Sessions

Home Cataclysm of the Primordial Orders Sessions
Where all the session summaries are posted

Session 29 – Chapter One

18th of Kythorn of the year 1492

“You seemed to have lost something.”

Standing in front of Fogo was something that looked like ISAC dressed in only a tattered green cloak that emitted sickening smoke.  ISAC was wearing nothing except the cloak. He stood there looking a bit more human in his inhuman body.  He had an etching of a green dragon on his chest and some sort of runes on shoulder plates.

“Are you ISAC?”

“I think so.

And the reunion of ISAC and the party began.  Fwoosh led the party into something he called a cinnamon roll hug while ISAC tried to answer the questions of the party and explained what had happened to him.  Everyone was happy with his return except Dancer who kept a wide-eyed look and focus on ISAC the rest of the evening, occasionally poking him with a stick to make sure he was real.  Unlike the rest, Dancer had never seen ISAC without his mask, or even knew that ISAC was not a human.

When daylight finally arrived, the group tried to go through their normal routines, but it was difficult for everyone since they had gotten used to the mornings without ISAC. A lot of the morning was spent discussion about what they should be doing next.  The Earth Monastery was too well organized and probably too much for them, so with Fogo pushing for the possible pirate base, they packed up the camp and headed toward the river.

Following the river north, they could see a keep up ahead.  Hiding in the forest nearby the keep they spied on what few inhabitants they could see. While the keep was not in perfect shape, but it had obviously been repaired sufficiently to make it functional.  They could see guards walking the walls which were at least 25 feet tall.  A large sailboat was docked on the eastern side.

Seeing that this was something in far better condition than they thought, and had vigilant guards on the walls, the party needed to come up with a firm plan. They vacillated between trying to make an upfront entry at the front door or do some reconnaissance in secret. Vladimir was holding out for a secret entrance but was talked out of those hopes.  In the end they waited for dark to have Dancer do a sneak reconnaissance of the keep.

To possibly stack things in their favor, Vladimir asked his dagger for an Augury.

“What are the odds that we will find members of the Mirabar trade delegation in this castle?”

“Weal”

Once it was dark, Dancer began wandering around the edges of the keep identifying the guards on the walls that seemed to be humans carrying torches to see.  Hoping for more noise, he was disappointed that those within the keep seemed to be somewhat disciplined and on guard.  There were at least two guards on each of the walls. All the walls were about 25 feet in height with each floor of the buildings about 15 feet high.

Deciding that it might be better to get some elevation, he snuck over to one of the keep buildings and carefully climbed up to the roof to get a better vantage point.  From there he could confirm the guards and some groups of bugbears that were wandering the grounds.  He could clearly see the large ship docked into some sort of water break.  There were a couple of guards on the wall there, again with torches for lights. He could see a couple of single-story internal buildings that had some lights but overall, it seemed quiet for the evening.

One of the buildings seemed to have more traffic with oddly dressed people.  They did not look like the guards or even the bandits they have encountered.  They had more stylized clothing in different colors of blue. Guards and others came and went from the large building that Dancer was on top of.  Only low noises could be heard, the occasionally word, but no loud partying.

At one point while watching, he was able to see two people go from the big building to the boat and seem to settle down for the night there.  The guards at the boat changed at least once while Dancer was watching.

With his spying complete, Dancer quickly made his way back to the party’s camp. He relayed what he found which only worried the group more since there were a fair number of opponents. When he described the two odd one’s going into the ship, Avery was able to identify the short man as a deep gnome, while the others suspected that the blue man was Genasi, but since they knew so little about them it was impossible to confirm.

It was then that their planning went forward with full force, although some of it seemed to involve launching people over the wall, to sneaking inside with the wagon, or maybe trying to have one person sneak in via the water entrance. They discussed where they might find the prisoners and if they could set the boat on fire as a distraction.

As a test ISAC decided to see how deep the river was.  While murky at the edges, the water got deep within 15 feet of the shore.  Given that the river was more than a mile wide at the narrowest point, this was expected. It might be a bit rough and slippery if ISAC attempted to walk along the inside edge of the river.

The end strategy seemed to be to approach from the water side and if possible, cause damage to the ship while making their attack.  Fogo decided that a second spying mission was needed to see how easily the group could approach from the water side and to identify any obstacles they might encounter.

Turning into a giant frog and swimming his way to the port side of the keep.  Swimming around to get an idea of what was there, he moved into the small acritical bay and found a gate in the cliff face that let further underground.  Looking through it, he could see an underground river that went off into the darkness.  Changing into a smaller frog he swam through the gate carefully.  A bit further down the along the river he found a set of steps that led out of the water and a couple of board moored there.  Two doors were visible on the landing.

Seeing that the river continued, Fogo decided to be following a long further.  As he went further down the tunnel, the water started moving faster and he could hear some roaring and crashing of water further ahead. It was then that the water around him seemed to animate into some sort of giant serpent that was able to track exactly where he was even in his tiny form. Combat ensued with Fogo attempting to swim away to get somewhere safe.

Crawling out of the water and rushing to one of the doors Fogo thought he might have made it to safety, but instead had run into a prison area with guards.  It did not take long for them to beat him unconscious, strip him of everything, and imprison him appropriately for being a magic caster of some sort.

Meanwhile the party kept waiting for Fogo, hours went by, and they realized that something bad had happened to their friend.  Hoping that Fogo was just trapped somewhere and not killed or captured, there was not much they could do right now. Not having any way to contact him, they waited for the morning to have Angelica prepare the Sending spell to see if they could reach out to him. Moving camp to ensure their location was not revealed they settled in for the night, all of them feeling a bit sad and uncomfortable.

19th of Kythorn of the year 1492

Morning rolled around and Angelica sent her message via Sending:

“Are you ok? Where in the fuck are you?! What the hell happened?! Please respond as soon as possible! We are all worried!”

“Alive. Captured. One cellmate. Everything is dark. Underground river attached to cove with dangerous snake. Narrowly escaped, then attacked by guys, and lost. Help.”

And this is where the session ended.

Campaign Notes

They found the pirate keep, or at least they found something that looked like it should be a pirate keep.  It was in the right location from what the Feathergale Knights told them.  They successfully completed one reconnaissance, but failed miserably at the second when they just went a little too far along the underground river.

Fogo is captured, maybe tortured a little, and now the party needs to seriously consider a rescue mission into a fortified camp.

Session 28-B – Chapter One

15th of Kythorn of the year 1492

After getting the messenger birds sent out the group packed up their camp and began the trip to where they had seen the shallow graves. Exiting the Sighing Valley, they slowly made their way around the foothills of the Sumber Hills.  It was near dark when they finally got to their destination for this day.  Deciding to set up camp near the graves, their travels for the day were over.

As they arrived, Vladimir received a message from Banmin Glehuruhr via magic in his head.

“Received message – already requested troops to ruined Moathouse – no more can be sent – Koganusân is too far away to help – you are on your own.”

Relaying the information to the party, Angelica was able to identify the word as Dwarvish which contained the word fort in it. Understanding he could reply, Vladimir said out loud to reply.

“Thank you. We may have survivors and even a wagon that could meet us may help if possible. Also, what is Koganooson?”

Fogo continued his excellent cooking for the party while everyone huddled around the fire until it was time to go to sleep and start the watches.  Before heading to bed, they discussed what they had learned or figured out about the Feathergale Knights.  While strange, they seemed to be nice except for a priest that as there.  The interesting point was that all of them seemed to have some sort of connection to the concept of air. It was not clear if they were part of the air cult, but minimally they might be influenced by the air cult. Vladimir also noted that they had not seen the air symbol anywhere in the Spire either.

Fogo made it clear that by not warning them before jumping off the Spire had frightened all the party that had not gone in with the rest. Fwoosh excitedly talked about how the knights also seemed to have Kenkus in their ranks.  He had not seen any is almost ten years when he was kidnapped. They started strategizing on how they should handle the upcoming earth monastery encounter, but they were all concerned with it.

The watches passed uneventfully, until Fwoosh was on watch.  While looking up at the sky, he saw the silhouette of a large bird fly by.  Judging by how the stars were blocked by the size of the bird, Fwoosh estimated that it had a wingspan of at least 50 feet.

16th of Kythorn of the year 1492

First thing in the morning, Vladimir received another message from Banmin.

“Koganusân is our city in Dessarin Hills – about a ten-day from Red Larch – it would be at least 20 days before they could there”

“Okay sounds good thank you for the information. We’ll be headed in shortly to the earth temple. Please let us know if there is anything”

It seems that both were not able to properly count to 25, the maximum size of the message. While Vladimir was communicating with the Dwarven priest, Fwoosh was telling his story about the large bird.  Both Avery and Fogo were able to possibly identify the large bird as a Roc, and that it was most likely a young one.  Since they can fly over 100 miles in a day, it could have come from any of the hills or mountains nearby, and that its favorite meal consists of young dragons.

Getting the camp packed up again, they headed to the north in search of the earth monastery.  Their path continued north.  Fog left a huge “x” on the ground in the hopes that if the Dwarves sent someone, they would be able to find them.  Their path continued and after passing a couple of box canyons. The trail narrowed preventing them from bringing the wagon with them.  After find the best sheltered space they could, they continued.  Eventually the trail narrowed to only about five feet, had a sharp turn which led to another large box canyon where they could see a large stone building in the middle of the canyon.

Earth Monastery

Keeping back to not be seen, the party hunkered down and started trying to plan on how to best do some reconnaissance. They agreed with the plan that Fwoosh would go up invisible, sneak around, and try to figure out what they were facing.  Going around clockwise looking into all the windows and trying all the doors he was able to get a fairly good idea of what the monastery was like and what might be in it.  From the number of beds and monks he could see, he estimated there might be as many as 50 earth cultists in the building.  The only interesting area was a tall stone wall that was different than the rest, and whatever was there, also did not have a roof.  There was also an entire side of the monastery that did not have any windows preventing him from seeing what might be there.

Heading back and updating the group, they had concerns about the entire endeavor. He explained that the people in the monastery were organized and fully equipped.  This was nothing like the Moathouse.  This was a fully functional facility. This all led to a lot more discussions around how to best approach in which they finally decided to have Dancer and Fwoosh go back at night to see if they can find an entrance they could sneak in and get more information.  They settled down until dark before he headed out.

Slowly moving around stealthily and hiding every 50 feet or so, they saw something moving near the monastery walls.  Looking closely, they could see six figures moving around.  These people were not stumbling in the dark and were looking around very carefully as if looking for intruders.  They were short, had beards, and were heavily armed.  One odd behavior was that they seemed to avoid the light from the windows and made sure they did not look into the lights at any time.  The two made them around until they were near the stone wall, and then waited in hiding.  It only took about ten minutes before the six guards came around.  They could be seen checking the doors and then moved on.

Moving quickly to the wall, Dancer easily climb the wall and revealed that on the other side was some sort of garden. There were several statues and a fair amount of greenery including several trees.  He was able to see several doors leading into the monastery from the wall’s edge. Deciding that coming back to let the party know what they found, they headed back and updated them all. Many plans were created and thrown away. Because of Angelica still slightly exhaustion and wanting to get a better idea of the guard situation, the group backed up to where their cart was and set up camp.  

While the rest were putting the camp up, Dancer got a little closer to watch the monastery.  He was not able to determine if the six guards were ever replaced, but they continued their rounds taking 15 to 20 minutes per lap which continued until it was about an hour before the start of sunrise.  They were no longer seen as soon as the glow of the sun could be seen at the edge of the horizon.

17th of Kythorn of the year 1492

With morning came another Fogo cooked breakfast and the rest were a slow-moving group.  Dancer was looking forward to getting a good sleep and only managed a cat nap when some visitors came by.  Coming from the monastery, a group of seven arrived at their camp.  The party moved forward to meet them.

“Who is there?”

“Us”

“Umm, we are here, hi.”

“Hi there travelers, we did not expect to see anyone out here.”

“Neither were we, because it is a one-way canyon.”

“Is it?”

“One-way through?”

“Oh.”

“So, there is no way out?”

“No.”

“Maybe you guys can help us then.  We are trying to get to Belard… Beliard?”

“You are not going to get there from anywhere here unless you catch a boat.  You will have all the way around to the Long Road and back.”

“Can someone pull out the map? Can you come here and help us look at the map? I just fear that we took a wrong turn.”

“We also had to find a place to camp for the night.”

“Show me the map.”

The two groups closed in on each other. Fwoosh handed off the crude map found on the leader of the bandit ambush from a few days ago.  The Earth Priest gave it a close look at had a confused, then concerned look on his face.

Bandit Map

“So, what we did is, we made it to Red Larch, but then we heard that Beliard is around here, and we thought we were coming down this road.  We tried to cut through some of the hills to save some time.  So, we rested here, we got in late last night.”

“You did not pay for this map, did you?”

“No.”

“Oh, no.”

“No.”

“We just asked some people at Red Larch.”

“At the bar in Red Larch.”

“So, you drew this? Because you do not have Beliard on here.”

“We did not draw it, one of the town’s people did.”

“But if you are heading to Beliard, why is it not on the map?”

“They just told us the general area; they did not know for sure. The person napping on top of the rock over there is our navigator.”

With that the priest looked in the direction that Fwoosh pointed to but did not see a single hair Dancer hiding there.

“If you follow the map and since it is on the north side of the hills, you should have gone north out of Red Larch, not south.”

You had the map upside down.”

“That probably would have made more sense.”

“Dummy.”

“Yeah.”

“What are you guys doing out here?”

“If there is only one way in what is behind you.”

“Yeah, that is a good question.”

“An interesting ‘X’ you have here that says ‘base’.”

“The base of what?”

“The ace of base?”

“I have no idea.  Like I said, out navigator must have been holding the map upside down.”

“Fwoosh, maybe it was on the other map.”

With that, the priest unleashed a Shatter upon the party and got the combat started. It was one of the more difficult fights that the party had with several of them being knocked unconscious.  They had not faced smart enemies much previously and ones that knew how to maneuver and find the best positions made it harder than they expected.

Earth Priest

Earth Knight

Earth Monk

With the combat over and the bodies checked, they did find Drowish Earth symbol on all the people, some on armor, some sewn into clothing, many had it on their weapons.  These were earth cultists. Stashing all the bodies in the wagon to keep them hidden, they had Avery Prestidigitation to clean up any blood spots that might be on the ground with Fogo and Dancer helping spot them. With everyone taking a short rest, Fogo cooked up a wonderfully supportive meal that seemed to allow everyone to heal a little better than they would have alone.  It was fortifying and tasty.

Understanding that staying here was probably not the best idea, they headed out of the hills and parked behind a large rock about an hour away. Once they found a spot in the grasslands, they buried the bodies and set up camp. They then waited for the next day to roll around again.  

18th of Kythorn of the year 1492

It was quiet besides the soft insect noises, but during Fog’s watch something interesting happened.  While he was keeping watch and looking to the south a voice came from behind him.

“You seemed to have lost something.”

Looking around he saw a shadowy figure disappear but leaving behind an armored person wearing nothing but a small tattered green cloak.  Fogo saw a somewhat familiar figure.

Shadowy Figure

And that is where the session ended.

Campaign Notes

The found the earth cultist base.  They expected it to be something closer to the Ruined Moathouse, but this was a full base with many people, and they were on guard for intruders.  The group managed some sneaky time, but never made it inside. Their final face off with a patrol almost went badly for them, but they survived.  Who is that figure that appeared at the end?

Session 27 – Chapter One

13th of Kythorn of the year 1492

With the morning started, Fogo start everyone off with a wonderful large breakfast for everyone. Fwoosh was disappointed with all the holes in his new tent, but as he was putting it away, Avery Mended the holes. While everyone was settling the camp, Dancer hunted down the bandit tracks.  The tracks were easily found and led west. Not wanting to attract too many predators, Fogo buried all bandits in a large pile using his Mold Earth magic.

The party then got the camp put away, the wagon and horses ready, and headed out to where they were told the graves had been found. They now had to decide which direction to go, continue heading to the graves and backtrack and find the bandit hideout.  Fogo pushed heavily for the graves concerned that there might be captive lives at risk while Dancer pushed for the hideout noting that there could be evidence as well as captives there.  The group chose Fogo’s path this time.

The rest of the distance was uneventful as they continued to head east and eventually a bit north to get to where they were told the graves had been found.  As they approached, they could see the silhouette of three very large birds that appeared to be eating something on the ground.  As the continued to get closer they could see that they were three giant vultures and there were three humans standing next to them, all watching closely. One of them in a fine set of plate stepped forward and motioned to the party to stop.

“Please wait a moment while we finish performing a sacred sky burial for our fallen brother-at-arms.”

Giant Vultures

Treyton Glemitsk (Feathergale Knight)

Those that were outside the wagon could see that the birds were eating something from inside two of the graves.  The loud crunching noises made it clear that they were consuming flesh and bones completely. The knight moved a bit closer to put himself between the graves and the party.

“Excuse me sir.”

“Just give us a moment, we are almost finished. Once we are finished you can do what you want here. Let us finish what we started.”

“The problem is that we are looking for some of these dead bodies and we are fine with them getting their food here but…”

“These are members of our knighthood that died here so we are taking care of the proper burial.”

It did not take long for the birds to finish eating what was assumed to be bodies from two of the graves.

Feathergale Initiate

“I appreciate you honoring our ritual.  We were surprised that our knights had been killed, and it took us some time to find out where they had been killed.  Their vultures had come back to the Spire, and we did not know where they were.”

“Which Spire would that be?”

“It is the knights of the Feathergale, our Spire is slightly to the west and north of here.  We patrol the area for brigands and other evil doers, and it seems that our knights got involved in what appears to be some sort of kidnapping by some sort of evil earth cult.”

“Are you a paladin order?”

“Why yes.”

“Then you might be able to help us.  We are looking for a trade caravan that was last seen in Beliard.”

“That might have been what happened here. When we see brigands, we attack when we can. From what we know from information we had gotten, that there was an ambush further north of here and that they had been traveling via the river.  Our knights had somehow thought they had them here, but there were more than they thought and were killed.”

The conversation continued with the party still wanting to explore the graves. More information was shared, but there was still one nagging point.

“I wonder who made the graves? This does seem to be out of the ordinary.”

“If it were the earth cultists, they are form believers that things should be put back into the earth, and even for foes they hated, they would still bury them.”

Oh

“There is the pirate base, and then there is the earth cult.  You are welcome to come back to the Spire with us, or just investigate here.”

Deciding to investigate at the graves first and then head to Spire for more information and possible allies.  When asked about other cultist, the knight claimed to only know about the evil earth cultists.  He knew about brigands, pirates, orcs, and the Uthgardt barbarians in the area, but not much about cultists. He knots that it was their 10th anniversary of their society and invited the group to the Spire to enjoy celebration.

When asked about the hippogriffs they had seen, he told them that the Feathergale knights do patrols over the entire value and regularly help save formers and merchants from bandits and orc raids. When asked about why they had not heard of the knighthood, the party was told that their knight-commander came from Waterdeep and because what they used for mounts it was very difficult to go to any of the small towns since the mounts would eat horses and most other beasts of burden.  Helping those in the more rural areas was more in line with the knighthood. He expressed his concern about the Iceshield orcs that continue to encroach into the eastern side of the hills and knew that they had built several war lodges on the western side of the High Forest.

As the questions continued, he pushed them to speak to his knight-commander Thurl Merosska back at the Spire and attend the party that they will be having. When mentioned they their mission seemed to be looking for trouble.  He warned them about the ogres, trolls, and even hill giants.  He mentioned that there are a lot of evil flying creatures to including manticores. The group explained a lot of what they had been doing and what different missions they had accomplished. The three then flew off on their vultures heading in the direction of where they had said the Spire was.

Once the knights were gone, the group went over to the remaining six graves to look.  The two open graves were mostly empty except for a few pieces of lingering flesh and bone that the vultures missed. After digging out the rest of the graves they found two people dressed in the livery of Mirabar, a tradesman of some type, and three people unusually dressed in some sort of unique stone armor. It was not an armor type they had seen before, and none of them were even sure how one would wear it properly. No weapons were found in any of the graves.  Looking around the area further, Avery was able to find a confusing collection of tracks, a broken arrow, and discarded javelin and the tatters of a grey cloak. He was also able to find some tracks going north as well as east from the grave location. Dancer decided to dig in deeper and look for tattoos on the bodies.  One of the ones in stony armor had a tattoo of the Drow Earth symbol over his heart. Dancer tried to convince them to take the piece of skin he had peeled off, but they just had Fwoosh make a copy and left the piece of skin back in the grave.

Drow Earth Symbol

The topic of the pirates and bandits were brought up that maybe they were both related to the cults and that is how some of the delegation evidence showed up in Womford. They were hoping to be able to find out more about from the knights once they get to the Spire. They traveled for a few hours and decided to camp for the night instead of continuing in the dark. After setting up camp they had their regular watches and were able to pass the night without incident.

