Tag Archive: The Caskfire Expedition


42nd Spring, Year 256

We had been back just long enough for Chonck to disappear into the library, presumably to pull himself back together, when Churt ordered the party back topside to deal with an invasion of wild boar that had been eating their way through the fields and destroying any fences in their way.

The vast majority of the militia dwarves were already out dealing with their own assigned fields. There were waves upon waves of boar rushing in. Most of them just seemed lost or desperate to find food. The last few seemed driven forward.

Were driven forward. I do not know how we wound up dealing with the only dire boar in the lot of them. Thing is bigger than Chonck and so battle scared that I had a hard time telling the difference between the arrows that he’d been hit with and the ruff of fur down his back. Smart too. After Azurei used one of her brain melting spells on him and failed to kill him, he avoided her. But then when Eclair used one of her last eldritch blasts on him, he saw she was tired out and charged.

The elf managed to calm him down enough to catch him. There were remains of a Goblin harness on him with his name inscribed on it, it translates to something like “Bear-render.”  So not only is this dire boar strong and smart enough to run off a celestial warlock, though an admittedly exhausted one, but he also earned a name before we ran the Goblins out of the area. It seems that Bear-render is going to be a good addition to the fortress.

That said, this is going to put us irreparably behind on growing crops for winter, I fear. At least we should have enough salted pork and mushrooms to keep the fortress fed. I am also a touch worried that the other animals that the Goblins were eating will have similar population explosions that we will have to deal with.

For now though, I have to clean the hog droppings off the crossbow I borrowed before the quartermaster will approve repairs to mine.

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38th of Spring, Year 256

It has been a most strange few days.

Chonck has remained upset about the name situation and continued to insist that he would slay the Eater of the Dead himself and claim his name. He kept circling back to Eater of the Eater.

I feel like that has likely changed.

The door to the Eater of the Dead’s lair felt like it was miles away from the rest of the Eebakuzi Goblin pit, behind a set of distinctly not Goblin made doors. Huge doors with Goblin skeletons piled up around the sides of it.

Chonck raged as soon as we got to them and slammed belly first into the room beyond.

The Eater of the Dead was an enormous spider, intelligent enough to communicate and big enough to make Chonck look small. The room was lit by strange blue lights that, as soon as Chonck hit the Eater of the Dead, rushed in to surround it. Like a protective spell of some sort. Azurei and Eclair’s spells seemed to have no effect until they began to use more advanced magics. Even with the elf having cast a spell to enhance everyone’s weapons, it seemed like physical attacks did little to it either.

But we beat it, some how, we beat it without losing anyone.

I am worried about what happened after though.

Chonck made good on his threat to make his name by eating the Eater of the Dead. As soon as it was dead, he ripped off one of its legs and tore into it. Then the lights that had surrounded it for the entire battle surrounded and flowed into him. The lights were spirits, the spirits of every being that the Eater of the Dead had consumed. It granted him what seems to be the knowledge of all those spirits and the Eater of the Dead itself.

He can count much better now and read and put ideas together better. He has an idea of what makes something contextually appropriate. But it left him badly shaken, sitting in a corner trying to process what was happening to him. I don’t know how this will effect him or how he interacts with the party going forward. It seems like the kind of thing that could break some one quite easily. Here’s hoping he comes out of it well.

The good news in all of this, we did find what I think was the weapon the Obcobra was talking about. When the spirits attached themselves to Chonck, the only thing left glowing was the Eater of the Dead’s fangs, which suggests they hold some power. We harvested those and its venom sacs. Once we get back to Caskfire I want to have one of the craftsdwarves put hilts on them. They should make fine daggers.

 

39th of Spring, Year 256

Even with Chonck in a bad way, we are making good time back to Caskfire.

I find myself thinking more and more about what the skeletons outside of the Eater of the Dead’s lair meant. They were worryingly clean, like something meant for display. While the Goblin corpses within its lair were still covered with bits of meat or even hair and armor in some cases.

It seems possible that this is where our friends in White Hall were getting the Goblin corpses they were sending after Rikke’s bandits. I don’t want to borrow trouble, certainly. But if we have cut their access to bodies it could result in any number of reactions. It might be worth keeping an eye on them for the next while.

