Session 12 – Clearing the Water Temple – Part 2

After healing and escorting Droth, Wulgreda, and Gurvor to the boat and giving them instructions for their return to Rivergard Keep, the party decided to cross the bridge onto the central island of the water temple. 

Their first encounter was with a band of the Blackmaw lizardfolk and their leader, Tornscale.  The lizardfolk reinforcements attacked in waves, but Aria’s spike growth slowed them down while Ganus flaming sphere took a heavy toll. 

A loud gong was heard to the north and the party soon discovered that a ginormous dragon turtle had hauled itself out of the water in answer to the Blackmaw’s call.  Not wanting to tangle with the beast, the party turned back into the lizardfolk’s den.

As the last of the Blackmaw was dispatched, a massive ogre cut off the party’s exit.  This ogre was soon accompanied by another and a woman who’s ugliness defied description. After the first ogre died and the second took some damage, the woman and the ogre left in a hurry.  

Not wanting to leave well enough alone, the party chased the hag and her bodyguard into her lair.  Taking down the second Ogre put the wind in their sails, and Reyroris charged in, got one good look at the hag’s true form and fell unconscious.  Sytarii dragged him to safety and administered a healing potion, then used his new wand of winter to cast sleet storm on the hag.  While she was slipping, sliding and falling down a lot, Reyroris and Sytarii took pot shots at her, then Telfid marched in and slew the hag in short order, being immune to her death stare.  The hag turned out to have a magic longsword and two potions squirreled away in her alcove.  

Deciding to turn left, the party crossed the next bridge, whereupon a troll challenged their crossing, resulting in a dead troll as fire and magic destroyed it very quickly.  

Across the bridge, the party entered an ancient brewery where they found three large glass jar backpacks and some large copper tanks.  Putting on a backpack, Ganus felt a presence asking him to release it from one of the tanks.  Opening a copper tank, he was surprised to see a water tentacle emerge menacingly.  Slamming the lid closed, he wondered about the backpacks. 

Trying one on, he felt a presence asking him to open a tank and free it from its prison.  So he opened the second tank, whereupon an angry Water Weird tried to drown him and drag him into the tank with it.    Reyroris, armed with his new magic longsword, and Sytarii, armed with Reszur, came to the rescue, slaying the water weird and freeing the now soaked Ganus.  Unperturbed, Ganus opened the third tank where an excited Water Weird jumped out and into his backpack.  Ganus felt the thing’s gratitude as it settled into the backpack.  Sytarii followed Ganus’ lead, slinging the second backpack over his shoulder and opening the first tank.  This water weird was also happy to be freed and leaped into the backpack.  Reyroris was now kicking himself for killing what was likely to have been a third water weird.  Sytarii named the creature in his backpack and his mind, Bubbles, while Ganus named his, Splashy.  Reyroris continued grumbling about his misfortune.

Again choosing to go left, the party got to a beach with several old broken skiffs lying about.  As they proceeded to assemble and repair one skiff from the many, a large Octopus emerged from the water and started attacking the would-be shipwrights.  Ganus and Sytarii quickly put their water weirds to work and the poor Octopus didn’t stand a chance.  The party then finished their work on the boat undisturbed.  Reyroris, jealous and frustrated, continued to pine over the lost opportunity.

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

The business in Womford now has a contract with the Bargewright Inn to make trips upriver for supplies. This grosses 200gp per 5 days. Which covers the current cost of the upkeep of the Flying Hippogriff and its crew, and the guards in Riverguard Keep, with some 80gp remaining.

Elapsed time: 1 day.

Character XP XP So Far Level (To Advance) Treasure
Ildon
Ganus
1620 9378 5 (14000) Wand of Magic Missiles (attuned)
Scroll of Haste
Scroll of Wall of Water
Scroll of Skywrite
‘Splashy’ the Water Weird and BackPack
Fenvalur
Reyroris
1620 10807 5 (14000) 250 GP gold ruby ring
+1 Longsword
Sytarii 1620 9990 5 (14000) +1 Dagger, “Reszur”
Potion of Diminution
Wand of Winter
‘Bubbles’ the Water Weird and BackPack
Taban 0 6501 5 (14000) N/A
Telfid 1620 10287 5 (14000) Scroll of Lesser Restoration
Keeley 0 6501 5 (14000) N/A
Aria 1620 8120 5 (14000) N/A
Noctavia 0 6110 4 (6500) N/A
Nastane 0 3942 4 (6500) N/A
Nala 0 4942 4 (6500) N/A
Unassigned Treasure:  Potion of Fire Resistance, Potion of Hill Giant Strength

Session 11 – Beneath the Keep

Our intrepid adventurers, after taking care of business in Womford*, headed upriver to Rivergard Keep where they headed down to the underground stream.  First, they lured the remaining ghouls to shore where they dispatched them with alacrity.

