Table of Contents
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.