5E Rhenny's Princes of the Apocalypse Campaign Logs

Rhenny

Adventurer
This kicks off our new campaign. This session was really a prelude to the adventure. I wanted to give the PCs a way to bond and develop their characters before we actually got to Red Larch. I had everyone speak a little about his or her character to start the session, and then I asked the entire group to come up with a little story to explain where they all met and how they got to know one another. We decided that they all were in Triboar and started from there.

PCs (1st Level)

Pate the Half-Elven Bard (in possession of a map that shows the Sumber Hills perhaps an area where an elemental node exists)
Zeed the Arakocra Rogue (fearful of hippogriff riders who have attacked in the area – also hopeful to find more Arakocra in the Dessarin Valley)
Hundar the Half-Orc Fighter (Tracking Gar Shatterkeep, who sunk the ship Hundar sailed on)
Turytopple the Gnome Paladin (A gnome trying to fight evil)
Kippipop the Gnome Sorcerer (Looking for mystery and lore)
Namfoodle “Foo” the Gnome Rogue (Trying to find riches)

The Gnomes in the group had some history together. Tury was shipwrecked and ultimately found Kippipop’s Gnome village. Those two fell in love and decided to travel the world together, setting out for adventure with their good friend Namfoodle. They met with Pate, Zeed and Hundar in Triboar. Pate was playing for the crowd in the “Silver Horn Tavern” and Foo was quickly inspired to whip out his harmonica to play along. He wasn’t so bad, so Pate took a liking to the little fella. All the while, Tury worked to create a mechanical hamster that could keep time with a little symbol. Unfortunately, Hundar, accidently on purpose, stepped on the prototype and crushed it. This influenced both Tury and Kippipop to follow him around and talk his ears off. Kippipop and Tury bantered about adventures and plans for the future when they noticed a birdman swoop down from the sky. Zeed, the Aarakocra, joined the group and they all traveled south toward Red Larch. All of the adventurers had also shared that they experienced strange anomalies with the weather over the past few months…surging tides, freak windstorms, wildfires, even some earth tremors.

After a day and a half on the road, they came to a ruined stone structure that looked like an old toll booth. There were two cloaked, larger humanoids in the road. One of them held a stick with a flag on the end, with the flag down on the ground near its feet. When the group got close enough, one of the figures spoke with a guttural voice and asked for 2 gp toll per person. Zeed was able to see under the cloaks to tell that these figures were Half-Orcs. Hundar spoke Orc to them and tried to intimidate them into letting him pass. They were taken aback and let Hundar through. Pate spun a tale and convinced the toll keepers that he had aided their kind in a battle against goblins a long time ago. Miraculously they believed him and let him pass, but they were unsure, and the group heard them say something about how the boss wouldn’t like all this. Then Kippipop stepped forward and hugged one of the Half-Orc’s legs and talked about hugging and kissing instead of paying a toll. At this point one of the Half-Orcs turned to the other and said this was getting too silly. They realized that the group was trying to get past without paying. That’s when they twitched and went for their weapons. The Half-Orc with the flag raised it up into the air as if to signal others and then the fight started.

It was Foo who took an arrow in the chest, fired from a light forest area 40’ to the east. Luckily other arrows from that direction missed Hundar, Pate and Foo again. Kippipop who was standing near a Half-Orc, clapped her hands and a small thunder pop lightly hurt those around her. Unfortunately, it was her allies, Foo and Hundar, not the Half-Orcs. Zeed took to the air and fired an arrow down upon one of the Half-Orcs, hurting it badly. Pate tried to viciously mock one, but it would have none of that. Soon, the group realized that there were other foes firing arrows from the trees. Turytopple was hurt by a Half-Orc’s battle axe, but soon the party took down the Half-Orc foes.

Hundar ran towards the trees. The others followed in turn. It was hard to spot the goblins that were firing arrows and hiding in the trees, but Hundar was able to cut down two eventually. Foo took down another, but the fourth one ran deeper into the forest. Zeed took to the air and was able to find the fleeing goblin. It looked as if it was running toward a cave. Zeed was able to overtake the goblin and land before it with rapier drawn. The little goblin ran right into Zeed and the rapier went clean through its chest. Zeed could see the cave, but realized he was pretty far from the rest of the party so he took to the air and flew back to them. Meanwhile, the others found some silver on the Half-Orcs, and a necklace with a tooth on it that they gave to Kippi.
The group, thinking that these were bandits who perhaps had a hideout in the cave, traveled into the forest. Tury wanted to smite evil so he urged the party forward. With Hundar and Tury in the lead, they marched right into the cave. Inside they saw 4 goblins, 1 goblin chief and 2 half-orcs. Since the group was not sneaking in, the foes reacted and came at them. The battle was fierce. Kippipop tried to sleep the goblins and caught 2 of them. Tury strode right in and confronted them directly. When he was in their midst, he dodged and juked to keep the foes from hitting him. Pate was able to make one of the Half-Orcs laugh uncontrollably for a few rounds. The others attacking as they could, missing a good number of times, and hitting some. The other goblins woke their sleeping brothers before engaging the party, and the entire battle lasted nearly 30-45 seconds.

During the fight, Kippipop made the sound of an owl bear growling which kept the boss back an extra round since he feared moving toward the “strange magic.” A few rounds into the battle, Kippipop was slashed brutally by one of the goblins and she went down. Soon after, Pate was knocked down by one of the half-orcs. The others battled on, but it was looking bad for the party. Zeed eventually took one goblin down. He had a hard time seeing in the dim lighting of the cave though. Foo also took one down. Tury dodged and weaved, but when Kippi went down, he moved toward her to guard her from more injury, attempting to bind her wounds as best he could. He ended up spending nearly 3 rounds holding her and applying pressure to her open would, and eventually he stabilized her. Hundar harnessing his second wind, hacked a few of the foes, but he too took a mighty blow that should have laid him low but for his half-orc resilience. Then, with one blow he took down the goblin chief (critical hit doing 21 points of damage). This turned the battle in the party’s favor. Zeed attempted to bandage Pate, but could not do it. Lucky for Pate, he stabilized on his own (with inspirational encouragement from one of the others) and did not die.

After killing the last foe, the group was able to take a few hours rest. Pate and Kippi both regained consciousness and everyone bandaged themselves as best they could. It was a tough first few days on the road.

The group found that the goblin leader was wearing a nice chain shirt, which Tury took, they also pocketed some gold and silver, and found a scroll. Pate read over the scroll and could tell that it was magical. It could be used to cast a cure wounds spell and a lesser restoration spell. The group also found a crude map. Kippipop and Foo looked it over. It was a map of the Sumber Hills with Rivergard Keep marked and circled. In one corner of the map was a strange symbol. It also said, “Grimjaw pays for stuff.”

The group posted watches through the next night and used the cave for shelter. They were able to rest uninterrupted.

Comments

1600 xp (1000 for the monsters and 600 for roleplaying and story awards) - the PCs are nearly 2nd level. They will be able to level up after a little more play next session.

The fight in the cave was very dangerous. I thought the group would go down, but they were able to use inspiration a few moments to avoid catastrophe. Hundar's class and race abilities really saved them too. It was cool seeing the Arakocra fly and overtake the fleeing goblin. That helped the group find the cave and eventually get the treasure and the map that they found.
Kippipop and Turytopple had terrific interplay roleplaying their Gnome couple, while the others formed bonds based on other ideas each of the players had. Since the group has traveled together and has fought together, and nearly died together, they are beginning to adhere and feel a bond with one another.

My play summary does not do justice to the roleplaying. We spent about 45 minutes in the beginning setting up the PC relationships and "bonding". I like how that got us going.

You may notice how sometimes PCs don't do what's optimum in a situation. That's awesome. I really like when players roleplay and choose an interesting action rather than the "right" action. In one situation, Kippipop did her thunderclap cantrip with friendlies near her. That's why she's called Kippipop. Another time, Zeed hit a goblin in the cave with his first attack, but decided to use his off hand and not sneak attack because he thought the goblin was really injured. Unfortunately, he rolled a 1 for damage and the goblin had 2 hp. Needless to say, his other attack missed so he couldn't take down the goblin, and it was that goblin that slashed Kippi and took her down. Additionally, Turytopple ran to try to use medicine skill on Kippipop (his wife) spending 2 or 3 rounds out of action just to save her from dying. (He had already used his lay on hands on himself during the first fight).

Interestingly, the dodge action worked really well as long as there were enough PCs going on the offense. Once Kippi and Pate went down, defense had to turn to offense. Oh...also, Pate actually rolled his death save with inspiration and averted rolling a "1" which would have killed him.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 2 (About 2 ½ hours of play…including a quick level up time)

PCs (1st Level – Leveling up to 2nd Level)

Pate the Half-Elven Bard (in possession of a map that shows the Sumber Hills perhaps an area where an elemental node exists)
Zeed the Arakocra Rogue (fearful of hippogriff riders who have attacked in the area – also hopeful to find more Arakocra in the Dessarin Valley)
Hundar the Half-Orc Fighter (Tracking Gar Shatterkeep, who sunk the ship Hundar sailed on)
Turytopple the Gnome Paladin (A gnome trying to fight evil)
Kippipop the Gnome Sorcerer (Looking for mystery and lore)
Namfoodle “Foo” the Gnome Rogue (Trying to find riches)

The party spent the night in a bandit cave they cleared and got a good night’s sleep. The next day was a crisp and clear spring day making it a great day for travel so the party continued on their way south toward Red Larch. After nearly a day of travel they could see the town before them. They also saw an ominous black cloud move quickly over the Sumber Hills over the town and a fierce rain began pelting them. Without warning, the rain turned to hail, and as the group trekked closer to Red Larch, the hail got bigger and bigger. Tury put his shield over Kippi to protect her as Kippi studied the strange storm. She knew it wasn’t magical, yet it was strange that the weather would change so quickly and become so violent. Hundar, Foo, Pate and Zeed all began running toward Red Larch seeking refuge as they all got battered by the now painful pieces of hail. Tury did protect Kippi, but he got banged up and nearly lost his footing (hit twice down to 1 hp), so he continued to run and use his healing magic to bolster his step. Pate, Hundar, Zeed and Foo all got hit, but they were all able to make it to the Helm at Highsun, a two story tavern that seemed crowded and lively.

Inside, the dimly lit, wood paneled taproom was astir with what seemed like 40 or 50 patrons. The place was crowded and loud and there were no empty tables at all. The patrons looked quickly toward the party as it entered, but their revels at happy hour were not broken so they went back to their drinks, their games, their conversations. With a quick scan of the room, it was Hundar who noticed one table where a few humans and a half-orc female warrior were trading stories and rolling dice. Pate slipped into the room and headed straight towards a musician who was playing a lyre. Pate was not impressed.

The party moved up to the long bar at the back of the establishment and Tury got the bartender’s attention by flipping a gold piece up on to the bar. He ordered hot drinks for everyone in the party, and the bartender, a rotund man, called to another as he helped other patrons. The other man, started talking to Tury and the group. He was one of the owners, Garlen Harlathurl, and as he spoke the party learned that the weather’s been acting strangely for about 2 weeks. Another patron, sitting next to them, chimed in and said that Mintra Mahndyvvewr’s grandaughter, Pell told some strange story about a ghost she saw out by an old tomb. Then Garlen mentioned that lots of new folk had been coming to Red Larch, boarding at Mother Yanlantah’s down the way. He said they were rowdy folk who drank hard and sometimes a bit too loud for his own liking. With that, Tury noticed that Garlen was looking at one of the tables with a snear. After a little more small talk, learning about the Swinging Sword Inn across the street and some other places of interest like Mandyvvewr’s Poultry down The Long Road, everyone heard the crashing of glasses in the middle of the tavern. It seemed that one of the serving girls had dropped a tray of glasses right near the table with the rude men Garlen was talking about earlier. She picked up some of the broken glassware and then stormed right by the party behind the bar, muttering under her breath how those guys need to keep their hands to themselves. When Tury heard this, he asked his pal, Foo, to sneak over toward that table to give a listen to what those rude men were on about. Foo disappeared into the crowd and got close enough to hear them talking about their work at the mines and their desire to stay close to the black earth. One of them teased another for pinching the serving girl’s bottom, and they all laughed pigishly.

Before too much longer, the ground began to shake and everyone in the Helm got quiet. The tremor felt more like a small earthquake, and after a few seconds everyone could hear a grinding outside the front door and a high pitched cry for help. It sounded like a little boy. Hundar was the first to bound out of the tavern, hurdling patrons, tables and the like. When he got outside he found that the storm had passed, and the sun was setting, but there was a 20’ crater in them middle of the road. He ran up to the edge, but lost his footing as the ground around the edge crumbled away. He tumbled down some of the crumbling dirt into a pit 20’ down. At the bottom he saw that the pit opened up into a larger cavern. He also saw a frightened little boy who said he was just going to the Helm to find his daddy when the ground just gave way beneath him.

By this time, a crowd of people all stood around the sink hole in the road and the rest of the party was trying to look down into the hole. Tury got out a rope, fastened it to a hitching post near the tavern and then lowered it down the hole. The others got close and noticed that three of the townsfolk were trying to push everyone back away from the hole. One even came up to Tury and told the Gnome to move back. Tury could tell that the guy seemed to want to keep everyone from seeing what was in the hole. He even caught the guy looking over to a few other men that were trying to keep people back. Kippi and Tury gave that fella an earful of Gnome speak, and Tury was able to convince the guy to let him pull up his companion who had fallen into the hole. With that, Hundar, little boy in tow, climbed out of the hole and released the little fella, who promptly ran off to find his dad.

Tury, without missing a beat, told Kippi to stay up top while he went below to check out the area under the sink hole, which looked like a more open cavern area. Then Tury went down the hole. Kippi did not stay up top. She slid down, and so did Foo and Hundar. Zeed, the Aarakocra, and Pate the Bard, stayed behind (because they could not play longer, etc.).

Down below, the party found a tunnel leading far to the north and a stone doorway to the east. Curious, Tury led the way toward the stone doorway. When the group got closer they saw some used black cloaks hanging on pegs near the doorway. Foo checked the door for traps and locks and was surprised to find that the doors just pushed open, no locks, no traps. Then Tury pushed the doors open and led the group down a long man-made corridor until he came to two Dwarves carved in stone blocks looking at each other on opposite sides of the longer corridor. Foo checked them out and could not find any traps or hidden features, but they all noticed that there was a 6” gap on either side of the stone. Tury put his shield in one of the gaps and used it to leverage the stone, which pivoted and revealed a hidden passage to the south. The party moved down the passage and began to smell a horrible odor. Tury and Foo could tell that this odor was worse than any out house they had ever visited. Foo took the opportunity to sneak ahead to scout, and he found a hole in the ground where the odor was most rank. This undoubtedly was a latrine so the party backtracked and went to the other stone door on the north.

They wound their way up another small tunnel behind the other pivoting door, and Tury was the first to come to a 20’ x 20’ chamber. In the middle of the room there was a pile of corpses and two giant rats were feeding upon them. Tury could hear the scuttling of claws on stone in other parts of the room, but before he could really say much, Kippi moved right into the room and fired a frosty ray at one of the rats in the corner of the room. Since she was now exposed, three rats attacked her, but miraculously none of them could bit her. Then the others joined the fray and began to take down the rats. Hundar had some horrible luck, swinging wildly and missing a number of times. Foo got bitten once, but right after, he made some chittering noises to speak with the rats. Lo and behold, Foo got the rats to back away. Kippi was impressed by this, she too could speak with animals, and she realized that her friend was actually talking to the larger rodents. Hundar didn’t care. He kept on swinging, but couldn’t hit any of the rats. Tury took this time to inspect one of the corpses. That’s when he noticed that a strange symbol was carved into the forehead of the skull, a triangle shaped rune with a single line in the middle of the triangle, perpendicular to the base. Kippi fired her frosty ray once again, and froze one of the rats in place while Foo continued to speak with the rats to get the others to back away even more. Then he tried to befriend the most injured rat, and the rat seemed to take a liking to the Gnome. Hundar, not understanding all of what was happening, and angered by his inability to hit these creatures, swung his warhammer at the friendly rat and smashed it to a pulp. Foo was devastated by this, but Tury promised to make him a mechanical rat. So, before moving on, the party took 10 minutes to let Tury construct a mechanical rat for Foo to keep.

During that time, Hundar heard some shouts back from the way they had already come. People were searching for them. “Which way did they go?”

Hundar told the others and then worked his way back to the bend in the tunnel to see if he could see anyone there. He couldn’t make anything out although he could still hear some conversation behind the pivoting stone Dwarf door. The party decided to head back to see who had come after them. When they got close to the door, they saw the flickering of torchlight beyond. Hundar charged out to find 6 humanoids in robes…two with torches and scimitars, the others with scimitars as well. The cloaked humanoids said that they were “The Bringers of Woe” and nobody but the “Believers” should be there. They were going to make sure that the intruders would never leave. Hundar was hit badly by one of the men (crit double sixes!) Three others engaged as others fired crossbow bolts. Hundar stood his ground as Tury came to help…then Kippi and then Foo. Kippi tried to put the “Bringers of Woe” to sleep, but only 1 fell. Tury got hit with a crossbow bolt right in the chest (another crit), and then Foo stepped in to stab and kill one of the foes.

That’s were we ended for the night….mid battle.

Comments

After the party saved the little boy, I awarded them 300 xp, which got them each to level 2. We spent about 10 minutes leveling up and then kept playing. I like how easy it is to level up in 5e (especially with Fantasy Grounds character sheets in the FG gametable).

Hundar had horrible luck, missing nearly every attack he made.

Kippi’s sleep spell kind of fizzled, only rolling 15 hp worth of sleep.

The group did a lot of roleplaying and found some important information in town and in the dungeon.

Pate’s player was not around tonight, and Zeed’s player had to bow out early, so we just had those two PCs stay in town.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 3 – The Tomb of Moving Stones

PCs (2nd Level)

Pate the Half-Elven Bard (in possession of a map that shows the Sumber Hills perhaps an area where an elemental node exists)
Zeed the Arakocra Rogue (fearful of hippogriff riders who have attacked in the area – also hopeful to find more Arakocra in the Dessarin Valley)
Hundar the Half-Orc Fighter (Tracking Gar Shatterkeep, who sunk the ship Hundar sailed on)
Turytopple the Gnome Paladin (A gnome trying to fight evil)
Kippipop the Gnome Sorcerer (Looking for mystery and lore)
Namfoodle “Foo” the Gnome Rogue (Trying to find riches)
Pate and Zeed remained at the sink hole in the street while the others had been gone underneath for about an hour.

The party was exploring the corridors beneath the sink hole, in mid combat with 6 Bringers of Woe, robed men wielding scimitars and light crossbows. The Bringers of Woe told the group they would never let them leave this place alive because they were not “Believers.” At one point, two of the Bringers of Woe tried to push Hundar to the east, down a corridor they had not traveled yet, but Hundar stood his ground. Tury was hurt by one, but Foo and Kippipop avoided taking damage. Tury kept telling Kippi to stay back, but Kippi kept on running up to be with her husband. They bantered at high speed, simultaneously showing their excitement, their irritation and their love. In between sentences, Kippi used her ray of frost to slightly freeze some of the foes. Hundar smashed them with his warhammer, and Tury fought with rapier. Foo alternated between short bow and rapier/dagger combination. He also chased down a fleeing Bringer of Woe so that it could not escape.

At one point, Tury was hurt pretty badly (3 hp) so he had to use a healing spell on himself as he stood against two Bringers of Woe. Kippi helped out with a sleep spell, but only put an injured one of the foes to sleep. While they were fighting, one of the Bringers of Woe yelled out, “Grund, get ready number 1.” Then later, he yelled out, “Grund, get out here and help us take out these intruders.” At that point, Grund, a half-orc, came running down the east corridor about half way to the party. He seemed confused and asked the Bringers of Woe what he should do. One Bringer of Woe was able to run from Hundar and eventually make it to the door about 100’ to the east. He told Grund to take care of them as he disappeared into the next room. Hundar charged closer to Grund, and tried to intimidate Grund saying that he and Grund were the same race, he should not fight “or I’ll break you.” (something like that). Grund seemed affected by that so he ran back to the east. Tury, Kippi and Foo finished off the other Bringers of Woe to the west and started back to the east when they heard a clanking of chains and the slamming of a metal cage that had dropped from the ceiling to trap Hundar in a 10’x10’ rusty iron cell.

Hundar didn’t like this. He used all his effort to smash the bars on the eastern side of the cage as hard as he could (used his action surge too). Two hits from his warhammer broke the cage open so he was able to move further to the east. Unfortunately, that separated him from the rest of the party. The others were just about to move up when another cage fell from the ceiling right before the other cage. Now there were two metal cages blocking their path so Tury inspected the cage. Kippi was amazed at what was happening and quite transfixed by the way Tury babbled about the design and mechanisms he though might run this strange cage trap. She just sat and watched her husband figure out what to do. Foo stayed back a little near the Dwarven statue doors that the party had gone through earlier and Tury threw some rope to the top of the first cage to try to snag the top of the cage so that they could try to lift it from the top and bottom. Foo caught the other end of the rope and pulled. He was able to pull it up and then he wedged the end of the rope through the statue to hold the first cage up. Later, they tried to raise the next one, but they had a little more trouble at first. Eventually, Foo hoisted this one up about 3’, enough for Tury and Kippi to crawl under and scuttle closer to Hundar.

Hundar ran into the next room and got behind the Bringer of Woe who had been working chains to drop the cages. That Bringer of Woe told Grund to attack, and Grund, very confused, decided to take one swing at Hundar. He hit Hundar, but only grazed him. It seemed as if Grund was attacking half-heartedly. Hundar didn’t waste any time. He smashed the Bringer of Woe and crumpled him into a heap. Then he tried to calm Grund.

In that room, Hundar saw an 8’ standing stone in the middle of the large chamber, a pile of rocks only 10’ from him with a small boy pinned under them, face down. He took some time to speak with Grund and get him to put his mace away. Speaking in Orcish calmed Grund and the two sat down together next to a door on the eastern side of the room. When the others came in, they didn’t know what to think. Hundar had moved to the boy and was calling for Grund to help him remove some of the rocks. At first, Tury thought that Grund was an enemy, but after seeing Grund obey Hundar, he realized that they were now allies. Together the party started taking rocks off the boy. Namfoo noticed that there was an inscription on the standing stone in the middle of the room that read, “Displease not the Delvers.”

The party found that the boy was alive, and as soon as the party neared, he asked for water. Tury placed his hands on the boy’s shoulder and restored some of his health by using his divine gift. Then Kippipop gave the boy some water. Feeling better, the boy told the group that he wanted them to leave the rocks on him. He was being punished by his dad. Hundar tried to intimidate the boy, and Tury tried to soothe the boy. It was kind of a little battle of minds. The boy told Hundar his name was Braelon, but then he started to get frightened. Tury’s gentle approach calmed the boy and got him talking. Braelon told them that his dad was Ratharr, one of the towns’ people of power, a “Believer.” The dad was a co-owner of a knick-nack, used equipment shop called Vallivoe’s Sundries. Vallivoe was not a believer though. From Braelon and Grund, the party found out that the Believers were a secret society of power brokers in the town. They also found out that Marlandro Gaelkur (the barber), Illmeth Waelvur and some others that Grund could not name were “Believers,” and they often come down here for meetings and to read the moving stones. There was a chamber to the east that had moving stones, but Braelon said he never saw it. He said that the Believers were starting to think more about listening to the stones and praying to Earth gods because the stones were sending them messages that helped them predict strange occurrences, like the earthquake that opened up the sink hole.

