Written from the perspective of Vordaar
After we slew the goblin party that was transporting the captured gnomes, Bask hears some small wings fluttering away. Nobody saw what it was but Bask cast some sort of spell that allows him to know which why the wings were flying. We both give chase to it. After about 400 feet of sprinting through the forest following my tiny comrade, he suddenly stops. He says they tiny beast is faster than us and we are not gaining any ground, it was a futile pursuit. We turn back to the group and collectively ask the freed gnomes questions about our assault on Verbeen.
One of the gnomes warns us about some plant called ‘thunderlilies’, seem silly to me to worry about rabbit food, how could that hurt me? He seems persistent that they are to be considered a threat so I decide to take his advice. He also tells us about some sneaky hobgoblins and a caster that is very strong, they are formidable and more cunning than other goblins we have encountered (this get me going a little (whoosh)). He explains the lower city is a decoy city and the real dwelling of the gnomes is up in the trees. He gives us the basic lowdown on how their transportation system works, (large baskets with some sort of magical pulley system) he also gives us a key to activate one of the baskets. After he gives us all this information Algernon escorts them back to SR.
We approach Verbeen from the South East. On the way we see a sign that says ‘mind your step, don’t step on the flowers’ in gnomish and common. As we get closer we dismount and tie up the horses. I leave Ashley untethered. We see two massive trees that have fallen down making a natural wide V shape. Bran scouts out ahead expertly pointing out the lilies so we don’t step on them. We find the trees are actually petrified wood and find a door at the base of the tree.
It’s a really small door hole, I’m not sure if I can fit. Bask detects a trap on the door and Bran uses his mage-hands to disarm at a safe distance. We squeeze into the hole and find what seems like a nice little dwelling with a stair case leading upwards. Bask sends the Baroness through the heavy trap door at the top but sees nothing. Bran goes up and throws a dagger at one of the plants and it explodes with a great force (I believe the gnomes now). We look out for enemies stirring but see nothing. With that, we exit the room and get on top of the tree. Swinn notices a small draw bridge connecting the fallen petrified tree to the nearest standing one as well as a hole that could be for a key. We try our key out but it doesn’t work, so she expertly picks it and a basket comes down. Eventually we figure out how they work and ride the basket up. Once we hit a certain height a whole new world in the trees comes into vision. Bran hears another set of wings start to fly away and quickly sings an arrow and smokes it out of the air. As it falls, its invisibility fades, it’s an Imp. We hear whispering coming from one of the other baskets and make our way over to it. Its full of scared gnomes. At this point I’m getting anxious for battle, I can’t help but start to pace on the walkway while the rest of the group is talking to the survivors. Someone hands me some binoculars that let me see things better. It’s really nice, my vision has always been subpar. Suddenly I see Bask cast a spell and jump off the walkway towards the temple of Mystra. Without hesitation I jump right behind him along with everyone else. Finally, some action.
While we are falling we see a trap door open and I hear some faint words being muttered, I feel myself jolt to the ground for a second almost as if the spell was being tampered with but resume falling slow. As we land a storm forms right above us and starts hailing down as the trap door shuts, it sucks, we all get hurt by it. 6 shadowy hobgoblins appear around us and make feeble attempts to hurt us. They do seem to land blows on Bask, I wish I was closer to him to help. He disappears as Swinn crushes the skull of one of the goblins. I hear commotion and the sound of lightning crackling at the merchant hut where Bask went as the remaining goblins disappear. Cowards. We inspect the temple trap door and find a tiny hut blocking the entrance similar to Basks hut. Bran is able to map out a safe route to the hut Bask was at so we go there and find a trap door leading down. We try to pick the lock but fail, there is an explosion. Everyone escapes except me. The building collapses on me but I brush it off and open the door. In the dwelling there is a Blink Dog that immediately is drawn to Bask, he names her Lucy. We eventually find our way to below the temple. There is a giant gem with a riddle ‘Iron roof glass walls, burn and burns but never falls’. Annoyed by this, I rip it out of the wall with all my strength. It doesn’t seem to do anything so Bask has to Mend it back in place. We solve the riddle (with some help) and open the trap door. I hear some deep enchanting words come from Bask as I pop my head through the door, the goblin wizard screams and disappears. There is a massive and well armored hobgoblin in the room which takes some effort to kill and the two sneaky ones attack my feet below (lol) I fire breath them and they end up running. Bask casts another spell which tells him which direction they were running. I send Ashley to stall them while Bask then cast fly on me. While riding me we catch up to them and he casts a fireball to rain down on them. That was the end of them.
