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 Post subject: Kingmaker: Arik’s Diary
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:46 pm 
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Arik’s Diary of the Stolen Lands – Chapter 1, Part 1.

After many days travel I arrived at Oleg’s trading post. Well, that sounds rather ironic actually, as most of my life has been traveling since the day I left the farm. More accurately I suppose, it has been many days of travel since receiving the charter from the Swordlords of Restov. Regardless, the trading post appeared on the horizon, and before long my horse was stabled and I was being humbly served. I am not used to such hospitality, and for it I am gracious. Shortly thereafter, more travelers arrived, and we gathered at tables set outside the inn, arranged around a fire pit.

Oleg and his wife, the owners and namesake of this outpost greeted us warmly when we arrived at his trading post, offering us food and drink, and allowing the five of us to get acquainted, before sharing with us the bad news. We sat and listened to his tale, each of us in turn expressing our concern, silently commiserating, and eventually formulating a plan. It appears some of us have been touched more deeply than others by the growing bandit problem, although few let it show on their faces as he spoke. The following morning, the brigands would come again to relieve Oleg and his wife of their livelihood, as they had for some months prior. Fortunately they were becoming predictable and confident, and their numbers would be few.

Aldo, Allesse, Zelvon, Cromac and myself sat around the fire and considered our strategic options. It was decided that a surprise attack would be in our best interest, to catch the thieves unaware, to allow surrender if it would be accepted, otherwise to inflict the fate upon the thieves as they would have it. Agreeing on a plan, we turned in for the night. The morning would require our full strength.

In the hour before dawn, we took our positions around the Trading Post’s central court in front of the storehouse from which the thieves would pilfer their goods. Allesse, with her bow hid upon a nearby rooftop; Aldo, the man of the cloth, in the stables flanking the storehouse; Zelvon, a sorcerer of some sort hid amidst feed hay in a cart opposite the storehouse, closing off the brigands exit; Cromac and his surprisingly docile pet bear, took watch on the Post’s walls, to give us warning and to seal the trap should something go awry; I sat outside, presumably taking in breakfast aside the fire, needing no weapons to defend myself or to spook the brigands.

The plan was executed brilliantly, as the four brigands lowered their guard to collect Oleg’s goods, Zelvon burst out of his hiding place stunning the thieves effectively as I stunned one with a well focused strike. Allesse began her riposte of arrows as soon as she saw the bandits draw arms, and soon Aldo, Zelvon, and Cromac were hurling spells about. Even Cromac’s bear proved not as meek as he first appeared tearing into our foes, as Oleg took cover from the chaos. Our foes stunned, injured, or otherwise occupied by the onslaught, I slipped across the square to lock the fourth bandit in the storehouse where he was loading up goods, effectively removing him from the melee, and assuring at least one survivor from whom information could be gleaned later. After mere moments it was over, three criminals lay dead in the central plaza of Oleg’s Post, pierced, acid-burned, battered, and broken. Their death was their own choice. A shame to be sure, but we were just the messengers, they chose the message.

Following the bout of violence, the trading post quieted down and we were able to extract valuable information from the surviving brigand about his band of thieves, and sent him on his way, with a stiff suggestion that he change his ways, and a warning that should we ever spot him near Oleg’s Post again, he will be shown no quarter.

Staying a week on Oleg’s generosity, to ensure no retaliation from the band of brigands, we found life uneventful, and with Oleg’s blessing, we decided to carry on with the business of our appointed charter, to explore and map the Stolen Lands, and to quash banditry wherever found.

We traveled for a time exploring the land, occasionally coming across a bit of trouble, some prank-loving but not dangerous Fey-folk, a small group of hungry kobolds, a monstrous spider who had already taken a map-carrying brigand to a grave in his burrow (identified as a brigand by an identical amulet carried to one of those slain at Oleg’s), and then, after a bit of time more than a bit of trouble, stumbling upon the likes of more bandits, including their leader, the vile hatchet-wielding woman Oleg had told us about.

With a bit of luck, some martial talent, a little magic, and more than a little teamwork, the lot of thieves was dispatched, and again I made sure to spare the life of one who smartly surrendered in order to gain information as valuable as any ill-gotten gold: the hatchet-carrying woman was not their leader, only a lieutenant of sorts. The real leader, with a mask like a Stag, is much more foul tempered, and much more dangerous. Apparently this masked man has a weakness for tipping back the bottle, and after a few more questions, we had something of a plan formulated to find and dispatch him. The last brigand was given the same option as the first we spared: abandon his criminal ways and leave for a new, if harder, upstanding life, or die where he stood. This criminal too, chose wisely, and we hope to never see him again.

