Friday, October 26, 2018

#13: West Tower

Departing Shadfeld, we travel for the better part of a day under reasonable weather towards Westtower.  We estimate the trip will take 3-4 days of cautious travel, for caution—being far enough away now from Carrock that an expeditious return isn’t possible—is now our primary goal.

Several mountain passes lie between us and our goal, making travel treacherous at times, and at times the road, such that it is, leads us far away from the guidance of the River Mirar.  Bonie, on her trip from Westtower to Shadfeld, encounter no trouble with Larimo—we hope to share their luck on this return leg of the journey.  At the end of our first day, we find a place to camp and go about the routine of breaking down the wagons and preparing for first watch.  Fortunately, the night passes uneventfully.

Our routine continues through the next morning, though near the end of morning we hear a very large crack towards the rear of the train. Perhaps even more ominous than any threat from goblins or cultists, we witness the shattered wheel of one of our wagons, having struck a large rock in the road.  A decision point has been reached—abandon the wagon, or come up with a more creative, constructive plan.  Erathmar seems unhappy about the prospect of abandoning the wagon, so we scavenge to see what tools we have at our disposal.

Ultimately, the decision is made to try and salvage the wagon.  Weight is redistributed to reduce the burden on the broken wagon, some of Erathmar’s men consent to walking as opposed to riding full time, and we try to move one of the good front wheels to the rear, hoping that three will be enough to carry the lightened load.  Selben, for the short term, will abandon his daily studies to make room available on the remaining good wagon so that everyone can rotate in as a rider.  We lose half a day dealing with the fallout of the broken wheel, but the repair seems reasonable, and our pace is only slightly slowed.

Another night passes uneventfully, and the wagons fortunately seem to be holding up.  Travel continues such throughout our fifth day since departing Carrock, and upon reassessing our goods, we recognize that the slowed pace has taken its toll upon our rations.  We believe this to be our last day upon the road, and prepare for Westtower.

Westtower itself is small—perhaps a dozen structures in total, guarded by a tall watchpost.  The rest are small huts and dwellings, and one of these serves as an unnamed inn.  Several dozen died in the attack by Carcerus and his men, perhaps as many as a third of the total population, so we’re not sure what kind of welcome to expect or what hospitality we’ll find.  Westtower’s leader is a militant type, a half-elf named Falinor Daggercross, and upon questioning Bonie about the town and its inhabitants, she reveals that we should seek out the resident cleric, named Shandar Evensbane, a priest of the Morninglord Lathander, who we learn was friendly with Larimo.

Falinor was installed by Mirabar to head the remote outpost of Westtower, having been the founder and operator of a mercenary group called the Free Company.  He bears a wicked scar on his face, the source of which is not spoken about by those in town.

As dusk approaches, we see the beacon of Westtower’s watchpost in the distance.  We cautiously light torches and lanterns so that our approach will be noticed, not wanting to test Westtower’s defenses after so recent a devastating attack.  We can see townsfolk in the distance, which is a welcome relief.  At a quarter mile distance, we hear a horn call, and we see Falinor approach us, surprisingly unaccompanied by other guards.“We sent two men out to follow your departure,” Falinor tells Bonie, “and none returned.  What news?”  We share our story, of finding the two men, and of the creatures that killed them in Shadfeld.  He claims that he has goblinkin problems of his own, and after a brief exchange of news and corroboration of timelines, Falinor invites us to stay in the village.

As we get closer, we can see burn marks, decimated structures, and other reminders of what happened here.  He takes us to one of the largest structures, which resembles a large kitchen, taproom, and hunting lodge.  Perhaps a dozen villagers frequent the establishment, and added to those we see in the streets, we estimate the current population to be less than a hundred.  In a quiet moment, I return the purse of coin harvested from Westtower’s men, letting Falinor know that they were found slain, and that he and his town are certainly in more desperate need of it than us.

