Campaign of the Month: March 2009

Denizens of the Nentir Vale

Discovering Thunderspire

As the three old comrades, the brave and noble Paladin of Bahamut Felsmon of Dragest Igetnem, the mighty dwarven warrior Barrick, and the heartfelt warrior priest of Bahamut,Z’alden Silverflame journeyed from Winterhaven to Fallcrest with their new companions, the able Ranger Erik Stormgrund and the impetuous but brilliant Eladrin wizard Rift, they were not quite sure what to make of their new companions and their new mission. Enlisted by Marla of Pelor, the 5 gathered needed equipment at Winterhaven, rode to Fallcrest, and discovered more information about the Bloodreavers and their lair of Thunderspire Mountain.

Comments

Should we say our goodbyes to the inhabitants of Winterhaven, and depart for warmer climates? Can we assume that Rift and Erik can have Tira and Skamos’ horses?

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At sunrise, Erik heads out to the stables to check on the horses. He checks their feeding, grooming and overall health. He also keeps an eye out for the halfling and her human companions. Are there any stable hands he can talk to? If so, what do they say when asked about the comings and goings of others? Do the stablehands mention the halfling?

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OOC: Yes you may have Tira and Skamos’ horses, i.e., you can use five horses.

One stable hand comes in whilst Erik is there. He reports nothing unusual, at least not to him, although he admits he has only been working there for about six weeks.

During the conversation Valthrun pokes his head in through the door, “Ah Goodman Erik, I thought I recognized your voice. Up early as well I see. Are you and your new friends off today? Have you decided on your next destination?”

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Before turning in for the night, Z’alden says to Rift, “this is what comrades do. Since you did not have need of all that offered, I thank for its return. I’ll see that it is put to good use.”

The next morning, Z’alden takes the 9 gold pieces, pulls out the two silver, and heads to Salvana. He says to her, “Salvana, at times I am sure you see those in need. Please keep these 4 gold and 2 silver for a time when you wish you could give a room or a meal to someone who needs it and share it with them. While we are away, I a favor to ask. Would you find out the name and business of the halfling and the two humans? I have two gold for your trying now and would wish to give you 3 more for succeeding when we return.”

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Salvana picks the 4 gold and 2 silver from Z’alden’s hand. “You are most gracious, thank you, I will indeed help out those less fortunate. If only everyone were of your manor. As for your other request, I am afraid that I cannot accept. I will not act as spy for anyone, nor will I sell personal information I might overhear in my taproom. If the halfling and humans return the best I can do is tell them you inquired. If they wish their names shared with you, then I will do so; and one question from me is hardly worth 5 gold, let alone 5 silver.”

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Erik replies to Valthrun, “Yes, we will be leaving today. Villagers of the Harkenwold are being snatched by the Bloodreavers gang and we intend to put a stop to it. Please wish us well for a successful and safe return.”

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Over a hearty breakfast of roast owlbear (or whatever is available), Rift and her companions discuss their plans – “Should we head to Fallcrest, and see what news we can gather?”

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Turning half-way around, Z’alden pauses, then returns his gaze to Salvana. “Indeed, my money is better spent than I had hoped. For by turning me down to ask a question for a large sum, you have won my admiration and renewed my hope. I apologize for testing you. I had feared that you had provided information to others about the movements of my comrades and me. I am pleased to find out that my fears were ill-placed. When my comrades and I defeated the kobolds in their stronghold several days ago, word of our victory reached the town long before we did. Someone must have been following us. I am most pleased to know that the information they needed did not come from you.” Z’alden double checks her response with an Insight check. “Please do let the halfing and humans know that Z’alden Silverflame, servant Bahamut, asked after them and their welfare.”

Z’alden joins Rift and the others at the table. “Yes, let us gather our things and head to Fallcrest. The longer we delay, the colder the trail may become. As Skamos and Tira did not need their horses, we can ride immediately. Erik, thank you for your care of the steeds. I do want to warn you that we may be followed, by whom I do not know.” Z’alden tells Erik and Rift of the bit of strangeness that followed the Kobold adventure, how the town knew of their success before they arrived.

“I had suspected Salvana involved, but no longer do from her reluctance to take gold in a request for information on the halfing and the humans who treated Rift so kindly. Ninaran, possibly, and with Valthrun watching her closely, perhaps that she is no longer a worry. Still, I wanted you to know of this concern. I would be off if there is nothing else pressing in Winterhaven.”

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Later this evening after nightfall, wherever the party happens to be, the group is outside at some point when something in the sky catches your attention. Looking upward, you see a strange sight, illuminated by the moonlight. It is hard to make out details because of the distance and the waning light. A wagon or cart of some sort is being pulled through the sky. Four pairs of some sort of magical beast pull the cart. You guess that the beast are of demonic origin as they are wingless, have cloven feet and what appear to be forked spines jutting from their heads. In the cart rides a strange creature with bright red skin and odd tufts of white hair or fur around its body. Also in the cart is a huge bag of loot, you surmise that it contains all the remains from the pillaging of some remote village. You hear the sound of metal ringing against metal, and as the odd beings fly out of sight you can barely make out some words coming from the red thing in the cart, “Ho Ho Ho. Merry Christmas!” *<:-)

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Barrick curses and mutters “I hate wingless flying beasts.” He remembers seeing similar sights in the past, usually during this season. Might be some annual migration, moving to more hospitable climes. Judging from the size of the load, it would be for a huge family, maybe a small tribe. This reminds him of his own family, bad memories as always, and he curses again.

