Campaign of the Month: March 2009

Denizens of the Nentir Vale

Sealing the Rift or... The Thing in the Portal

Will Kalarel fall?

On the left side of the doors, the half-elves Z’alden Silverflame and Tira Duskmeadow waited. On the other side, Skamos Redmoon, Felsmon, and Barrick also waited for the acolytes of Kalarel to pass through the doors and spring the trap. Skamos’ Tielfing tailed twitched in anticipation. The wizard had placed magical coins a few feet in front of the doors to distract the acolytes. Z’alden had thrown a sunrod into the middle of the room to make sure that they were distracted. Unfortunately, Azural and Mingot were indeed distracted and stopped, too soon, before Skamos and the dragonborn Felsmon could use their attacks without harming their comrades. Then, Z’alden spied the hands of these servants of Orcus and realized from his cleric trainging that they were not of the living, but rather, they were undead Wights. His eyes glistened, another chance to destroy evil incarnate! Bright radiance flared from his holy symbol of Bahamut and burned the two. The power was so great, Azural was pushed away towards the sword-wielding statue in the room. Immediately it began to swing at the Wight even as he was rendered immobile from the holy light.

The other wight, Mingot, was less powerful, and the combined forces of Skamos, Felsmon, and Barrick had him quickly restored to the dead. Tira’s warlock energy flew into Azural, wounding him. Then Azural did something remarkable. He pointed at Mingot and up Mingot rose, restored to his undead state. The group quickly determined that they must concentrate on Azural, who seemed able to avoid the swings of the statue without any problem. Realizing that the necrotic attacks of Azural and his resurrecting abilities had to be put to a stop, the mighty dwarf fighter charged towards the statue and Azural, biting into him with his axe even as leapt over the statue’s sword. Moments later the adventurers had triumphed, both acolytes were down, never to rise again.

The group paused to catch their breath and to discuss a plan for how to enter the room with Ninaran, knowing now that she was not the cult leader Kalarel. The Tielfing wizard and the half-elf cleric put on the robes of the Wights, and loosely tied the other three as prisoners. With a few minutes of chanting, Skamos materialized a floating disk to hold their weapons out of view. Leading the prisoners, Skamos and Z’alden advanced into the massive chamber of blood towards Ninaran. Reaching almost 60 feet into the chamber unimpeded, Skamos began to wonder if the ruse might just work. But, then, a zombie shouted, “Intruders!”

Seeing the zombie and the three more that appeared at the shout, Z’alden’s eyes almost glowed. “A chance to destroy more undead. This is good,” he thought. Searing light burst forth from the symbol of Bahamut, wounding all three, and sending one zombie to the north of the chamber and another to the south end, both immobilized.

The dwarf and the dragonborn charged up to Ninaran while Z’alden, Skamos, and Tira dispatched the zombies. Tira’s eldritch energy ripped into a zombie sending muck everywhere. From the wizard’s staff, a ray of light seared a zombie, exploding it. Soon, the zombies were dispatched, and Ninaran was on her knees. “Don’t kill me,” she pleaded. “Why should we let your evil live?” the dragonborn Paladin growled. “My brother Numien is a captive of Kalarel’s. Kalarel forced me to serve him or else my brother would be killed.” Z’alden asked,“Will you fight with us?” “I cannot, Kalarel would kill my brother.”

Barrick scowled,“Lies and more lies. Let’s kill her now.” But no one could detect any lies. Z’alden said,“Let’s find out of her story is true, first. We would have your dagger and anything else of yours that could help us in the fight with Kalarel.” Reluctantly, Ninaran pulled out an ornate dagger and handed it to Tira. Tira could sense the Warlock nature of the dagger – it would allow her to teleport an enemy. It felt good in her hands. She flung it across the room. It immediately returned to her. The dwarf scowled,“Teleportation. I hate teleportation.”

When asked about whether any other magical items were in the room, Ninaran pointed to a ragged pile in the corner containing the goods taken from the sacrifices. The adventurers looked at the pile of the victim’s goods. In the pile were two sets of magical boots – one of fine leather that Skamos believed would enhance stealth, and another solid and sturdy to empower a bull rush. Skamos put on the leather boots while Barrick shod himself with the sturdy boots. Additionally, a small metal shield brooch appeared to be magical and afford the wearer protection. Despite his reservations about magic, Barrick accepted this, too.

Then, Barrick bound and gagged Ninaran, all the while, Tira muttered, “We should just kill her. She’s probably lying.”

Felsmon, Z’alden, Tira, and Skamos stepped onto the platform that they had seen Kalarel and the acolytes use earlier, and Barrick lowered them. He then quickly descended on a chain. On the way down, Z’alden was bitten by an unseen foe, hearing only a swooshing sound that was gone too fast for him to fire his loaded crossbow. They descended into a massive chamber, the same size as that above. The platform stopped in a pool of blood. In front of them, 25 feet across, the Rift shimmered darkly. Far to their left, the cultist leader himself, Kalarel, chanted, his ram horn headdress moving up and down rhythmically with each diabolical syllable. An evil metallic dog at his side growled at the group. Neither moved. Behind them, a huge statue of Orcus towered. Between these three points, beams of living blackness pulsed stronger and stronger with each chant of Kalarel.

“You are too late!” the acolyte of Orcus roared triumphantly. The beams darkened and the tentacles of some horrible Thing in the Portal advanced out of the Rift. A massive bat flew down at the group, its wings swooshing. Two undead creatures moved forward from near the Rift towards the group. These vampire spawn immediately attacked. The battle had begun.

Z’alden gleamed as he saw the undead advance. This is what he lived for! Divine radiance bathed the creatures in pain, sending one back towards the Rift. Barrick and Felsmon engaged the other. The bat tore into Skamos, wounding him severely. Tira waved her wand, and the bat felt the power of the Warlock’s curse. Kalarel advanced, pointed his rod at Z’alden, and necrotic energy poured into the cleric, weakening him. Z’alden smiled, though, as his hands glowed, and he restored Skamos. Though weakened, his healing abilities were unimpeded.

Blades flashed, the bat attacked, and energy flew, as the battle raged. Skamos pointed his staff at Kalarel and a magical arrow, dripping acid, tore into the cultist. The acid flew towards the evil hound, wounding him as well. Kalarel’s rod continued its damage, weakening Barrick. Both the dwarf and Z’alden shook off the effects and engaged the Spawn. Felsmon waved his hand and divine runes scattered on the floor, creating a ward that protected the group. An orb of force appeared at the tip of Skamos’ staff and flew towards Kalarel. Its shards caused the cult leader to shriek in pain, and more shards pierced the dog making it howl.

Tira glared at Kalarel, cursed him, and threw her new dagger into him, striking true. Instantly, Tira could sense that she could teleport Kalarel. He shimmered, and she moved him closer to the Rift, from which only seconds earlier, the tentacles of the Thing had tried to attack one of the vampire spawn. Perhaps the Thing did not discriminate friend from foe!

Even as the adventurers were starting to gain the upper end, it became clear that the Thing was not attacking Kalarel. In fact, he smiled evilly and moved further over, towards a glowing blue disk on the floor. The acid arrow in his chest dissolved, and he breathed deeply, restored. Then evil energy radiated from Kalarel, restoring the bat and the Spawn. And the tentacles of the Thing advanced further as the Rift opened more. Z’alden extended his arms and a form of Bahamut appeared. The dragonform weakened the vampires even as it breathed on the wounded members of the group, restoring them. Z’alden continued to have a faint purple glow of enhanced healing powers, even as the dragonform dissipated. Despite this hope, the adventurers were not sure how this battle would turn out.

Kalarel continued to send necrotic energy at the group, wounding Felsmon and causing some of his scales to begin to peel off. The crossbow bolts of Z’alden could not hit the cultist in his circle of protection. The spells of Skamos and Tira seemed weaker as their energy went towards the slave of Orcus. The tentacles extended far beyond him now. No one in the group could reach him or seem to hurt, and he continued his attacks with impunity. The metal dog, teeth bared, bit into Barrick’s shield with no effect. “Nice doggy,” the brawny dwarf mocked. Then, seeing the ineffectual range attacks, Barrick did the unthinkable: he rushed towards the tentacles and toward Kalarel! Felsmon did the same, and slammed his magic sword Aecris into Kalarel, pulling him out of the circle. Wounded but unphased, Kalarel made it back into the protective glow.

