GM Kramday kramday
Much of the life of a Gray Ranger is spent in the saddle. Kaval thought about this as he guided Thane through a thicket and back to connect to the main road. He, Lou, Rashid, Kmon, and Mandikar had been riding for a week visiting some of the villages, farmsteads, and isolated dwellings east of Ashton. They’d been talking to local leaders, making friends, spending their gold on local food and drink and provisions. So far, they’d not encountered any major trouble. There was that one kid in Twarkells who got the offical “Gray Ranger Be Good” talking to as apparently he’d been developing a habit of theft. Kaval didn’t expect it to work, but they knew where to find the kid for next time.
In Farbogs, Mandikar found a kindred soul of sorts and elected to stay behind for a few days to cement some local friendships. The others waved him goodbye and rode back toward Ashton.
Outside of the village, the Rangers encountered a breathless boy running toward them. “Thank the heavens you’ve returned! Plague! Plague, I tell you, is in the village!!!”
Kaval lifted the child up on to the back of Thane and they rode into Ashton. The village itself didn’t look particularly upset. People were working the fields and tending their chores. The Rangers headed toward Bob the Healer’s house where they learned the real story.
Soon after the Rangers had left on their circuit ride, people began to get sick. Bob was able to isolate it to the town well which had developed the Black Scour. There was a hard cough for anyone who had drunk the water, some of the elderly were very sick, and four children had died. Bob had learned of the Black Scour when he trained in Kythros. A tea of shadowwort would serve as an antidote to the fungus. Bob figured that the herb might be found up at Archanon’s Tower.
Three woodsmens had ventured to the Tower four days ago to gather the herb but they hadn’t returned. Sir Maurice dug out his armor and sword and rode up on his aging charger to “take care of this”. He also has not returned.
The Rangers rode out to the Tower to investigate, finding many tracks of the woodsmen, Sir Maurice, and a lot of goblins. One of the woodsmen’s bodies was lying on the ground. They found the shadow wort and began to gather it when ghosts of children emerged. One girl surprised Lou, complaining “You saved Newt, why didn’t you save me?” One of the boys killed by the Black Scour was there too, pleading.
The Rangers returned to Ashton with the woodsman’s body and some of the herb to help the sick people. They investigated the well a bit and it seemed like someone poisoned the well with the Black Scour. Worried for Sir Maurice and the woodsmen, they rode back to the Tower.
Cautiously, they looked around the ruins and found an uncovered stairwell leading under the tower. With Kmon leading with his goblin-sight and Kaval holding a torch, they ventured down into the musty dank corridors. Kaval noted the skill with which the halls had been constructed, barely cracked from the explosion of the tower above them.
In the distance they heard goblin voices, cheering and taunting. Closing in, the Ranger’s movements and torchlight alerted their enemies and goblins came boiling out of a green-lit hall. A worg snarled and snapped at Rashid wounding him as the bowman attempted to give himself enough room to fire at the enemy. Kaval stepped into the fray backed up by Lou while Kmon kept back and hurled his magics at the other goblins.
A dread goblin shaman came into the fight dragging another, scrawny goblin along with him. He lit the other goblin on fire and let it dart into the heart of the Rangers before exploding, hurting Rashid and Lou. He then screeched vile threats in goblinesh and menaced his skull-topped self at Kaval, touching a level of terror in Kaval he’d not encountered before.
Between Kmon’s entangling magic, Rashid’s arrow, Kaval’s sweeping sword and Lou’s pointed attacks, the Rangers eventually slew the shaman, the goblins, and their worg. In the green-lit hall beyond they found a bizarre sight: goblins in chains being dipped into a pool of glowing liquid. Some appeared to be getting stronger from the process, while others were writhing in death throes. Well placed arrows from Rashid killed them off. Kmon, the Goblin Ranger, felt an affinity for his natural ally, the worg, and used his potions to try to save the creature’s life. Kmon’s Mojo proved to be too vile, even for the worg. When he attempted to heal the wolf, the creature instead vomited up the foul concoction and died in a series of spasms.
Exploring further in the dungeon allowed the bloodied Rangers to find Sir Maurice. The other woodsmen had apparently been eaten by the goblins. The self-appointed town leader was grateful although by the time they’d ridden back to town, his opinion of the whole thing was drifting toward his own prowess and less on the Rangers. By nightfall, they were sure the story would have him leading the charge to destroy the evil goblins and in Sir Maurice’s mind, that would be the truth.
Hmm, there was humorous banter, but no written quotes.