The World of Arith

The Well of Demons (GM Post)

The party had barely recovered their breath when a demon from the Abyss attacked. Charging through the door, a creature later identified as a barlgura demon by Brost and Elias attacked with the full might of its savagery. Barely recovered from the fight with the gnolls, the party rallied and soon made short work of the demon.

The party then headed north, where the last of the gnolls from the last fight had headed. Fix disguised himself as a gnoll and went ahead to scout out the chamber. After turning the corner he realized that though his ring may disguise his form the four yapping hyenas knew by his smell that he wasn’t a gnoll. Withdrawing back to the party, the sounds of doors opening let them all know that the hyenas were not alone.

Soon the previously caged hyenas rounded the corner and a gnoll archer stood behind the pack. Diego again took the lead, trying to form a perimeter that the creatures wouldn’t pass. Two more hyena spearmen charged out from a different direction, but Diego (with the party’s help) was able to hem the creatures in. Eventually, the creatures fell to the tactics of the group. The last hyena spearman tried to flee into the labyrinth, but the party dropped the creature just on the verge of its escape. Brost however, stabilized the creature in order to question it further about the gnoll activities in the Well of Demons.

When the gnoll Brost had stabilized finally came to its senses, Diego and Fix questioned the creature and learned that it followed a gnoll named Maldrick Scarmaker who had already survived the challenge of the Well and entered the inner sanctum. The gnoll gladly pointed the way, knowing it would die at the hand of its enemies.

Proceeding down the corridor, the party entered a large area of interconnected rooms. Once they entered, the inhuman screeches became more intense. The sound of stone scraping on stone began and all the sounds soon blended into a cacophony of sound.

Finding themselves in a shrine to Baphomet, demon lord of savagery and self-appointed lord of minotaurs, the party began a careful investigation of the room which was soon interrupted by beams of greenish light shooting from the pillars behind the altar. Diego and Fix were targeted by the beams and ran out into an inner hallway. Finding themselves in the path of an eight foot wide boulder barreling down the corridor, they ran and ducked out of the boulder’s corridor into a central chamber.

Flushed with success at dodging the boulder, the two were horrified when a green dragon ascended from the pit in front of them. The sounds of the entire complex seemed to emanate from that pit. The dragon declared that it was the guardian of the way, and only its death would open the inner sanctum. It then issued the challenge, “CATCH ME!”

Taking a swipe at its enemies, the dragon flew out from the central chamber and into the boulder’s corridor. Using the layout of the challenge rooms to its advantage, the dragon attacked, withdrew and befuddled the party at every turn. Using it power of suggestion, it often placed members of the party in the boulder’s path and laughed gleefully when they were struck hard by its unthinking ally. Elias and Brost saw signs of the Abyss in the dragon’s form and aura, this was no base wyrm, but a dragon twisted from a deep connection to the abyss.

The party cornered the dragon in the entry shrine, and thinking they had the upper hand were surprised when the dragon used what they though a summoning circle to teleport itself to another chamber in the proving grounds.

In their pursuit of the dragon, the party began triggering other traps in the proving grounds. Torra was sucked into an elemental vortex and nearly drowned before making her escape. Elias chose to investigate the altar in the entrance chamber and despite being forced to flee into the boulder’s corridor by the pillars many times, eventually used his knowledge of religion to render the pillars inert.

The dragon continued to weave in and out of chambers, using the teleport circles when it was stuck by the party. Its hit and run tactics wore down the party’s resources. When Elias used the teleport circle, speaking the exact word that the dragon used, he was also caught in the elemental vortex. Using his knowledge of the arcane, he began to deactivate the runes on the elemental pool and disable the vortex. Upon seeing his success, Torra and Brost joined in the effort and deactivated the vortex.

The dragon found his way to another chamber off the boulder’s corridor, and when Diego moved to chase the dragon, he found the dragon was holding the door, trapping the party yet again while the boulder rolled past. That chamber proved to have two animated crossbows that attacked the group as they battled the dragon.

Though the dragon tricked, teleported and taunted the party through the entire fight, eventually it was cornered and slain, Fix striking the final blow. At its death, the boulder stopped rolling, the screams of the abyss died down, and a grating sound dominated the proving grounds and a previously impenetrable portcullis rose to allow access to the inner sanctum. The party took only enough time to recoup its energy before passing through the raised portcullis to find what lay beyond.

