Session 5 – LOLOL in the Monastery

What fun!  Lots of laughing out loud as the party scouted the Sacred Stone Monastery.

Murder!

The day’s adventuring started darkly as the party murdered two Sacred Stone monks while the monks were picking up trash around the monastery.  Donning the robes and masks of the now dead monks, the adventurers scouted the outside of the monastery and select the northwest door as their point of entry.  As they approached the door, a monk emerged, carrying an armload of kitchen refuse, heading for the trash pile out back.

Now they take Prisoners

Grunting a greeting in their general direction, the monk did not think the costumed adventurers were a threat and proceeded on his way.  Some quick thinking from the party had him stripped and tied up in short order.  The interrogation was fruitful as the prisoner sung like a lark, divulging all he knew.  Calling forth each of his kitchen compatriates, the party were able to apprehend them one at a time, stripping and tying them all.

Cooking and Cleaning

Now that the party was all dressed in monkly robes and wearing the gilt gargoyle masks of the Sacred Stone, except Ganus who was mounted on Sytarii’s back, the party moved into the kitchen.  Sytarii and Ganus opted to stay and finish preparing the evening meal, while the rest of the party sallied forth to explore the monastery.

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During the daytime, they found a lot of rooms empty and were able to move about the place quite freely.  Along the way, they found some 12-18 monks, 6 duergar and…

Sparring

Eventually, they came upon Mistress Hellenrae, sparring with some monks in the dojo.

She promptly seized the opportunity to work out with fresh subjects and commanded the disguised adventurers to line up against the wall, dismissing the beaten and bloodied monks she had been using as punching bags.

First up was Taban.  Hellenrae easily avoided his clumsy attack, returning it with a flurry of blows that nearly incapacitated him.

Next up was Telfid, who threw back his robe and drew his hammer.  Bad idea.  Hellenrae saw the threat coming and caught the hammer in her left hand while pummeling poor Telfid into unconsciousness.

Angry that her sparring was interrupted by the would-be assassin, she commanded Taban and Keeley to drag the interloper away and imprison him, then dismissed them all as she turned and stormed out of the dojo.

Dinner is Servedroot vegetable display

Back in the kitchen, Sytarii outdid himself as a chef.  The meal was excellent.  And it seemed to be attended by the entire monastery.  A dozen monks, Master Qarbo and his two bodyguards, and Mistress Hellenrae were all there.  The party served the well-received dinner.  At one point, they overhead a monk ask of another, “Hey, have you figured out which of the statues are gargoyles yet?”

After dinner, Mistress Hellenrae summoned the “cooks” to thank them for an exceptional meal and to inquire as to this sudden change in flavor.  Sytarii managed to bluff his way through that conversation and the “cooks” were dismissed to finish the cleanup.

A Private Audience

After Hellenrae left, the party had one more door to investigate, following Qarbo and his guards.  Sytarii led the way and entered the Shrine of Stone while Qarbo was praying.  Before he could back out, Qarbo called him over.  With Ganus the hunch whispering in his ear, Sytarii was asked some very uncomfortable questions and expected to be struck down at any moment.  In the end, Qarbo thanked him for a good meal and dismissed him to his duties.

Back to Red Larch

Exiting the monastery the way they came, the adventurers returned to Red Larch to restock and regroup.  While there Villavoe told them about some unsavory characters, most likely bandits, that had come through a couple of days ago heading for Womford.  He also explained that it was in the interests of the Harpers that the merchant caravan that left this morning make it to Womford safely.

Mount Updmxp_088 illo

After acquiring some horses, the party headed off to protect the caravan.  Waving as they passed it, the party continued on toward Womford, looking for the unsavory characters.

Bandits!

Following the smoke of the bandits’ campfire, the adventurers were swift to engage.  In a protracted battle, the party defeated the sorcerer, his three reaver guards, and a half dozen bandits, ending the threat to the caravan and yielding some interesting clues.  The sorcerer had used water magic, and the reavers wielded shark-toothed longswords.  Were these members of the water cult?