511414069_64266d328d_bPaddling a pair of skiffs upriver, they were soon attacked by a tentacle of water (a water weird) that nearly had poor Ganus. Aria managed to get a rope to him though and, though it was a struggle, the water weird was defeated before it could drown Ganus too much.

Which turned out to be a good thing, because Ganus turned out to be quite useful as the party entered the Temple of the Crushing Wave. snip_20181108060849 They were greeted by Eyon, a Dark Knight who promptly leaped astride her battle shark and, lance in hand, charged the skiffs while some Crushing Wave Reavers attacked from shore and a Fathomer turned into a giant water snake to try to crush 920x920and drown the party members.  This combat was short though, as Ganus told a really bad shark joke that Eyon found to be uproariously funny, nearly drowning as she fell from her shark’s back.  The shark picked her up though, only to be knocked unconscious itself by Ganus next spell.  This, unfortunately, turned out to drown the shark, and its mistress, in short order.  Overall, the combat was short as this party knows very well how to deal with Water Cultists.

The Reavers and Priest of the Crushing Wave in their next encounter met a similar fate in just as short a span.

As they continued to explore the temple, they passed several empty chambers and grew a little overconfident.  At the next room, Telfid peered in through a small window in a metal plate on the stone door and received a crossbow bolt in his face as payment for his nosiness.  After that, the party proceeded with a little more caution.  The foes in this room turned out to be a bit of a challenge too as they included a One-Eyed Shivershiver that had duplicated itself 3 times, some Reavers, and another Knight.  Casting Spike Growth and Flaming Sphere into the room had the desired effect of making the enemies targets for the party’s ranged attacks, while the Knight came around the back way and ended up facing off against the more melee inclined party members.  While the Reavers were easy pickings, the Shiver was a little harder to take down, and the Knight was actually a challenge.  But the party emerged victorious.

Continuing north through a hallway that took them, unwittingly, into the Temple of Black Earth where their first encounter was with a grumpy Ettin.  snip_20181108060805The Ettin turned out to be a bit of a challenge, mostly due to its incredible stamina.  However, it was soon defeated.

Their next encounter brought them face to face with a trio of Earth Cultists and a Stonemelder in a torture chamber.   Due to their ineptitude, the cultists died without lifting a finger.  The Stonemelder wielded some powerful spells, to no avail, as it was taken down as well.  After dispatching their foes, the party was able to address the torture victims and captives:

  • Orna, a female human Black Earth Guard who dared to strike a Black Earth priest a few days ago.  Orna has a big mouth and an even bigger attitude.  636372268847213024She is very angry at her cult.
  • Droth, a male human. He is virtually catatonic.
  • Wulgreda, a hapless female dwarf who was captured while prospecting in the hills near the Sacred Stone Monastery. She warned the party that Orna is a Black Earth guard.
  • Gervor, a male half-elf noble who is all that is left of an adventuring company ambushed by the cult a month ago in the Sumber Hills. He is badly injured and near death.

In a large chest in the chamber, there was some treasure, Orna’s plate armor, Gervor’s studded-leather armor, and a Wand of Winter.

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

* The business in Womford now has a contract with the Bargewright Inn to make trips upriver for supplies.  This grosses 200gp per 5 days.  Which covers the current cost of the upkeep of the Flying Hippogriff and its crew, and the guards in Riverguard Keep, with some 80gp remaining.

