Session #35 – Tuesday, September 29, 1372 (DR) Third Age, 1:00 p.m.

The adventurers travel further deeper into the earth. They enter a chamber with a large brass scale, a pile of rocks and a chest on the north wall, and a nine foot tall stone statue of a warrior holding a mace in front of the south wall. The scale has two pans, resting in perfect balance. In the left pan is a rock. In the right pan is a large key. Dareus swaps a stone for the key, hoping to keep the pans in balance. Although the scale appears to be roughly in balance after the switch, the stone statue comes alive and attacks the party. The battle ends as in a heroic leap, Oriseus tackles the statue rendering it prone to a final blow. The party uses the key to try to open the chest, are successful, but discover that the chest is empty. The heroes take a long rest. In time, the adventurers make their way to a large stone slab blocking their way. The slab has four deep six inch holes at about elbow height. Each hole is marked with a symbol.

After many hours of research, discussion, deliberation and detective work, the heroes discover that the stone previously set opposite the key on the scale glows blue if placed in the right hole in the slab. They leave the stone there and venture back up and out of the caves. On the surface, they discover that it is about 6:30 p.m. An ash giant watches the party carefully as they travel east toward the next corner tower. They are able to unlock the door and venture downward into a water-themed course. Turning a corner, the party comes across an archway leading to a massive downfall of water. To the right of the archway is an inscription and a carved diorama. The session ends at about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 30, 1372 (DR) Third Age.

Continue Reading

Session #35 – Tuesday, September 29, 1372 (DR) Third Age, 1:00 p.m.

The adventurers travel further deeper into the earth. They enter a chamber with a large brass scale, a pile of rocks and a chest on the north wall, and a nine foot tall stone statue of a warrior holding a mace in front of the south wall. The scale has two pans, resting in perfect balance. In the left pan is a rock. In the right pan is a large key. Dareus swaps a stone for the key, hoping to keep the pans in balance. Although the scale appears to be roughly in balance after the switch, the stone statue comes alive and attacks the party. The battle ends as in a heroic leap, Oriseus tackles the statue rendering it prone to a final blow. The party uses the key to try to open the chest, are successful, but discover that the chest is empty. The heroes take a long rest. In time, the adventurers make their way to a large stone slab blocking their way. The slab has four deep six inch holes at about elbow height. Each hole is marked with a symbol. After many hours of research, discussion, deliberation and detective work, the heroes discover that the stone previously set opposite the key on the scale glows blue if placed in the right hole in the slab. They leave the stone there and venture back up and out of the caves.

On the surface, they discover that it is about 6:30 p.m. An ash giant watches the party carefully as they travel east toward the next corner tower. They are able to unlock the door and venture downward into a water-themed course. Turning a corner, the party comes across an archway leading to a massive downfall of water. To the right of the archway is an inscription and a carved diorama. The session ends at about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 30, 1372 (DR) Third Age.

Continue Reading

Session #34 – Tuesday, September 29, 1372 (DR) Third Age, 6:30 a.m.

One at a time, the remaining three words of power are uttered. Three more monsters are slain, including a massive magmoid creature that melts Dinsdale’s magical rapier. Once the four creatures are dispatched, the door in the south wall of the chamber unlocks. The party ventures further into the corridors, finding what appears to be a wizard’s laboratory, a locked room containing what Namfoodle describes as a defunct portal to the elemental plane of earth (where there are unlimited precious gems and metals for those who “don’t get caught”), a storeroom full of decayed supplies and finally a room in which they encounter and kill an umber hulk. The session ends at 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 29, 1372 (DR) Third Age.

Continue Reading

Session #33 – Monday, September 28, 1372 (DR) Third Age, 6:30 p.m.

The remaining ash elementals disappear into the ground. Beyond the iron portcullis blocking the keep’s front gate, the adventurers see a large, nearly black skinned giant approaching. The giant speaks in broken Common, “It is time for you to leave.” The party tries to bargain with the giant, but he appears to be having none of it. The party leaves and is escorted to a space about 100 feet away from the keep by more ash elementals. The party takes a short rest, plots and waits until the cover of darkness. Namfoodle explains that ash giants, as the inhabitants of the keep likely are, can sense the presence of creatures walking upon the ashen ground at great distances, perhaps miles. The party decides to rush the walls of the keep in the darkness while attempting to create a diversion with Oriseus’s wand of fire. In a great sprint, Dinsdale reaches the wall first and, climbing through broken opening in the western wall, is immediately struck with a giant club. It seems the giants were not surprised in the least. An awkward battle ensues and culminates with a discussion between the badly injured heroes and three powerful ash giants.