14th of Kythorn of the year 1492

After hearing tales of manticores and other large flying creatures, Vladimir made sure he counted four horses in the morning, and they were all still there.  Nothing had bothered them all night long. It did not take long for them to put away the camp and get the wagon ready.  It only took a few hours before they found the mouth of the valley leading to the Spire.  They saw a giant vulture in the air above them.  It had just chased away a pair of antlered birds that seemed to be stalking their wagon.

The vulture rider indicated for them to follow the western side of the valley to get to the Spire.  They could see the tall Spire.  The very top was about 500 feet from the bottom of the valley.  The tower itself was over 100 feet tall itself. They could see that there was a drawbridge attached to the Spire that separated it from the side of the valley.  The entry to the valley was narrow and without the directions they had received, they would probably never have found it.  There were constant gusts of heavy winds filling the valley making travel unpleasant with the air always pushing against you.

Another surprise was that while there was a drawbridge to the tower, there was not much of a trail leading away from it.  It seemed that there was little ground traffic to the Spire. There were a pair of hippogriff riders that were flying high patrolling the area.  The two flew over briefly to look at the wagon and then flew off somewhere else. The drawbridge was down as they approached. Their wagon would not fit on it, and they would need to decide who went into the Spire, and who stayed behind guarding the wagon and horses.

Avery, Fwoosh, and Vladimir headed in while the rest stayed behind to stay with the wagon.  They were met by a female knight Savra Belabranta. When asked about what threats they might face by staying at the end of the drawbridge she told them that it was unlikely that anything overground or in the air probably would not approach them, but they suspected that there was an ankheg nest somewhere in the valley, and if there was, then there is also probably an ankheg queen as well.

Savra Belabranta

With Savra leading the way, the three of them went up the spiral staircase until they got to the banquet hall.  She explained that she had only been a member for about a year and had been recruited in Waterdeep.  She told them that she was told that the knighthood had built the tower at some point in the past. The room was filled with knights and initiates.  Food was piled high on the tables, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves at the feast. A heavily armed and armored man was sitting at the head of a large table. Savra introduced them to the knight-commander Thurl Merosska.

Thurl Merosska

“Welcome to Feathergale Spire, retreat of the Feathergale Society. I am Thurl Merosska, the lord commander. How can I help you and enjoy the food.”

“We heard you are celebrating your tenth year?”

“It is.”

Looking around, there also seemed to be a couple of priests and some men that were not armored but seemed to be militant in their movements. In a corner the group could see a half elf playing the flute with a small group accompanying him. It was less music and more noise, but it seemed that everyone just ignored them and the noise they were making. Avery approached one of the unarmored men.

Half-Elf Flute Player

“Pardon me good sir, do you mind if I ask your vocation?”

“I am part of the Feathergale Society.”

“Do you work magic?”

“Just being alive is magic. Being part of the air is magic.”

Unarmored Feathergale Man

While that was happening, Vladimir spoke with Thurl.  Asking about some food for his friends, Thurl ordered a feast to be brought out for the others outside. When asked about the aerial patrols, he explained that they were well known among the more rural people such as farmers and such. He expressed his favorable impression of the Paladins of Samular.

“We have heard that you have been engaged with the earth cultists.”

“Ah, evil men, evil men.  We know where their main camp is, well it is a ruined temple more than anything else. There are not enough of us to really take care of it.  We are airborne knights, not ground troops.”

“That does post some complications.”

They are earth people, they are ground troops, counter to us.”

“As it so happens, that we fancy ourselves a group of a particular thorn in the sides of the earth cultists.”

“I am glad to hear that.  I would be happy to tell you exactly where they are and if you could get rid of them, I would reward greatly.”

“That sounds great.”

The discussion went further on about their concerns and that they were looking for a trade delegation that they suspect had been ambushed.  Thurl revealed that they had captured one of the earth cultists and were able to get information out of him.  Which is how they knew where the knights had been killed.  He gave them the location of where they thought the ambush took place as well as the location of the earth cultist temple. He also brought up that there were also the pirates that seemed to have been involved and was also concerned about the pirate base on the River Dessarin in the foothills of the Sumber Hills. He did mention that only some of them were handed over to the earth cultist whereas the rest the pirates kept and brought those to their keep on the river.

The knight-commander also asked the three of them to explain more about what they have been doing.  He seemed fascinated with the stories and all that they had accomplished. When asked about the Bleeding Eye, he did not seem to know anything about them, or that organization? They also brought up the water cultists they had found and that there might be some relationship between the groups. Thurl kept asking questions since the stories they were telling was not very sequential, nor did it make sense many times. He also was interested in why they were pursuing the missing delegation.

Outside a feast for a dozen was brought out to the three guarding the wagon. The initiates that dropped off the food were interested in the three, especially since all three of them were from unusual races. Fogo was happy to oblige and told the initiates about the group. They continued to ask the rest about their past and more about them. Fogo was fascinated with the ritual that he had seen to which the initiates explained more about it. When asked about how they were involved, they explained that there are recruiters in many large towns and some of the process they went through. Dancer seemed confused about how militant orders worked and keep asking odd questions that confused the initiates a fair amount. Angelica impressed them by her ability to sprout wings and fly around for a minute. With the discussions completed, the Initiates head back in leaving the food behind.

“If you take out either location, it would be nice if you brought some prisoners back.”

“It has not been a priority yet, but we will see what we can do.”

“Cultists are kind of like ant nests.  If you kick one, many more hiding will come out. So, if you could bring some back that would be great.”

Thurl explained about having survived in storm which changed his life and combined with the politics in Waterdeep are complex, and many times hostile, he moved here with a few of his knights.

“I just mentioned your coming from Waterdeep because it seems like you have taken a very moral stance against the cultists.”

“Someone needs to. We also take a strong moral stance against all evil.”

“Would you describe yourselves as paladins?”

‘We say knights. Paladin implies some sort of religious order.  We are not religious.”

“You do not follow a god?”

“No necessarily.  We worship the knighthood.  We are just here to do what we feel is right.”

Vladimir kept looking into their possible religious connections, but Thurl kept denying it. When asked about their funding and the fact that they were able to build the Spire, he explained that the nobles of Waterdeep were very wealthy. Fwoosh was enamored with the large windows and the height that they were at. It was then that Fwoosh asked about going to the top of the tower. Thurl agreed but needed a few minutes to prepare. It was not long when they were able to start the trek upwards followed by the half-elf and one of the priests.  The top was a large green space with four small platforms that jutted out, each one in an ordinal direction.

“We have a test of courage here.  It is part of becoming an initiate.”

“Is it to jump off?”

“You must have a leap of faith and if the knights will save you before you hit the ground.  Would you like to take the test of courage?”

“Sure.”

Vladimir walked to the edge and jumped off.  Back at the wagon the shrill whistle from above the tower caused the three there to look up and were horrified as they saw someone fall from the top.  When looking closer, Angelica realized that it was Vladimir. The three panicked running to the drawbridge.  Dancer began ring the bell at the end of the drawbridge with a lot of vigor. They saw Vladimir’s limp and possibly dead body get carried back up to the top by a Giant Vulture and its rider. Dancer set up with his bow while Fogo and Angelica ran across the drawbridge where they were met by a knight.

“Woah, what is going on?”

“We just saw our friend fall of the top of the tower and saw what looked like his limp body being carried back to the top.”

“It is a test of courage, and he failed.”

Explaining more about the ritual he seemed to persuade Fogo that Vladimir was probably okay.  It was then that Fwoosh jumped off.  It was now that the others could see that has the jumper got close to the ground a knight would fly by and cast some sort of magic on them which slows their fall almost completely. Avery did not want to be left out but mentioned that he could handle it but could cheat.  

“That would not be much of a test of courage then would it be?”

Handing his spell focus, Avery walked off as well, but was not able to remain conscious either and had to be saved by a knight.  Thurl welcomed them to come back at any time but warned them they might consider walking so that they would all be able to stay inside the tower next time.  He warned them about the ankhegs as well. On the wat down, Vladimir tried having a conversation with the priest that had accompanied them.

Feathergale Priest

“So, you did not want to jump off as well?”

“I do not need the test of courage.”

“I thought everyone had to go through it.”

“Some of us do not need to.”

“You are just that courageous?”

“When you are already one with the air, it has no meaning to leap off.  There is no meaning for a leap of faith such as that when you already have your faith.”

“What faith gives you the wings to allow you to be in the air so confidently?”

“There are many ways of flying, relying on someone else to save you is not real courage. Leaping off knowing that someone will save is not courage.”

“You must be a lot of fun at parties.”

“I am not here to have fun, nor party.”

Finally, back at the entrance the group was back together again. Fogo was still in a bit of a panic, but they were able to convince him that everything was okay. Vladimir shared a lot of the details that he learned, and the group began strategizing on what they should do next. Deciding that camping in front of the Spire might be the safest place for them since getting to the edge of the valley before the sun sets would be impossible. Setting up camp and watches they got ready for the evening.  Dancer suggested that in the morning that they attempt to get the knights to carry them to their next location instead of taking the wagon everywhere. It was also suggested that they send a message to the Dwarves back in Red Larch to see if they can assist them or at least add in reinforcements somewhere. Fogo brought up that he could send an Animal Messenger in the morning to get a message to Red Larch and the Dwarves.

With night having arrived, the completed their dinner and started their watches and waited for the morning.

15th of Kythorn of the year 1492

It was during Angelica’s watch early in the morning before first light that she was startled by a sudden rush of sound and air as many large flying creatures seemed to have departed out of the Spire.  As she looked over, she could see that most of the windows had light in them which slowly flickered out. It was not much after that that morning arrived and the rest got up.  With the drawbridge up, Vladimir rang the bell.  It took a while, and someone finally yelled across the chasm at Vladmir. It was the priest that Vladimir had words with yesterday.

“What do you want?”

“We were hoping to get some assistance before we leave.  We were hoping to get a message of rather high importance back to Red Larch.”

“How are we supposed to do that?”

“We were hoping you might be able to send someone on a mount to get fly close enough to the town that they could deliver it.”

“All the knights left first thing this morning.  They got word of an orc raid on a farm east of the hills.  There are no knights here right now.”

“There are no knights to send a message?”

“There are no mounts left here. Even the patrol left.  There are no patrols right now in the valley.”

“Well, okay.  Then we will find another way to send our message.”

“Sounds good.”

With that path cut off for messages, they now had to rely on Fog’s Animal Messenger. Taking the camp down and moving to the entrance of the valley their day got started.  While on the trail, Fogo crafted his message that he was going to send.  Once it was ready, he cast his magic repeatedly until he had four identical messages being sent to Theldor Darkaxe.

“Delegation found. Earth cultists. Send soldiers and healers. Hug southern hills until x. Path goes north. Will mark terrain. We arrive Kythorn 16. From Vlad”

And this is where the session ended.

History

Founding and fall: Although the dwarfs of Besilmer had, in −4420 DR, settled overground under the leadership of Torhild Flametongue, they suffered constant attack from trolls and giants, which led to the construction of the underground fortress city of Tyar-Besil around −4320 DR.

Torhild Flametongue was killed in combat against a hill giant at Stone Bridge, and this led to the fleeing of the dwarves in the area, and later, to the complete abandonment of Tyar-Besil by −4160 DR.

Drow History: While much of the Drow history is shrouded in shadows, many times manipulated and even deleted, we do know that they were a large city under the Sumber Hills occupied by the Drow.  It is said that it sat somewhere between the Underdark and the surface, but still hundreds of feet below the surface. Because of its location, we are not sure of its purpose, and some devious purpose it would have had.  Drow is meticulous in their planning, and rarely do anything that is not to their benefit.  When and why, it was abandoned is unknown, but the Drow themselves have little recorded history of that excursion and city.  It is almost as if a division of the Drow moved there for some separate purpose, either driven away, or for some other nefarious plan.  Any location where they were Drow, there will also be multiple entrances to the Underdark.

Drow Ruins and the Construction of Tyar-Besil: The Dwarven excavations of their own city, while underground, did not reach the same depths as the Drow city, but there were the occasional connections between the two.  It is said that vaulted chambers with alters worshiping dark and evil gods were found more than once.  When found, these were all sealed off to keep the residents of Tyar-Besil safe from whatever had been found within.

Rediscovery: Tyar-Besil was rediscovered in 893 DR by an adventuring company called the Knights of the Silver Horn. Over the subsequent six years, the adventuring company continued to return to the ruined city and were able to construct strongholds at the hidden entrances to Tyar-Besil to protect it.

When the orc realm of Uruth Ukrypt gained power, leading to the Orcfastings War, the First and Second Trollwars, and drow raids, the human population of the Dessarin Valley was almost wiped out, and the Knights of the Silver Horn had disappeared. Their former strongholds, protecting the hidden entrances to Tyar-Besil, became known as the Haunted Keeps.

Layers: It is interesting to look at the depths of all the ruins.  One top sits the haunted keeps built six hundred years ago, which included many Dwarven settlements and ruins of that period, many of which are being found today. Below there are the mines that are still active by many Dwarven miners, and then Tyar-Besil which dates back over 6,000 years ago, followed by the unnamed Drow city that should be over 10,000 years old, and finally the Underdark.

Campaign Notes

The found the graves, the met the Feathergale Society, and now they are planning an assault on the evil earth cultists base.  What could go wrong?

Session 25 – Chapter One

30th of Mirtul of the year 1492

The afternoon started with the group discussing their next set of specific plans.  All of them wanted to rest a bit more after all the rough days and Fogo really wanted to finish his cooking lessons with Xaasz before they set off again.  Dancer would take all their gems and jewelry and sell them to the local underground black market – aka Jepos, while the rest would engage in low impact activity over the next ten-day.

1st of Kythorn to the 10th of Kythorn of the year 1492

Everyone renewed their rooms to ensure they were still able to stay at the Blackbutter Inn longer. Otherwise, everyone mostly went their own directions to accomplish different objectives over the next ten days.

Party Members:

Angelica: When not making scrolls, she trained with Vladimir with her new sword. Much like Vladimir, once she had enough gold, she went out at purchased a set of plate mail.

Avery Rockwell: Spent much of his time working with Fogo and Angelica on getting spells on scrolls from them so that he could copy them into his wizard’s spellbook. For the rest of his time, he wandered around to meet people, be friendly, and general socializing.

Dancer: Worked on little carvings of different members of the party.  He completed ones for Fwoosh, Vladimir, and ISAC. Not wanting to be left out of spending gold, at some point he had gone to Dhelosk and bought a quiver of Ehlonna to allow him to have a greater capacity without the weight.

Fogo: Healing from his near-death experience and works in the Blackbutter Inn’s kitchen for Xaasz to complete his chef training. During his time in the kitchen, he was able to figure out that all five of the goblins in the kitchen are alchemists. Wanting to further his knowledge about Mystra, he ordered a religious text to get a deeper understanding of Mystra.

Fwoosh: He worked on his replacement mask for several days. Checking in with Jepos to see if had heard back about his missing friends in Waterdeep, but there was not any new news. The rest of his time he practiced his different performances. He was also diligent about collecting some bear claws and sharing them with the children at the sundries store. Once the Dwarves arrived, he collected his reward from Vallivoe for letting him know they would be coming.  He was not the proud owner of a very nice pocket watch.

ISAC: While he does not have a spellbook, he did get Angelica to make a bunch of spell scrolls for him. He also stocked up with many healing potions.

Vladimir Miller: For most of his time Vladimir was spent training with his new maul as well as with Angelica to help her understand her new sword. Once the coin arrived from selling the gems and jewelry, he ran off to the Tantur’s Smithery to get his plate mail ordered. At some point he had collected the horses, picked up the wagon, and brought them back to the farm. The most exciting thing he did was to write a letter home, with whom he had not communicated with for several years now.

Happenings in Red Larch on Specific Days.

1492-06-01:

  • Avery’s scroll (Comprehend Languages) is ready from Dhelosk.
  • Party’s wagon has been repaired at Thelorn’s Safe Journeys in Red Larch.
  • Alfred takes over Gaelkur’s in Red Larch and renames it Alfred’s Shop.

A few of the party members went over to welcome Alfred to his new shop and the only oddity was that Marlandro had removed every possible piece of paper or evidence of any business from the shop.  He had also left behind what appeared to be some jewelers’ tools, or at least the larger ones, since all the fine tools were gone.  Alfred had packed everything in a box that they looked at but were clueless at what it might have represented.

Alfred

1492-06-06:

  • Coin from party selling gems and jewelry to Jepos Copperhand arrive.

1492-06-08:

  • Grafaerd Ulamoira helpers arrive from Bargewright Inn to help with the Galloping Wheelworks in Red Larch.

1492-06-09:

  • The party moved their wagon and horses to the Wagonworks as a closer location to be able to use them.
  • Contingent of Dwarves arrive to take care of the Tomb under Red Larch.

1492-06-10:

  • Jaleesa Orna becomes mayor of Red Larch, and her husband Harburk became the official constable of the town.
  • Bryllyn Trollfist takes over the Mellikho Stoneworks and immediately starts work on carving out stones to fix the sinkhole.
  • Theldor Darkaxe asked about the maul that Vladimir had found.  He told him what little he knew about the maul. Vladimir also revealed that they had found an old ruined Moathouse to the south of Red Larch. When Vladimir brought up the Dwarven books they had purchased, he suggested that they be brought to Banmin Glehuruhr for more information.

While at the Helm and gambling with the Dwarves, the captain of the Dwarves, Theldor Darkaxe, took Vladimir to the side for a conversation.

“That is a mighty fine maul you have there, where did you get it from?”

“[We practiced this.] We ventured into a Moathouse to the southeast of here. It was filled with several different bandits and ne’er-do-wells, and we cleared it out and this was one of the things that one of them had. “

“That maul is from a famous Dwarf slayer from over 4000 years ago.”

“A Dwarf slayer?”

“Yes, he basically did not like a lot of different particular creatures and liked to hit them.”

“Oh.”

“He was very proficient; he was even known for haven taken out an ancient dragon at one point.”

“Our party has been encountering a lot of the Dwarven history around here, and it seems that even the Moathouse the bandits were in was a Dwarven fortress of sorts.”

“Oh, really?”

“And so, I wonder if they have been using some of these areas as hide outs and that might be where they picked it up?”

“He was known to be in the valley. His name was Angrboda Gog. He is legendary, but not much was known about him, but he was known for his maul and the dragon biting itself on the head of the maul. This is how I was able to recognize it.”

“You know, I have been playing around with this for the last few days and getting used to it, and it is very powerful, but it is just not quite as powerful as it could be. I am not sure if there is something particular about Dwarven weapons that lends itself to that?”

“It is an ancient weapon.  We do not know much about that time. He is just a legend and known to bath in the blood of his enemies and bashing them all to pieces. This was pretty much his only weapon.  He was known for bathing in the blood of dragons, demons, giants, and wading through hundreds of orcs.”

“He seems like an impressive man.”

“He hated them. He is known for his hate of those four species. He swore he would come back from the dead just to haunt and kill more of them if he could. He was a vicious Dwarf, but we are very proud of him.”

“It seems like Dwarves are very proud of their history.  We also came across a few books of Dwarven lineage. I do not know if those would be of interest to you. They are dull, and in all honesty, full of a lot of begetting.”

“If you could bring them all, I will happily look at them. You should talk to our priest, especially if you have any books of lineage.  He would be a much better person to talk to.”

Theldor Darkaxe

11th of Kythorn of the year 1492

Starting off the morning with a well-cooked breakfast cooked by Fogo, everyone was happily surprised that it was not only tasty, but well balanced. Everyone was pleased that they now had a good cook to help them on their long-distance trips. Everyone noticed that Dolores was hanging out all the time, although she was much more translucent than normally. Fwoosh excitedly showed off his new pocket watch. Vladimir talked about meeting the Dwarves and that they were interested in the Dwarvish books they had purchased.

Dolores

Their next set of discussions were around how to deal with Dwarvish ruins and tombs in the future, as well as what they should focus on next.  Dancer was all for the place called Treasure cave.  Everyone else seemed to be interested in making a trip to Amphail for a variety of reasons. Dancer asked about the coded ledger, and Avery wanted to participate in the conversation with the new Wagonworks owner.

When brought to Grafaerd and asked if there was any related paperwork, he was not sure since they were still cleaning up.  He told Dancer via finger talk that they were coded somehow, but it would take him some time to work through them, if he could. Avery kept trying to get into the conversation, but Grafaerd did not have anything that he was sharing with him. They finally left the ledgers with Grafaerd to see if he could figure something out.

Grafaerd Ulamoira

Vladimir and Angelica headed to the entrance to the old Dwarven Tomb. The guards seeing Vladimir waved him forward.  It seemed that they were expecting him. They could also see a large pile of carved rocks piled up near the entrance.

