A New Direction for the Troupe

After losing Neera exploring Adoy’s Enclave, Aegon returned to Beregost to recruit some old friends. Gavin, Emily and Braegar agree to travel with him again. They stand now, outside the Thunderhammer Smithy, ready to discuss their next steps.

8 Kythorn 1368

Braegar suggests that we should investigate the mines and figure out what is going on with the ore in the mines. He’s rather angry about it as always. I’m learning that dwarves have far more curse words than I ever realised.

I don’t think anything will ever calm him down, but if anything does it might be some decent ore to work with. The others agree: we will make our way to the Nashkel Mines.

Before we leave Beregost we return to the smithy to do some shopping. While we are there Emily and Garrick talk.

Garrick: That’s nice of you to say uh, Emily.

Emily: There’s so much darkness, and your songs remind me of the good that’s out there.

Garrick: Really?

Emily: Music, art, love, beauty. They’re what makes life so fascinating. Maybe that sounds a little naive to sy, but…

Garrick: When we next camp, Emily, I’d be happy to play you some more music.

Emily: I’d like that a lot, Garrick.

We buy a sling for Gavin, as well as a small shield. Braegar also buys an enchanted shield.

Gavin’s THAC0 was 22 with his large shield so I wanted him to actually be able to hit things with his sling. Braegar had a THAC0 of 12, so I’m taking advantage of that and the extra AC vs. missiles to make him into a tank. With the shield he has a THAC0 of 15 which is still really good for a level 1 character, and he should also level up soon which will give him some much needed hit points.

Now fully equipped, we set out on the road south, toward the Nashkel Mines.

9 Kythorn 1368

After nearly a day’s travel we pass Nashkel and continue toward the mines. On the path we run into another group of travellers.

Aegon: Well met, traveller.

Senjak: Traveller! Heh… why that’s the nicest thing anyone has called me in weeks.

Dorotea: We should kill that one last, Senjak. Such good manners.

Aegon: You’re welcome to try, elf!

Senjak: Now, now, there’s no reason for this to turn violent. Hand over your belongings, and you may yet live.

Aegon: You’ll need to be more convincing than that, brigand. Five against our party? The odds don’t seem to favour you.

Dorotea: You should listen to Senjak, friend. Perhaps you’ve noticed our associates, who are even now aiming their arrows at your hearts. Raise a hand against us, and they’ll cut you down.

Aegon: If I die, I will at least take you with me.

Senjak continues to try and negotiate when three of his men are slain.

A heavily armed half-orc pulls his sword from the last corpse and approaches the brigands.

Senjak: Dorn! You should be dead or rotting in a Luskan prison. How did you find us?

Dorotea: I’m happy to see you, Dorn. Leaving you behind to take the blame was all Simmeon’s idea – he’s the one you want, not us.

Dorn: “Just following orders” is a coward’s excuse, Dorotea. And I haven’t forgotten what you said when I refused your advances.

Senjak: What advances? She would never consort with a half-orc, especially when she has me. You haven’t changed, Dorn. You’re as stupid as you are ugly. Tell him, Dorotea.

Doreatea: Senjak was the first to agree with Simmeon – he always hated you… but you know I didn’t feel the same way.

Senjak: Dorotea, what are you saying…? Ah! A ruse, of course. But the half-breed brute is too stupid for that to work. Men! Rush them!

Dorn: You are both mewling cowards, turning on each other as easily as you turned on me. Half your men are already dead. You’ll join them soon.

Dorotea: It didn’t have to be this way. We’ve beaten you before, Dorn. We’ll do it again. Attack!

They start firing arrows at me as we prepare to fight.

Gavin summons some magic stones for his new sling.

I attempt to put the archers to sleep. They both drop to the ground as Emily kills one of them.

Garrick uses his wand of fear and Branwen slays the second archer as he flees.

Senjak and Dorotea have attacked the half-orc, so we move in to help. Garrick puts a crossbow bolt through Senjak’s neck.

Braegar cuts open the elf.

Dorn is more impressed with our fighting than he is thankful for our help.

Aegon: You act surprised.

Dorn: As a rule, I do not rely on those who fight beside me. Perhaps you may prove an exception to that rule.

Aegon: Perhaps. What was that business with those two bandits? And who are you, anyway?

Dorn: My name is Dorn Il-Khan, and I was settling an old score. I’ve been hunting those two for almost a year now. That’s two down and two to go.

Aegon: When you struck them down, what happened? I saw some ghostly apparition appear.

Dorn: My powers are none of your concern, unless you are looking for a strong arm to join you.

Aegon: You’re a blackguard, aren’t you?

Dorn: Very perceptive. I suppose you are full of questions about the source of my power. Don’t bother.

Aegon: I’m always on the lookout for travelling companions with useful skills. Would you be interested in joining me?

Dorn: Wait, are you Aegon?

Aegon: Yes, I am he.

Dorn: Hmmm. I’ve heard of your… prowess. Travelling with you might help my vendetta, and my powers could certainly help you.