As for the Stag-helmed criminal lord, we hope to see him very soon.

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 Post subject: Re: Kingmaker: Arik’s Diary
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:47 pm 
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Arik’s Diary of the Stolen Lands – Chapter 1, Part 2

Having extracted a crucial piece of information, the password to hideout of the stag-helmed mastermind from the last surviving member of the Hatchet-wielding woman’s band of thieves, as well as a promise to turn over a new leaf, for whatever his words are worth, we formulated a plan. If we were to show up to this headquarters of sorts, looking as we do, they would likely slaughter us on the spot, whether or not we spout their silly password: “By the bloody bones of Saint Gilmorg; Who wants to know?”

Who wants to know indeed… damned bandits. So based on the info spouted from the man we let live, their boss of sorts, with the helmet like a Stag-head is very powerful and very dangerous, he seemed genuinely afraid of him. Apparently, his lord is also a drunk, and it was the duty of the group we dispatched to deliver to him a fair shipment of booze. So we figured, why not throw on a few cloaks and amulets so that we appear as part of the gang, spew their password at the gates, and walk right in with his shipment. If it rids the area of the likes of this filth and crime, it is most surely worth it. The only problem is that if they were on a schedule, we would be unlikely to meet it, as the directions of the bandit was rather imprecise, and we learned only that it was further south some ways.

That being the case, we decided to return to Oleg’s for refreshment of supplies, and to relieve ourselves of the burden of some of the materials we’d gained along our adventures in the Stolen Lands so far. Having hidden the stash of booze, should any other brigands find this camp, we traveled back to the trading post, stayed the night, and then returned to our exploration, this time with the purpose of not only mapping, but also to squash some clearly unrepentant banditry.

Marching south once again, a series of encounters once again proved that our lives in the Stolen Lands will remain as interesting as it is dangerous. After several days journey to recover the liquor stash to have it ready if and when we stumble across the bandit camp, we instead discover some sort of shrine, with iconography like the head of an elk, and his horns around a cave with somewhat of an impressive if dilapidated stone staircase ahead of a murky pool of water. Clearly manmade, but in ill-repair, we feared initially that this might be the hideout we’re looking for, elk and stag being quite similar, and bandits being somewhat stupid… Aldo was able to correct us on the matter however, as what images we see are dedicated to the god Erastil, a deity of agriculture and hunting and such things, and this is instead a shrine to him. Either way, the cave at the top of the steps must be explored, if for no other reason than to add it properly to the maps.

Before we could ascend the stairs very far, the shadowy figure of a bear loomed, then emerged from the mouth of the cave and approached us, pacing angrily. Those of us more closely attuned to nature than others attempted to coo and hum at the bear for some reason, whether it was to calm it down or ask for directions, I’m not sure. But apparently the bear did not like what they had to say, for it charged at Allesse straight away. Fortunately for us, I am better versed in the ways of bear-violence than they were in bear-politics. Bloody combat was upon us. I have heard stories of men wrestling bears, and after this day, I do not envy them. I have learned to fight by studying the ways of nature, and today was a harsh lesson, both to me, but luckily more so for the bear.

I entered the fray by attempting to focus my ki into a strike to stun the bear, allowing Allesse time to retreat to a safe range. I succeeded only in focusing its attention on myself, and it pounced on me. Now while arrows, spells and a smaller bear hurtled to my aid, I grappled with the bear for a time, reversing into a dominant position, and then getting quickly swatted back to the ground, and finally breaking away from its grasp, and emerging behind it, bloodied by its claws, and probably much worse if not for Aldo’s healing powers. Turning its dangerous claws and teeth away from my companions, while they pelt it from behind, I struck one more mighty punch directly to its face, and it crumpled to the ground.

Then the most curious thing happened, the bear slowly melted away, becoming a person, then an old man, then bones and dust. You could sense some sort of expression of gratitude as the dust wafted away on the breeze. Before we could question what sort of magic this was, or what curse had been placed here, it was as if the day itself brightened, the murk in the pool of water before the shrine cleared into crystal clear potability and freshness, leaving us to look at each other quizzically, but somehow satisfied. That battle ended our day however, and after a cursory glance through the cave to determine if there existed any further danger, we decided it was a good place of shelter to camp for the quickly approaching night.