“I’m going to win that card game next time.  I have been practicing.”

“It is more about luck though.”

“No, we just need to feed you some ale, and then we will win more.”

“Then we will get you to face the real challenge the next time.”

“What is that?”

“The little bird guy that travels with me and deadly with cards.”

“Is he now, well we do not like card sharks, we prefer people like you.”

A little more banter revealed that it was Vladimir and his party that had asset off the massive poison trap in the tomb room.  The guards also mentioned that the cultists were just weird, and that someone had spun around one of the floating holy stones, and that too was revealed to be the party. Feeling embarrasses Vladimir and Angelica quickly made their way down into the tomb before he inadvertently confessed to more war crimes.

Dwarven Tomb Guards

They made their way to the shrine room and saw a pair of Dwarven acolytes cleaning the statues and tidying up the area of all the ashes that seemed to be piled up in front of one of the statues. What appeared to be the head priest was in the middle of the room surveying everything within it.  Hearing the two of them come down the ramp, the priest came over to them.

“What are you here for?  Oh yeah, Darkaxe said you had some books you wanted me to look at.”

“Yeah, we were in the sundry store, and we were curious with all the Dwarven history here if there were any Dwarven books, and they happened to have these three, which we looked through and they appear to just be genealogy books.”

“Can you bring them out?”

As the priest began flipping through the books, a quick flash of concern and shock could be seen on his face by Vladimir.

“Where did you say you got these books?”

“In the sundry store.”

“That’s the one at the end of town?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s troublesome, I’ll have to go speak to him and see where he got them from.”

“You seemed pretty shocked looking through these.”

“Well, these are books from Mirabar. There was a contingent of Dwarves that came down from Mirabar. They were showing the flag and visiting different towns. One of them were carrying these books and the whole delegation is missing. They disappeared somewhere in the northern part of the Sumber Hills. I don’t know how their books got down here. It might be good to investigate this.”

“How long ago did they go missing.”

“More than a week ago. We have been concerned.”

“Well, this is not the first time we have heard of people going missing in this area and taken off the road.”

“They were not here, they were in the northern part of the Sumber Hills on their way to Summit Hall and other places, but they never got there.  There are people checking on it, but we have not heard anything.  Have you heard anything about the missing Mirabar delegation?”

“No, we do not think so.  We have been lacking any information about Dwarves in the area.”

It was then that Vladimir remember the guard they had rescued from Lance Rock, Gef Rilisk.  He had said he had been in a trade delegation from Mirabar, and it had Dwarves in it.

“Oh, wait a second.  The guard we had rescued from Lance Rock.  He had said he was part of the Mirabar trade delegation.”

“That would have been them.”

The discussion continued with the story of the rescue, and finally giving the assignment to Vladimir and Angelica to go find out more about what had happened with the delegation in exchange for having desecrated their tomb and setting off numerous traps inside. He also looked at the maul and was not sure if it was from the legendary maul or not. Vladimir was also curious about the floating rocks and what they were and was told that they were to be set up for different constellations for different religious days.

The priest seemed amazed that there was not a clear leader of Vladimir’s group and had a lot of mocking words for them about that.

Banmin Glehuruhr

The two rejoined the rest of the group at the Blackbutter Inn and started filling them in about what had been discussed. The group seemed a little surprised that their trip to Amphail might have been derailed and that they now needed to hunt down a missing delegation to appease the Dwarves for having tomb robbing and setting off the poison trap filling part of the tomb. They decided that finding Gef Rilisk the former Mirabar trade delegation guard would be a great start to their newly assigned adventure.

Splitting up to try and be more efficient to find him. Realizing that they had been seeing him in town, but just did not socialize with him after the rescue.  He had been seen at the Helm, the Market, and just in town in different places. They also needed to query Endrith about here he had bought those books. The topic of the trade bars they had found on the earth priest that was in the tomb was also reviewed.  They suspected these might have also come from the missing delegation. This caused them to spin off with some fanciful theories, but without some more solid evidence, they would not be anything but fanciful.

Fwoosh and ISAC ran off to the sundries store, Avery and Fogo visited to Mother Yalantha’s, and finally the group of Angelica, Dancer and Vladimir went to the Helm.

At the Sundry store Fwoosh was swarmed by the children there hoping for more bear claws but were only disappointed since Fwoosh was on business this time and not a pleasurable bear claw run. Asking Endrith about the Dwarven books and where he had gotten them. They were told that a passing merchant going through town had acquired them in Womford from some shady guy on the wharf. Endrith did not have much else to tell them about the books, but suggested they go down to Womford for more information.

Endrith Vallivoe

Wandering to Mother Yalantha’s, the two there engaged her in conversation about Gef and it seemed that there was a lot more room for rent now since eight of her renters had suddenly left and had not returned.  They had been rough looking men that had a mean look about them.  They even left all their small luggage as if they had just disappeared.  When asked about Gef, she explained that he had been helping around the establishment and had been waiting for word his friends that he had gotten separated from.  He was doing odd jobs around town and was helping at the Helm working as a bouncer. With that the two of them headed to the Helm.

Yalantha Dreen

Back at the Helm the last trio looked around for Gef they find him standing off at the side keeping an eye on the room and especially a pair of arm-wrestling Dwarves. Approaching him, they began to ask about the caravan he had been in and if in fact it was the Mirabar trade delegation.  He confirmed it all to them. When told that the delegation was missing, he was surprised and worried for his friends.  He wondered how that had been possible with over 20 guards and that the whole caravan was nearly 50 people. Dancer asked about where he had been kidnapped and he told them that it had been on the Stone Trail just south of Westbridge. The caravan had been heading to the Stone Bridge, Beliard, and Summit Hall.

Convincing Gef that he should go talk to Banmin about what he knew and that he had been from the delegation, they got ready to go. Heading off to the quarry to gain entrance to the old tomb, they were waved in by the guards there, but not before they commented on the group’s pet cat, Dancer. Several insulting words later, they entered the cave complex. Having Gef explain his story about the kidnapping and subsequent rescue did not really impress Banmin much. It was then that Gef revealed that he had heard someone talking in the Helm about the fact that they had seen the delegation in Beliard. The person had been a guard with another merchant and had gotten into a fight with a member of the delegation.

Gef Rilisk

Heading back to the Helm with Gef, they were able to meet up with the rest of the party. Sharing what each found out with the rest, they came up to speed quickly.  Asking about the trade bars, Gef explained the purpose of the bars and confirmed they were from the trade group.  There was a little maker’s mark on each bar that gave its origin. The delegation had bars of many different types of ores including Mithril and Adamantine. The discussion start going around the topic of cultists and that they had been finding them in many different places around the valley, and that it seemed that a lot of the different concerns and problems that have been happening were very likely related to these cultists. During the discussion, Gef told them the breakdown of the caravan, the important members, and that there were many others there.

After waiting around playing old maid for three hours, a large half-orc woman walked into the Helm munching on a large pickle.  Gef pointed her out and said she was the one that had seen the delegation last in Beliard. She ordered a meal and several ales and sat down to eat.  Avery, the smallest and least assuming of the group went over for a chat.  

Purchasing a new round of drink for her, Avery asked about the trade group in Beliard.  She complained about how four of them had jumped her, and she was not even satisfied with it. She did say that she was satisfied with Grund but was worried his hips and endurance would not be able to keep up. When asked about the caravan, she said she had seen them leave Beliard, but did not know much more.  She did let them know that there is a priest in town staying at the Swinging Sword that had seen them as well. When Avery started explaining everything, they knew about the caravan including the future destinations, she did not have much to say about that except that there were rumors of hill giants in the area near Beliard.

Half-Orc Guard

Crossing the street to get to the Swinging Sword, they were met inside by Kaylessa Irkell the owner. Asking about the priest, they were directed to a table where the half-elf was daintily drinking a glass of wine.

Kaylessa Irkell

The entire group crowded around the priest making him a bit nervous, but he still greeted them. ISAC understanding that it did not look good to have everyone there found a nearby table to sit at with some of the others. Avery started his interrogation right away. He asked about the Mirabar delegation, and the half-elf said he had seen them in Beliard around the 26th of Mirtul and that they had said they were headed to Summit Hall and then further south, and eventually up to Red Larch. Once again revealing that the delegation was missing, the half-elf seemed surprised and concerned. The half-elf had come a more direct way over Larch Path, a muddy and much smaller path that usually had room for wagons assuming there were not any mud slides across the road. He also mentioned that there were rumors of hill giants and ogres wandering the hills as well as strange fires being seen at a distance, groups of people wearing gold masks, and hippogriffs and other large birds in the flying air.

Half-Elf Priest

Standing in the middle of the main room, they started discussing what they had found and some of the connections they might have figured out between the visions and clues they had found so far.  Unaware, they were starting to draw more attention to themselves once again. The group started trying to figure out which direction and place they should go next. Dancer wanted to make sure that they visited the “Treasure Cave” on their way to Beliard. It was then that Dancer pointed out that continuing the conversation where they were might be a bit weird and suggested they go to one of their rooms to finish their talk.

It was there that they continued their strategy making.  Fogo was for pushing ahead sooner and not pick up his armor in Amphail since he was concerned that the more time that went by, the more of them that might be killed. He based this from what had happened to the Ammakyl family merchants and guards.  They started with over 40 and ended up with less than ten in the end. Planning on starting first thing in the morning they were not sure if they could take the wagon or not. Fwoosh ran downstairs and asked about the best route to Beliard and if they should take the Larch Path or the Long Road through Westbridge. They gave some options and their thoughts, and with that Fwoosh went back to the room with the others. Not satisfied with those answer, Fogo ran back to the Swinging Sword to talk to the priest to ask about the condition of the Larch Path. Told that the path was open and that there should be room for a wagon, Fogo ran back. With that everyone voted for taking the Larch Path to Beliard and hoping that it would be quicker for them.

It was then that…

All of you pause for a moment.  You look around seeking something.  Your eyes are causing you a slight pain, your head has a dull ache, and your entire body feels like there are tiny pin pricks occurring all over it.  As you look around you can see that nothing else is moving, nothing, except the group of you. You can see the curtains by the window that were fluttering a minute ago are frozen and unmoving, yet still furled as it they were caught in a moment. You can feel that you are breathing, but there is no air movement, as if everything was just still.  Unlike all the visions and dreams you have had; you know you are awake and can feel.  It feels like reality has glitched somehow.

It was then that all the color from everything around you begins to slowly drain away until everything is in simple black and whites.  Even your hands and others around you are also standing there in a stark black and white.

You hear a voice from behind you, and as you look you see that ISAC is at the edge of the room away rest of the group.  He seems a frozen and unmoving.  Everything around you is in such a sharp focus, sharper than anything else you have ever seen, almost painfully sharp.  On ISAC’s shoulder is a black leather gloved hand resting there, not putting any pressure, but also not letting go. You cannot see the figure behind ISAC, it is just not tall enough, or wide enough, or just not quite in focus enough.

“All of you are just rats in a cage.”

You are unable to move, but you can feel the malice coming from the unknown figure.  You can feel the hatred rolling toward you.

“I have been told I am impetuous, that I am not patient, and even quick to anger.  I have also been told to not interfere, to let everything play out, that all of you are good little rats. Sigh, yes, all of that is true, but I cannot just wait around no matter how much I might be punished.  I feel the need to push, it is just my nature.”

“So, here is a little push from me. Be good little rats and run along.”

The mouth on ISAC’s scarred and pained face opens but no sound comes out, it appears that he is trying to scream, scream something, scream in pain, in anger, or just scream, but nothing comes out.  As you look his face, which you know is a mask, started pixelating in small boxes, and then larger ones.  The mask starts stretching out from between his eyes further than is believable when a black blade emerges sliding smoothly through ISAC’s head.

The mask shatters and the pieces fall, but all turn into whisps of smoke before they can reach the ground.  ISAC’s face a hard combination of metal and what appears to be wood, has no expression, but is still attempting to scream, scream as loud as he can, but no sounds leave his mouth.  The small gems that are his eyes start blinking rapidly as if they are trying to send a message that no one can understand.

The blade is quickly drawn out but fades into smoke as it is removed.  ISAC’s body starts to fall forward, but what you can see of his face start corroding, melting, and turning into crumbling dust.  His body falls forward but the only thing that crashes to the ground is his clothing and gear.  His body is nowhere to be seen except for some dust and ashes blowing around and away from the body.

It is then you can see the figure.  It seems to be a he, from the voice and figure, but he is not tall, nor short, just a medium height.  He is covered from head to toe in black leather with various weapons stashed on his waist, and a leather mask covers his face leaving it unseen.  As you attempt to move, to look closer, to understand what has just happened, the figure also fades away in a wisp of smoke.

As he disappears color starts seeping into the world around you.  The unnaturalness that pervaded everything is fading.  Once the color has once again moved into where it should have been, everything starts moving around you again.

Dark Figure

And this is where the session ended.

History Lesson

Forlorn Hills

Description

The Forlorn Hills was a hilly region in northwest Faerûn between the Dessarin Valley and the Delimbiyr Vale. The hills were once the center of the ancient shield dwarven kingdom of Dardath—one of the three kingdoms in Phalorm, the Realm of Three Crowns—and were then called the Dark Hills. After the triumvirate collapsed in the Year of the Lamia’s Kiss, 615 DR, the Dark Hills became known as the Fallen Hills or, more commonly, the Forlorn Hills. The people of Athalantar called them the Horn Hills. Some folks mistakenly called them the Sword Hills, confusing them with a smaller range of hills on the south bank of the Delimbiyr.

Geography

The Forlorn Hills were located east of Ardeep Forest, across the swath of open land that contained the House of Stone and was once the realm of Elembar. To the south was the Delimbiyr Vale and the River Delimbiyr. The Iron Road ran southeast from Womford, skirting the northern edge of the Hills, until it reached the village of Uluvin on the eastern edge. The town of Secomber was farther to the southeast. To the northeast was the High Forest and to the northwest was Gaustar’s Creek, a tributary of the river Dessarin.

Geographical Features

The Forlorn Hills were once part of the great forest that included Ardeep Forest, but dwarves cleared portions of it and then later humans from Athalantar put the western side of the Hills (known as the Halangorn Forest) to the torch to drive the remaining elves away from lands they wished to claim. The hollows between the hills were often in the shadow of the surrounding peaks and thick mists typically obscured vision until highsun.

By the time of Phalorm, the landscape was stony, and the hills were isolated in places. The line of hills that formed the northern border of the area were known as the Watchers of the North. There was a high ridge that arced through a portion of the Hills near the center. It was here that the mansion known as the House of Taeros once stood before it and part of the ridge were destroyed in a spell battle around the end of the 6th century DR, leaving behind the ruin known as the Crumbling Stair.

History

Since the time of the First Flowering, elves held sway over the surface of the Forlorn Hills. Initially it was the moon elves and green elves of Illefarn and Ardeep, then it was the gold elves of Aryvandaar during the Crown Wars. The area saw a resurgence of Illefarn and Ardeep after the defeat of the Vyshaanti of Aryvandaar at the beginning of The Founding Time.

Dwarves established settlements beneath the Forlorn Hills sometime in the early part of The Founding Time, if not before. At the very latest, they were there to take in refugees from Besilmer when that above-ground dwarven realm was wiped out by hill giants and other creatures in −4160 DR.

In the time leading up to the founding of Phalorm, the dwarves established their underground realm of Dardath, but above ground the human realms of Elembar (in the Year of the Risen Towers, 146 DR) sprang up on the west side of the Hills and Athalantar (in the Year of the Murmuring Dead, 183 DR) on the east. Athalantar had ambitions to take over the Hills and set fire to the Halangorn Forest between Elembar and the Hills to drive out any inhabitants. Ultimately, this tactic failed when Elembar moved into the Halangorn uplands and established noble houses such as the House of Taeros and what became known as the Moon Tower. The untamed portion of the Hills remained the habitat for bandits and monsters. In the Year of Many Mushrooms, 238 DR, the young Elminster was an outlaw, hiding from the magelords of Athalantar in what they called the Horn Hills. Athalantar was destroyed by an orc horde in Year of the Cantobele Stalking, 342 DR and Elembar suffered the same fate in the Year of the Fortress Scoured, 511 DR.

Phalorm, the Realm of Three Crowns, was chartered in the Year of Trials Arcane, 523 DR, and the dwarves of Dardath became part of the triumvirate along with the elves of Ardeep and the humans from Delimbiyran (the last remnant of Elembar). The dwarven population of the Hills grew during this time as refugees from the Duchy of Hunnabar fled a troll incursion in the Year of the Supreme Duelist, 592 DR. Phalorm lasted less than a century. Dardath suffered the death of their king, Oskilar Ironaxe, in the Year of the Shattered Scepter, 614 DR, and the elves withdrew from the alliance, many leaving for Evermeet, the following year. Delimbiyran, under King Javilarhh II, claimed all the lands previously belonging to Phalorm and named it the Kingdom of Man in the Year of the Ensorcelled Kings, 616 DR.

The Kingdom of Man was ultimately unable to stem the invading hordes in the face of internal strife after King Davyd was assassinated in the Year of the Triton’s Horn, 697 DR. The dwarves of the Forlorn Hills continued to drift apart after the death of King Oskilar and, in the Year of the Lamia’s Kiss, 615 DR, the loss of most of their fighting forces. Dwarf holds became defensive and isolated, depleted further by emigration to Ammarindar. They even went so far as to pretend a plague had swept through Firehammer Hold, hoping the ruse would keep enemies at bay.

The Kingdom of Man devolved into lesser realms including the human Calandor, Scathril, Loravatha, and Starshadow; the halfling Duchy of Imristar; and the gnomish Duchy of Gloraela. Roughly, the northwestern quarter of the Fallen Hills was claimed by Loravatha, including the House of Taeros/Crumbling Stair. Many of these small kingdoms fell one by one under the relentless assault of orc raiders until finally, in the Year of the Clutching Death, 702 DR, the Duke of Calandor was able to muster an army strong enough to defeat the invaders.

For centuries thereafter, the dwarves maintained a relatively low profile in the Forlorn Hills, but the story about a plague-devastated Firehammer Hold eventually became an attraction for adventurers instead of a repellent. The clerics of Haela Brightaxe that controlled what they called Torstultok, the Hall of Grand Hunts, had little choice except to try and redirect these would-be tomb raiders by hiring them to seek out and clear other dwarven holds that were known to have been taken over by orcs. Eventually, the old Firehammer Hold became a nexus for dwarves and other races looking for glory and treasure. By the Year of the Unstrung Harp, 1371 DR, the priests had spread rumors and placed clues around the region to lure more adventurers to spend their money and sell their loot at Firehammer Hold. The most well-known example was a map scrawled on the wall of a small room in the Singing Sprite inn. By the Year of Rogue Dragons, 1373 DR, there were several dwarf clans making their home in the Forlorn Hills.

In the late 15th century, Firehammer Hold was conquered by duergar from the Underdark in a plot instigated by the Red Wizards of Thay. The evil wizards also began building a small fortress called Bloodgate Keep on the west side of the Forlorn Hills, far from any large settlements, for use as a base for invading the Sword Coast via a portal from Thay.

Notable Locations

In the Year of Prideful Tales, 1219 DR, Lord Geldirth Gost of Waterdeep began constructing a secret underground complex with a series of portals that eventually emerged in a secluded cave on the southern slopes of the Forlorn Hills. Other interesting locations included:

Crumbling Stair

The Crumbling Stair is all that remains of Taeros, a grand, turreted mansion that once stood proudly amid fanciful gardens adorned with fountains and pools. The house sprawled along a curving ridge in the heart of the human-ruled barony of Loravatha. Originally built by a merchant lord, Taeros became a school of arcane study for young lasses seeking to master sorcery under the direction of his widow, the sorceress Ybrithe. Twenty years after the founding of the school, the mansion was torn apart by southern mages seeking to plunder whatever they could. But before they could seize Ybrithe’s treasures, a latent magic trap blew apart the ridge, Taeros, and all the surviving attackers.

The Crumbling Stair now rises from broken lands overgrown with scrub woods. The weathered staircase, made of green-veined white marble, rises six or so steps into the air from a dark hole at its base. Beyond this aperture is a long corridor with a few attached rooms that once served as extensive cellars. The fore chambers are home to the maddened ghost of one of the attacking wizards and some sort of creature— possibly an all-consuming hunger (Und)—that leaves glowing slime-trails on the walls, floor, and ceiling. In addition, the phantom of a half-elf sorceress sometimes appears to point out collapsed tunnels and forgotten secret doors leading to a large warren of catacombs, which are said to be home to some sort of beholder.

