Crusaders and Marauders

Journal of Jessamine
Hah! You think this is my REAL journal?

(¯`·..·(¯`·..·Entry the Fifth·..·´¯)·..·´¯)

Those of you who are bold enough to steal and read my journal: in some kingdoms of the Vale, the candid reading of a minor’s journal is considered a form of pedophilia punishable by death.

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It’s clear that whatever Gods watch us have deemed Jebat’s mission to kill the Ratfangs a cursed one. I have been beaten, bitten, stabbed, beaten again, and shot at. This is not how a halfling wants to live his life! A halfling wants to bathe in silver coins as others file his nails! A halfling wishes to be carried on the backs of others! Where has this “adventuring” scheme gone wrong?

Today was the worst debacle of all. Not only did we fail to achieve our goal (for this I will be eternally grateful) we also spent the majority of this dreadful day doing battle with a hydra in a swamp. Now, why in the name of the Queen would you fight a dumb animal in it’s natural habitat?! It is a bloody animal! It has no motivations or thoughts! Walk AROUND the hydra! Jebat tells us that hydras are an abomination in the eyes of Bahamut, and thus must die. (I prefer to believe that the hydra was sent by Bahamut to torment Jebat.) Reginald sagely claimed that the stories of hydras being able to regenerate heads were a myth, so I chopped one off. This seemed like a great idea until two more grew in its place and devoured Alistair. Fighting a losing battle, I screamed for retreat, but we did not withdraw. Instead, we fought until we bled from every pore, hacking away at regenerating flesh until we could barely lift our weapons. I broke several nails, the red cloak I was disguising myself with was shredded, and I took numerous painful lacerations to my tender person. If I had not been trapped on boat in a swamp full of neck-deep water, I would have fled long before death’s door opened its maw. We finally killed the loathsome beast and discovered that, lo and behold, it did not in fact bleed gold. The dumb animal was completely lacking in items of interest to the financially minded, and we were forced to retreat empty handed (but for a partially digested chainmail from its stomach.) Alistair, one of the few people in this loathsome group that I actually liked, was gruesomely killed, not once, but twice, and I don’t think he’ll ever be quite the same. He has a grim, pale, and sickly air about him, like one who has been dismissed from the Raven Queen’s court too late.

I have to mention the actions of the cleric Grimlor. Although I do not hold him in high esteem, his entreaties to the gods saved my life today, for which I am grateful. I have no wish to meet the Queen, as I am afraid I have not been the most loyal servant.

I am tired, queasy, grumpy, upset, and just a little sick. This has all been a terrible idea, and I’m going to give Jebat a stern talking to as soon as possible.

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The Black Book clearly states this philosophy: “Never engage a target in a fair fight.” “Do not strike until you possess overwhelming odds.” I have added a new maxim: “Never engage a target unless it bleeds gold.”

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I almost wish my mentor was here to tell me what to do. Almost.

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As I continue to be surrounded by death on all sides, I can feel the breath of the Queen closing in on me. She’s searching for me with those large, scolding eyes. I know I’ve been bad… She had a plan for me, and I ran away. I’m not sorry… I hope I never have to see her face.

The rush of battle has worn off me and I HURT. I can’t tell how much blood is mine and how much is the hydra’s. I feel like an insect with its legs pulled off.

I can’t die. I have to stay alive.

I should… ask Alistair what he saw.

(¯`·..·(¯`·..·Entry the Fourth·..·´¯)·..·´¯)

Those of you who are bold enough to steal and read my journal: go to fucking hell.

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I’ve never killed someone I knew before. Even though I wasn’t the one who dealt the killing blow, it still felt like it. Surely now I am cursed.

I want to go home.

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I don’t get the Ratfang hate. I’d just like to pitch in and say that the Ratfangs weren’t really that bad. THEY never asked a small, defenseless halfling child to fight on the front lines. THEY quite respected my opinions. They always let me stay up as late as I wished, and never scolded me for using squirrels as target practice. Also: I NEVER had to walk on my own feet when I travelled with them. Jebat sucks.

(¯`·..·(¯`·..·Entry the Third·..·´¯)·..·´¯)

Those of you who are bold enough to steal and read my journal: a certain special place in Hell is reserved for people such as you. It’s called the Library of Unending Mediocrity. Every day you will be given the journal of an idle lackwit or tiresome fishwife. You will be forced to memorize every word, down to the last boorish ponderation and trivial complaint. And as you’re reading about what Thomas the Bastard’s mother-in-law thinks about his wife’s cooking, you will wonder: was it worth reading the halfling’s journal?

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I suppose the money hasn’t been TERRIBLE. It’s not more than I’ve ever seen, but at least it’s more than I’ve ever been allowed to spend.

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Note to self: I wonder how many “kick me” signs I could affix to a company of bugbears before they noticed? Only one way to find out.

I should probably get around to rereading The Black Book. If I keep on stealing pages from it to use as toilet paper there may not be much left of it by the time I need to consult it.

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Shopping list:
~Quills, ink, parchment, blank journals
~poison
~Replacement engraving tools
~Bleach, dye, lye
~disappearing inque
~spare spade
~caltrops

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It still bugs me. Why did Reginald risk his life to save that stupid screaming woman from the ogre? Jebat attempting such an action I could understand. Jebat is a creature whose muscle can back up his will. But Reginald… although I’ve been taught that a trained wizard can accomplishing anything, Reginald’s powers are lacking, and he can barely bring himself to piss on a spider. Attempting the rescue was madness. Why face certain death for the life of a dimwitted stranger?

I can only chalk it up to simple ignorance. He simply doesn’t understand what danger and death are.

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Again, I reflect. What in the name of the Queen am I doing in the company of these “heroes”? They seem determined to blindly charge into the arms of every danger. They’re magnets for death! Its only a matter of time before that death spills onto their company.

I can’t imagine what I could hope to gain from them. I’d better start seeing some gains before this mess resolves itself.

…I wonder if Jebat would die if I wasn’t there to kill his enemies? I can’t imagine how he survived before I got here.

(¯`·..·(¯`·..·Entry the Second·..·´¯)·..·´¯)

Those of you who are bold enough to steal and read my journal: Did you know that halflings are immune to a certain contact poison commonly used to coat the tips of journal pages?

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I remember a certain goblin who lectured me at length on the merits of forgery. He described a scenario in which an unpopular adventurer was delivered a letter signed by the princess of that land. The letter described the princess’s secret affections for the adventurer and entreated him to steal up to her bedchamber in the middle of the night. “I will protest your affections, but understand that this is but an act and at no point desist.” After ascending her tower, the adventurer proceeded to “affection” the unwilling princess. Guards were called and the man was executed.

Consider the scenario at hand… we have a dangerous Battalion of Banites on the one hand, and a whole village of irritating people who don’t own nearly enough gold. Perhaps, in a similar fashion, these problems can eliminate eachother? What would happen if an undesirable person received a secret missive from the Banites entreating him to enter their lair, perhaps clad in the symbols of a deity unloved by Bane, or bearing the head of a beloved leader? The possibilities for deception are endless.

In any case, I will be on the lookout for ways in which we can divide, conquer, and take the money of the enemies of Jebat. Preferably with as little actual work on my part as possible.

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Perhaps the reason I haven’t been noticed by agents of the family is because I haven’t taken special care to make my appearance obvious? No, that can’t be it… we’ve spoken the chief priest (an idiot) and the head swordswoman of the town, surely that’s as high up as it needs to be. Still, I should brush up on my appearance and cover story. What angle should I be playing here? Jessamine would be returning from a long absence. His family probably knows that he ran away. I should be aloof and quiet, a little worn. I should definitely change my outfit to something more suitable. Perhaps leather?

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My mentor was a master of two things: salesmanship, and stabbing. The best advice he ever gave me was how to sell a pitch. “Tell ’em, tell ’em what you told ’em, and tell ’em again.”

Now that I think back, his advice for stabbing was very similar. “Stab ’em, stab ’em where you stabbed ’em, and stab ’em again.”

…You know, all of his advice was like that.

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The Black Book is quite explicit in some major tenets that the group doesn’t seem to be following. If I didn’t hate reading the thing so much, I would probably go through it and pick out important quotes to illustrate what we’re doing wrong. But I’m far too lazy to actually do that.

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A bird delivered me a letter from Jessamine today. Damned fool! What if it had fallen into the wrong hands? It seems he’s having second thoughts.

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Dear Diary:
Why are people so stupid? Today I looked up into the face of a bugbear, my big eyes opened wide, glistening with the light of the sun. And as he hesitated, wondering if it was in his heart to hurt an innocent child, I stabbed him in the kidneys. FML

(¯`·..·(¯`·..·Entry the First·..·´¯)·..·´¯)

Those of you who are bold enough to steal and read my journal: How dare you! Have you no shame? May an innocent young halfling have no privacy? Stop reading now!

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Today I took the care to inscribe a note on all 10 of my daggers:
“IF YOU CAN READ THIS: Your life has been spared by Hang Jebat of the Radiant Bahamut. Reconsider your sins.”
It will make me feel just a little better next time I lose a dagger in the back of a fleeing foe.