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Felsmon says” I’m indeed ready to go to Fallcreast, is there a chance that I could see mine kin. Maybe a dragonborn smith of the clan Dragest Faethon ( meaning Dragon Smith ) ?”

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Upon seeing the magical man in red, Erik thinks back to his youth where there was warmth and comfort at the hearth, shelter from the tall mountains amongst which his village sat. All so far away and gone. Comfort now found in his friendship with his new companions. OOC: And the crushing of his enemies.

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Rift muses aloud, “As we are of course all of good disposition (or at least “unaligned”), and would never be on someone’s bad list, perhaps the magical red creature might have tossed something overboard? For wandering adventurers, out to rescue hapless villagers?”

“Maybe a +1 lump of coal?”

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Felsmon says “Maybe that red creature threw us a gold piece or two, possibly a helm for me and a staff for Rift, some new ritules for Z’alden?”

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Z’alden bursts into a song,”All I went for Eggsmas is a resounding mace, a resounding mace, a resounding mace. Gee, if I could only have a resounding mace, then I could squash you merry Eggsmas!”

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OOC: As much as it would be nice to receive gifts from the rotund creature in the flying cart, even he knows the potential peril of dropping a sword onto a party from 1,000 feet in the air, and would never put anyone in danger.

It is an easy two day ride to Fallcrest. The first night you are able to camp peacefully in a nice copse not too far from the road. You arrive in Fallcrest around 4pm of your second day. You have used up two days worth of trail rations, which you can replace in town for 1gp, and you can spend the night in the Inn for 2gp total for the group. Is there anything you wish to do in town? When do you wish to depart? It is approximately one full day’s ride east to Thunderspire and to where Erik lost the trail of the Bloodreavers.

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Since Rift is a sometime resident of Fallcrest, she directs the party to a good inn, preferably one with a lot of “adventurous” traffic. Is there anything to be gleaned from the innkeeper or any of the travelers at the inn? Has anyone heard anything about Thunderspire or minotaurs? How about people being kidnapped?

Where does Baron Stockmer live? In Fallcrest? If so, we would like to pay him a visit, to get a written promise of 1000 gold for the rescue of the captives. If he doesn’t live in Fallcrest, is his residence on the way to Thunderspire?

So many questions… It reminds Rift of her mage apprentice days – all questions, no answers.

Know this mageling, and know it well: there is no greater fool than a wizard. The greater the mage, the greater the fool, because we who work magic live in a world of dreams, and chase dreams… and in the end, dreams undo us.

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Z’alden pays the 2gp for the group at the inn, and gets 2 days worth of trail rations for 1gp.

“Rift, Erik told us that Baron Stockmer lives in Harkenwold.”

OOC: Using his Streetwise (rolled a 12 +4 = 16), Z’alden tries to get information on the Bloodreavers and their captives.

Additionally, Z’alden wants to find out whether someone in Fallcrest would have would trade 5 eternal chalks (each one selling for 360 , so all five would sell for three) for an amulet of protection. He discusses this with Felsmon and Barrick, who each already have one. Assuming that there is a place in the town, and that Felsmon and Barrick agree to this use of their group treasure, Z’alden wants to get an amulet of protection before the group departs.

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OOC: Oops. thought I was logged in as zplayer. Future comments are again from rplayer.

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Felsmon agrees with Z’alden to use the eternal chalk should be used in this way.

Felsmon wants to know if there are any dragonborns in Fallcrest. Hopefully, from one of these two clans: Dragest Igetnum (meaning Dragon Warrior) or Dragest Feathon (meaning Dragon Smith).

Felsmon is ready to leave as soon as the rest of the group. Felsmon agrees with Rift that we should ask for a 1,000 gp reward.

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Z’alden thanks Felsmon for agreeing.

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The Baron does indeed live in the Harkenwold, several days ride to the southeast. He is known to be a just and compassionate ruler. He was also known for his strong sword arm in his youth. Based on the comments and talkings of the townsfolk, if the Baron says he will pay 1,000gp for the return of all 12 captives then he will pay 1,000gp.

The people of Fallcrest are mostly humans, halflings, and dwarves. No dragonborn or eladrin are permanent residents, but travelers of all races pass through on occasion. On this particular day there are no dragonborn in the town.

Z’alden checks into both supply shops. In the first, the Halfmoon Trading House, Z’alden talks to the proprietor, a halfling named Selarund Halfmoon. When asked about obtaining an amulet Selarund winks at Z’alden and replies, “A nail ain’t afraid of a hammer with no handle!” In the second shop, Sandercot Provisioners, the owner, Nimena Sandercot, says she will buy your enchanted chalk at a price of 350gp (Note: that is 350gp total for all 5 sticks, not 350gp per stick), but that she has no amulets for sale. Asking around on the street, Z’alden is again told that no magic items are for sale in the small town.

