The Expendables

Phyrexia Rises
We own the skies!

The Expendables mounted their magical hippogryphs and took flight to the location of the ancient Phyrexian Book of Maps. As they traveled they completed a few more quests and grew closer as an adventuring party. They arrived at the City of Brass and investigated a warehouse, formerly occupied by the mage Arsim Azru. They discovered his plans to reactivate a LifeForge and create a construct army, but they didn’t know where he was heading when he took a ship across The Great Sea. Clank and Bunoir Spellfall recall the story of another book of maps, given to Caludrin Farill, a great Phyrexian mage known for his wondrous airship. The legendary machine somehow still travels the skies and the group managed to track down rumors of its last known location. Chet used his knowledge of nature to guess where it might be based on the season and winds. The party remounted their hippogryphs and took to the sky in pursuit.

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In the Caves and out again...
"We move away from Arshaka."

The Expendables fought off a Behir whelp as it protected its nest, before fleeing from an adult Behir. While exploring a strange room housing numerous constructs, the party encountered an odd floating machine which attacked them. One hard fought battle later and the party pressed deeper into the ruins. Arshaka had a difficulty opening a sealed door, but managed to get through it. After talking to a strange machine that tagged along with the party, Chet and Skeeter managed to stealthily take out the gnoll guards. The party quickly charged out of the Phrexian ruins and attacked the gnolls and their pet demons. It was a tough fight, but they triumphed, only to find that their mission wouldn’t end there.

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Stirge Attack.
These stirges must die!

A short time later, the party arrived at a giant chasm, where large platforms rose out of the darkness to provide a way forward. Judging the distances between the platforms, Skeeter tied a belay line to Arshaka and began leaping across the platforms. Arshaka nearly missed one of the platforms, but managed to grab on and pull himself up.

As they were about halfway through the room, some stirges swooped in and attacked the party. The weak armored members of the party fell prey to the flying creatures draining attacks, but were soon removed from their targets. The few larger stirges that were flitting around also swooped in and attacked, but were quickly dispatched by the party. After a few more close calls, Arshaka and the rest of The Expendables made it across the remaining platforms and into the cave entrance beyond.

A loud noise caused them to turn and they watched a number of the stone pillars collapse against each other and fall into the darkness below. Now the only path available was forward.

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Cave Entrance
Monkey demons? Get his pants!

The party arrived at a cave leading further into the mountains and followed the gnoll’s trail into the darkness. Upon catching up to the trailing gnolls, Chet and Skeeter used their stealth abilities and low-light vision to try a couple of sneak attacks. When the rest of the party joined the fray, they were confronted with five tough looking gnolls and two large hyenas, with jaws dripping acidic saliva.

Skeeter opened the fight by attacking with axe and fist, giving significant damage to one of the hyenas. It’s highly caustic blood spurted all over the half-orc, burning him severely.

The rest of the party started attacking the gnolls and other hyena, using some of their most damaging powers. The dragonborn barbarian entered into a ferocious rage that let him move around the battle field with the speed of panther. A hulking gnoll, wielding a flail, landed a massive hit on Skeeter.

Out of the deeper cave a massive ape like demon entered the room, accompanied by a gnoll with wings and long curved horns. They watched the battle, encouraging their allies to drive back the heroes and protect a dig site of some sort.

The half-orc retaliated to all the damage he’d been taking by pulling the two huntmasters down from their positions higher up on the cave wall and striking all the foes around him for substantial damage. Capitalizing on this move, the rest of the party started taking the gnolls and hyenas out quickly. Disgusted by his followers pathetic attacks, the gnoll leader ordered the demon to retreat and seal the tunnel out of the cave. Fortunately for the heroes another tunnel opened up in the wall to permit them a way forward.

After killing off the remaining gnolls and hyenas, the party set up a small camp to rest after the difficult fight. A short time later they awakened and cracked open a new sunrod, before proceeding into the narrow, twisting tunnel.

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Questioning Perth
So you were helping the bandits!

While the party rested, they questioned the halfling they had rescued, who they recognized as Perth, assistant to the mayor. Once Skeeter managed to calm him down, they discovered the other magic pouch and questioned his involvement with the bandits. The halfling described the attackers of the town and turned over the other Pouch of Shared Acquisitions in return for his freedom. Before he left, he pointed them out toward the trail the gnolls and their slaves took out of town.

After waking up the huntmaster, Arshaka used a ritual to understand the creatures Abyssal toungue. The belligerent gnoll revealed few details, before attacking the party and getting put down. The Expendables quickly decided on a course of action and headed toward the Stormpeak mountains, hot on the gnoll’s trail.

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Return to Duranth.
Dog-men and demons?! Eep!