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on Jebat:
Although I may never have the necessary moral fortitude to truly align my interests with the dragonborn, something draws me to his noble air and natural charm. Here is a man who is truly himself. No secrets, no trickery, Jebat ACTUALLY BELIEVES in justice and goodness. Hah! He’s a hopeless romantic. Brave, foolish, stupid… ah, so many things I could never be. I can’t help but admire him for it.

on Reginald:
The hedge wizard. Another man born too honest for his own good. Reginald is powerful but soft. He’s useful, incredibly so, but given to passion and foolishness. I must keep an eye on this one and make sure he doesn’t get us into trouble; the ogre who held Fammadotter Two-Tits was nearly the end of us. (And rescuing her didn’t pay off at all.)

on Alistair:
Potential in this one. He’s inexperienced, but has the makings of a tough guy who plays hardball. I really admire his versatility and acumen with exotic weapons.

on Bjorn:
Ah, Bjorn. Making stereotypes come to life. I’ve heard many and much of dwarves. Now I know that they’re everything I’ve imagined them to be. I will soon tire of his preaching.

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It has been too long since I set out on this journey. Today I noted that I seem to have LOST more money than I’ve gained on this ill-chosen venture. In some ways, I miss the company of the goblins I used to travel with. THEY never made me dirty my hands in actual combat. Those were the days, riding atop a treasure chest, shouting orders and filing my nails as they carried me along. Where did those days go?

I can’t wait for this Lassomar family gambit to pay off. I’ve lost so much as a result of their interference. A chance like this may never show itself again.

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Tsk. Blood under my nails again today. It takes so much to get my cloak clean after every battle.

At least I’m learning. Killing is so much manual labour, but at least it gets easier as you go along. I hope the Raven Queen appreciates all the souls I’ve sent to her.

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Reginald's Journal
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Table of Contents
Day 6 out of Fallcrest
Day 7 out of Fallcrest
Day 9 out of Fallcrest
Day 10 out of Fallcrest
Day 11 out of Fallcrest
Day 12 out of Fallcrest
Day 13 out of Fallcrest
Day 14 out of Fallcrest

[Day 14 out of Fallcrest]

I am stealing away a few moments to write about the events that have transpired since I last wrote. You will undoubtedly note the missing pages; trust that while pages are missing, content is not. I fell victim to the spirits last evening and while I do not remember much of what happened, the journal entry I had scribed provided little illumination.

Prior to the debauchery, however, my recollection is clear. Upon arriving in Meadowbrook, we were confronted by some guardsmen. Jebat dared not let William out of his sight, so Jessamine and I accompanied him and the guards on the way to the mayor’s manor. The others—- Grimlor, Bjorn, and Allister—- went off to investigate Meadowbrook on their own. We came upon some bandits harrying a trader and fought them off. Apparently, Bjorn and Allister happened upon a similar scene. It seems that a tribe of bugbears and hobgoblins have also been recruited by the Banites to keep the townsfolk in line. In addition, we learned that the mayor C. Richard Runn has been captured by the Banites himself.

Obviously, an alteration to our plan was in order. After regrouping and conferring with what is left of the town’s leaders—- Kenneth, a priest of Pelor and Vanessa, a captain of the guard—- we believe we are up to speed with the situation in Meadowbrook.

  • The mayor had apparently been trying to appropriate the mine for himself through the hiring of this mercenary splinter group of Banites, who may or may not be operating outside of the chain of command of the organization.
  • The Banites have since captured the mayor in a coup and attained control of the mine themselves. Their number is estimated at roughly one hundred strong.
  • They are using peasant labor to mine the gold and have somehow convinced or coerced the presiding wizard of the town, Magesto, to turn a blind eye.
  • Several monstrous humanoid tribes have been employed by the Banites in order to maintain control over the area, including the Rat Fang Gang.
  • Kenneth and Vanessa, in a stereotypical fashion, disagree on how to proceed. The warrior demands action; the cleric, patience.

We all agreed that one hundred foot soldiers of Bane was too tall an order for our small band, even with the aid of the Meadowbrook partisans. After acquiring some provisions (including some curious items of a seemingly magical nature from a peddler known only as Ringo the Gringo who seems to deal in some form of reputational currency), we retired to the Dew Dropp Inn to formulate a plan of action. Cue the debauchery.

Before passing out, we settled on routing the remaining goblinkin in the area so as to ease the passage of potential reinforcements and establish our presence in the area. Here is where things get tricky…

Our companion, Jessamine, has until this point neglected to inform us that he spent several years imprisoned or possibly in the employ of the goblins in this area. I do not think it a leap to conclude that all of us had our doubts about the young man. Still, this rattles me to my very core! To think that we could easily have had an agent of the enemy embedded among us for the past few crucial days! When my mind wanders to these thoughts, I need only remember that the young man could easily have slipped a dagger into each and every one of our spines as we slept, eliminating the threat we pose immediately. No, he is not truly an agent of the enemy. Or of the Banites at the very least.

As I turn over (and over and over) this new information in my head, the more I come to sympathize with the young man. We are not so different. He was forced into servitude at a young age much as I. Neither he nor I had much recourse. As I think about burning Nimozaran’s tower to the ground, I realize what he must feel about razing the goblins’ lair. It is truly regrettable that we must engage in these violent acts at all, but I have come to realize that in some situations these actions serve the greater good. Still, it will be hard on the young man. Jebat’s pious preaching will not help matters either. There is no hope convincing Jessamine that what he has done is right or necessary. This is a wound that will heal only with time. But make no mistake- a wound as grievous as this will leave a scar on this young man’s psyche. He will not be the same…

In our latest battle, Hang Jebat suffered a bite from an infected rat (Rattus dirus). The diagnosis strongly suggests filth fever. He soliders on, but we must be careful. Plagues such as this can have dire consequences indeed. When we return to Meadowbrook, we must allow him ample rest. A full day. Perhaps two. Hard to say.

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[Day 13 out of Fallcrest]

Page mostly torn out. The scrap left bears some fragments of what appear to be unintelligible scrawling and crudely drawn stick figures. On the facing page there is an illustration clearly traced out in an uneven hand. It details in arcane shorthand the somatic portion of a spell. Underneath the word “BOOM!” (also in an uneven hand) is crossed out and underneath is written “Projectile Conflagration?”

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[Day 12 out of Fallcrest]

No rest for the weary. After last night’s escape, we awoke this morning to find ourselves set upon by what I can only assume was the remnants of the Rat Fang tribe. About a score; archers, footmen, even arcanists. Seven Hells, there was even a Bugbear in tow (Goblinae Gigantii). My memory of the proceedings is hazy at best. I was struck dire by the blade of a foot soldier, losing consciousness for what my comrades assure me was only seconds…

I shall be blunt. What use is a journal but for laying one’s soul bare? The whole affair was… troubling. The event makes me question this path I have chosen for myself. Is freedom truly worth risking life and limb? Until this point, I had not truly considered it a possibility, although seeing hale Jebat struck down half a dozen times should perhaps have done more towards driving home the reality of the situation. Was Nimozaran truly so bad? Which is a greater waste of one’s gifts: toiling in obscurity and destitution for decades or seeking to earn fame and fortune and the short lifespan that often accompanies such rewards? For now, the point is moot: I must continue on for I dare not venture back to my master alone. I must put it out of my head. And endeavor not to be so easy a target for those who would try to take my life.

Marilyn continues her advances with little to no discretion. Perhaps in light of recent events I should be “grasping the bull by the horns” and tasting the fruits of the opposite sex before it’s too late. Still… I am not in the right frame of mind to explore that avenue. We shall put a pin in that.

Now, the business at hand. Let us review what we know:

  1. The Brigade of Bane or a splinter faction thereof has seized control of the apparatus in Meadowbrook, i.e. the mayor Cornelius Richard Runn and the wizard Magnificient Magesto.
  2. Ostensibly, the goal is the recently discovered gold mine and the wealth and power that accompanies its ownership.
  3. The name Warduke is bandied about as a leader of the marauders, although the exact chain of command remains opaque to us.
  4. The Rat Fang Gang of goblins has been hired to blockade Meadowbrook from outside visitors, shedding light on the events of these few days past.

We will press on to Meadowbrook in the morning, arrange an audience with the mayor, and hopefully develop a strategy for how to proceed from there.

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[Day 11 out of Fallcrest]
We started off towards the Rat Fang Lair this morning, our new companions in tow. The dwarf Bjorn Hamcrusher seems to be amongst the devoted of Moradin; another priest to keep Grimlor Godefroy company. Jessamine is a young halfling who claims to have been traveling to Meadowbrook to join some family there. He had been traveling with a caravan, but it was attacked and the members held captive by goblins. To his knowledge, he is the only survivor after escaping their captivity. By all rights, he should not be traveling with us into the heart of the lions’ den. Not only does it put him at risk, but he could prove a liability to us. However, he would fare much worse on his own and so he remains at our side…

Along the route we were attacked again by wolves. Perhaps the goblins are keeping them hungry somehow so that they will unwittingly assist in making the roads more dangerous for travelers. But the wolves were of secondary import. We were also ambushed by a pair of ogres. Huge, monstrous fellows, these! The sketches do not do them justice. We were able to fell one; the
other fled after surrendering5. From the ogres we recovered an amulet with the letters “M.B.F.” on the back. Seems magical in nature, but it bears further study.

