Dossier on 'The Houndmaster' Hobgoblin
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Last night I took a group of around 10 people in search of White Horde totems in order to better get a handle on where these things are located and any local forces that may congregate near them. Since I’m still working on a few other projects at the same time, some of this may be repeated information, but for the sake of completeness it is duplicated here for later distribution to allied causes.
Some of this may be speculation on my part, it will be labeled as such. I’ve done my best to be as objective as possible, and draw from interviews with people who have had experience with this new threat, my own experience with it, and the mentioned speculation.
-Holy Strategist Keline Hellenthen
New Threat, “Houndmaster”
Several days ago, a party including myself, Dawnknight Nicholas, and Sara were stopped at the foot of the Stormhorns on our way back from exploring the mountainside for more totems and tasks. We encountered a monstrously large worg that, upon seeing us retreated from the pass we were in to join two another worg, a hobgoblin riding a third, and another bugbear standing behind them observing.
This hobhoblin, henceforth called the Houndmaster, didn’t immediately attack, it felt as if he was patrolling. Words were exchanged and the Houndmaster seemed fairly indifferent to our numbers and disposition despite Nicholas’s posturing.
Upon challenge, the Houndmaster dismounted his worg and met Nicholas in battle, felling him pretty soundly with a flail of skulls. After this, his worgs attacked us- vicious at the time, but not especially remarkable otherwise. When I used blessings like Hammer and similar, the Houndmaster seemed less than enthused- calling them ‘tricks’.
After we killed his worgs, he tossed a beast’s skull at us, it was carved with runes and held magic. Like an offering or reward. He knew he could kill us but he didn’t, he could have attacked us at the outset but didn’t. He mentioned peripherally that he was looking for a challenge and we did not measure up.
From reports by the Elven Host, it’s come to be understood he’s patrolling the what appears to be a territory. This appears to be his function within the White Horde. But he personally seems to be seeking a challenge and tests adventuring groups he comes across using his worgs and his own (not insignificant) prowess.
He’s displayed a sense of fair play and honor in his own way, suggesting to me he is treating this almost like a nobles’ hunt. Hobgoblins tend to have a militant streak to them and from what we’ve seen of the Witch she definitely has a certain order she’s comfortable working in. We’ve seen their host using overwatch advancing tactics and other such things, so this may not come as a surprise.
Special Notes: Worgs
Being who/what this creature is, the most interesting part of his combat capacity is his worgs. According to letters, interviews, and discussions with the adventuring population and especially the Elven Embassy, we’ve learned the following:
- These worgs appear to be compelled to fight for the Houndmaster. (Grounded speculation based upon rangers attempting to calm them.)
- They seem to eat humanoid creatures, there were no meats or grains or anything you might normally feed such a massive hound, but the remains of some form of humanoids. (This next part is purely speculation on my part) Could this maybe be how they manage to increase their size to much, through the humanoids themselves or some kind of enspellment put upon them before being fed to the worgs?
- As time has gone on these worgs are displaying increasingly magical capabilities; breathing fire, breathing ice, being encircled with magic fire that burns those who attempt to fight them.
- Adventurers report being ambushed separately, some have been carried off- at least one report of this happening. The person was recovered as the worg attempted to head for the Hullack, but very nearly not.
I think it’s fair to say that the pattern of combating adventurers is a way to test them and modulate the strength of these worgs to re-enforce what the Witch sees as ‘her’ border. Thus, the simple solution would be to evade or escape these beasts; do not fight them, let them wonder.
We should make this widely known, shouted from the rooftops. A bit of discretion now may well keep our enemy in the dark about our abilities.
If we can capture one of these beasts alive and do a thorough examination both physically and magically on it, we may be able to learn more.
These worgs are no longer natural. They have been twisted out of their normal being. There is something most wrong of them. The larger worg seems to.. observe as well. Only to run and disappear into darkness when his smaller kind are slain.
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One of his hounds has been captured, I hope to get the Great Druid and some other locals in front of it to examine it more thoroughly.
More information to follow.
This hound master is a replacement of the warlord which was seen a month ago forming lines of hobgoblins and staging supply lines outside Tilverton.
The warlord hobgoblin was slain after a strike team lead by myself fireballed the supply lines, seriously wounding the warlord in the process. The warlord was later engaged by some company of ten Free Citizens and adventurers who finished it off, along with dozens of White Horde, including two giants.
