The Midlands Histories

Winds of Fortune

Author: DM Dracowayfarer

We’re part of a story, part of a tale
Sometimes beautiful, sometimes insane
No one remembers how it began.

— Within Temptation, “Never Ending Story”

In the Vale, the start of every season is welcomed with a great Faire.

As Winter was breathing its final, frigid breaths, the people of the Vale gathered together to celebrate its passing, and this year, the city of Arislen played host to the Spring revels. For days leading up to the Spring equinox, a village-sized assortment of tents, carts, stages, and attractions gathered outside the walls of the city. Within the city, businesses, guilds, and the nobility made their own preparations for the influx of visiting celebrants.

Faire1

Such an event is viewed by some guilds, especially adventuring outfits, as a prime recruitment opportunity. Luthien’s Golden Leaves, being one of the larger adventuring guilds in the city, sent out many of its members to find fresh faces to swell its ranks.

Lam, recently recruited to the guild himself, was put to just that task in the fields outside the city, and among the throngs of patrons and spectators he discovered Bree, Talendil, and Mara-kai. He brought to the guild’s tent on the fairegrounds, where each was awarded a 50 gold recruitment bonus for agreeing to join the guild. Once that business was concluded, Lam collected the 15 gold per head promised to those who were sent out recruit.

As the Faire concluded, in a public ceremony on the grand stage, representatives from the Winter Court of Faerie symbolically enacted the transfer of authority to representatives of the Spring Court. Talendil, seeing familiar faces among the Winter Court delegation, did his best to remain unseen.

When the group finally made their way back into the city, Guildmaster Daryn instructed Lam to give the newcomers a tour of Luthien’s guild hall. After a night of rest there, the group was offered its first assignment: to investigate rumors of bandits raiding a small farming village and holding up travelers just outside of Arislen.

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The Race: Part I

The images that haunted Lam’s dreams that night were not vivid, but when he awoke at a sharp rap on the door of the room the guild has assigned him, he remembered them well enough. Visions of the crypt clutched just at the edge of memory, and slowly faded, as dreams do.

The great hall1

Talendil, Mara-kai, Bree and Lam all awoke that morning to find that a meeting had been called. Voices drifted up the stairs from the main hall, along with the scents of the morning meal. It seemed like every member of Luthien’s was present, and Daryn stood on the small dais at the back of the long hall. As the crowd settled in with their bread, cheese, and freshly picked berries, he addressed them. The purpose of this meeting, he said, was to discuss the race that normally occurs every year at this time. The race had been set aside with the coming of the Faire to Arislen, but now that it had passed, it was time to prepare and that meant electing a group to represent the guild in the competition.

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The Race: Part II

After an unexpectedly eventful evening, the party returned back to Arislen by the light of the moon and retired back at Luthien’s. Early the next morning, they arose to the smell of breakfast, laid out especially for them. After eating their fill, they made their way to the southern gate, where the event would begin. There, citizens and guild members gathered to watch the race begin. The crowd there was small compared to the spectators along the routes, all ready excitedly awaiting the runners.

Near the edge of the moat, the guildmasters of the three participating guilds gathered. From that group, a raven-haired human woman stepped forth, unfurled a scroll, and called for the attention of those who would be racing this day. She read aloud the rules of the race, then bid the runners prepare themselves, as the competition would begin shortly.

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A Day Off

After a night of celebration, Talendil, Mara-kai, Bree, and Lam retired back to their lodgings at the Guildhouse. The next day, Daryn’s assistant informed them that they had no assignments and thus had the day off. He suggested that they take the opportunity to explore the city, and while they were at it, they could do him a favor and deliver a package to a friend of his, a stamp and candle maker, near the city gardens. He also noted that a member of the city guard had dropped by early that morning to deliver a reward to Bree for taking action against the thief in the high city during the Race, and to ask that she stop by the Guardhouse as soon as possible.
Arislen gardens 1
With no pressing duties to tend to, the group made their way out into the dirt streets of the low city. A few stray clouds watched them on their quick journey to the gardens, and a cool spring breeze brushed over their faces. The gardens were watched over by a two-story house which, in turn, was watched by two private guardsmen standing near the front door. Stopping at an iron gate that surrounded the house’s courtyard, they called to the guardsmen and asked to see the stamp maker, only to be informed that the place they were looking for was a small shop a dozen yards behind them.