Another half day’s journey brought us to the Rat Fang Lair. As we approached, formulating a strategy for our infiltration, we were discovered by snipers! Our mission of paramount importance, without thinking I conjured a spell that devastated their ranks—- it disturbs me how easily these destructive spells have started to flow forth. The element of surprise had been wrested from us. We entered the cave and heard the screams of a young woman. Grimlor Godefroy and I, disturbed by the presence of this additional hostage, followed the screams down a passage. We discovered that a beautiful young woman was being held by a Hill Giant at least twice our size. I tried to lull the Giant to sleep with a charm as Grimlor Godefroy courageously (or foolishly) advanced. The Giant battered my comrade with a swift smash of his club! Thinking quickly, I ran forward to aid my fallen friend. I used one of the potions we had received from Ole Mann to revive him. I turned to the Giant and, with the aid of a charm, attempted to convince him that we came to help him! To make this all the more believable, I conjured an illusion of another beautiful girl and called his attention to her as I ran to aid his captive. The next few minutes were a blur as I freed the maiden and ran with her to safety.

With her arms wrapped around me, I don’t know how I maintained the presence of mind to orchestrate our escape. Since our first encounter, I have allowed myself ample opportunity to be distracted by her beauty; she is fairer than any I had known in Fallcrest. Marilyn Belle Farmurdotter6. She fancies me her hero and I have not had the courage to disabuse her of that notion. I did no more than any of my companions would have done. Still, it feels… pleasant to be her “hero”. At some point, I will find the modesty and courage to protest. For now, I revel in her attentions and flirtations. Still, it is like giving keys to the kingdom over to an infant. My normal approach is useless here.

Anyway, as we retreated from the cave (thankfully my comrades were all still alive), it began to tremble and quake. A stranger ran out from the cave as it collapsed. We beckoned him towards us as we ran from the cave. As we traveled up the road, we learned his name is Allister Dayne. He also seems of the adventuring sort, on his way to seek glory in Meadowbrook.

A few hours away from the cave, we saw fit to stop and make camp. The exhaustion of the day has caught up to me. I fear I can not fight sleep any longer. Tomorrow, we continue towards Meadowbrook. And maybe, I graduate from my ineffectual whimpering towards Marilyn into actual manhood. Unlikely.

5 There is a sketch of an ogre speaking the Giant word for “Stop!” with the Common translation “Stop!” written beneath.

6 In the margin there is a classic teenage heart-with-initials bearing the letters “M.B.F.”. Underneath, “Marilyn <→ Amulet?” is written.

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[Day 10 out of Fallcrest]
We journeyed some ways down the road, presumably towards Meadowbrook, though I confess to having lost my bearings amidst the numerous melees. I have taken advantage of the time I spend now with Jebat to glean what I can from him with regards to battle. Admittedly, I am not much of a fighter, although over the past week I have seen enough fighting to convince me that must be rectified.

We met up with Grimlor along the road, although the warlock was nowhere to be found. I expect that Moradin’s justice was meted out in some way upon him, but I don’t care to speculate further. Suffice it to say, I believe we are better for his absence.

We were beset again by goblins. My comrades again rushed forth to meet our enemy, leaving me in the open. However, I was prepared for this eventuality and as the goblins approached from the rear I weaved a complex illusion of a Rat Fang chieftain that stalled their advance. By means of the illusion and my knowledge of their language, I was able to convince them that we were agents of the Rat Fang Gang, dispatching some would-be deserters. From this unlikely alliance, we learned some new information regarding the trouble on the road. As I suspected, greater forces are at work here. The Battalion of Bane has hired the goblins to monitor the road and harry any travelers on their way to Meadowbrook. We allowed a gravely injured goblin to flee, hoping that he will warn others not to assault us.

Further down the road, we came upon Ole Mann’s wagon, or rather what was left of it. After dealing with some aggressive wildlife (Canis Lupus again… and Stirges… very unusual), we rescued him from the wreckage. It seems that he was waylaid by goblins as well. Their trap destroyed his wagon and they absconded with Will Runn and an item of some importance. We pledged to aid him in rescuing the lad, although I question the wisdom of this. Still, it seems my modicum of skill in the arcane arts has contributed to our survival and I would not dare leave my new friends to this task alone. Further, I fear I would not survive the journey to Meadowbrook should I strike out alone. So it seems we are bound together for now.

Ole Mann seemed worried at our mention of the Battalion of Bane. Truly, if the rumors are to be believed Bane is certainly an entity worth fearing. Still, this Battalion is composed of men and monsters, flesh and bone, not angels and demons… right? Else, why would they hire goblins to do their dirty work? No, they are men… or at least humanoid. We currently have no idea of their number, but that is not our primary concern. We shall rescue William Runn and deliver him to Meadowbrook earning the favor of its people.

in a less clear handwriting, further down the page

In the night, we were joined by a young lad. Halfling. All alone. Seemed scared, rightfully so. Claims to have escaped from Rat Fangs. Suspicious. A young man traveling alone should not have survived more than a day on this road with what we have learned. Jessamine. Familiar name.

in an even less clear handwriting, even further down the page

Roused from our camp by loud voice. Further, by earth-shaking rumbles. Dwarf attacked by Grimlocks. Jebat hit hard. Tried to use phantasms to frighten them, forgot Grimlocks blind. Forced to use Simka’s Darts. Haven’t since I killed that goblin several days ago. Seems like years ago. Dwarf okay. Goes by Bjorn. Need rest. Candle done anyway…

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[Day 9 out of Fallcrest]
Much has occurred since my last contribution within to these pages! This is to say, the silence is not for want of interesting things to say; I simply have not had the opportunity to take a moment’s rest and coalesce my thoughts into a form befitting this medium. Now that I have had a brief respite, I can reflect upon the last 48 hours and construct a decent narrative of the events.

During the night that followed the previous entry in this journal, we befriended a strange woodsman with a bear for a companion. He seemed friendly enough, so we bore no hostility towards him, allowing his to camp with us for the night. After we retired, an old man (fittingly named Ole Mann, though I confess to not knowing if this is his true name) and his nephew William Runn stumbled upon our camp while we were all asleep. I fear if the old man in this tale were replaced by nefarious goblins or ravenous wolves, this author would not be so lucky as to be writing these very words. In any event, he claimed to be on his way to Meadowbrook with sundries and supplies, so welcomed him into the warmth of our campfire. After exchanging tales and food for a short while, the man took leave of us, continuing down the road towards Meadowbrook. We returned to our bedrolls, careful this time to set a watch, and returned to sleep.

In the morning, we were beset again by goblins! Something has certainly invoked the ire of the goblin tribes in this area; the tribes would ordinarily not be so interested in a small group of five travelers with no goods or equipment but the garments we wore and the implements we carried. My companions were eager to dispatch them, and in their rush left me exposed in the rear of our ranks. In their haste, they were unaware of the group approaching from the other direction. They took me in a rush and impaled me on their blades! Luckily, I was able to weave a quick charm and stumble to safety. Fortunately, there are skilled healers in this group else I would most likely have died… As an aside, I have read dozens of detailed accounts of human and humanoid physiology and anatomy, but I lack the practical skills to administer aid to the wounded and my traditional arcane approach seems useless in these matter.

In any event, Jebat was livid at the lack of discipline we showed and clearly responsible for the blunder. In response, he has since been taking “command”, for lack of a better word, of our defense against the goblins and other assailants. I have been particularly interested in learning from his tactical prowess and have even taken to sparring with him occasionally in the evenings. Obviously I am no match for him as a melee combatant, but in light of recent events, I feel as though it is foolish to not even attempt to learn a modicum of self-defense.

After the encounter with the goblins, the group splintered. Grimlor Godefroy and the warlock engaged in a heated argument and wandered off. The woodsman followed suit, I think in an attempt to arbitrate the dispute to a non-violent conclusion. This left Jebat and I alone on the King’s Road towards Meadowbrook.

