

Turns out it was some horsemen looking for us. Some free riders or some such. Anyway, they brought mounts, food and medicine. Course, nothing seems to help Dakota. She’s already got one foot in the grave.

After they talked, we broke camp and headed south and east. Seems there’s a fort there. An army is assembling so we can go back and attack an empty bunch of rocks. To my mind, that’s a bit of overkill, but these southlanders are a cautious lot.

So, that’s about it. I think once the army arrives I’ll see if that singing elf can help me scrounge up something to magic my blade. Was kinda sad not being able to hit the Wraith.

Other than that. I expect to have more guard duty and more sitting around waiting. Though, I am worried about Dakota. Maybe I should see if she’d like a roll? Before she goes.

About the band.

Sergeant has the power, but seems confused in battle. I was right about him being the academic type. Probably be better served behind a desk. That necromancer fellow didn’t hesitate none. I might see if he wants to train a bit. Nothing helps your focus like a chucktar flying at your face.

Corporal’s a tough one. Maybe the toughest elf I’ve ever seen. Abyss of a shot too. Not sure about he magic stuff, though. Reminds me of them storms a few years back. That was bad mojo.

Not so quiet human. What can I say. He’s got the magic. I’ve seen it. He’s got the skill. Something is holding him back. Seems almost afraid to unleash himself. One of these days he is gonna get himself or a friend killed if he can’t get over whatever thing has hold of him. Too much control. I’ve seen it before. Sad waste too. He could be a mighty warrior.

Danica. Good, solid warrior. For a human female.

Dakota. Lovely in a crazy way. Not long for this world. Sad waste. Funny, she’s got too much fire. Trying so hard to be mad that she can’t focus on any one thing long enough to make a difference. If she just had some control… Funny, isn’t it. Not so quiet man has too much control and not enough fire. Dakota the opposite. Wonder if there might be a way to rectify that… I should ask the Sergeant.

The drunk is a fool and not much more.

The dwarf made a good showing of himself. Half decent healer.

I don’t know what to say about that crazy singing elf, though. She has a thing about horses. But, maybe she can help me get better gear.

Strutting elf ran off before battle. Not much to say there. Always struck me as a poser.

That’s pretty much it. Been not two days since my last entry. Seems longer.

Pretty sure I should sign here somewhere.

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Ashley (Howard) Leuenberger Wedding Report
Non-game Report

Howard R. Brandon III, Gamemaster
July 1st, 2016
6PM

The day began like any Friday, work. Though, this day with the promise of an early release. My goal was to depart in plenty of time to arrive at the wedding site with time to spare. As these things go, a series of unfortunate plumbing events pushed my departure date well into the Red Zone.

Nevertheless, I persevered and was out with just enough time to make the wedding. Though, i had to pause to fetch my nav system from the other car. As it turned out, the errand was entirely pointless. Ashley Street or the Ashley Conference center does not, in point of fact, exist!

Sitting in the parking lot with a fussy Evie in back, I desperately searched my phone for information as the clock ticked ominously onward. As luck would have it, Ricky was enroute a few minutes before and, knowing more about the general area, he and I were able to guess a heading.

So, using my phone for navigation and maintaining contact with Ricky, I made my way uncertainly to the wedding. The timer on the trip said I would arrive by 5:58 PM. Hardly the buffer I had been hoping to have.

The route was an interesting one. Everything seemed normal until my phone abruptly signaled a right hand turn onto a road I had never traveled. I supposed that it to reach a place that did not exist, one must travel unfamiliar roads? So, I hung a hard right and very quickly regretted my decision.

Within 5 minutes I found myself driving through a parking lot, then loading docks, then a gravel road. I finally chose to turn around in the first lot I found when, low and behold, a lot appeared. The wedding at last, what fortuitous luck. And a Ricky.

Technically, I made it through the door at 6PM, so I was not late. Ricky, Evie and I found Jimmy, JJ and a lovely young woman Rebekah who it turned out was there with JJ. Actually, Jonas aside, JJ was the only one of us who came with a companion. Unless you count Evie. And, added bonus, Rebekah might consider joining our game!

So, we all sat, Evie playing as the wedding began. Andrew looked smart in his uniform, Ashley a vision in her dress. I’ll admit I had difficulty hearing the sermon, mostly due to a bug, but what I heard was lovely. I would rate this ceremony highly among the many I have witnessed. It was a joyous occasion.

And then, the after party, I mean reception. Jonas, Anna, and Tina arrived. They, sadly, were stuck on I-20 which has become something of a dead man’s land over the past few years. I don’t understand why, but that highway is HELL.

All together at least, sans Xavier, we enjoyed a wonderful evening. The music started a tad too loud, but after nearly blowing out their system once or twice, the noise was lowered to a respectable level. And Jimmy manned the bar! What?!

Note: If I ever have a formal party, Jimmy shall tend bar.

The only dark spot was that the Diet cokes took about an hour to arrive. But once they did… And Evie enjoyed running amok. I can only wonder what the guests thought of me out walking my bug despite how cute she happens to be.

The music was good. Dinner was excellent. Ashley’s first dance… I was reminded of my own wedding. She looked so happy.

My favorite moment of the evening was just after the dinner buffet was served. The line was understandably huge and so our little party elected to wait it out, enjoying the good music and excellent company. While sitting, I noted the happy couple were sitting alone at the head of the party while their guests slowly made past the buffet table.

