Campaign of the Month: March 2009

Denizens of the Nentir Vale

To The Keep on the Shadowfell

The party journeys to Shadowfell Keep - does doom await?

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Accompanied by the Dragon scholar, Douven Staul, the four battle-weary adventurers: Skamos Redmoon, the powerful Tiefling wizard, Barrick the unstoppable Dwarven fighter, Tira Duskmeadow, the enchanting Half-elf warlock, and Z’alden Silverflame ,the faithful servant of Bahamut, rode back to Winterhaven bearing the body of their dragonborn Paladin comrade Felsmon. Before reaching the town gates, they were greeted with jubilant shouts from townsfolk lining the ramparts – “The heroes have returned, the kobolds are defeated!” The adventurers, while stirred by their triumphant welcome, were also disconcerted. How did the townsfolk know of their victory? This is a mystery that would have to wait.

Just inside the gate, they were met by Eilian the Old and immediately found the powerful enchanter Valthrun the Prescient. Telling him of Felsmon’s valiant solo battle against 4 kobolds and Irontooth, a massive war goblin, the group asked Valthrun to raise their fallen comrade. The adventurers related the story of the battle of the Kobold’s lair, how they defeated the leader of the kobolds and wiped out their nest of villainy. Tira showed Valthrun the letter scroll they had found, a warning from “K” to the kobold leader to be on the lookout for troublemakers and telling that “K” would soon open the rift, and that the folk of Winterhaven would be become food for Lord Orcus. They negotiated a price with Valthrun, pointing out that they could not fight Kalarel and his cult of evil and prevent the opening of the rift to Lord Orcus without the mighty Paladin’s power and strength. Valthrun noted that the components for the Raise Dead ritual were costly, and while he agreed that his town would be served by the brave adventurers, he could not perform the ritual for less than 400 gold pieces.

The group had been expecting a much steeper price! As fortune would have it, they had found 420 g.p. in the kobold’s lair, and Lord Padraig had promised them a reward of 100 g.p. for ending the kobold scourge. After gathering the funds and returning them to Valthrun, the raising of Felsmon commenced, and the group left to purchase and acquire needed items.

Barrick and Z’alden headed to the smith and found a marvelous dwarf Therin Coalstriker III who reluctantly agreed to resize the enchanted Dwarven chainmail the group had taken from Irontooth so that it would fit Z’alden. He also agreed to sell Barrick a shield, all for 120 gold pieces. In the meantime, Tira found Eilian the Old and they arranged to meet late that night so that Tira might find some useful lockpicking tools, not the sort of thing one discussed during the day. Tira also found out that Elian was a bit of magician himself, having made her purse disapper the first time the group arrived in Winterhaven.

During the night of the raising, pairs of the group took watch over Valthrun’s tower waiting to see if Ninaran would return. Z’alden put the stableboy in his employ to relay news and information about the half-elf, finding out that she is somehow able to come to the stable even after the gates have closed.

The next morning, the adventurers were overjoyed to see their friend Felsmon, weary and woozy, but returned to life! While Felsmon rested, Skamos asked Valthrun about a book he had mentioned describing the keep where the rift was located. The book had been “lost” recently, Valthrun had said at their last meeting, which the wary adventurers believed to be the result of a theft by the shifty half-elf Ninaran who assists Valthrun. Valthrun had found the book, but the maps of the keep were missing somehow. Still, Valthrun told the group more about the keep, its history, and its fall into darkness.

Valthrun leans over and opens the book describing the keep. “Ah, the gravestones. So many gravestones! Shall I tell you about them?” The group looks a little hesitant. “No, how about the pottery? Look at these pictures of the beautiful pottery.” Skamos says,”would you tell us about the history? How did the rift get here?”

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Valthrun gave the adventurers more than knowledge. He also handed scrolls and components to Z’alden and Skamos. The scroll and components of “Knock” were graciously accepted by Z’alden while Skamos thanked the learned one for the gift of scroll and components for “Magic Mouth.”

After accepting these gifts, the restored five adventurers went to Lord Padraig to try to arrange a reward for the closing of the rift and the destruction of the cult evil. Here, they failed, as Lord Padraig said, “Bring me proof of this impending doom and then we can discuss a reward.” After Z’alden got his new magical chainmail from the Dwarven smith and Barrick hefted his new mighty shield, the five set off on their horses to the Keep.

