Skyfall Basin

Cultists and Caverns
In which much is revealed.. about something else entirely.

Previously on Skyfall Basin..

Attempts to make sense of recent events are interrupted when Wyrallin appears on the streets of Ravan wearing the magic blade that holds shut the faerie door in Three Forks..

A meeting with the wylden turns in to an ambush by purple-robed cultists, elementals, and a wraith-like apparition..

The apparition dispersed, the cultists slain, Tim and Hadarai hare off in pursuit of a fleeing cultist and the captured Wyrallin(?) snagged in elemental clutches..

Now..

With abyssal howls echoing in their minds, Tim and Hadarai back out of the warehouse they had chased the fleeting cultist into and await the rest of the band. After briefly scouting out the exterior of the building, a typical warehouse backed against the sheer face of the Rock of Ravan, a course of action is decided on: Attack! With Vorlakk and Kat in the lead, they rush into the interior, and moments later disturbing shapes emerge from the dim maze of crates and cargo, abyssal screams rising in the party’s minds as the beasts attack:

Short humanoids that appear at once grossly fat and emaciated, with thick rolls of sickly green skin hanging off of their chest and stomach while their arms and legs are skeletally thin, ribs and backbone visible through the taut skin. Their mouths are gaping black pits filled with rotten spike-like teeth, constantly drooling black ichor. Their eyes are covered by an iron plate that appears to have been nailed into place on their face, and their entire body is covered in angry rashes and pustules. Drudges from the foul pits of the Abyss.

No sooner is battle joined than more enemies reveal themselves: stone-clad skeletons rise from the floor as if it were water and attack those already engaged by the drudges. When their heavy fists strike they drive their victims down into the stone floor, which flows around their feet like mud before hardening again into an irresistible grip. Magic flies, weapons rise and fall, and soon the warehouse is littered with the burning remains of precious cargoes and the corpses of demons dissolving into puddles of acidic foulness.

When the fumes clear, a secret passageway is revealed at the back of the warehouse, boards pulled away to reveal a crack in the rock face crudely widened into a narrow passage. The muddy streak of the fleeing elemental leads within.

A few twists and turns and the party soon finds the passage widening out into a vestry of sorts. Benches are carved into the walls, and above them are thirteen niches filled with purple robes like those worn by the cultists, except four that lie empty. Beyond, the corridor dead-ends in a deep pool, darkness beneath the surface hinting at space beyond.

Vorlakk bravely volunteers (being the only one with any decent amount of swimming ability) to explore the watery tunnel with a guide rope around his waist. He discovers that the passage does indeed continue underwater for a dozen paces before apparently dead-ending. A glimmer of light drew his attention to the left, revealing a further passage rising back towards the surface. Emerging with typical goliath stealth, the splashing and spluttering thankfully went unnoticed by the voices in the cavern beyond.

“I’m not the one you want, I swear! Look!” came Wyrallin’s voice, though as the words came it changed, losing it’s wylden timbre and growing more human, and more feminine.

A chilling laugh answered, and the grave-born voice of the wraith spoke: “Do you think you ever deceived the Lord of Secrets, fool? Of course not. And those who cannot keep their secrets deserve none. But perhaps there is a use for you yet, in that spark the gods seem to find so precious..”

Darting back underwater, Vorlakk quickly summoned the rest of the party, who soon emerged into the corridor leading upwards into a large cathedral-cavern.

A large cavern with a mockery of a chapel at it’s center, a filthy pool surrounded by pews and crumbling columns facing an altar before a fragment of an ancient church wall complete with rose window. The window is covered by a tanned human skin painted with a huge eye, the wall around it painted with an even larger hand wrapped in spiked chains. A strange woman clad in leathers much like Wyrallin’s lay on the altar, invisibly bound, while the wraith loomed over her with a strange spine-shaped dagger, carving ritual symbols on and around his captive. Two huge mud-creatures stood at the edge of the pool between the wraith and the entrance, one holding a robed form beneath the water while the other watches passively.

