Into the Borderlands Day 1, Month 1, Year 1 The Keep on the Borderlands Main Gate Flanking Towers Entry Yard Smithy and Armorer Provisioner Trader Loan Bank Fountain Square Traveler's Inn Tavern Guild House Chapel Day 2, Month 1, Year 1 Outside the Keep Whispering Woods Adventurer Camp Caves Grand Cavern of the Bats Raised Cavern (Thouls) Phosphorescent Cave Troglodyte altar Day 3, Month 1, Year 1 Goblinwater Arachnia's Lair The Hidden Ford Raider Camp
Cob is not the brightest. Or strongest or quickest. But he does try really hard. His time as a soldier molded him into a solid dependable infantry man. Good with sword and bow he served with honor and respect. Upon release from the army, Cob packed his gear said goodbye to his friends and ventured out exploring and finding work where he could.
Making friends along the way.....even picked up a kobold wizard....he made his way to the Keep on the Borderlands. The Borderlands themselves are raw and untamed, ripe for adventure and the prospect of fortune and glory. Didn't take long for the party to hear rumors of the whispering woods, caves, and tale of a large monstrous spider hanging out near the Goblinwater river.
A few days with this crazy party has been most exciting for Cob. His simple needs have been meet. Fighting swarms of bats, Troglodytes and the large spider have kept him busy. The party chipped in and bought him a brand new set of scale mail armor. In the army scale mail was reserved for those of higher rank and he was most pleased for the upgrade from his beat up studded leather armor.
The hidden ford nearly caused simple Cob to faint. looks like deep water but isn't. The Tortle, by far Cobs favorite member of the party, belly flopped into it and wailed around in the shallow water. Finding the raider camp and seeing how grossly outnumbered they were made Cob feel....uncomfortable.
Happy to be out the army and willing to go with the flow Cob wonders what the rest of the day will bring.
The Caves of Chaos proved to be a bit too much for our group, so we backtracked our way out to go heal up from getting our a**es handed to us. I somehow took no damage in the fight, able to maneuver around the troglodytes and keep them guessing where I would hit next. I may not be a good thief, but I'm deadly.
We went back to the hill that we met the defenders at and they were completely gone. Our tiefling friend had been in their crew before joining us, but even he didn't know why they left. So we decided to go back to town after a nights rest.
The next day found all of us thirsty. The river wasn't far, and the cool clean water very inviting. Rigby immediately jumped in, splashing around. The funny thing was, we knew about the spider. We were even looking forward to running into it. I still screamed when the big boi leapt out of the water, clacking its mandibles at us.
Everyone leapt into action, shooting it and casting. I threw my trusty daggers, and watched in awe as Rigby propelled his massive tortle body out of the river to attack the spider before going back under. How is someone that big and laid back so agile?
The spider swam away, disappearing under the water, but we were not about to let this go. Everyone but the diseased Kobold swam down into the reeds, and found an underwater dome web. We swam in, and could breathe! Quickly the spider was destroyed, and we got to searching its rather cozy lair.
We found loose coins, an earring (which I immediately put on), an hour glass filled with a red glittery sand (it matched our Tiefling friend, so he took it), and a rather unassuming dagger. I took the dagger, always needing more for my collection.
We went back to the keep without further incident. The dagger I got had an engraving of some symbol with an N on the hilt, and I wanted to figure out what it could be- so Rigby and I went to a sage to have it looked at.
The old man took the dagger from me and studied it intently for a few minutes.
"Oh... this is a knife!"
"Yes, I can see that. Look at the mark on it."
"Ah, yes. This is the mark of Nimbleton, a halfling bard rumored to have died when he lost this knife. Poor fellow was deathly afraid of spiders, I hope he didn't lose it fighting them!"
I just smile and nod.
"I will need to do some research to tell you more about this item, but there is a cost."
"Uh... 50 gold."
I laugh, remembering I just gave the earring, worth 50 gold, to Cob. He totally owes me.
"I'll be back." I took the dagger, and we left.
I go with Rigby to the merchant and he sells some stuff for a rather large amount of gold. He very kindly gives me enough money to cover the Sage's fee, and accompanies me back to cash in.
"This blade has a special ability." Said the old man. "Once a day it can turn invisible."
I laugh in disbelief.
"What kind of useless power is that?"
He gives me a password to trigger it, and we go on our way. We met up with the rest of the party, and Cob greets me with a surprise.