Rift directs the party to The Silver Unicorn, the pricier of the two inns in town, even though the Nentir Inn sees a more interesting clientele. During the evening, using all your Streetwise skills, and appropriate askings, you find out that Thunderspire is not so uninhabited as the people of Winterhaven believe. Beneath Thunderspire lies the ancient minotaur city of Saruun Khel. The minotaur kingdom fell almost a hundred years before Fallcrest was established, when a struggle for succession led to a vicious civil war. Some folk claim that portions of the city still exist today, albeit under the tight rule of a group of overseers, whilst other portions of the city have fallen into ruin and disuse and have become a haven for the creatures of the underdark. The main level is said to be open to the outside and that merchants passing along the Trade Road sometimes take shelter here, although no one with whom you converse has actually been inside Thunderspire nor seems to directly know anyone who has done so.

As to the Bloodreavers, a few people claim to have heard the name before, but no one is aware of any slaver gangs operating in the area. One person you talk to, Aren Moonstir, is on the town council and asks if you are going after these, “Bloody reavers.” He will not give you any gold or any other assistance, he is concerned that the town could become threatened in the future and wants to keep abreast of the situation. He asks that if you do find any such slave trade in the Vale that you inform the council on your next trip through.

Fallcrest is a large enough town that the party could easily spend several days here, talking and exploring and finding small quests to entertain yourselves.

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“Minotaurs… mazes… ”, Erik muses, “The chalk may come in handy. Perhaps we hold on to the chalk for now. One stick for each of us just in case we get separated in a minotaur’s maze. What items are we in dire need of? Armor? Fine weaponry?”

Erik then remembers to thank Z’alden for the food and stay at the inn. He continues, “Z’alden, shall we check out the local armory? I’d love to browse through some new swords, bows and arrows. Maybe Felsmon and the others would like to join us. I’ll want to hang around the stables later too and tag along with Rift, especially if she decides to browse the local jeweler’s shop.”

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The dwarf Teldorthan Ironhews is the town’s weaponsmith and armorer. He has in stock any mundane weapon or armour in the PHB (special price items take a minimum of 4 weeks to manufacture). If you ask about magic items he laughs and suggests you buy a hammer, “If you can drive a nail, you can kill an orc! You can drive a nail, can’t you?”

Naerumar’s Imports deals in gemstones, jewelry and art. The owner, Orest Naerumar, given a few weeks, can typically order in low-level magic items or other low-level items of unusual value. He will buy magic items and other oddities without questioning the origin. However Orest is not a fence, if he knows the item was obtained illegally he will decline to purchase it.

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Rift looks for the nearest jeweler’s shop. (Just joking)

Let’s stay in Fallcrest for 2 nights – on the second night, let’s stay at the Nentir Inn, to talk to the “interesting clientele”. Does anyone know what kind of creatures are the “overseers”, or the “creatures of the underdark” ?

Also, Rift is going to test out the eternal chalk on the tower of her former mentor, Nimozaran, who so ungratefully threw her out. She will be extra careful to avoid detection.

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Z’alden asks both Orest Naerumar and Nimena Sandercot whether they know anyone in town who might be able to enhance knowledge with the Knock ritual. Z’alden expects that the Knock ritual and components would cost 210 g.p. He acquires of Rift how extensive is her Arcana skill knowledge, taking care not to offend her, and expecting that her knowledge is much more extensive than his.

Z’alden gives one stick of the chalk to Rift to decorate Nimozaran’s tower.

“Erik, I am well equipped. I believe that if some of the chalk can be sold for a good use, then we should sell it. Without the defensive magic that I was hoping for, the next best use I can see for this magic is acquire the Knock ritual for Rift, unless Rift already knows it. Perhaps because you have worked alone so much, you are not as accustomed to thinking of the good of the group. If we each were to need a chalk, then we have become completely separated. By the Claw, let us hope that this does not happen, and let us acquire magic that will allow us to be more powerful working together.”

If Rift wants the ritual, and we can get it in the town, Z’alden wants to stay in town long enough to sell 3 sticks to Nimena Sandercot for the cost of the Knock ritual for Rift and components.

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While talking with Orest Naerumar and Nimena Sandercot, Z’alden also inquires about the Rituals Enchant Magic Item, Brew Potion, Hand of Fate, and Transfer Enchantment.

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“Z’alden, very good. Let’s see what we can get for five sticks of magic chalk.”, replies Erik.

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Rift politely informs Z’alden that she currently only knows 3 rituals: Magic Mouth, Make Whole, and Silence. She has enough arcana components to cast each one twice, although the “beholder eye” is starting to dry out…

DM: Is it possible that Rift acquired some more rituals (like Knock) while advancing to level 4? She seems to recall slipping out of Nimozaran’s tower with one of his minor ritual books.

Rift agrees – let us trade up to 5 of the chalk sticks for Knock, Enchant Magic Item, Transfer Enchantment (Adv. Vault p. 199), or Brew Potion (whichever ones are not in Nimozaran’s ritual book).

