Campaign of the Month: February 2012

Legacy of the Realms

"Wild River"
Tomb of Horrors Story Arc

Eleint 2, 1479, Year of the Ageless One (mid-afternoon)

Patch vs. wartroll
As the party rode the elven boat towards the distant ruins, they spotted a troll emerge out the nearby woods near the river’s edge. It hurled a javelin at the group, slashing Luthan’s arm before it struck the boat’s deck. Patch quickly activated his magical boots that enabled him to walk on water. He then leaped from the boat and charged the troll.

Monro took over the boat’s tiller and carefully navigated the boat closer to the river’s edge so the others can engage the troll as well. When the boat was close enough to shore, Fredara and Jobek both leaped out and joined Patch in battle.

Surprisingly, the troll proved formidable. Patch knew enough about trolls but considered the medium-size troll to be an easy kill. The troll proved otherwise. Unable to hurl its javelins, the troll unsheathed its massive greatsword and began slashing at the three combatants. With each deadly strike the three adventurers imposed upon the fearsome troll, it regenerated its wounds and retaliated by sweeping its massive blade in a deadly arc that threatened to cut limbs or slay outright. For several rounds, the battle raged on with each side desperately trying to quickly end the deadly encounter.

Meanwhile, the others on the boat launched range attacks hoping to help their comrades against the troll but the range and chaos of battle made it difficult to get an accurate shot on the troll. To make matters worse, Monro spotted three green skinned humanoids swimming downriver towards the boat. He quickly warned the others that more trolls may be coming. Upon hearing this, Patch disengaged his battle with the troll. He ran back into the river to intercept the other creatures, leaving Jobek and Fredara to deal with the bloodied troll.

Freshwater sahaguins
As the three creatures swam towards Patch who was standing in the middle of the river atop the water, Monro hurled a spell at them striking fear upon their hearts, increasing their chances of missing their target. Vyn and Luthan aided by launching their own range attacks from the boat. As the closest one reached Patch, he quickly realized the three creatures were Sahaguins—albeit of the freshwater kind. Ignoring that strange fact, Patch engaged the sahaguins in battle while the others attacked from range.

In time, the battle against the troll and the sahuagins was won.

Patch beheaded the troll. After, he and the others lifted the headless troll’s body upon the boat’s deck so they can inspect its gear while continuing their journey downriver. The sahuagins’ lifeless bodies were quickly carried away by river’s current. After several minutes, they realized that the troll’s gear were not magical in nature. They then dumped the lifeless troll’s body into the river.

Catching their breaths and healing themselves, the group continued their journey downriver towards the distant ruins.


Adventurers:

Fredara, Jobek, Monro, Patch, and Vyn

NPCs:

Luthan Graythicket (male half-elf ranger companion, from Elturgard), Orva (female gnome arcanist companion, from the Feywild)

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"The Mines of Bellanan"
Assault on Darkhold Story Arc

Eleint 6, 1479, Year of the Ageless One


With Arrol leading Huntrah and Cain through the mountain pass, they made good time as the three adventurers made their way towards the mines of Bellanan.

Just past highsun, the trio came upon a small dale. A small, shallow stream made its way through the dale. Momentarily stopping for Arrol to get his bearings, the group spotted harpies flying overhead. Just behind a copse of trees on the other side of the trees, they also spotted two cyclopses. Each wielded long glaives capable of slicing a tree—and a man—in half. Arrol noted that the monsters must be a patrol under the Winter Witch’s command.

“Maybe they aren’t aware that Koliada is dead,” Arrol said.

Huntrah took careful aim with his phasing bow at the nearest harpy flying overhead. “Then let’s send them to join her, so she can tell them what happened herself.”

A battle ensued in which the adventurers quickly killed all four monsters. Not one of the three skilled adventurers was hurt during the encounter.

The group then took a short break while Arrol searched the area. Within a few minutes, the Ranger found tracks that led from the direction of the mines.

**

The group arrived at the mines and found it surprisingly deserted of guards. Tools littered the ground in front of the three mine entrances. A nearby stone shack was also unoccupied. The area was quiet, save for the sound of a soft breeze that rustled the leaves of several trees nearby.

“Seems a little too quiet,” Huntrah said. “I’d expect Koliada to place more guards here.”

“Maybe they’re inside.” Arrol added.

Treant
Cain pointed to two very tall pine trees nearby. “Or maybe,” Cain whispered to the other two. “she does have guards.” All three looked and quickly noticed that despite the wind blowing through the area from one direction, the leaves of the two nearby pine trees rustled in a different direction, moving against the wind.

Arrol, the elven Ranger spoke up after realizing what the pine trees were. “Great treants,” Arrol called to the pine trees in Elven. “I am Arrol Mai-fair, of The People, and from the Sunset Vale. The one you serve no longer walks among the living. We have put a stop to the Winter King and Koliada’s evil tyranny against the dwarves of Hammerfist Hall. You are free from their bonds of service.”

The nearest of the two great trees altered its shape. Branches merged to form arms and legs, while a face formed upon its wide trunk; deep knots becoming eyes and a mouth. The other nearby tree also transformed itself into a tree-folk.

“I am Mosslock.” the nearest treant said, speaking in the Elvish tongue.

“And I am Hollywood.” the other—a thinner specimen—quickly added in a flamboyant fashion. It seemed to relish attention and didn’t want to be left out of the conversation.

The three adventurers then began a conversation with the two treants. Speaking in Elven, Arrol led the conversation and persuaded the treants to go back to their forest—or wherever they’re from. He explained that the Winter Witch had been defeated by he and his fellow adventurers. When asked for proof, Huntrah showed Mosslock and Hollywood the Sword of Black Ice, a longsword once wielded by Koliada herself. Cain also presented the Ice Crown and the Scepter of Ice, items that once belonged to the Winter King.

Upon seeing the sword, crown, and scepter, the two treants were convinced. They said they were both from the Far Hills and would return there. The adventurers bid them farewell. Arrol added that perhaps their paths would someday cross again. The two treants then left and began their long walk down the mountain towards the Far Hills.