"This is for you," he handed me his short bow and a new quiver of arrows. "You can shoot, right?"
"Yes, of course I can. Thank you!"
Turns out Myrna bought him a sweet new longbow. Win-win I guess. Some of us wanted to stay in and drink, but we decided to try to go get some furs to cash in with Trader Khalid. Cob and I both want to test out our new bows.
We followed the goblin water, looking for a place to cross the river. We walked so far that we started coming into a marshy area, and I remembered something we had been told.
"We need to go back! Theres lizardfolk in there!"
So we backtracked, trying to find a better place to cross and get to woods. Not marsh. We want furs, not lizard skin. We came to a deep spot, and Rigby jumped in. I jumped back, expecting to be splashed, but nothing hit me. Instead, Rigby splashes around in ankle deep water.
"Hey man, this is shallow!"
There is clearly some kind of illusion on the water to make it look deep... defenses keeping something out? I ran into the water, and made it across with only minorly wet boots. Everyone else joined me at the other bank, and then Roux turned around and charmed part of the river to look like dry land. Cool trick.
The woods before us was the Raven Wood, and there were a lot of ravens. As we walked in they all made their croaking noises and flapped through the trees. The ranger found tracks from deer and squirrels, skunks... but not much else. Deer hide could fetch us a little money, so we pressed on.
The forest ended in a rocky outcropping, and we came into view of a group of 12 people with long bows. It was then that I pieced things together... the people at the hill warned us about the Bandits of Raven Rock. We were in the Raven Wood. This was a big rock in the Raven Wood.
"Turn back or we'll open fire!" Their leader shouted.
I considered shooting them. But 12 bowmen vs our small group, 150 feet away... the odds were not in our favor. So we ran, beating feet into the cover of the trees. As I turned back to look, a hail of arrows flew into the trees behind us. They did not pursue. Well that's one mystery solved... hopefully we can take them out now that we know where they operate out of!
As we bravely ran away from the Bandits of Raven Rock we came across a Paladin, Ryder. He came from the keep and I don't think he expected to find this particular act of heroism when he was looking for other adventurers.
When we were in the Keep, we were informed the caves we had visited were not in fact the Caves of Chaos- they were close by, but they were the Caves of the Unknown. As adventurers, being the first to explore an unknown place is far more desirable than going to the right place, so we decide to go back.
We easily find our way back to the room we fought the troglodytes in, and head down a passageway we haven't checked yet. Taking a side passage, we stop in our tracks as Ryder and Third fall into a pit. They manage to get out, but we are joined by more troglodytes.
Separated by a pit and not wanting to risk death by going straight to the troglodytes, I toss my sword aside and stow my dagger, pulling out my new bow. Third and Ryder fall to the attacks, and we are getting frustrated being stuck in this bottleneck of death. The kobold used a spell to send the carving it found of a basilisk over the pit. The troglodytes start praising it, saying "Ushula" or something.
With a burst of speed I manage to jump across the pit, landing on the other side of the corridor, gaining a perfect vantage point to shoot the Trogs. One falls to my arrow. They all start running away from us without properly disengaging- this can't be good. Whatever else is in here has got to be worse than troglodytes and they very nearly killed us the last time we were here.
The party moves on, running from the potential second assault, and we find a room with an opening in the ceiling forty feet up. Rigby climbs up the walls and sits on the edge, feet hanging down, and lights a torch. He let's down a rope, and we all start climbing up. I get up and look down just in time to see Ryder fall to the ground, the ring holding the rope having given way. He, Roux and Third are stuck down there, and we can hear troglodytes coming.
I pull my own rope out and Rigby holds onto it. Roux smartly ties another rope onto his belt before going up, and Third attaches her halberd to it. They all climb up safely. Even the halberd. The trogs look around in confusion and don't see us. We got lucky today!
I get to work checking doors as we explore this upper level. Nothing is trapped and there doesn't seem to be anyone or anything up here. One room we come to has a faint creepy whistling sound. It looks to be a blacksmithing room of some sort judging by the anvil and fire pits, and the air seems cooler. The wind appears to be coming in making the whistling noise- so the outside is on the other side of the walls. Its dusty and nothing looks used, so we do a thorough search of the room.
One of the doors busts open, and three guys in hide and leather armour with spears enter. They are hulking beasts of men with crazy bloodshot eyes. They start to rage. I step up to one attacking my friend Cob and slash at him with my sword. Poor Third drops, but we don't really have anyone to heal her. I beat on this guy with my sword and dagger, and Cob finishes him off.