Character XP / XP So Far Level /
To Advance
Treasure
Ildon
Ganus
1371 / 7758 5 (14000) Wand of Magic Missiles (attuned)
Scroll of Haste
Scroll of Wall of Water
Scroll of Skywrite
Fenvalur
Reyroris
1371 / 9187 5 (14000) 250 GP gold ruby ring
Sytarii 1371 / 8370 5 (14000) +1 Dagger, “Reszur”
Potion of Diminution
Taban 1371 / 6501 5 (14000) N/A
Telfid 1371 / 8667 5 (14000) Scroll of Lesser Restoration
Keeley 0 / 6501 5 (14000) N/A
Aria 1371 / 6501 5 (14000) N/A
Noctavia 0 / 6110 4 (6500) N/A
Nastane 0 / 3942 4 (6500) N/A
Nala 0 / 4942 4 (6500) N/A
Unassigned Treasure:  Wand of Winter

 

Session 10 – Entrepreneurial Spirit

On returning to Womford to resupply, the party decided to hire a captain and crew for the Soaring Hippogriff, their freshly re-christened keelboat.  soaring hippogriffThe captain agreed to a fee of 10gp per day plus 15% of the proceeds.  The adventurers assigned him the task of rummaging through Rivergard Keep and salvaging anything of value.

After a busy day of shopping and negotiating, the party attended the Bargewright Inn for some dinner and a good night’s sleep.  Of course, they were welcomed with open arms and immediately recruited for guard duty for a convoy headed to the north up the Long Road to Yartar.  The trip was largely uneventful, excepting when the convoy was attacked by some bandits.bandits The bandits struck hard with crossbow quarrels flying everywhere.  One of the wagons caught fire.  Then the bandits took off, running into the trees and hills.

The party pursued.  Right into an ambush.  At first, it looked like it wouldn’t go well for the party as they were surrounded and outnumbered.  Woe be unto the bandits though as first the captain, and then the individual bandits were picked off or taken down.  Reyroris was in rare form, testing his range, he brought down bandits at further and further distances.  His final shot at a speck in the distance was rewarded by the speck crying out and vanishing into the undergrowth.

After safely returning the convoy to Womford, the adventurers headed for Summit Hall.  En route, they investigated a pillar of thick black smoke in the distance.  The smoke turned out to be a burning farm.  On hearing a plaintive cry from the farmhouse, Reyroris rushed in, dragging the farm’s owner out of the collapsing building in the nick of time.  After healing, the farmer explained that orcs had taken his wife and farmhands and left him for dead.  His wagon was missing too.

The wagon was easy enough to follow and find.  The adventurers quickly slew the four orcs that were with it, a little surprised at how squishy the orcs turned out to be.  The farmer was elated to be reunited with his wife.  The farmhands were exhausted from pulling the wagon, but they would recover.  The party agreed to escort the farmer to the Dellmon Ranch where he and his could seek refuge.

The ranch was abuzz with activity.  They were clearly preparing for war.  Earthworks had been established at the perimeter, makeshift crenelations were mounted to the top of the buildings, archers were posted around the farm and every able body was armed with something.  The adventurers were quick to volunteer to help with the defense of the ranch.

The next day, the ranch was surrounded by an orc warband of 40 or so orcs.  Aria, a druid from the Scarlet Moon Hall camp, had discovered that she had an adventurers spirit and had accompanied the party since having a taste of what they could do.  Aria cast Spike Growth, immediately hindering the progress of the advancing horde.  Their leader, an Orog, ignored the brambles, to his own detriment, and plowed forward, only to be taken down by Keeley’s fine bow skills.  The orc’s incompetent spellcaster, an Eye of orcsGrumsh, tried to be useful and failed.  Meanwhile, Telfid called forth some Spirit Guardians and a Spiritual Weapon, and, contributing his own prodigious melee abilities, became a whirling cyclone of death and dismemberment, chewing through the perimeter of orcs like a scythe through wheat.  After only a few minutes of slaughter, the defenders raised a loud cry of “Hurrah” as the last orc fell.  While there were a few casualties in the ranch, the Dellmon family survived and there was much to celebrate.  Several of the farmers and ranchers that had sought refuge had tales of narrowly escaping much smaller orc warbands as they overwhelmed defenses, killing or enslaving those within.  Many a mug was raised in praise of the party and their contribution to the successful defense of the ranch.

With the immediate danger past, the party continued their journey to Summit Hall.  There they recruited a dozen soldiers to guard Rivergard Keep and defend it from what may be left of the Water Cult.  This contingent agreed to a fee of 5gp total per day.

keelboatUpon returning to Womford, they party was delighted to find that the Soaring Hippogriff had been busy.  After expenses, they netted 825gp from the ransacking of the keep.  Their fledgling shipping business was, so far, a success.

