Nentir Vale Campaign

Gardmore Abbey, Session 3
Fey Family Frustrations!!

After much debate (and delay), the party decides to actually go and help solve Sir Oakley’s problems at the Temple to Bahamut at Dragon’s Roost. They enter the large, ruined temple, and can hear the flapping of wings. They walk inside the grand but crumbling temple and find two harpies. They bid the party welcome, and press the party to pay homage to their lord Bahamut. Clubbers, in a rare moment of clarity, sees that the two are obviouslt insane, driven mad by some force.
 
However, Tim attempts to befriend the harpies against Oakley’s advice. Tim asks about the creatures and how they came to this place> one of the harpies answers his questions with such phrases as “The light of Bahamut brought me here!” and “Through his benevolent guidance, he keeps us safe.”
 
Eventually, the harpy asks if the entire party worships Bahamut. Seeing through Tim’s lie of “…Yes?”, the harpies enrage, and cry, “Non-believers! Smite them!”
 
Surprisingly, three angels are summoned to the harpies’ sides. After a gruesome battle, the party manages to clear the temple of feathery foes. Exploring the temple, TaiLee found their sleeping quarters, and found that they had shoved many gold pieces into the cracks in the wall, giving the room a golden glow. Dawn finds a gem that increases the accuracy of her sword, Clubbers finds a card from the Deck, and Sir Oakley confirms that they need to perform the Ritual of Purification in order to cleanse the temple.
 
At this point, the party decides to take a rest in the temple. Contemplating their net course of action (and ignoring Oakley’s pleas to find the components for the ritual), Izaak proposes they search for the other adventuring party they ran into. They head down from Dragon’s Roost into the Feygrove, and about halfway down, crashing through the trees and a woman’s screams alert the party to danger. For once, acting like heroes, they rush to the scream.
 
At a ruined belltower, the party confronts a pair of displacer beasts attacking a young eladrin woman. Now unconscious, her screams alert a hive of stirges that also attack the party. In the aftermath of the battle, the young woman bears a striking resemblance to Dawn, who remains uncharacteristically quiet.
 
Clubbers heals her. Grateful, she stands and introduces herself as Astralana. Almost immediately, her eyes lock on Dawn’s, and she excitedly runs up to her. Surprise! Dawn and Ana are related! Ana suggests that the entire party meets with her brother, Berrian. Her gaze lingers on Tim for just a moment longer than everyone else.
 
Further into the Feygrove, the party enters a clearing that houses a small group of eladrin warriors. In the middle is a tall, handsome eladrin that looks much like a male version of Dawn. (But with eladrin, how can you really tell, right?) He greets Dawn warmly as well, though she still acts coolly towards him. He explains that, since the disappearance of their father, he is not the heir apparent of House Velfarren.
 
Dawn explains she’s been hiding all the bastard children her father left behind from Berrian and Ana after she found out her step-mother ordered them all killed for some reason.
 
Berrian says that he is no longer hunting his siblings, and Tim thinks he’s being genuine. Berrian also reveals that here, the Font of Ioun can show you glimpses of the future. Berrian and Ana are looking for their father. Clubbers (going two for two) brings up the other party, but Berrian admits he hasn’t seen them.
 
Each member of the party take a drink from the fountain in the glade, and all have visions of Gardmore Abbey from different times. However, when Tim drinks, he has an out of body experience, and believes he saw through the eyes of an orc in the present-day Abbey ruins. As they head out, Berrian asks them to investigate a ruined groundskeeper’s cottage back up the path for some journals. Naturally, the party obliges.
 
As they approach the cottage, Clubbers (on a roll today) hears noises coming from inside. The party attempts to sneak closer when they hear a loud screech, and Clubbers the druid identifies the cry as coming from an owlbear. However, as they move closer, not one, but two owlbears burst from the cottage.
 
Clubbers takes center stage and manages to stop an outright assault from the mated pair. Dawn, attempting to scare them away with an illusion of the owlbears’ natural predator (a displacer beast, of course), does not make her illusion convincingly enough. Tim bluffs that he will light the cottage on fire, and Clubbers makes a displacer beast call, but not realistically enough. TaiLee attempts to sneak on top of the building to scare them, and barely succeeds. Tim somehow successfully intimidates a pair of owlbears, and Dawn fails once again at making illusory displacer beasts, despite the party’s aid. At this the owlbears attack!
 
In some form of kindness, the owlbears are knocked out instead of killed. Izaak eats one of the owlbear eggs, and TaiLee takes another. They find the books that Berrian was looking for, and they seem to stabilize his convictions. Berrian reveals he wants to make the Feygrove a stronghold of the eladrin, an outpost in the natural world. The books prove that this rampant overgrowth of land was formed and shaped by the hands of eladrin, and that they deserve to hold this area of the Abbey.
 
Also, Berrian tells Dawn that their father’s last message led them to Gardmore Abbey. “TaiLee, having saved an egg from Izaak, tries to roll it back to the unconscious owlbears. It’s kind of messed up.”
 
After their meeting with Berrian, the party has a debate about where to go next. Unluckily, Tim loses the coin toss, and TaiLee convinces the party to explore the final building in Dragon’s Roost: the Heroes’ Gate. Inside, they encounter a large drake and a pair of terrible, terrible rust monsters. However, due to the quick thinking of Clubbers (WHAT?), he flattens one of the rust monsters with the unsecured door, and the party makes short work of the rest of the creatures.
 
They party has cleared out the upper level of the Abbey, but they still have to help Oakley find the last item to perform the ritual, investigate the orc camp for Lord Padraig of Winterhaven, and aid Berrian in his quest to find their father.

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Gardmore Abbey, Session 2
Cleansing the Crypts

The party left the safety of the Vaults they just cleared to press onward, investigating other area of the ruins of Dragon’s Roost. The first building they entered was a ruined temple of some kind, and we’re almost immediately set upon by monsters that had taken up residence there. A bullette and a pair of carrion crawlers launch themselves at the party, and Tim briefly drops.