So, I assembled the Rangers and approached the Head Table. I cannot be certain, but I do believe the groom looked…worried as we approached en mass.

Having experienced my own wedding, I know what a hectic rush it can all be. I remember the vows, the dance, and a few other key moments, but the rest is a hungry, tired blur of faces, conversations, and confusion. So, I hoped that in that moment, while the masses were distracted by food, we could have a brief meeting with our Corporal.

I hope that when Ashley looks back on this day that our short, but heartfelt private celebration will be one of her fondest memories.

Ashley_wedding_2016.jpg

Then, all that remained was the cake cutting, delicious by the way, and the end of a perfect evening. Due to having a guest waiting alone at my house, and Evie getting fussy and tired, I was forced to leave. Shaking the groom’s hand, and hugging the bride I made me exit.

With one last order to the assembled, “Ranger’s Dismissed,” I loaded a very sleepy bug into the truck and departed.

To Ashley and Andrew,

Congratulations! I could not be more happy for you both. May you have have happiness, health, and joy in your new life together. But never forget, no matter where you go from here, what new adventures you embark upon, you will always have a home, family, and friends here.

With hope and love,

Howard Brandon
GM

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Campaign Report 66
Finding Darkness

Kura’Kai Report
28th day of Eternal Sun, Year 3125

This is my report.

We left the drunk’s (Wyvern) gather (Estate) in the morning. Sergeant said it was Red Wolf 32nd. I guess he is right. The Olarans followed us. I do not think Helt likes our band, but he is a soldier. I respect him. The female (Kira) is not too bad to look at. Not as good as Dakota, but good.

It takes four days. I walk beside my horse mostly. The Olarans don’t ride, which is best. My band are all horse people. It is not natural.

Red Wolf 33rd…Eternal Sun 1st…Eternal Sun 2nd…Eternal Sun 3rd.

We arrive at the place the Olarans killed Darkness creatures and burned a wagon on Eternal Sun 3rd. It was empty. Seems a lot of trouble for an empty wagon. I haven’t killed anything in weeks.

I stand guard. Again. While there, the drunk (Wyvern) and the quite man (Toma) think about robbing an old farmer and his son, but the Olaran Captain (Helt) knows the old man. So, I don’t get to kill anyone. Again.

After that, we travel for a bit, camp, get up and travel again.

On the 4th (Eternal Sun) our forward scouts, Danica and the Corporal (Samira) spot another wagon in the middle of the road. I am considering going into the wagon making business. These southlands are obsessed with wagons!

My team rode back and for discussing the wagon for a while and considered how best to approach. I missed most of the talk because I was bored, hungry, and tired of staring at a wagon.

Finally, Sergeant (Que’kasaars) sent me and the drunk (Wyvern) forward to open the wagon. As we approached, I noticed that it had a lock under the latch. I was about to tell the drunk, but he kept jabbering on about stuff.

I try to be…polite. These southlanders are very weak and get offended easily. So, I wait. And wait.

Soon, the party behind us starts yelling. Then quite man, who is now not so quite, rides up and throws the latch.

Its locked.

I would have told him, but the drunk was still talking.

I think they both may have taken blows to the head.

So, now I tell them its locked.

We get shot at. Well, I get shot at. The not so quite man and the drunk get hit bad. I smell blood.

Battle!

Figures start charging us and an Ogre dressed in Full Albrecht Plate, a Tower shield of Dwarven design, and an enchanted Dwarven style warhammer TELEPORTS in front of the riders behind me. They were surprise.

I planned on killing the little people first, then taking down the Ogre.

The drunk holds his own mostly. The not so quite man’s horse takes off. As do most of the others.

I think only me, the drunk, Danica on an ass, and the Sergeant remained. We were surrounded and really outnumbered. It was going to be a good fight!
Then the Sergeant gets scared and tells us to run away.

So, I kill two of the little people and tell the drunk to follow. I am surprised that he does. Sergeant uses magic to teleport Danica and the ass out. The Olarans stay behind to fight.

Maybe I should join them?

It takes all day to find Dakota. She got lost. Cute as she is (for a leaf ear), I don’t know if she’s worth much in battle. Wish I could see her fight.

So, we camp and lick wounds. I stand guard. Think I smell something, but see nothing. Maybe I am getting jumpy like these pale skins?

Then we march again, this time more on foot. I like marching better than riding. I said that. Never mind.

Arrive at new camp…Sergeant says the 5th of Eternal Sun. I guess so.

We wait for reinforcements. And wait. I stand guard, maintain gear, and try to meditate.

The drunk can’t fight for squat and is pretty much useless, but he can cook. I’ll recommend we make him camp cook. Better with a spoon than a sword.

On the 11th, Dakota wakes up sick. Everyone starts freaking out. They say she is going to die. Maybe these pale skins die when they get sick? I’ve heard that elves are easily broken. I don’t know, but she does smell…odd.

Now, none of the other elves will get near her. Strange. In gather, we take care of our sick. I will never understand elves. Danica stays with Dakota who seems depressed. How do you cheer an elf, I wonder? Maybe she wants to talk to a tree? I see some nearby. I’ll ask the Sergeant if I can go get one.

On the 12th, more elves show up.One proud peacock. He is from the forest. Walks around like he’s a Mak Tokash or something. The other one is cute. She’s a bard. I guess she sings because she has a harp. Great, now I’ve to a singing elf, a strutting elf, a screaming elf, and a sick elf the other elves won’t even talk with anymore.

