Heroes of the Ashford Valley (MicrOSR20)

Orin's Post: Give Pies A Chance

On the road again.

Before entering the Deep Forest, we decide to stop by the Laughing Unicorn tavern, a well fortified establishment popular among the travelers of Deep Forest road. We sit for a bit to eat, chatting with the barkeep, Omar the younger. Omar tells us that the coward, Curran the bandit chief, just won’t leave well enough alone and has been stringing up travelers along the road as some sort of revenge for the deaths of his crew. I was perfectly willing to let the scumbag go, but it looks like we must finish him off before anyone else gets hurt. I wonder if there is a bounty on him and his remaining crew?

As we finish our meal, I notice a group of dwarves at a secluded table towards the back. Not one to pass up an opportunity to drink with some countrymen, I make my way over. But as I approach, I get an unsettling feeling about this bunch and notice their rather unusual dress…these dwarves are not from around here… or anywhere else I am familiar with. I decide to change my course and make for the crapper, which was probably a good idea anyway.

On my way back, I overhear one of them mumbling “that’s him” in a dialect I haven’t heard before. This can’t be good. As soon as I get a distance away from them, they all make a break for the back door. This is definitely not good.

I ask Omar about the dwarves and it seems they had been staying at the inn for some time, doing a whole lot of nothing. As we head out, hoping to get in our cart and go, we are told that our cart is waiting for us at the front gate, wheel repaired. The cart was no where to be seen. We rushed out the gate to find no sign of the cart, but off to the side, we spot the 5 dwarves just standing there.

I stomped over to the one who seemed to be the leader of the gang and demanded to know what in all the hells was going on! Instead, they started questioning me about some events 25 years prior. It seems they were under the impression that I was involved in some mess involving a burned and looted caravan, and the abduction of 3 three babies! I insisted I had no bloody clue what they were yammering about…but then it hit me. Not only did I have no memory of these events, I could not remember anything from that time…not a single thing.

Once it was discovered I was not useful, they seemed to have had enough of our conversation and suddenly blinked out of existence right before my eyes. They must have been in haste, for one of them left behind something on the bench they had been sitting on… a finely crafted ancient pipe on top of a scrap of parchment. Upon examining the parchment, it read “the stone of remembering” written in an ancient dwarven hand. This just keeps getting better and better.

Back to the task at hand, we decided to use our precious flying potion in an attempt to catch up to the stolen cart. We were successful, discovering a young lad feverishly pushing the poor donkey as fast as it could go. I managed to board the cart and knocked the thief cold. When he came to, he explained that his girl had been taken by ogres and that he was in pursuit. Well, we couldn’t just abandon the kid, Martin, and his love, Frea, so we decided to proceed to where he presumed to ogres to be.

Sure enough, we found ogre tracks and followed them to a cave and who did we see just standing in front of the cave? Frea… seemingly unharmed and in no hurry to escape. There was also the alluring smell of freshly baked pie in the air! Could this trip get any more bizarre? The ogre’s themselves (brothers it seems) then emerged from the cave, clearly not comfortable with our presence. Quinn chose diplomacy over aggression and discovered that the ogres had taken the wench for here pies and meant her no harm whatsoever, but were also not willing to give up their prize. After much discussion, an agreement was reached that if regular payments of pie was provided, as well as some ale to wash them down, that they would not longer disturb the travelers of the deep forest road. While it seemed absurd to me to reward these ogres for NOT menacing innocent travelers, everyone else involved seemed to think that this was a perfectly reasonable arrangement. Whatever. So the bargain was struck and we returned the happy couple to the Laughing Unicorn.

We decided to spend the night at the inn, choosing to stay in the same rooms as the dwarves, hoping to discover any clues they might have left behind. All I found was a small pouch of tobacco. Curious, I proceeded to try out my new found pipe. As the smoke entered my mouth, my consciousness was transported to what seemed like a cave, hearing several dwarvens speaking in an ancient dialect, which I could not understand. Throwing caution to the wind, I tried using some standard tobacco. Again, my mind was transported to another place, getting the feeling like I was trapped underground! Quinn cast a cantrip to discover if the pipes had magical properties and sure enough, both the pipe and the pouch of tobacco had a magical aura!

