A World Too Small for Giants

Pride and Prejudice

Ladliss and Yasu escorted Teeg to the guard headquarters while Luka and Semaj guarded the scene of the battle. At the guard house, Captain Tack was none too pleased with the vigilante action the party had taken, preferring to wait for criminals to die of natural causes. After a short heated argument, he ordered the immediate arrest of the entire party. Yasu immediately bolted through the door of the guard headquarters while Ladliss sat and accepted his fate.

Climbing to the rooftops, Yasu set off to attempted freedom with the guard in hot pursuit. More guard joined the chase and soon so did crossbow bolts. The chase continued for the better part of a hour until Yasu was finally able to shake his pursuers, escaping relatively unscathed with just a few bolt injuries. Yasu knew that he had a wanted face that had to be disguised, luckily he was able to construct serviceable concealment out of materials from a nearby midden heap.

Yasu’s escape also cleverly led the guards in the direction of Luka and Semaj and soon the guards were knocking at the busted down door. After a short explanation of the mess that had transpired, the guard realized that these were the two vigilantes that they were to arrest. The guard in charge seemed understanding of Luka’s and Semaj’s plight and soon they voluntarily went with them to guard headquarters. Meanwhile Yasu was making his way to the house of one of the few allies he had in Holtberg, Lisette…

After a night in the clink and a few sweet new tattoos, the imprisoned party members were interviewed one by one by Tack. Coming to the conclusion that the party meant well, he released them with a fine and a warning that there would be severe consequences if they engaged in any more vigilantism.

Fortuitously they were released in time for the Sling Defense. A test of skill with a sling, you were supplied with ten bullets with three targets at varying distances in front of you; the farther the target the more points it was worth. The top three scores from each ten person heat would move forward. Ladliss, Yasu in disguise under the name Usay, and Semaj all made it to the final heat, along with Finnegan. In a show of skill*, Yasu continued his dominance of the games.

*Gypsy magic

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Bad Luck and Bad Luka

While many of the members of the party had been spending their time with the trivial business of the harvest games, other members had not forgotten the true goal of their time in Holtberg, to defend those who cannot defend themselves. Our hero of the party decided to take matters into his own hands, and, using his high charisma score, caroused until he made some friends of a more diabolical nature. After proving his friendship at the infamous display of gore made by Yasu when he purposefully, deliberately, and maliciously attacked a bar patron in the company of Luka’s halfing “friends”, Luka was invited to the inner circle of the Halfing rain on the eve of the next day.

When the time came to test friendships, only Yasu proved worthy. Semaj, and especially Ladliss, were overcome with the taste of glory and harvesting. Instead of joining Luka in his quest to save lives, they went to fulfill the all important task of standing in line. Yasu and Luka went to fight the good man’s fight.

With Yasu’s stealthy prowess, he accompanied Luka to meet the Halfing rain in an abandoned warehouse. When he arrived, Luka was beckoned by Teag(N) and a mysterious hooded figure. Luka was given a hood of his own, and like insects to a flame, more and more hooded figures began filling the warehouse. By this time the front door had been closed (and apparently locked), and a half-elf prisoner had been brought in. Luka was made to interogate the prisoner and eventually was pushed to kill this helpless creature. Luka could not do this.

Now we all know Luka is a tactical mastermind. He has experience in many areas on the fighting arts such as offense, defense, protecting others, placement of troops, and big big hammers. Unfortunately, Luka has one area where he will admit weakness; Torches. While barrels have been his most feared enemy for many days now, he has devoted all his time to the study of how to defeat them, and has completely ignored the enemy lurking the (metaphorical) shadows, the mal-intended torch. Due to this deficiency, Luka made a decision he thought would be appropriate, to run. With many unforeseeable outcomes to this action, Luka was attacked by the halfling rain. With a proud an manly “Yelp”, Luka called on the help of the mighty Yasu waiting right outside. Yasu paid no heed. thankfully, the so-called friends of our hero, Ladliss and Semaj, had sought out Luka and Yasu, and thought it sensible to actually pay attention to Luka’s plight. The rest of the party rushed to Luka’s aid, but were stopped by their one area of weakness; a door. After wading through bite-sized attackers, Luka unlocked the door and the fight began.

