The Days of High Adventure

Bark at the Moon, Part II

The company takes an extended rest to recover after the attack on the town. They visit Father Upik and purchase alchemical ingredients for Enri to brew healing potions. Kriv purchases 70gp worth of special components for Enri. They leave Regina Tress with Yura for healing and more rest.

Vashta follows tracks to the lake and the company discovers a causeway a few inches below the surface of the water. This explains how the werewolves were seen to be apparently walking on the water.

The company proceeds to the Fae Barrow to gather Wolfsbane for Yura the Healer. As they approach, they see a satyr playing a flute. Enri approaches to ask permission to harvest wolfsbane. The satyr, Pohr the Piper, is suspicious and believes the company is here to rob the grave that is here. Enri is unable to convince him of good intent and he attacks.

The satyr summons two woads while two gremlins appear from behind some rocks.

Fae Barrow

The battle is difficult as one of the gremlins is able to become invisible and immobilize Kriv.
Enri kills one of the gremlins and captures the other, Vashta and Smoke kill the woads but the satyr runs away.

Suddenly a chill falls upon the barrow. A pale cloud arises and a painfully beautiful Eladrin appears. She also challenges the company, suspicious of their intent. Diplomacy is successful and she allows the harvesting of Wolfsbane.

She introduces herself as Omaphara, a warrior who died during the War of the Pelt. Omaphara fought in Brokenstone Vale against the werewolves. Her lover, Querelian, buried her and bound her spirit to the Fae Barrow so she can witness his revenge. Every year he visits her, renews the binding and his oath to kill the werewolf lord Strom. She tells the company she believes Querelian may be behind whatever has caused the werewolves’ increased activity, and that he must be convinced to stop renewing the War of the Pelt.

Omaphara believes that the crossing at Wolfheart Island is permanent. She gifts the company with 30 silvered arrows, a ritual scroll to open the passage to Brokenstone Vale, and her prized longsword Moonclaw, in exchange for the party’s agreement to go to the Feywild to stop Querelian’s plan.

The company returns to the town and picks up Regina, leaving Smoke behind to rest. They go down to the causeway and tie a rope from a boat to Kriv, who walks down the causeway while the rest of the company follows in the boat.

When they reach the island, they come to a clearing that has several cobwebs. Sensing an ambush, Kriv and Regina ready their bows. A Doomspinner Spider appears. Kriv and Regina are able to shoot the spider with their bows before it can attack.

Three spriggans erupt from the surrounding woods and begin to attack the company.

Wolfheart Island

Vashta kills the spider and two of the spriggans, while Regina takes the third.

The company decides to use the scroll to open the passage to Brokenstone Vale rather than wait for more werewolves to come through. The read the scroll and are surrounded by light and power that overwhelms Enri and Vashta. One by one they step through.

Everything is brilliant and powerful, including the other party members. It is as if each of their intrinsic natures are amplified and decorated.

The party also notices that they feel more intensely their beliefs and posses a stronger desire to follow their individual natures.

Eventually a campsite appears, and an Archfey materializes.

Maiden of the Moon

She is the Maiden of the Moon, who patrols Brokenstone Vale and kills werewolves. She tells the company that the werewolves are gathering on the border to attack the cities of the Eladrin. The city Mithrendain received warning from the watch at White Thorn, where Querelian reported that the werewolves are preparing to attack the mortal plane and the Eladrin at the same time. A few hours down the river the company will find Brokenstone Vale, where the leader of the wolves, Victor Mazen, was found dead, his body full of Eladrin arrows. From there if the party heads away from the city they will reach White Thorn. When asked how the portal might be permanently closed, the Maiden suggests that Oran may be able to close it. Or Tiandra, the Summer Queen. The Court of Stars has convened and it will be very difficult for the company to gain an audience.


GP/XP summary:
-170GP Kriv alchemical and arcane ingredients
1550XP/5=310XP for Fae Barrow battle
700XP/5=140XP for convincing Omaphara
250XP to Kriv for gathering Wolfsbane
200XP to everyone for discovering what’s going on
250XP to Kriv for Regina’s husband
1200XP/5=240XP for Wolfheart Island

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Bark at the Moon, Part I

Clarissa DeGarmond awards each of the company members a riding horse. She also gifts them with a horse-drawn wagon and two hirelings, Chester the Groom and Simon the Farrier, who will travel with the company and maintain the horses and party camp during adventures.

Enri takes time away from the company to get a magical tattoo inscribed on her body which will take a couple of days to complete.

The rest of the company decides to follow up on the “crossing” they learned about from their encounter with Gauth the Beholder. But first they conduct some trading in town.

Kriv sells his Aegis Blade Longsword and purchases a Silvered Maul, which he gives to Thohand.

Vashta speaks with Simon Sweetleaf to see if he has any tobacco for sale. He is able to negotiate Simon’s price down to 15sp per sack, and purchases 24 sacks.

The company loads the tobacco on the wagon, packs up the caravan and rides out for Buzzle Glen to visit Caern Buzzlegrom. Over a hearty apple pie, they catch up on local gossip. Vashta asks Caern where he might make a profit selling tobacco, and passes Caern a sample. Caern inhales deeply and tells Vashta that this is high quality leaf, that he might sell it for 6gp/sack in Hammerfast where nothing grows but tobacco is in high demand from both dwarves and orcs. He advises Vashta to ask 12gp/sack as a starting price.

The company thanks the Buzzlegroms and heads out for Lake Wintermist.

As they cross through the forest, they hear wolf howls in the distance, and a woman screaming. They decide to investigate. They come upon a clearing and find several wolves surrounding a woman lying unconscious on the ground.

Forest Werewolves and Wolves

Kriv charges in and hits one of the larger wolves with Wicked Fang, his new longsword. He then releases his dragon breath on some of the smaller ones, killing them instantly.
Vashta makes several ranged attacks from behind difficult terrain.
Thohand swings his new Silvered Maul with glee, smashing into the bones of any wolf that dares come close.
Smoke, a wolf himself, fights loyally alongside his bipedal companions against his own kind.