I'm not feeling so great after getting beat on, so I run to Third's side and try to help her. My limited medical knowledge just makes her bleed more. One of the guys tries to run away, but Cob mercs him. Roux comes to Third, pushing me out of the way, and stabilizes her. Thank goodness. Poor woman can't even communicate with us, I had no idea she was so hurt.
Rigby kills the last bad guy, and we take a rest. When we are feeling a little better, we move on to explore the rest of this floor. Nothing exciting is found, and then we come to a door that even I can't unlock. Rigby tries roundhouse kicking it to no avail. Third wordlessly jams her shoulder into it, and the door breaks. Behind it... a stone wall.
We go to another door down another way. Rigby opens it. Another stone wall! I hear Roux laughing his a** off behind me. The illusion disappears and it's just a hallway. We follow it to a set of double doors, which I successfully pick.
This room is big, with a fancy polished granite floor and looks like a library. The furnishings are plushy yet dusty, and the room is lit by glowing beetles which give off a reddish light. A short gnome guy in green robes sits at a table, and looks up at us in surprise. Roux says something to him in a creepy language as we enter. I simply say hi, to no response. The wizard looking guy gets up, and casts a spell.
Jess, wake up.
"Jess, get up!!"
I snap to as a heavy booted foot kicks me in the hip. Cob helps me up, and I glare at him.
"Wizard put you guys to sleep." He tells me.
"Should have let me sleep, I was comfortable."
I watch Rigby toss a fluffy ball across the room. It turns into a giant rat. He cheers. And then a badger kills it, brutally. Dismayed, he throws another ball, and it also turns into a badger. He perks up, and now has two badgers.The kobold reads something to us.
"Selldourts will lead to the final resting place of Zelligar."
I have no idea what that means, but Selldourts is a famous author. I have no time for reading. I go over to the big R & Z tiled on the floor and examine it. I think about finding something heavy and breaking them to dig under, but I know it will just draw the attention of something we don't want.
Cob takes the glowing beetle things, and it turns out they're not actually beetles. They do give off light and are super cool, so I'm sure we can find a use for them. Rigby introduces me to his new pals Brenda and Eddie, and I conscientiously stay as far away from the badgers as possible. I'm not sure what we are going to find in this place, but maybe this Zelligar is buried here?
Beetles. Glowing Beetles. But not a real beetle. But still glows. Cob LOVES them. He pictured himself tossing a glowing beetle down a dark passageway to light it up. Maybe if they had a beetle his pal The Big Rig-Bow-ski (Cob laughs every time The Big Rig-Bow-ski says The Big-Rig-Bow-Ski) wouldn't have fallen into a pit trap in the cave the party was exploring earlier that day. What if the beetle smashed and broke after being tossed? That would be horrible. Maybe the little diseased wizard could make it float like he did the wooden statue that made the trogs make funny noises as if a statue could have that kind of power over people....or trogs. What if the beetle caught leprosy? Cob shuddered at the thought of catching leprosy, he couldn't remember all the details of it but he does know that a persons skin fall off. Maybe that's how zombies are made? Yuck!
Pit trap, Trog fight, Trogs run haha! Climbing the robe to avoid more trogs was fun. The door that opened into a stone wall was a fun trick to play on people. The second time that happened kinda blew simple Cobs mind. The wall was fake, like the depth of the stream that the Big-Rig-Bow-Ski (HAHA!) jumped into. Mischievous magic user playing a trick on us.
The barbarians amazed Cob. During the fight Cob hit them really hard. He once gutted a gnoll with a single thrust of his longsword, it died almost instantly. But not these barbarians. So angry! Maybe Cob can learn how to use his anger to make him stronger? Seems a tough way to live, being angry all the time.
With limited healing the party is pretty beat up. Others got knocked unconscious and still have wounds. Cob knows all about the desperation of fighting wounded. Toward the end of his tour in the Army his platoon got called to quell goblin attacks near a fringe settlement. Thinking not much of goblins, they only sent 20 soldiers out on patrol. That night they got jumped by almost 50 of the goblins. The soldiers fought back to back forming two circles. They would rotate soldiers in and out of the outer circle as they got tired, wounded or killed. Cob was rotated through three times. Cob can really take a beating, he may not be as strong or fleet of foot as others but he is hardy. As the fight ended all of the goblins lay dead or dying. The soldiers however suffered heavy casualties with only 5 left alive. The fantastic 5 were heavily wounded and exhausted. The battle was considered a victory and the goblins have not attacked that settlement since.