They delivered the package to a friendly, elderly gentleman with a long white beard. Bits of wax stuck in the gray hairs on his chin, he made small talk with the adventurers and pitched his wares until finally Bree purchased a pair of taper candles and they took their leave. Shortly, they arrived at the Guardhouse, nestled against the outside the wall separating Arislen’s high and low cities. There they announced themselves to a bored, young guardsman who handed them over to a senior officer. The officer took Bree down a flight of stairs into the holding cells below the house, where he asked her to identify the thief. She did, and he returned the favor, issuing threats and epithets at her as the officer escorted her away.

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The Crossroads

The crossroads
Rural farmlands reluctantly gave way to low, rocky hills and grassy plains as the group headed eastward. Two and a half days of travel brought them to a low rise along the lightly traveled road. Upon reaching the top of the rise, a curious scene appeared before them. A mushroom-shaped two story building sat huddled against a small but dense forest, juxtaposed with a towering metal structure where a dozen cages hung from metal arms that jutted out from the main shaft. Sunk into the ground nearby was a large pit full of recently turned dirt. Three humanoids moved about at the base of the artificial tree while scores of black birds flew around the cages. As they watched from their horses, debating whether to approach this strange place, a strong breeze swept up over the hill, carrying with it the scent of death and decay.

A quick survey of the landscape revealed little in the way of options but to go forward along the path and through this seemingly empty settlement. A steep, rocky hill rose up to their left and to the right lie the thick forest. Pressing on, they approaching the two-storied building slowly. They hitched their horses to a post near a cart parked by the front doors. The three hobgoblins by the gibbet tree paid no attention to them; they were busy taunting a man in one of the cages who was pleading his innocence.

When nobody answered a knock on the doors, the group entered to find a half-dozen dwarves bartering with a half-orc over owlbear furs on a table between them and a hooded man sitting apart from the negotiations. The main room was open to the second floor, which ringed the first. Crates, barrels, jars, and other goods sat gathered upon the walkway above. Not wanting to interrupt the discussion going on in the back of the room, Bree approached the hooded man, and asked for help.

He introduced himself as Millen, and named the half-orc Fulgrim. He had no information about the temple site the group sought, but did offer information of another sort. He possessed, he claimed, an ability to see a short time into the future. He pulled back his hood, and further claimed that this ability came from one of his eyes, which was completely silver. The removal of his hood revealed Millen to be an elf, and the elf promised he would look into their future for a price.

In exchange for their gold, the party was told to watch for an old, large oak tree that would stand near the place they sought. They were also told that they may find conflict there. When he was done with his divinations, Millen offered to sell them supplies or provisions. His offer declined, he then suggested that he had a special stash of higher quality goods, kept in the graveyard nearby. Suspicions arose, but Lam and Talendil agreed to follow the elf to this stash to see what he might offer. Bree and Mara-kai opted to seek out one of the dwarves who had walked outside.

The genasi and the halfling found the dwarf near the cart, and after chatting with him for a few minutes discovered that his group were hunters, trappers, and scavengers. They were headed east when they concluded their business at this trade post and the dwarf said he’d talk to the leader of their band about possibly joining up for a while on the road as they were headed in the same direction as the party.

Millen, pulling a wrinkled bit of parchment from his cloak, led the eladrin and the changeling to the depression in the earth that they had passed on their way to the mushroom-shaped trade post. He walked past several open graves and as many mounds of earth before stopping, grabbing a nearby shovel and starting to dig.

Watching the elf work, Lam and Talendil failed to notice that they were not alone in the graveyard. A dessicated hand grabbed at Lam’s shoulder and moments later he and the eladrin were engaged with a half-dozen risen corpses. Their shouts carried over the yard to the trade post, alerting Bree and Mara-kai. Talendil gave Millen a questioning look which was answered with a sly grin and a shrug.

