Adventures in the Dessarin Valley

Part 5 - Cultists South of Beliard
23nrd Day of Tarsahk

The party arrived in Beliard and learned a few things from the locals…
– That the town is full of retired mercenaries and therefore is usually not a target by bandits.
– Neshor Fleurdin, proprietor of the Watchful Knight inn, spoke with the delegation leaders and learned they planned to head south on the Dessarin Road. They intended to visit Summit Hall next to return the body of a fallen knight.
– Senya, a server at the Watchful Knight, noticed a strange monk who wore a golden mask observing the Mirabarrans closely. The monk left a few hours prior to the delegation.
– Eann, a cattle drover drinking at the Watchful Knight, saw the delegation 10 miles south of Beliard. He then saw five men in sky blue armor with white capes riding giant vultures heading in the same direction the delegation went.
– Helrud Ponden, the townmaster and chief lawkeeper, also saw the same thing (blue-armored warriors on giant vultures) near Feathergale Spire.
– To heal Diero’s curse, Neshor suggested the All Faiths shrine back in Red Larch.
– The Watchful Knight got its name from a Helmed Horror that used to be inanimate in the corner of the the inn, but one day disappeared. Some people have claimed to see it roaming in the woods.

After Helka got her breakfast (with apple juice), the party decided to head south along the Dessarin road to follow the path of the Mirabar delegation…
– About 15 miles south along the Dessarin Road the party spot vultures circling a mile or so west of the trail. Ullr headed towards them and the rest of the group followed. They came across some dead soldiers and broken carriages.
– Kaer Baer recognized the red axe emblem on the dead soldiers as an emblem of Mirabar, and the party believes that these were likely bodyguards for the delegation.
– Kaer Baer also recognized that the rocks and crators in the area are evidence of earth based magic.
– Diero searched one of two cairns found on the site and discovered five dead bugbears in black leather armor with the same triangular symbol found on Larrakh in the tomb under Red Larch.
– In the other cairn, Helka discovered a monk with a golden gargoyle mask.
– Diero studied the nearby tracks and determined that a group of about 30 bugbears and other humanoids headed west, as if the delegates were taken somewhere.
– Ullr removed the mask of the dead monk and thought the woman’s face underneath was cute. He returned the mask after noting that it is was likely an easily made mask made with cheap materials.
– The group believed that how the dead bodies were buried suggested importance to earth cultists, and perhaps that symbol they are finding is somehow related to them.
– Lastly, the party ventured along the footprints path and saw evidence that whoever walked along that path was taken away in some boats on the river.

The party returned to the Dessarin Road and continued to follow it south. Shortly after, they came across an encampment. They could see from the road some thug looking people who were immediately on the defensive the moment they are seen strolling in…
– Kaer Baer held her hands up and cried “Ahhh Kaer Baer Stare!” and a loud sound erupted as one of the thug-looking woman’s head exploded! A nearby thug was clearly shaken as he screamed “Carlene!”
– Diero ran along the encampment and eyed-up the enemies. He determined that the thugs had scimitars, but there were also a couple of warriors holding swords that were surrounded by shark teeth. They were also holding shields that looked like giant crab shells! They were clad in purplish colors and fish netting, and started on their way towards Diero and Kaer Baer. Diero blocked an incoming attack from another nearby thug.
– What appeared to be some type of mage or priest took a drop of water and transformed it to a shard of ice that he fired at Kaer Baer. The shard barely hit, but it also exploded causing some slight damage to both Diero and Kaer Baer.
– Ullr went after one of the nearby thugs, swinging his hammer helicopter style, and utterly murdered him! He then summoned a spiritual hammer that appeared next to another nearby thug and started attacking. Ullr then blocked an incoming attack from that same thug.
– Ginnifer fired an arrow at one of the sea warriors and then yelled “Hey crabby pants, I have another one where that comes from!” The arrow connected just below his ribs and the sea warrior seemed distracted by Ginnifer’s comments. Using the distraction as an advantage, Kaer Baer fired a ray of fire at the warrior immediately after, as well as the female sea warrior, and another nearby thug. Though it missed the female, the other two men frantically started to try to smother the flames.
– Helka took out her wand of magic missiles (which Kaer Baer gave to her first thing in the morning) and fired three missiles at the female sea warrior.
– Diero then turned into a panther. However, this startled the male sea warrior so much that the warrior quickly smashed his sword at the panther and decapitated it! The headless panther quickly shifted back to Diero’s human form. Diero was noticeably injured.
– The female sea warrior then hit Kaer Baer square on with a javelin!
– The mage/priest summoned a necrotic hand that clutched at Helka’s throat and latched on! Meanwhile, Ullr was locked in battle with a thug.
– The male sea warrior was killed however when Ginnifer fired an expertly aimed arrow that went right through his ear and out the other!
– Still with a necrotic hand on her throat, Helka was able to smash a thug with her warhammer, while Kaer Bear attempted to cast a chromatic orb (it just petered out though).
– Diero managed to cast a spell that held the female sea warrior paralyzed, and the warrior struggled to break free while Ginnifer dodged a ray of frost from the mage/priest.
– Ullr finally got a good attack in and made a thug hamburger out the thug he was fighting with – a good two handed down thrust of his hammer. His spiritual hammer connected with another thug and took him down as well!
– The last thug remaining fired off some crossbow shots but missed, and then he started to run away. He doesn’t get far before Ginnifer fired off two arrows from her bow, injuring him greatly in the process.
– With the female sea warrior unable to move Helka stepped up for a finishing blow…but she trips over a root with one foot, and then got tangled up in another and completed misses the paralyzed warrior!
– Kaer Baer is distracted and fails to launch another chromatic orb :-(
– Diero rushed the mage and casted poison spray! Poison comes spraying out of the ground around the mage, and the mage experienced some slight nausea. The mage failed a counterattack on Diero and then fleed behind some nearby tents.
– Ullr then called upon his god Steve and destroyed the female warrior with his hammer, and then he moved towards the mage as Ginnifer totally misses a shot at the mage with her bow.
– Helka flanked the mage at Ullr’s side and hit the mage hard with her hammer while Kaer Baer startled the last remaining thug with a near hit of her firebolt.
– Diero casts poison spray again, and this time is causes the mage to start puking up water.
– As a last ditch effort, the mage casted magic missile and hit Diero, Helka, and Ullr. However, he then tried to flee and Helka delivered the killing blow as he tried to escape.

The adventures then ordered the last thug to stop. They tied him up and questioned him, and discovered the following…
– The thug works for Jolliver Grimjaw, and is stationed at Riverguard Keep. The keep is well guarded.
– The “sea warriors” were water cultists.
– The thugs were hired to protect the water cultists that the adventures killed.
– “Jolly” (Jolliver Grimjaw) reports to someone named Sholar, a water genasi.
– Helka found a bit of gold on the bodies, and also discovered a symbol on the water cultists that looked like an “X” with a line connecting the bottom.
– The group told the thug that he could go. “Go and don’t look back” they told him. As the adventurers released him, Ginnifer put an arrow through the back of his skull. She tells the group that she didn’t want to take any chances.

