Impoverished in the Northlands

core rule books

This site has all of the core rule books for 2nd ed ad&d – for the benefits of my players.


the first steps

Freezing and penniless, the adventurers were abandoned on a road in the central Vlenyik Peninsula, two days south of a small city named Kylamm.

Gideon, Ithas and Ahab each wandered into the woods along the road as they made their way north to find better weapons than the rusty, dull knives the bandits had given them, Gideon fashioning a quarterstaff, Ithas a sharpened stick to be used as a spear, and Ahab a stout cudgel.

Upon nearing the town, they saw a low, wooden wall that was halfway built, with no gate, and no town watch monitoring who goes in and out of the town. Venturing to the circular park that is the city square, they saw an ancient monument, no more than a boulder at this point, with a bronze plaque covered in strange writing set into it. All three characters can read the common human language, and none of them recognized the script, even the highly-educated fighter/mage Gideon and the wise cleric Ahab. A few small gardens, lawns and a small open area make up the center of town, from which the “spokes on a wheel” pattern of roads travel to the rest of the city.

After inquiring as to where they could find an open tavern to warm themselves by a fire, they were directed to one of the three taverns, the Tin Cup, a filthy place with rancid smells in the kitchen, serving the low area of town called the “dock warren,” where transients and the most impoverished of Kylamm citizens live. After a short introduction with Neal Brooch, the barkeep, they saw the first evidence of the thugs that rule the city streets, as one of the Mad Hatchets got into a heated argument with Brooch over paying his tribute to the thieves for their “protection.”

Ahab, a cleric to the goddess of charity, offered to draw more patrons to the Tin Cup by offering his blessings on the poor of the town, and providing sagely advice to any who asked. Brooch agreed to provide a dirty room for the three of them, as well as whatever leftovers his kitchen could offer for as long as Ahab was willing to provide this service.

Seeing a second of the Hatchets passed out in a corner, Ithas attempted to snag the broad-bladed knife off of his person, and only succeeded in waking the man, who after some grumbles, fell back onto the table and went back to sleep.

Gideon, speaking to Brooch, discovered that the local Merchants’ guild, rulers of the city, were offering a bounty on goblin heads, as the recent raids on the merchants wagons coming and going from the city and the Acrian iron mine to the north have left the guild at a loss, and unable to afford the cost of the town watch, or even guards on the wagons and barges themselves. They were instructed to head to the northeast part of town, where the wealthy merchants make their homes, and attend Theaodril Roisden, the liaison between the guild and the Kylamm citizenry.

Passing through the town square again, Gideon and Ithas see what appears to be a funeral procession, with five young women, a woman approaching her middle years, and a young man of perhaps 16 walking through the square with flowers, black clothing and the ceremonial black horse, but no body. Upon asking a fellow passerby, the pair discover that it is the Doretea family, the father of which (an accomplished hunter and trapper) went missing a few weeks ago. It is assumed the goblins killed him on one of his forays into the woods in the north. The passerby also tells the pair what he knows of Roisden and the Guild, both he has a profound dislike for, as his taxes keep raising, and the services provided by the Guild keep disappearing. Ithas asks about the decrepit city wall, and learns that the Guild can no longer afford to pay for its construction. He also learns that most able-bodied men have gone north to the mine, either to work in the mine or the new mill, or to take up arms as guards employed by the Acrian nobleman who owns and operates the mine (he operates it remotely, through a servant/slave who runs the mine for him). The guild can also no longer afford law enforcement, hence the rise of the Mad Hatchets.

Gideon and Ithas make it to the Silver Chalice, a stark contrast from the Tin Cup, and smell the delicious foods found within, and spot the wine racks with their expensive vintages, Ithas immediately notes that Roisden, at a corner table collecting taxes, keeps a small sack of coin as well as a small chest near the desk. His three slaves feverishly scribble notes about each of the accounts. Together the pair approach Roisden, confront his haughtiness and the way he looks down his nose, both note his overweight and fine clothes, and hear about the bounty. 5 silver pieces for each goblin head. They try to pry for provisions, but Roisden will have none of it. He doesn’t hand out money for nothing. However, (after a successful charisma check), he does agree that if they were to return with no less than four goblin heads, he would be willing to help them find provisions for more forays to bring back more goblin heads.

Clyff Doretea Jr. enters the Chalice, throwing down some fur pelts on Roisden’s table as his taxes, and immediately the pair start screaming at each other over tax agreements made with Clyff Sr, and how since his death, those agreements are no longer valid, and the Guild has the freedom to make up a new contract with Clyff Jr. This deal will see him, his mother, and his sisters, homeless by winter’s end.

