Shadows of Northmere

5E Session 11 – A Feast to Remember

Synopsis

The PCs attended the tournament victors’ ceremony and that evening had their Harvestfest feast with Baroness Strath and her court. There was a huge announcement made at the feast, revealing that the Baroness intended to declare independence from the Duke of Rallas. This caused quite the stir, and the gossip will spread like wildfire throughout the region.

Victors’ Ceremony

Baroness Deirdre Strath sits in a rather ornate throne made of silverwood plated in gold along the frame for the joust and the award ceremony and looks like a sylvan princess made of ice. She looks almost mystical, sitting in the throne with her silver hair stylized into a horn and a rich green, exotic dress with silver embroidery and lace.”

“She is flanked by two knights throughout the award ceremony, the ruggedly handsome Sir Liam Bellamy II and icily regal Sir Morgan Chase in their shined plate armor, their coats of arms prominently on display on their shields, which lay at their feet.”

“Following the joust, the awards ceremony begins. Sir Malkar, an older knight wearing plate and with thick, gray whiskers that make him resemble a walrus, leads the baroness to the ranks of participants from the archery and axe tossing. A herald announces the Archery winner as Firas, a young, Bron barbarian with a quiet, confident demeanor, gaunt build, long blonde hair with two braids, and blue eyes. He has tattoos on his arms and wears furs and leathers. And has a fur wrapped hornbow on his back. He receives 20 gold crowns and an ornate longbow made of Faldorian oak. Sir Malkar presents him with the gifts and the Baroness says something softly to him. He bows stiffly. The runners up are also announced, a militiaman named Sergeant Jarol, and a Vyshani mercenary named Varturo. Each receive 5 gold crowns.”

“The Axe Tossing winner is Sheriff Bors, a tall, broad shouldered, balding, man with stubble, a crooked nose, and squinty green eyes. He wears an old set of chainmail and has an axe on his back. He receives 10 gold crowns and a matched pair of hand axes with light colored ashwood hafts and darksteel blades dipped in silver. He also bows stiffly after the young Baroness says something to him. The runners up are Talon and an older, one-eyed Bron barbarian named Husk. Each receive 5 gold crowns.”

“Also in attendance with her is Warden Alana, wearing ornate plate—though now covered in dirt—with a scarlet cloak and proud, golden plume on her helm, which lays in her lap, allowing her blonde hair to spill out over her pauldrons, though she shows a sheen of sweat from her joust moments ago. Another, more mysterious lady wears a crimson dress and black cloak, her red hair shining In the sunlight. She is outlandish in appearance, with topaz colored eyes and several golden loops in her ears and a golden stud in her nose. She carries a staff that looks like a freshly cut tree branch with green leaves.” (Talar)

“Next, the participants of the melee are gathered and the winner announced.” After Grimbull approaches and describes his character. “Bors yells out with a big grin, ‘next time, I’ll have my place back dwarf!’ Dakara cheers louder than anyone. The grand prize is 50 gold crowns and a greataxe once wielded by Origond the Ogre, a member of the Chosen who died fighting against Astoria. The greataxe’s haft is blackoak and the handle is wrapped in white winter wolf hide. Sir Malkar greets you and then the young baroness, still looking like a a lady made of ice with her pale skin and violet eyes, comes before you. _ ‘Grimbull, let your prowess now become a legend in this land. You are now my champion while the gods look upon you with favor.’_ She actually kisses you lightly on the cheek and gives the shadow of a smile. Also announced are runners up Sheriff Bors and a knight in dark armor and black cloak and shield named Sir Talmond. They each receive 10 gold crowns.”

“Other notables in the Baroness’ entourage are Sir Malkar, High Priestess Valya, who is older than the other ladies but still attractive in a stylish white gown , silver cloak, and a golden symbol of Suprias around her neck. There were also 3 Redcloak officers present. Two look to be young captains ( Captains Penrose and Rowan), but the third is older and looks to be a knight, with gold-plated pauldrons and belt, fiery red cloak, and a red plume on his helm. He is tall, broad-shouldered, gallant, and has brown eyes shining with wisdom, long light brown hair, and is clean shaven.” ( Commander Jaydin Valmort).

“Sitting near the Baroness’s entourage are other attendees of note. The daughter of Baron Logaire, Lady Lavarra Logaire, is absolutely beautiful, with raven black hair worn up in an intricate braid, a black gown, and blue shawl. Her face is somewhat foxy, with clever eyes that miss almost nothing. She wears a golden necklace with a star sapphire. Two other young ladies sit in attendance with her, as well as their guards. Lord Elidh sits near Valya, his haggard, old face showing his age, despite being clean shaven and having thinning gray hair.”

“Last, the winner of the joust is announced, and rides forth from the lists to receive his prize—Dane of Astoria.” Dane dismounts, Sir Malkar smiles and slaps him on the back for being the first to unseat the Warden. ‘It took an Astorian to dismount our lady of steel!’ Dane graciously replied it was only luck. Sir Malkar leaves him with a purse of 500 gold crowns! The young Baroness of Strath smiles, showing a little warmth, and personally places a medallion around his neck, a golden chain with the Strath seal. ’Let this badge of office proclaim your place as one of the greatest of knights! Deirdre says this loud enough for most to hear her for the first time. She then kisses Dane on the cheek. The runners up are Warden Alana and surprisingly a young squire named Sable, with unruly black hair and mischievous green eyes.”

Downtime Before the Feast

After this ceremony, there is time to return to the Azure Drake or go elsewhere until sunset. Savina went to the inn to drink and gamble. Dane headed to the armorsmith. Grimbull and Dakara went shopping.

Talon walked the market and found a thief first marking Grimbull to pickpocket before wisely changing his mind. The thief then followed Dane, then settled on a merchant who had drank too much. Talon bought two ales and intercepted the thief, offering him a drink and chatting amicably about the tournament. Talon observed two men in dark armor and cloaks watching him from an alleyway, but the veteran rogue did not give any indications he had spotted them.

Lore asked Dane if he had need of him and then hung out with Lady Lavarra Logaire at an afternoon tea at a small park beside the temple. With her were her two ladies-in-waiting, Lady Sovena Hawk and Lady Aurelia Ren.

Grimbull bought Dakara a glass globe with a miniature owl carving inside. She said no one had ever given her such a gift. Earlier she had used magic to convince a vendor to give her a meat pie. Grimbull paid for it and warned her not to do that anymore, since he had coin.

Dane returned to the inn and found a gift from Alana in his room, two gowns somewhat fitted for Savina and Dakara. He gave them to them, with Talon suggesting Savina would look beautiful in hers and Dane agreeing that she would look ravishing. Savina decided to give it a try.

The Harvestfest Feast

Savina looked radiant in her dark gown. Her gloves ran to her elbows and covered most of her tattoos, though she still wore a brass stud in her nose and some loops in her ears.

The feast was held at the castle, in both Great Halls. Dane, Grimbull, Nicholae, and Sir Johen were at the main table whereas the others were pushed to a nearby table with Captains Penrose and Rowan, Talar, the three ladies from Logaire, and Sheriff Bors.

Prior to their arrival into the great hall, the Baroness’ stewardess, Kilanna, intercepted Dane and asked if he could accompany her for a few minutes. He took her to the third floor to Deirdre’s private study. Deirdre was inside, looking almost otherworldly in a midnight blue gown shimmering with multicolored sequins and a tiara interwoven into her silver hair. She had two glasses of wine waiting, and two plush chairs before a lit fireplace. She asked Dane to join her.

Deirdre asked Dane if he enjoyed his stay, missed his home, and if he trusted Lord Murray, Nicholae, and Alana. He replied that he was enjoying himself, he did not miss home because the world offered adventure, and that he thought Lord Murray was extremely loyal to Deirdre’s…station. He also replied that Alana was loyal to her but he did not fully trust Nicholae because he had a hidden agenda. Deirdre seemed in a reflective mood, but she shrug it aside and asked Dane to accompany her to the feast.

Also at the main table were the Baroness, Alana, Lord Elidh, Sir Johen (representing Lord Murray), Valya, Sir Malkra, Sir Morgan Chase, and Sir Liam Bellamy II.

There were several courses of meals, musicians, and a pair of jugglers.

Halfway through the feast, Sir Liam Bellamy II stood and made a speech. He praised Strath for its diversity and measure of its people. He berated the Duke for overtaxing his people and sending sons and husbands to die in the north in a war with no cause. He said this should not be Strath’s fate and called upon its people to follow Deirdre. He claimed Deirdre has the leadership to look after Strath and its people, and not the Duke. He claimed now was the time to make Deirdre a queen. He swore his service to her, as did a couple of the other younger knights.

The room was stunned, and perhaps even Deirdre was taken off balance, though if that was the case she hid it well. She thanked everyone for their support and asked for the blessing of spirits and gods upon her people.

It took a little while, but the tension eventually left the room and people went back to feasting and drinking. Lady Lavanna perhaps took the news worst of all. Her father is the ruler of a neighboring barony.

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Session 10 - Harvestfest

Synopsis

The PCs have almost arrived at Strathaven. In the countryside several hours away, they spotted smoke and found a farmstead being attacked by bandits. They were easily able to dispatch them, but they seemed tougher than the usual bandits. Sir Johen claimed he was under orders to bring them to Strathaven, but Grimborn insisted they keep a young girl who was using magic to aid the bandits. Upon their arrival to the city, they saw that Strathaven was swollen in size, with refugee tents outside the walls.

They were offered two rooms at the inn and Grimbull recognized the innkeeper Magnus, who might or might not have been nicknamed Danroy the Fox and who had a cheery assistant named Kristoff.

The Heroes noticed and entered a range of contests for the festival, including jousting, melee, archery, and axe tossing. The contests lasted a three days. At the end of the third day, the champions of each contest were announced, with Grimbull winning the melee and Dane winning the joust!

Dane went to the Temple of the Three Gods and met with the High Priestess, making arrangements to meet with Warden Alana. Upon meeting her, he requested a meeting with the Baroness on Grimbull’s behalf.

