Half breeds and a Human

Hags, Harpies & Hermits
Gahn's journal
  • Started in a small town called Planters – met up with a human inquisitor and a half elf…
    Traveled to Polyhedra, met a capable weaponsmith and began to learn from him.
    Met a mad prospector, shared some of his wealth with us. Cant remember where his stash was…
    Dealt with some nasty undeath in a swamp, took sample of black ooze – will have to follow up on this.
    Managed to forge a sword with the prospectors gifts and a dire boar we hunted down.
  • Traveled to Freehaven at Tran’s request, fought harpies on the way. Nasty bird ladies.
    Met a mute easterner named Ans – rescued from sacrifice. A quiet and capable fighter – the human will like him.
  • Arrived in Freehaven. What a mess.
    A wizard named Trawl said he could identify ooze, asked us for a “favor” to travel all the way to the coast and get a ton of clay and other stuff. Nothing better to do, lets go.
  • Took a stupid magic road to coast. Why didnt they just make the roads go straight? Would have been easier. The roads took us to our destination but we lost Ans. Perhaps his destination was not the same as ours – I wish him well.
  • The coastal people have been converted into a work force for eastern white men. Not sure why they wanted to do that, but they didn’t seem to want to leave.
    Forman of the clay mine asked us to wipe out a threat to their workforce. Probably a dumb superstition, whatever.
  • Today I learned about Hags – definitely dumb, not a superstition. How could only three of them harass so many coastal people for generations? Silly humans.
    Found a neat journal that practically writes itself.
    The clay foreman made good on his deal – I’m ready to leave.
  • Made it back to Freehaven.
    Went to meet Trawl at a fort outside of town – He was being impersonated by some female wizard in a mask. A hermit came out of the bushes to help expose her identity. We were all immobilized while they had some kind of wacky wizard fight. It ended in us being cast into a dungeon – thanks, hermit.
  • The lady in the mask is the one who made the black ooze – luckily, the execution was botched resulting in a lesser threat. Will have to follow up on this.
    Fought our way out of the dungeon, took Trawl’s body back to his estate.
    His stupid little servant didnt believe we were not responsible for Trawls death. I’m not sticking around to change his mind – theres no justice for my people in the cities of men.
    Time to leave Freehaven – it is a silly place.

-Gahn

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Vampires & Back to the Swamp
Gahn's Journal
  • On the way back from Freehaven, we found a small deserted village.
    Upon further inspection, it was because of vampires.
    We found a little girl who turned out to be the vampire responsible for all this.
    Turns out, we’re pretty gullible.
    Turns out, I’m really good at hitting vampires with this sword.
    TURNS OUT, all the vampires are dead now.
  • We met a half elven ranger. Says he loves undead? Oh, he loathes them. Whatever.
  • Made it back to Polyhedra with the surviving villagers. Good for them.
    Got a new gauntlet – its very bright, but hits very hard. Will have to hood it somehow if I ever need to sneak. Not like i need the light to see anyway.
  • Headed back to that awful swamp. Somehow it became even more awful.
    Revisited the village near the swamp – they have more walls now and are doing well enough.
  • Fought leeches at the swamp burial site – they got back up after we killed them. This place is awful.
    Made our way to the ritual site in the swamp. Of course theres more undead here. Mummies? You’ve got to be kidding. The human and I gobbled balls fighting the armored skeletons. I had to drink a potion, take up the whole swamp trail, and push my way through the skeletons. I took a lot of hits, but it was worth it.
    After we cleaned everything up, we diffused the source of the ooze and cleansed the swamp.
    Looks like the masked lady came back for some of her things. Good for her.
    Pat me on the back, I’m getting out of here.
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Eviction of the Ogres
Grindhouse

The following is a farm hand’s second-hand account of a fight in the wild, as told by a man at the Twig and Berries drinking room. Freeman Smythe descibed the man as “tall, speaking with detachment, and refusing the change laid out by the gnome bartender, on account of well, you know”

“Timmourne, I admire your ability and readiness to accept the short-comings of your status as a half-breed; both those imposed upon you by society and the inherent tricky spot your biology’s placed you in: too long-lived for the likes of me, and dying far too young, if you ask those knife-ears. But who would? They’re far too ready to loan you money now in exchange for your estate when you depart for this world. ‘Fast cash, and never mind your sons!!!’ was what my father must have said when he signed the deed.

…The money was gone in less than a year.

Enough of my ramblings. Now that we’re men of property…Smythe’s account records about a quarter-hour of discourse on a large tower, made for concentration. Very unclear ramblings.

