The Dawn of the Blackwatch

Game 1: The Road to Blackwater
Sometimes killing is just about the fun.

375 XP

The party arrived at The Crossroads on Kor the 15th after traveling for three days from the Middle Kingdoms. After a fine meal, some drinks,& a bath they all retired to their rooms at The Simple Man Inn. The party’s new found canine friend curled up outside Shawna’s door for the night. During the night, the party experienced the horror of a family being butchered by four men. Even though the party realized they had the ability to effect the outcome they only managed to save two of the children from being killed.

The next day the party traveled to the town of Newblessing where they were guests at the wedding of William Goodhope and Gwendolyn Shell. After the ceremony the wedding festivities were interrupted by the arrival of an ogre being pursued by a pack of grey wolves. After defeating the ogre and the wolves the party rescued several towns folk including Gwendolyn Shell from a burning barn. Upon investigation, the party realized the ogre had been severely wounded by something other than the wolves. They also realized the wolves all had collars and were not wild.

The party followed the tracks of the ogre and wolves back towards Hargath’s Wood where they found the remains of 4 other ogres being eaten by 6 fire beetles. After killing the beetles the party found that these ogres had also been slain by some other, unknown creature.

The tracks continued into Hargath Wood where the party encountered a Goblin patrol. In the ensuing fight the party fought well together to easily defeat their foe despite the Goblin Skullcleaver’s dealing tremendous damage with their axes. The party made camp for the night and were shortly joined by Shawna and the dog.

Troll vs wild goblin dogs by targete d3c030g

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Game 2: The Ogre's Lair
Who or what killed the ogres?

430 XP

The party continued to follow the tracks of ogres, goblins,and wolves deeper into Hargath’s wood. At one point another print was found. Just the single footprint of a large unidentified humanoid. The tracks led to a cave entrance located behind a waterfall. Outside the entrance the party encountered a goblin guard which they defeated after a brief combat. Upon entering the cave, Gloin quickly disarmed a crude pitfall trap with his body and somehow avoided alerting the sentry. Inside the cave the party encountered a group of goblins led by a goblin hexer in some sort of discussion with an orcish Red Leg Raider. The party struck first and quickly took the orc and several goblins out of the fight. The goblin hexer withdrew deeper into the caves casting his Vexing Cloud. The party pursued and the commotion disturbed swarms of rats which attacked them. The hexer continued it’s withdrawal and was joined by a bugbear strangler which came out of hiding prematurely thanks to Vox’s flaming sphere. The hexer was killed and the bugbear grabbed Gloin and tried to save himself with the promise of treasure but was demolished by Avrennieth who struck, not one but two, vital areas on the creature. As the sound of combat dies down the heroes find themselves next to a rushing underground stream in a room that was used as a latrine for the ogres. One goblin lies unconscious.

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Game 3: More Than Just an Ogre's Lair

460 XP

Having discovered where the ogres had come from the party quickly dispatched the goblin force occupying the caves. With the battle over, the heroes set to questioning the two enemy survivors in hope of getting some insight as to who or what actually killed the ogres. The goblin, Glack, babbled fearfully about, “the shadow killer” and how it could be anywhere. As Glack’s fear began building it became obvious that he was about to do something desperate and he was dispatched. The party next turned to the bugbear, Mobesh. Mobesh told them that he didn’t know where the “shadow killer” was Although he seemed to be telling the truth, the party sensed he was withholding information. He also told them how the Goblin Hexer named Tellek talked of treasure on the other side of the rockslide. The party was unsure of what to do with Mobesh but Avrennieth brought him to the cave entrance and released him with the warning that their next meeting would most likely end differently. The party then explored the rest of the cavern complex. Clearing the rockslide revealed part of an ancient underground complex where the river continued down a giant pit located before a huge double door. Vox quickly dispatched a horde of slimes when his magic was greatly intensified by the many glyphs in the room. Gloin ventured down the pit and found the river continued deeper into the ground through a thin but wide crevice. He also found a powerful magic necklace and a simple wooden door bearing a set of symbols.
As Gloin made this discovery below, the rest of the party witnessed the corpse of the goblin float down the river to the top of the pit where it animated. In a woman’s voice it spoke to the party.

“When you find what you have sought.
What you seek you have not.
Then you must return to me.
The heart will serve to be your key.”