After tending to their wounds, the party investigates the room they find an old well, and Clubbers wastes no time jumping right in. He swims as deep as he can, and finally hits bottom. He finds some treasure, and the party is disappointed that his rash behavior was rewarded.

As the party makes their way down the stairs, try come face to face with another adventuring party. Very much off-balance, the party doesn’t know what to make of them, so they default to mistrust and snarky comments, hoping to push the other side to fight. Not taking the bait, the human female leader of the other party leads her team out of the catacombs. Not willing to let sleeping dogs lie, they send TaiLee to tail them. She comes back with little information, but saw them take the sloping path down into the Feygrove. After a mostly successful scouting job, she is spotted by the barbarian as she heads back to the party.

Once again, curiosity gets the better of them, and Time and Izaak open one of the sarcophagi in this room, only to be immediately cursed by Bahamut. They will be punished until they can cleanse the catacombs of any evil influence. In the next room, skeletons attack the party, and after defeating them, a mosaic to Bahamut begins to glow. The party each drink from a blessed font in tr corner of the room to boost their resilience against evil necrotic energies. TaiLee finds a hidden door, and finds a room depicting Bahamut as a dracolich. In this room, paladins from the abbey would pray for courage in the face of death, and three paladin remains were found here, along with some treasure in their possession.

The PCs push into a room through some dragonscale curtains, and are immediately set upon by very strong undead. Wraiths and ghouls attack with lifeless fury, and take their toll on the party. At this point, they retreat to the hidden room, and take an extended rest.

Fully charged, they enter a large chamber full of coffins. A madman’s cackle echoes through the chamber. Vaidin Cartwright, the mad priest of Tharizdun, has desecrated these chambers, and he attacks them with vampire thrills and a basilisk as his allies. Vaidin, tied to the Deck, relinquishes three more cards of the Deck of Many Things.

Looking to clear the catacombs entirely and remove the curse on Izaak and Tim, they head south to finish the level. In the final room, mummies rise and attack. From behind a wall, a small flaming skull flies around the ceiling of the chamber, and bombards the room with fiery explosions, indistinguishable between enemy and ally.

Tim speaks with the flaming skull, and convinces it to not attack the party. With the last room cleansed, Tim and Izaak gain a Dragon’s breath ability as a reward for cleansing the catacombs. The skull has little to tell about recent activities, but did hear fighting earlier the day before, and says that he’s been “dead” for 300 years, since before the fall of the Abbey.

He introduces himself as Sir Hector, and agrees to accompany Tim as thanks for putting his spirit to rest. He has knowledge and advice to offer, and his first lesson to Timandrius was, “No matter the situation, always stay cool, and keep your head!”

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Gardmore Abbey, Session 1, Part 2
Into the Vaults...

After a skirmish with some spiders in a ruined temple, the party, with Sir Oakley in tow, descend into the Vaults. Almost immediately, they meet a Minotaur raider that tells them to state their business. Timandrius steps forward, and claims they are in the area searching for human artifacts, and that they will not take anything belonging to minotaurs. The Minotaur, defiant, declares that everything in the vaults belongs to minotaurs!

Clubbers steps up, sensing the unease, and says that the party will help the minotaurs clear out any unwanted intruders, specifically orcs. This gives the Minotaur pause, and calls to his allies. From an adjoining room, two very large and even scarier minotaurs emerge. The party takes a collective step backwards. The minotaurs discuss their situation: there is a pack of gnolls that claim the. Adults as their own, and their leader is dining with the Minotaur chief, as well as the creature brokering the peace agreement. There is also a young dragon that has claimed the vaults as his lair. At that, TaiLee shows them the dragon teeth they collected from the green dragon guardian in Thunderspire. Satisfied, they agree to let the party combat the gnolls. They say any treasure they get from the gnolls is theirs to keep, but all else belongs to the the minotaurs.

The party proceeds to the next room where a horrible scene stands before them. A monstrous Minotaur sits on one end of a table, sitting opposite two demonic gnolls. Between then sits an amalgamation of the two races, something between gnoll and Minotaur that beckons them with a goblet full of blood. Warily, Tim takes a bite of an apple, and almost immediately falls unconscious.

Bloody combat ensues. The chaos seems to break whatever control the oni had on his di Ned guests, and as the gnolls attack the party, the Minotaur enrages, and picks up a gnoll and repeatedly slams it on its horns. At the end of the fight, the fallen oni is reduced to dust, and anyone that was within twenty feet of the Minotaur is splattered with gore.

Seemingly on the same side as the minotaurs, they clear out the Vaults of any and all gnolls. In one of the rooms, they find the adamantine rod, one of the items Aleera asked Izaak to find. Upon closer inspection, the rod was covered in te sigils of Asmodeus. The party circles back to the beginning, finding minotaurs worshipping a demon. After much discussion, the party hatches a plan to betray the minotaurs and wipe them out, as well.

Though the party tossed around the idea of making the dragon work against the minotaurs, the party went with a sneakier route. Dawn and Tim double back and lure the minotaurs to one of the gnoll chambers, claiming they found a hidden shrine to Baphomet. Several of the minotaurs follow, and the party took them out before they even had a chance to respond.

Self-assured, they barreled into the last remaining room, and slew the minotaurs and their demon ally. In this room, they found the adamantine dagger, also with symbols of Asmodeus.

Still going strong, and seeing no reason to slow down, the party enters the dragon’s lair. What was once a throne room of some kind, a large dragon sprawled in a corner, asleep on a like of gold as its kobold minions scampered around it. One by one, the kobolds fell, yelling for their most glorious master to awaken. Not until one jumped on it did Mekkaleth wake up. With a rising fury, he breathed flame, clawed, and bit the party. Cornered and weakened, he tried to flee, but he was immobilized by Tim, and fought till the bitter end.

As is appropriate, after slaying a dragon, the hoard was looted. Aside from a pile of gold, the party also found a magical cup, the Chalice of the Dragon, one of the items needed to perform the cleansing ritual with Sir Oakley. They also find five baby kobolds, none of them yet imprinted on anything. Their small scales were a dull gray, not yet attuned to any dragon, element, of patron. Adrie takes them back to town so the party can continue onward, but not after Dawn bonds with one of them, as a small patch of scales turns silver.

