Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hospice of the Blessed Maidens

  • Characters: Barl Bloodbones, Belton Stoutshield, Crulamin, Domollo Blue, Vi’Helm
  • NPCs: Eshtani Doctry, Aria Yelloweyes
  • Synopsis: Crulamin falls to Bloodveil, but his symptoms are the onset the disease. As other Teziirans have succumbed entirely, Crulamin still has strength left. The group convenes at the Smelted Horse where the puss-engulfed barbarian reports that he spoke with Aria Yelloweyes, a representative of a faction of wererats seeking solace in the sewers beneath the city. She is warring with Geargz, a militant wererat bent on following Vernon Archer’s goal of souring Teziir to the point of conquest for the population of wererats. She delivered to Crulamin a box saying that the Physicians of Doctor Duvalus had planted it in the nest of the wererats in the sewers as evidence that they initiated the Bloodveil plague. As Crulamin tells his story, the others provide him distance as they are joined by an elf cleric of Aerdrie Faenya named Vi’Helm. He harkens from the Reaching Woods, charged with investigating the outbreak as it has impacted Trader’s Road, an important trade route through the region. The priest Eshtani of the Temple of Torm redirected Vi’Helm to the Smelted Horse to rendezvous with the adventurers. More than glad to have the abilities of a true cleric, the group begins discussion of where to start their on-going detective work. Vi’Helm is relaying critical data to the party when Eshtani bursts through into the inn. Wracked with the Bloodveil, the priest struggles to speak “Hospice of the Blessed Maidens” before collapsing. Shocked but not stunned, the group brings the body to the Temple of Torm to bring Eshtani back from the spirit world. The shocking visages of the guards reveal the stunning disheartenment of Eshtani’s demise and chaos overtakes the temple. Domollo Blue steps to the front demanding that their ally be aided in every manner possible and that Crulamin be healed from the disease. Quaffing the potion to remove the Bloodveil Crulamin points out the rising column of black smoke over the Gray District, home to the undertakers, morticians, and burial priests of Teziir. Already pulled by previous distractions, the group bypasses the emergency continuing to the location of the Hospice of the Blessed Maidens. They find themselves in the warehouse district where the Arcona Imports receiving yard has been converted to a triage center. Entering through the loading docks, the group’s presence is discovered and battle ensues. An equal mix of Gray Maidens and Physicians attacks the group amidst the dying victims of the Bloodveil. The combat stretches over the length of the warehouse as well as to the rafters above. The group systematically reduces the greater numbers of the Maidens and Physicians as Barl bears his war axe down on the attendants. Dressed in one of the fallen Physicians, Domollo sequesters the administration nurse and her words are laced with fear over the attack. But ultimately she represents aid to the people of Teziir. With the attendants killed, the party drastically looks for any evidence of malevolence. Panic washes over Domollo’s countenance as nothing is found. They might have just slaughtered innocents. But charged with the cruel death of their friend and ally Eshtani, the group continues moving to the upper level of the warehouse. There they are accosted by two more Gray Maidens and, after a lengthy struggle, they reach a set of mighty doors decorated with unusual markings. Their last hope must lie just beyond.