After a short rest, the adventures continued on to Summit Hall…
– They see a couple of knights open the door and they are greeted by an old women named Ushien Stormbanner, a senior knight of the Knights of Samular.
– Ushien tells the party that they can spend the night.
– The party learns that the Knights of Samular worship the god of Law and Justice, Tyr.
– The Knights were expecting the delegation, but they never arrived.
– When asked about the golden masks, Ushien tells the group that they are likely Monks of the Secret Stone Order, and can be found at the Sacred Stone Monastery.
– Ushien tells the group about some of the history of the Knights of Samular. Hundreds of years ago Renwick was a hero of some renown and the brother of Samular Caradoon, the founder of the Knights of Samular. The two fought bravely in the second Troll war. Renwick’s hunger for arcane knowledge eventually led him to prepare for lichdom, but he became a lich only because his brother fed him a lichdom potion on the battlefield rather than let him die.
– Concerning lichdom, some in the party understood that liches have phylacteries that they keep in a safe space since they insure the continued existence of the lich.
– Ushien was also asked about Feathergale Spire. She told the party that it is in a canyon close to Red Larch and it is home to the Feathergale Knights. She did not know much more than that, or what exactly the Feathergale Knights are.
– When asked about other news and rumors, Ushien also told the group that she has heard of a gathering of druids somewhere in the Sumber Hills…an event that involves a giant burning wicker man.

The group then decided to rest for the night.

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Part 4 - Siege at Dellmon Ranch
21st, 22nd Day of Tarsahk

Back in Red Larch

After resting for the night, the party was greeted in the morning by Kaylessa. Kaylessa told the group that two people who were recently in Beliard were discussing the missing delegation of Mirabar at a table in the Swinging Sword’s main hall. Brother Eardon (a messenger and priest that roams across the small towns of the North sharing the wisdom of Lathander) and Zomith (a half-orc for hire) both expected the delegation to be in Red Larch by now.

Brother Eardon told the group that he came from Beliard by way of Westbridge, and he knew that the delegation from Mirabar was in Beliard two tendays ago when he left there. He was surprised by the fact that the delegation has not turned up yet. The delegates were traveling from Mirabar to Waterdeep, but they wanted to stop in the tiny town of Beliard. The members of the delegation mentioned their intent to visit sacred dwarven sites before continuing on to Goldenfields.

Zomith recently quit a caravan that came from Beliard through Westbridge, arriving in Red Larch two days ago. The caravan continued on without Zomith, but she confirmed that she brawled with Mirabarian guards from the missing delegation about fifteen days ago. She told the party that she couldn’t care less about the delegation, but that she had nothing to do with their disappearance.

After talking to Brother Eardon and Zomith, Diero asked Kaylessa where the group could pick up some potions of healing, and she pointed them in the direction of Vallivoe’s Sundries. Endrith Vallivoe provided the potions of healing, but also mentioned to the party that he overhead someone say that they saw a skull pinned to a tree with a black arrow, like some kind of dire warning or ill omen, and it was just off the path on the way to Beliard.

Before leaving town, the group visited Harburk to get an update on the events of the previous night. They learned the following from Harburk:

  • Albaeri Mellikho was jailed
  • Ilmeth Waelvur was also jailed, and the tomb’s other exit led to his shop. Ilmeth was prevented from fleeing town by Gladigan.
  • Marlandro Gaelkur has claimed that he had nothing to do with the Believers
  • Grund, a town simpleton who maintains the market, was nowhere to be found
  • Baragustas Harbuckler has been cooperating with the investigation
  • Rotharr Hatherhand & his family (including Braelen) have apparently fled town
  • Aerego Bethendur claims to have mistrusted Larrakh and is cooperating
  • Ulhro Luruth has fled town
  • Elak Dornen has fled town, and was named as the leader of the Believers by Baragustas
  • The “Bringers of Woe” were staying at Mother Yolantha’s and working for Mellikho

When Grund’s disappearance was brought up, some of the party noticed Baragustas nodding in their direction. Harburk also noted that there was nothing the adventurers could do at this time, and he would like the town to sort out its own mess, but he would be happy to provide updates as they occur.

Finally, the adventurers decided to leave town north towards Beliard. As they were leaving they ran into a half-elf woman named Dewlyn Astrades. She told them that a band of orcs have been terrorizing farmsteads north of the Stone Bridge and along the river, just west of Beliard. The orcs have always been a problem, but not like the threat they are presenting now. The party agreed to check-in on the farms while they travelled to Beliard.

The Last Laugh

As the group traveled north along the Larch Path, they took a side-trek off the path to where Endrith Vallivoe said the skull with the black arrow was. Sure enough, they came across a weathered human skull, jaw sagging, pinned to the trunk of a tree by a big black arrow protruding from one of the skull’s eye sockets.

Diero grabbed the arrow and tossed it immediately. Diero noticed a note on the ground and read it:

The Last Laugh
You’ll be next!
Valklondar

After nothing happened (and Kaer Baer made friends with a squirrel), and there was nothing else suspect in the area, he picked it up and stored it, and the party camped for the night. During the night, Diero had nightmares of the skull rushing at him, laughing coldly.

Anderil Farm

The next day, as the adventures approached the Stone Bridge, they stayed to the left of the bridge and the river and traveled north. It didn’t take too long for the adventures to come across a burning farm! The group was fast enough to free all of the livestock and an unconscious man near the doorway of the home. The fire was quickly consuming the house, but it was slowed down by a ray of frost shot from Kaer Baer. After being revived the group learned that that man was Selwyn Anderil. Selwyn told the party that four orcs took his pregnant wife (Meegan) and their two farmhands, brothers Ob and Fin Lavelle.

Selwyn also explained that some of the farmers along the river have noticed keelboats going north & south along the river carrying what appeared to be slaves in their holds (including humans, elves, half-elves, and dwarves). The orc raids started occurring shortly after some of the farmers approached the captains of the keelboats. He also noted that one of the captains was a plump water genasi who appeared jovial and humorous, but Selwyn felt that there was an evilness underneath that jovial character.

Selwyn joined the adventurers as they followed the path that the orcs left. It didn’t take long for the party to catch up with the orcs. The party was able to sneak up as the four orcs were sitting in the shade of some trees surrounding a wagon. Ob and Fin were passed out in front of the wagon and Meegan was visible inside the wagon.

Kaer Baer surprised the resting orcs with some magic missiles, and Diero casted a hold person spell on one of the orcs. Ginnifer and Gladigan fired arrows from the trees while Selwyn charged the wagon holding his wife. Ullr started trading blows with one of orcs, and Helka became enraged after getting hit by another orc, and with one attack of her warhammer killed him dead! Diero shot poison spray to the orc nearest him, and Ginnifer ran up and jammed an arrow in one of the trapped orc’s skull. Given the surprise attack, the orcs never really had a chance, and other than some damage taken by Helka, the party defeated the orcs without incident.

After attending to Meegan, Ob, and Fin, the adventures decided to escort the farmers to nearby Dellmon Ranch. Selwyn explained that the ranch was large and fortified, and many of the farmers were planning on meeting there if the orc attacks got worse.

Dellmon Ranch

The Dellmon Ranch was full of people, including about 18 farmhands and 16 elderly and children. Also at the ranch the party met the following individuals:

  • Kerbin Dellmon – owner of the ranch
  • Dreena – Kerbin’s daughter
  • Perd – Kerbin’s son
  • Fyndryk – Kerbin’s other son
  • Marka – Perd’s wife
  • Livi & Thrade – Perd and Marka’s children
  • Flameron Verminbane – a lightfoot halfling scout
  • Erned Stoutblade – a knight who brought news of an imminent orc attack
  • Stowal & Branikan – shield dwarf blacksmiths
  • an additional 6 individuals that were capable of fighting

The party learned from Kerbin Dellmon that the attacks were likely retaliation for the farmers’ threats to expose the slave trade along the river, and that the group at the ranch had built ditches and makeshift crenelations to help survive the pending attack. The group at the ranch also captured an orc and found a note:

I am sure you have found someone to persuade into reading this for you. Grush, you and your hoard did such a good job down south dealing with the dwarven noble conspiracy, that Gar would like your help with pesky farmers along the Dessarin River. They have become aware of our dealings and need to have their mouths closed – possibly for good. Specfically, the farmsteads between Beliard and the Dessarin Hills along the river. the same deal as before applies.
- Shoalar Quanderil

Kerbin believed that Shoalar works for water cultists. The party also learned that Dreena sent a message to the Elves of the High Forest. Given the imminent attack that Erned Stoutblade warned about (about 40-50 orcs!), the farmers asked the adventurers to plan defenses and strategy. The party set some oil traps up around the perimeter of the ranch, and some hunting traps just inside of the barn and house.

