To Rise from the Ashes

Retaking the Keep

and discovering evidence of plans

Luc, Deaton, and Amarack decided that deception would be their most powerful weapon in attempting to retake the keep, given the 10-12 foes inside. Weaving a powerful illusion, Luc made Amarack and himself appear as the dead OO’ and his vizier, and approached the keep shouting insults and challenges to the hobgoblins in residence there, while Deaton hid at the edge of the woods, ready to snipe as needed. A hobgoblin and three goblins came out to keep the two disguised Cyrans while the courtyard of the keep filled up with the rest of the garrison, confused and surprised by the sudden appearance of seeming ghosts.

Surprisingly, it was the clever goblins that discovered the ruse, recognizing the Amarack’s footprints did not match those of his form, but Deaton dropped one with a shot to the back before it could attack. Seizing the moment of confusion, Luc and Amarack attacked, killing the two goblins with a sudden thunderwave, while the hobgoblin broke and ran for the keep’s interior. Rushing into the bailey, Luc and Amarack were attacked by two archers on the wall and a combination of hobgoblins and a minotaur bruiser.

With spell and sword the two Cyrans began working through their enemies, as Deaton closed the distance to the keep and picked off enemies with his bow. Two hobs were put to sleep by Luc’s spell while Amarack squared off against another, driven on by the fury of his sword. Dropping that enemy he pivoted to the minotaur.

Just as the hobs and the minotaur seemed to be in hand as threats, the manticore they knew was there burst forth from its room, firing tail spines at Luc and Amarack and them attacking Deaton with tooth and claw. The hobgoblin leader bolted and ran back to the tower; Amarack was knocked out; and Luc began dragging him to safety as Deaton and the manticore fought – it seemed that the fortunes of battle had shifted against them when Luc glued the minotaur to a wall with his Wand of Web and gave Amarack a healing potion. The three men, beaten and bruised, had enough fight left to kill the minotaur and manticore.

Their blood still up, they followed the leader’s path into the tower, but found only a rope hanging out a 2nd-story window as evidence of his flight, a minute or more before them. In his room, however were found some parchment pages with messages on them, and a map of the region, showing what looked to be troop movements and time tables for attacks.

Drellin’s Crossing was due to come under attack within days, it seemed, followed by forces seizing the old stone bridge at Cullin’s Gorge, and then the cutting of several roads at strategic points, preventing flow of men or information in or out of the immediate region. New Cyre, it seemed, was their ultimate target, within weeks.

What to do, and when? Drellin’s Crossing was about to face an onslaught that it could not hope to defeat. The old stone bridge seemed like an important part of the monsters’ transport plan; and it seemed that other trails out of the Seawalls would be used to move unseen through the Crownwood and into the foothills south of New Cyre.

How could this invasion of the region be met, or perhaps stopped?


Meta
Aside from the messages, which are communiques between this advance base, some scouts, and some higher command to the south, and the regional map, there is no treasure to be found – no coin or magic or items of note in the room. Incidental coin is found on the dead troops to the tune of 52GP in total (they’re traveling light – and after all: they’re part of an invasion, not on a shopping trip). It’s clear, too, from the messages that scouts have been in the region for well over a month, and they’ve got solid, timely intel on forces, roads, and other important information from New Cyre to Drellin’s Crossing and farther north.

You can access a map of the region here. Each hex is about 2 miles across, putting New Cyre and Drellin’s Crossing roughly 60 miles apart. Note, too, that Drellin’s Crossing is not due east of New Cyre – it’s NE of it, and the Shrike River runs from NE to SW.

Comments

That’s not how I remember it…

Retaking the Keep
 

That’s what’s to come.

Retaking the Keep
 

and this report was brought to us by Brian Williams.

Retaking the Keep
 

Deaton was in an elemental ship that was forced down by a fireball…

Retaking the Keep
 

Okay, folks: which way are you going to go? Your most obvious options are to head back to Drellin’s Crossing or to head for New Cyre. You could also decide to continue to explore the Crownwood. Or perhaps there is another route you’d like to take.