  • Encounters: four gray maidens, four physicians of Dr. Duvalus, two gray maidens
  • Achievements: received damning evidence of espionage against Dr. Duvalus, Eshtani dies from exposure to the Blood Veil, and infiltrated the converted warehouse of the Hospice of the Blessed Maidens.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Skarwall Keep – Haunted Traps & the Chained Spirit

  • Characters: Aramir, Forkbeard, Henzio, Lazbin, Sentalial, They Call Him Carn, Trebbor
  • NPCs: Alimae
  • Synopsis: With the challenge of the main gate met and won, the group into the entry corridor. Aramir ghost steps to the far end and explores what is above the group. Before he can return to the others, he finds another ambush waiting for his companions as massive skeletal guardians are manipulating the portcullis from above. Adorned with arrow slits and murder holes, the path erupts with violence as the detectable members of the group proceed to the second portcullis. Lazbin magicks a portal to the protected archers revealing skeletal minotaur guardians. The others cannot join the mage fast enough as cold oil pours from the ceiling tearing their flesh. As the group focuses on the archers, reinforcements arrive from above via a stairwell. Fighting well as a group, the warriors destroy the guards and move upstairs to explore. A different flight of stairs leads down once again and the adventurers begin the haunted crawl. Continual light spells are aglow in all of the corridors and haunting noises permeate the stone walls. The group enters an ash-coated kitchen complete with oversized furnaces. During the investigation, a trap is sprung and the room is bathed in flame. Fire ghouls peel from the crematory ovens and attack the party. Blows are exchanged but Sentalials holy slashes destroy the first, then the second. Forkbeard moves beyond the kitchen finding more skeletal minotaurs defending a courtyard. The door is quickly closed and that ends the encounter. Another flight of stairs returns the group to the second floor where they creep through a war room, a guardian sentry post and a mess hall for warriors. Lazbin ventures beyond the group, finding the floor’s corridors twisting and turning before a soft candle glow approaches. Wizely returning to the others, Lazbin rejoins the group as they continue to a grand hall complete with blood-soaked flooring. Emerging from the shadows is a menacing spirit draped in chains that drag to the floor and seemingly pass through to the level below. The taunting begins as the group is flanked on either side by spectres. The battle erupts but the distance spirit is vile as the four chains emerge and stretch to Defenders still standing in the corridor outside. The focus is on the specters as Lazbin’s spell disables two and the warriors work to destroy them first. The chains of the spirit are exacting as each hit pulls a little piece of the soul away. After the last of the spectres are obliterated the group breaks into the grand hall and surrounds the chained spirit. After each trade of blows, the chains surge with supernatural energy revitalizing the spirit. Lazbin releases a particularly lethal blast of fire, but the mildly damaged undead continues the assault. The demoralized wizard abandons the party is search of the spirits source of power, stumbling down a flight of stairs before entering into a witch’s hovel. Hanging from a mesh sack is a halfling who praises Lazbin and begs for freedom. The halfling Alimae begs for the wizard to hurry as her captor has recently left to explore the noises of battle above. There is no chain for the mage to destroy as he extracts critical information from the prisoner. She states that he and his companions attack the chained spirit of Skarwall, but unless the sources of his power are destroyed first, he is nigh unstoppable. His friends are going to die. The attacks are unrelenting as the chained spirit targets Sentalial and reaches through the helmeted paladin, ripping out his soul from within the plate mail armor. The others attack, finding their blows striking true but each round the chains are aglow with supernatural power and whisps of ectoplasm repair the body of the spirit. As Sentalial grows weaker, they hear the shouting of Lazbin. The wizard has returned with vital information and calls for immediate withdrawal. The party complies and escapes from the grand hall, the laughing of the spirit echoing throughout the second story. Regrouping at a temporary sanctuary, the rattled Sentalial is thrashed and cannot go on without major restoration. Introducing herself as Alimae, the halfling repeats her warning to the others and can serve as a guide to help them. Any action now is going to involve an extraction from Skarwall Keep. But which way is the safest?
  • Encounters: five skeletal minotaurs, two cinder ghouls, a chained spirit, five spectres, a halfling prisoner.
  • Achievements: infiltrated Skarwall Keep, discovered sections of the first and second floors, encountered the chained spirit and learned of a potential weakness, and survived the encounter to live a few more moments.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Beast Tamers’ Lost Last Door

  • Characters: Hlinthi, Krullix, Pardonei, Trizoon, V.L.