While this is going on, Ahab catches up to the party, and tells of how he learned from residents of the dock warren (called the rat warren by the wealthy on this side of town) that they are very unhappy with both the thugs taking their hard-earned money, and the Merchants’ Guild’s ever-growing taxes. Many are worried that they will not have enough money to survive the winter.

Clyff storms out of the Chalice, and the party decides to follow him, Ahab driven by the desire to at least give the final blessings on Clyff Sr’s memory for the family. When they get to the street, they see Clyff Jr in yet another screaming match, this time with another of the Hatchets (noted by the small black club each thug has hanging from a leather strap on their belts). The thug seems to think that since Clyff had enough money to pay his taxes, he should also have enough to pay his tribute to the Hatchets. The party tries to interfere, the Thug warns them off. Ahab steps up to warn the thug about the fate of his “eternal soul,” and the thug takes a wild swing with his club, missing Ahab’s head by inches.

Gideon, a former soldier in the Acrian Imperial Army, immediately jumps into action, and taking his quarterstaff, assaults the thug, cracking his skull. The thug crumples into a heap, and with a loud “tsk tsk,” Ahab bends to make sure that the thug will survive the encounter. Clyff Jr, laughing, invites the trio to his home for a meal. Ithas takes the Thug’s club, knife, belt, boots and coat, distributing the goods among his party. There is some dispute about what to do with the money taken from the man, as Ahab would like to give the money to charity.

Arriving at the Doretea residence, they learn of one of the daughters’ illness, which turns out to be an impacted, infected tooth. With Gideon’s help, Ahab removes the tooth and heals the wound. Mrs Doretea cannot be more grateful, and offers them what she still has of Clyff Sr’s winter clothing. Gideon and Ithas remain for at least a while at the Doretea home, whileAhab returns to the Tin Cup to continue aiding the poor. Nighttime is approaching, Ithas and Gideon stay for a meal.

Clyff Jr. informs the remaining pair of the Old Mill, if they are to travel north, they can look to the old Acrian Lumber Mill (a new mill exists along the same river, much farther to the north near the Acrian iron mine) for a place to stay that has some remaining shelter and even a fireplace. Most goblin activity has been seen along that river to the north as wagons and barges travel north to the mine. He also tells them that he has some small amount of supplies hidden in the floorboards, from when he and his father would stay there while trapping furs. The party can pay him back for them once they make some money on the bounty.

There was some talk, although the party may not have come to an agreement, of donating the money taken from the thug to the Doretea family.

Ithas and Gideon, in speaking to Clyff Jr, note that the goblins are well aware of which barges are the most valuable, and which wagons will be easy-pickings. Both suspect that there is someone orchestrating the attacks.

We retired at this point until the next session.

Back at the Tin Cup

While his companions stayed at the Doretea’s residence, Ahab decided to stay at the Tin Cup, so continue to earn his room and board. On his way back, he stopped by the city’s only blacksmith, and paid the apprentice to take his rusty knife to a grinding wheel. Corlyn, the blacksmith, gives the apprentice, a young slave, the copper piece and tells him there will be a free day tomorrow, as the coming snow will likely slow the day’s business. Ahab noted that Corlyn is very busy, and well off, considering that the town seems to be in such duress. Corlyn tells that being the only blacksmith has its perks, as many of the merchants request that iron from the mine be crafted into finished goods for trade. Corlyn also is aghast at the idea of bandits thieving on the road to the south, although he is a former slave, he apparently is very loyal to the Acrian empire, and reports that had the emperor been in control of this land, nothing like that would ever have been allowed.

Ahab also aquired a lump of spare lumber, and whittled it into a new holy symbol (an open hand, as if offering alms or begging for them, with a hole in the palm to signify that he will not retain wealth).

Ahab returned to The Cup and saw that large thug again (the one who earlier hassled Brooch for his tribute). The man roughs up some of the crowd, extorting a few coins, and asks about some new fellow in town with a quarterstaff. None of the patrons are too helpful to this thug (Henry Noob).

Noob takes a fairly unwilling prostitute over to his table and persists in half-forcing himself on her. Ahab confronts him, lets Noob know that he has figured out that Noob is lining his own pockets instead of reporting his income to the guild master. Noob, terrified and infuriated at the same time, attempts to grab Ahab by the hair, and draws his knife.