Floating Tower of Ondil of the Many Spells

The northern edge of the Forlorn Hills was marked by a line of hills known as the Watchers of the North. Immediately south of them was Ong Wood – and unbeknown to most folk, a secluded vale at the western end of the Watchers held the legendary Floating Tower, home, and later tomb of the mighty archwizard Ondil of the Many Spells. Once guarded by liveried griffons who drove intruders away, it was found the Bright Blades adventuring band (when Elminster – as Elmara – was their mage). The tower’s name came from the fact that mighty magics held it up, floating unsupported high above the ground, after its lower floors had collapsed.

Tales say Ondil had withdrawn into this spell-guarded tower even before Netheril’s rise to greatness, to craft many new and powerful spells. He was reportedly so mighty in magic that he was able to hide his tower from all Netherese mages. Older tales said Ondil had been a sorcerer of Thaeravel, the land of mages from which Netheril sprang (believed to lie – then as now – under the sands of Anauroch).

Moon Tower of Elembar

Little remained of Elembar’s northern settlements after the invasion of an orc horde shattered the realm. One notable exception, however, is the Moon Tower of Elembar, an ethereal spire visible only on the nights of the full moon. Thought to have been the domicile of Elembar’s mage royal, this mysterious figment has spawned many fanciful tales. The Moon Tower of Elembar can be accessed via the Border Ethereal, but the magic-laden ruin is well guarded by the ghosts of its defenders, the ancient constructs that keep watch over it, and an advanced ethereal marauder that uses the place as a lair.

Torstultok (Firehammer Hold)

Torstultok, or the Hall of Grand Hunts, is a temple-fortress of Haela Brightaxe. The place is well known among the Stout Folk of the North for the all-dwarf and mixed-race adventuring companies its inhabitants sponsor to reclaim long-lost dwarven relics from orc held halls.

Torstultok lies within a sprawling complex of tunnels and grand halls beneath the eastern end of the Watchers of the North — the line of tors that marks the northern edge of the Forlorn Hills. Torstultok was known as Firehammer Hold before the Fallen Kingdom fell, and much treasure is still ascribed to the latter name in the tales of the North. Those same legends claim that the dwarves of Firehammer Hold perished in a plague shortly after the founding of the Kingdom of Man, but in fact the dwarves’ numbers had dwindled over time, and the leaders of the hold planted false evidence of a deadly plague to increase the security of the dwarves who remained.

An unexpected consequence of this action was the arrival in subsequent centuries of treasure-hungry adventurers seeking long-lost hordes of dwarven gold. To assuage the anger of such would-be plunderers, the dwarves hired them to seek out other dwarven holds that they knew to be occupied by orcs. From this tradition evolved the hold’s current role as a clearinghouse for battle-loving dwarves and adventurers of other races who sought glory amidst the ruins of long-fallen dwarven kingdoms. In recent times, Haela’s clergy have even begun to lure adventurers to the temple deliberately with ancient-looking, incomplete maps and other enticing items. Such a map may be found on the walls of a not-so-secret hidden room in the Singing Sprite—a slate-shingled, many-gabled stone inn located in the bowl at the center of the three hills upon which the village of Secomber is built.

Campaign Notes

A small lapse of time so that everyone could get personal stuff done, and then digging into the Dwarvish books.  Chapter One has started with the missing delegation.  ISAC is murdered in front of the entire party by some unknown figure.  The next session will prove to be interesting.

Session 24 – Intermission

29th of Mirtul of the year 1492

Already tired and ready to head back to Red Larch, the party was surprised by a nasty goblin assassin and a thuggish half-ogre. The battle, like many, did not last very long, but this one proved to be a bit more dangerous than many of those that came before.  The half-ogre was able to stand fast and weather many blows before falling, allowing him to pin in place several of the characters while the goblin was able to sneakily hide and fire from his hidden positions doing incredible damage with his bow shots and poison. Most of the party fell and were only saved through timely heals and magic.

Goblin Assassin

Half-Ogre Thug

With both ambushers’ dead, the group quickly looted the bodies and made for Red Larch as quickly as possible hoping to avoid any additional hostile encounters. Carrying along the body of the dead Goblin, Fogo seemed sure that this goblin meant something important.  Heading to the constable’s office they found no one there, and after banging on several of the other buildings they finally found one of the butchers who allowed them to store the body in the freezer for the night.

Their current home, the Blackbutter Inn still had the front doors open but the main room was empty. They made their way to their rooms, and everyone collapsed into sleep quickly, except Vladimir, who gleefully cradle the ancient Dwarven maul in his lap to become more acquainted with it before heading to bed with it at his side.

30th of Mirtul of the year 1492

The next morning was as normal as it could be as they all slowly came downstairs and started breakfasting in the main room.  Dhelosk was at his counter, and Delillia managing the tables.  The room had few other customers since most of the merchants who stayed here usually got moving early in the morning. Dhelosk gave Fogo some odd looks since his fur was still patchy and missing large chunks.

“Do you have anything to fix that?”

“I’ve never had that problem. Maybe if Fogo goes and talks to Xaasz maybe he can do something for you.”

Dhelosk Quelbeard

Fogo made his way into the kitchen and saw all the goblins scurrying around, that is until they saw his bedraggled state.  He was then the center of attention by the small group of goblins that seemed to be staring and evaluating his condition. Xaasz did not seem to be happy seeing Fogo in this condition while in his kitchen.  Fogo was told to take a couple of days off and was given a small vial of something to consume that Xaasz claimed it would make him feel better.  Fogo had managed to collect a few common and uncommon poisonous plants that he gave to Xaasz.  Again, it was not anything that impressed the small goblin chef as he just chewed on them without a second thought.

Xaasz

The rest of the group moved to a table and ordered some breakfast. Fogo joined them and his patchy fur seemed to have recovered a bit, but all the new fur seemed to be replaced with something more orange than his previous grey.  Maybe from the traumatic experience, or perhaps from the vial of something Xaasz gave him. Back with the group, Fogo explained about his thoughts and that it seems that he had previously been wandering, but now he feels he has more of a purpose. There was also some discussion around the maul they had found and the fact that Vladimir seemed very enamored with it. It was agreed that his old sword would be given to Angelica once he was able to properly say goodbye to it.

It was midmorning when the constable finally came in and seemed to be grumpy.  He was not happy with a dead body being left in the freezer, and wanted to make sure it was collected before his wife found out and caused him bodily harm. When asked about a goblin and half-ogre duo he only had a little to share.

Harburk Tuthmarillar

“There have been some rumors of some brigands running around doing tomb raiding. Was there something in place you went where they would have had trouble? Where were you?”

“We were investigating the little girl that said she say a ghost and we were kind of looking into that.”

“So, it was a tomb or something and they ambushed you on the way out.”

“Yes, that is right.”

“Yeah, that sounds right for a lot of the brigands. Was there something early in the tomb that was difficult to get past?”

“Yes, that was the ghost.”

“Oh, so you took care of the ghost?”

The ghost won’t be a problem for anyone.”

“Maybe they had difficulty in getting past the ghost or did not want to.”

The conversation continued some more, and Fogo agreed to run over and collect the body and bury it somewhere outside of town. Before grabbing the dead goblin, Fogo asked Dhelosk on what the respectful way was to treat the goblin body.

“They eat each other.”

“Well, we might skip that tradition.”

Vladimir explained they were trying to provide more transparency to the constable and perhaps fewer surprises. Harburk told them that at this point, everything was a surprise.  He was not trained for this; he was only a retired soldier.  It was the elders that appointed him to this position, and it seemed that they were already in some sort of conspiracy which every now knows how that ended. Finally heading out to do their body collecting, the group split up into different directions.  Vladimir went to his room to say goodbye to his old sword, Angelica went to her room and wanted to get some additional sleep, Avery headed to the market, and Fogo and the rest went to collect the dead goblin. With the constable leading the way, he opened the freezer and allowed Fogo to carry out the frozen solid goblin.

“How far out of town would you like me to take it?”

“Somewhere the children cannot find it…. Like Amphail.”

Walking about 20 minutes outside of town, they buried the goblin, and then they all came back into town. Everyone headed to the market while Fogo made a stop at the Allfaith’s Shrine. He was greeted by Imdarr and Lymmura. When asked about why Fogo was so patchy looking, he explained that he had survived a near-death experience and that he now felt closer to Mystra, the goddess of Magic.  While training to explain his vision while almost dying, it seemed to confuse Imdarr since the whole party seemed to be having vision, and Fogo had been dirt, but now was fire, or something like that.

For a moment, there was just darkness. Hmm… darkness isn’t quite right. We have been in the dark underground where no light can penetrate, but this was darker. It was blackness.

After some unknown time, from the edge of my awareness, an orange glow started to grow. It soon became bright enough, though still very faint, that I could see myself. I appeared thin, like a threadbare sheet, barely together. I was so thin in fact, that I could feel myself floating down. I had so little substance that I was but a feather on the wind.

As I fluttered down, I twisted to get a look at the glow coming from down below. I saw a ring of fire. It was small, like it had just been lit. As I slowly fell towards it, I could see that there was much unlit fuel. But! I also saw something heartening, a banner with an oak leaf, the sign of Silvanus, in the center of the fiery circle.

I continued floating down towards my fiery demise, the threads of myself now becoming visibly undone. I landed squarely on Silvanus’ banner. My body did not have enough form for me to move. When I tried to move my body, the few strings left holding me together would snap. Helplessly, I laid on the banner and I watched as the fire encroached.

Finally, an edge of the banner ignited, then another, and another. The flames approached until the fiery tongues licked my frayed edges. A part of me felt ready to succumb, to give up. But the seed of a thought rapidly blossomed in my mind: the fabric of my life was becoming undone, but I had learned of Mystra, now on her third incarnation, who was the Tapestry of arcane magic. Died and born again, she held together, taking new forms as she needed.

The flames ignited me right as the last remnants of mind that wanted to give up were pushed out by this revelation. I put every ounce of my being into holding my shape, feeling each individual thread of myself, and moving them, weaving them back together, even as they were engulfed in flame. I cannot fully convey the mental exhaustion that I went through in these moments.

I simply refused to let the fire take me. The memory of the passage of time in this space feels hard to remember, but it felt like it took ages, and yet by the time the fire calmed down to a smolder, you could have convinced me no time had passed. I felt my body, once again with shape, and I stood up. I looked down at the banner, which I knew had been burned, yet it remained. Though it had changed: the oak leaf was now wreathed in flame. I looked at my body and noticed a change as well, a fiery orange emblazoning my fur.

And I laughed. I had made it. I picked up the banner and wrapped myself in it and continued to laugh. I sat down in relief at having come through the flames and out the other side.

It was then I noticed the ashes of my former self. It may sound strange to be able to recognize ashes, but if you have ever stared at your own ashes, you may know the feeling. I scooped them up, suddenly feeling the loss. I survived, I changed, but something else was also lost. I cried, tears falling into the ashes I had cupped in my hands. It was when I felt lost in the pain and joy of loss and rebirth that I saw a large hand appear from above me. I realized that I recognized that hand. By the time it plucked me from ground, I realized it was ISAC’s hand, picking me up and taking me back from where I had been before.

Imdarr Relvaunder

Lymmura Audarhk

Explaining that he was interested in knowing more about Mystra and wanted start a more focused worship and Imdarr was willing to assist as much as possible. When asked about any priests of Mystra, Fogo was told that he would have go to Waterdeep, but Imdarr was willing order a book of worship of Mystra for him. Before leaving shrine, Fogo spent a bit of time at the statue of Mystra and offered his prayers. He then joined the rest of the party at the market.

It was during this time that Vladimir was able to say goodbye to his sword and deliver it to Angelica so that she would be able to attune to it and be able to use it for the next time they needed to stab something. Angelica seemed sad about something and while Vladimir attempted to find out what might be bothering her, she was not willing to share at this time. They went ahead and walked to the Market to join the rest of their party.

Looking for paper for scrolls Avery hunted down any deal he could find to acquire a few sheets that he could use later. Getting a snack of meat on a stick, Avery hung out until the rest of the group arrived.  Dancer and Fwoosh joined Avery at the market.  Making their way to the booth where the Farrowvale family were selling their different cuts of meat. Dancer was interested in hearing about the health of their horses and found out that they were much better would be ready to pull a wagon within the next couple of days.

In their wandering, they passed Grund who still seemed to be in a bad mood but was very instant on giving Fwoosh a bowl of Grund’s Special Pickles. The party moved away quickly before they had to actual consume them in front of Grund. When looking around they were able to hear some of the rumors that were going around town.  There was a lot of talk of the elders and what had happened in town. There was also some surprise that someone had bought the Wheelworks. There was also someone trying to purchase Gaelkur’s. There was also a lot of gossip about a bunch of crazies that had jumped down the sinkhole to save the children. Some had mentioned that there is giant Dwarvish Temple under the town that is the size of the entire town.

Grund

Trying to cause additional confusion, Fwoosh started speaking out loud about something about large dumb worms underground, rampaging through the tunnels. It did not seem that anyone paid attention to his attempt at starting a new rumor. Looking for Feng, Fwoosh approached a random stranger wandering around and when he started asking his questions, the stranger seemed surprised at Fwoosh and his overly shiny cloak.  Fwoosh was asked if he was a performer which got the show started. Doing some card tricks and a few acrobatic stances earned Fwoosh a hand full of copper and a round of applause. When Vladimir asked if performing is something he enjoyed, Fwoosh did not seem to really understand.  It was explained that he should also seek out things that he wants to do for himself, not just do what others tell him to do, become more of a free agent while still support his family.

Fogo finally joined the group at the market and with ISAC leading them to Feng’s booth to help Vladimir shop for some plate, but there was not any to be purchased.  There was a new allotment of Iceshield Orc axes on the wall, but no plate armor.  When asked about the plate armor, they were told they would have to go visit the smith for something like that.  They then sold the arms and armor they had collected from various dead bodies that they were responsible for and were able to collect a few more coins.

Feng Ironhead

When asked about Aerego Bethendur, they were told that he does not usually come to market. They learned that the storage spaces he rents out are expensive and only some of the larger merchants use him, or those that need more protection for their cargo.  He even has magically protected spaces available there.  He mentioned that some merchants use him as a third-party transition point, where one will drop off and their buyer will come by and pick up the merchandise. They asked if he knew who had purchased the Wagonworks, but he only knew that it was someone recently that came to Red Larch, and it was not a name he knew. He further elaborated that the Wheelworks is an important shop in town since any merchant spending the night would need to store their wagon and horses.  The town had seized the property after Ilmeth’s death and were anxious to get it sold and running again.

Still wanting some plate armor, Vladimir led the group to Tantur Smithery hoping that some might magically have been left there. While they headed there, Fwoosh stayed at the market in a bit of a daze of being free and Dancer and ISAC headed to the Wheelworks to see if they could find the new owner.

At the smithy they were greeted by Laefra Tantur. Asking about some plate armor, Vladimir and Angelica were disappointed in that there was not any available, and it was going to be a large amount of gold for it to be made, and all the coin would need to be paid up front. They were also curious if the maul they had found could be repaired, which required her to call out her husband out front to look it over. Eldras was impressed with the very nice Dwarven antique work, but he did not have the skill nor the knowledge to fix something like the maul. He told them to seek out a Dwarven smith to appraise it for repair.

Laefra Tantur

Eldras Tantur

Back at the Wheelworks, Dancer began knocking on the door hoping for an answer and it was, by Grafaerd Ulamoira. He was happy to see his rescuers and let them know that he was the one that purchased the Wheelworks, but he would not be open for a week or two.  He was waiting for friends and family to come in from Bargewright Inn to replace all the workers that had left. He had purchased this place because he had decided that treasure hunting was too dangerous, and they it would be better if he settled down. In finger talk, Dancer introduced himself, but Grafaerd seemed to already be aware of Dancer from Jepos. Asking about getting some space for their wagon, he offered to store it for free, but suggested that he charge some nominal amount to not arouse suspicion. Dancer was also curious of the Zhentarim had also purchased Gaelkur’s, but Grafaerd said that it was a different person they had rescued, Alfred the merchant.  He seemed to also want to settle down here.

Grafaerd Ulamoira

Fogo went to the baths since he still was still losing fur and did not smell the best. When he got there it was closed because today was market day, and most businesses in Red Larch were closed on market day. He decided to search for some of the rare plants he had learned about from Xaasz but even with his strong druidic magic, none were within range. Heading back to the Blackbutter Inn he met up with the rest of the group. Avery went up to his room to work on some scrolls, Angelica wanted to spend some time with her new sword to attune to it, and everyone else sat at a table in the main room.

Fwoosh hunted down the baker at the market and bought a dozen bear claws and while purchasing them he asked about Jepos and was told that Jepos would be available tomorrow afternoon. Going over to the Sundry booth, he shared all those bear claws with the kids which made him the hero of the day to the kids in the area. He also asked Endrith about if any pocket watches were available. Unfortunately, it was not an easy to come by item, but Endrith promised to send out word with the merchants to see if one could be gotten and brought to Red Larch for Fwoosh.

Endrith Vallivoe

The two also talked about how the business was at the market and Endrith was satisfied with it and was happy that those in town are starting to talk to each other again, and the air of suspicion that had been over them seemed to have disappeared. The people of Red Larch were enjoying themselves once again. Fwoosh mentioned that he knew Dwarves were going to come to town because of the temple underground.  Endrith had not thought about that and started planning on how to get more goods the Dwarves would like, especially ale.  He told Fwoosh that if this turned out profitable, he might get him that pocket watch free, or at least at a heavy discount. With that, Fwoosh went straight back to the Blackbutter Inn.

Once there, he could see his friends, but he headed over to the mantle to get a better look at the maker’s mark on the mantle clock. Fogo wanted to discuss the group’s plans, if they were going to stay in town, if they wanted to explore, or what.  Fogo was interesting in staying in town and finishing his chef apprenticeship. That discussion would have to happen later since Fogo needed a bath and used Vladimir’s room for that while Vladimir ran to the Thelorn’s Safe Journeys to see if their wagon was reason from being repaired and modified.  Again, another shop was closed on market day.

Mantle Clock Maker’s Mark

With some time before dinner, they went to one of the rooms to open the chest from the sarcophagus in the haunted tomb.  Inside were more platinum and gems of such high value than they had ever seen before.  Hidden in a false bottom, there was a gold chain with a locket with the etched figure of a half-elf. With such a large collection of gems and jewelry, they needed to find a buyer, but in this small town they did not know who could.  Dancer offered up his contacts but mentioned that it would be 50% to 75% of the face value for him to sell it, but that he could probably sell it quickly and get the coin to the party. Everyone seemed happy with that, but Fogo wanted to know more about the contact and how Dancer would be able to sell these things. Dancer answered that almost any town of any size would have a black market, and that he knew how to find it and would be able to sell things there.

Agreeing that selling the loose loot would be good, then they would be able to purchase more things that they needed, specifically the plate armor for Angelica and Vladimir. Everyone was also very interested in getting their wagon outfitted better, with windows, a hatch, and maybe even beds.   It was then since everyone was together, they also discussed their plans and what and where they might go next.

And this is where the session ended.

History Lesson

Another weekly episode of the Savage Frontier with your host David Bourgh-Ettin.  We have covered a few of the places around the valley, but none stand as tall as the Sword Mountains.  Today we will be continuing our review of the history of this area.

Description

North of Waterdeep, the Sword Mountains march north toward the Neverwinter Woods. Although not militarily significant, this range shields the Dessarin river valley and the High Forest from the
worst of the storms that blow in from the Trackless Sea. The western flanks of the range are home to
orcs, bugbears, kobolds, leucrottas and other dangerous creatures. Self-styled bandit lords, such as
Amalkyn the Black and the wizard Helduth Flamespell, have long-established holds in the region. The
southern peaks are home to stone giants and more fearsome menaces, as well as sylphs on the high ledges and peaks. The Sword Mountains is littered with ruins dating back to the orcish empire of Uruth Ukrypt and the dwarf and gnome clanholds that preceded it.

Geography

With an arc-like shape, the mountains were located northwest of Waterdeep and east of the Mere of Dead Men. Their western slopes led to the Trackless Sea in rolling foothills.

History

The mountains were home to orcs and trolls, but after the orcs were united by Wund and the Brotherhood of the Scarlet Scourge in the Year of the Red Rain, 927 DR, a shaman named Wund arose among the orc tribes of the Sword Mountains. On the eve of the Feast of the Moon, as Wund had prophesied, blood red thunderclouds engulfed the Sword Mountains. For three days the slopes ran wet with blood, leaving behind the sickening stench of rot and decay. All manner of plagues quickly swept through the region. Many orcs (and other folk) died by the White Hand of Yutrus, including every tribal chieftain, but the spawn of Gruumsh who survived the crucible of plagues grew stronger.