The giants agree to allow the party to pass, having no motive to fight other than to protect the magical stone that they are apparently mining for some building project elsewhere. In return, the heroes agree not to touch or take any stone. Dinsdale unlocks a tower door and the party enters, finding an iron stairway leading down into the earth. The walls are painted with cut-away scenes of the earth, and the deeper they go, the darker and more mysterious are the painted walls. The adventurers enter their first room underground. The room is a 30’ cube. In the center of the floor is a 5’ high marble pedestal. Hovering an inch or two above the pedestal is a 1’ diameter crystal globe with four tiny humanoid shadows inside, pounding on the glass surrounding as if seeking release. White light emanates from the orb, casting huge shadows of the creatures on the walls all around the party. The pedestal also has four strange words written on it, each magically glowing in an eerie green light. After some time, Dinsdale reads the first word on the pedestal aloud. There is a flash of light and there instantly appears a three armed, three legged creature with a giant toothed mouth facing upwards where the shoulders would be. The creature is slain. The session ends at 6:30 a.m., Tuesday, September 29, 1372 (DR), Third Age.

Continue Reading

Session #32 – Monday, September 28, 1372 (DR) Third Age, 8:00 a.m.

The party climbs onto the back of their newest acquaintance, Roldryss the Ancient Brass Dragon, King of the Plains. Flying northward, the party spots a grouping of four black-clad travelers below. Assuming them to be their Zhentarim opponents, they descend and speak with the group. They notice immediately that two of the travelers are carrying a black rectangular box, about 1 and ½ feet long. Ultimately, a fight breaks out and all of the Zhentarim operatives are slain save for the leader, a large, muscled man with brown hair and a short beard. The party sends him walking back westward with instructions to seek out the occupying priest at the profaned Temple to Gilgeam in Southfork. The group discovers that the box contains an infant boy in a magical stasis of some kind. They keep the boy in the box and tie it to the back of Arrakes. From there, the party moves north eastward to the keep of Inverness. Approaching the keep, the party can see into the walled courtyard. There, they see a massive pile of broken stone, some appearing to have indications of having been formerly worked into circular walls. Around the stone pile, they see giant sized tools and a cart. They can hear lumbering movement beyond. Suddenly, the heroes are attacked by a group of three ash elementals. The session ends at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, September 28, 2372 (DR) Third Age.

Continue Reading

Session #31 – Thursday, September 24, 1372 (DR) Third Age, 3:15 p.m.

Having just concluded their battle with a band of ancient elven skeletons, Oriseus takes one of the skulls and the party makes its way southward through the winding tunnels travelling through the night. They emerge from the mountains at midday and make their way first westward to the South Road, then southward to Southfork. They are met with a scene of destruction. The outer wall has clearly been breached and the public buildings damaged. The heroes are stopped by a Mulhorand guard named Badru who identifies Oriseus (who is of Mulan heritage) as a noble. The warrior escorts the party to a newly defiled temple of Gilgeam to meet High Lord Priest Shed-Nefer, the Mulhorandi Priest of Ra and commander of the local occupation. The adventurers are told that the whole of southern Unther has been conquered by the Holy Harustep III, Great Pharaoh of Mulhorand, who the party knows to be an 11 year old boy.

The party is welcomed as Ostohar emissaries by virtue of their talismans and given free lodging at the local inn, which has been occupied by Mulhorand officers and agents. On their way to the inn, the party observes some of the Mulhorand army’s instruments of war – elephants outfitted for battle and chained lions. They also catch glimpses of wagons and war chariots. At the inn, Dareus falls victim to what might be interpreted as a second assassination attempt. Investigating shadows passing in front of his window, there is an explosion that catches him in the legs. Hurt, but not badly, Dareus questions the Mulhorand authorities about the incident, but to no avail. At dawn, the party ultimately files southward again, this time into the old city of Blessed Brey. They find the city in near ruins, mostly from age and neglect, but with some evidence of invasion. Without stopping, the heroes find the city’s east gate and head headlong toward the Black Ash Plain.