Then, Barrick drove the toes of his new magic boots into the ground, ripping into the protective energy and shoved Kalarel out of the circle even as he dodged a tentacle.

Tira and Skamos turned their attentions to the vampire spawn, the dog, and the bats. Soon, the Warlock was gloating – dog down! bat down! The tide was turning.

As Kalarel tried to return again to the protective circle, the mighty dwarf swung his axe, cutting deeply in Kalarel. All of his companions marveled at the excellence of the swing. And then, they all marveled at something else. As Barrick, pulled the axe back, the dull, bloody blades fell off, as though made of paper, to reveal a shining, gleaming axehead. Barrick swung at Kalarel again and again with the enchanted weapon. “I love magic!” the dwarf exclaimed, as Kalarel staggered. As the tentacles of the Thing flailed at his armor, Felsmon’s grasped Aecris and ripped into the wounded Kalarel, sending healing energy to Barrick even as the sword crushed his foe. Kalarel was teetering from the onslaught of the warriors. Finally, Barrick tore the magic axe into the evil cultist, sending to him to his dark lord.

Soon, the last spawn was defeated. But, the black beams still grew strong, and the Thing began to push hard at the Rift. Four of the group worked together to topple the altar of bones. The Wizard put on ruby glasses that allowed him to read the evil ritual book and recite the ritual backwards. The beams weakened, and the Thing pulled back. Still, black energy still coursed from the stature of Orcus to the Rift. Guided by divine intuition, Z’alden attempted to heal the evil statue. Pieces of it fell off, wounding Z’alden. The beam weakened further but still it pulsed. Then, the adventurers found four eye hooks. The statue could be toppled with the loose chains hanging down the shaft. Quickly attaching them, Barrick pulled hard and soon the statue of Orcus was collapsed and destroyed. The beam shattered, and the tentacles of the Thing retreated back inside the rift.

At the north end of the chamber, the adventurers found a previously unnoticed pit. In the pit was chest of treasure and jewels, some strange magic items, and an elf , Ninaran’s brother Numien, imprisoned just as Ninaran had claimed. The group untied Ninaran and reunited her with her brother. The seven left the chamber into the outdoors through the lighted entrance.

The item was a box with colored sticks of several colors. Skamos could detect their magic qualities, chalk that would allow the artist’s picture to remain for many days. A wonderous item, indeed.

Treasure and magic items in hand, with Ninaran and Numien in tow, the five returned to their horses and rode slowly towards Winterhaven.

Comments

“Hey berrick(can’t spell it)can I have those boots back?” asks Felsmon.OOC: how much XP and treasure? “Ninaran, how were you and your brother captured?

 

Whew! Everyone survived! Except Kalarel and the Thing in the Portal, of course. Even Splug and Ninaran survived!

DM Analysis

Things I goofed up

  • The Thing in the Portal should have gotten an attack on each character within the zone, not just one at a time.
  • The hole in the wall provided an easy exit – I should have made you wade out thru the dungeon. But it was late…
  • The final fight was too easy? Don’t worry, the next DM should take care of that.

Character Suggestions

  • Checking for secret doors and traps. There weren’t any in the final chambers, but there were some in other parts.
  • Talking more to the NPC’s (including the “monsters”). Using more strategy rather than just charge in.

Things the characters did well

  • Tactics – playing together, combining attacks and effects
  • Strategy – fooling the hobgobs (sort of), dressing up as the acolytes

Experience

  • Acolyte Wights: 350 xp
  • Ninaran & Zombies: 800 xp
  • Rescue Ninaran’s brother Numien: 475 xp
  • Kalarel, Bat, Dog, Thing: 1775 xp
  • Closing the Rift (skill challenge): 1500 xp
  • Destroying the Cult: 2500 xp

Total….. 7400 xp, or 1480 xp each. This should put you each at 3766 xp. This is enough for 4th level, congratulations!

Treasure

dagger

+2 Pact Dagger – Critical: +2d6 damage. Property: Functions as a warlock implement. Power (Daily, Teleportation): Free Action. When you hit a target affected by your Warlock’s Curse with this weapon. Teleport the target up to 3 squares.

Reading Spectacles – You can read any language while wearing these copper-colored eyeglasses.

Eternal Chalk (Wondrous Item) – 2 sticks each of white, red, green – Never breaks or wears down. Any writing with this chalk cannot be erased for one week by anyone except the original artist.

  • Kalarel’s evil Rift book
  • 470 gp.
  • Assorted gems – need to ask someone in Winterhaven…

So, you make your way slowly towards Winterhaven…

When you arrive, you find the town in an uproar. There is an ornate coach drawn up outside of Wrafton’s Inn. Standing outside of the coach you see Lord Padraig, bowing obsequiously to someone inside the coach. Valthrun stands to the side, smiling to himself, as if he finds the whole thing quite amusing. You also notice Eilian behind the coach, quietly examining the ornate gold fittings…

 

“can I have my treasure?” felsmon goes up to lord padraig and says “we have destroyed the rift” after he asks the group ” I will go have the gems inspected if you want me to”

 

DM: In the list of monsters for XP, I don’t see the undead that were in the chamber with Kalarel. What were they anyway?

On the way back to Winterhaven, Z’alden looks at the evil Rift book, trying to see if any other rituals are contained therein.

 

OOC: zplayer, yes, they were “Vampire Spawn” (technically minions), but I made them have 40 hp each, for grins. They are already included in the XP.

Z’alden, you borrow the spectacles from Skamos. You crack open the warped and blasted bat-skin cover of the Rift book. At the beginning you see that there are indeed some Rituals. Staring at the alien glyphs, you read:

Cause Disease

Nightmare Steed

Raise Undead

As you continue reading, you feel your soul recoil in horror. Bahamut preserve you! This is not a book for you!

Z’alden, do you want to continue reading?

alienLang

 

Z’alden slams the book shut and looks to guidance from on his training on what to do with an evil tome such as this. He recalls that such evil should be sent to the nearest ranking cleric, but for now, he will keep the book as evidence of the destroyed Cult.

 

Z’alden, as you force the book closed (it seems to resist being shut), you feel a pressure release inside of you. Whew! You are right in thinking that such evil must be destroyed, but it is a task beyond you.

Felsmon, as you address Lord Padraig, you see that he appears quite distracted. He mutters, “Yes, yes. Quite. Rift destroyed, eh?”

Padraig turns rapidly back to the carriage – “Your high priestess-ness-ship,” he splutters. “This is an unexpected pleasure.”

Down from the carriage steps a familiar figure…

cleric

Z’alden, you recognize Marla, High Priestess of Pelor. No one else in the party knows who she is.

“Padraig!” she snaps. “I have come to investigate the cult of evil that you have let grow unchecked in your region. I am concerned that not enough has been done to stop it.”

Tira, Skamos, and Barrick all notice that Z’alden is standing there, seemingly stunned.

 

Z’alden takes a deep breath at the site of the Pelorian leader. ``Your Radiance!” Using his best diplomacy, he says,``Lord Padraig sent out us to bring him proof of the destruction of the Cult of Evil. As my erstwhile dragonborn comrade was trying to explain, we have done this. Allow me to introduce the valiant adventurers who have proved the undoing of the Cult – Barrick Kayslayer, Tira Duskmeadow, Skamos Redmoon, and Felsmon Paladin of Bahamut.” ``We five have fought a mighty battle to destroy Kalarel and his cult. By the Claw, we have succeeded! This mighty dwarf slew the Cultist. We have closed the Rift and stopped the minions of Lord Orcus from coming through the Portal that K was trying to open. These two elves here are witnesses to our success. And, here is the evil ritual book that K used to create undead and to try to open the Portal. While we were able to destroy many undead, this book is beyond my meager skills to vanquish. May I hand it to you for destruction?”

 

OOC: Z’alden is going to take his feat as Weapon Proficiency with the Double Sword and retrain at-will Lance of Faith for Righteous Brand.