Thereafter, down the road, we came upon a handful of goblin bards in a copse of trees. They did not seem hostile, merely playing their instruments. Anticipating an attack, Jebat took an aggressive stance. In response, they stopped playing and I turned to find a pack of wolves (Canis Lupus) ready to strike. Apparently, the placating influence of the music was keeping the wolves at bay. They lunged Jebat and I, surrounding us. Loathe as I am to use coarse evocations, desperate times call for desparate measures. I remembered the pattern for Zhang’s Eruption4 just in time to surround the animals in a gout of flame. Unfortunately, Jebat was unable to avoid the flames; one of the reasons I rarely deign to use such spells. Fortunately, what was a devastating blow to the wolves was largely shrugged off by my comrade. As I backed away from the fracas, I attempted to cross a small stream to gain a superior position from which to utilize some charms and illusions. The bridge, however, was part of a fairly crude and mundane trap that, in my haste, I failed to recognize. As I crossed, the bridge gave way, dropping me into the stream. As I struggled to surface, I eventually saw the familiar form of my kiabil4 on the banks. I hastily scrabbled out of the water. Slightly worse for the wear, we have decided to rest before continuing any further. While the journey has been much more dangerous than I had anticipated, I could not have hoped for a better traveling companion. He has remained loyal, and has displayed tremendous fortitude and acumen, at least in tactical matters. I should think this will not be the last time I owe him my life. And if I can be briefly immodest, our experiences to date ominously foretell of a time where I should be allowed to return the favor…

3 There are a series of illustrations and runes on the facing page.

4 Drac. N: companion.

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[Day 7 out of Fallcrest]

…And now even the six books I brought with me have been destroyed, waterlogged in an attempt to rescue some fool half-orc from a river. Still, I seem to have joined the company of some decent adventurers, whose skill with the martial arts will hopefully be useful. It seems that slaying is a necessary condition for improving one’s status as an adventurer, a concept I don’t relish. I felled a goblin myself today… it was so easy… too easy… Perhaps I can leave that distasteful task to my comrades to a large extent. Still, can I truly exculpate myself from the slaughter itself if I am the one driving the cattle? A philosophical question for another day. For now, I set my mind to the more pressing issues at hand…

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[Day 6 out of Fallcrest]

I am three days out from under the heel of that awful old man now and have taken to writing this journal to escape the suffocating boredom that accompanies this travel. I never thought that I would be missing that musty old tower, but I only had room to bring half a dozen or so books with me on my travels and have at this point read them all twice over. While I could say that of the vast majority of the books in the Tower as well, at least there would be some variety. If this is all that the world outside Fallcrest has to offer, it seems the the great deal of effort I exerted to obtain this sabbatical were wasted.

I suppose if I am to write these words for posterity’s sake, I should explain further… I have read enough old journals to know that a narrative such as this read out of context is completely useless. So in that spirit, you are reading the journal of Reginald Fairfield, apprentice to Nimozaran the Green the “High Septarch of Fallcrest”.1 I was “sold” to Nimozaran as a child of 4 or so when my parents came to the realization that, while most children would eventually stop asking “Why?” in response to their insufficient explanations, I would not. This was around the same time that Nimozaran came to the realization that at age 4 I was likely more useful than any of his current apprentices. Unfortunately, my parents did not have the means to pay the exorbitant fees Nimozaran demanded of his initiates. But before he became aware of that, my parents packed up and left Fallcrest. While they are off in some remote town, producing the complacent offspring they have always desired, I have been living a life of servitude to that doddering old fool for over 15 years now. Oh, I suppose I’m being too hard on him. He’s useful enough to serve as the Septarch of a town like Fallcrest. But there are books (entire stacks!) in that library that are wasted on him since he never took the time to learn the languages in which they are written! Yet another thing I had to teach myself. It took me 6 years to read all the books in that library. Only 4 years to read them all again… Somewhere during that stretch it became clear that I had learned all I could from my apprenticeship to Nimozaran. Still, he was not about to forgive the debt I owed him. As a result, I had to conceive a plot to not only… well… escape, I suppose is the word… I had to conceive a plot to not only escape, but to make him believe it was his idea to let me go.

In the course of my errands, I learned of the new mine near Meadowbrook and the subsequent troubles that corresponded with its excavation. I figured this was as good a chance as any to make my mark and possibly garner some leverage, goodwill, or old fashioned coinage with which to expunge my debts. So, utilizing some innocent charms on some key members of the Fallcrest elite, I planted the idea in their minds: “This situation in Meadowbrook could potentially threaten our holdings! Wouldn’t it be best if we sent an emissary to report back on the situation? And wouldn’t it be useful if that emissary had some education, or perhaps arcane training?” So in a matter of a few days, they came knocking on the Septarch’s door, requesting an audience. Nimozaran had no choice but to comply, and advancing in age as he is, he could hardly bear the journey himself. So he came to me and “requested” that I sally forth, never knowing that it was I who had set the great chain in motion! Even better, he surely expects that I will eventually return and resume my chores… my travails… my [insert colorful goblin word for the duties of a slave]!

…And so here I am. At some waypoint on the road from Fallcrest to Meadowbrook via Winterhaven. I can only hope that things will pick up soon before the pittance Nimozaran doled out runs dry. I would hate to escape from under the heel of one taskmaster only to slip into the grasp of another…2

1 There is a translation in the margin, where it is noted that the closest translation of High Septarch to goblin is literally “Old and Wrinkly”

2 There is a note hastily scribbled in the margin at the end of this entry. It reads “Vanaireole Deezees- connected to Meadowbrook?”

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Jebat's Journal
Jebat

A Letter to Iron Lord Maddox, in the Shield Monastary East of Fallcrest.

Iron Lord Maddox,

As per my orders dated the 20th of May I have traveled to the village of Meadowbrook in search of Elder Justice Derran. Although I have found no sign of that brave knight I have uncovered the possible cause of his disappearance. The village has been under siege by a combination of Banites and the Ratfang tribe of Goblins. A complete recollection of recent events can be found in my journal, which I have enclosed in this communication.

I now find myself in the company of four brave companions. Together we have done much to break the power of these goblins and allow the people of the town to free themselves from the influence of the Banites. I write to you now to apprise you of the situation and to alert you to my next actions. Tomorrow I shall lead my small band against the Goblins final stronghold. It is my belief that if we can destroy the lair and the tribe’s leader the remaining goblins will scatter and return to their traditional hunting grounds in the Stonemarch Mountains. This mission is undertaken at great risk and with only a small chance of success.

Should I fall please know that I have done all in my power to walk in the path of righteousness. If I fail in this endeavor it is due to the strength of the enemy or the weakness of my sword and not some failing of the heart. Always I have served the Platinum Lord and looked to Him for guidance, never have a stumbled from the path, my head is bloodied but unbowed. What success I have found in this mission is due in no small part to the companions I have found and I would ask a small favor of you my lord, though you owe me nothing.

As you know my family’s wealth and influence is great in the south. Should I fall, but any or all of my companions survive, please pass along their names and descriptions to my brother in Vor Roukoth. When I took the sacred oath of brotherhood in this order, I surrendered my claim to the lands and title that would have, by inheritance, been mine. I ask now that my brother find it in his heart to take half the value of those lands and divide it among my surviving companions, or if they should also fall, to their families. Such wealth should be sufficient to keep them in comfort for many years. I should especially like to ask that a place be found within the clan for Reginald Fairfield, a promising young mage of great talent and pure heart. If given the chance I am sure he will serve House Hang loyally. Below is a list of my companions, their homes, and last known location.

Reginald Fairfield of Fallcrest, last seen in Meadowbrook.

Grimlor Godefroy of Stiengatta near Hammerfast, last seen in Meadowbrook, will likely return to Hammerfast if not successful in Meadowbrook.

Alister Dayne of Fallcrest, Son of Edric Dayne III, Knight and Captain in the Fallcrest Guard. May return to Fallcrest.

Jessamine, a Halfling of low birth, family unknown. Wanted by the Lassomar family for crimes unknown. Last seen in Meadowbrook. Will probably head south if events go against him (possibly her).

Should this mission meet with success, and I survive, I shall write again within the month. If not, please pass this letter and my personal effects along to my brother.

With everlasting faith in the Dragon,
Hang Jebat, son of Tuah
Knight of the Platinum Shield

9/10

A great and terrible day!

I sit alone now, in my room at the Dew Drop Inn, wracked by doubts and indecision. Did Balgar the Dreaded ever feel so incompetent, so divided?

Today we killed a Hydra. A Hydra by the gods! The foul spawn of Tiamat. I never dreamed that I would stand face to face with such a creature and live. I never hoped that I could rid the world of such an abomination. And yet I survived and vanquished the evil. So answer this prayer my Lord, why do I feel so ashamed of my actions?

We followed the trail of the Ratfangs a step closer to their keep, the Fanged Fortress. I was foolish to think that we had already broken their power. This tribe is powerful enough to entice a Hydra to guard their lair, how much worse is there yet to face? We stopped at the edge of a swamp. It did not seem impassable, only slow and dangerous. A half submerged boat offered a fairly quick crossing and we (or perhaps just I) were eager to keep moving. I asked the others to stay on dry land and cover me while I tested the waters to find a safe path. Dutiful as ever Allistair, Reginald and Jessamine provided careful missile fire while I made my way to the boat. Allistair entered the water to help me retrieve the vessel and at that moment the terrible creature rose from the water. It towered above us, it’s four heads screaming and belching putrid water. With all my strength I pushed the boat towards shore for my companions and braced myself for its attack.

At that moment I thought only of myself, only of survival. All of my training, all of my lessons at the academy, all of my experience left me. I stood bereft of all thought and all conscience and so my friend died. The beast attacked with incredible fury. Again and again it bit at me, its fangs smashing against my shield and tearing at my limbs. How many wounds I took I do not recall. But within moments my companion, my friend, my brother in arms lay dead behind me, ripped limb from limb by the Hydra’s unrelenting attack. He should never have been there. I should never have let him enter the water. I should have seen the danger. But even then my only thought was for myself.