During the battle, one of the larger wolves transforms into a werewolf! The company also notices that some of the wounds they have inflicted on the wolves are healing slowly. Several members of the company are bitten during the fight.

Eventually the company kills all of the wolves and approaches the prone woman to render assistance. She gets up and introduces herself as Regina Tress, from the town of Silver Lake. She seems exhausted and is holding her hand against her shoulder. Between deep breaths, Regina tells the company that she is thankful for their help against the wolves, and asks if they might return to town with her. She says there is a healer there.

Kriv asks Regina if there is anything wrong with her shoulder, but Regina shakes her head and does not answer. Thohand tries a more diplomatic approach and convinces her to let the company see her wound. They discover that she too has been bitten.

Regina tells the company that werewolves have been attacking the town, abducting people and taking them back to Wolfheart Island. She turns to Kriv and asks him to promise to go the island to find her husband, Tomas Tress. Kriv swears by his clan and honor.

They head into the town of Silver Lake.

Entering Silver Lake

The company stops by the local shrine and meets Father Upik, who welcomes them and explains that the shrine is to the Wild Woman, an aspect of Melora. It was moved from its original loction on Wolfheart Island and placed here long ago. Vashta notices writing on the walls of the shrine in Deep Speech, and reads some of the local history to the rest of the company.

“Men in beast hides spilled into the unspoiled realms gifted unto the Eladrin folk by Corellon himself and brought with them war and suffering, blood and death. With shining sword and girdled in brilliant armor, the fey knits rode forth to battle the trespassers. For long years we fought, sometimes as victor, others in defeat. When the blood of our kin flowed like rivers and with the beasts still as numerous as the stars in the firmament, it was decided to strike an accord. Those lands seized by the hateful host would remain theirs to use as they saw fit. If they stayed beyond the Vale which we acceded to them, war would come again without abatement until every shapeshifter pollutng the Land was nothing but bones and fodder forthe carrion crows”

Upik tells the company that there are no Eladrin around anymore, but that there is definitely something awful on Wolfheart Island. His master had a vision and went there.

Upik tells the company more about the town of Silver Lake. The Merry Face is the local hub, but not an inn. Everyone sleeps in the Big House these days, since many of the smaller outbuildings have been torn apart by the werewolves during the attacks. Kriv asks if any trappers live in town, and if there might be some extra traps they can use in the town’s defense. Upik says there may be some traps in the Big House, in some crates. Vashta donates a gold piece to the shrine. Upik is most thankful.

The company enters the Big House and meets Yura the Healer, who is covered in blood and has dark circles under her eyes. She is tending Gregor and Anna, who are in bed, infected with the advanced stage of the wolf bite. Yura examines the company and informs them that they have been infected with Moon Frenzy, and that Regina is worse than before. Yura asks her to rest but Regina refuses, and says she must help defend the town this night.

Yura says she knows how to make a remedy but needs certain ingredients. She has been forbidden to leave the town to gather them because she is the only healer left in town. She asks the company to travel to the Fey Barrow, west along the shore, to a hill at lake’s edge. She tells them to look for an unnatural feature there, a round grassy hill devoid of trees. There they will find a violet flower that looks like a buttercup. It is called Wolfsbane. She needs a dozen or more roots. The company agrees to go in the morning, but they must stay tonight to help defend the town. They also suggest to Regina that she return to the Big House to rest in the morning while the company goes out to find Yura’s ingredients. She agrees, to Yura’s relief. (JP: I don’t remember this part, think she just agreed to be treated overnight)

Yura gives the company some poultices to help with healing, and the company goes back out into the town.

They go to The Merry Face while Vashta stays outside to talk to a “lady of the evening” in an attempt to gather more information about the local situation. She tells him she saw the mist change to a brilliant color, then the wolves walked on the water. Vashta gives her 2gp for her time.

Meanwhile, in The Merry Face, Kriv introduces himself to the bartender, Pran. Kriv pays 2gp to buy a round of drinks for everyone in the bar. He turns to the people and introduces the company and reassures them that they mean no harm, that they only wish to help defend the town this night. He then turns back to Pran and offers him 1gp for information on the people here at the Face. Pran is happy to oblige. Kriv learns that two of the men, Pok and Fillek, are fishermen, and may have nets.

Kriv greets Pok and Fillek and hears them tell their tale of seeing strange things out on the lake, and how they used a rope to pull their fishing boat back in on nights of the full moon. Kriv asks if they might be able to lend a couple of their nets so that the company can set traps for the town’s defense. Initially Pok and Fillek are reticent; the nets are their livelihood and put food on the table for the town. Kriv promises to reimburse them if their nets are damaged. Pok and Fillek finally agree and go down to their boat to get the nets.

The company returns to the Big House to search the crates for leftover traps. They are able to find three round bear traps. They go outside to prepare the town for the battle.

Silver Lake Battle Preparation

At dusk, the townsfolk all move into the Big House and Vashta helps them barricade the windows and doors. He then leaves and tells everyone to stay inside until after the battle. They dig a trench ten feet deep and place spiked sticks at the bottom. Two of the bear traps go directly in front of the front and rear doors of the Big House. The other trap is set near the trench. Pok and Fillek suspend the net above the buildings and wait for the company’s command to release it.

It is night. A fog is seen stretching out over the lake, glowing brightly. Through the fog come several boars and wolves. The battle begins.

One of the wolves takes damage from the trap by the trench. Another leaps over successfully and attacks the company. Meanwhile, the boars sneak around the Big House and prepare to attack from the rear.

During the battle, Pok and Fillek yell down from the roof that there are rats on the roof! The company doesn’t pay attention as rats are common animals and there is enough fighting to be done on the ground. Regina moves back to a safe distance while continuing to shoot at enemies with her longbow, while Kriv and Thohand lock up the werewolves in melee.

Vashta invokes Diabolic Transformation to turn into a beast!

Vashta Diabolic Transformation

Pok and Fillek yell down again that there really are rats on the roof. The company looks up to see several giant rats looking down from above!

Silver Lake Battle I

Regina starts picking off the rats one by one. The rats retreat from the edge and find their way into the Big House, where they transform into wererats and begin attacking the townsfolk!
The company sends Smoke through one of the windows to help take on the wererats.