In the following day or two of exploration we stumbled upon what appeared to be the den of a rather large wild pig, warthog or boar… and recalled to ourselves the legend of Tuskgutter, the oldest, largest and most vicious of his kind, and perhaps the rumors could be true, and he lived around these parts. We decided to let legends lie for now, and it was only later sadly that we discovered that there was a bounty for slaying the beast, and that he had taken the lives of many and the leg of a man who wanted his head in return. While I’m not in favor of destroying life for sport, I must admit I value human life above those of lesser beasts, and whether the reward is placed or not, a menace is a menace. Perhaps we will return to this den, now marked on our maps, not for the fame, but for the safety of hunters and travelers in this place.

Shortly after that we found a wild beast of another sort, but this one had already been trapped. A canine-like beast, but clearly not a dog or wolf, had fallen nearly twenty feet down a man-made pit of some sort. Still angry and definitely violent, we considered releasing it from its confines, but after another round of cooing and clicking, our druid and woodswoman were unable to calm it to allow us to remove it safely. We briefly considered putting it out of its misery with a well placed arrow or spell, but I was able to convince them that death for death’s sake was not proper. Whoever had trapped this beast would surely do the deed himself, and hopefully put the death of this animal to greater use for food or fur, where we would leave it where it lie.

The next event in our travels proved to be pure folly. We encountered the first of two frog-related experiences of the week: Boggard and Slurk. Amphibian-frog-humanoid-thing… Boggard he called himself, in a rather un-eloquent “Me-Boggard” repetitive manner. After offering us bugs to eat, and forbidding our passage past him through these ruins in the forest, possibly violently, gesturing to a weapon and physically barring our path, we decided to leave him and go about our business. I slinked through the shadow of the trees to get past him before we retreated, to see what this “Slurk” was he was referring to, and what the deep-low croaking sound was. “Slurk” is apparently a man-sized frog, with arm-sized teeth. It appears we chose correctly in leaving this one alone.

Not much later however we encountered a pair of frog-beasts not unresemblant to Slurk earlier, if a bit smaller. They sadly, were of a violent demeanor, and though they attempted to draw us in with sticky tongues, a few well placed blows, arrows and spells dispatched them before any injury was inflicted upon us. Nature can be friendly and it can be fiendish. That day, it was both.

Continuing our journey led us to a collapsed bridge that was perhaps still suitable for crossing the Skunk River, if only because the human skeletons were holding the remainder the wood planks as a make-shift dam. We then spotted a pair of amphibian/snake beasts who sprung upon us the moment they detected our presence. It appears that our sorcerer is not as proficient in quietly moving through the forest as I am. Luckily I was able to strike the beast that begun constricting Zelvon with enough ferocity to stun him, and cause him to slack his grip before any harm came to my friend, and the rest of us quickly pounced on the beasts, Tatzylworms I believe we’ve come to call them, one of us had seen or heard of them before, I forget who. Again like Tuskgutter, apparently someone at Oleg’s put up a poster wanting their heads, but we didn’t discover this until later in our journey when we returned to Oleg’s once again for refreshment of supplies. Speaking of supplies, we discovered a few interesting bits on the corpses that had sadly become the mortar of this makeshift dam/bridge. Diving into the water we discovered a few valuables including a partial map of the area, allowing some of our exploration to be hasted significantly, as well as some arms and a suit of scale mail armor that Zelvon says is enchanted. While not magical enough to save its previous owner’s life, he hopes it could assist our cause someday.

Nearing the northwestern edge depicted in the map we’d recently discovered, we ventured into a swampy region, and came across a sad sight indeed. A legendary unicorn lay dead in the marsh, slain by some foul magic, and its horn removed, for whatever evil ends we cannot say, and perhaps do not want to know. We left it in its foul-smelling grave, fearing that we might someday encounter its killer.

Unfortunately it wasn’t the only grave we discovered that week. As soon thereafter, another was found, rocks piled in some barbaric, primitive fashion. Who it contains we may never know, but we know we’re fighting for the lives of all good people of these lands, against evils with faces and without, and this is a grim reminder.

The last leg of our journey as I pen this entry was almost the last leg indeed for Allesse and Zelvon, as well as Cromac’s bear. We stumbled upon a field of well-hidden bear traps, and it was all we could do to save our friends and pry them out of the vile devices with their lives and limbs intact. What a horrible means of hunting. Bloodied but not broken, we returned to Oleg’s shortly thereafter, to turn in, and replace a few bloody pair of trousers, and plan the next leg of our journey, since luckily, we still have all of ours.

At that, I close this journal and sleep, for each tomorrow it seems brings new bandits to bring to justice, serpents to slay, and bears to wrestle.