Retreat was impossible for me. To step back would have been certain death, and yet it is precisely what I should have done. The others should have fled. I should have commanded them to go. Instead they leapt to my defense and suffered terribly for it. Only Reginald kept his head about him. Indeed, he has the sharpest mind I have ever known. Grimlor, brave as ever and with a will thicker than stone, came wading in to the swamp to save Allistair. Through the power of these rings we received from Ringo he somehow brought Allistair back from the other side. Oh the horror of that moment, to see a friend torn asunder and then remade into a living being again. It is not natural. What did he see? How long did his soul linger between worlds? Is this truly Allistair that walks beside us now, or some empty body bereft of a soul and lingering on the edge of shadow?

I battled on, hacking at the foul beast as best I could but knowing that I could not hope to win. And then to my amazement the tiny halfing, the man child with whom I had argued so hotly only a few hours before, leapt into the fray and cut at the hydra with the fury of ten men. Grimlor used his powers to once more bring me back from the edge of death and then Allistair was beside me again, hacking away with his mighty great sword.

What right have I to call myself a man amongst such company? I walk beside giants, men of such heroism and willpower that I am ashamed to call myself a Knight. These companions of mine are base born, sons of peasants and merchants, raised in the alleys and gutters of Fallcrest, and yet more noble than any Baron or Earl I know. How many others would have fled in terror? And what price did they pay for their bravery? Allistair fell once more, bitten nearly in two by Tiamat’s abomination. Jessamine fought to the last gasp and barely got away with his life. Only Grimlor’s timely healing kept them from death icy grasp. And what of me, standing like a fool, uselessly hacking away with no thought to the safety of my men. The hydra overpowered us and finally brought me down. As I fell into the cold swamp I saw Reginald finally slay the beast with one of his conjured missiles.

And so, thanks once more to Grimlor’s faith and healing, I have survived, as have my brave companions. We have rid the world of a foul creature and made one swamp slightly less dangerous, for a time. But at what cost? Allistair is half the man he was. He walks as if asleep, not speaking and staring vacantly at the ground. Jessamine, I fear, will leave us soon. He has no stake in this fight and less to gain from our victory. I could call him a coward and bereft of honor but that would be a lie. Grimlor will soldier on, but his faith in my leadership is gone. And Reginald…the first of my companions and the man upon whom I lean most heavily, have I lost him too?

“And so the darkness surrounds you, engulfs you, and drags you down. But fear not Nuarja, for your fate is written in the blood of kings. All has been decided before your people walked this earth, before the mountains were raised and the seas filled. Bahamut’s will lives within you, and so you shall do his bidding.”
The Book of Bahamut,The Choices of Nuarja, 9:01.

7/31/11

Meadowbrook

I have arrived at Meadowbrook at last. My companions and I arrived in the town in the early afternoon. We encountered two guards in a watchtower on the outskirts of the village. The “guards” are really nothing more than farmer’s sons dressed in boiled leather and carrying halberds. Their weapons and armor are ill cared for and their skill at arms seriously lacking. When we presented Ignatius W. Run to them they seemed unsure what to do. I told one to remain at the tower and the other to escort us to the mayor. As we entered town we unwisely split up. It seemed prudent at the time to gather as much information as possible as quickly as possible. Grimlor set out to visit the local Temple of Pelor, we had heard that it was the largest in town and we hoped that the priest there may be able to provide us with information and assistance. Bjorn went to find accommodation and refreshments (these Dwarves do seem overly concerned with their alcohol, an unexpected weakness in such an otherwise strong race). Allister went off to talk to local townsfolk to gather what information he could. I managed to talk Marylin Farmerdotter into going home. She was loath to leave Reginald’s side but she is too much of a liability to keep with us, and I need Reginald’s full attention and keen mind on the task at hand. Reginald, Jessamine, and I escorted young master Runn and Ole Mann towards his father’s keep. Along the way we discovered a miner (no doubt a fortune seeker newly arrived in town) waylaid by two bugbears and a hobgoblin. My first inclination was to pull back and gather the others. I sent Will Runn to find the rest of my companions but he failed even in that simple task. I hope for the sake of Meadowbrook that the Mayorship is not a hereditary position. The town guardsman that we had with us proved his worth in much the same way as Will. I would have persisted in my efforts to retreat had the miner not been in such danger. To leave him in the hands of these marauders would have been ignoble. Luckily Reginald and Jessamine have become strong allies. The hardships of the long road from Fallcrest have toughened them and given them a taste of battle. Reginald dispatched the hobgoblin, a shaman of some sort I think, while Jessamine and I brought down the Bugbears.

I must watch this young Jessamine. He is not, by any means, the gentle child I first took him for. Although I like him well enough, there is something duplicitous about him. He is good to have in a fight, but I would not trust him to hold my purse.

As it turned out Bjorn and Allister had similar trouble only a mile up the road from us and managed to dispatch their attackers without loss of life or limb. They too have grown in their abilities. Allister shows great promise and could be a powerful Kenjusai (Sword of Justice) if his heart can be brought under the Dragon’s wing. Bjorn, like so many of his brethren seems to be as solid and tough as granite.

We learned from the hapless guard that the mayor had been abducted by the Banites and taken from the town. Why he had not informed us of this earlier I do not know. I do not know which is more lacking, his wits or his courage. We backtracked to the Temple of Pelor, picking up Allister and Bjorn along the way. Unfortunately we saw no sign of Grimlor on the road or at the temple. The Temple is one of the larger structures in town, The Temple of Sun and Summer it is named and presided over by a Pelorian Priest named Kenneth the Kind. We found him there along with a powerful female human warrior named Vanessa the Vigilant. I had heard that human females sometimes took up the sword but always found it hard to imagine. They are usually so frail and soft, so unlike our Dragonborn women. Even so Vanessa appears to be warrior of considerable strength. She and the Priest were engaged in discussion as to the best course of action. It would seem that in the absence of the mayor these two have taken responsibility for the welfare of the town. After some cajoling we managed to move into the temple to discuss our options. I write them here to gain a clearer understanding for myself.

Kenneth argues for patience. He seems to be in favor of waiting until we have greater knowledge of our situation and perhaps more strength.

Vanessa argues for immediate action before more damage can be done.

The Mayor, Cornelius Richard Runn, has been taken by the marauders to the gold mine where they have established their base camp. Several things strike me as important here. Firstly, neither Kenneth nor Vanessa seemed particularly concerned about the loss of the Mayor. In fact they both spoke disparagingly of him. He seems to have been no friend of the peasants here. According to Kenneth it was the Mayor who attempted to use the Banite marauders to work the mines, perhaps to fill his own coffers, rather than protect the town. If the father can be judged by the son, I hold out little hope for his honor. Second, Vanessa did not think that these marauders were under the direct control of the Brigade of Bane. She knows of Warduke and his soldiers and seemed to suggest that this group was affiliated with them in name only. As she points out, they are less organized that the Banites tend to be, and there is no clear leader or chain of command. Perhaps they only wear the sigil and profess the name as a means of instilling fear in the townsfolk. This would be a great boon to us if it is true. Disorganized marauders can be scattered like leaves in the wind. Finally, Magesto the Magnificent may not be in league with these marauders after all. Certainly Vanessa, Kenneth and other townsfolk are angry that he has not come to their aid but neither has he supported the attackers. Apparently he has not been seen for some time. This is also true of Elder Justice Derran who disappeared shortly before the marauders appeared. It seems curious that the town’s most able defenders were somehow neutralized just prior to the first attack. I must discuss this with Reginald but my suspicion of the Mayor grows.

Vanessa estimates the number of marauders at about one hundred along with allied humanoids. I believe we have largely broken the power of the Ratfangs and may have robbed the enemy of the better part of their Bugbear allies. Even so, one hundred is too many to openly challenge.
I believe our first course of action must be to reconnoiter the mine. I need to know who commands and where to concentrate our attack. One thing is certain, if we sit in town waiting the enemy will come at us in force and we are too few to hold them.

We have managed to resupply ourselves with armor and weapons. I have purchased, at great expense, a fine suit of scale and a long sword. The armor is of local make but surprisingly fine. It seems made for heavy combat, I should like to meet the smith. The sword is well crafted. Not beautiful, but sharp and with a good balance.

We have found accommodations at the Dew Dropp Inn. I will try to gather my companions and discuss my plan.

Another point I must consider. At the temple Vanessa asked who was the leader of our group. I hesitated. Why? I know the importance of strong leadership and yet I held back before meekly claiming responsibility for the group’s welfare. I must meditate on this. Without leadership this small band is doomed to perish. I fear I have also deeply offended Vanessa. I have never been able to read human’s. For one thing they all look alike. Truly if Reginald, who I now consider my tomodachi (close friend), donned Allister’s armor I would not be able to tell who was who. Even more so if he wore the helmet. Their hair seems to be the only this that distinguishes one from the other. I wonder what would happen if someone sheered them all like sheep? Would their children wander around aimlessly, unable to tell their own mother from any other? Their fleshy faces wrinkle and twitch as they talk and I am beginning to think that this gives them a clue as to the intent of their speech. But they are not always forthright in their words and I am often confused as to their meaning. They seem overly interested in breeding, and comment on it at all times. I am sure it cannot be true but at times it even seems that the men suggest to breed with each other! It is because of this that I mistook Vanessa’s compliments for… flirtations. The sudden thought of copulating with a human distressed me and I blurted out a blunt refusal. As it turns out this was not her intent. She stormed off quite insulted, as of course she should have been. I must make amends as quickly as possible. Her aid in this mission is essential.

