Bears are well-known to all adventurers.
- Moldvay Basic Rules, B31
The session began with a fresh-faced healer seeking out the Company of the Crossed Swords as potential mentors, and perhaps compatriots. Emboldened by the bustle of activity at the Company's lodging-in-progress, Ja'Tubis rapped firmly on the door and prepared to introduce himself. Time passed; no bustle subsided. If anything, the racket increased- townsfolk lumbered past, jeering a Dwarf in the company at not having joined his comrades in the hills, and warily regarding the goblin Marcel. As Ja reflected on his admirable patience, knocking once more, he was joined at the door by a number of determined (if unthreatening) farmers, demanding the goblins' presence at a gathering of concerned citizens in the Smoking Owl.
Hesitant to anger, but not to insult, the citizenry, the Company waited some time before riding into the town proper in dazzling formation to present themselves. Ja followed on foot. Fully assembled, the Crossed Swords stepped boldly into the Smoking Owl, determined to confront the alllegations cast against their humble henchmen- except Goldfinch, who remained in the street in recognition of an old prohibition from the Inn's grounds.
Indoors, the party learns that two farm children (or young farmers, depending) were assaulted by a small man with glowing red eyes, and the boy abducted. Immediately understanding the first point of confusion, Martín corrected the townspeople on the finer points of distinction between City and Forest Goblins. This opened the floor to a multitude of shouted concerns- that some legendary Goblin rebellion had returned to the hills and mountains, that the boy was not abducted but fleeing, that a small bear from the mountains was responsible for the attack. A thin, intimidatingly strange man garbed in a manner akin to Pritchard Hood stepped forward to dismiss with some finality the notion that Marcel or Millipede was involved, causing the party's Witch Hunter to shift uncomfortably. After some negotiation, the Crossed Swords agreed to seek out the boy's fate in the hills on the promise of the girl's dowry. They hired Gildor the tracker, enlisted the aid of the forester, Ebrard, and set out for the Moors.
Danger in Small Packages
Following a trail out from the Moors into the wooded foothills, the party encounters a strange dwarf. He is frantic, unable to speak, and has a greyish tinge to his skin. In the trees' shadow, his eyes flicker red. Concerned for his safety and desirous to help, Martín ran to subdue the poor dwarf. Unfortunately, the target of his intended ministrations leapt at him to attack. After a brief close-quarters combat, the dwarf lay defeated. His body was examined by Pritchard, who found hard nails, if not claws, crusted with blood; a purple tongue (eagerly dissected by Ja); and a stale scent of death. The dwarf's blood ran dark and viscous.
Suspecting the source of the boy's disappearance, the party followed the dead dwarf's trail further into the mountains. After an unseen archer's failed attempts to ward them off, they eventually arrived at a strange goblin encampment. Populated by a handful of what appeared to be city goblins, the camp was almost an imitation of a Glantrian cellar-warren, with two long houses suggesting the familiar stables common to the homes of Glantrian nobility. There was also a penned garden of some sort, and a single round yurt. The goblins were in the process of fortification, led by a large (relatively) figure answering to the name Alphonse.
The party attempted to negotiate an entry to the camp. The goblins, hostile after what Alphonse claimed was a Dwarven attack, refused the half-hearted offers from the tree-cloaked party. As tension between the groups mounted, Ebrard ran screaming into the clearing, staff in hand and accompanied by a bear. They attacked the goblins immediately, killing one and sloughing off their retaliatory blows entirely before Pritchard took control of the situation with a sleep spell. Hanna bound some of the goblins, and the forester sat dwelling on dark thoughts. The tree-borne goblin archers, on seeing all of their comrades fall, fled the scene.
While the Company argued over the goblins' fate, Hanna and Pritchard discovered a opulent tome, rather out of place, in a small chest in the yurt. Pritchard's read languages revealed the volume to be the Codex of the Fallen Hammers.
The Codex is bound in leather and decorated with gems set into a heavy, dark alloy of unclear provenance. Language aside, even the illiterate among the company can see that its contents are recorded in two hands, with the earlier material clearly written by a different scribe than the latter. There are blank pages remaining at the end of the volume.
It is not written in Glantrian or Elvish, but appears to be legible to the caster of Read Languages.
PRITCHARD HOOD SPEAKS: "Gentleman, Lady, I have perused the contents of the tome and found them highly interesting. Allow me to summarize for your edification: the book is a sacred tome, kept originally by a cult of dwarves who came to this region to found a new church. Their ideals seem harmless enough, and their intention makes a great deal of sense. Sadly they fell afoul of some manner of undead wizard who disagreed with their plans. They managed to destroy the wizard, but in the process seem to have fallen themselves. The goblins must have found the book in the woods, perhaps dropped by the diseased dwarf we slew. The upshot of all this is that, quite close by, we are likely to find the temple of these dwarves, that it is likely to be full of treasure, it is doubtful that it will be guarded by anything too dire, and that we should all benefit from doing so on the morrow. As to the disease that overcame the poor dwarf we found, I have no information, but I imagine it must have been in the nature of a curse laid on him by the undead wizard. Most likely he was the last of his cult, and the rest of them are already dead. This should be simplicity itself."
Treasure and Experience
For defeating six goblin npcs and their leader, as well as a dwarfish thing, the party received a total of 289xp, or 41xp per player for monsters bested.
For treasure accumulated, the party received an 186g, and a like amount of experience, per player.
In total, each player received 227xp and 186g.