Expedition 23: Grey Hills and Fruit Trees

March 18, 2017

Adventurers: JP (cleric 4 [forge]), Naveed [log-taker] (monk 1), Rock (fighter 1 / barbarian 1), Silverleaf Moonshadow (druid 4 [moon])

528 xp each

JP earns 0 gp, and gets an arcane clutch (400gp, 50 GP Sovan’s), recover a 1st level spell 1/expedition
Sil earns 100 gp, and gets focused leather armour of false life (+prof on concentration checks, 1 charge false life) (it was studded leather, but we pulled the studs out)
Naveed earns 350 gp
Rock earns 350 gp

Rock had an epiphany, and can now ignore hobgoblin bonus damage when it is being dealt by ranged attacks. Note that this only applies to standard grey hills hobgoblins — the same ability used by other foes will still be effective.

Rock levels!

We took a stubborn cat out of our packs and set off. It was cold, soggy, and rainy. The rain squelched in our boots and I could smell the wet leaves. We approached the Grey Hills. They were very grey. Everything was muddy.

We got about a third of the way into hex 4.12. From a distance we noticed something flying. It was a hobgoblin on a hippogriff. Below it, there were 6 hobgoblins hiding. They all had nice armour. It was green with cool stripes.

We crept up but they noticed us. Silverleaf and I took cover while Rock and JP charged forward. I shot at the hippogriff rider and immediately took cover. Rock moved forward and ducked behind a tree; Silverleaf missed with an arrow and took cover as well. Many arrows hit JP and bounced off his armour.

I shot again but missed this time. One of the hobgoblins missed Rock, who continued closing. Silverleaf also shot at the hippogriff rider but missed. The hobgoblins shot at Silverleaf and one of them nicked her shoulder [3 damage]. Silverleaf noticed shifting patterns in the rain and became very distracted by them, then quickly yelled at us not to focus too hard on the rain. [We can now choose perception up until the number we roll; past a certain number (unknown), we take d6 psychic damage. Silverleaf just took 1 psychic damage.]

I missed again. The enemies shot at Rock and missed. Silverleaf closed and and took cover again. The enemies shot at her again, and one of their bowstrings snapped. One of them punched through her armour and hit her in the side [9 damage]. JP continued to close.

I finally hit the hippogriff rider, who died in his seat as his mount flew away. The hobgoblins shot at Silverleaf. All of them missed and another one’s bowstring snapped. I missed my next shot and we all continued to advance, slowly. This time the enemies shot at Rock, and one of them hit [9 damage].

We continued to miss our shots as we advanced. Finally we were within range. The enemies closed to Rock and Silverleaf. Rock hit the big one as it advanced [10 damage] but it yelled encouragement to its friends, who attacked both Rock and Silverleaf [6 damage and 17 damage]. JP caused the leader’s armour to heat to a blazing red [Heat Metal] and used his hammer on one of the hobgoblins attacking Silverleaf, who had now become a large wolf.

I was still far away and my arrow missed. Rock laid a massive attack on the leader, who went down. Silverleaf ripped the throat out of another enemy. They now focused on Rock and one of them hit her [4 damage]. JP used his hammers, but unfortunately hit Rock [2 damage]. I missed again as the rain was interfering with my ability to aim. Silverleaf also missed her attack and bit Rock by accident [5 damage]. The hobgoblins all missed Rock again as the rain beat down on everyone. JP quickly healed Rock and missed with his armour. We all continued missing until Silverleaf ripped out the throat of another hobgoblin. The remaining enemies went to attack JP and all missed. Trading cheerful insults in various varieties of Dwarven, JP returned the attack and Rock downed the last hobgoblin.


We hid our loot and continued on. After an hour, we heard the sounds of fighting. As a wolf, Silverleaf sneaked up and noticed a group of six hobgoblins fighting among themselves while one of them tried to restore order. She noticed that they did not have anything worth collecting [26 perception, took 5 psychic damage because 2d6 – over 25 perception] and we decided to keep going.

