Sunday, 5 March 2017

What Lies Below the Swamp

After trudging through the swamp for the better part on an hour, our muscles burning with exhaustion, we come to an abrupt stop. Before us, rising out of the swamp like a mangled hand from a shallow grave, is a dilapidated old fishermans shack. Surrounding the disintegrated wooden platform is a line of common people. A young boy steps forward from their ranks and bellows a defiant scream that unnerves us and the flocks upon flocks of ravens lining the surrounding trees.

These people are no doubt suffering from a curse that has befallen this land. And with every step we take closer to the shack we can feel the affects taking hold of us as well. While it would have been best to simply bypass the farmers, something came over our barbarian friend and in a very short time the peasants were no more. This blood lust has grown considerably since Patrin found his great ax in the Temple of Sulprax. We may need to bring him to a priest for I fear it may be cursed.

The tree stump that supports the back portion of the shed was covered by a locked iron lid. This was no doubt the entrance to the hags lair. Using a clever combination of fish, fire and ax we are able to penetrate the portal.

Bits of wood and grubs fall to the ground as we shimmy down the rotting tree stump and into a large, well it, chamber beneath the swamp. A quick movement near a table catches our eyes but we could not make out what caused it. Roots drop down from the ceiling and everything is coated in a sheen of wetness.

Before we have a moment to completely take in our surroundings a barrage of  Quicklings emerges form the holes in the walls. These creatures move so fast that our only reaction is to take their blows and watch them scurry back into the walls. Fortunately I prepared the right transmutation for this scenario. Patrin and Zedheir were able to dispatch them pretty quickly once I slowed them down. We barely had enough time to drink some potions before the room began to fill with smoke.

In the next room we are meet by a sweltering heat. A bonfire crackles and pops as we enter this completely dry chamber, its flames falling well short of the vaulted ceilings. A large bellows sits near the bonfire and lining the far wall of the chamber are three sleeping cots. Various books, kettles and other detritus litter the floor, and beyond the fire is a gigantic pile of bones, scraps of flesh and skulls of various animals. A strange humming noise permeates the silent room, and it is growing steadily louder.

Dangling ominously from a chain above the fire is a skull made of iron. Patrin, in what I can only surmise is an attempt to knock the skull into the fire, strikes it with his javelin. The clamor of the evil bell awakens a flesh golem from the rubble of body parts in the corner.  As an experienced fighter of flesh golems I know what to do; stay out of Zedheir and Patrins way. The monstrosity is quickly destroyed but not before a team of Redcaps Gnomes appear from a hole in the ceiling at the far end of the room. My companions aim their focus at these new foes as I investigate the Talisman. As I attempt to remove it from its chain I again trigger its evil chime. As before, all of the dead in the room are reanimated. As we defeat them we decide to add the bodies of the dead to the fire. This new fuel causes the fire to blaze so hot that the skull melts away. Safe again, we decide to take a short, much needed, rest to regain our strength.

Through a secret door we find a long narrow, slick looking walkway. Open cages and platforms dangle precariously over a writhing black mass on either side of the isthmus. Light flickers from a fire beyond what appears to be a cage made from stalagmites. Three voices emanating from the direction of the fire are arguing and bickering rising to a crescendo and then falling into silence as you hear a small, barely audible sob say, “Please, dont turn me into you…”

At the end of the pathway there is a wall of force keeping us from entering. Not to be thwarted, Zedheir runs along the wall and I spider climb to a break in the stalagmites. Patrin on the other hand just brakes the stalagmites. Its not long before we have defeated the two green hags and the black hag flees in terror. With Shayen now safe we return her to her home and her older sister. After we recuperate from this adventure we will set out to rescue her twin, Vicia, from the vampires.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

A Burning in Sidol

Having solved the mystery of the vanishing dragonborn and concluded our business in Neverwinter, Zedheir, Patrin and I head south along the coast and then eastward into the interior of the sword coast. It is uncertain why we chose this path but we chose it none the less. And some might say that it was not by luck that we did…

