AAR: The granite keep

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AAR: The granite keep

Post by BrandenV » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:02 am

Mission: Find the old throal keep and clear it out.
Gm: BrandenV(Branden)
Date: 10/8/17
Gronk, August,Ceadda, Ibontu
Difficulty and circle rating: Circle 3 Medium
Player Rewards:
Gronk Longtusk: 1400 Legend, 2 Booster Potions, 350 Silver -2 booster potions.
August Rey used 3 booster potions, buys 3 booster potions (75), Buys Gronk the Last Chance salve used (300), and gets 25 silver.
Ceadda: 1400 LP, Purchased 1 Booster potion (replacing 1 Booster used), 375sp
Ibontu 1400LP 375 silver, used 1 booster got 1 booster
Further Information: The group found out about a Kaer of Raggok cultists.

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Re: AAR: The granite keep

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:48 am

From the Journal of August Rey, dwarf cavalrymen.

The expedition to the granite keep got off to an inauspicious start when nobody except fighter types volunteered for it. In addition to myself, the warriors Ibontu and Ceadda, and the Ork Archer Gronk Longtusk bravely volunteered. Unfortunately, no spellcasters joined the expedition,

On the 2nd nights watch, I heard voices late during the night. The next morning a mile or so from our camp we came upon the remains of another camp, with the ashes of their fire still warm. The other party was obviously traveling in the same direction as us, as we came upon them as we were looking for a place to camp that night.

Gronk snuck up to the other camp and reported that there were 7 humans and elves, each wearing the robes and medallions of Raggok cultists. I was all for falling upon them immediately and smiting them, but Ceadda felt it would be best to talk to them first. It was decided that Gronk would approach stealthily from the SE, while Ibonto and Ceadda walked openly in from the West.

It was discussed that Nightshadow and myself might also sneak in, as Nightshadow is very quite. But I am informed that I am as noisy sitting still in my saddle without moving nor my feet even touching the ground as I am walking though a forest. I decided to hang back behind the warriors, but to make no attempt to sneak in.

The cultists greeted us in a friendly manner and invited us all closer. I refused to get too close to the camp, as I did not want them to be able to assault all of us by surprise. The small copse was thick,but I positioned myself where I hoped I would be able to move quickly. Ibonto also hung back a little, but Ceadde walked into the camp.

The spokesman for the group identified himself as Myrian. When Ceadde approached the spokesman, the spokesman whispered something in his ear, I was much to far away to hear what, but immediately the cultist next to Myrain pulled out a knife and cut his throat! All the other cultists immediately pulled out weapons as well.

I reacted quickly and charged through the camp, jumped over one of their pack horses and stabbed one of the cultists. It was a sharp and brutal fight, made all the more freighting by the cultist's throwing poison powders around. However our superior talents and tactics soon turned the tide of battle definitively in our favor and all the cultists lay dead.

Ceadde poured a booster potion down Myrain's throat, and though some leaked out of the gash in his throat, the wound soon healed itself and Myrain regained consciousness. Myrain was a fountain of useful information. His entire kaer belongs to a Raggok cult, which prior to the scourge was a fine thing, but as the passion went mad, so did the leadership of his kaer. He does not know exactly where the kaer is in relation to Throal, but it is many days travel from the Granite Keep. A small contingent of cultists had setup a base within the Granite Keep and were using it as a base. His group had just returned from a 7 day patrol towards Throal and Burgin's Rest. There were a number of cultists in the keep, plus some undead eagles, and an undead human. The leader was a pretty frightening fellow. Myrain was able to sketch the keep out for us in the dirt.

We spent quite a lot of time going over potential plans. One idea was to dress ourselves up as as a returning patrol with the robes and insignia of the dead cultists. Another plan was to try to sneak up at night. A third was to just openly ride up and call them out. Each of the plans had drawbacks.

One big problem we had is we did not know the capabilities of the eagles. Could they see in the dark? If so, then sneaking up at night was unlikely to work. Were they instructed to not attack people wearing the robes and insignia? If so, that might be the best way to get past the Eagles. In the end, we ended up dressing up as the cultists. I am now convinced we would have been best off just openly riding up and calling them out.

One of the huge drawbacks of dressing up as cultists is that the cultists had no Obsidimen, Dwarves, or Troajin. For myself, I got a spare pair of human trousers, tied up the end of the legs and filled them with sand. I then tied some human boots to the ends of the legs. The trousers and boots hung a good 18 inches lower than my own boots, which were covered by the robes I wore. There was no way it would fool anybody close up, but we figured that with luck it might fool somebody until they got close us.

The Obsidiman and Troajin we decided to disguise as dead bodies, being brought back to be turned into undead. We built a travous for each of the pack horses, and put Ibonto on one and Nightshadow on the other.

We were still 2 miles from the keep when the four undead eagles attacked diving out of the sun, taking almost all of us by surprise. Obviously groups move with the stealth of the least stealthy member, I can't believe I did not see a single one of them diving upon us, especially since we had heard about them and were on the watch. I was sorely wounded and knocked off my packhorse before I even knew what was happening.

