“Huntin’ humans ain’t nothin’ but nothin’. They all run like scared little rabbits.”
20 Desnus through 1 Sarenrith
Having explored the Northern Greenbelt, the party turned their attention to the Stag Lord. Exploring the location indicated by the captured bandits (Hex G19) the group found a large fort on the shores of a large mist enshrouded body of water.
- Brok noticed some sort of large sculpture or structure out in the water but the mists prevented a clearer examination
After spending several hours scoping out the bandit’s defenses, the group decided to masquerade as merchants selling alcohol and Raffiq was able to talk his way into the fort. There they met the Stag Lord and his lieutenants, Auchs, Donovan of Nisroch, and Nathaniel Ismort. As well as several other bandits, the Stag Lord was accompanied by a robed man who’s identity was never determined.
- Rafiq did notice that the robed man wore what appeared to be a holy symbol of Gyronna, but doubted this was the full story, as the Cult of Gyronna only accepts female priests.
- Within the same room that the bandits used as their barracks, a large caged area held a captive owlbear, nicknamed “Beaky” by the bandits.
The Stag Lord refused to buy the alcohol offered, and instead took it from the group, threatening their lives if they did not bring more. In celebration, the other bandits began opening more barrels of alcohol, and it wasn’t long before Auchs had collapsed in a drunken stupor.
- Noticing that Nathaniel was not drinking, Solanthus attempted to strike up a conversation with him. This was initially successful until he began asking questions about the other lieutenants, at which point Nathaniel excused himself and moved to another part of the room.
The Stag Lord called a halt to the celebrations after noticing that Solanthus was not drinking with the others, and challenged him to a bit of sport. When Solanthus agreed, the Stag Lord ordered the robed man to “Bring out the rabbit”. Exiting into a back room, the robed man soon returned with a feral man and a captive woman. Declaring the woman a sacrifice to Erastil, Lord of the Hunt, the Stag Lord cut her bonds and chased her outside the fort, making it clear he expected Solanthus to hunt her.
- With a disgusted look on his face, Nathaniel left the room and headed to his quarters at this point.
Solanthus mounted his horse and gave chase, but put the woman on his horse instead and walked back to the fort. Displeased, the Stag Lord raised his huge bow and shot Solanthus in the head, swiftly downing but not killing him. He then shot the fleeing woman, killing her.
- Onlookers noticed that the eyes of the Stag Lord’s helm seemed to glow just before he unleashed the shot that put down Solanthus.
While these events were being played out, Brok and Rafiq enacted a plan to distract the other bandits by freeing the captive owlbear. In the confusion, they began their attack, and were soon joined by Nathaniel, who had had enough of the bandit’s depraved behaviour. Having defeated Solanthus, the Stag Lord joined the combat and, was felled by the combined might of Brok and Nathaniel.
In the aftermath, Nathaniel explained that he was a former Paladin of Erastil who had been forced to flee Taldor after accidentally killing someone. He had joined the bandits as he had no where else to go, but the robed man had recently begun to influence the Stag Lord to darker pursuits and he had finally had enough. He opted to join the group having no better option, and the group explained that they knew a Priest of Erastil who might be able to help him gain redemption. The group decided to free the feral man, and took the unconscious Auchs with them in chains. Nathaniel did warn the group that, despite being a simpleton, Auchs had a cruel streak a mile wide.
- Searching the Stag Lord’s fort, the group discovered a trophy room of his past victims. Amongst these horrors, the group found a severed head in a box together with a deck of Harrow cards.
- The Stag Lord also had a lock of green hair wrapped round one of his fingers. It was unclear what this signified, or even what creature the hair may have come from.
Stopping off at Nettle’s Crossing, the group tossed the Stag Lord’s body into the river, appeasing the spirit of the deceased ferryman. They then briefly returned to Olaf’s to give him an owlbear head for his lodge, before heading towards Restov to claim their reward for defeating the Stag Lord.