The Outcasts

Calico's Journal #11
The Almost Triumphant Return
We brought Patrick back from the brink of death with some magic healing, and set about searching Nualia's lair. There were piles and piles of notes, from which we were able to piece together Nualia's story. Apparently she had a trust with a young gent, and ended up conceiving a child while beneath the Glassworks. Her proximity to what we now know is the Catacombs of Wrath, the strange area dedicated to Lamashtu, caused her child to become hideously deformed. It also seeded in her a hatred of herself, her father, and all Sandpoint. It seems that something called a "rune well" had awakened to its power, and that was the source of the corruption. After her monster pregnancy ended in horrific miscarriage, she fled to Magnimar, where she hooked up with a gang of killers known as the Skinsaw Cult. It was there, with them, that she started to formulate her plan to destroy Sandpoint.

Also in her notes there was mention of Malfeshnekor, who is apparently something calld a Barghest, some kind of demon goblin wolf. There was no indication of how to destroy it, so we opted for the old fashioned method…. Murder by brute force. We took up position outside of Malfeshnekor’s prison, and Cohl opened the door with the key. The roo. Beyond appeared empty, save for some kind if fire in the center. Chaff went in to investigate, and ended up dumping a few tables covered in candles into the flames. I’m not sure if that did anything, or not, but just then Malfeshy appeared out of nowhere and attacked Chaff. The half drow, half reckless idiot barely made it out if the room with his skin still attached.

From there we tried various methods of attack. Patrick fired his bow, Cohl swung his greatsword… I even took up a bow in an attempt to hit the fiend from range. Nothing. I mean zero effect. It seemed that nothing we threw at the barghest hurt it in the slightest. That is, when we could even hit it. I swear I saw arrows that were aimed dead on pass right through where Malfeshnekor should have been. He was hurting us bad whenever we tried to get close enough to hit him in melee. The close in type of combat I excel at wasn’t going to work. When he started to hit us with spells, and Cohl began blubbering like a little girl with a skinned knee (again), we decided it was time to call it a day. Cohl managed to fight through his crushing despair, and shut and seal the door. We promptly beat feet out of the fort.

Faced with a bridge that was held to the cliff face by one measly rope, we put our heads together to come p with a plan. There was the rope we had fired across the gap earlier, that we could probably climb across on, but that damn warhorse was back with us and no one wanted to leave it behind. We managed to rig a system where I could tow the bridge to the other side, and fix it there. Soon enough we were all across and gingerly leading the horse back to the road. We found our other mounts where we had tethered them, and rode back to Sandpoint triumphant. The heroes had done it! We had saved the day, and now we were going to revel in the glory and riches!

We were welcomed back into Sandpoint, and we quickly convened a meeting with the mayor, the sheriff and the priest. We explained what had happened, and who was behind the attacks. The town leaders were grateful, and promised to hold a feast in our honor that night. Over the next few days we unloaded the loot we had. Never in my short career in extra-legal activities have I had a haul like that! The danger might be a bit more, but the rewards are astronomically better! If I had the boyos at my back, I think I could make a living at this hero stuff. My skill set even transitions well.

Now that I have some serious cutter in my pocketses, I think I’ll take a short trip into Magnimar. There are a few high end items that I know I can acquire there, plus I think I’ll look into a couple of things, like those Skinsaw folks, and the Gallow Gang, who I think is behind Balty’s disappearance.

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Calico's Journal #10
Zombies, Helmet Crabs and Demons, Oh My!

We needed rest, so we holed ourselves up in the fancy bedroom, and barricaded the door. The night passed uneventfully, except for Cohl hearing something moving around in the wee hours of the morning. The next day we prepared ourselves for what we hoped was the final confrontation with Nualia. This narky place reeks of goblins, and I can’t wait to leave. Patrick was able to identify some of the gear we had picked up, including some useful scrolls, and a magic cloak.

We set off for the stairs behind the secret door, with me scouting the way. As we approached the stairs, we heard a moaning coming from below. Quietly checking ahead, I found a door. Cracking it open, I saw Chief Ripnugget and two of his cronies waiting for us, despite the fact we had killed them the day before. The slackness of their features, the low moans escaping from their throats, and the fact they still bore all the wounds we delivered yesterday led me to conclude they were now zombies. Great. The only thing worse than a goblin…. an undead goblin. We rushed into the room and in no time flat we had re-killed the green pests. The room we were was canted severely to the west, making it an uphill climb to reach the door on the other side.

