Age of Heroes

Mission Successful, Sah!
Aw, hell, a Hydra!

As requested, we set off into the mountains in the north of here to find a band of scouts that had gone missing.

All proceeded peacefully for the first few days, but I feel the need to report the presence of a large Orc town just the other side of the mountains. Mindful of the fact that we could not easily defeat them, and not wanting to give away the existence of the mountain pass by conducting raids against the town, we decided to file its existence away for a future seek and destroy mission.

Several days further north we encountered and defeated a small village of undead, and soon after found the remains of some of the scouts. One we managed to rescue alive, and set to his recovery.

We also found an old abandoned iron mine, where we found another scout and the remains of the rest of them. It was also the place we battled a Hydra.

You may have heard legends about this fearsome beast, and I can confirm most are probably true. It was all that I and my comrade could do to hold it in place whilst our comrades rained death upon it from afar. For each head that we destroyed, another two took its place. Indeed, before it died there were a full twelve heads attached to the fearsome body, each as deadly as the next.

Upon our return journey we were attacked by a magic using ogre, who appeared and immediately cast a fearsome spell that killed one of the two scouts we found, and would have killed the other too if he didn’t just happen to be covered by our shields. This creature proved a fearsome fighter, able to use magic to evade us and both weapons and magic to harm. Still we proved victorious, though as I said, it was at a cost of one of the two scouts we had rescued.

Now, if you would excuse me sir, we are going to have a short, if well deserved, rest.

Ignar Rant, reporting, Sah!

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Leutenant Ignar Fireforge reporting, Sah!.
An update for Commander Estaban

Sah!

Herewith a ground’s-eye report on the Orcan threat.

A mere day away from Elmshaven we came across smoke rising from a village. Upon investigating we found a bugbear raiding party, 6 strong, two mounted on huge bears. We dealt with them easily enough, only to find that not only were they stealing children for food, but that they were only a part of the raiding party, an equal number having gone on to another nearby village to raid that one as well.

After receiving directions from a villager we set off in pursuit. Unfortunately we were not in time to prevent them attacking that village, but did catch them as they left to regroup with the one we destroyed earlier.

We managed to save all the captured children, killed all 12 bugbears and 4 bears in total from both raiding parties, and helped restore order in the area.

It worries me that such threats are roaming almost unopposed in this area – it tells me that we really need to thin down the numbers of Orcans around here. We will do our part, but request you send more reinforcements to Elmshaven to help with the war effort.

Your loyal officer,
Leutenant Ignar Fireforge, Sah!

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Leutenant Ignar Fireforge reporting, Sah!
Threat assassment of giant ants

Sah!

I must urgently report on a giant ant-like infestation four days east of Everance.

Sir, as you know the Riverbrook Irregulars are on our way to Elmshaven to find and assist father Lazarus, and accompanying brother Elbarass and a supply cargo on the way.

Some four days into our journey some local villagers reported that cattle had been disappearing from their fields. Suspecting Orcan foul play was behind this we decided to investigate.

Whilst searching the nearby fields we had no sooner came across collapsed depressions in the ground when three gigantic ant-like creatures assaulted us. Their ambush was successful mainly because their antennas were indistinguishable from the ears of corn in the field.

These creatures were larger than man-sized, looking like the devil’s own cross between an ant and a locust, with large spearing and grasping claws as their primary weapons, but also able to spit acid at us as well.

They are very strong – two of them together pinned me so securely it took most of the combat to free myself of their grasps.

The trail from these attackers led us to a series of subterranean tunnels, where we disposed of a total of 6 more of these creatures, one obviously the queen, laying her eggs. We also disposed of the eggs, and then backtracked their route until we found a bullette. This famously aggressive land shark attacked us on sight, but by a combination of luck and raw strength we defeated it. Obviously it was the reason that these creatures moved into our area, and now we have disposed of this pressure, and collapsed the tunnels behind us, there should be no more infestation here.

I would caution you to advise the nearby villages to be on their guard – we disposed of all the ants we could, but there were several other tunnels away from the bulette that had already collapsed in on themselves, which may be indicative of other nests that fled that area.

Ignar rant, reporting, Sah!