In the immediate aftermath of the Blood Plagues, Wund established a monastic order known as the Brotherhood of the Scarlet Scourge. Members of the order organized the surviving orc tribes into a united realm under the spiritual guidance of the brotherhood. The most powerful chieftain, a massive, unintelligent tusker named Uruth, was crowned king by Wund. This was a contributing factor to the Trollwars.

In the Year of the Sky Raiders (936 DR), the armies of Uruth Ukrypt swept down the eastern slopes of the Sword Mountains. The armies of Waterdeep battled the orcs of Uruth Ukrypt in a series of pitched battles known as the Orcfastings War. Early orc victories in the Battle of Whirling Blades, the Battle of Sarcrag, and the Battle of Withered Fields drove Waterdeep’s forces back to the gates of Nimoar’s Hold. However, a timely feint by the Duke of Calandor enabled Nimoar’s forces to break the orcs’ siege of the hold in the Battle of Burning Cliffs. They hatched another plan to attack in the Year of the Cold Claws, 940 DR, but this plan was ruined by the gold dragon Palarandusk.

Due to a raid on Ukrypt’s crypt by a human adventuring company called the Dawnbringer Company in the Year of Lathander’s Light, 1024 DR, the orcs of the Brotherhood of the Scarlet Scourge formed a horde called the Broken Bone with the intent of destroying Waterdeep. Their plans were once again ruined by a dragon; this time Lhammaruntosz. Still determined to exact their revenge, the orcs formed another horde, calling it the Black Claw, and in the Year of Crimson Magics, 1026 DR they came from the mountains to attack Waterdeep. This attack proved unsuccessful, and they were defeated, causing the orcs to lose their unity and plunge into a period of tribal conflict and the orcs of the Sword Mountains disintegrated into warring tribes.

Notable Locations

Hills & Peaks
  • Mount Araddyn: Located just north of Mount Sar, Mount Araddyn is easily accessible only from the High Road.
  • Icespire Peak:  The tallest peak of the Sword Mountains situated just east and a bit north of Phandalin.
  • Mount Galardrym: the peak that was home to the dwarves of Clan Forgebar.
  • Mount Sar: The second most southern peak of the Sword Mountains, was named for one of two great fomorian giants who lived in the southern Sword Mountains before they were slain by an early warlord of Waterdeep. Mount Helimbrar, the southernmost peak, was named for Sar’s twin.
  • Mount Helimbrar: The southernmost peak of the Sword Mountains, was named for one of two great fomorian giants who lived in the southern Sword Mountains before they were slain by an early warlord of Waterdeep.
Landmarks
  • Mountain’s Toe Mine: a successful gold mine owned by a Neverwintan business consortium.
  • Wave Echo Cave: the labyrinthine caverns that housed the fabled Forge of Spells.
Settlements
  • Axeholm: an abandoned dwarven stronghold that was haunted by a banshee.
  • Gnomengarde: a minor kingdom of rock gnomes that was in caves at the base of the mountains.
  • Ieirithymbul: another gnomish settlement nestled in the valley of Felrenden.
  • Kheldell: a rather small human logging village.
  • Nasaqh Estates: East of the High Road, in the valley between Mount Sar and Mount Helimbrar, lie the Nasaqh Estates. Eight generations of Nasaqh lords have ruled this valley, but the current Lord Nasaqh (LN male Illuskan human aristocrat 9) may be the last of his line, considering that he is growing older and has not yet produced an heir. The Nasaqh holdings are known for producing “seawine,” a potent liqueur popular among Waterdeep’s merchant elite.

Within the holdings of Lord Nasaqh lies the Agrivar estate. Consisting of more than 100 acres of fertile fields, old woodlands, and a stone manor house set on a rise overlooking the land.

Structures
  • Icespire Hold: the mountain-top fortress that was claimed as a lair by the young white dragon Cryovain.
  • Marune’s Stronghold: The infamous necromancer who seeks to rebuild the Shadow Thieves Guild in Waterdeep has laired for more than three decades beneath the base of Mount Helimbrar, undiscovered by Waterdeep’s city guard. Although he spends the bulk of his time in the City of Splendors, Marune still returns to his longstanding lair from time to time, usually to craft new magic items or research new spells. The lair is always well defended by a variety of undead, and the spell trigger traps that Marune has placed there summon all manner of monsters to battle intruders.
  • Melairrin: High on the slopes of Mount Sar lies a warren of caves leading deep into the mountain’s heart. Gulyaikin Dzrund, “the Mad Dwarf,” dwelt therein nearly nine decades ago, and some believe that he lives there still. Gulyaikin was noted for fits of berserk glee during which he delighted in killing all sorts of passersby by rolling large rocks onto the High Road below and catapulting boulders at fishing boats offshore.

The warren of caves is now home to Harshnag the Grim, a frost giant and member of the Gray Hands. Harshnag’s caves are linked to Blackstaff Tower via a large-sized, two-way, keyed portal.

The deepest caves of Harshnag’s lair lead down to a dwarf-built citadel in the heart of the mountain. Once known as Melairrin, the complex fell to the orcs of Uruth Ukrypt early in the history of that realm, giving them a secure base from which to dominate the southern Sword Mountains. In the Year of the Dracorage (1018 DR), the caverns of Melairrin were taken over by a black Wyrm named Shammagar, who claimed it as his lair. The black dragon dwelt therein for several centuries before Asilther Graelor, longtime companion of Mintiper Moonsilver, stole much of his hoard. Fearing further thefts, Shammagar abandoned Melairrin and relocated to an offshore island.

The caverns of Melairrin still retain traces of their various owners, but they are now home to a wide variety of monsters that have crept up from the depths below. Harshnag reports encountering small bands of half-black dragons of orcish ancestry from time to time, suggesting that Shammagar’s progeny may still dwell below. Older reports speak of a vampire lairing in the depths and a one-way portal linking the Sundered Throne to the dragon’s lair in the depths of Melairrin. The vampire Rorrina, dual, (daughter) of Tuvala of Clan Stoneshaft, does indeed exist and is a servitor of Artor Morlin

  • Olothontor’s Lair: Olothontor the Minstrel Wyrm dwells on the western flank of Mount Araddyn, high above the High Road. His lair lies behind the ruins of an old stone mansion originally built for the brother titans Endrigul and Roevryn Taluth, and later taken over by the self-styled Gnome King Karlus “Goldgoblet” Dlinshoulder as the seat of his court. In the wake of repeated orc raids, the place was abandoned. The rear rooms of the mansion are now open to the sky, allowing the Minstrel Wyrm to fly in and out. A cavern in the cliff face behind the mansion leads into the dragon’s lair, which lies on the far side of a deep chasm heated by a volcanic flow. Olothontor is entranced by music, and he demands regular visits by traveling bards, from whom he commands repeat performances.
  • Temple of Abbathor: another site abandoned by the dwarves, later uncovered by a mining excavation.

Rumors and Tales

There have been many rumors of older civilizations hidden under the northern part of the Sword Mountains.  The stories range from old Drow ruins to a buried ancient Gnomish city of lost technology.  These are all said to date back over four thousand years. There were stories about a young lad from Westbridge who had found a key to enter these secret passageways and had found the entry somewhere in the northern part of the Kryptgarden Forest in the foothills of the Sword Mountains.

Campaign Notes

The party continues to rest up and start looking at selling their massive pile of loot.  There was some discussion on what to do next, and several of those will start up Chapter One.  Now we will see how long they can hold off before the main story takes over.

Session 23 – Intermission

29th of Mirtul of the year 1492

Setting forth in the late morning, they used the directions they had gotten from Pell to make their way to what they were told was a tomb with a ghost in it.  Upon arriving, they were able to see the partially collapsed hill and the stone door entrance into the hill.  The stone door was cracked open.

Pushing it open further, a piece of metal, something from a wagon, fell to the ground making a loud banging noise.  While the party was surprised at the noise, nothing jumped out to attack them.  Moving into the dark corridor it led to a staircase heading downward.  It stopped at another stone door. Pushing it forward again, they were able to see the room ahead of them.

Inside the mid-sized room, they could see a 20-foot-tall statue of a dwarf holding a large maul.  The ceiling was 20-feet high and was held up by four pillars. One was a large horned demon as tall as the room, but appeared to be getting squished by the weight of the ceiling pushing him down, another was a giant grimacing in pain as he too attempted to hold up the ceiling, the third was a large pile of orcs, some dead and mashed on the bottom, while all the others were climbing up and preventing the ceiling from falling, and the last was a large dragon roaring in defiance, but still stuck holding up the ceiling as all the others were.

The party moved into the room and began investigating all the features of the room especially the intricate carvings of the pillars.  They were very lifelike and frightening at the same time.  There was another door in the room in which Vladimir approached. Angelica was able to identify the dragon statue as a red dragon, and was at least an adult one, if not older. A soft wispy voice filled the room.

“Don’t, don’t go forward. You can look around here, just do not go any further.”

“What are you? A ghost?

“I’m not a ghost, just a guardian here.”

“Do you have a name spirit?”

“I do not remember.”

“What are you guarding here?”

“A tomb of a mighty warrior. I failed in my duty once; I will not fail it again.  Do not go any further.”

‘What happens if we go further.”

“Then I will have to stop you. Don’t test my patience either.”

“I am sorry to hear you failed before, what did they do?”

“That is why I am guarding now.”

“These columns are very intricate; do you know the story behind why they are holding up the ceiling?

“The master wants them all to feel pain. He has hunted them all.”

“Who is your master?”

“You have already seen the statue.”

“Who is it though?”

“I do not remember.”

“Guardian, would it make any difference to your master if we are also hunters of some of these creatures? We’ve slain orcs.”

“You should not compare yourselves to the master, all of you are pathetic in comparison.”

“Is his tomb behind the door over there?”

“That is the space you should not go, and you would never have met my master, he died over a millennia ago, several.”

“Did he task you with guarding this?”

“My penitence for having failed him once. There used to be more of us, but I am the only one left now.”

“Besides the little girl, has anyone come by recently?”

“None have entered, the other stone door has opened and closed, and something might have attempted to peek in. but, as long as you do not try to continue, I will not bother you.”

Wanting to strategize outside the earshot of the spirit, the group went outside to determine what their action should be, and if they wanted to delve further in or not. For a while they discussed whether the tomb was related to the cultists or not, but in the end they decided not. There was some talk that perhaps the spirit guardian was fake because of the alerting trap they triggered. Attempting to use some Mold Earth to dig around the tomb, all they managed was to move a lot of mud and expose a lot more clay rock which Fogo’s spell could not effect. They finally decided that tomb robbing should be their goal, and off they went to confront the spirit.

“I see that you must have made your decision. Do you really want to do this?  Do you really want to be my foe?”

“I mean, not really.”

“Then you can turn around go back.”

“We do not want to do that either. We have questions that we are searching for answers and are hoping we can find them here.”

“I have no answers, I barely remember that I am here.”

“Does the last war mean anything to you?”

“There were so many, so many wars, trolls, giants, orcs, so many wars.”

“How about the elements?”

“The elements always strike upon you in war.”

“Any Drow?”

“Not any, any that I remember.”

It was at that point that Vladimir moved fully into the room and he could see the guardian standing next to the door waiting for him, and combat began. It was a brutal combat with an opponent that was incorporeal and was able to move through any of them, any object, and was able to fly fast enough to reach anywhere in the room.  The most terrifying aspect was that it was able to drain their health and make it unrecoverable except through time and resting.  Fogo was brought down into a coma losing many patches of fur over his body.  Its hateful glare was enough to send both Vladimir and Angelica running at different points, but they did finally defeat it.

Guardian Spirit

After the arduous battle they camped and rested hoping to regain the health losses almost everyone had suffered. The rest proved to be the best medicine they had, although Fogo was still very spotty with his fur as none of it grew back yet. Moving on to the next room, they found another medium sized room covered in five-foot tiles.  Each tile had a different number of brass medians upon them, and another stone door at the opposite side of the room.  Pain filled and grotesque carvings of orc heads covered all the walls as well as the ceiling leaving not a single open space.  There were hundreds of carved heads.  Dancer took a closer look and realized, that much like the other Dwarven tomb, every one of these mouths had an opening of some sort.

With several of them running in and out, they finally figured out that they had to take a specific route with a specific number of tiles and then pause to finally unlock the door.  Any deviation from that caused crossbow bolts to shoot from several of the orc mouths at them.  It was Fwoosh that came up with the solution and was almost able to execute it through.  Once the correct path was taken, the door unlocked and opened itself leading to another hallway.

In the middle of the hall was a set of double doors, and down some stairs there was a cistern.  The party debated on going through the doors and investigating the cistern, and Fogo persuaded them to dive into the cistern first.  Or at least, Fogo did.  Using his wild shape to become a giant frog he dove in to explore. The cistern was 90 feet deep and had a diameter of 50 feet with the opening at one end.  He could see a faint light on the ceiling of the other end.  Otherwise, it was filled to the top without any breathing pockets left open.

Swimming to the other end, he could see a hatch with some faint light coming from it, and a large lever in the wall.  Thinking that this was the way to open the hatch, he pushed the lever down hoping for the best.  When the water began draining rapidly and creating a giant whirlpool, he was sucked down through the false bottom that had collapsed into a put filled with jagged rocks causing his frog form severe injuries. With the water drained, and him changing back to his bedraggled form, he could communicate with the rest on what had happened.  Tossing down a rope and pulling them back, they trudged forward to the double doors.

Feeling optimistic, Vladimir pushed the doors open with the help of Angelica and they found another corridor with a set of stairs heading down, and at the bottom four alcoves, two on each side, stood a set of full plate armor.  Another set of double doors were at the other end of the hall.  Excited at the prospect of gaining some real armor, Vladimir ran forward to fondle the standing armor.

Unfortunately for Vladimir, the armor objected, and all four sets began attacking. With limited room, the party had to frequently switch positions to support Vladimir and Angelica.  The fight did not hold many surprises until some of the animated armors were killed, and one of the ones in the back absorbed the fallen armor making itself large, bulkier, and most likely much tougher. But even that one was eventually beaten down by everyone.  As each of the armors were defeated, they could see that within them was a mummified orc chieftain that had been stuffed inside to rot there indefinitely. Vladimir was very saddened that all they he could recover was a pile of rust and ash from the armors and his dream of parading around in a loud clanking set of full plate was burst.

Animated Armor

Hoping that there would be some sort of treasure ahead for all the work they had gone through, the party forged ahead.  The double doors led to another corridor with two more sets of double doors, one to the south and one to the east.  Choosing the closer southern doors, they burst them open looking for some loot.  This room was very large and narrow with stone table lining the walls of the room.  Upon each table was some sort of large creature’s skull.

They could see a Minotaur head, that was at least three feet across, not counting the horns, a horned demon skull that looked like it came from the demon pillar from earlier, a dragon skull that also appeared to match the one they had seen earlier, and finally a pair of giant human looking skulls, clearly from large giants.  A shatter giant sized great sword sat upon a table adjacent to the giant skulls.

Fogo was able to see that all the tables had a faint amount of magic that encompassed whatever was sitting upon them, but that magic was fading, and would most likely end within a few years.  Reaching out to touch one of the skulls, the magic popped, and the skull collapsed into dust.  Deciding to leave this trophy room intact, they moved on to what they hoped was the last set of doors of the day.

Behind these doors, which were the last ones, they could see a huge sarcophagus floating five feet off the ground resting on top of some white clouds.  The sarcophagus was 12-feet in length, and at least three feet high and wide. Fogo started to step in but jumped back just as a lightning bolt struck out at him from that cloud.  ISAC was next hoping to use the protections from the statue to weather to lightning bolts, but even he had to retreat as there seemed to be no end to the lightning.

Again, it was Fwoosh that helped solve the problem.  Using his newly acquired dagger, he turned invisible, trotted inside, and attached a rope to the sarcophagus and the party pulled it from on top of the cloud causing it fall and smash open. Out popped a mummified dwarf body holding on to a large maul and a small chest. Grabbing both, Fwoosh made his way out, but not before the lightning now having a target, shot a few bolts at his retreating back.

Thinking that this was everything in the tomb, the party was happy to make their way out into the dark night to escape back to Red Larch.  As they stepped out of the tomb, arrows were shot at them catching them all by surprise.

And this is where the session ended.

Maps

History Lesson

Good evening gentlefolk, this is your host David Bourgh-Ettin.  Last week we reviewed the history and condition of the Kryptgarden Forest, and this week we will be moving further south and look at the Westwood. Westwood was a forest on the Sword Coast North on the eastern edge of the Sword Mountains. Welcome back to our program looking into the history of the savage frontier.

Description

Westwood, as a general term, is used throughout the North to describe the western edges of a forest. This entry, however, details only the Westwood Forest south of the logging town of Kheldell. It’s said that this forest used to extend easterly to the High Forest, north to the city of Yartar, to the Delimbiyr Route in the south, and along the Sword Mountain range in the west. If this is true, Westwood once stood as proud and as large as the High Forest of today. Some sages believe this forest’s been shrinking since the destruction of Netheril.

Geography

The closest settlement to Westwood was Kheldell, which sat on the northwestern edge of the wood at the bottom of the Sword Mountains. This forest covered part of the eastern slopes of the Sword Mountains south of Kheldell. Amphail lay to the south of Westwood.

Westwood was part of a group of forests that were referred to by some as the Other Woods and others as the Moonwoods. The forests in this group were Lurkwood, Southkrypt Garden, Southwood, Moonwood, and Westwood.

History

Notable Locations

Elven Castle

Local legend claims that the ruins of an elven castle stand in a dell at the heart of the Westwood. Much magic exists in the ruins, and they’re supposedly haunted by owlbears and wild trees (probably evil treants preying on intruders). The way is best sought at night, for the route from Kheldell is marked by ancient spells that cause floating moonglow symbols to shine in the darkness.

Shrine of Mielikki

Mielikki is venerated at a hidden shrine in Westwood, and only rangers are guided to her temple. It’s said those who kneel and place fermented seed or newly sprouted oak trees at the altar are rewarded with a healing, neutralize poison, or remove curse spell (whichever is most needed). Those of evil alignment or who venerate evil deities that kneel at the altar are cursed with either a curse, a reversed neutralize poison, or a reversed cure critical wounds spell (whichever is most dangerous).

Campaign Notes

The haunted tomb was fun, a different puzzle appeared for them to solve.  The specter was a much tougher fight than they thought it would be, mostly because they were not able to get into a better tactical position.  The room was a perfect set up for the specter that was able to move through anything in the room including objects and people able to appear anywhere it wanted and attack.  Being intelligence, it was able to focus on one character at a time, meaning that the possibility of death was much greater.

And of course, something was waiting for them on the outside.  Afterall, who placed the warning trap that they triggered when thy entered?

Session 22 – Intermission

27th of Mirtul of the year 1492

With a long walk ahead of them, the party used the time to go over some of the things that have happened to them and to think about the contents of the different dreams, visions, and prophecies that they had received.

Dancer started off the conversation expressing concern about how the constable handled the capture Ilmeth. He thought that it was suspicious that Harburk and his deputies were not able to subdue and capture the combative Wheelworks owner.  There was some agreement, but Avery was the primary defender of the law in Red Larch and that he felt they were doing the best they could.

This was also when Avery brought up their relationship with Dhelosk, and that it would be very bad for all of them, especially him if they irritated the wizard anymore. This led to them discussing about how to better approach him in the future and be clearer with their communication, as well as not going back and forth with him on objects of interest.  It was also brought up that he might be one of the few sources of information related to the wider scale of things that are happening, from being able to give them some history, and general conversation on things related to the arcane. It was also brought up that Dhelosk is powerful enough to take away anything he might want if he truly wanted to. Vladimir suggested that they be much more deliberate in their discussions with him and come to an agreement on the topics before approaching.

Regarding Dhelosk, Vladimir expressed that they needed to find people that they could trust.  The constable and Dhelosk seemed to be the only two that they could approach. Dancer continued pushing more suspicion on to Harburk since he was still dissatisfied with the constable’s performance and aggressiveness with chasing the elders and the issues at hand.

They also discussed the statue and even though it has been helpful, they had some concerns because of the things that Dhelosk had warned them that could be happening. ISAC strongly defended the usefulness of the statue and that it has helped them survive more than once. Avery was concerned about the amount of power it had and was not sure if they should even be using it.

Ideas and concerns were being shared among the group when the cults were brought up.  They wondered if the cults were somehow connected or operating independently of each other, and that either option was equally valid. Vladimir brought up that the concept of elements is not only wrapped up with the cults, but also the prophecy they had found on the wall in Lance Rock. Their concern that all of that might be related and connected somehow and that they will need to investigate it further.