Tury and Hundar had a conversation about what to do with Grund and Braelon, and after Grund and Braelon chimed in, Tury gave Grund 5 gp and told him that he and Braelon should get out of here and hide. Grund said they could hide by the market place where he sold pickles. He knew a good spot. Braelon told the party about the tunnel that led to the Wagoneer’s shop basement. With that, Foo scouted the way back alone to make sure that there was no trouble lurking in shadows. He saw that there were still townspeople in the street above where the sink hole opened, so he hid in shadows and snuck up the northern tunnel until he found the door to the Wagoneer’s shop. He listened to the door and then jimmied the door open to see that there was nobody in the shop basement. It was after hours and presumably nobody was working. Tury asked Kippi to write a note for Grund that told Pate and Zeed and anyone else who might read it that Grund was very helpful and was doing the right thing. He was not a Believer and should be treated well. Grund took the gold and the note and he and Braelon exited the Tomb of the Moving Stones.

The party members looked around the room a bit and decided that they would continue to the east to delve further into this mystery.

Comments

I like the way this part of the adventure was written, the trap cages, the roleplaying of Grund and Braelon. Of course, I changed a few things to keep the game flowing (there are so many NPCs and locations in the town, it is hard to keep it all straight and know which NPCs are at which place, etc.)

We played for about 2 hours. The one battle with the 6 Bringers of Woe (well…5 during this session because we started mid-battle with 1 already dead), took longer than I expected. The entire thing went 14 rounds. It was neat how I had the foes run away and that forced the party to split up a bit. Foo went east, Hundar went west, the others stayed in the center. Then, when Hundar was under a cage, wham! The Bringer of Woe that took Grund’s place by the chains dropped a cage on him. When the others were under cages, I decided to drop a cage randomly since the foe didn’t know where they were. The cages were an interesting obstacle. (I also only dropped 1 cage per turn…the book says he can drop 2, but since it wasn’t Grund operating the chains, and I didn’t want to trap too many PCs, I made the Bringer of Woe only drop 1).

Again, I have to compliment players for roleplaying. The Gnomes and Hundar are really starting to establish a party dynamic that includes a few very specific personalities with some light conflict, but also some excellent teamwork. I’m trying to encourage the bonding of PCs, so I’m hoping that as they adventure together, each PC bonds more and more with each other.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 4 – “Baragustus and Larrakh”

PCs (2nd Level)

Pate the Half-Elven Bard (in possession of a map that shows the Sumber Hills perhaps an area where an elemental node exists)
Zeed the Arakocra Rogue (fearful of hippogriff riders who have attacked in the area – also hopeful to find more Arakocra in the Dessarin Valley)
Hundar the Half-Orc Fighter (Tracking Gar Shatterkeep, who sunk the ship Hundar sailed on)
Turytopple the Gnome Paladin (A gnome trying to fight evil)
Kippipop the Gnome Sorcerer (Looking for mystery and lore)
Namfoodle “Foo” the Gnome Rogue (Trying to find riches)
(Zeed’s player was not present and he had stayed above…Kippipop’s player did not play this session, and Tury’s player came in toward the end of the session).
The party had just helped Braelon and Grund leave the dungeon, and they were resting when Pate the Bard joined them. Pate and Foo investigated a large stone door to the east and found a 4” crack to the right of it. Foo gave Pate some string so that Pate could put his hand inside and tie the string on to a small lever. As the two tried to decide how to pull it, they both stepped back. The indecision was getting to Hundar so he came forward and pulled the string. They all heard a clicking sound, and then when Hundar pushed on the doors, they opened.

The group walked into another 50’ square room. In the middle of the room they saw a statue of a Dwarf, propped up by a wooden frame. On the ground before it there were coins and gems and a dagger. Again, Pate and Foo moved cautiously. As they inched closer, Hundar strode in and just collected the treasure from the floor, not worried about any trap or other misfortune. To the bold, went the spoils. Eventually, Hundar split the coin with his companions, but he kept the dagger and the gems for now. All could see that the dagger had a blue leather grip, a star motif, and the blade was still caked with dried blood. Inside this room, the group took a short rest and Tury, Hundar and Pate were able to bind up some of their wounds and catch their breaths with the additional aid provided by Pate’s inspirational music.

Eventually, Pate and Foo moved closer to an eastern door, and they could hear a raspy, jittery voice on the other side. Foo could make out a voice in common saying, “Grund? Is that you?” Immediately, Pate tried to imitate Grund’s voice, but he failed miserably. The voice on the other side could tell it wasn’t Grund and it asked more questions. Hundar grunted back in Orcish. That seemed to make the voice on the other side worry more, but eventually Hundar convinced the voice that he was Grund and that he was with friends. Baragustus, the voice on the other side of the door, decided to clear away some debris that he had placed as a barricade on the other side of the door so that the others could push through the door. When he saw that the half-orc was not Grund, he got very frightened. He blabbed about “The Believers”, the travelers that the others had killed, and the Black Earth Cultists, the priest named Larrakh, and the way that he had been reading the stones in the next room. The party found out that Larrakh and another cultist were in the next room, and when Hundar said that they would kill the cult priest, Baragustus ran away.

For a lot of this, Kippipop and Tury were babbling back and forth with each other, keeping behind the rest of the group. Once in a while, Pate, Hundar, even Foo would ask them to be quiet so that they could be more stealthy. The Gnomes would acquiesce for a short time, but resume their chatter moments later.

After Baragustus ran, Hundar burst into the next room and saw a huge underground chamber 120’ x 100’ with 20’ ceilings. Inside the room were 10-12 standing stones, much like the rocks of stonehenge. Most interestingly, they were all hovering about 1” from the ground. Hundar could tell that there was some scuffling in the south, so he ran down there. As he rounded a large set of stones, he saw a Black Earth Cultist wearing chain mail that had rocks encrusted into it. He also wielded a nasty morningstar. Hundar ran back to his friends at the door so as to not engage immediately.

Then they heard the cultist ask Larrakh for some light. The priest in the south east told the cultist to come closer so the cultist moved back. Taking this opportunity, Foo, Pate and Hundar moved into the room and took cover behind different standing stones. Foo and Pate tried to hide in shadows behind some of the large stones, but Hundar moved forward without fear.

Soon, the group saw light from the south east, and then the cultist, who now had a glowing bright shield, moved up to some stones that were in front of Hundar. The cultist tried to shove them into Hundar, and since they were hovering, his running push sent them toward Hundar with some force. Hundar was able to brace himself and catch the stone, averting being bashed and trapped. Then he bounded further to the east to try to find the priest, Larrakh.

Pate and Foo snuck around from different sides and eventually engaged with the cultist. Tury also joined in as Kippi hid and watched in case the group needed some wild magic.

Hundar found the priest, but he could not connect as he swung his warhammer at his foe. To open, Larrakh grasped Hundar with a chill touch spell, doing cold necrotic damage. Then, unconcerned, and feeling very confident, Larrakh stepped away from Hundar to position himself to cast a spell at the entire group. Hundar saw an opening and smashed the priest with a very punishing blow (crit), but the priest stayed on his feat and muttered some divine magic that only affected Foo, making him move much more slowly.

The others had a tough time injuring the cultist, but eventually, Foo shot an arrow at him and Pate was able to stick him twice with his rapier, the last attack skewering the cultist’s heart (a crit).

Tury made it up to Hundar who was now engaging Larrakh. That’s when the priest shattered the stone behind them and caused Tury to hit the ground unconscious, perhaps with a shattered eardrum. Hundar kept his feet, but he was badly hurt. Foo moved toward them in slow motion, but eventually he was able to fire an arrow at the priest, hitting! Unfortunately, that did not break the priest’s concentration. Kippi, upset that her husband had fallen, rushed up to him and stabilized him immediately as Pate came up to him and sang a song to cure some of the fallen Gnome’s wounds.

Larrakh tried to open a secret door, planning an escape, but Hundar grappled the priest. Soon after, Hundar tried to move Larrakh away from the door, but he lost his grip. Foo hit the priest with another arrow, and that one broke his concentration so the spell on Foo subsided. Tury tried to attack the priest, but could not penetrate the splint armor Larrakh wore. Then, Larrakh stamped on the ground and caused an earth tremor. Hundar avoided catastrophe, but Tury could not. He was knocked down to the ground once more, unconscious and bleeding out. Kippi stabilized her spouse once more, and Pate was able to get Tury up on his feet again. Although both Hundar and Tury could not take the priest down, Hundar wedged himself between Larrakh and the secret door the priest had opened. The priest tried to run, but with his last swing, Hundar connected smashing the priest’s head with a mighty blow (crit). Larrakh crumpled to the ground, dead.

The party was able to rest for a little while. Now that Larrakh and his guard were dead, the Tomb of the Moving Stones seemed a little more peaceful and quiet. After finding 45 gp on the priest, and his splint mail armor (slightly damaged from Hundar’s warhammer attacks), the group followed the tunnel and found themselves out on the streets of Red Larch, not too far from the sink hole that revealed the underground hideaway. It was about 10 pm and most of the town people had dispersed from the hole, but there were still some, including Constable Harburk, making sure that nobody else would get hurt.

Comments

PCs will be 3rd level next session (they need 95 xp….we’ll begin with some roleplaying that can earn them the needed xp).

For most of the last battle, Kippi and Tury were not in it since their player’s were not there, but toward the end, Tury’s player joined in…just in time to be knocked down to 0 hp twice.

Throughout the session, Pate sang, and gave Hundar Bardic inspiration on 2 occasions.

I thought that Larrakh would be able to escape, but Hundar’s critical hits were massive. The extra half-orc damage on crits paid off.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 5 – “Helping Constable with “The Believers” and Checking out Pell’s Ghost Tale”

PCs (3rd Level)

Pate the Half-Elven Bard (in possession of a map that shows the Sumber Hills perhaps an area where an elemental node exists)
Zeed the Arakocra Rogue (fearful of hippogriff riders who have attacked in the area – also hopeful to find more Arakocra in the Dessarin Valley)
Hundar the Half-Orc Fighter (Tracking Gar Shatterkeep, who sunk the ship Hundar sailed on)
Turytopple the Gnome Paladin (A gnome trying to fight evil)
Kippipop the Gnome Sorcerer (Looking for mystery and lore)
Namfoodle “Foo” the Gnome Rogue (Trying to find riches)
Part I (1 hour of play)

The party emerged from the Tomb of the Moving Stones and saw a small group of people around the sinkhole near the Helm at Highsun and The Swinging Sword. One middle aged man approached them and told them that he was Constable Harburk and he asked what happened down in that hole.

Hundar, without saying a word, trodded toward The Swinging Sword Inn and went inside to find a place to sleep. The others spoke with the Constable. Foo took the lead and told Harburk about “The Believers” and the “Bringers of Woe” and the dead bodies they found, and the boy and the half-orc the “rescued”. Harburk seemed genuinely shocked. He told them how some of the town folk had gone missing recently, and even heard a rumor about a delegation from Mirabar that was supposed to make it to Goldenfields, but had been missing for over a month. He wondered if any of this was connected. He thanked the group for their bravery and took Pate, Tury, Kippi and Zeed to help him round up some of the town folk who were named as “Believers.” Harburk also said that he’d go down the sinkhole to take a look at the dead bodies to see if he could identify any. After this, Foo decided to follow Hundar into the inn.

In the Inn, Hundar walked directly to a corner of a dining area and plopped himself down. When the innkeeper, Kaylessa spoke to him and asked if he wanted a room, he mumbled something about the sinkhole and fighting down there. Kaylessa had heard the commotion outside and realized that this Half-Orc was one of the adventurers so she shrugged her shoulders and let Hundar sleep.

Foo came in and spoke with Kaylessa and found out more about the strange events plaguing Red Larch and this region. She also mentioned how Mitrhra’s granddaughter, Pell had been telling about a ghost she saw only a little to the west. She said others didn’t believer her, but Kaylessa did. Then Foo arranged for a room, which Kaylessa rented him for a discount (only 1 gold for 2 days). Foo also asked if Kaylessa had any toy stuffed bears and a blankie so that Hundar could sleep comfortably. She actually did have a few stuffed animals that she saved for when Pell and other children came around. Together, they covered Hundar with the blankie and Foo put the teddy bear right next to the brutish warrior. Hundar stirred in his sleep, grabbed the teddy and threw it in Foo’s direction, but it just hit the floor with a small squeak.

In the morning, all of the adventurers gathered and Kaylessa gave them good directions to the place where Pell had seen the ghost. Hundar, Foo and Pate would scout it out while the others helped Harburk with “The Believers.”

Hundar, Foo and Pate spent only an hour and found a dark hole in the side of a hillside. Foo could see that there was a stone door inside the hole that was ajar. Hundar pushed it open more and with that metal cans toppled from above the doorway, making a clatter. A goblin emerged from bushes near the opening and pointed a shortbow at Hundar. He warned the adventurers to leave. He said that was their cave and there was a ghost inside. The goblin called for another (Geeraugh), and a huge figure crashed through the bushes behind the goblin (Mougra). The half-ogre and the goblin seemed to be in business together.

As the group decided what to do, Foo told Hundar to “take care of the big one.” Then Foo darted into the bushes behind some rocks and disappeared. This alerted the goblin and the goblin fired at Hundar, but his arrow did not hit the mark. Pate stepped behind Hundar and started to sing a inspirational tune for Hundar. The half-ogre charged forth and threw a javalin at Hundar, but the missile flew past its mark and hit the side of the hill. Hundar approached the half-ogre and politely said he was now going to smash him with his warhammer. Hundar took out a lot of pent up anger on the half-ogre, smashing him twice with his weapon (action surge and a crit on the second attack). That was enough to knock the half-ogre unconscious, but Hundar did not kill it; he merely knocked it unconscious. With that, the goblin basically gave up and the party helped him drag his unconscious companion to their camp. Then they told the goblin that they were going to go inside the cave. The goblin was upset since he and his partner were eager to attempt the cave exploration themselves, but he realized he could do nothing but care for his fallen partner. He knew he was outmatched by this party.

Comments

We had a lot of fun roleplaying the interactions with Constable Harburk, the scene in the Swinging Sword Inn, and during the encounter with Mougra and Geeraugh.
I forgot how fun the game can be even with just 2 players.

Since many of the players could not play, I had most of the PCs remain in Red Larch to help with the Constable. The group is building good relationships with the town folk.

Part II (1 ½ hours of play)

At the camp just 40’ away from the stone door in the hill, Mougra, the Goblin, tended to his unconscious partner, Geerhaugh, the half-ogre. Still morning, Hundar, Foo and Pate walked into the opening in the hill, Hundar in the lead, moving past the large stone door that he had already pushed open. Inside a 30’ hallway, all was quiet. Hundar walked ahead, followed by Foo and Pate as the hallway opened into a 30’ by 30’ room. The group saw a black stone table in the center and a rusted iron door in the middle of the south wall. They all inspected the table and found that there were rust stains on the tabletop; perhaps iron objects once rested there. Since there was nothing else of note, Foo checked the iron door for traps and found none. Then, Hundar moved up to the iron door and gave it a kick. It didn’t open so he kicked again. For over 30 seconds, Hundar kicked the door and finally it burst open. That’s when a ghostly warrior, with armor and spectral sword materialized right next to Hundar, with its sword pointed at Hundar’s neck.

The specter told the group to leave this place. It would let no one disturb his master, noble Longfellow. When the group hesitated, and Hundar told the specter to stand down or suffer the consequences, the spectral warrior started to hack at Hundar, but Foo and Pate moved more quickly. In the fight, Foo, Hundar and Pate did damage to the creature, but its incorporal form resisted much of the damage. Hundar dodged an attack, but Foo wasn’t as lucky. He felt the icy cold spectral chill of the phantom blade pierce his body, but was able to resist the additional life drain that might have weakened him further. Using an extra burst of energy, Hundar made two attacks at the creature (action surge), and with his second warhammer blow (crit!), laid the specter to rest.

Inside the next chamber, a 20’ x 20’ chamber, the group saw a stone coffin and an iron chest. Again, Foo checked for traps and found none, so Hundar decided to bring his warhammer down upon the lid of the coffin multiple times to try to break it open. Foo, not trusting what might be in the coffin, hid in the corner of the room, while Pate stood just outside the doorway. When the stone crumbled, it revealed 4 rusty swords placed atop a skeletal body. The swords immediately took flight and spun dangerously in the air. Hundar dodged a number of attacks as Pate and Foo moved in to combat these flying blades too.

After about 4 rounds of combat, only a few swords remained. That’s when the group felt a tremor. Foo could tell that the epicenter was not right upon them, but it seemed close. Then the tremor stopped. The adventurers faced the two remaining swords, but because they moved so quickly, they were hard to take down. Foo and Pate both got nicked by the blades. Then, from outside, the party heard screaming. Hundar asked if Foo and Pate could handle the swords alone if he ran out to investigate. The rogue and bard assured him that they could handle it so Hundar ran, dodging another attack as he left.

As Hundar ran outside, he saw Mougra, the goblin, running inside, asking for help. Mougra screamed that horrible creatures burrowed up and attacked. He feared for Geerhaugh and his own life. Outside, Hundar saw two very large insect creatures. One was feasting on Geerhaugh and the other sensed Hundar and moved towards him, spitting a stream of acid right on the Half-Orc. It burned horribly, but Hundar took it.

Meanwhile, back in the burial room, Pate was able to take down a sword. Then he turned to Foo and asked Foo if he could handle the last sword. Foo assured Pate that he’d be fine, so Pate ran outside to see what was going on.

Hundar and Pate faced off against one of the horrible insect creatures, which Pate knew was an ankheg. Hundar was very lucky, dodging a number of attacks from the acid dripping mandibles of the first creature. He also smashed the ankheg badly (Crit!). The second creature continued to consume Geerhaugh, so Hundar and Pate did not have to face them both at first, but before they could kill the first one, the other one finished eating and moved to strike Hundar. Hundar was able to dodge once more, and when Pate conjured a cloud of daggers on the first creature, he killed it.

Meanwhile, back in the burial room, Foo was having trouble with the last flying sword. The sword would swoop down on him, cut into him, and then fly around up high, so that the Gnome had a very tough time connecting with his rapier and dagger. (no bonuses or special effects, just bad dice rolling). After a few rounds, the flying sword hit hard (crit) and Foo went down, a bloody mess. Mourgra saw this so he yelled out to the others, “your Gnome friend has gone down!”

Pate looking at Hundar and the remaining ankheg, decided to run to aid Foo. But, in the time it took Pate to get to his friend, the flying sword made another devastating attack on the unconscious Gnome. (Yikes…auto-crit..2 failed death saves…luckily Foo made his other death save). With no time to spare, Pate staunched Foo’s wounds and made Foo conscious again, but then he heard screams of agony from outside.

Outside, Hundar fought the remaining ankheg, this one a bit larger than the other. The creature bit Hundar and crushed him, grappling him as acid dripped down over his body. Any normal adventurer would not have been able to withstand the pain and damage, but Hundar clung to life (Half-Orc resilience…fighting with only 1 hp left). Hundar slammed his warhammer down on the creature and the carapace began to split, but it was far from dead. Before Pate could get there and act, the creature bit again, and crushed Hundar in its maw. Hundar went unconscious, but Pate ran up from behind and brought him back to consciousness. Hundar ushered forth his resolve (second wind) and smashed the Ankheg again (crit!). The carapace split some more, but it still would not die.

Foo, who was still on the ground inside the burial room, crawled out the door of the room and then bolted for the outside. He noticed that the flying sword would not leave the room. Outside, he saw that Hundar was still held in the ankheg’s mandibles, bleeding and burning from acid. Foo moved up for a sneak attack, and hit the mark. His rapier pierced the creature’s body and finally it fell. As Foo got in close, he saw that the larger ankheg had an iron collar on with the same Earth Cult symbol they had seen on the dead bodies they found in the Tomb of Moving Stones, the cloaks of the “Bringers of Woe” and on the defeated earth cult priest’s robes.

Exhausted, the group rested and tried to heal as best they could. By this point, Pate was out of spells (and everyone used at least 2 if not 3 HD of healing with Pate singing a song to help them mend).

Inside the burial room, Foo inspected the iron chest, no trap, but locked. With ease, behind his back, Foo unlocked the chest (crit success!). Inside they found a soggy, unrecognizable book and some ruined clothes. Foo saw that the chest had a false bottom and when he pulled it open, he found 2 rings, a locket with a half-elven woman’s picture etched on the inside of it, and a pearl. Pate said that he could use the pearl to help him identify magical items, so the group gave it to him. They also let him take the jewelry.

Within an hour, Foo, Hundar and Pate made it back to Red Larch to the comfort of the Swinging Sword Inn. They had lunch and told Kaylessa about their adventure. She was relieved that they ahd dealt with the threats and lived to return. Later that day, the others returned to the inn and the entire party had a large dinner together so that they could share stories and rejuvinate.

After sleeping the night, Pate gathered the group’s loot and detected magic. He found that the dagger that Hundar had found in the Tomb of Moving Stones was a magic dagger (+1) that made no sound when it cut or stabbed. It also could shed 10’ of light when the word, “Rezur” was spoken. Hundar gave the dagger to Foo.

Comments

Again we only had 2 players (Hundar and Foo). Since things were a little too easy (these guys are 3rd level and this is only a level 1 part of the adventure), I added more flying swords into the scenario and had the ankhegs attack as the PCs were fighting inside the burial chamber. (This was reprisal for defeating the Black Earth Cultists inside the Tomb of the Moving Stones).

This really pushed them to the edge. If Mougra, the Goblin, had not run away from the ankheg and into the chambers, the others would not have known that Foo had gone down inside the burial chamber. Since the flying sword was still attacking (I ruled that they would attack while any creature remained in the room, but they would not leave the room), Foo would have been killed in 1 more round.

Very exciting.

Hundar and Foo seem to be forming an interesting relationship. They make fun of each other, and Hundar even threatens to maim or kill the Gnome, but in the end, they are watching out for each other.
I think when Hundar gave the magical dagger to Foo it was symbolic. I don't think Hundar can express joy and gratitude with words. Half-orcs are not so open with their emotions, unless the emotion is anger. lol
By the way, Half-Orc crits (for a Champion fighter that crits on a 19 or 20), and the half orc resilience, really make a difference.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 6 - “Shallow Graves and the Lord of Lance Rock”

PCs (3rd Level)

Pate the Half-Elven Bard (in possession of a map that shows the Sumber Hills perhaps an area where an elemental node exists)
Zeed the Arakocra Rogue (fearful of hippogriff riders who have attacked in the area – also hopeful to find more Arakocra in the Dessarin Valley)
Hundar the Half-Orc Fighter (Tracking Gar Shatterkeep, who sunk the ship Hundar sailed on)
Turytopple the Gnome Paladin (A gnome trying to fight evil)
Kippipop the Gnome Sorcerer (Looking for mystery and lore)
Namfoodle “Foo” the Gnome Rogue (Trying to find riches)

The party got back together at the Swinging Sword Inn, and in the morning, they spoke with Kaylessa. Pate warmed himself to her and offered to play on evenings when he was in town, and Kaylessa was so impressed with his instrumental prowess that she took him up on the offer. She liked the idea that one of the new heroes would be a regular feature at her place so she even let the bard and his companions stay in one of the bunkrooms upstairs for at least the next few weeks.