Backing up from the fight, Ahab casts shillelagh on his walking stick. Noob attacks again, and Ahab responds with a resounding whallop (with the declared intent to deliver a non-fatal blow) to the top of Noob’s head. Again, one of the Hatchets is in a heap at his feet. Ahab makes sure he is alive, and takes the coin from Noob’s purse. He distributes the coin among the patrons, who cheer for his victory. A few of them assist Ahab in dragging Noob out to the alley. If he survives the night, great, if the rest of the Hatchets kill him in his sleep, perhaps he deserved it. Ahab takes his rusty knife, even though it was just sharpened it is not in nearly as good a condition as Noobs, and trades them, leaving the rusty implement in Noob’s belt and taking the leather-wrapped handled, heavy-bladed knife for his own.

a run-in in the streets

Today’s session was light, if tense. After their clashes with the Mad Hatchets, Ahab inquired to a woman of ill repute as to what she could tell about them. She identified the man he knocked unconcious as Henry Noob, leader of the street thugs, and told him to watch for Noob’s temper. He is the sort to look for revenge. She also told him of the 3 other leaders of the crew, Shady McFingers, an accomplished thief and pickpocket, Marl Cao, a strange, dark-skinned individual from either the Osisis desert or the K’res D’Se’ea islands off the eastern shores of Acria who doesn’t talk much but radiates danger, and the Hatchet himself, Rodast Banup, who, she says, is crazier “than a ferret in a chicken coop.”

Ahab leaves the Tin Cup after making sure he was on good relations with Neal Brooch the bartender, and headed to the Doretea residence the following morning to discuss options with his fellow adventurers. With the coming snowstorm and their lack of supplies, they are likely held within the city for at least another day. The trio decide to venture to other parts of town, namely to visit the blacksmith where Ithas intends to look for work as a locksmith.

The entire trip to the blacksmith’s smithy, the trio notice that the Hatchets, at least some of the lower thugs, are following them. Ithas seems to recognize at least two individuals who have been following the entire time, a blond man and a man with a profound scar.

The blond appears to be in charge, so after attempting to help Corlyn with some rusty locks, the trio confronts him in the street, they notice at least ten other thugs skulking nearby, and make the wise decision to handle the blond man without bloodshed. He introduces himself as Shady McFingers, and warns the party that they are meddling in the wrong affairs. He makes a special note to warn Ahab that he must stop preaching his creed at the Tin Cup, as the Hatchets don’t want the lower classes to become – stubborn – in paying their tributes.

A small exchange occurs between Gideon and McFingers, where Gideon mocks Shady’s requests and demands, and ends with Gideon swearing to slit the man’s throat if he ever sees the blond again, and stalking off down the street. Ithas and Ahab, who have been trying to handle the situation gently, sigh at his lack of diplomacy, and turn to follow.

The party makes the decision that they are not well-equipped enough to handle a band of thugs at the moment, so thier best bet would be to collect on the goblin bounty for at least enough silver to buy spears, daggers and arrowheads. But they must somehow buy at least a few more provisions before they can face the elements outside of the city. Between them, only Gideon has a pair of boots, and Ahab does not have a proper coat or cloak. Ithas discovers that during his exchange with McFingers, he has somehow lost the stocking cap that was given to him by Mrs Doretea.

Some dispute occurs as to how to acquire money for provisions, although all three seem to unanimously agree that it should be somehow taken from the Hatchets.

Gideon, aside, thinks of ways that Ithas might be able to steal from one of the wealthy merchants. Together with Ahab, they also think of a way to dispose of a few of the lower thugs, assuming that they can take advantage of some of the rank sewer grates in the Dock Warren, which would easily hide a body. Surprisingly, the priest is generally accepting of murder, so long as the victim deserves it (as in his murder will aid the needy).

We retired until tomorrow.

a turn for the better

Ithas stepped up this session. Together with Gideon, sufficiently disguising their features, the pair waited outside the Silver Chalice for one of the wealthier patrons to exit, apparently deep in their cups.

A man and his wife, who was sufficiently inebriated for the both of them, stumbled into the street and began walking home some time after dark. Ithas stalked them until they were near a dark alley, then grabbed the man with a hand over his mouth, and placed the dagger against the drunken woman’s throat. “Scream and he dies,” he said, and he motioned for the pair of them to move into the alleyway. Gideon walked up to assist. They removed the purse from the wealthy man, with a small amount of change in it. They also regarded the woman’s jewelry, but decided against taking it. Ithas left after speaking the ominous message “Noob says it is time for the merchants to pay up too!” blaming the incident on the Hatchets.