The group just managed to dispatch the zombies, with Millen running off to the main building after catching the brunt of one of Lam’s spells. They gave chase, incensed at being misled. Lam, Talendil, and Mara-kai set to lighting the building on fire, inside and out. Bree managed to persuade some of the dwarves to not attack as the party entered into combat with Fulgrim and the rest of the dwarves who sided with him. The half-orc guarded the stairs leading to the second level, where Talendil spotted Millen standing and watching the altercation. During the battle, goods from the upper floor flew down to strike Talendil and Mara-kai. As they finished with the dwarves, the fires spread further up the walls and over the floor of the trade post. The party retreated out the front doors and Fulgrim fled up the stairs.

There was no sign of the half-orc, the elf, or the hobgoblins outside. A brief chat with the dwarves smoothed some tension but many were still upset over their main source of income being burnt down and were unwilling to be persuaded. The party would continue Eastward alone. Shouts from the gibbet tree brought their attention to the man who had been pleading with his captors earlier. In the other cages, zombies stirred. The human begged to be released. After he was freed and the undead dealt with, they agreed to give him a ride back to his village further up the road.

As they set out, he warned them that the reception might not be as warm as they might expect…

Welcome to level 2!

Quest XP: 0
Encounter XP: 1,700
Role Playing XP: 50
Total XP Per PC For This Session: 475
Current Total Shared XP For The Campaign: 1,316
Bonus Individual XP:
Lam: 20 (Character background.)
Mara-kai: 30 (Character portrait, pictures in Dropbox.)

Total Treasure For This Session: 0GP

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Mercenaries: Part I

Riding along the quiet road between the trade post and the village, the prisoner rescued from the gibbet tree filled the party in on the recent history of the Crossroads and its relationship with his village.

The trade post was formerly a guard outpost for the knights of Arislen. The soldiers quartered there kept watch for any threats to the city from the East, and occasionally visited the nearby village to purchase supplies and food. Around two months ago, a band of mercenaries rode into town and overwhelmed the guards there. They then moved on to the guard post and killed or converted the remaining soldiers.

Villagers were put to work digging the graves outside the outpost, which was converted to a trade depot. The mercenaries took up residence in the village and erected the gibbet tree to punish villagers who crossed them. The village became split over this new arrangement. Many accepted their new neighbors, arguing that they spent much of the money they acquired in the village, more than the soldiers of Arislen ever did. They also did a better job of protecting the village from bandits and wild creatures. Those not in favor argued that the mercenaries were violent and rude, and that anyone could be sent “up the Tree” for seemingly any reason.

The group spent the mile ride to the outskirts of the village debating how they might be able to assist. Despite suggestions of delaying, going back to Arislen, and otherwise not riding directly to the village, eventually they agreed to assess the situation. None of them wanted the village to bear the brunt of the repercussions of their actions at the Crossroads.
Village
They took up a position in the woods on the side of the road and watched as mercenaries and villagers went about their business. After a few short minutes, four armored men left one of the two-storied buildings and began walking out of the village and along the road towards where the group was hiding. The group followed the mercenaries – a hobgoblin, an orc, a human, and a goblin – a short distance until it was clear that they were headed to the Crossroads. Attacked from behind, the human and orc were killed but the goblin and the hobgoblin were captured for questioning.

Neither could offer any exact numbers when asked how many of their comrades were in the village, but the hobgoblin confirmed that they worked for Millen (whose whereabouts were unknown) and that he had run from the Crossroads to report back at the village, where he was told to return to investigate.

The goblins tied securely to a tree and divested of their belongings (except a dagger the goblin insisted on keeping in his boot), the group resolved to sneak into the village at night with the assistance of the prisoner they had rescued.

Safely inside the ex-prisoner’s house, they ate, drank, and tended to their wounds, making ready for what would surely be a difficult morning.

Quest XP: 0
Encounter XP: 525
Role Playing XP: 50
Total XP Per PC For This Session: 182
Current Total Shared XP For The Campaign: 1,498
Bonus Individual XP:
Bree: 10XP (Background questions turned in.)

