Session 1: The Gnome's Monocle
An icy breeze rustles through the golden fields of wheat and corn that wrap around Goodhearth like a warm blanket. It flows past the fence bordering the small town and down the cobble paths that are beginning to warm in the early morning light. The sun rises slowly over the Tormad Mountains, and so too do the townsfolk. White smoke begins to drift slowly out of chimneys as the town wakes. The smells of bacon, eggs, and cooking biscuits dance through the air. The first people on the streets are Goodhearth’s two men-of-all labor, Niels and Brady. The pair work swiftly and quietly to collect the nightsoil left by residents each morning. Brady carefully examines the content of a bucket.
“A bit early in the season for corn innit?” asks Brady.
“Nah, Mrs. Fallenaire took the ferry to Shieldcrest a few days ago and came back with early corn from the Jessup’s place.” replies Niels.
Ulrick Stormhollow dodges past the two men and their odorous cart as they wheel it out of an alley and onto the main road. He almost drops the two buckets of water he retrieved from the well next to town hall. Turning down an alley he interrupts one of Goodhearth’s many feral cats as she toys with her morning snack. The cat watches Ulrick with suspicion as he walks past.
“Sorry Miss Kailee, no milk today,” he says walking up the stairs leading to the kitchen of the Rubbing Goose Inn.
“Maybe a bit of cheese if Gretta doesn’t notice,” he adds as he pushes the door open with his foot.
“Don’t you feed that cat anymore scraps from my kitchen, give me those buckets you old fool.”
A splash of water wakes you with a start. You find yourself curled up on a rough woven rug near the fireplace of a small dining hall. The room is tidy, save for the half dozen other people scattered around in inelegant positions. The previous night’s revelry is a haze, but you vaguely remember a drinking game.
“Alright, you’ve been sleeping on my floor long enough.”
Cast of Characters
- Baeren Torunn played by Brad
- Darius Jorah played by James
- Morina Stormsbane played by Jolene
- Herschel, Bethany, Duncan, Bailey, Orrin, Waylon, Bucky, and Georgette Starling - halfling and gnomish farming family.
- Clifton Barnaby (deceased) - Goodhearth seed merchant
- Gretta and Ulrick Stormhollow - owners of the Rubbing Goose Tavern
- Orrin Greaves - Gull lake ferry operator
- Bruan Spigel - Foreman of the Goodhearth Sawmill
- Oswald (last name unknown) - Miller, collar bone and nose broken by Baeren
- Sig Leylynn - Miller who works at the Goodhearth Sawmill
- Tom Brookhollow - A travelling merchant and the former employer of Baeren
- Rene (last name unknown) - A mysterious gnome who played Crowns with and bought drinks for Baeren, Morina, and Darius.
The characters awoke, sore and slightly hungover. Their memory was fuzzy regarding the previous night’s events and several characters thought it was notable. Baeren believed something strange was afoot because he hasn’t been so drunk as to not remember the previous night’s events in years and suspected foul play. Morina likewise was suspicious of her uncharacteristic binge.
The party asked the owners of the tavern for more details. Gretta Stormhollow told them about a gnome who they all drank and played cards with.
After a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, cheese, and fresh biscuits, they set out to track down the gnome. Gretta bundled up the cheese for Darius. Tom and Baeren headed to the sawmill to finish up the last of their business while Morina and Darius set out for the Gull Lake Ferry to ask the ferryman if he’d seen the gnome.
A Gnome by Any Other Name
Upon leaving the Rubbing Goose, the party sees a finely dressed man angrily remove a piece of parchment from the town’s notice board and discard it in the grass. After he left, Morina retrieved the note. The note said that a family heirloom had gone missing and the starlings were looking for help recovering it.
Baeren and Tom continued on to the sawmill to talk with Bruan Spigel about further work. Upon arriving, Baeren was informed of some trouble with Griffondale’s logging operations and was asked by Bruan to gather a few other adventurous types and investigate.
Baeren also asked if any of Bruan’s men were at the Rubbing Goose the previous evening who might be able to shed some light on the mysterious gnome. Sig was able to provide a rough description of the gnome (black hair, fine clothes, pointy beard). With their business concluded, Tom and Baeren walked to the ferry where they rejoined Darius and Morina.
Morina and Darius interviewed the ferryman, Orrin Greaves, who revealed that the gnome’s name was Rene. Orrin mentioned that the gnome travelled to Goodhearth several times a month with a large bag of gold and returned to Shieldcrest without it.
