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
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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.

More Alexa Skills for D & D

My second through fifth Alexa skills are now live.  Woohoo!

Two of them are D & D skills, two are Age of Sigmar.  All four were created with Voice Apps.  None of them do much, but they do work and they are Live at Amazon Skills.

The My D & D Flash Briefing reviews the most recent blog entry on this site.   The two Fact skills have a handful of facts about the games, the Podcasts skill plays a small set of AoS podcasts from Stormcast and GarageHammer.

Voice Apps makes creating simple Alexa Skills a SNAP!  It is so easy to use.  They are also responsive when things don’t work as planned.  My Simon’s Simple Dice Roller skill is one I did the hard way.  It’s an Alexa Skills Kit front end with an AWS Lambda function backend written in JavaScript using Microsoft Code to edit the Json and JavaScript and using the Microsoft Code Alexa Skills Kit plug-in to publish the project.  I will be documenting the Dice Roller fully on my One Man Went to Mow blog in the coming weeks.

My First Alexa Skill is Live!!!

If you have an Alexa-enabled device, you can now run my first official Alexa skill.  It passed certification and is now Live!!!alexa

Tell Alexa to Launch Simon’s Simple Dice Roller and then tell her to Roll a d 20, or Roll 2 d 6.  Or Roll a d percent.  She’ll roll the dice you ask for and give you a total.

diceIt’s not much, but it paves the way for Simon’s Smarter Dice Roller which will let you add modifiers and roll advantage and more.  Stay tuned for more info on that skill.  Wanna be a beta tester?  Just let me know in the comments.

I’ve also submitted a D & D Facts skill, but that’s still pending approval.  I’ll let you know when it’s live too.  Thanks!

 

Session 3 – Believers, Cultists and a Sorcerer named Larrakh

Please don’t forget to put your characters in DnD Beyond and to add them to the campaign:  https://ddb.ac/campaigns/join/2038241466181279

Oh, and don’t forget to level up if you have more than 300XP.  Woohoo!


It was a pretty day.  The party was enjoying a well-earned day off.  Most were at the inn, but Keeley had gone looking for her sister while Telfid was on an errand for the temple.

The peaceful afternoon was suddenly broken by cries for “Help”, “My baby”, “Get some rope”, and “Quickly, bring a ladder”.  As the party emerged from the inn, they saw that a large sinkhole had opened in the middle of the roadway.  Sytarii rushed to the edge to help and promptly fell in as the ground crumbled beneath him.  Thankfully, the dirt was soft and he took no damage.

After ignoring the town elders’ (including Albaeri Mellikho (Mellikho Stoneworks) and Ilmeth Waelvur (Waelvur’s Wagonworks)), requests to leave well enough alone, the party all went into the hole, where they found doors and tunnels leading to the east and north, respectively.  The north passage opened into the quarry.  To the east, they came upon some dwarven statues that turned out to be doors.Black Earth Symbol  To the south was a long-abandoned privy.  To the north, the tunnel led to a charnel house where giant rats feasted upon some travelers’ corpses marked with the sign of the Cult of the Black Earth.  Flame magic destroyed the rats and the party moved on, but not before several were overcome by the stench.

In the next chamber, they discovered a large black rock, floating in mid-air.  After some experimentation and judicious use of Detect Magic, they discovered a column of magic was floating the rock.  Later, they would place an unwilling cultist in the column, spinning him just so until his nausea got the better of him and he found himself spinning in his own vomit as it floated around him.

In the next chamber, they found a petrified dwarf and a wishing circle of offerings that included a good sum of coin, and a +1 magic dagger named “Reszur”, which Sytarii now holds.  While collecting the coin, a group of 8 cultists  — the so-called Bringers of Woe — and a half-orc Thug named Grund came running into the room, attacking the party with scimitars, mace, and crossbows.  In a well-fought battle, the party dispatched the interlopers, knocking one out cold for questioning.

Taban heard a plaintive cry for help from the room to the west, and, upon investigation, discovered a young boy, age10-12, pinned beneath some large rocks as punishment for not delivering a message from his father, Rotharr Hatherhand, to Ilmeth Waelvur.  The young Braelen explained that the elders of the town council were a secret organization of Believers who guard the moving stones, and make sure no one disturbs the Delvers, who are entombed here.  They believe that the moving stones are a sign and can be interpreted, often foretelling of trouble.  After feeding him and much discussion, Braelen, scampered off down the tunnel to the west while the party proceeded to the east, where they found an old man, one Baragustas Harbuckler, a Believer, sitting on a stool, whittling a stick.

Baragustas begged the party not to move the stones or disturb the Delvers, and was black earth priestpromptly ignored.  Larrakh, a Black Earth priest, cast Spider Climb to hide among the moving stones, only to be dislodged from the ceiling by Noctavia’s Thunderwave.   A protracted battle ensued as Larrakh managed to hold his own against the party until Nastane shut him down with a well-placed globe of Silence.  This sent Larrakh running through a secret door to the southeast.  A few moments later, the party heard a loud crash as he triggered a cave-in to block the tunnel he was running down.

Constable Harburk is livid, appalled and frustrated by the tale told by the party members of the dead bodies, the rats, the Believers, the Bringers of Woe, and the priest, Larrakh.   Livid because he knew nothing of the criminal activity of the town’s elders.  Appalled by the history of the Believers.  And, frustrated by Larrakh’s escape and the lack of evidence – the dead travelers’ bodies were missing!

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

Character XP / XP So Far Level / To Advance Treasure
Ildon Ganus 188 / 652 2 (900) Wand of Magic Missiles
Fenvalur Reyraris 188 / 489 2 (900) N/A
Telfid 0 / 464 2 (900) N/A
Olive 0 / 75 1 (300) N/A
Sytarii 188 / 652 2 (900) +1 Dagger, “Reszur”
Taban 188 / 426 2 (900) N/A
Keeley 0 / 464 2 (900) N/A
Defortune 0 / 163 1 (300) N/A
Rainar 0 / 226 1 (300) N/A
Noctavia 188 / 548 2 (900) N/A
Nastane 188 / 3160 4 (6500) N/A

“Reszur” is a +1 dagger decorated with star motifs and a grip of night-blue leather.  The name “Reszur” is graven on the dagger’s pommel.  If the wielder speaks the name, the blade gives off a faint, cold glow, shedding dim light in a 10-foot radius until the wielder speaks the name again.