The Scouring Of The Vale

November 2008 - Kobold Hall

After clearing the Keep, the adventurers spent a week or two recuperating and training in Winterhaven. Towards the end of this time, a wagon driven by two tough and experienced-looking dwarfs pulled into Winterhaven. They stabled the cart and horses in the town’s stables, and took a meal at the Wrafton Inn. They rebuffed the adventurers’ attempts to start conversation, and went to bed early.

Intrigued, Kip went outside to the stables to check out the wagon. Exet, Earlethon, and Bacon kept watch. Despite some close calls with the guards walking the walls, Kip was able to sneak into the stable. Lifting the heavy canvas tarp on the wagon bed, he found several rolls of green dragon skins. He replaced the tarp, and made his way back out of the stable.

The next morning the adventurers rose early, but the dwarfs had already left for Fallcrest. “There were in a might hurry” stated the innkeeper Salvana. The party set out after them, but found that they were not able to make up time on the wagon. Examining the tracks on the trail, it looked like the the wagon teleported 50 feet for every 100 feet that it was drawn by the horses. The party made the best time it could, and on the second day Stomper ranged ahead, and came upon the bodies of the dwarfs and the ruined wagon in the road. The dragon skins were nowhere to be found. There was a poorly hidden trail leading off the trail south into the forest.

The party followed the tracks into the woods, and after about an hour came upon the ruins of what looked to be a fortified manor. A brief search of the site unearthed a trap door under some carefully arranged rubble, and some stairs going underground.

The party went down the stairs, and encountered some kobolds in a room with a 10’ deep pit with about 4’ worth of a foul-smelling tarry green sludge at the bottom. The party dispatched the guards quickly, broke through a portcullis, and followed a narrow hall to a second room, which turned out to be a crypt. There a longer fight involving more guards and a few dart traps (and a kobold assassin) took a lot out of the party. They barricaded the entrances to the room with the tops of the 4 stone crypts in the room and rested.

The next room had some more crypts, and another pit. The kobolds were waiting for the party, and launched 2 small rocks tied to ropes attached to the ceiling at the party as they entered the room. Both missed, and Bacon (with a boost from Stomper) was able to grab one and swing back across the room. The party spread out and engaged the kobolds. The fight was going well until reinforcements in the form of the kobold warchief and 2 hordes of kobold “civilians” burst through the doors at the far end of the room. Despite taking a lot of damage, the party managed to finally clear the room of all the kobolds. The 2 hordes of “civilians” fled back through the doors the way they had came, running right by Stomper. Much to Bacon and Red’s disgust he tried to parlay with the hordes as they ran away.

The party followed the hordes down the hall, and found a kobold priest and his bodyguards trying to finish a ritual that involved burning the green dragon skins. The room had a large pit in the center, and a raised alcove with an altar. One of the skins was already smoldering on the crude altar and was filling the room with acrid fumes. The “civilians” huddled in a corner of the room. The party engaged the priest and his bodyguards, and quickly killed them. As the priest died the room was filled with a swirling wind as something large starting coming very quickly up the pit. The air temperature dropped quickly, and the party’s weapons and armor were covered in frost. The party started to clear the room as Stomper attempted to pick up both dragon skins and drag them out of the room. He was almost at the entrance leading back down the hall when the white dragon Szatharrax burst from the pit. The dragon attacked Stomper but luckily missed.

A raging fight broke out, but eventually the party prevailed despite Bacon being knocked unconscious. The party was also attacked by the “civilian” kobold hordes attempting to take advantage of the situation. They showed no mercy this time and cut the kobold civilians down.

The party harvested the dragon for it’s claws, teeth, skin and some smaller organs. They also dipped their weapons and armor in the extremely cold dragon’s blood. Most of their equipment shattered, but a lucky few were able to turn their equipments magical. Kip went back down the hall to the room with the pit, and found a crude ladder going down. The pit looked to go down for at least 100’, and had claw marks all the way down. Kip carefully made his way down. At the bottom was a large cavern and another large passageway heading south. Kip also found the rest of the dragon’s treasure, and brought it up.

The party made its way back to the surface, and back to the road. They realized that they were less than a day’s walk from Fallcrest. A plan was formed to send some party members into Fallcrest to get some carts to haul the bodies of the dwarfs, the green dragon skins, the white dragon parts to Fallcrest.

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December 3, 2008 - Entering Fallcrest

First day in Fallcrest.

-Kip and Red enter town to get wagons, while rest of party plunders the dragon for valuable parts, and its hide.

-Red gets a room at the Nentir Inn outside of town, and cleans up.