Brigands

The Heroes were on their way from Corbald to Strathhaven. They spent a day of fog and mist in the hills and dealt with a light rain in the night and morning. It stopped by mid-morning, and they started to see the sun come out as they travel through the outlying farm regions of Strathaven.

They heard a scream from a nearby farm and saw smoke start to plume from a farmhouse. Sir Johen stated it was likely the work of brigands and offered to charge them if the Heroes could cut their escape. Dane agreed and the Heroes worked their way around the left side of the farm, with Grimbull ever so slowly bringing his cart to the fight at the very end.

The brigands had barricaded a woman and her girl inside the farmhouse with a fire inside, but Dane and Lore helped them escape the fire. Talon ambushed a brigand from stealth and put in arrow in a young boy who used magic against Sir Johen’s men-at-arms. Lore and Talon felled the remaining two who tried to escape with arrows. Dane, Lore, and Savina healed the men-at-arms who were wounded, but one was dead. The women who was rescued fell to her knees in thanks. Her husband had gone into the city to sell some crops.

The young boy who used magic was actually a girl covered in dirt with her hair hacked short. She looked to be about 15 or 16. She tried to use magic on Nicholae to charm him into freeing her and he threatened her to not try that again. Talon and Nicholae wanted her turned in with the rest of the bandits to be executed, but Grimbull came to hr aid and said she just needed better role models and a second chance.

The girl claimed the brigands were her friends after she was kicked out of her village for witchcraft. She said they were hired by a man at the docks in Strathaven to cause as much damage as possible. Some of the bandits were huge and wielded greataxes. All were unclean and looked like they came from the hills.

Strathaven

“Strathaven has grown quite large, with an influx of refugees who have built a small village just outside the gates. Further off the road are some rickety shacks with the poorer refugees. The city is surrounded by a great stone wall and towers, the guards seemingly small as they pace the walls or peer over the battlements. A great castle can be seen atop a hill to the north of the city. The large gate is guarded by a small group of men-at-arms wear scale and armed with shortswords and longbows. They have the baronial colors—blue with a red diagonal stripe, on their tabards.”

There was a small tax to enter. 1 cp per person and per 2 livestock. Knights do not pay. Each wagon of crops costs 2 cp, and each wagon with goods costs 5 sp. Sir Johen waived the tax for the group.

“A large gate enters what seems like a nice part of the city, with a great temple to the right of the street. The temple has a pool that reflects its great stone stairs and decorative columns. The symbols of the three Astorian patrons, the Divinities, are clearly seen etched into the temple.“

“A large barracks with militia practicing sword and bow is next to the temple. The streets are paved and filled with locals and travelers here for Harvestfest. As you continue into the city, you enter the Strathaven markets, lined with hundreds of stalls with merchants noisily hawking their wares. It is the largest market most of you have seen (except Talon and Dane).“

“Near the market are mansions to your left, and you spot a sign for an inn called the Mandrake, as well as another called the Azure Drake. The Mandrake looks older and has quite the crowd, while the Azure Drake looks newer, with glass windows and better dressed patrons.”

“Sir Johen sent his squire and 2 men-at-arms ahead to send word of their arrival. The squire, Kalynd, says the castle and inns are packed, but Sir Johen’s entourage has 1 room at the castle, 2 rooms at the Azure Drake, and a pavilion tent that is well furnished on the north grounds. Sir Johen spits, then looks at you all. ’I’ll take the castle and pavilion and see that my men are taken care of. How about you all take the rooms so you can stay together and I’ll have a way to send word to you if I hear anything.’”

Azure Drake

The Azure Drake was newer, opened by a dwarf named Magnus who slayed a green dragon. He found it fitting that the Baroness also defeated a green dragon, and he had just opened his inn. Using his treasure saved over decades of adventuring, he had spared no expense.

The inn was spacious, but also had many shadowy alcoves and some private rooms. It catered primarily to merchants and anyone with some coin, and its rooms and fare were more expensive than usual. There was a dragon skull with greenish black horns mounted on the wall, but the rest of the décor was more of a collection of Magnus’ travels, with hung weapons, shields, and paintings of faraway places such as Zaladar, Ashear, and even the Dragon Reach!

Magnus was a dwarf with a balding head, bushy black beard with two bands of white that ran along each whisker into his beard, and a tattoo of a the outline of a hammer around his face. He also had multiple piercings in his ears, with gold and platinum studs mounted with bright gems. Talon remarked that that must be what a real dwarf looked like.

Magnus knew Grimbull from his time in Grimbull’s settlement. He offered Grimbull some dwarf spirits (“nothing like fermented deep mushrooms to warm yer belly!”) on the house, saying he learned how to make it in Korand.

The Dwarf had an assistant, Kristoff, a larger dwarf who does most of Magnus’ work so he can tell stories and hang out with patrons. Kristoff had a brown beard and eyes, is charismatic, and knows much about business.
The food was excellent, with a wide range of spices available, and large portion sizes. There was all manner of meats, cheeses, and bread. The ale was from the best breweries in Rallas, the wine from Vyshani and Saladar, mead from Hrugorn, and Dwarf Spirits made in-house.

Grimbull decided to play cards with Magnus, and Talorn and Savina joined in. Magnus won he mist hands, with Grimbull, Talon, and Savina winning gone each out of six.

Rooms

There were rooms reserved at the inn for Sir Johen’s party. He gave the Heroes the two rooms, and Magnus offeedr a third he had kept as an emergency for Grimbull. The rooms were nicely furnished, with feather mattresses. The larger room had a desk and brazier as well.

Odd Patrons at the Inn

The Azure Drake was very crowded that night. Lore played the song of his life and ended up hanging out at a table with 3 ladies: Lady Lavarra Logaire, the daughter of Baron Logaire; Lady Sovena Hawk, and Lady Aurelia Ren.

Dane noticed two knights in plate armor stained dark gray and black sitting in a corner. Both were extremely muscular, even for knights, and had the pale skin of an easterner. One had a greatsword and the other had a flail and a longsword.

Contests

The city was full of people from all of Strath and some from other parts of Rallas. There were vendors and market stalls everywhere. People had also come to watch the variety of tournaments. Some, like archery and axe tossing, were held outside the walls. The big events such as the melee and joust were held near the market and the temple respectively, where two fields have been set up.

The Archery started on the first day in the early morning and went until lunch. The melee started that afternoon and ran for three days. The Axe Tossing started that late afternoon after the melee. Jousting was on the second day in the morning, with the final tilts occurring on the third day after the melee ends.

Dane’s Fixation With Warden Alana

Dane donated a lot of gold at the Temple of the Three Gods and asked to see the high priest. High Priestess Valya met with him, and he asked if she could arrange an audience with Warden Alana. She replied that she would.

Later, Dane got word to meet Alana at the temple. They were served wine, and he met Alana for the first time. He revealed he was from the same house in Astoria, and Alana was surprised. She asked if Astoria was seeking him, and he said he was approached by a Luminary but no more. She said Luminaries used to come to Strathaven seeking her out as well. She asked many questions about Astoria and how it had changed. Alana came to realize Dane was her cousin.

Dane asked if she could arrange an audience with the Baroness so that he could present his companion, Grimbull. Alana said she would do so. Dane later got word that Alana would see them for breakfast before the joust on the third day of the feast.

Parade

A parade was held starting at the castle, winding through the dock area, market, to the temple and the northgate, through the east gate past the temple again, through the market, and back to the castle.

The archers were placed first, then the melee combatants, then the knights. There were a score of archers, two score melee combatants, and only a score of knights and some elder squires. Dane had seen far better knights in his homeland, as these wear mostly splint mail, did not have as strong of horses, and a third of them were mere squires in chain shirts riding draft horses. Still, their pennants flew proudly above them. Most wore the blue of House Strath, though Alana had her own coat-of-arms—a red white lion on a field of blue with a gold tower behind. Her colors were red and white. Sir Johen wore blue and white with the boar of Avonhill.

The archers were a combination of militiamen, hunters, and some mercenaries. The axe tossers were primarily mercenaries, barbrians, and sailors. The melee combatants were as motley a group as one might see anywhere—made up of Brell, Bron, and Vyshani sellswords, militiamen, and barbarians.

Archery

A field outside the east gate had been set. Many commoners came to watch, especially hunters and some farmers. It was a bit of a quiet crowd, with some hunters remarking on a person’s draw or release. The prize was 20 gp and an ornate longbow made of Faldorian oak. Lore was interested in participating, since the joust did not start until Day 2.

The archery started with a general round in which each had to hit the target with 3 of 5 arrows. The second round was also 3 of 5, but the targets were farther. The third round was the farthest targets yet, with 3 of 5 arrows needed.

  • There was a militiaman, Sergeant Jarol, who served with Sergeant Simon at Aron’s Rest. He was clean-cut and liked to brag. He swore his bow was blessed by the spirit of the hawk when he fought in Ashdale.
  • There was also a Bron barbarian named Firas. He also fought at Ashdale and is quiet, with a calm demeanor and fierce concentration. Though shorter than many Bron, he still stood over six feet tall, is gaunt, and had long blonde hair with braids, and icy blue eyes. The other barbarians cajole him and call him fart. He wore furs and has a fur-wrapped bow.
  • Last was a Vyshani mercenary officer named Varturo. He had a black mustache, long black hair, and wore gold earrings. He also wore a silk shirt and velvet vest with high leather boots and a sash. He was gregarious and will point out others’ faults.

Lore made it to the third round after doing better than every other contestant but fell one arrow short. The barbarian surprisingly won.

Axe Tossing

The archery was in the morning, melee in the afternoon, and axe tossing in the late afternoon and early evening. It was held in the dock area and was especially rowdy. The prize was 10 gp and a matched pair of hand axes with light colored ashwood hafts and darksteel blades dipped in silver.

Each participant had to throw 3 axes and hit a barrel with all three to advance. Each round the barrels were placed farther away. After that, people were matched into pairs.