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 Post subject: Re: Kingmaker: Arik’s Diary
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:48 pm 
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Arik’s Diary of the Stolen Lands – Chapter 1 Part 3

​ We took some time back at Oleg’s to nurse our wounds, bear-trap induced and otherwise, and topped off our supplies. Once again we readied ourselves to venture back into the Stolen Lands, and hopefully we would soon topple this Stag-Lord villain. Before departing however we met a pair of curious characters, Kesten Garris and Jude Kavkin. Kavkin was the more conversational of the two and after discussing our travels with him a bit, we learned he is a man of the cloth, of Erastil actually, and was quite interested in seeing the shrine we’d come across. When we set out again, he accompanied us, and while we took a roundabout path to cover some more ground for sake of mapping the area, we eventually arrived at the shrine. After uneventfully dropping him off to perform some restorative work on the shrine we continued on our way.

​ Back in town, we’d located a number of wanted posters and posted clippings for quests and errands around the area, some of which had already struck us as familiar, one for the collection of a head of a Tatzylwyrm for Oleg, a second to collect Tuskgutter’s head for a disgruntled hunter, and others. Having taken note of these, and dropped off our companion, we retraced our steps a bit to pick up the pieces as it were… rotten or otherwise, a head is a head, and these things are rather rare apparently, but collecting what was left of a Tatzylwyrm head as unpleasant as it was, should pay well enough. Hopefully he’d only want the skull anyways. Dealing with Tuskgutter however, was a bit more daunting.

​We returned to the burrow we’d discovered earlier, with all the signs it belonged to a big old boar. We figured we’d set a snare and hide among the foliage, well above its reach, even on its haunches, and wait for it to return. This seemed a simple enough plan, save for Aldo the Clumsy. In word and prayer he is quite nimble, but Aldo, poor Aldo nearly became the bait himself with a severe disability to get into, and stay in the safety of the trees. Tuskgutter did indeed return to this burrow, and in saving Aldo’s life, we dispatched the beast, and carried its remains back to town, turning in our quests for the day, and taking a few well needed baths.

​Back on the exploration path, we discovered Bekken, nuttier than squirrel droppings, that one. He is apparently the man who wants us to collect fangberries for some concoction of his, from another of the postings, I suppose I’ll keep my eyes open, if for nothing other than to please a rambling old man. He did have something interesting if possibly incoherent to say though: Apparently there is a rift in his family, between him and a brother who cut off Bekken’s pinky finger, and ran away to hide in a hollow tree. He rambled on about this for a while until near incoherency. We then found it best to continue moving on.

​ Shortly thereafter we found another tree of interest, a lightning struck Oak, as depicted in the scroll of the bandit who died to the giant spider weeks ago. We found a bit of loot here, as promised, if I recall properly, a cloak, a silver ring, a rather fine dagger, and of interest to our arcane comrade, a wand and spellbook. He appeared rather excited about the book, but confused about the wand. He kept pointing it at Cromac’s new cat, but luckily to no effect. I must admit, I miss his bear, Dave. But this new cat proves to be a loyal companion as well, although I question his nomenclature… our druidic friend named the cat NotDave. I wonder about him sometimes.

​A red herring of sorts followed this discovery, a cave in the hills, unusual for its geographic location, but otherwise empty and not of interest. We moved on without a second thought, save for Zelvon, he seemed somehow intrigued, but dismissed it as quickly as the rest of us. He is more in tune with the earth than we are, but even the Druid and Ranger seemed not to care. No matter, plenty more excitement ahead to be sure.
​We reached another landmark, and again much to Aldo’s displeasure, it was a tree. This is the giant Sycamore, which a bandit had long ago mentioned as being home for strange creatures called Mites, but apparently they have treasure, which, lately has been enough for some of us to commit ourselves to harm’s way.

​Cromac and his cat dove in first, having located a cavernous entrance at the tree’s base. Landing at the bottom, he was immediately pelted by these tiny, large-headed Mite creatures. We followed into the low cavern, and after encountering a small bit of resistance by these evil humanoid creatures, we encountered a whole lot more resistance, by way of three giant Whiptail Centipedes. After Cromac and I fought side by side blocking their advance and allowing the others a brief retreat, (and almost losing NotDave to their poison) we were able to pummel them with hands, feet, weapons, and spells until they were of no more danger to us, and we could venture deeper into this cave, now determined to find whatever was being protected.

​Delving deeper still through winding tunnels and cavernous rooms with low ceilings, we were resisted every step of the way by these tiny creatures, including one riding a giant tick. A most disgusting but dangerous melee followed, but as always, we dispatched the evil we encountered all the same.

After clearing out this den we discovered something most surprising: not treasure but Kobolds in cages! The appear to be the Soothsay Kobolds from the poster in town, and after returning the statue we’d found that apparently belonged to them we appear to have, strange as it may be, struck up an unlikely alliance with them for the time being, a refreshing change to the violence we seem to encounter on daily basis.