-Kip continues on into town.

-Kip goes to Lannar Thistleton’s stables and buys two carts with horses.

-Kip goes to the market and buys some fresh food for the party.

-Red meets Serim Selduzar in the common room of the Nentir Inn.

-Erandil Zemoar, owner of the Nentir Inn, recommends Orest Naerumar when Red asks who is the best clothier and tailor in Fallcrest for a new set of clothes.

-Red is warned by Orest that he suspects Serim might be trying to put himself and Amara Azaer of House Azaer out of business by raiding their supply caravans.

-Red agrees to help Orest in discovering what Serim is up to.

-Red charms Serim, and has dinner with him. Learns that he wants to establish a trading company in Fallcrest in order to help restore the fortunes of his family.

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December 4-9, 2008 - PBEM

Several one-off adventures.

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December 10, 2008

Continuing first day in Fallcrest.

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December 11, 2008 - PBEM

Second day in Fallcrest. Player input in italics.

The next morning you all gather at the Temple of Erathis for a ceremony to Moradin jointly celebrated by Grundelmar and Dirina Moonbrow. A good number of the off-duty guard, most of the town’s Dwarven community, the Markelhays, and several of the leading citizens of the town are there.

Of the people that you know in Fallcrest, notably not in attendance are Erandil, Nimozaran, and Armos Kamroth.

You notice that Teldorthan studiously avoids looking at the Markelhays throughout the ceremony. After the ceremony, the bodies are carried to the courtyard of the temple and placed on pyres, and set alight after another brief evocation of Moradin’s blessing. When the bodies have mostly burned away, Teldorthan briefly presses the back of his hand to his eyes, then claps his hands, and announces:

“Right. To the Blue Moon. Let’s celebrate these two boys’ lives properly!”

Most of the assembled party begins to follow his lead and walk back to Lowtown and the Blue Moon. Most of the shopkeepers, and a few of the guard pay their respects and hurry off to attend to their business.

The Blue Moon already has a roast pig and a full buffet spread set up, and beer and wine ready to flow. By the time you get in, you see Lord Markelhay and Teldorthan talking animatedly. Lord Markelhay seems to be pointing to himself a lot and talking, while Teldorthan mostly listens. Suddenly he reaches out and grabs Lord Markelhay in a bearhug, and then grabs two beers and hands one to Lord Markelhay. They toast and drink.

Bacon asks the bar keep for milk, water, tea, coffee…something other than beer or wine.

Some things that you overhear:

“It’s good to see Lord Faren and Teldorthan back on good terms. Like most merchants in this town, Teldorthan was already upset that not more has been done to clear the roads now that it’s summer and the trade caravans are starting up again in full. Then to lose two of his nephews… What a shame.”

and

“The one thing I don’t understand is why the two boys didn’t wait in Winterhaven for their escort like they were supposed to. They knew that the stretch of King’s Road to Fallcrest was bad, and Teldorthan was going to hire some guards and send for them. Something must have spooked them to try to make the run by themselves. Ah well, I guess we’ll never know.”

Eventually the wake starts to thin out. Assume that it’s early afternoon now. Teldorthan, Lord Markelhay (but not his wife), and the majority of the dwarves are still around. The town guard that attended the ceremony has mostly been replaced by the morning watch coming off duty and going straight to the wake.

To be continued…

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December 17, 2008 - The Tower of Waiting

-while lounging in the taproom of the Nentir Inn, Red hears rumor of treasure on island in center of river running through Fallcrest -ruins of an old watchtower called the Tower of Waiting are on island -ghoststrike oil research -seneschal warns about island -rent rowboat to row over – current of river is strong -party is attacked by undead a short way from the ruins of the tower -deathlock wight sinks their rowboat, then joins the fight -party wins fight, realizes that there are dead bodies in various states of decomposition scattered around island, especially near the tower and the path leading to the tower from the south beachhead

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December 21, 2008 - The Tower of Waiting, Part 2

Having disposed of the undead welcoming committee after landing on the south tip of the island, the party quickly discovered the remains of many other humanoids scattered around the island. The remains were all in various states of decomposition, and many appeared to have fallen while fighting or fleeing towards the south shore of the island.

As the afternoon light was fading, the party quickly fanned out and began to search the bodies. Everybody found several magic items. None of the adventurers went near the ruined tower, though. Unfortunately, the search took longer than the party realized and the sun was truly setting before they realized their predicament (i.e. how to get off the island before the sun set).