On the other side of the door was a curiously shaped hallway. About midway down there were two alcoves on either side, each bearing a statue. Each statue held a metal glaive. On the far end was the remains of another statue, and a stone door on either side of that. Dead center, between the statues, was a strangely polished section of floor. I snuck up to that section and checked it for trap mechanisms. I didn’t find anything, but that only served to heighten my suspicion. I nimbly leapt across, avoiding the polished area. Nothing happened, so I began inspecting the statues. Other than noticing that the arms of the statues were designed to move (almost guaranteeing that this was a trap), I found nothing. Chaff came forward with the body of one of the goblin zombies, and dropped it squarely between the statues. Sure enough, it sprang a deadly trap. Portcullises dropped down, sealing the small area, and the statues started swinging their glaives around, chopping the carcass to bits. Then the floor gave way, dumping the pieces into a pit.

Now that I had seen how it worked, I tried again to find and disable the mechanism. I made on statue inactive, but the floor and the other statue eluded me. We decided that jumping the spot was the only way past. Cohl and I moved ahead, trying the door on the south side of the hallway. Finding another short passage, we moved in to give the others room to land. With us all on the other side, we preceded further into this hellhole. We came to an “L” shaped chamber, with double doors on one end, and what appeared to be a huge pile of gold coins on the other. While I inspected the doors, Chaff did the same for the coins. I found nothing of interest, but Chaff determined the coins were an illusion. It was just a stone carving, but it had coin sized slots in it. We agreed to drop a gold piece into one of the slots. When we did so, the whole column of coins shifted, and rotated in. Beyond was another chamber!

As I entered to scout the room, a strange and menacing voice filled my head. “Let me out!”, it said. As I started a mental conversation with the voice, I determined it must be Malfeshnekor, the trapped thing from Tsuto’s journal. I tried to gleen more information from it, but all it offered was the “honor” of a swift death. Not exactly the best bargaining I’ve ever heard. It did mention a key that would open its door, though. We decided to let the bastard rot a while longer while we explored more of this floor of Thistletop. In one room we found bones, torture implements, and lo….. the key to Malfeshnekor’s prison, a seven pointed star. Chaff pocketed the key (I believe the crazy half-drow wants to open the door and try to kill whatever or whomever Malfeshnekor is). Beyond the third set of doors in this chamber we found what can only be described as a permanent illusion. The image of the same glaive wielding man depicted in the statues, saying something in a strange language, but the message seemed to be stuck repeating itself.

Determining that we found all we could in that section, we moved on to a new area. Beyond the double doors in the “L” shaped chamber we came upon what looked like a crypt. Along the walls were sarcophagi, standing upright in separate alcoves. One section of wall was conspicuously void of an alcove, so I examined it for a secret door. Sure enough I found one, and once I opened it, we could hear the sounds of fighting coming from down a set of stairs at the end of a corridor. Hurrying along as fast as we could while trying to stay silent, we came to a small chamber that opened to the water of the bay on one end. A lone human swordsman was battling what appeared to be a giant helmet with crab legs. Assuming the warrior to be Orric, the only underling of Nualia we hadn’t found yet, we moved in to help him defeat the helmet crab. We figured that he would be answering no questions if he were dead.

We vanquished the helmet, and turned our weapons on Orric. I demanded he drop his sword, but promised he’d live f he gave us some information. Looking around, and realizing he was injured and outnumbered, Orric complied. Actually, he was refreshingly candid. He told us he was a mercenary, hired by Nualia to co-ordinate the defense of Thistletop, and her operation there. He said Lyrie, the lady mage we killed, had also been an employee, uncharged of helping the research. Unfortunately, Orric didn’t know much more than that. What Nualia was trying to accomplish here, or what Malfeshnekor was, was beyond his pay grade, apparently. He did tell us Nualia could be found in her study, through the one door we hadn’t tried yet, and that she was guarded by another Yeth Hound. For his honesty, and his cooperation, we allowed him to leave the island by a rickety boat moored in the cove. Honestly, it looked far from seaworthy, and I doubt we all would have made it to shore in the doomed vessel.

