Empire's Foundation

Adventures on the Medium-Height Seas!
July 3 - July 9, 1550

After defeating the ghouls, the party sails through Nearside and Uddevalla, making their way down the coast to Gothenburg. They spend a day there to resupply, then set the sails to go further south towards Copenhagen. A favorable wind brings them within hours of the straight of Copenhagen when they spy a strange spire rising up out of the sea.

The top of the stone spire breaks off as they watch, falling into the sea. Moments later, a slime-covered stone creature launches itself up out of the water into Leon, knocking him back onto the rail. Freyja and Melker close in on it, but it unleashes its fury upon Freyja, staggering her back as well. Then Griswold summons an elemental from the depths, while Risa and Melker’s men pelt it with attacks magical and mundane. Finally, Griswold smashes the creature to the deck, finishing it off.

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Character Growth
Fear and Loathing in Lake Vanem

So the party escorts the captured bandits to the trade city of Karlstad, ostensibly to stand trial. They bring the wayward Catholics to the Merchant’s Guildhall, and are introduced to their reward: Melker Holstrom, a guild agent/translator who will secure tarriff-free access to all cities in Sweden. He comes with a small personal bodyguard of 4 men-at-arms. The party spends the day shopping, and put the bandits up in a private room at the inn.

In a surprising twist, Freyja takes it upon herself to borrow a Latin Bible, and swears the bandits off of thievery, and allows them to escape during the night. After Hilde regales the patron of the inn with tales of derring-do, a slight female elf approaches Freyja and all but swears fealty to her, offering the use of her sloop for as long as she should desire it. Siezing the opportunity, the group finds their guild agent and sets sail that evening as the tide goes out, neatly avoiding any pointed questions that might have arisen the next day at the trial of the bandits.

They sail down Lake Vanem towards Uddevalla.

The second day (the wind being against them), as the sun is setting scratching noises are heard under the hull. Preparing for trouble, the party is relatively unsurprised when a gang of pallid, rubbery skinned humanoids swarm the deck. The ghouls meet with some initial success, paralyzing three of the now enlarged party and attempting to drag them down to the depths, the party succeeds in driving them back into the dark waters of the lake.

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Catching Up
A summary of the past few months

Hokay, it’s been a while since we’ve had an update to ye olde Adventure Logge, so here’s the last four months in a nutshell:

After discovering their uncle Eirik is being held for unpaid debts in the city of Oslo, the party receives a distress Sending from Stanislas Galopin about a dragon’s lair at Hogevarde Mountain. They gear up, head out, find a henge on top of the mountain, defeat a necromantic sorceress, discover a Huge White Dragon, and seven captured German stonemasons.

They then return to Oslo (sending the Germans back home safely), pick up a ballista, and then go troll hunting in the mountains. They are successful in their hunt, find some gems, and return once again to Oslo.

Whereupon they have a meeting with the Lord of Oslo to discuss the release of their uncle. His grace is unwilling to take any less than the full amount owed, due to his lascivious nature and the grudge he holds against the ladies’ grandfather for stealing away the beautiful elf he coveted for his own.

Then the ladies are advised by Eirik to leave town, and soon, for the lord’s wrath may soon fall upon them and compel them to stay in the castle as permanent residents. Looking for an opportunity away from Oslo, the party hears of increased bandit activity along the land route to Stockholm, the reward for dealing with such is junior membership in the trading guilds, which means lowered tolls and fees for entering cities where the guilds have a presence.

So they set off, and manage to get themselves attacked by the bandits. But Freyja puts them to sleep with some sleeping powder she purchased, and they think they have the situation well in hand. But then, in the third watch of the night, Klaus is on guard and is attacked by a mountain of a man and a mysterious source of high-velocity stones. Giving a shout, the human mountain is soon felled by Klaus, Freyja, and Griswold, and the leader of the gang threatened into calling off the other.

He then curses the “damned Lutheran heretics,” which sends Freyja into a cold rage. She challenges him to single combat, which he gladly accepts.