With the treants gone, the three adventurers proceeded to enter the mines; but before they could, a cyclops trailing three dwarves emerged from the mine entrance. The three dwarves carried digging tools and looked haggard. When the cyclops spotted the adventurers, he raised his glaive to them and uttered a challenge in common.

Rather than engage the cyclops outright, Arrol decided to convince the one-eyed monster to leave the mines along with the other cyclopses. Unsure of what to do, the cyclops ordered a dwarf to go back into the mines to get the others. Moments later, four more cyclopses arrived. One cyclops in particular wore leather armor and held a long intricately carved wooden staff. It had long braided hair and tattoos on its face and arms. The cyclops introduced himself as the leader and a shaman among his people.

Arrol, again tried to convince them to leave the dwarves and the mines or face the consequences. He went on to explain that the treants had already left. To further help convince the shaman and the others, Arrol pointed to the sword of black ice Huntrah wielded. He also pointed to the ice scepter and crown Cain held before them.

The shaman thought about their offer for a moment and added that they were given a chest of gold as payment by the Winter Witch and Winter King. The chest was being guarded by two other cyclopses in the mines who were also watching over the dwarves. The shaman demanded that they be allowed to take their money, promising to leave peacefully if allowed to do so. Huntrah then took out an astral diamond and threw it at the foot of a nearby cyclops. He said the astral diamond should more than suffice to ensure they left immediately and without harming a dwarf. Huntrah threatened to kill them all and take what little treasure they had if they were to renege on their word.

Satisfied, the shaman ordered the other cyclopses to leave the mines and the dwarves.

As Arrol, Cain, and Huntrah watched the cyclopses leave the mines, nearly a hundred dwarves—all weary from their ordeal—slowly emerged from the mines. Each one personally thanked their unlikely rescuers: an elf, a drow, and a lich.

Thankful that they had avoided unnecessary bloodshed, the rescuers led the dwarves back to Hammerfist Hall.

What do we sing about now


Characters: Arrol Mai-fair, Cain Justice, Huntrah De’Barronn

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"Halls of Hammerfist" Finale

Eleint 4, 1479, Year of the Ageless One (Morning)

Zaachaeus kept up his attacks against the white dragon, Thrymzen, his blades cutting deeply with each strike. Thrymzen tried to dodge and avoid the drow’s deadly onslaught, but he knew it was just a matter of time before his few centuries of existence would come to a bitter end. As if to drive home the point, Thrymzen noticed another attacker—farther down the hall—take careful aim at him with a bow.

A sudden sharp pain in Thrymzen’s chest seconds later confirmed that his life had indeed come to an end. He always thought that he would surpass his sire, Kurikveaeri—an ancient white dragon—in strength, power, and wealth. But as he lay dying on the floor, an arrow buried deep within his massive heart, Thrymzen could only ask himself one question: where did it all go wrong?

As the dragon lay still, Zaachaeus looked back at Arrol the Ranger and nodded before turning his attention to the battle still being waged in the icy chamber. His father, Huntrah, was trying to fend off attacks from both the ice troll and Koliada, the Winter Witch, while making attacks of his own. Meanwhile, Cain—hovering near the ceiling—launched his deadly spells. The Winter King stood near the dead dragon, a look of disbelief spread across his undead visage. Badly wounded himself, the Winter King looked back to his mistress, Koliada, as if to reassure himself that the tide of battle could still sway in their favor.

**

The battle that continued in the ice-covered throne room was long and bloody. The heroes hurled powerful spells and struck with deadly blows with steeled weapons against the Winter King, ice troll, and Koliada—the Winter Witch. The fight nearly cost Dred his life and had severely wounded mighty Huntrah. Even Omega, the gnomish archmage, didn’t escape the battle unharmed.

In time, both the troll and the Winter King was slain. Koliada, herself badly wounded from the battle, tried to flee and save herself, but the adventurers would not have it. Before she could escape, the adventurers had slain her by using the Sun’s Sliver a sliver of pure sunlight and the only known object in the universe that truly destroy the Winter Witch. The group recently found the Sun’s Sliver at the temple to Lathander in the Sunset Mountains.

**

Farsten hammerfist
With the Winter Witch dead, the adventurers healed themselves. They then explored the rest of Hammerfist Hall and found hundreds of dwarves frozen in ice. But with Koliada’s death, the ice began to melt and soon every dwarf in Hammerfist Hall was free from his or her icy prison.

Amongst the dwarves freed from Koliada’s powerful curse was the lord of Hammerfist Hall, Clan Lord Farsten Hammerfist. Grateful for his and his clan’s freedom, Clan Lord Hammerfist insisted that the adventurers stay for a while so they may properly reward and honor their saviors with a feast held in their honor as well as rewarding them with 10,000 gold pieces. A funeral was also planned for Orain Lightoath, beloved cleric of Moradin.

The heroes agreed, thankful for the generous hospitality and equally generous reward. More important, they were thankful for having possibly gained an alliance with the dwarves of Hammerfist Hall.


Characters: Arrol Mai-fair, Omega, Dred Ironfoot, Cain Justice, Zaachaeus De’Barronn, Huntrah De’Barron

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"Halls of Hammerfist" Part 3
Assault on Darkhold Story Arc

Eleint 4, 1479, Year of the Ageless One (Morning)

The adventurers worked their way deeper into Hammerfist Hall and came upon several dwarven zombies. Meanwhile, three wraiths—once dwarves in life—oozed out of the floor behind the group, their haunting and deep voices carrying throughout the halls. Just beyond the zombies, two dwarven skeletons enveloped in bright orange flames, stood guard before a large set of double doors.

Both Huntrah and Zaachaeus waded through the throng of walking corpses, cutting their way towards the doors and the blazing skeletons, while Dred launched deadly arrows down the hall striking any undead unfortunate enough to get in the way. Meanwhile, Arrol, Cain, and Omega battled the wraiths, quickly destroying them before any wraith could reach the adventurers.

As the zombies fell to Zaachaeus and Huntrah’s deadly blades, the blazing skeletons launched flame orbs at the two fighters. Easily dodging the fiery orbs, the two made quick work of the two blazing skeletons.