After taking a short rest, Cob sharpened his long sword, adjusted his scale mail armor, checked his bow string and counted his arrows. Time for a ration and water. Have to stay strong for his new friends. Speaking of his new friends, one is a little kobold wizard with leprosy (Yuck!), a pretty rogue named Jess. She changes they way she talks sometimes. It is confusing. Is there more then one person in that head of hers? Cob hopes not. Of course there is the Big-Rig-Bow-Ski (haha!), another warrior that doesn't speak, a little bard that sings pleasant songs, a surly dwarf that's grumpy and talks about law a lot, a wood elf ranger that is really good with a bow, and a paladin that literally came out of the woods to join us before the second cave excursion.
Putting Mary (beetle one) into a pouch on his belt and holding Larry (beetle two), Cob fancies them siblings that were bad and needed a time out in the cage, he wonders if he can tie a rope or string around Larry and wear him as a glowing necklace. Or attach both to his shoulder armor? That would be flashy. Cob bets no one else would have glowing beetles attached to their pauldrons!
"Jess, why do you keep changing your accent?" Cob asks me.
"What are you talking about?"
"See! She did it again!"
The others are staring at me, waiting for me to talk. Poor Cob is dumb and gullible. This could be fun.
"No, you're imagining it," now I will do it on purpose. I really just try to hide my real accent, but sometimes it slips out. Now I'm going to do a different one every time I talk to him. "Go back to your beetles!"
Cob really, really likes his beetles. In fact, he is now wearing them tied to his pauldrons so that he is glowing red. I've never seen anyone so happy. His happiness is infectious, and now I'm more eager to explore this place, especially now that I can see better.
Some guy runs into the library as we are prepping to continue on. He looks frazzled and relieved to have run into people such as ourselves. His name is Brother Martin, and he has been lost inside this cave for days... could be hours, but he completely lost track.
We move along, coming to a door. Its not trapped, so we go in. This room is bare except for a purple crystal wall. The crew goes up to look at it, and I hear the door shut behind us. Nobody closed it, it did it on its own. I go up to it and open it.
"Guys... the hallway is different!"
Cob can't get his mind around it having changed and looks confused, but also transfixed by the gem wall. The others tell me to try the door again, and i do. No change. Rigby licks the crystal. No different. Finally Rig and Cob lead the way out into the hall and check things out. It's definitely different, although we didn't feel the room move or anything.
We decide to explore, me in the lead to pick random directions and check doors. Once I check one for traps, Rigby "roadhouse" kicks it, kicking me with it in the process. I probably should have moved out of the way. We come through another hallway back to the same room. We are either going in circles or it's just a similar room.
"Have you heard of Pan?" The cleric asks me.
"Yes, I know how to cook." Weirdo.
"No, my god Pan! Want to see my wand?"
Oh, an actual wand. Cob is excited and asks to see what it does. The cleric points it at him, and Cobs face turns into a scowl... while he's laughing.
This time when we go in the room, I pull out chalk and mark an X on the floor. Now we will know if it's the same one! We head out, following more corridors until we come to one curving to the right.
"Hey Jess, can you draw me?"
"Of course!" I pause for a moment to do a sketch of Rigby. A damn good one, mind you!
"Woah man, looks just like me!"
As we go along more hallways, I hear another door close. I'm not sure where it came from, but we do come to another door. When we go through this one, there is a cell with three doors. The plan is to each open one, but as I get to my door it bangs open on it's own. Kobolds!
One attacks me and misses, but then Eddie the badger gets killed. I go to swap my chalk out for my sword, and more kobolds come in, swapping out with the front line. I take a barrage of hits, unable to do anything other than get hacked by the vile little creatures. Unconsciousness comes quickly.
I hear the dwarf cleric's voice in my head commanding me to rise, and feel my life return. I make to get up, and suddenly feel sleepy. Only one person- nay, creature in our party could do tha-
I wake up to Cob smacking me in the face, and he helps me to my feet. I feel better, and know someone healed me while I was unwillingly sleeping.
"The kobold put us to sleep."
I can see several kobolds sleeping, but not dead with the others.
"I'll kill every kobold in this room!"
I make quick work of slitting the throats of the sleeping kobolds, but then there is one left. Teth pulls a dagger on me as I approach him.
"Hey, Teth- catch!" Cob shouts, raising his spear.