Notable participants included the following.

  • Sheriff Bors was tall, broad shouldered, balding, has stubble, and a crooked nose. He had squinty green eyes and wears chainmail, but only wore a chain shirt for this.
  • A barbarian named Husk was also quite tall, husky build, powerful muscles, missing one eye, has a wicked scar on his face, and a graying beard. He was the leader of the barbarians and they will all show up. He had a winter wolf cloak and a necklace made of the teeth of beasts.

Talon participated and defeated Husk much to the dismay of the rowdy barbarians watching. Talon lost to Bors in the final match.

Melee

The melee was popular and took the full 3 days to complete. There were a couple of knights, half a dozen barbarians, some sellswords, militiamen, and some hunters. The grand prize was 50 gp and a greataxe once wielded by Origond the Ogre, a member of the Chosen who died fighting against Astoria. The greataxe’s haft was blackoak and the handle is wrapped in whiye winter wolf hide.

Each round consisted of a fight against one opponent. The ring was set up in the market, with a deafening crowd and rampant betting. First one to drop or surrender loses. There were priests and druids present.

Grimbull participated, but Dane changed his mind about signing up, deciding it was for the “common” folk. Grimbull accidentally killed a Vyshani in one swing, which caused a stir. He fought a tougher Vyshani duelist who sought revenge and used poison. He ended up facing a barbarian berserker, a match that surprisingly lasted a long time. In the final match, Grimbull faced Sheriff Bors and defeated him, giving Talon a little bit of payback. Bors was impressed and told Grimbull he’d get him next year. A knight, Sir Bryn, and a Recloak, Sergeant Allias, made it to the final four.

Joust

This is what makes Strath unique in the Duchy and what many came to see. The field was near the temple. All manner of people were there, with the affluent protected by a fence and guards on the temple side, while the rabble congregated on the other three sides. There were not many who could joust—less than a dozen. The prize was a golden chain with the Strath seal (proclaiming its wearer as the Champion of Strath) and 500 gp.

The combatants were slated against each other and had to either knock the opponent off in 3 rounds or strike him for points and beat his total. If both were unhorsed, both lost the round. If there was a draw, they would go into sudden death until one is unhorsed or misses with an attack.

Dane was defeated in the first round by a squire. Warden Alana, Sir Morgan Chase, and Sir Liam Bellamy easily won their matches. The next day, Dane faced a knight and won, though it took much more than the standard 3 passes. On the third day, Dane faced another squire and easily won. He then faced Sir Morgan Chase and won and then Warden Alana in the final round, whom he actually unhorsed!

Audience With the Baroness

The group—minus Talon and Savina who were sleeping off hangovers—went to the castle and met with Baroness Dierdre Strath for breakfast. Alana was also present. The Baroness was much younger than the Heroes expected (in character of course). She asked Dane about his noble house in Astoria, and also asked Nicholae some questions about Pavik, uncovering his noble origins as well. Grimbull remarked that he has been traveling with a bunch of nobles all this time.

Dane introduced Grimbull, who informed the Baroness that Vyshani had run a mining operation using enslaved locals in Avonhill as slave labor. Deirdre thanked the Heroes for their efforts in stopping this and mused whether he Vyshani were acting under the Prince of Amarre. Also, Grimbull claimed his kin were looking to expand and could run the mine for Avonhill, since the mine was going to waste prior to the Vyshani intruding. He pitched an alliance between the dwarves and humans to mutually protect that region and trade.

Deirdre confidently stated she would be interested in giving the mine to the dwarves and also meeting their leader in person in their settlement. This caused a lot of surprise, and Alana asked the Baroness if she was sure this was wise. Deirdre claimed she would have guards and that she could handle herself.

Throughout the meeting Deirdre asked a lot of questions but revealed little. At the end, she asked the Heroes if they could go to Amarre and see if they could trace it’s prince to the actions in Avonhill. She said they would recognize any of the involved Vyshani.

Grimbull also informed her that some bandits they caught were hired by a man at the docks, and this could be connected. Grimbull asked the girl he had taken in, Dakara, if she would recognize the man at the docks and she said she would.

Deirdre again thanked them for their vigilance.

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5E: Session 9 - Heroes of Avonhill

Synopsis

The PCs escaped the Crypt of Zeregon and discovered that several events occurred while they were trapped. The escaped miners had returned to Avonhill with Isilde and informed Lord Murray of what had happened. Lord Murray’s second, Sir Johen, took armed guards and several of the miners to the mine to dig out the PCs from the collapsed mine. They were in the process of that when the Heroes emerge from the dwarven tunnel.

With them was a Luminary, Corind, from the Church of Astoria. He was sent to find Dane and return him home. Dane refused to cooperate, and the Luminary wanted to keep someone with him to assist him. This ended up being his son Lore, a bard.

Lord Murray met with the Heroes to thank them for all they had done and gave them an invitation to a feast in Strathaven held by the baroness. Sir Johen would be going with a small guard as well.

Last, Meledor Goldchase was ecstatic about the group’s finding of the dwarven ruins, as was Pelivorian Greenwhisper. Meledor said he was largely broke and happily offered to bring word of the ruin to the the local leader of the dwarves after he studied the ruin. Grimbull instructed Meledor and Pelivorian to go to the dwarf settlement first and instruct him on what transpired.

Escape from Kal’Korithar

The PCs escaped the dungeon through a secret tunnel. The weather was warm and sunny for this time of year. Valen fell to his knees while squinting to see in the bright light. He eventually tore a cloth from his cloak and tied it over his eyes.

The PCs will hear loud noises of people shouting and tools striking stone where the mine opening was. There they found that many of the enslaved miners had returned to dig them out of the mine. They were under the watchful eye of Lord Murray’s second, Sir Johen and a score of guards. Also there was Isilde, Meledor Goldchase, and Pelivorian Greenwhisper. A camp had been set with several tents and cooking fires.

All were overjoyed to see the PCs. Meledor approached Grimbull and Pelivorian and Valen (an elf!), while Sir Johen and Isilde to meet with the group as a whole.

“Sir Johen is an older knight in chainmail with a hulking build, his greatsword slung on his back. Johen is balding, has a flattened nose, and a dark beard.”

Sir Johen stated Isilde and the miners were able to reach Avonhill and explained what had happened. When Lord Murray decided to send guards to investigate the mine, many miners declared they would return to the mines to save their rescuers. Isilde doted on Dane a little. Savina asked if they had any wine, ale, or anything with a bite.

Meledor asked Grimbull what he found in the mine. When he found out about the dwarven ruin, he smiled as big as the moon and told Pelivorian, “did ye hear that? A ruin, a dwarven ruin, Bless me beard!” He wanted to investigate it as soon as possible and can hire strongarms to assist. Grimbull. He explained that Grimbull would not have some pull with the local lord and might use it to help the dwarves retain access to the ruin. Grimbull stated he had a plan to perhaps offer for the dwarves to open the mine and trade with the humans. He instructed Meledor to return to the dwarven enclave to inform them what was happening.

Sir Johen told Dane that someone from Astoria was at the camp seeking him. He said the man called himself a Luminary. Dane knew Luminaries are seekers. They recover stolen artifacts and find those hiding from the church.

Savina got drunk on ale and stated she would be returning to the sea to buy a ship. She offered for Talon to be her cabin boy.

Valen stumbled around in awe but was nervous of so many people gathered and disappeared for a while.

Luminary Corind

As the Heroes were wrapping up their initial greetings by Sir Johen and the others, the Luminary and two others with him approached the group. The Luminary was named Corind, and with him was a female acolyte named Rose and a young man with a lute on his back named Lore.

“The older man is tall and somewhat imposing, with steel gray-blue eyes, thinning white hair, and something of a regal countenance. He is clean shaven and wears a chain shirt and white robes with gold trim, along with well worn boots. He has a longsword and shortsword sheathed over his shoulders.”
_
“The younger female does not look Astorian because of her darker complexion and brown eyes. She has black hair pulled into a pony tail, a curvaceous build, button nose, and is attractive. She wears plain white robes over a chain shirt and has an ornate mace on her back.” (She is Saladorian)_

“The youngest is a lad wearing leather armor with a green doublet, a sheathed rapier, and a lute on his back. He has curly light-brown hair, blue eyes, freckles, and the beginnings of a goatee.”

They ended up meeting with Dane the following day after things died down a little at the camp, but Dane seemed to try to avoid them. The older man introduced himself and the other two. He referred to Rose as his acolyte and the young man as his son, Lore. He talked directly to Dane and stumbled from starting to say “Your High-” to “My lord.”

Corind told Dane his father and others were concerned about his absence, and Luminaries were sent to seek him out. He explained that he was here to escort Dane home. Corind was firm but could not force Dane. After Dane said he was not returning home and had things to accomplish still, Corind asked what caused Dane to be in ‘this’ land, far from home.

Corind offered the service of his acolyte as a squire to Dane to watch over him. Lore, hearing this, pushed forward and knelt before Dane, offering himself as a squire. Corind hastily tried to pull Lore up, but Lore pulled away and said he wanted to make a difference in this life and was tired of being sheltered away from everything.

Dane accepted Lore’s service, though he was torn between Lore and Rose. He informed Corind there was no guarantee of Lore’s safety, and Corind replied that he understood.

Meledor Goldchase

With a big grin, Meledor congratulated Grimbull on his find and asked about any treasures or lost relics. He was excited about relaying word to dwarven ruler Koren “Thirdhammer” of Silverfist about Kal’Korithar. He claimed there would be an issue of the humans claiming the ruins for themselves, and asked Grimbull to explore allowing the dwarves to study it at a minimum.

He also said his maps were still los,t and the only ruin Pelivarian was able to find was the same one in which the PCs were trapped. He also rued that he has lost so much revenue that he cannot continue as a merchant. This prompted Grimborn to suggest that Meledor return to the dwarves to let them know what had happened.