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Nodding to Erik, “Indeed, if we cannot immediately acquire a useful item with a minor enchantment for 5 sticks, then selling 3 sticks and acquiring a useful Ritual may be good. Then, Barrick, Felsmon, and I could each keep a stick. Rather like a compromise on your dividing up the sticks and my idea of getting something useful for the group.” As they shop, “Erik, I too have some training in tracking and other sorts of perception. I believe that we can probably work together to save the group from traps and find useful avenues, such as secret doors. Tell me, can you smell a gelatinous cube hiding?”

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Z’alden agrees with Rift that up to 5 sticks should be sold in trade for 2 Rituals out of Knock, Enchant Magic Item, Transfer Enchantment (Adv. Vault p. 199), or Brew Potion. Rift would get Knock (which depends on an Arcana check result), and Z’alden would get the other one. Z’alden would very much like to see what other rituals are in Nimozaran’s minor ritual book. If some of Nimozaran’s rituals are in a special language, perhaps the enchanted spectacles will help to understand the language.

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Either Nimena or Orest will buy the 5 sticks of enchanted chalk for 350gp (70 per stick). Orest can sell the rituals of Knock, Brew Potion and Transfer Enchantment, as well as the components for up to 2 of each ritual.

I suppose I can let Rift have a minor ritual book from Nimozaran. In the book are four minor rituals: Animal Language, Comprehend Languages, Detect Secret Doors and Endure Elements. Orest has components for 1 Animal Language, 2 Comprehend Languages and Detect Secret Doors, and 3 Endure Elements. Prices for everything are as noted in the books.

Scrolls are of higher demand and nothing is currently available.

OOC: Note that in order to master a ritual a character must spend 8 hours, uninterupted, studying each ritual. Let me know how much time you want to spend on ritual studying, sleep, and other things.

After staying at the Nentir Inn and talking with the clientele you discern that the overseers are powerful in the use of magic and the underdark creatures are rumoured to be anything from a lost group of kobolds to demon lords.

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At Sandercot Provisioners, Z’alden gives Nimena Sandercot 5 sticks of eternal chalk, and gets Brew Potion Ritual and the components for 1 potion of healing (125 g.p.). He gets the Knock Ritual and 2 set of components (245 gp) for a total of 370 gp. He uses his best Diplomacy to bargain with Nimena to take 10 gp for the remainder, instead of the 20gp, for which he puts down 1 Pelorian crown. The healing potion would go to Barrick or Felsmon as part of the “treasure” from the chalk sticks. If either of them wants to put in 50 gp, or split the cost, so that Z’alden would have the components for a 2nd potion of healing, Z’alden would appreciate it, so that they each could get a potion.

With the two rituals, Z’alden wants to spend 8 hours at the Silver Unicorn to get Brew Potion into his ritual book. Z’alden is expecting Rift to spend 8 hours there also to get Knock into her ritual book. At some point in the future, Z’alden will want to get Knock into his book as well (for another 175 gp of ink, materials, etc). This is less about group needs than his own wants, so he would expect to pay for that himself.

At 5th level, Z’alden will be able to make the potions of healing spend in about 1 hour per potion.

While the spellcasters are busy learning, Z’alden would appreciate Felsmon guarding the room and hopes that Barrick and Erik will case the town for additional information on the Bloody reavers, where to go, and what else they might expect.

Also, when Erik visits the armory, would he inquire as to whether they know how to make “double” weapons, such as the double sword?

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Oh, exhausted after 8 hours of ritual learning, Z’alden wants to sleep for the necessary 6 hours with the Eladrin nearby. After that, he’ll be ready to go unless Erik and Barrick have discovered something in town that needs immediate attention.

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When it comes to business Nimena is hard and ruthless, she will not accept 1 copper less than her asking price.

Teldorthan Ironhews says he can make a double sword, but as each blade takes 3-4 weeks to properly prepare, a double sword would take 6-8 weeks to complete. As the market for such a weapon is small, Teldorthan requires pre-payment for such an item, 40gp.

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Nimena’s coppers are there for her asking. Z’alden puts down the 2 Pelorian crowns and the extra 50 gp to get the second set of healing potion components.

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Before heading back to the Silver Unicorn to the learn the ritual, Z’alden stops by the jeweler’s to see how much the silver bracelet of the Keegan child is worth. If the jeweler seems honest to Z’alden’s Insight, he will sell it.

Regardless of how much it is worth, Z’alden will take the money. Anything over 50 gp, he will split by 3 with Barrick and Felsmon.

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“Ahh, Z’alden, I haver never come across a gelatinous cube. I have heard that they are incredibly hard to spot.”, says Erik. As Erik describes experiences, you judge that he has a passive perception of “22”. Erik then offers his 154 gold for the group effort – perhaps a couple of potions of healing or a down payment on a double sword.

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Orest examines the bracelet. “Keegan. Hmm, is that the family, now extinct, from over west? They were a nice family, if I remember the tales well, of modest means, but never ones for extravagance. Someone closer to their home ground might be able to give you sentimental value, but for me it is simply an old silver bracelet. 35 gold.” Orest’s impeccable manners, befitting one used to dealing with art and jewelry collecters, waver not the slightest during his examination. Z’alden’s 17 PI indicates he is telling the truth

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Rift will indeed spend the 8 hours to copy Knock into her own spell tome (note that copying it in also “learns” it). Rift doesn’t bother with Detect Secret Doors since she assumes the party is brilliant at this mundane task. Eventually Animal Messenger might be useful, but she doesn’t have any gold of her own.