With what has been happening, then they needed to find the heroes that were mentioned in the prophecy. Since no one had copied it down they would need to go back to make sure they would be able to review the words more closely. Angelica brought up that they did not know if the prophecy meant them or someone else. ISAC asked about the dream Angelica had from her god, and she recited it to the group:

You stand at the edge of a vast, tempestuous sea. Dark clouds loomed overhead, casting an ominous shadow upon the horizon. The air crackled with electricity, and the sound of distant thunder resonated through the air. Istishia, appearing as a colossal figure wreathed in stormy clouds, reached out to you with a hand that sparked with lightning.

“Angelica,” the deity’s voice boomed, carrying a sense of urgency. “A tempest approaches, a tumultuous storm of great magnitude. It gathers strength, threatening to engulf all in its path. Heed my words, daughter of the tempest, for you are chosen.”

You feel a mixture of awe and trepidation, your scales tingling with anticipation. You bow her head, showing reverence to your deity.

“Seek shelter, Angelica,” Istishia commanded. “Gather your friends, those who have stood by your side in times of trial. Together, you must weather the storm that looms on the horizon. Trust in each other’s strength and find solace in the unity of your bond.”

As your deity’s words faded, the vision shifted, revealing Angelica standing among her loyal companions, their unwavering support evident in their eyes. They stood together, backs against the wind, bracing themselves for the impending storm.

“You are not alone, Angelica,” Istishia whispered, his voice gentler now. “Harness the power of water and ice that flows within you, for they shall be your shield against the coming tempest. Stand firm, weather the chaos, and emerge stronger on the other side.”

With those final words, the vision dissipated, and you awaken from you dream. You knew that your path was set before you, and that your destiny intertwined with the approaching storm. Determination surged within your heart as you vowed to gather your companions and prepare for the challenges to come. For in their unity, you would face the storm and emerge victorious, guided by the whispers of the storm god, Istishia.

She attempted to interpret the dream for the group.

“This seemed like a direct message from my god Istishia. It was more than a dream, more like a sending. That I needed to gather friends and allies to survive the upcoming storm and strengthen their bonds. I also saw the entire party together, minus Dancer standing together, and I should harness the water and ice elements to fortify herself.  Basically, gird our loins and get ready for the shit coming to us.”

When coming up with goals that each of them had, Dancer reminded them that they still potentially had bandits to clear out. When he was told that they also had a treasure map, Dancer was excited to go after those places and was confused why they had not already gone there. There was some argument about the party not really pursuing coin when Dancer reminded them of their loot aggressiveness in the tombs. ISAC guided the discussion to answer the question, “What is Evil”.  Vladimir was a bit unsure how to best define it, when Dancer asked if what they are facing is out to hurt friends and family, and if so, then it is evil.

It was also questioned about what the statue wanted, or if it had wants.  It seemed to be of an element source same as the cultists but was perfectly able and maybe even willing to operate against them implying that the entire situation might be more complex than they thought, or that there were multiple agendas that they were facing.

In parallel to these discussions, Dancer finger talked with Fwoosh about going into Ilmeth’s house later tonight and not let anyone know until their mission was complete. Fwoosh was ready for action later once everyone had gone to sleep. With everyone opening up about their personal thoughts, the different members started sharing what each of them had for personal goals. This led them reviewing what they should be doing in the near term, as well as determining where they should set up a base of operations.

Finally getting back to town and to the Blackbutter Inn, Dancer and Fwoosh headed off to bed early intending on getting up early for some undercover reconnaissance. Fogo and ISAC also headed to bed while Angelica, Avery, and Vladimir went over to the Helm at Highsun. The group that went to the Helm met the distinguished Garlen Harlathurl who was bartending there.

Garlen Harlathurl

Enamored with the menu, everyone ordered their drinks with Angelica and Avery ordering full bottles for themselves. There was some small talk around the Elders in town and their actions. Garlen seemed surprised about what they had done.  When asked about the constable, Garlen had only good things to say about him. He did bring up his failed business in Waterdeep and that he had done poorly there as a merchant and moved here as a retirement job.  A few times during the conversation a much larger man came from the cellar to bring up casks, bottles, and other things and would have a short quiet conversation with Garlen each time.

Justran Daehl

With the long day coming to an end, they all headed back to their rooms at the Blackbutter Inn for evening.  Winding down a bit, the three of them all chose to read and work on their journals.  Vladimir read his romance novel, Avery made notes in his journal, and Angelica continued reading about Mirabaran Dwarven lineage and the convoluted way that dwarves wrote about their hereditary connections was quick to put her asleep.  It did not take long before they all finally went to bed.

28th of Mirtul of the year 1492

Waking early and before sunrise, Dancer and Fwoosh met at Ilmeth’s Wagonworks to scope out the place and see if they could find anything important left behind.  Leaving Fwoosh outside as a lookout, Dancer went in and moved through the building looking for an office and perhaps a bedroom.  Going through the workers bunkroom quickly and heading upstairs, it did not take long for Dancer to find the office.  It had already been ransacked with papers strewn all over the floor, the drawers dumped open, and the bookcases emptied on onto the floor.  

While looking around carefully, Dancer did notice that there was a spot under the desk that looked a bit odd.  When he was not able to open the spot, he moved the bookcases in front of the windows to hide any light they might need and brought Fwoosh back to get it open, and he did so easily.  Inside was a small chest, and a pair of books. They took the items and before closing the hidden spot, Dancer filled it with a bunch of the papers from the floor.  They then headed back to their rooms to get some more sleep, but before Fwoosh headed to bed, he snuck over to ISAC and stole the dagger they had found in the tombs and hid it in his bag.

Later in the morning as everyone was getting ready, ISAC approached Fwoosh and asked what he had been doing in his bag.  Fwoosh in a very convincing tone said he was looking for ISAC’s maker’s mark and that he thought that ISAC might have put it in his bag. Before heading down, Dancer looked at what he had collected from Ilmeth’s.  The two books appeared to be some sort of accounting books but were written in such a way with abbreviations and summaries that it was impossible to figure out quickly. He failed to open the chest and would have to wait for Fwoosh to open it for him.

With everyone downstairs they got a breakfast, and with some whispered words from Dancer, they went back up to Dancer’s room to investigate what they had found.  Avery took the two books to see if he could inspect them more closely, and Fwoosh opened the chest quickly.  It contained two pouches of coins, a small silver emblem of the Drow Earth symbol, and a note which read:

“Shipment came through fine, material passed. Payment coming soon as well.”

It did bring up the topic of if the elemental cults were related to each other or not.  The fact that they had multiple coins with different Drowish elemental symbols.  Even though all the representations were different, they thought they were probably related. The group went to check out the tannery to see if Fogo could recover any of his material he had left there to be processed.

No amount of knocking seemed to get Ulhro Luruth’s attention, nor get him to answer the door. With that failure on hand, he went back to the Blackbutter Inn to work another kitchen shift with Xaasz. Stopping into the Sundries store looking for some more notebooks, Endrith was quick to point out that they had bought them all yesterday, but did have some new romance novels that had come in.  Promising to buy more later, they went to their Inn waiting for Dancer.

Endrith Vallivoe

Once everyone was together again, minus Fogo who was on kneepads learning cooking from a Goblin, everyone else headed out to Lance Rock and copy down the blood written prophecy. The trip was uneventful as was copying the scrawl on the wall. Nothing seemed to have changed since they had been here last.

In the realm wh’re destiny int’rtwines,

a bodement f’retold, through ancient signs,

of elemental l’rds and prophets four,

at which hour chaos awakens, the w’rld to expl’re.

The elemental l’rds, fi’rce and unbound,

earth, air, fireth, and wat’r, profound,

with allies by their side, prophets of might,

seeking dominion, to vanquish the lighteth.

Air l’rd’s prophet, with partisan hath raised high,

earth l’rd’s prophet, war picketh to defy,

fireth l’rd’s prophet, dagg’r ablaze,

wat’r l’rd’s prophet, trident’s gentle gazeth.

Togeth’r those gents gath’r, darkness their guideth,

their weapons, unknowing, holdeth secrets inside,

keys to the gateways, wh’re chaos is b’rn,

to saveth the w’rld, a quest might not but beest sw’rn.

But h’roes shalt riseth, their spirits untamed,

to visage the prophets, their destiny unclaimed,

with courage and val’r, those gents’ll hurlyburly the odds,

to reclaim the keys and confronteth the gods.

Through treach’rous battles, those gents’ll striveth to succeedeth,

to slayeth the prophets and fulfill the decree,

to seize the weapons, the keys those gents conceal,

unlocking the pow’r to mendeth and to healeth.

With each fallen prophet, a key is revealed,

a grise clos’r to vict’ry, the darkness repealed,

sealing the gateways, wh’re chaos runs deep,

rest’ring the w’rld from et’rnal catch but a wink.

The h’roes, chosen, their hearts int’rtwined,

unit’d those gents standeth, their purpose defined,

harnessing the weapons, the keys yond ignite,

those gents sealeth the gateways, rest’ring the lighteth.

And so, the bodement shalt cometh to passeth,

a testament to the h’roes’ val’r and class,

f’r those gents possesseth the strength to defy,

to safeguard our w’rld, until the endeth of timeth.

Rememb’r this bodement, etch’d in l’re,

a tale of triumph ‘gainst the elemental roar,

embrace the h’ro within, alloweth thy spirit ignite,

to protecteth our w’rld, pres’rving its lighteth

Looking over the writing that was now flaking off the wall, they began discussing some of the content as well as some of their other experiences. Vladimir pointed out that they seem to be looking for four prophets, and they had some kind of magical weapons.  The priests that they had already met were probably working for these prophets.

Deciding that what was left of the cobbled together dragon skeleton might have some value, they used an old ratty carpet to carry the skull back. The skull was proved to be very fragile and continued to crack a little with each step they took, but they were able to get it in some condition back to their Inn.  When asking Gwendolyn about it, she suggested that they store it themselves until Dhelosk was available in the morning.

Gwendolyn Venelli

Dropping it off in one of their rooms so they would be able to attempt to sell it to Dhelosk in the morning. Wanting some dinner, everyone except Dancer headed to the Helm. Dancer stopped into the bakery to meet with Jepos. Asking about what has been happening in town and about some of the people they had encountered, Jepos seemed open in sharing.

“It was an interesting thing.  I am newly arrived and so it was not something we were aware of. In talking to Mangobarl, the town has been changing in the last several years. Things have been getting more suspicious and people acting out, but with a small rural community that happens sometimes.”

When asked about the Zhentarim in Red Larch.

“Oh, I am only here because of the group you are with. We had known the banditry was happening more, and I was sent out to look it over, which was that Ruined Moathouse.  Your group seemed kind of interesting.  The Zhentarim did not really have anything here.  Mangobarl is just a local contact, almost every town has a contact, it does not mean he does anything. He’s not a thief, he’s not a thug, he’s nothing, he is just a baker that owes us a favor.”

“No, I came to town to follow that group.  They seem to be doing some interesting things and I suggested that we learn more about it.  You here were a surprise to me, and the other one, I was not expecting him here either. Neither one of you were assigned here.  Now there are many of us, which is sort of interesting.”

Dancer, ever ready to pick on the constable, asked about him as well.

“I have not dealt with him directly but from Mangobarl and some of the others, he is just a part time law man here, who does not have much of an official position and is the husband of the butcher. The town sees him as the law, but his authority is limited, most of these small towns are run a group of elders, which are those that got caught. His authority came from them.

When asking about the constable morals and competency.

“Well, I think they made sure he did not involve him, because you can look at his actions around the sinkhole.  He argued against them and allowed your group to go in the sinkhole, which they did not want at all because it exposed the crimes they committed.  I think he is just busy and does not have time.  He is not an investigator.  He is just the local law and reprimands those get drunk in public. He is just a small-town sheriff that he has not been trained for this and was just selected because he is former military. He is probably one of the more honest people in town.”

And looking to see if there were any missions for him, Jepos revealed something interesting.

“No, but I think that the Zhentarim will be moving in little more heavily into this town.  That weird things are happening here usually means an opportunity for money. In fact, we will probably buy a business here or something. Give us more chances.”

Dancer shared his concern about Dhelosk.

“Oh, he is an interesting one. I have been trying to do research on him and it has not been an easy thing. But I do know that Dhelosk is not his real name. There is a lot of magic around the Blackbutter Inn. They all came into town three or four years ago.”

Checking in about the tanner.

“He has not been out of his house since the sinkhole, but I did hear that Albaeri ran away sometime last night or this morning. So, the tanner is the only one left, well, except the storage guy.  But there does not seem to be any evidence, and he has seemed to have avoided it all. He has been trying to help the constable gather evidence against the others.”

Dancer expressed his concern about keeping the Zhentarim presence from the party, especially with Fwoosh and wanted to know how bad it would be if they were revealed.

“Well, one of them has links to the Harpers, one of them has links to the Lord’s Alliance, and one to the Order of the Gauntlet. Two of the three are goody-two-shoes and would not appreciate us and would probably try to burn us out of town.”

“Fwoosh is an interesting thing.  He met one of our executives in town, and for whatever reason took a liking to him, and gave him his ring, and if Fwoosh comes by we are supposed to assist. I do not know what the executive’s thought was. Fwoosh has told the rest of the party that he was just given the ring on the way out of town, and that he does not even know what the symbol means and if they have not done anything at this point, it is unlikely they would in the future if he does not talk about us too much. If the baker gets burned, I can always find a new place.”

“We will be expanding our presence here soon; I am just waiting for word to come back from Waterdeep. In fact, I think a team has already gotten to the Bargewright Inn. The concerns have been the bandits, they are not ours. If you could capture some, that would be great.”

“The Ruined Moathouse, I just got a report about that. It seems to be completely covered with ghouls and giant lizards at this point. Something about an extra-large spider living in the main courtyard and filling it completely with webs.  There seems to be a huge ghoul warren underneath it.  Without whatever was keeping them from it, they seemed to have flooded the entire basement area.”

“But the bandits, there seems to be something guiding them and we just do not know what it is, some force.  They have proved to be a bit more organized than bandits should be, and there have been far too many of them.  Taking out some of the wagons they have was more like a military exercise than bandits. I had seen some of the soldier types at the Ruined Moathouse, but your friends did not really share much about them.”

Jepos Copperhand

The remainder of the party headed to the Helm for drinks and good food. As usual, the Helm was filled with local Red Larchers. It was there that Vladimir shared more about his past and family, that he was the fourth of nine children and some about his least favorite sister Olga.  He also talked about how he joined the army and met Benny. With Dancer joining them, Avery went back to the Inn to work on the ledgers and study them in greater detail. The rest ate, drank, and attempted to listen in on what the locals were talking about.

There was a lot of discussion about the elders, and that two of the elders had run away.  Some grumbling about Ilmeth having gotten killed. Gaelkur ran off the same day the sinkhole showed up, as if he knew it was going to be bad.  Everyone is wondering what is in the sinkhole.  They have heard that there is Dwarven Tomb.  There was some talk of bandits along Cairn Road. There were several complaining about the Iceshield Orcs and Uthgardt barbarians attacking farmhouses and that the Samular knights were attempting to defend as well as they could. There was also a lot of local gossip that had little relation to what they were interested in. There was an odd rumor about Thorsk Thelorn, that he had been a mercenary and has treasure buried under his house.

With what they knew, they started planning their next set of actions, and where they should be heading to.  Hunting bandits seemed high on several of their lists, but as long as there was loot, everyone was interested, especially Dancer and Vladimir. They planned on hitting the haunted tomb first and work their way around Red Larch through the different locations keeping Red Larch as a safety point, they could run to if needed.

With their next sets of days planned, out the group went back to the Blackbutter Inn and went to bed for the night. Before getting to bed, Avery informed them of what he had found after spending several hours on the ledgers.  It seemed that Ilmeth had been using some type of cypher on the ledgers and it was beyond what Avery could figure out.  He would need something more to go on to work it out.  This surprised everyone since they had only thought of Ilmeth as a drunken and poor woodworker.  They did not expect this level of sophisticated work from Ilmeth.

Before Fogo got off his shift, he did see the goblins making something several times that was not meal related.  They seemed to be working on herbs and plants and then taking those results to Xaasz where he did something else with those components. Fogo was not sure what they were doing because he had never seen anything like this previously.

29th of Mirtul of the year 1492

Before anyone got up, Dancer went to the bakery to get his bear claw baking lesson.  While not a complete failure, his bear lumps were tasty, if only for the first inch until you got to the raw dough.

Later in the morning, they met with Dhelosk at the front desk and brought down their dragon skull for him to examine. He did not seem to be very impressed, nor seemed to have some for it, but he did bring out Xaasz who did offer up some platinum for the skull and mumbled something about grinding it up for something he was working on.  Xaasz did comment that it seemed that all the magic in the skull had already been consumed which is why it had such little value and why it was so brittle.

Dhelosk Quelbeard

Xaasz

While negotiating with Dhelosk about the skull, they party also checked in to see what magic items and potions Dhelosk might have one hand.  Fwoosh bought a pair of googles that would also him to see in the dark as well as a cloak that is able to change its color and form to almost anything.  Fwoosh was very excited about having a color changing clock. Avery was convinced to purchase a hat of wizardry giving him something a little more than he had. Fogo somehow resisted the magical staff of birdcalls.  It was a very tough internal battle Fogo went through, but somehow managed to convince himself he did not need it right now.

When asked about what kinds of things he was interested in for his research, Dhelosk answered that he would more things related to inter-dimensional space.  Putting big things in small spaces. He seemed disdainful of Dwarven magic but was interested in Drow magic much more.

Wanting to head to the haunted tomb, they realized that they did not really know where it was and that they should probably go ask for directions from Minny’s daughter. Heading to the poultry store looking for Pell and find out more about what they might be facing.  They convinced Minny to allow them to speak to her daughter about the tomb.

Minthra “Minny” Mhandyvver

Her daughter had found a stone door in the side of a hill, and that door was cracked open.  She had gone inside and there was a ghost inside that talked to her. It was a glowing person in there, but she was not able to tell if it was a human or not.  There was another stone door within and when she went to look at it, the ghost told her she was not allowed to go there and that she should go home. She had a nice conversation with the ghost and then it shooed her on her way.

Before departing, they took a quick peek at the tannery, and they found a deputy guarding in front of the door.  When asked about what had happened, they were told that Ulhro Luruth had committed suicide in the last day or two.  Still wanting his stuff Fogo asked the condition of any of the work inside and was further told that Ulhro had spiked all the tanks, and anything left there had been ruined.

And this is where the session ended.

History Lesson

Here we are with another session of the history of the savage frontier.  This is your host David Bourgh-Ettin, and this week we will be looking deeper into the Kryptgarden Forest.  Last week we talked a bit about the creatures making history, and this week we will investigate the forest that old Gnawbones resides in. It has a history that goes back at least to the minus 230rd century.

Summary

Named after Southkrypt, this small forest is believed to be the second-most-powerful source of the evil that pervades the dwarven ruin, the first being the Sword Mountains lying just north. The eastern outskirts of the forest are often used by the inhabitants of Westbridge for hunting purposes, even they don’t delve farther than a few hours walk into it.

Description

Kryptgarden Forest, also known as Tsordvudd, was a small but ancient and foreboding forest on the Sword Coast North in northwest Faerûn and one of the so-called the Moonwoods of the North. It was a site that once housed long-lost realms of the elves and dwarves.

“Dark times have come to Kryptgarden. May gods and heroes end the corruption on this day!”

Dala Silmerselve

Name

The name ‘Kryptgarden’ arose from the dwarfhold known as Southkrypt Garden, which stood in the north. The forest was itself sometimes called Southkrypt Garden. The name also seemed to originate in the orc realm called Uruth Ukrypt, meaning “Home of Uruth” in Orcish, that rose in the Sword Mountains in the 10th century DR.

Geography

It was located east of the Sword Mountains. It lay just west of the Long Road and the village of Westbridge and north of Waterdeep.

Description

It was an old-growth forest and local humans knew little of what lay within as of the mid-1300s DR. Kryptgarden was a hilly woodland was covered in a thick layer of foul-smelling fog. Parts of the wood had an unexplained reddish hue about the forest floor and the bases of the trees in the late 1400s DR. The forest contained many ruins of bygone dwarven civilizations.

Geographical Features

A portion of Kryptgarden south of Phandalin was known as the Crooked Forest because some of the trees there had been bent by ancient creatures that dwelled there to indicate paths through the forest. Following the passage of Volothamp Geddarm through the area, the forest received more visitors than it had in decades, disturbing several treants and blights.

A deep hole in the ground—known to some as “the orifice”—in the red forest east of the Sword Mountains led to the Underdark and a passage to the Hanging City of Dolblunde.

Flora & Fauna

Small game animals lived in the forest, but few larger creatures dwelled within, as they were readily eaten by Kryptgarden’s most fearsome predator, the dragon Claugiyliamatar.

Activities

Folk from Westbridge hunted animals along the eastern edges of the forest during the 1300’s DR but did not dare go deeper than a few hours on foot. They’d stopped by the late 1400’s DR after some of their fellows went missing. Some logging also went on around the edges in the mid-1300s DR.

