Grasping the rope as he fell into the ravine below.
Heroes: Amaril, Calibretto, Burtango, Lokag
Amaril and Burtango arrive, at the border of north-west Galleon and south-west Zacrum, in a small town of Timbervale. Waiting for them at the local inn was Calibretto, Túrin, and Hogarth. Reunited, the party filled the new and returning members in about the situation at hand. Gerald of Crate had recommended they take travel up the Riflesight Mountains through a Galleon-Zacrum trade route called Stonefang Pass. Unfortunately, the road to Stonefang Pass has been closed. The party left the inn to find out why.
The party found out that there has been a lack of guards in the town. Some residents said that the guards in Stonefang Pass were being murdered recently, so officials recalled them back to town. Eventually, they run into a group of goliaths talking with the lone guard near the exit of Timbervale. The goliaths were demanding Timbervale send reinforcements back up the mountain to help them. The guard shook his head, as guards were needed in town, and he recommended seeing some well armed adventurer’s in town. Noticing the party, he points them out. Speaking on the group’s behalf, the largest goliath Rangrim tells the part the truth of the situation. A warband of orcs have overtaken and occupied the goliath settlement near Stonefang Pass. Several goliaths were captured, and many were killed. The few that escaped are with Rangrim now. Recently, packs of orcs have been picking off people through Stonefang Pass. Deemed unsafe, Timbervale recalled what was left of their guards and closed the road.
These goliaths felt that with a combined force, they could retake their settlement and clear Stonefang Pass of orcish aggression. Asking for their help, the party obliged. Though traveling north to Zacrum was their main priority, they wouldn’t let these people be slaughtered. And so, the party joined Rangrim, his fellow barbarian Lokag and four other goliaths up the road to Stonefang Pass. There were several routes leading up to Stonefang Pass, but the group followed the shortest route, which led them to a 50ft. ravine connected by a rope bridge. Rangrim led the pack across single-file, as not to put too much weight on the wooden planks.
Halfway across the bridge, Burtango noticed off in the distance, two hippogriffs circling above. Just as he was about to alert the party, loud screeches cut the silence as one of the hippogriffs dove in for an attack. Rangrim called out for the group to run, some followed, others ducked for cover, but the goliath barbarian Lokag stood his ground with greatsword drawn, as did the warforged fighter Calibretto with his axe. As Lokag was leading what was left of the line he swung his sword as the hippogriff flew for a strike, hitting it and avoiding it’s claws, but it’s talons managed to get a piece of the rope holding the bridge together. It veered sideways and flew off, giving the group ample time to continue to cross the bridge. But as quickly as the one hippogriff left, the second one screeched and flew towards them as well. The goliaths pulling up the rear ducked and covered Hogarth and Turin, while Calibretto, Amaril and Burtango attempted to fend the hippogriff off. Unsuccessful, they only seemed to anger it as it cut one of the other ropes holding the bridge together, until Lokag successfully struck with his greatsword yet again, sending it flying off, but not without completely severing the rope binding one side of the bridge.
Losing one side of the rope, the group held on for dear life. Rangrim, having ran ahead, was already on the other side calling for them to stop fighting and work their way to safety. As the group shimmied across, the rope that was holding the bridge together began to unbind from the previous cut just moments earlier. Half of the group held on to the ropes as they swung to one side of the ravine, as did the other half, right where the bridge split. Lokag, Burtango, Amaril and Calibretto and a goliath runepriest began to climb up their rope while Hogarth, Turin and the other goliaths climbed the rope on the opposite side of the ravine. Rangrim assured the party that their friends would be fine, as his fellow goliaths new other routes that lead to them. They’d catch up soon enough. In the meantime, the rest of them approached the entrance to Stonefang Pass.
The entrance to Stonefang Pass begins with a tunnel, carved by giants and later inhabited by dwarves. Overlooking the entryway are two massive stone carvings of giants. Inside, the party found the tunnel dark, quiet and uninhabited. Further in, there was a chattering of teeth, coming from the darkness. With his torch, Amaril discovered the body of a dead orc, laying against the wall. Lokag came to find yet another one up ahead, as the chattering grew louder. As the party delved deeper into the tunnel, a loud thud crashed in the middle of them; an orc body, with it’s flesh ripped apart fell from the ceiling— looking up revealed a colony of stirges! Hewing through them, the party decisively crushed the ones that attacked them, but as they were clearing their way through, the deceased corpses began to shake and sputter, releasing several other stirges. Viciously, they fought their way through the cloud of stirges clamping and biting at them until victory was won.
Further down the tunnel, the party came upon a huge stone slab, a small puddle of blood and an orcish arm lay beneath it. To the right, a massive stone lever sit idle, and to the left stood a great dwarven automaton made of assorted pieces of rusted metal and splintered wood. As Lokag and Calibretto attempted to pull the lever, Amaril and Burtango inspected the automaton. The lever wouldn’t budge with their combined strength. Amaril discovered the automaton was used to manage the gate here, secured with this stone slab. After fiddling with the runes, he managed to activate the automaton; who’s sole mechanism was to walk to and from the lever, to open and close the gate. The automaton seemed to have a malfunction though, as it would only hold the lever down with ample arcane control, otherwise it would shut back down releasing the lever. And so the automaton pulled the lever, and the slab rose. The party crossed into the next room awaiting Amaril, Rangrim and the goliath runepriest. Rangrim crossed the threshold beckoning the two. The runepriest looked to Amaril, suggesting she hold it as he crosses noting she’ll follow. After Amaril passed, the runepriest made a mad dash as the automaton deactivated, lowering the slab. She didn’t make it.
Rangrim and Lokag lamented their fallen brethren, but the group had to press on. Further down the tunnel, they found broken sconces and rubble littering the walkways; evidence of previous illumination in the tunnels. Something or someone had gone about smashing each one down. The path curved as they neared the exit, around a bend, two not-as-great dwarven automatons ran about, hammers swinging. Noticing Lokag, they began swinging their hammers in his direction as they approached. The party easily dispatched the clearly malfunctioning automatons, clearing the way to the exit.
An orcish reaver.
Outside of the tunnel, revealed a canyon. The party walked up a path along the mountainside wall. Up ahead the party saw the first checkpoint along Stonefang Pass; a guard tower. Approaching the tower, Lokag kicked the door as the rest of the party had their weapons drawn. The guard tower was ransacked. Overturned furniture and merchant paperwork littered the floors. Upstairs the alarm bell hung idle. Abruptly breaking the silence, Amaril tugged the bell’s rope sending a loud boom across the mountain range.
All remained still as the bell’s ring died down. After further investigation, the party had given up finding anything of interest in this guard tower, and so they moved to continue up the road. As they were making their leave, they could hear a ruckus approaching around the mountainside. A battalion of orcs had heard the bell and were charging down the path to see what was happening. The party had taken refuge behind some rocks and bushes and sprang an ambush on the group of orcs. A ferocious battle ensued, leading the orcs was their bear-riding captain, and an imposing, greataxe wielding reaver. Some orcs met their deaths being tossed over the cliff’s edge, others met a similar fate against the party’s steel. After all the dust had settled, the party emerged victorious, tending their wounds as they continued onward through Stonefang Pass.