More to follow soon, I’m sure, this is starting to get interesting…

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 Post subject: Re: Kingmaker: Arik’s Diary
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:53 pm 
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Arik’s Diary of the Stolen Lands – Chapter 1 Part 4

After releasing the captive kobolds and making some unlikely friends, we left the Mite’s cave and set up camp for the night, when I wrote my last entry. Not more than a few hours after setting down this very journal and catching some sleep resting against a nearby tree I experienced quite a rude awakening, an arrow protruding from my leg. Not pleasant for sure, but it appears to have missed any major structures and I was otherwise unharmed, until I realized I was poisoned and my strength was slowly sapping away. While I still had energy in me, I raised a ruckus to wake my compatriots, save for Aldo, who was unconscious and refused to rise, luckily he was still alive. Spotting a shadowy figure in the trees, the rest of us attempted to combat our assailant, arrows flying about, I bounded up a nearby tree and attempted to follow the stealthy attacker, jumping from tree to tree as I did, but with no luck. Only our spellcaster had any luck with the un-erring aim on some sort of magic bolts he can cast from his fingertips. Our attacker however did not drop, and eventually fled. We kept watch, tended our wounds and slept in a bit the following morning for our sorcerer and clerics studies and prayers. We do not want to be caught unawares again without them at full capacity.

Following that incident we accompanied the Sootscale Kobolds as apparently they’re called, it sounded like Soothsay earlier, but then I’m not well versed in the Kobold language, and they spoke only broken common at best, when and if they try. We accompanied them to their lair, the place marked as bloody rocks on the Mites’ map. They welcomed us in, directed us through their traps and defenses, and introduced us to their leader. All very primitive, their culture, yet, somehow… genuine… primal. Zelvon was the only one who can speak their tongue, so the rest of the interaction between them was confusing to say the least, only getting the occasional translation or comment from our arcanist.

What I did gather is that the small statue we found in the Mite’s caverns was some sort of relic of the Kobolds, which once returned to the Kobold Chieftain, he immediately smashed on the ground of the cavern, and stomping, perhaps dancing in elation at its destruction, as the other Kobolds joined him in this business. It appears this relic was made as a curse upon the Kobold tribe, by their own traitorous Shaman, who for some reason was in league with the Mites in some sort of power-play to take over the tribe. We never got to ask him though, as the Chieftain immediately led us to him, in some other part of their underground compound, and the melee ensued. Arrows and spells flying about once again, the Shaman turned invisible, and proved a nuisance to combat, but ultimately he was slain. I may never understand the politics of this race, but somehow Zelvon struck up some sort of alliance with them, and offered freedom of safe travel and trade up at Oleg’s. We then returned to confirm this with Oleg.

Oleg agreed to it reluctantly, but with the bandits around, it is clear he can use all the business he can get. It is here that a sickness took to both Cromac and I, which after much difficulty he is able to shed, and yet it continued to consume me. After much introspection we realized it was the poison of the giant tick-creature one of the Mites was riding in that combat, days ago. I miss the days of traveling in peace. My companions traveled to find the Priest we led earlier to the Shrine of Erastil, Kavkin as his name I believe. He was able to relieve my condition, and after a few days I was back to normal. I am in his debt.

After that much-needed rest and resupply, we continued our exploration and roundabout search for the dreadful Stag Lord.

The first event of our new round of the journey was stumbling upon a collapsed river-crossing, with a bell to call the ferryman. After doing so, we quickly realized that he wasn’t going to help us across the river The ferryman emerged from the water, and then walked across its surface like it was solid earth, upon getting closer we realized that he was no longer one of the living, but the vile undead. However in a most curious twist of the enemy-of-my-enemy variety, it appears he has some vast enmity for the Stag Lord himself, and wants his slain body, after which hopefully he can achieve his final rest. We note this, and decided that this river should indeed be the Stag Lord’s final grave. For all the evil he has wrought and lives he has hurt, if his demise can bring peace to one, then I too shall be satisfied by it. Alas we find another river crossing, and press on.

Several days later we discovered the fangberry grove Bekken had mentioned in his posters… and realized why he didn’t want to pick them himself. Fangberries are most unpleasant things, in all my time in the wild making a living as an herbalist, I’ve never encountered a plant so vile to harvest. Thorny, razor sharp stalks protect the fruit, and they appear to be pollinated by swarms of tiny biting spiders. Why we decided to subject ourselves to this fresh new hell to appease a crazy old man I’ll never know.