History

During the era of the First Flowering, the forest that later came to be known as Kryptgarden was a part of the ancient elven realm of Illefarn, which was founded circa −22,900 DR. The surface-dwelling dwarves of the briefling flourishing realm of Besilmer, from −4420 DR to −4160 DR, also had borders reaching Kryptgarden Forest. When Illefarn fell circa −1100 DR, the elf realm broke up into several smaller states; of these, Rilithar encompassed Kryptgarden Forest.

The green dragon Claugiyliamatar established her lair within the Kryptgarden Forest in the Year of the Evening Sun, 1303 DR.

In the Year of the Warrior Princess, 1489 DR, the Five Factions all gathered in the forest to deal with the rising threat of the renewed Cult of the Dragon. The cult’s Green Dragon Mask was recovered from the lair of Claugiyliamatar in Kryptgarden Forest. Old Gnawbone herself was injured while blows were struck against the Red Wizards of Thay, the Cult of the Dragon, and the Zartruss hobgoblin clan.

Rumors & Legends

Kryptgarden Forest was reputed to be one of the sources of the evil that lurked in the ruined dwarfhold of Southkrypt, and only the second most powerful of them after the Sword Mountains. In the mid-to-late 1300s DR, rumors swirled of another dwarven citadel in the hills at the heart of Kryptgarden, but these were unconfirmed.

At that time, a crazed adventurer was discovered in the plains west of Red Larch, on Kheldell Path. Supposedly the only survivor of a nine-person adventuring company, he rambled on about a strange citadel in Kryptgarden, one that housed insectoid creatures that walked upright, wielded powerful magic, threw weapons that slew a man at 500 paces, and could camouflage themselves so well they could only be detected by smell and tracking, suggesting it was a supernatural power. Moreover, he had unexplainable burns on his arms and back and had no possessions on him. However, this man was a known to be a lair by 1370 DR.

In the 1300s DR, King Witchthorn had a relationship with the Adarbrent noble family of Waterdeep. For decades, the family sent its firstborn child of each generation to pledge an oath to Witchthorn. The children performed an unknown service to the king by their eleventh year and in exchange the family businesses and their homes were protected by secret fey guardians. This arrangement was unknown to all but the eldest son and daughter of each generation.

Campaign Notes

A fairly low impact session, and the characters finally started to compare notes on the things they have seen, like the dreams and other portents that have fallen on their heads.  Consequences are still impacting some of the members of Red Larch and the town has still not settled down.  The group has begun to discuss setting up a base, whether it is in Red Larch, Lance Rock, or even the Ruined Moathouse, they have not yet decided what might be best for them.  Planning on finishing off any lingering items around Red Larch seems to be next on their agenda.

Session 21 – Intermission

26th of Mirtul of the year 1492

The afternoon started off nicely.  After a little sacrifice on the altar of Dwarven gods, and now this.  A cranky old dead Dwarf wielding dual axes seems to be angry at the party and he is competent for a dead guy, seems to be yelling curses, assuming you understood teeth chatter Dwarvish, and can move around tactically like there was a brain left in the skull pan, and the worst part was that he seemed to be immune to all piercing attacks.  

The combat lasted longer than anyone wanted and made a mess of most of the characters involved in it, but everyone survived and were mostly wounded, but no one died, and until they found a small onyx mirror everything seemed normal.  Looking into it showed a death that had been avoided sometime in the past.  No one really looked more deeply into the mirror for any additional clues since what they did see was horrifying to each one.

Vladimir:  You see yourself dead in the mirror – at the sight of the ambush – your body chopped by Iceshield orcs, your head next to Benny’s.

Fwoosh: It is very fascinating – You see yourself in the mirror, but you are dead – it looks like you are at the collector’s house and have been captured and tortured.

ISAC: You see yourself disassembled, a pile of parts on a table, everything is covered in dust and abandoned

Onyx Mirror

ISAC, not afraid, looked into the mirror a second time to see if he would get something new.  Instead, it seemed to start sucking his soul out as the party just watched him freeze in place. Eventually managing to get the mirror away from him and smashing it on the ground seemed to have been sufficient to free ISAC from whatever had kept him captivated.

ISAC: In your mind you are swirling in the void no body, but something is pulling you into the distance – you seem to be moving faster and faster.

Moving back to the safe shrine room, the party took a short rest.  While resting, Vladimir shared the Dwarvish book he had bought from Endrith at the Sundries store with Angelica.  The books were beautifully illuminated manuscripts written in Dwarvish. They contained a genealogical history of the Dwarf clans of Mirabar. ISAC and Vladimir also discussed death and life in general. And the fact that Vladimir was concerned about turning into a creepy skeleton dude after he dies.

At the end of that rest Fogo went back to the Blackbutter Inn so that he could complete another cooking lesson with the chef there.  The rest kept looking around and keeping to themselves, however, it seemed that ISAC’s and Vladimir’s cat killing curiosity needed to be scratched and off they headed back to the room of sarcophaguses to inspect, open, and loot as many as they could get to.

It did not take long for the rest of the party to realize that they had left, and probably where they had gone.  Joining the two wayward looters, the whole party got into the game of checking for traps and opening the sarcophaguses.  With everyone ready, they started moving on to the rest.  One in a corner released a spore cloud of yellow mold almost poisoning ISAC and Vladimir.  That only seemed to give them strength to start moving faster. In another one they found it filled with nothing but skulls, all from orcs and Drow. It did not warrant a second look, and off they went again.  They were surprised when the second to last one had nothing but a huge mirror in it that did not seem to cast a reflection when someone investigated it.  Unwilling to remove it after the last experience they continued their exploration.

In one of the sarcophaguses, they did find a note written in Dwarvish.

Note Found in the Tombs

When translated by Angelica, it stated:

“gods forgive us — we could not stop th”

The party finally got to the last one. If it was by luck or just random chance, this one was trapped and activated all the carved reliefs of Dwarves and creatures along the walls and ceilings to open their mouths and to spew out poison gas.  It was slow enough to allow everyone to escape with only a few being affected by the poison. It was at this point they decided that their looting, or as they called it retrieval exploration, had come to an end, and off to the Blackbutter Inn they went.

Angelica and Avery had headed to the Inn a bit before the rest and managed to get themselves hammered and started singing nonsensical songs made of mismatched tunes and syllables that sounded like words but was not. While in the kitchen getting yelled at in Goblin, Fogo did notice that several times during the different meal preparations, occasionally Xaasz seemed to be working on something that was not meal related.

Xaasz

To be prepared for the next morning, Vladimir went ahead and bought two Dhelosk’s special Hair of the Dog drinks so they would be ready in the morning for the two that were still attempting to sing with their foreheads pressed against the table. Fwoosh inquired about the clock on the mantel and Gwendolyn Venelli told him that it had been a gift to Dhelosk from a Gnome Workshop, and that there were several Gnomish workshops in Waterdeep.  

Gwendolyn Venelli

Being that it was late, the group bought food and drink to fill their pie holes with something that was not rations and stale water. The discussion eventually came around about what Fogo was doing in the kitchen.  Dancer who had witnessed the glorious chaos of the Blackbutter Inn kitchen explained about how the whole kitchen was being run by Goblins and that all the counters were about a foot and a half high, therefore explaining why Fogo needed knee pads to work within there.  Some things suddenly made a lot more sense the group.  Although when Dancer described that the Goblins used all their limbs, including their very nimble toes to cook, Vladimir’s stomach seemed to have some difficulty.

When Vladimir asked Gwendolyn about the Goblins, he was informed that they all had been working for Dhelosk for over 40 years, and probably longer based off the stories she had heard from Xaasz.  When thinking about it, Vladimir realized that something was not quite right, since Goblins tend to only live 30 years at best, maybe 35 in captivity. That was when Gwendolyn also revealed that Dhelosk himself is almost 300 years old.

She continued to talk about the Goblins and explained that they were almost like small green Gnomes, but instead of tinkering, they much preferred playing with chemicals, usually poison. At some point, Angelica started burping something fierce and let loose an explosion of thunder and lightning as her Dragon’s Breath was belched out point blank into the table destroying it completely. ISAC was quick to pay for the damage and everyone decided it would be best to head to their rooms and rest for the evening.

27th of Mirtul of the year 1492

In the morning, Angelica and Avery felt like there were 50 little Dwarves hammering inside their heads and a pair of Elves with lances poking the back of their eyes.  Heading down, they were quick to quaff their Hair of the Dog. Fogo was surprised to see their normal table missing and a small burn mark on the floor in its place, but they all settled down for some breakfast and conversation. Before much time went by, Fwoosh went over to Dhelosk and gave him the book that contained a copy of all the runes that were on the floating stone in the shrine room from the tombs.  He seemed surprised and happily took it promising to investigate it and get back to Fwoosh in a week or so. Dhelosk did mention that some of the runes looked like they had come from the fifth and seventh century.

Dhelosk Quelbeard

When Fwoosh brought up the Golden Statue, he mentioned that the statue seemed to be absorbing some sort of elemental energy from specific types of creatures. The group had mostly decided to show him the current state of the statue, but ISAC seemed very reluctant in letting Dhelosk examine it. When the conversation had a lull, Dancer ran off for more Bear claws, and so Fwoosh filled the gaps asking Dhelosk about the clock.  He told Fwoosh to go and look at the back of the clock, he would be able to see the maker’s mark on it, and that there were many Gnomish workshops in Waterdeep. Once Dancer was back, the conversation once again came back around to the statue.

“So, the statue, you said that it has changed.  I did say before that it seemed to be awakening in some way, has it awakened?”

“It seemed to have awakened at least a little bit. Now it can produce fire.”

“Can I see the statue?”

“ISAC has it.”

Fwoosh went over to ISAC and tried to convince him to allow Dhelosk to examiner it, but ISAC just was not willing to let it go, even at a distance. Fwoosh ran over to Vladimir with a concerned and questioning look.

“He won’t come, something is not right with him.”

The group began trying to figure out why ISAC was not willing to show Dhelosk the statue.  No matter the argument, ISAC was not willing to take it out.  The more they argued, the more stubborn he become became. Trying a new direction, they asked Dhelosk on where they might find more information on their own.  Being told that they would have to go to the Wizard Academy in Waterdeep or go to one of the Drow kingdoms in the Underdark.  Neither location was easily accessible, and the Underdark a place of great danger.

“The Underdark is not a place for the weak of heart, it is dangerous, even me going there was a perilous situation. I would not advise attempting it anytime soon. When you are powerful enough to go, you will figure out how to get there, if you do not know how to get there, then you are probably not powerful enough to do it.”

“But you might even find an entrance in the valley somewhere. There are Drow ruins under the Sumber Hills, so there used to be entrances, or should have been entrances to the Underdark.  Although the old Dwarven ruins are sitting on top of them. If you follow the ruins deep enough, you will probably eventually find an entrance.”

“Is it normal for Dwarven ruins to be on top of Drow ruins?”

“No, there is at least a thousand years between the two.  The Drow were here, and then went away for some reason, and then the Dwarves came afterwards.”

“And the Dwarves went away for some reason?”

“The Dwarves did not last more than two or three hundred years. It was not one of the troll wars, but trolls and orcs invaded and destroyed the Dwarven areas.”

A few other questions came forth from Fogo, and he continued to apologize to Dhelosk about them keeping it back at this time.

“I have already handled it once, but now you seem reluctant to allow me to examine it again.  Is it awakening more?”

“Yes, that is what we understand.”

“When artifacts awaken, they can sometimes influence your thoughts. Just be aware as it awakens, if it is an artifact, who knows what it really is, it could be further influencing what you think and do.”

“How will we know when it is fully awakened?”

“Well, it will probably talk to you. If I can examine it, I might be able to tell what kind of awakening it is. Sometimes artifacts get more powerful and sometimes smarter.”

“Is there anything we should look out for in an awakening artifact?”

“As long as your directions align, there should not be any problems.”

“How do we know if they align?”

“It will probably tell you or attempt to influence you in a direction it wants you to go.  It could be anything.  It could just be gathering power.  It could be broken and gathering power to fix itself.  Without examining it, I cannot tell you which direction it is going.  There are a hundred possibilities.”

“Do you think it might be influencing me right now.”

“Hard to say.”

“If it has moved from one of you to another, it has potentially identified you as a group. So, it got whatever it needed from the first, and now it is getting something from the second.  This is not to say it is a bad thing, there are more good things than bad things out there when it comes to these things.  You did say it has a multitude of functions that are beneficial to you.”

With those heavy thoughts weighing them down, they then brought up the effects of the onyx mirror they had found. Dhelosk did not know much about, nor was able to help them much, but did let them know that many times that magic items that showed you the possibilities of alternate realities was something that each person was only allowed to investigate it once, but a second look, it might try to consume that person. They also brought up the second mirror and Dhelosk expressed interest in that one as well.

Bringing Fogo up to speed since he missed the last part of the exploration, and described all the things they had found, as well as a lot of coin. One point of interest was the staff they had found which and they had Avery Identify it in the public room of the Inn.  With an audience of everyone there as well as the party, he was able to determine that staff was in fact magic, but only contained some residual magic and no longer had any functions.

The conversation finally got around to the party collecting their wagon and horses from Ilmeth Waelvur.  They found the constable yelling at Albaeri Mellikho who was still hiding in her home and refusing to come out.  Harburk Tuthmarillar was not having much success with her, and was happy to be moving on somewhere else, although confronting Ilmeth was not going to go well.

Albaeri Mellikho

Harburk Tuthmarillar

Collecting his deputies, the constable and the party all went to the Wheelworks.  When approaching, Ilmeth started yelling at them to go away and to stop bothering him.  The party wanted their wagon and horses, and he refused to allow access. It went back and forth with Dancer pushing the hardest on Harburk to act.  The constable was not looking for a violent confrontation and knew that Ilmeth would calm down eventually, but Dancer just kept pushing and pushing.  Finally, the constable had enough of it all, and told Dancer to back off, and then instructed his deputies to kick in the door to Ilmeth’s place.

Ilmeth Waelvur

Ilmeth was waiting for them inside with a short sword and as the deputies tried to secure him Ilmeth cut at them and wounded several of them.  Harburk was trying to help but due a quick movement by Ilmeth catching Harburk by surprise, the constable inadvertently stabbed Ilmeth in the heart killing him.  The owner and proprietor of Ilmeth’s Wheelworks was now dead.

Ordered to head around to the side by Harburk, the party were able to get into the back area and find their wagon and horses.  The horses were in poor condition, clearly not haven eaten in several days nor had much to drink.  Their wagon on the other hand had no wheels.  A quick search only exposed broken wheels and broken wagons around the yard.  Heading over to Thelorn’s Safe Journeys, they were able to convince Thorsk to get their wagon with his large flatbed wagon and bring it back, replace the wheels, repair any damages, and add in windows on to their wagon.

Thorsk Thelorn

Now that the wagon was settled, they needed a safe place to store the horses.  Avery negotiated with the Farrowvale family, the parents of the two girls Isabella and Sophia that had been rescued from Lance Rock, to store the horses at their farm.  The family agreed and eventually the whole group joined them out at the farm dropping off the horses.  The girls were happy to see Dancer, somewhat horrified with the naked riding cat of Avery’s, but happy to see the party.  After dropping off the horses, the group had dinner with the family and afterwards they headed back into town since it was getting late, and it had been a long day already.

And this is where the session ended.

History Lesson

Once again this is David Bourgh-Ettin bringing you history from around Faerûn.  Again, we will be continuing form last week covering more of the history of the Savage Frontier.

History is not just about a place and time, but many times it is about the people, or in today’s case a creature.  A creature that has lived for several millennia. The great ancient green dragon named Claugiyliamatar. It is unknown how old she might truly be at this time, since anyone attempting that inquiry only ends up as a pile of melted goo.

Some ballads call Claugiyliamatar “Old Gnawbone” for her habit of carrying a corpse dangling from her jaws to munch on absently from time to time, just as some humans suck on unlit pipes or chew cigars. She is cunning, paranoid, and possessed of a cruel sense of humor: trapped victims have been known to escape her because she played with them to watch their pain and suffering instead of slaughtering them outright.

Claugiyliamatar lives alone, driving away male green dragons who come courting, but she has always been rumored to employ several dozen loyal human and halfling agents to work behind the scenes for her in the less savory side of business in Neverwinter and Waterdeep. These agents make profits on goods made scarce by the dragon’s attacks. Old Gnawbone seems to enjoy manipulating affairs in the cities for the sake of wielding secret power, not for the wealth it brings her.

Claugiyliamatar is fascinated by human and elven women who wield power, and she spends hours watching them from her lair through her array of crystal balls. This collection of scrying spheres marks the second thing that fascinates Claugiyliamatar: magic, especially items that allow her to take human form and participate in the things humans do (knifings in alleyways, for example, and passionate courting, and, well, drinking). Her personal spells are too weak to enable her to take human shape, so she watches the nobles of Waterdeep and the sorceresses of Neverwinter for hours at a time, learning who has magic and where it is hidden, before sending her agents forth to steal it. Woe betides an agent who tries to cheat Old Gnawbone out of even the tiniest scrap of magic: he will find himself nailed to a tree deep in the forest, drenched with blood, and left for the wolves (or other hungry forest denizens).

Having her own way is everything to Claugiyliamatar. Among other dragons, her reputation for trickery makes her best avoided. Balagos, for instance, considers her a twisted, crabbed thing given to petty silliness and, as such, beneath his notice.

She is a tireless foe who goes to ridiculous lengths to cause even small harm to someone she regards as an enemy, and this “worry-all-the-bones” trait has made most other dragons leave her alone. This is just fine with Old Gnawbone, as it leaves her free to pursue her schemes wrapped in the presumption of her own supremacy over other dragons. It also leaves her great Waterdeep as part of her territory. That there are more than a dozen steel dragons and were-dragons’ dwell in the city under her very nose, and generally regard her activities with amusement, is something she serenely ignores, even when one of her agents is imprudent enough to point it out to her.

Claugiyliamatar’s Lair

Old Gnawbone lairs in a cavern in Kryptgarden Forest, at the end of a deep ravine that runs from the base of one of the mountains that bounds the old, thickly grown woods on the north. Several tombs and abandoned dwarfholds pierce the mountain walls nearby, including the infamous monster-haunted complex known as Southkrypt. Claugiyliamatar employs both human agents and woodland creatures as guards around her lair, to lead intruders astray (sometimes with the aid of audible glamers and other spells she casts herself) into waiting traps or into one of the waiting perils of another cave.

The green dragon doesn’t seem to have a name for her abode, but to humans it’s the Deeping Cave, a name of forgotten origin that it possessed long before Claugiyliamatar arrived the early 14th century.

The cave gapes at the end of a gloomy, vine-crossed gully overhung by gigantic old oaks and duskwoods. Within, Old Gnawbone’s lair is a weird place of creeping phosphorescent lichens, giant toadstools, and hanging mosses draped over statues of imperious human women (warriors, mostly) looted from a dozen tombs.

At the back of the cave, Claugiyliamatar slithers about in the gloom from her bed of coins to the alcove where her crystal balls glow and flicker. She often spends hours sprawled before them, watching what befalls far away, while a servant (always a man clads only in manacles and chains, though these are a decorative costume he can remove whenever desired) oils her soft scales with tree-sap and ointments made to the dragon’s own formulae from crushed and boiled forest leaves, fungi, and roots.

Claugiyliamatar is vain and believes she will stay youthful and supple if her scales are tended daily, polished with these healthy substances to a deep, almost blue, emerald hue. Those who anoint her are allowed to scoop up as many coins they can grasp in one hand (only!) from her hoard-bed as payment when they leave. Thus, attending the dragon is a popular duty among her servants — though one must be careful to do nothing to make Old Gnawbone suspect treachery; she’s been known to roll over with sudden, deliberate speed and crush a servant beneath her bulk.

Claugiyliamatar’s Domain

From Deeping Cave, Claugiyliamatar holds sway over a dominion that stretches from the southern bank of the River Mirar down the Sword Coast to the north bank of the Dessarin, and along the western fringes of the High Forest to about Dead Horse Ford, where it swings north and west in a wide arc over the Evermoors to take in Nesmé, Longsaddle, and Grunwald, to reach the Mirar south of Mirabar. If all the borders of her territory are disputed by other dragons (particularly northern Neverwinter Wood and the land between the Dessarin and the High Forest) and her ability to waltz into Waterdeep is more fantasy than something she dares do, Claugiyliamatar cares not. She rarely flies anywhere east of the Long Road and seldom leaves her lair in any case, preferring to watch through her scrying-crystals and have agents work for her.