With black smoke rising from fires all over town, the group arrived at the East gates, to find them ripped from their hinges. Signs of a battle were everywhere and Skeeter identified some of the dead creatures as gnolls. Upon hearing a scream and the braying of hyenas, the party charged deeper into town to see if they could assist whoever was still alive.

They came upon a childlike figure being chased through a burning market square, followed closely by a pack of hyenas and three vicious gnolls. The Expendables quickly leaped into battle, protecting the frightened halfling and taking out the gnolls. Skeeter flipped over Acidaar‘s shoulders to get the drop on one of the hyenas. Chet leaped over a mound of burning debris to rush to Nannaruluk’s aid. The gnolls and hyenas teamed up to deal some vicious damage, bloodying half of the party, before they began turning the table. Skeeter swapped places with a clawfighter and burned him up against a burning market stall, while Chet used his swords to drive one into more fire.

When most of the creatures were killed or fled, Skeeter cornered the gnoll huntmaster, before Chet fired a couple arrows at him and Arshaka Kahn overwhelmed his mind into unconsciousness.

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Bandit Camp
You killed Porkchop, you bastard!

In short order, the heroes arrived at a large clearing that held a small cabin and some tents, making up the bandit camp. Sleeping outside the cabin was Porkchop. Chet and Skeeter used their impressive stealth skills to skirt the woods around the clearing and get closer to the cabin. As the Revenant Ranger rushed to its side he was spotted by a couple bandits sitting near some tents around a camp fire. Their warning came too late for poor Porkchop, as Zombie Chet struck the mighty beast down with one swift blow.

As the battle commenced, Skeeter and Chet entered the cabin in search of Girug, while the other three adventurer’s attacked the human bandits camped around the clearing. As bowmen and club wielding humans emerged from the tent, two knife fighters moved in to attack Acidaar and Nannaruluk. The enraged bandit captain focused his fury on Chet for his vicious attack on the orc’s beloved pet, while Skeeter tried to draw his ire. Arshaka easily crushed the minds of the approaching weak willed humans, while the barbarian and runepriest kept the knife fighters at bay.

Girug held off the ranger and the fighter, as more humans poured out of the woods to attack the rest of the party. All of this was in vain, however, as the party weathered their blows and fought back bravely. Acidarr did a lot of damage to the knife fighters and once Chet retreated from the cabin and lured Girug outside, the fight was quickly brought to its bloody conclusion.

The party searched the corpses and tents, recovering a set of magical gloves, before examining all the looted items in the cabin. Arshaka recovered a magical pouch that he determined was one of a pair of linked pouches, called the Pouches of Shared Acquisition. In it they found a diary that outlined the schedule of wagons leaving from Duranth, which the bandit’s had been using to plan their attacks. The final message in the diary mentioned that the town had suddenly come under attack by dog-men and demons and requested that the bandits come to their assistance.

The Expendables loaded up with all the goods they could carry, before heading back through the woods to the trail, annoyed to find out that the wagon had indeed been burned by Chet. The quickly began the long march back to town, hoping to arrive in enough time to help.

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Bandit Patrol
I'll turn you into a newt!

After following some strange animal tracks through the woods and over a stream, they were surprised to find them change into humanoid footprints. Arshaka used arcane knowledge to determine that magic was used to perform some sort of transformation on the bandits as they crossed the stream. The party members pushed through the deeper forest and succeeded in surprising a bandit patrol on its way back to the wagon trail.

Leaping out of the woods, Zombie Chet led the charge. The human hexer tried his best to cast spells on the party, but they were too powerful for his weak magics. Arshaka sundered his mind with a series of vicious attacks and he quickly fell. Acidaar tapped into his primal barbarian powers and chopped down one of the soldiers defending the mage, while Skeeter drew all the remaining fighters in and hammered them with sword and spiked fist. The minotaur used divine flame to heal his party members and burn the unworthy around him, before the party captured a human slaver.

They interrogated the bandit and found out about their leader, a half-orc named Girug and his pet dire boar, Porkchop. He also told them about the number of bandits they could expect at the camp and was getting ready to flee into the woods when Nannaruluk struck him down with cool efficiency.

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Welcome to Duranth!
Bandits, eh? No problem!

The Expendables arrived in the town of Duranth and headed toward the town hall to meet with the mayor. A timid halfing answered their knock and lead them to Talarn Dragontree’s office. The austere elf asked them to look into the recent bandit attacks plaguing the town and gave them part of their reward up front.

The group discussed their course of action and decided to lead a fake wagon caravan out of town in the hopes of luring the bandits out of hiding. They traveled through the nearby forests until they came upon the scene of a recent bandit attack. After some investigation they continued on, but they did not find anything else along the trail. Turning back, they abandoned their wagon (and Chet burnt it) to follow a mysterious trail deeper into the woods.

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