Return to Avonhill

It took less than two days to return to Avonhill. Sir Johen sent a messenger ahead, and people thronged the main street to cheer the Heroes as they entered the town. Savina said she could get used to this. Valen was largely terrified and took off for a bit at his first opportunity.

Boar’s Haunch Inn

“The PCs returned to the Boar’s Haunch.

Historical: “The inn specializes in pork and serves a decent but stout porter and ale. The inn is usually bustling with an assortment of locals, off duty watchmen and Redcloaks, traveling merchants, and mercenaries.”

  • “The owner, Dagin, is an older, barrel-chested man with a burgeoning belly, mutton chops, and a healthy sense of humor.”
  • “His young daughter, Mara, is an enthusiastic beauty who keeps the inn spotless and has a soft spot for animals. Mara is attractive, with dark, curly hair and dimples.”
  • “Dagin keeps a cleaver under the bar that he will handle in open view when anyone gets too acclimated with his daughter.”
  • “Dagin keeps several cooks and has hired two more women—the raven haired, sly Reeva, who wants to be a traveling performer, and the slightly plump, but beamingly smiling Girda who gets excited about everything.”

The inn fed the PCs free of charge. The inn was overwhelmed by patrons that evening, with everyone wanting to hear what happened at the mine. Savina and Talon seemed to get “falling out of the seat” drunk. They ate a large meal at their own table with Meledor, Pelivorian, and Isilde, who sat next to Dane.

“The inn gets more and more rowdy as the night goes on, to the point the three wenches are overwhelmed and people have to stand outside. Inside, the noise is almost deafening, and people begin drinking songs and put arms around each other while singing.”

During the festivities, a man-at-arms, Renold, will enter and tell the PCs the Lord of Avonhill would like to have the privilege of their company at lunch on the morrow.

Sir Johen was present, too, but kept to himself at the bar.

As far as the Luminary’s party, they were at their own table in the common room as well, but none were wearing armor or robes. Their clothes were threadbare and travel-worn, and they seemed to fit right in. Corind took everything in naturally. Rose was wide-eyed and looked around almost in awe at the revelries. Lore joined in for a song or two and even played his lute.

Savina: At one point, Savina drunkenly told the group how great of shipmates they have been, and that she will miss them when she travels to Vyshan to buy a boat. She says her goddess and the salt air of the sea call to her, and she never wants to be trapped in a cave or fight undead again.

Lunch with Lord Murray

The PCs had a lunch appointment with Lord Murray the next day. Dane sent Lore to (unsuccessfully) awaken Talon and Savina. Dane then fetched them himself.

“Lord Murray’s manor is near the center of town, between the Redcloak Tower and some shops. The aged manor has a small grounds with cut grass, as well as a stable. The manor is made of somber, gray stone with a wood plank roof. It was obviously built with defense in mind, with a portcullis at the main entrance and highly placed windows flanked by stout, reinforced shutters. Guards wearing Strath’s blue tabard with a red stripe, scale armor, and longswords flank the entrance. Murray’s standard, a black boar on Strath’s blue and red background is planted proudly at the base of the estate.”

“After being allowed admittance by the guards, you ascend some stone steps into a cobble-stoned hallway, with reinforced doors to either side. The doors to your right are shut, but left opens into the Great Hall with a simple throne inside. A large, ash table sits near a large bay window overlooking the Broadbank River. The room is sparsely furnished, aside from faded but luxurious tapestries showing a fox hunt, a vanguard of knights, a river before a mountain setting, and a boar hunt.”

A butler took any cloaks or jackets from the PCs and asked that they make themselves comfortable. Lord Murray was not in the room presently, but a young female servant (Lila) entered and asked what they would like to drink (she had ale, cider, and wine) and left to fetch those drinks.

“A few minutes later, Lord Murray enters, followed by Sir Johen. He is a fairly tall, fit, middle-aged man with intense gray eyes, dark but balding hair, and a well-trimmed, graying beard. He wears a simple but well-tailored burgundy doublet over a black shirt and a silver chain showing a boar’s head. He also has a masterfully crafted longsword sheathed at his hip. Murray is known for his seriousness and stern gaze, which he now directs your way.”

“Greetings, friends of Avonhill. It is my pleasure to dine with those who have done so much for my people.” He takes a seat at the head of the table. “I know not the purpose of so many of you finding your way to Avonhill but you have done her a just service.”

“The serving girl and an older man will both come out with platters of food, including a roast duck, turkey, leeks, cheese, and bread.”

Background on Lord Murray: He served Baron Armin Strath’s father, Montegar Strath as a knight in the war against Astoria. He then served Armin after Montegar’s death and was awarded with Avonhill. He has always been defensive minded and loyal, though he can be obstinate when he feels he is not being given his due (such as funds for defenses). He worries about the young baroness because he does not know her as he knew Armin, and she has also allowed the bulk of the Redcloaka to come to Strath from the northern front against Pavik and establish a permanent fortification.

Background on Sir Johen: Sir Johen also fought with Armin and has worked together with Murray for over 20 years. He is loyal, has an abundance of common sense, and is practical. He is hard to anger, and seems to deal with Murray’s uptight demeanor effortlessly. Both of them have tales about their fights against Astorian Viceroy Guy Balroux, but if Sir Johen is led into speaking of this, Murray interrupts him and says these young heroes have better things to do than hear tales of a time long past.

After lunch, some apple tarts were brought forth. Grimbull, however, got straight to business before the first bite of anything was taken. Murray then responded to why he invited the PCs to dine. _ “I have little to offer you beyond the riches I heard you plundered from the mine. Still, I would show my gratitude for what you have done. He gives them each a silver plated longsword, short sword, or dagger that are well-crafted, and have a boar head etched into the blackened steel pommel and then filled with silver. The swords have scabbards with black leather braced in steel framed into diamond shapes. The daggers have a burgundy sheath with steel tip and banding in the middle and on the top._ Each was worth its normal weapon price +60 gp.

Murray told the Heroes it was his duty to inform his liege of the presence of the mine and what happened. When Grimbull offered for the dwarves to re-establish the mine and offer generous trade terms with the humans, Murray nodded and said it was not for him to decide, though he liked the idea of re-establishing dialogue with the dwarves and perhaps re-opening the pass to Astoria (after it is able to be defended first, of course).

Lord Murray wanted to invite the PCs to a Harvestfest festival being held in Strathaven by the baroness. He was sending Sir Johen while he attended to urgent business in Avonhill and hoped the PCs could help Sir Johen make a favorable impression. He also believed they would enjoy their time at the festival as honored guests of the realm. He told them there would be a tourney as well, including jousting, archery, and a melee.

Journey to Strathaven

The Heroes traveled Sir Johen, 10 mounted men-at-arms, and Johen’s squire, a lad named Pale. The trip was 120 miles, and it took 3 days on horseback.
Day 1 – Warm, sunny
Day 2 – Warm, rainy, very dark, foggy
Day 3 – Average temperature, partly cloudy

“The first day of travel, you pass many farms, keeping the Broadbank River to your left. Commoners wearily watch as you ride past. The road is wide and there is room to pass a merchant train consisting of 2 wagons and a cart filled with barrels, crates of fruit, and grain. The merchant nods to your party as you go past.”

“Toward the end of the day, you leave the somewhat hilly and forested valley and enter a large plain, with less trees but the occasional hill and groves of trees. At one point you cross a sturdy wooden bridge that crosses a steep gorge that has a swift stream.”

Corbald (Day 1 horseback)
The characters made it to the ruins of Corbald at the end of the day on horseback.

Knowledge (Local) (TN 10): Rumors tell of silent apparitions glowing in the darkness, wailing, clinking chains, and eerie whistling. There are also tales of people becoming cursed and dying after looting the castle, and others being flung into the air and killed by spirits. The area is avoided now.

“A massive ruin of a castle sits atop a hill with a commanding view of the surrounding plains. The walls have crumbled in most places, though many of the towers halfway stand. A tall keep that once probably stood proudly atop the peak of the hill stands watch. A fire can be seen atop it.”

Corbald now had a work crew and men-at-arms involved in repairing the keep enough to serve as a watch tower. The men-at-arms had some horses stabled as well, to run down any bandits.

The group was welcomed inside the keep. The man in charge of the project was a Saladarian engineer named Diegon. He was a very slim, fit, dark-skinned man with graying black hair, squinted dark brown eyes, was immaculately dressed in well-tailored doublet and breeches. The sergeant in charge of the guards was Belidar, a husky man in his early 30s with a round face and curly brown hair. He wore scale and wielded a longsword.

At dinner, Belidar briefly told the story of how Dierdre’s advisers cleared the bandits from Corbald. He says the advisers were a varied group, with a dock worker who became the sheriff, a wizard, a guardsman sergeant much like himself, and a Redcloak.

Rest of the Trip
The next day, the group rode through more of the plains and will then turned northwest and encountered rugged hills. They camped in the hills, and on the next day arrived at Strathaven in mid-afternoon. The road passed through more farmsteads and they encountered frequent patrols. The Northmere, a large saltwater sea, could be seen to their left. Savina deeply inhaled the salt air and mentioned how great it is to be by the sea again. “If only there was some sun in this forsaken place!”

Strathaven

“Strathaven has grown quite large, with an influx of refugees who have built a small village just outside the gates. Further off the road are some rickety shacks with the poorer refugees. The city is surrounded by a great stone wall and towers, the guards seemingly small as they pace the walls or peer over the battlements. A great castle can be seen atop a hill to the north of the city. The large gate is guarded by a small group of men-at-arms wearing scale and armed with shortswords and longbows wear the baronial colors—blue with a red diagonal stripe, on their tabards.”

“A large gate enters what seems like a nice part of the city, with a great temple to the right of the street. The temple has a pool that reflects its great stone stairs and decorative columns. The symbols of the three Astorian patrons, the Divinities, are clearly seen etched into the temple.“

“A large barracks with militia practicing sword and bow is next to the temple. The streets are paved and filled with locals and travelers here for Harvestfest. As you continue into the city, you enter the Strathaven markets, lined with hundreds of stalls with merchants noisily hawking their wares. It is the largest market most of you have seen (except Talon).“

“Near the market are mansions to your left, and you spot a sign for an inn called the Mandrake, as well as another called the Green Wyvern. The Mandrake looks older and has quite the crowd, while the Green Wyvern looks newer, with glass windows and better dressed patrons.”