Total Treasure For This Session: 25GP

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Mercenaries: Part II

Ilnscrag
The day began with a sharp knock at the door of the small building the group had spent the night in. The knocking was accompanied by an announcement of a mandatory meeting that would be occurring shortly at the village inn. Neither the rescued villager nor anyone in the party were in any rush to show up, but Lam quickly decided to borrow some of the villager’s clothes and masquerade as one of the locals. The others decided to take advantage of the town being otherwise occupied and used the time to do some quick scouting of the area.

When Lam arrived at the inn’s common room, he found it crowded. On the small stage stood a human, flanked by other mercenaries. Two of them he recognized as the goblin and hobgoblin that were left behind the day before. The human made a brief speech about the fate of the trading post, offering mercy if those responsible turned themselves in and a reward for anyone who could assist in their capture. When nobody immediately stepped up, he went on to announce that everyone in the village would be put to work in rebuilding the post. Those who refused would be given a trip to the gibbet tree. With that, he dismissed the villagers, who left the inn muttering oaths and curses.

One man did not leave immediately, though. Instead, he visited the stage and inquired about what kind of reward would be offered for the arsonists. Lam took note of this.1

Talendil, Mara-kai and Bree had only just begun to explore the village (after waiting for their host to cook breakfast) when a hobgoblin emerged from the same building as the mercenaries they encountered the night before. They ducked down an alley when he started walking in their direction, but it was too late; he had already seen them. He approached them and instructed them to report to the meeting at the inn.

They had no sooner started in that direction (with no actual intention of attending the meeting) that the crowd dispersed into the main street of the village. The trio were approached by an older human villager, who took note of some unfamiliar faces in his town. He introduced himself as an elder of the village, and when the topic of the mercenaries came up, he suggested they retire to a safer location. Lam spotted his companions and followed them as the elder led them to a two-story building further down the street.

Once inside, the elder introduced the three adventurers to the other village elders: another human male, two human females and a dwarf male. They made a case for the removal of the mercenaries, while making it clear that they were powerless to do so. Content Not Found: marric-spellblade and Lam both made their way into the house during the conversation, in their own peculiar ways. Marric introduced himself as an escort of sorts, claiming he had been hired by one interested in Talendil to make sure he arrived safely at his intended destination.

After being promised a share of the mercenaries’ treasure, and learning that the group may be using a magical tome called a journeybook to dissuade any official investigations into the status of the former guard post, the adventurers agreed to see what they could do. A decision was made to wait again until nightfall to act, when the guard would be much reduced.

They moved on the house they had seen the mercenaries going and coming from, managing to subdue the sentry at the front door and make their way inside, where they engaged with two more soldiers before discovering a room with a hidden trap door. Descending into the basement, they discovered the wealth of goods that the mercenaries had procured. While they were searching for the book among the valuables, Bree remained above and spotted more soldiers coming down the stairway. She ran and alerted her companions, and they shut the door to keep them out. They made their way out of a window while something loudly slammed against the door.
A journal
Once outside, Lam asked his wind zephyr familiar to slip back into the house to open a window on the second floor, which they accessed with help from Marric’s grappling hook . On the second floor, the found a large room full of empty cots and a slightly smaller room with a desk. Within the desk they discovered a small journal, though there was still no sign of the journeybook.

There was, however, signs of activity in the streets below. The mercenaries had gathered outside, along with a large group of villagers. The human who had spoken at the meeting that morning demanded they show themselves. So, they did.

Journeybook
Talendil led the way down the stairs, only to find himself on the receiving end of an orcish arrow, which slammed into him and knocked him back on the stairwell as the orc ran outside. He recovered and led the engagement with the mercenaries, while the large group of villagers did their best to try to subdue them.

When the last of the mercenaries fell, Lam “encouraged” the villagers to disperse. Among the fallen soldiers was the goblin they had tied up the day before, on whose person they finally discovered the journeybook. They returned the tome to the village elders, while Lam secured some profits from the treasury.

A good night’s rest later, they resumed their journey eastward…

1 GM’s note: I vaguely recall there being some interaction between Lam and Marric but I don’t remember exactly what was done or said.