The party charged in, determined to prevent whatever sacrifice the wraith has planned. Kat’s attempt was foiled when one of the muddy abominations, revealed to be a construct of dead flesh and corrupted earth, slammed her to the ground and pinned her underfoot. Tim moved to save her while Vorlakk charged the other abomination and Jeton and Nala moved to save the drowning cultist and woman and attack the wraith. Hadarai and Halgar flung fire and arrows from the rear, only to be attacked by flaming skeletons rising the braziers set near the door (braziers that the party discussed trying to quench or knock over before the fight but eventually decided to ignore, without closely examining their contents). Hadarai scoffed at the flames, made immune by the Hands of Retribution. The abominations were destroyed, the wraith cornered.. just as a massive earthquake set the entire cavern shaking. Blinded by the wraith’s mind-rot, the party struggled to land the last blow and slay the creature, but it’s insidious whispers managed to corrupt Vorlakk’s mind long enough to briefly convince him that Nalaa would make an excellent meal. The barbarian’s revenge came quickly, though, and the wraith was crushed under his mighty flail just as the earthquake began to subside.

Meanwhile a dark figure had emerged from the passage behind the party and struck down the last of the flaming skeletons, then let out a cry of “Daubrey!” at the sight of the woman, rescued along with the half-drowned cultist by Nala and Jeton’s efforts. The figure was revealed to be the “Cormack” that “Wyrallin” had called out to during the ambush. By the time the band emerged again from the flooded passage the earthquake had subsided, but a new concern presented itself: the passage beyond had begun to flood as well, several inches of water covering the floor. Rushing outside, a grim sight greeted the party: the Carron River had lept it’s banks, flooding the city even while the earth shook. Indeed, on further examination the river seemed to have reversed it’s course. As they watched, though, the flow ebbed and then reversed again, nature resuming it’s proper order, while shouts of alarm began to rise from the city. On the far western horizon, a black pall hangs over the Shatterspine Mountains, hinting at the source of the earthquake. The damage seems to be mostly superficial, however. The city still stands, aside from a few collapsed chimneys or sagging roofs.

Then it was time for interrogations: Who were Cormack and Daubrey, exactly, and what part did they have in the assault on the party. Who was the cultist and was he ready to come clean about his masters now that his life had been saved? The answer to that last proved to be a resounding “No” as the cultist attempted to stab Nala then fled with a flick of his cloak, vanishing and then reappearing far up the flooded street. Not far enough to flee a ranger’s bow, however, and one more body was added to the count. Cormack and Daubrey, though, were much more eager to show their gratitude. Assassins by trade, they had been hired by the black-haired elf just as the wererats were. Their experience had convinced them that they were sorely underpaid, though, and it took little prompting to get them to give up their payment and agree to watch the shadows on behalf of the party and discourage further pursuit.

With the immediate crisis past, a brief expedition was mounted back into the cavern to loot and pillage. And an informative looting session it was: Along with various magical trinkets and valuables taken from the cultist’s bodies or the cult’s stash, a copy of their unholy writings was found, which held disturbing revelations.

The cult, it seemed, worshiped Vecna, the undead god of forbidden lore, whose symbol they wore in the form of a mummified child’s hand, a gemstone set in it’s palm as an eye and wrapped in silver chains. The cult claimed to know the reason for the sudden retreat of the Darkness that allowed pockets of civilization like the cities of the Basin to survive: some force had threatened the Primevals in their prisons, forcing them to withdraw the power they had granted their foul champions in order to defend themselves. This threat came in the form of an artifact of terrible power, the Soul Forge, which had been broken into fragments near the end of the Dawn War. Nameless heroes had retrieved the fragments when the Darkness threatened at the end of the Third Age, and used those fragments to attack the Primevals and drive them deeper into their prisons. Now the cult claims to have found these fragments, and plan to use them to weaken the Primevals bindings, bargaining with them to bring a new age of Darkness.. and then imprison them again once they have united the desperate remnants of civilization under their rule, in the name of Vecna.

