Players: Alex (Henric), Amy (Lucha), Holly (Oparal), and Rick (Wiglaf)
The campaign opens on 21 Neth 4711 AR. Sandru Vhsiki is making his last caravan trek off the year to winter in Magnimar. Accompanying him is his foster mother Koya Mvashti, her young ward Henric Sands (human wizard), and her granddaughter, a Sandru’s adopted little sister Lucha Rhysdottir (human oracle). Aside from his two regular drivers, Sandru has hired two additional guards for the journey, Oparal Greenleef (elven rogue), a young elven woman recommended to him by Shalelu, and Wiglaf Kinamura (human fighter w/homebrew bladedancer archetype), a young warrior of Ulfen/Tien descent that was recommended to him by Ameiko Kaijitsu.
On the third day from Sandpoint on their trek, they see and hear several explosions, flashes of light, and plumes of smoke rising form the trail ahead. Sandru calls a halt to the caravan as they approach. They see two overturned wagon ablaze, and hear the tortured screams of someone begging for mercy and several shouts in goblin.
Sandru sends Henric, Wiglaf and Oparal to investigate while he consults with Koya. Lucha, ever curious joins the three while Sandru and Koya are distracted. They approach the wagons and discover a halfling being held down by a pair of goblins Poog of Zarontel and Mogmurch), while a goblin couple (Chuffy Lickwound and Gupy Wartbits) looms over the halfling having just cut off a pair of his toes. The halfling screams in pain begging for mercy. Another goblin female (Reta) watches over a goblin who is bound and gagged with brands on his face (Scribbleface). The party quickly dispatches with the goblin raiders and rescues the halfling-one Lorne Jamison the now defunct caravan’s cook, and the bound goblin Scribbleface, whom Lucha recognizes as a goblin named Ponzer she befriended nearly a year ago and taught how to read and write in exchange for his knowledge of herbs and plants in the Brinestump Marsh.
Scribbleface begs for mercy claiming none of the troubles are his fault but are Kaijitsu’s fault. Recognizing the name, the party pushes him to say more and he says it is fault of two ships named Kaijistsu in swamp that goblins have fireworks, steal treasure and cause dead to walk. After looting the fallen goblins, the party tells Sandru what Scribbleface said, and he questions the goblin himself, getting little more out of him. Sandru decides this is information that Ameiko should have immediately, and turns the caravan around to return to Sandpoint.
It is two days back to Sandpoint, and as the party camps the first night, Scribbleface brains Lorne and tries to sneak out of the camp while Oparal is on watch. He sneaks past her, but Oparal is startled by the sound of a bowstring twanging, an arrow flying and a goblin screaming is surprise and pain as it dies. Oparal turns to see Scribbleface pinned to a wagon by an arrow through his throat and Shalelu emerging from the shadows. Shalelu tells Oparal that she had been tracking the raiders who attacked the caravan and came across their party’s handywork in defeating them. She hands Oparal a string of goblin ears from the goblin’s they defeated and tells Oparal that Sheriff Hemlock has instituted a goblin bounty in Sandpoint and that she can collect on those ears. Oparal awakes Sandru as Shalelu cuts off Scribbleface’s ear and adds it to the string of ears for Oparal. Shalelu and Sandru have a brief discussion and Oparal wakes Lucha to tend to poor Lorne the Unlucky halfling cook.
The next day they arrive back in Sandpoint, and Sandru tells the others to meet him later for dinner at the Rusty Dragon but he must take care of the caravan. Shalelu takes her leave as well, telling the others she will meet them for dinner as well. The party has some time and disposes of the loot they found on the goblins and the salvage from the lost caravan that Sandru awarded them and collect their bounty from the sheriff.
They gather at the Rusty Dragon that evening and share a meal on Ameiko who is thrilled by the news they bring about Kaijitsu shipwrecks. She said she once overheard her father speak of family lost in a shipwreck when she was quite small but he refused to talk about it whenever she asked him about it. She asks the party if they would be willing to seek out those wrecks in the swam and find the village of the goblins who raided the wrecks and took the treasure. She would go, but there is something keeping her in town and cannot go. Sandru does not want Lucha to go, but Wiglaf, Koya and Shalelu convince him otherwise. They take up Ameiko’s offer, and she pays them 50 gp up front, another 50 gp upon their return and a commission on any heirlooms of nformation about the Kaijitsus they can find. Any goblin ears they collect or other treasure they find is theirs.
Koya tells them that Desna is guiding their fate and destiny has something in store for them. She takes out a deck of sacred fortune cards and does a reading for them before they depart. It is an auspicious reading but hints that forces beyond their control will intervene is events that lay before them.
Wiglaf finds time to present Ameiko with a gift, a fine Tien-made hairpin with a pearl that he recovered from one of the goblins (who was using it as a piercing). She is quite pleased with the gift and thanks him with a hug, causing Wiglaf to blush furiously.
Before they retire for the evening, Shalelu advises them to not be foolish like the last party of adventurers who went blindly into the marsh to hunt goblins. She suggests they follow the New Fish trail and find the cottage of Walthus, a halfling who has appointed himself the swamp’s warden, and who should know the swamp well and be able to aid them in their search. She cannot join them, as she has promised the sheriff she will help patrol the Lost Coast Road ofr a few days while he journeys to Magnimar to try to get reinforcements of rthe watch to deal with the growing goblin problem.
In the morning they set off into the Brinestump. They follow the new fish trail, and at the first bridge have a minor mishap when a board breaks under Henric and his leg splashes into the river. When he pulls himself out he finds a giant leech has attached itself to his leg. Quick thinking, a supply of salt carried by Lucha, and a wicked blow by Wiglaf eliminate the leech’s threat. At the second bridge they find a mutilated lizard carcass and a strange three-toed footprint that Oparal tells them matches the description of the Soggy River Monster tracks that a local fisherman she overheard at the Rusty Dragon claims to have seen. They cautiously cross the bridge. Sometime later, Oparal notices something in the distance has disturbed a flock of birds and briefly glimpses a pale featureless face among the trees. When nothing comes of it, they move on and cross a third bridge with great trepidation and relief when nothing happens. Soon, they spot an old two-story cottage and approach it to knock on the door.
It takes a while, but a ragged looking halfling answers the door. Walthus tries to discourage them and does not react when they tell him they are friends of Shalelu and she sent them to him. When he realizes he cannot get them to leave, he invites them in and then goes into the kitchen. He seems hurt, ans struggles to be a good host and make tea, so Lucha helps him. He seems disoriented a bit, and the party finds this strange, but he tells them he is not feeling well. Wiglaf begins to look around while the others join Lucha and Walthus in the kitchen. Oparal notices a strange rippling effect on the halfling’s hands and goes into the living room to tell Wiglaf of her suspicions. Wiglaf storms into the kitchen and confronts the halfling, who stammers but cannot reply. Realizing that his ruse is shot, Vorolog the faceless stalker sheds his appearance as Walthus. His transformation catches the party off-guard giving Vorolog a chance to strike. He crits Wiglaf with a smash to the kneecap hobbling the Ulfen warrior, then strikes at Henric with a savage blow that drops the wizard before anyone can act. Oparal and Wiglaf engage the shapechanger while Lucha tries to keep Henric alive. The duo prove too much for the wounded Vorolog, and pin him down and kill him before he can escape.
After the fight, Oparal hears a small voice calling from upstairs, and goes to track it down, finding the real Walthus, who thanks the party profusely for saving him. He rewards the party with a magic cloak, offers them food and shelter for the night, and agrees to guide them to the shipwrecks and goblin encampment after they all have had a chance to rest and heal.