In the Shadow of the Ettinspire

Trials and Tribulations
Wherein you find Mikhail, Mummies, and Mysteries
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Durbin's Journal IV: Into the Necropolis
Moon Day, 3rd of Spirit Month

It was on the morning that we had descended the cliffs and met Michael Ferryman who would take us across the lake and behind the water fall where the Necropolis is located. He seemed anxious and quickly pulled his boat back. He even mentioned “if we survived” which had an ominous ring to it.

Once inside we found an acolyte who was all alone and cowering in fear in a closet. He had confessed to locking the priest and a group of townsfolk attending a funeral because he saw some zombies or some such. It would be interesting to find another Necromancer’s notes if they survived and I can compare my own research, but first we have to take care of the problem of the out of control undead terrorizing the cities.

While hunting for undead and searching for the townsfolk, Buddy, Thela and I discussed funeral rites.

Buddy says his people do not bury their dead, but put them into a pit and allows them to decompose naturally to be part of nature again. He says locking the dead into a prison like a tomb makes them a target for necromancers to create zombies. I believe letting a corpse rot is not only unsightly, but is a greater risk as it can spread disease, not to mention be a magnet for Kamunu who prowls the earth looking for fresh corpses to harvest their souls.

Thela however says that burning them immediately, is the only solution and that by burning them their soul goes back into the forest immediately. I feel like this is rather disrespectful and it also prevents any chance of Resurrection or study for science.

I shared that our own rites involve spirit water and two coins. That the spirit water is a ward from spreading further disease and the metals in the coins serve to ward against Kamunu or his agents.

In one chamber I discovered to my horror that we are not dealing with a simple zombie infestation which comes about from careless misuse of magic, but these were ghouls which are formed by a much more powerful magic, possibly even Kamunu himself!

I also came across two preserved skeletons of humans and it was time to see if my research had finally worked. After a few minutes of making the sigils and applying spirit water to the skulls the piles of bone were animated into full skeletons and instead of viciously attacking myself or the rest of the part they just kind of stood there watching the doors. When Thela objected about how this was evil, the one I have named Rick made a gesture asking if I should kill her. I told them no, these are friends, you will follow me and guard me.

We came into a great chamber and heard voices. I asked Rick and Morty to get inside the portable hole and wait until it is all clear. They seemed very scared of the voices.

Down below we found that in a pile of rubble was the priest and the towns people. I got us safely down and right when I was tending to the one wounded person, we were surrounded by ghouls and even a few ghasts. We bravely fought off the ghouls and I tended to the townspeople while Lady Baelish performed a rite that prevented the ghouls from advancing on the townsfolk.

This place has definitely felt the taint of Kamunu! I will not have the time to tend to each corpse in this necropolis and Lady Baylish cannot keep her ward up forever. I will have to inquire the priest to see if he can perform the rituals to ward a corpse from being tainted by the influence of that first wizard!

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Graves and Ghouls
Wherein you reap rewards and meet some dead people
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Weekend at Luurshbaan's
How did I let things go this far?

While resting in the aftermath of the battle, a messenger arrives to fetch Lurshbaan. With quick thinking, Klara is disguised as the shaman, and Buddy as an assistant. A bit of deception and intimidation you are led straight to Doorsh’s chambers, and note his absence. Following a passageway, you emerge into an arena where Auric is being led to fight a troll for the amusement of the crowd. Doorsh sits in his throne where you approach him and instigate an attack. Doorsh and his minions are quickly slain and a rousing speech to the masses seems to get the message across that he was not worth following.

In the aftermath, a Rock-like ogre with blue skin and menacing presence threatens you and mentions you have inconvenienced his plans. He makes no real attempt to pursue you as you flee while hill giants make their way across the gorge. You escape the encampment with Auric, now freed of his shackles and curse, and proceed back to civilization.

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Ursine Adventures and Menacing Manticores
Wherein you find a Prince and kill a shaman.

You begin in the aftermath of the ambush. Deciding to scatter the amulets, the Theyla and Buddy use their skills to convince squirrels to take them away. You then travel to the Great Gorge and the old elven village where Doorsh has set his camp. You infiltrate the caves as per Ashtok’s advice, where you find Prince and some other bears. You discover Prince is really Auric and has been bewitched by Lurshbaan. You proceed further into the caves, dispatching orcs and ogres with extreme prejudice. You follow a disused path in attempts to avoid notice, and passing oozes and rust monsters, you find Lurshbaan’s tower. You confront him and destroy him, along with his quasit familiar, and a manticore who seemed to be overseeing Lurshbaan.

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Geography and Culture of the Southern Shire
Celebrating Life and The Land's Bounty

If there is one thing that stands out about the Shire is the inland sea that dominates the western edge of the region and forms the border with the High Marches.

According to legend, it was here that Gruumsh One-Eye had slammed his axe during his epic battle with Corellon Larethian. While such a fanciful explanation sounds preposterous to the modern historian, archaeological evidence does show that Elven and Orcish civilizations had long co-existed in this area long before the arrival of man. The geographic names such as “Green Lord’s Wound” given to the rift valley and it’s escarpments and “Hanali’s Tears” given to the cataphracts which drain the High Marches into the Shire.

When men would settle in these lands they chose Armand for it’s central location, but needed an are nearby to focus on agriculture. The soil in the High Marches was too unstable for permanent buildings and the coasts were plagued by fierce storms. The Shire was found to be sparsely populated by Orcs and so men set about building a system of irrigation canals to aid in transport and provide water to farms.

