Naze Valley Rangers

Pungent Spices - Session 1, Part 1

Bears. Why did it have to be bears?

This session happened October 24. This is Part one of the Adventure Log, detailing the death of Oralon.

Ranger Team Rollins has returned to where Three Circles Fort is being constructed after spending a very active time in New Crosswalshire, including celebrating the Summer Festival there (a holy week between the months of Oak and Holly celebrating the midpoint of the year and the midpoint of summer). They found construction on the fort proceeding well, with the land leveled and the outer stone wall being constructed. A small wooden fort sits to the side of the site, where the workers sleep and the building supplies are kept.

Reporting in to Ranger-Captain Cedargold, Ranger-Sergeant Clem Rollins learned that Ranger Team Faranson (the second team of rangers assigned to the fort) was now scouting the area north, keeping an eye on the gnoll fort nearing completion at Gnoll’s Crossing. The Captain had also decided to station Katan Valofor at the Moon Mountain Ruins for as long as the Redbird Expedition was there digging – there had been some minor gnoll raids on the site that Katan had been essential to stopping. Clem would need to send some of her team to pass on his official orders.

Additionally, construction on Three Circles Fort was keeping up with its schedule, but some small metal items have started disappearing from the construction stores. If it keeps up, the fort will run over budget and completion might be delayed while waiting on replacement pieces. Further, three guard dogs were placed around the supply building, but one was killed two nights ago as part of the theft. Ranger-Captain Cedargold assigned Ranger Team Rollins to determine who or what was stealing supplies and put a stop to it.

Clem assigned Dav Moonbow and Sareah to go to the Moon Mountain Ruins to deliver Katan his new orders. She then took Thar, Oralon, and Owen to investigate the stolen supplies. They found a trail of some sort of humanoid with small feet and loose section of the wooden outer wall of the temporary fort.

After getting a carpenter to fix the outer wall, the team followed the trail east, into the deeper portions of the forest. After a couple hours of travel, they came upon an owlbear, which attacked (after Oralon cast web on it). It quickly went down to their attacks. Owlbears are not normally known to be in the central portion of Naze Valley, so finding one this close was unusual. As it was Noon, Clem field dressed the owlbear and the team had owlbear steaks for lunch.

After breaking camp (and properly putting out the fire), the team followed the small tracks further east until Clem was certain she had lost them. Backtracking a bit, Clem picked up the trail of the owlbear and decided to follow that for a while. It seemed to head more directly east than the small humanoid tracks, which tended to wander quite a bit. At a small stream, the team both found the makers of the small humanoid tracks and were ambushed by them!

Nearly 20 balna sprang from ambush, unleashing a mighty war cry and brandishing their weapons. Team Rollins was not impressed and sprang into action. Owen charged to the left, engaging a group of six balna there. Oralon cast web on the central group, catching many of them in the sticky strands, while Thar stepped forward to receive the charge of the balna on the right. Clem calmly prepared a bottle of alchemist’s fire and threw it into the webs, where it quickly started to burn. The balna trapped in the webs were now highly motivated to get escape.

In the ensuing fight, the balna leader charged Clem, riding on his balna dog. Oralon blasted apart one of the balna with his lightning ray and then turned to point at the balna leader, shouting out, “You’re next!” Clem promptly placed two crossbow bolts into the balna leader, one in each eye, bringing Oralon’s prophecy quickly true. This caused the remaining balna to turn and flee the battle (except those still trapped in the web as the flames quickly burned their way to them).

After catching her breath a bit (and letting a few more balna burn alive in the flaming webs), Clem called out to the lone balna not yet burned, “Surrender or die!” Not liking the “or die” option, the balna immediately surrendered. Oralon dispelled the webs, instantly extinguishing the fire. The balna then asked for food.

Clem and Owen questioned the balna while Thar and Oralon searched the bodies for items missing from the fort construction site. They found several, confirming that the balna were the thieves. Clem learned that the balna were raiding this far west because someone or something it referred to as “Big Bones” had taken over its tribe and sent the balna to raid for “good stuff”. “Big Bones” had come from the “sun comes up,” indicating that something was going on out to the east. The team continued east with Grubnuz the balna showing them the way (on a leash).

After several more hours of moving through the thick forest, Grubnuz suddenly went silent and then hid in a bush. When asked why, all Grubnuz would say was “big bad coming this way.” After minimal preparation, the “big bad” appeared – a dire bear! The ensuing fight was harsh and desperate. Oralon earned the dire bears ire early and it went after him. Rather than moving well out of its way, he stopped to cast shield. It was a fatal mistake. The dire bear was able to attack with all of its natural weapons, first killing, then shredding Oralon to bloody bits. The team was shaken and for a moment had trouble effectively bringing their weapons to bear (no pun intended).

Owen and Thar bracketed the dire bear while it continued to savage the corpse of Oralon, dealing enough damage to convince the beast it was time to leave. Before leaving though, it gave Owen a taste of its full anger and all but killed him in one full-on attack. If it had not immediately left after that, Clem would not have been able to use her lay on hands ability to keep him from immediately bleeding out. Thar, fully gripped by his own rage, ran the beast down and killed it with his meteor hammer before it could escape.

Clem poured all the healing available into Owen to get him up and moving again and then the team made camp. While Clem field dressed the bear, Thar took the time to gather Oralon’s remains and store them into three medium bags. Feeding themselves and a sense of revenge on dire bear steaks, the team discussed what to do next. They decided to return to Three Circles Fort in the morning and look into the possibility of having Oralon raised. They were not optimistic.

End Part 1

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