Now we were in an area of forest and higher hills. The trees smelled sharp and earthy. Silverleaf growled to warn us of more hobgoblins up ahead – 13 of them carrying a chest with handles. We advanced but they noticed us as they came over the crest of the hill. Silverleaf cast Spike Growth and as they separated into four attack groups, two of them were enclosed by the spiky shrubs that had suddenly sprung up. They moved up and the groups near the spiky shrubs were hampered by them [5 damage to those groups].

I missed with a shot and moved up, taking care to stand behind Rock. One of the hobgoblins hit Rock [6 damage], who hit back [11 damage]. JP countered as well with his hammers; the injured one went down. Silverleaf missed. I stabbed one of them with my shortswords and downed it [13 damage]; Rock bashed another one. The fourth group of hobgoblins came over the hill and attacked Silverleaf. The goblins near me and Rock attacked Rock [5 damage]. Meanwhile, the goblins that had previously been trapped by the Spite Growth spell also crested the hill and thankfully missed Silverleaf with their attacks. JP Blessed Rock and Silverleaf and used his Spiritual Hammer to down another hobgoblin in Group C. Silverleaf cast Moonbeam on one hobgoblin and turned into a wolf again.

The hobgoblins attacked Rock, who got an epiphany [no more extra 2d6 damage on hobgoblin ranged attacks]. JP healed Rock and attacked one of the archers, dropping him. Although the hobgoblins were dropping at a decent pace, there were still enough of them to cause us concern… until one of them hit itself and then got hit by its friend [two enemy crit fails]. Silverleaf cast Moonbeam again, this time on two of them. The hobgoblins tried to rally, but this time one of them shot himself in the foot [more crit fails!].

I ran over to assist Silverleaf but missed with my swords; Rock was more effective, dropping one. The hobgoblins finally got themselves together and launched a massive attack at Silverleaf, who went down [38 damage; temporary halved carrying capacity, disadvantage to all strength based checks]. The other group of hobgoblins now attacked Rock [6 damage]. JP charged the larger archer group while healing Silverleaf, who then applied Cure Wounds on herself, ran, and then dropped prone while shielding herself as there was no cover.

I missed yet again with my swords, which was incredibly frustrating. Rock also missed. The hobgoblins near JP pulled out their swords and all missed. JP responded with a hammer attack, which dropped one of the enemies near him. From prone, Silverleaf cast Moonbeam again on two of the hobgoblins, which blasted the flesh off their bodies. There were now only five enemies near us and two archers further away. I dropped one with my sword while Rock dropped another. As the three remaining enemies approached, Rock landed a massive attack on one, dropping it. Kavacha’s Virtue gleamed red as Rock withstood an attack without taking damage. JP and Silverleaf combined to take down the last hobgoblin near us; I ran over to one of the archers and downed him while Rock finally took down the very last enemy.

We opened up the chest which had a variety of useless hobgoblin standards [GODDAMMIT] as well as a clutch bag which seemed very intricate, and some armour, which we cached.

We continued very carefully as we could not rest until the night. We came up onto the border of 5.11 and carried on to the druid hall, reaching it by early evening. Silverleaf explored it and told us that the messages on the walls told a story: the area was grey at the time of these druids, and the disturbances were present at that time. The druids moved here to try and keep this force in check. There was much more that Silverleaf read that she did not share with us, though she told JP to take rubbings of certain messages.

Silverleaf went to speak with a friendly-looking wolf, who told her that it had lived here for a few years, but had been here “many ages”. She asked it if it had been other things before, to which it responded “I just am”. Silverleaf and the wolf talked about hunting, and the wolf said that it hunts “the bad things”; and that “when I’m me I fight things but I don’t always fight the wrong things”.

“How often are you you?” “Always when I’m here.”

The wolf asked her where we were from. Silverleaf told the wolf about the experiences of the members of expedition 21, and the wolf told her that the force which had acted on those expedition members had “made us, us”. The conversation did not go very productively as the wolf was of limited intelligence, though Rock later surmised that perhaps the wolf had been turned, with its companions, into some sort of drone force by this psychic entity.

JP offered the wolf some candied bacon and Silverleaf muttered, “that idiot has some food for you”. JP and the wolf appeared to bond in this manner, and yet more wolves appeared; we gathered a small crowd of wolves around us by using up a day’s rations. It seemed foolish, but the dwarf appeared to enjoy it almost as much as the wolves.