 

OOC: Z’alden, are you sure about that Double Sword proficiency? Is it really worth it? What are the chances of finding such a weapon?

...

The torch seems to suddenly flicker to life in Lord Padraig’s brain. “Right!” he shouts. “These are the brave adventurers, that I, um, sent off, um, bravely, to seek out this terrible Cult of Evil.”

He continue, “Yes, it was I who gave them the horses, and explicit instructions to not return until they had indeed stamped out this den of evil. My idea…”

Marla holds up a ring studded hand. “Enough!” she exclaims. “Z’alden, glad to see you are in one piece, especially after that last scrape I had to save you from in Fallcrest.”

Z’alden, you seem to recall a joint Pelor-Bahamut effort involving the removal of certain valuable “artifacts” from the Temple of Erathis. Also, if you are not mistaken, it was you who saved Marla…

Marla continues, “Is it indeed true that Kalarel is dead, and the Cult is destroyed? If so, this is good news indeed… And what of Winterhaven? My information was quite clear – members of the Cult had infiltrated the town.” She sweeps her gaze suspiciously around at the gathered townspeople.

“Come,” she commands. “Let us discuss all of these events over a glass of Nentir ‘97”. Gathering up the folds of her gown, she sweeps imperiously into Wrafton’s Inn.

 

Watching Marla walk away, into the Inn, Tira is suddenly reminded of a night not so long ago, after a rousing celebration of the banishing of a not-so-nice wizard. Tira smiled in memory and wondered if such a celebration might happen tonight. She would try to find time to talk to this Marla, but later; Z’alden appears to have had a history with the elfess and Tira thought it would be better to let him play the first card. Tying the bag of holding securely to her waist, tucked safely inside her cloak, Tira followed the beautiful elven lady inside. There was information and gold to collect.

 

Salvana watched as the party entered Wrafton’s. Seeing Tira, Salvana turned and rummaged around under the counter for a brief moment, then emerged from behind the bar and approached Tira. “You are Tira Duskmeadow, yes?” Salvana asked.

“I am glad you remember me,” Tira replied.

“This came for you in the last post shipment. Based on the markings it looks like someone has been trying to get this letter into your hands for quite some time.”

Tira took the rumpled, sealed letter and handed Salvana a silver in exchange. Tira opened the letter and read it, once, twice, and again thrice. Her expression remained stoic as she tucked the letter in to an inner pocket, but anyone watching could tell something important was contained in that letter.

 

OOC: Would Z’alden expect to find a Parrying Dagger in Winterhaven? If so, then he’ll take Weapons Proficiency in that, rather than the hard-to-find Double Sword.

Z’alden says, “Your Radiance, it would be our pleasure to tell you how Kalarel was slain and that part of the Cult destroyed. We would like to hear more about your information, though. Perhaps we can make sense of what you have heard.” Z’alden keeps close to Ninaran, making sure that she and Numien, seem to be coming, too.

 

Seeing Tira’s expression, Z’alden moves closer to her. “Tira, what it is? What is in that letter?”

 

Tira looks at Z’alden and smiles, but Z’alden can tell by her eyes that conflict exists behind that smile. After a pause Tira says, “Z’alden, my friend, I will tell you, and the others that have fought beside me these wonderful days, but I will tell you later, away from a crowded tap room. For now we have our triumph over evil in which to revel. Surely no greater evil than that rift could exist in the peaceful confines of Nentir Valley. Let the town toast us and our deeds!”

 

OOC: Unfortunately, magic is scarce in the world. Large towns might have a few magic items, and rumors exist of magic “bazaars” in some of the larger cities to the south. But up here the pickings are slim. Some rituals, perhaps a magic dagger or a wand, but nothing extraordinary. It would be best to choose a Weapon Proficiency in a more “generic” weapon (like a long sword), or better yet, perhaps stick with your current weapon proficiencies and choose a completely different feat. Just a thought.

...

Lord Padraig bustles in after the party, with Valthrun and Eilian bringing up the rear.

“Ah, a full house!” exclaims Salvana. “We should have more Cults of Evil that need destroying!”

Marla glares at her. “You know not of what you speak, barkeep. If Kalarel had succeeded, the entire town would have been overrun by undead. This is no laughing matter.”

Salvana seems unperturbed – “Good point – the undead are indeed bad customers.” She pulls out several bottles of wine, mead, and ale. “No matter! Let us celebrate, until we too feel like undead!”

You all take seats around one of the larger tables, with Marla at the head. Padraig, Valthrun, and Eilian pull up chairs – Lord Padraig looks most put out to be shunted aside by Marla. The wine and ale are served, and meat, cheese, and bread appears.

Marla says, “So, Z’alden, tell me what you and your friends found, and what you destroyed. Leave nothing out. And also, who are these people?” She gestures at Ninaran and Numien, both looking quite uncomfortable jammed between Z’alden and Felsmon.

Everyone in the Inn turns to stare at Z’alden and Felsmon, waiting for them to begin.

In the meantime, no one seems to be paying much attention to Tira, Barrick, and Skamos. Eilian winks at Tira and nudges her – “Did you find any good treasure?” he whispers. Valthrun interrupts Eilian, whispering “No, no, no. Who cares about treasure? What about magic? Any good spells, tomes, artifacts?”

 

OOC: I thought that the superior weapons in the Adventurer’s Vault were just really good weapons. Not magic. It takes special training to use them, hence the need for a feat. A Parrying Dagger isn’t magic, though, just a defensive and off-hand weapon: 1d4, +2 proficiency, +1 AC when wielded. Like a mini-light shield. Is Winterhaven too much in the sticks for any of these Defensive weapons in the AV? If so, it’ll be Astral Fire, but I was hoping for that +1 AC as a minor action.

Z’alden stares intently at Marla. He leans in closely. “Your Luminence, the Cult appears to have had great power. We found Kalarel, guarded by goblins, hobgoblins, and zombies, trying to open the ancient Rift. Thanks be to the Wings, we found the ghost of the ancient paladin Sir Keegan who had long guarded the Rift. He inspired us to protect the land from evil and gave Felsmon his sacred sword Aecris to take up the fight for Bahamut.”

Pulling out the statue, Z’alden continues,”He gifted us with these statues of Bahamut that would help us ward off the evil influences of the Rift. Through the power of the Claw, I found this holy symbol of Bahamut on the body of one of the goblin guards we slayed. Its power aided me in destroying several of those murderous hobgoblins. Much sadder, we found piles of bones from the horrendous sacrifices that Kalarel had made to the evil Demon Prince.” “What else did we find? We found a hideous altar made of bones, a huge statue of the Demon Prince, and the Rift Portal itself arrayed in a triangle with evil black energy traversing between them. We engaged Kalarel in a might battle of steel, magic, and divine power. All of our group fought bravely against the undead vampires, hell hounds, and evil bat that he had at his command. The mighty magicks of Skamos and Tira, combined with blades of Felsmon and Barrick proved to be their undoing! It was the dwarven warrior’s mighty axe that slew the priest of all-that-we-despise even as a horrible Thing with giant tentacles began to emerge from the partially opened Portal. Despite the tentacles’ constants attacks, Barrick and Felsmon engaged Kalarel directly while we three continued to battle the vampires, bat, and hellhound. With Kalarel and his minions vanquished, we destroyed the altar, destroyed the statue, and disrupted the opening of the Rift. In the process, we found these elves that Kalarel had captured. The brother he kept captive, while the sister here he made his servant on pain of death of her beloved brother. I believe that Valthrun knows her. Between the two of you, I hope that your knowledge of mercy and judgment are greater that what my simple training has prepared me for. I do not know what justice means when the oppressed themselves are forced to serve evil. I look to you for determing whatever is right as she sought to keep her brother safe from that madman.”