Alas, our tale pauses here, to be continued next week.

Character XP / XP So Far Level / To Advance Treasure
Ildon Ganus 450 / 1102 3 (2700) Wand of Magic Missiles
Fenvalur Reyraris 450 / 1551 3 (2700) 250 gp gold ruby ring
Sytarii 450 / 1714 3 (2700) +1 Dagger, “Reszur”
Taban 450 / 1488 3 (2700) N/A
Telfid 450 / 1526 3 (2700) N/A
Keeley 450  / 914 3 (2700) N/A
Olive 0 / 75 1 (300) N/A
Defortune 0 / 163 1 (300) N/A
Rainar 0 / 226 1 (300) N/A
Noctavia 0 / 548 2 (900) N/A
Nastane 0 / 3160 4 (6500) N/A

Session 4 – Shallow Graves and a Manticore Hunt!

After uncovering the Believers, defeating the earth cultists and letting Larrakh escape, the party returns to the inn for some well-deserved rest and recuperation.  There, they meet Brother Eardon, an itinerant priest of Lathander staying in town, who says the missing Mirabarans passed through Beliard on their way to Summit Hall a couple of ten-days ago.

***

The party also remembered that the shopkeeper, Endrith Vallivoe, a Harper contact, recently came by a beautiful book in Dwarvish and has been showing it off. It looks old and important.  It was one of a dozen beautiful old books written in Dwarvish that showed up in the cargo of a shady keelboat skipper in Womford.  Vallivoe bought one of the books from a merchant recently arrived from Womford.  The Mirabaran delegation included a renowned shield dwarf historian named Bruldenthar, who was transporting his collection of manuscripts to Waterdeep. The Harpers don’t want the sage or his books to fall into the wrong hands.  Upon reviewing the book, the party told Vallivoe that it was likely the book belonged to Bruldenthar.  Vallivoe was happy to sell them the book at a discount so they could return it.

***

At the temple, one of the priests of Tempus, an Order of the Gauntlet contact, laments that the missing Mirabarans were escorting the body of Sir Rodimus who was killed fighting orcs in the Spine of the World. The knight was to be interred with honor at Summit Hall, the chapter house of an order called the Knights of Samular. It lies in the southeast Sumber Hills.

***

At Gaelkur’s store/barbershop/drinking hole, the party is approached by Larmon Greenboot, a shepherd, who says he found strange new graves out in the Sumber Hills and offers to show the adventurers the way so he can stop worrying about what is going on.

***

map

Deciding to help out the shepherd and solve the most pressing mystery, the party accompanies Greenboot to the check out the graves.  After some investigation, they determine that there was a scuffle nearby and that the graves are little more than rock cairns.  Needing to solve the mystery of who lies here, and wanting to consecrate the bodies so they cannot rise again, Telfid leads the exhumation.  The graves contain a male dwarf dressed in artisan robes, a female human warrior dressed in a black surcoat with a red axe (the symbol of Mirabar’s army), a male human warrior dressed in a black cloak with strange stony armor, and a male human in a white robe with black feathers at the shoulders with this symbol airstitched into it.  All died from arrow wounds or crushing blows.

From the hilltop, the party could see Red Larch to the west and a tall spire to the northwest.  Greenboot identified the latter as Feathergale Spire. All he knows about the place is that “knights out of Waterdeep come up here sometimes, riding on flying monsters.” Adding, “They usually keep to themselves.”

***

Mistakenly identifying the symbol as that of the Water Cult, Sytarii suggests they check out the tower.  Rayroris, excited at the prospect of gaining a hippogriff mount, and Taban, who correctly names the Air Cult, agree that the tower should be their goal.