Knowing that the fight with Nualia was coming p next, we formulated a plan. Chaff blessed us with the divine power of his god, and Patrick cast a spell on our weapons, imbuing them with magic. Chaff then made me invisible, and Patrick used a scroll to create an illusory double of me. Prepared thusly, I opened the door to our enemy’s study, and my double rushed in. It was soon met by a charging Yeth Hound, who tried to close its jaws around the illusion. Nualia and I traded a few verbal barbs as I moved into the room silent and unseen. Cohl and Chaff also moved in, past the Yeth Hound, and Patrick tried to draw its attention with his bow, after hitting it with a Tanglefoot Bag. The Hound chased Patrick out into the corridor, and the other boys and I quickly surrounded Nualia. Chaff laid into her with his maces, bringing down righteous judgment, and Cohl flew into a frenzy of powerful blows. My kukris found the weak spots in her armor, cutting deep. Nualia called down sickening power, sapping us of our life essence with negative energy. Despite her attempts to ward us off with her power, we able to take her down in less than a minute. Patrick, in the other hand, was not so lucky. Just as Nualia dropped, we heard Patrick also fall to a viscous bite by the Yeth Hound. That was the last thing the Hound ever did, though, as Chaff met it half way and crushed its skull in.

I rushed over to Patrick and determined that he yet lived. He was unconscious, but stable. We were all hurt. I had blood trickling out of my nose from Nualia’s blasts of harmful energy, as did Chaff and Cohl, but we had done it. We had defeated Nualia and her threat to peaceful Sandpoint. All that was left was to revive Patrick, search Nualia and her study for clues, and, if we could, take out Malfeshnekor. Oh, and get the hells off this rock……

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Calico's Journal #9
Say No to Yeth

After our battle with Chief Ripnugget and his cronies, we checked them over for shiny. The chief had a nice magic shorts word that I strapped to my belt. It’s no knife, but it’ll do in a pinch. In addition, we found a key ring that I pocketed, a wand, and a few other goodies. From there we checked the rooms attached to the throne room. In Ripnugget’s “love nest” we found a holy symbol of Lamashtu and a large iron key, which I put in the key ring. Through the other door we found a goblin “deli” of sorts, filled with rotting sides of flesh, specifically dog, horse and human flesh.

With the top floor of Thistletop cleared, we headed to the small stairs we found, leading deeper into the island. We came to a war room first. On one wall was a slate board covered in scribblings, including plans for the attack on Sandpoint, and a curious side view drawing of the island. In the center there seemed to be a large cavern, and a depiction of a giant goblin with snake like eyes. If the scale is correct, it would be at least 30 feet tall! Perhaps this is Malfeshnekor.

Off of the war room there was two doors. One led to a corridor, the other was locked. I could hear pages turning, as if someone was reading in the room beyond. I quietly tried the keys I found until one worked on the lock. Opening the door a crack revealed nothing but a wall, but must have alerted whoever was inside, because a female voice called out. The woman the voice belonged to started asking if Orric was there, and if Nualia needed the assistance of the woman in the room. I quickly shut the door and the boys and. Started to debate what to do. Before we could come to an agreement, Chaff barged into the room and demanded the woman put her hands up! What brash, unthinking nerve! What in Sivannah’s name was he thinking? I rushed in behind Chaff to find a beautiful, dark skinned woman, a wand in her hand and a confused look on her face. A mage! Not wanting to take any chances, I stepped to her and swung with Tickle, but I connected with nothing but air. Thankfully Cohl was right behind me, and felt the mage a furious blow with his great sword. Chaff then flipped a table over and attempted to pin the mage against the wall with it. This, unfortunately, shattered the table.

Seeing that she was gravely wounded, I decided to demand she surrender. The mage quickly complied. We tied her to a chair and started asking her questions. As soon as she opened her mouth the lies started to come out of it. She claimed she was a prisoner of Nualia, as was this man Orric. Chaff assured us she was lying, but she stuck to her story. Chaff slammed her and the chair over backwards, knocking her out. While he revived her for more questioning, I searched the splintered remains of the table and its contents. As I looked up from my search, I saw Chaff crush the woman’s skull in with his mace. I guess he wasn’t getting the answers he was looking for. It’s been a long, harrowing day so far, and I think Chaff needs a nap.

After searching her, and finding quite a few goodies, we continued down the other corridor. From beyond we heard some one opening one door, then the next. Footsteps went up a flight of stairs somewhere deeper down the halls. Continuing on we found a small room that was the intersection of two hallways. A large set of double doors dominated the chamber. We decided to try those, and see what lay beyond. Peering through the doors, I saw a large room with pillars running down its length, and a dais on the far side. A black altar sat on the dais, and a grotesque statue stood just past it. As we attempted to enter the room unseen, out if nowhere two narky demon dogs flew at us. Yes, flew…. When they started baying, it was enough to shake us to the core. While Patrick, Chaff and I were able to withstand the terror, big, bad Cohl fled like a little chava. I quickly followed him, to ensure his safety, and the other boyos slammed shut the doors. I found Cohl curled up in the corner of a room not far away, shaking and mumbling something about his mother. Just as I was trying to console him, we heard a door fly open at the end of one of the hallways. There, at. The end of the corridor stood a hulking bugbear. It was Bruthazmus, the bugbear ranger that Shelalu had spoken of. He ran down the hallway and immediately attacked Chaff. I recall Shelalu mentioning his hatred of Elves. I guess that extends to exiled half-Drow, as well. I charged in from my position near Cohl, leaving him there to rock back and forth. I sank Tickle into the bugbear’s chest, causing a gout of blood to spray forth. A few hits from everyone later, and I was able to deliver the killing blow. For such a big, bad bugbear, Bruthazmus went down like a desperate tavern wench.