They spend the night at the Doreteas, and in the morning, met Kanys Chrool the general store owner at the Iron Cauldron. After some unsuccessful bartering and growing dislike for his surly demeanor, they left him (Ithas pilfering a dagger on his way out), and went to the cobbler’s shop to purchase a fine new set of boots. Afterward, they found that a peddler had recently arrived in town, and bargained for a coat, a tinderbox, and a ball of twine. They ended the day with a few copper pieces left in their purses.

They decided that it might be best, now that they had warm clothing and boots, to march north towards the old mill Clyff talked about, and look for a way to collect on the goblin bounty, rather than stay here and possibly face the Hatchets, or the possibility of being found out in last night’s crime. It will be a two day hike, so the trio will be on the road for the rest of today, all of tomorrow, and half way through the third day.

Until tomorrow…..

to the old mill

After trading for some shabby winter clothing with Jonkin the peddler, the party decided that they should head straight to the old mill, a 2-day walk from the northern wall of Kylamm. Leaving at mid-day, they would spend 2 nights on the East River Road, and arrive at midday on the second full day. Gideon took strips from his wool cloak and a small piece of leather to craft a sling, and they had roasted rabbit for dinner each night of the trip.

They turned off the road on the east side of the river at the Old Mill Road that morning, headed west towards the mill, and the three hour walk ended with them smelling woodsmoke and hearing gruff shouts from the mill grounds.

Ithas crept ahead, spotted three goblins rummaging through the broken buildings, stripping out old nails, hinges, metal brackets and anything else metal they could lay their grubby mitts on. In addition, an orc who occasionally shouted orders at the goblins lounged in a nook of a massive fallen oak.

After reporting his find, Ithas approached one of the buildings on the northeast side of the complex, and gained entry to the building through a collapsed wall. He crept through the building until he reached where one of the goblins had been entering to salvage metal. Meanwhile, Gideon and Ahab moved wide around the complex to the north, and ducked between a series of old collapsed toolsheds, north of the building Itahs chose, overlooking the open green in the center of the complex. They spotted a fourth goblin, and through the broken wall, signaled its presence to Ithas.

The third goblin entered Ithas’ building on the northeast side of the campus, Ithas grabbed its mouth from the shadows,m and planted his dagger into the thing’s throat, lowering it slowly to the ground. After the fourth goblin walked back out of the mill house (the westernmost building of the complex), Ithas crept behind him across the green, into the mill house. Here he waited, but unsuccessfully ambushed the fourth goblin. Before the goblin could raise alarm, though, the fight was over with Ithas again silencing the beast. Gideon and Ahab, however, heard the scuffle and worriedly looked on to see if either remaining goblin, or the orc on the southern end of the green noticed. None did.

As silently as possible, Gideon and Ahab crept into the mill house to meet Ithas. He tossed Ahab a goblin spear, and stuck a second dagger he had taken for himself into his boot.

Ahab crept to the second story of the mill house, to a balcony that overlooked the green, and noticed that all three remaining monsters were shouting for their two missing companions. The orc ordered the two remaining goblins to drop what they were doing and investigate. They walked under the balcony, and to the northeast side of the building to the great double doors. They entered, and were ambushed by Gideon first, who almost eliminated one of them. Ithas leaped from the shadows, hurling one of his daggers at the second. Ahab, coming down the staircase, held his cudgel high, and with a silent, open-mouthed scream, charged the two. They traded blows with the goblins for two rounds until both were deceased, at which point the Orc busted through the south end of the building, breaking the remnants of a wall with his morning star to gain access.

Gideon immediately loaded and fired his sling, hitting the oafish orc in the temple. Seeing himself outmatched and his war party destroyed, he turned and ran back east, towards the mill road. The trio followed, until eventually Gideon knocked him down with a sling stone, and put an end to the orc.

Ahab cared for some of the wounds Ithas had taken, and those two began looking for supplies. They found a hand-drawn rickshaw the goblins had been using, as well as a wooden wheelbarrow, a wooden mallet, a wooden shovel, assorted metal bits, and a small bit of fishing line and a tinderbox Clyff had left in the floorboards. Ahab went fishing for a meal, while Gideon prepared a solo trip into the woods.

He reasoned that with a hand-drawn cart, few supplies and less winter clothing, the war party had to have a base of operations somewhere within another 2-day walk from here, on this side of the river, fairly close to the road and on level ground (or else the rickshaw would have been unmanageable). He ventured out to find evidence of a trail, while Ahab fished for meals and Ithas rested to recover from his wounds.