And so, with a bag of holding full of plunder and unholy writings and floodwaters receding around them, the party ponders just what to do next..

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Return to Ravan
Rest, recuperation and research? Not so much.

After gathering themselves up, it was decided to leave the ruins and return to civilization in order to research the nature of the tor, the trods, and the enemies they now face. Ravan was chosen as the destination, as Nala’s diplomacy had earned a letter of introduction to the captain of the guard there which could help efforts to notify the local rulers of the threat some suspect is approaching.

All went as planned for the first few days. The party went unharassed. Jeton and Hadarai descended upon the temple of Ioun’s libraries and learned much of the fey trods. With the aid of an object reading, Katherine was able to puzzle out where the Arkhosians stole the Hands of Retribution from. Nala learned what has passed while they ventured through the wilderness (nothing good: Mazara and Tortosa are on the verge of war over merchant ships lost at sea, each blaming the other for piracy; Tensions are simmering between Ravan and Casalle over settlement rights to lands vacated by the mysteriously dissapeared darklings). Tim earned good will with the city guard and a bit of coin hunting down criminals on the street, and learned of increased activity from all walks of less-than-legal life, as thieves guilds, gangs, cultists and guild ruffians clash. Vorlakk.. drank a whole lot, and Halgar replenished rations hunting out past the city walls.

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Assault on the Ice Palace

When the party returned to the surface, they found an unpleasant surprise waiting for them: the sounds of creaking wood, bestial laughter and the angry roars of their rouk signaled the caprans that had pursued them into the ruins had found the wagon and brought it back to the fortress to loot. Peering from beneath the flagstones they watched as half a dozen caprans ransacked the wagon until a shower of crumbs from above drew their attention to a massive beast-man sitting on the edge of the fountain directly overhead, chewing on a loaf of bread from their own rations. There was nothing for it but to attack immediately.

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Puzzles Beneath the Tor

What the party found found below the ruins of Brigg’s Tor was not a forgotten eladrin cellar but a much older structure, it’s architecture that of lost Arkhosia, the dragonborn empire that flourished during the Second Age of Man, at the height of the Dawn War. The stairway led down to large chamber, it’s entrance blocked by a deep pit with an enchanted stone disk at it’s center. With some trial and error it was discovered that the disk acted as a gatekeeper to the chamber beyond, wobbling dangerously if more than one person crossed it at once and dropping away completely if more attempted it. The reason for the obstacle became clear as the first over the pit were immediately attacked by a pair of mechanical dragonborn. Fortunately the first over were Kat and Lahfawnduh, and with Vorlakk and Tim quickly joining them (barely avoiding a fall in to the pit), quick work was made of the guardians.

Past the constructs a narrow passage led to a large circular chamber centered on a deep spiked pit with a strange device floating at it’s center: two rings of stone floating around a fist-sized gemstone. The walls of the chamber were covered in a wraparound bas relief:

Tiefling mural

Dragonborn mural

It was soon found that approaching the pit in the center caused enchanted tiles to rise from it’s depths and form a walkway to the device at it’s center. Braving the walkway Lahfawnduh found the two rings were inscribed with symbols:

Puzzle ring

The party spent some time examining the rings and comparing the symbols with those incorporated into the reliefs on the walls. Nala was able to identify the symbols on the inner ring as the numbers 1 through 8 written in iokharic runes, while Jeton and Tim announced that the four figures at the forefront of the dragonborn army were great heroes of the age: Ashok the brassy scaled greatsword wielder, Damodar with sword and shield, Negasi with greataxe and Vamana the mage. Lahfawnduh was able to determine that the rings were magically linked to each other, the gem in the center, and the walls of the room itself. Matching a symbol with a number and grasping the gem would trigger some change in the room, though what that might be she could not say. After much discussion and a brief consultation with Jeton’s ancestral spirits, it was decided to secure Lahfawnduh with a pair of ropes held by the group on either side of the pit while she set the rings to match the “1” rune with the lightning symbol.