After the fight, blood was everywhere, friendships were, at best, strained, and the righteous and guilty alike had been slain. Ladliss had decided to take the Hostage situation into his own hands, much to Luka’s, and ultimately the Half-elf’s, dismay. The mysterious hooded figure had salin himself in his icy prison. Only Teag(N) remained alive from the onslaught of the Halfing Rain.

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Who Knows?

The Party once again ran around Holtberg in an attempt to gain any crumbs of information about the Halfling Rain. While Luka and Ladliss caroused with some of Luka’s newly gained halfling friends, Semaj and Yasu rubbed elbows at the Liberation Party’s potluck; through splitting their forces The Party was hoping to increase their ability to learn of their enemies’ whereabouts, but alas, little was gained. Though the protagonists were victorious in the Relay on the River Roe, The Party’s win was quickly overshadowed when our heroes discovered that the toll taken by the Halfling Rain was escalating; they felt as if they had progressed no further in their investigation than when they had started. Luka suggested that he and Ladliss meet with some of his drinking buddies that night, in an attempt to see if there was any connection between those halflings and the brutal muggings. While Semaj tailed the bar crawl, Yasu made another covert visit to his gypsy lover, much to the chagrin of his fellow party members. Upon rendezvousing with his friends later in the night, Yasu discovered that Semaj had given up the pursuit, and that Ladliss and Luka were no longer in any condition to take part in an investigation. After telling a joke that had Seamus rolling on the floor, Teagan seemed to take a strong stance towards Yasu, and a fierce bond formed between them.

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The Great Detective
Writing a Journal is something Archibald has always encouraged his students to do, but I had never seen the point until the whole adventure thing started. It is hard to keep track of everything that is going on in our tiny slice of history. Where to begin? I suppose I should comment on how much easier it is to alter the fabric of reality now that I have had to do it in combat scenarios. What used to take me hours of practice and preparation, now only takes 5 minutes. My companions seem to increased their abilities as well, and I am starting to understand why Archibald sent me on this wild adventure.

I suppose it is time to speak of more recent events. We have managed to distract ourselves with the harvest festival, while also investigating the muggings and attacks on Rebellion sympathizers that has somehow included all the refugees from K’cin. We are continuing to gather information from Captain Tac as we continue to participate in the harvest games. The night before the relay, Yasu took his leave of the group once again, what he sees in that gypsy woman I will never know, maybe there is something I’m missing, but women have never held the allure over me, that they have over many men. Luca also spent his night away, I think out drinking. God what it would be like to not have to study and sleep to be even remotely effective, but such is the life of one who’s will can bend reality. The relay was not even much of a competition, as having 4 heroes on the team seems to be the key to winning this challenge. After the relay, we discover that there have been more muggings, and that Luca seems to have met one of the victims in his adventure the night before. After some morally questionable investigations, we are still no closer to tracking down the culprits. Luckily the investigative prowess of Ladliss is on the case.

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Games and Rain
Placedholder

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Ahem.

After 16 hours of sleep, the party was sorely well-rested following their double-header against the Holtberg Bandits. The party hurriedly traveled back to Holtberg with prisoners in tow, hoping to hop over any farther harrowing harm. Accosted at the edge of town by bandits in more official dress, they were escorted by the town guard to their headquarters for questioning. After a unrelenting ten to fifteen minutes of interrogation, the party relinquished to the savage brutality of their interlocutor and gave over their loot as evidence.

Finding from Frealkor that the entirety of their payment wouldn’t be available until after the coming harvest festival, the party had little else to do but enjoy the celebration. The annual harvest games held particular interest to the party. The games, one for each of the seven days of the festival, involved varied feats of skill, including cooking, balancing, leading a donkey through a maze, and ladling.* Most notable of all was the prize for the one who won the most games, a permanent enchantment to one of the six cardinal abilities.

