Chasing the DM

D&D musings, journals, resources and stuff

Cradle Plain – The Story So Far

Current Date: November 15th 370 PKR

Session 76 – The Blood Tower, part 2 (Interlude)
The party ascends to Anefsina’s secret laboratory and prevails against the horrors she has conjured.

Session 75 – The Blood Tower (Interlude)
Lord Hottentoat engages the group to find his protege Anefsina, whom he fears has become embroiled in arts too dark for a respectable Cloak. He’s right. The party tracks her to the Blood Tower, a long-dead necromancer’s base of operations, and battles through hordes of powerful undead to unlock the secrets of her lair.

Session 74 – Back into the Shadows
Wyle, in defeat, is revealed to be an aspirant who has as-yet been denied a position on “the other side”. His surgery is full of bitter journals and the fruits of his labour: bizarre Necrotech devices offering powerful boons but at the cost of your sanity. Battling and destroying a fusion of Nodes blocking the doorway, the party ventures back into the Shadowfell where, in a boarded up warehouse, they face down a Necrotech Golem newly emerged from its birthing pool.

Session 73 – The Surgery is Open
Back in the World, Elumai discovers a local source of Lead Powder, the strange dust used by the Cloaks to mask their thoughts from the arcane collective, after which the party turns its attentions towards Quincey the Pale. Evicted from the town hall for rabble-rousing, they break into the basement gaol and find a victim of early Necrotech infusion, begging for death, and, further in, a gruesome Necrotech surgery under the command of its practitioner, Vantam Wyle.

Session 72 – One Does Not Simply Walk Into Lukktor
Taking their chances, the group hazards a scouting mission, but are quickly discovered by a zombie horde under the command of a massive, ‘tech-enhanced razorwing, and are forced to execute a battling retreat back through the portal.

Session 71 – Welcome to the Shadow Side
After cleansing the caverns of its infestation, the party ventures through rippling, Shadowfell energies and emerges looking down on a mirror of Lukktor which is utterly consumed by Necrotech, its streets teeming with infused creatures.
Session 70 – The Mother of all Otyughs
Deep in the catacomb, the party finds the remains of several shadar-kai and even a massive nightstalker all having been sheared off by some kind of violent bi-location. Navigating a fetid underwater tunnel, they emerge in an otyugh nest half-in, half-out of the Shadowfell, and are forced to defend themselves against the otyugh shadow-mother.

Session 69 – Cabinets and Catacombs
The party unexpectedly rescues Mord from the clutches of a travelling entertainer, and newly bolstered, sets about investigating Lukktor. “The Book of the Walker”, a relic at the heart of scriptures preached from the Cathedral, seems marked by Necrotech, but other clues lead them to a local ranch and from there, underground, into an earthen labyrinth occupied by an undead menagerie including baby carrion crawlers and malformed otyugh.

Session 68 – At the Mantissa’s Gate
With the Patriarch defeated, Tantalroy’s love rescued and il-Sook revealed to be an incubus, Finial grants the half-elf pardon for his crimes and they go their separate ways. Finally arriving at Lukktor, the company finds a bustling frontier town under strict rule of law by the Black Mantissa and its enigmatic patron, Quincey the Pale.

Session 67 – House of the Patriarch
The party descends into darkness to find the Patriarch, an ancient eladrin who bears a striking resemblance to the noble entombed at the Whispering Cairn, waiting for them with his abominable “wife”, a grotesque construct built of dozens of victims. Fetsuad il-Sook rewards the party for his “rescue” by dominating their minds and turning them on each-other.

Session 66 – The Tailor’s Workshop
The party infiltrates the caves hidden below the fort and defeats a powerful death hag along with the gibbering mouther which has taken residence in her blood pit. While recuperating outside, the arachnoid architect of the flesh abominations known as the Tailor makes his move.

Session 65 – Attack of the Giant Scab Monsters
Tantalroy, mastermind of the kidnapping plot, leads the company through the forest in search of il-Sook and the rest of the conspirators. Surviving an ambush by a living swarm of beetles and its ogre consort, they arrive at the ruined eladrin fort which was to be the site of il-Sook’s “execution”, only to find the place infested with flesh golems.