On grasping the gem, a loud rumbling filled the room an an iron wall slammed into place over the only door. Moments later the entire wall began to rotate around the room, making three full circuits before slowing again and coming to rest in a new position. The iron hatch slid aside to reveal a new room decorated with it’s own mural and a pair of double doors:

Mini mural1

The room beyond gave the group pause. A narrow alcove opened out into a wider room lined with smaller alcoves, with a matching space on the far side sporting another pair of double doors. The floor of the main room was split into triangular tiles, and a hatch could be seen mounted in the wall near the far doors, an obvious keyhole on it’s surface. Above the far alcove was another relief continuing the scene from the previous room:

Mini mural2

As soon as the first person made to step into the room it’s purpose became clear as dozens of long blades began slicing up from the gaps in the tiled floor, crisscrossing the room with deadly speed. It was clear someone would need to brave the slashing blades to reach the hatch on the far side, which no doubt concealed the means to disable the trap. Close examination revealed a pattern to the blades that would allow someone nimble enough to duck between them with a brief pause in the center of the room and then reach the panel without being struck. Unfortunately Lahfawnduh was not nimble enough, and barely avoided being bloodied when one of the blades creased her armor just before reaching the safe spot in the center of the room. Which turned out to not be so safe after all as the tiles erupted upwards and the trap mechanisms were revealed to be independent constructs, large spider like machines that balanced on four bladed limbs while lashing out with the remaining two, which proceeded to surround the drow and do their best to slay her. The ensuing fight was short but brutal, but in the end the machines were destroyed and Lahfawnduh’s wounds tended to. Beyond the double doors was a smaller room dominated by a final mural and a small chest:

Mini mural3

The chest held no traps, and within was found a sizeable cache:

  • 112gp
  • 757sp
  • 3736cp
  • Atop the coins, a pair of heavy steel parry gauntlents with oversized guard plates that extend from the cuffs over the backs of the hands.

(This has all been added to the party loot list)

Next week: Are there more puzzles to solve in this ancient dungeon?

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Investigating Brigg's Tor

With the interrogation complete, it was decided to use a ritual divination on the gems the rats had been paid to verify the veracity of their claims. The ritual showed just what Barchan said: a strange pale elf with pitch black orbs for eyes handing over the gems along with a portrait of the party as they were during the raid on Mag Tureah. Further delving showed another vision: a small grey skinned creature with matching eyes, a quickling, being handed a large sack of gems and a sheaf of portraits by the same fomorian lord whose negotiations the party had interrupted when the retrieved the sword.

With that information, it was decided to set out for Brigg’s Tor immediately to confront their stalker and perhaps learn more about the fomori’s involvement in recent events. Risking further attack, the band passed through Ravan on their journey and spent the night researching in the temple libraries of Io and the Raven Queen in search of further clues. Much was learned about the history of Brigg’s Tor when it was known as Calenim, the eladin palace-fortress, and the cataclysm that reduced it to ruin. Kat’s research in the vaults of the Raven Queen revealed some scant information on the mysterious artifact she pursues, a device designed for use on immortal beings from the astral realms, and not always willingly. Nothing, however, to indicate where it might be found. Fortunately no assassins found them in the night, and early the next morning they set off again after refreshing their provisions (including rum and vodka for the wet bar Tim was working on installing in the wagon).

As the days wore on, the weather grew unseasonably cold for late summer. Indeed, on the morning they reached the tor, frost edged the grass around their wagon and the morning fog did not burn away as the sun rose. Some worried that this might indicate that the fey of the Winter Court might still have a presence in the ruin, though that raised the disturbing possibility of Winter fey working with the Fomori, unthinkable treason for any of the Court fey. Unfortunately arriving at Brigg’s Tor seemed to bear out this suspicion..