Accompanying the festivities and competition, like dark clouds over a sunny day, troubles continued to appear. The brutal muggings that the party hoped were one off events had begun to repeat and pattern. Before the party even begun investigating, the assaulters revealed their intentions. An imperialist group calling themselves the Halfling Rain, they vowed to continue ramping up their attacks unless all rebellion sympathizers and all K’cinites left Holtberg. Having come into their own as unofficial protectors of K’cin, the party knew that they were natural enemies of this group.

Ladliss along with Yasu, mindful of the fragile nature of the sleeping fruit even with Semaj’s restorative nature magic, began searching the bustling festival for a supplement to help preserve the fruit. Accosted by a friendly, helpful older gnomish woman, they were led to a small potions shop on a quieter side street. There they were met there by the beautiful proprietor, Lisette. She satisfied all the needs she could possibly satisfy of Ladliss by providing him with a preserving unguent in exchange for one of the fruits. But with Yasu, she had a few more words to exchange. She indicated that her and him had business to discuss, she dealt in favors and information. Yasu plainly stated that the thing he dealt best in was death. She smiled and invited him to meet her that evening, where the night would be more conducive to their relationship.

The games were rooted in the skills and requirements of farming, though they sometimes ranged far afield to represent them. The first game was an elaborate test based on plowing the earth, called the Plowman’s Sunder. Two competitors would face off, suspended over the River Roe on separate platforms, each platform held up by ropes that were anchored through the opponents platform. Given a hatchet, each competitor would have to slice through the ropes holding up their opponent’s platform before their opponent did the same to theirs. Four ropes prevented each platform from falling into the shark infested River Roe.

The only member of the party to try his hand at this was Yasu. In incredible feats of skill, Yasu cleaved through the opposition. His hatchet barely seemed to slow as he severed each rope in turn, destroying each opponent’s chances in one-quarter increments. The only other competitor to win in such convincing fashion was the returning champion Gorn. A mountain of a man with prodigious, almost superhuman strength that even the rarely matched Semaj and Yasu knew was greater than there own. In fortuitous happenstance, these two dominant competitors didn’t meet until the final round. Noting the convincing fashion in which the two finalists had reached that point, the organizers of the contest decided to give a memorable finale to the days games. Announcing to the raucous crowd, they announce that the ropes would be replaced with chains for the last bout.

…And with a splash, the winner was decided

Whether the last bout ended with a bang or a whimper depended on your perspective. Yasu’s dominance stopped for neither metal or mountain. His strokes seemed almost supernatural as they cleaved through the chains, while even Gorn struggled forcing the metal in his hand through the metal in front of him. While no close fought match was had, the cheering crowd were witness to an incredible dominant performance and a new star of the games.

On the second day of festival, three of the party decided to join the games. The competition represented a farmer sowing his field in the first days of Spring. At the center of the competition field was a large barrel full of grains. Each participant is given a ladle and assigned a small basket set 40 feet from the barrel. Competing in heats of sixteen, the contestants who transfers the most grain from the barrel to their basket in a minute wins at the end of the day. Only the ladle and the barrel are allowed to touch the grain, no use of hands, shirts, or other implements are allowed.

Ladliss, confident in his quick reflexes and holding an ace with a specially prepared spell, stepped up to position in the first heat. Pausing for a second to invoke his arcane powers, he suddenly burst forward with supernatural speed. Speeding from barrel to basket, basket to barrel, again and again; with uncommonly quick hands, Ladliss filled his basket to an impressive quarter full. It looked like the first heat already had a strong contender for first place.

Stepping into position during the second heat, Yasu begin and threw the entire contest on it’s head. Knowing that he couldn’t compete with Ladliss’s speed and dexterity, Yasu decided to make the game work on his terms. When the bell signaled his heat to begin, he sprinted to the central barrel in the thick with the fifteen other contestants.

*Also wrestling, slinging, swimming, and sundering.

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Bandits. . . Again?

