Shadow of Madness

You can do anything in a montage.

A Log Entry from “A Complete History of The Golden Oriflamme Vol. 1” detailing their actions at Camp Halbard.

That was close. Getting the horses out of the tomb was no easy task. Only two of the mounts were fit to carry riders after their ordeal. The worst off had a broken leg, and other internal injuries. He wouldn’t have lasted long, so that coupled with our sudden need for a distraction led us to see him put down. He was hobbled in a clearing out in front of the tomb, saddlebags stuffed with our remaining alchemist fire. By now the huge bulette was returning, we hoped the to buy our escape with the horses, and maybe give the beast a nasty surprise.

We sent the other injured horse galloping off to the south. It might have gotten away, we’d like to think it did. We lit off to the west at a run. The horses were slowed having to carry the burden of two riders. At first the Bulette didn’t take the bait, and instead was drawn to the sound of our escape. We diverted to a rocky hill and paused, causing it to loose us and seek other prey. It quickly homed in on the hobbled horse, lighting off toward the sound of the struggling animal. We paused only long enough to see the beast erupt from the ground and unleash a conflagration from the trapped packs. The creature was wounded and dove deep into the earth.

We continued westward for the rest of the day. Putting all of our wilderness skills to use we managed to find signs of the settlements that once dotted this region of Breland. Soon we came upon a road that ran north to south. We believed it would lead us to what we had come to believe was an outpost indicated on our captured map. However, we were set upon by marauders before we could decide which way to follow it.

Goblins… again, well big ones this time. Two Bugbears and an smattering of smaller hobgoblins. We made quick work of them, despite our initial surprise. They seemed surprised when we didn’t fall to their initial charge. They had us outnumbered two to one, and it looked dicey at the start. Morat’s fire cleared out the majority of the hobgoblins. The Bugbears under the combined assault of the party.

The Goblins were nice enough to bring another map with them. This one cleared up any questions as to direction… we were south of our destination. It also contained what appeared to be troop movements, from points arrayed around our destination.

We soon came upon a fortified garrison that straddled the road. A group of riders emerged and challenged our approach. They were suspicious but soon warmed to us as they realized we bore little resemblance to Goblins. Jigjo was not with us at this time having left to scout the mountains directly. The leader, a tall Human wearing battered armor and showing signs of fatigue, introduced himself as Capt. Reginald Sterling. He led us through the camp and pointed out their efforts to improve the camps defenses. The gaps in the old walls were being repaired where possible, and blocked with carts, lumber and whatever was handy where not. Capt. He explained why the repairs were so urgent when we reached the largest of the camp’s three buildings. camps recent encounters with Goblin’s and other creatures. That these encounters seemed to be increasing in intensity and he feared they would soon be overrun. We considered our role here as Sterling sent for one of his sergeants.

When the sergeant, a squat gnome warlord named Bertib, arrived we learned of his platoon’s efforts to provide other defenses within the walls. He was rigging the place with all manner of traps, some quite ingenious and it was clear that he took to the work enthusiastically. We were inspired and quickly realized that our chances of survival would be much higher if this could be applied outside the walls as well. Bertib provided us with able workers and opened the camps resources to us.

I recall the day only in short vignettes: rigging crossbows to trip wires, Marc dowsing everything in lamp oil, Morat ordering spike-laden holes dug everywhere, Ryu stoically rigging trees and branches like the arm of a catapult along every path. Flashes of other clever traps join these. We finished as the sun set and retreated to the safety of the camp’s wall as we learned of the approaching assault. Goblins assembled in squads just outside of the range of Marc’s bow. The wait for them to enter our killing zone was almost unbearable.

They didn’t make us wait long. Two score goblins charged the camp, only 3 made it. Those that thought to use the woods for cover were decimated by Ryu’s rigged trees. Marc ignited his field of oil and engulfed an entire squad. The crossbows cut down a group of goblins that thought they had won through to the walls. Morat’s tiger traps caught a few but the goblins seemed nimble enough to avoid most of them. The field before the walls was filled with the screams of dying goblins. There wasn’t time to dwell on it though as invaders had broken through and we found ourselves in the thick of it.

The three goblins that broke through were led by a big hobgoblin. They were joined by two huge cave trolls, slavering in blood fury. Marc put the big hobgoblin down with a flurry of arrows. Morat and Ryu made quick work of the goblins. The trolls, though, the trolls were something else. We had never faced their like. They attacked by grabbing their victims and then slammed them against walls, other party members, their other fist… whatever was convenient. And then there was the regeneration. It took forever to take them down, and keep them down. Morat’s fire spells, Marc’s enchanted bow, a Rhyme of fire were ultimately enough to overcome the troll’s regeneration. For a group that prides itself on an uncanny ability to kill things with fire this was an unexpected challenge. Anyway, victorious, we caught our breath as we heard the sounds of battle fade from the camp around us.

Personal Note; Morat blasted us with fire again. Next time we get to a real city, we are buying something to ward us against fire.

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