Monday, July 18, 2011

Szith Rijun – The Second Fall of House Rijun – Part 1

Characters: Dusk Revin, Gallipolas & Fig, Lazbin, Narn Daergal, Rathgillian, Trizoon & Nilmith, Vindicus
NPCs: None
Synopsis: Before moving to the temple level of the drow community Szith Rijun, the Defenders reassess their tactics. Knowing that whomever, or whatever, lies deeper in the chasm knows they are present. Having just battled two revenants of the missing Divine Hammer, the group recognizes the necrotic magics manipulating the dead. With both Narn and Dusk unconscious, their stealth and divine connections are that much weaker. Gallipolas and Vindicus move ahead to scout the lower level, each manipulating his magic to sprout wings and fly towards the rushing waters of the chasm below.

The two elves find a yawning hole in the chasm wall, anchored by a stone arch engraved in runes. Standing resolute at the back end of the chamber are two drow noble guards and four of the skinless undead guarding the room’s egresses. Without hesitation Gallipolas spies the undead nature of the sentries and spews a massive burst of pure sunlight into the chamber. In an instant the flash is all the elves need to provide cover as they return to their companions above. The report is quick but detailed as the others are ready to descend.

The group returns to entry chamber to find the exploded bodies of the undead, muscles and skeletons ripped apart from the druid’s magic. But missing are the two noble guards. Lazbin easily recognizes the mist of a fleeing vampire and moves into the chamber. As the blood mage passes beneath the stone arch, he flenches as a rune ignites, burning him as he enters the sacred temple. Bracing for the inevitable, the rest of the party enters bearing the excruciating pain of the warded gate. There is no doubt that the grounds of the drow are unhallowed.

The eerie feeling of omnipresence pervades the group of adventurers as they move to the rear of the chamber. The construction of this level is of incredible quality, indicting the excesses of the noble leaders of the drow settlement. Spintering off in opposite directions, two corridors wind their way into the darkness. Light from the adventurers’ magic illuminates another large chamber just off one of the halls. Shackled to a set of manacles hanging from the wall is a female drow, almost entirely drained of life. Before any objections are made, Lazbin lances the prisoner’s heart with a wooden stake. His quick dealing with the drow didn’t beg permission and his stern look doesn’t ask for forgiveness. A smaller chamber adjacent to the guard post, once a barracks for the noble drow guards, now houses three wooden coffins. Vindicus follows suit and looses a fireball from one of his many wands obliterating everything within.

The group returns to the corridor and continues its path, finding evenly spaced octagonal chambers, numbering eight. Trizoon spies the obvious, as the previously noble house most likely worshipped the now-missing spider god-queen Lolth. In one of the halls they find an elaborately carved set of double doors. Just prior to breach, Lazbin smells a faint whisp of smoke and then spies a fine mist beneath the door. The cowardly drow are now putting flame to the temple. As the group prepares for entry they hear movement from the corridor. Ready for anything, the group prepares for an ambush that never comes. The gnome Narn and the half-drow Dusk emerge into the light to rejoin their companions.

With the strength in numbers bolstered and enough ado, Rathgillian and Trizoon smash into the room. A fine hue of gray floats on the air of the chamber, partially obscuring enormous, despicable tapestries featuring landscapes of war and death. Walking corpses are depicted marching on burning lands. In the corner a toppled brazier oozes out a flaming liquid that has set the dense rug on fire. Against the far wall is a crude shrine. But there is no one to claim the arson. Pivoting around the room in tactical formation, the group parts the whisps of smoke to draw out the temple’s inhabitants. But the inhalation becomes crushing as they begin violently coughing over the acrid fuel. The distraction is good enough as three noble guards materialize from within the haze.

As the obscuring mist grows denser the group focuses on their enemies at hand, but fails to detect two other driders drop from concealed niches in the ceiling above. The ambush is disjointed though as the vampires a significantly weakened. Dusk loudly bellows for his god Kelemvor to vanquish the undead and his spell reduces two of the vampires to ash. Gallipolas dons a pair of magical goggles and gazes upon one of the driders, turning it to stone. Rathgillian and Trizoon focus their efforts on the final combatants and eliminate the threat immediately.

The thick smoke and burning room forces the Defenders to vacate the chamber. But on his way through a stone door in the corner of the room, Dusk passes by the makeshift shrine identifying it as one devoted to the drow goddess of death Kiaransalee. The half-drow snears at the abomination and disrupts the presentation with the back of his hand. He vows to carry this siege through to the end of his disgraced kin.

Encounters: 4 quth-maren & 2 vampire drow noble guards, 3 vampire drow noble guards & 2 drider vampires.
Achievements: breached the temple level of Szith Rijun and destroyed the undead sentries and guardians.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Szith Rijun – Lost Allies

Characters: Dusk Revin, Gallipolas & Fig, Lazbin, Narn Daergal, Rathgillian, Trizoon & Nilmith, Vindicus
NPCs: Revenant Torp, Revenant Kholter, Theresa
Synopsis: As discussions continue regarding which area of Szith Rijun to attack next, Narn spies to attackers scaling the webbing of the chasm towards the barracks. As he pulls out a javelin to attack, the gnome stops in confusion. Backing away from the ledge he allows the two humanoids to breach the landing, summoning Dusk to his side. Two forms stand in front of the group. Dusk and Narn both recognize them as Torp and Kholter, two of the three missing members of the Divine Hammer. The half-drow Dusk waves off the Defenders as he stares at his allies. They are not right. With their eyes glowing supernaturally red, the two appear both shallow and hardened. Their skin has an atypical color and their movements are stiff. Dusk asks about their health and the location of Theresa, the other missing member of the Divine Hammer. He only receives blank stares.