A chill voice drifted from the ruins as the group stepped within the crumbled walls. “What’s this? It seems we’ve one less assassin to pay,” the voice asked, echoing around the ruins, “but what hat do you seek to find here, mortals?” When Nala stepped forward to present their reasons and demand answers, the response from on high was a hissed, “No, you will find no answers here. Only death!” With that a set of huge wings shadowed the party as a fey white wyrm appeared on the crumbling balcony above them, then dove down in a sweep of claws to attack Kat before dissapearing behind a low wall.

Charging forward, Kat and Vorlakk found no sign of the dragon.. until it appeared out of thin air on the opposite balcony and swooped again. Kat was ready though, and managed to pin the beast with the Frost of Letherna (ironically enough). Trapped on the ground and unable to return to the air, the dragon fought fiercely as Kat, Vorlakk, Tim and Framboise surrounded it in melee, while the rest of the party rained fire, radiance, lightning and bolts down on it from afar. It was Lahfawnduh who finally bloodied the beast, leaping from the shadows to slice open it’s flank, then dodge out of the way when it roared and unleashed it’s deadly frost breath on her. Unfortunately Tim, who Lahfawnduh appeared next to, was not so lucky and took the blast full in the face. Furious, the dragon let out a tremendous roar, causing those assaulting it to fall back in instinctive terror and simultaneously breaking the Raven Queen’s icy grip on it. Rather than move to engage from a better angle, it instead lept into the air and flew towards the balcony on which Hadarai had taken up position, smashing through several support columns and then dissapearing in to thin air. Standing so close, Hadarai was able to sense the presence of an unstable portal in the spot the dragon dissapeared and, with the floor already starting to crumble beneath him, lept through after it. The rest of the party save Lahfawnduh and Jetton quickly followed, with Vorlakk leaping up a collapsing column to dive through the same portal while Kat ran to another Tim sensed nearby on the ground floor, and Framboise taking a daring risk by using his Avenger powers to teleport across the planar border after his fleeing prey. He survived the journey, but the enraged dragon tore him in two the moment he appeared in the feywild, just before Vorlakk delivered a final hammer blow between it’s eyes and slew it.

Outside, Jeton was nearly crushed beneath the collapsing rubble, pummeled by falling stone that cracked through the flagstones near the central fountain and revealed a hidden stairway leading downwards. Moving to join their friends, Jeton and Lahfawnduh found that the portals they had ducked through had shifted, but Jeton’s knowledge of arcana allowed them to find a new portal to slip through. Reunited, the party had only a few moments to mourn their fallen companion and take in the cold beauty of the restored ice palace on the feywild side. Clattering hoofbeats came echoing down the columned hall leading to the heart of the citadel, and Lahfawnduh identified a group of beastmen, goat-headed caprans, approaching with drawn bows, with what sounded like more on upper two floors. Exhausted, they chose to retreat back to the mortal world rather than fight, where they were joined by their trusty nature guide Halgar, and hid in the newly revealed stairway, pulling the broken flagstones back in to place above them.

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Pointed Questions For the Wererats

The battle over, the party spends a few moments bandaging wounds, reviving the fallen Kat, and generally catching their breath before the guards arrive. Lahfawnduh slips into the shadows moments before they round the corner, weapons drawn and crossbows at the ready. Fortunately it only takes a moment for the sargeant to take in the dead and wounded rat-men scattered around the street and recognize who the good guys are. Hands are shaken, rats clubbed, and a guard is sent running to wake the nearest jewler and requisition a spool of silver wire.

Later..

The wererat called Barchan slumps against his bonds, seemingly resigned to his fate. Bound to a sturdy chair by silver wire reinforced with heavier chains, there’s no way he can shift in to beast form and escape. Instead he’s shifted to human form. As a human he’s got the look of a grizzled vet, with weathered skin, short cropped hair and a scraggly salt & pepper beard, and a puckered scar running across his left eyebrow and down his cheek that gives him a squint on that side.