The group realized that there was no apparent way to pass through either the simple wooden door or the ornate double doors and continued to search the caverns. They found a secret door, which led to the burial chamber of some humanoid. After, once again, relying on the subtle skills of the party’s rogue, Gloin, to ‘disarm’ the trap the party found several magic items. Here too, was a door that could not be opened. Despite the unanswered questions of the ancient complex the group decided it was time to leave. Throughout all of this, several of the party members felt the urge to make decisions and move forward to more heroic deeds. Many of the party thought that the magic necklace was actually speaking to them but upon reflection EVERYONE agreed that there was no actual speaking but rather a feeling of guidance urging the party to take action. The party started to return to Newblessing but was ambushed on the way by a group of Red-Leg raiders, a goblin, and the bugbear, Mobesh. Mobesh acknowledged Avrennieth and then left the battle without aiding his allies. Despite the human slaves unusual psychic connections the partty quickly defeated the ambushers and ONLY THE GOBLIN AND HIS TWO WOLVES MANAGED TO ESCAPE. The party began tracking the group but soon was unable to continue and decided to rest for the evening. After an uneventful night the heroes pack up and resume the hunt.

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Game 4: The Broken Tower
Hesitation is for wimps.

600 XP

The party awoke to bright sunshine and decided to continue tracking the goblin and his wolves. Thorfin, being concerned for the safety of Newblessing thought it best to return. The remaining heroes followed the tracks to an old, ruined tower. The tower appeared to have been abandoned for at least 50 years and the woods were slowly creeping in on what was once a clearing. Some of the group recalled stories of bandits led by a religious man that dwelled in Hargath’s wood long ago. The top 2 or 3 floors of the tower had fallen and the stone that comprised them was scattered around the ground and the remaining 3 floors. The old wooden doors to the tower appeared to be propped up to allow entrance to the tower but obscured vision into it.
As the party quietly approached the tower they could hear the guttural arguing of several humanoids and see the flicker of torch light from within. Vox sent his arcane companion to scout the tower and although the falcon found no other entrance it did get the attention of something on the top floor. With a silent nod Wil motioned to Gloin and the party jumped into action. Gloin cleared the doorway as Wil quickly assessed the room and guided Gloin into establishing a tactical foothold and followed him in. Vox and Bullet moved to the door and provided support in the form of flying steel and an arcane orb of deadly flame. Shawna called upon the healing waters of Melora and provided the party with her divine protection. Averrenieth watched the woods in case any goblins were waiting outside to strike from the rear. The room was filled with goblins under the command of a Hobgoblin warrior. Despite the Hobgoblin’s leadership and the goblin’s numbers the heroes battle prowess proved to be too great. Before all the goblins were slain one managed to strike a gong, apparently to signal an attack upon the tower.
Fearing they might lose their tactical advantage the group charged up the tower stairs with Vox’s flames and Shawna’s protection giving them great courage. When they reached the 2nd floor it was obvious that the goblins had prepared this floor to prevent intruders from going any farther. As Gloin entered the room, piles of bones immediately began to form into skeletons of dead goblins. Even as Gloin threw himself at the vile undead, Vox attacked with his flames and the two of them destroyed the 5 skeletons. The next threat to arise was in the form of goblin archers who had concealed themselves at strategic points in the shadows of the room. Despite the danger Wil attempted to cross the sagging floor only to plummet 20’ to the 1st floor, still shouting orders to Gloin as the floor collapsed beneath him. Suddenly the room was filled with a black shadow that weighed heavy on the heroes hearts even as they continued forward. The goblin hexer that cast the spell was atop a 10’ platform along with several archers. But the magic of Avrennieth’s necklace was still inside the tower with the group even though he remained outside. With this magic several of the party were able to teleport themselves up to the platform and, true to the day, end the threat quickly. The thrill of battle and victory still coursing through their veins the heroes rushed blindly upward to the top floor.
As they reached the, now, top floor of the tower the heroes were once again bathed in the light of Pelor. The brief relief provided by the sun was quickly tempered by the realization that the southern half if the room was, basically, open to the 40’ fall to the ground below. The rest of the room was occupied by the goblin and wolves they were tracking plus 2 rather large bugbears. Sticking to the bold, bordering on reckless, strategies that had gotten them this far the party set to work. Once again Vox’s fire, still burning, crashed into the midst of the enemy while Wil guided Gloin, almost wielding him like a 250 lb ball of death, into the fray. Luckily Vox’s keen eyesight noticed a deadly trap in the middle of the room so none of the heroes fell victim to the pitfall. Bullet also moved to the front line and engaged the enemy with his sword and Shawna continued to harry the enemy while aiding her allies. At one point a goblin lept from the shadows to strike at Vox but did little to harm him. True to the day the enemies fell and the heroes stood. Although many wounds had been dealt the healing of Shawna and the inspiration of Wil were more than enough to keep everyone battle ready.
As the sun shines down through the open roof, the party finally stops to catch their breath and survey their surroundings.

