The Dragonlance Nexus

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Journal Entry: Kendermage's True 20 War of the Darklance Campaign

by Kendermage

Entry Date: 12/9/2008
Entry Number: 4
Entry Title: Trail of Retribution: Part II

Note: Some of the characters made backgrounds inconsistent with the sequence of events given in the War of the Darklance alternate timeline. I hand waved the backgrounds to explain how they have knowledge they otherwise should not have (particularly Mordarby).

Everyone but Darkeyes returned to Stone Rose to apprise the Head Man as to the progress of their mission and also what they had discovered. Several of the heroes believed the White Dragonarmy was reorganizing and communicated this as well as advised that Stone Rose should be evacuated; however, the Head Man all but refused to budge until he saw proof.

After a short rest the heroes leave Stone Rose, to rejoin Darkeyes. On the trail they are reunited with Duk. He made a big fire for them to see and killed a dog for their dinner (Yes Pathfinder Goblins were a big inspiration for Duk) hoping that they would find him. If the fire didn't attract the heroes' attention his off key singing would have.

Darkeyes rejoins the heroes at the bonfire. The heroes startle Duk causing him to scamper up a tree. After talking Duk down he explained how he wanted to be more than a common goblin, he offers to lead them to the goblin camp. He tell the heroes that new Dark Bosses are the ones calling the shots in camp. Martok continues to suspect the White Dragonarmy but Kiaz has his doubts.

In the course of talking to Duk, Mordarby discovers the very forces he has been running from are the ones behind the goblins increased raiding. Soon after the heroes also discover that they are being scryed on. Once the figure is detected, it winks out. The heroes quickly scuttle the impromptu camp. The heroes conclude someone from Stone Rose is spying on them. Duk screams "The Dark Man knows!"

After calming Duk, he explains the Dark Boss is the leader of the Dark Knights. Mordarby gets a sinking feeling listening to Duk's description. The heroes take out for the goblin camp soon after.

At the camp the heroes are intercepted by a squad of goblins lead by a hobgoblin who are carrying a white flag. They "invite" the heroes to a conference with the leader of the Dark Knights. The hobgoblin gets impatient and stomps off. Mordarby's sinking feeling is confirmed and rather than face what awaits him at the camp leaves the group. Darkeyes intercepts him while the others go to meet with the Dark Knight leader.

Mordarby explains to Darkeyes the reason he is leaving (the player left the game and I am not comfortable playing characters created by other players for long). He can't tell Darkeyes much except that if the leader of the Dark Knights caught him it would spell the doom of everyone. He suggests that Darkeyes flee as well. Meanwhile Duk gets in a tussle with his former tribes mates for consorting with humans. Darkeyes is torn between going after Mordarby and helping Duk. He descides Duk needs him more, but in the process Mordarby vanishes.

Darkeyes uses magic to convince most of the goblins to return to their camp but another tries to tackle Duk but misses. Duk runs behind Darkeyes for protection.

Meanwhile at the camp the are introduced to the Dark Knight leader. He berates the hobgoblin who lead Rhiarion, Martok, and Kiaz to the meeting but letting the others get away. The hobgoblin rushes to do as he is told.

The heroes are invited to the tent of the Dark Knights. Inside the heroes learn the identities of the Dark Knights. The leader is a Knight of the Thorn named Uther Grave-scorned. He is attended by Madison Pryor, Knight of the Skull and Elias Donner, Knight of the Lily. After the introduction are over the heroes get into the meat of the discussion. Grave-scorned is sickeningly polite and well-mannered. Though the heroes are there to recover the food stores of Stone Rose the Knights are there to amass and supply an army. They also admit to having tracked Mordarby so that they can use him to enter the Tower of Wayreth and use its Portal to the Abyss to release the Dark Queen. Grave-scorned offers to return the food and leave Stone Rose in peace in exchange for giving him Mordarby. The heroes naturally refuse.

Instead Grave-scorned offers them the option to surrender Stone Rose and he will give food to those who willingly serve him. Again the heroes refuse. Grave-scorned gently attempts to dissuade them from stealing back the food with the implied threat, "you may very well die in the attempt." He however lets them make the decision.

Martok blasts the leader for his "flawed" honor. Grave-scorned rebutts the minotaurs assertions and turns down Kiaz's idea to send for a cleric of Shinare to settle the matter. Martok comes up with another option - single combat. Grave-scorned accepts.