Practically seething with the dark fury that only devotees of the Raven Queen can muster, Frambois demands, “Who sent you? Why do you follow us?

Barchan smirks at the questions, but answers readily enough in his gravelly voice. “Why? ‘Cause we was paid to kill you, ‘course. Well, not you. The two faeries, the scaly bint and the blue freak. ‘E didn’t tell us they’d picked up a coupla crow-lickers, a giant and a drow for bodyguards. Was supposed to be some walking tree looking bugger as well, but I guess somebody else must’ve done our work for us there, eh?

As for who?” He shrugs as best he can against the bonds, winces, and grins. “Couldn’t say. Mysterious cloaked stranger in a pub. Never showed ‘is face.” Frambois narrows his eyes, and leather creaks as Vorlakk grips his weapon tighter. “Alright, alright. Not much choice I’ve got, eh? Not like he’ll be able to track me down where I’m headed. He looked like an elf, mostly, real pale, hair and eyes black as pitch. Didn’t smell like any elf I’ve ever met, though. Didn’t move like one either. Ronan went to tear him open when he showed up in our den all unannounced, but before I could blink the whole crew was lyin on the ground bleedin and I had a silver dagger pressed to my throat. Then Sohlus starts babblin that he’s the messenger we’ve been waitin for.. buggered if I was waitin for any messenger.. damn warlocks.. and we gotta listen to him. So we sit down all nice-like once the bleedin’s stopped and he hands over two shiny red gems, a nice sack of coin, and a parchment with your friend’s faces on it.

After a brief consultation, it’s decided they should see what the warlock has to say about all of this. Imprisoning a spellcaster is a tricky task, though, let alone interrogating one. In the end Vorlakk is sent in, since his wounds already burn with the filth fever the rats carry, to yank the sack from the ‘rat warlock’s head and unbind his muzzle before retreating out of the cell.

The rat, Sohlus according to Barchan, is an unpleasant sight, even putting aside that he’s preferred to stay in his rat-man form rather than shifting to human like the other. His fur is patchy and ragged, with bald spots all over exposing weeping, crusted sores and blistered rashes. What fur he’s still got has an unpleasant greasy sheen. Stripped of his magical robe, he’s left with a ragged tunic and a pair of torn breeches, with stained rags wrapped around his paws and hands as makeshift shoes and gloves. As soon as he’s ungagged the creature starts ranting and cursing (literally.. a clinging sense of unease follows Vorlakk back through the door as one finds it’s mark).

You think you’ve won, hahahahahahahahaha, you haven’t won anything. Your doom is already written. *cough* Written in the stars, written in the filth. The blighted mother stirs, and she’ll take you all. *wheeze* You should have let us kill you. Should have thanked us. Mercy, you’ll call it, when we rise up and feed you to her, feed the world to her. Their world, then yours, yes this world is next, ahahahaha *coughhack* ahahaha..

As his tirade wears on his voice grows thicker until he begins to choke on the words, hacking and coughing between bouts of mad laughter and further ranting along the same lines. His fur seems to change as well. At first it seems perhaps he’s trying to shift to human form but no, it’s just his fur changing, going gray in patches.. patches that start to bleed together to form swirling patterns the party have come to recognize. The air in the cell grows hazy, and the guards dart nervous glances back and forth between the party and the bound rat.

Somewhere in all this, someone goes to rouse the Captain of the Guard. “Sir! Sir! Begging your pardon sir I know you said you wasn’t to be disturbed but.. shapeshifters, sir! Murderous shifters, snuck in and tried to kill those orc-hunters! Oh, hello there miss, beg pardon.

At Vorlakk’s suggestion, a warning shot is fired into the warlock’s leg, but it seems to have little effect other than sending a cascade of startlingly yellow-green pus pouring down it’s leg. Jeton’s lightning scorches fur and flesh, but does not seem to slow the transformation. Finally a desperate guard fires a crossbow bolt straight between the creature’s eyes, putting an end to the transformation and it’s mad ravings.. but not the stench.