They camp for the night on the edge of the plain and travel most of the following day eastward, along the base of a black crusted collection of hills. At dusk, they are met by an affable, travelling halfling, crossing the barren Black Ash Plain barefooted. He introduces himself as Roldryss, resident of the plains. The party agrees to allow Roldryss to spend the night at their fire. In the ensuing conversation, the heroes learn that the Black Ash Plain is home to wingless brown dragons and ash giants. Roldryss also describes an ancient brass dragon who he characterizes as the “King of the Plains.” Roldryss describes an unfriendly group he encountered that morning crossing the plains in the same direction as the party and inquires as to the adventurers’ purpose in the area. Eventually, the adventurers disclose the true nature of their quest, but not before they become aware that Roldryss is radiating powerful transmutation magic and appears to be wearing a wide array of magical items of differing types.

Roldryss also appears to be reading Oriseus’s mind. He seems to know an awful lot about an awful lot of things. He describes Inverness to the group and reveals that the only way to learn its secrets is to head underneath the visible ruins. He also describes the ruins as “occupied” and warns that it will be very difficult to do this. He seems to confirm the existence of the Cyrilia, but denies any understanding of the widely held belief that the tower is “divorced from time.” The party is alarmed at hearing their potential rivals are so far ahead of them. They ask Roldryss if they should pick up camp and march through the night. Roldryss seems unconcerned saying only, “nah, the way I go it won’t take long.” Then, Roldryss says something that causes the hair on the back of Oriseus’s neck to stand up, “the Cyrilia can project images to communicate with humanoids.” When asked if the Cyrilia might create the image of a halfling to do this, Roldryss says, “yeah, I suppose it could.” Roldryss cannot help but be fascinated by Arrakes, especially when he learns Arrakes’s last name. Ultimately, when Arrakes tells his story, Roldryss claims that Arrakes’s descendants are great heroes on the other side of Unther, east of the Greenlands. When morning arrives, Roldryss assumes the form of an ancient brass dragon and offers to fly the adventurers directly to Inverness. The session ends at 8:00 a.m., September 28, 1372 (DR) Third Age.

Continue Reading

Session #30 – Wednesday, September 23, 1372 (DR) Third Age, 4:30 p.m.

The front door of the Merchant’s Rest swings open. Security Captain Teleri Orcfoe, Seargeant Vernt Gnomefriend, Assistant Korr Boxgrinder and their retinue secure the room, escorting non-party members from the building but leaving Namfoodle Timbers. Captain Orcfoe informs the party that King Ael Hoarfrost has just signed a treaty with Mulhorand and has declared war on Unther. All persons aiding Unther, including the Zhentarim, have been deemed enemies of the state. Three Zhentarim operatives have been captured and interrogated. Ostohar has learned that Unther’s desperation in losing the war has taken an extreme dimension. Emperor Gilgeam has hired various mercenary groups, including the Zhentarim to scour the lands for ancient artifacts that might assist Unther in staving off total annihilation. Captain Orcfoe has learned that one such artifact is the Cyrilia (Elvish for the “Interloper”). The Cyrilia, he explains, is actually not an artifact per se but an ancient alien creature that, legend reports, can “neutralize armies.” However, the legend is thousands of years old and no one actually knows if it still lives or even if it ever really existed at all. Out of an “abundance of caution,” however, Captain Orcfoe says that Ostohar is compelled to send a force to stop the Zhentarim’s expedition to find and control the Cyrilia.

The Zhentarim operatives are to be slain on sight. If found, the Cyrilia too should be destroyed as soon as possible; all available descriptions of the creature indicate that the Cyrilia would be far too dangerous to be released and the temptation to try to control the power would be too great. The Captain unfurls an ancient looking map on parchment. He explains that this is an actual historical document (as there was no time to accurately copy it for the party). He gives the map to the heroes and explains that legends describe an ancient ruined keep called Inverness, located to the south of Ostohar near the heart of the Black Ash Plain. According to ancient lore, thousands of years ago, before the Smoking Mountains belched their first fumes skyward, a great evoker known as Galap-Dreidel discovered the Cyrilia among the stony feet of the mountain chain. There, finding the creature bathed in its own light among a field of boulders, the wizard managed to possess the creature (or the creature possessed Galap-Dreidel – accounts vary).