Gideon did find a trail, and he pursued it until dark, when he thought he had lost it completely. It is a few hours north of the Mill Road on the East River Road, where the cart ruts seemed to turn into the forest to the east. Having lost the trail completely, he hunkered down for the night, using cantrip to light a small fire to warm himself with.

In the dead of night a noise woke him, from across the fire. He grabbed his quarterstaff from the ground, leaping up, he ran iin the opposite direction – square into another goblin. They had him surrounded. Through some uncanny lucky rolls – er – skillful combat he decimated the one before him with his quarterstaff, turned and demolished the first he had heard. He looked across the fire to see two more, who looked at each other, and saw the fire reflected in Gideon’s eyes, and ran east away from him. Gideon took the dagger and small wooden shield from one of the goblins he had slain, and decapitated the two he had killed (for Roisden’s bounty), using a goblin tunic for a sack.

He decided he had enough scouting for one day, and walked as quietly and quickly as he could back to the road.

The First Hunt

Gideon returned to the Old Mill around daybreak the next day. He delivered his two goblin heads into the pile, and reported what he had learned. The trio, assuming that he would have been followed, preferred to go on the offensive.

Ithas, Ahab and Gideon found his campsite from the day before, and almost immediately found evidence of more goblins. A set of four were stalking near to the area, the trio were ambushed, Gideon knocked unconscious and severely wounded immediately. Ithas used his fighting prowess to save the day, until Ahab called upon his priestly powers to entangle the remaining goblins (unfortunately including Ithas in the area of effect) in a mess of tree branches and brambles. Ahab cut Ithas loose, and together they killed the remaining goblins, and made sure that Gideon would survive.

Ithas heard the approach of more goblins. Together with Ahab these three more were killed, although nearly at the cost of their lives. The pair fireman-carried Gideon out of the forest, back onto the road, and headed to the Old Mill with all possible haste. On the Old Mill Road they ran into Jonkin who was traveling north to the Mine to peddle his goods. They agreed to escort him, although Ahab thought it very strange that he be here, on the wrong side of the river, alone, with so many reports of goblins around.

Having met no conflict on the road, the trio hitched a ride on a barge back down the river to the city of Kylamm, with their sack of goblin heads, to collect the bounty. The traveling process lasted about a week and a half.

Roisden, when confronted with having to pay the bounty, produced a contract that the players were supposedly beholden to, stating that the party would only get 2 silver per head instead of the originally agreed 5, because the heads were not collected withing one day of claiming the bounty. it is obvious that these rules are written to prevent the Merchants’ guild from ever having to pay full price. Ahab and Gideon heckle Roisden, even getting a rise out of the patrons of the Silver Chalice, but making Roisden very sour towards them. Roisden finally agrees to pay the full price this time, but makes sure that the party is aware of the rule of 2sp in the future.

Upon leaving the Chalice, the party is met with a small crowd who cheer for their success. Some people had been listening at windows and reporting to the crowd what happened in the exchange between them and the Guild, and were pleased. Not to mention they were very excited to finally see someone do something about the goblins. The party was given a hero’s welcome at the Iron Cauldron, where Idrai provided free drink, food and rooms for the night.

Ithas noticed some peculliar behavior from a few patrons at the party, and determined that they were thugs from the Mad Hatchets. He followed a group of them out of the tavern late that night, after making sure he bought them a few too many drinks with Idrai’s open tab. One stopped in an alleyway to urinate, and Ithas jumped him, knocking him unconscious with the hilt of his dagger, stripping him to his skibbies and taking the remainder of his money. Ithas stowed the stolen clothes (“I took them just to make a point,” he said) in a relatively unused alleyway, he noted the building that the others entered, and made a mental note that it was likely a hideout for the Hatchets.

He returned to the tavern and created an alibi by violently vomiting in the street, making sure he was seen doing it, then stumbling back into the tavern declaring himself drunk and going to bed.


The party awoke the next day with none other than Rodast Banup himself waiting for them in the common room of the tavern. He made it a point to call out the party for profiting in his territory, and telling them to stop the activities against him and his men (with a not-so-well-veiled-threat).

The party, seeing themselves sorely outnumbered by the other thugs in the tavern, reluctantly agreed to pay him the 20% tribute he demanded. Ahab got some small revenge, after being struck by Banup, he used a “command” spell to force him to apologize, and failing a saving throw, Banup did.

At this point, the party had had enough, and a plan was set in motion to discover more about the Hatchets, and find a way to begin dismantling their organization.