Silver Lake Battle II

Vashta gets knocked prone and nearly dies, and casts Fey Switch to switch places with Smoke. Once he appears in the Big House all the wererats flee the building.

Outside, the company finally kills all the attackers. Vashta takes two werewolf fangs and one paw as trophies.


GP/XP summary:
Kriv +136gp for Aegis Longsword
Kriv -530gp for Silvered Maul
Vashta -36gp for tobacco
Company 1050XP/5=210XP for Forest Wolves
Kriv 25XP for promising Regina he will find Tomas
Vashta -1gp for Wild Woman shrine
Vashta -2gp for whore gossip
Kriv -2gp for drinks at the Face
Kriv -1gp for Pran information
Kriv 150XP for motivating fishermen to help
Company 3000XP/5=600XP for Saving Silver Lake
Vashta (2) werewolf fangs and (1) werewolf paw

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Beauties and the Beastmen, Part II

The party sees a large chamber before them. Hiding in the shadows, they can see four Gnoll Marauders and a Gnoll Warmaster moving about, apparently following the instructions of a voice booming in Abyssal. Vashta is able to understand the language and whispers to the others that some kind of ritual is taking place, directed by an unseen creature named Gauth. They can see a group of women imprisoned behind an arcane barrier suspended between two pylons.

GauthRitualBeastmen

The women are crying out in pain – the pylons are draining their life force. The ritual appears to be powered by components that the Gnolls are setting on the floor.

Gauth Ritual Components

The party decides to try to sneak and capture one of the Gnolls. Enri watches the movements of the Gnolls and determines the right time for Kriv to sneak out and attempt the capture. Unfortunately Kriv is detected before he can capture a Gnoll.

Battle begins. Kriv is quickly surrounded by the Gnoll Marauders which he marks to keep their attention focused on him. The other members of the party begin unleashing their attacks.

GauthRitualBattle

The first kill is made by Vashta. He uses his Eldritch Blast to finish off one of the Gnoll Marauders. Suddenly a Beholder appears on the platform at the end of the room! It is Gauth!

GauthAppears

The Beholder harries the party with various condition effects such as Sleep Ray and Telekinesis. Vashta is moved out of combat several times to his dismay. Enri is knocked unconscious. Kriv is nearly killed twice in a difficult battle with the Warmaster. Smoke takes ongoing damage from one of the Warmaster’s attacks.

Occasionally Gauth sacrifices one of the women to gain health. The party realizes that they are fighting against time as well.

Smoke and Enri are able to disrupt the Beholder’s ritual by disturbing his components on the floor by the arcane barrier.

Eventually the party kills all the Gnolls and concentrates on Gauth, the Beholder. Enri jumps up on the platform behind Gauth to attempt to push him into Vashta’s Armor of Agathys area of effect. Smoke flees the fight to a safer area of the chamber to prevent his own death. It takes several attacks from each party member to finally kill the Beholder.

Gauth Battle

After the battle the party finds several items:

  • Wicked Fang Longsword +3, taken from the corpse of the Gnoll Warmaster. It is given to Kriv since he is the only member of the party who can wield military weapons.
  • 250 gold pieces
  • 2 potions of healing
  • An Ivory Statuette which the party learns is a religious figure that inspires the loyalty of Beastmen to whomever carries it

The party decides to keep the Statuette and 1 of the potions and give the rest to Clarissa upon their return, as agreed.

They search the rest of the chamber and discover:

  • Documents that indicate that “Gauth” is a type of impure Beholder rather than a proper name.
  • Notes about a “crossing” that Gauth discovered at Silverlake on Lake Wintermist, but did not use to cross into this plane.
  • 50 gp worth of arcane reagent
  • “Speak to the Dead” ritual

The party goes over to the women and tells them to stay put while they make sure there is no longer any danger. They post Quiziri and Bandit on guard while the party takes an extended rest.

The next day they hear some pounding coming from above the Beholder’s platform but decide to stay quiet. They wait some more. Again, more pounding and digging from above. Tholomin Pegason‘s voice shouts “Hello down there!” but the party again remains quiet. "We know you’re down there, we saw you go in. We just want the treasure." says Tholomin. The party stays quiet. “OK, we’ll see you tomorrow!” utters Tholomin.

That night, Vashta sends Quiziri up the shaft to spy on Tholomin. Quiziri reports that the other end of the shaft is barred and that a camp is nearby. He can see two dozen mercenaries as well as members of Acquisitions Incorporated. Quiziri is not detected.

The next day Tholomin shouts down the hole, Vashta recites some of the instructions Gauth was giving the Gnolls in Abyssal. Much yelling and commotion begins above, and a cauldron of oil is emptied down the hole onto the platform, followed by a lit torch. Enri uses a frost spell to extinguish the fire so the party and the women are not harmed by smoke inhalation from the burning oil.

Eventually the party hears the camp packing up and moving off. Vashta once again sends Quiziri up to investigate and sees that the area is indeed clear. He spider scuttles up the shaft and picks the lock on the barred gate. The party then hauls up all the women.

They decide to split up and pursue Acquisitions Incorporated. Thohand is left behind to guard the women. Kriv is able to track their prey but as they approach they only see the mercenaries not Acquisitions Incorporated. They realize that AQI may have simply hidden and captured the women and Thohand, so they creep back to the clearing where they left them.

They are able to sneak up on Acquisitions Incorporated. They have the women and Thohand bound and restrained. Enri tells of her experiences with Weyzig and how she wants to bring him to justice. They are able to hear Weyzig talking down to Kyl while Tholomin lazes about with disinterest.

Using stealth they are able to surprise Acquisitions Incorporated. All their attacks focus on Weyzig. Enri shouts to Kyl that she has no issue with him and that if he gives up Weyzig she will not attack him. Kyl moves over to Tholomin to restrain him. Weyzig attempts to flee the area so the party pursues him. They are able to deal damage to him enough that he decides to surrender. They tie him up while Vashta relieves him of his belongings. They discover the following items:

  • Silver Necklace
  • Bone Statuette
  • 100 gp

Kriv intimidates Weyzig and demands he reveal where he obtained the necklace and statuette. Weyzig confesses that he stole them from a tomb. This is a grievous offense in Kriv’s homeland. Weyzig also tells of Debushar’s hatred of Clarissa and his plot against Pelin. They decide to take Weyzig back to where Thohand, Kyl and Tholomin are waiting with the women but find that Tholomin has fled.