Returning to the site of Inverness, the evoker used his power to raise thick stone walls from the very earth and shape them into a fortress for himself. In the years that followed, he constructed a grand tower in the center of the keep to both imprison and to protect what had become the object of his obsession. Having been constructed by a powerful evoker, it is said that both the keep and the tower employed powerful elemental energies and that the tower had been “divorced from time.” Initially, Galap-Dreidel had subjugated the surrounding tribes and ruled with brutal despotism. In time, however, the wizard’s fascination with his work – or perhaps his obsession with the Cyrilia – turned his attention inward and he neglected his subjects. Suspecting evil influence and wishing to be free of the evoker’s tyranny, the superstitious tribes marched on the keep and tore it down, including the great tower. Galap-Dreidel was not found. Nor was the Cyrilia.

Millennia passed with the ruins remaining largely untouched. Myths about the ruins began to take shape. For example, it is said that when light of the full moon hits the mists just right, one can still see the faint outline of the tower. Thus, the ruins have been referred to as the “Ghost Tower of Inverness” for centuries. To complicate matters, the growing ash in the Black Ash Plains has obscured both the ruins and the roads granting ingress. Captain Orcfoe looks at your new gnome acquaintance and says, “that’s what good old Namfoodle is for.” The gnome gets up as if to leave but is forced back down into his chair. The Captain explains that all of Namfoodle’s holdings have been seized and will not be released until he is successful in completing this mission. The Captain then calls upon the party as “Dwarf Friends” and implores them to aid the King in this time of war. The mission, as the party understands it, is to thwart the Zhentarim recovery effort and, if the creature is found, destroy the Cyrilia. Assessing the situation, the heroes glean that the guards surrounding the building are there for their protection, not their capture. They are free to decline this invitation. However, doing so would likely jeopardize their newfound standing as Dwarf Friends. And, perhaps more importantly, they have the Crown’s express authority to keep any treasure they find. In addition, proof of their success in the mission will likely garner a handsome reward.

Namfoodle exclaims that if what he knows about Inverness is true, they would be crazy to go. They will likely end up dead. Nonetheless, Arrakes, Dareus and Dinsdale agree to take up the task. Oriseus awakens. As if in a daze, he sits motionless, listening to the party relay the substance of their discussion. Wordless, he gets up and walks to Korr. Oriseus explains that he needs to go back to the library before the expedition leaves. Korr agrees to escort him to the library, despite the fact that it is after hours. They leave.

Captain Orcfoe presents to the remaining heroes a fully outfitted dwarven guide by the name of Arkhod Goblinbane. The adventurers turn in for the night with the aim of leaving for Inverness in the morning. Meanwhile, Oriseus stations himself at the library. Tackling the topic of Inverness first, he is able to confirm the story given by Captain Orcfoe. Adding to that, he reads that the Cyrilia was (is?) exceedingly intelligent and can purportedly communicate with humans. He finds no links between the Cyrilia and elemental forces. Finishing with that topic and being confused by his experience in the tavern, Oriseus pores over ancient texts searching for clues that might help shed light on his stunning revelations of doubt concerning his glorified master, Tchazzar. All but one source recites the accepted dogma of heroism and honor. The outlier is intensely critical of Tchazzar – likely written by a conquered foe. It refers to Tchazzar as an evil oppressor and a “doppelganger.” Oriseus makes a note of the author’s name: Vilamar Elgroth.

Completing his research by morning, Oriseus returns to the Merchant’s Rest in time to meet Arkhod Goblinbane and three fully outfitted ponies. Packs of food and supplies for each expedition member are also provided. Arkhod explains that they will be taking a more direct (and generally secret) route under the mountains to the southwest and head outside for a town near the north western tip of the Black Ash Plain called Southfork. There, they will have time to rest for a day while waiting for the ponies to arrive; the tunnels they will take are too narrow and uneven to allow passage for the beasts. Squeezing their way through the tunnels, the party is ambushed by a group of skeletons – obviously undead warriors from another age. However, unlike stereotypical undead, two of these skeletons appear to be sentient. Having slain the others, the party lets the sentient skeletons leave. Namfoodle is nearly killed and lies motionless (playing dead) at the heroes’ feet by the end of the encounter. The session ends at 3:15 p.m., Thursday, September 24, 1372 (DR) Third Age.

Continue Reading

Session #29 – Tuesday, September 22, 1372 (DR) Third Age, 5:00 p.m.