I raise my dagger up, aiming, looking into the coward's eyes. Kobolds are all the same. With a flick of my wrist, my dagger soars through the air. Teth flinches as it buries its blade in the wall mere inches from his head.
"Never. Do that. Again."
I take my dagger back, glaring at him, and then lead on through the left door. More hallways, more doors to check. No traps, just more doors. Is this place a maze? Another door slams open bringing with it more Kobolds. Why does this look exactly like where we just fought?
I'm immediately hit by one of the kobolds and nearly brought to my knees with pain. Today has not been my day. I try to compose myself, and another blow comes. I sink back into oblivion.
"She's back!" Brother Martin announces.
I open my eyes and my friends are cheering. Why are they being so loud? My head hurts! I sit up with Brother Martin's help, but I feel too weak to carry on. They tell me to rest a bit longer, I've apparently been unconscious for four hours already, but I'm useless half dead. I feel useless anyway, I missed out on two fights for being knocked out or asleep!
After an hour i find the strength to stand, and we go back to the library. It seems the most defensible and comfortable room. I throw myself onto one of the poofs, a cloud of dust rising into the air. I have had enough for today, and it is taking everything in me not to kill the kobold. Nobody messes with the Jesses!
After attaching Larry and Mary to his pauldrons, they make Cob look scary with their red glow, he shows off his new new friends to the crew. They seem to like them. Brother Martin finds us and looks frazzled. Poor guy stuck in here for days! Alone! Oh the horror! Jess freaked out about Brother Martins wand implying something that Cob couldn’t figure out, the wand makes people frown! What a hoot! Cob Laughed and frowned at the same time. It hurt his face but was still great none the less.
The many voices of Jess lead us through this place. Suddenly we get jumped by Kobolds! Wonder if they have leprosy too? Yuck! Jess and Cob get hammered by many of them, Cob notices that they fight better when there is more than one of them standing close together. During the fight Cob felt sleeply. Really sleeply. Jess dropped and started snoring and before Cob could react he dropped too. The Big-Rig-Bow-Ski wakes up Cob. Looks like our leprocritic kobold put Cob and Jess to sleep along with some of the bad kobolds. The power of the kobold wizard scares Cob. Scares and angers him. Jess is even more angry and throws her dagger at him. He cowered. IF he ever casts magic on Cob again, the party will have to find a new wizard.
We rest after another brutal fight with kobolds. Cob noticed that the wizard backed away and hid for most of the fight. Why bother fight at all if you are going to hide? Jess got really beat up. She still speaks in different voices, Cob is pretty sure she is cray cray. But she is really good at opening doors and is a good fighter.
Thankfully Larry and Mary survive the day. After resting Cob feels better and stronger. Hopefully we can make it through this place without any more sleep spells cast on us.
Today, I learned the meaning of betrayal. Perhaps I trust too easily, I know this now. Father Dan Rather wined and dined my dwarf brethren and I with cheese and sausages. Our only weakness! He filled us with optimism and a renewed sense of smiting evil in the name of justice. He persuaded us with his new ideas of polytheism, and believing in all gods and welcoming all religions. We thought nothing of his strange silent guards. We saw an open minded holy man who could aid us in battle against the lava monsters that we couldn't beat before. How wrong we were.
Father Rather and his two acolytes accompanied us into the secret room beyond the mysterious stairs. It was filled with statues of wizards, and we thought maybe there was a basilisk to be afraid of. How wrong we were. Our greatest enemy was our friend. I stood by him and the acolytes, eager to enter battle with my new compatriots. I was struck by a spell from a statue, but Father Rather did not lend me healing. I thought nothing of it. Even when my fellow soldier Cob took hits from spells, I refused to believe it came from our new friends. And then Father Rather unleashed a giant snake on us, which had up until then been a walking stick. I tried smiting the unholy creature with my Hammer of Justice. Brother Martin wanted to keep it as a pet. Then I had to fight Father Rather. Oh, how it pained me to hit him with my hammer. We could have done great deeds together!
Brother Martin smote our betrayer priest. Upon searching his body, I found an amulet. This amulet turned out to be a protection from good. All this time I suspected the priest at the temple was the evil one. I do not believe I will trust ever again, how could I have been so blind?
Dear Myrna is dead. Long live Myrna! She fought bravely to the very last. May her soul rest in eternity and may she be remembered as a heroine of the keep! We are all beaten up and our hearts are heavy.