After that, and after she has rested, she will inquire about town for information about minotaurs – any special tips or tricks, useful weapons, folklore, etc. Any old wives tales or legends regarding Thunderspire?

Finally, she will ask the party when we should set out. She is beginning to feel quite poor, and is also itching for a good spell fight…

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“Orest, that is too bad, I had hoped for me. Still, it sounds fair. 35 gp it is.”

Returning to the Inn and his conversation with Erik, “Erik, you offer is most generous. I do not recall any of the shopkeepers mentioning having ready-made potions of healing, but we did not ask. With your gold, purchasing 2 would be a very good idea. Before I start my ritual work, let us inquire of Nimena Sandercot and Orest Naerumar to see if either have any to sell. If so, let us get up to 2.”

When he next sees Barrick and Felsmon, he tells them that he sold the silver bracelet to offset the cost of the components for the potions of healing. After some training (reaching 5th level), he will make one potion for each as part of their treasure from the eternal chalk.

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No one has seen a minotaur in over a century; no tips or tricks that can help.

Potions are not for sale in this town, they are too susceptible to theft to make it worth keeping around for the occasional sale to passing adventurers. Orest can mix up one or two healing potions for you if you agree not to tell others that he can do so, but with the additional cost of 20gp per potion for his time and effort.

The only other piece of information about Thunderspire that might be helpful is one old wives tale of a witch that lives way up high in the snowy reaches near the peak that loves to collect shiny objects, killing people as needed to get them; how true that tale might be is suspect.

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Erik asks Z’alden, “Are you able to make healing potions? Does it take a long time? My concern is that the trail of the Bloodreavers grows colder every day. Perhaps a down payment on that double sword, or maybe we shall find such with the witch who is rumored to live high up on the mountain?”

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Z’alden sighs heavily,”While I now have the components and the ritual to make two potions of healing, I find that I still lack some essential knowledge or experience. Soon, I hope to have that which is necessary. The sooner we leave, the sooner I will have that knowledge. I say, let us be off.” (OOC: Z’alden needs to be 5th level to make the potions. Once 5th level, it’ll take an hour).

“I was curious about the double sword, but learned in a dream from Bahamut that I am destined for other weapons. My dream revealed that the double sword is an abomination to the great Dragon.”

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As the wind blows loudly down the Nentir Vale, the five brave adventurers set out on their terrifying quest – will they have the courage and stamina to make the assault on Thunderspire Labyrinth? Will the poor captives be freed and returned to their grieving relatives? Will great quantities of treasure be liberated from their ungrateful owners?

At daybreak, we set out on our trusty steeds. Mine is named “Baba Yaga”.

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As they ride, Z’alden mutters oaths about his sleepliness from the persistent howling wind the previous night.

Z’alden initiates a discussion of tactics and plans. “My comrades, while I have fought with Felsmon and Barrick, even they may not know of a new prayer that I have had answered. If Bahamut grants me the fortune to smite an enemy with my mace, I can leave a rune with the name of an ally, even if the ally is several feet away. The divine rune will guide my allies’ attack to further bash my enemy. And, if I can distract the enemy on one side while my ally attacks on the other, my ally’s melee strokes will be all the more improved. In battle then, let us choose the enemies that we will smite in order to fell them with even greater power that Bahamut has seen fit to bestow.”

“Erik and Rift, what ways might you have so that we can better coordinate our respective gifts and lay low those who support evil? Rift, I recall from Skamos, some of his spells needed to be cast while we stood a distance away, lest we too be singed with the arcane flames he meant for our foes but that he could not control. Have you similar spells about which we should be aware?”

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The great wind is causing Erik’s horse to be antsy and stagger in the gusts. There is no straight line down the road to Thunderspire.

Erik shouts across the wind, back to Z’alden and the group, “Most excellent, Z’alden. I believe I can take advantage of your mighty power as I can easily slip past enemies into advantageous positions, strike and then perhaps move again. Other times I will be able to get in two attacks where normally only one is possible.”

The wind then picks up, howling through the trees like some beast. Dust and grit blows into the eyes. What does it portend? If only the stories it carries of those league upon league upstream could be discerned.

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Rift’s wizard hat is suddenly torn from her head by a great gust, and before she can grab it, it is whisked away into the deep woods. “Ah, no matter,” she says, her auburn hair blowing wildly.

“I hate pointy hats,” she adds quickly, before Barrick can chime in.

Shouting over to Z’alden, Rift explains that she possesses power over both fire and ice. “I can fire a bolt of ice-blue flame, to freeze a single foe. I can also cause a small area to burst into flames, up to 10 staff-lengths away.”

“I can also do this.” Rift turns in her saddle and shoots sheets of flame out of her hands – a large area of the forest erupts in flames. Then, waving her staff and shouting a word of power, the area suddenly is covered in sheets of ice. “Whoops.”