Session 64 – Friends Like These
The party is ambushed by assassins sent by a mysterious third party looking to protect its interest in the kidnapping of a rich merchant. Coming upon the scene of the battle, they quickly get to the root of things; il-Sook has been betrayed by his own people. The company sets off in pursuit.
Session 63 – The Whispering Cairn
The company accepts Lord Hottentoat’s commission to seek out Lord Riva and heads out of the city on a four-day ride to Lukktor. Near the outskirts of the forests south of Emerandes, they discover a noble eladrin tomb which has been occupied by a hag and her troll servitors. Needless to say, it is cleansed.

Session 62 – Firewall
The party becomes embroiled in a failed magical experiment when living spells explode from laboratories hidden beneath the cobbled streets. The last surviving Wizard begs Elumai to find him the “Lead Powder” he needs to prevent record of the forbidden experiments being uploaded into the “Cloud”, a repository of all knowledge automatically drawn from mages of the Cloak. Elumai refuses, and Finial hands the lawbreaker over to the authorities.

Session 61 – Thief of Fates
The following day, the company is recalled to “Uncertain Futures” after a discomfited Dame Ambrose describes seeing a “terrible presence” during their readings. A follow-up reading is held, and all hell breaks loose, as the basement of the shop is apparently transplanted to a deep layer of the Abyss and attacked by demons. The company successfully defends Dame Ambrose and assistant from the attacks, but her husband Lord Eleron is lost. During a Speak With Dead ritual held later at the Spire, he tells them what he knows: Lady Vrexima, Wardress of the Eighteenth Layer, has somehow stolen the very fates of the company and unless they can find and recover them, they have no future in this world or any other.

Session 60 – The Last Duty
The fight with Grioss and his gnomish cohorts is brutal, and unexpectedly short when the old fomorian takes his own life in what he calls his “last duty”. Jonas risks his life to save Seraiya and re-united with her friend, Elumai guides the party back home. The following day they pay a visit to “Uncertain Futures”, a famous house of divination, and individually receive cryptic readings from its enigmatic mistress, Dame Ambrose.

Session 59 – The Old Warden of the Marshes
The party barely survives its encounter with the crocodile, but Aerello is lost. They retreat, tend to their wounds, and return. The second assault is more successful: the company infiltrates the fortress of Warden Grioss, self-styled King of the Karrick-Kur wilderness, and following hints that he may be holding Elumai’s friend Seraiya as a hostage, prepare to attack.

Session 58 – Terror of the Feywild!
The party uses the token to open a passage to the Feywild and assaults an isolated fortress in the middle of the Karrick-Kur marshlands, an old Eladrin proving ground now the province of the fomorian clans. The ill-planned attack quickly degenerates into a desperate fight for survival against deadly, shadow-shifting gnomes, and a giant Feywild crocodile used by the giants to guard their tower.

Session 57 – Business at the Spire
An anonymous message arrives for Elumai (“Save your friend”) along with some kind of token. The party pays its first visit to the Emerald Spire and makes the acquaintance of Lord Hottentoat, an old mage with a love of clockwork and a mission: find Lord Riva, last heard from in Lukktor. The company also accosts Fennig Darshue, noted planar expert in town to give a lecture to the Cloaks, who provides valuable insight into their plane-jammer, a find he considers of tremendous value.

Session 56 – Into the Hornet’s Nest
Jonas decides that starting a bar fight in one of his old haunts is an excellent way to announce his return to the city, and the party ends up taking the lease on the inn in question. They follow a member of the assassin’s guild deep into the crystalline sewers and storm what looks like an outer guard post, routing the assassins but killing two civilians in the process who were being used as human shields.

Session 55 – Trial in the Family Court
Elumai claims to be married to Finial in order to escape Lord Hyseth’s advances, but is marched to the consulate on charges of conspiracy against the Summer Queen. A conversation with Hyseth’s mother reveals they’re nothing more than a lie designed to blackmail Elumai into returning to her son, and eventually she is freed. Hyseth coolly issues an ominous threat towards her “little friend” Seraiya, as revenge for this betrayal.

Session 54 – The Doom of the Elves

The party tracks the killers across the plain and ambushes a camp of shadar-kai, a band of brutal self-mutilating shadow-dwellers who are hunting elves lest the plagues of the Ashen Cloth resurface to threaten the world. The party rescues a tiefling warlock, Aerello, a member of the caravan who was inexplicably kidnapped by the killers, and catch up with the caravan. Upon arriving in Emerandes, they are accosted by a band of heavily-armoured eladrin, whose leader, Lord Hyseth, immediately places Elumai under arrest by order of the Court of Stars.