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Another letter home
To Rand Fireforge, Festung Stormfist

Dear Father,

How are you and my brothers faring? I have yet to receive any letters back from you – I just hope my letters to you are all reaching you.

We have had a busy time the last few weeks! Firstly on our way to Everance we were repeatedly attacked. First by a ghostly siren, then by an undead warrior on a flying creature (later identified as a manticore, no less). Although we defeated them handily, it shocked me to find so many undead creatures were about in the land.

When we got to Everance we got a scholar to investigate some coins we had found, and set about systematically destroying a graverobbing gang. This gang had had the temerity to steal the body of an ex-girlfriend of Twinkletoes, our stalwart Halfling. We laid a trap for them in the local church, wiped out nearly all the gang that turned up, then trailed them back to their headquarters and cleaned them up also. this led us to information about their paymaster, who we traced to a rather disreputable part of the city, before killing all of his lackeys. The leader got away though, due to some kind of teleporting spell he cast. I felt so frustrated that I didn’t even notice that he had killed Twinkletoes in the battle. We hunted around and found someone willing to raise him, which cost a hefty sum, I do declare, but we did manage to restore him to life.

Twinkletoes has a mission now, to raise enough money to bring his dead girlfriend back to life. A mission I feel obliged to help him with.

As a parting note, please be on your guard. Even more so than normal, as there seems to be something dark underway, with undead appearing far too often to be a coincidence. Please check that our family vaults have not been desecrated, and be on your guard.

Until we meet again,
Your humble and loyal son,
Leutenant Ignar Rantson of the Fireforge Clan

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A letter home.
To Rand Fireforge, Festung Stormfist

Dear Father,

How are things at home? I have not heard from you since my last letter, despite assurances that my messages are getting through.

I am doing well in the army at the moment, mainly due to my actions during the siege of Riverbrook. The fists of heavy infantry you sent us really made the difference between victory and defeat. With so many able soldiers Commander Estaban managed to spare the Riverbrook Irregulars to make a surprise attack at the heart of the enemy encampment. I did so well there that they promoted me to Leutenant!

You will be pleased to know that once again good Fireforge steel saved my life. It seems that seldom a day goes past without me needing to put my skills to good use. Most recently I helped to cleanse a subterranian lair that was inhabited by a large number and variety of undead. The ghoules, zombies and skeletons were no match for good Fireforge steel, but I found the skeletons to be very resistant to all save blunt damage, so have invested in a good Fireforge steel Warhammer, for any future meetings of that sort.

I would ask you, sire, if any of the sages in Festung Stormfist have knowledge of ancient civilisations that would have been based in the area where Riverbrook now lies. I am talking of thousands of years ago, far predating any civilisation that I am aware of, even our own.

It seems we are now off to Everance, and hopefully find clues to help solve the riddle of where this lair originated.

Until we meet again,
Your humble and loyal son,
Leutenant Ignar Rantson of the Fireforge Clan

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Leutenant Ignar Fireforge, reporting, Sah!
A report on Riverbrook's Town Fair

Side note: I had intended to flush out a conversation with Dai before posting this, but as he is no longer playing in this campaign I have crafted the conversation with Morgannwg the way I wanted it to go.

Sah!
I have concluded my investigation into the events at the Grande Melee during the Fair and find the results to be both worrying and intriguing. As you know, I entered various contests during the Fair. I did not expect to do well in some of them, for example in archery, but competed in the spirit of fair play.

You may not have been aware but in the Grand Melee I had expected to get into the semi finals. My martial expertise, whilst not all-encompassing, seemed to be far superior to most of the competition entrants.

It was with such expectations that I entered contest with the first of my opponents, none other than Twinkletoes Lightfinger, my associate from the irregulars. Knowing that he was no match for me I undertook to minimise his embarrassment and tried to finish the fight quickly. But after just exchanging our first blows I suddenly passed out, and was unrousable for several minutes. When I finally awoke, I felt completely fine, and not at all groggy. I immediately suspected foul play.

Having seen our blades, I knew that they were not poisoned. Indeed, I suspect such a thing to be beneath my ally and then opponent, but still had to rule it out. Indeed, the effects on me were very similar to those upon our goblin opponents when Morgannwg cast a sleeping enchantment upon them.