Drellin’s Crossing is only a few hours away if you forget about exploring or moving tactically and head straight there, by the same route you came to the keep. You can also head back to the town via the old stone bridge at Cullin’s Gorge, which is a little less than a full day (daylight hours, that is). New Cyre is probably 3 days away if you get out of the forest and take the trade road.

I’m going to put together a map of the region and send it to you folks today so you can think about that before making a decision.

Retaking the Keep
 

Check the map linked from the Meta section of the main post. You are currently at Vraath Keep.

Retaking the Keep
 

“At the very least, we should get a message to the Prince warning him of the plans, if he didn’t already know. If there was a sizable force hiding in Breland, the Crownwood wouldn’t be a bad place to hide them. Perhaps we should scout the Crownwood and see if we can reconnoiter enemy positions. Of course, now they’ll be expecting scouts if they weren’t already. Any ideas, gents?”

Retaking the Keep
 

Meta
For the sake of those not there on Saturday…

The map left by the hobgoblin boss had some troop movement notes on it indicating what looked like an impending attack on Drellin’s Crossing, as well as a large movement of troops into Breland between Drellin’s Crossing and New Cyre. The most logical place to cross is the Old Stone Bridge, although there are some small fords closer to New Cyre.

Additionally, the scouting reports that were left behind indicate that they’ve done recon as far as Tar Lake, the foothills near the New Cyre Mine, and throughout the Crownwood. The map they left covers the same places shown on the map I made.

Retaking the Keep
 

When we were leaving on Saturday, we had settled on taking the route to the Old Stone Bridge. Moving forward with the Arcane Eye out front to scout ahead. Also, based on the Prince’s response, we were heading back to the Crossing before we ended up in New Cyre.

Retaking the Keep
 

Meta
I remember that – I wanted to add in a partial summary and back up to the decision point a but so as to involve Deaton.


Once the decision about which way to go was mulled over again, the group heads off toward the bridge, which is about 7 miles away by the road.

Retaking the Keep
 

When will you begin your trek? That same day (it’s late afternoon) or the next morning. Time…is in short supply.

Retaking the Keep
 

Have we gathered from the intel we picked up, that attack is imminent?

Retaking the Keep
 

You sense that an attack is imminent. When it will come, and exactly where, you cannot tell. Your best guess, given the reports and the map, is Drellin’s Crossing, with sizable troop movements either simultaneous with or following it. Given that they seem to have scouted as far as Tar Lake, the hills around which overlook New Cyre from several miles away, they’ve obviously got a large operation in the offing.

Retaking the Keep
 

We’ll take an hour rest so that Luc can recall a spell, he will then cast Arcane Eye, sending it to the Bridge. The Crossing can rot, I believe they will be attacking New Cyre, and we must make haste to get there.

Retaking the Keep
 

Amarack uses the time to offer prayer and then readies for the recon of the Old Stone Bridge. He feels strongly about getting the info to Drellin’s Crossing, but stronger about getting back to New Cyre. Orders are orders, but he will push for home as soon as we finish this mission.

META
By the way, while he is attuned to the sword is he at disadvantage with ranged weapons as well, or just melee?

Retaking the Keep
 

I believe we need to point our direction to New Cyre, part of my background is that Luc takes care of his own and everything else can rot.

Retaking the Keep
 

You’re able to make quick progress through the forest which, in the twilight, shows some evidence of traffic of late. The Arcane Eye is out ahead of Deaton, who is ahead of you folks on the trail, and breaks out of the forest south of the bridge to find a few hobgoblins milling about the south end of the stone structure.

Retaking the Keep
 

Meta
This post is closed! Move all comments to the new one about Cullin’s Gorge, since that’s where the party is now.

Retaking the Keep
Lyle

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