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Game 5: The Pilgrims Strike
Finally some rest ... what was that?

337 XP

After searching the tower and finding nothing noteworthy the party returned to Newblessing. Upon their arrival they were greeted by Thorfin and the townspeople. Although it had only been a couple of days since the ogre’s attack, the people of Newblessing, except for a higher level of vigilance, were back to the regular routines of life in a small village. The party was able to witness the curative powers of Godspring first hand as the townspeople had almost completely recovered from all but the most grievous wounds they might have received. The party was treated well and the people of Newblessing thanked them for helping. Having spent time rebuilding morale, defenses, and wounds Thorfin was looked to for his leadership and compassion by all of the townspeople. The love-fest came to an end with Trellen Howe reminding the heroes of their lowly status in the real world and the need to complete their journey to Blackwater. He also informed them that Master Shell was arranging a dinner for them the following night to show his appreciation.

The party climbed aboard the wagons and started on the last leg of their journey to Blackwater. As they followed the Godspring the party observed the lush flora and fauna that flourished all around the stream and began to see for themselves why Hargath’s Wood had become a popular destination for nobles interested in hunting. En route, the wagons passed a large group of about 40 of pilgrims making their way to Blackwater. Despite Wil’s constant tactical assessments, none of the Pilgrims appeared to be unusual or maybe it would be better to say that they were all unusual so it would be difficult to pick out someone who might be out of place. It seemed obvious from the differences that, although they were traveling in a group now, they had not begun their journeys together. As the party completed their QUEST and entered Blackwater, Trellen Howe informed them that this section was known as Downbridge and had only come into existence over the last 30 or 40 years due to the Pilgrims of the Tide. The real Blackwater was now often referred to as “the Proper” and had existed within the boundaries of “the Scratch” for as long as anyone could remember. In the center of Downbridge was a marketplace that consisted of stalls set up around a man-made pool of the Godspring. Several vendors made a living selling to the Pilgrims and others; including the Fishmongers who, as well as selling the highly valued delicacies of Blackfish, Black Crab, and Blackweed, were also the disciples of Brother Grendel Darkmoor. Brother Grendel Darkmoore, cleric of Melora, was the reason the Pilgrims of the Tide came to Blackwater. As the pilgrims began the tradition of removing their shoes and walking barefoot through the Godspring and across the Greenbridge, Vox couldn’t shake the feeling that something was familiar about the pilgrims but he could not place it. As the party looked at Blackwater, they understood what Trellen Howe had meant when he said that even an extraordinary group of heroes like themselves could go unnoticed here. Even Downbridge was remarkable with the Black Church of Pelor and the Godstones, both made of shining obsidian. The wonders of Greenbridge, the the Blackwater Watch, and The Scratch, were just the beginning. As the party began to cross the Greenbridge, all were aware of the undercurrent of Primal, Divine, Arcane, and Psionic energy that seemed to come from the bridge and even the ground they walked on. It was as if an invisible fog of energy drifted about their feet and those more attuned to these things were aware of the fact that it would be difficult to identify magics and other energies while in The Proper. Trellen, still driving the wagon, led the group to Vain Robert’s Gibbet, where they were to stay, courtesy of Mathew Shell. They were also reminded that Mathew Shell would be hosting a small dinner for the group to show his appreciation for their actions in Newblessing. The party spent the rest of the day meeting the townspeople and restocking supplies.
The following morning the heroes were able to witness the ordeal of the tides as they watched dozens of pilgrims step into the turmoil at the bottom of the falls only to be thrown against the rocks. Some emerged barely alive but others came out healed of their ailments. The rest of the day was spent QUESTING about Blackwater and meeting the residents. Gloin spent his day observing Kaleb and Cassandra Brighthammer in the Broken Ogre Arms while Melandra Brighthammer provided a hearty lunch eaten, mostly in silence. Avrennieth and Thorfin went to the Gathering Tree where they met Raiyn and it was revealed that she was Avrennieth’s sister. Several members of the group went to Goodey and Gwendolyn Smythe’s shop, Thimbles and Threads, to procure more appropriate clothing for the evening. Vox spent some time quietly contemplating the black depths of The Blackwater Mines . That night they had dinner in the private room of Vain Robert’s Gibbet with Mathew Shell, Bertram Hale, Fargo Hale, and the Knight of the Greenbridge, Amon Trask, who turned out to be quite different from what the party had expected. At the finish of the meal Matthew Shell presented the heroes with gifts of magical items to show his appreciation.
The end of the day found the party sitting around a table in Vain Robert’s discussing their plans for the future. As a storm from the Elder Sea battered Blackwatch with lightening, thunder, and sheets of rain the party realized that there was something wrong and no one else was around them in the inn. With an enormous crash of thunder they awoke in their beds with the premonition that something was wrong and realized they had all been dreaming the same dream about sitting in the inn. Vox immediately informed the party that the feeling he had watching the pilgrims was actually his finely attuned subconscious noting that one of the pilgrims was a red leg raider. As they equipped themselves, everyone came to the conclusion that pirates would be able to get into Blessing Bay if the “Scutter Chain” was lowered and they immediately headed towards the Blackwater Watch.