I spend time now with the dwarf. At least he’s quite. Maybe he can’t talk?! Hmm… I’ll stab him later and see if he shouts.

Big boss elf had four other elves, but they ran away as soon as they heard Dakota was sick.

So, we wait. I think the elves of this land want us to leave because one of us is sick. Apparently elves REALLY can’t handle being sick. Knew a goblin once who’s nose fell off. Still the best tracker I ever knew.

Elves…

So we wait two days until the 14th when MORE elves show up but they stay far away. Instead, they send a human man to talk with not so quite man. He is now in charge? I don’t know. They talk. Afterwards Sergeant tells me to kill any of our elves who try and leave the camp, or try and talk with other elves not part of our camp.

I am told to kill us a lot. I don’t mind, but these elves are strange. The Olarans seem to think it is all funny. Olaran humor I guess. I don’t understand them well either, but at least they like good things: battle, weapons, and ale.

Then the elves start making banners. We have to show other elves that Dakota is sick. Fine. Whatever. At least we are now moving…

Of course, we are marching right back up the road we came down. I think we are lost. Stupid.

…and we arrive right back where we were attacked by the Ogre and the other people. Yay. It is the 19th of Eternal Sun according to the Sergeant.

I sit down.

We make camp.

We split into search parties. I stay back and guard camp. I meditate. I wait.

Strutting elf finds wagon tracks. I was not surprised. Elves. Wagons. Sickness. Oh, and horses. This band is very messed up.

I think the tracks were found on the 23rd, but honest I wasn’t paying attention.

We break camp and start tracking wagon tracks. There are three. Sergeant says that the enemy used magic to make MORE wagons. As if they didn’t have enough already. Seriously, I am going into business making wagons.

Maybe the Dwarf can help. Dwarves makes things right?

The middle track ends in a field. Just ends. No wagon. Great.

We head south. I don’t know the day. This set of tracks ends near the forest. More elves. Great.

So we trudge north and find the last set of tracks end in a rocky outcrop. I sit. My feet are sore, I am hungry, and this is NOT what I joined the Rangers to do.

The Sergeant looks like he is going to cry and Dakota really does look sick. Maybe elves really are weak?

Anyway, it is the 28th because the Sergeant (Que’kasaars) said so. So that was what…23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28…1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…

Six days we marched all over the abyss and back following magic wagon tracks in the ground. This band is…insane.

Not so quite man and the Sergeant (Que’kasaars) head off and have a private talk. I wait. The others stand around confused, except Danica and Dakota who. They look worried. Maybe because Dakota is sick?

I don’t know.

Sergeant (Que’kasaars) and not so quite man come back. Sergeant looks REALLY excited! Finally some action!

Then he shoots a rock with a spell. Nothing happens. Everyone starts to look pleased.

Then he blasts another rock with another spell. Everyone is REALLY excited.

I think my entire band have completely lost their minds. Could everyone be sick? Well, the dwarf seems the same. Always does.

So, I am finish this while they all discuss nothing happening to rocks.

I should sign this.

View
Thomas Zulcrum Report 1
Personal Leave

Report Personal Time
Lt. Celebor,
It goes without saying that I have successfully completed my training to become Ark fire trained. However the time has left me a little weary of those who I do not know and I wish to start my post back with srgt. Evoren as soon as possible. The details of how I was trained goes as follows. I went south and found nothing. So I headed to another lead that winded me up into the valenwood forest where I was trained everything went without insedent.

Ranger,
Thomas Zulcrum

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Campaign Report 65
Wolfhaven Dishonored

Kura’Kai Report
32nd day of Red Wolf, Year 3125

I have been instructed to write a reports.

This is my report.

Even in my home gather, the legend of the “Bear Killer”s was well known. They were all followers of the Great Wolf, the slayer of gods, leader of the armies of the Southern KIngdoms. I knew I wanted to fight alongside these great warriors.

It took many weeks to arrive in Olara, but finding the Rangers was not difficult. Many in Olara spoke of the Rangers on trial for murdering Olaran citizens in cold blood. The “Bear Killers” I admire warriors who let no one, friend of foe, to stand in their way.

[Planting Moons 30th]
I arrived in Olara [capital city] late afternoon. On my way to the Ranger Outpost I encountered a battle in the streets. Two Ranger females were engaged in glorious combat with two Olaran males. One Ranger was viciously slain by a good stab through abdomen. The other Ranger, now outnumbered was certain to die gloriously.

As I was to join the Rangers, I decided to intervene. I hoped she would forgive my denying her an honorable death. The two Olarans die well.

After which, I noted that the dead Ranger was alive, though she was soon to join the ancestors. I suggested we depart. It seemed wise as I was already heading to the outpost. I carried the wounded Ranger.

We arrived at the outpost to find an Eldakar, an Alakar, and a Dwarf interrogating a drunk human. The Alakar was upset by my handling of the body. She instructed me to “cradle” the wounded woman like a baby. Noting the Corporal cloak clasp, I complied.

Leaving behind the drunk, the elf and the dwarf, the Corporal led me out back to a small shrine of Light. There I found a human male and an Aevakar, both bearing the symbol of the Church of Light and the trappings of the Rangers. Following orders, I lay the dying woman on the altar and allowed the Priest to do his work.