After a while, a robed man who we presume to be Shandar approaches, and we share introductions.  We tell him of our dealings with Carcerus, and of all the events surrounding Carrock.  He shares troubles of his own—that the stream that feeds Westtower has unseasonably dried up, heralding trouble for the winter.  He also tells us of a trio of scouts that were dispatched within the past few days.  Only one returned, and at a site named Rolling Death Falls two of the scouts were killed by goblins, after discovering the demise of a treant—Oakenbramble, a protector of the area.  Since the attack on Westtower, everything seems to be turning for the worse.  No one has yet been sent to Mirabar to relay the news, though one last supply caravan is expected from Mirabar with supplies for the winter.

He is not able to cast light upon any of our questions regarding the goblinoid creatures of the night we encountered several times, the strange symbols upon them or the cavern walls we found, nor does he seem surprised when I reveal that the treant’s death seems to align with similar attacks on Damyca in Shadfeld or Maglarosh in Carrock.  The events of the past few weeks, coupled with the mostly dire news we bring, seems to take a toll on the priest’s optimism.

Erathmar returns with news that resupply and repairs should take no more than a day or two, leaving us with time to explore the area should we wish.  After a brief discussion, Audric & I agree to approach Falinor regarding a potential exploration of Rolling Death Falls, and to learn what more he may know about the goblins.  Falinor reveals that the area doesn’t have any substantial history with orcs or goblins but has heard that a goblin tribe named the “Spawn of Kreeth” led by a champion named Bolregs has been active around the Spine of the World, and that there may be some relation to the attack on his scouts.  The tribe likely numbers in the hundreds—Falinor doesn’t know if it is this tribe, an offshoot of it, or perhaps an unrelated band, but it seems likely that the Spawn of Kreeth may be rooted in what’s going on around Westtower.

He seems amenable to us exploring the falls and agrees to assign us a guide.  I tell Shandar a little bit about Selben’s history, giving few details but relating the young man’s history of violence and death, and Shandar agrees to watch over him while Audric and I explore the falls.  Bonie agrees to accompany us as well, and we welcome her company.

In the morning, we are met by Falinor and another man, this one bearing a blade, light armor and a bow.  The guide is named Jent, and that he knows the area well.  I let Jent know that I hope he won’t need to rely on his blade or bow—our intent is for a quick and hopefully quiet exploration of the area surrounding Rolling Death Falls.  On the way we share a basic overview of our experiences, lending some credence to our desire to investigate here. 

We make our way upstream, navigating the dense surrounding foliage and rocky areas.  When we finally catch sight of Rolling Death Falls, we are somewhat underwhelmed.  Though it’s perhaps 50 feet high, the water flow is poor, and the riverbed is not nearly as deep as it should be at the foot of such a waterfall.  We approach the fall itself—it’s not an easy passage, but it’s not treacherous either, and we are able to traverse the climb fairly easily.  Bonie seems quite nimble on the rocks and offers to ascend first to see what she can find.  We agree, and she quickly returns with news that we should come see something she discovered in the river at the top of the falls.

We see that several trees and logs have been piled to block the river.  The construction is crude, conceivably a construction of the goblins.  The full 20’ width of the river is obstructed, showing that some work was put into the placement of the blockage.  We take cover, hopeful that our approach was unnoticed should there be any guards, and we are rewarded by overhearing goblins nearby in the brush—and apparently, they are searching for us.

6% on Rotten Tomatoes!
Audric distracts one group with a swarm of summoned rats, while Jent, Bonie and I assault a pair of charging goblins with arrow and spell.  We retreat the way we came, leaving what we believe to be at least a half dozen goblins chasing us, though we believe our retreat to be successful.  After several hours, we arrive back in Westtower, a little bruised but intact.

We share news of our findings—the crudely-constructed dam, the goblins operating in the daylight to guard over it—with Falinor and Shandar.  When we retire for the evening, we are faced with a decision—extend our stay in Westtower to further investigate the goblins and their plan, or continue our journey to Mirabar.

1 comment:

  1. Well done, as ever. Before we play again, the party's intent should be clear. Feel free to reply, in or out of character. I may have a bit of additional play-by-post for you later on.