Continuing to explore the gnoll caves, the party fought some spiders, more gnolls, hyenas, more spiders, and then found the skulk they had been looking for. It wore the Sentinel , a artifact of great power. The Sentinel spoke in the minds of the party, telling them it had awakened after a long sleep recently. It had been created to defend the Keep of Adlerweg from an artifact known as the Gauntlet. It said it could feel that the Gauntlet had taken the Keep of Adlerweg from it’s defenders. If it could hold the Keep, an important pass from Geoff into Sterich will be in the clutches of the forces of evil. It wants to travel to the Keep and destroy the Gauntlet. To do so, it chose a bearer to wear it. It chose Lordinel.
The wererats were pleased that the skulk would not be showing up anymore. They pledged to help the liberators of Geoff. The party decided to regroup back at Oytpass Keep before tackling the Keep of Adlerweg.
The party continued to explore the Lakeside Villa. In the southern library they found 3 books, a book of epic poetry with the pictures ripped out, which Sterling took, a book on fishing the Bock took, and a text on Cenozoic geology that Nornarb took. He noticed that on the first page, “Cenozoic” is written “Cinozoic.”
In the northern library they found a secret door into a room with two lecterns with books on them. When they took a book, an iron cobra sprung from its hiding place and attacked. But Bock said the code word “cinozoic” and deactivated the cobra. Nodnarb decided to keep the cobra.
They descended the stairs. On their way down, they were attacked by small floating green clouds that could reach right through armor to deliver their necromantic touch. After defeating these whisps, the party came to a large room with an evil black presence in the middle. It was guarded by more whisps, which attacked. Harbet was knocked unconscious in the battle. After being healed, his knee could barely support his weight and he could only walk very slowly.
Next they searched a boat launch that in the past had led out into the lake through a tunnel. Not finding anything interesting, they searched some newly constructed tunnels to the east. These tunnels turned out to be the lair of a tribe of gnolls. There was a huge battle with dozens of gnolls, but the party prevailed.
The party decided to follow Lavinia‘s map to the Lakeside Villa. On the way, they encountered Urquant, the wandering monk. He asked the party to accompany him to the Hermit’s cave to rid it of the horrible frog-creatures that had killed the hermit and taken over his cave. They agreed.
At the hermit’s cave there was a ferocious fight against the bullywugs and their pet hydra. In the end, the party prevailed and entered the hermit’s cave. After solving the riddle of how to pass by the hermit’s murderous plants, they found the hermit’s library. Urquant requested all the hermit’s books on herbology, but gave the party another book called The Rise and Fall of the Van Arthog Lineage. This book mentioned the Lakeside Villa, a place called the Keep of Adlerweg, and a magic item called the “Sentinel.”
The party then journeyed to the Villa. Entering, they fought vampire bats and their spawn and some shadows on the main floor.
Still in the wizard’s cairn turned hideout, the party decided to push deeper into the tunnels. After being grossed out by some rot grubs, they moved a pile of garbage and debris to access the rear of the cairn. There they found some normal seeming equipment that still seemed magical, a poor gelatinous cube, and a secret door leading out the back of the hill.
Believing that more bandits might come back, the party set up camp in the gelatinous cube room, but neglected to set alarms or watches outside of the room. So they were surprised when the mage Lavinia and her half-orc sons came back and attacked.
It was a ferocious fight, but the party prevailed. Lavinia escaped, but her sons were all slain. The party then returned to Hornwood with Lavinia’s map they found in the cairn.
Arriving at Hornwood, the party finds the city inhabited by cyclopskin. Sneaking in, they see a boy run into a ruined building. Following the boy into a secret door, they enter the sewers. They then found they’d been led into a trap and were surrounded by wererats. Their leader, Batral, demanded they find out who was almost blowing their cover in the city by scrawling rambling messages onto the walls of the city. If the PC’s didn’t help, Batral’s network of wererat spies would not help in the liberation of Geoff.
The party set off to investigate the a possible lair of this creature in a nearby wizard’s tomb. Arriving there, they found it had been turned into a ramshackle fort. Upon entering the fort, they found a 1/2 orc and his mountain lion pets and slew them. They also found an owlbear chained up. They killed it by peppering it with missiles.