Ithas was to stake out the hideout. As an Alibi, he would leave the city publicly, and Ahab would cast “endure heat and cold” on him once they were a few hours north of the city and out of sight. Gideon lashed together a small raft, and Ithas floated down the icy river to arrive at the dock warren after dark. the clothes he had stolen from the thug the previous night came in handy, stored under the docks, he had a dry change of clothes when Ahab’s spell wore off.

He crept through the alleys until he found the hideout again.

The beauty of improvization.

What happened in Ithas’ little solo adventure is nothing short of role-playing magic. Through a combination of astounding luck, quick thinking, and skillful murder, Ithas may have single-handedly delivered a crushing blow to the Hatchets.

He found himself at night, in a small alleyway watching the hideout from the shadows. There was much activity inside, and many windows had candle light coming from them. After a series of failed attempts and then successfully avoiding notice, Ithas eventually scaled a wall to the top floor of the building, and entered through a shuttered window. Within short order he discovered that several of the rooms on this floor were occupied. Wearing clothes owned by a thug, he considered his disguise. He would need a way to cover his facial features better, and he would need some of the other trappings, namely the small black wooden club each of them carried on their belts.

He found one sleeping chamber with two men in it, one asleep. He quickly dispatched the living one, throwing his daggers at the man, and he tried to silently walk over the creaking floorboards to the sleeping man. Thankfully, he did not wake. Ithas grabbed two backpacks and stuffed them full of small change and mundane equipment, like candles, string, a blanket and other things the party needed. He also took the opportunity to improve his disguise with a club and one of the thugs’ trademark knives (keeping his daggers hidden in his boots). He walked to another room, and was found out as he tried to open the door. One of the thugs inside called their friend’s name, asking what took so long – Ithas muttered something about forgetting something downstairs and fled the hallway (he rolled a 1 to make it convincing, and the thugs within thought it was truly their missing friend). Rounding a corner, he almost stumbled into another man, this one with two large clay jugs, one under each arm. He silenced the man with a hand over his mouth and a dagger across his throat, and lowered him to the ground, not dropping the jugs (which he discovered were full of moonshine), hid the body in an adjacent empty room, took the moonshine and left it at the door of the men looking for their friend. Wearing the dead man’s hat pulled down low over his face, Ithas continued to explore the third story.

He found a staircase leading down, and considered his disguise again as he heard more noise from the second story than he had the third. He went back to the sleeping chamber with the two dead men, and put on an extra layer of clothes to appear more bulky like a street thug. Casually, he entered the second story. He found that the noise came from a sort of dining hall, which he promptly entered, and counted no less than 15 thugs within. Instead of fleeing, he spotted a stack of supplies: sacks of grain, barrels, and one more clay jug. He reached for it, at which point one of the thugs behind him shouted that the men upstairs had already taken their full of the shared swill. Ithas tucked the jug under an arm, and claimed that Jim (the man he killed in the hallway, called by name by the man looking for his friend), had accidentally spilled one jug, and handled most of the second himself. Ithas produced a silver coin, tossed it on the dining table, and claimed that this was coming out of Jim’s profits. He passed another charisma check, and the thugs let him pass.

He moved back upstairs, into the dark room where he had hidden Jim’s body, and considered his options. He produced the tinderbox he had taken from the Old Mill, poured the gin all over Jim’s corpse, soaking his clothes and scattering some across the floorboards and on the walls, and proceeded to light the area aflame.

“Fire! Fire!” he screamed, running from the dark room. Everyone on the floor entered the hallways, and the place erupted like a beehive. Ithas, with his two backpacks in tow, followed the hustle of individuals trying to get out with their personal belongings. He got to the ground floor, where he saw Shady McFingers shouting orders at the men. One, near Ithas, was told to go upstairs and secure a specific room. Smelling valuables in a comment like that, Ithas kept his head down among the milling mass of thugs to keep from being identified, and followed the man to the second floor, where he saw Marl Cao also giving out orders. The man he was following went straight for a room Ithas had not explored, and began carefully removing bottles and clay jars from a series of contraptions. It smelled like grain alcohol in this room.

The thug looked to Ithas and handed him a clay jar willed with some vile smelling substance, and told him to be very careful with it. Ithas purposefully fumbled the exchange, and broke the jar on the floor. The man erupted in anger about the cost and value of these things, and through his tirade, Ithas discerned that the Hatchets used this space to brew moonshine and gin, which they sold to the miners and millworkers to the north, bandits to the south (without paying taxes to the merchants’ guild, of course). Ithas waited until the man’s back was turned again, closed the door to onlookers and put the man out of his fury in short order.