Outside the storm was raging as the group came upon a force of pirates who had established a rope ladder up the cliffs and were helping others ascend. Avrennieth, using his incredible speed, engaged the raiders as the rest of the group were still moving into position. Vox protected Avrennieth with blankets of fire and pillars of lightening while he moved through the pirates and attempted to destroy the rope ladder. Shawna’s magics, again blanketed the party with protection. As the rest of the party joined the melee they realized that these raiders shared the disturbing connection that the others they had fought did. Whenever a raider fell the party would be assaulted by psychic screams and the slayer was forced into a battle of wills with the fleeing spirit. But the party did overcome the pirates and were able to cut the rope ladder sending dozens of pirates to their deaths and preventing hundreds from ascending. During the battle, Vox continued to attack the enemy while he made his way into the Blackhall and discovered the bodies of two of the Blackguard within. With the immediate threat over the party decided to move on to the lighthouse…

As you emerge from the back door of the Blackhall the wind and rain pummels you from either direction. You can barely make out the tall shape of the Blackwater Watch and even the magical light that forever shines out to sea is dimmed by the wrath of the storm. Suddenly an enormous flash of lightening freezes time as a terrifying picture is revealed. You stand in the middle of the Northwest tip of Blackwater. Only 20 feet on either side, the obsidian cliffs plummet over 100 feet into the raging sea. On your right you see the entrance to Blessing Bay clogged with scores of ships and it is obvious that the Scutter Chain has been lowered, for several of the ships are already into the Bay. To your left, a dozen more longships are moving into the Blackrock Bight in an obvious attempt to beach on the black sands below. It is obvious that this is no small attack but a full scale assault on Blessing Bay. As the darkness returns, Thorfin looks to the group and yells over the wind and thunder, “You go on to the lighthouse. I will alert the rest of the town to the danger! May Ioun guide your choices!” and runs off. Before you the black tower awaits. As you approach the entrance a bone chilling wail cuts through the storm from far off behind you. The sound of the scream is inhuman and your thoughts quickly turn to trying to identify what kind of creature could make that noise. But just as quickly you realize that the real danger lies, not so much in what the creature might be called, but in where that creature is. As you look over your shoulders, once again, Melora grants you the mixed blessing of the storm as lightening flashes and reveals the answers to both your queries. From the elevation of the cliffs you look down upon Blackwater. The advance of hundreds of humanoids is stalled in Downbridge by the battle taking place in front of them. The battle between an enormous demon and Amon Trask, Knight of the Greenbridge.

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Game 6: Defenders of Blackwater
Hold the Greenbridge

XP: 465

As the party looked upon the three prong assault they realized that the “Scutter Chain” was the most immediate need as well as the one they could most effect. Turning their backs to the long ships assaulting the Blackrock Bight and the demon assaulting the The Greenbridge, they moved to the entrance of the lighthouse. As usual Gloin was the first through the door and he was immediately attacked. Due to Gloin’s imposing presence the raider could barely keep hold of his huge axe, never mind score a hit upon the dwarf. As the rest of the party moved in another enemy moved to strike and despite the knife wielding raider’s ability to move unimpeded through the heroes he suffered far greater wounds then he inflicted. The skirmish was brief and the party was successful in raising the Scutter Chain and securing Blessing Bay from the majority of the pirates’ vessels.