In the morning we proceeded to complete our quest to accompany Dunny to his home. As we left the tavern, I spotted one of the dwarves by the bench where we had encountered them previously, seemingly searching for something and then blinked out of sight. We proceed to Dunny’s home, where we bargained for a few potions as payment, 2 doses of Flame Arrow and 2 of Haste.

Upon leaving, we saw posted along the road a reward poster, claiming 500 gold for the head or capture of that bastard, Curran. It then occurred to me to check up on uncle Linder. Fortunately, all was well and the small community seemed to be thriving! I told him of the dwarves we had encountered and showed him the pipe. His reaction was that of alarm, telling us of a long lost tribe of outcast dwarves, known as the Charcoal Kings, thus named for their ability to transform themselves into coal dust and then transport themselves over great distances. He then dug up an old book describing the exact pipe and Linder warned me that the pipe was not to be taken lightly and that no good could come of its possession. He then suggested we check in with Sir Hoel of tradetown, who might have more insight about these Charcoal Kings.

We decided to spend the night at Linder manor and proceed out in the morning.

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Orin's Post

Murder. Nasty business, though I must admit my curiosity is peaked. Seems a local wine merchant, Crabbe, and his wife were hacked to death in their home… presumably at the hands of several men with swords. My curiosity went through the roof as we discovered that Crabbe was 1 of 3-5 apprentices under a Mr. Alden, whom had mysteriously died under very similar circumstances 15 years prior. Something stinks in Sooton and its not just the glowing fish.

But its the local boy’s problem now, being we had to head out of town, pulling muscle duty for Dunny, the halfling who had helped us identify the potions we had grabbed from the caves. As were about to head out, we were left with a crudely scrawled message saying what we believe was “Leave town or else” though it could also have said “Leaftown of Elves”…but that have made less sense. I was perfectly happy leaving the murder to the local guard until I saw that note. A deal’s a deal, so off we go, but it was a tough call.

On the road, we passed a group of horsemen flying past us toward Sooton, bearing the unmistakable goat crest of Cliffton. Looks like we got out of town just in time.

We also passed one of Jim’s former acquaintances, a bizarre women in the company of an unknown drunk. From the look she was giving Jim, there was no love lost between the two. I didn’t ask and I hope that is the last we see her, though I have a feeling we will not be so fortunate.

Speaking of ill fortune, just as we seemed to be making progress, Dunny’s cart lost a wheel, grinding the journey to an abrupt stop. It now became disturbingly apparent the danger we were all in, given the volatile nature of the cart’s contents. We (and by that I mean mostly me) managed to drag the cart off the road to an abandoned farm. As we attempted to make repairs, we were visited by some mysterious creatures, who kept their distance just on the edge of the Deep Woods. During the night, we had an encounter with a pack of wolves that may or may not have been the same creatures we heard before. We managed to fend them off, but by then, I had had about enough with this little venture.

This was way more then we had signed up for, so I expressed my displeasure to Dunny, who agreed to cough up a little extra coin to make up the difference. This may have strained relations with the odd little man, but what good is a potion if we get blown to bits before we get a chance to use it? Anyway… we are back on our way in the morning…lets hope the rest of our journey runs a little smoother, but somehow I think we are going to be earning every copper and then some before this deal is done. We did, after all, hear rumors of ogres causing problems in the Deep Woods, though to be honest, a face to face with a couple ogres sits a little easier than riding on that rickety old powder keg… Good Times.

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Session 4

IN WHICH: A party of adventurers face a night attack and mysterious voices on the cliff-top, a merchant is encountered and a second descent into the cave leads to a monstrous encounter!
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Jim Baggins, Quinn Quimby, Orin Copperhead and Giles Corey set up camp on the cliff-top and set watches, which Jim and Giles promptly sleep through – resulting in a close moment when eight undead skeletons attack the camp!