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5E Session 8 – The Crypt of Zeregon (part 2)

Synopsis

The Heroes wrapped up their exploration of the Crypt of Zeregon and escaped. They fought a Wraith guarding a lich’s phylactery and found a huge treasure. The lich phylactery was sealed in a magical box designed to prevent the lich’s phylactery from being active, but a female wizard was able to grab it and escape while the PCs fought against her and the Shambling Mound she had baited to them from the cavern.

The Heroes found the crushing wall trap had been reactivated upon their return to the mid-level. Valen had planned to use the earth elemental to escape the crushing wall trap, but they had to improvise. Ki used a Reduce spell on a stone ball from the trap leading to the cavern, and they used it to hold the crushing wall trap open.

After escaping the trap, they found an abandoned Dwarven plaza and explored before finding a secret door with a small tunnel leading to the surface.

Second Tomb

This tomb was the original resting place of a Brellish warlord. A shield was lying on the floor as if tossed. All the urns in here had been smashed, and the tomb had been opened and defiled. There was a stone chest with an iron lid that has the rest of the treasure.
Treasure: Sentinel Shield (dark gray with silver wolf), Cap of Water Breathing, 6400 cp, 3100 sp, 240 gp

Phylactery Chamber

This final room had a large dais with a stone box lying atop it. The box was ornate and carved with religious dwarven runes dedicated to warding evil magic. The runes warn to keep the box sealed and tell the story of the dwarves finding the phylactery of Zeregon. The room had also been defiled.

“This room feels cold and sinister, as if a force pushes against your consciousness seeking to expose you to despair. Your knees waver, as if your strength has left your limbs, and your hearts begin to race of their own accord. The stone in the room is darker than the other rooms, and silvery runes are scribed around the wall calling out to dark powers. The ceiling is domed and projects a certain majesty to the chamber. “

“A large dais dominates the center of the room topped with a stone box covered in dwarven runes. The box seems to be the center of the frightful emanations. An iron chest lies next to the box, and an ash wood staff is lying on the floor.”

“This room feels cold, even compared to the rest of the crypt. The unnatural cold brings a damp chill to your skin, causing you to shiver. A slight breeze blows ever so gently in your hair, and voices seem almost discernible at the edge of your hearing.”

The Heroes fought a Wriath that rose up from the center of the tomb and defeated it, though Dane was hit hard by the Wraith’s dark touch.

An onyx mask was in the sealed box with the phylactery.
Treasure: Weapon of Warning (Staff, ash wood capped with black steel bat set with 2 fire opals in eyes), Bag of Holding, Potion of Resistances, Spellbook, 5 gems (Onyx, 50 gp), 700 cp, 7,000 sp, 2,300 gp, 110 pp, 5 silver incense holders (25 gp), onyx mask (100 gp)

Female Necromancer

The PCs spotted a Shambling Mound approaching them from the hallway, and Valen wondered how the creature had gotten into the tomb from the cavern. Ki went to close the doors to the chamber so the creature could not get to them.

After the group opened the box with the lich phylactery, a female necromancer cast Wall of Fire to cut the room in half, with the lich’s box on her side of the wall.

“The female necromancer has long, dark hair and green eyes that glitter with intelligence. She is quite beautiful and also has pale skin, and bright red lips. She wears a dark, midnight blue gown, cut to accentuate her figure, has a belt with several pouches, and carries an ornate staff. She also wears a silver half mask.”

The female took the phylactery using Mage Hand to snatch it. She takes the periapt and then looks at the group, recognizing Nicholai. “Ah a fellow necromancer so far from home? Does your house hunt for you as well? Let me guess, House Dragomir? Don’t look so scandalized, the black hair is a ‘dead’ giveaway.” “Well, it’s unfortunate, but rather than kill you now, I will let you die a slow death in the depths of the earth. It’s fitting you will die forgotten.” “I will put this (patting the phylactery) to good use. Who would have known personages of such minor repute would find my great, great grandfather?

“Ah, there is my queue to leave you to your deaths, I thought you might want a new companion to socialize with besides your socially awkward elf. Farewell, and perhaps I’ll be back some day to pick whatever trinkets you find off of your bodies, or maybe even use your bodies for my next project. You could gain purpose as my mindless playthings.”

During the battle, Dane crossed the wall of fire to the necromancer’s side of the chamber and attached. Grimbull decided he was suddenly an Olympic high jumper and tried jumping over the 20’ high wall while he was magically enlarged from Ki’s spell. Both were wounded but pressed the necromancer as hard as they could. Ki and Nicholae used spells to wear her down, until the Shambling Mound took down the door and attacked Savina.

The battle was long fought, with Dane and Valen being taken out of the fight and then healed by Savina. Ki tried using Thunderwave at one point to push the Mound and the necromancer back into the Wall of Fire.

The Necromancer was able to use Dimension Door to escape with the phylactery.. The battered group then turned its full attention upon the Shambling Mound and slayed it.

Trapped Hallway (Crushing Walls)

The trap in the hallway had reset, with the walls invitingly opened again. Ki used the Reduce spell on a stone ball from the hallway trap one level below, and they rolled the ball into the hallway with the crushing wall trap after allowing the ball to return to its normal size. They were then able to escape.

“This hallway does not have as much debris as the stairwell. A skeleton that has been brutally crushed lies in shambles near the other end of the hallway, and dried blood smears can be seen on either wall.”

Plaza

“The doors open atop a stone plaza beside an underwater stream, whose rushing waters echo throughout the cavern. Several building fronts made of a light-colored granite are present atop the plaza, some with their doors open. These are carved into the cavern walls, and some have sturdy columns of exquisite workmanship. Old, lichen-covered stone stairs that once had polished granite surfaces lead to the lower level of the plaza, where a stone bridge crosses to another cavernous area. Two especially massive columns ascend into darkness, and which are carved into the likenesses of heavily muscled dwarves holding the unseen ceiling aloft. Two glowing orbs atop pedestals flanking the bridge provide soft illumination in the eerily silent plaza.”

The Heroes explored the plaza area but found it had been abandoned and everything of value had been stripped by the dwarves. They did, however, find a Driftglobe, which can magically light a room while floating.

During this time, Dane asked Nicholae about why the woman called him a necromancer, but he said she was a liar.

Treasure: Driftglobe

Escape

As they made their way to the entrance, they found it had been sealed by someone magically reshaping the surrounding stone to cover most of the doors. The doors were also barred and chained.

The Heroes searched and were able to find a secret door with a small escape tunnel leading to the surface.

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5E: Session 7 - The Crypt of Zeregon

Synopsis

The Heroes continued their search of an abandoned dwarven ruin after being trapped in a mine. They explored a fairly large underground cavern and discovered its inhabitant, an elf named Valen Ralifar. They learned the purpose of the ruin and that a crypt lay on the other side of the sealed door. Valen warned of ghostly undead in the crypts, and the PCs decided to explore it.

The Heroes fought shadows, specters, and a powerful flameskull guardian before making their way to the final room in the crypt.

The Cavern

The Heroes were attacked by a Jelly Ochre that dropped from the ceiling to surprise Grimbull (though it failed miserably). Dane attempted to sense evil or undead and found that the sealed door was consecrated. They examined the door and were surprised by a voice behind them the purpose of the door was to trap undead and a lich within.

Valen Ralifar

They discovered an elf standing behind them, in very old, brittle, leather armor, an old staff, and a scimitar tucked in his belt. He had pale skin, gray eyes, and dark hair. He stood about 5’4" with a wiry build.

He introduced himself as Valen Ralifar. The PCs conversed with him at length and learned the following:

  • The Ochre Jelly was his pet, named Bereghost. The large statue was an earth elemental that Valen named Borlok. Valen learned Terran to converse with Borlok, who became Valen’s friend. He does not understand why the PCs killed Borlok, though Valen said Borlok has been released back to his home plane now.
  • He will warn the PCs against opening the sealed door, telling them that many fell spirits lie within. If asked if there is treasure inside, he will think a moment. “Yes, there is treasure. The dwarves carried most of it off, especially gems, how they love gems. They probably suspected any curse upon the treasure could be removed. However, there is one room with treasure. It is the room where he lies, the one tasked to guard the master.”
  • Where are you from? “I am from Shalar, inside the Forest of Deep Secrets. I believe you call it Farodh na Holig."
  • What are you doing here? “That is a wonderful question! I was called into the Alliance of Strath, to help the free people defeat the lich Zeregon, the Necromancer King’s warlord. Apparently his phylactery was found, and the dwarves brought it here and sealed it in a field of antimagic, preventing his return. I was fighting him, and he must have…consumed…my soul. Lucky me that the dwarves found his phylactery! However, the process drew me from within and I found I was trapped, here.”
  • How long have you been here? “Near as I can determine, roughly 110 years, give or take a decade. I’ve had some enlightening discussions with Borlok and learned how to speak Terran. That was interesting. The day I could hold discussions with Borlok was so exciting! I’ve read much of the work inside the crypt, but found it…macabre. Not to mention the conditions in this place are not…ideal for preserving books. They fell apart after my 30th or so read-through.”
  • What is this place? “Near as I can tell, it’s a Brellish crypt that was re-purposed as a necromancer vault, which in turn had a dwarven fortress built atop it, probably to guard the phylactery.”

The PCs (Grimbull actually) built a camp near the waterfall and set a watch. Valen had many questions for some of the PCs about life on the surface.

The Crypt

Valen mentioned a way to get into the crypt without opening the sealed door. One hallway of the crypt was built over an underground stream and eventually collapsed. Valen would often use this entrance to explore the crypt. Grimbull tied a rope to Valen’s waist after he Wild Shaped into a mountain lion, so he could take the rope up to the opening, which overlooked a steep drop to the underground stream.