Kriv grabs Kyl and asks if he had anything to do with stealing from tombs. Kyl confesses he has not made wise choices. Kriv tells him to stop stealing or he will deal with him personally. He suggests Kyl find more honorable work as one of Clarissa’s mercenaries, and Kyl agrees.

The party heads back to Fort Strongblade with Weyzig in tow. Kyl and the women accompany them. Upon reaching the town there is much rejoicing between the women and their families.

They take Weyzig and Kyl and go to Clarissa. They give Clarissa 250 gold and 1 healing potion. Clarissa asks for the treasure. The party looks at one another and back at Clarissa. Kriv says that this is half of the treasure as agreed. Clarissa becomes angry and accuses the party of hiding something from her. She wants to know all the items they found. Kriv lists all the items and Clarissa demands the Ivory Statuette. Enri says that was not the deal, the deal was for half of the treasure. The deal did not say which items went to whom. She negotiates with Clarissa to buy the statuette from the party for twice its face value and to let them keep the gold and 1 healing potion. Clarissa agrees.

Negotiating with Clarissa

Kriv tells Clarissa that Kyl would like to join her mercenaries. Clarissa accepts him graciously, as she needs as many mercenaries as possible.

The party then tells Clarissa about Weyzig’s information about Debushar’s treason. Clarissa becomes excited and takes them all before Pelin.

Debushar's Treason

Clarissa announces that one of her mercenaries, “Lieutenant Enri” has discovered treason against Pelin by Debushar. She gestures to Enri to continue. Enri tells of their battle with the Beholder, and about Weyzig’s confession about Debushar. Weyzig confirms the information but tries to paint his role in a more benign light. Pelin commands Durgle to take Debushar away.

Pelin then asks the party what treasure was recovered from Gardbury Manor. Kriv states that they have recovered the treasure and split it as agreed, and gestures to Clarissa to confirm this to Pelin. Clarissa shows Pelin the Ivory Statuette but is able to bluff it away as insignificant. Pelin seems disappointed but returns the item to Clarissa.

Kriv then asks Pelin to judge Weyzig’s crimes of grave robbery in accordance with the law of the land. He tells Pelin that this is a grievous offense in his homeland but must abide by Pelin’s judgement. Pelin asks Enri and Kriv what they would have him do. While Kriv prefers the death penalty, Enri is able to convince Pelin to imprison Weyzig so that he can do no more harm. Pelin agrees and Weyzig is taken away.

XP: 650+88+133=871 per PC
GP: 283 per PC
Silver Necklace, Bone Statuette – held for potential return to rightful owners
1 healing potion – Kriv
Wicked Fang Longsword – Kriv

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Beauties and the Beastmen, Part I

Vashta Nerada searches the corpse of Mindartus and finds the remains of jaws of a basilisk, worth 100gp of arcane reagent.

The company exits the Keep to find Talon Padraig accompanied by regulars from Winterhaven. They inform Talon that they have put an end to the evil threatening Winterhaven and ask if he has seen a Kenku fleeing the Keep. Talon says no, he has not seen any Kenku but will have the town keep an eye out.

Upon returning to Winterhaven, the company is met with much fanfare. They head to Wrafton’s Inn and learn that Valthrun the Prescient and Linora wish to meet with them. Kriv makes contact with a source for thievery tools and is able to purchase a new set to replace the one he gave Vashta.

The group heads over to Valthrun’s Tower. Valthrun informs Enri he has found some spells that may be of use to her, and offers one of them for free. The rest of the company helps Enri purchase the others, and Kriv offers to pay by selling a Sigil of Lolth that he has been unable to move.

Valthrun becomes upset upon seeing the Sigil and tells Kriv that he must not show the item to anyone. He tells Kriv that it is cursed and marks him as a follower of the Spider Queen. To part with it will cause Kriv to weaken and die. Kriv is able to sell a different Lolth artifact to Valthrun to help pay for Enri’s spells, and puts the Sigil away deep in the folds of his cloak.

Enri receives three spells from Valthrun: Knock, Object Reading and Hand of Fate. The company also purchases additional arcane components from Valthrun for Enri to use to make healing potions and cast any of the new spells. Vashta asks Valthrun if there is anything he has that can help him on his quest to free his mother from the demon. Valthrun gives Vashta a black leather pouch containing a chip of a Balor’s horn, and tells him that although he does not know how this item will be of use to Vashta, he feels he should have it.

The company goes to the Temple to Avandra to see Linora. The acolytes are busy putting away the equipment they used to mass-produce bottles of holy water for the battle. The company asks Linora if they may have a few bottles of what is left over, and she agrees. Enri asks where she might obtain a tattoo. Linora suggests she speak with Salvana Wrafton.

Enri and Vashta go to Wrafton’s Inn while Kriv goes to the local blacksmith to sell his old shield which he does not use anymore. Upon entering the Inn, Enri goes directly to Salvana to speak with her but is unable to get her attention. Enri persists and is offended when Salvana dismisses her. Enri stands on one of the tables in the Inn and invites all the men to go outside and dance with her, to which they agree with great enthusiasm.

Salvana is upset by the decreased ale sales while the men are outside. She walks right up to Enri and asks what she can do for her in an unpleasant tone. Enri asks where she can obtain a magical tattoo. Salvana says she knows of one man who did such work but he left a while back to move his business to the Gardbury Downs where adventurers spend more freely.

Enri completes a round of dancing with the men and they return to the Inn to Salvana’s relief.

Meanwhile, Kriv is on his way back from selling his shield and notices that he is being followed. He rejoins the company outside the Inn and informs them of this fact. The group decides to find out by setting up an ambush in town by moving through some tight intersections while Vashta spider scuttles up the wall to perch on a nearby roof.