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

Character XP / XP So Far Level /
To Advance
Treasure
Ildon
Ganus
0 / 6387 4 (6500) Wand of Magic Missiles
Scroll of Haste
Scroll of Wall of Water
Scroll of Skywrite
Fenvalur
Reyroris
980 / 7816 5 (14000) 250 GP gold ruby ring
Sytarii 0 / 6999 5 (14000) +1 Dagger, “Reszur”
Potion of Diminution
Taban 980  / 5038 4 (6500) N/A
Telfid 980 / 7296 5 (14000) Scroll of Lesser Restoration
Keeley 980 / 4581 4 (6500) N/A
Aria 980 / 4581 4 (6500) N/A
Noctavia 0 / 6110 4 (6500) N/A
Nastane 0 / 3942 4 (6500) N/A
Nala 0 / 4942 4 (6500) N/A
Proceeds from shipping, less expenses and upkeep.
(Keelboat – 50gp per ten-day, plus crew – 10gp per day plus 15%.
Rivergard Keep defense – 5 gp per day)
825gp

Session 9 – The Wicker Giant

After a relatively restful night’s sleep in the camp near Scarlet Moon Hall, the party roused their new Lord Commander (Ted ted ), and their druidic friends and headed up the hill to do something about this so-called “Wicker Giant” before it got loose.

Calling out the Eternal Flame Priests who were praying to the Wicker Giant, the party quickly ruined their plans at world domination.  As it would happen, the new Water Cult leader, Ted, cast Sleet StormGTY-blizzard-as-161117_16x9_992 on the priests and the Wicker Giant, wounding, and thus angering, the Fire Elemental trapped within.  Alas, the flame was no match for the deluge of thick wet sleet and the Fire Elemental was doused in less than 12 seconds.  The priests were taken down almost as quickly, with Sytarii charging into the maelstrom to thoroughly disembowel Disembowel_Movethe priest caught within.

Reinforcements were many as the Eternal Flame Guardians fired crossbow bolts at the party – only to get pulled off their perch by a well-aimed thorn-whip; an Azer came lumbering down the scaffolding only to be beaten to death by the druids and their shillelagh’s; and three Hell Hounds and another Priest came slipping and sliding through the sleet storm, emerging one at a time to be cut down by the adventurers before they could even use their formidable weapons.

After gathering their breath, the adventurers scaled the scaffolding and entered the tower itself.  Choosing not to deal with the magminsagmins below them, they ascended the stairs.  First one flight, then another, only to be surprised by a very well prepared foursome.  First, a fireball whooshed into the team, knocking poor Telfid out – thankfully, the party was well-stocked with healing potions.  Reyroris shook off the fire damage though and would have fought back, had the fireball not been followed by a stinking cloud of gaseous nastiness that left the party retching.  Two Guardians led their attack with strikes from their flaming swords, further aggravating the situation.  Then the druid, Elizar, elizarconjured a wall of fire that knocked Telfid out again.  Ganus made himself invisible and ran downstairs to take cover.  Sytarii wasn’t far behind and sprinted for the exit.  Reyroris administered another potion to Telfid and they took off too.  After a few seconds, the druid dropped the wall of fire and the foursome chased after the party.  Unfortunately, Lord Commander Ted had been overcome by the fires and was no more.

On exiting the tower, Reyroris smartly disguised himself as an Eternal Flame Guardian and started chasing Telfid and Sytarii across the courtyard.  Sytarii was running full-tilt and made it through the gateway to the relative safety of the slope beyond.  Telfid and Reyroris were not so lucky as thorny briars and bushes sprouted around them, taking the barely conscious Telfid back into oblivion.  Reyroris’ quick thinking saved the day though, as he yelled, “They went that way,” pointing through the gate and down the hill.  Elizar cleared the brambles and the foursome continued chasing after Sytarii, who was leaving them in his dust.  Reyroris dropped the disguise, healed his hpunconscious friend one last time, and the two trotted East into the hills and forests beyond.  An hour or so later, Ganus appeared, huffing and puffing behind the two.

Eventually, and, thankfully, uneventfully, the party made it to their boat and settled in for the night.  Sytarii was resting in the captain’s quarters, with Ganus in a bunk nearby.  Telfid and Reyroris stayed topside, preferring to bunk in the wheelhouse.

Shortly after they were all asleep, three hellhounds padded onto the boat. hellhounds Sytarii hid in the captain’s quarters until he heard Ganus getting attacked.  The hellhounds took turns breathing fire in the wheelhouse and Telfid dropped again, however, he was granted a boon from the heavens and miraculously recovered.  With their combined efforts, the party was able to vanquish the monsters.