At breakfast, the party overheard an old man named Larmon tell about a shallow grave he found just the other evening while he was letting his sheep graze east of the town near the Sumber Hills. They also saw and heard a priest of Lathander speak to Kalyessa about the missing delegation from Mirabar. He had seen them a few 10 day back in Beliard, but they never made it to The Summit Hall to the south. He was a bit worried because he knew that the Dwarves in the Mirabaren party even talked about stopping at Red Larch.

Since Zeed, Tury, Kippi and Foo were going to continue helping Constable Harburk with the “Believers” proceedings, Pate and Hundar struck up a conversation with Larmon to find out more about the graves. He told them were to go, but he didn’t want to go back so soon. Fresh graves gave him the hibby-jeebies.

Pate and Hundar set out to investigate at about 8 am. They found the grave site in a few hours, but to their surprise the graves seemed to be dug up. After inspecting the open hole, they found a few bits of ripped cloth about 100 feet from the graves, along with a trail of blood, scratch marks, more tattered clothing and even a few bones here and there. They followed the trail to a cave opening on the edge of the Sumber Hills, and they boldly ventured inside.

Inside the dark part of the first cave area, the duo saw a body in the middle of a tunnel leading deeper into the cave. Hundar moved up to it and gave it a gentle kick. The body tried to grab on to the half-orc, but Hundar pulled his boot away in time. Then the shambling corpse rose and attacked. The zombie was slow and pretty ineffective against Hundar and Pate, and soon, even after the zombie fell and rose a number of times, the duo finally laid it to rest.

Moving deeper into the cave, the duo was surprised when rocks tumbled down upon them from above another cavern entrance. Hundar made it past the falling debris, but Pate got struck by it. Then two zombies jumped down to attack the adventurers. This battle was a little more difficult, mostly due to the fact that the zombies just would not go down. Pate struck one through the eye with his rapier, and Hundar smashed it with his warhammer, but on multiple occasions, the zombies would keep up the fight. Eventually, the adventurers overcame them and were able to see a rock in the room with dried blood atop it. The blood trailed to the west and through a very narrow tunnel that had jagged protrusions on the walls, and blood splashed upon the very same walls.

Carefully, Hundar and Pate moved deeper into the tunnel area. After about 120’ of winding they came to a star shaped cave and to their surprise they saw three zombies in there doing some dances. One was dressed like a bear, another was dressed like a woman with make-up and lipstick too, and the third was dressed as a jester with bells on his outfit and shoes. Hundar braced himself in the tunnel entrance and waited for the zombies to attack. The zombies hesitated, but then the one dressed as a bear moved in. During the fight, a few of the zombies tried to drag Hundar to the center of the room, but Pate’s musical inspiration helped Hunder escape their grasp. Hundar got hurt a bit, but Pate began casting thunderclap to injure the zombies. Hundar also took up a new tactic. He dropped his shield and warhammer in favor of a great axe he had found earlier. When he started to get the feel for the great weapon, he started putting the zombies down more reliably, although it wasn’t easy. After this battle, the adventurers heard a voice from somewhere deeper in the caves uttering, “how dare you interfere with the Lord of Lance Rock.” The duo could not tell exactly where the voice was coming from. Pate healed Hundar and then they continued through a westerly tunnel.

After winding around from west to north, Hundar and Pate peered into a very large cave. There were three stone slabs only 20’ from the mouth of the cave, and each of the slabs had arms, legs and hands of humanoid creatures littering them. On the third slab rested a cloaked figure. Pate charged the cloaked figure, and Hundar followed. When Pate struck it, he found that it was another zombie. Just then, lots of the hands on the tables began crawling toward Hundar and Pate. Five of the living hands attacked; Hundar had his hands full. Throughout the fight, Hundar suffered a number of small wounds and Pate was battered substantially by the zombie. Using his thunderclap, Pate took down a number of the crawling hands. That’s when the duo heard bone scraping on the ground from the north, and the voice from earlier threatened that he would soon add these foolish adventurers to his body of work.

Before the skeletons arrived, Pate and Hundar dispatched the hands and the zombie. Then they fought two skeletons that moved toward them with short swords and shields. At that point, the necromancer poked out from behind some rocks and animated the fallen zombie; then he poked back into hiding. Hundar used his second wind, and was able to finish off the skeletons with Pate’s help. Then he charged for the necromancer. As he came close, the necromancer fired a sickly green ray that didn’t hit Hundar. Pate was able to see the necromancer and get off a hold person spell that worked! Then Hundar attacked and attacked again, hurting the necromancer, but not as badly as the Half-Orc had expected. Soon after, the necromancer broke the hold, and by this time, both Hundar and Pate were very weary. Fearing for his life, the necromancer, continued to control the zombie even after getting injured, and he disengaged with Hundar and moved to the west side of the cave. His zombie bashed at Pate and landed a serious blow (crit!). Pate was near unconsciousness and Hundar was not so far from it as well. Hundar was able to move up and smash the necromancer with his warhammer one more time before the necromancer reached out to touch him with his hands. Spell energy crackled (Vampiric Touch), but the necromancer was unable to grasp Hundar. The zombie missed Pate as Pate moved back to be more defensive. With what most likely would have been their last chance, Hundar swung a blow and crumpled the necromancer, who instantaneously burned to black ash on the ground before them. The zombie also crumpled.

Before searching the rest of the cave, the duo rested for an hour and restored their health as best they could. In the deeper part of the cave, they found a tapestry on a wall. They also saw a glowing orb resting on a hideous pedestal that looked like three claws grasping the orb. They also saw some more freshly killed bodies, the ones from the shallow grave. There was a Dwarf with the Mirabar coat of arms on his shield and tunic. There was a human fighter as well. There was an Earth Cultist dressed in the same rock encrusted leather armor that the group had seen earlier and they also saw a human male dressed in a robe of black feathers. All seemed to be killed by puncture wounds.

Behind the tapestry, Pate found a small stash of gold and silver, 4 gems and a wand.

As the duo exited the caves they caught glimpse of a large bird flying overhead. It looked as if it was a huge vulture with a human dressed in feathered armor riding it. It was up nearly 100’ and seemed to be moving fast to the east into the Sumber Hills. Pate tried to lay low and keep from being seen. Hundar threw a hand axe up into the sky, but the projectile was way off the mark, and the vulture nor its rider saw them.

Within an hour, Hundar and Pate made it back to The Swinging Sword. The next morning, Pate was able to find that the wand was a wand of magic missiles. The orb was a driftglobe. He kept both of those and gave the gems to Hundar as well as ½ of the gold and silver.

Comments

Only 2 players tonight, but I didn’t alter the encounters of the adventure (Lord of Lance Rock) until the last one. It was tough for two pcs and if the necromancer used magic missile in the end it would have been game over for the duo, but after suffering over half of his hit points from one attack, the necromancer played it more defensively. I also took 2 skeletons away (and didn’t have them fire bows).

You would not believe how many times the zombies died, but then kept going. My dice were on fire when rolling saving throws for them.

Both Pate and Hundar did very well with their talents and abilities and now the story of the cultists and the Mirabar party is unraveling a bit more.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 7 “Earth Cult vs. Feathergale Knights to the Spire”

PCs (3rd Level)

Pate the Half-Elven Bard (in possession of a map that shows the Sumber Hills perhaps an area where an elemental node exists)
Zeed the Arakocra Rogue (fearful of hippogriff riders who have attacked in the area – also hopeful to find more Arakocra in the Dessarin Valley)
Hundar the Half-Orc Fighter (Tracking Gar Shatterkeep, who sunk the ship Hundar sailed on)
Turytopple the Gnome Paladin (A gnome trying to fight evil)
Kippipop the Gnome Sorcerer (Looking for mystery and lore)
Namfoodle “Foo” the Gnome Rogue (Trying to find riches)

Hundar, Tury and Namfoodle were the only active PCs for this 2 ½ hour session.

Pate and Hundar told the rest of the group about the necromancer and the dead bodies they had found on their last scouting mission to toward the Sumber Hills. They believed that two of the dead bodies were from Mirabar since they still had Mirabar trade bars in their purses. The two other bodies were a human with a feather cloak and a human with rock encrusted armor, undoubted a Black Earth Cultist. The others told about how they helped Constable Harburk round up all of the “Believers” and question them. They also remembered more about the Mirabar Trade Caravan that went missing and feared that there were 3 or 4 more who they had not accounted for.

After speaking with Harburk, they learned that the feather wearing knight that Hundar and Pate saw patrolling near the hills was most likely a Feathergale Society Knight. Harburk told the group that they moved out here from Neverwinter about 10 years ago. They built a spire in the Desserin Valley and they patrol the hills and valley. Harburk said they never did Red Larch any harm, and he assumed that they actually helped make the paths, roads and trails near the hills more safe. After discussing what they had experienced over the 10 days they had been adventuring, the party realized that the Earth Cultists were their number one worry, but they wanted to travel to the Spire of the Feathergale Society to get more information.

Hundar, Tury and Foo, prepared to make the 30 mile journey into the hills to the Spire while the others stayed in Red Larch to help Harburk and the town. The next morning, Tury remembered that Grund and the boy Braelon, who they had taken out of the Tomb of Moving Stones, were still hiding in a hiding place that Grund knew near the marketplace. The party found them and told them how the constable believed that “The Believers” were manipulated by the Earth Cultist priest. He found that none of the townsfolk were responsible for killing the dead that the party found in the Tomb. He was planning to hold them in the butcher shop cells for a week to pay for their involvement. The party realized that Grund and Braelon seemed safe so they told them to go back to Braelon’s house, speak with the constable and visit Braelon’s father in his cell. They hoped that they could continue their lives and learn from this horrible experience.

The trio of adventurers traveled for 12 hours, pushing themselves to go further since they could see the Spire only 5 miles in the distance. As the night was falling, they heard the sound of battle ahead. Tury and Hundar saw Griffons with riders swooping down to attack something on the ground. Foo was busy playing his harmonica and was quite into it so he was oblivious until the others alerted him. The group moved forward to get a better view of the altercation and 80’ from them they saw 2 Earth Cult guards, and an Earth Cult Bullette Rider atop a Bullette. The Griffon riders were strafing the Earth Cultists, and all were injured to some extent. Tury ran to join the battle telling the Earth Cultists to leave the flying beasts alone. He babbled about wanting to ride the creatures, and how the Earth Cultists were bad, bad men. Hundar and Foo also moved forward.

The party was able to engage and after a number of attacks one of the guards went down. As the party fought the others, the Burrow Shark (Bullette Rider) jabbed his spear at Tury as he urged his bullette to jump around and try to grasp Griffon from the sky. Eventually, the party, with help from the Griffon Riders, did enough damage to make the Burrow Shark turn tail and burrow his bullette into the earth to try to escape. Tury ran, jumped down the burrow hole and slid behind the bullette. Hundar asked if Foo could handle the lone Earth Cult Guard that was badly wounded (much like he did in a prior encounter that ended in Foo’s unconsciousness), and Foo said…”sure.” Hundar also gave chase down the burrow hole.

Pretty soon, Foo was down, unconscious and bleeding out. The Feathergale Knights were able to take down the Earth Cult Guard, and then try to stabilize Foo as one of the knights used a potion on the fallen Gnome. Meanwhile, in the hole, Tury and Hundar gave chase as the creature and its rider burrowed further and further away. Each round, the two heroes would chase at full speed as the bullette continued to burrow. The Burrow Shark however was able to stab at the two heroes, but Tury was able to use his shield to block a few blows that would have hit Hundar. Unfortunately, Tury took a vicious blow to the gut and went down.

On top, when Foo spoke with the Feathergale Knights and they offered to fly him and his comrades back to their Spire whenever the other Gnome and the Half-Orc got out of the burrow hole. Foo liked that, and nearly went off with the knights right then and there, but something told him that he should join is comrades in the burrow tunnel so he told the knights to wait for them as he ran into the hole and slide down the tunnel.

Miraculously Tury stabilized and got to his feet (nat 20 on death save). He used his healing hands to bolster himself and then he ran after the bullette.

Well…as the party chased, the bullette kept burrowing. Hundar tried a few times to climb up the back of the bullette to get right up on its back with the Burrow Shark. Once he slipped and slid back down. Then he got atop the creature, but the Earth Cult Rider slapped him down. Finally, he got up on top of the beast and could withstand the Earth Cult Rider’s smashing attempts so he could ride along with the burrowing bullette.

Eventually, Foo could target the beast with his shortbow, and the group started doing damage to the horrid creature. Unfortunately, the Burrow Shark wielded his spear with deadly precision. After Foo fired a deadly arrow at the bullette, and both Hundar and Tury smashed and hacked into the creature felling it, the Burrow Shark slashed his spear and took Tury down again. Foo caught up to Tury and stabilized him, then disengaged. Then, the Burrow Shark took down Hundar and Foo (who had come back within melee range to fight the Burrow Shark), and made a mad dash to get out of the burrow tunnel. In a few rounds, Hundar stabilized and stood (another 20 on death save). Unfortunately, Foo’s life blood seeped from his body and he expired. Hundar dragged both the Gnomes out of the tunnels to find the Feathergale Knights above had finished off the Burrow Shark.

The Feathergale Knights had one more potion that got Tury on his feet, but they could do nothing for Namfoodle. Tury tried his best to tend to his friend, even casting cure spells, but his friend had suffered too much. The knights told them to get on to the Griffons with them and they could fly them back to Feathergale Spire. Perhaps their Lord Commander, Thurl Merosska would be able to help since the Half-Orc and the Gnomes did help the knights defeat the Earth Cultists.

Flying through the air for only a mile or two, Tury tried to sketch what he saw so that he could show it to Namfoodle when/if he ever came back. The Griffons flew into a lower level of the spire into a stable of sorts. The knights called for help and then summoned Thurl Merosska. When the Lord Commander entered, he told the group to take their fallen comrade up to a room on the 2nd floor. Then he got Barister, a cleric, to tend to Foo. Tury offered all of his coins to the Feathergale Society and Hundar gave up 4 gems. Tury asked if the cleric could save their friend. Hundar asked if they could save…the Earth Cultist’s platemail. Luckily it had only been about 40 minutes since Foo went down so Barister was able to revivify him. Namfoodle woke, weak and sore, and immediately took out his harmonica and played a tune. Tury was overjoyed. Hundar grunted and rolled his eyes.

Thurl Merosska told the group that they would be his guests so they could spend the night resting and recovering. Tomorrow he invited them to a feast that they had been planning for their 10th anniversary. He was fascinated by the tale that his knights told about how the Half-Orc and the Gnomes fought with them against the Earth Cultists. He especially liked how the adventurers jumped down the burrow hole to follow the fleeing bullette.

As the party rested, Tury looked over the Black Earth platemail with Hundar. It was certainly big enough for the Half-Orc to wear, but it was very badly beaten up, old and worn. It also had a Black Earth Cult symbol on it. Hundar put it on anyway, knowing full well that any substantial hit upon it could render it unusable.

Comments

This was an added encounter that I felt would help move the story along with Earth Cultists and Feathergale Society members so that the party could see more of the rivalry between the two factions.

The encounter turned into a 23 round battle. The players were rolling horribly. Lots of misses (AC 17 and 18 was tough for them tonight), and lots of “1” on death saves, while the Burrow Shark smashed them with a number of Crits (felling Tury and Foo on crits).

I actually started the Black Earth guards at 24 hp, the Burrow Shark at 60 and the Bullette at 60 as well to simulate their battle with the other knights before the party arrived. Then when the Griffon’s got hurt a little bit, I had them pull back and be more defensive as the party fought on the ground.

At one point it looked like the party was in good shape. 1 Guard barely standing and the Burrow Shark and Bullette fleeing. Tury, playing to character jumped down the hole and then everything started to go south.

It was a great story, and now the party is in pretty good with the Feathergale Society.

Let’s see what happens next time.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 8 “Guests of the Feathergale Society and a Manticore Hunt”

PCs (3rd Level)

Pate the Half-Elven Bard (in possession of a map that shows the Sumber Hills perhaps an area where an elemental node exists)
Zeed the Arakocra Rogue (fearful of hippogriff riders who have attacked in the area – also hopeful to find more Arakocra in the Dessarin Valley)
Hundar the Half-Orc Fighter (Tracking Gar Shatterkeep, who sunk the ship Hundar sailed on)
Turytopple the Gnome Paladin (A gnome trying to fight evil)
Kippipop the Gnome Sorcerer (Looking for mystery and lore)
Namfoodle “Foo” the Gnome Rogue (Trying to find riches)

Hundar, Tury and Namfoodle were the only active PCs for this 2 hour session.

The party spent the night resting in one of the knight’s rooms in the Feathergale Knight Spire. At first, Hundar wanted to stay up and keep watch, but after an hour or so, he decided to sleep as well. The group felt that they were safe in the spire.

The next morning there was a knock at the door. Tury called out to ask who it was and he heard a female voice. A knight named Savra Baleabranta introduced herself and invited the party to breakfast. Foo, recovering from death (having been revivified prior to their sleep), slept in while Tury and Hundar went with Savra to the great hall. They sat at the large table joining a few knights and they noticed that Barister, the cleric who revived Foo, was there too. After talking a bit, Tury got Barister to check on Foo. Barister walked into the room and shut the door. Inside, he had a private conversation with Foo, and soon after walked out a few minutes later. He told the others that their little friend would be fine with a little rest.

After a few hours, Savra invited the party to ascend the spire and visit the garden at the pinnacle. On top, they saw a telescope pointed down to the east, and from the edge of the pinnacle the party felt the wind rush past them, the sun warm their bodies, and could see all around the Sighing Valley. Immediately, Tury wanted to look into the telescope. His urge to investigate and tinker drew him towards it. Unfortunately, the eye piece was too high for him to look into, so he asked Foo to boost him up. Foo, still weak from his ordeal, didn’t really want to do it, but Tury was very convincing. When Tury looked through the telescope, he saw that it was pointed across the valley to the east into a pass cut by a river. He also saw a couple of cloaked figures near an opening in the canyon ledge. The cloaks were not like the ones the Believers or the Bringers of Woe wore, nor were they like the rock encrusted armor that the Black Earth Cultists wore. They seemed to be lighter, white and sky blue. The figures looked as if they were keeping watch. Since the power of the telescope was not great enough to make out more detail, Tury took out some of his tools and started to tinker with the lens. Savra saw this and immediately intervened. She told the gnome that he should not do that unless the Lord Commander gave authorization. Tury blabbed about the cloaked figures and asked Savra about them. Savra told the group that they were not a concern.

After Tury pressed more, Savra told them that they were allies who worship an air god. Tury could tell that Savra was uncomfortable speaking about them, kind of like she was torn – should she have said anything or should she have kept it to herself. Just then, a few other knights came up to the spire. They walked the perimeter and one shouted and pointed to the south east…”The Manticore is up! Alert the others.” After the other knight ran down the stairs, the party heard a horn blow from within the spire. Then the others, Savra and the other knight, ran down the stairs. The party followed.

At ground level, many knights were gathering and saddling their mounts, some giant vultures. Thurl Merosska was there and he greeted the adventurers and asked if they wanted to join their hunt. Tury was most eager. Foo and Hundar also accepted the invitation. After a very quick pep talk, some instructions on how to fly the mounts, the Lord Commander took the ring from his finger and said, “whoever strikes the killing blow and brings back the head of the manticore shall have this ring.” Before leaving, the Lord Commander also fitted each of the heroes with a special backpack. Hundar refused to take it, but the gnomes strapped the packs to their backs. He told them that they could pull a cord on the pack if they started to fall, and a contraption inside the pack would inflate a balloon that would slow the fall. Tury was fascinated by the contraption so he volunteered to ride on the same mount as Foo so that he could tinker with his pack while they flew. With that, the group took off. Foo and Tury rode upon a griffin together, Foo at the reins. Hundar took one of the giant vultures.

The hunting party flew for 10 minutes and encountered some cloud cover. Hundar struck off away from the other knights and seemed to be controlling his mount rather well. Foo followed a little less adroitly. Eventually, Foo spotted the manticore and pointed so that Hundar could see it. Hundar took his vulture higher and controlling it like an experienced flyer, was able to surprise the flying manticore. The party soared, banked, dove and Hundar was able to do tremendous damage to the beast. When Foo and Tury got close flying the griffin, the manticore slashed out at the griffin and did some horrible damage to the mount. Seeing this, Tury used his shield to try to protect the griffin on subsequent attacks, he also wrestled with his urge to pull the cord on Foo’s backpack. He was being protective of his friend, but he was also dying to see how the contraption worked.

After the first few passes, the party did substantial damage to the manticore so it banked way and got lost in the clouds. After a few more moments of flying and searching, they eventually spotted it, but when Hundar flew his giant vulture toward it, a volley of tail spikes came directly for them. Hundar pulled hard on the reins to maneuver the vulture so that he’d be the target of the spikes. Two of the spikes flew by him, but the third hit the vulture in the neck. Foo and Tury got in some attacks, and Foo, muttering a secret prayer, was able to use his awesome dexterity to fly the beast and attempt to attack simultaneously, but he was unable to injure the beast. Then, the party saw one of the Feathergale knights break though the clouds and blow a horn. That’s when Hundar made a final pass and cut the manticore down with his great axe.

The hunting party convened and they landed where the manticore had fallen. Hundar chopped its head off and received accolades from the other knights. The others urged the heroes to return to the spire so that they could tend to their mounts, and even though the heroes wanted to explore to find the manticore’s lair, they agreed that they should return the mounts. Tury, feeling bad for the mounts that had taken damage, used his healing hand to begin the healing process for both the griffin and the vulture.

Back at the spire, Thurl Merosska congratulated Hundar and gave him the ring. That’s when Hundar called out the three knights who they had encountered the day before. To Hundar, the knights had abandoned the fight they were having with the Earth Cultists when Tury, Hundar and Foo ran down the tunnel made by the fleeing bullette and its Earth Cult rider. He called them cowards. Then he challenged them to a non-lethal fight. The Lord Commander, allowed the fight to take place upon at the pinnacle of the tower. He told them to fight with wooden clubs while the rest of them got ready for the anniversary feast.

Well, Hundar and the three Knights went up to the top of the spire to fight with wooden clubs. At first the three knights gang attacked Hundar, but then one of them told the others that he'd fight the half-orc alone. After trading blows...lots of misses too...many trip attempts and swinging clubs, Hundar finally bested the knight. Tury and Foo watched. They could tell that the knights were trying to be honorable. Valax, the one that fought Hundar, even tried to concede and give victory to Hundar, but Hundar slapped him down nonetheless. The others helped up Valax and mumbled..."we'll see what Lord Merosska says about these guys...the half-orc especially." Then everyone went down to clean up and attend the feast.

Comments

It was interesting to run flying combat. I was shocked that none of my players rolled so poorly that they fell from their mounts.

The half-orc’s critical hit against the manticore made that fight pretty easy. Although, one more hit to either mount that the heroes were riding could have sent them plummeting to the ground from 60’-100’ in the sky. The gnomes had the balloon packs, but the half-orc didn’t, certainly a risk that the player knew about, but his character refused the pack since he was too proud.

Exp: 400 xp each PC

If you are one of my players…don’t read this:

When Barister spoke with Foo, he told Foo about the god that he worshiped, the great air god, Yan-C-Bin. When Foo asked how he could repay Barister for reviving him and saving his life, the cleric asked Foo to consider worshiping or praying to Yan-C-Bin. Foo felt that the cleric was sincere. All the religious talk made Foo a little uncomfortable, but he agreed to think on it.

When Foo was flying the griffin, he did mutter a secret prayer to Yan-C-Bin.

Now...it seems that many gears are turning. I am rally interested to see how this plays out.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 9 – “The Feast at the Spire, and Bad Blood Brewing”

PCs (3rd Level) About 1 1/2 hours of play.