As they approached the Keep, even from far away, a sense of dread permeated the land. Drawing closer, no cover could be found, as the area was devoid of life. Then, on the ramparts, Skamos spied a skeleton throwing a body over the side wall. With the horse hobbled, they approached on foot. Peering over the edge of wall, a pile of bones and the reek of death met them, with the recently tossed body topping the heap.

With Felsmon and Barrick in the lead, they tried to follow the path of the skeleton down a flight of stairs. The noise erupting from Felsmon’s platemail startled a goblin guard who ran away shouting, “They’re here!” The five entered into a chamber illuminated by 4 large pedestal braziers. Hallways extended north, across from the stairs, and east and west of the room. As they reached the room, a crossbow bolt rang out at them. They were under attack from a concealed foe! Black flames of power erupted from Tira, blindly trying to strike their adversary. Goblin laughter could be heard. Barrick proceeded to head in the direction of the shooter, only to fall into a pit of spikes and rats! Wounded, he was still strong enough to grab a rope lowered by Felsmon, but returned with many biting rats covering him. Silver flame shot from Z’alden, attacking the rats, while an image of the Platinum wings of Bahamut wrapped around Barrick, giving him added protection from further harm.

Two goblins appeared from behind a curtain down the west corridor, while the goblin in the north corridor approached also. Powerful magic from Skamos seared one of the goblins, even as Skamos was hit by a crossbow bolt. Barrick and Skamos, working together, quickly dispatched one of the little buggers while Felsmon, Tira, and Z’alden battled the other two. With one more dead, the third starting running down the east corridor shouting, “Splug, Splug, save me!” He too, was felled.

Finding little of value on these foul creatures, the group agreed to take the east corridor and find out who or what was “Splug.” Felsmon and Barrick led, with Skamos and Tira following and Z’alden covering the rear. The corridor ended in doors straight ahead and to the right. Felsmon heard a thudding noise beyond the door directly in front. Felsmon opened the door and went into the room, with Barrick close behind. From his mouth, Felsmon issued powerful lightning bolts, searing two surprised goblins. Across the large torture chamber, a third goblin was also surprised. Black flames erupted from Tira, bright magical rays shot forth from Skamos, and a crossbow bolt flew from Z’alden’s weapon, bringing down the little nasty.

Further in the room, the two wounded goblins were immediately engaged by Felsmon and Barrick. A huge monster at the far side in the room, raged in fury. It raced over, angry at the intrusion. As the large humanoid moved to engage, Felsmon threw a pot of magic jelly at him, immobilizing the beast. In the battle with the three creatures, with Felsmon’s mighty sword and Barrick’s new battleaxe cleaving the goblins and hacking into the monstrous brute. Powerful silver dragon forms erupted from Z’alden attacking the enemy while protecting dragon wings wrapped around Skamos. The wizard’s magical missiles and Tira’s powerful black flames racked the goblins in magical flames. The monsters were outmatched and quickly dispatched by the excellent teamwork and power of the adventurers.

Exploring the torture chamber, little of value was found. Z’alden retrieved his crossbow bolt. Behind one prison door containing the goblin writing “Splug rules” crossed out, a little goblin was found. “Who are you?”, Tira queried. “I am Splug”, the little goblin said. The group questioned “Splug” but he claimed to know nothing about a rift or cult evil. With a small stature, this Splug was not exactly the fearsome protector the group was expecting. They remained in the torture chamber with Splug, debating what to do next.

Comments

Z’alden says to the group, “Perhaps we should further interrogate diplomatically interrogate Splug? If all agree, then my questions are, have you seen any other humans in the keep? Have you seen any living skeletons?”

To The Keep on the Shadowfell
 

“Plenty of other humans! Some alive, some not so alive. Yes, skeletons come out from the big doors, sometimes we kill them. For fun! No treasure though. You have plenty treasure, yes?”

Out-of-character (OOC): Congratulations! You are now level 2! You received 205 XP each for the last session, so you should each have a total of 1040 XP. Please choose your new Utility power and your new Feat. Also, don’t forget to add a +1 to all of your attacks, defenses, initiative, and skill checks.