Passing through two runed doors that Elias, Torra and Brost determined had been sealed by powerful magic, they entered the inner sanctum and were immediately attacked by demons and an undead minotaur under the control of Maldrick Scarmaker.

Maldrick began cursing the members of the party as he commanded his Evistro (carnage demons) and his minotaur skeleton to attack, keeping his “pet” barlgura at his side for protection.

Diego was almost slain in that entrance to the inner shrine, and Fix was grievously wounded. Only through the efforts of Torra and Brost did the two still stand. Elias used the anger of his God, Ioun to smite his enemies. Soon Fix was able to break the line and come upon the flanks of his enemies. One by one, Maldrick’s minions fell until only the warlock itself stood against the party. Then it was over.

It took Brost an hour to cast the Dedicate Ritual and remove the influence of Yeenoghu and Baphomet from the shrine. The demonic wailing subsided, and the entire area seemed to be more at peace. In Maldrick’s possessions, the party found several communications from Paldemar, most likely the renegade Mage of Saruun, telling Maldrick to gather the demonic artifacts and return to him. With those communications were a scroll of linked portal, and the sigil sequence for what Paldemar called the Tower of Mysteries.

On completion of Brost’s ritual, the party chose to return to the Seven Pillared Hall. Returning Tusker, the dire boar tortured by the gnolls and hyenas netted the party an gem from the grateful dwarf, Ulthand Deepgem. Returning to Onotar, Fix gave him a copy of the sigil sequence to the Tower of Mysteries and received his thanks.

Fairly sure that the Mages of Saruun would deal with the Tower of Mysteries, and concerned about their own lands, the party made its way up the Street of Lanterns. Torra traced the path back to the Bloodreaver caves and the portal that stranded them in the Wildlands. The party used the scroll given to Maldrick and found itself again in the ruins of Westbrook.

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To The Well of Demons (GM Post)

Having three days before the shipment from Silvershield returns with their ritual scrolls, the party relaxes a bit in the Seven Pillared Hall while preparing for their expedition in to the Well of Demons.

On the second day, while the party enjoys a meal at the Halfmoon Inn, the sounds of battle reverberate through the Hall. Erra Haflmoon immediately bars the door of the Inn. While looking through arrowslits, the party sees a caravan of drow doing battle with the Mages of Saruunn. While it looks like the drow came to trade, with several trade wagons hitched to immense hairy spiders, the contingent of warriors, led by three females now wages war against the mages and their bronze warders. The drow spells bounce off the warders as the bronze minotaurs smash through the front ranks and summoned spiders. Soon the battle is over, with a few mages obviously injured and the drow decimated. The bronze warders crush what is left of the bodies into the stone floor, leaving behind lumps of gore on the ground.

Once the door is unbarred, Fix goes over to the lumps of gore, looking for any belongings that may have survived the battle. After washing up in the river, he returns to the Inn empty handed.

On the third day, the caravan returns from Silversheild with the scrolls purchased by Elias and Surina. Ulthand Deepgem delivers the scrolls to the Halfmoon Inn on behalf of himself and the dragonborn. The ritual scroll, Hallow, should allow Brost to rededicate the shrine of Baphomet that Surina spoke of to Erathis. With any luck, the party hopes for a subtle shift in the entire labyrinth once Baphomet’s influence is replaced by Erathis’.

Traveling down the Deep Stair, the part follows the main corridor. Where it branches, they are careful to always stay to the left as Surina strongly urged. Soon the come upon an open area with five exits, each with a symbol above the archway. Trying to make sense of the symbols, Brost and Elias each have trouble deciphering them. One symbol stands out however, looking as if it incorporates symbols from the Abyss in its design.

Not having any better clue, they enter the arch with the demonic symbol and soon find themselves in a large pillared room. When Torra moves into the room to investigate a large well, a creature from the top of a nearby column wraps a tentacle around her neck and begins choking her. Soon another one of those creatures attacks from another column while a ghoul charges up to the party.

As the battle begins in earnest, a thing comes up from the well. The thing in the well seems to be all tentacles, each covered with small circular indentations looking like either suckers or small mouths ringed with teeth. Not quite belonging to this world, the creature targets Torra.

The battle was furious, and the aberrations were utterly ruthless, moving and fighting in ways that ordinary creatures shouldn’t move or fight. Eventually the party was victorious, ridding Arith of three more taints from the Far Realm and their undead helper.