Lazbin recognizes the condition of the two; they are revenants, not unlike the white dragon that attacked them in Threshold. Before he can warn Dusk, the half-drow lowers his weapon attempting to parlay with his missing companions. But they are unresponsive and lurch forward to attack. The Defenders respond in kind but Narn and Dusk show great restraint trying to reach their friends’ psyches. The favored soul of Kelemvor cannot communicate verbally so he closes his eyes to reach them telepathically. But the attempt has severe repercussions as he experiences a massive psychic blowback that renders him unconscious. The severed link is so powerful that the backlash strikes Narn knocking him out cold. Lazbin screams at the rest to defend their bodies as the two revenants move in for their remaining victims.

Even though the two members of the Divine Hammer are obviously undead, their actions are just as swift as any living attacker. The one Narn identified as Torp slips past Fig, Rathgillian and Trizoon to strike Gallipolas. The other, Kholter stands against warriors and attacks with the frenzy of a barbarian. Both revenants are fierce but using opposing methods. The revenant Kholter uses his great axe to extreme effect while the revenant Torp uses his knowledge of martial arts to pummel Gallipolas.

Vindicus serves as an excellent tactician, abandoning any effort against the barbarian and working with Gallipolas to bring down the monk. Trizoon and Rathgillian find the battle in their favor as each attempts to one-up the other. It isn’t long before the undead are no longer moving; the revenants’ mission is unfulfilled. Nilmith quickly races to the fallen Narn and then to Dusk. Both are alive but unconscious and the gnome priestess’ efforts to revive them do not work. Lazbin intervenes and details his knowledge of spellcraft. It seems that the members of the Divine Hammer had a telepathic bond within their ranks and in an effort to reach their dead comrades, the suffered a severe shock. Only time will heal their minds.

The Defenders decide to utilize the drow cell block and barricade the comatose Narn and Dusk within one cell. When they awaken the whisper gnome can easily break out of the cell and free the half-drow. Knowing the Council of the Divine of Cedarspoke would greatly appreciate the preservation of the dead, even though they were manipulated through some manner of necromancy, the two bodies of the revenants are stored in a separate cell. With their forces diminished Lazbin’s commission of Vindicus is looking better and better with each moment. The Defenders’ next decision is unanimous: they will strike the temple level of House Rijun.

Encounters: revenant monk Torp, revenant barbarian Kholter
Achievements: repelled the attacks of animated members of the Divine Hammer, uncovered the true nature of the revenants, and sequestered their fallen friends as well as preserved the bodies of the dead.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Szith Rijun – The Siege of the Barracks

Characters: Dusk Revin, Gallipolas & Fig, Lazbin, Narn Daergal, Rathgillian, Trizoon & Nilmith, Vindicus
NPCs: Tieraka Rijun
Synopsis: Just as the group is entering Lazbin’s extradimensional nook, Lazbin assures them that they are safe and that he is going to return to Threshold to secure extra assistance. Trizoon goes with him, knowing that the Defender is tried and tested in battle, and that they will need all of the help they can get. The two teleport back to Threshold and find Vindicus at the Verse. The elf is relatively indifferent to the two humans, but as the bard weaves a tale of valor, bravery and desperation, Vindicus is taken by the story. He agrees to assist them, as long as their spoils of combat are divided equally. Revelling in the opportunity to waste drow, Vindicus joins Lazbin and Trizon and teleport back to Szith Rijun.

After a brief rest Trizoon guides the drow priestess Tieraka Rijun deeper in the Dordrien Crypts. Moving clearly beyond the previously hewn stone walls they enter a natural tunnel that slopes further into the earth. The priestess alerts the bard that this is the forward position for the drow warriors. Trained for defense and raising the alert, the two drow sentries need to be dealt with quickly before any alarm can be raised. If word on intruders stretches into Szith Rijun, they will face a small army at once.

It is an intense volley of spells that destroy the sentries before they even spy the intruders. The two drow bodies lay near a sink hole in the cavern that drops another twenty feet to another fissure in the earth. Following the path, the group is stopped by the drow priestess. They’ve reached the uppermost level of Szith Rijun, and another layer of sentries. Through a second sink hole they will find the massive chasm that vertically divides Szith Rijun. A massive network of webs connects all of the layers. The revine itself stretches some 500 feet to its creator, the raging river blow. The attack will have to come quickly as the drow sentries are trained for a quick descent.

Gallipolas shifts into an earth elemental and again moves through stone and rock as if he were an eagle flying effortlessly in the Gulthmere’s skies. The elf druid spies an unearthly creature that stands beneath the sink hole staring up with its lidless eyes piercing the darkness above. Its skin completely absent as its muscles and ligaments are exposed beneath a layer of glossy slime. Three drow handlers quietly play a dice game at a table in the cave. Relaying the positioning of their enemies, Gallipolas demands knowledge of this undead creature as even he has never seen it before. Priestess Tieraka is unaware of such a find. But she restates that they must storm this position quickly. And a furious storm does indeed crack above the drow post. Raining divine fire upon the undead, ruining it. Catching the other sentries off guard, the group strikes with such orchestration that the drow cannot even draw their weapons.

As bodies are stripped, Narn investigates the chasm. True to her magicked work, the drow priestess’ depiction is accurate, save for the echoing sounds of the river below that effectively block sound throughout the void. The gnome wanders back to the others but is struck from behind by a massive misshapen spider. Gaunt in its appearance and moving without sound the spider strikes Narn, sapping his strength. The others quickly surround the silent huner and slay it within seconds. With no more obstacles, the group challenges the drow priestess about the lack of detail. The privileged noble shrugs her shoulders as her presence in the upper levels of Szith Rijun are as frequent as the centuries.