Emerging from the lighthouse, the heroes watched as dozens of pirate ships were lost to the Scutter Chain or the surrounding cliffs. Below them Brother Grendel Darkmoor and The Fish Mongers with the aid of enormous water elementals were easily defending Blackrock Bight from the smaller long ships and the pirates that manned them. As the thunder continued to boom lightening crashed all around Blackwater and appeared to be drawn to the battle on the Greenbridge. Drawn to the form of Amon Trask who channeled it towards the demon he battled. As the lightening struck the demon the illumination was bright enough to reveal the Greenbridge, itself, crackling with the power of Melora’s storm as it also channeled the magics at the demon. The party watched the demon’s flames diminish as it staggered back to the edge of the bridge. Just as it appeared to regain it’s balance, the Knight of The Greenbridge leapt at the demon and drove both of his blades into the evil creatures chest. With another scream from the abyss it toppled over the side of the Greenbridge but, to the heroes horror, the demon’s enormous claws grabbed hold of Amon Trask and dragged him over the edge as well. It was as if a brief calm, perhaps the eye of the storm, passed through Blackwater. It only lasted a moment and then the humanoids on the Downbridge side began to move forward onto the Greenbridge and into “The Proper”.

The party immediately set off to aid in the defense of the town. As they passed through the Proper they witnessed several small skirmishes as the people of Blackwater defended their homes. They watched as Bertram Hale and Jeremy “Brokensong” finished off a large troll outside of Vain Robert’s Gibbet. As they approached the The Godspring in the center of the Proper they witnessed the legendary strength of Kaleb Brighthammer as he all but snapped a hobgoblin warrior of his knee while his daughter, Cassandra Brighthammer cleaved through goblins with her axe.

When the heroes arrived at the bridge, much to their surprise, Amon Trask appeared from below the bridge being carried by what appeared to be an air elemental. As he set foot on the bridge a slight calm came over the area. Amon Trask addressed the party and asked them to take up the mantle of Knights of the Greenbridge and swear to defend the bridge. The party also pledged that once they set foot on the Greenbridge after dusk they would not leave until dawn. The heroes agreed to the responsibility and took a knee on the bridge as Amon told them, “If the need is great, kneel and take from the Greenbridge. If the need is dire kneel and give to the Greenbridge. The need is great.” With that the party members felt energy surge through them from the bridge, the Godstream, and the plants growing upon the bridge. They were aware of the many different forces all entwined together all serving the Greenbridge. The storm raging around them was no longer a hindrance. Instead it was part of the bridge. Those attacking Blackwater would be harried by the storm but those protecting the town would not. Even though the force included a goblin hexer, 2 Acolytes of Maglubiyet, a troll, as well as several warriors the heroes charged and their sudden onslaught swept the goblins off the bridge with minimal effort. Amon informed the party that he needed to perform a ritual and that the defense of the bridge was now their responsibility. He then sat in the middle of the Godspring and began to chant.

Moments later a force of Hobgoblins began their assault on the bridge. The group once again handled the threat before them with brutal efficiency and even though Amon received a wound to his head, the ritual was not disturbed.

The party stands on the Greenbridge trying to catch their breath even as more humanoid shapes begin making their way to the opposite side. As they begin to prepare for the next onslaught, Thorfin strides onto the bridge, “There are still small skirmishes taking place throughout Blackwater but the townspeople are truly an impressive lot. I felt that defending the Greenbridge is where I should be. What is Amon…..”

Thorfin’s words are cut off by the howls of beasts, obviously approaching the bridge. Avrenniath immediately transforms into a wolf and answers with his own howl. The fur on his back stands straight despite the weight of the rain upon it. Amon continues to chant and suddenly a huge wolf surrounded by flames leaps onto the bridge and howls, flames spewing forth from it’s jaws. As if it were a personal challenge Avrennieth bounds forward and crashes into the wolf, jaws snapping at the larger creature’s neck. The two fight viciously as they roll around the bridge, a mass of fur, claws, teeth, blood, and flames. Even as the rest of the party moves to help, the ferocious duel moves to the edge of the bridge. It is obvious that Avrennieth is outmatched by the hellish beast but his keen ears have picked up on the sounds of more beasts approaching. He realizes that the creature must be neutralized. The wolf pounces at Avrennieth and to the surprise and shock of all but the elf, Avrennieth leaps backwards clamping onto his attacker’s throat and, using it’s momentum, sends them both plummeting off the side of the Greenbridge.