After the battle, the party realized that inhuman howls and screams resonated throughout the area. Scouting ahead, Fix soon came upon a door where the inhuman sounds seemed louder. When the rest of the party arrived Diego charged the door, bursting into a long chamber.

To the south, behind a straw barricade, four gnolls armed with longbows barked commands to four hyenas close to the door who were terrorizing a large dire boar chained to a spike in the ground.

The hyenas immediately attacked Diego, while the gnolls began firing arrows at whoever was in the doorway. Diego and Fix were forced to retreat under the onslaught. Elias took a chance and using the blessing of Ioun to move unimpeded, pulled the spike holding the boar out of the ground, at which point, the furious beast charged whoever was nearest, unfortunately that was Elias. While the rest of the party attacked the hyenas, Diego made a running jump over the barricade and engaged the gnolls. When the last hyena fell Fix joined Diego in attacking the gnolls. Torra spent her time quieting and calming the boar, taking another potential enemy out of the fight.

When the end results of the battle were obvious, one of the last remaining gnolls attempted to flee. Quick work by Torra’s spirit Shiva and Fix dropped the coward before he was able to alert others.

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Back to the Hall (GM Post)

The Grimmerzhul lay defeated at their feet, their bastion of Horned Hold, possibly an older minotaur construction from the days of Saruun Khel was emptied of all but the party and the freed slaves. A report sent to Thane Murkelmor gave a detailed picture of what the mysterious Emissary was up to, and his eventual goal. The party now had many things to consider.

Surveying the slaves, most were captured in the labyrinth and wished to be brought to the Seven Pillared Hall to eventually find ways home. Fix however, wished to find out what was behind the unopened door in the ruined section of the main tower. Somewhere, Avandra smiled.

The door led to an older temple to Baphomet, demon lord of the minotaurs. In the temple, 5 undead creatures sensed the life forces approaching and attacked as soon as the door opened. The battle was never really in question, and the wights were felled one after the other. Beyond the temple were crypts, and a secret door leading to the slave pits. Investigating, the party determined that the duergar, knowing of the undead, slipped through the back door and looted any valuables from the ancient minotaur crypts.

One mystery solved, the party chose to lead the slaves back to the Hall. Fix found Charrak sweeping dung at Bersk the Wainwright’s. Letting the shifty little kobold know what was up, he received some valuable information. The Mages of Saruun wouldn’t immediately act on the defeat of the Grimmerzhul, but may retaliate against the loss of their business partner unless given a reason not to and the dragonborn Surina as well as the dwarf Ulthand Deepgem would be very pleased by the defeat of the Grimmerzhul.

He learned of how to summon the Ordinator, leader of the Mages and chose to summon the Mage and provide the Ordinator with a copy of the scroll found in Murkelmor’s chambers (which Diego had been translating for the other party members). Sounding the gong summoned the mighty Mage and his towering Bronze Warder. The Mage did not let Fix leave, and seemed to see right through the rogue. After reading the report, he commanded Fix to seek out Onotar at the Customhouse for more directions.

Onotar suggested that Fix take his group and find the Well of Demons, where the gnolls sought to lot the treasures and turn the Well dedicated to the minotaur demon lord Baphomet to their own demon lord Yeenoghu.

The dragonborn Surina found the party at the Halfmoon Inn and also shared her story. Her village of Daljur was attacked and destroyed by demon-worshipping gnolls. She made pacts to powerful entities and swore oaths to destroy evil in all the forms she found it. Loudly she proclaimed her desire to overthrow the Mages and make war on the Darklands. The party managed to shuttle into a private room before the impetuous dragonborn stirred up too much trouble. She offered the party 90 gp and possible future employment for proof of the destruction of the gnolls.

Going to the Deepgem Trading Post, the party then contacted Ulthand Deepgem and gave him a copy of Murkelmor’s research. Pleased that the party had defeated their enemies, Ulthand promised to send the scroll out with the next caravan to Silvershield, his home. He also gladly agreed to send any requests for items or magic to Silvershield. Elias asked for a list of arcane rituals. Ulthand also disenchanted the duergar’s flaming maul and gave the party the residuum free of charge.

He did make one request, that the party keep an eye out for his pet, a dire boar he named Tusker, while exploring the labyrinth. When asked how to corral such a beast by Diego, Ulthand said “just whap him over the head until he cooperates”.

With a target identified, the party returned to the Halfmoon Inn to rest.