See,” says the other wererat from his cell, “This is why we always thumped ‘im when he started talking crazy too much. Ugh, that doesn’t smell right at all, and I’m a rat.” Shaking his head, he adds, “Listen, you think this is over, you get a breather before somebody tries to put a knife in your back again, you’re an idiot. We were told to come here to Hadden to see if you showed up here, and report back when we killed you or if you hadn’t shown in a month. I know how this game is played and that means Three Forks, Ravan, Aragona, any burg you set foot in, there’s gonna be more like us and worse on his payroll waiting for you. And believe me, there’s worse than us out there. But tell you what.. consider this my payback for the bastard getting us in to this mess. Brigg’s Tor, that’s where we were supposed to report once you were dead. Said he’d have more work for us. Heh, probably a troll press gang more like it, but if you want someone to beat answers out of, that’d be the place I’d go.

Shortly after that Captain Lota arrives, still shrugging in to his armor and looking absolutely furious, demanding to know what these things are doing alive in his keep instead of being executed on the spot, why his men aren’t out canvassing the streets in packs looking for the last survivor, and what the hell is that smell. This effectively ends the interrogation. Nala, meanwhile, finally has a chance to look at the infected wounds Vorlakk and Kat have taken while Jeton educates everyone on the worship of the Blighted Mother the warlock mentioned and Hadarai recounts the storied history of Brigg’s Tor.

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One Night In Hadden

The armored wagon, heavily laden with dwarven relics wrested from the hands of orcs and derro, reached the town of Hadden just before the gates were closed for the night. Frugal as ever, the band pulled the wagon into a handy stable yard and spent the night on the bunks. All except Lahfawnduh and Vorlakk, who slipped away to find the seediest drinking establishment they could deep in the smelter district.

The next day Jeton returned to the dwarven sage to arrange the return of the dwarven relics and payment in return, and relay the story of their discovery. The sage was astonished and overjoyed to hear of a forgotten settlement cleared of enemies and ready to be reclaimed, and even moreso when he discovered that the party had retrieved the Hammer of Moradin belonging to the settlement’s temple. He invited the entire band to a celebration in the evening to commemorate it’s return.

Meanwhile, Nala and Tim returned to the castle to claim the bounty for their sack full of orc ears. The clerk paying out bounties was shocked and scampered off, returning a moment later with the handsome Captain of the Guard, Lota, a green and copper scaled dragonborn. He was suitably impressed with the party’s exploits, and accepted Tim’s request to spend some time drilling the guards while he and Nala.. discussed her adventures.

Returning to the wagon, Nala and Tim set off again to track down the drow and goliath and inform them of the ceremony that evening. On the way back, they found themselves being trailed by a young ruffian. Their stalker signaled to two others when the band ducked into an alley: a shadowy figure in black armor stalking the rooftops, and a rag-wrapped beggar who ducked into an adjacent alley. Tim shouted insults at their stalker as he attempted to walk nonchalantly past their alley, but after twitching his hand towards a concealed weapon the figure dissapeared and they made their way to the dwarf quarter without further incident.

Framboise, though, was not so lucky. Returning to the wagon after an afternoon spent in the temple of the Raven Queen, he spotted a figure lurking in the shadows near the wagon where Hadarai was studying. When challenged, the figure dissapeared, and before Framboise could investigate he was struck in the back by a dagger flung by a shadowy figure across the street. By the time he could pull out a sunrod and light it both had dissapeared.

Kat, newly remade as the Raven Queen’s paladin, spent the afternoon investigating the temple district, and was disturbed to find a larger than normal number of doom-sayers and mad would-be prophets. Confronting one only gleaned crazed mumblings about the dark rising again to destroy the world, consuming it from beneath.