To my surprise, the pigeon saved the girl. Despite obvious relief at her being alive, the Corporal seemed very angry. I reconsidered my decision to save her life. Given leave, I returned to the main HQ to find the commander of the “Bear Killers”.

The Sergeant was the Eldakar. A mage, from his robes and staff. He was starring down other female Ranger I saved. the dwarf and the drunk hung back. I have difficulty understanding human behavior, but it seemed that they might soon come to blows.

Sadly, not.

I provided my papers to the Sergeant. He asked a few questions. Then, I joined the Rangers.

Shortly, the Corporal returned with the not dead girl. She and the other woman stood at attention while the Sergeant screamed at them. I understood little. It had something to do with a Longtail and disobeying orders. The Corporal eventually stood between and ordered the two women to their room.

After which, the Sergeant instructed me to prevent anyone from the “Bear Killers” from leaving the outpost. I was not allowed to kill. Only severely maim.

[Planting Moons 31st]
The following morning, we all gathered in the common room. The drunk cooks. Danica, the female Ranger not killed was issued a verbal warning for not maiming her partner. The resurrected Ranger was given a written reprimand for directly disobeying orders. And dying.

I was confused. Why was the criminal not simply killed? Understanding these Rangers was going to be more difficult than I imagined.

My hopes of glorious bloodshed dead, I ate and waited for orders. I waited weeks hoping that one of the team would attempt to leave. Perhaps the undead girl. I was to be disappointed.

[Red Wolf 4th]
One morning weeks later local Olarans came for the girl. I considered preventing them from taking her, per orders. However, having already killed two Olarans I felt sure they might take more slaughter badly. Olarans are known to get emotional. Also, the drunk was arrested for starting a row in the kitchen, and then nearly burning the outpost down.

He was arrested by the Rangers. I offered to take care of him, but they refused. I returned to my guard post. At first, this posting seemed good. Two kills on the first day. Now I am reconsidering.

When the Sergeant discovered two of his team had been arrested on the same day, he was put out. I was summoned to give testimony about the attack on the two Rangers weeks ago. All I could say was that the Rangers were losing a fight and I stepped in to prevent both women being slain. I never saw how the fight began.

Luckily, this disqualified me from visiting the girl in jail. Instead, the Sergeant, who cannot speak Olaran (how idiotic) took the Corporal, Danica (the female Ranger), and the Priest.

Here is what I know: A) the Olarans believe that the two female Rangers defied orders and went in search of some man named Velkalar, B) during this investigation, they are accused of slander against the crown and inciting violence, C) this group seems terrified of Velkalar.

The Sergeant was able to get the girl released, but it took two weeks. Odd, he did not seem happy about rescuing her. Every time I think I understand, I do not. The Priest saved the girl, but the Sergeant was mad. The Rangers free the girl, again the Sergeant was mad. Maybe he is just an angry elf?

[Red Wolf 16th]
It was another few weeks before the Olarans released the girl. The Sergeant waited until the girl returned before getting the drunk out of jail. Once again, we were all called together. This time, almost everyone yelled. Velkalar. Longtail. Wolfhaven.

This unit does more yelling than fighting. They also think they are to blame for dishonoring the Wolf…or Velkalar is? These people make very little sense.

The winged elf shouted at the mage elf and threatened to quit. The Corporal tried to calm them and was shouted at by the Sergeant. The human from the Church tried to be calming. The drunk and the dwarf said nothing. It was tiring and boring.

The Priest did quit. I was not sad to see him go. He seemed…prideful.

But, the rest of the team decided to leave the city which was good. Maybe we will finally see battle? We left that afternoon and headed south. We traveled many days by horse. I do not like horses.

[Red Wolf 31st]
We finally arrived at a dump on the edge of Olaran lands. If living with this unit was bad, travelling was worse. The angry, awkward silences.

Our new home belongs to the drunk which might explain sad condition. We found a group of Olaran soldiers sent to help us. They did not seem pleased. The Sergeant did not seem pleased that the Olarans called us “Bear Killers,” though I do not know why. I was not pleased to be there.

The Rangers bathed. I waited. We gathered again. This time, no yelling.

Here is what I know: A) this group of Olarans, commanded by Captain Helt, ambushed a Shaya’Nor wagon train heading south toward elven lands, B) my new team had, with Olaran help, destroyed some Shaya’Nor supply base north of us, C) there are local stories of haunted trees (stupid).

[Red Wolf 32nd]
We left early in the morning headed to place where the wagon was ambushed by the Olarans. From there, we would head south to meet a friend of the drunk’s Alakar houskeeper; some elf monk? Honestly, it will likely involve more riding and probably yelling.

Sergeant Eldakar: He seems smart, but angry. Always yelling, then feeling sad. I think he should drink more. I have not seen him in battle. Hopefully he is better in combat than in meetings.

Corporal Alakar: She seems competent. I have heard that her bow is death. Mostly she follows the Sergeant and tries to make people feel better about being yelled at.

Corporal Aevakar, Priest: Arrogant, but with good magic. He carried a bow, but seemed more of the healer type. Gone now.

Ranger Human male, Church person: Quiet. I do not know if just stupid, or nothing important to say. At least he does not yell. Hopefully he fights better.

Ranger Dwarf: Silent.

Ranger Human female, soldier: Danica can fight. But, she failed to prevent the girl from leaving. Maybe not smart enough, or simply unable to do what she must.