Pate the Half-Elven Bard (in possession of a map that shows the Sumber Hills perhaps an area where an elemental node exists)
Zeed the Arakocra Rogue (fearful of hippogriff riders who have attacked in the area – also hopeful to find more Arakocra in the Dessarin Valley)
Hundar the Half-Orc Fighter (Tracking Gar Shatterkeep, who sunk the ship Hundar sailed on)
Turytopple the Gnome Paladin (A gnome trying to fight evil)
Kippipop the Gnome Sorcerer (Looking for mystery and lore)
Namfoodle “Foo” the Gnome Rogue (Trying to find riches)

This session Pate and Zeed came back, along with Hundar and Tury. Namfoodle’s player was not available so Foo spent most of the time in bed recuperating from his death and revivification the day before.

Hundar, Tury and Foo were on top of the Feathergale Spire Pinnacle. Hundar had just beat one of the Feathergale Knights senseless after the Knight offered to surrender when they were fighting with clubs in a non-lethal fashion. The three other Knights took their unconscious friend away muttering, “Let’s see what the Lord Commander thinks about these guys now, especially the Half-Orc.” While the three heroes were resting before washing and getting ready for the feast that Lord Merosska was having for their 10th Anniversary, Pate, who had traveled from Red Larch on his own, knocked at the front door of the spire. He was greeted by some Knights and eventually they escorted him up to the pinnacle to find his comrades. The group exchanged stories and caught up. Tury excitedly told Pate about the telescope and got Pate to take a look. Pate could also see two light blue and white cloaked figures across the way, seemingly guarding an area in a cavern. After a little time discussing this, they went down to their room to get ready for the feast. Foo, feeling exhausted, stayed in bed as the others went to the great room for the festivities.

At the feast, Pate played music that Thurl Merosska appreciated. He also told a great tale about the dead bodies he and Hundar had found after finding the empty shallow graves. Together, the group, along with Merosska determined that one of the Feathergale Knights had indeed gone missing, so the Lord was grateful to know where his dead body was lain. Throughout the evening and into the night, Merosska asked the party members to tell their tales. Hundar was terse, barely saying much. The Knights at the table were afraid to look at him, and to be honest, when they watched him eat, it turned their stomachs. Tury could not contain his exuberance about the balloon pack that he had modified, and he continued to babble about it and asked 1001 questions about the mounts and the riders, and if he would be able to ride a Griffon or Hippogriff or Giant Vulture again. Merosska seemed to tire of the Gnomes frivolity, so he asked one of his Knights to tell a tale as well. The party continued through the night. Pate tried to get in good, you know what I mean, with Savra Bellabrante, but she just afforded him the niceities that Lord Merosska expected of his knights. Barister, the cleric of the society was at the feast, but the knights that Hundar had called out as cowards, and had fought with on the pinnacle, were absent.

After the feast, all disbursed. Tury was excited about the telescope so he rushed to his room to find his tinkering tools. He wanted to work on the telescope, and he spent some time convincing Pate to sneak up there with him so they could do it. That’s when the group heard the fluttering of wings and scratching of talons outside the window. Pate looked out and saw their old comrade Zeed, the Aarakocra assassin. Pate let Zeed into the room and Zeed proceeded to tell them of his exploits. He had flown to the Sighing Valley to try to find a small group of Aarakocra. He found them and learned that those folk had been suspicious of the Feathergale Society for a few years now. They suspect that there is something evil about them, but they admitted that they kept their distance. Valon the leader, told Zeed that some nights, the Aarakocra would see humanoids fall from the spire, their bones left at the bottom for scavangers. Hundar was actually glad to hear this. He felt as if his dislike for the Knights was now somehow vindicated.

As Pate and Tury stepped out of the room door to go up to the pinnacle, they saw and heard, some of the Knights and Barister, who asked, “where are you off to at this hour?” Then Barister and the Knights told the group that they wanted to take Hundar up to the pinnacle so that he could speak his case to the Lord Commander. Apparently, his actions earlier met with some ire, even though, Lord Merosska had seemed perfectly unfazed at the feast. To all who listened, it seemed as if the disgruntled Knights had prepared a tribunal for Hundar, and it was not clear what the punishment for rejecting a Knight’s surrender would be. It seemed as if there was a chance that if his case didn’t go well, he would be tossed off the pinnacle.

When it seemed as if the party was stalling, Barister attempted to use divine magic to hold Hundar, but Hundar resisted. Then the Knights tried to grab him, and he hacked at them, as Zeed scored a very powerful sneak attack dagger thrust, knocking that Knight unconscious. Both parties fought, but each side was fighting non-lethal style. Barister used his divine magic again and held Tury, but Hundar still resisted. Pate tapped into the magical weave and got Barister to burst out laughing and rolling on the ground. This freed Tury from his paralysis, and although Zeed and Pate took some damage, the rest were holding their own. That’s when Barister called out for help, but before he could do anything else, Hundar laid him low, knocking him unconscious. When he was free, Tury went to the central doors that led to the stairway up and down. He worked at it furiously to jam it shut, spending over 10 seconds to make sure that it was shut tight. Soon after, three Knights were still engaging with the party, as two blue and white cloaked, monk-like humans sped into the room from nearby bedrooms. Three other initiates also joined the fray.

The session ended mid-battle with the party surrounded by foes.
 
Last edited:

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 10 – “Knights at Night and an Escape into the Night”

PCs (3rd Level)

Pate the Half-Elven Bard (in possession of a map that shows the Sumber Hills perhaps an area where an elemental node exists)
Zeed the Arakocra Rogue (fearful of hippogriff riders who have attacked in the area – also hopeful to find more Arakocra in the Dessarin Valley)
Hundar the Half-Orc Fighter (Tracking Gar Shatterkeep, who sunk the ship Hundar sailed on)
Turytopple the Gnome Paladin (A gnome trying to fight evil)
Kippipop the Gnome Sorcerer (Looking for mystery and lore)
Namfoodle “Foo” the Gnome Rogue (Trying to find riches)

The session started with the party in mid battle in the Great Hall of the Feathergale Spire. 3 Feathergale Knights and the Cleric named Barrister had tried to escort the group, especially Hundar, up to the spire to stand trial because Hundar had beaten one of the Feathergale Knights after the Knight had surrendered when they were fighting a non-lethal duel before the great feast. Hundar had already been able to knock out Barrister, who had tried to cast hold upon him a number of times yet failed. 3 initiates and 2 monk-like Hurricanes entered the battle after Tury had been able to jam the doors to this floor closed so no-others could arrive.

The party had a tough time with the Hurricanes especially. They could use thunder force to injure the group, doing damage to nearly everyone round after round after round. Hundar ended up knocking out a number of knights as Tury protected him and the others continuing to tell the Feathergale foes that they had done nothing wrong and were unjustly accused. Pate used his healing and his vicious mockery, along with a failed attempt to make a Hurricane laugh uncontrollably. Tury deflected a few blows that would have injured Hundar, while Zeed moved back into the room that Foo was resting in to wake him up for help. Through the minute long combat, Pate, Tury and Hundar all went down unconscious or dying at one point or another. It looked as if they would all be overcome, but for Zeed and Foo who were able to sneak attack from behind. Toward the end, Zeed also was knocked down, bleeding out, but the Foo took down the last Hurricane, and the heroes barely managed to defeat their foes. Searching the bodies, they found a few healing potions on the cleric, along with 58 gp in the monk rooms and on their bodies along with their weapons and armor, feathered cloaks and other vestments. Pate was able to save Zeed with his healing songs, as the group pulled all of the unconscious foes into the bedrooms. Then, after looking out of the windows to see they were about 40’ up from the drawbridge on the cliff side of the spire, they had a brief discussion to decide their next course of action.

Zeed offered to slip out the window and fly above the tower to scout the Pinnacle. When he came back, he told the others that there were 8-12 of them on the top, including the Lord Commander. It looked as if they were setting up some sort of ritual around an alter. The Lord Commander, Thurl Merosska, was flanked by the others and it looked as if they were just waiting. Foo quietly opened the doors he had jammed shut earlier, and he found that it was pretty quiet in the stairwell. Zeed went outside to investigate the front doors of the spire where the drawbridge was, and when he came back he told the party that there was nobody outside the spire. It looked clear. After a few moments of discussion, Zeed flew back out and around the drawbridge as the rest of the wounded group snuck downstairs. On their way out of the spire, they had to fight just one Feathergale Knight guarding the inside of the drawbridge doors. After Pate’s vicious mockery would have actually killed the guard, Tury tended to the Knight and was able to spare his life. While the Knight was down and still unconscious, the group made their escape over the drawbridge and into the night.

Zeed told them that the Aarakocra camp he had found earlier was only 1 or 2 miles from the spire…which would take the group about an hour on foot since they had to traverse the cliffs and get down into the valley. The rest of the group had Zeed lead on.

They traveled for about 40 minutes when they group heard the sound of a hyena bark from ahead. Foo stealthed ahead and scouted the area. He could see two hyena faced humanoids, Gnolls, sniffing the air, baying and looking in his direction. He picked up a rock and threw it as far as he could to the north east. He was able to avoid their gaze so when the rock hit the ground, the Gnolls raced over to investigate. With that little diversion, Foo turned back to the others to report. Zeed decided to fly over the Gnolls and drop more rocks further away from the trail they had to walk along to get to the Aarakocra camp, and he was successful at drawing the Gnolls further way from the group. That done, he told the group to travel quietly to the south east so that they could reach the camp, and although both Hundar and Tury were a little more noisy than the others, the group avoided a confrontation with the Gnolls.

As they neared the Aarakocra camp, Zeed went ahead to announce their presence. When he returned, the others followed and they were able to meet Valon, the leader of the Aarakocra, along with Seerfa, Lafka, Mershaak and Belefont. Tury told them all about their experience at the spire, and Valon told the group that the Feathergale Society was up to no good. They had deep suspicions about them. They truly believed that something evil was at work with those folk, and they were not surprised to hear that the party nearly had to face some type of trial at the top of the spire. Valon and the others reiterated to the group that they had seen humanoids flung from the heights of the spire and their bodies were left to feed the scavengers down in the valley below. Tury wanted to send word back to Red Larch about what had happened. Valon agreed that Lafka and Zeed could return tomorrow morning, but for now it would be best if the adventurers rested for the night in a small hidden glade that the birdmen used for their own camp.

Comments

Now it seems to the party that the Earth cult may not be the only cult in these areas. The Feathergale Society seems to also have some that may be associated with an Air cult, and the group is very suspicious of what’s going on with the Feathergales and the feather cloaked monks that joined the battle (and the ones across the valley in a small cavern they had seen earlier through the telescope from the top of the spire).

Going over their notes, they now know of these locations in the Sighing Valley, which seem to be the haunt of the Feathergales. They also know of the Monastery to the south east where it seems the Earth cult is at, and they also know of a small keep on the Dessarin River, Rivergard Keep, where someone named Grimjaw “buys stuff.” (This information they found on a map about 10 days ago when they began their adventures)

The group has leveled up to 4th level.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 11 – Across the Howling Plateau to Knife Point Gully

Wow..it has been a while since we last played. We all needed to get our bearings and knock off the cobwebs.

****

As the sun rose, the party awakened in the small cave of the Aarakocra. Valon, the Aarakocra leader, offered this location as a sanctuary to the party if needed, but he also warned them that they had remained hidden for a long time and they would not want anyone to alert the Feathergale Society, air cultists, Gnolls or any other threat to their presence. As they group members were deciding their course of action, they all heard the footsteps of a humanoid only a few feet away from their hidden cave. The figure turned out to be an Air Genasi sorcerer, named Tornade e’Safranaux. He humbled himself before the group and determined that the enemy of his enemy were friends.

When Tury told the group that he wanted to go back to Red Larch to check on it and to check on his wife, Kippipop, Zeed offered to go back with him. Valon offered one of his Aarakocra scouts to go with them as well. Then Foo revealed that the cleric who raised him from death back at The Feathergale Society had told him about their air god named Yan-C-Bin and he had asked Foo to consider saying prayers to that entity (interestingly when in trouble flying the Griffins while on the manticore hunt, Foo actually uttered a prayer to Yan-C-Bin). Pate remembered a little about this air god and told the group that most nature worshipers do not worship this god. This god was more ancient and also more tempestuous, rumored to be tainted by evil. This spooked Foo so he decided that he would go with Tury so that all the Gnomes could be together to face whatever the harsh wind might blow toward Red Larch. With that, Tury, Foo, Zeed and Lafka (one of the Aarakocra) set off toward Red Larch. (This is one way to take care of PCs when players aren’t around…also Tury’s player wanted to play a different character so we switched out Tury for Tornade).

As Hundar, Pate and Tornade were talking with the Aarakocra and deciding what to do, Valon saw some winged creatures take to the air far in the distance near the Feathergale Spire. The group lost sight of them, but soon after, Valon saw them again and he warned the others that they were getting closer to them. Fearing that this might be a search party or patrol looking for the party, the party decided to move away from the Aarakocra cave toward the river and the Howling Plateau. They traveled for a few hours, and when they saw the flying creatures, they ducked down into some vegetation to hide. As the creatures got closer, the group could tell that there were 3 hippogriffs each ridden by a Feathergale Knight. It seemed pretty clear that they were looking for them. Luckily, after moving a bit and then hiding again, the group remained undetected and the riders finally turned and flew back to the Spire.

The party’s new plan was to travel to Knife Point Gully where they had seen some of the robed figures when they looked through the looking glass on top of the Spire. They were pretty sure that the robed figures were similar to the monk-like humans who joined the Feathergale Knights when the Knights wanted to take the party up to the pinnacle of the spire to “stand trial.”

To continue, the adventurers had to get over the Lost River. Tornade told Hundar that if Hundar could carry Pate, Tornade could levitate them while he himself forded the river since even if he went under the water, he could hold his breath indefinitely. The others agreed so Tornade took one end of a rope as Hundar took the other. Then when Tornade manipulated the air around Hundar (who was carrying Pate), Hundar and Pate hovered in the air. Tornade held on to the rope and began swimming across towing the levitating Half-Orc who was about 20’ above. At first, Tornade was carried downstream and the levitating party members nearly smashed into the side of a rock mound that the river cut through. Struggling against the current, Tornade was eventually able to get to the other side although he was dragged along the rocky shore and took some damage before reaching safety.

The small group traveled for a few more hours when they were beset by a pack of hyenas and their Gnoll masters. Hundar rushed forth to engage and did a terrific job killing 2 hyenas pretty quickly. The Gnolls were not as easy to kill, however. Hundar took some wounds, but his tough skin and skill fighting in his armor (heavy armor master) kept him from suffering too badly. Tornade, using rays of frost and acid splash fought as best he could, but he took a vicious wound. Pate, using his powers of song to make a Gnoll howl with laughter for nearly a half minute helped them control the fight, and his healing also helped Tornade, who did not seem as hearty as either Hundar or Pate. During the battle, Pate and Tornade tried to keep their distance from foes, but after the Gnolls called out with their growling and howling, another Gnoll and his hyena attacked from a rock outcropping nearer to Pate and Tornade. Pate took an arrow to the side, and then he engaged with rapier and dagger against the new foes. Although each of the party members suffered wounds, they eventually dispatched the Gnoll threat. Hundar took one of the Gnoll longbows and 40 arrows while Tornade found that the Gnolls all wore similar necklaces of teeth, and the group found 20 gp coin as well.

The group continued toward the Gully and eventually approached within 100’ of the crevasse. Inside the canyon opening they could see 3 of the robed figures guarding an opening in the rock wall itself. After about 10 minutes of observation, one of the robed figures went into the opening and didn’t return. Now that there were only 2, the party decided to walk up to them and parlay. Hundar was the one to lead.

The blue cloaked humans were on guard, and they nearly didn’t believe Hundar when he asked for aid and told them that they had been to the Feathergale Spire and were guests. Pate chimed in to try to help by telling a tale while Hundar reached into his pocket and showed the cloaked humans the ring that Thurl Merroska gave him for returning to the Spire with the manticore head. After speaking for a while, the cloaked humans asked about all of them and when they pointed out the Air Genasi, they whispered to each other. Hundar barked at them and asked what they were talking about and they said that their lord Aerisi would be interested in meeting with the Air Genasi. After successful discussions, the party convinced the cultists to let them rest with them while Pate told them great stories. Then, after Tornade convinced the cultists that he was interested in finding out more about the cult so that he could join, the cultists offered to take them down to the main doors of their temple.

The party was led down a stone stairway that traveled down for miles. Eventually they came to a large cavern and saw a ruined city with some buildings peaking up over the walls around it. The cultists wrote a note that told the guards inside to take these people to see Aerisi. They gave the note to Tornade, and then they excused themselves so that they could go back up to stand guard back at Knife Point Gully.

Pate immediately wanted to try to add to the note something about getting payment for their services, but while he was trying to convince Tornade to let him alter the document (or at least try), the group saw that they were on a ledge in front of a great wall with a door in it. Dwarven faces carved in the stone leered at them. Both Pate and Tornade realized that this was an entrance to the ancient, ruined Dwarven city of Tyar-Besil. They also heard shrieks and cries of agony beyond the door that was open just a pinch. In addition to the shrieks and cries soft music could be heard in the distance.

That’s were we ended.

The party got really lucky when they avoided the hippogriffs and the riders. Hundar rolled a 3 for his first stealth check, but the rider who was looking in their direction rolled a 1. Then when they got closer, Hundar rolled a 5, but the rider rolled a 3. Their exploits gained them 2000 xp overall, and Tornade went from 2nd level to 3rd. The others are still 4th level.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 12 – Musicians and Queen Aerisi

The adventurers heard the sounds of moaning, tormented souls from beyond the doorway leading into Tyar-Besil. They could also hear music in the distance. Pate could tell that the music was not especially good, broken and slightly off tune. Then, Pate convinced Tornade to allow him to alter the note that the guards above had written. Pate borrowed some ink and a pen and added to the note “pay these individuals 10 gp per diem as fair wage for their services.” He made it look exactly like the original document so nobody would be able to tell it was forged. Then, as Hundar said that he wanted to find a magical axe, Pate added, “We should also equip them with the best we have to offer.” But this was not as convincingly written.

As the party turned to go towards the door, they saw Namfoodle appear from the stairway behind them. He had a change of heart and instead of running back to Red Larch because he was so frightened about the prayer he had uttered to Yan-C-Bin, he decided to shadow the party and face his fears. Tornade asked if he could go through the doorway to scout ahead, and kind of pushed Foo forward. Foo stumbled into the room and found that it was a fortified corridor with walls that had arrow slits in them. Behind the arrow slits he could hear the voices of the tormented souls begging for mercy. He looked into one of the arrow slits and could not see much so he reported back and then Hundar went forward to look. Together they all pushed into the corridor and found that the creatures on the other side of the walls (on both sides) were making the horrible sounds. Hundar thought he heard the sound of bird like claws scraping on the ground too. Quickly, Hundar moved to the far door and Foo rushed up to inspect it; finding no traps, he was amazed that it wasn’t even locked. Hundar pushed the door open easily and the party found themselves in a small ally way with another building to the left and a door only 10’ ahead on the left.

Before they could devise a plan, Hundar pushed that door open and in this great room there were 6 men, 5 in feathered cloaks all playing bone flutes and the 6th man dressed in elegant black vest and purple frilled clothes, donning a flamboyant performer’s hat. The 6th man was conducting the others and when the group barged in, he started talking with them. Pate quickly recognized that this was a fellow bard, and Tornade recognized that this was Windharrow, the one who his clan suspected of being involved with the theft of his clan’s totem horn. While they spoke, Windharrow asked if any of them could play a musical instrument. Pate jumped at the chance, and so did Foo (who could play the harmonica, not as well as Pate, but not to shabby). They impressed Windharrow so the musician asked if they wanted to play for the Queen. Pate was totally down with that. As Windharrow asked two of his musicians to give up their feathered cloaks so that Pate and Foo could wear them, Tornade revealed that he knew of Windharrow. This amused and delighted Windharrow so the two discussed more as Windharrow escorted the party though the alley ways toward the central pyramid.

As they passed three columns, the group saw that there were thee initiates, skeletally thin, nearly dead chained one to each column. When Tornade asked if those were people who displeased Queen Aerisi, Windharrow laughed. He said, “No..no..no…, these idiots are trying to please the Queen. They feel that if they can go without food and water for long enough, they will feel the strength of Yan-C-Bin.” It was clear that Windharrow did not seem to share their beliefs.

When the group got nearer to the pyramid, Windharrow stopped, looked up to the top of the structure and then waved at a figure atop a small dragon-like creature perched at the top. Then Windharrow took them to the front of the pyramid, near the moat and cascading waterfall and he opened the double doors to go inside. All this time, Tornade was able to get Windharrow to talk about his relationship with the air cultists. He said he was just a hired hand. This arrangement was just a way for him to make money and advance himself in the world. He trafficked in lore and knowledge and for that the Queen treated him well. In fact, he was able to find out where a magical horn was being held (one of the Air Genasi clans) and he reported about that to Aerisi. This information was what Tornade was digging for, so now, if what Windharrow said was true, he knew that although Windharrow had a hand in the theft, he may not have been the thief. Windharrow even told the group, they would be able to see the horn in a few moments.

Inside the pyramid the party saw a number of initiates levitating and praying. Windharrow led the group to the back and up a stone stairway into the throne room. This room had a map etched into the ground before a throne bedecked dias. Behind the dias, in a small alcove, Tornade saw the horn. On the throne they all saw Aerisi, a beautiful Elven lady dressed in fine linen, holding an exquisite spear. She also had a pair of wings coming out from behind her back which was something none of the adventurers had ever seen before, Elves with wings. There were also 10 initiates writhing on the floor, seemingly drugged and in prayer. Windharrow moved toward the throne through the praying initiates. He told her that he may have found a few excellent musicians for his band. The queen welcomed them and started speaking with Pate. Pate was charming. In fact, his glib tongue held Aerisi enthralled. Then he and Foo played some music for her and she was impressed even more.

Continuing to charm her, Pate went on and on and suggested that the Queen take him as her personal musician and instruct him about the Air Cult and Yan-C-Bin. While this was happening, Tornade slowly moved behind some columns and curtains to casually walk closer to the horn. Foo remained at the foot of the dias stairs, as Pate walked closer and closer to Aerisi. Hundar, disgusted by it all, stood back by the stairway keeping an eye on the whole affair. When Pate got up next to Aerisi, he noticed that her eyes had looked towards Tornade so he tried to distract her more. He reached out to brush her cheek with his finger, but as he reached out, he slipped a little and brushed against her wing. His hand passed through the wing (indicating that they were merely illusionary) and he was then able to touch the Queen’s face. The queen, flattered by this charismatic man, didn’t notice anything amiss, and this gave Tornade the chance to shift even closer to the horn.

The queen told Pate that she would seriously consider taking him as her own personal musician, with a wink, if he could prove himself worthy. She told Pate and the others about the Earth Cult and the Water Cult and remarked, “they are the truly evil ones. If you could disrupt either one of them and cause chaos amongst their ranks, I would regale you all.” She also noticed that Hundar was wearing the battered armor of an Earth Cultist, but said, “that’s fine. It means that one more Black Earth Cultist was probably dead.” Pate accepted Aerisi’s charge and bounded down to and then down the stairway they had come up. The others remained in the room. Windharrow shifted a little to watch what was happening, an amused smile on his face.