 

OOC: I think you are getting confused with the 520gp “Defensive Weapon” magic item and the 5 gp Parrying Dagger, Superior one handed weapon with the “Defensive” property (from DnDInsider.com D&D Compendium, “A defensive weapon grants you a +1 bonus to AC while you wield the defensive weapon in one hand and wield another melee weapon in your other hand. Wielding more than one defensive weapon does not increase this bonus. To gain this benefit, you need not attack with the defensive weapon, but you must be proficient with it.”) So, this is what a Weapon Proficiency feat would accomplish, if the weapon is in town, of course. Can Z’alden expect to find a Parrying Dagger at the Dwarven smith’s shop?

 

OOC: Whoops, you’re right, my bad. Yes, you could find a Parrying Dagger at Thair Coalstriker’s shop. Though he might drive a hard bargain for such an exotic weapon. 5 gp. Ha!

 

Tira glances around the room before answering Valthrun and Eilian, most of the other eyes appeared to be focused on Marla. Leaning in a little, and speaking softly, “We found some gold and gems, not enough to buy a manorhouse, but enough to fill our stomachs for a little while.” Looking at Valthrun she continued, “A few magic items, but nothing extraordinary; a discarded amulet and bracelet from Sir Keegan’s daughters, a shield brooch with minor protective powers, two pairs of boots, again with minor infused power, and some Eternal chalk, which I admit could really come in handy when exploring underground cave systems. No scrolls, or spells, and the only tome we found is Kalarel’s evil book, there in Z’alden’s hands.” Glancing around once more Tira hunched down toward the table and lowered her head, “Don’t let this out, I do not know all in this room and where their loyalties lie. We recovered the rod that Kalarel was using to open the rift; it could contain great powers, but any such magic is beyond my current meager abilities to discern.” OOC: Tira uses her bluff +10 to try and convince the two of possible power in the worthless rod

 

Tira, Barrick, Skamos: Valthrun and Eilian look very surprised as they hear the tales of your success, and of the great treasures that you brought back.

Eilian lowers his voice so only you three can hear, “Tira, I might be interested in such a rod, as well as any of the other items that you are willing to part with. Would you show me what you have?”

Valthrun pipes up, “Ahh, I wish I could take a look at that ancient tome of Kalarel’s. But I suppose old Marla here will want to examine it, and then destroy it. Even though it might have great historical value…”

Valthrun continues, “Eilian, this all reminds me of the time you and I tried to sneak into Thunderspire Mountain. Remember?”

Eilian looks bemused – “Remember?! How could I forget. What a weird place. And all that treasure that we had to leave behind… Ah, well. No matter now.”

.....

Z’alden and Felsmon: Marla and Lord Padraig sit quietly in their chairs, sipping their wine, absorbing your tale.

Finally, Lord Padraig speaks – “Quite an adventure, yes. Something to tell the grandchildren. And to think that the evil was here in our own village!” He glares at Ninaran.

Marla turns to Z’alden, “You have done a great service, not only for Pelor and Bahamut, but for all of the Nentir Vale. Rest assured that I will mention these deeds in the Council of the High Temples in Fallcrest. For now, however, we must take care of business. You have the tome, Z’alden? If so, I have your reward.”

Marla motions to Salvana – “Barkeep, go out to my carriage and tell my guards to bring in my travel chest.” Salvana mutters to herself as she goes outside. “Barkeep…mutter…mutter…Ha!”

A few moments later, Salvana returns leading the two guards – the first is a very muscular man, a fighter type, while the second is, surprisingly, a tall female elf or Eladrin – you can’t be sure. Both are wearing light armor – the man has two swords in well-worn scabbards, while the elf has a dagger and a quarterstaff strapped to her back. Scowling, they drop a heavy chest on to the floor next to Marla with a crash.

“Fools!” Marla snaps. “Be careful with that. It is church property!” You notice the two guards exchange a quick glance. Marla opens the lid carefully, making several warding motions with her hands first. Digging around, she pulls out an assortment of items – clothes, rods, books, pens, paper. Finally, she pulls out a tiny ornate silver casket, takes an even tinier key from around her neck, and unlocks the box. You notice that the box has a beautiful inlaid pattern, in the form of a golden sun – the symbol of Pelor.

Marla counts out 25 coins – Z’alden recognizes them as Pelorian crowns – each made of high-quality gold, much thicker than an ordinary coins, and worth 10 gold pieces each. She hands them ceremoniously to Z’alden. “I know that you do not crave such a base reward,” she exclaims to Z’alden, “but perhaps your companions would find it useful to replenish their supplies.”

“Now, about that tome. Could I see it please?”

 

Barrick, who hates tomes, refills his tankard for the third time.

 

The guard (with the two swords) slaps Barrick on the back, causing Barrick to spit out a huge mouthful of ale all over himself. “My friend, what news from Winterhaven? What is a hearty dwarf like yourself doing in these parts?”

 

Tira looks at Eilian, “Thunderspire? The mountain on the trade road, East of Fallcrest? Can you tell us what is inside the mountain?”

Eilian opens his mouth to reply then furrows his brow, “I … um … wait …, did I say Thunderspire? I meant Thunderspine, the range far far to the West of here.” Turning to Valthrun Eilian continues, “We have never been in Thunderspire, have we my old friend?”

Valthrun shakes his head, “No, you are correct, that was Thunderspine all those years ago. Ah, that was quite a journey.” He pauses, obviously reflecting on his past exploits. Directing his attention back to Tira and her companions he says, “I do not know of anyone that has been under Thunderspire, but I have heard rumours here and there. Tales claim that a great city built by minotaurs in the ancient days waits within the depths of the mountain. If you are in search of further adventure, then exploring those ruins and bringing back word of the wonders you see would make this old man extremely happy. Think about how strange such a place must be! And imagine the treasures that might remain from such an alien time and location.”

Tira smiles, “A lost minotaur city sounds like fun, but also sounds potentially dangerous.” Her smiled widened at the thought of danger.

Valthrun also smiles, “If peradventure you do find yourselves under the mountain I would be grateful for an artifact proving the city exists.”

“How grateful?” Tira asks, making no attempt to hide the meaning underneath her question.

Valthrun shakes head, “Anything I could provide will pale before the amazing treasures you uncover, I am sure. However I would be willing to trade a ritual or two for proof that minotaurs did indeed live in our little valley.”

Tira opened her mouth in a wide grin, but then her smile dropped and her shoulders sagged. She made a quick attempt at putting the smile back on her face, but it was not as bright as the smile she replaced.

 

OOC:wasn’t it 250 gp each? Felsmon is taking the toughness feat. Felsmon seems to recall that only dwarvs knew how to make the double-sidded swords.Maybe this dwarf smith here knows how to make one?

 

OOC: rplayer forgot he was logged in as zplayer. The letter from Marla said 250gp for the group, total. No worries on the double-sided sword. A Parrying Dagger will be just fine.

 

“Your Luminence, your generosity is legendary. Thank you for this reward for our accomplishment. Base as it is, it will provide the means to continue to ferret out evil wherever it exists.” Z’alden hands 5 each to Felsmon, Barrick, Tira, and Skamos. He then pulls the tome out of bag and hands it Marla.

 

“Lord Padraig, while monetary reward is indeed base, I am sure that my companions will appreciate your well-known generosity in procuring a reward in return for our fulfillment of the destruction of the Cult that you commissioned us to undertake to protect your town.”

 

Marla takes the tome gingerly, and without even cracking the cover, she pulls out a large black bag from her chest, stuffs the tome into it, and buries it in the chest. Visibly relieved at letting go of the evil book, she sighs contentedly and sips at her wine.

Lord Padraig seems quite preoccupied at the moment, staring intently at the dark-haired female elf guard. Noticing his open stare, she strides over to him, and without warning, slaps him across the face.

“What are you staring at, you buffoon?” she snarls.

Rift!” exclaims Marla. “How dare you insult a Lord of the realm! Explain yourself!”

The elf straightens up haughtily. “I do not appreciate it when men, human men, stare at me. I don’t care who he is. I should blast his soul for such insolence.” She seems quite put out.

Marla stands up. “I have had quite enough of your antics, Rift.” Marla wags her finger. “You have caused nothing but trouble on this journey, with your impetuous manner and your foul temper. You, and your barbarian friend, are dismissed from my service!” With a sweep of her robes, Marla turns to Lord Padraig. “Lord Padraig, please accept my apologies for the behavior of this so-called wizard. Come, let us talk about more important matters.”

