SESSION FIVE – June 12, 2010
Kevlamin Serpenthelm, Suloise shield-bearer (Kevin)
Clair, Hobbit shield-bearer (Megan)
Mina, mixed-raced human acolyte of Ehlonna (Beth)
Regdar, high elf rogue (Garrett)
Almost six weeks ago, five friends made a promise to go on an adventure. They made that promise to the paladin Lilyana Ortiz of Greyhawk who would sponsor them for the Adventurers Guild of Greyhawk if they came back successful. Three of the friends never came back at all, but the Hobbit Clair and the Suloise Kevlamin Serpenthelm did. But this adventure followed them back home. The goblins of the Roaring Wolf Tribe, broken and scattered, abandoned their caves and fled deeper into the Menhir Hills, but the bugbears who controlled the tribe managed to steal silver ore from the nearby mines before they fled with it. Lilyana Ortiz convinced Garrison Commander Tolliver Garham to send a large party to hunt and kill the bugbears and this party included Clair and Kevlamin. The leader of the bugbears, Kraglut, was slain by Tolliver's own hand and he claimed Kraglut's magic ring for his own. Then he publicly apologized back in town, for the caves where the bugbears and goblins had laired were caves he had himself explored years ago when he was a fledgling adventure, but never thought to have the caves sealed or guarded.
With the adventure complete, Clair and Kevlamin's admittance into the Adventurers Guild was all but assured – until they learned that three associates of theirs – Setch, Flex, and Rex2, were wanted for murder. They had killed the stablemaster in town a week ago and fled with two horses for parts unknown – unknown until sightings were reported from the south. Tolliver warned against going to Greyhawk to rendezvous with Lilyana until after this blemish on your careers, being guilty by association, had been rectified. The three fugitives had to be either brought to justice or made to atone for their crimes. Luckily, the three criminals had made it well known that they were determined to undertake a quest from a high priest in exchange for a Raise Dead spell and everyone knows such high priests would only be found in the cities of Yggsburgh or Greyhawk. When sightings of the fugitives were made and reported from the south, they knew Yggsburgh must be their goal.
Some time later, Setch and Flex had reached the City of Yggsburgh, but without Rex2, who had died along the way when they fought highwaymen in the Village of Urtford. Rex3, son of Rex2, had joined the quest in his stead. After gaining an audience with a priest of Boccob in Boccob's temple, they were given a quest to raise Rex from the dead and the quest was to break an altar to an evil deity in the Salt Mines of Serpent Ridge. That first night in Yggsburgh, though, was tricky for everyone. Setch tried to sleep in an alley and was arrested and fined 1 gp for loitering in what turned out to be the alley next to the Lord Mayor's mansion. Rex3 was still exploring Guild Street at curfew and was fined 1 ep for being out past curfew. Only Flex had more luck, having talked to the guards at Rivergate and being directed to the nearby Green Dragon Inn. The rooms there were an obscenely expensive 16 sp per night there, but when Setch and Rex3 heard of the place it sounded better than nothing. The beds were the best they had ever slept in – with mattresses stuffed with feathers instead of pallets lined with straw. On the second day they tried to make plans for their quest and sought more information about Serpent Ridge. Overwhelmed with the size of Serpent Ridge and having no idea where to start looking for the evil altar, the three fugitives settled in to what they knew best – getting drunk in taverns. They also learned that they could live much more cheaply in the “Outs”, the suburb around Yggsburgh.
It was in one such tavern that the fugitives met Brechtje Fitzroy, or Breck as she liked to be called. A plump, freckled, and always smiling woman, Breck liked to get drunk just as much as they, but in two of her more lucid moments she told them two things of importance – one was that she was actually a priestess of Wenta the Alewife and Harvest Goddess and ,two, that she had in her possession a treasure map. The map showed the length of the Serpent Ridge and the Village of Saltcreek and, just past that, something said to be the “key” to a tomb. Since the fugitives had nothing better to go on, they decided this was an omen and agreed to follow the map in the hope that it would lead them to the evil altar.
On the 14th of Flocktime, Freeday, 610 CY, Clair, Kevlamin, Thelonius, their hirelings Seredoc and Nodwick, and their newest recruits, Mina and Regdar, paid 10 sp for a ride down to Yggsburgh on the Ellery River. They split up and made inquiries about the fugitives with the city guards, at the temples, and in the shops. Kevlamin proudly displayed the warrant for an arrest he had in writing, for he and Clair had been deputized before leaving Garham. They learned about the fugitives' legal troubles in town and, more importantly, learned about their quest from the Boccobites. Kevlamin and Clair wanted to set out for the Serpent Ridge to continue their search, but Mina and Regdar came back from their information gathering with a different plan – they wanted to return to Garham and dispose of Rex's body so he could never be brought back to life.
At the ferry to cross the Ellery, Mina and Regdar split off and headed on to Garham. Everyone else ferried across to the Village of Saltcreek at the base of the Serpent Ridge hills and asked about the fugitives at the Always More Ale Inn. Malachi the inn's manager and Mari the serving wench confirmed that the fugitives, plus Brechtje, had been there, not once, but twice – the second time with injuries, though they left again for the Serpent Ridge just that morning looking much better. The party, minus Nodwick who stayed at the inn, left at once in pursuit and, a mile later were in battle with a huge lizard they found in an overturned cart on the road. The lizard seriously injured Thelonius, but was quickly dispatched thereafter. Another mile further they were attacked by two stirges. This time, Seredoc was seriously injured, but the stirges were dispatched without further trouble. Following the road still further, they found the road veered off the Serpent Ridge down to an old rickety bridge over a wide stream. Judging that the fugitives could not have gone this way, everyone searched for tracks and Thelonius found two sets of bootprints leading off the road here. The path led south and west, winding around to one of the open-pit salt mines that were said to line the Serpent Ridge. Since the mines were guarded, it was easy to find guards to talk to. The guards said huge lizards were all too common on the Ridge, identified the stirges for them (the PCs didn't know what they were before), and warned them that the most dangerous monster on the Ridge was a manticore. Fearing the Ridge was too dangerous to continue, the party continued to follow the trail until it took them all the way back to Saltcreek.
Meanwhile, Mina and Regdar had enjoyed a nice quiet walk all day back to the Village of Urtford. Regdar had stopped to ask questions of farmers on the road and traded something for radishes from one of them. Continuing his interest in agriculture, Regdar insisted on asking a farmer for sanctuary for the night, which was granted in exchange for his radishes. The next day, they were traveling through the Lake Woods south of Garham when they encountered a man sitting with his feet in the river. The man warned them about a gang of ruffians who had come to town in the last few weeks, had killed Old Whiskers, the murderous catfish of Diamondfish Lake, and were hunting the giant otter of the Ellery River next. The man asked them both to tell the ruffians they had seen the otter swim far away and then, as they were walking away, it turned into the giant otter and swam away.
The next day, on Starday the 15th, the main party woke at the inn, waited for Thelonius to heal himself, and asked around more about the Serpent Ridge in Saltcreek. The trader remembered seeing a map the fugitives had that showed a key of some sort in the Goldwood.