Black Ghosts' Requiem

Any landing you can walk away from.

Well the cargo ship that was transporting us was shot down by a massive pirate attack that took out pretty much all our company. In fact there’s basically us and maybe a half dozen survivors on the ship. The attack was much better organized than we’d suspect, a massive number of ships and kobold boarding parties. I kinda think there might be a foreign power involved or the pirates have really good spies in our military. In addition an orc apparently kidnapped an archeologist from the ship, his grad student was one of the survivors. Its unknown why they would want him, he’s an expert at some nearby ruins, but those ruins have been explored multiple times. Anyway our ragtag band of remaining military are making an attempt to cross a mountain pass to get to a larger city to make a full report, while the other survivors wait it out in the small town near where we crashed.

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Into the Woods and Up the Mountain

Our intrepid band began the hike back to civilization, which hopefully lies on the other side of a mountain pass. Warnings by the townsfolk of feral elves proved largely true, however the elves weren’t a problem. The bridge “toll collectors” however proved a more problematic issue. Especially when a demon burst forth from one. Fortunately, the demon proved vulnerable to those traditional problems solving techniques of “hitting it with heavy objects” and “hurricane of lead”. Thankfully the party members and their adopted stray boy/mascot were able to withstand the demon’s multiple earthquakes, and now must patch themselves up before crossing the bridge that leads further into the savage wilds.

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Bridge on the Ravine Gnoll

Having cleared the patrol demanding children to eat, our heroes decided to seize the initiative and cross the bridge immediately, rather than waiting until nightfall, when the patrol might be missed and the gnolls’ night vision would concede the advantage. After a quick stop to don gnollish clothing and armor, the party crossed the bridge, angrily shouting Ozzy Osbourne songs. Upon entry to the keep on the far side of the bridge, the gnolls finally seemed to grasp that the shouting lunatics were not, in fact, the returning patrol, and violence ensued. The highlight of the initial phases was the “head” of one of the fake gnolls flying off to be reveled as Bree stuffed in a helmet. After much killing, and the lighting of a few fires, a hole was blown in the ceiling, dropping a ’roid rage gnoll to be maimed by our heroes. With this final threat removed, the keep was left in the command of the one remaining guard, with our heroes proceeding down the other side of the mountain uneventfully. Next up: Whackjobs On A Train!

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Something 'Bout A Train

Having rested and resupplied, the remains of the 5th boarded a train to finish their journey across the mote. Naturally, bandits on birdback decided to attack the train. Fortunately, bird cavalry tends to be susceptible to gunfire, especially when those guns are firing lightning bolts. And using giant swords as paddles to knock bandits off the train leaves the bandits in the distance. Unfortunately, the bandits had blocked the track, forcing the train to stop to clear the track. At which point a giant troll came, apparently in thrall to the bandits. Naturally, this was solved by cattle rustling, rounding up “puppies” for the troll to chase while the barricade on the track was hacked apart by a crazed dagger wielding minotaur. Soon the train was back underway, and the provincial capital was reached, where Senator Bronzehammer invited the 5th to dinner and asked for help with a bandit problem that for now appears too small to be worthwhile for the army to normally handle.

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The Four Violent Maniacs

The Fifth, such as it is, was sent off to protect a small a rice farming village. While the farmers hid (somewhere), the bridge into the village was barricaded and trapped. The first wave of goblins was relatively easily dispatched, and a following assault by lizardmen was turned back when they turned on the goblin who was “leading” them into battle. After some discussion, it was learned that the lizardfolk’s eggs and babies were being help captive by goblins, forcing the lizardfolk to help in the raids. The goblin occupation of the lizardfolk village was quickly put down (With Violence!), and the lizardfolk came with the Fifth on a raid to reclaim the hostages. Unfortunatly, the hostage takers included a vampiric ogre lich, riding his phylactery, a demonic bear. A last second wrench beating by Bree saved the Fifth from being totally destroyed by the vampogre, and our band of happy violent maniacs managed to end the day having saved two villages from the goblin raiders.

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Iguanas. Much better dinner than guano

Upon arrival in the city, the Fifth received a letter asking for help from the grad student who apparently thinks of us as heroes for also surviving the airship crash. She, of course, had been kidnapped, and the Fifth set out to find her. After a bit of investigation, she was tracked to a warehouse, which was guarded by two ettins, each of which had two personalities. After a bit of confusion, iguana tacos were obtained for the ettins, who happily sat and ate while the Fifth snuck into the mines beneath the warehouse, with a short pause to mess up the ettins’ game of Settlers. Upon reaching the giant ugly orc that kidnapped the grad student, violence not surprisingly ensued. Gravity proved to be a harsh mistress to the leader, and the grad student was rescued, and walked out past our new friends, the hungry ettins.