When he opened the door, however, Marl had been coming to investigate. Of course, this leader of the Hatchets, second only to Banup himself, instantly recognized Ithas as one of the men who had caused so much trouble for his band of thieves. A fierce dagger-fight broke out, until Marl lay dead with several cuts on his face and neck, and two daggers protruding from his chest, and Ithas lay near death (one hit point remaining!!) with several broken ribs from Marl’s hand-to-hand style and a wicked wound taken from Marl’s dagger.

A few onlookers saw the battle and were rushing towards Ithas and the distillery. Quickly thinking, Ithas closed the door and barred it with a chair. He took two jugs of the alcohol, and tore strips from Marl’s shirt to stuff down the openings. With a cry, he kicked the door open towards the hallway, a lit Molotov cocktail in each hand and hurled them down each hall. Quickly he grabbed the chair and bashed the wooden shutters off of the window to the distillery, and scaled down the wall to the ground level. He landed in another group of thugs, who looked at his panicked face, and handed him a bucket full of water. Resisting the urge to vomit blood into it, he threw it at the flames on the building and raced towards the river to “refill” his bucket.

With only a few more turns, (and hearing the eventual, inevitable explosion that was the distillery catching fire) and he was at the north wall, ready to dash across the northern farmland to meet his friends at the junction of the two rivers (where they had sent Ithas off on his own earlier in the day). He spotted two thugs, and listened to their conversation long enough to determine that at least some faction of the thugs believed the alibi, that Ithas, Ahab and Gideon had left town, and the tragedy at the hideout was completely an accident. However, Banup had issued the order that all bridges, entrances and the north fields be watched, so some suspicion still exists.

Using his ventriloquism proficiency, Ithas threw his voice down a neighboring alleyway, and the guards were drawn away. Coughing blood the rest of the evening, he moved as quickly as his shattered ribs and blood loss would allow.

At first light the next morning, Ahab sees the smoke rising from Kylamm. Soon thereafter, Ithas arrives, mumbles “that oughta learn’em!” and collapses into Ahab’s healing care.

The Second Hunt

After healing Ithas, the party considered their options. It was preferable to get back into town as soon as possible, to be able to take advantage of the state of disarray the Hatchets would find themselves in following Ithas’ attack on their compound.

The decision was made to get into town stealthily, but Ithas noted that all entrances to the town were being watched by the Hatchets, and that would be exceedingly difficult. Remembering that Jonkin often stops at the Old Mill when traveling between Kylamm and the Mine, the party thought that perhaps it would work to wait for him, or see if he can be met on the road, and pay him to hide them in his cargo.

Three days were spent at the Mill waiting. The first day was uneventful, as Gideon worked on crafting himself a bow and arrows (with arrowheads he had purchased from Corlyn), while Ahab and Ithas began stripping parts from other buildings to reinforce the barracks in which they sheltered.

On the second day, this activity continued, but Gideon spotted a single goblin creeping through the surrounding woods. They gave chase, but the goblin escaped. The third day, Jonkin arrived with his wagons, and the party discussed with him the prospects of getting into town. Ithas recognized on the wagons the same style of clay jug filled with moonshine that he had seen the Hatchets producing in their compound.

The party only became more suspicious when they found out he was of elven descent (in this world elves are hated by all humans, the product of a war fought thousands of years ago. Half elves are met with some disdain and certainly mistrust, but not general hatred, since even humans understand that they are generally the product of rape or descendant from the product of rape; half-elves are always outcasts, and like Jonkin, generally live alone).

Jonkin tells the party of two ways to get into the city, after Ithas and Ahab construct a suitable reason why stealth would be necessary. Jonkin tells them of a sewer drain on the south side of the city, which he had used once to escape what used to be the law decades earlier, before the merchants’ guild ever took control of the city. Also, he offers his wagons, stating that he keeps plenty of wool, rope, barrels etc that they could hide among and he could get them into the city. This will cost them 5 silver a piece. The party decides to use the sewer grate, after getting more information out of him.

Ahab and Gideon press him on his relationship with the Hatchets, and Jonkin delivers a believable story that they are simply business partners. He is unclear the nature of his relationship with them, whether it is just buying their goods or helping them smuggle, selling other stolen goods to them, etc. He makes it clear that there is no love lost between him and Banup’s crew, although he would regret the loss of a source of moonshine that he sells to the miners in the north.