After about an hour of planning, an orc war horn was heard and the sky was filled with javelins! Gladigan, Kaer Baer, and Ginnifer were all hit by javelins and Diero unsuccessfully threw one back. The party split up to cover two different gates (Diero, Helka, and Ginnifer covering one, and Gladigan, Kaer Baer, and Ullr covering the other). Many orcs then stormed the ranch!

Kaer Baer launched a firebolt at an orc while Gladigan killed one with a well-placed arrow. Ullr evoked the power of Steve and casted a shatter spell that created a sound so loud that two orcs’ heads exploded and another started bleeding out of his ears! On the eastern gate Diero entangled an orc with summoned vines while Helka and Ginnifer attacked with ranged attacks. The orcs barely reached the ranch walls before another horn blew and the orcs retreated, but not before the adventurers took out a couple more as they ran away. Diero offered his black arrow to Ginnifer, but she wouldn’t touch it.

Shortly after, a thick smoke appeared as the orcs lit nearby bushes and grass on fire. No one was able to see any more than 30 feet in front of them. Once the ranch was engulfed in smoke, the orcs attacked again! The party stayed split up in their mini-groups in order to defend multiple fronts. Helka hit one with a javelin right away. Gladigan attempted to jump on a crate so he could fire an arrow, but he fell off the crate instead. Tired of no one taking his black arrow, Diero borrowed a bow from a nearby farmhand and fired the black arrow at the orcs…but it didn’t appear to hit anything. Diero tossed the bow away in frustration.

Once again Ullr exploded some more heads with his shatter spell, and then Kaer Baer did the same with her own shatter spell! Helka continued to grab javelins and throw them at the approaching orcs, and Gladigan took another one out with a well placed arrow. Diero paralyzed an orc with a hold person spell and Ginnifer hit the paralyzed orc with an arrow.

However, it wasn’t enough! There were too many orcs and they quickly breached the wall and started to get into the ranch grounds. The east side where Helka, Ginnifer, and Diero were defending was overcome with orcs and the group was suddenly taking hits from the orcs’ greataxes. They were able to take out a few more, but eventually Helka was knocked unconcious. Ginnifer, surrounded by orcs, was able to make a sweeping attacks with arrows and hit multiple orcs, but she was in trouble.

One the west side of the ranch, Kaer Baer, Ullr, and Gladigan were fairing better, largely due to additional shatter attacks. Just when they thought they had their gate taken care of, more orcs charged into the grounds from the barn and the house. An orog, and apparent leader of the hoard, charged out of the barn with a group of orcs immediately beside Kaer Baer, Ullr, and Gladigan. Gladigan was forced to switch into close combat with the orcs, and both Kaer Baer and Ullr focused on the orog. Magic missiles appeared to hardly hurt the orog, but the group did what they could to wear him down.

Ullr casted thunder wave and destroyed an orc that flew into the nearby wall, and the orog was showing signs of pain and struggle. Ginnifer jumped over an orc’s swiping greataxe, ducked another one, and jumped over a third, and then landed on a final one to launch herself out of harm’s reach! Helka unfortunately fell a second time (after being revived by Diero), and Diero was knocked unconscious shortly after. Orcs once again surrounded Ginnifer for a final attack, but suddenly a graceful and proud trumpet blew, and arrows started to hit orcs from all directions! The elves had arrived just in time, chasing the orcs off, killing a few of them, and an arrow also caused a killing blow to the orog.

In the end, there were some casualties. Kerbin Dellmon and Fip both were killed, as were two of the elderly and four of the other able fighters. The farmers pitched in and gave the adventurers 150 gold pieces worth of coins for their help against the orc raid. Also, the orog (who happened to be Grush), had another letter on him. It read:

Shoalar, pass these names to your orcs for hire. Most are in Waterdeep. One of the noble wives has become a devout of the Crushing Wave & the Prophet of Water, Olhydra. She has given us the names of the noble families investigating our trade activity…for a favor in return. Though our plans are still in the early stages, these families need to be dealt with immediately, or we will be delayed.

Stormwaven
Thaterbuilt
Strongfellow
Darkhall

- Gar Shatterkeel

The party decided to spend the night at the ranch to rest. During the evening, Diero again had nightmares of the skull chasing him and laughing coldly.

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Part 3 - What Lies Under Red Larch
20th Day of Tarsahk - continued

Unexpected Advice

As the party neared the Long Road coming back from Lance Rock, two bird-like creatures descended from the sky in front of them. Some of the group recognized them as aarakocra; bipedal human-shaped beings that look like eagles which are known to be generally kind to like-minded creatures. The one in the lead warned the group that if they were on their way to Red Larch, the aarakocra heard tremors in the ground as they flew over the town, and also noticed some type of commotion or excitement from the people of the town. Therefore, the aarakocra suggested the adventures to enter Red Larch prepared for whatever is happening, and they also provided a suggested resting spot further down the road.

The group learned that the aarakocra were returning to their home in the north after visiting other aarakocra who live in the Sighing Valley, a valley in the Sumber Hills that is overlooked by a large spire that can’t be missed. Helka suggested that the group head straight for the spire, however, Diero convinced the group that they should heed the advice of the aarakocra and rest before investigating what is happening in Red Larch. Just before the pair of aarakocra flew away, the second one noted to Diero that he understood that the adventurers were doing good in and around Red Larch and that if anyone in the party found themselves being flung out of a tall building or a cliff, perhaps the aarakocra will be there to lend a hand. No one was sure if this was the aarakocra’s take on humour. The group then set up camp just off the Long Road a few miles down.

The Sinkhole

After resting, the party gathered themselves and headed to town. As the party neared Red Larch in the middle of night, they heard some of the trembling sounds that were emanating from the ground. Immediately as they entered, a young girl approached Gladigan and told him that Mangobarl Lorren wanted Gladigan to head straight to Mangobarl’s bakery (“Zhentarim business” she whispered). Gladigan excused himself from the party, as the rest of the gang moved towards the center of town.

As the party approached the center of town, there was a large tremor, and immediately after, two small children slid down into a sinkhole that suddenly opened! They disappeared from sight and started shrieking for help as a distraught woman sprinted from a nearby house for the sinkhole, but also fell down as more of the earth crumbled near the edge. Sudden cries of “A rope, a rope!” and “Get a ladder!” filled the air. Helka and Ginnifer wasted no time running for the sinkhole! As Helka reached the opening, the hole widened and she disappeared from sight, falling into the hole. Ginnifer, with what appeared as no effort whatsoever, stopped dead in her tracks at the sinkhole’s edge; she was already holding one end of a rope being held by Diero at the other end. Diero and Ullr held tight as the rope was lowered into the sinkhole and Ginnifer crawled down.

While this was all happening, a few town elders were among the gathered crowd barking orders to “leave this to us!”. Kaer Baer noted Albaeri Mellikho among the group telling the crowd “we will tend to this matter! The children won’t be harmed by being down there a little while, but no one must go down there. Keep back!” The gnome decided to keep an eye on the crowd and the elders while the rest of the party tended to those in the sinkhole.

