The Tanius Campaign Journal - Chapter 8: The Bonde Farmstead
It wasn't easy uncovering the details of this leg of the journey. When I first caught wind of the party leaving town I was still sorting the events at the Blackheart Agriculture warehouse. I did my best to catch up to the party, but it turns out chasing after a group of people riding on horseback is a difficult task for someone of my...smaller stature.
By the time I reached the Bonde farmstead there were several griffon corpses on the ground, and the party had already begun making their way up Mount Easie. Fortunately, the farm was not completely abandoned. The owner of the farmstead was still occupying the farmhouse, so without hesitation I knocked on the door. The farmer asked if I was another one of Clausen's men; assuming he was referring to Clausen Harrier, the esteemed human noble in charge of handling house Harrier's affairs on the outskirts of town, I said yes.
Luckily, the farmer did not question my story and instead asked me what I needed. Recognizing an opportunity to uncover what transpired before I arrived, I asked the man for a retelling of the events for my "official report." Eager to please, he ushered me inside and gave me his version of the tale.
Blackthorn Syndicate Campaign Log: Day 4 - Part 1
17th day of Kythorn - Dawn
Year of The Rebuked Storm - 1574 Dale Reckoning
Endgar Outskirts - The Bonde Farmstead
When the party arrived at the Bonde farmstead, several of Clausen's men were already stationed there. Once their horses were hitched, they called Clausen's men over. The scouting party consisted of two male humans and one female wood elf with a wolf companion. Clausen's scouts gave the party a quick rundown of the events thus far and an overview of their findings around Mount Easie.
The first griffon attack on the Bonde farmstead took place about one week prior. It is common knowledge that griffons occasionally fly through the area hunting livestock, but the Bonde farmstead had been attacked 4 times in just a week. This increased attack frequency suggested a Griffon Matron was nesting nearby. After speaking to the scouts, the party walked over to the farmer to discuss the situation.
The farmer was very distraught. Several of his horses had been carried away and he'd been forced to send the majority of his livestock to a farm down the road. Not keen to fight an entire pride of griffons at once, the party asked the farmer if they could use one of his remaining animals to bait the griffons back out. The farmer objected at first, but after some smooth negotiating he agreed to get one of his goats from a nearby farmstead at dawn.
With a plan in place, the group had one last chat with the scouts before turning in for the night. They learned that the wood elf's name was Meesh, and her wolf companion's name was Joey. Elle, feeling a connection with this beast, used a Speak with Animals spell in an attempt to learn more about the mysterious duo.
PC Introduction: Meesh the Altruistic Ranger
Race: Half Elf
Conclave: Beast(Unearthed Arcana)
Background: Black Sheep(Custom)
Origin: The Wyldwood - A Remote Village
Attributes: Str 12, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 16, Chr 13
Proficiencies: Athletics, Acrobatics, Stealth, Investigation, Insight, Perception, Survival
Equipment: Leather Armor, Long-bow, Shortsword x2, Quiver
Personality: Meesh had a challenging upbringing. She was the only half-elf in her elven village along the outer rim of the Wyldwood. Her status as a pariah in the village eventually drove her to look for acceptance elsewhere. Upon leaving she has found that civilization has been very accepting of her, but she still longs for a sense of belonging she never had growing up.
PC-Companion Introduction: Joey The Friendly Wolf
Attributes: Str 12, Dex 15, Con 12, Int 4, Wis 12, Chr 6
Proficiencies: Perception, Stealth
Personality: Joey lost his mother when he was a young pup. However, Meesh came across Joey before he starved, and the two of them bonded. Joey's positive experiences with Meesh early on resulted in him having a generally friendly disposition towards people. However, he does not hesitate to fight should he or Meesh be threatened.
It is assumed that Lilyth and Joey had a very spirited conversation, and after several minutes of speaking in wolf, Lilyth informed the party that Joey was often hungry and confident he was a "good boy". Not sure what to make of this information, the party decided to make camp.
While the rest of the party moved their horses into the barn, Bellamy nudged the guards along in their sleep cycle by casting multiple sleep spells. He was unable to fully control his first spell and accidentally disrupted the magical weave, causing him to levitate. While floating, his next attempt ripped the weave again, somehow transforming himself into a sheep! Bellamy the sheep, fearing a visit from the griffons, ran to the barn door in a panic. After some genial teasing, the party let him in and laid their heads down to rest.
While the party slept, the farmer made his way to and from the nearby farmstead. As promised, he returned with the goat that would be used to lure the griffons out. In the morning, the party staked the goat's leash to the ground near the stables and set up a hunting trap just outside the leash's reach. With the bait set, the party took cover around the stables and waited for their prey to arrive.
Springing The Trap
As expected, after about an hour they saw two avian figures in the skyline. The party readied their weapons and agreed to spring the trap the moment the first griffon landed. What the party didn't account for was the raw strength of a goat under extreme duress. As one griffon swooped down towards its prey, the panicking goat was able to rip the stake out of the ground. The griffon landed some distance from the hunting trap, but despite this setback the party launched their attack.
Party: Bellamy(Sor-3), Kroul(Clr-3), Lilyth(Drd-3), Ungoldor(Rog-3), Meesh(Rgr-3)
Enemies: 2x Griffon
Difficulty Rating: Hard
Expected Outcome: Moderate HP Loss
Actual Outcome: Moderate HP Loss
Loot: 20 Griffon Feathers(Harvested), 2 Griffon Eyes(Harvested), 12 Griffon Talons(Harvested)
Tactical Considerations: With the bait in place the party has a pretty good idea where the griffons should land. This allows them to surround that location and unleash a brutal initial salvo. Otherwise there is a lot of open space to move around, but this might end up being a drawback given the griffons' superior speed.
How It Went Down: The first griffon kicked off the fight attempting to attack the goat, however poor rolling resulted in two misses. Lilyth and Joey engaged the griffons in melee range while the rest of the party applied damage with ranged attacks. The first griffon went down the same turn that the second griffon landed. The party was then able to change targets without suffering too much damage.
The second griffon entered the fray shortly after the first. Several party members were wounded over the course of the fight, but they were ultimately able to bring the monstrosities down. Much to the farmer's delight, the goat actually managed to survive the encounter. However, the party was not yet done with their new four-legged friend, and upon corralling the goat, they set up the trap once again.
Over two more hours of waiting, no griffons approached the farmstead. Eventually it became clear that this particular trap would only work once. Reaching this conclusion, they removed the stake from the ground, gathered supplies, and walked, goat in tow, towards Mount Easie.