Moleb

It's on fire!

“I think the army men will never leave. The men with red eagles have been here before, but they never killed anyone; ‘specially Granpa,” whispered Grundie.
“Hush,” said Sharell. “It could be worse.”
“How,” said Grundie. “Look Granpa is dead. Daddy has a rope around his neck and two army guys next him. Cousin Methh and Daryl have both been hit with swords.”
Sharell looked at Grundie and tried to be confident, but the barn and the granary were on fire. Her uncle had made sure it grew every year before they added a new pig or horse; the granary always grew. But when the granary caught on fire he only looked at the girls and moms held by the well. He just looked worried about us.
The roof of the barn collapsed. Heat scalded the rocks and the guard holding baby Gem over the well almost lost control of the screaming baby. Mother tried to get up but she was smacked down by the second guard and the first one threatened to drop Gem into the well if she didn’t sit back down.
“We have plans for you that will let you and the baby live if you cooperate,” he said and then looked at everyone with an evil glare.
Army men had been here before and stolen things, but never like this. They did not even ask for anything. They ransacked the house and asked to see some type of tax record. When Granpa said he had no idea who Atlina was, he was run through with a sword and then everything started to go bad.
Daddy and the boys might have run off the army men, but they had a new person with them. Instead of a red eagle painted on their chests, this one wore all metal and it had beautiful red eagles all over it and had a sword bigger than even he was. He road a horse and even the army men did not look right at him.
The last horse to make it out of the barn died, Princess; it was my horse. I got the horse when I turned thirteen. Daddy said I could ride off to go find a husband to bring back to the farm and raise a family with every here. Princess fell right over in the cornfields. I watched her struggle on her legs and scream as she tried to bite the fire. I heard the army guards laugh and tried not to cry. But I felt the tears and looked up and saw more army people coming. They were dressed differently but I knew they were army people they all work bright white and blue stuff. They were too far away to know if they were evil too; I don’t dare to hope otherwise.

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To the colony and onto Chapter 1

An autumn wind stirred from the sea and fought its way through the rocks and cliffs until it reached land and spread its crisp salt aroma over the planned cornfields. The winds swirled around the refuge called Awcon. It gathered leaves and the scraps of grass from brick casings on the ground then swirled them high into the air near the edges of the swamp where they dared not enter. The people of Awcon entered the moleb swamp but the animals and plants of the area had longer memories; they stayed away.
The people of Awcon had been hoping for a Cheracc summer where the heat of summer stayed into fall and lengthened the growing season. This year, it seemed the wind portended an early winter – one that threatened to be harsh and unrelenting. The people of Awcon had little choice in life. Branded as criminals by the larger kingdoms, the best hope was their faith in this refuge and its leaders. It’s leaders best hope lay in the hands of a small group of adventurers who spat in the face of the Atlina Kingdom by wearing armor of the defeated Cheracc nation and arming themselves against any threat made by those who considered themselves lawmakers in Moleb though they lived far away and had no rightful claim to the land.
The Cheracc guardians as an amused Gahlon had begun referring to them after seeing them decked out resplendently in their new armor had begun a trip to the other illegal zone in Moleb The new Atlannian colony. They followed the new crystal path north halfway to where the path split and turned right. They traveled four more hours until the path stopped. Without so much as a hint of hesitation the stepped into the swaying grass and headed due east towards the ocean and the upstart colony.
The end of the first day in this uncharted land they were looking for a somewhat defensible area to make a camp. Without hills or woods in these grasslands they were going to make a camp where they stood until they heard a loud scream in the distance and saw flames. The height of the flames and the distance appeared to be an hour from them and it must be a large wooden item made by man to have created such a flame. Is it an undocumented town, a farmhouse, a plantation, or a monastery? Could it be something else? What would the Cheracc Guardians choose to do?

--

DM Note – I am trying to be more descriptive for the main entries now especially since we have a forum. Let me know what you think of it. Oh yeh, you guys are the Cheracc Guardians. :)

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Back in Awcon

Back in Awcon, you are collecting your rewards and telling Gahlon of the cave. He thanks you for your duty and let’s you know the cave will be blocked until there is time to go into it. The armor and weapons will be needed by the refuge.

Of course you can keep the items you liberated which will help you continue the fight. You also should update your provisions and collect your reward.

He then hands you a copy of a letter, “The four of you deserve my full honesty. I will show you the letter and let you make your own decisions.” He sighs, the camp all knows of this and that is why the hush around the camp is palpable. People may be preparing to leave. He looks at each of you, “I do hope you continue to fight for what is right, but we each make our own decision. You do not need to report to me when you leave.” He pauses and looks at you again. “You have brought hope to the refuge and that we are thankful, but I do understand that free amnesty weighed against a 1000 gold price on your head is very heavy. You make your own choice.