This is why I say that we would have been better off riding openly than attempting to fool them. Undead senses are notoriously difficult to fool. We had hoped that they would not attack us in the robes and insignia. But as it was, we had me on a pack-horse, and Ibonto and nightshadow laying on sledges. With myself (who had been knocked off that thrice damned packhorse), Ibonto and nightshadow all prone, the eagles had a clear advantage and exploited it mercilessly. Obviously there was some way that the Eagles could distinguish friend from foe. The eagles totally ignored the two pack horses, but attacked us with great vigor. I can't help but think that if we had had a spellcaster along we might have faired better against the undead, or even avoided them entirely.

Nightshadow is a magnificent creature, but we have trained to fight as part of a team, not individually. Nightshadow relies upon me to tell him when and now to dodge. I rely upon his lightning fast movement to execute the dodge. Separately neither of us is any good at dodging. I desperately tried to get both of us upon our feet at the same time so that I could mount. But the horrid foul dead things kept diving upon poor valiant nightshadow and myself until nightshadow was rendered unconscious. They seemed to attack us while we were upon the ground in preference to targets still upon their feet and able to fight back. When nightshadow went unconscious, I did a blood share, bringing him back to consciousness. I considered leaving him unconscious, and after bringing him conscious, briefly considered ordering him to stay down. But recalling the savagery with which the foul things had attacked any creature upon the ground, I knew that our only hope was to re-unite so that we could trick ride out of the way of their attacks.

Unfortunately, before I could mount, Nightshadow was attacked again and slain.

I was devastated, but in a fight for my life and near death myself. I remounted the packhorse. Upon a mount I could at last dodge their attacks for the first time since the nightmare attack began. I slew one of the unnatural things that had once been an eagle. Someone else had slain another. A third had started to fly back to the keep, probably to somehow warn them, but Gronk knocked it to the ground with an arrow. I rode to make sure it was dead, leaving the last remaining flyiing thing to the others. It left them to chase after me. My last recollection is attempting to dodge. My next recollection was waking up a few minutes later with Ceddia pouring a booster potion down my throat.

Gronk, whose name I will praise to the passions until my dying day, had used a last chance salve upon Nightshadow! He was also back upon his feet, though sorely wounded (as was I, with 3 wounds that would require a surgeons needle).

A small group of 4 or 5 was hurrying from the keep towards us. They were a mile away. We hurried away as fast as we could for an hour. We then paused to each take a recovery test, and reengaged our fresh new foes.

For the first few exchanges I held back, looking for an opportunity. After a half minute I aggressively charged past some sort of undead knight that Ceddia and Ibon were fighting. I thought that I had split him cleanly, but at the last second he knocked my spearhead aside, and I thundered on past him.

I saw that Gronk was in trouble. He had hidden himself in some long grass in order to let the chasers pass him by, and had been sniping at them from the rear. However two of the attackers had turned to advance upon his position and were getting much closer than an archer likes to see melee type people get. Unfortunately, while I could reach them, I could not get very much past them. I then made one of the biggest and most painful mistakes in my life. I made other mistakes this day, starting with not being mounted upon nightshadow when the undead eagles attacked us. But that had really only a mistake in retrospect. The mistake I made at this point was shear unforced foolishness. The charge itself was not a mistake. The mistake was to forget that I can spend TWO karma when making a charging attack. I had several wounds and this was a an attack that HAD to hit, and that HAD to knock down my target. I had the karma, the fight was near it's conclusion, and would have been that much nearer if one of fighters near Gronk were knocked down. If I had remembered I could spend two karma, I would have. I forgot.

I made the charge. I only spent one karma upon the attack. I missed.

Gronk was now in melee range of two fighters. I was only a few yards beyond him. The two fighters attacked Gronk. Gronk ran away. Unfortunately I had run nightshadow into a patch of slightly boggy ground, and we could not move away before the two fighters moved up and attacked nightshadow. I attempted a trick riding test, but failed to dodge the blow. Nightshadow was knocked unconscious once again, and I beside him. I remember thinking, "well, standing up did not work out well for nightshadow last time, maybe playing dead is the better bet here". Ibontu did not move up near enough for the two fighters to attack him. They had a choice of moving towards him, running away, or sticking their knives into me. My last memory for a while was of one of the knives plunging into my shoulder.

An hour or so later I once again woke up with Ceddia pouring a booster potion down my throat. We rode to the keep and demanded that the remaining cultists leave. After some negotiations, they did.
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: AAR: The granite keep

Post by BattleChad » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:58 pm

The Great Library of Throal thanks August Rey for his addition to our archives.