After a quick fight, the enemy is defeated and the party tracks the skeletons back to a one-way door that Orin guesses leads to the dungeon below.

At that point, the party notices the same voice coming from the birds and wild animals about the hill, all telling the party to flee before they are killed.

For three days, they wait for the water to recede from the cave openings so they look to the road and spot a merchant caravan traveling on it. Once off the hill, they find that the merchant is Mikan Roddin, a human merchant from Tradetown that has dealt with Orin in the past. They hail him and his caravan and talk for a bit – none of the guards are happy stopping so near to “The Haunted Hill” and little is gained in information about it but one of the ancient swords is sold for a good sum to Mikan.

Returning to the cliff-top, they see that the water has receded enough to spot the caves again and Jim speculated that this could be a defense mechanism for those who used the caves in centuries past – anyone on the hill causes the water to rise in a matter of hours, closing off the caves, while no one on the hill leaves the caves open.

Quickly, the party descends again into the cave, bypass the two pits on the stairs and encounter another set of the degenerate humans, this time an elite force in ancient armor and those strange eye-slit-less helmets. They defeat the subhumans and note that the armor is protected by the primitive fetishes. They discover that the statue again has been beheaded and their former prisoner is nailed to the wall, most likely as a punishment for failure to defend the last time the party was here.

Searching around for the statue’s head reveals it in the junk room and they recover it without taking too many wounds and replace it on the statue, where it again knits the stone together.

Proceeding down the last 20’ long side tunnel, they find themselves in a 20’ by 50’ room with a sarcophagus. Searching through the coffin, they find another valuable gem, a pair to the one they found before.

Finding a stone slab blocking their way, they moved it and followed the passage 20’ deeper into the dungeon, into a room 30’ by 40’, with two doors, one sealed and barred, the other opening into a short hallway with two doors, ending in a T. Looking in the two doors, they found some bare rooms but heard a beast coming from the T.

They quickly retreated to the larger room and an owl-bear burst upon them there. It was a long fight but they managed to bring the beast down, stabbing it to death as it’s roars echoed through the halls, waking who knows what other horrors that the brave adventurers will soon face.

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Session 3

IN WHICH: A party of adventurers hear some rumors, make some interesting discoveries and explore a cave
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Upon arriving in Sooton, the adventurers Jim Baggins, Giles Corey, Orin Copperhead and Quinn Quimby delivered their errand (receiving 10 gp each for the trouble) and sold their captured bandit gear (for 150 gp).

They heard three rumors about town: A child had been attacked by a giant bat in Ashford town a few days ago; strange things were found floating down the Soot river; and bandits were a trouble along the High Bridge Road.

Since they were in Sooton, they decided to look into the strange things floating down the Soot river.

Seeking answers, they headed towards the riverside and looked for a tavern frequented by fishermen. They found The Hole (aka Fishin’ Hole), a tavern that catered to the fishermen of the town.

Entering the tavern, they failed to impress the locals in a rather spectacular way, leading them to quickly retreat. However, a local lad, named Ty, met them around the side of the tavern and was greatly impressed by their social gaffes.

Ty told them that they had found some odd fish and other items floating down the river and he showed them to the party. A 3.5 foot long fish, with no eyes and silvery-blue scales that glowed in the dark was hanging near the tavern, and Ty also showed them an odd-looking helmet, that would fit a weirdly-shaped human head, oval with a pointed conish top and no eye slits. Giles said that this was no elvish made helmet and Orin knew it wasn’t dwarf made.

The party decided to explore along the river and Ty offered his boat but they chose to stay on land and see if they could find where these strange things were coming from.