…"And that’s how we’ll teach those Tuskers to READ!!!! Every one of them!! But yes, onto an evaluation of the fight:

  • You did well. You’re quite obviously an archer of no mean skill. Your mother-race’s inherent dexterity has to help, but you have the calculating mannerisms of a sharp human. We need to find you an augmented weapon.
  • That dwarf surprised me. Instead of doddering about, yelling at animals he instead chose to call down lightning from the sky and roll balls of fire through massed ranks of ogres. Regaur acquitted himself well, and is a credit to that short race. However, a dwarf is only as good as their last engagement, if you listen to their code of conduct. I concur.
  • That other half-elf, Wilford; he’s got far more heart and soul than your usual Knife-Ear’s dalliance with a human. The babies are typically beautiful but vapid, stupid, and flighty. This one’s proving to be a very solid warrior, and we mesh well together. My anchoring of several enemies allows him to hover at the fringe, striking when the opportunity for a kill exists. He’s also quick to
  • I’m pleased with how I conducted myself. I only wish I were somehow able to counter the magic of enemy warlocks. As an enforcer of a religious order, my clerical abilities are certainly present, but focused around preserving life and damning my enemies to hell.
  • Those tuskers need no evaluation. The warrior is able to inflict tremendous blows, but would benefit from formal education and a more calculating style of war. In summary I find his body and spirit to be terrifyingly strong, his mind nowhere near. His brother is marginally smarter, but infinitely craftier and more charismatic. With a brutish look that somehow softens when he wants, Drahg is barely out of boyhood and slinging around the byproduct of eldritch forces with ease. He both impresses and terrifies me. Very combative with me, but I suppose you can’t fix young and stupid. Also, of everyone, I feel he’s the one most able to suss out my true feelings on the lesser races. However, please realize that we are traveling with paragons of their respective races; I’ve never met such a group of brave, resourceful individuals. I am pleased to travel with them, and pray that more of their kind exist in this world.

Don’t tell anyone, but I view them as equals."

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"Hazing"

We visited the humans capital city. To their credit, the expansive sprawl makes for an impressive skyline. It must be difficult to defend.

Along the side of the page, a column of statistical information is compiled in a patchwork of draconic and orcish numeric symbols

Parker has been tasked with a seemingly benign assignment and asked not only for our help but also our obedience. I suggested he attempt to earn it, which – of course – he understood as an agreement to his terms. He also informed us that an observer would be accompanying us. Oh, good.

Parkers’ observer is more furtive than i would have imagined, being of the same institution. He asked about Parkers combat prowess – I was happy to give my assessment. Parker is a tactical fighter – focusing his hatred of irregularity and chaos into his blade. He does have a tendency to complain, however.

We visited a seemingly insignificant shrine outside the city. The attendants assured us all was well. We made camp in the fields between the shrine and a nearby town. Attacked by devils of some kind – they sought Parker out even though I was clearly the more dangerous foe – this, of course, reveals their purpose. After dispatching the devils, Wilford spotted one of the temples acolytes running back to the temple. Bleeding from an infernal wound, Parker understood this to be a form of hazing.

After quickly deciding a direct assault to be the best option, Parker and I rent the temple doors asunder and engaged the enemy force. After a tactical melee in which Parker took the forward position, I approached on the left flank to split their force and approach their leader.

Their leader was felled by Wilford only to take the form of a winged demon. We renewed our offense, spilled a lot of blood, and struck the demon down. The winged demon set his sights on Parker – he wished to posses his mind and body. The silent observer cast aside his cloak and revealed his face, and a mighty blade. Thrusting it into the temple floor, he bathed the demons’ soul in glorious incandesence – destroying it forever.

Glad thats over.

I asked the observer – the leader of Roi’s inquisitors – about the masked wizard. As I expected, he showed no fear. He suggested we speak to the towns bards of the ‘forgotten king’. I see wisdom in his cousel, for the simple telling of tales may serve to keep our search a secret from our enemies.

further notation written in draconic
Our new found property holds quite a bit of value. Its fields can be sewn, the walls can be rebuilt. But who will protect it? Perhaps our clan will be interested in relocating here. Generations have been wasted on war with our own kind over who will rule the barren foothills and sundered mountainside. I have seen enough of the world to know we can never prosper in perpetual conflict.