No one in the sinkhole was hurt since there was cushioning loose earth at the bottom of the 30 foot drop. Ginnifer, Ullr, and Diero got to work getting the children and woman out of the hole while Helka investigated the dark chamber they found themselves in. Constable Harburk showed up and started asking Kaer Baer to catch him up on what was happening. During their conversation, Kaer Baer suddenly noticed that while she was talking to Harburk, the elders managed to sneak away. After telling Harburk this, the Constable frowned and left in pursuit. After successfully rescuing those who fell in the sinkhole, Diero, Ullr, and Kaer Baer made their way to the bottom of the sinkhole. Ginnifer investigated a long tunnel heading south from the chamber, and determined that it may continue for a while longer. Therefore, the party instead decided to push open a stone slab of a door that was in the chamber to venture beyond. But before they did, Diero and Kaer Baer put on some well-used cloaks that were sitting on floor near the door.

The Tomb of the Moving Stones

The door opened into a ten foot wide hall. About sixty feet into the hall, two stone reliefs of stern dwarves in chain mail and carrying battleaxes faced each other across the tunnel. Helka recognized that the stone reliefs likely served as both doorways and tributes to some important dwarves of the past. It was also likely that this was some type of tomb. Beyond the two doors the tunnel also carried on to the east, however, the party decided to push back the stone door that led to the south and walked down the short tunnel. At the end of the tunnel, the party only found an ancient dwarven toilet, so they turned back the way they came and walked through the stone dwarf door to the north instead.

After walking down the tunnel for 160 feet or so, the group came to a small chamber that smelled of death and decay. The stench grew stronger as they approached, but as they came to the opening, those in front could see three freshly dead bodies in a heap at the center of the room. Two giant rats were feasting on the flesh, and scampering could be heard behind smaller holes on either side of the room. Ginnifer quietly told the group that the giant rats would likely leave them alone if they didn’t disturb their meal. Diero then attempted to enchant the nearest of the rats, holding up some food and humming a spell, but it didn’t work, and the rat tried to bite him!

As Ginnifer set up a hunter’s trap in front of one of the openings in the wall, Kaer Baer attempted to shoot a fire bolt at the closest rat, but it looked like the edge of her wizard robes got in the way, and her robes suddenly caught fire! She quickly started patting down the flames while Helka and Ullr moved into the room. More rats ran into the room through the openings; the first one of which was caught and killed in the trap laid out by Ginnifer, and another attacked and bit Helka’s chest! Helka and Ullr flattened the rats with their warhammers, and Ginnifer killed the last of them with a well placed arrow (which ended up in the wall with a rat eye impaled on it). Kaer Baer just finished extinguishing the flames as the last giant rat was killed. The group investigated the three dead bodies and noticed that a symbol of a triangle with a vertical line going up halfway in the middle was carved into their foreheads.

The group moved through the tunnel opposite the room and found themselves in another similarly small chamber. In the middle of this chamber was a black rock hovering three feet from the floor. Ginnifer fired an arrow under the rock, and it noticeably lifted when under the rock and its trajectory rose enough that the arrow end up in the ceiling of the chamber. Ullr pushed the rock and it fell the floor near the wall. Diero then stood where the rock was, and he was suddenly lifted three feet off the ground. He could not really move until Ginnifer shoved him a bit, and he landed beside the area with the levitation effect. Though the party wasn’t really sure why things levitated in the small invisible column, they noted that this might be useful if they find themselves chased back this way by enemies. They then followed the next tunnel south to another stone door.

Inside was a larger chamber with similar stone doors both on the east and west walls. In the center of the room was a life-like and life-sized statue of a dwarf warrior wearing a chain shirt, helm, and big boots. He carried a shield on his left arm and a battleaxe in his right hand. The statue was clearly broken into and reassembled, and there was a dagger and a bunch of coins and gems scattered around it within a ring of fine gravel. Helka and Ullr moved towards the statue to read the inscription (and Diero transformed into a wolf):

Petrified Ironstar (?) dwarf,
found 1459 DR in Red Larch West Quarry
in broken condition.

Just as Ullr finished reading the inscription, the western door burst open and six leather-armoured people carrying scimitars ran into the room! The woman in front confidently said “We are the Bringers of Woe. We have come to reward your curiosity.” Then, all hell broke loose. Kaer Baer rushed to get a better angle on the newcomers, held her hands with thumbs touching and fingers spread, and engulfed the nearest enemies in flames! Within moments Ullr centered himself among the four Bringers of Woe distracted by the flames, held his warhammer in the air, yelled “for Steve!”, and pounded his weapon into the ground causing a thunderous wave to push the enemies away and douse the flames. Wolf Diero grabbed one of the men by throat, and Ginnifer hit another one with an arrow.

Ginnifer heard footsteps coming from the tunnel they came from, so she moved into the room for a chance at ambush. Helka, who was caught off-guard by the attack now entered the fray as additional Bringers of Woe stormed the room from both entrances. Kaer Baer, annoyed at another fire bolt going off the mark angrily threw off her wizard robes. The party quickly defeated the remaining Bringers of Woe and collected the treasure lying by the statue. Aside from coins and gems, Helka grabbed a dagger with star motifs and a grip of night-blue leather. Dried blood still coated the dagger (likely used to carve into the foreheads of the bodies they found earlier, the group surmised). The name “Reszur” was graven on the dagger’s pommel, and when Helka said the name aloud, the blade gave off a faint, cold glow, shedding dim light in a 10-foot radius. Speaking the name again, the light was gone. The party agreed that this weapon might best be used by Gladigan, and Helka would hold onto it until they met up with the halfling.

The party walked into the western door that the Bringers of Woe originally came from. An eight-foot-tall stone stood upright in the room’s center, so Helka and Kaer Baer each walked around opposite sides of the stone get a better view of the room. They both saw two interesting things: first, at the foot of the standing stone was a small child pinned, face down, by rocks placed atop his arms, legs, and back. Second, by the opposite door was a surprised looking half-orc holding one of many chains entering the room from the ceiling and wall. Helka, seeing the boy pinned down, immediately flew into a rage and stormed the half-orc! The half-orc let go of the chain and pulled out a mace, and locked into battle with Helka. As Kaer Baer started removing the rocks from the child, the rest of the party moved closer to the half-orc. Ginnifer yelled “Stop! You are no match for us! Give us information and we’ll let you go!”, but the half-orc only looked distracted, but this gave Helka the opening to land a punishing blow! As Wolf Diero moved up towards the half-orc, the half-orc exclaimed “Doggie!!!!”, once again distracted and open to attacks from Helka and Ullr. Ginnifer fired off a final arrow that finally killed the half-orc, a look of shock and sadness on his face as he fell to the floor.

As the boy came to, he immediately noted the dead half-orc in front of him and started crying “Grund! What happened to Grund! Oh, poor Grund…who is going to look over the market now? Poor, simple, Grund…” The adventurers attempted to calm the boy down long enough to ask him some questions. They discovered the following:

  • A group called the Believers was punishing him. His father (Rother) asked him to deliver a message to Ilmeth at his wagon shop, but he went out playing and forgot. Therefore, this was his punishment for disobedience.
  • He never read the message, since his father told him that he would get in trouble if he did.
  • The Believers are made up of some of the most important people in town, but father said they must be kept a secret. They guard the moving stones and make sure no one disturbs the Delvers, who are entombed here. They watch the moving stones very carefully, because it is a bad sign when they move, and they have to figure out what it means to avert danger.