After a minute or so of the weeping, Cohl finally got control of himself. We decided to skip over the devil dogs, or Yeth Hounds as they’re called, and continue our exploration of the underground complex. The next room we came to was an antechamber of a kind. Many doors led off of it, and a large staircase went up to the first level. Behind the first door we checked was some sort of gobbo harem! Four half naked goblin women were inside, and after one look at Cohl’s ugly mug, they attacked. Being half naked gobbo ladies, they were easy enough to take down. I decapitated the last one with a scissor like move of my kukris. From there we started checking the doors and corridors that led off the room. Down one corridor we found what must have been the dungeon, filled with empty cells. A small hallway led to the room with the Yeth Hounds. Down another hallway we found the sleeping chambers of the more human residents of Thistletop. Well, and one bugbear bedroom. Not much was to be found there, but we all mentally marked the rooms as a potential place to spend a brief rest.

Traveling down the final corridor out of the antechamber, we found ourselves in a new area. This section was rough hewn, carved out of the inside of the island itself. The passage way led to what must have been a refuse dump, as the room was filled with trash of all sorts. Leading off of that was a narrow tunnel. I followed that and came to a strange room with a polished floor. I could see the water of the ocean out of a cavernous opening in the wall, but my attention was drawn to the weird creature across the room from me. It looked like half octopus, half rock. Having no idea what sort of aberration it was, and not wanting to tangle with it, we backtracked around it. All we found was another refuse room, this one filled with corpses, sucked dry by whatever the rocktopus was.

We were at an impasse. No other passages led out of the stronghold. No stairs down, no doors we hadn’t checked. Convinced we missed something, we returned to the room with the Yeth Hounds. Stuffing our ears with wax, we entered the room. The hounds bated at us again, but we were immune. We took the Yeth Hounds out, one by one. The second, and last hound was crispified by Patrick, as he shove the wand of shocking grasp into its hide. Searching the room after the battle, we found no hidden way out. Chaff suggested we try the room the lady mage was in. Sure enough, he was right. There was a hidden door there, and it was open. Someone had snuck in behind us!

We need to rest. We’re tired, and getting frazzled. Perhaps we should go back to the bedrooms and pile the furniture against the door. A couple of winks would do us good.

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Patrick's Journal, Entry #2

We’ve finally made it into the wild and I’m feeling freed of Sandpoint’s limitations. Although I am still often overcome with self doubt, I am feeling truly bonded with my bow. I will call her Ebony from now on, due to the nature of her dark look and feel. She brings me out of dark times and keeps me safe from the world’s dangers.

My adventuring companions continue to teach me much on the path. They have grown into friends and we are learning how to interact better with one another and battle as a team. For the most part, we think well together and strategize effectively. Unfortunately, we lost our focus in the recent past…

Although we now sit amongst the filth of the goblin abode, victorious over Ripnugget and his brethren, it took some work to get here. We were able to slaughter the gobs efficiently before crossing the bridge, but we got too confident, panicked and rushed across the bridge as a group. The bridge dumped us and Cohl dropped into the sea below. Calico, Chaff and I miraculously held on and climbed for our lives back to solid ground. After an amazing climb from Cohl and quick thoughts from Calico, we made it across the chasm to the keep. I still don’t know how Calico managed to keep from being hurt by the goblins, but she made a great physical display of agility in evasion. The gods must have been with her.

We then did a smooth job of clearing the goblins from their keep, and managed to free and befriend a warhorse as well. After running about in the dark for some time, we came upon Ripnugget, his lizard steed and a mage. After some heated battle, we dropped them and now await the final exploration of the keep below. I learned from this encounter that I need to empower my bow at the beginning of battle and not rush into the fray. I need to let the others lead the charge and offer support from a distance— it is where I am most effective. Getting boxed in hampers my fighting ability. The sword is definitely not my preferred weapon.