The party stands staring, trying to see any sign of Avrennieth through the storm. But they have little time to hope. The rest of the beasts arrive at the bridge and the Knights of the Greenbridge move to stand against an evil that they know threatens more than just their lives. An evil that is committed to some greater, unknown purpose.Wolffight

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Game 7: Hold the Greenbridge
Against all odds.

800 XP
(All PCs are at 3867 XP. Welcome to 4th level.)

After failing twice to take The Greenbridge the goblin horde sent one of their beastmasters and his creatures against the heroes. After Avrennieth took the Hell Hound out of the battle the party turned to face a horde of Drakes and two goblin Barghests. Despite the ferocity of the beasts and the shape-shifters the party easily dispatched their foes. Unfortunately during the battle Amon Trask was struck down by an abomination known as an Astral Stalker. This creature proved to be the same one that was responsible for killing the ogres the party had come upon earlier. Even though Amon’s wounds were grievous he still held on to life and at the end of the battle the party was given time to rest and prepare for the next assault.Abyssal stalker
The next assault came just before dawn. This time the unit moved with military precision and was led by a Hobgoblin chieftain dressed in plate armor and wielding a spiked chain. Although the chieftain fought with the power of many men and his unit obviously had fought together for some time they were no match for the Knights of the Greenbridge. The chieftain, who was called Kragen, was taken prisoner and his troops were defeated. Against all odds and expectations the
party was able to fulfill their QUEST to hold the Greenbridge until dawn.

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The Dawn

The  Knights of the Greenbridge stand guard over the entrance to Blackwater “Proper” and watch as the first rays of Pelor’s Blessing cut through the darkness. As the sun reflects off the Black Church of Pelor the building transforms from a black silhouette to a brilliant beacon of Pelor. The heroes look over the ivy covered bridge and, with the light of the rising sun, survey the site of the night’s battles. Goblin bodies lay strewn about, their red blood contrasting with the vibrant green of the bridge’s plant life.

“For most, the dawn signals the beginning of things,” Amon Trasks’s voice is weak but still demands attention. "but not for a Knight of The Greenbridge. For us it signals the end of our watch. A time to take pride in another night of performing a duty that has existed for centuries. A duty that has been carried out by some of the greatest heroes in history. A duty that I have performed for 17 years without ever having to draw blood. Never before have I been tested on the the Greenbridge and if it weren’t for you I would have failed. Fate has deemed you all to be important. Your paths have a led you here for a purpose. Know this. Whatever challenge the light of Pelor may reveal in the next moments, you have been successful in your duties as Knights of the Greenbridge. Whatever fate has decided for us all, you have shown yourselves to be heroes worthy of a place in history.”

As the light of the morning sun increases the party can see movement in “the Downbridge.” Quickly the sounds of marching feet and yelled orders give clarity to situation. The party watches as an army marches towards the Greenbridge. With the sun rising behind them the silhouettes of hundreds of goblins can be seen as they move forward with military precision. Commands are shouted and the ranks form just out of bow range. As the sun continues to rise the light glistens off the weapons and armor of the, predominantly hobgoblin, army. Dozens of standards blow in the wind and finally the light of the sun moves high enough to show more than just shadows.  The standards bear the symbol of a bloody, clenched, armored, fist in front of a golden, three fingered talon. Shawna speaks softly, “I remember those symbols from my studies at the abbey. They are both symbols of the god Bane. Though I have never seen them together before.”