And then we found it. The Stag Lord’s Fortress. After some scouting its defenses, tall stone walls, guards, a lake protecting its south side, we found some of its other defenses… a field of the undead. They act as an alarm and defense of sorts, and Allesse and I were forced to quickly retreat. Having regrouped we decided to give the straight-forward approach a try, having intercepted the password some time earlier. Unfortunately for us, that password had long expired, and sent arrows raining in our direction. After a quick look and a nod, we sprung into action.

We set fire to their wooden front gate, spells and arrows lofted into their guards, fifteen feet off the ground on their fortified walls. I sprinted forth and climbed quickly up the wall to enter melee with one guard, my companions following suit through the door or over the top as we pushed into their base of operations. It was a bloody campaign we were waged, with no quarter requested or offered. I must say it hurt my heart some to be forced into such violence, but I had to remind myself with each kick and each strike of my fist or staff that every man here had killed innocents and would do it again for no more than the change in their purses.

After the initial melee went quiet, the place went almost… too quiet. We weren’t sure if it was empty or an ambush, and naturally, it turned out to be the latter. Searching for foes, I quietly walked the roof overseeing Zelvon, Allesse, Aldo, and Cromac as they divided into two groups to search for threats. Aldo and Zelvon were the first to encounter a rapier-wielding bandit hiding amongst the rubble of a partly collapsed room. I charged down to help dispatch him, and then returned to my place on the roof, to keep my eyes on my friends’ backs, to prevent daggers from silently sliding into them unnoticed.

Shortly thereafter all hell broke loose again, with two men with longswords, one in light, and another in heavy armor accosted Aldo and Cromac as they turned a corner, aided by three archers who were far outclassed by the skills of Allesse. Before these two swordsmen could be defeated however the melee was joined by one who could only be the vile Stag Lord himself. He was too cowardly to remain in honest combat however, and as we dropped the last of his lackeys he loosed a beast from some sort of cage. This beast was unnatural and huge, half owl, half bear, with all the dangerous parts of each animal still in place, claws, beak, muscles… and it must have been starved near to death because it seemed to want nothing more than to destroy and consume us. Pressing forth, we had not choice but to engage this monster, while the Stag Lord rained arrows down on us from behind it. This fight was the bloodiest we’d seen in our travels, and both Cromac and I, engaging the creature in bloody hand-to-hand combat would have surely fallen to our deaths, if not for the healing skills of our Cleric, to whom we both owe a debt, and the martial and magical skills of our group as a whole.

Having felled the beast, the Stag Lord appeared to disappear into thin air, we set a quick magical trap which he appeared to be able to ignore entirely, to appear behind us, and continue filling us with brutal, brutal arrows. It was at this point I decided it was better I risk my life than to risk all of ours, as there was no way we could all survive his deadly hit and run tactics, so I tackled him, and for a time he and I engaged in a fierce grappling match, in which the loser would surely die. He and I tumbled about the ground, each trying to be the superior of the other, and in the end I was able to best him, pinning him, and rendering him harmless to my friends, giving forth all my effort just to hold the slippery bastard in place, while the rest of my friends beat him into submission, and finally slew him.

Collecting ourselves and tending to our wounds, we resumed searching the compound for any more threats, and found but one more, in a hidden basement storage cellar, filled with their ill-gotten loot, we encountered a series of beasts, insects, bats, and a badger, who turned out to be much more than met the eye, a shape-changing druid in league with the Stag-Lord. It saddens us that someone who is typically aligned not to good or evil, but to the ways of nature and in tune with the world itself, would turn to darkness and assist those who seek to terrorize, kill, and steal. But this nature-walker will be able to do so no more.

We then collected what valuables we could find useful, or worth returning to Oleg that we could carry, and did just that. We returned to the trading post with the news, and then to the River Crossing to hopefully settle two to their final rests, for which we were rewarded with a pole-arm of sorts, which later proved magical. A reward which we did not expect, but are grateful for, nonetheless.

Having returned to Oleg’s, a messenger had returned from the Swordlords of Restov that the Regent of the Dragonscale Throne had authorized us to establish a settlement here in the southern border regions of Brevoy, and that we had the authority to rule it under their name until such a time as they see fit. Accompanying this new charter was a hefty sum of gold for which to do just so.

Apparently we have cleansed this region of its greatest evil and for that we should be proud. I cannot speak for my companions but I could use some downtime to rest and to atone for the blood on my hands, evil or otherwise, to recenter myself and prepare for a new sort of life down in the Stolen Lands. I have never been one for city-life and now I’m going to have to build a city. Every day is an adventure I suppose. We shall see where it leads.