The Party traveled as far as they could, but as night fell, they were still more than a day’s travel from Holtberg. In order to keep a close watch, Luka had not slept the night before their encounter with the bandits, and was now in dire need of rest. Though they had traveled a few hours, Semaj was uneasy about camping so near to the bandits’ former stomping grounds, and insisted that The Party keep their light to a minimum. As if on cue, during the first watch of the night two of the bandits’ confederates infiltrated the camp, threw a smokestick on the sleeping party members and attempted to free the spellcaster and his friend. Yasu quickly woke his friends, and though the spellcaster was released and began to search for his spellbook,the ninja chased him down and rendered him unconscious. Alas, the rogue liberator did not look kindly upon this, and together with his barbaric friend made quick work of Yasu. Semaj and Sir Horsebite came to Yasu’s defense and were able to take out the smaller of the two bandits, but the bigger one proved to be too much for them. He whipped himself into a rage over his fallen friends, and no amount of damage seemed to affect him; eventually Semaj fell at his hands, leaving Sir Horsebite, Luka (who had not had time to put on his armor) and Ladliss (who had not had time to replenish his spellbook) to save the day. As the bandit began his retreat, the remaining party members threw everything they had left at him; just as he was getting out of reach, Luka made one last effort, and smote the invader on the hillside. Ladliss grimly finished the job, while Luka collected the two prisoners from before the encounter. After a brief debate over the morality of ridding themselves of the captives, Luka and Ladliss decided to finish the job they had started by taking the prisoners back to Holtberg. Hoping that the last of the plunderers had been eliminated, The Party warily rested well into the next day, in an attempt to recuperate enough for the journey back to Holtberg.

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Hamburglar and the Tequito Bandito

The Party managed to find the headquarters for the town guard, and, after chatting with a charming up and coming new guardsman, were admitted entry to speak with the captain. After offering the captain their services, Yasu and Co. were told that any information they gathered would be helpful, but otherwise they should stay out of the way and let the town guard do their job. Dissatisfied with this answer, The Party went in search of any other means with which they could tackle Holtberg’s mugger problem. After gathering some information, Semaj and Friends found themselves at the manor of Councilman Falco; after convincing Not they had an appointment, the adventurers found themselves waiting for C. Falcon in his lobby. Upon meeting each other, The Party quickly questioned Councilman Velcro about his past experiences with muggings in Holtberg, hoping to glean some clues or patterns from his memory. Though the Councilman didn’t seem too concerned with the muggings that had recently taken place, he was concerned about some bandits a few miles south of Holtberg, and commissioned Luka and Companions to hunt down the miscreants. The Party signed a contract promising them 2000 GP if they were able to eliminate the threat of the outlaws; after a failed night of attempting to bait the Holtberg Hooligan(s?), the adventurers decided to come back to the mugging problem at a later date, and set off in hot pursuit of the marauders to the south.

Ladliss and Allies had traveled almost two days, when they encountered a disheartened group of travelers heading north. Discovering that these people had recently been robbed of all their belongings, The Party traced the steps of the travelers back to their campsite of the previous night, and then proceeded to track the route that the bandits had taken to flee from the scene. Upon finding what they believed to be the lair of the highwaymen, Sir Horsebite and Minions came up with a fast and loose plan with which to cripple their enemies. Yasu invisibly made his way into what they believed to be the main tent, while the rest of the party charged in, attempting to take advantage of the element of surprise. A bloody battle took place; Ladliss cleverly ensnared a majority of the villains, while the rest of the party picked off those who escaped the Wizard’s web. The biggest obstacle was the bandit’s spellcaster who, though positioned in the middle of the web, was able to elude the sticky strands and continuously throw spell after spell at The Party. A couple monsters, some tasty grass, and a flight spell later, The Heroes of the Battle of K’cin were victorious. Though one of the bandits made his escape, two of the plunderers had surrendered and were taken prisoner. A large chest and a mysterious spellbook were found in the main tent; from the actions of the spellcaster, it seemed that the spellbook held great importance to him, and Ladliss vowed to uncover its contents. Significantly spent, The Party began to make their way back to Holtberg, with their captives and a considerable amount of loot in tow.