The PCs entered the crypt, which was built in a much more primitive manner than the dwarves’ work, consisting of large field stones plastered together on the floor and walls. Much of it was crumbling, leaving rubble on the floor. Dane and Valen led the way into the crypt. A hall with empty stone sarcophagi opened into a mausoleum filled with more stone sarcophagi lying on the floor, their lids previously opened and left askew.

The group was attacked by 6 shadows. Grimbull charged ahead and was almost slain, his strength being drained by 3 shadows. Valen—with a magically conjured flaming sword—and Savina came to his rescue, while Dane and Talon held off 3 others. Nicholai found his magic missiles more effective than many of his other spells against these undead.

Following the fight, the Heroes felt weakened and withdrew to the crypt hallway to rest. They then explored deeper into the crypt, finding a second section of the mausoleum, with a larger stone sarcophagus on a stone dais. Grimbull found a secret compartment with a rotted sack filled with 6 star rose quartz gems.

The Heroes entered a hallway that split into 3 directions. Valen claimed the main hall continued to the lich’s phylactery, as well as “the guardian.” One of the other ways went to a library and the other to another tomb. Dane and Grimbull continued the main way and approached a circle of magical glowing runes on the floor. This activated “the guardian,” a floating skull wreathed in green flames and glowing eyes.

The Guardian

Valen turned into a large brown bear and assaulted the skull. Nicholai hit it with magic missiles. The flameskull cast a fireball and was able to hit everyone in the group except Talon and Valen, causing all of those hit except Nicholai and Savina to fall dying on the ground. Savina was able to heal Dane, who in turn further healed Savina. The flameskull cast 4 magic missiles at Valen (the bear). The remaining Heroes pressed their attack, killing the guardian before it could inflict more damage.

Talon was upset that Grimbull and Dane set off the trap, though he was in the very back of the party at the time.

The Library

The Heroes found the library. Stone shelves filled with moldering piles of what were once books line the walls. A stone table held two stone tablets, one with instructions for how to become a lich, and the other describing methods to strengthen necromancy spells. Nicholai tried to slip both in his bag but Dane proclaimed he did not have need for the instructions on becoming a lich.

The Tomb

The Heroes then explored a tomb near the library. Upon entering the room, a ghostly specter emerged from the sarcophagus, and two more attacked from other parts of the crypt, assaulting the group from behind. Savina turned the first specter, causing it to flee to a corner of the room, while the PCs focused on the other two. They ended the fight with everyone still on their feet.

TO BE CONTINUED

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5E: Session 6 - Down in a Hole

Synopsis

The Heroes were trapped in a mine after a Vyshani named Terius collapsed the mine entrance upon them when they entered to rescue locals who had been enslaved as miners. The PCs found that one of the mine shafts ran into another tunnel consisting of Dwarven architecture.

The Heroes found deadly traps and animated statues designed to guard something of value or dangerous.

The Mine

The PCs began trapped in Terius’ mine after the entrance was collapsed to seal them in. They took a long rest and then explored the shaft that dropped into an old tunnel consisting of dwarven construction. The dwarven area was very old, with lichen clinging to much of the walls, and dust and rubble covering much of the floors. Despite this, the structure was in excellent condition, consisting of tightly sealed, smooth blocks made from harder rock than that found in the gold mine.

Stairway

The PCs emerged at a stairway that led to a statue room and down to a long corridor. There was a lot of dirt and rubble strewn up and down the stairs. They sought a way out, and assumed the atirs leading up would be a good direction to start. Savina was still filled with anxiety at the prospect of being trapped underground, but the others assured here there was plenty of air and a way out.

Grimbull believed this place was an abandoned dwarven fortress called Kal’Korithar.

Statue Room

“This room has four suits of old, corroded dwarven full plate armor standing at attention, two on each side of the room. In the middle of the room, a podium rises several steps above the floor and is dominated by a massive stone statue resembling more of a stone hulk than a man or dwarf. The statue stands over 10 feet tall with jagged crystals, likely quartz, protruding from its shoulders and back. It is facing away from the stairwell.“

“Two of the suits of armor look like they have been knocked over, since bits and pieces of the old armor lay strewn about the floor. Bones and two or three human-like skulls can be seen strewn about as well.”

The four remaining suits of armor attacked Dane when he entered the room. Ki cast a spell that damaged two of the suits of armor, as well as the large stone statue in the middle of the room, causing it to turn and attack the group as well.

The Heroes were hard pressed fighting against the four suits of armor, which were very difficult to hit and damage, as well as the large statue. The statue could hit like an ogre and was pounding Grimbull and Dane with its fists. Dane used his shield to ward some of the blows from Grimbull, who was enraged and not feeling a lot of pain (yet). Ki and Nicholai launched wave after wave of magic missiles and other spells to burn through the tough armor and damage their opponents.

They eventually felled everything. The large stone statue seemed to feel pain, shouting the word Borlok, which Grimbull and Nicholai recognized as the name of a Dwarven hero from the Reign of the Necromancers, meaning the “Steadfast Mountain.”

Trapped Hallway

After the fight, Grimbull promptly entered the adjacent corridor, setting off a crushing wall trap that, well, crushed him. He was able to pry his crushed leg out and roared about his painful experience.

“This hallway does not have as much debris as the stairwell. A skeleton that has been brutally crushed lies in shambles near the other end of the hallway, and dried blood smears can be seen on either wall.”

The Heroes experimented with the trap, finding that it had several pressure plates and would be nearly impossible to disarm. Grimbull, who was exhausted from his fight against the animated armors abd statue, wanted to take a pickaxe to the walls and tear them down.

The PCs reluctantly decided to go the only other available direction, down the stairs.

Long Corridor

The PCs found a long corridor at the bottom of the stairs.

“A long, 10’ wide corridor stretches into darkness. One end of the corridor near you is rounded off like a cylinder with a slope leading to the ceiling. The rubble in this corridor seems to be pushed towards the sides of the corridor, and the floor seems even more worn than the other areas with age.”

Farther down the corridor: “Six small alcoves, three to each side can be seen farther down the hall. A thin mist can be seen at the other end of the corridor, and the entire area smells of moist and decay.”

Other End of the Corridor: “A smaller tunnel 5’ wide intersects this one. Each tunnel leads into a stone stairwell descending down. A slight mist can be seen at the bottom.

Talon and Ki immediately suspected a trap involving a giant rolling ball. Dane and Grimbull entered the hall and activated a pressure plate with the trap. Surprise! A giant rolling ball trap. Grimbull jumped into an alcove and Dane was clipped by the stone ball, which had dropped out of the ceiling through a concealed trap door and rolled down the ramp and past the PCs. In addition, the alcoves were trapped in that each would push its occupant into the corridor if the opposite corridor had someone reach it first.

Grimbull predicted a ramp at the other end of the corridor as well. Surprise! The stone ball hit a ramp, doubled back, and rolled towards its point of origin and fell into a concealed pit, whereupon the trap clicked and reset.

The Heroes, for the most part, expertly navigated the trap and made their way to the end of the corridor before the trap reset. The found two sets of stairs headed down, each of which had fog at the bottom.

The Cavern

The Heroes merged into a fairly large cavern.

“You enter a large cavern filled with a moist fog. A waterfall roars from the ceiling to a pool, which then flows into a steep chasm. The air is thick with the smell of decay and damp earth. The ground here is made of sediments rather than rock, and is spongy with lichen and moss. Vines grow up the walls and through the ground.”

“All of the walls are covered in flowing elven script up to six feet up the wall. A stone door opposite the waterfall stands closed. It is very ornate and a close examination reveals blocky dwarven runes, as well as a fine, spidery language etched with silver.”

The PCs were uncomfortable in the cavern, but decided to check on the door.

TO BE CONTINUED

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5E: Session 5 - A Neighbor's Betrayal (part 2)

Synopsis

The PCs rested at the bandit camp southeast of Avonhill and prepared to follow some tracks they believed would lead them to the kidnapped locals. They also discovered Isilde, a huntress held captive in the camp.

They traveled south and discovered what appeared to be a mine with some wooden shacks outside its entrance. They were ambushed by scouts armed with bows and fought a long, fierce engagement against the scouts, some mercenaries, and the mine’s foreman.

After their victory, they learned that the kidnapped locals were being used as enslaved miners. They entered the mine and freed the women and children who were being kept as hostages, as well as the miners deep inside the mine. The miners and their family were able to flee the mine, but the PCs’ enemies were able to burn the supports to the mine entrance and trap them inside. The PCs found a mine shaft that intersected an old tunnel composed of dwarven stonework.

Bandit Camp

The PCs rescued Isilde, who was bound in Viro’s tent. She had a black eye, a cut lip, bloodied nose, and bruises. She was only covered with a thin wool blanket with no clothing. She was somewhat tall at 5’9” for a female, with a slender, willowy build. She had green eyes, black hair cut short, and tan skin. She looked young, around 18-20. She grabbed two short swords, some daggers, a longbow, and some studded leather armor that she claimed were hers.

The Heroes left Isilde alone with VIro, who was tied up with rope. Talon wanted to see what she would do and sneaked up to the area, but the perceptive huntress spotted him. Talon asked what she would do, but she was reticent., choosing not to speak much. Isilde finally cut Viro loose and told him to flee. She then shot him in the back with two arrows and left his body for the wilds to claim.

The Heroes busied themselves grabbing everything in the camp that did not grow from the ground, including trade goods, loot, horses, and even the tents! They also took this time to rest, eat, and pack Grimbull’s wagon. Isilde, the huntress they rescued from Viro, got impatient and forged ahead along a trail the bandits had used to take kidnapped locals south to a group of Vyshani.

The PCs now each had a horse, but again found the terrain too difficult to take their wagon. They chose to leave it behind in a camouflaged area and continue on horseback. They found Isilde after an hour and then traveled the rest of the morning and early afternoon.