The Gnome’s Monocle
Morina, Baeren, and Darius unceremoniously left Tom to wait for the next ferry trip and returned to town. Back in the town’s square the trio stopped by the notice board to take a closer look. They recorded the details of:
- An old wanted poster that offered 2,500gp for the criminal Eln of the Willow
- A mysterious note requesting aid behind the Pinerock Inn in Shieldcrest
- An advisory from the nearby fort instructing travellers to avoid the Southern Grove
- A new mine looking for workers
After taking notes, the group headed off to the Starling Farms. They asked directions from a farmer and eventually found it. After a brief encounter with Bethany Starling, they were directed to the potato fields behind the house where they found Herschel. He told them a tale of woe about seeds bought on credit, misfortune that prevented him from paying his debt, the threat of violence from the seed merchant, and the sudden disappearance of his grandfather’s monocle which was going to be used to help pay off the 1200gp debt.
Herschel suggested the group start by asking his children about the monocle. Darius cast an entertaining bit of magic to lure them in and startled Duncan, who was hiding nearby.
Duncan reluctantly admitted to taking the monocle after being “encouraged” by Baeren. Duncan claimed that he took the monocle to play in the woods but lost it when he saw a monster and ran. Duncan and his father accompanied Darius, Baeren, and Morina to the eastern edge of the southern grove.
The Clearing at the end of the Path
The trio thought it might be too dangerous for the Starlings and gave them some silver to buy a meal at the Rubbing Goose. Following the directions from Duncan, the adventurers headed into the thick underbrush along a game trail where they were ambushed by creatures made of twigs and vines. Darius was able to easily dispatch the foes and they proceeded on.
Eventually they arrived at an ominous clearing that was perfectly circular and recently trimmed. Darius noted that the area was a thin point between planes of existence where extra dimensional creatures could more easily cross over. Morina spotted the monocle and retrieved it while Baeren covered her.
As Morina retrieved the monocle, a shambling scarecrow burst out of the underbrush and set upon the group. They traded blows with the creature until finally Baeren made a charging attack and cleaved the monster in two. The rags and straw fell away to reveal a large, monstrous creature with long, sharp quills on it back and a mouth dripping with poison. The creature attacked and the party fought with bravery and cunning. Eventually it was slain by Morina’s divine lightning.
Baeren gathered some of the quills and Darius took a tooth from the creature and the trio returned to town to have some words with Clifton Barnaby.
Raze the dead
The group was met at Barnaby’s place of business by a clerk who offered them tea while she fetched her employer. Baeren threatened her in an attempt to get her to betray her employer and she fled. While the party talked, a man, who was not Barnaby, interrupted them. He informed them that Barnaby had left to deal with the Starlings.
The party sprinted the three miles to the Starling farm. Morina paused to tell Herschel and Duncan to get home before following Darius and Baeren out of town. Smoke was starting to rise from the farmland. Upon arriving at the Starling place the party found an unconscious boy, attended by his mother and sister. Two mercenaries were nearby, ineffectually try to set their corn fields on fire. The wheat was already engulfed in flame. Baeren, Morina, and Darius sprung into action. Baeren tackled and subdued one thug, while Morina and Darius intimidated the other into fleeing.
Inside the house they heard a crash. Baeren smashed through the door followed closely by Morina and startled two more thugs who were trying to get the basement door open. Before anyone could react, the basement door burst open. Waylon Starling charged out and impaled one of the thugs on a pitch fork, killing him. Baeren decapitated the other.
Waylon retrieved his two younger siblings from their hiding place in the basement and joined his mother outside by his unconscious brother. Morina and Baeren sprinted out and around the side of the house to find Clifton Barnaby and his remaining two goons trying to figure out how to burn potato plants.
Darius followed his friends, but stopped to check on the Starlings. They seemed ok, but in shock.
Charging forward, Baeren hurled a javelin, killing one of the goons. This caused the other to run for his life, leaving Clifton alone with Morina and Baeren. Darius snuck around the side of the house in his friend’s wake, trying to get a line on Clifton with his crossbow.
Clifton traded blows with Morina and Baeren, deftly parrying their attacks. In a desperate attack, Clifton swung wildly at Morina. She blocked the sloppy blow with her shield and the retribution of her divine lightning stopped Clifton’s heart. Darius relieved Clifton of his ornate dueling saber (scimitar), and Baeren drug his body out front. Seeing the damage of the attack, the trio refused to accept any payment and gave the gold that was carried by Barnaby and his men to the Starlings to help pay for the damages.
Baeren tossed the dead thugs into the burning wheat field.
The three then paused for a moment to catch their breath and gather their thoughts.