Ranger Girl: Brash, weak fighter. She taught me a “fist bump.” This is some form of bonding. Perhaps I will partner with her?

Drunk: Idiot.

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Beta Team Field Report 1
MomoCon 2016

Corporal Wolfhaven, Alfred
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara
Fifteenth Day of Red Wolf, Year 3125 Under the Light

We know Velkalar monitors our every move from the most critical missions down to our sanitary supplies. What most of our illustrious leadership seem incapable of considering is that Velkalar does not, in fact, have to even utilize his own agents to breach our security.

Our enemies are Legion. At least one Shade is known to be still within Echer’Naught’s walls. Petty men like RabenClau and Halten watch our every move. Red Store, Tor Mastak, Shayakar Nightguard, hells even our own town hore are all enemy agents. All Velkalar must do is watch the watchers. How many of our own little games have spun threads which hung our own kin? I wonder…

When I was found by the Ranger I was a terrified boy with no family and condemned to a life of brutal servitude to a master who saw me as little more than a slave. Wolfhaven, Hawksclaw, Longtail, even Highwall, these Rangers were like gods to a poor stable boy, invincible, immortal…

Time has proven otherwise. No being, no matter how powerful, cannot be destroyed. Even Velkalar has a weakness. And his, is hubris.

The plan was simple. Father always said the simplest plans were the most successful. Simple, yet elegant.
I approached Sergeant Major Stormhammer with a critical mission. New potential allies within Galea required a rare shipment. Also, I needed it expedited at the highest levels, but slipped through. No one other than we two would know of the mission.

He arched a brow at that, but complied.

The bait was set. By my estimation, Velkalar’s spies would discover the requisition buried among the mundane and quickly realize its importance. Therefore, I added a wrinkle. Stormhammer had less than 24 hours to process mission which included a large, heavy wagon, pack animals and funds for outside security.

Note I conveniently revealed the destination?

If our enemies were going to ambush us along the rode in our heavy, plodding wagon, they would still need to move very quickly to mobilize a force of sufficient size to ensure victory. That usually takes time. Time I was not allowing.

Men can be assembled quickly, but it is a messy affair and without finesse or subtlety. Certain my nemesis’ forces were already in motion set to meet me along the road, I began phase two of my little operation.
I failed to mention to the good Sergeant that there was no delivery as there were no new allies in Galea. The package was in reality my team: Lugard, Gwyn, and Rysak. For weeks I had them running routine duties under other commands. I, myself, took a leave of absence. More chum in the water.

The mission was submitted on the 29th of Planting Moons, with a proposed departure date of the 30th. Everything looked good until a wild, mountain man wandered into the HQ and very nearly ruined everything.
Thomas Zulcrum, fresh from his “leave” had decided to return at that precise moment. His sudden re-appearance might have spooked Velkalar’s network. If they were not already aware of his return, I surely was not going to let his blundering ruin months of planning.

Before he reached the front desk I quietly, if forcefully, escorted him out of the HQ and to the house of an acquaintance with no connection to the Rangers. There, he waited for the rest of my team that had orders to assemble at the loading site by separate routes just before the wagon was set to roll out.

An hour after I was to have departed with my team, now in the wagon, I informed Sergeant Major that unforeseen issues with security would delay my departure. He was kind enough to authorize a three day delay. Just enough time to collect a few low level street toughs that might make passable caravan guards.

It just so happened that Olara, in a fit of national pride, were hosting recruiting drives across the country in preparation for a war with Shaya’Nor, should it come to that. All I had to do was hang around the Muster Grounds looking for suitable candidates. I found three.

The first was an Olaran solider. Dommer…Donner? In any case, he was strong enough to swing a sword, and smart enough not to ask stupid questions. He hired on first. I barely had to ask.

The other two were a bit trickier: a dwarf and a brinchie.

Krivak was the dwarf’s name, a wright, engineer, and warrior from the Forgehome. He was, in all ways, a dwarf as so many are. But, I found him plucky enough and he passed the Esprit test with flying colors even if his combat abilities were uninspiring. A few ales, and he can’t even swing straight. He also has something of a mouth on him, one that will likely lead him into a scrap he’s not tough enough to survive. Time will tell.

The brinchie calls herself Softpaws. Like so many of her kind, she is far too pleased with her own cleverness. But, she can track, sneak, and fight. The girl has a savage streak, no doubt, but she is so fixed on being “terrifying” that she wastes precious energy in battle. That, and her little signature throat ripping move is going to lead her enemies right to her one day. If she lives long enough to get over herself, she might make a passable Ranger.

After passing their auditions, I invited them to a friend’s place and offered them a job. The Olaran accepted before I finished asking. Krivak more or less shrugged. If he was going to fight, might as well fight for me. Softpaws just wanted money. Piss poor reason to fight, but makes her easier to manipulate so I will not look a gift horse in the mouth.

They bedded down on the 33rd of Planting Moons. By my estimation, Velkalar, or his lackeys, had just enough time to roust out a band of thugs and send them scurrying off to intercept us on the road to Galea. If I was right, they would already be in the field when the spies learned of our unfortunate “delay”. Either they would have an adept or signaler in their party (unlikely), or not.

Either way, Velkalar’s band of bloodthirsty highwaymen would quickly find themselves waiting by a lonely stretch of road for a wagon three days away with nothing better to do than to gamble, drink, and fight. Three days was just long enough to encourage them to build a decent camp, but not long enough that they might think of packing up and leaving.