Aegon: Perhaps they would. Before I accept your aid and offer mine in return, who exactly are you looking for?

Dorn: My former companions betrayed me and left me to rot in a Luskan prison. I’ve spent the last year tracking them down. After Senjak and Dorotea, there are two left.

Aegon: I see. Betrayal cannot go unpunished, you may join me in my travels, Dorn.

Dorn: Very wise, Aegon. We shall cut a bloody swath across the Sword Coast!

Emily: I can’t agree with this. A blackguard with us? He’s nothing but a killer.

Despite Emily’s protests we decide to keep Dorn with us, although Branwen decides to return to Nashkel for a while.

As he told us, he is a blackguard.

He can drain the health of his enemies.

He can also poison his weapon.

And he releases an aura of despair when he needs to.

He wears splint mail armour and carries a large sword he calls Rancor.

The bandits had crossbows, short bows, and studded leather armour. We are sure to scalp a couple of them to ensure we get a bounty.

Senjak had an enchanted wakizashi on him that Garrick identifies.

Dorotea was wearing plate mail which Dorn decides to wear. She was also wielding a flail and an enchanted small shield. Gavin takes this shield.

Garrick gives Dorn his helmet for extra protection.

I was surprised to hear that I have a reputation in the Coast already. It’s only been a few tendays since I left the keep. I guess it’s more than just assassins seeking me out now.

We make it to the Nashkel Mines in a short amount of time. Braegar is happy to be here at last. At least, I think he is.

Braegar: You should go visit the mines of the clans from the mountains one time, for they lead down miles and miles into the stone and penetrate to the depths of which humans can only dream about!

It’s a tempting offer. Dwarves have vast underground caverns for mining, but I’m not sure how much dwarf I could take. We make our way toward the mine when we are approached by another dwarf.

Aegon: Yes I am, may I help you?

Zargos Flintblade: Aye this be good news. There be a bounty on ya and I am aimin to collect it.

I should have known. I draw my warhammer. Here we go again.

Dorn rips him in twain with Rancor. The blackguard really is a killer, just like Emily said.

We find the typical bounty notice on him. I’m worth 450 coins now.

The would-be assassin was wearing chain mail and carried an enchanted battle-axe.

It’s strange that they found me in this area. This mine is in the middle of nowhere. Why would anyone expect me to be here? I’ll have to ask Dorn what exactly he’s heard about me when there’s time.

There’s a warehouse near here, so we go inside to investigate. There are some war dogs inside. One of them attacks Dorn.

Garrick kills it before it gets close to the half-orc.

We search the warehouse. Other than a few coins and a Potion of Healing that Dorn takes, there isn’t much here.

We decide to search the surrounding area first. I summon my Mage Armour and we set off.

We pass by wolves that ignore us, and after a short time we encounter some kobolds.

I take out the first one with my sling.

The rest aren’t anywhere near a match for us.

Kobolds here as well? They were lurking around at the carnival recently as well. Are they trying to invade Nashkel?

We take the coins from their corpses and continue to explore. Gavin takes the opportunity to talk about Garrick’s music.

Garrick: I’m not really sure, to tell you the truth. I heard it in a tavern in Baldur’s Gate once. I liked it, but I’ve changed it a bit.

Gavin: Naturally, I have dim memories of it, from when I was a boy in Ulgoth’s Beard. I don’t recall much of it, but I remember it was a good deal sadder than your song.

Garrick: It was a ballad of love and betrayal, Gavin, but there’s enough ugliness in the world. I rewrote the last few verses.

Gavin: One could argue that people need unhappy endings to remind them to treasure what they have. But you’re right. A happy tune is good to hear, too.

Garrick: Well, I still sing the original for performances, sometimes. Make the ladies sigh, and you’ll come out with more coin in your purse.

Gavin: Sad, but true.

It seems that its only Braegar who doesn’t like Garrick’s “caterwauling”. He doesn’t seem to like much anyway.

I’m enjoying what the modders have done with Garrick. His overly positive attitude and the way it affects people makes him feel truly bard-like.

Gavin moves on to asking me about my plans.

Aegon: No, not really. It seems too far away to plan.

Gavin: Fair enough. But one day, this quest will end, and you will need to think about it eventually. You seem to have developed a flair for adventuring. Do you think you might like to go on?

Aegon: I really have no idea. I’ll make that decision when the time comes.

Gavin: That’s all right. It isn’t as if you would have to decide any time soon.

I’ve been so focused on finding my father’s murderer that I hadn’t even thought about it. What would I do after I avenge my father?

My train of thought is broken by the yipping of even more kobolds.

I put most of them to Sleep.

We take out the unconscious lizards one by one. The last manages to wake up and stab Braegar. We give chase, and Gavin heals Braegar.

Braegar slays the fleeing kobold and says he feels stronger after this.

He gains improved saves, 9 hit points, and +1 THAC0.

Gavin and I continue our conversation as we loot the bodies.

Aegon: Do what?