- The letter
Gahlon,
I write you to tell you of more problems. I wish that I could bring good news, but alas it is not in the cards for us. As you know, we face two problems. We have the issue of Justin taken over the leadership of Valdinville and subsequently allying Valdinville with the Atlina Kingdom. We also have the issue of the Atlina kingdom bearing down on us to eradicate us from the world.

My son, Cheyne, has been dispatched with a contingent of Atlannians in the south peninsula to work with the Morlocks and continue bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict. This should help us keep Justin and Valdinville at bay.

Here at the Atlannian colony, the Atlina kingdom has become more aggressive in preventing them from getting a trading colony on the continent. They are especially upset the Atlannians rebutted the offer of the protection of the Atlina kingdom and said they supported the establishment of Awcon.

The Atlina Kingdom has offered a reward for the head of every killed Atlannian of 1000 gold pieces and 1000 gold pieces of every person who supports the Atlannian people. This includes everyone associated with Awcon.

You must warn everyone in Awcon and give them the choice to leave or not. The people of the Atlina kingdom measure in the hundreds of thousands where as we number in the hundreds. Especially warn the people that you are sending to me. The four brave adventurers you spoke of. They must know they are walking into an area where they will be recognized as easy money for every opportunist in the area.

If they do decide to come to the colony, tell them that Atlina Kingdom seers will know their faces have put out signs ahead of time for them. 1000 gold upon the head of each adventurer may dissuade them from coming. However we do need them and we need them to seek out and turn away the hired brigands who are harassing the traders of the area. We also need them for one specific task I do not want to write about.

The Atlina kingdom has offered a one year amnesty for everyone who swears fealty to them and joins the army. All we can offer is a promise of freedom, a sense of right, and refuges which are occasionally safe from attack. Well, we can also offer the vision of my dream. I dreamt again of the people living in Awcon alongside the Atlannians standing on top of a red eagle. The eagle was dead and it was the eagle of the Atlina Kingdom.

Your Friend,

Mikhel

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Around the hedge to get the leaders

Pulling back slightly to regroup and assess the situation has allowed Harad to heal and Drilleen to rethink trying to burn down the hedges in an area where the dry underbrush has not been cleared away like in the partially constructed defenses.

The four adventurers thus make the entire 50 foot trek around the plantings to see the rest of the open area. The area, which has not been clear has been trampled over for what appears to be weeks. This seems odd to you as this means the grobbems were there before Awcon even existed. Why would grobbems be setting up where there was no steady source of food?

There is a trail of grobbem blood from the hedges to the other side of the rock. It does not take an expert in geological formations to see that this is a cave and invariably where the grobbems went. In all probability this is the lair you were to seek out.

With Harad leading the way, you make your way cautiously around the rock and see a large opening; large enough for two men to enter side by side. Sunlight penetrates a good six or so feet into the cave and you can see that it drops quickly and widens into a large area. The trail of grobbem blood goes into the cave.

What will the four adventurers do?


Continue planning in the Grobbem battle forum and then post comments here when ready.
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Continuation to the Lair

Blood courses through everyone’s veins. This is it; the Grobbems are running to safety and everyone realizes what this news means. It means they must have a lair; a place they consider safe. The ranger shoots and thinks he may have hit, but the bolt and Grobbems disappeared in the underbrush before the bolt connected. Grombard moves forward. Harad is elated that everyone agrees that it is time to spill some blood of these horrible creatures that only seek to do harm. He follows.

Grombard is the fastest through this heavy underbrush (see comments for map) and calls out, “It wasn’t a complete hit, but one of them is bleeding. Anyone could follow this trail.” He waits for Harad, Vale, and Drilleen to come up and then takes off after the trail. Movement is slow. The Grobbems easily out pace the four adventurers, but the grobbems are in a panic and one of them is bleeding.

Vale and Drilleen watch the time and are careful they are not going to be out after dark. Harad and Grombard hold up their hands. The wounded grobbem you assume is dead with a multitude of arrow size spears in it. A couple of more cautious steps and you see the second grobbem dead of these same things. Apparently, the area of safety these two thought they had only applies if you follow basic rules like not leading attackers here – but that makes no sense; Grobbems do not act like that.

The ranger sneaks forward and sees that there is a clearing that is better lit ahead. He comes back to report;

“There are grobbems ahead. They do appear to be ready. I’d bet my blade there is a lair here.”

Harad interrupts, “They’ve only had minutes to prepare for us. Let’s not give them a full night to prepare.”