With every undead destroyed, Huntrah, Cain, and Dred remained while the others explored the rest of Hammerfist Hall, opening doors they came upon using the set of keys they found on the barbarian.

**

Just beyond a set of double doors, Omega found yet another set of double doors. The symbol of Moradin was emblazoned upon the doors. Thick, solid ice entirely covered the doors.

With a powerful fiery spell, Omega melted the ice surrounding the doors. Opening the doors, Omega, along with Arrol and Zaachaeus entered what they guessed was the temple of Moradin. Inside, they saw a frozen dwarf encased in ice kneeling before an altar. The chamber’s walls, floor, and ceiling were coated in solid ice making moving through the chamber difficult at best.

Upon reaching the frozen dwarf, they recognized Orain Lightoath, the same ghostly dwarf they encountered outside. Not wanting to use a fiery spell inside the temple, the adventurers made their way back out to explore the rest of the dwarven stronghold.

**

White dragon by n joo

Looking at the fallen corpses of dwarves filling the hallway, Dred knelt besides each one and carefully recited Moradin’s Last Rites to each kinsdwarf. With each completed blessing, tears flowed from Dred’s eyes as he saw the spirits of his comrades rise from their mortal shell, bid him thanks and fade away before his tearful eyes.

Meanwhile, Huntrah’s attention was quickly captured by a deafening crash against the inside of the double doors he stood in front of. Within moments, Huntrah, Cain and Dred noticed cracks begin to appear on the two massive doors. A quick second later and the doors exploded outward in a shower of ice and splintered wood. As the air cleared, the three beheld a large white dragon standing just inside the massive doorframe. Although far smaller, the dragon before Huntrah looked identical in appearance to Kurikveaeri, the ancient white dragon he and the others had recently slain near an abandoned temple to the sun god, Lathander, high atop the northern Sunset Mountains.

The dragon stretched its maw wide open and breathed a freezing blast down the length of the hallway. Huntrah managed to duck into a side niche and avoid the freezing blast. The drow fighter then rushed the dragon striking it several times, while Cain and Dred attacked it with range attacks. When the dragon seemed near death, Huntrah used his Blink Ring and teleported behind the dragon to see what lay behind the white dragon. He knew that Cain with the help of Dred, the dwarf, would finish off the wounded dragon easily enough.

Huntrah blinked inside a huge and freezing cold chamber with high ceilings dripping with icicles like stalactites. Massive ice chandeliers illuminated the room with heatless blue flames from hundreds of unmelting ice candles. On a dais at one end of the icy chamber stood a high-backed throne, it’s seat covered in thick furs. A figure, once a human man but now resembling nothing more than an undead version of himself, stood near the throne. He held a scepter made entirely of ice and wore a crown made of ice.

Nearby, a large ice troll stood next to a woman of exquisite snow-white skin and raven tresses. She was wielding a longsword carved entirely of black ice.

Spotlight witch

Much to Huntrah’s surprise, it seemed that the undead man—whom he suspected was the Winter King—was engaged in battle against the woman and the troll! Taking advantage of the situation, Huntrah rushed to engage them all! To the aged fighter, it didn’t matter who was fighting whom. He swore under his breath that before long, undead, woman and troll would feel the wrath of his deadly blades.

As Huntrah rushed the woman and attacked her, the Winter King made his way to stand next to the injured dragon. Meanwhile, the ice troll stood next to the woman and fought against Huntrah, clawing at the drow.

Moments later, Cain appeared through a magical portal. A spell he casted earlier allowed him to fly and hover above the battle in the throne room.

“Koliada, let us momentarily end our quibble and join forces to fight off these intruders!” the Winter King yelled above the din of battle. “Together we can prevail against them.”

“For now, we have an alliance,” Koliada replied in an icy tone. “but know that you will pay for your betrayal.” The Winter Witch then turned her full attention to Huntrah whose attack she barely managed to avoid.

And so the battle in the icy throne room continued with renewed ferocity. Koliada—much to Huntrah’s surprise—struck him with her sword of black ice, stunning him as it struck.

Back in the corridor, Zaachaeus, Arrol, and Omega arrived in time to see the battle in progress. Zaachaeus rushed the white dragon recognizing it as being related to Kurikveaeri, whom he had helped slay as well.

“Dragon,” Zaachaeus called out. “I was there when Kurikveaeri died, and I will be here to see you die also!”

The white wyrm turned its attention to the younger drow standing defiantly before him. Pure rage coursed through his cold being.

“I am Thrymzen,” the dragon roared. “You killed my sire. Prepare to die!”


Zaachaeus vs. thrymzen


To be continued in the finale…


Characters: Arrol Mai-fair, Omega, Dred Ironfoot, Cain Justice, Zaachaeus De’Barronn, Huntrah De’Barron

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"Halls of Hammerfist" Part 2
Assault on Darkhold Story Arc

Eleint 3 – 4, 1479, Year of the Ageless One

Prelude

Moradin symbol

Darkness has settled in the pass. As your group makes its way up towards Hammerfist Hall, you spot a figure standing near an outcropping of rocks. At first, you thought your eyes were playing tricks on you. But you soon realize that the figure is a dwarf, dressed in chain mail standing upon a patch of snow. His long beard is well kept while his face suggests he’s a dwarf well past his prime. Your darkvision shows a golden holy symbol of Moradin, a hammer before an anvil, hanging from his neck.

You also notice that despite the moon casting shadows in the area, the dwarf’s figure is not casting a shadow upon the rock behind him. As a matter of fact, you are able to see through him! Before you can react, the dwarf raises his hand in greeting.

“Well met, adventurers, and dwarf-kin,” the dwarf says turning his attention last to Dred Ironfoot. “I am Orain Lightoath, an Artificer of Discoveries who served Moradin in life but cannot enter his glorious forges-filled halls as yet.”

He takes a few steps towards your group leaving no traces upon the soft snow.

“I ask a boon of you as I suspect you are about to enter Hammerfist Hall. I have watched you lay rest to the fallen dwarves of Wolf Bulwark and so consider you worthy of my asking this favor. There are inside Hammerfist Hall, as there were in Wolf Bulwark, slain dwarves who have been denied their rights to eternal rest.”