We report back to the gnomes and tell them it is safe. We ask them if they want to come back to SR with us with their riches, they seem very happy we’ve offered and showed us where all their treasures were. We leave for shores rest.
On our way back we pass by Meeka’s cage he says ‘I can feel Huro growing closer’. We need to prepare for war.
- Potion of Supreme Healing
- Eyes of the Eagle
- Spell Scroll (Cloudkill)
- The Coga Slates: This libram is bound in gold plates set with pearl. Several of its pages appear to have been replaced with crude forgeries. When used in research, this tome provides a +1 bonus to Intelligence (Investigation) checks.
- The Grimoire of Noamra: This set of etched glass plates is contained in an engraved bronze coffer. Written in Sylvan, these are ancient texts, telling bits of the story of the Red King… The Sorcerer Tyrant. Some say he was the spawn of archdevils. Others say his mother was an evil dragon. No one knows for certain. He was a genocidal maniac in a far eastern world. He grew to such heights of power that even the gods dared not challenge him. The Pantheon rallied their power into one sacrifice, forever cursing and weakening themselves, just to cripple him long enough to contain him. [There are pieces of the story missing.] The faithful used the curse to create for him an anti-magic cage. They tossed him and his cage into the sea, and now her denizens and deities eternally struggle to keep him contained. And the seas are forever spoiled for it.
- Codex of The Arcane Route – (gnomish) A thorough exploration of the magic item creation process. It finds some shortcuts in the way magic is done. Halves the creation time and cost for any artisan or mage in possession of the codex that is attempting to create a magic item.
- Spell Scroll (Charm Person)
- 21 finely crafted darts (1gp each)
- ONE I FORGOT: SPELLBOOK - The caster hobgoblin had a spellbook on him, containing the following spells (written in Hobgoblin):
- Ice Storm
- Lightning Bolt
- Gust of Wind
- Magic Missile
- Fog Cloud
- Fire Bolt
Also, a new Houserule was established: If casting two spells in a single round, via utilizing a bonus action, the lower one can be a cantrip or a 1st-level slot, (instead of the PHB's cantrips only).
THEN, more from Brân:
Unexpected Allies – an excerpt from the tales of Brân Glyn’Dwr
After days of riding, the trip back from Verbeen seemed like it would never end. To make matters worse, the sun, which had been absent for the better part of a week, returned like an unwelcome friend. Brân squinted and pulled his long black hood low over his face. His companions, Bask, Swynn, Vordaar, Wellby, and a small party of Gnomes, rode on in silence. “We did rescue these poor souls and killed their Hobgoblin tormentors,” thought Brân. “We should count ourselves lucky, but I know there is much unfinished business to attend to. And what of my pledge to Heden? I swore an oath to become a faithful protector, I must get back to the Fae Wode and the Glyn'Dwr Forest!”
“Hey, are my eyes playing tricks or does that mountain look different?” It was Swynn, she sat atop her horse and pointed to the west. Through a clearing in the trees, we could see a distant mountain. “If my memory is correct, that should be the snow-capped peak next to Bronzeport, the one with the waterfall that feeds the underground lake. But look at it, there’s no snow.” Vordaar lifted the Inspector onto his shoulders so he could get a better look. Bask scanned the distant horizon with the Eyes of The Eagle. That surely was the peak, the waterfall was still there, but Swynn was right, the snow was completely gone. “That is most curious,” said Bask as he pulled on his pipe. Wellby shifted in his saddle and turned to the group, “What of Bronzeport itself, do you think it’s been similarly affected?”
As the others rested and watered the horses, Brân strode off towards the ancient pine forest that stood at the side of the road. “I won’t be too long,” he said as he disappeared into the trees. After a few steps, Brân breathed deeply, closed his eyes and listened. He could feel the presence of the forest spirits, and, after a few more steps, he heard a faint whisper. It was the essence of Silvanus, the deity's voice was distant, obstructed, but felt nonetheless. Brân opened his eyes, and spotted a twig that had snapped off of a nearby sapling. Examination found the breakage to be a natural result of a deer's antlers. He moved to toss it away, but noticed a strange configuration of veins in its leaves. Staring intently for a moment, he found that the veins physically spelled out phrases in elvish:
Forests and birds and grasses and serpents. The unknown, the living, the strange.