Session 53 – Bahamut’s Flames

In the wake of their victory, the party returns to Ashenport where Finial wreaks stern justice on the complicity of the townsfolk. Amidst evidence of a vicious fight where they left Shortham’s caravan, the Sisters of the Ashen Cloth have been cruelly murdered and left on display as a warning to those who follow.

Session 52 – The Tilt of the World

Deep in a coastal cave, the party tracks down the source of the Call which has been killing the people of Ashenport, and though the walls between worlds become very thin in the fury of its attacks, they prevail.

Session 51 – The Mouth of Dagon

Defending themselves against the attack on the beach, the party enacts a Water Breathing ritual and pursues its malefactors to a cave complex down the coast from Ashenport. Inside, aberrant invaders stifle their progress.

Session 50 – Dark Pacts Under a Stormy Sky

Banks’s caravan moves on to Ashenport, where the party escorts a wagon of trade goods only to find the entire town buttoned up against a ferocious storm. A strange song calls them to the sea, where Finial discovers a terrible truth.

Session 49 – Last Queen of the Forbidden Forge

The party defends itself against Valsath’s counter-attack but Jelia convinces the party that he should pay for his treachery, and he does. In the heart of the forge itself, Calmachia invites the company to parlay but is too dangerous to be allowed to live, and the dragon is cut down.

Session 48 – Thralls of Calmachia

The party successfully shuts down the forge from its arcane control centre, and discovers Jelia in a hidden study. Defended by her construct minions, she is a stalwart opponent until sense prevails and the two forces engage in parlay. She reveals she is a prisoner of Calmachia, the dragon-mistress of the Forge.

Session 47 – The Ghost and the Machine

Falling foul of insidious traps and draconic warforged, the party pursues Jelia d’Cannith and her mercenary hobgoblins into the Forge.

Session 46 – Raiders of the Creation Forge

Using a stolen map, the party heads south into the Rowenoak foothills and discovers an underground facility buried deep in the hillside. They overcome its mercenary defenders, and find evidence of more warforged, except that these are humanoid, not dragonborn, in appearance. They converse with the Forge’s long-dead architect, a forge-wraith by the name of Haestus d’Cannith.

Session 45 – Trouble on a New Horizon

After clearing up a few loose ends on the Atoll, the company joins renowned ranger Shortham Banks on his caravan heading east to Emerandes. They pick up a clue as to who in the city might be buying flurock, and uncover evidence that some of their fellow travellers might know more about the dragonborn warforged that the party fought deep in the Underdark.

Session 44 – The Preacher and the Devil

The party resolves to help the ghost of a cleric whose indiscretion inadvertantly robbed him of his destiny to die a heroic death protecting a school full of children. Fighting off the unwelcome attentions of a succubus, they at last face down Duke Venerix and the devilish incarnations of Pargsmeer’s own daughters… the terrible dowry paid by the businessman in return for a life-time of wealth.

Session 43 – The Old House on the Needle

The party ventures into Pargsmeer House, a haunted mansion long cut-off from the rest of the Atoll. Inside the ruined brothel, they fight off undead remnants of the house’s occupants, and uncover evidence that Pargsmeer’s devilish whores were literally robbing clients of their rightful fates.

Session 42 – Ill Tidings and Fond Farewells

The party questions Aiyanna but she admits only that she is utterly enslaved to the “man between spaces”. Finial’s suspicions over Krait are confirmed when he responds to a challenge with powers which appear able to cut the paladin off from Bahamut; the goliath is defeated with the help of Finial’s companions, but escapes — with Aiyanna — before any more questions can be asked. Taking their leave of the Seven-Pillared Hall, the party returns to the surface to clear up a few loose ends.

Session 41 – Politics and PersuasionReturning to the Seven-Pillared Hall, the party oversees proceedings which decide on the immediate future of the community, and get suspicious at the association between Bersk the wainwright and a woman they haven’t seen before. Talking with Bersk, they find out he is being blackmailed by the woman — called Aiyanna — over a strange dream he has had since childhood, and they decide to confront her and her band of mercenaries. The situation collapses into a chaotic fight until eventually Aiyanna surrenders.