“Ask the Dragon not for strength Nuarja. He has given you all that you might need. Does the ocean ask the clouds for water? Do the mountains ask the earth for strength? You are one and the same. Let the Dragon’s strength move through you and you shall be victorious.”
- The Book of Bahamut. The Choices of Nuarja, 4:12.

7/24

I believe we may have finally broken the Ratfang Tribe. They came at us again this morning, two dozen or more; spellcasters, archers, those little skirmishers and even a Bugbear. Thank the Dragon that our little band stayed together. Grimlor fought like a Dwarven Champion of old. The melee was chaotic, with that hopeless wench of Reginald’s screaming like a banshee throughout. Ole Mann and Ignatius disappeared into the bushes early on, although they claim they killed two goblins at some point. Reginald somehow managed to control Marilyn and still pull out an impressive barrage of spells. He scattered goblins about the field with a series of powerful blasts. I went blow for blow against the Bugbear. Twice I fell from my wounds and twice my comrades revived me. With the help of Allister Dayne and Grimlor we finally brought the beast down.
We captured a Goblin spellcaster before he had a chance to flee. I must admit that my passions got the better of me. My blood was up and my mind a fog of rage and fury. I took the poor creature by hauberk and threw him to the ground. With my Axe at his throat he felt compelled to answer my questions. As the battle rage cooled I was able to piece together a general idea of the situation. I put it down here to help organize my thoughts and, should I fall, to leave a record.
A single Brigade of the Battalion of Bane has moved into the Meadowbrook region and is making a bid to take over the village and surrounding area, including the mines. The Brigade is commanded by a man who goes by the name of Warduke. According to the son of the mayor, Ignatius William Runn, the mayor of Meadowbrook attempted to resist the Brigade with hired swords and the local militia. Not surprisingly the fight went against them. What use are armed peasants against professional soldiers? Still it was valiant of him to try. The Brigade has enlisted the aid of the Ratfang Goblins to guard the rode to Meadowbrook to prevent aid from reaching the beleaguered village. It took my party and I a week to fight our way through. I believe that we have now broken the main strength of the Ratfangs, although they remain in the area in large numbers. It is difficult to gauge the numbers of the Brigade, young Will Run, tells me there are hundreds, the Goblin puts the number at a thousand. I suspect it is somewhat lower than both. So often the week overestimate the power of the strong.

“See with the eyes of the Dragon. See through the deceptions of the wicked, behold the power of the valiant. Like the purest of mithral, strength lies not on the surface, but deep within the heart. See with the eyes of the Dragon and you will find the truth.”
- Book of Bahumat, Proverbs 1:12.

Warduke has managed to co-opt the local Wizard. A man named Magesto. It is unclear if the wizard works willingly with the Brigade, or is being forced in some manner. We must find out, a wizard could make a powerful ally or a dangerous foe. Another wizard, curiously named Vanaireole Deezees, is also active in the area. He, or possibly a local Druid poisoned some of the wells. This cost the Brigade most of their horses. Reginald has some knowledge of him and tells me that he is half crazed. Will Run also made mention of a Dragonborn warrior who paid his father a visit. From his description I believe that this man is a Blackguard of Bane. If this is true…my path is clear.
With this knowledge we now approach the town. It is my intent to enter the town without alerting the Brigade and gather as much information as possible.

“There is no knowledge that is not power.”
- The Book of Bahamut. The Choices of Nuarja, 3:11

I will deliver Ignatius William Runn to his father and speak to the mayor. I hope to locate Elder Justice Derran, or at least discover his fate. If he lives he will be of great value to our cause. With a better understanding of the situation, and The Dragon’s blessing, I will find Warduke and this Blackguard and kill them both. My companions, Reginald, Grimlor, Allister, Bjorn, and Jessamine have offered to assist me in this quest. I have no reason to doubt their honor, I believe that they will stand with me to the last, should it come to that. With the leaders of the Brigade defeated their minions should break and run. If not, I’ll be dead and hopefully seated in the Great Dragon’s Hall.

5/20
A great victory for Justice! We have cleared out the Ratfang stronghold and may have, by sheer luck, destroyed their guardian, a mighty giant. Yesterday we were once again set upon by wolves. Reginald fears that the goblins have found some cunning means of controlling the beasts and using them to close the road to Meadowbrook. Indeed they are all about, and fearsome too. No sooner had the wolves attacked than two monstrous Ogres ambushed us. I must admit my training at the academy had not prepared me for such a fight. The beasts were half my height again and incredibly strong. Grimlor, Bjorn Hamcrusher (another Dwarven Priest of Moradin) and I managed to hold them off while Reginald did his spellwork. I must admit that of all my traveling companions it is Reginald who has proven most useful and surprising. At first I thought him little more than wolf food or goblin bait, but his quick thinking and clever use of magic has saved us more times than my sword has. Or I should say my axe, but how I long to take up the sword. I feel ready, my strength grows with every passing day. Perhaps when we reach Meadowbrook Derran, if he still lives, will see fit to raise me up. A sword, mount, and a knight’s rank would fill my heart with joy.1

We dispatched the Ogres and with Ole Mann’s help tracked them to the cave of the Ratfangs. We found a medallion on one of the Ogres, with MBF engraved on the back. I held it until we were able to return it t its rightful owner. We crept too close to the cave before we had a plan or attack in place and were discovered by Ratfang snipers. Reginald, in a blaze of glory, let loose a volley of lightening bolts and destroyed the Goblins to a man. I seized the moment and leaped to the attack, not wanting to loose the initiative Reginald had gained for us. Inside the cave we discovered a second hostage being tormented by a massive Giant. I admit that the very sight of the creature was terrifying. Reginald and Grimlor distracted the giant while Jessamine , our halfling hanger on, and I rescued William Runn. Incredibly we managed to free both prisoners and flee the cave as it collapsed behind us.

Will Runn is in decent shape, no worse for his ordeal. Ole Mann was gently wounded in the fray but has recovered. He seems to recover from his “wounds” with surprising alacrity _after _the battle. He also appears to be in the possession of more items than I had originally suspected. A battle axe has mysteriously “appeared” several times. We have also picked up another companion who escaped the cave with us. A human swordsman by the name of Allister Dayne. We are now quite a party; Reginald, Grimlor and I have traveled and fought together so often that they seem like brothers to me now. Ole Mann and Will Runn are an enormous pain in the ass but they both possess information that I need. Bjorn is as different from Grimlor as one dwarf can be from another. Where Grimlor is contemplative and thoughtful, Bjorn is rash and headstrong. Grimlor seems to keep his emotions under tight control, slow to anger and careful in is loyalties, whereas Bjorn’s anger flares like a hastily broken sunrod. Grimlor I trust with my life, the other may cost me it. This little halfling troubles me somewhat as well. At first he appears nothing more than a lost and frightened child. Truly, when we first found him I thought him a boy (or girl) lost in the woods. But when there is a fight to be had he (or she) strikes with deadly accuracy and cunning. I get the feeling I should tightened my belt pouch and guard my back when she (or he) is about. And now there’s this peasant girl.

Reginald, for all his cleverness and magical powers, is still a boy in man’s breeches. The girl, Marilyn Belle Farmerdotter has quite beguiled him. She is lowborn, as low as they come, although Reginald is a commoner himself. Even so, he is an educated man, and will surely rise as high as his station allows, beyond the meager reach of this tart. Then there is the question of the amulet. Reginald assures me that it is magical in nature, some healing art, and engraved with _her _initials. I know many a lord’s daughter who would give a pretty coin to wear that necklace at court, and yet here it is in the possession of a farmer’s child. I will discuss this with Grimlor, to mention it to Reginald now would do little good. He has not raised his eyes above her neckline yet and his thoughts are focused lower still.

Allister Dayne is an amiable fellow. I hope he is as skillful with that sword as he appears. I like the man already, but he has no faith and no allegiance to king or country. Perhaps I may bring him under the Dragon’s wing.

Will Runn is turning out to be a man of little courage but useful none the less. I gather from him that his father, the lord mayor of Meadowbrook, attempted to meet the Battalion of Bane on the field. Of course his peasant levy was routed and sent running back to their fields and farms, yet I credit him some courage for the attempt. I should think the locals carry some fierce resentment for the defeat and feel a strong hatred for the Banites. This will be of great use when the time comes. Another pitched battle against them would be just as fruitless, but there are other ways of winning a war. If I understand him correctly Will claims a Dragonborn commands the Banites in Meadowbrook. I may not have caught his meaning correctly, his speech is as scattered as his mind and his tongue often runs faster than his feet. Still I believe I sense the work of a Blackguard. If this is true then there is much work to be done. This type of evil must be destroyed as quickly as possible before it spreads. Too many strong young Dragonborn, full of passion and dreams of valor, have been pulled into the claws of Tiamat and Bane. This is not the way, they must be reminded of the trials of Kena and the lessons of Nuarja. In the words of Dillon the Brave, “Time to re-educate the brothers.”