Freyja soon realizes that bringing a dagger to a battle-axe fight is a bad idea, and retreats for her bow. The tide of battle soon turns, and Freyja stands victorious.

When next we meet our intrepid band, it will be the morning of Sunday, July 25, 1550.

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Oslo at Long Last!
The first step of a journey

And so, after two more days of travel and a (surprisingly) quite rest of the journey (except of course for the matter of a small break-in in Mos), the party has finally made it to Oslo! Hooray! They now prepare for the next leg of their journey, the arduous trek across Sweden, and then north to the land of the Elves. The next several days are spent in preparation, purchasing supplies, working out the route, hiring a guide, and resting up and researching for the trip.

While in Oslo, a message arrived for the two ladies, a plea for help from their supposed uncle, Eirik. He has been in debtor’s prison for several years, since his father’s passing, due to a large debt owed to the Lord of Oslo, Jon Nilsson Tordenstjerne from a failed investment. There exists apparently some bad blood between Jon and the elves.

For review, a quick geaneology:

Frejya, Hildegaard, and their brother James are the children of Henry, a wealthy (human) English landowner and his wife Brita, an elf from Norway. Brita and her brother Eirik and the two children of Haakon and Eva, both elves from way up north.

Map of northern Norway
Map of Southern Norway
Hexes are 20 miles across, elevations are given in the corners, each 400 feet in difference will increase travel time by
Link to market list for Oslo

Please note that this will be a hard journey, and you have already noticed some of your gear has started to look a little worn. It may be a good idea to stock up on extras/replacements before you head out. I will send out an email soon with specifics. Please take the time to read it and get prepared before we meet again so we can start on the next leg of your journey right away.

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The Trail to Fredrisktad, Thursday June 3, 1550

After burning the dead and commending their souls to whatever pagan afterlife Griswold sent them to, the party broke camp and was underway again shortly after lunch. They traveled for a few hours, but then found the cart track blocked by a recently felled tree. An invisible voice demanded that they leave all their foodstuffs and they would be allowed to keep their horses.

Freyja played her impertinent card and was rewarded with an arrow aimed at her mount. Battle ensued. It went poorly for the bandits, which were most likely the remains of the band that attacked the party the night previous. Morelli trampled one bandit to death and then managed to knife another one after he stunned himself jumping out of the tree trying to escape. The leader was left alive after he begged for mercy.

Continuing on, the party then ran across an ogre, but it missed any of the horses when it threw a spear the size of a tree, so they were able to escape on horseback quite easily. Riding again for some time, they found another spot good for camping in and prepared to stop for the night.

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Forest north of Uddevalla, 4:00 AM Wednesday, June 2, 1550
Eine Kleine Nachtdiebischen

Though Morelli’s warhorse shied at first, the party managed to escape from the beast without further injury to themselves or their horses. As an added bonus, they were able to make it to the grand town of Uddevalla (population 712) by nightfall and take refuge in the only inn at the city. After purchasing just enough supplies, the party set off the next morning on the three day trek to Fredrikstad.

Round about 4:00 in the afternoon, the party then came across a yellow lizard-like creature sunning itself on a large rock in the clearing of the forest. Morelli dismounted to approach the creature, but made a sufficient quantity of noise to wake the thing, which promptly jumped up, unfolded its wings, and shouted, “Trespassers!”

A tense session of negotiation followed, during which it was agreed that the party would pay a toll of 3 gold coins per person to travel through the domain of the small bronze dragon, and that further parley shall be made with the “dragon council” if Morelli’s gift (of the magical battleaxe) proved sufficient. The dragon would also ask permission of the council to accompany the party (Morelli the gnome in particular) beyond the borders of his realm. After these negotiations, the dragon flew off with the collected toll.

The party then continued on unmolested until the evening, when they found a sheltered place out of the wind to make camp. The first watches passed uneventfully, but then it was noted that there were persons sneaking up on the group in the dark. Hilde made great use of Dancing Lights to illumine the brigands, and the party managed to beat them back into the darkness.