So they left Sooton and crossed the ford. Traveling up the Tradetown-Sooton road, they soon exhausted daylight and so set up camp at a well-used campsite. The night passed uneventfully except during Giles’ watch, they heard elvish singing – and a group of wood elves, glowing in the night with magical lights and lanterns, traveled past them but did not stop or talk nor seem inclined to do so.

Giles pointed out the watching elvish archers that were ready for any action the party made and guessed that the elves leaving this area was probably due to some danger than had recently come to the area.

The next morning, they climbed the hills off the road and came to the Soot river rapids, where they spotted several caves close to the water level. Down 100’ or more of cliffside, they made it to one of the caves and went in, descending deep into the Earth. They encountered a pit, which they won past easily but a second pit, hidden in the stairs, nearly claimed Orin and Quinn.

They found themselves in a 50′ × 50′ room with a fountain in the center and exits in the center of each wall and were attacked by degenerate humans with pale white skin, pale blond hair and wearing rough white tunics. These creatures wielded ancient swords and the party killed three of them and the remaining creature surrendered.

After binding the prisoner, they searched the room and examined the fountain. A statue missing a head stood in the center of a brackish pool. Orin searched the pool and found the statue’s head and reached in to remove it, barely escaping being attacked by some monster in the water. Leaping to the statue, Orin placed the head back on and the stone knit together. A magical process occurred, refreshing the water (killing the monster within) and cleaned the room – removing the blood and dead bodies.

The party continued exploring, taking a 20’ long side passage down to a 30’ by 50’ room, which turned out to be the degenerate humans’ barracks. There they found a valuable gem and avoided some cursed fetishes set up on an altar.

Another 20’ long side passage entered a similar 30’ by 50’ room but the room was unstable, dropping parts of the roof into the room. It seemed that the degenerate humans’ used this room for a trash room.

Before they could explore further, they heard the sound of running water coming down the stairs and Orin figured that a mechanism closed off the lower portion of the stairs so the fountain room would not flood. If they stayed, they’d be trapped for a while but if they risked leaving now, they might get out.

On the way out, Giles fell into the first pit but was saved by the climbing gear they used then Jim fell in the second pit and was wounded but saved by the party. On the last set of stairs up to the cave entrance, both Jim and Quinn slipped in the rushing water and Jim was badly wounded.

Soon they were at the cave entrance and the water, up to their thighs (and waist for the dwarf), threatened to push them down the stairs into a water grave. Climbing back up the 100’ plus cliff, they escaped!

Giles went around and healed the wounded as best he could and the party camped on the cliff top for the night because it was too far to get to town before nightfall.

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Session 2

IN WHICH: A party of adventurers fight a bandit gang and resolve the fate of prisoners
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What happened before: Four adventurers, Quinn the warrior, Jim Baggins the magic-user, Orin Copperhead the dwarf, and Giles Corey the elf, were tasked with delivering a valuable Bugbear longsword to the Lord of Sooton. While on the Deep Forest Road, they encountered Yarkand the Great Stag and followed him into the Deep Forest to a manor owned by Orin’s uncle Linder. Linder feared trouble was about to come down upon him and welcomed his kin and the other adventurers to his side, hoping that they could save his valuable gold mine and lands.


With only a few days before trouble came down upon them, Jim, Quinn, Orin and Giles helped Linder set up defenses for his manor. The capped and sealed the well, then disguised it’s location. They also placed barrels full of stones on the manor roof to drop on attackers. And the mine was trapped and camouflaged.

But the bandits arrived before they could retreat into the manor. Curran and his “Local Boys,” along with some humanoid allies that included orcs, gnolls and bugbears, stepped from the forest edge. At their heels were a half-dozen prisoners from earlier raids. Curran smiled as his crew fired upon Jim and Linder, who quickly retreated into the manor. While Orin took up a defensive position in the mine, Quinn and Giles watched from the ruined chapel but quickly skirted the enemy and made it to the manor.