After half a days travel we arrive at a small, but prosperous, mining village called Sidon. Like many villages in the area, a field stone retaining wall protects the inhabitants and there is a dirt square in the center of town. As we make our way through the square, we hear a booming voice coming from beside the church. A man dressed in plate armor and waving a great sword is preaching to a crowd of onlookers. Beyond him there is a small girl, no older than 10 years of age, tied to a stake. A pile of oil soaked sticks sits below her upon a patch of ground that has been charred black as night as this is no doubt a regular practice in this place. The girl looks frantically around the square as she slips and slides on the oily stick and her eyes lock with Zedheirs. The preacher bellows out “Burn her for witchcraft!” Her eyes still locked with Zedheir, she screams out a wordless plea for help as the men ignite the nicket at her feet.

Zedheir quickly rushes to the girls aid, Patrin fights off the guards and I summon a powerful wind to extinguish the fire. The common people flee but the charlatan and his minions insist the girl must be burned. After a short battle we prevail and rescue the child.

Now safe, the girl takes us to her home on the country side and explains that she was to be burned at the stake because the men believed her to be a hag. She was seen exiting the the swamp where hags are known to live. This fact alone was enough for the impressionable villagers to side with anything the chaplain decided. The girl, Rissa, explained that she has two younger sisters, Shayen and Vicia, who were sold to the Hags and Vampires in the area after their father died. Her mother has since died and she went to look for her sisters. She has no way to pay us but begged that we would help her rescue the twins. Naturally, we agreed. In the morning we venture to the swamp to find the hags.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

A Day in Neverwinter

Upon arriving in Neverwinter, we make our way to the Hall of Justice. Here we check in with the clerk, Draiden. The guards take our prisoners to their cells. After we receive our payment, Draiden informs us that the Dragonborn of Neverwinter have been fleeing town and no one knows why. The Lord Protector is looking for people willing to help solve this mystery. Ready for a new adventure, we journey to the Lord Protectors office. Apparently we arent the only ones looking for adventure. A long line of mercenaries and adventurers winds its way up to the office doors. Patrin and Zedheir decide to investigate the asylum that is said to be housing Tokul.

After some time I arrive at the front of the queue, but not before Zedheir returns with news that there has been an assault on the asylum. Zedheir alerts the guards while I quickly speak with the the Lord Protector, Dagult Neverremember. He explains that they are offering a bounty of 10,000 gold for any information regarding the flight of the dragonborn throughout the north. Confident that the bounty will be ours, Zedheir and I return to the asylum to see what has happened.

golemFleshThe halls of the madhouse are crawling with all manor of vile creatures; hobgoblins, goblins, gnolls, werewolf, and a strangely resilient flesh golem. We learn that Tokel is being kept in the tower and head there only to find the lock on his door melted and the cell empty. We wander the halls until we find the wardens office. Inside there is a wardrobe behind which winds a secret passage leading to a very different kind of cell than those we have encountered thus far. A giant bolder is suspended by a chain on a winch above a hole in the ground. From within the hole we hear several voices. Inside the chamber we find a dragonborn, presumably Tokul, who is being restrained by several hobgoblins and a man in a crimson robe.

We decide to take advantage of the element of surprise. I cast a web on the two hobgoblins holding Tokul, Zedheir blasts the mage with his Ki, and Patrin jumps down and starts hacking the remaining hobgoblins to bits. What happens next is unlike anything I have ever seen before. The wizard seems to stop time, gather himself, walks over to Tokul, and vanishes with the dragonborn, at which time time starts again. The remaining hobgoblins were easily subdued and we learn that there is another dragonborn, Dralasar, who resides at The Tired Quill bookstore in town.

After a much needed rest we head to The Tired Quill. When we arrive we find Dralasar feverishly packing. At that moment the shop is overrun by bandits attempting to capture him. We quickly dispose of them. Dralasar offers us a large payment and answers to all of our questions if we help him get to the harbor. Naturally we agree and escort him through the city. On the way we encounter several bands of  thugs and mercenaries. Some of whom wear the same crimson robe as the wizard in the asylum, others who are simply looking for a pay day.