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Z’alden says,”Splug we care not for treasure, aside from what we need to equip ourselves to confront and destroy evil wherever it is found. What others have you seen here, any female half-elves like the Warlock’s race and my own? What foul creatures do you know to avoid here in the keep and in its deepest layers?”

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Splug says “Ha! Any treasure you don’t want, you give to me. I’ll watch it for you.”

“Half-elves? No. We’d eat them too.”

“Arrrrr. foul creatures. Plenty of them. Almost got eaten by a slime mold once. And rats, big ones! I can take you to them, if you like?”

OOC: Where are you going to rest, so you can level up?

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Z’alden says, “Splug, do you know the way to the big door where the skeletons come from? “

OOC: I think we need to take an extended rest outside of the keep. I don’t feel good about staying in the torture room. But what to do with Splug? I would suggest that we make him describe the way and put him back into the prison chamber. If the description is bad, we won’t return to let him out. If it is good, we will let him go free with some money and food, and a promise not to harm the sentient races.

OOC: Z’alden is taking Utility power: Cure Light Wounds, Feat: Multi-Class Warlord Skill training in Athletics and Insightful Word once-per-day. He is also trading 1st level encounter power Healing Strike for Daunting Light.

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Splug shouts “Ha! Know the way? That’s why I was in prison. I was supposed to be guarding that door. Didn’t know hobgoblin ale was so strong…” Splug gives a wicked, toothy grin.

“Don’t worry, I show you great people the way. Then we split treasure, 50/50, yeh?” You notice him eyeing the Bahamut amulet on your chest.

OOC: Z’alden, love the avatar. How did you create it?

OOC: Anyone else know what power & feat they are taking? Felsmon perhaps?

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OCC: http://www.heromachine.com . I used version2.5. You can save an avatar as plain text, but you cannot save the image. You can make a screenshot, though.

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Z’alden says, “Ah, Splug, you are very funny! Treasure must go to what is rightfully used for: serving justice and defeating evil. We will put any treasure to these uses. But, you will be compensated for your aid to us. How much were you paid each month to guard the door?”

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Splug nods his head up and down enthusiastically, slimy matted hair flying in his face: “Yes! I agree! Serving evil and defeating justice! Good, I am glad we agree on the 50/50 split! Also, I am funny, yes? I won first place in the goblin comedian wars. Split the skull of the defending champion. Ha!”

“Whoops!” Splug suddenly darts backwards into his cell. He reappears a moment later, calmly adjusting his rotting tunic. You distinctly hear a slight clinking noise coming from his belt.

“You ask about pay? Balgron – the fat slob – paid us only 1 gold a month.” Splug clamps his hand over his mouth, muttering “oh, I should not have said Balgron’s name. He’ll throw me in the toilet for sure.”

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After listening to the exchange so far, Tira steps forward and speaks up, “Balgron? I know a Balgron, an ugly troll, always wears a stained blue tunic, is that the same one that works here?” After a moment’s reflection, she asks, “Are there other ways into the rooms past the big door, besides the big door itself? It would be easier to get out our treasure if we can avoid the guards.” Tira considers trying thievery to check out what the new clinking noise is coming from Splug’s belt.

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Z’alden nods at Tira’s words. “Yes, indeed. As Bahamut says, first the egg, then the dragonlet! First we must find a treasure before we concern ourselves with divisions and uses. Your joke, Splug, is well-met and will be remembered. Now, what did you say about these other ways into the rooms past the big door? “

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OOC: Does nobody else want to play the bad cop? By the way, don’t anybody mention my falling into the rat-trap before he gives in.

Oh, for the sake of Bahamut! This creepy little liar, who demands half our gold, is worth nothing to us. I can find my way through any dungeon, and I’ll warrant we smell the trolls and demons before he warns us of anything! I say, let’s stick him here and now, and never look back!

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Z’alden says, “Oh, Barrick. I think I like your joke even better than Splug’s! The only halves we need to discuss are the two that will come from Splug’s head after you split it into two with your mighty battleaxe. By the tooth, Splug, I think you should cooperate a lot more and make jokes a lot less, lest you anger our dwarven and dragonborn friends. Now, about those other ways past the big door?”