“As you journey south, the mountains loom larger and larger before them. The land becomes rugged, the trees start to become mixed with pines, and the ground goes from grassland to thin soil and rocks. The largest of the mountains towering over you are already white with snow."

Mine

As the Heroes approached a major ridgeline, they spotted a possible mine with two wooden shacks hastily constructed near the entrance. The area was next to the stream they had followed upriver, which cut into the mountain ridge in a narrow gorge. Donkeys, water troughs, and boxes of provisions could be seen.

_ “You cross a large meadow and as you near the next ridge, you see two hastily constructed wooden shacks, with empty carts nearby. Troughs lie next to a swiftly flowing mountain stream. Its rushing waters drown the sound of the wind over the ridge.”_

As the Heroes approached the camp, they were ambushed by scouts hiding behind the buildings, who were armed with longbows. As the Ps engaged, they were attacked by a total of 4 scouts, 4 mercenary thugs, a dwarven mercenary, and a Zaladaran slaver.

“The slaver, Jakar, looks to be at least part Zaladaran. He wears a vest with much of his tattooed chest and pot belly showing and has a bushy mustache and is bald. He also wears ostentatious rings on each hand. The scouts look Vyshani. The mercenaries look like northmen (Bron). Vorgrin is a burly dwarf with a bald head and a bushy dark brown beard with two braids. He has gold wiring holding his braids. He also has a flat nose and a scar on his face.”

The scouts fired arrows at the PCs, who in turn sought cover and exchanged fire. Dane and Grimbull decided they could do more if they closed the gap and moved towards their opponents. Ki and Nicholai remained behind cover and threw magic missiles and fire bolts at their enemies. The mercenaries swarmed Grimbull, along with the slaver and enemy dwarf. Savina and Isilde moved to assist Grimbull, who was being pummeled by the mercenaries’ maces. The slaver threw a net at Savina and fought with a large, two handed scimitar, inflicting massive damage on anyone he could hit.

The Heroes eventually defeated the slaver, mercenaries, and scouts, causing one scout to flee and the dwarf, Vorgrin, to surrender. Grimbull was enraged to see a dwarf involved in this evil kidnapping scheme and punched and yelled at him. The dwarf stubbornly refuted he was a mercenary and was only here to guard the mine. He claimed Terius was the man in charge. Talon recognized the name as that of a crime lord in the Vyshani city of Amarre. Grimbull exclaimed that Vorgrin would be returned to the dwarves for judgement and execution. He had Vorgrin bound tightly and barricaded inside one of the shacks.

The PCs explored the two shacks, finding cots and supplies. They then decided to enter the mine.

H4. Inside the Mine

“The mine itself is a crudely dug shaft with rough timbers supporting it roughly every 20 feet. The smell of sweat, decay, and fear are palpable as soon as you set foot in the shaft. The light from outside allow you to see inside for 30 feet, but after that is darkness aside from a torch further in, perhaps 50 feet away. The occasional echo of mine picks can be heard from much further down.”

The Heroes found a side tunnel that led to a barred and locked door. On the other side was women and children related to the enslaved miners who were being kept as hostages to prevent uprisings or escape. They were half starved and behind kept in dark, filthy conditions. They cried at the sight of their rescuers. Talon and Isilde led them out of the mine.

Further in, the PCs found a side door that was barred and locked. Inside they discovered cages holding strange creatures that looked like reptilian roosters. Broken stone statues lay on the floor. Guessing the creatures were cockatrices, the Heroes left them alone.

Much further in, they began to find miners. They told them to leave the mine and find their families outside. The men were also partly starved and covered in grime and dirt.

The Heroes also found a long shaft that ran into an older tunnel that appeared to be composed of dwarven stonecraft. Grimbull was especially interested in this.

As they were looking for any remaining miners, they felt a deep rumbling towards the mine entrance, as if the rocks had shifted. They hurried to the entrance, only to find the door to the side room with the cockatrices was open and the beasts were loose in the tunnel. Talon wanted to find some wood, like one of the mine carts, to put on fire and use it to frighten the cockatrices, but the party easily dispatched them.

They could smell smoke and felt another reverberation from the mine entrance. Savina ran ahead enough to see three individuals at the entrance, with one controlling a ball of fire being used to burn the last of the wooden supports.

The wizard was a female with pale skin and dark hair. With her were two men dressed in dark cloaks and armed with slender swords. At that moment, the entrance collapsed, causing a cloud of dust and small rocks to engulf the group and almost choke them.

Buried Alive

Savina started to panic at the thought of being buried alive. Dane suggested returning to the shaft that intersected the dwarven tunnel.

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5E Session 4 - A Neighbor’s Betrayal

Synopsis

Meledor Goldchase informed the PCs that he overheard Lord Murray describing a problem in which people are being kidnapped throughout his lands. He sent some locals to investigate and they brought back a local bandit who claimed the kidnapped locals were being taken to a bandit leader in the mountains southeast of Avonhill. The bandit is still in the jail while Lord Murray ponders how best to rescue the locals without them being killed or used as hostages (this happened once before during the war with Astoria).

Once the Heroes agreed to help, Meledor kind of admitted he already volunteered them to Lord Murray and they had been granted access to the bandit prisoner. While the PCs perform this daring rescue, Meledor wants Pellivarius Greenwhisper and himself to seek the exact location of the first dwarven ruins.

The PCs planted Talon into the jail to help the jailed bandit escape and gain his trust. They intended to follow Talon to the bandit camp when the bandit would inevitably show Talon how to get there. The PCs followed the pair to the camp and fought the bandits, killing all of them except the leader, and rescuing a female local tracker named Isilde.

Meledor’s Idea

Meledor is trying to form trust with the humans of Avonhill. He told the PCs of his dinner with Lord Murray and that the local liege was worried about locals being kidnapped over the last several months. He had commissioned some locals to investigate, and they captured a bandit who admitted the kidnapped locals were being taken to a bandit camp in the hills southeast of Avonhill.

Lord Murray was worried because the bandits could use the locals as hostages or kill them if he had his men-at-arms storm the camp. Meledor told the PCs they would be local heroes if they were able to solve Murray’s problem. He claimed the investigators brought back the captured bandit three days ago.

In truth, Meledor already volunteered the party to help Murray, but he wanted them to see things his way rather than force them to go. Once they agreed, he admitted he secured Murray’s permission to talk to the bandit in the jail. The astute Heroes immediately realized he had already volunteered them and called him out. They said Lord Murray must be paying a lot for this kind of foray and that they should seek an audience with Lord Murray to find out how much. Meledor insisted Murray had offered nothing, but he could meet with him again and bargain for a reward. The PCs were skeptical of Meledor’s honesty.

Avonhill Jail

The Heroes decided they would arrange a fake arrest of Talon and have him placed with the jailed bandit. He would gain the bandit’s trust and learn the location of he bandit camp. The group discussed various ways to ensure the arrest would look genuine, in case the bandit had informants in the town.

Talon decided he needed to look beat up and had Dane and even Grimbull take a few shots at him. Savina was a little dismayed at his pretty face being messed up. Talon arranged for his own arrest and was dragged into town tied to the back of a horse. He was taken to the jail and thrown into a cell next to the bandit.
_
“The jail is under the barracks with its own entrance. The barracks themselves are a large building made of stone with narrow arrow slits for windows and a small battlement atop the roof. Men-at-arms, some armored in chain and some only wearing their armor padding or doublets, stand in the practice yard talking. Most are of large frame and well-muscled but some are gangly youths who look as green as a blade of grass.”
“The entrance to the jail is a steep set of stairs that goes under the barracks. Unlike the rest of the barracks, the stairs are unkempt and littered with leaves, dirt, and old blood. The door, a thick wooden portal, is closed.”
Inside is a guard chamber with but one jailor and another stout door, barred from the guard chamber that leads to the cells. The jailor is a hulking brute with one eye, a greasy, balding head, and rotting teeth clearly showing from his protruding jaw. His enormous nose looks like it has been broken several times. He wears a dirty leather breastplate and has an axe hanging from his belt._

The guard chamber had a hearth with a pot, a splintered table, a couple of chairs, and a couple of boxes.
In the cell next to Talon’s was the brigand, who looked young and of Brellish descent. He had stringy, brown hair that comes down below his shoulders, was somewhat scrawny, and had freckles and rare blue eyes. Talon got him to talking and he admitted his name was Bomar.

Bomar asked some questions about what Talon was doing in the jail and how he was caught. He claimed he (himself) would be executed for highway robbery. He said he was working for a Vyshani named Viro and was based at a camp south in the hills. Once Talon said he was planning an escape, Bomar said he would vouch for Talon to Viro if he came with him.

Talon picked the locks on both doors, and together they accosted the poor, sleeping, innocent guard and locked him into a cell. They escaped the town on foot and made their way south, with Talon leaving signs for the PCs to follow his trail.

To the Bandit Camp

Talon and Bomar escaped at around 11 PM. The night was clear and brisk, with the stars and moon clearly shining. They traveled south for 6 hours, arriving at a camp with a carefully camouflaged watch tower hidden in some trees atop a hill. Behind the hill were tends the bandits were staying in. Bomar announced his presence, and Viro came out to meet them. He told them to get some sleep and then arranged for the watch to be doubled.

Grimborn, prior to the PCs’ departure from Avonhill, had purchased a cart and two donkeys, and had it loaded with essentials, such as ale. He took his cart when the Heroes left the town. Dane had a new suit of splint armor, and Savina had a horse she could barely ride. They decided to follow the trail as slowly as possible so they could arrive to the camp at around dawn. They got there a little early, however, were spotted by bandit sentries, and an alarm was raised.

Bandit Camp

Four bandits were in the camouflaged tower and fired upon the PCs with light crossbows, nicking Dane with two bolts and injuring Savina with one. The PCs advanced on the tower under fire, as more bandits awakened and made their way up the hill.

Bomar woke Talon, and they made their way to the fight as well. Talon spied Viro sneaking behind the two as they left the tent area.