The cleric takes off his holy symbol and hands it to Dred. “Take this holy symbol. As you free each dwarf’s soul from his unnatural earthly bondage, place this symbol upon his remains and properly recite Moradin’s Last Rites. Then will each be granted a speedy journey to the Seven Heavens to serve the Soul-Forger for all eternity. This will also ensure that their bodies will not be reanimated as an undead servant. As a reward for this deed, you may have my Chainmail Armor of Sacrifice (+4), and my Banquet Ring. You may find these items upon my frozen remains in the Temple of Moradin inside Hammerfist Halls. Will you do this for me?”

“I pray to the All-Father for your success.”

With that final blessing, Orain Lightfoot vanishes following a light, bone-chilling breeze that sweeps through the pass.

**

Hall entrance front

Upon arriving at Hammerfist Hall, the adventurers hid nearby and spotted four humans guarding the front entrance to the dwarven stronghold. Dressed in thick furs which partially covered their chainmail, each man was armed with a halberd and a crossbow. But, rather than openly attack the guards and fight their way in, the group decided to risk passing themselves off as evil adventurers for hire.

The group approached the guards who trained their weapons upon them. Zaachaeus asked for an audience with the Winter King demanding that his and his fellow adventurers’ business was with the Winter King only. Unsure of how to respond to the group, the other guards waited while one guard went inside Hammerfist Hall. Moments later, the guard returned with a very tall barbarian-looking man wearing thick hides and armed with a war pick. The barbarian faced the adventurers and introduced himself as Borrtek and demanded the group tell him what they wanted with the Winter King.

The adventurers demanded that they be given audience with the Winter King immediately. They added that the Winter King could benefit if he were to hire them to join his ranks. Trying to be as intimidating as they could, the group admitted that they had destroyed the undead dwarves that stood watch in Wolf Bulwark. Furious, Borrtek asked why he shouldn’t simply slay the adventurers for what they had done. They then convinced him that their show of strength and skills with spells and blades was all the more reason the Winter King should hire them.

Seemingly impressed by their courage—or foolhardiness—Borrtek bid them to follow him into the stronghold. He added that they had arrived in time, since a meal had just been prepared for him and the guards. He said the guards could wait to eat their meal after the group had finished.

Passing through a tunnel from the main entrance, the group was soon led into a chamber that served as the stronghold’s reception room. As they entered the chamber, the group was welcomed by the scents of rich food and wood smoke. Smells of roast goose, suckling pig, apple tarts, and other fine foods lingered in the air. The room glittered with candlelight around a table laden with plates of food and golden goblets filled with wine and mead. The chamber was occupied by a demure young woman standing by the table. Two large hunting dogs lie lazily near the woman’s feet. They also saw three wooden doors—seemingly locked—leading farther into the stronghold.

“Come in,” Borrtek said closing the double doors behind him. “Sit, eat, and rest. It is late and you must be tired.”

Everyone sat down on one side of the immense food-laden table, but despite Borrtek’s insistence and the woman coming around to serve each of them with goblets of honeyed mead, the group refused to partake of the offered food and drinks. Instead, the group continued to insist that they meet the Winter King. Borrtek had the woman send a guard behind one of the lock doors to let the Winter King know that the adventurers wanted to meet with him in hopes of working for him. Later, the guard returned and passed on a response to the woman, who in turn, whispered the message to Borrtek. Borrtek said that the Winter King did not want to be bothered and that he can speak on the Winter King’s behalf. At one point, Borrtek asked that although it’s clear the group may be evil judging by the two drows and the lich in their midst, he questioned what Dred—a dwarf—was doing with them. They lied about Dred being part of the group for years.

The group again insisted on meeting the Winter King which almost led to a confrontation with the barbarian. A fight was avoided when the group reluctantly gave in when Borrtek suggested the group try and meet with the Winter King in the morning. Meanwhile, he offered for them to spend the night in a nearby sleeping chamber. Again, the group declined the barbarian’s offer of hospitality and said they had a magical place they rested for the night.

After an hour in which the group shared tales of their evil exploits with the barbarian, the adventurers were led back outside where they opened a doorway into a magical mansion they often used to rest.

Inside, the group discussed plans on how to free Hammerfist Hall before turning in for the night.

**

The next morning, the group noticed that the guards they saw the night before had been replaced with new ones. Besides four human guards, four tieflings wearing thick winter fur coats that hid any weapons or armor was standing watch before the stronghold’s main entrance.

The adventurers told the guards they were to meet with the Winter King this morning. A guard went to get Borrtek. He arrived and stood inside the front entrance and told the group that the Winter King had hired them and would pay each of them 5 gold coins per day and shares of treasure later.

He gave them their first task: to go back to Wolf Bulwark and guard the pass. Since the group destroyed the undead there, the Winter King thought it a fitting job for them. Borrtek closed the front entrance and went back inside leaving the adventurers and the guards alone.

The group waited a while longer thinking Borrtek was going to return to bring them before the Winter King as discussed the night before. The group tried asking the guards if their pay of 5 gold coins per day was similar to their pay. The guards would not speak to them. One of the guards, an old man, said the group may as well head to Wolf Bulwark to their posts. Food and water would be brought to them later that day, he said.

The adventurers then said that the Winter King didn’t pay well enough and that they decided to quit rather than work for a measly sum. The old man then bid them leave the pass and go on with their business.

That’s when all Nine Hells broke loose.

The adventurers attacked the guards and made short work of them. Within moments all the guards lay dead on the snow-covered ground. Only the old man was spared death. Since he was somewhat cordial to the group, Zaachaeus knocked him out with the flat of his blade.

Huntrah approached the door and bid Omega to open it with a spell. Omega did better. He opened a magical portal that allowed them all to bypass the tunnel completely!

Stepping through the portal, Omega appeared inside the chamber where Borrtek, a female gnome, and two large dire wolves were busy eating their morningfeast. As the rest of the adventurers were stepping through the portal, Omega unleashed a powerful spell that stunned all of the chamber’s occupants. Unable to react, the rest of the adventurers entered the chamber and quickly slayed everyone.