A pair of gnolls set up a small camp to the north of the manor while Curran’s main force set up camp near the chapel. When the manor defenders started firing into the bandits, Orin shot as well, giving up his position. A group of three orcs headed for the mine but were slain by the adventurers before they could successfully attack Orin.

As darkness fell, the bandits set up mantlets made from farmhouse doors captured during their raids and built large bonfires. They traded arrows with the manor defenders, to little affect on either side.

Quinn and Orin, supported by Jim and Giles, attacked the smaller camp, succeeding in slaying the two gnolls, while Linder watched the other bandits. The party retreated to the manor after throwing the gnolls’ mantlets into a bonfire and managed to escape the other bandits.

A bugbear and three bandits took over the gnolls camp and again, Orin and Quinn sallied forth from the manor to do battle, with Jim and Giles supporting, striking hard against the bugbear and bandits. Jim cast a grease spell onto the bandit camp and lit one of the bandits on fire. The fight was fierce but Orin and Quinn prevailed, though Quinn received a nasty wound.

Two more bugbears, hidden in the darkness, sprang forward and the fight continued back to the manor while the other bandits attempted to join in. Giles cast a sleep spell on the bandits and succeeded in enchanting two of them. By the end of the night, the party had killed 4 bandits, 2 gnolls, four orcs and two bugbears while taking little damage themselves. Giles healed Quinn and Jim’s wounds and the group prepared for morning.

In the night, an argument among the bandits lead them to turn upon themselves and the manor defenders heard the remaining two orcs be killed by the bandits. Towards dawn, another argument started and then silence. It wasn’t until morning that the truth was learned.

With only 4 bandits left in his crew and an unhappy bugbear, Curran had little choice but to retreat. He gave his prisoners to the bugbear for payment and fled the other way, with the remains of his “Local Boys.”

The party, concerned with the prisoners and their soon-to-be gruesome fate at the hands of a monster, pursued the bugbear and slayed it. Returning to the manor, they soon lost the trail of Curran and his crew. Gathering up the weapons, equipment and gold of the slain, they left Linder and the now freed prisoners together to form a new community around Linder’s manor. The dwarf would continue to mine the gold and the humans would build anew with Linder as their lord.

The adventurers continue on to Sooton and to further adventure, knowing that at some point, they would meet up with Curran again!

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Session 1

IN WHICH: A party of adventurers traveling from Ashford town to Sooton on a delivery errand are waylaid, a dwarf is met and a trouble is discussed.
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Orin Copperhead the dwarf, Jim Baggins the wizard, Quinn Quimby and Giles Corey the elf met a few weeks ago in Ashford town when they joined a search party looking for a lost girl. Their group was the one that found her safe and sound and gained some measure of reputation in the town (currently everyone has a +2 reputation in Ashford town except for Giles, the NPC elf, who has a +1). But reputations are fickle and only further deeds can cement these adventurers as heroes in the minds of the people.

Partly because of this reputation, they were hired to deliver a valuable bugbear longsword to Sooton. Bugbear longswords are considered masterwork weapons and usually can only be gained by killing a bugbear. This longsword, quite definitely a fine weapon, was manufactured by a mysterious Tradetown company called the Iron Bugbear Company (how they learned the method of creating these weapons and where in Tradetown the are located is the mystery).

Along the trip through the Deep Forest, they encountered Yarkand, a mythical stag that is beloved by the Valley. Yarkand, the Emperor of the Ashford Valley, the Lord of Forest, Farm and Field, met the adventurers near one of the mysterious Runestones along the road and led them through the forest (on a trail that appeared before Yarkand and disappeared behind them) to a near-abandoned manor. Then Yarkand walked into the forest and disappeared.

At the old manor, the party met Linder the Dwarf, a miner (and uncle to Orin) who found a vein of gold in the nearby mine. Linder was glad of the friendly company and invited them in to tell them his problem. A man had come earlier and gave Linder a bad feeling. He’s expecting trouble and that trouble came several days later with the appearance of a bandit gang (leading a half-dozen or so prisoners!).

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