Session 40 – Spawn of Namotath

Paldemar enacts his plan to use the call of Namotath’s resurrected children to return the Rockworm from entropy within Tumerex, sacrificing what’s left of the Mages of Saruun in the process. The adventurers brave the onslaught of both Paldemar and Passeract, dispatch their enemy only to see him raised anew as a nascent Rockworm… but the worm is young and unable to bring its full power to bear. They are tested to their limits, but the party is able to take advantage and dispatch the villain, though Matorna-Reevash gives her life in pursuit of her revenge. Claiming a cache of gold as their reward, they portal out of the ship, Berend already making plans as to how it can be repaired and put to good use.

Session 39 – Old Love, New Despair
Exploring deeper into the vessel, the company discovers a laboratory in which the secrets of the planes have been laid bare in pursuit of Tumerex, and sleeping quarters belonging to whom they assume was once the owner and pilot of the ship, a Reverand Tarq Frushante, hailing from the distant landcapes of Nerath. Berend sees the party safely through a dangerous traversal through the flesh of Tumerex itself until the adventurers at last disturb Paldemar, discussing the last details of his plans with Passeract on the bridge of the ship.

Session 38 – Paldemar’s Recluse
The party arrives back in Paldemar’s meeting room only to find that they are in some kind of vessel deep in Tumerex. They find the remains of some Vecnan cultists, and the shattered corpse of Emerjis, partially transformed into a worm. Heading up, they discover a shrine devoted to Vecna, and in defeating the reanimated remains of the cultists, come by intelligence that suggests Paldemar has betrayed the God of Secrets. Jonas accepts an offer to receive Vecna’s boon in bringing revenge to those who would dare such an affront.

Session 37 – The Mage Who Must Pay
The company battles through Murkelmoor’s defenses and brings the fiendish human down, successfully preventing one of the three worms from being birthed. Matorna-Reevash, hideously scarred and clinging to life, begs Finial to vouch for her with the Court of Swords lest her actions be construed as traitorous, and the kind paladin agrees. Using a ritual found on Murkelmoor’s person, the party jaunts through Tumerex, the plane of worms, back to the Seven-Pillared Hall, there to find that the worms released in the Well appear to have grown greatly in size and destroyed most of the Hall at Paldemar’s behest. Saving Orontor from a furious mob determined to exact revenge on the hapless mage, he gives them the password which will grant them access to Paldemar’s sanctuary.

Session 36 – Children of Kworm
Beyond the proving grounds, the party comes upon a Necrotech laboratory and its resident surgeon, the vile Liddite Vakkram, who is holding Matorna-Reevash prisoner in his horrific apparatus. They’re able to destroy the evildoer and his demonic servitors before he can complete whatever procedure he was performing on her — they think — and gain valuable information as he forces them to share his memories of his apprenticeship with another Necrotech cultist, Quincy the Pale. Matorna-Reevash fills in the gaps which connect Liddite, Paldemar, and Murkelmoor, the leader of the gnoll invasion force. It seems Necrotech is integral to the mage’s plans to raise the worm from its petrified rest. The Kingsblade recovers her armour and weapons, and joins the party as they descend into the inner sanctum of the Well.

Within, Murkelmoor is completing final preparations for some kind of ritual with three more urns like the one they found above… and unfortunately for them all, Matorna-Reevash is not as unharmed as she appears, obeying at a word from Murkelmoor his order to spill her own blood into the urns. As she does so, her skin blackens and crisps, and a necrotech-infused worm is birthed from the ichor in the pot, driving upwards into the churning black cloud which smothers the roof of the chamber and out of sight. A ferocious battle with Murkelmoor and his demons ensues.

Session 35 – Riddle of the Swords
With the riddle of the sealed door before them, the party ventures aside into two proving grounds, and emerge bloodied, but victorious, opening the way to the hidden depths of the Well of Demons.

Session 34 – Rise of The Worm
Proceeding in the tracks laid by the gnolls, the party discovers that the sanctum is an ancient testing ground for minotaur aspirants, uncovering mummified corpses as testament to this distant past. In a room recently used by the gnolls, they discover urns full of black ichor emanating necromantic auras so fierce that they’re almost knocked off their feet, and in a large central chamber with a sealed exit, the true history of Saruun Khel is laid bare in paintings on the walls: it seems the last minotaur prince, Syosik Kvorn, turned his back on Baphomet and began worshipping a race of giant Rockworms. How this led to the destruction and abandonment of the labyrinth remains unclear.