The boy started to get scared from all of the questioning, and the group let him leave through the western door. After investigating the chains and the room beyond, the party learned that if they would have walked straight down the tunnel (instead of the north passage past the dwarf door) they likely would have walked straight into this trap; Grund was operating the chains in the room which when pulled, a cage dropped from the ceiling in the tunnel outside the door, and he could see people approaching through a small slit in the door. Ullr pulled on all the chains, dropping about ten cages and making the tunnel nearly impossible to walk through. The group now only had one unexplored area left, which was the eastern door in the room with the dwarf statue and the dead Bringers of Woe.

As soon as they opened the door, they saw a passage that ran about forty feet ahead. A small lantern hung from a hook in the wall next to the door at the east end of the passage, and sitting on a wooden stool by the lantern was a balding, beardless old male human in patched and faded work trousers and tunic. He was idly whittling a stick, but as soon as he saw the group (with the wolf in the front), he looked panicked. “Good wolf….good wolf…” he chittered while backup up against the door. The man quickly pleaded to be left alone, and the party learned the following from him:

  • His name is Baragustus Harbuckler, a retired carpenter and member of the Believers.
  • Recently, earth priests showed up in town, and one in particular (Larrakh) has learned how to read the moving stones in the next room and has taken over leadership of the Believers.
  • Marlandro Gaelker, Ilmeth Waelvur, Albaeri Mellikho, Elak Dornan, Ulhro Luruth, and Aerego Bethendur are all members of the Believers.
  • He is shocked when told of the dead bodies and states that he doesn’t know of any murders, but the Believers have certainly driven some people out of Red Larch.
  • He is taking his turn guarding the door beyond, where Larrakh is likely prepared for the group should they enter. Larrakh is dangerous, and Baragustas does not trust him. Larrakh has the ability to shape earth and make it bend to his will. Larrakh is some type of earth priest.

The group then let Baragustas leave the way they came (hearing a cry of “Grund! Nooo!” coming from the chambers behind them shortly after), and then moved into the next chamber. Inside was an enormous chamber with a twenty-foot ceiling that had been carved out of the rock. An odd array of stone monoliths stood around the chamber. Six low stone slabs were set against the walls, with each holding dwarven bones. They could see Larrakh and another Bringer of Woe behind some of the stones nearer the middle of the room.

Diero (now changed back to a human) grabbed the lantern from the previous room and started running towards Larrakh. He casted fairy fire, illuminating the Bringer of Woe in blue light, but there was no affect on Larrakh. Larrakh then raised his hands as a loud ringing noise, painfully intense, erupted near the entry to the chamber, clearly hurting Ullr, Helka, and Kaer Bear! Helka and Ullr ran to Diero’s aid closer to Larrakh as Diero toss the lantern at the earth priest, covering him in oil. Kaer Baer fired a chromatic orb towards the earth priest, but Larrakh easily dodged it. Larrakh then pulled out a glaive and in a furry made a multiple swings at Diero, critically injuring Diero with the final swipe! As Diero started swirling around dazed, he was met with an arrow fired from the Bringer of Woe, and he fell unresponsive to the ground.

Ginnifer then charged and jumped onto the stone beside the bringer of woe. In what seemed lightning fast, she took the arrow in her hand and drove it through the Bringer of Woe’s face, ripped it out, and then fired the gore-soaked arrow into Larrakh’s side! After taking some hits from Helka and Ullr, Larrakh again started to raise his hands from the ground, and this time he pounded his right fist into the ground. At that moment, Larrakh appeared as a blur and he took off at beyond human speeds towards the southeast corner of the room, narrowly escaping dual attacks from Helka and Ullr. Kaer Baer, frustrated from recent misfires, concentrated on Larrakh’s trajectory and shot a fire bolt seemingly far from the earth priest’s current position. However, given Larrakh’s speed, Larrakh and the fire bolt met dead on, lighting the oil and putting Larrakh up in flames! A stunned Larrakh was met by another arrow from Ginnifer, and he fell dead.

Some in the group noticed that when Ginnifer jumped down from the stone, the stones in the room raised slightly from the ground and could be pushed. The group surmised that Larrakh understood the magic that was used to create this effect and used that knowledge to impress the Believers, and that the Believers likely accidentally caused the effect to happen from time to time and therefore did not understand the trick fully. Helka found some coins scattered about, but the big find was the four Mirabar trade bars found on Larrakh’s body. Ullr revived Diero, and Diero summoned some goodberries to help regain some energy. While Helka, Ginnifer, and Kaer Baer searched the room, Diero investigated the area that Larrakh was running towards and found a hidden door in the corner.

The tunnel from the secret door led to a hidden entrance that opened to a quarry. The party quickly noticed that it was the same quarry they visited first thing in the morning before setting out to Lance Rock. As soon as they emerged, they were hailed by Constable Harburk. Harburk noted that he had Albaeri Mellikho in custody, and that he would send other deputies to each elder and to check out the tomb. The party let Harburk know about the three dead bodies, the cage trap, and the apparent cultists. Harburk thanked them, and told them to get to the inn and take a well-deserved rest – the investigation could continue in the morning. Harburk also, upon hearing about the Mirabar trade bars, told the group that an acolyte or priest was at the inn, and that Kaylessa told him that the traveller was concerned about a missing delegation from Mirabar. The group then walked to the inn for a rest.

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Part 2 - Investigating Lance Rock
20th Day of Tarsahk

Mellikho Stoneworks

Gladigan, Ginnifer, Helka, and Diero met up with Kaer Baer and Ullr in the lobby of the Swinging Sword Inn, and decided that joining forces would be a good idea. After catching each other up on the latest happenings, the party decided to investigate one of the elders who “Mother” Yolantha called out for acting distant and strange. After some discussion, they settled on Albaeri Mellikho, and made their way to her quarry, Mellikho Stoneworks.

As the adventurers walked into the small office building along the main road, they caught the end of Albaeri yelling at one of her workers. Ullr checked out a display case that had some samples of the stone from the quarry. After the altercation, the worker left out a door in the back of the building and approached the quarry owner. Some of the more perceptive of the group got the distinct impression that they were not welcome at the quarry office, and Albaeri wanted to get them out of her hair as soon as possible.

Albaeri stated a few times that she was very busy, but she did shortly answer some of their questions. The party learned that Mellikho Stoneworks was a 24/7 shop with both a night and day shift, and that the demand from Waterdeep for stone made it possible for both of the quarries in Red Larch to be profitable, and that a third quarry was opening somewhere else near the town. After a few questions Albaeri cut off the party, and told them that if they wanted to test their mettle, they should seek out Tricklerock Cave, a place that is rumored to have legendary treasure, and she pointed out its location on their map.

As the group left, the worker from the quarry that was seen earlier being admonished by Albaeri called over Diero. The worker told Diero that the night crew started setting up torches since mysterious dark-robed figures wearing stone masks have been spotted watching them from the shadows. Diero asked if there was any way he could investigate the quarry pits themselves, but the worker asked him to not try during the day in case they are spotted by Albaeri.

Lance Rock

Kaer Baer casted mage armor, and the group then headed out to Lance Rock. The three hour journey south along the Long Road and then west through fields and farmland proved uneventful, but the cloudy and rainy sky was made more ominous given the lighting storm they could see north over the Sumber Hills. They could see the narrow, twenty-five foot obelisk of bare, gray rock from far away as they approached. The rock jutted eastward at about a sixty degree angle. Helka used her knowledge of stonecutting to determine that the stone that made up Lance Rock was not likely from the area, and that it must of been brought over from somewhere else…almost as if it was dropped here.