That’s when Tornade accused Aerisi of stealing the horn from his clan. He took the horn, and immediately Aerisi’s countenance changed. She demanded that he put it back, and then she commanded her initiates to get the horn and get those betrayers. As everyone started to move, Tornade could sense some unseen windy force near Aerisi. It moved and he suspected that it was some form of elemental. Tornade tried to run from the room with the horn, but he was blocked by some of the initiates. Hundar drew his axe and cut into one cutting it down in one blow. Foo stabbed at another, killing it as well. All this time, Windharrow just watched as if deciding what to do or which side to fight for. The Queen, chanted and moved her hands to cast a spell and then she disappeared as the others fought with the remaining initiates. Pate could hear the din of battle so he reluctantly came back up. Hundar, who had run from one initiate to another, then felt the slam of a damaging force of wind. Even with his toughness he knew that whatever hit him could pack a punch, but he could not see a thing. When Pate came up the stairs he ran toward an initiate and he too took a blow from the unseen threat. While the group fought, Windharrow said, “I think we should take this opportunity to leave, my Queen.” And then he chanted quickly and a magical portal appeared behind him. He stepped into it as he and the portal itself both winked out of existence.

The party fought the remaining initiates and soon they realized that the unseen creature was an invisible stalker. The stalker pummeled Pate, and knocked him down unconscious. An initiate tore the horn from Tornade’s hands and tried to run back to the throne, but Foo stabbed him dead as the horn clattered to the floor. A number of initiates tried to get the horn, but Foo jumped on top of it and held it fast. Hundar attacked the invisible creature, and although it was hard to target, he still could hit it with his axe. Unfortunately, he did not feel the satisfying gashes that he was used to delivering, and there was no blood. Tornade moved over to bandage Pate and stabilize his wounds. Then Tornade took out 3 of the initiates with a thunderwave, and the others tried to get the horn from Foo. Foo was able to kick the horn back to Tornade, and then after Tornade picked it up, Foo made an illusionary horn appear on the throne. The remaining initiates saw that and ran towards it. Then, Foo made the illusionary horn appear near one of the stairways on the other side of the room. The initiates ran for it and one eventually got to it and found that it was not real at all. Then they came for Foo. Foo took a few hits, but Tornade was able to blow the others off of Foo, protecting Foo from his thunderwave by using his sorcery. Hundar took a few hits from the invisible stalker and had to take second wind, although he was able to hit the invisible creature a few more times.

At one point, Foo used a flask of oil to spray burning oil onto the invisible stalker. The flames hit it and they burned for a few seconds, enough for the others to see the stalker more clearly and hit it with axe, fire bolt. The invisible stalker moved away from Hundar, and then they could not find it again, until it grabbed the horn from Tornade, who let the creature take it so that they could see where it was. At this point, Hundar grappled with the invisible stalker so that it could not move, and then he brought it to the ground. With a few more spells, axe attacks and a sneak attack or two from Foo’s magical dagger, it was clear that the stalker was getting weaker. But then it was able to break away from Hundar and strike Tornade a deadly blow.

Hundar and Foo killed the invisible stalker soon enough, and they secured the horn and stabilized Tornade. The throne room was quiet now, and it seemed as if Aerisi and Windharrow had escaped. With both Pate and Tornade unconscious, Foo set up some traps at the stairways and then searched the throne dias and found a hidden cache (a scroll of alter self, a scroll of fireball and an jar of oinment). Needing to get Pate and Tornade back on their feet, he opened the ointment jar not even knowing what it would do and smeared the ointment on Pate. To everyone’s delight some of Pate's wounds started to heal and he was revived from unconsciousness. Then Foo applied some to Tornade and got him back up too. As soon as Tornade got up, he asked for the horn which Hundar gave to him, and Tornade inspected the horn. He told the others that it had great powers, yet his clan had vowed not to use it unless circumstances were dire. He would need much more time to actually find out what it would do if blown, and he felt that he should eventually return it to his clan, unused if possible.

The party was able to rest for about an hour, but they were still in the throne room. With only 1 more use of the ointment, Foo pocketed it for later. The group gave Tornade the horn and the scroll of Fireball, and Pate took the scroll of alter self). Luckily no air cultists came up the stairways yet, but the party had no way of knowing what was happening in the room below them or anywhere else in the city now that Aerisi and Windharrow had escaped.

Comments

Wow…the group did some terrific roleplaying to persuade and keep from fighting until Tornade grabbed the horn. Pate got so lucky with his rolls when he was speaking with Aerisi; he never even brought out the forged note…he actually crumpled it up and just kept on going with his persuasive speech. The idea for the stolen horn is a modification to the adventure I made. I used the horn story as a hook for Tornade’s character.

I was really worried that there would be a TPK since the PCs are only 4th level (Tornade is only 3rd level), but smart play kept them alive. Aerisi and Windharrow’s escape were also part of the plan so that the party would not have to face too many powerful foes against them…although, depending on how the party did, many things could have happened with either of those two NPCs. Also, if anyone was able to blow the horn, there could have been even more mayhem, but I’m not going to write about that here because I don’t want my players to know more about that.

This was about a 3 hour session.
 
Last edited:

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 13 – Escape from the Air Cult

After Zeed, the Aarakocra, saw that Namfoo, the Gnome, had doubled back to go towards Knifepoint Gully, he flew overhead and shadowed the little Gnome. Losing Foo for a bit, Zeed decided to just fly toward the gully and wait. Eventually, he saw that only one robed guard was at the opening to the cave that the others had gone to so he swooped down and fired his bow in a devastating sneak attack. The Hurricane was hurt, but not killed, and with that the monk waved his hands and sent a jet of air at the flying Aarakocra. Zeed was pushed back and momentarily lost his balance, tumbling into the trees about 60’ away. Taking to the ground, Zeed hid and snuck through the trees to get a vantage point. He fired one more arrow and this one killed the Hurricane. Then Zeed stepped into the cave opening and descended the stone stair tunnel deeper and deeper under the hills.

Meanwhile, in Queen Aerisi’s throne room, Hundar, Pate and Tornade took a rest and recovered somewhat from their recent fight. They knew there were other foes below in the great hall, but none of them came up to get them. Then, when they did go down the stairway into the great hall, they saw four initiates blocking the east and west set of doors. Hundar ran down and then the party heard the sound of clapping. Windharrow stepped out from behind a column and told the group that it was about time. He told them to give the horn back. “The queen was quite perturbed, but she did like Pate so much. If you give back the horn, you can go. No problems.” Tornade did not like that. He refused to give up his clan’s totem that was stolen by the Air cult. Windharrow seemed a little frustrated. He told them that he could help them. He did not share the cult’s ideological perspectives. He was just in it for the money and a chance to raise his status. “Surely, the horn cannot be worth that much to you.”

The party engaged with the initiates at the east door as Hundar rushed straight at Windharrow. He struck Windharrow with his greataxe doing severe damage which surprised Windharrow greatly. Windharow again told them to stop. “I can help you. Don’t be foolish.” Then Foo hacked down one of the initiates, and Tornade hurt the remaining ones with a thunderwave. Two other foes joined the battle, a Hurricane and a Skyrider. The Hurricane thunderwaved all of the party, but they luckily avoided the brunt of it. The Skyrider tried to hit Hundar, the Half-Orc, with a witchbolt, but it did not take hold. Windharrow stepped back avoiding Hundar’s deadly axe. That gave Hundar a chance to cut down another initiate, and Foo took out another creating an open path out the east door. He looked out that door and was scared to death. He saw a rider perched atop a wyvern only 10’ from the door. Quickly he went back inside and closed the door telling the others that they needed to go out the other door.

Windharrow started to whisper something that the others could not make out and at the same time there was a knock at the west door. One of the initiates opened the door to see what it was and was stabbed by Zeed, who had just arrived. Zeed spent some time fighting the initiates at that door while the others parlayed with Windharrow. As they spoke, the Skyrider moved over and lined both Hundar and Foo up for a lightning bolt that streaked out and grazed them both. Hundar caught his second wind and hacked at the Hurricane that was close to him while Foo attacked that foe as well with rapier and magical dagger. Soon that foe went down.

Then, the party saw Queen Aerisi rise from the opening in the ground. She was angry. She pointed a finger at Hundar and asked where the horn was. (At this point, Tornade had the horn and was hiding behind the stairway). She gave them one more chance to give up the horn and then she blasted Hundar with another lightning bolt. Tornade could sense that now they were out gunned and chances of escape were low. In desperation he blew the horn. Immediately, a Djinni formed right next to Tornade. It spoke to Tornade saying, “I am Yarno and for you, who called me forth, I shall perform one task. Command me as you see fit.” Tornade first asked for the Djnni to get him and his friends back to Red Larch expecting a wish to be granted. Yarno said that he could lead them out and protect them all until they got to the town. Then he said, “follow me.” With that, the Djinni moved toward the Queen, but first he hacked down the Skyrider with his vicious scimitar attacks.

As the group made their way toward the west doors, Windharrow used his dimensional door to escape yet again. The Queen was upset and yelled, “if you run again, Windharrow, you had better not come back here ever again.” Meanwhile, Hundar rushed the Queen and grappled her. Her frail body was no match for the burley Half-Orc. Using extra effort, he threw her to the ground and pinned her. That’s when Tornade spoke with her and got her to have her minions stand down.

Before they exited, Hundar and Pate tied Aerisi’s hands behind her back. Then Hundar snatched the spear from her hands and tossed it over to Tornade. Aerisi cursed and wailed. She called for help and commanded her initiates to get the Half-Orc off of her. Pate made a smart remark about having some fun tying the Queen up, and kind of wished he were the one on top of the queen. One initiate attacked Hundar, but missed. Then another grabbed the queen and pulled her from under Hundar. That’s when Hundar stepped up and hacked the initiate to pieces. Before the queen could get out of her bonds, Hundar smashed her a number of times on the head and knocked her unconscious. Then he lifted her over his shoulder and they all left with Yarno the Djinni leading the way.

The group took a few days to get back to Red Larch and when they arrived they met up with Tury and Kippipop. Yarno, having fulfilled his duty, bowed to Tornade and the others and turned to smoke. Tornade checked to make sure the horn was still ok, and it was. Then the group went into the Swinging Sword Inn to see Kaylessa again and get a few rooms to rest in.

That night, Pate and Tornade studied the items that Aerisi had. Her jewelry alone would net them 8,000 gp, but the spear was the prize. Windvane, an elemental weapon, had great power. Pate used his identify spell to understand how this weapon would function. It would need to be attuned and was a fine weapon that did additional electrical damage, but it could also be used to dominate an air elemental if one were encountered and it would afford lightning resistance and fluency with Auran language. Because it was powerful and contained a spark of Yan-C-Bin, it had the potential to taint one’s personality if attuned, making the wielder more mercurial and unreliable.

Comments

I’m so glad that Tornade blew the horn. If he didn’t do that, Aerisi would have used her chain lightning spell and her cloud kill spell to destroy the party.

Hundar’s grapple also prevented her from casting. It was her arrogance that did her in. She thought that a few lightning bolts could do the job, so she didn’t even think about using her 4th and 5th level spells.

I never expected the PCs to get out without blowing the horn…and they most likely would not have made it otherwise.

I didn’t expect Hundar to take Aerisi with them. That’s interesting.

Well, now the PCs know that there are a number of cults at work. The water cult at Rivergard and the earth cult at the monastery…both rivals to the air cult and according to Aerisi “even greater evil.”

I awarded the group nearly 8,000 xp. That was enough for Hundar and Tornade to level up.
Not a bad few days for the party.

This was a 2 ½ hour session.
 
Last edited:

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 14 – Time with Aerisi, the Refugees and Mayhem at Goldenfields

The party secured their rooms at the Swinging Sword Inn and took their bound captive, Queen Aerisi up to their rooms. They slept the night and in the morning while the others were in the other room, Pate spent some time with Aerisi, alone. He spoke with her and eventually ungagged her. She told him that she had to get back; her cult needed her. Pate promised to untie her for a kiss and she gladly gave him one. That’s when Tornade and Hundar burst into the room, catching Pate and Aerisi in an embrace. Tornade took over the interrogation and found out that the other elements were all working to call forth their gods into Faerun. Aerisi was worried that one of the others would succeed before she could summon Yan-C-Bin. The party found out that the cults have been working together for years, but recently they have become more and more competitive. Aerisi told the party about the prophets and how they could use the elemental nodes, and the Fane of the Eye. She even told them the names of the prophets for each element: Marlos Urnrayle (Black Earth Cult); Gar Shatterkeel (Crushing Wave Cult); Vanifer (Eternal Flame Cult). They were also able to figure out through their own knowledge that the evil god of water was named Olhydra and the evil god of earth was named Ogremoch. They did not know of the fire god though.

As they were speaking with Aerisi, they heard some commotion from outside in Red Larch. The party had Turytopple and Kippipop stay with the bound Aerisi to watch over her while they all went out to see what was happening. Hundar was the first to get into the streets. He saw a large group of men, women and children, all dirty and wet lumber into town from the south road. Pate and Hundar, with Tornade and Zeed also saw that Constable Harburk was speaking with the crowd who turned out to be refugees from Goldenfields. The constable saw the party and told them of this horror and one of the refugees added more detail. Just a few days ago, there was a horrible explosion and then a day of rain, as the river itself flooded and wiped out many farms and homes in the Goldenfields area. Many of the citizens perished; others fled to neighboring towns. Still others went to the temple of Goldenfields to seek safety. The refugees mentioned that both Abbot Ellardin Darovik and a brave man named Bethard were among some who stayed behind to help with their families and others in need. The refugees said that prior to the explosion, Bethard saw some men carry a box from the river, and the explosion seemed to issue forth from where they took the box some ¼ mile inland toward the temple itself. They asked the constable and the party for help. There were still many people back in Goldenfields that were in danger. Perhaps a rescue party could find out more from the Abbott and Bethard, if they were still alive.

Foo bought some arrows before leaving. Hundar sold the scraps of the damaged Black Earth Cultist Plate Armor that he wore until it fell off his body. Tornade and Pate spoke with Kaylessa to find the best place to keep Aerisi in some comfortable, yet secure location. Tornade gave Kaylessa 25 gp and Kaylessa cleaned up her basement, moving a bed, a chest of drawers, and a rug into it to make it more like a dwelling, and Turytopple and Kippipop agreed to guard and entertain Queen Aerisi. Before leaving, Tornade told Aerisi about the explosion in Goldenfields, the rain and the floods, and she told them that it was most likely the Crushing Wave Cult flexing its muscles. She explained that the prophets of each cult could use their respective elemental nodes to create a weapon of mass destruction, a Devastation Orb that could unleash horrible elemental power. It was only a matter of time until one of the cults used one.

Preparations made, the group traveled south east along the Cairn Road. They made it to the Bargewright Inn just after mid-day and ate before hugging the river past Womford towards Goldenfields. There was no sign of flood or devastation until they got within 2 miles of Goldenfields. As night was falling, they started tromping through shin high water and muddy ground. The road they were following was obscured by the water and the rising water made travel more difficulty. Then when they saw the Temple wall and front gate they also saw some figures off to the side of the road. These warriors had shields and sharktoothed longswords. Hundar went up to them and tried to speak, but they were all defensive and almost immediately attacked. At that point, the party could notice that their shields were adorned with shell patterns. Hundar could also see something swimming in the water around the feet of the warriors, but he could not tell what it was.

Pate played his lute and dazzled the warriors with a hypnotic pattern, transfixing 4 out of 5 of them. Then, the creature swimming in the water serpentined its way to Pate and lurched from the water to constrict Pate. This watery serpent succeeded in wrapping Pate up, but Pate maintained his concentration and kept the others transfixed. Hundar, Zeed, Tornade and Foo were able to protect their bard, and soon they hacked the watery creature from his grappled body. In turn they took care of the other warriors, suffering only slight wounds in the process.

After that, Zeed flew over the Temple wall to see no living creature within the inner courtyard. The temple itself seemed shut tight, even the windows were shuttered closed. He flew back to report and the rest of the party walked to the temple wall gate. Hundar tried to bash the heavy doors open, but they would not budge. Zeed saw that there was a crossbar that held them shut from the other side, so he flew over the wall again and opened the doors from the other side.

At the temple door, Hundar knocked again, but could not gain entrance. Then a voice from within asked who they were and what was happening. When they identified themselves and told about the Crushing Wave Cultists they had just defeated, the door opened. Inside, the party saw a grand stone cathedral with arching ceilings 80’ tall. They met with Abbot Ellardin, and saw that the cathedral itself was packed with refugees. The Abbot told the party that he feared most for the farms and home near the river to the east. Many of the citizens were either killed already or they would die soon if they could not be helped. Pate inspired his group and led the charge to the riverside.

As the group entered a flooded farmstead, they saw two bandits outside one of the main homes. They also heard, shouting and crying from inside the house. “Get away from her.” Then screams and cries. The party jumped into action with Hundar charging ahead. The watery ground made movement more difficult, but the group moved up into position as the bandits fired crossbows at Hundar. As the fight started, one of the bandits shouted out to alert others. Eventually, another bandit came out of the house holding a little boy in one of his arms. He told the party to drop their weapons or he’d kill the boy. Pate spoke soothing words and with a few notes held the bandit in his place, paralyzed. Zeed flew up to the rooftops, hid himself well and then fired a deadly arrow killing the paralyzed bandit. Hundar engaged the other and Foo jumped up on a fence to get out of the water. Then he balanced himself on the rail and ran to jump down next to Hundar. While they fought the bandits, two Crushing Wave Reavers came running from the south house to join the fray. Another bandit came out of the rear home, dragging a women with him. Pate, feeling the urge to help a woman, jumped over a well in the center of the yard and landed next to the bandit that held the woman hostage. He skewered the bandit with rapier and dagger, dropping him before he could harm the woman. Then a priest of the Crashing Waves stepped from the house and fired bolts of magic at Hundar, hitting him 3 times in succession. Hundar took his second wind and then stabbed at some of the foes with Windvane, the spear he had recently attuned. The sharp spear impaled and electrocuted a few of the foes.

The priest who could harness arcane power that injured unerringly, was a threat that had to be dealt with. Tornade enchanted one of the reavers, a crown of madness adorning his head. Tornade commanded the reaver to attack the priest so he threw a javelin, but missed. Meanwhile, Foo and Zeed were able to line up the priest for some deadly attacks, both executing sneak attacks that damaged the priest badly. Foo striking the foe down.

At this point, the son had run away to the side of the building and the woman went over to protect him. She asked Pate to save her husband inside the home. Pate, disappointed that she had a husband, still acted valiantly and rushed into the home while the others took care of the foes outside. The enchanted reaver disengaged and ran toward the south home. Eventually he went inside the door and closed it. Zeed gave chase and entered after him to see the reaver, and only the reaver, in the hall. They fought. Foo climbed on another fence again and was able to get inside the door to hack down the reaver before it could do too much damage.

Inside the rear house, Pate saw two more Crushing Wave Reavers inside with an unconscious man in the corner of the one room home. Pate held one of them with his magic as the other engaged him in combat. Tornade and Hunder also ran into the home and soon they all took care of the foes and were able to rescue the man. Pate carried the man out to the woman and child and then when she asked for help, Pate used his healing magic to bring the man to consciousness. When the fighting was over, the family invited the party to stay with them and rest. They also scrounged about 43 gp from the cultists and Zeed collected 4 sharktooth longswords.

After talking with the man, they found out that he was Bethard. He had seen a raft with a number of men on it float down the river prior to the great calamity. He told the party, “I will never forget what I saw. One man, of bluish tint, encrusted in barnacles with a claw for a left hand, wielding a trident in his right, led the others. When they disembarked, the others carried a box inland a little as he followed. Then, they opened the box and pulled out an orb. The explosion brought great rain and floods. The river itself swelled and he did all he could to get back to his family and protect them. They were lucky, yet others were not so lucky. As he returned to the river, he said he saw the barnacle encrusted leader, Gar Shatterkeel, jump off the raft and swim back upstream.

After hearing about Gar Shatterkeel, Hundar had a flashback. He remembered that the ship he sailed upon when he was younger was attacked and sunk by the same barnacle encrusted man, Gar Shatterkeel.

End of Session

Comments

Lots of roleplay and good story development. When the group has 5 PCs encounters are so much easier. Double rogues give them vicious striking power, and now that Hundar has attuned himself to Windvane (and he has 2 attacks a round as a 5th level fighter) he is a force.

I added this entire part to the module to develop the story further and give the PCs more to fight for.

Princes of the Apocalypse is a great backdrop for a sandbox, but because it is so huge and sprawling, it seems like the DM has to add stuff in to weave the threads throughout the campaign. I’m enjoying that. As such, I’m throwing out hooks but trying to let the players decide what to do and where to go.

This session was about 2 ½ hours of gaming. Each PC gained 560 xp.
 
Last edited:

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 15 – Travel Upriver, Getting Into Rivergard Keep and A Noisy Battle.

The party spent the night at Bethard’s farm near Goldenfields. When they woke up, they had breakfast and decided to head up river to see if they could find traces of the Crushing Wave cultists who had just attacked Goldenfields. On their journey, they stopped at the Bargewright Inn. The establishment was moderately busy. While ordering food and drink, the adventurers asked around to try to find out more about the Crushing Wave cultists. Pate found that one man told of pirates and traders along the river, but that was all they had noticed lately.

The adventurers departed the inn and made their way up the river while Zeed, the Aarakocra, decided to fly over the river to Womford to try to sell the swords he took from the last group of cultists they encountered. Zeed found a merchant who dealt with a variety of goods and saw a light crossbow and bolts that he wanted. He sold the merchant the swords and added a mere 16 gp to pick up the crossbow and the bolts. Then he flew up river to find his friends.

Meanwhile the others saw a boat on the river about 400 yards ahead of them. The boat was manned by 4 men rowing and two others. They looked like non-descript commoners or merchants straining to make time against the current as they rowed upstream. Foo crept up stealthily to scout and see if he could find out more about this boat. From the distance, he could not see much more so the group decided to hail them. Tornade stepped close to the river bank and shouted out for help. He told the man that they were chasing some men who did horrible things to Hundar’s sister. Hundar was a bit confused about this considering he had no sister, but then he realized that Tornade was just making up a story. One of the men on the boat spoke back and told Tornade that they had to make time and get to the keep before nightfall. He pretty much dismissed Tornade. Then Pate ran ahead and got even closer to the boat by standing out on a small land outcropping. His persuasiveness made the man reconsider. The man told them that his name was Shoalar. He needed to get to the keep faster so he agreed to let the party on board if 2 of them would pick up oars and row with his men. Pate volunteered and the party climbed aboard. Zeed, flying overhead finally found his friends and circled above.

As the group rowed up river, they spoke with the men. Shoalar was a merchant, or so he said. The other guy on the boat seemed to be a lightly armored warrior named Pike. The group learned that Shoalar did business with a guy nicknamed “Jolly” inside Rivergard Keep. He told them that it was funny because Jolly was not a very Jolly fella, but he did pay them for goods so they didn’t mind.

While Hundar and Foo rowed (since they were the strongest of the group), they both caught glimpses of pendants that hung from around all of the mens’ necks although they were tucked under the cloaks and hard to see. After about an hour, Hundar unwrapped Windvane so that the men could see it. This made their eyes gleam with greed. Pike got frustrated and said to Shoalar, “Let’s just take them.” That’s when all of the men drew their weapons and began their attack. Luckily, the party was suspicious so they were not surprised.

The battle against these men was quick since the group focused on taking down Pike and Shoalar first. Taking only minimal wounds, Hundar, Pate, Tornade, Foo and Zeed took out the leaders and Hundar told the others that the ship belonged to them now. The other men dropped their weapons and surrendered easily. Then the party opened a trunk to find a river chart, a potion, three small malachites, and three Dwarvish tomes. They also found 13 gp which they decided to give to the crew members for their help.