We left Echer’Naught on the morning of the 1st of Red Wolf amidst the early traffic. I doffed my cloak and none of my “guards” had any identifiable markers on them either. To everyone else, we looked like wealthy caravan guards protection some fatcat’s precious cargo. To Velkalar’s spies, we were chicken ripe for the plucking.

To be fair, I expected the hit much earlier. We were halfway to Hale, five days (Red Wolf 5th) when Krivak took the first arrow in the back. One minute, we are trudging along the road, the next all hell breaks loose. Arcfire blasts from the treeline to my right, and behind us, I hear the bellow of an Ogre.

I’ll give them credit. They put their three days to good use. The bandits had created hunting blinds around the ambush site. With a few quick slashes of a blade, walls of shrubs and limbs fell away to reveal dozens of armed men and women. It was a textbook ambush.

It was also a trap.

My trap.

As soon as I heard Krivak cry out, I put my horn to my lips and blew. The sides of my wagon shot up and my team leaped out, weapons at the ready. On the left, Lugard up front with Thomas in the rear. On the right, Rysak held the front while Gywn to the rear. Suddenly, the Olaran, Dommer, was flanked by a Paladin and a deranged Olaran in plate. Krivak found himself standing by a dwarf with filed teeth and a slight human girl with a bow half a head taller than herself.

Softpaw brought up the rear more or less by her lonesome.

I, out front, released the horn of Wolfhaven and readied my spear. It was time for some just deserts.

The bandits came in fast and hard, trying to overwhelm our defensive line while their archers, and arclancer, peppered us from the trees. At first, Softpaws took the worst of it as she was out of line and without support.
In waves, three brigands rushed her. She managed to drop two before the last, quite literally, ripped out her throat. How she remained standing, I’ll never know. The wound seemed less to kill her as it just pissed her off more. She went on a bloody rampage of throat ripping that would have shamed a vampire.

Krivak and Rysak cut their way through waves of bandits trying to reach the arclancer who was making scrap iron out of Rysak’s armor. Gywn handled herself well until Softpaw’s decided to start eating a bandit right beside her. I suppose I cannot hold the brinchie at fault. She couldn’t know about the girl’s past.

On the left flank, Dommer, Lugard and Thomas faced off against at least as many bandits as well as an Ogre in full plate. Lucky for them, the stupid oaf attacked the wagon first. I’ll bet the only orders it received was to stop the wagon. Dumb brute.

Once the wagon was kindling, it turned its attention on Thomas and proceeded to driver the Olaran into the ground like a tent peg. In the end, the Ranger felled the giant with a well-placed hand-caster shot that melted flesh and armor.

Note that Thomas appears to have received the Arcfire training he so desperately sought.
The Olaran did well enough, as did Lugard. Once I dispatched the two men blocking out path, I turned my attention to the enemy commander who was firing on us from a small rise to my left.

From his armor and bearing, I place him as a Maelstrom commander, or perhaps a true Kal warrior. Either way, I closed the distance quickly, hoping to catch him off balance. Instead, he recovered first and, dropping his bow, drew a Warhammer. His first blow caught me in the chest and ripped me from the saddle.

In the background I could hear my team mopping up the rest of the bandits, but their leader was tough. We traded blows, he using his weight and strength to gain advantage, I longer reach and an overwhelming desire to cut out his heart. In the end, I settled upon skewing him to the dirt and he upon gasping his death rattle like a poleaxed sow.

To my surprise, the entire time had come through more or less unscathed. Gwyn was frozen and Softpaw was bleeding out her gaping throat, but Thomas stitched her easily enough and Lugard coaxed Gwyn to moving again.

Minor medical issues managed, I dispatched them into teams: some to scout for more bandits and some to scour the area for the enemy camp I estimated would be within a few hundred yards. Before searching the area, I had the brinchie check the fallen brigands. None of the bandits survived. Afterwards, Softpaw found the enemy camp just over 200 yards to the south in a small copse of trees. She did have a devil of a time trying to explain that. He wound, it seems, has rendered her mute.

The camp was a sorry affair, but decent enough considering the inhabitants. Again, I dispatched my men into search teams. We found armor, trash, broken bottles and other bits of detritus. Softpaw managed to find coin minted in the northern Wildlands near the Howling River ports. That, along with the large swath of tracks leading to the south east provided our next heading.

We rested the night in the camp and started out on the 6th for Erimar. Six days across country, and an afternoon ferry ride found us in Erimar on the 12th. We entered Erimar late afternoon. I stayed at the docks with the team sending in only the dwarves. Krivak proved to be quite chatty and, posing as bounty hunters, managed to find information regarding someone who might know about Ranger bounties south of the town.
Our entire time in Erimar proved Velkalar’s influence. Everyone was armed and all treated us with suspicion. I was nearly positive our presence had already reach the ears of our enemy, but I was curious to see this farce through.

We made a half-day trek in half the time, climbing into the Northern Hills. It was around this point that Thomas revealed that he had learned on his quest of enemy agents in Montrel, just on the other side of this range. That squares with other reports I have read and the fact that the Blood Lord’s Citadel was buried somewhere under the Northern Hills.

If this isn’t Velkalar’s base of operations, then it is at least a stronghold.