The following page is partially filled with writing, but obscured by blotches of spilled ink and weasel paw prints

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Reaching Bilingualism the Hard Way

From the writings of Parker Hale:

“…and just like that we’re off to the great wild mountains, home to lawless orcs, ferocious winged lizards, and the biting cold. Not so much as a ‘Hale, pack a cloak’ from those non-unctuous orcish brothers I travel with. Fine fellows, all of them, except for an accident of birth.

We traveled North through time and space, spending a vast sum of money to be spirited hundreds of miles through the ether, only to wind up on a freezing, jagged mountain face. To make matters even MORE inconvenient, that elf who calls himself a woodsman (in all fairness, he never said mountaineer) selected a cave that held flesh-hungry giants!!! Even duller and more impulsive than most of giant-kind,they fell before us quickly. Here we sit, riding out this storm before traveling to a hive of orcs. In light of this destination, I’ve begun learning Orc. It’s curious, how their language mixes greetings with terms of anatomy and human swear words."

several entries later

“…the Glass Peak; substantially out of the way and filled with hordes of undead. You’d think if eternal, ever wise dragons were going to run roughshod over this stretch of the world, they’d have the common decency to keep things peaceful. Especially if the area in question is one that can be turned to high magic! Heaps of bones, necrotic monsters, and a wicked blue Tusker who had made a pact with the dead. And his giant spider. I spent the engagement hacking my way to the lesser priests, determined to end the lives of at least a few guilty of heresy; the raising of the dead is a crime against the natural order of things. Surprisingly, the rest of my companions agree whole-heartedly. I’m glad we can march in step to that tune, at least.

After a brief rest, we got down to the business of fiddling with high magic again (as if the dwarf REALLY has any interest in it), and tracked that spider-riding bastard to his lair. The drag marks left by the table-sized chunk of Glass Peak made it easy on us. My hatred of endless marching has grown to be as pure as the driven snow, might I add.

The ensuing fight was both hair-raising and just another example of the general ineptitude of this “villain” we face. I will admit that prior experience with this “Murtug” (a horrible name, all consonants just hunting on awkward vowels)should have been enough to finish him. I only wish he’d been dispatched after we drove off his minions, possibly killing him in a moment of weakness. But no, the brothers took Wilford and placed themselves in grave danger, fighting him while exhausted. Another day, I suppose."

(Begin new entry)

“Hmph….we shall have to properly manage this Gahn’s impulsivity, or he’s going to be the death of us. For all their faults, this brood of orcs seems a shade different; they count a human, dwarf, and reptile man among their peers.”

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Teleportin' 2: Draconic Boogaloo

Scrawled quickly in the center of an ale-stained journal page
HOME AT LAST – WE HAVE MADE OUR FAMILY PROUD

On the next page
My brother and I have been blinded to the truth. Our caste is complacent and our leaders are manipulative. The shaman of clan Aurix have shown us the truth, and I will not forget it. We know what we must do – a group of outcasts hides in the deep roads and we must find them and bring them into the light. We will offer them shelter and strength in our tower. We will take root and grow strong.

And we will return.

The next several pages offer a detailed summary of forces encountered – members of clan Charir, Ulhir, and Motrug the defiler, a few notes are marked as important. They read as follows:

  • In the future, do consider the volatility of arcane scripture. Especially when sundering it.
  • This Motrug is too strong to be left alone. We must pursue him before leaving the mountains. Approach with caution and be prepared – he is a cunning foe.

Several pages have been dedicated to the practice of elementary replication of deep roads fortifications – they are basic, but accurate.
We have found the outcast village, and all have starved. Our quest has been for nothing… I fear we may have sealed our fate down here. These poor souls have starved… The text stops, punctuated by the word “Embalmed” circled multiple times This is a decoy. We must press on. These exiles are well prepared.

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Hunter's Log

Day 926
Have journeyed through old Dwarven Deeproads. No undead sighted since Glasstop. Necromancer remains at large. Unacceptable, will correct on return journey. Half-orcs determined to move their kindred from this place, agree. Is unacceptable for hospitable creatures to live in such a state.

Battled hill giant clan. Agreed to release non-combatants, grudgingly. Suspect dwarf has corrected this decision. Blood not on our hands, outcome satisfactory.

Human improving, still distasteful. Keeping options open. Have studied fighting style extensively, should be able to remove if necessary.

Anticipate hunt of wyvern. May involve deeper travel. Concerned about presence of undead in tunnels. Nothing this sprawling and dark will lack them entirely. Maintain vigilance.