  • NPCs: Kirken Trumpetnose, Julbin Cometstrike, Wa’Oolum, Mintassin the Planeswalker
  • Synopsis: Julbin’s brownie assistant Kirken Trumpetnose tracks down Pardonei, Hlinthi, and V.L., requesting their presence in Julbin Cometstrike’s hut. Before entering, a depressed Alyssic is exiting, providing the barest of greetings. Inside they are met with the clear-minded Julbin who escorts them down a flight of stairs to the tunnels below the town of Threshold. Swiftly navigating the serpentine corridors, Julbin uses the protective medallions to ward off the Underdark sentries of the tunnels. Ultimately the group finds themselves atop a free-floating bridge that rotates back and forth down the purple worm tunnel before resting at an unremarkable spot. Julbin magicks them an entrance to the newly refurbished guild hall of the Naturalists. Pardonei’s questions are partly answered, but the sage of Threshold asks for his daughter’s patience before the big reveal. In the guild hall control and conference room, they find the napping Trizoon who sparks to life seeing his friends arrive. Julbin rings a silent bell summoning Wa’Oolum the guild hall caretaker and the Westgate exile Mintassin the Planeswalker. As the group gathers around the diamond-shaped meeting table, Julbin recaps the one of the last missions of the guild before it was murdered from within. A guild member named Rordic was tasked with implanting a magic device in the region of the Eastern Shaar. This adamantine “seed” would mature and allow an invisible portal to be established by guild members to all them to travel to the location through the massive mirror portal in the hunting foyer. Rordic never returned, but before an expedition could be mounted the guild was destroyed. Now that the guild has been rebooted they are tying up a few loose ends. Julbin needs the seed recovered. Mintassin and Trizoon have been scouting the region and gathering information in the halfling city of Delzimmer and the pair believes it has found the right spot to begin looking. The disheveled Mintassin is more focused on another task as Julbin requests that the party departs immediately. The sage is working in tandem with Alyssic to achieve adjacent goals simultaneously. Agreeing to the task the party adopts the adventurer Krullix to their cause and leave for Delzimmer. Traveling through the portal, the group finds the quest more a vacation. Gone is the snow and ice. Delzimmer offers fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. The bustling city is so far removed from the war of the Dragon Coast that the adventurers are tempted to stay longer than needed. After their first taste of beef stew in months, Trizoon procures horses and they set out for their destination: a tower that has sunk into the land near the base of the Toadsquat Mountains. A swift ride finds them at the tower. Krullix trips a trap upon entering but Hlinthi is quick with the remedy to neutralize the poison. The upper floor of the leaning tower is home to a raging hag that is quickly killed. Traversing through the squatter’s home they find a poorly hidden ladder to a dungeon below. The first chamber encountered is a map room, but the smooth actions of the now beguiler Krullix draw out the guardians, two armor-laden constructs capable of engaging multiple aspects. One at a time, fire, armor and death is stacked upon the sentries as they call out in Undercommon to an unknown deity named Thoon. But the adventurers utilize the bottlenecked stairwell to their advantage and soon both guardians are destroyed. The map room contains miniature representations of the City of Delzimmer and another city Hlinthi recalls as Deepburrow, another halfling run city with direct access to the Underdark through a deep ravine that runs through the center of the city. Several buildings of the terra cotta are illuminated but no other details can be extracted. Moving on, the barred double doors are magicked open once again by Krullix, but two mind flayers stand in their path surprising the adventurers. Mind blasts rip through the room and all but Trizoon and V.L. are caught, stunned in the illithids’ psionic trap. V.L. fights off the tentacled attack, breaking away from one after the other while crashing his great sword through his enemies. Trizoon offers support with his rapier, hoping to hold out long enough for the others to regain control. The violence in V.L. is unleashed and before the others can blink the mind flayers are flayed. The two Underdark dwellers came from a shrine. Sitting atop an altar is a green-glowing cube, floating and rotating at a slow pace. Determined to destroy this “Thoon” Hlinthi smashes it to bits with his war hammer of shock and thunder. But the sundering is almost too much to bear as the gnome can feel his soul peal away from the Material Plane. But by Garl Glittergold’s good graces, Hlinthi stands tall and repels the psychic attack. Krullix discovers a hidden cache of treasure and more stairs leading further into the depths. After a quick sort, the rogue finds what they have been looking for, and what has been lost to the Beast Tamers for a tenyear: the portal seed. Enough with the dungeon, the party retreats to Delzimmer riding swiftly through the night and returning to the guild hall of the Naturalists with the much sought after prize.