 "I have," Wil’s voice struggles to suppress the rage. “When we were defending the abbey of Erathis outside of the King’s Wall. I told you how those bastard goblins were raping and eating people, all out of control. Well, come that last battle there was a group of hobgoblins that seemed to be there to check up on the situation. They were different. All business. They were professionals and they all bore that symbol. It was one of them that took out Captain Darksword. When I reported it the scouts, they said that it was the sign of the Crimson Fist. They said that it was one of the larger goblin units and that it was led by an enormous hobgoblin named Warlord Tormund Dread …”
Vox completes Wil’s statement, “who wears bronze platemail and rides a behemoth?”
“Yeah, you heard of him?”
“No, but I can see him,” and with that Vox points to the opposite side of the Greenbridge where a lone figure dressed in bronze platemail riding a bronze armored behemoth purposefully approaches. He halts on the far side of the bridge and in a booming, guttural, voice that must be magically enhanced, addresses the party.
General by gabahadatta
“Defenders of the Greenbridge. You have shown yourselves to be true warriors and soldiers. You have stood your ground against overwhelming odds and even defeated one of my champions. You have done more than any could have expected of you and you should  basque in the blood of your enemies. Your warrior spirits are worthy of Bane’s attention and as a disciple of the Iron General, I grant you the gift of his favor. For your skill in battle, I offer you free passage through my army. In exchange for my captain I will allow you to keep as much of my personal share of the plunder of Blackwater proper as you can carry on your person. You may take one squire, concubine, or slave with you. You have 1 hour to gather your gear and claim your plunder. May your enemies tremble as you walk in Bane’s favor.”

Respond & discuss in-game at the forum “The Dawn.”

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The Bridge Burns

(All PCs are at 5500 XP. Welcome to 5th level.)

Your attention is drawn to the Greenbridge and what appears to be an energy forming on it. You realize that this energy is coming from Avrennieth who is kneeling with his hand on the bridge.
Amon Trask’s voice resounds from him and drowns out the sounds of the Crimson Fist’s drums:
Stand tall Knights of the Greenbridge. Your watch has ended but there is no rest for you yet. Stand proud Knights of the Greenbridge and know that this moment has been foreordained. Stand fearless Knights of the Greenbridge and know that bards will sing of this moment for years to come. Stand exalted Knights of the Greenbridge and know that this moment has been eons in the making. Stand with no remorse Knights of the Greenbridge and know that this moment is our last.
He staggers to his feet and then kneels.
Behind him Bertram Hale yells:
Get off the Greenbridge now!
Vox kneels, places his right hand on the bridge and gives the one finger salute to the hobgoblins with the other
Shawna grasps her holy symbol, kneels, places a hand on the greenbridge, turns her head skyward. “Melora, give us the strength to protect these good people from this evil. Guide us to victory over those that have desecrated all the gifts that you have bestowed upon us.” Shawna closes her eys and continues to pray.
Gloin takes a big gulp from his mug. Gets down on a knee, places his everflowing keg in his left hand and holds the keg to the bridge. He then holds his right hand to the bridge and says.
“This bridge can have my energy or my ale. I know what I would take if I were the bridge. I would take both.”
The assembled group hears the familiar scrape and clank of heavy armor as Thorfin kneels and lays the palm of his sword hand on the surface of the ancient bridge:
“For whatever is to happen this day, may the all-seeing Mistress grant us the strength and grace to face it with eyes open and inquisitive…”
Wil looks proudly at his team that has willingly chosen to give all. He pulls his horn from his belt and blasts loudly the notes that would single a rallying point. Then with a smile on his face, he kneels on the great bridge. “You are the one who has made the rash decision Dread”, he whispers as his hand goes through the flowing water to cool surface of the ancient tree.
Bullet kneels and places his hand upon the green bridge
The Greenbridge accepts your sacrifice and for a brief moment your body feels intense pain. Your hand seems to fuse with the plant life on the bridge and you feel your senses extending outward from you and the bridge. Behind you Bertram Hale and some of the other citizens of the Proper flee from the bridge and look back at you with fear and awe. From the other side of the bridge you hear Tormund Dread command, “Stop them now. Archers, concentrated fire on the bridge.” You are aware of the bowstrings being pulled taught and the release of 100 arrows all targeted for you. You are also aware of the green flames that are spreading up your arm and over your body. You can feel no pain but from eyes other than your own you witness the flames beginning to burn your clothes and your skin as they spread from you back on to the Greenbridge and begin to set it ablaze. Tormund Dread hoists his spear and begins to charge forward towards you. You hear a strange thudding noise and realize that it is the sound of arrows piercing your flesh. As your bodies weaken you are aware of hundreds of others making this sacrifice with you. The flame spreads rapidly and the Greenbridge is quickly engulfed in the green flame. Tormund Dread attempts to retreat but his mount cannot escape the flame and the warlord is thrown as the behemoth bucks in pain. The beast screams as it’s flesh is burned from its body. Tormund Dread manages to get to safety and watches as the bridge begins to fall and the Knights of the Greenbridge begin to fall with it. You still feel no pain but watch with an almost removed interest as your bodies appear to be consumed with the fire. Your gear begins to fall from you and plummet through gaps in the bridge to the surf and rocks below. You sense others, near and far, as they share this sacrifice with you. You can feel the feelings of the different races, professions, and alignments. You are unsure of what lies ahead but you have complete confidence that you have made the right choice and have altered the fate of Erath. Amon Trask’s voice is the last thing you are aware of, “You have done well. You are no longer bound to your oath. The Knights of the Greenbridge are no more.” Then there is nothing but darkness.
As you awaken the first sensation you have is that of water all around you. Water rushes around your feet as you try to keep your footing on jagged rocks. Water falls on you from above with enough force to drive you to your knees. It is difficult to see because of the spraying mist as well as the water in your eyes and the green glow that is rapidly fading. Your bodies feel fatigued but there is no pain and you don’t appear to have any wounds. You struggle out from under the falling water barely avoiding slipping on the rocks and try to get your bearings. The green glow is gone and as you look up you can see daylight far above you but all around you is blackness. As your eyes adjust you remember the burning of the Greenbridge and you realize that you are at the bottom of the Scar. The tide is coming in and sea water is rapidly rising around you. The water falling on you is the Godstream. Now that the bridge is gone the stream of healing water has become a waterfall that mimics the the Godspring Falls, the site of the Ordeal of the Tides. Across from you on the other side of the Scar you see the burnt corpse of Tormund Dread’s behemoth twisted amongst the rocks. Your possessions are scattered about around you and as you gather them up you realize that you need to get out of here before the tide rises much higher and batters you against the jagged rocks. Suddenly from the mist of the falls, Amon Trask’s body emerges being carried by the air elemental. Thorfin’s voice is barely heard above the waters, “He had nothing left within him to give!” You immediately understand that Amon gave his last bit of life to the Greenbridge. Although it has no real features to speak of you sense a sadness from the elemental as it points down the Scar. It is motioning you to move in the direction it points. You start to move as quickly as possible and as you look back the body of Amon is lifted up toward the top of the Scar. Bullet gains your attention and points out what appears to be a small path following the base of the cliff. The water continues to rise but you push yourselves and discover a narrow stairway carved into the side of the obsidian cliff. As you ascend the light of Pelor grants you vision and you notice a difference among the members of your group. There is a change that can only be described as a maturity or in military terms a veteran quality that has come over you all. You then notice the “tattoo” that has been “burned” into your skin. It is jet black and covers the hand you placed upon the Greenbridge and on some of you continues up your arm and onto your body. You make it to the top of the cliffs and find yourself in a military guard post building in Blackwater Proper about half way down the Scar.

