There many a gleaming golden hoard
Welcome back on this seasonally beautiful October 12th. As we start off the day the reformed ACKSgrinders, under the leadership of Carl the Craft-Priest, heads out on the now familiar trail back toward the abandoned manse. All things are going along normally, but this time as they are traveling through the second hex and preparing to camp for the evening they come upon a wandering monster. Luckily they’re still out in the open plains and grazing lands so there’s a good chance they’ll probably have some time to evade if needed.
We got ourselves a flyer, specifically a wing of 40 pixies not in their lair… invisible and 540 yards away. With a reaction roll of 7 the pixies are neutral / uncertain. They watch the party set up camp for the evening and satisfy themselves by stealing the rations out of Greg’s pack. A flurry of activity and accusations abound in the morning when Greg awakes, but eventually the group writes off the lost rations as an acceptable loss and each share from their own supply. On the road again the party enters the hills and easily succeeds a navigation throw, and finds their way up to the manse in the early afternoon after setting up a camp location nearby and leaving the mercs behind to guard the outpost. The veteran ACKSgrinders brief the new members on what they have encountered so far. Greg suggests that he could go take a stab at that lock himself and they enter the abandoned manse.
Entering the foyer the party sees the bloody stains and investigates the trails leading back to the dining room. Carefully preparing to enter the dining room and deal with the surviving bugbear(s) the party lines up and opens the door expecting to find their foe waiting form them. In a sense they are right, but instead what they find is a gruesome scene with the remains of their companions and gear strewn about the room. Just as they hear the northern door creak open as the last bugbear attempts to ambush the party (but neither side is surprised.)
Bill is obviously going to try to pull his one trick again here. And the dice are rolled. The Champion charges in to go after Carl recognizing the dwarf that got away and misses, spears poke, dogs bit, arrows fly, and Bill sadly realizes that 4+1 is > 4 HD and his charm spell was ineffective. This is a surprisingly effective turn as the party manages to surround the lone bugbear and drop him to about half HP. One quick morale check later and our bugbear has chosen victory or death. Kicking off round 2. No retreat, no quarter. We fight or die!
Carl misses, Elvis and Bill wait for a good moment, the Bugbear rolls a natural 1. Greg’s shot misses (even with precise shot his odds aren’t good vs AC5 and a -4), as does Harald, Gus manages to succeed at landing a knock down, but the foe succeeds the paralysis save and does not fall. Elvis takes his swing and misses, but Ian deals another 5 damage to the monster.
One more round should do it, or lead to the entire gang getting sweeped by an angry 4 HD horror. Oh man that got close. Gus & the Bugbear tied with a 6 and simultaneously chomped the bad guy dropping it to 3 HP, as the Bugbear struck down Carl to -4 HP and began cleaving, only to be stopped as Elvis dodged out of the way of his mighty morning star and immediately riposted doing enough damage to end the fight. However Ian immediately starts tending to Carl’s wounds. Once again we’re heading to the mortal wounds table (I’m getting a little too comfortable with this) and we find out that Carl ends up blinded just like Davedor was).
Digging through the remains of the bugbear’s feast Harald scavenges Davedor’s old plate armor, finding that it now rattles when moved (value -20%) due to the damage sustained in the battle and Harald will not be able to move silently while wearing it. Unbothered by this damage and seeking the enhanced protection he begins to change out of his existing chain and into the more solid plate. Ian recovers Andrew’s holy symbol from the mess and will return it to the church in Origin.
Blinded, gruesomely scarred, and relatively helpless, the guys lead him back out to the camp in the care of the mercenaries. Harald will also stow his chain mail with the rest of the goods in the camp just in case. On the next day (Oct 14th) the party (minus Carl) heads back into the house of horrors and continues its exploration.
Moving through the dining room the party checks out the western corridor and find a sitting room and what looks to be an office that has been pretty thoroughly ransacked. Thankfully both rooms appear to be unoccupied. The party begins searching through the office and within two turns Elvis reports having found something hidden within the desk. Specifically a key. A wandering monster check is made, but thankfully nothing comes upon them while cornered in the office. They decide to head back upstairs and try the key out on the chest. And it opens.
Inside the party finds 3000sp, 37 bottles of fine wine worth 5gp each (185gp total - 1 stone per 5 bottles), 7 bundles of fur pelts worth 15 gp each (105gp - 3 stone per bundle) 1 ornamental gem (25gp agate), and 2 trinkets (800 gp alabaster torc and a 80 gp wrought copper choker) as well as the Baron’s signet ring. Each character will fill their packs up to a full heavy load if possible.
Bill: 3000 sp & 5 bottles of wine, as well as the torc & choker.
Carl: Sadly left back at camp blind and still quite badly wounded.
Elvis: 5 bottles of wine and one bundle of furs and the gem in a pocket
Greg: 5 bottles of wine and one bundle of furs
Harald: 5 bottles of wine and one bundle of furs
Ian: 5 bottles of wine and one bundle of furs
Leaving 12 bottles of wine and 4 bundles of fur behind the party heads back to camp to drop off another load. (At this time I roll the wilderness WM check for the day and the camp remains unmolested.) Heading back in to the manse the party heads back up and fills their packs up with the remaining bundles and bottles. Then heads back down to check out the sitting room (#4 above). No WM are encountered, but the party is perplexed at the steaming cups of tea set out on the table in the room and convinced that there must still be something nearby that was just drinking the steaming tea.
Checking out the door to the north the party finds what appears to be some kind of servant’s corridor which heads west into a room with several beds tightly crammed together, but otherwise empty of anything of note… and a door to the kitchen which is quickly closed before alerting the stirges within.
It’s at this point Elvis has a flash of something. As he has the mapping proficiency and has been keeping a map of the area he’s realized (rolls a 12 on his proficiency throw) that there’s a void between the sitting room and the servant’s quarters. He leads the party back to the area in front of the secret door and they begin to search the segment of wall that Elvis suspects the opening to be within. Despite having identified the correct area and thoroughly searching the door nobody succeeds on finding the door. And each character has only one chance to find each secret door. This is where Frank would have shined brightest, but alas, he is bugbear food.
Having secured what they were looking for and determining that aside from a stirge nest that they have no desire to tangle with is left, the party decides it is time to return to Origin and report their findings to Lady Smythe. Heading back to camp the party has a restful night and on the 15th is ready to head back to town. That’ll do it for tonight. Tomorrow we’ll pick back up and find out what the ACKSgrinders get up to with some coin in their pocket and free time to handle. See you then.