1. In the Order of the Shield, as a brother increases in rank his weaponry changes. A squire recently graduated from the Academy is given armor, a shield, and an axe. He is considered a footman until he earns the right to ride a horse and carry a sword in battle. This is the origin of the term “earning your spurs.” The sword, a more elegant weapon than the axe, symbolizes the warriors’ growth as a leader, while the horse (or other mount) symbolizes his prowess in battle. The shield remains the same, some Paladins pride themselves on carrying the same shield throughout their service unto death (preferably on the battlefield).

5/13

“O you who serve, keep your duty to The Dragon, and seek means of nearness to Him, and strive hard in His way that you may find victory.”
– Book of Bahamut, Sword of the Righteous. 5:35

The night before I left Fallcrest and the Academy I had a dream. It meant little to me at the time and I had forgotten it until today. I dreamt that I saw and old man standing at the foot of a great stairway. In one hand he held a map but I could not make out the image upon it. In the other he held a pearl of enormous size. The old man beckoned to me and pointed up the stairway. I followed his gaze and saw that the stairs rose by segments up beyond my vision, into the dizzying heights of the heavens. Standing at the top of the first segment was a shadowy figure clad in black mail. As I approached him he raised his hand. In it he held the severed hand of the old man, still clutching the pearl. I looked back and saw the old man lying in a pool of blood at my feet. I knew that somehow I had caused his death. In a rage I climbed towards the dark figure but as I approached he drew his sword and made as if to cut me down. At that moment I awoke. I feel as if I saw the dark figures face, but now as I think back I cannot picture it in my mind’s eye.

Today Grimlor returned to us, to my great relief. His presence reassures me, and indeed it was needed. We were once again set upon by Ratfang Goblins. We have come to predict their tactics and managed to dispatch them, although with some effort. They tend to swarm up out of nowhere. But Reginald used some cunning illusion to hold off some of their number and confuse them. We then captured one for questioning. A good job too. From him we have learned that Meadowbrook is under siege by a group called the Battalion of Bane. I have heard of mercenary armies loyal to the dark lord of battle. They run rampant across the land, leaving destruction and suffering in their wake.

“I am time, the destroyer of all; I have come to consume the world. Even without your participation, all the warriors gathered here will die. Therefore arise Nuarja; conquer your enemies and enjoy the glory of victory. I have already slain all these warriors; you will only be my instrument.” - The Book of Bahamut, Choices of Nuarja, 11:32

This news was followed by worse still. As we proceeded we were set upon by wicked creatures who attempted to feast on the very blood in our veins. Stirges, Reginald called them, and a wicked few they were. Just as we fought them off a pack of halve starved wolves discovered us and made the mistake of thinking we were easy prey. At the very same time Reginald discovered the wagon of Ole Mann half buried by a rockslide trap. The old fellow was still there buried beneath the rubble. Grimlor and I ran off or cut down the wolves while Reginald managed to free Ole Mann. To our dismay his young apprentice and nephew, Ignatius William Runn, has been captured by the Ratfangs. Apparently the youngster is the son of the Mayor of Meadowbrook. It is our guess that the Ratfangs, or their Banite masters, will hold him for ransom. Ole Mann has knowledge of the Ratfang’s warren. He has agreed to lead us there in return for a cut of any treasure found.

We sit resting now. Although physically I am holding up well, my armor has taken more than a small amount of damage. Our battles along the way have been hard fought and I must admit I did not hold much hope for my own life at several times. But with the aid of my two companions, Bahamut has seen fit to keep me on this earth… for now. I can only hope that he has some greater role for me to play. Ole Mann has seen fit to cut several new straps for my armor which I have now attached. I have lost several plates across the ribbing but was able to take from under the shield arm and sew them to the front. It is not pretty but it fills the hole. My hamata is in torn through in two places but will hold for now. I have reinforced it with leather sewn directly to the gambeson, thanks again the Ole Mann’s remaining stocks. Most unfortunately I have been forced to reverse my right and left vambrace, the sword arm vambrace having been cut clean through at some point. It is uncomfortable but will suffice. The damaged vambrace, now on my left, is secured in place and should hold thanks to another wide leather strap. Happily it is hidden behind my shield lest someone of note should see it. Pauldron, Greves, and Tassets seem to be in good order or at least should last through to Meadowbrook. If we arrive on our feet and, with The Dragon’s blessing, some of the Goblins treasure, I shall purchase a Brigandine Jack. This Lorica has a pleasing look but is not fit for continued service.

At dawn we will cover the last few miles to Meadowbrook. A journey of two days has taken nearly a week. I am eager to reach my new post. This journey has been a greater challenge than I expected, but indeed I feel more prepared for my responsibilities than ever before.

5/1 (real time)
Another troubling day. In the wake of our skirmish with the goblins, the group splintered. Although I did not witness the cause, Grimlor and Saladin seem to have had a serious disagreement. Although It never became violent they each appeared clearly angry and stormed off in separate directions. At the same time the druid, who had appeared out of nowhere, promptly disappeared again. Reginald and I, having no other obvious option, proceeded toward Meadowbrook. It is my hope that the others find their way back to the road and rejoin us soon.
As it was Reginald and I had no choice but to continue alone. Within a short time we were set upon once more by Goblins. It troubles me deeply that the little buggers manage to set a rather sophisticated trap. It would seem that they utilized some Bardic magic to charm a pack of wolves, and then used them to attack us. It was a close fought thing for Reginald and I to escape. Adding to the danger was Reg’s sudden and unexpected discovery of a trapped bridge which resulted in his near drowning, again. Having managed to destroy or run off the wolves and the goblins, I hauled Reg from the river and collapsed with exhaustion. The closer we get to Meadowbrook, the more frequent these attacks are becoming. At this point I would not be surprised to discover the town under siege when we arrive.
I am resting now, but soon we must push on.

4/16 (real time)
A tumultuous night. Reginald returned to us unharmed, thank the gods. He saw Jareth from a distance but was unable to stop him or aid in his safety. I fear that in these wild woods he may have already met his end. Reginald, although a little distressed, is in good health. He is an interesting young man. Completely out of his element, it is a puzzle how he survived for this long on the road by himself. And yet he possesses an indomitable curiosity about the world, as if every experience in new to him. Should any harm come to him I would be deeply troubled.
I now find myself the member of a traveling party. Five of us have banded together to complete the trip to Meadowbrook. We have been joined by a new companion, a half-elf whom I believe is a druid of some type. Amazingly he travels in the company of a bear! He too joined us late last night, having caught sight of our campfire. The bear came upon us first and we were all set to fight had Tycon, the druid, not appeared and deterred us. A good job too as that bear is quite handy in a fight.
I continue to be troubled by the presence of the half-orc. He must be taken to Meadowbrook for justice, but I would just as soon be done with him. Grimlor the dwarf is in agreement with me as to the warlock’s fate, which provides me some peace. Most disturbing at this point is the realization that the half-orc thinks himself the leader of our small band. The others are wise enough to see his folly, but I fear he will put our safety at risk in the future.
A strange man awoke us from our sleep in the middle of night. While he seemed harmless enough there was something about him that set me on edge. I graciously accepted the food he offered and then withdrew to some safety to listen and think. He drove a wagon, packed with goods bound for Meadowbrook and traveled alone but for a young nephew ill equipped to deal with the dangers of this road. Within two days we have been twice set upon by goblins, and to no small effect at that. And yet this aged old man travels the road unprotected, with a wealth of cargo, and seems not only unscathed, but completely unafraid. I suspect powers at work beyond my knowledge. Saladin made a great show of talking to the traveler and indeed, may have said too much. The merchant’s easy manner, and loose tongue put Saladin, Reginald, and Grimlor at ease, prompting them to speak of their plans to reach Meadowbrook. Indeed this traveler had much knowledge of the town himself and I would have liked very much to speak to him. But fear of revealing my own mission to the others kept me at a distance. They thought I slept while in truth I listened to their conversation. I have come to believe that each member of the group travels to Meadowbrook for purposes they do not wish to reveal. Again, my deepest concern is in regard to the half-orc. He possesses a deep dislike for the dwarf and perhaps myself. Is this further evidence of his criminal intent? Indeed his comments to the old man set me so on edge I had to distance myself from him to calm my rage. The poor fool knows not what he does when he insults the honor of a Dragonborn. Still I shall continue to try to guide this group as best I can. Justice must prevail, my own desires are secondary.

“Great is the Dragon Lord and His power over the earth, but greater still must be the Justice He brings.”
– The Book of Bahumat, Shield of the Faithful 1:10.