The ceremony that night consumed much of the dwarven quarter, with casks of fine ale and whiskey rolled out for the occasion. The high priest of Moradin gave thanks to the party and added Moradin’s blessing to Nala’s Avandra-gifted mace, imbuing it as a +1 Medic’s Weapon. The rest of the evening was spent in drink and revel, until late in the night when the band was called upon to recount the tale of their victory in the lost fortress and the hall came alive with discussion of just what the party witnessed meant. A few worried that the doomsayers were right and the sighting of such a darkling force meant the Dark was ready to rise again, but they were quickly shouted down by those who believed such a force, while cause for concern, was not likely to threaten a large city, much less civilization itself. However, maps were retrieved and poured over in search of a possible destination for the dark army. Some thought perhaps they made for Ambenar along the dwarven Underway, but it seemed unlikely they would pose much of a threat to the great fortress city unless there were dozens of other such groups under way. In the end the consensus seemed to be that there was no way to know their true destination without investigating the path they had taken. Others suggested searching other darkling sites in search of evidence of who had gathered such an army, or researching the branded leaders who seemed to keep order amongst the normally hostile races. All agreed that gathering such a diverse group of darklings together without them falling upon each other would require a being or beings of great power. Mention was made of the derro’s worship of the primeval That Which Crawls Below (aka the Gnawer At The Roots Of The World) and/or the illithids as the masterminds behind it, but again not enough solid information was available. Of the party’s stalkers none could offer any information, though Lota promised to have his men investigate.

The evening winding on, Nala departed with the Captain and Tim followed the sages back to their library to seek out tomes of new languages to learn while the rest of the party plotted a counter-ambush for their stalkers. Setting out with Vorlakk, Jeton and Kat in plain view, flanked in stealth by Lahfawnduh, Framboise and Hadarai, sure enough not half an hour had passed before a figure stepped out of an alley behind the group, only to have his surprise neatly spoiled by a scorching burst from the wizard. More ambushers emerged from the alleys and rooftops: the street tough that had tailed Tim and company and the beggar approached from opposite directions, and the figure in black leather revealed itself to be a mad-eyed young woman as she lept from the rooftops to attack. All four attacked, but the group quickly gained the advantage, isolating the beggar (revealed as a warlock as he pulled a wand and began slinging curses) while Kat and Hadarai took control of the battlefield with ice and fire. The ambushers wounds healed with supernatural speed, and their true nature was revealed when the youth, cornered, transformed mid-lunge into a rat-faced humanoid creature and sunk filthy teeth into her. The grizzled veteran, called Barchan by his fellows, was the first to fall, struck down by Hadarai as he attempted to flee the battle, followed by the nameless youth, crushed into a wall by Vorlakk’s mighty hammer. The warlock, attempting to flee in the form of a dire rat, was pinned under Framboise’s glaive, and finally the assassin Aenya’s throat was slit by Lahfawnduh’s flashing blade, but not before her blade and the warlock’s foul corruption dropped Kat. During the chaos of the battle another figure, perhaps the Ronan that the warlock and youth called out for when things turned dire, emerged from the alleyways to attempt to save Barchan, but was forced to flee after getting his ally concious again.. only to have him smashed to the ground again by Vorlakk.

And so the session ends, with Kat being nursed back to conciousness, two wererats dead and two unconcious. Bodies looted, the following is found:

  • +1 distance dagger looted from the wererat assassin
  • A badge of the berserker also found on the assassin’s body
  • +1 cloak of resistance worn by the grizzled wererat
  • +1 amulet of protection retrieved from the mangled remains of the street tough
  • +1 cloth armor worn by the warlock, artfully disguised as tattered rags using a few bits of cloth and liberal application of mud.
  • 2 deep red garnets, worth 100gp each in a leather pouch in Barchan’s purse.
  • 50sp or so in each of the rat’s purses (totaled to 20gp and added to the loot list)

Next up: The joys of interrogating regenerating creatures

Bonus: Filth Fever!

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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