With that, the party rests in the temple, having cleared out the Vaults.

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Gardmore Abbey, Session 1, Part 1
Regrouping, assignments and the first foray into the Abbey!

The party relaxes in a tavern in Fallcrest after a job well done in Thunderspire, though Timandrius and Adrie are elsewhere. As they tip back their drinks, a militant dwarf introduces himself only as Sarge to the party, and Izaak in particular. He tells them of the fabled sword of the Markelhay family, lost several generations ago. Sarge asks them to investigate within the ruins of the abbey god the list sword. Should they reclaim it, he believed the reigning lord of Fallcrest, Lord Warden Farren Markelhay would repay the party quite handsomely.

At this point, Clubbers becomes a sad drunk and tells his friends that he is now questing for an item that will let him live as long as his fey friends. To lighten the mood, a drinking game is started, and some of the locals join in. TaiLee, Clubbers, and Izaak are the only members of the party participating.

TaiLee, the lightweight elf, is out in the first round, unable to endure “waterfall” segment of the game. A few townsmen drop out as well. Clubbers is next to lose on the “never have I ever” game. Declaring for all the bar to hear, he informs that, for a Goliath his size, he is incredibly under-proportioned. Even the gnome, whom he used as a projectile so many weeks ago, laughs.

Finally, it is down to Izaak and a merchant. The merchant, already wobbling, ups the ante, and puts 500 hold on the table. Izaak, probably thinking how much that could help his family, readily accepts, and wins the game!! The night fades with the sound of music and laughter.

The next morning, TaiLee finds it hard to focus and meditate with her head splitting hangover. Dawn, surprisingly selfless, takes care of TaiLee. At this point, the party realizes Dawn treats TaiLee like her pet.

Izaak and Clubbers meet with the merchant to collect Izaaks winnings. While in the shop, a woman dressed in southern garb catches Izaak’s eye. She introduces herself as Aleera, and admits that she has been looking for several items that she has been looking to acquire. Izaak, ever the gentleman and slightly smitten, agrees to keep his eyes open for the two items Aleera was looking for. She makes flirty promises of payment, and then exits the shop.

At this point, Timandrius and Adrie rejoin the party, and they set off for Winterhaven, the small town that rests near Gardmore Abbey. Along the way, Clubbers protects the party from a flash flood of snakes, and Timandrius tells a story about the Markelhay sword, Moonbane. It’s a pretty bad rendition, and doesn’t really make the trip feel and shorter. On the second day, TaiLee makes some delicious snake omelets. Dawn hunts for kobolds, and finds naught but their droppings. Izaak inspired his allies, and gets the to Winterhaven that day.

Their first order of business is to meet with Valthrun, the sage that sent them to Thunderspire in the first place. Valthrun is incredibly pleased with the competed map and the inert Minotaur artifacts the party returned with. He gives them. Ritual book, and bids Dawn to study it. He then introduces his guest, a dwarf scholar named Kharas the Just, who is also researching minotaurs. He mentions that the Abbey was built over minotaur ruins; there is a legend of a hidden chamber under the abbey known as the Temple of Golden Treasures. A few trinkets would be most appreciated! At the mention of the abbey, Valthrun rummages through scrolls and pulls one out. He claims the abbey grounds houses a place called the Tower of the Archmage. Within, there is a book called the Winterbole Tome. He would like to add that to his collection, if at all possible!!

The party leaves Valthrun’s tower into the town square. TaiLee buys a flower for Dawn from the flower merchant Delphina. While buying the flower, they inquire about any interesting news, or if she knows anything about the abbey. She mentions that quite recently, a pair of eladrin nobles and their small retinue came to town and spoke with Lord Padraig. All she knows is that they were searching for a family member, possibly their father.

They continue to Lord Ernest Padraig’s manor, where Dawn asks about the eladrin. Padraig confirms they are looking for their father, and only remembers the brother’s name: Berrian. He believes he has a job for the party, and directs the conversation away from the fey. Padraig fears the increased Orc activity in the area, and asks the party to scout the abbey, and report back to Padraig with any findings.

Retiring to Wrafton’s Inn, the party discusses their next course of action when they are approached by an aging knight that introduces himself as Sir Oakley. He requests the aid of the party in his quest to purify the Temple of Bahamut, perched at the top of the hill above the ruins of Gardmore Village. Agreeing, they rest at the inn for the night.

The next day, Clubbers wanders into Bairwin’s Grande Shoppe. Clubbers shortly walks out with two trumpets and a trombone.

The PCs depart Winterhaven, and easily find signs of orcs as soon as they leave the beaten path. The usually-stealthy TaiLee is the one to attract the small party of orcs’ attention, and combat ensues. Dawn uses a new-found ice-teleport power to teleport onto a disc of ice over what appears to be Orc piss. She almost falls in. Timandrius wanted her to.

After the battle, they approach the Abbey grounds from the western side, and find a long steep staircase leading them to the summit of Gardmore Abbey known as Dragon’s Roost.

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Session 4: The Well of Demons
Also, the introduction of a new party member.

The party had just defeated Murkelmor Grimmerzhul, paladin leader of the deurgar clan, and freed the slaves from Riverdown. However, two of them were still missing, and one among their number was clearly not a commoner. The young man introduced himself as Izaak Clearly, relative of the fallen Chris Clearly, the PCs former adventuring companion. Upon learning of his relation’s death, he composed himself and declared that he would continue adventuring with the party. The PCs learned that Chris had been adventuring to raise funds to support his large extended family south of the Nentir Vale. When the funds stopped, Izaak was sent out to investigate why the money was not coming home, and to help Chris in any whay he could. For the good of his family, Izaak decided to accompany the PCs for the near future.

The PCs (now including Izaak), rummaged through Murkelmor’s belongings, and soon found a cache under his bed, which contained most of Izaak’s gear. They also found some letters to Murkelmor from “Maldrick Scarmaker,” thanking Murkelmor for two of the Riverdown slaves. There are a few other letters, detailing Maldrick’s followers as the Blackfang gnolls, and a location circled on a map: the Well of Demons.