Vashta spots someone tailing the company and jumps down from above. He is surprised when the target of the ambush swiftly steps aside avoiding his grasp. He falls prone and looks up to find an elf woman with a blade against his throat and her foot on his chest. She tells the company that she has been following Enri and needs her help. She does not give her name. Enri notices that the woman bears the brand of Ander, a “trainer of high quality courtesans.”

The elf woman asks Enri to help Ander find a courtesan that has gone missing in the Gardbury Downs. The courtesan, named Troilana, was sold to Pelin Strongblade a while back, but the courtesans have not heard from her in a while and have grown concerned. They cannot visit Gardbury Downs to “check up” on Troilana as they do not wish do disturb the client.

Enri states that she is not interested in helping people who have sold themselves into prostitution and declines to help. Kriv also expresses disgust at Ander’s operation, as he feels people are not property and Ander has most likely taken in and trained as courtesans those unfortunate to have no other career choice. Kriv was raised to understand that branding of the flesh is permanent and only done to livestock if at all. The company decides to proceed to the Gardbury Downs area to find the magic tattooist.

The elf woman gives the group a magic scroll to read if they happen to run into Troilana – the scroll will notify Ander that Troilana is safe and sound. The company makes no promises.

Leavingwinterhaven house

On their way from Winterhaven to Gardbury Downs, the company comes across the Buzzle Glen tobacco farm, run by a halfling family. They are invited in to partake of the evening meal and swap stories. The farm belongs to one Caern Buzzlegrom and his wife . He indicates that he has seen the tattooist heading south into the Gardbury Downs, a region of the vale infested with Beastmen, orcs, and other creatures who spend their time looting the ruins of the much older human civilization which no longer exists. The downs are ruled by several warlords who vie for power and prestige.

The party heads south into the downs and comes across Fort Strongblade, the walled fortress of Pelin Strongblade. There seems to be a great commotion at the gates of the inner fortress. At the gatehouse a man at arms in uniform is trying to calm the people. The Beastmen had raided their village the night previous and abducted 12 of their women. This is unusual because beastmen do not usually take a liking to human women, they prefer their own kind.

The man at arms is Commander Salovar, who heads the forces of Pelin. He recognizes the adventurers as outsiders when the local villagers start staring at the unusual party. Salovar becomes agitated and asks the party to hide out in the local mill until he returns with aliases and papers for them.

Pelin is notoriously paranoid and requires everyone in his inner circle to carry papers which he signs himself as a way to prevent assassination, which he constantly fears.

Kriv selects “Mord”, Vashta “Nacho the Grappler”, Enri "", and Thohand “Grabthar.”

Fort-Strongblade

Inside Pelin’s great hall, the party meets several other interesting characters arguing over what the proper response should be to the latest Beastmen incursion.

  • Simon Sweetleaf is a tobacco trader who believes that the people are exercised over nothing and that Pelin should raid another local warlord as a demonstration of his power
  • Clarissa DeGarmond is an aristocrat who commands a mercenary force, who believes that her forces should be sent to Gardbury Manor, where the Beastmen leader, Tan-Tan Turningknife resides
  • Durgle, a Kobold bodyguard completely loyal to Pelin
  • Fraelin, a Dwarf researcher who keeps to herself
  • Debushar, an assassin and rogue who is Pelin’s chief confidante, announces that he has the solution. He has found a group of adventurers, Acquisitions Incorporated, whose claim to fame is that they slew a dragon.

The party is surprised to see that the member of AQI are old adversaries of theirs! Tholomin Pegason is using the name “Telamon the Pure”, Wayzig the Magnificent, “Zimzam the Amazing” and Kyl, “Lyman the Quick.” AQI plans to leave the next morning to investigate Gardbury Manor and exterminate the Beastmen who live there, and rescue the missing women.

Clarissa tells everyone that she is inducting the party into her mercenaries and that she wants them to go to Gardbury Manor to deal with the Beastmen, not AQI.

After the meeting, Clarissa pulls the party aside and tells them that Gardbury Manor holds a great treasure, and that AQI are nothing but a group of treasure hunters that Debushar has hired in order to bring the treasure back to him. With the extra money, Clarissa’s role will be distrupted in Pelin’s court and she fears for her influence, and maybe even her life. She asks that the party leave this night so they can get to the treasure before AQI.

The party agrees to head to Gardbury Manor and investigate the ruined temple underneath in exchange for half the value of recovered treasure. Clarissa believes one of Pelin’s courtesans is also being held there.

The party leaves for the Manor immediately.

On approach to the ruins of Gardbury Manor, they encounter a war party of gnolls and a bugbear strangler.

Gardbury-Manor-I

Kriv is grabbed and nearly strangled by the bugbear, but manages to escape. He is able to mark most of the enemies and keep their attention and attacks focused on him while the other party members deal out damage.

Gardbury-Manor-II

Smoke kills one of the Gnoll Marauders, and Enri kills the other with her Guardian Blades. The Gnoll Warfang is killed by Thohand’s mighty hammer, while Enri kills the Bugbear Strangler with her Fireball.

The party finds a note in the Warfang’s pack that appears to be correspondence between “Syban” and “Gauth” that reads: “The women are needed to continue our agenda.”

Gardbury Manor III

Underneath Gardbury Manor, the party overcomes a series of puzzles based on the four elements.

The first appears to be Earth. The floor is intersected by a wide span of dirt that cannot simply be jumped over. At first, Vashta sends Quiziri across to test for traps. The penguin is able to cross the dirt floor without incident.

Thohand attempts to cross but falls into quicksand. The party hauls him out with rope.

Gardbury-Temple-I

The second appears to be Wind. A strong wind whirls about the room. Along the wall on the other side are stacks of glass bowls that shine with an iridescent sheen. Enri summons her Tenser’s Floating Disc and each member of the party attempts to sit in it while it moves them to the other side of the room. Vashta fails an acrobatics check against the wind and takes some damage. In the end, the party makes it to the other side successfully.

Gardbury-Temple-II

The next appears to be Water. A large pool of water is in the center of the room, and one wall is lined with hanging tapestries. A locked door is on another wall. At the bottom of the pool is a shining key. Enri uses her Mage Hand to retrieve the key.