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Return to Skullfuck Mountain
Tales of Orbital Lust

After suddenly remembering why he had suddenly left Arlago to travel to a remote hamlet, Ladliss enlisted the party’s help gathering the strange fruit that his master required for his “sleeping” potions. Yasu shimmied up the tree and threw the soft, fragile fruit to Ladliss’s waiting hands. Further examples of the steel trap like mind required to harness arcane powers, Ladliss remembered that he had waiting mage hands and begin to gently pluck the fruit from the tree and slowly levitate them to the ground.

Returning to shore to make camp, our heroes begin to discuss their plan of action. Eventually deciding that the situation in K’cin was too intractable to change, they planned to travel to the small city of Holtberg, stopping by K’cin on the way to confirm that all the citizens were evacuated and safe. They would also find if that’s where the surviving elvish forces had retreated too.

Coming out of the woods near K’cin a few days later, the party sighted the remaining elvish forces, bolstered by reinforcements. Coming upon the camp, they were quickly approached and detained by elvish guards. Never that cheery of a lot, a even more serious pallor had settled over the elvish forces; trust in short supply. They learned that Tallfellow had been assassinated by a gnomish operative, and tensions were finally coming to a head. The elves were readying an attack on the gnomes occupying K’cin; wanting to hold the utmost secrecy, they would detain the party until the offensive begun. With varying degrees of resignation and anger, the party settled into their captivity.

Maybe considering the party’s former work with Tallfellow, they were treated reasonably well during their forced stay. After a few days they were released into a nearly deserted elvish camp, with distant sounds of battle drifting from K’cin. After quick heated debate, the party decided to leave K’cin, and the newest battle for it, behind and continue towards Holtberg.

Reaching Holtberg in a little over two days, they set about searching for where Vargas and the K’cinite refugees might be. After a few hours of searching, the party reunited to touch base; Ladliss was flummoxed that his walking in a circle method hadn’t produced useful results, Yasu and Luka were put off by the unhelpful and unfriendly locals, and Semaj returned laughing and joking with a group of local day laborers. Wishing them a goodday and asking them to say hullo to their wives for him, he told the party that he had learned where the K’cin refugees were and where Vargas was staying.

The party headed to Vargas’s place of residence and filled him in on what they had seen in the Silent Woods and around K’cin. Vargas told them of how the refugees had escaped K’cin and how they were doing in Holtberg. Hearing the K’ciners were having trouble adapting to the large, sometimes unfriendly city of Holtberg, the party realized that they could be of some help. Putting their varied experience to work, the party scouted out which businesses were predatory towards the refugees and which weren’t. They also set about investigating a series of brutal late night assaults and muggings that had targeted some K’cinians.

Because they were still too brutalized after the attacks, interviewing recuperating victims of the attacks proved mostly fruitless, besides a few juicy tidbits. The party decided to talk to the town guard to find out if they had any insights into the attacks.

What will Semaj and his homely companions find out? Will Yasu finally admit the real reason he choose such a phallic weapon as his armament? Find out next time on A World Too Small For Giants!

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Battle and the Silence After

Exhausted in body and mind our heroes returned to K’Cin in the deadness of night, unsurprised to see that the elvish and gnomish camps had swelled. Knowing that they had to share the night’s events with Vargas, their most reliable ally, they walked to his house with heavy hearts. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as they sat in his sitting room, recounting to him the confusion and disaster of a few hours prior, the clangor and fire.

If only I had been there, Vargas said with bitterness in his voice before lapsing into dazed silence. Dregs of regret and adrenaline percolated through the occupants of the room before Vargas finally spoke again. Goblins so close to civilization are a threat, but goblins armed with alchemy are a grave threat no matter their location. The elvish Militia must be warned.

They quickly made their way to the elvish encampment to warn Tallfellow, who greeted them in silk pajamas befitting his rank. Vargas informed him of the goblins and their alchemy. Shocked, Tallfellow asked for as much information as the party had and began talk of going on the offensive. Time seemed to speed up again as Tallfellow roused the entire camp into action, readying an attack at dawn. And with that, a few intervening hours, the party was once again in the Silent Woods. This time with close to the entire elvish encampment at their sides.