After searching Borrtek and the woman, they found among other things, a set of keys. They used the keys to open the doors leading back outside knowing a lone guard was in the tunnel. After opening the doors, Omega spotted the guard running full speed away from the stronghold. Apparently, the guard had heard the combat and decided to escape.

Omega unleashed a spell upon the guard as he ran past the fallen sentries outside. Dred noticed the guard hadn’t been killed by Omega’s spell and considered shooting an arrow at the fleeing man. Omega bid him to stay his bow and watch.

As the guard kept on running, he suddenly began to feel that something was wrong. Although he felt a wave of magic strike him from behind as he ran, he thanked Tymora for his luck at surviving the attack. But a few more steps and he quickly realized the goddess of luck may not have granted him her blessings after all. A sharp, biting pain swelled from deep within his bowels and increased with every stride. Pain, unlike anything he had ever felt before coursed quickly through his body. He felt blood flow out of his nose, mouth, and from every orifice on his body. Suddenly—and to the guard, mercifully—he felt his innards explode. He was dead before he struck the white, snow-covered ground.

Back inside, Huntrah opened the door the female servant used to speak to a guard the night before. Behind the door, Huntrah and the others noticed a long torch-lit corridor wide enough for two to walk side by side. Several wooden doors, all with built-in locks on them led into the corridor. Near the end of the long hallway, they noticed a set of stairs leading up to the left.

The group decided to investigate the first set of doors to the right. Carved upon the ancient doors were the words “Do not open on pain of death by order of the Winter King”. Using the set of keys, they quickly gained entrance to what lay beyond the doors. Inside, they noticed a large chamber. A circle of runes was engraved upon the stone floor. It glowed with reddish light.

Omega and Cain examined the runes and determined that it was a teleportation circle. Judging by the runes and how long ago it had been carved into the floor, they both determined that it was as old as Hammerfist Hall. They also discovered that the teleportation circle was still functional, but it only worked as a destination and not as a starting point. When they asked Dred what he knew about the circle, he admitted that he knew little save that a similar smaller circle existed in a chamber inside the outpost in Thonor’s Pass. He recalled his mentor, Killar Rockstrider, mentioned how messengers could be sent through the portal to quickly send word back to Hammerfist Hall if the outpost was attacked. Deciding to leave the circle alone for the moment, the adventurers left the chamber.

Once back out in the corridor, the group spotted a patrol of guards similar to the ones outside. The patrol came down the stairs at the end of the long corridor, weapons drawn. But before the guards could even reach them, the group wiped them all out with their range attacks.

Having easily dispatched the patrol, the adventurers quickly made their way to the stairs vowing to continue their mission of freeing Hammerfist Hall from its vile host, the Winter King.


DM: Richard Rouillard

Characters: Arrol Mai-fair, Omega, Dred Ironfoot, Cain Justice, Zaachaeus De’Barronn, Huntrah De’Barron

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"Halls of Hammerfist" Part 1
Assault on Darkhold Story Arc

Eleint 3, 1479, Year of the Ageless One


A group of seasoned adventurers made a journey up to the Sunset Mountains to make contact with the Hammerfist Dwarves of the Northern Sunset Mountains and to assault the Zhentarim fortress of Darkhold. Taking a teleportation circle from a tower near the Reaching Woods, the group arrived at Kilgirn Hold. Kilgirn Hold, meaning “proud mountain-hold” in dwarven, was occupied by a force of soldiers from the town of Bear’s Head.

Led by the wood elf ranger, Arrol Mai-fair, the group made their way down the mountain pass of Valdinn. Arrol had recently scouted the region mountain pass and had discovered signs of two cyclopses and at least one harpy wandering in the area. Strangely enough, he didn’t see any signs of dwarves having been in the area recently. He also noted that cyclopses and harpies were fey creatures and not normally found in mountain regions. The band of fey creatures seemed to have wandered into the area then made their way back down the pass.

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The group left Kirgin Hold dressed for winter and protected by a ritual against the cold weather. Despite it being the end of summer, winter didn’t seem to have given up its hold on the Sunset Mountains. The group wondered if the unusual winter season had anything to do with what happened in the Sunset Vale months ago? They recall vividly how winter suddenly and explicably came upon the Vale at the beginning of summer just these past few months. They learned that the harsh weather was brought upon by a being calling herself the Winter Witch. They tried to put a stop to the Winter Witch, even slaying the ancient white dragon Kurikveaeri near an ancient monastery dedicated to Lathander, the sun god. Despite not confronting the Winter Witch, the magical winter quickly released its hold upon the Vale. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief and thought the whole ordeal had ended. But now, the group wasn’t so sure. Patches of snow on the ground and the cold, biting temperature told the group that the Winter Witch’s icy grip still lingered.

A few miles down the mountain pass, the group spotted a young dwarf running at full speed towards them. By the looks of it, the dwarf was running for his life. A moment later, they saw a large rock strike a tree just behind the dwarf. The dwarf, not slowing down at all, kept on running. Immediately after, the adventurers spotted three harpies wearing fur vests land on nearby boulders then take to flight upon the group’s arrival.

A battle ensued in which the group fought off three harpies and two cyclopses. Arrol approached Dred and reassured the dwarf of his safety, before taking deadly shots of his own at the encroaching harpies.

The group fought with tenacity and skills that surprised the young dwarf. Not knowing yet whether the strangers were friend or foe, Dred Ironfoot, lent his skills by placing well aimed shots at a distant cyclops who was busy fighting off one of the adventurers who had stepped through a magical doorway a moment before.

Psb the harpy celaeno

The harpies tried to hurt the group by singing songs of rage but the adventurers made short-work of them. Even flying above the group didn’t offer the harpies any protection from the group’s powerful spells and deadly range attacks. The dwarf saw first-hand the group’s skill when he witnessed one of the adventurers, seemingly a fighter, sever a leg off the remaining cyclops with a well-placed strike with his blade. The cyclops fell, thrashed about for a quick breath and bled to death soon after.