When they use the key to open the door, they are greeted by searing hot flames that fill a corridor. They shut the door quickly. They try using one of the glass bowls to throw water from the pool into the room but it has no effect. Eventually they try wearing the tapestries from the wall and are able to cross through it to another door.

Gardbury-Temple-IV

Screams are heard coming from beyond the door…

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Keep on the Shadowfell Redux, Part II

The company goes back down the passage from the dining area and comes to a chamber with a well. Vashta Nerada sends Quzuri down the well to explore.

Shadowfell urinal

Quzuri sees something reflecting light back from under the water. Enri sends her mage hand down to grab it and is rewarded with a bit of treasure. Kriv states that for some strange reason he is tempted to urinate down the well but controls the impulse.

The company goes down a corridor towards a room where some birdlike sounds are coming. They notice that this corridor is extremely clean. The company cautiously enters the room and finds a sepulcher that has been opened and what appears to be a trail of remains leading to a locked door.

From behind the locked door a voice asks the company if they are here to set them free. The company cautiously asks who is there, and the voice says that they are acolytes from a scouting party sent by Sister Linora. The acolytes say that they have been held captive for some time and that they have collected treasure while exploring the Keep. Their captors only let them out of their cell to relieve themselves at the well in the previous chamber. They tell the company that the key to the door is kept in an armory around the corner, and pleads with the company to go there to get the key and let them out. The company stays put, picks the lock and opens the door.

Shadowfell kenku

The acolytes are two Kenku, Declan and Torvald. They tell the company that they have learned the correct response phrase: “And light fails in the dark” and ask to be let go so they can continue scavenging for treasure and leave the Keep.

The company does not see anything unusual about acolyte treasure hunters, and steps aside for them to leave freely. The company then proceeds back down the corridor to the armory, to see what is there.

Kriv walks smack into a transparent Gelatinous Cube and becomes stuck. The cube seems to move slowly up and down the corridor, which explains why the corridor is so clean. They battle the Cube while to their surprise, the freed Kenku come down the corridor and proceed to attack them!

Kriv stuck in Transparent Cube

After a moderate battle, Declan the Kenku Wingmage is slain, and Torvald yields. He begs for his life and promises to flee the Keep if the company lets him go. Kriv agrees if Torvald will also allow them to cut off his right hand, as thievery and deceit are punished in this manner in Kriv’s homeland. Torvald refuses and Vashta attacks. Torvald escapes using his Feathery Burst.

The company opens the door to what they were told was the “armory” and discovers Taster in command of a group of creatures waiting for them.

Shadowfell-Taster-and-Wights-II

The company battles Taster, 2 Wights and 7 Skeletons. Kriv locks up Taster and the Wights with Threatening Rush while Vashta and Enri cast spells to destroy the Skeletons. As they are near to finishing off the Wights, Taster runs towards a narrow passage in the back of the chamber. He taunts the company and escapes just as the Wights are slain.

Shadowfell-Taster-and-Wights-I

The company cautiously explores the narrow passage, not immediately noticing the dirt floor. They detect that a pit lies directly behind the door and that it is spiked closed from the other side. They dig under the door enough for Enri to squeeze through, while her legs are held by Kriv. Enri is able to cast her mage hand to pull the spike out of the door.

Shadowfell-Shaft

Once safely in the room, the company decides to descend the pit using two ropes tied together to a spike in the door frame. Not comfortable with heights, Kriv initially balks at this idea but eventually volunteers to descend first. Kriv’s bravery is rewarded with the spike coming loose and him hitting the floor at the bottom of the pit hard, taking 10 points of damage. Kriv gets no respect from the rest of the team due to his earlier whining. The rest of the company descends safely.

They look around and see a vast chamber before them, with a dark portal at the far end. They hear the voice of Mindartus inviting them to join him and serve Orcus.

Shadowfell-Gate-Room-I

The company cautiously explores the closest half of the chamber. They find the resting place of Lord Alastair Keegan and a huge stone statue of Orcus. While they explore, the voice of Mindartus continues to threaten and beckon them to serve Orcus.

Kriv shouts that he will indeed serve Orcus, on a platter to Moradin! He then topples the stone statue of Orcus to the ground and it breaks open revealing a bronze statue of Orcus. Kriv then taunts Mindartus by urinating on the bronze statue.

Mindartus and Taster materialize through the dark portal, and begin bringing their minions into the chamber.

Shadowfell-Gate-Room-II

The company battles Mindartus, Taster and their minions. Kriv tries to lock up as many enemies as possible but Mindartus stays out of range casting deadly spells. At one point Vashta nearly dies when Kriv strikes a blow against a Boneshard Skeleton and triggers its Boneshard Burst, catching Vashta in its radius.

Vashta is saved from death by Enri. He slides out of the battle using his Spider Scuttle and targets enemies with Eyebite from concealment, while Enri jumps on top of the sepulcher and casts spells to kill as many enemies as possible.

Shadowfell-Gate-Room-III

The company whittles away at the enemy forces. Enri moves closer to the portal and continues to attack. Thohand nearly dies but is revived by Kriv just in time to target Kriv with his last healing spell.

Shadowfell-Gate-Room-IV

Eventually all enemies except for Mindartus are slain and the company surrounds Mindartus. Once he is killed, the portal closes. Vashta finds Skull Bracers.

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Keep on the Shadowfell Redux, Part I

The company finds a scroll on the remains of Ninaran. Upon the scroll are printed two phrases – one appears to be a challenge phrase, and the other, the correct response.

Upon return to Winterhaven, the company discovers Talon Padraig about to execute four suspected members of the Cult of Orcus. Talon has in his possession a book bound in human flesh that was discovered in Ninaran’s room. The book identifies these men as cultists. Enri convinces Talon to give them a fair trial, judged by Linora, and to imprison them for now.

The company visits the suspected cultists in prison and attempts to uncover the truth.