The PCs backtrack to the Seven-Pillared Hall and take a much-needed break, and begin the next day and set out for the Well of Demons. Timandrius and Adrie escort the slaves back to Riverdown and agree to meet the rest of the PCs in Fallcrest, at the crossroad of the King’s Road from the Harkenwold and the Trade Road from Thunderspire.

As the PCs follow the trail to the Well of Demons, they enter the first chamber to find an empty room with several horrific pillars of moaning faces. As one, they speak of Baphomet’s glory, and only those who prove themselves worthy by finding the “mask, bell, blade, and tome” shall find power beyond mortal reckoning. They proceed through the door to the east and peer down a long hallway, where hyenas begin cackling and baying wildly. From out of a room nearby, a savage gnoll emerges, and yells for an ally to release the hounds.

From further down, a gnoll archer bounds to the hyenas’ gate and releases them, nocking an arrow in the process. The PCs make short work of their canine adversaries, and proceed south, and enter a set of double doors to find a terrible scene of torture. There is a badly wounded dire boar in a crude wooden cage, peppered with arrows and being harrassed by several hyenas. As the PCs enter the room, the gnolls focus their attention on the them. Clubbers tries to soothe the savage beast while Tailia makes a break for the archers. Once again, the PCs emerge victorious.

Exiting the shooting gallery through a southern exit, they see another hallway. Through a door they hear some chanting, and Dawn can decipher it as demonic communion. Without exploring the rest of the hallway, they bust open the door, interrupting a gnoll scourge in prayer. Furious, she speaks a command work, and with a crack like a whip, the PCs can hear growling in the room next door. As they battle the scourge, a Barlgura emerges from the adjoining room to join the fray. As the fight wans, the PCs notice a pair of figures that had been watching the fight, seemingly nonplussed.

They are tiefling brothers, Azkelak and Katal. Katal is tight-lipped, but Azkelak freely speaks with the PCs. He says taht he and his brothers are adventurers, and had found a book of Baphomet on a previous expedition and journeyed to the Well of Demons to try and sell it to the current residents. The PCs, filled with pride in their recent successes, intimidated the brothers into giving them the book. The tieflings, seeing the odds stacked against them, left while the going was good.

The PCs backtracked to their original chamber and proceeded south, only to be greeted by three ghostly spirits, all disfigured. Before the PCs could speak, they spoke in unison: “The guardian has laid us low/ But our failure may lead to your success./ Prove your worth so you may know/ The way to pass the guardian’s test./ Spirits trapped ehre after death,/ Our efforts ehre all but erased./ Heed our words without breath,/ For if you fail, you’ll take our place.”

The PCs eventually appease the spirits, showing them that their motives were true and their skills were satisfactory for the advice of the spirits. The spirits tell the PCs about the guardian of the Proving Grounds, and how to activate the trial. They must collect the four components and place them in the magical circles, kill or outlast the guardian, avoiding the traps, and exit through a door to the east. Confidant, the PCs press on.

Going through a nothern chamber first, the PCs find a small room encircled by a curtain. As Clubbers peers around the curtain, he disappears. Izaak too, disappears as he peers around for Clubbers. Unknown to Dawn and Tailia, they have been teleported to a chamber that is extradimenionally connected to the mirrors beyond the curtains. In this chamber, a keeping, high-pitched screeching assails their minds, causing pain and horrible visions. Shortly, Izaak manages to wrench his mind from this place, emerging back beyond the curtain, while Clubbers remains behind, seeing the skin slowly bubble and fall from Tubbers, his closest ally.

Dawn and Tailia manage to navigate the room, breaking mirrors along the way. They find another, longer curtain at the end of the room, and beyond that curtain is an altar of brass, and a mark carved from a dark wood in the visage of a minotaur. Guarding the mask are two skeletons, that attack as the curtains are pulled back. Clubbers eventually wrenches himself from thesecret room, and walks with his eyes closed along the perimeter of the wall, and finally meets up with the others as the battle draws to a close. With Book and Mask in hand, the PCs are halfway through gathering the items.

The PCs go to the westernmost chamber of this complex, and find a huge, open room, filled with pools of blood. The room is divided in half by a walkway, and on either side of the room are ferocious, thirty-foot tall minotaur statues holding barbed whips. The party clambers from platfrom to statue, statue to walkway. Dawn teleports to the walkway, and as her feet tough ground, the minotaur statues attack with the whips. The PCs scramble, seeing they have to attain the blade and the hilt of a dagger on two platforms at the far end. Tailia explodes into motion, leaping from platform to platform as her allies trudge through the blood and get assaulted by the statues. As her allies fumble, she leaps around, grabs the items, and returns to the entrance. Most of the group is badly injured, but the slaves cannot wait for the PCs to take an extended rest. They press on.

They travel through the Proving Grounds to the southern chamber, and find a room of pillars, seemingly made of controted bodies. They being wailing and moaning, reaching for the party. They manage to make their way through the chamber mostly unscathed, but when Dawn gets to the end of the room and grabs the bell on a table, demons emerge from the pillars and attack. For some reason, perhaps afflicted by the madness of the place, Dawn rings the bell. Spikes shot into her hand, locking her grip and dealing massive damage to her. All combatants, allies and enemies alike, went into a frenzy, attacking with little thought to defense or personal well-being. After the fight, the bell was extracted from Dawn’s hand. The party, beginning to show signs of fatigue, was about to awaken the guardian and take on the challenges of the Proving Grounds.

Each of the four PCs took one of the items to a separate chamber in the Proving Grounds. The items had to placed in a magical circle simultaneously. Once each PC dropped their item, the traps were sprung! Clubbers was assaulted by grasping skeletons chained to the floor, Dawn was attacked by swirling pools from the Elemental Chaos, Izaak was attacked by magical crossbow turrets, and Tailia was mentally assailed by wailing traps. A Death Ball rolled around the central track of the Grounds, and with a guttural roar, the guardian awoke.