While deciphering the pictographs they’re attacked by strange, spider-like creatures made of the same material as the Necrotech Coffin and glove. Enveloping the stash of flurock which Berend has been carrying since they discovered the substance, they expend themselves energising it, and it morphs violently into a huge, pulsating worm, akin to the creatures in the drawings. The party battles the vile anelid, coming to understand something more of what the flurock is, and why Paldemar might be coveting it.

Session 33 – A Small Fee
The party is victorious in the Hall of the Red Vein, and turns its attention to the portal. Three of their number discover that a tithe of blood is all that is required to activate it, and the adventurers step through to arrive in an underground chamber dominated by a huge bell. Pressing on, they’re attacked by a subterranean horror and discover that the complex appears to be built over the top of a massive nest of ghouls. Finial vows to return and cleanse this place, but for now, other matters are more pressing.

Session 32 – Unwelcome Revelations
Berend, whose behaviour has become increasingly erratic, attacks the duergar Proxim who knew his name, but is pulled away by his friends. The pragmatic prisoner, knowing that his fate is probably sealed, taunts the party with snippets of insight: the gnolls and their demon allies have used some kind of magical technology to break the seal on the portal to the Well of Demons, something the duergar have been trying to do in Asmodeus’s name for years. He also says that a member of the Hrafnkell clan has long-been foretold to save the Horned Hold in its hour of greatest need. Berend, whose hands now bear scars resembling the sigil of Asmodeus, patron of the duergar, rejects the information and Proxim is killed.

Knowing that they must head through the portal to rescue Matorna-Reevash, the party determines to wipe out the remainder of the gnoll forces and kills their leader, a shaman named Absin Yugleth, who almost kills Berend with the same device he had been using to drain the life-force of the dozens of duergar imprisoned in the Hold’s great hall. A strange, organic glove, strongly reminiscent of the Necrotech Coffin discovered earlier.

Session 31 – Unexpected Saviours
They party finds the Horned Hold under attack by a band of powerful gnolls wielding dark magic designed to suck the souls of the duergar and redirect it into a triangular portal which was being excavated by the dwarves. Berend is physically and mentally affected by the fortress, unusual scars appearing on his fore-arms, and the voices of his ancestors whispering in his ears. Investigating the dungeon, they find none-other than old friend Corrash, who recounts being captured by the gnolls and interrogated about Berend; they also find the first of the captured Kingsblade, Entil-Poroy, who has been crippled by torture but is able to tell them that Matorna-Reevash has been taken to somewhere called “The Well”.

With a heavy heart, Xavier acquiesces to the old soldier’s last request and sends him to the next life. Deeper in the fortress, the party defeats a clutch of demons and finds a duergar prisoner who seems to recognise Berend. Above, Elumai finds what she assumes is the “Necrotech Coffin” talked about in Krand’s papers, a black shell as tall as a man, filled with fleshy mechanisms like living organs.

Session 30 – ???

Session 29 – Into the Horned Hold
Back down below… the company emerges from the cistern into the Horned Hold, a duergar fortress. Their initial foray is short as they endeavour to deal with the orcs and ogres blocking the way.

Session 28 – The Smoke Stack (Interlude)
Some time earlier… the party is hired by Ulthand Deepgem to scout a potentially lucrative seam of gems and minerals deep in a dangerous part of the labyrinth called the Smoke Stack. Fighting their way past gelatinous cubes, they uncover a cavern of fire where the barrier to the Elemental Chaos is dangerously thin. After a pitched battle with creatures which have passed through the veil, they secure the cavern, rescuing Ulthand’s prized hog Wendy in the process, and earning themselves a healthy 10% commission from all future profits made by the old prospector in the Stack.

Session 27 – Ghosts of Past Glory
Following the map, the party inadvertantly desecrates a floating mausoleum of dead sahuagin but is able to talk their way past the enclave without a single blow being struck. The creatures show signs of some kind of calciferous infection reminiscent of a vast store of flurock uncovered in an earlier chamber. Further in, the company is assailed by a team of ghostly minotaur gladiators, and watched by an approving audience of spectral onlookers, they prove their mettle.

Session 26 – The Would-Be Kings
The party is teleported to what is presumably the Mages’ tower, and under polite questioning, an impassive Paldemar, with his two cohorts Emerjis and Passeract, admits only to having imported flurock from the Atoll for academic study. In his hand, the strange mineral deforms and warps, but Paldemar is nonchalant about this unusual behaviour. In respect of the duergar, he accepts the party’s offer to infiltrate their stronghold and return with intelligence, and gives them directions to a secret underground passge through a massive complex of Cisterns. The party encounters a mad vagrant holding court over one of the chambers below, but is able to placate him enough so that he provides them with a map through the complex.