After discussion, the party determines that it needs more information in order to determine its next move. Dareus and Oriseus head off to see Korr Boxgrinder and ask if he can bring them into the old city to visit the Royal Library. The idea is to find out additional information regarding Xak Tsaroth. Korr says this would be possible, but that they would have to wait until morning. They decide to head back to the Merchant’s Rest (their inn). Meanwhile, Dinsdale and Arrakes head into the outdoor market. Dinsdale plans to find his way into the darker corners of Ostohar’s social strata and see if information can be gleaned that way. He finds a textile purveyor and after purchasing some overpriced imported silk, persuades the salesman to organize a meeting with a somewhat shady gnome by the name of Namfoodle Timbers. They turn to go to the Merchant’s Rest as the bazaar is closing.

A block away from the inn, Dareus is suddenly struck with a fine needle in the back of his neck. Turning to see its origin, Dareus catches a glimpse of a black-clad figure ducking into an alleyway some yards away. He instinctively darts in that direction, but almost immediately falls to his knees with poisonous paralysis gripping his legs. Oriseus helps Dareus into the Merchant’s Rest taproom and drags him into Dareus’s room, dropping him onto his bed. The proprietor, Willa Hartzell, seeing the group come in, sends her bouncer for the guard. Thinking quickly, Arrakes casts a lesser restoration spell on Dareus and while the poison appears to have been neutralized, Dareus remains unconscious. Dinsdale goes outside for a look and sees a black-clad figure down an alleyway climbing the side of a building and disappearing onto the roof. Two members of the guard arrive at the inn and take a statement. Dareus awakens.

When the guards leave, Oriseus notices that there are three black-robed figures in the corner of the common room, their faces covered with black sashes. He approaches and asks their business. One of the mysterious humans, a woman by all appearances, stands and explains that her mask is designed to cover a skin disease that she and her companions recently contracted. She shows her face and it is indeed covered with lesions and boils. The bouncer, whose name is Ibal (unfortunately pronounced “eyeball”) agrees to run and get more guard to assist the ailing group. When they arrive, the guardsmen take the dark figures out of the Inn. Moments later, the guard returns indicating that the dark clad group gave them the slip and says that their skin looked fine. The heroes bed down for the night, being cautious to prepare for another assassination attempt. None comes and in the morning, Dareus and Oriseus go with Korr to the Royal Library. There, they are able to discover some general history of Xak Tsaroth.

Also known as the “city of gold,” Xak Tsaroth was once a prosperous city of white marble on the south end of the Greenlands in southern Unther. The city was a cultural center, boasting fantastic arts and social and political sophistication. Near its zenith, however, Xak Tsaroth was sadly struck by some form of cataclysm. The earth split and swallowed a vast portion of the city. Other areas remained on the surface, but were ultimately claimed by jungle fauna created by the magic of the Greenlands growing out of control. Now, it is said that the jungle is home to all sorts of nasty creatures and the remains of Xak Tsaroth are likely infested with dark and dangerous monsters. Meanwhile, Dinsdale and Arrakes are visited at the Merchant’s Rest by Namfoodle Timbers. Namfoodle is an exceedingly confident, rather foppish gnome wearing loose, colorful clothes and a jaunty hat. Namfoodle explains that he is a student of ancient culture and geography as well as a dealer in antiquities. He is obviously excited by the prospect of participating in a journey to Xak Tsaroth and claims to have esoteric knowledge of the city that would be valuable to the party.

Dinsdale agrees to discuss a potential partnership with the rest of his companions and Namfoodle agrees to come back for another meeting to explore that possibility. After completing their research on Xak Tsaroth at the Royal Library, Dareus and Oriseus begin reading up on Malebranche. According to the musty old texts they find, it appears that Malebranche is from the 143rd level of the Abyss, sometimes referred to as the “Fetid Sorrows.” Malebranche is clearly a demon of sorts and was an adjunct of Orcus until he betrayed his master and was chased out of the Abyss to the Prime Material Plane where Malebranche founded a stronghold from which to hide and defend himself against the wrath of Orcus. Thus began the Long Night, as Malebranche sought to recreate the ambiance of his former abode in the southlands of Chessenta. Having been an acolyte of Orcus, Malebranche has great powers in raising and controlling undead and it is surmised that Malebranche’s ultimate goal is to usurp his former master in both power and standing. Oriseus thought back on some of the events occurring in recent days and some of the lore that he had learned and deduced during that time. Lixandthiar (“Lix”), the gold dragon whose remains now lay at the bottom of Emerald Lake in the heart of Willow Glen, had been the only creature with the knowledge and/or power to imprison Malebranche in the Shadowhold more than 3,000 years ago. Smitty (or so he called himself) was the last living member of the White Guardians, a group sworn to the protection of Enlil’s people, and had been an ally of Lix. Remnants of Lix’s magic impregnated and sustained ancient life all around the Emerald Lake, infusing the Weeping Willow with both life and sentience. The power had also kept Smitty alive for all these millennia as he was tasked with the responsibility of protecting the gate to the Shadowhold.