Quest XP: 60
Encounter XP: 850
Role Playing XP: 50
Total XP Per PC For This Session: 230
Current Total Shared XP For The Campaign: 1,728
Bonus Individual XP:
Bree: 10XP (PC Portrait.)
Lam: 10XP (PC Portrait.)
Mara-kai: 20 (PC Background.)

Total Treasure For This Session: 100GP

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Goblins, Dwarves, and Fae

GM’s Note: The title to this Log should be read in the same tone as Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves. You’re welcome.

Several days passed as the adventurers made their way through the eastern countryside. The storm left what roads there were muddied. Brisk Spring winds pushed the clouds in the sky further inland and bent the tall grasses of the plains and low hills. They saw the smoke from the fires of Wargone long before they arrived there, and heard the music of the feasthall as it came into view over the crest of a hill.
Warforged sentry
Standing sentry at the gate were two men with skin of wood and metal. With their halberds crossed over the threshold, one demanded to know the party’s business before they would allow entry to the village. Lam responded first, mentioning commerce. The golems accepted this answer and their weapons parted. Beyond the wall the group found an industrious population of dwarves and goblins. They did not make it halfway through the village before a half-dozen goblins ran up to them and knelt beside Talendil’s horse. One announced that they were honored to have him as a guest, that he was most welcome at their city, and that they were at his service. At Talendil’s direction, the goblins saw to the group’s horses and the lead goblin, who introduced himself as Hoggle, escorted them to the large feasthall where they were served roast boar, potatoes, and mead.
Forge
The party spent the day in the town, each finding something to spend their time at. Bree lingered at the large communal forges, where dwarves and goblins alike worked at arms and armors. Her friendly charms coaxed privileged information out of a dwarven smith, who confided in her that the men of wood and metal were given life by infusing their bodies with elementals. Lam browsed the markethall, hawking the mercenary treasures looted from Ilnscrag. Talendil and Mara-kai met with a hobgoblin outrider who said he knew of a tree like the one Millen had described to them back at the trade post.

A stag was brought back by hunters for the evening feast; the bell at the Foreman’s Tower announcing the end to the day’s works. Hoggle shared his pouch of spices with their warmed mead and showed them to the visitor’s hall for the night.

In the morning, they joined the villagers for sausage in the feasthall. Bree joined a group outside when they went to greet miners returning with fresh ore and wood. Alongside the dwarves and goblins were several of the golem men, carrying heavy loads or assisting in pulling carts.
Temple cave
With their fast broken, the adventurers set out northward with their hobgoblin guide. By mid-day they had reached the forested foothills, and shortly thereafter they came upon an ancient oak, with bark the color of dried blood. Beyond the tree, a small cave led deeper into the earth and beyond that a waterfall cascaded over the rocky hillside, feeding a rushing stream.

Talendil paid the hobgoblin, sent him on his way back to Wargone, and the party approached the cave. From the shadows of the cave mouth emerged a goblin woman, clad in robes and eclectic jewelry. Around her neck, a bronze medallion bearing the eye of Ioun swung as she approached the group. “You’re early,” she declared.

Questioning the strange goblin, the adventurers learned the following: the small cave hid the large metal doors to the temple (which bore the symbols of both Bane and Asmodeus), the goblin woman was a seer and magic user from Wargone, in her visions the goblin claims to have seen the group at this location in the future and in her vision the group has more items beyond the cape that Talendil won and the gem that Lam found, that entry to the temple would require obtaining a key, and that there are others who seek entrance to the temple and thus also seek this key. When asked for more information, she told them that they may find more information in places of knowledge and learning. She claimed that the group was not yet ready, and that they should leave and return when they were better prepared for what lay ahead.

