AAR: Searchin' for a Heart of Stone

*ARCHIVED* Sub-forum for the original West Marches Discord campaign

Moderator: etherial

Posts: 182
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:19 am

AAR: Searchin' for a Heart of Stone

Post by ender3rd » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:19 pm

Searchin' for a Heart of Stone
Time: 2018-07-19@23:30 GMT
GM: Ender3rd
Circle: 4
Difficulty: M

Player Rewards:
Fenrir: 2,200 Legend, 550 silver, 3 TIP's, Callisto The Bear
Dubhan: 2200LP, 550sp, 3 TIP
Celemir: 2200 Legend, 550 Silver, 3 TIP
Blaethynn: 2,200 Legend, 550 silver, 3 TIP's

Downtime Actions Available:
Alchemy: Step 15 (Rank 4 + Karma) Booster Potion, Kelia's Antidote, Kelix's potion
Craftsman: Step 19 (Rank 4 + 2 Karma) Most mundane items, Weapons up to step 14, non-living armor(may take more than one week)
Item History: Step 15 (Rank 4 + Karma) 2 knowledge per week for Novice, one for Journeyman or Warden tier
Forge Weapon: Step 16 (Rank 5 + Karma) +5 maximum bonus
Researchers may spend 20/2 Silver for +3 Steps

Further Information:
Vokir Squirrelsbane has mutilated Lawrence and escaped Borgan's Rest. There is some sort of horror and his entourage of falsemen and cadavermen is residing in a ravine in 43.15

Posts: 450
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:14 am

Re: AAR: Searchin' for a Heart of Stone

Post by Dougansf » Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:32 pm

Celemir's Chronicles

There's a job posting about an expedition gone bad down by Borgan's Rest. They want some adepts to check it out and lend aid to the settlers.
Fenrir, Dubhan, and Blaethynn (and assorted animals) follow my path to Borgan's Rest.

We get inside Borgan’s Rest with little issue. We head to the tavern to find Vokir Squirrelsbane, the sole survivor of the expedition. Down south he found something that was a structure, but not a house. There’s a ravine nearby, can't miss it. Maggot infested things after they’d turned back. We discover that he’s a Woodsman, but he traded his fine longbow for alcohol. I tell him he needs to give us directions, or he has to come with us. He hates the idea of going back, so I get a decent map, that's been treated terribly. Still, I've worked with worse, and the group starts to head out.

About a day out, we run into a T’skrang on the road. He introduces himself as S’koll, but I see something in the bushes, and stealth off to investigate. Blaethynn chats up S’koll for a while, as he creeps closer and closer. I spot some cadavermen hiding in the bushes. During the skirmish, a wolf leaps out and attacks as well. The T’skrang Dominates one of Fenrir’s companions and turns it against us. Blaethynn notices that S’koll has a hole in his chest where his heart should be, and is wearing an amulet like Squirrelsbane had on. Fenrir's monkey companion dies in the fight. Dubhan is dropped unconscious until Blaethynn revives him. S’koll is put down, but a few moments later he rises again, claiming he doesn’t want to do this. S’koll's wolf companion takes a bite out of Blaethynn during a strafing run, slowing his movement. A cadaverman frenzies and kills the wolf. S’koll fights the control, and warns us of Falsemen, and falls over dead.

We fall back a little bit, covering our tracks and recover overnight. We stay in camp 1 extra day to heal wounds before heading out again.

I navigate us the rest of the way to the ravine (43:15) close to the SE corner. I make sure to improve the map Vokir gave us. As we enter the ravine, we see people weaving baskets and staking them into barricades filled with stone and earth. One in the back approaches and tells us to turn back. Blaethynn talks to him, trying to gather more information. The master has not Named him, and has not shared its Name either.

We leave, make a plan, and return. They are waiting for us in formation, and catch me trying to sneak in. They give us one last chance, and we refuse to leave. I try to use Creature Analysis on them, but it bounces. On closer inspection, they are made of straw, wax, and the leader is made of stone. They charge us, pinning me into a corner, and some head up the ravine wall to meet Fenrir. I leap over them to shoot one dead. Dubhan is cornered, but starts weaving Jugglers Touch with the ability to ignore targets of his choice. I'm briefly surrounded by Strawmen, but they're too clumsy to hit me. Fenrir keeps harrying enemies with his spells, but his other companion is killed. Dubhan casts the spell and drops it on top of me and three of the falsemen, which quickly clears the area. The Stoneman leader sprints across the ravine to attack Dubhan, but misses. I shoot the leader in the back and move to defend Dubhan to keep him concentrating. The metal shards make quick work of the constructs.

We inspect the barricade, and the windlings fly over it. The ravine goes on for miles. It seems that this was a key choke point.