I write now as we sit and rest. This morning we were set upon once more by Goblins. No great threat but blunders were made. I rushed headlong against the first attackers, realizing too late that a second group would appear from the rear. I must spend more time working with my fellows on some basic tactics. I have become accustomed to fighting alongside my brothers at the academy and forget that these men have no knowledge of combat. My haste almost cost Reginald his life. Although we all survived the attack it was sloppy and overly risky. Grimlor became separated from the group and almost cost both of us our lives. I must train this group!
I am curious to see Meadowbrook. The old man’s description of the town intrigues me.

3/25
A tumultuous day, possibly my first test since leaving the Academy. A small band of Goblins attempted an ambush at the crossroads to Winterhaven. Only six in number they were easily dispatched with the assistance of fellow travelers. It is these travelers that I must now consider.
A human named Reginald, slight of build and pale skinned he seems possessed of a sickly constitution. Still he did not hesitate to offer assistance where others of a healthier look might have turned away. His actions display an honest heart. I should like to know more of him. He also seems to have a curious mind and, if I am not mistaken, is able to converse in the Goblin tongue. Strange. A Half-Orc with eldritch powers. This one concerns me deeply. He was the first to arrive on the scene after the goblins attacked. I must admit that at first I thought he was their leader. I must not to be so quick to judge.

“Woe be to him that sees only the fangs of The Dragon. Look beyond and find the Truth”
– The Book of Bahumat, Proverbs 3:14

He made an honest attempt to assist, clumsy as it was. Had it not been for the arrival of the Dwarf I may have had trouble saving the human and half-orc from drowning, while still dealing with the irksome goblins.
It is this Dwarf that gives me hope. I believe he has been sent by The Platinum Lord to aid me in my task. A priest of Moradin, he seems to be all that is good and decent in his race. It is well known that Moradin and the Dragon are brothers in arms on the Straight Path. Such a one as this could be a strong ally in the difficult times that are surely to come.
Then there is this Half-Orc. I suspect that he is a Warlock of some kind although I know little of such things. Whether he is in alliance to some fowl denizen I cannot tell, but I have heard that such things occur. As I am now witness, he is responsible for the death of one innocent man. A crime that cannot go unresolved. It is only by luck that the four of us are all traveling to Meadowbrook together. Once there I must bring this Warlock to justice. If it is in me I will help him to find the road to virtue.
For now it would seem that I must stay in his company. He is a local of this region and seems to have useful knowledge that I might use. He tells me that the Goblins were from a Tribe called the Ratfangs. Why must these creatures always have such deplorable names? There is nothing noble in them at all! Apparently they were traveling very far from their usual territory. I wonder, have they grown in power, or has some more powerful group pushed them in this direction. My fears for the well being of Meadowbrook grow. We must make all haste.
We briefly encountered a large Dire Bear. Seen only from a distance it was indeed a majestic and powerful creature. Discretion being the better part of valor we chose to leave the beast to its business and move along. Reginald though, seems to be a slave to his own curiosity and could not leave well enough alone. He chose to return a full league down the road, simply to observe the creature in its natural habitat. I was loath to let him go alone but felt that I must stay with the Half-Orc, if only to discern his motives. I also felt that such a frivolous use of time could slow my progress towards Meadowbrook and be contrary to my orders.
Most troubling of all is the Half-Orc, Saladin’s, reaction to a group of hunters we encountered. Without thought to the situation or any attempt to deduce their intent the brutal Warlock leapt from his concealed position and cut down one of the men without warning. Indeed I would have prevented him had I not been engaged in protecting the wellbeing of a fallen comrade. A fellow champion, but of Pelor the Sun Lord, a young man by the name of Jareth had come upon us in some considerable distress. His wounds were in need of treatment and his survival of the utmost concern. The good Dwarf proceeded to render him service while I stood guard. It was at this moment that the band of hunters approached. I was the first to spot them and had ordered Saladin into a hidden position, in case their intentions were hostile. He acted of his own volition and leapt to action in the described manner. Appalled as I was by this act, I quickly called a stop to the fighting and attempted to make recompense with the hunters. So stricken were they by this brutal attack, and sadly by my own appearance, that they promptly fled the scene.
We have managed to determine the fallen man’s name, Timothy, and suspect that his betrothed, Gretel, awaits his safe return in Meadowbrook. There appears no option available other than to escort the Half-Orc, who must be considered a criminal at this point, to Meadowbrook to account for his actions. Since he is traveling in that direction at this time, there seems little point in alerting him to my intentions. To do so might cause him to slip away and I cannot afford to spend the time tracking him down.
Sadly the young Knight, Jareth also fled the scene, possibly troubled by the Half-Orc’s action. Neither my protestations, nor the advice of the Dwarf could bring him to our side. Should I have sought him out? Surely in his condition he could not have traveled far. I lay to sleep now but with a troubled mind.
I pray for Reginald’s safe return, and for the strength to see this matter through.

3/24
Another day on the road. Nothing of great interest to report. The weather has improved at least and the worst of the frost seems to have passed. Encountered a group of Halflings traveling south. Despite my attempts to be civil they kept me at a safe distance. It is a shame, I have never once had a conversation with the little people, I expect they are quite charming.

3/23
Third day on the road. A cold morning with little sun. Came across a dead body late in the afternoon. A human I believe, dead several days and well rotten.

3/22
My resolve and good mood continue. With every step I move away from the past and toward a bright future. I feel as though I could run straight through to Meadowbrook. Even so, the long walk may help me to settle my emotions.

“Put thought towards you passions, let the mind govern the heart, let the heart fuel the body. He who turns from the path does so with his mind aflame.”
– The Book of Bahumat, Shield of the Faithful 5:19.

3/21
A good day. I passed through the South Gate at dawn and made good time all morning. The road bustled with farmers and merchants bringing their goods to market. Most, if not all, gave a hearty wave. The sign of Bahamut still carries great weight here. By dusk I was beyond sight of the city and reaching the edges of the settle lands. I sit now in the last inn for several days march.

3/20
Finally, the day is almost upon me. My Marching Orders have received final authority, Meadowbrook it is. My gear is packed and ready for my departure. I will leave before dawn to make the best time. No doubt my sleep will be restless tonight. Eager I am to begin this new life.

3/19
Still I wait. The orders have come through but sit on the High Lord’s desk awaiting his authority. Another day spent in idleness. I assisted Madrick in training the new recruits. Old Garret and I performed Vistuals for the Elders at dusk. It is always invigorating to hear the chant of Alomanzies, although tonight I found myself annoyed at these endless rituals. I must move on.

3/18
Ah the bureaucracy of the Church. My orders are apparently in, Brother Drassus informed me during The Recitation today. They await only final approval.

3/17
A visit from my sister. Alvara came by today to see me. She knows that I tire of life at the Academy now that I have received the Rights of Bahamut. It was good to see her. Mother’s health remains strong though she still grieves for the loss of my father. Braxus’ investiture begins next week, no doubt my brother will carry the responsibilities of the Clan lightly. He is as capable a Dragonborn as any I have met. May the Platinum Lord smile upon him.

3/16

“As if ten thousand suns suddenly burst forth in the sky, such would be the glory of the Holy One.”
- The Book of Bahamut, Choices of Nuarja, 2:11

Indeed it is true! To Meadowbrook I go. Ironlord Maddox called me to his office today and informed me of the orders. I am to leave within the month. Elder Justice Derran, who has served the community there for many years, has not filed reports for three seasons in a row. I am being sent to investigate the situation and aid where possible. Truly it is an honor to serve! I do not know whether this is an indication of the Church’s faith in my abilities, or a sign that the Order is stretched too thin. Indeed, to send a Knight of the Shield such as myself to complete so important a task is unusual.

“He is Bahamut, the Spirit Supreme. Rejoice in him, since through Him you attain the glory of victory.”
- The Book of Bahamut. The Teachings of Kena, 4:53

3/15
Rumors abound amongst the graduates. Ah what a sight it is to see twelve young Knights of the Shield eager to take up their posts. Raynold has left already for Hammerfast, to serve as Junior Armorer at the Hall of Abraxus. Justin the Younger leaves tomorrow for Winterhaven. Alexis and Gareth will take up posts here in Fallcrest. Holden, poor devil, will take the King’s road to Harkenwold tomorrow. The rest of us still await our orders. I have heard, though I hesitate to hope, that I am to be sent on a distant assignment. Brother Leonis tells me he overheard the Ironlord himself speaking with the Commandant. He says they mentioned my name for some task. Apparently the Ironlord himself said ‘He may be our best chance of finding the truth’ or so Leonis would have me believe. It is too much to hope.

3/10
Investiture at last!
I am now a Knight of the Shield in the Order of the Platinum Dragon, a Paladin of Bahamut. A day of days, and the proudest of my life. I regret only that my father could not be here to witness it. I know that he sits before the Golden One in Bahamut’s Hall and smiles. My commission is signed and sealed, I await only my post and orders. The Investiture ceremony was all I had imagined it to be. Although how thin the ranks now, so many away on quests. Truly this is a dark time, for so many a knight to be stationed along the borders. Still, I look forward to the day I can join them in the fight for Justice.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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