However, Malebranche was clever and in time, reached out to a warlock agent, calling himself Felthavian Shallowheld. In exchange for awful secrets, Felthavian was convinced to free Malebranche. But, Felthavian was evil in his own right and conceived a plan to immediately absorb Malebranche’s power once freed. Ultimately, Flethavian’s plan failed and the party was there to witness, in part, the events of Malebranche’s liberation. The apparent king of a plucky band of small frogmen explained some of this to the party in the darkness of Malebranche’s shadow and sent the party off to find Xak Tsaroth and, more particularly, the Heart of Dragonkind – a mysterious gemstone lying somewhere in its depths that had the power to bring Lixandthiar back to life with the hope of defeating Malebranche once again. The party was given no description of the stone or any sense how to use the talisman or even what it might do exactly. Dareus and Oriseus are unable to find any information on the Zhentarim and eventually returned to the Merchant’s Rest. The group decides to hear what the gnome, Namfoodle Timbers, has to say. They summon the gnome.

During their conversation, Oriseus attempts to read Namfoodle’s mind. Namfoodle indicates that he knows the location of the hidden entrance to the underground portion of the city. He wants to come with the party and wants to trade his service and knowledge for a share of the findings. The Heart of Dragonkind is not discussed. When asked if he really knows the way to the underground passages, Oriseus is able to read images from Namfoodle’s mind – blurry images of thoughts described to Namfoodle but not actually seen by the gnome. In his mind, Oriseus sees a ruined temple built of white stone and marble, caving in and overgrown with large leafed jungle plants and vines. Inside the entrance is a once grand worship room. On the mosaic floor, featured prominently, is a large stone of red granite, depicting a large altar. That stone appears to be the entrance. The party then asks Namfoodle what creatures they might encounter in Xak Tsaroth. Oriseus immediately sees a picture of a black dragon in his mind.

Then, suddenly, Oriseus experiences a white flash in his mind’s eye as if struck by a psychic blast. He has the sensation of floating up and out of his body, breathless. Travelling into and through a black void with hundreds of thousands of points of light in every direction, Oriseus looks back to see a silver cord emanating from his body and extending backwards out of sight. His travel ends at an enormous and irregular block of stone bearing bright green grasses growing in the dim light of space. In the distance, across the fields, Oriseus can see a castle of great craftsmanship. His involuntary flight takes him through the front gate of the castle, down the halls and through chambers decorated with fine furnishings and art of various styles alternately depicting a king and a red dragon in various battles. Then, Oriseus finds himself in a throne room, kneeling before a human king with blazing red hair and beard. The kings looks at Oriseus and says “Our time has come. You are to visit me at the Great Temple in Cimbar.” At great speed, Oriseus us pulled away from the throne and hurled back to his body in the Merchant’s Rest. Yet, as he is thrown backwards, Oriseus can clearly see the king’s form change first to a twisted black freak of nature, then into an enormous red dragon. In that moment, Oriseus discovers that his great and revered patron, Tchazzar, has for all these years hidden his true nature and that he is in fact a power of great evil and something to be feared by all. The jolt of his return knocks Oriseus’s body off his chair at the Merchant’s Rest where he falls unconscious. The session ends at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, September 23, 1372 (DR) Third Age.

Continue Reading

Session #28 – Tuesday, September 22, 1372 (DR) Third Age, 12:00 p.m.

The party is whisked away to see King Ael Hoarfrost and are honored with the title of “Dwarf Friend.” Each is given a medallion on a neck chain that is carved with a small relief of a throne with a great axe leaning against it. The king explains that with this medallion, they may pass freely into and throughout the kingdom – although you suspect that the old city is probably still off limits as you are not actual dwarves. The party returns to the new city and finds an armor smith – Barsk “Nohair” at the Chestnut Smithy in the north eastern portion of the town. After lengthy negotiations, the armor smith sells a chain shirt +1 to Arrakes. The session ends with the party standing outside the armor smithy at 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 22, 1372 (DR) Third Age.

Continue Reading

Session #27 – Monday, September 21, 1372 (DR) Third Age, 3:00 p.m.