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Gigantic Progress

excerpt from the writings of Parker Hale

“…and to my complete surprise, Drahg chose to save my life at a non-insignificant risk to his own hide, green as it is. My own personal reservedness prevents a stout hug, but I shall endeavor to be more civil to him. Every day, he and his brother teach me a small lesson in humility. Of course, most days are also graced with another (minor) example as to why my prejudices have evolved into their present state; I am internally conflicted, to say the least.

I should also state aside from my near death (I am blameless), the extermination of the hill giants went superbly. Everyone played their assigned role, and every member has proven their efficacy several times over. If I must mix company, I suppose these are the fellows.

At any rate, I pray that our activities here in the Deep Roads are concluded soon; the dank, cloying dark is no place for any human. And SPEAKING of humans, what is the story on that slip of a girl attached to the old dwarf? She’s seldom present, and always shying off into the darkness. I expect that she has been touched in the head, spending so much time among others not of her kind.

We have to get these orcs under the sun; out of these damnable caves. You’d THINK that offering this score of societal rejects a livelihood, easy living, and safe living conditions would cause them to JUMP at the offer, but no…..everything must be put to a vote, the elders have no power, and we are wooing every jumped up herb-gatherer and scavenger in order to make this trip agreeable to the majority.

….there’s something to be said for benevolent despots."

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Death Beach

an excerpt from the writings of Parker Hale

“…which, I must say, was probably not my finest hour of judgement. Woe is me to have underestimated the voracious deception inherent in the savage aquatic races. The less I have to do with denizens of the deep, the better I say…

…and of course, I let that self-styled “Holy Liberator” in the temple district have a piece of my mind! To stand there and listen to a man deem the working class scum, whilst standing arm in arm with a half-elf! Those egotistical champions of the faith serve only themselves, I say…espousing scripture and sounding trumpets before riding into battle, just asking to be cut down by someone a spear’s throw away, hidden behind a bush.

I have absolutely no respect for the sort of man that will ignore the rules of society. To judge someone based simply on their socio-economic standing is wholly unjust.

We are in Ciih for the time being; several instances of brutal violence bear investigation, and we aim to set one or two right before heading for home."

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Plot Summary

an excerpt from the writings of Parker Hale

“…my faith in the concept of justice quavered for the briefest instance,, when I looked that man in the eyes, reading plain as day that he was the one bringing North Dock whores to a dirty end; but lacking the evidence that would spell his end. As I turned from him in the street, I decided that I would see him dead soon enough.

Understandably, my faith in the concept of justice was restored when my compatriots and I tailed him into a flophouse and destroyed him; quickly and severely. The gratitude shown by the surviving whores was equally appreciated.

The journey from Ciih to Dragonspire Keep uneventful; the brief stop in Roi had a bit more to it. We elected to swallow our pride, and seek that fat, officious, lazy priest and trade our forced apologies and a sack of gold for the services of a priest.

I’ll admit, I positively flinched when I learned that a free-willed, half-elf woodsman was what the church had tried to pass off as a priestly healer. Part of my theological studies (I always hated those) has survived to this day, and remembering that the priests of Irrab might be flightly, but are usually good-hearted. His finding a prime donkey bitch for Wagon influenced my perception of him also, and in no small way.

Gahn and Drahg’s folk are starting to settle around the tower; we’ve brought them additional supplies and aided in the construction of a hall. They’ve been instructed to secure the area more thoroughly, prepare outbuildings, pastures, fields, and scout the surrounding area to nail down areas ripe for exploitation.

I must say, these folk are getting on better than I had thought; they drubbed a small bandit raid some months ago, and everything has proceeded as it should. I still maintain that Hsssk creature is a pet of theirs (I hold this view privately), and that the entire lot would be better off if they’d just drop the concept of societal equality and accept orders from a defined leader, without putting it all to a vote and voicing opinions. Farming and homesteading are basic things, while not without challenges they are far easier to do above ground than below it. We are setting these people up for success, and I aim to subtly nudge them in the right direction at every turn; through logical argument, example, and whatever subtle misdirection I should deem necessary.

Matters will also improve in the spring, when the Order sends a small team of Inquisitors and trainees; it will be useful to have more of my kind here, and they’ll do nicely as a complement to whatever levy of militia this place should raise.

We are headed to back to Freehaven and/or Roi in a short whike; I shall have to post a letter to what is left of my family, as it has been such time that the funds I sent them are surely depleted, and it is possible they will be curious as to where I have been keeping my presence. Not a word from any of them…I wonder if Father has finally shuffled off this mortal coil.

It saddens me to hope that he has.

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