What poor circumstances saw you conscripted or enlisted into the Adventurers Union?
Whatever your circumstances, they were grim, and they forced you to find the only employer that isn't too discriminating about who they take in, indentured or otherwise. You've joined up with the Adventurers Union, the largest organization that has a stranglehold on combating the supernatural, the monstrous, and the magical. Where the regular guard forces fall off in terms of protection, the Adventurers Union has picked up.
The small frontier town of Hadens Gulch, that borders the deep wood known as the expanse, has finally acquired the requisite dues to pay the guild for representation and safety. Unfortunately they could only afford the base package, which is where you come in.
You're in the first part of your multi year contract with the Union. Your first assignment is to assist in establishing the Hadens Gulch union, Adventurers Local 147. Once you arrived at Hadens Gulch you met up with the Union Boss Darnan and your designated Archanic Sagepot and given your first assignment. You've been tasked with clearing out the abandoned property of vagrants and other undesirables before you can take up residence in the abandoned, yet tax free, lodge that will be your base of operations a couple miles outside of town.
As you're packing up your gear to head out a cooky old man stops you and warns you that the lodge is haunted and the forest surrounding it is filled with terrors. He says he'll pray for your soul, and warns you to be wary of the beasts that feast upon the souls of the living. It seems there may be a reason this place has been abandoned. When you ask Darnan about it he dismisses it as superstitious nonsense from the backwater hicks that live in the Gulch. To make you feel better, he has Sagepot give you a magical trinket to help you on your first adventure. The trinket was a Mocking Belt, a belt with a wind up monkey face that spews insults at humanoid opponents.
The Before setting out the newly formed trio followed up on the rumors of the ghosts at the lodge.
- The group went to the Chapel of Paul where a priest let them know that the crazy old cook named Paull saw ghosts everywhere and to not believe him. He gave Zombo a leaf that he "blessed" to make them feel more at ease about confronting the undead.
- Fitz went to the local tavern to hear the word. He heard of ghosts, bandits, goblins, and kobolds terrorizing the wilderness outside of Hadens Gulch. It's not a super safe place!
The 30 minute walk to the lodge is pretty uneventful. The trees here are particularly dense and a broken and rusting lamppost is the only indication that there is an overgrown trailhead that proceeds to your destination. Ahead you hear the sound of trickling water, the chirping of birds and the ominous whistling of the wind through the trees. As you make your way through the overgrowth for several minutes, fighting back branches and brambles, you finally spot the looming lodge nestled at the base of a cliff through the trees.
That's when you first hear a terrible, guttural, and ghostly shriek. The whole forest goes silent for just a few moments, before the chatter of the birds slowly resumes.
What do you do?
- The trio, not to be fooled by this creepiness, immediately set their scout Fitz to search for traps. He quickly found a pressure plate that appeared to be triggering the moaning and groaning inside the house.
- They searched the stream and found a set of rocks laid into it that didn't look like it belonged, and it led to a cellar door at the base of the lodge.
- Elba transformed into a rat and snuck in the basement, finding an abandoned storeroom save one barrel of grain that looked too fresh to be a part of the original owners goods.
- Moving upstairs in his rat form Elba creeped out of the woodwork and was immediately stepped on by a giant (relatively speaking) foot. His rat form was squashed and Elba transformed back into a human, triggering the alert of the creature that stepped on him.
- The creature that stepped on him was a humanoid figure, dressed in bedsheets, that let loose an scream like the one the trio heard outside.
- Combat ensued. Elba cast shilleleigh on his staff by spitting on it and rubbing it and attacked the "ghost" with its glowing green energy.
- The staff let out a metallic ring, letting Elba know it was metal, and his two companions who were waiting outside know that there is trouble afoot.
- Zombo, attempted to run up to a window that was placed higher up but couldn't quite reach it and landed with a thud on the cellar doors below.
- Fitz, hurriedly broke into the lock that barred their entrance to the cellar and hastily put his tools away. Once inside they both clearly heard the sounds of a scuffle.
- Elba was getting pummeled inside trying to ward of the metallic ghost. A few solid hits left him bloody and reeling on the floor.
- Just as the metallic creature was to deliver a killing blow Zombo charged through the door and placed himself squarely between his wounded cohort, blocking the vision for Fitz to dive into combat and jab a rapier into the neck of the metallic beast.