Before getting too close to Rivergard Keep, the party stripped Shoalar and Pike of their necklaces and other items, and ditched their bodies in the river. Then they saw that those necklaces each had the symbol of the Crushing Wave cult inscribed on them. That’s when Foo remembered a map they found about 3 weeks ago before they even came to Red Larch. The map showed the location of Rivergard Keep and it had the same Crushing Wave cult symbol on it. It also said, “Grimjaw pays well” written on it.

The crew members, fearful for their own lives, offered to give the adventurers their clothing and their necklaces so that the party could impersonate them and get into Rivergard Keep. They gave Pate and Tornade the procedure for arrival at the keep, and just at nightfall, they arrived. When the party did what the crew members said, show the pendants and wave their hands like waves on the water, a guard signaled to the near tower. Then the gate opened and they could row into a small harbor within the keep walls.

Inside, they saw a landing and a loading dock on the east, and a gated riverway that went into a 20’ tall bank of land directly to the north. There was also another boat already at the loading dock to the west, so they had to row to the landing to wait for it to leave. On the other boat were three other men all unloading boxes and crates. After about an hour, one of the men on the boat looked over at the adventurers and he could tell that they were imposters since he was the bandit chief. The bandits and their chief fired crossbows at Tornade and injured him. Then, Hundar told his crew members to row their boat close to the other boat. Zeed took to the air and attacked, while Foo fired his shortbow and hid. Pate viciously mocked the bandit chief to no avail. (He had heard worse by far). When the boats were adjacent, Hundar jumped onto the other boat and attacked, but not before the bandit chief slashed Tornade with his scimitar. While the party was engaged on the boat, the lone guard on the wall signaled to the tower and the gate closed. Now the boats were trapped inside the keep.

As the party fought, the noise alerted others inside the tower and they started out. There were a number of Crushing Wave Cultists along with a priest and a blue skinned fathomer who hexed Hundar and damaged him with an eldritch blast. Hundar leaped across the boats to athletically land on the west side where the landing was, closer to the foes coming from the tower. Then the priest fired magic missiles at Hundar riddling him with small wounds that he could not resist with his toughness. Tornade seeing that the priest might be trouble, enchanted him with a crown of madness and made him attack one of the cultists. Foo, Zeed and Pate took care of the bandit chief. Tornade stepped up to the two bandit foes and thunderwaved them off the ship, dead as they splattered against the dock, while Hundar stood alone versus the cultists, the priest and the fathomer. Tornade was also able to continue to concentrate on the crown of madness which kept the priest a little occupied.

Soon after another magic missile barrage, this time hitting Pate as he neared the edge of the near boat, the group saw another few cultists running down stairs toward Hundar, and another priest at the top of the stairs. This one conjured a sleet storm directly over all of the boats making it impossible for those on the boat to see. The ice on the ground also made the area treacherous. Tornade and Zeed both slipped and fell as they tried to get out of the storm. Tornade ran up to the wall eventually and decided he’d try to run up the stairs to the north and work his way around. Zeed flew up and out of the storm and was able to see the others outside. Foo tried to jump off the boat to the smaller one docked at the landing, but he slipped and fell into the water. Pate was able to jump off of his boat and land on the smaller one by the landing, then emerge from the storm.

Hundar took a few hits from the cultists and then the new priest held him with a spell. This was a frightening moment. Pate was able to make the fathomer laugh uncontrollably for a number of rounds which kept Hundar safer than he would have been and the others attacked to try to bring down the cultists and the priests. Tornade ran around, but still had quite a ways to go. Zeed downed the initial priest with help from Pate and Foo, who had swum from the water to the landing. Hundar broke the hold before he could suffer too badly and then he stabled and killed two of the cultists using Windvane.

Seeing that his forces were in trouble, the priest at the top of the steps dispatched his initial sleet storm and created a new one on the land that engulfed Hundar, Pate, Foo and Zeed. Then he ran up the steps toward one of the buildings of the keep. Tornade had made it around by then so he stood between the priest and the buildings. He lobbed a lightning orb at the priest and did some damage, but the priest kept on coming. The priest peppered Tornade with magic missiles nearly downing the Air Genasi sorcerer, but Tornade was able to lob another orb which hurt the priest badly.

After Hundar killed the fathomer who was still laughing on the ground, he ran out of the sleet storm after the priest. Meanwhile, the sleet storm dissipated after the priest took damage from Tornade’s spells. Zeed, Pate and Foo finished off the other cultists. Zeed went over to the tower door and looked inside. Inside he saw a windlass that controlled the river gate, and a few beds and curtains with an area hidden behind. He crept behind the curtains to see a private resting area with bed and chest.

At the same time, Foo and Pate ran up the stairs to get closer to Hundar and Tornade. Just when it seemed as if the priest would escape, casting blur upon himself and running to a door of a nearby building, Hundar stabbed him in the back, and killed him. Unfortunately, Hundar yelled bloody murder as he did it so he could hear a commotion inside the building directly ahead.

That’s where we ended. Cliffhanger.

Each PC got 700 xp. It seems like the noise has now alerted at least one more room full of cultists. Tornade is pretty hurt, down to 5 hp, and Pate is also pretty hurt at 18 hp. Hundar is at 25 hp and has used his second wind and his action surge. Foo and Zeed are unharmed as of yet, but Zeed is in the tower now just about ready to open the chest he found.

This combat encounter is now in its 9th round, and more cultists are on their way.

Good stuff.

This session was about 3 hours.
 
Last edited:

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 16 – Fighting inside Rivergard Keep, Encountering Grimjaw

The party was mid battle inside Rivergard Keep. The sounds of battle, and Hundar’s war cry, seemed to alert more of the cultists inside a building to the north. Before they entered the courtyard, the group gathered and Pate was able to cast a cure spell upon Tornade, who had nearly fallen. Foo scurried up to the northern building to listen and hide while Hundar rushed up to the door of the northern building and waited for a foe to appear with Windvane in hand. The others took defensive positions about 20’ from the door. Meanwhile, Zeed was still checking out the tower way to the south, so he wasn’t even with the others at this point.

A few cultists burst out from the northern building, but a number of bandits (8 in total) came from a building just south of where the party was positioned. The battle was fierce. Tornade killed a number of bandits with a thunderwave. Hundar wielded Windvane with reckless abandon, Pate granted inspiration and stabbed a few of the bandits with his rapier and dagger. Foo sneak attacked a number of foes as well. Eventually, a few other Crushing Wave Reavers joined the battle and Tornade was hit with a number of crossbow bolts and he went down. At this point, Zeed had returned from the tower and flew behind one of the reavers, delivering a savage rapier thrust, but it did not kill the foe. Pate also took a few hits and so did Foo and Hundar.

The adventurers were able to thin the ranks a little when a priest named, Drossin came out from the chapel to the north. She unloaded five magic missiles into Foo, who nearly dropped to the ground, but managed to keep his feet. Hundar, switching foes, ran at Drossin and got her attention. Then, Pate took out a wand of magic missile that he had found previously and unloaded six missiles on Drossin, taking her down. Miraculously, Tornade regained consciousness and stumbled away from danger for a while. Foo backed off and hid while Zeed and Hundar took down a few more foes. Pate was eventually able to get near Tornade to cast another healing spell. But, before the adventurers could defeat a few of the reavers that were left, a fathomer by the name of Urshnora turned visible, hexed Foo and fired an eldritch bolt that damaged him pretty badly. Then another reaver, and a large, hairy man with a maul came out of another building to the north. The large man told the party to surrender and throw down their arms, but the adventurers did not. It seemed that this was “Jolly” Grimjaw and he looked like a powerful foe.

Facing 6 foes, Pate sang and played his lute once more and a hypnotic pattern held 5 of them transfixed. This turned the tides of battle. The adventurers attacked the remaining bandit and then coordinated their attacks to take out one transfixed foe at a time. Eventually, “Jolly” was the only one left. Hundar stabbed him with Windvane, hitting twice, but the big lug didn’t go down. Then, Zeed lined up a shot from his crossbow, aiming to do sneak attack damage, but the bolt just bounced off of Grimjaw’s body unnaturally. Tornade hit Jolly with a fire bolt; then Foo jabbed with his rapier and it too could not break Grimjaw’s skin, but his secondary attack with his magical dagger, Razur, hit the mark and he was able to open a serious wound. This made Grimjaw howl, and as the party watched, his head transformed into the head of a boar with nasty tusks and all. Grimjaw slashed at Hundar and opened a gash on Hundar’s right arm. Sensing the danger, Pate tried his magic once again, holding Grimjaw in place with a song. Before Grimjaw could do much more, the others were able to take him down.

Foo led the way into the building to the northwest in which he found a great hall with a banquet table, a desk and chair. There were two other doors to the west and two stairways that went up to a stone balcony above. The group shut themselves inside and caught their breaths for a very short time. Foo investigated the doors to the west and found that the south one was stuck or locked, but the north one was not. At that point, Hundar convinced Foo to give up the magical healing ointment that Foo was carrying. Hundar spread the remaining dose of it on his wounds, and felt a bit better than he did just a few moments ago. After that, Foo opened the north door and saw a kitchen with five servants hiding in a corner, fish, meat and cheese hanging from the ceiling and pots simmering on two hearths. He realized that the commoners were not a threat and he calmed them. Later, when Tornade came into the kitchen, Foo slipped out stealthfully, and the servants asked if the adventurers had killed Jolly and the others. When Tornade told them that they had, the servants asked if they could be freed. They just worked here and they had nothing to do with the cult. They also told Tornade that Jolly’s room was upstairs.

Meanwhile, as Pate announced to the others that he needed to take a rest, they heard footsteps coming down both sets of stairways. Four other Crushing Wave Cultists came down to see what was happening. Pate fabricated a wonderful lie, saying that they were the new mercenaries who were hired for the keep. The cultists believed him, and they all sat down to eat some food and talk with the new mercenaries who were strangely bedaubed in blood and gore. After about 30 minutes, the cultists were getting a little nervous that Grimjaw had not returned so one of them stepped toward the door to go outside. The party tensed up and almost sprung into action to attack, but Pate was able to distract the cultist by speaking about the cultist’s sister. Luckily for Pate, the cultist did have a sister so he stopped to talk with Pate before opening the door to go outside. After a little longer, another cultist got up to go outside, but when he moved away from Hundar, Hundar jabbed him with Windvane. The fight ended pretty soon, with only Hundar taking a little damage from one of the cultist’s scimitars.

After all the carnage, it was about 10 pm. The group rested for a little bit and tended to their wounds. After that, Zeed and Foo stayed in the great hall to eat a little more as Tornade and Hundar went out to investigate Jolliver Grimjaw a bit more. Earlier, Foo had told the others that Grimjaw looked like a wereboar and those gored by one of it’s kind could become cursed with lycanthropy. Hundar was fascinated so he inspected Grimjaw more closely. Tornade also looked the dead brute over and he found that the creature wore a key on a chain around his neck. Pate went out into the yard and casted a detect magic spell as he walked around the dead bodies. Unfortunately, he was unable to detect any magic.

Inside the great hall, as Foo walked near the western wall about 10’ behind the desk and chair, he saw some of the stone wall seemed more like a door than a wall. He pushed on the stone and revealed a secret door that led to a spiral stairway that went down. By this time, Pate had come back in. He decided to go with Foo down the spiral stairway. They both stealthfully descended 20’ into a hidden landing next to an underground river. There were two row boats moored at the landing, and spaces for two others that were not there at this time. The river flowed gently from west to east and it spanned about 40’ of this underground tunnel. Not noticing anything too alarming, Foo and Pate went back up the stairs, but then Foo decided to double back to search the boats. Pate followed.

The two adventurers noticed that the boats had oars in them, but from the landing they could not see if there was anything else under the seats or under the oars inside the boats. They decided to pull the ropes that moored them to drag the boats up onto the stairs of the landing. As soon as they tugged the boats, six ghouls exploded from the water and attacked the two adventurers. They both screamed out for help before Foo was raked badly by one of the ghouls. The gashes seared him with pain, and then he was paralyzed. Pate moved to try to protect him all the while screaming out for help. Another ghoul attacked the paralyzed Foo and would have killed him if not for Pate’s cutting words. Thinking quickly, Pate remembered that he had a scroll of lesser restoration so he broke it out and uttered the incantation, allowing Foo to move once again. Foo stabbed viciously into one of the ghouls, but even with his deadly blows, it would not go down. Pate was attacked a number of times, but luckily he could avoid some of the claws and bites. At this point, most of the ghouls focused on Foo because they had a taste for his blood. Foo managed to survive a number of attacks just as the other party members came down the stairs into the chamber. Tornade unleashed a thunderwave and killed two injured ghouls, injuring a few more. Hundar also entered the battle and took one down. Eventually, the party prevailed, but they were exhausted and very badly hurt.

At this point, the group went up to the main hall, and then up the stone stairways to the second floor where there was a hallway and two doors on the north and south walls of the hallway. Somewhere up here would be Jolliver Grimjaw’s bedroom and perhaps some treasure or more information about the Crushing Wave cult.

That’s where we stopped.


Comments

Pate’s spells worked really well. It is amazing how sometimes a lucky die roll or two can change the game. Pate had been waiting for the right moment to unloose his hypnotic pattern, and he could not have picked a better moment.

It is not clear if Hundar is susceptible to the curse of Lycanthropy. This is a mystery at this point.

These last few sessions have drained the group of many of their resources (I think Pate is out of spells and Tornade has some of his Font of Magic so he can regain 1 first level spell). I’m impressed that they are still alive considering that they drew 2 or 3 encounters out at one time while in the keep.

Each PC gained 1,000 xp for this. Tornade leveled up to 5th so he is now at the same level as the others.

This session took about 3 hours to play.
 
Last edited:

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 17 – Searching Rivergard Keep and the Dark Stream

It was nearly midnight, and the party was exhausted, but before they could rest, they searched the upstairs area in the main house of the keep. Hundar smashed in both a north and south door to reveal a library and a bunk room. Pate and Tornade went into the library and found a number of books on the shelves, a desk, a chair and a chest. Strangely, there was also some water on the floor, which Pate investigated and found it to be river water. Hundar searched the bunk house finding nothing of value, but another door and a window that overlooked the courtyard. Hundar went out the other door and found himself on the wall of the keep while Pate and Tornade found a secret door in the library that led into Jolliver Grimjaw’s room. Foo and Zeed guarded the party’s rear.

As Hundar was outside on the wall, he heard a rhythmic banging of metal on metal coming from the harbor near where they had moored their boat when they arrived. He shouted to the others and ran down to the bluff to look down into the harbor. Pate and Tornade ran after him, with Foo and Zeed right behind them. Hundar could see three reavers on their boat with a strange looking old man with a glittering eye toward the back of the boat. There was also a fathomer on the stairway directing the others. It seemed as if they had moved the boat closer to the grate that blocked the stream that led into the bluff and one of the reavers was smashing at the lock of the grate to try to get it open. Hundar wasted no time and leapt down from the bluff falling 20’ to land on one of the reavers. He fell prone and took some damage, but he also delivered some damage to the reaver. Then he stabbed at the reaver with Windvane, killing it. He also stabbed at another reaver and took it down too, but when he stood and shifted toward the old man with the glittering eye, he felt a cold mist penetrate his body draining some of this health. The shiver also tried to induce fear in Hundar, but Hundar resisted. As the fight went on, the fathomer told the others to get the gate open so they could get to the temple.

The others arrived and Tornade conjured a barrage of minute meteors to hurt both the one-eyed shiver and the fathomer. The fathomer hexed Tornade and hit him with a damaging eldritch blast, causing Tornade to lose his concentration. Pate viciously mocked the shiver while Hundar stabbed at him and hit once. The shiver tried to grasp Hundar by the neck, but Hundar was able to parry his attack. Foo arrived and sneak attacked the remaining reaver, killing him. Zeed hurt the shiver too. Since Tornade was hexed, he backed away from the bluff so that the fathomer could not see him. Pate ran down the stairway and attacked the fathomer with his rapier and dagger hitting with one of the two attacks. Pretty soon, the shiver was dead, but Hundar took a little more cold damage in the process. Hundar also jumped from the boat to engage the fathomer, and when the fathomer turned into a water serpent and dove off the steps toward the water, Hundar speared him in mid-air, piercing and electrocuting him before he hit the water.

Then Hundar went on a wild search of the entire keep. He found only a few commoners who were fleeing the keep. He also found an armory with a number of weapons in it, none notable, a larger barracks with not much of value, a tower that had beds in it and an open empty chest, and a few other unoccupied locations. Pate and the others went back to the main part of the keep to open the chest in the library and also investigate Jolly’s room. The party found gold, electrum and silver along with a few scrolls and a bunch of gems. Pocketing these items they group decided to go down to the boat that was moored at the dock to sleep there for the night. Hundar felt a nostalgic joy being on the water again so he slept quite well.

The adventurers were able to sleep the night without mishap, and when the sun shone brightly the next morning, they took one of the rowboats into the dark stream behind the grate that Tornade found he could open with the key he had found around Grimjaw’s neck. After rowing for about 400’ or 500’ the party came to the underground landing that Foo and Pate had found earlier (where they were surprised by ghouls). There were still two rowboats moored at the landing and the stream continued west into darkness. The party rowed west into the darkness.

After a few hours, the boat was bumped by a large creature that tried to knock the boat over with its strength. Luckily for the adventurers the creature, a chul (a large lobster like creature with tentacles near its hideous mouth), could not tip the boat. It did however grab at both Foo and Zeed with its claws, but both of the rogues managed to duck away in time. The party unloaded on this creature, and before long it died and sunk back into the dark water. Tornade convinced Hundar that if Hundar ate some of the creature, he could turn into a werelobster, so Hundar dove into the water to get some of the dead chul flesh. Tornade dove in after him. While Hundar had to hold his breath and struggle to swim, Tornade could swim without breathing indefinitely so Tornade scouted the area underwater looking for any cave or lair that the chul might have. It seemed as if the chul was just swimming around from the west, so Tornade could not find a lair. Hundar gave up and swam back to the boat.

The group rowed for another 3 or 4 hours, Hundar giving up his oar so that he could rest for an hour. Without Hundar, the group made worse time, and everyone was surprised by three shadows. One attacked and missed Pate, the other two attacked Hundar. One hit and did Hundar some necrotic damage, but worse, drained some of this strength (4 points worth). Fearing further strength drain and damage, the group took to arms. Tornade’s minute meteors killed one of the shadows on Hundar and damaged the other. The rogues killed another and Hundar finished off the last before it could cause any more harm. Hundar caught his second wind, and everyone took a short rest before rowing further. Hundar regained his lost strength too.

After another hour or two, the stream led into a larger cavern area that had some man-made structures in it. There was faint light glowing at regular areas in the ruins of this area, and within moments, Tornade and Pate both realized that they were now back in Tyar-Besil, in the portion of the old Dwarven ruins that the Crushing Wave cult was using as its temple.

Comments

Wow…PCs are much stronger now and the chul which I thought would be pretty dangerous only got one surprise attempt to tip the boat and one attack before the group killed it. The shadows were actually more dangerous than the chul, but still the party handled them.

This was only a 2 hour session (Foo’s player and Zeed’s player did not play so we just used their PCs as tag alongs that attacked when they could).

Total xp 2600 split between the 5 of them.
 
Last edited:

Rhenny

Adventurer
Here are all of the sessions eaten by the lost data -

Session 18 – Into the Crushing Wave Domain

It has been quite a while since we last played, but we were able to play this session for about 4 hours (3 players and 1 extra pc controlled by the group).

The party's row boat continued down the Dark Stream and came to an opening into a larger chamber. Pate realized that this was also part of Tyar-Besil, the part controlled by the Cult of the Crushing Wave. About 100’ ahead, Hundar could make out a landing area with about half a dozen humanoids including reavers, a fathomer and a stately female knight holding a lance.

As the boat got closer, the female knight called out to the group asking them to announce themselves and their purpose. The boat drifted closer and closer as the adventurers decided how to respond. Meanwhile, Pate decided to sing and play a tune for the female knight. His music actually piqued her interest and bought the adventurers a few more seconds of decision time. At about 15’, Hundar stood and took a jump toward the landing with Windvane in hand. So much for diplomacy or subterfuge. Hundar landed amidst some reavers and started doing what he does best, kill. Seeing the Half-Orc rage into battle, Tornade called upon motes of meteors to strike down upon the foes as Foo stood and tried to fire his short bow into the fray, but he was unable to connect.

The female knight yelled out to one of the unengaged reavers and told him to get help. She said, “don’t bother Shatterkeel. Warn Thuluna Maah!” Then the knight banged her lance on the platform and dove for the water. Hundar attempted to shove the knight as she went by, but he was unable to stop her as she dove expertly into the dark green water. Then, the party saw a fin appear in the water and a large shark swam directly under the knight named Eyon. She readied her lance and on shark back, rode towards the boat. Seeing Pate in front of the boat, Eyon pointed her lance and him, but he was able to dodge. Then Pate, Tornade and Foo felt the shark hit the side of the boat. Pate and Foo kept their balance, but Tornade fell off the boat into the water. The shock was not quite enough to stop his concentration so he maintained his meteor spell as he tred water. Since he could breathe in water, he was not as concerned as the others while in the water.

When Pate got a chance, he targeted Eyon with Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, and succeeded. The laughing knight fell from the shark and began drowning. The shark, circled around to try to buoy his master, and then bumped the boat once gain. This time Foo fell off, but Pate kept his feet. By now, Tornade had swam to some stairs up to the landing platform and he assisted Hundar take down the fathomer and the reavers. More reinforcements arrived soon after including a Crushing Wave priest. Seeing the shark in the water, Hundar dove off the landing platform on top of the shark stabbing it mightily. The shark swam around and eventually bit into Hundar with its deadly jaws. Hundar finished the shark and swam for the landing.

Eyon could not stop laughing for 2 rounds…then, on the 3rd round when she would have started dying from suffocating, she broke the spell and started swimming to the north to escape. She almost got away, but Tornade was able to redirect some meteors in her direction, killing her. Hundar, Foo and Pate eventually all made it to the platform and fought with the priest and reavers.

The party defeated this group of foes (Hundar unaffected by the priest’s attempts to hold person), and they found a small room that seemed to be a make-shift prison up the hall to the north. Hundar kicked in the door, but other than some straw bedding the room was somewhat bare. Further to the north, they found a barracks room. They spent some time searching it and found some gold and silver. Then they went back to search the bodies of the fallen cultists because they were hurt and realized they were low on healing. Unfortunately, the other foes had very little other than a handful of gold. That’s when they remembered Eyon, so Tornade dove into the water to find her body. After a little while searching, Tornade found the body and fished it out. In addition to some coral stones and some gold, the group found 1 potion of healing.

Hundar, not waiting around, crossed over a bridge and found some dwellings on the west side of the first canal. He went north and burst into one of the structures to find a small clan of lizardmen responding to the clatter. The party engaged these monsters from the doorway and after taking more damage, it looked as if they were going to end it when one of the lizard men left out of another door to the north. A few rounds later, some cultists and another fathomer (there was a great joke about a named monster called “Fat – Homer”) and then from the south the party heard the loud, heavy footfalls of some other menace.

The adventurers fought the rest of the lizardmen, the sneaking cultists, “Fat-Homer” as an ogre turned the south corner. It swung its gnarly club at Foo, but missed. Meanwhile, one of the last lizardmen was able to both club and bite Pate, who went down bleeding out.