As the group made ready to leave, they found a small band of eladrin led by an elf standing near their horses. The elf introduced himself as Sylen, a tracker and emissary in the service of House Savorin. He disclosed that his orders were to escort Talendil and Mara-kai back to Faerie to meet with his employer, but was reluctant to reveal any further information. Despite the group’s misgivings, and a failed arcane volley by Lam, Talendil negotiated an agreement that Lam and Bree would be allowed to come with them if he and the genasi came willingly. With Sylen’s agreement, they embarked on another march of several days into the Fae Woods.
Mithrendain
Passing under a gate formed by the entwined branches of two old ash trees, the adventurers found themselves transported to the dreamland realm of the fae. The forest citadel of Mithrendain loomed on the horizon, and within hours they were given lodgings in one of the living tree-towers of the city. They found themselves isolated to one floor of the tower, kept in place by Savorin house guards.
Winter
A short time and a fresh change of clothes later, they were led up the tower to a throne room near the top of the tree. At the end of the long hall, a fair-complected eladrin sat on a throne which itself was raised up on a dias. The woman stood as they approached, her silken blue and silver garments and jewelry shimmering in the soft sunlight that filtered in through the high windows.

The Lady of Winter was the title she claimed, wife to the King of Winter, who lost his wife to an illness in the time since Talendil left Faerie. Her demand was simple: that Talendil and Mara-kai were free to return to the middle world, provided they kept out of the way and did not engage in any meddling there. The alternative was to be kept as her permanent “guests” in the tower, until such time she saw fit to reveal her intentions to him.

Talendil opted to begrudgingly agree to the former proposition.

Before returning to their rooms, Bree and Lam asked to be allowed to visit the city. A guard was assigned to them, and with some distraction from the affable halfling, the changeling slipped away to seek out the libraries…

Quest XP: 0
Encounter XP: ???
Role Playing XP: 100
Total XP Per PC For This Session: 294
Current Total Shared XP For The Campaign: 2,022
Bonus Individual XP:
None.

Total Treasure For This Session: 0GP, 1 Scroll of Comprehend Languages

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Answering Questions With Questions

Tree library
The streets of Mithrendain twist and wind around the buildings of the city like ivy. The house guard assigned to escort Lam and Bree to the library navigated them with ease, taking them to the foot of an immense tree that soared into the canopy above. A branch-like bridge linked that tree to a smaller one, which in turn rose above the buildings surrounding it. The guard entered an arched doorway in the smaller tree, though Lam had fallen back and away when they approached it. Bree followed happily, and could only smile politely when the guard noticed the changeling’s absence. Leaving her with a stern talking to, the guard made his way back out of the library.

Meanwhile, Lam ducked between some buildings and took the visage of one of the eladrin before making his way into the library. Marric Spellblade, who had followed the trio from the tree-tower of House Savorin waited in the street for Lam to return, and found himself waiting for some time.
Eladrin scroll
Bree found a librarian who was able to help her research into the history of the Savorin household and the Winter Court. He guided her to tomes and scrolls heavier and taller than her. With the librarian’s aid, her investigations turned up several interesting facts, including that the Lady of Winter had not yet been crowned, the circumstances surrounding the former Queen’s passing (“food poisoning”), and the fact that her death had not yet been made official by the Winter Court historians.1
Script page
Lam pursued his own agenda, intent on researching the eastern temple, the items he and Talendil had acquired, and Asmodeus. He found Mithrendain’s resources on the history of the Vale frustratingly lacking. Much of their compiled lore came from the elves, before the time of the humans arrival there. When he turned his attention to religion, he also found that rather shallow. The eladrin had much more information on their patron gods than others. He did note Asmodeus elemental influences (fire and earth), however. On the subject of angels, the books told him that such messengers were used by the gods for all sorts of errands and tasks. He also learned that increased sightings of these divine servitors tended to presage significant events.

About the gem he lifted from the bandits, the literature had nothing specific to offer other than to comment on the difficulty of binding elemental beings and that such magic was made easier when using a gemstone and other components associated with each element. Talendil’s cloak, he learned, was an item of eladrin design, the creation of which is a closely guarded secret among the high elves and the possession of which is normally reserved for the nobility of the Courts. 2

Having grown tired of waiting, Marric made his way into the library and spent his time observing Bree. After a time, Lam appeared to her in his normal guise, and the two departed back to the Savorin tower, with Marric following behind.

While they waited on their companions, Talendil and Mara-kai were paid a visit by a very strange eladrin, seeking an audience with Talendil. The elf’s voice did not match his appearance, and once he was allowed inside their room at the tower, he divested himself of his cloak. The glamour faded away, revealing the golden haired eladrin to be a black-and-gold-clad goblin. Their unexpected guest told them that he could help them get away from the tower, and promised to return later after handing them four cloaks identical to his own.