With the battle won, Arrol approached Dred once more and introduced himself and the rest of the adventurers to the dwarf. Dred found himself in the midst of two drows, a gnome, a human, and a lich. Fearful at the sight of these strange people, the hunter dwarf was put at ease when the adventurers assured him of their good nature. When asked who he was and where he was from, he explained that he was part of a detachment of mountain scouts assigned to guard Thonor’s Pass to the south. The pass defended the Northern Sunset Mountains from any incursions coming up from the Far Hills. Unfortunately, Thonor’s pass had been overrun some time ago by several Frostblight Treants led by a gargantuan white dragon. He recall seeing the death of his fellow hunters, especially his mentor Killar Rockstrider, who saved him from certain death when Killar pushed him off of a short cliff just as the dragon struck Killar with its icy breath. Despite his serious injuries sustained from the fall, Dred survived. The hunter went on to share how he had recovered and spent the last two months trying to find any sign of survivors. He managed to survive off of the land and luckily avoided creatures and wandering monsters; that is, until he chanced upon the harpies and the cyclopses.

Dred added that at one point, he came upon two adventurers who hailed from Cormyr some time during the past tenday. The two were headed back down the mountain after their group’s priest, mage, and warlord were killed by forces loyal to what they said was the Winter Witch’s consort, a being they referred to as the Winter King. Apparently, the Winter King—a powerful undead human—may have turned upon the Winter Witch and claimed her forces as his own. He said that the two from Cormyr shared that they had ran into a band of elven rogues from Evereska who had unsuccessfully tried to infiltrate Darkhold’s inner halls. More disturbing was how they explained that the evil bastion, which once belonged to the Zhentarim Network, was now occupied by undead forces led by an undead eladrin. They overheard eladrin guards in Darkhold speak of the Winter King as though they were allied with him. They warned Dred that the Zhentarims who used to occupy Darkhold have all been turned into undead soldiers.

When asked if Dred would lead the adventurers to the dwarven halls of Hammerfist, he agreed. The group decided that it would be best to confront the Winter King and hopefully find surviving dwarves and even their Clan Lord, Farsten Hammerfist—a direct descendant of Dorrak Hammerfist, founder of Hammerfist Halls. Huntrah also suggested that perhaps the dwarves of Hammerfist can help them in their planned assault of Darkhold.

After nearly nine miles of trekking through the mountain range, the group arrived at Wolf Bulwark. Stone huts that once housed dwarves assigned to protect the path leading up to Hammerfist Halls some two miles distant were now occupied by over a dozen undead soldiers comprised of skeletons and zombies. To Dred’s horror, the skeletons and zombies were all once living dwarves. In death, their journey to Moradin’s glorious halls was denied them. Instead, they were forced to serve as undead guards for the Winter King.

The group, vowing to free the dwarves’ tormented spirits from the clutches of the Winter King, attacked in force. Omega opened the attack with a volley of lighting that arced from one undead to the other. In a matter of seconds, Omega had all but destroyed all of the undead guardians with his mighty spell. The others joined in the fray and quickly freed Wolf Bulwark of its undead hosts. After the encounter, the group took the time to honor the dwarves’ remains by piling them upon a large stack of wood then set the makeshift funeral pyre ablaze.

With nightfall quickly approaching, the group made its way to Hammerfist Halls intent on freeing the dwarven stronghold from the evil Winter King’s control.


DM: Richard Rouillard

Characters: Arrol Mai-fair, Omega, Dred Ironfoot, Cain Justice, Zaachaeus De’Barronn, Huntrah De’Barron

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"Thin Veil" Part 2
Tomb of Horrors Arc

Owlbear

Eleint 2, 1479, Year of the Ageless One (mid-afternoon)

As Fredara, Jobek, and Luthan explained to everyone in Longpine what they had discovered in the Reaching Woods, they were joined by Monro, Patch, and Vyn. The adventuring party was then asked to return to the forest, track down the owlbear, and slay it.

Luthan guided them into the forest, and after finding traces of the owlbear within a mile of the forest’s edge, the group heard a woman’s voice, weak, but still with enough volume to carry—from a large tree nearby.

Calling out first in Elven, then in Common, they heard the voice cry out, “Please help me! I’ve been in this tree for days, and I don’t know if I can make it much longer! Please!”.

Wondering if it may be a trap, the group drew closer to the voice and saw high in a tree on the edge of a desolate area, a small woman—a gnome—clutching desperately to some of the smallest branches at the very top of the tree. She looked thin, gaunt, and frightened, and she peered at the group with both fear and hope. As the party approached the frightened gnome, Luthan asked who she was and what she was doing in this part of the forest. She said her name was Orva and admitted that she passed through a portal from her home in the Feywild several days ago. She’s an arcanist by trade, and quickly realized what had happened. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find her way back to the portal, and instead wandered into the owlbear’s territory. She’s replayed her route in her mind several times, and she thinks she knows the way back to the portal from here now, however. They also spotted a nearby den large enough for an owlbear to lair in.

When asked to come down from the tree, she said, “No! No! I will not come down! Not until that thing is dead. I know it’s out there. I can smell it! Can’t you? With its horrid eyes! I know it’s there, waiting for me!”

Kenku5

She also warned the group that she had seen a kenku skulking along the forest nearby, yesterday. She was half asleep, and by the time she realized what she was seeing, the kenku was gone. She called out, but it didn’t return. The group then scanned the nearby woods and spotted, hiding within bowshot range, a kenku in some thick bushes. Patch took a shot at the kenku through the bushes using his Flaming Greatbow, which almost caused the dry bush to erupt in flames. The Kenku rushed out from hiding as three more kenkus emerged from hiding to surround the party.

Meanwhile, the massive owlbear emerged from the den and into view. It rushed to a nearby boulder in front of its lair and scraped its razor-sharp talons against the rocks, producing a dreadful, high-pitched sound that immediately put the adventurers on edge. The owlbear reared up on its hind legs and bellowed angrily; its full-throated roar reaching an awful, shrieking crescendo. After its display of dominance, everyone knew that an attack was imminent.