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Assault on the Grimmerzhul (GM Post)

Having cleared the two towers on the near side of the cavern, the party took some time and barricaded the door in the smithy that opened onto the smaller footbridge, then approached the larger footbridge to assault the final tower across the chasm.

Crossing the bridge, they were fired upon by crossbows from the arrow slits near the bridge, Diego charged and burst through the door only to be attacked by two duergar guards. Coming out of a side chamber was another guard, who had apparently alerted their spellcaster. Near the arrow slits were strange constructions looking like large crossbows on legs, firing on the party still on the bridge.

While the guards kept Diego busy, and kept the rest of the party blocked on the bridge, the duergar theurge commanded the nearest crossbow thing to fire on Diego while he took up a position at the arrow slit to cast spells upon the party. Like the master smith, he was able to blind those party members on the bridge and rain fiery hail down upon them. Fix was finally able to get inside the chamber and assist Diego, who was rapidly being overwhelmed by the combination of the guards and crossbow constructs. The theurge then commanded both crossbow things to target Diego and Fix.

Eventually, the guards at the door were defeated, and the full might of the party was arrayed against their enemies. Though the battle was grim, and Diego was badly hurt, soon only the theurge and a crossbow stood in their way, and soon they fell as well.

Fix again donned a disguise and investigated further into the tower. On reaching the end of the next hallway, he found a group of orcs, with an ogre for backup, guarding a massive gate. The Fix, as a duergar guard, ordered the orcs down the corridor. When the first orc encountered the party, the battle began in earnest.

Diego again created a front line in the hallway, while Elias used the powers of Ioun to aid the warrior. Fix retreated back to the party and pretended to attack Brost, having been badly injured in the last few fights. The orcs quickly had Diego surrounded and the ogre slowly made his way up to the fighter, but as the orcs began to fall, the momentum was in the party’s favor. Soon the ogre was the only creature left, and when Torra assaulted it with spirits of fear and horror, its mind finally snapped and it keeled over dead.

Opening the large iron doors, the party found a wide passageway descending deeper into the Darklands. Fix again used his magic to look like a guard and delved further into the complex. Off the ogre room, he found a corridor leading to two distinct areas. One area was a finely appointed chamber with an obvious bedchamber atop a wide staircase flanked by statues. Not trusting the statues (having heard many stories of animated statues and golems), Fix explored the other passage and found a large room with slave pits. Two creatures from the Pits of Hell manned the slave pits along with another dwarven theurge and some more guards. Unfortunately, other members of the party were spotted by the creatures, and the melee began.

Elias and Brost recognized the devils as spinagon, or spined devils, who flew from bridge to bridge, spraying whichever party member was visible with their poisoned spines as the theurge took up a position on one of the bridges and rained death upon the center of the party. The guards tried to hold the party at the doorway to give the others a chance to attack at range.

Fix was lucky enough to target the theurge with an attack that sent it reeling into one of the slave pits, and one of the spinagon took the time to retrieve the theurge. Fix had hoped that the slaves would take up arms, but it was soon obvious that the slaves would be no help, cowering away from the creatures that had inflicted pain and torture upon them.

Soon the guards lay dead, then the spinagon were sent back to the pits of hell. Alone, the theurge soon fell as well.

After freeing the slaves from the pits and sending them back to the kitchens to meet with the others, the party thoroughly investigated the Thane’s chambers. On a writing desk they found a note to Murkelmor, detailing the research that the duergar thuerges had found on the Emissary’s plans.

Faced with the knowledge in that missive, several dozen slaves, and a still unexplored but seemingly abandoned part of the tower (which the duergar called the Horned Hold). The party decided to rest before contemplating their options.

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Escape from the Grimmerzhul (GM Post)

After taking a short rest in the duergar thane’s Great Hall, the party made their back to the main smithing chamber. The head smith was being assisted by a few other duergar and orc guards stood to the side protecting the area. Choosing a direct assault, the party kicked open the doors and charged. The orcs immediately engaged the party, while the duergar helpers stood back and fired their crossbows. The smith was able to call upon Asmodeus to blind the party, then smite them with fiery hailstones. Torra nearly stepped off of the pathway and plunged down the chasm, incorrectly thinking she was merely backing up. Diego attempted to pin down the duergar while the orcs had him pinned down, but the assistants to the smith were capable of turning invisible. All the time, the head smith continued to pelt the party with his blinding fumes and fiery hail.