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 Post subject: Re: Kingmaker: Arik’s Diary
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:42 pm 
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Arik’s Diary of the Stolen Lands – Chapter 2 Part 1

Well, it’s been a year and a month since my last entry and the defeat of the Stag Lord. In this time much has happened, but I find that building a city is much more tiring and time consuming than traveling the wilderness, collecting herbs, and fighting off banditry. And I must admit I misplaced my journal while moving in to Booberton. I’m not used to having a place to store things other than my backpack, and it feels… unusual to spread out in a home of my own. It has been a time since…

Anyways. Booberton. Upon defeating the Stag Lord, the group of us received a missive from the Swordlords of Restov and the Regent of the Dragonscale Throne authorizing (and in other terms demanding) that we establish a permanent settlement here in the Stolen Lands south of Brevoy, and that we should rule it until such a time as they see fit. I admit I never fancied myself a ruler of anything, or a politician of any sort, but here I am, appointed General of a yet nonexistent army appointed for the defense of the region. It seems my skills are somewhat suited for this position, despite any formal training. Perhaps it will grant me some advantage, should I ever need to lead a massed army in our defense, to have learned my tactics from nature and not from the same books as other generals. Perhaps someday this journal will be studied by others leading armies. But I must keep my ego quieted, for that is the way to inner peace. Plus, it would give me great honor to never have to take command of an army to kill others, under any name or cause… however in these violent times, I cannot assure that future. So I must simply attempt to lead honorably, and victoriously, should that time arise.

We are now somewhat tethered to our city, when it comes to exploring the remainder of the region. Our duties in Booberton take a week of time every month, in which we must be present to guide the future of civilized life in these uncivilized lands. However, we do still need to finish mapping the region, so that we know what is under our rule, and what threats still exist to the south, as we’ve only really scouted a few days past our home. It is a very vulnerable place to be.

But limited or not, explore we shall. Plus I feel better out and about in the wilds than stuck in a town for weeks and months and years on end. I have a feeling that Allesse and Cromac agree, though Aldo and Zelvon seem to like it just fine.

In the first days, we traveled south to re-scout the Stag Lord’s old fortress, to see if any of his lackeys decided to rebuild in the wake of his death. Luckily they had not, and while we were down there, we decided to cleanse the undead that had been guarding one side of the fort, to prevent any poor victims from falling to their grasping fingers and gnashing teeth.

Near to the west of the fort, we located a house in the marshland, fenced in, bell to ring, but upon ringing there was no response. Deciding to step forward and knock on the door proper proved to be a mistake, as we were immediately set upon by an ensorcelled scarecrow of some sort, which immediately began to fascinate or enspell my companions, quickly leaving me as the last to fight it off to save our lives, unfortunately it bested me, and I faded into unconsciousness, certain that I was about to be killed and devoured by this thing, or whatever scarecrows do to their victims. But it was not to be, as sometime later I was awaken, still bloodied and covered with much, and Aldo brought me back to health, although quite confused. Apparently the owner of this shack had come back, and Zelvon had struck up conversation with her and accepted some sort of quest. It’s very hazy, but I believe her name was Beldane. Zelvon explained that we were to travel to the other side of the nearby lake, to pick Black Rattlecaps for the woman. He explained little, and what really happened there I’m not sure. But I’m rather uneasy with the way he seems to be holding back information, especially as the Mayor of our town. But, he is a good man, and I trust him. We just have different philosophies on life it appears. Either way, it was time to travel back to Booberton to deal with the month’s business.

Arriving in town, we were alerted that a shepherd boy by the name of Beven and a maid woman, Sake, along with some sheep and cattle had been killed. Whispered rumors often included the words inhuman beast, wolf, Worg, and Werewolf. Despite the way these things tend to grow out of control, it proved not to be a simple wolf, but a Worg afterall. I raised a pair of volunteers to form a temporary city guard, and promised to pay them for their services to become a night-watch of sorts until this was settled, and smartly so, as in the next few nights, we did encounter the beast, seven foot tall and vicious, we tangled in combat with it for a time. A robust creature, shrugging off all but the most brutal blows, it ended up dropping all but Cromac and his cat, and the conscript guard who arrived in time to fight it. We fought it down to near death’s door, but it retreated and escaped us. We remain ever vigilant for its return, but from the beating it received (and we received) I have a feeling we’ll never see each other again, and both the worg and we will be grateful for it.

We then dealt with the month’s end politics, and commended our guards formally, for their duty. Should I need to raise an army, I know who to go to for Lieutenants.