OOC: I’m thinking we throw Splug back into the cell, go rest aways from keep, level up, and then return and see if some time in the cooler has thawed Splug’s disposition. Of course, he may be gone when we get back, so we could take him with us – bound.

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I would not leave him behind alive, to warn others that we are here. Z’alden, like the others I am much in debt to your healing skills. If you do not wish to put this Splurge, or whatever his name, out of his miserable existence, he can come with us, within easy reach of our blades if he should squeal. Hands bound in front should do it – he may need to open doors.

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Splug slowly turns, giving each of you a hard stare. “Very well.”

“The double doors lead down to the rotters. And the hobgobs. And the big guy, “K”. I know a way around, but it’s tricky. Sneak past the treasure dump. Then past the big slimy thing. Then through the secret door. Or, visit Balgron, get my money back, then go to the secret door.”

He pats his belt…”I’ve got 10 copper in here says you don’t make it without me. You take me with you, give me some food and a few gold, and I’ll help.”

Splug spits on the floor, “heck, give me enough gold, I might even convert to this Bahamut you keep talking about.”

OOC: What do you want to do?

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What spicies is “K”? Bahamut is lawful good Splug and you are a Troll.

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OOC: With all this restful talking, have we rested enough to level up?

Z’alden says, “Barrick, I think you are right that we cannot leave him here alone, alive. But, Splug may be useful, yet. Where would this secret door take us?”

” Tell you what Splug, before the battleaxe of the Dwarven warrior splits you 50/50, you can demonstrate your usefulness. Draw us a map of the way to the double doors down to the rotters, the hobgobs and the big guy ‘K’. Draw us a map showing us this second route past the treasure dump, past the big slimy thing, and then to where the secret door is. Then draw us a map of the way to Balgron and where the secret door is. If the maps are true, and I will know (Z’alden will defend against the Bluff), then I will pay you 5 silver for each map. After the maps are finished, we talk about your leading us on one of these routes. And, you still haven’t answered the Paladin’s question. His greatsword may get just as itchy as the mighty battleaxe to see that 50/50 goblin split.”

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Splug splutters, “A troll! I am a respectable goblin.” He fumes for a moment, muttering unprintable goblin oaths.

He turns to Felsmon. “K is human. A priest or mage or something. Shouts about Orcus a lot. Whatever.”

“I wlll answer your questions. But no maps.” He mutters some more, “What am I, a hexer or something? Draw a map…”

“Balgron is a goblin, like me, only fatter and uglier. He’ll be with the other goblins in the barracks, just outside the door here. The only secret door I know is in the other direction, past the entrance room, down the broken stairs. Have you seen them? No? Come on, let’s go. Stand here any more and Balgron will change the guard. Go now, and we can surprise him, and stick a dagger in his fat frame!” Splug dances excitedly from one foot to the other.

To The Keep on the Shadowfell
 

“Splug, you seemed so competent. No maps – I am disappointed. Well, this little attack on Balgron will have to wait. You will need to come with us, and we will begin your conversion to Bahamut and goodness in the forest that does not reek of the decay and desolation of this keep. You must agree to be bound, lest Felsmon’s sword gets nervous and mistakes you for a Troll just as he did and swipes off your head. The great Dwarven battleaxe also appears twitchy to see what half of a goblin looks like. So, agree peacefuly to be bound. We will go aways, make camp, and agree to a plan for our return. Since I have not spent my silvers on the maps I requested, I will pay you 5 silvers to accompany us to the forest and 5 silver when we return.”

OOC:I am assuming we haven’t just leveled up being great and chatting here, and still need to go somewhere safe for that extended rest. If someone else has another suggestion, I am very open.

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“Splug, by the way, have you ever heard anything about the ghosts of great warriors roaming the keep or its depths? We had heard of ghost with the name “K”, Keegan. Surely your K is not the same. Do you know of this other K, Sir Keegan?”