“If you want, I can put our enemies to sleep, or create a flaming sphere that I can move around.” Rift raises her staff, stops, and looks around sheepishly. “Sorry, I got carried away.”

Rift sneezes violently. “Darn dust.”

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Shouting, Z’alden says, “Rift, I had not known….” Z’alden stops shouting,”By the Wings, this wind has finally abated…”

Speaking as normally as one can over the sound of hooves pounding, “Rift, when you put enemies asleep, do they fall asleep immediately, or is there some intermediate state that might itself give our sword and axe-wielding comrades an advantage, even as your magic begins to work?”

After hearing Rift’s reply, Z’alden turns to Erik and looks back and forth to Felsmon and Barrick with excitement. “My friends, even as Rift is freezing and burning our enemies, I can strike a foe with my mace while flanking the foe with one of you and calling the name of another of you to make a rune so that both have a continuing advantage over the enemy until my next opportunity to strike. So, Erik, both of your blows with a sword would be enhanced.”

Nearless breathless as his feeble brain works hard and is dizzy with the strain of intellectual challenge, “Rift, from those same 10 staff-lengths away, I can ask Bahamut to provide a light that will help to guide your attack against a single foe. Felsmon and Erik, I could do the same with your javelin and bow.”

“Finally, in close combat, I can call light to bring pain on the enemy even as I illuminate them to aid the attacks of those close to the enemy.”

“Yes, I think that there is much we can do bring the much deserved end to these Bloody Reavers and rescue the captives.”

“Erik, I can sense no trail, yet”

OOC: DM- Z’alden is using his +13 Perception as best he can to find any old tracks that would fit the description Erik gave.

What is the character of the trail or road they are on? Dry? Lots of prints and tracks, or few?

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Traveling the day on the hard dirt road, by late morning the biting wind had subsided and it was easy riding, for a while. A little after noon the party passed the path winding northward toward Lake Nen. It was there that the peak that is Thunderspire really came into view. As described by the townsfolk, it loomed miles in front of you, a single massive peak, surrounded by cold purplish clouds. Around 6pm, a little before the sun was to set the party found themselves on the King’s Road, due south of Thunderspire’s peak. Cold damp wind was blowing catabatically from the mountain. Everyone notices the dearth of vegetation on the lower flanks of the peak, leaving it hard to find any tracks on the steep gray rocks making up the foothills. Erik and Z’alden dismounted, and after careful examination of the rocks, both highly perceptive men agreed that some travel upward has begun from this spot. Looking up the scree it is obvious that the group cannot move vertically very far before the encroaching nightfall. Rain begins to spatter the party and the temperature drops as the sun dips below the horizon.

What do you do?

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Rift uses the chalk to scratch a small X on one of the larger rocks, so we can find it in the morning. Unless anyone disagrees, she suggests that we move several hundred yards off the southern side of the road, and pitch Z’alden’s waterproof tent in the trees.

“Hmmm. Better not light a fire,” she suggests. “Looks like a diabolic catabatic wind…”

Rift volunteers to stand watch during the night, using her eladrin trance rest. If possible, she tries to find a location where she can still see most of the mountain. She watches carefully for signs of torchlight, fire, dragons landing, etc.

Does Erik or someone want to join her to help keep guard? Also, if we’re really paranoid, she could cast Magic Mouth on a nearby tree.

Discovering Thunderspire
 

pitch Z’alden’s waterproof tent

Nice try. :) The only character with any sort of shelter is Felsmon, and he has one 2-person tarp A-frame style tent, hardly waterproof and definitely not big enough for the party.

Also, whilst Rift is in her trance she is indeed fully aware of her surroundings but cannot actively watch for anything specific, nor do anything that involves choice.

What are you going to do for shelter during this cold rainy windy night?

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Erik agrees with Rift that the group should camp several hundred strides from the road. Ideally they’d camp up on a small rise with a view of the road and mountain. The horses are kept at a distance, but within earshot. He uses his tarp and straight branches to make a lean-to against a large fallen tree (or rock, if one is available). He takes fresh (pine?) branches to fashion a sleeping/sitting pad for his comrades. Is Rift wise or smart? Erik agrees that a fire would be too risky, though the warmth would be quite welcome. Warmth will have to be made internally from some left over fatty chicken parts and cheap Fallcrest mead. He offers to take both the dusk and dawn watches – he is but a human with normal night vision. Depending on the type and thickness of trees, he stands guard under the one suited suited to protect against the rain. If there are good branches with views, he will climb them from time to time and move around a bit. OOC: Is there any moonlight?

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Rift will use Prestidigitation to warm up all of our lean, healthy chicken legs, as well as warming up the expensive mead from The Silver Unicorn.

She will also use her Mage Hand to lift bunches of thick leafy branches up into the trees, to stop more of the rain.

OOC: She is smart, but not wise.

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OOC: Prestidigitation cannot be used to warm characters; it could be used to warm clothing, but only up to a total of 1 lb of clothing spread out amongst the party. Enough to keep a set of fingers or toes from freezing, but hardly enough to keep the group warm. No matter, other than being uncomfortable the party survives the night.