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

Character XP / XP So Far Level /
To Advance
Treasure
Ildon
Ganus
2715 / 6387 4 (6500) Wand of Magic Missiles
Scroll of Haste
Scroll of Wall of Water
Scroll of Skywrite
Fenvalur
Reyroris
2715 / 6836 5 (14000) 250 GP gold ruby ring
Sytarii 2715 / 6999 5 (14000) +1 Dagger, “Reszur”
Potion of Diminution
Taban 0 / 4058 4 (6500) N/A
Telfid 2715 / 6316 4 (6500) Scroll of Lesser Restoration
Keeley 0 / 3601 4 (6500) N/A
Olive 0 / 75 1 (300) N/A
Defortune 0 / 163 1 (300) N/A
Rainar 0 / 226 1 (300) N/A
Noctavia 2190 / 6110 4 (6500) N/A
Nastane 0 / 3942 4 (6500) N/A
Nala 0 / 4942 4 (6500) N/A

 

Session 8 – Let’s go Camping

The party decided that before investigating the stream under the Water Cult’s keep, they would root out the Fire Cult and see what was happening at Scarlet Moon Hall.  Apparently, there was some druidic rite being performed that would restore balance to the area.  Rumor has it that the druidic Circle of the Scarlet Moon knows the Rite of the Wicker Giant and that it will be completed on the morrow.

The quickest route to Scarlet Moon Hall led the party straight through the Water Cult’s keep, where they found a Crushing Wave Priest, a Fathomer and four Reavers.  The priest was quickly overwhelmed and his compatriots followed shortly thereafter.

Traveling over the Dessarin Hills, the party came across an Orge mob.  ogreWhile the party wisely went around the giant killing machines, Sytarii thought he’d have some fun and unleashed Ildon’s crossbow.  Taking careful aim at an ogrish posterior, he loosed a quarrel, that missed, of course.  The ogres took note of the miss though and chased Sytarii for a long way before they tired and gave up.  Jack-Sparrow-Being-ChasedOne of them even nicked him with a massive javelin.

Finally reaching Scarlet Moon Hall and back together again.  The party investigated a couple of the campsites set up around the hall on their way to the hall itself.  After entering the hall’s courtyard and being rebuffed, they resumed their investigations.  Discovering, among other things, a Crushing Wave Priest who Ganus befriended with a deft display of the Water Cult hand sign.

A fight broke out when two Fire Cult Priests and a wild caught Grizzly ran out of excuses.  After both priests cast Fireball the bear was able to knock Sytarii out, but the priests were killed for their efforts and the bear was allowed to run off into the woods.

Ganus went back to the campsite with a half-elf druid and her sprites, but she had taken their news that the Fire Cult was going to unleash a Fire Giant to heart and packed Magic_Scrollup and left as soon as she could.  She did, however, leave a small box in her tent with a note that said, “Use them well.”  Ganus was very happy to see a pair of magic scrolls in the box.

A little later, a battle broke out between the party and the Fire Cult as the Fire Priest and her Guardians were discovered at their campsite.  The Water Cultist aided and a group of 4 druids came over from a nearby campsite and helped as best they could.

All in all, an eventful day of adventuring, full of laughter, slaughter and fun.

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

Character XP / XP So Far Level /
To Advance
Treasure
Ildon
Ganus
900 / 3672 4 (6500) Wand of Magic Missiles
Scroll of Haste
Scroll of Wall of Water
Scroll of Lesser Restoration
Scroll of Skywrite
Fenvalur
Reyraris
900 / 4121 4 (6500) 250 GP gold ruby ring
Sytarii 900 / 4284 4 (6500) +1 Dagger, “Reszur”
Potion of Diminution
Taban 900 / 4058 4 (6500) N/A
Telfid 900 / 3601 4 (6500) N/A
Keeley 900 / 3601 4 (6500) 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 / 1730 3 (2700) N/A
Nastane 0 / 3942 4 (6500) N/A
Nala 0 / 4942 4 (6500) N/A

 

Session 7 – Wipe Out!