Safely in the harbor, Dralasar explains that Sulprax, a deity of the dragonborn, has been collecting dragonborn and anyone else with dragon lineage of any kind. When he has them he drains their innate abilities and absorbs them into himself. In the morning we will be this information to Lord Neverremember. But first we need to rest.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Road to Neverwinter

Malcer, as the new sheriff of Phandalin, asked if I would be part of the party to escort two prisoners to Neverwinter. My new companions are the dragonborn called Patrin Verthisathurgiesh and the human monk Zedheir. The two of them already posses considerable skill and should make for great allies on this journey.

wowmop-orc-conceptThe first prisoner is, our wizard friend, Ilarno Albreck. He will be standing trial for his crimes against the people of Phandalin. The other is a dragonborn called Worbor. He has killed his best friend. Though, he claims it was in self defense.

What should have been a simple two day journey turned out to be quite an ordeal. While camped for the night we were raided by an orc war chief with two of his soldiers and a goblin boss with two of his minions. After we dispatched them, we found notes on the leaders calling for our prisoner Worbor and another dragonborn Tokul to be captured or killed. There were also instructions to capture me at all costs.

We captured one of the goblins, though, they are rarely of any value. We will bring him along with us to Neverwinter and they can sort out what to do with him there. Hopefully we can reach our destination without any further disruptions.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Wave Echo Cave

Wave Echo Cave lives up to its name. Throughout its passages you can hear the sound of waves crashing against the walls. This place was clearly the location of a great battle between the Dwarves and Orcs as there are corpses strewn throughout its many halls.

The Black SpiderDeep in the mine, in what appears to be a dwarven temple, we find The Black Spider and her companions camped out. The bugbears were easy enough to deal with as they mindlessly lined up for us to destroy one by one. The drow that escaped us in Cragmaw Castle was with her along with 4 more giant spiders. These foes proved the most difficult we have faced so far. We were blessed to have two very powerful scrolls that I was barely able to comprehend. Though, I feel that, with just a little more experience, I may have been able to cast those spells on my own.

We decide to search the rest of the caves to ensure that there arent any more of The Black Spiders minions lurking about. Just outside of the thrown room there is a dwarf called Slint who is tied up. He was part of the Rockseeker group and was taken by The Black Spider to help her find her way through the caves.

spectatorEventually we find the Forge of Spells. This forge had been used by the humans to harness the strange magics emanating from the caves. There is a beholder who called himself Spectator protecting the forge. Thankfully he did not see us as a threat and allowed us to examine the room.

Confident that the forge is safe we return to Phandalin. Malcer will take up his post as sheriff. Gimble will probably set up a poison shop, though its hard to tell with him, communication is not his strong suit. As for me, I feel I must quest to find the source of my power.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Cragmaw Castle

Cragmaw CastleThis rundown castle was infested with grick, goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, and an owl bear. Deep in the castle we find Klarg and two drow. They have a dwarf held captive, who they have obviously been torturing for information. We defeat Klarg and one of the drow but the other escapes. Our interrogation of  Klarg confirms that he has been working for the Black Spider to help her find Wave Echo Cave. Klarg killed Grunden and has left his brother Nurow for dead. Certain that we have all the information we can get from Klarg, Gimble runs him through.

Reidoth revives Nurow who confirms everything that Klarg told us. Based on what weve found in the castle we can assume that Grundens traveling companion, Sildar Hallwinter, found the same fate as Grunden. Nurow will guide us to Wave Echo Cave but asks that we help him return to Phandalin first. We agree, after this journey we could use a good nights rest as well.

After a nice long rest we spend the day in Phandalin. Habin reassures us that the Roughians have not been a problem and Glasstaff is going to be transported to Neverwinter very soon. Habin, who is enamored with Malcer, offers him the position of Sheriff of Phandalin. Malcer accepts the position though he will see to the destruction of the Black Spider first. The rest of the day is spent selling, trading, and purchasing gear. Now fully equipped, we are ready to head to Wave Echo Cave.