Questioning the suspected cultists

Vashta reads Ninaran’s book for a while while the rest of the company leaves the prison. With the guard’s knowledge, he attempts to fool the prisoners into thinking he is a cultist by speaking the challenge question and identifying himself as a “fellow cultist”. The prisoners call for the guard and tell him that Vashta is a cultist. Failing this test, Vashta decides to pour a bit of Holy Water on each of the prisoners to see if they react strongly. Each of the prisoners passes the test with no reaction.

Meanwhile, the rest of the company explores Ninaran’s room for clues. A small bottle of ink is found. The ink is magical; it is visible to anyone who knows a passphrase. The company returns to the prison to rejoin Vashta.

Linora arrives and uses a Scroll of Lie Detection to determine that the prisoners are indeed innocent. Talon sets them free and heads to the town wall parapet to prepare for the town’s defense. The company heads back to the Inn for a night’s sleep.

Early in the morning the company is woken up by a guard with an urgent message from Talon to join him at the town wall. From the parapet the company sees a band of undead approaching the town wall with seemingly peaceful intent. They say they are from the Keep and that the town must follow Orcus or die. They claim their army shall be of a size equal in number to the stars in the sky and that Kalarel will walk the earth among them.

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Tired from their interrupted sleep, the company banters with the undead dismissively and decides to go to the Keep to finish what Kriv, Mindartus and Taster did not complete many years ago.

The company enters the Keep and is immediately challenged by the creatures found within. Vashta reads the response phrase from Ninaran’s scroll, but the creatures cry alarm and a battle ensues.

Entering the keep

Kriv rushes into the room and quickly dispatches two Kobold Minions with his Dragonbreath. The company then takes on 4 Orcs and and a Kobold Wildmage. While focusing on the Orcs, the company is attacked several times by the Wildmage’s magical attacks. One of these attacks is nearly successful against Kriv, who feels a slight pull towards the Wildmage. Kriv taunts the Wildmage by telling it to aim lower next time so that it feels better to Kriv.

Kriv warns the rest of the company to keep the pit in the middle of the room out of the line to the Wildmage as it is clearly trying to pull its targets into the pit. Kriv is nearly pulled into the pit himself.

Enri and Vashta fill the room with magical bursts of energy as they attack the foes, while Thohand bashes the Orcs with his hammer. During the battle Vashta is pulled into the pit by the Wildmage and sustains injury, but is able to escape quickly. In response, Kriv goes into a rage against the Wildmage and kills it.

The company finishes off the Orcs and continues to explore. They follow the sounds of creatures to a distant chamber. Vashta enters the room and finds a Kobold Chieftain, Kobold Priest and 3 Orcs eating together at a large dining table. The creatures go quiet and the Kobold Chieftain rises to speak the challenge phrase from Ninaran’s scroll. Vashta reads the answer phrase but the creatures attack.

Interrupted meal level

The company struggles to get into the chamber and attack.

Interrupted meal

During the battle, Enri jumps up on the dining table to get better line of sight on the creatures.

Enri on the table

Enri kills the Kobold Priest while Vashta kills the rest. After the battle the company explores an adjacent chamber which appears to be a bedroom. They discover magical cloth armor for Enri , a turquoise jem and 60 gold pieces.

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Winterhaven: Hex of Orcus

Enri, Kriv, Smoke, Thohand and Vashta travel east from the Fey Forest. They see smoke rising from the direction of the town of Winterhaven and decide to investigate.

As they approach the main gate, they see pyres of bodies, burning brightly. The guard explains that the town is attacked at night by the walking dead. Anyone they kill is in turn reanimated the next night. The town believes the source of the attacks is the Keep on the Shadowfell. The guard suggests the group see the Master-at-Arms, Ninaran, if they wish to help the town defend itself. Other points of interest include the Temple to Avandra, Valthrun’s Tower and Wrafton’s Inn.

Winterhaven map small

The group enters the town and visits the Temple to Avandra to see Sister Linora, the priestess. Linora is busy making vial after vial of Holy Water for the town to use in its defense. Linora gives each member of the group a single vial of Holy Water.

The group leaves the Temple and stops by the stall of a florist, Delphina Moongem. Kriv buys a flower for Enri and asks the florist if she has any information about what is going on in the town. The group learns that Valthrun the Prescient is not the same man anymore, and that the town does not like to talk about what happened to him. He is currently held captive at the top of his own tower and forbidden from practicing the arcane arts. The florist tells of strange symbols found throughout the town and suspicion of sabotage by Cultists of Orcus who remain hidden. The florist also tells the group that Lord Padraig and Ninaran may be found in the Inn run by Salvana Wrafton. Kriv tips the florist a gold piece and the group heads to the Inn.

Upon entering the Inn, Vashta buys a round of drinks for everyone inside, to Salvana’s delight. The group purchases rooms for the night, then asks Salvana questions about the town and the mysterious attacks. Salvana confirms what the group has already learned, and when asked details of the enemy suggests the group speak with Elian the Old, the sole survivor of the “dark night” – his wife was killed by a Wight and he survived Ghoul paralysis.

The group also learns about the enemy from the soldiers at the inn. Certain undead are in command – “Wights” they are afraid to touch. Ghouls that can paralyze a man. Skeletons that explode with dark energy.

Vashta sits down at Eilian’s table while the rest of the group continues to chat with Salvana. He is not successful in engaging Eilian in conversation – he is waiting for the Inn to serve the nightly stew.

Meanwhile, Salvana informs Enri and Kriv that Lord Padraig and Ninaran usually show up at the Inn for stew, and suggest they have a few drinks and wait.

Lord Padraig and Ninaran enter the Inn to much fanfare as stew is served.
Vashta serves Eilian two servings of stew and is able to get some information about the enemy. He speaks of dreams of a stone room with a portal to darkness, where he can hear a whispering voice say “Come to me. Serve ”/campaigns/highadventure/characters/kalarel-1" class=“wiki-content-link”>Kalarel. Come to the keep to taste the flesh of men. Kill yourself. Rise again to eat the flesh of your family."

Meanwhile, the group tries to talk to Ninaran but are put off by her hostile attitude. Lord Padraig reins in Ninaran and greets the group. He appears exhausted. The group asks Lord Padraig for permission to visit Valthrun. He suggests the group explore the graveyard for signs of arcane magicks that may uncover some clue as to the nature and source of the mysterious attacks, and orders Ninaran to allow the group to visit Valthrun.