Not far down a trail leading away from Lance Rock there was a sign, and it read:

Come no closer
lest you catch
the disfiguring plague
that afflicts me!
The Lord of Lance Rock

The party chose to get closer. The path lead to a cave hidden behind some trees. Gladigan attempted to hide among the trees so he could sneak up to the cave, but the group noted that the halfling wasn’t quite successful. Diero yelled “hello?!”, and was answered by a gutteral “uhhhh”. Ginnifer and Diero then snuck up, with Diero casting Faerie Fire to make out the shape of a topless man lying on the ground about 30 feet into the cave. The adventures decided to investigate the cave.

The Necromancer’s Cave

Ullr walked up the figure lying on its back and determined that the creature was likely a zombie. He then proceeded to beat the crap out of it. Everyone decided to beat the crap out of it. By the third time the zombie seemed to be finally defeated and started to get up yet again, all six of the adventures had it surrounded and were beating it to a bloody pulp. Eventually the zombie stopped getting up, and party proceeded west through a narrow passage.

The group could see far enough into the next cave opening to see a flat boulder in the middle covered in dark stains, and with a height of about three feet. Ullr entered the cave first, but was immediately hit by rocks from above! Others immediately joined him and noted the two exists to the north and south, but it was Kaer Baer that noticed a foot hanging just over the ledge where they entered. With this information Ginnifer ran straight to the stained boulder, jumped on it, turned around, and fired an arrow at one of the three zombies standing on the ledge (and holding a bucket that presumably held rocks a few short seconds earlier). The zombies stepped off the ledge, shattering some bones in the process, and the group made short work of them. Of note, Helka hit a zombie so hard its torso ripped from its body, and when it hit a wall its head popped off and flew across the room! Diero also tied a spear to some rope, and that was cool.

The party heard the faint sound of bells jingling to the south, so they ventured that way next down a slim tunnel. With hardly enough room to fit side by side, the tunnel had many protruding spurs jammed into the tunnel wall with what appeared to be dried blood on them. Gladigan hid in the shadows and took a peek into the next cave opening. In it he saw a strange sight: In a star shaped cave, there were three zombies holding arms and appearing to be in the midst of a morbid dance. One zombie was costumed as a bear, another one dressed as a lady in a frilly dress and thick makeup, and the third was dressed as a court jester with jingling bells on its collar.

The “jester” was caught in vines that rose from the ground after they were summoned by Diero, and Helka and Ullr rushed to attack the remaining two. With the two warhammer-armed dwarves grabbing the zombies’ attention, Gladigan and Ginnifer were free to fire off arrows, while Kaer Baer shoveled some fire bolts! A skeleton dressed in a ratty king costume sneaked up from a western tunnel, but Kaer Baer melted him with an acidic chromatic orb. In the end, Gladigan raided all of the costume props for later use, and secured the jester’s jingling bells from jingling.

The adventurers then followed the small tunnel that king skeleton came from, and they found themselves at another small cave opening. They could see two iron chests in the middle of the cavern, and Diero also noticed that the ceiling looked more mechanical than natural. Sensing a trap, Diero let the group know that he was going to turn into a spider (so they wouldn’t freak out) in order to sneakily search the room, so he HOLY CRAP, DIERO TURNED INTO A GIANT WOLF SPIDER LARGER THAN GLADIGAN! Ahem, ok, (side note: I looked up this site to figure out how best to write a throat clearing sound, and I learned what an onomatopoeia was in the process) moving on…

Wolf Spider Diero climbed the walls of the cave and moved to the other side on the ceiling. He noticed a small peephole on the far end, and then plugged it with one of his spider legs. After plugging the peephole, he could hear a voice mutter “…stupid spider, get out of the way…” among other things. The rest of the party entered the room and opened the chests, but they were empty. Wolf Spider Diero then pulled his spider leg out of the peephole, and all hell broke loose: Whomever was on the other side of the peephole let out a cry, “You dare pit yourselves against the Lord of Lance Rock? Death is your reward!”. Suddenly the ceiling of the cave opened and large rocks fell from the opening! Everyone jumped out of the way of trap above them except for Gladigan, who was crushed by a falling rock and knocked unconscious. The cackling man on the other side of the wall appeared to have left. After getting some clerical healing from Ullr, Gladigan was awake, and after a short rest the party ventured down the southern passage.

The southern passage was another small tunnel that winded its way westward. Once Wolf Spider Diero made his way to the entrance of a very large cavern, he and the party were spotted by the mysterious cackling figure. The wild-eyed, bald man with a bristly beard was at the far end of the cave sharpening some tools by a tool bench. In front of him were six skeletons, but he told them to wait, “let’s see how they handle themselves”, he said. In the part of the cave close to the tunnel opening were two figures in dark hoods with their backs to the adventurers near some tables bearing corpses. The adventures wasted no time and attacked the figures!

As the party got into formation, they noted that the hooded figures were in fact more zombies, and more surprising, some severed hands and feet jumped out of baskets on the tables and attacked the group! Ginnifer quickly wrapped cloth around one of her arrows and lit it by a nearby torch, and fired it at one of the zombies. The zombies and animated body parts were no match to the heroes though; with Ullr and Wolf Spider Diero leading the assault, the crazed man eventually ordered the skeletons to attack while he ran further into the cave complex.

Ginnifer, Gladigan, and Kaer Baer all attacked the closest skeleton with ranged attacks, taking it out before the skeletons had a chance to get moving. Diero changed back to his human form and once again summoned vines which captured two skeletons in their midst. The captured skeletons switched to bows and started firing arrows at Gladigan, but the halfling was too fast for them, and he returned the favor with arrows of her own. After a couple of missed steps, Helka got really angry and started what might be her true calling as a skeleton DEMOLISHER! With her warhammer she started turning the skeletons into dust, and by the time she was done, everyone was coated with a thin sheet of the white dust.

The party then pursued the Lord of Lance Rock, and they found themselves in another cave, but this time the cave had dark purple tapestries hanging on the walls. At the center of this cave opening was a pedestal fashioned of severed arms arranged to clutch one another in a cone. Cradled in the uppermost hands was a glowing crystal sphere. Inside the sphere was a dark sigil with an eyelike slit. Kaer Baer simply shot out a fire bolt to light the tapestries on fire, and as Diero moved towards the crystal sphere, the sigil disappeared and the man they were chasing leaped out of the tapestries and screamed “Can’t you see it!? It’s the Eye! It sees your every move! Don’t you fear it!?”

The man then raised a wand and three missiles in rapid succession hit Diero! The heroes quickly moved to formation with Helka, Ullr, and Diero (who at this point was changed into a panther…) closing around the necromancer, and Gladian, Ginnifer, and Kaer Baer attacking with projectiles. The group did ultimately defeat the man, but not before he was able to shoot missiles from his wand two more times, leaving the party tired and wounded. When the final strike came, the man turned into a black flame that dwindled to nothing with a plaintive wail and vanished. The party looted the room, picking up the crystal globe and the wand, among some silver, gold, and gems. There was enough knowledge among the group to recognize the globe as a driftglobe, and the wand as a wand of magic missiles. After a lengthy discussion about who should take the items, it was decided that the driftglobe would be given to Diero once he turned back to his regular form, and that Kaer Baer would take the wand. The party then left the room before breathing any more of the smoke generated by the burning tapestries.