Slowly, the doors in the southeastern chamber began opening. Clubbers called his allies to his side. Dawn made it to him with little trouble, and Tailia likewise met little resistance. Izaak, weighed down by his armor and gear, had to deal with the Death Ball, narrowly avoiding its crushing charge. However, at this point, the guardian had him in its sights.

Flying with fury, the green dragon guardian attacked with abandon, clawing and biting with only a few successful hits on Izaak. Determined, Izaak regrouped with the rest of the party, creating a bottleneck where the dragon could only attack them from within the track of the Death Ball. The dragon would not go down so easily, and the battle raged on, with it’s stinking poisonous breath injuring the party with several blasts. When the dragon finally fell, the PCs took several moments to ready themselves for the final battle against Maldrick Scarmaker and to save the final slaves.

It shold be known that at this point, the party was down to about 4 healing surges between them all. Dawn was out of surges and wasn’t fully healed when they entered the final battle. This was truly stretching the party to their limits.

As the party bursts into Maldrick’s ceremony chamber, they take in a ghastly scene. There are two slaves strung up over a glowing circle, boiling pots of some stinking liquid churning, several demons howl with pleasure, a large skeleton weilding a greatsword faces them, and a large, mechanical minotaur, one of the bronze warders, turns his gaze to the party. Worst of all is the leader of the Blackfang gnolls, Maldrick Scarmaker. Standing over six feet tall, this gnoll has made sufficient sacrifices to his demon lord Yeenoghu to be “blessed” with demonic features: Extended fangs, curling horns from his head, and large bat wings. In one hand he held a scroll, and in the other a macabre wand made of bone topped with skulls.

The PCs, already against the ropes, were fighting for their lives and the lives of the Riverdown slaves. Maldrick began by cursing the enemies nearest him and began shooting eldritch rays at them. He used the demons and skeletons as bodyguards and fodder against the PCs. The PCs made quick work of the skeletons, and advanced into the inner scantum. Maldrick had just purged the Well of Demons of Baphomet’s influence, and was finishing a ritual to gift it to Yeenoghu, his own demon lord. At the death of the last two slaves, the ritual would be complete.

Amid the chaos of battle, Dawn and Maldrick pulled the arcane strand of the ritual back and forth, maldrick pushing it to completion and Dawn counterspelling his incantations. As they were locked in battle, the rest of the PCs took down the demons and moved into melle positions around Maldrick. As a last ditch effort, Maldrick tried to flee, abandoning the temple for now. Under the concerted effort of the PCs, he was slain before he could flee the complex.

Ultimately victorious, the PCs were battered and bloodied, and without the fortitude left to recover from their wounds. They freed the last two slaves, looted the fallen enemies, and made their way to the door. However, they were accosted by a pair of tieflings. Seeing their advantageous position, the tiefling brothers turned the tables on the PCs, and tried to make quick work of the bloodied group. Claming they wanted their proper payment for the book the PCs “stole” earlier, the tieflings made a final attack on the PCs. It seemed the PCs had one more battle in them, and managed to kill the interlopers before anyone in the party dropped.

The rest of the trek back to the Seven-Pillared Hall was uneventful, and after the PCs met with some contacts that had given them some quests. They shortly retired to the Halfmoon Inn,resting up and getting ready to set off the next day to meet their allies in Fallcrest, and then onward to Winterhaven.

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Session 3: To Thunderspire:

This session opened where the last began. The PCs had just vanquished Lord Kado, and were given full run of his catacombs to search fro anything useful. Dawn finds and keeps Kado’s cloak, and Clubbers finds a letter to Kado from a Chief Krand, apparently the leader of some organization known as the Bloodreavers. He offers to pay Kado for any humanoids that Kado would be willing to seel into slavery. Krand goes on to say that his agents will be waiting in the Seven-Pillared Hall.

Kellis, the newly appointed Lady Kado, knows nothing of the Bloodreavers, but does know the Seven-Pillared is located underneath Thunderspire Mountain, a few days’ travel north of the Harkenwold. The PCs go one to talk to Rhogar’s Regulars, now stationed in the town to help with the rebuilding of society after Kado’s fall. Jarren has nothing good to say of the place, that it is a den of theives that was once an ancient minotaur city. Jocelia bristles at the mention of the Bloodreavers. She lets the PCs know that the Bloodreavers kidnapped a small group of people from Riverdown, one of the northern villages of the Harkenwold. She implores the PCs to investigate further.

At this point, Adrie and Timandrius hang back to ensure chaos doesn’t befall the region in the time immediately after Kado’s absence.

Clubbers, Dawn, and Tailia have a rather uneventful journey north, and they soon find themselves staring up at the behemoth wrapped in dark clouds, Thunderspire Mountain. Thanks to the map from Valthrun, the PCs are quickly on their way to the Seven-Pillared Hall. On their way, they hear an altercation, and step in to find orcs bullying a halfling. After they save the youg halflign, he introduces himself as Rendil Halfmoon, the nephew of the owner of Halfmoon Inn. He invites them to spend some time at the inn, and they oblige. The PCs then explore what the Seven-Pillared Hall has to offer.

Naturally, the first thing the PCs do is find what is for sale in this strange marketplace. The first place they stop is the Deepgem company, owned and operated by Ulthand Deepgem, a solem dwarf merchant. Upon finding his wares too expensive, the PCs move to Gendar’s Curios and Relics. Because he is a drow, Tailia and Dawn do not trust him, and choose not to do business with him. Clubbers, however, is taken for all he’s worth, and spend about three hundred gold on magical trinkets and “Buy Two, Get One” sales on potions. Gendar takes a liking to Clubbers (naturally), and offers him a reward if he manages to find a scepter that a client wishes to buy.