Lord Padraig takes Marla’s arm, and shrugging apologetically at Z’alden and the party, heads over towards a private dining room. A few moments later, Padraig appears again, walks over, and with a sheepish grin, heaves Marla’s travel chest onto his shoulder and heads back to the other room.

Meanwhile, Rift, as must be the elf’s name, has plopped down into Marla’s now-empty seat. She drains Marla’s glass of wine in one gulp, and turns to the group. “Sorry about that. Temper always gets the best of me…” She looks chagrined. “Suppose that’s why I was thrown out of the Septarch’s tower in Fallcrest… Ah well, easy come, easy go.”

She laughs. “Well, don’t let me interrupt the party! Salvana, if you please, drinks for everyone!” So saying, Rift pulls out an ornate silver casket from her robe. A box with an inlaid pattern. A pattern in the form of a golden sun. She grins wolfishly as she dextrously opens the box, pulls out a Pelorian crown, and tosses it to Salvana.

As he notices the box, Eilian’s eyes light up, and he raises his glass in a salute to Rift.

Rift turns to the dragonborn paladin. “Felsmon is your name?” The elf shakes the box, which jingles prettily. “I believe you had mentioned being slighted for your reward?”

 

“Rift, why is Eilian staring intently at your box? And yes you are correct about being slighted for the reward.

 

Barrick had taken the heavy backslap from Rift’s companion in stride, having slapped a few backs and spilled a few tankards of ale in his time, and besides, he’s a happy drunk, not an angry drunk. He mumbles almost to himself: “I hate rifts, Bahamut knows. But a Rift who spends Pelorian crowns on ale for strangers, well, I might change my mind.”

 

OOC: Chris, what news of the magic axe Barrick turns out to have purchased?

 

OOC: Barrick: it is a +1 Rending Axe (from the Adventurer’s Vault). +1 to attack and damage. Critical hit scores +1d6, and you can make a melee basic attack against the same target.

 

OOC: Regarding Rift’s silver box – if you look at the previous comments, you’ll discover whose box it really is (or was!).

 

The party sat with Rift, enjoying a round of free ale, for only a few minutes. Marla soon returned to the common room, Lord Padraig following behind like a mutt learning to heal. Walking directly to the adventurer’s table, Marla stopped next to Rift, put out her hand, and stared at the Eladrin girl. Rift smiled weakly, shrugged, and without making eye contact, returned Marla’s silver box.

“If you want adventure you should try something other than minor pilfering,” Marla intoned. Looking around the table at the assembled adventurers one of Marla’s eyebrows arched. “Good folk,” she begins, “You have already done a great service for Winterhaven and the people of Nentir Vale. Can you find it in your heart to help us again?” Hearing no immediate rejection she explained, “Yesterday, as I was about to begin the journey here, Baron Stockmer asked for my assistance. Members of a clan called the Bloodreavers have captured a dozen villagers from the small settlement of Riverdown, one of the half dozen villages that make up the Harkenwold. A young tracker from the village followed the Bloodreavers and their prisoners until they reached the Trade Road south of Thunderspire Mountain. Then he turned toward the town of Fallcrest to seek help. The Baron of Harkenwold has promised a reward of 1,000 gold for the rescue and safe return of the captives.”

At the mention of the Bloodreavers Lord Padraig straightens up. “I am sorry I am unable to provide a proper reward for the defeat of Kalarel, but maybe I can help you now.” Reaching into an inner pocket Lord Padraig pulls out a letter. “This was given to me whilst you were in the Keep; since you defeated Kalarel I did not think it of any use. Maybe you can use this to track down these Bloodreavers and earn a proper reward.”

Letter to Kalarel

Marla gives Lord Padraig a side-long glare, then stands, “It was good to meet you all, I wish I could stay the this evenings celebration, you deserve it. But alas, duty calls, I must hie away. Good luck in wherever your travels find you.”

Tira speaks up, “Lady Marla, perchance are you traveling east? I find myself in need of passage that direction. And,” Tira adds as her mouth curls up into a smile, “After spending some time underground in the company of men, albeit all stalwart companions, I find that I could enjoy the companionship of a lady of a time.”

Seeing the shocked looks on the faces of the fellows she stood beside whilst risking death, Tira took a deep breath and elaborated, “I am half-elf. My mother is human and all I know about my father is that he is an elven prince of the Fey. My mother says they were in love, but could not remain so. My father left a medallion for me, infused with the magic needed to find him, once I have proven myself ready. This letter is from my mother, she reports that thieves broke into her home and stole, amongst other items, my medallion. If I can return within the moon, I might be able to track down my medallion and see that the cur never do such a deed again.”

Tira stands and puts her hand on Skamos’ shoulder, “I have enjoyed fighting alongside each of you. If you would, leave word of your whereabouts along your way and I will try to find you in the not-to-distant future. Peradventure we can live to fight again.”

Marla smiles at Tira, “Your company would be welcome. I must leave within the hour.” Marla looked at the men seated at the table, “But that leaves time for another glass of wine before we are off.”

 

Skamos stands to address Tira and his fellow adventurers. His decision comes quickly, for he had long suspected the Tira had a strong pull from her past, “My friends, Z’alden, Felsmon and Barrick, I will travel with Tira to help her in her quest.” He leaves it at that, knowing that there is much more to reveal – a multitude of reasons unknown to anyone else including the heavy burden of past unable to be forgotten. An awkward silence begins.

A ranger strides forward, his feet making no sound on the old wooden floor despite the unbearable silence that fills the room. “I am Erik Stormgründ. It is I who tracked the Bloodreavers to the trade road south of Thunderspire Mountain. Join with me to rescue the hapless villagers!”

Though his pronouncement is a bit curt and awkwardly bold, it is clear that his aim is true. He is indeed young, especially by elven and dwarf standards, but Marla had seen fit that he join her on the journey to Winterhaven so he must be a trustworthy fellow. Twin blades. A bow. Indeed, this ranger is skilled and disciplined in the martial arts; an independent and self-reliant human in a world of elves, dwarves and magic that weaves it all together.

 

Z’alden then stands and embraces Erik warmly. “Well met my ranger friend! My father Denithar the Protector was himself a Ranger and taught me a little of your ways. His bow felled many slavers and foul creatures in his pursuit of justice. I would be pleased to join with you in this rescue. We will make plans, soon. But first, Salvana, could my comrades Barrick, Felsmon, Skamos, Tira, and I have a private room to say our goodbyes before our fellowship is split, and more ale and wine for our final celebration?”

Z’alden grabs 1 gp to hand to Salvana for the use of the room and for the drinks as he waits for her direction.

 

Salvana waves her hand in dismissal – “No need to pay. You have been loyal patrons, and have helped our town greatly. Feel free to use the private room.”

She guides the five of you over to the room. You notice that Marla’s chest is still sitting in the corner of the private room. Rift and Erik Stormgründ remain seated in the main room. Rift immediately launches into a long story about how her mentor, Nimozaran the Green, threw her out of his tower for destroying an entire level of it. Eilian seems enchanted by the eladrin’s tale, while Valthrun looks vaguely amused (as if he too, might throw her out of his own tower in similar circumstances…).

OOC: Now would be a good time to divvy up any items which Tira or Skamos might be carrying. While you were seated with Eilian, he looked at your gems and gave them a rough appraisal of 100 gp total – you could easily split them 5 ways. Other questions – what happens to the magic items? Who gets the bag of holding?

 

Tira sets the bag of holding on the table. “I have taken my share of our treasure, I might need to fund my revengetrek; the rest is intact in the bag. The bag would be better suited to remain with the party than with me. Rift, perhaps as the lone girl you may opt to carry it as I have done; I hope it serves you well.” Tira turns and speaks to Felsmon, “My dragonborn friend, I have been meaning to give these to you for quite some time, but the heat of battle repeatedly clouded my intentions.” Tira sets two small clay pots on the table, one fire orb pot and one sticky orb pot. “I have no need for the other items we obtained during our adventure, keep also them with the party. May they protect you from evil and harm.”