Priestess Tieraka layouts out the nest that is Szith Rijun. The drow barracks are near the top of the chasm. The trading post is at the center. Below the market is the drow commoner and slave level. Away from most of the settlement is the drow wizard tower. And near the bottom of the chasm is the entrance to House Rijun. The group targets the barracks for their first stop to eradicating the drow. Rushing the stoic drow soldiers, the group storms the barracks slaying the two sentries in the mouth of the barracks. But before they die, the ambush is revealed as the alarm sounds. An adjoining cavern holds four more drow warriors and yet another of the undead creatures. Gallipolas sends a wave of green slime atop their enemies, burning them alive in the conjured acid. Unaffected the undead races forward only to be cut down.

Sounds of armored troops flood the chamber. From within the complex more drow respond to the call to arms. Moving the rear of the chamber, the drow warriors are ready, but they are also supplemented with spell casters. Rathgillian is lit up by a series of rays and retreats to the group’s rear. In the commotion the drow priestess Tieraka attempts to flea to the webbing, only to be cut down by a javelin of lightning hurled by Narn. Her falling body passes the cave mouth, plummeting to the raging waters below. Vindicus and Dusk weave their spells, laying down a wall of flame and blades that systematically shreds the drow to pieces. Leaving their defenses in position, Trizoon instructs Nilmith to heal the badly injured Rathgillian as the others inspect the other hallway leading away from the barracks. A singular tunnel houses a series of empty cells. More than likely any prisoners were slain during the initial sacking of Szith Rijun.

Sure that the battle has alerted the other drow of the settlement, the group decides to lay waste to any remnents of the barracks. Better to have no enemies at your back. Dismissing the walls of flame and blade, the group moves through the barracks discovering two spell casters that survived the initial attack. Barricaded within their quarters, the wizards loose spells at the outsiders as the Defenders break into the drow chambers. It takes only moments as the drow survivors are mowed down with extreme prejudice.

With the barracks now empty, the group sweeps back to the front chamber only to spy another drow slipping past them. He is quick to cast the area into complete darkness and escapes to the webbed chasm. Dusk and Vindicus chide the cowering Nilmith, wondering why the gnome did not ensnare the escapee. Her reply is simple. She did not come to this drow settlement to serve their orders, only her mentor and leader Trizoon. A broad smile forms on the bard’s lips as they regroup for the next stage of the siege.

Encounters: two drow sentries, quth maren & 2 drow sentries & drow spellguard, huge wraith spider, 6 drow sentries & Quth Maren, 5 drow fighters, 4 drow fighter/wizards, drow officer.
Achievements: defeated the advanced positions of the drow sentries, uncovered a new form of undead used by the drow of Kiaransalee, and sacked the drow barracks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Exiled Drow of Szith Rijun

Characters: Dusk Revin, Gallipolas & Fig, Lazbin, Narn Daergal, Rathgillian, Trizoon & Nilmith

NPCs: Tieraka Rijun

Synopsis: With his weapon draw, Dusk approaches the weeping female drow. Curled against the hewn stone wall, she continues crying with her shoulders heaving. The rouse is obvious to Dusk, and he is alert and ready when the weeping turns to rage. But the drow’s countenance is distorted with some sort of arachnid taint. The Defenders rush in to engage but only half enter the chamber before it is sealed off with webbing. The female drow bait works as three massive spiders join the battle. Facing a wall of spider webs Gallipolas and Rathgillian are contemplating the obstruction when a voice creeps up from behind.

Dusk is immediately bound by a spider’s web. Risking the pain he self-immolates, burning both himself and the webs in the process. Trizoon stands strong as Fig continues the attack. Nilmith supports them as Lazbin emerges from the invisible to strike the spiders. From the other side of the spiders’ webs, Gallipolas accosts a gnome who offers support. Finding the voice to be an ally of Dusk’s, Rathgillian burns through the webs and strikes the spiders. With the party reunited the spiders are crushed.

Once the webs settle, Dusk recognizes the whisper gnome as Narn, another member of the Divine Hammer but sometimes an absent ally. The group quickly assesses the new cavern and discovers yet another illusionary wall. To prove his value, Narn offers to explore the next cavern and spots a humanoid hiding within. The gnome confronts the obscured enemy, discovering it to be a drow armed with rapier and shield. But the drow isn’t alone as Narn is skewered from behind by a second drow warrior. Again the Defenders are ready and race to draw arms against the evil drow.

The battle draws an unseen ally of the drow as spells erupt from the far end of the cave, beyond the darkness. Lazbin’s spells are loosed against the drow, but the magical nature of the dark elf defeats the wizard’s attempts. Narn shows his value, lethally striking the drow. Overwhelmed with shear force the drow fall to blades of the Defenders and holy spells of Dusk. Gallipolas displays his newly developed powers by morphing into an elemental of the earth and gliding through the impenetrable stone as if it was water. At the end of the chamber he finds the two remaining drow, a spell caster and a priestess floating near the ceiling.

After destroying the two guards, the group pursues Gallipolas and surrounds the drow. Their might is obvious as the spell caster is subdued and pinned. With the battle lost, the floating priestess hails the half-drow Dusk seeking to parlay. Dusk is determined, knowing full well of the treachery of the drow. He disarms the female and quickly ties her up with help from Narn. Gallipolas twists the spell caster into complete submission. Dusk draws down against the priestess and begins the questioning. She is Tieraka Rijun of House Rijun, and she is the last survivor of Szith Rijun, the drow settlement below the Dordrien Crypts. Just over a tenday prior, the city was attacked by drow. Tieraka describes how her goddess Lolth has not answered prayers for more than two months. Yet another god has somehow been disrupted.