The rapid deforestation alarmed the elves and lead to a brief war between elves and men which was settled by the Treaty of Ingwe. This treaty established the Ancient Order of the Green Lord, a knightly order which serves as the main military force and justice arm of the Church of the Green Lord. This church is made up of elves and men who see that regardless of what gods each person will worship, Life is what really matters and their dogma is closely tied to preserving life and eradicating those threats to the natural order such as undead and monstrosities.

Recently however, the University of Polema has arisen a a challenge to the power held by the Church of the Green Lord which teaches that scientific inquiry is more important than ancient superstitions and that men and their industry are the rightful stewards of the land.

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The Ambush
The Grey Thorn's Point of View

The orc from the chapel tells us that his chief is no friend of Ashtok. We headed north to speak with Ashtok, and learn information about the one called Doorsh. He tells us that Doorsh is in league with an ogre-mage, and more troubling his spiritual leader, the shaman Lurshbaan, has found a way to pervert the ritual in making Orogs. Ashtok holds an a fortified position known as the Elftooth, a strange black obelisk west of the forest. There is a cave system that runs into it that we can exploit to sneak in, and that is how we decide to envade. We show Ashtok the strange inverted Eye of Gruumsh that we found on Kurshoth’s body. The Orc chief grew pale in terror. This must be tied to the perverted ritual Doorsh is using to empower his army. We must leave now and destroy the Eye. We set out with more knowledge on where Doorsh is and how expansive his holdings are. Just outside of the woods the wizard uses his magicks to discern that the eye can be used to track the location of the one who holds it. He says the ritual can go both ways, and the trackee can become the tracker. It appears that another Eye is heading for us.

I am furious with these orcs, and tell my comrades to hide in the bushes. I will take down this ambush parties champion on my own, and then we can know just how powerful Ashtok’s allies are. I see the one-eyed orc riding untop a monstrous wolf flanked by more orcs riding on wolves. I tell him that I killed Kurshoth and he is next to die. Insults fly as he charges at me and his monster-wolf breathes an icy blast chilling me to the bone. Enraged I lose myself in the bloodlust that takes me too easily now. I thought I had escaped my past, but it seems it is creeping back into my life. When I come to, everyone is dead except my elf friends. We know that the orcs are weak, and now we march to bring death to Ashtok.

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Durbin's Journal III
Storm Day 26th of Hay Month

Today we met with A’shtoq and learn where Dorche was located. This corroborated with the information we had gathered from interrogating the Orc yesterday. We also gathered more information about Dorche and his Lieutenants. Our fears of an Ogre Mage were also confirmed.

Dorche is a special Orc that has been blessed by Luthik an Orcish Deity, and he has been creating his own special troops known as the Eye of Groosh. We showed him the holy symbol we had looted from Kirchoff and A’shtoq grew pale and told us we must leave at once.

I spent some time studying the amulet and discovered a faint glow of divination. Then I discovered why A’shtoq was so afraid. That amulet was a tracking device and it was leading an Orc Search party directly to us! Stupid Fool! I should have analyzed it the previous night as soon as I had the chance, but now my folly has put us into danger, and quite possibly endangered the lives of A’shtoq as well. I mean I know he’s only an Orc, but he genuinely fears Dorche’s army and his band is too small and weak to withstand a full onslaught.

We were able to set up an effective ambush, and I was able to knock out one lone orc to keep him alive for questioning. After the battle in the church last night, I didn’t want to risk having every last orc slain and there is no way to communicate with the dead.

Ive learned that there 10 other such amulets. 8 are within Dorche’s Stronghold, 2 are further to the south. We must act quickly before Dorche decides to send his full might upon us or A’shtoq or even worse Farringway.

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Eyes and Ambush
Wherein you speak with the Chief and waylay waylayers.

You travel through the rain north to Kor Vashtaan to speak with Ashtok Gorshk. Greeted by the city patrol, you surrender your weapons and are brought to the chieftain. You discuss many things with him and gain valuable information regarding Doorsh Zahrn and his shaman Lurshbaan Garnzhog. You learn there is an ancient rite known as the Ritual of the Eye, in which a warrior deprived of his eye gains blessings from the orc god, and become an Eye of Gruumsh. This is possibly tied to a landmark near Doorsh’s camp, known as the Elf Tooth, a strange obelisk once used to commune with the elven deities. The strange amulet worn by the orc you slayed is also tied to this ritual, creating a bond between others wearing them.

After gaining all the information you seek, you use the amulet to discover another Eye of Gruumsh comes your way. Together you set an ambush in the forest, and after some rough and tumble action, you are once more victorious.

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Ornery Orcs and Electric Ettins
Wherein you evade wildlife and destroy an orcish scouting party.

After arriving at Ruremburg, you locate the building the orcs are using as their shelter. Traveling through the ruins, you evade the packs of wolves, but decide to remove the threat of the winter wolf. Sneaking to the rear of the chapel, you break in and summarily destroy a one-eyed orc named Kurshoth Lushkladzh and his companions. The ettin Balsh-Gorn sleeping in the corner wakens and is quickly dispatched with weapon and lightning. A final orc is taken prisoner who accuses you of being mercenaries of Ashtok Gorshk, the orc chief of Kor Vashtaan. After maiming and disfiguring him, you send him into the rain and proceed north to see what Ashtok might provide to the situation.

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