Bacon and Stomper started walking northwards along the shore of the island, looking for another rowboat to replace the one that the deathlock wight had destroyed. The rest of the party took several measures to get the attention of the few remaining workers still lingering on the docks of Fallcrest as quitting time approached. Earlethon, Exet and Red built a fire out of the crumbling remains of a boathouse and dock, and Kip tied a note to an arrow promising a reward to anyone who rowed across the river and retrieved the party. He then shot the arrow across the river, and managed to hit the dock without hitting the people that were gathering to speculate as to the cause of the fire.

Having made their way to the northern tip of the island, Stomper and Bacon are ambushed by ghost, but quickly send it back to the Shadowfell. They then hear sounds of alarm from the rest of the party where they left them near the ruined tower, and see the rising flames from the fire. They start running back along a trail that winds through the middle of the island.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party was attacked by a horde of undead led by a massive zombie hulk and a mad wraith. Luckily for the party they quickly kill the mad wraith before it can unleash its dazing aura attack. A massive battle ensues. Earlethon quickly is knocked down to minimum hit points and has to quit the melee. Stomper and Bacon join the fight after 2 rounds of sprinting along the trail. The battle is eventually won, but Exet and Kip were both knocked unconscious. Exet was one failed saving throw from dying before Stomper managed to revive him.

Shortly after the party is victorious, a longboat commanded by Lord Faren and crewed by some porters comes ashore at the south tip of the island. Everyone hurries to the boat, except Red who investigates the ruined tower. She does not see much by torchlight, but spots an open trapdoor. While the rest of the party yells at her she descends the stairs and finds a large storeroom under the ruined tower. Finally she loses her nerve and joins the rest of the party in the longboat.

After thanking Lord Faren (who commends the party for letting the seneschal know where they were going), and paying off the porters, the party makes their way back to their respective lodgings. As Red comes upon the yard of the Nentir Inn she sees Serim talking to a figure hidden in the shadows by the stables. She shadow walks over to them, and sees him talking to a nondescript man. The same nondescript man that gave her the tip about the Tower of Waiting in the first place! She also realizes that she saw the same man loitering around the Silver Unicorn inn the night that she and Bacon had dinner with Amara Azaer. She decides discretion is the better part of valor, and does not confront them, but retires to her room.

The next day the party rows over to the island again to see if there is anything more to find. No more attacks, but neither is there any more treasure. Red and Earlethon find a broken teleport circle in the storeroom under the tower.

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January 14, 2009 - Interlude at Fallcrest

The adventurers had spent two months in Fallcrest training, studying, and becoming involved in the life of the Nentir Vale.

Stomper – after giving a rousing speech to the populace of Fallcrest to rise up and root out evil where they found it, personally tried to set an example by joining the mercenaries guarding the caravans along the Trade Road. He did several trips between Fallcrest and Hammerfast, often in the company of his dwarf friend Grugnir Oakenshield. As part of his development, he decided to abandon the highly-trained and regimented style of fighting that he had learned from his father in favor of a more looser, more flexible style of fighting.

Exet – spent the two months aiding Grundelmar in restoring the temple of Pelor, Bahamut and Kord in Fallcrest to its former glory. Also kept an eye on the growing bandit presence in the abandoned keep known as the Raven’s Roost.

Kip – trained with his raven companion, established a solid link with it and developed several useful combat tactics with it. He also assisted Bacon and Red in keeping an eye on the caravans coming from the south, and foiled several attacks by Serim’s henchmen on caravans with goods bound for House Azaer.

Bacon – retrained in weapons, and helped Red keep an eye on Serim and his henchmen’s comings and goings. Foiled several attacks with Kip on trade caravans from the south. Spent a lot of time down at the docks in Fallcrest and found out about a small gang called the River Rats that seems to employ street urchins for some of its dirty work. Discovered that Serim stores his stolen goods in a warehouse on the docks.

Red – researched her new rituals, and learned how to brew healing potions. Also researched more information on the teleport circle found in the ruined tower on the Island of Waiting. Finally, coordinated efforts to uncover what Serim is up to.

Earlethon – researched new alchemical formulas, and the general history of Fallcrest. Tried to discover origin of the teleport circle found in the ruined tower. With Red, established that there may have been a network of teleport circles linking various locations throughout the Nentir Vale. Spent a lot of time with Lady Allande Markelhay retraining.

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January 21, 2009 - Into the Thunderspire

One morning in late summer the party is summoned to attend an audience with Lord Faren at the Moonstone Keep. Evidently, one of the villages of Harken Wold had been attacked by a mixed raiding party of humanoids, mostly hobgoblins. A hobgoblin raider had been killed in the attack, but the rest had made off with about 10-12 of the villagers. A ranger from the village had come upon the aftermath of the attack, and had tracked the raiding party and their prisoners to the entrance to the Thunderspire. Unwilling to follow them further, he hastened to Fallcrest to see if any aid could be summoned.