You have more than an hour of light left. Some things you figure out; There is no way the party can sneak in with Harad in a position to fight in the first round. Grombard is certain you are being watched already, he just cannot pinpoint where.

Everyone uses their best perception and sees nothing. Grombard notes there is strange sounds coming from the area. Drilleen listens and here’s the sound of a large cave, the sounds are that of wind coming from a large underground area.

Truly, this is what separates adventurers from the city guard. This is the test to see if you have what it takes to charge into a defended unknown with a large underground cavern as your only reward. Sensible people would shy away and raise vegetables on a farm.

Who are you and what will you do?

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The second excursion

“No more red berries for us,” says a lumberjack. The man cracks his neck and shoulders. “We’ll be hunting tomorrow and eating meat and tubers.”

“Aye,” says another. “While I appreciate the food. There are only so many ways to eat red berries without getting sick of them.”

“I could eat anything,” says a girl traipsing around. She is traveling with Gvenndar’s group heading to the Atlannian Colony. “As long as I don’t have to feel hungry every day like last winter.”

Everyone nods and grumbles in agreement.

“Agreed,” says the first lumberjack, “let’s make this the best town around so no one has to ever go hungry again.”

You start moving and you notice that people are moving right behind you using impromptu Scythes on the grass. For some reason they are moving right behind you in a line instead of clearing out a larger area as they collect grass to help make bricks.

The girl traipses around dangling her hand in the air. Drilleen gasps and calls for a procession halt.

“Szian dear are you capturing flows with your hand without paying attention,” a woman’s voice comes from under a cloak. She is also traveling with Gvenndar’s procession. She walks over to the girl.

Szian shakes her hand and looks at the ground. “I wasn’t trying to capture them, they just move around my hand like they’re friends.”

The woman in the hood nods. She then looks at Drilleen. “She may have a command of flows that is frightening to a trained worker of the flows such as yourself, but even when she is not paying attention, she has complete mastery over them.” The woman then looks at Vale and Drilleen, “the two of you needn’t be concerned. In a couple of hours we’ll be turning away to the east and in the area of natural mages who can train her.” She looks at Harad and Gvenndar. “No need to stop let us move on.”

The procession moves on, a little more solemnly. Vale and Drilleen mention to everyone how not only did Szian have a huge flow, she had naturally paired it up with its opposites to amplify the flow. Szian had a large enough flow of yellow that when she surrounded it with the flows of red and blue (purple) – The flow had gotten to the point where no mage could control it. The girl just dissipated the flow into the sky and which is very difficult to do for any mage.

After a few hours, of planting crystals into the ground at the designated interval. Gvenndar’s group heads east. Gvenndar looks at the group of you, then at the little girl Sziann walking next to him. He sighs, waves, “we shall meet in the colony,” and takes his group of travelers east. They continue planting crystals east while you move north. The people cutting the grass are long since out of sight.

You move past the last battle and to the edge of the woods.

“This be a good place. Plenty of woods, rocks a little to the north as promised and nothing to give an attacker any advantage.”

Harad and Grombard look at each other. Seeing as how there are no good defensible sites in the area this is as good as any.

Night is coming on and one of the lumberjacks moves everyone away from the path. He takes one crystal from his pouch and places it in the ground. Instantly a line of crystals light up from the ground, a loud crack is heard and a crystal path is created. You assume it goes all the way to Awcon.

Vale and Drilleen go to the man with the last crystal. “Don’t look at me,” he says before anyone can ask. “Aedan and Adimair have been working non stop of these for two weeks.”

—DM Note--

There is about an hour or two of light left and the Lumberjacks are setting up camp in what is to be a permanent outpost. The four of you have finished the escort and now have the instruction to kill the grobbems and find a potential lair or base of operations. What do you do?

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The End of the Beginning

Summoned before Gahlon you look around and there are 27 people. You look around and do not recognize many faces. They all look hopeful and many determined. A dozen in the group have axes, saws, and other tools with them and yet another dozen have supplies with them for a long journey. In front of Gahlon is two chests.

Harad, Drilleen, Gvenndar, Vale, and Grombard – introduce yourselves. I wish to give you a longer mission,” Gahlon pauses to give you time. “First, you are to report to Aedan and tell him what you want to be enchanted while you are gone. Second, you are to go finish off the first mission,” he looks at Harad and Drilleen, “the two of you catch up the new people.”

Gahlon walks over to the two chests. “On your way out to the woods move in a straight line,” he opens up a chest and points to crystals inside. “Plant a crystal into the ground about a hands length deep every five paces.” We will build a road to the new lumber. These twelve people are our new lumberjacks. Guide them to their new base of operations.”