33rd of Spring, Year 256

I come down with a little case of being poisoned and variably conscious and as soon as we get back to Caskfire I’m ordered to rest until I can walk to the Inn and back without falling over. Not as if I needed it. Worked through worse more than once. More than twice even.

Not like making notes for an improved map, or even improving an existing map, would tire me out so badly the poison would take me and I would waste away.

But the elf made herself useful and figured out what the poison was. Some root the Goblins grind up.A paralytic of some sort, apparently. The elf also kept saying something about it being fun if it can be diluted enough. I question that, but between her and Eclair it seems likely to turn up again sooner than later.

Hopefully not in my morning beer.

Couple of issues with Conck since we got back. He has been determined as of late to grant himself an orcish last name. Neverminding that those are earned rather than given, the issue is that he wants to name himself after his favorite word and an orcish folk hero. He has dug his heels in on this one, is not willing to listen to the other party members when they say that his using profanity like that makes them uncomfortable.

Makes no sense to me why he would want to change from being a Stonecask, his mother raised him as one. Best I know the only other half orc he ever met was his brother.

At least for the moment we have him convinced not to use his favorite word again until he has earned his name. Which has him swearing to eat the Eater of the Dead. Or to fight it all on his own. I would be tempted to let him if there was not the worry of it killing him. Given that he has decided that I hate orcs, and that the elf is supporting him in his quest for his chosen last name, it seems like a good idea to keep an eye on Chonck.

Which leads to the Goblin Chonck claimed back at Yoyabo. It would seem that Leaky escaped sometime while I was recovering. Made it all the way from the Library to the forests without being noticed, despite leaving a trail the whole way. It could just be that Leaky paid good attention to what was going on when he was brought in, but it seems more likely that he had help. When given the chance, I want to ask Tusk about it. It seems like she should know something one way or the other.

No time to take care of that now though. Tomorrow we head out to the Goblin pit of Eebakuzi and the Eater of the Dead. I need to pack what I can and finish restocking before the morning.

28th of Spring, Year 256

Can not let the others see my hands shaking like this. Poison has mostly run its course, but the tips of my fingers are still numb. It looks bad that I passed out in front of everyone from it. Worse that Chonck expressed concern over it and I waved him off. That makes me seem careless.

At least the elf was elsewhere. No one is certain where she got to, but it was away from our last round of fighting.

We wiped out or chased away all the Goblins who were still in the side passages. I assume most of the ones who escaped were dealt with by the infantry dwarves. The passages are blocked to prevent more Goblins from returning, that should make the area safer.

There was something to that final fight though. The Goblins were better armed and armored by far than the others in the pit or the ones that have been out in the field. It seems we may have found some kind of outpost throne room for their King, possibly some kind of shrine to him given the amount of food and shiny things stacked around the throne. It seems like the armored Goblins would have left us alone if I hadn’t knocked over one of the baskets of offerings while checking for traps.

Further, this could tell us something about the Goblin’s tactics. They struck with poisoned javelins first, presumably to weaken their enemies. Then they attacked in small groups. I would have wanted to see how they reacted to more opponents than just Chonck and I being fully in the room for most of the fight. They were definitely some kind of honor guard.

Hopefully, I can learn more about that from the one we captured before anything happens to him. There’s a hole in his lower torso the size of a whiskey bottle, so there’s no telling how long he can last even with it patched up by Azurei. Chonck has named him “Leaky” and intends to make him do chores for him.

Eclair has already offered Leaky a knife. Twice.

I feel like we have also learned here just how little the elf does. She left shortly after we met the Obcobra and, even with the Obcobra doing nothing to help, the final battle went just as well without the elf as it would have with. Something to bring up with Churt that.

I should stop here though, the numbness isn’t getting any better and I worry that the poison took more out of me than I expected.

27th of Spring, Year 256

The confrontation with the Yoyabo Goblin pit has, so far, been a slaughter. Between Azurei and Eclair’s magics and the heavy infantry’s martial skills we’ve wiped out the entirety of the Goblin’s surface forces and fought our way into the pit itself. That has slowed our advance down a bit, due to branching pathways and closer quarters, but we reached what seems to be the central hub of the pit and Chonck as sealed the entries to most of the main branches so that we can deal with stragglers more safely.