Session 25 – Commerce and Diplomacy
As the party wait for Orontor to return with news of their meeting with Paldemar, they learn more of Erathis from the local clergy, and go on a shopping trip to a duergar-run trading post. Within, the shop-keeper’s offer to buy Berend from them is unceremoniously rejected. Xavier makes a secret trip to the duergar to offer to buy back the slaves they have recently bought, but the answer is no, and he returns empty-handed.

Session 24 – Exit Krand
The party prevails over Krand in the smoking ruins of his residence, and finds more papers in his office revealing he has trafficked in both Kingsblade and an elven child, who fetched a much higher sum than the officers from a buyer called “Arak”. Finding and rescuing Rendil, the party returns to Orontor who fishes for information on any “unusual packages” they might have found, and asks for a copy of Krand’s accounts to take for study.

Session 23 – Hobgoblins on High
After dispatching the slave master, an interrogation of the surviving hobgoblins reveals that Matorna-Reevash was captured by the Bloodreavers, but has been sold on to the duergar. Not liking what they’ve seen, the party decides to clean the place out, and engages Krand, the leader of the Bloodreavers, in his residence hidden high above the Seven-Pillared Hall.

Session 22 – Blood for Blood
Meeting stiff goblinoid resistance, the party pushes into the Chamber of Eyes, where the Bloodreavers have made their lair. Slave-master Lobkorr the Strangler falls before them, and they uncover a connection between the mercenaries and an underground race of dwarves called duergar. On their person, they find evidence of previous transactions for slaves, as well as of something called a “necrotech coffin”.

Session 21 – Faces of Saruun
A put-upon Orontor offers the company honest work in the way of uncovering the connection between the Bloodreavers and Paldemar, the leader of the mages. Elumai barters a meeting with Paldemar as part-payment for the mission, and on the way out they’re joined by dragonborn Warlord Xavier and eladrin wizard Azurami, two travellers on a mission to uncover the fate of a Kingsblade named Matorna-Reevash, whose caravan they happened upon a few days ago up in the world. Following Rendil’s tracks out of the Hall and into the labyrinth of tunnels, the party arrives at the Bloodreavers’ hide-out.

Session 20 – The Seven-Pillared Hall
The party arrives at the Seven-Pillared Hall and rescues a young halfling named Rendil Halfmoon from a sticky fate at the hands of the Bloodreavers, a band of mercenaries which the company have dealt with before. Rendil agrees to track one of the released hobgoblins back to their lair. In the Hall itself, the party uncovers a historical connection to an ancient minotaur empire, avoids trouble with a local ogre, and makes the acquaintance of Orontor, one of the Mages of Saruun.

Session 19 – Once More Into the Depths
Interrogating a subdued Penelo, the party discovers that he has himself been set-up by Royt to take the fall for off-the-books export trade which the two of them have been running for years. He can tell them little of the flurock or the feline couriers, other than that they pay well for the mineral. The party hands him over to the Mayor for his own protection, and pursues the couriers into the mine. The journey takes them deep into the Underdark until they emerge into a round tunnel, well-lit and well-travelled, with people of all races passing to and fro. Accosting a halfling merchant, he reveals that the tunnel leads to the Seven-Pillared Hall, an underground trading post under the jurisdiction of the Mages of Saruun.

Session 18 – Cats and Sacks
An inebriated Jillonto-Ressar lets slip that Lord Riva is himself a guest of the Mayor, and is persuaded to give up his Kingsblade token, a key which can open many doors. That evening, they decide to infiltrate the warehouse and find out what’s going on, and observe a meeting between Penelo and strange, grey-furred feline humanoids, who are receiving a shipment of the strange rainbow-coloured ore. Berend loses patience and interrupts the meeting, causing the feline creatures to flee; Jonas gives chase across the rooftops of the town but decides against chasing them onto Goffer’s Ledge, a disused mine to which they retreat.

Session 17 – All’s Fair
The party returns to the surface and a delighted Asimuth Royt pays them their reward for the investigation and rescue. He commissions them to look into his suspicions that the Mayor of Crow’s Atoll, Dewey Crow, is at the root of a conspiracy to curtail the rights of the Prospector’s Union, and points them in the direction of one of his men, Penelo Greentack, whom he is convinced is involved. Penelo is spied bribing guards at a warehouse before a large wagon train laden with unknown goods moves out. Mord, meanwhile, is smitten with the noble Miss Crow, and begins the arduous process of wooing her.

