From Mansion to Outpost, The Backwater Gambit, Campaign Diary 21

From Mansion to Outpost

Chapter 20

 

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Using his new Dimensional Travel spell, John teleports himself and the party to the Moncrief Mansion. The group appear suddenly in the foray of the mansion. They stagger back suffering from dimensional travel sickness but soon regain their footing. John looks around discovering Pras is no longer with them but there is a note in his pocket and a chroma stone. The note is from Pras saying he decided to stay behind to collect the money owed him by the Merchants’ Guild. He thanks the party for their help wishing them well and saying he’ll do his best to make sure they have a safe house in the city through the Merchants’ Guild. He also grants them his chroma stone (the player who ran Pras moved away so I had to write him out of the story).

While Pras is not with the party, Asher now is. John surmises he must have tweaked the spell since it was his first time casting it causing it to pull Asher with them (Asher’s player missed the last session but was here for the one). The group does make a bit of a commotion in the foray. Jorg emerges from one of the studies to greet his compatriots. He explains he and the witchhunters were able to bring the Coven Horror up to the Usurer’s Tower where they entombed it. Jorg realizing they were close to the mansion wanted to check on the treasure stored there so told the witchhunters he’d meet up with them at Crix Outpost in a couple of days.

The party decides to rest, regain their footing, and strategize. John uses the time to read one of his magical books. The other heal up and talk with Jorg. Celia arrives the next day. She has been venturing out from the mansion to help pockets of commoners who fled the Drow attacks on Foxon and Monton. She tells the party she’s been working with Karen to try to help the people either get to Bas Eldritch or make new settlements. However, Karen has gone missing in her pursuit of bandit thugs who had been raiding and abusing the refugees. The party again tries to contact Karen via the chroma stones but there is not response. The group debates going looking for her but decide they need to go to Crix Outpost to talk with the witchhunters, who Jorg reveals are kinda taking direction from Mercer Thiel who is there. Also at Crix Outpost are the county’s militia and The Hundred, and they party thinks they may be able to rally one or both to their cause, which is undefined. Celia also informs the party there has been a rise in strange activity in the area. Giants have come down out of the mountains and are harrying livestock and shepherds. There have been mass disappearances of refugees and those that return seems strangely effected. Also, a small mining hamlet has seemed to have burnt down from the inside with no survivors only being recently discovered.

The group considers all this new information and try to formulate a plan. They seem to be leaning towards going to Crix Outpost to consult with the witchhunters. Before the party journey’s the three days to Crix Outpost, Asher leads a discussion about just what exactly the party’s endgame is. Are they trying to stop the Drow? Are they trying to get home to Faerun? Are they just jumping randomly from one job to the next gathering coin? The group discusses it and while Jorg is in it for coin, the majority feel they can (and should) help the commoners as they look for a way home. Asher concedes to the will of the party but makes it clear his primary goal is to return to his home. Wand suggests the best option for finding a way back to Faerun are either through the magic of the Pelorian monastery or the Drow leader Kolo Illrym or by purchasing passage through the Merchants’ Guild. All three are going to expensive in one way or another. The party ruminates on this as they travel to Crix Outpost.

The road to Crix is three days of travel. On the second day, the party come to an open grazing field.

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Dismembered corpses of cattle and animal parts are strewn all over staining the grass. There are also dead humanoid bodies–what look to be soldiers some impaled by their own spears others torn apart or with their chests or heads caved in. Off in the near distance, the party is able to see a Hill Giant lifting a struggling humanoid form up to its mouth then biting down on its head and shoulders. An echoing crunch fills the air. Before the party can come up with a tactic, they realize a Dire Wolf has them in its sites. It howls and the Hill Giant turns lumbering with bloody intent towards them. 

The party are able to dispatch the Dire Wolf just before the Hill Giant gets to them. Between the six of them, they are able to take the giant down however the battle does set each of them back a bit. As the giant falls, the group sees coming out of the forest at the opposite side of the field two Ettins. Before the couple of two-headed giants are able to perceive the party, they run back into the forest taking a wide path around the area to avoid the Ettins.  Although slightly delayed in their travel, the party arrives at Crix Outpost in the early evening of the third day.

 

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What the party had though was going to be a fortified encampment or proper castle turns out to appear to be a haphazard assemblage of adobe and shoddy looking brick buildings set into the face of the cliffs. As they approach the gates, a guard calls down to them. When they respond, another guard yells back to them in a surprised and friendly tone. It is Godan, the mercenary from The Hundred who had accompanied the party on couple of quests around Foxon. He waves them in to the outpost, welcomes them, and gives them directions on where to find Grim Donovan and Mercer.

Talking with Grim, the party is able to figure out a bit more of the backstory of the covens in teh area. Although Mercer seems flighty and doesn’t quite surrender clear information to the group, they are able to piece together that The Sparing Ones are magically locked into the ruins they inhabit but were likely at some point each at home in the three Corse Ruins. Some spell keeps them tied to the northern ruins and part of that spell requires strong magic users to occupy the other ruins to keep them ‘in balance’ according to Mercer.

The party also discover more details about the Margrave and the history of the county from Mercer. Apparently, the Margrave, a powerful human warlock, arrived in the region over a hundred years ago to make it his own personal kingdom where Drow could live side-by-side with the other races away from the evil of Lolth. The area was relatively uninhabited by humanoids, but the Margrave did have to face off against The Sparing Ones for control. He defeated them and was able to found Bas Eldritch as well as the villages of Foxon and Monton bringing settlers in from the coast and from far away continents. He also stored his personal magic items all around the county so that no matter where he went he would have access to his materials. Nearly all the magic items, weapons, and armor in the county are these treasures.

Wand backs the is up explaining that his Wand of Wonder is one such item he discovered by chance. He also says that this probably explains why the City Guard has excess to a well of Antimagic (where the vial that was used to subdue the party on the boat came from), which is the foundation of its authority. Grim chimes in saying she’s heard the City Guard have nearly run out of it and are panicking. Mercer goes on to explain the county flourished, and the Margrave with his Drow fiancee was about to get married when he suddenly disappeared along with his would-be bride. Since then, the people of the county have gotten by as best they could being so isolated and remote. The party discover the Margrave’s name was Barabad Illrym. They conclude Kolo must be his bastard son or other relative trying to reclaim the county or carry out Barabad’s plan. 

The group takes all this in. As they do so, Grim departs saying her and the witchhunters are heading back to the Usurer’s Tower to guard the Coven Horror. Jorg nods and says he’ll join them soon and that he wants to keep an eye on the party. When Grim and Mercer leave, the party hatches a plan. Wand assures them he can get them to the place in Bas Eldritch he almost 100% certain leads to Kolo. John reminds them all that The Sparing Ones promised spells which would help them defeat Kolo if they killed the Coven Horror. The party decide to teleport ahead of the witchhunters, kill the Coven Horror, teleport back to Bas Eldritch to go after Kolo. 

Roben, Asher, Nym, Jorg, and Wand all grab a hold of John as he teleports them to the Usurer’s Tower…

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