They were also paid a visit by the house guard, still seeking Lam. The guard left more frustrated than he had arrived.

As twilight settled over the city, hours after the arrival of Lam, Bree, and Marric, the goblin returned and was surprised to find a fifth person in the room. Marric assured the goblin that it would not be a problem, but then discovered to his chagrin that his powers of shadow did not work inside the tower. The goblin offered up his own cloak and followed the adventurers out of the room, where the guardsmen lay unconscious. Leading from the rear, he guided them to the outskirts of the city. In a clearing, an eladrin of the Summer Court awaited them with their horses. He offered little explanation as he collected their cloaks (on “loan” from the Spring Court) and saw them on their way.

  • * * * *

Nearly two weeks after their departure, the group found their way back to Arislen and Luthien’s guildhall. Daryn expressed his surprise at their return, though the other guild members greeted them warmly. Lam recommended Marric to the half-elf who oversaw the guild’s more clandestine endeavors, and he was quickly adopted into the guild after a display of his abilities.
Ioun temple
Unsatisfied with their findings in Mithrendain, the group ventured into the noble district to seek out the Vault of Ioun. There, they learned from one of the Archivists that the eastern temple was the site of a great battle, and the seat of power of the gods Asmodeus and Bane during the the peak of the Citadel’s power. When the temple was sealed and cast into the mountainside, many people were trapped inside and thus buried with it. Two archmages from the Arcanaeum in Corydon were primarily responsible for the temple’s fate, though the records in Arislen’s Vault could not offer their destiny after that event. 3

Although they were eager to press on with their inquires, when Daryn asked if they would be remaining in the city, they decided to agree to stay, for the time being, at least.

1 If there’s anything I’m forgetting here, let me know.

2 See footnote 1.

3 See footnote 1.

Quest XP: 0
Encounter XP: 0
Role Playing XP: (A lot.)
Total XP Per PC For This Session: Level 3!
Current Total Shared XP For The Campaign: 2,500
Bonus Individual XP:
TBA

Total Treasure For This Session: 16GP, 34SP, 8CP (looted from the unconscious house guards)

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Stirrings in the South

On an otherwise quiet day, the front door of Luthien’s slammed open. Through the doorway and up the stairs strode a well dressed human man. He made his way directly to Daryn’s office, entered unannounced, and shut the door behind him. Shouting could be heard even on the main floor of the Guildhall. Marric Spellblade and Lam eavesdropped as the stranger gave the guildmaster an earful of complaints.

When the shouting was over, the door opened and Daryn asked Lam to gather his group together. Meeting in the common room, Daryn introduced the man as a landed lord and a long-time patron of the guild. He briefly explained that another group of adventurers had been sent to assist the man with a bit of trouble while they had been away and that group had apparently disappeared after accepting the job. He then went back to his duties and left the man to explain his situation personally.

Just over a week ago, his daughter went missing while off playing in the woods on the edge of his property. It was his belief that goblins were the culprits, as they had been spotted by the groundskeeper poaching sheep. The first group of adventurers who rode out to help him rode into the woods, only to never return. He desired to know where these delinquent adventurers disappeared to, but more importantly he was growing ever more concerned over the whereabouts of his young daughter.

Country manor
Accepting the task, the party rode out with him to his estate south of Arislen, where they wasted little time before heading out to the woods. They were accompanied by the groundskeeper, who said he knew of some ruins in the woods, where he believed the goblins were hiding out. Half-way to the site, they came across a lone white horse, clearly missing its rider. Sending the steed back with the groundskeeper, they pressed on and came upon the remains of a keep, where a small pack of goblins were arguing among themselves.
Ruined keep
An attempt to approach unnoticed did not go quite as planned, and they were engaged by the goblins, who attacked fiercely. One shouted a war cry, invoking Vecna. Despite their resistance, they were shortly put down. Near the back of the ruins they discovered a pile of bodies… the other adventurers. Among them was Azura, still alive. She explained that when her group found the goblins, there had been twice as many. She did not know where the little girl was, but offered her assistance, expressing eagerness in exacting revenge for her fallen guildmates. She noted that she had seen some of the goblins heading deeper into the woods to the south.