As the duergar and orc guards began to fall, and the party was able to engage the master smith, one of the other duergar fled to the entrance chamber and returned with the orcish berserkers from there. The master smith then made the shrapnel from the forge rise up and become a deadly cloud of flying metal scraps, unfortunately he was too late to save himself.

With the master smith’s death, Diego was able to quickly pin the orcs down in the hallway to the entrance, the other party members using attacks at range to wipe out the remaining resistance.

Having secured their escape out, the group made the decision to continue in and attempt to wipe out the duergar once and for all. Carefully searching the rooms of the first tower turned up many barracks and guard chambers, and some hidden and not-so-hidden treasures left by the duergar. Proceeding over the ledge to the second tower, they encountered some human slaves in the kitchens near the great hall. Promising to return and free the women, they delved further into the complex. Fix disguised himself as a duergar, while Diego gave him the Khazad words for “food” and “beans”. In one of the nearby rooms, he found more guards led by a duergar who was obviously some type of champion.

He gruffly said “food” and when they spoke to him incomprehensibly in Khazad, he said “beans”. Unfortunately, his ruse was detected as soon as the duergar approached the great hall. Branding him a traitor or sell-out, the champion immediately set to lock him in as Fix went attempted to return to the great hall through the champion’s quarters. His ability to strike one of the guards in such a way as to send the guard reeling opened a way of retreat as the others took up arms against the remaining duergar.

His target gone, the champion passed through the great hall to approach the party from a flanking position. Torra found herself face-to-face with the powerful duergar and quickly retreated from the champion, leaving Elias as the next target. Torra’s spirit, Shiva, was able to keep the champion from obliterating the back ranks of the group while Diego and Brost created held the line against the other duergar.

One by one, the duergar fell, though some turned into giants when severely injured, while some used invisibility to gain advantageous positions. The battle turned, and eventually the party was victorious. Hurt and spent, they needed to decide whether to cross the chasm bridges and finish the job.

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Beyond The Chamber of Eyes (GM Post)

The hobgoblin archer had alerted other members of the Bloodreavers enjoying their rest. By the time the party caught up to the archer, the rest of the Bloodreavers were ready for action. They created a choke point at the door, with Diego stuck fighting three slavers and taking shots from goblin and hobgoblin archers.

The battle turned when Fix found a secret door in the Temple of Torog that opened into the back of the Bloodreavers sanctuary. He and Elias charged in, wounding and distracting the guards enough to allow Diego to break their line. The archers dropped quickly once the battle was taken to them, and soon the remaining Bloodreavers lay dead at the party’s feet.

The party interrogated Krand, the hobgoblin chieftain they knocked unconscious during the battle, but found no useful information about the Emissary, only that the mage arranged deals and contacts among those he assisted. Krand soon joined his clan in death.

Heading back to the hall, the party chose to find a side room in the labyrinth to rest and recuperate. They planned out their action, and decided that getting out of Thunderspire as fast as possible was the best course. Fix chose a disguise of a fairly average looking human man and proceeded to scout out the hall, seeing what the fallout of their actions would be. After moving around the hall for a few minutes, the only one who seemed to be paying any attention was a kobold runt, who was picking through trash looking for a few coppers worth of stuff. Completely ignored by everyone, the kobold seemed to keep an eye on everything going on around him.

Fix motioned the kobold, named Charrak, over to him and asked about any news or exciting events in the Seven Pillared Hall, but Charrak had no news. Nothing apparently phased the Hall at that moment. When Fix spoke cagily about events in outside of the Hall, Charrak let him know that what happened in the labyrinth stayed in the labyrinth, and the mages allowed nothing to disrupt the Hall.

Heading back to the rest of his companions, Fix explained that no one seemed to care or notice. The party chose to pass through the hall, onto the Road of Lanterns, and back to the portal in the Bloodreaver’s caves.

Halfway across the Hall, they were seen and stopped by Rendil Halfmoon. Eager to talk to the party he rambled for a bit before letting the party know that they had a delivery. A book called “Ophelia Descending” was left at the front desk. He also noted that he “didn’t think the group was into that stuff”. The party quickly left the halfling and proceeded up to the Road of Lanterns. Fix used his ring of disguise to don the average man’s persona again and after revealing himself to Erra privately, he retrieved the book.