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Game 8: The Rescue
The Greenbridge is no more.

800 XP
(All PCs are at 6300 XP.)

The party finds the rest of the townsfolk meeting in Farraget Cane’s office discussing the fate of Blackwater Proper. Hobgoblin archers have positioned themselves across the Scratch and fire upon anything that moves. The heroes are told that The Blackwater Mines still contain a supply of obsidian blocks that can be used to fill the gaps in the wall and provide cover for the people of the Proper. The party meets with Arioch Greyhand who informs them that the windmill mechanism is still in working order and that he believes the obsidian blacks are still accessible despite the cave in. He warns that no one has been down in the mines for 40 years and even though he doubts the mines are haunted he still thinks it could be dangerous. After the meeting Warlord Tormund Dread again addressed the town. This time he has over 100 townspeople with him. He demanded the “Scutter Chain” be lowered or he would kill hostages. He gave the heroes until morning to decide.

That night the party climbed the cliffs of “The Scratch” and moved upon the Black Church of Pelor to rescue the hostages. When the rescue began, Trellen Howe armed himself and told Bullet and Shawna to come with him. The rest of the group escorted the townspeople to the Scratch where Arioch Greyhand used an item to create a bridge. As the townspeople crossed the party defended them against a Crimson Fist strike force. The party moves to cross back to the Proper before the main force of the Crimson Fist arrive.

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