With this in mind I made enquiries about those near to the contest area, and one fellow was good enough to mention that he saw someone in the shadows between some nearby tents, though he was already too far gone in ale to be able to make out his face. This reinforced my presumption of magic use. Having conferred with Morgannwg, she affirmed my worst fears, in that the sleeping enchantment is one commonly known amongst mages, as was the ability to occlude other’s senses. I bade her to enquire amongst her fellows to see if any of them had a grudge against either us or the town militia, but so far she has not uncovered anything of note.

Having no personal enemies I am aware of, and noting that there seems little or no anti-dwarf sentiment in the town, I have concluded that this was either an attempt to discredit the ability of the king’s guards or to try to belittle the abilities of the town militia.

With all routes of investigation thus stalled, I am forced to await our opponent’s next move. Maybe he will try something more overt next time, and if so, I will be ready for him.

Ignar rant, reporting, Sah!

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Bright Dawns & Deep Shadows
A private letter

Dearest E.
My goodness, the weeks have flown by since my last letter.
Riverbrook is gradually returning to some semblance of normality. The debris from the battle is cleared from the streets and the repairs are proceeding at good pace, although the fields to the east will bear the scars of battle for a few seasons yet. The time for grieving is passing, and the town’s spirit grows stronger with every dawn.
To help mark this I had an idea to propose a memorial to the fallen defenders of Riverbrook, perhaps a statue in a small garden. I approached Mayor Christenson to discuss this and it transpires he had a similar notion, to be announced at the town fair. With the mayor’s approval I have volunteered to organise this.
I have also moved out of the Riverbrook Rest and taken a lease on a small but comfortable cottage on the edge of town, near the temple to Lugh. I still frequent the Rest most days, and a few of us have a regular card game in the back room. Master Barrin has even named a spicy meat sandwich in my honour!
Alas, ‘twas not long before word came of a new threat. Some of the labourers building the new keep to defend Riverbrook were found mysteriously slain. The task of investigating the killings fell to the Irregulars and we soon discovered a network of old tunnels beneath the site of the town’s new defences. Cautiously we made our way through the narrow passage ways and soon encountered ghoulish undead abominations. Horrid creatures that were once living people.
My darling, encountering such…
things makes me more determined than ever to find a way to bring you back safe to me. I cannot bear the thought that while you are gone there is even a chance some foul necromancer may inflict this cruel fate on you. I take some small comfort that you reside in the boneyards of Everance where such wickedness would struggle to stay hid. But I must not dwell on such morbid fantasies or I shall weep when I must stay strong.
The good folk of Riverbrook are depending on me and my companions to keep them safe, and I need to keep Riverbrook safe to give you a good home to return to.
Forever yours,
P.

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Ignar Rant, reporting, Sah!
A report on the Elimination of Garrok, Orc chief.

Sir, we headed out at full dark, as arranged, and met with the ‘Watchers’ in the northern woods. The leader of these, an un-named half-elf, regarded Arthur as his rightful lord and king – something which may well bear looking into – and agreed to use his fifty scouts to try to draw the guard remnant away from Garrok’s camp.

Whilst we were on our way to the staging point we were assaulted by a moderate-sized band of Orcs, which we cut down in short order. There were no other enemy scouts encountered before the Orc grand assault began. A few minutes after the Orc’s assault began the Watchers staged their diversionary assault-and-retreat, drawing nearly all of Garrok’s remaining defenders away. In the end there were only two Orogs and three Orcs that stayed as camp guards. The irregulars stormed the camp guards, leaving Arthur and his knights to sidestep this combat and face Garrok directly.

Special mention of Torrin is worth noting here – during this nasty combat with two Orogs and associated Orcs he stood by my side, fearlessly casting his magics in the face of mighty opposition. Without him, I would surely have fallen to the combined attacks of those two monsters, for even with his help we were severely pressed. Still, when I dropped the last of our foes, Torrin was down but stable, having given his utmost for the cause. The combat with Garrok had gone badly for our knights, with all of them sorely beaten on, and all close to falling. I even had time lend my aid before they’d managed to drop their single foe. Still, we were victorious, and with no friendly deaths.

We raided Garrok’s tent for anything of value before high-tailing it back here with his body. The rest you already know about.