As the sun arced towards the horizon, its light coming filtered through the increasingly dense canopy above, the came across an ancient walkway, bordered by an equally ancient wall. In the middle of the wall, a pair of iron doors stood slightly ajar. Pitch blackness waited beyond the threshold.

Lam summoned light to the blade of Talendil’s sword, and they broached the darkness. Within, they found further ruins, what looked like the crumbling remains of a vault. Pillars lay toppled, and a chasm had opened in the ground almost half-way between the doors and the opposite end of the ruin. Beyond the chasm a sphere of violet-black energy swirled, illuminating a raised dais, weathered statues, and several small crypts made of bone.

They approached the energy cautiously, but as they crossed into the illumination, skeletal warriors emerged from the bone crypts, and were soon joined by stronger undead. As the party fought off their assailants, they determined that the sphere of energy was somehow responsible for the stirring of the dead from their graves. Lam attempted to disable it with a spell, which only caused the magic to lash back at them, cutting into him and his allies with necrotic energy while bolstering the undead. It was eventually determined that the necromantic magic was being anchored by two pyramid-shaped piles of skulls.
Forest ruins
The magic dispelled, they were left with naught but the thin light of dusk and the glow of Talendil’s sword. Searching the dias, they discovered a bloody stone altar. Bree determined that the blood was not human, much to their relief. After further searching, they found a switch that swung the altar aside, revealing a stairway leading into the ground. Leading with the magical light upon his sword, Talendil preceded the party into a small chamber, in the same sort of condition as the vault above. A brief ambush by goblins caused further structural damage to the room and the ceiling came down upon them, sealing off the stairway.

Making their way quickly through a pair of doors, they followed one of the goblins they had taken captive, who told them he would lead them to his “master”. Near the end of a hallway, a few short feet away from another set of doors, a hole had been opened into the earth. Ignoring the sealed doors, the goblin pointed to the breach and insisted that it led to his master. After tying him up securely, the party made their way down a small tunnel that had been carved out of the dirt, only to be set upon by more skeletal warriors after setting off a magical tripwire. At the end of the tunnel they discovered a cavern, dimly lit by two large braziers, where a shadowy figure held the lord’s daughter in thrall.

“Leave now, or join me,” the figure threatened. “I am raising a city of the dead to honor Vecna.”

Choosing neither option, the party attacked. They, in turn, were set upon by strange goblins with black eyes and long, ragged claws.

Despite the figure raising the goblins to fight for him again after they were defeated, the fight turned in the favor of the party. Talendil delivered a heavy blow to one of the goblins and then upturned a brazier upon it, giving it a fiery death.

The shadowy figure offered a cessation of hostilities. “You may take the girl,” it said. “I can always find another sacrifice.”

The party rejected this second offer, and Lam called elemental winds from the Foundation to send the figure flying up to the ceiling. Buffeted heavily by the strong winds, the figure collapsed. As he did so, the girl, until then frozen in place by necromantic magic, let out a bloodcurdling scream and collapsed, unconscious but alive. Pulling back the figure’s hood revealed a gaunt face, with sunken black eyes. The party identified the creature as a wight.

The only known exit sealed, the party tried the other set of doors, finding them jammed. A little muscle forced them open, which caused the rubble and dirt trapped behind to fall out upon those standing too close. Twice foiled, they searched for anything they might have missed, discovering a hidden doorway in the hallway between the twin chambers. Stale air and empty wall sconces were their only companions as they walked down a lengthy corridor for hours. At the end, they emerged from a spiral staircase to the foundation of what once had been a tower.

A long march through grassy fields led them back to the lord’s manor as day began to break. His daughter returned to him, the party retired on soft beds as his guests.

Quest XP: 150
Encounter XP: 2,218
Role Playing XP: 100
Total XP Per PC For This Session: 694
Current Total Shared XP For The Campaign: 3,194 + TBA
Bonus Individual XP:
TBA

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