Session 16 – Torog’s Gladiators
Searching for two missing miners, the party happens upon a fighting pit around which dozens of onlookers of various races are watching the hapless prisoners fend off a pair of kruthiks. They leap to the rescue, saving one of the men in the process, and are helped by two of the onlookers, an aloof human rogue named Jonas and a half-elf paladin of Bahamut, Finial, only survivors of a doomed expedition into the Underdark. A tentative friendship is struck.

Session 15 – Crow’s Atoll
Riva’s caravan, with its contingent of Kingsblade led by Captain Jillonto-Ressar, travels east on the King’s Road with little fanfare and even less trouble. On the way, the adventurers learn more of their host and of the Court of Cloaks… and of each-other. After three days travel, the caravan arrives at The Gash, a massive star-shaped canyon in the Plain, and takes a stomach-churning tram-ride to the trading hub and mining town of Crow’s Atoll. There, they trade their goods, engage in a painful spot of gambling, and take on a commission from the local union to investigate a recent attack on the diggers in Mine 6. Deep in the mine, the party discovers that the miners, in digging a seam of strange, multi-coloured rock called flurock, had inadvertantly delved their way into a troglodyte lair.

Session 14 – A Gnome in Hand
At a party laid on in their honor, the party realises that Valthrun has become something of a scape-goat for Winterhaven’s recent troubles, and that two local ne’er-do-wells have spread vicious gossip about the company itself to a passing bard. Lord Riva is revealed as the instigator of the celebration, and the powerful mage reveals that he taken something of a liking to the company, and that by association he thinks they can do each-other a lot of good. The adventurers agree to join his caravan heading east to Emerandes, but not before taking a time-out to explore a nearby dig-site where rumours abound that archaeologist-of-ill-repute Douvan Stahl has found no-less than the skeleton of a dragon! They rescue the hapless gnome from a group of wandering brigands, and he sheepishly admits that it was they who found the site, not him, and that all he knows is they shipped a cart-load of very heavy goods to someone called “Saruun”. Early the following day, the company sets off east.

Session 13 – The Rift
In an underground temple devoted to Orcus, the company engages in deadly combat with Kalarel as he attempts to tear open a rift to a powerful nexus of demonic energies in the Shadowfell. Lethal undead and powerful magics batter the party, but their actions against Keegan have weakened the cultist and he is defeated, dragged screaming through the rift before it is closed. The adventurers collect their bounty, do their utmost to temporarily seal the portal, and retreat back through the catacomb, where the remaining undead, pathetically brainless without their controlling master, are swiftly put out of their misery. Clues on the path back to Winterhaven do not speak well of Eilian’s fate.

Session 12 – Bloodletting
In a disused underground kiln, a grotesque nest of undead meets its end on the sharp edge of the party’s fury. Eilian, upon waking, demands to be released and retreats alone back into the basement of the Keep above; his saviours, meanwhile, push on into a cathedral of darkness, facing down Kalarel’s lieutenants and poised at a well of blood to confront the scion of Orcus himself.

Session 11 – Eilian the Bold
The company persuades Eilian to accompany them to the Keep, and perhaps put his demons to rest once and for all. Unfortunately they discover that Sir Keegan doesn’t seek redemption at all, as much as to extinguish the last of his bloodline from the world. In a tense battle, the adventurers defeat the traitorous knight, and save the old farmer’s life. Carrying his unconscious body, they delve through the seal and into the catacomb.

Session 10 – Valthrun the not-so-Magnificent
The party is joined by Mord, a studious dwarven warrior with delusions of librarianship. Elumai receives a sending from Valthrun, who has sealed himself in his tower apparently to protect himself from being arrested by Lord Riva, who is waiting him out. Valthrun promises her important information if only she would help “open the back door” in the graveyard. Uncovering a circle of glyphs, the party successfully opens a portal to Valthrun’s tower.

Valthrun sheepishly admits that he is guilty of trading his arcane expertise to the highest bidders (exactly the crime Riva has charged him with, and apparently running contrary to the mage’s remit), and that he sold information to a man called Kalarel — a name familiar to the adventurers, having been mentioned in a letter on Irontooth’s person — on both Sir Keegan and the the kind of magical barrier they found under the Keep. The following morning, the company wakens to a commotion in the streets outside Valthrun’s tower… only to find that the tower itself has gone!