Another ogre joined the fray as Tornade, Hundar and Foo tried to clear the area so that they could help their downed friend, Pate. The ogre’s were quite clumsy, missing and barely hitting when the attacked with their huge clubs. Hundar took minimal damage from one grazing wound, and then he killed the first of the two ogres with a spear to the gut.

From behind the ogres, the group saw and heard an ugly, gnarled woman. She threatened the party with death and offered them a bargain. She wanted to know why they were there and she seemed as if she might speak with them. Hundar did not stop killing so the woman, a sea hag who turned out to be Thuluna Maah, moved closer. The adventurers felt a wave of fear pass over them. Both Tornade and Foo started to shake with fear. Hundar resisted. Since Foo and Tornade were fearful, they both ran into the dwelling to get way from Thuluna Maah. Out of her sight, eventually they broke the fear. Hundar stood and fought bravely. Before Pate expired, Tornade was able to take a healing potion from Hundar and administer it to the fallen Bard, who immediately stood and run for cover.

The adventurers defeated the other ogre, Fat Homer, the others and Thuluna Maah, but they were feeling the scrapes and cuts of battle so they decided to dump all of the dead bodies into the canal, attempt to clean the area a bit, and back-track to the makeshift prison where they would attempt to rest for about an hour. Inside the prison room, the group held the door and bandaged their wounds. They were able to get in a short rest and rejuvenate slightly.

End of session –

Comments

Yes, the 5th level adventurers are quite powerful, but this session, about 4 encounters worth of combat, has taken its toll.

Hundar is eager to find Gar Shatterkeel, who was responsible for sinking the ship Hundar sailed on prior to his adventures. The others want to deal with Shatterkeel because they found that he was seen swimming back up river after Goldenfields was flooded by a devastation orb that the Crushing Wave cultists had detonated just a few days ago.

Lots of xp -- over 5,000 to share.



Session 19 – Confronting Bronzefume and Shatterkeel

After a short rest, the group let Foo sneak ahead to see if they could double back to the room where they fought with the Lizardmen. With expert stealth, Foo scouted, and reported back to the group. There were no encounters.

The party checked the room only to find crude weapons and rags of clothing in addition to straw bedding. From beyond a northern doorway, the group heard the ringing of a loud gong strike three times. They positioned themselves next to the northern doorway, pushed open the door slightly, and Foo blended into shadow to investigate.

This room was a very large open area, like market place with tables, trade goods, crates, barrels and the like. There was a larger lake area to the west and at the edge of the lake area stood a Lizardman who had just rung a very large gong held up on a wooden frame. The Lizardman was staring off to the west over the lake, waiting for something to arrive. The rest of the party stepped into the room quietly and stood behind some crates near the door waiting for a signal from Foo, but Hundar started banging his shield, walking toward one of the tables in the middle of the area. Meanwhile, Foo heard the sloshing, scraping sound of footsteps on the other side of the tables, and he sensed some movement from the southwest corner of the room as well.

As Hundar stepped up to the table, a javelin jabbed at him from under the table striking him for minimal damage. Hundar, not wanting to duck down to attack the Lizardman under the table, raised Windvane and plunged it through the table to stab the foe. At first, his spear was stuck in the table, but calling upon some bardic inspiration that Pate had granted Hundar, he was able to pull it free. Then Pate used his magic to make the Lizardman convulse with laughter, and Hundar was able to take him down in short order. As this was happening, a crocodile walked around the table toward Hundar. Tornade made a spectral hand appear, touching the croc to deliver some horrible necrotic damage. Foo hid behind pillars and then some boxes. He saw that the movement in the southwest corner was another hidden Lizardman, and all the while the one Lizardman who had struck the gong was looking out over the lake to the west, then shouting in Draconic back into the larger room.

Hundar guessing that there might be other Lizardmen hidden under the tables, peered at the middle table and saw some green scaly legs under it. He ran, jumped on the table and thrust his spear down threw a sack of grain and the table to injure the hidden foe, then the others attacked and killed the croc as another croc appeared, which they also took down.

At that moment, a huge form surfaced in the lake and swam toward the room they were in. A huge turtle crawled up onto the platform toward the Lizardman that hit the gong. The dragon turtle smashed the ground, shaking the entire room. It seemed as if the dragon turtle could, given time smash the floor right out from under everyone. Both the Lizardman and the dragon turtle spoke Draconic, which none of the heroes could understand. But from the expressions and body language of the Lizardman and the dragon turtle it was clear that they were arguing. The dragon turtle did not seem pleased. Within seconds, the dragon turtle opened its mouth and a gout of steam blew out over the Lizardman in a 60’ cone that luckily nobody else was within. Even though the Lizardman seemed to dodge, it still was burnt to a lifeless mass that slumped to the ground. Then, the dragon turtle walked toward the center where Hundar was standing, smashing tables and squashing trade goods as it bashed the floor again with a thunderous crash.

Hundar and Pate both realized that this creature was incredibly dangerous even though it was still only a young specimen. The fear was palpable. Meanwhile, the last Lizardman from the room decided to bolt to the south through an ally way. Tornade hit it with a Ray of Frost damaging and slowing it, but it seemed intent on running. Foo had decided to exit the room back the way they had come to circle around in an attempt to intercept the fleeing Lizardman.

With few options other than to run, Pate took a gamble and walked calmly up to the dragon turtle and tried as best he could to communicate with it using gestures and body language, mime and smiles. He tried to tell the dragon turtle that they would help it and they would destroy the gong so that nobody could bother the dragon turtle again. The dragon turtle was somewhat confused. Usually it was Gar Shatterkeel that would bang the gong to summon the Bronzefume, but this was not the case now. Perhaps these intruders could help Bronzefume gain freedom?

Not knowing if the bard’s attempt made any sense to the dragon turtle, there was a moment of silent terror as the dragon turtle brushed its head against Pate. It took a deep breath and smelled the half-elf, then it made a demur moan and turned back toward the gong. Hundar and Pate breathed a sigh of slight relief and they both walked over to the gong. Pate examined the gong and saw no magical runes or inscriptions of any kind. He grabbed some skins, furs and rags and wrapped the gong up to dampen the sound in case it fell or rang out again. Then Hundar grabbed the bronze gong and yanked it from its frame, throwing it 15’ into the lake. As it sunk to the bottom, Pate tried to communicate once more with the beast. He told it his name and from behind, Tornade yelled out to Pate the word for “name” in draconic to help Pate in his efforts. Before crawling back into the lake, the dragon turtle said, “Bronzefume,” and then submerged itself into the lake where it seemed to live.

As all this transpired, Foo saw the escaping Lizardman run past him only 30’ away. From the shadows, he took aim with his shortbow and hit the creature in the side of its neck, killing it as it ran. Then Foo found his companions and the group checked a room to the north that seems like a galley with stoves and cooking supplies, and five beds, but no inhabitants.

To the north of the great room with the trade goods, the party saw a stone bridge crossing the canal leading to two great stone doors. They approached those doors and saw that about 15’ on either side of the doors were some spillways that poured water into the canal, and on the door itself was the painted symbol of the Cult of the Crushing Wave. Foo checked the door for mechanical traps and found none. Tornade checked the symbol itself to determine if it was magically trapped, and it was. Although he knew it was trapped by some type of ward, he could not tell exactly what it was nor could he dispel it. After a brief discussion, Hundar volunteered (or was persuaded – it was hard to tell) said he’d open it. The others ran back and hid on the far side of the bridge as Hundar used his Half-Orc strength to push the doors open. He succeeded, but there was a deafening blast of thunder that did considerable damage to Hundar as he was too slow to jump back. Inside was a larger area with another bridge behind it that led to another large area that had an alter and some pillars. About a half-dozen Lizardmen formed into an attack formation as a voice from the alter spoke out. It was Gar Shatterkeel who told his minions to kill them. Then as Shatterkeel walked forward, closer to the party, he said that he had seen this group and what they have done. He mentioned that he knew that the party had encountered the Cult of the Howling Hatred, and although they think they were able to disrupt that cult, they would be mistaken. He intimated that if the adventurers return to Red Larch, they will find out more about their failure. He also asked them to join him and pledge to finish off the Cult of the Howling Hatred once and for all.

The adventurers had no intention of joining Shatterkeel. Hundar was enraged since Shatterkeep had sunk his ship many months before, and all of the heroes were bent on vengeance for the destruction that the Crushing Wave Cult wrought upon Goldenfields. Tornade bestowed haste upon Hundar and Hundar began killing a number of Lizardmen who blocked his way. Pate stepped up into a group of Lizardmen and a clap of thunder injured all of them. Both Pate and Hundar took some damage, and then Shatterkeel conjured an ice storm to harm Pate, Hundar and Tornade. Another one of those spells would spell certain doom for the party, but they continued to fight. Tornade produced a scroll and read it aloud. A ball of flame streaked toward Shatterkeel and detonated around him injuring him, but not too badly.

In the next moments, the group killed off nearly all of the Lizardfolk, but Shatterkeel strode even closer and offered them one more chance. “Leave here, fight the Air Cult, and I shall let you live.” Then he uttered some magical words, and Hundar was paralyzed. Foo, sneaking up behind Pate and Hundar, successfully fired his shortbow from the shadows and struck Shatterkeel a damaging blow. Then, Pate remembered he had a wand of magic missiles tucked into his belt. He pulled it out and unloaded all 7 missiles at the Crushing Wave Cult Prophet. The missiles hit Shatterkeel and did serious magical damage, breaking Shatterkeel’s concentration. Hundar, released from paralysis, hacked at the prophet and connected twice. At that moment, Tornade fired three scorching rays at the injured prophet. After a few of the rays hit, Shatterkeel turned to water and splashed to the floor, his trident clattering on the ground beside Hundar. The prophet was dead.

Pate tried to get the remaining Lizardman to tend to him and become his follower, but he was unable to communicate with the less intelligent creature so he knocked it unconscious. Then he took some time to identify the trident and found out that both this trident, Drown, and the spear that Hundar used, Windvane, were evil artifacts that were somehow attuned to the elemental nodes that Pate had long conjectured were hidden somewhere below Tyar-Basil. Pate began putting pieces of knowledge and history together to ascertain that the elemental temples in Tyar-Basil somehow led down to another area called the Fane of the Eye where an Elder Eye helped the prophets see and plan their conquests. Somewhere further below that there were branches that led to each of the elemental nodes – air, water, earth and fire. It seemed as if each cult was attempting to unlock the full power of the elemental nodes to call forth their respective gods into Faerun. The evil and destructive nature of any one of these entities would spell certain doom.

With the new knowledge, and the feeling of accomplishment, the group rested near the alter, keeping guard on the door to the west and the bridges they crossed to the south.


Comments

This was a 3 hour session

Just a note, if the party attacked Bronzefume, they would become dead meat. As it was, they were in a tough situation, but Pate did well (player rolled a 24 for persuasion) so even though I imposed a -10 penalty to his roll, somehow he was able to get Bronzefume to listen (DM rolled a 6 on wisdom check vs. Pate’s 14).

As for the battle with Shatterkeel, I had planned for him to stay one more round and then flee to get to the elemental node. We all forgot that Pate had a fully charged wand of magic missiles, and that turned the tide. I had no opportunity to use Shatterkeel’s Legendary Resistance since all the spells that the group used against him used “to hit” rolls. That worked out great for the party.

During the session, Namfoo was controlled by the other players since his player was not at the game.

The players did a terrrifc job making interesting decisions that were quite cinematic and exciting.

Each of the PCs is now level 6. (Notice how they are below the suggested level for the dungeon. With careful play and access to some magical items like Windvane, scoll of fireball, wand of magic missiles it is much easier for a group to take on much more powerful foes like Shatterkeel).



Session 20 – After Shatterkeel’s Death

Beaten up and exhausted, Pate suggested that the group look for a place to take a longer rest, but Hundar pushed forward, positioning himself next to the westward stone doorway. Tornade and Namfoo remembering the exploding glyphs earlier, moved back behind the alter before Hundar pushed open the door.

In the next large t-shaped hallway, Hundar saw a number of cultists led by two that wore robes and carried unholy symbols of the Crushing Wave Cult. One mentioned that they had to get to “The Eye.” The other finished some sort of ritual or calling and four shadowy figures began to rise out of the ground near him, about 15’ away from Hundar. Once the ritual was complete one of the cultists told the shadow figures to protect them.

Hundar ran into the room and said that they had already destroyed their leader. He placed Windvane, the magical spear, in a non-threatening position and told the cultists that his vengeance had been sated.

Many of the cultists just ran to a doorway in the southwest corner of the room, but the two priests remained behind with another cultist. They spoke with Hundar for a short time, but it was clear they were devoted to The Crushing Wave, and again one of them said they needed to get to “The Eye.”

By this time, the rest of the party had come to the open doorway and the fight began. The group seemed to be handling these foes even though they were exhausted, but eventually, shadows grasped both Hundar and Pate, sucking the strength from their bodies. Soon after, Tornade, Foo, Hundar and Pate were able to dispatch the foes.

Completely exhausted, drained of strength and spellpower, Pate took some time to recite a ritual he had just learned, creating an impenetrable dome around them that blocked the two doors in the south and southwest corner of the hallway. Inside the dome, they took turns watching and sleeping to restore their vigor. Fortunately, no foes happened upon their dome so when it disapaited in 8 hours, they were not surrounded by enemies.

The group let Foo sneak ahead through the southwest doorway to scout the path. He found that a corridor wound south and west until it came to a door on the south wall, and a dead end further to the west. The stone door was typical of this place, quite thick, so Foo could not hear anything on the other side, but he could tell that the fleeing cultists had gone this way. With that news he returned to the group.

Before the group ventured forward, Foo told them of a strange dream he had while they slept in the dome. In his dream, he saw Queen Aerisi standing in front of some type of large orb on an alter. She was waving her hands and peering into it. It seemed very life-like, but he was unsure what the orb was or where the scene was taking place. The group thought that perhaps that was the Elder Eye that the cultists were talking about, but they were not sure. Pate, still smitten by Aerisi’s beauty, wanted to find her. He thought that maybe she was in trouble. The others were more doubtful of this dream and the message it imparted.

Hundar led the group through the south door with Foo, Pate and Tornade behind him. Inside they saw another room decorated with friezes of Dwarven merchants and caravans traveling across landscapes. They also saw a dark stone staircase leading down with a creature standing guard at the top of those stairs. The creature looked like an insectoid carrying a two-tined fork. It asked who the party served. Then when Hundar responded speaking about defeating Shatterkeel, and Pate spoke about Bronzefume, the creature struck out at Pate, but did not hit the mark. In the back, Tornade realized that this creature was a mezzoloth; he also told the creature that they served Olhydra, which quickly caught the mezzoloth’s attention. Then, looking over Pate directly at Tornade, the creature asked “What are you?” When Tornade answered, it was clear that his answer was not what the mezzoloth wanted to hear so the creature began casting a spell. Before the spell could take effect, Pate played a few notes and weaved a powerful incantation that counteracted the mezzoloth’s spell, which would have filled the area with noxious, deadly fumes. Pate smiled having used a new spell to save the party untold harm.

The fight continued for a while, but pretty quickly the group dispatched the guardian that disappeared into a puff of smoke, returning to the abyss. Tornade made magical light as the party descended into the darkness, Hundar in the lead.

At the bottom of the stairway, the group found themselves in an ancient underground cavern, a waterfall plunging down into a pool about 15’ from them. A few tunnels meandered to the south, and a walkway continued north alongside a flowing stream tward the north. Foo searched the ground for tracks and found that a number of footfalls seemed to travel by the stream to the north. He also looked into the pool from the stairway, but all he could see was the water from the falls splashing down into the pool.

Hundar seemed as if he wanted to go to the south, but Foo and Pate told the Half-Orc that they thought that a magic axe was definitely toward the north, and besides that was the way the cultists ran. Hundar turned and made his way to the north and the others followed. Just then, a watery creature leapt from the water and engulfed Hundar. It smashed the Half-Orc for some bludgeoning damage, grappled and restrained him and then dragged him 5’ closer to the water. Another watery creature did the same for Foo, but it did not hit the dexterous Gnome. The group fought the water weirds and found that they were resistant to many of their attacks, and the one that had Hundar grappled kept consticting him, and dragging him closer to the water. Tornade splashed one of the weirds with acid and found that it did full damage. Then Pate did some psychic damage against the same one. The other weird that missed Foo, dove back into the water. In the water, the weird was all but invisible, so it was very difficult for the group to see or damage. Foo tried to help Hundar, but the creature still gripped Hundar. Hundar did some damage to it even though he had to make some awkward attacks while being grappled, and Tornade tried to use his Thunderwave, sculped to avoid Hundar, to damage the creature and push it away from Hundar. Unfortunately, the weird was stalwart and did not get pushed back. As a result, it dove into the water still holding on to Hundar. In the water, the weird pushed Hundar under and held him down as it swam down stream to the north.

The fickle hands of fate, a wild surge, played with Tornade after he unleashed his Thunderwave, and instantly he grew frightened of his ally Pate. Tornade moved away from his friend and tried to hug the wall as he moved up to the north. Pate did some psychic damage to the weird that was holding Hundar, and Hundar was also able to jab at it with Windvane, but the thing would not die or let go of the drowning Half-Orc. Fearing that the weird and Hundar might flow further down stream, Foo dove into the water in front of the creature and tried to assess the situation. He was not strong enough to stop the creature so it continued to drag Hundar further down stream pushing him along as well, but he was able to stab it with “Razur” his magical dagger. At this time, the other weird lashed out at Pate, but the bard sung a song that distracted the creature at the last instant, which saved him from being bludgeoned and grappled.

Hundar was suffering badly so he took a deep breath and gained second wind; then, he finally dealt a killing blow to the creature and was able to climb out of the stream. Foo also managed to swim and climb out and pretty soon they took care of the other water weird.

Hundar, now on high alert from any water creature in the stream continued to lead the others north, but when he got to a narrow walk way, he slipped and fell back into the stream. Ready to face other dangers, he thrashed in the water, but was able to pull himself out without further incident. To his left he saw a very narrow passageway and the stream and path beside it continued to the north. Hundar tried to duck into the narrow passageway, but he was so large that he knew he’d be hampered if he continued down it so he came out again. That’s when Foo took over and stealthed his way along that narrow passage to see an interior cave with almost a dozen Lizardmen, one of which sat on a wooden bench surrounded by humanoid skulls. The Lizard men were resting, not sleeping, but they didn’t notice the hiding Gnome. Before inching back to the group, Foo also spied two chests beside the bench and another Lizardman who was dressed in robes, holding a staff with a skull on one end of it.

When Foo returned to the group, he told them what he saw and the group decided to follow Tornade into the narrow passageway. He’d try to sneak up and fireball the room before the others went into battle. The plan worked well, although Hundar, right behind Tornade, did make a little noise trying to squeeze through, which alerted the Lizardmen just as the fireball streaked into the middle of the cave. Tornade’s magical fire killed all of the Lizardmen except for Drexa the chief and the shaman. The chief tried to stab at Hundar, but could not connect. The shaman casted some type of protection spell and his shape seemed to blur in the dim light. Foo ran into the room and tried to sneak attack the shaman, but he was unable to hit the blurring form. Then Pate viciously mocked the chief, but to no avail. Hundar killed the chief quickly and then moved closer to the shaman. To stop Hundar, the shaman casted another spell that held Hundar in place then the shaman ran to a passage in the south. Tornade was able to hit the shaman with an icy ray, slowing it, but it still made it into the darkness of the southern passage. Foo moved after it and found it as it unleashed magic missiles that struck Hundar mercilessly. Hundar broke the paralysis and within seconds, the group dispatched the shaman and opened the chests to find piles of copper, silver and gold, along with a golden chain.

These last two fights left the group slightly fearful of other dangers that would lurk in this deep dungeon, but they felt as if they needed to find “The Eye,” so they took a short rest. While they were resting, Foo spotted some flying squidlike creatures entering from the south passage. These darkmantles interrupted the party’s rest.

As soon as one got near Foo, a magical darkness engulfed both Foo and Hundar. Then, the creature bashed Foo and enrapped itself around Foo’s face and head. Foo could not see a thing nor could he breath. Another darkmantle did the same on Hundar. Four more of the creatures entered the area some using magical darkness others not. The party struggled mightily in darkness and constricted by some of these creatures. When Foo got one off of him and ran, the creature re-attached itself, but at least Foo had run from the darkness. Pate and Tornade helped kill that one as Hundar killed the one on him. Other darkmantles used darkness to envelop Pate and grapple his face as well. Tornade, alternately seeing and not seeing these face-huggers messing with his companions used firebolts when he could, but he made sure to stay way back. The others, Hundar, Foo and Pate took lots of damage from these creatures and had to fight with them in melee to eventually kill each one.

With these threats neutrolized, the group continued their rest.


Comments

This was a 3 hour session.

The party is only 6th level and they are in the Fane of the Eye (which the adventure states it is for PCs of 10th level). Obviously, the balance is a little off, but it does not interfere with our fun. The one thing we are all worried about is that some time in the Fane, the PCs will be up against a very powerful encounter which might cause TPK, but so far, they are doing ok.

Certainly it is getting more dangerous, but strangely the creatures they faced were more dangerous than their CR level would suggest. The water weirds were CR 3 and the darkmantles were a wandering monster only CR ½. The combination of darkness, which blinded the PCs and the way the darkmantle constricted doing bludgeoning damage made them very tough.

Also, only getting back ½ HD from the 8 hour rest did make the players feel more vulnerable, which is great.

One thing we noticed was that the suffocation rules may need clarification or redesign. It seems too lenient to allow for PCs to hold their breath for 1 minute plus 1 minute per point of con bonus. This does not make suffocating scary at all. We suggest that any time a creature/PC needs to hold breath, but is under stress, like when he or she is injured while trying to hold breath, or surprised by something that strangles, etc that creature/PC gets to make a DC 15 Con check. If succeess, it can still hold its breath. If it fails, it now has stopped holding its breath and has to suffer the consequences in the PHB – 1 round/Con bonus rounds later (min of 1 round) the creature/PC slips to 0 hp and starts dying.


Session 21 – Deeper into Caves Below Searching for Escaping Cultists and “The Eye”

After a short rest in the cave where they defeated Drexa and his lizardmen and the darkmantles that came to feed on them while they were resting, the heroes decided to turn back south and follow the tunnel that the darkmantles came from. Foo scouted ahead, but after about 40’ he noticed that the next cave had a thick mist obscuring the floor. The mist seemed natural as condensation glistened off of the walls and ceiling. With a little more perceptive effort, Foo saw three beaten and unconscious humans chained to the wall about 65’ away from him on the other side of the cave. He returned to the others to tell them what he had seen, and they sent him back in, as they followed 15’ behind.

Foo slowly made his way across the cave, but then he disappeared into the fog, falling into a 10’ pit. He thudded to the floor taking a small amount of damage, but then he felt the bump of something that was in the pit with him, and he grimaced with pain. Whatever was in there with him had taken a bite out of him and then tried unsuccesfully to brush his weapons with some sort of antenna. Hundar waded through the fog to find the pit. Once there, he jumped down into it without mishap. After locating Foo, he stabbed out blindly and was able to hit the creature twice with Windvane, and that was enough to kill the rust monster. Not satisfied, Hundar spent a few more seconds traversing the bottom of the pit, preparing for any attack although nothing else came a calling.