The Heroes dispatched six bandits, with Bomar fleeing and Viro making a final stand. Ki and Nicholai lit up the pre-dawn sky with glowing magic missiles, rays of shimmering frost, and bolts of fire. Grimborn roared as he swung his axe in a wild rage, and Dane used his shields to ward attack after attack intended for members of his party. The leader weathered attack after attack while disparaging the group for attacking him in a pack. “It takes five of you to bring down the mighty Viro!”

The final attack was Ki donkey punching Viro in the face and knocking him out. Grimborn was a little too excited about hogtying Viro and hanging him from a tree.

The bandits were all Brellish in appearance except for Viro. They wear dirtied leather armor with pieces of salvaged chain here and there. They are dirty and unkempt.

Viro, in contrast, kept an immaculate appearance and was dressed in black and gray doublet and breeches with tall leather boots and cloak. He wielded a cutlass (scimitar) and kept 3 daggers in his belt. He had black hair and trimmed beard, brown eyes that were set too close together, and had a flat nose.

Ki and Talon looked for survivors and found a young female staked to the floor of Viro’s tent. They questioned her, and Nicholai suggested they untie her rather than interrogate her. Savina healed her upon seeing her.

The female said her name was Isilde and she was a local tracker. Isilde had a black eye, a cut lip, bloodied nose, and bruises. She was only covered with a thin wool blanket with no clothing. She was somewhat tall at 5’9” for a female, with a slender, willowy build. She had green eyes, black hair cut short, and tan skin. She looked quite young, around 18-20.

She was with the group that captured Bomar and took him to Avonhill. Her group then found the bandit camp, but there were too many bandits, and they were defeated. Isilde was kept here but the surviving locals she was with were taken south, along a creek that went through the camp. The PCs asked her if she could track the trail south and she said she could. She wanted to hurry so she could find her companions. She found her studded leather armor, bow, and short swords.

The camp has a variety of stolen goods: barrels of ale and wine (mostly empty), jewelry, and coin. There is also a female prisoner being kept here for Viro’s pleasure: Isilde, a huntress from Avonhill.

Treasure

5 pp, 128 gp, 12 ep, 55 sp, 93 cp, 1 potion
3 art objects (80 p finely wrought gold bracelet, 130 gp gold necklace with a wolf head set with 2 sapphires for eyes, 80 gp silver ewer)

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5E Session 3 - Missing Goods (part 3)

Synopsis

The Heroes finished searching the ancient watch tower and rescued the surviving teamster and mercenary guard. They also reclaimed all of Meledor’s lost goods except for the wine and the scroll case he described. The Heroes then made the return trip to Avonhill.

Tower, Basement

“This room, made of worn stone, is filled with refuse and stinks of goblins. Four once-intricate stone columns once supported the room, but one has crumbled. There are two doors, both shut and barred, but one also has crates piled against it, barring it shut.”

After resting and regaining their spells, the PCs decided to check the lower level of the tower. Upon descending, they were engaged by four frightened, remaining goblins who were hiding in cover and managed to surprise the PCs.

The Heroes dispatched all the goblins except one who surrendered. That goblin warned the group not to open the south door and said the east door held other people. The Heroes wisely did not trust the goblin and ordered him to open the east door, threatening to kill him if he refused. They even stood around and watched as the goblin wrestled with a stack of heavy crates that had been piled in front of the door.

“This room smells of earth and the sickly sweet smell of decay. Some shredded leather armor lies strewn about the room near the door, along with some dirt and silver and gold coins.”

Dane and Talon explored this room, noticing a large hole in the wall with an earthy tunnel filled with webs and roots. At that moment, they were attacked by two giant spiders, and the goblin escaped Grimbull’s grasp and ran away. The PCs fought the spiders down with Dane and Grimbull getting bitten but resisting their poison. Ki and Talon chased the escaping goblin down.

The group looked into the tunnel and saw that it descended into web-filled shafts of little interest. They then opened the south door. Inside this room, a teamster and a mercenary were being held prisoner and were ecstatic to be rescued. The mercenary, Hal, was older, with a graying beard, bald head, and enlarging girth. He was only wearing the padding from underneath his armor. The teamster, Rawl, was extremely lean with hawkish features, black hair, and sideburns. He had a greasy complexion and wore worn commoner clothing that had been patched.

The PCs and rescued help gathered Meledor’s goods and made the two-day return trip to Avonhill, but the going was much easier as it was all downhill.

Avonhill

Upon arriving in Avonhill, the group returned to the Mandrake Inn. Grimbull hollered and stomped about looking for Meledor. Pelivorian Greenwhisper was present and told Grimbull that Meledor was at Lord Murray’s manor. Grimbull was preparing to stomp over there but the rest of the PCs convinced him to stay and have some victory drinks.

Meledor returned and Grimbull accosted him about a mapo he held. Meledor admitted the map was in the stolen scroll case and Grimbull lamented that his whole reason to be here was to ensure the map remained safe. Dane pressed for an explanation, and Meledor claimed he convinced a dwarven clan to give him a copy of a map of lost dwarven settlements and mines. The idea was for Meledor to arrange to the ones near Avonhill to be reclaimed, since having an army of dwarves fulfill this task so close to humans could escalate the situation.

Meledor said he remembered the location of the nearest lost dwarven site, which was a mine. He said the group could keep their findings if they helped him reclaim it. The PCs agreed, and Meledor said he and Pellivorian needed to remain behind to work on finding the other locations.

In addition, Meledor rewarded the group for his reclaimed goods, including the bonus gems Savina requested.

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5E Session 2 - Missing Goods (part 2)

Synopsis

The PCs continued their trip to reclaim Meledor’s goods and rescue his hirelings. They continued deeper into Talondeep Pass towards the ambush site and spotted an ancient tower overlooking the pass. Upon approaching the tower to investigate, they were fired upon by goblin archers in the tower. They were able to approach the tower and fight their way inside. During their fights against goblins and worgs, they felt the tower shake and heard an explosion. Later investigation revealed a scorched area on the uppermost level of the tower along with burned goblin and worg corpses.

The Ancient Tower

Just after lunch on the second day, the PCs spotted an ancient, graceful tower on a raised part of the Talondeep Pass overlooking both directions at a bend.

“At a point in which the valley you are in bends to your left, the outside slope (right) has a vantage in both directions, and at its highest point sits an ancient, graceful tower. The ground is rocky and almost sheer going towards it. The tower is ancient, of graceful architecture, and made of stone (elven). The tower appears to have been damaged long ago but has otherwise survived remarkably intact. Between your path and the tower is the icy mountain stream you have been following.”

The PCs decided to investigate the tower, which Grimborn remembered passing when he chased the fleeing Meledor from the goblin ambush a few days ago. As they crossed the stream, arrows were fired at them from narrow windows in the upper reaches of the tower. The Heroes scrambled from cover to cover as they approached, but Grimborn, Ki, and Talon were hit by arrows during their slow ascent up the rocky slopes.

When they finally reached the tower, they could see a pile of old bones outside the doors, which were made of stone and closed.

“The tower is ancient but gracefully spirals into the air, ending as a dome at the top. Delicate windows that are tall but narrow dot the walls. The stone is unnaturally smooth and of a slight greenish hue. No seams can be seen.”

Tower, First Level

In a feat of strength, Dane was able to push the doors open, which had been barred from the other side. Sunlight streamed through the doorway to illuminate an otherwise dark chamber.

“The main floor is dirty and reeks of filth, rot, and mange. A graceful spiraling stairway leads upward to the next level. Piles of debris and filth can be seen all over the chamber, which is dark besides for the streams of sunlight spilling in from the door. Crates, boxes, and barrels are strewn to your right, and a stairwell leads down to your left. Towards the back of the room, a soft, blue glow can be seen that seems to originate from behind the middle stairs.”

As Dane entered, he spotted and was attacked by two worgs. The PCs piled in to attack, and were also met by three goblins who charged down the stairs from the higher levels. The PCs fought with everything they had, with Ki using magical glowing missiles against the goblins and worgs, and Nicholai finishing them off with a cone of fire. As the last goblin fell, some of the PCs wanted to rest and lick their wounds, but Grimborn, in a barbaric rage, charged up the stairs and was met by an ambush of four goblins with bows and one caster. Grimborn fell to the ground with three arrows stuck in him to join the one he took while climbing to the tower.

Talon quietly ascended the stone stairway and dragged Grimborn down, managing to clunk Grimborn’s head on every step along the way. The PCs decided to rest. During this time they discovered an ancient altar to Aly’ithra, a patron of the elves. Dane was able to find a hidden compartment within the altar that had several healing potions sealed in a small box. Also, the PCs discovered two stone stone pedestals, one of which had a glowing crystal powered by the Continual Light spell. They poured a healing potion down Grimborn’s throat bringing him back to the land of the living.

Also during their rest, they felt the tower shake and heard the sound of an explosion from the upper reaches of the tower.

The Heroes decided to explore the tower. They blocked the stairs going into the basement and ascended the stairs going to the second floor.

Tower, Second Floor

The five goblins were still upstairs when the PCs ascended. The battle was hard fought, with Talon being stricken unconscious and Dane needing healing as well. Nicholai and Ki used their magic to great effect, firing glowing missiles and chilling touch into their enemies.

Afterwards, the PCs decided to steal a glimpse at the next floor, where they thought the explosion came from.

Tower, Third Floor

The uppermost floor had a very airy feel, with a ceiling that spanned 50 feet up in the center. The most obvious aspect of the chamber was the badly burned goblin and worg bodies on the ground, with a cylindrical, blackened scorch mark across the floor. It looked as if the inhabitants of the room were killed in an explosion. Barrels had also been shattered and debris thrown across the room.

The chamber had more rubble and a collapsed column. On one side of the room there was also a locked chest, which Talon was able to open with his lockpicks. The PCs searched the goblins for loot, found a small hoard of coins, gems, and potions in the chest, and settled in to rest.

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