I can feel my ability to use magic growing as I cast more and surround myself with magical objects. I look forward to further harnessing this power…

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Calico's Journal #8
The Stupidity of Goblins and Heroes

Learning from our mistake on the bridge, we decided to not try smashing through the front gate. Instead we circled around the side of the keep, looking for other ways in. We didn’t find anything, so once we were near the back, I climbed up to the roof for a quick reconnoiter. From above I saw that there was a courtyard in the keep, home to four goblin dogs. I had everyone follow me up, and from there we launched an attack on the mangy vermin. Two we took down quickly, but the remaining ones started barking up a clamor. This alerted some of the goblins inside. A few of us jumped down, into the courtyard, and we fought off the last two dogs, and the wave of gobbos that joined them. During the fight strange noises and commotion were coming from an outbuilding to one side of the yard. The gobbos had nailed shut the door to the outbuilding, but whatever was in there wanted out, badly.

Once we had killed all but one of the goblins (one lone smart goblin fled), we pried the boards and nails off the outbuilding door. In a violent explosion, the horse inside kicked the door to splinters. It was a magnificent grey stallion, though underfed and skittish. Cohl calmed the beast with careful whispers, and we got close enough to see its name on its bridle. Shadowmist….. a beautiful name for a beautiful horse. I recalled hearing that name back in Sandpoint, but not who the owner might be. I’m sure the stabler would know.

From the courtyard we explored the side passages, finding two sets of stairs leading further down, into the island. We also found barracks, storage rooms full of pickles, and two doors leading into what we assumed was the great hall. I had heard “singing” coming from the area, earlier, so we figured some sort of feast was going on. We came up with the plan to rush in from both entrances (when will we learn?), and take the gobbos by surprise. Of course, we hadn’t figured on the goblin who escaped. We rushed in, only to find a single goblin, obviously the chief. Ripnugget, I believe Shelalu had called him. At his side was a lizard the size of a large dog. He chugged a potion and jumped upon his “steed”. Just then three more gobbos dropped down, out of the rafters, and a war chanter popped up from behind the throne. So much for surprise.

The chanter cast something on Cohl, causing him to fall to the ground in a fit of hysterics, and the chief charged to the other side of the room. The rest of us moved in, trying to take out the chanter and the other goblins. I dropped one, right quick, but the other proved harder to kill. The chief kept charging his lizard at us, taking swings with his viscous dog slicer. Cohl was back up, and eventually, like 1-2-3, we took out the chanter and the rafter gobbos. All that was left was Ripnugget. Chaff had dropped the blessing of his god on us earlier in the fight, and that helped our weapons find their mark. Soon we had the chief cornered, and killed his lizard, Stickfoot, out from underneath him. Sivanah spare me, but these green bastards pick the dumbest names for their pets….Stickfoot? Tangletooth? Now, Shadowmist…. That’s a good name. What should I name my horse? Is she equal to a great name? These things are important to my people. But I digress.

Alone, mountless, and cornered, Ripnugget didn’t stand a chance. He perished under our onslaught. Time to see what shinies he has in him, take a look around some of these other rooms, and then find out what lies beneath.

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Finally battle
The glassworks dungeon and all my failures in it’s halls we’re all I could take. The town had become oppressive and too many questions swirled around us. After the demon, a dead crow, and an elven ranger with some answers, I was happy to finally have permission to leave the walls of Sand Point. I was sticking with my companions, we were a family now, but my patience was at its end. I wish the ranger could have come with us. She pointed the way to the thistletop stronghold. I know that Patrick was as glad as I.

Finally we were on the trail of the goblin filth.
So careful were we when we found their bramble barricade. We cleared passages, slew sorcerers and their familiars, and took out a rear guard of archers. Carefully combing and laying plans. We set a fire and lured just a few, of what we thought would be many fools with the smoke. With no more coming to be slain, there was nothing to do but charge. We talked about being open to their archers, or cut down on the bridge, but did no searching testing or real planning. We got in formation and charged the swaying rope bridge. Who knows if the weight of just myself, which is substantial, would have sent it sideways. Maybe it was trapped. Either way, all but myself, grasped something and pulled themselves to either side.
I was desperate in the foam of the break, afraid of being dashed on rock or taken under by something hungry. I swam. I pushed. I swam to the rock on which the stronghold stood. Then i climbed.
At the top I found callico, and fewer goblins than I expected. After catching my breath and looking at our surroundings, Patrick cleared some windows from across the gap and I finally was able to send a rope across with the short bow we acquired.
We’re all on the goblin side of the gap. All ready to bring a helping of steel to this cackling hoard.