  • Encounters: trapped sunken tower, annis hag barbarian, 2 Thoon soldiers, 2 mind flayers of Thoon
  • Achievements: witnessed the new guild hall of the Naturalists, traveled to the halfling city of Delzimmer, found the sunken tower, uncovered mock-ups of the cities Delzimmer and Deepburrow, recovered the Beast Tamers’ portal seed.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Skarwall Keep – The Deadwatchers & the Skeletal Lancer

  • Characters: Aramir, Forkbeard, Henzio, Lazbin, Sentalial, They Call Him Carn
  • NPCs: Kooruk Coldrock
  • Synopsis: Over the next half-tenday the adventurers split time between Cedarspoke and Threshold, as the former offers a rich marketplace to sell and procure new magic items, and the latter offers access the Circle of Holundi and the sage advice of Julbin Cometstrike. The reconstituted party forms again and decides to explore the ruins of Skarwall Keep for the fabled Firehill Runestones. Drafting the warlock Henzio from the Army of Nature’s Wrath, the group is rejoined by the mysterious They Call Him Carn. Lazbin vouches for the monk before expediting their travels to Cedarspoke. Further research of the Skarwall Keep yields a historic truth that it was an outpost for the brash and outspoken Commander Firehill of Ironfang Deep, a dwarven city nestled in the eastern Orsraun Mountains. Henzio’s name does have some pull as they are given vital information by the dwarf ambassador to Ironfang Deep Kooruk Coldrock. Traveling to the dwarven city with a sealed letter of authorization, the group finds the city half embedded into the mountainscape, allowing for mining operations to be sheltered from the bitter winds and snow. There, the history of Skarwall Keep is more robust as some dwarven elders remember tales of Dessothal Firehill. Coldrock’s letter affords them a specialist that teleports them to the vicinity of the outpost. It isn’t long that Forkbeard finds the ancient path to a dormant volcanoe. Centered within and surrounded by a frozen lake, a very ornate and massive keep rests atop an island. Accessed only by a single causeway the keep is dead, until the visitors continue observing. Then lights periodically glow in the distance, moving from one section to another and a hint of wailing is heard riding with the loud winds. The causeway is protected by a decaying barbican, only half of which stands. Moving towards the bridge draws out an ambush as arrows rain down on the group. Scrambling to detect the attackers, the group disperses. Lazbin flies above the fray finding orc archers firing from the parapet. Arrow slits also protect others. With its face painted white the orc leader abandons the ranged attacks favoring to meet his prey face to face. Jumping from the upper floors of the barbican, the orcs engage only to find themselves quickly outmatched. The commander delivers damaging blows, but the shear volume of attacks does him in. The other orcs find a similar fate. After a quick reconnaissance the group finds two more orcs that immediately surrender. They are of the Deadwatcher tribe, responsible for prohibiting ingress and egress from Skarwall Keep. The recall ancient tribal traditions of the brief occupation of the keep, and subsequent annihilation. Allowing the weaklings to retreat the group moves to the long causeway high above the iced surface of the lake. Midway to the main gate the portcullis rises and a massive platoon of dwarven skeletons emerges lead by a skeletal lancer. Lazbin is having none of it as the skeletons are eaten by massive black tentacles. The lancer is undeterred and charges the group, breaking free from the wizard’s magicks. Henzio looses his eldritch blasts that jolt the rider. But it is not enough before the lance is lowered and Sentalial is skewered. The close range battle is lop-sided and the protector of the causeway is disassembled when his bones are scattered across the ice below.
  • Encounters: 7 orcs of the Deadwatcher tribe, 16 dwarven skeletons, skeletal sergeant atop a skeletal nighmare.
  • Achievements: reached Ironfang Deep, learned more of Skarwall Keep, reached the main gate by dispatching the initial sentries and first line of defense.