Without the prayers of her god, the priestess and her allies were overrun in less than three hours. Other drow even turned against the ruling house and joined the coup. The only element of the traitors she is aware of is that some are faithful to Kiaransalee, the drow goddess of death and revenge. She and her loyal servants were the only survivors she knows of. They escaped to this private sanctuary, reserved specifically for an instance of invasion. Only her inner circle is aware of this series of chambers. She begins to bargain but her mouth is stuffed; Dusk has heard enough. In seclusion the group discusses their options.

With the disruption of the plans of nature, they are almost sure that the disruption has extended into the Abyss. And now a new faction of drow has overrun the drow settlement Szith Rijun. Dusk speculates that it is these draw that are raiding Cedarspoke and dealing with the frost giants and the drow of Lolth were inactive against the surface world for over a century. The favored soul of Kelemvor is repulsed by this new faction of drow, but the first step is obvious: eliminate the spell caster. Gallipolas assures Trizoon that given the opportunity the drow spell caster would destroy everyone in this room, including his allies. The bard shakes his head and wonders of the complete absence of humanity. With the others’ attention elsewhere Narn sets about the murder of the spell caster, strangling the drow and ending his life after several agonizing minutes.

But the task is pressing; Trizoon uses his song and flute to fascinate the drow priestess. It takes only minutes to when her over and charm her. Previously a vicious enemy, Tieraka Rijun is now a staunch ally of the Defenders of the Dragon Coast. She outlines the layout of the city, identifying the central chasm that services the multiple layers of Szith Rijun. She also identifies the defense positions of the previous administration, which most likely have not changed as the traitorous drow are still present. The drow warriors are sure to be on high alert, but with her help the Defenders can raid the city and destroy the drow faction of Kiaransalee. After quickly scouting the forward drow guards the group decides to rest within the protective extradimensional space of Lazbin’s making. Once they have prepared, Szith Rijun will fall once more under the Defenders and the Divine Hammer.

Encounters: four araneas, two drow nobleguards, drow spellguard, drow priestess of Lolth

Achievements: captured the exiled drow priestess, learned of the drow civil war, charmed the drow as an ally and learned of the layout of the drow settlement Szith Rijun and its defenses.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Into the Dordrien Crypts

Characters: Dusk Revin, Gallipolas & Fig, Lazbin, Rathgillian, Trizoon & Nilmith

NPCs: Council of the Divine, the Divine Hammer, Calimir Hightower, Brickle Tabbot, Delle Merritobo, Kooruk Coldrock

Synopsis: The Defenders haul their captured enemy into Cedarspoke. The blind giant is heckled as he is brought to the stockades for interrogation. Dusk administers the talks directly, bluffing the giant into believing he is a co-conspirator working with the giant kind. Spilling his guts, the frost giant identifies his cult’s leader, Spirit Speaker Loktouk. They are a splinter group of a larger clan that was assimilated by an elf wizard that promised glory for their service in Ice Razor Palace. Loktouk’s control was usurped and the giant fled with a handful of followers to an isolated shrine in the mountains. The Spirit Speaker was charged with protecting something great and would not let the elf take it.

In order for the giants to survive they have been trading with the drow of Szith Rijun, a settlement below the Dordrien Crypts near the banks of the Cedar River. The giants traded dead bodies in return for fresh meat and food from the Underdark, as well as a fortune in gems. Dusk convinces the giant to lay low and wait for his signal for freedom, a signal that will never come. The half-drow reports his findings to the council and the Defenders, where they discover that the attack of the frost giants had two fronts. The second attack was just as furious and damaging, occurring on the opposite side of the river. Those giants also fled to the hills at the sounding of the horn.

Arguments erupt from the gathered council members as the interim Secretary General Calimir Hightower, High Priest of Torm, attempts to corral consensus. Shouts come from multiple directions, including the human cleric Brickle Tabbot, the dwarf cleric Delle Merritobo, and Kooruk Coldrock dwarf ambassador to Ironfang Deep. Some voice their opinion of asking the Defenders to return to Skarwall Keep to see if any other members of the Divine Hammer have survived. Yet others demand vengeance upon the frost giants by raiding their stronghold. As the snow continues to fall, the location becomes more obscured and might become undetectable. But the prevailing worry is the involvement of the drow, believed to be the assassins of Zalaznos Crinios. With the lead provided by the blinded giant, the Defenders choose to investigate the drow beneath the Dordrien Crypts.

Calimir Hightower accepts their decision. The Divine Hammer will remain at Cedarspoke to help protect the city. The Defenders will receive every expendable resource that the Council has to offer for their investigation. But the Council stills as the interim Secretary General extends an offer to the Defenders. For their repeated actions in helping Cedarspoke, Calimir offers the coveted seat of the Council of the Divine to one of the Defenders. Without hesitation, the group nominates Gallipolas, who retaliates by saying the ways of the Council will not deter his motives once the Gulthmere Forest is settled and restored. With everyone in agreement, the group departs the council chambers to prepare for the expedition.

The following day the group departs with Dusk joining them. The half-drow may become beyond valuable should the trek continue into the Underdark. Travel is slow; the snow drifts coming off the barren mountain steppes merge with the light falling snow. The effect limits their vision, but the Defenders follow the river’s edge for the better part of the day. Without the sun, it is difficult to determine when they arrive at the crypts. Two individual mausoleums stand in the shadow of a small mountain. A carved out niche cradles a large pair of stone doors leading into the mountain itself. They have arrived at the Dordrien Crypts.