Unfortunately, despite the damage we’ve done to the Yoyabo Goblins, it doesn’t seem that they would be willing to surrender. I offered the option to a group we found headed by a Goblin called Clever, he used the opportunity to attempt an ambush on the party. A few of them escaped to further down the tunnels, but for the most part. For the most part it’s just been killing.

We did find a source of information on the Goblin King Eebaku though. A rather strange source of information, but still.

The Goblins had imprisoned one of their own at the bottom of a well as punishment for trying to trap Eebaku as a source of power. This Obcobra claims to have been down there for nearly a  year, sustained by her magics. She’s willing, to a limited vengful extent, to help us fight Eebaku and his Goblins and has what I can only hope is information on where we might get a weapon capable of harming him.

It would seem that there is a creature called the Eater of the Dead and that it may have or may provide materials to make a weapon we could use to harm a demon lord.

It’s a ways off, probably several days travel, so we would need to finish driving the Goblins out of Yoyabo and return to Caskfire to report and restock. There will need to be guards at the pit to prevent Goblins from returning to bother Caskfire while we are away. That would also require a change in scouting patterns. And above all that we will be relying on the Obcobra’s directions, so we should plan for extra days out or some manner of trickery.

I will need to talk to Churt about all of this. She may not want to put a guard detail at the pit or maybe she would want to try caving in the side tunnels instead. It would be for me to advise and her to worry over.

(Several paragraphs have been started and aggressively scribbled out.)

The Obcobra said that Eebaku was looking for someone in the area some time before our builders struck the earth. The time line seems to have coincided with when we were first scouting for a good place to start digging. Who would be important enough to a demon lord to bring him into the Plains of Burning?

Should I warn Churt that there might be cultists in Caskfire? It seems ridiculous to think. No one in the family would worship a demon lord. Would they?

Could the Obcobra be lying to try and secure our trust more securely? She is our only source on this. This and the Eater of the Dead too. If that were to be a trap, it could be a way to wipe out the fortress’s protectors and leave everyone else open to attack.

(A number of pages have been neatly cut from the journal.)

I don’t like any of this.

21st of Spring, Year 256

In light of the recent Goblin attack, information gathered from our new captive, and general sense given our current situation, the day was spent having an impromptu tournament.

Chonck wanted to spar with the elf and it spiraled out a bit from there.

Never let it be said that I don’t want to see the elf get hit, but I could have told them that Churt was going to win as soon as she agreed to join in. Dwarven heavy infantry is nothing to joke about, especially when they’re in full stone armor.

Not sure that we learned much of anything from this.

Chonck gave a fair effort against Churt in the first round and beat the elf to take third place. Azurei can sprout wings at will, something of a shared trait for Azamaar I think. Chonck has responded to this by insistently calling her a “ghost bird person” in much the same vein that he refers to me as a “devil person” and Eclair a “child”. Regardless, she did a good job against the elf and as well as could be expected against Churt.

I suspect that we’ll be requesting a number of the heavy infantry dwarves to help deal with the Yoyabo pits now that the party has seen what they can do. So at least that came out of this. That and some new armor requisitions.

Going to need to remember to also request a more solid lock for my room’s door. Chonck refers to people with descriptors because he doesn’t know better. The elf, uncaring and a pain as ever, uses Chonck’s descriptors and argues for using them with the people they describe to the point of making Azurei uncomfortable. Let’s be honest, to the point of frustrating me enough to finally attack her. I aimed for her knee, but apparently the previous two fights had taken more out of the elf than I expected.

I’ve been doing my best to rein this in, my temper isn’t usually this bad, but it wasn’t enough.

Churt is the expedition leader and I should have brought this up with her before acting myself. The elf clearly has no respect for anyone in the fortress and I’m concerned that that will become a problem for more than just me. As it is, that’s something less immidiate than the new lock, given that after being seen to by Eclair the elf suggested that she would likely kill me in my sleep.

That’s one thing I believe her on. Ability or not, I’m sure that the elf will make the attempt. That doesn’t mean I’m going to make it easy for her or lose sleep over it.

20th of Spring, Year 256

I would have liked to have left the Goblin issue until we knew how the situation with the Black Hand and Whitehall was going to work out. I would have liked that, but here we are.