OOC: The bag currently contains: 416 gold pieces, 376 of which needs to be divided between 4 of you and the rest is for all but Felsmon (he has his gold from that portion of the loot), 22 silver pieces (none of which is Felsmon’s), gems worth a total of 80 gp, one hobgoblin armour, one hobgoblin head, and one silver bracelet inscribed with the name Ceinwein Keegan. Not included in the bag’s treasure are the crowns from Marla and Kalarel’s rod (I forget who has the rod).

 

Skamos eyes Marla’s travel chest, knowing it is full of magical goodies. He tries to not let the others own to his thought, but it is obvious. Changing the subject of sorts, he thanks his companions… “Friends, I shall miss you on your future adventures, but as we have helped each other defeat many a foe, I must now help Tira in her quest. For you I offer the following to help keep you safe.” He pulls out the box of Eternal Chalk. [Wonderous item; 2 sticks each of white, red and green; never breaks or wears down; any writing with this chalk cannot be erased for one week by anyone except the original artist] “Who needs long strings of twine when you have this!”, Skamos playfully states. He then produces Kalarel’s rod and the Glasses of Comprehend Languages. Skamos continues, “The rod… not so useful, I suspect, but get it checked out. Now, the glasses… very nice! Finally, I have the Statuette of Bahmut. You will need this more than I do.” After a pause, he asks, “What about a wizard? You need a wizard. Rangers and that distasteful hand-to-hand combat only get you so far, no offense Felsmon and Barrick.”

 

OOC: Z’alden, could you determine who gets what? Note that 50 gp weighs only 1 pound, so you might want to just divvy up the gold & silver right now. Also note that Rift and Erik Stormgründ are not currently in the private room with you.

 

Barrick, a happy drunk, tries to hug Skamos and Tira at the same time, fails utterly, and falls on his face on the floor, where he soon begins snoring.

 

“What is that I hear in the other room?”, Erik asks Rift and their table companions, Eilian and Valthrun, “Stone giants rolling dice or Barrick snoring?” They all chuckle. Erik continues, “That Barrick is a hoot, but I bet he’s tough as a stone giant’s fist. I look forward to my adventures with him. [pause] Rift, you should try and join us. I know you sometimes say or do the wrong things, but you’ve always had my back in a pinch and I trust you. We’ll, we’ll just ignore you getting me fired from Marla’s service, your proclivity for five fingered discounts and how we first met!”.

 

Z’alden smiles broadly. He rubs the symbol of Bahamut on chest and then says,”My friends Tira and Skamos, I saddened by your departure but gladdened that you will have each other’s company. Thank you for these items. I think we will put them to good use. Skamos, we must make sure that you get your share of the treasure before rushing off.”

Z’alden reaches into the bag of holding and pulls out the gold and gems. “Skamos, Barrick (kicked awake), Felsmon, and I each get 94 gold pieces. We each also get 20 gold pieces worth of gems. Felsmon, from a different treasure, you have already received your gold and silver, so Skamos, Barrick, and I each receive another 10 gold pieces and 4 silver pieces with 2 leftover to give to a stranger when we find one who needs it. I will place Kalarel’s rod, the eternal chalk, the magic spectacles, and the silver bracelet in the bag which, by your leave, I will take a turn to hold.”

“As we depart, by my reckoning, we have now each received 154 gold pieces, including the Pelorian crowns, 4 silver pieces, and gems worth 20 gold pieces. Plus some items that enhance our ability to fight evil, find adventure, and bring glory to Bahamut and all the gods! I say, we drink to our success, to our fellowship, and to Tira and Skamos’ success in their quest! Huzzah!”

Z’alden slams his wine, pats Barrick on the back to make sure that he puts his riches away, and embraces Tira and then Skamos. “Skamos, your idea of wizard is a good one. There does seem to be one in need of guidance just outside the door. Felsmon, Barrick, what say you? Shall we enlist this wizard in our new quest to destroy the slavers?”

 

While he waits for Felsmon’s and Barrick’s answer, Z’alden unobtrusively and somewhat sheepishly puts the statue of Bahamut into the bag of holding.

 

“Aye, Felsmon says, we should enlist this new wizard into our party” OOC:Could felsmon Buy ammo for his sling?

 

Barrick staggers to his feet, saying “A party, yeah, that’s what we need, I’m always ready for a party. Count me in. More ale!”

 

Z’alden ties the bag of holding to his waist and gets up to leave, saying, “Tira, Skamos, come join us for one more round in the main room. Maybe as magic-wielders yourselves, you can help us enlist this quick-fingered wizard.”

Z’alden moves into the main room, “Erik, please tell us more about the Bloodreavers, how you have tracked them, and provisions we might need in our rescue mission. My friends Barrick, Felsmon, and I ready to earn that reward and see justice for these captives. Rift, my friend Skamos advises us to have a wizard in our endeavour. Indeed, his and Tira’s magical powers have been essential to our modest success. By the Claw, magic may be of use before these Bloodreavers meet their due reward. Seeing as you are now out of Marla’s service, will join us to free the villagers?”

 

Rift splutters into her mead. You can tell she is quite pleased, but quickly covers up her happiness. “Hmmmm. Well, let me think.” She ponders for a brief moment. “I suppose I could be persuaded to join, if the terms were favorable. My funds are a bit low…” At this, she pats her pouch, which, you notice, makes no clinking noises – if you had to guess, you would say it was quite empty.

Rift looks around self-consciously, to see if anyone noticed. “Right!” she exclaims. “I’ll join you.” She waves her hands in a simple pattern, and all of the cups and plates on the table are instantly clean. Then, out of nowhere, a spectral hand appears, grabs up the dishes, and carries them over to the bar. Salvana looks surprised but quite pleased.

Rift gets to her feet, “So, when do we start?”

 

Even as he asks the question, Z’alden surveys the room, wondering who remains at the party of celebration. Lord Padraig and Marla did not seem overly concerned about Ninaran’s role in the Cult. Have she and her brother availed themselves of the opportunity and vanished? Are Valthrun and Elian still in the room? Z’alden has a few questions for Valthrun at an opportune moment. He’ll also want to head with Felsmon to the smithy of Thair Coalweilder to purchase a Parrying Dagger. But first, more hail and farewell celebration!

 

You notice that Valthrun and Ninaran are deep in conversation. Valthrun appears quite angry, and Ninaran looks chagrined. Z’alden, Valthrun sees that you are staring, and turns towards you.

“Ah, Z’alden. Sorry to keep you waiting. Ninaran and I were discussing the terms of her punishment – she has agreed to apprentice herself to me, for a period of one year. We shall see how it goes…”

“So, what can I do for you and your friends?”

 

“Valthrun, as we are preparing to depart for what may be a bitter struggle for the freedom of these captives, I am concerned about my meager defenses. All of my companions have been fortunate enough to obtain small magical items, like amulets and brooches, that provide some measure of protection against attacks on the will, on fortitude, or simply on reflexes. Unfortunately, I have not found such an item and my own reflexes are a bit…slow. What I have found is this fantastic, magical chalk. I was wondering if, from your vast knowledge of magic and magic items, you might know of someone who would like to trade such an amulet of protection for a stick of enchanted chalk?”

 

Valthrun examines the chalk, “Interesting, I would love to study this. I do not have any magic I can part with, but I can offer 5 Pelorian crowns for a stick of the chalk. Magic is rarely for sale, even in the bustling trade towns, and certainly not in small hamlets such as this; I do not know of anyone with such an amulet for sale or trade. I am sorry. May your god protect you and keep you from harm.”

During the conversation Erik notices that a halfling, drinking at a table with 2 human companions, appears to sit up just a little bit straighter, and to turn her head slightly toward the center of the room, at Z’aldens mention of an amulet. The halfling does not look over and appears to be engaged in jovial conversation; Erik wonders if he might have over-perceived something that does not exist.

 

Barrick stumbles into the main room, and spies Erik. “Where’s the party? Hey – aren’t you the guy who spilled my ale, when was that, last week? No, it was tonight I think … hey, and there’s that big spending lass! I’ll miss her when we set off again. Bloody Weavers this time, is it? ” He falls heavily into a chair. “I’ll even miss Tira, although I hate the smell of elves, all pinecones and moss. Oh, sorry Z’alden, didn’t see you there. I’ll miss Skamos too, although I do hate wizards. Well, could have been worse, he could have been one of those creepy rangers, always jumping in and out of combat. Say, you with the heavy hands, what did you say your name was?