The walk to the archway out of the mountain was a quick one. Once clear of the labyrinth’s entrance, the party examined the book. Inside the front cover, was the alternate title, “Ophelia Goes Down (Again)” and the first few pages pegged this book as the sexual journey of a young woman caught up in bizarre circumstances, but something didn’t seem right.

Elias soon relaized that a subtle enchantment was on the book, and by unfocusing his eyes, he could read an entirely different book. The alternate text started,

“Excellent news, we have closed the gate. I am not sure if you had brought your copy of the Linked Portal Ritual, so I left you this copy. Along with the sigil sequences from the portals, which we managed to reconfigure. You have the thanks of the d’Ambervilles and we look forward to meeting with you again on your return to Hawkmoon.

Trapped now, Elias asked Ioun for guidance. Her Hand of Fate beckoned him (and the rest) back into the labyrinth.

Again heading to the Halfmoon Inn, the party paid for another night and settled down to discuss their situation. Soon they were interrupted by a group of duergar guardsmen who offered them an opportunity to speak with Lord Murkelmor of Clan Grimmerzhul. The Clan Laird had promised safe passage for the party and wished to “smooth over their differences.”

Following the guardsmen out of the Hall using the Road of Shadows, and hour march found the party on the edge of a vast chasm. Three squat towers, somewhat octagonal were connected by bridges over the chasm. Two of the towers were on this side of the chasm, while the larger one rested opposite them. Leading the party past orc guards and through the main smithy, the party crossed into the second tower and were brought into the Great Hall. After the escort left the Great Hall, Laird Murkelmor attempted to place the party in chains, for how much safer would their passage be in the middle of a slave caravan heading to the duergar city the Grimmerzhul called home.

The battle joined, Diego faced off against the duergar laird, while Fix went after the laird’s advisor, assuming the quiet duergar in the corner to be a spellcaster. The rest of the party took turns attacking and confounding the two bodyguards and assisting Diego and Fix.

The guards soon joined the battle and party found itself hard pressed and on the brink of defeat. By the time the last of the duergar dropped, most of the party were barely standing. Closing and barricading the doors of the great hall, the party took the time to take a quick rest and recover somewhat from the battle. They decided to battle their way to the main entrance, then determine if they needed to escape back to the Hall.

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The Chamber of Eyes (GM Post)

Back at the Halfmoon Inn, Rendil told them that the main base of the Bloodreavers was an old shrine of Torog known as the Chamber of Eyes. The Chamber was located off the main passageway out of the Seven Pillared Hall beyond the Dragon Door.

Proceeding to the Chamber of Eyes, Fix (disguised as a hobgoblin) tried to bluff his way through the locked door. While he thought he was having some success the goblins balked at the last minute. As Diego charged the door, hoping to smash through, Fix found a smaller unlocked door that led into the main complex. Fix snuck in the back way just as Diego burst the door open.

While Diego, Torra, Elias and Brost charged into the main hall, Fix entered the guardroom from the back hall. The goblin guards, led by a bugbear, responded to both threats, and soon Fix was backed into a corner while the others were attempting to breach the goblins front line. Though the guards fell soon enough, Fix was pretty beaten up.

Undeterred and healed of much of his damage, Fix again disguised himself as a hobgoblin and went off down the back corridor to sow a bit of chaos in the Bloodreaver’s ranks. Passing through a door, he found two dwarves with coal-black skin, an offshoot of the race known as duergar. He commanded the duergar in common to come help take prisoners from the attack. Somewhat surprisingly, the duergar answered him back saying they just bought the slaves, they were not going to help corral them. The duergar then knocked on doors and rallied the nearby Bloodreavers to process the new slaves.

Unfortunately, the forces arrayed against them weren’t fooled for long, and an all-out melee ensued. The duergar entered the combat on the side of the Bloodreavers, who were led by their warlord Krand. Fix waited until he had a chance to backstab the hobgoblin warcaster before he revealed his allegiance, though they believed he was just a hobgoblin traitor.

When Krand and one of the duergar were lying in their own blood, the other duergar escaped into the labyrinth and the remaining hobgoblin archer ran through a small shrine. As the party pursued the archer they heard the sounds of other forces preparing for battle and prepared for the next wave.