It is yet further speculation, that this Houndmaster is a distraction meant to keep us off the border of Tilverton, to prevent further damage to supply lines.
-Dawnknight Nicholas Alwin Appleberry
I would like to preface this by apologizing the delay on this report. The first hand account has plagued my dreams, leaving me unable to speak at length on the event. However given the importance of the new development I have decided to put words to paper.
Additional Threat, "Warlords' Favorite"
Emissary Selifrey, her guardsmen Kirin, Viper Martaen of the Crimson Guard, Senior Retainer Aric Polk, Senior Retainer Rismente, Retainer Octavia of House Misrim, Jericho the Undead Hunter, Elaine of Illmater, Nicholas Alwin Appleberry of the Aster Knights.
Four days ago ((1/7/2021)) a party consisting of the above left Arabel to confirm the status of the device known as the Hullack Shards. Midway through our investigation, around 2300 hrs, a series of howls were heard. Kirin immediately identified them as a threat, and familiar. We were already discussing the capture of his Infernal Worg, and so the sound to him was familiar.
Along our way we found a massive "feeding area" of some recent creature. Kirin began to openly speculate that a Man-Eater was in the area.
The group decided to depart from the Hullack Shards when a massive worg, some ten feet in length, emerged between us and our path to Arabel. As we were already in the Hullack, the party was prepared with defensive spells, and we immediately gave chase.
This. Was. Foolish.
Our party became divided. Rismente and Elaine became priority targets of the worgs. As Kirin, Martaen and I would engage one, another would come into view behind us. We downed a total of three, narrowly saving Elaine and Rismente.
We called it quits with the device and decided to best to head back to Arabel.
around midnight, the witching hour, we were crossing a narrow gap of trees leaving the Hullack. Polk was scouting ahead with Octavia and Rismente. That is when we saw it... I have never seen a worg so large.. It had to be some kind of nightmarish demon-creature. No natural born thing could... Look like that... I'll try and formulate a proper description of "It" at a later time. I will say this, I have seen smaller brown bears. if you encounter the creature, you will know it.
It appeared behind us, like a proper hunter. It was stalking us, I believe it was testing us with its smaller kin. And of course, this is when events get complicated. Earlier in the day the known criminals Paul, and Zurask had made inflammatory sendings. Senior Retainer Aric Polk spotted them entering the Hullack and sent retainer Octavia to warn us as he engaged him in combat. It seems, Dario was in fact the Talonite wererat this whole time. There was a feud between Dario and Aric, and Dario wasted no time in ending it.
Meanwhile, myself, Martaen, Jericho and Kirin moved to engage the massive worg, the Warlords Favorite. Though it was no longer alone. As it passed behind us, it walked down a narrow path to where -dozens- of eyes waited. There were too many to deal with in the open, so we closed the gap, fighting them three abreast to better our odds.
A voice came behind us, Octavia telling Selifrey that Zurask was blocking our escape, and on his way here. We were about to be overwhelmed from both sides. Rismente was already down, she said.
Martaen and I both ordered Kirin to evacuate Selifrey to safety.. But it was too late. "They're here!" shouted Selifery. "Get her out!" I shouted to Kirin. Thats when the Warlords Favorite entered the frey. It rolled off my swordblows like water on a mountain. Nothing could slow it. In a snap of its massive teeth, it took Martaens sword-arm whole, and cast him behind enemy lines. He was still getting to his feet when the swarmed him. I've never seen a man shrug off an attack like that. Without a sword, without his arm, he rose to his feet to meet the enemy as they swarmed like hungry vultures.
They ate him.
I was soon to fall next, along with Elaine who was doing all she could to maintain our wounds. Jericho the Undead Hunter was able to down a invisibility potion and get us to safety before the feeding frenzy could start. We were spirited deeper into the Hullack and found safety by fortress called "Summerstar" which appeared abandoned. After a brief recovery, we collected our wits and made for Arabel.
All I know is Martaen died holding the line as any good soldier would. He is a shining example of the strength of the Crimson Legion. He was my friend.
I have only hearsay on the following events, though I hear Selifrey, Rismente, Kirin, and Octavia were all put on the ground and infected by the Talonite Wererat Dario, who used a maggot to infect them. Senior Retainer Aric Polk was slain without hesitation.
Kill the hellish monster.
-Dawnknight Nicholas Alwin Appleberry