At first light anyone awake looks northward. A swirling thunderhead of black clouds, rumbling thunder, and bright flashes of lightning obscure the peak of the mountain ahead of you. Anxious to move forward Rift finds her magically chalked X and the party moves upward. Out of sight of the King’s Road it becomes apparent that the rocks on the ground are no longer random. A cobbled path leads now up the side of the mountain, twisting and turning, but easy to follow. The lack of vegetation between the stones hinders the ability to determine the most recent use of the path. Approximately 4 miles from the road below, the path has become an old road. Rounding a corner the group finds that they are in a location no longer visible from the valley below. Turning once again an awesome sight comes into view. The road enters a 50-foot-tall stone archway hewn out of the mountainside. A towering minotaur statue stands on each side of the entrance, glowering down at travelers. The horses become frightened at the sight of the archway, the statues, or possibly at something the group cannot yet see or sense.

Discovering Thunderspire
 

OOC: Felsmon and Z’alden each bought 10gp tents in Winterhaven on comment December 22, 2008 at 02:34 AM.

Just as Erik is finishing the lean-too, Z’alden pulls an additional tent out of his pack. “Forget I had purchased this just in case we might need it. With Felsmon’s tent and mine, and Erik’s tarp, we should be able to stay somewhat dry from this foul weather.”

After the unpleasant night, Z’alden asks Rift to dry the tents with that nifty spell of warming before they are packed away and asks Erik to picket the horses.

“My comrades, I think we should proceed on foot to the left of the entrance and circle around as far as possible looking for a hidden or secret entrance. If we do not find such an entrance after 2 hours of searching, let us quickly return to this monolith and search to right for another 2 hours. After that, with no other option, let us prepare to enter.”

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Is there any arcane writing on the archway? If so, can Rift or someone with the spectacles read what it says?

Also, can we tell what is beyond the archway? Does it go straight into the mountain, or is there still an open area beyond?

Rift asks, “What should we do with the horses? Erik, thoughts?”

Discovering Thunderspire
 

OOC: Sorry about missing Z’alden’s tent. Good thing I did not kill off a character or two because of the lack of a tent. :)

The scrawling on the archway may or may not be arcane writing; the spectacles do not help with any understanding of the symbols.

The road continues straight into the mountain into darkness, although there might be a glimmer of light some distance inside, it is hard to tell with the lightning flashes above.

OOC: I will wait to reveal the results of your 4 hours of secret entrance searching until the group decides if that is indeed what you want to do. If it matters, it is currently around 11am.

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Rift suggests that we do a quicker search – perhaps 1/2 an hour for each side of the archway. We will also avoid standing in front of the entrance, to avoid attracting attention.

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Erik thinks that the horses should be set free: “We may not return for days and the horses would not survive tied to a rock, not to mention it giving us away! Given their level of agitation, they will certainly return to the road and probably Fallcrest.”

Erik suggests that the team split up to do the quick search. Both he and Z’alden are very good at spotting secret doors and such. One could take the left side, one the right. “Felsmon, would you like to join me in searching the right side of the entrance?”, Erik asks. He then suggests that Rift shoot magic up into the air her group gets in trouble. Hopefully Felsmon’s Dragonborn roar (dragon breath) would be loud enough if he and Erik encounter some nasties. “What do you all think? Split up for the search?”, Erik inquires.

OOC: Erik is assuming that each side of the entrance is within earshot and just a minute apart.

Discovering Thunderspire
 

“I will go with Erik” Felsmon says “A piller of lightning will attract a lot of attention, Erik. And what if there is an army of guards behind that entry-way and the five of use could not stop them? Also it would completly give us away to the leaders of the place!”

Discovering Thunderspire
 

“True”, replies Erik to Felsmon, “but if we do encounter enemies then whoever is still inside will come out anyway – lest we dispatch the guards quickly and silently. Shall we only sound an alarm if we are outnumbered and unable to retreat?” He pauses and then continues, “Perhaps we are being watched right now…”

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Z’alden pipes up, “Rift, it is fine to only search for 1/2 an hour. Erik, I would prefer that we stay together. Indeed, it was in getting too separated that a comrade perished. Luckily, Raise Dead is not an uncommon ritual. Still, it is our combined powers that give us our real might against any foe. With Rift’s shorter search period, I do not think that time is so of the essence to warrant separation. And, Felsmon’s breath may wake the dead!”

“So, to the left for 1/2 an hour then?”

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Erik: “I can see that the terrible battle where your comrade fell is still deeply etched. I understand. Together, stronger, as a team, to the left!”

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Moving off to the left of the arched mountain entrance, you quickly discover that travel cannot go for more than a hundred yards or so without the party roping up and using climbing skills. After 30 minutes of searching no secret entrances, nor any trace that anyone has been there, were found. Moving to the eastern side of the entrance, the outcome is similar. It appears that the choices are either enter through the archway or attempt hundreds, if not thousands, of feet of vertical climbing on wet rock, hoping that some other way into the mountain presents itself.