 

Z’alden concentrates hard for a moment and then for another. “Valthrun, thank you for your offer, and for helping me understand about the sale of magic. I could not part with this piece of chalk for less than 7 Pelorian crowns.”

 

Valthrun shakes his head at Z’alden, “Seven? Not that interested. Maybe when I was studying at the Tower, but not as a retired old man.”

 

“Fair enough,” Z’alden says, “maybe some other time.”

Z’alden turns to Barrick. “Barrick, I hate to tell you this, but Mr. Heavy hands, Erik, is ranger, as was my valiant father. Although, come to think of it, he never jumped out of combat. He moved nimbly to vanquish enemies. Jumping in and out of combat would be rather creepy. Actually, it sounds more like cowardly to me. Erik, if we are confronted by enemies, will you stand and fight with us?”

 

With a bit of a surprised look, Erik answers Z’alden and Barrick by passionately explaining what he sees as the art of being a ranger… The mind-body connection. The disciplined training. The heightened senses. “To move fast, I am lightly armored and as such cannot stand my ground to fight like such a mighty dwarf and cleric”, Erik says with noticeable sarcasm, but he smiles to allow them take it in jest, if that is what they wish. “Z’alden and Barrick, perhaps you will be the ones covering my back when I am out front finding the way, finding traps and terrible creatures?” Before they can answer, changes the subject and says, “Please excuse me, there is someone I must talk to.” Gracefully sliding out of his chair he says, “Let’s meet later in the private room where I will tell you more about what I learned tracking the Bloodreavers.”

With that he moves over to the table with the halfling and two humans. “Friends, you are having a good time? May I join you? The dwarf and cleric are not terribly fond of rangers.” He glances back toward Barrick and Z’alden and gives them a wink (such that the halfling and her table companions cannot see). He sits and asks, “May I get the next round?”

 

The humans and halfling look at Erik, then at each other, “Rangers do not bother us,” one of the humans says, “Especially one with coins in their purse. Have a seat.”

 

Rift, pretending to be tipsy, staggers over to Erik at the halfling’s table. “Erik, <hic> my good ranger, how fare you?” She takes the opportunity to carefully but discreetly examine those at the table.

Is the halfling herself wearing any amulets or any obvious jewelry or a purse? What about the humans? Is there a light on the table?

 

“Ah, my ever tipsy friend, I am well. I see you’re enjoying Salvana’s finest ale.”, Erik says to play along with Rift. He holds her by the waist so as to control her movements. He doesn’t want her to move too close to the halfling and her companions. Any pickpocketing should be done far away from him! “So, my new friends, the killjoys at the other table are looking for magic, but I say it’s over-rated. They may need it but I’ll take two masterly crafted blades over lighting bolts and fireballs any day. Well, I suppose I’d love to have two enchanted masterly crafted blades. What say ye?”

 

OOC: Neither the halfling nor the humans have any obvious jewelry, ornaments or visible purses; all three are wearing long loose cloaks folded forward. This particular table has a sputtering candle near the wall.

One of the humans looks at Rift with distain then turns to the halfling, “It suddenly became a bit crowded in here, what say we continue our business away from here?”

The halfling nods and rises with the humans, “Excuse me my newfound friends, perchance we might meet again and can have that drink later.”

 

Z’alden notes the human’s dislike of Rift. As the three depart, Z’alden steps next to Rift. “Rift, I think we have plans to discuss? Let us go with my Lord Fighter and Paladin and the zestful Ranger, and discuss this in the private room.”

As they return to the private room, “Rift, Erik, for me a group of adventurers is simple. We protect each other from all enemies. We liberate the oppressed. We uphold the highest ideals of honor and justice.”

Z’alden pauses, “As to more mundane matters, if we happen upon treasure, it is divided equally after group needs are spent. For example, if, Bahamut forbid, Erik, your bow shatters as we battle a foe together, then any treasure is put first to the new bow before the remainder is split. If we are fortunate enough to find that scarce quantity…magic or other useful items, such as masterly crafted bows and blades, then they are given to the one who can use it most, or in turn. Now, both master Barrick and Erik seem to have a disdain for magic, so such divisions may be simpler.” Z’alden smiles. “Of course, my gruff dwarf may be a bit more akin to magic than he used to, after his might axe seemed also alive with power in his blows on Kalarel.”

“Erik, please tell us more about these Bloodreavers and what provisions we might need for the country to which we travel. How far is the area where you last saw there movements? How cold might the trail be? I have some skill in tracking, as well, that my father taught me. Perhaps I might aid you to recover the trail.”

 

Rift glares at the departing humans and halfling. She shouts after them in elvish – “You will pay dearly for your insolence, human!”

Before entering the private room, Rift asks Salvana what she knows of the halfling and his companions – who they are, how long have they been here, what is their business?

She then turns to Z’alden – “Z’alden, I agree wholeheartedly to your plan. I need only enough gold to buy food, wine, and my ritual components. As to magic, you see this staff, given to me by my mentor, to protect me”...”Perhaps from my own foolishness,” she adds… And I have these gloves, which aid me when certain items need to be removed from the less deserving. I need no more than this.”

“So, Erik, you have been holding out on me. I know nothing of these Bloodreavers. Tell us the tale!”

 

Salvana replies to Rift, “I know little of those three. Once every season or two I will see one or more of them, and a few others currently not here. They only stay one night, do not seem to talk to others, always pay their tab, and they never leave their names. As their coin is good I do not ask questions.”

 

DM: Once Erik has told us his tale, and everyone has retired for the night, Rift will position herself somewhere in the Inn so she can watch people entering or leaving. If there is a window where she can also watch the gate, that would be even better. She will use her Eladrin trance to stay aware of all happenings. If someone like the halflings or humans leave, she will try to determine what direction they take.

OOC: DM, can we assume that everyone can just buy whatever adventuring equipment they need – i.e. more rope, food, maybe Z’alden’s parrying dagger? Can we just post a short list here, and deduct the cost? Rift has no money, so nothing for me…

 

OOC: Erik’s alignment is “good”, so he whole-heartedly agrees with Z’alden about the distribution of treasure and the helping those truly in need. Despite Rift’s predilection for freeing those burdened by wealth, he does not approve and in this regard, see himself as a bit of her protector. However, he knows that she knows this and that she’s incredibly smart, including womanly wiles…

 

Once inside the room, Erik begins to tell his story of the tracking of the Bloodreavers…

“My search started in Riverdown, a small settlement in the Harkenwold, just south of the White River near the King’s Road. It is many a day’s ride along the King’s Road to reach Riverdown. I had been passing through when Marla arrived with Rift in her employ, a curious fact that gladdened me. It was through my acquaintance with Rift that Marla trusted me enough to described the circumstances of the villager’s abduction. A rich reward is being offered by the Baron of Harkenwold, who is also very concerned, though I know not if it is for his people or his crown.”

“Late that evening I set out to track the Bloodreaver gang. The story I had been told was that they had crept into the town at nightfall, when even the strongest of the villagers were tired from their long day toiling in the fields. Under the cover of darkness the Bloodreavers snatched many villagers and raced away with the abducted in a wagon, said to not be pulled by horses, but a single mighty beast. The trail along the road had grown cold with countless hoofmarks and bootprints, so I searched the hillside which looks down upon the fertile land of Riverdown. There I found an abandoned camp, likely used by the Bloodreavers to watch the town from above and plot the best time to strike. I managed to find tracks, both human and goblinoid, that lead down the hill and paralleled the road toward the bridge that crosses the White River.”