To countless stewards doth I entrust it, my wealth is a burden to Range;
Endless they Stride, increasing their skill, and each I calleth by name.
Alas, they are mortal, and forever so, so my servants they'll ever remain.
The forests are mine, the beasts are mine, infinite, yet ruled by one.
But sayeth the wise, that a father discerning, leaves his riches unto his son.
Stewards of skill are precious indeed, and their labor is never in vain.
For sooner than not, the father retires, and only his heir may reign.
"What is it? What do you see?" asked Swynn who now stood next to the dark-elf. Brân looked away from the leaves to his companion. Without answering, he swung his eyes back. But in his hand he now held a young bird, it chirped once and then flew away.
Back at Shore’s Rest feverish preparations were being made. The sounds of hammering and last minute construction filled the air. Grindstones spun unabated, sharpening sword and axe by the score. Ten Bevel drilled his men who now followed his every command with precision – “Shields up, spears out, thrust, and again!” A group of Gnome and Looke alchemysts huddled around bubbling cauldrons and odd shaped glass vessels. Others unloaded the provision carts that continued to arrive outside the walls. Brân headed over to the Griffon enclosure. The two hatchlings were now fully grown, and were being attended to by two Looke, experts in animal handling. One attempted to attach a simple leather saddle to the male griffon, but a kick of it’s powerful rear leg sent the Looke flying against the sturdy wooden fence. Just then Brân felt a twinge in his chest, it was as if one of his scars was on fire. He reached a hand beneath his leathers and traced the crude raised outline of an oak leaf – the symbol of Silvanus. The male griffon turned its head and locked eyes with Brân, “There is no time to lose, I have much to tell you and we have a journey to make.” The hair on the back of his neck stood up – he could understand the griffon’s words, yet no actual words were spoken. The two Looke stared slack-jawed as Brân jumped the fence and approached the griffon with a small morsel of meat in his hand. “What do I call you, do you have a name?”. The griffon accepted the offering with a quick snap of its sharp beak, “Our wild names are known only to us, but name me if you wish.” Brân leaned forward, “I’ll call you Arian, it means silver, after your silver wingtips”. The griffon turned its head and looked at Brân,“That is honorable.”
Brân mounted Arian, and the griffon’s wings sprang to life. After a few mighty flaps, they were airborne and began making large graceful circles above Shore’s Rest. “You people have been good to us, now a great battle looms and it is our turn to come to your aid.” Arian tilted his head back, let out a loud screech, and banked to the south. Brân tried to steady himself, but balance was tricky. After a bit, he attuned to the natural rhythm of the wingflaps and it became much easier. “Where are we going?” asked Brân, his voice raised above the wind. “We seek allies,” answered Arian. Brân looked down at the rushing landscape and recognized the approach to the original shipwreck camp, they would soon reach the cliffs that marked the natural border between the forested plain and the swampland. Arian banked left and circled back towards a large cave high on the cliff face. He again let out a great screech and continued to circle. His call was met by another inside the cave, and suddenly a much larger griffon shot out of the cave mouth and flew over in our direction. “Do not be afraid,” said Arian, “he is the elder, we shall speak.” Over the next few minutes, the two griffons swooped and screeched, and Brân held on with all his strength.
Just as quickly, the large griffon broke off, glided back toward the cave, and dissappeared.
“What happened?” asked Brân. “I pled our case. They will talk it over, wild griffons are unpredictable, but we will know their decision shortly.”
A member of the watch raised his horn and gave a quick halting blast. His partner trained a heavy mounted crossbow on a distant flying object that was closing rapidly. “What should we do? Maybe this is the beginning of the attack!” Vordaar, who watched the commotion from below, snorted derisively, “Stand down you fools! It’s Brân and his griffon!” Just then, a shadow streaked overhead followed by a welcoming screech. Arian swooped down and landed nimbly behind the walls. As he folded his majestic wings, Brân jumped down and turned to the Looke handlers, "Quick, we need lots of leather and rope to make flying harnesses, and send hunters out for some deer, we'll need more food for the griffons, lots more." Arian turned, “Please bring the Priestess of Mystra, my broodmate would like to thank her for her kindness.” Brân nodded and then pointed to the southern horizon, "Look, we have some new friends!" Off in the distance were the unmistakable silhouettes of nine approaching griffons. A loud cheer rose from the stalwart defenders of Shore’s Rest. "Silvanus be praised!"