While Vyn, Luthan, and Monro dealt with the four kenkus, Fredara, Patch, and Jobek rushed to attack the owlbear. While fighting the owlbear, Fredara and Jobek heard over the din of battle, a strange sound, almost like a mixture of hissing and clucking. Quickly looking around, they spotted an angry chicken-like creature lurking behind some nearby rocks. It spread its scale-and-feathered wings and hissed at the combatants—owlbear, human, and dwarf alike—angry at the noise and intrusion near its nesting area.

Cockatrice

The chicken—which the group determined later was a cockatrice—attacked. It pecked Jobek and caused his muscles to tense, slowing him down. The owlbear continued its onslaught and nearly killed Jobek when it caught the dwarf in a bear-hug and bit him. Vyn, having dispatched two kenkus, joined in the fight against the owlbear while Monroe and Luthan dealt with the remaining kenkus. After a few solid strikes from the adventurers, the owlbear was slain.

Jobek, unconscious under the owlbear’s weight, was saved by Fredara as she administered a Potion of Vitality upon the fallen dwarf. Jobek awoke, hurt but eager to fight again.

All of the kenkus slain, and the owlbear as well, the group focused its attacks on the angry cockatrice. Despite repeated strikes, the cockatrice survived the party’s onslaught, and ran back into it’s nest hidden deep within a rocky crevice. The nest was too small to crawl into, so the adventurers let the cockatrice go, feeling fortunate to have survived the encounter.

Feeling safe enough to climb down, the gnome, Orva thanked the group and asked them if they would help her find her way back to the portal. They agreed, but thought it best if they returned to Longpine to help her recover and rest. Vyn promised that they would all help Orva find her way back home the next day. She conceded and thanked them. Luthan then urged everyone to finish searching the kenkus and the area, including the owlbear’s lair. They found nothing but animal remains in the den and nothing of value on the kenkus.

After catching their breath, the group led by Luthan made their way back through the forest and to Longpine.


Verdant forest

After an hour of hiking through the woods, the group realized that they were lost. Luthan thought he had been retracing their path, but admitted that he may have gotten them lost in the Reaching Woods. And to make matters worse, everyone realized that the forest looked very different. The forest had a verdant hue to it and the sweet scent of grass, leaves, and flowers were almost intoxicating. When the group asked if Orva recognized the area, she was happy to reply that they were all in the Feywild. They all realized that the group may have unknowingly walked through a portal in the Reaching Woods. They all agreed that finding their way back may be futile. Even Orva was not familiar with this area of the Feywild.

Patch then used a sending stone to contact Bear’s Head to report that they were lost in the Feywild, but because they were no longer on the same plane as Faerun, the sending stone didn’t function.

Pushing on, the group reconnoitered the area and found a river nearby. The crystal clear waters of the river wound its way towards what appeared to be buildings of some sort in the distance, perhaps a few miles away. They also spotted a boat beached nearby. The boat, seemingly of elven design with its swan figure-head and silken sails looked as if it had been abandoned for some time.

The adventurers decided to take the boat and make their way to the distant structures to see if they can find some means of getting back to Faerun.


h5. DM:

Richard Rouillard

Adventurers:

Fredara, Jobek, Monro, Patch, and Vyn

NPCs:

Luthan Graythicket (male half-elf ranger companion, from Elturgard), Orva (female gnome arcanist companion, from the Feywild)

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"Thin Veil" Part 1
Tomb of Horrors Arc

KrensharEleint 2, 1479, Year of the Ageless One (around Highsun)

While in the thorp of Longpine, north of Bear’s Head, Jobek and Fredara were asked by the commander of soldiers from Bear’s Head stationed in Longpine to investigate sightings of possible monsters or creatures lurking near the edge of the Reaching Woods just southwest of the thorp. The Reaching Woods is just within a mile of Longpine.

When Jobek and Fredara reached the forest’s edge, they both spotted a small cave. They also saw what looked like a dead goblin on the forest floor nearby. Drawing weapons out, both of them cautiously approached the body. Suddenly they both heard and spotted a medium-sized cat-like creature emerged from behind a clump of bushes. The creature had brownish fur and a mouth full of sharp fangs. What struck them with fear was when the creature’s skin on its face peeled back to reveal its skull! The creature then rushed the fighters. Meanwhile, another one of the creature emerged from the cave and joined in the battle. Later, a third emerged from the forest, this one slightly larger and its fur was covered in red hyena-like spots.

As the largest of the creatures rushed towards Jobek and Fredara, an arrow shot from above the cave struck the beast’s front paw slowing it down. Looking to where the shot had come from, Jobek saw a half-elf standing above the cave. He was shooting down at the creatures with a longbow, despite the half-elf’s quiver being nearly emptied of arrows.

Together, the three adventurers made short work of the creatures. All three later determined that the beasts were Krenshars, ferocious cat-like creatures often bred and trained as guardian pets by gnolls, goblins, and sometimes humans. The dead goblin-like creature turned out to a spriggan, a creature they determined to be native from the Feywild and not normally found in the Reaching Woods.

The half-elf, who introduced himself as Luthan Graythicket, said that he has seen quite a few Krenshars in the Reaching Woods but not this close to the forest’s edge.

Luthan also said that he was from the village of Arkos, near Elturel in Elturgard. He added that Arkos is now famous since it is where the female paladin-hero of Elturgard, Joanna, was born. Luthan said that since Elturgard had been freed from the evil rule of Samlawr (a Corruption Devil who passed himself off as a priest of Torm and gained control of Elturgard), and had just recently lifted the ban that prevented anyone from entering the Reaching Woods upon penalty of death, he decided to enter the once-forbidden forest. He added that he heard that elves once populated the thick forest but had not been seen since the Spellplague struck the Realms. Being a half-elf he wanted to find any traces of elves, like ruins, left in the forest.

He also warned the group that he had seen tracks of an Owlbear near this part of the forest. Just like Krenshars, Owlbears dont’ usually wander or lair this close to the edge of the forest. All three wondered what could be driving the animals out of the forest. Luthan suggested that perhaps portals to the Feywild, which he’s seen quite a few of as he trekked through the Reaching Woods, may have had something to do with it.

The three decided to head back to Longpine and report what they had discovered.