Of the two freestanding buildings the group detects wicked evil emanating from only one of them. Battering down the door they find two decrepit vampires preparing to assault, but the true evil remains invisible and begins to attack the invaders. Lighting and fire blast throughout the room and the evil is destroyed. The entrance to the crypt is locked, but easily accessed through Lazbin’s magicks. Just on the interior is a grizzly sight; five decaying bodies permeate the still air of the hallway. A drow squad lies still, stripped of their armaments and clothing; their wounds indicate they were cut down from behind.

Gallipolas summons a mouth from the stone and begins to question it. The experiences of the hallway are cryptic, but it relays that other drow cut down these drow of the Spider. These other drow have passed back and forth in the crypts carrying the bodies of dead humanoids to the lower levels of the crypts. As the Defenders move further into the depths, Gallipolas summons mouths from other stone doors, who warn of violating their interiors. Adhering to the calls of the stone mouths, the party continues into the lower levels, leaving the crafted section and entering the hewn stone that provides carved holes for the deceased.

One chamber houses a statue of Jergal, guardian of tombs. But the sentry remains still as they pass. Trizoon spots the first deception, identifying an illusionary wall. Behind it massive spiders stir, awaiting their prey. A wall of fire springs into the layer, sending the creatures scurrying. Rushing into the fray, Lazbin is the first to detect the otherworldly nature of the beasts. They are not spiders but bebilths, extraplanar demons. With the creatures split, the Defenders concentrate their attacks and destroy them one at a time. As the battle vanishes, Trizoon’s quick surveillance reveals another false wall. But behind it a single female drow lies slumped against the wall of the adjacent chamber, weeping uncontrollably.

Encounters: two vampire spawn, vampire master Chahir, two bebiliths

Achievements: learned of the dealings between the drow and the frost giants, secured a seat on the Council of Divine of Cedarspoke, and discovered the abandoned Dordrien Crypts.

The Dire Call of Cedarspoke

Characters: Dusk Revin, Gallipolas & Fig, Lazbin, Rathgillian, Trizoon & Nilmith
NPCs: Julbin Cometstrike, Guild of the Naturalists, Council of the Divine, the Divine Hammer
Synopsis: Serving as an emissary from the Council of the Divine of Cedarspoke, Dusk Revin arrives in Threshold seeking out those that rescued his soul from Skarwall Keep. The half-drow seeks the Defenders to help protect the natural city from frost giant raiders, who have been testing city defenses ever since the departure of the Army of Nature’s Wrath. Dusk meets the group for the first time, and is surprised by their acceptance of his race. Trizoon’s embrace is quickly followed by introductions to the Defenders of the Dragon Coast, especially Lazbin WitchHunter, the human blood mage that secured Dusk’s soul from a hag’s jar in the evil keep of the undead.

Dusk quietly informs the adventurers of the most recent developments. The Army of Nature’s Wrath has left the city to wage war upon evil fey in the plane of the House of Nature. A cataclysmic collision has somehow resulted in the planes of the House of Nature violently merged with Fury’s Heart and Arvandor. The resulting Feywild has left the homes of the gods in chaotic array, and the Army of Nature’s Wrath was summoned to help bring order.

The vacancy of the city’s protectors left Cedarspoke almost defenseless. Hedging their bets, the council relied too heavily upon the most crippling winter on record as adequate defense to halt any assaults upon the city. Almost as if summoned the perimeter was tested by frost giant raiders. The surviving members of the Divine Hammer fended off the marauders, but fears amassed that the giants would return, and in greater numbers. Dusk brings a summons to the Defenders; Cedarspoke needs their help in the worst ways.

Desiring necessary supplies before the trek, the group heads to Julbin Cometstrike’s hut. Lazbin, Rathgillian, and Gallipolas immediately detect the presence of a mighty white dragon, the same one they faced outside of the Roadside Coaching Inn after the battle with the Wizards of Tendale. But the dragon is dramatically altered in a completely unnatural way; its eyes glowing fiercely red specifically target the group. The magical creature no longer projects majesty, only fear and hatred towards those that destroyed it. Its iron plating is still damaged and massive sections of scales are absent, revealing the rotting flesh beneath. It has been conjured from the dead.

The battle is fierce but quick. And the results are much as they were when the dragon attacked them originally. The massive husk of the abomination falls to the ground after the killing blow leaving the Defenders with too many questions. Both Lazbin and Dusk inspect the dragon and find that certain markings on its head indicate a religious ceremony was used to raise it in the form of a revenant, a form of undead that seeks vengeance upon those that killed it. The ritual identifications are obvious to Dusk; an evil cleric of Kiaransalee, the drow goddess of both vengeance and the undead. Only one wielding the Claw of the Revenancer could create and control it.

Julbin supplies the group with numerous magical amenities, but fears the worst with the news Dusk brings. He summons the members of the newly restored Guild of the Naturalists to the guild hall to bring everyone to up to date. The idea that the three planes collapsed upon each other distressed Mintassan the Planeswalker to no ends. Dusk also portrays Cedarspoke in the direst of consequences. All resources have been redirected to life saving measures to keep the citizens warm and fed. Trade has been put on ice because of the winter storms. The half-drow reminds them of the pressing need to return to Cedarspoke, and the group moves through the mirror portal to their destination, leaving the distraught Beast Tamers with only terrible thoughts of what is happening.