We return to Borgan’s Rest, and find that Lawrence has "DRUNK" carved into his forehead, and Squirrelsbane is gone. We suspect that he may be Marked or another construct, due to the shared medallion. Blaethynn is going to research the medallion we have for information.

Posts: 270
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:59 pm

Re: AAR: Searchin' for a Heart of Stone

Post by Reyntrannin » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:35 pm

From a journal entry in an otherwise unused notebook

This has been a rather interesting trip. It began when I heard tell of an expedition that had stumbled into Borgan’s Rest after running into some problems. The survivor, one Vokir Squirrelsbane, was weaving a tale about some structure to the south of the settlement and strange, jerkily moving figures he saw there. Since the details I caught were scant, I headed to Borgan’s Rest with some companions. Accompanying me on this venture were Dubhan and Fenrir, who I’ve traveled with before, and a companion that was new to me, a Woodsman Named Celemir.

We reached the settlement without any issue, and, after the customary greeting ritual, we headed to the tavern, where we hoped to find Squirrelsbane. Dubhan was delayed at the gates due to some trifling about the quality of his work by the guards, but eventually he caught up with us. Meanwhile, we found Vokir Squirrelsbane in the tavern, as expected. He was clearly recovering from serious trauma, there were visibly healing bruises and cuts all along his body, but even more shocking, he had descended into a drunken rout so deep that even a certain Warrior I know would have been impressed (or possibly taken it as a challenge, I really hope to never know which). He had sold his ornately decorated longbow to the tavern keeper for enough coin to keep him in ale (and presumably room and board) for some time, but I decided that it might help us loosen his tongue if we made sure his throat was never dry. To this end, I called for more ale and even broke out my personal stash of wine to try and slake some of his thirst.

Whether it was the drink or just our companionship, Squirrelsbane began to open up to us, trading stories about his discipline with Celemir as they both were Woodsmen, and occasionally going off on rambling tangents about the terrible experiences he went through. It took a while, but in the end, we had a rough idea of his story, as well as a fairly accurate description of the place we were seeking. He claimed to be the lone survivor of an ambush by some kind of creatures, but couldn’t give much detail about the assailants other than ‘covered in maggots’.

We set out to the south, Celemir leading us according to the directions we received from the drunken sot, and after some time travelling, we met what seemed to be a lone traveler on the road we were following. A T’Skrang who cave his Name as S’koll, she warned us of danger further ahead which had already claimed the lives of her companions. While speaking, S’koll slowly kept edging closer to us, arousing suspicions in both Celemir and me. With Squirrelsbane’s story of having been ambushed, we began trying to suss out if this was an enemy to prevent the same fate from befalling us. While I distracted the T’Skrang with conversation, Celemir slipped off into the surrounding brush. The strategy worked in breaking the ambush, our actions alerting Dubhan, who began surveying the surroundings with Astral sight and discovered several concealed cadavermen using dense, woven foliage to hide from us at the same time as Celemir penetrated their deception.

This did leave us a bit spread out as the enemies realized they were seen and attacked, which proved to be costly in the end. Celemir Used his bow to get the attention of two of them, while the T’Skrang and other cadavermen rushed us. A wolf had concealed itself nearby and proved to be an ally of the T’Skrang, fighting at her direction while S’koll used her adept abilities to dominate the mind of both Fenrir’s pets and turn them against us. While we managed to knock down S’koll fairly quickly, things still looked rather grim for us. Since both Fenrir and I could fly out of their reach, the cadaver men in the swarm began to stumble towards Dubhan, who was unable to move quickly enough to evade them while weaving his spells. Eventually, they managed to overcome him, but Celemir managed to slay two of them just as they were setting to devour the Wizard.

We continued battling the cadavermen and wolf, until without warning, S’koll rose to her feet saying, “I told you I didn’t want you to make me do this!”. We focused once again on bringing her down, but her true downfall came at the hands of her own allies. One of the cadavermen, enraged with the wounds it received and unable to rise from where it fell, instead focused its rage on the nearest living being, the wolf. The unexpected attack managed to drop the wolf to the ground as a feast for the undead. The affect this had on S’koll was dramatic. She fell to her knees in tears, and seemed, for the first time to have broken whatever dark force was controlling her. As her life ebbed from the many injuries we had inflicted, the T’Skrang warned us of something called falsemen, and then breathed her last.

We finished the battle quickly after that, managed to revive Dubhan, much to my relief. Considering the wounds we had received from the frenzied attackers, we decided to fall back a distance and setup camp for a day or so while we healed.