Eve Nightsheer explains that the Zentarim have likely stolen the child as an agent of another force, possibly Gilgeam, the self-proclaimed emperor of Unther. She also explains that the theft was likely fueled by a belief in a little known prophesy that the “son of Kavorkian” would grow to become a powerful force in the Old Kingdoms. She posits that her purpose here may be to help thwart this effort, though she herself does not believe in the prophesy. She says her goodbyes to the heroes and gives Oriseus a small, stuffed bird, a square of parchment and a purple pen. She tells Oriseus that he should “use it only in a dire emergency.” She also gives him a small token adorned with an embossed harp and says, “if you misuse this, I will know.”

Dareus attempts to pick up the tracks of the fleeing thief, but cannot find a clear way on the stone floor of the cave. The party hears yells and the smashing of bone further south and soon discover a dwarven security force destroying a skeleton contingent that had previously blocked the passage to Ostohar. Thorak knows the leader of the guard, named Vernt Gnomefriend. In time, the guard escorts the party and its growing retinue into the City of Ostohar. The party gets a block of rooms at the Merchant’s Rest, which is probably the finest inn in the “New City.” Thorak tells them that the owner of the inn, one Willa Hartzel, is a friend of his and that they should feel free to speak with her and use his name.

The next day, the party visits Teleri Orcfoe, Captain of the Royal Security Force of Ostohar. The adventurers tell Teleri of their experiences in full. In return, Teleri tells them some important information. First, he tells them that they are aware of certain Zentarim operatives staying in the city, though they do not know their purpose there. He denies knowledge of any Zentarim entering the city in the past 24 hours. Second, he tells them that there are officers of the Mulhorand army also staying in the city, apparently having entered in civilian capacity. He admits that he has been unable to find any connection between the Mulhorandi and Zentarim agents. Third, he thanks the party for returning the bodies and belongings of the various dwarven guard found before and during their excursion into the underground. He announces that the King, The Mighty Ael Hoarfrost, himself, wishes to grant the heroes an audience to share his sincere gratitude. Fourth, he opines that apparently all of the undead (he thinks all skeletons) that recently invaded the city were human sized and as a consequence, he thinks that this was an outside force, having traveled some way to get to the city. It was clearly not an inside job. Fifth, he informs them that the king’s royal (and magical) greataxe was stolen in the recent undead invasion. Given the strangely disjointed method of attack, he believes that the attack was likely intended as a diversion while the greataxe was stolen. The greataxe is called “Sejem” and is a powerful element of the king’s royal authority. Sixth, the king has no descendants and thus no obvious heir to the throne. He has thus declared an Oovra Droom, which is an open contest to be undertaken by the “children of the noble houses.” The nature of the Oovra Droom is an epic quest, which he decreed to be the return of Sejem. The first of noble dwarven blood to return the greataxe will secure a derivative right to the throne upon the death or abdication of Hoarfrost. The city appears to be preparing for a grand parade, perhaps in recognition of the Oovra Droom. Finally, Teleri reveals in secret that the acting king had a brother, long thought to be dead, who, it is feared, may actually be alive and connected in some way to the theft of Sejem. Oriseus asks Teleri for authority to seek out the Zentarim operatives for “questioning.” Teleri agrees to bring this idea up to his council and will send his assistant, Korr Boxgrinder, out to find them when he has an answer. Teleri takes his leave. The party tells Korr about the two half-orc women. Korr insists on returning to the Merchant’s Rest with the party to question them personally, which they do.

The interview reveals additional information. First, it seems that the red wizard and his gang of thugs had been collecting pregnant half-orc women and delivering them to Gruul Dorga. They themselves had been taken from their family in “the forests.” Ultimately, they were put into the same group as Dvora Grimbane and befriended her. Dvora had mentioned in passing the name “Kavorkian,” but they do not know exactly how Dvora had come into the red wizard’s possession. In addition, they had heard mention of the prophesy. The party is directed to “The Vault,” a store trading in obscure items from far and wide. There, they meet the proprietor, Lasha Winterwalker. Lasha appears as a wizened half-elf. The parties barter. In exchange for the party’s tender of six griffon eggs and two (+1) longswords, they are able to secure one (+1) rapier for Dinsdale, one (+2) spear for Arrakes, a box of ten flaming shiriken for Dareus and a wand of fire for Oriseus. The session ends at 12:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 22, 1372 (DR) Third Age.

Continue Reading
Close Menu
Skip to toolbar