Lord Faren rallies the party to the cause – he will not have slavers operating in the Nentir Vale! The party agrees to travel to Thunderspire and investigate. Lord Faren tells them a little of the history of the Thunderspire. It used to be the center of a minotaur empire called Saruun Khel which fell more than 300 years ago, and consists of a large labyrinth and many ruins. A while ago a band of adventurers, mostly wizards, ventured into the Thunderspire and cleared the upper level of the labyrinth, and secured the road leading into the labyrinth and a main hall. This hall, known as the Seven-Pillared Hall, is the central nexus of all paths leading from the labyrinth and the Underdark up to the surface. The group of wizards, now known as the Mages of Saruun, maintain the hall as a mostly peaceful trading zone where the denizens of the surface and the underdark can meet and exchange goods. Of course they take a cut of all transactions.

The ranger had a amulet on a leather thong taken from the fallen raider. The party recognized it as belonging to the Bloodreavers.

-party develops healing potions, and formulas

-party equips

-Red is asked by Orest to deliver a casket to Gendar in the Seven-Pillared Hall.

-travels for a day to Thunderspire

-enters Minotaur Gate, and makes their way down Road of Lanterns

-a light is spotted down one side passage.

-Red investigates, using shadow walk

-discovers a room with some hobgoblins and a gnoll arguing over the fate of a halfling they have captured

-halfling offers to pay 20gp if his capturers return him to the Seven-Pillared Hall

-gnoll is upset that the capture of the halfling will lead to more attention on their activities than they want

-gnoll and other raiders also argue over failure of recent raids on the towns of the Nentir Vale, especially the failed raid on Fallcrest

-gnoll is from the Blackfangs, and was expecting to pick up slaves. Is upset that the slaves have already been transferred to the Bloodreavers’ main hideout.

-Red, Bacon and Stomper decide to bluff their way in as mercenaries

-the bluff works, until Kip is discovered sneaking up on the room and the gnoll orders the “mercenaries” to attack

-fight!

-after the gnoll and hobgoblins are taken care of, Stomper frees the halfling, who is named Rendil Halfmoon and lives in the Seven-Pillared Hall

-the gnoll has a blackened fang hanging on a cord around his neck. The others have symbols associated with the Bloodreavers on them

The party travels the rest of the way to the Seven-Pillared Hall, with Stomper insisting on carrying Rendil the entire way. Once in the hall, Rendil gives the party their reward and shows them his aunt’s inn. He also shows them around the hall. The party stables their horses with Bersk the Wainwright.

Stomper, Bacon and Exet head off to the bar run by the half-orc Rothar. There they meet and brawl with Brugg, losing 100 gp to him in the process due to bad wagers. Red makes his delivery to the drow Gendar, and discusses some of the history and topography of the Hall and the labyrinth. They meet later in the Halfmoon Inn for dinner and drinks. Kip recognizes a familiar-yet-unremarkable-looking half-elf lurking in a corner of Rothar’s that for some reason reminds him of the unremarkable-looking human that is Serim’s chief henchman. Earlethon visits the Deepgem trading Co. and meets with Ulthand to see if there are any dwarfs willing to take on engineering work in Fallcrest. There is a disgraced dwarf engineer named Snorri who is currently working as a miner for the company. He is grateful for the chance to redeem himself, and offers to work on speculation. After Bacon, Stomper and Exet get done drinking with Brugg for most of the afternoon, Red and Kip avert another brawl at the Halfmoon Inn by buying Brugg several kegs of beer.

Rendil tells the party how to find the Bloodreavers main hideout, located in the Chamber of Eyes. The Chamber of Eyes is an old shrine to a diety called “The King That Crawls”. After resting until midnight, the party has a early breakfast, gears up, and navigates the labyrinth to the Chamber without incident.

There they carefully enter the first room, which looks like an entry hall. They quickly spot several pit traps hidden throughout the room, and navigate around them. They also hear several goblinoid voices arguing about “dividing the loot from the sale” behind the main double doors. While Bacon, Stomper and Exet attempt to bluff their way in, and then try break down the doors, Kip and Red found an unlocked back door off of a balcony at the rear of the entry hall. They enter, and see a room down some stairs that has some goblins and a bugbear in it. At the same time, Stomper and Exet finally break through the main doors and storm the goblins in the hall outside of the same room.

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