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Tira, quietly to the other adventurers so that Splug cannot overhear: “Splug may be right about the changing of the guard. We might not have the time for a leisurely picnic on the grassy knoll before the entire keep is questing to add our bodies to the pile outside. We allowed the kobolds to gather forces and poor Felsmon suffered greatly.”

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Tira, to the adventures, but loud enough for Splug to hear, “I wonder about taking this little goblin with us. Either we hobble him, in which case we have to carry him, or his legs are free, and I will wager 20 silvers that the instant we are distracted by a battle, off the creature will run. He was in prison, his best course of action would be to sacrifice us in the hopes that his punishment will be lessened. If he is not trustworthy enough to provide us with a map, or at least some concrete directions right now, I saw we bind him and take him along, axe at the ready, and at the first sign of attack, or his escape, we let Barrick split him in two.”

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Leash the lying little goblin to me or Felsmon, he’ll not escape while we live, and he’s too small to pull one of us into a rat-trap. He’ll not even suffer too much, not that I care – goblins are accustomed to being herded along on leashes when they are young.

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Splug turns to Z’alden, “Ghosts? I have seen no ghosts, except for the foolish adventurers who insist on barging in here, looking for treasure. “K” is human enough.”

He then starts muttering, loud enough for everyone to hear. “Hmmmm. I was in prison. Should I sacrifice them, in hopes of a reward? Oh yes, I had forgotten, I was due to be tortured to death. I’m sure Balgron would be happy to forgive me.” Splug rolls his eyes dramatically.

I will take your 20 silver wager. If I lead you to the goblin barracks, and to the secret door, you give me the 20 silver and let me go. Agreed?”

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Z’alden smiles. “Well, your full conversion to Bahamut and goodness will have to wait. Let’s connect you with Barrick with this stout rope to assuage the concerns of our noble dwarf and calm the twitchy sword of the dragonborn. Then we had better be off before the guard changes, and see how Tira’s wager works out.” Z’alden moves to tie part of his 50ft rope around Splug’s neck. While doing so he says,”Splug, I must warn you that my powers from Bahamut harm foes and help allies. If in your heart you are secretly against us, and we encounter enemies, you will feel the wrath of Bahamut. But if you are as supportive of us as you seem, then you too will experience the benefits that come to those who aid the servants of the great Dragon.”

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Felsmon says,”I think that Splug should be tied to my left wrist because I could yank him towards me at any moment. Splug you better convert to Bahamut soon, Splug. I was looking forward to your conversion and that extended rest, but we better get moving now.”

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Tira leans toward Splug, “Splug, you mentioned going past a treasure dump. If there is treasure there we can plunder, and you keep your word to us, I will give you up to 200 silvers for your service. If you cross us, maybe instead of killing you we should tie you up and leave you someplace visible with a sign on your chest saying, ‘Balgron is a troll’.”

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“Ackkk! No rope around the neck. Tie it around my waist, if you must. I don’t want to be dragged into some crazy goblin pit or something if one of you louts happen to fall in.”

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Z’alden says,”very well, Splug, but we are expecting you to warn of us any goblin pits that you know about.” Z’alden moves to tie the rope around Splug’s waist. Assuming that goes well, then he ties the other end at 10 ft length to Felsmon’s left wrist.

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After tying to Felsmon’s wrist, Z’alden says,``Splug, do you know if this keep has a chapel, a church, or some other religious room? If so, where is it? Is it near the way to the secret door? Is it close to the treasure hoard we will pass?”

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Just before you tie the rope on, Splug darts over to a huge pile of discarded clothing, weapons, and assorted unidentifiable bits. It looks like everything from everyone who has ever been tortured here. He reaches in and drags out a goblin-size moth-eaten suit of leather armor. “My armor!” he shouts, hugging the smelly mass. He proceeds to throw it on, before trudging unwillingly back to Z’alden.

You manage to tie the rope around Splug, and then to Felsmon.

Splug considers Z’alden’s question, screwing up his face in concentration. “Yes, there was some sort of shrine. With a coffin or something. In fact, it had a picture of that same god of yours, old what’s his name. Certainly ain’t Bane.”

“Didn’t stick around long enough to get a peek in the coffin though. Too bad, probably some good loot.”

“Anyway, shrine’s just past the secret door.”

To The Keep on the Shadowfell
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