A force of Goblins attacked the surface farms. By the time we were alerted and the militia was formed up and ready, the fields were on fire and the Goblin forces were advancing. The farms are, for the time being, mostly a loss. We can replant and the food we get from our trade partners and the mushroom farms will hold us. Well, will hold us at least until we can get the surface farms operating again.

The Goblin attack force was thoroughly routed. Between the adventurers and the militia, most of them were dealt with before they could react. Eclair, Chonck, and I followed the ones that managed to retreat. Albeit, we followed them separately and with no planning. Something to work on later perhaps. Regardless, I managed to track them to a hidden tunnel and flagged down Eclair. She wiped out the lot of them. With any luck, we also destroyed any supplies they were using.

There was, it turns out, a survivor back in the fields. One of the Goblins caught in the back swing of one of Chonck’s attacks was knocked out and away from the battle.

From what I understand, she speaks common and went willingly with the guards. Importantly, that might mean that we can get more information out of her than the last one. A healthy, calm Goblin has to be easier to deal with than a panicked or injured one. I hope.

Give that the storage room we’d been keeping the other captive Goblin in is still a mess after it died, this one will be staying in the library room. It’s cleaner and largely unused, since Chonck keeps all the books with him. Maybe if she speaks common she can read it too. That would be helpful, have another way to keep Chonck distracted when we aren’t adventuring.

18th of Spring, Year 256

The elf has brought me a rather non-portable portable writing table with some kind of clamp on one end. I’m not sure what the purpose of this was, but maybe it’ll be useful once we have use of the wagon back? Chonck’s still on the “H”s so it might be a while on that.

On to our glorious return to White Hall and more information on our Goblin problem.

We ran into a group of them just off the road as we headed out. It seems their king sent them orders to attack any traders leaving Caskfire. We dealt with them and took the letter and some kind of carved chicken mask from the leader’s body. I’m going to hang it off my belt, maybe it’ll serve as a warning, maybe it just looks nifty.

Anyway, the letter specified lightly guarded caravans, presumably to keep their losses down. Said to do the attacks because they “want to keep them worried.” I’m assuming that the “them” here is Caskfire and that the King Eebaku who signed it was also our mysterious Mr. E from before. It’s something to worry about after I’m sure that White Hall and the Black Hand are going to play nice with each other.

The tower in White Hall was a pain to get into. The doorman was a nuisance to deal with, likely a facet of his job but all the same. I would have rather liked to not have to have mentioned the danger to our trade agreements this poses. It got us into the tower proper, but that’s something that can only be used so many times to any effect.

The whole tower is some kind of school and, despite the Minister’s insistence otherwise, it is definitely a school full of necromancers teaching necromancy. He, and his school and possibly the whole city, is very much up to something. At the very least, bringing up the bandits’ issues got him seriously panicked. One of Eclair’s special cookies and a touch of magic to bring the room’s temperature up bit by bit can only have helped with that.

End of it all, we got a guarantee from the Minister’s assistant that there won’t be any necromantic creatures going south of Dunhill anymore. Something fishy about that, but he made the claim under the Minister’s power so it’ll have to do for now. When I asked if they’d had any issues with Goblins in the area he also confirmed that no Goblins were anywhere near White Hall, so either he’s lying, someone’s importing the Goblin corpses, or there’s another necromancer in the area acting outside of White Hall. I’m thinking we’ll need to keep an eye on White Hall for the time being.

Needless to say, I don’t think any of us wanted to stay the night after all that. It’s likely a good thing we risked it too, since we ran into a merchant on the road to Caskfire. He was armed but alone, no telling what the Goblins might have done to him. I’ll have to make sure he’s warned about them before he leaves.

All things to worry about tomorrow. I have a room of my own now with a bed of my own and a map engraved in the wall. Churt’s done a really good job with the engraving, but no one would expect anything less than that from her.

14th of Spring, Year 256

The Ride back to Caskfire was largely uneventful.

Unfortunately, once we got back and reported, Churt insisted that Chonck at least attempt to actually do his duties as the fortress’ librarian. He’s to organize the library, at least alphabetically, and is being required to attempt sounding out the titles before she’ll allow anyone to help him. With any luck, any luck at all, she’ll relent on that and help him sooner rather than later. Chonck’ll wind up stuck there forever otherwise.

