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