Lance Rock, a landmark west of the Long Road south of Red Larch, looks as if a gigantic boulder were hurled down from the sky to strike deep into the ground — and that’s just what happened. A brash young adult red dragon, Smergadas, liked the look of the lands around the Dessarin. After flying about unchallenged for most of a day, he filled his belly with roaming deer and curled up for a nap — whereupon Old Gnaw- bone, who’d been watching him through one of her crystals, emerged from her lair, plucked a loose boulder almost as large as herself from atop the mountains, and flew over to drop it on him. Then she landed to fill her own belly with foolish red dragon.

Conclusion

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this ancient green dragon has been kicking around for a long time, hates being interrupted, and fundamentally is a vain, ill-tempered, vindictive creature that claims dominion over a large area of land including the Dessarin Valley, and not many dragons are willing to contest her in her claims. Wander not the northern areas of the Kryptgarden Forest lest you incur her wrath, one that she will happily fester on for decades.

Campaign Notes

The Tomb of Moving Stones has been completed.  Waking up the cranky dead Dwarf and the not so quick killing of him did not really reveal anything new.  One more of the Believers dies, this time in a fit of fury. What will happen with all those businesses that now have no owners?  When will those Dwarves arrive?  They party seemed to have been in a hurry to loot because of the worry that the Dwarves would arrive and take it all before them.

Session 20 – Intermission

25th of Mirtul of the year 1492

 After completing their discussion and reviewing of what they found and a tour of the tombs with the constable, the tired party wandered their way back to the Blackbutter Inn. The constable had run off to fetch his deputies to gather in the those involved and start interrogating them on what they had been doing.  As they passed near the sinkhole, they could see that most of the crowd had wandered off.

A small barricade had been built around to prevent any more mishaps with additional children falling in. Most of the preventive measures seemed to be set up ten to 15 feet from the sinkhole, obviously fearing more of a collapse.

Arriving at the Blackbutter Inn, they were immediately directed by the server to head to the back by going around the building and to wash off before entering the building.  With all the mud attacks, exploding mud devils, and having a corridor explode around them did cause all of them to far dirtier that any sane person would prefer. Gwendolyn Venelli came out with a tray of ale and offered a free meal to the team for their hard work in rescuing the children in the sinkhole.

Gwendolyn Venelli

Quickly washing up and reentering the Inn they all decided it was best to get a meal, especially since it was going to be free. Before eating, they all went to their rooms for quick clothes change. They reconvened in the main room except Dancer who wanted a warm bath in his room. Vladimir seemed a bit jealous of the individual bath and individual room that Dancer had, but he still had warm dreams of large teddy bears.  Everyone collected back and ordered food and since Dancer had not come down, Fwoosh being friendly, had ordered a large bowl of clotted cream and a spoon for the Tabaxi. Dancer’s only comment was that he liked meat too.

Vladimir started a discussion about the friends that all had escaped with Fwoosh from the Collector.  Fwoosh described their names and their specialties. Which led Dancer to ask about who was Benny. Vladimir explained more about how he knew Benny and as well as a little about the ambush that led him out of the army and eventually to Waterdeep. With the different soul baring stories coming out, ISAC explained a bit more about his awakening and that he believes that his name might be an acronym.

This brought up something that Fogo was interested in, which was if anyone belonged to any factions as he was a member of the Emerald Enclave.  Vladimir was a part of the Lord’s Alliance, Angelica was with The Order of the Gauntlet, and Fwoosh was confused if he belonged to the baker’s guild or something else.  This caused a lot of Thieves’ finger-talk with Dancer about their relationship with their faction and Dancer convincing Fwoosh to not disclose their relationship with the bakery and their faction.

With Fwoosh talking about his past and his home a clocktower, Avery noticed that there was a small clock on the mantle of the main fireplace.  This also led Fwoosh there who seemed fascinated with it. Dancer gave a little more information about his past and the source of his name and everyone shared a bit more with each other.  The group was opening a little more and becoming closer to each other.

It seemed that the party had opened enough and felt like they trusted Dancer sufficiently such that they showed him the Golden Statue and some of its capabilities.  He was enamored with the fact that once it was about ten feet away from ISAC it would disappear and reappear in ISAC’s hand. It was also mentioned that it seems to be growing in power and was awakening in some way. ISAC also explained that every time they killed an elemental type of creature the statue seemed to absorb something from them upon their death.  Dhelosk, the owner of the Blackbutter Inn is a wizard, and had identified the symbols on the statue as the four drow symbols for the elements, and that it was very old, maybe as much as 5,000 or 6,000 years old.

Golden Statue

The group continued to talk about some of their previous adventures and opened it up for Dancer to join them. He was very amenable to joining the group and adventure along with them. They did mention a little of some of the odd dreams they had but did not explain much to Dancer. He told them to consider that they had ingested something that might have caused that because it was just crazy.

Moving the discussion along, and ensuring no one was close enough to listen in, they decided to try and decipher the text they found on the door with the dwarven carving.  Angelica who had been studying Dwarven in her seminary work was able to figure out the exact words for everyone. Before working on a solution Dancer suggested that they just sell what they knew to the Dwarves and not tempt themselves with the Tomb since it was scary for Dancer since he feared the undead, curses, traps, and all the possible combinations of those.

The conversation went into circles a bit as they tried to figure out what it meant.  Fogo pushed that it could represent the four elements and might be related to the other elemental objects they had found, while Angelica suggested they might want to think about what the known attributes of Dwarves are. This seemed to have given them several new ideas.  In the next few hours, they were able to come up with a plan and items they needed to purchase the next day to enact what they thought was the solution. With what they thought to be a solid plan everyone headed up for a much-needed rest.

26th of Mirtul of the year 1492

After rising in the morning, they found Constable Harburk Tuthmarillar waiting for them already drinking some ale.  He complained that he had not yet gotten to bed while working on the investigation and there were already issues.  It seems that someone had murdered Baragustas Harbuckler last night by dismembering him, pinning the parts on a wall, and gouging out his eyes and replacing them with some small stones.  Sometime while the sinkhole was being explored by the party, Marlandro Gaelkur had closed his shop and ran off somewhere.  This morning Elak Dornen stole all his business’s coins and valuables and snuck away leaving his very angry wife and several children behind.  The town is concerned that she will have some difficulty in being able to keep the business running without the gold to pay the workers.

Harburk Tuthmarillar

Baragustas Harbuckler

Marlandro Gaelkur

Elak Dornen

Albaeri Mellikho was arguing that she had nothing to do with it, Ilmeth Waelvur was stinking drunk and acting overly belligerent, and Ulhro Luruth was just hiding in his shop. When asked about Braelen Hatherhand and his father, Harburk explained that Rotharr had been kicked out of his house by his wife.  He had come into town, drank a bunch, and then swore vengeance on the those that did this to him before departing for parts unknown.

Albaeri Mellikho

Ilmeth Waelvur

Ulhro Luruth

All the elders implicated that were still in town were attempting to blame Baragustas for everything, but there was little evidence except a lot of finger pointing.  While Aerego Bethendur had been implicated, there was even less evidence about him participating.  What was interesting was that Aerego started helping the constable with finding some evidence and reporting in on what he knew to prove the guiltiness of the other elders.

Aerego Bethendur

While the Harburk was explaining, Dancer and Fwoosh decided that they needed to run to the bakery for some bear claws. Continuing to explain what had been happening, he finally got to Grund who just seemed guilty of being bullied into helping.  Grund was released but did not seem to be normal happy-go-luck attitude and in fact was no longer tolerating anyone stealing his pickles and had even beaten two men this morning when they came by. ISAC was curious if any of the bodies or the suspects had any tattoos, ones that matched any of the drow elemental symbols.

Grund

Arriving at the bakery and looking for Jepos, it turned out that only Mangobarl Lorren was there while Jepos was out doing something. Not waiting around, they ran back to the Blackbutter Inn.

Mangobarl Lorren

As the party described the things, they had found such as bandits having castles, the possibility of there being different four elemental cultists, that the bandits and the cultists organizations and that they might be working together, and that the elders might even be involved in all of this since the earth symbol was found in the tombs too.  Going for a stronger drink, Harburk fortified himself before asking clarifying questions about all of that. Before Harburk could depart, Vladimir suggested that the constable reach out to the military commander in Amphail. Leaving less happy than he arrived, the constable left to search for tattoos and anything else.

Jumping in, Avery went over to talk to Dhelosk before getting riled up by Fogo shortly. He purchased a spell and a lot of magic ink to allow him to copy spells into his spellbook and therefore making himself more universally useful. Once completed, it was Fogo’s turn who took advantage of Dhelosk’s kindness by getting a bunch of items identified and priced, although for some reason not the dagger with the dried blood they had found in the tombs.  Dhelosk was happy to help, especially when Fogo brought out the Lantern of Equivalent Exchange and his Ring of Free Action.  The wizard was very interested in purchasing both, but Fogo was not selling anything except a cheap magic mace, and then headed back to the table and leaving the disgruntled Dhelosk behind.

Dhelosk Quelbeard

After a small discussion with the rest of the group Fogo came back and asked about purchasing some Bags of Holding.  After admitting there were a couple available at a now premium price, Fogo relented and sold the lantern to help cover the cost of buying those useful bags.

Deciding to visit many places in parallel the party split up visiting different locations.  Fogo went to the smithy to fetch his newly made knives.  That proved to be a quick jaunt and then joined Angelica and Avery at the Allfaith’s Shrine to pick up some healing potions and fondle the dead body of Baragustas’s body to look for tattoos. Dancer, Fwoosh, ISAC, and Vladimir visited Ironhead Arms to sell all the excess arms and amor they had collected.

Laefra Tantur

At the shrine Angelica and Avery purchased a large pile of healing potions and convinced Imdarr and Lymmura to allow them to go through and inspect Baragustas’s body.  Before their search, they inquired about having Imdarr perform a remove curse if they encountered one when attempting to identify the magic dagger they had found in the tombs. They were instructed to head in the back with their discission on whether Avery would identify the dagger or not and that they should take the box with the body parts to the back of the building for their searching. Once the search was completed, the three of them headed back to the Blackbutter Inn to wait for the rest except Avery who went to his room to start copying spells.

Imdarr Relvaunder

Lymmura Auldarhk

At Ironhead Arms, the four of them sold a pile of armor and a few weapons while Dancer filled up his almost empty quivers and Fwoosh picked up some daggers. Finishing up their business they headed back to the Sundries store.

Feng Ironhead

At the Sundries store Fwoosh was surrounded by children all looking for more sweets, especially those bear claws, but they were all disappointed when all Fwoosh delivered was a pair of sourdough bread loafs. It was disappointment all the way around. Purchasing some charcoal and checking in on some better-quality rope, they were able to buy everything except the non-hemp rope. Fwoosh was able to pick up an interesting toy top that was spun using a string. Just before departing, Vladimir bought some blank books, a couple of Dwarvish books, as well getting one of the romance books (The Bard and the Rising Tower) secretly from Endrith while no one was looking.

Endrith Vallivoe

Seeking some fine wood, Dancer convinced them to head to Thelorn’s Safe Journeys so he could acquire some higher quality wood for his carving fetish. Meeting Thorsk, a large and scarred man, Dancer had a nice set of selections to choose from. Vladimir attempted to convince Thorsk to take care of his horses and wagon but was continually rebuffed. Dancer suggested they use the farm of the old woman they had rescued, but it was not something Thorsk knew about.

Thorsk Thelorn

Finished with their business and shopping the last of the wayward group headed to the Blackbutter Inn and meet up with the rest. Going over their tomb raiding plan once again, they started checking to make sure they had everything that was needed. Vladimir picked up a cask of Dwarven Ale and remembering that they still needed some tobacco and a pipe, everyone except Avery ran back to the Sundries store to fetch those.

After collecting Avery, the party headed out to the northern quarry to gain access to the Dwarven Tombs and finish looting the spaces they had not done previously. Getting the name of the old woman they saved before heading down, the group all headed into the Tombs. They made their way to the locked Dwarven door and got ready to execute their plan on opening it. Reviewing the plan once again they began executing what they thought was the solution.

Starting off with putting the coals in the eyes caused an immediate reaction which almost caused Vladimir to fall over.  A loud chunking noise started coming from the door with the loud sound occurring once a second. In a more of a panic mode, they lit the coals on fire, poured ale into the saucer, dropped a gold piece into the slot, and with the lit pipe blew smoke into the mouth.  A different noise started from within the door, and it unlocked and opened itself.  Their careful planning and discussions of the solution had paid off.  The door was open.

Stone Door with Dwarf

Description of the door: The door is a dark grey granite that still has remains of faded paint upon it.  The stone dwarven warrior stare outward at those in the hallway.  Its eyes are holes large enough to fit a small hand while there is a hole leading into the mouth, the left hand is holding a stone saucer with a small hole on the bottom of it, and finally the right hand is held out as if waiting to hold something. It is at an angle that will cause whatever is in the palm to slide into what appears to be a pouch that has a slot on the top of it.

Surrounding the carving in Dwarven on the door is the following:

Aundra e eth hallanaryr wundstr avor corruption

Jert eth vjakr avor ljef

Grasp eth murmal avor temptation

Ynsta eth aldrorz anzjon

Which translated to:

Breath in the heavenly air of corruption

Drink the water of life.

Grasp the metal of temptation.

Feel the burning sight.

Wandering down the steep ramp and a turn, they came to a large domed room that had another large floating glowing stone in the middle and the room was filled with some sort of mist that obscured the vision. When attempting to see magic, the mist blocked all of it.  Going into the room, they found three 20-foot-tall statues of Dwarves.  Each of the Dwarves had a different symbol in front of them.

Symbol of the Northern Dwarf Statue

Symbol of the Western Dwarf Statue

Symbol of the Southern Dwarf Statue

Angelica was not able to discern what gods they might have been from but speculated that these might be very old representations of the Dwarven gods. Wandering around and looking for magic more closely, the floating rock was radiating as well as all three statues, but nothing more could be discovered. She was able to determine that this room must be some sort of shrine to the Dwarven gods.

The rest of the party convinced Angelica to cast Gust of Wind in the room to attempt to get rid of the mist, but it had no effect that they could see. They next all surrounded the floating stone and started turning in a circle clockwise and back to see if that changed anything, but again, nothing seemed to change or happen.

Wondering what to do, Fwoosh stepped forward to the northern statue and offered his Pick mask as an offering.  The mask vanished and a small tattoo of a mask appeared on his hand. Excited to partake of any boons, Vladimir tried by sacrificing his old personal battle axe to the northern statue, and it too was accepted.  Vladimir felt he was stronger if he faced certain types of creatures.  

Now everyone else was in a bit of a frenzy and did not want to be left out of anything special happening.  But anything they placed on the third statue’s base caught fire and turned into ashes.  Maybe they should not have started with Grund’s old grungy and beaten and bloody studded leather. They tried a couple of other items but all of those caught fire and turned into ashes.  Thinking they needed something more expensive; Dancer ran back into town to buy back one of the armors they had sold as well as a side jaunt to pick up a couple romance books (A Fairy and his Paramour and The Dragon Mounting the Knight) that attracted his attention.  But when placed at the base of the statue, the chainmail also went up into flames and then ashes.

They were going to continue when Avery offered some advice. He stated that if this was really a shrine that gave boons, they would be very limited and if you pushed too hard, you would very likely get an anti-boon. Deciding that a new curse would be bad, they moved on to the rooms where the sarcophaguses were, but leaving Fwoosh and ISAC behind so Fwoosh could keep copying the runes on the floating stone.

Deciding that they should first using Fogo’s Detect Trap since this was a tomb, and according to Dancer, everything was probably trapped.  Moving to one end to see as many of the coffins as possible he cast his spell.  While he did notice one of the coffins trapped, it also seemed that casting the spell in a firm loud voice also awoke something they were not expecting.  In the alcove at the very end, the top was tossed off and a medium sized skeleton looking much like a dead bearded dwarf holding a pair of axes leaped out and glared at them.

Dwarven Skeleton Champion

And this is where the session ended.

History Lesson

This is David Bourgh-Ettin bringing you history from around Faerûn.  Today we will be continuing form last week covering more of the history of the Savage Frontier.

This week we will start talking about Dessarin Valley.  While most of the current west coast scholars and cities call this the savage frontier, it is equally ancient as any other area on the Sword Coast.  There are many stories of Drow, Dwarves, Orcs, and the Uthgardt.  There are many ruins and old buried secrets there, most of which we still have not found, mostly due to the danger involved with the different barbaric folks that inhabit the valley.

The earliest known inhabitants are the drow who had created an underground city and temples sometime around minus 52nd century Dalereckoning, usually shorten to DR. Not much is known about them since any records are buried very deeply in those hills, and most likely into the Underdark. It was not until about the minus 43rd century that we finally have more written records, although even those are somewhat sparse from the subsequent orc invasions.

The dwarves built a magnificent metropolis and fortifications all under the Sumber Hills called Tyar-Besil.  It was said to not only completely cover the underground of the Sumber Hills, but all the way to the Sword Mountains and the High Forest.  It was a crowning achievement for the dwarves and said to have been something so stunning with its engineering and construction that artisans came from thousands of miles to see it.  It is unfortunate that it only lasted a mere two hundred some years.  Their king Torhild Flametongue was killed in one of the many battles with giants and trolls, who both still infest the Sumber Hills to this day.

We can still find many fortifications and old ruins around the valley, but these are not usually part of Tyar-Besil.  These instead belong to a much later generation of dwarf and explorers.  In the 9th century Dalereckoning a group of adventurers settled in the valley building several strongholds.  They managed to entice several groups of dwarves at the same time who also then build different settlements and defensive works to help them old out against the constant invasions of orcs and other creatures.

Campaign Notes

Some elders ran, some are sticking it out, and at least has been murdered. The party heads back down into the tombs to try and finish off what they found before Dwarves show up and take the party’s soon to be well earned loot.  The Dwarven Shrine was a nice find a couple of boons might be helpful later. Waking the Dwarven Skeleton Champion?  That was just a bonus.

Session 19, Prelude

25th of Mirtul of the year 1492

After the combat, they decided that they need to keep moving quickly.  Heading east through the last room they had cleared, it led to a hallway and at the end of the hallway was an old man whittling sitting on a bench. Baragustas Harbuckler, a retired carpenter was quick to start begging for mercy even before the party got to him.  After some interrogation they were able to determine that he was not only a believer like many others, was quick to name many of the other believers, and was somehow involved with the murder of the men from the other room. He attempted to convince the group to not go further east into the tomb of the delvers.

Baragustas Harbuckler

“Aerego, Albaeri, me, Braelen the boy who is over there, Elak, Ilmeth, Marlandro – but he is kind of shifty, think he has been, well, donno, Rotharr who is Braelin’s father, and Ulhro the tannery guy.”

He did mention that when the stones move, they would cause bad luck and the earth would move.  He also let them know that the stone masked men and the mephits had just come by a couple of minutes ago and had instructed him to say stay where he was found. He also talked about the Earth Priest gave them instructions on the interpretation of when the stones did move.

“From time to time, the great stones change position when no one is watching. That is how they talk to us. They show us signs of coming danger and warn us when we make bad choices.”

“The believers sneak in at night, they take the tunnel in and wear the cloaks to hide themselves, they just come in and worship at night and talk about things like how to keep others out.”

Dancer was convinced that he was not telling them all the truth that he had and had lied in several places when telling his stories. Stealing all his wealth and even his wedding ring from his dearly departed wife, the party imprisoned him in a cage near Grund, who was still sulking naked in his cage. Moving forward the opened the last door to the east finding one of the largest rooms so far filled with large stones all covered in runes much like they had seen previously.

It did not take long for four stone masked men to run and engaged them.  With some sort of sorcerer taking potshots at them, the group was quickly at a disadvantage.  Just when they seemed to have gained some control of the combat, the sorcerer ran forward and created some sort of seismic ripple that shattered the floors, walls, and ceiling of the hallway they were fighting from.  It was only some quick action by the few outside of the hallway that allowed them to kill the earth priest.

Stone Masked Men

Earth Priest

Searching around did not discover anything, so they collected their prisoners and moved back to the first room where their attention was gathered to the hole in the ceiling and Harburk yelling down asking what had happened.  They had been down in the hole for a couple of hours at this point.  He had instructed Braelen to head down the tunnel and the deputies had collected him and had left a guard at the end of the tunnel. The party exited the tomb out of that same tunnel.

Harburk Tuthmarillar

Trying to explain what they had found, they brought Harburk down while giving him details that had found out, especially about the elders in town and that they had been responsible for several murders.  Dispatching his deputies to gather those named as well as Grund and Baragustas back to the constable’s office.  Harburk took off to take care the investigation.

And this is where the session ended, and the Prelude has been completed.

Campaign Notes

The Tomb of the Moving Stones has been completed, although there are still a couple of areas that still need to be explored.  The Earth Priest has been killed, and the elders rounded out.  The Prelude is completed.

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