Spring, 153 AV in Arach’s Rest, Archduchy of Lageni:
As we didn’t have sufficient numbers to run the Age of Worms campaign, we decided to start a new campaign impromptu. Ben, Shawn, and Steve quickly made up characters while I quickly put together the village of Arach’s Rest and the adventure.
The village of Arach’s Rest is a border post sitting in the foothills of the Kelder Mountains, not far from the beginnings of Irontooth Pass. Rustfang, the first fort that the Calastian and Lageni military took from the Dwarves of Burok Torn, lies up in the mountains to the East. Nearby burial mounds, forests, and foothills of the Kelder Mountains make the villagers hardy and capable of defending themselves against the occasional threat. Thanks to the common patrols of Lageni military and the occasional visit from the elite Black Dragoon’s, the village typically has little to fear from creatures or beasts in the areas where farming, logging, and mining are actively taking place. However, outside the areas where patrols are common, is wilderness and danger.
There are roughly 100 souls who live in the village proper of Arach’s Rest. Of course, there are more who live in the surrounding farm lands, cutyards, and mines that provide drivers to the village economy. Of the 100 souls, three in particular harbor thoughts of adventure: Gruff the Dwarf, Kronk the Half-Orc, and Cyndarian the human. Gruff works the stables and smithy, endentured servant to Jenna. Kronk frequents the local woods usually bringing back herbs to sell to Esmerelda the cook or one of the priests. Occasionally, he has went out with Jenna and Gruff to find materials for forging or veterinary medicine. And when there has been a burn or problem at the forge or stable (damn warhorses), Cyndarian has helped provide some healing when the village priests were not available or unwilling.
You awake to another morning in Arach’s Rest, which means hard work. The army battalion that was here yesterday is moving on towards the Irontooth Pass based on the cloud of dust rising to the east. The birds chirp in the trees, and dogs bark as they chase children running in the street, while the sounds of hammer work begins to ring out from Jenna’s forge in a steady, strong beat.
Meanwhile, you smell bread baking at the inn. The local mill is turning and water babbles in the stream providing locomotion. The doors to the two churches in town are open and acolytes are sweeping the floors and doing other devotional works.
Suddenly, the sounds of a normal morning are thrown awry. A young girl is running into the town palisade screaming and weeping hysterically as if Belsameth herself were on her heels. A crowd of townsfolk and guardsmen quickly surround the young lass including Celnin.
You recognize the girl as Gorla, a young farm girl, perhaps fourteen winters old. She and her family live several miles from town. She is weeping and near hysteria, telling anyone who will listen that her parents are dead and her younger sister and infant brother are missing.
Gorla explained “I had snuck out of the house last night to meet my boyfriend. When I returned before sunrise, I saw father’s body in the doorway along with mother; there was no light in their eyes. My 3 year old sister and infant brother were nowhere to be found. The draft horses had been slain as well. I ran here as fast as I could.” Her feet are cracked and bleeding from the exertion and the teen looks exhausted.
Celnin the sheriff turns to the crown and says “We must go investigate, but we must also make sure that the rest of the farms are safe. I will take a militia posse with me to investigate the scene, while the remaining guardsmen will ride to nearby farms to ensure they have not also been attacked. Who has skills that will aid me in this investigation?”
Most townsfolk are not overly interested in going. Kronk and Cyndarian volunteer. Gruff looks to Jenna for guidance who indicates her approval of him going based on his ability to track.
With that, the posse rides to the farm to find bloody conditions matching Gorla’s story. Investigation finds the family dog chopped up and a trail leading to and away from the farmhouse. After spitting in disgust, Gruff confirms the tracks and trail was made by goblins probably coming down from the Kelder Mountain foothills to raid and pillage. All are concerned with the health of the missing infant and child. Celnin admits that this is not the first such raid and that in each case children are disappearing. The patrol that had rode to other local farms returns and indicates that no other raids occurred last night. Celnin asks Gruff and the others to take two guardsmen and hunt down the goblin menance.
With that the group proceeds to track the goblin trail. Sometime later that evening, they are several miles from the village and near total dark sets in. The group observes a strange red flashing light from the village, which is then answered by a green light somewhere deeper in the Kelder Mountains. All mark this as strange and note it for future concern, but just over the hill they see that the goblins have made a camp.
Thoughts of ambush and planning rapidly takes place. The group sneaks down the hill and gets close to the camp seeing that the children are bound near the fire, with the plan for Cyndarian Alykayne to shield and bless the group once close. However, the goblin dog by the camp detects the group before the ambush can be fully realized and combat with the 9 goblins begins. After a back and forth battle, the group manage to kill about half the goblins. One goblin in particular thinks to take hostage the children, but Cyndarian’s crossbow bolt stops him just enough for Gruff’s great axe to behead him before he can cause harm. The guardsmen take the brunt of punishment from the goblin’s weapons, but in the end all are killed or ran off, except for one that was knocked out by a guard’s flail. The group frees the children, ties up the goblin prisoner, and force marches back to the village of Arach’s Rest. Arriving early in the morning, their bodies are exhausted and fatigued, but their spirits are buoyed by the rescue. However, a note found on one of the goblin corpses causes concern:
“We shall meet again tonight at the base of the Horn, expecting there shall be more children this time. Half-orc children are unacceptable. If you do not provide more children you shall not receive further items and you risk my wrath. I will find others to provide the children if you cannot manage this simple task. Be warned. May the blood of the Father of Monsters aid you in your task. —Kraal.”