The battle was just deserts for the weary heroes, as the elvish forces inexorably routed the goblin camp. Finding no dead hobgoblins and a cleaned out alchemical tent, the militia set off in hot pursuit of the retreating goblinoids. With a bounty of 50 gp per hobgoblin head, the party quickly joined. But after several hours of chasing, doubts about their ability to catch the hobgoblins and nagging worries about unaccounted for worgs and the safety of K’cin made the party double back towards the town.

Returning once again in the middle of the night, the party was “surprised” to find that the gnomes had occupied K’cin in the power vacuum left by the elves. Attempt to gain entry into the town was rebuffed by guards and quickly devolved into insults. Reverting to his native gnomish Yasu cut down the more grating of the two guards until the other had to restrain him. As they walked away, Yasu smiled grimly; if he was angry enough to fight, he would finish what he started, and none of his friends would be able to hold back his rage. Exhausted and fatigued, our heroes finally made up lost sleep camping just outside of K’cin.

Unsure of what to do next and worried about any citizens that were under military occupation, the party set out to tell the elvish militia about the new developments in K’cin. Realizing how close their path took them to the destroyed hunter’s camp they decided to detour and see what respects they could pay. Searching the ransacked camp and gathering their fallen comrades, they formed a funeral pyre to honor the dead. Paying the Final Respect, Yasu spoke a few words in solemn quietness broken only by the crackling fire.

Continuing on they came across the abandoned goblin encampment and chose to camp for the night and continue tracking in the morning. The next day they followed the stream and the pursuit tracks following it for many hours, deeper and deeper into the woods. Finally the stream ended, at a place of unnatural silence and stillness in the heart of the woods; a lake with an enormous tree growing on a small island in it’s center. Surrounding the lake was the remains of the battle where the goblins and elves had finally met. It appeared that a brutal battle had been won by the elves over the retreating goblins who had joined up with another goblinoid force.

Deciding to go the center of the lake on a makeshift raft, the enchanted nature of the lake became apparent. Swimming alongside the raft, Sir Horsebite listed and fell asleep. Acting quickly and without thinking, Semaj jumped into the lake and roused her to wakefulness before she drown. Hackles were immediately raised, this was already a strange, unnerving place. The hunters at the camp had told tales of a heart of the woods, where no sound could reach and danger abounded, was this that place? Was the water part of the danger? Semaj was adamant that they return Horsebite to shore before any more risk befell her, and after quick words, they did.

Returning to the center of the lake afterwards, Semaj found a enchanted quarterstaff underwater while searching for what magic may be in the area. Recovering the quarterstaff, they began to explore the island.

Finding and killing a bear that was like everything else in the area, strangely quiet and still, our heroes stopped to rest, preparing for their next course of action.

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Intimidation, Interrogation, and Malicious Intent.

Our adventurers had captured 4 goblins from the enemy camp and now needed the most valuable resource of all… information. Many interrogation tactics were discussed (others thrown aside), but it was decided blood was in the air. The first (and inevitably most valuable) goblin was gruesomely slain by Yasu, who has taken to multi-classing in Bear Jewry. The three remaining goblins received the message loud and clear, despite their wanting listen checks…

The information obtained, such as the contents of the mysterious and magical tent, was invaluable in forming plans to further attack and slightly inconvenience the goblin camp. There were 3 Hobgoblin commanders in the group, one of them being a sorcerer that is believed to have been crafting such items as alchemists fire, tangle foot bags, and other banes of that ilk.

But all of this was to no avail! It seems the goblins had a plan of their own…

As our adventures lay in their innocent slumber, there was a vicious attack! The brave and noble Yasu alerted the camp of impending doom after not noticing a small army “sneaking” up on the camp. Alas, Gwendolyn was slain! In fact, the only escapees from the ambush were our heroes, as well as Sabastion, the injured Smith, and a lone cavalry soldier.

Our heroes must regroup and decide what course of action to take next. Should they venture farther into the silent woods? Should they return to K’cin and quell the impending war? Find out next time on…

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