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The way to an Ettin's Heart
Wait do we really want to find that?

Dear Sis,

Sorry I haven’t written you lately, I’ve been a bit busy with various catastrophes. To give you an idea, this lady has written a book about some of the stuff the survivors of my regiment have been doing. Its called Black Ghost’s Requiem. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but if its anything like what actually happened it should be a pretty exciting read.
Post hair-raising stories in the book (buy a copy, I might be getting royalties) we had to go investigate the kidnapping of a grad student who we had met when her mentor was kidnapped when our transport ship was attacked. There should probably be some commas in that sentence somewhere and I imagine Mom would put on her disdainful face about my sentence structure. Anyway, an orc named Okk had apparently arranged for the kidnapping in order to acquire the professor’s notebook with regards to some ruins. Its kinda odd actually, as far as anybody has been able to determine the ruins don’t have any importance. Anyway, Shintar, the Orcish swordsman (Who is often failing to use his sword, some kinda weird honor thingy, only worthy opponents get stabbed.) of our little company bought a lot of strange food from street vendors in order to ascertain Okk’s location. I can’t believe people eat Iguana Tacoes or Fried Bat Fritters, although it was impressive that the ears are in the right place on each one. Anyway, we gave the two Ettin guards a lot of tacoes and snuck around while they chowed down. Eventually we got into a fight with Okk and some of his thugs. I apprehended him with my grapple launcher, and then he fell into a pit. I know he was probably at least a little new with this being dragged at high speed but I really thought he’d catch the ledge right there. Anyway with Okk vanquished (and also squished, vansquished?) we rescued the grad student.

Anything interesting going on with you, I hope to hear from you soon, although I may be gone for a while, as we’re trying to manage a trip to the ruins to stop whatever nefarious plot these people we don’t really know but hey they’ve been doing a lot of bad stuff so we’re assuming whatever’s going on there is bad news as well.

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On the Difference between Dungeons and Dragons

After a surprisingly uneventful train ride and trek though snow, the Fifth made it to the Brass Crypt, which was being heavily guarded by orcs. Orcs proved vulnerable as most creatures are to cases of dynamite, and the Crypt was entered without too much difficulty. The orcs had already begun exploring the Crypt, and had already taken care of the various necromantic doors, thankfully. A sense of dread filled the Fifth as the Crypt became disturbingly organic seeming, however the only challenges the Fifth had to face were battles with the orcs themselves. This proved to be more than enough, with a mighty orc warrior severely wounding the Fifth before escaping onto the Jade Griffen. Thankfully, just before the airship left, Professor Badass jumped clear, and has been reunited with his grad student. In entirely too many senses. Unfortunatly, the orcs now have the lock with may be able to unlock the tomb of a dead dragon. Onward!

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Employed Unemployment

Dear Sis,

I have some fairly big news. I and my friends have been honorably discharged from the military. I guess we’re kinda a mercenary company now. Up to you whether or not to tell mom and dad. They’ll find out eventually. Anyway, we’re off to continue investigating some potentially strange stuff with regards to weird dragonny archeological things. We got a guide in the small town near the ruin we’re investigating to lead us there. Its covered in rose bushes and gargoyles, which as things seem want to do, came to life and attacked us. Also there was a weird turtle porcupine thing that I grappled into a big hole. I’m wondering if maybe I shouldn’t be writing letters while exploring deadly ruins, but hey its something to do while waiting for people to recover from smashing things. Well okay more being smashed was the problem.

Hope to hear back from you,

Your Brother,

Vash

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Ow, The Pain

Dear Mom,

Sorry I haven’t written in so long. Things have been very busy, what with hunting for ancient artifacts and whatnot, but I can’t really do that right now. See, we’re onto something really big. Something about an ancient dragon. Yesterday we were on the trail of some very heavily armed archaeologists who also seem to be looking for it. After a fight we found a puzzle. Thankfully I thought of all your stories about how the shadows protect our people, so I figured it out. Unfortunately, “Figuring it out” lead to “Being attacked by a shadow creature” and “Bleeding profusely.” Even worse, it just turned out to be the most overly guarded map room ever. I wrote a song about it, but no one wanted to hear it. Probably because it was depressing and pointless. Hopefully we’ll be back in civilization soon, where there’s good food and better musicians. Guess I’ll just have to lie in bed recovering. I’m not rubbing this barbecue sauce on my wounds though, no matter how much they tell me it’ll help.

Kev

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