Once again I feel that the Irregulars have performed well, only slightly hampered by the variation in combat styles between our knightly allies’ direct approach and our own more ranged-attrition approach. I believe the best approach for the near future would be to keep our two groups working together. Given the Watcher’s response to Arthur, I feel keeping a close eye on the lord would be advantageous. If dark days truly lie ahead, we really don’t need anything upsetting the current stability of the Western Kingdom, and the rule of good King Serben.

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Igner Rant, Post-battle Debreif, Sah!
A short account of the night defense of Riverbrook.

Sir, as planned, when the Orcs attacked we showered them with missile fire and retreated in an orderly fashion to the walls. The militia behaved impeccably, sire, all due no doubt to Lauren’s budding leadership abilities. We kept them from swamping the wall until the gates looked ready to fail, then I went down to help hold the gate with those chosen for the job.

I must say, sire, that I am very proud of them. Militia they may be, but not one of them broke when the Orcs brought the gates down. To a man they fought, and as a group we were victorious.

The mob that assaulted us were a combination of Orcs and Orogs. The first two Orcs to face me died in short order, which was the reason why their leader, an Orog, decided to try to cut me down to size. He failed to do so. His death seemed to break this mob, allowing us to rout them and slay a goodly number of them as they fled.

I would say again, sir, that if it were not for Lauren’s inspiring lead and the Riverbrook Militia’s unwillingness to surrender their town, then that flank would not have held. I am rightly proud of them.

By your leave, Commander, I’ll go grab a few hours’ rest before the dawn.

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Headless Chickens
A private letter

My beloved E.
Thanks be to the gods, somehow we have survived! Riverbrook is saved and the orc threat averted. And I still don’t know how. The history books may record these events as a mighty battle between two great armies. All I saw were headless chickens.
First in Riverbrook, as it soon became apparent that Esteban and his war council had no idea what to do. Our alleged commander had no plan, and no orders to issue to his men. Instead he called on all and sundry for ideas, which inevitably led to countless hours of panicked bickering at the prospect of annihilation at the hands of a the orc horde. I would have thought the first job of a commander is to command…
Anyway, as the officers argued we had the first answer to our prayers. A relief force of some one hundred dwarves! These doughty kinfolk of Ignar doubled our numbers, and more than doubled the town’s ability to fight off the orcs. Riverbrook was still heavily outnumbered but at least now we had a chance.
Eventually we had a plan, of sorts. With the dwarven reinforcements to bolster the town’s defences, Riverbrook would be well placed to hold off the orc attack. The stout warriors had brought big barrels of oil in their baggage train to fire the fields on the approaches to the town, and also a massive catapult to launch massive lumps of stone into the ranks of the foul creatures. With luck these would help break up the orc army, reducing their numbers to managable sizes for our soldiers to fend off.
Meanwhile we Irregulars would ride around through the northern woods to the rear of the orc camp to assassinate Garrok. That creature appeared to be the one thing uniting the orc tribes. With Garrok slain they should break up into tribal factions and drift apart.
We had our second stroke of luck as we embarked on this mission. There were elves in the woods. Not enough to fight off the orc army, but sufficient to draw most of Garrok’s guards away from his camp that we might ride straight in. The only obstacle being convincing the aloof elven folk to help us. As it happens, our foolish nobleman seems known to the elves. Very well known and apparently highly thought of, for they bent the knee to him as if he were royalty or something? Although that would certainly explain his lack of common sense! Maybe a subject to broach with his more amiable sister in quieter times.
Garrok was not totally unguarded but the handful of orcs and orogs (at least I think that’s what Ignar called them, ugly huge half orc half ogre beasts) could not deter us from our mark. Ignar and Torinn drew their attention while Landar and I sniped at them as best we could, and the mounted soldiers rode around the edge of the camp to take on the orc warlord. Eventually Garrok fell, but only after two of our company had been knocked out and the rest of us surrounded him.
And to the victor the spoils. The prize for the heroic defenders of Riverbrook is the long and arduous task of burying our dead, cleaning up and rebuilding the town, and all the while watching over our shoulders should any of those orc tribes return.
I hope to bring you gladder tidings in my next letter.
Forever yours,
P.

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