Emerging outside of the once glorious Cedarspoke, the group witnesses the beating the city has taken under the harsh weather. The battery of winter has left the city withered, emaciated. The saturation of snow and ice has reduced the ivy walls to brown vines left to strangle each other in a failed attempt at life. The trees of the forest lie barren, stripped of their might. Branches are moored to the snowy ground, weighed down by anchoring ice columns. Even Gallipolas is caught off guard. But the harsh realization of a dying city is shunted aside; even from this distance the group can see they are minutes too late. Frost giants loom over the city already having breeched its walls. Trees and structures are being leveled as booming laughter echoes across the snowy vale. Then true horror presents itself. Lifeless bodies of Cedarspoke residents are being thrown outside the city walls.

The first body is followed quickly by two more. The race to the city is painstakingly slow. Particularly Dusk is horrified at the disrespect for the dead. His deity Kelemvor would be most upset. Then one of the bodies flails through the sky, this one still alive. Moving swiftly to action the Defenders quaff potions of flight and speed towards the raiders. Their presence is immediately detected by several other frost giants outside of the city. Massive boulders are hurled at them from hidden niches. Gallipolas and Fig break off their approach to deal with the exterior giants.

On the inside of Cedarspoke, other warriors join the fray just as the Defenders engage the frost giants. Dusk greets his sometimes companions, immediately recognizing his fellow members of the Divine Hammer. The frost giants stop their attack to deal with the weak humanoids, but not before the sound of a horn blast echoes through the air. Outside Gallipolas has targeted the frost giant leader, a shaman sprinting from the city’s gate to the ice covered forest.

Their methods are brutal but very effective as the Divine Hammer divides the three giants on the interior of the city and begin to decimate the intruders. Matching the vigor of their counterparts, the Defenders batter their targets with an eye to Gallipolas still outside the city. Once free and clear as the last of the giants falls they move to the exterior of the city to aid the druid. As Lazbin moves to join the battle he does not spy the bodies of the dead citizens that the giants had hurled to their deaths. Tracks lead to the frozen surface of the Cedar River. The mage moves to a better vantage point and detects the reason for the missing bodies. Under the guise of invisibility magic a cluster of humanoids shifts position onto the river’s ice. Without hesitation the blood mage looses an attack upon the group but cannot engage the thieves.

Dusk also detects the disturbance and sends a summoned elemental to lay waste to any desecrators. But the immediate need is with the remaining giants. Gallipolas and Fig are more than relieved to receive assistance, as the leader has escaped into the frozen forest. With only two remaining the hammer drops on one giant, ending his torment. The remaining frost giant is captured after being rendered blind.

On the edge of the Cedar River, the huge fire element tracks the assailants only to be checked by a creature formed of only ice. Standing motionless the construct awaits the inevitable battle. Blows are exchanged as vast amounts of steam pour into the icy air. In this battle size matters and the ice guardian is destroyed.

Encounters: revenant frost-forged white dragon Salricasa, three frost giant maulers, frost giant spirit seeker, and two frost giant tundra scouts, ice golem.
Achievements: learned of the revenant ritual performed by followers of Kiaransalee, reported the events of the Feywild to the Guild of Naturalists, traveled to Cedarspoke and defeated the frost giant raiding party, and discovered the theft of dead bodies from the assault.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Plight of Drangstern’s Uereka

Characters: Barl Bloodbones, Belton Stoutshield, Domollo Blue, Qualen Shadowbourne

NPCs: Vindar Drangstern, Gianza, Redescar

Synopsis: Hearing mysterious rumors surrounding the Dragonmere, Domollo gathers his companions and searches out a visiting nobleman named Vindar Drangstern. The baron speaks of his city Eureka, one whose trade routes have been victim to attacks from mighty creatures. Drangstern solicits their aid, requesting them to join his return journey to Eureka and investigate the attacks. So far, two individual caravans have been sacked and decimated, the only remains being victims bearing claw rakes and mighty gashes from a slashing weapon. It is agreed upon that the adventurers will see out the attackers.

The trek begins the following morning, and the group trudges through the snow to a rancher outside of Teziir to procure a wagon, work pony and riding horse. Bogged down and hindered by the treacherous weather, the group only reachs the midway point before establishing a camp. Qualen reaches out to his deity Kelemvor will the rest scavage for wood. It is on Domollo’s watch, the first of the night, that he spies the caravan attackers. A pack of wolves surround their campsite, wolves twice the size of a human and gleaming white as the snow they master. Domollo raises the alarm and is joined by the rest of the party.

As the fight rages, the breath of the winter wolves is debilitating and impossibly cold. But the companions pivot about the wagon and flank the bandits. The maneuvering allies provide excellent results, as does the ranged spells from Belton. Even the elder Drangstern, with his years of battle scars and disadvantaged limp, even he is able to fend off the attack exhibiting the skills of a master monk. Several of the beasts are made to flee while the rest die where they stand. A rare winter meal will be made of the group’s kill.

The rest of the watch is uneventful and in the morning they make for Eureka. Upon mid-day, they reach Drangstern’s Eureka and to the dismay of Domollo, it is but a hamlet with less than thirty citizens. Surely a name cannot be made here, at least one that will reach the ears of the masses some miles and miles away. The man makes a plea over lunch for the citizens to abandon their oversized camp and return with them to Teziir. But the unique physiques and attire of the villagers speaks otherwise as they have found contentment at the foothills of the Giant’s Run Mountains.

It appears that Eureka is a monestary of monks. Never one to admonish free will, Domollo abandons his proposal and returns to their quest. Drangstern speaks of an eerie glow about the shores of the Dragonmere, one that has been coincidal with the attacks on the caravans. The stories have caused planned shipments from other merchants to be canceled, challenging Eureka’s status. Drangstern assures the visitors that they are prepared for the worst, but would prefer to avoid that ultimatum if at all possible.