Finally, the party decided to check out the last remaining area, the tunnel that led north near the cave system’s opening. Gladigan attempted to sneak up to the cavern at the end of the small tunnel, but was unable to see anything in the dark. Kaer Baer was able to see about a dozen or so bodies on the ground or leaned up along the wall. Ginnifer then walked into the room, but the moment she stepped on one of the bodies, five skeletons rose and attacked the heroes! First, the skeletons focused on Ginnifer, but Ullr and Helka moved in to help out. Ullr was quickly attacked and knocked out by one of the skeletons however. Ginnifer fought back ferociously, stowing her bow and making multiple attacks with an arrow in each hand! Gladigan ran through her comrades to sneak a couple of arrow attacks of his own while Kaer Baer fired off bolts of fire and tried hitting a skeleton with her shovel, and Helka made a whole lot more skeleton dust! Once again, the party could hardly breathe in the cave after Helka was done introducing the skeletons to her warhammer.

After the battle, Diero helped Ullr regain consciousness, and the adventures decided that they needed a rest before making the trip back to Red Larch.

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Part 1(b) - Meanwhile in Amphail
19th Day of Tarsahk

Bren Blackstone the human fighter, Ullr Frostholm the dwarven tempest cleric & Caer Baer the gnomish wizard each have their reasons for being in Amphail. Caer Baer, for instance, may be looking for a tyrant who was rumored to be in the area. She can’t stand tyranny! Bren is similarly motivated, and it’s quite possible they both heard the same rumors.
Ullr is an acolyte, perhaps on a holy quest to gain favor in his deity’s view.
They have all arrived and are seeking some sign to guide them forward.

The inn they were at has a very knowledgeable and welcoming innkeeper; Idrina. When they ask about the local events, Idrina advised that they may want to head toward Red Larch, as several strange rumors have been coming from that town… strange weather patterns, a ghost-haunted tomb, bandits roaming the region, and a strangely foreboding landmark/obelisk… so much strange activity that it’s likely worth pursuing.

Idrina followed up with the more “mundane” local events… a vast influx of rats in the town. Normally the streets of Amphail are quite clear, but the last few weeks have seen a big inrush of rats and disease.
They’ve also had a rash of thievery lately. At first, “the Raven” seemed to steal from the rich and give to the poor. Still a concern for any valuable property moving through town, but most of the poor were quite enthused. Lately, the gifts to the poor have tricked to almost none, and the thievery continues!
After reviewing the local bulletin board for posters, and seeing the Captain of the Watch listed for bounties on both the rat menace, and the Raven… the group headed in search of the Captain.

“Salty” Gordon, a gruff and somewhat unfriendly captain, answered several of their questions when they offered to help with these issues. Though gruff, he was convinced to double his offer “per tail” for rats, and the adventurers followed his directions toward the poorer district of town.

As the adventurers started poking around in a restaurant (after shooting an arrow through a rat in the shadows of the vacant building) for clues or hints of what’s going on, they were surprised by a swarm of rats! Despite being caught off guard and split up, they quickly crushed the rat swarm… carefully removing and collecting rat tails with Bren’s very delicate greatsword, they were stashed in Bren’s pouch.

Finding a key led them out the back into an alley with a sewer opening where many rat squeaks and scurrying could be heard. A nearby warehouse that seemed completely untouched warranted further inspection by Caer Baer and Bren, while Ullr kept an eye on the sewer hole. The warehouse contained crates of “antidote”, and a suspicious letter advising “Alson” to next spread rats and plague into the Broken Mug Tavern… for “great reward”.
Returning to Ullr, the trio dropped into the rank sewers without further ado.

The putrid stench of the sewers and trying to navigate the maze of the crisscrossing passageways created a difficult route. After several twists and turns, two swarms of rats came at the trio… one from the front and one from the rear. Bren’s greatsword had ongoing difficulty due to the swarming nature of the rats, but Caer Baer’s blasts of firebolts continued to hit home. As Hammer Jammer faced the swarm in the front, his tough armor seemed to keep almost all of the bites at bay. When suddenly a snake dropped unexpectedly onto Ullr, and tried to bite him, his thunderous reaction attack blasted it to chunks. The rats managed to get a few scratches and bites in, but the heroes emerged triumphantly. A short rest and some healing in the rancid sewers proved to be a good decision…

As they continued through the sewers seeking the ever increasing rat poop, and assorted bones, they suddenly smelled a potent rotten smell. As they looked at each other (accusingly?) to try to determine the source, Bren’s torch ignited a pocket of explosive gas KaBOOMed! and knocked the heroes sprawling. They picked themselves up, and now there was palpable tension as Ullr & Caer Baer hesitated to let Bren re-ignite his torch. Fairly severe burn wounds were now visible on the adventurers.

Fearing what may lie ahead, Caer Baer valiantly attacked the darkness… sending a firebolt down the hallway ahead into a larger room in the distance.
As the firebolt struck the far wall, a cry of anger, part human, part rat squeal echoes toward the group “Come my rats! Kill the invaders!”
A human looking man starts running toward them, shifting as he runs into a freakish half-man half-rat hybrid, a swarm of rats at his heels.
Reacting quickly the group got organized for the fight. It was obvious though, that the wererat seemed quite immune to the arrow from Bren’s bow. Fortunately, Caer Baer’s blast of necrotic Ray of Sickness hit him square in the chest for massive damage. Bren improvised a flaming arrow as he grew frustrated his weapons weren’t having effect, and the fiery arrow hit home with significant damage. As the wererat turned to flee, the adventurers gave chase across the room. Soon after, the rat swarm enveloped Caer Baer! Gnawing and gnashing the gnome, she ended up knocked out, however Ullr and Bren managed to finish off the freakish wererat and his swarm of rats before any got away.
Bren confidently cut all the tails off the rats, and some investigation in the lair found a bottle of poison that Ullr collected which could coat his weapon for two poisoned strikes. They also found a symbol on the wererat’s chest of a plague deity. Papers in a pile indicated that this wererat was in fact Alson from the paperwork found earlier.

The triumphant heroes cashed in their rat tails and collected the prize for eliminating the rat/plague menace, netting 90 gold each… grudgingly paid out by Salty Gordon. They also headed over to the Broken Mug Tavern to try to see if anyone would pay them for preventing the plague rats! The barkeep was grateful however not willing to pay… but he was pretty certain that a shady merchant had it out for his tavern. He pointed out the merchant, and Ullr (the only non-drunk at the time) noticed it was a sketchy looking Tiefling merchant that quickly fled out the back door on seeing them pointing.

As they packed in and headed back to the Inn for the night, Caer Baer & Ullr were thinking of heading to Red Larch for further investigation of the rumors, while Bren planned to continue investigating Amphail for another few days.

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Part 1(a) - The Adventure Begins
19th, 20th Days of Tarsahk

Arrival at Red Larch

After camping just south of Red Larch, three of the adventurers (Diero, Helka, & Gladigan) made their way to Red Larch. They met in Waterdeep when Gladigan seeked out traveling campanions who had business in the Dessarin Valley. Gladigan, an initiate of the Zhentarim, was to seek out a Zhentarim contact in Red Larch. Diero is on the path of finding a secretive druid circle, and Helka’s reasons remain a mystery for now.

Upon reaching Red Larch, the party visited many local shops and talked to the locals. The most important event that morning was running into Ginnifer, a wood elf looking for a missing nobleman’s daughter from Waterdeep. Ginnifer agreed to join the party on their adventures.

The party first met with the local constable Harburk Tuthmarillar, who asked them to check out one of two possible bandit hideouts. They ran into Ginnifer while visiting the Zhentarim contact, baker Mangobarl Lorren. Mangobarl told Gladigan that her mission was to accompany a Mirabar dwarf delegation to the Bargewright Inn, and in particular delegate Bruldenthar, who was to meet with another Zhentarim contact at the Bargewright Inn to conduct some business. The delegation was due to be in Red Larch by now, but still have not shown up. In the meantime, Mangobarl suggested the adventurers help with some of the problems facing Red Larch.

