Winter in the Revenant Archipelago had been cold and brutal. Fort Destitute was well stocked two months ago but now the supplies were dwindling. Attempts were made to get supplies from Port Freehold on the main island to the northwest but a group of pirates and their Manticore ally have been attacking the supply boats making trips between the two settlements. Most of the boats had been attacked and many of their crew killed. It was getting difficult to find sailors willing to attempt the journey.
This prompted Count Leo Kiesling of Port Freehold to raise the bounty on the marauding manticore to 120 gold crowns. Syr Jamie of had put up twice as many wanted posters around the fort when the bounty was increased.
The manticore had already been encountered at the start of winter by a band of bounty hunters operating out of Fort Destitute. They had managed to drive off the beast but they had been nearly killed in the process. Seeing a need to dispatch the creature once and for all some of those same individuals set out to claim the bounty. Himo the elf, Astrid, and Nemetona decided to head northwest in the direction that the manticor's lair was reported to be in to track it and the pirates down.
Himo and Nemetona were able to bring the creature down after which they administered a healing potion to Astrid and pressed on.
As they reached the northwestern shore they began to search for along the coastline for the base of the pirates and manticore. They hadn't searched long when they were attacked by three Hobgoblins.
They followed the track along the coastline until they came to an area of 50 foot high cliffs. They noticed two Hobgoblin lookouts in foxholes with blinds using spyglasses to survey the narrow straight between Desolation Island and Freehold Island. The attempted to sneak up on the lookouts but one of the Hobgoblins noticed them as blew his hunting horn to sound the alarm. One of the Hobgoblins was dispatched quickly but the other rappelled down the cliff side onto a ledge and made a break for a cave in the cliff face. He was dispatched with arrows from Himo and Astrid.
The party drug the Hobgoblin lookout that they had killed away from the cliff and began discussing whether they should press on or return to the fort and turn in the Ogre and Hobgoblin heads they had taken for bounty. Not long after they began discussing their options the manticore came roaring over the edge of the cliff slinging tail spikes at them. Himo was quick enough to duck for cover but Nemetona and Astrid were both struck.
After a furious exchange of tail spikes and arrows Hobgoblin reinforcements climbed up the cliff with their grappling hooks and ropes to join the fray.
Astrid was taken down by another volley of tail spikes. Nemetona rushed over to revive her with a healing potion but they were now fighting the Hobgoblins.
Himo managed to drive the manticore back to it's lair but the Hobgoblins had fully engaged by then.
Astrid and Nemetona charged the Hobgoblin archers while Himo provided covering fire with his longbow.
The bounty hunters managed to dispatch the Hobgoblins but it was a nasty fight and Astrid was in pretty bad shape. They decided to expend the rest of their healing potions and keep pursuing the manticore rather than allowing the beast a chance to rest up.
While exploring the cave they discovered a small treasure hoard but the manticore had been hiding in a muddy pool of water and when they got close enough he ambushed them.
Astrid was wounded again but she in turn managed to badly wound the manticore. Several blows and arrows were exchanged.
Himo moved in an delivered the killing blow with an arrow to the creatures maw. From the look of the treasure it was clear that this manticore and it's hobgoblin allies had been the ones attacking the supply boats. There was a crate of Seal Lion Trading Company rations and several other trade goods.
The hobgoblin den was also searched and some additional loot was found among their belongings. They also found a large boat tied to a small dock at the base of the cliff under the cave mouth.
Being pretty beat up the bounty hunters decided to set alarms at the cave mouth and spend the night resting in the hobgoblin den.
In the morning they returned to Fort Destitute with their new boat and treasure. Syr Jamie was pleased that they had ended the pirate threat and he promised to send word to Count Leo about the bounty hunter's exploits.
DM Notes: I started running a new West Marches campaign in the fall of 2019 in my new setting of The Revenant Archipelago. So far the players have had a few of their characters gain some treasure and renown in Fort Destitute on Desolation island. Most of them were abandoned there when the the ship they were traveling to the colonies on was damaged and decided to turn back to the Empire for repairs. There are several island full of mysterious ruins and barbaric tribes scattered among the archipelago but only two small Imperial settlements. In this open ended campaign each player will decide