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Assault on the Bloodreavers (GM Post)

After returning to Rivermeet with the militiamen, the party was summoned to Sheriff Dugan Narros’s office. Although they had found the portal and defeated the ogre on the other side, Dugan seemed somewhat disappointed that they returned with no intelligence on this mysterious Emissary who seemed to have arranged the Sinruth’s bands attack on Rivermeet. The party drafted a note to the d’Ambervilles about the portal in the ruins and sensing Dugan’s disappointment, resolved to enter the portal again and uncover some more information about the Emissary. Again Gundrax was asked to come along and keep the horses safe as the group investigated.

On entering the portal, the adventurers found a cave system, but no goblins. Investigating the twists and turns of the caves, they found evidence of goblin and hobgoblin activity. If these were the Bloodreaver’s caves they cleared out and found another hideout.

When they passed through the final secret door, they were on a small ledge overlooking a vast valley. In the distance a towering mountain that could only be Thunderspire Mountain rose above the valley like some gargantuan sentinel. Filled with despair about the vastness of this wilderness that they looked upon, they retreated back into the cave system and combed it over looking for any clues to bring back to Dugan, but none remained.

Just as they were ready to give up and return empty-handed to Rivermeet they remembered that the letter to Sinruth specifically mentioned Thunderspire Mountain. Hoping that there might be a clue or another base near the mountain, they set out into the unknown valley.

They found a curious road through the middle of the valley, which Brost’s research when while back in Hawkmoon identified as Mistwatch Valley. The road led right to the base of Thunderspire and up to an open archway leading deep into the mountain. The archway had carvings of minotaurs at least 20 feet tall with axes drawn flanking the opening.

After a few hundred yards, lanterns began to appear on the sides of the tunnel, and the road definitely continued down the passage and was in much better shape inside the mountain than outside. Continuing down for about 20 minutes, they found themselves in a large vault somewhere under the mountain. A purple haze illuminated ancient buildings, and all manner of creatures roamed this place. Asking a nearby human, they learned that this was the Seven Pillared Hall, a trading post of a sort between the surface world and the Darklands. They received directions to the Halfmoon Inn, the only place in town to stay and settled down in this unusual place.

The Halfmoon Inn was run by Erra Halfmoon, an older halfling woman who charged the party five silver each for a room for the night. Completely bewildered at such a community far from the civilized world, they party began to carefully explore the hall and ask questions.

The first building they passed to get to the Inn was the Customhouse, where traders entering the Hall paid their tithes to the rulers of the Hall, a sect of arcanists known as the Mages of Saruun. The older man at the customhouse, named Onotar told Fix of a bolthole for the Bloodreavers just outside the Hall. He seemed to dislike the Bloodreavers and suggested that the Mages did not approve of their actions and limited their access to the Hall. The Bloodreavers were consigned to the Labyrinth, the halls and passages outside to the Seven Pillared Hall excavated and finished by the minotaurs of Saruun Khel many centuries ago.

Following the old man’s suggestion, they left the Hall by a passage near the Halfmoon Inn known as the Deep Stair. Turning left just before the actual stairs, the found a maze-like array of rooms and opened doors. Keeping to the main passage, the party eventually found a closed door near where the old man said they could find the Bloodreavers.

Fix quietly approached the door and heard hobgoblin voices followed by the high-pitched voice of a halfling. Busting through the door, several soldiers were obviously tormenting a halfling they had caught in the labyrinth. It wasn’t until the fight started in earnest that the party discovered the warcaster leading the soldiers.

Freeing the halfling, they discovered that he was Rendil Halfmoon, nephew to Erra and labyrinth explorer. Rendil knew where the main base of the Bloodreavers lay, and offered to buy the party a drink and give them directions when they got back to the Inn.

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Crown of the Ogre King (according to Brost)

After Heading back to Hawkmoon We stumbled across a group of the local Veiled Society attempting a shakedown of our landlords daughter. Alas for the poor halfling Skin n Bones He did not survive this encounter with us. No great loss or remorse for this one. The following morning Ondieth has reprovisioned the larder and has brought us up to speed with his research. After some rather public requests for a meeting with the rather ecentric family of casters. who happen to be in possesion of the painting. Our meeting nearly gets us killed by a summoned young rogue frost dragon the rather odd son had summoned. Our discussion with the matron has led us to a clue on the painting and another of Alaron’s symbols.

I have made my request from the local Half-Orc Blacksmith after a mutual dislike of each other. With the grace of Erathis’ tolerence our buisness transaction for one Khopesh was concluded. The returned the next day to pick the finely crafted weapon up. During this time I also head to the temple. After a proper donation to the faith have been able to aquire two more proper rituals. Talking with the local priest I also gain insight into some finer points on potioncraft. After a couple days study followed by getting out of the appartments for a drink or two I concluded my studies.