Silverleaf mentioned the trapdoor covered in vines and one wolf spoke up: “Don’t disturb the vines. They hurt us.” Silverleaf finally asked if the wolves could sense our thoughts, and they said they could not.

We decided to sleep and awoke refreshed. It was a nice day outside; the sun was warm, yet we still felt slightly chilled and the shadows were all wrong. Rock told me this was normal for the Grey Hills.

We entered 5.10, staying on the west side of the river. Rock and I led the group while Silverleaf and JP stayed in the rear. We heard the sounds of fighting; more than 3, less than 10 enemies. We moved closer and came upon a group of six miners clearly fighting over something. JP could make out that they were yelling back and forth “no, I found it, it’s mine”. We decided to hide and watch what would happen.

One side of three miners gained a clear advantage over the other; the three losing miners turned invisible and, I assume, fled. Rock and JP planned to close while Silverleaf and I would stay at range. We surprised them with a volley of attacks; my successful longbow shot, Silverleaf’s Fairy Fire, JP’s hammer attack. We then launched into battle. I was pleased that my longbow was more effective today.

JP’s hammers and Rock’s harpoon downed one, injuring another. The survivors tried to go invisible, yet failed because of the Fairy Fire. My arrow downed another and Silverleaf, now in bear form, bit the sole remaining enemy. JP and Rock downed it.

The miners were fighting over a set of studded leather armour, which Rock carried as we continued on to the riverbank. We crossed the river without incident and then came to a grove of fruit trees. Silverleaf, with Detect Magic, determined that the clutch had uncategorized raw magic while the studded leather had necromantic and enchantment magic. She also determined that the fruit trees had necromantic magic [MPOI]. Thankfully my [scribbles, scratches] we were not affected. JP, using his Augury, realized that eating the fruit would be “Woe”. JP decided instead to pocket three of the fruits and we continued north.

I noticed the entrance to a cave in the distance. It had a wide opening, somewhat squared off on the edges. We approached the cave. The entrance showed various scuff marks. [POI] As we entered, JP – as the first person in the party – fell through a false floor and onto a spike bed [9 damage – to JP!!]. He climbed out with Rock’s assistance. Rock then laid a large trunk across the area of the false floor, but then we decided to leave this location and return later with a more dextrous party.

About halfway down the hex, we saw a deep crevice in the earth which was yet not very big. The rock jutted out over top of it in a way that blocked the sun, and it was full of snow. As we passed it, I noticed two manticores frolicking in the snow. We decided to avoid them. [MPOI]

We decided to camp for the night in a little gully. As she took first watch, Silverleaf did not notice enemies sneaking into the cave. The enemy (Zikk) landed blows on each of JP, Rock, and myself. Their daggers awoke us. In self-defence, we killed them fairly easily. This time, JP offered to stand watch with Silverleaf to assist in her awareness.

We decided to head home. As we passed the grove of weird trees, Rock, JP, and I turned and started abruptly walking east. Silverleaf tried to shake us to no avail. Silverleaf then tried to punch me, and I dodged and then struck her back [5 damage]. We rebuked Silverleaf for her rash actions and continued on. Silverleaf then Shillelagh’d Rock [9 damage]. Rock then picked me up (which I later forgave) and I defended myself with a well-aimed punch [6 damage]. Rock then slammed me into the ground [4 damage] and I snapped out of my trance. Now only JP was left.

Stopping a determined JP was…irritating. Rock tried to block JP, only to be paralyzed as JP muttered ‘Hold Person’. I attacked JP, finding a weak spot in his armor while he wasn’t looking, but an arcane Shield took the blow and he continued east. Finally, Silverleaf managed to singe and thus distract him with a Moonbeam and he realized that something was wrong.

Now that we finally all snapped out of it, we headed home at high speed and brought our treasure along with us, travelling in a JP-magicked wagon.

The clutch: Arcane Clutch – recover 1st level spell once per expedition, worth 400GP.

The studded armour: Mindful Studded Leather of False Life – plus proficiency on concentration checks and 1 charge of False Life, worth 250GP.


James_Elcombe Del_

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