Mangobarl told the adventures that the daughter of local poutry farmer Minthra Mhandyvver, Pell, has been telling stories of a ghost she saw near an old tomb. When Mangobarl went to investigate, she saw a goblin and assumed that the “ghost” was some type of trick used by the goblin to deter trespassers. Before leaving Lorren’s Bakery, the group tried the local dish crumblecake, and found it to be sort of bland.

The adventures then visited the local inn, the Swinging Sword. Proprietor Kaylessa Irkell had much to say about the rumors going around town. She also suggested that all the weird activity in town was probably somehow tied to an evil presence at Lance Rock, a slender stone monolith that juts up in the plains just northwest of Red Larch. She offered the party 50 gold pieces if they investigate and take care of any evil there. Kaylessa also told the adventurers that some of the town elders were acting strange and distant. She mentioned Mellikho Stoneworks owner Albaeri Mellikho and Ulhro Luruth the tanner in particular. Before leaving, Gladigan asked Kaylessa about the delegation from Mirabar – though Kaylessa did not know anything of the delegation, some in the party felt that two of Kaylessa’s staff seemed to grow interested in the conversation at that moment. It should also be noted that while everyone else in the party had beer while talking with Kaylessa, Helka enjoyed an apple juice.

During the group’s discussions with Red Larchers they also found out that Savra Belabranta was in the area around a month ago, and that she stayed at the Swinging Sword Inn, and visited Haeleeya Hanadroum’s bathhouse. Savra is the woman Ginnifer is looking for, and multiple locals suggested that Savra was a peculiar woman that seemed preoccupied with the sky and enjoyed running in the wind when others would be taking shelter inside.

Bandit Cave

The party ventured out to the spot Harburk suggested could be a bandit camp, and it turned out Harburk was correct. The group noticed smoke from a fire and tried to sneak up on the cave, but it turned out the bandit had, caged beside them, a black bear. The keen senses of the bear caught on to the party quickly, and it started to act up. If there was going to be a chance of surprise, they needed to act fast. However, the moment Ginnifer saw the caged bear, she leaped into action, running to nearby cover and readied an arrow. Diero almost simultaneously motioned his hands into a pattern and spoke an incantation. Ginnifer’s arrow took a bandit in her leg just as vines grew from the earth under all four bandits sitting by the fire. Even before the bandits knew what was happening, an arrow from Gladigan found a bandit’s throat, and the power of Helka’s javelin was driven into a third’s.

The bandit’s luck only grew worse as the agitated bear broke out of its cage and attacked the bandits, now securely trapped in the Diero’s summoned weeds and vines. The bear gruesomely attacked the bandits while the party helped made short work of them, with some especially well aimed arrows from Gladigan. After the last bandit was killed, the bear shifted its attention to Helka. Helka delivered a devastating blow after becoming enraged, and it was up to Diero to finish the beast off. Understanding that Ginnifer had a close connection with creatures of the forest, Diero managed to subdue to the animal with a non-lethal dose of poison, ending the threat, and acknowledging the wishes of his companions.

Night Time Shenanigans

The group returned to Red Larch and showed Harburk the recovered bandit loot as proof that the threat was dealt with. After some awkward conversation with Harburk and his…girlfriend?…Harburk walked with them to the Swinging Sword Inn and convinced Kaylessa to provide the group dormitory for free to the adventurers while they were helping out the town. Diero called it a night, but the rest of the party still had some plans.

Gladigan sneaked his way to the first room on the second floor, hoping to sneak in and find information about Savra Belabranta’s stay in Red Larch. Though Gladigan was able to sneak into the room without wakening the sleeping guest, he was unable to find anything in the dark room. There wasn’t really a way to know if Savra even stayed in that room.

Ginnifer and Helka decided to rest and visit Haeleeya’s bathhouse. It turned out that two Red Larchers were already in the bathhouse: “Mother” Yalantha Dreen, who runs the boarding house, and Minthra (“Minnie”) Mhandyvver, owner of Mhandyvver’s Poutry. Minthra confirmed the stories her daughter Pell was saying about the ghost at the old tomb, but she did not seem to believe it herself. She also collaborated Kaylessa’s story about the unusual behavior of the elders, adding Elak Dornan (the other quarry owner) and Ilmeth Waelvur (owner of one of the wagon shops in town) to the list. The two had a pleasant evening conversing with the local Red Larchers in the bathhouse. Gladigan and Diero were already asleep when they returned to the inn for the night.

A Discovery

First thing in the morning Diero asked Kaylessa if they could look around the room that Savra Belabranta stayed in. To Gladigan’s amazement, Kaylessa said “no problem” and led them to the room. Not well versed in urban human dwellings, Ginnifer did not seem to have a handle on how best to examine an inn’s room, but the rest of the party searched everywhere. Eventually, Gladigan pulled a partially burned piece of paper from the room’s hearth. The paper was a “Help Wanted” flyer with Savra’s picture on it. Also on the paper was indecipherable text and a symbol resembling a carrot.

The Haunted Tomb

After a quick visit at Mhandyvver’s to get Pell’s story, the adventures ventured to the old tomb. Upon finding the tomb, Diero and Helka stood watch while Ginnifer guarded Gladigan’s study of the entrance. Helka’s knowledge of stonecutting told her that this was most likely a tomb of someone important, and that tombs like that tend to have traps. There was enough room for Gladigan to move through a small opening in the door, however, the party decided to open the door completely. Once opened, something behind the door crashed with a loud ring. When Deiro touched the only door in the tomb’s first chamber, a ghostly warrior flew out of the door, through Deiro, and proclaimed “you must go!”

After a few minutes of trying to converse with the ghost, the ghost suddenly attacked the party. Ginnifer was the first out of the tomb when the party decided to back out of the tomb, but she was ambushed by a goblin and a half-ogre. Based on their conversation, these two were named Geeraugh and Mougra. Ginnifer attempted to cut across the goblin’s neck with her two shortswords, but Mougra just barely dodged, leaving an opening the for the half-ogre to deliver a punishing blow to Ginnifer! Ginnifer got up and continued fighting while cornered by the two, and was able to hold on until getting help from her traveling companions that ran out of the tomb behind her. Helka dropped her warhammer, flew into a rage, grabbed two handaxes, and mightily threw the first one at the half-ogre. Gladigan and Diero following suit with arrows and druid magic, while Ginnifer got the upper hand again on the goblin.

Once Geeraugh and Mougra were taken care of, the party rested while planning how they would battle the ghost warrior. Diero cast a spell that produced ten goodberries, and he shared them with the group. The plan was for Helka to retrieve her warhammer that she dropped in the tomb and to attack the ghost as he flew out of the door. The adventures knew that the ghost would be resistant to their attacks, but with time they should be able to break away at its power. The plan went well at first, with Helka delivering a devastating blow to the specter as soon as it appeared! But that first victory was short lived as the ghost grabbed Helka and swiftly drained her life force, dropping her as a heap to the floor. The ghost then targeted Diero but was unable to get a handle on him. The group did eventually whittle down the ghost’s essence, and it finally shrieked “noooooo!” as it dissipated into the air.

After Diero healed Helka, he broke through the door to the next chamber. In the room was a coffin and chest. Gladigan found a false bottom in the chest and grabbed the treasure within, but when Helka opened the coffin, a sword lying on top of a skeleton dressed in a rusted breastplate flew out of the coffin and started attacking the adventurers! The adventurers took turns swinging at the flying sword, and it suddenly stopped and fell to the floor, its magical power expended. Diero took the sword and placed it back on the skeleton and closed the coffin’s lid, honoring the nameless warrior within.

The trek back to town was uneventful, and the party went straight for the inn to rest.

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Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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