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Calico's Journal #7
Thistletop assault, or how no plan survives for long.

The boys and I thought up a plan to lure some of those narky green bastards out of the keep, and over to our side of the bridge. We would light a small fire, using a broken up spear haft and a pint of oil, and pile on a bunch of wet brush to get a good smolder going. Our hope was that the smoke would draw out the curious goblins, and we could pick them off under the concealment of the briar tunnels. Before we did that, though, we had to make sure we had cleared the rest of the thicket.

Exploring around we found the druid’s lair, complete with a piss smelling area for his kitty. Down another tunnel we came across four goblin dogs, tethered to posts. Patrick and Chaff quickly took to dispatching the mangy beasts, but no sooner than the last dog had fallen then a whole gang of gobbos appeared. There was a choke point between the room we were in and the room the goblins were coming from. Cohl, Chaff and I took position there, while Patrick hung back and started shooting arrows into the gobbos. We easily halved their numbers, and then moved into the room to finish off the rest. The boyos took a few cuts, but no one was seriously hurt.

After checking the rest of the thicket, and finding no other threats, I set about making the fire. Soon a goodly amount of smoke was billowing up through the briars, and we took up our positions for the ambush. A few minutes later the green little idiots took the bait. Two goblins and two of their overgrown rat dogs crossed the bridge to investigate. We quickly took care of the scouts before the really even had a chance to react. These tight tunnels are perfect for the kind of close-in knife work I am good at. Another few minutes after that another goblin and his pet came across. This one was a wee bit smarter, though. He was calling out for his gobbo buddies. None of us speak goblin, so I was forced to fake some moans and grunts. I was hoping he’d think I was one of his fellow gobbos, injured and in need of help. Of course goblins don’t think much about helping each other, so all he did was send his dog ahead. That’s when things started to go sideways.

The dog spotted us and started growling and yapping. Instead of coming to see what his dog was making a fuss about, the green bastard just hightailed it back across the bridge. While Chaff and I dealt with the dog, Patrick and Cohl went after the goblin. Patrick managed to drop him with an arrow, mid-bridge. Now the goblins in the fort knew we were there. Lady’s Veils, this was gonna get ugly, quickly. We spotted a few gobbos in the watch tower, so Patrick sent a few arrows their way. He dropped one goblin, and the rest ducked down. Seeing that as our chance to get across the bridge, we set off as a group. I mention “as a group” because that was our next mistake. I only realized later, but the little shits had rigged the bridge to break if anything heavier than a few gobbos came over it. We were half way across when the ropes holding one corner of each side snapped. The bridge tipped and we all started to slide off. Patrick, Chaff and I all managed to catch ourselves, but mighty Cohl was not so fast. Into the drink he plummeted.

Each in our own panic, those of us clinging to the ropes started to climb across in different directions. I headed towards the fort, and realized once I was across that the others had gone back to the thicket side. Sivanah spare me, this had gone to the abyss. Running to the edge, I spied Cohl swimming toward the island. I started shouting at the others to tie a rope to the end of the bridge, and then cut its last mooring. They got my meaning and did just that. Together, the rope and the bridge were long enough to reach Cohl in the water. He grabbed ahold and started to climb. While he was making his way up, I was a sitting duck for the gobbo archers in the guard towers. I muttered a small prayer and started dancing, twisting and twirling so the gobbos couldn’t get aim on me. Sivanah must have heard my prayer, or maybe I’m just that good, but not a single arrow struck home.

Once Cohl was topside, we tied more rope to an arrow and I fired it over the gap, into the thicket. With the gobbos lobbing arrows the whole time, Patrick and Chaff climbed the rope across. They looked like novice cat burglars on their first job, but they made it over, finally. So there we were. The big, dumb heroes had made it to Thistletop.

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Calico's Journal #6
Brambles and Bastards

After a well earned night of relaxation, we arose to find Shelalu, the half elven ranger, waiting for us in the common room. She told us that Sheriff Hemlock would be returning soon, and that she was needed to the south, to deal with some more gobbo issues. We told her what we found below the Glassworks, and about Thistletop. Shelalu gave us what information she knew about the gobbo stronghold, and provided directions. We decided to take the fight to the green bastards, and hopefully deal with Tsuto’s demonic girlfriend, Nualia. If we can take her and her monstrous friends out, perhaps we can end the threat to Sandpoint.

We geared up and rode out east of town. A few hours later we reached the pint Shelalu told us to start looking for gobbo tracks. It took the veshango, Patrick, an hour to find the trail. It lead north into the forest. We followed the tracks through the wood until we came to a huge wall of brambles. Searching around, we found a poorly hidden entrance in to the thicket. A small, gobbo-sized tunnel led through the briars, forcing us to crouch as we went along.