Two mornings later, feeling refreshed and ready for anything, we continued our search and found a ravine just as Squirrelsbane described. What he hadn’t described were the inhuman, animated statues that were building a barricade across the narrowest part of the ravine. The majority of them reminded me of the straw dolls that attacked us in Kaer Taithe’s ruins. The others were larger and appeared to made of wax and stone.
The stone one actually showed some intelligence and engaged us in conversation, telling us to leave this place and never return, as it and the others had been tasked with keeping us away by their ‘Master’. It had no name, nor did it know it’s master’s, so, after exchanging some banter we left, hoping to spring a surprise attack.

After having laid our plans, we began to move into position, but our plan collapsed as soon as we sighted the creatures again. They had seen one of us sneaking up and arrayed themselves in a battle line. The Stoneman attempted to drive us off again, but all I really remember was it asking we thought they were so stupid as to fall for such a simple stratagem. Perhaps I was too honest when I replied ‘Yes.’, because he then signaled his minions to charge us.

They swarmed forward, having a significant advantage in numbers, and, although they did manage to trap Celemir and Dubhan in corners of the ravine and slay Fenrir’s only remaining animal companion, very little else went their way. Before the fight had begun, we did manage to get a few of our buffing spells cast on us, which significantly increased our combat prowess. As well, Dubhan had already been weaving a powerful area spell he called Juggler’s Touch. Once his weaving was complete, he scythed the resulting whirlwind of debris across our enemies while keeping the rocks and shards from striking any of his friends. Celemir, meanwhile, showed that he was never really trapped as he leapt over his opponents to put himself in a position to fire freely. Between the two of them, with my own assistance, the strawmen began to fall like matchsticks, with the wax ones soon following.

The Stoneman proved to be much tougher than his companions. Having first climbed up onto a ledge using some of the strawmen as a ladder, he had launched an attack against Fenrir, who wisely moved out of the way. As he saw his minions quickly being cut down, the Stoneman once again proved me right by charging straight into the storm of debris, where he soon suffered the same fate as his brethren.

We performed a cursory examination of the area, noting the partially completed wall the constructs had built to about a meter or so tall, and that the ravine stretched into something like a cave that seemed to go on for some miles. When I began preparing to go forward and learn more about what had created these things, Celemir called me back, stating that it would be of more value to report the location of what could be a very powerful horror than to risk dying by attacking an unknown quantity.

As we headed back to Throal, we stopped over in Borgan’s Rest and received a bit of a shock. Vokir Squirrelsbane seems to have suffered a break in his mind. He carved the word ‘DRUNK’ into the forehead of Lawrence, the harmless settler who often provides translation services for those needing to deal with Bog Gobs, and then left the settlement. There is some suspicion that he may have been marked by the Horror responsible for the constructs, but I fear we may never know the full story there without hunting him down.

[A note in the margins mentions some stone that the writer recovered from the corpse of the Stoneman and a couple of medals he was examining as possible raw materials for a project he was planning.

Posts: 450
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:25 pm

Re: AAR: Searchin' for a Heart of Stone

Post by ottdmk » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:22 pm

From the journals of Dubhan Goronich:

Cadavermen. Have I mentioned how much I hate Cadavermen (& Cadaverwomen) lately? Because I do. I really, really hate them.

Oh, and wolves. Hate them too.

So, this all began when some companions (Fenrir, Balethynn, Celemir) & I were investigating a failed expedition in the Borgan's Rest area. We rendezvous with a survivor of the expedition, a Woodsman named Vokir Squirrelsbane. Celemir gets a map out of him to lead us on our way. (I have to wonder... what is this man's problem with squirrels? I've seen some strange things, but never a squirrel that posed a threat to anything.)

About a day's travel later we encountered a T'Skrang named S'koll. He, a wolf, and several Cadaver-people quickly attacked us. We prevailed, but not before I was nearly killed. (The wolf hamstrung me and that stopped me from being able to avoid the Cadavermen.) There was evidence that S'Koll was being controlled somehow, but we found nothing conclusive.

Continuing on, we followed Vokir's map to a revine where bizarre constructs were building barracades. There were two types, straw & wax. They were being led by a solitary stone construct.

We retreated to plot strategy. I recast Astral Sense on myself, then spent ten minutes replacing it in its Matrix with Juggler's Touch. This would be my first opportunity to use it, and it worked quite well. I made sure to cast an extra thread so that I could avoid damaging my companions.

We were victorious in the fight, but plenty of mysteries remain. Chiefly, who was the "master" the stone man referred to? Why were the constructs building barricades in the middle of nowhere? Why did Vokir carve "Drunk" into Lawrence of Borgan's Rest's forehead and vanish into the wilderness? There is more to be discovered here...

User avatar
Posts: 422
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:43 pm

Re: AAR: Searchin' for a Heart of Stone

Post by BattleChad » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:31 pm

The Great Library of Throal thanks Celemir, Blaethynn, and Dubhan for their contributions.

Journal Rewards: 110 Legend Points and 137 Silver