Just as day faded to night, we arrived a large complex nestled in a small bluff overlooking Erimar. If it were not an enemy fortress, it might have even been charming. We sent Softpaw ahead to scout the ground while we waited a safe distance.

She reported back through some wild pantomiming that the complex appeared empty. So, I ordered my team inside, cautiously. Entering, it certainly seemed vacant.

There were two main structures. I sent Thomas and Rysak to investigate the smaller of the two. For some reason Softpaw and Dommer decided to follow. I considered speaking up, but decided to let things play out.
We had a brief start when Thomas bashed open the front door. Apparently he dislodged a broom which fell to the floor causing him to jump like a school girl seeing a mouse. Eventually he overcame his fear of rakes and headed inside with the others.

They were gone a bit when Krivak got impatient and decided to take Lugard into larger structure. Again, I elected to allow this brashness. Either the buildings were empty and I could address the insubordination at a later, more convenient, date, or, this was, as I suspected, a trap. In which case, they would at least flush out my enemies for me like good soldiers.

In the end, it was a bit of neither. I assumed Velkalar would use traps. He is nothing if not predictable. This is why I hired Krivak, the Olaran, and conscripted Thomas. They should, at least, soak up some damage.
What I did not expect was for Velkalar’s men to have mined the entire complex. That was an intriguing surprise. Krivak and Lugard apparently stumbled across many interesting things, finely sewn women’s clothing, no doubt stitched by Sarah and even rose scented water in the lavatory. But, their greatest discovery was entering a room filled with the stench of blood an offal.

Sadly, they retreated before actually seeing what was in the cells lining the room and, in doing so, set off booby-traps that obliterated both structures with everyone inside. I suppose we may never know how many prisoners we torched in that fire.

For the second time I was shocked to see that nearly everyone made it out alive. Only Thomas was badly wounded as he was weighed down so by his plate armor. The rest managed to quickly clear the buildings suffering only moderate to severe burns in most cases.

Our evidence slowly burning to ash around us, I ordered a retreat. No sense in giving Velkalar easier targets. We fell back to a good place down the mountains; easily defensible if need be. There, I forced Greater Healing potions down Thomas’ throat until the Ranger sputtered and coughed into consciousness. He truly looked awful, but he was conscious and that is all I required.

Before departing, I borrowed an arcfire teleporter from the Ranger HQ, knowing Thomas could operate it in the event we needed a swift escape. Now, I thrust the tangle of wires and gears into his hands and, with them, our lives. Impressively, he managed to activate the device through gritted teeth. I can imagine the pain he was in.

With a flash of Arcfire and our bodies being ripped to shreds before fused back together, we returned to Echer’Naught. The mission was hardly a success, but we did discover a great deal about Velkalar’s operations. We also managed not to lose a single soldier. Yes, Softpaw is permanently crippled, Rysak’s chest was badly burned by arcfire, Thomas has lost most of his skin, and even Krivak got badly cooked.

But, in most engagements with Velkalar we tend to lose at least one team member, so I will report this as a qualified success. Both Softpaw and Thomas asked to remain on the team after recuperating in the infirmary. Gwyn will not like working with the brinchie, but she will learn to accept, or not.

I am left with one question. How soon did our enemies know of my plans? Clearly they had enough time to abandon their outpost and even enough time to set their trap. It would also seem that they were unsurprised at our arrival in Erimar. So, did they get word during our week long ride south? Or, did we miss a scout at the ambush site; someone reporting our progress even before the attack?

Perhaps Velkalar is more clever than all that. Perhaps, he knew all along and simply sacrificed a few pawns to lure me deeper into his trap. He is truly a skilled gamesman.

This proves to be an interesting contest indeed.

Your most obedient servant,
Alfred Wolfhaven, Corporal
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

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Rogue Faction Play
Summer 3125
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Campaign Report 64
Evoran Arrested, Thorgram Convicted

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

As relayed from Echer’Naught Alpha team under command of Sergeant Evoran Que’kasaars

Fifteenth Day of Planting Moons, Year 3125 Under the Light

There is no heroism without sacrifice. This, I find, is the most significant truism of my life. I have lost my love, my surrogate father, my sister, my niece, my dearest friends… Worse, sometimes, death is the easier burden to bear…

I contact Sergeant Que’kasaars as scheduled by dawn on the 3rd of Golden Eagle. He and his team were established in the Great Library of Rhion under the protection and graces of the Order of the Steel Quill. The Grandmaster himself ensured their safety.

Sergeant Que’kasaars and Corporal Silverfeather delved deep into the ancient lore of Olara seeking locations of potential artifacts, weapons, or hidden masters from the Age of Darkness and before. Their labors took a month, ending only on the 33rd of Golden Eagle, five weeks to the day. My last report, before the team closed down for the eve was that Evoran believed he was close, lacking on a piece of information that might break the case open.

Later, I discovered that the team broke late in the evening, Corporals Silverfeather and Ravenwood stepped away to have a quite tea and discuss the Sergeant’s levels of stress. The remaining Rangers, under the watchful eye of the Sergeant, retired to a tavern in a vain efforts to wash away their frustration with ale. All seemed well until they exited the pub sometime after the 13th hour.

As they made their way toward their inn, none noticed the army of thugs waiting in alleys and behind carts. Just a block from their destination, the party was attacked in the shadows of Rhion’s gritty streets. The attack was as brutal as it was sudden and, though the Rangers held their ground, numbers were stacked heavily against them.