“I then crossed the White River, heading north. Where the King’s Road turns west there is a road that shortcuts north through the Harken Forest, connecting the King’s Road with the Trade Road. The road is rough and dangerous, better suited to riders on horseback than a large and heavily loaded wagon. That north end of the Harken Forest is thick and dark, full of uncounted creatures that prefer the shadows. It is there that the Bloodreavers took refuge from the villager’s search parties. By my estimate there were half a dozen human and goblinoids in the Bloodreaver gang. Their camp was crude and careless in the way they left it – bones of various game animals, broken branches and exposed coals. However, there was little sign of the prisoners, so they must have been kept captive in the wagon. One can only imagine their fear.”

“From that camp, the Bloodreavers raced north out of the forest. The wagon beast must have been driven hard, for the metal rims of the wheels left harsher scrapes on the rocks and would occasionally leave the edge of the road. Just south of Raven Roost, the tracks left the road and circled around the outpost through the dry meadows. Though none of the inhabitants of Raven Roost recall anything usual that day, they did speak of increased human and non-human activity around Thunderspire Mountain. The rumors varied widely, but it seems clear that something is not right for Thunderspire lore tells of a place only sought by creatures with dark hearts.”

“I lost the tracks in the wet and mud where the shortcut road meets the Trade Road, just southeast of Thunderspire Mountain. The mountain seems to be constantly surrounded by thunderstorms. Only once could I glimpse its proportions. The rain stopped and the skies briefly cleared, though the thunder continued far off. I could see a tall and steep force of rock and occasional ice. A thin veil of fresh snow covered its higher reaches. Sun glinted off the wet rock on the lower flanks. Travelers of the Trade Road did not want to stop and take the time to answer my questions. Those that did called me a fool for wanting to venture closer to the mountain. The danger was exhilarating and drew me to it. The feeling in my heart was that of both longing and foreboding. Even the air smelled of something more than just twisted pines, rock and ice. There is something more, I could feel it. Just how many have perished there, on Thunderspire Mountain?”

“With the cold and rain obliterating the tracks, I headed west to Fallcrest to report my findings. Marla was there and she immediately offered me a position in her entourage. It seems that in these times the roads are less and less safe. In the warmth of Fallcrest, it was easier for me to contemplate a return to Thunderspire Mountain, but Marla had Rift and I accompany her further west to Winterhaven.”

With that, Erik finishes off his ale.

 

Frowning deeply, Z’alden says,”Thank you Erik for this tale. I am concerned about the coldness of the trail and the cold.”

“I think we will need to buy provisions and thick coats for the cold we might have to endure as we track this gang of vile folk. Let us make our new fellowship strong and ready by supporting each other even before we leave. For my part, I will share some good amount of my current gold, say 10%, with Rift so that she also can purchase what is needed for the trek, as the click in her bag did not ring so loudly as one might hope.” Z’alden withdraws 15 gold pieces readies them to hand to Rift.

“Erik, how many days do you think we have to ride before getting to the starting point of a search for the trail?”

OOC: After the discussion is finished, Z’alden will go to Thair Coalweilder’s to buy a parrying dagger at between 3-7 gp. He will pay up to 7 if necessary, but is hoping for 5.

 

OOC:Felsmon goes with Z’alden to buy 5 javelins.

 

Erik replies to Z’alden, “It will be a day or two’s ride to Fallcrest. From there it will be another day to the base of Thunderspire Mountain. Indeed, the mountain is oft surrounded by thunderstorms, so we can expect it to be wet. If we climb high on it, it will truly be cold.”

OOC: Is Fallcrest a larger town than Winterhaven? Are my distances correct? Are we likely to find more shops and such there? Is my description of the wet and cold of Thunderspire accurate?

 

OOC: I’ve updated Erik’s biography: [[erik]]. His stats and such are given in a way that you might discover after interacting with him for a while.

 

OOC: Let me try that again… Follow this link: Erik Stormgründ

 

OOC: The distances are correct, 1-2 days to Fallcrest, maybe another to Thunderspire. Yes it is typically damp, if not wet, around Thunderspire. If you want to begin exploring Thunderspire in the morning you will need to camp near the base, or at least some distance from Fallcrest. Fallcrest is bigger than Winterhaven, but not big enough to sell any magic items. Unless you want something fancy odds are you can get it in Winterhaven. There does happen to be one parrying dagger at Thair Coalstriker’s, at a cost of 5gp+5sp. There are also: 4 javelins, 5gp each; 8 sunrods, 5gp each (but no everburning torches); 2 handaxes, 6gp each; and 5 daggers, 1gp+2sp each. You can fill your quivers (bolts or arrows) or sling pouches if needed for 1gp.

 

“Friends, what shall we acquire before departing?”, Erik asks. “Z’alden, I think you are right – we need some warm gear to protect us against the cold and damp weather. Perhaps additional flasks of oil to help light soggy wood. I have climbed before and hence have some skill, but at a minimum everyone should have rope. I too will contribute to help Rift and anyone else who needs equipment.”

OOC: Erik plans to buy a warm hat, coat, leggings, hat and gloves. He already has a cloak and tarp. In addition, he’ll purchase a hand axe (especially if it has a blade on one side and pick on the other).

 

_OOC: Purchase what you want, but try to keep your supplies to something that could actually be carried. Keep in mind that it is currently not winter in the Vale. The handaxe is not a climbing tool. :) _

 

Z’alden again frowns. It is clear that he is thinking, which seems to almost hurt the cleric. “Erik, these are good ideas. Flasks of oil, and also climber’s kits, maybe tents? I, for one, am not found of dampness if it can be avoided.”

Let us be making some preparations. But, first, we must bid farewall to our comrades. After saying a final heartfelt goodbye to Tira and Skamos before they depart, Z’alden places his hand on the symbol of Bahamut, looks at Tira and Skamos, and says, “May the wind always be in your wings. May your fire be warm with friends, and until we meet again, may the Dragon shelter you in his claws.”

OOC: At Thair’s, Z’alden buys the parrying dagger (5 gp & 5sp). At Thair’s or some other shop, Z’alden wants to buy 2 sunrods (4 gp), a climber’s kit (2 gp), 1 flask and oil (1 sp, 3cp), and a tent (10 gp). Felsmon wants to get the 4 javelins (20 gp), 20 sling bullets (1 gp), a climber’s kit (2 gp), 1 tent (10 gp), 1 flask and oil (1 sp, 3cp).

 

OOC: Okay, scratch the hand axe. ;-) I’ll assume that Erik’s current gear will be warm enough.

 

OOC: I don’t see anything in the PHB about winter gear, e.g., warm cloaks, warm gloves, etc. Can we assume that our current gear, plus endurance checks, is warm enough if we have to go near the top of Thunderspire or should we be planning on getting warm gear in Fallcrest?

 

OOC: Without trying to give anything away, I would not bother with buying winter gear. The rules on handling environmental dangers are in the DMG; basically an Endurance check against the given condition must be made every 6-8 hours. If you find yourselves in extreme weather for more than that it is your own fault and you get what you deserve. :)

 

OOC: Barrick would like to buy both handaxes, so long as he can carry them along with the 5 daggers he already has, as throwing weapons. Also, a climber’s kit, so that’s 14 gp, dropping Barrick to 140, I think.

 

Rift thanks Z’alden repeatedly for his generous offer. She buys the 5 daggers from Thair’s for 6 gp total. No need to buy any sunrods or anything, since she can cast light. Also, she should be able to light small fires if necessary. She also has 2 sunrods, 10 days of journeybread, 50 feet of silk rope, thieves’ tools, and 2 grappling hooks.

After she buys the daggers, she returns the 9 gp to Z’alden. “Do not steal from your friends!”

Waiting for the night to end, and morning to come… Rift is reminded of a poem she heard long ago (perhaps from the mother she cannot remember):

I awake light-hearted this morning of spring,
Everywhere round me the singing of birds—
But now I remember the night, the storm,
And I wonder how many blossoms have fallen.

Does anything happen in the night?

 

After another round of good-bye’s and Tira’s repeated promise to attempt to find the party in the future, Marla, Tira and Skamos board Marla carriage and depart, heading Eastward.

After the trip to the local adventurers mall (Thair’s), the party returns to Wrafton’s for the night. Nothing out of the ordinary occurs during the night; the halfling and humans do not return.

OOC: Now that we have officially changed chapters lets move our comments to the next adventure log.

rplayer zplayer

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