Even with this mistrust, he delivered much valuable information. It is now clear that the goblin attacks must be orchestrated by some outside party. The adventurers came to the conclusion that either a) Jonkin is deceitful and it is actually he who orchestrates the goblin raids (given that he has suffered relatively few goblin attacks and always seems to come out ok from them) or b) it is a native member of the merchant’s guild who is orchestrating the attacks (given that the attacks 95% of the time are against Acrian money, benefiting the local merchants in increased trade, increased prices as well as the stolen money and goods). Jonkin also gave a little information about the goblins themselves. The most he has ever had conflict with was 5 or 6 at a time, the same numbers of the war parties the adventurers had met. However, from a distance he has seen up to 20 of them moving at once.

Jonkin peddles some of his other goods, and shares some of his alcohol in return for a meal of Ahab’s fish, and negotiates the right for him to continue using the Mill when he passes through (he promises to keep quiet about their activities and questions).

The trio decides to hunt goblins the next day. They return to the scene of the two previous battles east of the road in the forest, knowing that the encampment or at least some sort of base of operations must be nearby. Ithas hears something ahead as they fan out to search the woods, and calls for the others to stop as he creeps closer. At the top of a low hill, he peers down into a wide, yet shallow, washed-out rock gully. Hiding behind some trees, he counts a total of 6 small huts, and spots 15 goblins milling about, going about their daily activities.

The party tries to get Gideon with his new bow to cross the gully at a point far to the southeast (uphill from the huts by about 120 yards). The goblins note him as soon as he is out of the trees. They send a small war party towards him, thinking him alone. Ithas and Ahab start to more towards his position to assist.

Gideon strings his new bow, and fires a shot, killing the first of the 6-goblin war party. Undaunted, they continue. He draws again, and just before releasing the arrow, his bowstring snaps. Ithas and Ahab get into range, and begin hurling spears down onto the goblins from the hillside. Gideon pulls out his trusty sling, and kills another with a good shot.

Before getting to melee, there are only three goblins remaining, and Ahab and Ithas have gotten into position to assist Gideon. While the three are being dispatched, and the party goes about gathering together more spears, some of the leaders of the goblin encampment showed themselves. 3 more orcs were apparent, as well as a much larger creature (although the party cannot identify it, this is a bugbear), and what appears to be a goblin chief of some sort, wearing a large red head dress.

A group of fifteen more goblins were dispatched with an orc leading them, and started traveling southeast up the gully towards the adventurers. While making a new plan of action the party used missile weapons, and killed one goblin, wounding two more.

The party fled uphill back west towards the road. The goblins gave chase. Once out of the gully and into the woods, the party began using missile weapons again, Gideon’s sling and the combined spears of Ithas and Ahab. Together they winnowed the goblin formation to a much more manageable number. Ahab cast “entangle” on their formation once they were nearing melee range, trapping about four of them permanently, two of them getting free instantly, and two more goblins plus the orc leader being able to struggle out of it by the next round.

Gideon killed one of the loose goblins immediately with his quarterstaff. Ithas fended off attacks with his dagger but failed to score a hit (he had apparently used up all of his luck launching long-distance spears to skewer goblins more than 50 yards away).

The next wave of three monsters freed themselves from the entangle spell and charged, joining their one surviving companion. Ahab was stabbed through the shoulder with a crude spear, wounded severely, Ithas stepped up to push him out of harm’s way. Gideon crushed the windpipe of the orc leader, dropping him instantly, and Ithas skewered a goblin with his remaining spear. Ahab healed his wound using his last remaining spell, and stepped back up with his shillelagh, killing another goblin. At the end of the melee, there was only one goblin remaining, and as he turned to flee, Ahab tripped up his legs with his shillelagh and the others fell upon the beast killing him.

Ithas and Ahab crept around the entangled area to view the encampment a few hundred yards away. they saw two orcs forming lines of goblins to march into the woods, with the bugbear and the “chief” apparently giving orders. The two orcs and lines of goblins began to move up the hill towards them, and the three decided it was time to leave.

They killed all but one of the goblins left in the entangled area, and fled back towards the road. Gideon called to the other two to divert into the woods, and they laid low for a few moments, discussing a plan: they would allow this large party to pass, then attack what is left in the goblin encampment. Ithas crept back to their original trail after they discussed warning calls and scrambled up a tree to watch for the war party, and Ahab began to pray to regain his spells. After a while, Ithas called back with a soft bird call saying that all was well. He came back to Ahab and Gideon after a moment, and reported that the group, numbering in the low twenties, was moving towards the mill. If they plan on going that far, they will have another two hours to march and then three hours back before they return.

Ahab finished regaining his spells, Gideon re-tied his broken bowstring, and the trio set out to attack the goblin encampment.


I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.