Pretty soon we came across a small chamber, with higher ceilings and a large hole in the ground. From the depths of the hole we could hear the crashing of surf. As we left to explore further I was attacked from behind by a fire-pelt mountain lion! This was a tricky bastard, and hard to put down. I’m not proud to admit it, but it got the better of me and sent me sprawling. At least I wasn’t the only one. Chaff ended up with his ass in the mud, as well. No sooner than we had dispatched the beast, and tossed its body into the hole we found, than we were beset again. This time by some malo goblin shaman, boo-hooing about “Tangletooth”, which I surmised to be the fire-pelt we fed to the fishes. This chav had some fire magic, and was able to control the briars around us. Cohl and I were entangled in the thorns, where I spent the rest of the fight. This gobbo definitely earned my ire. Before my wortacha could end the miserable bastard’s life, he melded back into the thicket.

The boyos freed me, and we started to look around for the shaman. Just then we heard the flutter of a bird taking flight from the brambles. Patrick mumbled a quick incantation, then let loose an arrow through the patchy ceiling of the thicket. Sivahna’s veils! His shot took the bird clean through as it sped off toward Thistletop! Whatever message the shaman had intended never made it. We continued to follow the tracks until we came to a small ledge. Here the brambles thinned out above us, allowing us to stand. Before us was a rope and plank bridge, spanning twenty long yards across the rough waters of the sea, eighty feet below. On the other side was Thistletop Island, and the wooden keep of the gobbos.

It was as we gazed out at Thistletop that the shaman attacked again. He came out of nowhere, launching fire at us from behind. This time he wasn’t so slippery. We laid our blades into him. I vaulted behind him to attack his flank and sank both Tickle and Pinch into his vitals. That was enough to send the gobbo to meet his mangy cat. Now all that was left was to figure out how to cross the bridge unnoticed.

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Calico's Journal #5, part 2
The trouble with flying pests

After we divvied up the loot from the deformed goblin, we decided to backtrack and explore the passages we had skipped. Traveling stealthily down the halls, we came across a strange altar of black granite. In a rough, hollow depression in the top, there was about six inches of fetid, gross water. The boyos examined the pool and the altar in great detail. I stayed back, as the thing stank to the heavens. Chaff determined it was an altar to Lamashtu, the mother of monsters. Not wanting to let it sit, undisturbed, Chaff set about scooping all the water out with his bare hands. I must remember to never to let him touch me.

After the altar we came upon the most bizarre room. Circular, its walls covered in seamless red metal, with numerous odd objects floating about in mid-air! With rope tied about his waist, Chaff entered the chamber, only to find himself weightless, as well. After a thorough, but fruitless examination, he collected the items. A wand of twisted metal, identified by Patrick as one of Shocking Grasp, a scroll of Burning Hands, a bottle of fine wine (a vintage I am pleasantly familiar with), a tome of fell beasts, like a conjurer’s grimoire, and a dead and maggot infested raven. Patrick took the wand, the scroll and the grimoire, while Chaff held on to the raven for some reason. We’ll uncork the wine when we leave these twisted warrens.

Continuing on, we came to a set of large stone doors. While I was attempting to quietly open them, the stone ground on the floor, alerting whatever was on the other side. We heard an ear-piercing shriek from beyond, and threw open the doors. In the large chamber with a macabre pool, and twin staircases leading up to a small balcony, we spied what could only be the quasit. Obviously female, but tiny, with large leathery wings, and the horned head of a demon. She shrieked again, some drivel about defiling the mother’s sanctum, and then used her own fiendish blood to summon forth a Sin Spawn.

We rushed in to take the fight to the little bitch. I stuck her with a throwing knife right away, taking her a bit by surprise, I believe. After that it was a drawn out fight. She could fly, and apparently disappear at will. Fighting a tiny, flying, invisible creature is no easy task. She threw spell after spell at us, mostly trying to scare us or make us flee. It had some effect, but nothing that could take us out of the fight entirely. Cohl and I jumped around the room, attempting to strike the demon in the air, while Chaff lent his divine support and Patrick imbued his own bow with arcane power. Eventually enough arrows and blades weakened her, until she was flapping unsteadily in the air. Chaff then had a brilliant notion, and pulled the dead raven out of his pack. This drove the beast mad! She swooped down on the half drow, trying to bite and claw him. Finally down to our level, it was easy to dispatch her.