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Castle of the Beast; Tuesday, June 1

Deciding they want to keep their horses, the party sought passage on a ship from Aalborg. They found a Norwegian captain willing to drop them off in Gothenburg for only 1 gp per head per day. The passage took three days, due to unfavorable winds, leaving them half of Monday to kill in Gothenburg before setting out north. The ladies window shop, the dwarf drinks, and the gnome realizes he speaks neither Swedish, Norwegian, or German, and accompanies the dwarf.

The next morning they all set out early, so as to arrive in the next city by dark. However, in a small village along the way, they witness a crowd of villagers rather agitated in the center of the village. The principle agitator was a young man, broad of shoulder and blonde of hair, shouting about a kidnapped girl and a monster. Hilde took the lead and rode through the crowd up to the man, and such was her beauty that he was briefly struck mute, and he nearly forgot what he had roused the rabble about.

After a brief discussion in the poor public house, the details of the case were made somewhat clearer. The girl, Briggite by name, had wandered into the woods the day prior, and had been taken by the ravening beast. Her father, apparently having failed to rescue her came into town raving mad just this morning, and was promptly sent north to the cathedral so that the brothers might care for him. Meanwhile, Gundriksen, the village leader, called the men of the village in from the fields to form a band to take the girl back from the Beast by force.

Questioning the authority of the self-proclaimed village chief, Frejya asked for a few minutes alone to discuss with the party.

Since the party had horses, they rode on ahead of the mob, who had finished gathering torches and pitchforks by now, and beat them by two hours to the “ruined castle.” Opening the lock on the gate, they rode into the grounds of the castle, which, while overgrown, was only suffering from a single collapsed tower.

The door to the keep was barred, but knocking and shouting attracted the attention of the lonely resident, who lurked above until he was noticed. Then the party scaled the wall of the castle, and asked to speak with the girl, who the Beast claimed was present of her own free will. He grudgingly assented, and returned with her shortly. She begged them to go, as she had willingly taken her father’s place as he had been caught poaching on the beast’s lands. Again Freyja demanded proof of rightful authority, which rankled the Beast, who withdrew the girl and shut the door.

Not content with leaving the girl to her unwilling willing imprisonment, Griswold began to beat down the barred door. The beast had evidently not gone far, for he immediately threw open the door and raked his terrible claw down the dwarf’s mailed front, sending him backwards, stunned for a brief moment. Then Freyja sent an arrow at the Beast, who endeavored to close the door again on the party. When Briggite tried to help him, again imploring the party to leave them, Freyja grabbed her and pulled her into the room. Then the Beast responded by grabbing both the women and trying to wrestle them through the door. But the sturdy dwarf cast a Doom upon the Beast, and he dropped Freyja in the doorway. Once again the Beast tried to close the door between him and the party, but Freyja refused to yield, and kicked back as the Beast tried to boot her into the room. Then the dwarf grew cloudy in his visage and flexed his muscles with rage and charged at the Beast, his mighty maul held high.

Alas, though, for as the hammer was brought to bear, the Beast twisted in desperation and the blow fell full upon the girl in his arms, silencing forever her pleas for peace. Then the Beast gave a mighty bellow and raked at the dwarf with both his claws, who then fled with his companions through the window, jumping to the stone steps below. Quickly they ran to the gate and mounted their horses to ride off as the Beast burst through the castle door with another mighty roar, ready to give chase.

XP:
Freyja: 149
Hilde: 66
Griswold: 462
Klaus: 15

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Aalborg, Friday May 28, 1550
Of Mercers and Mages

Having resolved to go into Arhus to find the erstwhile parent of the boy Arne, the party makes short work of finding Carter street, and asking around find Yosef drunk in the “Greased Axle” public house. Hilde and Freyja take the man out and promptly duck him in the horse trough. A dwarf, the only other patron in the pub at that time of day, follows to see what is to become of the man at the hands of the two beautiful ladies.