Gavin: Every day, our enemies seem more and more daunting, yet you carry on without pause. I’m envious of your courage.

Aegon: Oh, I’m afraid sometimes, I just try not to let it get to me.

Gavin: You’re better at it than I am, then. But it is reassuring to know that you aren’t always as calm and composed in the face of danger as you look.

That’s why I asked how you do it.

Do you have any advice?

Aegon: It helps if you don’t have an imagination. When you start thinking about everything bad that can come out of a situation, it makes the danger seem worse than it is.

Gavin: That’s something to think about. Thank you.

Why aren’t I afraid? It’s honestly something I don’t think about, and maybe that is why. We move away from the kobold corpses and an Amnish soldier approaches us.

Dandal: Sorry to bother you, but you should be aware of the danger you’re in right now. There are monsters about, dog-headed ones. I’d advise that you return to Nashkel where it’s safe.

Aegon: Actually, we’re adventurers. We’re here to help out. Perhaps you could tell us about what’s been going on in the region.

Dandal: We could sure use some more fighting men. If you want to know where to go, just go to the northwest. Up there is the mines. Emerson may tell you that he don’t need any adventurers, but you don’t listen to him. We need as many men as we can get.

Aegon: Anything else?

Dandal: Well, ya, there’s this crazy guy. I think he calls himself Prism. He’s been making a sculpture in a cliff side. Kind of a kook if you ask me. I’ll see you later then.

Prism. Do I know that name from somewhere?

We go out in search of Prism, but we find a rather panicked and nearly naked gnome instead.

Dorn: Calm down. Tell us what’s going on and we’ll see if we can help you.

Galtok: They’re kobolds, dozens of them. They captured me and stripped me down. The dirty imps tortured me for no other reason than to hear me scream, but I got away. They’ll be here soon. We have to run, get out of here.

Oh, no, it’s too late. They’re here!

That’s when we notice the kobolds behind us.

After I Curse them, they are torn apart by Dorn’s Rancor.

The gnome disappeared during the fight. Clearly he needs keep moving to feel safe right now. Emily spots another kobold and takes it out.

We move on through the woods when we hear a familiar screeching.

Xvarts again! This is the second time we’ve found them close to other kobolds. They aren’t much of a match for Dorn.

Not long after we come across two people next to a cliff sculpture. One is working away at the stone. He must be Prism, but we don’t know who the other is.

Isra: Prism… calm yourself a moment. There’s someone else here.

Prism: So there is! ‘Twas that relentless Greywolf who sent you, wasn’t it?

Dorn: I have nothing to do with anyone named Greywolf, nor would I want to.

Prism: Thank Deneir! I have no wish for my foolishness to result in bloodshed, though surely Greywolf will come seeking the bounty on the gems soon enough.

Iris: Aye, and when he does come… my Lord, I would know whether you mean to stand with or against us.

Prism: Please, help us guard this place! I would rather the burden of my folly not fall upon the Lady Isra alone. I will pay with my last possessions if you would do this service for me.

Dorn: If it is so important, then I shall guard as best I can. Yes.

Prism: I thank you, for I cannot run from this place until my task is done. I have been using potions of speed to aid my work, and have not slept for days. She is beautiful, is she not? ‘Tis a monument to my foolishness. I saw her but once, on the outskirts of Everesja, and said nothing. I let thee pass from mine eyes, and mine heart hath cursed me for it!

We stand guard while he drinks potions and works on his carving. Eventually the bounty hunter does come.

Garrick: No! This is not right, that man is an artist!

Prism: No! Not yet! My work is nearly done! Please, I implore you!

Greywolf: Your sentiment is wasted on me, fool. You are but gold in my purse. Do you make your situation worse by hiring more help? I had heard of the Ruby Rose girl, but who are these other fools?

Aegon: Prism wishes only to finish his masterwork. Why not let him? What harm can it do?

Greywolf: You should be more worried ’bout the harm I can do! Never have I taken a bounty and not delivered! Now stand aside that I might dispense with this fool and claim my prize. Or would you rather I go through you to get him? Consider well if he be worth your lives!

Greywolf consumes a potion before he draws his sword. His muscles seem to be bulging with a giant’s strength.

Gavin knocks him unconscious with a Command.

I launch a Magic Missile at him as he lays on the ground.

Garrick sends him fleeing with his Wand of Fear.

We give chase, catching him with a few bullets and arrows before the Wand wears off.

I hit him with a second Magic Missile.

He wounds Dorn even after he drinks his Potion of Healing, so Garrick uses his Wand again.

After that Gavin cracks his skull open with a bullet.

After seeing him die, Prism descends down the cliff to talk to us.

Gavin: A sad fate, Aegon, but one we were powerless to avert. Using the potions of haste was unwise, but we can do no more for him. Alas, his work is truly a masterpiece. At least it will endure.

Prism: Alas, Ellesime!

Garrick: The unearthly beauty of the elves steals many a man’s heart…

Prism: As it has stolen mine. Farewell…

He collapses in exhaustion, and breathes his last…

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