- The rapier tore away the sheet revealing a clockwork automaton, buzzing its alarm.
- Elba transformed into a boar and charged out of the way of the scuffle as the automaton turned its attention to Zombo.
- Fitz attempted to dive in and disrupt the automatons servos but merely glanced off its metallic casing.
- The distraction allowed Elba, now in boar form, to charge and slam into the metallic beast from behind with his sharp tusks.
- The charge knocked the automaton forward and Zombo positioned his longsword directly into the neck joint of the automaton severing the connection between its machinery and its head. The creature was dead.
- Once the automaton was destroyed a voice spoke from a darkened corner of the room. It turned out to be a small mechanical spider.
- It spoke with rage, letting the trio know that he'd activated all of the trapped defenses around the perimeter of the house, and that he would be coming for them very soon.
- The spider lept down, and charged with a ticking sound, the boar tried to stop it but it scuttled out of the way but ran directly into Fitz who skewered it directly down the middle, severing its controls to what was most definitely a bomb.
- The group searched around the house and discovered many things about their would-be attackers
- This was a secondary hideout of a group of rebels who turned to banditry to support their failing cause.
- They were led by an Archanic who claimed to hate the encroaching of civilization on the forests of the expanse and sought to put an end to it. They found his hidden workshop in the basement. Revealing a small trove of weapons, directions to their main hideout which revealed how much time they had, and two spider-grenades that they figured out how to use.
- By finding a blueprint the trio knew that the rebels had control of an even larger and more deadly automaton, and were now only about a half dozen strong.
- They also found a map of all the mines, traps, and grenades that were set up around the house. They understood how to leave, but they couldn't leave before the bandits would arrive.
- They set up defenses and barriers within the house and prepared for the incoming attack. Fitz took position downstairs next to the basement entrance and an improvized trap. Zombo stood behind a constructed barrier downstairs defending the front door, and Elba took refuge on the balcony with a crossbow in hand to watch for the arrival of the rebels.
- The rebels arrived from the front. A gnome, the Archanic, sat on the shoulder of the massive 9 foot tall automaton and was led by two gnarly looking thugs.
- Elba spotted another group of bandits, attempting to scale down the cliff behind them, but was able to remain hidden so they didn't know that they were spotted.
- Feeling outnumbered Elba spoke of his kinship with the wood and in support of the cause of "Paul"
- Elba tried to convince the gnome that he was their greatest ally in the fight against the "Evil" mayor who was tearing down natural homes, just like Elba's.
- Understanding the tides were about to change, Zombo summoned Fitz to the first floor in preparation of combat and they made a plan. While the guys out front were distracted, Fitz would go downstairs and set loose the spider grenades to destroy the archanic and his link to the giant automaton.
- Zombo let loose an arrow that struck the Gnome off his mechanical perch and forced the retaliation of both the giant Automaton and the men in front of them who were now running towards the house.
- Fitz set loose the spiders who crawled through the underbrush towards their intended target.
- Meanwhile, firmly believing his cause was just and the rebels would recognize his justness dropped his Weapons and put his faith in his faith.
- The bandits who were scaling down the cliff lept down onto the balcony in an attempt to finish off Elba. Both bandits took their clubs to Elba but mysteriously missed the still figure.
- Elba spoke words that rang to the very souls of the bandits and made them question their motives and understanding of their faith. He was able to convince them, in the heat of battle, that they followed a false leader and that only Elba was a speaker for Paul. They lowered their weapons, and headed downstairs to support their new prophet.
- The spiders crept ever closer to the Gnome in the underbrush, revealed to be called Bilge, and remained unnoticed by those charging.
- An explosion rang out, the thugs charging towards the house were flung forward and the automaton slowed to a halt, his owner decimated by the blast. There was only a crater where Bilge once crouched.
In the aftermath Elba took his followers to the wood and voluntairly became a deserter of the Adventurers Union. He saw great opportunity to build a following and saw the dangerous expanse as a natural fit to be his natural home.
Fitz and Zombo returned to Hadens gulch to report that the area was secure. Davran was annoyed by the amount of time it took for them to return and how much paperwork he had to fill out for Elbas disappearance. Sagepot was thrilled about the possibility of acquiring the massive golem for the defense of the newfound base for Adventurers Local 147.