Setting back on our mission for the old crone in the swamp, we found the stand of enormous mushrooms surrounding the smaller Black Rattlecaps, and upon setting in to collect them, we were attacked by a giant vine/plant/fungus creature of some sort. Yet again as these things seem to happen, it lashed its vines out at my companions, but focused its most powerful attacks on me. I don’t mind protecting my friends, but I’m quickly learning the value of armor, and wishing my way of fighting could accommodate it, because as with the Worg, this beast bested me. Luckily my companions were able to defeat it before it was able to consume me, or whatever these unnatural monsters do. When I awoke, it was dead, and Zelvon was already collecting the rattlecaps. We returned to her for some reward, of which I’m uncertain as Zelvon once again met with her in private, and then traveled back home, for a well deserved rest and another month worth of city management.

We decided to spend another six months tending to our fledgling town, to watch for the Worg in case it chose to return, and to rest our bodies and heal our wounds.

I will enjoy that last part thoroughly. I’m starting to see the benefit of having a home to return to.

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 Post subject: Re: Kingmaker: Arik’s Diary
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:43 pm 
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Arik’s Diary of the Stolen Lands – Chapter 2 Part 2

Six months have passed since my last entry, as I seem to be in a habit of writing only while traveling. It is just as well, I do find the city life rather boring, if relaxing. I spend much of my time traveling alone around the wilderness of the area, collecting herbs as I used to, and continuing to hone my martial skills the way I used to, lest my inactivity cause me to become sloppy.

In this time we accomplished a few things, founding a farm, and a small hamlet to tend to it, which also proves for a good place to venture from later, as we can deal with our political requirements there, at a bit of a distance from our capital, convenient for continued exploration south.

Despite six months to take care of things, Zelvon decided to remain in town tending to his Mayoral duties the next time we set out. In his place a man named Vorn joined us, and I’ve grown to like him. Talented both with a greatsword and some clerical magic, he has been quite the useful fellow to travel with.

Setting out ever to the south, we located first a good fording point across the nearby river, and then a group of Gnomes who would have been better off using it, than the spot they chose. We had to rescue them from being swept downstream, along with a cart and a few ponies. They offered us a meal and company to camp with them for the night, which we couldn’t refuse, and learned that they’d had a bit of conflict with a Kobold tribe to the south. We thanked them for this information, and let them know that if they encountered any Kobolds to the north, of the Sootscale clan, they may be able to get by without conflict by telling them they are friendly to us. We parted ways the following morning.

We were attacked soon thereafter by a strange creature, part cat, part stag, with the head like a badger. It was defeated quite readily, after which we located its den apparently, where it had hoarded a set of Blue Dragonscale armor, specifically a breastplate and a shield. If it had defeated the wearer of that, then I am quite confused, as how anyone who can take the scales of a dragon could fall to this strange creature… I do not know. We also found what we later identified as a ‘Treefeather Token”… apparently one can use it to grow a tree. Most curious the magics we encounter in our time in the Stolen Lands.

At this point we returned to our newly founded hamlet to tend to our monthly duties, and then back out to exploring our kingdom.

We discovered Candlemire Lake, and Cromac used his magic to shape wood into two crude boats which we could use to cross it, to explore its island, its tower, and the mysterious lights that appear and disappear along its shores. This proved to be folly however. As Vorn and Allesse immediately were spooked upon landing here, injured by the stinging nettle plants near its shores as we approached the tower, where Vorn and Allesse started getting, well, zapped, I guess is the word, by these appearing/disappearing lights, arcing small lightning bolts towards them, like miniature stormclouds in ball form. Ball lightning if you will. There wasn’t much we could do save for fleeing the island before getting killed one stinging zap at a time.

Boating our way to the east for a day or so, we encountered another small island, where the lake narrows to its river inlet. On this island was a fort populated by Lizard people of some sort. Despite attempts to communicate with them, they remained hostile, but not aggressive. We’ll have to determine the best way to deal with this situation later. It could prove dangerous.

Shortly thereafter we were ambushed by some lunatic and his pet cat, after a brutal battle, we continued on our way and found what we could only assume was his home, in a hollowed out tree. It sort of reminds me of something that who was that other crazy guy told us… but I don’t recall exactly, could this have been Bokken’s brother? Either way I haven’t thought about it until now, and we never bothered to check. I’m just glad we encountered this crazed attacker before anybody else did.

Our last encounter before I put down this pen and journal for the night under the stars is that we found what Cromac called a Scythetree. It ambushed us in a clearing and a brutal battle ensued, luckily we felled it, and nobody was seriously injured in the meanwhile.

It is peculiar fighting trees and other beasts and plants, given that I’m used to collecting their smaller, non-violent kin. Even nature is against us down here. It is truly an untamed and dangerous land.

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