Concerned for the man’s well being, the dwarf (whose name is Griswold Windburn) objects to any ill-treatment of the man, but his pleas for mercy are ignored by the enraged Frejya, who orders hot coffee, which Hilde provides. Yosef suitably sobered (at least enough to roll his wheel down the street), they set off for the wagon. A supper of cold chicken is had by the party, and of dried beef by the dwarf, who followed as well to ensure no undue ill treatment befell the man.

They managed to return to Arhus and secure lodgings before full dark, and set off north once again in the morning.

Upon the road, they met a strange man, Stanislas Galopin, who was apparently following a newly appeared ley line in the sky. The mage was quite genial, and explained about his work, and about the strange appearance of the magical conduit in the sky. It was pointed roughly north-south.

Leaving Stanislas to his research, the party continued to Aalborg, reaching it with plenty of time to secure accommodations. The next morning they checked in at the Guild of Mages, and learned that Stanislas had made provision for them. The coordinator of the ley line surveyors had dinner with the party in the Guild’s dining hall, and explained that they still had very little idea where it could come from or go to, or what purpose it serves.

Morelli also had a meeting with one of the mages, the local dragon specialist, who was able to communicate the concept of some sort of disease that might infect and kill or transform heroes who spend time around a well-established dragon’s horde.

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The Road to Aarhus, Wednesday, May 26

After resting up, selling off loot and resupplying, the party heads north once again. On the north side of Kolding the group was stopped by bandits looking to secure funds to aid a rebellion of Norway against the “Danish Oppressors.” Upon learning that the ladies were in fact Norwegian themselves (and partly elvish to boot), they were given a letter to deliver to a member of the resistance. Upon opening it while safely ensconced in their room in Vejle, they found it was addressed to them, and invited them to join the rebellion by meeting under a certain landmark on a certain date three weeks hence. The letter was burned.

Tuesday night otherwise was spent uneventfully in Vejle, and then the next afternoon, soon after passing through Horsens they met a brightly-colored vardoo driven by an enthusiastic Frenchman selling magical wares… or so he claimed. Nothing was purchased.

Then, a couple of hours later, the party came upon an apparently abandoned wagon filled with bolts of cloth. One of the wheels was broken, and it was soon discovered that a child of about ten was “guarding” the wagon, waiting for the return of his father. The father was described as great big, with black hair and a red nose. He has been absent since mid-morning. The party waited with the child for an hour, and are beginning to grow anxious.

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Outside Haderslev, Friday, May 21
The Caves Below

After discovering the apparent system of caves below the tomb of some forgotten hero, the party encountered thick-skinned, aggressive gray growling beasts who wield stone battleaxes. One was slain in the room with the pool, and another in the storage cave where he had run to after his axe broke in his hand.

Then, in the vine chamber, two more were slain, but not before sturdy Klaus took a punishing blow which destroyed his armor, but also broke the axe that struck him. Freyja then ran up and shot an arrow clean through the head of what was apparently their leader, for he had a shield strapped to his arm.

The one whose axe was broken had run off, deeper into the cave, and the hoots and growls of several more of the beasts are slowly increasing in volume from the corridor.

Quickly formulating a plan, the party takes up positions on either side of the tunnel entrance into the cavern. Soon a small horde of the gray, thick skinned cave dwellers rushes in to attack. Klaus and Morelli cut into them, but are quickly overwhelmed and pushed back. Freyja fires into the boilling mass and allows them down a bit. The beasts seem unaffected by Hilde’s magic, but Morelli falls back and begins pelting the creatures with arcane fire. Just in time too, as Klaus soon finds himself in dire straights.

Then the tide of battle begins to turn. One hulking menace drops his axe down the chasm lined with vines, another misses Klaus and slays his compatriot instead. One by one the grim foes are slain, but only at great cost. Morelli and Klaus both end the fight at 0 HP.

The group then decides to leave the cave below the tomb, head back to town to rest and heal. They resolve to finish exploring the cave as soon as possible tomorrow.

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