Session 9 – Keegan’s Goals
Uncovering a grand underground chapel and paying it the proper respect yields an audience with a dessicated undead knight who introduces himself as Sir Keegan, and calls the party to account. Satisfied with their answers, he reveals that he was part of the Order that constructed the Keep, but unbeknownst to them, its foundations were laid on a deep catacomb devoted to the Prince of Undead, Orcus. Tormented by dreams sent to him by the demon lord, Keegan killed his family and many of the knights in the Keep in an episode of murderous insanity. He begs the company to find the last of the Keegan blood-line, that they might stand in judgement over him and allow him to move on.

Frustrated by a strange energy field which blocks further ingress into the catacomb, the party returns to Winterhaven and, using Lord Padraig’s library, they uncover historical records that show the remaining knights of the Bright Hand, after sealing Keegan in the Keep, broke ground on Winterhaven many hundreds of years ago. Further clues lead them to the possibility that Eilian, a drunk and tormented old farmer whose acquaintaince they made previously, may be the last of the Keegan line still in the town.

Session 8 – Into the Cold Depths
The party pushes ever-deeper into the Keep, uncovering a long-buried and maze-like crypt infested with ghouls. Though it’s their first encounter with the shambling undead, they emerge unscathed.

Session 7 – Grime Team
The party uncovers evidence that the goblins within the Keep are searching for more artifacts from the Order of the Bright Hand, and dispatches the last of the them before retreating to the surface for well-earned respite.

Session 6 – Splugg-powered
Interrogating a goblin prisoner yields intelligence on undead awaiting them in the deeper levels of the dungeon. The party uncovers old artifacts of a long-lost order of knights from Nerath called the “Bright Hand”, and dispenses with more of the goblin infestation on their way to rescuing a pathetic specimen called Splugg. Taking advantage of a hidden entrance revealed to them by the grateful wretch, the party assails the leader of the goblins — Belgrin — and is victorious.

Session 5 – The Keep on the Shadowfell
Rond, under orders not to fraternise with the company, becomes aloof. Joined by warlock Corrash, the party decides to help Elumai with her mission here in Winterhaven, to chart the long-deserted tunnels of the nearby keep and return the information to her master. They follow her directions to a distant clearing deep in the forest, and amongst the ruins of the keep uncover a hidden entrance to a secret basement level. A cabal of goblinoids has made a lair for themselves within.

Session 4 – Old Clicky Feet
The desperate fight at the stone circle ends in near defeat, but Berend miraculously recovers from unconsciousness to slay Irontooth and win the day. Upon returning to Winterhaven, Rond is stricken with grief over Elumai’s death, and the party makes the acquaintance of Lord Riva, a visiting mage of the Court of Cloaks, visiting Lord Padraig from distant Emerandes. He takes a keen interest in their story and — much to their surprise — performs the difficult and expensive ritual required to restore her to life. The party returns to Irontooth’s lair and ransacks it for gold and magic.

Session 3 – New Friends and Strange Enemies
Brash over-confidence in the kobold lair leads to capture by the powerful leader of the kobolds, a hobgoblin named Irontooth. Only Elumai is able to escape, and persuades Rond, Captain of the Guard at Winterhaven, to help rescue her friends. Rond, clearly enamoured with the charming mage, backs her petition to the reluctant Lord Padraig, and a militia of guards and townsfolk eager to exact revenge on the kobolds is quickly raised. They attack just as the other members of the party are about to be sacrificed to a distant and sinister entity, which tears through from its own dimension and attacks…

Session 2 – Kobold Lair
Following a map given to them by the Captain of the Guard, the company strikes out east and soon finds the kobold lair, near a circle of stones by the river. Although the kobold shaman and his guards fall before them, one of the creatures escapes to warn their master. Elumai is able to activate the latent power of the stone circle to bolster the party.

Session 1 – Kobold Crawl
Four adventures — eladrin wizard Elumai, dwarven fighter Berend, dwarven rogue Alarik, and dragonborn cleric Krakd — emerge from the Arubisath Forest looking for fortune and glory. After dispatching a kobold ambush on the King’s Road, they arrive at Winterhaven looking for work. Valthrun, the local wizard, puts them in touch with Lord Padraig, the Mayor, who employs the adventurers to clear out the local kobold infestation once and for all.

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