As the party collected themselves from the waves of cultists dashed at their feet, another threat came charging across the keep wall.  Four reavers, a fathomer and the leader of the keep, a wereboar named Jolliver Grimjaw.  wereboarJolliver charged in, knocking out Telfid, but the party rallied and the enemies were dispatched forthwith.  Then the adventurers thoroughly looted the keep.  Encountering little remaining resistance.  The chapel contained a cultist priestess and her guard, who attacked the intruders, so they were aggressively dealt with.  Some bugbears proved to be the last remaining resistance in the last tower.  They, likewise, were aggressively dealt with.  Exploring the secret staircase in the throne room, the party found a grotto with a wide stream running through it.  Embarking on the boats that seemed provided for that purpose, they headed downstream only to be waylaid by ghouls who capsized one of the boats, dumping the heavily armored passengers straight into the stream.  Thankfully, the other boat got back to shore safely, so the drier members of the party were able to throw a line to the wetter ones and haul them ashore.  The ghouls proved to not be too much of a challenge as Telfid called forth his holy anger and scared half of them away.  the rest were readily dispatched.

Returning to their boat to head back to Womford to restock and rest, they were nearly raided by a band of pirates.  jollyrogerI say nearly, because the party reacted quickly and decisively to the threat, killing the captain and his mate before the pirates could mount an offense.  Several remaining pirates jumped ship and swam for the shore, while one stubbornly held his post, only to be cut down.

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

Character XP / XP So Far Level / To Advance Treasure
Ildon Ganus 950 / 2772 4 (6500) Wand of Magic Missiles
Scroll of Haste
Scroll of Wall of Water
Fenvalur Reyraris 950 / 3221 4 (6500) 250 GP gold ruby ring
Sytarii 950 / 3384 4 (6500) +1 Dagger, “Reszur”
Potion of Diminution
Taban 950 / 3158 4 (6500) N/A
Telfid 950 / 2476 2701 4 (6500) N/A
Keeley 0 / 1634 2701 4 (6500) 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 / 1730 3 (2700) N/A
Nastane 0 / 3942 4 (6500) N/A
Nala 0 / 4942 4 (6500) N/A

 

Session 6 – Whoosh! Ew, that was wet!

The day started well, after a good nights rest at the Bargewright Inn, Keeley was ready topam18_bargewright_dm-zf-0998-75774-1-009-0 take on the day.  That all changed the moment the Innkeeper, Nalaskur Thaelond, a Zhentarim operative, walked up and asked her and the party to run the inn for a ten-day while he went to Waterdeep to sort out some supply issues.  After he left, she immediately discovered that 6 of the keys were missing.  After much investigation, all evidence pointed at the Senior Sword, Chalaska Muruin, Guardmaster for the Inn.  But it was a frame-up.  Iglor the handyman was the actual culprit and he now sits in prison.  Nalaskur was very happy that the Inn didn’t burn down in his absence, and rewarded the party handsomely for their efforts.

***

Continuing on to Womford in following up on their lead about the Dwarven Books, the party comes to the boat dock where they are invited aboard by one Shoalar Quanderil, a water genasiwater genasi and high ranking member of the Water Cult.  After entertaining the nosy adventurers for an interminable amount of time, he attacked.  Discovering the party was a little more resilient than he’d expected, he unleashed a Tidal Wave that nearly washed the entire party down to Davy Jones’ locker.  With Ganus’ nifty use of the invisibility spell and a few much-needed healing potions, the party was able to destroy the water wizard and his entourage.

***

The next day, the party took the genasi’s keelboat upriver to Rivergard Keep.  There theyfathomer encountered a sour-faced fellow with a drooping mustache named Reash.  After Ganus told him they slew the genasi, he invited them in.  An escort of 3 reavers brought them to the tower room where Reash and a small army were waiting for them.  Reash proved to be a worthy bodies.pngadversary, but the Reavers, deckhands, and bandits just kept coming.  Wave after wave of water cultists came after the party as the alarm spread throughout the keep.  And wave after wave of cultists died.  Sytarii got to experience what it must be like to be a red dragon, breathing Dragonfire and burning his attackers to a crisp.  With burnt, slashed, pierced and bludgeoned bodies piling up (34 in all), the party was able to stem the tide.  Now, after a short rest, they ready themselves to explore the keep.

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

Character XP / XP So Far Level / To Advance Treasure
Ildon Ganus 720 / 1822 3 (2700) Wand of Magic Missiles
Fenvalur Reyraris 720 / 2271 3 (2700) 250 gp gold ruby ring
Sytarii 720 / 2434 3 (2700) +1 Dagger, “Reszur”
Taban 720 / 2208 3 (2700) N/A
Telfid 0 / 1526 3 (2700) N/A
Keeley 720 / 1634 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
Nala 720 / 4660 4 (6500) N/A

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.

poa10.jpg

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.