Things seemed dire when Ranger Toma signaled Corporal Ravenwood telepathically and alerted her to the attack. As fortune would have, the Corporals happened to be just around the block. They managed to arrive in moments and take the enemy by surprise.

With death from the shadows, via the archers, and the Rangers rallying, the battle began to turn…when Ranger 1st Class Thorgram fell again… In a fit of berskerk rage, the Ranger literally ripped the enemy leader in half, spraying the team with gore. Corporal Samira, fearing that at the raging half-orc might turn on the Sergeant who lay bleeding nearby, took down with a well-placed arrow. His body fell heavily on the already wounded Sergeant.

Corporal Silverfeather flew in and summoned Archanon’s healing energies to soothe the wounds of the Rangers and recover the Sergeant from where he had fallen. Just as the Rangers were recovering, a soft clapping echoed through the suddenly quiet courtyard. A figure emerged, dark of skin and impeccably dressed, the duelist addressed Rangers.

He introduced himself as Alphonz Domingo Ferrara Diego Castellano, Diego for short. The Nazitiran apologized for the attack, but he needed to determine if the Rangers were truly worthy of his blade. It seemed that he was seeking Velkalar’s bounty on their heads. Fortunately for the Rangers, but not their pride, Diego found them lacking and merely departed with a sigh.

Shaken, and demoralized, the Rangers found a well to wash of the blood before delivering the unconscious thug to the local authorities. Then, hung over and sore, the Rangers returned to the Inn to discuss this newest development. Velkalar’s reach had clearly grown and the Rangers were now in serious danger in Rhion. Diego would not be the last assassin.

They had a fitful sleep waiting to hear from the Olaran Warden in the morning about the prisoner waking. Sergeant Que’kasaars was on guard when the hall outside their rooms was suddenly filled with the tromp of heavy boots. A Captain of House Olara, flanked by four Sergeants at arm, approached Sergeant Que’kasaars with an order for his arrest.

Ranger Toma fetched Corporal Ravenwood who officially took command of the Rangers on the 1st of Planting Moons, 3125 as Sergeant Que’kasaars was remanded into Olaran custody and led away in irons. Even as the Sergeant departed, a runner arrived with news that the prisoner was awake. Heavily fatigued, the Rangers roused themselves and headed to the goal.

The prisoner, a local thug revealed little. Diego had informed him, and his companions, of the large bounty on the heads of the Rangers. He knew nothing of Velkalar or Diego. More defeated than ever, the Rangers left the man in gaol. It was at this point that Ranger Toma contacted me and I, in turn, reached out to Corporal Ravenwood.

As soon as I was informed, I sent a runner to our local Olaran represented, the honorable Sheriff Halten who confirmed, rather gleefully, that Sergeant Que’kasaars was under arrest for the murder of an Olaran citizen and that he was being transported to the city of Olara for trial. Knowing how swift, and lethal, Olaran justice can be, Lt. Celebor ordered the team to Olara as well in the hopes that they could, at the very least, represent Evoran at the trial.

The trip was uneventful. They even managed to pass the prison wagon on the road to Kore. I messaged ahead so that a place would be prepared for the team at the Ranger HQ. It took the Rangers 5 days to reach Olara, Evoran arrived 2 days after that. The trial was set for the 15th of Planting Moons. For the next two weeks, Corporal Ravenwood required that the Rangers remain within the local HQ compound. There was no knowing how quickly Velkalar’s assassins would track them, but if Sheriff Halten in Echer’Naught knew of Evoran’s arrest, it was assured that Velkalar’s spies, not to mention Vainar’s, were also aware.

The trial on the 15th was as straightforward as expected. The Rangers were allowed to enter the King’s Keep, without weapons, to attend the trail in a small chamber used for higher level justice. Instead of a panel of judges, there was one Chancellor who heard Evoran’s case.

The Rangers spoke, one after another, recounting their memories of the battle and the events leading up to the tragedy. In all, the trial lasted less than an hour. After hearing all evidence, the Chancellor agreed that the incident was a tragic accident, but pointed out that this was the second time that Sergeant Que’kasaar’s team had killed Olaran citizens. As Evoran represented the Ranger Corps and large, and his unit in particular, the unit, under his command, was guilty of criminal negligence and subject to the king’s justice.

He was found guilty on all charges.

The Chancellor offered to allow Sergeant Que’kassars an official protest. He pointed out that the power and prestige of the Rangers would almost guarantee that his sentence would be lessened or possibly entirely commuted. None of Wolfhaven’s men would ever take that deal.

Therefore, the Chancellor prepared to issue his ruling when Ranger 1st Class Thorgram stood and addressed the court. It was he who slew the first citizens in a fit of Flame touched rage and so it was to him that the punishment should fall.

Over Evoran’s strident protests, Thorgram adamantly refused to budge. His duty is to protect his team regardless of the consequences. In the face of such selflessness, Evoran acquiesced and Thorgram was sentenced to six month hard labor in Olaran incarceration. With a last request to take care of Muriel, Thogram was led away in chains.

With that, the Chancellor declared the trial concluded and Sergeant Que’kasaars free to go. The Olarans left the courtroom to attend other business while the Rangers sat in silence. Evoran wept.

After a time, the Rangers, minus Thorgram, returned to the local HQ to discuss their next move.

There can be no heroism without sacrifice. Why must it always be those few who must do the sacrificing?

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

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