As evening falls the group prepares for a trek into the night to find the wolves of winter. Their trail is obvious as blood upon the snow serves as a guiding beacon to their den. In the wall of a cliff-face is a natural fissure that provides egress into a cave. Upon scouting the intial corridor, Barl trips a trap and springs back to the entrance. Lots of noises are the result, and the group readies for action. Spewing from within are the remaining wolves and their masters, two ogres, one of which bears a flaming sword. Immediately the area is engulfed in darkness, which panics the group and splits it in two, Belton and Domollo on the outside of the magicked area, and Barl and Qualen remaining inside.

The ogres begin their coordinated attack, one chasing Belton and the other facing off against Domollo. Barl and Qualen battle the wounded beasts as the ogres use spells to cripple the attackers. As the last wolf is slain, the group reunites. But it is too late as the damage is done to the wizard Belton. The would-be dwarf uses a spell to sprout wings, but as he flies to safety atop the cliff, the ogre mage delivers a final parting blow sending multiple force arrows into Belton’s back. He drops out of sight, his life escaping through a ravaged body.

Belton was not unsuccessful in assailing one of the ogres and Barl and Qualen make short work of the one with the flaming sword. Domollo spins a spell from somewhere as brilliant lights stun the remaining ogre. He is joined by the rest with much desired results. The last ogre falls. Atop the cliff, Belton is revived by two mysterious travelers hailing from the land of Tear. Belton befriends them and returns to the others with his saviors. Two bizarrely dressed humanoids stand well above the rest, their skin and countenance alien to the group. Gianza and Redescar seek someone named Morgrin who has stolen the Eye of the Dragon King. Their story is strange, but Barl surmises that this ‘eye’ that they seek maybe the source of the unnatural glow on the shores of the Dragonmere. The two motives are joined as they head towards the iced over Lake of Dragons.

Encounters: five winter wolves, two ogre mages with their ped winter wolves

Achievements: dispersed the attackers of the Eureka-bound caravans, delivered the head monk to his order at the foothills of the Giant’s Run Mountains, destroyed the bandits, and met two mysterious allies to find the source of the glow of the Dragonmere.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Talona’s Ebb and the Cure of the Bloodveil

Characters: Barl Bloodbones, Belton Stoutshield, Domollo Blue, JadeBlade, Vi’Helm

NPCs: Magoovial Hammerstriker, Olan Hanch, Dalvin Crand, Gurdainz Whitehorse

Synopsis: It is a brief moment after the death of Queen Andiasin that the group begins healing, pondering what their next action should be. As curing spells are cast, the light of the private chamber flickers slightly. The adventurers rally to the chambers exit, but their attention quickly shifts back to the body of Andiasin. Erupting from within, a tangled mass of flesh, muscle and bone twists the corpse seemingly inside out. Andiasin’s body has devolved into a diseased aspect of her twisted deity. Through concentrated efforts the group splinters the newly formed body, finally destroying the body with fire.

With only sections of the underground temple left to explore, the group rushes to the unopened doors throughout the complex. They discover a hall of prisons and rescue two survivors, stricken with the Bloodveil. Both Olan Hanch and Dalvin Crand are tired but healing spells allow them to rally and the group returns to the triage center where the two rescued prisoners find empty cots to lie in.

With enough evidence and conviction to expel Eliosa from her place of power, the group carries Magoovial back to the Temple of Torm where the guards quickly assume guardianship. The parley between the temple guard and Domollo is rapid and ratchets up the aggression between the two. Barl exposes the Torm’s brand upon his chest and the group is given audience to the high priests, lead by Gurdainz Whitehorse. Their explanation is presented and Priest Whitehorse thanks them for their valiant efforts. The high priests assume possession of the group’s evidence, promising swift justice after reviewing the facts.

The story of the Hospice of the Gray Maidens is punctuated with the presence of the vampire Arkmeinos. High Priest Whitehorse speaks of the vampire as from an empire that expired a long time ago called Korvosa. The master he spoke of is disconnected from the Material Plane and lost to the ages. But Arkmeinos has survived thousands of years, and the high priests are aware of his ambitions. Ultimately this includes a cure for his vampirism. Their collaboration with the vampire is a temporary, albeit uneasy, understanding.

The cleric Magoovial has survived the God-Touch of Torm and rests under the watchful eyes of temple priests. Whitehorse is at a loss for words when the group recounts Magoovial’s saving grace. It is a moment in modern times that is unprecedented; the last God-Touch was over a thousand years ago. The group is again thanked for their struggle and promised contact when the evidence results in the arrest of Eliosa. The long day has ended and the group returns to the Smelted Horse to celebrate a bittersweet victory, passing by many Teziirans still stricken with the Bloodveil.

The next few days quickly come can go. Four days following the defeat of Lady Andiasin, the adventurers receive word from the Temple of Torm. The healers were able to develop a cure for Bloodveil based on the hidden documents retrieved from the personal study of Doctor Duvalis. Clerics are working night and day to develop and administer it to the masses, which now number a third less of the total population. The plague has left a deep scare on the city of Teziir. But justice is to be delivered. The high priests of each of the represented gods in the temple district united in a single front to arrest Eliosa. She is to be tried in a tenday for her involvement in the outbreak, and the adventurers are to be key witnesses to bring her to justice. The promise of complete victory is enough to carry the group’s spirits for a little longer in this terrible time.