Before heading to the Halfmoon Inn to meet up with Tailia and Dawn, Clubbers wanders around the Hall. He shortly gets himself into trouble. He meets Brugg, the ogre enforcer of a group known as the Mages of Saruun. One thing leads to another, and Clubbers somehow finds himself winning a one-on-one fistfight to first blood against Brugg (mainly be using both of his healing powers and two of the three potions he just bought). With Brugg barely bloodied and Clubbers, on the ropes, his confidence gets the better of him and Clubbers shoots one last insult at Brugg. Enraged, the ogre grabs his club and strikes Clubbers unconscious. Tubbers, the dutiful companion, goes to the inn, gathers Tailia and Dawn, and bring them back to claim Clubbers.

By the time they drag the battered Clubbers back to the Inn, Adrie and Timandrius have caught up to them. Rendil lets them know that the Bloodreavers are stationed in the Chamber of Eyes, down the path under the symbol of the dragon. The PCs embark, and soon break in the front door of the Bloodreaver hideout. They make short work of the advance guard, and proceed east and north.

In the next room, the PCs take a two pronged attack and are surprised to encounter duergar. The duergar hold the front line at archers shoot down the hall, and shortly enough, the PCs find themselves flanked as additional forces emerge from the south. After slaughtering the Bloodreavers to the last, they head back to the Seven-Pillared Hall.

Rendil, becoming an ally, talks the situation over with the PCs, and recommends they check out the Grimmerzhul Trading Post, a duergar shop in the Hall. Clubbers and Timandrius enter by themselves, leaving the girls and animals outside. They manage to convince the duergar that the are agents of Krand and the BLoodreavers. They bring the rest of the party (except for Ice and Tubbers) into the shop and lead them into the storeroom. When one duergar leaves to get their boss, they knock the other one out and put him in the supply closet. When other returns, they miss horribly and he sounds the alarm.

As the battle ensues, the duergars and their theurge boss are getting thrashed. The theurge manages to blind the entire party, and as they regain their site, the theurge is no where to be seen. The party splits up, and the theurge exits through a secret door, right next to Dawn! Dawn makes a swipe and slides her backwards through the passage right to Clubbers’s waiting swing.

The party interrogate the remaining duergar, and he mentions the Horned Hold, a stronghold under the Seven-Pillared Hall, where they have been taking the slaves. The PCs set off for once.

As they approach the main gate, they can see orcs sitting guard behind a portcullis. Timandrius and Dawn teleport in and make short work of the orcs as they open the gate to let their allies in the battle. They proceed to a workroom where duergar and orcs are making weapons, and another battle ensues. They cross a bridge and enter the dining quarters and have a battle with one of the duergar champions. Proceeding west, the PCs cross a long open bridge and duke it out with some duergar, their orc thugs, and an ogre brute. Dawn manages to use a fire spell, hitting almost every enemy in the room, causing massive damage that continued over time.

The PCs enter a room to the east and are confronted by a heavily armored duergar. As he sees the PCs, he lets out a bellow and charges the PCs. A fierce and gruesome battle ensues, and when the PCs finally put the duergar leader down, they are all battered to their ends. On the bright side, Clubbers now wields the duergar’s enchanted weapon.

The room to the north held most of the remaining slaves. Of the thirteen slaves, ten were from the Harkenwold-town of Riverdown, two were prospectors from the Seven-Pillared Hall, and one was a strange, proud young man…

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Session 2, Part 2: A Dubious Benefactor

Lord Kado has been the noble patron of this particular Harkenwold settlement for some time; he ascended to the head of the household after the passing of his father. Many of the merchants and artisans, the middle class in this town, very much like Lord Kado. He throws almost weekly parties and invites nobles from across the Nentir Vale. Those nobles also bring their money with them, and buy the crafts, silks, and wares the merchants have to sell.

The peasants and lower class, however, feel that Kado is pushing them to the limits, overworking and underpaying them. In addition, because nobles flock to the parties and bring their gold with them, inflation has increased at a staggering rate: prices keep rising, and the working class can’t keep up with the costs.

Kado also quite severely deals with dissenters: Those that speak against him are thrown into the stocks. Upon meeting one such citizen, the party learns that he was once a tailor in town, until Kado’s cousin opened up shop. The merchant’s business was run aground, unable to compete with the government-subsidized tailor.

The party offered to try and free the man from the stocks, but he refuses: the punishment would be more harsh. He wishes to fulfill the rest of his sentence in the stocks, and then be on his way.

Upon further investigation, it seems that most of the merchant and middle-class are either relatives or friends of the Kado family. Kado has set up a system where all businesses are loyal to him, and the businesses are profiting from the extra gold brought in by the foreign nobles.

The party is ultimately torn on their feelings toward Kado: is he a corrupt despot, or merely an irresponsible noble with too much time and money on his hands?

Later that night, the party finds their way to Kado Castle, where they are greeted warmly and escorted through an opulent manor to a fantastically furnished smoke room. There is a man in his early thirties reading a book before an enormous fireplace. He has dark, slicked back hair, a pearly disarming smile, and an impressive physique. He is incredibly charming, and greets each party member in turn. Kado welcomes them to his castle with open arms, and thanks them for coming in the first place. He offers them warm baths and a change of clothes before dinner.

Dawn, Thailia, and Adrie all enjoy their baths and change into more formal clothes. Clubbers instead decides to check on Tubbers the bear in the stables. Despite his best efforts, he cannot gain admittance for Tubbers to the dinner party. Timandrius does some more poking around, and makes a point of arriving at dinner with dirty shoes, hoping to get a rise out of Kado. Kado remains the gracious host, and snaps his fingers for a cleaning boy to scrub Timandrius’s shoes. The boy glowers at Timandrius, his face showing a disgust of the habits of stuck-up nobles.

When the party convenes for dinner, the huge table is piled high with delicacies from around the known world, and each member, even the doubtful Timandrius finds the food unparalleled. When questioned about what is done with he food afterwards, Kado replies, “Why, it is thrown out, of course.” Kado continues to treat the party with the utmost respect and politeness, but still rubs Timandrius, and to an extent Clubbers, the wrong way. Timandrius feels there’s something not quite right with him, and Clubbers holds a grudge against any sleight (real or imagined) against his bear companion.