As it were, the militia headed into the woods to the north to plant traps for any Goblins that wonder through. Since we dealt with the forward encampment they seem to have swapped to actually scouting us, just using one or two to a group to avoid notice. This should put a dent in that and, I think, our trap master, Gimbal Deathweaver, has something beyond just bear traps and tripwires planned for later.

The elf was meant to go with the militia. Had volunteered to accompany them. Was excited to go with them. I told her to listen to the militia commander. Do what he says. Nice and reasonable. Easy to understand.

But no. Of course the elf abandoned the militia operation and rode in on our scouting operation to the south. Made all kinds of noise. Interrupted planning for approaching the campfire we spotted with talk about some basket on a tree game. At first they seemed to be a group of hunters, so we questioned them and shared a meal. Once we left though, the elf was finally useful and spotted their signal arrow.

I scared that group off, but there were dozens of other signal arrows in response to that one. It’s no wonder the roads have been troubled.

We managed to catch one sneaking up on our group. He tried to run as soon as he realized, but Azurei managed to talk him down to a point we could get him talking. It seems the bandits are scattered for now. There’s one main group and then a number of smaller ones. With any luck, and I hate how much I’m relying on luck here, we will have a meeting with representatives of this bandit “hunters’ guild” in three days. If they’re willing to watch the roads rather than pillage them we should be able to trade with them. It would save us a fight and deal with most of the bandit problem for the human traders.

With Churt’s approval, of course.

17th of Spring, Year 256

Three days is an incredibly long time when there’s things that need doing. I’ve been spending the time helping talk to the captured Goblin the millita brought back. That and helping Eclair with some recipe translations since she doesn’t speak Goblin. Apparently discussion of cannibalism amongst Goblins has her eager to experiment with recipes using them. It’s keeping her mildly distracted.

Chonck’s made his way up to the “H” section of his library.

From here things get a touch more complicated. We went to the big oak hill to meet with the bandits’ leader as planned. They are willing to safeguard the roads for the fortress in exchange for helping them rebuild their fort and trading with them.

On the concerning side the Black Hand’s leader, Rikke the Warg, is only willing to have her people watch the roads for Caskfire and its dwarves. That is, at least unless we can stop White Hall from sending more undead into the Black Hand’s territory or, for that matter, anywhere further south than Dunhill.

It would seem that our friendly trade partners are a bunch of necromancers who’ve been sending their creations south to collect more corpses.

I’ll have to ask Churt about it. Hopefully it’s nothing she knew about when she sent us there. Not that that matters immediately, we’ll need to travel back to White Hall and investigate. Hopefully we can find some way to talk to someone who would know something. Hopefully it’ll be someone who can do something about this.

Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully. I sound like an apprentice cleric. Though I suppose the point stands.

In any case. Rikke also mentioned that lately the undead they had been sending were Goblins rather than human. This suggests that there are more Goblins than our scouting suggests, which is worrisome. Or, that someone is providing them with Goblin corpses to make their undead from, which might be more worrisome.

12th of Spring, Year 256

Good news! We have Eclair back and Azurei seems to be feeling much better.

Less good news, Eclair doesn’t seem terribly happy about the situation with Chonck’s new vocabulary. Can’t blame her really. She’s not real pleased with the ‘sticky book’ situation either, but that at least has been taken care of for now.

We’ve convinced Chonck that, given he figures the priests stole the book from its rightful owner, then the good thing to do would be to return it to One-Eyed Jimmy. So, Azurei escorted him to One-Eyed Jimmy’s house and we owe Chonck a book with pictures. Possibly two.

With that promise secured, the rest of the trip to White Hall was quick. Though it did take awhile to get Chonck harnessed up, since he was all but dancing with excitement and kept trying to dash off to get on the way. Getting him to not bowl over the walking traffic after we got there was also a minor issue, but easily dealt with.

We’ve got both the trade agreements for Dunhill, the village we stayed in yesterday, and White Hall and, of course, the first batch of trade good from White Hall. It’ll be a good boost to Caskfire’s supplies.

We’ll be heading out in the morning. Tonight, we make like the elf and drink.

(Added in a somewhat shakier hand, presumably later)

Make a point of explaining rules to Chonck before punishing him for breaking them. Bad idea to expect he’d understand the spirit of the rule rather than the word. Bad idea Sunshine.