Monday, 11 April 2016

The Ruins of Thundertree

RuinsofThundertreeThe village of Thundertree had been left in ruins. It was not, however, empty. In our search for Reidoth, we crossed paths with ash zombies and strange little stick creatures called twig blights. These battles proved to be simple enough for our party and we quickly found the druid.

Reidoth was holed up in one of the few well kept buildings in the village. We asked him if he could help us find Grunden and he agreed. He just had one favor to ask first. Help him rid the village of the giant spiders and the green dragon, Venomfang, who have taken residence there.

After some rather primitive “negotiation”, the dragon agrees to leave. When we encounter his band of followers they are easy to persuade to follow him. The spiders put up a good fight but in the end we eradicate them as well.

Happy that the menaces of the village have been taken care of, Reidoth tells us that Klarg and his band of goblins have Grunden in their hideout, Cragmaw Castle. He agrees to help us rescue him. We set out first thing in the morning.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Redbrand Hideout

nothicAfter a good night sleep at the Sleeping Giant, we head to the abandoned Tresendar Manor, the hideout of the Redbrand Roughians. Within its dilapidated walls we encounter and dispatch several fiends; everything from the likes of skeletons and bugbears to a strange magic using creature called a nothic. Working alongside these beasts were the Redbrand Roughians. Deep in the hidout we find the leader of the Roughians, Glassstaff. After a brief skirmish, Glassstaff surrenders. Among his possessions we find a dwarfs journal and a letter from the Black Spider that reads:

Lord Albreck,

My spies in Neverwinter tell me that strangers are due to arrive in Phandalin. They could be working for the dwarves. Capture them if you can, kill them if you must, but dont allow them to upset our plans. See that any dwarven maps in their possession are delivered to me with haste. I am counting on you , Ilarno. Dont disappoint me.

Larno AlbrekWith Ilarno in our custody, we return to the townmasters hall for questioning. After some probing we learn that Klarg, a bugbear, is helping to supply muscle to the Roughians. He is doing this under the command of The Black Spider. As we suspected, The Black Spider is a drow who is searching for Wave Echo Cave. Unfortunately, Ilarno didnt know where Klarg or The Black Spider could be found. Habin has agreed to see that justice finds Ilarno.

Now that the Redbrand Roughians are eliminated we decide to have a drink at the Sleeping Giant. Here we are meet with a heros welcome. We agree that our next objective should be locating Grunden. As we are discussing how to do this, a halfling called Qelline Alderleaf introduces herself and says that she may be able to help. She doesnt know where Grunden is but a friend of hers, the druid Reidoth, may be able to help. He is currently living in the abandoned city of Thundertree. We will set out for Thundertree at first light.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Welcome to Phandalin

A Dwarf called Grunden Rockseeker, commissioned my companions, Malcer Windrivver, Gimble Nackle, and I to transport a shipment to Barthen’s Provisions. It seemed a simple task, so we agreed. With the exception of a poorly planned goblin ambush, we arrived in Phandalin unscathed.

phandalinUpon arriving at the provisions shop, Barthen tells us that Grunden has been captured. I wonder if the goblins had anything to do with this. We decide to get some food at the local pub. On our way we are accosted by a group of boys claiming to be the Redbrand Roughians. We brush them off and proceed to the Sleeping Giant.

We find a table and order some soup and wine. When the soup arrives so do the Roughians. After a quick altercation we have two of them tied up and the other two, well, are no longer a threat. We order more soup and a round for the bar on us.

With our bellies full, we question our captives. Clearly out classed, our new friends are more than willing to chat. It sounds as though the Roughians are being run by the wizard Glassstaff. He is by no means the leader. He takes his orders from something called The Black Spider. The Redbrand Roughians are roughly 20 strong and work from the abandoned Tresendar Manor.

Harbin_WesterThe townmaster, Habin Wester, arrives at the bar. He expresses his gratitude and agrees to house our captives in the town jail. He begs us to help rid the town of the Roughians. We agree. Malcer, always concerned with following the law, asks to be deputized. The townmaster does so.

We decide that it would be best for us to get a good nights rest and investigate the Redbrand lair in the morning. Rescuing Grunden is going to have to wait.