Discovering Thunderspire
 

“let us move into the mountain for my limbs are getting stiff. I will stay in the back because my armor makes a loud clanking sound when I walk.” Felsmon says

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Z’alden nods to Erik, “Erik, your idea to let the horses go free is a good and thoughtful one. May they safely find a home.”

After the fruitless search, and considering the daunting Spire above them, Z’alden pats Felsmon on the back, “Indeed most worthy Paladin, keep those limbers limber. I think soon enough, they will have exercise aplenty.”

Z’alden considers the huge archway and again dons the enchanted glasses. Since they do not seem to hinder his perception or other abilities, he leaves them on in the hopes that he might see some writing that will give them a clue to this strange lair, of minotaurs, perhaps?

“Erik, I suggest that you and I take the lead, as there may be traps. Perhaps we can spot them before anyone falls into a pit or is hit by flying poisoned darts or some other nefarious greeting.” Z’alden draws his parrying dagger and mace and prepares to advance into the archway.

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Rift rubs her hands together in anticipation of an exciting adventure.

She whispers, “Perhaps now is not the right time, but I just wanted to say how excited I am to be part of a real group of adventurers.” She looks around a bit nervously, “I haven’t done this often – before I would always just do odd jobs around town with my mentor.”

“Sehanine willing, I will make amends for my prior unwise behavior. And perhaps then, my clan will return from the Feywild to reclaim their lost daughter.”

Rift stops, spins her staff around so the purple crystal at its end faces into the cave. “Bah. Enough jabbering. Let us enter and lay waste to something.”

Discovering Thunderspire
 

The party steps forward out of the misty morning and into the mountain. The road in the mountain is a brick-vaulted passage, 30 feet wide and 30 feet tall at its apex. As you move deeper into the mountain and as your eyes adjust from the bright flashes of lightning, you can see green lights on the walls of the passage. Moving closer you see that copper lanterns are socketed into the brick walls, one on each side, casting a greenish light. Looking ahead you see another pair of lanterns approximately 100 feet away. The light also illuminates two statues, one on either side of the passageway; statues, 10 feet tall, each depicting a demon.

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Looking carefully at the statues, being wary of traps, and sniffing for hidden or secret doors, Z’alden ponders deeply on his religion training about demons.

OOC: What does Z’alden know about these demons and the types of humanoids or others who would make statues of them? Felsmon has religion training, too. Does he know anything additional?

Discovering Thunderspire
 

The statues are obviously of demons, although not of any named demon anyone in the party can recognize. It is not apparent by the craftmanship if the statues were carved to be specific demons or just some form of demonic being, giving in to the artist’s nightterrors.

OOC: Perception, Religion, etc., checks reveal nothing about the statues, the walls, floors or ceiling. Upon inspection the copper lanterns are determined to effectively be magical everburning torches, albeit with a greenish cast instead of the usual yellow-white of “normal” magical everburning torches.

Discovering Thunderspire
 

As they past the first lantern, Z’alden reflects on the greenish cast and its sickly, evil light. This makes him think further on the sick Bloodreaver’s allies: the duergar. The conversations of the adventurers as they traveled from Winterhaven assail him even as tries to concentrate on the moment. Concentrating is hard for Z’alden.

The duergar. What was it that he had learned from his own arcana and religion training that he shared with the others in the firelight of that first camp night? What did the others share with him as they pondered more from their own knowledge at the Silver Unicorn? Now might be a good time for his weak memory to start functioning, as small details on their strengths and weaknesses might be important if the group is to overcome this menace.

OOC: DM, feel free to roll any needed monster knowledge checks.

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Barrick’s skills and/or knowledge could possibly know somthing of the duergar. If he does not know anything at this point in time then the rest of you will not.

Discovering Thunderspire
 

Rift suggests that we approach the demon statues with caution, keeping close to the walls instead of the middle. As we approach (slowly), she urges Z’alden to use his considerable powers of perception to detect traps.

Can Barrick use his dungeoneering skill to determine if the statues are original, or were added later? If original, then given her deep knowledge (+14) of arcana and history, does Rift know why there would be demon statues in a minotaur lair?

“We need more information…” she hisses to no one in particular.

Discovering Thunderspire
 

As you approach the first statue, ... nothing noticeable happens. You toss a rock at it, nothing happens, someone bravely steps in front of it, nothing happens. One person passes, nothing happens, another passes, nothing happens, the entire group passes, nothing happens. Continuing down the passageway you see more statues on the sides, again carved as demons but all dissimilar to the others.

Barrick’s best guess as to the age of the statues is about the same as the age of the bricks that make up the passage, several hundred years, plus or minus a century or so.

Rift hopes to find the answers to her questions somewhere inside the mountain.

Discovering Thunderspire
 

OOC: Good work last night! You did much better than I thought you would. I know I need a little work making my side smoother. Any other comments or suggestions for improvement are welcome.

XP: 13 creatures for a total of 2050xp. 410xp per person; brings you each to 4176.

Discovering Thunderspire
 

OOC: Great DM’ing. We rocked thanks to the Erik’s plan, and good working together and optimal use of skills and powers. Let’s move new comments to the new log “Inside the Bowels of Thunderspire”.

Discovering Thunderspire
rplayer gorthmog

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