Kado eventually gets down to business. He tells the party that they will be given the rest of their uniforms for tomorrow’s party, and they are simply tasked with admitting only the guests on the list. When questioned why Kado wanted employ the party’s help, Kado answers rather glibly: “I deserve the best, and I can afford the best. Due to your recent heroics, if I employ you, you raise my status.” Understandable, but shallow.

Each party member is escorted to their own private rooms after dinner, each the size of a small house with large beds, couches, a private bathroom, and wardrobes full of clothes. The next morning the party wake up and make their way down to breakfast, held in Kado’s breakfast hall, a different room than his dinner hall, but no less elegant or ostentatious.

After breakfast, the party has some time to themselves, which they use to send a note to the bandits from the day before. After much deliberation, they have come to the decision that they will not be able to help sneak them into the party, and that they will follow through their with their obligation to Kado. They receive no response.

At just before sundown, nobles begin to arrive at the castle in horse-drawn carriages. Dawn collects their invitations, and Adrie checks their names off the guest list. There are no complications until a party of three young nobles approaches. They claim that their serving girl has washed with invitation, and that Kado will be expecting them. They are, of course, the human, elf, and eladrin bandits from earlier.

Dawn and Adrie hesitate, but refuse them admittance. The three push and hiss under their breath to let them in, offering five hundred gold. Once again, the party refuses. A final offer of one thousand gold is offered and turned away. The eladrin gives a pleading look to Timandrius, but before any action can be taken, Dawn casts a spell to mimic the sound of a dragon roar. Glaring, the three turn away before the guards approach.

The captain of Kado’s regulars, a somewhat world-weary dragonborn, approaches and asks what is wrong. With the three rebels gone, Dawn bluffs and asks if Kado would find her display impressive. Nonplussed, the captain merely walks away. At this point, Timandrius leaves through the front gate and proceeds around the corner of the compound, to where he saw the rebels sneak. Clubbers, missing his bear, leaves his post to go visit Tubbers, more or less on display in the corner of the courtyard.

Timandrius finds the rebels, who are hellbent on getting into that party and getting to the bottom of Kado’s story. They reveal that, even for a noble, Kado has “too much” gold. To spend so much almost weekly would run through even his considerable wealth in short order. If they can just get through the front door, they should be able to blend in with the crowd and do some poking around.

At almost the same time, Clubbers, for reasons only known to him, spurred Tubbers to begin making laps around the compound. The guards at the door fled their posts to chase down the bear, and soon had a bear chasing them. Seeing their opening, the rebels jumped the wall and ran through the front door. Timandrius rejoined the party as Tubbers was finally corralled, and the two guards approached them, asking if they wanted to switch duties for awhile.

Accepting, the party went inside the castle. Timandrius manages to see the three walk through the ballroom and exit through an opposite door, and he begins to follow them. Adrie also spots the intruders, and grabs Tailia, following Timandrius. Clubbers mingles through the crowd, asking if they saw the bear running around the compound. Dawn makes a bee-line for Kado, and is frustrated to see him already surrounded by several attractive noblewomen.

Adrie and Tailia meet up with Timandrius, and the three continue together looking for the trespassers. As the continue down a long hallway, they almost bump right into the captain. He eyes them, and asks what they’re doing away from the posts. Expertly, Adrie steps up and mentions they’re merely taking a break. Either the captain buys the bluff or does not care enough to reprimand, and he continues to make his rounds in the direction they came in. The three finally meet up with the rebels. Adrie does her best to convince them to leave before anyone gets caught, but Timandrius would like to see if their suspicions are well founded. The group of six approach a locked door, and the eladrin gets to work picking the lock so they can proceed.

At about this time, the captain enters the ballroom and catches the eyes of the remaining party members, and asks if they’re also on break. Sensing that it may be best to regroup, Dawn and Clubbers race after the other three.

From down the hallway, the six hear footsteps fast approaching, and in just the nick of time, they get the door open, rush in, and close it behind them. Eventually, they realize that it is just Dawn and Clubbers, and everyone is now together.

They all proceed down stairs to the cellar, where various foods and drinks are ripening, curing, and fermenting. Being an elf, Tailia gets an odd sensation as she approaches the back wall of the storeroom, and a hidden door is found in short order. After it’s opened, Adrie believes that the architecture on this door and passage is relatively recent, built within the last ten to fifteen years. They go through the finely crafted tunnel, and it opens to a horrible scene.

Part ritual hall, part torture chamber, the hall opens into a large domed room. There are sets of manacles along each wall, and rivulets cut into the floor, running to the center, where a pool of blood congeals. Overlooking the pool is an altar of some dark stone, and across the pool are two thrones. There are various instruments of torture around the room, along with motifs of Asmodeus.

The group barely notices the approach of footsteps. “It doesn’t have to end here. We will jail the trespassers, you will remain my guests for the evening, and you will be on your way on the morrow. We will all go our separate ways.” It is indeed Lord Kado, looking much more serious than in their previous encounters. Timandrius, justified, presses the party to act, and Dawn, the most betrayed, does not know what exactly to do, even at this point.

Enraged, the eladrin, elf, and human begin the attack. Kado chants some words and sheds some of his own blood as the pool in the middle begins to bubble. Various devils appear in summoning circles around the room, and a soul reaver rises from the pool of blood.

Pushed to their limits, the party manages to vanquish Kado and his diabolic allies, confirming the rebel’s suspicions that Kado was no normal noble. The group decides it would be best to alert the nobles of Kado’s true colors, and they bring them down to the chamber. However, they notice that some of the nobles have already left, and wonder if they already knew what they would find down there…

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Session 2: A Dubious Benefactor

Timandrius approaches the tieflings, who curtly dismiss him. Once they find that he is party of an able-bodied group of adventurers, they are intrigued, and believe that he may be able to help them an their allies. The trio, Saturos, Menardi, and Felix, entrust the party with a small box, and ask them to deliver it to an old sage to the west in Winterhaven, a man named Valthrun. Though somewhat uneased by the package and its secret contents, the party set off almost at once.