The group leaves the Inn and goes to the graveyard. Enri and Vashta are able to determine that the graveyard has lingering traces of demonic power connected to the Cult of Orcus. They see a couple of acolytes of Avandra searching the graveyard as well.

Suddenly, a giant Carrion Crawler erupts from the earth and gobbles up one of the acolytes. The group engages in battle with two Bonewretches and the Carrion Crawler.

Winterhaven graveyard

The remaining two acolytes try to flee but are caught by the Crawler and eaten. After the battle, Vashta searches the corpse of the Crawler and gets nothing but Filth Fever.

The group returns to the Temple to Avandra so that Vashta may be cleansed. After cleansing, the group heads to Valthrun’s Tower.

Winterhaven valthrun tower

Valthrun is unresponsive and appears dazed. Enri successfully determines that the source of the condition is a hex, and how to dispel it. The group asks the guard to send for Linora immediately.

Linora arrives and exclaims that she has tried everything. Enri assures her of the cure. Linora says she requires the assistance of both Enri and Vashta to perform the ritual. After several successful steps through a lengthy ritual, Valthrun returns to normal and thanks the group for curing him.

Valthrun sizes up the group and decides he can trust them. He tells them of Orcus, the Demon Prince, who is behind the mysterious attacks. He also discloses that Ninaran is the leader of the secret group of Cultists who are sabotaging the town’s defenses.

The group escorts Valthrun directly to the Inner Gate and asks to see Lord Padraig immediately, that they have important information for him. They are told he has already left with Ninaran who has decided to attack the Keep this night. Suspicious, the group asks if they may deliver the information to a senior member of the Lord’s staff. The guard agrees.

They meet Talon Padraig, sole remaining son of Lord Padraig, and tell them all they know. Talon is upset and immediately prepares to pursue Ninaran, fearing for his father’s life. The group follows reluctantly, knowing that the enemy is strongest at night.

They travel out of the town and through the wilderness, coming to the scene of a recent battle. Talon discovers the dead body of his father and swears vengeance. Enri is able to calm him down and convince him to return to town, to protect his rule. If he and his father were to die, surely rule would fall to Ninaran. Talon agrees but makes Kriv promise to pursue Ninaran and avenge his father. Kriv swears by his clan and honor.

After Talon and his guard depart, the group becomes suspicious. Enri detects enemies sneaking along the edge of the forest, Ninaran among them. She casts light directly over the enemy, surprising them.

Ninaran, two Bugbears and two Wights move into view but the group is able to advance quickly due to surprising them. A difficult battle ensues.

Winterhaven ninaran

After they are victorious against Ninaran, she slits her throat and promises herself to the Demon Prince. Vashta pours Holy Water on her body to prevent reanimation and she explodes into dust. Among her remains the group finds a healing potion, gold, and a Heavy Shield of the Barrier Sentinels.

Exhausted, the group agrees to return to town.

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End of Queen Maab quest

The group returns to the Fey Forest and meets with Queen Maab who thanks them for their help and rewards the group with treasure and healing potions.Queen maab finale

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Underground City of the Dark Elves, Part Two

Enri, Smoke, Kriv and Sartan stand in the middle of the Old Ones’ Lair, exhausted from their battle. The floor is soaked with the blood and body parts of their enemies.

Across the room, a secret door opens in the wall. A tiefling stumbles into the room, out of breath. He introduces himself as Vashta, a Warlock, who has been exploring the underground city in search of arcane knowledge.

Meetingvashta

The group invites Vashta to join them in their quest to escape the underground city. They leave through the secret door and flee from the distant sound of a flute playing.

The group comes to a room with a portrait of the Spider Queen on the wall with a door to a very long corridor.

Lolthtemple

Kriv sets off a trap that releases a giant boulder behind them. Vashta spider scuttles up the wall while the rest of the group runs into the next room.

Rolling boulder 1
Warcaster

The group begins to battle two Jellies and a Hobgoblin while Vashta joins the fray, fleeing the boulder which has just smashed through the door to the corridor.

Rolling boulder 2

Kriv and Sartan are knocked prone by the Hobgoblin’s devastating attacks. Vashta, Enri and Smoke manage to fight off the enemies while the boulder rolls past them.

Rolling boulder 3

After the battle, the group encounters a room with broken pieces of statues. A sign reads “When the three heroes are in their places, the path to the Holy Crypt will be clear.”
Vashta and Enri quickly solve the puzzle and the group enters the Holy Crypt.

While exploring the crypt, Vashta is grabbed by a Bonewretch. Three Corruption Corpses and three skeletons emerge from hidden places to attack the group.

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While Enri blasts the enemies with her magical attacks and sends forth Bandit, Vashta scurries around the room and performs his stealthy ranged attacks, Cursing every enemy he can. Kriv moves towards the center and uses his Aegis Longsword’s daily power to mark all enemies within a burst 3. He then performs two swirling attacks dealing damage to many enemies.

Kriv uses Boundless Endurance to regenerate and finish off the skeletons and Bonewretches while the rest of the group heals. The group then finishes off the Corruption Corpses.

After the intense battle, they find their way back to the surface and head back to the Fey Forest.

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Underground city of the Dark Elves, Part One

The group agrees to go with Sartan to stop the ritual. Thohand stays behind with Queen Maab.

On approach to the underground city, the group battles several spiders which have a powerful attack to which only Enri is resistant.

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The group descends a rope into the underground city, but are trapped in a chamber where the walls are closing in on them. Kriv quickly picks all three locks on the door while Enri holds off the creatures trying to kill them, and they all escape just as the walls come together.

Narrow escape2

The group then comes to an underground river and battles skeletons and spiders. Enri sends her familiar, Bandit, into the fray to distract the monsters.

River skeletons and spiders

Finally, Enri, Smoke, Kriv and Sartan reach the Old Ones’ Lair and meet their match. Many of the group nearly die several times battling Bugbears and Corruption Corpses at the Black Altar.

The group is successful and stops the ritual before it can be completed.

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