Before we could explore the rest of the chamber, I quickly pocketed the quasit’s tiny little knife. It is enchanted to fly back to the wielder’s hand after it has been thrown. I shall call it Stinger.

We did a quick once through of the rest of the tunnels and only ran into one strange beastie. A vargouille, some kind of flying, undead head. It was disturbing, but posed little threat. We also found two collapsed staircases, one going up, the other going down. The one leading further into the depths seemed choked tight with rubble, deeper than we could determine. Below we could hear the faint baying of wolves, or something worse. Investigating that will have to wait. The one leading up turned out to exit onto the streets of Sandpoint, directly next to the old scholar’s house. It was hidden by an overgrown cairn of stone, with only the wind and small birds able to enter. Now it’s off to the Rusty Dragon to rest, relax, and figure out what our next move is.

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Calico's Journal #5
Once more into the breach

I believe Patrick carried me from the tunnels below the glassworks, but I’m not sure. My head was swimming from pain. I recall something of the events following our fight with Tsuto. Much of this was clarified for me later. Chaff noticed a colossal chunk of glass in the foundry room, and upon inspection found it contained the body of Lonjiku Kaijitsu, Ameiko and Tsuto’s father. Apparently his son encased him in molten glass while he was still alive. The thought of that gives me the shivers. Balty stepped outside for a smoke while we inspected the glass, or so I’m told, and when the rest of us went outside, he was gone! It looks like he was taken, and put up quite the struggle. All we found was a pool of blood, a pile of Flayleaf, and the dwarf’s finger, with his clan ring still on it. Looking back, the whole scene was very disturbing. Unfortunately, we have pressing business, and will have to put off getting to the bottom of Balty’s disappearance until later.

When I had come to my senses, later, I found myself in the Cathedral, being healed by Father Zantus. He has been a true ally and a helpful resource. He sent for more healing potions for the others, and answered what questions he could about what we found under the glassworks. I assumed that a priest would have knowledge of the demonic, but Zantus has dedicated his studies to the healing arts, not that I can complain about that. He did direct us to a local sage named Brodert Quink. We checked in on him, at his house near the Old Light, only to find he is a batty old coot. What little information we got we had to pry out of him, like using a cat’s paw on a stubborn window. He did know something of the tunnels and also told us what a quasit is, in very vague terms….. but what do you expect from a squinty old scholar.

We returned to the inn to eat, rest and divvy up the loot. There was a magic ring that eventually ended up with Chaff, some cutter, and a nice pair of earrings I took for myself. Ameiko was in her room and refused to take visitors. The next morning we did some shopping, turning some gold and silver dust into coin, purchasing a new breastplate for Cohl at that mountain of a smith’s shop, and visited a hairy, old wisewoman to acquire a wand of healing. Once so equipped, we headed back to the tunnels. Following the one long tunnel we hadn’t explored led us to a secret door that opened onto the beach. Another secret door opened to more tunnels. Chaff took the lead and scouted ahead. He came across a couple of small chamber further down, one of which contained some sort of monstrosity. We snuck up to join him, just as it came out of its room to investigate. I immediately recognized it as Sinspawn, an creature of terror out of the stories, created by the most evil of ancient spellcasters. We quickly took it down, even before Cohl and Patrick could catch up. Continuing to explore, we found a red marble statue of a fierce female mage in the next room. In her hand she held a artfully crafted ranseur, which Cohl took for his own. Choosing one of the passages that led off the chamber, we found a strange prison. Rows of small, metal cages lined a large room, with a wooden catwalk above. Two Sinspawn were arguing (I think) on the floor below, an thus failed to notice us. Patrick and I took up position on the catwalk, while Chaff and Cohl drew the monster’s attention. As the Sinspawn clamored up the stairs, we took them down one by one.

Moving on, we continued down another hallway into a large room with many wooden trap doors in the floor. Greeting us was the ugliest, most deformed gobbo I’ve ever seen. This three armed freak hissed and vomited up some narky, tainted blood at Cohl. My wortacha boyos charged in, but Chaff stepped on one of the trap doors and fell through. He would have to wait, though, as we closed in on the green freakshow. Cohl landed a solid blow, but it was my well placed strike with Tickle that dropped it. I quickly grabbed what I could from the goblin, while Patrick and Cohl rushed to get Chaff out of the pit. They found that he was getting cozy with a filthy zombie. Cohl managed to haul Chaff out with his rope, while Patrick flailed around with the ranseur. We spent a few more minutes dispatching the rest of the zombies populating the other pits. Ahead is another dark passage…….

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