After traveling a mile or two, the party is attacked from the air by a knight and two initiates on giant vultures.  The ensuing battle is brutal, with one of the giant vultures shredding poor Sytarii.  But in short order, the adventurers have slain their attackers.  After enjoying Giant Turkey Vulture Bacon for dinner, the party has an uneventful sleep and finishes the journey to the tower.

***

At the Feathergale Spire, the party slogs up a steep trail to gain access to the portcullis bridge into the tower.   Taban dons the uniform of the slain knight and approaches the gate.204feather

Not impressed at all by the stolen vestments, the guard at the gate denies him entry and calls out the rest of the party.  Sytarii explains that they were accosted by the wearer of the uniform and that they, unfortunately, killed him.  The guard seems somewhat mollified by this, lowers the drawbridge and invites the party into the tower with a fairly warm welcome.

After disarming them, she escorts the party all the way up 3 tall flights of circular stairs to the pinnacle of the tower where there are two knights with giant vultures. As the party emerges from the stairs, one of the guards flies out to patrol the area and a well-built male human in his early fifties with embossed feather patterns ornamenting the plates of his armor, and his kingly cloak boasting a feathered mantle smooths his white-blond hair into place, then bows low before them.  “Well met, travelers, I am Thurl Merosska, Lord Commander of the Knights of Feathergale.”  Savra, the guard from the front gate, explains the situation.  After a moment, Merosska smiles endearingly and apologizes for any misunderstanding, “There is much evil in these hills and it seems you were mistaken as such.”  At one point in the ensuing conversation, Taban says, “We’re also looking for the Air Cultists.”  At this point Merosska’s face darkens for a moment, then he smiles and says, “As I said, there is much evil in these hills.  Now, let us not talk of cultists until after the feast tonight celebrating the Knights of Feathergale’s tenth anniversary.”

The feast is a fancy occasion, and the food is top notch.  However, during the meal, one of the guards from the Pinnacle bursts in shouting, “Manticore, on the move!”  Pushing back chairs, several knights, and Rayroris, turn to head downstairs to the stable.  Before they leave, Merosska holds up a ruby ring and says, “A prize to the one who brings me its head.  Please, my guests, won’t you join in the hunt?”

Needing no prodding, the party heads to the stables as well.  There, they are mounted on hippogriffs who launch into the sky, following four knights on giant vultures.  The hunt is on!

***

The hunting party splits into two groups, the knights in one, the adventurers in another, searching the sky over the valley for the manticore.  It is the knights who catch up to the beast first!  The adventurers are close though and come quickly when the knights sound their hunting horns, arriving to find that one knight is already winging back to the tower after being skewered by the manticore’s tail spike.manticore

An aerial battle ensues.  As the manticore hurls volley after volley of tail spikes, the hunters pepper it full of arrows and bolts.  Rayroris swoops low, coming right up beside the creature and swings his mighty sword sending the once powerful manticore spiraling to the rocky earth below.  Returning the manticore’s head to the spire, Rayroris receives both the accolades and the prize!  “This will look good on the wall, next to this bigger head that I slew last year,” says Merosska.

Merosska also gives the party a tip, “I can tell you the location of the Sacred Stone Monastery.   I suspect the reclusive monks could be harboring evil and want them investigated.”

Savra, impressed by, and attracted to, Taban, whispers to him that the Feathergale Knights have a secret mission to master elemental air to annihilate Waterdeep’s enemies and offers to meet with Merosska to request he recruit Taban into the Feathergale Knights.  Taban quickly agrees.  The next morning, before they leave for the monastery, Merosska invites him to pledge to the Feathergale Knights and prove his valor.  Taban so pledges and promises to prove himself forthwith.

***

After walking a few miles up and down through the Sumber Hills, the ground starts to rumble and two hungry Ankhegs emerge to eat the party.ankheg

A battle ensues.  Telfid and Rayraris take one Ankheg, Sytarii and Taban the other.  Telfid is nearly eaten.  After finishing off the Ankheg, Telfid heals Sytarii who immediately cuts the pincers off the remaining Ankheg, setting it up for Rayraris’ final blow to smite the creature.