After Foo and Hundar climbed out of the pit, Foo, Pate and Tornade walked over to the chained men. Tornade could tell that the tattered robes on two of them had a symbol of the Cult of Eteranal Flame upon them. The third man was dressed in ruined boating gear, maybe just a local boatman who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Foo unlocked the manacles easily and the group decided to pull the unconscious bodies over to the stairway that led back up to the Cult of the Crushing Wave temple. When the men did not regain consciousness, the adventurers decided to leave them there and explore further to the west of the fog filled cave.

Foo scouted again and saw that this cave had a pedestal in the center with a small orb resting upon it. All about the room were scattered remains of armor and weapons, but none of the debris was within 10’ of the orb in the center. Inside the orb, Foo thought he saw some swirling smoke, but he was still about 60’ from it. When Foo reported to the others, the others moved to the lip of the cave. Hundar peered intently at the debris and notices a few swords and scimitars about 15’ from him, as well as a rapier and a greataxe 40’ away from him on the other side of the pedestal. Pate walked closer to the pedestal and told them all that he would need 10 minutes to conduct a detect magic ritual. The others granted him the time, and after the ritual, he could sense that the orb was magical, but to his surprise so were 6 of the weapons including the rapier and the greataxe. That’s all Hundar needed to hear. Immediately he walked across the cave to get to the greataxe as Pate stepped closer to the orb. Foo remained in shadows to see what might happen, and Tornade was just about to say that this looked like some kind of magical trap when Pate grabbed for the orb, which dissappeared as soon as he touched it releasing some type of air whirlwind that began to pick him up and spin him around. Additionally, as the whirlwind spun, the 6 weapons animated and begain whirling around the room too along with some other debris.

Over the next 30 seconds or so, both Pate and Hundar battled against the animated weapons taking damage from their attacks. In addition, Pate was raised up 20’ in the air and he was taking damage from flying debris. Eventually, when Hundar misstepped and entered the 10’ radius around the pedestal, he too got caught in the whirlwind. Tornade and Foo fired firebolts and arrows respectively incapacitating about half of the animated weapons. As they watched Pate take damage round after round, Foo pulled out a rope, made a lasso and threw it to Pate in an attempt to help pull Pate free of the whirlwind. After a few tries, he finally pulled Pate free, and Tornade used featherfall to keep Pate from suffering falling damage as he drifted gently to the ground outside the whirlwind’s radius. After all of the animated weapons were incapacitated, Foo threw the lasso to Hundar, and Pate inspired the Half-Orc with song. Hundar was able to break out of the whirlwind, and Tornade, using his Air Genasi innate powers of levitation, levitated Hundar so he too could land gently on the ground without suffering any damage. In 20 more seconds, the whirlwind died down and Pate was able to detect that only two of the weapons were still magical, the rapier and the greataxe.

Pate tried to take another 10 minutes to cast an identification ritual, but from the north, the party heard an alluring song. All of them except Foo felt the compulsion to walk toward the song. As Hundar entered the next cave, he saw three harpies. The one furthest from him was singing the most beautiful song so he strode right up to her and stared with rapt fascination. As he passed by one of the others, it lashed out at him, but did not connect. Eventually the heroes were able to shake off the song’s effect, but each time they did, a different Harpy sang so as they tried to battle these creatures, they had to struggle to remain unenthralled. Eventually, they were able to defeat these creatures and identify their newly found weapons.

The rapier was a dancing blade which Pate kept. Then he had to tell Hundar that the greataxe although magical was also cursed. Hundar asked to hold on to it anyway, but Pate with urging from Tornade as well would not give the Half-Orc the weapon for fear that Hundar’s use of Windvane might weaken his resolve and push him to use the greataxe to the detriment of the party. That’s when Hundar reminded the group that Gar Shatterkeel said something about how the next time they return to Red Larch, the adventurers would see how they had failed to disrupt the Cult of Howling Hatred, led by Aerisi, who they had captured and imprisoned for Tury and Kippipop to guard back in town.

The heroes decided to go back to the stairway, take the unconscious men with them and try to exit the Crushing Wave Temple. Hundar, carrying two of the men, the others dragging the third climbed up the stairs. They checked one of the eastern doors they hadn’t tried and found that it led to a quay next to the canals, close to the lake where they had encountered Bronzefume the Dragon Turtle. They decided to skip this way, seeing no boats for easier passage, and then they back tracked through the hallways until they got to a T section about 120’ from the stairway. As they crossed that hallway, tracing their steps out, three dark figures materialized from a southern doorway that they never checked. The shadows looked menacingly at them and prepared to attack.

Comments

Another 3 hour session.

The Windprison trap was really interesting and it ended up doing considerable damage to Pate. It was really interesting seeing the group problem solve at that point.

Again, the adventurers are only 6th level and both Pate and Hundar were at ½ hp so since they felt as if the cultists they were chasing down into the Eye, had most likely gotten away (basically with short rest and a few uses of ritual magic they had given the cultists over 1 ½ hours to bolt) they decided to take the prisoners out and head back to Red Larch to see if Gar Shatterkeel’s warning was true. In Pate’s heart of hearts, he seems to want to see Aerisi again in hopes that he can turn her from the cult and develop a more substantial relationship. It also seems as if Hundar wants to find a way to acquire plate armor and somehow get a wizard or priest to remove the curse on the Berserker Greataxe. Foo, missing his kinsmen, Tury and Kippipop, wants to reunite with them, and Tornade wants to figure out a way to get the ritual horn he recovered back to his clan. He also has some worries about the growing involvement of all of the elemental cults including the Cult of the Eternal Flame.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 22 – Escape from the Temple of the Crushing Wave (2 ½ hour session)

As the party started backtracking to leave the Temple, they came to a T shaped hall neart he alter room. As Hundar, Pate and Foo crossed into the room, Tornade behind them, shadows grew and coalesced from under a closed door to the south. The group fought against three of the shadows, as two more joined the ranks. Through the battle, Tornade fired scorching rays at three of the foes, as the others attacked with melee weapons. Hundar nearly felt the cold sting of necrotic damage and strength drain, but Pate was able to distract the shadow with a discordant song. The party prevailed and when they put the shadows to rest, they checked the south room finding it an abandoned living quarters with a alcove that looked out upon one of the canals behind the building.

The group decided to continue toward the canal where they had moored the boat that they arrived with, and as they made their way toward it they heard the shouts of humans in panic. Crossing over one bridge, the adventurers saw a few Crushing Wave cultists run to the north trying to escape. Hundar and the others let them go, and continued to the south to find their boat. Hundar steadied the skiff as the others climbed in, and Hundar paddled them down stream into the dark winding tunnel leading back to the surface. For an hour, Hundar paddled as the others took a short rest. Then, from the dark ceiling the group was attacked by four Grell. These tentacle beasts decscended upon them thwacking Pate, Hundar, Tornade and Foo with tentacle and beak. None of the heroes succumbed to the Grell poison, and after Hundar and Foo were able to kill one of the Grell, and Tornade ignited a fireball injuring the other three, Pate created an aura of vitality to help bolster the health of Tornade, and ultimate the others too. The chittering Grell fled to save themselves from the damage these adventurers were dishing out, and heroes kept rowing toward the surface.

When they rowed out from the tunnel back to Rivergard Keep, it was early night. Hundar saw the larger ship (which he later named "Charlotte") and told the others to jump aboard. With his expertise and backround as a sailor, he was able to set the sails and stear the ship, giving orders to Foo, the one most eager to help. After sailing down river about 10 miles, Hundar anchored near the shore and everyone prepared to get a night’s rest.

Later that night while Foo was on watch, he saw some flying shapes in the moonlight. He ran below deck to alert the others and hide, hoping that the vultures and riders, Feathergale folk, would not see them. After 6 minutes, Hundar waiting at the door below deck with Windvane, the spear, ready in his hands, the group heard a three thudding sounds on the deck. Then the door burst in and a Feathergale Knight clad in scalemail was pushing down the stairs. Hundar marshaled all his energy and stabbed the knight four times with the magic weapon, killing him quickly. Behind were two others, Hurricanes, the monk-like cultists that the party had encountered before as well. Pate stepped up and thunderclapped to damage the Hurricanes, as Tornade moved up and used sorcery points to guard Pate and Hundar from a thunderwave that sent one of the two Hurricanes back 10’. Foo stabbed at one of the foes, and then Hundar stepped up and killed one, and as the other one was falling back from the thunderwave, nearly tripping over some of the ropes and tackle on the deck, Hundar put the spear through his gut. Then seeing the vultures on deck, Hundar ran and tried to jump upon one, but the bird squaked and shook him off. Then the pet vultures attacked Hundar and did some damage as Foo jumped up to help Hundar dispatch one of the three giant vultures. Ultimately, the adventurers killed the vultures. Hundar dumped the bodies off the ship on to the shore, and then they all went back to sleep to finish their night’s rest.

During the night, Hundar could not sleep. He had horrible nightmares that disturbed him. He felt some strange connection with the air node, and in his dream he saw a huge thunder cloud, and an old man, 20’ tall laughing at him, beckoning him to come forward. The man spoke to him and told him to bring Windvane to the air node. It was Yan-C-Bin, asking, almost commanding Hundar to release him. Hundar asked what he’d get if he helped and brought Windvane to the node, and the old man laughed. Then the image faded, but the entire night, Hundar felt the unrest and could not sleep. Instead, he prepared the ship for sail, and began sailing them down to Ironford. Exhausted, Hundar kept himself at the helm while the others slept, and in six hours they reached Ironford.

In Ironford, the group found a few boatmen at the warf, and went into the small village to see if they could sell the ship. No one in the area had the money to buy such an expensive vessel, and realizing that the power of Windvane was beginning to take a toll on Hundar, the group decided to sail further south to Goldenfields so that they could check in with the Abbot Ellardin
Darovik.

At the temple, the group met with the Abbot, and he thanked them for helping the people of Goldenfields after the Crushing Wave cultists detonated a devastation orb. Hundar asked him about his dreams and Windvane, and Drown, and the Abbot did some research. He told the group that these were evil weapons attuned to the elemental nodes themselves. With these weapons, a prophet of the element could create devastation orbs, and with enough time and ritual magic could even open the node to call forth one of the elemental gods. It seemed as if the increased activity of the cults was in some way tied into the power of the nodes and perhaps an attempt to call forth their gods. The party told the Abbot that they had slain Gar Shatterkeel, but Airesi was still alive, held captive in Red Larch, or so they thought, although before dying Gar said that the adventurers plans to disrupt the Cult of Howling Hatred did not go as they planned, and they would return to Red Larch to realize their failure. With new fear that perhaps the earth cult and the fire cult also had prophets with weapons that could be used to open their respective nodes, the group realized the danger to all in the Dessarin Valley, even the known world. Ellardin told the heroes that they should not let any of the prophets get their hands on these weapons, and if they could find the nodes, throwing the attuned weapon into the node could cause magical feedback, which might collapse the node. This was a way to seal the nodes and keep the elemental gods from entering their world.

After hearing all this, Hundar asked if the Abbot could protect him from Windvane’s influence and stop the nightmares, but the Abbot said he was not powerful enough to do that. Then Hundar asked about the cursed greataxe they had found. Ellardin, with help from Pate, who was able to aid by chanting a prayer Ellardin taught him, removed the curse from the greataxe. In an attempt to deal with his exhaustion, Hundar gave up Windvane, and took the greataxe instead. As he hefted it, he could tell it was magical (+1 weapon – with 0 weight when wielded). Unattuned to Windvane, Hundar felt much better, although exhausted.

Ellardin offered rooms at the temple for the party to sleep the night as well as food and drink. Before sleeping, the party struck a deal with the Abbot, renting him the use of the ship, which he said would help Goldenfields distribute produce up and down river. For 2000 gold, the Abbot would use the ship for 1 year, but during that time, he would always have a place for the adventurers to stay, and if they came to him in need of services like curing diseases or curses, he’d be happy to assist. The party thanked him and took the night to rest, Hundar falling into a deep, uninterrupted sleep.

Comments

It has been a while since I've been able and willing to DM again with so much going on in life. It was fun to get back to it, although I did feel a little rusty.

A lot of the story was developed during this session as the group learned more about the nodes, the magic items, the cults and the gods that the cults were trying to call to their world.

As far as combat, the Grell were pretty tough and could have done more damage to the party if their poison worked against one or more of the PCs. I used a morale check to see if they would bolt after the fireball, one of the Grell tried to be a hero (and ended up dead). The others escaped to fight another day.
 
Last edited:

Rhenny

Adventurer
Session 23 – “Eventually, Back to Red Larch – Aeirisi Escaped!”

After a much needed night’s rest at the temple in Goldenfields, the adventurers met for breakfast with Abbot Ellardin to discuss their plans. Tornade informed the rest of the group that too much time has passed. He needed to return the horn they recovered back to his clan. Pate and Hundar wanted to travel by foot to Amphail where they could buy horses, then quickly ride to Waterdeep to check in with contacts and purchase supplies before riding back to Red Larch to meet back up with Turytopple and Kippipop, who were still in Red Larch. Foo, missing the other Gnomes, wanted to stealth back to Red Larch as quickly as possible. After eating, the party went their separate ways. Tornade receiving a boat ride from up river using the boat that the party rented to the Abbot. Foo slipped out into the world on his way back to Red Larch, and Pate and Hundar started their trek to Amphail.

The sun was warm, as it was nearly the end of the first month of summer. On their way, Pate and Hundar saw a small party of barbarians about 200’ to the north. Evidently, the barbarians did not see the heroes so there was no encounter. After a night’s rest in Pate’s magical Leomond’s Hut, they continued and made it to Amphail without trouble.

In Amphail, the adventurers saw the town square, realized that this was a farming community that also was home to a number of retired aristocrats from Waterdeep, estates and farm lands surrounding the small town. Pate knew that this town was best known for ranches of horse breaders, and as night was falling, the pair of adventurers strolled into the town square where they saw the famous statue of Great Shalarn, a termendous warhorse bred in Amphail long ago. Kids were throwing rocks at birds near the statue, and some of the children were climbing on the great statue. Pate and Hundar spied a cozy tavern, the Stag-Horned Flagon, nearby and decided to enter for food, drink and possible lodging.

Without wasting much time, Pate asked about horse breaders and drinks. Soon, an aristocratic gentleman named Bartholomew introduced himself and told the pair that he had many great horses. Pate told Hundar to take care of business, giving him a sack full of gold coin, and Hundar went off with Bartholomew to his ranch. Meanwhile, Pate chatted up the barkeep and had a few drinks. He noticed the room was filled with only a half dozen men, all wearing rather expensive clothing, eating, talking and playing cards in a controlled manner. Eventually, a striking young woman with orange blond hair entered the tavern. Smitten by her looks, he started a conversation. It took a little while for the young woman to drop her guard, but enventually, after the bard sang an incredible song (impressing the woman and the other men in the tavern), she told him about life in Amphail, her father’s farm and the death of her mother only a year ago. Pate told a joke, and worked an enchantment on the barkeep to make him laugh uncontrollably at the joke. All was going well, and as Pate slight of hand produced a golden chain from his bag and bestowed it upon Anna, he felt as if he was winning her heart. Just then, three young men walked into the tavern. When they saw Anna with Pate, they became noticeably aggitated. They walked over and asked Anna if she was ok. Then they looked Pate up and down suspiciously. These were Anna’s brothers. Pate did some fine talking. One of the brothers was immediately friendly. Another quickly warmed up to Pate and saluted him. The third, was more suspicious and less coridal, but eventually when Anna said she was fine, and he learned more about the stranger, he nodded and accepted the company.

While all this was happening, Hundar went to Bart’s ranch and inspected a number of horses. Bart ended up selling Hundar two riding horses for 300 gp. Hundar didn’t haggle, although he did ask about saddles and feed, which Bart threw in for nothing. Satisfied that he had purchased some fine riding horses, Hundar walked them back to the tavern and roped them up. When he entered, he saw Pate and the Fairbanks children eating, drinking and talking so he joined them. The social engagement lasted until 11 pm when the family told the heroes that they needed to get back to the farm. Anna looked back at Pate and asked about seeing him again. There was a twinkle in her eye. Pate assured her that he’d be back.

The next morning, Pate and Hundar set off for Waterdeep. Hundar really wanted to buy some plate armor, and he had had no luck in any of the smaller towns near the Sumber Hills, so he basically forced Pate to go with him to the big city – stubborn half-orc. After a little over 2 days, they made it to the City of Splendors and were overwhelmed by its size and the commotion within. Pate told Hundar that he’d snoop around to find The Harpers, a group he was a member of, while Hundar could stroll the city and look for plate armor. Pate found some contacts and was able to discuss what had been happening with the cults in the Sumber Hills. He asked about the evil elemental weapons, but found that nobody wanted them. The Harper representative he spoke with advised him to use the weapons against the cults. If the weapons could close the elemental nodes that the Harper’s suspected were under the Sumber Hills, that would be a major victory for good in the realm. In addition to this, Pate asked around and was able to purchase a carved white lily with a hint of orange/red around its edges. He knew that Anna’s favorite flower was the lily, and the orange/red tinting reminded of her hair. He paid 100 gp for this trinket, which was also magically enhanced to make it much stronger, and less fragile than it looked.

When Pate and Hundar met up again, Hundar had purchased his plate armor spending a lot of the gold the party had (2200 gp…in addition to giving up his warhammer, his shield and a few other trinkets). Hundar, not much for the subtle art of barter or negotiating, certainly paid good money, but he didn’t care.

Before finding a place to rest for the night, Hundar convinced Pate to go with him to the Bounty Office to see if they could cash in on killing Gar Shatterkeel. Hundar spoke with the officer and showed him Drown, Shatterkeel’s magical weapon. The officer said he’d have to talk with his superior so they would be getting back to Hundar soon. It seemed as if the officer was convinced, but beauracrachy is everpresent in Waterdeep. The officer even recommended the adventurers stay at the Red Flagon Inn, so that’s where Hundar and Pate went.

That night, Hundar felt uneasy so he decided to remain awake in their second floor room. Pate crawled under the covers in bed and dreamt about Anna. At about 3 am, Hundar heard the door creak open. A figure dressed in a black cloak was surprised to see Hundar awake, so he aimed his crossbow at the Half-Orc and hit him squarely in the shoulder joint, so much for the new armor. Hundar stepped up and swung his axe at the crossbowman, cutting him down with two blows. Then he saw another cloaked figure behind the doorway, even more meanacing than the first. All the while, Pate continued to sleep, until the window on the other side of the room smashed open and a third and fourth black cloaked thief entered. Pate woke, and tried to hide himself in the bed while tossing out his dancing sword and inspiring Hundar. Hundar fought well and was able to drop kick one of the more dangerous foes out of the open window. Pate and Hundar fought a bit more and just when they thought they could down the last foe, the foe grabbed Drown and tried to run. Hundar caught him just outside the door to the room and cut him down. That’s when the innkeeper came up, visibly upset at the damage and blood. He told Hundar and Pate that these men were part of the Black Hand, a criminal organization that runs deeply in Waterdeep and other cities. He didn’t want any trouble with them, so he asked Pate and Hundar to leave, immediately. After checking the bodies of the dead, and finding a dozen gold coins, Pate gave the coins to the innkeeper to help pay for the damage and he and Hundar left to start their ride back to Amphail.

Back in Amphail, Pate met with Anna secretly. After spending a few hours (as a gentleman), he bestowed the lily to her and left her with a deep, passionate kiss. He could tell that she felt something for him. He left her with a few books about great adventurers, and told her that he would be traveling to Red Larch to continue his adventuring life. He wanted her to go with him, but she felt loyalty to her father and brothers. She asked him to return when he was ready to settle down, but in Pate’s heart, he yearned for Anna to take up the adventuring life and strike out in the world by his side. It was not to be, but who knows what the future will bring.

After another few days of riding without mishap, Pate and Hundar arrrived back in Red Larch. The town seemed different. Lots of townfolk were carrying pitchforks, shovels, clubs, swords, axes, patrolling the streets. Near the Swinging Sword and The Helm at Highsun, the adventurers saw their Gnome friend, Turytopple, standing with some town folk pointing in different directions.

Pate and Hundar rode up to Tury and they greeted each other as old friends. Then Tury talked their ears off telling them about what had happened in the 16 days that the pair had been gone for. It turned out that some Howling Hatred Cultists staged a distraction by harming some villagers while Windharrow, the foppish bard mercenary, dimension doored into and out of the cell where the town was holdiing Aeirisi. By the time Tury and Kippipop could get to the streets, they saw the injured town folk and near the forest treeline, four hippogriffs took off heading east all with riders. Tury and Kippi tended to the injured. Nobody died, but the Air Prophet, Aeirisi had escaped and undoubtedly was headed back to the Temple of Howling Hatred. Tury also told the group that he had helped the town learn how to use weapons (a little) so that they could form their own militia. Tury was kind of like their captain.

Also, over the past tenday, Tury made a vaulting mechanisim that he could attach to his warhorse so that he could get into the saddle. He was really proud of his accomplishment.

After a night, Tury convinced the others that they needed to go to the Temple of Howling Hatred to serve justice upon Aeirisi and Windharrow. Although she did not have Windvane, the group knew that she was a threat, and the air cultists might rally behind her.

The party rode through the hills into the Desserin Valley, and almost made it to the Knife Point Gully, where the stairway into the air temple descended, but then they heard the howling of Gnolls. Hundar dismounted to get ready for a fight while the others stayed on their horses. Then from the north and south the party was attacked. A pack lord came from the north with two other Gnolls, and a terrifyingly large Gnoll Fang came from the south with two other Gnolls. The party engaged and fought for a while. Tury attempted to jump down from his horse, but he got caught up in some of the make-shift rigging he had created. He stumbled down and sent his horse with Kippi on it out, away from the battle. (Kippi’s player was not present so we put her out for the encounter). Hundar faced off against a few of the gnolls, especially the Fang. Soon the party realized that he Fang and the pack lord were the more dangrous of the gang, but they killed off a few of the lesser Gnolls pretty soon. Eventually, the Fang and Pack Lord changed tactics and tried to down the party’s horses. The Fang bit and poisoned one, dropping it. Tury quickly applied his divine healing to keep the horse from dying, and Hundar fought to bring it down. Pate got hurt a bit from Gnoll spears and the Pack Lord eventually downed the other horse, and bit it twice, killing it. Pate fought with his dancing sword and used a number of cutting words and even some healing. Tury fought with rapier and used his shield to block a number of blows that would have scored hits on Pate and the injured horse. Hundar swung his magical great axe. Finally, after the Fang and lesser Gnolls went down, and the Pack Lord ripped off the head of the dead horse and tried to run with it, Pate, Tury and Hundar hacked it down.

The group walked a little more toward the Gully, and decided to find a hidden area to rest before getting too close to the area they knew was guarded when they came to the Gully a few tenday ago. Before resting, Tury caught glimpse of two hippogriffs circling from the east, coming closer and closer. Then, when they were within 100’ they turned back, and disappeared back to the east near the Gully, as if they had landed. The hippogriffs each had a rider a top, but Tury could not tell if they had been spotted. Taking a short rest to restore their spirits and patch wounds, the group got ready to advance to the Gully.

Comment

We haven’t played in a few months. This session the players threw me a bunch of curveballs and forced me to improvise all that Amphail and Waterdeep stuff. It was really fun to roleplay and deepen the story of the characters and their lives.

This session began with two players (Pate and Hundar) and later, the third joined (Tury). I tried to manage the events of the game to get the group together as soon as Tury’s player was ready. It was fun to manage the action on the fly letting the players dictate what they wanted to do especially before Tury’s player was available.

Overall, the group earned about 2,000 xp each.
 

Advertisement

Top