Along the way to Winterhaven, there are few interruptions. Of note, Clubbers successfully defended the party from a wild buffalo stampede. Upon entering Winterhaven, the party heads straight to Wrafton’s Inn, and meet with Salvana Wrafton. They ask for information about Valthrun, and she points to a table in the corner, where he is enjoying a glass of wine over some parchments.

As the party approaches and mentions the delivery, Valthrun begs their silence, and rents a room so the may discuss the object in question to alleviate and worries or curiosities of the party. They find that the box contains a very detailed map of Thunderspire Labyrinth, a location far to the east. Valthrun, as a sage, was studying Thunderspire, and was going to hire some adventurers to investigate some of the rooms and areas for him. With little prodding, the party agrees to look into it for him.

Their return trip to Fallcrest is equally uneventful, with the exception of Dawn undermining a kobold ambush. She even manages to befriend one of them, whom she invites into her sleeping bag that evening. Much to her dismay, she finds that she wakes alone, and is now 30 gold lighter as well.

Upon returning to Fallcrest, the party return to the Drunken Dragon, where the innkeeper let them know that a package was waiting for them. They rent a room and go up to open it. Inside are five very fine traveling cloaks and an invitation from a noble of the Harkenwold area to act as bouncers and enforcers at a party he’s throwing. He heard of their recent exploits with the succubus, and requests their services. He promises excellent compensation, and the party agree at once.

As they go back downstairs, they are greeted by the doorman of the carriage to Harkenwold, and he whistles for the driver to bring the carriage around. It is a magnificent vehicle, pulled by four strong horses. The gilded crest of the Kado family is inscribed on each door and sewn into each curtain of the carriage. Clubbers, much more comfortable outside the carriage, walks along with his bear. With the extra space, Adrie has her wolf, Ice, sit with her inside.

Towards the end of the first day, the wagon is waylaid by would-be bandits, but the doorman and driver are more capable than they appear, and drop one of the attackers before the party can really act. The three other attackers have no choice but to retreat, obviously not expecting this much resistance from a noble’s wagon. Timandrius, having a feeling that things are nor what they seem, privately convinces the party to go the rest of the way to Harkenwold on foot, telling the driver and doorman that they are going to hunt down the bandits and end them once and for all.

With Adrie and Clubbers leading the way, the party finds the bandit camp in no time. The come to an unexpected scene, however: the eladrin rogue sobs over the loss of her dragonborn fighter compatriot, and the human wizard consoling her stares hard at the party. The elf ranger reacts to their presence by swiftly arming her bow.

The party learns that they are enemies of Lord Kado, whose colors they are wearing. Timandrius explains that they were merely hired, and owe no loyalty to the lord. The bandits explain that Kado is a tyrant that frivolously spends his money while his people suffer. Upon learning that the party will act as bouncers and doormen at one of Kado’s famous parties, the bandits implore the party to just let them through the gate so they may take care of Kado once and for all.

Practicing caution, the party says they will do some more research, and relay their final decision to the bandits the morning of the party.

The party continues towards Harkenwold, and arrives at dawn of the next day. They investigate around the town, and meet with conflicting descriptions of Lord Kado.

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Session 1: Avenging an Ally

The party of adventurers had recently returned to Fallcrest after a successful mission. Five of the party members were enjoying drinks in the Drunken Dragon when their sixth member came in. Chris, a warlock, was behaving irregularly, and upon investigation, it was found that he had to meet with his “boss,” the source of his powers. The party, rightly concerned for their friend, offered their help, but he assured them that he had to do this alone.

As Chris exited the tavern, some of the locals approached the adventurers, scolding them for consorting with someone as disreputable as a warlock. In defense of their friend, a fight soon broke out.

The party, as skilled combatants, soon cleared the room of peasants, leaving them moaning and groaning around the tavern. After leaving the tavern, a blood trail is soon found, leading them to the poorly-concealed body of their ally, Chris. Adrie, the party ranger, investigated the body, and found a cloak was wrapped around Chris’s body. She found that the sap and twigs stuck to the cloth indicated it came from the nearby forest. Her wolf companion, Ice, picked up the scent on the found cloak, and they were racing off towards the forest.

Hot on the trail, they come to a clearing and witness a strange sight: four gray wolves and a dire wolf, standing immobile, surround a tiefling holding a bloody blade. The party assume they’ve found their culprit, but are quickly taken off-balance as the creature’s eyes grow red as turn their attention to the party. The tiefling breaks into a run, further in the forest.

As the party is beset by the ensorcelled wolves, and roar breaks through the night and a bear erupts into the clearing, paws, mouth, and eyes aflame. After a brutal battle, the party continues onward, until they come to the mouth of the Caves of Chaos.

After some tactical reconnaissance, the party decides on a two-prong assault. Dawn, Tailia, Clubbers, and Tubbers begin through the southern entrance, and Adrie, Ice, and Timandrius enter through the center. After tactical positioning, the party encounters some unexpected enemies: devils, including a succubus, the source of Chris’s power. The party soundly defeat her and her allies. Her allies, once defeated, are banished back to the Nine Hells, but Dawn, with a brilliant bluff, catches the succubus’s attenion.

Dawn says that a deal can be made here. Intrigued, the succubus places Chris’s soul in an orb and is willing to trade it to the party in exchange for a favor at a different point in time. Through much tense debate, the party comes to no clear consensus, and she is finally banished as well. She leaves with a threat to the party, that they have not seen the last of her. She drops the orb containing Chris’s soul, which cracks. Despite the best efforts of the party, they cannot mend the orb, and without it as a focus, Chris’s spirit cannot sustain itself on this plane.

Chris’s spirit, in the aftermath of the battle, relays some choice information. The succubus may be working for the Iron Circle, a band of mercenary gangs far to the south with their eyes on the southern Nentir Vale. The Iron Circle have some diabolic alliances, and the party should be wary: they have made an enemy of an immortal.

Having slain the conniving succubus, her subtle influence over the town was broken. The townsfolk are once again pleased with the party. The peasants that picked a fight with the party apologize, and offer to buy a round of drinks. As things seem to be be coming to a close, Timandrius sees an odd group catch his eye: a trio of tieflings, heads together in collaboration…

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