DM:

Richard Rouillard

Adventurers:

Fredara, Jobek

NPCs:

Luthan (half-elf ranger companion)

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"Dampened Spirits"
Scourge of the Sunset Vale Arc

Drowned ghostEleint 2, 1479, Year of the Ageless One

Deb Merryfoot, along with the others, spoke to Winslow Crestkeeper III to try and convince the paladin to reconsider his decision to leave the group and travel to Hluthvar alone.

After a lengthy discussion in which everyone sought shelter in an old hunting lodge to avoid getting drenched from an impending summer storm, the group decided to travel east. The decision was made to find out if the escaped prisoner from Hluthvar was speaking the truth about the Zhentarims having possibly abandoned Hluthvar. After, they would then return to their original mission of infiltrating the undead-infested town of Asbravn to the south. Deb also suggested that he guide the group east towards the Sunset Mountains. The halfling ranger added that they could then take the trail that ran north to Hluthvar once they reached the base of the mountains. Just as a heavy downpour began, everyone agreed to leave the lodge and travel for the remainder of the day, despite the heavy rain. With luck, they hoped to reach the trail before darkness settled in the Vale.

Several hours later, just before they reached the clearly visible trail, the group spotted the remains of three camping tents next to a murky pond. It looked as though the camp was fairly old judging how weatherworn the tents were and what else they saw. They noticed a dead figure lying on the ground sticking out from the largest of the three tents. The figure was clad fully in plate armor. The group also spotted the body of a large humanoid lying facedown in the thick bushes nearby. As the group moved forward to investigate, they noticed that the ground, thick and slick with mud made moving difficult.

Deb and Caldreas decided to stay within striking distance with range attacks, while the other three waded through the thick mud towards the campsite. Each step was difficult and slow, but eventually Ang and Lo-kag reached the campsite. Winslow, meanwhile, struggled to catch up with Ang and Lo-kag. As Ang reached the large tent, he noticed that the armored figure they saw earlier looked as if he had been dead for some time. Ang drew closer to inspect the figure and noticed a finely crafted longsword resting on top of the fallen fighter. Suddenly, the dead fighter moved, grabbed the longsword and began to rise. It also held a large shield emblazoned, along with its armor a symbol Lo-kag recognized as being the mark of Zhentarim soldier.

A battle ensued in which the large humanoid—an undead ogre ‘zombie’—also rose to attack. Ang quickly destroyed the undead fighter, while Lo-kag fought through the mud to get to the undead ogre. As he neared the pond, a movement suddenly caught his attention. A woman, her body shriveled as if from being immersed in water for far too long, suddenly rose from the pond and attacked the goliath. The woman wore tattered commoners’ clothes and had long, raven tresses that covered her face. As Ang joined in the battle against the new opponent, Deb launched a volley of deadly arrows at the undead ogre. Caldreas also launched powerful spells upon the undead ogre. He also entrapped the ogre zombie in a thick, sticky web.

Meanwhile, Ang and Lo-kag fought with the woman from the pond, which turned out to be a ghost since the strikes against her barely harmed her. Despite this, the two warriors destroyed the ghost in short-order just as Winslow finally reached them after struggling through the muck and mud. Together, Deb and Caldreas slew the zombie ogre as well.

After searching the remains and found that the Zhentarim soldier’s plate armor and sword were enchanted, Deb searched the nearby area along the trail and found a cave large enough to shelter the group for the night. Deb also discovered a partially covered earthen jug and several copper and silver coins littering the cave floor, although it looked as though the items had been there for some time—perhaps a few months.

The heroes settled inside the cave and out of the rain for the night.

Adventurers:

Winslow, Ang, Lo-kag, Deb, Caldreas

Treasure:

Pact Longsword +2, Plate Mail of Vitality +2, 5sp, 7cp, dirt encrusted jug with Zhentarim symbol and the name “Sergeant Petrus” inscribed on it

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"The Road of Good Intentions"
Scourge of the Sunset Vale Arc

Elesias 27, 1479, Year of the Ageless One

Autumn valeMuch was discussed by the group after arriving to meet late one evening at The Bear’s Head Inn. Some of the discussions involved how to deal with the undead horde threatening the Eastern Vale, as well as the Zhentarim Network’s threat in the Northern Vale. Eventually, the heroes of Bear’s Head decided to form adventuring groups who will deal with every potential problem. During the meeting, a man who turned out to be a doppelgänger member from Damagers Guild arrived at the Inn to deliver a message. The messenger, who called himself Masquerade, claimed that the Guild was willing to exchange Cain Justice’s phylactery for the sum of seven million gold. After some heated discussions, in which Masquerade made clear that if the ransom was not paid by midnight (less than two hours time), the Guild would destroy the phylactery, therefore destroying Cain’s lich form as well, the ransom was paid. Masquerade opened a teleport circle and exchanged the phylactery for the money. Everyone then returned to their meeting but not before vowing to seek out the Damagers Guild someday!

The next day, a group comprised of Deb, Winslow, Lo-kag, Ang, and Caldreas left Bear’s Head for the thorp of Col Fen to the north. The group’s mission is to infiltrate deep into the Eastern Vale and discover the power behind the undead incursion. After three days, the group arrived at an abandoned hunters’ lodge several miles south of Col Fen. The group came upon a human male threatened by several zombies and an undead composed of earth and rocks. The group quickly dispatched the undead, but not before Ang was injured by a zombie. After realizing he may have been infected by the Zombie Plague, a Cure Disease spell was cast on him which stopped the spread of the disease. The man, emaciated and shackled when he was found, admitted to having escaped from a dungeon prison from Hluthvar. He said that over a dozen other men, charged for various crimes, were also and may still be trapped in their cells in Hluthvar. Winslow decided to see if the man’s claims were true. Despite the other’s plea not to go to Hluthvar and stick to the mission at hand, Winslow bid the group farewell and started walking north. He said that his passion for slaying undead did not mean he would “forsake the living for the dead”. He added that, criminals or not, men should not be left to rot in prison and that Bear’s Head’s justice may be the only justice left in the Sunset Vale.

The others, not wanting leave a friend alone to risk his life, chose to follow the paladin and the prisoner—despite arguing against the danger and perhaps futile attempt at helping criminals from the ruined town of Hluthvar.

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