My grasp of the ritual to create Holy Water as well as the coveted Enchant Magic Item ritual will definately aid my family and my companions in the days to come. My additional research into the areas outlined in our reports have detailed many historical references though little of immediate insight into the trade of slaves.

Through Felix we have purchased horses and have headed back to Rivermeet to follow up on our slaver investigation. Heading out from rivermeet with 6 brave armsmen we reach the designated location. An investigation into one of the few reasonably intact buildings reveals a prisonlike complex beneath. Of course down in the basement we encountered hobgoblins maintaining the jail cells and a torture facility. After defeating our enemies we put the facilities to use. After questioning the leader reluctantly giving us the information we needed. Justice is serverd as the inquisitor experienced some of his own methods.

I am not exactly certain when afterwards in the cells they met there demise as I was occupied with my initial investigation of the portal in the stairway below. We will send word to the D’Ambervilles regarding this portal. The six men at arms provided by Caer Rivermeet were rewarded a hazard pay bonus of looted coppers for their troubles. After a breif recon through the portal by fix we all head through to defeat the ogre and some goblin henchmen that were apparantly pretending the ogre was a king. The goblin ruse was complete with a copper crown making it totally laughable. We attempted to disable the portal though it is beyond our abilities. We may yet head back to investigate the Labyrinth beyond.

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The Ruins of Westbrook

Returning to Caer Rivermeet, the party met up with Sheriff Dugan Narros. The plan of attack on the Bloodreavers spoken about in the letter to Sinruth is to pretend to be the Red Hands and get close enough to attack with impunity. Dressing a contingent of Rivermeet militia up in Red Hand armor, the party dons burlap sacks to cover their weapons and armor. Diego enlists his cousin Gundrax to keep their horses safely away from the meeting place.

Traveling four days down the River Arvin, the party leads the small contingent of Rivermeet militia. They get to the bridge located on the map, but find that it no longer spans the river. Backing up a few miles they find a ford to cross the river. Though it is difficult going, here the Arvin isn’t deep or fast enough to sweep any of the men away. They rest at the ford, waiting for daylight to make their move. The meeting isn’t supposed to take place for another six or seven days, so no one is in a rush. Sergeant Nagal leads his men well and though they’re nervous, none seem ready to back out.

IN the morning the men don their disguises and set out with the party to the ruins of Westbrook. An old stopover village when the road to Brineven was well-traveled, Westbrook was Brineven’s farthest community. When the empire fell, and Brineven was beset by the very gnolls they hired to make war on the other city-states, all contact was lost with Westbrook. When Hawkmoon sent troops to protect the village, Darcos took it as an act of war and counterattacked, drawing those troops away from their mission. By the time reinforcements arrived at Westbrook, there was nothing to save.

Approaching the walls of the village, all was quiet. Fix, in disguise, entered the ruins and scouted the area scouting out defenses or traps and finding none. The ruins of a large inn dominated the northern area inside the wooden palisade and a tower of stone sat to the east of the inn. The tower looked to be the only building in decent shape.

Motioning his companions in, the proceeded to investigate the tower. Inside they saw that the upper floors were weakened and rotting due to the closeness of the Blackmere Swamp and the humid conditions around the swamp. A well-oiled door on the main floor led opened onto a spiral stairway heading down. Proceeding down the stairs, the party found a torture chamber with several cages for holding prisoners. A hobgoblin torturer led a small group of soldiers who fought against the party, but ultimately lost.

Although they tortured the leader, the party uncovered no significant intelligence. In the back of the underground complex though they found an active portal. Disguising himself again, Fix entered the portal and found it to be a two-way portal to a series of caves. The caves near the portal were inhabited by an ogre who wore a crown of copper and his four goblin “servants”. After a quick conversation with the goblins, Fix quickly realized that the goblins just pretended to serve the ogre so that they could trick the ogre into staying in the caves and protecting the portal.

Returning with the news, Fix then led the party through the portal. Taking up a position in the exit cave, Fix stopped any of the goblins from escaping while the rest of the party dealt with the ogre and goblins.

The party then decided to leave the militiamen here guarding the tower and to return to Rivermeet under the assumption that defeating the goblins in the ruins and the ogre would be enough to save Rivermeet from any other incursions.

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