The scene moves outside the tent where Martok and Grave-scorned square off. Grave-scorned draws first blood and it seems the minotaur may have bitten off more than he can chew. He is wounded and pain washes over him but he doesn't give up; however his first attacks don't even penetrate Grave-scorned armor. Gravescorned slashes the minotaur again and attempts to press the advantage while the minotaur is stunned from the pain, but drawing deep down Martok somehow parries the knight's attack. Martok in desperation swings his bat'leth and manages to hit the knight who sinks to one knee. Grave-scorned is staggered and cannot must any defense against the minotaurs next attack which drops the knight. The minotaur performs a coup de grace and kills the knight (It took everything Martok had and then some to win this fight; he'd have been dead without Conviction points spent on rerolls.)

The Skull Knight uses her magic to try to save Grave-scorned but despite her efforts he doesn't rise again. She accepts that her goddess has other plans. The Knight of the lIly honors the terms of the agreement and returns the food much to the chagrin of the goblin chieftain a bugbear named Zurgane. Though the wagon of food was returned the Knights gave them no mounts to pull it, so the heroes had to pull it themselves. Sir Donner, gives them one hour, before Zurgane's forces will follow them.

The heroes don't get far. An hour latter they are intercepted by Zurgane and his sub-chief all on dire boars. In preparation the heroes try several means to either disguise the wagon or move faster none of which succeed, they turn resigned to fight.

Kiaz glides over to Zurgane and wounds the bugbear. Tersh attempts to charge Darkeyes, but Rhiarion intercepts and takes the charge for his friend; he manages to wound Tersh, but is wounded himself in the process. Martok already hurting from his tussle with Grave-scorned charges the bugbear and succeeds in striking him down (this minotaur is a bad guy threshing machine). Rhiarion uses a point of Convicxtion to take a surge action and takes out Tersh (the lead hobgoblin). Kiaz attempts to take on one of the other hobgoblins, but his attack is turned aside by the creature's shield. Martok narrowly avoids being gored by the bugbears dire boar, but Rhiarion is not so lucky and receives a gut full of tusks for his trouble. Duk chunks a rock at one of the dire boars from the top of the wagon and knocks it out (yay Gobbo!). Out of no where a snow leopard (the replacement character for Mordarby) attacks one of the boars and hurts it. Martok stares in disbelief for a moment before attacking one of the remaining hobgoblins. The shield of the hobgoblin protects it (just barely). The remaining hobgoblins then bug out wanting no part of the heroes. Kiaz puts himself between the severely injured Rhiarion and the remaining dire boar. The beast charges him and Kiaz uses his sword to block the beats charge; holding him back. Darkeyes draws on his magic and calms the beast saving the lightning draconain from getting mauled under its feet.

After the battle Darkeyes manages to convince the dire boars to pull the wagon back to Stone Rose. Thanks to the dire boars the heroes are soon back in Stone Rose. The people are happy to have their food store back, but are not wild about the method in which it was delivered. Martok wishes to expedite plans to abandon Stone Rose, but the people are flush with victory and insist on celebrating. Martok is not happy with this development and he and Kiaaz have a little discussion. The snow leopard that joined the heroes in the last battle leaps off the wagon and turns into a female white robed wizard. The Head Man invites the heroes to tell the story of their adventure after they have had time to seek healing and take care of some personal issues.

Later at the Beer Tent, the heroes retell the events of their mission to retrieve the food. After the retelling Head Man Mckennoth reluctantly asks them to do another favor for him. Travel to Willik and check on the centaurs. According to Mckennoth they missed the last two trading days and he is worried something might have happened to them. McKennoth suspects the goblins and the new Dark Knights have something to do with it. Kiaz echoes Martok and suggests their efforts would be better spent supervising the evacuation of Stone Rose. Mckennoth gives the heroes time to talk among themselves.

It is at this point the new character is fully introduced. She is a nomad from Icereach named Snowcat. She chalks up he being in the right place at the right time to make a difference (that and the Hand of Solinari scooping her up and depositing her where she was most needed.) Her words convince the heroes to travel to Willik, but the words of the barkeep again cast doubt as to where they are better needed (and on the motives of the Head Man). The barkeep thinks the heroes should stay in Stone Rose to help protect the town. He does attempt to ease the growing distrust of the Head Man's motives though.

The heroes deliberate to decide what the right move is. Most are for seeking out the Centaurs, though they aren't sure its the right choice. Darkeyes draws on his deep well of intuition and augurs that seeking out the centaurs is the right action. The heroes agree to seek out the centaurs as soon as they are ready. They inform McKennoth who gives each of the heroes a masterwork item from the town armory and a map to the centaur village.

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