Alas, our tale pauses here, to be continued next week.

Character XP / XP So Far Level / To Advance Treasure
Ildon Ganus 0 / 652 2 (900) Wand of Magic Missiles
Fenvalur Reyraris 612 / 1101 3 (2700) 250 gp gold ruby ring
Telfid 612 / 1076 3 (2700) N/A
Olive 0 / 75 1 (300) N/A
Sytarii 612 / 1264 3 (2700) +1 Dagger, “Reszur”
Taban 612 / 1038 3 (2700) N/A
Keeley 0 / 464 2 (900) N/A
Defortune 0 / 163 1 (300) N/A
Rainar 0 / 226 1 (300) N/A
Noctavia 0 / 548 2 (900) N/A
Nastane 0 / 3160 4 (6500) N/A

 

 

Factions and Allegiances

Now that your character has demonstrated their worth as an adventurer and ally, you are approached by a representative of the faction you wish to join.  You choose the faction, and you choose to join, or not to join.  There are five Factions in the north, described below.

The Harpers

A scattered network of spellcasters and spies, the Harpers advocate equality and covertly oppose the abuse of power, magical or otherwise. Agents operate in secret and emphasize stealth and subtlety, or at the very least discretion. Bards and wizards are their most prominent members.

Harpers operate in small cells throughout the North.

The Order of the Gauntlet

This faction is primarily a military organization made up of paladins, clerics, and monks. Members of the order are faithful and vigilant seekers of justice who protect others from the depredations of evildoers. They exact swift retribution against those who violate the law.

Atop a high crest in the Sumber Hills stands Summit Hall, home to the Knights of Samular. This venerable order of paladins of Tyr strives to promote justice in the savage North.

The Emerald Enclave

This widespread group of wilderness survivalists preserves the natural order while rooting out unnatural threats. Many of the Enclave’s members are barbarians, druids, and rangers. Some wander the untamed lands while others make their homes on the outskirts of towns and villages, where they help to protect travelers from the dangers of the wild.

The Lords’ Alliance

The Lords’ Alliance is a shaky compact of aggressive political powers concerned with mutual security and prosperity. Fighters and sorcerers are prevalent among alliance agents, and they are often glory hounds seeking personal recognition. Most agents are lawful or neutral; in the courtly circles of the lords, those who don’t follow the rules seldom last long.

Trade along rivers and roads links the cities of the Lords’ Alliance, so its operatives eliminate threats to that trade as soon as they appear.

The Zhentarim

This shadow network seeks to expand its influence and power base throughout Faerûn. Its members coerce, persuade, or buy their way into every major area of influence. Rogues and warlocks fill the Zhentarim’s ranks, but the faction recruits any who can conduct its business without too many moral reservations.

Zhentarim operatives might be found in any settlement.

Minor Factions

There are several minor factions operating in the Sumber Hills.  While not being members of these factions, it is likely that some or all of the party has heard of at least these two:

The Knights of Samular

This order of paladins dedicated to Tyr has pursued justice across the North for over five hundred years. Its founder, Samular Caradoon, built Summit Hall in the Sumber Hills as a training monastery for the order. Young men and women across the North travel to Summit Hall so that they might learn from its aging heroes.

Elves of the High Forest

The High Forest once sheltered three great elven realms beneath its boughs. Many tribes of wood elves — and a few moon elves — still protect the ruined monuments to their golden age. Few beyond the borders of the High Forest know much about these elves; they have no single leader and make little contact with the outside world.

The wood elf Morgwais, known as the Red Lady or the Lady of the Wood, seeks to unite the disparate tribes through the Caerilcarn (“Council of the Wood”). Her aim is to resurrect the ancient kingdom of Eaerlann, and she has made steps in that direction by allying various elven settlements. As yet, though, only a few elves believe in her vision, and they are spread far apart over the eastern reaches of the forest.