Encounters: aspect of Talona, temple guards of Torm

Achievements: defeated the last remnant of Talona, consecrated the evil deity’s shrine, delivered the collected evidence to the High Priests of Torm, and recovered the cure for Bloodveil.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Journey into the Glacier of the Jarl

Characters: Hlinthi, Pardonei, Softfoot, Teldowen, Zamtul

NPCs: Ost Untomoinen

Synopsis: The journey to the suspected location of the glacier begins immediately. Ost proved to be an excellent guide, outfitting the adventurers with extreme cold weather gear. While trudging through the building snow, the group is ambushed by a trio of beasts that destroy three of their mounts. Teldowen recognizes the creatures as extraplanar, not of this plane, let alone this region. The battle is fierce but quick. All damage is dismissed as Pardonei summons new mounts and the trek continues.

They reach what can only be the suspected glacier. Again its properties are recognized as being of the Plane of Elemental Air. The massive cracked glacier blends perfectly with the surrounding base of the mountain. Finding the singular egress the party enters and is quickly checked by a platoon of pale blue dwarfs speaking a bizarre language that only the sorceress Pardonei can understand. Using her comeliness she convinces the leader that a greater toll will be provided by following the map she alone possesses. The con is enough as the leader escorts the group to a holding cell.

Under guard the group surprises the remaining four frost dwarf guardians and dispatches them. The choice is decided to follow the path of the leader who left to seek the words of the Jarl, the master of the glacier. The steps of the dwarf are nigh untraceable as the group wonders through the glacier, passing through the ice and stone walls that are capped by rolling banks of fog about a hundred feet up. With the disorienting pathway diverging at multiple points, the adventurers finally find themselves in a massive void populated by gargantuan crystalline trees. This realm of the Jarl grows more bizarre with each step.

Encounters: three greater barghests, ten frost dwarfs, the frost dwarf herald, four frost dwarf guardians.

Achievements: reached the ice glacier, convinced the herald of the Jarl to allow them access, and set about the glacier web to search for the missing adventurers of Redcliff.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Missing Vernal Key of Redcliff

Characters: Hlinthi, Pardonei, Softfoot, Teldowen, Zamtul

NPCs: Mayor Andalor, The Shaman Margool, Ost Untomoinen, Ilda Seppatar

Synopsis: Following the cryptic ramblings of the shaman Margool, the adventurers use magic to traverse the dire wintry lands to the small town of Redcliff. Their arrival coincides with the mayor Andalor presiding over the very troubled townfolk at the Inclusive Hall, the local gathering site typically reserved for worship. Andalor is entirely relieved when Zamtul arrives with several new faces. The mayor of Redcliff pulls them aside to detail the theft of the town’s only protection against the harsh winter, the Vernal Key. This mystical artifact is the only thing keeping the town alive, and now that it is missing, the magical properties that repeled the encroaching winter are gone as well. Redcliff is going to be swallowed by morning.

Andalor presents the facts as he knows them. Several days prior, a stranger came to Redcliff proclaiming treasure awaited those brave enough to enter the mysterious ice glacier that appeared recently on the farside of the mountain abutting Redcliff. This hint of wealth enticed a charismatic adventurer named Geppa to gather her band of merry men to journey to the glacier and explore it. Along with Geppa went Arel, Eron, Tech, and Ulric. When they did not return there was a small hush across the townfolk. The next morning, the Vernal Key was gone. The mayor is patient with the details, describing the artifact and the few town elders that new of the full-day ritual needed to excise the protection magicks. Only he, Ilda Seppatar, Ost Untamoinen, and Ilmanu Luuko knew of the Vernal Key.

The group decides to visit Ost at his Deerstalkers’ Lodge, where nearly ever woodland creature was stuffed and mounted on the wall. Ost welcomed the party as the establishment was devoid of outsiders, typically the wealthy nobles of Westgate that were interested in a good hunt. The oppressive winter season, not to mention the corruption of Westgate, had completely obliterated his business. Over a hot meal Ost describes the location of the glacier and offers to take them to the site. But after the rumors of Geppa’s demise, he refuses to go beyond the entry. The innkeeper is extremely hospitable and drafts a quick sketch of landmarks to target their path.

The group is adamant about visiting Ilda, the current caretaker of the Vernal Key. Ever since its disappearance she has shuttered herself inside the Stone Shrine, an intimate setting for isolated worship of numerous deities. At the shrine, Ilda is convinced to host the group along with Ost. Her mood is broken when the hastily drafted map is shown to the dwarf. She chuckles at the sketch, implying that her cartographer skills were applied to Geppa’s map. Ilda then mentions that Geppa’s secret beau is Aric they shy man who hides behind his puppets at the marketplace. The mere mention of Aric shocks Ost, as the innkeeper recalls sharing some ales with the man the night prior. Ilda leeps at the half-elf, declaring him a fool for spilling the secrets of the town elders. Perhaps Ost’s weakness for the spirits has grown during this season’s downturn in business.

Ost’s guilt rises when the party goes to leave and the door is jammed from the snow drift that wasn’t there several minutes ago. The weather is going to bury Redcliff by morning. With no time to waste the party treks to the Deerstalkers’ Lodge and prepares for the long night ahead of them. If they are to find the Vernal Key, the must find Aric the puppeteer. To find him, they will have to enter the glacier and seek the truth of Geppa and her missing band.

Encounters: Redcliff townhall meeting, speaking with the mayor Andalor, the innkeeper Ost, and the high priestess Ilda

Achievements: traveled to Redcliff through the harsh winter storm, investigated the mystery of the stolen Vernal Key, and determined the possible culprit.