Gathering a few dozen soldiers to their cause, the party headed out into the wilderness to follow the hill giant bushwackers. The giants headed north east, skirting an old battlefield that the party decided to cross to make up some time. Unfortunately, it was haunted and ghouls ate some of their men. Next they came across a huge bandit camp. After some discussion, they ran away. Continuing on, they had just about caught up with the giants when they found The Steading of the Hill Giant Chieftain. Looking upon this huge fortress, the party once again wussed out and ran away like pussies.
Deciding to go fight some 1 hit dice orcs back in Oytmeet. They found the city smashed by rocks that seemed to have been dropped straight out of the sky. They also saw a sinister cloud that didn’t move with the wind and then followed them as they yet again ran away.
Free to pursue whatever goals they chose, the party decided to find the hill giants they spotted returning from Oytmeet with the refugees. On the journey there, they came upon a gorgon crossing the barely used road. The terrible beast immediately charged. In the battle, sSchala was turned to stone by the monster’s breath. Her stone body was fused to her horse’s body and there was no way to move her.
Tracking the gorgon back to its lair, Ormund sneaked inside the cave. There he discovered five other gorgons and several statues of other victims. He retreated and the party moved on.
Mozgov picked up the trail of some hill giants where they had been spotted before. They found four hill giants lairing on top of a hill in some ruins. Jonas used his ventriloquism spell to lure a giant away from the camp and the party ambushed it, easily slaying it. The other three realized they were being fooled and decided to investigate but were also rather easily slain.
After looting the giant’s treasure, the party headed back to Oytpass Keep. Just a few miles from the keep the giants had their revenge. Eight hill giants, four on either side of the road. The party bolted past, trying to escape, but the brutal barrage of boulders felled Jonas, Lydia, and Ormund.
The survivors reached the keep and are attempting to rally a force to pursue the giants.
Shala, Jonas, Ormund, and Lydia were added to the Hall of Fallen Heroes.
Heading out in search of a monster seen in the area on Yuletide-eve, the party comes across a cabin in the woods. The farmers at the cabin say their children have been kidnapped by a horrible goat-man. Following the strange tracks the beast left, the party heads into the woods. They come to a clearing where they find a cave in the side of a large hill.
Guarding the cave are snow-golems. The party slays the golems quickly and head into the cave. They soon find the cave is a twisted version of Yuletide. Gremlins in red suits and hats make implements of punishment of children and animated evergreens guard magic portals. Heading farther into the cave, they find Krampus torturing the children. Discovering that Krampus is immune to normal weapons, the party contemplated running, but a quick thinking Schala cast a light spell on Krampus’s eyes, blinding him. Bock hit Krampus in the nards with Orcnail, they grabbed the kids, and ran.
The kids turned out to be real brats. When the party returned the children to their parents, the farmers attacked the party, threatening to sacrifice them to their dark gods. They slew the farmers which turned into horrible dopplegangers when they died.
Along came an old druid in a reindeer-pulled sleigh and gave the party gifts for defeating Krampus and the dopplegangers.
Hearing an ettin smash his way into city hall, the party quickly prepared themselves for battle. Nodnarb was smashed to the ground in one hit. Realizing the ettin might be out of their league, the party decided to retreat out one of the second-floor window. Ormund heroically tried to acrobatically grab Nodnarb and jump down the stairs with his unconscious body. He failed spectacularly, rolling down the stairs with Nodnarb’s body and landing at the feet of two orcs guarding the door.
The rest of the party jumped out the second story window, chased by the ettin. Once in the street, Lydia realized that the slaves in the barracks across the street had overcome their captors and were making an escape. After slaying the orcs attacking Ormund, the party fled with the slaves away from city hall and the ettin.
Fleeing for the bridges over the river, the party encountered orcs and ogres guarding the bridge. A bloody fight ensued and the ettin caught up to them. After failing to escape from it, they finally stood their ground and through dumb luck were able to defeat it.
The party managed to make it back to Oytpass Keep where the were greeted as heroes and liberators.
While finishing exploring the ground floor, the party found a thief named Ormund hanging in a cage in a pantry. Freeing him and his wardog, Fido, the party continued on. The orcs on the top floor seemed to know the party was in the building and they overheard them planning to summon “the ettins.”
The party managed to taunt an ogre champion named Zort to come down and fight them. After slaying Zort, the party charged upstairs where more orcs, ogres, and the orc chief and shaman were. Schala put her sleep spell to good use, putting almost all the orcs to sleep and saving the party from the shaman’s hold person spell.
As the party counted up their loot, they heard the front door being smashed open…