Journal Reward: 70 Legend Points and 140 Silver

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Re: AAR: The granite keep

Post by etherial » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:10 am

From the Court-mandated parole log of Gronk Longtusk:

15 Riag
August Rey has received a charter from the Throalic government to explore the Granite Keep, a pre-Scourge outpost they are thinking of garrisoning to help protect the expanding Throalic frontier. The Keep was overwhelmed during the last days before the closing and they have no idea what shape it's in - or what's happened to the bodies of the fallen. They've hired us to explore the ruin, examine it for martial suitability, and clear out any dangers. He's put together a posse of toughs and I'm gonna help guide them to their destination and keep them from biting off more than they can chew.

17 Riag
For two days, I have led the party Southwest. I can't shake the feeling that someone else is out here. Others have reported hearing voices across the open plains at night, but we haven't found anything. We'll be proceeding more carefully tomorrow. We don't know who else is out here, and we know that not everyone will make for pleasant company.

18 Riag
As we started to set up camp, I heard the voices again and was able to follow them to a wooded thicket where a group of Humans were setting up a camp of their own. They bore the same sigil of Raggok as the Bog Gob cultists we'd encountered near Borgan's Rest, several days to the East and several weeks in the past.

I reported back to my compatriates. They wanted to immediately ambush and kill the cultists, but I persuaded them that perhaps some could be spared and arrested. I don't like the idea of killing any Namegiver who hasn't tried to kill me or mine, and I was able to persuade them. This did not mean that we were not expecting combat - I snuck ahead and managed to get on the far side of them so that we could get them from both sides.

We approached and Ceadda made some seriously terrible smalltalk. It was painful to hear and painful to watch. It was like he had no idea how to talk to people and -- even worse -- no idea how to accuse someone of being a Cultist of Raggok. I managed to resist the urge shoot someone as they slowly pulled him in with offers to sit by their campfire and join their company, sure that any minute they would try to ensorcell him, when the unexpected happened. Their apparent leader, a fellow by the Name of Myren, pulled Ceadda in close and asked for a rescue. Enraged, they slit his throat and combat began in earnest.

Outnumbered though we were, we had them outclassed and though they threw packets of paralytic poison at my allies, we were undeterred and able to slay the remaining cultists, comfortable with them having met the quite low bar of "trying to murder us". We brought Myren back and questioned him about the group. Apparently one of the nearby Kaers had fallen completely to Raggok's sway and were even now recruiting new membership on the surface. They sent roving patrols across the countryside to take others back to their lair, dead or alive. Myren grew up in the Kaer but was no devotee, and we had finally provided him the means to escape. The cultists had recently repaired and occupied a pre-Scourge fortification that we had to neutralize - The Granite Keep.

19 Riag
We don the robes of the slain cultists in an attempt to get in through the front door of the Granite Keep. August was disguised as a Human, riding one of the pack horses that we had captured. Ibontu and Shadow Stalker lay on a litter that we dragged, playing the role of captured Namegivers that we were bringing back for forced conversion.

We had been warned that sentries would be up and that undead eagles patroled the skies, but we did not realize quite how adept the eagles would be at spotting us. Whatever flaw existed in our disguise, they saw through it and divebombed us. It took some time for us to get the hang of fighting them, as I was the only Ranged attacker we had, but I was able to wing two of them and the rest of the party took out the rest. The battle was not without cost, however. Shadow Stalker fell and could not be roused. I applied my Last Chance Salve to him, which did bring him back, but by then we could see a party sallying forth from the Keep, and we were in no shape to fight.

we fled, and they followed, and we could only hope that our potions could heal us enough to be able to give us the edge we needed to survive. I managed to hide myself in the shrubbery as they passed, allowing me to again harry from behind as they engaged the fighters. Ceadda struck their leader with a mighty blow, but they were undeterred, and two broke off to fight me. Now able to bring his full Cavalryman Talents to bear, August charged one of them but missed, joining me as the two Warriors took on the leader and one grunt.

Visions flashed through my eyes of Warriors who could not be brought back because I spent our only Last Chance Salve on the cat, but the decision did not need to be questioned - August with the cat was an effective combatant. August without the cat was surely dead. Things were pretty dicey at one point, and one grunt even attempted a hostage negotiation, but we got the drop on him and managed to rescue our comrade. Exhausted, but having defeated their strongest fighters, we trudged back to the Keep to try and bluff them out.

August nearly blew the whole thing by getting too insistent with his demands. They called his bluff and he wasn't willing to negotiate or back down, but I took over the shouting and gave them two hours to clear out. They cleared out.

26 Riag
We've cleared the keep of the fallen, their pyres burning high and late and stinking into the night. No Raggok patrols returned - warned off no doubt by our cleanup attempts. The fort is suitable for occupation now, so we return to Throal. Someone's gonna have to find this Kaer and knock some sense into these hoomons.

Other PCs:
August Rey, male Dwarf Cavalryman
Ceadda, male Human Warrior
Ibontu, Obsidiman Warrior

Myren, the reluctant Cultist

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Re: AAR: The granite keep

Post by BattleChad » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:10 am

The Great Library of Throal thanks Gronk Longtusk for his addition to our archives.

Journal Reward: 70 Legend Points and 140 Silver