Gahlon looks at the men and nods approvingly. “Two hours out, Gvenndar you will take our Atlannian greeting party due east to the sea and will continue to plant these to their new colony. When these tasks are done we will have two roads to support our fledgeling two with wood and allies.”

“The four of you,” he says pointing at Harad, Drilleen, Vale, and Grombard. After escorting the lumberjacks to the woods, then killing the grobbems and finding a base if possible, will then come back here, pick up your enchanted item and report to Mikhel in the Atlannian colony. The Atlina Kingdom is causes serious problems and he needs true warriors for a task.”

Gahlon turns around, “we have a lot to do but I am sure with the quality of the group in front of me – everything will be fine.”

—-DM Note--

You have time to go prepare what reward you want, you may ask Gahlon anything you like and prepare a marching order for the trek to the woods with the twelve lumberjacks. You can feel confident that Grobbems will not attack 16 men – nevermind 27 men so it should be uneventful. Buy whatever you like, but it will be a 4 week trek through grasslands – with no charted towns or hamlets on the way.

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Awcon arrival

Gahlon looks at the three of you he walks back and forth.

“Amazing,” he says to you. “I sent you to kill twenty Grobbems and you return after killing just six.”

You go to speak and he cuts you off.

“Instead you bring twenty people filled with hope. You are amazing.” He stops and pauses and appraises each of you. “The three of you surely know what this land needs. Wow. I could have sent anyone to kill Grobbems, but to see a group of people who know when to stop on a mission and make the land a better place – that is what Awcon stands for.”

He takes a deep breath and continues, “I’m going to send you out to finish the job, but not with admonishment, but with praise. I will mention your name to Mikhel directly.”

DM Note – We will take a few days pause here to allow new players to join up. Take a few days for any changes you want to make and any research you want to do. I will make a new post later in the week as you head north to finish killing the Grobbems.

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The first foray out of Awacom

The three of you leave outward. Pleasant green grasslands and an autumn summer breeze make it an ideal day for traveling with equipment. It is mostly sunny and no rain is imminent nor is the ground wet. The lands are open grasslands with patches of woods – the lands are also very flat and not hilly at all, so you keep an orderly staggered line where you can keep your eyes in all directions. Since you do not know where to begin, you go out about a half hour northwest (left) and turn east to cover the area, then turn north for thirty minutes and head east.

Zig-zagging like this brings you to the end of your first day, where you see an encampment of humans who are setting up a very poor campsite. It looks to be a group of twenty refugees and they all are wounded and for the most part unarmed. All of the people are human and they are beaten down, depressed, and look to be accepting of death. Out of the twenty people, there are three adult men, seven adult women, and ten children. Where adult is >13 years old. All men are over 25.

While they are less dejected to hear they are only 4 or so hours from Awcon (probably 8 hours for their condition) their is no way they could travel in grasslands at night without risking broken ankles, getting lost, and people dropping from exhaustion.

The de facto leader of the group a farmer named [[.Chone]] is carrying a pitchfork and is the only armed person in the group. He tells you of the travels and of running from bandits but how Grobbems have hounded them day and night. Three people have died from their group and a handful more will not survive another attack. They have been attacked by groups of three, sometimes one after the other. The last attack, no more than an hour ago, was three successive attacks that appeared coordinated. One came from the west, one from the east, and one from the south. All within a few minutes of each other. (i.e. They appear coordinated but not as one group of 9).

They, Grobbems, hide in the grass and lunge at people. They are patient and hope to take people down later to bring back to a larger pack to eat. This does not seem normal for the overly chaotic Grobbems.

The Grobbems ran back to the woods (about 20 minutes north), but the leader fears they will be back at night and then again at morning to bring at least three people down and chase the rest off.

It is past dusk but their is a 3/4 moon out. You have your supplies. The people have no hope left – well except for you. Content Not Found: Chone asks you to defend them and says even if you find two groups in the woods, a group will get through and kill someone.

(PS – Their is an NPC with you but he only makes decisions in battle. The decision is up to you guys. I’d recommend conversing in the comment section first before posting comments to the post.)

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Initial Setup

Welcome to Awcon. All are welcome here as long as you believe that no one has the right to control or coerce other people into do things that are bad for people.

We have no defined housing areas. You have been assigned to western border about a half mile north of the Moleb Swamp’s edge. Farmers please relocate to the southern side near black river head.

Mikhel is off dealing with a contingent from the Atlina Kingdom and will be back in a fortnight.

Please report to Gahlon if you have any abilities to defend this area. He has need of some people who can fight to help the people who cannot.

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